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How over powered are modern PCs?

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Reply 100 of 103, by BitWrangler

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If you'd have done your upgrading by decades, with the assistance of a crystal ball, with maybe a CPU or accelerator midlife, you could have gone 81-91 on the IBMPC, with maybe a V20 thrown in it later.. 91-01 with a 486 board, maybe one of those AMD 133 on interposer upgrades when they dipped "cheap" to $99 in about 97.. 2001 to 2011 with an AMD 761 DDR board and Thunderbird for start, catching the bottom of barton pricing in a few years time. then 2011 to now with a Core2 quad. However, having to buy quite high end at each major upgrade, you might have spent near $20,000. However, upgrading every 3 years but staying a year or so behind bleeding edge with wise use of used components, you might have spent $500 a time for a total of $6,500 and stayed within 70-80% of high end performance, averaging 66% or better, whereas the other strategy would have been 100% to 10% downwards slopes, averaging just over 50% over time. Though if you made 50% your target average with frequent way behind the curve upgrades, you might get there by dumpster diving even, or by spending very little.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 101 of 103, by 386SX

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Sometimes I take the smartphone market as an example of these thoughts and back in the first decade of the 2000 it was really an interesting sector with every devices having new useful features, various market players making different hw and sw. But after a while that sector changed and less and less players remained on the market and I lost interest in smartphones when I realized the obvious that I could have lived (I'm actually testing that as a basic home computer) with a 2007 smartphone as a phone, light mobile browser, computer dial-up modem, multimedia device until some years ago easily instead of changing as most I don't remember how many smartphones meanwhile and money spent.
At the end beside the tech passion few might have and I understand it cause it's interesting to read how much complex the SoC becomes, the displays, etc..I don't see any reasons to stay updated to last tech, beside when forced cause networks shutdown (3G for example) or some software absolutely needed for a specific task (job interviews for example.. I wasn't used to remote video job interview and I had to find a right balance between computer components, network adapters/speed, audio headphones, etc.. but still found that even a Pentium 4 could be used once well configured/optimized for it instead of "just use a newer smartphone, download the app, problem solved" that indeed is the easier way at the price of stay upgraded/updated forever).
Just like desktop computers, those old ARMv6 300-400Mhz cpu based smartphones already had most of the sw modern ones have and they could still do mostly anything people need for devices changed instead every years if sw were written for it.

Reply 102 of 103, by Jasin Natael

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creepingnet wrote on 2021-12-03, 23:50:
An interesting thought I've also had on this subject is just how much further down the bar we were from "maxxed out" or "high pe […]
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An interesting thought I've also had on this subject is just how much further down the bar we were from "maxxed out" or "high performance" than we are today.

What I'm getting at is basically, you can get away with - comfortably - and depending on your use-case, far older hardware these days than we could say in 2012 or 2002. I think of this as almost foundational for how "overpowered things are now"....

2021 - I'm still running some Core 2 Duo stuff on Win10 and modern Linux distributions and they all run like gangbusters despite being over a decade old. Today, we have things like Ryzen Threadrippers at the top end, and the average PC is a Core i5 or I7 6th-9th Generation, and most people use their phones for everything anyway.

2011 - The baseline at that time would have been a Pentium 4, like my wife was still using, albeit with a 128GB SATA SSD installed (The Dell Dimension 3600 was one of the first Dells with SATA controllers) - with 3GB of RAM. I was running a Pentium D CPU in a 4 year old board with a $345 GPU at the time and that thing would run anything, and heat the apartment doing it.

2001 - Baseline at the time was Pentium II - only just a few years before. Sure, XP would install on a Pentium 90 but the experience was so glacially slow and annoying you'd be better off running Windows 98 SE, which was still a legit and supported O/S. Me? I was running a 10 year old ZEOS 486 DX-33 in a clone case with 8MB of RAM and a 124MB HDD. I got laughed at non stop for my paltry little home-built WIndows 3.1 system I was just starting on....crazy as my now favorite NEC laptops were still going for over $150.00 on E-bay back then as legitimate used portables!

Then it gets more interesting as you get into the 90's....

It seems before the PC became super-mainstream, age did not matter because ALL computers were bloody expensive back then, and so you eked as much use out of your $1500-6000 investment as you could. The further back you go, and the less homes with computers, the more true this is.

Pretty much all of this.
It is a totally different world than it was 15-20 years ago.

Reply 103 of 103, by matze79

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cessors still do quite well. Using an ancient Ivy Bridge, for me it's sufficient. But yes, RAM inflation... but it is cheap. My […]
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cessors still do quite well. Using an ancient Ivy Bridge, for me it's sufficient.
But yes, RAM inflation... but it is cheap.
My last memory expansion 128GB PC3-14900R for 105 euros will hopefully last for a while without swapping.
Firefox sometimes eats >32GB here. And then I need some room for ZFS deduplication and a few Windows virtualbox clients.
Without this, I probably could live with 16 or even 8GB.

The RAM will outlast until the CPU is underpowered for many tasks for sure 😀

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