Our company is set up to retire hardware in 4 year cycles. The demands of the pc depends on the department. The new stuff goes into the graphics dept and eventually finds their way out into the warehouse where little is asked of the machine. Is it cheap? Not at first glance, but the big difference that I notice is that we don't have any of the issues that seem to plague others that I've read here. We've seen the complaints of the guy who spends every waking moment nursing his tired [outdated] network. Our network is for the most part hands off. A new workstation comes in, it is configured for the role and I typically don't have to touch it agin until it changes departments. As for bells and whistles, sometimes they aren't that valuable but I've found that if I spend some time investigating the bells, I can find a way to exploit the feature to benefit the company in directions previously not considered.
I'd have to compare this to an old car I had in the 80's. A lot of companies look at the cost of a new car and think that it is too expensive. So they continue to put money into the old car. A new water pump this month, a new radiator, fuel pump, suspension, transmission. This only compunds the problem because you now feel that to get the value out of the money spent on the repairs, you need to hang on longer. Still you are afraid to take the car any farther than you are willing to walk back from and you've spent almost as much in repairs per year as car payments on that new car.
The bottom line is that keeping up with the latest and greatest has left my network with almost 0% downtime in 5 years and a 7-4, M-F job for me.
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