There's never been a better time to be an enthusiast. Most hardware is at an all time low, at least in terms of bang for the buck, and it doesn't take a hefty investment to build an all-around workhorse. Where does that leave the ultra-high end segment, particularly gamers?
According to Jon Peddie Research (JPR), some 46 percent of the dollars spent on PC gaming hardware were directed toward what the firm calls the "Enthusiast class." These are the dudes that shop only top-shelf products and don't think twice about spending a grand on a CPU or splurging on a pair of videocards, speedy SSDs, specialized gaming grade mice, and other related components.
By 2013, however, JPR says these folks will lose market share to the "Performance" and "Mainstream" classes from 46 percent to 35 percent of dollars spent. Why so?
"PC hardware has caught up to most of the software and people are able to play computationally intensive games on Performance level systems," explains Ted Pollack, Video Game Industry Analyst for JPR. "Performance systems now even support high resolution for all but the most demanding simulation and FPSs. The frequency of DirectX updates is also driving some people toward mid-range GPUs."
Even so, JPR says the high end will always be a good market, even as it loses ground to more pedestrian parts. According to JPR, despite the expected loss in market share, the Enthusiast class will still grow overall, from $9.5 billion to almost $12.5 billion in 2013.
What class do you fall into? Hit the jump and tell us the kind of hardware you're most likely to buy.
Michael Concannon, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies' senior vice president of connectivity and wireless modules, told Cnet that most of the leading PC makers have chosen its Gobi modem chipsets for their laptops, with around 100 laptop models currently on the market boasting Gobi 3G modems.
Should your IT department consider switching to Macs? Perhaps, if the only criteria is the cost of management. That's because according to a new survey by the Enterprise Desktop Alliance, IT admins feel that Macs have lower management costs than PCs.
The survey pinged 260 IT admins from large organizations with both Macs and PCs, and in some categories -- such as troubleshooting, user training, and help desk calls -- three times as many respondents said that Macs are easier on the wallet to manage.
"Administrators in organizations that have both Mac and PC platforms have the experience to determine whether managing Macs is less expensive," said T. Reid Lewis, CEO of Group Logic, and president of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance. "The members of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance provide products and services that make deployment and management of Macs easier to do."
Perhaps most surprising is that the respondents rated every category in the Macs' favor, including system configuration. You can read the full survey results here (PDF).
Are you buying the survey results? Hit the jump and sound off!
Microsoft's TechEd conference doesn't typically get a lot of news coverage around here given it's IT focus, but keynote presenter Eric Rudder was showing off some pretty interesting new Windows phone features which are worthy of note. During his presentation he was able to show off not just a cross platform game that worked across the Xbox 360, PC, and mobile phone, but also how he was able to keep all of his gaming sessions in perfect sync.
Its hard to imagine it will ever be much more than a gimmick when it comes to gaming, but it might have some interesting applications for everyday productivity tools as well. After all, finding a mechanic that works with a gamepad, mouse and keyboard, and even a touch screen is a bit of an unrealistic proposition. And before you ask, no, it won't play Crysis. One thing is clear; Microsoft is taking it's new phone platform very seriously, and is obviously hoping to use it as a hook in the future to help keep you in the MS ecosystem.
Hit the jump to check out the You Tube demonstration, and take careful note of how hard he had to try to say "Windows Phone Series". Yep, he forgot the 7! Guess even Microsoft can't remember its own broken English product names.
We've heard all the gloom and doom predictions from PC naysayers, but rest assured, PCs aren't going anywhere. On the contrary, market research firm Gartner predicts PC shipments will skyrocket by 20 percent this year, in part because of mobile devices.
"The PC industry will be overwhelmingly driven by mobile PCs, thanks to strong home growth in both emerging and mature markets," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, in a statement.
Mobile devices such as notebooks and netbooks accounted for 55 percent of all PC shipments in 2009, and by 2010, Gartner expects that number to jump to 70 percent. Desktop PCs, on the other hand, aren't expected to see quite as much growth, although Gartner did say the market will remain robust as companies allocate more funds to upgrade their PCs.
Toshiba’s Portégé M700 line has been in need of a refresh for some time, and since it’s been raining mobile Core i7 CPUs lately, they decided to throw one of those in. The addition of the Core i7 620M makes the Portégé M780 a very desirable tablet machine. We don’t have all the details yet, but the specs seem solid.
In addition to the aforementioned Core i7 we will likely see 4GB of RAM, a 12.1in 1280x800 LED display, Intel HD graphics, 320GB 7200RPM hard drive, and 802.11n. The system should also have support for multitouch gestures and Wacom pen input. A cheaper Core i3 version should be available for $1279, while the speedier Core i7 model will go for $1799.
The convertible tablet form factor seems to be coming along nicely with the ThinkPad X201 already out. Is anyone in the market for one of these? Decided on which one yet?
MSI paraded three concept all-in-ones (AIOs) at last month's Consumer Electronics Show. A 24-inch 3D Wind Top was also among that very intriguing trio. The 3D Wind Top is now going to get another opportunity to wow tech-savvy onlookers at CeBIT 2010, which begins on March 2, 2010 in Hannover, Germany.
“MSI's Wind Top All-in-One 3D PC integrates advanced 3D display technology with powerful CPU processing to deliver smooth, clear and vibrant 3D images with a high level of image detail and clarity," the company announced.
Asus is apparently making plans to release their first Pine Trail powered all-in-one PC. The Eee Top ET1610PT will come equipped with the fairly new Intel Atom D410 single core CPU, and of course, Intel integrated graphics. The PC will have a 15.6 inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1600x900. It will also come equipped with 802.11n Wi-Fi, which is a nice feature on a low end machine.
Strangely, this new PC will come with Windows XP preinstalled. You read that right, no Windows 7 on this bad boy. The presence of that touchscreen display makes the decision to go with XP just that much more baffling. The machine is expected to go for 400 Euros when is ships.
The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) introduced a bunch of new SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) peripherals with more to come. With USB 3.0 promising performance as much as ten times faster than USB 2.0, you'll want to add USB 3.0's digital goodness to your system as soon as you can. So, what do you need to know to make it work? Whether you have a desktop or mobile PC, we survey your options and help you zero in on your best choices.
Acer certainly talks the talk, and the problem for its competitors is that, for the most part, the company also walks the walk. Take note HP, because Acer's gunning for your top spot in the global PC market, a place the company thinks it will reach by 2012.
Or so says Acer's outspoken Chairman Wang Jeng-tang and President Gianfranco Lanci. In fact, it seems like everyone over at Acer likes to beat their chest, as evidenced by the company's founder earlier this week saying that US-brand PCs will be extinct in 20 years, "just like what happened to US television brands."
HP is one of those US brands, and also happens to be the largest maker of PCs on the planet with a 19.3 percent share. Acer, who jumped ahead of Dell not that long ago for the No. 2 spot, holds 13 percent of the global PC market, and it's not unrealistic that Acer would become the top dog in two years.
This will especially be true if the notebook market continues to grow, which is a sector where Acer thrives. The company said it shipped about 33-34 million notebooks last year, and thinks it it will ship 40 million in 2010.