Up is down in the PC market

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2018 - 04:46 PM |
Tagged: desktop market share, gartner, IDC

Gartner and IDC have released their quarterly look at the PC market and they do not agree on whether sales gew or shrunk.  One thing they do agree on is that the market did not change all that much.  Gartner's 0.1% growth and IDC's 0.9% shinkage represent a few thousand machines at most, so saying the market is relatively unchanged seems fair.  Lenovo continues to hold the lead, though HP is close on their heels with Dell lagging behind.  You can see the individual numbers over at The Register.

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"Gartner reports global PC sales of 67.2 million units for Q3 2018 showed a slim growth of 0.1 per cent over the same period in 2017. Meanwhile IDC said volumes of 67.4 million units is down 0.9 per cent year-on-year."

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Source: The Register

October 13, 2018 | 03:39 PM - Posted by PCOEMsAreTheReasonForTheDeclineInTheOEMbasedPCMarket (not verified)

Any way they try and spin it the OEM PC/laptop market is the market that been in a state of decline for several years now and should be in for even more shrinkage as folks continue to move away to Phones and Non x86 ISA based tablets. More folks are using Phones and Non x86 based tablets for the majority of their daily online usage with the downward pressure on the PC market to continue.

Apple sure will be planning to switch away from x86 on its laptop SKUs over the next several years leaving Intel and AMD to fight it out via the x86 ISA. AMD better have kept its K12 Custom ARM design plans just in case more Custom ARM Processor besed laptops start selling beacuse that's what may begin happening over the next few years.

Intel has no way to hook and crook over the NON x86 based PC/Laptop market as Intel could not even buy its way into the Phone and mainstream Tablet processor market that runs mostly the ARM ISA and Android or iOS.

I can see many businesses going towards low cost Mini-Desktop Business sorts of PCs where most can get by with lower cost AMD options because those devices are not going to be doing any Discrete GPU gaming workloads anyways so why pay the Intel overcharge when AND's Raven Ridge Desktop Zen/Vega does just fine and AMD's SKUs have NO Meltdown and few Spectre issues to have to microcode patch or workaround patch against compared to Intel.

The only part on the PC market that will remaing relatively healthy is the home system builder market where users can price their own parts and not be overcharged by any PC OEMs. So the PC market will never completely go away and users have more affordable choices there in the home system builder market lately with AMD's Ryzen/TR Zen CPU micro-arch generations having great price/performance metrics.

The OEM Laptop market is not going to improve much as far as battery life is concerned until that custom ARM laptop market starts to grow for any folks that care more about battery life than overall performance. The regular from factor laptop market was runied more by Intel's Ultrabook(TM) marketing scheme so that leaves only Gaming laptops as a choice for those that want more processing power but may not necessarily want to game on the laptop.

AMD's Raven Ridge H serise from AMD's may change up the Laptop market in the 35W-45W range of hgher performing laptops if some OEMs can break free of their Intel entanglements and give the much ignored workhorse laptop market a boost via 35+ Watt Raven Ridge H options with Vega 11 integrated graphics options.

Some users do not care about Laptop Battery life as they just need some portable compute power that can be brought with and plugged in anyways most of the time. I see more people Using Phones mostly for emailing/browsing than make use of laptops even if they have brought a laptop along to make use of in the the hotel room when that arrive for their business trips. So some may want more powerful Laptops at hand but will make use of phones/tablets while they are on planes, trains, or Buses.

There is also a completely new market for mostly Open Source BIOS/Open Source Software based Power8/9 based third party system based on custom low core count power8/9 processors sourced via OpenPower for small home/small business based servers at lower cost where most of the software/MB BIOS firmware is Open Sourced and fully auditable like the Talos/Talos II server SKUs. So it's good to have other non x86 server options available also with more open firmware compared to the x86 based market.

"For the IBM POWER9 processor pricing, the quad-core model starts at $375 USD while the octal-core model starts at $595 USD. So it might be possible to get a basic open-source POWER9 system for $1,000 USD or less (likely excluding current DDR4 prices...) which would be a significant development in this space."(1)

So that's an affordable option on power9 that supports SMT4 or SMT8 options for either 4 precessor threads per core or 8 processor threads per core. The system mentioned in the Phoronix article uses power9 SMT4 "Nimbus" derived cores so that's either 4 cores/16 threads or 8 cores/32 threads Power9 SKUs. And any Power9 based SKUs support PCIe 4.0 so that's a bit more PCIe bandwidth than what is offered currently by any x86 maker.

(1)

"Raptor Computing Reveals More Details About Their Blackbird Low-Cost POWER9 Board"

https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Raptor-Blackbird-Det...

October 15, 2018 | 12:28 PM - Posted by Gunbuster

The ARM devices are going to end up with one day battery life too. Just wait until the BOM guy points out they can shave $2 worth of battery off in parts and only 1% of the potential customers are going to care.

October 15, 2018 | 01:37 PM - Posted by ThatHasAlwaysBeenTheCaseWithDeviceMakers (not verified)

Well everybody has to worry about bean counters where laptops/mobile devices are concerned so that's nothing new under old Sol!

I never use my Laptop on battery power anyways as I'd rather have a more beefy CPU/Integrated Graphics than any silly all day battery life.

I'll be looking for laptops with Raven Ridge H at 35-45 Watts and Vega 11 integrated graphics so that's the Ryzn 7 2800H Raven Ridge APU for me. That's plenty to replace my IvyBridge core i7QM/Radeon 7650M(Terascale Rebrand) discrete mobile based Probook and the Vega 11 integrated graphics will have enough shaders for Blender 3D cycles rendering. MY current Probook's 7650M(Terascale Rebrand)discrete mobile Pre GCN GPU does not even have the driver support for Blender Cycles rendering to be enabled on the GPU so any Vega Graphics is going to be more fully supported going forward for Blender 3D.

Gaming on HP is probably not going to be as well supported because of HP's crappy Graphics Driver/firmware update cadence compared to other laptop OEMs. But Many Laptop OEMs have crappy graphics driver/firmaware update support so that's always hit or miss.

What I really want is Raven Ridge H serices(Ryzen 7 2800H with Vega 11 graphics) at its full 45 watt cTDP in a beefy laptop form factor from a Linux OS based Laptop OEM. So no worries about that windows 10 Eternal BETA testing and update borking mess. As long as Blender 3D, LibreOffice, GIMP, Krita and Inkscape work under Linux that's all I really need for the the Laptop to support in addition to the browsing usage that Linux supports via packaged browsers.

Maybe one Linux Laptop OEM will break with that Intel/Nvidia only nonsense and begin offering some AMD APU and AMD CPU/Discrete mobile GPU options.

I'm also looking and some Mini/micro-Desktop options but as of yet there are no super small form factor Mini-Desktop offerings that make use of AMD's desktop Raven Ridge SKUs.
I'd rather go with a mini-desktop option and forget about any OEM Laptop with crappy OEM support. And AMD's Desktop APUs can get their driver updates directly from AMD.

AMD really needs its Own "NUC" like Product Line that can come more directly from AMD and get the better driver support. That way with some nice mini/micro Desktop options that would be more desktop space friendly compared to any larger form factor designs. That's going to be better than ever being under any Laptop OEM's thumb with regards to support after the sale. AMD's getting no love from the Mini-Desktop OEMs that are mostly sill only using Intel's CPUs/Integrated Graphics.

Kaby Lake G is too costly and that "Vega" Semi-Custom Discrete/On EMIB Module graphics is not very affordable and the reviewers never got around to testing the Vega HBCC/HBC(HBM2) IP for virtual VRAM Caching on Kaby Lake G.

So That's an unknown for any Potential Blender 3D users of Kaby Lake G that may make use of high resolution textures and scenes for graphics rendering under Blender that will definitely need more than 4GB of VRAM capacity. Vega's HBCC/HBC(HBM2) is going to make VRAM size limits pretty much of a non issue with with Vega's HBCC able to use any HBM2 as HBC and page the rest out to regular DIMM based DRAM or even SSD/Hard-drive.

And WTF is Vega Discrete Mobile? Is AMD going to wait for Navi to begin offering any newer generation Discrete Mobile GPUs. I realy want there to be some AMD discrete mobile variants that either support HBM2 or GDDR6 memory that any Vega/Navi HBCC IP can make use of as High Bandwidth Cache so the GPU is not bound by physical VRAM size limits.

October 15, 2018 | 10:59 AM - Posted by Gunbuster

Lenovo just picked up a Yoga 920 sale for my wife.

Dell or Huawei would have had it but they choose to put the front cam down low for chin/up the nostril shots.

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