PC prices have fallen - or at least stayed the same - for many years now, but some analysts believe this year will see them become more expensive. The reason is increasing prices for components as a result of overly pessimistic manufacturers cutting back production during the downturn. The long lead time for building complex …
A 2.8% increase?
Really? That's the dire end of "cheap PCs"? I think some perspective has been lost on the bottom end of things. The top end PCs hasn't really changed since ... well, in about 30 years. One gains in capacity and power until a new, complete system costs about US$2500, and then you're done. You can't reasonably buy more power that you can use by yourself. That gets you a nice display, enough processing power that you can't overtax it with off-the-shelf software, enough storage that you can't fill it without putting things into it that you don't really every use, etc. It's just that in 1979, that got you a color monitor, an Apple ][+ with 64k of RAM, and two floppy drives, and a new-fangled dot matrix printer. So does it matter THAT much if a bottom-end beige box goes from £189 to £200?
High end? Hah!
The "top end" of PCs has become increasingly less relevant over time. These days, such machines are much irrelevant for non-corporate users. The vast majority of users can't overtax the entry level boxes any more. Hardware surpassed their actual needs a long time ago.
Talk of $2500 boxes is just absurd. You can buy gross overkill (from the consumer point of view) for a mere $600.
Moore's Law advances and things that might have required a 3Ghz core last year are being integrated into $200 machines this year.
I'd have said they are irrelevant to 99.9% of corporate users and only used by either gamers or in vedrtical markets. In reality a bog standard Celeron is more than enough for most corporate users.
For ten years analysts have predicted memory prices would go up, and apart from the odd blip for a month or too it never happens.
As for computer prices they have already gone up in 2009. Near the end of 2008 we were getting significantly cheaper machines than towards the end of 2009, for near identical specs. Shopping around didn't help much.
that means the only people they will get are those needing a computer system. You can do most computer tasks on old hardware nowadays with little CPU pushing power, so they will just cut demand even more.
There really isn't anything outside of games and media rendering that needs the computer power, day to day operations of computer systems was reached ages ago.
There's energy efficiency to consider. However, I see little point in replacing for this reason until either more processing power is needed (consider older hardware) or the hardware fails.
With MS no longer able to flog its office bloatware people will find they can dig out their old 486's and use them quit happily!
Guess you guys never play anything more demanding than solitaire...
Makes me smile the comments here that you can get gross overkill for $600. Yeah, right. Not all of us who buy/build PC's do so to run office apps you know.
I'm waiting for the six output ATI Eyefinity graphics card to power eight monitors (using a TH2Go) for some serious flight sim action. You definately do need overkill systems for high end gaming/photo/video work and rendering.
Why do you want a TH2GO or indeed need an Eyefinity6?
A TH/DH2GO splits one DVI signal into two or three. Therefore you only need one card, assuming it has the horsepower to drive all the monitors. Additionally the Matrox box is severely constrained on resolutions.
Photo work does not require overkill most of the time. Video/rendering will eat as much power as you throw at it. High end gaming? Only for the real high end, using very high resolution monitors (not driveable by a TH2GO) on a very restricted set of games.
The Eyefinity6 is only suitable for a terribly restricted set of uses due to the displayport requirement (can't use passive Displayport converters, either). I suggest other people would be better served with one 5850/5870/5890 and another, slower, ATI card.
Perhaps a $600 dollar PC isn't quite overkill, but by the time $800-$900 dollars is reached quad core, lots of memory and a fast graphics card is easily obtainable. That'll do everything you list, provided you don't insist on the leading edge.
Memory prices do seem to have gone up; to balance that the price/performance ratio is still extremely favourable.
It used to be true that a decent system cost around a grand. Now, for five hundred quid very little is being skimped on other than a slightly cheaper case, a less than high end (but still very fast) graphics card and possibly a PSU without detachable cables.
Well, talking of low-end...
I just got me a Sun Blade 100 for £15 inc P&P off ye olde Ebay (upgraded from 256 to 2GB RAM for another £20); released in 1999, this trusty old workhorse with a 500 mHz Ultrasparc CPU is fast enough for pretty much *any* office use, even these days.
That means that my 7 or 8 year old home computer will have to survive a little longer? Well, it was going to, anyway, unless something blows up (like the video card did a few weeks ago, but I had a spare).
nothing outside of <...> needs the computer power
"There really isn't anything outside of games and media rendering that needs the computer power"
I guess you're not aware of the electronic design (eCAD) sector of the market then, which likes a bit of power for design and a lot of power for simulation, verification, etc. Mechanical design isn't that different. Never mind, lots of younger people aren't aware of it, even though it was/they were among the first volume applications in the "workstation" era.
New standards, new computers.
The machine I am typing on is quite adequate for what I do, but starting to feel a little slow for some things.
And it's old enough that, if I wanted to upgrade, the standards for the necessary parts are obsolete. For how much longer could I get a PATA hard drive? Replace the motherboard, and I would need new RAM, new SATA hard drive, new video card. What's that? A new PSU as well? That's damn near everything.
It doesn't need an expensive new machine to jump that barrier, but it's there.
Some of the stuff I do is in high-power territory, but it doesn't earn me money. I'm not the guy running CAD software, I'm just having fun, and the new hardware wouldn't necessarily give me more fun.
I suspect there are quite a few people waiting for the first Windows 7 upgrade. I am tempted by the idea of an external DVD writer; they do seem to wear out and it would work with my laptop as well as with any future upgrade path I followed.
It's probably best, as always, to go for the mid-range machine. There's always a premium for the latest hot tech, and the cheap machines can be cheap because of all sorts of inadequacies. I've seen Vista machines with a mere gigabyte of RAM, and Microsoft claimed that was sufficient. But how long is it going to be before the current hardware standards are obsolete. Will a new machine outlast PCI-E or USB 2?
2.8% has an ouch factor, but we've just had the VAT rate go back up, and that's nearly as much (Even if the system lets you claim back the VAT on the computer you buy, you have the VAT on what you sell).
The LCD monitor was worth buying. But it's VGA-only, and that's another constraint on step-by-step upgrades.
I suppose I shall just have to carry on with this old box.
I'm sure the price increase in componets will more than offset by the drop in the price of flat screen now that information about LG fixing the prive of flat screens has been made public and the whole corupt scheme stopped . . . . . not unless . . . . .
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