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|The Best Cities You?ve Never Heard Of Travel Articles | January 24 , 2012
Paris. New York. London. Tokyo. There are some cities around the world that everybody has heard of, and everybody has a pre-formed idea of the city formed through images on screen and in the media. Bu...
Paris. New York. London. Tokyo. There are some cities around the world that everybody has heard of, and everybody has a pre-formed idea of the city formed through images on screen and in the media. But while these ?super cities? are undeniably glamorous locations with an awful lot to offer every type of traveller, there are other, much less celebrated cities around the world that can be just as captivating to the visitor.
Take Baku, for example. Although many people would struggle to name the country of which it is capital (Azerbaijan, fact fans) , Baku is a wonderful city to visit, as it is packed with fascinating and beautiful architecture, has a UNESCO World Heritage historic centre, and is home to some of the best nightlife to be found anywhere in the world. Looking for a Baku hotel is a cinch, as there are so many of them to be found in every price bracket, and Baku has not yet been swamped with the numbers of travellers that flock to other, more famous , destinations. This city is a gem for all types of traveller, from 24 hour party people to history buffs and architecture enthusiasts, and the fact that it has not yet been discovered by vast numbers of travellers is part of its charm. Baku hotels tend to offer excellent value for money, and a trip here can be a truly memorable holiday for all the right reasons. Another fascinating city that does not feature on everybody?s travel agenda is La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. The location of this high altitude city is in itself a marvel - the city sits in a basin at the foot of several towering mountains, and visitors arriving in the city by coach should prepare themselves for a breathtaking descent. Bolivia is home to fascinating indigenous cultures, and in La Paz it is possible to visit amazingly colourful local markets , taking in the religious artefacts and other items that form part of these peoples? way of life. Now established on the South American backpacker circuit, La Paz remains off the radar for holidaymakers, but is a truly unique city that really merits a visit.
The Ultimate Guide to Motherboards Computers Articles | March 20, 2009
Motherboards have been improving since the first XT was released in 1981. We take a look at the progress?over the last 30 years.
This type of article will often try comparing a motherboard to a body part, like the kneecap, gallbladder or our favorite: the Islets of Langerhans. But that is almost as ridiculous as saying the processor is the most important part of a PC, like we've stupidly being using all those extra unnecessary components in our PCs all these years. In actuality , a motherboard defines a PC: dictating which processor can be used, the expansion capabilities, the memory supported and what abilities the PC will have as a final unit. Your choice of motherboard is key to what the PC will end up doing.
The next six months will see a fundamental change in the market too, with AMD and Intel both introducing new desktop platforms. Intel's X58 chipset will offer support for the hotly anticipated 'Nehalem' processor - not only will this have a new socket (probably called something like LGA1366), but it will also boast an integrated triple-channel, DDR3 memory controller, as well as a new CPU interconnect called QuickPath. AMD's 800 series meanwhile will support the new AM3 sockets.
As with every other component , motherboards have come a long way from the original IBM PC of 1981. If you're old enough to remember the first De Lorean DMC-12, perhaps the original PC XT motherboard still casts some dark shadow over your memory? At the time there were certainly wonders to behold; these days, they simply look a mess with integration the last thing on the designers mind and all the IO having to be decidedly off-board.
The XT had all the same parts as today's motherboards, they just worked a little slower. Instead of having a dedicated, integrated chipset, the XT used discrete off-the-shelf components: clock generators, DMA controller , interrupt handler, keyboard and bus controllers, a system timer and a real-time clock, along with the CPU, FPU, ROM and system memory. That's eleven individual integrated-chips along with all the additional components, adding up to one expensive mother of a board. What we might recognize today as a motherboard didn't appear until 1986 , when a company called Chips and Technology offered a single-chipset solution, by rolling most of the previous parts into one. Requiring only a few support chips, it simplified motherboard design, reduced costs and started the trend of ever-greater integration.
Almost all motherboards still use a twin-chipset design, commonly called the North and Southbridges. Intel tries to call it a hub these days, but we're not sure why. This dual-chipset design balances functionality and manufacturing considerations. The Northbridge is the high-speed part, sitting between the processor bus and connecting it to the graphics , memory - okay, so not AMD - and interface buses. At the other end of the motherboard, the Southbridge handles all the IO; ATA interfaces, USB, networking and PCI; any legacy interfaces such as floppy drives and ISA slots is often done via a ?Super 10? chip.
Chipset makers often offer alternative Southbridges for premium and budget boards. It's amazing just how robust this design has been. NVIDIA and SLi have offered single-chip solutions in the past, but the vast majority of solutions share features .