How Your Old PC Is Costing You Money

Ron Cochran is Help Desk supervisor for Tech Experts.

We all know that electronics become outdated almost as fast as you can purchase them, but what if I told you that holding onto that six to ten-year-old machine could be costing you just as much money as upgrading to a newer model?

Just like with any technology, the parts get smaller, more efficient, cheaper to buy, and cheaper to run. It could cost you real money in several ways: machine downtime, a sudden replacement when it crashes, paying an employee to redo their work after a failure.

Additionally, if a machine is extremely slow, tasks can be unnecessarily drawn out while employees wait for the computer to respond.

Then consider energy efficiency. That computer from 2008 could be using a 300w power supply that isn’t very energy efficient. Add an older, larger processor that is power-hungry to the mix and that 300w power supply is working at half capacity at 60% efficiency.

The use of other hardware – like your DVD ROM drive, USB, and video cards – can pull more power too, raising electricity costs.

Most computer manufacturers today plan on customers upgrading their technology within 3-6 years to keep up pace with the ever-changing software industry. Let’s say that, six years ago, you built your own machine with an almost top of the line CPU, more RAM than you needed, and a nice, fast hard drive.

That same machine will now have trouble keeping up with a machine of lesser quality.

This is partly due to the way software coding has changed, but also how electronic architecture has improved. The processors have gotten smaller and take less power, but work harder, faster, and more efficiently.

This shift in technology efficiency directly translates into more money left in your business account due to your employees being able to work more efficiently.

You also have to factor in data security once computers stop accepting essential critical operating system updates due to the lack of storage space.

Or how about that new graphic design software or CAD software you need to run that you can’t install because you don’t have enough RAM or a 64 bit operating system?

Once you need the 64-bit operating system, your RAM should be upgraded to run the operating system more efficiently.

The upgrades needed for older machines can pile up quickly.

The above principles apply to your company servers as well. Maybe even more so because of the amount of work they do and the data they store. In a server, the hard drives never stop spinning, the processors never stop processing.

You may have purchased an $8,000 server for your business, but if it was 12 years ago, it’s probably doing you more harm than good now. That server could be costing you more money in service calls for the issues that pop up or frequent, disruptive power cycles.

When buying IT equipment for your business or personal use, you should never buy something that is “just enough.” Not because it can’t do it, but because it will work harder to do the work, using more power to do it.

Think of it like a truck: a small truck CAN pull that new camper you bought, but a bigger truck will pull it more safely while costing you less money in fuel in the long run.