15 Nov 98 - 21 Nov 98
Highlights within this period includes:
  • QSound's Q3D 2.0 Announced
  • Desktop Theater 5.1 Mini-Review
  • Intel 600Mhz Notebook Soon
  • Speculations: Avenger or Banshee 2?
  • ADSL Modem for S$99
  • EPOX KP6-BS
  • Microsoft Office 2000 Preview
  • Frontline Reviews Elsa Erazor II
  • Rants #3 at Alive!: Merits & Demerits of EAX & A3D 2.0
  • Sonique 0.62
  • New Viper BIOS?
  • Processor Roadmap
  • Voodoo 3 Unveiled
  • TNT's Successor - nVidia Vanta
  • WinAmp 2.05
  • Abit Announces Dual SCSI Board
  • More Voodoo3
  • More More Voodoo3
  • AOpen 6X DVD-ROM Drive
  • KryoTech 500Mhz AMD Machine
  • Pioneer 4.7Gb DVD-R & RW Writer
  • No 32-bit Rendering On Voodoo3. 22-Bit?
  • 60 Frames Per Second at 1280x1024 res?
  • ATI Fury
  • Anand at Comdex
  • STEP-UP Yukon Cooler
  • 3DMark99 Benchmark Comparison Page
  • Rockin' Voodoo3 Shockwave Site
  • Comdex 98 Coverage
  • New I/O Card for SoundBlaster Live!
  • First Half-Life Review at GameCenter
  • Voodoo3. Voodoo3. Voodoo3.
  • Logitech Soundman Extreme Speakers
  • Comparison of 3D Chips
  • Microsoft in Court
  • 3DHardware.net On Hercules Terminator Beast
  • RailRoad Tycoon II Review
  • Creative May Release "RIO-like" Portable MP3 Player
  • Riva Vanta... Not Meant for Gamers?
  • GameCenter's RivaTNT Roundup!
  • SoundBlaster Live! Variations?
  • Sanctum's SBLive! Review
  • The Internet Explorer 'Patchwork' Continues...
  • New Banshee Drivers
  • AMD K7
  • Adaptec SCSI PC Card
  • Netscape Bug
  • Get the Best AGP Performance!
  • BeOS Pushed as Windows Alternative
  • Diamond Fusion Review at VE
  • Updates for SoundBlaster Live!
  • Internet Explorer 5.0 beta 2 for Download
  • SC&T Ultimate Per4mer Force Feedback Wheel
  • Voodoo3 3DMark99 Performance
  • Poor Person's Upgrade Guide
  • 3Dfx On Developers' View Regarding V3
  • GameSpot's 3D To Die For
  • iMac Test
  • Wafer Thin Speakers
  • USB Modem
  • RRedline Not Cancelled? Make Up Your Mind!?!
  • AMD K6-Windows95 Glitch
  • Intel Demo Shows Rambus Ready To Roll
  • Yearly Charges for Use of Windows? Hullo?
  • RealMagic Hollywood Magic Plus
  • PowerStrip Beta
  • HTML Viruses? A Real Scare
  • Patch for AMD K6-Windows 95 Glitch
21st November 1998 {Saturday}
Patch for AMD K6-Windows 95 Glitch 23:39 pm

A kind reader, Ismael Ramos, just sent a mail to say that a patch for the K6-Win95 glitch (mentioned a few hours back) is available from Alternative X86 Central.

First off, in case you didn't read carefully... it's Win95 and not Win98. So click here to download the patch if you've got a K6-2 350 or higher running Windows 95, OSR 2, 2.1 or 2.5.

HTML Viruses? A Real Scare 23:20 pm

Hello people! Just read this frightening news at MSNBC about the possibility of harm inflicted by HMTL based viruses. Can we afford not to be paranoid?

In the past two weeks, Trend Micro has tallied no less than 17 new variants, written in Microsoft Corp.’s VBScript. While none of them could harm users, don’t expect the viruses to have their teeth filed for long. Soon, they could cause significant problems for users who get them. Technically, the viruses resemble normal programs. "There is no security in Windows that limits what VBScript can do," said Grebert. "Can it read your files? Yes. Can it format your hard drive? Yes."

Hey! Come back! Read the next part first, coz' at the moment, webmasters are the ones at the highest risk (So it's me who's gotta worry! Not You!)

Indeed, at present, HTML viruses present no danger. Grebert has only encountered what he refers to as "test viruses" that do not have any destructive payload. In addition, while HTML viruses have potential to be nasty, they will have a hard time spreading out of control over the Internet. In order to copy itself to a new Web page, the HTML virus must execute on a machine from which it is allowed to change the page. This essentially means that only Webmasters have the possibility of being "Typhoid Mary."

Don't fret! Don't fret! But it's still good to be in the know, read MSNBC's article.

PowerStrip Beta 22:26 pm

EntechTaiwan posted PowerStrip v2.30 beta. Chomp! Chomp! Good stuff!

A pre-release of PowerStrip 2.3 has been posted, with a little something new or improved for practically every supported chipset.

Anyway, they had written a short note on the 'Memory Recovery' feature in PowerStrip. Interesting!

A word of explanation about the "Memory recovery" feature in the PowerStrip. If you're familiar with utilities like FreeMem and MemTurbo then you already have a good idea what this feature is about. The main difference with the PS implementation is that its designed to be triggered by - surprise, surprise - a change in display settings, on the assumption that a change in display settings signals the likely start of a new process. Windows does a pretty job of managing memory on its own, and will make room for new code on demand. What the PowerStrip does, in a nutshell, is demand it beforehand, and then release it, so that its already available when your next process starts up; memory "cleanup", "defragmentation", "optimization" and whatever, are just consequences of what Windows does in response. Just keep in mind that "free" physical memory is wasted memory, unless its needed by something else right now.

RealMagic Hollywood Magic Plus 22:08 pm

The mail had just been tossed into my inbox, telling me of this well written review on the Sigma Designs' RealMagic Hollywood Magic Plus MPEG2 decoder card. Where? Over at our affiliated Frontline!

"I got a Voodoo 2 here and in theory if more than one loop-back cable are used, Windows 2D quality will somehow degraded, resulting in fuzzy images or unreadable fonts. Astro had loaned me an Encore before and it really doesn't along well with my Voodoo 2, which resulted in font corruptions and other visual artifacts on the desktop. But hey...there are no visual artifacts with the Hollywood Plus! Everything looks just fine."

Like this card? It is found in the Sony Maximum Performance DVD Upgrade Kit partnering a 5X Sony DVDROM drive to deliver the one two punch. Check out Hardware One's review on this kit.

Yearly Charges for the Use of Windows? Hullo? 17:35 pm

Over at CoolComputing, a post about Reuters' report said that Microsoft is contemplating charging an annual fee for its OSes starting in 2001. Here's a snip:

Kempin's memo proposed changing that under the heading, ''License for limited time and create annuity business.''

"This is the best thing long term but it might disrupt end user operations and could require end user registration,'' Kempin wrote. Kempin reminded Gates that he had made the suggestion before and added that it needed to be seriously addressed. Kempin wrote that charging the annual fee was not an option until 2001, when a new version of Windows is expected.

Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray, asked afterward about the memo, said: "This is not a licensing option that is near reality. It is simply an idea that is thrown out there to look into.''

Don't froth in your mouth yet, this is only under consideration. Hmm... looks like Linux will only become more appealing then.

Intel Demo Shows Rambus Ready To Roll 17:29 pm

EETimes reports of Intel's demo at Comdex showing off a Windows machine with the new Rambus memory system architecture running Forsaken. The new memory architecture has about 2-3 times the bandwidth of the present PC100 generation. Think about that? (Full story)

"This is a platform demonstration with the Rambus channel operating at the full 400-MHz speed," said Pete MacWilliams, a fellow at the Intel Architecture Labs (Hillsboro, Ore.). "We wanted to show the whole system integration using the Rambus technology — a full motherboard with all of the routing — to show where we are at with all of the electrical and mechanical issues."

Other sources said Intel began shipping prototypes of its Camino chip set to computer vendors earlier this month. Camino supports the Direct Rambus DRAMs (D-RDRAMs), which deliver a peak bandwidth of 1.6 Gbytes/second over the Rambus channel. A spokesman at Intel's Folsom, Calif., operation said the Comdex demo included "a prototype memory controller" on the Pentium II-based machine, but declined to confirm the reports on Camino.

By next year, we should be seeing D-RDRAMs chips in many systems. Give it to me cheaper and faster! Read the lengthy article at EETimes.

AMD K6-Windows 95 Glitch 17:17 pm

This is an unfortunate news I saw over at our affiliate CoolComputing. It tells of a glitch that'll affect systems running Windows 95 OSR 2, 2.1 or 2.5 when using the K6-2 350Mhz and faster chips - intermittently.

AMD (NYSE:AMD) posted an advisory on its Web site stating that "when you are starting Windows 95 OSR [OEM Service Release] 2, 2.1 or 2.5 on a computer with an AMD K6-2 processor running at speeds of 350MHz and above, you may receive one of the following error messages:

Device IOS failed to initialize. Windows Protection Error. You must reboot your computer.

Windows Protection Error. You must reboot your computer."

Problem is "very intermittent". The advisory notes that the problem is "very intermittent at 350MHz, but occurs more often at higher speeds.''

Ooops! When you're positioning yourself to overtake the race leader Intel, your engines can't just refuse to start at times, can it? <sigh>

RRedline Not Cancelled? Make Up Your Mind!!!?? 17:03 pm

Oh well, Rendition supporters can heave a sigh of relief. Bjorn's 3D World has got this piece of news to clear up the confusion about the V3k RRedline chips. Actually, it's still confusing...

When Micron stepped in everything changed. Micron no longer thinks it's imperative to get the v3k out on the market as fast as possible. The focus instead has been shifted to the v4k E. Why? Well, as Chris said: "- because it is fabed by IBM there is no way to make any money on it. And it doesn't take advantage of our 'unfair advantage' over the competition - Micron's embedded memory technology". The latest directive now is to concentrate on the v4k e which of course use embedded memory from .. tada Micron.

So, no V3k for us you might think. Well, yes and no. The v3k's will be fab'ed. They are considered to be a important stepping stone towards the V4k. They are software compatible and have much of the core in common. But because the focus have shifted towards the V4k the need to get it finished fast is no longer a top priority. Instead the work now is on working extra on the v3k debugging and tweaking it extra much. Any work on it benefits the V4kE and is supposed to not only help to bring the V4kE faster to the market but also make sure the foundation for it is as good as possible.

According to Chris Rendition would probably have been able to have cards out by now. This is what he said:

"The V3K is essentially done, and has been for some time. It could have been a product by now. But since it is the new foundation and we want to speed up the V4 development as fast as possible, we are tweaking the V3, making bug fixes and performance adjustments, and running a lot of experiments. "

Perhaps we'll have it (or not!) after all? If they do release it with much tweaking and stuff, we might just get a nice reliable board that's very affordable and performs in the class of the Banshee or even TNT. How's that? I just hope they won't be too late in the show.

USB Modem 15:37 pm

Multi-Tech Systems expects to ship in December the MT4X56USB, the first device to bundle four V.90 modems into a single unit that can be attached to a PC or server via a universal serial bus connection.

The MT4X56USB can be used to combine four phone lines into a single data pipeline that can deliver performance of about 160 kbps, Kraska said. This could provide a high-speed option for individuals who can't get ISDN, cable, or Digital Subscriber Line service.

However, this approach has some limitations. First, you must order and pay for four separate phone lines and the numbers you dial into must also have four phone lines. So, if you want 160-kbps access to your office, your office must have at least four lines.

Second, your ISP must support a technology called Multilink PPP, which allows multiple modems to be bonded. Currently, few ISPs offer this service, though Kraska said he expects the number to increase next year.

Wafer thin Speakers 15:35 pm

Throw away your SoundWorks, and make way for the new wafer thin speakers.

If thin is in, then Benwin's Flat Panel BW2000 speakers could be the hottest items at Comdex. Measuring only .13 by 5 by 7 inches and weighing about .5 pound each, these futuristic-looking speakers and their bulkier subwoofer deliver good-quality sound for an estimated street price of $129.

The 3-watt speakers use technology licensed from NXT to produce sound using a cardboard-thin transducer instead of a cone. Sound is transmitted in a 360-degree radius so that audio quality is consistent wherever the listener is positioned. This makes the system a good candidate for use by gamers, professionals who want to upgrade their sound system, and owners of home stereos and portable PCs and radios.

Volume, tone, on-off controls, and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack are located on the top of the 6.25-by-4.5-by-4.75-inch, 2.2-pound subwoofer.

iMac test 15:28 pm

PCWorld posted a comparison between the iMac vs Celeron 333 vs Pentium II 400 Mhz.

With 32MB of RAM (its standard shipping configuration), the iMac got clobbered on our Excel and 5MB-image Photoshop tests. In fact, the slower of our two test PCs, a Packard Bell Multimedia 945 with an Intel Celeron-333 processor, finished ahead of the iMac by 55 percent and 80 percent, respectively, on these tests. And when we compared the iMac to our high-end system, a $1799 Micro Express MicroFlex-c400A with a Pentium II-400 CPU, the contest was, well, no contest. The iMac took more than three times as long to finish a standard series of Excel operations, even after we doubled its RAM.

GameSpot's 3D To Die For 11:42 am

You'll find the updated version of the big review in the December issue of CGW over at Gamespot right now. A giddy roundup with a total of 16 graphics accelerators that came under their scrutiny!

We'll take a look at some of the brand-new boards that will take us to the next level in 3D accelerators. An interesting trend in 3D graphics is emerging: the use of low-cost, 16MB of RAM. Now we're seeing graphics cards with 16MB of local video memory for well under $200 - some even approaching $100 - due to the wonders of commodity pricing. Cheaper RAM also means there are some cards with more than 16MB of RAM. In fact, one board in our roundup supports a whopping 32MB of RAM, and more 32MB boards are on the way.

Well, in their testing... the Guillemot Maxigamer Phoenix (Banshee) and the Canopus Spectra 2500 (TNT) came up tops, both with 4 1/2 stars.

3Dfx On Developer's View Regarding V3 11:34 am

From VE, 3Dfx's Steve Schick has thrown in some of his thoughts about what the developers had to say about the Voodoo3:

I think some of the comments you gathered were fairly expected.  No one can argue the benefits of 32-bit rendering.  We think 32-bit rendering will be important in the future, and it will help advance the state of gaming.  At the same time, we firmly believe that features such as 32-bit rendering should not be able to come at a sacrifice in performance. Right now a Quake II player, for example, can play in 32-bit mode in at least one chip currently on the market. Of course their frame rate will fall by about 50 percent, to a level that is simply not playable.  In the best case, they will have game performance that royally sucks in the worst way.

3Dfx will provide advances in rendering technology, color depth, etc. in future products, but it will never come as a sacrifice to overall game performance. This week at Comdex, we've given developers some sneak peaks of Voodoo3 running with un-optimized drivers and at a clock rate below the final production version.  The reaction is sheer astonishment. Some developers have popped their own games on a Voodoo3 demo system and have been knocked over by the break-neck fill rate at high resolution running at 60fps or higher.  It's something that has to been seen in person.

We are extremly proud of Voodoo3, and we think that hardcore gamers and developers will be duely impressed. 

Poor Person's Upgrade Guide 11:30 am

Ho ho... SysOpt has posted this Poor Person's Upgrade Guide to advise people (like myself) the smart things to buy on a tight budget.

"... designed to help in finding the best upgrade combination for as cheap a price as possible without sacrifing quality. These are recommendations from various people at Sysopt.com to help give you a better idea of where and how to spend you money."

His recommendation started from a low of US$222 to only US$457. Now who say's a poor man can't own a gaming PC?

Voodoo3 3DMark99 Performance 00:15 am

Interestingly, I'd noticed a small ripped part from my buddy Kyle's Overclocking Comparison Page. It was about how well a preliminary V3 card fared with its alpha drivers in FutureMark's 3DMark99.

"Running on a PII450 at 800*600 Voodoo3 scored 3020 3DMarks. That's good for pre-production silicon and alpha drivers. If you look at a similar Voodoo2 setup on the results section of our web site, you'll see it scores 2135 3DMarks. You can drop by the result section and compare for yourself." says Aki Jarvilehto, Managing Director of Futuremark, reporting from the 3Dfx stand, Comdex.

20th November 1998 {Friday}
SC&T Ultimate Per4mer Force Feedback Wheel 23:58 pm

George of Purified3D just sent word about the new review they'd written on SC&T's Ultimate Per4mer Force Feedback Wheel. It seemed like one hell of a cool gaming gadget for any serious racing simulation enthusiasts.

I also gave EA's Need for Speed III a shot... What a surprise I had when the game started. EA's programmers added the engine's vibration to the wheel! It was such a pleasurable addition, which only got better when the race began. Curves were "g-forced" to perfection, off-road was superbly simulated. NFS3 is one of the best games to fully take advantage of force feedback, and is and indication that things are only going to get better with more and more developers adding force feedback support.

What really needs work are car crashes. I have yet to experience a truly realistic crash effect. They all seem a little too soft.

A realistic crash? I've got an idea... how about incorporating a fully deployable airbag system. :) Anyhow, warp over to read the review in detail.

Internet Explorer 5.0 Beta 2 for Download 23:51 pm

Over at BetaNews.COM, they'd announced that Microsoft has made the second beta of IE 5.0 (international version) available for download. Grab it at this link!

Updates for SoundBlaster Live! 21:45 pm

Over at my buddy's Alive! page, I'd noticed a post about 1) a new version of the cool PlayCenter program from Creative. Here's a list of the enhancements to be found:

  • Better handling of AutoPlay on disc
  • Improved detection of Enhanced disc
  • Support for SCSI DVD-RAM
  • Improved loading time of PlayCenter
  • Improved speed of playing audio disc for certain types of CD-ROM drives
  • Support for the detection of multiple monitors on systems running Windows 98
  • Display of tooltips in the Edit Album dialog box

I can't comment on this version yet, but Lee did experience some problems after his upgrade and reverted back to version one. Try at your own risk... but I'll say: Take a look at the news.soundblaster.com SoundBlaster Live! newsgroup, read about others' experience before you take the plunge!

Also there is 2) a patch for Prody Parrot to upgrade it from 1.00.119 to 1.00.133, fixing some old problems as well as enabling it to work under NT 4.0.

Diamond Fusion Review at VE 21:16 pm

Voodoo Extreme Hardware has done a nice review on the Diamond Fusion (3Dfx Banshee) card. Calling it a "value" product that comes with a heatsink/fan, SGRAM as well as higher clock speed than other Banshees, the reviewer seems to like this card:

"The speed of this card is pretty impressive, especially for a "value" product. The 2D is blazingly fast (more than most people will need!). It supports resolutions up to 1920x1440 in 16.7 million colours! Yeah, that toasts my monitor too. 3Dfx boasts that this is the world’s fastest 2D because the Banshee chip has some hardware support for Window’s DirectDraw. Hey, with a 250MHz RAMDAC, it’s damned fast already, be it software or hardware. The 3D side of things, while fast, is very plain."

"Yes, those are some REALLY wacky scores. I don’t know if Diamond did anything to the drivers or if overclocking it really makes a difference, but man, those Direct3D scores really flew, but the Quake scores were just average. Goes to show that even though the Banshee isn’t a high-end 3D solution it’s still a fast card."

BeOS Pushed as Windows Alternative 21:07 pm

The novel BeOS will be pushed as an alternative operating system to Windows 2000, especially in the field of audio processing and video rendering. At the same time, Be will be enabling the coexistence of BeOS with Windows...

Interested in promoting its processors, Intel believes that BeOS is a good way to expose and advance the multimedia processing capabilities of its Pentium II platform. "It's the combination of the Intel hardware and the BeOS that will attract the independent software developers," said Patrick Gelsinger, vice president and general manager of Intel's business products

(Catch the full cut at CoolInfo)

Get The Best AGP Performance! 21:02 pm

Ace's Hardware just posted an article titled "3D Video Card Buyer's Guide Part 1: Get the Best AGP Performance!" and they have a good bit to tell you:

"... you may be tempted to think that every PCI card is outperformed by every AGP card, but that's not the case. Why not?  Well, I quote my webmaster: "bandwidth/bus speed determines how much work you give to the processor (the onboard video processor, in this case) , the speed of the processor itself determines how much work the processor REALLY DOES" (editor's note: Wow!  I got quoted!  Now I'll have to go figure out where the hell that came from! <g>). In other words, AGP might provide a signifigant increase in bandwidth, but the onboard graphics processor is still the main reason why a video card is amazingly fast or sluggish."

Netscape bug 12:03 am

Just got hold of this from BetaNews. A new Netscape Navigator bug has been discovered that can crash all 4.0 and the 4.5 version of Netscape Navigator, with just a few lines of HTML. The flaw was discovered on November 15th, by Fabien Le Floc'h, yet it has not been brought to light until now.

The bug appears to be linked to JavaScript, and will cause an invalid page fault seconds after a web page with malicious HTML embedded is loaded. The author tells us that the problem occurs when an HTML 4.0 tag is placed in a table cell.

Adaptec SCSI PC Card 11:57 am

Adaptec's SlimSCSI 1460 will expand the capabilities of Microsoft's Windows CE operating system by letting users fetch data from or run programs off external hard disks or removable media such as Zip drives.

The PC Card also lets people expand their device's memory by using the disk's storage space as "virtual memory." That's a trick long used by desktop computers, but virtual memory has its limits because hard disks are so much slower than regular RAM.

Adaptec expects the tiny SCSI adapter to be available in January for an estimated cost of $175. But prospective buyers might want to wait a little longer, because an upcoming version of the card will support CD-ROM drives later in the first half of 1999.

Microsoft, which developed the Windows CE operating system for mobile computing devices, was happy with Adaptec's offering, saying in a statement that the adapter will help establish Windows CE.

AMD K7 11:11 am

Brotherhood of the CPU posted a very short article on the AMD K7.

The next generation of AMD's CPUs is supposed to be avaliable in less than 6 months. VIA and ALi, two major chipset manufacturers, announced that they're working on chipsets for this new CPU. This means that we will have a good amount of slot A motherboards, which good for ensuring a lower price. The chipsets, however, must support the 200Mhz bus (maybe even more, to ensure future compatibility) which will be used by the K7 and also the Alpha EV6 bus protocol. So, who knows, maybe what will really determine when the K7 will debut could be the date of release of those chipsets. 

New Banshee drivers 01:17 am

Creative just released the new Banshee drivers.

This is a standalone web package for Win9x users containing:

  • Latest Win9x drivers (v1.06)
  • Latest Bios (v1.01.2)
  • GlideSwitcher utility

This update also fixes mouse cursor pointing problems.

19th November 1998 {Thursday}
The Internet Explorer 'Patchwork' Continues... 21:53 pm

Thanks to the daily Jesse Berst's Anchordesk delivered to my mailbox, I'd been informed that Microsoft has just issued another patch for the 'Cuartango' security hole. All IE users (even those who'd downloaded the Cuartango patch before 18 Nov) are advised to grab this new fix.

MICROSOFT UPDATES IE PATCH
A security hole that can expose the contents of an Internet Explorer user's hard drive has been patched a second time by Microsoft. The software giant last month posted a patch for the glitch -- dubbed the Cuartango hole -- but soon discovered the hole was bigger than originally thought. A new 32-bit fix for what Microsoft calls the "Untrusted Script Paste" is now posted on the Microsoft security site; a 16-bit version isn't ready yet.
Click for more.

Sanctum's SBLive! Review 21:38 pm

Frank has just sent word about his review of the SoundBlaster Live! over at The Sanctum. He's raved a good bit about the card in a tight cluster of words that'll require a little deciphering...

Games that utilized Creatives EAX Extensions hit you from all corners, in front of your monitor, you lose sense of reality. Creative really suprised me with this piece of hardware, and after the last LiveWare! driver release I was even more impressed.

Hmm.. I think he liked the Live! at that point of the card's evolution.

SoundBlaster Live! Variations? 20:29 pm

Wow! New stuff will be pouring forth from Creative, it seems. MaximumPC has posted a small bit on new toys showcased for their SBLive! card that may be hitting the market, as well as some technology demos...

"... a drive bay solution, combining the Sound Blaster Live! card with digital I/O ports, optical-in and -out, volume controls, and a front mounted control panel to connect peripherals. A separate optical-in and -out header card for both the Live! and Live! Value may also be offered."

"A glimpse of what may come was also seen at Creative’s booth in a technology demonstration that showed a Live! running externally through 1394."

GameCenter's Riva TNT Roundup! 20:17 pm

It's about time I thought. GameCenter has posted their Riva TNT cards roundup, reviewing 5 popular cards like the Canopus Spectra 2500, the Creative Graphics Blaster TNT, the Diamond Viper V550, the Elsa Erazor II and the STB Velocity 4400. This time, they've awarded their GameWorthy title to both the Spectra 2500 as well as the Erazor II.

Understand, however, that we wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of the five cards we tested. When used with the latest drivers, they all perform exceptionally well. It's just that it takes a little extra to earn our GameWorthy seal, and we reserve that honor for Canopus's Spectra 2500 and ELSA's Erazor II.

The Spectra 2500 takes the prize as the most full-featured of the bunch, offering excellent TV-out, superb integration with a Voodoo 2 add-on card, and an onboard cooling fan. Currently, the ultimate gaming PC would consist of a Spectra 2500 with two Voodoo 2 cards running in SLI mode.

The Erazor II stands out as the best value. At $169, it's the same price as Creative's Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT, but the onboard fan and voltage regulator make us feel pampered and protected. The SGRAM can't hurt, though it doesn't appear to help much either.

Well, you may like to take a look at the 2 reviews that Hardware One had done on the Canopus Spectra 2500. 1) Canopus Spectra 2500 Review (by Wilfred) 2) Canopus Spectra 2500 User Review (by Toh Boon Kiat)

Riva Vanta... Not Meant for Gamers? 20:11 pm

Sad to say, from what is said at MaximumPC's Comdex coverage, the Riva Vanta will not be meant for gamers but aimed at business users. Read this scoop on its architecture:

  • Vanta uses a 64-bit architecture, as opposed to the TNT's 128-bit architecture
  • Support up to 32MB of local memory
  • Vanta will be a motherboard only video chipset
  • AGP 4x support
  • 0.25-micron fabrication

Creative May Release 'RIO-like' Portable MP3 Player 19:50 pm

I guess many are seeing the huge opportunity after Diamond Multimedia won the landmark suit to market its RIO portable MP3 player, MANY others... even Creative Labs might be joining in to produce a similar device. Sliced this off CoolInfo:

Creative Labs is also toying with idea of releasing a MP3 player with features similar to Diamond’s device. Dubbed Pocket Player, the portable MP3 player would feature 32MB of RAM onboard with additional storage though a Smart Media slot. Songs would be downloaded to the device through a parallel port connector, with the approximately 10 hours of play time powered by a single AA battery.

I'm just hoping the leaders of consumer electronics like Sony and gang will understand that MP3 will not be stopped and START MANUFACTURING MP3 devices for us too... or we might just see Diamond or Creative gaining a foothold in this potentially huge market.

RailRoad Tycoon II Review 19:42 pm

GamersCentral has delivered a review on the second incarnation of the popular RailRoad Tycoon franchise now from PopTop Software. Remember building your railroad empire with ever increasing rail routes, trains and stations? Choo! Choo!

Railroad Tycoon II is a fun game to play. Beating your opponents one year doesn't mean you'll do the same next year. You'll rarely see yourself sit back and enjoy the view (which is a very enjoyable pastime by the way) because there's always something to do. Start a new line, change the cargo types a certain train carries, replace an outdated engine or make your old tracks compatible with electric trains. If you're tired of one map, just change to one of the others, there are plenty to choose from.

3DHardware.net on Hercules Terminator Beast 19:34 pm

The Savage3D-based Hercules Terminator Beast is reviewed at 3DHardware.net. Having tested the card with the LATEST driver revision, they had found that the card was finally mature and stable enuf to use... perhaps it's not too late yet.

The Terminator Beast has been through a lot since its release. Many have thought that Hercules released it a little too early like they did with the Hercules Stingray 128/3D, the first Voodoo Rush card on the market. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. At this point, I can say that the drivers have finally matured a good bit and are stable enough to actually use.

Microsoft In Court 19:26 pm

Two pieces of news about the trial of Microsoft Corp. Well, the first piece, a federal judge orders Microsoft to modify Windows 98 within 90 days to comply with Sun's Java standard or pulll the product off the market. Here's a snip:

"U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte gave Microsoft 90 days to modify its Windows 98 operating system and Internet Explorer 4.0 Web browser or pull them from the market."

"Whyte's ruling bars the sale of Windows 98 and Internet Explorer 4.0 with Java technology beginning in 90 days unless Microsoft modifies the software to comply with Sun compatibility tests."

The second piece revolved around the questioning of chairman Bill Gates at the anti-trust lawsuit, who had been evasive throughout the examination.

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson often shook his head or grinned in apparent exasperation at Gates' refusal to answer certain questions. At one point, Gates and Boies wrangled over the term "non-Microsoft browser."

"You understand what is meant by non-Microsoft browsers, do you not, sir?" Boies asked.

"No," Gates replied.

"You don't?" Boies asked. "Is that what you're telling me? You don't understand what that means?"

"You'll have to be more specific," Gates responded.

"Do you understand what is meant by non-Microsoft browsers"

"In the right context, I'd understand that," Gates said.

Comparison of 3D Chip 02:51 am

VoodooExtreme popped up a updated version of the popular 3D chipsets around in the market, including the new Voodoo3, Ticket to Ride IV and Rage 128. There are also technical features like bump-mapping, anisotropic filtering etc.

18th November 1998 {Wednesday}
Logitech Soundman Extreme Speakers 21:22 pm

Vince just popped a note over to inform me about his latest review of the Logitech Soundman Extreme Speakers at Hardgame. He was satisfactorily impressed with the quality of its sound and build. Talking about durability, I'd found this hilarious 'torture' test which he performed on them:

To prove their durability, Logitech actually drove overtop of them with a Jeep. Not wanting to take their word for it, I immediately slapped them under my PC monitor with absolutely no ill effects. Going a step further, I put them on the floor, and stood on them without hearing so much as a creak out of them.

Voodoo 3. Voodoo 3. Voodoo 3. 20:38 pm

I'm joining in the cult to practise raving about the Voodoo 3. AnandTech posted some pretty pics on a naked Voodoo3 board at Comdex as well as a load of mushy discussion with the 3Dfx staff that'll surely melt your heart...

... the 8.1 million transistors found on the Voodoo3 will be able to process more than 100 billion operations per second, more than 7 million triangles per second, 366 million texels per second, and overall it should offer about 2 - 3x the performance of a Voodoo2 SLI. From AnandTech's brief encounter with 3Dfx this morning, the closest thing to a relative benchmark would be the claim that a Pentium II system running the current revision of the Voodoo3 silicon was able to achieve 30.1 fps in Quake 2 at 1600 x 1200, in comparison to the absolutely unplayable < 15 fps of a similar configuration on a Riva TNT.

First Half-Life Review at GameCenter 20:28 pm

Tired of previews, and more previews? The guys at GameCenter has thrown at you the very first Half-Life review on the net. Eager to know what they think of the full game?

This game looks so good that our Consoles editor, John Marrin, wasn't able to lob his unending and asinine, "But it's so brown" Quake II rant at it. You'll encounter some awesome outdoor scenes that would be great to sit and wonder at if it weren't for all of the shooting. And the indoor scenes look equally excellent, with seamless transitions between dank sewer pipes and bright labs. Water effects often have been the graphical Achilles' heel for many games, but with the exception of a few rips and tears here and there, the water in Half-Life looks and behaves like real H2O: the surface ripples, and bubbles come up from nowhere.

Graphics aside, GameCenter has lots of praises for the gameplay, storyline and AI. Screenshots anyone? Hurry over NOW!

New I/O Card for SoundBlaster Live! 20:13 pm

Over at 3DSoundSurge, I saw a little para telling of The SBLive! Discussion List's stolen glance at Creative's new digital I/O card for the SoundBlaster Live! It features an Optical I/O connector. Hmm.. oh well, will I be getting it free?

Comdex 98 Coverage 19:59 pm

Just wanna let you know that my buddy Julio has put up a special corner on 3DSpotlight for the purpose of covering this IT extravaganza. Don't wanna miss a beat even when you're thousands of miles away? (like me? *sob*) Warp over to 3DSpotlight!

Rockin' Voodoo3 Shockwave Site 18:36 pm

Not an announcement, really. But 3Dfx has kicked off a nicely animated Voodoo3 presentation site using Shockwave. Read it "WORLD's FASTEST 3D & 2D CHIP!" Visit it here!

3DMark99 Benchmark Comparison Page 18:27 pm

3DMark.com has finished their spit and polished benchmark page with nice bar graphs for you to do some comparison. The winner was quite expected with the SLI Voodoo2 attaining a comfortable lead over ALL other cards. (I'm still wondering how they get such fantastic scores for all their cards... Hmmm...)

STEP-UP Yukon Cooler 10:40 am

Our pal over at BXBoards just posted a new review on the STEP-UP Yukon cooler.

STEP-ThermoDynamics. STEP offers something that no other CPU vendor has so far given us: A guaranteed rate of speed from an overclocked CPU. How can this be true? And, more importantly, is it true?

Anand at Comdex 10:27 am

Anand posted an interesting article on his Day 1 visit to Comdex. Some interestings things are the Intel ZX chipset, the Socket 370, VIA MVP4 and the Voodoo3. Some of the interesting pictures include:

Gigabyte Quad Xeon
motherboard
370-Slot 1 converter

ATI Fury 10:13 am

Found this from VE. It looks like the new ATI Fury is a killer. Based on the ATI Rage128 chipset , the benchmark numbers showed how it knocked out the competition in both synthetic tests and realworld test. It's going to come in flavours like PCI, AGP, 16Mb and even 32Mb! Cool! Another plausible candidate for your video card upgrade next year.

3D WinBench 99
Fury 575
TNT 480
Banshee 467
G200 323
Savage 3D failed
3D Mark 99
Fury 1834
TNT 1424
Banshee 1694
G200 1199
Savage 3D 1308
Unreal (fps)
Fury 35
TNT 30
Banshee 29
G200 17
Savage 3D 20

Here are some of the the specs and selling points:

  • OpenGL ICD for NT 4.0 & Windows 98/95
  • DirectX 5.0, DirectX 6.0, Direct3D, DirectDraw
  • Triangle Setup Engine
  • Texture Cache
  • Bilinear/Trilinear Filtering
  • Line & Edge Anti-aliasing
  • Texture Compositing
  • Texture Decompression
  • Specular Highlights
  • Perspectively Correct Texture Mapping
  • Mip-Mapping
  • Z-buffering and Double-buffering
  • Bump Mapping
  • Fog effects, texture lighting, video textures, reflections, shadows, spotlights, LOD biasing and texture morphing
  • A new 128-bit graphics engine and 128-bit memory interface for incredibly fast 3D and 2D graphics performance
  • Full OpenGL ICD, Direct 3D and DirectX 6.0 support for all your favorite 3D games
  • 32MB of memory for realistic gameplay with massive textures and high resolution
  • Advanced 3D features including line and edge anti-aliasing, double buffering, gouraud shading and single-pass multi-texturing
  • Built-in hardware DVD for full-frame, full-screen DVD playback
  • Support for ATI-TV, the add-on TV Tuner card
17th November 1998 {Tuesday}
60 Frames Per Second at 1280x1024 res? 23:50 pm

Errr.. have I gotten on your nerves yet? No? Then here's more Voodoo3 update! What are your thoughts on the prospect of ripping through virtually ANY game at the above speed? Catch MaximumPC's preliminary benchmark done on a preliminary V3 card:

Voodoo3 Quake II (map demo1.dm2) Resolution/Frames-per-second: 800x600/ 98.6fps, 1024x768/ 72.7fps, 1600x1200/ 31.6fps

Otay! Otay! I'll leave you at this tonight! Haven't taken a Leonid shower in 33 years <yawn>.

No 32-Bit Rendering On Voodoo3. 22-Bit? 19:12 pm

If you can't stand us talking non-stop about the Voodoo3, then you need some medication. I won't go on explaining but you have a serious problem! :P Voodoo Extreme has just posted another fresh bit to answer everybody's 1/2 a million dollar (Sing$) question, "Will V3 support 32-Bit Rendering??"

There is no 32 bit rendering. There IS 22 bit rendering. Reason being, they (3DFX) asked developers of recent and future (within the next year) games if they would actually use 32 bit rendering or if they saw any major difference in quality. The response: 15% said they  saw a difference in their games or they would use 32 bit rendering in their games. My opinion (like anyone gives a rats' ass): if the textures are done well enough (and most of them are) I can live with 16 bit rendering with a killer frame-rate at unbelievable resolutions.

I kinda agree with him on the real need for 32-bit rendering. I'm not bias. No! Actually yes, I'm bias, but I couldn't tell the difference when Incoming ran in 32-bit colour or 16-bit colour...can you? Gimme the frame rates with that 366MTexel/s!!!!! Whoop ass!

Pioneer 4.7Gb DVD-R and RW Writer 11:22 am

Pioneer New Media Technologies announced plans for the industry's first 4.7GB DVD-R (Write Once) drive that includes 4.7GB DVD-RW (Rewritable) capabilities.

DVD-RW brings rewritability to the popular DVD-R format. DVD Forum approval for both 4.7 GB DVD-R and RW is expected by year-end and product availability is targeted for Q2 1999.

"The increased capacity to 4.7GB and rewritability will enable content developers, and any other data intensive user, to easily use this DVD-based standard format for various applications," said Paul Dempsey, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Pioneer New Media Technologies. "This new drive is a natural extension of the existing 3.95GB DVD-R writer and should open new markets in data storage, archival and video authoring."

Rewritability is achieved using phase-change technology. Similar in concept to CD-RW, DVD-RW will enable more than 1,000 rewrites and stores any type of digital information such as video, audio, images, multimedia titles and data files. The DVD-RW drive will be available in both an external and half-height internal version. This SCSI-2 device is capable of writing at 1X DVD-ROM speed and reading at 2X DVD-ROM speed, and will include incremental write capabilities.

KyroTech 500 MHz AMD Machine 11:19 am

KryoTech, Inc. today announced a 500MHz version of its Cool K6-2 personal computer. The superfast machine, based on a 400MHz AMD-K6-2 processor thermally accelerated to 500MHz with KryoTech's cooling system, provides turbo-charged performance and superior thermal management for the most demanding PC applications.

"Power users are excited about the performance of the AMD-K6-2 processor combined with our cooling system," said Dennis Peck, Senior Vice President of Sales at KryoTech. "The Cool K6-2 is an outstanding platform for graphics professionals and extreme gamers."

"We are very pleased to be working with KryoTech on the Cool K6-2 line of PCs," said Dana Krelle, Vice President of Marketing at AMD. "The performance of the 500MHz Cool K6-2 sets the new high-water mark for power users everywhere," Krelle added.

KryoTech is selling the Cool K6-2 in a barebones configuration with ATX motherboard, AMD-K6-2 processor, KryoTech minus 40 degree Celsius cooling system, power supply, and thermally enhanced ATX case for $1,695. The company is taking orders on its website, http://www.kryotech.com, for customer deliveries starting in December.

AOpen 6X DVD Rom Drive 09:26 am

Got this from Sharky again. Motherboard manufacturer AOpen announced a new DVD-ROM drive which they claim to be the fastest drive on the market. The DVD-9632 is a 6X drive which AOpen claims achieves "a 55X CD-ROM drive" and a maximum data transfer rate of 8,310Kbps. Estimated street price for the DVD-9632 will be $199.

More more Voodoo3 09:24 am

Yeah, it's the hottest thing around. For the official 3Dfx Voodoo3 website, go to here.

"3D is the fastest growing segment in computing and Voodoo3’s unprecedented 3D and 2D performance will enable our enthusiast gamers as well as the mainstream consumers to experience the next generation of highly complex 3D interactive entertainment," said Greg Ballard, president and chief executive officer for 3Dfx Interactive. "Voodoo3 answers the exploding demand for realistic graphics and no-compromise performance."

More Voodoo3 09:19 am

These were taken from SharkyExtreme.

Earlier this morning at Steven Spielberg's The Dive restaurant in Las Vegas, 3Dfx announced their new lineup of cards, entitled Voodoo 3. Their new line includes the Voodoo 3 2000 and the Voodoo 3 3000.

With 8.2 million transistors, Voodoo3 is manufactured in TSMC's Fab 4, cutting-edge .25 micron, five-metal layer process. The tight integration of 3D and 2D graphics, VGA, video/DVD and flat panel support enables the single chip Voodoo3 to surpass the performance and features of what previously required seven individual chips and three separate boards.

The technical breakdown for both is as follows:

  • Dual 32-Bit texture rendering architecture
  • True multitexturing: 2 textures per-pixel per-clock
  • Full hardware setup of triangle parameters
  • Support for multi-triangle strips and fans
  • Single Pass, Single-cycle bump mapping
  • Single Pass, Single-cycle trilinear mip-mapping
  • Alpha blending on source and destination pixels
  • Full-scene polygon-based edge anti-aliasing
  • Floating point Z-buffer
  • True per-pixel, LOD MIP mapping with biasing and clamping
  • Texture compositing for multi-texture special effects
  • 8-tap anisotropic filtering
  • Support for 14 texture map formats
  • 8-bit palletized textures with bilinear filtering

The difference between the two cards is as follows:

Voodoo 3 3000 (For Gamers)

  • 7 million triangle per second
  • 366 Megatexels per second
  • 350MHz RAMDAC: 2048x1536 @ 75Hz
  • 183MHz Core Graphics Clock
  • 3Dfx Voodoo Compatibility
  • 2X AGP w/ Sidebands
  • DVD Acceleration
  • Digital LCD Support
  • Digital video out
  • 4-16MB SGRAM
  • .25 micron
  • 8.2 million transistors
  • Optimized for Pentium II I/O

Voodoo 3 2000 (For Applications)

  • 4 million triangle per second
  • 250 Megatexels per second
  • 300MHz RAMDAC: 2048x1536 @ 65Hz
  • 125MHz Core Graphics Clock
  • 3Dfx Voodoo Compatibility
  • 2X AGP w/ Sidebands
  • DVD Acceleration
  • Digital LCD Support
  • Digital video out
  • 4-16MB SGRAM
  • .25 micron
  • 8.2 million transistors
  • Optimized for Pentium II I/O

ABit announces Dual SCSI Board 09:17 am

ABit announces the new IT6B during the Comdex. Will this board be as overclockable as the BH6? 

As SCSI becomes the standard interface for peripherals, ABIT has implemented the Adaptec on board SCSI chip on to the board. The ABIT IT6B not only offers Dual Processor support but also Dual SCSI in the form of Adaptec's AIC 7895 SCSI controller chip. Adaptec is the ultimate leader as far as the SCSI market is concerned. Thus ABIT is proud to work closely with another industry leader to develop a new range of reliable ABIT boards. The SCSI controller's BIOS is an integrated part of the mainboard BIOS. This way ABIT is able to secure the highest degree of compatibility and ease of BIOS upgrades through the flash ROM of your system BIOS.

Winamp 2.05 00:23 am

Winamp 2.05 is out. You can get the file from our Utilities section or by clicking here. New features are:

  • wVis 4.0 (better fullscreen support, new effects, higher quality rendering!)
  • Preliminary CDDB support. It rocks!
  • Massively better HTTP streaming. Even allows you to psuedo-stream MOD and MIDI files!
  • Much improved MOD/XM/IT playback.
  • A lot of new IPC stuff (for plug-in authors)
  • Bugfixes galore
16th November 1998 {Monday}
Oh Dear! Clogged Up Mailbox! 21:34 pm

Heh people! If you hadn't receive a reply from me in the past week, it is probably because of my clogged up mailbox. Well, you can blame me for it coz' I'd misconfigured my email forwarding service and allowed 2 weeks worth of mails to pile up.

Thanks for the patience! I'll be responding to most of the mails in no time!

TNT's Successor - nVidia Vanta 18:43 pm

I was just complaining about the lack of new graphics chips on the horizon then both 3Dfx and nVidia have to come up with kick-ass announcements simultaneously. nVidia will be releasing the new chip, Vanta, which will be based on core technology found in the Riva TNT.

The NVIDIA Vanta is a cost-effective, highly integrated 3D/2D graphics processor designed for the Windows 2000 platform. Leveraging the award-winning RIVA TNT core technology, NVIDIA Vanta delivers breakthrough 3D and 2D graphics performance. In addition to its outstanding graphics capabilities, the NVIDIA Vanta provides complete support for video, software and hardware DVD playback, flat panel display, and support for system management standards for the 1999 PC platform.

Read nVidia's press release over at Riva3D now!

Voodoo 3 Unveiled! 18:37 pm

Before you get over excited, yes... AGN Hardware has caught a fuzzy snapshot of the V3 card and posted a little of what they saw at 3Dfx's booth.

Doing a little bit of pre-Comdex snooping, we were able to gain a little bit of info on this new chip, what will be called the Voodoo3. Very little is known about the Voodoo 3, other then the fact is going to be a very powerful processor that will cost around the same price as a Banshee. Other features will include DVD hardware acceleration, an improved Banshee 2D core for killer 2D performance and what is only promised to be the fastest 3D acceleration on the planet. There is one thing that can be said about 3Dfx and their marketing, they never seem to lie. The Banshee was never touted as a Voodoo 2 killer, only as a great companion to a pair of Voodoo2 cards.

Cost about the same as a Banshee but faster? I mean much much faster?

Processors Roadmap 11:06 am

That's a new processor roadmap over at Quake Benchmarks on FastGraphics. This roadmap covers up to year 2003.

This desktop machine will succeed the Katmai. The main difference is that the Coppermine is shrunk down to 0.18 for higher clock speeds. It is painfull to read that it will not have on-die cache, the Coppermine will be shipped with 512KB external half clock speed L2 cache. The Coppermine will start at a clock speed of 600MHz. Mobile Coppermines can also be expected. It's unknown at which speed this CPU-serie will stop?.. at 800MHz (6x133?)

New Viper BIOS? 10:59 am

Adrian put up an article on the new Viper 330 v1.82b beta BIOS vs the 1.62 version. Check out the new benchmarks between the new version and the old version.

Despite the advent of new graphics chips like the 3Dfx Banshee and the nVidia RIVA TNT, there are still millions of RIVA 128 users out there. These users are constantly looking for ways to improve the RIVA 128's performance. However, many people will tell you that the RIVA 128 is absolutely horrible in visual quality and the best thing to do is to junk it and get a better one.

Still, there are many RIVA 128 users who are constantly looking for ways to improve the RIVA 128's performance. Why? For one thing, the RIVA 128 itself can still handle the present 3D games quite well, especially after various optimizations. So, instead of rushing to get a better (and costlier) card, why not just optimize it first to extend its useful life?

Server is up! 10:54 am

Our server over at Singapore One is finally up. Bet you miss us, right? No !?

Anyway, be sure to bookmark our US site at http://www.hardware-one.com.

Sonique 0.62 00:50 am

Noticed over at BetaNews.COM that Sonique 0.62 has been released! MP3 fans, be sure to check out this new version. What's new:

Sonique is a digital audio player which has a very nice user interface to complement the sound. The major change in this release is the new Vis Effects options, which include blur and fade. Also, the online tool section in the Nav is more complete.

Rants #3 at Alive!: Merits & Demerits of EAX & A3D 2.0 00:41 am

Lee just sent word about his latest ranting about the Merits & Demerits of Creative's EAX and Aureal's A3D 2.0. Actually... mainly "Which is better, Reverb or 3D Audio?". Pretty controversial stuff... gotta read it and join in the discussion! Flames?

"... contrary to what Skip says, Reverb does not distract the gamer. It immerses them. That was just an excuse to cover up for the inferior Reverb engine on the Vortex 2."

He is right to say that Reverb does have a wide range of uses, while stuff like occlusions and reflections will mainly shine in FPS and simulators. However, that does not rule out the importance of those genres of games. That must be the reason Creative is announcing EAX 2.0 to support these capabilities.

I think the Live! will be the better card for music enthusiasts but for now, Vortex 2 cards like the MX300 is the better gaming card unless & until EAX 2.0 proves itself to be superior. MOST IMPORTANTLY, Live! owners are resting their hopes on the continued evolution of the features through tapping the powers of the EMU10K. [Check out the rants at Alive!]

15th November 1998 {Sunday}
FrontLine Reviews Elsa Erazor II 23:58 pm

Noticed over at our buddy site Frontline has reviewed the TNT card from Elsa. The Erazor II is one rare card you'll find at Sim Lim Square. Check this out:

Elsa's implementation of the Riva TNT is top notch. They've gone with a non-reference design, arming it with SGRAM and a fan to cool things down. Make sure that you have the latest drivers for the card to improve image quality and stability. The Erazor II doesn't come with a TV-Out, but if you don't need one, this is your card.

Microsoft Office 2000 Preview 23:55 pm

PC Magazine previews Microsoft Office 2000 with lots of screenshots and sneak peeks at many of the new features to be found in their next big ass office suite upgrade.

Server downtime 15:14 pm

We will like to apologise for the server downtime experienced at http://hardware.s-one.net.sg. Apparently, the server is still down at this time of writing.

Meanwhile, you can visit us at http://www.hardware-one.com. Be sure to bookmark both our sites!

Epox KP6-BS 15:08 pm

Our buddy at BXBoards posted a review on the Epox KP6-BS dual BX motherboard. This board looks great! Featuring 5 PCI/2 ISA/1 AGP, it support 4 DIMMs up to a maximum 1 GB of RAM.

It would be misleading to suggest that buying a dual-processor motherboard will double your performance - its not quite as simply a matter of multiplying your processor speeds by 2 for a dual system, and 4 for a quad system - the results are not additive. You need to be running Windows NT 3.51 or above, or some variety of Unix that supports SMP. Implementing a sucessful SMP system is a marriage of motherboard, CPU and Operating System, so you can forget running a dual board under Windows 95 or 98 - that second processor will not get used.

Another reason why you cannot expect double performance is that a great deal of hand-shaking between the processors is necessary in order to prevent bus-contention issues. Therefore the processors spend a great deal of their time simply running "After you, Claude" checking in order to prevent resource clashes, or even worse, deadlocks. The addition of a second processor will only increase speeds by an order of 50%, while adding a 3rd would increase things only be another 25%. With 4 processors the law of diminishing returns kicks in, with a gain of only around 12-13% when stepping up from 3 to 4 processors

ADSL Modem for S$99 15:00 pm

Hmm...I cannot believe it. SingTel Magix is having another promotion. If you trade in your old modem, you can get a new ADSL modem for S$99 only. Subscription rates are S$60 for 30 hours or S$120 for 60 hours per month.

Sounds good?

Speculations. Avenger or Banshee 2?? 09:58 am

Rumours off the Rumour Mill at Sharky Extreme... Interesting nonetheless, but read it with a pinch of salt.

Several industry folk told us that the product 3Dfx is set to unveil this Monday is in fact none other than the infamous "Banshee 2" and not a unit with three times the processing power of the Voodoo 2 as earlier reported. The "Banshee 2" is rumored to sit atop a .25 micron die size, have faster memory and a possible second TMU. Again, everything before the official announcement on Monday is strictly speculation.

3DConcept has also thrown up a well-written article about 3Dfx. A short history of its chips as well as SPECULATIONS about the future! (Now can anybody hide their excitement about the impending announcement tomorrow?)

You may wonder what about speed of Voodoo Rampage? OK. I can only say how fast Rampage _has to be_, not how fast it will be. "Has to be" because of the fact that 3Dfx will lose their good name as the best 3D-Chipdeveloper, if they won't blow away the competitors by a large margain. Rampage has to do 1600x1200x32 or 1024x786 with decent anti-aliasing at reasonable framerates. Of course, it has to be faster than Voodoo 2 SLI.

I thought this slice I read from 3DConcept to be very reasonable indeed. The Rampage definitely has to beat the V2 in SLI by a substantial margin. This brings me to the point "Why isn't the TNT a clear winner over the venerable V2?" I offer my reasons:

  1. Glide support is still a major consideration for many gamers
  2. TNT can run games at up to 1600x1200... but SLOWLY, thus not justifying its dominance over the V2 which will match it comfortably up to 800x600 (or 1024x768 with SLI!)

Intel 600Mhz Notebooks Soon? 09:38 am

Saw over at CoolInfo this news from C|Net that Intel will be pushing towards 600Mhz mobile chips by end of 1999. Some cool clips:

"Intel executives showed off yet another peculiar PC design to prove that small is cool as it laid out chip plans for compact and mobile PCs. Notebooks will contain chips that run at 600-MHz and up in the second half of 1999, the same speed that desktop chips will achieve at that time and more than twice the speed of the fastest Intel-based notebooks today"

"Coppermine will be the first chip made by Intel under a next-generation manufacturing process. "The first product of the 0.18-micron [manufacturing] generation will be tailored for notebooks," he said. "For the first time in a long time we will be able to match desktop performance in mobile.""

Desktop Theater 5.1 Mini-Review 09:26 am

AGN3D has posted what they described as a "mini-review" of the Cambridge SoundWorks Desktop Theater 5.1 system. As much as what I've described in a post sometime ago, the reviewer was equally impressed with the digital AC-3 output when Gozilla stomped around!

Speaking of Godzilla, the Dolby AC-3 5.1 was about the most impressive thing that I have had the pleasure of listening to. The AC-3 DVD software of the MX300 even with my more powerful speakers did not hold a candle to the sound experience that the desktop Theater provided.

Remember to catch Hardware One's own "full" review :P of the DT5.1 system.

QSound's Q3D 2.0 Announced 09:17 am

Don't forget QSound! Lee Ee Siang of Alive! has sent word about this new press release. You should take a look and it seems remarkably similar in concept to Creative's EAX.

Q3D 2.0 is the second-generation predecessor of the highly successful Q3D™ positional 3D audio rendering technology. Q3D was first introduced in 1991 and has been incorporated in many top-selling arcade, PC, and console games from leading developers.
Building on the success of the original Q3D, Q3D 2.0 takes 3D audio to new levels by including several advanced features including QSound Environmental Modeling™ (QEM™) and multi-speaker playback. QEM, a reverberation engine compatible with the

Environmental Audio Extensions™ (EAX™) API from Creative Labs (NASDAQ: CREAF - news), considers how sound interacts with environmental elements such as room acoustics, position of players and sound source.

[Beam me to the latest news archive!]


Copyright 1998 Hardware One
Last updated 23 November 1998 22:24