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February 6, 2005, 3:47 am
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State of the Industry: The Homebrew PC in 2005
By Loyd Case
Stability and Change
Stability begets change. That may seem like a contradiction,
especially when you're talking about the personal computer—an
ever-evolving creature. But when you think about the underlying
platform, you suddenly realize how stable it's been for years. The ATX
motherboard and power supply have undergone relatively few changes
since their introduction in 1995. Sure, we've seen the addition of
ATX12V versions that add different power connectors, but the basic
platform has remained remarkably unchanged.
This has either enabled or forced motherboard makers to be more
creative and innovative with products that would otherwise be pretty
mundane. To be sure, some companies, such as Shuttle and VIA, have
taken risks in promoting new form factors. New ground was forged along
the way, but the basic ATX motherboard still performs its yeomanlike
service in the majority of today's homebrew PCs. ADVERTISEMENT
That will likely change in 2005, as Intel pushes forward with its BTX
platform, and other companies experiment further with new form
factors. Even the area of CPU cooling has undergone radical shifts. As
CPUs have become hotter, technologies previously relegated to the
overclocking set have become mainstream.
In our earlier State of the Industry article on chipsets and CPUs, we
discussed the product changes and industry shifts that happened during
the past year. Now we'll dust off the crystal ball, swirl the tea
leaves, and study the phases of the moon to see what the upcoming year
will bring. As Yoda might say, "Always cloudy, the future is."
"Mike Tyson this week completed 100 hours of community service coaching
kids at a Brooklyn gym. 'I'm so glad the 100 hours is up and now I can relax
and get on with my life,' said one of the kids."
-- Amy Poehler on SNL