My question is when is the best period to upgrade. Is it just when a new chipset has been released and the previous top of the line goes down a notch in status and price or what. How about any particular time of year? All I remember is a long time ago I bought a new computer which was a top of the line 300mhz for top price only to find a month or two later I could have gotten around a 400 or 450mhz system for the same price I spent. So I guess I'm asking is there anything that's being released anytime soon whether amd or intel that will result in a big price drop for current higher end chips. I'm essentially trying to find the best time in time to upgrade. Thanks
For the past 20 years, CPU speeds have doubled over the previous highest speed every 18 months. That means that at one point, "x"mhz was the fastest. 18 months later, "2x"mhz was the fastest. Still 18 months later "4x"mhz, and then "8x", and then "16x", and so on and so on.
Video cards have also been doing something similar. Though there is no direct relationship (because video cards aren't measured the same way), but they have still been increasing in power exponentially over their predecessors.
There will never, ever be an absolute "best" time to upgrade. It has been my experience that the "best" time to upgrade is when a brand new technology has been released. This usually drops the price of the older technology. So, you can get the previously fastest hardware at a fair deal less than it was. The new fastest hardware will be priced what the old fastest hardware was priced at. Everything gets bumped down a spot.
This is what I do. I always buy the previously "best" stuff just after the new hardware is reduced. I mean, my radeon 9700 pro AIW is coming on Monday. It's cheaper this way, and keeps your computer just as up to date as the next computer geek, and saves you a fair penny in the process.
For the smart bet... don't upgrade because someone says "this is new!" Upgrade because there is something frustrating about your old system... drives too small, software needing more horsepower, graphics just not cutting it with your new games, etc.
If you upgrade based on miniscule steps in technology your computer can turn into a financial disaster. I know people who've spent $15,000 to have a $1,500 computer on their desk...
It's a good idea to have a motherboard that supports future processor upgrades just in case. Intel is moving to 800MHz bus speeds and dropping 533MHz bus from the lineup, so if you would like to wait for the new 800MHz bus chipsets to come, you could buy such a motherboard, which is compatable with older bus speeds, and put a cheaper CPU in it. Then in 2 years, when the 800MHz bus is at the end of it's product cycle, get an upgrade CPU cheaply.
<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
Also, when you do upgrade "match" your components performance wise. Don't get a 1.3 Ghz Duron and a Radeon 9700 Pro. You'll never use that video card to its full potential. Instead get an 1800Xp and a GF4 Ti4200 for example. This saves you money and you use all of your components to their rated potential.
Efficient Market Theory for uptrending value propositions says (btw computers are the most efficient and uptrending value propositions ever) that every day its slightly smart to wait to buy and every day its slightly dumb to wait to sell. So since we're so efficient do not be so dumb as to try to time the market, but do wait until you really want something new since if you can wait a little you're smart but if you get caught up into waiting you're dumb.
<i>Reason the only absolute. Irrationality the only enemy. </i>
Ask yourself this - at the end of the day, when you buy a PC how long do you expect it to last?
A lot of the statements here are true, but at the end of the day, base your purchase on what you want and can afford.
Think about what Crash said, if you want your platform to be upgradable, what technologies are being phased out? There are times when it pays to buy the lates, but they are rare.
Right now, if I were purchasing I'd wait until Springdale and Canterwood were mainstream and proven. Then take one of those boards with a CPU 3 or 4 below the best offered at that time. That will depend on your current situation though. If the stuff you do on your PC runs well, don't upgrade it. You'll stretch yourself much further in the long run upgrading when you have to.
As a last thought, unless your PC earns you money or education, it is a hobby. Decide yourself how much to spend on your hobby and consider that benchmarks are all very well and good, but there can be more satisfaction from building a balanced system that cost 66% as much as you might have spent for 90% of the performance.
Consider the latest and greatest for those with more money than sense (or good luck) and businesses that need it. Following slightly behind the curve may mean a lower 3DMARK score, but you'll have more performance/$ than the people above you!
-* <font color=red> !! S O L D !! </font color=red> *-
To the gentleman in the pink Tutu
Hey, I stretched my PIII-850 as long as I could. The introduction of SCSI to my system really extended its life. My upgrade path is similar to what's been posted. I still think you need to go for some more expensive components. Like the motherboard, since an extra $50 can extend your system life 6 months or more depending on usage, or memory, since it's likely to last the life of the MB. CPUs change quickly, so you're better off getting a new one for $200 every year or so than buying one for $400 once every two years or so. The key is a motherboard that accepts the upgrade.
I'm looking to upgrade when a good Springdale board with an HT CPU comes down to a good price. I'll probably get Kingston HyperX DDR400 unless pricing is good for a higher speed. Realistically, unless you're doing some intensive work like molecular modelling or some intensive video programming/editting, I expect it to last 4 years. In that 4 years, I'll increase my memory once or twice, swap out 2 of my HDs (probably switch to a higher speed SCSI at some point), the video once, and the CPU twice. In the end of 4 years, I'll have spent < $2000 overall and end up with more than someone that spends $3000 - $4000 right now. With a few spare parts I can sell my friends cheap.
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Slammy1 on 04/14/03 08:29 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
Hehe well my answer to that is a long time as I'm still running an overclocked celeron a 300 at 450mhz. It's been adequate for quite some time but I'm really feeling a strong desire to upgrade as new games like rainbow six raven shield etc aren't running that well. If I was planning on upgrading to another intel chip I would take your advice to wait for springdale and canterwood to become mainstream but given it seem the higher prices for intel chips in contrast to AMD chips I'm more apt to upgrade to amd. Now my question then is should I also wait to upgrade with AMD as well or not. I can tell you with summer coming I'm pretty eager to have a new system but I can indeed wait if I know it would be better to upgrade a bit later. Thanks
I'd go ahead & build now. AMD has some good offerings & you'll be pleased. I just built on Fri. for Daughter in Law's Father.
512 Samsung 2700
WD 40 gig w 8mg cashe
LiteOn CD ROM
Liteon CD burner 52 X 24 X 52 X
Antec 1040BII case w 400 w Smart Power PSU
Creative 2.1 speakers
Creative 56K modem
Viewsonic E70f + 17"
Microsoft K/B & mouse
It's fast & solid. Will play anything out there right now. Loaded up NOLF II & it rocks. BTW the entire system with Viewsonic monitor. Microsoft k/b & Inteleye Mouse, & speakers came to $805. All bought @ Newegg. Can't beat this inexpensive, fast system.