As we look towards the new year, the most significant item to watch for may not be seeing if Intel can catch up or beat AMD with its two generations/one year processors, or what Vista will do to us.
It may be the size of the machines.
There’s every indication that small will be in next year, and small computers will get their first real chance to become mainstream. They’ll come in various guises, from Intel=based miniMacs, to various “media players,” but what they’ll all have in common is that they’ll be smaller than the average bear.
Not to say the big box will become extinct next year, but if sales of small computers get big in 2006, it might take the first steps towards the endangered species list by the end of it.
2006 may be a little too soon for little boxes to go big-time, but we believe that in the long run (i.e., the next five years), faced with relatively little prospect of (or indeed need for) rapidly increasing CPU speeds; the PC industry will turn inward and use the continued benefits of miniaturization to make smaller devices. Eventual destination? PC phones.
The big box really won’t go away, it just won’t be owned by the typical Joe Sixpack or Suit any longer. Rather, it will be found in niches either for those who need a big one (either figuratively or literally).
Niche devices = More money, not that, say gamers, have noticed anything like that.
Overclockers? Well, enthusiasts may decide collectively to stay big, but when the size of their equipment stops being the default size, the price will inflate accordingly.
If they go with the flow, well, those little boxes are likely to be cramped, and, just as a thought, what do you call something small you blow a lot of air into? You call it a whistle.
Aspiring entrepreneurs who want to service the OC market in the future might want to consider cooling devices that do their business mostly outside the box.