Faster processors and things you need to know


macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 12, 2006
Antarctica City;)

Processor Wars

The Buzz: Both AMD and Intel are shaking things up in the processor market as the chip titans prepare to launch new processors. AMD's transition is a simple one: By the time you read this, its desktop Athlon 64, 64-FX, X2, and Sempron lines will have moved to a new socket called AM2. The chief benefit of the socket change is support for DDR2 memory, which doesn't cost much more than standard DDR these days. That should provide a small speed increase for AMD-based PCs, but nothing like the boost expected from Intel's Core 2 Duo desktop chips, due this summer. Intel claims that its next-generation CPU will provide a 40 percent increase in processing power and a 40 percent reduction in energy usage versus today's Pentium C 950 chips.

Bottom Line: If you need a new PC right this minute, an AMD-based AM2-socket system is a solid choice. But if you can hold off a bit, and you don't mind the double deuce references, it might pay to wait for the first benchmarks of Core 2 Duo PCs.
Wide Screens at Work

The Buzz: As the tech industry continues its push to make sure that movies look good on every conceivable device, wide-aspect notebook panels are becoming cheaper and more common. That's leading some notebook vendors to consider adding them to even plain-vanilla laptops. Business notebooks from Fujitsu and HP are among the first to make the transition, but you can expect to see more business-focused wide screens this year. Heck, even Lenovo is offering a wide-screen model in its ThinkPad line.

Bottom Line: The wide-screen look may be all the rage, but if you're primarily browsing the Web and working on office documents, you'll quickly start to miss the extra vertical resolution you get from a comparable standard-aspect display. There's a reason books are taller than they are wide: Your eye can track only so far across a line.
Tiny SD and Wi-Fi

The Buzz: So your digital camera didn't come with built-in Wi-Fi? That's probably a good thing, since the Wi-Fi cameras we've tested haven't impressed. Plus, soon you'll be able to easily add Wi-Fi to any camera that uses SD Cards. A start-up called Eye-Fi is behind the technology, which packs a Wi-Fi adapter into a standard-size SD Card along with 1GB of storage. Eye-Fi's $100 Eye-Film card can even automatically upload images to your computer or an online photo sharing service.

Bottom Line: Isn't miniaturization great? Let's hope the Eye-Fi folks can make this work with more than just cameras. I know plenty of Treo users who'd love this card.
Future Tech: Better CPU Cooling

If you've ever been concerned about all the heat your PC generates, you're probably familiar with thermal grease, a compound used to fill in the microscopic gaps between a computer's CPU and its heat sink. This type of thermal interface material helps to conduct heat away from the chip; the more efficient the TIM, the better the cooling. With processors getting faster (and hotter), researchers at Purdue University have been working to improve this interface, using carbon nanotubes. By arranging a "carpet" of heat-conducting nanotubes on both surfaces, the engineers say they've created a high-tech Velcro of sorts that conducts heat dramatically more efficiently than current TIMs do.
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Edited by:D