2014 will be an interesting year from a technology perspective.
Not only will it be the year of exciting that exciting new technologies are introduced to the public, it is also the year in which many computer users need to make a decision with far-reaching consequences.
Please feel free to leave comments below the article to post your opinion on this. I'd also like to hear your predictions or certainties for 2014.
Here are 4 technology certainties for 2014 that will change things around a lot.
1. The Death of Windows XP
You did not see that one coming, right? Windows XP is still used by millions every day, and while the operating system has lost usage share percentages, it is still the second most-used Windows operating system. It trails Windows 7 which has established itself as the major desktop operating system ever since it was published in 2009.
Microsoft's most recent operating system Windows 8 on the other hand is placed third, but there is a huge gap between the system and Windows XP or Windows 7.
Windows XP will no longer be supported come April 2014. What this means is that Microsoft won't produce security patches for the operating system anymore.
The consequence here is that Windows XP systems will be vulnerable to newly discovered vulnerabilities, and while there may be mitigating factors, like security software, it is generally not recommended to run the system after that date.
Windows XP users can update to Windows 7 or Windows 8 to keep on using Windows, and many may do so as it is the easiest choice.
Others may decide to switch to Linux or another free operating system, or keep on using Windows XP regardless of the security impact that decision has.
SMR Hard Drives breaking the 1 TB per platter barrier
Hard drive capacities are currently maxed out at 4 Terabyte per hard drive. This is mainly caused by the 1 TB per platter barrier that is in effect since about 2010.
Seagate has been working on a new technology called Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) which breaks the limit for the first time.
Instead of aligning data tracks next to each other, SMR overlaps them which increases the capacity by 25%.
The company plans to make SMR hard drives available to the public in 2014, starting with 5 TB hard drives. The company has pledged to release 20 TB disks in 2020 using the technology, and while it looks good on paper, prototype reviews have shown that random write and read performance have not been at current levels yet.
DDR4 SDRAM will enter the computing world in early 2014. According to manufacturers like Crucial, DDR4 memory technology will boost performance and other factors in several ways.
The new memory technology uses less power -- up to 20% less -- than current DDR3 memory, and is up to 2x faster than DDR3 at the same time.
DDR3, which was introduced in 2007 has been the standard ever since, and it is likely that DDR4 will replace it from 2014 onwards.
The new technology requires new motherboards, which means that most computer users will come into contact with it when they buy new systems, build a new system, or update existing systems with a new motherboard and other parts.
Samsung's V-Nand technology for Flash Memory will increase the capacities of Flash Memory significantly. The company has been mass producing V-Nand based SSD for some time now, but products will hit the general consumer market in 2014.
Samsung claims that V-Nand achieves twice the density of current generation memory products, and that it will improve performance by up to 20% and consume 40% less power at the same time. According to Tom's Hardware, their V-Nand flash technology offers 35,000 program erase cycles instead of the 2000 to 3000 in current products.
If you want to read up on what is known about V-Nand visit Anandtech which offers a great overview of the technology.