META Reports: Client Systems Will Require More Processing Power

By CIO Update Staff

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Situation Analysis: The recent slowdown in the PC market has revived old debates about the need for ever-greater processing power on client systems. While one camp contends that users can never have enough processing power, an increasingly vocal faction contends that computing power outstrips the needs of users and further improvements are unnecessary. This debate is being fueled by the continued technological progress in developing faster processors. We expect desktop systems of 10GHz or greater by 2005 - and more powerful systems after that.


In the consumer sector, we believe increasingly complex games and richer entertainment will drive processing demand upward. In the corporate market, we believe a wide range of new uses will emerge during the next two to six years that will consume more processing power at the client. Although no single "killer application" will drive PCs to 3GHz, 5GHz, or 10GHz, we expect a wide range of new software and components that will, in aggregate, severely tax current PC resources and necessitate the growth in computing power.

However, because the increases in demand for processing power will be steady and incremental rather than the result of a sudden change in software or hardware features, it offers no short-term panacea for PC vendors that have been struggling to find a way to jump-start the consumer and corporate PC markets. Likewise, user organizations responding to the current economic downturn by lengthening desktop and laptop life cycles beyond three years will face no near-term disadvantage from failing to immediately ramp up the power available on end users' desktops.

To understand the innovations that will fuel the long-term need for more power, it is necessary to understand the following major trends shaping end-user computing in both the consumer and corporate markets: