General Question

10dier's avatar

Do we have to buy a new PC every 7 months?

Asked by 10dier (29points) August 27th, 2008

Every 6 months more or less, there is a “new” extraordinary PC which is more powerful, more secure etc. Then you think what you bought is totally crap now. The softwares are more and more powerful, they need more memory more RAM… What to do?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

34 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

Don’t buy a new one unless you need a new one. If you just got one, you don’t need a new one. Unless you are in a very specific field that absolutely requires it. But it seems unlikely.

winblowzxp's avatar

I have to concur with Empress

Tone's avatar

More power is useless to most people. A $500 computer has more power than the average user could ever need for email, surfing the web, etc. If you do things like video editing, play extremely resource-hungry games, or protein folding, you might need the latest-greatest. Otherwise, any modern machine will be plenty. Just get as much RAM as you can afford or your computer can support. That will have the most noticeable impact on performance.

PC hardware doesn’t make a computer more secure, software does. If someone is telling you this new computer is more secure, they’re lying.

RandomMrdan's avatar

I work in retail, and sell computers every single day I’m at work. I can honestly say the most common response I get when I ask “what do you plan to use this computer for?” is “well, mostly home use, internet, basic stuff”. something along those lines. If you get a middle of the road computer ball park price around 500 dollars for the actual system, you should be set for at least 3 years unless your needs may change in a system.

shadling21's avatar

Even though there are new computers coming out all of the time, your old one is not crap. If it does the job for you, then use it until it explodes. Or until you get into more resource-heavy activities.
by the way, it won’t actually explode

blastfamy's avatar

@Tone, on the contrary, the inclusion of the TPM has greatly increased security in the hardware aspect of things.

The update should really only come after one of two things:
Hardware failure – where it just stops working after being so gosh-darn old.—we just replaced a 10 y.o. HP computer. It ran for all needed purposes until the power supply failed epicly
Insufficient resources – if your computer can no longer complete the tasks you require (new software, games/programs run too slow, then it is time for an upgrade. This could be as simple as installing new RAM or a new hard drive! If, at the time of upgrade, the cost of upgrade/repair exceeds ~$300 (and you really want something better), then you should consider buying a new system. Nobody forces you to religiously upgrade your rig: you can only bring that upon yourself.

10dier's avatar

I will precise this question.
I am a designer who work with Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and Final Cut Pro (Motion Video), so I need HUUUGE power, especially for making motion video. For now I have an Imac 2.8 GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 Go of SDRAM. The maximum we can put inside this PC. I wonder if I need to change to get a more powerful one (I know with money all problems are easy to resolve! Haha! But…). Do I need to wait for the future MAC OS?

blastfamy's avatar

Are you running CS3 (CS3 for universal-ness. Speed will increase if you update) apps all together? Or just one at a time?

The question that you have to ask yourself is…
Does your current computer fulfill your needs. Do you feel like you are getting work done, or sitting, waiting for the beach-ball to go away?

Obviously, you have needs for high-end hardware (Final Cut would bring a mac mini to its knees!)
If the answer to the above question says that you are in need of something faster, I recommend a Mac Pro. They are expensive (base price is 2.5 grand!), but fast.

The key to buying computers and not feeling as though you have to keep on buying to stay relevant is future proofing. The maxim here applies: You can go first class, just not often. Buy the best that you can afford, pay for minor updates as you need to, and you can keep a single computer functional for a long time.

RandomMrdan's avatar

Your computer is able to accomplish the tasks at hand I’m sure (maybe not as fast as a mac pro). If you need another work station however, you may want to plan ahead a bit more to anticipate things like a memory upgrade later.

If you wanted more power at a lesser price, try talking to people who have built a computer and run Mac OSX on it (hack mac) I think they’re referred to as. But yes, Blastfamy is right, Mac Pro would be the way to go for you if you intend to future proof yourself.

10dier's avatar

Yes I’m using CS3.
Most of the time I use one at the time but I may have for example Photoshop opened with Motion, Entourage, Twhirl, Skype, Skitch… Some Mac apps in fact.

10dier's avatar

Thank you RandomMrdan and Blastfamy for your useful comments. Thank you all.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Well I’m saving up for one of these

OK, so it weighs 80kg and thats before you’ve added the 70kg of coolant but hey… I’ll get a stronger desk or something.

blastfamy's avatar

@RandomMrdan, you are talking to someone who has built a hackintosh as they are called, and I can tell you that there are far too many problems with them than most are willing to deal with. For instance, I was never able to get sound to work.

A great way to see what is being eaten up by combinations of open programs is to look at the activity monitor to see if you are actually maxing out your system in terms of common use CPU activity, as well as memory usage.

As to address the waiting for the next Mac OS X release, it will come out next year, and be a major optimization build. It will absolutely run on both your current iMac, as well as any other mac you intend to purchase in the future. If you do buy a Mac pro, be sure to get it with a heavy-duty gfx card, as 10.6 will offer a system to use the gfx card like never before!

10dier's avatar

Interesting! : )

shadling21's avatar

I DON’T recommend Mac Pro. I love Mac to death, but those computers are too inflexible (for upgrading) and too expensive.

Hackintosh is an option – I built a PC with the specs of a mid-range Mac Pro and installed the Mac OS onto it. Definitely problems there, but if you have time and some extra cash you can get it to work.

Stick with your PC. If Final Cut Pro isn’t crashing it, nothing will…

mirza's avatar

Nope. You simply have to learn to be satisfied with one computer and maximise it performance. I used a dell inspiron laptop for three years and never had a problem (mind you i was also using Adobe cs3 design premium for web design). Right now, i have a basic macbook and so far no problems

shadling21's avatar

Wait, are you running Mac or Windows?

10dier's avatar

I have an Imac, ( For now I have an Imac 2.8 GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 Go of SDRAM), with Mac OS X 10.5.4

RandomMrdan's avatar

@shadling21 how would a mac pro not be flexible in the way of upgrading?

RandomMrdan's avatar

@blastfamy and yes, I have heard of the difficulties of running a hackintosh…I work with a friend who has accomplished it, and he has told me of just a few of the difficulties making it all work together.

The only thing I can say is, if you have the time, patience, and expertise to make it work, go ahead, but if you are like myself, or most people for that matter, just buy a Mac instead. I don’t like headaches when it comes to making my computer work properly.

10dier's avatar

@mirza: I understand your point Mirza. I didn’t want here to start a “war” between Windows PC and Mac, because I used both of them for a long time. So this war is a non sense for me, it’s depend on your needs and what you are expecting for your pc. In my last job I have an open credit to buy what I wanted, I took a Dell Precision (the most expensive one with… everything and something like 32 Go Ram); with CS3 installed and motion video etc: I had a lot of problems with it, crash etc. All the time. And then now for my needs I have decide to return on Macintosh and I feel (until now) happy about the result, no crash again, everything’s working fine (I guess it’s a bit luck too!) but just sometimes I need memory and more RAM to work on Motion video with good resolution. And I was wondering what is the “perfect” solution for… at least 3 years! ; )

10dier's avatar

I thought Mac Pro was VERY flexible… Am I wrong?

shadling21's avatar

Actually, yeah, a Mac Pro would be flexible… it’s mainly the lower-range Macs that frustrate me. And the fact that there is a huge gap between iMac and Mac Pro. And that I want something between the two.

I realize that I’m getting away from the question. No, people do not need to buy a new PC every 7 months. You can keep the same computer for years and it will still do what you need it to do. And I think that certain players in society want us to constantly want more, want better, want faster, etc. Even though it may not be what’s best for us.

blastfamy's avatar

I agree with @RandomMrdan, it currently lets you put in 32 Gigabytes of RAM!! Is there another machine sold by another company (that the masses have heard of) that can do that?

@10dier, if you decide to get a new mac, make it a Mac Pro! If you need convincing as to the flexibility, look at the specs, and ordering page. Configure it to what you need/can afford; this machine will easily last you 5 years. The key is future-proofing.

10dier's avatar

Thank you all! : )

wilhel1812's avatar

Depends on what kind of computer you have. a lot of people still use the ibooks over 5 years old. I use a MacBook 3 years old, it works very much without any problems at all

sndfreQ's avatar

The two magic words you said were Final Cut Pro and Motion; while FCP isn’t particularly processor-intensive for the majority of uses, you’re going to bottleneck on the three things the Mac Pro is designed to accommodate: upgrading graphics card, adding more RAM, and faster hard drives (and eventually upping to a basic RAID config). Problem with the iMac is that with the exception of RAM (which caps at 4GB), your stuck with fixed specs.

Motion and After Effects like to see 8GB of RAM, and multi-track video compositing in FCP necessitates higher-end graphics cards and a RAID (or the newer 3Gbps drives; faster still if your going to edit multi-stream HD). At best your iMac can only throughput data at 800Mbps on the fw800 bus.

Mac Pro-upgrade the RAM to 8GB or better, then the graphics card, then hard drives in that order.

winblowzxp's avatar

I saw TPM earlier, but no elaboration on the subject. TPM is a bad idea; it’s basically hardspyware. It may be a bit more secure, but the severe invasion of privacy is a big deal.

blastfamy's avatar

@winblowzxp, I was only referring to the disk encryption aspects of the TPM. This is a definite hardware security feature, as I was commenting on.

While it can be used in egregious DRM schemes, the lack of prevalence of the TPM tells me that such DRM schemes are hard to come by. If the TPM became more common, I would start to worry.

aidje's avatar

I’ve had my MacBook Pro for 32 months, and it’s still just fine. I haven’t even upgraded to Leopard, and that’s usually only a problem when I come across a random piece of freeware that isn’t backwards compatible. When this notebook dies, I’ll replace it.

Skyrail's avatar

No you don’t. The reason why these new computers come out is because people are always buying computers. Even though you may have bought your last PC only 5 months ago, doesn’t mean someone who bought their last PC 5 years ago doesn’t want a new PC. You don’t have to buy a new computer at all, if speed was everything to you, you would learn more about hardware and upgrade yourself just for the sake of cost and conveinience. The industry is always moving and improving, and it’s the same with everything. People like newer, faster, better things. Cars, computers, televisions, mobile phones etc. each have a different purchase cycle for different people, but there will always seem to be ‘bigger and better’ because that’s the industry. It doesn’t just release a perfect item and leave it at that, because nothing created is perfect!

winblowzxp's avatar

Just remember that when you buy a new computer, it’s obsolete before you get out the door.

eyoki's avatar

No, as long as you buy one that does a bit more than you need it to do when you buy it, it will do you for at least three years – maybe more depending on what you use it for.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Gadzooks, to keep from buying a new computer every 7 months is to build one yourself just the way you like it. I have NEVER purchased a PC of the shelf or out the box. I go online or to Fry’s find a case and power supply I like then go find a motherboard and CUP bundle that has the speed the memory capacity, ports, front side speed, back side speed, etc that I like and put it in there, then choose a HD and DVD/CD RW etc to go with everything. For $300 I can build me a PC that would cost me $500+ out of the box or off the shelf, and it won’t do exactly everything I wanted anyhow. Upgrade my friend, get something you can upgrade for a couple of years until the board is too slow.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther