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Old 01-18-05, 09:39 AM Thread Starter   #1

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Future of Computers, interesting article

This is an excerpt from the following article:

The article basicly goes into the backgruond and evolution of RISC and CISC, but at the end they talk about the future of computers....Here are some points I found very interesting, as well as points which carry a lot of merrit. (Remember to keep into the frame of mind that we are the minority...that is enthusiests, were not Joe-six packs)
Originally Posted by
2) Market saturation
The computer age as we know it is at an end. The massive growth of the computer market is ending as the market is reaching saturation. Companies wishing to sell more computers will need to find reasons for people to upgrade, unfortunately these reasons are beginning to run out.

3) No more need for speed
Computers are now so fast it's getting difficult to tell the difference between CPUs even if their clock speeds are a GHz apart. What's the point of upgrading your computer if you're not going to notice any difference? How many people really need a computer that's even over 1GHz? If your computer feels slow at that speed it's because the OS has not been optimised for responsiveness, it's not the fault of the CPU - just ask anyone using BeOS or MorphOS.

There have of course always been people who can use as much power as they can get their hands on but their numbers are small and getting smaller. Notably Apple's software division has invested in exactly these sorts of applications.
Just wondering what some of your thoughts/opinions are.

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Old 01-18-05, 12:30 PM   #2

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I don't really consider the computer market ending as software/OS companies (especially gaming) are beginning to code their software to become more demanding on hardware (esp vid cards and RAM in the case of games). It does seem that hardware is advancing faster than software, but once software catches up, there's going to be a need for better computers. Kinda like trying to run XP on a 400MHz processor with 128MB RAM & onboard vid chipset sharing the system will run noticeably slow.
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Old 01-18-05, 02:51 PM   #3

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Agreed, software developers will continue to come out with new "cutting edge" stuff, which usually means that the computers running these things will need nicer hardware. I don't see an end to the computer industry as we know it. One thing to keep in mind is the mechanical aspects of a computer... that 1ghz computer that the grandparents own WILL NOT LAST FOREVER. It will reach the end of its life and they will have to purchase another one. The fact remains that demand for the computers will not go away, and that where there is money to be made there will be vendors to supply.

Granted, I have not read the entire article, but what it seems to be from the exerpt is that this particular individual (and if the author is at all competent, then his audience as well) is not seeing the demand for high end systems. I would like this author to tell a company like Pixar that the market for high end computers is decreasing. Perhaps they haven't been to a movie in the last few years which are increasingly becoming influenced by intense computer animation and graphics. What about the graphic designers and engineers of all natures? They will also need very high end systems to handle what they want to do.

The fact of the matter remains that computer hardware manufacturers are always putting money into research and development. As they discover new technologies and begin to implement them they slowly change their manufacturing equipment to handle these new items. What this means is that it will no longer be cost effective for them to maintain the ability to produce the outdated pieces that are in older computers.

As for reasons to "upgrade", there may be fewer and fewer as every-day consumers are now satisfied with what they can do (solitaire, internet surfing, email, etc). It remains, however, that they will eventually have to buy a new computer, and they won't have a choice on whether to upgrade or not. Whatever computer they buy, after having owned their old computer for a few years, will be an upgrade, if nothing for the reasons I stated in the previous paragraph.

This is a business just as any others. Companies will attempt to set themselves apart from others so as to obtain more of a market share. Some companies will fail, others will prosper. New companies will emerge with new technologies, and the process will be repeated. The computer industry, even as we know it, isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

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Old 01-18-05, 07:13 PM   #4

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Well when 64 bit programs come out into mainstream, we will need to upgrade then. You will notice a HUGE increase in games and apps, I think I read somewhere that with 64 bit games you can get like xxxterabytes/s bandwidth or something
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Old 01-18-05, 07:38 PM   #5

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I really don't think that 64 bits will show that big of an improvement in the next couple of years. One of the only truly big benifits is that you can address more than 4 gb of ram(it can address around 16 exabytes=16,000 terabytes), but how many desktop machines do you know of that need more than 4gb of ram.

I go take computer science at the University of Cincinnati(a respectable engineering college), and while talking to some of the upper classmen who had just come from a co-op with apple. I thought that OSX was a 64 bit system, when I was corrected I asked if they felt like a big improvement would be felt from changing over to a 64 bit system(which they are planning on doing), and the general consensus from a handfull of computer engineers and computer scientists all agreed that there wouldn't be too big of a difference. While I hope to be wrong as I'd love to see a big jump in improvement, I'll wait to actually see if anything really changes.

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Old 01-19-05, 09:44 AM   #6

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Originally Posted by mrw8419
but how many desktop machines do you know of that need more than 4gb of ram.


Famous last words. I remember hearing stuff like this about 16, 32, 64, 128, and 256...

What makes 4gb so special? Again... as the high end computers today become low end computers tomorrow, the size of that 4gb (relatively speaking) will shrink. Keep that in mind.

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Old 01-19-05, 12:45 PM   #7

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I somewhat agree with Michael, but I also agree with YoMatta. Although 4GB RAM is really not necessary in today's computer needs, it might be in the next year or 2. We must remember that the high rate of technological advancement makes today's high-end systems become "middle-class" systems within a period of 3 months, albeit we overclockers can keep them high-end for a longer period of time.
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Old 01-19-05, 12:54 PM   #8

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I always thought that the trend would be the other way. More people buying faster computers. I just upgraded to an Athlon XP from my Intel P3 and am happy as a pig in mud that I will actually be able to overclock this bad boy and keep up with some of the big an extent.

My wife and I gave my old system to her parents, and they were blown away with the speed. I commented that it actually is running slower on Windows 98 than it did with Windows XP. Although he upgraded from a P2 so anything was faster.

My point is that as the baby boomers get older and more generations get to that computing age, I would think that computer sales would sky rocket. More overclockers, not less, but maybe we are just in a class ourselves and most people do not think like us!

I have seen it all my life that first the hardware gets faster, then the programers update their programs for the faster technology, which forces an update to the hardware. I think it will be a never ending cycle, as long as teh hardware can keep being upgraded.

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Old 01-19-05, 05:20 PM   #9
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I haven't read the article yet, but I'd agree that the computer market is becoming saturated, there's computers even in the poorest of homes that I visit (phone repairman).

Since Moore's law is about to peter out, the processor maker's being unable to keep up with their own pace (you won't be seeing a 6 Gig processor anytime soon) there's alternate places the market can focus to make themselves some profit. Howabout a windoze that don't crash and can't catch a virus? Howabout a database program that works well with others and also doesn't crash, and can output in a dozen formats? Howabout a chipset that just plain don't care who made that soundcard-it'll work anyway?

Remember, if the processors have hit a wall, so too will gaming. You'll see motherboards with dual vid cards (as now) and even dual gpu's on a video card, but without the processor stepping up to bat, there's little real-estate to make improvements for gamers. There's also little new territory to conquer here too. In my own tastes, I'd like to see someone making game characters look more like people (or whatever) instead of 2D faces on balloons, and angular features....step up the software instead of making the cpu the selling point of your new game.
I'd like to see the hands of everyone that can honestly tell a difference between 92 fps and 87 fps. Come on, be honest! Truth is, we only need 16 fps for the perception of constant motion, and 24 is a comfortable rate. The rest is Schwartz waving. Why not have a game that loads levels twice as fast, yet plays only 30 fps? How about characters with curves instead of the "made by lego" boddies they have now?

I fully wish they'd begin to concentrate on making a better computer, instead of making existing tech "faster"...that would be a mind altering turn of events for the computer industry...make a computer that Joe Sixpack need not spend a fortune for a rent-a-geek to fix, instead, why not make a computer that doesn't break down, yet only lives 2 years? Joe would buy two or more....every two years.
How much better do you think the world would run, if the computers were just plain better, but no faster? Airlines, traffic control, rescue services, even NewEgg would make the world a better place if these boxes couldn't crash.

Really, until something breaks, the computer I just built will be my last for years--64 bit or not. The first computer I built 5 years ago is still humming along (after countless windoze re-installs mind you) and runs everytime I turn it on. Hardware lasts, and without a need for more speed, I'd rather have a computer that just plain works everytime, and with anyone's hardware and anyone's software....the better mousetrap.

Oh, and yeah, maybe annimators need more speed, but that's even a tiny-er niche market than overcolockers. That's what clusters are for, and that's what they use.

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Last edited by Diggrr; 01-19-05 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 01-19-05, 05:50 PM   #10
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Old 01-20-05, 03:16 AM   #11

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the artical complains about the optimiseations taht some compilers have but thats the whole point of a compiler: to translate understandable code in to optimised (arguably still understandable) binary.

if the spec benchmarks dont relate to real world perfomance then that tells you some thing about the relivence of the benchmarks.

Originally Posted by artical
Personally I liked the following comment from Slashdot which pretty much sums the situation up:
"The only benchmarks that matter is my impression of the system while using the apps I use. Everything else is opinion." - FooGoo
use some real wrold tests, every architecture needs its own compiler unless your running byte code (which is recompiled at run time for the arcitecture and os).

my computer is not fast enough. i regualy have to wiat on things be it simulations or code to compile. with two cpus my pc is still nice to use when under hevy load even when not runing multi-threaded aplications.

RISC CPUs like the 970 are at a distinct advantage here as they give competitive performance at significantly lower power consumption, they don't need to be pushed to their limit to perform. Once they get a die shrink into the next process generation power consumption for the existing performance will go down. This strategy looks set to continue in the next generation POWER5.
as we know this is only two a point.


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Old 01-20-05, 11:30 AM   #12

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Originally Posted by Diggrr
I fully wish they'd begin to concentrate on making a better computer, instead of making existing tech "faster"...that would be a mind altering turn of events for the computer industry...make a computer that Joe Sixpack need not spend a fortune for a rent-a-geek to fix, instead, why not make a computer that doesn't break down, yet only lives 2 years? Joe would buy two or more....every two years.
I agree but the reality is thats what the industry wants. This is somewhat of an odd comparison, but light bulb manufacturers are capable of making light bulbs with filaments that burn something like 300 times longer than the current filaments, but don't because that means we would all buy fewer light bulbs over the years. The point is that by simply offering "faster" computers, the general consumer thinks their current computer is out of date and buys a new one. I cannot agree with you more on the software issue though, with "better" software that manages uses of different hardware more efficiently, we would notice a much greater performance increase.
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