The Steam Hardware Survey is a very reliable way of getting an idea about what sort of PC components people are generally using all over the world.
According to the latest survey report released in December last year, the most popular GPU is the Nvidia GTX 1060 and the most popular CPUs are the older Intel quad-core processors.
Now to remind you of how old the GTX 1060 is, this then ‘mid-ranger’ GPU came out on July 19th, 2016. Which makes it almost 6 years old. Imagine the sheer number of GPUs that got released in the past six years. A vast majority of people are still using GPUs that are six years old.
On the other hand, popular older generation Intel quad-core processors can be up to nine years old, and you shouldn’t be surprised if you see a person still using computer parts that are almost a decade old.
So, in this day and age of technology, where new and improved products are getting released every year, people might get the impression from the incessant tech videos on YouTube that they must upgrade their computer parts every one or two years because of the alluring additional ‘performance gains’. But they might be very wrong.
For a lot of people, investing in electronics products can take out a significant chunk of their income and people would naturally want to use their electronics products for a long time to get their money’s worth.
New products will always roll out every year and the tech reviewers will always try to measure the marginal gains from the previous generation to the current one. They’ll always review the best and most expensive products to help explain how far technology has developed.
But the truth is, very few people need the best and the most expensive products for their everyday tasks and even fewer people know how they make the best use of the latest and greatest consumer tech products that come out every year.
The smartphone market is even more puzzling because instead of every year, new smartphones come out every month or so, with new features and updated pricing and it is even more difficult for customers to decide if their current smartphone is good enough.
The OnePlus 6t was launched on October 29th, 2018. People are still using this device in 2022 and they are yet to see any stutter or bugs from this device. Yes, the camera has aged, but for people who are not very camera focused (it still has a camera that works quite well) it still can deliver pretty good performance.
The only reason to upgrade from this device would be getting a phone with a higher refresh rate screen, a feature that significantly adds to the user experience and is very hard to downgrade from.
This is the most important thing about innovation in consumer electronics, new features will always roll out every year, but among them, only one or two features will stand out that significantly enhance user experience and would be worth upgrading for.
So when should you upgrade? Well, it depends on your needs, but if you are a general-purpose user with no niche demands, your 2–3-year-old devices still might be just fine.
One good strategy for buying electronics is to buy a decent product even if it costs you a bit more money. However, jack-of-all-trades products like the GTX 1060 (it was Tk 29,000 when it came out) or the OnePlus 6t (Tk 42,000 at the time of release), will deliver you good performance for years to come and you won’t have to worry about upgrading every year or two.