Saturday, February 19, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [February 18th]” plus 8 more “Cool Websites and Tools [February 18th]” plus 8 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [February 18th]

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 07:31 PM PST

Check out some of the latest MakeUseOf discoveries. All listed websites are FREE or come with a decent free account option. You can make use of them without spending a dime. If you want to have similar cool websites round-ups delivered to your email daily email subscribe here.

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Remind This – If your website has a lot of interesting textual content, visitors might not have the time to read it all. To help them out with this you can remind them of your website at a time of their choosing. Adding such a reminder option to your site is what Remind This does. Remind This is a simple web service which provides you with a few lines of code. Read more: Remind This: Let Your Site Visitors Remind Themselves About Site Via Email


Sixty Symbols – All the symbols used in physics and astronomy have a story behind them. Sixty Symbols is a fun and educational website that tells you the story behind these symbols through videos. Put together by people at the University of Nottingham, the website covers 60 popular symbols used in science. Read more: Sixty Symbols: Learn Physical & Astronomical Symbol Definitions



Hover Me – is a browser extension that lets you quickly see the social profile of your Twitter friends when you hover your mouse over their name. It works with Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer but only supports Twitter right now. When you mouse over the name of a person you follow on Twitter, you'll be able to see what other social networks they belong to. Read more: Hover Me: Quickly View All Social Profiles Of Your Twitter Friends



Read Every – Many people find it difficult to quickly read the tweets of people they follow on Twitter. Here to solve this problem and to offer the tweets in a more organized interface is ReadEvery, a free to use website that helps read tweets you follow in a better way. All you have to do enter your Twitter username. Tweets from everybody you are following will then be displayed. Read more: ReadEvery: Read Tweets Of People You Follow In An Organized Interface



Wifi Browser Login – Using your phone to switch between different WiFi hotspots that use a username and password can be a little tricky. But fortunately for Android smartphone owners, WifiBrowserLogin makes the process much easier. WifiBrowserLogin is a free smartphone app for Android devices. The app automatically detects if the available WiFi spot requires a log in to be connected. Read more: WifiBrowserLogin: Log Into WiFi Hotspot Quickly With Your Android Phone


These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.

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The 5 Best Questions From You [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 05:31 PM PST

makeuseof answersMakeUseOf Answers gets better with every question you ask. We appreciate a great challenge. So what are you waiting for?

Today, the prize for Best Answer of the Week goes to our veteran problem solver Josh Fox for his simple but efficient answer to this question: How can I list all pages that belong to one domain? Congratulations Josh!

Did you ever win something? No? Well, how can you if you don’t enter the contest? Every answer qualifies. The prize is $50 via Paypal or Amazon voucher. Valid contact details required, but will only be used to notify the winner.

Now it’s time to learn something new! Have a look at the best questions from the past week.

MakeUseOf Answers comes in three different mixes: Latest Questions, Most Popular Questions, or Unanswered Questions. For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

Need help? Ask A Question at MakeUseOf Answers.

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How To Download Videos From Hulu The Easy Way

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 01:31 PM PST

download videos from huluEvery once in a while, you come across a video that you think is so great that adding it to your favorites just isn’t good enough, so you seek to download it. This is relatively easy if you’re on YouTube. There are dozens of apps out there capable of getting the job done (YouTube Downloader is my personal favorite). A lot of the time, all you need is the URL of the video you want.

Hulu‘s an entirely different story. They’ve gone to great lengths to protect their videos from downloaders, primarily because Hulu is home to a lot of television episodes and clips, rather than user-uploaded content. Is it impossible to download videos from Hulu? No, but a lot of the time,  it’s just frustrating enough to cause you to give up prematurely – until now at least.

How to Download Videos from Hulu

You’re going to need two programs to start downloading and watching Hulu videos on your computer. The first is StreamTransport, the program you will use to locate, capture, and download the videos you’re looking for. The second, which you should have anyway, is VLC Player, because, well, it plays everything. There are other programs out there that will be able to play your downloaded videos, but this one is simply the best.

Now that you have those programs installed, I can walk you through the process of snaking Hulu videos.

How To Download Videos From Hulu

The first thing you’re going to want to do is run StreamTransport. We’ll be using the program’s built-in browser to locate the videos you’re interested in on Hulu.

download videos from hulu

Open the program and click on the button at the very top that says Visit Hulu. The top half, browser part of the application will take you to Hulu’s homepage. From there, navigate to the video you would like to capture and play it. Take note of how long the video is because you’re going to need that information in a second.

download from hulu

Once your video starts playing, you will see a list of items in the bottom half of the app. This can vary from video to video, but at least one of the items should be listed as the same duration as the video you’re playing. Click an item that meets that criteria and click the Download button to start downloading the video. If your video doesn’t start downloading in a few seconds, you may need to try one of the other items.

Your download will start in a new window, leaving you free to go back and add more videos to your download queue. Multiple videos can download simultaneously.

download videos from hulu

After a download is finished, click on the Locate button and you will be taken directly to the folder with your downloaded files. As I alluded to earlier, videos will be in the FLV format, but you should have no problem playing them with an app like VLC player.


While this method still doesn’t compare to the various strategies you could invoke to easily download videos off YouTube, it is fairly straight forward and pretty simple to execute. StreamTransport certainly makes the whole process easier, especially since it has a built-in browser.

Do you have any tips to add? What do you think of this method?

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Hot Tech Deals [Feb 18th]

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 12:30 PM PST

If you’re in the market for a new computer, laptop, mobile phone, games and other accessories; don’t waste your time searching online. We’ve taken the liberty of locating the best tech deals and unifying them into a single post for your convenience.

For more fresh hot deals, visit our Hot Tech Deals page, which is constantly updated.

  1. Onkyo TX-SR608 7.2ch 100W/ch Home Theater Receiver (3D Ready, THX) $359.99 Free Shipping via code EMCKHJB79 (Exp 2/21)
  2. LG BE12LU30 12x External Blu-Ray Burner w/ LightScribe $169.99 via code EMCKHJB224 (Exp 2/20)
  3. Onkyo HT-S3300 5.1ch 110W/ch 3D-Ready Home Theater System $264.99 Free Shipping via code EMCKHJB82 (Exp 2/21)
  4. Sceptre E246BV-FHD 24in LED-Backlit LCD Monitor & HDTV Hybrid $199.99 Free Ship
  5. Buffalo Nfinity 802.11n Wireless N High Power Router (Gigabit, DD-WRT, Superior Range) $69.99 Free Shipping via code EMCKHJB62 (Exp 2/21)
  6. Canon Pixma MX870 Office All-In-One Printer w/ Duplex, WiFi, Fax $119.99 via code EMCKHJB72 (Exp 2/21)
  7. Samsung RF510 Intel Core i7-720QM Quad-Core 15.6in Laptop (4GB/640G/USB 3.0/Nvidia 330m) $789.99

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Do You Have A Photo Of A Great Fashion Item? Find Out Where To Get It!

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 11:31 AM PST

identify fashionDo you often meet people with amazing taste in clothing? Or do you see great outfits online? When you find these great clothes, wouldn’t you just love it if someone could tell you where to buy it?

Well, now it’s possible. Where To Get It is a service which lets you upload a picture of the clothes you’re looking at and let other people identify those fashion items and tell you where you can buy them. Other fashionistas browsing the site will attempt to find the item and let you know where you can buy it. Then all you have to do is click and purchase. It’s armchair shopping at its absolute finest.

identify fashion

Join Where To Get It

Signing up to Where To Get It is quick and simple. Either create an account manually or sign in with Facebook. Either way, it takes no time at all.

identify fashion designer

Ask Where To Get It

Grab a picture of that outfit you’re looking for and ask where to get it. It’s a simple process – you upload a picture, let them know vaguely where you found it (ie: from marketing, celebrity photo, a blogger, etc.) and then let everyone know exactly which item it is in the picture that you’re looking for. Then you’re set. Click on “Add Yours” to get started.

identify fashion designer

identify clothing labels

Automatically, you’re listed as following the “look”, so you will be notified when people find your item.

Follow More Looks

While you’re browsing around the site, you’re likely to find a few more items you like. To be notified of where to get them, just click on “Follow This Look” and you’ll be told of all the options to find that look.

identify fashion designer

Share Your Looks

With your own requests to identify fashion items, or with any other look you like, you can post a link to Facebook or Twitter, sharing your search request to all your friends to see if they know how to find it.

Embark on Quests

If you’re keen to help people find clothing items, click on either “Popular Quests” or “New Quests“. Browse away until you find something you’ve seen before, then you can help them find it.

identify clothing labels

Or if you want to look at particular items, search for colours or clothing types in the search box. Don’t worry, browsing comes naturally. Once you click on an item, you’re shown “Other Interesting Looks” which are similar to the one you’re looking at.

identify clothing labels

You can also help people by voting up and down the responses other people have posted.

identify clothing labels

If You Know Where To Find Something

If you’ve managed to find an item someone is looking for, you can contribute a link to Where To Get It. Just post the link, the cost and any other details you feel necessary. Even if it’s not exactly right, upload it as an option. The person who was looking for the item is often happy to find something almost the same as the photo.

How Where To Get It Works

This site is run on goodwill, presuming that fashionistas will browse the site for their own fashion ideas and help people out when they can. There’s also a little bit of competition to give the most advice. Weekly leaders are prominently displayed on the right hand side of the main page. Obviously, if they help the site to be more active, it means that their own questions will be more likely to get answered.

Where Else Could You Find It?

If you’re looking to identify specific fashion items, currently the only other way is to use an image search like Tin Eye or to ask your friends via social networks and blogs. You might not know many fashionistas or you just might not attract the attention of anyone who has the time to answer you. It’s pretty slow going. With Where To Get It, your request is seen by people who genuinely care about fashion and want to help.

identify fashion

More Fashion Reading

If all you want to do is browse fashion sites, here’s some more you’ll love.

Would you use Where To Get It? How else do you look for fashion items? Let us know in the comments!

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The Top 8 Websites To Find Maps Of Bike Paths Near You

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 10:31 AM PST

I wondered whether the bicycling heydays were over amidst the roar of cubic capacity engines. But the comments on the 10 Bicycling Websites That Will Pedal You Into The World Of Cycling gave ample proof that the ride is still very much on. That post was just a peek into how the web is helping out the passionate cyclist. One of the many ways bicycling web apps are guiding the pedal pushers is through maps of bike paths.

As the world gets crowded and polluted by its bigger cousins, the alleycat or the trail biker, or even the racer knows that getting on the right bike path is half the fun. Bike path maps help a cyclist to chart out the route even before the wheels hit the tarmac. You can go back into few of the resources we have covered earlier to see some of the better bike map path apps out there. Searched out here are a few new ones.


At first glance this website on bike paths doesn't seem impressive, but that's just scratching the surface. The site houses 155,000+ bike path maps (on Google Maps) shared by bikers from around the world.  Although, the majority of the routes are centered on North America and Europe. If you want to see what bike paths are around your location, try out the advanced search to pinpoint one. You can even filter the bike route by distance. If you discover a route, it's easy to log-in and share it with the community (see directory mention).

Map My Ride has a bunch of free tools along with the paid ones. The Routes tool is completely free and you can use it to plan out your bike or mountain bike rides. The map is a stylized Google Map with features like a distance filter which lets you search within a radius of 200km. One of the best cues you can use for an advanced search is by using 'tags' which lets you search bike paths by difficulty, area, terrain, surface, surroundings, and contour. Elevation data is also nicely rendered on the bike path maps.

Ride the City

Threading your way through the concrete pathways of an urban city takes planning. That's where this Geocoding bike map website for some major cities around the world comes in. Also, uniquely the site displays roads that are meant for biking by keeping to the use of bike lanes, bike paths, greenways, and other bike-friendly streets. You can also switch on the map layers for more data like bike shops and bike parking. Don't miss the weather update on the top-right.

VeloRoutes is a comparatively simpler bike path website that allows you to create, share, and find bicycle data added with elevation profiles for any given location. You can use a keyword to do your location search. You can also quite easily export a route to your GPS device or to formats like to GPX, KML, TCX, and CSV. Also useful is the cuesheet for any route that gives you turn-by-turn directions towards a location.


The bike trail website lists 368,084 Bike routes worldwide with a total length of 19,891,520 miles. Check out the Most Popular Places with Bike Routes and the countries covered mentions below the Google Map. You can export routes to your GPS device. Also provided are details like vertical climb, inclination, surface, and the kind of cycling the route is suited for.


The site is very much Europe-centric but covers the US too. New biking trails get continuously added by passionate bicyclists and you can add your own too. You can use the dropdown to select the country and the region to discover cycle routes or go alphabetically through the list of bike paths. With a login, you can give your weight information and also get the calories you might burn along the route. The information on the state of the bike path and landmarks that will fall along the way should be a great help.


The mountain biking community has a long list of reviews of trails around the world. The US dominates the list but expect to find some great trails in the lesser known parts of the world tool. A well voiced forum has also come up around mountain biking trails. Trail reviews use Google Maps, photos, and first person accounts to give you an insight before you start pedaling. Thanks to the terrain, trails aren't well represented on the map, but one can assume that a intrepid trail biker can get the route from the directions given.

Google Maps

When every other bike path site uses Google Maps, it's expected that there should be something similar on Google Maps itself. Still in beta, the bike routes data is more than useful if you happen to be in the United States. Type in the directions and click the last icon for bicycles. You can switch the bicycling layer on and off and even change the direction.

Finding new bike paths and navigating through them is now just a matter of going to any of these websites, plotting out the route, and maybe downloading the data to your GPS device. Apart from these eight, cycling websites like Bicycling Magazine,, and Bike Radar have their own route finder tools too. It's also a good idea to be a part of the many forums found on these websites for hint drops on new trails and bike paths.

What's your hint for bike enthusiasts when it comes to discovering new bike paths?

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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iPad 4.2.1 – Jailbreak & Save Your SHSH Blobs For Future Downgrades [iOS]

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 09:31 AM PST

shsh blobsIf you took my advice and haven’t yet upgraded to the 4.x iPad software, because you’ve been awaiting the latest jailbreak, then good choice. The time has come. The latest version of GreenPois0n is out, and it brings with it an “untethered” jailbreak for iOS 4.2.1. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to first save your SHSH blobs. This means you’ll be able to downgrade back to your current firmware later if you wish to; then we will upgrade your iPad and jailbreak it.

My screenshots for this tutorial are from my Mac, however all the applications mentioned are available with Windows versions too with similar interfaces, so you should have no problems following along.

Legal Disclaimer: As ever, MakeUseOf cannot guarantee the safety of this tutorial for your device or your computer. If you can’t afford to buy another iPad if yours were to break, you should not be firmware hacking in the first place.  If you decide to take advantage of this tutorial, do so at your own risk.

1. Save Your SHSH Blobs With TinyUmbrella

The first step is to download TinyUmbrella for OS X or Windows.

Whatever version you are running now, it is always wise to “save your blobs” so that you can downgrade should you wish to in the future. This is a necessary step, as everytime you change the firmware on your iDevice, Apple attempts to verify it online. After a while, they refuse to verify old versions of the iOS, so trying to downgrade to an earlier firmware will simply not work. With your blobs saved, you can redirect that authentication to a private server instead, and your iPad will think everything is happy in the world, and go ahead with the downgrade.

Once you’ve downloaded TinyUmbrella, plug in your device through the USB cable. If iTunes asks you if you want to upgrade your device, just tell it no for now. You may want to perform a full sync if you haven’t done so in a while, to transfer your iPad purchases to iTunes etc.

When done, open up and install TinyUmbrella. You should see your device listed on the left, and if you’ve ever done this before you’ll see your previously saved blobs listed in the center. Notice I’ve already saved pretty much every firmware version so far. There should be a button for Save All SHSHs. If it’s not enabled, click on the top option from the left sidebar that says Show All SHSHs, then try again.

shsh blobs

Click the Save All SHSHs, and although it might not initially look like anything is happening, the list should gradually grow.

Note: While the symbol next to your device continues to spin, I found the app had crashed at this point. I went ahead and closed the app anyway, as I knew it had grabbed all the SHSHs (up to the latest version I was running). Leave it for at least 15 minutes if you’re not sure.

jailbrake shsh

2. Jailbreak

Begin by upgrading your iPad to a clean install of 4.2.1 firmware. To do this, download the firmware from the above link, and launch iTunes. From the iPad screen, ignore the message that asks you to update. Select your own downloaded firmware file by first holding down ALT (on OS X) or SHIFT (on Windows) and then clicking the Restore button. iTunes should bring up a dialog for you to choose your firmware, so go ahead and do so. You should have no problems, after 15 minutes your iPad will be upgraded with fresh clean firmware.

jailbrake shsh

Next we are going to run the Jailbreak, so unzip and launch Greenpois0n. This is where most people mess things up, so do be careful. Read the instructions thoroughly before you go ahead and click the button so you know exactly what you have to do. It goes like this:

  1. When you click jailbreak, you will given a 5 second preparation time.
  2. When the timer reaches zero, press and hold the sleep button for about 5 seconds. There will be a countdown for this.
  3. Continue holding the sleep button, but press and hold the home button too. Again, a countdown will be displayed for 10 seconds.
  4. Continue holding the home button, but release the sleep button. Again, a timer is displayed to help you.
  5. You can safely let go when the Greenpois0n logo is displayed.
  6. Your iPad will display a bunch of random text, do not be worried. After a while it will pause, looking like it has crashed. Don’t worry, it is jailbreaking your device.
  7. Your iPad should reboot, leaving you with a standard looking screen.

shsh blobs

You aren’t quite finished yet. If you scroll to the second home screen, you will notice a new green icon labeled Loader. This is to install Cydia and post-jailbreak items. However, you need the Internet to run it and since all your settings have now been wiped, you will need to set up your wifi connection in settings again. When you’re done, launch loader, select Cydia, then click Install Cydia. When it was finished and I clicked back to my home screen, my iPad restarted itself – this is normal.

Congratulations, your device is now Jailbroken! What you do with it now is up to you. Remember, if you find you do find yourself hating version 4.2, you can safely downgrade using the tutorial I posted a month back, or you could learn about all the great 4.2 features you’d be missing. Also, look out for the iPad guide we’ll be releasing in a few weeks.

iOS 4.3 will out be out soon, but as ever, hold off on upgrading if you enjoy your jailbroken abilities.

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How To Set Up A Google Voicemail Feature On Your WordPress Blog

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 08:31 AM PST

how to set up voicemailThere are a lot of different ways you can interact with your readers when you run a blog. It may be sufficient to provide a comment system like Disqus, or maybe you might incorporate contact forms into your site so you can get direct, one-way feedback from your visitors. Sometimes, you may need a little more more interaction with visitors. Maybe you’re running a website that you intend to use to generate leads, in which case you want your potential customers to call you immediately. Or, maybe you just prefer hearing a persons’ voice rather than reading input from an impersonal online form.

For years, there was a plethora of choices when it came to free voicemail systems, such as Voicememe, which I previously covered, or even K7 . Over time it seems as though each “free” service either dropped by the wayside one by one, or they converted over to a for-pay system online. There remains only one service that stands victorious and free over the rest – Google Voice.

How to Set Up Voicemail On Google Voice

Most people use Google Voice exclusively as a personal voicemail system. It’s an easy way to have a phone number that you don’t have to pay for – a real money-saver for college students that move around a lot and don’t like having to constantly switch phone numbers. You can set up Google Voice to either ring your own cell phone, or you can send calls to voicemail.

That voicemail feature is actually a lot more flexible than you might think, and it allows website and blog owners with the ability to integrate voicemail directly onto any website. The fastest way to do this is to click on the “Call Widgets” tab in Google Voice and click the link to create a new widget.

how to set up voicemail

The beauty of this is that you can create multiple widgets with multiple call behaviors. Maybe one blog widget will automatically forward callers directly to voicemail, like the configuration above. If you want to, you could set up another widget that you might include in your email footer, and those callers would get routed directly to your cell phone. Once you’ve finished configuring the widget, Google Voice provides you with an Embed code that you can copy and paste into any web page.

wordpress voicemail

The widget looks like the image below. Here, I’ve integrated the Google Voicemail system into my Contact page on one of my blogs. Whenever a user clicks on the link, they’ll need to enter in the phone number where Google Voice can call them offline, and then they can click “connect” to make the call.

wordpress voicemail

Users also have the ability to select a text box to keep the number hidden if they’re concerned about their privacy. Once they click “Connect“, Google Voice will instantly call the number they entered. Once they pick up, Google Voice will then call you, or connect to your voicemail system, depending how you configured the widget to work.

wordpress voicemail

Integrating Google Voice Into WordPress

You may be satisfied using the Google Voice embedded widget approach, which you can place on any page or sidebar that you like. But keep in mind that there’s an awesome WordPress Plugin called Google Voice CallMe that extends the functionality of the widget. You still need to set up a Google Voice widget as I described above, because you’ll need the embed code to paste into the plug-in configuration.

wordpress voicemail widget

You’ll find the configuration area at the “CallMe” link under Settings in WordPress. Paste the embed code and save the settings. You can also tweak how the “Do Not Disturb” image looks if you like (add formatted text anywhere around the image).

wordpress voicemail widget

When you add the new widget to your sidebar, you’ll see that you can configure “Do Not Disturb” times for each day of the week. What the widget does is it changes the Google Voice icon from green to a “Do Not Disturb” red icon during the times that you set, when you know that you’re going to be offline or away from your phone and unable to take calls.

wordpress voicemail widget

This is an excellent way to set up Google Voice on your website or blog if you offer something like a computer tech or customer support service and your visitors need to access a live person. If you keep the embedded Google Voice widget configured to go directly to voicemail, then this plug-in gives you the ability to essentially “turn off” voicemail during certain hours.

how to set up voicemail

This can be useful if you receive alerts every time you get a Google Voicemail and just don’t want to bother with those during “non-business” hours.

It’s unfortunate that most of the other free voicemail services have fallen by the wayside, but it’s fortunate that Google Voice not only survived, but that it also offers enough flexibility so that you can embed your own voicemail link pretty much anywhere online that you can paste the embed code.

Do you use Google Voicemail? Are there any creative ways you’ve put your embed code to good use? Share your insight in the comments section below.

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What Is An APU? [Technology Explained]

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 07:31 AM PST

what is an apuThe CPU has been the heart of every PC since Intel’s x86 processors became popular over two decades ago. Yet the CPU does have weaknesses,the greatest of which is their relatively linear data execution. Graphics processors, by comparison, consist of many small cores that execute data simultaneously. This makes it easier for them to perform certain tasks, like video decoding and 3D graphics.

Both Intel and AMD know this, and have for some time. In response they’ve combined the strengths of both CPUs and GPUs, resulting in a new type of product called the APU.

APU Architecture

what is an apu

What is an APU? The term APU stands for Accelerated Processing Unit. At the moment, this is a term that only AMD is using for its products. Intel’s recently released update to its processors also qualifies as an APU; Intel simply seems unwilling to use the definition. That’s understandable, since the company has been known as the world’s leading CPU maker for years.

An APU is simply a processor that combines CPU and GPU elements into a single architecture. The first APU products being shipped by AMD and Intel do this without much fuss by adding graphics processing cores into the processor architecture and letting them share a cache with the CPU. While both AMD and Intel are using their own GPU architectures in their new processors, the basic concepts and reasons behind the decision to bring a GPU into the architecture remain the same.

The Benefits Of An APU

AMD and Intel wouldn’t go to the trouble of integrating a GPU into their CPU architectures if there weren’t some benefits to doing so, but sometimes the benefit of a new technology seems to be focused more on the company selling the product than the consumer. Fortunately, the benefits of the APU are dramatic and will be noticed by end users.

what is an apu processor

Obviously, improved performance is one advantage. The graphics placed on current APUs are not meant to be competitive with high-end or even mid-range discrete graphics cards, but they are better than previous integrated graphics processors. Intel HD Graphics 3000, the fastest graphics option available on the company’s newest processor, is two to three times quicker than the previous Intel HD Graphics solution, which was on the processor die but not integrated into the architecture. This also makes it possible to include new features, like Intel’s QuickSync video transcoding techology.

Another advantage brought by APUs is improved power efficiency. Integrated the GPU into the architecture makes it possible to share resources and achieve the same results with less silicon. This means an APU can replicate the performance of a system equipped with a low-end discrete graphics card while using far less power. Early benchmarks of Intel Sandy Bridge and AMD Fusion laptops make this advantage obvious; systems equipped with these processors have better battery life than similar system saddled with a CPU and a separate discrete or integrated graphics processor.

Should You Buy One?

what is an apu

Now you know the benefits of an APU, you may be thinking about purchasing one of these fancy new processors. Upgrading to a new processor is never inexpensive, however. Is an APU worth your money?

The answer is yes, but on the other hand, it doesn’t matter if you upgrade now or later. You are, eventually, going to end up owning an APU no matter what you do. All of Intel’s processors from here on, with the exception of the Atom processor, will be APUs. AMD’s entire line of processors will be updated to APUs by the end of this year. And Nvidia, which recently announced intentions to create a line of ARM processors for desktops, will of course be creating an APU.

In fact, you may want to wait, if only because this technology is relatively new. Both Intel and AMD are hard at work on new products that further leverage the advantages of this design, and AMD’s desktop APU is unlikely to become available before the summer.


The APU is the future of processor design. The only question at this point is the term itself. While Intel’s new processors also fit the definition of an APU, the term APU is only used by AMD in its marketing. If Nvidia also decides this is a term worth using as it develops its new processor it may have some legs. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be surprised if Intel uses its considerable marketshare might to squash it.

But whatever this new generation of hardware is called five years from now, the results are the same. APUs are here, they’re awesome, and they’ll make it easier for users to enjoy media without consuming unreasonable amounts of power.

The benchmark graph is part of Anandtech’s review of Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors. Check it out for full information.

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