Do you know how much it’s costing you to keep business computers in operation longer than you should? It’s not always apparent from the outside of a computer when it should be replaced, and performance issues tend to sneak up little by little over time. 

Small businesses often try to keep overhead low and keep computers operating as long as possible to get the best ROI they can on that investment. But studies show that if you keep a computer operating past its prime, you’re losing money, not saving it. By keeping old computers in operation, small businesses lose approximately S$3,715 per computer per year. 

So, when is the “sweet spot” for replacing your business PCs? Two studies point to it being between the 3 to 4-year mark. Once business PCs pass four years of age, their productivity and security begin to decrease significantly, and they actually cost more to keep operating than the cost of a new computer. We’ll take a look at both studies below and why you may need to rethink your computer/laptop replacement policy.

Studies Show the Optimum PC Replacement Cycle is 3-4 Years

There are several reasons that an older PC can be dragging down your productivity and costing you more than replacing it. Why do companies continue holding onto PCs past their prime? According to one of the two studies, 70% of small and medium-sized business owners cited worry that a new PC would not be able to run an existing business process. If business processes are dependent upon outdated technology, then that’s a big red flag that you need to update to modern cloud solutions. One of the other big reasons small business owners put off buying a new computer is the cost. But what they don’t realize that the cost of keeping those older computers is actually more. Following, are two studies that give insight into the three to four-year recommendation for replacing business computers.

Pan-Asia SMB PC Study by Microsoft

study released by Microsoft in 2018, provided research on just how costly older PCs were to keep in operation and found that they were costing business owners over NZD $4,000 (S$3,715). It stated that SMBs could save significantly if they just updated their computers when they should. The study found that the optimal age for business PCs was no older than four years. For PCs older than four years, owners ended up paying the price through lost productivity, repair costs, and more. Computers older than 4-years old had 2X as many issues, such as:

  • Slow boot-up times
  • Depleting battery power
  • Disk drive crashes
  • Data loss
  • Application crashes
  • Network connectivity issues

Study for Optimum Refresh Cycle by Intel

A separate study by Intel also found that replacing computers between the three to four-year mark was recommended for business computers. After four years, the study found significant problems in multiple areas, including data loss, security, and productivity.

  • Downtime: The Intel study found that computers that are older than 4 years are 2X as likely to have downtime than 3-year old computers. A significant number of small businesses see downtime costs between S$13,582-S$27,165 per hour.
  • Data Breaches: Computers older than 4-years old have 3X as many data breaches as those younger than 3 years. This makes them a significant security risk and one that could end up crippling a business for years due to ransomware or another attack.
  • Data Loss: Computers older than 4-years old have 3X as many data loss incidents as those younger than 3 years. This is because those older PCs are more susceptible to hard drive crashes that end up wiping out all the data contained.
  • More Need for Tech Support: Computers older than 4-years old had nearly twice as many tech support calls as computers less than 3-years old, the calls were also an average of 44% longer.

What to Consider When Choosing a New Computer

If you have any business PCs that are older than 4-years old, you’ll want to consider upgrading them to avoid paying more to keep them operating. Here are several considerations when choosing a new PC:

Memory (RAM)

If you get a PC with too little memory, it’s going to be slow right from the start. You should look for systems with a minimum of 8GB and at least 12GB of RAM if you work with graphic/memory intense programs. Also, look for the ability to upgrade memory if needed. You don’t want to be stuck without the capability to add more down the road.

Solid-State Drive (SSD)

SSDs are a newer type of drive that does not have any moving parts and uses flash memory to store information. They are significantly faster than hard disk drives (HDD) when it comes to boot times, program access times, and read/write speeds. These drives have also come down in price significantly in the past few years, making them a viable option for many computer users.

Other Considerations

When purchasing a new computer, you want to get the best balance you can of price vs performance. Here are some other things to consider:

  • Storage needs (if you use cloud storage, you may not need as much)
  • Graphics card (if you’re using video intensive programs)
  • Screen size (you don’t want to go too small and have problems multi-tasking)
  • Ports or CD (ensure you have the ports you need and a CD-drive if needed)
  • Processor type (if unsure, you can ask an IT professional)

Get Help with Expert IT Recommendations and Setup

From PC recommendations to data migration and custom setup, Managed IT Asia can help your Singapore business stay productive with the right technology support. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. Call +65 6748 8776 or reach us online.

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MANAGED IT ASIA, we are an IT Support, IT Solutioning and Managed IT Service Provider specializing in serving Small Businesses across Asia. Call us at +65 6748 8776 and let us manage your Small Business IT today!