I have used both old and new generation anchors. I have also observed anchors performance on the sea-bed. There is no doubt in my mind that the new generation anchors are superior, in some bottom types vastly superior to the old generation anchors.
Yes we managed with the old generation anchors in much the same way cruisers managed without GPS, LED lighting and (a bit before my time) reliable diesel auxiliary engines. However these additions and others like them, have made cruising safer and easier.