01 Nov 98 - 07 Nov 98
Highlights within this period includes:
  • Microsoft SideWinder FreeStyle Pro
  • Cirrus Logic Networking Group
  • StarCraft Competition
  • Celeron Overclocking FAQ
  • Intel Dumps Celeron Strategy
  • Microsoft Sabotaged Quicktime
  • 3DMark99: Spectra Vs Voodoo 2 SLI
  • Demystification of PC100 SDRAM
  • Super7 Motherboard Buying Guide
  • Changing Your Windows UI
  • Local ISP Speed Tests
  • Lack of Updates
  • Sound Off - Premier Issue
  • 3D WinBench '99 & Audio WinBench '99
  • Gainward Cardex GX3 Savage3D
  • Voodoo 3 or Banshee 2? Nah... Rampage!
  • ASUS P2B 1007.1 Beta BIOS
  • Encountered 'Bad CRC Check' on WinAmp 2.04?
  • Microsoft: Linux A Threat To NT
  • Intel Returns To Pin-Based Design
  • Watch Out! Rendition's RRedline!
  • Unreal 2.19
  • MPEG-4 Specifications
  • ATI Rage128 to Support Digital TV Decoding
  • Microsoft Digital Sound 80
  • Ever Seen a 18-Fan Cooled System?
  • SyQuest May Exit Permanently
  • CPUs RoundUp
  • CPU Shortages In 1999
  • ICQ Version 99a
  • World's Fastest Supercomputer. Was!
  • SBLive! Drivers for NT Released
  • Multiple DVD Rewritable Formats
  • Windows NT 4.0 Embedded
  • Sneak Peek at Half-Life: It's Alive!
  • Office 2000 beta 2 Arrives
  • Microsoft Scrambles for Windows 2000 Trademark
  • "Elusive" Insider News About Intel
  • Plextor 40X
  • Spacetec IMC SpaceOrb 360. A New Toy!
  • Microsoft IE 5.0 beta
  • ADSL Problems?
  • Delta Force
  • Microsoft Acquires LinkExchange
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 Previewed
  • AOpen Navigator PA70
  • For Download: Windows 98 Service Pack Beta 1
  • SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel
  • Hardware One. Hardware One. Hardware One.
  • Hackers Invited
  • Keppel Wants to Be ISP
  • FastTrak Disk Accelerator
  • Second Internal Microsoft Memo Touts Linux
  • Is BeOS 4.0 For You?
  • Information: Coming AMD Chips
  • Diamond Monster Sound MX300
  • Lasagna Cooler
  • KNI Vs AltiVec Article
  • Sample K6-2 400Mhz Reviewed at Over 500Mhz!
  • Overclocking Your Pentium II
  • More Screenshots of SimCity 3000
  • StarOffice 5.0 for Linux

7th November 1998 {Saturday}
StarOffice 5.0 for Linux 13:14 pm

StarOffice 5.0 Personal Edition is out and available at here. This software is a MUST-HAVE for Linux users! Be warned though, the download is over 70 mb.

StarOffice 5.0 is a fully-integrated and Microsoft Office-compatible suite of productivity applications. It provides powerful Web enabled word processing, spreadsheet, presentation graphics, email, news, charting and graphics applications. StarOffice runs native on the Linux Operating Environment on Intel platforms and is also available for other operating systems. Users can access existing Microsoft Office files and data to create spreadsheets, presentations and wordprocessing documents and save all data in Microsoft formats or as HTML files to post on the Web or Newsgroup servers. Detailed information about StarOffice 5.0 can be found in this section using the left hand navigation panel.

More Screenshots of SimCity 3000 13:03 pm

Hey! This is NOT a waste of time or space. If you like the SimCity franchise, clicking on the screenshots below will guarantee you go "WOW!", especially the motor overhead-pass and under-pass!

Check out the official SimCity 3000 website for even more pictures! Sweet sweet stuff!

Overclocking Your Pentium II 12:42 pm

Craig of Sharky Extreme has written an article for C|Net to teach you how to overclock that Pentium II of yours (C|Net & Overclocking???). It kinda surprised me to see this article on C|Net but then... they've covered their XXXXX with a prominent WARNING on every page to inform you about the possible dangers of this widely traversed avenue. But I've found a better one...

Remember, just because your neighbor or brother or whoever can achieve a certain speed with their identical CPU doesn't mean that yours should be able to hit that same level. Each and every CPU is unique. Considering these small cores have 8 million trace routes, it should come as no surprise that no two CPU cores behave the same under stress.

Honestly, I think the above snip is more appropriate as the warning message, coz' many people just expect the same kind of magic to happen for their newly purchased CPU which is untrue. It is acceptable to say that some chips (like the 300A) has a highly chance to taste success. [Read the whole article]

Sample K6-2 400Mhz Reviewed at over 500Mhz!!!! 12:04 pm

The lucky boys at The Brotherhood of The CPU received a sample K6-2 400Mhz chip for review and they had easily managed to bump it up to 504Mhz and working fantabulously! Here's a snip of some nice words:

The big difference between the K6-2 400Mhz and the K6-2 350Mhz that we were previously using is the fact that the K6-2 400Mhz was much easier to overclock. Many people e-mail me saying that I'm very lucky with overclocking my chips (which is in fact pretty true), but let me tell you that reaching the limits that sometimes we post here is a hard job. It may take hours, sometimes days to achieve stability at these settings, especially because Rio de Janeiro (the city where I live) is very hot, therefore I also have to use air conditioners non-stop when working with these chips at high speeds.

Now imagine my surprise when I got this chip to run beyond 500Mhz (at 504Mhz to be precise) in less than 15 minutes! That's what I mean with this chip being very easy to overclock. I couldn't get it to run at all at any other setting over 504Mhz, although it would still post beyond 550Mhz!!!

You will want to check out the review and see for yourself some impressive benchmark numbers the K6-2 at 504 Mhz churned out!

KNI vs AltiVec Article 11:45 am

MacKiDo has posted a very informative article about KNI and AltiVec, which are SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) implemetations. If you are some freako who's feeling the urge for jargon, please click here at once. Else... here's a cut:

Intel rushed MMX to market with many very poor design tradeoffs (1), and they had some inherent problems with making it work with the x86/Pentium's 20+ year old design. So Intel had to make many compromises because of the legacy of the x86. Rushing MMX to market got more acceptance early on, but it allowed others to edge in and make other implementations in the x86 arena (like the AMD's 3D-Now), and that confuses and fragments the marketplace, and causes things to have to be fixed later. Rushing also meant even more design compromises. KNI (Katmai's New Instructions) also known as MMX2, is just a way for Intel to retroactively fix and improve the bad design of the original MMX. But fitting in with the older MMX (and older x86 architecture) requires even more compromises to be made -- so that MMX2 can't quite live up to its full potential either (or at least not to a cleanly designed RISC based SIMD architecture like AltiVec).


6th November 1998 {Friday}
Lasagna Cooler 19:39 pm

MatroxUsers came out with a new article on the Lasagna cooler specifically for the G200. Included in the review are step-by-step instructions as well as pictures to guide you thru.

The Lasagna cooler was originally designed as a CPU cooler but has been used with several graphics card as a dedicated cooler. The immediate impression of the Lasagna is it's slimline design. It actually has a lower profile than the MGA-G200's default heatsink so straight away there is an advantage over the DIY setup I mentioned above. If you are using a Lasagna you won't block your adjacent PCI slot.

Diamond Monster Sound MX300 19:06 pm

I think the above header will be enough to convince you to click here and see what's up. If you are still reading, then I might just want to add that Sharky Extreme has delivered a close look at the next big thing in sound cards - the MX300. The cuts here will win you over:

"We tested the MX300's EAX ability using Creative Labs' special Sound Blaster Live EAX version of Unreal. What we were astonished to find was an identical reproduction of the EAX environmental 3D audio with the MX300 versus the aforementioned SB Live. We had a few staffers really listen in while a player went through the various levels of the game, and there wasn't a single instance where the MX300 didn't faithfully reproduce the same perfect audio positioning that the SB Live did. Even the "waterfall test" you've been reading about online was reproduced accurately."

"The same applies here, as the debate over "EAX versus A3D 2.0" has now been rendered null and void. The MX300 ends the debate with the strong support of MS DirectSound3D EAX."

"Just 2 short weeks after the MX300 is made available, a new driverset will be released by Diamond which boosts the total simultaneous 3D streams to a more robust maximum of 32."

Sounds terribly exciting! Now that the card is out in the testing, we can stop the speculation on the specs... apparently the MX300 will match and exceed the Live! in many areas. More importantly, the API support is extensive. (Hey! Come on Creative! Show me more with your EMU10K1 to justify my purchase! Pleeeasseee! Do it quick!)

Just In At: 1919 pm. Right after I html-ed the above, I came across 3DSoundSurge's comments on Sharky's review. While they too think the MX300 will be a fantastic card, they have these to point out about some discrepancies in the review:

  • EAX is a reverb API, not a positioning API. The Unreal Special Edition that ships with the Sound Blaster Live! uses Microsoft's Direct Sound 3D for 3D audio and the MX300 supports DS3D, so of couse the 3D positioning would be fantasitic on the MX300;
  • Unless I am sleeping at the wheel here, the drivers that ship with the MX300 will not support EAX. This is planned in a future revision of the Vortex 2 reference drivers and hence the MX300 drivers. Check out our own Unofficial MX300 / Vortex 2 FAQ for more on EAX support and anticipated timing;
  • Out of the box, the MX300 will support A3D 2.0, A3D 1.x and DS3D. For A3D 2.0 titles (e.g. Half Life: Day One) users will get 16 3D streams and 60 reflections streams for wavetracing (which sounds fantastic btw) and 16 3D streams for A3D 1.x and DS3D titles. A future driver upgrade will allow those 60 reflections channels to be used for legacy A3D 1.x titles and DS3D titles as they won't be needed for reflections which are not supported. Therefore, the actual number of 3D channels to be supported in hardware via a future driver revision for non A3D 2.0 titles will be 76. Again, for more on this check out our Unofficial MX300 / Vortex 2 FAQ;
  • Last, and least, a point of clarification so no on runs out and buys Forsaken looking for 3D audio. The Forsaken demo has 3D audio, the full version does not.

Information: Coming AMD Chips 19:03 pm

Need more info to decide what to AMD chip you'll be expecting to find soon? Voodoo Extreme has posted their "Q&A" correspondence with AMD with a few exciting revelations on the upcoimg K6-2 and even K7 processors.

AMD will be releasing the K6-2 366Mhz processor to the top manufacturers Packard Bell, Hewlett Packard, and IBM this week.  This will not be released to the public and for a reason that was not to clearly discussed about

True...

But also, the K6-2 380 (95Mhz Bus Speed) and the K6-2 400 (100 Mhz bus speed) is already in production and will be released to OEM's and the public at the end of this month.  

I believe so... the 400's will DEFINITELY be out soon, I'm just not positive of the week.

In late December/early January they will also be releasing the K6-3 (Sharptooth) which will be 450Mhz and 500Mhz....which will have 256K cache on board....

450 is right in Q1... I'm not sure about 500 though... Q2? The 256K L2 is right... the bigee is that I'm not sure that December/Jan. are right... I know we'll be in full production at that time but I don't think they've decided on a release timeframe yet...it's still undecided...

Then, the K7 processor will be released in May of 99. Doug from AMD said, "At  this point in time, we will be the King and way ahead of even Intel's PII, Katmai and their Winnipeg processors".   After carefully looking over the architecture of the K7 last night, this puppy will be blazing at speed in the 600 to 800Mhz and will have 512/1Mb cache on board (1Mb will be preferred for network servers).

This is true to an extent. AMD has stated end of Q2, and 500+MHz. Analysts claim that AMD is potentially 18 months ahead of Intel with K7 architecturally. Willamette (not Winnipeg) is Intel's comparable competing chip I believe...

Is BeOS 4.0 For You? 18:58 pm

We will let the clout over NT, no sorry, Windows 2000 vs Linux to settle a little. Ars-Technica has written a fair bit on Be Inc's BeOS 4.0. It's refreshing, you might want to take a look!

BeOS was designed with the multimedia artist, developer, and fanatic in mind. It comes packaged with video and sound editing tools, and it has been optimized (so they say) for high-bandwidth (both Network and local I/O) as a boon to multimedia developers. 

BeOS is fast, incredibly efficient at multitasking, and rates highly on the stability scale.  Once we get our hands on the real retail release, we'll slap the real figures out on the table.

Second Internal Microsoft Memo Touts Linux 18:56 pm

More saucy bits have leaked out of the bag! According to a report at NEWS.COM, a second internal memo from Microsoft which was circulated on the internet details some fears the company seem to have. Read these:

According to the new memo, written by Microsoft engineer Vinod Valloppillil, Linux "represents a best-of-breed Unix, that is trusted in mission critical applications, and - due to it's open source code - has a long term credibility which exceeds many other competitive OS's."

  • "Most of the primary apps that people require when they move to Linux are already available for free. This includes Web servers, POP clients, mail servers, text editors, etc."
  • "An advanced Win32 GUI user would have a short learning cycle to become productive [under Linux]."
  • "I previously had [Internet Explorer and Windows NT] on the same box and by comparison the combination of Linux /[Netscape Navigator] ran at least 30 to 40 percent faster when rendering simple HTML + graphics."
  • "Linux's (real and perceived) virtues over Windows NT include: Customization. Availability/Reliability. Scalability/Performance. Interoperability."

Yap, a lot of Linux friends out there are going to be elated that even big Microsoft cannot deny the lure of open source software, especially Linux. [Read the story]

FastTrak Disk Accelerator 18:56 pm

Freak did an article on the FastTrak disk accelerator. This card is a UDMA RAID Controller.

Basically, it's a small EIDE controller that provides three different levels of RAID support using inexpensive EIDE/UDMA drives. These modes include RAID 0 (Striped Mode), RAID 1 (Mirroring), and RAID 0+1 (Striped and Mirroring).

I must say that using RAID improves disk transfer rate tremendously. Go to the site for more benchmark details.

Keppel wants to be ISP 18:53 pm

SINGAPORE--Keppel Telecommunications and Transportation (Keppel T&T) plans to either buy into an existing ISP or apply for a new licence altogether, said Keppel Corp chairman Sim Kee Boon yesterday.

He told The Straits Times that Keppel T&T was considering buying over Singapore Technologies' stake in either Pacific Internet or CyberWay.

Singapore Technologies owns 100 percent of Pacific Internet and 45 percent of Cyberway.

Hackers Invited 18:52 pm

SINGAPORE--Computer hackers have been invited to conduct live demonstrations for visitors to Infosecurity Asia '99, an exhibition organized by National Computer Systems and Reed Exhibition Companies.

The exercise will be carried out in a controlled environment where hackers will attempt to penetrate demonstration sites.

Event organizer Jimmy Lau said the challenge would provide sponsors with an opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of their products. He believes this is the first time hackers are invited to demonstrate their skills in a Singapore exhibition.

Infosecurity Asia '99 will run in Singapore from June 22 to 25 next year.


5th November 1998 {Thursday}
Hardware One. Hardware One. Hardware One. 23:40 pm

This is an important announcement! We have launched our US Mirror site (hosted by Gamehut) with a new domain name to go with it, and I'll urge everyone of you to bookmark this page as the entrance page for Hardware One.

www.hardware-one.com

All visitors now will have the option to access Hardware One from the US based server or Singapore based one. Either way, you'll get to choose the faster access for your locality. We will constantly and simultaneously keep both sites "synchronised" with one another (yeah, that's what mirrors are meant to be!?!?).

SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel 21:22 pm

PCM&E has reviewed Microsoft's latest toy - SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel. In it, they've compared Microsoft's Wheel to Saitek's offering. Hop over for more revelation!

"We loaded up a bunch of racing games and simulations with the MS wheel to put it through our normal testing routine. Of course Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit was first up! That game and this wheel are a match made in heaven. I was hooked instantly. Every bump, every jump, every wreck – it all felt right while I had my hands firmly griped around this wheel."

Oh no! Another game gear worth my dollars!

For Download: Windows 98 Service Pack Beta 1 21:09 pm

Saw this link over at CoolInfo pointing out that The System Information Website has made the Win98 SP Beta 1 file for download. Wanna try it? Grab the file!

AOpen Navigator PA70 20:35 pm

3DXTC has reviewed AOpen's Savage3D based graphics accelerator card. The reviewer has pointed out once again the immature drivers that's causing a lot of instability problems initially, but after he worked past that, he has found some redeeming words for the card:

The 3D part of the Savage 3D was from the beginning anticipated to be magnificent. The 32 bit pipeline, and the special feature for better 16 bit gaming promised great visuals. Then adding a vast feature support and a hasty rendering pipeline, this chip was expected to be superb. I must say my expectations were fulfilled. The chip offers wonderful, stable (keeping a good performance all the way through the resolution range) performance and great graphics.

The unfortunate discovery after benchmarking this card was that AOpen had produced a card slower than S3's reference board. Puzzling!

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 Previewed 20:31 pm

Once again, Netigen Web has done a very neat preview of Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0. Well, if you don't have any idea what Microsoft has in stall for you with their next major browser update, you have to read this!

When compared to Internet Explorer 4.0, IE 5.0's main improvements are faster page rendering and data processing as well as better extensibility. IE 5.0 seems to load pages faster than ever, and for offline chores, drag-and-drop also seems to have been improved. In addition, IE 5.0 has proven to be more stable than previous releases; it has yet to crash.

More improvements? Definitely! Gimme the best browser! Faster, prettier, more stable... err... what else? (Read the preview)

Microsoft Acquires LinkExchange 20:24 pm

Microsoft plans to acquire Web ad banner network LinkExchange in an effort to expand its Internet offerings, according to industry analysts.

With the acquisition, Microsoft could gain targeted information about users on the LinkExchange network, or gain another channel to promote its services to the network's members.

LinkExchange members participate in an ad-banner network that allows users to advertise for free throughout its 250,000 sites. In return, members agree to support advertisements from other members and from outside sponsors on their sites.

The benefit of the acquisition is audience reach, according to Jupiter Communications analyst Evan Neufeld.

"This is a customer-acquisition play, pure and simple," said Neufeld. "It's the usual for Microsoft: the landslide effect. They're throwing out tons of money to get what they want.

"Microsoft is getting a highly qualified opt-in community," he added. "It's not just my mother with a Web page--it's my mother who is selling stuff from her Web page."

Delta Force 07:44 am

I usually don't play first shooter games (ain't he stupid?), but when I first played the demo release of Delta Force, I was hooked on to it. OGR did a review on this game and this game simply rocks. One interesting point is that ths game uses Novalogic latest VoxelSpace3 technology. Which means it doesn't need a 3Dfx card to play, not even Direct3D.

ADSL Problems? 04:53 am

From an article from Techweb, apparently ADSL are facing some problems in the US market.

ADSL standards are here, but a workable retail model for the technology has yet to emerge. Telephone companies are trying various models for delivering ADSL to consumers, such as including it in PC bundles and in packages sold by ISPs. Few sell their products and services in retail stores.

"The U.S. market is taking longer than we'd hoped," said Al Brisard, director of marketing and business development at 3Com, in Santa Clara, Calif. Brisard said a major obstacle is obtaining accurate information about ADSL deployment.

The cable industry, meanwhile, is testing retail programs in several cities.

Toplanksy said the cable companies "seem to be doing all the right things." Brisard agreed, saying the cable industry is moving quicker than telephone companies to provide service to consumers.

Cable service provider MediaOne launched the largest such deal in New England last month, with 17 Circuit City outlets in the region. In those stores, customers may buy a Bay Networks cable modem for a $199 suggested retail price

Microsoft IE 5 Beta 04:45 am

Microsoft Corp.'s Version 5.0 of Internet Explorer is less about bells and whistles and more about improvements that make using the browser easier and more effective. IE 5.0 also gives users more choices, including control over what components to install. This control is especially important because the standard install is much bigger than any browser has a right to be.

Gone is the aggressive setup of IE 4.0, which limited users' options. During the installation of IE 5.0, PC Week Labs was able to select a custom install option that let us load only the browser components we needed; we could even prevent IE 5.0 from becoming the default viewer for HTML and image files.

As it turns out, the custom install is necessary. If we chose the default setup, IE 5.0 beta took up nearly 60MB of disk space. Even our streamlined custom install, which omitted Microsoft's Outlook Express and most other optional components, ate up more than 30MB of disk space. In contrast, a full install of Netscape Communications Corp.'s Communicator 4.5 takes about 25MB of disk space.

This beta of IE 5.0--the first made widely available--was very stable. Sites already using IE should definitely take a hard look at this beta and consider upgrading users when the final version ships. Microsoft has not announced the release date, but we expect that it will ship sometime at the end of this year or the beginning of next.


4th November 1998 {Wednesday}
Spacetec IMC SpaceOrb 360. A New Toy! 20:41 pm

Vince's mail just popped in to tell me of this new gizmo Hardgame reviewed (Wow! Look here Flashman!). Designed mainly for 3D first person shooters in mind, this strange device allows movement in all 6 axes (360 degrees). Hardgame's Ken Liang seemed to like it...

"... forward pressure with the thumb on the ball yields the expected forward movement in a game; pressure in the opposite direction with the fingers will move you backwards. Twist the ball clockwise to turn left, counter-clockwise to turn right. Want to slide right or left to strafe? Then simply push or pull the ball straight to the right or left. Actions like pitch, yaw, strafe, roll, jump, crouch, or any combination thereof become relatively easy maneuvers to execute. As mentioned, the ball is pressure-sensitive; the greater the pressure, the faster the movement. The slight motion of the ball when manipulated provides tactile feedback on the amount of pressure being exerted."

"Cool! Cool! Cool!"... ok ok, I can hear many of you yelling, just stop it and hop over to Hardgame's article right away! (Retailing at US$59, this controller might just be affordable if it ever reaches our sunny shores!)

Plextor 40X 20:20 pm

Plextor has rolled out its latest high-performance SCSI CD-ROM drives, including 40X models the company claims are the fastest CD-ROM drives you can buy.

The company also debuted an 8X CD-Recordable drive and its first CD-Rewritable drive. Plextor makes only SCSI drives, and has developed a reputation for reliable, heavy-duty drives designed for full-time use. (Plextor's parent company in Japan is the world's largest maker of precision electric motors, a crucial component of high-performance CD drives.)

For users who need even more speed, a version of the UltraPlex 40max will also be available with a Wide UltraSCSI interface. This model will transfer data at bursts of up to 40 MB per second. The Wide version will ship in January 1999. Pricing has not been set.

Because 40x drives spin CD-ROMs at more than 8000 rpm (faster than most hard drives), both UltraPlex drives employ dual auto-balancing motors that compensate for off-balance discs. The company says these motors result in quieter operation and longer drive life.

Elusive "Insider" News About Intel 20:12 pm

For my daily dose of stomach cramps and lock jaws, I'd visited our OCP affiliate and found that besides trying to outdo my Dandy Andy friend at BXBoards in breaking the 1Ghz barrier on his dual CPU mobo, he has this sleazy news to break:

I was talking with an "insider" in the Computer industry, and they said that we may be seeing some surprises out of Intel here in a couple of weeks. It seems as though Intel is taking AMD as a real threat with their pending line of processors. And you know what is cool about this? It could turn into something for the OC'in crowd. I ain't got a firm line on it yet so I am not gonna jump the gun and look stoopid when it don't happen. We can only hope we get an OC'in break as big as the Celeron was, hmmmmmm, Celeron...........

I don't know what this means, but it sounds great to me! Come on Intel, surprise me! Surprise me! Yeah! Surprise me!

Microsoft Scrambles For Windows 2000 Trademark 19:02 pm

TechWeb has this funny (to me!) news headline about Microsoft's scramble for the Windows 2000 trademark.

One week after changing the name of Windows NT 5.0 to Windows 2000, Microsoft has discovered that someone else owns the trademark on the name -- specifically Robert Kersten, former chief financial officer of McCaw Cellular. Microsoft had a similar trademark problem with Internet Explorer earlier this year, but resolved it.

Hooo Hoo Hooo! Look, you just need a little imagination. Go get yourself the Windows 2001, 2002 product trademarks? It might turn out to be a bitter lawsuit or an ingenious investment. Who knows?

Office 2000 Beta 2 Arrives 18:50 pm

Nope, certainly not for download. But BetaNews has a little information to share about the next Microsoft application suite release. You've already learnt that Microsoft wants to deliver this gigantic but tightly integrated combo of apps, but you've never expected...

As we stated a few days ago, Microsoft shipped Office 2000 Beta 2 to testers this week. The gigantic package contained 7 CDs, YES 7! Besides the Office 2000 Beta 2 CDs themselves, included in the package were, FrontPage 2000, IE 5.0 Beta 2, MS Publisher and PhotoDraw 2000. Who knows if they will include the extras when they hand out Beta 2 at Microsoft eXtreme, but I will definitely be there to find out.

Sneak Peek at Half-Life: It's Alive!! 18:46 pm

GameCenter has posted this really cool preview of one of the hotly anticipated releases, Half-Life! This is a hilarious portion:

Hey, listen--it's not easy playing the scariest first-person shooter since Doom by yourself in a windowless office until midnight, then trying to calm your imagination as you walk slowly to your car, mindful of every creak, beep, and flickering light. I swear, Half-Life's designers must have modeled part of the game on CNET's offices--my 40-step walk to the elevator had me jumpier than a frog on a hot grill. And when GC designer Colin Johnson surprised me coming out of the elevator the other night...well, let's just say I almost needed a diaper.

I'm saving the rest of the details for your own reading. Check this out!

Windows NT 4.0 Embedded 18:41 pm

From our affiliate CoolComputing, I've found this piece of information that there will be a version of NT 4.0 available for embedded systems. Read this bit or the full story here:

Today at the Embedded Systems West Conference in San Jose, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced it will deliver a new version of the Microsoft(R) Windows NT(R) 4.0 operating system to address the needs of embedded systems vendors. Based on Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 4, Windows NT Embedded 4.0 is an open system solution enabling greater functionality, faster time-to-market for richer solutions and a reduced cost of owning and operating embedded devices. With a Windows NT-based infrastructure, vendors can easily develop sophisticated embedded solutions with richer services, increased functionality and strong interoperability with existing servers, networks and desktops.

Multiple DVD Rewritable Formats 18:32 pm

This is going to be a big mess. From a report at EETimes, the major players in DVD recorders will be fighting it out with their own DVD R/W formats. Here's a scoop:

Though the DVD-RAM disk with 2.6-Gbyte capacity is at present the only rewritable disk that packs more than a Gbyte, several formats are ready to step up to bat between now and early next year. They include the DVD-R/W, promulgated by Pioneer, and the second-generation DVD-RAM, both at 4.7-Gbyte capacity; NEC's 5.2-Gbyte Multimedia Video File disk system; and the 3-Gbyte DVD+RW from Sony and Philips.

SBLive! NT Drivers Released 18:23 pm

Creative has released new NT drivers for its Sound Blaster Live! card. Hopefully, they've overcame all the snags in the previous release. Get it here!

World Fastest Supercomputer. Was! 18:11 pm

Once the world's fastest supercomputer. Located in Sandia Mountains, US, this supercomputer consists of 9152 CPUs and it's built by Intel. For more information, go to here.

Check out the present speed champ from our news posted 29th Oct 98 - IBM's Pacific Blue with the ability to perform 4 trillion calculations per second!

ICQ version 99a 16:21 pm

Just got news from AGN3D that ICQ version 99a is out. Below are some of the new features, too many to be listed down here!

  • Message History - Contains the message history, the message archive and advanced find.
  • Message Archive - In the past History saved selected communication events such as incoming/outgoing url, messages. Now you have record of every communication event you sent or received.
  • Advanced Find - A thorough search through your Archive.
  • Print - You can print your events from your archive.
  • Random Chat - The feature is more detailed.
  • White Pages - The ultimate ICQ search engine for finding ICQ users according to a wide variety of search criterium.
  • User Info - You can advertise more personal information and retrieve more information from other ICQ users.
  • Birthday - Retrieve the birthdate of your friends and announce your own. By doing so your friends will be reminded of the occasion.
  • The ICQ Home Page Factory - Create your own ICQ homepage. When you log on, other ICQ users could visit your ICQ site.
  • Homepage Directory/ Category - List your homepage under a category so that other ICQ users who share your interest can find you.
  • Plug Ins - See the added events to the ICQ client:
  • Greeting Cards - Send your ICQ friends an ICQ Greeting through the ICQ servers.
  • Voice Message - Send your ICQ Friends voice messages.
  • ICQ Email - The email feature is much developed. In addition to the existing options you can now send email through ICQ.
  • Email - ICQ messages that contain more than 450 characters automatically launch the ICQ Email.

CPU Shortages in 1999 08:58 am

A UK distributor said today that the glut of PC components the industry has seen in 1998 will turn into a famine next year as a combination of circumstances begin to bite the market.

Mark Davison, microprocessor manager at Datrontech, said that a lack of investment, coupled with increased demand for PCs, will lead to shortages not only in memory products, but in CPUs, motherboards and hard drives.

He said: "Next year will see the biggest shortage of components we’ve ever seen. There's only a finite amount of production in the world and there are only so many CPUs that can be built. It takes time to build new fabs."

He said that it won't just be processors that are affected. Motherboards are also likely to be in short supply. "Distribution customers buy the majority of brands from one of half a dozen vendors," he said. "They themselves have production capacity capped because of raw materials, chipsets and so forth. It's the same with hard drives."

He claimed that semiconductor companies are closing fabs faster than they open them. "I haven’t seen any moves predicting an upturn," he said. "The majority of our customers buy from hand to mouth and perhaps they should think of a different business model."

CPUs Roundup 08:49 am

FastGraphics did a roundup on various CPUs like the Intel Pentium, IDT Winchip, Xeon to the future x86 cores.

Available at speeds of 150, 166, 180, and 200 MHz core speeds the Pentium Pro has been described by some as the Pentium for power users. The Pentium Pro's massive amount of tightly coupled L2 cache running at such a high speed (the full speed of the processor) allows the Pentium Pro serious FPU power. Originally intended for high-end applications on large network servers, the Pentium Pro has found it's way into many consumer-level PCs offering Pentium-II power to the Socket 7 market.


3rd November 1998 {Tuesday}
SyQuest May Exit Permanently 23:29 pm

Our friend, WM Kong has pointed me to this news on Maximum PC that SyQuest has halted their operations and stopped all production of its SyJet and SparQ drives. They may also file for bankruptcy. Here's the sad story:

SyQuest May Be Removed Permanently: Another shakeout in the removable drive market occurred today when SyQuest halted operations and indicated it may file for bankruptcy.

The longtime maker of removable storage devices said Monday it has removed its stock from being traded on the market and effectively stopped manufacturing its SyJet and Sparq drives.

SyQuest, once the king of removable media devices, lost its market to Iomega and its line of popular Zip and Jaz drives in recent years.

Officials of the company were not available for comment Monday but other news reports indicate SyQuest was seriously considering filing for Chapter 11 reorganization.

SyQuest is the latest removable drive company to bite the dust. Avatar Peripherals filed for Chapter 7 or liquidation of assets in September after fighting for a spot to exist with market leader Iomega, who has also taken a beating recently, posting a net loss of $7.6 million loss this quarter with revenues sinking 9 percent.

Ever Seen a 18-Fan Cooled System?? 21:48 pm

Oh dear! Though I haven't been very adventurous in cutting holes and chiseling my Elan Vital casing, I'd thought my 10 fans were quite outrageous already... till I saw this link from BXBoards to Celery Sandwich and Cooling Page. This is the 'coolest' photo!

This guy is hell of a good craftsman to tightly fit 18 fans into his mid tower ATX casing. Look at the nicely riveted 5 fan bracket at the rear to exhaust hot air. You must roll over now, lotsa pictures! He's even made a customised digital temperature read-out on the casing's front!

Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 19:31 pm

Vince of Hardgame has sent word about this great review they've done on the MS DSS 80 USB digital speakers. Hey! I'm not kidding, it's a fantastic read. Come on!

The DSS80 system employs a few more technical tweaks to enhance the sound experience. Biamplification does exactly what you would think, and uses dual amplifiers to divide the sound signals between the satellite and subwoofer components. Higher frequencies are amplified and sent to the satellites and lower signals are directed to the subwoofer's own amp. The DSS80's also feature dynamic bass boost, which naturally boost some of the hard-to-discern low level sounds. This feature only kicks in at lower volumes and as the speaker volume is turned higher, the dynamic bass boost is reduced, until it turns off completely. Since the gaming world has been overrun by 3D surround sound and spatial/directional APIs, Microsoft has included their own version of Surround Sound with the DSS80 speakers. Their surround sound software uses something called the "virtualizer" to create virtualized surround channels, mimicking the presence of a second set of speakers.

ATI Rage128 to Support Digital TV Decoding 19:23 pm

Learnt about this bit from our affiliate CoolComputing today. Digital TV decoding??? Yap! All the snazzy news about video cards are coming back eh? Read the entire press release for more good stuff!

Wow, this is welcome news.  Without having to spend $5000 for a digital TV set, you can purchase an ATI Rage 128-based board and get DTV for less than $500!  Very cool indeed.

MPEG-4 Specifications 19:16 pm

Wanna know more about MPEG-4? CoolInfo has pointed us to this slice of tasty information on AGN3D. Catch it!

At the 45th meeting of the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), audio experts reached agreement on a common format for creating sounds with the popular ``wavetable synthesis'' technique. The agreement merges the best features of different specifications promoted by the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) and Creative Technology Ltd. into a single format. This new format is called Downloadable Sounds Level 2 (DLS-2) and is known within MPEG as the MPEG-4 Structured Audio Sample Bank Format.

The DLS-2 format is an extension of the MMA's DLS-1 format; it includes new features requested by MPEG, Creative, Microsoft, the MIT Media Laboratory, and MMA members. ``The agreement on DLS-2 increases consumers' access to high-quality interactive music content,'' said Tom White, president and chief executive officer of the MMA. ``Compatibility among multiple vendors was the compelling reason behind the MMA's DLS Level 1 Specification, and the MMA is very pleased to have had this collaboration with MPEG in establishing a single new standard with an even higher level of performance.'' The MMA is a nonprofit association that produces standards and recommended practices for musical instruments and digital music devices.

Unreal 2.19 19:11 pm

Following close behind after 2.18 comes Unreal 2.19 patch. Supposedly, this patch is meant to be mainly a bug fix. Unreal fans will want to get it here from EPIC!

Watch Out! Rendition's RRedline 18:54 pm

No! Rendition is about and kicking! Hardware Central has written about Rendition's post V2x00 era and the new coming is its RRedline chip. Not many forthcoming chips announced, but the few are pretty interesting. Read the full article in detail.

  1. Dual Pipelines
  2. Multi-Monitor Support
  3. Dual 64 bit wide memory bus
  4. DVD Support
  5. Support for up to 32MB of SDRAM
  6. Superior rendering quality
  7. More! More!....

These are just the features that have been released by Rendition to the public. Supposedly, there are 4 more “WOW” factors that the RRedline possesses that have never been seen yet in the video card market and are being kept under wraps to “keep the competition guessing”. Two have to do with video while the other two have to do with 3D acceleration. What about the performance you ask? Well, there is preliminary indication that the RRedline may achieve the current Holy Grail of the 3D industry, beating 2 Voodoo IIs in SLI configuration. In other words, this is going to be one fast chip.

I'll be the first one to go "WOW!" (wild?) if the RRedline chip can achieve V2 SLI class of performance. How about a surprise implementation of SLI on the RRedline cards as well? Quad V2 performance then? (down with a slight flu and not thinking straight today...)

Intel Returns to Pin-Based Design 18:37 pm

I'm not sure if you've read this before, but Flashman has sent word about the Intel's forthcoming strategy. Read this chunk!

Intel plans to gradually move its family of Celeron chips to the old pin-based d esign (Socket), beginning next year. In the first half of 1999, Intel will ship 300-MHz and 333-MHz Celerons that use a 370-pin chip form, called Socket 370-plastic pin grid array (PPGA). That form will make the chip about the same size as the Pentium Pro chip, but it will have a different pin configuration. The pin-based form factor is cheaper than the s lot-based design Celerons use now. The transition should take a few years, Intel said, so as not to inconvenience PC makers. Intel is responding to original equ ipment manufacturer complaints that Slot 1 is too expensive for building low-cos t PCs. Next year, Intel will stop using the 66-MHz bus in the Pentium II family, reserving it for Celeron computers.

I don't mind all the design changes, just give us the overclockability and value for money. That's all we care! Ever!

Microsoft: Linux a threat to NT 18:33 pm

As reported on NEWS.COM regarding an internal Microsoft memo posted on the Web, Microsoft is clearly paying attention to the amount of support Linux has received thus far. (Read the news article)

"Clearly, there is real and tangible competition in the operating systems market and as a company that makes operating systems, Microsoft is clearly paying attention," spokesman Adam Sohn said.

One quote from the document spells out the potential seriousness of the threat with particular clarity: "The ability of the OSS process to collect and harness the collective IQ of thousands of individuals across the Internet is simply amazing. More importantly, OSS evangelization scales with the size of the Internet much faster than our own evangelization efforts appear to scale."

So what now? Hey! I've a suggestion...   How about giving Windows 2000 away for free like Internet Explorer??? You've done it before, you can do it again. Ho ho ho! :P


2nd November 1998 {Monday}
Encountered 'Bad CRC Check' on WinAmp 2.04?  23:52 pm

Be warned people! Jack Leeson, a committee member of Galaxynet PR ( www.galaxynet.org ) has kindly sent this notice to you people. Read it!

If you have had trouble installing Winamp 2.04, do not believe that it is an installation file problem. It has been proven that almost all cases of failure to install due to "Bad CRC check" is caused by a small but harmful virus known as Win95.CIH. This virus has become very wide spread through the Internet because of it's small size. It has been found to be attached to small email attachments, most recently in "teletubbies.exe".

If you have this problem with Winamp, it is advised that you run a virus scan on your computer. Recommended virus scan program is AntiViral Tookit Pro; A trial copy can be downloaded at www.avp.com

Regards, Jack Leeson

ASUS P2B 1007.01 Beta BIOS 23:45 pm

For those of you who live on the edge (like myself!), the Asus German FTP site has posted a new beta BIOS file - v1007.01 dated 02 Nov 98. Go check it out.

Voodoo 3 or Banshee 2? Nah... Rampage! 23:05 pm

Coincidentally, I was mailing BkToh and speculated that perhaps only 3Dfx can set out to defeat its V2 SLI reigning performance champ! We thought Voodoo 3 or Banshee 2... nah!!! Saw this at Voodoo Extreme and I really don't think any gamer should miss this! Scalding hot news from Computer Gaming World:

Although 3Dfx's isn't talking about it much yet, not wanting to cloud its fourth quarter sales outlook, we've heard a few tidbits about its next generation chip set, called Rampage. This 2D/3D AGP chip, whose exact ETA isn't known, will be 3Dfx's only chip. That's right, kids new 3D-Only 3Dfx boards will be a thing of the past when rampage arrives, sometime next year. This makes a pretty serious departure from 3Dfx's traditional approach, which consisted almost of exclusively of 3D-only boards, which have proven very successful for the company. But in announcing their third quarter results to their stock holders, 3Dfx unfortunately posted a net loss, although its settlement of the Sega lawsuit did offset the losses somewhat. The fourth quarter is looking brighter for the company, with the arrival of Voodoo Banshee boards from Diamond and Guillemont International, as well as the traditional heavy holiday buying season.

Rampage represents 3Dfx's realization that the 3D-only board market is a niche marker relative to the much larger 2D/3D graphic market, and it's there that the company will focus its efforts with Rampage,  No performance specifications are available as of yet, but given that the current Voodoo 2/Banshee architecture isn't especially AGP Friendly, 3Dfx may be looking to create an architecture that will take better advantage of age.

That's it? Yap! I know many of you are going frenzy already... 3Dfx is as usual, tight-lipped about new developments and then they'll spring up a surprise each time!

Gainward Cardex GX3 Savage3D 22:49 pm

Accelerate! has rolled out a review on the Cardex GX3 Savage3D board. While the board pushes out some pretty decent framerates, and posts excellent 3DMark99 figures, it does seem to have some rough edges in its still immature drivers.

The CardexPert GX3 is one fine card with TV/Out. The S3 name is commonly associated with the commonly laughed at ViRGE chipset. But with the Savage3D, S3 has finally redeemed itself. It's one heck of a fast chip with a damn low price. TV/Out adds even more value to the card, if S3/Cardex could fix their buggy TV/Out drivers.

Like I said, retailing at S$148... this is an interesting low cost board well worth considering if all the bugs can be patched soon.

3D Winbench '99 & Audio Winbench '99 22:32 pm

We're seeing ZDNet's 1999 release of their annually updated benchmark suite - 3D Winbench. This time round, they've even added a new kid Audio Winbench '99.

3D WinBench 99 measures the performance of a PC's 3D subsystem, which includes the Direct3D software, the monitor, the graphics adapter, the graphics driver, and the bus used to carry information from the graphics adapter to and from the processor subsystem. You can use 3D WinBench 99 to test hardware graphics adapters, drivers, and the value of such enhancing technologies as MMX. What you can't test is Windows NT, because it doesn't support hardware acceleration of the Windows Direct3D interface that 3D WinBench 99 uses; 3D WinBench 99 only runs on Windows 95 and Windows 98. 3D WinBench 99 aims to measure both the current and future state of hardware 3D accelerator performance.

Audio WinBench(TM) 99 will take you deep into the heart of your PC's audio soundsystem, with objective and subjective tests to measure CPU usage, hardware voices, 3D positioning, and more. Audio WinBench 99 measures the performance of a PC's audio subsystem, which includes the sound card and its driver, the processor, the DirectSound and DirectSound 3D software, and the speakers.

3D Winbench 99 weighs at a whopping 72.3Mb, while the Audio WinBench 99 is a compact 3.9Mb download. But the greatest part is - some very kind soul has uploaded it to Fun!!! All local cable and ADSL users can grab them at incredible rates man! Go download them!!!!

Sound Off - Premier Issue 22:28 pm

Vince has just sent word that Hardgame has posted a new column to share all about sound cards, and more sound cards! In the first issue of Sound Off, errmm.... go read it yourself!!!

If you're not interested in the new 3D sound and just want a sound card that works with everything, outputting plain ol' sound, the SoundBlaster 16 is a great choice. It's cheap and it works. Its lack of 3D sound or good MIDI is can be troublesome but if you're just looking for a cheap (Creative) sound card, look for a SB16.

Duh! Why cut this bit for you to read?? Well, it's to help you save some moneyz for your new year, I've chosen this bit to discourage you a little. Yeah, why 3D sound? Arkanoid still plays excellently on any vintage card! :P

Lack of Updates 22:17 pm

Well, let me explain huh? Just got home only! Went for a "dinner-cum-get-to-know-each-other-better session" with BK Toh and WM Kong awhile ago. Kan is very very occupied with his work at the moment but he's still trying hard to keep up. Don't worry man, you'll see things coming back right away! Reviews? Yes!

To tell you more of our 'toying' around at Toh's place... I was wowing half the time at the cool stuff he has!

Hearing the Desktop Theater 5.1's AC3 output using the Creative DVD Encore was quite cool! The heavy gun fights in Gozilla (??) became so much more engaging and thoroughly awesome! Forgive me again, I'm not the 'audiophilic' type, but it sounded nice to me! Don't flame me! :P

Then I had to play with the Freestyle Pro myself... wow!!! (again!). I had thought that a game like Need for Speed III would be too difficult to control with a motion sensor gamepad (being the highly excitable person I am!!!), but it was not the case! Driving around was easy and smooth man!

Seriously cool! Plonging out more money I guess? Sponsors anyone?

Local ISP Speed Tests 22:11 pm

Just saw this over at Singapore ISP speed tests. This page updates every few minutes and show the current status of the local ISPs to major backbones in the US. Looks like SingNet still rules.

Backbone
  Rank    Speed     Count   ISP 
ALTER.NET
   1      187 ms      14   singnet         
   2      214 ms      13   cyberway        
   3      238 ms      14   pacific         
ATT.NET
   1      241 ms      13   singnet         
   2      267 ms      13   cyberway        
   3      285 ms      14   pacific         
BBNPLANET.NET
   1      256 ms      13   singnet         
   2      279 ms      14   cyberway        
   3      300 ms      14   pacific         
CW.NET
   1      309 ms      13   singnet         
   2      337 ms      12   pacific         
   3      370 ms      14   cyberway        
SPRINTLINK.NET
   1      236 ms      14   singnet         
   2      276 ms      13   cyberway        
   3      290 ms      13   pacific         
TELEGLOBE.NET
   1      321 ms      11   singnet         
   2      373 ms      11   cyberway        
   3      850 ms      10   pacific         
VERIO.NET
   1      229 ms      14   singnet         
   2      349 ms      14   cyberway        
   3      459 ms      14   pacific         

1st November 1998 {Sunday}
Changing Your Windows UI 17:08 pm

Today's special at BetaNews: Changing Windows UI. A short read discussing two new products to help you give Windows a spanking new look! Lots of very interesting links. See the screenshots below!

Cool right? Try it for yourself! Grab hold of the beta WindowsFX released by StarDock (of the Object Desktop for OS/2 fame) and turn your GUI into a BeOS or Mac look alike. Amiga or Quake II desktops anyone???

Super7 Motherboard Buying Guide 15:56 pm

Here's a Super7 Motherboard Buying Guide from The Hardware Junkies... those of you interested in getting a new AMD K6-2 but know not which board to go with it, oughtta read this first. Make an informed decision!

"... if you are thinking of buying a Super7 motherboard, the VIA Apollo MVP3 chipset is a much better upgrade option.   So if you decide to buy a Super7 motherboard make sure the board uses that chipset."

Demystification of PC100 SDRAM 15:49 pm

The High Performance PC Guide has written an in-depth article in an attempt to demystify the myriad varieties of PC100 SDRAM as well as advise on how to avoid the PC100 pitfalls. Very very technical! Catch this simpler bit:

"... with early PC100 memory modules it was very frequent to get mismatch between two different memory modules resulting in computer crashes and this was happening even with memory modules of the same brand same model. The problem was the lack of standardized specifications, non uniformized manufacturing process and uncontrolled manufacturing tolerances between the different manufacturers."

3DMark99: Spectra Vs Voodoo2 SLI 15:42 pm

Here's a run down of the benchmarks BKToh ran on his Canopus Spectra and his 'twin pillars of power' V2 SLI. Both aren't running DX6 or DX5 together, but I think you'll get a rough picture.

800 X 600 X 16-bit

 

Voodoo2 SLI

(using Canopus WitchDoctor II DirectX5 drivers at default 90MHz)

Canopus Spectra 2500

(using latest DX6 drivers at default core 90MHz, memory 110MHz)

3DMark Result 2,969 3DMarks 2,113 3DMarks
CPU Geometry Speed 6,266 3DCPUMarks 6,276 3DCPUMarks
Rasterizer Score 1,759 3DRasterMarks 1,111 3DRasterMarks
Game 1 - Race 50.7 FPS 34.0 FPS
Game 2 48.3 FPS 36.5 FPS
Fill Rate 141.8 MTexels/s 77.5 MTexels/s
Fill Rate With Multi-Texturing 143.4 MTexels/s 141.4 MTexels/s
2MB Texture Rendering Speed 355.2 FPS 113.2 FPS
4MB Texture Rendering Speed 347.6 FPS 93.9 FPS
8MB Texture Rendering Speed 302.9 FPS 70.4 FPS
16MB Texture Rendering Speed 5.8 FPS 44.0 FPS
32MB Texture Rendering Speed 2.9 FPS 1.5 FPS

* The tests were performed on his Celeron 300A at 450Mhz.

Comparing the Savage3D and the TNT in these tests would probably see a very close fight. My friend's test on his (Gainward/Cardex) Savage3D also yielded about 2100 pts.

Judging from the benchmarks above, the Canopus Spectra 2500 isn't the V2 SLI killer it was meant to be but it does put up pretty decent framerates, and has comparable fillrates to SLI in the multitextures test.

Voodoo2 SLI Supported Features: Spectra 2500 Supported Features
  1. 16-bit Rendering
  2. Point Sampling
  3. Point Sampling With Mip-Mapping
  4. Bilinear Filtering
  5. Bilinear Filtering With Mip-Mapping
  6. Trilinear Filtering
  7. Specular Gouraud Shading
  8. Vertex Fox
  9. Table Fog
  10. W-Fog
  11. Sub-Pixel Accuracy
  12. Alpha Blending
  13. Addivitive Alpha Blending
  14. Multiplicative Alpha Blending
  15. Vertex Alpha Blending
  16. Vertex And Texture Alpha Blending
  1. 16-bit Rendering
  2. 32-bit Rendering
  3. Point Sampling
  4. Point Sampling With Mip-Mapping
  5. Bilinear Filtering
  6. Bilinear Filtering With Mip-Mapping
  7. Trilinear Filtering
  8. Anisotropic Filtering
  9. Specular Gouraud Shading
  10. Vertex Fox
  11. Table Fog
  12. Sub-Pixel Accuracy
  13. Alpha Blending
  14. Addivitive Alpha Blending
  15. Multiplicative Alpha Blending
  16. Vertex Alpha Blending
  17. Vertex And Texture Alpha Blending

It seems like the Spectra supports more features (32-bit colour and anisotropic filtering) and it beats the V2 in terms of video quality: if you run 3DMark in Demo mode, you will see additional scenes which are not benchmarked, and this is where the TNT starts shining.. it seems that the colours are more washed out in the Voodoo2, especially in the scene inside a temple(?) with some strange hovercraft.

Microsoft Sabotaged Quicktime 08:50 am

Microsoft deliberately sabotaged Apple's Quicktime for Windows as part of a campaign to drive the company out of the multimedia playback business, according to testimony released by the DOJ last night. Apple senior vice president Avadis ('Avie,' appropriately enough) Tevanian Microsoft programmers introduced misleading error messages and "technical bypasses" which stopped Quicktime playing some files.

Tevanian, who is due to be cross-examined on his testimony next week, says that Microsoft had threatened to overwhelm Apple by putting 150 engineers on development of its own player. Microsoft's Eric Engstrom led the charge, saying in a phone call: "We're going to compete fiercely on multimedia playback, and we won't let anybody have playback in Windows. We consider that part of the operating system, so you're going to have to give up multimedia playback on Windows."

If this constitutes an accurate statement of Microsoft policy it provides belated support for the claims of RealNetworks' boss Rob Glaser back in July that Microsoft deliberately 'broke' his player. Tevanian also claims that Microsoft further put the squeeze on Quicktime by using threats and exclusionary contracts against OEM customers, including Compaq. Again, if Microsoft defines multimedia playback as part of the OS, then it becomes part of the 'integrity' of the product which Microsoft is so keen to defend in its OEM contracts. Some might say this is exclusionary, Microsoft says this is just legitimate defence of its intellectual property. Humorously, the question of intellectual property with respect to Quicktime reared its head in the trial earlier in the week. For more information, read here

Intel Dumps Celeron Strategy 08:46 am

A senior executive from the Intel Corporation said it will re-vamp its entire Celeron roadmap in two week’s time. OEMs will be the first to know full details of the changes, he said. Mike Aymar, VP and director of Intel's Platform Launch Operation, on a fleeting visit to the UK, said that Intel had realised that competitors, such as Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), had made inroads into its market share.

Said Aymar: "We will not allow that position to last."  Intel, said Aymar, was still committed to capturing the lower, volume end of the market. His company would not make precipitous price moves to re-capture share but was constantly re-considering its position at the low end.

Aymar suggested that there would be a range of higher powered Celeron processors. From what he was saying, it seemed that we would begin to see these from the beginning of next year.

He said that Intel would match AMD’s aggressive pricing strategy, step by step, by introducing faster and faster Celerons that its competitor could not possibly match.

Celeron Overclocking FAQ 08:40 am

That's a FAQ over at Ars-Technica on overclocking the Celeron. Below are some juicy parts:.

Burn-in There have been many reports of what is being called "burn-in effect". After running the CPU at an elevated voltage or even at the normal voltage while "exercising" the CPU (cycling CPU intensive applications), the processor somehow becomes more likely to run at the desired speed. The time required varies and it doesn't always work, but it's worth a try.  If it doesn't run at 100 mHz bus, try 75 mHz or 83 mHz for a few days.   Leave the computer on for several days straight.  Give it a workout, then try it again at 100 mHz.  [I have found some documentation (see web links below) on this effect in respect to audio components.  The author suggested that it may have something to do with dopant stabilization and the dielectric properties fully forming in the tiny, in-circuit semi-conductor junctions, capacitors and other components.]

Starcraft Competition 08:37 am

Just read this over at our local Starcraft site that CyberArena is going to launch another Starcraft competition.

CyberArena is going to launch The CyberArena Starcraft Open Invitational Tourney soon. No official date has been set, but the details released by CyberArena are as follows :

- Featuring 32 teams from 32 SSLC registered Clans
- Battle for prestige, respect and prizes
- Prizes worth up to S$700 for the top prize
- Only one team will emerge victorious, no second best
- You can claim to be the Best Clan but can you PROVE it?

Cirrus Logic Networking Group 08:34 am

The restructuring of Cirrus Logic continued in Fremont, Calif., Thursday as the chip maker announced plans to spin out a group of about 35 employees from its communications business unit to form Basis Communications.

Under terms of the agreement, Basis will acquire a portfolio of Cirrus Logic's networking products, which Basis will continue to manufacture and support. Cirrus will still work with Basis to assure full customer support through the transition, and retain an equity position in the new venture.

"This action represents yet another milestone in our program to return the company to a predictable and sustainable business model through a sharpened focus on proprietary precision linear and advanced mixed-signal chip solutions," said David D. French, president and chief operating officer. He added the product portfolio is being accounted for less than 3 percent of Cirrus Logic's consolidated revenue in 1998.

Cirrus Logic has been restructuring since last year, and has now divested itself of two of its four former product divisions, the other being the graphics-chip business, which it spun off just two weeks ago. Cirrus has also pulled out of manufacturing altogether to return to its roots as a fabless chip company.

Microsoft SideWinder Freestyle Pro 00:47 am

Heh! After we convinced them of buying the Freestyle Pro, it's their turn to entice you do the same! Ok, seriously Accelerate! has completed their review on the MS SideWinder Freestyle Pro and here's a slice:

First thing, I had to know. How this new pad suits to my favourite game at the moment, World Cup 98. Any challengers? Started up WC98 which was CL-patched, started up a friendly. And the rest is history. Wonderful pad, suits your hand comfortably. And my, I won the match easily. That was playing without the Motion Sensor On. If it's on, a green light appears. If off, a red light appears.

Next match, I turned the heat on. Motion Sensor does the job for me! I screamed. The baby did. And did amazingly. Nice twist and turns could be done sweatlessly as Owen scores a double-hat trick. *hehe* That's Liverpool with Motion Sensor for you!

Convinced yet? Or do you have to read Flashman's article for another tease? :P

[Beam me to the latest news archive!]


Copyright 1998 Hardware One
Last updated 10 November 1998 20:09