Sep
24
2008

When to Repair A Laptop

Okay, your laptop doesn’t work.  What do you do once you’re done grieving?  Your options are to:

  1. Fix it yourself. Slowest and cheapest solution.
  2. Pay someone to fix it. Moderately time consuming and expensive, and potentially fraught with peril (your laptop could get damaged or ruined).
  3. Get a new laptop. Quickest and most expensive solution.
Computer Help

Computer Help

Setting aside the idea of diagnosing and fixing the issue yourself, which is just not an option for most people, the choice is usually between fixing and getting a new laptop.  With computer processing power, RAM/memory, hard drive space, and battery life constantly increasing while prices consistently decrease, the ideal time to repair versus buying a new laptop is always going to be a moving target.  There are three main factors to consider when making this decision.

Cost

Cost is probably the single biggest deciding factor.  The good news is that your laptop can probably be repaired.  Sight unseen, it will probably cost you between $200.00 and $500.00 including parts and labor.  A new laptop will cost you roughly $500.00 for a bare bones machine, $1,250.00 for a nice machine, and $2,500.00 and up for a ridiculously powerful machine.

Lifetime

For most people a computer has a 3 year timeline of usefulness.  After that something about the computer will be too outdated to be of use beyond basic usage.  If your computer is more than 3 years old, you’ve had a good run.  Replace the poor thing.

Time & Need

If you need a computer for your business, every hour without your computer means you’re losing money.  If you don’t need it for your business, you’ve got more time to decide.  Your time is important and your downtime is even more important.

Formula

Here’s my totally unscientific and completely quantifiable formula for determining with nearly totally complete guesstimate-approximation of whether you should repair or replace your laptop.  First, let’s assume a constant – the amount you would spend on a new laptop and set that equal to the original purchase price of your current broken laptop.  The formula is as follows:

  • O = Original cost of broken laptop
  • A = Age of broken laptop in months
  • R = Repair cost
  • L = Lost work hours
  • H = Hourly rate

Repair your laptop if:

  • [(42-A)/42]*O – (L*H) – R > 0

Replace your laptop if

  • [(42-A)/42]*O – (L*H) – R < 0

Verdict:

I need to get my laptop repaired.

How about yours?

2 Comments »

  • […] So, you’ve done the math and decided that it is more cost-effective to repair your non-functional and out-of-warranty laptop.  You know that having the manufacturer or a big box store like Best Buy, Circuit City[2] and Fry’s is a very bad idea.[3]  About the best you can hope for is that it will only cost you much more money than your computer is actually worth.  The worst you can expect is to pay for your computer to be returned to you in worse condition.[4] […]

    Pingback | February 5, 2009
  • […] has the same symptoms, so I hope its the same problem.  Even if it weren’t under warranty, my formula for determining whether I should invest in repairing or buying a new computer still dictates that I should probably […]

    Pingback | February 23, 2009

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