6 Reasons to replace old hardware

A photograph of a white desk in front of a large office window. A laptop and computer monitor displaying the time are on the desk.

Gartner Research recommends replacing computers every five years and laptops every four years. But why is this? What kind of issues and risks may arise in older hardware?

When your personal computer goes down, you lose time and gain frustration. Likewise, when essential business hardware malfunctions or is breached due to an unfixable security vulnerability, that business loses money each hour it's down.

There are six reasons you should consider replacing End of Life (EOL) hardware. These reasons include:

  1. Older hardware becomes slower and more unreliable
  2. It's challenging to find compatible replacement parts
  3. Old hardware can be time-consuming to repair
  4. Old hardware has a difficult time running newer applications
  5. It increases risk
  6. It may be cheaper to replace rather than repair old hardware

WEBIT Services has been developing IT strategies, procuring equipment, and deploying technology for over 25 years for hundreds of clients.

By reading this article, you will learn about six complications of old hardware.

6 issues with old computers and hardware

1. Older hardware becomes slower and more unreliable

As computers age, their inner components wear out. This will cause the device to run more slowly over time and may also cause glitching.

As computers are used, their functionality slowly diminishes. Unfortunately, you may not immediately notice or recognize how slow or unreliable an old computer has become until you get another new computer. In that case, you see the stark difference.

Users and businesses want reliable hardware. They want to turn on a computer and know it will work, run applications smoothly, and allow them to accomplish daily tasks.

The older a computer becomes, the less likely it is to run smoothly, causing delays and frustration.

2. It's challenging to find compatible replacement parts

When computers are declared EOL, manufacturers stop creating that particular model and the replacement pieces. The older a device is, the harder it is to find compatible parts.

For example, if a user would like to repair an EOL laptop, they may be unable to find the necessary parts brand new. Instead, they may only have access to refurbished (used), incompatible, out-of-warranty, or faulty components.

Searching for these parts is also very time-consuming, making the labor more expensive.

If a part is found, it may fix the problem for the time being but may not offer a reliable, long-term solution. Eventually, the computer will need additional repairs for other age-created issues.

If the part is faulty, the computer is now even less reliable, and the time and resources used to repair the computer are lost.

3. Old hardware can be time-consuming to repair

Searching for parts for old computers takes a lot of research and time. Once a part has been located, it needs to be installed. These repairs can take a great deal of time as the computer has to be taken apart and put back together.

For example, if a laptop's motherboard (a crucial element) breaks, you must find a compatible replacement motherboard, take the entire laptop apart, and wire it back together. It's a significant time and financial commitment.

The device is also unavailable until it is fully repaired. This may take days or weeks, leaving the user without a computer.

4. Old hardware has a difficult time running newer applications

Technology is constantly changing. Computer chips and computing powers continue to increase. While this is great for new technology and users, it makes it impossible for older computers to keep up.

In addition, newer applications demand more computing power than old hardware can handle. In this situation, a device may be unable to use mission-critical business applications or connect with the business network.

5. It increases risk

Older hardware is also at a greater risk of failure. The older it becomes, the more likely it is to stop working suddenly. A crashed mission-critical device can halt all productivity until the device is replaced or repaired.

Mission-critical hardware must be reliable and functional to keep the operation moving forward and accomplishing its goals. A glitchy device causes delays and stress. If it does fail, it creates lost income until it can be repaired or replaced.

6. It may be cheaper to replace rather than repair old hardware

Not only do clients have to pay for new parts, but they must also pay for the time and labor it takes to repair the device. In fact, buying a new device often ends up being more affordable than repeatedly repairing the old device.

This might be compared to maintaining a vehicle. Cars require regular upkeep, like changing the oil or replacing brake pads. These are manageable, expected investments to keep the car running.

However, if the car's transmission blows, you may consider whether buying a new vehicle will be more affordable over time than continuing to repair the old one.

Computers are much the same way.

For computers that are fewer than five-years-old, minor repairs may be worth it. However, once a computer is five-years-old or older, the cost and time of repairs are more expensive than investing in a newer, reliable device.

Solutions for old hardware

Unfortunately, the only solution to fix old hardware is to purchase new hardware.

During onboarding and quarterly risk assessments, your IT provider should identify aging, risky hardware and recommend possible solutions within your budget.

Your provider will help you draft a replacement plan outlining when the hardware will be replaced and an appropriate budget. This process is called Asset Lifecycle Management and is part of your IT Roadmap.

Next steps for evaluating old hardware

Old hardware can present numerous risks, stressors, inconveniences, and even lost income. In addition, it's time-consuming and expensive to maintain and repair, with no guarantees of increased reliability.

Your IT provider or internal IT team will run an asset report to identify your IT devices, their ages, and how it fits into your system. From there, they will add a replacement plan to your IT roadmap. This plan will include an established budget and goals for new devices.

If your IT provider has not discussed an IT roadmap or asset lifecycle management, this may be a service red flag. Asset lifecycle management is a significant part of keeping your IT environment healthy, functioning, and reliable.

However, it's also a red flag if your provider recommends unnecessary hardware that doesn't meet your needs. For example, an IT provider should not advise you to replace computers less than five years old "just because." Replacing hardware is a significant investment, and quality providers recognize this.

Quality IT providers will respect your needs and budget while identifying at-risk old or EOL hardware. Updating these devices can decrease your risk and increase the stability and productivity of your IT environment.

For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has helped hundreds of clients build successful IT strategies and processes while utilizing effective technology.

If you are looking for a new IT provider, schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see how WEBIT can help.

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