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      It kind of sucks that you can’t upgrade basic things like RAM or the SSD, but I guess I kind of expect it now from laptops.

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        When you think about it, what’s replaced and what’s repaired is kind of arbitrary. Used to be able to replace L2 cache (and I had a 386 computer where it was bad, subsequently replaced) but I don’t think many people would be happy with the performance of a system where L2 was two inches away from the CPU, and the signal timing constraints that would impose. Hell, you used to be able to replace the ferrite rings in your core memory one by one.

        What do you do if you have bad RAM? You toss the whole $100 stick, right? But that’s only one bad chip out of 16. You’re throwing away $95 in perfectly good RAM! But rarely do you see complaints about that.

        I speculate that people establish a kind of baseline based on the level of integration on their first computer, and then everything after that is damn kids on my lawn. But the irreparable integrated components in that first computer are just the natural order of things, the atomic building blocks of our computing universe.

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          What do you do if you have bad RAM? You toss the whole $100 stick, right? But that’s only one bad chip out of 16. You’re throwing away $95 in perfectly good RAM! But rarely do you see complaints about that.

          But my screwdriver kit is at the other end of the house is so I would probably just resort to mapping it away (Windows can do this too it seems.

          Maybe I am just lazy, but a kernel argument seems like less effort :-)

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            Oh that’s pretty neat. I didn’t know this was possible in windows. Thanks for sharing.

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            I think there’s something to what you’re saying, but I do think IC design/integration and outer packaging design are somewhat different topics, and the latter doesn’t go as monotonically in the direction of more integration. The early ‘80s Apples were notorious for having “no user-serviceable parts” for example, but then later Macs went back to having user-serviceable parts (before going back, once again, to not having any), for reasons that didn’t have much to do with chip design in either case. And the trend of glued-together, unserviceable outer packaging goes far beyond computers, to even things like toasters, which used to be more easily repairable because you could take out the screws, fix stuff, and then put the screws back in, but now aren’t simply because of how the final assembly is done— lots of stuff across many market segments is now stamped or glued shut in a way not designed to be non-destructively opened.

            Which is not to say there aren’t good reasons for that trend too, I just think whether cases (computer or toaster) are glued/crimped vs. screwed shut isn’t quite the same question as whether L2 cache should be an independently replaceable module.

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              I speculate that people establish a kind of baseline based on the level of integration on their first computer, and then everything after that is damn kids on my lawn.

              No, people very reasonably compare what can be easily upgraded on a modern desktop computer: CPU, RAM, and storage. One can convincingly make the argument that the cooling needs of the CPU are too complex to allow someone to just pop in whatever processor they want in the tight form factor of a laptop, but there are literally no justifications for DRAM and SSDs being chip-down except to save physical space.

              What do you do if you have bad RAM? You toss the whole $100 stick, right? But that’s only one bad chip out of 16. You’re throwing away $95 in perfectly good RAM! But rarely do you see complaints about that.

              No, you toss out the $2K computer unless you bought the extended warranty. We’re talking about design decisions that make the problem you’re describing an order of magnitude worse.

              You’re also comparing soldered components on an industry-standard form factor to components soldered to a proprietary motherboard. You can’t go to company B and buy a replacement MLB for the laptop from company A. However, you can choose whatever DIMM vendor you want when you’re replacing your faulty DIMM.

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                No, people very reasonably compare what can be easily upgraded on a modern desktop computer: CPU, RAM, and storage.

                But what makes those the things that can be reasonably upgraded, except for the fact that they already are. Again, you’re establishing a baseline that’s simply a snapshot in time. Why isn’t it reasonable for me to expect that I can upgrade my hard drive by opening it up and dropping a new platter onto the spindle?

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                  Why isn’t it reasonable for me to expect that I can upgrade my hard drive by opening it up and dropping a new platter onto the spindle?

                  Because the inside of the harddrive has to be dust free for safe operation and most consumers do not have a clean room?

                  Or as in the before example, the L2 cache has to be close i.e. integrated to the CPU?

                  These are actual physical limitations on the hardware and not “we glued the case shut because we wanna sell a new laptop every 2 years when before we had the newer and faster CPUs to drive sale”.

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                    But what makes those the things that can be reasonably upgraded, except for the fact that they already are.

                    They inherently can be easily upgraded since the technological ability to do that at low costs exists and has been proven in actual products. A vendor doing those in a way that can’t be upgraded easily should be assumed to be doing planned obsolescence or some other predatory behavior unless they have convincing argument for why it’s beneficial to consumers. I see that argument to a degree in something ultra-small with significant energy and cost issues like mobiles. Usually in anything decent size they’re doing it for predatory reasons despite the fact they could do it differently with interchangeable stuff. Most of the different form factors that became available to many suppliers each started with a company or group of them doing the latter.

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                      Are we talking in circles? At any given time, the market has proven that all the not yet integrated parts are viable by the very fact that they’re not yet integrated. Once upon a time this included L2 cache. Before that, when your disk drive was a dish washer, it included the platters in the drive. The market proved that upgradeable hard drive platters could exist because they did exist.

                      If you make a list of ok to integrate and not ok to integrate parts, and then I go back and ask someone from 1997 to make the same list, and then someone from 1977, I find it very improbable that I’m going to get three identical lists. So what makes the 2017 list a natural law? Why not the 1997 list? Could the 2037 list also be different, or have we reached final enlightenment and uncovered universal truth?

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                        L2 cache is on die to make the CPU run faster.

                        A single speck of dust would ruin a modern hard drive platter, so a normal living room isn’t a suitable place to handle and replace them.

                        The technologies in use in 1977 and 1997 were different from what we have today, so the design decisions change.

                        Why are socketed RAM and storage not present in some laptops? Because the manufacturer (and apparently many consumers) want the laptops to be lighter and thinner. There are no other benefits but many costs to this decision. Those costs ruffle prosumer feathers. You can call it “arbitrary” all day, but someone is paying those costs.

                        Why is the fuel port not on the roof of my car? Because that would be a huge pain in the ass - Like throwing away an entire laptop because my chip down SSD ran out of usable blocks faster than expected.

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                      you’re establishing a baseline that’s simply a snapshot in time

                      Yes, I am. Today we can easily swap RAM and storage modules in laptops. We are quickly losing that ability, and the only justification is form factor.

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                    I speculate that people establish a kind of baseline based on the level of integration on their first computer

                    I don’t know, I got my first computer in 1990 and it was certainly a different world. I still build my own computers for gaming, but my laptops for the past 15+ years have been pretty much 2-3 year things, maybe a RAM upgrade or HDD/SSD swap, then buy a new one. I think I’ve adjusted to how they’re built more than anything.