Poll: How old is your work computer?

Poll: How old is your work computer?

Summary: The Wall Street Journal's Ben Worthen asked his audience that question on the paper's biztech blog, and I thought to ask the same of you, ZDNet readers.Not long ago, employees used to expect that every few years, brand new computers would be distributed like Halloween candy.

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TOPICS: CXO, Hardware
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Commodore 64The Wall Street Journal's Ben Worthen asked his audience that question on the paper's biztech blog, and I thought to ask the same of you, ZDNet readers.

Not long ago, employees used to expect that every few years, brand new computers would be distributed like Halloween candy.

But not anymore. Why? Because delaying office-wide computer upgrades is an easy way for the tech department to cut its budget. CIOs nationwide have professed to have asked workers to keep using dusty-old ThinkPads (so old they say "IBM"!)  so some dollars could be saved or redirected to another pet project.

"If it ain’t broke don’t replace it." Let's just throw GTD out the window altogether, really.

Since the economy has done a nosedive, the occasional PC upgrade has been put on hold, according to WSJ.

"In fact, 46% of businesses have either already or plan to postpone purchasing new computers, according to a survey of information-technology execs by CIO Magazine."

And according to research company IDC, it's therefore no surprise that PC shipments in the U.S. will drop 1 percent in the Q4 of this year compared to a year ago. Notice all those PC makers scraping the bottom of the price barrel? Yep -- that's no coincidence.

Sure, we're nearing a consumer-happy holiday season, but corporate computer customers don't need to see tinsel and gingerbread to forget about their tightening budgets.

So, readers: How old is your work computer? What's the most outdated software or hardware you use on a regular basis?

(And for those of you in IT: Are you feeling the pinch?)

I'll throw my hat into the ring first: I'm working on a Lenovo ThinkPad that can't be more than six months old.

How about you? Give us the dirt in TalkBack.

Topics: CXO, Hardware

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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Talkback

62 comments
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  • Not that old

    The one I use is 2 years old, The company as a whole the oldest PC's are 5 years old and we only give those to interns.
    jfp
  • I've seen some old computers

    I'm not working right now, but most places I've worked at so far have had some old computers. The oldest I think I've seen are cash registers - at a restaurant I worked at, the registers were literally still using some version of DOS. You couldn't tell by looking at the registers while they were running, but when they were rebooted, it was painfully obvious they were starting using some batch fie in some old version of DOS.

    I've also seen a few businesses where there's some "computer in the corner" which does some automated thing, and nobody notices it until it breaks. Which for older computers with more reliable components can be a very long time.
    CobraA1
  • hehehe :)

    I have a Dell Latitude D600 laptop.

    My router is a P3 with 256 MB of PC100 RAM with a 9GB SCSI drive :)

    My wife has a 450MHz P2 with 512MB PC133 RAM which she uses daily for watching movies, tv and surf the net. We are getting a new PC to replace that one though, probably this month.

    Up until I moved recently I had a working P1 133MHz with 64MB of EDO RAM and a 16MB 3Dfx Voodoo3 card in perfect working condition. That thing ran Quake3 with low settings on Win95 like champ :)

    Also, my current UberGaming box is about 2 or 3 years old, running a 3GHz PentiumD 930, 2GB of PC5400, 2 150GB Raptors in Raid0 and 2 Nvidia 7900GTX cards in SLI. Despite it's age, it still runs almost every new game pretty smooth even with highest graphic settings turned on. Will put it to the test with Call of Duty 5 shortly, but I'm sure it will manage it.

    I'm also planning to pick up an old Dell PowerEdge 2600 server, found a good deal on a used one.

    As for work, we still have a few developers running Dell Dimension 4600s...

    So yea, as much as I love cutting edge technology, I like to see how much abuse the old stuff can handle :)
    Scratchi
  • RE: Poll: How old is your work computer?

    Mine is a Dell D600 laptop. 1 year old. The most outdated software I use is outlook 2003 :P
    premedios
  • 3 Years.

    Though I could buy a brand new one right now if I wanted to. No reason...this one works and a new one wouldn't increase my productivity one bit. I think we've reached the point of diminishing returns in many areas of computing.
    ye
  • Age may not be an issue

    You may get a brand new laptop but if it happens to be an entry level model...? Now, a 1.6 GHz Celeron (or something to that effect) and embedded graphics would be OK. Maybe even 512 MB RAM would do and you could certainly live with a 80 GB drive. But what if the machine "sports" Vista Basic? My 2001 500 MHz Celeron with Win2K was faster.

    Fortunatelly, the above scenario didn't happen to me, but it DID happen to a friend of mine. I'll install a 1GB RAM module to her laptop, a leftover I have from my private MacBook Pro so she can actually work.
    kitko
  • Not old at all...

    My current work machine is pretty new with an E6750 Intel Core 2 Duo processor while my former work machine was a Pentium 4 Dell Optiplex GX620.

    Most outdated I have currently is MCMS 2002 while previously I did do some work with NT 4.0 back in 2004 that seemed to be very old to me at the time.
    JB King
  • Feb of 2004 - 4 going on 5 years

    But that's more by my choice - it's a good laptop with lots of memory, all set up the way I like it, and does everything I want.

    A year ago I asked for a replacement and was told to go pick one out, but I didn't find anything I really liked better.
    Takalok
  • RE: Poll: How old is your work computer?

    Not sure since it's a re-purposed machine. I would estimate 4-6 years old. I have two, one runs OpenSuSE Linux the other Windows XP Pro. ]:)
    Linux User 147560
  • RE: Poll: How old is your work computer?

    I also am using a Lenovo Thinkpad that is less than 6 months old. The oldest PC in our organization is 3 years old. Servers...5 to 6 years seems to suffice if it was spec'd right to begin with and the servers role hasn't changed significantly. Now our IBM Power System running IBM i gets upgraded every 3 years without fail.
    tmcgoldrick
  • Client PCs: 2 yrs, Some Servers: 6+ years

    All of the client PCs in my company are no more than 2 years old, with some only 6-8 months old. These are a mix of desktops and laptops.

    In the server room however, the situation is significantly different: 16 servers, only 4 of which are less than 2 years old. The rest are anywhere from 4-7 years old. Have tried for the last two years to get approval to replace these old servers through virtualization on two new servers, but have had the projects deferred due to concerns about the bottom line.
    j.debbs@...
  • 6 months, 1, 2, 4, 5, and 8 years old.

    nt
    Hallowed are the Ori
  • Heh, I was fortunate

    I have a Optiplex GX620 maxed out, a Optiplex 765 maxed out, Dell D630, and a ThinkPad R52. Oh and the 3 year old iMac.
    mtgarden
  • RE: so old I bought my own

    I'm a technical writer who also is called upon to edit photos and videos. I'd been using a single-core XP Pro PC with Office 2003, 1GB of RAM, and 72GB of storage, and a 17-inch LCD monitor. 20 months ago, I requested an updated machine with a 24- or 30-inch monitor. When my PC got infected, I was issued a replacement with 512MB of RAM! Ridiculous. I finally bought my own ThinkPad R61, which I've fully loaded with all the software and hardware I need to do my job. It's just as well, since the Federal Government (where I work) won't let me install any software on their PC beyond the lame Microsoft apps it came with.
    paul613
  • RE: Poll: How old is your work computer?

    Workstation is 5, going on 6 years. Rest of office got upgrades to Vista units last year. I am lagging only because I don't want Vista. System is fast enough, upgraded software and graphics. Waiting for Win 7.
    Still using a NT4 file server. What? It works.
    rjacobs@...
  • older

    I've migrated to doing most of my work on this 1 year old Dell Vostro 1000. "Cheap" is the polite label, but at least it has 1 GB RAM.

    My firewalls are all P-IIs, 8 years old? I use a lot of P-IIIs for various things, including a couple desktop units.

    After this vostro, everything I personally use is at least 5 years old. The "best" machine, and thus my central desktop, is a celeron 1 GHz with 512 MB RAM. (2 x 250 GB HDs) I would have beefed up the RAM, but this thing is "cheap" as well, 512 is the max it can handle. I have more RAM in a couple of the P-IIIs, such as the P-III 1 GHz/786 MB RAM machine I use as my main testing box.

    I had hoped to replace the celeron with a state of the art, mid level unit in February, but that seems to be slipping off into the future. I also wanted to get a "real" laptop at the same time, but this too will probably be postponed. Things are particularly bad here in western New York.
    pgit
  • RE: Poll: How old is your work computer?

    One thing management fails to consider is the time wasted (cost) by developers waiting for builds of software. Guys in my shop wait over 1/2 hour for a build on a P4 that would compile in 5 minutes on a modern computer. And then there are the legions of testers sitting around waiting for the build to test. All these are costs of not upgrading machines.
    paul.gallagher@...
  • RE: Poll: How old is your work computer?

    There may be more variables involved beyond just the age of ones computer. The basic reason for upgrades prior to WinXP was stability. WinNT and Win2K were the earlier versions which needed only a few improvements. Changing operating systems creates two problems for IT. Firstly each new operating system must be tested with third party software to ensure that it will function without user problems. This testing can be very lengthy and expensive. If slight differences are found with the new operating system new operational procedures must be written for users.
    Second many companies use a specific build of operating system so that defective computers can be replaced with spares without the user recognizing and difference in operation. Since most companies can???t afford to replace all of their computers at once, IT can end up with more than one OS. Each different OS generally has a different user procedure and can cause confusion depending on the amount of difference between systems. Once a company finds a stable operating system and a reliable manufacturer it is just more economical to stick with it.
    ronrumpf@...
  • RE: Poll: How old is your work computer?

    Windows 98 - I have one p/c that is used only for an interface with our phone system. I don't really know how old it is, Compaq Presario. It isn't broke, no need to fix it.
    mlaw22
  • RE: Poll: How old is your work computer?

    Will be 5 years old in January. It started to get so Slow after the last upgrade to CentOs, I mainly work on my personal MacBook Pro now.
    murlin99