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The need for PC upgradability is dead
The foothold that notebook computers have managed to gain in the client-computing sector over the past five or so years is nothing short of astounding. Pundits are continuing to predict the demise of the desktop even as the erosion of this market by notebooks shows early signs of slowing.
“The reason for this is easy to explain,” says Terence Barter, Dell product manager at Tarsus Technologies.
“It’s quite simply that the technology refresh cycle – at least as far as consumer technology buyers is concerned – has sped up to the point where it makes more sense to replace one’s computer every two years than it does to spend money on extending its lifespan.”
Barter believes that the whole reason for owning a desktop computer, namely guaranteeing some upgradability through being able to easily swap older components out for newer ones, is dying out.
“Apart from the fact that virtually nobody goes to the trouble of checking whether or not their desktop is upgradable at the time of purchase, the pace of change in technology in the desktop sector is as alarming as in the notebook sector.
“That means that the only items in the desktop component arsenal that are likely to remain behind during such an upgrade are the power supply, casing, keyboard, mouse, monitor and possibly the hard disk,” he says.
“In the motherboard, CPU, memory and graphics processing worlds, two years is a lifetime and therefore cause for complete replacement. And where these items still have some life in them, chances are their complementary components will have changed so dramatically they will no longer be compatible,” he says.
These factors might be one of the reasons all-in-one desktops, which face the same challenges as notebooks in the upgradeability stakes have taken off the way they have, says Barter.
Barter says that consumers are comfortable with being limited to hard disk and memory upgrades when buying a notebook or all-in-one desktop today.
“If they weren’t they wouldn’t be buying these ‘clearly limited’ devices. And quite frankly, the numbers don’t lie,” he concludes.