Research

Firewire Ready PCs

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FireWire origins date back to the mid-1980’s when Apple Computer devised a high-speed data transfer technology for Macintosh internal hard drives. In 1995, the IEEE announced the IEEE 1394 spec which is sometimes called the FireWire400. In 2002, the IEEE came out with a updated standard called IEEE 1394b which allowed for a theoretical maximum transfer rate of 3.2 Gbps. Apple soon released a subset of the new standard under the title of FireWire 800. In December 2007, the 1394 Trade Association announced the FireWire S3200 that will soon be available and that will support the full 3.2 Gbps transfer rate.

Display, Media and Network Drivers

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PC Pitstop Research took a look at the display, media (sound card) and network drivers for the PCs that ran our on line tests during the month of October 2007. Based on our observations, these hardware classes include devices that are likely to have the most frequent driver updates. When we compared a PC’s installed driver date to the newest driver date for a given device in our database, we were able to determine the percentage of PCs that were not using the newest driver for their hardware component.

PC Pitstop Driver Survey Results

The results of our October 2007 Driver Survey are in. Our initial analysis of the survey data is found below.

Over 7,500 respondents participated in this survey. 72% have updated a driver before and 78% have resolved a problem they were having by installing a different driver.

Run our free Driver Scan to check if your computers have the latest drivers.

Microsoft Excel 2007 Calculation Issue

Microsoft has now posted a hotfix package to its Web site that corrects this flaw in Excel 2007 and Excel Services 2007. The fix will be offered soon through Microsoft Update so that users can get the patch automatically without having to go to Microsoft’s site.

PC Pitstop PC Information Results

Our September 2007 survey polled the folks visiting the PC Pitstop web site to determine just how intimate people are with their PCs. Nine out of ten people surveyed indicated that they knew the manufacturer of their PC, the size of their hard drives and how much RAM is installed. Almost as many indicated that they remember the model number of their PC and who manufactured the CPU. No surprises there. These are the common attributes that PC marketers highlight in their ads and that most people look for when buying a PC.

US State Technology Metrics – Quartile Rankings


How does your state rank in general PC technology? We analyzed several technology metrics for folks running the PC Pitstop online tests and ranked the states based on our findings. Surprisingly, no one state or region clearly dominated all the metrics we reviewed. Delaware appears to have surfaced towards the top of the rankings while the states of Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas and Ohio generally ranked lowest.

Blizzard of SPAM


Pitstop users face a blizzard of spam – mostly aimed at the crotch.

The PC Pitstop users report they face more of a storm of spam than they did two years ago, with most of it aimed at sex, drugs and the theory that “bigger is better.”

The survey found that anyone who suffers from erectile dysfunction or is interested in increased penis size (including women) seems to have plenty of spam-delivered options. Pitstop users also reported a deluge of spam for software sales, Web greeting cards and excited emails from lawyers claiming the recipients have inherited money from strangers.

PC Pitstop Window’s Accessory Usage Survey Results

The PC Pitstop July 2007 survey took a look at how people make use of the Windows accessory tools, services and applications. These accessories are generally included as part of the Windows operating system with each providing some specific functionality for PC users.

Vista Trends

Microsoft launched Vista Business in late 2006 and Vista Home in early 2007. Our research shows that in July 2007, Vista was found on 12% of the PCs running the PC Pitstop online tests. Our research also shows that Vista is significantly lagging the historical XP launch ramp by almost 57%. In the six months following the XP launch in 2001, the operating system had grown to be found on over 28% of all PCs. Vista’s prevalence, after six months from its consumer Vista Home launch, sits at 12%.

DVD Copying Tools Software Trends

The PC has provided the ability for users to make, edit and copy of all types of digital information. PC Pitstop Research took a look at the prevalence of DVD decryption and ripping software found on the PCs running the analytical tests on our website. This type of software makes it possible for a PC user to decrypt and rip a DVD movie onto their hard drive or other digital media. A search of the Internet for DVD coping software reveals a variety of both freeware and commercial applications that a user can use to create backups of their DVD movies. Approximately 15% of the PCs visiting our web site have at least one of the DVD decryption and ripping applications installed.

World of Processors

Over the past 20+ years, the PC industry has revolved around key innovations in processor technology. Recent years have been marked by the emergence of multi-core processor technology. Today, there are essentially three types of processors currently available for the desktop PC user: single core, dual core, and quad core. The ‘core’ is the part of the microprocessor that does the work. This is different from computers with multiple processors.

PC Pitstop Online Video Survey Results

The PC Pitstop June 2007 survey took a look at how people are adapting to and using online video. Improvements in technologies and bandwidth have opened up a whole new way for how information is being shared and accessed on the internet. 40% of the folks that answered our survey indicate that they are frequently watching online news videos. Web sites such as YouTube.com and MySpace.come are basically allowing anyone, with a PC and the desire, to make and share their online videos with the world.

PC Pitstop PC Obsolescence Survey Results

The results of our May 2007 PC Gaming Survey have been analyzed. How many people use the various shortcuts or media features on their computer?

The significant highlights:

  • Over 70% of people under twenty reported not having a fax modem.
  • Almost 70% of people never use that menu button by the spacebar. Right-click does the same thing. It takes more energy to take your hand off the mouse than it does to right-click, however.
  • Not even 2% of people who responded use the SysRq key. Maybe it’s time to take that off the keyboard.

PC Bloatware Trends

PC manufacturers have been loading “trial application” on the PCs they sell for years. We took a look at three of the more common bloatware titles to get a view of the historical trends. The titles identified for our analysis included the WildTangent Game Console, URL Assistant by Google (aka Browser Address Error Redirector) and Microsoft’s own Activation Assistant for the 2007 Office Suites. Our research shows that the prevalence of these applications have more than doubled in the past year. Vista systems especially seem to a target for this software. Over 35% of Vista systems running PC Pitstop’s on-line tests in May 2007 had a least one of these bloatware application installed.

Unutilized D Drive Partitions

Our research shows that, overall, approximately 3.1% of PCs that have one physical hard drive also have an unutilized partition with drive letter D:. Our research indicates that 4.8% of portables and 2.4% of desktops have a D: drive partition that has 99% or more free space. It appears that it is common for some vendors to split the primary hard drive into two partitions. Often a drive is split into two equal partitions. If you think your hard drive capacity isn’t what you paid for, you might want to check to see if you have an unutilized drive partition.

PC Pitstop PC Gaming Survey Results

The results of our April 2007 PC Gaming Survey have been analyzed. Below are some of our findings.

Almost everyone has a favorite PC game. Almost 96% of the responders to our survey indicate that they play one or more PC games on a regular basis. While the games that are loaded with the Windows operating systems are not as addictive as other types, almost 70% indicated that they occasionally or regularly play these free games.

PC Pitstop Vista Survey Results

The results of our February and March 2007 Vista Survey are in. Our initial analysis of the survey data is found below.

In summary, the results of our survey are generally not good news for Microsoft. While Microsoft’s ‘The “Wow” starts now’ tag line for Vista marketing focuses attention to its visual and graphic capabilities, the software giant appears to have under-estimated the importance of marketing the more tangible benefits that PC users want or expect. Our survey results indicate a significant amount of uncertainty or confusion by PC users as to the benefits of upgrading to Vista.

PC Pitstop Storage and Backup Survey Results

The results of our December 2006 Storage and Backup Survey are in. Our initial analysis of the survey data is found below.

An astounding 27.5% of people never backup their hard drive, and 13% do it once a year. Personally, I backup once a month, and I really should do it more often. I am the owner of about 5 PC’s, and due to the law of averages, I experience about 1 hard drive crash a year. If you think of all the important information one stores on their PC’s, pictures, emails, work, videos, it would be a crime to lose all of this due to procrastinating a backup.