Weekend Open Forum: Desktops doomed to irrelevancy?

By Jos ยท 164 replies
Mar 5, 2010
  1. There's no denying the current trend towards mobile computing. As more efficient CPUs and GPUs become available and storage densities increase, laptops have become a viable replacement to desktops for everyday computing tasks, while smartphones are often lifesavers when on the go. But will these rapid advances in the mobile space be enough to make desktop computers as we know them "irrelevant" in just three years?

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  2. UT66

    UT66 TS Rookie Posts: 143

    Short answer? no.
    Long answer? nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
  3. yorro

    yorro TS Booster Posts: 251

    Heavy performance computing will never go away. Desktop might be reduced but it won't die.
  4. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,136   +131

    Couldn't have said it any better myself UT66.
  5. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    +1. You go put 2 HD 5970 cards and a 6 core i7 when it comes out into your laptop then come talk to me.
  6. Desktops being replaced in 3 years? Science fiction.
    In 10-15 years? Probably, if all portability vs screen size issues have meanwhile been addressed by some new (r)evolutionary technology.
  7. flukeh

    flukeh TS Rookie Posts: 57

    I don't think it will happen that quickly, the technology cannot be made and accepted into the mainstream market just like that. I'd like to see something like these bloombox chips integrated into laptops.
  8. eafshar

    eafshar TS Enthusiast Posts: 70

    i can see desktops fading out over 10-20 years but 3? no. people who want higher speeds will stay with desktops as there will always be desktop alternatives which performs faster than laptops and such since there would not be compression factor.
  9. Gamer and computer enthusiast will always want to customize and build their own monster gaming machines - that will never go away. You can't customize a laptop like that do to no standards in form factor. Also mobile devices take more beatings physically and heat wise while on the go and need replacing sooner than desktops. You can't replace a laptop at the same prices as you can with a custom built desktop.
  10. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,720   +860

    Desktops gone in 3 years? That's a ridiculous statement obviously intended to generate more Google headlines. Until portables can handle the power required to handle the most sophisticated architecture, engineering and video/photo apps, it ain't going to happen. Portables aren't even remotely close to managing those types of apps.

    Then you have the power users and PC hobbyists (like me) who are into top-tier PC gaming and multi-tasking which again not even the most powerful laptop out right now could possibly handle.

    Until they get GPU's, processors and RAM the size of a nickel and generating zero heat, you won't see desktops leave our world for quite a while.
  11. skitzo_zac

    skitzo_zac TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 418

    Laptops and Smart phones will take over a lot of functions like social networking, IM and general browsing probably I would say.

    But for enthusiasts and power users the desktop will reign supreme. The desktop just gives you the power and customizability to do so much more than on a laptop or mobile. Video editing and gaming on up to 6 displays with eyefinity. 6 core CPUs (soon) Radeom 5XXX and Fermi, these are the things that wil keep me on the desktop for a long time.
  12. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 338   +203

    I just recently got a "smartphone". I have never owned one up until now. All I have ever wanted my phone to do was make calls. But now I have so many people that text me regularly, that I wanted to upgrade to something with a qwerty keyboard. I got the Pro Touch 2 by HTC. It's a straight phone, and has decent capabilities.

    Here's the deal though, if I have to do anything substantial I am going to do it on a computer. Yea, it's nice to access the web on the go, but I don't want to squint at a tiny screen zooming in and out trying to see everything.

    When they make a phone that is as powerful as my quad core computer that can zip around the internet on 16meg speed, then I'll think about the death of desktops. Until then, blow me.
  13. Deso

    Deso TS Rookie Posts: 125

    I would say Laptop's are more threatened by the new smaller hand held devices as they have more in common as far as common usage such as portability and so on.....
  14. elroacho72

    elroacho72 TS Rookie Posts: 116

    Maybe... I think ghost computing is more or else the future . I think you will travel with your desktop with you it will be a host of different dices depending on the environment the user is in.If that makes since?
  15. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 729

    With current computer architecture, desktops will always be simpler, more easily upgraded, and faster for their price, so I doubt we will see them beaten out by laptops in the high performance market any time soon. Not to mention, people tend to like their 22 and more inch screens more than they would like a 17" laptop LCD. Yes you could always plug your laptop into your monitor, but at that point the line between desktop and laptop becomes hazy.
  16. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    I can see the desktop becoming more and more integrated into our homes but not replaced by a smart phone.
  17. nokayapmat

    nokayapmat TS Member

    no, desktops are not doomed...
    the arrival of more user-friendly small devices on the go will not kill the desktops...
    it will always be based on personal preference...
    my personal choice:
    a truly "mobile" laptop sized 14"-16"...anything larger is no longer portable...
    a desktop monitor sized 20"-24"...
    a lcd/led tv sized 32"-46", anything larger will blind me and rob my pocket dry...
    a 3g-capable mobile phone for short internet access on the go (and for calls/sms, too!)...
  18. Zenphic

    Zenphic TS Rookie Posts: 43

    Desktops will get smaller, but they're here to say. I can't wait to see more mini-ITX systems in the future.
  19. Clrabbit

    Clrabbit TS Rookie Posts: 90

    Doomed that's funny, They day a mobile device can do what I do on a desktop, is the day I need a more powerful desktop.
  20. CodePhoeniX

    CodePhoeniX TS Rookie Posts: 36

    Businesses seem to like desktops, and they don't seem to like change. (unless the change is that they make more money :p )
  21. Timonius

    Timonius TS Evangelist Posts: 647   +58

    If anything the desktop will evolve into a personal home server.
  22. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    I don't think desktops are going anywhere anytime soon, despite all the improvements/ advancements, notebooks/mobile platforms perform just about 'alright'; e.g. I have a reasonably decent notebooks; but when I am at home, I avoid using it, because desktop still offer far superior performance than notebooks at any given price point. Sometimes, as you rightfully pointed out in your news-bit, Google people hurl out lots of stupidity; not something you'd expect from them usually.
  23. I recently got a droid(the phone pictured) and am loving it.

    However, I can see what google is saying. Most people don't need the full power of a desktop PC. Really only gamers, some fields of engineering, modellers, media editors and programmers need that kind of power.

    For pretty much everyone else though, a laptop or a netbook works great as their main PC.
  24. MarkHughes

    MarkHughes TS Addict Posts: 144   +73

    I have recently done away with using a desktop in favour of a laptop, Its a Dell XPSM1730 and it does everything I need as well as being portable. Where I work (An international software company) the majority of people use laptops + docking stations too.

    There will still be a place for desktops as Timonius says for home servers and for cutting edge games performance, But I can definitely see them fading though I doubt they will ever go away...
  25. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,986   +12

    Actually the Google guy could be right, but it seems like tall order.

    Remember the days of the mainframes and dumb monitors ?

    There will always be some apps where the DT/Mini will remain the better option (e.g. process control), but for the most part, regular work such as messaging, browsing and playing games could be done on relatively dumb devices.

    What would be required are
    1. Cheap and high bandwidth networking
    2. Cheap and compact GPU and SSDs

    But, the screen size will be a problem. Scrolling on a hand sized screen, no matter how smart the technology, is going to be the major turnoff.

    Any chance of a cheap holographic screen in the near future ?
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