Published on November 19, 2004 By d3adz0mbie In Personal Computing
If you're reading this article, you've probably fallen into the upgrade trap at some point in your life. Speedy new computer parts, bigger, faster, sleeker than the ones you own. And you want them. It could be a new laser mouse, with all the bells and whistles, or the latest processor or even a smaller, better digital camera. You see the Intel commercial for their latest, fastest processor, with a happy family having a good time around the computer. Your computer isn't that fast, and your family doesn't look like the one in the commercial. Maybe a faster processor will make things easier, and add a touch of family fun? Whatever the hook is, we've all been there.

For a computer 'enthusiast' like myself, it's worse. Call us gamers, geeks, PC builders, customizers or whatever the latest term is, we're the guys that build Mom, Dad and the whole families computers from mysterious boxed parts that we get from secret warehouses. At least thats what my Mom thinks, she really doesn't have the slightest idea or concern, it's all a mystery to her. The upgrade trap is bad for us enthusiasts, we get magazines showing the latest hot videocards, lists of CPU benchmarks, sound comparisons on the latest speaker standards. We 'geeks' are bombarded with a mountain of advertising on whats new and cool, and why we've "GOT TO HAVE IT" is pushed down our throats daily. For years I've been a victim, and I think I've finally broken free of it.

A little over a year ago I had all the shiny new toys on and inside my computer. $500 graphics card, latest CPU, killer sound, ultra fast Hard drive with a ton of memory. Over the years every new component was a 'must have', until finally, I reached the peak. Blazing fast, I felt like king of the geeks. Now, according to every trade magazine and commercial I see, my equipment is outdated, slow, something out of the Messazoic era when lumbering beasts walked the Earth. New, faster video cards are on the market, cutting edge processors - even my mouse is supposedly outdated! But is it really? Do I really need this new stuff?

For the past few years I would have said yes, but recently my attitude has started to change. The kicker for me was Doom3. For months I was wondering if my 'aging' hardware would handle this technological marvel of a game. After I first installed Doom3, fired it up, I was hugely dissappointed by how poor the game ran. Certainly my hardware wasnt that old? With a little research I discovered that the game shipped with setting to make it run poorely on my ATI video card... it seems Id software, the makers of the Doom seires, and nVidia, a video card manufacturer they had advertising deals with, might have been trying to sell new video cards by making some people think ATI video cards couldn't handle the game. It took changing 5 settings in a Doom file and suddenly the game was playing in all its full glory, without a single slow frame. Hmmm, maybe my hardware isnt so outdated after all.

I've taken a closer look at those benchmarks for new hardware, showing how the new stuff beats my system hands down. And I wonder if I really need Quake3 to run an extra 25% faster, after all, it runs jst fine maxed out on my system. What would I gain? I started to think that my system was still pretty current, and these shiny new toys every hardware vendor in the world was trying to convince me to buy was just that - toys. Things I dont really need, might be nice to play with for awhile, but eventually to be discarded for the next new thing.

The nail in the coffin was sealed a few days ago. I've had my eye on the new Logitech MX1000 lasermouse. This mouse is cutting edge wireless, the first ever laser mouse (which makes it more precise, better in every way!). Every review I'd seen had been through the roof - people were raving about this new mouse. So I bought one. And I was hugely dissappointed. None of the reviews mention the mouse is as heavy as a brick and incredibly bulky, they only discuss its cutting edge technology that were supposed to get excited about. Truth is, the mouse feels like pushing a lead brick around, even on the best mousing surfaces! For me thats unacceptable. My wife has the mouse now, a gift from her husband. Shes obviously much more macho than me, able to push around 100lbs of mouse.

So I'm out of the trap. I like my system, it can handle anything I want to do. It plays all the latest games just fine, edits movies and creates content at a fantastic speed. I dont need another shiny new toy for now, even if it has some cool new feature that I might die without.

Although, I bet a bigger monitor might be nice...
Comments (Page 1)
on Nov 19, 2004
I guess its all what your used to or are trying to do. My mouse can move the cursor faster than I can focus, my 400Mhz processor runs rings around my 56K dial-up, and Solitare or Tetris don't overheat my motherboard either. Now about rendering something in Photoshop, that gives me time to go get a cup of coffee- works for me!
on Nov 19, 2004
Now about rendering something in Photoshop, that gives me time to go get a cup of coffee- works for me!

Good point!

But rendering something in Bryce would give you time to Take a shower, get dressed, eat lunch and take a 500 mile trip.

I'm the same way though I have a 2.53 with all the trimmings and I am not it want for a 3.5, though I will replace my video card as the prices come down.......
on Nov 19, 2004
Last real upgrade I made was better memory and a new CPU with a bigger FSB...seems 150mb CAD files were choking my system. Now everything is quick and smooth.
on Nov 19, 2004
I must confess, I did up-grade my hard drive, seems I had to many WindowBlind skins using up all the room!
on Nov 19, 2004
BTW great looking icon you made, loved reading how you went about making it too!
on Nov 19, 2004

A 21" LCD monitor in black? A new shuttle with that dual card thingy? (ok so I am not a computer geek, but I know what my husband likes) are no where near over shiny new toys. Not a day goes by that you do not show me some new toy from your computer mags that is your "dream machine."

You are just disappointed about the mouse and pouting. That is ok. We understand.

Shes obviously much more macho than me, able to push around 100lbs of mouse.

Of course I am...just look at that sissy-sized box you have compared with my green monster machine. Remember- Size does matter...bigger is better and so is heavier.

on Nov 19, 2004
I'm staying out of this one.
on Nov 19, 2004
I'm just picturing you as our "First Lady"
on Nov 20, 2004

One of the things that bothers me the most in reviews (actually, in publications of all sorts) is the dishonest graphing of data. I bet if you look at the charts it shows something like this:

Your card's performance:
New card's performance:

New card looks a lot better, doesn't it? But if you look a little more closely at the graph, you may notice that the numbers are: your card 47, new card 53. Sure, that's a nice improvement, but not nearly as massive as the graph appears to indicate; the graph looks like almost a 2-to-1 difference. Well, that's because the "baseline" (the left-most edge) of the graph does not represent 0, but rather 40! So what they've graphed is a comparison of 7 to 13. Of COURSE that looks almost twice as fast. If they graphed it honestly, though, it would look like this:

Your card:
New card:

New card doesn't look quite as impressive now, does it?
on Nov 20, 2004
I'm just picturing you as our "First Lady"

Scary, huh?
on Nov 20, 2004
I've never done something that moronic. But I'm tired now and I'm going to sleep... as soon as I move the 120lb subwoofer beind my chair from the 5000 Watt 245 speaker 150 Channel srround sound system I bought yesterday.... much better than the 4999.5 Watt system, by the way, and definitely worth the extra three grand.

on Nov 26, 2004
So.... how's HL2 running for you?
on Nov 27, 2004
It's not, I'll tell you why in my next blog entry.
on Apr 04, 2006
I want mp3 player. What will advise?
on Apr 04, 2006

I want mp3 player. What will advise?

Call me whacky but the first thing I'd advise is to create an original and NEW thread asking this, rather than digging up one that had lain fallow for 15 months or so....