Gartner: Notebook PCs still prone to hardware failure

Nearly one-fifth of all notebook PCs will break down over their lifetime, needing a new hardware component to fix the failure, according to Gartner.

Nearly one-fifth of all notebook PCs will break down over their lifetime, needing a new hardware component to fix the failure, a study reveals.

The broken part could be as simple as a laptop latch, but the most frequent failures are motherboards and hard drives, according to a study released Monday by Gartner.

Desktops suffer from the same weakness, but they break less often. Five percent of desktop PCs purchased in 2005-2006 will break within the first year, and 12 percent will break within four years, Gartner estimated.

In comparison, 15 percent of laptops will break within a year, and 22 percent will break within four years.

In recent years, broken screens were the most common laptop failures, but that has changed, said Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner.

Notebook manufacturers have improved their designs, reducing screen breakage by adding structural rigidity to the notebook casing and screen bezel, and providing more clearance between the screen and keyboard when the lid is closed, she said.

At the same time, motherboards have grown more complex. IT managers used to replace single parts like a NIC (network interface card) or modem, but today those parts are integrated onto the motherboard, so managers must replace the entire motherboard to fix a single component.

After motherboards and hard drives, the next most common notebook hardware failures are latches and hinges on the chassis, and lost keycaps and spilled drinks on the keyboard.

PC vendors are making progress in building more reliable machines, Fiering said. Just two years ago, new desktops would break 7 to 15 percent of the time, and laptops would break 20 to 28 percent of the time.

Vendors have improved those numbers by testing more components, increasing penalties to suppliers for broken parts and scanning PCs during repairs to prevent future problems.

This study was difficult to research because most vendors refuse to discuss reliability with analysts, Gartner said. Indeed, neither Dell nor Hewlett-Packard responded to requests for an interview for this news article.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ben Ames

IDG News Service
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?