Published On: Tue, Aug 19th, 2014

Are The Days Of The Humble Old PC Numbered?

The desktop PC has been around for decades. Those of you into computer history will recall that IBM invented the “personal computer” back in 1981 (the model 5150). Of course, it didn’t have as powerful a spec as the computers of today do, but it was the forerunner of today’s modern PCs.

old desktop PC

The term “personal computer” got used before the IBM PC came onto the scene. But it is often used to describe computers that are akin to the IBM architecture.

Many individuals and businesses still use desktop PCs, but it would seem that their use is declining. I read an article on the Guardian newspaper’s website about how desktop PCs will become obsolete soon.

I don’t disagree that its use in today’s modern world is declining. But I don’t think it will become as obsolete as LaserDisc media or BetaMax video cassette players. Still, it got me wondering why people aren’t using desktop PCs as much as they did years ago.

I could end this blog post by answering “technology and convenience.” But then that wouldn’t make this blog post an interesting read! Instead, I decided to conduct some research. I wanted to find out what it is about people’s computer needs that turns them away from the humble PC.

Here is what I have discovered:


Today’s modern consumers demand computer equipment that they can use anywhere. The smartphone industry is growing. That is because the handsets are more like mini-computers than mobile phones!

Laptops used to be the tool of choice for those that craved computing power on the go. But the trouble with laptops is that they are still bulky and cumbersome to carry around. I have written this blog post on my trusty Apple MacBook Pro.

As much as I love my Mac, it’s not the lightest piece of IT kit that I use. Still, the aluminium case and backlit keys make it look as sexy (for a computer) as the day it got built!

But, I digress. In 2014, people prefer the sleek looks and low weight that tablet devices have to offer. These touchscreen units are small, have high-definition displays, and excellent battery life.

You can slide a tablet into your bag, briefcase or even in your jacket, would you believe, with minimal effort. They don’t add a lot of extra weight, and are great for those that travel on the road a lot.

Applications and services

Once upon a time, people had to buy desktop computers and laptops with large capacity hard drives. The storage space wasn’t taken up by the files users generated. Rather, they got used up by the operating systems and the applications that ran on them!

Today’s modern operating systems and applications can use up gigabytes of precious disk space. If you had a job producing music or videos, you would doubtless have to buy an array of hard drives for the extra space needed.

People would still be using desktop PCs were it not for one viable alternative: the cloud! In case you don’t know, “the cloud” is just a metaphor for the Internet. When people talk about cloud computing, they refer to the practice of using the Internet for various tasks.

Businesses and other organisations can save loads of money by not buying “beefy” computers. They can use the cloud to run all sorts of applications and services online. Here are a few examples:

  • File storage – one of the most-famous examples of online file storage is Dropbox. You can use it to store your files online, and access them from any device. Even your smartphone can be a device used to view and edit those files;
  • Applications – I know of several people that use web-based applications as part of their daily lives. Most use them in connection with their businesses;
  • Backup – the days of storing data backups on external hard drives and USB drives are over! Cloud backups are an efficient and secure way of storing data off-site.

Growing numbers of consumers see the advantages of using the cloud to run applications and use services.

Whilst doing my research, I discovered the InsightCloud services and solutions microsite. Those guys even offer people the ability to use computer systems and servers stored in the cloud! As long as you have some way of getting online, you could, in theory, use a Windows environment from a remote connection!

Most of us know that we can use remote connections for our computer systems, such as connecting to a home PC from work and vice-versa.

But it’s amazing to know that you can have a Windows environment deployed for you in a matter of seconds. What’s even more amazing is that it is on a computer you will never see!


Let’s face it; we live in a world where gaming is just dominated by consoles, such as the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One.

To some extent, desktop PCs offer better performance and graphics than their console brothers. I myself built a desktop PC just for that purpose; I use my Apple MacBook Pro for work.

But the future of gaming means that we only need to connect a small, inexpensive box to our televisions and the Internet. We won’t need dedicated hardware at home to play computer games because they are playable in the cloud!

At the moment, the gaming market is quite big for the desktop PC industry. But it seems that the market is starting to shrink. That is because of the ever-growing threat of “pure” online gaming approaching us.

Even some of the best games on the market are playable on inexpensive tablet and smartphone devices. What chance does the PC gamer have in the future? Not much, it would seem!

Final thoughts

It’s no secret that the sales of desktop PCs have been in decline for a while now. I think it will be a good few years yet before no-one uses PCs anymore.

I hope you have enjoyed reading today’s article.