People seem to be very interested as to what the PC they'll buy in the future will be like. Well, by taking a look at what technologies hardware vendors such as Intel and AMD have already announced, we can make some educated guesses!
The big hitter of 2010 will be Intel as it plans to introduce the the six-core 32nm behemoth to the Core i9 Extreme line, currently codenamed "Gulftown". his monster piece of silicon will be able to handle 12 threads and will debut at a clock speed of 2.4GHz.
Also from Intel will be the 32nm Clarkdale processors that feature integrated graphics. These chips will be aimed at the mainstream and value desktop markets and is likely to push down PC prices.
On the graphics front both AMD/ATI and NVIDIA aren't saying much, but once again Intel is expected to debut its Larrabee general purpose GPU (GPGPU). These are x86 cores that should be able to deliver high end graphics and physics, and should have an advantage over existing GPUs by being more flexible in what they do.
On the storage front expect solid-state drives (SSDs) to become more popular and for the cost per gigabyte to be trimmed substantially, though because of price and low storage, don't expect traditional hard drives to disappear anytime soon! 3.5" drives should push capacity up to around 3TB.
On the mobile front Intel once again will grab headlines. During 2010 you should be able to buy notebooks featuring four-core Clarkdale processors featuring Hyper-Threading (meaning two threads per core, eight in total), two-core 32nm Arrandale processors featuring integrated graphics and Hyper-Threading. Also expect to see Pineview-M processors, which are basically Atom processors with integrated graphics and memory controllers.
If you like having more cores, 2011 should be a good year for you. This is the year that Intel is likely to release a high-end eight-core processor and a mainstream six-core piece. On top of that, you can also expect to see processors manufactured using 22nm architecture too, which means Intel can cram more onto a die, the processor will use less power and run cooler.
On the graphics front, expect that you'll be seeing more and more GPUs built into CPUs, which will put pressure on vendors such as AMD and NVIDIA. However, integrated graphics is not likely to be anywhere near the point where it can handle demands such as gaming, so don't expect discrete graphics cards to vanish any time soon!
On the storage front, the 3.5" drive still rules, probably pushing capacity up to 4TB. However, it's likely that smaller 2.5" drives will begin to replace the 3.5" because of increased speed and performance, hitting the 1TB mark. Don't expect SSDs to be mainstream even by the end of 2011.
The mobile side of technology continues to be dominated by the idea of getting more power, performance and runtime from hardware. Expect follow-ons from NVIDIA's Tegra platform. Oh, and you should start seeing USB 3.0 in devices by 2011.