PC components - Not just a component

DQW Bureau
08 Feb 2011



Have you ever wondered how
does your PC manage to work at a go-getter speed without any
interruptions? What are the main features that make as well as break
a PC? Apart from the monitor, CPU, keyboard and Internet, there is
lot more to PC, better known as the PC components, which play a major
role in the building of a PC.

India is one of the
fastest growing IT markets in the world, the fastest growing PC
components market in the Asia-Pacific region, and also the country
with the fastest growth in Internet usage in this region. And with
the increase in PC/notebook uptake by youth, self-employed
professionals, SMBs, and the large enterprises, PC components such as
motherboards, processors and hard drives have seen a greater traction
in the Indian marketplace.

Computers prices are yet
to reach the levels of creating the point of inflexion. This is
partly due to the fact that while most of the major end-producers
are based in India, very few components/subsystem suppliers have
involved in any engagement here. The solution lies in facilitating
effective end-to-end supply chain ecosystem in India, which will
eventually lead to cost arbitrage and job opportunity. These actions
will establish India as an IT hardware location in the long term. The
fact that India has one of the lowest PC penetrations among the major
countries in the world, there is a paradox of stimulating growth to
attract investment in India. Prices for PC components are never
steady. They dip and rise like a roller coaster ride. The
fluctuations in prices can be due to a number of reasons such as
stock shortage or products with EOL (end of life) dates.

Now, lets take a look at
each of the components in terms of how are they faring in the market.
Considering the fierce competition in the motherboard market, it has
been going through some changes in the past couple of years. Vendors
had to bring out a lot of strategy to make themselves different,
wherein they have differentiated on the price and innovation fronts.
Some motherboard majors such as Asus and href="https://www.dqweek.com/channel-incentives-key-to-gigabyte-s-success">Gigabyte
have achieved a
growth rate of 18-20 percent in India.

Rajan Sharma, General
Manager-Sales and Marketing, Gigabyte, said, “Motherboard segment
has evolved during last two to three years substantially with a major
market share of about 90 percent lying with Intel, Gigabyte, and
Asus. Channel and customers recognize the consistency and post-sales
infrastructure and also the focus has shifted to quality components
and branded products. Hence, as the customer gets more informed and
educated, the motherboard segment will reach maturity.”

Gigabyte India has
revamped its entry-level motherboards with some additional features
for better performance. Recently, Gigabyte had also launched their
new series of motherboards for the new second generation Intel Core
processors (Sandy Bridge). The new series of motherboards are based
on the Intel P67 and H67 Express Chipsets, and deliver a host of
cutting-edge features designed to provide maximum CPU power.
Divulging more details, Sushmita Das, Country Manager, Kobian, said,
“Motherboard segment follows the CPU trend and the current popular
models still remain the G31 and G41 chipset. The Intel G41 chipset
has a sudden spurt owing to the improvement of DDR3 Module pricing.
Mercury PIG41Z and PIG31Z has been the mainstream models.” “The
growth has been good for the PC component market and can be pegged at
an approximately 10-11 percent in India compared to 2009. As
predicted every year, growth in C, D and E-class cities has been
strong and the potential of smaller cities is being felt. Demand for
mid and high-end motherboards has been consistently improving in the
last six months in C, D and E-class cities,” added Vinay Shetty,
Country Head-Component Business, Asus India.

Consumers in India tend to
believe that higher CPU or memory capacity will solve their
application problems. But gradually, people have realized that their
CPU-GPU combination is a better and cost-effective measure to enhance
the performance of their system. Therefore, parallel computing is
gaining momentum. With proper education to the end-user, the sky is
the limit for the GPU industry. The sales of GPUs are gaining great
momentum with the evolving technology that demands a faster and more
efficient system to run the latest applications. It will only
multiply from here. Over the past few years, India has not only seen
an increase in the gaming population, but also in the use of graphics
card segment. This in turn has helped the add-on or graphics card
market to thrive. Looking at the frenzy in the PCs marketplace, it is
fairly obvious that PCs are fueling growth in the hardware market.

Talking about the graphic
cards market, Nishant Goyal, Head-Sales, South Asia, Nvidia said,
“We believe that graphic cards have moved from a luxury category
into the category of 'must-have' for all PCs, tablets and smart
phones. No longer is the demand for stellar graphics restricted only
to avid gamers, graphics professionals and tech-enthusiasts. This
shift has been driven by the increasing importance of visual
computing to every part of the PC and mobile phone ecosystem and in
every form factor.” As storage densities have increased
dramatically over the years, one of the most elemental aspects of
hard drive design, the logical block format size, as a sector, has
remained constant. Over the last year or so, the hard drive industry
is migrating away from the legacy sector size of 512 bytes to a
larger, more efficient sector size of 4096 bytes, generally referred
to as 4K sectors, and is now referred to as the Advanced Format by
IDEMA (The International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials
Association). All hard drive companies in the IDEMA organization have
agreed that all new product platforms for desktop and notebook drives
sold through distribution channels will be Advanced Format
compatible.

Elucidating on the market
scenario for hard drive market, Rajesh Khurana, Country Manager-India
and SAARC, Seagate Technology said, “While the transition to
Advanced Format hard drives is good for customers and manufacturers,
the transition requires knowledge on the topic of hard drive
partition alignment. Advanced Format hard drives use 4K sectors on
the media, but still need to communicate to computers with legacy
512-byte sector logic. This is called 512-byte emulation and requires
that physical hard drive partitions to be aligned to logical
partitions used by the computer. When this does not happen,
partitions are said to be misaligned and hard drive performance is
negatively impacted. With the upgrade market in India being
particularly buoyant, high-capacity desktop drives such as the
Barracuda Green have very good scope in the market”.

Almost all major players
in the PC components sector are strengthening their product portfolio
and are coming out with new and feature-rich models at regular
intervals and with India-specific pricing. They are also bundled with
high capacity memory cards, better battery life, easy maneuvering
features and intelligent functionalities; thus promising more power
to the consumer.

The demand for PC
components is bound to go up and the future seems to be bright for
the IT hardware sector with the increase of PC penetration in India.
With the PC sales promising high growth/penetration in the coming
years, the PC components sales will automatically see a high growth
trajectory.

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