Seminole County looks to replace hundreds of aging computers

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Seminole County government officials may soon replace hundreds of staff computers, many of which are less than five years old.

Channel 9's Bianca Castro learned why it would cost taxpayers more to keep those old computers rather than replacing them.

County employee David Robertson relies on a  6-year-old laptop to get his work done.

"Sometimes I'm in the field and we'll have a rush order -- someone's out of water and they need a well," said Robertson. "It took me 32 minutes to do one thing."

That's part of the reason the county plans to replace 1,400 computers with newer, more efficient models, starting this year.

It will cost close to $1.5 million.

Seminole County resident Dennis Ely said his computer, which he said described as being 6, 7 or 8 years old, works fine.

But computer experts said for businesses, even county governments, aging computers don't cut it.

"The longer that you keep a piece of electronics, the more likely that it is to fail," said Harry Ellis of Next Horizon.

He said an older computer can run considerably slower than the newer ones, especially when trying to run more than a couple of programs at the same time.

The result would mean slower services and higher maintenance costs.

As an example, Castro learned that while upgrading memory on a newer compute might cost $20, upgrading the memory on older computers can cost six times that much.

Still, it's a hard sell to Ely.

"Didn't we go the moon with Microsoft 3.5 or something? So why does the county have to upgrade?" said Ely.

The county said none of the county's computers have been replaced since 2009.

Commissioners will take a look at the plan next week.