Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a financial estimate intended to help buyers and owners determine the direct and indirect costs of a product or system. In the technology world, TCO covers the original cost of the computer and software, hardware and software upgrades, maintenance, technical support.
If Ron’s intentions are to use the computer for word processing, email, entertainment, and internet access then $500 should be all he ever really has to pay. In this scenario I’m assuming that he is buying a desktop, not a laptop. I’m also assuming he’s not building the desktop. I’m also assuming that entertainment means music and Netflix or something of that sort and not video games.
Currently on tigerdirect.com there are several All-in-one PCs to choose from that are under $500. These computers have all the software you need already installed for Ron’s purposes. In addition he may have to buy a mouse, keyboard, and printer. I’ll list some prices below to reflect what he may need.
DELL Optiplex 780 All-In-One PC – $279.99
HP Wireless Classic Desktop Combo – $23.99 (mouse and keyboard)
Canon PIXMA MG2520 All-in-One Printer – $29.99
For the basics we are up to $333.97. With this kind of computer there are really no hardware upgrades that need to be done especially for someone like Ron. Most software that you would otherwise need can be found free online such as an antivirus program. If he were to get a really bad virus on his computer a trip to the computer shop for maintenance and repair could be costly. I would advise him to back up all his important files on the cloud(also free) and if need be he could do a clean install if his computer is ever that corrupted. As for technical support, Google answers all. He could use this computer for the 4 years intended incurring minimal costs and when the time comes buy a brand new computer for around the same price, or cheaper. Who knows?
Now if Ron were going to be building a computer to be used for a specific purpose such as gaming, there would be a whole lot more that would go into the TCO of said computer.