Squelching the upgrade bug
The upgrade bug bites a lot of people
One of the more fascinating attributes of the human species is the constant desire to “upgrade” things in their lives.
While we feel that it’s not necessarily a negative thing (think: personal improvement, efficiencies at home, etc.), there are some very obvious flaws especially when it comes to material “stuff” you might own. The first thing that comes to mind is cell phones, as well as most “technology” items.
How does the upgrade bug happen?
I’m in the process of re-ordering my office here at home. De-cluttering and organizing is the goal (always be knolling!) And one of those goals was to move my massive tower PC to another location.
Much to my disappointment, I realized that the tower was way too big, and had to re-think how this was going to happen.
“Okay, just get a smaller PC case that will meet your needs.” Done. Corsair Carbide Air 240. $79 bucks. Perfect!
Well, I realized that my motherboard won’t fit in the new case I bought.
“Okay, let’s get a smaller motherboard that fits your version of the Intel Core i7 chip.” Done. Asus motherboard, only $70 bucks. I’ll just transfer the memory, hard drives, and be ready to roll!
Ahh – but that is when the “upgrade bug” bit me.
See, I have a pretty nice system with a decent video card, SSD boot drive and maybe 6 or 7 terabytes of total storage.
I started investigating whether I should “upgrade” my SSD boot drive (which is only 250GB). Maybe I could get a 500GB version that’s a little faster and more reliable? (SSD drives have a limited life-span). I was almost ready to get a new one when I discovered…
The new “M.2” or “NVMe” SSD drives which apparently are substantially faster than traditional SATA SSD drives (they use the PCI Express slots).
Oh boy, my motherboard doesn’t support that technology, and that would mean I’d have to get the NEWEST motherboard, new memory, and an all new Intel CPU. We’re talking close to $1000 right off the bat. Maybe more.
As I spent a good part of an afternoon piecing all the puzzle pieces together – it hit me cleanly: “Why am I doing this?”
For what we do (at the moment) there is no logical reason to upgrade anything. My PC (even though over 5 years in the wild) is still perfectly capable of handling everything except hard-core gaming and massive 4k video editing. Neither are on the radar at the moment.
Gains from upgrading are psychological 99% of the time
Having the latest and greatest is a nice feeling. But you cannot live your entire life in search of those feelings.
Because they’re fleeting.
It won’t be long before something better comes along and pushes your “best” to “not best anymore.”
Sure, if your job or business absolutely depended on it – you can make the argument.
But just like cell phones (and waiting on line at the Apple Store), your life would be fine if you didn’t upgrade without a need. If Apple or other companies didn’t constantly hype the latest and greatest – I’m sure you’d all survive.
Yes, it might be nice to have a turbo-charged PC that could handle any and all applications thrown it’s way. But I think I’d value the money in my pocket more. We’ll upgrade when it’s truly necessary – and even then – won’t shoot for the top of the line. In a couple years, we can probably get the exact same caliber parts we were considering this week – for far under half of what it costs today.
I do admire people who can successfully defeat the upgrade bug – and stick with their older technology until it actually becomes unusable.
So the next time you find yourself in that death match arena with yourself as you’re about to part with hard-earning money to buy or upgrade something that you don’t really need – try to give yourself a second opinion on whether it’s really necessary!
(PS – I returned everything and bought a Cooler Master HAF XB II LAN BOX. Awesome. And purely practical. All my old parts fit – and the case was under $90. Boom!)