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Bye Bye PC as we know it! is the PC a dinosaur?

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December 2, 2009 5:53:49 PM

This is post i thought about for many years, I thought I finally ask all you THG fans what your opinion was. As a system builder a few years ago I decided that the PC was going to be dead, sooner not later. Sure enough, we see lap tops are replacing PC's very fast even for gamers demanding high FPS rates. My hard core gaming son, who has gamed my pc's (built by us) for almost 10 years is now on a used Dell 15" with T9300 as of last month, doubt he return the PC.

My daughter is on her second lap top and my wife her 4th or 5th? They both went lap tops years ago, as non-gamers do.

Now with the gpu/gpu and cpu/gpu it appeared that the PC was going change in 2010. 2010 is here, we find P55 chip set lost it's beloved north bridge. The north bridge....o the days, an extra fan on the north bridge P5K P35 chipset - wow - extra overclocking. Bye bye north bridge.

Soon we have cpu/gpu, next the south bridge will be gone? Then what, no chipsets?

What about the hard drive? Soon a single SSD wil be as big and faster then a 4 drive raptor raid from a few years ago. Short stroking RAID's, as we have done since 2003, as left the Raptor in the dust. A good 4 x1TB drive with a 1TB RAID0 C drive will match the raptors, well unless you use a RAID card.

What I envisioned for years is the cpu, gpu, what is left of the chipset and SSD all fitting in single heat sink box. My idea is a small box, smaller then an itx system with all the parts and power of the current dual gpu dual card set ups. Plug this device into the hybrid air-tec cooler or water-tec. Total size is half a shuttle of smaller with the power of a $7000 gaming system today.

My point is that the system builder will find themselves like the dinosaurs extinct. I wonder is the PC a dinosaur too?

no more led fans? or uv lights! No more system builders, no more THG forums? :sleep:  RIP PC

More about : bye bye dinosaur

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December 2, 2009 6:12:51 PM

I just put together a very nice Xeon W3520-based desktop system. (The W3520 is identical to a Core i7 920 except that it supports ECC memory). My system has three hard drives (with an SSD soon to come), 12GB of ECC memory, and a 24" widescreen monitor. Laptops, while nice, just couldn't do this for me.

I certainly agree that laptops are becoming more and more capable, but there's a price premium for compact size and there's always going to be a market segment that's looking for better performance and expandability than a laptop can provide. I expect the market share for laptops to keep growing for a while, but there's no way that desktop PCs will die within at least the next 10 years or so.
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December 2, 2009 6:13:16 PM

Granted that components are getting smaller and smaller. I think it will take quite a bit of time before computers get so small and have everything intergrated however I think there will always be people who build their own systems.

There will always be a good variaty of components as different cpu's, different gpus, chipsets and so on in order to have good competition to lower price costs.

I would think performance will always depend on custom builds and therefor I am certain there will always be people that will build custom machines as big brand names will build cheaper PC's for those who need basic tasks and lack knowledge of quality. Brands have to maximise profits.

So there is no end to system builders in my book.
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December 2, 2009 6:22:24 PM

Heat dissipation is the key to miniaturization & consolidation of parts. The bigger the box the more heat you can dissipate. The more heat you can dissipate the more powerful the computer. Someone will always want to build the most powerful box possible so your theory falls apart. Personally, I have no use for a mobile computer. To me they are expensive, high maintenance toys with few upgrade paths other than buying another one. By the time you carry around all the external peripherals you may as well just attach a handle to your tower, which I have done more than once.
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December 2, 2009 6:24:22 PM

I prefer a desktop over laptops, ALWAYS. However, I do have a work laptop that's nice to use when I'm on vacation.

But in my house I never have the desire to compute anywhere except my desk.

But I do see what you mean. I'm the only "tech guy" in my building and I support 300 users. They often ask me to review their potential computer purposes and 9 out of 10 are laptops.

I have given up on computer gaming though, I'm getting a PS3 this holiday season and it's going to be my new gaming platform\netflix streamer\blu ray player. My main reason is because I love hockey and hockey is more fun on a console connected to my 42" television.
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December 2, 2009 6:24:45 PM

I wouldn't call it "dead". But clearly, for 'average' users there's less and less reason to invest in a desktop/tower.

Food for further thought: I'm looking at the Motorola 'Droid I treated myself to a couple weeks ago, which I have on my desk. I can surf the web on it with very reasonable speed, make/send/administer eMail, it has a half decent GPS, available 3rd party programs for nearly all common uses, etc etc.. And AAMOF even as I type this I am streaming music over the thing via LastFM.

What's to prevent a maker for adding voice recognition (buh~bye itty bitty keyboard!), boosting the storage (my mP3 player is about the same size and holds 128GB of music/video - a quantity that was practically unheard of a few years ago). A few silicon generations from now and for general usage you may even find people setting aside their lappys because their cellphone does what they need in a "personal computing device".

Hell - Some of us already rebuild our desktops about as often as our cellular contract expires....
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December 2, 2009 7:20:56 PM

..even further to the above: Charger dock connected to a Keyboard and Monitor.

Come home, drop your device into the dock and have a full sized monitor/keyboard. When you want to leave, pick it back up, put it in your pocket, and take it all with you.

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December 2, 2009 7:45:09 PM

I see you guys are like me, i can hardly use a lap top even after last year when i took in the top of the line dual m8800gtx w/ X9000 running 3.2ghz - IMHO, big hot and slow.

i hope your all right and the PC will last until i retire! lol! per us gov that is no sooner then 2030 at least for SS.

thx!
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December 2, 2009 7:57:30 PM

Towers are cheaper, and perform way better.

For work or college, a laptop. For a general purpose home computer, a tower.
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December 2, 2009 8:09:59 PM

woah TC is back, where did you go?
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December 2, 2009 8:33:06 PM

I'm hoping they'll come up with some sort of hybrid setup... a full desktop case allows for so much more heat to be dissipated and if you could isolate the case from the inputs/outputs you wouldn't even have to worry about the noise. I guess I'm hoping for some really stout box full of computing horsepower in one room and a wireless monitor, keyboard, mouse and USB hub in the other with me. Carry this one step further and this would just be something you lease and have delivered via the net... not physically delivered... umm... like we'd have dumb terminals in our homes that have access to massive amounts of remote computer power. For most of us, our cell phones provide us a competent portable link to the internet/world so I'm really hoping the laptop craze will pass... I really hope there will still be a place for more robust systems going forward.
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December 2, 2009 9:14:39 PM

not only will stuff shrink but the heat problem will shrink too - large tower will serve no purpose.

heat is unused electical power or waste, 100% effecient system would not need any cooling
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December 2, 2009 10:01:51 PM

SOC (system on a chip) is definitely coming, and coming fast. I don't see the motherboard disappearing completely, but there's no logical reason you couldn't integrate more and more of the components on chip as process technology scales down. Imagine a chip with on core RAM and "SSD". Probably only a matter of time until it exists.
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December 2, 2009 11:51:35 PM

the mobo will be a chip holder SOC is gpu chip or combo chip and the electronic support for power on a sub itx

all encased in some type of heat transfer material that comes off with heat or solvant. it look like a hard drive and cooling system like a sata desk top hdd holder.

i saw this after i made the post:
http://www.digitimes.com/Backgrounders/ArtReview.asp?da...

= micro itx
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December 3, 2009 2:29:49 AM

Okay, the primary use for my system is word processing. I'm trying to become a writer. I could use a laptop at the house, but would require to hook up a keyboard, mouse, and a monitor. That, or I could just use my desktop since I would use a laptop the same way. I for one in agreement that I would rather have a desktop than a laptop any day. The only time I even take my laptop with me these days is I'm going on vacation. The thing is sitting inside its case since I moved in August.
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December 3, 2009 2:47:25 AM

im not worried that portable devices will replace existing desktops at all.
allowing for more size, towers will always be more powerful and expandable than laptops. so there will always be a market for them.

what im worried about is pc building becoming easier. so easy that a grandmother could do it. all color coded, simple lego inputs, no noticeable wires etc.

us pc builders could well be a dying race.
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December 3, 2009 3:30:42 AM

Desktop PCs wont die. Mobility has its place but the problem is that for what we enthusiasts and businesses need a desktop can never be fully replaced by a laptop.

The biggest downfall right now to a laptop is price wise. 4GB of DDR2 is normally 2x the price of 4GB of DDR2 for the desktop. CPUs also have a higher price while also performing at a lower level.

I mean mobility is fine. But the DT and its customization abilities will never be replaced. Laptops just don't allow for that same level of customization.

I do think there will be a point though where it will be a all in one rather a tower/monitor.
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December 3, 2009 5:03:16 AM

I agree with jimmysmitty.Desktop PC's are always more powerful than laptops.
A laptop can have decent performance but not matching a desktop in performance due to thermodynamics,power usage etc.Discrete graphics cards for the desktop invariably will have much better performance than a laptop and many people prefer much larger monitors,multiple monitors as well as discrete component cards (TV tuners,radios,scanners,digital-analog convertors) etc.
One could have made the same argument back in the early 1990's the desktop still survived.Yes there will be a fusion with CPU's and GPU's though but hard to say if discrete graphics cards will be replaced.
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December 3, 2009 5:07:21 AM

Give me a 22" laptop with as much power as my PC and I might change, but since I'd be throwing portability out the window, why bother with a laptop?
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December 3, 2009 12:24:04 PM

It is definately a dirty game, but think of this. Video cards are getting bigger & bigger, pretty soon the mid-tower will not fit top-of-the-line video cards thus increasing the likelihood that full-towers will be increasing in sales. With bigger/faster/more powerful video cards (and overclocking) comes the need for a better power supply with more amps/watts and efficiency.

In no way do i see laptops taking over desktops, sure they may outnumber desktops, but apples & oranges IMHO.

Cloud computing is a joke as well, the cloud is our worst enemy... fear the cloud!!!
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December 3, 2009 12:30:42 PM

welshmousepk said:
im not worried that portable devices will replace existing desktops at all.
allowing for more size, towers will always be more powerful and expandable than laptops. so there will always be a market for them.

what im worried about is pc building becoming easier. so easy that a grandmother could do it. all color coded, simple lego inputs, no noticeable wires etc.

us pc builders could well be a dying race.



I disagree on this. there is no way that my grandmother would know how to properly remove thermal paste, purify the surface, insert the CPU into the socket, secure it in, re-apply the paste correctly onto the hs/f, lock down the hs/f correctly, all on the first try only to realize that she faced the hs/f fan the wrong way! /doh! Reason i say that she would'nt be able to do this is because she's dead... there IS hope!

... so you're saying there's a chance...
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December 3, 2009 2:37:12 PM

Another comment I'll make on this subject is that I really hate "all-in-one" packages that include the CPU and the monitor, and that's pretty much what laptops are by definition. I've paid good money for a very nice monitor, and I don't want to throw money away by having to buy another monitor when I buy another system. The last monitor I had (a 21" CRT) lasted for 12 years through four systems, and was still working just fine when I decided it was finally time for something better than 1280 x 1024.

Conversely, if I want some day to upgrade my monitor, I don't want to have to buy an entire system to do so.

Those one-piece Macs look very pretty, but I'd never buy one.
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December 3, 2009 3:27:00 PM

Upendra09 said:
woah TC is back, where did you go?


LOL, been busy getting ready for the baby!
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December 3, 2009 4:30:54 PM

welshmousepk said:

us we pc builders could well be are a dying race.

You assemblers of PC's have a few years left. :) 

I built my first computer in 1977 out of perf-board and wire-wrap sockets. OTOH, I do not miss the good old days.
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December 3, 2009 9:20:46 PM

NOO!!! Never will pc die. For a lot of people having a nice case with neons and powerfull video card is like EVERYTHING. Those neons and all, laptops don have that!

PLZ get ur son to get a nice gaming rig that looks amazin
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December 3, 2009 9:35:52 PM

Does anyone have stats on high end sales.

Granted, the "average" computer has gotten smaller and smaller to the point it is now a phone. But teh market for computers has grown more and more and more. I doubt that those that bought computers for work 15 years ago are switching to ultra portability. The space my computers take up at work is still as much as it was a decade ago, they just do many times more things at once.

When computers that are small achieve new things the market grows, but there will always be a market for "the most power you can stuff in this desk sized space." That power then filters down the line, eventually being portable, but the high end does not stop. I can play quake on my phone today, what will my desktop be like when I can play crysis on my phone?

The industry will change, we may not be able to build our computers in quite the way we do now as in order to reach the next level of power density may change greatly, to the point that we cant modify it by hand. But a desktop will always be there, even when it is a solid chunk of nanocomputers.
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December 3, 2009 9:44:42 PM

They'll take my desktops away from me kicking and screaming tbh. I cannot abide laptops at all...though not having to constantly maintain and upgrade two desktops does have a certain appeal.
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December 3, 2009 9:48:11 PM

daedalus685 said:
Does anyone have stats on high end sales.

Granted, the "average" computer has gotten smaller and smaller to the point it is now a phone.


Interesting point, the cases have been getting smaller. At my workplace we still by normal size towers because they are less prone to heat-related failures and are easier for our technicians to fix, especially since many of the parts require little or no tools and can be accessed without removing other parts.

I've switched over to console gaming now, so I might go for a solid state\low power computer for my next machine at home (years down the line). Solid state is the next big thing I think, both in desktops and laptops. Eliminating all mechanical parts will be a huge step in computer reliability.

Right now at work I find the most common things I'm replacing are:

Dell laptop motherboards due to heat related issues
Hard drives
Power supplies that typically have failing fans

I rarely ever have to replace CPU or RAM, it just doesn't really ever go bad.
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December 3, 2009 10:05:34 PM

Even 100 years from now, desktops will still be around in some way shape or form.

Even if laptops becomes uberly powerful, desktops will ALWAYS be more powerful simply because desktops are bigger and you can fit more components in a desktop.

Say a future laptop has 1,000 cores and 50 PetaHertz of processing power, a desktop will have 10,000 cores and 500 PetaHertz of processing power because you can fit more stuff in a desktop.

And because laptops are confined to a small space, desktops have better cooling. Thus, so long as the law of thermodynamics is still relevant to computer heat dissipation, we will have desktops...
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December 4, 2009 12:13:15 AM

jonpaul37 said:
I disagree on this. there is no way that my grandmother would know how to properly remove thermal paste, purify the surface, insert the CPU into the socket, secure it in, re-apply the paste correctly onto the hs/f, lock down the hs/f correctly, all on the first try only to realize that she faced the hs/f fan the wrong way! /doh! Reason i say that she would'nt be able to do this is because she's dead... there IS hope!

... so you're saying there's a chance...


in ten years time, i highly doubt it will be that difficult.

cpu will be green square into green hole (only goers one way) heatsink will have arrow indicating direction, peel of a layer (like sticky back plastic) to reaveal thermal paste, attatch heatsink which will also go into universla mounting holes, colour coded, one way.

not clamps or anything, it will all be universally latched. simply pops in and secures itself.

i dont see how they can avoid making it easier.

i really think it will be like lego in the future. processor- green aquare, put in green hole. atatch dark green metal slap to the top.

video card goes in red socket.

etc etc.
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December 5, 2009 5:28:06 AM

thank you for your opinions! most think the desk top is here to stay.

but the desktop is 1x1x4 inches in 5-8 years - we see!

thx!
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December 5, 2009 5:58:33 AM

I rather think that the cases myself over the years on desktop PC's have been getting larger in size rather than smaller.So have the power supplies,graphics cards etc.The current air cooled heatsinks/fans are enourmous in size/weight compared to the ones a few years ago especially the aftermarket ones.Remember the tiny heatsinks/fans on the more powerful 486 and Pentium 1 systems in the 90's.
I also remember that many desktop PC's back in the early to mid 1990's were more like this with slim line cases (like the I.B.M. PS/1 & PS/2) with integrated graphics that one placed their CRT monitor upon although the vertical towers existed back then too.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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March 5, 2010 5:02:15 PM

D
TechnologyCoordinator said:
I prefer a desktop over laptops, ALWAYS. However, I do have a work laptop that's nice to use when I'm on vacation.

But in my house I never have the desire to compute anywhere except my desk.

But I do see what you mean. I'm the only "tech guy" in my building and I support 300 users. They often ask me to review their potential computer purposes and 9 out of 10 are laptops.

I have given up on computer gaming though, I'm getting a PS3 this holiday season and it's going to be my new gaming platform\netflix streamer\blu ray player. My main reason is because I love hockey and hockey is more fun on a console connected to my 42" television.


Don't forget you can always hook your pc to your tv and an xbox controller to your pc. I hate console gaming for the reason of them SLOWIING the progression of games.

Anyways, I do believe the pc is dieing. I give it a good while though, and even then I don't see them 'completely' dieing. Laptops are still far from matching desktops in heavy computing and gaming, obviously.

Id like to see a little case house/cool my setup. No thankyou! I do see your point though. Pcs will die, I just think later than sooner. :)  but we'll see...
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March 5, 2010 7:17:05 PM

dragonsprayer said:
i see google has finally caught up to me - google agrees

http://news.google.com/news/more?um=1&cf=all&ned=us&cf=...

being a prophet sucks there is no profit in it!

seeing ones end, sucks even more! bye bye pc biz!

google know all so i guess it is time to pack it up - wait i aready did that? good luck THG!


IMO that's just Google trying to promote their clod (cloud) computing and doing away with Microsoft OSes..

However I posted some links about 6-9 months ago showing the decline in DT vs. mobile sales, so yes DT is flat-lined or on the downswing to some extent. I doubt it'll ever disappear as it has its own niche and benefits - being plugged in to a virtually unlimited power supply (i.e., electric grid) means you can throw lots of power at computation without worrying about battery life..
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