back to article MOUNTAIN of unsold retail PCs piling up in Blighty: Situation 'serious'

A consumer PC bottleneck in the UK could result in some price cuts ahead of the Windows 10 launch - or so folk in the supply chain are telling us. Distributors are sitting on roughly 60 days of client stock - around twice the amount they typically carry - and all vendors, save for HP, contributed to the mess. “Inventory …

  1. dogged

    So I can get a Thinkpad X1 Carbon for cheap?

    If not, not interested.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't know about x1 carbon, but you certainly can get ex-corpo stock of laptops (presumably also others) relatively cheap. How about 12.5'', i7, lenovo keyboard (old-school), 160 GB ssd, 8GB RAM, W7 pro 64 and IPS, all grade A1 (by my standards), all for £320? And about 4 hr battery life plus a _huge_ market for spares and accessories, most of them dirt-cheap or reasonable.

      p.s. it takes some digging around, and most sellers, including vendors, often don't care to list the exact specs as they are, but it's doable.

      never mind, off topic.

      p.s. I saw good deals at gigarefurb (and they respond to queries v. promptly, and know what they talk about), although I got mine elsewhere, gumtree.

      but if I were to replace a desktop, or a workstation, shit, I'd never buy a new one these days. Probably I'd not even bother building one myself, when you can get a decent 2n-hand machine for 100 - 200 quid, including Win7 / 10.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Choose wisely with second hand laptops, the battery is usually crapped and the left click button on the touch pad is on it's last legs. Fingers crossed it's not had any over heating problems and those brittle BGA solder joints are holding up OK. HDD will be a high clocker too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC

          ....or stolen (hence AC?)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AC

            "....or stolen (hence AC?)"

            Nope, I mean there are tons of ex-gov, corporate and educational laptops with about three weeks life left in them that get flogged off to unsuspecting mugs on Ebay for silly prices.

            1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

              Re: @AC

              There are also many, many laptop that are fine. I bought a fully loaded Thinkpad x series years ago, for about 600 quid including the thinkbase - 2.5-3x lower price than new. The battery had only been charged 30 times, and there was at least a year's warranty left. It's still going strong, years on, although I now only get about an hour and a half out of the battery instead of six.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AC

            ebay and gumtree do carry the risk, but consider:

            a) a seller's been on gumtree for over a year. Not a proof of innocence, but seriously reduces the risk, as the thieves usually operate very short-lived business model, I suppose, hit and disappear.

            b) this particular thinkpad model, high and around 4 years ago was, apparently, replaced by corporations with something newer around end of 2014 / beginning of 2015 (I didn't hear it from the seller, but from various sources before), and it's been filtering to 2nd hand market since. I suppose I can look it up on lenovo site, even if it's out of warranty, but I can't imagine somebody taking a risk and inviting a stranger to their home to flog them a 320 quid worth of stolen, 4-year old laptop...

            p.s. yes, I just realized I might just as well be the actual seller, "gently" steering the right clientele my way, quoting where you can find this or that... but then, I always find it silly when people say "I bought it on a well-know site you-know-where", so yes, ebay, and gumtree, and amazon, and google search engine.. that's the source of info.

            I actually would have been happier to buy off some reasonably reputable seller on ebay or a refurbishment business, like the one I mentioned, because they do give some sort of guarantee, but neither had exactly what I wanted (ram, ssd, ips screen, and if they did, they were sourced from Germany and / or were grade B (which is fine, I suppose). In my case I was able to see the laptop, and for similar price I got better grade and somewhat better specs. Ironically, about 4 years ago we bought a family laptop, also lenovo (no particular preference there), for not much more, some £400. And it's still going strong. But I'm fed up with lugging it around on holiday. Plus, I got a panic atack when I found out the model I've just bought is the last one before lenovo switched to that f... chisel-style keyboard. I do a lot of typing and I hate this chisel shit.

            1. Pookietoo

              Re: I hate this chisel shit


        2. Buzzword

          Re: @AC

          Yet curiously a three year-old second-hand MacBook will easily sell for at least 33% of list price.

          1. dogged

            Re: @AC


            £350 is 33% of list price for a 3 year old ThinkPad. Macbooks are not special.

            1. chivo243 Silver badge

              Re: @AC

              but one is actually worth the price.... can you guess which one?

              1. dogged

                Re: @AC

                > but one is actually worth the price.... can you guess which one?

                Yes, the one you can upgrade yourself.

          2. jason 7

            Re: @AC


            But after three years you'll still have spent around £700 (after you sell the old macbook) and I'll have spent just £500 on my Dell laptop which will still be working as I've never had a laptop break on me.

            The resale argument doesn't really work if going on total cost of ownership.

            Plus I didn't probably have to pay for Apple Care either as I can fix/replace/upgrade a lot of my Dell.

            Plus what's the resale going to be on Macs when they all become non repairable/non upgradable?

            1. Buzzword

              Re: @AC

              @jason 7,

              Sure, the Apple costs a bit more to buy; such that you might well end up at the same financial position after three years, including the resale value. But during those three years you'd have all the enjoyment that comes with owning an Apple product; whereas your Dell will afford you no such joy.

              If you genuinely prefer the Dell then that's fine; but if you were hoping for a cheaper Apple equivalent, it's a false economy.

              1. jason 7

                Re: @AC


                Different strokes...

                I've really enjoyed using my 13" Dell for the past 6 years (now with 8GB of ram and 120GB SSD all upgraded easily later).

                I find Macbooks quite boring and samey myself. Plus I'd never buy a machine I couldn't upgrade/fix myself. Plus I have seen a few disgruntled Macbook users on my travels.

                So I know its not all rainbows and lollipops over in Macbook land.

                1. Danny 14

                  Re: @AC

                  there are loads of refurbished resellers about, some have reasonable RTB warranty too. Ive picked up a few nice dells with dedicated GFX cards. Sometimes you can get some real open box weird spec bits of kit too.

                  Back to topic, probably loads of stock because most companies don't feel the need to upgrade. Quite a few schools run VDI so desktops are moot, last gen 3ghz dual core intels are still decent enough to run windows 7 and office especially if they are 4gb RAM desktops. Probably cheaper to bung an SSD in there as a quick boost anyway, £40 will get you a sandisk x110 and that will make a core2duo "appear" to be quicker than an i5 to the average person.

          3. Hans 1

            Re: @AC

            >Yet curiously a three year-old second-hand MacBook will easily sell for at least 33% of list price.

            Yet curiously a three year-old second-hand MacBook will easily sell for at least 66% of list price. Fixed that.

            1. Christian Berger

              Re: @AC

              @Hans 1

              "Yet curiously a three year-old second-hand MacBook will easily sell for at least 66% of list price. Fixed that."

              Yes, but seriously only a small percentage of MacBooks will live to its 3rd year. The ones which do are probably the ones which were made by Foxcon on a good day.

              1. Danny 14

                Re: @AC

                Not sure what the battery will be like on a 3yr+ MacBook. I cant say how hard it is to replace one either.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC

          And be careful that the reason it's not been sold in the first place is because the motherboard has a hairline crack in it which prevents it from running for more than a few minutes ( I assume shutting down due to thermal expansion ).

          Not that I'm bitter....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AC

            that's the risk also, but I got lucky (running since yesterday).

            incidentally, a superb video on youtube about old v. new lenovo keyboards!

  2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    "Suppliers are sitting on a huge stock of unsold computers"

    I've already got a computer, I don't need to buy another one.

    1. Danny 14

      in the corporate world you have to balance though. Generally new kit has onsite warranty. Have an issue, phone up and get someone else to fix it. If kit goes out of warranty then who will support it? The same goes for service contracts, when people have outsourced their IT then the contract company will also have warranty on the kit too, that means they don't need to send their own IT staff in to repair (depending on the issue). So even though (technically) the kit doesn't need replacing, they might replace it just for warranty purposes.

  3. Tromos

    The huge number of 2 to 5 year old kit that is around, mainly core i3/5/7 running Win7 is more than adequate for just about everything most people need. All of these have got past the 'teething' stage of reliability and about the only thing some need is a replacement for a failing hard drive. There is just no compelling reason any more to upgrade, especially as most current offerings are more of a replacement than an upgrade. They aren't ten times faster, memory and storage are likewise not massively larger. Laptop batteries are still hours not days.

    It'll need some massive driver of uptake like Lotus 1-2-3 was back in the days of 4.77MHz clocks and 256k RAM. I can't think what, but whoever can stands to make a fortune and give the industry at least a temporary boost.

    The only surprises are that it seems to mainly be just the UK that hasn't seen the giant writing on the wall and that only one head has rolled so far.

    1. jason 7

      I buy in ex corporate kit.

      I buy HP/DELL 2.5-3GHz C2D boxes with 4GB ram and 250-320GB HDDs with Windows 7 Pro and sell them on for £150.00.

      Customers love them. If someone needs one with a little more grunt you can buy a E8400 CPU for around £7 or a C2Quad for not much more.

      These are machines from 2009/10.

      Manufacturers need to stop thinking that business users need to pay £400+ for a desktop.

      £250 is as much as most business users need to spend on desktops.

      1. Hollerith 1

        Re: I buy in ex corporate kit.

        @Jason 7, I've been looking for a nice box with say 500Gb, i5/7, 3-something RAM, a good graphics card, all that standard la la la, for my Photoshop and video-editing stuff, and even for refurbished I am being quoted at £300-500 for the box alone (which is all I want) when I know darn well that the refurbisher paid tuppence h'penny for it before giving a bit of a polish with his sleeve and putting it on the market. Yes, I could cobble this together myself but, life. So the deals go to IT purchasers who can stack 'em up, while the single purchaser sees no great deals out there. Sigh.

    2. Longtemps, je me suis couche de bonne heure

      Good point

      and I wonder if it is because all the modern equivalents of Lotus123 are Internet things like Facebook, Whatsapp, YouTube which are designed not to make many demands on the local PC because they want to reach as many people as possible, even if their PCs are somewhat antiquated. All the hard work is done in the Cloud, so the PC ends up being a bit like a tv being broadcast to.

      Hence the lack of need for an upgrade every two years.

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge


      The machines are faster etc. It's just the task they need to do that haven't changed. So if they were comfortable three years ago, they still are now.

  4. wyatt

    How hard are they working to shift this pile? My wife will probably need a replacement PC for her business and a future proofed one at the right price wouldn't hurt!

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge


      That's the thing.

      Suppliers seem very reluctant to drop the prices and sell more stuff/

      I bought a Dell i7 job a few months ago. I got a much better machine for my £800 than many other big makers were asking, And even now when I look at the ads for other makes, most are still offering poorer spec for that kind of money than I paid.

      But I also notice that Ebuyer offer a Dell with half the memory and HDD space that I have, and no mention of graphics card for what I paid,.

      Whereas Dell itself now offer my machine with the addition of an SSD for the same price.

      Which suggests that the retailers aren't in a hurry to shift boxes. OR even ask a sensible competitive price.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Which suggests that the retailers aren't in a hurry to shift boxes. OR even ask a sensible competitive price."

        I wonder if that's the problem with the business model. The economy seems to run on cheap debt these days. The cost of the debt interest/repayment is factored into the cost of the product and how fast it moves off the shelf. If stock turnover slows down the debt interest payments go up so selling "old" stock at a markdown cost them more than just part of a profit margin. There may well be carnage with some of the resellers if they don't cut their loses soon.

  5. Siv

    The channel is talking itself into a panic - Stop it!

    There is plenty of demand for new PCs a lot of consumer who I deal with who bought Windows 7 boxes are now waiting to get a new machine and are waiting for WIndows 10. Sure the canny ones will just upgrade their WIndows 7 for free, but a lot of my clients are combining a desire to have something new and shiny with a jump to Windows 10 as 8 was such a failure and so anti-desktop user.

    I have recommended all my clients to hang fire and purchase their new PC/laptop once WIndows 10 is out and only if they are running Windows 8.1 to upgrade to the free WIndows 10.

    So stop panicking or it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.


    1. Kubla Cant

      Re: The channel is talking itself into a panic - Stop it!

      No, don't stop it. You're all doomed, doomed, I say!

      (I'm thinking of buying a new PC soon.)

    2. theblackhand

      Re: The channel is talking itself into a panic - Stop it!

      Greece is about to fall over heralding a new global recession.

      The Windows 10 previews are just a cover for MS re-releasing Windows 3 .x as senior management believe that if they cycle back to that, they will get another 10-15 years of success.

      My dog just relieved itself on your floor.

      It's bad now but it's only going to get worse.

      I'll give you a tenner for the lot - you can't say fairer than that...

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: The channel is talking itself into a panic - Stop it!

        Greece is about to fall over heralding a new global recession.

        I hear China has money. Pretty sure they will like all the little islands.

  6. Lee D Silver badge

    The PC market is sitting on a ton of perfectly adequate hardware. The ones who want to move it are dropping their prices.

    Last year, I started at a new workplace and replaced every single PC, it was cheap enough to do and didn't come anywhere near the price of replacing a single decent blade server. For that, I got rid of all the old junk that was lying around, I gave everyone the impression the machines were newer, faster, better (they were, but even what I bought was old models even if it was new stock, the biggest speed advantage came from a refresh and a clean image instead of the old multiply-cloned junk they were using, and they were better because they could all use the same image and "just worked" as they were clean installs of everything), I managed to give away a ton of old machines to charity, and I have a large stock of spares that are perfectly functional and can be slotted into any purpose in a few minutes.

    The problem is - I did this more to remove any doubt about the old hardware than anything to do with it being 100% necessary. I bought old models because we didn't need the fancy new stuff. I just needed "shiny, and still in the plastic". As such, I won't be doing the same this year, or next year. Why would I? And, quite literally, the machines were so cheap that I didn't particularly care about replacing every machine on site - and they all came with original manufacturer warranty! Hell, just the spare keyboards, cables and mice they came with actually means I replenished an awful lot of my dwindling stock too.

    Soon after, a supplier phoned up to say they had 20-something new machines they wanted rid of - fully boxed, warrantied, etc.. They were so cheap, I just said yes. Literally, that's the only reason I took them. They can use the same image and are pushed out as normal stock for replacements, etc.

    PC's don't have a lot of money in them anymore. The money is in laptops (which I fight against because for our purposes they aren't suitable) and tablets (same) and in servers. The servers I have, I spent a lot more money on than all my desktops put together, twice. Probably more than that.

    The end-user desktop needs are so low compared to the specs you get that I barely bother to read the specs any more. In my last place, we just pushed out Atom PC's because they were so ludicrously cheap and - literally - nobody could tell the difference. I had so-called "IT expert" staff telling me how fast and wonderful they were and could they have one. It had more to do with an extra couple of gig of RAM in an Atom than the processor power which you can barely notice in most office-type use nowadays.

    And Windows 8 made the job easier as it actually can lower requirements. Windows 10 looks headed the same way. We don't need a ton of processing power, just a dual/quad core, plus a bit of RAM, and maybe if we're really showing off a graphics card jammed in there. Again, the cheapest one I can find should be more than adequate - we won't be playing Crysis 7 on them.

    As such, those PC's in the warehouse are going to stay there until someone lowers the price. You want to sell PC's, you have to have other angles - service, warranty, software, integration, "packs" of laptop with charging trolleys, buy one server, get 10 PC's free, etc. PC's on their own aren't worth much. If you're paying more than £150 per PC (so call it £300 per seat once you add monitor, software, etc. but even there - why would you buy new monitors until your current flatscreen is inadequate?), you're just throwing money away unless you can justify it. And those PC's will be capable of virtualisation and all sorts themselves (Windows 8 Pro included Hyper-V, remember?).

    Business PC's have plateaued. Great for me. I could redo the whole network of client two to three times a year if I needed to. Bad for sellers. They need to offer more than just box-shifting. And none of my suppliers has an interest in just selling me a bunch of PC any more. They are all about "service", "support", "relationships", etc. trying to get me to buy new servers every few months. Fact is, I'm set for the next few years at least, so god knows where they'll be making their money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, agreed with the giving away prices. Our XP refresh required new Win 7 licences. However HP were doing a deal to get a rebate of £150 on some new PCs. These had a Win 7 OEM licence and due to a Volume Licensing benefit by buying a fed £5 VLs we could image them as well. In the end all the new PCs effectively cost £30~£40 to replace 5yo kit.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      The only things our desktops need to be able to do is connect to an RDP server, and run Skype. Pretty much anything made in the last decade can do that.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. GrumpyOldMan


        I remember replacing Sparcs for Compaq Windows NT4 workstations running dual 400MHz Pentiums. 2 CPUs! Who would ever want that much power?

    4. Vic

      We don't need a ton of processing power, just a dual/quad core

      God, I feel old. this sort of statement still amazes me...

      When I was doing silicon design, we had 2x 100MHz SPARCs for the entire 7-man department...


  7. Shadow Systems

    Damn you lucky bastadges.

    I want a brand new laptop & if the folks on this side of the Pond were in such a position, I might be able to afford to get one.

    Quad core, 2GHz, 8GiB RAM, 120GiB SSD, Gigabit LAN, and enough USB ports to make a hub unnecessary. Build quality that can take a few years of constant use, bouncing around in a laptop bag, getting bumped around while on the bus/train/plane, and not drop dead the first time it gets looked at funny. Screen size/resolution don't matter, & integrated GPU is fine since I won't be using the monitor at all. (See my other post about how I normally use a laptop.) All for a price that doesn't break the bank.

    Over here I'm looking at nearly a thousand dollars or more for such a beast, and even then I have to trade battery life for a physical DVD burner. Really? Is it *THAT* difficult to fit a slot load DVD drive in that "thin & light", and make it *just* thick enough to include the damned LAN port? Because if I have to plug in an external DVD drive to make that physical backup of the drive, while having a USB LAN dongle plugged in to authenticate to the server, plus the USB keyboard, that bad boy needs four USB ports at a minimum (and the two for the DVD burner will require one to be Powered), else it won't work.

    Besides, if I have to buy externals to put back the functionalities you removed to make it "thin & light", then you'd damn-well better drop the price to reflect that. No DVD drive? Chop off the $100 you would charge me if it were there. No LAN port? Then axe the hundred you would charge me for that port. Only a single USB port & it's a Type C connector that requires a specialty plug to interact with? Get out the chainsaw, that price better scream "Timber!" as it falls.

    I've been told that I can get used Business Class machines with the specs I want for fairly cheap, but those are usually a generation or two (or more) behind the curve, and there's a REASON why they're USED. Maybe they've been treated like crap by employees whom didn't care since they were "only company property" after all. Maybe the connectors on the mobe are going to shit & while it passed inspection NOW, it won't in the day after the warranty runs out. Or it uses some proprietary chipset that no longer has drivers, which means you can't upgrade the OS from Windows XP even if you wanted to. Or that smell you experience every time it starts to overheat is nothing to be alarmed about, it's just the CPU reaching Critical Mass and waiting for an opportune moment to turn itself into a tiny super nova atop your crotch.

    I want a *new* machine, one that I won't have to upgrade for at least five years (hardware wise) or the moment it gets out of the box (software), at a price that only an Apple addict could afford.


    1. All names Taken

      Re: Damn you lucky bastadges.

      Have you tried an Apple MacBook Pro instead?

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Damn you lucky bastadges.

        > Have you tried an Apple MacBook Pro instead?

        The guy said he wanted an AMPLE number of ports, not an inadequate number of them.

    2. fishman

      Re: Damn you lucky bastadges.

      I buy year old business laptops for home. They're one generation behind, and cost what the consumer grade laptops cost. Plus they came with Win7 enterprise edition.

    3. Vic

      Re: Damn you lucky bastadges.

      I want a *new* machine, one that I won't have to upgrade for at least five years

      I have a bag of shite. The BIOS is dated 2009, so I've had it about 4 years, after my neighbours threw it out. I expect it to last at least another year, making the 5 years you're after.

      It cost me £9 for a new power cable. I could probably have got that cheaper if I'd looked a little harder.

      Hardware is much more resilient that many people think. The trick is to understand when the black smoke has run out, and when it's merely a software fault masquerading as a terminal failure...


  8. Ian 62

    Better not say that too loudly or your budget for next year will get slashed!

  9. Tom 7

    Need a new PC?

    RPi and a new monitor, os, keyboard and mouse and wifi and backup drive all for less than £200 gives you a very satisfactory PC.

    You can kit a child out with their own RPi pc plugged into a telly for £50 or a gamer often just requires a new graphics card in an old PC.

    But most people seem quite happy sitting there with their tablet. Someone is going to have to go to a lot of effort to make someone buy a PC these days.


      Re: Need a new PC?

      No. A PI won't quite cut it. Even a kid (or rather especially a kid) will know that you've given him a lemon. A chromebox is about as low as you would want to go on the desktop specs.

  10. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Yeh but

    Okay the hardware is inexpensive but will my Creative Suite CS3 (or 4 or 5 or 6) run in that environment.

    The above is an example and maybe the problem is not as much hardware but "will my favourite and/or bespoke but certainly adorable and very expensive at the time software work ticketty-boo too?"?


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeh but

      Obviously if you want a niche application you're not representative of 80% of the former PC buying public.

      The 80% have realised that a Window box is utterly unnecessary if all that they want is Facebook and other platform-independent stuff.

      Argue about whether it's 80% or 8% or some other number but look around at Joe Public and you'll see the principle holds.

      Will the PC have a bit of a resurrection once people realise the limitations of smartphones? Or, for most folk, do smartphones not have any meaningful limitations?

  11. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

    They'd sell a lot more laptops if they offered better than 1366x768 resolution for less than a king's ransom...

    1. Bruce_c

      I have recently had my 7 years old Lenovo T61P die - and it sported 1920x1200 resolution. I am really struggling to find anything like it. No way would i take a step down to 1366x768

  12. David Lawton

    and yet Mac sales seem to just be going up and up breaking the industry delcining trend....

  13. Mikel

    People aren't holding out for Windows 10. They're giving up on the PC. That clunky old dinosaur is dead. The corpse will quit twitching in a bit.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      It does seem to be a pretty poor excuse, and one that if it were at all valid they would have counteracted already with a "Windows 10 Ready" sticker.

    2. AlbertH

      Everyone I know that was using an XP laptop has upgraded now to Linux Mint. It Just Works™ and has all the application goodness that today's users want. Most people are very happy to discover the massive performance increase that comes with getting rid of useless anti-this and anti-that snake-oil that encumbered their Windoze installations, and the performance boost means that they can hold off a hardware update until their present gear actually dies! Domestic users don't want to have to buy new hardware in these financially difficult times.

      Business users are a different case, but since MS have (effectively) shot themselves in the foot by offering a mobile phone OS as their flagship product (Windows 8) and rendering their principal business product (Office) unusable, corporate users are beginning to look elsewhere. MS no longer have a viable product, and Windows 10 isn't going to fix that.....

      1. James 47

        Linux on a laptop? *Shudder*

        I won't run Ubuntu on bare metal anymore, only VMs

        1. Vic

          Linux on a laptop? *Shudder*

          I've done it for many years, on various platforms. It's rather good.

          I won't run Ubuntu on bare metal anymore

          Nor I. But then Ubuntu != Linux.


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sales slowing as customers hold out for Windows 10 systems?

    In the article, a certified Microsoft dependent PC builder said

    "sales are slowing as customers hold out for Windows 10 systems, "

    What planet are these people on?

    Sales are slowing as

    (a) austerity bites. New PCs are not top of the list, either for business or domestic use.

    (b) increasing numbers of people (mostly home users) realise that what they need to do can be done on something other than a Windows PC.

    (c) lots of things that PCs are good at aren't actually essential activities (malware, timewasting, etc)

    It's not a good time to be a PC manufacturer or seller. It's not likely to improve much in the foreseeable future, with or without Windows 10.

    1. Charles Manning

      (d) Don't need another one

      I really think the marketing people at PC companies are thick.

      They're used to decades of people upgrading their PCs every second year. It was worth it back then, the PCs were notably faster and more functional all the time and a two year old computer was looking a but tired.

      That meant anybody could sell PCs and think they were bloody good sales(wo)men.

      Now it's not like that any more. Computer speed/function has pretty much plateaued. What's the point of doing an upgrade? I can use a 4 yo computer just fine. How are you going to motivate me to buy a new one?

      Now the PC sales(wo)men can't figure out what's going on. They know they're bloody brilliant marketeers (since they've sold stuff so well for the last 15 years). It must be something else....

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: (d) Don't need another one

        It's always fun looking at the boxes in the big retailer (PCyouknowwho).

        The model you might want is never there.

        The prices are the same range as boxes you can buy from the smaller online companies, but with considerably poorer spec for the money.

        The staff are so clueless about the devices that any selling they do has to be pure BS because they don't have the capacity to match the device to the customers' actual needs and are really there to try an upsell stuff the punters don't need. Dodgy AV bloatware, pro software, complicated wireless mice and so forth.*

        So retail buyers have learned the hard way to steer clear and small business buyers have neither the cash, need nor the will to buy.

        *Personal touch here. My late mother got persuaded by a particularly stupid crony to buy from PCCrooks. (To anyone out there who doesn't realise this -mothers will always trust their friend to tell them what to buy, rather than the son/daughter who might actually know something). And she came back with all of the above, and an extended warranty and a whole load of other useless crap.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: sales slowing as customers hold out for Windows 10 systems?

      austerity bites

      The what now?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sales slowing as customers hold out for Windows 10 systems?

      Indeed, I read that and came away thinking how deluded are these people. The PC and Mac are dead. Nobody is waiting for Windows 10 (which is a incremental update at best). The world has moved on. It's now a post PC (and therefore a post Microsoft world)

  15. Steve McGuinness

    Ill believe it when I see Desktop Units with reasonable level of hardware at a viable price.

    When the stockists are still charging upwards of £800 for a new machine thats no better than 2-3 year old tech, they cant expect buyers to be knocking on their doors.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skippy was played by at least nine different kangaroos.

    Think about it!

    1. Richard Taylor 2

      What's that Skippy? There are 150 obsolete laptops stuck down the well?

  17. fishman

    What part of short lived bump

    It's not surprising what happened - those who worried about the end of XP support would quickly replace the remaining machines, and then the demand would rapidly drop back below what was there before.

    We need a "Captain Obvious" type icon.

  18. Hans 1

    MS pulled Windows 7 off the shelves, nobody wants 8 or 10 ... so write-off, I tell ya!

  19. Col_Panek

    If you need a "new" PC can put the latest Linux Mint on it in about 15 minutes.

    1. Pawl

      Re: If you need a "new" PC

      Speaking of which...

      I have an older PC that I thought I'd use for displaying video on my TV. It was running Windows 7 but I thought, heck, all I want is a network connection, audio, and a browser, so I'll try Linux and maybe it'll run faster.

      So after picking-through the 50 million Linux distributions out there, I downloaded things like Puppy Linux and Ubuntu and Xubuntu, Slax and Linux Mint and some others I don't remember. I put a new hard drive in the old computer and got to work.

      Loaded up Puppy. Worked fine but it must not have been the right package, it didn't look very nice. NEXT.

      Put the Ubuntu disk in, cleaned off the drive, and loaded it. Or tried to. Refused to install. Tried again. Same thing. Gave up. NEXT.

      Just for grins, tried loading Xubuntu. It bubbled away for an hour* with just a blank screen staring back at me. Gave up. NEXT.

      Tried to load Slax. The installer kept telling me I didn't have permissions to run the installer. Gave up. NEXT.

      Put in the Linux Mint DVD, ran the install. Wow. It installed! Last reboot--here it ... comes ... ? I got an utterly scrambled video display that looked like noise. Gave up. NEXT...

      I ended-up trying ~10 different Linux installs. Some did install but then I couldn't figure out how to load the drivers for the network adapter from its cdrom. Never got audio working but I admit that by this point I was getting a little frustrated and didn't try very hard.

      I put the Windows 7 disk back in. Loaded fine, ran fine, played videos fine. STOPPED HERE.

      I'm not knocking Linux 'cause all the problems were probably my own fault in some way shape or form but a 15-minute installation it wasn't.

      *all times approximate

      1. keithpeter Silver badge

        Re: If you need a "new" PC

        Put the Ubuntu disk in, cleaned off the drive, and loaded it. Or tried to. Refused to install. Tried again. Same thing. Gave up. NEXT.

        I would be very interested to learn more about this desktop PC. Brand, processor, video card &c.

        If you managed to boot Mint into a live session, just hit terminal and do an lspci command and post it here.

        I test out stuff like this....

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Pawl

          Re: If you need a "new" PC


          It's an ex-emachine T3504 which has had it's processor upgraded to a Pentium D 2-core and 2gigs of memory. It's got an nVidia 6200 video card in it, nothing special and on the older side as well. Nothing about the system seems especially esoteric. And mind you--when I say I've had trouble installing Linux distros, I don't just mean on this particular computer, I've tried on several different machines. Linux just will not install properly, and I very much doubt that the cd/dvd discs are all bad. Some distros will install, and Ubuntu did before, but the last couple of times I've tried (with fresh downloads of latest versions) they have not worked for me. Even some of the "live" distros will just lock-up on me. Again, though, some do work, like Puppy.

          Do you suppose there is any chance that I am having troubles because I want to use the 64-bit versions of Linux when available? I'm running Windows 7 64-bit without a problem but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.

          1. keithpeter Silver badge

            Re: If you need a "new" PC

            Nvidia 6200 card needs legacy drivers on Ubuntu 14.04

            Puppy runs in ramdisk I recollect, so check BIOS entries for the other Linux isos. Google the mobo model &c. F6 and nomodeset may (according to a quick google) help with Ubuntu.

            64 Bit: should be OK but try a 32 bit live CD just in case

            Note to mods: previous more detailed post kept getting blocked?!

            1. Pawl

              Re: If you need a "new" PC


              It's the video card all right. From what I read, the old(er) nVidia drivers in Linux, and not specifically Ubuntu or Mint, don't play well with them and the prop. drivers are necessary for full-function, use VESA driver for initial install. I may try again now that I know this, starting with a live DVD.

              This is the trouble with saying "it just works." It doesn't always "just work", and while the fix may be simple, a problem like this would have been beyond the knowledge of an awful lot of users. The only reason I bothered with it was because keithpeter took the time to try to help with it.

              Thank you kindly for your assistance, keith.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

                1. Pawl

                  Re: If you need a "new" PC

                  Apparently the message chain is getting too long, as people are missing what I said and when I said it. Keith and I had already figured out what the problem was when I made that "it just works" comment. At no point did I ask for help because getting Linux to work on that computer was in no sense an issue for me. I had a working box; I was just letting my curiosity have some free play. That Linux was being a pain in no way shape or form was causing me any loss of functionality--that is why I put a fresh disc into that computer--I had the original, fully-working Windows installation on its own disc. Keith apparently jumped in out of his own curiosity and I was perfectly happy to provide him with information--nice guy.

                  All the later posters have missed the point of the initial post. "Install BSD" for gosh sake, why would I even bother at this point?? The box works fine. And I specifically said that I was not knocking Linux for my problems, accepting that it was probably something I had done wrong (although that was not actually the case, as it turned out).

                  1. This post has been deleted by its author

                    1. Pawl

                      Re: If you need a "new" PC

                      You diminish yourself by such posts. First and foremost, I explained why I tried Linux in the first place. Second, wading through a plethora of Linux, BSD, and gosh-knows what else is not my idea of a good time--selecting some Linux packages was bad enough. I have less experience with BSD than even Linux, and that ain't much--I got pulled-in by the "ease of use" and "runs great on older hardware" claims and thought it was worth a try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I might learn something. I honestly don't understand why you or anyone else thinks I should waste further time with operating systems I know nothing about. My original post was not a comment about Linux per se, but about the "fifteen-minute install"--but of course you missed that, didn't you?

                      Linux Mint is obscure?? Ubuntu is obscure?? I had no idea. I thought they were popular distros.

                      Lastly, I didn't post a tonne of messages "bleating" about it not working. I posted ONE, the first. Is this an honest demonstration of your reading comprehension? And BTW, keithpeter and I figured out the problem long ago but you seem to have missed that, as well.

                      1. This post has been deleted by its author

                        1. Pawl

                          Re: If you need a "new" PC

                          Well, you've managed to go from the ridiculous to the completely absurd, although it took your longest post to do it. Congratulations.

              2. JEDIDIAH

                Re: If you need a "new" PC

                This isn't really a Linux issue. It's a Nvidia legacy support issue. Those older chipsets are getting desupported in the newer driver versions across the board. Chipset driver release numbers are something you have to watch out for regardless. Some are just plain buggy.

                Even the early ION era GPUs are getting desupported in the newer drivers and the 6x00's are older than that.

                I would expect the libre driver to still worth though. Dunno for sure, I use the proprietary driver.

          2. Loud Speaker

            Re: If you need a "new" PC

            The word Nvidia explains everything. Nvidia kit is Windows only, if that.

            1. JEDIDIAH

              Re: If you need a "new" PC

              > The word Nvidia explains everything. Nvidia kit is Windows only, if that.

              Nonsense. I've been getting the most out of Nivida kit on Linux for years and years since before the 6200 was shiny and new. Nvidia is very well supported on Linux by Nvidia. Pretty much always has been.

              Being a happy customer of their BLOBs is a big part of why I'm so viciously anti-Wayland.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you need a "new" PC

        Your "approximate" times are nonsense. I've installed Mint on all sorts of PCs and it's invariably worked first time, and seldom taken as much as 15 minutes. The post-install updates and minor configuration tweaks (like adding pretty desktop schemes) might add another 10 minutes....

        You're just being either wilfully obtuse or irredeemably stupid!

        1. Pawl

          Re: If you need a "new" PC

          Well, AC, you may say what you please but that is what happened to me, whether or not you like it or not. I have never gotten Mint to install and I've no idea why. But also, I am not going to spend hours out of my life trying to get something to work when I already have something that works just to satisfy a sense of curiosity. I think you're just a Mint-fanboi who can't stand the idea that someone else doesn't love your flavor of Linux.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. JEDIDIAH

            Re: If you need a "new" PC

            If you're a lucky enough individual that you have a box that's inherently hostile to Linux then that is going to be obvious after the 2nd try now isn't it? Although it would be nice to know what the offending hardware was. It's nice to avoid those things.

      3. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: If you need a "new" PC

        So, it goes like this:

        Windows user tries Linux. Doesn't work, so:

        Windows user tries Linux. Doesn't work, so:

        Windows user tries Linux. Doesn't work, so:

        Windows user tries Linux. Doesn't work, so:

        Windows user tries Linux. Doesn't work, so:

        Windows user tries Linux. Doesn't work, so:

        Windows user tries Linux. Doesn't work, so:

        Windows user tries Linux. Doesn't work, so:

        Windows user gives up. Goes back to Windows, as Windows and Linux are the only operating systems in tthe whole wide world.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: If you need a "new" PC

            And I should add that Linux fans seem very keen to keep their club exclusive.

            I had the basic knowledge to know most of what to do, and understand what they were saying for the rest of it when I played around with Linux

            But for anyone out there that wants to use Linux and isn't a techie sort of person the wall of undefined Linux jargon would be a killer.

            This was a reply I saw while I was looking for examples, for someone who said he'd been using Ubuntu for a few days, on a part of a Linux site that was specifically for the "Newbie"

            "You will get more useful information by install the package from the command line. Use aptitude (if it's installed) or apt-get with the command:"


            The point being that the helpful person giving that answer didn't say what this aptitude thing was, or how to get to apt-get or what the was. And that's a reply for the "newbie"!

            On top of that there seems to be a new fork of every distro and a new distro of every fork every five minutes. And of course every proponent of each distro/fork has their own preferred desktop.

        2. Pawl

          Re: If you need a "new" PC

          "Windows user gives up. Goes back to Windows, as Windows and Linux are the only operating systems in tthe whole wide world."

          How about this:

          "Windows user gives up. Goes back to Windows, as his Windows box works just fine and there is no reason for him to spend anymore time trying to get a different operating system to work."

          There, FTFY.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. James 47

        Re: If you need a "new" PC

        Whenever Linux has gone haywire for me it after I do something complicated like change the screen resolution. Hence, VMs from now on

        1. Vic

          Re: If you need a "new" PC

          Whenever Linux has gone haywire for me it after I do something complicated like change the screen resolution

          That's not happened to me for very many years. We used to have to edit modelines in XF86Config, but I'm not sure I've had to do that this millenium...


  20. SVV

    Not the real reason

    "The problems are a hangover from 2014 when Microsoft shut down extended support for Windows XP"

    No, the real reason is :

    "The problems are a hangover from 2014 when Microsoft released a catastrophically awful turkey of an OS called Windows 8 that consumers hated and businesses just laughed at"

    The hardware's just fine and dandy, the OS mess is turning copies of Windows 7 Pro into a valuable and much loved commodity.

  21. Roger Mew

    Brew your own

    Many are also updating older machines either in its mobo only or in more bits. Frankly this is a lot cheaper and you can also leave behind a lot of the rubbish that comes with a built one. Why pay silly money when you can have a reasonable machine for about £200-£300.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Brew your own

      That's actually been true for a long time for the more technically able/ good local shop round teh corner members of the public.

      I kept my last machine going for years, with upgrades.

      The difference now may be that there is not any good reason to upgrade for most ordianry users. And the folk who used to upgrade to have newer shiny now get their fix from ipads.

  22. GrumpyOldBloke


    Inventory may also be stock that was bound for Russia but has been diverted due to US sanctions.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Refresh not due

    I look after many small companies and support around 450 PCs. Over the last few years I have been moving everyone to W7 and in all cases W8 wasn't a 'wanted' option. They are on decent enough kit to not need to replacement for a few years.

    In May I was asked to buy a couple of PCs (Lenovo FWIW). Insight UK was doing them for £213 (i3's). Ingram couldn't even get close for the exact same model. I think the best they could do them for was £260. Granted, i'm not high in their reseller tier list, but I argued that IM was a bigger company than Insight and should be able to sell at the same price. Apparently Insight get better deals as they buy in bigger volumes.

    Needless to say, Insight now gets most of my business. Maybe that's why IM have mountains of PCs they can't sell!!

  24. Loud Speaker

    I could not get Mint to work either, and I have been using Linux since Yggdrasil was released. I am writing this on Debian, cos Perl wont work properly on Ubuntu!

    The Unity and systemd sagas show Linux providers are daft as a traditional brush, but even so, I will only use Windows under serious pressure.

    I know people who are not even slightly computer literate that would not willingly use Windows after trying Linux with Gnome. If those PC vendors want to sell anything ever again, they need to be willing pay to educate people that the way forward is in the opposite direction to Windows 10, and offer better screen resolutions than a £100 phone.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they want to shift moreof those boxes

    They need to offer them without an OS at cheaper than the price that they sell them WITH an OS. Having to pay for a new OS when you buy a new machine (thus making it even more expensive) even if you don't actually NEED the new OS isnt going to help sales, now is it?

  26. GrumpyOldMan

    Ahhh - the old days....

    I still have an HP4000N LaserJet 10 years after rescuing it from a skip. On it's 2nd cartridge. and still works fine. Even my old XT works - won't run Windows 7 though.

    I run the W10 Techy preview in a vm, don't like it (neither does wifey) so might jump ship to Mac or just run Linux, however Macs run Lightroom and Photoshop - and as a photographer I use them a lot. My VMware lab might get to run all sorts of weirdy lovliness! Who needs a PC when you have a dual 4-core Xeon with 32GB and a VMUG Advantage account? And a few £5 off ebay thin clients?

  27. Roger Mew

    geeks only, not fit for joe soap ...yet!

    The problem with 10 is not that it is not good, the problem is that it is not easily fixable by those not of the geek persuation. I am not a genius by any stretch of the imagination but can find my way around, however none of my extended family could cope with the shenanigans and seeing as none have a second computer running something else that they can use to find out the problem stand no chance.

    So there we go, if that is repeated that means that about 90% of the population could not deal with it, so read use it!

    I do like it, but its like a super motorcycle if you do not understand it you cannot ride it!

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