22 July 98 - 28 July 98
Highlights within this period includes:
  • Matrox New Drivers
  • New ATI Chipset
  • AMD K6-2, Quake 2 and Voodoo 2
  • Savage Preview
  • Vortex 2 Vs SBLive!
  • More on SB Live!
  • Intel to Release .18 Processors
  • Incoming for Creative V2 Owners
  • TNT's Rumours Clarified
  • Turok 2
  • World Cup 98 Lives On!
  • Merced Vs Alpha 21264
  • SCV - Slow Connection Vendor
  • Number 9 Revolution IV
  • Which Pentium II processors are the best?
  • NT Security Bug
28th July 1998 {Tuesday}
NT Security Bug  28th July 09:07 am

Windows NT security teams worked Monday on a fix for a security flaw in NT that can grant system administrator's rights to any network user.

The "privilege elevation attack," reported to Microsoft last Friday by security consultant Mark Edwards, was discovered by a group of programmers in India. The Redmond, Wash., company planned to post a fix Monday evening or Tuesday, said Karan Khanna, product manager for NT security.

"In order to run the program, you need to have a valid account on the system and local log-on rights," Khanna said. "Then you can run the program and elevate your privileges. It doesn't work remotely, so you cannot attack the system [externally]," he said.

When activated, the code seeks out the highest system-level authority possible for the malicious user, clearing a path for the user to gain system administrator status, Khanna said, leaving the network's confidential areas, passwords, and other sensitive information vulnerable.

27th July 1998 {Monday}
Which Pentium II processors are the best?  27th July 23:41 pm

Thanks to Andy, how do you know which batch of Pentium II processors are the best for overclocking?  The S-SPEC is a Intel code designation. On boxed processors, they are found next to the bar code. They are also printed on top of the processor.

They come in the form :

xxxxxPXyyyzzz - Sssss

where Sssss is the S-Spec (CPU revision level) - yyy is the speed it was sold at and zzz is the quantity of L2 cache onboard.

Celeron S-Specs Average Best
       
266 SL2QG* 412 448
  SL2YN* 400 412
  SL2SY 400 448
  SL2TR 400 412
       
300 SL2Z7* 374 450
  SL2Y2* 374 450
  SL2YP 374 450
  SL2X8 374 -

 

P2-333 S-Specs Average Best
       
  SL2QF* 400 448
  SL2KA 400 412
  SL2QH* 400 412
  SL2S5 400 412

Yes, the SL2QF is available in Singapore. Be choosy! Choose the best!

Number 9 Revolution IV  27th July 14:20 pm

Cyrellis did an review on the Number 9 Revolution IV AGP with 16 MB RAM.

To accomplish this goal, Number 9 immediately defined their T2R4 chip's performance and capabilities list as follows:

  • 2.0 GB per second Bandwidth Capacity
  • 128bit 2D and 3D integrated engines
  • SDRAM or SGRAM Support
  • MPEG II 30FPS Playback at Full-Screen
  • 430 MFLOP On-Board Floating Point Setup Engine
  • 32bpp Z-Buffer Accuracy and Final Rendering Color Depth
  • 10 LOD Per-Pixel Mip-Mapping
  • Full Scene Anti-Aliasing
  • AGP 2X Support, including Sidebanding and DME
  • Bi-linear and Tri-Linear filtering support
  • Specular Lighting, Interpolated Fogging and Alpha Blending
  • Support for DX6, and OpenGL
26th July 1998 {Sunday}
Ok! Ok! I'm back (as if you care?!)  26th July 23:48 pm

Oi! Can't blame me for spending time on my new PC right?

Anyway, if this is news at all to you people, I've spent my entire weekend trying to get my new PC to work right. Hmm, my PII 333mhz can't seem to work correctly at 392mhz (3.5 x 112mhz) so I'll have to settle with 412mhz (4.0 x 103mhz). I think its due to my video card. Any great overclockers with any advice is most welcomed.

But hey! I don't care anymore, it runs rock solid now and the chip remains mildly warm to the touch. The highest m/b temp I've seen is a mere 30 deg C after hours of playing Unreal and Prophecy. Most of the time, temperatures hover at 28 deg C. :)

No news?  26th July 15:39 pm

No news for 2 days? Blame it on your other editor, Wilfred. He is so busy with his new computer that he is busy posting his benchmarks results to me. Trying to make me envy?? :)

Sucks, I nearly won the lottery yesterday.

SCV - Slow Connection Vendor  26th July 15:36 pm

Cable access is so slow nowadays that I am resorting to my brand new 56k modem. Access thru the 56k modem is speedy. Downloads reach around 4-5k/s, a 10 times improvement over the cable 200-500 bytes/s during international downloads.

Merced vs Alpha 21264  26th July 15:31 pm

Tom's Hardware did an review on the Merced and Alpha 21264. The Alpha 21264 will achieve a speed in access of 1000 MHz and will be out approximately in 2000.

But the introduction of Merced (planned for mid-2000) could become unsuccessful and somehow embarrassing. Digital already published the estimated performance of the 21264: It will reach 1000 MHz (1 GHz) around the year 2000 with approximately 100 SPECint95 and about 150 SPECfp95. The first version of Merced is only expected to achieve 40 or 50 SPECint95 and 75 SPECfp95. The second generation of IA-64 CPUs could improve the performance independently from the clock speed, since Intel and HP will require some more time to get to the bottom of the potential IA-64 is expected to have.

Also, Tom did an article on how to reduce signal loss of your graphics card with a Voodoo by using the BNC connector available on some monitors.

24th July 1998 {Thursday}
World Cup 98 Lives On!  24th July 23:05 pm

Yap, the French did it already. But you can still support your favourite team and elevate them to championship status in the most popular PC soccer game ever - World Cup 98.

If you haven't played it or you think that it's no different from FIFA 98 RTWC, think again. Or rather, read 3D Spotlight's review of this true classic. Improvements in AI, gameplay and graphics are definitely worth the purchase over RWTC. A short quote here:

The first time I saw WC98 I though it was the same as Fifa RTCW 98 with a different presentation but once I played it I could realize that it was totally different, yes the graphics are alomst the same with much more detail but its gameplay is what makes WC98 a must upgrade for any PC soccer fan.

It's my personal all time favourite game. Grab it!

Turok 2  24th July 22:48 pm

PC Gamer's shows off Acclaim's Turok 2 in their latest preview. Acclaim learns from its mistakes and Turok 2 is no longer just a port of the N64 version, but a specifically designed PC game. Below are the exciting bits i've extracted... plus a few golden screenshots!

Turok 2 will use an updated 3D game engine, with several enhanced features. The first of these is Softskinning, which allows for more realistic, smoother player models; the muscles can bulge and extra details can be added in, such as wrinkles. There will also be real-time body impact physics, which will allow players to target specific targets of the body. In addition, the game will use advanced real-time lighting to create such effects as flickering firelight and shimmering water.

The weapons were one of the bright spots of the original Turok, and the sequel will contain over 24 weapons to play with, such as the Scorpion Blade and Firestorm Cannon. And to make sure that players have plenty of things to shoot at, 30 enemies have been tossed into the mix, each one with unique AI. The enemies will charge in packs and then circle around to attack from behind instead of just charging head-on.

The biggest addition will be the inclusion of multiplayer support. There will be at least 12 multiplayer levels and the software will allow the creation of dedicated servers. And although it hasn't been decided yet, there is talk of including a level editor.

TNT's Rumour Clarified  24th July 22:43 pm

This was a happy news (not surprising though) I noticed over at RivaZone and thought many of you might be interested. Well, the post snuffed out a rumour (I first read from Tom's Hardware. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.) that the TNT will only ship with 1 pixel pipeline to cut the cost of the final board.

It has come to OGR's attention that some rumors have been circulating around the net that NVidia might be crippling one of the pixel pipelines for the initial RivaTNT release. Checking on this rumor, OGR has contacted NVidia and has discovered that this rumor is in fact quite false. The RivaTNT will ship with both pixel pipelines intact, allowing it to perform single cycle multitexturing and trilinear filtering, as originally claimed.

23rd July 1998 {Thursday}
Incoming for Creative Voodoo2 owners  23rd July 13:04 pm

Creative Labs are offering the full version of Incoming for download to owners of their 3D Blaster Voodoo2 cards. To be eligible for the download, you must also have your OEM Incoming CD that was packaged with the card. The 28 Meg download is also available on CD through Creative Labs for a small fee. Details can be found at their website.

Intel to release .18 Processors  23rd July 13:00 pm

Late next year, Intel will release the CopperMine and Cascades based on the .18 micron. The new CopperMine will be for desktops and notebooks while the Cascades will be intended for servers and workstations.

Both will include the new Katmai instructions, a technology due earlier next year which is informally known as "MMX 2"

Intel would not reveal the speeds of Coppermine or Cascades, but MicroDesign Resources recently predicted that the chipmaker would introduce the 0.18-micron process in the second half of 1999 along with a series of chips for different markets. A 600-MHz Pentium II for desktops and a 700-MHz Xeon chip for servers and workstations are slated for the second half, the noted industry analysts said prior to today's disclosure.

In addition, Intel will likely release a 366-MHz chip for mobile computers with 256K of high-speed cache memory integrated directly on to the processor. Despite this spate of activity, Intel will not be the first company to begin shipping 0.18-micron chips. IBM will release its first 0.18-micron PowerPC microprocessors for commercial consumption later this summer, according to sources close to IBM.

Moreover, these processors will use copper rather than aluminum wires to connect circuits, a change in metals that will in time improve performance. IBM's roadmap also seems to indicate that it will be producing 0.18-micron processors based around the Intel architecture by 1999 or 2000.

Meanwhile, Digital plan to release the EV68 Alpha processor which will break the 1 GHz barrier in 1999.

22nd July 1998 {Wednesday}
More on SBLive!  22nd July 20:37 pm

After a trip to Creative's R&D facilities, CoolInfo has delivered this HOT information about Creative's great leap forward - the SoundBlaster Live!

The Sound Blaster Live! for those of you who do not know, is a PCI audio card measuring no more than the size of a network card (half-size). It's capabilities are far advanced than any PCI audio card on the market today. The E-mu 10K1 processor, which is the brain of the card, has two million transistors, as powerful as an Intel Pentium processor. With 64 hardware voices and 16 channels, the Live! will surely please the hardcore gamer and musician alike.  The Live! actually takes up two expansion slots due to an extra bracket housing additional ports, but this should not be a problem since ATX 2.01 standard cases have an extra slot above the AGP. Should that slot be already uccupied by say, an external SCSI bracket, you do have an empty ISA slot where that old 16-bit audio card was right?

Duh? Use up 2 slots for 1 card?? Wah! Nowadays slots are a prized commodity, I sure hope we don't have to waste it like that! Otherwise, this card sets to reclaim Creative's lost territories from Aureal and other vendors who were swifter in identifying the potential of PCI audio.

Now, what must bother you most is the high price premium you have to pay to get the SBLive! (An A3D card costs less than S$90 now)... Moreover, I can't seem to find the space to set up another pair of speakers! Hmmm... even the wiring is a headache for me. What about you?

Vortex 2 Vs SBLive!  22nd July 20:37 pm

3DSoundSurge has scored a big one with this review done with Skip Mcllvaine of Aureal Semi-conductor about their upcoming (very very soon, they say) Vortex 2 chipset and A3D 2.0. How will this piece of hardware and API stand against the SoundBlaster Live! and the Environmental Audio eXtensions?

Backed by Creative's marketing and sales muscle, how will Aureal continue to stand unchallenged? The interview will answer some of your questions! Here's a short snippet: (Please lah, you gotta read the full interview!)

SB Live and Vortex 2 will be available around the same time this fall. Vortex 2 is a high-end gamer's solution while SB Live seems to be more aimed at MIDI musicians. Vortex 2 will be more affordable than SB Live, especially if you consider that SB Live will require 4 speakers to do decent 3D audio (which adds to the overall cost and hassle).

Vortex 2 will support more playback environments better (headphones and 2 speakers) and will support more than 4 speakers (up to 8 as of the latest Vortex spec). Vortex 2 and A3D 2.0 are also the only products that truly understand geometry based acoustics in a game (SB Live's thing is just preset reverbs) and will be the only way to experience true Wavetracing. Vortex 2 and A3D 2.0 will also benefit from better title support and the added reliability and stability of a second-generation device.

About MIPS: this has been used too often as a marketing ploy and is indicative of some companies' obsession with often meaningless marketing numbers.  MIPS is not a good indicator of performance because no two MIPS are alike. For example, Vortex 2 has the equivalent of over 2000 Pentium MIPS, but we don't quote it that way because all MIPS are not created equal. What matters are the useable features and meaningful stats.

Something surprised me a little, whilst they had mentioned in their interview that the SBLive is not yet available over their side, I've seen Funan Centre's Creative Showroom (Singapore. Of Course!) putting it up for sale. Over at a neighbouring shop, it was retailing at about S$350 w/o speakers (yeah, WITHOUT speakers was what the shopkeeper told me... they had only 1 box at their display window and I couldn't get my hands on it!).

Even in Singapore, there seems to be very few shops carrying it and its availability is quite limited. I've not seen it at Sim Lim when I was there last week. :)

Savage Preview  22nd July 19:41 pm

AnandTech slapped this Savage3D preview a little while ago. The numbers matters most right? Yeah, with the G200 (final), TNT (alpha) and Savage3D (alpha) tested, you can see the numbers lying side by side for your comparison. Take a look!

Ziff Davis Winbench 98 - 2D Performance

- Business High End
- Windows 98 - P2 400 Windows 98 - P2 400
G460 i740 8MB 206 274
Matrox G200 8MB 207 269
Riva TNT 16MB 216 263
Savage3D 8MB 190 269

savgraph1.jpg (14225 bytes)

savgraph2.jpg (14511 bytes)

AMD K6-2, Quake 2 and Voodoo 2  22nd July 19:15 pm

Besides the fact that they all end with "2"s, what do you get when you put these 3 things together? A kick-ass deathmatch rig. The ultimate.

If you suffer fits each night when you don't play Quake II, then this might just be the machine for you. By investing in a K6-2 instead of a high-end Pentium 2, you would have saved a good S$400 or even more. Using this extra cash, you can easily procure that second Voodoo 2 card and set it up in SLI to play your deathmatches in silky smooth 1024 x 768 resolution.

HPC has posted the benchmark review of the above rig. See the amazing numbers!

New ATI Chipset  22nd July 18:15 pm

Hold it. This is the latest specifications of the upcoming video chipset from ATI.

  • Hardware support for vertex arrays
  • 16-bit color or 32-bit true color rendering
  • Both fog and fog table support
  • Alpha blending, vertex and Z-based fog, video textures, texture lighting
  • Single clock bilinear and trilinear texture filtering and texture compositing
  • Perspectively correct mip-mapped texturing with chroma-key support
  • Vertex and Z-based reflections, shadows, spotlights, 1.00 biasing
  • Hidden surface removal using 16, 24, or 32-bit Z-buffering
  • Dual texel pipe delivering 2 pixels per clock
  • Gouraud and specular shaded polygons
  • Integrated DVD/MPEG-2 decode
  • Line and edge anti-aliasing
  • Single pass multitexturing
  • Bump mapping
  • Highly optimized 128 bit engine
  • 8-bit stencil buffer

The company has been as tight-lipped about its new part as only the current OEM darling has the luxury to be, but it finally spilled a few beans. A bit early perhaps, considering that they haven’t announced the product, and aren’t expected to until late August.

Matrox new Drivers  22nd July 18:05 pm

The latest version of Matrox 4.11 Win98 drivers are officially out. You can download it from our Video Drivers page. Bug fixes include :

  • Pagemaker 6.5, ATM fonts displayed in wrong color after rotating font.
  • Quark Xpress 4.0, Font color displayed incorrectly after changing text box background color.
  • Direct X, info did not report a 'chip type' or 'ramdac' with Matrox cards.
  • Turok & Jedi Knight would get a memory parity error on some systems after running either game on G-100.

[Beam me to the latest news archive!]


Copyright 1998 Hardware One
Last updated 27 September 1998 23:46