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The Value of Performance

Tuesday 19 April, 2005, 11:35 PM

Matthew replies to my previous post with a good point.

I was looking at it from the point of view of someone wanting to buy a new machine as an upgrade. So paying $1000 for a marginal improvement seems like less of a bargain. Last time round, I paid about 2k for a 100% speedup. This time round I'm paying about 1k for a 30% speedup. So the pounds per percentage improvement ratio is getting worse, even though the pound/performance ratio is getting better.

So it all depends on how much of the value of the purchase you consider to be simply having a new machine with the corresponding reduction in liklihood of it flaking out, and how much of the value is the improvement over what you already had.

To put it another way, I'm thinking of holding off another year before upgrading even though this year's model is considerably cheaper than what I paid 2 years ago and is somewhat better. Two years ago, I felt I got value for money for my 3k. This time round I'm not sure it makes sense to fork out 2k, when I can probably wring another year of life out of the existing machine by buying a new hard disk and some more memory.

So in short, my upgrade criterion was "I could get something much better than what I've got now" but seems to be turning into "I could get something pretty much like what I've got now, but which isn't about to wear out". If that was your reason for upgrading 2 years ago then this year's models look like an absolute bargain. But whatever year you happen to make the switch from one perspective to the other is going to be painful.

Maybe that's what I'm having trouble adjusting to. :-)

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