|Desktop PC: Intel Says the End is Near|
|Articles - Opinion & Editorials|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 23 January 2013|
Desktop PC: Intel Says the End is Near
Back on August 2010, I made a prediction: desktop PCs have an expiration date, and that time may not be far off. I followed-up that article with several more editorials, arguing on both sides of the position that enthusiast desktop PCs would be killed by unnecessary overclocking products, but might later possibly be saved by enthusiast-level overclocking products. Both had their points, and both contained plenty of truth, but when I published the statistical obituary a few weeks later our readers commented in revolt. Even some of my industry peers said I was pessimistic, and that the enthusiast desktop PC industry would continue to thrive and grow. We disagreed, even as mounting evidence supported my claims.
Intel's launch of Sandy Bridge processors around January 2011 really put a chill in the air, which made it tough for heatsink manufacturers to turn a profit. With no money involved, the aftermarket cooling industry evaporated and only a few major players with other cross-platform products would survive. I would later publish The State of Intel Desktop Motherboards, and in that article written two years ago I predicted key points that would prove themselves essential for Intel to sustain desktop motherboard development:
Based on an announcement made earlier today, it turns out my prediction was dead on. Intel has just announced the end of the desktop platform, or rather a slow three-year wind-down toward an end by 2016. It turns out that mobile phones, tablet devices, notebook computers, and console video game systems were killing the desktop PC platform faster than games like Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, or Battlefield could recharge the desktop user base with stunning graphics and addictive gameplay. Intel knew this, as they monitored their own production of components for competing platforms, and today's announcement marked the official beginning of the end for their desktop motherboard business:
What this means to consumers is that desktop PC enthusiasts will still have options, but only as many as vendors such as ASUS, GIGABYTE, and MSI can afford to produce. Since sales of desktop PC hardware are so low, there's very little profit to be made and these vendors may follow Intel's lead by making a complete exit. Most of these vendors have already safely diversified their product portfolio with new concentration towards mobile devices, peripherals, and network appliances.
While some would argue that the enthusiast desktop PC platform still exists because of overclocking, the out-of-the-box performance of today's desktop processor proves this to be a false notion. In reality, the desktop PC platform only still exists because it can delivery graphics performance unavailable elsewhere. This translates to professional tools for some, but the majority of consumers spend money on hardware to support video games. Until the XBOX720 and PS4 gaming consoles can revive PC video games, there's no point in upgrading anymore. Even less reason if you have faith in NVIDIA's GeForce GRID project.
So now we've come back around full circle: I predicted this back in August 2010 and wrote a myriad of editorials in support of my claims, only to have Intel do exactly what I feared almost three years later. Unfortunately for our readers, time is ticking, and in three more years (less actually) the options will be few and far between.
COMMENT QUESTION: If desktop PCs disappear, what will you do next?