Should I repair or replace my computer?

As computer technician who has seen so many computers and done thousands of computer repairs, I’ve certainly been asked “Is my computer worth fixing, or should I just buy a new one?” many times.

When it comes to “Repairs VS Replace”, some think you should repair while others think you should replace.

So what’s my answer to the inevitable question? Most of the times, my answer is “you should repair it”.

Because, more often than not, the overall cost of fixing a computer is lower than buying a new one.

I myself use a 9-year-old laptop for home, and a 7-year-old laptop for work. Trust me, I’m tech savvy, I want my computers to be fast and reliable. When I click on an app, I expect it to open immediately.

With the right tweak, your “old” computer can do more than what you need. Most of us are not Hollywood movie makers after all.

But, there are times when you should consider replacing.

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Some computer users don’t expect their devices to fail, and see this as a sign that the computer is dying and that they need to replace it.

Like most electronics, laptops and desktop computers can break at least once in the device’s lifetime. And usually it’s not a major heart operation.

Learning more about a computer’s lifespan can help inform your decision to repair or replace your faulty computer.

repairs or replace computer

What is the average lifespan of a computer?

In its early days, computers could last very long: 8 to 10+ years. Now they don’t.

Computers now last 3 to 4 years then a repair is needed to get it working again. Its performance may also drop after a few years.

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After 8-10 years of use, the computer will become incompatible with newer operating systems, and are unable to be upgraded.

The system may still work, but will lose support from the manufacturers as they consider these devices as obsolete. We’ll cover more about this later.

This might be quite unusual, but we do know of a lot of people who hang on to their old computers way past its 10-year lifespan. We’ve seen a lot of computer users still using old laptops running on Windows Vista or Windows XP.

These are mostly for sentimental reasons or that they are simply used to its interface and OS. If the device works, this is completely fine.

The downside is, these computers are considered outmoded, so they are quite difficult to fix. So you might want to consider how long you’ve had the laptop before you decide to buy a new one to replace it.

Is my computer worth fixing though?

One thing to know though, repairing your computer can’t be more expensive than buying a new one.

In the above infographic, I’ve taken an example of purchasing a decent computer that costs $1,500 (AUD) to buy as a new unit.

Even assuming that the worst case scenario of repair options, that the computer is unreliable and needs 2 major repairs within 4 years, it’s still $900 less than replacing it.

This is also assuming the best case scenario of replacing: the computer works flawlessly for 4 years, which is unlikely.

If you only need replacement repairs like a cracked laptop screen or battery replacement, think of it this way: These faulty parts don’t have much to do with the laptop’s performance, so all you need to do is replace them and the laptop will be good as new.

Most repair services can also help you upgrade your computer as well, if you’re looking to enhance its performance.

When faced with certain more expensive repairs like motherboard replacement, you may need to re-consider and ask whether this fix is worth it or not.

Useful computer upgrades for better performance

As we’ve mentioned above, the overall cost of repairing or upgrading a laptop or desktop computer shouldn’t be more than buying a new one. There’s nothing more disappointing than finding out that your new laptop isn’t as powerful as you thought.

If you’re looking for a bit of a boost for your current laptop that you’ve had for a while, you could look into upgrading its hardware.

This could get your computer to perform much better than it ever has, and possibly give it a longer lifespan as well. Here are a few computer upgrade options for both laptop and desktop computers that you can consider.

Replacing HDD with SSD

Samsung SSD

Solid-state drives, also known as flash storage, have gradually become a known standard for a lot of newer laptop and desktop computers. They are much more durable compared to traditional hard disk drives, as HDDs contain moving machinery and SSDs don’t.

Performance-wise, SSDs definitely win the race. SSDs can deliver speeds up to 16 times faster than an HDD, and don’t draw as much power as well. They run on NAND memory chips, which aren’t as fragile as the spinning disks inside hard drives.

Because of its durability and great performance, an SSD upgrade has become quite a popular computer upgrade.

While they often cost a bit more than traditional hard drives, upgrading to an SSD can deliver you great benefits.

This upgrade works for both laptops and desktop computers. If you’re used to a large amount of space on your desktop, you can use the SSD as the primary drive, and a bigger 3.5-inch hard drive for secondary storage.

You may also try using the two drives as a hybrid drive, which requires a little bit of software configuring first.

Blazing fast with NVMe SSD

NVMe SSDs have been around for some years. There were expensive in their early days. Now they have become affordable and installed in most new computers.

How fast?

With NVMe SSD installed, whenever you click on Google Chrome web browser or Microsoft Edge web browser, it will open up instantly. Opening Microsoft Outlook takes about 2 seconds. Opening Microsoft Word or Excel takes about 2 or 3 seconds.

If your computer supports the latest NVMe SSD, and you opt for premium ones such as Samsung or Intel, it will be even faster.

Just ask any computer enthusiasts, they will tell you that they have NVMe SSD installed on their computers. It’s incredibly pleasant to use your computer with NVMe SSD installed as the main drive.

Quick note: many Apple computers and new Windows laptops nowaday come with NVMe SSD installed.

Adding more RAM to your computer

RAM memory chips on motherboard

Having more RAM capacity can boost your computer’s multitasking capabilities. The amount of RAM you have determines how much data can be temporarily stored there while you’re working on it.

You’ll get a smoother computing experience if you have more RAM, where data can be readily accessed from it.

4GB is usually the bare minimum for normal functioning, and 8GB is the recommended capacity for basic tasks.

Upgrading to 16GB of RAM would be useful if you do graphics or video editing work. This upgrade could make things run smoother for you.

That said though, you might not need a RAM upgrade if you already are upgrading to an SSD. An SSD is already fast enough for multitasking purposes.

Can my old computer handle the latest apps?

In most cases, Yes!

Unless you use your computer for professional movie editing, your 8 year-old computer can do more than what you need. It just needs the right tweak and changes to be lightning fast.

Most of us use computers for email, word pressing, web browsing, videos. As long as your computer is not a $300 entry level one, it will be able to run fast and do all you need it to do, provided that it has the right upgrades for it.

What a trusted repair service can do for you

If you do decide to repair or upgrade your computer, make sure you also find the right repair service for you. Feel free to shop around for quotes, and see what kind of repair services that they offer.

As experienced repair technicians, we offer tech consulting if you bring your computer in with us.

We can find the right repair and upgrade options based on your computing needs. Depending on how you use the computer, how much storage you need, and the issues related to the specific model, we’ll recommend repair and upgrade options that are right for you.

Future proofing is also something we keep in mind when considering your repair options.

Certain software or apps require a specific set of hardware specs. So by letting your friendly repair tech know what you do with your computer, they’ll be able to match your hardware to the software requirements.

When to replace your computer

A computer can last up to 8-10 years, this we know. Once the computer’s hardware and software have become incompatible with the mainstream, it might be time to let it go.

When a computer has become so old, the spare parts and tools needed to fix it are less available. Not to mention how hard it will be to fix.

If you do decide to get rid of your computer and buy a new one instead, don’t forget to dispose of the old one correctly.

Throwing it away in the trash will just create e-waste, which contains toxic and hazardous materials that will just pile up in a landfill. Instead of throwing it away, you could arrange an e-waste council collection or drop it off at a collection depot.

Trading in your old computer is also an option. Computer repair shops often take in old computers for refurbishment or for their spare parts. Plus, you might be able to get some money out of it as well.

Your laptop data can be rescued without fixing the computer

It’s more than likely that your data can be rescued without your computer getting repaired.

Rescuing your data is different from repairing the laptop. Our laptop rescue experts can recover your data onto an external hard drive in most cases, even without fixing your computer.

However, there is always a chance of data loss when your computer breaks down. Having a regular backup is always recommended.

Planned obsolescence?

Many computers still work after 10 years, amazingly well in facts. But why are we forced to replace it?

Could this be “planned obsolescence” forced by big tech companies like Microsoft and Apple?

If the computer is working so well, what’s the reason to ditch it?

Yes, you could say it’s “planned obsolescence”, but it might be a necessary one.

Technology needs to progress to achieve innovation. And when it does, old ones become obsolete. And we all need innovation.

Having said that, if your old computer serves you well and does what you need, do you really need the latest, most innovative technology that you may actually never use?

Or are you just buying the latest iPhone but never use it to its full “innovative” potential?

I dare to say that most of us buy a new computer, or a new smart phone because we want it, not because we need it.

Make no mistake, I’m guilty of this as well.

My new OPPO phone has all the cool features and amazing LED display, even though my 2 year-old Huawei phone was still perfectly working before I replaced it.

Though, my Dell Latitude work laptop is 7 years old, my MacBook Pro home laptop is 9 years old. Both have been working so well. The Dell even survived a major coffee spill on its keyboard without a glitch.

macbook pro laptop

Being a tech person, I use all the latest apps, tech tools in the market. I also use Adobe Photoshop on my Dell laptop, and often have multiple web browser tabs open. I don’t expect to lose any productivity.

I don’t want to wait for my computer to open anything. When I click on Google Chrome browser, I expect it to open quickly, with little to none waiting time.

Both laptops can handle these tools perfectly. This is an example that old hardware still can handle many of the latest apps.

You don’t really have to get the latest hardware to handle the latest software.

Computer advice at Safemode Computer Service

Need a bit of computer repair advice? Still unsure about getting your laptop or desktop computer fixed? We’re here to help.

Our expert technicians at Safemode Computer Service in Enmore are always happy to assist you with any computer repairs that you need, from hard drive failures, to laptop screen replacements, for both Windows and Apple. Find us in Inner West Sydney, or call us today!

Need same-day computer repairs and IT services?

Safemode Computer Service is rated in the Best 3 computer repair centers in Sydney from 2016 to 2023. Walk-in or book an appointment to get a Free quote today.