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Should I Fix or Buy new?

For most people, the decision to replace a computer comes down to cost. Since a basic desktop computer starts at around $350 and a laptop around $500, most people consider replacing their system when a repair will cost $200 or more. However, there are a few hidden expenses to keep in mind before you buy a new PC.

Is it really it really cheaper to by a new computer?

If your system needs repair to remove viruses or spyware, moving infected files to your new PC can transfer the malware to your new computer. Nothing ruins the joy of a new PC like discovering that it runs just as poorly as your old one because you took your problems with you.

Once you get your new PC, you'll want it running the way your old one did. That means you need to install your printer and any software you had on it. New computers don't come with Microsoft Office or antivirus for instance so you might need to buy a new copy to install on your new computer. That can easily add $100 to your cost. You might need to replace your printer if it's not compatible with Windows 10.

Keep in mind that cheaper computers may not include components that you want, such as an optical drive (for watching DVDs or loading data from a disc), touch screen capability or a fully functional operating system. Always compare what your currently have to what a new computer might or might not have. For instance, you may be able to find a new laptop on sale for $279. But how does that $279 computer compare do what you have now? Does it have a tiny hard drive or lower amounts of ram? Don't cheat yourself out of making honest comparisons.

Transferring data, installing programs, configuring printers and getting a new PC set up on your home network can be a daunting task. If you’ll want professional assistance to get your new computer set up, factor in this cost before buying a new PC. A simple tuneup might save you hundreds of dollars instead of buying a new pc and software and have your data and settings transferred.

In spite of the hidden costs of a new PC, there are definitely times when it makes sense to buy new instead of repairing old. The average lifespan of a desktop computer is five years, a laptop averages 3-4 years.

However you can sometimes breath some new life into a computer that's a few years old with a simple RAM upgrade for around $45 or a basic Tuneup for $65 will almost always double performance of your old system. A few tweaks and updates to an aging computer will most likely give your a few more years of use and save you HUNDREDS of dollars. A $200 SSD upgrade on an older MacBook for instance will more than double the performance and almost make it as fast as a new model.

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