Keep Some of Your Old Hardware

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2023-01-23 22:00:06

Whether you’re a professional or amateur software developer, consider keeping some of your old hardware around when you decide to upgrade. It’ll make you a better developer, because when you’re working with constraints you’ll think harder about performance.

I use old hardware to create products for people across budget ranges, and my “daily driver” workstation has some components in it that are over a decade old.

I have some of the most expensive state-of-the-art hardware that money can buy that I take out when I need compute power that warrants it, but a lot of modern hardware these days spanning the last several years has approached some upper bounds with diminishing returns in terms of performance. Across the industry, we’re just not using our compute resources efficiently enough. Only now are finally seeing multithreading in particular subsets of the discipline see some meaningful adoption.

Two places I think about frequently because I work professionally in both of these spaces are web development (Andrew McWatters and Co.) and game development (Planimeter). Both use fields rely on significant hardware acceleration, and when you don’t have the best, you’ll think more about pixel fill, specifically (yes, even in web browsers–so think about your CSS and HTML subtree usage), and maybe secondly your CPU budget.

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