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Pondering System Refresh Planning System Retirements

All right: I admit it. My local “fleet” of PCs is getting long in the tooth. The age distribution  for the 9 systems at my immediate disposal is strongly skewed. That’s what has me pondering system refresh planning system retirements right now. Take a look at this table to see what I mean:

ET PCs on Hand
Name Mfgr Yr Acquired Brief specs
 DinaMiniITX Homebrew  2012 Mobile Ivy Bridge i7 Q4, 16 GB RAM, 250 GB SSD
 X220T Lenovo  2013 Mobile Haswell i7 Q4, 16 GB RAM, 250 GB SSD
 T520 Lenovo  2013 Mobile Haswell i7 Q4, 16 GB RAM, 250 GB SSD, Nvidia Quadro
 XPS2720 Dell  2014 Mobile Haswell i7 Q4, 16 GB RAM, 250 GB SSD
 Surface Pro 3 Microsoft  2014 Mobile Haswell i7 Q4, 8 GB RAM, 250 GB SSD
 Win10TP Homebrew  2015 Haswell i7 Q4, 32 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD
 i7Skylake Homebrew 2017 Skylake i7 Q4, 32 GB RAM, 512 GB NVMe SSD
 Yoga X380 Lenovo  2019 Kaby Lake i7 Q4, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB NVMe SSD
X1 Extreme Lenovo  2019 Kaby Lake i7 Q6, 32 GB RAM, 2×1 TB NVMe SSD

Five of those machines run Haswell CPUs, which are pretty old. My wife’s Jetway-based Mini ITX PC runs an Ivy Bridge, which is even older. Yet all of these machines run Windows 10 1903 (or Insider Preview) versions quite well. I plan to keep using them until one of two things happens: (1) a breakdown or component failure occurs that costs more to fix than the machine is worth, or (2) some new Windows 10 upgrade or update finds the target machine unsuitable (blocks it from installing).

What Refresh and Retirement Really Mean

That said, I know it’s just a matter of time before I have to replace all of the Haswell and Ivy Bridge models. Thus, I plan to acquire a Surface Book 2 to replace the Surface Pro 3. At least for now, the two new Lenovos replace the two old ones. I need to rebuild my wife’s Mini ITX using a new-generation motherboard, CPU, RAM and NVMe drive instead of the current SATA SSD. I’ll also rebuild the Win10TP machine, and make it my new production desktop, and demote i7Skylake to test machine status. I’m thinking about replacing the Dell XPS 2720 All-in-One with a Surface Studio 2 (or its replacement model, because that will probably fall outside this year’s planned expenditures).

As best I can estimate that means I’ll be spending $4K or more this year to replace the Mini ITX, purchase a Surface Book 2, and build a new homebrew production desktop PC. With prices starting at $3,500 and zooming past $5K for current models — and an educated guess that next-gen models will be a little pricier — the Surface Studio is going to have to wait.

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