Our first Ivy Bridge laptops: How do they perform?

Laptops updated with Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processors are finally here, but is there as much to be excited about compared with last year's Sandy Bridge CPUs?

Intel hasn't made such dramatic claims this time around as far as pure processor speed, but there are plenty of other improvements including eight-way Hyper-Threading, Turbo Boost 2.0, integrated USB 3.0, and native Thunderbolt support. The only two parts any mainstream consumer's likely to care about are the CPU gains and new Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics, which promise to greatly boost gaming performance without dedicated graphics.

Soon enough our CNET Labs will be flooded with Ivy Bridge laptops, and we'll have more real-life examples of Ivy Bridge products than you can shake a stick at. Until then, we've tested two early examples of high-end quad-core Ivy Bridge Core i7 processors that Origin and Intel have sent us.… Read more

PC processor shipments break record

PC processors are the latest tech segment bouncing back from the recession.

Third-quarter shipments of computer processors, or CPUs, climbed 23 percent over the second quarter of 2009, doubling typical growth and setting a record for sequential growth, according to an IDC report released Monday.

Revenue from processor sales also bounced back to hit $7.4 billion, a 14 percent gain over the second quarter, according to IDC's "Worldwide PC Processor 3Q09 Vendor Shares" report.

IDC viewed the record levels in shipments as a promising sign in economic recovery.

"Most meaningful about 3Q09 is that, since … Read more

The 'Rochester Cube': CPUs move into the third dimension

Scientists at the University of Rochester have created what they say is the first true 3D processor--and it's running at 1.4GHz.

Unlike past attempts at 3D processors, which were simply a number of processors stacked on top of one another, the "Rochester Cube," as it is being called, was designed from the ground up to optimize all key-processing functions vertically, in the same way ordinary chips optimize functions horizontally.

So while there are other 3D chips, this design is supposedly the first to integrate each layer in a seamless and efficient way.

Eby Friedman, a professor … Read more

Computers and hardware CES 2008 wrap-up

CES 2008 may not have been a show for big wows, but there was plenty to talk about, at least on the computers and hardware front. For starters, Lenovo introduced three IdeaPads, the company's first consumer-oriented laptops for the U.S. market. (Lenovo also announced a corresponding line of desktops, predictably named IdeaCentre, for release in Europe, though we expect the line to reach our shores soon.)

HP caught our attention with the sub-$1,000, HD-equipped SlimLine desktop. Dell gave us a peek into the future with its 16-inch laptop prototype and the XPS 630 gaming desktop. Gateway … Read more

CPU: The future of GPU?

For those who play PC games (and please count me in), the most expensive and necessary investment has always been the graphics card (also known as the GPU, graphics processing unit). High-end cards, from either ATI or nVidia, can cost $500 and up. That's not even factoring in the case, cooling system, power supply, etc., which also have to be equally high-end to support the increasingly large and power-hungry graphics cards. And there seems to be no end to all this. Or is there?

At IDF 2007, there was a demo running Quake 4. There wasn't much to … Read more

Waiting on Penryn and Phenom

Buying a new PC (or upgrading your current machine) isn't merely a question of what to buy, but also when to buy. With cheaper, faster, better, technology always around the corner, you can't completely avoid the feeling of buyer's remorse in the weeks or months following your purchase, no matter how carefully you map it.

Now is a particularly difficult time for desktop buyers and upgraders as both AMD and Intel have major CPU introductions planned for the end of the year. Intel is expected to release its 45nm Penryn chips, while AMD should deliver its native … Read more