Experts Say You Need to Give Up on Computers 4 Years Or Older

Study says getting a new PC is cheaper than constantly repairing old ones.
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If you or your business is using old PCs or laptops, you may think that you’re saving on expenses by continuously using these old units instead of purchasing new ones. But a study from multinational technology firms Microsoft and Intel says otherwise.

“As soon as you start having older devices, it’s actually not very cost-effective to keep those devices,” claimed Belinda Widgery, channel and device marketing director for Microsoft Asia, in the Digital Trust Asia 2018 media event held last October 30. “An older PC has a much higher operating cost [than a newer one].”

Those claims are based on the Make the Shift study, which asked over 2,100 representatives from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across five Asia-Pacific countries about the PCs they were using in their businesses. The study revealed that operating a PC that is at least four years old costs $2,736 (Php145,000) per year, 2.7 times more than a newer device.

“In most cases, that cost, that $2,736, will probably buy them two new devices,” added Widgery.

That annual cost is broken down into two components. The first is the repair and maintenance costs to keep the PC usable, which the study said is 1.6 times more expensive for PCs at least four years old. The second is what Widgery calls “hidden costs,” which refers to the costs businesses incur from the lost productivity brought by these older devices. These hidden costs for older devices are over triple that of the lost productivity costs for newer units.

“Those [hidden costs] are things like the hours taken where somebody is not being productive… the time when it’s being repaired and it can’t be used,” explained Widgery. “This is where we really find those additional costs that we never really consider.”


It’s a finding relevant to many SMEs in Asia today. According to the study, 70 percent of the SMEs surveyed are using PCs that are at least four years old. Forty-one percent of these respondents said that the reason they were not replacing these PCs was because they believed that programs and applications in these devices will not be able to run in newer systems, which Widgery said is a myth.

“Actually, 99 percent of old applications run on Windows 10,” she said. “And there is a website where SMEs can check if their application does run off Windows 10.”

The study also revealed that 39 percent of companies who don’t replace older PCs see these older devices as not critical to the company. Around 27 percent said that they do not have the budget to purchase replacement devices, while 23 percent think that newer PCs are too expensive. 

“It’s important that SMEs understand that [older devices] are the costly devices that probably need to be replaced,” said Widgery. “The cost of keeping it is much greater than the cost of replacing it.”

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Lorenzo Kyle Subido for
Lorenzo Kyle Subido is a staff writer for Entrepreneur Philippines.
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