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The Computer Buzz January 19, 2006

Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Fact

  Warranty and Service

Warranty and Service


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 more.


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 components.


"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 inflated prices.


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. 





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