Time to upgrade

Posted: 04.25.13

Inflation and Moore’s Law favor the consumer and the enterprise

When I’m preparing a presentation, I look at relevant historical data. It helps set the stage for my talks and gives the audience a chance to get in sync with my comments. When you’re running in the trenches 24/7, you tend to forget some of the outside world events—and that happens to me, I’m embarrassed to say. A recent historical review reset my perspective. 

In 2009 Intel released the Core i7 Nehalem processor, and AMD brought out its six-core CPU Istanbul processors. We thought those new processors were amazing, and for the time they were. But that was four years ago, and things move fast in this industry.

If you bought an IBM PC in the U.S. for $3,000 in 1981, you were actually spending the equivalent of $7,461 in 2012 dollars. A notebook PC bought in 2009 for $630 would cost the equivalent today of $672, but the ASP of a notebook today is only $546.07.

Meanwhile, while the cost-of-living index has been steadily rising, the average selling price of PCs has been coming down.

Not only have PC prices been going down, but also because of Moore’s Law, the performance has been going up.

More computing power is great, but its costs money to run a PC. And electricity, like everything else, is getting more expensive every year.

Yet, even with more powerful processors, bigger disks, and more memory, the average power consumption, thanks again to Moore’s Law, has been going down.
Today’s PCs use less power, which saves costs, while delivering more performance.

So today, you can get a more powerful computer for fewer dollars than the old 2008 or 2009 unit you have. In addition, the new PCs can do so much more.
The newest applications and programs need more CPU horsepower, and memory. Consider the latest games, Windows 8, Office 2010, video transcoding, photo editing, and peripherals that require the latest I/O such as HDMI 1.4, USB 3.0, and DisplayPort 2.2, and soon 4K displays.

Also, with the new memory technologies like LP-DIMM, you can now have 48 GB to 144 GB of RAM in your system, which makes everything run faster.

Consumers and businesses running old machines, which are ever more expensive to maintain and keep running (and run slowly when they do), have been stalled in their normal update or refresh process by the fanfare over how wonderful tablets are. Tablets are indeed wonderful, and are a nice contribution and companion to the computing environment. But as has been said by so many and now so often, tablets are certainly not a replacement for most of what a PC is used for. They are at best a compromise for trying to emulate what one does with a PC.

Now’s the time to get a new PC—the cost benefits couldn’t be better.