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​No, the desktop PC isn't dead

Reports of the death of the desktop PC may have been exaggerated.

Despite the array of convertible notebooks and high-end tablets on the market, and ongoing predictions of the death of the PC, you're probably still going to find yourself using a standard desktop in the office.

Nearly two-thirds (68 percent) of businesses report that desktops are their primary computing device for employees, compared with only 29 percent which favour laptops and just one percent tablets. Three quarters of organisations reported employees are using desk phones as their primary communications device, compared to only 16 percent using company-issued smartphones, according to the survey by Spiceworks.

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And if you are using a PC, chances are it will be with you for a while to come. The research found that 70 percent of companies use desktops for five or more years before replacing or decommissioning them, and 24 percent use them for seven or more years. Laptops don't last as long: while just under half (48 percent) of the companies surveyed used their laptops for five or more years, only eight percent use them for seven or more years.

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Image: iStockphoto


Company-owned tablets and smartphones had an even shorter life span, typically lasting two to four years.

But it's the big pieces of computing hardware that stick around the longest. Three quarters of organisations said they use servers for five or more years, and 32 percent use them for seven or more years before finally replacing them. Seventy-five percent of companies also keep their printers for five or more years, and 37 percent of organisations use them for seven or more years.

How long a piece of hardware is used for largely depends on how long it keeps working: 84 percent of IT decision makers said hardware failing is what drives them to replace devices, followed by performance degradation (72 percent) and physical damages (59 percent).

Only 29 percent of companies switch out equipment because of replacement policies, and only 26 percent do so because the warranty has expired.

"Many businesses try to squeeze as much value out of their hardware as possible, using budget-friendly tech perhaps longer than they should and only replacing it when performance slows to a crawl or fails," said Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks, which surveyed 1,372 tech professionals across North America and Europe.

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