PDA

View Full Version : Can you imagine using your present PC for 20 years?



keithpeter
April 7th, 2010, 05:28 PM
Hello All


"I've had my current desktop for a little over two years. I want to continue using it for another 20. I mean that literally: this computer, this keyboard, this mouse, these three monitors. 20 years. There's no technical reason the hardware can't last that long, so it's a matter of whether there will be useful software to run on it."

http://mark.pilgrim.usesthis.com/

Any thoughts on this? I'd imagine it might be possible soon as people tend to use mobile devices for web/phone/games/apps and real desktops become niche products for Serious People.

For the tasks I actually do on this PC (mostly Web, then Office, then a little messing about) this dual core 2.4GHz box is fine.

tom66
April 7th, 2010, 05:38 PM
I don't think it's possible, not with the quality of components in computers these days. Your average capacitor on the motherboard might do around 5,000 - 10,000 hours (this is an optimistic estimation; voltage/current surges and higher than average usage will reduce this), that's a little over 1 year of continuous use. If you factor in daily usage you might just get 13 years out of one cap (this assumes you use the computer for 2 hours a day.) Remember, there are at least 6 (big electrolytic) capacitors on the main board, sometimes as many as 20; only one has to fail to cause a problem.

Other components such as CPUs, chipsets, controllers, devices will last a very long time; on the order of millions of hours.

Hyper Tails
April 7th, 2010, 05:40 PM
wow..... he has an insanely powerful machine

9.5 terabytes, Holy S**T!

that will last you 20 years for sure!

cariboo
April 7th, 2010, 05:43 PM
I've had my current system for about 3 months, and I'm already thinking about a new system. :)

Hyper Tails
April 7th, 2010, 05:47 PM
I've had my current system for about 3 months, and I'm already thinking about a new system. :)

lol

I Had my pc for 2 years

I'm putting 8 Gigs of ram (I currently have 2 gigs)

keithpeter
April 7th, 2010, 05:47 PM
Your average capacitor on the motherboard might do around 5,000 - 10,000 hours (this is an optimistic estimation; voltage/current surges and higher than average usage will reduce this), that's a little over 1 year of continuous use. If you factor in daily usage you might just get 13 years out of one cap (this assumes you use the computer for 2 hours a day.)

Food for thought there tom66. Perhaps we'll see desktops with Auricaps or other audiophile brand capacitors at twice the price :)

earthpigg
April 7th, 2010, 06:11 PM
how does he have zfs on ubuntu 64?

nubimax
April 7th, 2010, 06:11 PM
I have been using this computer for 10 years now. I have had to replace a few parts but it does every thing that I want it to. I have a laptop that is one year old, much more powerful, but I can't stand using it so only use the feature on it for down loading photos from my camera.
M.

J_Stanton
April 7th, 2010, 06:34 PM
Your average capacitor on the motherboard might do around 5,000 - 10,000 hours (this is an optimistic estimation; voltage/current surges and higher than average usage will reduce this), that's a little over 1 year of continuous use.

where do you get your info from? my computers last for years being on 24/7. you fail.

tom66
April 7th, 2010, 06:43 PM
Even good caps don't last that long. Audiophile caps just have low ESR (equivalent series resistance) and sometimes low ESL (equivalent series inductance) so they aren't any more reliable; I'd bet in fact they are just overpriced cheap capacitors that people are willing to stomp up money for.

An electrolytic capacitor is amazing in how it manages to work given the chemical and electrical stresses that it is typically put under. For example a motherboard's processor section (typically) deals with voltages from 1 volt (low Vcore) to 5 volts, so 6.3 volt capacitors are used. But for best reliability you should choose capacitors with at least three times the voltage rating you might expect them to be subject to (10 volts to 16 volts). But these higher voltage capacitors are much more expensive; about 25 cents a piece more, so lower voltage caps are used - the result being of course lower reliablity.

An electrolytic capacitor is an awful component. I've heard people calling them a "necessary evil"; useful for smoothing power, but used sparingly for fear of them causing premature failure.

So I don't think that a motherboard could last 20 years.

This is not including the power supply, which is typically under much more stress component-wise, and I wouldn't expect more than 10 years out of even a good PSU.

Jaecyn42
April 7th, 2010, 06:43 PM
Is it possible? Potentially.

Would anyone truly want to? I really doubt it.

I've been reading The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil and he has some interesting predictions on what new technology will be available within twenty years:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Singularity_Is_Near#2030s

* Mind uploading becomes possible.

* Nanomachines could be directly inserted into the brain and could interact with brain cells to totally control incoming and outgoing signals. As a result, truly full-immersion virtual reality could be generated without the need for any external equipment. Afferent nerve pathways could be blocked, totally canceling out the real world and leaving the user with only the desired virtual experience.

* Brain nanobots could also elicit emotional responses from users.

* Using brain nanobots, recorded or real-time brain transmissions of a person's daily life known as "experience beamers" will be available for other people to remotely experience. This is very similar to how the characters in Being John Malkovich were able to enter the mind of Malkovich and see the world through his eyes.

* Recreational uses aside, nanomachines in people's brains will allow them to greatly expand their cognitive, memory and sensory capabilities, to directly interface with computers, and to telepathically communicate with other, similarly augmented humans via wireless networks.

* The economy transits in GDP percentage to more meta services such as reality fabrication, mind enhancement, mental software. The GDP percentile of simulated, beamed, and augmented pornography will increase from 0.5% to over 10%, as production techniques reduce physical production costs of real things.

* The same nanotechnology should also allow people to alter the neural connections within their brains, changing the underlying basis for the person's intelligence, memories and personality.


Granted, Kurzweil is only one authority on the subject and not everyon agrees with him. Still, Mind Uploading? I couldn't see myself passing that up for the sake of frugality.

LowSky
April 7th, 2010, 06:46 PM
A capicitor should last between 50,000 and 100,000 hours, not 10,000.

The business world couldn't afford to replace a computer much less a server every 400 or so days.

tom66
April 7th, 2010, 06:57 PM
Have a look at, for example, this quality Panasonic capcitor:

http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=P12343-ND

This is rated at 5,000 hours at peak temp rating (which most capacitors in a computer are quite close to - because they are near the hot CPU and because they are under load). It is a quality capacitor, for computers and other high reliability systems. Its capacitance is stated to change by 25% over its lifetime and it has a *peak* lifetime of 7,000 hours at 105 C.

This was the first search result on Digikey...

A server will of course use different capacitors; probably a much higher rating than they are ever subjected to, so you might be able to get 50,000-100,000 hours out of them. Servers are often much more expensive than even a premium gaming computer.

I still love electrolytics though because they are really high capacity compared to any other capacitor. Supercapacitors (double-layer electrolytics) are a future battery replacement, imagine charging a laptop battery in 10 seconds instead of 1 hour...

sudoer541
April 7th, 2010, 07:04 PM
I've had my current system for about 3 months, and I'm already thinking about a new system. :)

I bought my PC seven years ago. However I am planning to use this computer for another 5 - 10 years if possible.

keithpeter
April 7th, 2010, 07:06 PM
I have been using this computer for 10 years now. I have had to replace a few parts but it does every thing that I want it to. I have a laptop that is one year old, much more powerful, but I can't stand using it so only use the feature on it for down loading photos from my camera.
M.

Hello nubimax, well that is ace! I've got three years on this AMD box and it still does what I actually need.

keithpeter
April 7th, 2010, 07:11 PM
The same nanotechnology should also allow people to alter the neural connections within their brains, changing the underlying basis for the person's intelligence, memories and personality.

As I work as a teacher, I'd better start developing another skill. Perhaps I could become a neural network gardener :twisted:

Strange, I've seen that Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance thing where the range of different types of interaction with computers has reduced - converged - down to the monitor/mouse/keyboard. For heavens sake the keyboards are even the same as the teletypewriters were, no basic symbols like divide and multiply.

keithpeter
April 7th, 2010, 07:22 PM
Even good caps don't last that long. Audiophile caps just have low ESR (equivalent series resistance) and sometimes low ESL (equivalent series inductance) so they aren't any more reliable; I'd bet in fact they are just overpriced cheap capacitors that people are willing to stomp up money for.

Shhh that's my retirement plan you are messing with for when the CBI raids my teaching pension. I was quite looking forward to knocking up valve amplifiers with magic capacitors, or, better still, transformers with magic wire in them.

http://www10.big.or.jp/~dh/sp/DHWS_1.html


So I don't think that a motherboard could last 20 years.

I've used kit with pretty old printed circuit boards without too many issues, but again, that was high cost industrial equipment.

Psumi
April 7th, 2010, 07:36 PM
No, my IBM T41 laptop will be 10 years old in 3 years, and since it cannot properly use flash without 100% of the CPU being used up...

Yeah, not happening.

Phrea
April 7th, 2010, 07:49 PM
I got a few machines of 20 to over 30 years of age.
Most of them still run, they just aren't 'useful' anymore. To me, they are, because I love playing with old hardware, and the occasional old game, so 'kinda useful'.

J V
April 7th, 2010, 07:55 PM
* Nanomachines could be directly inserted into the brain and could interact with brain cells to totally control incoming and outgoing signals. As a result, truly full-immersion virtual reality could be generated without the need for any external equipment. Afferent nerve pathways could be blocked, totally canceling out the real world and leaving the user with only the desired virtual experience."Welcome, to the real world."


* Using brain nanobots, recorded or real-time brain transmissions of a person's daily life known as "experience beamers" will be available for other people to remotely experience. This is very similar to how the characters in Being John Malkovich were able to enter the mind of Malkovich and see the world through his eyes.The incessant blogger of the future


* The same nanotechnology should also allow people to alter the neural connections within their brains, changing the underlying basis for the person's intelligence, memories and personality.Oh no, Sofig Z! We're all doomed! No, don't look at me, thats how it spreads!

If the USA has an NSA_Key to windows, what will Microsoft Nanites(TM) do to the casually government disliking person?

Trust me, the day mind-altering nanites become real enough to fake reality is the day the goverment activates their backdoor while you sleep >.>

gemmakaru
April 7th, 2010, 08:11 PM
Would I want to use a 386SX 25MHz, er no. In the future thats what tadays tech will seem like, maybe ever more so as the increase in capabilities increases.

Jaecyn42
April 7th, 2010, 08:50 PM
"Welcome, to the real world."

The incessant blogger of the future

Oh no, Sofig Z! We're all doomed! No, don't look at me, thats how it spreads!

If the USA has an NSA_Key to windows, what will Microsoft Nanites(TM) do to the casually government disliking person?

Trust me, the day mind-altering nanites become real enough to fake reality is the day the goverment activates their backdoor while you sleep >.>

I understand these concerns. They aren't entirely unfounded.

Still, I maintain a degree of optimism (naive optimism, perhaps) that such technological innovations will ultimately be to the benefit of individual freedom and potential.

There is admittedly a dangerous potential for this sort of technology to be used to the detriment of the individual. We can only hope that, in the years to come, citizens elect governments which pass tech policy which is protective of the individual's rights.

I have no expertise on the matter, really. I just believe what Kurzweil says. Is this intellectual laziness? Yes, but he seems a clever, trustworthy fellow.

/shrug

On topic though, whatever technological innovations do occur in the next twenty years, we can still expect hard disk use and capacity to expand at the current rate; making a 9.5 TB of memory analogous to the once amazing 100 MB Hard Drives of twenty years ago.

Mercredi
April 7th, 2010, 09:47 PM
I have a PC that's 6.5 years old. It's running Windows XP, and it's clear that the programs* I run on it are increasingly intended for faster machines. TurboTax took an insanely long time to do anything this year, and McAfee is increasingly monopolizing system resources - in another 13.5 years I rather imagine I would never have to worry about malware or attacks of any sort because McAfee would render the computer itself unusable. Assuming the hard drive doesn't fail by then.

In some ways I miss the 80-88 I used in high school. The internet wasn't as essential then- all I wanted in a machine was word processing and Infocom games.

*Not counting Nethack.

Hero of the Day
April 7th, 2010, 09:50 PM
something is definitly going to happen soon. :popcorn:

I just have a feeeeeeeling.




*gotta pee

keithpeter
April 7th, 2010, 10:52 PM
Would I want to use a 386SX 25MHz, er no. In the future thats what tadays tech will seem like, maybe ever more so as the increase in capabilities increases.

I take your point, gemmakaru, but I'm thinking (as I think Pilgrim was thinking) that PCs have now reached a sort of plateau where even a modest Web-book can do most of what people use computers for,

PS: In the very early 1990s I had four 386s running Windows 3.2 (32 bit extensions!) and MS Excel 3. I used these to encourage students to explore their maths. A few weeks ago, I was running the same kind of lesson, except with 20 Asus webbooks running openoffice calc.

http://bodmas.org/blog/maths/spreadsheets-to-talk-about/index.html

lisati
April 7th, 2010, 11:02 PM
I have a couple of Commodore 128s lurking around somewhere. I haven't powered them up for a while, but the last time I did, apart from the sound not working on one of them, they worked.

K.Mandla
April 7th, 2010, 11:18 PM
Hello All



http://mark.pilgrim.usesthis.com/

Any thoughts on this? I'd imagine it might be possible soon as people tend to use mobile devices for web/phone/games/apps and real desktops become niche products for Serious People.

For the tasks I actually do on this PC (mostly Web, then Office, then a little messing about) this dual core 2.4GHz box is fine.
I use a machine on a daily basis that is 14 years old. Ask me again in another six years.

speedwell68
April 7th, 2010, 11:28 PM
Would I want to use a 386SX 25MHz, er no. In the future thats what tadays tech will seem like, maybe ever more so as the increase in capabilities increases.

I remember when they were best of the best. Windows 3.0 in 386 Enhanced Mode FTW.:D

MooPi
April 7th, 2010, 11:55 PM
I've had my current system for about 3 months, and I'm already thinking about a new system. :)
I have the same affliction. I believe an intervention by close family and friends will be needed:) I visit Newegg daily just to check prices of gear I'm interested in.

keithpeter
April 8th, 2010, 12:47 AM
I have the same affliction. I believe an intervention by close family and friends will be needed:) I visit Newegg daily just to check prices of gear I'm interested in.

Great! When you sell 'last year's model' on ebay, we all benefit. Thanks :twisted:

http://lastyearsmodel.org/

drreed
April 8th, 2010, 12:55 AM
20 years ago was 1990. I have 3 computers older than that now, and they all work. But you did say "using", and mine only come out once in a blue moon, to verify disks etc. My Osbourne portable has a few problems that need sorting out. I don't really have a source for 360K one sided disks anymore . . .

aklo
April 8th, 2010, 04:04 AM
Not sure about 20 years...but i used to have a computer (P3 933Mhz) for 10 years and the only thing that i changed once was the hard disk....i suppose you could use a comp for 20 years with some luck.

swoll1980
April 8th, 2010, 04:07 AM
The home depot in mentor is still using dos boxes. So is the K-Mart out here. Same machines they had when the place was built in 1991.

mcooke1
April 8th, 2010, 04:20 AM
The home depot in mentor is still using dos boxes. So is the K-Mart out here. Same machines they had when the place was built in 1991.


Amazing, must take awhile to check out.

Khakilang
April 8th, 2010, 05:20 AM
Yeah! 20 years with the same computer. Heck I've been using my body for the past 50 years so it will be great to use it for another 20years.

steveneddy
April 8th, 2010, 06:12 AM
I have a PIII machine that runs Ubuntu that I use on occasion and it still runs well. It is close to 10 years old.

My laptop in three years old and still running great on Intrepid and will soon install Lucid.

I use the laptop daily while working on the road. As long as it keeps going I will continue using it. I believe the stresses of the road are getting the best of this little jewel, though. Soon, System76, soon I will replace this with yet another System76 lappie.

I had up until last year a 20 year (estimate) old Mac or Apply Power PC that still worked and would get on the internet, but it was very slow.

scouser73
April 8th, 2010, 05:40 PM
My Hi-Grade Intel Celeron D works fins and I've had it for six years, originally it had 512MB RAM, and the graphics were integrated with the motherboard so I upgraded to 1GB RAM and got an nVidia 6200 graphics card. It works perfectly, I've 2.8TB's of external hard drives (I love downloading). So yes, I could see myself using this PC for another twenty years.

cascade9
April 8th, 2010, 06:04 PM
how does he have zfs on ubuntu 64?

Via FUSE I think is the only way. I didnt see a reference to ZFS there, but its late, and my brain is melting. :)


I don't think it's possible, not with the quality of components in computers these days. Your average capacitor on the motherboard might do around 5,000 - 10,000 hours (this is an optimistic estimation; voltage/current surges and higher than average usage will reduce this), that's a little over 1 year of continuous use. If you factor in daily usage you might just get 13 years out of one cap (this assumes you use the computer for 2 hours a day.) Remember, there are at least 6 (big electrolytic) capacitors on the main board, sometimes as many as 20; only one has to fail to cause a problem.

Other components such as CPUs, chipsets, controllers, devices will last a very long time; on the order of millions of hours.

Point on the caps, but its not like they are impossible to replace. I'm proably going to be doing a re-cap job this weekend on an nForce2 board thats got to be at least 7 years old (and I think its almost 8).

swoll1980
April 8th, 2010, 07:25 PM
Amazing, must take awhile to check out.

Checking out is fine, but if they lock up it takes about 10 minutes to reboot them.

eeperson
April 8th, 2010, 07:28 PM
Have a look at, for example, this quality Panasonic capcitor:

http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=P12343-ND

This is rated at 5,000 hours at peak temp rating (which most capacitors in a computer are quite close to - because they are near the hot CPU and because they are under load). It is a quality capacitor, for computers and other high reliability systems. Its capacitance is stated to change by 25% over its lifetime and it has a *peak* lifetime of 7,000 hours at 105 C.

This was the first search result on Digikey...


I think the problem with that estimate is that the capacitors are probably not operating anywhere near their max operating temperature of 105 C. Unless they are being used as part of the CPU heatsink they are probably operating closer to 30 C (at least going off of the lm-sensor measurements of motherboard temperatures). Even using using a conservative estimate of 45 C and the rule of thumb to estimate electrolytic capacitor life expectancy found here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolytic_capacitor#Reliability_and_length_of_l ife.) I come up with a lifetime estimate of around 36 years. This suggests that a 20 year lifetime is very possible.

Objekt
April 8th, 2010, 07:48 PM
No way. No consumer-level hardware is designed to last anywhere near that long. Stuff with no moving parts has a better chance, but even that dies unexpectedly. 20 years isn't going to happen.

Also, I can't stand some things about present hardware. Boot time is just too dang long. A good chunk of it is taken up by the motherboard self-tests. Why do they take so long? Surely they could be done in a time barely perceptible to the user? I don't need to see the amount of RAM, status of the RAID controller, etc. for several seconds each, every stinking time I power cycle the machine.

HermanAB
April 8th, 2010, 08:13 PM
I had one Compaq machine that lasted 7 years, but all the others conked in after 3 to 5 years. The Compaq started off running Windows 95 and ended running some version of Mandriva Linux.

I have never seen consumer grade machines last longer than 7 years. The capacitors and fans just don't last that long.

swoll1980
April 8th, 2010, 08:24 PM
I had one Compaq machine that lasted 7 years, but all the others conked in after 3 to 5 years. The Compaq started off running Windows 95 and ended running some version of Mandriva Linux.

I have never seen consumer grade machines last longer than 7 years. The capacitors and fans just don't last that long.

I'm running an 11 year old Compaq right now as a server. The only times it has been rebooted were the result of a power failure. I also have a 6 year old dell desktop, and a 7 year old hp laptop both of which work fine. I just gave my uncle a old Pegasus II machine that worked fine. I have a 25 year old C=64 that works fine as well though it doesn't get turned on nearly as often, only about once every couple years. I think alot of it has to do with how clean my machines are kept. The only reason these machines become obsoleted is because the technology around them gets to hardware intensive.

Objekt
April 8th, 2010, 08:35 PM
7 years is pretty good. I have had some individual components last that long, but there's always something else that breaks so I can no longer use them.

Example: I have an Athlon XP 3200+ CPU gathering dust in a corner because the motherboard died. It wasn't worth it to rebuild the system with a new motherboard fitting the old components (DDR RAM, AGP graphics card, et al), so I built the one detailed in my sig.

swoll1980
April 8th, 2010, 08:39 PM
7 years is pretty good. I have had some individual components last that long, but there's always something else that breaks so I can no longer use them.

Example: I have an Athlon XP 3200+ CPU gathering dust in a corner because the motherboard died. It wasn't worth it to rebuild the system with a new motherboard fitting the old components (DDR RAM, AGP graphics card, et al), so I built the one detailed in my sig.

You can get a board on eBay really cheap. You should look into that.

Objekt
April 8th, 2010, 09:32 PM
I'm sure I could resurrect the old beast, but I don't really have any use for a second machine now.

I also don't have a monitor for it any longer. Even if I did, I would have hassles getting 3D graphics to work in newer Ubuntus, since it uses an older ATI graphics card (Radeon X1650).

It's just not worth the bother for the present.

keithpeter
April 8th, 2010, 10:00 PM
Hello everybody

It looks like we are quite a frugal bunch with many years of use in our current PCs.

What interested me about Pilgrim's article was that he was saying the longevity of his computer depended on software continuing to be available.

I take the points about hardware reliability (and thanks for the lessons on capacitor failure estimates) but I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that it will be possible to replace bits as they fail.

So I shall rephrase as follows: in 20 years will we be on Linux kernel 2.89.3-97 or will there be a totally different software architecture (Haiku? Windows 18 after Microsoft went bust and it became open source?) ?

Cheers

tica vun
April 8th, 2010, 10:04 PM
In 20 years we'll all be playing Duke Nukem Forever, on Hurd.

Jon Bn
April 8th, 2010, 11:16 PM
This is an interesting project. If the capacitors are the most likely component to fail then buy some extras and replace them before they fail. Or you could even buy several motherboards and store them in a wine cellar or something with those anti moisture gel packs. In any case maintaining 20 year old electronic equipment is nothing new, just ask NASA (the space agency). They use electronic components from the 1970's onboard the space shuttle and in modern satellites. Thats because they want components that are tried and true and can withstand space radiation. That being said if I were you I would research which components are most likely to fail and stock up on them. That, combined with preventive maintenance should keep your machine running well over 20 years.

Sporkman
April 8th, 2010, 11:52 PM
This is an interesting project. If the capacitors are the most likely component to fail then buy some extras and replace them before they fail. Or you could even buy several motherboards and store them in a wine cellar or something with those anti moisture gel packs. In any case maintaining 20 year old electronic equipment is nothing new, just ask NASA (the space agency). They use electronic components from the 1970's onboard the space shuttle and in modern satellites. Thats because they want components that are tried and true and can withstand space radiation. That being said if I were you I would research which components are most likely to fail and stock up on them. That, combined with preventive maintenance should keep your machine running well over 20 years.

Instead of stockpiling replacement parts you'd do better putting that money in an interest-bearing account towards a future computer.

clonne4crw
April 9th, 2010, 12:41 AM
I've had my IBM Pentium 4HT rig for about 5 years now, running 24/7, and have had no such capacitor problems. I really hope I can get at least another 5 years out of it, being one of the last IBM machine that was actually made by them. My dad has this other IBM one that's lasted 8 years, too.

I what I've noticed is that they (manufacturers) just don't make computers like they used to. While my ancient Pentium III machines just keep on humming along, I have family members who go through a laptop a year. It's kind of saddening, really. These new models are just meant to die so soon.

Sporkman
April 9th, 2010, 12:43 AM
I what I've noticed is that they (manufacturers) just don't make computers like they used to. While my ancient Pentium III machines just keep on humming along, I have family members who go through a laptop a year. It's kind of saddening, really. These new models are just meant to die so soon.

Laptops are different - they undergo a lot more wear & tear, both mechanically & heat-wise.

cmat
April 9th, 2010, 01:21 AM
My Aunt used a Pentium 90MHz with 16MB of RAM with Windows 95 (upgraded from 3.11) for 15 years. She did all her daily business with it and had no complaints. Still works too. If it could write letters it was good enough... until she needed internet access. I have 2 PIIs and one P3 machine at my labs on 24/7 for the past couple of years and they still work fine.

I'm pretty sure if there is no huge change in hardware architecture one can use a PC for 20 years. If they don't rely on software that loses support for newer technologies.

yester64
April 9th, 2010, 02:35 AM
Hello All



http://mark.pilgrim.usesthis.com/

Any thoughts on this? I'd imagine it might be possible soon as people tend to use mobile devices for web/phone/games/apps and real desktops become niche products for Serious People.

For the tasks I actually do on this PC (mostly Web, then Office, then a little messing about) this dual core 2.4GHz box is fine.

If you only use the current system and don't upgrade, you can perhaps use the computer forever.
But let me see. I used an Amiga 20 years ago. Could i've still using it? Maybe. But that would be with no new os. Cpu could've be upgraded somewhat but it would be outdated no matter what.
If parts fail, you may have to look in the junkyard or find a good dealer.
New technologies will pass by and you have to pass as well. At that time serial connectors were the thing on the block, but now everything works pretty much with usb. Or Scsci a different option.

So in theory you could use a computer for a long long time. Do you want? I would say no. Unless you use the computer for a certain task.
But then again, if its for web even that can be a challenge. Newer browser are needed if you want to latest fix in it. Older computer have a hard time loading newer browsers.

Perhaps there are some people still working with windows 2. :)

But i think no one will use their computer for over 3 years. Most people today change their gfx card every 6 month.

Sporkman
April 9th, 2010, 02:39 AM
Then again, old computers can be useful in criminal enterprises:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=474624

yester64
April 9th, 2010, 02:46 AM
I have a couple of Commodore 128s lurking around somewhere. I haven't powered them up for a while, but the last time I did, apart from the sound not working on one of them, they worked.

Nice.... you wouldn't have an A1200 by any chance? :)

keithpeter
April 9th, 2010, 07:30 AM
My Aunt used a Pentium 90MHz with 16MB of RAM with Windows 95 (upgraded from 3.11) for 15 years. She did all her daily business with it and had no complaints. Still works too. If it could write letters it was good enough... until she needed internet access.

I'm pretty sure if there is no huge change in hardware architecture one can use a PC for 20 years. If they don't rely on software that loses support for newer technologies.

Looks like cmat's aunt had uses that a simple machine could meet. My interpretation of Pilgrim's article is that he has now reached a hardware configuration that allows him to achieve all his uses. Therefore no need to upgrade. The point he is making is exactly yours: a new compelling need requires new software that the older PC can't run, possibly simply because the new software has been written in a new way.

kenweill
April 9th, 2010, 08:49 AM
Motherboards wont last that long. As soon as it get fried, your only option is to upgrade everything.

Objekt
April 9th, 2010, 02:31 PM
Here's what I hope I see in PC software, in 20 years:

-Boot times near zero. Solid state storage will help with this effort. Flash-based hard drives are already reducing boot times to levels we haven't seen since the 1990's. "Hard drives" with no moving parts will become ubiquitous, and someone may invent something even better (e.g. cheaper, faster, more reliable) than today's flash memory for the purpose.

Yeah that's hardware again. Software and hardware are inseparable, to the extent that one determines the limitations of the other.

-Building on the above...maybe "rebooting," as we currently conceive it, will cease to exist.

-DRM will be a distant memory. I mean the evil DRM, not the good one found in video drivers.

-Ubiquitous encryption. It will be very difficult, or impossible, for governments or anyone else to spy on the communication of anyone who doesn't want to be spied upon.

-Game software as such will no longer exist. Everything will be cross-platform to the hilt. You will be able to play all the old games - PC, console, you name it - on emulators, but games won't be published the way they are today.

Things that probably aren't going anywhere:

-The computer desktop. As an abstraction of a physical desk, there's no reason to get rid of it. People have used desks for centuries when engaged in intellectual pursuits. Some things are just timeless.

-The flat display. Whatever may come with 3D technology, most computer use will still be done in a 2D, flat display. Again, it's a useful abstraction of something in the physical world: paper. Paper has been around for centuries, and isn't going away in 20 years, if ever.

See you in 20 years to find out how full of it I am. :P

moetunes
April 9th, 2010, 02:40 PM
I use an amd k6 for serving avl's via nfs and backups - it is nearly 15yrs old and apart from hds hasn't missed a beat :)

Sporkman
April 9th, 2010, 02:45 PM
...and someone may invent something even better (e.g. cheaper, faster, more reliable) than today's flash memory for the purpose.

Memristors! (http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/25018/?a=f)

ssj6akshat
April 9th, 2010, 03:12 PM
My PC is already about 8 years old.Just 12 more years:)

Frogs Hair
April 9th, 2010, 03:20 PM
I got 10 years out of Gateway ESC 400 and it was still running when it was recycled .
the problem was the CPU was just too small, it was impossible to run flashplayer or upgrade to the newer web browsers. I did have to upgade the the hdd from 10 ghz to 80 ghz.

aeiah
April 9th, 2010, 03:34 PM
my components are obviously crap quality or something.. my pc is about 5 years old and the only original components left are the case, cpu and psu. everything else has had to be replaced along the way.

i think the only thing that'll make me upgrade is HD video content. right now it plays most 720p ok but its pushing it a bit so i usually dont bother to avoid any stutters. VDPAU would sort this of course, but how long until 1080p is outdated and we're craving 3D 2160p at 90fps? probably shorter than 15 years

Objekt
April 9th, 2010, 03:59 PM
Memristors! (http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/25018/?a=f)

Wow, that was quick!

20 years ago, 1 GB of storage was not yet seen in consumer PCs. Now 1 TB is easily affordable.

So I expect another 1000-fold increase in consumer PC storage by 2030. 1 petabyte drives, if not larger. And they will be solid-state, with no moving parts.

The way access times are going, our 1 PB drives will load data *before* we request it.

Swagman
April 9th, 2010, 04:45 PM
Haven't read all of thread but as far as OP goes.

Pffft

People are still using Amiga A2000's and towered A1200's.

MasterNetra
April 9th, 2010, 05:35 PM
wow..... he has an insanely powerful machine

9.5 terabytes, Holy S**T!

that will last you 20 years for sure!

Not likely, components on the machine will most certainly fail most likely within 5-10 years. In order to make money things are often purposely built or designed so they won't last. Plus he already mentions he has been having problems with his storage units and he only has 8GB of ram. in 20 years that could easily be what 64MB is to 8GB of ram, if not a greater gap

mcduck
April 9th, 2010, 05:54 PM
considering what desktop computing was like 20 years ago, and what it's like today, I definitely don't want to be running any of my current machines 20 years from now. :D

..and it's just as sure that I don't even bother trying to guess what computers will be like in 2030. Many of the things I do daily these days would have seemed like science fiction at the time when I got my first computer. Or, really, even ten years ago.

keithpeter
April 9th, 2010, 08:04 PM
Memristors! (http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/25018/?a=f)

Yup, I read about those as well. Looks very interesting but a few years from the market yet.