Marshall Adult Education




TECH TIP:  How long will my computer last?

How long will the parts of your computer last?  Well, there are no rules there are only generalities. New computers occasionally have early failures due to manufacturing faults not typical.  If your computer gets through the first 90 days, it is likely to run well for many years.  (Remember, these are generalities).


You may have a computer that is 6 or 7 years old and it is still going full steam.  The truth is, you never know when the components of your computer will wear out.  But here are some general rules.

CRT Monitor:  Most are rated at 25,000 to 30,000 hours.  If you run it for 8 hours a day, that equals about 10 years.  But, it is not uncommon for a computer monitor to last for 20 years.


LCD Monitor:  Double that of a CRT monitor. 


Hard Drive:  Most manufacturers say their hard drives will last between 3 to 5 years.  This is conservative.  Many may well last 10 to 15 years.  A hard drive in one of my Macs gave out last summer after 21 years.  (Yes, I was using it - as a MIDI workstation).  Some hard drives in the lab gave out after 4 years.  The truth is, you never know so be sure you have a good backup system so you are prepared when your hard drive does bite the dust.


Floppy Drives:  They are not standard in computers any more you have to specifically ask to have one included.  Most people are saving their data on removable USB flash drives (sometimes called jump drives)  Although floppy drives are typically warranted for only 1 year, they will typically last for 10 to 15 years.


Keyboards:  Good quality keyboards will last for 10 to 20 years.  There are some cheapo ones out their that are inferior and fail early.  So stay with name brands.


Mouse:  An older style mouse with the rubber ball will wear out sooner than the newer optical mouse that has no moving parts.  You will get seven or more years out of an older style mouse before the needing to replace it.  You should clean the rollers of the older style mouse every year.  There is nothing to clean in an optical mouse.


CMOS Battery:  This little battery will last anywhere from 5 to 10 years.  When it wears out, you can usually replace it quite easily.  Its the same type of battery that goes into a watch.  The CMOS battery stores the date and time and other configuration information.


CPU:  This little chip is the brains of your computer.  CPU stands for Central Processing Unit and as its names implies, it processes every bit of information you put into the computer.  The CPU will outlast the mechanical parts of your computer with a minimum of maintenance.  What will kill your CPU is heat.  So the important parts associated with the CPU are the heat sink and the CPU fan.  The CPU fan may get dirty with dust after several years of operation, so it is a good idea to get a can of air and spray the CPU fan to keep it clean and dust free.  The CPU may outlive all the other parts of your computer and never go out.


Power Supply:  This part of the computer is usually rated between 40,000 to 100,000 hours.  It will more than likely last 8 to 10 years or more.  But Ive seen them fail in the lab after only 4 years.  There is a fan on the power supply to help keep it cool.  Keep it clean by spraying air and removing the dust.  Do not place your computer in a confining space it needs space to breathe and circulate air.


Here are 2 interesting ones.


CD-ROMS:  Im talking about the CD Disk not the player.  No one knows how long they will last because they havent been around that long.  Many CD manufacturers guarantee them for 25 years.  That is no doubt conservative.  So ask me that question in 25 to 50 years.  One thing for sure, CDs will go the way of 8-track players probably long before they actually wear out.  You probably wont be able to find a CD player to read those CDs of yours in 50 years.


Memory Card According to SanDisk Corporation, that flash memory card in your digital camera can write and rewrite approximately 2 million times before it wears out so thats approximately 75 years to 300 years.  Isnt that nice to know!  Lets see, Ill be 345 years old  before I have to replace my memory card.


One last thing Your PC has a lifespan of 3 to 5 years before it is considered obsolete.  System software, applications, the internet, and technology in general all change so quickly that it requires faster processors, bigger hard drives, and more memory.  Huh and Im still using my phonograph and my 8-track player!



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