“Future-Proofing” is a dangerous concept.

ruslan120

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Jul 12, 2009
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^ Title.

Future-proofing is an easy way to overspend on a tool that fits a certain need. A better way to make a purchasing decision is to think - will this machine comfortably handle its required spec and will it last a long time?

Example: 4K video editing. Nothing will comfortably handle 8K at this point in the consumer range.
 

Mousse

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Apr 7, 2008
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There's a fine line between future proofing and overkill.:cool: Actually their isn't, but I always wanted to say that.:p

Future proofing is fine and dandy, but once you hit the threshold of diminishing returns, you've entered overkill territory. Overkill is rich bastards turf. Plebs have no business paying extra for little return. Paying 2x more for a machine that's 50% better is worthwhile, but paying 10x more for a machine that's 2x better isn't.
 

bill-p

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Jul 23, 2011
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Paying $5K for a machine now...

Versus

Paying $2.5K for a less capable machine (but still decent)
Then in about 3-4 years, pay about the equivalence of that $2.5K for another base machine

So total spending in 4 years: $5K in both cases.

4-year-old machine versus the latest (just not greatest) machine.

I do not mean to offend anyone but seriously... the second case is a no-brainer: it is very obvious that upgrading every 3-4 years, or even more frequently at smaller amounts of cash, is a better investment than spending it all right now.

After a decade of owning Apple computers, I've decided that it's no longer worth it for me to go with the absolute best. During my college years, I might have lusted after the best possible specs for gaming, but that's long in the past. Nowadays, it's a miracle I can still open the lid of a laptop and use it to check my email. Work keeps me busy. I have a 2018 13" MacBook now, and a Huawei Matebook X Pro for when I want to try something in Windows or Linux. At work, I jumped on the first opportunity to go with a 2015 15" a while back because... keyboard. I'm not going to ask my boss for a 16" because the 15" works and I've already set up my development environment and everything else on it.

And that's it. The chase is over. My personal computers use the latest hardware and OS. The hardware just isn't the fastest nor most abundant (in RAM or SSD) but that's fine because I barely have time to use them anyways. At work, hell, I still use a Windows 7 computer alongside the MacBook, even. That didn't impact my own work performance at all.

I don't know. Perhaps if I was editing 4K videos or something of the sort... maybe I'll want something beefier. For now, the little machines I have at home scratch the itch.
 

ruslan120

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Jul 12, 2009
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I believe this is what most people mean by future proofing.
There’s comfortably doing the same thing 4 years from now and then there’s buying to match specs of programs that are to be released in 2 years.
 

compwiz1202

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May 20, 2010
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^ Title.

Future-proofing is an easy way to overspend on a tool that fits a certain need. A better way to make a purchasing decision is to think - will this machine comfortably handle its required spec and will it last a long time?

Example: 4K video editing. Nothing will comfortably handle 8K at this point in the consumer range.
True, especially with computers where something else goes obsolete, and then the part you futureproofed isn't compatible with the MB that accepts an upgrade of the part that was obsolete.
 
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jerwin

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Paying 2x more for a machine that's 50% better is worthwhile, but paying 10x more for a machine that's 2x better isn't.
Better pay 4 times more for a machine that's 50 percent better than your 50 percent better machine.
 
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ApfelKuchen

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There's a difference between anticipating realistic needs and placing bets on what will happen in the future. We also have to ask ourselves whether we are trying to hide from the inevitability of change.

We can treat computer purchase decisions like the stock market. The future is unknowable, but despite warnings to the contrary ("Past performance is no guarantee of future results"), we assume the past will be repeated (how often have minimum RAM requirements changed, so when are they likely to change again?).

Some changes can't be anticipated. You can read that, say, new Bluetooth capabilities are in the pipeline that are slated for public release in two years. But you can't buy Bluetooth X.X now, so the traditional future-proofing techniques (more RAM and HD space, faster CPU/GPU than you need) are useless. If you want those new capabilities, you have to wait for the future.

If you wait, you may be burdened for months or years by over-taxed hardware. Is today's lower/lost productivity worth tomorrow's eventual gain? There are times we may need to upgrade more frequently than we'd prefer; today to meet today's needs, and tomorrow to obtain new benefits.

Part of the problem with buying faster CPUs and GPUs is that they're still using current technology. Perhaps greater speed will be enough to cover future demands, but there may be architectural changes that can't be compensated for by speed alone - either the technology is present, or not.

For decades we were in the habit of simply up-sizing our HDDs with every new machine - just migrate the data, and be sure there's enough space for another 3-8 years worth of new data and apps. Then costly SSDs came along and made us rethink our storage utilization - we want the improved performance, but is it necessary to have that performance for all our data? Do we put our Photos libraries and Documents and Desktop folders into iCloud with "Optimize Storage" enabled, or do we start manually moving data to/from slow external drives/NAS as it's needed?

Meantime, old assumptions that apps and OSes will bloat as quickly as we up-size our internal HDs are no longer good assumptions. The bandwidth requirements for web-distributed software and the cost of SSD/Flash put pressure on developers to deliver more compact/efficient code. Effectively, app and OS size has plateaued, rather than grown.

So the future must remain the future - we can speculate all we want, but we won't really know what the future will be until we get there.
 

jeyf

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Jan 20, 2009
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Future-proofing most or all apple product is not possible because they are not DIY repairable and are medium quality. Apple products are soo expensive you really dont want to buy more than you need. I am on my 2nd butterfly key board and still not all of the keys work as needed.

some tech products do well
i have a 2010 Drobo NAS box. Cant speak for all Drobo products but this one has lasted. About the time a hard drive goes bad seems the drive market has doubled the density of the latest medium prices drive. I slide out the damaged drive replacing it with a significantly improved new drive. No muss or fuss. I never thought i would be spinning rust this long, thought SSD's would totally replace hard drives. If that happensI will still buy a network attached storage box, just load it up with flash chip assemblies.

also
i have not had a "hardDrive" in any apple product since 2016.
I do not use the cloud. I put everything on my NAS boxes. I have 2 and use the old Drobo as the backup.
for any commercial effort i would not buy apple. Only good for email and surfing.
 

ApfelKuchen

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Aug 28, 2012
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Future-proofing most or all apple product is not possible because they are not DIY repairable and are medium quality. Apple products are soo expensive you really dont want to buy more than you need. I am on my 2nd butterfly key board and still not all of the keys work as needed.

some tech products do well
i have a 2010 Drobo NAS box. Cant speak for all Drobo products but this one has lasted. About the time a hard drive goes bad seems the drive market has doubled the density of the latest medium prices drive. I slide out the damaged drive replacing it with a significantly improved new drive. No muss or fuss. I never thought i would be spinning rust this long, thought SSD's would totally replace hard drives. If that happensI will still buy a network attached storage box, just load it up with flash chip assemblies.

also
i have not had a "hardDrive" in any apple product since 2016.
I do not use the cloud. I put everything on my NAS boxes. I have 2 and use the old Drobo as the backup.
for any commercial effort i would not buy apple. Only good for email and surfing.
There are always limits to DIY upgrades. Not every component can be socketed, existing sockets can't accommodate future components, bus architectures and bandwidth change... You may have a box that can deliver 90% of possible upgrades and still have to be replaced because that pesky 10% involves the necessary/desired technology.

Or you have a laptop, so you can't buy a new I/O card containing USB-C ports... You may be able to stick a finger in the dike, but maybe that finger doesn't exactly fit the hole.
 
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eyoungren

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Aug 31, 2011
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^ Title.

Future-proofing is an easy way to overspend on a tool that fits a certain need. A better way to make a purchasing decision is to think - will this machine comfortably handle its required spec and will it last a long time?

Example: 4K video editing. Nothing will comfortably handle 8K at this point in the consumer range.
As I type this I am listening to music in iTunes 4.0 running on my 2003 17" PowerBook G4. It's got a mSATA SSD installed and I'm using Leopard 10.5.8.

My home server is a 1999 PowerMac G3 with a 2TB RAID (PCI SATA card) and two Gigabit NICs. My main computer is a Quad PowerMac G5 with 16GB ram, a 2TB boot drive and a 4TB secondary drive. It's got three video cards (one is a Radeon X1900 XT) to power six displays (including my 4K HDTV).

There's a 2.3DC G5, a 2006 17" MBP (Snow Leopard max), a 2009 Mac Mini (8GB ram) and a 2008 15" MBP.

I can do about 99% of what most people do with their computers every day. I've spent a lot of time developing workarounds.
 
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leonremi

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May 12, 2017
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Paying $5K for a machine now...

Versus

Paying $2.5K for a less capable machine (but still decent)
Then in about 3-4 years, pay about the equivalence of that $2.5K for another base machine

So total spending in 4 years: $5K in both cases.

4-year-old machine versus the latest (just not greatest) machine.

I do not mean to offend anyone but seriously... the second case is a no-brainer: it is very obvious that upgrading every 3-4 years, or even more frequently at smaller amounts of cash, is a better investment than spending it all right now.

After a decade of owning Apple computers, I've decided that it's no longer worth it for me to go with the absolute best. During my college years, I might have lusted after the best possible specs for gaming, but that's long in the past. Nowadays, it's a miracle I can still open the lid of a laptop and use it to check my email. Work keeps me busy. I have a 2018 13" MacBook now, and a Huawei Matebook X Pro for when I want to try something in Windows or Linux. At work, I jumped on the first opportunity to go with a 2015 15" a while back because... keyboard. I'm not going to ask my boss for a 16" because the 15" works and I've already set up my development environment and everything else on it.

And that's it. The chase is over. My personal computers use the latest hardware and OS. The hardware just isn't the fastest nor most abundant (in RAM or SSD) but that's fine because I barely have time to use them anyways. At work, hell, I still use a Windows 7 computer alongside the MacBook, even. That didn't impact my own work performance at all.

I don't know. Perhaps if I was editing 4K videos or something of the sort... maybe I'll want something beefier. For now, the little machines I have at home scratch the itch.
Total spending might be the same. But in one case you use twice as much ressources.

This is how you **** up a planet !
- - Post merged: - -

Mostly i disagree.

How is it bad to buy something more powerful (or more repairable / upgradable) when it means manufacturing one piece of equipment instead of 2,3 or 4 ?

Is it better to bury Earth under cheap, disposable crap?
 
Last edited:

nicho

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Feb 15, 2008
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Total spending might be the same. But in one case you use twice as much ressources.

This is how you **** up a planet !
- - Post merged: - -

Mostly i disagree.

How is it bad to buy something more powerful (or more repairable / upgradable) when it means manufacturing one piece of equipment instead of 2,3 or 4 ?

Is it better to bury Earth under cheap, disposable crap?
Not quite as simple as that, though.

If you're talking about laptops there's 0 chance of the battery lasting 8 years. You're also increasing the likelihood of battery expansion due to failure during the working life of the computer, further reducing the benefits of holding on to older technology.

In terms of desktops, a mac mini 2018 is capable of doing many of the things a mac pro 5,1 is. Difference is, one sips power while one uses huge amounts of it.
 

maflynn

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A better way to make a purchasing decision is to think - will this machine comfortably handle its required spec and will it last a long time?
So you're saying is people future proof, i.e., by something that will be functional/useful in the future ;)
 

Ifti

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Dec 14, 2010
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By 'future-proofing' and purchasing a higher spec then you actually need, not only are you ensuring your new computer will fit your needs several years down the line so will last longer, but if you decide to sell then it will be valued higher also - more to put towards another overkilled machine! lol
 

ruslan120

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By 'future-proofing' and purchasing a higher spec then you actually need...
What are examples of specs increasing? It's hard to match future specs if one doesn't know what they are (imo)

if you decide to sell then it will be valued higher also - more to put towards another overkilled machine! lol
Sounds like a great way to overspend - overkill machines are always more expensive than the % gain in performance and their depreciation is relatively greater (I would argue)
- - Post merged: - -

So you're saying is people future proof, i.e., by something that will be functional/useful in the future ;)
No - an example is - "I edit 4K video with the following codecs. Here's a machine that comfortably does so and will for another 5 or so years. I don't need to buy a machine that can handle 6K when it comes out because in 5 years time there will be machines to comfortably do so for a cheaper price"
 
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nicho

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Feb 15, 2008
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No, your original statement of buying something that will run now and in the future is pretty much "future proofing"
View attachment 892860
Actually, read the whole definition... the last four words of that sentence in particular.

8K would, in his example, be the technology change. And as he says, you can’t really predict what those requirements would be.

I’m taking the liberty of reading “last along time” to not be intrinsically linked to its technological capabilities (still be a good machine in the future) as you appear to, but as a statement of reliability (still be a working machine long into the future, with the ability to do what it does now).
 
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maflynn

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Technology always changes, my contention that the OP's statement by its very nature is future proofing.
 

jdechko

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Jul 1, 2004
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For most people, buy used or buy the best you can afford. With most typical use cases, computers should last several years anyway. If you have specific use cases then you probably already know what you need/ want. If your requirements don’t change, there isn’t much of a reason to upgrade hardware or software.

We are at the point anyway where the latest software releases already support several generations back in hardware.
 
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