To determine which product is a better value, you need to take into account the full cost of ownership over the lifespan of the product. You can’t just look at the difference in price, but you need to take into account the full cost associated with the product, including durability, reliability, and longevity, to get a full picture of what it will cost you in the long run.
For example, if we compare the high quality duplication grade Optiarc AD-5290S series of CD/DVD recorder drives with a competitor’s low cost CD/DVD recorder drive. In this scenario, the alternative drive is say a couple of dollars cheaper than the Optiarc drive. However, the alternative drive lasts only 6 months at most under the heavy duplication production, while the OPTIARC lasts at least 12 ~ 15 months under the same production load. That means that you would have to purchase 2 ~ 3 replacements of the alternative drive over the lifetime of a single OPTIARC drive. So that initial minor savings is not only wiped out, but you end up paying nearly 2 ~ 3 times more for the alternative drive(s) compared to the OPTIARC over the lifespan of the drives.
In this scenario, I only looked at the true hard dollar costs of ownership, there’s also the issue that the OPTIARC offers superior quality and less rejects than the competition. That’s another cost that should be counted when determining the overall cost of ownership. Optical drives may not be very expensive and therefore you may not think it’s worth doing a cost projection for them, however, when you consider the number of times you have to replace your drives, then you’ll quickly realize how those savings can add up.
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