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Should you repair or buy new?

A big misconception these days is that computers are made to be thrown away.

There are certain towers you can buy that are known not to last, but for the majority of the computers sold in retail stores, this is not the case. Every computer sold has some maintenance cost. For example, there are a few repairs common on just about any computer, such as a power supply, hard drive and various software fixes. You might need these repairs on any computer no matter how much you paid for it.

So, let’s say, for instance, you purchased a computer for $300 and the power supply goes bad after two years. The repair would cost around $90-$130 for parts and labor. If instead you decided to buy a new computer, you would not only have to spend $300 for the new PC, but what about data? Would you have to pay extra to get your data migrated to the new machine? You can see the dilemma: Is it a better investment to pay for the repair or buy a new machine?

Before making a repair, you need to take a few things into consideration. One is the age of the computer, two is the amount of money you spent on the computer, and three is how much money you have already invested into it. A good repair shop will take those sorts of things into consideration before suggesting a repair that would suit you. A good rule of thumb is if the repair is two-thirds or more of purchasing a new computer, then it would probably not be wise to continue with the repair unless there were other circumstances that outweighed purchasing a new computer.

Also, if you decide to repair it, make sure you are dealing with a qualified IT professional.

A good judge of qualification is that the service tech has professional certification, such as the CompTIA A+ certification. Don’t be lured in by someone saying that they know how to work on computers, and they offered you a really good deal. You could end up finding out the hard way that they are just not qualified to repair computers, and will have to pay again to have the repair done right.

Keeping these things in mind will help you make an informed decision and hopefully maximize the longevity of your investment.

George Garnett, a technician with Computer Renaissance in Bradenton, can be reached at (941) 753-8277 or