Actually, It Depends…
When to replace your used computers is a difficult question and there is no real right answer. Depending on what kind of computer it is, what it’s used for, and who you ask, you’ll most definitely get a different opinion.
As a recent Computerworld article explored, some computers are replaced every eighteen months, some every five. Most every three to four years. Shorter for laptops than desktops, due to their travel and durability issues. But as new software continues to gobble up and require more processing power, and higher computing power becomes more and more affordable, the lure and logic of trading in all your used computers becomes more pressing.
Very quickly, an aging computer can become overwhelmed by the ever-more resource-intensive applications that require more than it has left. Even though replacement cycles (in general) have extended slightly over the last few years, according to Gartner Inc. analyst Leslie Fiering, the smart money might not lie on holding onto computers longer.
A recent study by Intel, Optimum Refresh Cycle and Method for Desktop Outsourcing, found that “the total cost for a three year refresh cycle saves between $450 and $500 per year compared to the five-year cycle.”
The Softer Side of Replacing Used Computers
Savings represented by a three year refresh cycle combined with one of the “softer” issues that have become more predominant in the workplace as generations pass is keeping the younger employees happy by giving them new technology.
Rebecca Blalock, the CIO of Southern Co. commented, “This younger workforce, they really want the latest tools,” Blalock said. “They’re going to push us to be very progressive. It’s not like the workforce of the past.” The latest thing will often lead to more pronounced productivity with today’s younger, more collaborative workforce, and the investment can be well worth it, especially when there is hard data to suggest the efficacy of a shorter refresh cycle.
The Bottom Line of Used Computer Replacement
In general, much like everywhere else, the bottom line is the true deciding factor for when computers get replaced. When it is most efficient and profitable for the company to do so. Commenting on the laptops of his workers at NYSE Euronext Inc, CIO Steve Rubinow admitted that “the rule of thumb is still three years. But it’s as much driven by accounting mentality as it is by technology changes.” When it makes the most sense financially is when it is the likeliest to happen. And when it does happen, the question of what to do with all those old systems arises again.
Cash in your IT investment
When you do decide to replace your used computers, be sure to get their value accurately assessed before you decide on donating or recycling them, or even worse sending them to the landfill, where so many end up. Often there is still a good deal of life left in your systems, life that translates to capital still remaining on your investment that you can use to move to the next generation of computers.
At CWI, we’re your remarketing specialists. We’ll wipe all data from your old systems, make all worthwhile repairs, and remarket them on your behalf. Easy, green, and profitable. A great combination!
Learn more about our IT asset recovery and remarketing services.