We’ve been advising for some time to cool it for a long while when it comes to major upgrades. For the average member of the audience, that means until the second half of 2004, perhaps even early 2005.
We think it’s going to take until about early 2005 before there will be proven new generation systems that are considerably better than what is available today.
However, we’ve been getting notes from a few for whom this advice doesn’t work very well.
These are people who haven’t upgraded in quite some time, are pretty far behind the curve, want to catch up, but don’t want to get obsoleted right away, either.
The problem these people face is that these people get hurt more by standing pat than someone closer to the curve. They also get hurt more by delays.
There’s going to be a lot of potential reasons for delays in 2004. Delays as in, “It’s not (or barely) here.” Delays as in, “It’s here, but it costs too much.” Delays as in, “It’s here, but it doesn’t work quite right.” Delays as in some combo of the preceding three.
It’s one thing to wait an extra six months when you have the equivalent of a 3GHz machine. It’s quite another when you don’t quite have the equivalent of a 1 GHz machine.
For these folks, we resurrect a concept we first mentioned about three years ago.
The idea back then was to use a low-end CPU as a short-term replacement until something better came along.
This time around, we suggest that people go with a low-end core system to hold them for 12-18 months until the smoke clears and the new generation is solidly in place.
You can buy a low-end TBredB (Barton if you want to splurge)/single-channel nForce2 board and a decent amount DDR400 RAM for just a few hundred dollars. Add a half-decent video card to it.
True, it won’t do as well as an FX system, but you’ll get 75-80% of the performance for about 25% of the price.
A year or a bit more from now, then you can splurge with the money you didn’t spend today on a system that probably will be about 40% faster than today’s high, high end systems, but will cost less, perhaps quite a bit less.
If you feel inclined, you can further reduce your initial cost by selling your core system to somebody who does web browsing and email for a hundred dollars. It certainly will be good enough for that.
Perhaps more importantly, you’ll have the leisure to wait for something very good at the right price, rather than feel pressured into settling for something less and/or costing more because your current system keeps oinking at you.
This approach works best when you overclock, but even if you don’t, it still makes a pretty decent amount of sense.
Think about it.