Is the end nigh? PC market freefall accelerates.

Discussion in 'Graphics and Semiconductor Industry' started by jimbo75, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. jimbo75

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    We don't have an "intel in trouble" thread but I suppose this is as close as we'll get to one.

    PC Shipments Post the Steepest Decline Ever in a Single Quarter

    [​IMG]Surely it's now crystal-clear that the traditional PC market is in full retreat and is unlikely to ever recover.
     
  2. Squilliam

    Squilliam Beyond3d isn't defined yet
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    I wonder if part of the reason for the decline this quarter is the fact that Haswell has been delayed until Q3 so the PC manufacturers have held off discounting their EOL Ivy-bridge systems and the fact that for word processing and internet any processor released in the past 5 years is pretty much good enough for the majority of the market given the fact that people seem satisfied even with weak ARM tablets.
     
  3. liolio

    liolio Aquoiboniste
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    That should definitely play a part into it, I would also think that with the crisis people are less willing to replace devices that are still working for the sake of having something new.

    Another thing I wonder is if laptop price have to go down more significantly, I mean Apple manages to sell IPad for quiet some money but I would think that it is considered "high end" by costumers.
    For an high end, fashionable device, it is not that expensive. Less fashionable devices still competitive in many regards as Kindle or Nexus 7/10 sell for quiet less money.
    On the other end laptops with a nice form factor and a not too tiny screen still cost quiet some money, in my opinion it is deserved but I wonder if a significant part of the intended target see the value here. I'm not sure lot of the costumers see the value of the way faster CPU, the significant amount of extra storage, etc. especially when they already have hardware (/laptop) that still works.
    I think that there is segment that is not served by PC/x86 devices, netbook are going the way of dodo and ultrabook are still too expensive, I would think that the market could buy ultrabook if price was way lower, even if it means trade off in "real" perfs, storage available, etc. they have to work the weight down, the heat down, as long as it launches apps fast... and can go on the internet and read wvid I would think that lot of users would think that performances are the same.
    I mean I'm sure plenty of users don't realize the gap in power between their core i3/5 powered laptop and say an Ipad2. They may like the convenience of a proper keyboard, the fact that a laptop "stands" by it self, etc. But I would not be too surprised if one were to do pool for the most current uses of the device (imo media, email, internet, occasional office like works) he would find out that users think that laptops are expansive vs competing tablets.

    So what I'm trying to say is that whereas I don't think that tablets are substitute for laptops, they may steal some sales though or have to costumers to delay a laptop refresh, a nasty side effect of devices like Nexus 7/Kindle (or bigger devices that ship for less than 500$ with those really nice screens /something easily perceived as a plus by costumers) is to lower the perceived value of laptops in the eyes of costumers / costumers may be laptops if price were more in line with tablets.

    If there is some truth to what I wrote it says nothing good for the margins of INtel or AMD, to some extend HDD manufacturers.
    Some analysts may be right when they think that there is no mass market (at least in the personal realm) for something like Haswell and what is further next, the mass market can't see the difference and so doesn't get why the premium in price.
     
    #3 liolio, Apr 11, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2013
  4. rpg.314

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    Relying on EOL parts to drive volume is not sustainable.

    This trend doesn't look like stopping anytime soon.
     
  5. Florin

    Florin Merrily dodgy
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  6. jimbo75

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    Apple's PC market declined as well, from the link I posted in the original post -

    "Apple fared better than the overall U.S. market, but still saw shipments decline as its own PCs also face competition from iPads."

    I do agree that Microsoft are in a lot of trouble but I can't see intel coming out of this with only a bloody nose as the two are still heavily entwined in PC's.

    What I think is happening is that up till fairly recently, people *had* to have a PC in order to do anything, so the PC market thrived by necessity. Now tablets are cheaper and for many people are a far more attractive option.
     
  7. eastmen

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    They need to refocus on the desktop. There are few reasons even for gamers to upgrade from a sandy bridge era cpu to an ivy bridge. Haswell doesn't look to give many more reasons either.

    They have really stoped the advancements at the higher end for lower power requirements at the low end.

    Its sad that I will be able to buy a phone with an 8 core cpu in it before I can buy an 8 core intel cpu
     
  8. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    That 8-core phone you mention only ever uses 4 cores at a time - at most - though. And most of the time even less than that, because the vast majority of mobile apps aren't written with multithreading in mind, nor do they really need it either.

    You don't really need 8-core CPUs in PC desktops either - past 2 (physical) cores diminishing returns is pretty damn sharp in everyday tasks. Even gaming rarely uses more than four cores, and many high-profile titles not even that many, such as crysis 2 for example.
     
  9. silent_guy

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    Other than gamers looking for the fastest thing around, there aren't many reasons to upgrade 5 year old desktops. The same will soon be true for notebooks, once sufficient numbers have converted to ultra-light and/or retina displays and/or SSD.
     
  10. jimbo75

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    They need to be doing more about SFF PC's. By now most households should have had some kind of low power, always-on media centre as the heart of their entertainment system but the growth here just hasn't been fast enough.

    They seem all too keen to just abandon desktop altogether and usher in the tablet era.
     
  11. silent_guy

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    We have a distributed media center at home: 3 Rokus. They're $50 each. I suppose an SFF PC (I had to google that) would add some features like storing movies and maintain a music collection. But it's not something that will have a mass appeal because way too cumbersome to set up.
     
  12. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    Haswell with GT3e graphics could potentially be the first CPU with integrated graphics to truly be fast enough for a good gaming experience even for serious gamers (although not hardcore ones), and if not, then boswell most certainly will, sometime next year.

    ...Once you reach that stage, it will get difficult to motivate regular updates unless something breaks, or ultra-high displays come down in price in a big way, necessitating higher graphics performance for the masses.
     
  13. jimbo75

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    Haswell GT3e is going to be so prohibitively expensive it's a non starter. This is the real problem now - PC's cost too much to be worth it.

    Looking at my 2500K it's clear I won't be upgrading cpu in the next 2 years or so. My 6850 is now a bit slow but I'm not going to upgrade until I can get twice as fast for $200, which I guess will be by the end of this year if I do finally grab that 7950.

    I have gone from twice-yearly cpu upgrades and yearly gpu upgrades to not even considering a cpu upgrade and only half-heartedly thinking about a gpu upgrade. This basically happened in the past two years.

    My sister and her husband had this really old Dell Celeron PII that recently broke down. They didn't even replace it, but since then have bought 2 iPad's, an iPad mini and a Kindle Fire. I could have built them a 5x faster PC (for free) from parts I have lying around my floor, but they don't even want or need another desktop.
     
  14. liolio

    liolio Aquoiboniste
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    There are plenty of analysts that are less than bullish about Microsoft and its management.
    For example that article and all the links at the bottom.
    There are also a lot of articles that are less than bullish for Intel.
    I think that that ex AMD CEO was right, Intel could be break in separate entities, and the same applies I guess to Microsoft.

    As for Haswell gaming performances, I think that it is irrelevant / Intel searches something that would allow them to sell their chips at a premium when costumers does really care:
    Why should they care for a core i3/5 when they think their Cortex a9 tablet is close to good enough? I don't think that users cares for gaming performances.
    Though the same should happen fast in the mobile world, I don't think people cares much about the upcoming chip with "ps360" level of graphic throughput, actually wrt to GPU power I would bet that tablets and phones are already past the diminishing returns when it comes to the average user. One just has to look at winphone 7 phones, it doesn't take much of a GPU to accelerate the UI or make flash less of performance bottleneck.

    I would start to question how the PC market is segmented seriously, "the personal" segment at least no longer exists as it used too.
    I think that nowadays the "personal" segment consist of costumers that don't need much more power than what the chips powering phones and tablets provide. They don't care for those +100$ CPU with lot of ram (imo people don't need more than 4GB max). But they don't want the heat, they don't want weight, I'm not sure they care for the HDD
    actually the storage issue is not handled properly by the whole industry, there should be a comprehensive push for NAS type of devices imho
    , they like fancy screen as every does I guess, and they like longer battery life.
    That new personal segment would/could buy laptops if they were meeting their new criteria and were price more competitively. For me a laptop still have a lot of advantage versus a tablets in ergonomic, but in everything else (heat, battery life, screen quality, noise) in the price category most tablets are, they loose pretty badly.

    I'm dubious that that new personal segment would even consider a desktop, for example all in one computer are pretty lean, no longer those bulky and ugly towers but for people that do not see the benefit of extra performance... it is more a testament that a tablet (of decent size) on stand with keyboard/mouse is all that one need (well with a table/desk :lol: ). I think for all intend and purpose in the "personal" market desktop could be eol and ~nobody would care.

    You have another segment that is gaming, what is its size? I don't know. A nasty side effect of costumers moving away from performance driver update is that volume on what perceived as gaming capable part is to crumble, I don't know how that is going to turn as it should affect price in a non positive manner. For example I bought a dell with llano+redwood which was list 700$, if the bulk of the sales in the remaining PC world (if its adapt) are made out of Jaguar/Atom type of Soc with just enough GPU power to accelerate UI, flash /for convenience, I would expect the price on FX/core type of products to go up. Actually those type of CPU may have their place in the professional/server market where they could be sold at a premium, but I'm not sure that IF Intel and AMD have to move to chips (Atom/Jaguar) they have to sell with lower margins, they will be willing to offer those part to gamers without the margins, usually high of a low volume chip.... :(

    Actually I could see gamers being served well enough by those lesser CPU (than what we have now, at least those that can afford to spend hundreds and hundreds on a CPU).

    Looking at the market dynamic, AMD should get out of the "big" cores business, they can no longer succeed here.
    It seems Intel is to be more active (tick-tock) on its Atom line, though it starts with delay of their new Atom...

    For MSFT, outside of the professional market I wonder if there is a future for "windows" as we know it. As the volume are set to crumble further, I wonder if they would better give up on their relation with OEM (outside of the professional realm) and sell any "windows" power device under its own brand ala Apple. The OEM no longer do them any good, Google stole their place here and I don't see them reversing the trend. As the guy states in the article I linked they never going to do that... They could very well be digging their own grave if the can depart on this market segment (personal devices) from their "winning formula" which no longer works.
    Over investing in that segment may end with nasty effects on the investments they could make in the professional realm, not too mention that some evolution of windows seems stupid for professional uses, I've been doing helpdesk for years, you don't want to change windows significantly wrt UI it's damned a pain to got to average user to get use to any change, it's plain loss of time in a lot of enterprises...
    To some extend one could say that MSFT did not go far enough with Windows RT, they could have eol "windows" in the personal realm, letting costumers buy "the old windows" but making clear that there professional line of product. It could have save them the schizophrenic UI.

    All this is pretty interesting, how can Intel sustain its lithography advantage when they have vacant capacity and that TSMC and Samsung have more and more volume? It is a mystery to me.
    Selling capacity to competitors is stupid. It seems that now they can fight with x86 against ARM but I wonder if when it is all said and done one could say that the "X86 everywhere" strategy just lose them a lot of time as no matter how I look at it Intel with its engineers, its size and resources, should have easily be the leading force in the ARM realm, x years later the best way to put it that "they can compete though volume is now against them".
     
    #14 liolio, Apr 11, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2013
  15. Entropy

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    This is, indeed, a serious problem for Intel. But the underlying cause would be reduced profitability, which of course is more important still.

    There is no reason to predict that their profitability will fall off a cliff. But on the other hand there is every reason to assume that it will be under increasing pressure, and that their protected cash-cow will not continue to grow, but indeed shrink.
     
  16. Arwin

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    Obviously there's a new device category that overlaps with PCs, that's even more mobile than the laptop, which was eating away at the desktop market. So from there alone, PCs decline.

    I can't see myself completely without one anytime soon though. But may people would likely be able to do without one or with one less.
     
  17. liolio

    liolio Aquoiboniste
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    I don't think that they should eol "windows powered" desktop or laptop but that should not be the core of either Intel/AMD or MSFT offering in the personal realm, those type of devices could should be made available to personal entities as pretty professional gear and with the matching price (and a premium compared to nowadays part that benefit from volumes that seem set to shrink).
     
  18. liolio

    liolio Aquoiboniste
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    Another thing that kind of baffle me is the stubbornness of designers when it comes to improving ergonomic of something like windows and office (among other things) is the focus on the UI.
    Imo it is a mistake, something they could have done a while ago is to add one botton to the mouse, in the pretty natural spot under your thumb and work along UI improvement with that extra button.
    Everybody can deal with that and it would open lot of possibility for interact with a rework UI.
     
  19. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
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    What all (Text, Presentation, etc.) Editors really need is a content based approach to text authoring rather than the current mess ... So that includes all Office products. And Powerpoint could learn a few things from newbies like prezi.com ...

    Above all, desktop windows should look HOT. Don't bring it down to tablet level, make it sparkle, literally. Some of Windows 8 UI stuff is hideous, even for Windows standards (which actually started to look pretty good for a while with Windows 7 and Office 2007 and up)
     
  20. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    To my knowledge, there's no reason to believe it'll be any more than marginally more expensive than current offerings - intel knows this market is highly price sensitive, there'd be no point in them pricing themselves out of it.

    My rig, minus GPUs, are now onto their fifth year of service (well technically, it's only four years and two months, roughly). GPUs are two years plus change, I'm not terribly happy with these caymans and I never have been really (the boxy shrouds and the backplates really screw with airflow when they sit side-by-side), but I'm not going to run off and buy a year-plus old product just because AMD is refusing to update their lineup for another ten or so months. Screw that.

    If they have no need of doing any actual computing or content creation, there's of course no need for a desktop PC, with the associated cable mess, space requirements, and often also noise.
     
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