Are the Days of the HOME Desktop PC Numbered?


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Sir Topham Hatt

I use mine for storage and games these days, everything else (YouTube watching) is done on the TV.

I barely write documents or make presentations either, but both of which can be done on a tablet now and with tablets getting more and more powerful, I wonder if the days of the home desktop PC are numbered.

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adrynalyne

To some.

 

I work from home, so is it numbered for me? I think not.

At the end of the day, PC hardware will still be more powerful and capable than consoles.

 

So I think that the days are numbered for those that don't have a specific use-case that makes a PC more useful over anything else. Past that, no its not.

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Skyfrog

I think people have been asking this since the very first laptops became affordable. Phones and tablets may be sufficient for most people but desktops will always have a purpose.

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JustGeorge

There is definitely a decline as those that don't really need the power of a desktop move their activities to phones and tablets. 

 

As we see with current trends, Big tech is really pushing for Cloud compute and storage. If they get their way (and they will), the desktop is going to become a glorified RDP box to your virtualized desktop in the cloud. This gets closer every year as Internet speeds and availability expands. People are so consumed with all-you-can-eat and convenience, they either don't see or care whats happening. 

 

Just my prediction. 

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cacoe

Games/3D modelling/general 2D creative work, hands down PC.

 

I do most of everything else on my tablet/phone/TV now.

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grunger106

It's a good question, and I'm thinking about it myself
I've been in this game nearly 30 years now, and I've had a PC of some sort since the 386 SX (and other home computers before Amiga A500 and ZX81 back in the late 80s)
I've been building my own since the mid 90s and while I've never kept up with the bleeding edge replace it all every 6 months crowd I've generally always had something decent - currently an i7 5820K and a 1070, so not new but still very capable.

My current box is about 5 years old, and other than the video card it'll probably happily keep up for another couple, so the life span has greatly increased compared to the early mid 2000s where a new CPU / more RAM would make a huge difference, these days swapping my 5820K for a i9 would for sure be an upgrade, but would you feel it in anything other than a benchmark or a handbrake encode? Doubtful.

I've found myself drifting towards my Xbox more and more for gaming, is it as good at 4K as a PC?, no not if you look really closely, but is it close enough? Probably, it's certainly less hassle than PC games and a much cheaper route - Xbox Series X and a 4K TV will set you back less than a 3070

The only games I play on PC now are FPS really.

Maybe 20 years working in enterprise IT has taken the shine off, but I'm less interested than I used to be in desktop machines or client operating systems.


I don't need to run VMs on my desktop as I have a bunch of DL360 units running VSphere for that (and they're even older Xeon E5 units crated full of RAM), so I've been wondering if I just won't bother with powerful desktops the next time around and just buy a little OptiPlex for £500, because if I got used to FPS on a controller then aside from the occasional blu-ray encode I pretty much use my desktop as a RDP/WebBrowsing machine, not much point having a i7 for that.

I'm on the fence, and I'm tempted to do one more desktop build to take me through the next 5 years, but never would have thought I'd get to point where I'd consider not having a decent desktop, but times change and requirements change......

For joe public, I'd say the days of the desktop are numbered if not already gone - most people want to browse the web, watch streaming services and check their email - A phone or tablet and a Amazon FireTV will do all those things at a fraction of the cost and with far less complexity than having to have a desktop.

 

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cacoe
3 minutes ago, grunger106 said:

It's a good question, and I'm thinking about it myself
I've been in this game nearly 30 years now, and I've had a PC of some sort since the 386 SX (and other home computers before Amiga A500 and ZX81 back in the late 80s)
I've been building my own since the mid 90s and while I've never kept up with the bleeding edge replace it all every 6 months crowd I've generally always had something decent - currently an i7 5820K and a 1070, so not new but still very capable.

My current box is about 5 years old, and other than the video card it'll probably happily keep up for another couple, so the life span has greatly increased compared to the early mid 2000s where a new CPU / more RAM would make a huge difference, these days swapping my 5820K for a i9 would for sure be an upgrade, but would you feel it in anything other than a benchmark or a handbrake encode? Doubtful.

I've found myself drifting towards my Xbox more and more for gaming, is it as good at 4K as a PC?, no not if you look really closely, but is it close enough? Probably, it's certainly less hassle than PC games and a much cheaper route - Xbox Series X and a 4K TV will set you back less than a 3070

The only games I play on PC now are FPS really.

Maybe 20 years working in enterprise IT has taken the shine off, but I'm less interested than I used to be in desktop machines or client operating systems.


I don't need to run VMs on my desktop as I have a bunch of DL360 units running VSphere for that (and they're even older Xeon E5 units crated full of RAM), so I've been wondering if I just won't bother with powerful desktops the next time around and just buy a little OptiPlex for £500, because if I got used to FPS on a controller then aside from the occasional blu-ray encode I pretty much use my desktop as a RDP/WebBrowsing machine, not much point having a i7 for that.

I'm on the fence, and I'm tempted to do one more desktop build to take me through the next 5 years, but never would have thought I'd get to point where I'd consider not having a decent desktop, but times change and requ
For joe public, I'd say the days of the desktop are numbered if not already gone - most people want to browse the web, watch streaming services and check their email - A phone or tablet and a Amazon FireTV will do all those things at a fraction of the cost and with far less complexity than hav

I think your last line says it all, even for power users. There was a time there wasn't any other option than to watch Youtube on your laptop/pc, there wasn't another way to browse the web. Convenience is dictating when we do and don't use an actual PC.

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grunger106
7 minutes ago, cacoe said:

I think your last line says it all, even for power users. There was a time there wasn't any other option than to watch Youtube on your laptop/pc, there wasn't another way to browse the web. Convenience is dictating when we do and don't use an actual PC.

Same goes for the gaming side of things, back in the day we went to arcades because the home consoles couldn't do what the arcades did, then for years the PC versions of games were massively different to the console versions so PC gaming was the place to be and consoles were the poor relations
Now a SeriesX and a 4K TV playing AC Valhalla to my eyes looks just as good as it does on my 1070. Now I'm not saying it is going to look better than someone who has a 3090Ti, but that's a £1500 card in a £2500 machine, is it worth an extra £2K over the cost of entry for an Xbox for a few bits of eye candy you'll only see if you look side by side? Maybe for some people and that's all fair enough, but these days for me, no. 
Also the 3090Ti owner will need to upgrade their card every couple of years to keep it on the bleeding edge, it's an expensive game these days even before chip shortages and scalpers

I used to keep pace new CPU every 2-3 years and new GPU every 18 months or so, but everything has gotten so much more expensive - I recall my 970 being about £250 which was OK for a mid range card, what's a 3070? £400 or more even at MSRP.

A lot of the fun sides of PCs died a bit when they got to the point that the tweaking became slightly irrelevant, it was fun to get a lesser CPU or GPU and then overclock it, but these days is there really much point?

 

I think one of the most eye opening moments for me was GTA3 - I remember playing it when it came out on a Althon XP or a 64 and a Geforce 4 Ti and I had to everything and tune everything to get it running nice, then about 6 years later they released a pretty decent android port of GTA3 and I was thinking wow all that horsepower and effort I needed to put in to play this and now I can play it on a phone!


They'll always have their place for people who do media creation, or dev work etc, but they'll be niche rather than norm.

 

Can't stop progress though!

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cork1958

I believe the PC market has been dying for several years already but it will never die for me. Can't stand doing much of anything on a phone or tablet. I want a screen I can easily see and a keyboard is a must!

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d5aqoëp

No chance.... Desktops give you more power (games/simulation/AI) when you need it. On tiny portable devices, such things are just impossible.

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+warwagon

To me its down to big screens. Sure you can plug a laptop into a monitor or dock it, but in my case i prefer just to have a stationary PC. That's not to say I don't use laptops. I use a 17 inch laptop at my GF"s house for remote assistance and all other computer tasks and a 15.6 laptop at my parents house for the same.

 

I might be a little differnet in that I utilize 3 - 4 monitors on every workstation.

 

I do use a tablet at my gf's house to read stuff on the net and some LIGHT browsing but the moment I want to do anything , even as simple as writing a comment on Neowin I want to throw it across the room and reach for AT LEAST a laptop.

 

For me LIGHT browsing is ok on phone or tablet, but I would never want to scour the internet for something ...YUCK!

 

I know that most people use their phones and tablets for a lot of things these days. For me personally I could never live off a tablet the thought makes me want to puke in my mouth, but that's just me.

 

I'm also a techy, so I like to upgrade stuff. The soldered in non upgradable garbage that comes on newer laptops is pathetic.  On Saturday I took the ram cover slot off the back of a customers laptop to upgrade the ram. Her laptop only had 4GB and it was running like ass. I got all excited when I saw the ram cover slot, but once removed I saw that they didn't even install the 2nd ram slot. Just 1 slot with 4 GB and an empty hole next to it.

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Nick H.

I've got a mobile and a laptop, so I don't need a tablet. But I'll never be without a laptop. I also have a gaming PC, I just need to get round to using it...I think it's been about a year now. :laugh:

 

So for me, the desktop PC might be in decline but you could never swap out some sort of PC/laptop for a tablet.

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hellowalkman

Power users will always want desktops. It will be niche but I think it will continue like this for a while.

 

here's some recent numbers. +55% growth on the back of COVID. I suspect most of it is from laptops and notebooks but at least some is definitely from desktops too.

 

https://www.neowin.net/news/canalys-global-pc-shipment-grew-by-55-in-q1-2021-despite-the-ongoing-chip-shortage/

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cacoe

My PC usage would probably sky rocket if I could find a comfy but affordable desk chair 😄

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adrynalyne
5 minutes ago, cacoe said:

My PC usage would probably sky rocket if I could find a comfy but affordable desk chair 😄

I ordered a Cosm task chair with high back. It feels like you are floating! I figured with the number of cheap chairs I will go through in 12 years, it pays for itself (12 year warranty). 

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jpqf

In my extended family they all switched to iPads as their main computing device probably between 2010-2015. None of them have used a desktop in ages. They have laptops for work where applicable.

 

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XIAKC

Maybe for average users, yes. Makes sense, no one wants to stay in one place to read up their email, the age of convenience is upon us. However there will always be a need for desktop PCs for enthusiasts, gamers and other professionals. It's something that I don't think will ever truly go away. 

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Wolfhound

I'm pretty sure desktops aren't going anywhere. There may be a large portion of the market that is shifting away from them, in favor of tablets and other mobile devices. For gaming, photo/video editing, and home office work there will always be home users that utilize them. 

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shockz
Posted (edited)

A large monitor with a full physical keyboard and mouse will never supplement a tablet or phone for me. When I need to edit a document, spreadsheets, photos, it'll continue to be my go to. I wish the docking solutions tossed around a few years ago really took off. Most of the time I'm using my phone though.

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