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Thread: Life expectancy of laptop

  1. #1

    Life expectancy of laptop

    Our daughter and son-in-law have a small business. The laptop computer they have is having some problems such as slowing down. She said they had a "computer guy" over to look at it. He found no problems but told them that they should buy a new computer. They have had the computer for a little over one year and he told them that laptop are built to not last not much more than a year. I told my daughter that since the guy is supposed to be a computer tech and I'm not, I can't dispute what he says. But I would think that they should last longer than that. Is the guy right? Is that the life expectancy of a laptop?
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  2. #2
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    Frank,

    To put it succinctly: the guy is full of crap. To suggest laptops are built to last no more than a year is utter hogwash. Let me guess...he'd be willing to source a new laptop for them, or sell them one, and he'd get some money from the deal.

    He's an utter charlatan, and they shouldn't go near him again.
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    My MacBook Pro is 3.5 years old and never given me trouble. My ThinkPad T42 is 7.5 years old! Solid as a rock and still decent for everyday use.
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  4. #4
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    I'd qualify that...a little.

    The cheap HP Walmart/Target/etc 'specials' are pretty much 1 to 2 yr machines.
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  5. #5
    I think they get most of their stuff from Staples. I’ll suggest to her that they get a different “computer guy”.
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    No One Stands So Tall As When They Stoop To Help A Child.
    _________________________________________________
    Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.
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  6. #6
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    My employer keeps their laptops for three years, and has coverage for laptop service for those three years.

  7. #7
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    I had something I deemed rather pithy written up and lost it when the forum software asked me to "resign in."

    Personally, I get pretty incensed whenever someone infers that speed/performance and age are somehow inversely proportional! :O

    We don't really have much to go on other than the tech stating that "they're not built to last much more than a year." And, the inference that this fact is somehow having a direct impact on the computer's slowness.

    So, if you would, indulge me for a moment as I try to wrap my brain around the logic. And, if anyone sees I'm missing something please chime in.

    The foremost age related thing I can see would be RAM limitations. I think the video in most laptops is RAM dependent. If firmware/hardware have set a physical limit on RAM capacity this could be a potential bottleneck. We're not told if the RAM for this computer is maxed out. If not, perhaps just a RAM upgrade would suffice.

    Multiple apps opened at the same time could be forcing the use of virtual memory which would be noticeable. RAM limits could also affect video processing resulting in "loading" delays. I routinely run CCleaner, especially when browsing. The effect of its freeing up RAM can be "liberating."
    We don't know if the tech addressed the Startup program load either.

    The harddrive could possibly have an impact if it needs to be defragged. Compiling file fragments scattered across the harddrive would seem to take more time than if they were localized. So, defrag...

    I don't know the impact of bad sectors on a harddrive. I also do not know if the age of a harddrive has any direct causal effect on bad sector growth. So, if having to address bad sectors has an impact similar to a fragmented harddrive, that might be a contributing factor to slowness.

    We're not told if worn keys are continually popping off (it took me quite a while to get one of mine back on), or if the thumb pad has perhaps grown less responsive due to use. The implication seems to be that laptops physically have a planned obsolescence, e.g., screen hinge pins fall out, screens dim, latches break, etc,. However, what this has to do with a computer running slower, I have no idea.

    A blanket statement such as what we are dealing with, without details, just sounds like a higher priced tech version of "reload Windows" rather than getting to the bottom of things.
    Last edited by Whyzman; 09-30-2012 at 01:56 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Another thought, as I'm thinking of doing this myself with the addition of another laptop into the household, is to pull the 2.5 harddrive and replace it with a SSD drive. The routine appears to be putting the 2.5 laptop drives into an external USB enclosure.

    One could then reload Windows onto the new SSD drive and save the old for backup.

    They might be doing this to reduce heat also?
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  9. #9
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    Most will last longer than a year or several years. But some of those $200 specials, well, you can't be too surprised when they up and die.

    How fast it is all depends on what kind of hardware is in it. Is it a single core Sempron with a 4200RPM hard drive....

    The age of the system in and of itself has nothing to do with the speed of the system. If maintained well and kept virus free any system can run as fast as the day it was taken out of the box. And if you are good it will actually run faster than the factory setup.

    Another thing to consider is I have had customers, and even my wife, sometimes say it just doesn't seem to run as fast as it used to a couple of years ago. When in fact there is nothing wrong with it and it is not any slower than it was back then, but come to find out the way they use the system has changed and they are doing more and demanding more from the system so that it seems it isn't as fast as it used to be.

    Maybe at first they simply did email and surfed the web. Not they are editing large resolution pictures and family videos. Sure the system was snappy when all they did was check email and maybe surf at the same time. But now since they have a movie rendering in the background they have trouble doing all the other stuff at the same time when the video render is taking up 99% of the CPU and 90% of 2GB ram and suddenly using the crap out of virtual memory.

    In a nutshell, something that was adequate a year or so ago they have now outgrown. That is definitely what happened to my wife. When she started doing research and has 40-50 tabs open across two or three windows in FF and wondering why the system starts bogging down with ram maxed out and the CPU at 100%. A dual core CPU and 4GB memory just doesn't cut it anymore.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlreich View Post
    The age of the system in and of itself has nothing to do with the speed of the system.
    Exactly! Any moving parts could be prone to expedited failure if cheaply made, but that won't affect speed...well, unless a bearing in a bargain-basement harddrive brings things to a screetching halt!

    I think we're on the same page here that other factors are at play slowing things down, the age of the laptop not being one of them...
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  11. #11
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    Another thing, after having it for a year is to make sure they clean out the fan. If it gets so that it isn't cooling like it should the laptop will throttle the CPU and cause slowdowns big time.
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  12. #12
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    True! I suspect my age is showing... I thought of that but deemed it not relevant as I jumped in my mind to another thread dealing with a nearly 8 year old computer I figured outside the window of that technology... LOL
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlreich View Post
    Another thing, after having it for a year is to make sure they clean out the fan. If it gets so that it isn't cooling like it should the laptop will throttle the CPU and cause slowdowns big time.
    Not only that...but the extra heat is a major contributing factor to an early grave.

    Another age/speed thing that has absolutely nothing to do with hardware...

    Age of Windows install...

    It's been a 'rule of thumb' ever since Win95 that to keep Windows running at its best, at least once a year, do a fresh, clean install. It's rather surprising the amount of 'junk' Windows can pick up in a year that will slow it down...
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankSG View Post
    Our daughter and son-in-law have a small business. The laptop computer they have is having some problems such as slowing down. She said they had a "computer guy" over to look at it. He found no problems
    What did he look at?

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankSG View Post
    but told them that they should buy a new computer. They have had the computer for a little over one year and he told them that laptop are built to not last not much more than a year.
    Unless this is a $299 junker and even if it is, it should last more than a year.

    Please post the specs of the laptop.
    Please post the amount of RAM
    Please post the size of the hard drive and the amount of free space on the drive.

    I do have concerns about the laptop being the primary business computer.

    An operating system is a living breathing thing that constantly changes over time. It might need to have Windows reinstalled,
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  15. #15
    Thanks to all of you for your input on this. The fact is I haven't talked to my daughter anymore about her computer. Everyone is busy talking about the upcoming wedding (her daughter's, our granddaughter) later this month. When I want to talk about computer, ever one else wants to talk about wedding. But next time I see her, I'll interrupt my wife who will want to talk about the wedding, and get more info on the computer. That is, if I'm allowed to talk computer stuff. But I'lll get back with you.
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  16. #16
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    I happened to see someone viewing this thread earlier today and was wondering if there was a resolution to the computer situation. It is apparent that the grand-daughter and fiancee were "altared" in marriage. Was the computer also altared as in a burnt offering?
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

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  18. #18
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    My main laptop is an IBM T42 (introduced in 2004). I bought it as a lease-back 2 years ago and counting...
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  19. #19
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    At the most basic level, any computer will last as long as its hardware is operational. If it can run, it can run some form of software.

    At the warranty level, any computer should last at least as long as its warranty period as averaged and computed by the manufacturer. Most computers as a whole last much longer than the warranty period, minus a few replaceable components that fail along the way.

    At the usefulness level, any computer should last as long as it meets the needs of its user(s). This is the most variable level since some users prematurely outgrow a computer by requiring more out of it shortly after purchase/ownership (ie, you buy an "email" computer and 3 months later decide to take up home movie editing) while other users repurpose a computer for lesser tasks (ie, take an old workstation and turn it into a file server).

    While it is rare to encounter, I have had to tell people the bad news about their computer not being up to snuff for their demanding tasks. But most laptops made within the last 2 years can be upgraded to serviceability for nearly all modern tasks. With specs like 8GB RAM capacity, 1TB SATA HDDs, SATA 6G SSDs, tolerable onboard graphics, and long battery life, a standard 1-year-old laptop in October of 2012 should definitely NOT need to be replaced already! Unless it was a netbook or $200 Staples blow-out sale deal, or perhaps your daughter suddenly needs to run a 2TB database on-the-run , I question the expertise of this "computer guy" they used.

    I can see my way to a replacement if her laptop is single-core and/or can only handle <4GB of RAM (32-bit OS?) but otherwise it sounds to me like a few upgrades and maybe some software maintenance are all that is needed.

    A friend of mine bought a discontinued new-in-box Dell 11" laptop about a year ago for a great deal. Darn thing came with only one stick of 2GB DDR3, a surplus 2.5" HDD, and bloatware coming out of its case! After creating the recovery disks, we installed another 2GB stick of RAM (restoring dual-channel to the Core i3 inside ) and installed a fresh copy of Windows on an SSD. That 11" bargain plus two hardware upgrades and some software know-how is now a mobile powerhouse with tons of battery life! It is literally more than an order of magnitude faster now, even after a year of use (and after being a discontinued model for 6 months prior to purchase).

    It was the little things that really added up to a terrible mobile experience on that 11" Dell, such as the bloatware, and the single stick of RAM when the CPU is designed for dual-channel, and the surplus HDD with terrible specs (including more power consumption than your typical Newegg model of the same capacity). By addressing every one of those problems, we are getting a better experience out of that 11" Dell than 99% of the original customers of that model, which is probably why it was discontinued. These are the sorts of solutions and advice that a proper "computer guy" (or "computer girl") is supposed to provide. Sending a perfectly good system off to the landfills prematurely reeks of greed, pure and simple.

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