Another hard quarter for PC sellers

Subject: General Tech | October 9, 2015 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: pc sales, Q3 2015

73.7 million units, including desktops, laptops and ultrabooks were sold in the third quarter of 2015, down 7.7% from this time last year.  In the EMEA, Japan and Latin America this could be in part because prices have risen by about 10% but is also likely due to a lack of any convincing reason to upgrade.  The recent security problems revealed on Lenovo machines do not seem to have hurt their sales in North America , they saw a 22% increase in sales with the launch of their various 2 in 1 portable devices.  Gartner feels this may change in the latter half of the year as many companies do not get out of the red until holiday sales start driving consumers, but also because machines shipping with Windows 10 will start to hit the markets.  Skylake product refreshes should also help out and we can all hope to see bargains on older kit that distributors want off their shelves as well as the numerous holiday sales start to ramp up.  You can follow the links from The Inquirer for more detailed information.

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"FIGURES FROM GARTNER show that PC shipments declined a further 7.7 percent year on year during the third quarter of 2015, despite the release of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system during the period."

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Source: The Inquirer

October 9, 2015 | 01:23 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"The recent security problems revealed on Lenovo machines do not seem to have hurt their sales in North America , they saw a 22% increase in sales with the launch of their various 2 in 1 portable devices."

Intel is a case study in free market failure. In a free market you're supposed to design your products to fail after a certain period of time. Since the chips never fail, and since planned obsolescence has been greatly stunted due to the performance wall we hit back in the core2duo days (30% performance increases per generation are long over), no one has any reason to buy a new computer.

The bright side of this abject failure in free market economics is that sea of landfills across the world will fill up a little more slowly with these toxic computer parts that can't be recycled.

The dark side is slower growth or recession. Laid off engineers working at wally world. Slower money velocity and more inequality.

What a wonderful system we've built for ourselves. Rah Rah.

October 9, 2015 | 02:29 PM - Posted by Patrick Proctor (not verified)

Actually that's a huge success. It means we very quickly arrived at the most efficient answer possible for our current level of technology. That means less pollution and a better Earth. Intel could try diversifying and refocusing the engineers at their Atom line which still isn't very competitive in phones.

October 9, 2015 | 03:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You realize that this is the exact point of a free market - that it can can experience exceptional growth AND occasional crashes.

You can't have new growth without the occasional forest fire.

October 12, 2015 | 03:28 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You really misinformed enough to think we have anything like a FREE MARKET ECONOMY?

Please get an education that isnt socialist run public school bullshit.

October 9, 2015 | 02:26 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Maybe it's all those ultrabook/Thin and lights, and no options for full wattage CPU/SOC/APU SKUs in those thermally constrained and under-cooled form factor laptops on the market. I'm still waiting for some regular form factor laptops to appear with AMD's Carrizo FX8800P APU at its full design wattage of 35 Watts, with the option of adding a discrete mobile AMD GCN GPU to the laptop also! Give me that hardware in a regular form factor laptop with a good cooling solution and I'll pay $100.00 extra for a Linux or Windows 7 OS option.

October 9, 2015 | 02:38 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

P.S. Its not funny M$, with each forced update on windows 10 that dual boots with Linux that people's dual boot Boot Loaders are being overwritten and the systems made to only boot windows 10, that and the Scary Option the laptop OEM's have starting with windows 10 of not providing a windows Secure Boot Off switch in the device's UEFI/BIOS if the device ships with windows 10 factory installed. It is enough to make many avoid new hardware with windows 10 factory installed. Giving M$ control over the firmware Boot process on third party OEM hardware is definitely an illegal Monopoly tactic that should be stopped!

October 9, 2015 | 04:24 PM - Posted by Dr_Orgo

Your welcome to have your preference for thicker, heavier AMD powered laptop with Linux or Windows 7... but to suggest that the lack of those laptops is causing a drop in PC sales is nonsensical. If you need higher performance in a laptop get a gaming or workstation replacement laptop. Otherwise pair a high performance desktop with a mobile friendly laptop like other people do.

October 9, 2015 | 07:29 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Never said lack of AMD based regular form factor laptops was the total cause, that was just one example that is keeping me from getting a laptop, and I'm more interested in the graphics on the FX8800P APU paired with the graphics on a discrete mobile GCN SKU. So it's more about the underpowered and under cooled Ultrabook/Thin and Light form factor laptops(from any maker with any ultrabook/thin and light CPU/SOC/APU inside) that most people do not want and that the OEM's are still pushing.

CPUs are useless for rendering so I want the Carrizo APU part for its Integrated GCN ACE units, and a discrete GCN mobile GPU for those extra ACE units, and both integrated and discrete AMD graphics working on Blender 3d Cycles rendering on the GPUs' ACE units. My current laptop has a quad core i7, and it is snail slow at rendering ray traced workloads, just Like Zen will be, because CPUs suck at rendering workloads, oh do CPUs suck at Rendering workloads! I want the FX8800p running at 35 watts so the integrated GPU will not be thermally throttled, and not the FX8800P shoved into a thin case and only able to ever be run at 15 Watts!

I have 4 laptops with Intel CPU/graphics, 2 of them quad core i7s, and both quad core i7's suck at ray tracing rendering workloads! The Intel Graphics on both i7 laptops are not up to the task of even running in Blender 3d's editor mode with high polygon count mesh models and scenes, without bogging down, and I'm not talking about gaming workloads.

Just remember CPUs suck at rendering, and they all need help from GPUs, and I want the Carrizo FX8800P(able to run at 35 watts) for those ACE units that happen to have a lot more parallel FP/INT/other execution units than any stinky CPU! I Don't care about Sky lake, Don't care about Zen, I only care about those ACE units and their ability to run ray tracing workloads on those hundreds/thousands of GPU FP/other units on AMD's GPUs.

October 10, 2015 | 01:41 AM - Posted by Dr_Orgo

Ah that makes more sense then. It's interesting to hear from someone in need of specific rendering performance versus the more mainstream office or gaming workloads. Best of luck finding a suitable PC as it sounds like you're pretty far from the primary targets of PC manufacturers.

October 10, 2015 | 12:46 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

For laptops it's hard to get away from all the Ultrabook and thin and light cases that are in the supply chain, and the OEM's are getting them for cut rate prices and forgoing proper cooling solutions that the regular form factor laptops have, and had all along. I think that the whole Ultrabook design ethos was the result of Intel's Apple envy and Intel using its unhealthy market power over the OEMs has forced upon the entire market the Ultrabook/Thin and light design mantra for even AMD's APUs in these thin and under cooled laptop form factors. Intel's influence over the OEMs has shifted the entire Laptop market towards an Apple style over functionality thin and light obsessed market full of these under performing and overpriced laptop SKUs.

For me I'll continue to wait and that AMD Carrizo FX8800P APU may never be readily available and able to run at its full thermal/wattage envelope of 35 watts simply because of what the entire laptop market has become post Intel's Ultrabook(TM) Initiative, and with it laptops in general are becoming weaker in performance relative to the old regular form factor work horses of the previous generation's laptops.

One thing is for sure AMD/Press failed mostly to present the Carrizo FX8800P's benchmarks with the part at any other wattage but 35 Watts, and that's what is what a lot of people where expecting to become available! They sure made a big deal out of the variable wattage that the Carrizo FX8800P could be configured to run at, it's just too bad that that feature was for the OEMs and not the end users of the APUs! Well those sales figures for the laptop part of the PC market will continue to decline until this one Ultrabook/Thin and light size fits all madness ends!

October 10, 2015 | 01:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

P.S. even LibreOffice accelerates spreadsheet and other workloads on the GPU, so those ACEs, with their massive amounts of FP/INT/Other units can accelerate business and home workloads, same as for GIMP and Blender 3D! OpenCL is being used by many open source office and productivity software applications to accelerate workloads on the GPU! There are loads more FP/Int/Other units on the GPU that can be used for many other tasks besides graphics tasks! Even Spell checking can be accelerated on the GPU, they use GPUs for DNA sequence matching they can use the same algorithms for spell checking with a little modification! The Use of Vulkan will allow for many more HSA style uses for the GPU than simply graphics workloads for for gaming/rendering. Vulkan's SPIR-V IL is very similar to the HSA Foundation's HSAIL in scope.

October 9, 2015 | 03:20 PM - Posted by Jmac (not verified)

I'd been holding out for a Skylake build for some time, but unfortunately meanwhile my currency is also devaluing (so components are going up in price).

So I'll need to wait a while longer before I can replace my i7-920 based rig...

October 9, 2015 | 04:20 PM - Posted by Dr_Orgo

Slightly slower PC sales is in no way surprising for a number of reasons. There's been very little reason for the average consumer to upgrade their PC for years. Even gaming PCs can last 5 years easily if you're not chasing the high end. I'll be upgrading my Ivybridge desktop to a new Skylake build soon, but it's not because it was struggling performance-wise.

The ability to install a cheap 250 GB SSD into an old laptop and get a huge performance increase has probably contributed to decreased sales as well.

October 9, 2015 | 08:00 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have a cabinet full of laptops from a first generation core i3 to an Ivybridge quad core i7, and they will probably last years before they are all broken and unusable. I'm more interested in the GPUs and graphics capability of any new laptop, and I could care less about the CPU core's IPC metric. I do mostly rendering and CPUs suck for that anyways. As Long as the graphics in the SOC/APU can support Blender 3d cycles rendering then that's what I want for my new laptop. Give me a CPU/GPU combo with AMD's or Nvidia's GPUs and I can work on graphics workloads, so now there is Blender 3d Cycles rendering support available for AMD's GCN GPUs, like it has been for Nvidia's GPU's, so I can now look for AMD's more affordable rendering solution for Blender 3d cycles rendering! Intel's GPUs are just not good for non gaming graphics workloads compared to AMD and Nvidia, Intel has too few GPU FP/INT/Other execution units compared to Nvidia and AMD.

October 9, 2015 | 10:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It's interesting that you mentioned Skylake in relation to it boosting PC sales. IMHO for the foreseeable future anyone who cares enough about their hardware to want a Skylake part will be an enthusiast and will surely build their PC instead of buying. I also agree with one of the ^ commenters who is getting annoyed with the amount of ULV parts in laptops these days.

October 10, 2015 | 10:26 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

do they only poll big box? Its easy to see falling big box numbers.

People aren't out there picking up a new computer every year from bestbuy rip off.

They are smarter about their purchases, they could be buying local... buying newer-ish refurbished units, custom, boutique..etc..etc...etc.

The market is huge...its just not mindless drones ordering a dell or HP every year.

But to say people aren't buying computers ... L-O-L!!!!!!! They just are being smart about it.

October 10, 2015 | 01:35 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hell buying an HP Probook got me a Laptop with Windows 7 Pro standard, way after crappy Windows 8's release, with a quad core i7(IvyBridge) and an AMD 7650M GPU for around $700.00. The Probook line ships with Linux options also, so for an advertised as a business laptop it has been good for other than business uses! The Business class laptops have more OS options, and they have the same, or better, GPU/CPU hardware than the consumer lines, and the business laptops have better support!

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