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InfoHQ Tech Watch Newsletter No. 12 - Computing Forecast 2004                                Feb. 07, 2004
 
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Welcome to our twelfth InfoHQ Tech Watch Newsletter - Computing Forecast 2004. In this newsletter we gaze into the future and forecast what the 2004 computing year might bring.

New InfoHQ Articles

Designing Your Own Desktop Gaming PC - Design your next Desktop Gaming PC using a PC configurator. It can be cheaper than buying a Dell.

Computer Graphics Card Upgrade Guide - If you're thinking of upgrading your current video card, you don't want to miss this new guide. The guide helps you decide if you should upgrade and details the cards you should upgrade to.

CPU Forecast

While there has been plenty of hype about 64 bit CPUs, e.g. Apple's G5 and AMD's Athlon 64, these CPUs will not dominate Intel's 32 bit, Hyper Threading Technology, Pentium 4 in the year ahead. Why?

Apple and Motorola (the manufacturer of the CPU) have a very good 64 bit CPU design in the G5 that can take advantage of Apple's Unix based operating system, Panther. Apple's problem is that they lost too much market share in previous years, and now they hold less than 4% of the desktop market.

AMD's Athlon 64 is another well designed CPU, and its ability to process in 32 bit mode as well as 64 bit mode is intriguing, however the only operating system that can currently take full advantage of 64 bit mode on the PC is Linux. While Microsoft has released a trial version of 64 bit Windows XP for download, even a finished version of 64 bit Windows XP by the end of the year will probably not have a huge impact on the PC community.

When PC game manufacturers start releasing games for 64 bit Windows XP and reviewers show that AMD's 64 bit processors can out perform Intel's latest Hyper Threading (HT) Pentium 4 processors (game designers have also promised games optimized for Intel's HT Technology) by significant margins, then its time to buy an Athlon 64.

In the constant battle for CPU supremacy, neither manufacturer can hold the speed title for long, so buy a new computer based on the speed and CPU you can afford, and don't worry about hype.

The New PCI bus; PCI Express

One of the biggest changes to the PC this year will be the introduction of a new PC bus called PCI Express (PCIX). PCIX will replace the current PCI bus that has a speed of 133 Mb/s, with a new bus that has speeds that start at 250 Mb/s and can scale to over 1000 Mb/s.
PCIX will also replace the Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP). So new graphics cards will no longer have to fit in only one slot.
Motherboards with the PCIX bus should start appearing this Summer, so new graphics cards that use the PCIX bus should start appearing shortly thereafter. Makes you wonder if we'll see new PCIX motherboards with AGP slots for those that want to keep using their AGP cards.

More Hostile Viruses and Worms

All the big computer security companies are predicting even nastier computer viruses and worms for the year ahead. If the recent MyDoom Worm is any indication of what's in store, the computer community is definitely in for a bumpy year.
If you use your computer to go online, you are involved in the ongoing virus war, whether you want to be or not. The latest viruses are also attacking modem users, so anyone that goes online should take appropriate steps to protect their computer.

We all need to make a conscious effort to keep viruses and worms from attacking our computers by using firewall and antivirus programs. If you would like to learn more about viruses and worms, and how you can protect your computer, please see our article, Fighting Back Against Email Spammers, Internet Hackers, and other Web Thieves.

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