Hardware [M]adness in 2007: Looking Back
Changes in the past couple of years in PC hardware were scary to say the least. C2D was a good change for Intel; ATI was a bad change for AMD. Vista was a bad change for Microsoft; all the changes were good to Nvidia.
interesting editorial, you are quite right about the change of interest!
Just my thought; everyone is welcome to put in whatever they feel making this the "Holiday Greeting" or something similar to wrap up the year. :D
A great year for PC enthusiasts as far as "cost" of PC hardware is concerned. My favorite are the E2140/60, any P35/P31 low price board and 8600GT matched with aXeRam from Transcend. If I were a gamer; or If my gaming skill is any good, I would get the 8800GT when the price is "right".
Wish you the best of the holiday season!
2007, a year to quickly forget ?
As a reviewer, what's in a word ;), what struck me in 2k7 is the complete lack of performance gains together with the total lack of "progress" in the hardware industry. This is in my opinion true for all the major components of your PC : cpu, motherboard, graphics cards, memory, hard drives, psu's, cd/dvd drives, you name it.
What motherboards are concerned we do get two new chipsets, but they are hardly better than the previous generation. X38 is hardly better tha P35, which only betters P965 on front side bus performance. Clock for clock improvements are scarce, we're talking 1 or 2 % if you're lucky.
Same goes for memory : Intel is pushing DDR3, and yes, you can get a whole 3-5% improvement emptying your pockets for that, but DDR2 is really a sitting duck : nothing happened in 2007, kits that were available a year ago outperform those available today.
CPU's then : let's not talk about AMD who have nothing by this year's end, at most a cpu recall which should happen but is of course not going to. Intel does not have much more : a die shrink this year that isn't available to end users, a new stepping of the same cpu's launched in 2006, with thermal improvements, but nothing else.
Graphics cards : however hot 8800GT is at this moment, it's nothing new. And it's slower than last year's high end part. And let's again not talk about AMD. The only small light there is the availability of the 3850 gpu, which is good. 3870 is nowhere to be seen (we're talking early december here, this might improve). Whatever, 3870 is a whole 2% faster than 2900XT, which cannot even compete with 8800GT, which luckily for DAAMIT is not available as well.
All in all, a pretty disappointing holiday lineup if you ask me, from a reviewer's point of view. But there is one very big consumer advantage of course : year over year : prices on all components have halved. This is great news for the customer, and all because of the lack of progress...
Thanks for your "kind" words ;), Thorgal.
A bencher's point of view on 2007.
2007 has been a fairly good year for the overclockers and benchmarkers as Intel has been releasing good overclocking cpu's continuesly. The C2D 65nm and 45nm have determined the top scores last year and will do so in 2008 as AMD's Phenom turns out to be not that phenomenal. Yes, it may seem that the clock-per-clock performance is on par with the 45nm yorksfield, but AMD doesn't not succeed in running the chips above (or even close to) 3GHz, whereas Intel has been releasing processors at those frequencies ... stock. When talking about coldbugs, Intel is once again the winner as AMD manages to develop processors which have problems at working decent at temperatures of +10°C. The internal memory controller seems to be a problem after all ...
Intel has done it's best, releasing multiple new chipsets with constant improvement. Whereas the i975x chipset had problems running at high FSB speeds, the i965 and P35 managed to run at 600+ MHz FSB. Great, though you really need a world-class processor capable of running that kind of FSB. For those who want two videocards ... but ATI, as the only chipsets compatible with nvidia's SLI are those developped by nvidia itself, namely 650i and 680i which have problems to run memory at very high speeds.
DDR3 is here! It rocks ... or maybe not. As an overclocker, I advise users to stick with DDR2 as long as possible as it's way cheaper and can outperform DDR3 sticks easily. At the moment there is no need for 1GHz memory, not even using Intel's 45nm chips as recent tests have shown. I have no idea why exactly Intel is pushing users to switch to DDR3 but the money factor may play a role in this issue...
Nvidia is back ... and how! Having released a new DX10 card way earlier than ATI it won the public's interest and is now more than ever the way to go. Nvidia users have an enormeous amount of cards available to choose from and - let's be honest - Ati isn't really offering an alternative. Of course, we have the X2900XT and the upcoming X3870XT, but tests have already shown that it doesn't offer a noticeable improvement over the GF88 series. When looking at the middle-end class, we see nvidia controlling the market with the successtory of the 8600GT(S), especially since manufacturers redesign the cards to let them run at higher speeds and thus higher performance.
I have to slighty disagree.
Both Intel and AMD have 3 GHz chips in their top series. Amd is trying to reach every target group. Low power comsumption series, low price series, overclockers (think of the black editions). They're trying to struggle trough the hard times.
While Intel is relaxed surfing. Early this year Quad cores, a bit later 1333 fsb chips, and now the new Yorkfields. Inbetween this all they also released cheaper and fairly low consuming chips (E21xx series). But price wise a very good year, as until now prices dropped more then 50 % compared to beginning 2007.
Amd should have Phenom. But this phantom can't be really bought anywhere in Belgium, performance is not convincing and a bug workaround in the new series would even drop performance an extra 10 %.
Grafic card wise about the same. ATI brought us the 2900XT, which couldn't really convince. The same for the new 3700 series. Nvidia has the interesting 8800 series with the 8800 GTS 320 being the most bang for the buck card until recently, when the 8800 GT 512 was released. The last isn't very good available, but there is still the GTS 320 in case sant can't get you a 8800 GT in time.
Seems like AMD/ATI is more the never the underdog, and struggling.
Chipsetwise I haven't really followed things a lot. But I think there wasn't much to follow, P965 got better and became P35. P35 has a stronger brother, X38, but in the end it remains the same -Intel- family.
Nvidia has something like the 680 chipset, but that one doesn't work very good with Intel's latest.
Hard disk become bigger, but most important, price drops. 500 gig disks can now be bought for half the price compared to January. And the price drops are even more insane when looking at DDR2 memory.
While most devices became more power efficient (CPU's, VGA switching to lower fabrication process, hard disk become SSD disks, ...), the power supplies become bigger and bigger. The record has been set to 1600 watt if I'm not mistaken. Power intake measured at my room doesn't even consume that much, and I'm running a few computers, screens, audio sets and even phase change cooling.
2007 was the year of "go with the flow", and large price drops. Nothing really fancy happened.
2007 is for me, a year of transaction, we've not seen many new stuff of utmost interest, but what we've seen is a large amount of products which offer high-end performance at very affordable prices. People with 750€/$ to spend could afford a high performing 8800GTS, a high performing quad core cpu, high density dynamic memory, not to mention the choice of what motherboards suites them the very best.
High-end workstations, high-end gaming computers, high-end server boards, you name it, in 2007 it all came available for the man who has to spend 'some' money, the only bugger for this year is the slow progres in high density video support in retail market it seems.
Concerning software, 2007 turned out to be an exiting year for the gaming industry. Crysis, Call of Duty 4, Need for Speed ProStreet, Unreal Tournament 3, Half Life: Orange Box, Colin McRae D.I.R.T., Hellgate London, Age of Empires 3, Bioshock, .... do I need to continue? The introduction of Vista and DirectX 10 has questioned many, either you like it or not, Vista is here to stay, atleast for few years now, with more software making the change it's only a matter of time when people will have to make their jump. Other software companies are slightly jumping in this new era, Windows XP is still favorite but will autimaticly be phased out just because the lack of support, too bad considering XP was doing great last few months.
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