Which makes more sense: upgrading components or replacing computer every x years?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Ubele, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Ubele macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2008
    Apple has received a lot of criticism on these forums for its increasingly non-user-serviceable computers. For many models, you need to buy the RAM and storage you expect to need for as long as you plan to own the computer. If you plan to own it for many years, you have to pay Apple's expensive upgrade prices for hardware you might not need for another couple years, by which time that hardware will have dropped in cost. The alternative is to buy only what you need now, and sell every couple years and buy a new computer. That way, you get a better resale price for the computer you're selling. The third alternative no longer exists, for the most part: buy what you need now, and upgrade components as you need to, until the computer becomes so old that no further upgrades are practical.

    The arguments over which approach is best seem to be more philosophical than practical: people who like to upgrade components like to do so as a matter of principle (I exclude professionals who truly need Mac Pros for their businesses). I haven't read any discussion on whether one approach makes more financial sense than another. I used to be of the upgrade-as-you-go philosophy. I got eight years out of my 2000 Power Mac G4 "Sawtooth," upgrading every component that could be upgraded. It wasn't worth much money at the end, because it was too slow for much beyond web browsing and writing text documents, so I gave it to my dad, because that was all he needed to do. The computer's upgradability allowed me to spread out the cost of ownership over eight years. In retrospect, though, if I add up the costs of bigger hard drives, more RAM, new processor, new video card, Super Drive, and FireWire card, I'm not sure I saved any money than if I'd bought three new computers during that period.

    This year, I plan to upgrade my aging early 2008 MBP. The tinkerer in me wishes that Apple still offered an easily upgradable mid-priced tower like my beloved Sawtooth, but that's not going to happen. I'm thinking of switching to a strategy of buying only what I need now and upgrading to a new model more frequently, as opposed to buying more-expensive configurations and keeping them longer. I realize there are other factors to consider, such as the hassle of selling your computer and migrating data to a new computer, and the environmental impact of all this Stuff that's being produced. What do other people here think is the most sensible strategy, and why? I'm guessing there's not going to be any single "right" answer.
  2. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    That's a good question and one I chose to kick down the road. I just bought the cMBP so I could pay less today and upgrade it myself. If HAD to buy a rMBP, I guess I would have had to bite the bullet and swing for the fence, keeping the machine for the next 4 to 6 years. To me it's not efficient buying and then selling every couple years. It seems that most people that do are just doing it to have the next bigger, better.
  3. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012

    if I got you point, you are right in the point: No "right" answer for your question. To me, depends in two things/factors: What are you doing with the equipment and what is your budget. I am more the guy that buys the base configuration, upgrades based in money available/need to get work/things done. Ugrades, as you can know, comes in various packages, e.g DYI upgrades or paid ones. So, my trend with computers is using and upgrading them until I not am longer capable of get work done with them. By example, if some future OS X upgrade improve some important workflows for me, say, by a 40% improvement, buying a new machine without the option of upgrade, I will not hesitate tu pull the trigger, assuming I have the budget. But if I not have the budget in the given moment, and can get only a 25% improvement, I will do the upgrade.

    Sorry for my convoluted and lenghtly answer


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