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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
Year In Review: 2008 Computer Hardware Industry Failure
2008: The Reason PC Lost
2009: Console Makes Gaming
Notebooks End Desktop Era
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

If for some reason, at some point in this article, you asked yourself why the editor of a computer hardware review site was taking the time to explain why his industry was wasting away, the answer is here in front of you: awareness. If you don't know where things are moving, you don't have any idea where you might land.

Benchmark Reviews is going to be 21 months old on New Years day, and for nearly two years I (and my staff) have enjoyed testing the hardware that fills the pages of our Featured Content section. But for every product I receive, every motherboard and video card, I always find myself asking "why?".

Have you wondered why we keep seeing a new video card every month from NVIDIA or ATI? The games haven't demanded more for almost three years now. How about Intel and AMD, which keep producing more cores for a processor that needs to do less? The system disk drive (either HDD or SSD) is usually the biggest performance bottleneck, so a faster CPU with more cores doesn't mean a better experience.

Intel_Core_i7-965_Extreme_Edition_Splash.jpg

But look beyond the manufacturer, and ask yourself the questions. One question that keeps bothering me is: why do we still overclock? Back when I bought my first computer with a 200MHz Cyrix MII processor, it made sense to get an extra 25% performance for faster video game frame rates. Even when I had an Intel Pentium 4, the Folding at Home project kept me interested in overclocking for high work unit completion. But why do I still overclock, knowing that video cards don't need it and performance is hardly improved by it? That's the real question, and it's also the last stand for desktop computing.

Or is it? As this article goes to publication tonight, New Years Eve, I have prepare for the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show only a week away. The 2009 CES always seems to lift spirits, and this year they need a motivational boost like never before. But the real news doesn't come until January 9th, when I release a product that could swing attention back onto the desktop computing platform.

Even if 2008 turns out to be the apex of development for the computer hardware industry, we've still got a lot to be enthusiastic about. All of the big names: Intel, NVIDA, and AMD; they'll all survive. Maybe they won't keep placing so many eggs into one basket, and maybe they will start paying closer attention to the writing on the wall.

Heading into 2009, I know that Benchmark Review will stay the course for as long as possible. But being the planner that I am, we've already started devoting some time towards a new direction and new industry. I really don't want to do something different, at least not yet. So let's see if we can push back the launch for another year or two.

Questions? Comments? Want to just flame me for sharing my opinion or industry insight? Benchmark Reviews really wants your feedback. We invite you to leave your remarks in our Discussion Forum.


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