Ok I know SPCNET isn't mainly a Tech forum, however I thought we should have a thread which talks a little bit about this.
Now many of us own at least 1 computer, some even own two and quite a few probably own more.
Now we all know that every few months or so new hardware come out which makes our current ones seem pale in comparison, but not many of us can afford to keep up to date with all the new gadgets due to prices, and it's common sense not to spend money each time something new comes out. We usually wait at least a year or so before upgrading.
And there are still many of us who would like to have used the machine they bought for their money's worth.
So lets talk about how we can extend the lifetime of our current machines by a few more years and save some money.
This is one way which I just did for my ASUS A6JC laptop.
Now ASUS is one of the best brands of laptops I've used in my life and trust me I've used many brands before (DELL, HP, Compaq, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Sony) and from my experience, Asian brands are better in terms of style, usability and durability. And I think the reason for it is because brands like DELL, HP, Compaq are already famous and lots of organizations and businesses buy them so they don't have to rely too much on personal home users to keep their business running, however Asian brands are still trying to become as widespread and famous as DELL, HP, etc so they focus more on satisfying the requirements of the single users. Hence better quality for personal home users.
Now when I bought my laptop 2 years ago, it cost me 1700 CHF (swiss francs) without TVA (VAT, tax) due to my diplomatic status.
The specs then were:
Centrino Core duo T2300 1.66ghz
nVidia GeForce go 7300 with 256mb dedicated, 256mb shared via hypercache (total 512mb)
dvd dual layer
15.4" Wide Screen, the glossy screen
and all the usual stuff like wi-fi, sound, etc.
So that was 2 years ago, and since then new better laptops have come out with faster processors and better memory, etc.
However after having spent 30,000 on my university fees and moving around 4 different countries I don't want to spend 2000 on a new laptop which will once again become outdated, instead until the end of this year (when the new 8-core processor will be released) or the next (when we may see cheaper Blu-ray drives in laptops) I want to still use my current ASUS laptop.
So here is what I did to extend it's life.
1: upgraded the RAM to max, it went from 1gb 553mhz to 2gb (2X 1GB) at 667mhz
2) upgraded the 80gb hdd to 250gb hdd (made 2 partitions on it, 1 primarily for windows and application installation, the second for storage) Also to prevent windows from becomming corrupted with all the installations and uninstallations of software that I may try out, I got VMware's Workstation and created a Virtual machine for another Windows XP Pro installation and Linux Ubuntu. That way any new software I wish to try out gets tested inside the Virtual Machine first, and only if I think I will need it for long term, I will install it on the laptop's main windows. Otherwise it will only be the virtual machine which gets messed up.
3) now ok I still have my old ram chips which I haven't found any use yet so either I give them away to a friend who needs them or sell them (I actually bought my new RAM cards at the university store which cost me 50 GBP-british pounds (100CHF), for both cards while outside in a large retailer store it costs 99GBP for each 1gb card. Both the same kingston brand and both the same 667mhz bus speed, but university computer services buys items directly from the manufacturer/distributer so prices are cheaper.
4) now for my old 80gb hdd, I found this little nifty device which costs only 50CHF (swiss francs again) which lets me turn any 2.5" IDE, 3.5" IDE and 3.5" SATA into an external drive via USB connection. And I got the new 250gb hdd for only 130CHF and it's a Western Digital hdd.
So all in all, I spent 300CHF (~300 dollars, 150GBP) to extend the life of my computer for another year or two.
Not to mention that reinstalling windows always makes the machine fresh again.
Of course by the time I get my new laptop, I will get (an ASUS again) one which would allow me to make more upgrade options such as graphics cards, processors, optical drives etc.
Also, I stopped using desktops since I was 18, but for those who use desktops, similar to what I did for my laptop, you can do for your desktops + other new upgrades and save money from buying a new computer soon.