Saturday, April 20, 2024

Apple's Silicon Magic Is Over!

Chips are reaching the physical limits of what is possible. According to a video I watched today, an experimental 1 nm process only has 1 atom per transistor. That doesn't sound right to me, but if true, then you can't go smaller than that.

There might still be some room for improvement, but smaller circuits tend to fail because quantum effects cause electrons to jump between circuits.

Someday computers might have circuits that use light instead of electricity, but right now the technology is not even close.

What would it mean if computers can't get much faster? If you need more computing power then you would need more chips, or bigger ones, that either way consume more energy.

However, it feels like computers are plenty powerful right now. It is not like the general public has a strong need for more powerful chips.

Apple already has good competition from AMD. My mini computer is twice as powerful as the Apple M2 chip.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

A Look Inside Apple's $130 USB-C Cable

Apple sells things at a higher margin than other companies.  Although this is a superior cable for data transmission, maybe competitors will offer comparable products.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Your Internet is Too Fast

It was costing me around $90 a month for gigabit Internet service.  So I downgraded to 200 Mbit, for about $35 per month, and it is plenty fast for me.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Exciting Decade for Computer Chips

In the 2010s computers advanced at a snail's pace. Sometimes people got excited when chips were 10% faster from one year to the next.

However, this decade has been dramatically different and it has everything to do with the circuit sizes on those chips. My 2009 iMac that died had a 42-nanometer chip. My 2017 iMac has a 14-nanometer chip. My new mini-computer has a 4-nanometer chip and it is very powerful for something not much bigger than a Whopper sandwich.

In late 2019 both Microsoft and Sony released their latest generation of video game consoles using 7-nanometer chips. Since these have APUs with the graphics "card" built into the main processor, I wanted something like this in a computer.  I waited almost 4 years to be able to get something similar in a mini-desktop PC.

These smaller circuits are not cheap to make The equipment to make them can cost billions. This is why Taiwan Semiconductor, which made the investment, is the number one manufacturer of these chips.

But it has resulted in a paradigm shift where people realize that they don't have to spend a fortune on graphics cards to play games. The APUs are not as good as a $1200 gaming PC, but they are good enough.

This also has resulted in hand-held gaming systems that are as powerful as a computer and can also be used as a computer when hooked up to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

Even the most recent iPhone can double as a gaming system.

Reportedly, Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft are all coming out with more powerful gaming systems in the coming year. This has been an exciting decade for computer chips.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Who The Hell Asked For A PS5 Pro?

I've been saying the same thing.  I also bought a powerful mini-PC that can play games.  All of this change, including the consoles and the handhelds, has happened because of AMD's new powerful energy-efficient chips.  Intel has chips too, but they are not quite as good.

The PS5 and the XBox Series X consoles are 10.28 and 12 teraflop machines respectively.  That is still a great deal of performance and you would have to spend a lot on a PC to match that.

Apple is also starting to push gaming on the most expensive iPhones.

I have no faith in Cloud Gaming, but this may eventually be the future where you can run triple-A games on any device with a screen.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

USB-C Tutorial for Everybody

The bottom line is that when buying a USB-C cable, make sure that it supports the data speed that you want.  The same thing applies to power delivery for fast charging.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Using Apple Vision Pro: What It’s Actually Like!

I find this interesting. I can't imagine it being more than a novelty for now. For it to be anything more than a novelty, it is going to have to immerse you into another world.

Friday, November 24, 2023

The M3 iMac Isn't for me (or you...)

Apple's iMac strategy doesn't make sense.  The iMac used to be a top-of-the-line computer, but now they want you to buy a Mac Studio with a separate display that costs as much as an iMac.

As far as the iMac is concerned, there is no way I would go from a gorgeous 27-inch 5K display to a 24-inch 4K display.  The smaller iMac is not intended for pro users.  It would make a good family computer, but the lack of x86 compatibility is a serious drawback.

The M3 Pro chip benchmarks almost the same as the Ryzen 9 7940hs computer I paid just $640 for.  The base model M3 iMac starts at $1299.

Apple can only charge so much because, for some unfathomable reason, people are still buying their products.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Apple Built The Vision Pro to FAIL, and it's GENIUS

Realistically, the amount of hardware needed to make this work is not going to fit in an unobtrusive pair of glasses.  Not in this decade.  Maybe in the next one.