Refreshing desktop fleet vs upgrading desktop to extend its lifespan

Posted on 2015-01-17
Last Modified: 2015-01-20
Hi Experts,
Can I ask your advice guys. Our client is considering upgrading ( replacing existing hdd's with SSD) their 5+ year old desktops they have instead of freshing/replacing them. These are not likely to be i5's and generally are core 2 devices,

I am all for extending the useful lifespan of the desktops, however my fear is that putting in an SSD will not extend their usability or performance, is this approach sensible? I can understand the cost savings involved for my client, however could this have support implications?

Our clients objective is to extend desktops out another 12-18months for those already 5years or older (e.g. The HP 8000) - do you a) Can you share your thoughts and opinions and what should be my (from a support perspective) approach to this?

Many thanks
Question by:craigleenz
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Assisted Solution

Rizzle earned 150 total points
ID: 40555596
Internally we had this debate about 6 months ago in regards to our current Desktops/Thin clients.

In regards to the desktops which is more towards the answer you're looking for we didn't choose the spec the currently existing Desktop PC's for a number of reasons,

1. The kit would be out of warranty and therefore anything we do with adding additional hardware we wouldn't be covered.
2. The support overhead to investigate and resolve issues if the new hardware were to go in would be pricey at best and for the user would be bad because they would lose productivity aswell as our support resource who would need to troubleshoot and resolve. This would be a particular concern in an environment where the IT Team isn't very big.
3. Even having faster storage (SSD's) if applications are quite beefy and require some resource to run even an SSD can't save you, IE we have i3, 4GB RAM desktops.
4. Even the costs these days for new clients which higher specs and warranty isn't too much but for peace of mind we went for the refresh client option.

Hope this helps.
LVL 48

Expert Comment

ID: 40555606
If it is XP I wouldn't do it as XP doesn't really support SSDs.

If it is Windows 7 I would look into it and possibly a RAM upgrade if they aren't at 4 Gb or better.  Windows 7 does support SSDs.
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 50 total points
ID: 40555634
256 GB SSDs can about $2 per GB or $130 each.  How much time will it take you reload Windows and setup for the end user.  Think about the time the end user won't be able to work while you're doing this.  In terms of lost productivity, labor costs, and hardware, the upgrade could easily cost $200-500 per machine.  To me, the cost of replacing a PC period, depending on the hardware purchased, can be around $1000-$1500 per user.  Over a 5 year machine lifespan (assuming that's what you typically get) that's $200-$300 per year.  If your calculated costs EXCEED the per year cost of the machine, no way I upgrade - get the replacements.  And of course, consider the increased productivity of a new machine.

Now all that said, SSDs CAN significantly improve the performance of a system.  I put one in a Dell D430 Core 2 Duo system and it works great for everyday tasks.  But it really depends what your end users do.

Author Comment

ID: 40555645
thanks RoshanEjaz for your reply, much appreciated,
@dbrunton - Our current desktop fleet comprises of HP desktops, running windows 7 64bit enterprise, 4gb ram
We have about 5000 workstations located internationally, 2/3 located in New Zealand, where the I.T support teams are based ,my client  has been advised by their internal I,T architects that upgrading the HDD's to SSD to will extend the lifespan by a further 18 months, what I'm failing to understand, are there not other components that needs to be considered with this approach as well, :ie should we replace the RAM at the same time, surely replacing /swapping out just a hdd is not the only thing they need to factor, I. Wanting to go back to them with some further things to consider if they go this route. My preference would be for the machines to be replaced/refreshed

Author Comment

ID: 40555662
Thanks LeeW,
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Expert Comment

ID: 40555698
A hard disk is usually the first item to die.  If the disks are that old time to replace them.  And SSD is the way to go and you'll get a performance boost.  RAM usually lasts.

Now there is the cost factor as well to do this as Lee has mentioned.  You'll need to do some number crunching with the IT accountants on this.

I suspect the IT department is holding out to see what the new Microsoft 10 is like rather than trying to upgrade to 8.1 and then 10.  Do 10 in one push, new machines and new OS.
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Accepted Solution

VB ITS earned 250 total points
ID: 40555813
@dbrunton: I highly doubt people will be rushing to use Windows 10. I'm not seeing Windows 8 being adopted into corporate environments at a very fast pace compared to Windows 7.

@craigleenz: Replacing SSDs should suffice in terms of extending the lifespan of the machines for a little while. What you can't predict however is if an additional component will die, be it the RAM, power supply, external video card (if there is one). In 5 year old machines, it's not uncommon to see these components go faulty out of the blue. Ask anybody in IT support, hardware goes faulty all the time. You then have to spend time troubleshooting and identifying these issues when they occur.

I generally tend to lean towards the replacement PC route when presented with this scenario, however there is merit in the SSD replacement option as well. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

New PCs will be covered by warranty should there be any hardware issues, but at the same time they can also introduce other unrelated issues. There's also the time factor where it will take a while to set up each user's profiles, copy over their data, reinstall theiir programs, etc.

With SSDs you can simply clone the contents of the HDD to the SSD and you're done, but the rest of the components won't be covered under warranty.
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Assisted Solution

nobus earned 50 total points
ID: 40555914
you may also consider this :
installing an SSD will increase the performance considerably, as the customer wants
you can image the existing system to the SSD,  to lower the time involved
**and the SSD 's can be used in the later systems also - if you want that !

Author Comment

ID: 40557008
thank you all for your input

Author Closing Comment

ID: 40557011
brilliant advise. much appreciated
LVL 91

Expert Comment

ID: 40557137
i would be curious to know what the decision will be
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Expert Comment

ID: 40557146
Agreed nobus.

@craigleenz: can you please let us know which path you go with, just out of curiosity?

Author Comment

ID: 40560502
will keep you posted, can see this one dragging out for ages at the top level here before a decision is made.
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Expert Comment

ID: 40561388
oh well - can you cry from time to time " fire! " ?

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