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How long do you keep your PC?
Thread poster: sayemonne

sayemonne

Local time: 14:10
English to French
Nov 19, 2011

Hi there,

How long do you wait until you replace your PC? Do you wait for it to break or do you replace it after a determined period of time?

Thanks for your replies!


 

Mario Cerutti  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 03:10
Member
Italian to Japanese
+ ...
Three years... Nov 21, 2011

...as a general rule at least for people like me who don't desire to replace internal parts by themselves or don't have an expert or computer shop at hand. Internal components such as HDDs, fans the motherboard are said to be not made to last much longer under heavy load, let's say ten or more hours of work a day.

If three years is indeed the actual average failure time as can be read in specialized magazines and websites, it would be wise to anticipate such failures by purchasing a new computer in advance instead of risking a very serious crash that leaves you without working hardware. This way you have the time to reinstall the software and tune the system to you working conditions so that when it's ready you simply discard the old computer.

If your question also wants to highlight the very understandable need to work in (theoretically) complete safety, you might consider using two computers - one being a back-up machine - and replace them with a one-and-a-half-year offset to halve the probability of remaining without one to work with.

Finally, if you are like me who feel real pleasure in working with the latest technologies, given the current speed in IT development and how fast prices are going down you might even like to replace your computer(s) every two years.


 

opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:10
English to German
+ ...
Far longer, and more than 5 years on average Nov 21, 2011

Mario Cerutti wrote:

...

If three years is indeed the actual average failure time as can be read in specialized magazines and websites, it would be wise to anticipate such failures by purchasing a new computer in advance instead of risking a very serious crash that leaves you without working hardware. This way you have the time to reinstall the software and tune the system to you working conditions so that when it's ready you simply discard the old computer.

If your question also wants to highlight the very understandable need to work in (theoretically) complete safety, you might consider using two computers - one being a back-up machine - and replace them with a one-and-a-half-year offset to halve the probability of remaining without one to work with.

Finally, if you are like me who feel real pleasure in working with the latest technologies, given the current speed in IT development and how fast prices are going down you might even like to replace your computer(s) every two years.



Excuse me, but I think replacing one's main workstation every two or three years just for the sake of preventing a fatal outage is way overdone and a terrible waste. I buy a new computer when I feel that the old one can't keep up with the new software anymore -- never before.

All my previous machines held up much beyond that, between four and seven years! And I never bought a new one in order to replace broken hardware. Those were four different computers, from an Intel 386 up to a Pentium 4 computer. Though I should add that all those were desktop machines (not laptops which are flimsier and can fail when you spill some coffee on them, or drop/hit them), either custom-built or "business" machines (Dell, Intel). I have also developed the habit of hoovering them inside once per year or so. And back in the day I did not only leave them running for 10 hours or more each day -- I was also compiling a lot of software on a regular basis, which puts a heavy strain on both processor and HD.

In more than 20 years of computing, I have had a single hard disk failure, which I could easily recover from because I had a complete backup. The only piece of hardware that is regularly failing after a few years on my computers, is the optical drive (mice don't count as far as I'm concerned).

A agree though that keeping a second machine ready saves you a lot of trouble. And good backups are essential -- it's mostly the hard drives that fail, or you wipe out some data due to your own stupidity :-] (which IMHO is a far bigger risk than anything hardware-related).

So my advice would be: buy a decent machine (not the cheapest one) and relax for a few years.

(I have just bought a Dell machine with a four-core processor. Yesterday I switched off three of those, running with only one of the processor cores. There was no notable difference in performance whatsoever! So I plan to keep this machine for some 6 to 8 years.)


 

Roy OConnor (X)
Local time: 20:10
German to English
I always get fond of my computers... Nov 21, 2011

... and don't like putting them out to grass. But when they become incapable of running modern software despite upgrading various bits, then you have to part company.

I built my latest one up from the separate parts and so it is customised to what I wanted. My hard drives are striped and mirrored to guard against a HD crash, because I have had HD crashes in the past and it is always a hassle.

How long you keep a computer depends on whether you like to fiddle with it to upgrade it and how much you detest (like me) having to transfer everything again to a new computer. With HD space being so cheap these days I would certainly recommend that you double up (mirror) your hard drives, particularly if you are going to keep your computer for an extended period.

Roy


 

Ines Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:10
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Less and less time, it seems Nov 21, 2011

One of the first computers I had lasted for 6 years, the next one (laptop this time) lasted 4 years (puchased while the old one was still alive and given to the kids). When the second one was three years old, I gave it to my husband and purchased the third one, which lasted for 2 years and died of combustion (the hard drive started boiling) and it was written off by the insurance (which I thoughtfully took out when I bought the laptop). After this I decided to go for the best and bought one of the most expensive Sony Vaios that was available at the time. It served me 1,5 years when it again had to be replaced by the insurance and I took another ridiculously expensive Sony Vaio. The good thing is I did not have to pay a single penny for my last two laptops but, if my current one does not survive for a decent amount of time, I will be getting a Mac next time. However, I could only afford this kind of replacement strategy because my husband always has a laptop which is set up for my needs as well allowing me to survive for a week or so while my permanent machine is being fixed or replaced. Obviously I always backup my data.

 

opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:10
English to German
+ ...
Burrell, don't use a laptop then :-] Nov 21, 2011

Well, this reminds me why I've never been quite convinced of the value of a laptop as a primary machine (for a translator anyway -- or shall I say for a typist ;-]), mainly because of their keyboards, which are not made to withstand heavy day-to-day usage.

Laptops may look sexy, but have tons of issues. Such as: high price, limited to non-existant upgradeability, clumsy pointing devices, limited screen and keyboard sizes, lack of keyboard sturdiness -- plus all that physical stress on the HD that comes from your hacking away at that flimsy keyboard ...

But the main issue is heat dissipation, I believe: the latest line of Intel's mobile Core i-x processors have a thermal output of about 35 Watts AFAIR. Already such a processor has much lower number crunching capabilities when compared to the standard models (often sold under the same name). If you think that 35W is not too much, touch a small 40W (incandescent) light bulb once, half an hour after switiching it on -- it hurts! And that's not even counting all the other components ... all that heat has to go somewhere. To the degree that it doesn't and that the dust accumulates inside, the hardware runs hot and will die earlier.

Also, it doesn't surprise me at all that the most expensive models are no better in that regard; as I said they are often made to "look sexy", to have an even smaller form factor and a weight close to zero. Despite all the smart miniaturization, this comes at a price.

Personally, I do keep a laptop and find it useful for the obvious reasons, but only as a secondary machine.


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 20:10
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Laptop Nov 21, 2011

opolt wrote:


Laptops may look sexy, but have tons of issues. Such as: high price, limited to non-existant upgradeability, clumsy pointing devices, limited screen and keyboard sizes, lack of keyboard sturdiness -- plus all that physical stress on the HD that comes from your hacking away at that flimsy keyboard ...


There is no reason to use the built-in keyboard and trackpad when you're working on a laptop at your home or office. I always use a high-end mechanical keyboard and a good mouse at home - as well as a 20" external monitor. When I'm away from home, the built-in keyboard does the job. It's not what I'd call good, but it's OK for when I need it.


 

opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:10
English to German
+ ...
Of course, Farkas ... Nov 21, 2011

... but wouldn't you agree that this defeats the entire point of using a laptop, at least to some degree -- most of those periphals are not made for portable use, and cost extra money (i.e. in addition to what you get as integrated devices on the laptop for a rather hefty price).

Be that as it may, everyone must make his/her own decisions in that regard, and I can understand why someone would want a laptop as his/her main machine. Though recently I'm getting the impression that laptops have become fashionable for their own sake, and are being bought for being an all-in-one device complete with cool, shiny looks and everything. Maybe I'm mistaken.

Not to disparage the aesthetic value of things -- but personally, for work I prefer a work horse :-]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:10
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Forever! Just upgrade parts of it Nov 21, 2011

I do partial upgrades all the time, one or a few parts at a time.

The longest lasting part ever so far was a 3.5" Teac floppy drive that lived from my 386DX40 all the way through a Pentium II.

Generally I change the computer case only when I upgrade to a new motherboard & processor, and they don't fit the old case.


 

Mario Cerutti  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 03:10
Member
Italian to Japanese
+ ...
Extra warranty is the key Nov 22, 2011

opolt wrote:
Excuse me, but I think replacing one's main workstation every two or three years just for the sake of preventing a fatal outage is way overdone and a terrible waste.


This is only my way of feeling safer. Not that this gives complete guarantee against failures, of course. According to various statistics, however, after three years on average various internal components start weakening to the point that you might need to replace them one after the other, and not everybody wishes to open the computer case or shuttling to and from computer shops for repair or part replacement. Also, major computer manufacturers do not offer more than three years of even *paid* warranty (perhaps Dell being one or the only exception with up to five years).

The Dell M6600 that I just bought comes with a 4 -year warranty period, and given the good reputation the company has to regard of (paid) after-sales service I feel even safer. No question that once the warranty expires this computer too will face replacement, and not necessarily disposal since it might end up being one more back-up computer for me.

All in all, in my opinion the most sensible decision translators can make to shorten as much as possible any idling time due to serious failures is buying a new computer with an extended "same-day, on the spot" repair warranty attached.


 

Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:10
Member
English to German
I nourish and cherish my computers. Nov 22, 2011

I provide my computers with updates, scan the disks for viruses and malware, regularly perform backups of the hard disks and sometimes chant mystical spells. This makes my computers live forever!

 

inge van dri (X)
Local time: 20:10
German to Dutch
+ ...
Four-five years Nov 22, 2011

After three years or so I buy another one and slowly move from the one to the other, keeping the old one for emergency, accounting, backup and so on. One of these computers had a motherboard crash and recently I had to update from XP to Windows 7 for professional reasons, so I was happy to have several solutions.

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:10
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Every time the OS gets upgraded Nov 22, 2011

sayemonne wrote:
How long do you wait until you replace your PC? Do you wait for it to break or do you replace it after a determined period of time?


Every time you upgrade your operating system (or any other large, complex programs that you use), the software will likely work best with the latest hardware. So my advice would be to get a new computer whenever you get a new operating system. If you keep using the same operating system and you see no need to change it (e.g. all your crucial programs still work on it), then I don't think it is necessary to upgrade your hardware... ever.

However, even if you don't get a new computer, it is worth noting that most hardware components are guaranteed for no longer than 1 year, so you may have to replace certain components regularly. When you get to the point where you need to replace your motherboard, then it may be a good time to buy a new computer altogether as well.

The only problem with not upgrading your hardware regularly is that if a client requests you to install a certain program, and that program doesn't run on your hardware, you're going to waste an awful lot of time figuring out why the software doesn't want to run.

If you do take this wait-as-long-as-possible approach to upgrading your hardware, keep in mind that very old components may become unavailable, so make sure your computer is as fast or as good as it can possibly be (within your budget). For example, newer hard drives and newer memory modules no longer fit on the old sockets and cables, so if you're stuck with an old computer and something breaks, you might not be able to fix it.


 

Timothy Barton
Local time: 20:10
French to English
+ ...
Laptop Nov 22, 2011

My laptop has lasted about 5 years now. I've been using it as my main computer. This year I decided to splash out on a desktop computer. My main reason was that my laptop slowed down too much when I used modern websites that use Flash. But the laptop is still fine. I also bought a netbook for when I want to laze on the sofa, like I'm doing now, and for short trips (for long trips I still prefer my old laptop).

I'm hoping that by the time my laptop dies, new laptops will be more powerful than my current desktop computer. At this point I'll use a laptop as my main computer again for a few years and then get a new desktop computer.

Regarding the ergonomics, I'm talking large-screen laptops. I use the laptop on a laptop stand and have my own keyboard and mouse and a second monitor. If you're using a laptop as the main computer you shouldn't use the built-in keyboard and pointing device.


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:10
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Off-topic: About guarantee Nov 22, 2011

Samuel Murray wrote:

However, even if you don't get a new computer, it is worth noting that most hardware components are guaranteed for no longer than 1 year, so you may have to replace certain components regularly.



It's worth checking this, though: When the PSU of my desktop PC (then three years old) died last year, I went to the shop where I bought the PC in order to buy a replacement PSU. I was surprised to learn that the guarantee period for all the components was 5 years - they replaced the defective part at no cost.


 
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