June 28, 2006

Computers Break Down Less Often: Survey

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Computers have become more reliable in recent years as manufacturers have improved designs, but one in every six new notebooks still needs to be repaired within a year after purchase, a survey found on Tuesday.

Failure rates of both desktop and portable notebook computers have improved in the 2005-2006 period compared with 2003-2004, market research group Gartner found.

Five percent of desktop computers need to have a component replaced within the first year, compared with 7 percent two years ago. Four years after purchase the chance that a desktop computer needs to be repaired is 12 percent, compared with 15 percent in 2003-2004.

For notebooks the first year failure rate was 15 percent, compared with 20 percent two years earlier.

A failure is defined as a repair incident in which a component needs to be replaced, ranging from something as trivial as a notebook latch or as significant as a motherboard.

"For notebooks, screen breakage used to be the single-largest source of failure," Gartner analyst Leslie Fiering said in a statement.

"However, over time, notebook manufacturers have improved design significantly to reduce screen breakage by adding structural rigidity to the notebook casing and screen bezel, as well as by providing a greater clearance between the screen and the keyboard when the system is closed," she added.

Currently, the main problem with notebooks are motherboards and hard drives which together make up nearly 50 percent of all failures.