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Why are PC sales declining ? (Skybuck thoughts on it too)

Discussion in 'Nvidia' started by Skybuck Flying, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. Hello,

    I was just on the Sega/Company of Heroes Beta feedback forum and I wondered
    and thought this is a good question for usenet people ! ;) :):

    Question is: why are PC sales declining ?:

    1. Lack of demanding games ? (probably not)
    2. Lack of good games ? (maybe)
    3. Windows 8 sucks ? (bad reason, can use windows 7 as alternative)
    4. Sick of overheat and associated problems ? (maybe... I am surely sick of
    it ;))
    5. Mobile/phones/tablets (I dont believe that... PC/laptop still better for
    many tasks... though some decline is to be expected)

    Me thinks: Perhaps 2 and 4 is cause of decline.

    What are your thoughts on the decline ?

    Skybuck Flying, Apr 18, 2013
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  2. Skybuck Flying

    John Larkin Guest


    Most people don't need a computer, because they don't compute. A tablet does
    email, twitter, facebook, browsing, and games. It's quiet, portable, reliable,
    and doesn't have a tangle of cables, monitors, power strips, all that junk under
    your desk. The decline is probably long-term. HP, Microsoft, Dell, maybe Oracle
    are dinosaurs.


    John Larkin Highland Technology Inc
    www.highlandtechnology.com jlarkin at highlandtechnology dot com

    Precision electronic instrumentation
    Picosecond-resolution Digital Delay and Pulse generators
    Custom timing and laser controllers
    Photonics and fiberoptic TTL data links
    VME analog, thermocouple, LVDT, synchro, tachometer
    Multichannel arbitrary waveform generators
    John Larkin, Apr 18, 2013
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  3. Skybuck Flying

    Martin Brown Guest

    I am with you on this. Tablets are rapidly taking over at home.
    Given you can get an Android tablet for under $100 they are going to
    make a very large dent in the sales of new PCs and low end laptops.

    Apart from video editing and gaming there is precious little that a home
    user these days needs the full power of a desktop PC for.

    Windows8 naffness has perhaps accelerated the decline but the main
    problem is that PCs are now good enough to do anything that a home user
    is ever likely to want to do and quickly too. There are no more killer
    applications that require a massive new hardware upgrade any more.

    Time was when just to run the newest OS you needed yet another memory
    upgrade - those days are long gone despite the tendency to bloatware.
    Martin Brown, Apr 18, 2013
  4. Skybuck Flying

    Mike Perkins Guest

    A decade ago, the rate of improvement in computing speed was such that
    you had to buy a new PCs every year to keep up.

    In the past few years I haven't seen quite the same change. One
    consequence it is now worth investing in a good PC which might
    realistically maintain its market position for a few years rather than
    Mike Perkins, Apr 18, 2013

  5. Unlike in the past, where a 3-4 year old computer was rapidly
    outclassed by new hardware, and the new OSes drove upgrade cycles, the
    latest OS refresh cycle from Microsoft actually requires less resources,
    and the computing power of even a 5 year old computer is perfectly
    adequate for most users. Swap out the older hard drive with a new one,
    or even a hybrid or SSD, and a 5 year old computer will feel as fast
    as the newest ones on the shelf. At least the average (ie. 90%) of
    customers would be unable to tell.

    Plus #5 on your list. Many users are getting by for their needs off
    their tablet/smartphone, and having to turn on a computer just to
    check email and take 5 minutes booting whereas you can use your
    smartphone to get email in seconds is a bonus.
    Doug McIntyre, Apr 18, 2013
  6. That's because every improvement in hardware performance has been
    negated by software bloat, software speed, and software complexity. In
    effect, overall usability has been stable since about 2002. Sure, the
    new software looks more artistic, and probably has some improvements,
    but neither art nor obscure features get my attention.

    Software also tends to grow faster than the bugs get fixed. That's
    because features and functions sell upgrades, while bug fixes are
    expected to be free. Eventually, the software grows bloated and is
    still full of bugs.

    Sign in the window of a local computer store:
    I have never considered a PC an investment, and don't believe that it
    ever will become one. The price attrition on PC's is just too
    radical. In general, for the money I save by purchasing a used PC, I
    can later use to purchase it's replacement. A decent high end laptop
    is about $1000, but a 5 year old dual core used laptop does for about
    $350. In addition, there are changes on the horizon, such as bigger
    better and faster SSD drives.

    Incidentally, most of my working machines run XP. My various weather
    stations run Windoze 2000 and Linux. My customers run Windoze 7 and
    8, but I don't have any of those to fight with.
    Jeff Liebermann, Apr 18, 2013

  7. This is an intelligent post. Who are you? Where is Skybuck? What have you
    done with him?
    Tom Del Rosso, Apr 18, 2013
  8. Hmm speaking of laptops... my mother claims her toshiba ? laptop's harddisk
    died one month after it was out of warrenty...

    I probably posted which laptop she bought somewhere on usenet in the past...

    Just thought I'd let you guys know that... so even laptops can fail... yes
    even expensive ones... and yes toshiba too :)

    Not really surprising for me... I told her this would happen after she
    bought it ;) my half-sister takes care of it and has seized control since
    the start...

    Perhaps she believes I could not hack it and take over... I could but I
    won't it's too risky in many ways.

    So I let her have her fun or in this case stress and annoyances with it !

    HI SISTER ! in case you ever read this ?! ;) =D Having fun yet ? ;) =D


    P.S.: I told my mother maybe she needs a tablet ;) =D

    P.S.2: Maybe all this doom thinking is become self-forfilling-prophecy

    PS.3: Neh probably not ;) :) walls and all that ;) :)
    Skybuck Flying, Apr 18, 2013
  9. Maybe new strategy of Microsoft:

    Screw hardware, we want to earn money with software !

    Make software run on more systems and profit ! ;)

    Has it worked out yet ? Maybe not... maybe yes... and maybe it will in

    Blizzard games are quite impressive quality wise... and yet they run on
    modest systems.

    Maybe Blizzard earns lots of money from their software, instead of requiring
    gamers to buy new hardware ;)

    Maybe Microsoft got inspired by Blizzard and decided to go the Blizzard way
    ;) :)

    Blaming Microsoft for making their operating system more efficient is pretty
    insane isn't it ? LOL.

    Skybyck =D
    Skybuck Flying, Apr 18, 2013
  10. I think it's the mobile/ tablets that are doing it.

    I wonder if I could divert this thread a bit?
    I've got an old desktop at home that I'd like to upgrade.
    My 'boy' (a 12 year old) really would like a better gaming machine.
    We've got a newer laptop that we use for gaming (I think minecraft is
    our favorite game.)
    but it tends to over heat and slow down during the games.

    So I've been looking at a new desktop from Dell.
    Several questions then,
    1.) should I buy from Dell? (I've used them in the past.)
    2.) Which operating system. I was thinking of win8... but now you've
    all made me nervous, but I wouold like some newer version of windows
    (running XP at home and work.) moslty becasue the kids will be using
    the newer version in school. So maybe Win7?
    3.) How much memory? I figured 8 or 12G.
    4.) Do I need the fancy graphics cards for gaming? (My thought was I
    could let my son pitch in for a better card if that's needed.)

    Thanks for any advice or wisdom,

    George H.
    George Herold, Apr 18, 2013
  11. Skybuck Flying

    Melzzzzz Guest

    1. and 2.
    Games where main drive force behind PC sales, and now
    they are mainly produced for Consoles which have
    long life expectancy period. Hack you don;t need
    more than 2gb of RAM... (have you saw game that needs
    more than 2gigs?)
    You can do everything else with hardware from 2003.
    Melzzzzz, Apr 18, 2013
  12. Skybuck Flying

    halong Guest

    I think 5 also...

    The main reason is that we have only 24 hours a day...no time for PC
    halong, Apr 18, 2013
  13. Skybuck Flying

    Melzzzzz Guest

    Don't know I assemble PC myself.
    Yes, Win 7.
    4GB would be enough but 8GB would be comfortable.
    Memory is cheap.
    Depends on games also... but if you need to play in higher resolutions
    everything on high, this would be most important.
    IMO medium strength card is enough.
    Melzzzzz, Apr 18, 2013
  14. Skybuck Flying

    Mike Perkins Guest

    This perhaps where I will disagree with you. I recall doing a serious
    FPGA synthesis 10 years ago where times were halved when I purchased my
    next PC.

    I also have Windows XP running on a 5 year dual-core PC and the boot
    times and general pleasure of use is nowhere near as good as this
    year-old quad-core running Windows 7.
    I would agree regarding "investment". I was making the point that PC
    "inflation" has nearly halted such that a good PC bought 2 years ago, is
    still a pretty good PC today. Unlike a PC bought 10 years ago.

    I would also agree that I may consider changing my RAID disk for a SSD.
    In the past I might have used the upgrade as an excuse to buy a new PC,
    but now I would be more tempted to just change the insides of my box.
    I'm guessing but I would have thought the PC processing power you
    require is perhaps not the same as current gaming or video decompression
    etc might require.

    I would also say if it's not broke, don't mend it!!
    Mike Perkins, Apr 18, 2013
  15. Skybuck Flying

    Gadfly Guest

    The fact that a desktop and laptop PC lasts much longer than it used to plus
    people wanting to have tablets is probably the main reason.
    They don't need new PCs and laptops.

    I have a desktop PC that I built in 2005 that has an AMD Athlon X2 dual-core
    CPU and 1GB memory and it runs Windows 8 beautifully.
    And I have a laptop that could do likewise, but I have left it with Windows

    Previously, to run a major new release of Windows would have at least
    required a motherboard upgrade for a system builder or a new PC
    or laptop for the man in the street.
    Gadfly, Apr 18, 2013
  16. Skybuck Flying

    Quadibloc Guest

    Good reason: if you already have a computer that runs 7 well.

    John Savard
    Quadibloc, Apr 18, 2013
  17. 10 years ago, my typical machine was running on 512MBytes of RAM on an
    Athelon 64, early Pentium 4, or G5 CPU. I still have machines in this
    class running and they are depressingly slow. However, there's an
    oddity which somewhat substantiates my claim. If you load a P4 with
    512MB, and install XP SP1, it runs just fine and with quite usable
    speed. However, as you install all the numerous updates, the machine
    slows down. I've tried running XP SP3 machines on 512MB and it's
    really really really slow. 1GB would be a good minimum and 3.5GB
    would make it more usable. What happened is that the OS became
    bloated, grew considerably, and slowed down. With updates, Microsoft
    certainly doesn't care about performance on a 12 year old OS that will
    soon be obsolete. I also see similar issues with old OS/X and Linux
    distributions. The OS and applications were designed for the CPU and
    memory footprint of their day. As the hardware improved, the software
    writers simply took advantage of the added horsepower and RAM
    inevitably resulting in bloat. Can you name any OS or program that
    grew smaller over time?

    To be uncharacteristically honest, it's impossible to generalize over
    a 10 year period. Some things became faster, while others slowed
    down. Some software was cleaned up, while other remains buggy and
    unstable. Progress is not a straight line. Still, it took me about
    5 minutes to boot my 1983 IBM XT from its 10MBytes HD. 30 years
    later, it still takes about 5 minutes to boot my XP SP3 machine. This
    is not progress.
    Try running XP SP3 in a virtual machine on a computer with lots of
    RAM. The OS ends up residing mostly in RAM, rather than bashing the
    hard disk. It's quite a performance boost (after the initial load).
    I'm still using PIII machines for weather stations and data loggers.
    The main attraction is low power consumption. I could do better with
    a modern SBC, but I already had the working machines.

    For myself, I buy the old and used machines from my customers when
    they get new machines. I'm perfectly happy to use an older machine. I
    used to put yellow post-it notes on the machine indicating how much
    capital expense I deferred by NOT buying a new machine.
    I've had severe difficulties and surprises with RAID. I can see it
    for performance (striping), but not for reliability. If the drives
    are identical, they tend to blow up all at the same time.

    SSD has the potential of giving me an ulcer. I monitor the error rate
    and bad sector allocations for my customers. So far, so good.
    However, they're now buying SSD's from strange sounding company names
    that I can neither locate or pronounce. I smell trouble as the NAND
    memory starts to fail. Same with LED backlighting displays, which
    will eventually produce a backlighting color balance problem as one of
    the 3 color led's drops in output.

    Long term investments aren't really possible with todays component
    selection, which is often intended to target product life to a
    specific number of years. If the operating conditions are well
    defined, it is possible to predict the lifetime of many components.
    Electrolytic capacitors are a good example. The result are products
    that have components where everything blows up after about 5 years.
    They can sometimes be fixed, but who wants to replace ALL the
    electrolytics in their new computah?
    The weather station spews data at 2400 baud. I could process that
    with a PIC controller. There's nothing even close to real time, and
    everything is done in small batches. For output, it creates web
    pages, pretty JPG's, and ftp's them to a public web server. The only
    CPU killer is the web camera, which we decided really didn't justify
    an upgrade. Incidentally, I lied. I have one running XP SP3 because
    the packet radio drivers and software wanted Dot Nyet 3(?), which
    doesn't officially run on Windoze 2000.
    If it ain't broke, you're not trying.
    Jeff Liebermann, Apr 19, 2013
  18. Perfect timing. My compliments to the drive designer and manufacturer
    for meeting the desired time-to-fail specification so closely. The
    next model will be better and fail a day or two after the warranty has
    Yep, and you can search for it yourself.
    What you pay has very little to do with quality. There was a
    connection at one time, but not any more. You can spend outrageous
    amounts of cash for absolute junk. Even worse, in some product areas,
    you can't buy quality at any price because all the good manufacturers
    have been bought and nobody is willing to pay sky high prices for
    You are not a doctor and should be prescribing pills.

    Or, perhaps you're recommending this tablet:
    With computer buyers like your, it is very difficult to be optimistic
    about the state of the industry. When you defenestrate your
    computers, find some other hobby, and go away, then the industry and
    my attitude will surely recover.
    Jeff Liebermann, Apr 19, 2013
  19. That's my thought... gain is cheap too!

    George H.
    George Herold, Apr 19, 2013
  20. Skybuck Flying

    mike Guest

    What the heck are you guys doing with all that RAM?

    I have win7-32bit running on a P4 with 2GB ram.
    I ran it that way with no swap file for months.
    I did decide to re-enable the swap file when I discovered
    that I couldn't run XP and Linux simultaneously in virtualbox.

    I've got more ram. Just can't see any reason to crawl under
    the table to install it.
    I don't normally hibernate, but I've had laptops where big
    ram made it take longer to return from hibernation than to boot
    in the first place.

    I've also got a dual-core system with twice the horsepower
    and 4GB of ram. I'm sure you can come up with an example,
    for what I do, I can't feel enough improvement make it worth
    switching computers.
    mike, Apr 19, 2013
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