Trending December 2023 # How To Upgrade Your Smart Home To Apple’s New Architecture # Suggested January 2024 # Top 12 Popular

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Upgrade to the new smart architecture in Apple’s Home app to make your HomeKit appliances perform faster and more reliably than before.

Apple had to pull the new Home app architecture in iOS 16.2 over bugs and issues, re-launching it in iOS 16.4, iPadOS 16.4 and macOS Ventura 13.3 as part of the ongoing transition to the new Matter smart home connectivity standard.

The new underlying architecture should enhance the performance of your smart home and improve the reliability of any smart appliances. Follow the steps below to upgrade your smart home to the new architecture in iOS 16.4’s Home app.

How to upgrade your smart home to Apple’s new architecture

If opening the Home app after upgrading to iOS 16.2 doesn’t automatically greet you with a splash screen offering to upgrade your smart home, you can perform the upgrade manually using Software Update in the Home app.

Here are the steps to follow:

Open the Home app on your iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Hit the three-dotted (More) button, then choose Home Settings from the menu. If you own multiple homes, choose one first before selecting Home Settings.

Select Software Update.

Hit Learn More under Home Upgrade Available.

Touch Continue to proceed or Upgrade Later if you don’t want to do this now.

This feature will upgrade all homes in the Home app simultaneously. After a few moments, you’ll see a message confirming a successful upgrade.

“This includes people you invite to control your home,” Apple notes.

I’ve lost control of my smart home via my ancient Apple Watch Series 2, which isn’t compatible with watchOS 9. When performing an upgrade in the Home app, I got a warning message but ignored it and continued the process. I don’t mind not being able to use the Home app on my Apple Watch because I usually control my accessories through Siri on my HomePod or the Home app on my iPhone.

Your smart home is now more reliable

There’s nothing else left to do. The Home app’s interface hasn’t changed after performing this upgrade, and all your smart appliances are still present in the app but should now respond faster and work more reliably than before.

You need a home hub

The new architecture requires a home hub to share control of your smart home, receive notifications in the Home app, add Matter accessories and more.

Apple’s support document:

You must set up a home hub to add Matter accessories to the Home app. Thread-enabled Matter accessories require a Thread-enabled home hub, such as HomePod mini or Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) Wi-Fi + Ethernet or a supported third-party border router.

When you set up an Apple TV, HomePod or HomePod mini, it automatically becomes your home hub. To manually turn your Apple TV 4K into a home hub, go to Settings → AirPlay and HomeKit and scroll down, then select Room and choose an existing room where this Apple TV will be used or add a new one.

One thing to note is that the iPad, which can still be set up as a home hub, is unsupported when used with the new Home app architecture.

A quick tip for resolving many HomeKit issues

And lastly, if you continue to experience issues with your smart home appliances after upgrading to the new architecture, try removing all HomeKit bridges from the Home app, then re-added them. This will cause HomeKit to load factory settings, which may help resolve your issues.

Helpful Home app tutorials

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How To Upgrade Your Laptop’s Graphics Card

Pssst—there’s a secret that few in the PC gaming community know: You actually can upgrade your big-fat gaming laptop’s graphics.

Enter Eurocom, a Canadian laptop vendor that in February began offering one-stop-shop upgrade kits for consumers who want to take the risk of performing the equivalent of open-heart surgery on a laptop. Even better, the kits cover competing vendors (as well as Eurocom itself, natch), such as Alienware. To find out how well these kits work and how the laptop upgrade process goes, PCWorld decided to upgrade a laptop and run the numbers.

Gordon Mah Ung

You probably can upgrade your old gaming laptop’s graphics card, but is it worth it?

Temper your expectations

Most of the upgrades available from Eurocom are aimed at the Big Berthas of laptop gaming that push the definition of portable. It’s almost as though the rules forbade any laptop weighing less than seven pounds from being upgraded.

That’s because these upgrade options are usually only for big laptops made by the manufacturer Clevo. Clevo’s not the only manufacturer, of course, but it’s the most common.

The good news is that even if your laptop is from a small boutique gaming company, painted red and has a custom keyboard on it, there’s actually a good chance it was made by Clevo, which presses dozens of different designs for dozens of different PC makers. 


The Eurocom P150EM is actually manufactured by Clevo 

Meet the Eurocom P150EM

The GeForce 675MX itself is a Kepler-based GPU with 960 CUDA cores. It’s not a bad little card. (Note that Nvidia sold two different GPUs with the model number GeForce 675MX. The older one was Fermi-based and far slower.) The 675MX by itself is still usable if you want to turn down settings, but I’d had enough of turning settings down. So I had Eurocom loan us its GeForce GTX 980M kit, grabbed my screwdrivers and cranked up Lil’s John’s Turn Down For What? Kidding.

The actual upgrade

First, browse Eurocom’s VGA showroom to see whether the company sells a GPU for your laptop.  Eurocom supports Clevo units in addition to Alienware units. Once you find a GPU for your laptop, read the fine print. You may need a certain-level BIOS on the laptop for it to work, and you may also need a certain-level power brick too. This may be enough to dissuade some from doing so. 

On the P150EM, remove four screws and slide off the bottom cover. There’s another door that covers the 2.5-inch drive too. If this were a full upgrade, I might ditch the hard drive for an SSD, or at least also slot in an mSATA SSD into the available slot to improve my drive access times. With just the main hatch open though, you have full access to the GPU and CPU.

Gordon Mah Ung

The “Eurocom” P150EM is actually built by Clevo, which means the GPU upgrade for it should fit many other laptops too.

What about the CPU?

Much to Intel’s agitation, a lot of gamers really don’t need to stay with the fastest CPU if “all” they do is play games. If you’re concerned about battery life or do a lot of video encoding/editing, then yes, you might need the latest and greatest CPU. The chip in the P150EM is quite decent: The quad-core Ivy Bridge has a base clock speed of 2.7GHz and will Turbo Boost to 3.7GHz. 

Haswell is certainly a better CPU, but honestly, Ivy Bridge still has plenty of life in it. Here’s the proof you don’t need to upgrade the CPU in this old war horse below. In pure mult-threaded performance, the Core i7-4720HQ is about the same speed as the older Ivy Bridge CPU in the EuroCom P150EM.


In pure performance, the quad-core Ivy Bridge chip is just as fast as a similarly priced Haswell quad-core chip.

The GPU matters more in gaming

I won’t say the same for the GeForce GTX 675MX. It’s a good part, but it’s not a GeForce GTX 980M. Even better, the GeForce GTX 980M upgrade kit features an 8GB frame buffer. You probably won’t need all that RAMm but when you start turning up features in GTA V and watch it consume more and more RAM, you’re glad you’re not “stuck” with 2GB of RAM.

Gordon Mah Ung

You’ll need a couple of small-head Philips screwdrivers to remove the heat pipe from the GPU.

Remove the heat pipes

To access the GPU, you have to remove three screws from the heat pipe on the GPU core, and another three on the heat pipe on the voltage regulators and the RAM. Heat pipes, for those who don’t know, are cooling mechanisms that wick heat away where it can be expelled by blowing cool air through it.

Once all seven screws are removed from the two heatpipes, you use the paper tabs on the heatpipes to pull them off gently . The heatpipes may actually be stuck to the GPU from the melted thermal paste, so don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t budge. At the same time, use common sense on how much force to use to remove it. Gently rocking it around a bit may also help break the seal of the thermal paste. 

Gordon Mah Ung

Here’s what the P150EM looks like with the upgraded GeForce GTX 980M  mounted.

Gordon Mah Ung

The Eurocom kit comes with screws, mounts and new heat pipes to match the latest GPU you bought.

The kit for our unit included the MXM module or Mobile PCI Express Module, two heat pipes, screws and offsets for the GPU. Most of the screws and offsets looked the same, but I ended up using the new ones to be safe. The heat pipes looked a little different, so I decided to use the new ones, assuming they were matched to the 980M GPU.

Installing the new 980M card is a bit like a bit piece of RAM: You slide the edge connector part way into the slot and then push it a bit to make sure it’s fully seated while tilting it down. 

Now insert the two hex nuts you previously removed and torque them down with a flathead screw driver just a tiny bit ,so they don’t back off. Install the heat pipes, making sure to avoid the typical rookie move of leaving the protective plastic cover on the thermal paste. 

Gordon Mah Ung

The graphics upgrade kit I received from Eurocom comes with a thermal pad applied to the heat pipe. Just make sure to avoid rookie mistake #14: Remember to pull off the protective plastic sheet off.

Use caution when installing the GPU heat pipe

With everything installed, put the bottom cover back on. Install the battery and plug it in and power up. If you did it all correctly, it should power up and boot into Windows. However, remember that in most laptops, there’s integrated graphics, and it will boot to the IGP before using the discrete graphics card. You’re not quite in the clear yet.

No more reference drivers

It turns out reference drivers don’t work with the new GPU. Nvidia’s drivers actually check hardware signatures before allowing installs. Drivers, from here on out, can only be obtained from Eurocom. The good news is if Eurocom goes kaput, there is a lively community which mods the drivers to work. Still, you don’t to go hunting for drivers. Because timeliness is extremely important to gamers, I asked Eurocom how long it takes to release drivers after Nvidia does. The company said pretty fast. How fast?The example I was given was that it took an employee three days to update Nvidia drivers for 64 separate cards. That’s pretty quick.

Performance-testing my upgrade

To see how it performs, I compared benchmarks I took before and after the GPU swap-out and threw in the Origin EON15-X laptop with GeForce GTX 980M to see if all was good. It was. There was a slight performance drop, but that could be from the faster CPU in the Origin as well as a slightly better cooling solution, as it’s a newer laptop. The improvement in this synthetic is huge over the original GeForce GTX 675MX though.


For comparison, here’s Origin’s EON15-X with GeForce GTX 980M to see if we give up much performance on the upgraded P150EM. The answer is nope.

In an actual game I saw healthy bumps, too. With the original GeForce GTX 675MX, Tomb Raider set to Ultimate quality is out of the question at 1920×1080 resolution. With the GeForce GTX 980M in place, I saw 74 fps set to Ultimate. That’s above the magic number of 60 fps for all shooters. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor set on Ultra sits down at 32 fps on the original GPU. With the new one I was playing at 65 fps. I also ran Grand Theft Auto: V before and after and saw it go from unplayable (with almost everything turned to maximum) to playable. GTA V does tend to hammer GPUs depending on the settings. I intended to run more GTA V tests, but a DRM issue with the game put a stop to that. Why Rockstar? Why?!?


980.The Eurocom P150EM with GeForce GTX 980M upgrade kit installed smokes the original GeForce GTX 675MX in Tomb Raider set to Ultimate.

Doing the math

The results weren’t surprising. It’s an awesome performance jump going from a GeForce GTX 675MX to a GeForce GTX 980M and no one can argue with that. What they’ll argue with is whether it makes sense. The upgrade kit from Eurocom costs $980. Holy kryptonite! Mobile GPUs have never been as cheap as their desktop counterparts (a retail desktop GPU is $600), but that’s still a good chunk of change.

There’s also the argument that you could just sell the laptop to fund a new one, but I priced that out: You’d be lucky to sell this particular vintage laptop for $700. That still means $1,300 to get its replacement.

Another option: Sell the used GPU, too. While used desktops GPUs from 2012 don’t hold value, mobile ones obviously do. I’ve seen the GeForce GTX 675MX sell online for $300–not bad.

One final thing to consider: Eurocom does warranty the GPU for six months of use. The company won’t help you if your ham-fisted ways bust your laptop doing the upgrade, but if it the GPU melts itself in three months, Eurocom says it’s covered.

How To Upgrade The Storage Of Your Ps4

With games clocking in at gigabytes in the double-digits, downloadable DLC and lots of patches, storage space on modern video game consoles is at a premium. Fortunately, the PS4’s storage space can be upgraded fairly easily. Those who are desperate for a little more breathing room have two options. The scary one (it’s not that scary) is cracking your PS4 open and replacing the internal hard drive. The second, slightly easier option is connecting an external drive. We’ll run through how to do both safely in this article.

Replace the Internal Hard Drive

Replacing the internal drive sounds hard, but it isn’t that difficult. However, there are a few steps that are necessary for a smooth transition. First, before you remove the drive currently inside your PS4, you’ll want to back up its data so you can transfer it to the new drive once you have it installed. To do so, simply follow this guide from Sony. Alternatively, you can back up your PS4’s data to the cloud if you are a Playstation Plus subscriber.

Note: replacing the internal hard drive on your PS4 DOES NOT void your warranty.

What You’ll Need

Phillips head screwdriver

USB flash drive

2.5 inch (9.5mm or slimmer) internal SATA hard drive

Playstation 4 operating system

Swap the Hard Drives

To remove the existing hard drive inside your PS4, you want to unplug your PS4 from the power point. Next, remove the casing on the top-left of the console by simply sliding it to the left. If you have a PS4 Classic, you can pry open the hard drive door at the front of the machine. Alternatively, if you have a PS4 Pro, you’ll be removing the casing at the back of the machine. Once the casing is removed, you should see the hard drive and the bracket. Locate the screws that hold the hard drive bracket in place and remove them. This will allow you to remove the bracket from the console.

Next, you’ll want to take out the screws securing the hard drive to the bracket. With the old drive removed, pop the newer, larger hard drive into the bracket and secure it with the screws. Finally, reverse the removal process to install the new hard drive in your PS4.

Install the Playstation 4 Operating System

With the new hard drive installed, you’re ready to get it up and running. The first thing you’ll need to do is download the operating system software to your computer from the Playstation support page. Once you’ve downloaded the PS4 operating system, plug in a USB flash drive and format it to FAT32. If you used a USB to back up your PS4’s data, DO NOT use that USB. You must use a different USB for the operating system.

Note: formatting a drive will erase all data currently on the drive.

Once the USB is formatted to FAT32, create a folder on the root of the USB called “PS4.” Inside the “PS4” folder create another folder called “UPDATE.” Be aware that both the “PS4” and “UPDATE” folders need to be labeled in all caps. Finally, transfer the Playstation operating system to the “UPDATE” folder. Next, plug your PS4 back in and start it up in safe mode. You can do this by holding the Power button down for approximately 8 seconds. Select “Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software),” and sit back while it does its thing.

Restore Backed-Up Data

To restore your data from the cloud, head to Settings and select “Application Saved Data Management.” From here, choose “Saved Data in Online Storage.” Finally, select “Download to System Storage” and follow the prompts.

Connect an External Drive

If opening up your PS4 gives you anxiety, don’t fret. A firmware update last year finally enabled PS4 owners to use external hard drives to beef up their console’s storage space. To use an external hard drive with your PS4, you’ll need to make sure it is USB 3.0 and has a storage capacity between 250 GB to 8 TB. You can use either a portable hard drive or a desktop type that requires an external power supply.

How to Move Data from Internal to External

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A Quick Guide To How Your Home Network Works

Using your home network is as easy as typing in a password and opening your Netflix app to watch a movie, but your network and everything that’s needed for it to work so seamlessly are probably the most complex and unique devices you own.

Home networks exist to let digital devices talk to each other and to other devices out in the world over a global network called the internet. While you don’t need to understand precisely how your home network functions to enjoy it, spending some time under the hood will both give you an appreciation for the tech and make troubleshooting problems that come along easier.

Table of Contents

Your Home Network Is a Mini Internet

The internet is short for ‘internetwork’, a global network of connected LANs (Local Area Networks) that includes web servers, streaming and cloud services, gaming servers, and much more.

Your home network is the same thing, but just smaller and confined to your chúng tôi you want to know more about how your home network is like a mini internet, check out Who Owns the Internet? Web Architecture Explained for a straightforward explanation of the complex machine that is the internet.

Your Home Network Speaks a Special Language

Apart from physically resembling the internet as a whole, another critical way your home network and the internet are the same is the “language” they speak. Today the universal network protocol is TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), and it’s key to making data go where it’s supposed to.

In a TCP/IP network, all data sent over the network is broken up into “packets.” Imagine turning a picture into a jigsaw puzzle with thousands of pieces. Then take each piece and put it in an envelope individually. On the envelope, write the address of the sender and the receiver. Also include information in each envelope describing where each piece goes to reconstruct the original image.

Now, mail thousands of envelopes to the recipient, and they rebuild it on their end. It doesn’t matter if the envelopes arrive out of order, but if any go missing, you’ll get letters back asking for new copies of the missing pieces.

Basic Home Network Topography

We’ll explain the job of each network component in detail below, but to help you get oriented, let’s sketch out what a typical home network looks like today.

Your network has several key components:

The modem connects you to the WAN (Internet)

The router manages traffic between devices on the LAN and between those devices and the WAN.

The network hardware connections, usually ethernet cables or Wi-Fi radio transmitters and receivers.

Client devices, like computers or Android and iOS smartphones. 

Server devices, which can also be equipment like computers and smartphones.

Optional network extenders, which help spread your network’s physical footprint through your home. Examples include wireless access points, Powerline extenders, and Wi-Fi repeaters.

There are many different ways to build a home network, but most of these components are present in every home network. Other components can stand-in for some of these. For example, if you simply wanted to network a group of computers together, you could use an Ethernet switch or network hub. However, this basic sketch covers 99% of what’s out there.

Now that we’ve drawn the rough outlines of a home network, we’ll dive a little deeper into every major component.

The Modem Lets You Talk to the Internet

Before modern broadband internet, internet access worked through a modem (modulator/demodulator) which sent and received high- or low- pitched audio signals over copper voice lines, representing binary code.

These “dial-up” modems are all but obsolete now and do not provide much bandwidth, although they are still used in a few rare cases where nothing else is possible. These days the word modem is used to refer to just about any device that converts one kind of network signal to another, even if both signals are, in fact, digital.

One example of digital-to-digital conversion is the common fiber modem, which takes optical signals and puts out electrical pulses over Ethernet cables. DSL modems use the same copper wire as phone lines but use a different frequency band from voice calls, so you can connect to the internet and make calls simultaneously. Cellular modems connect to cell phone towers via radio waves—satellite modems beam information to and from orbit, and so on.

In some networks, the modem is a separate device, and in others, it’s combined with your wireless router, which happens to be our next stop on this home network tour.

The Router Sits at the Heart of Your Network

The router is at the heart of any home network and performs a wide range of essential jobs:

Routing network traffic between devices, between Ethernet and LAN, and between internal and external networks.

DNS (Domain Name Service) server detection and routing.

Is internally similar to a computer with CPU, RAM, and OS. Some routers can run apps.

Assigns and manages IP addresses on the LAN using DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol).

There’s more to routers than these core functions, but that’s the key list of things a router does. Routing between different types of networks (fiber WAN, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, etc.) is what makes a router a router, setting it apart from network switches and hubs.

The router assigns IP addresses to internal network devices, making sure that there are no conflicts. It keeps track of which device makes which request of devices on the internet in a table known as a NAT (Network Address Table), since servers on the internet can only see the router itself and its “public” IP address.

Some high-end routers can run custom applications to act as network storage or streaming servers. Even if your router doesn’t ship with this ability, you may have the option of installing custom third-party firmware to add those features.

Your Local Servers

A server is a device on a network that offers a service such as content or network-based applications. When you visit a website or download a file from the internet, that content is hosted on a server computer somewhere out in the world. When you use cloud apps like Google Docs, that software and data live on a server.

Your local network has at least one server, and that’s your router. Every router has a basic web server that acts as an interface to change settings. When you’re connected to the router and type in its IP address in a browser, you’re taken to a website that’s hosted by the router itself.

If you have a Wi-Fi printer, that’s also a print server that handles print requests. Many people have NAS (Network-attached storage devices) or media servers (such as Plex) running on their network. Some things you might not think of as servers also qualify. Your IP camera is also a server. It’s a video streaming server!

Networked Peripherals

Traditionally peripherals like scanners and printers are connected directly to a specific computer. However, it’s far more common in a modern household to have many different computers that need access to these types of devices. You can share a printer on the local network rather than having everyone use the same computer whenever they need to print something.

Using the print sharing feature in the computer’s operating system makes it possible to use a normal printer connected to a computer as a shared printer. Still, these days it’s easy to simply buy a printer, scanner, or multifunction device (MFD) with Wi-Fi or Ethernet and have it act as a standalone shared resource on the network.

Network Clients in Your Home

Apart from local servers on your home network, the other devices are generally known as clients, which pull information from remote and local servers. Examples of local network clients include:

Computers, consoles, and mobile devices.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smart fridges and robot vacuum cleaners.

Anything that receives data from a server device is a client, although any device can be both at the same time.

Computers, Consoles, and Mobile Devices Wired and Wireless Connections

There have been a few different connection standards for networks over the years, but in almost every home network today, you’ll find just two types of connection: Ethernet and Wi-Fi.

Don’t Get Your Wires Crossed: Ethernet

Ethernet is a wired connection standard that carries TCP/IP data in-home networks. The connector (RJ45) looks a little like an upsized telephone line connection (RJ11) and carries several copper wires that vary depending on the category of Ethernet network cable you’re using.

Ethernet cables are classed into different categories that offer different maximum speeds. For example, Category 6 network cables are rated 10Gbps, while Category 5e cables are rated for gigabit speeds. It’s important to match your cable types to the speed your LAN Ports are rated for. Plugging a 1Gbps cable into a 100 Mbps port won’t hurt, but doing the opposite will limit your speed to the maximum the cable can handle!

Assuming you’ve chosen the right Ethernet cables, adapters, and router, you’ll enjoy high-speed, low-latency, ultra-reliable network speeds as long as you’re okay with the hassle of installing ethernet connections throughout your house.

Wires? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Wires: Wi-Fi

While Ethernet is undoubtedly the gold standard when it comes to pure network performance, it’s not all that convenient. When it comes to mobile devices, it’s downright unpractical! That’s why we have Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) to allow wireless devices a way to connect to the network without drilling holes in walls or plugging them in every time we need network features.

Wi-Fi uses radio waves to send digital pulses of information. There are two frequency bands used in Wi-Fi: 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. The lower frequency band can’t send data at high speeds, but it’s got great range and wall-penetrating power. High-frequency 5Ghz Wi-Fi is ultra-fast but is easily blocked by objects like walls.

Most modern Wi-Fi routers are “dual-band,” which means they offer connections on both frequency bands. Wi-Fi is divided into generations. In the past, those generations would have numbered names reflecting the name of the communication standard for that generation of Wi-Fi. For example, 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac. These names have been changed to simple numbers to make things a little more user-friendly. So now 802.11ac is simply Wi-Fi 6, and the latest 802.11ax is Wi-Fi 6.

Older Wi-Fi devices may not connect to newer routers, especially if the device only supports 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi and the router in question only offers 5Ghz.

Extending Your Network’s Reach

With so many devices, both present and future-looking, for a way to connect to your home network, you probably want to make sure that network stretches to every corner of your home. That’s easier said than done with everything that can block a wireless signal or the expense and effort of laying Ethernet throughout a home.

The good news is that there are many products on the market to help you increase your network footprint so that there aren’t any spots in your home that can’t get connected.

A Wi-Fi repeater is a device that’s put onto the edge of an existing Wi-Fi network before the Wi-Fi signal starts to drop off. It listens to the packets coming to and from the core Wi-Fi network and then simply repeats them. This is a slow solution, but a simple way to extend WiFi to specific spots without modifying your network.

PowerLine Extenders

This system sends network signals through the existing electrical wiring in your home. It’s as easy as plugging in a PowerLine adapter near your router and in the room where you want to extend your network.

Rather than extend your regular router’s footprint, wireless mesh routers completely replace your existing router. Think of them as one big distributed router. A primary mesh unit is connected to your modem, and then each satellite unit has a dedicated wireless or wired connection to it. 

One Big Networked Family

The technology in your home network might be incredibly complex, but this technology has become smarter and much easier to use over time. No one knows what the future of home networking will be. Still, it might look very different thanks to the development of technologies like millimeter-wave 5G cellular networks, which blur the line between local and wide networks.

Books To Buy For Your Smart Friend

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Need a last-minute gift for your favorite smartypants? These science and sci-fi books should do the trick.

The Confidence Game

Part science and part self-help, Maria Konnikova’s latest book uses the psychological profiles of real-life con artists to help explain why even the most rational humans fall prey to falsehoods and scams. “For our minds are built for stories. We crave them, and, when there aren’t ready ones available, we create them. Stories about our origins. Our purpose. The reasons the world is the way it is. Human beings don’t like to exist in a state of uncertainty or ambiguity. When something doesn’t make sense, we want to supply the missing link. When we don’t understand what or why or how something happened, we want to find the explanation. A confidence artist is only too happy to comply — and the well-crafted narrative is his absolute forte.” From $17 on Amazon.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Just because he’s the smartest guy you know doesn’t mean he knows a thing about physics. This best-seller will give your friend a whirlwind introduction to the basics. From $11 on Amazon.

Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks was a brilliant neuroscientist. But he also wrote some of the best science nonfiction ever published. For those unfamiliar with his poignant body of work, you can’t go wrong with the classic The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat ($10 on Amazon). If your recipient is a seasoned Sacks fan, they’re bound to appreciate the late author’s recent autobiography. $10 on Amazon.

Black Hole Blues

What’s up with this whole gravitational waves business? Find out more about the science—and the people behind it. $16 on Amazon.

The Handmaid’s Tale

It’s nearly 20 years old, but Margaret Atwood’s seminal work of speculative fiction couldn’t be more relevant today. (It’s also about to be turned into a Hulu series, so it’s probably on your smart friend’s re-read list.) From $9 on Amazon. This underrated space opera is guaranteed to make the recipient think deep, satisfying thoughts about language, love, society, and what it means to be human. It’s a must-read for anyone who raved about the movie Arrival. $14 on Amazon. Amazon

Hidden Figures

Get this one under the tree just in time to beat the movie: Hidden Figures, soon to hit the big screen, tells the story of NASA’s first “computers”— the women of color who helped put men on the moon. Whether your friend is a math geek, a space nerd, or a history buff, this one is definitely worth a read. From $11 on Amazon.

All The Birds In The Sky

The former editor-in-chief of sci-fi site io9 made waves with her first foray into fiction this year. The story of witches and tech geniuses working together to save the world made pretty much every best-of list there is, so you can’t go wrong. $18 on Amazon.

I Contain Multitudes

Ed Yong is quite simply one of the best science writers out there, so it’s no surprise that his first book is a delight. With everyone buzzing about the microbiome these days, your smartypants friend will want to dive into this read on the microbial world. The New York Times called it “infectiously enthusiastic”. Get it? $18 on Amazon.


If your friend loves to read about science, they probably already love Mary Roach. Any book of hers is an easy recommendation, and her titles explore everything from the “science” of the supernatural to the history of research on sex. Grunt, her latest, covers the science of warfare. $17 on Amazon.

Everything You Need To Know About Apple’s New M1 Ultra Chip

If you watched Apple’s “Peek Performance” special event this week, then there’s no question you witnessed the unveiling of the company’s brand new M1 Ultra chip.

Apple wasted no time touting the new M1 Ultra chip as an engineering marvel, and since it unseats the M1 Max as Apple’s most powerful in-house designed chip, we’re sure that many of you have a lot of questions about it. So in this post, we’ll try to spell it all out for you.

The M1 Ultra chip – What is it?

The M1 Ultra chip is effectively described as two M1 Max chips that are tightly woven into a single package.

While the industry has seen dual processors in computers before, such as with dual-Intel Xenon workstations, the M1 Ultra works a bit differently in that the two chips aren’t linked by the motherboard, but rather within the actual chip package itself. This key detail means that the M1 Ultra enjoys lower latency, lower power consumption, and improved bandwidth.

As for the numbers, Apple claims that the Ultra Fusion architecture that bridges the two M1 Max chips to form the M1 Ultra chip allows for twice the connection density of anything comparable in the industry today by connecting over 10,000 signals with a mind-blowing 2.5TB/s of interprocessor bandwidth between the chips. Apple says this is more than 4x the bandwidth of the leading multi-chip interconnect technology.

What are the specs of the M1 Ultra?

All the details discussed above are remarkable, but by now, you’re probably wondering what Apple is packing underneath the hood of this beast. Your curiosity is warranted.

Since the M1 Ultra is effectively two M1 Max chips linked together, you can take the specs of a M1 Max and multiply them by a factor of two. M1 Ultra maintains the same 5nm process as the M1 Max, but everything else is doubled. This gives you 114 billion transistors, 20 CPU cores, 32 GPU cores, 32 Neural Engine cores, 800GB/s of memory bandwidth, and support for up to 128GB of unified memory.

The CPU cores are further broken down into 16 high-performance cores and four low-power cores. The high-performance cores are optimized for more demanding tasks that include audio & video editing, compiling code, and 3D gaming, among other things. The low-power cores are ideal for conserving the most power as your machine performs background tasks while it sleeps or performs less intensive user-performed tasks.

How does the M1 Ultra perform?

Since the M1 Ultra chip has yet to be released into circulation, we have yet to witness any real-world tests or comparisons. Current information is based entirely on Apple’s marketing and stray synthetic benchmark tests that have appeared online. We can tell you what we know so far…

With an industry-leading performance per watt, Apple says that the M1 Ultra chip can deliver multi-threaded CPU performance comparable to that of the latest Intel Core PC desktop chip while using 65% less power in doing so. Compared to the fastest 16-core PC desktop chip currently available, Apple says M1 Ultra delivers 90% more performance while using 100W less power.

Apple also shares bold claims for the M1 Ultra’s GPU, which is said to be capable of delivering similar performance to an unnamed yet allegedly “popular” discrete PC GPU while using 1/3 of the power. Additionally, Apple says it will deliver faster performance than the highest-end PC GPU available, all while consuming 200W less power.

Impressive, right? It seems so, but we always recommend waiting for real-world tests to emerge before taking Apple’s word for it.

Which Macs offer the M1 Ultra chip?

The $3,999 price tag gets you the M1 Ultra chip with 20 CPU cores and 48 GPU cores. Unlocking the additional 16 GPU cores to get you to 64 GPU cores in total will cost an additional $1,000, while boosting the unified memory (RAM) up from 64GB to 128GB will cost an additional $800, bringing the total cost of a fully unleashed M1 Ultra chip in a Mac Studio up to $4,799, excluding the cost of storage upgrades.

It’s possible that the M1 Ultra could become an option in additional Mac offerings in the future, but it certainly seems like a major selling point for Apple’s latest modular Mac desktop computer, so it’s a tough call.

One thing worth noting is that the Mac Studio features a beefy cooling system, so it seems unlikely that M1 Ultra will make its way to any of Apple’s notebook computers like the MacBook Pro. These machines are simply too thin to house comparable cooling capacities.

Do you need the M1 Ultra chip?

When Apple came out with the MacBook Pro refresh at the end of last year, they introduced the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips alongside the standard M1 chip.

The consensus among reviewers and tech junkies was that most users could squeak by with an M1 chip. If you did even a little bit of heavy computing, then you could absolutely get by with just the M1 Pro chip. The M1 Max was something of a novelty for the elite top 1% of users who demand uncompromising speed and efficiency in their workflows.

We think that the M1 Ultra chip is much like the latter, being mostly useful for professionals who need the power to do their best work in as little time as possible without the jitter of bandwidth constraints on slower chips. This is hardly a necessity for anyone else.

The M1 Ultra chip isn’t designed, nor is it priced, for the average Joe. You would be wasting your money if you bought a machine equipped with this chip just to scroll through Twitter feeds and watch YouTube videos, however it’s your money, so do you.

Wrapping up

While we’ve attempted to round up all the most important information about Apple’s brand-new M1 Ultra chip, we expect that there are probably many other questions.

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