|Upgrades out, replacements in
|Today people just throw out their old PC case, and buy a new one. For starters, it's because efforts to upgrade most systems are useless as design changes in internal parts render your old case obsolete.|
There was a time when 'upgrading' your PC actually meant keeping your current computer case (CPU) and just replacing the motherboard, or even just the processor.
In fact, until a few years ago, Intel assured users that their computers were 'expandable' and it even introduced a technology back in 1994 called 'Intel Chip-Up' by which you could simply replace the processor, not the whole board.
That was back in the pre-Pentium days when the price of computers dictated a situation whereby an upgrade cost less than one fourth the cost of a new system.
Today, however, people just throw out their old PC case, and buy a new one. For starters, it's because efforts to upgrade most systems are useless as design changes in motherboards, differing shapes of computer cases, and new slots and ports all render your old case obsolete.
So, you end up moving your old hard disk- with all your old files- to the new PC; and you get to keep your monitor, printer, mouse and keyboard.
These peripherals will serve you well even with the latest, fastest PC. If they approximately cost around JD150 on a new system, then you've saved that sum, at least.
What makes the replacement approach more acceptable is that the price of a new Pentium 4 case equipped with everything isn't that steep.
Roughly, nowadays in Jordan, the difference between replacing parts inside your computer case and buying an entirely new one is less than JD 100.
Notebooks, however, are a completely different story. Effectively, there is no upgrade! If you've spent JD 1,000 on a notebook, you'll just have to throw it away in a couple of years, at most. Notebook makers say it's because of Intel's varying chip architectures by which current processors will fit in the small casing of a notebook, or within a certain designed shape of notebooks; but future processors may not!
What's more, every time a new generation of Intel processors arrive, they bring with them a whole set of system changes that involve motherboard design changes and new bits and pieces on that motherboard which may not necessarily fit into the standard notebook casing of today.
Amidst this conversation, we cannot forget Microsoft's role in all this. The strategy of 'forcing upgrades' has been central to its success in selling new versions of operating systems and software. If you've got a Pentium II since 1999, and you've noticed that Windows 98 is painfully slow, especially if you've installed the Microsoft Office 2000 suite; then you should have a pretty good idea that you would need to junk your computer if you ever upgraded to Windows XP. In a way, Microsoft pushes you towards paying more for computer hardware, then paying more for their software.
If you think you can resist that, think again. Once someone, a colleague or a friend, sends you an attached word or excel file by email, created on the latest versions of those applications, you can't open those files without having the same new versions on your computer. Therefore, you've got to upgrade.
Also, new versions of Internet Explorer, including all the latest plug-ins, work best on fast systems. The Internet, in it's own right, is another driving force for upgrading.
If you've noticed that your two-year old PC is irritatingly slow in surfing the net, when it used to be quite fast a year or so before, it's because the web sites you visit are graphics intensive and because Internet site authors assume we've all got the fastest PCs. Well we don't.
Even if you go out and buy a new computer, you can rest assured that it will be useless within 24 months, so start saving as soon as possible for the next one. It's one of the harsh realities of today's PC industry. What will make this fact easier, hopefully, is the continued drop in prices and wide availability of choice for consumers. It's he only way that you won't feel the 'pinch' of forced PC replacement.