Or to look at it another way...
... Despite the decline Desktop PC shipments still 100m / year.
Which is pretty much what you allude to in the last paragraph, but not what the headline suggests.
Desktop PC shipments dipped below 100 million in 2017 and there's worse to come across the personal computing device market according to analyst firm IDC. The company on Wednesday published a summary of its Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker for 2017's final quarter in which it totted up shipments for the …
I no longer carry a laptop to meetings. Instead I have a tablet. Same thing, different form factor.
Nope - they're different things. One is a device that's capable of high productivity, the other is largely a device for consumption. Before you say you input stuff like a fiend at meetings, consider the general point. Tablets are good at one thing though: getting users to accept a high cost/computing power ratio. Landfill
It's less market saturation, more a change in how we use 'devices'. I no longer carry a laptop to meetings. Instead I have a tablet. Same thing, different form factor.
But the table in the article doesn't really support what you are implying (although the table would be more useful if it contained more historical data and so enable a trend to be determined, but suspect you have to subscribe to get that graph...).
What is interesting is that IDC are forecasting a much bigger reduction in the shipments of tablets, whilst shipments of desktops and notebooks remain reasonably stable. Thus I suggest that in general those who can have already switched their laptop for a tablet.
However, I suspect you do as I and many others do: take the tablet to meetings, leaving the laptop on the desk. It is thus interesting that the IDC forecast seems to imply that the increase in detachable tablet shipments won't be at the expense of laptop shipments.
"I no longer carry a laptop to meetings. Instead I have a tablet." Where I work no one has a tablet but everyone has a laptop which we carry around as needed.
The overall point of the post is the desktop/laptop/tablet market is a best flat with the vast majority of the purchases being replacements for worn out kit. The precise breakdowns will vary somewhat between form factors. And any overall sales growth will happen in specific geographic locations as they become wealthier.
I haven't met anyone who's bought a prebuilt desktop in years. If you care about performance and durability you either build or get a custom built system.
Moore's Law and Dennard scaling (base semiconductor scaling) are dead. We've hit the practical Amdahl limit, too. So if you look at the practical speed of a general purpose CPU for the last 5 years you'll see it's almost flat. Why upgrade your system if your CPU and RAM are basically unchanged in speed?
The only thing that's still scaling up at a respectable pace are GPUs. I've upgraded my GPU regularly, but I haven't seen enough of an improvement to even consider a CPU update, meaning that my desktop system with high quality components has served me well for years, and probably will for more years to come.
We continue to push out more and more iPads, if they fit the need of the task required by the user why have all the headaches that come with managing Windows clients or the expense of a MacBook when iPads are not that pricey and very easy to manage. Plus since most users now know how to use an iPhone well, iOS on an iPad is quite familiar to them.
If we need a full fat system that runs a desktop class OS we still have hundreds of perfectly usable devices in the store room that are not slow despite their age.
Mostly I'm still waiting for the crypto fad to implode so the price of GPU's comes down to reasonable values and the RAM producers to stop trying to shaft me and get me some RAM for a decent price instead of gouging me for 3 times what I would have paid for the same stuff only 2 years ago.
I'm in the market to upgrade my gaming/CAD/home-office system, but still balking at the amount of currency I'd have to plonk down currently.
My hand was forced a week ago by the failure of an aged Nvidia 275GTX (last eight years, so no complaints), and I had to pony up £190 for a 1050Ti (about £40-£50 more than April 2017).
I hope all those bloody coin mining morons lose every penny they have. OTOH, if the new card lasts eight years, it's still only about £2 a month.
From a PC Gamers perspective, the race to the top with CPU and GPU manufacturers resulted in my twice a year PC upgrade just to keep up slowly stretching out to the point where I now manage to go 3-5 years between needing upgrades. Only the cash rich "must have the latest and dearest" crowd are still buying the flagships, the rest of us are happy to sit on just MAX settings instead of ULTRA for most of our games. High end workstation users are in much the same position, why bother, it got "good enough" years ago. I think the same can be said for tablets and phones now too, they are struggling to make any headway and resort to gimmicks to shift new stuff when the current range is "good enough".
Since the days of the original IBM PC, I have regularly renewed desktops every 3 years or so until recently. The current desktop and laptop have made it past 5 years and I see no reason to upgrade as long as they still function. The desktop has had a couple of HDDs added, but is otherwise unchanged, the laptop battery isn't capable of more than about an hour of usage, but it's very rare that I need mobile access that can't be catered for by a lower powered device.
Show me a compelling reason to upgrade similar to the step from a 386 to a 486 CPU and I'll consider a new machine soon. Otherwise, barring a major failure the current setup will be maintained for at least a couple more years.
Trouble is, and I know the Reg has stated this themselves, PCs are just too good. Same goes for mobile computing really.
I looked at upgrading my 4 yr old PC with an equivalent model (i7, 16GB RAM, SSD, decent video card, etc) and found today's models benchmark maybe 10-15% faster than my own.
As my current machine boots up from POST to everything loaded in the system tray in under 2 minutes, it's difficult to justify the $1000+ required to purchase something better. Worse.. new games still run at decent settings at over 60 FPS. Not max settings for sure, but I don't have to move the performance "sliders" too much to the left. Photoshop and Premier still tick along at excellent speeds, 3D Studio churns out awful attempts at rendering at a brisk pace. Simply put, stuff today is too good.
Same goes for tablets and phones. Swap out the battery and if it isn't over 3 years old the chances are it will run the latest version of your mobile OS at a very respectable speed.
Moral of the story. Make sh!!tter stuff guys.
Tim Sweeney has talked about this before. Hardware power isn't the issue, software design is. Designers are becoming lazy (not *necessarily* the programmers) because there's more processing power to fall back on. Games have seen this in the last 3 years since the launch of the new consoles. Having 8GB of shared RAM between the GPU and CPU has made developers incredibly lazy with texture optimisation because there's so much more memory to dump it on.
My customers are thrilled to see that just swapping an SSD into the desktop my shop built for them 5-6 years ago brings the speed increase they thought they would get only by purchasing a new computer. They might need more memory and some want to move from 7 to 10 but overall they're glad to go faster without changing anything else.
I would say that this puts a damper on new PC sales but the price of memory has taken care of that. It's already hard for the custom shop to compete vs. the big manufacturers who pay $5 for Windows while I fork over $100 but with memory now costing twice what it did a year ago, it's hard to sell vs. machines that have been on warehouse shelves for a year, packed with previous-generation CPUs and are now being sold on clearance at $100-200 or more off list price.
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