|Replacing a Battery: $5-$100||Virus Removal: $20-$300||Motherboard: $50-$1,000+|
Computer repair includes fixing a broad scope of technical maladies ranging from hardware replacement to software tweaks. Costs for Mac and PC repair vary and are calculated primarily based on costs of both parts and labor. Some technicians repair computers on-site; others require the device to be dropped off at a repair shop. Before calling a technician, check to see if the repair cost is covered by a manufacturer's warranty.
What should be included:
- Technicians typically charge $50-$100 per hour for labor to work on the computer, but this varies by geographical location. Most jobs can be finished in an hour.
- Costs for replacement hardware for Macs and PCs vary. Mac parts are primarily sold by authorized dealers, while PC parts are more widely available and can be found anywhere from flea markets to national big-box electronics stores. Replacing a battery can cost $5 for a PC (most PCs use lithium ion batteries ), as much as $100 for a Mac. An internal CD/DVD drive generally starts at $50 and can be installed at home or by a technician in less than an hour. Costs for repairing Macs are often higher than repairing PCs because of Apple's proprietary hardware.
- Motherboards range from $50 to more than $1,000 -- the more expensive models offer faster speeds and more ports. An average model for a home PC costs $75-$200 depending on the computer needs. One Intel motherboard that can be used for servers is available at MacMall for $1,350. A model aimed at the needs of gamers costs $380 on Amazon .
- Removal of viruses, adware and spyware are often included in technicians' hourly fees. Geek Squad , a subsidiary of Best Buy, starts virus removal at $150-$300. Virus and malware protection software can be purchased for $20-$60. McAfee and Norton both make popular anti-virus software.
- Data recovery is charged generally on a per-hour basis, although some companies charge a base fee. Most jobs can be done in an hour. Geek Squad starts data recovery costs at $250. Firedog , which offers remote work on PCs, charges $100 for remote data recovery, but customers are required to either have a monthly plan or pay an additional one-time charge of $150. User-Friendly Computing , a small California store, charges $95 -$120 per hour for data recovery work; the job is usually done in an hour.
- Repairs can range from a fixing minor setting that is incorrect, to removing spyware or viruses , or replacing hardware or an entire operating system .
- Make sure an estimate for repair work includes diagnosis, parts and hours of labor needed to complete the job. Some shops offer free estimates, and others charge a fee to diagnose the problem. Also, find out if there is a warranty on the computer repair work -- the warranty can vary in length depending on the work done. The technician should be able to diagnose and repair the computer either on-site or in the shop. The Association of Computer Repair Business Owners has tips on finding a computer repair company and what should be included in the work.
Shopping for computer repair:
- Sometimes computer repair can be done by the owner. Tips and tricks for do-it-yourself computer repair can be found at DIY Tech Tips & Guides .
- AAA members receive a 20% discount on Geek Squad services.
- Some replacement hardware and software is eligible for free shipping on Amazon . Purchasing used parts can provide added discounts.
- Make sure to price parts when having hardware replaced. Mac vendors can be harder to find. Good places to start are MacMall and PowerbookMedic . Another good source for pricing parts is Amazon .
- The Association of Computer Repair Business Owners has a searchable membership directory .
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