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(PCWorld)   Why are PC sales down? Moore's law   (pcworld.com) divider line 231
    More: Interesting, Moore's Law, Economic stagnation, limiting factor, World Wide Web, word processing, CPUs, newegg, Electric energy consumption  
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9610 clicks; posted to Geek » on 05 Mar 2013 at 2:59 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-05 01:34:28 PM
Makes sense to me.  I've had the same PC for going on five years now, and it's still plenty fast for what I do.  PC gamers are probably the most demanding of performance outside of professional users, and even for them it's more about the latest video card than the CPU.
 
2013-03-05 01:39:26 PM
Linux runs just fine on a Pentium IV for regular daily use.
 
2013-03-05 01:45:53 PM

TuteTibiImperes: Makes sense to me.  I've had the same PC for going on five years now, and it's still plenty fast for what I do.  PC gamers are probably the most demanding of performance outside of professional users, and even for them it's more about the latest video card than the CPU.


Agreed. A fairly high end computer from 4-6 years ago is still a pretty decent system and runs most of what even the average gamer needs just fine. People are far more likely to replace components in a system rather than do a full upgrade.
 
2013-03-05 01:47:00 PM
With the launch of the new Playstation and X-Box, I think we'll see a lot of people upgrading their PCs.  Why?  Games have always been the big driver for upgrading the PC.  And almost all games made these days are built for the console first, and then ported to the PC.  Current console technology is so old (Skyrim uses DirectX 9), that its actually been holding back game devs on the PC side of things.  With new, higher powered consoles coming out, the PC versions will finally start requiring not just a new graphics card, but new PC architecture in order to keep up with console gaming.
 
2013-03-05 01:55:21 PM

ShawnDoc: With the launch of the new Playstation and X-Box, I think we'll see a lot of people upgrading their PCs.  Why?  Games have always been the big driver for upgrading the PC.  And almost all games made these days are built for the console first, and then ported to the PC.  Current console technology is so old (Skyrim uses DirectX 9), that its actually been holding back game devs on the PC side of things.  With new, higher powered consoles coming out, the PC versions will finally start requiring not just a new graphics card, but new PC architecture in order to keep up with console gaming.


Well said.  Nice info, Subby.
 
2013-03-05 01:55:37 PM
That article seem to say the opposite - Moore's law is no longer holding. If processing power is only improving 10% per year, then the law has been broken.
 
2013-03-05 01:58:21 PM

DamnYankees: That article seem to say the opposite - Moore's law is no longer holding. If processing power is only improving 10% per year, then the law has been broken.


Moore's law doesn't talk about processing power, only number of affordable transistors in a given space.  These days, it means increasing the number of cores rather than going to 4Ghz.  Most desktops don't need 6 or 8 cores.

Aside from migrating to an SSD and adding a second monitor, I haven't upgraded my main system in probably 3 years and don't really see a need to.
 
2013-03-05 02:11:16 PM

AltheaToldMe: Well said. Nice info, Subby.


Not subs, sorry.
 
2013-03-05 02:17:40 PM

ShawnDoc: With the launch of the new Playstation and X-Box, I think we'll see a lot of people upgrading their PCs.  Why?  Games have always been the big driver for upgrading the PC.  And almost all games made these days are built for the console first, and then ported to the PC.  Current console technology is so old (Skyrim uses DirectX 9), that its actually been holding back game devs on the PC side of things.  With new, higher powered consoles coming out, the PC versions will finally start requiring not just a new graphics card, but new PC architecture in order to keep up with console gaming.


I came to say something similar, but you were much more articulate.
 
2013-03-05 02:32:49 PM

TuteTibiImperes: Makes sense to me. I've had the same PC for going on five years now, and it's still plenty fast for what I do. PC gamers are probably the most demanding of performance outside of professional users, and even for them it's more about the latest video card than the CPU.


I'm kind of on the opposite end, I just built a PC that I believe will carry me through the next five years at least.  The hardware is just so far ahead.  Actually, the hardware is even more "ahead" of the software now than a couple of years ago, at least for the OS, Win7 runs better on my old system than XP did.  The most I might have to do at some point, and even this won't be for a while, it to get a more powerful video card.
 
2013-03-05 02:33:08 PM
I'm seeing a lot of people who are (correctly and pragmatically) referring to what people "need" to run games.

But mod-heads don't think in terms of need. They get what they WANT. Overclocked this, multi-core that, water-cooled the other thing. If there's a doohickey they can slap into their towers that'll theoretically let them squeeze out an incremental performance boost, they'll pay hundreds for it. And I'm not down for that.

Which is part of the reason I've always stuck to consoles. I don't like having to wade through endless system requirements, wondering if my system can handle a game every time I want to play something. I just want to drop it in, and know it's going to work. Yes, graphics are important, but the incremental differences don't (to ME, at least) justify expensive quarterly upgrades. A new $300 graphics card just to make the textures 3% smoother? That's a choice I don't see a lot of point in making.

Well, that, and I grew up with a controller in my hand. So I like being able to sit on the couch and use an interface ergonomically designed to play games, instead of cramping my hands up using devices meant to move cursors and enter text, but that have been reverse-engineered to be sufficient.

/yeah, i sound fat
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-03-05 02:33:47 PM
Did CPU performance reach a "good enough" level for mainstream users some years back? Are older computers still potent enough to complete an average Joe's everyday tasks, reducing the incentive to upgrade?

See "Forrest curve." Starting in the late 1990s Jon Forrest posted an annualish commentary on usenet about how computers were getting fast enough for typical uses and most users didn't have an urgent need to update for performance reasons.
 
2013-03-05 02:42:38 PM
640K ought to be enough for anyone.
 
2013-03-05 02:59:16 PM
MaxxLarge:
/yeah, i sound fat

Eh, it is like anything.  Look at the folks who heavily mod their 4 cyl Honda Civics.  They will take a car worth $8K, with 130 horse power, drop $20K in mods into it to push it to 200 horse power, then over the next few years, blow through 3 transmissions at $2000 each...whereas for $32,000 they could have purchased a brand new or even slightly used (less than $30,000 at that point) Nissan Z that's more reliable and has over 300 horse power to begin with.  And it does not sound like it is farting as you drive it...
 
2013-03-05 03:00:30 PM
I provide helpdesk for a company of 70 or so users, most of whom are on Dells running Windows XP and were purchased 8 or 9 years ago. I complain about how slow they are because I'm used to a fast machine, but most people can get their work done on them just fine. I had predicted upgrading to Office 2010 would make them slow to a crawl, but I actually turned out to be wrong about that.
 
2013-03-05 03:03:15 PM
Still not enough power to play FSX with addons and traffic at full...
 
2013-03-05 03:03:15 PM
"...would a  paradigm-shatteringdevice like  Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet..."

Uh...I would call the Surface Pro many things, but "paradigm shattering" wouldn't be on the list. Ever.
 
2013-03-05 03:06:20 PM
images.pcworld.com
 
2013-03-05 03:06:43 PM

Slives: People are far more likely to replace components in a system rather than do a full upgrade.


Unless you're talking about Macs. I use Macs at work but that's work. From what I understand it, it's difficult if not impossible to upgrade a Mac and the Apple store doesn't take trade ins. But like I said, that's not my problem.
 
2013-03-05 03:07:04 PM
Maybe because people don't have a lot of spare money to buy a new machine?
 
2013-03-05 03:09:36 PM
You used to have to purchase the latest and greatest shiat to play the latest and greatest shiat game being put out that year. Not so much lately though, my almost 2 year old computer can run the most recent games at a decent resolution.
 
2013-03-05 03:10:33 PM

Mugato: Slives: People are far more likely to replace components in a system rather than do a full upgrade.

Unless you're talking about Macs. I use Macs at work but that's work. From what I understand it, it's difficult if not impossible to upgrade a Mac and the Apple store doesn't take trade ins. But like I said, that's not my problem.


And the newest MBPs with retina display cant upgrade their RAM.  You are stuck with a max of 8GB IIRC.
 
2013-03-05 03:11:06 PM
iphonewallpaperclub.com


http://www.google.com/search?q=moore+ s exy&hl=en&safe=off&source=lnms&t bm=isch&sa=X&ei=1E82UbGLGsrM2AWG1YH4Cg &ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=320&bih=416 #biv=i%7C7%3Bd%7CxaSKD21QyHjrgM%3A
 
2013-03-05 03:11:56 PM

Mugato: Slives: People are far more likely to replace components in a system rather than do a full upgrade.

Unless you're talking about Macs. I use Macs at work but that's work. From what I understand it, it's difficult if not impossible to upgrade a Mac and the Apple store doesn't take trade ins. But like I said, that's not my problem.


Also, don't most people use laptops these days? You basically need to replace those in their entirety.
 
2013-03-05 03:12:20 PM
Glad to hear its not just me. I upgraded with pretty high-end parts back in '07, and apart from an SSD, a couple extra Gb's of memory, and a new video card, its the same hardware.

All I use it for is browsing, playing videos and music, some Photoshop, Second Life, and the ocassional indie game.
 
2013-03-05 03:12:27 PM
It makes sense to me too. The only reason I replaced my last laptop was because the video card went dead. Neither the built-in monitor nor an external monitor worked anymore.

I had no problems with its performance.

In fact, hardware failures always seem to be why I've replaced computers for a years if not decades.

If I were a practical person I would remove the hard drive from my old laptop and see if it could be fixed. But when it went dead I just had to have something that worked right then and there so I bought this crappy Acer and even though it's not great, it does the job.
 
2013-03-05 03:14:11 PM

whistleridge: Uh...I would call the Surface Pro many things, but "paradigm shattering" wouldn't be on the list. Ever.


I agree with you, but I recently saw the reddit thread where the dude from Penny Arcade reviewed one. You would be surprised how many people in that thread had no idea that the Surface Pro had a Wacom (or whatever) stylus input. Microsoft is doing a shiatty job marketing that thing when it could be seen as much more. They're advertising it like a more expensive alternative to an iPad, when in realize it's a less expensive / more capable alternative to a Macbook Air.
 
2013-03-05 03:14:28 PM

wildcardjack: [images.pcworld.com image 850x179]


Yeah, because nobody knows how to install an OS on their computer. That's why PC sales crashed when both ME and Vista surfaced, right?
 
2013-03-05 03:14:46 PM

Endive Wombat: Mugato: Slives: People are far more likely to replace components in a system rather than do a full upgrade.

Unless you're talking about Macs. I use Macs at work but that's work. From what I understand it, it's difficult if not impossible to upgrade a Mac and the Apple store doesn't take trade ins. But like I said, that's not my problem.

And the newest MBPs with retina display cant upgrade their RAM.  You are stuck with a max of 8GB IIRC.


You know more than I do. I just know that I use a Mac at work, have a PC at home and the boss is always biatching about having to buy new units all the time. And I was pricing Macs but the guy at the Apple store said they don't take trade ins. I mean I'm sure you can unload them somehow but that seems like a lot of work.
 
2013-03-05 03:15:21 PM
I have a quad core pc at home that I built around 2007 / 2008. Had Windows XP on it for a while. I reload the OS every couple years (use NAS so no worries about formatting the OS drive) and the last time I did it, I dreaded starting with a 2003 vintage XP disk then updating service packs for several hours. Plus it was not seeing my onboard NIC.

Loaded Ubuntu 10 instead. Am now on 12 and to the point of the article, it's fine for what I do: web, spreadsheets, printing, video etc. If the mobo fries, then I'll upgrade. Otherwise f it.
 
2013-03-05 03:16:16 PM
Yeah, my PC is 5 or 6 years old, and when I bought Skyrim, I upped the video card, but it was playing on medium settings just fine even before that. I plan on building a new machine in the next year or so, but it's not because I HAVE to.
 
2013-03-05 03:16:44 PM

whistleridge: "...would a  paradigm-shatteringdevice like  Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet..."

Uh...I would call the Surface Pro many things, but "paradigm shattering" wouldn't be on the list. Ever.


This
 
2013-03-05 03:17:19 PM

jonny_q: Microsoft is doing a shiatty job marketing that thing when it could be seen as much more. They're advertising it like a more expensive alternative to an iPad, when in realize it's a less expensive / more capable alternative to a Macbook Air.


Yeah, so far from all of the Surface ads I've seen, I've been able to figure out that it's a great tool for group choreographed dancing, and that's about it.
 
2013-03-05 03:17:37 PM
yep.  games have been the only thing taxing the vast majority of home systems for the last few year now.  the increases in console systems over desktop combined with the vast improvements in desktop processor power makes upgrading less and less necessary.

i think it is funny that the desire to play games on what were intended to be business machines have pushed the advancement so far forward that the majority of desktop sales will once again be for business purposes.
 
2013-03-05 03:20:37 PM
[notthisagain.jpg]

People have been trotting out this theory at least as far back as the 1980s:  the computer market is about to slow down, or it is slowing down, because last year's computers are already more than fast enough to do all the things computers are for.

Every time the economy goes kaput, no matter how obvious the reason why---a tech bubble, a mortgage crisis, an Asian market crisis---some fool manages to get on CNBC and explain the real reason tech stocks are down: because the PC market is finally saturated, because last year's computers are officially fast enough to do all the things computers are for.

And it's true:  computers in 1984 were already more than fast enough to run the Pinball Construction Set and connect to a BBS at 4800 baud.  Computers in 1992 were already more than fast enough for writing term papers and maybe sending an email.  Computers in 2000 were already more than fast enough to surf the net.  Computers in 2012 are already more than fast enough to watch full-screen video.  Because that's what "computers are for."

What I find amazing about this theory is how much sense it makes, and how easily people believe it, when all you have to do is think back 10 years to see why it's bogus.  Every generation uses computers for something completely different, and far more compute-intensive.
 
2013-03-05 03:21:53 PM
I use my three year old machine for CAD drafting, 3D modeling, rendering and animation (using AutoCAD 11, Sketchup, Kerkythea and VideoMach respectively). Frankly, I'm embarrassed at how quickly I can churn out a 20 second flyby animation--I used to charge for "unattended computer time" back when an animation might take 50 hours to generate; now it takes two. I have no need, or plans, to upgrade any time soon. I certainly don't want to see my software/freeware investment disappear down the black hole of Windows 8.
 
2013-03-05 03:22:15 PM
My dad surfs the internet, writes emails, and plays Solitaire.

His computer has a Core 2 Duo E6300. I know that eventually, the hardware will fail in a way that can't be easily fixed, either from capacitor aging, a power surge, or whatever. But it's not getting replaced short of that ultimate failure. He'll never need more CPU power.
 
2013-03-05 03:23:03 PM
Oops, AutoCAD 2011, not AutoCAD 11. Big difference.
 
2013-03-05 03:24:41 PM
i'm running a 3+ year old macbook pro with a 2.66 GHz core i7. the only thing i did was up its RAM to 8GB last year. as far as i'm concerned, it's plenty fast for just about anything i need. my wife's 5 year old macbook is also fine - apart from the fact that its body is completely warped due to overheating when the cat decided to take a warm, toasty nap on its keyboard.
 
2013-03-05 03:26:22 PM

OceanVortex: whistleridge: "...would a  paradigm-shatteringdevice like  Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet..."

Uh...I would call the Surface Pro many things, but "paradigm shattering" wouldn't be on the list. Ever.

This


I alomost bought it over the Transformer Infinity I just bought. Surface gets pretty good reviews, but the Infinity still edged it out, and I don't like the flat keys on the keyboard. All in all though, it's a tablet with a few new innovations that nobody else has. No, not "paradigm shattering", but at least worth a little bit of respect.

Although, as I said justa few minutes ago, we wouldn't know this from the farking ads they choose to air. Those things are about as useless as tits on a fish.
 
2013-03-05 03:26:58 PM
Game consoles have pretty much made sure that video-games can be run on 9 year old hardware, and most modern games do run pretty well on relatively old hardware.

The new PS4 specs don't even come close to a modern *performance* PC, and you could build something on par with them for $500 or less.
 
2013-03-05 03:28:12 PM

Xcott: What I find amazing about this theory is how much sense it makes, and how easily people believe it, when all you have to do is think back 10 years to see why it's bogus. Every generation uses computers for something completely different, and far more compute-intensive.


Right but there has to be some diminishing returns limit at some point. Like what is the most intensive thing most non-gamers do with their machines? Download or stream movies I suppose. Your off the shelf PC can do that well. So what's next? What more is the average user going to do? Because unless some kid is going to create SkyNet on his laptop, I don't know what more the average user is going to expect to do with their machine.
 
2013-03-05 03:30:10 PM
The only sub-9-year-old computers around here that really needed replacing were the "fixed at 2GB" MacBook Airs that Apple was selling just 2 years ago.  Then MacOS went into "MAXIMUM BLOATING" mode, so now they're barely passable as glorified Chromebooks.
 
2013-03-05 03:30:16 PM
would a paradigm-shattering device like Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet even be around today?

I thought the article was great until I saw this.
 
2013-03-05 03:30:42 PM

jonny_q: whistleridge: Uh...I would call the Surface Pro many things, but "paradigm shattering" wouldn't be on the list. Ever.

I agree with you, but I recently saw the reddit thread where the dude from Penny Arcade reviewed one. You would be surprised how many people in that thread had no idea that the Surface Pro had a Wacom (or whatever) stylus input. Microsoft is doing a shiatty job marketing that thing when it could be seen as much more. They're advertising it like a more expensive alternative to an iPad, when in realize it's a less expensive / more capable alternative to a Macbook Air.


I was excited about the Surface before it came out, really wanted to love it.  I'd just bought a Windows 8 Phone, and was planning on getting the Surface RT to go along as a general purpose tablet, but the poor screen quality just killed it for me and I ended up getting an iPad instead.

Thinking about the Surface tablets more as general purpose computers (I guess especially the Pro version) instead of tablets might make them make more sense, but if I want a portable general purpose computer I'm not going to be satisfied with the tiny screen size or resolution on either of the Surface models (then again, I'm mystified by the popularity of the MacBook Air, seems too small to actually get any work done).  If I'm going to buy a laptop, I want a 17" 2560x1600 screen, quad core i7, at least 8 gigs of RAM, a SSD + spinning hard drive for bulk storage and a blu-ray/DVD/CD burner all built in.  Of course, no one makes that, and I don't really need a laptop anyway...
 
2013-03-05 03:31:45 PM

Xcott: [notthisagain.jpg]

People have been trotting out this theory at least as far back as the 1980s:  the computer market is about to slow down, or it is slowing down, because last year's computers are already more than fast enough to do all the things computers are for.

Every time the economy goes kaput, no matter how obvious the reason why---a tech bubble, a mortgage crisis, an Asian market crisis---some fool manages to get on CNBC and explain the real reason tech stocks are down: because the PC market is finally saturated, because last year's computers are officially fast enough to do all the things computers are for.

And it's true:  computers in 1984 were already more than fast enough to run the Pinball Construction Set and connect to a BBS at 4800 baud.  Computers in 1992 were already more than fast enough for writing term papers and maybe sending an email.  Computers in 2000 were already more than fast enough to surf the net.  Computers in 2012 are already more than fast enough to watch full-screen video.  Because that's what "computers are for."

What I find amazing about this theory is how much sense it makes, and how easily people believe it, when all you have to do is think back 10 years to see why it's bogus.  Every generation uses computers for something completely different, and far more compute-intensive.


The difference is that the last 10 years has seen a qualitative change in processor technology. Individual processors are not getting significantly faster they way they used to (because of the power wall), so as long as you don't need more than two or four cores, there's no reason to believe that the desktop PC processors of 2023 will offer anything substantially better than the desktop processors of 2013.

It's also getting harder and harder to justify more cores. Home users just don't need that much parallelism relative to how fast their sequential processors are.
 
2013-03-05 03:32:07 PM
I gotta buy a new laptop to play SimCity.  I'm way out of the PC gaming racket.
 
2013-03-05 03:32:14 PM

whistleridge: "...would a  paradigm-shatteringdevice like  Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet..."

Uh...I would call the Surface Pro many things, but "paradigm shattering" wouldn't be on the list. Ever.


I like to refer to it as 'sh*t slate'.
 
2013-03-05 03:35:13 PM
The only reason I'm looking to upgrade my home computer is the fact that it has a 4GB RAM limit, and after I get enough tabs going on Chrome it swaps something awful.

I'd stay on the same hardware indefinitely if I could soup it up to 32GB RAM. My next compy will have that much, and I'll probably use a good portion of it just for everyday stuff.
 
2013-03-05 03:35:30 PM

tricycleracer: I gotta buy a new laptop to play SimCity.  I'm way out of the PC gaming racket.


Had the same though. I'll try running it on my Macbook Pro, hopefully that'll be good enough.
 
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