How often do you upgrade/replace your dev machine?

How often do you buy a new dev machine?

  • Every year with the latest release
  • Around 1 or 2 years
  • Around 2 or 3 years
  • Around 3 or 4 years
  • Around 4 or 5 years
  • Around 5 or 6 years
  • Around 6 or 7 years
  • Around 7 or 8 years
  • Around 8 or 9 years
  • Around 9 or 10 years
  • After at least 10 years
  • Whenever my current machine breaks
0 voters

If there is any particular reason why you’ve settled on the frequency you have, please share!

Other related polls that might interest you:

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For those of you who selected Whenever my current machine breaks (@Marcus @muelthe @cmo @sodapopcan) I am guessing you are not using Macs?

I’m asking because in my experience Macs rarely seem to ‘break’ (at least when used mostly on-site/without the wear and tear of travelling) and that it’s usually the software/OS that makes these machines less useful over time - either because of throttling (either purposely or complicity by the OS vendor) or because older versions of tools (such as languages) are no longer compatible with newer OS versions. This was actually part of the reason why I posted as I was curious whether some of these issues might be raised.


I have voted 5-6 years for partially the same reason you cited: after this period I feel that the vendors have mostly abandoned the machines, especially Apple.

They have a generous policy to support devices for a long time but my Intel Mac has visibly slowed down at places and I know for a fact its thermals are fine. Apple just doesn’t bother as much with devices they internally (and secretly) consider obsolete. I have also noticed my iPhone 12 Pro Max getting detectably slower in the last 3-6 months (and the battery is still shown as Peak Performance) which really started making me weary, if not angry. Planned obsolescence is alive and well, sadly. The corporations understood it’s a bad PR to announce it openly so the next order of business is to do it surreptitiously… :confused:

This is why I’ll gradually make a comeback to Linux. The laptop I have is actually fairly powerful and I know that for as long as the hardware is working well, Linux will keep it fast and reliable. Linux also doesn’t have (not by default) all the scanners and telemetry that Apple and Microsoft employ – in the case of Apple they literally scan every program after you start it which is resulting in a periodic lag when you work in the terminal for longer periods of time.

Macs have served their role in my career. I might buy a refurbished M1 or M2 on a low-mid configuration (i.e. with 16GB RAM so the OS does not trash the SSD and reduce its lifetime) because they are champions in battery life and are lightweight – I’ll need that when I start traveling and working on my own business(es). But outside of that I’m going full Linux (and I’ll be remoting into my home Linux machines with the Mac laptop as well; it’ll be a beautiful and lightweight thin client).

So if you make the same poll next year I am definitely voting “Until it breaks”. :smiley:


I’m not using Mac, but I guess I could break every OS. :sweat_smile:

Somehow taking 100% of PC resources makes me satisfied - I’m so sadistic. :joy:

@dimitarvp Oh, I heard rumors about intentional aging of the product, but I’m not really in topic to prove that. I remember my first time with Linux, because the PC cannot handle even Windows XP. Maybe I have lost a week on compiling entire OS twice, but with a help of Gentoo I was able to use said PC with latest (at that time) KDE 4 and Compiz Fusion for a long, long time. I think you would like Gentoo too:


I do use Macs, actually, it was sorta just the most technically correct answer. For the first 8 years of my career, I just used my work laptop as my personal dev as well. Before that I had been writing my spaghetti PHP on a desktop running WinXP for yeeears. I finally bought myself a laptop around 2018. It was from the year they introduced the touchbar. I didn’t get the touchbar version but it still had that awful keyboard. In any event, that one physically broke in a couple of different ways. I was still able to use it with a monitor and external keyboard for a bit but then I bought myself a M1 Air which is what I have now and I don’t see myself replacing it any time soon.

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I almost chose “whenever my current machine breaks”, but I chose “9-10 years”. However, I would have chosen “until it stops receiving OS upgrades” if it was an option. In my experience, I have replaced my machines (Macs) every 8-10 years and the reason is always that I can’t update and/or upgrade anymore.


I used to buy ThinkPad laptops because their keyboard is so nice and they’re pretty. I need Windows to do the control systems part of my job and occasionally travel to sites for work. The screen is cracked, the battery only ever really lasted a few hours under load and it will burn you if you put it on your bare legs. I bought an M3 MacBook Pro in December after checking that I could get away with running Citect and RSLogix on Windows ARM in a VM. The battery life is phenomenal and the performance is great. Keyboard is total rubbish compared to the ThinkPad and where the hell is my delete key. Stop pretending that your backspace key is a delete key, Apple.

My desktop is a stupidly overspecced 24core Threadripper with128GB RAM tower that I built in 2020 to run all manner of VMs at once. Hopefully lasts a long time cause it cost me and arm and a leg.


Nope, not using a Mac. My current laptop (a Dell latitude 5480), I’ve recently rebuilt with Linux has been going reasonably well for the last 6 six years (maybe 7). My projects are small enough that I dont experience any noticeable performance issues, either.

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Technically I’m using a Mac since I have a macbook m2, but I use Asahi Linux on it since I can’t stand Mac OS.

From my experience I can’t say that macs rarely break, at least mine broke (the keyboard broke) in 9 months of usage. Also I do know some friends that had similar problems with their macs, but that is ofc, a small sample, so maybe it is not significant.

For real work I use my desktop which is a Ryzen 2700x with 64gb of ram and a bunch of ssds that I leave there hanging like christmas tree decorations. Not planning on replacing it any time soon. Probably I will just keep it and do small upgrades if some component breaks.

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I think I’d still use my HP Zbook, but winter of 22/23 was hard in terms of electricity in Ukraine. I had to buy a new laptop with good battery and USB type C charger, so I could use power bank during power outages.


Deploy a k8s cluster and start renting it to companies. :joy:

Personally I got the cheapest M1 air and I am very impressed with the performance, how light and small it is and the battery life. I used a thinkpad for the past 5 years with linux, the only thing I never liked about linux is how bad the UI systems are, especially when it comes to external monitors that are more exotic.

I never used it for anything besides elixir development, the real challenge will be running android studio, if it can survive that, then it will serve me well in the future.


I’ve done something similar. Around 2017 I got Lenovo ThinkStation; this was a system that had “umph”… but was an older model close to not being sold anymore so was relatively cheap. I put some after-market upgrades in and that box continues to serve me very, very well. Right now I’m running dual Xeons with 10 physical cores each and 192GB RAM. Just like you describe, to not be limited when running VMs, concurrently running various workloads, or working well with largish data is something I’d have a hard time giving up at this point.

There are only really two issues with this buy big/hold long approach so far: vendors can put arbitrary constraints on you which can mess with your day. I do a lot of business type work and so I run with Windows 10 using WSL for most dev… but Windows 10 is effectively EOL and there is no upgrade path because my hardware is old enough not to support the correct TPM versions. Other equipment I want to use is made for compatibility with newer hardware and doesn’t mix well with my old workstation; I upgraded my monitor to a an ultrawide a year or so ago and it doesn’t want to work well with my older workstation (part of this is just their firmware isn’t any good, but still… )

I also use a laptop (Surface Book 3), but the workstation is my main axe.


And this is why a mac laptop has a upper hand when it comes to battery IMO, compared to other vendors (not sure when they’ll have a tight competition). Maybe system76, framework, dell, etc. with a linux distro installed can be comparable. Forced to buy m1 air because my x240 (secondhand bought, used for 5yrs) somehow complains alot with containers :joy:


I upgrade just because I want not cause I have a strong need… burnt a lot of money on apple hardware over the years.
My computers usually survive 2-3 before I want a new one.

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My last 2 upgrades were MacBooks Pro 2013 → 2018 → 2024. The main reason was always the same - the fans were unbearably noisy :grinning: (even after cleaning). Overall the computer was simply getting too slow, overheating, and I was usually running out of SSD space.

Now I moved to M3 with just a modest upgrade from 32GB RAM to 36, as RAM didn’t seem to be the bottleneck, and I hope to keep this machine for next 5 years again.


I think I had similar upgrade path.


That’s undeniable, it’s just that in my entire life and career I count a grand total of two meetings during which I wished my laptop lasted longer. :person_shrugging:

As mentioned upthread, I’ll still buy a refurbished M-series MacBook in the next 1-3 years because they are lightweight and have amazing displays (and yes the battery helps) but for work it’ll mostly be a thin client remoting to more serious machines. Their main appeal to me is how lightweight they are and I know that I’ll start traveling more and work in different conditions so the MacBook will have its chance to shine there.

My iMac Pro and the Linux AMD 5500U laptop both have 2TB SSDs. :003:


Using a company Macbook Pro, which is replaced every 4 years. But I refuse. It still works good enough. Apples quality control has lost it though; butterfly keyboards, screen management bugs. It ain’t the Apple anymore which guaranteed quality.

My father runs Windows 11 on a machine with 4 gig RAM and a few more swap. It’s build a decade ago, new RAM costs a fortune cause it has to come from a museum…but it does not crash. Credits to Microsoft in that regard.

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As much as I like to try and stay away from world-domination companies, Apple is my guilty pleasure that flies in the face of that :man_shrugging: I own a bunch of Apple stuff. They almost lost me there for a bit but then backtracked on some of their truly horrid ideas: keywords with zero-travel :rage:, full-sized left/right arrow keys :nauseated_face:, touchbar :face_vomiting:, ditching magsafe :woozy_face: (though my M1 Air does not have it, unfortunately).

I also probably shouldn’t say this out loud but I actually like—even prefer—chicklet keyboards. I made an honest effort to go back to mechanical but it just didn’t do it for me.

Curious, what are you experiencing here?


This is what I’ve always found too - it’s the fans that start getting noisy or fail before anything else.

Did you try applying new thermal paste too?

One of the comments:

Well worth it. 3.5 hours to complete. Macbook is near silent / silent now. I used Thermal Grizzley Kryonaut paste $30, liberally applied with the included spatula spreader applicator. Interestingly, the fan is now quieter even when running at the same RPM.

Mind you the same commenter does go on to say:

I’m a previous computer repair tech (20 years ago), I had all of the appropriate tools. Bottom line, I was lucky it booted back up. So many things could’ve gone wrong. Dozens of tiny connectors need to be perfect. I highly recommend the magnetic mat. The phillips head screws in the fan were seized and I needed to clean the fan with a brush and 60psi compressed air, after it was removed from the computer. Beware if you’re not comfortable working wit tiny parts, maybe recruit a nerd’s help. Thanks How-FixIT!

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