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Thread: Do you also think that PC tech lasts now longer then ever?

  1. #1
    Super MURCer Nowhere's Avatar
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    Default Do you also think that PC tech lasts now longer then ever?

    Allright, one of last chances for such thread, so here I go

    Right now I have a CPU that is almost 5 years old and a GFX card that's over 7 years old. And...this machine can perform gracefully practically every task a typical user would throw at it (OK, it was upgraded from 256 to 768MB, and from one to two HDDs, but those are minor upgrades along the way). And even though some of those tasks could be done in shorter time, the time it takes to complete them now isn't annoying at all. Imagine impossibility of something like that 10 years ago.
    If not for one small issue (not very typical...), I wouldn't mind not upgrading in foreseeable future. I guess I don't belong here anymore

    Not sure what's the conclusion of this...perhaps that Windows is the thing forcing upgrades So this is one of last chances for such thread not only because of problems with video playback under some weird circumstances, but also because next Windows is around the corner...

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Yes.

    My father is still using a PII-450 I bought back in 1999 (granted, it then was the top of the range model). It now has more RAM (384 MB) and a larger harddisk (40 GB, controller can handle over 36 GB drives), but it runs XP (drivers for everything!) and is still workable (even dial-up internet using a proper US Robotics modem works perfectly). He even uses it to edit his digital photos (5 megapixel!).

    Looking back, the previous PCs were unable to run even the OS that was released a couple of years after the machines: Windows 95 came out when my 486DX-66 was 2 years old, and this was impossible; same goes Windows 2000 and my Pentium 166 (not mmx).
    That PII-450 won't be able to run Vista, but hey, it is already 7 years old and hasn't caused a single problem.

    So yes, for normal use, PC power has become less of an issue.

    Given the current trend towards multicore, I think this will remain the same: for most uses, the applications required won't benefit that much from parallelism.


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    Super MURCer lowlifecat's Avatar
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    nah your fine dude. there are still P2s and P3s floating around out there (i know as i built quite a few of them as recently as 2 years ago)

    comp parts will last a good 10+ years if well maintained. you seemed to be satisfied with your system.

    look at it this way; say you got a top of a line system right now, would it make much difference in how you use your computer? you'd prolly spend half your time sitting staring at your monitor wondering what you where gonna do with all the extra horses.. then you'd go back to your normal routine which is already fulfilled with you current comp.. mostly.
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    MS Fanboy Gurm's Avatar
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    They're lasting a long time. "Longer than ever?" No, I don't think so. In the mid-90's I finally upgraded my mother-in-law's PC/AT, which she had been using to run her spreadsheets right up until the day I gave her a 486.
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    I also agree, my first few computers (P2, P3, Duron, Athlon) had a life span of no more than 1.5-2 years before things started stuttering...but again, this happened to coincide with Windows releases (P2 for 98, P3 for 2000, Duron/Athlon for XP) so I think the reason for the fact that people have held on to stuff more now is that the last 5 years have seen little real software evolution and no major Windows upgrade. 64 bit is upon us, though
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    MURCer spadnos's Avatar
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    I think things started to "slow down" when the speed of the PC got fast enough that it's faster than the average person needs it to be.

    That may seem obvious

    The thing is - people type at some maximum speed, they look at a monitor of a certain resolution (how many non-geeks even use 1280x1024? most are at 1024x768 or lower), they can only read so many emails and do so many entries in their checkbook program every hour. In the "early days", there were real advancements in the user interface - from the 6-block character graphics of the TRS-80 to many-window GUIs on ~1 MPixel 24-bit displays - that was a user-noticeable change. Additional software features like spellcheck-as-you-type or background searching increase the computing load, and provide a noticeable benefit to the user. Once the average PC can do all these extra things faster than a human can request them, you don't need any more speed upgrades. So we had to get faster PCs until they got fast enough to render a 4 megabyte 2D graphic display as fast as we can type. They had to get fast enough to search a database of words faster than we can type. Until we learn to type faster or get some other form of high-bandwidth user interface, computers won't need to get any faster for the average user.

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  7. #7
    MS Fanboy Gurm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spadnos
    I think things started to "slow down" when the speed of the PC got fast enough that it's faster than the average person needs it to be.

    That may seem obvious

    The thing is - people type at some maximum speed, they look at a monitor of a certain resolution (how many non-geeks even use 1280x1024? most are at 1024x768 or lower), they can only read so many emails and do so many entries in their checkbook program every hour. In the "early days", there were real advancements in the user interface - from the 6-block character graphics of the TRS-80 to many-window GUIs on ~1 MPixel 24-bit displays - that was a user-noticeable change. Additional software features like spellcheck-as-you-type or background searching increase the computing load, and provide a noticeable benefit to the user. Once the average PC can do all these extra things faster than a human can request them, you don't need any more speed upgrades. So we had to get faster PCs until they got fast enough to render a 4 megabyte 2D graphic display as fast as we can type. They had to get fast enough to search a database of words faster than we can type. Until we learn to type faster or get some other form of high-bandwidth user interface, computers won't need to get any faster for the average user.

    - Steve
    (ps - I'm typing this on my main work computer, purchased in early 2001: an Athlon 1800XP. The only upgrades have been a new HD (when the original IBM DeathStar died), increasing RAM from 512M to 1.5G, and replacing the G450 with a Parhelia (which also required 2 additional monitors ) It's only too slow when I'm synthesizing an FPGA or doing some other very compute intensive task. )
    I agree with all of this. Additionally, I think that until we change user interface paradigms again, additional computing power will be needed only for specific tasks.

    Edit: Except as forced by Microsoft... *sigh*
    Last edited by Gurm; 28th August 2006 at 11:18.
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    Super MURCer Nowhere's Avatar
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    Oh I don't know, Gurm...I'm guessing that your mother-in-law was using it in mostly the same way as when it was new. The point is that now one can be perfectly happy with 5 year old computer, doing on it everything a typical user does also with new computer. So I don't really need an upgrade, no matter what I'm doing on the machine (when talking about tasks of typical user).
    PS. Just realised this has perhaps something in common with following opinion on software/etc.
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    Last edited by Nowhere; 29th August 2006 at 03:28.

  9. #9
    Super MURCer GNEP's Avatar
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    It does seem things are slowing down a little bit, but I have 2 comments that may explain why in my case:

    1) As I'm getting older (yeah! I earn money!), I can afford relatively higher spec machines when I put them together. Thus instead of effectively buying the cheapest stuff that's already a couple of years out of date, I can afford better stuff to begin with. Interestingly, this probably puts me on a better position on the "bang-per-buck" curve.

    2) I've always (since I built a 386DX-40 with 4Mb RAM rather than the normal 1 or 2 Mb) over-specced the memory amount I put in a machine. Well, compared to what are the "standard" amounts in contemporary pre-built computers. Actually, I have an athlon-64 3000+ machine at the moment which only has 512 due to it being a secondary machine for a while and me "lending" some sticks to a friend. If I got round to getting that to 2Gb or so then that machine would feel waaaay faster. This strategy seems to be reflected in the posts above - and if there is any conspiracy from the Dells of this world to keep selling replacement new PCs for speed, it's because they don't give them enough RAM in the first place, and have traditionally sold on GHz (although this is changing finally).
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    Super MURCer Nowhere's Avatar
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    Update

    Seems this wasn't the last chance for such thread after all, since I still don't need badly to upgrade...

    I wonder how long my computer will last...I wonder if I can get 10 years out of GFX card (any bets? )

  11. #11

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    I have a fully functional maximum-tweaked 486 still. I find that I bust hardware or give it away before it dies of natural casues.

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    Super MURCer Greebe's Avatar
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    Last week I finally put to rest an 10 year old Cyrix system I built. Only because it was time to finally bury the thing due to an odd MB hardware error where it forgets about the PS2 mouse port. You can reset the bloody thing 100 times to much ado, but then out of the blue it'll start working agian. Has done this for at least the last 8 years and could take weeks before it's fixed. So in the mean time would be forced to use an oldy moldy Logitech trackball that was serial port only. Saved that thing for special occasions like this.

    Overall it's been a wonderful machine which ran 24/7 for 8 of the last 10 years. Has served as a firewall/router for many of those. Even helped me bust a child porn ring 5 years back (pats self on back) when some fool setup his site with unpatched Win2k server and was broadcasting (Code Red) his IP many months after the patch was released.

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    Super Hamburglar Mehen's Avatar
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    I think systems seem to last longer because there is more content for older systems than 15-20 years ago. Look at all that was available back in say '96. Those old computers still function fine for a large amount of applications. It's not the computer that gets out of date, its the software. As soon as the software becomes useless so does the computer.

    Now try playing FEAR on any computer more than a couple years old.
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    I have a Pentium II 350MHz, now using as a server. I got it back in 1999. Now it has upgraded video card (G400MAX from G200), more RAM (512 from 128), bigger HDD (40GB) and bigger power supply (Enermax 350W). That thing is rock solid, especially because its based on those crazy Asus P2Bs. Very well made motherboard.

    My brother is running an Athlon 1400 with a Radeon 8500 128MB. Time to upgrade, but that computer can go to my mom... she starts to browse the net, so its more than enough... maybe i'll get a better HSF since this one is on the noisy sound, but otherwise yes, I was also thinking these things last very long, especially for a typical users.

    The computer I listed below... is 1.5 years old. Back in the days 1.5 is a long time, but look at it, its still pretty good by today's standards...

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    Super MURCer Nowhere's Avatar
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    Damn, now I seem to be fine with the setup above, but with G450 PCI instead of G400 AGP (probably it's dead, or perhaps the AGP slot on the mobo...)

    BTW:
    Quote Originally Posted by |Mehen| View Post
    ...
    Now try playing FEAR on any computer more than a couple years old.
    Yeah, games were excluded; typical users don't play them...

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