But sometimes, when all our energy goes into progress, acquisition, and productivity, it leaves a huge emptiness of the heart. — John O’Donohue
I work part time for a company that helps businesses or government develop sustainable solutions to business challenges, so I often think for myself about how to act sustainably in my life. At this time of year electronics are widely advertised and people are often eager to trade a perfectly acceptable device in for the newest version, despite the cost, the lack of a real need, and the hassle of transferring data. Buying a eSATA card for my desktop, got me thinking about the fact that I have had my desktop since 2007, but it is still perfectly serviceable, despite higher software requirements because it can be upgraded easily and inexpensively.
The popularity of desktops has greatly decreased in the face of cheaper, more powerful laptops, but I hope that manufacturers will continue to make desktops available for three reasons: (1) it is much cheaper to upgrade a desktop than buy a new laptop, and (2) despite the increased capabilities of laptops, desktops still provide more processing power per dollar, and (3) given the environmental impact of computer technology we should use them as long as practical and then recycle or reuse them. The money I don’t spend on computer technology I can spend on lenses and travel.
I bought a Dell T3400 workstation in 2007 and it is still going strong, because it provides space and opportunity to inexpensively upgrade and add connections. I have:
– Doubled the memory from 4 to 8 GB.
– Increased the speed and capacity of my C:/ drive by putting in solid state drive or SSD (which is amazingly fast and really worth the cost of about $150 depending on size).
– Added USB3 ports for faster downloading.
– Added a more effective wireless card.
– Added an eSATA port (just recently, which got me thinking about this).
I did everything myself except for the SSD installation at relatively minimal cost — certainly much less than buying a new laptop to keep up with speed and storage demands.
Planned obsolescence of laptops is certainly advantageous to manufacturers, as is making it expensive or difficult to upgrade, but is it in your interest? All that said, I do have a laptop and would be hard pressed to get by without it. Nevertheless, I will likely replace my desktop when it is necessary, rather than getting by solely on a laptop.
Your thoughts are welcome.