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jca2's avatar

In your experience, how often do you need to buy a new laptop?

Asked by jca2 (13269points) January 24th, 2022

I find my laptops seem to last about two years.

My current one is a Lenovo IdeaPad which is technically a netbook since it doesn’t have a place for CDs. I purchased it in July of 2019 and now it might need a battery but it might need something more and it’s just easier to buy a new one.

Is it your experience that you’re replacing computers around every few years or do they last you a longer time?

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25 Answers

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I still prefer desktops, I need their flexibility with ports and drives and stuff. It’s a perpetual upgrade but roughly 5–7 years to do a major overhaul with a new motherboard and processor. That number has been trending longer lately sine I game on consoles now. (Crypto miners have ruined PC gaming) I still have a metal tank of a gaming case from almost 20 years ago. It has room for like 10 drives. I still have a 2011 macbook running linux since the latest MAC OS and Windows are not supported on it. I don’t use it for much except running a few key things like astrophotography software or a USB OBDII code reader. I either just need a phone or a full desktop so laptops for me are fading into obscurity except for work travel. Tablets are basically throw away items after a year or two. I replace phones every three years or so.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Laptops every 4–5 years or so. Mine get moved and dropped and jostled. And their batteries begin to die.

Desktops: longer.

SEKA's avatar

Mine usually last about 5 years or so. It has been my experience that the software needs so much updating by that point that it’s better to upgrade the computer to the latest and greatest.

flutherother's avatar

I have only ever owned two laptops, both high end HP models and both packed in after two years. I haven’t bought a laptop since. My desktop PC on the other hand has lasted 11 years.

Inspired_2write's avatar

In 2018 I purchased a desktop computer that will last and had it add memory etc
I plan on keeping this for at least ten years or more.
Neighbors all had Ipads and laptops of which faded out quickly within one to two years depending on use and brands.

longgone's avatar

My laptops tend to last about seven years, which means that my current one will die by March.

Demosthenes's avatar

I’ve been replacing my laptop every 2–3 years. Many laptops I’ve owned develop problems after that time period (in the case of a couple recent MacBooks I owned, the keyboards were worn and falling apart. One I simply tried to keep for as long as I could, but after three years the motherboard failed. I sold it for parts on eBay and bought a new one, considering how expensive it would’ve been to fix). My last MacBook was working fine after 2 years, but I sold it last fall to buy a new one so I could get on board with Apple Silicon.

My desktop has been going strong for almost four years. I replaced the graphics card recently, but that’s the beauty of a desktop; you can just swap out the parts without replacing the whole thing.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

My last Dell laptop was 5 years old when it began to show signs of possible motherboard failure. Before that happened creating a crisis, I bought a new Microsoft Surface Laptop. This is a laptop. I don’t mean the Surface tablet with a detachable keyboard. It’s almost a year old and runs beautifully.

I have a brand new Dell laptop given to me from work that I use strictly for work. It’s only a few months old.

Kropotkin's avatar

My 7 year old Alienware is still fine, and it was about a year old when I got it.

YARNLADY's avatar

Mine gets replaced every three or four years. Everybody else (two teen and three adults) more often due to negligence, except hubs. He used a company laptop for 5 years, and now has a spiffy new one since he retired.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I bought my current laptops used for $150 to $200 US, and that was years ago. They are 2011 – 2013 vintage IBM Thinkpads.

They are business-class machines that sold for $1500 – $2000 when new.

They will not run Windows 11. That is the only reason I have considered buying something newer. But nothing about 11 is compelling for me, so I happily type along on my old machines.

Jeruba's avatar

Experienced computer replacers: I’ve just posted a question that was prompted by this one. Please give me the benefit of your knowledge and wisdom. Thank you (and thanks, @jca2, for the platform).

Caravanfan's avatar

My general rule of thumb for anything like this is to wait until I absolutely can’t stand it any more and then purchase.

Sam4One's avatar

Primarily it depends on how well it’s used. It could go as long as possible if used properly with care (no dropping, no coffee spill, not letting it borrow, not in the hands of small children or someone who doesn’t know anything about it).

Improper use of the device can be harmful to it.

Battery can be replaced but the internal parts can’t (except RAM and HDD). Some manufacturers are integrating RAM to the motherboard, if it goes bad, then game over.

Forever_Free's avatar

Ummmmm, I have never bought one in my life for myself.
I have bought thousands for various firms over many years. Two-three years is the average span to uplift for technology on hardware and applications. This can be buy or lease.

Zaku's avatar

It usually depends on how much of a piece of poop it is, or whether something terrible happens to it.

So there is no expected schedule.

I have phased some out of use because I got better ones, but the old ones didn’t stop working: I have one from about 2005 or so that still works. Another is maybe 10 years old, and ok. Another is about 7 years old and fine.

If any laptop only lasted two years, I would consider that a terrible failure. The only times something has gone wrong in two years for me was me physically damaging one by accident, or a refurbished old Macbook that I had for two years before the battery malfunctioned and bloated. I have seen some other people get laptops that were awful though, with keys that didn’t work well, or other failures.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

The consumer grade budget laptops from a big box store typically only last a couple of years. Many have issues right out of the box. If it’s a business class laptop you can expect closer to ten years IMO. That’s been my experience anyway.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@jca2, I think that @Blackwater_Park makes a good point. You get what you pay for. I saw your answer to the question @Jeruba linked to in this thread. If you’re buying a low-cost laptop from Costco, you will not be buying a machine that is going to last for many years. I suspect that’s why your laptops are only lasting on average of 2 years.

But it’s a trade off. There are many considerations when buying a PC. Price is one consideration. I prefer to buy a machine I know I can use for many years. The machine I mentioned that I replaced after 5 years is actually still working well. I sold it to a friend who uses it daily. He is a computer expert and knows how to use machines that others would find troublesome.

When I’m at home, I actually do almost all my computing using a Samsung Android tablet. I surf the web, watch videos, do light computing, use Zoom, and do all my personal emailing. I use it for Fluther. I use my laptop for complex computing like creating spreadsheets, writing long Word documents, and typing things that need a full keyboard.

I enjoy computers. I’m no expert, but I do like to stay abreast of computer gadgets.

I wouldn’t buy a laptop for less than $700. Last year, I paid $900 and got the previous year’s top-of-the-line laptop at a steep discount, because they’d just introduced the new model. I expect this machine to last many many years.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I have bought off lease laptops directly from Dell for less than $500 that were excellent deals. My wife has been using one daily for at least 6 years.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Blackwater_Park I’ve had very good luck with Dell computers.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@Blackwater_Park The consumer grade budget laptops from a big box store typically only last a couple of years. Many have issues right out of the box. If it’s a business class laptop you can expect closer to ten years IMO.

@Blackwater_Park I have bought off lease laptops directly from Dell for less than $500 that were excellent deals.

That is what I do with Lenovo Thinkpads. Not directly from Lenovo, but off eBay. My key for judging the condition is looking at the trackpad and space bar in photos. They will be visibly worn in a heavily used machine, and cleaner in a lightly used one.

YARNLADY's avatar

This raises the question about what to do with the old, still working one.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@YARNLADY what to do with the old, still working one.

I look on Craigslist for locals looking to recycle electronics

mazingerz88's avatar

Every 7 or 8 years with the Macbook.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@YARNLADY For most people when it cannot run the latest OS that they use and get the security updates it’s time to put it out to pasture and have it recycled.

I have computers old enough where they won’t run the latest Mac OS or windows but run Linux fine. My 12 year old MacBook is still fine running Linux. I replaced the battery twice but you can still get them. If you’re comfortable with Linux that’s a good option for an old machine.

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