I am in the process of a complete overhaul of my computing needs and configuration. For some of my desires computing technology for man in the street has finally come of age at a still high but more reasonable price.
But being techie in my past i am doing the research and some of my research on this subject has me thinking even further than i had intended about how to manage my computer needs. I expect my purchase to last me at least 5 years so i got to factor in the future as i see it not just cater for now.
I thought for the sake of some of our either older or non techie guys here, there might be some value in some of my findings for you, so hence my post.
You may be thinking heck all i use the computer for is XYZ and i dont need a new computer. You may be correct. But an area you may wish to consider that is having me rethink this issue is monthly running cost.
I dont know what you pay for electricity in your location but depending on how long you have either TV or computer on in the home and depending on its type of technology there could be some significant savings to be had by not purchasing a new computer but upgrading something as simple as the power supply.
I cut my teeth on power supply design way back in the day when i was still in an R&D lab and its kinda been a softspot with me ever since.
In deciding on my new computer, i have been forced into consideration of what power supply to purchase. ( I dont buy a whole computer i buy parts). When you plan on running a multicore processor and high end graphics card then you need serious amounts of power and it may sound ridiculous but having a computer consume 1KW per hour is not out of the question today.
So this begs the question if you aint using the processing power using a computer like the type requiring a 1kw supply is a total waste of electric power and hence money if its just to pick up your email or post a thread on the forum or read the news online.
My answer is multiple computers more dedicated to specific tasks but bear in mind i am self emloyed and use my computers for business purposes as well as private use.
Toms post on buying a smart phone and his router needs had me think its worth sharing that in the case of a smart phone you not only getting the phone value but also getting a fully fledged computer that consumes a percentage of the power any of your current ones do. This is by far the most economical computer around today. Nothing says you have to have the phone part. So if you purchased it outright you could still hook it up to wifi at home and be online. And for that matter run skype as a free phone at home.
But the advances in power supplys also have me thinking there is viable economic gains to be had in taking my old computers that will still be used and upgrading only the power supply part.
The key here is for around $50 give or take, one can buy a plug in replacement power supply with far greater efficiency and in my calculations within a little more than a year have paid for the new power supply. Thats with the assumption that the computer is on for an average of say 5 hours a day 365 days of the year. But it all depends on what you pay for power. We think we pay around 9- 11 cents per kw. But in actual fact its only because of clever admin engineering on our bills. Its actually more like 25cents per kw because we have a never ending debt recovery charge on our bill that tends to more than double the cost of the kw if you take total bill and divide by kw consumed. To me it dont matter what they call it, its what i am paying out.
But i would go even further on how the more advanced devices can save you money. If you more often than not merely a consumer of content and not in the business of generating content or use of cad, project management, excell spreadsheets etc and dont need the abilities of a whole computer you might want to consider getting rid of the whole thing and buying youself a tablet. Note to Apple fans there are other tablets out there other than the IPAD that also work.
Be warned though if you use sketchup you will still need your computer.
Getting rid of the whole computer will save you the power your screen consumes and if you still happen to be using a CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor (the old ones like the tvs) then i am pretty sure that the savings you will experience with a tablet and scraping your computer entirely will more than pay for the tablet in short notice. And dont think that means you have to go without having a keyboard and learning to type on glass.There are tablets out there that allow for a keyboard like a docking station so you still have normal keys.
Its really time to examine the whole power consumption aspect of the devices we use and consider what they doing to our monthly bills. But i think its equally important to consider what you need it for and how you will use it.
Upgrading may cost some capital but it will be offset by the long term savings of the reduced power consumption.
There are several other benefits to be had if you have light processing power needs to be gained by the new tablet generation but i wanted to focus on the economic benefits given our retired folk here and people on fixed incomes. Remember every dollar saved can be repurposed to buy more wood or other tools rather than hand over to the power company.