Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #228 11/27/2013

Question: When should I repair or buy a new computer?


This is a question I encounter in several different forms. People asking whether they should repair a computer or upgrade a computer or buy a new one.

If your computer is broken, when you take it to some places to be repaired they will push you to buy a new one. Others may push you to just repair it no matter what.

Several questions to ask your self when dealing with these questions are the following.

The first is the costs. What will it cost to fix the computer? What would a new one cost and what to get my information moved to the new one if I have stuff on it? If it is just getting old and slow what would it cost to upgrade it to get the newer speeds?

If the computer is five years or older it will probably be best to get a new one, but look at the costs. You will read lots of articles saying three years is life of computers but plenty of people are happily using machines five to seven years old. I probably upgrade my computers with memory or hard drive after three or so years but not buy a new until 5-7 years old.

Ask your technician what will it cost to repair it? If they won’t tell you any estimate, then find another repair person. Look around at what the new ones like you want cost. Consider whether the machine is doing things as fast as you want.

Upgrading a computer could be several different items that are often upgraded. Getting additional memory is often done. Can your machine handle more memory? That is the upgrade I most often I do on my personal machines. The amount of memory will affect the speed your computer works. You may need a larger hard drive. They constantly get larger in capacity and cheaper. Both of these items that may be smart moves. If you are a gamer (play games on the computer) then a faster video card or more memory on it may be a good move.

If it is a desktop PC and not a laptop getting a new screen to put on the old machine may be a good idea. You can use the same screen from computer to computer. If you are still using a CRT monitor (big like old TVs) then switching to a flat screen monitor would be good. If you want everything bigger on screen then getting a larger monitor is a smart idea. You may also want a monitor that has better colors or resolution. Just keep in mind that normally monitors are sold separate from the desktop computer.

All these same rules would apply on printers also.

When I work on computers for people sometimes once I look at it, my suggestion to them is to get a new one as it will be cheaper than fixing. Most of the time I can repair it cheaper than a new one, but if it is an older computer I will ask them if they might not want to invest in a new one. If the computer works like you want and repair on older is $100 or less then the repair probably is best. The other part to consider is how often you need it repaired. There is a point no matter how much you like the machine you will do better economically to buy a new one.