A discussion this morning at work caused me to tally up how much I’ve spent on computers in my life. Despite using computers for 30 years (25 of it as a professional programmer), I was somewhat surprised at how much I’ve spent. My co-workers, however, were surprised how little I’ve spent.
I was given my first computer — a TI 99/4a — in 1984, when I was in 8th grade. I dropped about $2500 combined on my Apple IIc (which I still own) and IIGS while I was still in high school. My own 8th-grade son can’t comprehend how rare it was back then for a high school kid to actually own a computer, let alone two, and then know how to program them.
In 2001, I pieced together a linux desktop computer for about $1500. Some of those components (like the monitor and case) are still in use on my current desktop. I upgraded the mobo/CPU/RAM/PS in 2008 for $400 and just the CPU again last year for under $100.
My wife has owned two computers since 2003, totaling under $1000. I’ve also owned two laptops in that time span, both of which were bought used for under $1000 combined.
Just this week, I bought a new rack-mount server to replace my 13-year-old firewall, so there’s another $500.
That’s about 7 grand, and we haven’t mentioned the hard drives yet. I currently have about 28TB (yes, terabytes) of disks in active use across 11 drives. I’ve bought & retired quite a few more over the years. It’s hard to put a number on the cost of all those drives, but I think it’s safe say they averaged about $150 each, meaning maybe $2000-2500 or so combined.
Throw in some other miscellany, and we’re at an even $10,000 that I’ve spent across a 30-year computer career. If you think about it, $333 per year really isn’t all that bad by today’s standards.