Okay… The question is somewhat rhetoric, for the answer of the common tao is YES, confident that he/she won’t be rebuked.
But what I want to stress here is that do we really need to dump old hardware in favor of today’s, where in fact we can STILL utilize and revive them?
Of course, for that seemingly resounding YES, here are their most likely reasons why to dump that old computer and buy a new one.
1. To support new technology. This is basically true for Windows and, to some extent, Mac users, for these OSs demand more power for each release. (Well, Apple’s not at fault. They make their own hardware and the OS comes pre-packaged with the hardware. I do think that you cannot find an installation CD or DVD of Mac OS sold by Apple, or even a downloadable ISO file, lest of course you go to black markets and buy a pirated copy of the OS there. But then I think that their supplies are limited.) Also, as time passes by, programs demand more processing power, so your Quad Core may not be that lightning-fast ten years from now, when 3D environments and virtual environments are (maybe) the norm.
2. To support new games. Well, this should be included above, but I would like to focus it here. As our CS professor have said, games are the only ones (though not really the only) that push hardware to its limits. (Take for example, Sims 2.) For example, the PS2 has 9 CPUs – 1 main CPU for coordinating the tasks and the others as slave CPUs – those who render the graphics, make the calculations, etc. Also, as the demand for lifelike rendering of games increase, so thus the more power and more advanced the hardware needed to play just these games.
3. To get the latest technology. This is an obvoius reason which especially applies to those who really want to get the latest of everything, so they invest money and buy the gadget(s) as it/they appear, even though it is expensive.
4. To get savings. Though ironic, new technology offer savings, especially power savings. With the current focus on green computing, computers will really get greener, more powerful, and smaller.
a. Savings in time. As hardware become more advanced, thus also their processing capabilities. For now we have the Core 2 family, the 2000dpi mouse, favor of SSDs (Solid State Drives, used in thumb drives) over HDs (Hard Drives), and the DDR3 RAM, among other things that promise to provide lightning-fast processing.
b. Savings in space. The current trend nowadays is miniaturization, i.e. making things smaller. Thus the Core 2 family is made based on the 45 nm architecture (and plans on getting smaller still), the popularity of VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) on computers, the advent of LCD screens and of OLED screens, and the miniaturization of USB thumb drives, among others.
c. Savings in resources. Also, with the advent of green computing, manufacturers try to keep their carbon footprint at the lowest possible. Thus, there is the favor of LCD monitors vs CRT, and the predicted demise of CRT, LCD and plasma screens by OLEDs. Also, storage devices tend to increase in capacity as years go by, so now we have the Blu-ray disc, the 1TB HD, the upcoming HVD (Holographic Virtual Disc, which can store up to 500 GB in one disc), and the 32 MB thumb drive, among others.
5. Portability. As devices get more and more advanced, they are becoming more and more smaller, and hence portable. That’s why there are netbooks, laptops, PDAs, the Asus EEEPc, ultralightweight laptops (e.g. MacBook Air), ultra-low-cost PCs, and the OLPC.
6. To look cool. The very reason why most people buy the latest because they want to look cool. How cool it is to get a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air? Or simply a plasma TV that costs hundred thousands of pesos?
However, the real question is, do we really need to throw that old hardware?
Of course not. We do not need to dump that laptop or desktop in the closet or in the attic just because it is old.
I do say that doing this is dumb, a definite no-brainer.
I do think that what should be the main concern is how to utilize old hardware, not how and when to throw it away.