Even computers just four to five years old can struggle keeping up with today's computing power requirements.
Even computers just four to five years old can struggle keeping up with today's computing power requirements. Ingram Publishing

New PCs become old quickly

FINALLY we are back to writing about IT issues that are more relevant to the average consumer, so this week we will talk about a topic that is somewhat of an oxymoron - that of IT longevity.

There are many factors that influence how long you can reasonably make good use of a PC, so let's take a closer look at this subject.

Firstly whether you use a desktop PC or a portable device will have influence on how long it will last. Desktop PC's can be protected by a battery backup and surge protector and principally sit in the one spot for their entire life.

These operating conditions are conducive to a reasonable life span. On the other hand portable devices are more subject to drops and knocks as well as to liquid ingress.

The rechargeable batteries in a portable device also have a reasonable life expectancy of around two years after which time they show a significant reduction in the amount of charge they can hold. The other trouble with all IT devices is that technological obsolescence is going to occur whether we like it or not.

The rate at which our IT world is changing right now is quite mind boggling - especially with the number of Internet related changes.

Many of these changes are focused towards services that are multimedia rich in their content such as music or movie downloads or simply Skype type communications.

The above emerging services are also more taxing on our hardware and as such they are progressively requiring more and more powerful computer devices for the sake of compatibility. This puts a strain on most computers that were manufactured only four to five years ago - resulting in the term technological obsolescence.

If you think about it, this means that a computer can become outdated or next to useless even if it has never been used.

This is one of the key points that many people raise when they bring a PC to us to be fixed or sped up - often they say "it should be perfect as I have not even used it for the last two years”.

This would be perfectly fine if the IT world had also sat still for the last two years - but this is far from the case.

It reminds me of a recent surprise I got when putting on a new set of boots. I thought that I would be clever several years ago and purchased two pairs of Rossi boots, throwing one set into the bottom of my cupboard for another day. Once I got around to needing this 'new' set of boots the soles literally disintegrated on the first outing even though they had never previously been worn.

The next point to look at is the quality and the fit for purpose of the IT gear that you are purchasing.

This is where Apple products sometimes have a slight edge - Apple control who manufactures their products and can keep a good eye on quality control. Windows PC's on the other hand can be built by any company so there is a lot of junk out there.

When it comes to laptops for instance we only sell models from Hewlett Packard's commercial line as these have proven themselves time and time again over the years.

As an example we see a lot of Toshiba laptops with failing hinges.

This is a clear manufacturing fault and often nothing to do with how they are used.

In the last 18 years of selling IT equipment we have become very fussy about what we sell to our customers, regardless of the 'specials' that some of our wholesalers try to push.

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