29 July 98 - 31 July 98
Highlights within this period includes:
  • Alaris DVC1
  • Asus P2B at 133mhz
  • KNI Vs 3DNow!
  • Compaq pays $3.3 million for Altavista.com
  • AMD K7
  • Creative to release TNT
  • Security bug in E-mail programs
  • Singapore launches Y2K website
  • Bug in MS Exchange
  • G200 Marvel
  • PC Gamers STB TNT Benchmarks
  • Abit's New BH6 Mobo
31th July 1998 {Friday}
Abit's New BH6 Mobo  31th July 23:42 pm

Abit has released their new BX motherboard - the BH6. It supports a very novel 124mhz FSB setting, which may be the answer to many overclockers out there. At the moment, a scarce number of people have been lucky enough to get their PCs running reliably at 133mhz bus speeds.

While Anand has recently revealed that the Asus P2B supports the 133mhz FSB using the 1/4 divider, Abit has sought to bridge the gap of the 112 and 133mhz settings with an ingenious unofficial 124mhz figure. The 124mhz setting is 1 mhz lower than many PC100 SDRAM's maximum 125mhz ratings. Also with the PCI bus running at 41.3mhz instead of 44.3mhz of the 133mhz setting, the chances of a overclocking success would be much higher.

Andy Drake discusses some of the possible combination using the 124mhz FSB settings:

CPU Predicted Speeds
Klamath 233/266/300 310 (2.5 x 124)
Celeron 266 Suspected unusable due to processor locking at 4x
Celeron 300 Suspected unusable due to processor locking at 4.5x
Deschutes P2-333 372 (3 x 124)
  434 (3.5 x 124)
Deschutes P2-350 372 (3 x 124)
  434 (3.5 x 124)
Deschutes P2-400 434 (3.5 x 124)
  496 (3.5 x 124)
Deschutes P2-450 496 (3.5 x 124

PC Gamers STB TNT Benchmarks  31th July 20:46 pm

This should be a very close estimate to the final TNT performance coming from STB. PC Gamers had benchmarked the STB Velocity 4400 which is based on the RivaTNT chipset. STB said that the final hardware and drivers are very close to completion and should ship around 15 August. Here's some numbers:

Test System
Velocity 4400 16MB AGP 2X
Pentium II 400MHz W/ 64MB RAM
Windows 98
DirectX 6
640x480 - 199.09
800x600 - 141.26
1024x768 - 100+ (didn't get a chance to finish the demo)
Quake II:
640x480 - 65.5
800x600 - 57.2
1024x768 - 40.4
640x480 - 85.86
Incoming :
640x480 - 78.05
Final thoughts, the STB's TNT card seemed to have improved its performance by a significant amount as compared to the numbers posted by AnandTech a couple of days back. Quake 2 still runs a tat faster on the Voodoo2 while there's no better card to play Forsaken on then on a TNT!

G200 Marvel  31th July 17:44 pm

Here's a picture of the Matrox G200 Marvel. It comes with a Break-out-Box so that you can connect all your video/audio cables to it instead of hanging out from behind your casing. In case you are not aware of, the G200 Marvel is a G200 with a Rainbow Runner all built into one card.

Bug in MS Exchange  31th July 15:02 pm

Another bug had been discovered in MS Exchange.

The breach, dubbed "Potential SMTP and NNTP [Network News Transfer Protocol] Denial-of-Service Vulnerabilities in Exchange Server," affects Exchange Versions 5.0 and 5.5. It allows a malicious user to cause an Exchange server to shut down or stop responding, preventing the flow of e-mail and stalling newsgroup traffic until the server is restarted. Microsoft was alerted to the breach by Internet Security Systems Inc.'s X-Force team.

"As more companies use [Microsoft] BackOffice as a critical component of network and enabling e-commerce, Exchange becomes a more important application to understand from a security standpoint," said Chris Klaus, chief technology officer and founder of Internet Security Systems, in Atlanta. "I think we'll continue to find more [breaches] in the near term and long term within these applications."

The latest breach comes amid reports of a security hole in the Internet-based mail applications of Microsoft and Netscape Communications Corp. That breach affects users of Microsoft's Outlook Express 4.x and Outlook 98 as well as Netscape Mail versions 4.05 and 4.5b1.

30th July 1998 {Thursday}
Singapore launches Y2K website  30th July 09:06 am

Here are some home related news. Singapore launched an Internet site on Wednesday providing quick reference to companies seeking solutions to the looming "millenium bug".

The National Computer Board's (NCB) online registration service, listing consultants and solution providers, was part of its efforts to promote "millenium bug" awareness, it said in a statement.

Without remedies, many computers are expected to misread the year 2000 as 1900. This could result in a myriad of problems including breakdowns and wrong data.

"Companies must know where to get help to solve the Y2K (Year 2000) problem. Otherwise there is a real possibility they cannot avert the potential danger of business failure come year 2000," said Tan Chiam Huat, NCB assistant chief executive.

Speaking at the website's launch, he said the NCB hoped the site would make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to seek help.

Security bug in E-mail programs  30th July 09:04 am

Some of the most popular e-mail programs have a security flaw that could allow hackers to erase files or wreak other damage on users' systems, The San Jose Mercury News reported.

The report called the flaw a "gaping hole" in the e-mail programs and said that some experts believe it to be the biggest such problem to surface in a decade.

The flaw, discovered by computer security experts in Finland, affects two Microsoft e-mail programs -- Outlook Express and Outlook 98 -- as well as Netscape Communications' Web browser.

Microsoft officials were not immediately available to comment, but Netscape said it was working on a patch to fix the security hole and should have one available in two weeks.

Creative to release TNT  30th July 09:01 am

Creative Technology Ltd, the world's leading provider of multimedia products for the PC, continues to excel in the graphics card market with the introduction of Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT, the newest edition to Creative's Graphics Blaster family. Based on NVIDIA Corporation's latest technology breakthrough, the RIVA TNT, the Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT complements Creative's graphics product lineup by providing the fastest 2D/3D graphics acceleration possible.

The Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT delivers stunning high-quality graphics at breakneck speeds by combining NVIDIA's RIVA TNT chipset with Creative's proprietary drivers and utilities. Available in AGP and PCI configurations, the Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT boasts 16MB of high speed SDRAM and features full support for AGP 2X, including front sideband, for optimized texture handling performance. Riding on the success Creative has achieved with its 3D gaming card, 3D Blaster Voodoo2, Creative is expanding its product line with the Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT by providing a comprehensive graphics platform for gaming, CAD and graphic art applications.

"We have significantly enhanced our lineup of 2D/3D graphics cards with the addition of the RIVA TNT chipset to Creative's arsenal of Graphics Blaster products", said Hock Leow, vice president of Creative's Multimedia Division. "With the combination of 2D and 3D performance and quality of the Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT and the outstanding 3D performance of our acclaimed 3D Blaster Voodoo2, Creative delivers the fastest, most complete graphics acceleration products on the market today."

AMD K7  30th July 08:56 am

This was taken from TheRegister about the development of the AMD K7.

A reliable source close to chip company Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) said today that it has completed testing of its future K7 product.

The processor, which will be produced in its Dresden, Germany fabrication plant, is on target for early release in 1999, the source said.

And other processors will be introduced by AMD in the build up to the K7, which uses Slot A architecture, licensed from Digital.

The source said that towards the end of August, AMD will introduce a 350MHz K6-2 chip, and that will be followed soon after by the K6-2Plus and the K6-3Plus. Those will arrive towards year-end.

He confirmed that the fab in Dresden will include copper interconnect technology provided by IBM's formerly close partner Motorola.

Since the K7 will be using the same Slot A architecture as Digital. This means that you can just plug in a Digital Alpha instead of a K7 and use it. The only thing you need to change is the BIOS.

29th July 1998 {Wednesday}
Compaq pays $3.3 million for Altavista.com   29th July 20:23 pm

Hey, this is one amusing news (amusing to me, sorry Compaq) that I came across at Coolcomputing a while ago. Here's the portion:

Compaq has agreed to pay $3.3 million to Jack Marshall, the owner of the domain name Altavista.com.  Many users have accidentally gone to Altavista.com thinking that the URL is home to Digital's popular AltaVista search engine.  This deal will ensure that will no longer happen in the future.  Jack Marshall has agreed to change his site to PhotoLoft.com instead.  Read more about it in this ZDNet story.

Anyone with great foresight to grab a popular domain name? Share it with me?

KNI Vs 3DNow!  29th July 19:41 pm

Performance Inc. has posted an article comparing Intel Katmai's new multimedia extensions and 3DNow! in AMD's K6-2 chips. Katmai will feature KNI (Katmai New Instructions) when it debuts early next year. Read it here, it all sounds pretty exciting. A snippet for you:

"...Intel will be releasing their new Katmai processor armed with KNI (Katmai New Instructions) at the beginning of next year. When this is released we will see a giant swing in software and driver developers' loyalties. With 70+ new instructions, this will be a much larger and more complex set of opcodes than the 20+ 3DNow! instructions. More functions will take a shorter time to run through on the KNI than with 3DNow!, therefore in many instances making it faster."

After thoughts: I suppose many people may put on hold their plans to purchase a cheap but fast AMD K6-2 after reading this article but my personal advice is that you buy what you need NOW. After all, when Katmai debuts, it is unlikely that it will cost as little as the K6-2. We are all familiar with the price premium to own Intel top-of-the-line products.

Asus P2B at 133Mhz  29th July 00:32 am

AnandTech has received and published some good news for those proud owners of the Asus P2B BX motherboard.

If you're eager to overclock that tamed beast of yours, it is found that you can (very likely) overclock your FSB to 133Mhz and your PCI will continue to operate at 33.3Mhz instead of 44.3Mhz.

The latter is difficult to achieve because of the tendencies to lockup when you force your PCI devices to work way beyond themselves. Also, certain harddisks from Maxtor, IBM and Fujitsu seem to be allergic to higher bus speeds (have proven to be "fatal" in certain cases).

Having said this, we mustn't forget that we must first have the correct & quality SDRAM when overclocking anything above 112mhz. I would recommend reading the "SDRAM Survey" article done by Andy Drake, it'll give you a clearer picture and tell you what exactly to look out for in different brands as well as the CAS ratings. Cheerios!   :)

Alaris DVC1  29th July 00:11 am

This video conferencing kit is really a steal at $79 (For S-One user only). The installation was quick, easy and Windows 98 recognised and correctly configured the device. We (Kan and Me!) were staring at each other's stupid faces in no time.

The bundled software allows you to capture "videograms" to send as email attachments and they've included IE4 and Netmeeting which were relatively easy to use.

The frame rate was acceptably fast (20-30fps) when capturing videograms but conferencing will greatly depend on the bandwidth available. With your other editor on cable, and I on Magix, we were seeing some 5fps with average video quality. When we cranked up the image quality, framerates dropped to about 3fps.

One more thing, you'll really need a room that's bright and evenly lit or you'll end up like us having to shine our table lamps straight at ourselves so that our faces don't just look like a black/grey patch.

Final thoughts: It's a really great deal. The DVC1 is parallel port based which means (for me at least!) no PCI/ISA slots needs to be used (I've got none left!!!). This also enhances it's portability, just bring along the camera, the software disks and the cable... and of course your notebook PC??

Lack of News again. :(  29th July 00:06 am

Hmm... things have been coming along slowly (Magix and Cable Access as well). Both your editors were spending their precious time playing with their newly procured toy. Ha!

We were testing out our video conferencing kit from Alaris. (Now a joint promotion between S-One and Intresource, retailing at only $79!).

[Beam me to the latest news archive!]

Copyright 1998 Hardware One
Last updated 27 September 1998 23:36