Just Wait

I must respectfully disagree with the new focus of Low End, er, make that High End Mac. Simply replacing your old Mac every two years, or three at most, isn’t the whole solution to Apple’s financial crisis or the consumer’s lust for power.

High End Mac


My Turn

Just Wait

Daniel Jansen – 2001.04.01

I must respectfully disagree with the new focus of Low End, er, make that High End Mac. Simply replacing your old Mac every two years, or three at most, isn’t the whole solution to Apple’s financial crisis or the consumer’s lust for power.

Anyone who has followed computers for more than a couple years knows two things: new models are always more powerful, and new models tend to cost less than the models they replaced. The first is based on Moore’s Law; the second on economies of scale.

Thus, if you really want to be the ultimate high-end Mac user, you don’t simply replace your aging Macintosh every couple of years – you time that purchase to get the most power for your dollar, looking at the value equation that was so important to this site when it was Low End Mac.

Read the rumors. Follow them religiously. They’re wrong more often than not, but they will help you save money by always holding out a faster PowerBook or Power Mac just a few weeks or months down the line. If you’re serious about high-end computing, you don’t want to buy a model that’s going to be overshadowed next month.

Power Mac G4It’s not just about bragging rights and the good feeling of owning the fastest thing on the market; it’s good economics. For instance, a friend asks if the dual G4/533 or single G4/733 is the better value – your advice, as one who understands Moore’s Law and reads rumors, is to wait at least until a dual G4/733 is available. Odds are it will cost no more than the current G4 with a single 733 MHz CPU.

Of course, by then, we may see 866, 933, or even 1000 MHz G4s in single-CPU configurations. While you compare the value of a G4/1000 with a dual G4/733, the rumor sites will be projecting faster models just a few months down the road. After all, Moore’s Law predicts it.

You can again defer buying, knowing that the value equation only improves over time.

True Value?

Sure, some people will question your wisdom. A CPU on the desk is worth two on the rumor mill, after all, and a faster computer today will benefit you more than sticking with your old one for another few months.

But they miss the point. Your old Mac depreciates in value more slowly than the value equation predicts. Check eBay – ancient Macs that should have absolutely no book value are still selling for dozens or even hundreds of dollars. You take the big value hit when your model is superseded; after that, you may as well ride things out for a year or two.

And most of all, by continually deferring your purchase of a new Mac because of rumors and the forward march of Moore’s Law, you may avoid investing several thousand dollars in a new computer for months and even years.

My advice: don’t buy now. Apple will survive without your purchase. If you really want or need the ultimate in power, just say later.

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