Always more powerful GeForce and Radeon graphics cards

I have to admit that I am quite impressed by the latest GPUs from NVIDIA or AMD. The new graphics cards are way more powerful than those released barely two years ago. I shouldn’t be so surprised since the manufacturers can simply add more and more cores as these cores work in parallel while they also make architectural improvements.

NVIDIA’s GeForce is the leading brand of graphics cards, but AMD’s Radeon line of GPUs is also quite impressive. Both companies are boasting cards with transistor counts in the billions, and there is no sign they will hit a limit soon. For gamers like me this very good news! Playing the latest games in ultra high-resolution is definitely neat if you can afford the latest and most powerful cards that cost more than $700!

For those like me with a smaller budget, there is no need to despair. You can find more than capable GeForce graphics cards for less than $200 with excellent ratings such as this one from EVGA.

EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card GPU

Now, what if you can spare $600 or $700 for the latest monster? Maybe I can point you to the fastest GeForce GTX cards that do indeed look like superpowered versions of the model above!

EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card GPU

Faster and faster processors from Intel and AMD

I’ve recently caught up with the latest CPU news, and I was surprised to learn that AMD launched a new range of processors called Ryzen available for desktop computers. These new CPUs were well received by hardware reviewers, and AMD is now in a good position to give Intel a bit of much-needed competition. 

Competition is good, and we have now ever more powerful processors at our disposal for fun or work. The progress of miniaturization is continuing without interruption, and Intel is already moving towards the 10 nm mark and below later this year.

So what do we have right now? Well, Intel continues to do very well with its line of Intel Core i7 processors. The current 7th generation is very popular, and you can see the excellent reviews on Amazon for the i7-7700K sold for less than $350.

Intel 7th Generation Intel Core Desktop Processor i7-7700K

If you decide to look beyond Intel’s offering, I can now recommend AMD’s latest and very powerful Ryzen desktop processors. You can get yourself an AMD Ryzen CPU for about $200 such as the Ryzen 5 1600, which should give your PC a huge speed boost, especially if your pair it with one of those newly released GeForce or Radeon graphics cards.

AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Processor with Wraith Spire Cooler

Solar panels are now cheaper and getting more efficient

I was particularly impressed by Tesla’s recent new offering: solar panels that blend very well with rooftops. Obviously, you would need to pair these solar panels with good rechargeable batteries to store all the energy produced. In my previous article, I discussed this particular energy storage issue, and I am confident that Tesla will be successful here as well.

The bigger news is that solar panels are getting cheaper than ever according to the latest news. Furthermore, researchers improved the efficiency of solar cells to more than 26% this year. We are now approaching the theoretical maximum efficiency of 29%!

For those who just want to enjoy the falling prices and make use of solar panels without spending thousands of dollars, cheap solar panels can be found for less than $150 on Amazon. For instance, you have below these small 12v solar panels from Renogy that are very popular with RV owners among others.

Renogy Small 12v Solar Panel

Renogy is also selling small solar panel kits for less than $200 with an upgraded charge controller. People new to solar should find these cheap DIY kits good enough for a first purchase.

Renogy Small 12v Solar Panel Kit

Better and cheaper batteries

I wrote a couple days ago that solar power is getting cheaper and cheaper every passing year. Well, this is good news but to fully realize my dream of a fully solar-powered society, we need to develop way better and much cheaper rechargeable batteries to store all this energy.

We all know about the great progress made by Tesla with its electric cars in terms of driving range. Launched recently, the Model S 100D offers a range of 335 miles on a full charge! Thanks to Tesla’s advances in battery and charging technology, these superb cars are reaching an ever larger market.

To continue with Tesla’s products, you certainly have read about its Powerwall. These are simply rechargeable batteries for the home that are based on the familiar lithium-ion battery technology. Li-ion batteries are now commonly used in consumer electronics. Tesla successfully drove the costs down by mass producing these batteries and thus benefiting from economies of scale.

Now, what about mass market consumer products? In the last few years, we have seen more affordable and reliable external batteries (power banks) or portable chargers for sale. The prices went down dramatically, and now you can find very handy products for people who are always worried about the battery status of their laptop or cell phone. I am such a person.

Right now on Amazon, some of the most popular portable chargers for your cell phone or other small electronic gears are from Anker again. You should definitely check the Anker PowerCore and Astro series and see the full range of high-speed chargers.

This best-selling Anker PowerCore portable charger sold for less than $30 is more than capable of charging your iPhone a few times.

Anker PowerCore External Battery or Portable Charger

This Anker Astro model sold less than $20 is also very popular given its ultra compact size.

Anker Astro External Battery or Portable Charger

For laptops and notebooks, you would obviously need a much larger capacity portable power bank, and the current favorite is this one from MAXOAK below.

MAXOAK External Battery or Portable Charger for Laptops

Ever cheaper solar energy and products

If you followed the news recently on this topic you may have read titles like these:

Unsubsidized wind and solar now the cheapest source for new electric power

Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth

I am a big believer in solar energy, and I am convinced that we will be able to rely on solar power for most, if not all, of our energy needs within a couple of decades. The reign of oil and gas will finally end. Obviously, we will need to develop better and affordable batteries to truly benefit from cheap solar energy.

I was checking Amazon.com, and I saw that solar-related products are quite popular now that the prices went down and quality went up these last few years as far as I can tell.

This is now summer time so if you are looking for a solar panel that can charge your smartphone or tablet while you are camping in the wild, I do recommend the solar chargers from Anker like this one below. These foldable solar panels very well designed for outdoor use.

Anker Solar Charger

I would also get one of these solar lanterns for camping from Suaoki for less than $20.

Suaoki Solar Lantern for CampingI am personally more interested in solar-powered lighting products such as these best-selling solar lights from URPOWER. This company has a whole range of outdoor lights below $40 that are well reviewed by customers.

You can check on Amazon these URPOWER in-ground solar lights

URPOWER In-Ground Solar Lights

…and their solar motion sensor lights sold in pack of 4.

URPOWER Solar Motion Sensor Lights