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PC Upgrades – To Wait or To Buy Now

, posted: 28-Apr-2006 14:25

It is a constant dilemma, do you upgrade your PC now (either wholesale replacement or incremental) or wait until the “Next Big Thing” is released. Being in the I.T industry, I always feel the ‘need’ to upgrade, knowing that doing so will make my PC faster and more responsive (well, according to the salesmen!).  But how much so?  Will I even notice, apart from the drop in my bank balance? Waiting is always an option, and of course there is always going to be a ‘Next Big Thing’ released at some point, so you could wait forever.  But as new technologies are introduced they become incompatible with older hardware, facilitating a complete upgrade.  Case-in-point: CPU’s.  Whilst Intel has always been in the ‘screw the early adaptor, we will upgrade that CPU socket as it is older than eight minutes” camp, AMD has traditionally had a specific standard around for longer.  Socket A was around for years.  But as I write this, there is currently socket 754, 939 and 940, and the new AM2 and F2 sockets are about to appear. I am still using a Socket A system (dual XP-M’s running at 2.4Ghz) so any changes would mean a new motherboard.  And RAM.  And possibly video, since I am still using AGP.  This system does mean fine, I have just upgraded to a NVIDIA 6800GT card, so I can play all current level games.  So I would ‘loose’ that upgrade to another new video card.  I also have 2GB of RAM, and buying another 2GB is not cheap.  Soon I have upgraded my entire PC! What I SHOULD do is ascertain this: does my current PC meet my needs, or would an upgrade allow me to be more productive/efficient/frag better? The gaming equation is simple, the more modern (and faster) then hardware, the better the games run, especially at higher resolutions.  Any upgrade to a new CPU would yield an increase for me.  But, I am not a hard core gamer. Sure, I like my games, but I also use my PC for work, and I have an Xbox and PS/2. Being ‘more productive’ and/or ‘more efficient’ is harder to measure.  If it means not having to wait for my PC, that is easy.  But then I hardly ever do.  It takes time to boot, load some games levels (Far Cry anyone?), re-encode video etc, but these are all tasks I DON’T do on a daily basis.  For everything else, there is no delay. Do I guess I will wait a few months for the new CPU’s from Intel and AMD to appear, and then start this whole process again!

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Tim Anderson
New Zealand

I work in IT in the software field, and I am also lucky enough to review products for a local technology magazine. I have a passion for technology in all respects, from it being an integral part of everyday life to providing fun such as games.

I try to blog about the products I review and post them here, so keep an eye out.

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