How Long Is the Useful Life of a Laptop Computer?

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacBytes, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. MacBytes macrumors bot

    Jul 5, 2003
  2. davecomp macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2004
    3 years thats it after that they seem to break apart :( or after the apple care is gone :(
  3. shamino macrumors 68040


    Jan 7, 2004
    Purcellville, VA
    It really depends...

    It depends on how much abuse the thing takes.

    A friend of mine has a 17" PowerBook that takes quite a beating. It's been in and out of the shop quite a bit (fortunately, AppleCare has covered everything.) A mis-aligned optical drive here, a battery that won't recharge there, etc. I don't expect this machine to survive much beyond the AppleCare period.

    On the other hand, at work I'm using an ancient Dell laptop that is still going strong after nearly 6 years. This machine got to the stage of "too slow to be useful" long before breaking down. (It's a Pentium-150, 2G disk, RAM maxed out at 48M). Its screen went bad (needing a warratee replacement) somewhere around the 2.5-year-old point but is otherwise in great shape. This machine, however, rarely leaves my office desk - I carry it into conference rooms for giving PowerPoint presentations and bring it along on the rare business trip.

    Other coworkers, however, that travel a lot more, have had to replace laptops much younger than this one. Probably because of all the travelling.

    The fact that I tend to baby my electronics is probably also a strong contributing factor.
  4. awulf macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2002
    South Australia
    My PowerBook 100 (from 1991) still works well. Its power connector got loose but I just had to re-solder it. One of the keyboard raising things broke of a long while ago just by turning it.

    Once my PowerBook fell from the table (landed on a carpeted floor) and once I accidentally sat on it when it was under a blanket. But nothing happened to it.
  5. mainstreetmark macrumors 68020


    May 7, 2003
    Saint Augustine, FL
    Don't get me started on Dell. Wait - you did, hence this post.

    My Inspiron 8100 worked fine for about a year. Then it got a crack. then the power supply kicked. then the harddrive quit. then the hinge for the lid lost it's springyness, and the replacement hinge I bought off of eBay lasted only an additional month. The screen connection shorted and it has to be adjusted just right. It's currently in need of it's fourth power supply and can only run with an external monitor. Screw Dell.

    My very first Macrumors post may have been about the Dell.
  6. cabes macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2004
    Umm... ditto. My Inspiron 3800 lasted about 4 years surprisingly. The repairs: motherboard #1 ate batteries, thus: 3 batteries, motherboard #2 (a refurb) had bad video memory, which begat motherboard #3... oh, don't forget 3 faceplates/wristrests because the mouse buttons kept breaking(cheap plastic tab).

    I see it at work every day trying to keep these older laptops operational and it just isn't worth it past 3 years.
  7. shamino macrumors 68040


    Jan 7, 2004
    Purcellville, VA

    You fell into the same trap that tons of people on newsgroups do. You read an example and assumed that the example is the entirity of the message.

    My mention of Dell is simply because they are the ones that made the laptop on my desk. If it was made by anyone else, I would have mentioned them. I used it as an example of one laptop that hasn't become useless in 2-3 years. I am in no way advocating/recommending that people ditch their Macs for Dells (as you seem to believe.)

    I am well aware that other laptops from a wide variety of brands (including Dell) break down on a regular basis.

    My point, which obviously got lost somewhere, is simply that they don't all fail after a short life. Mine tend to last quite a long time, and I think that's because I don't transport them as often as most people, and that I am extremely careful when they are transported.

    Most laptop owners I know of treat them like they were books - throwing them into the backs of cars, cramming them into overstuffed backpacks, and generally abusing the heck out of them. So it's not surprising when they end up with cracked cases, broken hinges, cracked screens, misaligned moving parts, etc.
  8. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    We have a iBook that just turned 3 on July 14th. So far no problems.
  9. yamabushi macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2003
    Micron used to make some nice reliable laptops, but no more.

    I have had about six laptops in the last ten years. My favorite was an ancient Powerbook that ran system 7.5 and had a built in trackball (PB145B ). The rest were PCs of various dubious brands. The best of the bunch is an NEC model that was only sold in Japan which I still use after four years. The others either broke or obsoleted themselves quickly.

    I have used thousands of desktop Macs and PCs at school and at work running all kinds of operating systems. I plan to get Macs for use at home again sometime in the near future.
  10. manosira macrumors member


    Jun 22, 2004
    SOMA - S.F. - Cali
    A good rule I use, is for every thousand you spend on the laptop, it'll last you a year. So if you spend 2k then that's at least two years, 3k then it's a least three years. I'm not saying that it will break down, but it's then that you will start feeling like your puter is ageing quickly. :)
  11. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    My wife is thinking about getting a refurbished iBook or PowerBook to replace the above iBook.
  12. macsrus macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2004
    Terra Firma

    I have 3 Dell Inspirons.... A 5000, 5500 and an 8200
    mine have all been work horses....
    I've never had the first problem with any of em...
    I used the 5000 and 5500 at work for 3 years without a hitch...
    Then I gave em to my kids and they have loved using them for 3 more years....
    I also have had 12 dell desktops over the years.... and all of them still work...
    My boys use 5 of them to have lan parties at our house....

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