I am always amused/horrified/mystefied when “best practice” is considered to replace PCs every few years, just for the heck of it… Irrational behaviour has no place in IT. IT is about creating, finding, storing and presenting information, not wasting stuff. That replacement cadence is just weird.
Intel is a company dedicated to selling us new processors so it is a bit of a shock to read that Intel wants us to keep 5 year old PCs rather than converting to thin clients. I guess they appreciate that throwing working PCs into the landfill is not environmentally sound combined with extracting resources to build new ones. I suspect the real issue for Intel is keeping us away from thin clients which could very well run ARM processors and connect to ARMed servers or at least very many fewer Intel processors. Intel enjoys selling expensive processors for client and server. Selling cheap processors for clients does not appeal to them.
Some numbers: As Intel sees it, the typical client should have a $100 processor from Intel. The typical server should have a bunch of $400 processors from Intel. For 100 PCs run as thick clients of one server, that brings Intel revenue of $10400. For 100 PCs run as thin clients of one server, Intel might get only $400. Oops… Intel does produce Atoms which make decent processors for thin clients but even with $50 Atoms in the clients that’s only $5400, a big cut in pay. Of course the market for IT is expanding so Intel may still be able to pump up the bottom line in emerging markets but if the whole world goes to thinner clients, Intel will have to work harder to live in the manner to which it has become accustomed.
It’s all good for us users of IT. Competition is good and to have some of the biggest players in IT sweating to continue selling to us puts us in the driver’s seat. We can choose ARMed thin clients and get much lower costs and we can use AMD in our servers to get much lower costs. If we happen to like/trust Intel, we should be able to buy their stuff at lower prices. It’s all good.