20050629

Obsolescence

How to know when your computer is probably obsolete.

1. When a computer that is several years old (and not even top of the line when bought) runs faster than your current computer.

2. When you can buy a replacement computer for one-third the cost that is thirty times as fast.

3. When people, upon entering your apartment and seeing you computer, gawk in astonishment and say, "You have one of those???"

This is not to say that by being obsolete, the computer is useless. My old iMac is still very useful as a computer. In fact, I intend on using it as a test machine for making sure games I code work decently on low end machines (we're talking pretty low here). The idea being if it can run on my iMac, the number of people unable to properly play my game is probably very few.

However, for many purposes the old fishbowl iMac has shown its age. While it is perfectly capable of browsing the web, connecting to networked computers, and even playing games, it grows steadily slower as programs grow more processor hungry. I can play StarCraft on it no problem, but try WarCraft III and frames per second is no longer a viable unit of measure. I can surf the web, but start throwing flash pages at me and large sections of web to render and I'm doing the equivalent of driving thirty on the information super highway (still going places, just slowly).

Interesting though is the fact that my old blue is just as capable of word processing as any recent machine. I say interesting because that is the original purpose of the desktop pc, to replace the typewriter. Games, internet browsing, multimedia and whatnot all came later.

As such, I probably could make due with just my iMac for a few years yet. However, I'm working on building myself a new computer. I like tweaking things, and this is a good opportunity to satisfy my tweak urges. While performance is something I'm focused on, the real emphasis is on cheap. I'm hoping to do this for approximately three hundred dollars, but actually expect costs to run more akin to four hundred and fifty. Thanks to my father, I already have many vital components (it'll be fun fitting the Dell CD-ROM and floppy drive into a non-proprietary case) and most especially a monitor. Additionally, I recently won a pair of eighty gigabyte hard drives of ebay for some sweet RAID action. I may eventually get another pair, but for now two is enough.

I could rant about the specifications for my machine for a while, but I'll spare you all.

1 comment:

jo said...

Hey, whenever you want to get rid of that thing, call me up. My work could use an old iMac as a print server. :D