By Troy DreierPosted 06.29.2012 at 3:15 pm 0 Comments
Last October, Acer and Asus debuted the first ultrabooks, a class of laptops characterized by their sub-inch-thick chassis. The trim designs, however, left engineers little room to include graphics cards or large, fast processors.
In my future house, I want a refrigerator that will tell me its contents via Wi-Fi, so I'll be able to check whether I need extra butter when I'm at the market. I want a lamp that will turn on when it senses sunset, so I won't have to adjust my automatic timers; I want a garden-watering system that will gauge whether my tomato plants are thirsty; and I want an outdoor rain/hail/snow sensor so I can make better weather spotter reports.
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?
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 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.
Nvidia had a surprising announcement left for the end of an otherwise hyperbolic press conference: a chip known as "Project Denver" (mysterious!) that'll be the company's first processor, based on the ARM core but destined for higher-power machines. What does that mean in real-world terms? It means your next laptop might have amazing battery life, maybe even the mythical all-day battery, without sacrificing too much performance.
Most people with even the most fundamental knowledge of how computer chips work are familiar with binary logic -- the system of ones and zeros that enable modern computing to occur -- in which an input always results in a solid result (either a one or a zero).