All right: I admit it. My local “fleet” of PCs is getting long in the tooth. The age distribution for the 9 systems at my immediate disposal is strongly skewed. That’s what has me pondering system refresh planning system retirements right now. Take a look at this table to see what I mean:
|Name||Mfgr||Yr Acquired||Brief specs|
|DinaMiniITX||Homebrew||2012||Mobile Ivy Bridge i7 Q4, 16 GB RAM, 250 GB SSD|
|X220T||Lenovo||2013||Mobile Haswell i7 Q4, 16 GB RAM, 250 GB SSD|
|T520||Lenovo||2013||Mobile Haswell i7 Q4, 16 GB RAM, 250 GB SSD, Nvidia Quadro|
|XPS2720||Dell||2014||Mobile Haswell i7 Q4, 16 GB RAM, 250 GB SSD|
|Surface Pro 3||Microsoft||2014||Mobile Haswell i7 Q4, 8 GB RAM, 250 GB SSD|
|Win10TP||Homebrew||2015||Haswell i7 Q4, 32 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD|
|i7Skylake||Homebrew||2017||Skylake i7 Q4, 32 GB RAM, 512 GB NVMe SSD|
|Yoga X380||Lenovo||2019||Kaby Lake i7 Q4, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB NVMe SSD|
|X1 Extreme||Lenovo||2019||Kaby Lake i7 Q6, 32 GB RAM, 2×1 TB NVMe SSD|
Five of those machines run Haswell CPUs, which are pretty old. My wife’s Jetway-based Mini ITX PC runs an Ivy Bridge, which is even older. Yet all of these machines run Windows 10 1903 (or Insider Preview) versions quite well. I plan to keep using them until one of two things happens: (1) a breakdown or component failure occurs that costs more to fix than the machine is worth, or (2) some new Windows 10 upgrade or update finds the target machine unsuitable (blocks it from installing).
What Refresh and Retirement Really Mean
That said, I know it’s just a matter of time before I have to replace all of the Haswell and Ivy Bridge models. Thus, I plan to acquire a Surface Book 2 to replace the Surface Pro 3. At least for now, the two new Lenovos replace the two old ones. I need to rebuild my wife’s Mini ITX using a new-generation motherboard, CPU, RAM and NVMe drive instead of the current SATA SSD. I’ll also rebuild the Win10TP machine, and make it my new production desktop, and demote i7Skylake to test machine status. I’m thinking about replacing the Dell XPS 2720 All-in-One with a Surface Studio 2 (or its replacement model, because that will probably fall outside this year’s planned expenditures).
As best I can estimate that means I’ll be spending $4K or more this year to replace the Mini ITX, purchase a Surface Book 2, and build a new homebrew production desktop PC. With prices starting at $3,500 and zooming past $5K for current models — and an educated guess that next-gen models will be a little pricier — the Surface Studio is going to have to wait.