Primary vs Secondary computers

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  1. #1
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    Default Primary vs Secondary computers

    When it comes to usage, it seems to me there are actually two kinds of computers. To break it down ---

    First there is the Primary Computer. The characteristics of it as follows:

    1. Moderate to high cost
    2. Mobility is moderate to stationary.
    3. Large screens
    4. Large local storage.
    5. High processing power with high power consumption
    6. Multiport, serves as a hub to other devices
    7. Long usage cycle prior to replacement
    8. Content production

    The Secondary Computer, on the other hand, has these characteristics.

    1. Low to moderate cost
    2. Moderate to high mobility
    3. Moderate to smaller screens
    4. Moderate to low storage
    5. Limited ports
    6. Low power consumption
    7. Shorter usage cycles prior to replacement.
    8. Content consumption.

    Desktops, gaming rigs, high cost notebooks, workstations would fit the category of the Primary. Smaller notebooks, netbooks, tablets, and even smartphones, would fit the second.

    For a long time, the Primary Computer has dominated, but in the last years starting around 2007, we saw the rise of the Secondary Computer, to the point that this is in fact, we see a lot more sales are being accounted for. The sheer cost, longevity of Primaries mean you are going to have lower turnover as demand is satisfied, and the demand for replacement is lower.

    On the other hand, high disposability and the lower price points means the Secondaries are going to inevitably dominate the market. But for a Secondary to actually succeed, it has to meet all given 8 criteria, and that hybrids between the two --- combining features of the two --- isn't going to work, despite the initial attraction of having to blend features by combining the advantages of both. The thing is, all 8 of the two sets are basic criteria are synergistic to each other, each a node that reinforces each other in a dependency circle. Breaking the circles with a hybrid isolates each characteristic, and the resulting product becomes less certain of its market intention, in essence, becomes a compromise.
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  2. #2
    Shiny
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    Default Re: Primary vs Secondary computers

    I use my "secondary" computer (the Duo 11 convertible tablet) 90% of the time, for both content production and content consumption, and my "primary" computer (Vaio F2 desktop replacement) 10% of the time, mainly for managing photos and for gaming.
    Samsung Galaxy S III (U.S. Cellular, Android 4.3 with TouchWiz skin). My review.
    Sony VAIO Duo 11 (i3-3217U, 11.6" 1080p IPS, N-Trig stylus, Windows 8.1). My video review; handwriting test.
    Sony VAIO F2390X (i7-2670QM, 540M, 16.4" 1080p, Windows 8.1 Pro). My video review.

    Windows 8 questions? Start here and PM me with any further questions. Mitlov's Windows 8 tutorial; configuring Win8.1 for non-touchscreen devices

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Primary vs Secondary computers

    The kind of gaming I do won't run well on a Duo 11. In fact with an i7 and a GT630M nVidia, I still run it at minimal graphics mode.

    I also won't use an 11" screen to process a lot of photos either.

    The kind of money I can spend on a Duo 11 I can spend on a full blown Asus gaming laptop.

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  4. #4
    hal
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    Default Re: Primary vs Secondary computers

    You have put in typeset the best part of 25 years in just a handful of paragraphs, Drillbit.

    After the average user makes an IT resource fit in the self life, all of this starts flying on the top of the head, with variable effect of just following it as a hunch, or totally putting it on a task list, and a wish list, and a shopping list. Indeed, the Primary computer means a bigger compromise and therefore deserves both a bigger budget and a more careful reflection and search for options. Because it will be the repository, permanent but to an extent, of the assorted information of the user. And I totally agree on your list of 'the regulars' as the Primary computers. I would even go as far as speaking of the primary computer as an investment, and of the secondary computer as an expenditure.

    As an empirical comment, I shall point out that there's a trend in that the secondary computer's cost can be measured as a fixed fraction of that of the primary. Perhaps cause an important factor is the specific spending power of a given consumer.

    Allow me to go a bit deeper in the timeline. During the 1980's, personal computing became a reality, but computers were far to be as ubiquitous as they are today (haha, like if you didn't know). There were few households with computers, and when you arrived at a new job there wasn't necessarily a computer waiting for you and for your specific work or hierarchy. That was the time when computer halls became mainstream at schools and libraries. It would take a decade until computers became, hmmm, home appliances, and i.e. any newly wed couple considered the purchase of 'the computer' just as they enlist 'the fridge', and 'the washing machine', and etc. In my perception, speaking of full-size computers (meaning with full-size OSs such as MS Windows and all that encompasses), the personal computing age was consolidated until 2002. Again, in my perception, there is a specific lapse, that goes from (around) 1988 to (around) 2002, in which personal computing was a reality, but cost and size of hardware wouldn't allow to benefit from it in a field manner. This 14-year span, is what I personally call The Golden Age of Mobile Devices. Yes, just personally, nothing you would find written elsewhere.

    Let me clarify that if I chose such a flamboyant name, is in imitation to the golden age of cinema, in which acting, and technology, and screenplays, and everything else, were far from being the best (in fact, if you see several movies of that age you're gonna wonder WTF are they cult movies). The point is that such golden age established the guidelines, and the motifs, and the conventions, of the whole business as we know it. Back to digital tech, it was during this 14-year span when all things mobility appeared in its earliest forms, stages, and purposes, obviously far from what we see now (and again sometimes wondering why this or that device actually deserved to exist ), but it was when the whole industry of mobile digital tech coined its own guidelines, and motifs, and conventions, as we know it. Calculators evolved from scientific to engineering programmable and graphing. Digital planners evolved from calculator-borrowed technology, to PDAs. Cellphones evolved from almost super-high-gain wireless phones, to true trunking-networked devices. Pagers evolved from one-way radios to networked devices. Laptops evolved from hardcase-contained computers (yuck), to true portable systems. And so on. Currently, many technology lines have converged, and OTA-driven applications have made a deep indent into this subject, but I still believe that many of the guidelines, motifs, and conventions of the industry remain unchallenged. Mobile devices didn't appear as a sign of the times, they appeared in order to cover a gap that the full-size computers of the era weren't able to cover. And, at some point, all these devices became the secondary computers.


    Regarding the rise of the secondary-computer categories, my perception is that for one the ongoing innovations of digital technology, of crossed technology pathways, and the dropping costs of critical components, have benefited these categories, to a point where lots of consumers consider them an all-in-one ticket. Frankly, not everybody photoshops, or uses AutoCAD. Not everybody is amused with the perspective of a whole evening reviewing a playlist and editing singers, and songwriters, and album, etc. As we have discussed in other threads, the geek stamina is very variable from one person to another.
    Last edited by hal; 02-15-2013 at 05:59 PM.
    "Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda. "Nothing is neither wear-proof, nor fail-proof, least fool-proof." - HAL. "Indeed, fool-proof inventions have been attempted, but don't work, fools are pretty witty ones." - Murphy's Law. "Even worse than a traitor, is a dumb@$$ with initiative." - Gral. Santa Ana
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Primary vs Secondary computers

    Quote Originally Posted by Drillbit View Post
    The kind of gaming I do won't run well on a Duo 11. In fact with an i7 and a GT630M nVidia, I still run it at minimal graphics mode.

    I also won't use an 11" screen to process a lot of photos either.

    The kind of money I can spend on a Duo 11 I can spend on a full blown Asus gaming laptop.

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Tapatalk 2
    I already said I do my gaming and photo editing on a 16.4" laptop with a quad-core CPU and dedicated GPU. I never said I do either on the Duo 11.

    That Asus gaming laptop is going to be miserable carried around all day for work. I know because I did that with my 6.8 lb Vaio F2 for more than a year before saying "enough is enough."
    Samsung Galaxy S III (U.S. Cellular, Android 4.3 with TouchWiz skin). My review.
    Sony VAIO Duo 11 (i3-3217U, 11.6" 1080p IPS, N-Trig stylus, Windows 8.1). My video review; handwriting test.
    Sony VAIO F2390X (i7-2670QM, 540M, 16.4" 1080p, Windows 8.1 Pro). My video review.

    Windows 8 questions? Start here and PM me with any further questions. Mitlov's Windows 8 tutorial; configuring Win8.1 for non-touchscreen devices

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Primary vs Secondary computers

    I never said bringing around the gaming laptop other than with gaming parties. For work a budget notebook is more than sufficient for me. The last one cost me $450 from K-Mart though its not small. Previous to that, to my HP, around $850. Actually my $450 laptop stays at the office now. I use a $350 notebook for my trips replacing my $400 netbook which I now leave in the office. But I am investigating if a $250 Chromebook can do the travel job even more. It just keeps getting lower. If I can find a keyboard dock for my Nexus 7...

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Primary vs Secondary computers

    Good post.

    Primary for me is a high end notebook and secondary is some type of handheld that MUST fit in a pocket [so no tablet], I've tried having a smaller in between notebook before but it just clutters and complicates my life.

    The only point I would disagree on is #8, because I'd rather consume content on a less portable/bigger device given the choice
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  8. #8
    hal
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    Default Re: Primary vs Secondary computers

    Quote Originally Posted by weegie View Post
    Good post.

    Primary for me is a high end notebook and secondary is some type of handheld that MUST fit in a pocket [so no tablet], I've tried having a smaller in between notebook before but it just clutters and complicates my life.
    I feel some attraction towards tablets, but I figure they still don't have a place to fit in my life. Just like you, I better like something that is pocket-sized.

    Quote Originally Posted by weegie View Post
    The only point I would disagree on is #8, because I'd rather consume content on a less portable/bigger device given the choice
    Hmmmm, yes, I kind of agree. I mean, watching a video like a full-length movie in a small screen is of an arguable level of experience. However, I do agree with Drillbit in the general sense that secondary computers are more apt for media consumption in contrast to media creation. This last sentence is what I understand Drillbit is trying to remark. Not that you are totally due to edit a video on a desktop computer with a lot of screen real estate but you are forbidden from watching that same video on that same computer.
    "Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda. "Nothing is neither wear-proof, nor fail-proof, least fool-proof." - HAL. "Indeed, fool-proof inventions have been attempted, but don't work, fools are pretty witty ones." - Murphy's Law. "Even worse than a traitor, is a dumb@$$ with initiative." - Gral. Santa Ana
    Link: Palm resets

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Primary vs Secondary computers

    Video watching and game playing, which are also, and sometimes better done in Primary computers, are but two aspects of content consumption. The others are:

    Web browsing
    Social Networking
    News Reading
    Magazines
    Ebooks
    Podcast
    Music

    Aspects of content creation, or productivity, that is often exercised in Secondaries are email, note collection, and photo collection.

    There is a good overlap between content creation and content consumption on both primaries and secondaries. So this isn't a black and white thing, but rather shades of grey. I do think primaries have a stronger shade in creation while secondaries have a stronger shade in consumption.

    Trends in content consumption are showing a strong migration to the secondary, more mobile form. Especially with games. The ability to bring your entertainment with you means you are likely to satiate periods of opportunity boredom with a secondary.
    I am @guamguy on Twitter.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Primary vs Secondary computers

    What really frustrates me is the need for a different pair of glass for each situation. On my desktop, I use 150s, 175-200 with my netbook, and recently added 225 for my smartphone.

    Sigh....

    As I begin to shop for my next computer, the characteristics listed in the OP will be helpful to keep in mind. I don't think I can go with a single computer to meet my needs. I'll still need a decent desktop as my primary. That leaves me freer to choose a more appropriate secondary computer.

    Actually, I don't completely like the terms "primary" and “secondary" because I probably use my secondary more often (at least, that's the plan once I upgrade).

    In my case, I expect to have 2 secondary devices, if you include my smartphone.

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