01 December 98 - 07 December 98
Highlights within this period includes:
  • Enable DMA under NT 4
  • Run 2 ICQ at the same time
  • Tom @ Comdex
  • Motor Racer 2 review
  • AOpen Savage3D review
  • QSound Positional 3D audio
  • 3Com/USR FaxModem Pro USB modem
  • Understanding CPU Caching & Performance
  • Wicked eyeScream
  • AOpen AX6B Review
  • Matrox Fails To Deliver ICD
  • Canon MV-10
  • Linux Worm Virus
  • Pentium II Scam
  • New CL RivaTNT NT Drivers
  • Service Disruption on 4th Dec
  • New Banshee Drivers
  • SiS 530/5595 Chipset
  • nVidia Litestep Theme
  • Improving Your Cable Modem Speed
  • Soyo SY-D6IBA
  • Abit BM6
  • Confused About Banshee Drivers?
  • 3Com Palm VIIT
  • Diamond Monster Sound MX300 Ships
  • K7 Vs KNI
  • Motherboard Monitor Lite 2.0 Beta
  • Universal Serial Bus
  • 3D Graphics: Making The Right Choice
  • PowerVR 250 Chip News Release
  • 3DMark ShootOut Between Savage3D & TNT
  • Monster Sound MX300 Review
  • 3D Card Buyers Guide
  • Tweaking Your ADSL Modem
  • Canopus Spectra 3200 Screenshots
  • Canopus on New Pure3D II Drivers
  • The Hardware Game: MMX
  • The Truth About S3TC
  • Hercules Dynamite TNT
  • Chromeffects Coming Out Afterall
  • Jane's World War II Fighters Review
  • 3Dfx ICD
  • USB Scanner
  • Falcon 4.0 Goes Gold!
  • New Creative Voodoo 2 Drivers
  • PowerVR 250
  • Microsoft Grants Matrox WHQL Self-Test Status
  • PalmPilot Can Break Into Cars?
  • PowerStrip v2.30
  • TNT Tweak Guide
  • MS Magazine On Flashman's Freestyle Review
  • Creative's 'RIO'-like Device
  • Netscape Communicator 5.0
  • Celeron @ 504 Mhz
  • Tweaking your Windows UI
  • Number 9 Revolution IV
  • Unofficial ABIT BH6 FAQ
  • Spectra Heat Problem resolved
7th December 1998 {Monday}
Editor Away Notice 20:34 pm - Wilfred

Hi people! Just to let you know that I'll be away for the next 2 days. Of course, that does NOT mean the site will not get updated, it just means more pressure on Kan to keep you happy! Do mail him at [email protected] if there's any urgent need to reach us.

It has been a wonderful weekend doing the Banshee review and reading all your mails. But for the coming two days, I'll have to let the mails pile up and unanswered. However, I'll be sure to respond to them as soon as I return. This is a super hectic month for me, after this short getaway, I'll be flying off the Korea for a holiday till Christmas. So please give Kan all your support during this period. :)  - Wilfred

Spectra Heat Problem Resolved 20:30 pm - Wilfred

Our kind reader, Chester, has contributed this bit on how he solved a heat related problem with his Canopus Spectra 2500. I'm not sure if this is an isolated case, but if you suspect that the jerkiness or occassional lockups in your games are due to heat problems on your Spectra, you might want to read this:

I just wanted to make a small user contribution to your Canopus Spectra 2500 reviews. OUCH, THAT'S HOT!

I own a Canopus Spectra 2500 and found that like you mention, it runs hot, real HOT! Anyway, I was curious to find out why it ran so hot, even with a heatsink-fan. I noticed that the heatsink-fan did not get as hot as the backside of the card. I thought at first the fan wasn't working but later thought that the problem is deeper, especially since I would experience the occasional lockup or jerkiness whilst playing Shogo. These glitches would come up while playing Shogo with nothing but an empty room. No hard drive access, etc. So, I could only assume it to be heat related with the Spectra 2500.

PROBLEM...FIXED
I resorted to removing the heatsink fan and much to my amazement there was only a small patch of thermal grease in the centre of the chip and heatsink-fan. So, I quickly dropped some thermal grease on the heatsink fan and pressed it back on the chip while moving it around to create a very thin layer on the entire chip-heatsink-fan combo. Clean up any excess and put it all back together.

THE BIG TEST
I replaced the Spectra and powered up my Celeron 300A overclocked to 464Mhz. With the system running and case open I ran through some Shogo and Final Reality to find no more lockups or the usual glitches. The heatsink-fan is now much warmer to the touch, so I know the thermal grease is allowing for the proper dissipation of heat.

NOTES
Other users of TNT's Creative Labs, Asus, STB, or Diamond may wish to take note. If you can easily remove your heatsink or heatsink-fan check to ensure there is enough thermal grease making contact between your heatsink/heatsink-fan and the chips, but remember, a little goes a long way.

Cheers,
Chester
aka: Crazy_Canuck

I've not learnt of this problem before, either from my own testing or my friends who owned the Spectra, but this is nevertheless an issue of concern which could be due to a bad batch or simply bad luck. Thanks Chester!

Radiation Proof Chip From Intel? 18:46 pm - Wilfred

Yah, I can already imagine you scratching your head at this development. But it's not for you, my man! Caught this interesting piece of tech info from our affiliate CoolComputing:

"The U.S. government and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC - news) have teamed up to develop a radiation-proof computer chip that could help shield satellites from nuclear blasts in space."

"The trade newsletter Defense Week, in an edition being published Monday, said the new chip would one day enable systems aboard satellites and other space vehicles to withstand the effects of a nuclear detonation.

The article said U.S. intelligence agencies are increasingly worried about the possibility that a potential enemy could disrupt satellite surveillance and communications simply by firing a nuclear weapon straight up and detonating it in space."

I didn't think the threat was so real until I read this. Why Intel? Maybe AMD can come up with a better (war)gaming chip? ;P

Creative PC-DVD Encore 5X Kit 16:24 pm - Wilfred

The AGN3D guys must have worked very hard all weekend (like us! :P) and they pooped their 2nd review in a short span of 2 days. The Creative PC-DVD Encore 5X is the center of their attention this round.

"The Encore DVD-ROM drive is 5X DVD-ROM drive built by Panasonic. Unlike with first and second generation DVD drives, the Creative drive is capable of reading any media you throw at it. This includes media such as CD-RW as well as DVD-Ram and DVD-R."

"The Dolby Digital AC-3 audio experience is simply light years beyond what I had experienced before with VCR tapes and Pro Logic Receivers. The only way to explain AC-3 is that it is real life audio. AC-3 discretely separates the sound into the 6 different channels. When watching Godzilla on DVD, each of the speakers had different sounds coming from them providing for a true life listening experience. The Soundblaster Live! is good, but it cannot hold a candle to Digital Surround Sound. In order to experience this amazing Dolby Digital you need a receiver that can play it back. For the most part Dolby Digital hardware is expensive, but the Desktop Theater can be picked up for around $230 on the street. This makes it a perfect companion to the Encore 5X."

Oh well, speaking of the AC-3 experience really makes me feel inadequate lately. Hearing it for myself at Boon Kiat's place made me want to junk my PC audio system for a Desktop Theater 5.1 and grab a DVD-ROM kit. Arrghh! Now, how come everybody ONLY test their systems with Godzilla??!!! Why???!!!

Hardware One: Creative 3D Blaster Banshee 14:36 pm - Wilfred

Ok, it's done. We have just uploaded the review on Creative's 3D Blaster Banshee AGP card. Sporting 16Mb of SGRAM and 3Dfx's Banshee chip, the card is presently one of the choiced price/performance combo, delivering fabulous 2D & 3D to your doorstep at under S$200!

"Everything looks really vibrant and SHARP!!! A marked contrast to my Diamond Viper V330 4Mb Riva128 card."

"Even after the plain sailing installation thus far, one thing was seriously troubling me... this card is freeaakin' hot! Not just the chip but the whole PCB as well!"

"... what more could you ask for at this price?"

Find it under 'Exclusive Reviews' section, or just simply click here.

The Unofficial Abit BH6 FAQ 11:33 am - Wilfred

Terry sent word about his new Unofficial Abit BH6 FAQ which he'd just put up at HE. Mail him any questions you have, he'll be expanding on this FAQ as more of you contribute!

Q: Which is faster the BX6 or the BH6 ?
Well according to ABIT the BH6 is slightly faster than the BX6 (although I have not been able to confirm this) and it is true based on benchmarks I have seen, but only by a small margin.

Number Nine Revolution IV 10:44 am - Kan

Another review from Anand. This time, on the Number Nine Revolution IV (based on the Ticket to IV Ride chipset) as well as a SGI 1600SW Digital Flat LCD panel.

Speaking of refresh rates, the refresh rates supported by the Revolution IV and driven by the 250MHz RAMDAC are truly amazing.  At 1280 x 1024 you can achieve a 107Hz refresh rate at 32-bit color, and at 1600 x 1200, the 92Hz refresh rate isn't too shabby at all.  Even at 1920 x 1200, the 77Hz refresh rate should be easy viewing for most users blessed with a monitor large enough for that resolution

Ace's Overclocking Expectations 09:42 am - Wilfred

Ace's Hardware has written an article for all of those overclocker-wannabes out there. Well, it tries to put you back to reality (conservative reality!) in case some of you became suicidal after an unsuccessful attempt. (Whole Article)

Currently among the best CPUs for overclockers are the AMD K6-2s and the Intel Celerons. While these two chips in general run very well at high frequencies, it's very important to separate hype from reality. Many people buy CPUs for the sole purpose of overclocking, and many end up disappointed when their chip cannot reach a frequency boasted on a message board. A processor shouldn't be bought because of it's overclockability, but for those that do, I have tried to compile a list of successful overclocks done by myself and others to provide you with an idea of what these various processors should realistically be able to accomplish.

After you checked out their article, you might be interested to read 2 "reviews" we've posted on Hardware One. Namely the benchmarks of "Celeron 300A @ 504Mhz" and "Shooting for 504Mhz /w 300A" (Well, it's about the process of getting there!)

Cassiopeia E-11 Review 09:31 am - Wilfred

BetaNews has whipped up a review on Cassio's CE 2.0 based palmPC - the 8mb Cassiopeia E-11. Take computing on the go, right away!

"... you can use ActiveSync, which is on the E-11 to transfer and synchronize information between your PC and the handheld. It mainly will transfer Microsoft Outlook, Schedule+, and Calendar items, but it can do more, depending on the software you have."

6th December 1998 {Sunday}
Tweaking Your Windows UI 23:35 pm - Wilfred

Our affiliate Netigen has posted a really neat (I can't help but always use this word to describe their reviews!) article on the various shell enhancements you can use to tweak your Windows UI.

Users have long craved the ability to fully control the style of their Windows operating system, but Microsoft has generally frowned upon such customization. Nevertheless, it's obvious that this hasn't stopped anyone. Whether it's through emulation software or a simple registry hack, many advanced users have found ways around the standard interface and in many cases have practically rewritten Windows-itself.

Check out the review! You might just suddenly realise what you have been missing out just using the 'START' button interface. :)

Hardware One: Benchmarks of [email protected] 15:51 pm - Wilfred

We have posted a short review with couple of benchmarks done on the Celeron 300A performing at 504Mhz. Just a little article as the appetizer for things to come.

Good figures in the benchmarks are nothing if the system is not stable. 504 Mhz is currently about 80% stable on my current configuration. This is most probably due to the Adaptec SCSI controller I have, which does not like the increase of the bus speed from 100 Mhz to 112 Mhz.

80% stable? Hmm... how did I measure that? I don't suppose anyone will want to run their PC at these speeds if it isn't 100% stable outside of software glitches. Don't take things too hard here, read it just to see the potential power that can be unleashed. (Go to our Exclusive Reviews section)

DeskPack 98 14:55 pm - Kan

BetaNews reviewed another desktop enhancing software, DeskPack 98.

Desk Pack 98 centers around a main navigation bar, similar to those used in Internet Explorer Channels. Colorful, purposeful, and well placed to surf in and out of your desktops.

The new active desktop itself was amazing, encompassing all the bases a power user loves. Not only did it include many powerful features, but they were organized into one place. I was able to send email directly from my desktop, write down to-do's, and list my appointments day-by-day. Not to mention the folder navigation, which practically eliminates any need for the start menu whatsoever. Other things such as the recycle bin, free disk space, and processor usage were also in immediate view.

MegaTexels/s Not MegaPixels/s 14:49 pm - Wilfred

Following their Voodoo3 Hardware Therapy, the guys at Hardgame posted a short blurp to clear the seemingly confused terms above, which were often seen used interchangeably.

When the Voodoo3 was announced with a Megatexel/sec. rate of 366, quite a few took the Voodoo2 Megapixel/sec. rate of 90 (and the SLI rate of 180) and used them for comparison. USENET participants were a bit quicker and realized that the dual texture Voodoo2 Megatexel rate was 180 for Voodoo2 and 360 for SLI and compared it to the dual-texture Voodoo3 specs. Here's the word from 3Dfx' Steve Schick (along with a hearty thank-you for the email reply) sorting through Voodoo2 pixels and texels.

Vince, our performance is related to the content.   A single-textured game will only take up 90 Megatexels/sec on a single Voodoo2, while a multi-textured game will take up to the full 180 Megatexels/sec.   This means that the chipset is designed for multi-textured games, and that multi-textured games make better use of the hardware. It also means that multi-textured games do not slow down the performance of Voodoo2, as they do on other chips.  This is why multi-textured games like Quake II are much more impressive on Voodoo2 and, especially, Voodoo2 SLI.

Be careful not to mix up texel rate (Megatexels/sec) and fill rate (Megapixels/s). With games, the megatexel number is by far the more critical.

Elsa Victory II Banshee Thresh Test 14:22 pm - Wilfred

The good boys at Frontline has cooked up another review on the Banshee based Elsa Victory II card. Check it out man, these guys are lobbing volley after volley of cool reviews!

All in all, the Banshee is a good 2D-3D combo card for the masses. This card has excellent video playback (for those people who must play VCD's on their PC) and decent 3D frame rates, ESPECIALLY in Direct3D. Though not as hot as the TNT in terms of features and raw firepower, it is hard to go wrong with this 3dfx card which has the best support in the world in terms of games.

MSI 6119 Motherboard 12:40 pm - Kan

Our bud over at Overclockers Workbench posted Part 1 of the MSI 6119 BX motherboard.

Other unique features of this mainboard includes a System Hardware Monitor Software PC Alert which comes with the CD. This is a in-house production of MSI. Another software that comes with it is the Software CPU Cooling device. This again is a product of MSI which could help to cool down CPUs by 57%. According to MSI, the temperature of a AMD K6-233 dropped from 90 to 35 Deg within 5 minutes after this s/w is used.

If you have the older manual just like what I have, you would notice that there is a JP1 which is used to set the multiplier. Gone are those days of jumper tweaking. MSI 6119 now supports setting up the CPU through the BIOS frequency table. This is very similar to what you have in ABIT BX6 and BH6's SoftMenu II. This also protects your CPU from damages caused by incorrect setting through CPU frequency auto-detection.

Radio LAN Review 10:43 am - Kan

PlanetHardware had a review on the wireless radio LAN network. Good for people who do not mind a slower speed but want a place with no messy cables!

Wireless networking. These two single words can amaze PC owners, especially people who have worked with network administration for several years, who know what a hassle setting up a CAT-5 network can be at times. Even though networking over radio signals has technically been accomplished over networking for almost 20 years, only now is it achieving full 10-base T network speed and reliability. There are lots of companies with new radio networking products coming out on the market, but some only reach up to 20% of current 10-base T speeds, which is why the speed of this kit is all the more amazing, but also is amazingly expensive

Desktop Theater 5.1 Review 10:43 am - Kan

AGN3D just finished a new review on the Cambridge Desktop Theater 5.1.

Music was great with the speakers, especially with the CMSS music mode. But music is not the reason you would invest in these speakers, you would invest for the Digital AC-3 and Pro Logic support! The experience with watching Godzilla with the Desktop Theater in AC-3 mode literally blew me off my chair. The sound steering is simply amazing, making sure that each speaker has what it is supposed to be playing coming out of it. In a restaurant two different sets of people were talking from the separate rear speakers, while the onscreen people were talking out of the front. This truly created the immersive audio experience that DVD video promises. Running down the street, Godzilla was being attacked by helicopters and more, all placed perfectly on the proper side of my head. If you have not had a chance to experience this yet, the only way to describe it is a movie theater without all the talking people.

Server up 10:30 am - Kan

The US server is finally up. Hopefully it will stay up for good. Damn...

Server down 02:23 am - Kan

Our US server is still experiencing downtime. Hopefully it will be up soon.

Netscape Communicator 5.0 02:21 am - Kan

In a move long anticipated and warmly welcomed by Web developers, Netscape Communications is expected to unveil on Monday a developer preview of the next-generation layout engine for Communicator 5.0.

The new engine is the product of mozilla.org, a Netscape-supported group shepherding the open-source development of the Communicator code. Because it is the product of an open source effort, any software developer will be able to use the engine as an embeddable component once it is released.

Along with the developer preview, Netscape will unveil the product's official name. Netscape scuttled the first name "Raptor" after complaints from Raptor Systems, and subsequently dubbed the engine "NG Layout," for "next generation."

Lucky Star review 00:24 am - Kan

Sharky had a new motherboard review: Lucky Star 6ABX2V BX. Funny, I don't think Singapore sell those.

The 6ABX2V's maximum of 784MB of system ram is notable, although not exceptional, as 1GB seems to be the new high-end limit. Similarly, the amount of electrolytic capacitors on the Lucky Star board seems to be on the light side. A total of zero large size capacitors, five medium size capacitors and four mini-sized capacitors usually doesn't equal a board that can handle high limits of overclocking induced heat.

In our testing, the 6ABX2V performed fine at bus speeds of 100MHz and 112MHz, but suffered from instability when set to a blistering 133MHz front side bus speed. Combine this with the fact that the board doesn't provide a 1/4 PCI clock divider at the 133MHz setting, and you begin to understand that die-hard overclockers should perhaps look elsewhere for their solution.

5th December 1998 {Saturday}
Creative's 'RIO'-like Device 23:53 pm

Since today is the official launch of Diamond's RIO portable MP3 player in Singapore, many of you must be quite interested to see who else might play this game. Creative, for one, has got a similar device up its sleeves. Did I mention similar? No not really! It's got EAX with it!

Completely shock-free and about the same size as the Rio itself, what distinguishes it from the latter is the EAX angle. Yep. Now you can mix and compress your MP3 files the way you like it. Simulated Concert halls now can be heard over the regular headphones and customization is only limited to what the user can think of with his / her trusty SoundBlaster Live!. Where others can download stuff only, Creative provides the option build it the way you want it.

Yadda yadda. Looks like Diamond and Creative will be combating on more fronts than we thought! Oh yes, you wanna see a sneak peek at the device? PC Arena has got a photo for you! (Hint: it's pretty cool looking! Cleaner looking design I may add.)

MS Magazine on Flashman's Freestyle Review 19:48 pm

I'd been pleasantly surprised when I pulled open a copy of the local flavoured Microsoft Magazine, November 1998 issue to find our logo staring at me. Embarrassed, I shut the book, scanned the vicinity at Popular Book Co before reopening to read what they'd to say about us. There it was - our review on the SideWinder FreeStyle Pro written by Flashman (you missed him, haven't you?) :)

"Surfing about, as one does, we stumbled upon the good folks at Hardware One and the following review of the Sidewinder Freestyle Pro. Now, once upon a time we used to write reviews like this, but recently we've toned things down a bit (a result of age, ennui and instructions from on high) so it's nice to see there's still people around after our own hearts...."

We really have to thank the editorial team at MS Magazine Singapore for the coverage and publicity they've given us. Lookin' forward to greater support from everyone of you too!

TNT Tweak Guide 19:27 pm

The TNT Tweak Guide is ready. Dan, the 'Tweak Monkey' of Tweak3D, has written this for the countless proud owners of TNT cards. You'll find tips to tweak your card specifically for many popular games out there for maximum performance. Head over now!

PowerStrip v2.30 19:19 pm

It's here again! EntechTaiwan has upped the version to v2.30. Grabbit! Here's the good stuff to be found:

PowerStrip 2.3 has been released, and adds a color temperature control for desktop publishers, bolstered NT DPMS support, and refresh rates up to 200Hz for the Permedia2 under NT. 16bpp TNT color calibration is now supported under NT as well as Windows 9x, and there is a new switch that adjusts the DAC gamma ramp to match chromaticity information obtained directly from the monitor. Much has been done in this release to try to ensure that custom gamma ramps "stick" when switching from the desktop to OpenGL and Direct3D. For OpenGL and the desktop, assign your custom color schemes to PowerStrip hotkeys - the layout of the controls in different dialog boxes may be lame, but the two features together give you real power and flexibility. For Direct3D games where hotkeys are unavailable, always run the desktop at a different resolution than the game, and use the hotkeys to switch color schemes before and after game play.

PalmPilot Can Break Into Cars? 19:09 pm

Here's a twist to everybody's favourite electronic organiser - the PalmPilot could be used to break into cars!!! Here's an article taken off New Scientist which talked about how a computer journalist on PC World used his PalmPilot to break into a modern car's central locking system.

Using the right software, it only takes about 10 seconds to copy the codes from the remote controls used to operate a modern car's central-locking system. A thief using this technique would be almost undetectable. And your insurance company may refuse to pay up for theft which occurs in this way.

The technique was recently discovered by Lars Sørensen, a computer journalist on PC World, when he was trying out a new software package on his Palm Pilot, a "palmtop" computer. The computer has a built-in infrared port, with software designed to record the infrared signals from TV and video remote controls, enabling owners to use the Palm Pilot to control all their gadgets.

However, Sørensen also tried to record the signal from a friend's infrared control for locking a car. To his surprise, he was able to use the code to unlock the car and disable the alarm. "This is definitely a threat to car owners, because someone could take belongings from their car without leaving any sign of a break-in," he says.

This is surely an advanced method of theft! Hmm... beware! Always use Mr Bean's method of safeguarding your vehicle, take your steering wheel with you and padlock the door! Quite a fail safe method unless the thief brings along a wheel.

Microsoft Grants Matrox WHQL Self-Test Status 10:14 am

Got this from Matroxusers.

Matrox Graphics Inc., today announced that it is one of the first graphics companies designated by Microsoft to self-test drivers for Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) certification. The self-test process reduces the qualification period required to deliver stable drivers to end users.

“This agreement will allow Matrox to release certified drivers sooner, significantly reducing the approval process,” says Dan Wood, Senior Product Manager, Matrox Graphics Inc. “It also gives us more control over the quality of our drivers and enables us to incorporate Microsoft’s WHQL certification process into our Software Quality Assurance program.”

Demonstrating the ability to thoroughly test according to WHQL standards while maintaining a high standard of performance, Matrox has earned Microsoft’s respect and confidence. The self-certification program requires Matrox to follow the procedures outlined in the WHQL Hardware Compatibility Testing Kit, before submitting the results to the WHQL testing team for validation. Following Microsoft’s approval, Matrox is licensed to use the “designed for Microsoft Windows 98, 95 and NT” logo. This agreement demonstrates a commitment to improve the driver certification process by enabling both companies to streamline their respective operations.

PowerVR 250 10:05 am

Is this going to be the next killer 3D chipset? 3DGaming written an article on this new chipset, including its ability to play DVD.

The PowerVR 250 offers advanced Motion Compensation to offload the processing burden required by the host CPU for MPEG-2/DVD decompression in a similar manner to the ATI Rage128 or S3 Savage3D. But I am most pleased with the information I have received that certifies the PowerVR 250 as a true software DVD solution in my book. The feature I am concered with is support for alpha-blended sub-pictures. An important criterion I have set for "true" software DVD playback is that it must be comparable to stand-alone players and thus support for alpha-blended sub-picture display is a requirement. Whereas subtitles on chips like the RivaTNT or even the ATI Rage Pro are matted with a black background in a manner similar to closed captioning, alpha-blended sub-picture display offers multiple levels of transparency for the same subtitled effect as stand-alone DVD players. Hardware sub-picture blending is not only limited to subtitles but is also important for displaying the buttons found on the numerous navigation menus found on DVD accurately.

New Creative Voodoo2 Drivers 09:54 am

Creative came out with a new release candidate for the Voodoo2.

We're pleased to announce the availability of a new driver package for users of the 3D Blaster Voodoo2 (all models) under Windows 95 and Windows 98. This package includes:

  • 3Dfx reference drivers (their final release DirectX 6 compatible driver set)
  • An integrated installation program
  • Our control panel with the overclocking slider and other extra features.

Falcon 4.0 goes Gold 09:51 am

CombatSim mentioned that Falcon 4.0 goes gold today! Finally!

Falcon 4 will go GOLD today. After four years of development, and four years of nail biting for air combat fans, F4 will ship late next week. For the latest shots from the latest beta see below.

USB Scanner 01:31 am

AnandTech had another new review on the UMax 1220u USB scanner.

The past few years brought us parallel port scanners that install without a SCSI card, but traditionally speed has been their Achilles heel. Another drawback is the lack of expansion for LPT devices. If you have a printer, tape backup or Zip drive, you’ll have to install a second port, but your expansion ends there. The pass through port on the Zip drive doesn't work with all printers and peripherals. There are some computers that have no slots or IRQs free from the day you bring it home.

Now we have USB. The new scanners are easier to install because there are no more IRQ worries, just plug it in and install the driver. The performance should be better because of USB’s maximum throughput of 12Mbps.

3Dfx ICD 01:29 am

Got this from the babes at VE on 3Dfx ICD.

The full ICD for Banshee and the updated OpenGL for Voodoo 2 is still in active development and testing.  We're supplying developers with a version now which should go public in early Q1.  It's been quite a challenge getting the performance and stability to our standards and accommodating the desires of various developers (centered very closely around Q3A.)

Brian P. Bruning
3Dfx Interactive Developer Relations Manager

4th December 1998 {Friday}
Jane's World War II Fighters Review 21:01 pm

CombatSim has done a tremendous writeup on Jane's latest flight simulator which went back to the episode of World War II. The reviewer whose standard for hard-core flight simulation just sucks the air out of my room, didn't find the sim hard enuf nor realistic enuf. Sheesh! I think the game suits a simple me better! ;)

"And talk about details. All the avionics are superbly detailed, including the movable flight stick or yoke. The wing control surfaces all work, including leading and trailing edge flaps. Damage modeling has been taken to the next level of refinement. Landing too hard or on soggy ground will end up with sheared or tweaked struts.
"Gun and cannon hits will not only be heard, but also seen externally. And you gotta love the catastrophic damage. You can see the anodized frame, bent props, shot up cockpit and even gory blood splats. The ground objects are very realistic, including running deer and soldiers that scramble from stricken vehicles. Gun and ballistics and bomb explosions are spectacular."

Chromeffects Coming Out Afterall 20:38 pm

And when we all learnt that Microsoft will be ceasing the development of Chromeffects sometime last month, I learnt again today from ActiveWin that they will be releasing it afterall - abeit in pieces only. <sigh> I'm living a confused life. (Full article)

Microsoft scaled back its plans after developers raised a chorus of protest over the technology's noncompliance with numerous Web standards and its implementation of various technologies. These include the World Wide Web Consortium's Document Object Model, HTML+TIME, and XQL, along with improved support for data visualization technologies and better 3D hardware device drivers.

Microsoft now intends to release various components of Chromeffects piecemeal, according to a source familiar with Redmond's plans. But while developers using the technologies may be pleased to be getting them sooner rather than later, they may find that implementing Chromeffects in parts will be more difficult than it would have been in a complete package.

Microsoft will include DirectAnimation, DXTransform, and HTML+TIME in a technology update to the company's Internet Explorer 5 browser, which is currently in beta; and in the release of Windows 2000 Professional, which is due out next year.

DirectAnimation is a subsystem of Chromeffects that describes how animated elements interact. For instance, a developer could use DirectAnimation to bounce a virtual ball against a wall and then back toward the viewer.

DXTransform, to be integrated with DirectAnimation, governs the user of special effects-like explosions.

The crucial missing piece of Chromeffects--and what promised to make this technology available to a mass audience of Web designers--is a high-level set of XML tags that would have facilitated the implementation of the animation technologies. Now developers will have to drill down to a layer of Java programming in Chromeffects content in order to make it run on DirectAnimation.

Hercules Dynamite TNT 20:27 pm

Ho ho! Dynamite? TNT? Yes, apparently this time Hercules got it right after their V2 and S3D fumbles. The guys at Sharky Extreme testifies that this TNT card will be amongst the very best. The most stable.

By using Powerstrip (a fine utility that can be downloaded from SE's fantastic files section) we manipulated and tested the Dynamite TNT at various settings and gauged its effectiveness at those settings. With a nicely placed cooling fan mounted on it by Hercules as a stock feature, we felt that the Dynamite's TNT chip might be a little better at handling the brutality that makes overclocking anything so much fun. Hercules' own Dynamite specific press release hints at this by mentioning the high-TNT yields in a roundabout way:

"Differing from existing RIVA TNT products, Hercules Dynamite TNT is based upon NVIDIA's most recent design specifications with proprietary design enhancements for additional stability and compatibility."

The proof is in the pudding, and after running the Dynamite TNT for extended periods at a very overclocked 115MHz core speed and a 125MHz memory clock speed, we can report that amazingly we saw no failures, no artifacts, no strange occurrences, nothing in fact but higher frame rates.

Sounds wonderful really. That's much much higher than the 105/120 Mhz I could get on my evaluation Spectra 2500. Hmm... wonder how many more frames/s we can squeeze from this? It pays to wait huh?

The Truth About S3TC 20:19 pm

HardwareCentral has thrown out an article about S3's S3TC (S3 Texture Compression). Very neatly explains how this texture compression scheme works and why if it is implemented properly can mean more efficient use of texture memory and bandwidth.

Quality/Performance Tradeoffs
One thing to note is that the performance gains and quality benefits of S3TC cannot both coexist to their fullest extents. If a game were to use S3TC to make textures that are 6 times as large as without S3TC, then the performance gains from S3TC over the AGP bus is effectively nullified. Though the textures would be 6 times higher in resolution, they would still take up the same amount of memory as the normal textures. So the amount of data being transferred through the AGP bus remains the same. Conversely, if a game were to use S3TC to compress textures so they are 1/6 the size of the original textures, there would be a performance increase, but the image resolution/quality would not benefit.

Well, if only they'll quickly work on Savage3D 2 and overtake the competitors using this technique? We shall see.

The Hardware Game: MMX 20:12 pm

Adrenaline Vault has posted a nicely written article about Intel's MMX as well as the upcoming KNI (Katmai New Instructions). It's a good read if you wanna know more about how these multimedia instructions help in your work.

That MMX didn't handle floating point was unfortunate. Intel's own numbers say that, if you're using 3D accelerator hardware for rendering, the operations left in the game (simulation, 3D transforms, lighting, physics, and such) will occupy 90 percent of the processor time. That says that MMX had leverage on only 10 percent of what the processor would do when you're using a 3D video board.

KNI fixes that, offering all the advantages of MMX for floating point operations (plus some other instructions that make memory seem faster by improving the effectiveness of the memory caches). Its impact on games should be nothing less than astounding. If you consider that you need a 400+ MHz processor today to get maximum frame rate out of boards using chips like the Voodoo2, Riva TNT, or RAGE 128, you'll see what we mean. Intel suggests that KNI will benefit 3D geometry processing and animation; imaging (read Photoshop); video editing, compression, and decompression (spelled MPEG for DVD); speech recognition (ViaVoice is still a toy, because getting 1 word wrong out of 20 is useless); and audio compression and synthesis (wait until the folks at Staccato get a hold of KNI).

Canopus On New Pure3D II Drivers 20:05 pm

After a long day, I found a mail from George of Purified3D informing us about Canopus' update regarding the status of the new Pure3D II drivers. Check this blurp here or the real stuff at http://www.pure3d.com/pure3d2/p3d2_software.htm:

"Canopus has been working closely with 3Dfx to get these drivers finished but for the last two months we have been waiting for 3Dfx to add extensions to the OEM DLL specific to the Pure3D II to properly support Glide 3. Believe me if we could, we could have done it ourselves. The fact is we are now more dependent on 3Dfx for Glide 3.0 than we would like to be and until they can get the changes done we will not release the drivers. We are well aware of our customers unhappiness and we would like to have these drivers done as much as you want them in your computers. Once we receive what's needed it will only be a matter of days before they are released to the public. We expect 3Dfx to deliver some new drivers in the next few day's. If that happens we could have a new release with Glide 3 support early next week.

As far DirectX 6 support goes that will not be included with this driver update. 3Dfx is still working on those drivers and no final release has been made yet. Soon after 3Dfx releases their Gold Master DirectX 6 drivers ours will follow."

Canopus Spectra 3200 Screenshots 19:59 pm

Terry just sent word about some cool pics he'd received in his mailbox. Check out Hardware Extreme on the card that was spotting 16Mb 8ns SGRAM.

Tweaking your ADSL Modem 17:10 pm

I got this from our favourite high speed site, Fun. Well, your friendly Hardware One editor Wilfred tried it last night, and his speed increased from a pathetic 25 kb/s to 250 kb/s (due to some silly programs changing the MTU settings unknowingly on his PC).

After the article on Squeezing extra speed out of Cable modem, we received a few emails from ADSL users sharing with us how they sqeeuze extra speed from their ADSL modem too. Here's one written by Christopher Lee

I have been tweaking my ADSL modem for faster leeching by tuning the MTU setting. I believed CABLE users would benefit from it too. B4 optimizing, using win95 default setting, I got local ftp site (http://fun.s-one.net.sg/) files >10mb downloading at constant 250kb/s (kilobytes per seconds). 
 
After tweaked it, I got 290kb/s that are about 30 to 40kb/s gain. Moreover, my ping at S1 KALI server improved from >60ms to <20ms. Those test r done in peak hours (8-9pm). Get "DU Meter" for monitoring bandwidth at 
http://www.hagel.threadnet.com/. To make life easier edit the win95/98/nt registry, get EasyMTU from http://members.tripod.com/~EasyMTU
 
Here r my EasyMTU setting: 

MaxMTU or IPMTU=1500 
MaxMSS=1460 
DefaultTTL=128 
Cachesize=16 
DefaultRcvWindow=32120 
 
Too bad EasyMTU does not edit MAXSOCKETS, u have to go manual ways using REGEDIT.EXE: 
 
[HKEY_LOCALMACHINE\System\ 
CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\NWLink\ 
Ndi\params\maxsockets] 
 
After double-clicking "maxsockets", several settings will be visible in Regedit's right-hand window. Locate and single-left-click (select): 
 
max 
Select Regedit's EDIT Menu 
Select Modify 
The number 255 will be highlighted. Type: 1020 
Select the OK Button. 
 
& for some reason if you can’t edit with EasyMTU , here are the full registry paths: 
 
Hkey_Local_Machine\System\ 
CurrentControlset\Services\Class\NetTrans\000n] 
"MaxMTU"="1500" 
"MaxMSS"="1460" 
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\ 
CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\MSTCP] 
"DefaultRcvWindow"="32120" 
"DefaultTTL"="128" 
 
All those setting are based on these links: 
Article 1 
Article 2 

3D Card Buyers Guide 16:35 pm

Those Aces from Ace Hardware posted the 2nd part on the 3D Card Buyers Guide. They had a pretty nice explaination on fillrate and a comparison of the popular 3D chipsets out there.

Also, in that case, the filrate (pixels/s) you see in the table of the G200, the Savage, the Banshee and the RIVA TNT will be halved. The Voodoo2's fillrate stays the same because of the second texture unit. Huh? The RIVA TNT has o two texture units? Well, if a game or application uses single textured pixels, the Voodoo2 can not use the second texture unit. The second texture unit is dependant on the first.  The rendering pipelines of the TNT are completely independent, so the TNT has a very high fillrate with single texture pixels (double that of the Voodoo2). But with dual-textured pixels, they have the same fillrate. 

3rd December 1998 {Thursday}
Monster Sound MX300 Review 19:53 pm

Loyd Case of GameSpot has done a short review on the just released Diamond Monster Sound MX300 sound card. Check it out!

On the performance side, the MX300 isn't as efficient with the beta 2 drivers Diamond supplied as the Sound Blaster Live. For example, using 16 DirectSound3D channels in streaming mode at 8-bit 22KHz, Ziff-Davis' Audio Winbench measured slightly more than 10 percent CPU use on our 400MHz Pentium II testbed. The Sound Blaster Live only used a bit more than 1.3 percent. (Typical Vortex 1 boards eat up 30 percent of the CPU in the same test.) However, positional 3D audio cues from two speakers were much easier to pinpoint with the MX300, so the HRTF algorithms pay off here. Of course, if you want, you can always add two rear channel speakers for the best positional 3D audio effect.

3DMark ShootOut Between Savage3D & TNT 19:48 pm

3DGaming has done a 3DMark99 shootout on S3's Savage3D vs the nVidia's RivaTNT. Most interestingly, the TNT seemed to be outdone by the S3D. Hmm... read this:

As you can see, the Savage 3D is a much faster card than the TNT in 3DMark 99. Most troubling, is the TNT's relatively low fill rate in non-multitextured mode. This may change as the TNT shrinks down to 0.25 microns, but we will have to see.  The lack of full AGP features, such as DIME in the TNT shows itself with the low rendering scores with larger textures. The low scores for the smaller textures which fit into memory, are more difficult to explain.

PowerVR 250 Chip News Release 19:42 pm

Noticed on Hardgame about this news we'd missed yesterday. This is indeed a big news worthy of our attention! Read the specs and the features to be incorporated. (Check the news release)

London, U.K. – Dec. 2, 1998 – VideoLogic and NEC Electronics Inc. today announced they have started sampling the new PowerVR 250™, a high-performance 3D graphics processor for the PC. Evaluation of early PowerVR 250 engineering samples began in November 1998 showing impressive top-tier performance. The optimised version of the device will be released to manufacturing this month, with volume availability planned for Q1 1999.

Powerful 2D Engine

  • Full ROP, text and line primitives
  • Full VGA compatibility
  • YUV to RGB colour space conversion
  • MPEG2 decode assist (motion compensation acceleration)
  • Integrated 230Mhz DAC ([email protected])
  • Colour key overlay
  • Multiple video windows

Powerful 3D Engine

  • Tile based reduced bandwidth rendering engine
  • 32-bit floating point Z-buffering calculation function with no performance penalty
  • Up to 5M polygons/sec (forward facing delivered to the screen)
  • Fill rate 200-500M pixels/sec (depending on scene complexity)

Full Triangle & Texture Setup

  • Full polygon setup engine
  • Bus mastered parameter fetch
  • Advanced texturing (Bi-linear, Tri-linear, Anisotropic, Bump-Mapping)
  • True colour 32 bpp pipeline
  • Translucency sorting
  • Image super-sampling/scene anti-aliasing
  • Per pixel loadable table fog
  • Specular highlights with offset colours

Pentium® II and AMD K6-2 3D Now! Optimised

Support for up to 32MB of SD/SG-RAM


Alpha + Multipass Blending

  • Multitexturing support
  • Colour key and alpha blended textures
  • D3D and OpenGL blend modes
  • Environment mapping

3D Graphics: Making the Right Choice 19:28 pm

In Part 8 of GameSpot's PC WorkShop, they wrote about buying the right 3D graphics card for your system. A question so frequently asked but with no obvious answer at all. If you've no time to read the full article, you should at least read this part ya?

If your existing primary card offers at least decent performance, adding a Voodoo2 card is probably the way to go. It's not so much that Voodoo2 is that much faster; rather, it's the library of existing 3D games that are only accelerated by 3Dfx. These are getting fewer over time, but there's still a number of games that only use 3Dfx's proprietary Glide API for 3D acceleration. There are also Direct3D games that are tuned to run better on 3Dfx boards (for example, games that use 8-bit palletized textures). However, if you've got a Voodoo2 card and are interested in a speedier primary card, you've got several choices, depending on your interests. If flexibility of features is important, consider either the Matrox Mystique G200, or if you're really into video, the Matrox Marvel G200. You can add interesting features like hardware DVD right onto the graphics card.

Universal Serial Bus 19:26 pm

PCPowerHouse just sent word about a feature article on the increasingly popular Universal Serial Bus standard. This is a good read for any of you wanting to know more about the upcoming replacement for many of our conventional connectors.

USB is a true plug-and-play digital interface allowing up to 127 peripherals to plug into a single port. This port also uses just a single interrupt and port address, unlike your serial and parallel ports which use at least three. USB provides a minimum of 1.5Mbytes/sec to a maximum of 12Mbytes/sec. This is more than enough bandwidth to replace your serial ports (which are only 112.5Kbytes/sec) and parallel port (which is between 600Kbytes to 1.5Mbytes/sec). USB also provides enough power to drive many, if not all the devices connected to it. It also allows cable lengths of up to 5 meters (versus a serial ports 1 meter or a parallel ports 4 meters, with neither providing any power to the devices connected to them).

Motherboard Monitor Lite 2.0 Beta 18:43 pm

The author has released a public beta for Motherboard Monitor Lite 2.0. This beta version added support for SMB motherboards.

On this tab you should see the address of your SMB, if you see a message that no Intel SMB has been found then the beta test ends here (for now)

Go to the Settings tab and select for Sensor 2 the LM75 you need,  since this still is beta I can not yet tell you for sure which  one to select, I know that the Asus TX boards need the LM75-2 and  the Tyan Tsunami SLA needs the LM75-5.

K7 vs KNI 17:17 pm

There seemed to be some big uproar over at AMD Zone regarding the article posted in AnandTech regarding the K7 and Intel's Katmai.

Instead of K7: Information and Speculation, it seems K7: Misinformation and Katmai: Speculation seems much more of a proper title.  In order to get a better insight on the actual facts of the matter, we at AMD Zone, along with a few other sites have contacted sources at AMD in order to get their opinion of the Ga'ash article. Here is a reply we, along with Anandtech, received from Silvino Orozoco of AMD's Technical Marketing.  His co-worker, Bob, comments on Ga'ash's follow up post to his original K7 article.

Read the full article here!

Diamond Monster Sound MX300 Ships 17:14 pm

Yup, the long awaited Diamond MX300 finally ships! Need we say more?

Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc. a leader in interactive multimedia acceleration and PC entertainment, today announced that the company is shipping its new high-performance Monster Sound MX300 audio accelerator to North American customers this week.

Diamond's Monster Sound MX300, featuring Aureal Semiconductor's Vortex™ 2 processor and A3D 2.0 positional 3D audio support, is the ideal solution for PC gamers and entertainment enthusiasts who demand a sound card with the latest advancements, including Dolby Digital™ support and interactive positional 3D audio rendering technology.

"The Monster Sound MX300 delivers breakthrough PC audio capabilities right to the ears of PC gaming enthusiasts for under $100," said Ken Comstock, general manager of Diamond Multimedia's audio business unit. "We expect computer users craving the ultimate in PC gaming entertainment to make Monster Sound MX300 their top PC sound card choice."

3Com Palm VII 17:02 pm

3Com Announces the Palm VII Connected Organizer, The First Handheld Solution for Out-of-the-box Wireless Internet Access.

Palm Computing, Inc., a 3Com company (Nasdaq:COMS), today announced it is extending its line of Palm Computing® platform products to include the Palm VII™ connected organizer, once again redefining the handheld computing industry. The Palm VII organizer will enable users to quickly, easily and securely obtain information from web and intranet sites via a wireless connection to the Internet and will provide a means of instant two-way personal communication.

Confused About Banshee Drivers? 16:34 pm

Bill over at Bill's Workshop had updated the FAQ on which Banshee drivers to use. Should you use the 3Dfx reference drivers or the drivers by the card manufacturers?

First, as a disclaimer, in addition to 3Dfx's warnings, it is very hard to determine the correlation of driver versions as some manufacturers, although they may not make any functional alterations to the code, do at least "rebadge" the files and alter version numbers. Others, like Creative Labs, clearly alter the code functionally, as well. Creative was the first of the major vendors to remedy the Win95 retail/versionA and non-MMX Cyrix incompatibility problems, using what appears to be an earlier revision of the drivers. Guillemot soon followed but with what looks like just an early release of Release 1.0 as what some are calling RC-4.2. As far as I know, no other vendors have implemented these fixes, but expect them any day.

ABit BM6 16:23 pm

ABit announces the new BM6 motherboard. Here is part of the press release:

Taipei, Taiwan, ROC, December 2, 1998. Coinciding with the newest Intel® socket architecture and the relevant 440BX chipset which supports it, ABIT® announced their newest 440BX based motherboard using the Socket 370 architecture with Soft Menu II™ and five PCI slots, the BM6. ABIT's BM6 is the newest Intel® 440BX based mainboard with Socket 370 which was designed for the new socket based Celeron® CPUs.
ABIT's new BM6 has One AGP, Five PCI and Two ISA slots to handle all of your expansion needs. The ABIT® BM6 comes with all of the latest advancements and trends in the motherboard industry, including but not limited to; all the specifications for, AGP for improved 3D graphics performance at a lower cost, APM/ACPI power management, Ultra DMA 33 support, Infrared peripheral support, USB, PS/2 mouse and keyboard connectors, CPU auto-detect, AWARD write protect anti-virus, and Wake On LAN, the BM6 also supports Wake on Keyboard and Wake on mouse.

Soyo SY-D6IBA 16:14 pm

Our bud over at BXBoards just finished his review on the Soyo SY-D6IBA Dual BX motherboard.

The board comes in ATX form factor and in a rather unusual 4 /2 PCI / ISA slot 4 DIMM slots handle the memory expansion, with up to 1 Gigabyte of RAM providing some serious storage. The IDE connectors tuck in neatly next to the DIMM slots. However the floppy connector has been moved from the expected position next to the IDE connectors, and are positioned diametrically opposite where one would expect them to be. On large Server style cases this could be quite a stretch for a standard length floppy drive cable. 2 sets of 6 medium-size capacitors straddle the length of the CPU sockets, with a further smattering of capacitors dotted at strategic points around the board.

Improving your Cable Modem Speed 15:18 pm

[email protected] had a notice on how to improve your cable modem speed. I've tried and and you guys should change your settings as soon as possible to get a great boost!

I am sure the veteran users already know this info. But for the sake of new cable modem users who want to squeeze a little extra speed, here's some simple steps to help boost your speed up by 50%!! 

  • Download iSpeed for Window and install it. 
  • You may need a program like WinZip 7.0 to unzip the program. 
  • Install and Execute the program. 
  • Set the Max Transmission Unit (MTU/IPMTU) to 1500 
  • Set the TCP MSS Value to 1460 
  • Set the Receive Window (RWIN) to 8 
  • Set the Time to Live (TTL) to 128 
  • Click on Save to save your setting. 
  • Restart your system for the change to take effect. 
  • You should gain at least 30-40% speed from previous. However, if you are getting a slower speed instead, just run iSpeed again, and click on the "Default" tag to restore your setting to default value. 
2nd December 1998 {Wednesday}
nVidia Litestep Theme 18:52 pm

Just popped over to RivaZone and saw the new nVidia Litestep theme.

For those of you unfamiliar with Litestep, it is a highly configurable shell replacement for Windows (95, 98, and NT). If you're looking to use this theme, but don't have a clue what Litestep is or would just like to know more about it before you try it, head on over to Litestep.net and familiarize yourself with it.

SiS 530/5595 Chipset 17:28 pm

The babes over at Super7.net put up Part 1 of the article on the SiS 530/5595 chipset.

The SiS530 - Host, PCI, 3D A.G.P. Video/Graphics & Memory Controller, integrates the Host-to-PCI bridge, the PCI interface, the L2 cache controller, the DRAM controller, the high performance hardware 2D/3D VGA controller, and the PCI IDE controller.

The 530's Host interface supports external CPU frequencies up to 133MHz as well as Synchronous/Asynchronous DRAM clocking which can improve the system performance and allows for DRAM compatibility issues. The L2 cache controller can support up to 2 MB of pipelined burst SRAM, and the incorporated DRAM controller can support up to 1.5G of system memory using up to three double-sided SDRAM DIMMs, and cacheable DRAM support for up to 256 Mbytes.

Kan @ Rantings 17:17 pm

Your other editor Wilfred decided to AWOL (Absence without Official Leave), and leave me alone writing this to you guys. He said he will return back when the coast is clear on Saturday.

C|Net Singapore decided to shut down after they found out I won a PalmPilot from them. They ignored my email and they cannot seem to remember having such a contest at all. Oh well....winning a contest is easy, claiming the prize is difficult.

*Disclaimer - All opinions are personal and they may not be the truth*

New Banshee Drivers 17:15 pm

The reference drivers from 3Dfx are out. Click here to download them.

Run-time drivers for Voodoo Banshee on Win98. They include: Glide 2.6, Glide 3.1, Direct3D, DirectX and the Voodoo Banshee Control Panel.

Service Disruption on 4th Dec 17:10 pm

There will be some disruption on the Singapore-One ATM backbone. This affects cable modem users.

1-Net will be carrying out network maintenance works on the Singapore ONE backbone ATM network on 4th December 98, Friday moniring. The scheduled date and time is as follow:

Date: 4 December 1998
Time: 0200hrs-0400hrs

Disruption: approx. half an hour (Internet Access & Local)

New CL RivaTNT NT Drivers 11:37 am

The new NT drivers from Creative for the Riva TNT are available for download from here.

  • Improves the stability and performance of the drivers
  • Solves system lockup during startup in retail version of Windows NT4.0

Pentium II Scam 11:19 am

Gosh, what is the world coming to? This article was taken from The Register on a Pentium II scam.

End users are being warned that a scam where Pentium II processors are substituted for Celeron Mendocino chips could dent their expectations.

According to the report, unscrupulous Taiwanese manufacturers are inserting 333MHz Mendocino chips into Slot One cartridges and passing them off as PII/333 parts.

A UK source, who declined to be named, said: "The Mendocino is more powerful, speed for speed and spec for spec than the equivalent PII. If it had 256K cache on it, it would outperform the Pentium II."

Once in the case and with some additional circuitry, the processor is practically unidentifiable, he claimed.

The price delta between the 333MHz Celeron part and the PII/333 processor is around $20, giving additional margin, he said.

An Intel representative said: "We recommend that people only buy through approved channels. We frown upon such practices. Re-marking is a bad thing generally."

Anyway, to make sure you got what you paid for, you can download ctP2Info v1.70 from our Utilities section. This program gives you lots of detail information on your Pentium II processors.

Linux Worm Virus 11:16 am

Taken from The Register - Red Hat has posted a patch on its Web site after it emerged that the latest version of Linux, release 5, has been found to be susceptible to attack from a Worm virus.

The Worm targets ISPs' Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) servers running Intel-based hardware controlled by Linux. It subverts essential components of the OS from which it can attack other networks while remaining hidden from the system administrator.

The patch fixes the server's security weakness that allows the Worm to enter the system, and is built into the latest release of the OS, version 5.2.

Hackers have been increasing their attempts to spread the Worm ever since details of the problem emerged in June thanks to work conducted by Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Most of the current crop of Worm-based attacks appear to come from other major US educational centres, used as relay points.

Canon MV-10 09:48 am

Review on the Canon MV-10 is available at Singapore C|Net. This digital camcorder have a 2.8" colour LCD, 16x zoom lens. It's digital zoom can extend to 64X, which gives you the distance of 35mm to 2240mm on conventional lens.

Although the MV10 is a little larger than most digicams, it is a comfortable fit in the hand, and is one of the lightest in the market at 720g. Feature-wise, the MV10 gets right on the edge of the professional zone with eight AE programs, including Canon's exclusive Flexizone AF/AE system which allows users to change the focus from one object to another within the viewfinder without any loss in image quality.

Other nifties include seven Digital Effects, from Art to Sepia; built-in editing; a DV-Out interface that allows direction connection to any IEEE 1394 compatible device with just one cable; a built-in charger; and two audio formats of 16- and 12-bit PCM digital stereo sound. The former produces CD quality, two-channel sound; the latter allows you to add in music or narration later in your editing.

Matrox Fails to Deliver ICD 09:44 am

There is a long ranting at MatroxUsers on Matrox being unable to deliver the ICD wrapper at the end of this November.

Well we are into the December timeframe now and Matrox have failed to live up to not only their promise of the OpenGL ICD for both Windows 9x and Windows NT but also the much overdue Rainbow Runner Studio drivers. Matrox in the past have always had a superb reputation for their prompt driver support so what is happening over there? It seems over the last 6 months or so that there has been major restructuring at Matrox, certainly many jobs were recently lost and it seems these changes have also included changes in thinking and general policy. This has had to happen, the graphics card market is now a very fierce one and Matrox have had to do something if they are to survive. They've lived too long on the reputation of the Millennium, a card that was head and shoulders above anything else for a very long time a situation that will not happen again for any manufacturer.

AOpen AX6B Review 09:39 am

Our affiliate CoolInfo posted a review on the AOpen AX6B Slot 1 motherboard.

The physical size of this board is your typical ATX and will fit in your garden variety mid-size and full-size towers. Because of the on-board SCSI connectors I suggest that you get the wider type of cases, else the drive bays will get in the way of the SCSI cable connectors. There are 2 fan connectors; one for the CPU and the other for an extra case fan - a real plus to ensure proper cooling when overclocking. The AX6B Plus also implements system monitoring features such as CPU thermal protection - monitors CPU temperature, and System Voltage Monitoring - warns if any of the system's voltage is over the standard.

Wicked eyeSCREAM 09:34 am

Got this from Wicked3D on their new product.

Today we announced a new addition to the Wicked3D family of products, this little one is called Wicked3D eyeSCREAM...and it's a 3D eyewear solution ANYONE with a 12MB Voodoo2 graphics board can use.

You heard right...now, you can take full advantage of our kick ass technology - even if you purchased someone else's Voodoo2 board.   That's right, not only can you immerse yourself in a 3D experience that will knock your socks off...you can do so with over 160 popular gaming titles and get this: You can now run your existing Voodoo2 board at resolutions up to 1024x1024(when running SLI - two boards together)!

1st December 1998 {Tuesday}
Understanding CPU Caching & Performance 21:18 pm

Another educational article from the guys at Ars Technica. Hellazon has coughed out a very informative article on the importance of CPU caching and how it affects performance.

The L1 cache’s job is to keep the CPU supplied with instructions and the registers supplied with data.  Whenever the CPU needs its next instruction, it should be able to look into the L1 cache and find it instantly.  When the CPU doesn’t find the instruction in the L1 cache, this event is called a cache miss.  The CPU then has to go out to the L2 and hunt down that instruction. If it ain’t in the L2, the CPU goes out to RAM, and so on.   The same goes for data.

The ideal caching algorithm knows which bits of code and data will be needed next, and it goes out and gets them.  Of course, such an ideal algorithm can’t actually be implemented, so you have to do your best to guess what’s coming up.  Modern caching algorithms are pretty good at guessing, generating hit rates of over 90%.

Affiliates... New Ones and Old Ones. 21:12 pm

Oh well, I'd updated the Network Links page quietly in past weeks. It must be time for me to make some announcements.

We've just affiliated ourselves with the nice and proper guys of Netigen Web yesterday. Some time ago, we are also linked up with Internet Auction Singapore and Alive!

Another thing to announce is the move of 2 of our buddy sites, Terry's Hardware Extreme has moved to http://www.dailydemo.com/hardware and Andy's BXBoard has shifted to http://bxboards.com

3Com/USR FaxModem Pro 56K. USB! 20:32 pm

Frank of The Sanctum has sent word about a nice review he's completed on the 3Com/USR FaxModem Pro 56K. It is more or less the same great modem from 3Com/USR, reliable, compatible and pretty fast. What's special about this modem is that it uses USB!

The 3Com FaxModem Pro is great for People Who have Limited Computer Resources. Being External and, USB at that it just takes a COM Port. What a great way to free up An IRQ. The USB side of it is pretty straight-forward. Find Your USB Slot and, Plug it in. When Windows boots, it asks for The Driver Disk. You also have the option of not using It for USB. 3Com/USRobotics just recently put out some working USB Drivers for The FaxModem Pro. The Drivers seem pretty good.

You won't see a big increase in speed with The FaxModem Pro when it uses The Universal Serial Bus. The only big thing I noticed was Connecting quicker then usual.

QSound's Positional 3D Audio 20:26 pm

Kert has written a good bit about QSound's 3D audio algorithms to be found in VLSI's Thunderbird Q3D, Trident's 4DWave-NX and Aztech's PCI 368DSP soundcard. (Read the whole article!)

QSound Environmental Modeling: QSound Environmental modelling is essentially a reverberation engine which is compatible with the Environmental Audio Extensions (EAX) API from Creative Labs. It accepts reverberation parameters required by EAX. Owing to the significant memory requirements for reverberation generation, QEM is supplied as an integrated solution with QSound Labs’ host Q3D engine, QSoft3D. All computation and memory requirements are handled on the host.

QSound's rendering engines: QSoft 3D is a host-based, rendering engine with EAX compatible environmental modelling while QInteractive 3D provides hardware rendering. Competing rendering engines do not provide such a comprehensive solution. QSoft 3D supplements the hardware engine with additional 3D channels whose quality is probably comparable to hardware acceleration. Reverberation is also provided by QSoft 3D.

ICQ 99a Build 1620 20:20 pm

Yep, this latest build fixes bugs and added some more new features. Download directly from our Utilities section or by clicking here.

AOpen Navigator PA70 Savage3D Card 19:36 pm

5-Dimensions delivered a review on AOpen's Savage3D card, the Navigator PA70. Well, this time round of review, they had been quite satisfied with the card, with little to complain about visual problems or incompatibilities.

"... the Navigator PA70 is still a very capable 2D/3D accelerator, and you should consider picking one up if you can find a good deal on it. The TV-out and the "Mega Game Pack" gives it more value than the Terminator Beast, that's for sure. The problem is that it's hard to find one. AOpen did a decent job with this card, and I look forward to their future products to see if they'll improve.

BTW, all of the major driver problems have been remedied as of version 6.12.01, which is surprisingly enough, a beta driver. All the games I had on my system ran quickly without any ugly polygonal errors or random crashes."

MotoRacer 2 Review! 19:28 pm

The Sports Gaming Network has done a review on the sequel to everyone's favourite motoracing game: MotoRacer. In MotoRacer 2, the reviewers had found it another game worth recommending:

The other comment you could hear very often was 'well, the hardware has obviously outran the software'. I don't quite agree with that, but it seems a matter of fact that there have to be new ways of bringing computer to the people. This also requires new software, and I could imagine that this challenge could be a great chance for new software companies winning ground versus Microsoft. I was pretty happy with Redline Racer and Motocross Madness (goofy physics notwithstanding) but have found MR2 to be an excellent joining of the two. Both street and dirt bikes are truly fun to race, and the AI is good enough (fast enough, anyway) to keep my attention. With better sound, this would be a terrific game, but the lackluster effort in that department makes it merely good. Don't let that discourage you, though--for a motorcycle game, you won't find much better.

Tom @ Comdex 14:24 pm

TomsHardware posted a followup on what he felt about Comdex 98. There are numerous photos, including the K7 shown below.

Comdex is now over for more than a week and looking back at it doesn't leave many exciting memories. It certainly wasn't the big show it used to be and there wasn't much outstanding, particularly in terms of PC hardware. Companies like IBM, Intel, Compaq or Dell could not even be bothered to have a booth at Comdex this year and so you could hear the question 'Is Comdex going down?' all over the place.
The other comment you could hear very often was 'well, the hardware has obviously outran the software'. I don't quite agree with that, but it seems a matter of fact that there have to be new ways of bringing computer to the people. This also requires new software, and I could imagine that this challenge could be a great chance for new software companies winning ground versus Microsoft.

Run 2 ICQ at the Same Time 14:17 pm

Got 2 UINs and you wanted to run 2 copies of ICQ at the same time? Too troublesome to switch UIN ? Then this solution by Project 504 is for you!

Here is how you can have 2 ICQs on the same computer at the same time. You can send messages to yourself and even invite yourself to an ICQ chat! This is great if you invite other people too! Seeing 2 Moto Racers in the same chat room is a blast! Esp. when one finishes the answer that the other started!

PalmPilots 14:10 pm

Palm Computing will announce its much anticipated next-generation PalmPilot handheld device at an industry event on Wednesday, as it struggles to regain momentum following the departure of a number of key executives.

Like PCs, handheld computers are advancing on two fronts. In addition to faster and better hardware, Net connection technology will allow these devices to become more of an extension of the Net and to be more integrated into corporate networks.

Devices providing Internet access and limited computing functions are expected to take off over the next several years, as handheld computers based on the Palm and Microsoft Windows CE operating systems offer expanded Internet access.

Wireless seems to be the way everyone's thinking, and actually, it finally seems to be coming," said Terry Nozick of Mobile Insights, a mobile computing newsletter. "It doesn't surprise me that wireless is the way Palm would be going."

Palm has kept mum about the details of the product, but people familiar with it say the new handheld is significantly slimmer than the existing PalmPilot, with an advanced rechargeable battery, enhanced liquid crystal display (LCD), and increased memory

Banshee Reviews 10:43 am

Sharky had another review on the Banshee Power Color EvilQueen (Gosh, what a name).

Enter the Taiwanese, who are no longer just known within the PC industry for their motherboards. In fact, if you've bought a new PC over the past few months, the probability of your Voodoo Banshee, Voodoo2 and/or TNT being a remarked OEM board from Taiwan is VERY high indeed. Play Sherlock Holmes and peel back the sticker and see for yourselves that this is quite often the case. After having been to Computex '98 in Taipei it was evident that the Taiwanese were indeed intent on getting in on the 3D graphics groovy train in1998

Enable DMA under NT 4 10:39 am

Ars-Technica did another new article on enabling DMA under NT 4 Service Pack 4.

Run the Disk Throughput test on your drive one more time and see if all rox out.  If you're experience was anything like Caesar's, it'll be obvious if it worked.  For reference, his Celeron 300A system with the Maxtor DiamondMax 10GB drive averages 13MB/sec on average sustained transactions, with 5% CPU usage.  Before modifying the registry, it was clocking in around 6MB/sec.

[Beam me to the previous news archive!]


Copyright © 1998 Hardware One
Last updated 12 December 1998 11:31