Entry Level Processors
Efforts to find reports, articles, and relevant press releases which provide information about the breakdown of use of entry-level computers prove that such information is largely unavailable within public domains. However, we were able to determine that there is currently no evidence which supports a correlation or behavioral pattern associations between the ownership of entry-level computers and how they may be used.
In addition to this, we found that DIY computer builders today often decide to purchase entry-level processors because they are more portable, power efficient, and affordable, yet are still capable of performing mainstream tasks just as well as high-performance processors. For this reason, the features DIY computer builders pay careful attention to include the processors' brand modifier, generation, and family—direct indicators of these parameters.
We also found that although Intel currently comprises a bigger overall market share in the global computer processor market, AMD dominates the global entry-level processor segment. Furthermore, AMD also has begun exhibiting dominance in European markets thanks to the success of its entry-level processors in Germany.
OTHER REASONS TO PURCHASE ENTRY-LEVEL PROCESSORS
CNet recently published an article which discusses the current cost efficiency of processors in terms of speed. According to the article, aside from being significantly cheaper, entry-level processors have appealed to DIY computer builders because of their current speed. It was mentioned that years ago, builders could immediately tell which processors were faster simply by taking note of the base specifications such as clock speed or number of processors. Nowadays, however, classifications of performance have gotten a lot more complicated. The article states that a new processor labeled as i7 could sometimes perform significantly worse compared to an older one labeled as duo-core. In addition to this, less expensive processors are currently capable of handling the demands of mainstream users—which is the typical market for entry-level processors.
Sources also indicate that the more affordable processors are often designed to be more portable and power efficient.
HOW COMPUTERS WITH ENTRY-LEVEL PROCESSORS ARE USED
Such demands of this demographic usually include web-browsing, managing emails, and word processing. For this reason, the cheaper entry-level processors have proven to be the current better choice both for builders and users that do not intend to use computers for intensive tasks such as hardcore gaming, rendering, and video editing.
IMPORTANT FEATURES FOR BUILDERS USING ENTRY-LEVEL PROCESSORS
How To Geek published an article that provides a walkthrough for building a computer. The article states that the computer components which builders need will depend entirely on the intended purpose for the machine. This applies to both enthusiasts looking to build a powerful gaming rig and to those looking for entry-level computers for non-intensive tasks.
After consulting articles by computer media websites such as Laptop Magazine, technology resource databases such as Laptop Study, and curated compilations of metrics by tech companies such as Livestream, we found that there is a lack of comprehensive surveys which show the features DIY computer builders deem most important when purchasing or working with entry-level processors. In light of this, we redirected our research toward guides—directed toward computer builders—for choosing the proper processor.
Laptop Magazine is a New York-based information resource for product evaluations for computers and components. In an article they recently published, they presented a chart which categorizes processors into five different classes depending on their price. The top-of-the-line processors such as the Intel i7H Series is typically used for workstations and intense gaming. AMD's Ryzen Mobile 7 and the Intel U Series chipsets are slightly cheaper but are still capable of handling somewhat heavy tasks and gaming. Just below are the mid-level chipsets such as the AMD Ryzen Mobile 5, which is designed for everyday tasks and light gaming. Entry-level chipsets such as the Intel Core M series were stated to offer portability and decent enough performance, but were significantly cheaper. Lastly, the least powerful options such as the Intel Atom series were also designed to cost the least.
Laptop Magazine's guide also contains a breakdown of the displayed model names of computer processors and how builders interpret them.
Typically following the brand, processor names would usually have a brand modifier. An example of this is the i7 in the Intel i7 family of chipsets. This is often a direct indicator of the performance level of the processor. Intel categorizes their chipsets as either i3, i5, or i7, with i3 being the cheapest, the least powerful, the most compact, and the most power efficient.
Following the brand modifier is the generation. While comparing the Intel i7-7Y75 processor, with the Intel i7-6Y75 processor, it is immediately evident to builders that the latter is an older model due it having a smaller number.
The letter that follows the generation is meant to indicate the family of the processor. Going back to the i7-7Y75, it is clear that it belongs to the Y Family of Intel's processors. According to Laptop Study, Intel has a long list of processor families such as U and HQ. This is also a direct indicator of what each processor was designed for. It was stated that the U family is designed to be a lot cheaper and more power efficient, while the HQ family is designed to be able to compete with the most powerful processors.
According to a report by Market Realist about the 2017 computer processor market, Intel currently comprises 80 percent market share. AMD was stated to be the only competitor to have a significant share within the market. However, the report states that AMD currently comprises a bigger market share within the entry-level processor segment.
An article published by Digiworthy states that AMD has recently surpassed Intel in Europe's computer processors market. This is largely thanks to AMD's Ryzen 5 1600, which Digital Trends state is currently one of the best-selling entry-level processors.
MAINSTREAM PC USAGE
After exhaustive research, we found that information about the mainstream usage of PCs with entry-level processors is not directly available due to a number of reasons:
1. Data about PC usage is very personal information and would vary from user to user. The collection of such information would require the submission of the users themselves of data regarding how they use their machines, which does not typically happen.
2. Online activities of a person may be tracked by the platform which he/she uses, just as YouTube as a provider may have data of how much time a user is using on their platform watching. However, in order to determine exactly what people using entry-level processors do—and how much they use such services—requires compilation of data taken from all such platforms. There are currently no studies which necessitate that these platforms divulge user-specific information.
3. There is no evidence that people who purchase $500 computers maintain a constant user behavior. People of differing socioeconomic status may exhibit differences in habits and preferences. Computer use also varies from weekends-weekdays and on age and gender.
5. Marketers are interested in the percentage break-down across devices for a person's online activity as it dictates advertiser's strategy. An example of this includes studies about how much time a specific demographic is spending on desktop, mobile, or tablet. However, there are still no publicly available studies that provide a more comprehensive vertical breakdown of similar devices.
Our search has taken us through numerous sources such as reports by industry research companies like Nielsen, data resource websites such as Statista, and articles by computer-focused media sites such as Computer Profile.
AVERAGE TIME SPENT
Upon redirecting our research toward studies which may provide information that could be used to find a triangulation, we found data published by eMarketer which indicates that as of 2017, US adults spend an average of 2 hours and 8 minutes a day using their laptop. The study provides no data which further segments this information by high-end or entry-level processor use.
We proceeded to redirect our research toward studies about how Americans spend their time while using computers. We found an article published by Livestream which states that on average, computer users globally spend around 34 minutes a day watching live videos. Data also shows that this figure drops significantly to just 2.6 minutes a day for video-on-demand services. Further research led us to a survey by Nielsen which shows that as of the first quarter of 2016, around 8 percent of millennials "spend their average weekly gross minutes of video time" watching content on their PCs. For comparison, this figure rises to 23 percent for TV-connected devices and 66 percent for traditional TV. Nielsen has not been able to publish similar findings for other age groups.
According to the latest data collected by the US Census Bureau, 80.6 percent of Americans aged 15-34 owned either a PC or a laptop. This figure rises to 84.7 percent for those aged 35-44, just before dropping down to 82.3 percent for those aged 45-64, and dropping further to 65.4 percent for those aged 65 and above. There are currently no existing studies which provide this information segmented further by the components installed within their computers.
SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS SEGMENTATION
Statista published 2016 data which shows the difference in computer use depending on employment status. It was stated that on average, employed individuals spent around 17 minutes a day on games or leisurely activities on their computer during weekdays and 23 minutes a day during weekends. These figures drop to 15 percent and 21 percent respectively for full-time employed individuals, and rose significantly for part-time employed individuals at 26 and 31 minutes. Unemployed individuals spent the most on such activities with an average of 33 minutes during weekdays and 36 minutes during weekends.
According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, American men spend around 0.49 hours per day playing games and doing leisure activities on the computer, while women spend around 0.34 hours per day. These figures drop slightly during weekdays to an average of 0.47 hours for men and 0.31 hours for women. In contrast, these figures rise during the weekends to an average of 0.52 for men and 0.42 for women.
Market intelligence company Newzoo recently published their findings revolving around the habits of different gamer types segmented by the hardware of their computer. It was stated that nowadays, the stereotypical gamer might be segmented into two different groups depending on the type of games they prefer the most. The first type of gamer was stated to play less visually-intensive games such as League of Legends (LoL), while the second type of gamer would focus on very graphically-intense games such as Battlefield 1. These findings are based on the analysis which found that there was only a 4 percent overlap among the two groups in terms of the computer hardware they purchased.
Focusing solely on computer processors, Battlefield 1 players had a greater tendency of purchasing top-of-the-line Intel chips, while LoL players would more often prefer lower-end integrated Intel or AMD chips. This trend is also evident in their purchasing decisions for other hardware components while building PCs. Findings indicate that Battlefield 1 players have a higher tendency to purchase more powerful GPUs and higher capacity RAM.
DESKTOP VS. LAPTOP
The same study by Newzoo also found that players stereotyped to prefer more graphics intensive games had a greater inclination toward gaming on PCs rather than laptops. This is evident in data which shows that 27.7 percent of LoL players in the US use laptops for gaming, compared to just 10.3 percent of Battlefield 1 players.
Consumer Reports recently published a guide on buying computers. It was stated that those who build their own computers typically intend to use their machines for more tasking activities while those that purchase cheaper computers, laptops, or components, typically intend to use their machines for less demanding activities. This trend is continued in their future purchases, where they would normally upgrade their machines—aiming to improve them—but still focusing on the same tasks.
Findings presented within the aforementioned article by Newzoo also suggest that Battlefield 1 players are more likely to purchase specialist devices. Data shows that 32 percent of this group had purchased an MSI PC, while 26 percent purchased a PC from Gigabyte technology, and 6.6 percent purchased a PC from Alienware.
OTHER USEFUL FINDINGS
Statista recently published 2017 data about the processor purchasing decisions of Steam gamers. In terms of brand, data shows that 81 percent of Steam gamers had reported using Intel chipsets. Although there was no data available which directly shows differences between computer builders who choose entry-level processors and those that choose more expensive options, findings indicate that the majority (52 percent) of Steam gamers reported using more powerful quad-core processors.
Based on our previous findings which show that the best-selling Intel Processors often belong to high-performance chipset families, and that best-selling AMD processors often belong to entry-level chipset families, this may indicate that builders who use entry-level processors may not be fond of purchasing games on the Steam platform.
There is currently no evidence which supports a correlation or behavioral pattern associations between the ownership of entry-level computers and how they may be used. DIY computer builders today often decide to purchase entry-level processors because they are more portable, power efficient, and affordable, yet are still capable of performing mainstream tasks just as well as high-performance processors. Because of this, DIY computer builders pay careful attention to the processors' brand modifier, generation, and family—which are direct indicators of these parameters. Although Intel currently comprises a bigger overall market share in the global computer processor market, AMD dominates the global entry-level processor segment. Furthermore, AMD also has begun exhibiting dominance in European markets thanks to the success of its entry-level processors in Germany.