20+ years of computers

During some downtime, I made a list of all the computers I could remember owning. The list is surprisingly long, and goes back to 1992 (before which I had a Commodore 64 but that barely counts, does it?) I came up with 10 desktops and 7 laptops, or a new machine nearly every year. The last 5 years have only seen 3 new machines, though, so the pace at which I buy computers may be slowing.
Approximate dateDescriptionNotes
March 2016i7-4790k With a nice big desktop monitor. My first Intel desktop in over 20 years?
December 2012Phenom II X4First adventure with kFreeBSD and zfs. 3 x 3TB disks; new hardware to upgrade without service disruption (finally entered service Fall 2013)
May 2009Phenom X4Previous system failed (capacitor plague?)
Jan 2007Athlon X2Wanted dual core; to develop 64-bit LinuxCNC on Sempron 64; to upgrade from Fedora to Ubuntu without service disruption
Sep 2005Sempron 64Wanted performance, 64-bit, consolidated 2 systems
Jun 2003Athlon XPLast machine I bought to install Windows (XP) on (to play games!)
Aug 2002Duron 1GHzWanted performance, "1GHz"
Ca 2000K6-3D?I think I purchased a faster speed K6 later
Ca 1998K6-3Dbecause 3DNow! instructions sounded cool
486DXdumpster dived
1995?PentiumFirst computer bought with my own money
1992?AMD 386Added 387 co-processor later
April 201711" x86 chromebookSamsung Chromebook was getting slow
September 201414" x86 chromebookBuilt-in 4G LTE
January 201411" Samsung Chromebookbest travel computer yet, ARM CPU
April 2013Thinkpad T530Performance, gaming, previous system had become flaky
April 2008Dell D830Performance, previous system had become flaky
2004?HP zt3000Performance, 1920x1200 screen resolution
IBM T-Series (refurb?)
2002Dell 300MHz (used)
2001?Toshiba Pentium (used)
1999-2001Two 386 laptops (used)
2017Google Pixel XL Refurb
2015Google Nexus 6 New
2013Motorola Photon QAndroid 4, 5-row QWERTY keyboard
2012Nexus 7Introduction-day order even
2012No-name Android 2 tabletPiece of junk, at least it was cheap
2012Kindle PaperwhiteHas seen much more use than my Kindle 2
2011Kindle 2Refurbished
2012HTC SpeedySwitched from sprint to ting
2011?Samsung MomentFirst smartphone

I don't really know what conclusions to draw from this table; I do see that after I started buying new laptops I retained them much longer than my used and refurbished laptops. On the other hand, I probably spent 4x as much on my previous laptop than on the used Dell and I've used it about 4x as long.

From the records of my last few purchases, $700 appears to be what I'm willing to spend on a desktop machine, and $1200 is what I'll spend on a laptop. In the latter case, what I require is a very high resolution screen, so it's a tragedy that the 1920x1200 15" screen is no longer available on any new laptops.

I haven't used a "desktop" machine as a desktop at home for years; rather, every system since the Sempron 64 was a "server" machine that just happens to have X installed on it for the few occasions that I sit down at the console. While I sometimes spend time pricing systems with newer CPUs, I really don't need more power on my server—The CPU's been approximately 93% idled over the last 45 days and the disk has been 97% idle (atop 'activity since boot' numbers).

I guess the moral is that I should learn to stop looking at new hardware; it only risks that I'll buy it without needing it. Only in a minority of cases did I buy new hardware because the old hardware had failed. In many cases, my justification more a new technology (64-bits, multi-core, etc) than a specific need.

Entry first conceived on 20 January 2012, 13:51 UTC, last modified on 6 October 2017, 19:06 UTC
Website Copyright © 2004-2017 Jeff Epler