If you buy a cheapie laptop, you're going to get onboard graphics--historically underpowered, since they exist on the same die as the CPU, and thus historically crappy. To play serious games, or do any real video editing, you'd need to upgrade to a discrete graphics card.
The current and next generation of tablets are getting into a core war: three, four, even five cores are going to be popping up in your Android (and possibly iOS and Windows) tablets. But what's the point of this numbers battle?
Brain-like computers could soon become a lot more common. Earlier this year, we heard about a project involving DARPA and IBM to create a functioning neurosynaptic chip, which works somewhat like a brain in the way it learns and remembers. Now MIT engineers have designed a chip that mimics the function of a synapse in the brain, in its ability to model specific communications among neurons.
IBM researchers have built the first integrated circuit based on graphene, a breakthrough the company says could herald a future based on graphene wafers instead of silicon. The circuit, a 10 gigahertz frequency mixer, could give wireless devices greater range. At higher frequencies, the technology could someday allow law enforcement and medical personnel to see inside objects or people without the harmful effects of X-rays, according to IBM.
In a move that could remake the microchip industry, Intel announced Wednesday it will start mass-producing the first three-dimensional silicon transistors. The 3-D transistor design, which Intel says will improve efficiency by more than one-third, will be integrated into a 22-nanometer node in an Intel chip called Ivy Bridge.
If you’re looking to gin up a project that can interface with the world--say, a device that tells the weather using sensors--you’re probably going to need a microcontroller, a simple computer system on a circuit board that consists of a processor, memory and an input/output system. They are the centerpiece of many of my past PopSci projects, such as a desk clock that keeps superaccurate time by pulling in a signal broadcast from an atomic clock.
A new coating material for food packaging could keep sodas fizzy, chips crispy and military rations more edible, scientists say. It’s made of a thin film of nanoscale bits of clay, the same kind used to make bricks, mixed with polymers. When viewed under an electron microscope, the film looks like bricks and mortar, according to its creator.
A new native Chinese supercomputer set to debut this summer might be the most efficient ever built. It won’t be the fastest, but it sips power to perform terascale calculations, and it’s all built in China.
New tiny force sensors made out of paper cost just four cents apiece, possibly enabling cheap microelectromechanical devices in anything from consumer electronics to medicine.
Harvard professor George Whitesides developed the paper accelerometers using chromatography paper, tiny sliver and carbon contact pads, and vinyl stencils. The process is so cheap and easy that the sensors could be disposable.
OK, so it can’t reach the energies produced at the LHC or Tevatron, but this is still pretty impressive. Engineers at a micro-electro mechanical systems conference last week unveiled this tiny cyclotron device, which can speed argon ions down a 5-millimeter accelerator track.
Pills that only contain medicine are so very 20th century. Swiss pharma house Novartis thinks pills needn't merely deliver medicine to the bloodstream, but could also monitor its effects and transmit data to physicians. As such, the firm plans to bring a chip-in-a-pill technology before European regulators within 18 months that can both deliver drugs and transmit information from inside a patient’s body to a patch worn on the patient’s skin.
An updated version of a neurochip can monitor brain cells' communications at the clearest resolution yet, according to scientists in Canada. It's cellular-scale mind-reading -- or mind-listening, to be more precise.
Silicon chips are on the way out, at least if Duke University engineer Chris Dwyer has his way. The professor of electrical and computer engineering says a single grad student using the unique properties of DNA to coax circuits into assembling themselves could produce more logic circuits in a single day than the entire global silicon chip industry could produce in a month.
In fourth grade science class, we learned that sodium chloride always, always forms simple cube-shaped crystals. That was before a gang of mad potato chip scientists got their hands on it.
In response to the Food and Drug Administration's imminent consideration of regulating the amount of sodium food manufacturers can include in consumer goods, Pepsico, whose Frito-Lay division makes Lay's potato chips, is redesigning the good old salt molecule to make it healthier.
After a breathless race through the '80s and '90s, desktop computer clock speeds have spent the last decade languishing around the 3 gigahertz mark. That stagnation in processing speeds has prompted scientists to debate whether it's time to move beyond semiconductors -- and what better place to debate than in the journal Science?
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.