Monday, 23 January 2012

CES sparks the end of the PC tower?

I have just watched BBC Click's second instalment from CES. BBC click is part of my weekly must consume media, and I often have to watch it a couple of times as I get distracted by some of its content half way through (I also watch it the first time during the weekend when a siesta has been known to occur...)

The opening scene was a very amusing spoof of a PC tower being buried in the middle of the Nevada Desert Interesting spoof, and an interesting feature on towers and computing trends, however i do not
agree with their view that we are all going tablet this and ultrabook that just because there were no PC towers on the CES floor and as such PC towers will disappear. Moreover, the view was that you may still see them in offices.... which I think is the first place they could all but disappear! There are a few reasons for this:

1) we heard the same with the netbook, it was going to replace PC towers and of course hit low end tower sales, but all netbooks did was diversify and actually increase overall PC usage and add more users in a household - However they did not, and would never have the power, storage, expansion ability, or screen size; pound for pound that would keep people coming back to PC towers.

2) tablets, ultrabooks, and CES are all still very high end - And require the high end knowledge of cloud and NAS and a networked home to use properly, back up and stream to and from. Many people still plump for a 15", 17" laptop and a desktop with storage to back up to.

3) The trend is also going ssd, further putting pressure on storage and a big desktop with ssd boot and a meaty hdd..

4) high end is getting tech savvy, running 2 or more OS , running media servers and more, developing for two or more environments with VMware... All of which needs memory: 12gb of memory to run for an i7 desktop costs £60... For ultrabooks 12gb is impossible or expensive

4) hd slrs, hd cameras, 20mp cameras... They all create massive files that cannot be edited via NAS let alone the cloud and are easiest done on a meaty desktop with a huge screen

5) screens are getting bigger and cheaper, everybody will soon have a spare 22" tft, 32" hdtv, etc and for everyone that gets an apple tv or a ps3 plugged into it, a lot will go to video, audio and image editing duties


6) Geek chic: PC Towers are still in the ford model T era, with some modern tuning... there is plenty of mileage in the personal computer in various guises, from personal supercomputer to personal hoarding computer, just like the scooter, bike, train, plane and segway, chronic overcapacity or overpricing have been able to spring the demise of the car...

Finally, to my "moreover" point; if the tower disappears anywhere, it will first be in the office! With more travel and home working and outsourcing / contracting plus the huge trend to 'bring your own pc" i would say the first place they would disappear would be offices... And with it IT staff will finally get people to stop using local storage, back up, etc, etc.

Apart from that, all that is left is to go to iPlayer if you can, or the video on the site ... other video acquisition method (ahem) if not, and enjoy the montage in the dessert, and a very pleasing geek fix on BBC click.