A wave of Ultrabooks -- light, thin laptops that have more capabilities and fewer compromises than ever -- is hitting the market. Here's a look at some of the current crop
Stories by Loyd Case
A few years ago businesspeople carried a laptop on the road, used a desktop PC in the office, and worked on another PC at home. Maybe they had a BlackBerry, too--but only if they were real big shots.
The Intel Developer Forum concludes today. Read on for news on Intel's new mobile plans, future integrated GPU designs, and more.
Microsoft's original Windows Home Server was both crude and groundbreaking. When it debuted, it had limited hardware support, no 64-bit version, and weak built-in capabilities beyond file and app storage. On the other hand, it offered robust backup, reasonable security, and drive extender -- a feature that simplified the tasks of adding and pooling hard drives.
The Samsung SF510 undeniably looks good. Its sleek white exterior makes this all-purpose laptop look thinner than it really is, and the light weight doesn't hurt either. Flipping open the lid reveals an LED-backlit, 15.6-inch display and a nearly full size keyboard, complemented by a separate numeric keypad. The unit weighs just 5 pounds, 8 ounces without the power brick and 6 pounds, 3 ounces fully loaded.
You've finally gone and bought a new PC. It has a boatload of memory, lots of cores, and a fast, modern graphics card. But now your old computer sits in a corner, and although you know it's just a machine, it seems to be sulking like a puppy that missed its morning biscuit. It's weird, but you feel guilty with the whole idea of throwing it out.
The Dell Latitude 13 ultraportable laptop inspires technolust when you first pick it up. It's sleek, it has a great keyboard, and it weighs less than 3.5 pounds without the power brick. The LED-backlit display looks pretty good for most desktop chores. And all of this laptop-PC goodness comes in a package just 0.65 inch thick.
Once upon a time, in the distant past, there was VGA. VGA begat "Windows Accelerators" -- graphics chips that were slightly enhanced beyond dumb frame buffers in order to accelerate Windows-specific functions to paint small "w" windows on the screen faster. Later came 3D, along with a number of competing standards. That all settled out to mostly Direct3D on Windows and OpenGL everywhere else.
On Tuesday, Nvidia announced it was going to support x86 processors as a target for CUDA applications. This means that apps that are currently written to support Nvidia's GPU line for compute applications will be able to run on standard x86 CPUs--no GPU needed.
Nvidia's GPU Tech Conference is evolving to have an even stronger emphasis on high performance computing than the past couple of years. Yes, there are token nods towards the consumer side of the business--Cyberlink is at the show, demoing 3D Blu-ray--but that's about it. PNY is here, but showing its Tesla and Quadro based professional solutions.
HP's design philosophy when it comes to the Envy series of laptops is to borrow liberally from Apple's Macbook line, then add some of its own flavor. The Envy 17 is no exception. At less than 8 pounds without the power brick, the Envy 17 is barely thicker than an inch and includes robust media playback capabilities - including Blu-ray movies.
Building a PC is a little like walking a tightrope without a net. Okay, it's not quite that dangerous, but unlike buying an off-the-shelf system, you have to be your own tech support staff.
Even accomplished geeks shy away from motherboard upgrades on their main PCs. Years ago, I would often upgrade gaming and test systems in my own basement lab, but keep chugging along with a production machine using a two-year-old motherboard and CPU.
Overclocking refers to pushing your computer components harder and faster than the manufacturer designed them to go. The initial pitch is seductive: Buy a slower, lower-cost CPU; juice up the clock speed; and presto! You have a cheap, high-end processor.
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