Stories by Jason Cross

Does the iPhone 4 really have a 'Retina Display'?

Dr. Raymond Soneira runs DisplayMate Technologies, which makes software to test display quality. He also knows more about digital displays than just about anyone I know - and I know some pretty tech-savvy folks.

Alienware M11x gets Core i5, i7 upgrade, Nvidia Optimus tech

Few gaming laptops have charmed us as much as the Alienware M11x. It's a bit bulky compared to other 11.6-inch ultraportable notebooks, but absolutely tiny compared to most laptops designed for gaming. It's overclocked Core 2 Duo SU7300 processor and GeForce 335M mobile graphics chip give it the muscle needed to truly play all the latest games at high settings. With most notebooks that size, you have to turn the settings down pretty far to get decent performance. The big eight-cell prismatic battery gives it over 7 hours of working time in our tests, as long as you flip the switchable graphics over to the Intel integrated GPU.

Intel Launches Ultra-Low Voltage Core i3, i5 and i7 CPUs

Intel has officially launched Ultra-Low Voltage (ULV) processors in the Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 product families today. The company claims the chips offer up to 32% better performance than the comparable ULV processors in the Core 2 family, popular in many ultraportable PCs. At the same time, power usage is reduced by a promised 15%, again relative to the company's current ULV products.

ATI's Catalyst 10.2 and 10.3 drivers pile on the features

ATI is taking the wraps off some major changes to its Catalyst drivers today. These monthly graphics driver updates usually focus on minor tweaks, bug fixes, and performance improvements, but this month and next month will usher in some singificant new features.

Nvidia unveils Optimus switchable graphics technology

Does your laptop have switchable graphics? You know, both an integrated graphics chip that sips energy and gives you long battery life along with a discrete GPU (graphics processing unit) that offers better 3D graphics and video performance? Notebooks with switchable graphics have been shipping for years, but they haven't lived up to user expectations. Nvidia hopes to change that with their new Optimus technology.

Nvidia releases details of GF100 chip

Back in September, Nvidia unveiled some details of its new graphics architecture, code-named Fermi. The focus at that time was on GPU compute features. Today, Nvidia has unveiled some details about the new chip that as it relates to traditional graphics. A complete picture of the chip code-named GF100 (it stands for "Graphics Fermi 100", though the actual product names have not been revealed yet) is starting to come together, but we're still left wondering about some important details.

ATI introduces Radeon HD 5670

ATI, the graphics division of AMD, has done a pretty good job so far of bringing its new DirectX 11 capable graphics cards down to prices regular people can afford. True, the Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 launched at truly "enthusiast" price levels, but the 5770 and 5750 quickly followed and filled in the $150-200 gap. Today, the company introduces the Radeon HD 5670, a new card powered by a new chip and aimed at the sub-$100 market.

Microsoft should kill Internet Explorer

It's time for Microsoft to kill Internet Explorer. It has to be done quickly, before it's too late to rebound. The browser is bleeding market share in a way that a new version alone cannot stop. It's time for the company to rethink the browser and come at it from a fresh perspective. Microsoft needs a new browser, not a new version of an existing one.

Nvidia unveils Tegra 2

Nvidia has unveiled its second-generation Tegra mobile system-on-chip processor, before the first generation has seen much traction (outside of the excellent Zune HD, Tegra hasn't really appeared in any marquee products). So what's new in Tegra 2? A faster ARM processor and better graphics and video, while still emphasizing extreme power efficiency.

Tablets are hot this year's CES

CES 2010 is just getting under way and already everyone is talking about tablets. Lenovo has already unveiled the intriguing IdeaPad U1, a hybrid tablet/laptop that features an ARM-based tablet that can dock into a CULV-based ultraportable notebook. Put the two together and it's a laptop, or pull off the "monitor" and it's an ARM-based tablet.

Dell upgrades Mini 10 to Atom N450

Thinking about picking up one of those Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbooks? Good news! The company has announced that the product line has been refreshed to include the new Intel Atom N450 processor (the newly announced Atom that previously went under the code name Pineview). The N450 clocks in at 1.66 GHz and incorporates a new integrated graphics processor.

Foxit eSlick e-Book Reader

Foxit's eSlick e-book reader is curiously named because the device is decidedly unslick, with a utilitarian appearance that lacks the elegance of competing e-book readers. Ultimately, though, its looks are less of a concern than its limited functionality.

DirectX 11 Now Available for Windows Vista

Microsoft has long said, and we have reminded users, that DirectX 11 is not just a Windows 7 technology. The company promised that DirectX 11 will be available for Vista around the same time as the release of its latest and greatest operating system.

Where's USB 3.0?

It seems as if we've been writing about USB 3.0 forever, but it has really been only about two years since Intel and other parties formed a promotional group for USB 3.0 in 2007. The spec was completed in November 2008, at which time the standard's backers said that a glut of devices would hit the market late this year. Well, that statement turned out to be almost right: Devices are coming very soon, but the glut won't be until next year.