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Seven Years

Seven is a number full of significance. In Christianity, the world was made in seven days. In Hindu mythology, there are seven worlds in the universe, seven seas in the world. In mathematics, it's a lucky prime. Randomly, there were seven wonders in the ancient world, Seven Years in Tibet, seven colors in a rainbow, seven virtues and seven deadly sins, Seven Samurai, seven years of bad luck, Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch, and Silent PC Review is officially seven years old today.

Successful web sites, like magazines, must change over time, with the needs and wants of audiences as well as the sphere they cover. When SPCR was launched, there was a clear need for explorations into basics of PC quieting, including all kinds of hardware how-to details. In seven years, SPCR has covered just about every aspect of PC silencing in exhaustive details. New visitors often gape agog at the mountain of information here on this seemingly limited niche.

We continue reviewing PC components relevant to noise, heat and power, and
we do it in a more comprehensive and sophisticated way than ever before. Ditto
complete computers. No other tech review site has our level of acoustic test
equipment — including a
communally funded anechoic chamber!
— or the experience and understanding
to use them and interpret the results for computer gear. The reviews are almost
entirely scripted, with very carefully devised standard methodologies.

This is not a new world to us or many of SPCR's regular readers, and we're no longer in the exploration mode of the first few years when not only the editorial team but every member of the forums participated in the excitement of discovery and adding to the combined knowledge about computer acoustics and silencing. Those days have passed.

A thriving forum built up at SPCR over those seven years, with a core membership of the most highly evolved practitioners of the art and science of silent computing. Newbies are welcome with open arms from "old hands" happy and willing to lend a guiding hand. It's also one of the most gracious forums, where the egocentric, childish, competitive sniping behavior common to so many web forums is conspicuously absent or quickly snubbed out by popular action.

The PC as we knew it seven years ago is passing into history. The tower ATX PC that dominated computing for nearly two decades is giving way to smaller, greener, more highly integrated computers. It is a transition I find fascinating. In a few years, only tech labs and enterprises, hardcore ubergeeks, and special application users will be employing tower PCs. Perhaps even PC gaming addicts will have moved to higher efficiency mATX-based or smaller PCs. The vast majority will be using store-bought notebooks and new mini computers predicted by the SFF innovators over the past few years. MiniITX, PicoITX, Intel Atom, the VIA Nano cpu, nVidia Ion -- these are some of the products that herald the start of a new wave of ubiquitous computing. In many ways, the computer industry has succeeded beyond its pioneers' wildest dreams. Computing devices are absolutely everywhere, in just about everything we make. Fridges that order milk and eggs via internet for home delivery by the local grocery store are realities, as are mobile phones that play music and videos, provide access to email and web, act as a GPS, and perform all kinds of specialized computing applications.

For SPCR to remain unchanged, covering only "traditional" PC form factor products, is to address a shrinking audience. No web site that needs revenue to survive can ignore audience factors. The site will not last forever, but it can have relevance into the future, even as we move closer to noiseless computing with solid state drives and ultra low power chips. When mainstream computers no longer have fans, spinning storage drives, or other mechanical moving devices, then SPCR's original mission will be accomplished. Until that time, we'll continue to expand coverage into relevant areas that may surprise and hopefully please our core audiences, and attract new ones. Another seven years seems unlikely, but we'll see how SPCR adapts and morphs.

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