15 Oct 98 - 21 Oct 98
Highlights within this period includes:
  • Overclocking Celeron
  • Mac OS 8.5
  • PowerPC 405
  • Intel Details Merced
  • Upgrade for Premiere 5.0
  • Cyrix Cayenne
  • WickVision
  • Hot Gaming News
  • Creative GB TNT Review
  • SoundWorks Review
  • Spectra 2500 on K6-2
  • PC Mag on 5 Photo Printers
  • Additional IA-64 CPUs to Come
  • Communicator 4.5 Next Week
  • FreeStyle Pro
  • AOpen Navigator PA70
  • Canopus Spectra 3200
  • MPEG Layer 3 Virus?
  • Future x86 CPU Brief
  • Get the Picture, with a Digital Camera
  • Hardware One on QuickVideo DVC1
  • Latest Matrox Unified BIOS
  • Photo Inkjet Printers
  • AMD Moves Onto The Overtaking Lane
  • Restraining Orders for MP3 Player
  • AOL Hacked?
  • S3 Sues Intel
  • 28 Digital Cameras Review
  • miroHiSCORE II
  • Sharky's 5 19" Monitor ShootOut!
  • Inside [email protected]
  • PC Mag On Caldera OpenLinux
  • SBLive! Shogo Unleashed
  • Hard Time for Hackers
  • Microsoft Issues Cuartango Patch
  • MP3 Virus A Hoax?
  • Spectra 3200 Info
  • New Discoveries
  • Netscape 4.5 Out In the Loose!
  • PowerStrip 2.29.4 Beta
  • OWB Celeron 300A Report
  • 3DSS Blurps MX300
  • Genuine PII 450 in Disguise - 300 SL2W8?
  • Waterfall Pro 1.3
  • Number Nine Revolution IV
  • SimCity 3000 Preview
  • 2 Audio Related Articles
  • 3DXTC Reviews SBLive!
  • What is Anti-Aliasing?
  • SLI Action from 300Mhz to 504Mhz!
  • Creative Banshee Reviewed!
  • Motorola G4
  • 3Dfx to Buy Diamond Multimedia???
  • RIO, "Controversial" MP3 Playback Device
  • Quality Audit at Microsoft
  • Next Generation CPUs
  • PC Fan's Marvel G200-TV Review
  • nVidia Jumps Into PixelFlow
  • Recent [email protected] One
  • Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000
  • DSL Standard Coming Soon
  • TNT: STB Vs Diamond
  • Roaster Coaster's Shogo Review
  • Communicator 4.5 Review
  • Socket 7 Vs Slot-1
  • Katmai: Speech Savvy Processor
  • Avault Does SoundBlaster Live! Review
  • Comm... 4.5, Performance Standpoint
  • Actua Tennis
  • Unofficial MX300 FAQ
  • Netscape Details Complaints Agst Microsoft
  • New Abit BH6/BX6 BIOS
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • PC Mag With Lotsa Goodies
  • Fifa '99 Preview
  • Voltage Selection on Any Slot-1 board
  • Asus P2B 1006 BIOS Final Version
  • A New Epson Photo Printer Discovered
  • Cardex Savage3D GX3 Review
  • DirectX 6.01
  • Linux 2.2 Kernel Out Soon
  • K6-2 Delivers Cheap Speed
21st October 1998 {Wednesday}
K6-2 Delivers Cheap Speed 20:06 pm

This is the second time today PC Games has scored, the second one being this well written review on AMD's K6-2 system. If you looking to assemble a low cost gaming system and don't wanna overclock that sweet Celeron A, then this is definitely for you!

After many hours playing on both K6-2s, we concluded that PCs based on this processor run games as smoothly as Pentium IIs, and depending on what clock speed you purchase, they may even run them faster. Given how much less K6-2s cost, we'd trade a few hundred bucks for a few frames here or there. With Microsoft's addition of 3DNow support to DX6, the K6-2 is a worthy opponent to Intel if you're thinking about putting together a swift game system on a budget. Use the money you save to buy more games, a better 3D card, or a down payment on an ISDN high-speed Internet connection.

Linux 2.2 Kernel Out Soon 20:03 pm

TechWeb has in their news that Linux creator Linus Torvalds and his development crew will be putting in their finishing touches to the Linux 2.2 kernel, said to be the first significant update in 2 years. Here's some info:

Linux developers are anxiously awaiting the improvements. "I think there's still a few things that are yet to be done, but there's an awful lot of improvements that have been added," said Lynn Nielson, director of development for Caldera, a Linux distribution developer.

"[Linux 2.2] should help provide much better performance on almost all machines," added Bill Nottingham, a systems engineer with Red Hat, another Linux developer.

"It would be nice if the flashy features like USB or DVD were supported," Nottingham added, "but I understand why they are not in there." USB still has little support and DVD is an emerging format; both can be added in subsequent patches.

Noting the second para quoted here, "[Linux 2.2] should help provide much better performance...." Wow! Faster than it is already? What's the difference between blazing fast and very blazing fast? Hmmm.... (Read the full story here)

DirectX 6.01 Available! 20:00 pm

It is reported on Windows 98 Central that DirectX 6.01 is now available via Microsoft's Windows Update Site. Do check it out!

Cardex GX3 Savage3D Review 15:24 pm

Our local buddy site, Frontline, has reviewed a the Cardex GX3 which is based on S3's fledging Savage3D chipset. The card is selling at an incredible price point of S$149 or US$90!!! According to Frontline, all is not rosy yet:

Lack of cash funding, or want something to kill your time? This is the ideal card for those of you who are willing to play around with drivers and tweak till your eyes pop out. All in all, I have spent too much time trying to tweak or adjust settings to play most of the games. Driver support seems lacking here as the drivers going around are STILL in beta. Beta drivers are not to be fooled with.

This baby can be overclocked to 125Mhz with no heating problems, partiaIly due to its 0.25micron design but you will encounter some unpleasant artefacts.

If we see S3 ironing out the buggy drivers soon, this card will be excellent value for money! (Read Frontline's review!)

A New Epson Photo Printer Discovered! 15:11 pm

Sharp-eyed Kok Leong of Digital Darkroom has sent word about this hot new Epson printer he came across on Epson Japan website. As the Epson printers are sold under different names in Japan, the only way to tell a new model from the old was by scrutinising the specs.

Introducing the ultimate photo-printer, Epson Super Colorio PM-3000C (its name in Japan). Here's the feature list:

  • 6 picoliter dot size
  • 6 colour
  • A3 size
  • Postscript
  • USB connectivity
  • able to print 3mm from the edge (all sides)

Roll over to Digital Darkroom for more details he's scooped up on this.

Asus P2B 1006 BIOS Final Version 15:06 pm

It was released 2 days ago on the Asus German FTP site. From a user's funny response on the newsgroup, I must think the final version works real well (Note that I've not encountered any problems with the betas too).

"I find it ironic that many things don't work right in the final beta, then OOPS, suddenly everything has been fixed in the final release. What is the use of beta's anyhow, if they are going to fix everything in the final release while not fixing anything at all in the beta's!"

A word of warning to all. Always proceed with caution, use the correct flash utility and flash the updates from safe mode DOS. Never use floppy disks to flash!!!! Lastly, I do not guarantee that the newest version will work for you. Good luck to you.

I will be flashing it in soon (after uploading this news of course!)... Wish me luck! [Download v1006 now!]

Voltage Selection on ANY Slot-1 Board 15:02 pm

3DHardware.net has posted an article on how to change the core voltage on any Slot-1 motherboards. Here's a portion of the mail I've received:

The procedure is a little more difficult than doing it in Softmenu II on an Abit board, but it none the less works. It's perfect if the Abit boards don't fit your needs, yet you still want the maximum overclocking potential available.

FIFA '99 Preview 12:31 pm

Another preview? Yap! This one is the next game that'll likely replace World Cup '98 as my favourite soccer game. EA Sports has never failed to entice me with this line of game. Catch PC Games's preview spiced up with very pretty screenshots! This is a funny introduction:

As some countries recovered from the World Cup (nudge, nudge), EA Sports was busy putting the final touches on its upcoming FIFA title: FIFA 99! With promises of newly improved AI, better ball control, and revamped lighting effects, EA Sports is trying its best to make us all sound like broken records: "It's pretty good. It's pretty good. It's pretty good."

PC Mag with Lotsa Goodies 12:20 pm

PC Magazine Online has scored with quite a number of VERY interesting articles. Please see the following:

  • Micrsoft Windows NT 5.0 Preview: Short of tasting the real thing, we keep seeing the previews of one thing after another. Oh well! This is a very nicely written preview on Microsoft's NT 5.0 OS, abeit too technical and more oriented towards corporate clients. Makes a good read!
  • The 200Mb Floppy Disk: What is it? It's Sony's HiFD, the long-awaited drive with the potential to replace your aging, yellowing and grinding 1.44Mb floppy drive. Read PC Mag's article on it.
  • AMD Attackes Intel's High-End: This article has much to do with AMD's latest strategy, outlined in the recent Microprocessor Forum 98, to launch their K7 CPU as a direct competitor with Intel's highest end offerings in 1999. You knew the story, but here's more!

Adaptive Cruise Control 11:58 am

Not really computer news, but it does use microcomputers to achieve its startling abilities. Read this quote from EETimes' article:

As the driver in the next lane swerves in front of you, you feel the gas back off and the brakes grab in the car you're driving — a Mercedes-Benz S-class luxury vehicle, the first passenger car equipped with a technology called adaptive cruise control. The technology makes these adjustments even though you haven't touch the brake or gas pedal.

At a safe distance behind, your Mercedes settles to a speed matching that of the driver in front of you. That's too slow, so after a look in your rearview mirror you pull into the empty outside lane and feel the acceleration as your car speeds up to the pre-set cruising speed. You still haven't press the accelerator pedal.

New Abit BH6/BX6 BIOS 11:53 am

I didn't post this yesterday, but I thought again... I know there are about a zillion of you lucky people with the BH6 motherboard and some with the venerable BX6. So here's the link to my buddy's BIOS Update page over at BXBoards:

BX6 Motherboard

BH6 Motherboard

Netscape Details Complaints Agst Microsoft 11:23 am

Caught off CoolInfo this very saucy piece of information with all the drama. It's a 128 page testimony written by Netscape's CEO and president, Jims Barksdale. Here's the paras you can't miss:

The proposal, made by Microsoft executive Dan Rosen, who is presently general manager of new technology at Microsoft, would reserve the Windows 95 operating system browser market exclusively for Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, which was still in development at the time, Barksdale said. Under the proposal, Netscape would be relegated to producing cross-platform versions of its Navigator browser for the relatively small market of non-Windows 95 platforms, including Macintosh and UNIX. Microsoft also made it clear that if Netscape did not agree to its plan, it would "crush" the startup company, according to Barksdale.

Netscape refused Microsoft's proposal and quickly found itself dealing with the consequences, Barksdale said in his written testimony. "I did not anticipate the extent to which Microsoft would use its monopoly power over operating systems to take specific actions designed to destroy Netscape's ability to compete in the browser marketplace--or at a minimum, to so disrupt our browser-generated revenues that it would impede our ability to continue to pose a competitive threat," Barksdale said.

Unofficial MX300 FAQ 11:11 am

3DSoundSurge has posted their Unofficial MX300 FAQ. This will be of great interest to anyone who's needs to know more about this new soundcard. Go to it NOW!

Actua Tennis Review 11:05 am

Sharky Extreme has posted a review on Actua Tennis, with a couple of nice screenshots. Well, Tennis on the PC? Yes. I've played the Nintendo version some years ago and recalled having much fun then. Here's a clip:

Gremlin Interactive's Actua Sports 3D engine looks the part. 3Dfx and PowerVR owners will find themselves in their element via some fogging, real-time shadows and solid external objects with their Z-Buffers (a D3D version is also there for those that want it). The smooth shading, translucency and bilinear filtering provides Actua Tennis with a fairly polished look yet to be seen in any previous tennis games on the PC (not that I play them much you understand!). As with Actua Soccer et al., the tennis players themselves have been animated using the latest motion captured technology giving the feeling of fluid movement. Even the ball boys, line judges and umpires have been given the full monty in terms of motion capture treatment. The matches themselves are played in true 3D courts, reminiscent of EA's Virtual Stadium Technology. By moving the camera anywhere that takes your fancy, you're able to play tennis from any angle or viewpoint humanly imaginable.

Hey, I wasn't aware of this title before and I should be heading over to one of those game shops for this! (Read the full review)

20th October 1998 {Tuesday}
Comm... 4.5, Performance Standpoint 22:13 pm

To be fair, C|Net has also delivered a review on Netscape Communicator 4.5. To differentiate this article from PC Mag's (posted 2 hrs back), C|Net has done a performance gauge on this thing.

Not that 4.5 is a laggard, by any means. In our HTML- and GIF-loading tests, Communicator 4.5 outperformed 4.07 by a few percentage points--it's not a huge improvement, but at least you'll know 4.5 isn't a step backward. JavaScript performs more smoothly, and Java applets will load and initialize faster, too.

Avault Does SoundBlaster Live! Review 22:07 pm

Adrenaline Vault has decided to do a writeup on Creative's SoundBlaster Live!. Looks like the reviewer wasn't disappointed at all with his card, giving it a full 5 stars for its stellar performance. This is his overall impression:

I've had plenty of Sound Blaster cards over the years, from the original Sound Blaster, to the Pro, the 16, and AWE64 Gold. While each made small improvements on the one before, the Sound Blaster Live! makes a huge leap. The Environmental Audio works very well, much like hearing surround sound for the first time. And, with plenty of software to play with, you will be busy for days exploring all of the new gadgets. The Sound Blaster Live! is the best Sound Blaster ever and with support from the right companies it could make every game an experience to behold.

Need another opinion on the Live!? Check our very own SBLive! writeup under the "Exclusive Reviews" section.

Katmai : Speech Savvy Processor 20:42 pm

Intel has got another trump card to play against AMD. This time, they plan to include speech technology into the Katmai processor due early next year.

Seemingly perfectly coordinated, Intel has gotten the support of Microsoft who would putting their Whistler text-to-speech engine into Windows NT 5.0 and future OSes. I've ripped off a portion from CoolInfo for you:

The software giant will put its Whistler text-to-speech engine, for accessing data such as e-mail over voice telephone lines, in Windows NT 5.0 and its Whisper speech-to-text engine in a future operating system. With OS and chip support in place, PCs will soon become personal assistants. "Users will say, 'Print two copies of my financials, in landscape mode on the network printer,'" said Bob Kutnick, chief technology officer at speech product supplier Lernout & Hauspie.

Socket 7 Vs Slot-1 20:35 pm

The boy wonder, Anand, has something out of his kitchen again. This time, he talks about the rivalry between Socket 7 and Slot-1. He also tells of the Intel(ligent) game that has been at play to maintain its leadership in microprocessors.

By not following the path Intel paved, AMD has opened themselves up to a world of success as well as a world of possible failures.  AMD is pursing a completely new design of processor with their first Slot-A entry, the K7, and unfortunately, we have nothing to compare this movement to in history.  Never has a microprocessor manufacturer made such a bold move against the reigning champ, however if there is every a time to do it, that time would be now.

Only recently, AMD has decided to play their brand new ball game. It's a brilliant strategy, not yet played out. THIS IS THE CHANCE TO PROVE THEMSELVES. And they'd better succeed. (Read Anand's Article)

Communicator 4.5 Review 20:28 pm

Thanks to the note at our affiliate CoolComputing, I was made aware that PC Magazine has thrown up a review on the latest (barely 24hrs) browser from Netscape.

What's Related...

Once we found a site we were looking for, we had a chance to play with another new Communicator feature called What's Related, which was slowly integrated into later revisions of Version 4.0 of Communicator. What's Related is accessed via a button at the top of the browser. Regardless of where you are on the Web, Communicator offers you a range of sites related to the one you're currently visiting.

We found this to be a real value-add when doing research; instead of having to do additional searches in a separate search engine, we sometimes discovered valuable sites by simply checking the What's Related box.


Communicator's new SmartUpdate makes keeping your browser updated a snap. Using SmartUpdate, Communicator handles all the details of an upgrade by downloading the file, logging changes, and placing the needed files in the proper directory. SmartUpdate also speeds up an upgrade by letting Communicator upgrade only the code that has been changed, thus saving the user the hassle of downloading the entire program all over again. Users can easily remove previous SmartUpdate changes and have the option of turning off the feature completely.

Features both IE and Communicator lack even now

Communicator and Internet Explorer both lack a bookmark import/export feature, and both lack a way to synchronize bookmarks across browsers automatically. Although there are third-party utilities that do this, it makes far more sense for the two leading browsers to have this built in, since many people use both browsers.

I'll totally agree with PC Mag's point on a built-in bookmark import and export utility. Especially one that can be invoked anytime to synchronise both bookmarks.

Roaster Coaster's Shogo Review 20:20 pm

I didn't make up the name, and they bring you a nicely written review on your latest first person shooter game - Shogo. Here's a snip:

"I know you are all dying to hear about the graphics.  Gorgeous.  The environments were not as detailed or colorful as Unreal but they were definitely beautiful."

"If you like shooters and are hungry for the glory days of the high caliber single player experience, this game is a must buy plain and simple." 

TNT: STB Vs Diamond 20:17 pm

GamesDepot has posted a comparative review of the STB Velocity 4400 and the Diamond Viper V550 TNT cards. Not so much a meaningless speed test, but a comparison between the features and bundles. Take a look!

If you are considering the ultimate 2D/3D solution, than look no further than the V550 or the V4400. Both of which are worthy competitors, and should keep you fraggin' nice and fast into the new year!

If your going to be taking advantage of the TV output, then you might want to lean toward the V4400, if you want better desktop controls then go with the V550 which uses the "In Control Tools". Either way you can't go wrong!

DSL Standard Coming Soon 07:59 am

Consumers may move a step closer toward high-speed Internet access at home, as a preliminary standard for DSL modems is expected to emerge by the end of the week.

Participants in the standards setting process, including representatives from companies such as Intel, report that a preliminary, or "determined," standard for DSL modems will likely be set by Friday at a meeting of the International Telecommunications Union.

A variety of companies are collaborating on a standard for so-called G.lite DSL modems, which would offer consumers download speeds of up to 1.5 mbps.

This is many times faster than today's 56-kbps dial-up modems and close to speeds achieved on cable modems. The DSL standard would ensure that all DSL modems could speak with one other, meaning that customers won't have to worry about what technology to buy.

DSL standards "will be a major step towards the availability of reliable, compatible and maintainable ADSL [asymmetric DSL] products," Ken Krechmer, technical editor of Communications Standards Review, wrote in a report on the proceedings.

Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000 07:36 am

Thanks to BetaNews with this sneaky piece of information about an upcoming software from the Redmond giant. This is the whole crispy part:

To go along with the Office 2000 feel of things, Microsoft is getting ready to relase PhotoDraw 2000, around the time when Office 2000 is scheduled to hit beta 2. You may be wondering what PhotoDraw is, and lucky for you I have some info:

"Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000 is a powerful easy-to-use illustration and photo-editing program designed especially for business users who may not have any formal graphics or design training."

Some main features include 20,000 images and easy to use 'Office like' toolbars. Register to pre-order the trial CD, or wait until Novemeber and download it from Microsoft.

Recent [email protected] One 07:07 am

Here we go again... news are so quickly flushed into our archives and our reviews & articles so painstakingly written are conveniently flushed away. So...

Articles Not to be Missed!

nVidia Jumps Into PixelFlow 07:03 am

Caught this at RivaZone. nVidia is investing in researching PixelFlow, an advanced 3D rendering technology. Though its not anywhere around the horizons, its study has been underway and RivaZone has dug up this cool piece of article. A short snip:

PixelFlow is a new chip architecture for generating photo-realistic images in real time. Created by researchers at the University of North Carolina, PixelFlow is aimed squarely at the very top end of the graphics market, presently dominated by such exotic hardware as Silicon Graphics' RealityEngine2 (see "Damn the Torpedoes!," November 1993 BYTE). To compete in this arena, a system must offer full color (with fog and transparency effects), high resolution, photo-realistic Phong shading, antialiasing, and bump- and texture-mapping, all while delivering up to 60 video frames per second.

The sort of customers who can afford this high level of realism right now include Hollywood studios chasing another Jurassic Park-class blockbuster film, and military departments. The latter is looking into PixelFlow for use in sophisticated VR combat simulators (research on PixelFlow has been partly supported by the U.S.'s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

PC Fan's Marvel G200-TV Review 07:01 am

Yap! It's Kan's most anticipated card. I'll let him drool this time.  If you're as enthusiastic about doing some video capturing work, please proceed over to PC Fan with your own bucket for drool. Read PC Fan's Matrox Marvel G200-TV review!

The Marvel G200-TV utilizes hardware Motion JPEG as its playback and capturing source. And while I would have preferred hardware MPEG, I must admit that the Motion JPEG techniques used here are just as effective and quite honestly stunningly beautiful. Resolutions as high as 704x480 can be used for capturing with results ranging from little to no frame loss! Like I said, it's an incredible piece of equipment.

If only it'll hit our sunny shores soon. Though it's retailing at a very reasonable price of US$299, it'll still burn a hole in our shallow pockets. Ouch!

19th October 1998 {Monday}
Next Generation CPUs 22:56 pm

Here's an article that discusses about many upcoming CPUs from the major players, namely Intel, AMD, IBM, Digital and Sun. I've got here a tasty chunk about the importance of L2 cache:

Does cache make that big of a difference to a system's performance? Absolutely! This is best shown by some of the new Silicon Graphics processors, which come equipped with 8 megs and up of L2 cache, that's 8 times more L2 cache than the fastest Pentium II Xeon processor at the moment. A SGI processor, with a clock speed of 180 MHZ with 8 megs of L2 cache will outperform a 400 MHZ Xeon processor with 1 MB L2 cache in most cases. SGI machines are specifically made to handle incredible amounts of data, mostly high-end graphics rendering, which calls on the L2 cache to the extreme. In most cases, the more L2 cache you have, the better your system will perform as a whole.

Woo... Got some tissue? 8Mb of L2 cache. Drool...

Quality Audit At Microsoft 14:43 pm

Came by this piece of news by PCWeek at SysInfo. Read the clip:

"Microsoft Corp., in an unprecedented move of self-examination, has launched a company-wide internal audit of its product development process in an effort to deliver more reliable software."

"During the past year, two of Microsoft's biggest product launches -- Windows 98 and Visual Studio 6.0 -- had serious flaws for which service packs have been developed and are due soon. A Windows 98 Service Pack goes into beta this month and will be available early next year, officials said. A similar pack for Visual Studio is due this month."

This is good news, and it should have came a lot sooner! Microsoft, though aggressive and successful in many areas of desktop computing, has been under attacks by many critics of their software which were less than thoroughly tested or problem free as they should have been.

It is understandable that software as widely used as Microsoft's OSes and Office suites will be near impossible to conduct a thorough beta test, and we can probably not expect perfection in the forseeable future. But this is nevertheless a MOVE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. Kudos to Steve Ballmer for this initiative.

RIO, "Controversial" MP3 Playback Device 14:36 pm

AGN3D has posted a nice preview on Diamond's RIO. The 'MP3 Walkman' is able to store 40 mins of CD-quality audio or 60 mins of downsampled audio in its upgradable 32Mb flash memory. No moving parts, runs for 12 hours on 1 AA battery, weighs a mere 2.4 ounces, 'unSKIPabble' playback... Not bad huh?

Not only is the Rio small, it also weighs less then the McDonalds cheese burger that I had for lunch. This will be a definite plus in the Rio’s favor when your are listening to it jogging down the street trying to work off that burger. The actual weight of the Rio is only 2.4 ounces, and the dimensions are only 3 " by 2 " and just a bit over half an inch thick! This makes for a device that will look right at home in the shirt pocket of James Bond.

If this clever device makes it to shelves soon, there might be a substantial market interest for it. I'll be most keen to see one soon.

3Dfx to Buy Diamond Multimedia??? 14:21 pm

Oh okay, this is very interesting. Posted by 3Fingers but spotted by me at AGN3D was this saucy rumour about this potential buy out. Here's the news:

Inside sources say that 3Dfx is seriously thinking about buying Diamond Multimedia, and with a stock price of ~3.25 Diamond might find it hard to resist. In fact it looks like Diamond might welcome the merger as a way of cutting of Creative Labs' from continuing to erode Diamond's retail and system integrator market share. Without 3Dfx this year Creative Labs would have barely gained any market share in graphics. The added resources of 3Dfx would enable Diamond to keep its lead on graphics while it concentrates on expanding into the audio and motherboards.

The recent acquisition of Micronics into the Diamond fold gives 3Dfx an easy way of getting onto the motherboard and helping them better compete with ATI, Matrox, Nvidia, and S3 who already have experience with the more stable and profitable motherboard integration business.

Diamond was responsible for approximately 75% of 3Dfx's revenue in Q2 (due to high demand of the Voodoo2 chip, and it can be argued that Diamond was responsible for 3Dfx's mercurial rise to profit. It makes sense that 3Dfx would want to solidify the relationship and prevent Diamond from doing the same thing for a competitor.

At this time we do not know that the possible merger will dissuade Diamond from continuing their practice of building boards with various chipsets, but it may, just possibly, influence Diamond board making in the future.

Perhaps this merger will be a first step to a 3Dfx console by Christmas 1999. Why does that date sound so familiar??? Oh, yes, Christmas 1999: when the SEGA Dreamcast is due to hit the states. Sounds to me like we might have another interesting year ahead of us... if the rumors are true J

Motorola G4 11:12 am

Motorola said it is developing the G4 chip, the successor to the G3 PowerPC chips that have helped turn Apple's fortunes around this year.

Motorola is sampling a 400-MHz chip, which comes with two megabytes of Level 2 cache and uses a 100-MHz system bus. Compared with the G3 PowerPC 750 chips in today's Macintosh computers, the G4 offers little performance benefit. Preliminary tests say the G4 is only about 10 percent faster than a G3 running at the same clock speed, according to Will Swearingen, strategic marketing manager for PowerPCs at Motorola, in Schaumberg, Ill.

Where the G4 shines, however, is in the addition of the 128 AltiVec instructions, a series of instructions similar to the MMX instructions Intel added to its Pentium and Pentium II chips. Like MMX, the AltiVec instructions are designed to improve the processing of multimedia applications such as video, graphics, and communications.

The G4 comes with two parallel AltiVec units with 32 128-bit registers apiece, which sped up the SPEC benchmark by about 50 percent in floating-point operations over the 366-MHz G3, Swearingen said. The 366-MHz version is the fastest G3 on the market.

The G4 chips are 32-bit processors, just like the G3, but use a 128-bit data bus, double the 64-bit internal bus G3s have. This means G4s can transfer 1.6 gigabytes of data with a 100-MHz system bus. Existing Power Mac computers top out at a 66-MHz bus, but Apple is believed to have an 83-MHz bus in development.

Creative Banshee Reviewed! 09:46 am

Andy of BXBoards has sent word of his new review on the Creative GB Banshee card. He's drawn up benchmark results of the Banshee Vs a Voodoo2, as well as overclocked speeds of the Banshee. Overall, a very competent board for any gamer today. Here's a snip of his opinion:

What does concern me is how well this card will play games in 6 months time - in this day of AGP, games are using more and more textures and even a 16 megabyte card will choke. Additionally the nature of games development means that now multi-texturing is supported in Direct3d it will be used - so in 6 months expect this feature to be prevalent. DirectX6 will unlock the power of the Voodoo2's second TMU, but also leave the Banshee high and dry - something I find quite ironic.

Troubled over what to buy for your new computer? Want to know what I think of the Banshee? Be sure to check out 'Building Your Gaming Rig' at Hardware One.

SLI Action from 300Mhz to 504Mhz!!! 09:39 am

Oh yes, our groovy affiliate Overclockers Comparison Page has put up a slew of benchmark results of Quake II, Sin and Unreal on a pair of Wicked3D V2 boards.

He's captured the results on various CPU speeds ranging from 300Mhz all the way to 504Mhz... which will more than adequately show you the benefits of overclocking (Don't EVER blame me for any fire hazards caused by your freakin' CPU though! :P )

The frame rates on the last half of this page now show four different demos using three different games, four different processors at seven different clock speeds, at three or four different resolutions reflecting SLI and non-SLI Voodoo2 scores.  Whew!  You should be able to make a fairly informed decision about what OC'ing a CPU and Vid card will get ya.

What is Anti-Aliasing? 09:36 am

What the hell is Anti-Aliasing??? CPUMadness's got the answers for you, in their new article. You might want to check out the full article to understand how you'll affect gameplay when you put a tick in your tiny 'anti-aliasing' checkbox. Here's a big cut from the article:

Full screen anti aliasing first renders the image at twice the output resolution. So if you had a 640x480 image, the graphics card would render at 1280x1024 internally. Since there are four times as many pixels in the second image, the graphics card takes 4 pixels for each pixel in the output image and averages them together to get a color. Then the final image is output to the screen. As you might guess, it takes enormous resources to do full screen anti aliasing. Your frame rate (assuming it is fill rate limited) will slow down by as much as 75%, possibly more. Some high end graphics cards do 8x anti aliasing by rendering the image at four times it’s normal resolution and averaging eight pixels together. A more conservative solution is edge anti aliasing. Since the majority of jaggies occur at the edges of polygons, many manufacturers figure that only they should be anti aliased. Some go even further. The NVIDIA Riva TNT will allow two pass edge blending and full scene anti aliasing (with it’s next driver release). The two pass edge blending only selects some edges where it believes the jaggies are most prevalent and anti aliases those.

3DXTC Reviews SBLive! 09:31 am

Here's another SoundBlaster Live! lovin' from the guys at 3DXTC. Apparently, those people loved it so much, they've given it their site's highest honours! Check it out!

The Sound Blaster Live!, whether the full or Value version, is definitely one of the most impressive hardware this year. It has great versatility, functionality and quality.

This is why we've decided that the Sound Blaster Live! is to be the first hardware to receive our "Drool Factor HIGH" Award.

Hey! Of course, I've gotta point you to Hardware One's very own SoundBlaster Live! Review! :)

18th October 1998 {Sunday}
2 Audio Related Articles 23:49 pm

Just finished reading 2 interesting articles from the net and I might as well point you to them as well.

  • The first is a short blurp from GameSpot's Micheal who'd visited the house of Diamond MM's CEO to witness the power of their new product lineup. Stuff such as the Monster Sound MX300, the HomeFree kit, the controversial RIO MP3 playback device and the Fusion Banshee were showed off to a group of journalists. [Read the full article here]
  • The second article is an extensive interview with Creative's Chief Scientist Dave Rossum, about EAX (Environmental Audio Extensions). Yeah, all about EAX. Then again, not really. There were very interesting bits explaining the differences between Stereo, 3D audio, 3D positional audio and lastly 3D environmental audio. Here's a cute snip to wake up all our wrong ideas about stereo (myself included):

"One of the things to realize about 3D audio is that it is probably the most over-marketed technology and concept in the history of mankind. Most people don't realize it but the word 'stereo' means "three-dimensional". You could probably run out of fingers and toes, and maybe even bits in your computer if you try to count the number of times that people have claimed to have the first true 3D audio. That goes back to original stereo music. I mean, stereo by definition of the word is 3D audio, so in that sense if we look with hindsight, we can look at various developments and distinguish between what was being done.

[Read the full interview here]

SimCity 3000 Preview 16:06 pm

GamePower has previewed this hyper-super-duper anticipated game from Maxis (I'm craving to play it!!!), scoring with many many pretty screenshots! (Check the article)

In Sim City 3000, there're more than twice as many buildings, all of which are 3-D-rendered, with many having individual animations. Also, there's a multitude of pedestrians that you can actually see walking around your city. For those who don't like to walk, there's plenty of realistic-looking traffic that behaves just like real traffic -- that is, it gets congested or free-flowing, depending on how well you lay out your city. To hold all this new outlook, you have the ability to make your map four times bigger than in Sim City 2000, with five levels of zoom (as opposed to SC2000's three).

Number Nine Revolution IV 16:01 pm

Fastgraphics has thrown up a review on an early pre-production version of the #9 Revolution IV card. It had been found wanting in its 3D performance, which was no where near the present generation of cards that's hit the markets. Here's a clip:

As you can see the performance is not nearly up par with the rest of the field. Hopefully this is because the board and /or the drivers that I've got here are early, otherwise I fear the worst for this chipset. The image quality is pretty good, but not stunning so that isn't the problem with this chipset. The real problems seems to be the fill-rate. If Number Nine can crank that up by something like two times, this chipset might become interesting.

Since this is a pre-production board, we shall have to see if #9 will be able to redeem itself when it releases the final card.

Waterfall Pro 1.3 14:05 pm

Okie, here's an update for Leading WinTech's Waterfall Pro to version 1.3. This version is supposed to be able to work on ALL versions of Win95/98 and ALL computers (Hmm??). Need a software CPU cooler? Download it here!

I've uploaded to Fun's File Exchange Center, which should be made available shortly.

Hardware One (Singapore) Back! 13:44 pm

Yes! Yes! Yes! We're back in action on our Singapore One server! They've resumed services earlier than the planned schedule. Thank goodness! (Hardware One Singapore)

Genuine PII 450 in Disguise - 300 SL2W8? 13:42 pm

Quite a lot of interest has been generated by Intel's marked down PII-450 as the PII-300 SL2W8. Dan, the 'Tweak Monkey', has posted some introductory news over at Tweak3D if you haven't learnt about this new deal.

Supposedly, Intel manufactured a bunch of extra P2 450s. They didn't want to flood the market and force themselves to drop their own CPU prices, especially since the less than P2 333s are selling well. So.. they set these P2 450s to run at 66 MHz bus instead of 100, which made them well, P2 300s. There are a few specific step #s that indicate that the P2 300 has the .25 micron and 4.5 ns cache. They are SL2W6, SL2W7, SL2W8, SL2YK, SL2VY, and SL35V. The most common of which, and most likely to reach 450+ is the SL2W8... keep in mind, Intel is trying hard to get rid of these fast so people don't remark them and sell for a huge profit.

Awhile ago, Andy (The man!) has also posted a bit on the HIGH success rate of getting 504Mhz using the SL2W8. Here's a cool bit off BXBoards:

If you are in the market for a new CPU and are considering the Celeron300A, I'd seriously consider the P2-300 SL2W8. You have an almost guaranteed shot at 450 (only 80% with a 300a), and 504 is also a realistic option, if you are willing to use voltage tweaks to ease the way. On a Celeron300A, 4.5 x 112 is practically impossible (3%)... Watch out for versions of the P2-300 with 5.5ns cache however.

If you can get hold of one of these, be sure to. They should be selling fast (if they are to be found!).

3DSS Blurps MX300 13:21 pm

Noticed this avalanche of information Mark has posted on 3DSoundSurge. Lots of goodies about Diamond's Monster Sound MX300. Here's a VERY short snip...

A3D 2.0 will check for A3D 2.0 certified hardware. If it finds it, all A3D 2.0 features will be enabled. If it does not find it, then the features will be scaled down to what the hardware can handle. Games that only support A3D 2.0 will still allow for hardware accelerated 3D positional audio on cards like the Sound Blaster Live! However, my understanding is that A3D 2.0 will not activate any dynamic reverb on the Live!

OWB Celeron 300A Report 13:18 pm

Hi people! Our affiliate and contributor, Overclocker, has came up with his report on overclocking the 300A.

I ran Wintune98 on my test machine and found the speeds to be very impressive. The CPU integer is performing on par with a PII-450 with 512Kb L2 cache and the CPU Floating point results were impressive.

Judging from his excitement, he must be another satisfied and happy owner of the 300A + BH6 magic combo! (Roll over to his report)

Powerstrip 2.29.4 Beta 12:58 pm

Learnt from VE that EntechTaiwan has released a beta of PowerStrip 2.29.4, downloadable from here. Here's the news ripped of EntechTaiwan:

In keeping with an aggressive pre-Comdex update policy, the latest 2.29.4 beta build of the PowerStrip includes a new color temperature control for DTP, an automatically-generated "Voodoo equalized" gamma ramp for gamers, an improved Glide-switcher for Banshee plus Voodoo configurations, and resurrected fast memory timing options for the Riva128/ZX and TNT, amongst other things.

Netscape 4.5 Out In The Loose!!! 00:54 am

Caught this over at BetaNews.COM (they've revamped!). Follow this FTP address to download the final release version of Netscape Communicator 4.5.

[Download] Communicator 4.5. The site was quite congested when I tried to download Communicator 4.5 Professional (18 Mb). Hmmm... maybe I'll try again later.

New Discoveries 00:44 am

I went down to Sim Lim Square for a "walk" yesterday (some hours back). And I saw a few interesting things. Hey!

Desktop Theater 5.1
I saw it demoing at 2 shops, the sales person told me it wasn't retailing but only meant to "create an awareness" about this upcoming product. He wouldn't even give me a projected price.

Well, the thing wasn't as ugly or as unprofessional as I thought it would have looked. In fact, it looked quite nice. The "main console" is actually quite small, measuring approximately only 25cm X 15cm X 6cm. Comes with 4 'PCWorks' satellites, 1 'SoundWorks' center speaker and 1 'PCWorks' subwoofer.

The speakers use gold plated RCA jacks instead of the usual bare wiring we're accustomed with, so I don't suppose you can make your present SoundWorks plug into the DT5.1.  They had used the front and rear analog stereo outputs on a SBLive! for connection to the DT5.1. There's an AC-3 input jack behind, but it was unused.

Creative PC DVD Encore 5X Kit
The 5X speed version of Creative's famed PC DVD Encore kit, with Dxr2 technology was on sale in Sim Lim Square. From the box, everything appeared somewhat similar other than the new 5X DVD speed and 32X CDROM speed.

It was retailing at about S$459. Considering DVD for your PC? This will be one good kit to look at!

Apple iMac
I saw boxes of the Apple iMac in many shops. It's quite a cute piece of technology. A sure hit with many home users. The abstract colours and curvy design even makes it a nice furniture set!

Clicking around with the 'Hamburger' mouse, I'd found the machine to be snappy and responsive. What was most interesting was when they played this video off the iMac, showing a small kid assembling his new iMac Vs an adult assembling a PC (appears to be a HP from the box). The kid finished in 4.04 minutes, beating the grown man by a distance.

Looks really cool and easy to install and use. Connect the power plug to the wall socket, keyboard to monitor/CPU, mouse to keyboard, telephone cable from the wall socket to the built-in modem. You're done. It comes complete with the Mac OS and applications.

17th October 1998 {Saturday}
Maintenance Reminder 23:58 pm

In about 2 hours 2 mins time from now, at 0200 hrs, Singapore time, our S-One ISP will be down for maintenance (some power shutdown thingy) till about 1600 hrs tomorrow! A whopping 14 hrs! We apologise for the inconvenience.

Please visit our US Mirror instead at http://hardwareone.gotgames.com 

Spectra 3200 Info 23:57 pm

Purified3D has dug up more information about this mysterious card. Here's their stuff:

  • It includes the internal pass-through cable for use with the Pure3D II and Pure3D II LX.
  • It comes bundled with SiN*, The House of the Dead, Do 3D, PhotoImpact 4, and Media Scope. (* there is a coupon included for SiN when its released)
  • There will be a PCI version of the Spectra 3200.

There are many Spectra 3200 photos available here, including information. It is, however, in Japanese, but the pictures are still worth a look.

MP3 Virus A Hoax? 23:39 pm

Thanks to InSaNe for pointing me to this article from MP3.COM, apparently, there's no prove whatsoever to substantial the claim that such a virus (Bloat) exists.

A MP3 Virus hoax is circulating on the net and snaring some of the more popular MP3 sites in its scam. In spite of what appears to be an official announcement, a little fact checking reveals the organizations cited to be nonexistent and no record of the virus with any credible authority.

MP3.com checked with two recognized leaders in the virus detection area, CIAC and Mcafee and both revealed no information on this report.

Real a not? Gosh. I sure hope it's a hoax. (Check the full article)

Microsoft issues Cuartango Patch 14:03 pm

Microsoft today issued a patch for a security hole in its Internet Explorer Web browser that exposes users' files to hostile Web site operators and email senders.

The hole, named "Cuartango" after its discoverer, permitted a scripting exploit that allowed someone to swipe files off a victim's hard drive or from their network, either through a maliciously designed Web site they visited or through an HTML-based email received in a program such as Microsoft's Outlook Express or Outlook 98.

For users unable to download the patch, Microsoft recommends the temporary workaround that it offered when the hole surfaced: users can thwart potential attacks by turning off active scripting under Internet Explorer's security zones.

The Cuartango hole affects IE versions 4.01 on Windows 95, Windows NT4, Windows 98 with integrated IE, IE 4.01 on Windows 3.1, and NT 3.51. The problem does not affect Macintosh or Unix versions of IE.

Microsoft refers to the hole as the "untrusted scripted paste" vulnerability, a reference to the way in which the exploit it permits uses scripting to paste a file name into the file upload control--something only the user is supposed to be able to do--and send it to the attacker.

The software giant is warning that all users who have the affected versions of IE on their computers should install the patch--even if they don't use the browser.

Windows 98 users can get the patch through Windows Update. The patch also is posted on Microsoft's Web site.

Hard time for Hackers 14:00 pm

SINGAPORE--Singapore's computer crime laws need to be extended to cope with increased hacking, fraud and theft using computers, according to Professor S. Jayakumar, Singapore's minister for law and foreign affairs.

Speaking at the opening of the International Crime & Technology Conference in Singapore Wednesday, Jayakumar voiced his concern that, although the level was low compared to in the US, reported computer crimes were on the rise on the island, up from one case in 1993-4 to 38 cases in 1997.

On the subject of hackers the Singapore government stands firm, saying it will not enter into debate over whether they are mischief makers or serious criminals. "We believe that all hackers should be subject to the criminal sanction, as a deterrent against such misconduct," said Jayakumar.

Singapore's Computer Misuse Act has been amended recently to provide for stiffer penalties for hacking into computers in critical services and defense establishments, as well as to allow access by law enforcement agencies to encrypted evidence. 

SBLive!'s Shogo Unleashed 11:06 am

Noticed this over at Creative's Official SoundBlaster Live! homepage. This is a long article mostly about the game, Shogo, itself; but it never failed to mention its support for many of Creative's products.

That naturally means support for EAX on the SoundBlaster Live! card. Here's an interesting cut of Creative's interview with the Shogo development team:

What is your impression of Environmental Audio and EAX?
GUY: Audio that surrounds you is going to be yet another level of richness that can be added to your audio environment and EAX is the first thing I've seen where it can actually reach a mass audience and something I can rely on as a developer. The thing I like about it is that if someone has just a pair of speakers, it will sound fine. If they have four, super. I don't have to do a whole lot of extra implementation. Although if I want to, I'll be able to do a lot more.

The nice article has got many cool screenshots of the coming kick-ass game.

PC Mag On Caldera OpenLinux 10:45 am

PC Magazine Online has taken a look at another flavour of Linux from Caldera - OpenLinux 1.3. It is still the familiar Linux, but with added bells and whistles. Bundling with StarOffice, you'll be won't find your rock stable Linux short on full-fledged productivity apps comparable to the likes of MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint. (Roll over to PC Mag's Article)

Inside [email protected] 10:29 am

Oh wow! Want to know the latest info about one of the soundcard industry's most awaited card, since the debut of SoundBlaster Live!?? The guys at Sharky's (again??!), had this close encounter with the Diamond Monster Sound MX300. Sounds damn cool! There's too much exciting stuff to snip, but hell! Here's a short one:

If Unreal is the perfect game to demonstrate the MX300's 3D positional audio capability's, then Half-Life is by far the game perfectly suited to demonstrate the card's 3D audio manipulation. Half-Life, for those that don't know, largely takes place in an abandoned underground silo. That setting naturally lends itself to having a lot of enclosed and constricted areas. That, coupled with the heavily industrial feel of most of the levels (concrete, rusted iron, sheet metal, etc), makes A3D 2.0 shine. Sounds that were generated around corners were not only produced to accurately reflect their position, but were slightly muffled and muted as well. Firing the H&K MP5 inside a hallway caused violent echoes to be ricocheted back and forth between the walls.

There's more! How about support for full Dolby Digital and DVD acceleration? The battle for the king of 3D audio is about to begin.(The cool stuff)  :)

Sharky's 5 19" Monitors ShootOut! 10:20 am

Here's a new 'shootout' from the boys at Sharky's, with 5 19" Monitors fighting for the top spot. Do we have a surprise here? Well, sort of. The ADI 19" Microscan 6P clinched the trophy, beating big names like Sony, Viewsonic, Hitachi and OptiQuest.

Thanks to a variety of factors that have occurred over the last eight months or so, 19" monitor prices have plummeted and the sector is becoming one of the hottest in the computer industry.

Okie, time to consider upgrading my 2 year old 17 inch for the popular 19 inches. (Full Review)

MiroHiSCORE II 10:08 am

miroMedia is not a new name in the graphics card market, in fact, they've been around with many high-end boards for professional consumption. Its new HISCORE II is a Voodoo2 based board that offers as many powerful features as the Canopus Pure3D II.

Hardgame reviewed this board and gave it a high 9/10 rating for its excellent design and superb drivers/utilities.

With 12 MB of 100 MHz Silicon Magic ram, TV-out and one of the most amazing driver features sets on the market, the HISCORE 2 3D has been designed for the high-end market. Many have called the original HISCORE 3D "the European Pure 3D", and we can extend that sort of description to their Voodoo2 as well.

It's a pretty high-end card retailing at about S$435 in Singapore. That's a high price to pay.

28 Digital Cameras Review 07:19 am

In case you have not notice it, CNet did a impressive reviews on 28 digital cameras. So, if you are looking for one, hop in to this page.

We love the instant gratification of a digital camera. Just take your shot, download the photos, then use image editing software to trim noses and waists, make rivals seem like buddies, and generally mess with reality

S3 Sues Intel 07:16 am

Although S3 has primarily been known as a graphics chip vendor, the company may increasingly become associated with patent litigation.

Three patents that the company acquired  earlier this year in a blind auction from defunct chipmaker Exponential may provide the basis for a patent claim against chip giant Intel, according to a prominent patent analyst.

The chief patent in question lays out an efficient method for designing a microprocessor that can read both Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) instructions, and Complex Instruction Set Computing (CISC) instructions, according to Richard Belgard, a patent consultant associated with MicroDesign Resources. With this patent, a chipmaker could produce a processor that could understand programs written for a variety of processors. Two other patents relate to similar issues.

Intel's Merced chip employs a similar design to what is described in the Exponential-S3 patent, said Belgard. The Exponential-S3 patents, however, pre-date Intel's Merced's designs, which lays the basis for a claim. In patent law, a patent holder does not have to show that another party copied or deliberately infringed a design. They only need to show priority in time. For more information, read here.

AOL hacked? 07:11 am

America Online Inc. officials believe hackers are to blame for a software glitch that knocked many users off the service and wreaked havoc with its e-mail system on Friday.

Mail from outside the AOL system to AOL users was apparently re-routed to other destinations, possibly due to a hacker's attack that resulted in a key DNS address being changed, said AOL spokeswoman Ann Brackbill.

"We have no idea who was behind it at this point, but we are making every effort to find out what happened," Brackbill said.

The hack -- which also left an undisclosed number of users with "bring your own access" plans unable to get onto AOL for several hours Friday -- was discovered when systems administrators began noticing that mail to AOL was bouncing back, she said.

The problem has been fixed, and mail should now be getting through normally, Brackbill said Friday afternoon.

Restraining orders for MP3 player 07:06 am

The Recording Industry Association of America won an initial battle in its suit against PC multimedia hardware maker Diamond Multimedia Inc. on Friday when the court granted a temporary restraining order, preventing Diamond from bringing its digital music player, the Rio, to market.

AMD Moves Onto The Overtaking Lane 01:08 am

Tom's Hardware has quietly posted this article about AMD's new aggressive stance with a few extremely promising products up its sleeves. (Read Tom's Article)

While we must have heard a zillion times that Intel's competitor has something to knock it off its pedestal, but really... we haven't see any thing that substantiates the initial hoo haa. But... here's a snip of what Tom has this to say about AMD's upcoming K7:

What difference does it make if your next motherboard is a Slot A motherboard with an AMD chipset rather than a Slot 1 motherboard with Intel’s upcoming Camino chipset? Slot A and its EV6 protocol is the superior solution. K7 may well be superior to Katmai as well.

This time round, after the Microprocessor Forum 98, AMD hots up the competition with Intel by laying out its ingenious battle plan. However, the battle remains to be fought.

16th October 1998 {Friday}
Photo Inkjet Printers 22:13 pm

Our affiliate site Digital Darkroom has posted a new article contributed by David Chen, which discussed and compared in detail how various inkjet works. Dot size, paper quality, 4 colour vs 5 colour inks, and resolution all came under close scrutiny and examination in this article.

As an example, the Epson Stylus 740 uses a 6 picolitre droplette while the HP 712/720/890/1120 series (HRET II printers) uses a 10 picolitre droplette, and the HP 2000 uses an 8 picolitre droplette. When viewed at 30x magnification, the Epson 740 dots are smaller than the HP dots, thus resulting in the reduced graininess in Epson printouts and smoother gradiants. As a result of using smaller dots, you may be producing dots that are smaller than 1 / resolution, but if done correctly (eg. Epson 740), you will get much smoother gradiants and better printouts.   A good example of this is the HP series.  The newer ones that have the HRET II technology can vary dot sizes from big to small.  They still run on the same 600 dpi resolution as older models but can produce better looking pictures (not as good as the top rated inkjets though due to lower resolution). Older inkjet printers use larger droplettes and the quality of prints are lower.

Ok, it even teaches you how to study the printouts of various printers so that you know what to look out for when comparing the samples at your computer superstore!

Superbly informative! This is one sure way of understanding how to choose the right printer for yourself. (Read Digital Darkroom's Article!)

Latest Matrox unified BIOS  21:36 pm

Matrox unified BIOS v3.44 is out and available Matrox or from Hardware One.

  • Changes:- Support special DDC routines with all G200 BIOSes
  • CRTC protection is set and Vertical Interrupts are disabled for all VESA modes with G200 AGP & PCI
  • Support for for EDID structure revision 2.0 (256 bytes EDID) for all G200 BIOSes
  • Support for VBE/DDC 2.0  for all G200 BIOSes
  • Fixes a DDC problem when entering Windows, now interrupts are disabled during DDC with G100 PCI, and all G200 BIOSes. This addresses the issue where a DDC monitor would be detected as an unknown monitor.
  • New NTSC parameters for G200 TVO AGP BIOS.
  • Progbios now supports the G200 PCI- PCISPY now supports the G200 PCI
  • TSRVESA.  First release, adds VESA support for Flat Panel in DOS.
  • VBESETUP checks for Flat Panel and will not load if it is detected.- MGAMON checks for the Flat Panel and will exit if it is detectetd.

Hardware One on the QuickVideo DVC1 17:25 pm

NEW! Hardware One has posted a review on the Alaris QuickVideo DVC1, a digital video camera for home video conferencing. Catch our review!

"Attached to a 14" LCD monitor, the small camera was pumping smooth frame rates of me waving retardedly into the camera..."

"Gee! Luckily we went for the DVC1 which could be connected to any portable notebook with a parallel port!"

All Singapore One users should take a look at this, and check up if the S$79 offer at Intresource is still on!

Get the Picture, with a Digital Camera 17:06 pm

C|Net has posted a review of 3 digital cameras - The Epson PhotoPC 550, the Kodak DC200 and the latest Editor's Choice, Kodak DC260. Here's a little DC260 lovin' :

When you manage to peel your eyes from the stunning photos taken by Kodak's new megapixel DC260, you might want to glance at the price tag. Yes, it really does read $999, but if you want the best digital photographs for less than a grand, just concentrate on the pics.

It's a simple equation: more pixels equal better resolution. The DC260's top-end resolution of 1,536 by 1,024 generates nearly 1.6 million pixels, enough for us to identify friends along the first-base line from across the field. The camera also shoots at 1,152 by 768 and 768 by 512, and its 8MB CompactFlash card stores between 14 and 90 images. The jury voted the DC260 a hands-down winner over older Editors' Choices, such as the Olympus D-320L.

Future x86 CPU Brief 17:02 pm

Our affiliate CoolComputing has just updated their "Future x86 CPU Brief" table to include AMD K7, Cyrix 'Jalapeno' and Intel 'McKinley' chips. Be sure to take a look!

MPEG Layer 3 Virus! 16:59 pm

Wow! These people are smart, they've even created MP3 viruses? Hmm.. catch this snip from BetaNews:

The virus, called Bloat, has been discovered to imbed itself into the executable portion of every player in every condition tested so far, including Winamp, NAD, Jet Audio, and Unreal Player Max; running under Windows 3.x, 9x, and NT operating systems.

Canopus Spectra 3200? 10:19 am

Typo? No. Purified3D posted this about a Japan user posting in their forum revealing something about the Spectra 3200! Here's the juicy bit:

One of our Japan residing readers, Gilles, posted in our Forum that the Spectra 3200 is now available in Japan. Here's a few details Gilles included regarding the 3200:

  • It includes Ultra Low Latency Mosys 8ns SGRAM, meaning it will be a maximum of 20% faster in Direct3D and OpenGL games than the Spectra 2500. (Spectra 2500 uses SDRAM).
  • It does not have WitchDoctor Technology.
  • It does not have TV-OUT or VIDEO-IN.

We can neither confirm nor deny this information, stay tuned for more!

Hey! I'm seeking confirmation on this too man! Will this be the cheap, no-frills but super-fast version of the Spectra 2500?

AOpen Navigator PA70 10:17 am

This is AOpen's latest board based on the S3 Savage3D chip. Well, it found itself being examined by Anand who found many likeable things as well as not so likeable things about it. Here's his conclusion:

I would recommend waiting until the Savage3D based boards and drivers (not just the PA70 reviewed) mature before considering this board as a high performance board. If you want a fast board for around $100, there really isn't another option...'

Roll over for the full review.

FreeStyle Pro 09:57 am

This device is getting all the attention lately! Now I'm so damn tempted to buy one myself! Arrgghh... Stop! Please! Stop tempting me will ya?! Even Adrenaline Vault has to review this.... a detailed one.

The SideWinder FreeStyle Pro is best suited for 3D racing games, as well as 3D flying/shooters. The bundled Motocross Madness is one game that feels absolutely perfect when played with the FreeStyle Pro. At E3 1998, I had a blast jumping off the hills and pulling off stunts using this controller, and I have just as much fun now. I wouldn't say that gameplay feels more "real," but it definitely is much more engrossing putting the whole hand movement into it. For example, the triggers are used for acceleration and braking, and the bike is steered by tilting the controller to the left and right. Once in the air, you lift the front of the bike by tilting the controller front and back.

Would you prefer a snazzy personal review done right here? Catch Issue 1 of Flashman's Toy Garage!

Communicator 4.5 Next Week 09:57 am

Oh yes, we're tired of waiting, but eagerly anticipating... Netscape has announced that their new product will probably be ready and available next week Oct 19. CoolInfo's snip:

The product originally was slated to ship by the end of the year. Netscape officials confirmed Communicator 4.5 is expected to be released Oct. 19, and the update includes about 4,000 individual enhancements to the new browser and accompanying software.

Additional IA-64 CPUs To Come 09:52 am

Intel has revealed 2 successors to its coming 64-bit Merced processor, detailing its roadmap a little more. Go over and read EETimes article on this!

Merced, which is due in mid-2000, will be followed in late 2001 by a previously announced processor code-named McKinley. In a presentation at the Microprocessor Forum, Stephen Smith, vice president of Intel's microprocessor products group, said that two additional IA-64 architecture devices will follow.

"We will move forward to 0.13-micron technology with a product code-named Madison," he said. The device is due around 2002. Madison, which will be aimed at high-end workstation and server applications, will be followed by an IA-64 processor code-named Deerfield. According to Smith, Deerfield will be "billed as a price/performance processor."

15th October 1998 {Thursday}
PC Mag on 5 Photo Printers 22:17 pm

The big name in computer magazines put forth their review on the 5 most wanted photo inkjet printers Canon BJC-7004 Photo, Canon CD-200, Epson Stylus Photo EX, HP PhotoSmart Photo Printer, and the Olympus P-300 Personal Photo Printer. Read the full review!

Here's a snip of what they've gotta say about the editor's choice:

The [Epson] Photo EX ink jet was the most expensive of the three full-size photo printers, but it produced the best image prints and was even marginally faster than the two others. Print quality and varied-size media are the reasons to choose the Photo EX, our printer of choice in this roundup.

Spectra 2500 on K6-2? 21:40 pm

We must apologise for leaving out many proud K6-2 owners, longing for 3DNow! support in the newest TNT cards that has hit the streets. Today, I came across Riva3D's Spectra 2500 review which was, interestingly, tested on a K6-2 system.

Excellent framerates for a K6-2 system, which places the performance level squarely in between a P2-300 and P2-450. The Canopus drivers are 3D-NOW! enhanced as is DX6, so virtually every game you get from here on out will give you P2 level performance on a K6-2 based system. What's most interesting is the difference the Memory Performance slider makes in the frame rates.

Sheesh! I didn't get to try out the newest Canopus Spectra drivers when I reviewed the evaluation board. They seem to have learnt new tricks and put in a 'Memory Performance' slider!

Great! This will allow easy overclocking without people accidentally crossing the red line and crashing your system. (Read the full review here!)

SoundWorks Review 18:47 pm

Adrenaline Vault has put up their review on the Cambridge SoundWorks SoundWorks speakers. (All smiles on my face, coz I got a pair myself!!).

The satellites can be wall mounted or set on a desk with the included stands. It was easier to get very good imagery out of the SoundWorks compared to the larger MicroWorks. Simply placing the satellites on the front desk edge equidistant from the listener resulted in a wide, accurate soundfield. Like the MicroWorks, the satellites provide a smooth sound at both the mid and high end. The subwoofer delivers tight, accurate bass with only a hint of distortion at the highest volume levels.

Creative GB TNT Review! 18:37 pm

Nah, this is not ours. But our buddy over at BXBoards has churned out this no-nonsense review on Creative's Graphics Blaster TNT card.

It remains to be seen how well the TNT and its nearest competitor, the Voodoo2, perform when true DirectX6 games appear which take advantage of their twin texture mapping ability. But on current Direct3d applications TNT is King of the Hill for the moment, and if Microsoft have their way, perhaps Direct3d scores are the ones that you should look hardest at.

Hot Gaming News 18:35 pm

TecDrome has sent word about the following:

Wing Commander Prophecy Gold
Imagine, Wing Commader Prophecy (WCP) with the Secret Ops (downloadable free, all 115mb and about 6mb more for all 7 episodes) bundled in. Yeah right. Persoanlly anyone who has the inclination can get the SpecOps for themselves if they already have WCP. However if you haven't already bought WCP then this is indeed a good buy, otherwise you'd only buy it to complete your collection of the Wing Commander series.

FA Premier Manager 99
Sick of playing CM2? Ever wished you could really managed FIFA 98? Well, with FAPM99, not only you get about 600 clubs, 700 managers, 13000 players and all the stats that goes along with any good management game, you'll also get to see your matches played out in World Cup 98 style! Managing not only your players but your club's finances such as ticketing, sponsorship and other "real world" management

WickedVision 18:33 pm

Read Hardgame's review on the latest gaming gear for the millenium, the Wicked3D WickedVision. Your ultimate 3D visors for all gaming needs, promising the best experience EVER. Read the snips here:

If your gaming is mostly spent playing FPS games, you will see a nice gameplay benefit from the H3D glasses, as FPS games are where H3D really shines. If you’re in the market for a Voodoo II and want a little more than a cheap, reference design-based Voodoo II board offers, look no further than Metabyte. Both the high resolution support and H3D support make the Wicked3D a great buy, if you can handle the average H3D image quality (although at times it can be very good) and high price.

Cyrix Cayenne 17:06 pm

National Semiconductor's Cyrix will not apparently adopt the "slot" interface used by competitor Intel's Pentium II microprocessor, according to an industry analyst.

Michael Slater, president of MicroDesign Resources, in Sebastopol, Calif., said Cyrix's third-generation microprocessor, code-named Cayenne, will adopt the Socket 7 interface when it ships in 1999. Cyrix and National officials were not available for comment.

Now, Cyrix's M II microprocessors use the Socket 7 interface, a microprocessor bus structure and connector used by Intel's now-discontinued Pentium processor

But Cyrix has also waffled about whether to design chips for Socket 7 or the Slot 1 interface. "A year ago, Cyrix said it may or may not do either Socket 7 or Slot 1," Slater said. "Just in the last day or so, they've told me they will do a Cayenne part for Socket

For more information, read here.

Upgrade for Premiere 5.0 09:01 am

Got this from CoolComputing.

Adobe Systems Incorporated announced today Adobe Premiere 5.1 software, an update to its award-winning, digital video editing solution. The newest version of Adobe Premiere offers greatly enhanced performance, core QuickTime 3.0 support and improved workflow, saving users time and allowing them greater flexibility and creative freedom. Adobe Premiere 5.1 debuts today at DV Expo in Los Angeles and will be available to customers by the end of October.

Adobe Premiere 5.1 delivers dramatically improved performance, saving video professionals significant time and money throughout the editing process:

Compile time improvements in Premiere 5.1 result in significantly faster render times for both Preview and Export. "Smart" Preview files from the Timeline can be exported from Premiere 5.1, enabling drastically reduced final export times. Premiere 5.1 offers multi-threaded performance: transparency takes advantage of dual processors for faster compile times. Users can also work more efficiently within Premiere 5.1, with enhanced Timeline and Trim window performance that allows for faster, more precise edits.

Intel details Merced 08:45 am

Intel provided concrete details of its 64-bit Merced processor for the first time at the Microprocessor Forum today and announced a low-cost 64-bit chip architecture.

Providing particulars that are esoteric but absolutely essential for moving Intel to a 64-bit future, Merced targets markets that Intel can only dream of now. The chip is due out in mid-2000.

Interestingly, Merced will come in a cartridge that is similar to the current Pentium II cosmetically but slightly smaller, according to a presentation given by Stephen L. Smith, a vice president at the Microprocessor Products Group.

Under the hood, however, it's a completely different beast. In addition to having a new instruction set--which has been already outlined in some detail last year and earlier this year--the chip will use an entirely new cache memory architecture.

Cache memory is now taking up more and more real estate on processors and, in many cases, dwarfs the number of transistors found in the processor itself. For example, while a processor can consume between 5 million and 10 million transistors, a large cache memory can use well over 50 million. For more information, read here.

PowerPC 405 08:43 am

IBM announced its new PowerPC 405 chip today, a faster successor to the PowerPC 401 chip that's used in hand-held electronic devices.

IBM is aiming the 405 at a wide variety of markets, including consumer electronics, cellular phones, and other "information appliances" that combine the functions of portable phones, pagers, and email systems.

The 405 runs at speeds up to 200 MHz and is built on a 0.25-micron process. It's a tiny, 2-square-millimeter chip "core" that can be surrounded with other electronics to tailor-make different systems.

The chip uses a CodePack memory compression system, which compresses the 32-bit-long instructions for the chip into smaller instructions. The upshot is that less memory is required to perform the same task, but a special software utility is needed to prepare instructions for running on the chip.

Mac OS 8.5 08:41 am

Apple Computer officially introduced an upgraded version of the Macintosh operating system that interim CEO Steve Jobs called "a must-have upgrade" today at a company event in Cupertino's Flint Center auditorium.

"The compatibility (with older machines) is there, the performance is there, and we've made the upgrade experience more seamless," said Peter Lowe, product line manager for the Mac OS, noting that the installation of the OS takes less than 15 minutes now.

Jobs and Apple's vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, demonstrated a number of features of the new OS, including faster performance when saving files over the network--up to three times faster, according to Apple--and improved file and Internet search functionality dubbed "Sherlock."

For instance, from a single dialog box, a user can search files by content and search the Internet using several different engines, such as Excite and HotBot, simultaneously. The search results can be summarized without opening up the Web pages, saving download time.

Overclocking Celeron 08:39 am

CPU-Central posted a detailed FAQ on how to overclock your Celeron.

In theory, a CPU is tested first at it's maximum speed.  The ones that pass the testing process at this speed are marked as such and sold as top-of-the-line CPU's.  Those that fail at the fastest speed are tested at successively lower and lower speeds until they run reliably.  These slower cores are then marked with the speed at which they passed the testing process and sold as slower processors.  At least, that's the theory.  No one really knows how Intel decides which cores get marked for a given speed.  Several other factors, such as customer demand and production quality, affect how many processors of each speed are produced.

A CPU of any given speed can usually be made to run somewhat faster if one is willing to play around with the motherboard settings. This is the overclocker's bread and butter.  Now, through a convenient turn of events, Intel has produced a CPU with an unusually high capacity for overclocking.

[Beam me to the latest news archive!]

Copyright 1998 Hardware One
Last updated 23 October 1998 14:37