A widely held belief in engineering design is that the optimal design is the one that satisfies all requirements at the lowest cost. Recent research has begun challenging this notion by arguing that a system’s total lifetime value may be improved by designing for uncertain future requirements, even after considering additional incurred costs. Excess, the purposeful inclusion of margin beyond what is required for known uncertainties, is the method used in this work for addressing uncertain future requirements. This paper provides evidence that excess can make a system more robust (insensitive to changing requirements) and thereby increase its value. This evidence is drawn from the study from the video game industry data including: console and desktop hardware performance specifications with release dates, video game requirements, and contemporaneous expert suggested gaming desktops over a span of 20 years — from 2001 to mid-2019. Additionally, this paper advances the notion of strategic excess (excess added to a single component) by examining its potential impact on historical systems. The study of strategic excess provides guidance for how one might baseline the appropriate degree of excess inclusion based on technology and requirements trends. The analysis conducted in this paper shows that higher degrees of excess in desktops can increase overall system value, that strategic excess in RAM would have improved system performance by 14% (on average) for 7% of total system cost, and that trends in technology improvement can be used for baselining excess inclusion by suggesting specific performance tiers for CPUs and GPUs.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.