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The Computer Buzz June 19th, 2008

Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Fact


Good Money after Bad?

Two years ago we had to make a decision. Our 1982 VW Bus needed $400 worth of work to pass smog inspection and a new set of tires. Should we spend the money or call "Ecology Auto Wrecking" and cash it in?

We decided to spend the money. The engine blew two weeks later. If only we lived in Valley Center we could have at least used it as a septic tank. It's still sitting in the bone yard at VW Paradise.

In March a lady brought in an old 600MHz Windows 98 PC. She didn't really want to spend the money to buy a new or used PC so we did the best we could for her. We installed a video card, hard drive and Ethernet card, all used. Then we loaded a fresh Windows 2000 operating system and an old office suite. Her total bill was $149. We all hoped that she would be good for at least a couple more years

Alas, she brought it back in last week because it was running real slow. We booted it up and checked it in but by the time it got to a technician's bench the 10 year old motherboard had died. It would cost far more than the old PC was worth to resurrect it.

The lady was upset. She spent nearly $150 three months before and now her PC was worthless. We felt for her. She had made a decision that could have worked out well but instead went bad. No one wants to throw good money after bad but with cars, computers and women there are no guarantees.

There are no easy answers when it comes to deciding when to give up on your old PC. Every situation is unique. We have customers who need to keep very old PCs running because they contain software that is important to the operation of their business and cannot be replaced. In cases like these, an old computer may well be worth more than the price of several new ones.

These situations are the exception rather than the rule. Deciding whether to repair, upgrade or buy new when you have a problem with your old PC requires assembling the costs of each option and balancing those costs against the probability of success in meeting your immediate and future needs. That's where we can help. We've been doing this since 1995 and have a pretty good grasp on what is worth fixing or upgrading and what isn't.

Here are some general rules of thumb. If a PC has a Windows XP sticker on its case, it's nearly always worth repairing or upgrading. If it doesn't, it almost never is. Hard drives, power supplies, optical drives (CDs and DVDs) and RAM are usually worth replacing. Motherboards and CPUs are usually not if the computer is more than three years old.

If you need help figuring out what your cost and options are, give us a call or drop by the store anytime.





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