When Does It Make Sense To Repair A Computer?

Pamay B.:
I find, that after a few years of using a laptop, the motherboard fries, something overheats, or something happens to make it useless (I use my laptops a lot). As a result, I have a “laptop graveyard.” I am noticing that my current laptop is overheating and forsee another laptop death in my near future. Would it make sense to try to repair an old one – if it is the matter of replacing a faulty motherboard or hard drive? Or is it better to buy a new one entirely (and if so which do you recommend)? What is the most cost effective choice?
Clyde A. Lettsome, PhD, PE, MEM Answer: Great Question!!! When it comes to computers Moore’s law rules! According to Moore’s, the number of transistors on a chip roughly doubles every 2 years. Based on this, if you were to purchase a computer today, in 2 years a computer for the same price will most likely be able to process 2x the amount of data in the same amount of time. Given this, an unused computer that is 2 years old in my opinion would be worth half the price. So $1000 computer today would be $500 in 2 years. You indicated that your computer is not unused, in fact heavily used. Therefore, I would remove another 20-30% for heavy usage brining that $1000 laptop to about $400-$350 after 2 years. In this case, if the repair is more than $350 would not do the repair.

I do not recommend one brand over another. Consumer Reports however do have their recommendations. The only advise I would add to their ratings is this. Buy computers based on your needs. Match your needs to the computer specifications.

Good Luck!

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