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Tag: processor

The Apple M7 Co-Processor: What it Is, What it Does

Posted by J Powers at 11:14 AM on September 11, 2013

Apple-M7Last time I had to deal with co-processors was in the 90′s when I put in a 386SX/DX combo into a PC. Technically, co-processors are in your computer still – just as one chip. However, Apple has separated the processors once again with the iPhone 5S. The A7 and the M7 processor.

The A7 processor will be the primary processing unit for your iPhone. A chip that brings the smartphone to 64-bit processing, the A7 will be able to give you some great gameplay while managing your apps and even using the muli-task features of iOS7.

The M7 is going to handle the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass information. This instantly turns your phone more into a pedometer, heart-rate monitor, location tracker and more.

The M7 runs at lower power so it doesn’t drain your battery when you are on a walk or run. It can also free up CPU time from the A7 chip so location-based apps work a little better.

Expect the healthcare industry to utilize this chip as they put out more apps that can monitor your health. Companies like Fitbit and Nike Fuelband can utilize this chip for their exercise apps. If an iWatch is in the works, it could possibly have monitors that would report straight to the M7. As for location tracking, the M7 will be able to geo-tag photos and video better.

Ultimately, with this co-processor, Apple has been able to tout a 40x difference in speed and 56x graphics difference from the original iPhone. It even is close to doubling the speed of a iPhone5 (from the chart Apple provided at the event).

The 5S breaks some new boundaries. The M7 chip looks to give location tracking and healthcare apps the ability to build strong programs that help in your everyday life. If it all comes together right, the iPhone 5S could be a major shift in the mobile computing market.

Fluff, The Silent Killer

Posted by Andrew at 2:29 AM on July 27, 2012

Processor and HeatsinkFluff can be a PC killer as I recently discovered, but the solution to the problem is straightforward.

As a true geek, I built my own PC, but it’s no speed demon with a mid-range quad-core processor. However, I’d been suffering from intermittent PC shutdowns that would always happen when I was at the PC and never when the PCs was on but not in use. It was very irritating because you’d be right in the middle of something and then you’d be dumped out. I put it down to buggy software.

Last week I started to rip a few DVDs for tablet viewing and every time the PC would shutdown within about 30 seconds of starting the file conversion. At this point I began to think that the processor might be overheating, forcing a shutdown before it was damaged. Upon opening the case, nothing looked particularly out of the ordinary; there was a bit of fluff but nothing you’d think of as being a problem. It was only when I looked more closely at the heat sink on the CPU that I saw many of the spaces between the thermal vanes were clogged with fluff.

Out with the vacuum cleaner and a good hoovering later, I powered the PC on and started a fresh rip. This time the PC didn’t shutdown and I was able to rip solidly for at least an hour without any shutdowns. Problem solved!

Tip of the Day – if you are experiencing intermittent crashes or shutdowns, open your PC and give your CPU’s heatsink and fan a clean with the vacuum cleaner.

And if any Americans out there are wondering what “fluff” is, I believe that you know it as “lint”.

Heatsink and fan picture courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com.

nVidia and Windows 8 Tablets

Posted by Alan at 12:53 AM on February 8, 2012

nvidia logoAs you have almost certainly already heard, one of the big things coming in Windows 8 will be it’s support of ARM processors.  The main feature of the new operating system, though, is the radical new Metro interface.  The Metro Start screen displays a series of “live tiles”.  These are the apps, some of which come with Windows 8, and some which will be installed by the user from the new Windows Store, which are constantly updating with new information.  You could display such things as current weather, Twitter, news, and a lot more on your personalized start screen.

nVidia was at the Consumer Electronics Show last month to show off their Tegra 3 quad-core processor running Windows 8 tablets.  The new chipset allows these tablets to be extremely thin, have longer battery life, and high-resolution graphics.  In the video below you can get a look at a little bit of what they are capable of, such as HD video playback, and full Windows multi-tasking.

The exact specifications and pricing aren’t yet available, but you can learn more by visiting the nVidia site.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine.

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No more Hackintosh Netbook?

Posted by angelo at 9:57 PM on November 2, 2009

Well apparently according to some sources like PCWorld, the newest update of Snow Leopard will kill the Hackintosh. 10.6.2 will not run on the ATOM processor, therefore knocking out all the instruction sets for any netbook running that version. Therefore, you will have to stay in a lower level to keep the machine running.

I really don’t understand why Apple is so Anti-hack. iPhone bricks – Palm Pre doesn’t get iTunes – now the hobbiest is not allowed to play? What’s next: controlled net neutrality? (you think I’m kidding, but I would guess if Apple had it’s way, there would be an iNternet)

We get it, Apple: You had the contracts with UMax and Motorola. Macintosh clones of ten years ago where you pulled those licenses. You even go against Psystar so they don’t profit off your work. But going against the tinkerer? Going against the core Geek?

Remember Apple – you run on an Open Source architecture in FreeBSD. While I’m not saying you should Open the OS, you might find that giving people the option may turn them to Apple products faster. They will flock to something they are used to. What is to stop someone from writing code that could closely mimic the Apple OS? What about someone that just writes code to make an OS that could Rival MacOS? Android, perhaps?

And while I will not cry Antitrust on this, I do have to ask the question: Why would I go with something that is so closed? I am wondering if they should re-review their 1984 commercial where the woman ran down the aisle with a hammer to smash out conformity. Who would have thought the old guy on the screen was Apple itself?

BTW – there is no mention on if these instruction set changes will affect any desktop Hackintosh system. You might just be safe….

…for now…