back to article PC sales bounce up (and down)

The box counters at Gartner have revised their PC shipment estimates for 2009, saying that PC makers did better than expected pumping out machines in the third quarter. But because average selling prices are falling - thanks in part to the advent of cheap netbooks and general price erosion across all PC types - sales are still …

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Upgrades aren't so up

I think the main issue is the slow pace of mobile processor upgrades. I bought a computer 2 and a half years ago with 2 gigs of ram and 2.0 Ghz dual core, with 2.3 the top end at that time.

Right now average is 2.3-2.5 and absolute max is 3.3. They seem to be trying to make up for it with piling in 3-4 gigs of ram and larger hard drives, but the computer I have is still a fairly reasonable computer compared to the current market. This means that most people aren't buying upgrades, or going used if they know what they are doing. Or spending 300-400 for a netbook instead of a normal upgrade because at a certain point a faster processor won't make your websites or word files open faster.

Maybe once quad+ cores come out for notebooks there will be a surge, but I know I'm not getting a new computer until mine is at least half the speed of the market

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Doesn't surprise me

The PC business, in general, is a race to the bottom, as all commodity markets are. It's why Japan beat the US on cheap cars, then Korea started overtaking Japan, and now Korea is being threatened by others (China, Malaysia, India, etc).

I have this image in my head of Microsoft standing like a king on a fettering, subsiding trash heap ...

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Reason Being

Most people simply aren't making use of modern performance levels, they'll replace a system when it becomes un-cost-effective to repair it, but if hardware remains same or becomes more reliable the upgrade frequency is bound to be reduced.

Grandma just didn't need a quad core 8GB system for her email, nor do most for surfing the web or even watching most HD video. It's been said that gaming drives the industry but those gamers aren't such a large part of the market remembering systems within integrated video always have been (except at the dawn of the Wintel era) and still are the largest sellers.

The funny part is the wave I've seen of early netbook adopters who after using one for awhile, end up wanting more computer, including more size, turns out all they really wanted was a less expensive ultraportable 11-12" with enough runtime to use as more than a lunch-break toy.

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PC's are fast enough

I've been involved in IT in one way or another for 30+ years and have always just needed that bit more power, that little bit more memory, storage etc. For the first time, this year, I'm downgrading. Even the lowliest processors are capable of running Windows 7 and a handful of apps. 2GB of RAM is okay, 4GB is more than enough. Hard drives are so big you can't reliably back them up. Unless you are heavily into gaming, very large RAW photo manipulation or 3D animation rendering, the latest PCs are all MASSIVE overkill. Even video editing is fine on a low-end system.

The truth is, most home users and most businesses use email, internet, office, mp3 and a photo viewer. That's it. Any Atom-based PC with 2GB of RAM can handle all of that with room to spare. People don't need to upgrade any more and, with finances the way they are, they won't spend if they don't need to.

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FAIL

"quad+ cores ... for notebooks"

"maybe once quad+ cores come out for notebooks there will be a surge"

And maybe not, given that there is a negligible number of worthwhile applications that can benefit from the parallelisation that multicore brings. And how many people need to be able to handle two CPU-limited applications at once on a notebook, let alone four?

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Pint

Re: PC's are fast enough

Agreed. Who needs P4s?

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