Happiness Is A Used PC

from the hang-on-to-that-PC dept

Another topic that keeps coming up over the past two years or so is whether or not the upgrade cycle for PCs has been “stretched”. It used to be that most people would replace a computer every three years or so. Now, people seem to be hanging onto old machines much longer. There are a few reasons for this. Most important, of course, is that (for the most part) applications that require more power just aren’t that big a deal any more. Most people use their PCs for web-surfing and email, and maybe a little word processing. Just about any old computer can handle that now. While there may be new apps coming along that require more power, so far they haven’t been all that convincing for the general population.

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Comments on “Happiness Is A Used PC”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Game consoles are the big killer of the upgrade cycle. Most folks used to upgrade their machines to keep up with the killer games that kept coming out. Now everyone has a PS2, GameCube, or X-box and the need to get the fastest PC available to run the coolest game is no longer a requirement.

And yeah, there’s been no cool apps in a while.

thecaptain says:

old PCs are awesome

I don’t make a lot of cash that doesn’t need to go into paying my student loan, rent, bills etc… so I don’t have much cash to put in towards a new PC every 2 years…but with everything going on (ie: the march towards palladium and drm hardware) I’m not sure I want to.

My last “treat” was an Athlon T-bird 21/2 years ago…its maxed on RAM and HD space and vid card…It’ll run great for years!

My laptop is used…a P333 with DVD drive…and running linux its as fast (or faster at times) than my 1.5Gig at work running windows 2000.

I like to tinker and I’ve gathered several PCs, a P233, a P166, a P133 and 7 P90s, lots of RAM, hard drives…all for basically nothing…Just looking for companies throwing this stuff away…and they are run quite well for basic computing tasks like file-serving (at home on my network) basic email, browsing, music and stuff like that.

When you consider that recent versions of Linux will run VERY well on older hardware…this stuff becomes GOLD! And I have spent maybe less than 50 bucks in the last year on all this stuff…many used PC places allow trades for missing parts (ie: I’ve traded extra HDs for ram or network cards etc…)

The only time I find I really NEED a big PC is when I play games…and even then…

slim says:

Here's the REAL reason

Microsoft MUST… MUST incorporate the ability for users to move their operating system in TOTO from one machine to the other using nothing more than a network cable.

Users WANT new machines, but cannot for the life of them justify the time required to reinstall and reconfigure EVERYTHING.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Here's the REAL reason

Come on. Agreed that Bill needs to provide that feature. But 90% of PC users are aloof and have no clue what’s installed, what works and what doesn’t, or how they will migrate to the new machine. They will take the most recent 10 files they worked on (this year’s stuff) and use a floppy to copy it to the new machine. The rest they will just forget about, and complain to their friends and coworkers “I used to have that file, but it’s on my old machine”.

Very few of us worry about the time or effort involved for switching machines.

Most users, even after using their boxes for years, still have the original factory advertisement program icons (Free! AOL) on their desktops.

Erik de Vries (user link) says:

Hardware upgrades are often a big waste of money.

Speaking as an urban peasant who saves most of his pennies to buy bread, I have long found that many, if not most box upgrades are a complete waste of money. It’s often better to keep the old in service, and to buy one or two key components which will help things along.

Does it really matter to the average user that it takes an office document 5 seconds to load on an older machine, where it might take half a second or less on a newer, faster one? Is this 4 and a half seconds really worth 12 to 16 hundred dollars a new middle of the curve machine represents?

I recently bought a new computer. It?s Dell 600sc server. (Heck of a deal at the time at 401 Canadian dollars.) It sits in the hall closet and serves my website. The interesting offshoot of this is that by getting this machine, I was able to use it to prop up my ancient but still perfectly capable NEC P-2200 (pent 200), the machine I use daily for email, web page building and surfing. It also allowed me to buy a cheap second hand IBM P-II for 75 dollars, to use to offer my streaming audio channel on Shoutcast. All the audio files are stored on the Dell of course.

It seems to me, that unless you are an avid gamer, or really like watching DVD movies on your machine, It doesn?t make much sense to rush out every year or so to buy the latest and greatest. If one spends the money with a little attention the sum of the parts can indeed exceed the worth of the individual totals.

Anonymous Coward says:

Denial is the First Step

I didn’t realize I was a neo-ludite until I noticed I was browsing the web and reading my e-mail on a 1997 vintage PI MMX HP Vectra.

So, I then upgraded to a Via Mini-ITX C3 800mhz unit and was able to read my e-mail and browse the web at exactly the same speed. It’s amazing just how far technology can come in 5 years…

After another 7 years or so, I think I’ll upgrade to Transmeta’s latest processor (if they’re still around). I’m pretty sure this will maintain my backwards speed compatability requirements.

I’m almost to the point where the number of gigabytes exceeds the number of megahertz. When that happens, I’ll probably reduce my upgrade cycle to once every 10 years.

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