Kirk McElhearn over at Kirkville says his current Mac Pro is fast enough to last a few years:
So we’ve finally reached the point where computers are fast enough, and people don’t need to upgrade to catch up to their software. With four cores in the Mac Pro, and two in the MacBook Air, I don’t have any situations where I even use all the processor power I have…So, thanks, Apple. You’ve given me a reliable, powerful computer that has already lasted longer than I expected, and should easily see me through another year.
That’s “good for me, but not so good for you,” Kirk says, because he won’t be buying a new Mac anytime soon. With software unable to keep up with the processing power of today’s multi-core Macintosh systems, what’s the point of upgrading?
Helping a friend purchase a refurbished iMac, I understand what he means. What’s the difference between a 2.0 Ghz model and a 2.4 Ghz model, besides $50?
Back when megahertz meant something, the speed of your Mac was a bragging point. But now it seems RAM and screen real estate are more important than, say, hard drive size and speed.
Dealing with low end Macs, speed is a huge issue. A PowerMac G4 doesn’t “scream” along like it used to, and your only hope is a processor upgrade or more RAM. But my iBook G4 turns three years old this winter, and is just now starting to show it’s age – and that’s mostly due to it’s hard drive running out of space, I think. Even my iMac G4 purrs along fine at 800 Mhz, but there are some tasks it’s not cut out for.
Until software developers figure out how to program for those quad-core beasts, all that processing power will go to waste. But it also means you can worry about specs other than speed when buying – or holding off from buying – a new Macintosh.