Pet Peeves Invoked By Wintel In Its Defence

Wintel is fighting back against those who think older legacy PCs are acceptable performers. Intel recently asked IDC to come up with evidence to support the idea that it’s time to replace older PCs. They surveyed US households…

Here are some issues they raised:

Issue The real problem
latency Replacing the CPU won’t fix the problem of slow Internet connections nor slow hard drives. One can change both without buying a new PC… Older PCs might have 40gB hard drive with 40 MB/s transfer rates whereas newer drives transfer at over 100MB/s and then there are SSDs which do even better on seek-times and transfer-rates. The USA has very slow Internet connections compared to much of the developed world. Is that part of a plot to sell new PCs?
97% of households say the PC is their primary computing device Later, they find 1/2 of US consumers spend 1/2 their digital device time on legacy PCs. What are they spending the other half of their time on? Define “primary”… This sounds like a survey seeking the answer Intel wanted.
83% of respondents say PCs are more productive for many tasks than smartphones or tablets. Later, they measure “productivity” as used several times per month on 53% of newer PCs and 39% of older PCs. So, the age of the PC is almost irrelevant when it comes to productivity and households with kids get a bit more productivity, 56%…
Why people buy new PCs latest technology, 28% – best price, 33% – speed, 33% and the winner is “old PC malfunctions”, 38%, so the greatest flaw in Wintel is its greatest reason to replace with newer technology. Is this like the popularity of divorce in USAian culture? Does anyone think that if your head hurts you should keep pounding it against the floor? Is it not really about “productivity” after all?
That’s addiction, not rational behaviour. This is more about describing dysfunction rather than a rational basis for buying legacy PCs. Time after time, I have shown that the resources of a new PC can be shared with other users of thin clients and everyone benefits from a single acquisition.
IDC’s findings from this study demonstrate that those who own new PCs believe they are more productive and satisfied and are even more likely to buy another PC in the coming year.
With 30 million consumer PCs forecast to ship in the US this year, IDC believes that as Americans learn the benefits of new systems, the upgrade cycle will continue to deliver better and better experiences.
This wasn’t true in the 1990s when M$ and Intel were trying to sell Lose ’98. It’s not true now. People may be fooled but fewer people are being fooled now than ever before. The people using nothing but smartphones or tablets know. Everyone using a smartphone knows that they can be entertained, educated, communicated, etc. without touching a legacy PC. The productivity part is largely about monitors, keyboards and mice. They can be attached to smartphones for much less than the cost of a new legacy PC.

The biggest problems of this report are

  1. Intel sponsored it. He who pays the piper calls the tune. They should have called me to make some phone-calls. It would have saved them a bundle.
  2. The USA is not a typical country. The wealthy there do most of the buying and think nothing of throwing good money after bad. The rest of us want money and PCs to last. That means keeping them running, not scrapping them. So, while TFA might be relevant to USAians keeping up with their neighbours, it’s only reinforced my thinking that Wintel is not the right way to do IT. I like */Linux on ARM and it seems even USAians do. They buy more than anyone per capita. Is my legacy PC my productivity machine? You bet, but 75% of the usage of PCs in the developed world is about entertainment, not productivity. The developing world is just fine with smart thingies because they are small and cheap, just what people need, not just what they want.

Read Exploring our digital dependence

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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5 Responses to Pet Peeves Invoked By Wintel In Its Defence

  1. ram says:

    Of course, another reason PC hardware sales are stagnent is the per core processing power hasn’t really increased much for most applications and purposes.

    For example a single core AMD Sempron 2800+ with 400 MHz DDR1 is just under half the speed (per core) of an AMD A4-3400 with 1600 MHz DDR3. It is about the same as an Intel Core 2 processor with 800 MHz DDR2.

    Yes, applications written to be multithreading can use the extra cores and speed up. However, if you need real speed then you slap in a more powerful OpenCL card (say NVidia CUDA core card) and things really haul. Then the CPU is doing little more than handling I/O. Mass storage and network devices have had pretty much the same speeds for years and that becomes the bottleneck.

    Hard to flog new CPUs under those circumstances. They (Intel and AMD) would have better luck if they made some new low power consumption processors that fit in legacy sockets. That upgrade many users would go for, especially those of us operating Linux clusters (which use alot of boxen).

    Did they really think they were selling all this gear to gamers?

  2. oiaohm says:

    That survey is done every year. 83 percent for productively of PC vs Smart device is in fact back. First year of that report has it over 95 percent and has been dropping ever since.

    Really intel needs the number to know how long before they have to get migrated into devices.

    Robert Pogson really there is bad news in that report. True lies and statistics. Prior reports had people would give up there smart phone for PC.

    Lot of the bad news is comparing the old reports and seeing what is missing. Deception by omission.

    Notice the current report does not display last years numbers.

  3. bw says:

    If they kept giving Intel bad news, why would Intel bother with them?

    If that news were accurate, then the news would be useful to Intel, much more so if their competition were not privy to that news. That is the nature of “insider” information. If I know something that you do not know, then I have an advantage and that is why companies pay for market studies.

    In this case, it is to Intel’s advantage to disclose this information to others and they have done so. In another thread here you were cackling about Microsoft being sued over the accuracy of its ballyhooing of RT Surface. You must be able to draw the parallel that Intel could hardly do anything similar without being exposed to the same sort of litigation.

  4. bw wrote, “Intel has a lot better brand recognition than IDC in the consumer mind and its saying something would carry more weight.”

    I think the target audience are OEMs and retailers. Intel needs them to remain loyal and not to install/sell GNU/Linux or Android/Linux on ARM. Perhaps it is useful for techies that want to keep up with the Jones family but I doubt most consumers poke around Intel’s site.

    It’s not just about propaganda. Every business like to please the customer. IDC is no different. If they kept giving Intel bad news, why would Intel bother with them?

  5. bw says:

    Intel sponsored it. He who pays the piper calls the tune

    This is a frequent allegation of those whose theories are not born out by the results of surveys. Do you really think that someone from Intel would call up IDC and say “We’ll give you a million bucks if you will generate a pack of lies that make it look like our future is rosy!”

    I think that it would be even more convincing if Intel itself just published whatever they wanted to have published and said to the world “We did a survey and here is what we found!” Intel has a lot better brand recognition than IDC in the consumer mind and its saying something would carry more weight.

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