To upgrade or not to upgrade, that is the question. I’ve spoken before on how one inevitably reaches for the horizon, and, once there, realizes that there are other worlds to conquer.
“Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move,”
says Ulysses, speaking on his wanderlust.

It occurs to me that many hardware enthusiasts and gamers – myself included – face the same dilemma. Nvidia‘s just put out it’s 7XX series: some tremendous value for money. Right now, I know there are people with GTX 680‘s groaning over how much less the slightly-more-powerful 770s cost. There are people hanging onto ancient 9800GTs wondering whether to move on. Then there’s tons of people like me, with our aging GTX 460‘s, wondering whether the time is ripe for an upgrade. But wait! There’s also the Radeon 7950 to consider…

Oh wait, there’s the fourth-gen Intel processors. But will AMD knock them out with Steamroller next year? Will that be a better time to upgrade? Won’t prices be cheaper then?

This phenomenon is by no means limited to the desktop market. Bought a laptop? Let me show you this new ultrabook, which has a fourth-generation processor and even better onboard graphics. Just arrived. Did I mention it’s done in brushed aluminium? Buy that and a week later it’ll be replaced by something newer, faster, smaller, cheaper.

The thing is, it’s always the best and the worst time to upgrade. This paradox only exists in the tech world. Go to a store and realize that object X is so much better than the Object Y that you have. Visit the same store tomorrow and you’ll find object Z has replaced X. Buy Z, sell off that X: you’ll find that another letter of the alphabet soon displaces Z, knocking it out of production. No matter what you do, you’re always, always slightly outdated.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
moans Ulysses and the Hardforums enthusiasts alike. Honestly, it irks the shit out of me, the fact that manufacturers are constantly finding more and more ways to make one spend, spend and spend some more on a difference you might not even realize.┬áThe bleeding edge is – just that: bleeding. It bleeds your wallet. Given how far back on the supply chain most countries are, you’re either looking at being forever a couple of months behind or forever broke.

Me? I’m going to see how long I can hold out. Is it worth it to upgrade – or is it not? You told me once, but I forgot.

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