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Failure rates of PCs improve, but aren’t good enough

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Failure rates of PCs improve, but aren't good enough

Gartner today said that PC vendors have reduced hardware annual failure rates (AFRs) by about 25% in the past two years, but apparently there is still room for improvement. The market research firm said that both desktop and notebook PCs are more reliable than two years ago, but notebook AFRs still range from 15% to 22% throughout the life of the system. Desktop AFRs are currently rated at 5% in year 1 and 12% in the fourth year.

“Users need to track their PC failure rates to spot problems and hold their PC suppliers accountable,” said Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner. “Once chief financial officers (CFOs) become aware of PC failure rates, especially in enterprises that purchase thousands of PC each year, there will be extra pressure placed on chief information officers to spot problems and hold their PC supplier responsible. CFOs will want assurances that the equipment they finance is not going to result in downtime for their employees.”

For desktop systems, motherboards and hard drives are the two largest sources of failures, according to Gartner. In notebooks screen breakage used to be the single-largest source of failure. However, Fiering indicated that today’s notebook failures can also be attributed to motherboards and hard drives (25-45% of total hardware failures), chassis defects (latches, hinges, feet and case cracks) and keyboards (keycaps falling off or getting discolored, and spilled drinks seeping under the keyboard).