Hardware upgrade policy

Yesterday I upgraded my display for the Big One to a 24-inch Gateway FPD2485W. It’s a S-PVA, Pivotable large display that really makes sense to watch movies on.

My previous display was Sharp LL-T1811W, a regular TFT-TN 18″ LCD display. Such an upgrade always gives me the “wow”, since I upgraded from a two-class-behind equipment. This is what I intend to write about – your hardware upgrade policy.

We all have ou beloved machines. We tweak them one way or another. We play with them. We sometimes talk to them and yes, they speak back. Of course we all need to keep them in good shape and the best way to do it is to make sure they’re not running on outdated hardware, old technologies and don’t have unnecessary constraints. And that pays back – we’re not frustrated when something runs slowly, we don’t have those “too little memory” errors and we don’t hear our drives constantly scratching for the swap file. We simply use them without problems.

It comes with a cost, though. That’s why we cannot (well, maybe some of you can – I can’t) afford to replace our hardware whenever a new generation / feature comes in. We have to settle down on one of the two policies:

Early adopter. You buy new equipment quite often. Sometimes just after it’s been released, but mostly when you read some reviews of it and make sure it’s worth upgrading. You can sell your previous equipment for a reasonable amount of money.

Every couple years. You replace your equipment only when it brakes, stops working or is unbereably slow and frustrating. Usually your old equipment is not worth a penny when get rid of it.

Of course these are two examples, your behaviours will be somewhere between one and another. I compared the costs of each methodology and they’re not that different, surprisingly. When you’re replacing your hardware that’s relatively new, you can sell it and get more than 70% of price of the new hardware, so you’re just paying up for the difference. On the other hand, most of your couple-years-old hardware can only be sold for little to nothing on eBay or similar auction systems, or just given as a gift to your family, friends. So you have to pay the full price for almost every upgrade. Of course your mileage may vary.

I personally prefer to upgrade only when needed – the biggest difference is the “wow” factor here. Two or three years in IT make a dramatic difference, so when you upgrade your stuff after that time, you’ll mostly see all the pros and little of the cons. And you don’t have to spend 2 weeks choosing and reading reviews for the things you want to buy – you can simply compare their declarative parameters, read two-three trusted reviews to make sure it’s not a dead-end product line, and you simply buy itfrom your local shop. Or order it on eBay.

This way I can gloat over my new display / drive / DVD recorder with a peace of mind, not worring if I could choose the “10 bucks more expensive, with 1 extra feature” competitor – I’m usually overwhelmed by the difference between my new toy and the old one.

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1 comment

  1. Xenie says:

    Yes, I agree. Don’t upgrade to Windows 8 if you aerlady have a halfway decent computer with Windows 7. If you have anything running XP, throw the entire machine out a window a very high window, preferably eight stories up. Anyway, no, I just insist on buying multiple copies for computers yet to be unearthed.

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