# Today's computers should be good for 20 years

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by Syzygys, Jun 15, 2012.

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1. ### przyksquishyValued Senior Member

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Well that's fine and all, but I thought this thread was about people's needs and expectations of computers 20 years from now. Not today.

Yes. 11 years (not 20), and a minority of users are using it, and support for it won't last forever. By your own standards, isn't 25% getting close to "special needs", and hardly "average"?

Again, I thought this thread was about 20 years from now, when all the industry standards have changed.

Because it can't interoperate with today's computers and won't run today's software that everyone else is using. What the hell am I writing these posts for? I've just explained this.

If Windows resource requirements continue to grow the way they have been so far, then yes.

Like I said, when I bought my 512 MB desktop in 2004, the idea that an operating system could need over a GB of RAM seemed unthinkable. Now even the popular Linux distributions want at least that.

My point exactly. 20 years from now, we'd expect maintaining today's computers to be more hassle than they're worth to the average user, and that's even if their expectations regarding tasks and performance haven't changed.

I wasn't saying anything about gaming. I was just talking about the average home user.

A similar fraction of home users are gamers. You can't call 25% XP users "lots" and then dismiss 20% gamers as "special needs".

One thing about businesses by the way: they like having their products supported. How long do you think they'll keep using XP after support for it gets dropped?

Last edited: Jun 21, 2012

3. ### Repo ManValued Senior Member

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"What the hell am I writing these posts for? I've just explained this."

5. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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Never said they are not the minority. But there is a huge difference. While you can't really write even a simple program not running on XP, unless you want to cut off 25% of users immediately, the gamers market is different. High end gaming is not the lowest common denominator as XP users.

True, so tell me again, when will a quadcore 8 GB computer be obsolete by your estimate???

Again, we are back to the lowest common denominator. A software writing company has to be careful how many of the average user base they make suddenly obsolete.

True but back then we still had lots of grievances about computers. Not so much today...

XP eventually will die, that is just the nature of things. What XP taught Microsoft was that after a bunch of not so good products, when they finally came out with a robust and reliable one, people stuck to it forever and didn't want to let go of it.

What Vista taught Microsoft was, that there is no point in switching to a new OS, when:

1. The old one still does the job just fine.
2. The new one hasn't proved itself yet.
3. If the even newer OS comes out in a few years, they might just skip every other OS.

Just think about that you have a fairly large business, and you try to keep all thing similar, thus no 3 different OSs. Let's say the company uses 500 computers. The common sense thing is to use the same reliable OS as long as it still covers your needs, then switch to the next reliable system all at once if you can, and use it again, as long as it is possible.

7. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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What you guys don't get is that:

1. Sooner or later there will be practical and economical limitations for computer technological improvement, when using a higher tech system is just not worthy.
2. The average need for computing power is going to be reached (if we haven't), when most common task can be performed satisfactorily, and there is no point or economic incentive to improve the system.
3. The price limit: Most people have a maximum and rather low price, what they intend to spend on computing. The computer business can market whatever they want and however they can, but they still have to keep the average cost low.

An analogy would be cars and automobile technology. Most people (average user) just wants to reach their destination in a safe, comfortable and economic way. And guess what? We had cars for that back in the 80s or even earlier. Sure the automobile industry kept inventing and adding new features, but most people's needs were covered a good 30 years ago.

The same thing is going to happen to computer technology. We can disagree WHEN it will happen, but it will happen nevertheless. Most people just want to use their computer for communication, entertainment, internet usage and file storage. Today's computers do that just fine...

8. ### KilljoyKlownWhateverValued Senior Member

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But what you don't understand is people have both wants and needs and wants always take priority over needs whenever possible and it never hurts much that when you need a new computer it's more powerful and cheaper than the one it's replacing. Damn, I wish cars did the same thing (the cheaper part).

The problem with old computers is they are slower than newer faster computers. It may not seem like much but response time does make a very big difference to your enjoyment in front of the monitor. Also, the newer better software just won't run on an old computer, so if you want to run the newest software, your only choice is a newer computer.

This isn't going to change, if those company's want to stay in business.

9. ### AsguardKiss my dark sideValued Senior Member

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You know this thread is so amusing, not for it's subject matter but the way the thread starter is trying to cut out anything at all which will go against there own viewpoint. You take out gaming in spite of that being the single fastest growth area for entertainment and restrict movies to 2D standed def DVD quality ignoring that this standed has been well surpassed. You want everyone to agree with you then fine, as a stand alone calculator and typewriter the current computers will last 20 years assuming the power supply, chip and motherboard don't fry, that's not average use which is what the original post was about but if it makes you happy. BTW I have an old 386 around here which you could use for that too

10. ### przyksquishyValued Senior Member

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Why 8 cores? And why are you so focused on CPU clock speed anyway? The average number of instructions a core can execute per clock cycle has also been increasing over time, and core designers have been adding more complex instructions to the instruction set too.

11. ### MacGyver1968Fixin' Shit that Ain't BrokeValued Senior Member

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Dude...don't throw away that 386...back when I worked for the computer recycling company..people will pay good money for those old processors...not only because they contain a lot of gold, there are many multi-million dollar industrial machines (like machining equipment) that use them for microcontrollers...and replacements are hard to find when the procs fail.

12. ### przyksquishyValued Senior Member

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They are a shrinking minority. That figure was more like 60-70% just 3 years ago.

They don't have to cut off 25% of their users immediately. They just need to wait a few years, and announce that they're ending support in advance.

Why am I suddenly obligated to provide an estimate at all? Hell, you're even changing the subject here: I was talking about more mundane stuff like ports and the bus.

Well if Microsoft is as careful as they have been over the last 20-30 years, then 8 GB quadcores won't be able to run whatever version of Windows exists in 20 years.

That's not how I remember things.

You're ignoring that Microsoft went unusually long before releasing a successor to Windows XP, and it was a flop. If you discount Vista, then XP has only had a viable successor for about 3 years now. And in those three years XP usage share has dropped from 60-70% down to 25%. Users are migrating.

13. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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The keyword in your sentence is: replace

What if you don't need to replace it for 7 years? As a personal experience, my 7 years old machine still does the job just fine. I mean eventually it will die, but that is the whole point of the thread, once the computer is still alive and kicking well, there is no point in replacing it...

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15. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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It is a hypothetical question, so it doesn't matter, I just had to pick one.

Because the industry was focusing on it for decades, for good reason (easiest way to improve performance) and because we reached practical limits in that department. Who is to say there is no such a limit in the number of cores???

16. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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Because I asked, and because we are talking about the future, and you guys criticizing my prediction, but don't dare to make a similar one.

It is kind of offtopic, but anyway:

1. There is really no established timeline when a new OS should come out. It is more of a PR/business thing than a technological one.
2. Vista wasn't really a flop, only compared to XP.

Going back to the OS's RAM need, Microsoft can cram lot's of bullshit into a new OS, the reality is that it shouldn't have such a high RAM need. Maybe Linux would be a better standard in this way....

17. ### KilljoyKlownWhateverValued Senior Member

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It's a lot tougher to save your files to a new computer if the first one is dead. Also, it's been my experience that when your computer is 5 to 7 years old, you actually do want a new computer, because the old one has been annoying you in so many little ways your beginning to hate it.

How about this, get the new computer, but keep the old one. That way you get the best of the old and the new. But wait, will the old ever get used after you have a new one?

18. ### przyksquishyValued Senior Member

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No, the marketing folk were focusing on it for decades, because it's an easy number to throw at people.

19. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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Oh, the wisdom in this thread.... Also, new computers never die suddenly...

That's what we have been doing and since none of the computers died completely, we have 2 desktops (1 is used only) and 6 laptops (4 are being used) around the house. Since all of them work more or less, I can't get ride of them!!! I used the extra ones for back up. The oldest laptop (probably 7 years old and a cheap one) has some display problems, but if I put the max. RAM in it, with Linux it cruises the web like a mofo...

We simply can't kill the bastards, although we have tried...

Last edited: Jun 21, 2012
20. ### BelieveHappy mediumValued Senior Member

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New computers most certainly die just as suddenly as older computers.

21. ### BelieveHappy mediumValued Senior Member

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1. The bar for #1 is very high.

2.Average need today is not going to be average need in future. What exactly was the average computer needed for 15 years ago? New needs/wants will evolve as power increases so people will want powerful computers for new things.

3. As time goes on more power is getting much, much cheaper.

22. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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That was my point, just didn't put out the sarcasm signal...

How do you know? We already reached the bar in clock speed, how do you know where is it in core numbers? Also, what is high? WE are definitely closer to that bar now than 10 years ago...

Sure. But did you miss that part when technology improved faster than needs?

Not a very good analogy, because people could have wanted the same shit like today, they just knew, they are not going to get it. Hell, did I want to get free movies in 5-10 minutes from the internet any time? Sure as hell, but I knew there just wasn't the technology there...

Again, I am not disagreeing, I am just saying that most basic needs are nicely covered. When I ask you guys what do you want, you can only name some perfecting of the existing thing, but you can't name a completely new thing, that could be an average need, a necessity...