Originally Posted by mdocod
...Today, picking a Kabini instead of an i5 could be a serious deal breaker for some software.
...If a haswell i7 has a hard time running a browser or accepting keyboard input without being overwhelmed and stalled out in 2024, you can bet that it has been caused by a bordering-on-disingenious planned obsolescence on the software side rather than because of a compute performance limitation.
Anyway, with that in mind, if you get into a high end CPU today, by the time it is truly transitioning to obsolescence (7+ years), the rest of the machine will probably be up against major interface compatibility hurdles anyway.
RAM/Motherboard obsolescence is tied to compute obsolescence in most cases, see CPU.
Hard drives and SSDs have a self-solving obsolescence. They die, they always freakin die. I have never seen a hard drive last longer than ~7 years. By that age every single one I have ever owned has problems. (Dozens over the years). I hope to see SSDs change this, but my first foray into an SSD gave only a few years before death, so I'm not holding my breath for long lasting storage drives anytime soon.
Kabini vs an i5? Hardly a fair comparison. AMD's cat cores and Intel Atoms are for low-power devices. Some of these chips are running well under 5W. They never were meant to be high-performance chips. i5s, on the other hand, are, and they can afford an 80W TDP (or maybe that's i7s?) rating. Still, that's forty times the rated heat production and therefore energy use of those low-power chips. I doubt a Haswell quadcore is forty times better than an Athlon 5350. Still, I see your point, but the chips have two entirely different purposes.
This is probably true. If an Arduino can act as a keyboard controller, then an i7 better be able to take input from one. And there's always Linux if OS X or Windows drop support for old hardware. I doubt they will though, and Intel has been competing with themselves since either Sandy Bridge or Bulldozer, depending on whether you think Intel's stagnation or AMD's leap backwards was the larger cause. Intel is encouraging companies to upgrade by getting the guys in charge of the budget to compare the money saved on energy costs with last-gen hardware vs the cost of upgrading to new systems. They're safe if they can keep this up and mobile chips don't start to dominate the market.
I don't think motherboards really go bad easily. Better chipsets get you things like more PCIe lanes, SATA ports, and USB ports. Nothing else is really gained. RAM, on the other hand, is a limitation. Clockspeed doesn't matter too much, and neither does latency. It's all about capacity, and there comes a point where that can't be improved. Let's look at the X79 platform for consumers. It supports ridiculously powerful CPUs which should be good to go for a very long time. It supports eight DIMMs, and for consumers, non-ECC DDR3 specifically. That allows 8GB modules, so 64GB of system memory available. Modern systems consider 8GB to be the sweet spot, though 4GB systems are certainly usable. That won't be true for long if we look at ancient history.
When Vista was released in 2006, new desktops with it were shipping with the minimum 512MB. If this happens again in eight years, then X79 can suddenly only support twice that entry-level system's memory capacity. Eight more years and we're looking at half the memory of even the crappiest of systems. Now, I doubt we'll advance that much, but the CPU will not be the limitation by any means. Rather it will be the lack of memory for simply booting Windows 12. Again, Linux to the rescue should that happen.
I do find it funny that programs like Microsoft Word, something with a purpose so simple as word processing, use up as much memory as they do. There is no reason for it. Word was around for the time when RAM was measured in kilobytes. Two SI prefixes later, it's filled with bloat and has no hope of ever running on a 486 system, much less installing onto a single floppy disk.
Early SSDs weren't the greatest. Firmware errors could essentially lead to the drives committing suicide. Right now, they're a mature enough technology that there is no real reason one should die. If you have a UPS or the SSD is in a laptop, you will need to make an effort to kill it. This can be done by writing hundreds of terabytes of data so it runs out of write cycles, or by wearing wool, rolling on your carpet, and touching components because there is no way that can go wrong.