Computers last just too darn long. That is, when you buy something half decent, I would add. My first computer was in constant evolution, since it was a white box (clone). Every few months, I’d change a few parts and try to squeeze more performance as the wallet permitted.
Then, as I joined IBM, I chose to get an IBM desktop, the very highest-end one: a P-II with a 17Gb HDD and 19″ CRT, which cost me about $4,500! I probably added for $500 of parts over the 4.5 years I had it. That’s right: 4.5 years!!! For someone like me that loves computing, that is a VERY long time to stare at the same system. But man was it nice: all-black (even the 19″ monitor), roomy enough for upgrades, and simply rock-solid… It would run 24/7 as a web server at times, connected through either dial-up or cable-modem (later). I sold it off to someone in the family, as I made the jump to Apple in 2003.
The iMac 1Ghz 17″ LCD I got then is fantastic. Again, it runs 24/7, and rarely crashes, never had a virus/trojan/malware and keeps up with the OS X updates without a problem. I’ve since upgraded it to 1.25Gb RAM and added a 802.11g ethernet card. This is our only home system now, and after 2.5 years, it still runs as great as when we got it.
I’m now wondering whether it makes sense to make a move toward the iMac G5, but that’s something my wallet will have to decide…
In terms of longevity, same can be said of some of my home electronics. My Sony 28″ TV has been going for 11 years now! And I’ve never owned more than one TV. This is still the main set we use for the whole family! 11 years… I’ve seen technology advances come and go in that time. I keep thinking I’ll replace it, but hey, it works… why spend now, when I can wait – and get something better.
My PDA (Sony Clie T665C) is still something I use and carry everywhere with me. It’s been 4 years now. It almost got replaced by a Treo 650 recently, but I chickened out as my Clie was still good enough for my needs. It doubles up as MP3 player, so no need for an iPod for me.
Given the speed at which some people upgrade, you’d think they had endless amount of cash. Me, I choose carefully, don’t mind going for the best, as long as I can get a reasonable TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). My IBM desktop cost me $1,000/yr, given its acquision, upgrades and resale price. My G4, if I sold it today, would have cost me about $850/yr. I expect that acquiring a G5 today for the next 2.5 yrs would cost about $650/yr (given an estimated resale value of $1,000).
Computing is getting better, cheaper and has the potential to last longer than before. ’tis a good time to be a buyer, I think. And who said They sure don’t make ’em the way they used to… ?