Ode to Old Hardware

In this world of iPhones and instant messaging, we’re pushed to buy fancy new hardware. “Get the 2022 Toyota Camry TRD, not this 2018 XLE!” ads and magazine articles tell us. And oftentimes we want the same things. We want iPhone 13s and HP Pavilions, not iPhone 8s or HP G62s. So we spend ludicrous sums of money to get stuff that is pointless to get.

But that iPhone can still make phone calls, so you can use it for what phones are designed for: calls. It likely can still play your favorite mobile games and even likely has a decent camera.  The 15-year-old G62? It is still capable for home use, with a 1366 * 768 screen and a 2-core AMD Athlon processor. It could even do office work.  Why don’t people want it? It’s older than new computers, it’s slower than new computers, and it’s just a bit thick. But you likely already have one, and it costs a fifth of a new computer if you don’t. So why buy something new when you can still use the old?

I’m not against new things. In fact, this is a new blog. But I’ve rarely had the money for new things. So, I’ve had to make do with the old. And I’ve learned just how adequate old tech is, when designed without an expiration date in mind.

Notice those last words. Tech only lasts if it isn’t designed to fail 2 years after first boot; this is called “planned obsolescence”, a problem found across the tech industry. Apple is notorious for this.

An iPhone 8, as mentioned in this post.

An example are two PCs I have. One has an AMD Sempron CPU, designed in 2004, the other a famous Intel Core 2 Duo, designed only two years later in 2006. They both had Windows XP from the factory. The first is single-core, the second dual-core. One runs at 3GHz, the other at 2.66GHz.

The first PC is on its way out, with an IDE hard drive and a damaged motherboard. The BIOS doesn’t work, and it’s a wild goose chase to boot to Windows XP. It has no GPU of any kind, instead relying on AMD 3DNow! to draw graphics. You can feel the slowness when you try to do anything demanding for the time period. It gets a 3DMark 2001 score of 1800; for reference, the budget G62, designed 3 years later, gets a score over eight-thousand. It was a relic only five years after it was released.

The Core 2 Duo PC, however, is faring better. It works perfectly. Even though it is older than most teenagers and is almost as old as the Sempron PC, it still constitutes modern power, despite the lack of integrated WiFi and gigabit ethernet, the DDR2 RAM, and SATA 3/GBps hard drive. It runs Windows 10 better than many laptops designed nearly a decade later, as a matter of fact. Better yet, if I decided to put a cheap GPU in it, I could play CSGO and Minecraft. All that for a computer old enough to be handed down from father to son.

All of this is to say that, while new tech is good and cool, it might not be worthwhile to take money out of your pocket to buy it. Don’t worry; your iPhone 8 has it covered. No need to buy a new one.


AMD Sempron 3000+ VS Intel Core 2 Duo E8400