Evolution of PC hardware-where next?

  WhiteTruckMan 23:24 03 Apr 2007

I've been thinking about how PC hardware has changed over the years that I've been building systems.
Specifically the integration of components onto the motherboard.

It really didnt seem that long ago when you started with a board, plugged in a processor
(no fan required), memory, graphics card (with the shop having installed how much graphics
memory you wanted), an I/O card for the hard drive, another one for the floppy, (later on
another one for a cdrom) and a sound card if you were a bit flash.

Nowadays apart from the first two its all on one board, and I cant help but wonder if we are all
that far away from single component computers. Something with no user servicable parts at all.
Quite a few on these forums can diagnose a faulty motherboard, but how many can actually fix one
with a soldering iron? certainly I cant, and I don't mind admitting it.

It doesnt take all that big a leap of imagination to think about onboard processor and memory for a mass
produced machine. And once they are onboard we will in my opinion have arrived at the disposable computer.

Repairs will be easier, involving just the swapout of the one major component. the board. Or maybe not even that
Maybe optical discs will go the way of the floppy disk, and portability will rely on ever increasing capacity
pen drive type devices as memory storeage density increases and price decreases.

Maybe even the hard drive will go in the name of cost and we will run all our software from a local server via the network

Or then again maybe I shouldnt eat cheese sandwiches before I go to bed!

Does anyone think I'm right or wrong? Or do you have any predictions of your own?


  ArrGee 23:43 03 Apr 2007
  Jak_1 11:32 04 Apr 2007

A pc containing a chip with the os etched on to it thus impervious to viruses and trojans. To upgrade simply replace the chip. The downside is not being able to tweak the system and it would require that the os be perfect from day one and not require service packs etc.

  wee eddie 13:12 04 Apr 2007

You use it till it dies, then buy another with the latest goodies.

On that basis, only a small %age of users upgrade, most are not that fussed so long as it does the business.

In the Laptop, the size limiting factors are the Battery Compartment and the Hard Drive. Remove those and all you have is a Keyboard, Mouse and Screen.

Since I bought a couple of External Hard drives ( I have a third made from the HDD of my last PC as well) I have not burned a CD or DVD in about 6 years. Waste of time as far as I can see as you rarely get time to watch what you have burned anyway.

The limiting factors become the MOB and the Cooling systems. After all why do you need to keep all your old letters and take them with you wherever you go, so you can use Flash Memory and Hardwired Software. Now we're getting down to the size of a Paperback.

Every household would have a spare screen and keyboard. Just plug in your (Paperback sized) PC and that's you, up and running.

  Totally-braindead 13:14 04 Apr 2007

I don't agree with fourm member for one reason only. What he says could come to pass but I don't think will as the hardware changes too quickly. And I am specifically thinking about games here because any PC you buy nowadays is more than capable of the more mundane tasks and if thats all you do then theres no need to upgrade. But games are a different kettle of fish. They demand faster and more powerful hardware every year. If the games programs stopped requiring more power then yes the sealed PC could be the thing.

Take graphics as an example, there was PCI, then AGP x1, then AGP x2 etc until the limitation of the architecture was reached then PCI Express came along. What will replace that?
What about hard drives look at how they have changed over the years.
Look at how memory has changed with faster speeds all the time and processors are blistering fast.
CD ROMS, DVD ROMS and now cheap pen drives what will be next?
And all this in a really short period of time.
If the programs would stay stationary in the demands they make on a system then we could have a standard computer that could run everything and would only need to be replaced when it broke. But in my opinion this will not happen.

It would be wonderful to be able to look ahead a short time, say 5 years and see what a top of the line PC would be like then, and of course what it would cost.
My first PC was a humble 486 25mz and had 8mb of RAM, no sound card, no cdrom, just a small hard drive and a floppy and it cost me £1200. Not even taking into account the fact that £1200 was a lot more money 15-20 years ago than it is now look at what you can get for £1200 these days. I upgraded the memory from 8mb to 16mb and it cost me well over £100. For the same money nowadays you could get 1 gig of memory. Thats 62,500 times more memory for the same amount of money!

  silverous 13:23 04 Apr 2007

Centrally hosted everything (operating system, applications, data) using mega fast broadband (gigabit?) to access, basically a dumb terminal at home and you rent a certain level of power and applications from a 'bureau'.

  interzone55 13:29 04 Apr 2007

A couple of years ago a Taiwanese manufacture brought out a pocket sized PC, which was basically a low power Via or Celeron CPU, 128mb ram and a 10gb notebook hard drive in a unit smaller (but fatter) than a PDA. click here

The idea behind this device was that where-ever you go there is a spare screen & keyboard, so you just carry a device that has your PC, OS, applications and data and plug it in where ever you happen to be working. Afterall, not that many people use their laptops whilst actually on the move.

Couple this device with a NAS box or USB hard drives and you have a device that fulfils your remit

  medicine hat 13:36 04 Apr 2007

Considering how much people complain about their bb speed slowing down and the poor service from suppliers I doubt whether OSes will ever be centrally hosted. Apps and data, yes.

Everything on one board? OS on a chip? Sounds like my old Atari ST

  silverous 20:50 04 Apr 2007

medicine hat....How much exactly do people complain about their bb slowing down? Sounds like your glass is always half empty to me. Mine is fine thanks and when BT roll out their 21CN I'd expect things to improve further still. We're talking about the future here, not tomorrow.

Do you have any predictions to add, or is it far easier to take pot shots at others based on narrow minded views of today and yesterday?

  Jak_1 20:56 04 Apr 2007

Having talked to people working on the 21CN, it sounds good and should give a speedier and more reliable network.

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