Bit-tech posted an insightful and well-organized article last week discussing the subtleties of what truly defines an enthusiast in the computing industry. This is probably one of the better articles I have read in a very long time...http://www.bit-tech.net/bits/2008/03/03/misinterpreting_the_enthusiast/
Here are the highlights I have noted that give this article its incredibly well-concluded perspective of the industryEnthusiast: Defined
The bottom line is all about how the enthusiast is defined. To hardware companies, they'd like to think we are one of two distinct types: the people that have so much disposable income they will always get the latest, bleeding edge parts regardless of cost, and take the accumulated benefit of all it to a slightly better system than anyone else. Well, for three to six months.
Every company that makes an ‘enthusiast’ product only really wants to know this type of people because it’s how they make their margins. Think of 3-way SLI, the 8800 Ultra, CrossFireX, Intel Extreme Edition processors and just about any ‘gamer’ motherboard you can think of.
The greater majority of us are enthusiasts for an entirely different reason: cost efficiency, value and a love for tinkering with a product to get the most out of it. We are the type of people that want to get the most out of the least we can get away with – this is where overclocking a £750 system to make it equivalent to something that retails at £1,500 seems like a sound investment. This is where our history lies before all these companies jumped in on the ‘enthusiast/gamer’ bandwagon, only to re-spin it in shiny housing and flooding it in blue LEDs. It's then pimped out as having bigger numbers than the next guy (euphemisms encouraged).
We've got to stop the rot of this ‘gaming-enthusiast-platform’, stop being massaged into a corner – no matter how good it might feel. The opportunity to do something homebrew will be diminished to the point where only a handful of the most hardcore electrical engineers with oscilloscopes, thick glasses and degree plagues mounted on the wall will be able to do cool new things.
In some ways I fear for our creed because I'm afraid there the little tangible benefit to future ‘features’ hyped up to the max by marketers: PhysX and Killer NIC immediately come to mind. I just hope the press, companies and the community can understand the differences between real enthusiasts and those who just want to update their 3DMark score with an injection of e-peen.
What we, as members of the press, need to ensure is that our reviews of products don't purely become a list of features and buzz words, and instead talk about its relevance to the actual computing experience. There will always be a market for the latest and greatest, and yes, we always love to know about it even if we can't afford it, but let’s not get coaxed into going down that a path of no return that restricts our future choices.