09 January 2008

Video Ungeek

I'm not computer illiterate, but I'm not a 22-year-old gaming fanatic either. This is why I was surprised when the video card in my 18-month-old system unexpectedly died with no warning last week.

My idea of built-in obsolescence is that the technology in question is doomed to deteriorate or become outdated within 5-7 years, not less than 2.

I looked all over the internet for consumer or customer reviews on the WinFast nVidia card I had in the machine, and all the initial, first-page reviews I found were glowing. Of course, when you read glowing reviews you wonder if it was something that you did which caused your machine to die on you. It took several sites and pages within them to find posts by people with the same expectations and difficulties that I had.

Apparently, when it comes to video card drivers, I shouldn't have been shocked. 2-3 years is a really good life-span for a card in the video gaming world and, even if your card could last longer, you will have upgraded it by then anyway.

This seems insane to me. We wouldn't buy or keep a car that required a new carburetor or radiator every 2-3 years. We wouldn't invest in any home improvement that was likely to break down after 18 months. Why do we accept this for computers?

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