Friday night topic: Are PC enthusiasts heading for extinction?


— 6:11 PM on October 19, 2007

We've all heard about the signs, though perhaps we haven't put them all together.  Average PC selling prices are dropping as new ideas dry up and PCs become commodities.  More and more PC components are being integrated into core chips, with AMD and Intel now both pushing to bring the last bastion, graphics, into the CPU.  Newer PCs are becoming more proprietary "platforms" less dedicated to interoperable standards.

Meanwhile, shipments of laptop PCs are surpassing desktops.  Game consoles are breaking down the final barriers to their total domination with online capabilities and motion-based controllers.  Mobile devices like the iPhone are finally incorporating a robust and competent subset of PC capabilities.  And home theater PCs have been locked out of playing with most forms of HD video via "content protection" standards that keep HD movies and TV shows from being manipulated freely, forcing folks to use the cable company's DVR box or bust.

Is there room in this shifting landscape for PC hobbyists who wish to build their own computers?  If so, will our influence remain strong as current trends continue to develop, or are we all just dinosaurs?  Put another way, will our kids grow up to be PC hobbyists, or is this a dying pastime?  Discuss.

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