29 Oct 98 - 31 Oct 98
Highlights within this period includes:
  • Another TennMax Stealth V2 Cooler Review
  • IBM HotMedia
  • New Canopus Spectra Drivers
  • Diamond C200 Review
  • Hacker Site Hacked
  • Bi-directional Cable Modem
  • Spectra Driver Comparison
  • Faster Blue than Blue
  • Kert's ATI Rage128 Overview
  • Overclocker's Comparison Page Re'Vamped'
  • Quantum 3D Raven AGP Review
  • New SBLive! Drivers with Live!Surround
  • Another Lesson On FPUs?
  • Anand Reviews K6-2 350Mhz
  • Sun Released Java Speech API
  • Internet Explorer 5 beta 2
  • Court Overturns RIAA. RIO to Go On Sale!
  • Testing of T3 Link
  • Software Vs Hardware Rendering
  • Updated SR-2 Pack for Office 97
  • AGP 1X vs AGP 1.5X... 1.5X ???
  • Sharky's Live! Experience
  • Iwill XA100 Plus Review
  • Warlords III Review + Brood Wars Preview
  • Microsoft Office 97 SR-2 at Fun's
  • CPU Shopping Advice For the Picky
  • PowerQuest Partition Magic 4.0
  • Microsoft Pulls Internet Explorer 5 beta 2
  • Yamaha Waveforce 192 Digital... Digital!!! Get it???

31st October 1998 {Saturday}
Yamaha Waveforce 192 Digital... Digital!!! Get it??? 23:19 pm

Wow! Frontliner, dk, sent word about their new review on a prototype Yamaha Waveforce 192 Digital. Yes, Digital! This card is basically the Waveforce 192 with a Optical SP/DIF Out and support for Phat™ Stereo 3D Enhancement. Caught some cool drips:

I threw in "Yanni Live at the Acropolis"... I clicked the mixer control and..what's that setting on the far right?... Hmmm....3D Wide. By default this was muted, so I unchecked the Mute and my jaw hit the floor! All of a sudden, I was really in the Acropolis. The crowd was clapping all around me. Strings were coming in from the side, the bass drum was coming from the ground and Aria was coming from....the sky!?!?

With all these spanking new cards hitting the market... is it going to be just Aureal Vs Creative? Roll over to Frontline now!

Microsoft Pulls Internet Explorer 5 beta 2! 21:58 pm

To my surprise, when BetaNews came back online after a server switch, I found this news staring at me! It seems like Microsoft has pulled IE5 beta 2 off its server. Reason being that it was meant to be only a test (??). Read the snip off BetaNews:

I just got word from Microsoft, the IE 5.0 Product Team to be exact, explaining that we should not have posted the IE 5.0 Beta 2 Setup, because their servers are not ready yet. What you saw last night with the ConXion sites, was a test. This is unfortunate for them, because they DID post the setup THEMSELVES...

We suggest waiting until Microsoft is ready for you to download, because you may encounter small things like version conflicts. We will tell you when this happens.

Well then perhaps you should wait for Microsoft to give the green light to avoid any trouble, but if you are still absolutely bent on getting it, Fun still has the 22.2Mb file!

PowerQuest Partition Magic 4.0 18:39 pm

Netigen Web has done a really neat review on Version 4 of PowerQuest's Partition Magic. If you still don't know about this famed "on-the-fly" non-destructive harddisk partitioning utility, be sure to check out Netigen's review.

Moving with the industry-wide push for ease of use, PartitionMagic 4.0 now offers wizards for the most common tasks. The web-like main screen displays mouse-over icons for creating and analyzing partitions, reclaiming wasted space, redistributing free space, and preparing for a new operating system. These actions are also available on a menu and can be performed manually.

In addition to many new enhancements, this new version also sports an improved interface with wizards to aid you in many of the more daunting tasks.

CPU Shopping Advice for The Picky 18:31 pm

Dear Andy of BXBoards has posted another interesting tid-bit for those of you going shopping for a new CPU but not knowing what to look out for... he explains why the new PII chips with 5.5ns L2 cache WILL outperform the 5.0ns versions, which in turn outperform the 4.5ns versions. Puzzling? Read on:

The key to interpret these readings is to look at the the L2 Latency Mode and L2 Latency. Basically a lower latency means that L2 is rated slower. This may sound weird, but how it works is this - L2 cache designed to run at 4.5 ns is slower than 5.0 ns cache. This may sound rediculous until you bench L2 memory speeds - 5.5ns cache will run around 30 megabytes a second faster than 5.0ns cache, which will run around 30 megabytes a second quicker than 4.5ns cache.

The reason is that P2 cache runs at half the speed of the CPU speed, so the cache actually needs to be slowed down to run reliably at speeds speeds around 333Mhz plus.

Microsoft Office 97 SR-2 at Fun's 15:17 pm

Thought I'll just keep you guys informed - Singapore S-One users who want to download the new Service Release 2 for Microsoft Office 97 can find the 24.1Mb file at our favourite high-speed Fun's File Exchange Server. Check it out here!

I came across Internet Explorer 5.0 beta 2 file on the server as well. If you are game enough to experiment with the latest (as if living on the edge with IE4.0 wasn't enuf!!!), then go grab this 22.2Mb file!

As always, support the file exchange service provided by Fun! Don't just be a download junkie! Contribute! Contribute! Contribute!

Warlords III Review + Brood Wars Preview 12:38 pm

Missed this yesterday at Adrenaline Vault, but they've done a review on Red Ord's Warloards III and a preview on the hot StarCraft: Brood Wars.

On Warlords III : If you like Warlords then there is plenty to like about Darklords Rising. Improvements in a number of areas have nicely added to the game, from the graphics to the audio to the added gameplay features. SSG did a nice job of making changes that responded to players' comments, and not just adding things for the sake of adding them. My only beef with the game, and a minor one probably, is that it doesn't seem all that far removed from a really good expansion and maybe owners of the original Warlords III should have gotten a break on it, like some kind of rebate. Otherwise I think Warlords III: Darklords Rising remains one of the top turn-based strategy games of any type.

On Brood Wars : Starcraft remains one of my favorite RTS games. It's obvious that Blizzard knew what it was doing with these three distinct races and continues to accentuate the differences between them, while at the same time trying to make it so that each has strengths that make it attractive and fun to play. I'm looking forward to diving into yet another lengthy series of campaigns and seeing how the story unfolds (Emperor Mengsk I has to be a dead man...I've got a feeling he's due). The new multiplayer maps will be nice, although there are already plenty out there thanks to the easy-to-use editor that came with the original. From my experiences thus far, it looks like Brood War will be worth the wait.

Iwill XA100 Plus Review 12:33 pm

Remember this Super7 board mentioned a while back? Anand reviews the ALi Aladdin V based Super7 motherboard from Iwill. Besides being a very well built board, it comes with 4 PCI, 1 AGP and 3 ISA slots, 512Kb L2 cache.... read this:

The board features clock multipliers from 2.5x up to 5.5x, theoretically providing support for the upcoming K6-2 450 and above processors. On the PCB, like its predecessor, the XA100Plus allows for FSB selection via a single jumper as mentioned above for the now common 66, 75, 83, and 100MHz FSB settings. The core voltage manipulation on the revised XA100Plus has changed greatly since the time of the first XA100, instead of offering a limited number of choices, the board allows for selection of CPU core voltages from 2.0v to 3.5v in 0.1v steppings for the most precise overclocking and system tweaking. From within the Award BIOS Setup, you can enable/disable options such as the increasingly popular keyboard power-on as well as enable custom configurable FSB settings, such as the 110, 115, 120, and 125MHz settings described above in the mainboard specifications. 

Sharky's Live! Experience 12:23 pm

Over at Sharky Extreme, they have delivered a review on the SoundBlaster Live! Pretty much the usual goodies they've mentioned, but you cherish a good opinion don't you?

In the apps that we used over the course of a week, the SB Live turned in excellent overall sound quality. We tested the card using Cambridge SoundWorks PCWorks FourPointSurround Speaker System. That's a mouthful even for Monica L, but the sound the five speakers provide is better than anything we've heard in a long time. Costing $100, the set is comprised of 4 small square "satellite" speakers which handle the left and right duties for the standard front and rear surround setup. The 5th speaker is a compact yet amazingly powerful and distortion free subwoofer which resides on the user's floor (much to the chagrin of their downstairs apartment neighbors no doubt).

If you need another look at the card, Hardware One has taken a look at the SBLive! right here.

AGP 1X Vs AGP 1.5X... 1.5X??? 01:25 am

Adrian's Rojak Pot (local flavour?) has cooked up this interesting article about the benefits of running the AGP bus at a higher clock speed.

"... will AGP 2X double real world performance over AGP 1X? While 100MHz bus speed enabled motherboards are proliferating, most systems are still running with a bus speed of 66MHz. This translates to a maximum system memory bandwidth of 528MB/s which is amazingly ;-) the same as the bandwidth of AGP 2X."

"If the system is running at 100MHz bus speed, then AGP 2X will have a better chance of realising its full potential. With a bandwidth of 800MB/s, the system memory should be able to keep the AGP chugging data at full steam most of the time. Therefore, a 100MHz bus speed motherboard is a prerequisite for the AGP 2X mode. If you are only running your motherboard at 66MHz, then you don't have to worry whether your graphics card runs at 1X or 2X mode."

Updated SR-2 Pack for Office 97 01:14 am

As reported on our affiliate CoolComputing, the former Service Release 2 for Office 97 which was marred by bugs and taken offline by Microsoft, has seen an update. Microsoft has put up a new SR2 pack for download here.

30th October 1998 {Friday}
Software vs Hardware Rendering 21:45 pm

Our dear Anand wrote another article on software vs hardware rendering.

Software rendering has improved too tremendously in the past few years. Six or so years ago, the first true polygon based engine games were released. These games ran in 320x200x256 color graphic mode, used linear texture mapping, and ran horribly slow on computers at the time. Now games like Unreal have software rendering engines capable of filtering, 32bit color, transparencies, translucencies, smoke, colored lighting, and more. The latest software renderers (Unreal) are so powerful that they actually outperform some of the earlier hardware accelerators, not to mention produce more eye pleasing output as well.

Hardware rendering - A nonexistent thing (as far as mainstream is concerned) a few years ago, 3D acceleration via graphic cards is one of the hottest technology topics today. When the first "real" 3D accelerators were released (such as the Rendition V1000E and the 3Dfx Voodoo) gamers were stunned at the visual quality and frame rates they were getting with their favorite games. Gamers gaped in awe at 16bit color graphics, filtering and more features unheard of before. Resolutions of 640x480 became reality, and games ran faster than ever

Testing of T3 Link 21:40 pm

Saw this at Pacific Internet. They will be testing their new T3 line tomorrow. When will I ever see "SCV tests T3 link" ?? Okay, back to reality....

Date : 31st Oct 1998
Time : 0300 - 0900
Duration: Intermittent disruption of up to 30 mins
Reasons : Testing of the T3 Satellite Link For Internet Access
Details : We will be testing our new T3 (45Mbps) Satellite Link For Internet Access during the period of interruption.    

Court Overturns RIAA. RIO to Go on Sale! 14:48 pm

Just read at MP3.COM that the court has ruled in favour of Diamond Multimedia's RIO MP3 player. Read Diamond's commentary on the RIO ruling here.

Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc., (Nasdaq: DIMD), a leader in interactive multimedia and PC entertainment, announced today that the U.S. Central District Court of California, Judge Audrey Collins, denied the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) application seeking a Preliminary Injunction to halt shipment of Diamond Multimedia's Rio PMP300 portable music player.
Diamond Multimedia will move forward with its plans to ship Rio during November in time for the holiday season.

Grab one for Christmas!!!! MP3-ing down the road... who needs MiniDisc????

Internet Explorer 5 beta 2 14:32 pm

Hey people! Microsoft has made Internet Explorer 5 beta 2 available for download. Here's a link through BetaNews. Grab it and test it!

Sun Released Java Speech API 10:11 am

As reported at EE Times today, Sun Microsystems has announced the availability of the Java Speech API, which is a platform independent, open standard for speech technology. (Read the full article)

"The Java Speech API represents Sun's "strong conscious effort to move speech from a specialist technology to the mainstream," said Andrew Hunt, principal investigator for the Speech Applications Group at Sun Microsystems Laboratories, and the leader of Sun's Java Speech API effort.

While speech technology is finding its way into a widening scope of applications, a lack of standard tools and reference platforms has created a bottleneck to application development. The Java Speech API, which can be used with PersonalJava and EmbeddedJava platforms, is expected to remove that bottleneck and to promote the creation of various speech applications."

"Availability of Sun's Java Speech API is a "major industry milestone" that will help make speech recognition a pervasive technology for desktop, mobile and enterprise solutions, said W.S. Osborne, general manager of IBM Speech Systems Business Unit."

Anand Reviews K6-2 350Mhz 09:57 am

Anand is back with a new review on the AMD K6-2 350Mhz chip. Well, not as exciting as it might be, but here goes:

If you've already set your mind on a Super7 Motherboard + K6-2 combo, the K6-2 350's $30 price increase over the 333 is well justified if you factor in the possibility of a successful overclock to 450MHz.   Don't get your hopes up though, the limited publication of astounding success in this area should keep your minds a bit more than skeptical.

As far as being an upgrade from scratch, the recommendation here clearly goes to the ever-so-popular, wait another month and see.   AMD is planning something with their K6-2 400 which should, both, drive prices even lower for the normal K6-2 processors, and give you a more enticing offer for a Pentium II equivalent at a lower cost. 

Another Lesson on FPUs? 09:43 am

Remember days ago, Ace's Hardware posted the first parter of their More FPU Power! Today the 2nd part: 3DNow! Vs Pipelined FPU is out. Very good read! Be sure to check out the article.

The 3Dnow! unit is about 2-2.5 times faster than the pipelined FPU. When a FPU-intensive game or application is well optimized for 3Dnow! you can expect that the K6-2 will outperform a equivalent PII by about 10-30%, but most games are not enough optimized for 3Dnow! to show its potential. Should K6-2 owners be dissapointed in 3Dnow!?

3Dnow! is at least 2x more powerfull than the a well designed pipelined FPU, but you will need a lot more polygons to really feel that. 3Dnow! is ahead of its time

29th October 1998 {Thursday}
New SBLive! Drivers with Live!Surround 23:27 pm

I'd missed this news all day. Wow! A while ago, Creative announced in their press release some exciting new stuff included into their latest drivers released today. Here's the great stuff:

Creative Technology Ltd. (Nasdaq: CREAF - news) today announced its on-going Live!Ware(TM) Program will be offering Creative's new Live!Surround(TM) technology to all Sound Blaster Live! and Live! Value users as a free downloadable software update. The Live!Surround feature enables users to play PC games with 3D audio using their current home theater surround systems. The same free download, which is available immediately, will also include a new, final shipping version of Live!Ware's upgrade for 32 hardware-accelerated 3D voices -- a Live!Ware feature previously only available in a Beta version.

``Live!Surround technology and today's Live!Ware release represent a huge step forward for Creative in driving the convergence of PC gaming with home theater systems,'' said W H Sim, chairman/CEO of Creative. ``Creative is again leading the way in 3D gaming. We are delivering real solutions for the real world that will work now for our customers.''

``Today's announced Live!Ware release has two great benefits for Creative's customers,'' Mr. Sim continued. ``First, by giving existing owners of Sound Blaster Live! a four-fold increase in the number of hardware-accelerated 3D voices, Live!Ware now offers Creative customers an even more compelling and immersive 3D audio experience. Second, the Live!Surround feature provides Creative customers with the ability to use the functions of their Sound Blaster Live! -- including playing computer games with 3D audio -- in a big screen, big sound environment in the comfort of their living room.''

Creative's new Live!Surround encoding technology encodes the surround channels into the front stereo channels and works with surround receivers to decode the audio streams in real time and enable playback through the multiple speakers. With this setup, users can play EAX-based games and DirectSound 3D titles on their current multiple speakers system to experience the exceptional realism of Environmental Audio and 3D sound. Using Sound Blaster Live! presets, even legacy games can be played over any current home theatre systems with superb, full-bodied surround sound.

Don't say I haven't warned you, I'd popped in to the Drivers page a couple of minutes back and it wasn't yet reflecting any new drivers. Trying to download showed me "HTTP/1.1 SERVER TOO BUSY". Well, many are probably trying to download it now because this could be the usual Creative style whereby its webpages and driver releases are totally uncoordinated. I'll try later. :P

Quantum 3D Raven AGP Review 20:12 pm

Voodoo Extreme Hardware has delivered a review of Quantum 3D's Raven AGP board, which is based on the 3Dfx Banshee. From my reading, the reviewer was very impressed with this budget powerhouse, giving it a 90% Performance rating saying...

"... the fastest thing out there costs more! This is the fastest 2D/3D by far, in it’s class"

"The image quality in Windows is great, with crisp text and vibrant colours. The speed of the 2D is astounding with the 128-bit core, and a 250MHz RAMDAC. To give you an idea of how fast this card is in 2D, just take a look at the chart. 1920x1440? Smokin’!"

"... 3D performance is still really fast, and extremely competitive with today’s 2D/3D combos. For 3D features, don’t expect anything from the Banshee that the Voodoo2 wasn’t able to do. It still is limited to 16-bit colour, and subject to the annoying banding that the entire Voodoo family shares"

I told you, the Banshee cards are seriously worth a consideration.

Overclocker's Comparison Page Re'VAMPed' 16:50 pm

Ho! Ho! I wouldn't classify this as computer news or post it if not for the amount of OJ that spilled out of my choking mouth on my routine visit to our affiliate.

I guess by now even the really stoopid folks have noticed a little change around here eh?  If you have not noticed a difference, I hope you are either a first time visitor or visually challenged (that would be blind to us non-politically correct folks, you big homo). Anyway, whether you are blind or not, ALL the credit goes to an OCP'er by the name of David Gregory. He was the mastermind and creator behind the totally new look (so if you think it sux, flame him please, I had nothin to do with this!!  :^) )

Not very politically correct I suppose, but hell OCP has gotten a cool makeover and fortunately, he's still usual self. :P

Kert's ATI Rage128 Overview 16:42 pm

Local whiz Kert has done a great overview on ATI's soon to come Rage128 chipset. Rather than living on hype alone, move on to read some of the superb technical abilities of the "wonder chip" hopeful.

The Rage 128 GL will be the first chip to support Double Data Rate (DDR) SGRAM. Up to 125 MHz DDR SGRAM or 143 MHz single data rate (SDR) memory will be supported. To achieve optimal performance, Rage 128 is capable of operating the core and memory interface at different speeds.

DDR SDRAM is likely to be the next rung in the climb towards rising memory bandwidth. It permits twice the peak bandwidth at the same clock frequency as a standard SDRAM.

Faster Blue than Blue 16:14 pm

NEWS.COM has reported that IBM and Lawrence Livermore national Laboratory has built an even faster supercomputer called Blue Pacific. So now we all know what comes after Deep Blue? (Read the full article here)

IBM and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have stepped into the supercomputer lead with a machine that can perform almost 4 trillion calculations per second.

Vice President Al Gore boasted of the machine's prowess at a news conference today, saying it's the world's fastest computer, boasting a speed of 3.88 trillion computations per second, or about 15,000 times faster than the average desktop personal computer.

The machine, called Blue Pacific, is a mammoth IBM RS/6000 SP system with 1,464 "nodes", or individual processing units, each with four processors. A total of 5,856 processors are ganged together with a proprietary IBM interconnection hardware.

Blue Pacific has 2.6 terabytes of memory, hundreds of thousands of times as much RAM as the average desktop PC. And it has 75 terabytes of storage--enough to hold the entire Library of Congress.

Spectra Driver Comparison 16:10 pm

If you're a proud new owner of the Canopus Spectra 2500 and have not downloaded the latest drivers released, Purified3D has done some benchmarking to convince you of the NECESSARY update. Here's a short snip:

"The updated Spectra 2500 drivers don't brag about performance enhancement for nothing... they outperformed the older drivers in every test, and also beat the Pure3D II at 800x600x16-bit colour."

I know you want it now, but I won't help you here, scroll down a little to find the link to the download page. :P

Bi-directional cable modem 08:01 am

Got this from our affiliate, CoolInfo. Wide data highway will support future services such as videoconferencing and voice over IP. 3Com has released its bidirectional cable-access system, which the company said will enable the delivery of broadband communications and support future services such as videoconferencing and voice over IP. The system, which is based on the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, includes 3Com's Total Control Cable Modem Termination System, network management software for the head end, and the U.S. Robotics Cable Modem CMX.

According 3Com, because it's built on the Total Control remote-access platform, the system should make it easier for cable operators to deliver and manage high-speed digital services. In addition, the CMX cable modem is designed to be easy to install and use, and supports throughput as fast as 38 mbps downstream and as fast as 10 mbps upstream, the company said.

SCV, did you read this piece of news?

Hacker Site Hacked 08:01 am

This is very interesting. These hackers are great!

On Wed Oct 28th at 5:12AM PST the main Rootshell page was defaced by a group of crackers. Entry to the machine was made via SSH (secure shell) which is an encrypted interface to the machine at 04:57AM PST this morning. Rootshell was first informed of this incident at 6:00 AM PST and the site was immediately brought offline. The site was back up and operational by 8:00AM PST.

We are still in the process of investigating the exact methods that were used. The paranoid MAY want to disable ssh 1.2.26. Rootshell runs Linux 2.0.35, ssh 1.2.26, qmail 1.03, Apache 1.3.3 and nothing else. The attackers used further filesystem corruption to make it harder to remove the damaged HTML files.

Looks like SSH isn't as secure as I thought. SSH stands for Secure Shell and includes encryption such as RSA, Blowfish, IDEA to protect your data. For more information on ssh, click here.

Diamond C200 review 08:01 am

Super7.net did a review on the Diamond Micronics C200 Socket 7 motherboard. For those of you all looking for a Socket 7 motherboard, you may take a look at it.

In the C200, based on the ALI Aladdin V - M1541 chipset, Diamond Multimedia is set to deliver the latest enhancement in system board technology for the Super7 user. With support for the Intel Pentium® processor with MMX , the new Cyrix MII 300/333 and the AMD K6®-2 processor, the C200 has the capacity to deliver a new level of performance and scalability for the socket 7 platform. The C200 includes built-in support for 100MHz Front Side Bus (FSB) speeds, PCI, ISA and AGP expansion cards, Ultra DMA/33 IDE hard drive protocol, and optional system hardware management.

New Canopus Spectra drivers 07:58 am

The new Canopus Spectra TNT drivers are available from here.

  • The new drivers have improved 3D performance.
  • Added some new advanced options for Direct 3D and OpenGL.
  • Updated to 0.38 drivers from NVidia.
  • Minor bug fixes.
  • Fixed the random underline that would occur with some characters under certain conditions.
  • Improved compatibility with the ALI 541 chipset for Super 7 Motherboards. Be sure to download the latest bios from your Motherboard manufacture in order to benefit from this fix.

IBM HotMedia 07:52 am

IBM said it wants to make banner advertisements on websites less irritating, while at the same time letting organizations add richer content to those ads.

That may sound like an oxymoron, but the company said several interactive advertising agencies will use IBM's recently announced HotMedia, a Java-based tool kit for creating dynamic multimedia content.

At a conference here in New York Monday, IBM said HotMedia will let organizations that run ads apply them as small Java applets, in the range of 5 kilobytes, and let users who choose to view those ads download additional portions of the applets based on what they click on.

No one has implemented this approach to advertising to date, said James Norman, a consultant with Wohl Associates. "Customers don't like banner ads because of their impact on bandwidth," Norman said.

By comparison, many Java-based ad display banners have 10 or more times the amount of data because they download the entire applet, a process notorious for slowing down performance on those sites.

Another TennMax Stealth V2 Cooler Review 00:26 am

Ignore me, I think I'm just tempting myself but I found another review of this cooler from 3DHardware.net. Hear what they gotta say:

This is the best solution so far for cooling your 3dfx card. It doesn't make much noise, small and keeps the chips cool under all circumstances. It's a little work to install it, especially on a more exotic card where the chips aren't exactly on the right place but a heatsink with fan is the best solution to dissipate the heat and this is the only good way to attach a heatsink to the chips.

Why won't they just bring it here to Singapore??? (Sheesh! I can only admire the fan from the review)

[Beam me to the latest news archive!]

Copyright © 1998 Hardware One
Last updated 02 November 1998 23:04