You will probably keep your next computer for several years
after the original warranty expires. Here are some points to ponder.
In the first two decades of the
"PC age" (1980 - 2000).
The average life expectancy of a PC was 2 to 3 years. A PC didn't wear out, it
simply became obsolete.
The rapid pace of software and hardware development in those
early years prompted the universal cliché that your newly purchased computer
would succumb to technological obsolescence before you got it home.
In those days, the standard one-year manufacturers’ warranty
covered nearly half of your computers life expectancy. It was commonly believed
that if your computer made it through the first year it should run until it was
time to buy a new one.
Today things are quite different. Since the turn of this century , the average useful life of a PC has more than
doubled. Today many of our customers hang with their old PCs for five years or
A five year old PC with a 500MHz CPU and a 20Gb hard drive
will handle "high speed" Internet and text based software like word
processing, spread sheets, E-Mail and accounting programs just as well as a
brand new $2,000 PC with all the bells and whistles.
With users holding on to their old PCs longer, warranty and
service requirements take on a different cast. A one-year warranty now covers
only 20% of your PC's expected lifespan. Ongoing service and maintenance costs
have become a primary factor in determining what kind of computer to buy.
There are two basic kinds of PC, Proprietary (Dell,
Compaq/HP, Gateway/E-Machine etc) and "Open Architecture" (also known
as "white Box"). Proprietary PCs are made using none-standard or OEM
components. "Open Architecture" PCs are built with industry standard
"Proprietary" PC marketers use the cheaper
non-standard components to reduce manufacturing costs. This practice also
forces users to buy the "proprietary" replacement parts from them at
Open architecture PC makers (like the Computer Factory) use
higher quality, industry standard components. Replacement costs to the customer
are usually less than half those charged by Dell, Compaq et al.
Even during the standard one-year parts and labor warranty
period there is a big difference between "proprietary" and
"white box" customer service.
The "proprietary" PC sellers (Dell, Compaq Etc)
purchase pre-assembled PCs from Asian manufacturers. They hire third party
companies to provide repair service and their technical assistance facilities
are offshore (mainly India).
Your local Computer integrator builds, warrants, repairs,
upgrades and supports the PCs he sells directly and locally. Can you think of a
good reason to buy a Dell, Compaq, Gateway, HP etc. If
you can we'd love to hear it.