Day 8 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

This week I’ve had a massive technology upgrade. I’ve moved from a 2013 MacBook Pro (the generation of MacBooks which had great keyboards), to a 2019 27" iMac. I had been deferring this computer upgrade for ages, as I dithered between getting a new MacBook (and which variant?), an iMac or even a mac mini. I was hoping the iMac would gain the T2 security chip and possibly a new display with reduced bezels. I was waiting for Apple to return to manufacturing laptops with scissor mechanisms in their keyboards. By the end of October, none of those had come to pass. All the while I was becoming more frustrated with the slowness of my MacBook Pro.

I bit the bullet and bought the iMac. I’ve had a 27" Apple Cinema Display for years, so I’m used to a big screen. Yet this is the first time I’ve had retina resolution at this size. For my ageing eyes it is incredible. In use the iMac feels much faster with my old machine. I know it’s not near the processing grunt of an iMac Pro - but I don’t do video, podcasting or programming. For my productivity app usage and a bit of photo editing (and less than I used to do) this is plenty powerful enough for me.

A quick run of Geekbench on this Mac, compared with what I found in the Geekbench browser for my old laptop, highlights the difference:

iMac MacBook Pro
Single Core 1053 710
Multi Core 4875 1565

It’s not all speeds and feeds, though. This new iMac feels nicer, supports newer features such as Sidecar, and has cleared clutter on my desk!

Technology upgrade cycle

All technology needs a regular upgrade cycle. Technology ages out and the industry moves forward. Inevitably devices need to be changed out. Obsolescence generally occurs before devices fail.

Over my most recent technology cycle, I’ve been depreciating my devices over a longer period. I’ve accepted not having the latest and greatest and have upgraded only when there has been a compelling reason.

For interest’s sake I maintain a spreadsheet to track how long I’ve owned major technology assets, and compute ‘life of service’ and ‘cost per week’. Two of our TVs, however, pre-date this spreadsheet, so they are definitely ready for replacement!

Some highlights from my spreadsheet include:

Device Service Life Weekly Cost
MacBook Pro 5.8 years $5.71
QNAP NAS 6.4 years $3.12
Cinema Display 8.8 years $2.82
Average1 3.6 years $4.50

It all comes back to budgeting

Letting the equipment age was fine in itself. Now though, we have a backlog of technology all set for replacement at the same time. The problem is I haven’t been reserving cash to replace the depreciated items. I responsibly saved up for the iMac, but other technology has not had a regular savings pattern applied to it.

Writing this post has prompted me to create a new line item for technology upgrades in my YNAB budget. I’ve set a monthly savings goal. This way I’ll be able to build my savings to facilitate a household technology refresh. I will keep ploughing money into this category on a monthly basis so that when the next device needs replacing, I’ll have the money sitting there waiting to be used. That beats going into debt - and don’t even get me started on the scourge of Afterpay! That’s a post for another day.

  1. I’ve excluded the brand-new iMac from this calculation. ↩︎