Do I Need a New Computer?

I’ve been babying my ancient (in computer years) laptop for many months now. It’s hard to remember the number. I grown so accustomed to Beulah2’s quirks (yes, I name my computers) that it’s second nature to make allowances.

Being of a curious bent, I decided to see how old Beulah2 is in human years. I bought her (yes, she’s female) in February 2004. I know that because I looked it up the other day. That makes her five years old. And she’s really older than that because I don’t buy new computers. I buy remanufactured. I’ll have to go by the month and year she joined my family because I don’t know the other date.

One site said a computer ages four years for each actual year. Another said five. Then I found this pdf that jumps it all the way up to 18:1. Yikes! That would make B2 a whole 90 years old instead of the young and vital 20 year old of the first calculation.

This is from the pdf—I have inserted my answers in italics where there’s a question:

So, what then is that magical age for when you should replace your PC? That’s what I’d like to know. Following Robert’s Rule of 18, we can see that somewhere around year 3 or 4 (that’s between 54 and 72 in computer years) if you have not already retired, you probably should be thinking of it. Is that to say you definitely should? ?? Maybe yes or maybe no. It depends on a lot of factors like how well has your PC performed? Very well most of the time. How well was it maintained? How do you maintain a computer? I’ve defragged, used a registry cleaner, and formatted when things got really hairy. She always has an anti-virus program and anti-spyware running. I’ve used compressed air to blow the dust out occasionally. I can’t oil her or take her through the car wash. Is it still covered under a hardware warranty contract? (Think health insurance). No, that expired in 2007. Maybe the new plan Obama is promoting will cover her? Does it still meet your needs, or could you get more productivity out of a new more powerful workhorse? So far, so good. The only thing she hiccups at is playing the videos on ABC and that may be the speed of my DSL and not B2. Remember, according to Moore’s Law a 4 year old computer is 4 times less powerful than a new one. Who’s Moore? (I didn’t read the whole article.) At year 6 this drops to 8 times less powerful. To make matters worse, you have to factor in the nuances of Robert’s Rule of 18. Is that a fit and healthy 54-year old male? Or is he a pot-bellied, beer chugging, chain-smoking one? She’s a lean, lithe raw food eating computer.

When I got B2, I bought as much as I could possibly afford and then some. True, the hard drive seems tiny now at 60 GB with all those monsters floating around out there. It’s been enough, so far, and I also have an ancient portable hard drive that adds another 30 GB. HOWEVER, my Pentium 4 processor comes in at 3.2 Ghz which is fairly fast for a laptop. The only other thing that’s underpowered is the RAM and that’s soon to be rectified. As of 7:57 (STANDARD TIME) last night, I ordered two 512 MB memory upgrades to replace my two 256 MB. That should help something.

For years, I’ve had a new keyboard to replace the existing one. Gateway sent it to me under my extended warranty (which I seldom used). It’s still in the box. I’m kind of attached to the keyboard that’s been my partner in chronicling the last going on four years of my life.

B2's Keyboard

My thirteen going on fourteen year old granddaughter gets rather frustrated with the worn off keys but I know where they are. It gives the keyboard character and shows it is well-used. I could see from the picture it needs a good blast from the canned air. Everything works the way it’s supposed to so why change it?

Two weeks ago, I formatted my hard drive. It was something merm had advised me to do long ago but I hate having to start over from scratch. This time, it wasn’t so bad with DSL to aid in the downloading and updating. I still need to download Service Pack 3 and burn it to a CD so when XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, I can support B2. Cleaning everything off has speeded her up—or should that be sped?

Anyway, I’d like to be able to go out and buy a new computer but this one has been so much a part of my life I would feel like I was being unfaithful. So…I’ll hang onto her until she goes belly up (which, according to merm, is just a matter of time).

4 Responses to Do I Need a New Computer?

  1. Connie March 10, 2009 at 7:20 pm #

    I am having the same troubles with a four year old computer. I hate the thought of buying a new one but know that day is coming. 🙁 I left something for you over at Naked Food Cafe. 🙂

    (Scroll down a couple of posts to the one about the Kreativ Blogger Awards.)

    • Tommie March 12, 2009 at 6:49 am #

      I haven’t had time to do anything with the honor but thanks! And good luck with your computer! Have you defragged, cleaned the registry, and (if all else fails) formatted?

  2. Eric March 13, 2009 at 3:25 am #

    Maybe now is the time to start running Linux. Can you even imagine a world that didn’t require you to clean up your computer? You would get more power out of B2 right off the bat, and that’s not to mention the extra resources you would have laying around from not needing antivirus software running. Since you just reinstalled Windows, it wouldn’t be a big loss to give Ubuntu a try. And best of all – it’s free.

    Pros:
    Very Stable
    Very Quick
    Very Free
    Has free alternatives to all the applications you’re used to in Windows.
    EVERYTHING is FREE and open-source.
    No need for Registry Cleaners, AntiSpyware, or Antivirus Programs.

    Cons:
    Unless you want to play the latest graphics intensive games on the market or have a professor that tells you that you have to turn in a paper in Microsoft Word .DOC format, there really are none. (except getting to know different programs that do the same thing as the one’s you’re used to). But, you probably spend most of your time with Firefox maximized. Me too.

    Ditch Windows. Download and burn the cd to install Ubuntu. I can help you with your transition. See how you like it. I already know B2 will love you for it.

    Remember: Windows is the meat of the computer world. Email me when you want to get started.

    • Tommie March 13, 2009 at 4:52 am #

      I’ve had some experience (not much) with Linux, both Red Hat and Ubuntu. It’s nice but it’s also limited in the offerings of software applications. I don’t have a professor. I’m past the point of homework. If I need to turn out a nifty presentation, I still have OpenOffice. I know there’s a version for Linux but I’m a Windows girl. I have FireFox on B2 but I normally use Google Chrome (unless there is the occasional site that doesn’t display like it’s supposed to). Chrome for Linux is in the works but it hasn’t been released yet. I’ll keep you in mind if I do decide to make the switch. Or do a dual boot. 🙂

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