"But my PC isn't that old!!" is a common customer comment in the I.T. world..
It's hard to believe sometimes that a PC model seemingly so current, has become destined for retirement when it feels like only yesterday that it was purchased, (no doubt for a decent chunk of change too!)
But perhaps the issue here is actually relativity. Yes it feels nearly brand new to the user and it's only been "a couple of years" since purchased (actually about 5-10...) but when it comes to the lifetime of PCs time flies a lot faster. The rate of change is not only rapid in the computing realm, it's exponential. Your computer dates and also at an accelerating rate. So yes, your old PC was set to last for 10 years back in 1996, but fast forward to now and that time has been compressed. Now the life expectancy of an average machine could be less than a quarter of that. Often by the time you have brought your PC, it is already outdated.
There are even more factors at play here, not least of which is consumerism. It's driven by us the consumer, with our insatiable demand for the latest and greatest. But the flame is fanned by corporate giants designing equipment that is intended to be replaced (first identified in the 1950's and dubbed "planned obsolescence) in ever decreasing intervals.
So with all this pointing towards more money leaving your wallet, how can you choose wisely and to the least detriment of your dollar?
1. Choose a commercial model from a trusted reseller. Commercial models are often designed to have longer life cycles than the consumer product. They have the ability to upgrade the hardware (like RAM, HDDs etc) extending their usable life, whereas consumer units may have intentional restrictions on this. Open up a consumer PC and you may see that the RAM has been soldered into place, meaning you cannot upgrade it.
2. Spend a little more. It seems counterintuitive given the above comments, but it's still very true. Again perhaps not so in the consumer world, but the commercial world more expensive products are normally targeted at executives. Executives control large groups of people and finances if they like their model they will buy them for their staff and return next year to get more. compare this to the consumer situation where the purchase is often made depending on what sale is running at the time.
3. Don't always get caught up in the bells and whistles. Amazing new features often come with a consequent jump in cost and don't always end up being very beneficial. Instead, select features that are a little more standardised. An example of this might be things like a fingerprint reader. These have been around for a few years now but I have yet to see many who purchased these features make good use of them over this time.
One last piece of advice may serve you best: prepare to pay more often to upgrade technology- You'll need to increase your budget by a reasonable margin each year to factor in this incremental rise of technology expenditure in your business. It is an inevitability.
And if you haven't already, follow this link to see just how old your machine is in human years! http://www.computerinhumanyears.com/