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How frequently should you replace your hardware?

Updated: Apr 13

The short answer is as often as you need to. But that doesn’t really make sense without a bit of context.

Firstly, there is no magic number. You don’t need to update your hardware every 5 years, or 3 years, and certainly not every year. What works for one business may or may not work for another, and it varies further based on what hardware you actually have, and how you use it.

In most scenarios, when you purchase a computer from a retailer, it will come with a 30 to 90 day warranty depending on the manufacturer. Most OEMs such as Dell or HP offer extended warranties for as much as 5 years, although this additional coverage comes at cost.

A good rule of thumb is to replace any hardware that falls out of warranty. If you purchased a 4-year warranty with your new workstation, you should probably consider replacing it after 4 years have passed. The reasoning behind this is fairly straightforward; A warranty is basically a form of insurance – just like the kind of insurance you pay for to protect your car. And when you purchase a new car, it’s value it very high. If you get into minor accident and scratch up the paint, or maybe dent a bumper, the cost to touch up that paint and pop out the dent is very small when compared to the cost of buying a whole new car. But as your car get solder that value begins to shift, and for older vehicles the cost to repair is often greater than the value of the entire car! This happens quite frequently, and not only to older cars, and when it does happen, the insurance company will tell your that your car has been “totaled”. It doesn’t matter if your car is twenty years old and worth $1,000, or if it’s brand new and worth $50,000. If the cost to repair is more than cost to replace, you’re in the market for a new car.

This is exactly how it works with computers. The warranty acts as your insurance, and if the hardware fails while it’s under warranty, you probably won’t have to spend more money than the device is worth in order to get it up and running again. But if that device is out of warranty, the cost to repair can be greater than the cost to replace in no time!

But it isn’t all doom and gloom in the land of computer hardware. If you’re a savvy user, and you’re smart enough read our series of articles on optimizing your PC, you can really get a lot of value out of your devices. A well-maintained computer isn’t going to magically fall apart on the day it’s warranty expires, and for the many users out there who rolled the dice and opted not to purchase a warranty at all, you can still save money and extend the life of your device by upgrading specific components over time like your hard drives, or purchasing additional memory to keep up with increasingly demanding app creep.


The best way to know what maintenance and replacement schedule would work best for your business and your IT needs is to have a consultation with a local IT professional. If you’re in Columbia, MO, reach out to us and we’d be happy to evaluate your hardware, help keep it running and save you as much money as possible in the process.

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