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69-year experiment captures pitch-tar drop

It took seven decades, but the pitch has finally been caught in the act.

Since 1944, physicists at Trinity College in Dublin have been trying to measure the viscosity of pitch tar, a polymer seemingly solid at room temperature, and witness it dripping from a funnel.

A drop forms only rarely, but last week a Webcam was on hand to witness the magic moment. … Read more

Another AMD engineer goes to Apple

The latest AMD chip engineer to pop up at Apple is a graphics and system-on-a-chip expert.

John Bruno is now a system architect at Apple, as of July.

Over the last decade or so at AMD, he has held positions such as senior ASIC design manager and, most recently, system architect.

He started as an ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) designer at ATI in 1996. That company was later acquired by AMD.

His AMD job description on LinkedIn states that he "completed hardware specification for the APU (CPU + GPU SoC) including cost, target die size, power budget and low-power … Read more

Intel vs. AMD: Who's got the fastest chip now?

Advanced Micro Devices new Trinity chip doesn't deliver the performance trifecta necessary to threaten Intel's market-leading position, according to most initial evaluations.

It's an old story line now: AMD comes out with a new processor that offers better graphics performance, but, overall, does little to change Intel-AMD market dynamics -- which of course heavily favors Intel.

And AMD has done it again. Tapping into the graphics processing unit (GPU) expertise it got when after acquiring ATI in 2006, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company continues to ding Intel on GPU performance.

But AMD fails to threaten Intel on … Read more

AMD launches second-generation APU processor series

Now that rival Intel has launched the first wave of its third-generation Core i-series processors (also known as Ivy Bridge), AMD is launching its own processor update. These new parts are the second generation of A-Series accelerated processing units, previously known by the code name Trinity.

Rather than CPU, or central processing unit, AMD these days uses the term APU, or accelerated processing unit, meaning that a CPU and discrete-level GPU are combined.

Named the A4, A6, A8, and A10, these new laptop processors claim to double the performance over the previous generation of AMD APU chips, and to offer … Read more

Trinity Site: First atomic bomb detonation still resonates

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE -- I recently watched footage of the detonation of the first atomic bomb at Trinity Site in 1945. A black and white mushroom cloud built up in slow motion. Chills and prickles crawled up my spine.

Visiting Trinity Site One week later, I visit ground zero, where a device called "The Gadget" was strapped into a 100-foot-tall steel tower and set off. Two more nuclear explosions took place over Japan after that successful test, harbingers of the end of World War II.

This all happened a long time before I was born, but I feel a strange sadness as I stand here on a hazy spring day in the middle of the Jornada del Muerto, a desert basin full of scrub and pronghorn antelope. That name translates to "day's journey of the dead." … Read more

Nerdy New Mexico: Voyage through the Land of Engeekment

Yes, New Mexico is one of the 50 states. No, it's not just a big desert. Yes, it's the birthplace of the atomic bomb. No, our cacti don't have surrender arms (that's Arizona). Yes, Microsoft was founded here.

Over the next two weeks, I'm going to cram all my gadgets into a Prius (unfortunately, the DeSoto is in need of radiator repair) and run around the Land of Enchantment, soaking up all the geeky sights I can find.… Read more

So, will that be an Intel or AMD ultrabook?

Though Advanced Micro Devices will not be inside branded ultrabooks, it is making a play for that market. Will consumers care which chipmaker is inside?

The quick answer: yes, if you're price sensitive. "They'll come into a market behind Intel and then do what they do at a lower price," said Deron Kershaw, an analyst at Gap Intelligence.

Ultrabooks are skinny, light laptops that attempt to combine the portability of a tablet with the productivity of a laptop.

How low can AMD-based systems go? "Our...solution will enable a full featured, high-performance user experience well … Read more

'Neo,' a media player from the future

It should be a basic tenet of marketing: When in doubt, name a product after a "Matrix" character. Not that the Maxian D900 "Neo" has any reason to doubt itself. If Dapreview's Korean translation skills are up to snuff, this steroidal media player has a 4.3-inch LCD screen, touch-sensitive display, Wi-Fi connection, built-in mic and even its own kickstand, while running WinCE 5.0. What we don't know, unfortunately, is pricing and U.S. availability. Still, if those specs are correct, the Neo would surely get the attention of Agent Smith.

(Photo: Dapreview)… Read more