It doesn’t seem all that long ago when computers and software were changing so rapidly that one was forced to buy a new machine every 3-4 years. The operating system changed. You needed a new system. Broadband replaced dial-up. You needed a new system. Processors and memory got way more capable. You needed a new system. And so it went.
A lot of that change was driven by Moore’s Law. Mr. Moore – a founder of Intel – postulated in 1965 that computers would become twice as powerful every 18 months. Remember in 1965 a typical computer system was the size of your living room. So Mr. Moore was definitely on to something.
A lot of what went on in the 1990s and early 2000s had to do with PCs becoming smaller, faster, more ubiquitous. But in the 2010s Moore’s Law didn’t seem to apply as much as it did before. Nowadays we are looking at a decade or more for Moore’s Law to apply.
Now consider the desktop pictured above. I own one like that, and right now I’m using it to type this post.
My Veriton M was shiny and new in 2012. It’s coming up on 9 years of age. That would have been an eternity in computer years back when we moved to Almonte. The computer I had then went for 6 years and would be hopelessly obsolete now. Its successor was a powerhouse in 2004 and still great when I got it used in 2007. Now it would be a useful boat anchor. The first one went for 6 years, the second 8, and the third at least 10 – I hope.
Technological obsolescence is less of an issue now than it was. Sure, my 2012 desktop cannot run the latest games at high resolution. It lacks some of the most recent hardware developments as well. Some of its components have failed and been replaced. Its memory, power supply, graphics, and storage have been upgraded. It was a solid business grade desktop with Intel’s best class of processors – ever. It may be geriatric, but in many ways it is just becoming middle-aged.
But I am worried a bit about the future. The stuff I would have expected to break on an old PC has done so. The most reliable stuff – processor and motherboard – continue to soldier on. If these items fail, it’s really game over.
Back in 2005, I had only one computer that allowed us to access the Internet. There was no social media, no YouTube, limited digital photos. Nowadays I have a backup desktop, a couple of laptops, even smartphones – so a singular desktop crash won’t be as crucial. And yes, I have that precious data backed up several times.
I have looked over the replacement landscape and although I’d be getting a faster, more capable, and more modern system today, my old clunker has just as good power supply, storage, and graphics as what’s out there. I’d be into an upgrade right away with a new PC so why bother?
It’s also a really bad time to build or order a new box because there is a silicon shortage thanks to COVID and Bitcoin mining. Prices for graphics cards and processors are really ridiculous – if you can get the parts at all.
My old system still does what I want and stays cool and quiet in the process. Maybe I shouldn’t worry, just be happy. As long as I can push the button tomorrow morning and hear that familiar “beep” it’s given about 3500 times so far – all will be well.