01 June 98 - 07 June 98
Highlights within this period includes:
  • Starcraft .SCM of the Week: Divided Faction
  • A World Cup Review
  • Irresistible Treats from E3
  • nVidia's RivaTNT Hands-One at E3
  • Unreal And 3Dfx
  • TNT Detonated at E3
  • Monster Sound MX200
  • Screenshots from TA : Kingdoms
  • Starcraft Expansion Set: Brood Wars
  • S'pore's High-Bandwidth Network Now Commercial
  • Internet Explorer 5.0 Preview
  • SyQuest SyJet Wins Honours
  • Philips Nino 300
  • More AMD K6-2
  • Sneek Peeks of Banshee
  • ThinCRT Technology
  • Motorola's iDEN System for SingTel Paging
  • 1-Net And Alcatel
  • Matrox m3D to support Unreal
  • Diamond Shotgun!
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0
  • Intel Katmai
  • NEC SX-5
  • Increase in RAM Prices!
  • IBM's Error-Correcting Memory Technology
  • NT 5.0 Beta 2
  • Japan Will Not Cut Down RAM Production
  • Audio-to-MIDI Conversion
  • Somemore of Philips Nino 300
  • Maxxum Interative's Local Hardware Review Zone
  • Microsoft DirectX Media 5.2b
  • 40X CDROM Drive
  • PC98 Specification
  • FrontPage 98
  • Interview with AMD K6-2 Guy
7th June 1998 {Sunday}
Interview with AMD K6-2 Guy  7th June 19:14 pm 

HardwareCentral has just posted their interview with AMD regarding their recent hit -- the K6-2. A truly affordable kick-ass chip! Here's the stolen bits:

Hardware Central: In what ways other than DirectX, can a program get the enhancements of the 3DNow instruction set?

Lance: There are 3 ways to execute this rendering portion of the pipeline. There is DirectX, OpenGL, or a Proprietary layer such as MiniGL, included with Quake2. If the application uses directx for it's application, well we've taken directx and fully implemented 3dnow within that pipeline. So all fp operations have been converted over to 3DNow.

The fact is, you could buy any K6, a 3dfx card, and quake2, and see sub 30fps. So we went and modified miniGL and Glide, and see an 87% improvement over the K6 with the same clock rate. If you were to modify just the driver layer of our 3 layer model, it would be worth about 10-15% in application advantage.

As far as the physics of a game go, if a developer designs his physics engine using 3DNow instructions, you would not necessarily get a performance increase. I know this sounds funny, but let me explain why. A game that is running at 200fps is of no value to a developer. Anything over 50 frames is incredibly high performance. To differentiate yourself as a software compoany, you want to enhance your application, by adding more objects, more lights for more realism. For instance, if you have a racecar, and you want to accurately model all the physics of the car, you would need alot of floating point calculations. So now we can represent a more realistic environment and still achieve the same high performance.

FrontPage 98 Patch  7th June 19:03 pm 

Microsoft Corporation has released their first patch for FrontPage 98. Check out their page for details about what this patch does.

6th June 1998 {Saturday}
PC 98 Specification  6th June 20:57 pm 

PC 98 is the new specification and a design compliance program primarily developed by Microsoft, Intel and Compaq. Participating PC Manufacturers must produce products in conformance with this specification, if they wish to have the products tested and certified by Microsoft.  Certification by Microsoft allows the compliant manufacturers to designate their products as "Designed for Windows". Certified products will have a "Designed for Windows" sticker on the case.

PC 98 requires that new PCs conform to the following minimum configuration :

200MMX or faster CPU
At least 32 Megabytes of RAM
Must have USB and Fire Wire Ports
Support for 1024 by 768 pixel or better video with full MPEG-2
Support for UltraDMA/33 hard disks
Elimination of ISA Bus - Replacement of ISA Bus with 64 bit, 66Mhz or 100Mhz PCI Bus and the addition of an AGP Bus.

It just looks like your dear editor here just barely reach the requirements. Gee...

40X CD-ROM Drive  6th June 20:43 pm 

Shucks. Just when I just bought my Pioneer 32X SCSI CDROM, Kenwood and Zen Research recently announced plans to introduce a true 40X CD Rom Drive. The 40X Drive, based upon proprietary technology developed by Zen, will revolutionize the CD Rom industry. Zen's technology, dubbed True X, emphasizes the use of multiple beams to increase access time and data throughput, versus simply cranking up the rotational speed. The True X drives should be available in Q3, 1998.

The Kenwood Z40X CD-ROM drive is a groundbreaking product that offers uniform - TRUE - 40X performance across the disc by employing Zen Research N.V. TrueX(technology). At this transfer rate, the Kenwood Z40X drive delivers data 300% faster than today's fastest drives. Conventional CAV (Constant Angular Velocity) drives, which comprise the bulk of models on the market today allow for a maximum speed of 32X or higher, but only on the outermost tracks. Data read from the inner tracks of a disc, where most of today's software is located, is only read at a mere 12-16X. For this reason, there has been some negative market reaction. Kenwood's new Z40X is a CLV (Constant Linear Velocity) drive which will maintain the same 40X performance no matter where on the disc the content is located.

In contrast to the best CAV drives 3.0 Mbytes/s transfer rate (average for all tracks), a Z40X drive realizes 6.0 Mbyte/s performance. This advantage rises from 2 to 3 times for data recorded on the inner tracks of a disc - particularly relevant to software installation - where CAV technology can offer a transfer rate of just 1 to 2.0 Mbyte/s.

Using multi-beam technology and a revolutionary 7-beam pickup, the Kenwood Z40X drive can read data simultaneously from 7 tracks in parallel. This means that the actual speed at which the disc spins can be lower. In terms of vibration and noise, it thus offers smoother, quieter performance than high-speed CAV drives.

This CLV-based technology offers a uniform 40x data transfer rate across the entire disc, from the innermost to the outermost tracks. The 7 separate data streams read in parallel from the disc surface are stored temporarily in a 2-Mbyte buffer. This data then passes through high-speed parallel/serial conversion circuitry and, after subsequent signal processing, is output as a single data stream.

Thanks to a high-performance thread motor, seek times of 85ms have been achieved.

Take my advice, don't buy computer products anymore. Go buy teddy bears for yourself instead.

Microsoft DirectX Media 5.2b  6th June 07:30 am 

Saw this over at Microsoft DirectX site.

There's a new version of the DirectX Media run time, we call it 5.2b. The DirectX Media 5.2b run time supports PAL DVD disks and features improved interactive responsiveness. Better than ever, DirectX Media 5.2b capture capabilities have been enhanced to support a wider range of the WDM streaming class capture hardware that runs under Windows 98 or Windows NT 5.0.

The Microsoft® DirectX® Media 5.2b run time includes the following fixes and changes developed since the release of the DirectX Media 5.2a run time:

  • The DirectX Media 5.2b run time supports playback of PAL DVD disks.
  • The DirectX Media 5.2b run time supports more of the WDM streaming class capture hardware running under Microsoft® Windows® 98 or Windows NT® 5.0
  • The DirectX Media 5.2b run time is more responsive to user actions than in earlier versions.

You can download it from Microsoft's DirectX Media run time download page. For the updated DirectX Media 5.2b SDK, see the Microsoft's DirectX Media SDK download page.

5th June 1998 {Friday}
Maxxum Interactive's Local Hardware Review Zone  5th June 23:49 pm 

Here fellow Singaporeans, Maxxum Interactive has a new startup - their very own hardware review corner. So what's great about that? Relevancy for one - it makes sense to read about what is available on our tiny island right? Well, besides with the close ties they have with the local distributors, they will be on the forefront to review the coolest peripherals and components that are available in Singapore (those popular Taiwan makes will also have an equal chance of getting reviewed).

Even in its infancy, Maxxum will be pulling a few first for a local hardware site. They were able to lay their hands on many priced peripherals that we drool to have and will soon be releasing detailed reviews on them. Here are some of the reviews:

Reviews they've completed:

  • TOSHIBA 32x CD-ROM DR (1/6/98)
  • S3 Sonic Vibes PCI sound (3/6/98)
  • Canopus Total 3D 128V PCI(4/6/98)
  • PHILIPS 109S 19" Monitor (4/6/98)

Below are those that are on the verge of completion:

  • Diamond Viper V330 4MB PCI
  • USRobotics 56K Modem Review
  • AGFA SnapScan 300 300dpi SCSI
    Flatbed Scanner
  • ATI All In Wonder Pro 4MB
  • SCHUBERT 129 A3D PCI Sound

Then, take a deep breath... here's those we eagerly await (refer to their respective dates and don't forget to check them out!)

  • CANOPUS Pure 3D II 12MB (9/6/98)
  • Canopus Total 3D 128V AGP (9/6/98)
  • YAMAHA 192XG PCI Sound (9/6/98)
  • AZTECH SC-338 A3D Sound(12/6/98)
  • SONY DVD-ROM(5x) Int. dr (9/6/98)
  • RealMagic MPEG-2 PCI card(6/6/98)
  • STB BlackMagic 3D Voodoo2(12/6/98)
  • CYRIX M-II 300MHz Processor(?/6/98)
  • Creative AWE64-Live PCI S.C(?/6/98)
  • TeraSound A3D PCI audio (?/6/98)
  • IntreScan 330p+ Scanner (?/6/98)

Somemore of Philips Nino 300  5th June 23:02 pm 

I can't help it ok? I like it. Very much. This time I got for you the link to the official Nino site by Philips. If you are on high speed access, you may want to check out the Shockwave presentation of the Nino. Cool! Here's some features to whet your appetite:

  • Runs Windows CE 2.0
  • High performance 32-bit MIPS-based Philips R3910 75Mhz RISC processor
  • 4Mb or 8Mb of memory
  • Weighs approx 200g (with batteries)
  • 5.24" X 3.41" x 0.87"
  • 16 shades grayscale, 320x240 pixels (0.24mm dot pitch)
  • T9TM smart keyboard & handwriting recognition program
  • Touch screen stylus
  • 19.2Kbps data/fax modem (integrated with Nino 302 model)
  • Unidirectional Microphone and Voice Memo to store messages and ideas
  • Voice Command Recognition
  • Audio Out capability
  • High Speed I/O (RS-232 serial port)
  • IrDA Infrared transceiver (up to 115kbps)
  • 10-12 hrs battery life (either AA, NiMH, Lithium)

For the Full Specs Sheet, download the PDF data sheet.

Audio-to-MIDI conversion  5th June 19:21 pm 

Opcode Systems, the leading manufacturer of professional music production software and hardware, has announced that the United States Patent Office has granted a patent to the company for its ground-breaking Audio-to-MIDI and MIDI-to-Audio conversion technology. This advanced digital audio technology is featured in Opcode’s popular Studio Vision Pro audio and MIDI sequencing software for Macintosh. Full press release. Here are some of the juicy parts :

"This patent represents years of work on the part of our programmers," stated Chris Halaby, President of Opcode Systems. "Our goal has always been to deliver powerful, ground-breaking musical tools without adding complexity, and this is proof we’ve succeeded."

Opcode’s patented process allows users to transform any single line digital audio file (human voice, guitar solo, flute etc.) into a MIDI track containing the pitch, timing, dynamics and spectral data of the original file. The resulting MIDI track can be extensively edited like any other MIDI track and then be converted back into digital audio which reflects all MIDI editing changes.

This two-way conversion capability enables users to perform edits and corrections that would be intensely difficult or impossible without it. For example, a lead vocal can be turned into a MIDI track, have its timing corrected, be transposed into a different key, have all pitch fluctuations removed, and then be transformed back into digital audio––all in a matter of moments.

Japan will not cut down RAM production  5th June 07:30 am 

For those people who are afraid of the hitch in RAM prices. Do not worry too much as major Japanese memory chipmakers said today that they do not plan to follow South Korea's Hyundai Electronics in cutting back production. But do remember that the Korean control 30 percent of the world market production. RAM prices will increase if demand is higher than supply (What?! Am I talking about Economics??). Check out the full news here.

Most Japanese makers are still in the process of gearing up their 64-megabit DRAM production. Japanese makers argue that they have already drawn up conservative production plans for the current business year, after suffering severe damage from weak DRAM prices in the business year ended March 31.

"Japanese makers have already shifted into production systems that suit the current market condition," said Mami Indo, analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research. "They see no urgent need to change their plans at the moment."

NT 5.0 Beta 2  5th June 7:10 am 

A second beta of Microsoft's mammoth upgrade to its Windows NT operating system will be delivered to test sites by mid-July, according to several prominent customers at the company's TechEd developer conference.

The second beta is expected to be the last full-fledged test offering before the release of NT 5.0 server and workstation, taking into account the possibility of subsequent "Service Pack" updates and patches before final shipment, according to Jeff Price, a product manager within Microsoft's NT server group.

Executive vice president Steve Ballmer hyped the forthcoming release as a "cost of ownership" operating system upgrade during his opening keynote this week at TechEd, touting the benefits of forthcoming directory services, management, security, and mirroring enhancements.

Those features will figure prominently in the second beta. "There will be major functionality differences between beta one and beta two and people can put it in their test environments," Price said.

The initial NT 5.0 beta included infrastructure components of the operating system, or "plumbing," so that programmers could begin to write applications that will run on top of the upgrade once it is released. The second beta adds the tools that the user or administrator will use to manipulate the software, according to Price.

Included among the features will be new so-called "IntelliMirror" functions that essentially will allow a user's desktop to be replicated to a server system for centralized management.

IBM's Error-Correcting Memory Technology  5th June 6:51 am 

IBM today announced a new family of error-correcting semiconductor memory modules that provide system memory reliability up to one-hundred times greater than standard memory modules. This capability is similar to reliability features that IBM developed for the Mars Pathfinder mission. For the first time, this level of reliability will be available to enhance PC server systems.

In the networked computing environment, the need for server reliability is essential. Memory faults, including complete chip failures, have the potential to cause significant system "down time" and data loss. IBM's new error-correcting products offer a level of "off-the-shelf," on-board memory fault protection previously available only in the mainframe environment.

Advanced failure-protection modules become especially important as memory sizes in server systems increase to one gigabyte and beyond. The standard "single-error-correct (SEC) error-correction code (ECC)" found on most of today’s PC servers may not be enough to overcome fatal memory faults. Servers with large amounts of memory and standard error-correction are projected to have the same noncorrectable error rate as previous parity-only systems. Therefore, as memory needs increase, so does the potential for errors.

These failure-protection DIMMs are among the first to provide the self-contained capability of correcting real-time, multibit DRAM errors, such as complete DRAM failures. With the use of a high-performance IBM custom chip, enhanced multibit error detection and correction is incorporated into the module and made transparent to the system. IBM's failure-protection modules also allow a PC server system with existing error-correction capabilities to be upgraded to support mainframe-class, multibit failure correction.

IBM’s error-correcting memory modules exemplify the company's leadership in the area of "on-the-fly" error correction code capabilities. This new family of products complements IBM’s broad range of offerings, including high-performance, value-added memory technologies such as ultra-high speed SRAM, stacked DRAM and SDRAM, SGRAM, VRAM, high-density DIMMs, ECC-on-board SIMMs, and low-power SO DIMMs.

Memory Modules with Failure Protection: Technical Features and Benefits

  • Up to 100 times improvement in system memory reliability.
  • Transparent multibit error protection in an existing single error correction (SEC) system.
  • 168-pin JEDEC-standard, Dual In-Line Memory Module (DIMM).
  • Extended Data Out (EDO) Mode, Read-Modify-Write Cycles.
  • High-speed IBM ASIC technology used to perform "on-the-fly" error correcting function, while maintaining system access and cycle time requirements.
  • Serial (unbuffered) or parallel (buffered) presence detect.

Increase in RAM prices!  5th June 4:58 am 

Hyundai Electronics Industries is cutting memory chip production because of a global glut, and South Korea's two other big chipmakers said they may do the same. You guys better upgrade your RAM now as this recovery will continue till 2000.

Hyundai shut its semiconductor plant, located on the outskirts of Seoul, for one week starting today, making it the first among the nation's three big chipmakers to take such action to reduce a worldwide oversupply of memory chips.

"We want to set a precedent for the other chipmakers to follow to address the oversupply problem we are facing," a Hyundai spokesman said. "The cutback in production would reduce the world's total supply of  DRAM by about 10 percent this month."

Earlier this week, rivals Samsung Electronics and LG Semicon as well as Hyundai indicated they would scale back production of 64-megabit chips, mostly used in workstations and servers.

South Korea produces 57 million 16-megabit DRAMs and 23 million 64-megabit DRAMs annually. Hyundai's share of the total is 19 million 16-megabit DRAMs and eight million 64-megabit DRAMs. South Korea's top three chipmakers control more than 30 percent of the world's DRAM market share.

"It's a very bad time to be in the memory chip business."

"Everything under a dollar" might be the industry's sales slogan for 16-megabit DRAM chips, which form the core of a personal computer's memory modules.

"We've seen it for 99 cents in a Korean spot market," said Mark Giudici, director of the semiconductor supply and pricing service at Dataquest. For servers and workstations, he added, "we've seen 64-megabit DRAM for under $7."

NEC SX-5  5th June 3:15 am 

Just when you thought a Intel Pentium-II 400 MHz is good enough for you, NEC just announced their SX-5 series of supercomputers, which it said to be the fastest in the world.

SX-5 can reach vector processing speeds of up to four teraflops (one trillion floating-point operations per second), NEC said.

In the SX-5's maximum configuration, its speed is four teraflops and its main memory four terabytes, the latter eight times larger than that of its predecessor, the SX-4. Each SX-5 node can be configured to provide up to 128 gigaflops of performance with 128 gigabytes of shared main memory.

Intel Katmai  5th June 2:55 am 

Intel is accelerating the release of Katmai, its highly anticipated, next-generation multimedia processor, and will manufacture more high-speed Pentium II and Celeron chips than originally planned as a result of better-than-expected success with its current manufacturing technology.

The changes should bring larger quantities of faster Pentium II chips into the market than previously expected, which in turn will likely mean cheaper Intel-based desktops over the ensuing months and a tougher competitive environment for AMD.

The news comes in the midst of share prices falling in anticipation of second-quarter earnings and in the wake of last week's announcement that the chipmaker will delay the introduction of its first 64-bit chip until 2000.

The initial Katmai chip, which will run at 500 MHz, will now come out in the first quarter of 1999, rather than the second quarter, according to an Intel spokesman. The Katmai chip will offer improved performance of multimedia applications, including 3D graphics and full-motion video.

Katmai is a set of new processor instructions that many have referred to as "MMX 2."

Later this year, the company will also add a 300-MHz version of an enhanced Celeron processor, supplemented with critical extra "cache" memory to speed up performance. The current Celeron doesn't have this extra memory and has received negative reviews because it doesn't deliver better performance than older Pentium chips. One of the chief reasons for this is a lack of cache memory.

The enhanced chip will also come out as a 333-MHz version. A 300-MHz of the current Celeron chip will also ship. The Celeron was announced in May.

Although the company last week delayed the release of its 64-bit Merced chip for servers because of manufacturing difficulties, Intel's current manufacturing technology, which is based around the 0.25-micron process, is producing more chips than expected.

Another point to note is that Intel is keen to incorporate audio and graphics functions into a chip set for its lower-end Celeron processor. Celeron, which is meant for use in lowball PCs where speed isn't a critical factor, is a major step toward a "PC on a chip" and pushes Intel into areas that had been dominated by companies including ATI, Creative Labs, Ensoniq, Matrox, Number 9, and Yamaha.

Now, the Federal Trade Commission looks primed to move against Intel for practices like these. And the timing is very interesting: Just like the DOJ moved against Microsoft as the software giant was about to release a product that incorporated browser technology into the OS, the FTC may be about to do the same to Intel.

Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0  5th June 02:12 am 

Microsoft announced Visual Studio 6.0 Enterprise Edition, the complete suite for rapidly building scalable enterprise solutions (Full press release). The Visual Studio 6.0 development system extends the new versions of award-winning Microsoft Visual Tools with features for component-based development, enterprise data access and development life-cycle support. Integration of these tools with middle-tier application services based on the Windows NT® operating system enables the fundamental flexibility and scalability of Microsoft's Windows® Distributed interNet Architecture (Windows DNA).

In order for organizations to achieve a competitive advantage from their technology infrastructure, they need the ability to build solutions that can easily integrate disparate systems," said Paul Maritz, group vice president of applications and platforms at Microsoft Corp. "Developers can use Microsoft's comprehensive development suite, Visual Studio 6.0, with the enabling foundation of Windows DNA to make this a reality."

4th June 1998 {Thursday}
Diamond Shotgun!  4th June 23:05 pm 

Okay okay. The title sounds a bit misleading. Anyway, Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc. announced that Shotgun+ technology, Diamond's advanced modem bonding application, is now available as a free download to all SupraExpress+ 56 customers at http://www.diamondmm.com/shotgun. Shotgun enables the SupraExpress 56 to bond with another single-line analog modem, providing Internet download speeds of up to 112Kbps. Diamond Multimedia has been shipping the SupraExpress 56 series of modems since March of 1997.

"Many people shopping for a new 56K modem already own a modem," said Jim Cady, vice president and general manager of Diamond Multimedia's Communications Division. "Shotgun and the SupraExpress 56 combines the two modems to deliver a faster, feature-rich Internet experience. Plus, now that Shotgun has national ISP support, SupraExpress 56 owners can immediately take advantage of this breakthrough technology."

Shotgun Features
Diamond Multimedia's award-winning engineering team created Shotgun to work with the SupraExpress 56 series of modems, as well as its new dual-line modem, the SupraSonic- II. Shotgun technology bonds two analog modems to work intelligently over ordinary phone lines and achieve speeds of up to 112Kbps. Additionally, Shotgun allows the SupraExpress 56 to bond with a host of other manufacturer's modems. For example, a SupraExpress 56 with Shotgun bonded with a 33.6 modem can deliver download speeds of up to 89Kbps. Other advanced features include:

Bandwidth-on-Demand: Shotgun "senses" when greater bandwidth is needed for an Internet connection and automatically adds the second phone line. When less bandwidth is required, the second phone line is automatically released for other uses.

Manual Control: Shotgun allows a user to add or release their second phone line by clicking on a software control button.

Matrox m3D to support UnReal  4th June 22:42 pm 

Matrox announced that the Matrox m3D fully supports UnReal - the much anticipated new 3D game developed by Epic MegaGames and published by GT Interactive. The Matrox m3D, based the PowerVR PCX2 processor, is one of the only 3D accelerators available on the market today capable of powering UnReal. The Matrox m3D combines high-speed game play with support for resolutions up to 1024 x 768 giving Matrox m3D users the edge needed to fully optimize today's 3D games. The Matrox m3D is an ideal PCI 3D upgrade for gamers seeking a powerful and affordable gaming solution.

"At this point in time, the Matrox m3D is THE UnReal solution," states Jason Della Rocca, Developer Relations Manager, Matrox Graphics Inc. "With a minimal system requirement Matrox m3D users can get great visuals and fast frame rates to deliver an excellent 3D experience."

UnReal offers heart-pounding, single-player action; intense multi-play for up to 16 gamers; as well as the UnReal Level Editor one of the industry's most advanced, easy-to-use level editor programs. The level editor allows even novice players to create their own UnReal levels or customize virtually any aspect of the game. UnReal transports one or more players to a beautiful yet deadly planet which as a result of a mysterious ore has become the "Bermuda Triangle" of space, entwining alien races from across the galaxy in a battle for survival. UnReal's visuals set a new standard for realism - water is transparent, flames randomly flicker and moving clouds cast shadows while dynamic lighting and music changes complement the on-screen action.

The m3D is available for about S$115. Quite a good buy actually. Of course, I will go for higher end cards personally, no, not the Voodoo2. :)

1-Net and Alcatel  4th June 22:30 pm 

Singapore ONE infrastructure provider and operator, 1-Net Singapore, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Alcatel, one of the world's largest telecommunications companies, to conduct field trials of Alcatel's [email protected](TM) solution.

[email protected] is one of the industry's first operational standards-based IP-over-ATM (Internet Protocol-over-Asynchronous Transfer Mode) solutions. It is an advanced switching feature on the carrier-class Alcatel 1100 HSS(R) Multiservice Switch.

With nearly 80 percent of traffic over the 1-Net network being IP-based, the protocol of the Internet, this technology will make 1-Net a leader in ATM services. Wire-speed IP packet forwarding via [email protected] will provide 20 times greater network scalability, unprecedented support for Quality of Service levels and high speed flexible service provisioning across 1-Net's ATM network.

"We are excited about the prospect of passing the benefits of [email protected] to our customers, such as providing a host of new data services including virtual private networks," said Mock Pak Lum, CEO of 1-Net Singapore.

At the same time, the field test provides an opportunity for Alcatel's technology to be implemented on the first nation-wide commercial ATM network.

"Alcatel is proud to join 1-Net in enabling the information revolution in Singapore," said Alain Plenier, director for Alcatel's Enterprise and Data Networks Division. "Part of the reason [email protected] is such a significant development for our industry is that the solution is available across the industry's most scaleable switching portfolio. Because of this, the benefits of [email protected] can be delivered in projects as ambitious as those 1-Net Singapore is undertaking."

The memorandum of understanding was signed today by Mock and Plenier. [email protected] is an implementation of "TAG" switching, a solution which leverages the installed-base of 80 percent of the world's routers, and will seamlessly migrate to the Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) standard once it is ratified. [email protected] on the industry-leading Alcatel HSS switches multiple traffic types onto an ATM core to take advantage of the inherent multiple Classes of Service and Quality of Service built into the ATM layer. By doing so, [email protected] combines the best features of routing and switching for connection-oriented networks over ATM.

Motorola's iDEN system for SingTel Paging  4th June 22:22 pm 

Here's another piece of juicy news on mobile communications. Sorry guys, I got so busy with this site that I won't be updating my own personal homepage on handphones etc. Here's the full press release.

Motorola's Land Mobile Products Sector today announced it will supply the equipment for an iDEN(R) integrated digital wireless communication system for Singapore Telecom Paging Pte Ltd. (SingTel Paging) in Singapore. The contract, valued at more than US$10.5 million was signed in the first quarter of this year.

The SingTel system, expected to begin providing commercial service to users by third quarter 1998, will provide service throughout the island nation, reaching almost 650 square kilometers and a population of more than 3 million people.

Motorola's iDEN technology is an innovative, digital wireless communications system for mobile workgroups that integrates two-way radio, digital telephone, alpha-numeric messaging and data/fax capabilities into a single handset. The easy-to-use, portable unit allows "instant" communication with one person or a group of people, in different locations, at the "touch of a button." The latest iDEN products will be made available to SingTel Paging customers.

"iDEN technology allows users to communicate in a way that is best suited for their business needs," says Jim Osborn, vice president and general manager of Motorola's International iDEN Infrastructure Division. "It provides a flexible solution that's an ideal way to respond to today's world of rapidly changing, and growing business environments."

The iDEN technology offers an efficient, cost-effective solution, ideally suited for business applications where frequent, reliable communication is essential for high productivity and customer satisfaction. Virtually every organization with a mobile workforce can benefit from the iDEN solution's unique, integrated communications capabilities. A broad range of businesses use iDEN handsets, from white collar markets such as professional consulting firms and finance, to service industries such as construction companies, hotels, tourism, transportation, trade and shipping.

"Today, many of our customers carry a pager and a handphone in addition to a two-way radio. Our new digital iDEN system is capable of integrating and supporting these wireless services in a single pocket-size handset. SingTel Paging is proud to be the first service provider in Singapore to take advantage of this innovative technology, offering service that will meet the needs of our customers," says Mr. Lum Hon Fye, chief executive officer of SingTel Paging.

This network will be one of two iDEN systems in Singapore, and the first to launch with telephone, "instant" conferencing and alphanumeric messaging services. Other iDEN systems are operational or currently being built in Japan, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Israel, Korea, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Argentina and the United States.

SingTel Paging is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Telecom. The company is the pioneer numeric and alphanumeric paging services provider in Singapore and is the market leader with more than 1 million customers. It is also responsible for the provision trunked radio and public mobile data services.

Motorola is one of the world's leading providers of wireless communications, semiconductors, and advanced electronic systems, components and services. Major equipment businesses include cellular telephones, two-way radio, paging and data communications, personal communications, automotive, defense and space electronics and computers. Motorola semiconductors power communication devices, computers and millions of other products. Motorola's 1997 sales were $29.8 billion.

Visit the Motorola iDEN website at www.motorola.com/iDEN. Motorola and iDEN are trademarks or registered trademarks of Motorola, Inc. Other trademarks are property of their respective company.

ThinCRT Technology  4th June 22:05 pm 

You think the new type of LCD display look cool? Think again. Candescent Technologies has successfully combined the familiar screen technology of a cathode ray tube desktop monitor, or CRT, with a low-power cold cathode in a display module less than eight millimeters thick. ThinCRTs have been developed with the demands of portable multimedia in mind -- to deliver bright true color fidelity, brighter video-rate images with no motion smearing, wider viewing angles and lower power consumption than AMLCDs. Because ThinCRTs are designed for high-volume manufacturability, the cost to original equipment manufacturers is expected to be competitive with AMLCDs.

The cathode/backplate is a matrix of row and column traces. Each crossover lays the foundation for an addressable field of microscopic cathodes/emitters. Each crossover has more than 1000 emitters, 150 billionths-of-a-meter in diameter. This emitter density assures a high quality image and confers manufacturing redundancy.
Emitters operate when a small voltage is applied to both row (base layer) and column (top layer). This method of emission is power efficient because the devices do not have to be heated.
thin_p-4a.jpg (18287 bytes) Faceplate picture elements (pixels) are formed by depositing and patterning a black matrix, standard red, green, and blue TV phosphors and a thin aluminum layer to reflect colored light forward to the viewer.
A focusing grid is layered on the cathode, collimating electrons to strike the corresponding subpixel, ensuring color purity and power efficiency.
The world’s first ThinCRT is made when cathode and faceplate are aligned, sealed and driver electronics are attached. Total display thicknessis less than 8 millimeters.

Sneak peeks of Banshee  4th June 17:52 pm 

I got this from BootNet. Apparently, 3Dfx has completed the first sampling of silicon of Banshee.

Banshee provides direct hardware polygon support that allows for the immediate drawing of polygons based on vertices data rather than relying on a middle step of software rasterization or drawing each line in the polygon. Banshee would thus be able to draw a polygon in "tens of cycles" rather than several thousand cycles.

Banshee will also support 256 raster operations (ROPS). Banshee will perform 99 percent of the ROPS/Blit combination in hardware rather than relying on software for these frequently used calls.

Cards will be compatible with both Voodoo flavors and be optimized for Microsoft's upcoming DirectX 6.0, as well as Glide and OpenGL.

More AMD K6-2  4th June 17:42 pm 

I am sure a lot of you guys out there are very eager to get the K6-2. This is the first CPU to include AMD's 3DNow extensions. These instructions have also been endorsed by Cyrix and IDT (the newest non-Intel entry into the market). Pretty much all non-Intel CPUs have been sluggish on floating-point performance, essential in 3-D games for such functions as geometry transformation and lighting. Software that can use 3DNow executes some floating-point instructions up to four per clock cycle, rather than once every other cycle. Perhaps most tellingly, this is the first time an alternative CPU vendor has come up with a significant performance advantage over Intel-which won't have similar geometry and lighting features until mid-1999, with the CPU code-named Katmai. If you've never considered a non-Intel system, now's the time to take a closer look.

Three Ways to Boost 3-D:

Games that use their own geometry engines (most current titles) can write directly to the 3DNow extensions. The release list over the next couple of months looks impressive, with versions of Rage's Incoming and Microsoft Baseball 3D. Later this month, AMD will offer a free download that boosts Quake II performance if you use the a 3Dfx Voodoo2-based graphics card.

Microsoft's DirectX 6.0, due in July, supports 3DNow in its geometry engine. Any game that currently uses the DirectX engine, such as Acclaim Entertainment's Forsaken, will automatically benefit from 3DNow as soon as DirectX 6.0 is installed on your machine. Both Microsoft and AMD claim that DirectX 6.0 will assuage developers' performance concerns, which have kept proprietary engines the standard up to now.

Last, the graphics driver itself can be optimized for the K6-2 to boost performance somewhat. Right now, AMD says that ATI Technology (Rage Pro), nVidia (Riva 128), and 3Dfx (Voodoo2) all have 3DNow drivers.

One interesting fact to note is that the K6-2 family will not run entirely on 100 MHz Front Side Bus. The 266 MHz will run on the 66 MHz bus, the 300 MHz on the 100 MHz and the 333 MHz on the non-standard 95 MHz bus.

Files available locally  4th June 17:34 am 

All the files available in our Utilities as well as Drivers sections can be downloaded locally from Singapore One.

New address  4th June 08:38 am 

Good news! Hardware One finally got our new web address. We are now located at http://hardware.s-one.net.sg. Be sure to tell your friends about this new site as we try to bring you the latest news in computer technology.

3rd June 1998 {Wednesday}
Philips Nino 300  3rd June 23:24 pm 

PC Magazine has just posted their first look at the upcoming batch of WinCE 2.0 P/PCs and they've got some specs of this cool gadget from Philips. With a sleek design, a colour screen, optional modem and the potential number of applications that will run on it, Philips seem to be heading in the correct direction. The PalmPilot may have some serious competition. Here's a the full story.

nino300.gif (8656 bytes)Philips Nino 300

SyQuest SyJet Win Honors  3rd June 22:19 pm 

SyQuest SyJet 1.5 gigabyte EIDE removable hard drive has received top honors from PC World, winning a 1998 World Class Award for Best Removable Storage Drive.

World Class winners will be featured in the upcoming July issue and recognized at an awards ceremony during PC Expo in New York. PC World editors singled out the SyJet drive over competitors, citing its performance, value, consistency and innovation.

"The World Class Awards are synonymous with the best products in the industry," stated Cathryn Baskin, editor-in-chief, PC World. "Throughout the year, we searched out the standout players in hardware and software for our readers. The World Class Awards allow us to shine the spotlight on the outstanding products and companies that have consistently proven to be top performers in the marketplace."

The SyJet 1.5 gigabyte drive was chosen by editors, who tested hundreds of products in more than 60 categories to select the top PC products in the industry. With more than one million readers, PC World provides comprehensive computing and product purchasing advice to more people than any other monthly computer magazine.

"It's great to see another well-respected, independent source recognize the extensive work SyQuest has done to create reliable, high-performance removable cartridge storage solutions," Gary Jones, executive vice president of sales and marketing, SyQuest, said.

"With previous 1997 honors including PC Magazine's Product of the Year, Windows Magazine's Best Removable Media Drive of the Year and PC Computing's Most Valuable Product, PC World's latest recognition is further testimony to the quality of SyQuest products," Jones added.

IE 5 preview  3rd June 22:05 pm 

Microsoft will be releasing a developer preview of IE 5.0 this month, details available here. New features of IE 5.0 include the following:

"Drag and drop" features that will allow a user to take an icon from a Web site and deposit it either to a second frame on the Web page or even to another program, such as Microsoft Word. In a demonstration here today, a computer icon was dragged to a shopping cart icon in a split-frame e-commerce environment. Once the computer icon was dropped, a list of the particulars of the item appeared in the second frame. Similar text appeared in Word when the icon was dragged to that application. The icon could also be dragged to the desktop itself and saved.

A "snapshot" capability that will allow pages that include fields for entry of personal information, such as an address or figures for an expense report, to be saved so that when a user returns to that page the information remains intact.

Development support for the creation of customized Web pages that do not, for instance, include standard toolbars or navigation controls. The option would allow system developers to create custom pages for corporate intranets, for example.

A clearer approach to presenting error messages to end users, as well as new tools so that a Web server can extract various types of information about a computer--whether it is Java-enabled or what type of processor it has, for example--securely before it downloads Web pages. The feature would help to prevent the downloading of pages that might not work within a user's particular browser or hardware configuration.

Singapore's high-bandwidth network now commerical  3rd June 22:00 pm 

Singapore ONE, the city-state's multimedia broadband network, was commercially launched on Wednesday by Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, after a year-long pilot.

Speaking at the opening of the third APEC Ministerial Meeting on Telecommunications and the Information Industry, he said Singapore ONE "would empower Singaporeans to work efficiently in a smart environment" and "facilitate the use and access of information to enhance their business, personal and family lives."

The National Computer Board (NCB) expects that there will be over 100,000 Singapore ONE users by 1999, and 400,000 by 2001. There are currently an estimated 10,000 users. The broadband access will be available through a myriad of tools ranging from PCs to Internet TVs. NCB's deputy chief executive Michael Yap said the investment for Singapore ONE would reach up to S$300 million in several years time. The NCB is also continuing to fund 70 percent of the two local access providers'--Singapore Telecom (SingTel) and Singapore Cable Vision (SCV)--capital costs. This is the subsidy given during the pilot phase.

Besides increasing the pervasiveness of Singapore ONE locally, the government also intends to link it with other APEC counterparts. Currently, the island's broadband connectivity is confined to Japan, Canada and the United States.

"The commercial launch will set the stage for business-to-business transactions to take off," said NCB's chief executive Stephen Yeo. Government agencies are also expected to lead the way by leveraging on the network's capabilities to offer more applications and services to users.

With the commercial launch, local access providers such as SCV are expected to revise its access charges. NCB's Yeo said that SCV's current trial charge of S$35 was "unreal". However, he added that the board had no intentions of intervening in any future pricing scheme. SCV and SingTel could not be reached for comment.

Starcraft Expansion Set: Brood Wars  3rd June 21:25 pm 

Wah! All you Starcrafters (arrh whatever!) must be craving for this! Brood Wars will continue where the original campaign had left off, and more importantly... there will be new terrain types and new uints for all the races. Gamespot's brewing some really great news complete with screenshots:

The new terrain types include the reddish Terran desert world of Korhal, that looks like a Martian landscape; the sinister, alien Dark Templar homeworld; and a frozen, barren wasteland. The exact details on the new units to be found in the expansion are as yet unconfirmed, but most have been sighted. The Terrans can train a Medic, capable of healing Terran infantry in the field of battle, or curing any friendly units of their ailments (such as Zerg Parasites). The Terrans also have a bomber that can build its own ammunition (like the Protoss Reaver), and is also equipped with an afterburner ability to grant it a temporary burst of speed. The Protoss can train Dark Templar, cloaked warriors that made a brief appearance in the original Starcraft campaign. The Protoss can also produce Dark Archons and a new flying vessel called a Corsair, a powerful air superiority fighter that may cast a disruption field, which nullifies all enemy ranged attacks. And the Zerg can now metamorph Lurkers, spider-like creatures that attack while burrowed out of sight. Lurkers are generated through Hydralisks, like Guardians through Mutalisks. The other new Zerg unit is unconfirmed.

Real Fish!  3rd June 17:25 pm 

Okay. Things don't look good. Ah Kan just got discharged from the hospital (4 days 3 nights cruise to nowhere). After being bullied by nurses, ignored by doctors and even lectured by the toilet cleaner, he couldn't feel better at home writing this.

It was terrific! The food they served were much more delicious than the beetles or ants I ate in Temburong,  Brunei.

I feel so lucky as I can sleep as much as 90 minutes without being awaken in the middle of the night for further tekaning sessions. I strongly urge all fellow commandos to join the most elite force and go for this conversion course.

Please send any donations to him. No wreaths please.

2nd June 1998 {Tuesday}
Screenshots from TA: Kingdoms  2nd June 21:09 pm 

A mighty feast for the eyes is what I got here for you! This will be the new darling from Cavedog and from what I saw from these screenshots, I think Cavedog got their colour combination right this time (don't flame me for this ya!). Yes I think so. The scenes here are truly majestic. Click on the thumbnails for the full image.

Screenshot 1

Screenshot 2

Screenshot 3

Monster Sound MX200  2nd June 21:01 pm

Ya.. a while ago, I forked out over $500 bucks and I owned (I still use it ok?) the state-of-the-art, 1 foot long, first generation AWE 32 ( a non-PnP, 512k ROM, 512k RAM version with QSound support that Creative failed to support)... Nevertheless I "lau-nua" (drool).... I was converted by this post from Operation: 3.D.F.X... wish I had my hand on the real thing. Yes. I want it badly. Here's the icing:

The Monster Sound MX200 is definitely the best soundcard that my ears have had the pleasure to hear. There is nothing like playing a game and having to look behind you to make sure that there is no one there. With a great set of features including support for A3D and DS3D, 4MB of killer midi samples, 4 speaker support a very easy installation the MX200 is a great buy. Make sure you check out the review for full details and thoughts on this new card.

TNT Detonated At E3  2nd June 20:42 pm

Thousands of people were blown away by the wicked guys from nVidia who planted their latest TNT chipset in a strewn away corner of the expo. Ha ha ha... errggh... I'm funny ain't I? Sheeeesh... don't go yet, read RivaZone's afterthought about their most awaited baby. (full report)

It (image quality) was just not comparable to anything else we saw on the display floor, beyond words... nothing, not Matrox, not S3, not PVRSG, not Voodoo2 SLI nothing truly compared.. It was so much richer, smoother and just insanely life-like ... one demo showed a duck swiming on a pond with bubbles floating above the pond. The bubbles, duck and even the ripples themselves were reflected in the water, the colors were very rich, vibrant and all the reflection, ripples when the bubbles would break on the surface of the water... wow ripples radiated from the impact.. but the best was the NVIDIA logo, multitexture rendered in huge res, with reflection mapping and some light sourcing applied to it.. it was... we were left speechless... un-freaking-believeable.. the TNT kicks so much ass it is far, FAR beyond anything else that's out there, and it was only at 50% speed... an underclocked TNT was cooking the pants off of the so-called competition... if you want the ultimate in quality and speed, the TNT will make you VERY VERY happy.... Some of the demos weren't yet optimized for the TNT... the chip just burned right through it all anyway!.. no probs! But more than twice what we saw.. I can't imagine it!!!

Unreal And 3Dfx  2nd June 20:33 pm 

Caught this from Voodoo Extreme. Well, I'm not certain if you people managed to get your hands on Unreal, but I thought this bit might interest you... so heck!

3Fingers (3Fingers best little Quake-house in Texas) just fired off the following bit of info:

3DFX is working with Unreal to implement multi-texturing support (currently Unreal does not support multi-texture units).  When this takes place we should see an increase in Unreal's performance on our Voodoo II's.

I was told by "da man" at 3DFX, we should see a 10-20% increase in Unreal's performance when multi-texturing support with Unreal is implemented. But if you are CPU limited then you would see little or no increase.

Surprise! Whew... made it home on time!  2nd June 20:05 pm 

Did I say I was on strike? Oh yes, but #@% it! I'm back in time due to some reasons, SO BE GLAD! Hey! What else should I say huh?

1st June 1998 {Monday}

We are on strike!  1st June 23:55 pm 

Do check us out again on Thursday (4 Jun) for newer updates, becoz' both Ah Kan and Willy will be going on strike due to several unforseen circumstances. Meanwhile, occupy yourselves with the enormous amount of news we've compiled for the last 2 weeks (Remember to look thru' our archives if you've missed the past weeks' news). We will be back!

nVidia's RivaTNT Hands-On at E3  1st June 23:48 pm 

Everything has been said about this hot product that nVidia will be releasing, but what about a hands-on with it? Well the guys of OGR got a glimpse of the actual silicon demoing at E3 and here's their report on the facts. Watch this chip.

"Showing month-old silicon with two week old drivers, nVidia was giving hands-on demonstrations of their TNT chip behind closed doors. The latest word on a release is that they'll be shipping silicon to OEMs in late July, with boards expected to hit retail around September. While they wouldn't actually run any benchmarks or turn on frame rate counters in any of the games, it was easy to approximate the quality of the chip from what they were showing. They did the demo on their prototype reference board with 16MB of RAM...a similar product on the shelf should probably retail for around $239. The machines they were using were Pentium II 400Mhz.

First up was Gremlin's Motorhead, running at 1600x1200 resolution. It seemed to be around 30fps, will all effects turned on and the horizon pushed all the way back. Naturally, the full 24-bit rendering pipeline produced a striking display at this resolution, with perfectly vibrant colors and absolutely no dithering or color banding. Then they ran Turok at its maximum of 800x600 which was very fast and smooth, but then Turok is that way on currently available hardware as well. Probably the most impressive was Quake 2. Seeing it at 1600x1200 resolution was truly a treat. It appeared to be about 30fps as well, and of course would be much faster at a lower resoultion.

We'll actually benchmark the card when we get evaluation reference boards, but it was certainly impressive. The specs that you've all been reading about - multitexturing in a single pass, bump mapping, full 24-bit color rendering throughout the pipeline, and very high resolutions, all appear to be true. This is going to be quite a hot product if the price point is right."

Irresistible Treats From E3  1st June 23:37 pm 

A spicy report from OGR about some of the upcoming games featured in E3.

About StarCraft:
"Blizzard Entertainment is showing off their official expansion set for Starcraft and fans of the game (most of the known universe), should find plenty to love. Brood Wars will feature over 24 new campaign scenarios spread over three campaigns, and several new units including the Construct Lurkers, Medics, Valkyries, Corsairs, and Dark Archons. If that's not quite enough to make you happy, then Blizzard is also introducing several new terrain types, including Deserts, Frozen Wastes, and the mysterious Twilight Worlds of the Dark Templar. While all this is great news for single-player fans, all of these features will be carried over to the multiplayer component, in addition to over 100 new multiplayer maps. This is one expansion pack ever StarCraft fan will want to get their hands on."
About Populous: (a snippet)
"I was really curious to see if Bullfrog could get away with making a spherical environment attractive and playable. The answer is an unequivocal yes. A horizon does indeed exist when you are in closeup mode. In addition, you can zoom out smoothly so far that you gaze upon the entire planet as if from a moon. From this vantage point, you can rotate the world, select a location, and then whoosh back into closeup. In closeup, the gorgeous terrain, featuring seas, hills, craters, and volcanoes, can be inspected from every angle, and disappears over a curved horizon. Buildings are 3-D, and maintain their realism even as the camera swings madly over a village. It's really fantastic how the designers accomplished the sphere effect." [Full Story]
Exciting Screenshots (Click on image to get full-sized pictures):
Mechwarrior 3 (Screenshot 1) Mechwarrior 3 (Screenshot 2)
Gabriel Knight 3 (Screenshot 1) Gabriel Knight 3 (Screenshot 2)
Age of Empire 2 (Screenshot 1) Age of Empire 2 (Screenshot 2)

A World Cup Review  1st June 23:10 pm 

Caught the World Cup fever yet? A good way to release the stress of waiting for the real thing to start would be to play EA Sports's latest offering - World Cup 98. If you've played FIFA 98, The Road to World Cup, you'll be familiar with the gameplay; but many enhancement will take your gaming experience to a new level. So here you have the best soccer game in the market. Period. Read Adrenaline Vault's review.

"I really liked the new in-game tactics that were included. Essentially, this allows you to try a couple different things during the game to create scoring chances or stop your opponent's attacks. The offside trap is well-implemented and actually works like it's supposed to when the timing is right. The overlapping runs and ability to send outside backs on runs down the wing also adds some interesting elements...."

"....The AI has been improved so that play is more balanced, regardless of what the score is. Computer opponents don't launch 40-yard shots constantly in a desperate effort to score. Goalkeepers parry the ball more, come off their lines at appropriate times, and generally play more intelligently than before (the patch for RTWC98 notwithstanding). The computer players just generally seem to play the game better, avoiding more slide tackles and actually sprinting to get to loose balls from time to time."

"...the game feature five new music tracks that are heard during all of the different menus or any time a game is not in progress. Most notable is the inclusion of Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping," which continues EA tradition of trying to find current but appropriate new music to fit in with a game's feel. Along that same line, WC98 features some country-specific chants and cheers from the crowd during matches, which is a nice touch."

Starcraft SCM of the Week: Divided Faction  1st June 10:45 pm 

Calling all StarCraft fans out there, here's your stuff. The .SCM of the week from Blizzard Entertainment.

"Even before Arcturus Mengsk and the Sons of Korhol overthrew the Terran Confederacy, several other rebellious factions fought for freedom. One such group, the Colonial Liberation Army, attempted to wrest control of the mining station Tyra by dividing the Confederate forces into smaller groups and fighting a series of skirmishes between opposing squads. In the end, the Confederate forces won the day with their "nuked earth" tactics." Download it now! (67k)

  • 128x128 Space Platform
  • Recommended for 4 or 6 players with Use Map Settings

[Beam me to the previous news archive!]

Copyright © 1998 Hardware One
Last updated 27 September 1998 23:45