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Hard Decisions on Hardware

On occasions we witness “PC envy” – the situation which arises when an office of any number of people (who have all been working quite happily with the current hardware) is disrupted when Fred, working on the oldest PC in the room, finally receives a replacement.

Fred likes his new PC; it starts much more quickly compared with his old one, opens files instantly, browses the internet and searches for emails with next-to-no delay. Fred is happy.

However, within a week of Fred’s PC arriving, many of his colleagues in the room are now reporting how slow and problematic their respective PCs seem to be. It is to be expected – the pace of change in technology is such that changes in PC performance can be noticeable even across just a few months.

We have always cited 4-5 years as a good life span for a PC. By that time changes are such that any modest replacement far out performs the previous PC. Not to mention that, from three years into a PC’s lifecycle, you are entering a period where the cost of any significant maintenance might well be better spent contributing towards a replacement. Over a lifespan of 5 years the cost of the hardware will have come down to below £10 per month of ownership which, in the big picture, is not a huge total.

Planning replacements can help spread the cost and reduce disruption. Replace 8 PCs at once in an office and you will, invariably, be replacing all 8 at the same time a few years down the line. In an office of 30 odd staff, replace one PC every couple of months and you have a rolling replacement program where no PC ever exceeds 5 years of age.

Sometimes you have the forced upgrade where the hardware you have no longer runs what you need or, as previously discussed in our article here, the obsolescence of Windows 7 in January 2020 becomes the deadline to rotate out all Windows 7 machines. Rather than being viewed as a hardship, it should be received as an opportunity to move to the new; a change of operating system which is going to be supported for many years to come, current, faster hardware which may also be cheaper to run based upon improved energy efficiency, and that ‘fresh start’ which a replacement PC offers as the detritus of many years of use is cleared away.

I advise that you resist the temptation to put old, failing hardware to one side for a rainy day. I am all for getting the most out of devices but once you choose to replace an old PC, remember you are replacing it for a reason. Putting it to one side for the new starter joining next month just means your new starter will have a device you already didn’t want – hardly the best introduction. We have a procedure to ensure old machines are data wiped to help you comply with GDPR regulations, followed by ethical recycling in accordance with UK law.

Of course you don’t lose what you need to keep. The VCI installation on site will configure the new device for your network, for the user in question (domain setup, mailbox, archives and signatures, etc.) as well as any printers, mapped drives and third party software required. At the point in time we leave, the end user is able to carry on with his or her role with the benefit of up to date, fast and efficient hardware and software.

When the time comes for an upgrade, we will always discuss your requirements with you, match them to the best deals available from our network of suppliers, with whom we’ve been working for numerous years, and view market ratings so we can offer you the best solution at the best possible price.

Needing to replace old PCs, looking for help to create a plan and schedule for regular rotation of hardware, or just wondering whether the cost of upgrades to the existing hardware can be justified? Reach out to VCI and we can help you move your technology forward.

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