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How much staying power will future CPUs and GPUs have? | Ask an expert

kaby lake back next to haswell e haswell sandy bridge resized

That depends on how you define staying power. Is it based on a line of products being so good that they held their own against the lure of new, more powerful hardware? Or is it based on circumstances in which less innovation triggers indifference to fresh hardware launches?

Some people can (and do) argue that Sandy Bridge processors weren’t that good. Rather, the incremental gains in performance with Ivy Bridge and Haswell made Sandy Bridge look phenomenal—so much so that loyal Core i7-2600K (and even Core i5-2500K) owners are only now replacing them with modern CPUs. Intel’s Core processors offered conservative improvements across multiple generations until AMD’s Ryzen processors upped the ante.

Similarly, Polaris and Pascal haven’t had real competition. At first, that was due to AMD and Nvidia’s own subsequent releases. AMD’s Vega and first-gen Navi graphics cards weren’t barn-burners, making Polaris GPUs seem like a better value buy, especially as they began to drop in price due to their age. And Nvidia’s RTX 20-series cards fell flat among gamers because they didn’t offer a notable uplift in traditional gaming.