Okay, your laptop doesn’t work. What do you do once you’re done grieving? Your options are to:
- Fix it yourself. Slowest and cheapest solution.
- Pay someone to fix it. Moderately time consuming and expensive, and potentially fraught with peril (your laptop could get damaged or ruined).
- Get a new laptop. Quickest and most expensive solution.
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 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.
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 After that something about the computer will be too outdated to be of use beyond basic usage.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.
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
I need to get my laptop repaired.
How about yours?