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The PC is Disappearing from the Desktop

Published on 08 October 13
The PC is Disappearing from the Desktop - Image 1
The personal computer has been the king of the desktop since the late seventies. It is the ultimate multi-function tool of productivity, and even now, it is still an essential tool for getting things done. Some people even swear by the desktop over its more compact cousins; it is mostly a case of economy over ergonomics, as desktop PCs are still the most affordable avenue to take, compared to notebooks or laptop desktop replacements.

It is a chilling but fact-based reality that the PC will soon abdicate its vaunted position, however. With the rise of the smartphones and tablets, PC sales (this counts all kinds of desktops, whether they have Windows, iOS, or a flavor of Linux installed) have been on a steady decline, and with good reason: these smaller devices are increasingly becoming capable of the tasks that the PC has traditionally been relied upon.

Save for very powerful workstations for specialized work (3d rendering, video editing, graphic design, etc.), the average desktop PC is on the decline. While the PC is leaving our table, it isn’t really going away. It is merely going to move to other parts of the home or office, and here are some of the functions that they are going to be performing for many years to come.
Media Center
Nothing beats the versatility of the PC, and this shows with the increasing number of HTPCs, media servers, and other multimedia-related PC-based appliances and customized boxes that are hitting the shelves, both in brick-and-mortar and online stores.

Your average media center PC isn’t a very complex or expensive affair. A compact form factor mainboard (Mini ITX or other custom sizes), an inexpensive internal hard disk drive, or one of the more higher-performance, low-power solid state drives, a basic or embedded CPU capable of running media programs, some cheap memory, and a built-in GPU will make for a serviceable media browser and player.
Network Storage
More focused towards being a file server, these little boxes can also be based on an inexpensive PC-based implementation. The same motherboards for media centers, sans the more powerful GPU, can be a very effective file server that will make data available on the network, even wirelessly.
Routers and Access Points
Tech-savvy folk have been making their own routers from older PCs for many years now. These devices are often more powerful and reliable than the cheap appliance routers available, and often do a better job at managing data traffic. Taking a cue from these homebrew router boxes, enterprising companies have designed non-enterprise routers and access points based on legacy PC mainboards, and with the properly optimized software (web-based interface is a necessity nowadays), can offer high-performance and inexpensive network routing solutions for intermediate knowledge level SoHo computer users.
Security and Surveillance System
The versatility of the PC platform can also make it an ideal device to drive a security system for a house or small office facility. With the use of IP or network cameras, a single PC can be the command center of any facility’s surveillance system. Other electronic devices such as locks and sprinkler systems can also be made to “talk” with a PC, so the system can be scalable.
In summation, the PC may leaving the desktop, but it is definitely still here to stay.
About the Author
Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and keeps a blog with her friends, Word Baristas.
This blog is listed under Hardware Community

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