Buying new computers is pointless

This post doesn’t apply if you’re rich. In that case enjoy your ivy bridge i7 with Terabyte solid state drive you jerk.

At one work site they still use Windows XP. That’s isn’t going to fly next school year when support ends. Time to upgrade. So new computers? Hell no.

You brand new computers sucks and my old x61 will outperform it

New mid range computers suck. For a typical office worker cpu speed and memory are useless. The only bottle neck is hard drive read speed but still only high end computers use them. If using Windows you need 4GB+ ram. Above that who cares.


I want to see if upgrading old 2008 computers can out perform a new computers in the only test that matters – user perception. Let’s compare costs.

Upgrade costs

  • Windows 8 $75 (I know this varies a lot)
    • or Ubuntu 12.04 (free)
  • 128GB SSD $100
  • 2 GB stick of RAM $30

That’s $130 if using nice software or $205 if you like interfaces that are fucking stupid.

New costs

What the hell – everything sucks. The cheapest Windows computer at the time of writing on Newegg with a SSD is $1010. Damn. And that’s with sandy bridge (not the latest cpu) and crap resolution. The best (value) computer I could find was a chrome book. I guess you could install Ubuntu on it. You’re better off buying a older Thinkpad t400 and putting in a solid state drive yourself. I did the math – $700 at the time of writing for a refurb t400 with SSD. Of note on System76 you can get a ivy bridge lemu4 with SSD for $709. Not bad if you don’t like installing hard drives.

So $700 vs $205. Hmm. But a new computer might be faster? HAH. Maybe if your company’s core product is calculating pi all day. Windows 8 or Ubuntu I’ve had nothing but gasp on how fast a computer is with a solid state drive. People wonder why their new home computer is so slow.

So stop waving your big cpu L1 cache size around and just get a SSD.

By David

I am a supporter of free software and run Burke Software and Consulting LLC. I am always looking for contract work especially for non-profits and open source projects. Open Source Contributions I maintain a number of Django related projects including GlitchTip, Passit, and django-report-builder. You can view my work on gitlab. Academic papers Incorporating Gaming in Software Engineering Projects: Case of RMU Monopoly in the Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (2008)

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