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raymac46

The Joy of Big Iron

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raymac46

I read somewhere that we are in the last days of the desktop PC as we know it. The desktop with its choice of CPU - brand, socket, etc - choice of motherboard, choice of graphics card may soon be going the way of the dodo. The driver for chip development today seems to be mobility and battery life, so all those transistors that arrive with a die shrink are going to improve on chip graphics.

The current desktop may eventually morph into the all-in-one - a laptop with a bigger screen. Intel is obsessed with getting x86 on a tablet. AMD has dropped the ball on CPU performance and is concentrating instead on the so-called APU development.

Be that as it may, it still is a great time for those of us who like the big iron. My current desktop is a case in point. It's tethered to the wall and to my router but I do 90% or more of my computing at home so it doesn't matter.

It has a Sandy Bridge i5 which is a couple of generations back but still has 4 high performance cores running at 3 GHz. The chip had crummy graphics but adding in a discrete Nvidia GTX 650Ti Boost has given new life and power to the box. Want to play a game at full screen HD and 60 fps? Done. Want to test out WebGL with the Aquarium experiment and get 1000 fish in there and not blink an eye? You're covered. Want to play music and resize photos at the same time? No sweat.

It's like having a fairly high performance car and driving at the speed limit, All very smooth and the extra power is there when you need it. Couple it with the stability and familiarity of Windows 7 and for a stay at home machine you can't beat it. I'm glad I have a desktop like this that is still upgradeable and useful for many years to come.

Edited by raymac46
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Temmu

i hope the prognosticators are wrong - i hope the desktop will be around until it no longer matters and i go to the long house.

 

there's always going to be a group of power users who need desktops with motherboards with multiple expansion slots

long live the pc! long live the pc!

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securitybreach

Well they say a lot.... laptops would replace desktops, netbooks would replace laptops, smartphones would replace the laptop and so forth. Eventually it may happen but I do not think it will happen anytime soon...

 

I do believe tablets have and will replace laptops but nothing beats a powerful workstation when you need to do some real work. Desktops will not go away anytime soon due to the huge PC gaming market, the Programmers (you ever tried writing code on a tablet?), the music/movie production companies, etc.

 

Unless you can fit 32gb or more ram, have 2-4 video cards with 3gb+ memory for each and multiple monitors on a tablet; the PC will be around for a long time.

 

That said, the majority have and will end up using only mobile devices due to the fact that a lot of people only use the internet for social networking and the occasional searching. PC sales have reflected this in the last year or so. So for the common person, PCs will be a thing of the past but their not going anywhere anytime soon.

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LilBambi

Well, I think that Desktops will be around a lot longer than 'they' say. I am sure that 'they' said years ago when the PC took off that Big Iron would go the way of the Dodo too....and I don't see that happening even now. It may not be as big as it once once, but it's in no ways gone.

 

Of course, there are still OS/2 users, BeOS users, Amiga users...so never is a pretty useless term when it comes to computing. The trend may be one way or another, they may be used by less and less users over time, but gone? no.

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ross549
I do believe tablets have and will replace laptops but nothing beats a powerful workstation when you need to do some real work.

 

This is the main argument against the fully integrated, non-upgradable platform.

 

Why have laptops become so popular? They are small and portable! Do hardcore gamers play on laptops? Nope. Do people who do big video editing and 3D rendering do it on laptops? Nope.

 

However, I would argue that the average user does not care they cannot do those things. I have built a few computers over the years, and my first question is what the user wants to do with the machine. Only once did the conversation veer anywhere in this direction.

 

The typical user wants to play facebook games, read e-mail. Skype, browse, and maybe edit some documents. If they are a gamer, it is almost always with a console.

 

The market is moving in this direction. People want light, portable devices with long battery life. They want to consume content. Because this is the norm, the market is moving there, because that's where the money is.

 

Adam

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amenditman

I think we will see the reversal of the PC hardware getting cheaper and varied as we move into the era where the masses don't need such machines.

We started out paying huge amounts of money for early machines and the fall off in demand will drive many OEMs and resellers out of the market.

We will have fewer choices and pay more for it.

 

That said, the fully customizable, easily reconfigured desktop powerhouses we enjoy will not dissappear.

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securitybreach
If they are a gamer, it is almost always with a console.

I completely agree with most of your comment but as far as gamers, consoles just do not cut it. I work with quite a few hardcore gamers and they do play on consoles but they are also huge pc gamers as well. Popular MMORGs like Skyrim and others are only released on PCs due to the insanely huge amount of mods and such available.

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ross549

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I completely agree with most of your comment but as far as gamers, consoles just do not cut it. I work with quite a few hardcore gamers and they do play on consoles but they are also huge pc gamers as well. Popular MMORGs like Skyrim and others are only released on PCs due to the insanely huge amount of mods and such available.

 

You made my point for me. :-)

 

Hardcore gamers are also in the minority. It is the same situation as I mentioned in my previous post.

 

Adam

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LilBambi

The spectrum of casual vs. hardcore gamers

 

If you listen to the marketing or doom and gloom, there is a clear distinction between casual and hard-core gamers. Casual gamers play on mobile devices or Wii, hardcore gamers devote a large part of their lives to games; casual gamers are being wooed by developers while hardcore gamers are ignored and relied upon to just keep supporting the industry. Casual gamers are killing gaming. Is it really so cut and dry?
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V.T. Eric Layton

Big DETROIT Iron!

 

MyHeavyChevy78.jpg

 

Er... Umm... we now return you to the thread already in progress.

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raymac46

I'm not slagging laptops or tablets as I have one of each and they are useful in specific ways. However for general use I still prefer a desktop.

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V.T. Eric Layton

I have a couple laptops. I won't be giving up my towers anytime soon, though.

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ross549

The portability and relatively high power of my current Mac Book Air have made it my primary machine. I run OSX and Parallels with Windows 7, and am contemplating VirtualBox with a linux install.

 

Adam

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amenditman

The portability and relatively high power of my current Mac Book Air have made it my primary machine. I run OSX and Parallels with Windows 7, and am contemplating VirtualBox with a linux install.

 

Adam

Sure thing, a laptop is a great tool. I use one all the time for VirtualBox sessions for school and work.

But can you install the newest powerhouse graphics card and upgrade the RAM to 32 GB to run Assasin's Creed 27 when it comes out like you can on a custom built desktop?

No! That is the point.

Portables are so good and convenient that they are dominating peoples use patterns, but they can't replace a fully customizable, upgradable desktop powerhouse and never will. They are made for different tasks and there will always be a need for the workstation type machine, it just won't be for everyone.

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LilBambi

Exactly. Not without weighing a ton! LOL!

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Temmu

after reviewing this thread yesterday, i spend too much time over at tom's hardware looking at pc gaming tower cases, and a portable lan party case - i am in love with the lan party case by cooler master - very awsome design - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooler-master-haf-xb-review,3559.html

 

also browsed a series of 3 articles on about 11 cases total - some are 8-expansion slot capable! 8 slots! shiny!

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amenditman

after reviewing this thread yesterday, i spend too much time over at tom's hardware looking at pc gaming tower cases, and a portable lan party case - i am in love with the lan party case by cooler master - very awsome design - http://www.tomshardw...eview,3559.html

My current build is in that case.

Short story, I Love It.

 

Long story, the build takes some planning and work. Not as easy as my old HAF-922, but that thing was huge. I did a lot of cable routing and planning.

You can only work on the bottom level with the motherboard tray out, so you really need to put it all in there and see just where you are going prior to routing cables and actually installing.

I have on the lower level the DVD-RW and USB 3.0/multi-card reader, a 2.5" SSD (60 GB SATA III) in the rack (room for at least 3 more), a Corsair AX760 80+ Platinum certified PSU, and 2 500 GB HDDs in the front hot swap trays.

The upper level is the really interesting bit. Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 ultra-durable motherboard, AMD FX-8350 (Vishera) 8 core CPU at 4.0 GHz, 16 GB Crucial Ballistix Sport 1600 MHz RAM (4 4 GB DIMMS), EVGA nVidia GT 640 2 GB card PCI 3.0 (room for 4 graphics cards in Crossfire or SLI), and a Cooler Master Seidon 240M liquid cooler.

 

I modified the front of the case to replace the stock twin 120mm fans with twin 140mm fans (you can't see the mod from the outside). I could have mounted it the way Cooler Master says to and probably gotten it to run a few degrees cooler, but it would have made the inside front cable management very tight. This let me install the cooler on the inside of the front plate and the fans between the front metal and the front plastic bezel. With the fans outside pulling (probably a little less efficient cooling) I could get my big hams in there easily). The 140's have blue LED's and I swapped out the top mounted 200mm fan with one with blue LED's.

 

Be prepared to order some cable extenders for fan connections. The twin 80mm case fans in the lower level will need an extender at least, others depend on your mobo choice and fan header locations.

 

When I run a stress test on the build and get all eight cores up to 100% for over 10 minutes, it runs under 48 degrees C. So the totally silent liquid cooler was worth the trouble.

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ross549

Portables are so good and convenient that they are dominating peoples use patterns, but they can't replace a fully customizable, upgradable desktop powerhouse and never will. They are made for different tasks and there will always be a need for the workstation type machine, it just won't be for everyone.

 

That's my point.

 

The majority of users are not going to be running Assassin's Creed 27, and if they do, the lower settings will be a suitable compromise for them in order to retain the portability.

 

I know my Mac Book Air is not a powerhouse. It is not supposed to be. It is designed to be a general use, lightweight machine with 7 hours of battery life. When I do big stuff with it, I know it will not do such things nearly as quickly as a full tower machine, but my need for such power.

 

It does the trick where it matters, though. I have a quick SSD inside, so my programs and virtual machine launch very quickly, and it has enough RAM to get the job done.

 

WIll I ever play games? I never have, and won't outside of the Xbox 360 we have in the house. My wife games 100x more than I do anyway. I simply don't have that kind of time to spend. I would reather read and study various topics on and offline.

 

The Mac Book Air is perfect for me in my situation. If I gamed at all, I'd probably have a full desktop machine.

 

This shift in the market comes from the ubiquity of gaming consoles in the living room, and computers being used as social media portals and media consumption devices. With the rise of tablets, it is going even more in this direction, and the companies are responding to this shift in the market.

 

Adam

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Temmu

amenditman, that is quite a rig you've built!

maybe one day i can scrape up the cash and build a decent gaming rig!

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amenditman

amenditman, that is quite a rig you've built!

maybe one day i can scrape up the cash and build a decent gaming rig!

It's no gaming rig (except some Minecraft). If it was it would have 4 of these bad boys running in Crossfire and be running Windows 7. But that would cost more than the entire build.

I was very patient and acquired the parts over 3 - 4 months at bargain basement prices with free shipping.

 

I run a Minecraft server for my son and friends, several VirtualBox machines for different purposes, some school projects, and the occasional Kmahjongg game.

Who am I fooling, if I had those 4 graphics cards I'd be doing some massive parallel processing for scientific or medical research.

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RichardKR

Each morning I mosey into my little computer area, park myself in my super comfy chair, press a few buttons and poof! The world is at my doorstep. I edit some video, search for ebooks, feed my news junkie habit, share funny stuff with my wife (she computes across the desk from me), and in general enjoy myself. Now I read that what I do is old fashioned and I need to type on a virtual keyboard or with my thumbs only. My fast computer, huge monitor, ergonomic mouse and excellent keyboard are not in fashion any more. To this I say: blankety blank, blank, blank.

I like big iron. I've got a tower that doubles as a leg warmer, HDD's stuck all over the place, and to top it all off, I have a Northgate Omni key/102 keyboard that is 25 years old and perfect. And another one waiting in the closet for this one to fail. Perfect alps keys that have worn faces NOT! Perfect to this day. Wrist rest for my typing pleasure even.

I'll keep my "big iron" thank you. Take your tiny toys and enjoy yourself, but leave me to my big boy stuff.

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Temmu

ah, amenditman, but still, all in all, a nice rig!

lol! good for you, richardkr!

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amenditman

I was cleaning my main workstation today and took a few photos.

They are stored in a Google+ album.

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V.T. Eric Layton

Looks like one of those wine chillers. ;)

 

0006763817201_180X180.jpg

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amenditman

I didn't care what it looked like really.

It fit in the expanded metal frame table which keeps it way off the floor and gives air-flow from all around.

That was the prime design consideration.

 

But now it looks very cool, with the Blue LEDs on the front and top.

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V.T. Eric Layton

Yes. It's purrrrty! ;)

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RichardKR

I was cleaning my main workstation today and took a few photos.

They are stored in a Google+ album.

 

Very cool looking computer. It looks like it will certainly run cool.

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securitybreach

I was cleaning my main workstation today and took a few photos.

They are stored in a Google+ album.

 

Looks very nice!! :thumbsup:

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V.T. Eric Layton

Keeps the vino chilled, too! :)

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amenditman

Keeps the vino chilled, too! :)

Yessir, just the way I like it.

47 degrees....C

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