Q: Why should I spend any money fixing my old computer when I can buy a new one for $500?

Tech Q & A
– Submitted by many

A: It is true that you can buy a computer for around $500 or even less. This certainly seems like a good deal. For that price, it would seem that spending any money on repairs or maintenance of an old computer would be wasteful. And it is true that in some cases it does not make sense to spend money on an old computer. But there are several things that people do not consider that can make a strong case for keeping up an old computer.

Not all computers are created equal. Most of the time, very low-cost computers are underpowered, lack adequate RAM, or are built from low quality parts. An underpowered computer can provide a very frustrating user experience. This is especially true when considering Windows Vista. Additionally, those who have kids that play 3D games must be careful not to purchase a computer with a less powerful video card that what is already in their computer. The video card is often more important to the performance of 3D games than the processor. The bottom line is that just because a computer is new, does not necessarily mean that it will be a lot faster that the computer you have now.

Many people forget that the initial purchase price of a computer is only part of its total cost of ownership. The less expensive the computer, the higher the probability of hardware problems. Also, the more likely that it will require upgrades sooner. And one must consider what kind of monitor, if any, comes with a low-cost PC. Old monitors need replacing as well. So the seemingly low cost of a computer may be a lot more than at first glance.

Finally, many people do not consider the time and potential expense of transferring their data, software, and existing peripherals to a new computer. It can be technically challenging for average users to successfully transfer their data and software to a new computer. And again, when considering Windows Vista, older peripherals may not work very well. So many users who purchase new computers must pay a computer technician to setup the new computer, transfer their data and software, and setup their peripherals.

So to sum up, low-cost computers generally end up costing a lot more than their sticker price when considering total cost of ownership and additional services required. As well, poorly made computers can become frustrating experiences for owners. Given these considerations, it can often make sense to fix up an existing computer to get a few more years of useful service out of them.

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