01 Oct 98 - 07 Oct 98
Highlights within this period includes:
  • Canopus Replies to Odd Benchmark results
  • Some Live-ly News :)
  • Juicy 3D Sound card Roundup!
  • CuteFTP v2.6
  • FrontPage 2000
  • NT4 Service Pack 4
  • Sony & Pioneer In Blue-Laser Race
  • Overclocking Tips Updated!
  • WinAmp 2.02
  • Diamond Monster MX300
  • Secret Ops Episode 6
  • Pixels/Sprites - What are they?
  • Netscape TuneUp for IE
  • New beta Drivers for Creative V2
  • Kick Ass Voodoo 2 RoundUp
  • MotoRacer 2 Preview
  • FrontPage 2000 Preview
  • Matrox Millenium G200
  • Maxtor DiamondMax 4320 17.2Gb ATA
  • NT 5.0 Vs Red Hat Linux 5.1
  • Turtle Beach Montego II A3D
  • Populous 3: The Beginning
  • Molex boosts Xeon connector speed
  • DVD Audio
  • Xeon 450Mhz
  • Recent Downloads and Reviews
  • Message Board
  • PowerStrip 2.28
  • Epox P2-112A Mobo
  • Netscape 4.07
  • TNT Tweak Guide
  • Waterfall Pro 1.01
  • Metabyte Vengeance
  • Benchmarking
  • FourPointSurround Review
  • Setting Your MTU
  • Inkjet Shoot-Out (Literally!)
  • IBM Deskstar DTTA-371010 Review
  • Intel 440BX vs VIA Apollo Pro
  • Matrox Marvel G200
  • v1006.015 Asus P2B Flash BIOS Update
  • WinZip V7.0
  • Recordable DVD Formats
  • New Creative Labs Voodoo 2 beta Drivers
  • Glide Switcher
  • Wavetracing Q&A Session
  • Recent Friends Link-up
  • PC Fan's BroodWar Preview
  • Overclocking Your Banshee, S3D and G200
  • nVidia Licenses VIP Core
  • Improving NT's Speed
  • PowerStrip 2.28.5
  • Windows NT 5.0: Your Future OS?
  • Toshiba 4.6X DVD-ROM Drive
  • Meteor Shower
  • Kenwood 40X 'TrueX' CDROM Drive
  • Seeking Vengeance
  • Shogo Review
  • IBM Power3 Chip
  • Need for Speed III : Hot Pursuit
  • Microsoft SideWinder Freestyle Pro
  • DDR RAM
7th October 1998 {Wednesday}
DDR Ram 7th October 19:52 pm

Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. are trying to push the new open-standard DRAM technology into a range of applications from PCs to high-end workstations and servers, where CPU clock frequencies have started to outstrip DRAM speeds. While many vendors expressed optimism that DDR will be adopted in high-end systems, questions remain as to whether the memories will make a good fit at the midrange to low end of the PC market.

DDR devices, which are specified by a Jedec standard, achieve high-speeds by including DLL circuitry that enables the device to read data on both the rising and falling edges of each clock cycle, effectively doubling the part's bandwidth.

The concept is not unlike what's used in Direct Rambus DRAMs, which will also start their commercial rollout shortly. For more information, read here.

The fact that Direct Rambus is a protocol-based interface allows it to use a narrow 16-bit channel to achieve high speeds with a low pin count. DDR is a more conventional approach based the low-voltage-swing 2.5-V Stub Series Terminated Logic-2 (SSTL-2) interface for syncrhonous devices. Both claim to provide up to 1.6-Gbyte/second peak bandwidth.

The DDR devices, according to the Jedec spec, use a bidirectional strobe signal, a 2.5-V SSTL-2 interface and a 66-pin, 400-mm thin small-outline package. New184-pin dual-in-line memory modules are also required.

Microsoft SideWinder FreeStyle Pro 7th October 19:27 pm

I swear I saw an article about this new toy on our local Computer Times. Heh, but Sharky Extreme has taken it for close examination too and here's the report on Microsoft's nifty new device. (Full Preview)

The two-handed design takes a bit of getting used to. No diddling room here. In fact, the motion-sensing gizmos came straight out of car airbag technology (see, not everything comes from the space program) so strap in and fly! Just keep in mind that casual gestures can send you racing into the next bonus round or slamming into a wall. The motion input disable button comes in handy for those must scratch moments or for games that really don't adapt well to 'Tilt'.

- Gimme the whole thing, please!

Need For Speed III : Hot Pursuit 7th October 19:06 pm

GameCenter has done a review on one of the most popular racing games by Electronic Arts. In this new version, NFSIII features this 'Hot Pursuit' mode in which you play the good guy chasing those hell drivers down the freeway. One of my lunch break thrills, be sure to check it out. Ok, I liked this bit best:

Audio, meanwhile, is outrageously immersive. Engine sounds in particular will blanket the frequency range of anyone's sound system and are truly exquisite when reverberating through a tunnel or subterranean passage. A wide range of environmental sounds--whistling wind, thunder, gas pump bells (when you pull into a gas station), and even children at play as you pass school yards--further add to the overall audio impact.

But perhaps the biggest thrill of all comes in the superb depiction of the ungodly built-for-racing Mercedes CLK-GTR. An explosion for the senses, this bonus car toys with the competition, pouncing mercilessly upon its foes and rampaging past the opposition, its motor growling and brakes shrieking. Needless to say, this mechanical marvel is one mean machine.

IBM Power3 Chip 7th October 18:42 pm

Wow! I was really impressed when I read this bit at CoolInfo's. Ripped it off for you:

IBM's POWER3 microprocessor was launched Monday with IBM claiming the chip "performs like eight chips in one". POWER3 has been designed by the team that gave life to Deep Blue, the supercomputer that took on chess grand master Garry Kasparov last year and won. The processor was introduced on IBM's new, high-performance RS/6000 43P Model 260 graphical workstation. The 64-bit POWER3 microprocessor is a RISC-based chip developed for IBM's UNIX workstations and servers.

According to IBM, the chip is unlike a typical PC microprocessor because it "features eight execution units fed by a 6.4 gigabyte per second memory subsystem". IBM states that this will allow POWER3 to "outperform competitors' processors running at two to three times the clock speed".

Shogo Review 7th October 18:38 pm

Shogo - We haven't mentioned this game in Hardware One, have we? With all the pre-release hype surrounding this "Japanese animated Robotech" inspired first person shooter, the audience are all charged up in anticipation of its release.

And here, OGR gives you a review on it. Read all about it!

Seeking Vengeance! 7th October 18:35 pm

The Vengeance reviews are popping up everywhere and AGN3D scores with a new review on it. Based on the 3Dfx Banshee, Metabyte has put in a lot of work to come up with mighty drivers that greatly pushed the capability of the card.

[Re2Flex] also works in 3D, allowing you to enable some very non-standard resolutions and refresh rates in your 3D games.  The reference banshee defaults to a top resolution of 1600x1200.  Not the Vengeance. 1600x1200 was not good enough for the folks at the Wicked 3D Board Company.  Re2Flex enables 3D resolutions as high as 1920x1440 and refresh rates as high as 160Hz. 

Kenwood 40X 'TrueX' CDROM Drive 7th October 18:18 pm

Computer Heaven has thrown up a review on Kenwood's TrueX CDROM Drive. Unlike drives of today, which performs at their rated ?X speeds only on the outer tracks, the Kenwood drive is capable of achieving 40X performance on ALL the tracks of the CDROM drive.

Using Zen's Research's Multibeam technology, the Kenwood TrueX CDROM scored some incredible Winbench scores of 6000 kb/s and 6890 kb/s for the inner and outer tracks respectively.

The performance of the Kenwood 40X "TrueX" CD-rom drive is absolutely Phenomenal. There simply is nothing better, if you are looking for a high end CD-rom drive, look no further! Transferring files was extremely fast, although not up to the speed of my hard drive (Cheetah 9LP) sitting in my computer, it did give a few of my aging IDE drives a run for their money. DAE (digital Audio Extraction) was also flawless, with no "cracking" or "popping" audible in the .wav file after transfer. The .wav files produced after the transfer was finished were flawless.

Meteor Shower 7th October 07:40 am

Something not really computer related. Satellite operators are bracing their equipment for a massive meteor shower next month, but opinion is divided over whether to expect a communications catastrophe or just a gigantic fireworks display.

When the Leonids meteor shower occurs on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 this year, it will appear as a spectacular visual show for observers on earth. For the several hundred satellites providing telecommunications, broadcasting, and other signals, however, the fast-moving sand-sized particles could cause damage and disruption, said experts in the satellite industry.

Leonids is a meteor shower that trails the Temple-Tuttle comet as it passes the earth every year. The comet is on a 33-year cycle and will be closer to the earth this year than it has been since 1965.

The majority of the particles in the shower are smaller than a grain of sand, but will be traveling at more than 200 times the speed of sound. The particles will vaporize material on impact. This could devastate the electronics on board one of the 800 satellites now orbiting earth.

The impact of a satellite outage was felt in May, when almost all pagers in the United States went out of action after a technical problem with the PanAmSat Galaxy IV communications satellite.

6th October 1998 {Tuesday}
Toshiba 4.6X DVD-ROM Drive 6th October 23:52 pm

Andy sent word that he hasn't been himself lately, he's even serving us with cool reviews on storage devices and DVD ROM drives now.

Hmm. come on, check out The Unofficial BX6/BH6 Page's review on the Toshiba 4.6X Drive. It has 4.6X DVD read capability, 32X CDROM speed and the ability to read DVD-RAM discs.

If you are in the market for a new CDROM drive then DVD is well worth considering - its certainly no longer an expensive luxury, and large multimedia applications such as Encarta will soon be released on either 6 CD's or 1 DVD-ROM - I know which format I'd rather have!

Windows NT 5.0: Your Future OS? 6th October 20:40 pm

C|Net has taken a sneek peek at MY most anticipated OS... I sure hope it won't let me down. This is the big OS Microsoft hopes to put on every person's desktop, surely we must know what the Redmond giant has in store for us?

"... Microsoft ultimately wants every PC running NT. To this end, the company says it has a full-time development staff of 5,000 working on NT 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The software giant hopes its huge investment will help make NT 5.0 the most powerful and flexible operating system ever created"

As you might already have known, NT 5.0 has quite a number of Win98-like features for small time users like us. These are the important things to me:

  • Stable and Robust Operating Environment
  • Windows 98 Interface
  • Plug & Play Support
  • DirectX 6.0 for audio & graphics
  • FAT32 Support
  • Windows Update
  • Wizards
  • Support for new devices like AGP, DVD, IEEE 1394 and USB.
  • Supports ACPI

I know I'm only scratching the surface and NT 5.0 boasts of a lot more features... network administration stuff and all. Please roll over and read C|Net's full report for MORE details.

Powerstrip 2.28.5 6th October 20:07 pm

Are you growing tired of this? Yeah. But it's here all right. This time because of an evil hacked version posing as the real 2.28, so it's re-released.

Because we are a reputable site *cough*, you can grab it right off Hardware One under our "Utilities" section without any worries. If you're too lazy, just click here. The snip:

Apparently there's a hacked version of PowerStrip 2.28 floating around the net, that you will want to watch out for. This hacked version is in an easily-spotted 800kb+ archive named pstrip.zip, and includes a replacement setup program which appears to try and steal dial-up accounts numbers and passwords (or worse), before proceeding thru a normal installation. Since this type of hack does not affect the PowerStrip executables, and could be applied to many openly-distributed programs, there's not much in the way of safeguards that I can think to add, except to re-release the program as PowerStrip 2.28.5, and ask you to note that the file name is pstrip.exe and that the exact file size is 754,688 bytes.

Improving NT's speed 6th October 19:34 pm

WinMag has came out with an article on how to improve the speed of your NT server/workstation.

Sooner or later, it will happen. Your once zippy Windows NT system will respond with less vigor than usual. Maybe you'll have too many applications on your hard drive, not enough RAM, or a network or peripheral hang-up. In any case, NT will slow down. Before rushing out to buy more memory or upgrade your CPU, try tinkering under the hood of your operating system. NT has two excellent tools to help you pinpoint trouble: Task Manager and Performance Monitor.

Nvidia licenses VIP Core 6th October 19:32 pm

Innovative Semiconductors Inc. here said today it has licensed the Video Interface Port (VIP) core to Nvidia Corp., which will incorporate it in its future 3-D graphics chips.

VIP, an open Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) standard, specifies the interface between graphics controllers and video devices. As a universal standard, VIP meets the industry's demand for compatibility, low-cost and high performance. VIP also offers an upgrade path to support emerging applications such as HDTV and Codec (Digital VCR).

"I welcome Nvidia to our growing list of VIP core licensees," said Nabil Takla, president of Innovative. "VIP has gained widespread industry support, and I am glad that we can help our customers meet their goals in time-to-market, validation, and compatibility."

Overclocking Your Banshee, S3D and G200 6th October 18:20 pm

Remember the last kick ass first parter you read at FastGraphics? Now they've completed the review with lots of benchmarked results to show you. Do yourself a favour, check it out!

So what we see is pretty interesting. When we push the Matrox Mystique G200 to 130 MHz, it reaches the performance that the S3 Savage3D shows at default speed. Overclocking that same Savage3D to its limit, we see that is performs nearly equal to a 3Dfx Banshee board at default speed.

PCFan's BroodWar Preview 6th October 18:13 pm

StarCraft addict? Go satisfy your lusts here. PCFan has taken pity on you by bringing you a short preview on your most awaited high.

"it's practically a foregone conclusion that Brood War will fly off the shelves when it hits stores in October. Fans of the original will flock to experience the new units and witness the furthering of the powerful storyline"

Recent Friends Link-Up 6th October 18:09 pm

Thought I should update you a little, I've just added 3DSpotLight into our list of "Friend's of Hardware One". A really niffy site with great tastes.

We're working closely with these sites to share with you their wondrous insights. :)

Wavetracing Q&A Session 6th October 18:05 pm

3DSoundSurge has put up an article on Wavetracing from a mini Q&A session with Aureal's Skip. Just a tasty bit (or check out the entire thingy):

Skip: Imagine a monster crawling down a hallway that is attached to the room you're in.  The door is closed.   You hear him under and through the door and can tell he is about 20 feet down the hallway from the door (done with proper occlusions, transmission losses, high-frequency roll-off, reflections and acoustic materials). 

You scramble to remove the cover to a ventilation shaft as your only escape.  From the occlusions you can tell that the monster has reached the door.  You spin around and start climbing up into the ventilation shaft.  You hear the door slowly swing open behind you.  A reflection gets through the opening door and tells you the monster is entering the room.  The door swings all the way open and now you hear the monster directly and his reflections in the room as he stands in the open doorway (his sounds are now much brighter and louder). 

Glide Switcher 6th October 18:00 pm

Caught this off CoolInfo, those of you with some strange tendency of wanting a Banshee alongside your Voodoo2 card should read this:

Creative Labs' Glide Switcher is a program to address a problem I just first heard about this morning: Installing a Voodoo Banshee alongside a Voodoo Graphics or Voodoo2 in the same system only allows one of the cards to be used for Glide applications, whichever was installed last (D3D ). Hence Glide Switcher, a batch file (a graphical version is promised in the future) to allow two copies of Glide to peacefully coexist.
(Blue's News)

New CL Voodoo2 Beta Drivers 6th October 17:58 pm

These are the latest Release Candidate drivers dated 5th Oct 98. They are based on the latest 3Dfx reference drivers with improved ergonomics and overclocking sliders etc. Click here to check them out.

Recordable DVD formats 6th October 17:56 pm

TechWeb done a short article on the various recordable DVD formats. They include the DVD-RAM, DVD-R and DVD-RW.

The battle between digital versatile disc and Divx has left more than a few consumers confused, and the multiple rewritable DVD formats are only going to make things worse.

Fortunately, a clear picture emerged from various working groups at the DVD Conference 1998 on Friday.

By the end of the year DVD-R, DVD-RW, and DVD-RAM all should be able to write 4.7 gigabytes of data to a disk. Now, DVD-R and DVD-RW can only save 3.9 GBs of content, while DVD-RAM holds just 2.6 GBs.

WinZip v7.0 6th October 07:18 am

Yes, it's out. You can download it from here directly. New features are:

  • Sizable, sortable, and selectable columns in the main window. The optional attribute and CRC columns are new. Columns can be resized with the mouse, and turned off from the Configuration | View dialog box. Just click on a column header to sort.
  • A configurable toolbar with 21 toolbar buttons. Note: toolbar configuration requires version 4.71 or later of the Windows Common Control library. This library is part of Windows 98, Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, and is available from Microsoft as a separate download.
  • Optional support for the Internet Explorer 4.0-style "one click open" interface. If this option is enabled in Internet Explorer 4.0 Active Desktop, it will be enabled in WinZip automatically. Otherwise, you can turn it on using the Configuration | View dialog box.
  • Support for Microsoft's CAB (cabinet) format, including most self-extracting CAB files.
  • A print facility to print the information listed in the main WinZip window.
  • Improved configuration using a tabbed dialog box.
  • Zip comment support.
  • Improvements to the Install Feature.
  • Optional Tip of the Day dialog box.
  • WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition (included with WinZip) now creates Zip files that span multiple removable disks.
5th October 1998 {Monday}
v1006.015 Asus P2B Flash BIOS Update 5th October 20:54 pm

I was just curious and surfed onto Asus' German FTP site and I was pleasantly surprised to find a new beta update for my P2B BIOs (presently I'm using 1006.011 without a problem). Haven't flashed it yet, but as usual... I don't know what's new in v1006.015! But hell, it worked for me all the time and I like to live on the edge. The latest version, always!

Go to ftp://ftp.asuscom.de/pub/ASUSCOM/BIOS/Pentium_II/i440BX/P2B/ to find v1006.015 of the BIOs update. Be sure you know what you are doing before flashing it... and of course, never do it from a floppy disk.

Matrox Marvel G200 5th October 20:41 pm

HardwareTechs examines the Matrox Marvel G200, something which is of great interest to your other editor, who's tremendously keen on doing video capturing. Just like him, you should take a look at this article if you want an affordable *cough* video capture card with excellent performance.

This cool card comes with the industry's best TV-Output capability too! (Gotta read the Full Review).

TV Out is pretty amazing on this professional level card. I had to hook up my TV and test it out of course. Most cards in the past have topped off at 800x600x16bpp but definitely not this one. I was able to hit 1024x768x32bpp with absolutely no problem. The video quality was effected a bit but, 800x600x32bpp was crystal clear as it would be on a regular computer monitor.

Intel 440BX vs VIA Apollo Pro 5th October 20:25 pm

Now that VIA has created the Apollo Pro chipset to compete with Intel's BX for your Pentium II chips, Anand is taking a close look at both chipsets. Here's some snips:

One feature unique to the Apollo Pro is its support for FPM DRAM, which was normally thought impossible with the 100MHz FSB...until now.  How can FPM DRAM, originally intended to be run at a 66MHz FSB setting, possibly cope with the 100MHz setting on the Apollo Pro chipset?  Easily.

IBM DeskStar DTTA-371010 Review 5th October 20:01 pm

The Unofficial BX6/BH6 Page has posted a review of the humongous 10 gigabyte 7200 rpm Deskstar harddisk drive (I'd missed it yesterday.... oops!). The drive has a formatted capacity of about 9.6Gb, obediently performing in all of Andy's tests at bus clock speeds ranging from 66mhz-112mhz.

The tests show that the drive performs quite comfortably at all tested speeds - something that previous IBM offerings were known to struggle at. The key speed to look for is stability at 83 Mhz. If a drive works at 83 Mhz then it will also work at 112 Mhz and beyond due to the higher PCI bus divider uses at 100Mhz plus. On motherboards that support a PCI / 4 divider such as the Abit BH6 and Asus P2b, the drive should also operate just fine at the heady heights of 133.

Inkjet Shoot Out! (Literally!) 5th October 19:29 pm

Kok Leong of the Digital Darkroom has posted a rare review (once again) comparing the latest Epson Stylus 740 and the Stylus Photo EX/700. Those of you who's been scouting for photo printers should definitely check this out!

Looking at certain areas of a printout, the 740 appeared to be better, offering colour and detail which looks almost too good for words. After all, it is only a 4 colour printer as opposed to the EX. However, in the final analysis, the Photo EX still showed that it deserved to be crowned the title of Epson's best photo-realistic printer. The EX shined in reproducing colour tones and areas of light colour.

He's got some large sample print-outs all scanned onto his page, judge for yourself. :)

Setting your MTU 5th October 07:12 am

You should have heard of programs like MTUSpeed or Tweak DUN by now. What these programs do is to change your MTU/MSS registry values.

I've been able to almost double my transfer rates, and my overall connection performance, using these registry adjustments. Basically, different protocols have different package sizes ( The Internet "standard" for MTU is 576, for Ethernet it's 1500 ). The optimal TCP settings for Cable Modems and some ISP's seem to be different than the default, set in Windows. Don't forget changes to the Registry take effect after you Reboot.

This isn't new, but if you like to optimize your internet connection, you can take a look at PH Net.

4th October 1998 {Sunday}
FourPointSurround Review 4th October 16:48 pm

Gamer's Digest has posted a short review on the Cambridge SoundWorks FourPointSurround speakers and got some nice things to say about them. (Full Review)

The quality of these speakers is flat out excellent, and with the sblive card  it seems like your really in the game. As you increase the volume there is a minimal distortion, meaning that you can have it as loud as you want with out it sounding all gargully.

Since we're talking about speakers here, I've rolled over to Creative's products page and saw for the first time some resources on the Desktop Theater 5.1 speakers system (no, they are not just-in, but I've been lazy and haven't checked their page for a long time). Here's the pages about the entire line of PC speakers from Cambridge SoundWorks:

Benchmarking 4th October 16:30 pm

CPUMadness posted an article on benchmarking, on how to optimize your system to get the best results. It even tells you how to switch off sound in order to obtain higher framerates when benchmarking video cards.

Ideally, for benchmarking everyone would have a clean machine with just the OS, benchmarking utilities, and drivers sitting on the hard drive.  Of course, that would be a waste of a computer and most of us don’t have the resources to do that anyway.  That doesn’t mean we can’t get some decent benchmarks though.   First, get your card’s latest drivers.  Next, clean up your system as much as possible.  Get rid of any unneeded apps running in the background or in the Windows95/98/NT system tray. They won’t have too much of an impact on your results unless they have a gigantic memory footprint, but hey, why not go for the cleanest system possible.  There are a ton of other variables to consider within your benchmark, but usually, it’s easiest to just leave the program or game at default options (aside from certain variables, described further down).  If you’re going for the most pure and uncorrupted results possible, reboot between every trial.  Of course, if you do this, you will have to close all the background apps and utilities again unless you tell them not to load at startup.

Metabyte Vengence 4th October 13:45 pm

Read the latest review on the Banshee based Metabyte Vengence card at Sharky's. This card, coupled with Metabyte's amazing 'Re2Flex' drivers allows it to run your Windows at an INCREDIBLE 2000 X 1500 X 32bpp resolution and colour depth! Whoa! Whoa! What about games, you ask?

Win95/98 Desktop:
Direct3D:
Glide:
2000 x 1500 x 8/16/24/32bpp
1920 x 1440 x 8/16bpp (no z)
1920 x 1440 x 8/16bpp (no z)

While having some issues with its poor OpenGL performance, the Banshee performs very well in most other Direct3D games coming close to the TNT in performance. It also has the added advantage of being able to run Glide titles. 2D performance was astounding, putting it in the league of the TNT as well as the G200 cards.

The lack of a multitexturing ability from the Banshee should cause deep concern to all it's prospective buyers. Mid-1999 will bring fancy in-game eye-candy features like "Anisotropic Filtering" and "Bump Mapping" to the mainstream but these goodies won't be available to the Banshee owner, as the performance will drop too far for the game to still be enjoyable. Voodoo2 and TNT owners will be able to perform these high-end graphic functions, and won't be left in the cold (particularly Voodoo2 SLI owners) because again of their ability to do multiple passes per clock cycle.

All these said, the Banshee remains a top choice for the most affordable gaming solution this year. It will more than adequately play all your present games. (Read Sharky's Full Review)

Waterfall Pro 1.01 4th October 13:36 pm

Yap, a small upgrade has been done to version 1.0 of Waterfall Pro, you can download it straight off our 'Utilities' section or simply click here. (Need a description, please go over to our 'Utilities' page)

TNT Tweak Guide 4th October 13:23 pm

Dan, known as 'Tweak Monkey', of Tweak3D has put up a TNT Tweak Guide. It has suggested settings to optimise your TNT cards for maximum performance in all your games. Overclocking? He's got it too! Be sure to check it out. (TNT Tweak Guide)

Netscape v4.07 4th October 12:16 pm

It's out and available at here. I will try to upload a copy to Fun later.

3rd October 1998 {Saturday}
Epox P2-112A Mobo 3rd October 16:50 pm

Anand takes a look at the VIA Apollo Pro based motherboard for your PII Slot-1 processors. Featuring 1 AGP, 5 PCI and 2 ISA slots, supporting FSB settings of 66/75/83/100/103/112/124/??? (1 reserved setting) as well as the ability to change the SDRAM clock setting to make your older 66mhz DIMMS work, the EPOX P2-112A fairs well in its specifications.

If you don't need to have the incredible overclocking capabilities of the ABIT BH6, and want to try something new, a little different, and definitely more cost effective than most Pentium II motherboards, the Apollo Pro based P2-112A from Epox will make an outstanding foundation for virtually any system. 

While not as wildly overclockable as the Abit BH6, the Epox P2-112A has consistently produced benchmark results equivalent to the BH6. Anybody looking for an affordable motherboard can look to this board as a viable solution. (Read Anandtech's Review)

Powerstrip 2.28 3rd October 16:41 pm

It's updated again. EntechTaiwan has said that this new version has been validated with NT 5.0 beta 2 and a updated monitor database. You can download from our Utilities section or simply click [Download] here.

Message Board 3rd October 14:04 pm

It's been there for quite a few weeks already, I'll encourage anyone who's have some specific question or feedback to use it. (It's at the bottom of the left navigation frame)

The 2 main problems I've encountered trying to reply to the mails in my inbox daily, boils down to just time and knowledge. While I try very hard to reply to most of the mails, I find myself in many circumstances where I don't know or don't have an answer for you (hey! I'm not the know-all? :P ).

If you do find yourself not getting a reply from me (within, say 2 days?), please do post it on the message board for discussion, there's always someone out there who'll give you the magical answer.

While I still enjoy receiving your mails (and please continue to send them), the message board is another good alternative. :)

Recent Downloads & Reviews 3rd October 13:55 pm

I figured not many readers will dig into my archives, here's a couple of stuff you might have missed.

Downloads [Need a description?]
Reviews [Other articles?]

Xeon 450 MHz 3rd October 06:20 am

Intel Corp. will kick its workstation and server CPU strategy up a notch next Tuesday when it debuts the 450-MHz version of its Xeon processor. The new device will join the 400-MHz Xeon that debuted in June.

Xeon is the first Intel processor to use a Slot 2 package. It also features beefed-up L2 cache, a 100-MHz processor bus and the ability to address 4 Gbytes of memory. The 450-MHz Xeon is expected to be offered in versions with either 512 kbytes or 1 Mbyte of cache.

DVD Audio 3rd October 06:05 am

It's coming. Very soon, you have to dump your CD player for a DVD player.

Early digital versatile disc adopters should prepare for planned obsolescence: DVD-Audio, which received its first public demonstration Thursday at the DVD Conference 1998.

DVD is being promoted as a cure-all for many digital needs: DVD-Video offers video and audio quality superior to VHS tapes, DVD-ROM offers seven times the storage of a CD-ROM disc, and DVD-RAM provides rewritable DVD discs with 2.6 gigabytes of storage, about four times what CD-Recordable drives can do.

DVD-Audio is the next generation in audio playback, offering more clarity than CD music. It can play that music on as many as six speakers, each with its own audio channel. Currently, CD recordings go to two channels.

With DVD-Audio, capacity and sound quality can be greatly increased over the standard CD. While CDs can hold 74 minutes of 16-bit sound with a range of 44.1 kilohertz, DVD-Audio can hold 24-bit music with a range of 192 kHz. At 192 kHz, the disc can only hold 64 minutes of music. But at 48 kHz, which is CD-quality sound, it can hold 258 minutes, or more than four hours, of audio.

DVD-Audio can hold a minimum of 74 minutes of music at the highest sampling rate, but if the music publisher uses a lower rate, more music can fit on the disc. "Getting play times of 300 minutes in stereo is not an unlikely event, although it's questionable if a record label would want to do that," said Al McPherson, vice president of technology for Warner Brothers Records

Molex boosts Xeon connector speed 3rd October 06:01 am

From Techweb, The Slot 2 connectors Molex will roll out next week for Intel's Pentium II Xeon processor will employ novel techniques to satisfy requirements set by Intel and Molex when they began working together in 1994. The connectors borrow circuit-board techniques to handle higher speeds while increasing contact density.

The HiSpec card edge connectors are designed for servers and other high-end applications that require Xeon, which was introduced in June. The connector itself is only slightly larger than the Slot 1 connector found on many desktop systems, but it has 110 extra contacts and can handle signals that are more than twice as fast. Some of the techniques implemented on the Slot 2 connector are already being employed in other Molex connectors.

"Intel originally wanted a 0.025-inch pinch, but we ended up with a 0.030-inch pitch," McGrath said. "We said 0.025 would be difficult at our end, but it would be a nightmare at theirs. In the module, there would be a much greater chance of solder-bridging, and the ability to route to the contacts would be much harder at the finer pitch. They might have had to add substrate layers to route at that density, and that would add to costs."

The connector has several more pins than its desktop counterpart. The Slot 2 connector puts 330 card edge contacts in a housing that is 5.66 inches long, while the Slot 1 connectors found on desktops have 242 contacts in 5.23 inches, with a pin pitch of 1 millimeter

Populous 3: The Beginning 3rd October 05:31 am

According to VE, Populous 3 will be out soon. Yeah, I'm getting sick of Starcraft already. :)

Well, I have been saying on the newsgroups for the last few weeks that we would be in stores "before thanksgiving" and "mid-november". But, the actual ship date is 15th November.

Turtle Beach Montego II A3D 3rd October 01:39 am

This is the FIRST shipping Vortex 2 board! Our dear friends at 3DSoundSurge sent word that the Montego II A3D cards are now available and shipping with Dell's new Dimension line of computers.

Straight from 3DSoundSurge is the following snippet:

"The first Vortex 2 product (the Turtle Beach Montego II) is now available through Dell on all their new Dimension computers. That is why the drivers are up on the FTP site, and now on the website. This product was completed way ahead of schedule and that is why there has been no fanfare as of yet. It is already selling at a fast pace and is public information. Feel free to post it. Some very basic info can be found at: http://www.dell.com/products/dim/audio.htm. Also, you will see that you can actually buy this card on almost any computer at http://www.dell.com."

Dell's website got quite a bit of information on this card. Be sure to check it out!

2nd October 1998 {Friday}
NT 5.0 Vs Red Hat Linux 5.1 2nd October 22:10 pm

I'd really missed this article for a long time! With the growing interests in Linux, I thought I'll give it my support too by posting it! So here comes a comparative review done at C|Net's BUILDER.COM which rated the OSes in 3 main areas:

Setup & Installation
The Windows NT 5.0 installer was a slight improvement over the one in NT 4.0, with generally simpler options and clearer configuration items. But it suffers from the same over-cramped selection dialogs that curse the Office 2000 beta. With any luck, Microsoft will streamline the installer even further before NT 5.0 ships next year. But I bet it will never install as smoothly as Red Hat Linux.
Manageability
As long as you need to manage your NT server only from another NT server, Microsoft's MMC is convenient and relatively simple to use. Linux offers the other extreme--an portable management interface that you can access from any machine with a Telnet client, although calling ASCII files and a text editor an "interface" is a stretch. I'm calling this one a tie--Windows NT 5.0 for user-friendliness, Linux for remote management power.
Web Serving
In fact, there's a wide array of development tools for NT that aren't available on Linux, such as Allaire's Cold Fusion Studio, Microsoft's Visual InterDev, and Elemental's Drumbeat.

For programmability, NT gets the nod--it supports most of the tools that Linux does, plus a wealth of others.

Conclusion & Verdict
"For ease of installation, I'm giving the edge to Red Hat Linux. For manageability, it's a toss-up between NT and Linux, depending on your network environment. And for programmability the edge goes to Windows NT...."

"...In the end, Linux gets my vote over NT. Although I am a big fan of development tools like Cold Fusion, Linux offers the hard-core flexibility essential for a working Web server platform."

Maxtor DiamondMax 4320 17.2Gb ATA 2nd October 21:42 pm

The Storage Review has got the review on the latest, meanest and biggest harddisk drive to have hit the streets. A whopping 17.2Gb of space and delightful performance.

Easily the top-performing 5400rpm drive yet tested at the Storage Review, the DiamondMax 4320 is a no-brainer recommendation to those of you looking for an extremely high-capacity drive at a reasonable price. It simply equals or outperforms the Deskstar 16GP in all fronts.

I've put it here to whet your appetite coz' I'm damn sure only the most space hungry of people will require this unimaginable amounts of storage capacity (but don't quote this 2 years down the road and say that I'm stupid or inaccurate! :P )

Matrox Millenium G200 2nd October 21:37 pm

Don't know if you should get the Millenium or the Mystique?? Read this. 3DXTC's review on the Millenium G200 pits it against it's more gamers-oriented twin, the Mystique G200 card. They've got some benchmark numbers and screenshots on this high quality 2D/3D board from Matrox. Check it out!

FrontPage 2000 Preview 2nd October 19:30 pm

Thanks to our affiliate CoolComputing, the article posted by WinMag was brought to my attention. They've quite an informative preview on the features and stuff in Microsoft FP2000. Here's a little impressive feature, giving us a telling hint of the form of natural language processing that we'll see in next year's Office suite.

FrontPage 2000's new color picker lets you enter the word "Red," the RGB value or even the hexadecimal value for the colors you want to use.

Add to this some nifty cross-browser compatibility intelligence...

FrontPage 2000 also includes a new compatibility option. With this, Web developers will be able to control in fairly minute detail what level of HTML they will support on the Web page, which browsers it will and won't work with, and best of all, whether or not FrontPage Extensions will automatically be used. And if you go ahead and select an option that's not supported on one or more of the browser versions you've selected, FrontPage switches the sections to a browser(s) that does. This compatibility awareness extends to the implementation of some flashier Web page elements such as CSS, DHTML, and JavaScript. FrontPage 2000 will automatically create JavaScript pages that are ready to work on both Internet Explorer 4.x and Netscape Navigator 4.x.

MotoRacer 2 Preview 2nd October 19:13 pm

3DSpotlight has just posted up their preview on MY most anticipated moto arcade racer. Yeeaahh! It's cool, they've got some very pretty screenshots for you. I'll give the taste of a 2 mini pics, please check out their article!

Although Mracer2 is in beta state we can say itīs improvements might going to make of it the best racing game again, but that isnīt that easy anymore, in the past there was just Road Rash and thatīs it, now some other very cool games of the same type like the amazing (graphically talking) Criterionīs Redline Racer and the widely-open-arenas based Motocross Madness from Microsoft.

Kick Ass Voodoo2 Roundup 2nd October 19:10 pm

Games.net has posted a Voodoo 2 review of an impressive scale. They've rounded up the Wicked3D, Pure3D II, Monster3D II, Arcade FXII and Maxi Gamer 3D2. In addition, they've discussed at length 8Mb vs 12Mb V2s, Voodoo1 vs Voodoo2 on a P200/K6, twin V2s in SLI and overclocking the card.

Whew! What a mouthful! Quite an insightful and detailed review. Check it out here.

New Beta Drivers for Creative V2 2nd October 19:02 pm

Creative has made available for download new beta drivers for their Voodoo 2 card. Here's the snip I found at Voodoo Extreme.

We're pleased to announce the availability of a new driver package for users of the 3D Blaster Voodoo2 (all models) under Windows 95 and Windows 98. This package includes: The latest 3Dfx reference drivers (the same ones described later on this page) An integrated installation program Control panel enhancements, including an overclocking slider and improved ergonomics.

Netscape TuneUp for IE 2nd October 09:37 am

Read it over here that Netscape TuneUp for IE will enable IE users to enjoy, for the first time, Netscape's popular Smart Browsing(TM) service while gaining quick, integrated access to Netcenter services such as My Netscape, Netscape WebMail, Netscape SmartUpdate, Netscape Search, Netscape Contact and Netscape Member Directory. This announcement boosts the momentum behind Netscape's Project Turbo, a program aimed at making Netcenter the fastest growing Internet portal by delivering the power of Netcenter to an expanded Internet community.

With Netscape TuneUp for IE, IE users will gain the seamless browser/portal integration features such as Smart Browsing that are normally only available to users of Netscape Communicator, Netscape's popular Internet browser. Stuart Browsing includes Internet Keywords and What's Related features to let IE users find the best information faster. Instead of remembering long, complicated Internet addresses, Smart Browsing enables users to type the words or names they are seeking into the IE location field and be taken to a site for that product, topic, company or service. Once on a site, IE users can use the What's Related list of related sites and services to help them decide where to go next.

Pixels/Sprites - What are they? 2nd October 09:32 am

CPUMadness whipped up an article explaining what pixels/sprites/polygons are and how they are used in games.

The way video memory works is that it is composed of one continuous stream of memory that contains the colors of every pixel in every location on the screen.  A screen at 800x600 pixels is like an array of bytes that is 480,000 "spaces" wide.  Each "space" contains a value representing the color of that specific location's pixel.  Basically what graphical game programmers have done to get graphics on the screen (in a variety of different ways, I'll assure you) is to change the values in the video memory.  The video card refreshes its display typically somewhere around 60-80 Hz, and voilia, the picture apears on screen.  It's about as complicated as that damn toy lite-brite. 

Secret Ops Episode 6 2nd October 09:29 am

What are you waiting for? It's available down here.

Diamond Monster MX300 2nd October 07:35 am

CoolInfo had an article on the Diamond Monster MX300.

The sound quality of the Monster Sound MX300 should be nothing short of astounding.  The MIDI will deliver some phenomenal sound, and the 3D aspect of the card should be even better.  The A3D 2.0 API is specifically designed for the AU8830 Vortex 2; games designed with A3D 2.0 compliance will bring with them a new era of sound and, quite possibly, redefine 3d sound as we know it.   The feeling of immersion you received with the first generation of 3D sound will be insignificant and weak compared to the new standard that Aureal has set.  And Diamond, with its Monster Sound MX300, will be raking in the dough as the flocks of gamers rush out to spend their hard earned cash for the ultimate in 3D sound.   

WinAmp 2.02 2nd October 07:32 am

Gosh, another new version of WinAmp. New features are:

  • Much improved output system for less (no) skipping!
  • Faster 3DNow! mode
  • Some dsp plug-in related enhancements.
  • Minor bugfixes
  • AXP release available

You can download it from here or from our Utilities section.

1st October 1998 {Thursday}
Overclocking Tips Updated!  1st October 21:43 pm

Andy of The Unofficial BX6/BH6 Page has updated his kick-ass Overclocking Tips. It is one of the most comprehensive overclocking resource you can ever find, covering chips ranging from the PII-266 to 450 and also the Celeron family of products!

I won't hesistate to recommend this to anyone interested to overclock their Intel processors!

Sony & Pioneer In Blue-Laser Race  1st October 21:37 pm

EETimes got this news about Sony and Pioneer in the field of blue-lasers. A whole lot of goo goos and ga gas... this technology has an immense potential of multiplying the space on storage devices many folds. A look to the future:

Two major disk-player suppliers, Sony Corp. and Pioneer Electronic Corp., have joined the race to develop a blue laser based on gallium nitride. Both trail the current leader, Nichia Chemical Industries Ltd. Blue lasers or shorter wavelength violet lasers will be in big demand for next-generation storage and communications systems.

Sony has so far achieved laser emission with continuous-wave (CW) operation in room temperature (RT), a stage that only a few companies, including Nichia, have reached. Pioneer has reported a pulsed emission. (Read the full article here)

NT 4 Service Pack 4 1st October 21:34 pm

Saw it over at Betanews. I was surprised it's out so fast. You can grab a copy from here directly. Download SP4I386.EXE. This file is a whopping 32MB though.

FrontPage 2000 1st October 21:31 pm

From CoolInfo, FrontPage 2000, the next version of Microsoft's Web-publishing product, will share many functions and technologies with Office 2000 and have an interface that's easier to use, the company said Wednesday. Previous versions of FrontPage have two separate windows, one for the editor component and one for the explorer component. Microsoft found that in previous versions, about 40 percent of users were unable to find the site-management features and when they did find them, they were difficult to use, said Priscilla Mistele, product manager for FrontPage. Now the explorer and editor components are integrated into one window.

"We're finally delivering on the original vision of FrontPage 1.0, to make Web page creation easy enough for mainstream users," she said. At the same time, it still has the functionality for advanced users. The advanced features include database support for websites, for creating pages that query and update a database through dragging and dropping of links, rather than being forced to write SQL calls. It also comes with 10 business-ready themes, providing the developer with a template for setting up a professional website.

FrontPage 2000 also has HTML preservation. Many HTML editors, FrontPage included, have a tendency to take HTML code written in a text editor and reformat it automatically. FrontPage 2000 won't change any fancy formatting the programmer has used. As Microsoft has promised, this version will operate with Office 2000, which is supposed put HTML and XML on par with its native file formats for formatting and document layout. The shared menus and toolbars will make FrontPage as much a part of Office 2000 as Word or Excel. FrontPage 2000 will also come with the natural language help and Windows Installer Service, both of which will be in Office 2000.

CuteFTP v2.6 1st October 21:28 pm

Yes, the official release of CuteFTP v2.6 is available for download thru here.

Juicy 3D Sound card Roundup! 1st October 20:43 pm

GameCenter has done a great 3D sound card roundup comprising the Turtle Beach Montego A3DXtream, the Diamond MX200 and the Sound Blaster Live! Interestingly, they've also popped up a preview on Aureal's Vortex 2. Here's some snips:

Of the three cards we looked at, the Sound Blaster Live came closest to achieving GameWorthy status, but the card fell short on a number of counts. Most importantly, only a few games support DirectSound3D, and the number that take advantage of Creative's Environmental Audio Extensions is even smaller. This means the Sound Blaster Live has few chances to show off its 3D audio prowess. The card is also expensive when you consider that few gamers will be able to make use of its audiophile features. Lastly, gamers might want to wait until Creative delivers on its promise of support for 32 streams of DirectSound3D audio.

Some Live-ly News ;-) 1st October 20:25 pm

Sorry for that, Couldn't resist it. But here's some press releases from Creative, one about their latest lawsuit against Aureal and another about their latest drivers allowing 32 D3D hardware streams on their Sound Blaster Live! card.

Creative Labs, Inc, the wholly-owned US subsidiary of Creative Technology Ltd. (Nasdaq: CREAF), today announced that it has filed a lawsuit alleging false advertising and related claims against Aureal Semiconductor Inc., a Fremont CA company that had previously done business under the name Media Vision Technology, Inc.

The lawsuit relates to a series of misstatements made by Aureal concerning Creative's Sound Blaster Live! product and related technology. The lawsuit, which seeks injunctive relief and damages, was filed on September 30, 1998. The lawsuit is separate from -- but involves some of the same products as -- a patent case filed by Creative Technology against Aureal last February. That patent case against Aureal is still pending.

"Creative should not be required to police Aureal or its public statements to ensure their honesty," said John Danforth, vice president and general counsel at Creative Labs. "However, with its series of objective misstatements about Creative's shipping products, Aureal has simply gone too far.

"This is not a case of a simple product spec that has been misstated or misunderstood," Danforth continued. "Neither is this simply a case of a competitor's excessive enthusiasm about its own promised (but not yet delivered) specs. Rather this case arises because of a series of inexcusable misstatements through which Aureal attempts to compare its own not-yet-shipping product against a shipping product of Creative -- a product whose specifications and capabilities are public and bear no resemblance to Aureal's repeated misstatements. We are confident that we will prevail in this matter."

A press release on their latest driver incarnations that effectively quadruple the original 8 DirectSound3D streams.

Creative Labs, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREAF - news), the leading provider of multimedia hardware for the PC, today announced its latest Live!Ware beta program offering a free upgrade to all owners of Sound Blaster(R) Live!(TM) and Sound Blaster Live! Value. After downloading the free upgrade, Sound Blaster Live! and Live! Value users can enjoy the hottest 3D games - including Unreal - with the unprecedented support of 32 hardware-accelerated, high quality channels (at 16-bit and 48 kHz) that can be positioned simultaneously in 3D space.

``Creative continues to raise the bar for computer audio,'' said Sim Wong Hoo, chairman & CEO of Creative Technology. ``We began to radically improve 3D computer audio by supporting full 3D using multiple speakers while the rest of the industry was advocating limited 3D audio on 2 speakers. By now offering 32 high-quality, hardware-accelerated 3D audio channels - four times the prior limit - Creative has shown that it will continue to innovate and lead. End users benefit as their games will now be playable with every musical note, gun shot, grunt or howl the developer meant them to hear.''

All end users and software developers of Sound Blaster Live! and Sound Blaster Live! Value are welcomed to sign up for the beta program at the Live!Ware site, at http://www.sblive.com where there are more details on the new 32 hardware-accelerated 3D voice feature and beta program.

Canopus Replies To Odd Benchmark Results 1st October 19:53 pm

Somewhat unexpectedly, I received quite a few responses to my 'innocent' taunt, questioning the discrepancy between the lack lustre performance on 3D WinBench and superior gaming results of the Spectra 2500 (See yesterday's news). Here's the answer from Canopus' Jim Anderson.

Did you notice the better performance in the game scores with our board? As a rule, Canopus optimizes the driver for actual performance and stability versus Diamond and STB who only try to get the best Winbench scores. If only Winbench is optimized, real world performance is often compromised. That said, we will look into improving our Winbench scores.

Jim

I'm really NOT looking for an answer when I posted that. Now, who cares about 3D WinBench 98 really? Just give me the GREATEST gaming performance, I'll buy your card! Below is the response from Jack (a reader), pointing us to an article which Tom's Hardware had published on the relevance of 3D WinBench 98.

Just read your article on the Mini TNT shoot-out. The reason that the Spectra did the worst in 3D Winbench 98 yet did the best in real gaming is because manufaturers can optimize their drivers so that their cards do well in 3D Winbench 98, yet those optimizations have no bearing on how well the card performs in real gaming. There is an article about this over on Tom's Hardware Guide, here's the url for the article http://www.tomshardware.com/3Dhype98.html

Thanks people for the kind contribution! I'm not here to discredit the Winbench suite of benchmarking software, but I really hope everyone sees the light at the end of the day that it only serves as a reference of the card's ability. It is not the whole picture and will not always translate into real world performance results.

[Beam me to the latest news archive!]


Copyright Đ 1998 Hardware One
Last updated 10 October 1998 13:04