Working in the consumer PC repair
field, I get asked whether someone should repair their computer or purchase a new PC instead. This question is a tricky one to answer and the answer depends on the customer, the computer, and what is wrong with it. For purposes of this answer we’re going to assume that it is a desktop PC and that you are the average computer user. What I mean by average user, I mean that the computer is used primarily for internet browsing, light gaming, email, and downloading multi-media files (music and videos).
Considering the fact that most PC’s are brought in not for hardware problems, but because they’re infected with viruses and spyware. Now don’t get me wrong, these problems can and do cause issues that may appear to be hardware. The average cost for a virus and spyware removal for computer repair is between $150 and $200 dollars. Should there be a hardware problem, say your hard disk drive fail, you are looking at another $100 to $300, and that does not include the cost of attempting to retrieve your data off the old drive.
Now if the computer in question is less than four to five years old, chances are that a quick upgrade can keep it useful and worth fixing, assuming there are no hardware issues. However, if your computer is six or more years old, most of the time it is better to replace than fix.
When making this decision, keep in mind, not only the cost of the new PC, but also the cost of anti-virus and anti-spyware software, the backup or transfer of your data to the new PC, and the cost of integrating the new PC into your current setup. Not to mention the time you will have to spend reloading all of your programs and setting it up the way you like it and create your restore disks, as PC’s are no longer being supplied by the manufacturer.
On average the cost of repairing an older PC is substantially less than buying a new one. However there are advantages to purchasing a new PC also. When you purchase a new PC, you have a system that will last you quite a few more years than your current PC. It will be free of viruses and spyware. Also if you are in to playing video games, you can most likely play the latest games.
The last thing to consider is that you get what you pay for. So that $300 PC may look good to your wallet, but it probably won’t do the things you want it to do. The reason being, that $300 PC will usually consist of technology from 2 years prior to when you purchase it. The decision to repair or upgrade is ultimately up to you. Just remember that you’ll be spending around $300 to fix an older PC, whereas with a new PC you’ll be spending around $1300 for a mid to upper-level computer system.