In the Intel galaxy, the CPU is an inexorable black hole. A gravity well so strong that nothing can escape it as it consumes every function of the PC.
Don’t believe us? Witness add-in MPEG-2 decoders, hardware modems, hardware-accelerated soundcards, and Ethernet controllers, all of which have been swallowed by the all-powerful CPU. With Intel’s last CPU, the Lynnfield LGA1156 processor, the memory controller and even PCI-E functions were eaten by the CPU, too.
Now with Intel’s new Clarkdale (and its mobile equivalent, Arrandale) the company is taking the first step in trying to eat a gas-giant of functionality by moving a GPU core directly inside of the CPU.
But not only is Clarkdale the first Intel chip with graphics, it’s also our first glimpse at a CPU using Intel’s new, smaller-process technology. Current Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs are based on the original 45nm Nehalem design that Intel introduced more than a year ago. Clarkdale uses a newer 32nm process that is part of the Westmere family. For the most part, Westmere is an evolutionary step forward and a simple die-shrink of Nehalem, but Intel did add some interesting performance enhancements.
Read on for details about what makes Clarkdale unique.
In many respects, it’s more difficult to build a great cheap PC than it is to build a more expensive one. In fact, the less money you have to spend, the more vital it is that every dollar delivers measurable value. With that in mind, we sat down with one simple goal: to build the best inexpensive, multipurpose PC that we would want to use ourselves. We didn’t start with any particular budget, but at every turn we shaved as much from the cost as we could—trimming the fancy case, ditching an unnecessary 800W PSU, and scuttling the spendy Core i5 CPU.
The result is an incredibly lean, but still powerful machine featuring a quad-core CPU, a GPU capable of playing anything on a 22-inch panel, and… well, you’ll have to hit the jump to see the rest. Rest assured, though, this is a machine that would be welcome in any of our homes, whether we’re playing games, editing video, touching up photos, ripping movies, or simply surfing the Internet. Oh yeah, we’ll also show you how to assemble the components like a pro, one easy-to-follow step at a time.
And just to keep the whole thing good and honest, we stopped by our local Best Buy and bought the best comparably priced system they had, which we pitted against our ultra-budget machine in a steel-cage match to the death. Want to see who wins? Read on to find out.
A lot has happened in the last 12 months. At the start of the year, iTunes was still peddling DRM, Yahoo and Microsoft were at bitter odds over the latter’s takeover attempts, Nvidia had the fastest consumer videocard, and the ”cloud” was still a burgeoning concept. Oh, how times have changed. Follow along as we relive and reflect upon some of the most memorable moments, products, and people to impact computer users over the last year.
What was your favorite tech product or event or 2009? Let us know in the comments!
It's the holiday season, the time for giving and receiving gifts. If one of those gifts turns out to be a netbook--an inexpensive, ultraportable notebook computer--then you've got some work ahead of you. To get the most out of your new netbook, there are a number of tweaks and upgrades you'll want to perform. In this netbook starter guide, we show you 10 essential things you should do after powering up your system for the first time. This checklist will save you from worrisome troubleshooting in the future and ensure that you make the most out of your portable companion computer.
Read on and find out how you can get more out of your littlest computer.
PC gaming isn't dead, and you know it. Just take a look at the new games available on Steam or populating the shelves at Target. The sheer number of excellent PC games released this holiday season is a testament to the strength of the platform. From high-profile blockbusters like Batman: Arkham Asylum to critical darlings like Torchlight, there's no shortage of quality content to keep you gaming through the new year. We pick out 22 of the best PC games you can buy right now (many of them already discounted as a part of holiday deals), and spotlight several indie gems that cost under $10. We also name 8 highly-anticipated games coming out in the first part of 2010.
Read on for proof that PC gaming still has a lot of fight left in it. And be sure to let us know what your favorite PC games of 2009 have been, what you've bought this holiday season, and what you're looking forward to as well!
Downloading video isn't rocket science, but it sure can feel that way sometimes. First, you have to figure out what kind of video it is you're trying to snag from cyberspace. Then there's the question of what to do with it once you've downloaded the clip to your hard drive. And that's assuming you even got that far, fetching Flash-based content isn't as simple as mashing a 'download' button, nor will it play in Windows Media Player. In fact, there's' a good chance the video you downloaded won't play on your portable device, either.
The underlying problem with video playback is there isn't a single universal standard. There are as many file containers as there are handheld digital devices, and don't even get us started on codecs.
Is this all starting to sound foreign to you? Don't worry if it is, on the following the pages we're going to show you the ins and outs of video playback. We'll start with the basics, like explaining what a file container is and why it matters, and then move on to more advanced topics, such as how to convert just about any video clip into a format that's compatible with your mobile device. We'll also show you how to handle subtitles, enable GPU Flash acceleration, and a whole lot more.
There's an untold bounty of awesome available on the Internet, and it's all free, free, FREE! From applications and games to movie tickets and mattresses, we'll show you what's safe and steer you away from the unsavory.
As inhabitants of the Internet, we’ve become so inured to the hyperbolic advertising and questionable offers that we miss the incredible values that are ripe for the taking. If you know where to look, you can find all sorts of awesome stuff available for the low, low cost of $0. Whether you’re looking for a great image management app, free AAA games, or the proverbial free lunch, we can tell you where to find it. But wait, there’s more! We’ll also show you three things that seem free, but really aren’t.
No power user runs Windows with just stock settings; the plethora of third-party PC utilities is an embarrassment of riches. But what about Microsoft's own contributions? Tools like SyncToy and Pro Photos are pretty well known, but there's actually a wealth of advanced tools buried in the Sysinternals section of Microsoft's Technet site for IT professionals.
The Sysinternals site hosts some of the most powerful Windows utilities you can find. Yet surprisingly, not too many people know about them, since TechNet is primarily a System Administrator resource. Whether you're looking for more powerful ways to find out what's under the hood of Windows, need help creating VHD images for use with virtualization hosts, or just wanting to play a joke on your co-workers, these little-known utilities have you covered. We cherry pick and explain the features of the ten most useful Sysinternals tools, and then show you the best of the rest.
Read on to dive into this awesome stash of Microsoft-sanctioned tools and tweakers for Windows XP, Vista, and 7!
Left 4 Dead 2 is great fun, but there are only so many maps that actually come with the game. And until Valve releases any additional map packs, community-created maps are your best bet for fresh content. But why not learn how to make your own custom maps? With Valve's Hammer World Editor and Google's free SketchUp program, it's actually much easier than you think.
Valve's Hammer is the game map editor that comes with the Left 4 Dead Software Development Kit (SDK). Google SketchUp is a free 3D design application that has myriad uses. Using both tools, you can design and make custom shapes and objects that would be impossible to generate with Hammer alone.
We're going to show you, step-by-step, how to use these tools to make a single Survival map for Left 4 Dead. We'll cover the basics of Hammer, the art of designing a building from a reference photo, and crafting simple objects to use in-game. The techniques we introduce apply to both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. They'll also help you make maps for other Source engine games, like Counter-Strike, Half-Life 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2.
Grab and seat and dive in. Making a Left 4 Dead map is a perfect D-I-Y project for the Holiday weekend
Some time ago, we published a list of The 16 Most Essential Firefox 3.5 Add-ons. It was quite a comprehensive list, covering a pretty wide swath of popular and lesser-known add-ons in a courageous attempt to outfit your Firefox with all the additional functionality it otherwise lacks. Of course, it's difficult to really boil down the perfect Firefox experience into only 16 little extensions. I'm sure you could easily come up with 20 or 30 add-ons for the ultimate browser build.
But what about our long-forgotten friend, poor Google Chrome? Google just opened the floodgates to its own extension gallery the other day and, naturally, the first thing running through my mind is the question that's likely running through everybody's minds: How does it stack up? Well, no sense in waxing poetic about it. Let's find out. Just how easily can you replicate the ideal Firefox experience using Google add-ons, and in what ways is the browser--or, rather, the third-party add-on developers--lacking versus Firefox?