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back to article Windows 8 fails to revive world CPU biz

IHS iSuppli, a market watcher, has admitted that its expects world PC sales to fall this year even further than it previously thought they would. Whatever the degree of decline, it will mark the first time global personal computer shipments have fallen in 11 years. In a discussion of world chip sales posted yesterday, iSuppli …

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Meh

Could it just be......

People have no pressing desire to buy a new PC?

I find my home PCM acting as a bit of dumb storage because I tend to consume more on my tablet, no need to upgrade the pc I bought a couple of years ago now. At work the "old" hardware is more than adequate to run the same office stuff it's been running for the past few years. Could the market just be stagnating?

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Re: Could it just be......

Although if I'd typed my comment on my PC instead of my tablet the autocorrect wouldn't have changed PC to PCM!

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Pint

Re: Could it just be......

Who cares about Quality when you can have style?

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Meh

Re: Could it just be......

You could be right, new computers do nothing new, for most users so long as the computer can do what they need it to do there is no need for an upgrade.

Even games are no longer taxing on most PCs.

So unless there is a radical 'must have because no other computer can do it' computer I think the majority will stick with what they have.

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kb
Thumb Up

Re: Could it just be......

Bingo, we have a winner! The simple fact is one we retailers could have told you a couple years back, and that is when they switched from the MHz wars to the core wars the PC quickly outpaced both the users and the software.

I mean look at what I was selling on my low end FIVE years ago, a Phenom I X3 or X4 with 4Gb of RAM and a 500Gb HDD...now what is Joe and Jane Average gonna do that is gonna stress this CPU? Nothing, they just can't come up with enough work to stress the chip so why buy a new one? Heck I've been picking up Athlon X3s for $60 USD and X4s for $80 USD, so I've been able to build dirt cheap units that are frankly insanely overpowered, what is little Timmy gonna do to stress that chip? slap a $100 GPU and you can even game with it, no problem.

So its not "the death of the PC" or "the rise of smartphones" or any of that rubbish, its just users have desktops and laptops that are so much more powerful than what they need that they see no reason to replace them. heck my netbook is going on 3 years old yet it has a dual core with 8Gb of RAM and a 320Gb HDD, what good would a new one bring me? would it make my surfing any faster, my movies somehow better? Nope, so I just won't buy a new one until the old one dies, there just isn't any point.

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Re: Could it just be......

I like the flexibility that Windows 8 on the new x86 convertibles offers although I've not yet found a device that exactly meets my requirements graphics resolution/ports/trackpad/performance. Clover trail gives reasonable battery life but my own work needs more performance so I need core i5 class CPU at least. Some of my software uses GPU so I don't want to be stuck with Intel integrated graphics. Happy to turn off the power features when I'm on the move but when I'm plugged in at work or a clients I need performance.

Perhaps the Haswell improvements next year will give me the device I'd like without a meage battery life. I'm possibly more demanding than the average user so the fact the current Windows 8 systems don't quite make the grade for me doesn't make them a fail.

I'm also looking forward to seeing Linux implementations with good convertible support. What make me positive about the whole business is the fact that laptops have largely stagnated over the last few years and we now see real signs of change.

Credit where credits due Apple with retina displays and Microsoft with touch and convertible devices are making for more choice in laptop replacements and we can look forward to less of the one size fits all mentality in 2013. I fail to understand why some commentators here apparently feel this is such a bad thing and are always looking for evidence of gloom and doom.

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Anonymous Coward

Meanwhile in 2014...

....shipments are actually negative as computers what shipped with Windows 8 are returned

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good enough

Problem is that PCs are good enough, and have been for years. As long as your processor is 64bit and your motherboard takes 4GB Ram then your computer is plenty capable of doing anything most people want.

In the enterprise market there is more use of thin clients coupled to some sort of virtual desktop environment.

Computers just don't need replacing any more.

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Re: good enough

"Computers just don't need replacing any more"

Well, they do, but increasingly on the same sort of timescale as brown goods, so five to seven years, compared with eighteen months to three years previously. And in seven years time a smartphone will have better capabilities than a current midrange desktop or laptop, I'd guess.

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Re: good enough

That's exactly it.

It's not that "the pc is dying" as the press seems to want to believe.

It's that instead of replacing it every 2 years every 3 or 4 years is enough now. So of course sales will be lower. Don't confuse that with the end of the PC though

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Silver badge

Re: good enough

I doubt even 4 years would mean a machine is too slow to be of use. I've been going through the old PC collection at home - two Athlon XPs at 1800Mhz, 1.5GB RAM, and they run the latest Ubuntu (with Unity) absolutely fine. Flash games a bit slow, but hey, as office machines they are fine.

The Athlon's at that speed came out in 2002....

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Silver badge

Re: good enough

And this is the reason for the boot-lock down and inability to install (or obstacles to installing) what you want; forced obsolescence. With all the servers/codes/etc locked away and held proprietary, one the services switch to the "new, improved version" you are out of luck and have to buy the new shiny.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: good enough

I've got a HP-Compaq Dx5150, it's about six years old. It has four gigs of RAM, an amount of hard disk bigger than I need and a dual core 2.2GHz (IIRC) 64bit AMD processor. This machine runs Win8 perfectly well, the only problem was that I needed to get a replacement graphics card for Win8 as the old one, which worked fine, didn't have Win8 drivers.

Over the years it's had it's RAM maxed out a new processor and a new HDD put in, no need to replace the machine though. Having said that, one of the most common reasons people replace PCs isn't because they can't be upgraded, it's because the owners can't or won't upgrade them. In the case of private individuals, it's usually can't, in the case of corporations it's usually won't because the upgrades will be more expensive than replacement, when you take into account depreciation and paying someone to do the work. Better to sell the machines when they're finished with, to a recycling company.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: good enough

@The BigYin.

Step away from the conspiracy theory: If secure boot couldn't be switched off, you wouldn't be able to install older MS OSes, upon which business rely.

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MJI
Silver badge

Re: good enough

The children use a 10 or so year old PC - runs OK, Pentium 4 just raised to 2.8GHz from 2.4GHz for under £3 for another CPU (I thought the 2.4 was failing but it was eventually RAM not liking overclocking)

Not THAT much slower than the quad core home PC

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 15:33GMT - Re: good enough

Actually I believe we should stay closer to conspiracy theory because if the computer hardware manufacturer can't be bothered to allow you to disable secure boot then you'll be stuck with whatever version of Windows Microsoft wants you. Now ask yourself what is best for Microsoft and hardware manufacturers, users able to reuse their old machines or being forced to buy new ones ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC 15:33GMT - good enough

@:AC 15:49 - I'm getting tired with this - MS require that Secure Boot be able to be switched off, in order to get an "it work with Win8" sticker/certifiaction. The manufacturers of the uEFI firmware all say that you should have it be able to be switched off. It's no extra cost or effort to have SecureBoot on/off option, in fact it would actually incur more cost and effort because the firmware manufacturers would have to change more of their code.

It is best for MS to allow people to re-use machines, because they'll, ultimately, sell more OSes if customers can upgrade, rather than use their workstations for as long as the possibly can, before replacement.

Hardware manufacturers will also benefit from not crippling their machines, would you buy a computer you couldn't install another OS on? I certainly wouldn't.

That's not to mention anti-trust legislation.

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Re: good enough

Quite. My home PC is a Pentium 4 and is perfectly capable of running windows 7, web browsing, usual email and document editing. Heck, even video editing is do-able without too much pain (just go and make a cuppa whilst it is rendering the final file!).

Basically I see no need to replace it until it explodes or I suddenly get back into gaming and need more power. Over the years I've upgraded the graphics a bit, stuck in more ram and another hard disk. That's about it.

That's not to say I wouldn't _like_ something new and shiny of course... :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: good enough

@Edon - Get A Grip. If MS mandated in any way that SecureBoot be locked on for desktop PCs now, or at any time in the future, they'd be on the end of the largest series of Anti Trust trials in EU, US, Russia, Japan, etc that the world had ever seen.

You are letting your hatred of MS and everything they make and stand for colour your common sense. That is: If MS are the ultimate evil in selling OSes and software, as your posts seem to think, they'll not do anything that will prevent them from selling any more software - ie: SecureBoot has to be able to remain switchable. They are also never going to get into the situation where they end up with anti-trust prosecution again. Just look the the levels they're going to, in order to make sure that Red Hat, et al, can get keys. The keys are available from other companies, but MS give them away at a discount.

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Re: good enough

My thinkpad, I believe, is 6 years old. With an SSD and a new battery and Linux I've got something that more than meets my needs for computing. Companies just need to raise their prices and make something worthy of the added cost if they want to survive. They could also improve in areas other than CPU and memory, like screen resolution, but they choose not to do that for years.

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Re: good enough

This. My parents are running a Pentium 4 3.0D Compaq business desktop with 2GB RAM/80GB HDD I bought from an IT auction for £30 a couple of years ago. I shoved Windows 7 on it this year. For what they use it for it is more than fast enough.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC - 16:04GMT - Re: @AC 15:33GMT - good enough

This is exactly what Microsoft is expecting from us, to get tired of it and forget it. And you still did not explain why Microsoft and hardware manufacturers would not want to squeeze more revenue from customers by forcing to upgrade.

Actually there is an extra cost for adding the option to turn off secure boot: the cost of a OEM Windows license will be slightly higher for those who would dare, in the same way that OEMs are being compelled to avoid selling their computers without OS. Here there is no conspiracy.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 16:29GMT - Re: good enough

Dead wrong here, mate! There are no other keys but Microsoft's own included with the UEFI secure boot. The UEFI spec never found useful to allow more than one public key to verify the integrity of booting environment. Please do understand that Microsoft and computer OEM are missing sales if they allow secure boot to be turned off.

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Re: @AC 15:33GMT - good enough

@AC - "MS require that Secure Boot be able to be switched off, in order to get an "it work with Win8" sticker/certifiaction."

Wrong. This only applies to x86. ARM is locked down tighter than a gnats arse.

"would you buy a computer you couldn't install another OS on? I certainly wouldn't."

So you are never buying an ARM device running Win8?

"That's not to mention anti-trust legislation."

And that remains our last hope in keeping MS at bay. And Google for that matter.

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MJI
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Re: good enough - video editing

This is why I bought the 2 x 1TB Samsung drives and a quad core chip used the old innards at work after a PC failure now my sons have it.

And a bluray burner but the BDs are lumpy so something went wrong.

Tempted to try a new SW package for editing HDV

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Silver badge

What's your definition of "dying"?

It's not that "the pc is dying" as the press seems to want to believe.

It's that instead of replacing it every 2 years every 3 or 4 years is enough now. So of course sales will be lower. Don't confuse that with the end of the PC though

----

I hope you don't think the press saying "the PC is dying" was a suggestion that pretty soon there would no longer be a such thing as a PC. It is just dying as a growth industry, and is now in a state of permanent sales decline.

Three reasons why:

1) people now use tablets and smartphones to do things that previously could only be done on a PC (surfing, email, IM, facebook, etc.)

2) there aren't any killer apps that make a PC sold in 2007 too slow for 2012, so why replace it?

3) Microsoft improved Windows security and reduced (but didn't eliminate) malware, which used to be one of the primary reasons a PC got "slow" and was replaced

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Black Helicopters

Re: good enough

And it isn't switch-offable on ARM.

If we get the 64 bit ARM desktops/laptops people seem to be after, that could be an issue.

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Unhappy

Re: What's your definition of "dying"?

> 3) Microsoft improved Windows security and reduced (but didn't eliminate) malware, which used to be one of the primary reasons a PC got "slow" and was replaced

Now the reason a PC is slow is the AV software.

I suspect most PCs are used in business which isn't so enamoured with tablets, so the sales decline isn't permanent, but the life-cycle for clients is longer. The XP->W7 jump boosted resource requirements but it appears that not even MS can bloat an OS that fast. I suspect there will be a "boost" (for vendors, a "downer" for customers) when all those XP VDI solutions have to move to W7.

Some apps are moving to servers. You don't run the entire company accounts on your PC, it runs on a server. Gmail doesn't use much in the way of local resources. Some companies are ditching dedicated websites for facebook so again, more consolidation.

There's been little innovation in the consumer end of the IT infrastructure industry. Where are the PCIe NAS blades providing the local host with virtualised NAS storage and a NIC out to the network for when the host PC is "off." How many graphics cards can power down their fans when they aren't doing much? What happened to 100m optical Thunderbolt? Why are dual-gig ports disappearing from desktop boards when they would enable iscsi to be used effectively and why is it *still* so difficult to get adsl routers with all gig switches? Why is it so hard to get a monitor with a webcam built in? Why aren't graphics cards "hot pluggable" so I can turn off my 3d gaming monster and use the built-in graphics on my desktop board without pulling the 3d card out of the box? Where are the BSD ARM router/firewalls? Where are the range-extender access points for consumer wifi, so I can get a decent signal on the other side of the fridge? Has no-one thought that gig-ethernet on a tablet/phone might be useful when running HD mpeg2 traffic, or at least a cradle with PoE for ultra-fast networking, sync and charging. Don't even get me started on 1366x768 laptop screens or "ultrabooks" that have no VGA, DVI or DP outputs. CPU has never been so cheap, but we're intent on moving it as far away from the users as we can so UI latency becomes almost insurmountable. Lotus 1-2-3 ran in a few hundred Kb on 16 bit hardware and we can't get a browser-based spreadsheet to run on a quad-core 64bit cpu with gigs of ram at a decent rate.

It isn't just the hardware industry, It is probably changeable, but the standard Outlook UI is an abomination, Valve still doesn't have download scheduling, Android - a device that's designed to be on high-loss wireless networks seems to have no proxy abilities and Apple, which made its name in high-quality display/UI, steadfastly refuses to work with blu-ray.

/grump

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Re: good enough

Funny - the BIOS I have on the new ASUS z77 Premium allows you to disable secure boot. Ironically, the original BIOS did not even support secure boot, but when I upgraded with the latest 0 low and behold it was now on the menu. However, it was quickly disable! I suspect other manufacturers will do similar things...

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Anonymous Coward

Currys/PC World

Took a look in our local branch of Currys/PC World today and there was only one Windows 8 convertible on display, and that was missing a trackpad so no use to me. A couple of touchscreen laptops with low resolution 768p displays but the rest of the systems were low graphics resolution Windows 7 class PCs with Windows 8 installed. Fun to see people touching the screens to see if they responded. On the other hand several MacBook models out on display to tempt Christmas shoppers

Its a no brainer we need to see some Windows 8 hardware out there before we can tell what people make of Windows 8, good, bad or indifferent. All we can say for sure so far is the Windows 8 launch was poorly organized and the advertising campaign a waste of money if consumers can't get to properly try out the new features.

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Re: Currys/PC World

Try John Lewis or Tesco. Everything they had in there was infected with Win8.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Currys/PC World

@The BigYin - Not when I went into John Lewis at the weekend, they still had a fair amount of Win7.

Anyway, as you said "infected" I assume you'll be buying the Linux desktops that they sell at John Lewis.

Oh, hang on.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Currys/PC World

Took a look at my local PC World today only to find it's been turned into some "B&M homestore" that I've never heard off. Looked to be like a poundstore only much bigger and without the air of refinement and quality. What a tacky dump.

Obviously not many Windows 8 PCs being sold round here.

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Re: Currys/PC World

John Lewis in Reading has far more Apple kit prominently displayed than Windoze 'stuff'.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 15:35 GMT - Re: Currys/PC World

Linux is not the infection, actually is the cure.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Currys/PC World

Err... Not really, I was in there on Saturday and it had one desk of Apple laptops for about four of others. Likewise workstation. You do, however, see the Apple stuff before everything else if you enter from the main entrance, rather than the round the back, near the Oracle entrance.

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Re: Currys/PC World

When I wandered through PC world at the weekend, approx 1/4 of the Win8 machines were showing an 'Automatic Repair - Automatic Repair couldn't repair your PC' type BSOD.

On some of the others I clicked through to the desktop only to see various error dialogs. Although that did look like it was caused by some incompatible crapware installed by the manufacturer or possibly PC world.

The staff were far more interested in pushing iStuff, and hardly anyone was looking at the Win8 machines.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Currys/PC World

my local PC World .. the air of refinement and quality

Funny, I've never seen the terms refinement and quality mentioned in the same phrase as PC World without the word "not" appearing somewhere. You must be living in an interesting place.

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Silver badge

Re: Currys/PC World

@Steve - the newer Samsung's look a little bit Apple-y; I think it's just the aluminium body. There's also a project running to get GNU/Linux stable on them, if that gains more traction I would seriously consider one as the Samsung's seem like nice kit for the price.

I wonder what their refund policy on the unwanted Windows license is?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Currys/PC World

You local must be in MK. The PC World has moved down the road to the Currys store, now renamed Currys PC World.

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FAIL

Re: Currys/PC World

Everything at Best Buy, Fry's, Wally World and every other chain store that sells 'puters in the San Francisco was infected with Win8 on the day it was released.. . No choice at all, and apparently nothing was left in the store the night before... or maybe the elves/slaves worked through the night to upgrade them.

Save Win 8 for tablets, and rewrite Win8 to work the way we're used to for desktops and laptops...

Another MASSIVE FAIL for Microshaft.

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Silver badge

Wait, what?

Haven't we also see stories about Win8 flying off the shelves? PR puffs about how people are selling their grannies into slavery just so they can afford Win8 because it's just that good?

And now this about Win8 not being enough to boost sales?

Which is it El Reg?

Of course, not the I personally want to touch Win8, unless it's with an install disc and MS have seen fit to ensure that's nigh-on impossible.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wait, what?

A particular OS is being sold is not the same as New computers are being sold with a particular OS.

Otherwise there would be no desktop installs of Linux, would there? (Excepting self build PCs)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wait, what?

I think it's mainly flying off the shelves by itself, because that's the only way those boxes will move.

It doesn't strike me as a popular item in my local store, although I noticed a fairly large amount of discussion on how to downgrade in the PC corner. It appears the Ballmer gamble may not be paying off just yet, to which I can only say BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. But I digress..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wait, what?

@The BigYin

I guess a lot of people are like me - I bought a Windows 8 licence because it is relatively cheap for a limited time only. Out of curiosity, I ran the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, which reported 31 compatibility problems with existing installed software on my Windows 7 machine. That doesn't really bother me, because I'll be running it in a virtual machine on Windows 7, and only using it to test code that I may or may not develop for Windows 8. Still, that's another sale for Ballmer to crow about.

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Facepalm

Nothing to do of course...

... with the bad economy, forgettable computers with W8, so-so logistics/specifications for the only cool looking Windows (RT) tablet, meh Windows 8 itself and as mentioned previously by @Andy ORourke 3-5 year old computers are more than enough for practically anything most people don't/won't/can't do on a tablet...

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Vista needed an awesome PC to run it. But now.....

Vista needed an awesome PC to run it I.E... 2-3ghz quad core and at least 2-4gig ram. Now that the OS is fixed so it is fast on older hardware (i.e. Single core 1.8ghz pentium with 1-2gig ram), why would people upgrade the hardware when they can just buy windows 8 upgrade for £40? I can only see gamer's or enthusiasts upgrading hardware...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Win 8 has no advantages

It's a good job you're a balanced commentator, who is equal in their criticism and complement of all systems. Otherwise a comment like "Win 8 has no advantages" would show you up for the biased, MS hating Linux fanboy you are.

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