08 Nov 98 - 14 Nov 98
Highlights within this period includes:
  • Canopus Spectra 2500 Review
  • Major PC Vendors To Bundle Beta Windows 2000
  • Sun Can Cancel Microsoft's Java License
  • More Saucy Memo Incidents
  • DirectX 6.1 RC0 Available for Download
  • Motheboard Monitor 3.73
  • Defining 3D Graphics Performance
  • Linux Upstart OS Gets Some Respect!
  • Image Quality
  • The Next Big Thing From 3Dfx
  • S2/MidiLand 4100 Speakers Review
  • HP Printer R&D
  • 1999: The End To Overclocking?
  • 3Dfx "Avenger's" Specifications
  • BX Motherboards
  • Millennium II Out Of Production
  • Hercules Terminator Beast Review
  • Creative Labs Graphics Blaster TNT Review
  • Macromedia Dreamweaver 2.0
  • 3D Chipset Guide 1998
  • PC Magazine Graphics Accelerators RoundUp!
  • Netscape Details Communicator 5.0
  • Fights for SuperComputer Title
  • FPU Power - Part 3
  • DirectX 6 Overview, DirectX 7 Preview, DX8 Info?
  • Epson Stylus Colorio PM-3000C
  • Preliminary 'Verdict' on MX300
  • Hardware One: Yamaha CRW4416S SCSI CD-RW Drive
  • Intel Overthrow Microsoft?
  • Next Generation Input/Output
  • Sharky Reviews MS ForceFeedback Wheel
  • EAX 2.0! EAX 2.0! Creative Breathes New Life into err...
  • FourPointSurround FPS2000
  • Monster Sound MX300 Review!
  • AOpen Announced Fastest CDROM Drive
  • Pentium II 300Mhz SL2W8 Review
  • QuickTime Upgrade
  • Singapore Net Billing Services
  • Panasonic DVD-RAM
  • Fusion Review
  • Blade 3D
  • Microsoft Kills Chrome
  • 19 Digital Cameras Under US$500
  • Bug in BX Chipset
  • PowerPC G4
  • OCP with Dual PII 300Mhz at 928Mhz!
  • Files at Fun Server Sabotaged!
  • Hardware One: Sony Max Performance 5X DVD Kit
  • Top Secret Chip
  • New 250Mb Zip Drive
  • Merced, EPIC, IA64
  • STB Motherboard
  • 433Mhz Celeron

14th November 1998 {Saturday}
433 Mhz Celeron 18:54 pm

The Santa Clara, Calif., company has moved up the release date of several processors geared toward low-priced desktops and notebooks, according to sources. It has also added faster processors, more capable chip sets and management features to its low-end road map.

At the same time, Intel will continue its usual price-cutting pace, with plans to drop prices on almost all Pentium II processors in early January, again in late February, in April and again by mid-year.

After releasing a $160 366MHz Celeron chip during the first week in January, Intel will boost the Celeron's speed to 400MHz in March, sources said. The release of that chip was moved up from the second half of next year.

In mid-1999, Intel will release a 433MHz Celeron, sources said, moved up several months from its original release date of late next year.

PCs based on Celeron processors will also include the forthcoming 810 chip set, which supports 2X AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port), two DIMM (dual in-line memory module) sockets, up to 256MB of RAM and Wired for Management specifications.

For full story, click here.

STB Motherboard 09:34 am

Take a look at this press release.

STB Systems, Inc., a leading developer of multimedia and convergence products, will display three new products next week at Fall Comdex ’98, being held Novemeber 16-20 in Las Vegas Nevada. The new products to be demonstrated at the show are the T-100MMR motherboard, DesktopVCR and DesktopTV . The T-100MMR microATX motherboard features STB’s exclusive MultiMedia Riser (MMR) Technology. The DesktopVCR is an MPEG 2 video capture board that gives computer users unprecedented control over PC based digital video editing and acts as hardware DVD decode. The DesktopTV Television Tuner family features STB’s exclusive VisualReality Multimedia software utilities. STB will be in Meeting Rooms #102-103 in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The T-100MMR motherboard offers 3-way AGP 2X support and supports processor speeds ranging from 266MHz to 500+ MHz. The T-100MMR is based on the Intel 440BX chipset and will support Intel Celeron , Pentium II and Katmai processors. System memory for the T-100MMR can be expanded up to 512MB. The graphics subsystem features the NVIDIA RIVA TNT graphic processor and 8MB of SDRAM video memory along with STB’s high performance video drivers and software utilities.

With STB’s proprietary MMR technology, STB has applied its extensive knowledge in visual computing to its new motherboard line and has designed a unique way for PC manufacturers to maximize the multimedia capabilities offered from a single platform.

Merced, EPIC, IA64 09:14 am

Anand brought us another new article on the above processors and more.

Digital brought us the first 64bit processor around 1992, the 21064. Sun Microsystems followed, and IBM came soon thereafter. The largest CPU manufacturer in the world (Intel); however, is waiting until early 2000 to introduce its first 64bit processor, Merced. This 64bit processor is not only new to Intel, but new to the world. Based on Intel's "EPIC" architecture (actually very similar to VLIW = Very Long Instruction Word = a technique which originated in the early 1980s) , Merced, is going to be the first true processor of its kind. What exactly is EPIC? How does it help? Find out...

New 250MB Zip Drive 09:10 am

Iomega Corp. announced the new Zip 250 which will more than double the capacity of the current 100MB Zip drive, company officials said. To be announced at Comdex in Las Vegas, the drive will offer 250MB of storage capacity while maintaining backward compatibility by being able to read and write to 100MB Zip disks.

The Zip 250, priced at $199, is slated to be available by year's end. Disks for the 250MB drive will be priced at $16.65 each, officials said.

The Roy, Utah, company will also announce the new Zip USB, a 100MB drive that connects with a PC or Macintosh via the Universal Serial Bus. The drive will offer compatibility with Windows 98 PCs as well as Apple Computer Inc.'s iMac. It is due this month for $149.95. 100MB Zip disks for the new drive will sell for as low as $9.95 when purchased in packages of 10.

Top Secret Chip 09:06 am

Transmeta, the highly secretive, well-funded Silicon Valley chip start-up, may be offering the first glimpses of its well-guarded microprocessor design.

The company recently received a patent for certain portions of the chip design and in the process may be revealing a broader picture of what the chip does. In short, it is a novel design that appears to be extremely fast and can potentially run all Windows software as well as other technologies including Java.

Because it has been so secretive, some reports have speculated in jest that the company is using alien technology. The patent reveals a slightly more down-to-earth design but still ground breaking because of its apparent ability to deftly handle Intel computer code and other technologies such as Java and RISC, according to Richard Belgard, who is an independent microprocessor patent consultant in Saratoga, California and has read the patent.

The upshot is this: Sections of the patent (No. 5,832,205) discuss a chip that can translate Intel chip instructions into a more advanced format referred to as VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word). VLIW is a catch-all term for a variety of technologies that essentially combine many simple computer instructions into a single long instruction which can then be executed more efficiently and quickly than current computer code. 

For the full article, read here.

13th November 1998 {Friday}
Hardware One: Sony Max Performance 5X DVD Kit 20:37 pm

Hardware One brings you another exciting review on Sony's Maximum Performance DVD Upgrade Kit - featuring a new third generation DDU220E 5X DVD ROM drive coupled with a REALmagic Hollywood Plus MPEG2 decoder card.

"The video quality on all the DVD titles I tested were just amazing. The images were sharp and crisp and the colours were as saturated as the PowerDVD’s, without any of the jaggies found on i740."

Catch it here or under "Exclusive Reviews!"

Files at Fun Server Sabotaged! 22:33 pm

Was doing my daily rounds at Fun's today when I saw this message put up, apparently someone had deleted a day's worth of new uploads from the server.

All the files uploaded today to our Files Exchange Center have been deleted by unknown party. 
If you have uploaded some files today and didn't see it appear on the Files listing, please upload them again. 
We are really disappointed with such childish sabotage act. This service is run to benefit the Singapore ONE community so that they can download at better speed, so we sincerely hope that troublemaker can find other target elsewhere and give us some peace.

What the @#[email protected]#%! is wrong with people these days? If it was done deliberately, this creep shall be cursed with forever hanging Windows, unoverclockable CPUs, faulty video cards, hissing soundcards and... errmm.... excruciatingly slow Internet connections! Forever!

Am I too harsh?

OCP with Dual PII 300Mhz at 928Mhz! 22:27 pm

Sheesh! He failed! He failed! He failed to jump the 1Ghz barrier! But what the heck! Using twin SL2W8 CPUs and a dual CPU SOYO SY-D61BA mobo, Kyle achieved a stable cumulative speed of 928Mhz (2 X 464Mhz)!!!

Well, we did not come out as lucky as I thought we would.   We were trying to the first website in the world to do over 1 Gigahertz with commercial retail equipment.  We did however manage a STABLE cumulative speed of 928MHz.   Yes, 928MHz, that is freakin flying!!!!  Now while we didn't stick the ol' 1 GHz, a freakin 928 ain't exactly cruising in the slow lane. When First Person Shooters finally take advantage of the Dual Processor setup, it will mean something to us OCP'ers. 

Go over to The Overclocker's Comparison Page for more good stuff!

PowerPC G4 22:15 pm

According to information received by Apple-oriented Web site MacOS Rumors, the first G4 CPU, codenamed 'Max', is designed to push the transition between old, G3-based hardware and new systems designed specifically for G4.

Max will be made available in 300-500MHz clock speeds, utilise 0.18-micron copper wiring technology, contain two 32K on-chip L1 caches and support up to 2MB of backside L2 cache. A 1.8V processor core will offer reduced power consumption.

The chip will also provide a new 128-bit 'MaxBus' bus technology, which allows CPUs to communicate directly with each other in multiprocessor systems. However, older 64-bit '60x' buses will also be supported.

Max will be 30-50 per cent faster than the PowerPC 750, and will ship with Motorola's AltiVec vector processing extensions for greater performance gains in graphics and multimedia applications. It is scheduled to ship in volume by the middle of next year.

Beyond Max lies 'V'Ger' (named after an alien entity in the first Star Trek film, trivia fans). Initially running at 500MHz, Motorola has it mapped out to 800MHz and beyond to 1GHz.

V'Ger will be contain multiple Max cores, all of which can be switched on and off, on the fly, according to performance and power consumption requirements. 0.15-micron supports higher clock speeds while keeping power comsumption down, and further performance is gained from an on-chip L2 cache.

The chip will support up to 8MB of external L3 cache, but it's unclear how much difference this will really make unless the on-chip L2 is actually quite small.

Bug in BX Chipset 22:12 pm

Intel has confirmed that a bug in some motherboards it manufactures can cause machines to hang but claimed that the problem is now fixed.

Certain SE 440 BX2 motherboards, dubbed Seattle 2, have a power glitch that scrambles BIOS settings and can damage the Flash BIOS. The bug has no effect on the processor, according to a representative said.

He said: “We identified the problem in October and have created a utility for distributors and dealers which will let them identify if a particular motherboard has a problem.

“When we launched the BX, the motherboard was called Seattle and Seattle 2 was launched in October with a power modification to support Katmai”

The fix for the problem involves adding two decoupling capacitors to the motherboard, he said.

End users who encountered the problem should return faulty machines to their retailer or dealer, he said. In practice, the “very few” faulty motherboards are easily identifiable because the machine hangs very quickly, he said.

Because Intel had identified the problem early on, relatively few motherboards suffer from the condition, he added.

19 Digital Cameras Under US$500 20:32 pm

No, this is not just a list. Duh? COMPUTERS.COM reviewed 19 digital cameras costing under US$500 and picks out the best from the crop. With prices finally becoming reasonably affordable, great leaps forward in picture quality and web publishing becoming increasingly popular, it is no longer unrealistic to want a digital camera. Who gave the best pictures?

The best of the bunch? The Kodak DC200 came out with our jury's top rating for both indoor and outdoor photos, displaying excellent color saturation and focal clarity.

I want one! I want one! This will be one cool peripheral I hope to own very soon.

Microsoft Kills Chrome 20:28 pm

Heard this over at Voodoo Extreme. Microsoft will be dumping their much touted Chromeffects according to a report at MaximumPC... a new strategy formed? Read this:

According to reliable sources, Microsoft has undergone a huge re-organization, with Chromeffects an unlucky victim. Chromeffects was transferred to the DirectX team, whose management has chosen to cancel both its development and release.

Don't know what Chromeffects had been about?

Chromeffects were a series of multimedia system plug-ins that employed aggressive compression schemes to shift the burden of online multimedia from the net back to your PC. To tackle the bandwidth and latency limitations of the Internet, Chromeffects had been designed to shift a larger burden of computation onto the CPU--a novel approach, since computing power increases much more rapidly than web bandwidth.

Blade 3D 12:37 pm

Remember Trident, the company who brought you those 512kb video cards back in the 80s? Well, Trident announced the Blade 3D chipset.

Trident Microsystems, Inc., the company that provides Digital Media for the Masses, today introduced the Blade 3D, media accelerator. The new device provides advanced 3D features for the sub-$1,000 and above PCs, and, for the first time, allows the end-user to enjoy the ``Complete 3D gaming experience'' previously available only on high-end systems.

"The Blade 3D from Trident is one of the most extraordinary chips we have tested in the recent past. It could completely alter the market dynamics for the US launch of Motorhead, published by our partner Fox Interactive. It will allow a much larger segment of the gaming population, the growing sub-$1,000 PC and lower end markets, to play our games,'' according to Phil Wright, Business Development Manager, Gremlin, U.K. "We intend to showcase Motorhead in the Trident booth at COMDEX based on the demo boards we have already tested."

The 3D-triangle peak rate is 2.5 million triangles per second (with back face culling); the maximum fill rate is 110 Million pixels per second. This translates into over 100 frames per second on Acclaim's popular game, Forsaken, a number only reached by a few high-end graphics chips and none in the sub-$1,000 PC market.

Fusion Review 12:29 pm

PCArena sent a note on their new Diamond Monster Fusion review.

Renowned for it's quality products, the Monster Fusion is no exception. The PCB is green in color, measuring some 163mm (176mm with Connectors) by 98mm. Cuz it's a Revision 4 with no TV output, it now has a low profile fan with a heat sink over the chipset. Sporting some 16 MB of Samsung 8ns SGRAM, this card reeks of performance!

As expected, Diamond has always got an edge in performance not just in their software drivers but in the quality of their hardware as well. And the benchmarks reflect this. Other competitor cards seem to be running at 100 - 110 MHz @ the chip core with a 115 MHz memory bus but the Monster Fusion is clocked at 115 MHz @ the chip core and 125 MHz for the memory bus. Why buy Diamond versus a plane jane brand? Now you know where the few extra bucks went to…

Panasonic DVD-RAM 11:03 am

C|Net just put up an review on the Panasonic SCSI DVD-RAM drive.

DVD-RAM drives have finally become available, nearly two years after they were announced. Offering up to 5.2GB capacity, Panasonic's internal, SCSI-based $799 LF-D101U drive costs more than most people want to pay for a removable storage device. But its low cost per megabyte and fast transfer speeds make it a must-have if you depend on high-capacity storage.

Singapore Net Billing Services 01:24 am

Singapore will launch its first Internet-based billing and payment service due to be ready by early next year.

This was announced jointly in a statement by Network of Electronic Transfers (NETS), IBM, and e-Business Exchange.

The NETS e-billing service allows companies to post bills and invoices to their customers through a secure Web site, the firms said. Customers can log in to view their bills and choose to make payments through participating banks. The NETS e-billing service platform, e-BX, was developed on IBM software and hardware.

NETS was founded in 1985 by DBS Bank, OCBC Bank Group, Overseas Union Bank, POSBank, and United Overseas Bank to operate online debit payment services.

QuickTime Upgrade 01:21 am

Apple Computer's QuickTime multimedia software is due for a technology boost that will again place it squarely in the path of Microsoft.

Apple is working to release a new version of its popular QuickTime program at the upcoming Macworld Expo in January 1999. For the first time, the software will include the ability to send live video and audio streams over the Internet, according to industry sources familiar with the course of development.

In other words, the new version will offer technology for playing audio and video that addresses QuickTime's current shortcomings and puts it on par with features in the rival Microsoft technology. That could be enough to cement its market share lead.

Apple declined to comment.

First demonstrated publicly in May of this year, the new version of QuickTime is sure to raise the hackles of executives at Microsoft, which has tangled with Apple in the past, according to testimony in the Justice Department's antitrust case against the software giant.

12th November 1998 {Thursday}
Pentium II 300Mhz SL2W8 Review 20:28 pm

I really gotta bash myself in my left eye (???) for missing this review put up on BXBoards for a good 2 days! He's written quite a good bit of it and I was more than a little surprised to see him use RC5 as a benchmark for various CPUs.

I think many many people are so interested to pick up this processor that I was told some shop in Sim Lim hiked up the price for this rare CPU. Sheeesh! Good it might be, read this warning Andy has got to offer:

I would offer a word of caution regarding picking up a P2-333 and expecting to run @ 5 x 100. Only around 30% of SL2W8's will do 504 and this cache performance can be expected for all CPU's using this type of 4.4ns (very rare) 4.5 and 5.0ns cache. Quite simply, if Intel could produce CPU's that would run reliably at this speed, they would do so, so exercise caution and shoot for the lowest speed you can accept.

Andy's argument makes good sense to me, Intel will sell the chip as a 500Mhz CPU if they all could run stably at that speed. For now, it's still a matter of good luck!

AOpen Announced Fastest CDROM Drive 20:22 pm

From CoolInfo, I'd read that AOpen has announced the release of their fastest CDROM drive, featuring a maximum data transfer rate of 7200kb/s and more. 7200kb/s? That's the equivalent of calling it a max 48X CDROM drive! I've clipped you the info:

AOpen America, the component manufacturer for the Acer Group, today announced the launch of one of the industry's fastest and most flexible CD-ROM drives, the CD-948E. With a maximum data transfer rate of 7200KB/sec. and an expansive 512KB data buffer, the CD-948E offers unparalleled multimedia and data throughput performance. Drive performance is enhanced through a variety of technology features, including high-speed audio capabilities, and a dynamic damping system (DDS) solution that continuously enhances the read performance.

It'll be interesting to see this drive pitted against true 40X CDROM drives such as the Kenwood 'TrueX' drive.

Monster Sound MX300 Review! 20:09 pm

So much for Creative related news, AGN3D has reviewed the other most soughted 3D audio card there is - MX300. Both companies are trying to deliver the one-up with new driver releases to outdo each other, both are vying for the top spot in locked horns.

Using the Wavetracing abilities of Half-Life the MX300 was able to truly immerse you in the Half-Life world. Firing the gun or pounding your crowbar in different rooms produced different sounds. Another nice feature was that when you turned around the corners the sounds from the other rooms changed in real-time.

It's a messy entanglement of lawsuits, press releases, driver releases, reviews and opinions. Let the fight begin! (Read the full review)

FourPointSurround FPS2000 19:22 pm

This news is probably worth your attention too! Creative has announced a new high-powered four-channel speaker system to be called FourPointSurround FPS2000. Here's a clip off the press release:

FourPointSurround FPS2000 consists of four high-output satellite speakers with 2 " long-throw drivers, a high-output powered subwoofer with long-throw woofer, and a five-channel amplifier (25 watts RMS to the woofer, 7 watts RMS to each satellite speaker). The system also includes a separate volume/fade volume control and two 18" speaker stands for use with the rear speakers.

If Creative continues with this streak of well-calculated product launches and upgrades, not only will they be the winner... all of us will win as well!

EAX 2.0! EAX 2.0! Creative Breathes New Life into err... 19:17 pm

I bet they heard the protests of Live! owners to hasten their development to tap the potential of the EMU10K1 on the SoundBlaster Live! card. Today, Creative has issued a press release to announce its EAX 2.0 API, which will include occlusion and obstruction in addition to reverb and echo. Read this hot hot portion:

Environmental Audio goes beyond 3D positional audio - sounds will appear to come from all corners of a room or space adding reverb, echo, and other effects consistent with the room acoustics, position of the player, source of the sound, and many other cues. The additional features in EAX 2.0 include occlusion and obstruction, making audio sources sound as if they are coming from another room or are in the same room being heard from behind an object. For example, with occlusion, the villain in a game can be heard in an adjacent room, or approaching from around a corner. Occlusion and obstruction in EAX 2.0 allows developers to add filters that muffle the sound according to the type of object that is in the way.

My faith in my Live! investment has been restored quite a bit after this announcement, now if they'll unveil even more of this chip? This is like a little striptease Creative is putting up... hey! I'm all charged up for the real thing! Give it to me! NOW!!!

Sharky Reviews MS ForceFeedback Wheel 19:02 pm

Yup! This is one toy I will want to scrutinise when it arrives on my shores. Meanwhile, Sharky Extreme has written a review on it. Well, instead of all the exciting bits you've already read in other reviews, Sharky has pointed out some flaws in this product:

"... the wheel has absolutely no self-centering springs in it, which means when you turn off the force feedback the Wheel is rendered pretty useless. It's not at all easy to use with games that don't support Force Feedback which seems a bit shortsighted on Microsoft's part."

Why turn the force feedback off in the first place? Hmm... oh well, I'll like to test one out for myself!

Next Generation Input/Output 10:21 am

Intel released further details of its new way to connect devices to server computers at an industry forum today in San Diego, but it may find it's at odds with other computer makers.

The architecture has been going by the code name of NGIO (next generation input/output) and is the sequel to the PCI bus, the main data path in a PC that lets computer users plug network cards, disk drives, and other devices into the computer. The PCI architecture is in virtually every Intel-compatible personal computer shipping today and has been for about five years.

The NGIO architecture will be faster and more reliable than PCI, and it has more room for growth, said Mitch Schults, director of marketing in Intel's enterprise server group.

A single NGIO connection would operate at 1.25 or 2.5 gigabits per second, but by binding four channels together, a total bandwidth of 10 gigabits per second is possible--many times the speed of today's PCI bus and plenty of speed to keep up with high-speed "gigabit" Ethernet networks.

In addition, the system naturally isolates devices from the processor and memory, protecting the core parts of the servers from problems in those devices.

NGIO is a technology designed for servers, which typically have heavier needs for fast and reliable data shuttling--referred to as I/O (input-ouput)--subsystems, Schults said. "We've discovered we have squeezed about as much out of the PCI architecture as we can squeeze, where server applications are concerned," said Schults.

For more information, read here.

Intel overthrow Microsoft? 10:19 am

Is Intel planning to overthrow Microsoft? ZDNet had an article on this issue.

I can't prove it. But if you examine the evidence, it's easy to conclude that 1) Intel is up to something and 2) if it isn't scheming against Microsoft... maybe it should be.

Consider these recent events:

  • Intel invests in Linux, enemy No. 1 of Windows NT. Click for more.
  • Researchers at Intel Architecture Labs develop a chip that runs Java.
  • Intel cuts a deal with Microsoft archenemy RealNetworks for streaming media. Click for more.
  • Intel sent engineers to Be headquarters to assist with the port of BeOS to Intel.
  • Andy Grove opened his speech at Agenda with a demo of BeOS.

When I connect these dots, I conclude that Intel is preparing alternatives to Windows just in case. Clearly, Intel has become over-reliant on Microsoft -- a mistake that has cost the company dearly.

11th November 1998 {Wednesday}
Hardware One: Yamaha CRW4416S SCSI CD-RW Drive 11:41 pm

Read this! Hardware One brings you a review of Yamaha's latest CD-ReWriteable Drive featuring 16X Read/4X Write/4X ReWrite capability!

"The drive looked just like the old drives with a sturdy and clean design. However, a careful examination of the drive revealed the implementation of a cooler fan encaged behind."

"Access speed has been improved tremendously. The previous drive has a access time of 250 ms while the 4416 has a access time of 160 ms."

"A very affordable price tag for a class leading performer!"

We reviewed the retail version of the drive which is selling like hot cakes at Sim Lim Square for S$649... the drive will be debuting in U.S. during Comdex! (Check it out here or under "Exclusive Reviews")

ASUS AGP-V3400TNT 11:33 pm

Sharky Extreme has cooked up a review on the Asus AGP-V3400TNT card. Of course, it's TNT! The name said it! Read the whole review.

The AGP-V3400TV serves notice to the larger OEM vendors like Creative, Diamond, and STB that ASUS intends to increase their market share in accelerators by offering cards based on the BEST chipset options.... By using nVidia's TNT, and extrapolating on the reference design to include both TV In and Out (AGP-V3400TNT TV Models), ASUS is definitely trying to lead the market with innovation and performance.

Preliminary "Verdict" on MX300 11:26 pm

Preliminary? Yap, the folks at 3DSoundSurge is working on a full-fledged review on the Diamond Monster Sound 3D MX300 card, but as they are working on it... they failed to contain their excitement and wrote this:

"... on the MX300 the addition of the much talked about wavetracing effect make the overall effects nothing short of fabulous!

Its really hard to put words to it but I will try. Picture music playing in a room. As you move around the room (or move the sound around the room) the tonal qualities of the sound changes (along with the accurate positioning of the sound). As you move partially behind a wall, some of the sound is obstucted (or occluded to use the correct term) by the wall, but some of the soundwaves continue to hit your ears directly producing another variation on the sound. Move completly behind the wall and now all the high end of the sound is gone and just as would happen in real life an a dull thumping bass is all that remains (imagine the relative with the stereo playing on another floor or if you are an apartment/dorm dweller then imagine the noisy neighbour)."

Epson Stylus Colorio PM-3000C 11:21 pm

Remember the news we posted that our good friend Kok Leong of Digital Darkroom discovered a new Epson photo printer now available in Japan?

Today, KL sends word that he's received an envelope sent from Japan with a sample printout from this fantastic new printer. He's beaming with excitement and wrote a little "preview" on his latest fancy:

In one word...INCREDIBLE! Although I only have one printout from the Super Colorio, it was an incredible printout which demonstrates the strengths of this photo printer. Continuous tone is the order of the day as the flesh tones and shadows of the backdrop were rendered to perfection.

DirectX 6.0 Overview, DirectX 7.0 Preview... DX8 Info? 11:15 pm

Mark Kenworthy, Group Program Manager at Microsoft, has written this little bit on DX6, DX7 and even DX8! Here's a leak on DX7 (Read the whole bit):

Direct3D 7.0 Plans

  • More Performance Improvements
    • Reduce API overhead
    • Support new CPU architectures
    • Build more fast-paths
  • Hardware Transform & Lighting
    • Reference pipeline provided
  • Extension Mechanism
  • Geometry Morphing
  • Scene Graph (Fahrenheit)

FPU Power - Part 3 08:38 am

Ace's Hardware posted a third part series of the 3DNow! vs KNI article.

A new feature of the Katmai is called "memory streaming". Beautiful name, but those instructions are in fact very similar to the 3DNow! prefetch instruction. The CPU can load the necessary data in the L1-cache before the data is actual needed. The only difference between Intel’s "memory streaming" and AMDs "prefetch" is that Intel has several prefetch instructions. KNI-programmers can choose whether the data will be cached in all caches or only in the L2-cache or not at all. So, KNI and 3dnow are more or less on equal footing with this prefetch-stuff.

Fights for Supercomputer title 08:38 am

Silicon Graphics and IBM are both claiming bragging rights as the world's top supercomputing company.

Today, Silicon Graphics and Los Alamos National Laboratory said their Blue Mountain machine is the fastest, less than two weeks after IBM and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory made the same announcement with their Blue Pacific computer.

The issue of who's king of the hill depends on which hill you're talking about. Energy Department officials spent several minutes at a news conference today tiptoeing around the subject of how to measure which computer is fastest.

Both [are], in a certain sense," depending on which performance benchmark you're using, said DOE Undersecretary Ernest Moniz.

But Rick Beluzzo, chairman and chief executive officer of SGI, felt no such restraints. "There is only one that can be in first place, and we're in first place. In my humble opinion, IBM announced early because they knew they were going to lose first place," Beluzzo said.

Netscape details Communicator 5.0 08:36 am

While Netscape in recent months turned its internal focus to fine-tuning its browser-portal integration strategy, the free-source developers at Mozilla.org have taken on their shoulders the important job of completely reinventing the under-the-covers technology of Communicator 5.0.

The effort has paid off: Netscape detailed Tuesday the next-generation technologies, code-named NGT, that will make up the bulk of the next release of its browser suite.

The technology details, which were expected, hold the promise of greatly accelerating the adoption of key Web standards by Netscape, in Mountain View, Calif.

NGT includes two key components: NGLayout, a new rendering engine for drawing Web pages to the screen, highlighted by broad standards support; and a new customizable front end, which will let users create their own "chrome," or toolbars and browser buttons using cross-platform Web standards such as HTML and XML.

Also notable is the modularity and small size of NGT, especially the rendering and layout engine, which is expected to be small enough to fit on a floppy disk. That makes possible the inclusion of the Communicator innards in third-party software, something not possible in previous releases of the browser, said Chris Saito, director of client product marketing.

10th November 1998 {Tuesday}
PC Magazine Graphics Accelerators RoundUp! 20:34 pm

PC Magazine has done a big ass writeup on some dozens of video cards out there, putting them through the paces of 3D Winbench 99. From their tests, 2 Diamond cards came out tops of the heap... but the Editor's choice fell into the hands of others. Make a guess?

"... the Matrox Millennium G200 ($130 street) garners our Editors' Choice in the mainstream business category. The Millennium's scores on our 2-D benchmark tests were solid. Its MGA-G200 chip doesn't offer the screaming 3-D acceleration of cards based on the hot nVidia RIVA TNT or the 3Dfx Voodoo Banshee, but its 3-D test results were respectably mid-pack, which means performace that is more than adequate for the coming spate of 3-D business apps."

"If you're a PC enthusiast looking for the best 3-D acceleration available in an integrated 2-D/3-D card, check out our Editors' Choice for the enthusiast, the Creative Labs Graphics Blaster Riva TNT ($170 street) from Creative Labs. Its nVidia RIVA TNT chip lets it deliver top-tier 2-D and 3-D performance. Plus, Creative Labs adds stable, robust drivers and a host of useful utilities. In a field crowded with very similar accelerators, the full-featured and affordable Graphics Blaster showed the fewest problems in our labs."

Surprised? Well, not too shocking when both the G200 and TNT chips are excellent performers.

3D Chipset Guide 1998 17:05 pm

As the year draws near a close, CPU Madness rounds up the most important chips to have made an impact this year. Roll over to see what's cooking!?!

Only a few years ago, 3Dfx’s first chipset, Voodoo Graphics, defined everything that we hoped that 3D would be.  A complete feature set (for the time), and performance that crushed the wannabe 3D chips forever made 3Dfx synonymous with the cutting edge.  Back then, there were only two choices: 3Dfx Voodoo or junk.  Fast forward to the big nine-eight.  There are actually alternatives to 3Dfx now, and the idea of “3D add in” is quickly becoming dated.

Macromedia Dreamweaver 2.0 16:59 pm

After I saw a friend demonstrating the powess of Dreamweaver 1.2, I had been very impressed. Just a few minutes back, I caught this off our affiliate CoolComputing that Macromedia has issued a press release to announce its successor - Dreamweaver 2.0. Here's a clip:

San Francisco, Calif. --- November 9, 1998 --- Macromedia (NASDAQ: MACR) today announced Dreamweaver 2, a new release of its professional Web authoring environment. The newest addition to Macromedia's award-winning family of Web publishing tools adds powerful new features for efficient page design and production, comprehensive site management, visual authoring for dynamic publishing, and Roundtrip XML™. Dreamweaver 2 is an extensible Web development platform that is designed to work with custom and commercial e-commerce, database, dynamic publishing and rich media technologies.

Find out more about the features? Click here.

Creative Labs Graphics Blaster TNT Review 16:44 pm

AnandTech has reviewed the Creative Labs GB TNT cards (both PCI and AGP versions) which we see so often displayed off the shelves at Sim Lim Square. Considering to get one? Definitely! But you should catch this first:

The Creative Labs Graphics Blaster TNT is a no frills, bare bones, TNT based video card.  Packaged with nothing more than the driver utilities and one of the millions of copies of Forsaken that you probably already have from other recently purchased components (c'mon guys, isn't it about time to stop packaging Forsaken with every little peripheral?), the Graphics Blaster TNT sticks to the nVidia TNT reference design down to the last solder point. 

The uninteresting rectangular card brought much attention to itself when it became the most overclockable member of the TNT family with the use of Fujitsu SDRAM, unfortunately since then, it seems as if Creative has gone the path of their predecessors with the memory selection for their TNT boards and opted for the much more available and cheaper (in quality) Samsung SDRAM.   The SEC modules on the AGP version of the Graphics Blaster TNT wouldn't even make the jump to 115MHz reliably, up from the standard 100MHz clock frequency whereas the PCI TNT which AnandTech received right after its release could be taken up to 130MHz reliably.   The unfortunate truth which is present in today's profit driven world, quality is quite often the sacrifice for cost.

Ok, now the GB TNT comes with cheaper Samsung SDRAM... Considering a TNT card? Read Hardware One's Canopus Spectra 2500 review.

Hercules Terminator Beast Review  16:17 pm

I'd been hoping for another review on this card after the one done at HardwareCentral some weeks back. Today, 5-Dimensions reviewed Hercules' Savage3D based board and they have many interesting things to say about Hercules' rushed board... as well as S3TC technology.

"So does the Savage3D prove to be a worthy challenger for the Belt? I think that it had a chance but somewhere along the way it got lost."

"The Terminator Beast is a good product. It has all the problems of the Savage3D, and it isn’t a performer because it is a SDRAM board running at 100mhz. Hercules did release the board in my opinion way to early and it hurt them. The drivers were way too unstable before. Now though the new drivers do fix many of the instability issues, and I do commend Hercules for working hard to fix up the problems that the Beast has."

Yikes! Seems like the reviewer didn't really like the Savage3D board's showing thus far... now where do I put my money? 3Dfx "Avenger"?

Millennium II Out of Production  07:22 am

Read this from Matrox Users. Apparently the Millennium II and Mystique 220 are no longer in production now.

Just a quick note to reassure those of you without a G200 that you aren't being forgotten in the driver stakes. The unified drivers will continue to support all boards and there should be a new version soon that will add DirectX 6 support for all boards.

Talking of older boards I've been informed that both the Millennium II and Mystique 220 are now out of production

BX Motherboards  07:02 am

Toms Hardware had a revised version of the 26 BX motherboards article.

High end users don't have much of a choice: Regarding performance there is no alternative for Intel's BX chipset. ALi, SiS and VIA do offer Slot 1 chipsets, but they are only able of beating the Intel chipsets by features. The VIA Apollo Pro chipset already offers Ultra DMA/66 and besides the option of clocking the main memory asynchronously (at the AGP clock speed), as we know it from their Socket 7 chipsets. Thanks to the much faster L2 cache of the Pentium II you won't lose much performance doing this. And of course you can still use 66 MHz SDRAM in a computer with 100 MHz FSB processor

3Dfx "Avenger's" Specifications  00:20 am

Now there are parties calling the next chip 'Avenger' while some people called it 'Rampage'... most likely the chip will be Avenger and Rampage is the internal project name. Nevertheless, let the shocking features I ripped off AGN3D thrill you:

Brian Crese summarized the specs on the upcoming 3Dfx 2D/3D chip, the Avenger. We will be at the press conference for this new chip next Monday morning and will be able to provide you with more info then. All I can say is if this chip performs anywhere near the level of the speculation, you better buy some 3Dfx stock while it is still cheap.

  • 0.25u, 125MHz chipset
  • 10 million triangles/sec
  • 500Mtexels/s fill rate
  • 32Mb 125-150MHz SDRAM/SGRAM
  • 16bpp and 32bpp rendering
  • Improved Banshee 2D core
  • Volume shipment 1Q 99
  • $250-$300 retail

3Dfx expects to hit 1 billion texels/s in a separate $500+ product due by year's end; with these products, 3Dfx expects to remain at the forefront of the performance curve through 2000.

Did you see that? 500 million texels/s fill rate???? Oh wow! We all can trash our V2s, buy an Avenger and then grab the add-on product to get the whopping 1 billion texels/s.

9th November 1998 {Monday}
1999: The End To Overclocking? 23:38 pm

No, this is not a prophetic cry but it certainly comes close to that for the overclocking community if Intel will get its way. Over at our affiliate OCP, Kyle has posted an email correspondence with CyberDyne:

"Intel plans to end the Overclocking once and for all with a neat 'trick' and that is they will place an EEPROM I.C. into each and every future Intel based CPU from Celeron, to Pentium II, to even the next generation Katmai CPU. This ROM will work on the basis that the CPU will identify to the System BIOS what it is i.e it will tell the host Mainboard that it runs at 350Mhz for example, requires 2.2V on the CORE and it even carries the serial number and original date of manufacture. If the overclocker uses this new generation of Pentium II etc. CPU, his Mainboard can not run the chip at a higher frequency simply because the ROM has hardwired into its circuitry and simple Transistor arrangement that will effectively 'cut' all Power to the CPU core thus 'kill' the CPU until the person wakes up and realizes that they have to run it at the marked frequency i.e 350Mhz etc."

So much for the info some of us already knew, I really 'enjoyed' the last bit (below). Sounds nasty huh? I have this feeling the techies will find a way to circumvent all this restrictions and obstacles Intel has set in our path to prevent overclocking...

We hope this answers your question and you are most certainly more than welcome to address this issue directly with Intel Corporation in the USA where the information has been obtained from. So, enjoy the overclocking while it last, but Intel will get the last laugh and of course will continue to milk us all for money - but then as BILL GATES himself says: 'A monopoly is the unfairest thing in the world, unless of course you own one!'

Roll over to Kyle's Overclocker's Comparison Page to read the full correspondence.

HP Printer R&D 22:25 pm

Hewlett-Packard has earmarked $100 million in printer research and development in Singapore over the next five years, according to reports.

The amount includes research grants from the National Science and Technology Board (NSTB) and forms more than a third of HP's total budget of Singapore $300 million set aside for R&D in Singapore, Singapore's Business Times reported today.

HP's printer R&D will focus on developing cutting-edge technologies in high-precision ink jet system firmware and software for image processing and printer connectivity.

The company's first ink jet business printer, the 2500C Professional Series, went on sale last week and uses a new modular ink delivery system technology.

The printer, designed and developed in Singapore, will be made here for the global market.

S2/MidiLand 4100 Speakers Review 22:05 pm

Oh well people, you don't find these speakers at Sim Lim Square but this is definitely one of the premier speaker systems you can find, having received rave reviews all over! Hardgame has done a review on them, please check it out!

"The S2 / MidiLand 4100's are an extremely powerful set of speakers and are definitely the loudest PC speakers I've ever heard. Everything about them exudes high quality and workmanship. The satellites, often the most ignored part of any speaker set, have non-resonant die-cast aluminum enclosures and produce extremely consistent sound."
"Excellent, incredible and unexpected were the words that came to me initially. I was expecting great sound, but the music emanating from the speakers was something closer to a high-end stereo than a set of multimedia speakers. The S2 / MidiLand 4100's are also capable of producing tremendous levels of sound and just owning them could be your ticket to an eviction or rapid property devaluation."

The Next Big Thing from 3Dfx 18:54 pm

Filtering through the wealth of news from Voodoo Extreme, I noted 2 articles that are related to 3Dfx's coming chip. Voodoo Nation speculates on the new features to be found in "Voodoo 3", here's a snip:

If games are to run smoothly at a resolution of 1024x768, or if a game should require two passes in 800x600 mode, then a basic fill-rate of at least 200Mpixels/s will be required.

Forbes Digital Tool has a short paragraph in their analysis of Creative's move to buy 3Dfx's share, speculating how fast the next chipset will be...

3Dfx is expected to launch its next generation 3-D graphics chip at COMDEX, the computer industry's biggest trade show in Las Vegas, Nev. The Forbes Digital Tool has learned that the chip which is code-named "Avenger" is three times as powerful as the Voodoo2 graphics chip. The product will be available sometime in 1999.

Image Quality 16:20 pm

Anand had another new article on image quality using algorithms like texture mapping, bilinear filtering etc.

The latest 3D accelerators support "Anisotrophic filtering", "Trilinear filtering", "Single pass Multitexturing", etc. What do all these names really mean? How do they affect image quality. How come people say trilinear filtering is so much better than bilinear filtering when screen shots look virtually identical? All of this and more will be answered in this article.

Where does the name bilinear filtering come from anyway? Translating bilinear you get something like "two lines", or "in two lines", or possibly "two dimensional". This means that bilinear filtering samples (chooses) the best pixel by blending in two dimensions, i.e. it blends the closest to texture coordinates on the X coordinates with the two closest on the Y coordinates, as opposed to simply performing a weighted average on the two X-coordinate pixels (i.e. texture coordinate 2.3,2.3 would be rounded to 2.3,2 and then they would take a weighted average of the points 2,2 and 3,2; instead of taking a weighted average of the points (2,2), (3,2), (2,3), (3,3). Bilinear filtering is probably the most noticeable image quality improvement that comes with 3D hardware.

8th November 1998 {Sunday}
Linux Upstart OS Gets Some Respect! 23:52 pm

The time stamped on the article read 02 Nov 98 but I really only just saw it. Nevertheless, C|Net posted this article to tell you about Linux... its background, its growing pains, and having to face Microsoft.

What makes the Unix-like Linux so winning? It's speedy, stable, built to run on many kind of computers, and -- most importantly -- Linux is free. It's free to use and free to sell, which has created stiff competition among Linux developers, and contributed to the OS's rapid improvement.
In fact, Linux has gotten so good that it's sneaking its way into mainstream businesses, and proving to be a viable alternative to Windows NT.

That's because Linux lets businesses run a reliable server or workstation on legacy hardware -- unlike the resource-hogging NT, which requires newer, more robust hardware. But will Linux ever run on consumers' desktops? Only time will tell.

I'm optimistic about the future of Linux but for it to succeed on the consumer's desktop, its ease of use, support for peripherals and software applications has to be improved to a level close to Windows. Read the article!

Defining 3D Graphics Performance 21:22 pm

Real3D has written this interesting article named "3D Graphics Performance Is Rendering Quality & Speed".

Photographic image quality is often a subjective measure. However, 3D graphics image quality is measurable. Every hardware shortcut results in a visual artifact. Shortcuts are taken to reduce silicon size and ,therefore, reduce cost. Some artifacts are virtually unnoticeable. Others detract greatly from the image. The allocation of transistors to functions and the selection of shortcuts define a graphics controllers speed and quality. Three-dimensional graphics requires an even mix of speed and quality for optimum performance.

Motherboard Monitor 3.73 21:11 pm

Well, more to the credit to the boys at BetaNews who'd spotted another upgrade to our favourite monitoring utility. You may go over to the Motherboard Monitor page and download Alex's nifty utility. (Don't quit yet Alex!)

DirectX 6.1 RC0 Available For Download 21:06 pm

The spies at BetaNews has uncovered DirectX 6.1 RC0 from Microsoft's usually password protected download area. Well, if you wanna try them: Here's the link to it:

Slow Trickle of News 15:15 pm

Aside from Kan being caught up with his work, and myself being caught by a flu bug, there hasn't been many newsworthy stuff for the passed day (Oh ya! There was a power trip in my house that sent my PC screen blank and me panicking!).

Though I'm not usually into making promises or hyping about impending reviews that we're doing, I can only say that there's 2 in the works at the moment... delayed by our own hectic schedules and blah... and excuses... and sheer laziness. Whatever! We'll keep you informed as usual.

Btw, have you bookmarked our new domain www.hardware-one.com yet? No!? You bad!

More Saucy Memo Incidents 15:07 pm

After 2 of Microsoft's internal memos were openly circulated on the Internet, open source advocates took offence with the possible implications of the 'sinister' notes. (Read the full story)

The idea of modifying open standards has open source advocates and software consumers seeing red. "This is downright sinister, and even though the memo is [written] by an engineer, it reflects an attitude which is particularly important considering the DOJ case," Rahul Dave, a programmer, said in an email to CNET News.Com.

"The most important revelation that comes out that document is that Microsoft is planning to subvert the open standards [such as Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards] in order to neutralize the threat of OSS," said Subhas Roy in another email message.

If you've been following the story so far, you might want to check out the report on NEWS.COM.

Sun Can Cancel Microsoft's Java License 14:58 pm

ZDNN has reported that the first aniversary of the lawsuit between Sun and Microsoft has passed the Oct 8 date. Now Sun will be free to cancel Microsoft's Java license 1 year after notifying them of violation.

According to a provision in the contract, Sun could not terminate the contract until one year after it notified Microsoft of being in violation. Since Sun filed its lawsuit on Oct. 8, 1997, it is now free to rip up the contract.

Decaffeinated Internet Explorer anyone? Nah! I'd always loved my brew the way it was.

Major PC Vendors To Bundle Beta Windows 2000 01:03 am

I fell off my chair reading this! Bruised and stunned... I rubbed my sleepy eyes and read it again. Still it read "beta!!!!" Apparently from a report on PC Week Online, in some act of desperation (or what?), major PC makers are intending to ship PCs with Windows 2000 beta 3 when it becomes available next year. Read this:

The Windows 2000 Ready Program will provide customers the minimum configurations needed to upgrade to and run Windows 2000 when it ships sometime next year. Vendors expected to announce support of the program include Dell Computer Corp., Micron Electronics Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

However, those vendors plan to go a step further and release Beta 3 of the operating system when it ships early next year, according to officials at each company. Microsoft officials declined to comment on the vendors' plans.

Now, haven't these guys tried out gold code Microsoft OSes before??? They still crash!!! Or have they forgotten their sore fingers after repetitively pressing the reset button???

"Unless they set aside a lot of money for support, both Microsoft and whoever preloads the OS are shooting themselves in the foot," said Steve Curcuru, resident wizard at Mugar Enterprises, a PC Week Corporate Partner in Boston. "I think it's a very dangerous prospect."

Personally, the seller will be shooting his own foot and the buyer his mouth!

Canopus Spectra 2500 Review 00:38 am

Eugene of Frontline has sent word about their review on the Spectra 2500 TNT card. Oh yes, mentioned a zillion times but I'm sure you'll want Frontline's opinion on this before you make a purchase.

For the price of a single Voodoo2, you get a 2D/3D AGP2Xcard, TV-out., Witchdoctor technology, the 3D rendering power of a Voodoo2, with option to run at in 1600*1200, 32-bit color and additional 3D features thrown in. For those those who do not have a Voodoo2 yet, this is definitely the card to get. Good value for money doesn't get better than this.

[Beam me to the latest news archive!]

Copyright 1998 Hardware One
Last updated 17 November 1998 20:48