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#1
Unread 31st August 2008, 11:09 PM
Olin Coles's Avatar
Olin Coles Olin Coles is offline
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The perpetual "What's Next for Computer Hardware" thread...

The idea behind this thread is quite simple: technology is changing, and the trend is leading away from personal computers. While talking about the state of the enthusiast hardware industry with our affiliates at Hardware Canucks, it occured that websites like Benchmark Reviews may be rendered obsolete in the not so distant future.

The chances are very good that you're reading this from a PC, which is good... for now. Every day the personal computer industry loses a few users to the new and growing ultra-mobile PC, handheld PC, and mobile device market. They can browse the web, compose and respond to email, and listed to music or watch movies. And although these devices can't play 3D games (yet), these users aren't going to their PC for a fix... it's become a console world.

Yes, gaming consoles are in, and they're in big. A few years ago consoles were second hat to the rich graphics a PC offered. However most users got fed up with the constant upgrades needed to play the latest games, and made the leap. Some never turned back, and some are on their way.

So then... my question is simple: Where is Computer Hardware heading? I know it will be around for a long time, since servers and workstations are a necessary tool for several industries, but what does this mean for enthusiasts. At some point Intel is going to lose its battle at convincing the general public it needs a quad-core processor to play games and browse the web, and at some point NVIDIA and ATI will have to ask themselves if discreet graphics is profitable with so few users returning to stores every year for the upgrade.

Please use this as a sounding board, or carry on the thought with your own dialog. I want to know what you think from your point of view.
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#2
Unread 2nd September 2008, 12:00 AM
mystikmedia mystikmedia is offline
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I too see the transition going more and more towards the ultra-mobile devices. The reason that I believe that this trend will be so strong in the future is this... While most of us as adults are much more comfortable typing on standard keyboards, the kids of this generation have grown up with cell phones and other similar devices to the point they are becoming more and more comfortable with input on the devices. As the specifications of such devices continue to improve, users will be able to carry more with them more easily, and do more on these devices.

I guess this is how it goes with each generation, but I won't be among those who make this transition, I don't think. I have had a couple of the mini notebooks, back before they were even popular (Sony U101). While they were convenient to have around, being light and small, I'm not one that can use them as a real tool for work, not even considering the current performance trade-off. This is really the only significant barrier, though, for me, especially as the advanced come to further enhance performance. Yet, the coming generation won't have such a barrier, I believe. I imagine there are some adults that will be able to make the transition too. I just won't be one of them. I wish I could input data as efficiently on any type/size "keyboard", of course, but I don't have the time or patience to go through the process. It's bad enough when I have to get a new keyboard!
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#3
Unread 2nd September 2008, 10:27 AM
Bruce Normann's Avatar
Bruce Normann Bruce Normann is offline
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Brick v. Cloud

mystik,

I agree that it's tough to make the transition from keyboard, (full size)video and mouse (KVM) to a truly portable interface. My thumbs are not very well trained, but I can use the pen-based input systems pretty well. The handwriting recognition SW on my HP iPaq works much better than I could have expected. I've got Outlook, IE, Word and Excel in the palm of my hand and can be reasonably productive while on the run, as long as I can find a WiFi hotspot.

I know PDAs are not the end all-be all that they once were touted to be, and everyone wants an Eeeeee clone, but I think a powerful, pen-based, UMPC that I can easily "dock" at home and work would be ideal for me. The screens on the current UMPC and "netbooks" are good enough for serious mobile use. I can "sync" my PDA to my desktop now, but I really would rather work with one set of files. That makes backup strategies much easier to implement, for me and my ancient brain anyway. You can see that I prefer "brick computing" to "cloud computing". LOL

I think the technology exists today to make what I want, but the battery life would be about 12 minutes.

Regards, Bruce.
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#4
Unread 19th January 2009, 01:23 PM
Olle P Olle P is offline
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Games and graphics.

This thread is a response to Olin's general observations and remarks presented in a couple of reviews:
Quote:
- While GPUs and graphics cards in general have been under constant development and evolution towards more power and speed, the demands for such power to run graphic intensive games have been nearly stationary for the last three years.
- Both hardware manufacturers and software developers express satisfaction with the current situation.
As a customer, I can only concur with the satisfaction.

Let's take a look in the mirror:
Five to ten years ago the typical situation was such that when a new game was released even state of the art gaming computers had a hard time running the graphics fluidly with all bells and whistles. Mainstream gaming rigs were left cold, having to run at lower resolutions with less detail and filtering. When mainstream rigs eventually were good enough, the game was outdated and generally no longer in use.

Now, finally, the mainstream gaming rigs have the power required to run new games at the desired resolution with all the bells and whistles.
Even lower end gaming rigs have the power to run those games, albeit at lesser detail and filtering.
High end rigs have the additional power required to run at even higher resolution (required by "oversize" monitors) and/or extra burdens such as the new GF 3D Vision.

Cheers
Olle
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#5
Unread 27th June 2010, 06:22 PM
jakelu jakelu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Normann View Post
mystik,
I agree that it's tough to make the transition from keyboard, (full size)video and mouse (KVM) to a truly portable interface. My thumbs are not very well trained, but I can use the pen-based input systems pretty well. The handwriting recognition SW on my HP iPaq works much better than I could have expected. I've got Outlook, IE, Word and Excel in the palm of my hand and can be reasonably productive while on the run, as long as I can find a WiFi hotspot.
I know PDAs are not the end all-be all that they once were touted to be, and everyone wants an Eeeeee clone, but I think a powerful, pen-based, UMPC that I can easily "dock" at home and work would be ideal for me. The screens on the current UMPC and "netbooks" are good enough for serious mobile use. I can "sync" my PDA to my desktop now, but I really would rather work with one set of files. That makes backup strategies much easier to implement, for me and my ancient brain anyway. You can see that I prefer "brick computing" to "cloud computing". LOL
I think the technology exists today to make what I want, but the battery life would be about 12 minutes.
Regards, Bruce.

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#6
Unread 27th June 2010, 06:25 PM
jakelu jakelu is offline
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Yes, I get what you are saying but I don't quite agree with you.... SORRY!!!!
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I tried to edit this last entry but was unable to.... I am feeling bad and want to take it back

Last edited by Bruce Normann : 27th June 2010 at 06:46 PM.
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#7
Unread 27th June 2010, 06:51 PM
Bruce Normann's Avatar
Bruce Normann Bruce Normann is offline
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It's OK to disagree, even almost two years later.

I think what I envisioned two years ago is just on the cusp of becoming reality. The iPad is not stylus-based, but it doesn't have to be. The competitors are about six months behind, as they usually are, and one of them might offer an input method that I like better than a multi-touch keyboard on glass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakelu View Post
Yes, I get what you are saying but I don't quite agree with you.... SORRY!!!!
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#8
Unread 28th June 2010, 01:03 PM
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If we gather clues from the industry leaders, we're in for more of the same:
Enthusiast Solutions Catalog - Q3 2010
http://www.intel.com/Assets/PDF/gene..._solutions.pdf
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#9
Unread 28th June 2010, 03:34 PM
RagingShadow07 RagingShadow07 is offline
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I hate to admit it, but I think the console market is the place to be for a game developer right now. With all three 'next-gen' consoles at a $300 or less price point right now, much less than the cost of some single PC parts (a GTX 480 could buy either a 360/PS3 and a Wii) sales for console games are doing better and better. Games like Red Dead Redemption aren't even going to be ported over, from what Rockstar has said, and GTA IV didn't exactly run on mid-range PCs very well. Combined with the millions of pirates on PC, followed by newer, "better" DRM schemes (Ubisoft's must-be-online-to-play DRM for example) the $10 Premium, if it's even that, becomes seemingly more and more worth it for the console version of a game.

Even I'm probably going to end up getting a PS3 this week. Looking at the exclusives I've missed (and being a big Metal Gear Solid fan) I'm realizing that the number of PC exclusives is seriously slimming down. The only two exclusives that I can think of off the top of my head are APB and Global Agenda, both being MMOs that either require or encourage monthly fees.

It also seems to me like games are getting less and less optimized as well. I had to go from an original Phenom to a Phenom II six-core (which is overkill for gaming, I know, but I figure for a $40 premium I might as well make it where I don't have to buy another CPU for a while) just to get Bad Company 2 to run at acceptable framerates when every other game seems to work well with a dual or triple-core Athlon. The beta/demo for APB was also the first game that maxed out the 4GB of RAM I've had for the last year, even playing through games like both Crysis, Bad Company 2, every Call of Duty, and GTA/Saints Row. I'm beginning to wonder if it's advancing technology in today's game engines, or just developers being lazy. Maybe a bit of both?

I guess I'm a little off-topic going on a rant about software instead of hardware, but I agree with Olin's statement on Intel/ATI/NVIDIA. It seems to me like anything enthusiast is either for everything except gaming, or for someone who's interested in better 3Dmark scores and/or bragging rights, and anything a 5870/GTX 480 can't run is just too unoptimized.
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