Consumer Reports August 2011 issue deals with a question that many computer users end up asking themselves: is it better to repair or replace a broken computer? The report found that it is almost always better to repair than replace within the first two years of a computer’s life. During years 2-4, you should consider repairing if the repair follows the 50% rule: replace the product if the repair will cost more than 50% of the replacement cost. After 4 years, the report recommends replacement. The article did not differentiate between laptop and desktop computers.
Also included in the article is a list of some of the most reliable computer brands. Topping the list is Apple for desktops and Acer and Toshiba for laptops. Only Gateway is singled out as being a particularly repair-prone brand of desktop.
An interesting note was that while Consumer Reports generally steered consumers away from extended warranties, they did suggest consumers consider extended warranties for computers. Indeed, computers had the highest rates of repair of any of the electronics categories surveyed: 36% for laptops and 32% for desktops. Only side-by-side refrigerators matched the laptop repair rate, with other style refrigerators scoring much better repair rates.