When three storms collide

Posted on 17th Aug 2009 at 15:53 by Antony Leather with 14 comments

Antony Leather
I was at a press event last week and whilst on my rounds meeting and greeting various hardware manufacturers and distributers, it was clear that a storm is brewing in the PC industry. However, in spite of the recession, this isn't a storm that will dampen our spirits further.

In contrast it will hopefully send a bolt of lightning right up the backside of any kind of daemon that has a financial grip on the IT industry. In fact it's what some might call a 'perfect storm' which, if you've seen the film, can only happen when two or more storms collide, the more the merrier really, unless you're a swordfisherman that is.

In this case, these storms are Windows 7, DX11 and Lynnfield and all are coming to an etailer near you before Christmas.

Whenever a new version of Windows is released, there always seems to be one or two particular hardware upgrades that are key. With Windows XP, I'm sure we all remember the upgrade from 256MB RAM to 512MB? With Vista, well, you could throw your life savings at it and it would, at launch still run like a pig.

Most of us at bit-tech have been playing with the release candidate of Windows 7 for a while now and we're big fans.

So what are the key upgrades going to be for 7? While Bill Veghte, Microsoft's top Windows Business Exec, said earlier this year that he doesn't expect the Windows 7 release to significantly boost PC sales I'd have to disagree having seen the huge commotion that was unleased on various bargain hunting sites over the cheap Window 7 pre-orders over the last few weeks.

When three storms collide
Will this autumn bring the next big upgrade-fest?

In terms of memory usage, if you got 2-4GB in place for Vista, more seems overkill. So it's not RAM - nope, its SSDs, particularly as 7 adds TRIM support.

Vista brought DX10, and Nvidia timed the release of its brilliant GeForce 8800-series to perfection, and sold a lot of cards in the process. Windows 7 should see the introduction of DX11 (if not at launch then soon after), but seeing as we're still eagerly awaiting ATI's and Nvidia's DX11 offerings it's a bit too early to tell which (if any) is going to be a must have upgrade. You can read more about DirectX 11 in Tim's big preview to keep you occupied though.

Lastly there's Lynnfield aka Core i5. While I've seen a few Core i7 laden signatures in the forums, the uptake of Intel's high-end desktop processor has been far slower than that of the original Conroe Core 2 when it was launched. The issue has been price of course with the need to buy new RAM as well as the hefty cost of CPUs and boards as well.

Thankfully Lynnfield is shaping up to be what we need/want it to be and first... we don't yet know CPU prices, but DDR3 has fallen so you can get 4GB for just over £50 or so. Of course you'll have to fork our for a new CPU and board too, not to mention cooling, but we're pretty excited by Core i5 so chances are this will be a popular upgrade.

Windows 7 - DX11 - Core i5 - thee big things coming your way in a rare event with enough mass to potentially make big waves in pretty much every pond in the industry. The question is, will you be opening your wallet this autumn and if so what shiny new hardware will likely end up on your doormat?


Discuss in the forums Reply
wuyanxu 17th August 2009, 15:15 Quote
win7 RTM genuine and activated: got it, running it at home now.
Dx11: both nVidia or ATI hasn't managed to time their release with win7. i'll be waiting for both camp's release before deciding which to buy.
Lynnfield: very interested. could very well have a i7 860 on my door steps come October when prices have settled.

or could wait for upgraded motherboard that have USB3 and SATA6. also need to have 2x4GB memory instead of 4x2GB for a cheaper upgrade path.
phuzz 17th August 2009, 15:52 Quote
I've only noticed a few games admitting support for DX10, so DX11 is fairly meaningless to me (I must be getting old). Hopefully my C2D will be more than enough to run Win7 ok (Vista runs fine for me), so I can put off the upgrade for a while.
mezz 17th August 2009, 16:30 Quote
I agree with phuzz, the lack of games making use of DX11 makes that pretty much irrelevant. Wikipedia lists six, and only one is due out this year:
Even Rage will be DX9!

Also, as for the i5, for gaming the core 2 still seems perfectly adequate. My current system is two years old, and wasn't even top of the range then, but with its Q6600 and 8800 GTS it seems to manage to play everything (other than crysis) at nearly max settings! It seems the old link between gaming driving people to faster and faster computers is weakening, perhaps when the next generation of consoles arrive things will change for a while, but I can see it quickly dropping back to the stability in game system requirements we have now.

Bad for hardware manufacturers, but great for gamers and games developers :)
GFC 17th August 2009, 18:39 Quote
My old PC (Pentium 4, 7600GT) died a couple of months ago, so I had to get a replacement for that in relatively short period of time. Now I'm using 275GTX, Windows 7 RC1 and Core I7-920. I don't see any DX11 games for a near future, so I'm not that depressed. But i still wonder sometimes, would I have chosen Lynnfield instead of pricey Bloomfield even if they both were available at that time.
yakyb 17th August 2009, 20:41 Quote
im building a new home server based around lynnfield so i will be upgrading for sure in late november

then hopefully feb sometime ill upgrade my gaming pc.

oh and from what i have read it would seem dx11 is to dx10 what 7 is to vista

so hopefully we will se a greater uptake
yakyb 17th August 2009, 20:43 Quote
Originally Posted by wuyanxu

Dx11: both nVidia or ATI hasn't managed to time their release with win7.

Ati are releasing next month are they not, windows 7 is not out until the end of october
so dx11 gpus will be ready in plenty of time
wuyanxu 18th August 2009, 00:24 Quote
Originally Posted by yakyb
Ati are releasing next month are they not, windows 7 is not out until the end of october
so dx11 gpus will be ready in plenty of time
win7 RTM'd now, and im already running it. so it's late. besides, 8800GTX launched on the EXACT date vista RTM'd, that's what i call perfect timing.

since it's late, might as well wait for full house before deciding.
Xir 18th August 2009, 05:56 Quote
...this winter?

A quick Core2 duo or quad, one of the fastest current (not DX11) single core graphiccards, and MAYBE finally the step from WinXP to Win7, depending on how the first "real customers" react.
All this Hardware shoud come at a bargain price after the new introductions and still be fast enough for the next 2 years ;)
yakyb 18th August 2009, 08:44 Quote
win7 RTM'd now, and im already running it. so it's late. besides, 8800GTX launched on the EXACT date vista RTM'd, that's what i call perfect timing.

since it's late, might as well wait for full house before deciding.

yeah i realise that and i am running it also (I have an MSDN Lisence). what i am saying is that i would bet already 90% of people running windows 7 shouldn't be. but how is it late when the 5 series are coming out on the 10th of next month and win7 is out in october?

Windows 7 has not been released yet!
wuyanxu 18th August 2009, 12:43 Quote
hardware should come first. unlike chicken and egg argument, hardware must be readily distributed then we can think about getting the software that takes advantage of it.

in point of whether win7 has been released or not. it's an opinion. i define it being released as when the final version reaches us enthusiastics, such as MSDN/MSDNAA.
Xir 18th August 2009, 15:01 Quote
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
... i define it being released as when the final version reaches us enthusiastics...

Actually, if Microsoft has taught us anything, we shouldn't consider anything released for a broad public before SP1 :D

Of course many here are the "tech hungry users" that don't consider themselves part of the broad public. So go ahead and pre-order and do Microsofts bugfixing for the rest of us
Combatus 18th August 2009, 15:37 Quote
The Windows 7 RC we're using has been about 99% fine with just a few issues being reported in the office. TBH I've found it much better than the official release of XP and Vista and SP1 for both for that matter too! As such I had no qualms about getting the preorder for the bargaintastic price of £49.99. So long as they haven't screwed things up between the RC and full release then all should be fine!
Sir Digby 18th August 2009, 15:53 Quote
Hopefully I'll be upgrading to a nice C2D motherboard once people start selling them off real cheap so they can get i5 rigs :)

Edit: I was going to get Windows 7 too, but didn't manage to find anywhere that was actually selling it for £50...
AuDioFreaK39 18th August 2009, 20:26 Quote
Well, as a TechNet Plus member I already have the final retail version of Windows 7 Ultimate x64 as well as a Core i7 Extreme-based PC. However, the real fight this holiday season is definitely going to be over who controls the market share of DirectX 11.

AMD is on it's toes eagerly waiting to release "Evergreen" while Nvidia struggles with low chip yields and supposedly promises us "DX11 chips in Q4 2009," albeit in very limited quantities.

With AMD already owning 52% of the mobile GPU market share, my heart grows weary for Nvidia as they rush to release a G80 architecture successor. I really hope they can kill that thing off so I can finally claim

R.I.P. Nvidia G80
November 2006 - November 2009

Let's hope so.
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