I wouldn't say its a case of death at all. What has happened is really a combination of factors: market saturation, desktop PC's/Laptops last a lot longer. For instance, my Dell Dimension 8300 which I bought in March of 2004 died in June 2012. Now if they fan had not died, I would still be using that system, taking into consideration that's a 9 year life span I got out of it. My Acer laptop is another example, its still working, but I tinkered with a month ago and I seriously don't know what I did, since then, it only boots when it feels like. I got that Acer in 2006, it has 4 GBs of RAM, runs Windows 8 Pro 64 bit with Office 2013 and other apps such as Photoshop CS5 flawlessly. 2013 will mark 8 years since I have had that system.
In 2008 I got an HP XW4600 Workstation with Vista Business (still running it). I use it as my iTunes system, it has all my music on it. Still working well, in fact, I might buy a new monitor for it next month. Its still working well, its darn heavy though and is an example of desktop PC I am certainly not interested in getting in the future. Its been going well for the past 5 years. I have another system I got, an HP Z210 in 2011, it has an SSD, Xeon processor and its really fast. Actually, I am typing this post from it. I love it, I actually spend most of my time in front of it at home. Its the first computer I turn on in the morning before I got to work to check email and the last one I turn off at night. I have a new laptop, an HP Elitebook, I like it too and use it when I need to be mobile or when the old Acer don't want to start up, I got in 2012 and its working great, no problem.
So, to look at my history of computing, it goes like the following:
HP Notebook (2012) - powerful mobility
HP Desktop (2011) - Performance
HP Workstation (2008) - Performance at the time
Acer laptop (2006) - Mobility and successor to my aging Dell Latitude 840c which died in March 2008
Dell Dimension 8300 (2004) - Decent desktop computer came with XP Pro, fast at the time, did a great job 9 years.
Dell Latitude 840c (2003) - Got 6 years out of this laptop, which is probably record.
IBM Aptiva (1999) - Died in 2004, but I think I accelerated its death, it had too much components inside. It came with a Optical drive I needed a CD Burner for burning music (which was the hottest thing back in 2001), installed that in the available 5.25 bay. I think it along with the Floppy drive which I used regularly back then, made the inside hot. I needed to share the Internet and network with the Dell Latitude, so I installed Ethernet Adaptor. The memory was upgraded from 64 Mbs to 128 MBs, Windows XP Professional installed. I notice the system was getting quite warm, so I removed the case which kept it cool it seems. When I interned in Summer 2004 at a local company, I was given a report write, took it home on Floppy, I didn't like the look of the system just bare like that. Its the biggest mistake I ever made, I added back the casing over the chassis and one night in July of 2004 (I remember I had loaded it up with Server 2000 Advanced I had Office 2000 installed on it), I notice a weird blue screen while typing in Microsoft Word 2000. I started the system and it said it was checking for errors, then another Blue Screen and it never turned on again.
We carried it to the local repair shop, they were cryptic about why it was not working. I wasn't so Computer savvy as I am now. I knew something wasn't right, I went to the owner of the store and he wouldn't explain either. I whispered to my Dad, somethings not right about this, lets take it back home. When I said to the owner, I am taking it back, he said, come on, just leave it man, just leave it. I said for what? He chuckled.
He knew what the problem obviously was. I suspect it was the PSU, all those parts I added and upgraded probably put a strain on it. I never tried doing much with it. It was on my dresser for a couple years. Used as a stand for candles. It was a good system though and the first to have Internet back in 1999. Came with Windows 98 SE, I remember my dad sneaking me out of school with a lie saying there was a serious family emergency at home (it was just to see the new PC). I remember the guy who had set it up for us installed a pirated copy of Office 2000 Premium a few months later. It was weird, because I looked through the system day and night for Word and couldn't find it, only to realize it wasn't installed. I was cool too, because it was Office 2000 and we are using Office 97 and Windows 95 on some older model IBM Aptivas at school at the time. So IBMs were quite popular back then. Was just amazing. I remember signing up for Yahoo! Mail, going to amazon.com on it everyday to check out music singles, downloading from Napster and Kazaa on it, burning music on it. I even installed Bonzai Buddy which was weird thing to do and I just loved filling up the desktop with icons and install all kinda BS. I even remember when brother came from college with his infected 3.5 Floppy and inserted the Floppy and Norton 99 brought a red screen and my brother cursing the Aptiva as junk only to find out later it was a nasty virus.
The system ran through a number of releases of Windows. It came with Windows 98 SE, I begged daddy get Windows 2000 Professional because it was the latest and greatest and I also wanted a genuine Office 2000 Premium just say I have it and I wanted PhotoDraw 2000 v2 which the guy didn't have because it was that popular Office 2000 Premium copy that everybody had, so you rarely came across Disc 3 and 4. So I felt really happy to have most of the Office apps.
Initially I installed Windows ME, which I believe caught a virus in Summer of 2001, I remember running Windows 2000 initially in dual boot with Windows ME. Something went wrong when Windows 2000 indicated there was some inconsistency with drive. Considering that I could not boot into Windows ME this was a terrible time. Because all those Outlook Express emails and hundreds of Word and PowerPoint files were going to be lost because I had to format the system and start over. At the time, I made the decision to go back to Windows 98 SE. The IBM Restore disk did not give the option to recover data (which sucked). It was a good opportunity to start clean. Eventually, Windows 98 started showing its weakness, because of my fathers accumulation of data. Windows 98 required a reboot at least a couple times day which was annoying. Eventually, I said to him, lets go to Windows 2000 Professional. It has better member management. Initially the reason why I didn't blow out the system and upgrade it from 98, the compatibility wizard indicated that the 56 K modem and Lexmark z11 printer were not compatible. Which turned out not to be true. The modem worked out of the box and there was an updated driver available from Lexmark website. I loved that printer. When you sent a job to be printed, it would say 'PRINTING STARTED', in a confident male voice just amazing!!!
In 2002 (was at community college at the time), we decided to blow out the system and upgrade it Windows 2000 Professional and ran it on that until about 2003 when it was upgraded to Windows XP Professional which I asked my old High School History teacher (Mrs. Williams to buy) when went on vacation. In 2003 I participated in the Office 11 beta and got a free complimentary copy at the end for free. This was to be my first of many betas, was among the top 60 testers too. Still have the software and letter. I later installed Office 2003 Professional and it was ok. I remember in 2003, I had interned at this company the guy there wanted me to give him a copy.
Life kinda changed after this, the nostalgia of the Internet and all that just kinda faded. I miss those days though, especially the early parts of the decade (2000 to 2002). My dad is no longer alive and I miss him too. I have the computer in storage and sometimes I look at it and its like the memories just come flowing back, I even have a picture of us using it. Ironically, I think that same computer made me do exceptionally bad in high school because of my obsession with it. My days and nights were spent on it, learning about it.