Originally Posted by MattS
Another issue with Moore's Law: we're starting to run out of space on the chips themselves. You can pack only so many transistors onto the die. Yes advances have been made and chip makers are "finding" more space, but all the extra transistors mean more heat. That means cooling issues.
Very true. Intel, AMD and IBM have all said that they need to rethink how they're designing CPUs. 90nm fabrication finally brought all these to light. I think these guys were hoping it'd come later rather than sooner.
Originally Posted by MattS
But Super also alluded to another issue: the end user. We're getting to the point now where there are very few computer buyers that are buying a computer having never used one before. People know what they use a computer for, whether its gaming, web browsing, photo/video editing, or word processing. My father doesn't need the laptop I have, it'd be a waste of money for him. All he does is browse websites, use MS Office, and play Spider Solitaire (a few thousand games and counting). And the big difference between now and 3 years ago is that he knows that. He may not have the greatest knowledge of what's out there and what components do what, but he's got a basic idea. And that's enough for him to walk into a Best Buy or go to Dell.com and figure out what he needs.
So I think the question becomes, how many people will actually need a 64bit chip? Right now a lot of people buy it because "that's where the future is" and so forth. But we just don't know that.
I use my dad to some extent as a barometer on these things. Reason being back in the day when computing was new, he bought practically every processor that Intel made, sometimes switching to Cyrix when they were a much more viable player. It wasn't uncommon to have a PC for only a few weeks before he'd sell it and get something. So I was fortunate that computers were his business.
So for years, it was upgrade upgrade upgrade every chance he could get. He was like this up to the P2.
After the P3 and Athlons shipped, he just slowed down ... gave up on the constant upgrades. Stuff was meeting his needs, and he was happy with what he had. He still has a 1GHz P3 at home and a 1GHz laptop. Granted, he's the netadmin for the hospital he works at and gets nice machines that way, but he's just now feeling the need to upgrade to a P4 at home.
Maybe Dad's just getting old.
I don't know. However, I do see that as people get older, their needs change. I'm seeing more users doing the more intense stuff at work on their employers' dime rather than putting money into at home.
Sure, they're still buying P4's, Celerons and Athlons, but mainly because that's what's being sold at Circuit City, not because it's something they need. Plus I see a lot of recycling of the "old" systems down to the kids for them to screw up.
We power users are a minority. A VERY vocal one
, but a minority nonetheless. Corporate response and the Joe Consumers are what the companies are going to play to, and we just hope these companies release the stuff we want. I see a lot of P4's not being replaced for a good while yet, both at home and at work.