Although many SMBs are facing incredibly tough times, a new study suggests that waiting to refresh your PC fleet will cost you more money than it saves
With small and medium businesses facing difficult times, and wanting to save money wherever possible, many businesses have been hanging onto old PCs rather replacing them.
The large cost of a new PC can be a daunting expenditure when cash flow is lower than usual. Some 43% of medium businesses and 26% of small businesses say that waiting longer before replacing a PC is one of the strategies they are using to keep costs down during the economic downturn.
But a study from Techaisle shows that small to medium businesses trying to extend PC lives beyond 3 years face more virus attacks and system failures as well as higher maintenance costs.
The study shows that computers more than three years old have 28-58% more virus incidents per year than computers that are less than three years old.
As well as more incidents, there's an onflow effect for productivity as computer downtime to deal with the viruses increases. Techaisle's study shows that notebooks over three years old have 22% more downtime, while older desktops have 23% more downtime than newer systems as a result of virus infections.
But viruses aren't the only problem that older computers suffer from. Older PCs also face more system failures.
"Pushing past warranty period [older systems] are more likely to see power supply failures, networking failures, hard drive failures, and have to deal with the consequences of the downtime from that," said Robert Crooke, VP for Intel's Business Client Group.
Some 49% of SMB see power supply failure on systems older than three years, for example, and 33% experience a hard drive failure on an older system.
Older systems also have increased maintenance costs, averaging $545 per computer per year for small businesses and $709 for medium businesses. That's compared to a cost in the first year of $126.
These increased costs, together with the additional downtime, mean that upgrading within three years can keep overall spend down. New systems often cost only slightly more than a single year's maintenance cost and expenditure can be recouped quickly.
"Buying a new PC improves security and reduces maintenance costs, provides a better user experience and they can pay that back within a year," Crooke said.
Techaisle's study suggests that businesses will see 23% reductions in downtime for a new PC compared to systems over three years.
"If you are looking to save money in the downturn and emerge stronger, you're better off replacing within 3 years," Said Crooke.
Gigabyte and Asus have both announced new motherboards that deliver specific benefits to SMB's, including VPro technology, Intel's IT Director dashboard software - which ensures that antivirus and firewall software is running as well as monitoring PCs for problems - and energy saving technology.