To Replace or Not to Replace…

When it comes to replacing your computer hardware, especially desktop or laptop computers, deciding whether to replace the machine or upgrade components can be challenging. By knowing what equipment you have, understanding how it’s performance matches your needs, and creating a solid replacement plan, you can tackle this task and save money in the process.

Knowing the specifications on the equipment you have is crucial to planning for upgrades (network equipment will be covered in a future post). A tool like Speccy can show important stats like the amount of Memory (RAM), type and speed of Processor (CPU), hard drive technology, and what graphics card is installed. While knowing your system specifications isn’t the whole story, it can help you identify if specific symptoms you’re having match a shortfall in your equipment, and plan for the future.

Once you know your system stats, asking open ended questions about your technology needs can help identify if replacement, repair, or upgrades are the right path. Identify the primary use of your workstation(s). If they are lacking in performance and are less than 5 years old, chances are an upgrade will help (software issues are ruled out for the purposes of this post). Refer back to your system specs… If your system is slow to boot up and the hard drive is a spinning disk instead of a solid state drive (SSD) that could be the bottleneck. If it runs well except when using large external monitors or a graphics editing program like Photoshop or illustrator is open, it’s probably the graphics card that needs a boost. If it tends to freeze when multiple applications are open or when encoding video or compiling code, it’s likely the processor. In almost every scenario one of those components can be replaced for far less cost than that of a new machine, while still resolving the problem.

Once any immediate issues are cleared, a very important final step is to plan for future upgrades. Just like mechanical components in a car wear out over time, electronic devices also degrade, and new software demands better performance to operate correctly. For users demanding the very best and latest in performance, a three-year full machine replacement policy is standard. For most offices, replacing machines every 5 years will provide the same benefits at reduced cost. If necessary with proper maintenance (and upgrading specific components as needed) some desktop computers and servers can run much longer. Defining what that looks like for your business enables better budgeting and planning to ensure long-term reliability.

Now that you know how to gather your current system specs, identify how that matches with your needs, and a bit about creating a replacement timeline, you can equip yourself or your business with the appropriate computer equipment at the lowest long-term cost. And, if you need to consult on performance problems with a specific machine, or need help creating a long-term replacement plan, CJC Solutions can help end to end with all of your office technology needs.

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