Re: Why DO you need to upgrade?
I have the same impression here, JDX; my Core 2 Duo 4GB laptop has been fine for the level of 3D CAD I've been using it for, for several years now. I could upgrade the RAM, but I haven't needed to. Maybe once a month or so I'll set it a few tasks where a faster CPU would cut the job down from twenty minutes to five... but I can live with that.
Once I'd installed all my software, I even made a disk image of C: in anticipation of Windows 7 crufting up in the future, but I haven't cause to use it yet.
Intel seem to think the same, since they emphasise the power saving benefits of their new CPUs above any gains in performance.
Through the nineties and into the 2000s, no computer ever seemed quite quick enough... it seemed that as soon as the hardware improved Windows would try silly graphical effects, or new versions of applications would bloat in size. Also, the tasks that could be expected of home computers required more grunt (messing about with video, for example). This isn't the case any more - if I'm using my laptop for productivity software, it's rare it breaks a sweat. Of course, a super duper CPU, GPU, stacks or RAM and an SSD would be nice, but for me not essential.
Oh, can anyone help? My laptop has a 17" 16:10 1920 x 1200 screen and I worry I won't be able to replace it come the day it dies - if anyone has any ideas, please do share!