PC technology becomes obsolete fast

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Profile Mahoujin Tsukai
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Message 946085 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 7:13:45 UTC

Almost 2 years ago, I upgraded my PC to an Intel Q6600 with a new motherboard, 2GB DDR2 RAM, etc. It cost quite an amount of money. After some overclocking, it was a speed demon, crunching SETI@Home workunits more than 40x faster than my old overclocked Pentium III 1 GHz system. I was estatic for a while.

But now, I wonder if I had made the right choice. Most of the near-top-of-the-line computer parts I bought 2 years ago have devalued considerably.

PC technology advances VERY fast... maybe too fast.

I just wanted to say that what's top-of-the-line computer technology today won't be top-of-the-line for long. If you are going to spend alot on the best computer parts money can buy today, be prepared for serious depreciation.

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Message 946086 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 7:35:38 UTC - in response to Message 946085.  
Last modified: 9 Nov 2009, 7:42:28 UTC

Almost 2 years ago, I upgraded my PC to an Intel Q6600 with a new motherboard, 2GB DDR2 RAM, etc. It cost quite an amount of money. After some overclocking, it was a speed demon, crunching SETI@Home workunits more than 40x faster than my old overclocked Pentium III 1 GHz system. I was estatic for a while.

But now, I wonder if I had made the right choice. Most of the near-top-of-the-line computer parts I bought 2 years ago have devalued considerably.

PC technology advances VERY fast... maybe too fast.

I just wanted to say that what's top-of-the-line computer technology today won't be top-of-the-line for long. If you are going to spend alot on the best computer parts money can buy today, be prepared for serious depreciation.


Moore's Law, eh?
I'd still consider a Q6600 to be high-range. SETI@home is just a shining example of the pinnacle in consumer technology. The problem with comparing a system against a standard dedicated cruncher, is that it can give you a conceived bias that the system you own is "out of date", when in fact it is perfectly mainstream (at least).

Not all computers are like the ones here on S@H, I believe I read somewhere that 60% of PC sales in 2008 did not contain a dedicated graphics card.

(On the topic of PC obsolescence) You have to remember it isn't just CPU's that are getting more powerful, take a look at the HDD market, 2 years ago it would be relatively uncommon to have a 1TB HDD, now they are readily available and sizes up to 2.5TB are starting to be produced, RAM is increasing as well. 1-3GB was standard a few years ago, now you can by systems that have outrageous amounts of RAM. With 4GB, 6GB, 12GB, heck, if you want it badly enough you can cough up for 24GB.

A recent article in my PC Magazine that I have a subscription with (PC Authority Australia) had an article about the future of consumer technology and they extrapolated and estimated figures up to 2013, here are just a few of the excerpts:

High-end desktop specifications / Mainstream Desktop specifications 2010:
Six-Core Intel Gulftown CPU / Quad-Core Clarkdale CPU
Intel Larrabee or high end Nvidia GPU / Integrated Intel Graphics
12GB DDR3 Memory / 4GB DDR3 Memory
3TB HDD / 500GB HDD

High-end desktop specifications / Mainstream Desktop specifications 2011:
4Ghz Eight-Core Sandy Bridge CPU / Quad-Core Clarkdale CPU
Intel Larrabee or high end Nvidia GPU / Integrated Intel Graphics
24GB DDR3 Memory / 4-8GB DDR3 Memory
4TB HDD & 320GB SSD / 500GB 2.5in HDD

High-end desktop specifications / Mainstream Desktop specifications 2012:
High end Eight-Core Intel CPU / Quad-Core 22nm CPU
Intel Larrabee or high end Nvidia GPU / Integrated Intel Graphics
24+GB DDR3 Memory / 8-16 GB DDR3 Memory
6.5TB HDD and 640GB SSD / 1TB 2.5 HDD

Extrapolation past 2012 starts to get scratchy...

High-end desktop specifications / Mainstream Desktop specifications 2013:
High End 8/16-Core CPU / 4-8 Core CPU
? / ?
24-32GB DDR3 Memory / 12+GB DDR3 Memory
At least 7TB Total Storage / 1.5TB + HDD


I was planning on building a i7 crunching rig about a year ago. Total Cost? NZ$4400. Now, afte re-evaluating my options, I have found out the same system would cost me just over NZ$3500. NZ$900 drop in a year.

But, whatever the next few years holds in the technology industry, I'd say be prepared for a wild and bumpy ride from Nehalem 45nm via Sandy Bridge 32nm and onto your destination at Haswell 16nm.
- Luke.
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Message 946087 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 7:51:46 UTC - in response to Message 946086.  

6.5TB HDD and 640GB SSD / 1TB 2.5 HDD

By which time Windows will come on 3 dual layer DVDs, 2 Blu-Ray disks or 1 whatever is the thing to have then, installation will take over an hour and by the end of it, you're using 1.5TB for the OS... while you will have to disable half its options to be able to use any of it. ;-)
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Message 946090 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 7:59:10 UTC

Q6600 and 2gb of RAM is still a high-end consumer desktop platform. The parts are incredibly low-priced now compared to two years ago.

In fact, earlier this year (I don't remember exactly..it was in Q2 for sure..), I was curious about building a dedicated cruncher/portable game rig for LAN parties, and I assembled a list for just under US$400 that was q6600-based. That was board, cpu, ram, psu, and HDD. No video card in that setup..the board had onboard video which is fine for a headless cruncher.

The prices on technology start off absurdly high, and the hardcore people buy them. The prices come down after 3-6 months and it starts fitting into budgets better. Price continues to drop 6-12 months after launch and becomes affordable to most. After 12 months: bargain bin.

For my main rig, I spent US$1200 in October 2006, and I built it to last 5 years and be able to keep up. 2p server board. At the time, Opterons were to be the first to quad core, and desktop processors were not even rumored to have a general time period for going quad. The Opteron 2210 was $400. I only got one due to budget constraints.

January 2008, I picked up a second 2210 for $130. Earlier this year, I got two 2222's for under $375. In October 2006, the 2222's were nearly $2,000. So far my rig is holding up to my plan of lasting five years. Just passed three years into that goal. I could get two quads, but unfortunately the motherboard only does the barcelona quads, and not the shanghai quads. I need GHz more than cores, and barcelona only went to 2.5GHz.

Four cores of 3.0GHz and 4gb of RAM in dual channel is still above the average consumer-grade desktop, so I believe I'm fairing pretty well.
Linux laptop:
record uptime: 1511d 20h 19m (ended due to the power brick giving-up)
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Message 946117 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 14:20:18 UTC

You can always find a kid that can't afford a PC and give your not so up to date a machine another life. I have done that with 3 machines and the smiles are worth it.
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Message 946121 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 14:51:56 UTC

Computers = never ending money pit.

I only upgraded from a P4 3GHz system to a C2D E8400 this summer. For a time I had spent money to buy things when they first came out, but it doesn't make sense for the most part anymore.

For 99.99999% of the things I do I don't need the latest and greatest hardware. The only reason I upgraded my old computer was to have a more energy efficient one.
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Message 946122 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 14:55:44 UTC - in response to Message 946117.  

Whats funny is most folks aren't crunching on BOINC or needing the latest Video card to play their latest game. Heck my dad doesn't do anything more than look the newspaper online and order his pet meds. This doesnt require him to have the latest equipment. I'm betting that many folks are just like him. They just dont need the biggest, fastest, glitziest PC or PC components. I honestly haven't seen the need to buy a TB HDD. I have a 300GB HDD that I'm not even close to filling up. Of course I don't have hundreds of movies on my PC either.


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Message 946125 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 15:12:59 UTC

I went 6 years on my first MAC and have 3 1/2 on the current one. My current one is still plenty fast but Apple has stopped releasing new operating systems for the Power PC platform so an upgrade may be in the not so far future. This is a case of needing some of the software supported only in the Intel software. I won't upgrade just to be able to crunch work units faster as there is no way I can keep up with the super crunchers. I discovered the best way to keep my system fast was to use a program called Drive Genius to defragment the disk. I only run it once every few months, but it keeps my system running fast.
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Message 946128 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 15:21:26 UTC - in response to Message 946125.  

Its not about being faster than the next guy. Its just about doing what you can. I never wanted to be the fastest guy on the block. Heck just by being the fastest means theirs someone aiming to beat you. its a vicious cycle. and it really bleeds a wallet to get there


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Message 946149 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 17:21:55 UTC - in response to Message 946122.  

Whats funny is most folks aren't crunching on BOINC or needing the latest Video card to play their latest game. Heck my dad doesn't do anything more than look the newspaper online and order his pet meds. This doesnt require him to have the latest equipment. I'm betting that many folks are just like him. They just dont need the biggest, fastest, glitziest PC or PC components. I honestly haven't seen the need to buy a TB HDD. I have a 300GB HDD that I'm not even close to filling up. Of course I don't have hundreds of movies on my PC either.

My Mom (87 years old, running her own e-business) has a 550 MHz Via C3 that works flawlessly. It doesn't crunch, and it also draws very little power. It's perfect for her.
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Message 946153 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 17:30:24 UTC

I'd revise your topic to say that leading edge does not stay that way long. Bleeding edge still less so. If you are looking for bang for the buck over a significant period of time, including consideration of power costs, then you'll usually do best buying a little below the top of the line for stuff that came out about a year earlier.

Antique stuff is slow and burns far more power per cobblestone--so it is not the cheapest, though it may look so. Bleeding edge stuff carries a higher price premium than performance premium. Low end stuff that is modern is more expensive than it looks because the equipment cost for the rest of the system, and the power requirements of the rest of the system get amortized over less output.
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Message 946167 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 18:10:06 UTC

Considering when I started using computers and how much things have changed(1980), I say If It works for You, Then It isn't obsolete, It's just a bit older and possibly still useful. :D
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Message 946176 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 18:34:54 UTC - in response to Message 946167.  

Considering when I started using computers and how much things have changed(1980), I say If It works for You, Then It isn't obsolete, It's just a bit older and possibly still useful. :D


I started before that, back in high school. We had a PDP/8 (about the size of a fridge) that you inputted a bootstrap loader via the front toggle switches, and then read in your program via paper tape.

Then we moved up to a Wang office computer of some type (don't remember the model) that had a cassete tape storage unit built in next to the monitor screen, and a box about the size of a microwave oven that sat on the floor for the actual computer hardware. Woo Hoo! Progress!

I still have an original IBM PC with a 10 meg HD (huge back then) sitting in storage someplace. One of these days I should see if it still boots :p

You think it would be able to complete a seti wu in under a year?

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Message 946180 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 18:57:43 UTC - in response to Message 946176.  
Last modified: 9 Nov 2009, 19:01:02 UTC

when I started using computers and how much things have changed(1980)


I started before that, back in high school. We had a PDP/8 (about the size of a fridge) that you inputted a bootstrap loader via the front toggle switches, and then read in your program via paper tape.


You're all newbies. I started out on a beta of Stick w/Rock. We had to pound little holes into the earth by hitting the stick with the rock. It took over an hour to store the word "Zebra," and your fingers were probably bleeding afterwords. And if it rained, all your work was lost :(
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Message 946181 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 18:58:53 UTC - in response to Message 946180.  

when I started using computers and how much things have changed(1980)


I started before that, back in high school. We had a PDP/8 (about the size of a fridge) that you inputted a bootstrap loader via the front toggle switches, and then read in your program via paper tape.


You're all newbies. I started out on a beta of Stick w/Rock. We had to pound little holes into the earth by hitting the stick with the rock. It took over an hour to store the word "Zebra." And if it rained, all your work was lost :(

LOL....
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Message 946190 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 19:53:46 UTC - in response to Message 946176.  

I still have an original IBM PC with a 10 meg HD (huge back then) sitting in storage someplace. One of these days I should see if it still boots :p
You think it would be able to complete a seti wu in under a year?


It might be able to complete "Run CPU benchmarks" in a year. LOL

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Message 946196 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 20:48:36 UTC - in response to Message 946180.  

You're all newbies. I started out on a beta of Stick w/Rock. We had to pound little holes into the earth by hitting the stick with the rock. It took over an hour to store the word "Zebra," and your fingers were probably bleeding afterwords. And if it rained, all your work was lost :(

You're supposed to use a chisel. It's far more permanent than a stick.

... and if I'm not mistaken, most of the code was written in COBOL.
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Message 946198 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 20:53:54 UTC - in response to Message 946196.  

You're all newbies. I started out on a beta of Stick w/Rock. We had to pound little holes into the earth by hitting the stick with the rock. It took over an hour to store the word "Zebra," and your fingers were probably bleeding afterwords. And if it rained, all your work was lost :(

You're supposed to use a chisel. It's far more permanent than a stick.

... and if I'm not mistaken, most of the code was written in COBOL.



That was pre-chisel--
and written in COBRAL...
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Message 946199 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 21:03:50 UTC

Well i started with ALGOL now i prefer alcohol,
it makes crashes a lot less stressful.
and our `old` frend the the i7 920 will soon give way to the 930,
and i still havent bought one,
so Q1 of 2010 here we go . . .
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Message 946219 - Posted: 9 Nov 2009, 22:47:56 UTC - in response to Message 946176.  

Considering when I started using computers and how much things have changed(1980), I say If It works for You, Then It isn't obsolete, It's just a bit older and possibly still useful. :D


I started before that, back in high school. We had a PDP/8 (about the size of a fridge) that you inputted a bootstrap loader via the front toggle switches, and then read in your program via paper tape.

Then we moved up to a Wang office computer of some type (don't remember the model) that had a cassete tape storage unit built in next to the monitor screen, and a box about the size of a microwave oven that sat on the floor for the actual computer hardware. Woo Hoo! Progress!

I still have an original IBM PC with a 10 meg HD (huge back then) sitting in storage someplace. One of these days I should see if it still boots :p

You think it would be able to complete a seti wu in under a year?



Ah, the DEC PDP/8....I remember them well(ish), all those cream, orange, yellow and brown colours. At college, our PDP/8 resided in a constant temperature and humidity room and, you have to admit with all the various terminals connected and the 'add-ons' (tape drive units and the like) it did look impressive - like something out of an Irwin Allen series. I've also still got a fully functional IBM XT (8088 running at 4.77 Mhz) with a whopping 1 Meg of RAM (via upgrades) and a 10 Meg drive and, yes, it does have a lovely 'clacky' keyboard.

Years ago, I gave up being at the 'bleeding edge', back in the days of the 486 - even then, I could see that things were moving too quickly to stay at that edge and keep a roof over one's head! My current PC(s) were built to a price, with the common components being the case (CoolerMaster Elite 330/331),the MSI P35 Platinum m/b, HIS Radeon XT1900XT graphics cards, Patriot Extreme PC6400 RAM and the Hitachi 7K500 SATA drives. My PC has an X-Fi Extreme Music sound card, an 850w 'modular' PSU and runs an E6550, whilst the other runs an old SB Live!, a 650w 'modular' and an E6600. Each PC cost, around £200.....I can remember spending about £90 alone, on a NexGen board/CPU, back in the 90's! Thats progress. Still, my ancient P3/500 does come in useful for the older PC games - especially the ones that needed Voodoo accelerators to get the best from them (2 X Voodoo 2's in this case).



Don't take life too seriously, as you'll never come out of it alive!
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Message boards : Number crunching : PC technology becomes obsolete fast


 
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