Sunday, February 13, 2011


My sister and I have arrived at a joint conclusion that the longest any laptop irrespective of its price can be expected to function without turning into a constant source of aggravation to its owner is about three years. After that period of time elapses, you can either dedicate your life to struggling with the laptop, or just forget it and buy a new one.

So the solution for those of us who do not have very sophisticated home computer needs is to buy an inexpensive laptop every three years or so. If all you need to do is use the Internet, edit texts, create PP presentations and Excel sheets, and play an occasional game, there are perfectly good laptops out there costing between $300 and $500. Buying an expensive machine for $2000 doesn't seem to prevent one from being driven nuts by it in three years, so why spend all that money on it?


Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right about laptops lasting around three years. Most businesses replace laptops every three years for just this reason -- after that time, they become too much of a support nightmare, costing much more support time than the machine is worth.


Anonymous said...

We (IT Folks) change them about every year, no more than two. Three years for technology is like a decade.

2000$ for a laptop, It's a lot of dough. For showing off, or if it really makes a difference for your work: graphic designer, sofware engineer, ..., definitely not worth it just for running Office and browsing the internet.

PamBG said...

I've had my MacBook since 2005 and it's still going strong. I know that Apple products aren't cheap but this was *the* cheapest, lowest-spec MacBook available at the time. I've been able to upgrade the operating system and the battery still has about 2.5 hours of charge in it (the original was about 3 hours at a time that other laptops did about an hour).

I think it was good value for money but then I'm mostly interested in words and data rather than audio-visual. I will never go back to "PCs" again. I never had a PC or a traditional laptop that lasted more than 3 years.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the reason your laptops break so often is that they are cheaply made.

There is no reason why a good thinkpad shouldn't last well over 5 years.

David said...

'bout the only reason I can think of is having a high end gaming laptop. That's about it though.

Clarissa said...

"Maybe the reason your laptops break so often is that they are cheaply made."

-An expensive Macbook stops functioning properly after about 2 years too.

"'bout the only reason I can think of is having a high end gaming laptop"

-For some reason Civ5 plays beautifully on my inexpensive new laptops while many people complain that it doesn't work at all on their uber-gaming machines.

Pen said...

I have an artist friend who may eventually have to purchase a really expensive computer. She does a lot of digital work, so it's important that the sheer size and number of graphics won't crash it.

Clarissa said...

Yes, of course it's different for people who do such cool professional stuff.

msa said...

Computers are tricky things.
Usually, you can fix broken ones by backing up all your data on a portable drive, then deleting everything off your laptop/pc hard drive by completely reformatting the drive. Then you can reinstall Windows and all the drivers for the hardware inside.

Simply reinstalling the Windows OS (or MAC OS) will not do the trick since it leaves all sorts of junk on the hard drive, hence leaving it broken.

As for hardware failures, that's a whole other story. However, just wanted to say all my standard Dell computers have lasted almost 10 years, including my Fujitsu notebook which I bought in 2002.