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Intel's CIO showed why it might take a while for Microsoft to make much of a dent in the XP-installed base yesterday as she urged the world to scrap any kit more than four years old. Diane Bryant came on stage at Intel's Cebit kickoff press conference in the wake of a video that described Intel as "sponsors of the future" and " …

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Why Upgrade if you don't need to?

I have a 4 year old iMac and a 8 Year old PC, and no intention of upgrading either, I don't have to as they are both doing what they were bought for. Can't see any reason to upgrade just to put more profits into someone else's pockets.

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because it's easier to

We define PCs as obsolete when we can't get the manufacturer to come and replace bits of them for free any more, which is typically 3years.

The cost of support does rise with age, especially for a company where time counts, too. More stuff goes wrong, more stuff slows down (most of what we bought ~4yrs ago wont run XP SP3 and Office 07) and the users complain more. Replacing hardware gets more difficult (DDR ram's not easy to buy now, and AGP graphics cards are shockingly expensive), especially for laptops. Quite a bit of this is the obsolescence built into Windows, but I'm sure someone somewhere's worked out what the benefit of that is.

You can buy better quality kit and keep it longer, but people prefer two £400 PCs to one £800 one, they feel more looked after.

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FAIL

Only four years?

"Bryant said that after four years, it cost more to support a client PC than to replace it."

I.e. buy a Windows PC and it'll be obsolete in four years. That's a pretty damning indictment of Windows. I change my computer every ten years. Come to think of it my 15 year old Mac still works and doesn't need any support. My eight year old RiscPC is still my daily workhorse. I've renewed the hard drive (the old one is still OK) and one or two other bits, plus OS updates but it doesn't cost that much to support.

OK I know he said a client PC but even so...

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For once, not about Windows

"buy a Windows PC and it'll be obsolete in four years"

They seem to be talking more about the hardware than the OS. 4yo hardware would be obsolete (by their standards) whether it's running XP, Windows 7, or a flavour of Linux. Though, of course, then you need to define "obsolete". Some people would say something's obsolete if it can't run all the new shinies effortlessly, others would say that as long as they can view porn^H^H^H^H webpages then it's just fine.

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15 year old Mac?

Impressive! I still have my 1994 Performa in storage and it might work. OTOH, it's probably close to impossible to find an IDE HD small enough, 16MB SD-RAM modules or a 68040 CPU or a new ethernet card in case I can't find a twistedpair transciever.

Oh, a monitor supported by OS 8.5 could be another problem, the original broke down some 10 years ago.

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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

10BaseT AUI transevers are still pretty easy to get. I had a boat load of them come in recently for some older cisco kit. (don't recall what, most of them are still on the shelf).

I am having troubles with IDE drives in general. The memory and proc you might have to find on online auctions, along with the monitor.

if all that is wrong with it though... you have some serious dryrot.

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Hardware, not software driven replacement

This is, as a previous poster stated, about the inbuilt obsolescence of hardware. DDR RAM is a pain in the arse to source compared to DDR2. You can't replace a 4+ year old CPU without changing the motherboard, and then the RAM etc. It is essentially the shitty end of the Moore's Law stick.

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Anonymous Coward

Dump 4 yeard ol PCs?

WTF? Is this anti-greenwash or something?

How about keeping your 4 year old PC and swapping to an OS that does not crucify with it with bloat and crap?

Just a thought, but not one that will aid Intel's bottom line.

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Happy

Eh?

XP is almost 10 yearsold, so why bother going to the hassle of swapping the OS. if it's working. Keep it.....

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Anonymous Coward

You're not in IT are you...

It has little or nothing to do with the OS being bloated... This is an issue effecting ANY OS.

You replace old kit because:

- Application support - staying current in the business world with apps often means upgrades to hardware as well, and drops in productivity due to slower machines and less productive employees, or worse, and app upgrade requires an OS upgrade to be installed. Upgrading in place costs time, not only for the IT person, but the employee who's machine it is. In business, a typical PC based employee costs $50/hr, and the IT guy servicing it costs $100, (total business cost, which is not just labor and benefits, but equipment, space, heat, electricity, etc) then there's the load on ancillary systems and other support personnel. Also, cross supporting a current app one more than one OS increases testing cycles and complexity of the environment, as does having to maintain multiple different hardware images and drives bases of the same OS.

- Hardware maintenance - old parts mean that MTBF grows narrower. Every hour of downtime for an end user is lot time for the company in terms not only of that user, but someone on a help desk line, and someone else who facilitates the repair. Machines out of warranty not only cost time, but parts too. The frequency of failure only increases with age. 1 or 2 repairs in a year cost more than en entire new deployment.

- Employee perception. Yes, investment in hardware has a direct effect on employee morale. Using kit at work thats older than your $400 BestBuy special at home just feels wrong. Virtually ANY time, even a few seconds, spent waiting at work for an app, especially dozens if not a hundred micro-increments of time, simply drains on stamina, and it not only less productive itself, but frustrates employees and makes them actually do work slower as well.

Throwing a few hundred dollars into the budget to replace computers on a 3-4 year cycle keeps employees happier, lowers application testing costs, lowers support headaches, eliminates replacement part and upgrade costs, and eliminates LOTS and LOTS of help desk labor time (and staff). If you can eliminate just 1 help desk staffer, you could offset between 750 and 1,000 desktops with the money saved in just one year. More modern OS on more modern hardware also has backend benefits too.

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Working? yes but...

Maintaining compliance is a bear! This old of an OS, and getting apps, security tools, and more that work for it? not easy. More so, changing to a new OS allows for use of more modern management, backup, administration, patching, imaging, and deployment tools. the time saved in IT by supporting a modern OS is a wash for the cost of replacing the old kit in just a year.

We're planning our own XP to 7 migration here this year. I can tell you why right quickly its been such a hot debate whether or not to move forward: Once the migration is complete, with the added efficiencies of the new deployment tools and monitoring systems, more than half our help desk and workstation support/deployment folks will loose their jobs. They know this, and they're heavily resisting, including putting forward false or exaggerated numbers. Each employee we eliminate is worth about 300-400 desktops over the course of 3 years. We have about 15,000 desktops. Software costs remain the same.

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4 years ago though

yeh but remember the sort of rubbish you're talking about here.

I mean non-dual core for a start,everything, just everything.

what are you going to use it for?

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Pint

I make that 0.375% so far

From someone who has 0% on windows vista or 7

Glad to be mainstream.

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WTF?

0.375% of what?

Or was it a typo of (3000/80000)*100%=3.75%

Considering the relative "newness" of Windows 7, that's a fairly high penetration for a large corporate. Would be interesting to see many they have deployed after the usually SP1 watershed.

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Happy

Make that 3.75%

My calculator is steam powered.

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3 years max

Most big companies renew every 4 years as the support contracts only last that long unless you pay a big premium which is the same cost as a new pc. After 4 years its fully depreciated so costs zip to bin and most laptops are knackered by 4 years.

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Yup, contract costs

We're required by federal contracts to have supported hardware, OS, and software in most of our systems. After year 3, those costs rise ridiculously.

For example, the monthly cost of support on just one Power4 AIX system I'm in the process of replacing is more than double the support cost of a system I'm deploying to virtualize 12 such systems into VIO. By replacing 6 of these server chassis, the entire new hardware solution is paid for in less than 2.5 years. The extra capacity will be used for other apps and for test systems and is essentially free. We're literally getting twice the hardware, brand new, for less money than keeping the existing one in production, and that doesn't even count soft costs like the power and cooling savings.

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Anonymous Coward

For some reason..

I think a lot of Intel's engineers will be Linux users. No idea why I think that.

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Anonymous Coward

Missing the point

Some of you are missing the point, or the intended audience. Home PCs and computers owned by techies have almost no support cost except maybe the yearly AV licenses. Business PCs which are typically used by IT phobics who neither care how they work or have any desire to attempt repairing them will require support contracts or IT Support staff to maintain and repair the units. Factor in this cost, volume license costs, upgrade costs and the cost of lost time when a PC fails and Intel may well have a point.

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WTF?

lol...... erm, ok.

So some bint from Intel says we should be replacing hardware after 4 years... is that because the quality control at Intel is so piss poor that their components are likely to fail after such a short timeframe?

What would be funny is if AMD used this in their marketing gumph... "Buy AMD's latest CPU - we won't tell you to replace it after only 4 years".

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Backfiring

That could backfire. I have quite a few AMD-based machines at home, but I haven't bought an AMD CPU in the last four years. My last couple of upgrades were Intel devices. However, even the old kit is still working just fine at what it does, no point in upgrading it while I can still buy spare PSUs and fans and hard drives, which are the bits that die most often (although I have had one CPU and two motherboards die over the years).

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Bloatware

The problem is software getting bloated. Often Windows, but also Firefox is guilty (a good "virtual memory stress tester") and worst of all AV products. Of course, that is a Windows problem at heart.

I had a w2k machine without AV and it was fine for 8 years until the motherboard died, so its not a real need. Don't know how the hardware reliability goes, typically faults will rise after a couple of years, and that is a pain if you have a faulty motherboard - and have to re-install cause windows cant cope with hardware changes, and then re-license, and re-install apps, etc...

Now use LINUX with a windows VM, solves most of the above!

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Linux

Freetards

@Richard Porter:

I've got an 8086 that still boots, runs MS-DOS 6.2. Sure you may be fine with a junk P2 and 256mb of RAM but real people that have to do real work would prefer having a system that is actually fast and responsive, rather than losing significant amount of time to a disk that thrashes permentantly due to living in swap because they are too cheap and/or stupid to by a decent computer.

The problem with modern system loads is not the OS, It's THE APPLICATIONS. If you load any modern browser and open more than 2 tabs it doesn't matter how fantastic your OS is performance is going to drop off of a cliff, especially once it hits swap.

Sure, show off with your 'Red Dawn' OS but stop the lies and idiocy in pretending that just because you use a nerd OS somehow the rules of physics and reality don't apply to you. Just because FF was compiled with a 'free' compiler does not make it run any faster or use less memory - in reality Firefox on Linux runs measurably slower than it's windows counterpart.

Plus Linux simply doesn't do what I need a desktop OS to do, and the rest of the world agrees looking at it's miniscule marketshare.

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@Kerberos

A lot of insults and hyperbole in there. Can't Wintel apologists make their point without name-calling?

Too many BS points in your post to tackle all of them, but FF on OSX at home is running about a dozen tabs just fine thanks, as does Safari, Chrome and Opera. Perhaps you have a problem with your OS? But then I'm too cheap and/or stupid to buy a decent computer, so what do I know?

I like the name Kerberos - a yapping dog, wasn't it?

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FFS! Windows Haters

There will be a whole shed load of comments along the lines "I have to replace PCs after 4 years? WTF Windows is crappy bloatware".... all these comments are going to lack understanding of BUSINESS reality.

I'm with Intel, I like to replace a user's primary PC at around 4 years, why you ask? No it's not because of Windows, I could easily reformat them with a fresh XP to get rid of user induced bloat - they ran XP fine when new, so they can run it now (run the appropriate edition of Windows, i.e. an older one for an older PC - although I have established 7 runs fine on a P4 with 2GB RAM).

No no I don't replace them because Windows is slow, I replace them because after 4 years of being on 24/7 they have a higher failure rate (they just do, hard drives and CPU fans mostly) and it's a data recovery/backup problem meanwhile the user is not working. Upgrades are no longer cost effective (especially for very old systems with DDR-1 etc) and the PCs are out of warranty so any failures come out of my budget to fix.

Software that is installed on these PCs also becomes more advanced than they can cope with, 4 year old PCs are not so quick in the latest Adobe apps for example, aren't great running flash heavy websites, don't do virtualisation very well so the developers can can't run their tests like they want... users complain, especially when the guy next to them with the new PC is being more productive because he can work quicker. The 4 year old PC might be 'OK' but a new one IS faster, less likely to fail, supports all the things staff want to run and is covered by a NBD warranty...

It's got sod all to do with Windows or any other OS for that matter.

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Go

Agreed, it has nothing to do with the OS

Most systems either fail in the first month, or keep going till time catches up.

Business systems are bought to a budget, with an expected hardware life of 3-5 years.

Once the cheapest nastiest part of the system starts to go, the rest of it will degrade faster and support costs increase massively.

In my experience it tends to be more PSU first, then disk due to the power fluctuations, then fans from the sheer weight of dust.

Complete desktop replacement took our calls in a small office from 15-20 per week to less than one a month. On a large scale, that kind of reduction is massively cost beneficial.

I have rackmount servers downstairs that are ~8+ years old. They still do the job, but the support contracts are coming due and the cost increase for renewal is almost double the cost per annum of simply buying a new cheap dell and transferring the app across.

While a home pc can creak along indefinitely, in a business environment, you can't afford not to have the equipment covered and lets face it, hardware is the cheapest cost in this business by far.

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What baffles me

Is what the people who downvoted your post could possibly find that was wrong with it. I suppose because it vaguely, very vaguely indeed, could be considered slightly pro-Windows, and we can't have that, can we?

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Shocking

That's horrific. I'm developing on a nearly four-year-old PC right now. It's fine. I just bought a new home PC - that is slower than my work development PC (but consumes 20-30W so saving a fortune in leccy bills). Even the cheapest, slowest PC of today is more than capable of doing anything other than HD video editing or playing games. And the same goes for a half-decent PC of 5 or 6 years ago - possibly older. We have loads of old P4s running XP SP3, Office and a handful f internally developed stuff.

PCs are getting faster and faster. For once, software (namely, the new windows) isn't getting correspondingly bloated and slow. There is really no justification for replacing working kit at the moment. This just looks like an announcement from Intel trying to persuade everyone they "need" to replace kit - with more intel kit.

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Sounds about right

Commercial organisations have to pay for support staff and also for the user to sit there moaning while waiting for a fix. Plus they get big discounts for buying in bulk.

We budget for a five year cycle, though on the if it ain't broke don't fix it principal some kit lasts much longer until a software upgrade overwhelms it.

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I'm still using the same PC I bought in 2000

I've avoided the need to buy a new computer by replacing the CDR with a DVDR, upgrading the HDD (twice) the gfx card (twice) and replacing the Motherboard, CPU and memory (once).

I'm thinking of getting a new case, because the original is looking a bit dented and grimy,

Cheers,

Trigger

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Coat

broom broom!

Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

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ROFL

So, instead of buying a new PC, you simply replaced all of the components in it, some twice...

I do exactly the same thing with my gaming rig, a major overhaul about every 18 months. unfortunately, that does not work in businesses... The labor costs alone in paying someone to rebuild, re-image, test and put in production such systems would be half again simply buying a brand new rig.

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WTF?

Am I missing something in the demands of "Road Warriors" jobs

"Road warriors - sales people and the like - got a new PC every two years, she said. Engineers had to wait three years,"

Why does somebody who presumably only needs to run office apps need a 2 yearly upgrade when the employees running more demanding VLSI design apps, emulators, simulators, compilers, etc have to wait an extra year?

It's the same old story in software, every company I worked has simply bought desktop boxes as people joined, meaning the new marketing hire gets a quad core 4GB machine, while the dev who joined 2 years ago is still making do with a dual core 2GB box. The obvious solution of repurposing the dev's box to marketing doesn't seem to happen.

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Joke

Smoooooth

You should see how smooth the transitions on their Powerpoint presentations are.

It would bring a tear to your eye.

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@adam.c

>>"Road warriors - sales people and the like - got a new PC every two years, she said. Engineers had to wait three years,"

Why does somebody who presumably only needs to run office apps need a 2 yearly upgrade when the employees running more demanding VLSI design apps, emulators, simulators, compilers, etc have to wait an extra year?

<<

Probably because the road warriors in my experience are pretty rough on the hardware, phones and laptops have a tendency to be dropped, water damaged, run over, ports damaged from unplugging peripherals in a hurry and so on, not to mention shock damage over time from vibration and generally moving it around and thumping it on a desk on occasion.

Engineers tend to be set up in one place and not move the hardware around a lot outside of office moves, which greatly reduces the failure rate. They tend to break more peripherals than systems.

Besides, noone said the road guys get new top of the line hardware, the only reason it is a significant upgrade is because technology marches on. My guys tended to get a midrange laptop, then adjusted for specific needs, which was purchased in quantity to save costs and allow swift substitution for early failure.

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Stop

not about the software

It's about:

1) salespeople with old n busted kit don't come off as impressive (especially those that work for a tech firm)

2) kit that breaks down is not acceptable to a road warrior

3) laptops on the run take lots more abuse than those that never leave the office

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Boffin

no ta

my amd 3000 athlon HP Pavillion is chugging along quite nicely at home on xp home and runs even better after i formatted it, thats 5 years without a format though.

so the intel CEO can spin on my mid digit

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Happy

@Roger Greenwood

RE you steam powered calculator. Maybe it just has that dodgy Pentium chip in that couldn't do calculations!

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Coat

Replacement intervale

For some reason where I work, people with a job title with "engineer" in it are on a 4 year cycle, while people with "programmer" in the title are on a 3 year cycle. My suspicion is that the pay scales for engineers are slightly higher, so they are trying desperately to cut costs by calling more people programmers than engineers, and applying pressure every which way. Got PC envy? Change your title from "engineer" to "programmer" and take a pay hit... and productivity boost from a faster PC. (pay scales are determined by all the companies huddling together and discussing how much they can squeeze pay this year.... beady eyed lawyers undoubtedly watching to be sure no collusion occurs, of course, colluding on pay packets is OK, but colluding on prices isn't!).

Perhaps it is a hint... engineers are tossed out the door faster in "resource actions" than programmers too.... they just threw a bunch out on the trash heap last week.

Mines the one with the "made in China" label on it... what? you mean they all have that label now? Criminy....

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Unhappy

HW, SW necessary but irrelevant

In business, both hardware and windows are necessary but irrelevant, as both together cost less than 10%, spread over the suggested 4 years lifetime. The application portfolio costs slightly more, significantly so if you count SAP. In our company, the rest goes on rewriting the OS per department and country, flying in the outsorcerers, and paying for PR to hide the poor desktop support.

On the home machines the 4-year rule looks unrealistic - my suite of music applications is on XP, drivers for all don't exist for newer Windows. On the other hand, my wife's G5 Mac is stuck in the snow-leopard trap, and will switch soon, for an anti-virus app .

So it depends what you are working on - I bet the Intel employees who already switched are development or application support guys. Maybe Jerry Pournelle's 1980 dictum was right, and one application per PC is best.

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really?

can you point me to the good Dr.'s words?

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something to try

This is OT but whaddever, noticed that win (I run server 2k3) seemed a bit keen to force stuff onto disk even when there buckets of ram free so I disabled the pagefile and it made it noticeably snappier.

Worth a try.

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WTF?

Guhh...

This article and most of its comments are making me jealous. My company only replaces PCs when they break and can't be repaired. We have some that are now getting to 10 years old. In fact it was only last week I finally got rid of the last Windows 2000 client - we've finally made the switch to XP!

We have ~1500 client PCs in the UK, many more abroad.

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RW

The costs of churn

1. Environmental: didn't I just read a series of news articles about the mountains of discarded e-waste that blight some third world countries?

2. Intellectual: Miss Smith in personnel finally figured out how to put a watermark on every page using Word. Churn her desktop PC and you also churn her hard-won, valuable expertise.

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simply amazing

it's simply amazing how many intelligent people can read an article like this and still not get the point. we are talking about businesses engaging in cost/benefit analysis of supporting aging kit versus buying new kit. Given the fact that Intel's employees use laptops for client PCs, their approach appears even more defensible. First, support costs do skyrocket after 3-4 years. Volume purchasing always gets a better replacement cost than simply replacing individual computers willy nilly. Business computers are most often on 24/7 and are used much more heavily than home machines. Laptops by their mobile nature suffer damage more quickly than a static desktop. Finally laptop pricing has been dropping like a rock, especially over the last ten years. Machines that cost in the $2,000 to $3,000 price range ten years ago, can be had for $400-$800 in volume today, especially if we're talking about purchasing kit in the middle range. Add this all up and it makes sense. All the arguments about what crappy bloatware windows is, how linux can make an under powered 10 year old computer fly, how "my ten year old computer" works just fine are simply irrelevant. These are carefully calculated business decisions designed to save the company as much money in IT costs as possible. Full stop.

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ME still out there

I replaced an old ME PC today, and the only reason it was being replaced was that some PDFs can't be opened unless she has a newer version. She's just been upgraded to a new HP running XP downgraded from W7P.

The PC was otherwise perfectly ok and loaded very quickly.

I think XP will be around for a longer time than MS thinks

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Joke

You are making too many assumptions

The readers of this fine publication fall into 3 camps:

1. IT professionals who read the article, weighed the comments and found they were in broad agreement with most of the findings.

2. IT Geeks who lovingly tend their own hand crafted PC's and want to show off their prowess

3. Linux fans who take ANY opportunity at all to let you know that Window$ is the biggest pile of crap in the known universe and if only everyone would switch to "free" software everything would be OK with the world (don't even try to explain that "free" software does actually incur costs to large organisations such as training end users, sorry, Lusers and having to provide slightly more expensive support staff otherwise you will be pilloried as a Micro$haft Shill!)

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business reality

"There will be a whole shed load of comments along the lines "I have to replace PCs after 4 years? WTF Windows is crappy bloatware".... all these comments are going to lack understanding of BUSINESS reality."

I don't think they are. Throw Ubuntu or whatev on there, and until you get down to like a P3, the machine speed isn't really relevant. A P4-1.8 and a Core 2 will run most stuff just as well. Most businesses don't want people watching youtube all day, so the fact that a lower end system isn't as good with flash-heavy sites is pretty irrelevant (although very true). The rest? Well, yes, older systems are less reliable -- I would replace them at time of failure (or at time of "noisy fan" or whatever). With any Linux distro downtime should be minimal; in fact, in a domain environment with Windows downtime should be minimal too, since the user's stuff will be on the server.

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Stop

Go thin client or at least turn aged desktops "dumb"

Anyone who considers migrating to Windows 7 from XP or Vista using a traditional "fat client" model is insane. Thin clients are cheap, have a longer desk life, use a fraction of the power, generate almost no heat, and present no data theft/recovery problems. Its not even about saving capex on the upfront purchase, its about cost of management.

Sure the true road warriors will always need their laptops, but for the other 80% of staff forget it. If I dont have a fat desktop then I'm not looking at it (and listening to it) as it ages. If Dell have their way we will all need new desktops every 12 months, meanwhile the upheaval associated with that, never mind the disposal costs, will be piled on top of IT staff already creaking backs.

Static thin clients or desktops-dumbed-down to terminals is the only way to escape the future Dell & Co have planned for you.

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@Henry Winkler

"'all these comments are going to lack understanding of BUSINESS reality.' [...]

I don't think they are. Throw Ubuntu or whatev on there"

And right from the start, you're ignoring the BUSINESS reality of changing OSes, and the effect that would have on employee retraining, productivity, ability to exchange information with third parties... sigh, there's really no point in trying is there?

I liked you better when you wore the leather jacket.

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