When does a new computer make sense...

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WolfgangPauli
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When does a new computer make sense...

Postby WolfgangPauli » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:20 am

Hi,

Just asking for some advice and thoughts on new computers. I remember the "hayday" of computers when capabilities were growing so fast I would literally buy one every two years or so. However, since about 2005 or so, I have seen very little compelling evidence to go get a new one. I have a Mac Book Air which is an "early 2010" model so it is approaching 7 years old. Seems to work fine and even took the latest upgrade from Apple.

However, because I really don't know what I am missing I have not thought to buy a new one. I just keep saying to myself this is good enough.

So, looking for advice from someone who has fretted with this same issue. Is it worth buying a new one?
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Jags4186
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby Jags4186 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:30 am

If you don't feel like you're missing anything and your computer works fine there is no reason to upgrade.

There hasn't been any significant advancements in a while in regular PCs. Just faster more power efficient chips and longer battery life. Unless you do something that requires that you aren't missing out.

Only big difference I have seen is the proliferation of solid state drives. That more than anything has made computers way faster and more responsive. You probably have on in your computer.

miles2go
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby miles2go » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:34 am

Jags4186 wrote:If you don't feel like you're missing anything and your computer works fine there is no reason to upgrade.


Agree. If current computer is sluggish, get a new one. You can save some money and buy behind the curve to be more BH like.
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keystone
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby keystone » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:44 am

I think it makes sense when the performance of your existing computer is annoying you.

I just replaced my 9 year old Gateway. It was still working, but my wife was complaining about sluggish performance and it was starting to annoy me too. I also figured that 9 years was long enough, it has exceeded it's estimated useful life and new computers are so cheap nowadays that it made sense to replace it.

We have very basic computing needs - doing our taxes, the occasional Excel spreadsheet, web browsing and YouTube videos for my 3 year old son. I ended up buying the Lenovo in the link below (paid $329.99) and upgraded to 8gb of ram. It's been working great for us.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-510s ... Id=5578757

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in_reality
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby in_reality » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:45 am

I'll never go back to a non-Retina screen. Not sure you need one though and we haven't upgraded the iMac to one with an SSD or better screen.

Happy with the new macbook.
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WolfgangPauli
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby WolfgangPauli » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:50 am

Any experience with chrome books?
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nick evets
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby nick evets » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:04 am

WolfgangPauli wrote:Hi,

Just asking for some advice and thoughts on new computers. I remember the "hayday" of computers when capabilities were growing so fast I would literally buy one every two years or so. However, since about 2005 or so, I have seen very little compelling evidence to go get a new one. I have a Mac Book Air which is an "early 2010" model so it is approaching 7 years old. Seems to work fine and even took the latest upgrade from Apple.

However, because I really don't know what I am missing I have not thought to buy a new one. I just keep saying to myself this is good enough.

So, looking for advice from someone who has fretted with this same issue. Is it worth buying a new one?


Well...the "early 2010" is the release date for your model, and not the actual build date, so it's possible your MacBook is only 5 years old, or so....

But this question falls into the 'want to have' vs. 'need to have,' and there are valid reasons for wanting something new and shiny, and keeping what you have. :)

Newer models have SSD's, better battery life, better displays, faster processors, more RAM, and so forth. How much does this matter? Hard to say: if your browser is basically your desktop, and you use a couple standard office-type applications, probably not much. Video/photo editing, gaming, programming....yes, improvements start to matter.

You could get a couple hundred bucks for yours on Craigslist, buy a new or refurbished model, and be only out another $800-1000, and get another 5 years out of it -- it's simply not a whole lot of money, imo, whatever you do.

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yatesd
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby yatesd » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:12 am

I switched from a Macbook Air to a base Macbook Pro. Although I think Mac's are overpriced, I still upgraded:

- Got a decent trade-in value from http://www.gazelle.com and the process was painless. Actually got a 10% increase for choosing an Amazon credit instead.
- Better screen
- Faster
- Better lighted keyboard (the keyboard being backlit with no light bleed using LED's with 3-levels is one of my favorite features).
- Figured that failure was imminent and wanted to manage a smooth transition

Also considered a Dell XPS 13, which is highly rated. I had a bad experience with Dell customer service and bought the Mac again out of spite. I do like the idea that my Apple Watch automatically logs me in.

amd2135
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby amd2135 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:28 am

I say keep it until El Capitan stops getting security updates, as your machine does not support the latest OS (Sierra).

At that point you will need to upgrade or install an OS that still gets updates (Windows, Linux).

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Toons
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby Toons » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:29 am

miles2go wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:If you don't feel like you're missing anything and your computer works fine there is no reason to upgrade.


Agree. If current computer is sluggish, get a new one. You can save some money and buy behind the curve to be more BH like.



+1
Agree ,,,sluggish 8-)
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

petulant
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby petulant » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:35 am

OP, that model's definitely getting long in the tooth. I don't think you need to bust down the store's door to get a replacement, but I think it's a good idea to start planning now.

My advice is to look on ebay for refurbished MacBook Airs. I bought a refurb'd 13 in. 2012 model in late 2015 for right at $600. It has stayed updated very well, plenty of space for me, great battery life. All the great Apple software. If it breaks, I only put $600 in it.

By now there should be plenty of newer models in the ~$600 range.

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F150HD
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby F150HD » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:45 am

WolfgangPauli wrote:Hi,

Just asking for some advice and thoughts on new computers. I remember the "hayday" of computers when capabilities were growing so fast I would literally buy one every two years or so. However, since about 2005 or so, I have seen very little compelling evidence to go get a new one. I have a Mac Book Air which is an "early 2010" model so it is approaching 7 years old. Seems to work fine and even took the latest upgrade from Apple.

However, because I really don't know what I am missing I have not thought to buy a new one. I just keep saying to myself this is good enough.

So, looking for advice from someone who has fretted with this same issue. Is it worth buying a new one?


I seem to replace every 5ish years (Windows machine, not Mac). By then mine starts lagging etc (even w/ a factory reset), and have also found I don't feel as secure online on an older machine - example - some parts of Kaspersky Total Security won't run on older chip architecture (screenshot protection for example) - so on that note, I have no issue buying new every 4-5 years or so with a new upgraded OS and chipset.

SSDs are now cheaper too (as someone stated) tho that means non SSDs are huge and cheaper too. For $300ish (or less) one can pick up an average machine at Best Buy that will last years.

glock19
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby glock19 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:05 am

I have built my own desktops for years. I used to build a new machine every 2-4 years depending on technology advances. My needs are simple, internet, Excel, Word, Quicken, etc. The desktop computer I'm using now is 4 years old and still performs great. My only upgrade has been to Win 10, an SSD and two 24" monitors. My point is that no longer is it necessary to frequently upgrade unless you get new software that demands it.

When I hear folks say their computer is sluggish my first thought is their software. Many download programs that add a lot of bloatware that eventually slows the machine to a crawl. Viruses and malware can also be an issue.

I would suggest to reformat your hard drive and reinstall application programs (after backing up data) once every year or two. If you are unable to do that, most desktops and laptops come with a backup that allows you to take the computer back to it's original factory state. After doing that remove ALL programs that you will not use. It's just like cleaning your house! Especially remove Norton products as they can add tons of overhead to a computer.

Again, unless you have specific hardware upgrade needs, try cleaning up your existing computer before buying a new one.

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Cosmo
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby Cosmo » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:11 am

in_reality wrote:I'll never go back to a non-Retina screen. Not sure you need one though and we haven't upgraded the iMac to one with an SSD or better screen.

Happy with the new macbook.


I have a 2011 iMac model so going on six years. Still working just great; I have not noticed any slow down yet. In fact, when I compare the performance between that and my brand new MacBook Air, I don't really notice a performance difference between the two. Although to be fair, I went ahead and upgraded the RAM (I have the 21.5" model that you can upgrade yourself) to 12 GB a few years ago so that seems to really help.

Cosmo

Alexa9
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby Alexa9 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:32 am

The latest processors support 4k displays @ 60hz for gaming or home theaters. Solid State Drives are super fast now - almost instant startup. Better graphics cards, faster wifi, faster ports for transferring data. If you want a Mac, there haven't been any significant updates in years other than the MacBook Pro which got mixed reviews. PC's update more frequently.

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cockersx3
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby cockersx3 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:35 am

glock19 wrote:I have built my own desktops for years. I used to build a new machine every 2-4 years depending on technology advances. My needs are simple, internet, Excel, Word, Quicken, etc. The desktop computer I'm using now is 4 years old and still performs great. My only upgrade has been to Win 10, an SSD and two 24" monitors. My point is that no longer is it necessary to frequently upgrade unless you get new software that demands it.

When I hear folks say their computer is sluggish my first thought is their software. Many download programs that add a lot of bloatware that eventually slows the machine to a crawl. Viruses and malware can also be an issue.

I would suggest to reformat your hard drive and reinstall application programs (after backing up data) once every year or two. If you are unable to do that, most desktops and laptops come with a backup that allows you to take the computer back to it's original factory state. After doing that remove ALL programs that you will not use. It's just like cleaning your house! Especially remove Norton products as they can add tons of overhead to a computer.

Again, unless you have specific hardware upgrade needs, try cleaning up your existing computer before buying a new one.


+1 on this! We reformat our computer hard drives about every 12-18 months and reinstall needed software, basically whenever they start to get sluggish. One thing that is helpful is that we store all of our files on Dropbox or on a local NAS, so our personal files are automatically reloaded back onto the machine as soon as we reinstall Dropbox and sync to their servers. No need to pull everything off the machine and reload everything manually.

If the machine still seems sluggish after wiping it, that's usually when it's time to consider upgrading. The other consideration would be how often you the machine. I got a tablet about a year ago that I use pretty much exclusively now, so I'm willing to live with somewhat sluggish performance on my laptop given how infrequently I use it now.

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Watty
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby Watty » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:53 am

One factor to consider is that replacing the computer before it dies is a lot less painful than having your computer die and then having to replace it in a hurry and get all your data restored on the new computer from a backup from the old computer. With Murphy's law that will likely be at a bad time for you or when there are not a good sales.

There are often good computer sales in June for graduations and in August for back to school sales so you might want to see if you can find a good sale then.

Seven years is a good run for a computer, that is 84 months so if it cost you $840 when it was new that is only $10 a month. Keeping it for another year will not lower the monthly cost of ownership much.

tim1999
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby tim1999 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:15 am

I wait until they get so jammed up with crap from the internet that I can't seem to get rid that the slowness is frustrating. In recent years I've been able to get 3-4 years out of netbooks and desktops that I buy new for around $300-$400. On a 3-4 year old model it's not worth paying someone to fix it.

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TheTimeLord
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby TheTimeLord » Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:23 am

To me if you have a desktop with a monitor smaller than 27" and resolution of 1920x1080 or less you are missing something. If you have a laptop with a resolution of 1920x1080 or less and no SSD you are missing something. If you are not running a mesh network in your home provided it is bigger than an apartment you are missing something. If you are a windows 10 user with a laptop without a touch screen you are missing something. So yes, almost certainly with a laptop of that age you are missing something. Now if it is worth anything to you or not I can't say but there is some really great hardware out there but it isn't in the $300-$500 range.
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Angelus359
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby Angelus359 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:44 pm

I buy new hardware every 4 years.

Older just drives me batty, as I'm a gamer.
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TheOscarGuy
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby TheOscarGuy » Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:09 pm

WolfgangPauli wrote:Hi,

Just asking for some advice and thoughts on new computers. I remember the "hayday" of computers when capabilities were growing so fast I would literally buy one every two years or so. However, since about 2005 or so, I have seen very little compelling evidence to go get a new one. I have a Mac Book Air which is an "early 2010" model so it is approaching 7 years old. Seems to work fine and even took the latest upgrade from Apple.

However, because I really don't know what I am missing I have not thought to buy a new one. I just keep saying to myself this is good enough.

So, looking for advice from someone who has fretted with this same issue. Is it worth buying a new one?


No reason to upgrade if the previous one works fine. Most casual users don't need the latest and greatest, and those who do know that the need it.
I am in Tech industry. I upgrade my personal computers when they stop working. Most of my work is done on work computer anyway, so I don't need to upgrade as often as say a freelancer/contractor.

michaeljc70
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby michaeljc70 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:36 pm

I would agree that unless the old one is sluggish (and cannot be fixed by cleaning it) or you really need a new feature, there isn't much reason. I could see if you carry a laptop around a lot that they are much thinner/lighter now and the battery life is better.

If it is a laptop, eventually the batteries need to be replaced and that can be expensive. Combined with the battery and a new version of Windows (assuming you use Windows), it might make sense to dump it then.

aqan
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby aqan » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:46 pm

WolfgangPauli wrote:Any experience with chrome books?

My middle schooler got one from school.. seems okay if you do most of your stuff on the browser. You don't really have an option of installing apps locally. So no excel, word etc on your computer.

lightheir
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby lightheir » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:50 pm

To add to the 'no need to upgrade' advice, also remember that OP has a Macbook Air.

Without intending to antagozize the pro-anti-Mac cultists, I have been extremely impressed with Mac laptops from that era. I am a fairly die-hard PC user, and my last 3 laptops were all mid-lowrange PCs.

My wife's Macbook from 2010 beats all 3 laptops, including the most recent one, on nearly everything, despite being older. Far better design, better screen, better keyboard/touchpad, more reliable wifi, and despite the older CPU, it seems to surf webpages faster than Win10 + newer laptops. It's pretty impressive to me, actually. But to be fair, the Macbook costed about 30% more than the comparable PC laptops at the time.

We are still using that 7 year old Macbook regularly, and honestly, I have no reason whatsoever to upgrade it. Even the battery is holding up well!

My PC laptops are, however getting a little glitchy. Not sure if it's a WIN10+old hardware thing, but one of them drops the internet every 10-15mins (I confirmed the hardware setting isn't auto-offing the network adapter to save energy) despite a fresh Win10 reinstall recently, 2 hard drives have failed (replaced with SSDs), and one of them has soldered-on 4GB RAM which cannot be upgraded. 4GB RAM + Win7 is noticeably slow, really bad (I've confirmed the RAM limitation while using the system resources, confirming HD access to compensate for RAM maxxing.)

I haven't used a Chromebook yet, but if a 4GB RAM Chromebook is this slow, it's a deal breaker for me. Weirdly, the 4GB of RAM on the Mac has no performance hit compared to my 8GB laptops which aren't RAM limited.

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Ged
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby Ged » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:17 pm

I am finding that my computers are lasting 5 years or so now. These days it's changes to the peripherals more than the CPU that are driving me to build a new machine.

This time it was SSDs, PCIE 3.0, USB 3.1, a 4K video card and so forth. The CPU and memory were not improved on much over the past 5 years.

anoop
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby anoop » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:59 am

I recently upgraded from a 2010 13" MBP to a mid 2016 non-touch-bar 13" MBP. The main reason for the upgrade was the laggy performance of the old machine (could take several seconds to start an app like, e.g. skype), but also it would get hot and the fan would turn on a lot, probably because it was getting stressed by rich media on websites.

The screen on the new machine is amazing, the speed is also great, and it runs cool and silent, so at least for me it was a very worthwhile upgrade. I did have a RAM failure within the first 2 months of ownership and Apple replaced the system board. That was a pain (took 3 calls to Apple support and a trip to the local Genius Bar), but it's working fine now. I'll probably buy Apple Care. Lack of ports and the consequent need for dongles is a bit of an inconvenience.

Slacker
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby Slacker » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:07 am

My computer is about 5 years old, still humming along just fine (Dell XPS 15Z).

When I really get the itch to get something that performs better, my plan is to just swap from the old HDD to a solid state drive. Perhaps a similar upgrade can help your current computer "feel like new again".

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jharkin
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Re: When does a new computer make sense...

Postby jharkin » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:38 am

These threads always amuse me... so full of strong opinions and many seem to think their own unique situation is the same view everyone takes....

Like the folks who say just reformat it (OP is a Mac user... reboot and reformat are not the magic cleanup tools on a Mac the way they work on windows)

Or at the other end of the spectrum the guy who says you are not cool if you dont have a 27 in screen and run a mesh network (I've worked 20 years in the software development industry and Ive never used either... mesh is only beneficial to people who live in enormous homes that have trouble getting wifi coverage to far rooms. If this is one guy with a laptop in an apartment its pointless...)

This is kinda like every "what car" thread where somebody jumps in and says that Apple CarPlay is a must have game changer. Funny, I thought round rubber tires where the game changer in cars....




OP-
The bottom line was covered in the first response. You "need" a new computer when your current model doesn't do what you want it to do well enough or fast enough. period.

Im a windows guy but interestingly followed the same path that you nad others have - I used to build new PCs every ~2 years all through the 90's and early 2000s up until I got my current system - a first generation i7 quad right about 2010. Along the way I updated it with a SSD (that change alone was like getting an all new PC), and new graphics cards twice and have been able to stretch it out quite comfortably. Even at 7 years old, if all I needed it for was web browsing and business apps it could still go a few more years no problem. I *may* consider upgrading just because there are some design apps and games I want to use that can make use of (but dont absolutely require) more RAM than this machine will take.


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