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Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category


It’s that time again. I’m gonna try and keep this simple and easy to read. I’m going to build online an affordable, decent gaming PC. This means that I’ll be choosing appropriate parts and explain on the way. I’m not going to go into whether or not PC gaming is cheaper than console gaming. The truth is there’s not much difference at the end of it all. Anyway, lets crack on. I’m going to be basing this all from a single website so that at the end I can use a basket to show the total easily and clearly. If you are buying a PC though, shop around and buy the cheapest.

I’ll try to cut the confusion out so this is simple. Feel free to ask for advice if you are buying and want to change bits around though.

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I just looked at this article and wish to air my views briefly on it:

Look at the shiny niche gaming PC they chose for their article. Mmm, orange.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/apr/14/pc-market-has-passed-its-peak

The article basically (it’s fairly short, worth skim-reading) says that because PC sales have decreased in the last year or so that the PC is becoming redundant. There are a few omissions that this article makes which I wish to address.

The first one is that, while retail PC sales have dropped, it ignores the ‘enthusiast’ market – aka people building their own PCs from components bought elsewhere. This may well be a very small percentage of the market, but it is hard to accurately know how big it is without access to sales data from companies like Scan, eBuyer, amazon, dabs, etc. Clearly it is thriving enough to support a fair selection of companies. In recent years the online world has made it much easier for people to gain confidence to construct and set up their own computers, or replace dyeing hardware without just simply buying a new one when the PSU burns out. Video guides on YouTube and thousands of written guides mean that people can quite confidently google, buy and build.

An equally difficult thing to judge is the second-hand market. People may not have the available cash to go and spend £500 on an overpriced PC world unit, so instead look on eBay or locally to see what they can get just as a make-do device. With the power of computers having come on so much, the average user needs to spend very little to get a decent and suitably specced device. Equally people are probably making do with what they have, they probably don’t have much need to upgrade if all they use is e-mail, word processing and social media sites – hardly the most demanding of tasks. The recent financial crisis has left people with less cash, people are making do with outdated hardware. It is hardly an unusual notion to conclude, and when the ‘outdated’ hardware is perfectly adequate there is no sensible need to upgrade for most users.

The article seems to assume too that because PC sales have dropped, and tablet (iPad) sales have increased, this means one is replacing the other. The fact that the PC market has existed and created an established user base for the past 10 years and more, seems to be ignored. Tablets are new, and thus yes, they will be adopted quicker than old technology. That does not mean however, that old technology is now suddenly useless.

The PC market is showing signs of having passed its peak. Weak demand by consumers for PCs, coupled with a switch to tablets such as Apple’s iPad, meant that worldwide PC shipments fell compared with the same period in 2010, according to two leading research groups.

Passed its peak? Perhaps. It is hard to tell, and I don’t believe there ever really was a ‘peak’. Laptops, netbooks and smartphones have all challenged the notion and need for a PC and yet it still exists. Tablets I think will still occupy the huddle of more mobile and convenient computer access, but the PC will still have a home in businesses and family homes alike. Indeed, the article highlights that Lenovo and Toshiba both saw increases in their sales and that this could be attributed to laptop sales.

Asus' EEE Pad - Their answer for the indecisive

That said, the last paragraph does speak to me in a way. One of my gripes with PC gaming (which I shall explain upon further in another article) is that there is no need for people to upgrade. It is this that has caused the decline of PCs, not tablets.

Macroeconomic forces can explain some of the ebb and flow of the PC business, but the real question PC vendors have to think hard about is how to enable a compelling user experience that can justify spending on the added horsepower.”

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Over the past few years it has been hard to ignore one game that resides in my Steam collection. It is the first game I ever really got into or played on the PC in a big way, and as such contains large amounts of nostalgia as was my staple diet of PC gaming for several years. Frankly, I don’t think I could have picked much better. That game was CounterStrike: Source or CS:S.

It was released in 2004, and has been with us ever since. Before that existed CS 1.6, a game still played today and released in 2000 as a commercial mod for the Half Life engine.

Then why, for a game that has been around for 11 years now, does it out rank CoD as the most played PC FPS game? I admit that I am only using Steam figures here to go by, but I think that is a good judge of what the PC gaming community would reflect as a whole. Why hasn’t it died yet? CS:S has indeed been out for 7 years now, and still receives updates and the odd mention in gaming news sites such as PCGamer. One would have thought it had died by now, or at least, been surpassed by newer titles.

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I want to talk briefly about something different, but dear to my heart. Computers hardware, tweaking and playing out with the Pc to make it faster, better.

There are a lot of details I could go into and bore you all with here. CPU, clock speeds, cores, hyper threading, serial bandwidth rates, clock speeds and all that jazz, but I won’t (namely because I don’t want to scare you all off).

For the average user wanting to look at upgrading their PC, perhaps dipping their toe in the nerd-pool of hardwaredom rather than full submersion there are two major, easy and relatively inexpensive upgrades that will make the most impact.

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