The World (Still) Needs PCs

When someone writes or says something along the lines of, “the PC is dead”, what’s immediately obvious to me is that said person isn’t a content creator and they have confused low PC sales with the usefulness of PCs. That latter part about low PC sales is doom and gloom that is always “in the news”, yet the explanation for it is simple: Any PC from about the year 2006 and on is perfectly acceptable for daily use by the vast majority of PC users and given that many of the PCs sold in the last 10 years still work, people haven’t felt the need to replace them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t toss out my forks every year, “just because”, when my 20 year old ones still work fine at shovelling food into my face.

With that important myth dispelled, allow me to help you better understand my perspective, by taking a step back for a moment and considering what a PC physically is.

What’s the fancy word OEM’s such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo use to refer to “business class” PCs?

Workstation

That single word pretty much sums up my whole argument as to why the PC is not only very much alive, but is also fundamental to our modern “connected” lives. However, let’s take some more time to explore the concept. 🙂

PC manufactures spend a lot of money on selling the concept that a “Workstation is a professional grade, reliable machine for all aspects of business and development”. To their credit (and to varying degrees), most of the workstation class PCs on the market have, at the very least, a more robust chassis than your average consumer desktop. A factor that’s important for handling those surprisingly common occasions where employees use them to hold up their cars while rotating their tires in the parking lot. Internally, apart from the power supplies that OEMs love to skimp on, there’s very little difference between consumer PC hardware and workstation hardware – to the point where most of the time they’re entirely identical. What does this mean?

For the most part, Desktop PCs are Workstations.

This is especially true when you consider that an Intel Core i5 6500 CPU performs the same in a workstation as it would in a custom built desktop. A difference of +/-2%, usually in favour of the custom build due to custom builders often choosing faster RAM than OEMs, doesn’t really make for a compelling argument that one is better than the other. They’re pretty much the same thing in every tangible, realistic way (even well beyond the warranty periods of the products).

So why do we care that a PC is Workstation?

Well, it boils down to the reality that almost every piece of technology you use and much of the media content you consume, is designed and built on PCs. Some of those PCs might be called Workstations or even Macs (heck, they may even be in the form of a “laptop”), but they’re still PCs.

Smartphone Apps?
Designed, updated, and managed with PCs.

Movies?
Edited, rendered, modelled, story boarded, etc. on PCs.

YouTube?
Edited, rendered, modelled, story boarded, etc. on PCs.

Music?
PCs!

Cars?
Yup, they’re designed with PCs too!

And then there’s the obvious stuff, such as console games and other software that is designed and built entirely on PCs, along with countless other products and services. Indeed, many services these days are delivered “through the cloud” (I really hate that nonsense term btw…) and are hosted on servers, which are definitely not PCs, but… people don’t sit at servers making content – they sit at PCs making content and the PC uses the resources of the sever. And, all that server hardware and software itself was… designed on PCs! 🙂

If the “Personal Computer” as we know it, in its desktop and its laptop form, magically ceased to exist, the instant it happened the world as we know it would grind to an almost immediate halt. You know, because a lot of it only works when connected to a PC, but also because millions of people would all of a sudden have absolutely nothing to do at work. Millions more people, such as content creators around the world, especially software programmers and “YouTubers”, would have to do something crazy like… go outside or clean up their house or something… because without a PC, their crafts would be nightmares to achieve on other devices. Heck, even novelists wouldn’t be happy and computer work doesn’t get any more simple than processing text, so that’s saying something.

What about tablets? People say they’re just as good a PC for making content.

Sure they are, once you connect a keyboard and a mouse to them. Then guess what? That’s a PC too!

So there ya go, not only do you now know that the PC is not dead, you have a pretty clear understanding that in many ways our modern existence wouldn’t be what it is without the PC being part of our daily lives. From content creators in professional or “indy” settings to the kind folks who keep the electricity running, the fingers of the world dance the 104 QWERTY with no sign that they’ll ever sit down.