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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Laptops

PC evolution: Turion X2, GeForce 7900 and fuel cells

The CeBIT show in Hanover was a good chance to take a look at the way PCs are evolving. The scary news is they're leaving us poor humans, far, far behind

The CeBIT show in Hanover was a good chance to take a look at the way PCs are evolving. The scary news is they're living us poor humans, far, far behind

If humans evolved as quickly as the PCs we saw in Germany, in a few years we'll all be telepathic beings with quad-core brains, respiratory systems that can alternate between breathing oxygen or carbon monoxide, and the ability to extract all our nutrients from vodka alone.

Sadly, our lack of natural predators and sheer laziness means we're stuck in an evolutionary rut, so most of the progress will have to come from PC hardware boffins.

One of the most interesting developments at the show was the Nvidia GeForce 7900 range of graphics cards. Yes, it's only been a couple of months since ATI released its top-of-the-range Radeon X1900 XTX, but the 'green machine' has just reclaimed the top spot with its 7900 GTX, and taken the mid-range market with its 7900 GT, which cost around £370 and £260 respectively.

Another nice enhancement headed for a PC near you was the newly developed Turion 64 X2 Mobile CPU -- AMD's alternative to the highly acclaimed Intel Core Duo processor range. Given the fact that AMD's desktop processors are wiping the floor with Intel's alternatives, we'd be stupid to ignore the X2 Mobile -- as its dual-core architecture promises long battery life and absurd performance for laptops.

A great PC is no good if it's got no power, and we all want more power all the time. The humble lithium-ion battery may be headed for an early bath as methanol fuel cells begin to emerge. At CeBIT, Taiwanese firm Antig showed off a methanol cell that it says could keep a laptop running for up to nine hours. Instead of storing power, the cells generate electricity by breaking down methanol via an electrochemical process. The first cells could be on sale as early as 2007.

We'll review devices that use these technologies the minute they hit the streets, so stick around. -RR