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General Chat Thread, Are your systems lasting longer now? in General; Not sure if this should have gone in the Hardware forum, but here we go. I was having a chat ...
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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Are your systems lasting longer now?

    Not sure if this should have gone in the Hardware forum, but here we go.
    I was having a chat with a very good friend of EduGeek last week and I mentioned that both Shaun and I had a hardware refresh during the summer.
    We had got new motherboards, CPU's and RAM (Haswell i7's before you ask) as we had both been using first gen i7's for the past 4 years and now were getting increasingly constrained by a combination of RAM limitations (Shaun's PC will eat any amount of RAM you throw at it due to the amount of 'stuff' he has running), SATA speeds and long term reliability. So we went with the upgrade option.
    What struck me is that apart from the increased RAM size and SATA speed, we didn't actually see much of an increase in PC performance. Yes, yes, I know that the Haswell i7's are much better performers, however there is only a finite amount (in day-to-day use) of visible performance increase you can see.
    But the fact remains that the first gen i7's are still very, very capable processors when we removed them.
    Which brings me back on topic. Are you finding that the Intel systems that are based on the i5 and i7 processors are going to last a lot longer than previous CPU types in the classroom? If so, how long do you think you will be using them for compared to earlier systems using, say the Core 2 Duo.


    *If some of the older remembers will recall the period between about 1998 and 2005 it was almost a ritual to upgrade your home PC every year just to keep up. I think I went through 4 x AMD CPU's before moving onto Intel processors.

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    Both personally and at work, I'm finding that the newer systems 'age' better. In fact I'd say this goes back as far as the Core 2 processors; unless you're doing high end video or design or other workstation tasks on a works system or playing top end games at home, older systems are holding their own much better now than they ever did, if that makes sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto View Post
    Both personally and at work, I'm finding that the newer systems 'age' better. In fact I'd say this goes back as far as the Core 2 processors; unless you're doing high end video or design or other workstation tasks on a works system or playing top end games at home, older systems are holding their own much better now than they ever did, if that makes sense.
    In the classrooms we got Dell 330/60 with Pentram dual cores. Upgraded them to windows 7 and they work nicely. (there around 5 years old now)
    Oldest IT room we got Dell 380 (Core2Duo with 3GB of DDR3 ram and there running smooth too. (There around 3 1/2 year old now)
    Front office computers are close to 6 years and going strong. Since there on windows 7 now the fans are more noticeable...

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    Sunnyknight's Avatar
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    We're running i3's and i5's with an average of 4 - 8gb of ram running 1333mhz. We have standard WD 500gb HDD's. In comparison to the duos, they work 30% better. Only our network is slowing us down, otherwise, we're fine.

    A colleague of mine got a 3000 machine on monday (don't ask.... seriously), and the difference, is astronomical. However, let it be known, no student machine will equal that, nor will we ever attempt to machine any student machine to it.

    Anyway, the i3's and i5's we expect to last another 3 years, before we throw i7's across the board.

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    For what we do here in school, I'm just not seeing any real increase in speed between our Core 2 Duo and Phenom II stuff and new i5 and Trinity. We were hugely constrained by disk speed so have been phasing in SSDs, but I'm still using my 2009 spec 780G Phenom II with 4GB of RAM, it is more than up to the job. There's a risk in schools of replacing equipment that could be cheaply upgraded for greater gains (eg replacing a Core 2 with a Core i3 but keeping a spinning disk).

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    Norphy's Avatar
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    What's the old saying? What Intel giveth, Microsoft taketh away. I'm not convinced that I've seen much of an increase in "day to day" system speed when upgrading in years, probably not since I upgraded from a K6-200 to a PIII 500. Yes, gaming performance has increased as I've bought better graphics cards and of course trying to run what I run now on a PIII 500 wouldn't work but going from a PIII 500 to say a 1GHz PIII didn't bring much of a performance increase and since multi core CPUs became the norm this has only become the case even more.

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    DrPerceptron's Avatar
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    90% of our user network is P4 (SX280) to Core2 Duo (Optiplex 755) God I wish they would all mysteriously fail in a spectacular fashion.

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    We have a 4-year replacement strategy and spend about 450 for each machine (inc. monitor). The last of the P4-HT's are due to go this year. Current spec is i3, 4GB, SSD. Don't think that will be revised for this years replacements, but might start asking the Quad-core/8Gb question next year. Not we are necerssarily running any thing that needs the extra omph.

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    I think a lot of things, unless they happen to be a phone, are lasting longer. Consumers are also expecting a longer shelf life which I guess you could put down to some products lasting a very long time. Look at how long Win XP and recent games consoles have lasted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPerceptron View Post
    90% of our user network is P4 (SX280) to Core2 Duo (Optiplex 755) God I wish they would all mysteriously fail in a spectacular fashion.
    I'm making some of our users very happy by replacing 9 year old HP d330s (P4) with Optiplex 960s (Core 2 Quad) I've purchased second hand! From there I need to see if the money fairy will visit and allow me to get rid of the Optiplex 210Ls (P4 with HT). I suppose if they "all mysteriously fail in a spectacular fashion" the bean counters will have to insist the money fairy visits as they are all in an ICT suite!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Current spec is i3, 4GB, SSD.
    I'm finding that having an SSD in the machines makes a massive performance difference, its crazy for the little amount of extra money.

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    My personal PC which is a Quad Core Q6600 with 4GB of DDR2RAM still runs like new!! Only had 1 drive start to slow it down. I think the Intel i series will last a while!

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    We still have some old Celerons here, work fine with windows 7. Not the fastest machines about but they do feel faster with 2GB ram in them and with 7 instead of XP. New machines or ones in the last few years do seem to age better but perhaps that's because 7 didn't do a vista and require more meat?

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    TBH I find nowadays in the majority of programs RAM and SSD's are the key to performance. CPU although does obviously account for a lot but you get noticeable performance increase in both of these elements rather than CPU.

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    For desktops, we made the decision this year to lengthen our replacement cycle by an extra year. I could see us doing it again after not too long, and we're not hard up for cash. We just don't need to replace as often as software requirements are not increasing nearly as fast as they used to. I suspect this is largely due to the demand for software to run on low-power devices such as tablets, which means a 'full-fat' desktop gets a very easy ride.

    In my experience, desktops are definitely remaining serviceable longer than they used to, both in terms of performance and reliability. I think this is something often overlooked by companies such as Gartner when they claim the desktop market is dead because fewer people are buying new ones. It's not that people don't use desktops any more, they just don't need to replace them nearly as often (especially businesses).

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