Okay, here's a disclaimer at the outset: This entry might feel like a mere restatement of an earlier joe-pinion. My apologies, then, if this is all you take from this one.
However, on the eve of the release of AMD's Phenom line, I feel that I must say a few things about upgrading one's system.
I think that there is more than one upgrading strategy an end-user (that would be you and me) can adopt. Let's call one school of thought the Keep up with the Joneses approach, and the other the Stand Pat approach.
To Keep up with the Joneses, one must have the latest and the greatest at all times. Every time there's a hint of new products coming out, someone who Keeps up with the Joneses just must have them as soon as possible. Before the new product line even has a chance to get warm on the store shelf, someone who Keeps up with Joneses is already installing the said parts or programs in his rig. He can boast having all the latest kit, but often the eagerness to buy the most current wares carries a considerable price, not just in terms of money, but more importantly in terms of actual optimal usability of the new hardware and software.
Someone who prefers to Stand Pat, though, prefers to wait. Wait for what, you may ask? Well, he waits for prices to come down; inevitably, new products are almost always at their most expensive when they first enter the retail channel. He waits for myriad issues to be sorted out. How familiar is the tale of poor performance out of the box because a video card's drivers aren't optimized when they first come out? Vista's release (and, in the Apple world, Leopard's teething problems) show that software is not immune to problems when they first come out. Someone who Stands Pat waits for actual need to dictate the time to upgrade either hardware or software.
It's true that this discourse is biased; after all, I belong firmly in one camp. I don't need to have my computer massage my ego, nor are my needs so demanding so as to require updates to my system as frequently as the sun rises in the east. In a way, I think of this as being the master of the machine, instead of the machine having mastery over the user (and the user's bank account).
So which way is the right way? Only you (the end-user) need justify anything to anybody vis-a-vis your upgrading strategies. As for me, well... you know where this scribe stands.
As always, I welcome comments and discussion. My sincere thanks for your time and attention.
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