back to article The COVID-19 pandemic is still going – and so is the PC buying spree: Shipments up 55% on the Before Times

It’s still boom time for makers of personal computers. The buying frenzy that started in the pandemic has spilled into the first quarter of 2021 with global shipments into the channel swelling by more than half to a staggering 82 million boxes. Each of the top five biggest-selling PC brands reported double digit jumps compared …

  1. Potemkine! Silver badge

    I can't wait for the next 'Pc is dead' article ^^

    1. DJV Silver badge

      I'm sure Gartner are preparing one right now...

  2. Elledan Silver badge
    Happy

    But crypto

    Everyone seems to blaming crypto miners for the GPU shortage at least, with NVidia even releasing special 'mining cards', in a PR-heavy attempt to stem the shortages.

    Meanwhile it seems that the shortages are basically due to the demand for PCs and new laptops having gone through the roof. Who could have figured that happening during a pandemic that's confined people to their houses and boost work-from-home like never before? Totally out of left field, that.

    1. Shrek

      Re: But crypto

      I don't think that lack of PCs and lack of high-end GPUs are related, other than silicon fabs can't keep up with demand for fresh silicon. The majority of people scrambling for PCs right now don't need high- or even mid-end GPUs, it just has to be good enough to run Teams/Zoom/Word etc.

      In my case (limited sample set admittedly) I managed to get my parents a decent mid-spec (i5 10th Gen, 8GB RAM, 16GB Optane, 256 or 512 SSD) during the Black Friday sales but, due to Currys cocking up, the original order for delivery to them was cancelled, then I found one in a local store so nabbed it. I wasn't able to get it to them due to the lockdown.

      Anyway, long story short, as my daughter then used it for home-schooling I tried to source a similar replacement for a similar price (£500) and just couldn't. As the kids are back at school and restrictions have eased I've now managed to get it to them but there is still nothing that comes close for the money.

      And it definitely doesn't have anything other than the bog standard GPU, and my parents are more than happy with it as it seems blisteringly fast compared to the previous one...

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: But crypto

        >it just has to be good enough to run Teams/Zoom/Word etc.

        Currently have a bunch of users happily using i3-2328m cpu'd(2012 vintage) laptops for Teams/zoom etc.

        Although there isn't much headroom left in these systems - for more W10 and associated applications bloat.

        1. Shrek

          Re: But crypto

          For average users it is probably more about RAM than CPU, 4GB is probably usable but I consider 8GB to be the minimum. By "average" I'm assuming someone who wants/needs to run Windows 10. So I'm not surprised that a 2012 CPU can still (just about) cut it.

          But then RAM is also supply constrained at the moment it seems.

          Just to clarify, it is possible to get PCs for ~£500 however having managed to get the above i5 it wasn't fair to palm an i3 off onto the folks especially as RAM has also dropped to 4GB (mostly) at that price-point.

      2. William Towle
        Unhappy

        Re: But crypto

        > The majority of people scrambling for PCs right now don't need high- or even mid-end GPUs, it just has to be good enough to run Teams/Zoom/Word etc.

        That might be true, but what is "good enough to run Teams/Zoom/Word etc"?

        When my main laptop packed up and I had to make do with a spare I found that despite supporting some of the common video chat options, Teams [in the browser, necessarily] refused to do something other than only provide the chat window, and if it had an explanation as to why I couldn't see how to get it to show me.

        At this point a barrage of "it's not us, it's you" and "you need to get something better" starts without anybody being willing and/or able to go into useful specifics. I ended up chasing a machine I could borrow to give me a reasonable amount of time to look into whether reinstalling might suffice over the present risk the available replacements might arrive late or be equally unsuitable :/

  3. Binraider

    There's a definite double whammy going on here. Besides sleeping at the office permanently; older laptops incapable of usefully running corporate bloatware + windows 10 are being phased out. 3 years ago, Win7 and 4GB RAM would have been fine for outlook at a bit of Excel.

    Sling WIn10 on that same hardware (with corporate bloat) and it chokes.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Thats purely corporate bloat , w10'll run on virtually anything w7 will.

      The difference in task manager between my home W10 and office W10 is staggering in cpu usage.

      In other news ive just binned a 12 year old retired corporate dell laptop that had been living behind my tv for the last 5 years in favour of a brand new little box (80mmx80mmx20mm) with w10 on that performs much better,

      only £140 . Atom processor i think.4gb ram

      1. Binraider

        Indeed, CPU usage at idle on office W10 machine is being chewed by 20-odd assorted security "features". Some of which known to be security risks in themselves.

        Perhaps worst of all, MS Teams is a terrible RAM hog. Currently sat at 800MB!

  4. AMBxx Silver badge
    Angel

    Worst sales jobs for 2022

    1) Ventilators

    2) PCs

    3) Anything related to 'WFH'

  5. hoola Silver badge

    Where have all the PCs gone?

    I can see why there will have been a surge in consumer laptops, particularly with home-schooling and to some extent also in the business sector but what puzzles me is that there must be offices full off PCs and monitors doing nothing.

    If people are hot-desking then they will usually already be a laptop user so the switch to home working will have minimal impact. They may just need one or more monitors. For those office/desk/PC based workers then clearly if they were to continue to work they needed something. Now does this mean there are millions of people working 8 hours a day hunched over a laptop? Is there maybe some strange situation where if people have a laptop then they can use a VPN but if they take a corporate desktop home, the IT Support have not sorted out the basics of a VPN?

    If those working from home had a suitable space then at the very least I would have thought they would have taken monitors etc.

    Certainly where I am laptops were scavenged from everywhere last March. There are offices with PCs just turned off and from a size perspective, they are all tiny USFF things the size of a book.

    The whole WFH assessment stuff is going to kick off properly soon as this becomes permanent rather than just as a reaction to Covid.

    Just some random thoughts.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Where have all the PCs gone?

      The whole WFH assessment stuff is going to kick off properly soon as this becomes permanent

      I hope so, and that WFH passes "the test". Occasionally "in the office" [I believe] is more productive for a LOT of us. Not everyone, of course, but a LOT of us.

      The PC sales statistics now actually coincide with something I'd been saying for a long time, that the market stats are NEW SALES and not "I like what I already own". For those of us happy with our existing hardware, which in my case dates back to 2007-ish, I might be constantly running 4 or 5 'PC' computers simultaneously with various OSs and use cases, but the "PC sales" stats will NEVER reflect it.

      But when people finally NEED to replace the old hardware, sales spike up.

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