Slow Old Office Computers – Upgrade or Replace?

So, your oldest, slowest, yet most trusted office PC is staring at the light at the end of the tunnel and is processing it’s way to it.

It’s at this point that you need to make the decision to either give it a new lease on life, or kick it to the curb, for a much younger, racier, better looking model that would do things the other one couldn’t even begin to comprehend (minds out of the gutter people!).

So what do you do?  Upgrade, or replace?Well, I can’t give you the answer, but I can give you reasons why either is the right choice.  Not much of a help huh?

Anyway, onto the facts:

Upgrade:

PROS:

*  The computer will still be exactly the same (operating system, software, document wise, etc), except faster.

*  There is usually a quick turn around for the upgrades to be installed.

*  There is a smaller outlay for upgraded components.

CONS:

*  Limited upgrade ceiling (on older PCs, the components and operating system can serverely limit your upgrade potential.  ie, the maximum amount of memory, or the fastest CPU is limited by the motherboard (aka mainboard).  So even though you may want to increase the amount of memory to 8GB, the motherboard and operating system may allow only 4GB.

*  The cost of the upgradeable components (in particular the memory and the CPU) are quite expensive in relation to the increased performance.  A good example of this is RAM.  A 1GB RAM stick for an old PC may cost you $100.  That same $100 could buy you an 8GB RAM stick for a new PC.  Still, as expensive as it may seem for such a small increase in performance, it is almost always cheaper than a new PC.

*  There will potentially be a short supply of upgradeable components.

*  The old components that will remain (usually the motherboard) may have a higher chance of eventually failing given it’s age.  This could mean your upgraded old PC could die sooner than expected.  On a side note, I have seen brand new hardware fail in the first few weeks.  If I were a betting man however, I would almost pick the new components to outlast the old.

Replace:

PROS:

*  It will be infinitely faster than the old machine.

*  It will allow for many future hardware and software upgrades, meaning it could last many years.  Upgrading an old machine may see it only be effective for the next couple of years.

*  It will allow for the use of newer software, should you decide to run it.

CONS:

*  It may NOT be compatible with some of the programs you ran on the older system.

*  It may NOT be compatible with some of the older printers you may have at the office.

*  You will most likely never get it to be exactly the same as the old PC.  If you’re a creature of habit, this may upset you immensely.

*  A new PC, usually means newer versions of software (operating systems, Microsoft Office, etc).  There will be a steep learning curve as a result.

*  A new PC can cost around 3 to 5 times the amount of upgrading an older machine.  If you spend $500 upgrading an old PC, you can easily spend over $2000 on a new PC.  Even more if you have to pay for the computer guy to set it up for you!

So which path should you take?  Will it’s up you and your situation.

If you have a piece of software that HAS to be run on a particular operating system, then you really only have the one choice.  Upgrade.

However, if you can afford it, and if you have no one piece of software holding you back, then a new PC is your best bet.

…At the same time, you may also need to fork out for a new printer if your current one is the same age as the outgoing PC.

…And you may as well save up for a couple more new machines as the other employees PC’s start to mysteriously slow down.

dEx

Small Business IT Show - Old PC

The podcast for all things IT in your Small Business