New standards, new computers.
The machine I am typing on is quite adequate for what I do, but starting to feel a little slow for some things.
And it's old enough that, if I wanted to upgrade, the standards for the necessary parts are obsolete. For how much longer could I get a PATA hard drive? Replace the motherboard, and I would need new RAM, new SATA hard drive, new video card. What's that? A new PSU as well? That's damn near everything.
It doesn't need an expensive new machine to jump that barrier, but it's there.
Some of the stuff I do is in high-power territory, but it doesn't earn me money. I'm not the guy running CAD software, I'm just having fun, and the new hardware wouldn't necessarily give me more fun.
I suspect there are quite a few people waiting for the first Windows 7 upgrade. I am tempted by the idea of an external DVD writer; they do seem to wear out and it would work with my laptop as well as with any future upgrade path I followed.
It's probably best, as always, to go for the mid-range machine. There's always a premium for the latest hot tech, and the cheap machines can be cheap because of all sorts of inadequacies. I've seen Vista machines with a mere gigabyte of RAM, and Microsoft claimed that was sufficient. But how long is it going to be before the current hardware standards are obsolete. Will a new machine outlast PCI-E or USB 2?
2.8% has an ouch factor, but we've just had the VAT rate go back up, and that's nearly as much (Even if the system lets you claim back the VAT on the computer you buy, you have the VAT on what you sell).
The LCD monitor was worth buying. But it's VGA-only, and that's another constraint on step-by-step upgrades.
I suppose I shall just have to carry on with this old box.