Quad-core CPUs and DDR3 RAM to go mainstream 2009

Quad-core CPUs and DDR3 RAM to go mainstream 2009

Summary: According to data released by two IT marketing firms (iSuppli and DRAMeXchange), quad-core CPUs and DDR3 RAM will go mainstream - eventually. We'll have to wait until 2009 until we start seeing these high-power components being used in everyday PCs.

TOPICS: Windows

According to data released by two IT marketing firms (iSuppli and DRAMeXchange), quad-core CPUs and DDR3 RAM will go mainstream - eventually.  We'll have to wait until 2009 until we start seeing these high-power components being used in everyday PCs.

OEMs seem to hold onto old technology as long as they can, even when it's functionally obsoleteThe main obstacle to widespread adoption of these technologies is price.  The price of a quad-core CPU is about 170% higher than that of a dual-core CPU, while a 512 MB DDR3 module costs around $180, compared to $23 for a 512MB DDR2 module.  The idea is that as costs drop, people will be willing to pay for the extra power whether they need it or not.

While marketing companies look at this as purely a price issue, there's also an issue of need.  Dual-core CPUs, especially the latest Core 2 Duo CPUs by Intel, seem capable of delivering more power than the average user needs.  Unless high-end gaming, video editing or simulated protein folding become really popular over the next few years, I really don't see why people will need quad-core and DDR3 (unless they are worried about their Windows boot-up times).  If you believe the marketing folks that work for AMD and Intel, everyone wants to be simultaneously burning DVDs, playing a video game and rendering video, all while chatting to a group of friends on Skype or Windows Live Messenger.  In the real world I don't come across many people who try to do all that at once.  I don't even see Windows 7 changing the playing field all that much, even if Microsoft burns the 32-bit bridges and makes everyone go 64-bit.  The additional power would be useful and no doubt welcome by some, but realistically, even then few people will really need the kind of power that quad-cores and DDR3 will be able to offer.

My guess is that while quad-core and DDR3 will be on offer for mainstream rigs by 2009, I don't think that they'll be the norm (based on the fact that Dell are still shipping machines containing Sempron 3400+ CPUs - a CPU first released back in July/August 2005).  OEMs seem to hold onto old technology as long as they can, even when it's functionally obsolete (it wouldn't be my idea of fun running Windows Vista on a Sempron 3400+ system, but at a little over $350 people are getting what they pay for).  If Vista can't get the OEMs to stop selling low-powered PCs, nothing will.

Thoughts?  Are you desperatly waiting for the prices of quad-core CPUs and DDR3 to drop before you buy or are you happy with the power currently on offer to you? 

Topic: Windows

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  • Some people never learn... More is BETTER

    MAn, I ahve been at this for sevearl decades and three things you can count on, PC's will be come more powerful, users and software vendors will find way to use it, and pundits will say its not needed by the average user. Anyone car to guess which of these three has always been and continues to be wrong? <g>

    Look, I replace my PCs abotu every two-three years depending on timing and need. When I do I buy the fastest most powerful machine I can lay hands on (within reason) because it future proofs the machine for a couple years. (with a little luck it does.)

    Hmm, one more thing, predictions on how long it takes to go main stream are almost always exagerated and it happens much faster.

    Heck, this sounds like just the box I need for my Windows Home Server running terminal services to everything around the house and all the media extenders scattered about. It might even have enough power left to handle my home automaton project...
    • The difference is, more services are becoming web-based.

      Client side power is becoming as obsolete as "flower power".

      Heck, even Adobe hasn't put out a 64-bit CS3 for x64 users... yet they are coming out with a web-based Photoshop for some reason... Doesn't that seem even remotely... ODD?
      • Naw, web apps suck

        I heard all these claims when we had big iron. Didn't work the, not going to work now.
    • more waste, more excess...

      more is not always better.

      more code to do the same thing? more gas guzzled per mile? more ways to rip the consumer off by loading so much more that they don't really care about?

      my sister currently has a core 2 duo... she rarely does anything which remotely comes CLOSE to using *50%* of its power... she'll do msn, while browsing the web, and maybe unloading pictures from her camera. once in a blue moon she does video editing... with msn as the only other thing active.

      the majority of users will only need the "more power" because of the software giving more glitz, more flash, more irritating/distracting effects. And then there are those people who are actively working at cutting much of this crap out of the software, as they're backporting stuff to Pentium 1s and 2s...

      if people will always need more power, why did XP seem to reign king for the 5 years? why was no one pushing for a more capable system? the answer is because they DON'T need more power.

      People in general need more efficiency from the software. currently it can do almost all that people want... just so inefficiently that people demand more power to compensate.
  • I adopted 64bit, but not fully, havent really seen any software that i use

    take advantage of it. I am a gamer and that is one of the reasons i bought this machine last year. Maybe if more software becomes compatible with vista, then i will make the upgrade move.

    I thought about going to the AM2 chipset, but since they just released DDR3, i might hold off for a DDR3 board and upgrade next year. I just upgraded my video to a 8800GTX, so things are good there.
  • If the power is there

    People will buy it. Even if they don't "need" it, it might still be the right move. Unless you are in love with the idea of upgrading anytime there is an improvement, it has proven a very viable strategy to buy 'just below' the cutting edge, and then sit on it for a few years.

    You could think of it as jumping to the top of a 'window' of practical computing, and letting it slowly slip down and past you over the years, until eventually you become too obsolete to do the 'new' things - or perhaps to find parts!

    An example - I'm here now, doing quite well, thank you, with a 1Ghz, 512 RAM machine. Why am I doing well? IN 2000 when I bought it, it was pretty high end! ATA 100 Drives! ACPI! Could take 1Gb on the MB! (no-one would ever use that). Cutting edge Radeon graphics! 40 Gb drives!

    Remember then? Well - I'll probably go high end core Duo (or AMD equivalent) the next time, and see if I get 7 years out of it. Probably will - even with MS trying to get us to move faster - whether we need it or not. Meantime, there's a P1 or 2 around the house that runs everything you 'NEED' just fine.. :)

    BTW - the strategy only works if you spend the money on the right components. Low end cost savers don't last 7 years..
  • The Bleeding Edge

    When you're interested in HD camcorder and HD video rendering onto HD DVD, then there's no choice but the top end machine with Quad-core CPU, DDR3 ram and P35 chipset motherboard. That's the price one has to pay for dabbling in leading edge technology. By the time Quad-core & DDR3 becomes mainstream and affordable, so will HD video recording. Although I believe HD TV and video is taking off quicker and becoming cheaper than Quad-core & DDR3. This will leave a gap for those that need both type of technology to make their own HD DVDs.