22 Sept 98 - 28 Sept 98
Highlights within this period includes:
  • Hardware One Reviews Canopus Spectra 2500
  • QSound iQ
  • 3Dfx Sues nVidia
  • Diamond Sonic Impact S90
  • Creative's LiveWare Downloadable!
  • AMD released mobile 300Mhz
  • HP Sued Over CD-RW
  • Diamond's Viper V550
  • Intel Price Cuts
  • Hard disks Reviews
  • Problems in Office 97 Service Pack 2
  • Media Player v6.0
  • New Creative TNT Bios
  • SBLive! Under NT
  • Cooling Devices Review
  • WinAMP 2.01
  • Yamaha 4W/4RW/16R Drive
  • Creative Blaster RivaTNT
  • 3DSpotlight Shines on Velocity 4400
  • Dylan Rhodes on New CL V2 Drivers
  • Recent Reviews at Hardware One
  • Unreal Benchmarks on K6-2
  • Office 2000 in February
  • Abit BH6
  • Asus CD-S400 40X CDROM
  • Iwill XA 100 Super7 Mobo
  • Seagate Barracuda 9LP (ST39173LW)
  • Microsoft and Netscape 'Clashes'
  • Canopus Spectra FAQ
  • Powerstrip 2.27
  • Celeron 333A at 500Mhz
  • Intel and Netscape Stake Red Hat Linux
  • Digital Audio Moves to 24-bit, 96kHz
  • Anand On Low End TNT Power
  • MPEG Compression
  • CuteFTP 2.6 beta 2
  • Sonique Beta 0.55
  • Xerox Sues HP
  • Marvel G200-TV
  • Reviews Galore!
  • 3DHardware.net on SBLive!
  • AOpen PA2000 Voodoo2
  • "Myths" about S3TC
28th September 1998 {Monday}
"Myths" about S3TC 28th September 23:36 pm

Found this piece of article announced at HPC. Basically, the author has prepared this "FAQ" to clear up some misconceptions about S3's hyped Texture Compression technology which is even licensed by Microsoft for use in DirectX6.

"S3TC is lossy so it must look bad"

A. The fact is that S3TC improves image quality quite a lot because it reduces the texture storage footprint by a factor of 4 to 8x. So, game developers can quadruple the resolution of their textures and convert all textures to mipmaps. And, after doing that, they'll often still have extra storage available. (Click here for screenshots)

By quadrupling texture resolution, graphics that were once blurry and lacking detail, become very crisp and detailed. In addition, by using mipmaps, aliasing artifacts are eliminated. High-resolution, anti-aliased graphics are a very big improvement in quality over what we're seen up to now without the advantages of compression. No amount of filtering will increase resolution. The only way to get sharp, photo realistic graphics is to increase texture resolution.

To see that this is true, please look at S3's Quake2 level that uses 20MBs of textures (6.5MBs after compression) and S3's Unreal demo "Savage Gallery", which uses 200MB's of textures! Try this on anything without S3TC and you'll have time to grab a cup of coffee between frames.

AOpen PA2000 Voodoo2 28th September 23:21 pm

AOpen has also decided to join the gang of Voodoo2 card manufacturers contending with 8Mb and 12Mb versions of the 3Dfx card. A 16Mb version is slated to be released too, which may prove popular with the hardcore gamers.

How about SLI 2 16Meggers for a 32Mb solution? More questions? Read CoolInfo's latest review on this board.

3DHardware.net on SBLive! 28th September 23:13 pm

3DHardware.net has posted a review of the Creative SBLive! card. Here's the short verdict:

The SBLive! is well worth your money and I would have to give it a 10/10 on my scale of approval.

Take a look at Hardware One's very own SoundBlaster Live! Review.

Reviews Galore! 28th September 22:34 pm

Over the last couple of weeks, your other editor Overclocker has done up quite a number of reviews together with his pals. I've ported them over to Hardware One. Don't miss any of them!

(Check out the new look of our "Exclusive Reviews" Section!)

Updates 28th September 22:30 pm

The site maintenance is almost done, with the exception of the GGN mirror of Hardware One. We are still trying to FTP all the changed files over.

Marvel G200-TV 28th September 21:46 pm

Anand had came out with the review on the Matrox Marvel G200-TV. This card is basically a Matrox Mystique G200 with a Rainbow Runner snapped onto it. What is different is that it features a Break Out Box which is used to connect all your Video In/Out cables etc into it.

Imagine that you are on an 8-lane highway.   The 8-lanes of this highway allow for more traffic to move from one end of it to the other, however there is a catch.  The cars on the highway can only be moving in one direction at a time, meaning that all the cars must either be moving up the highway or down it but not both at the same time (all 8-lanes move in the same direction).   Consider that the limited functionality of an internal 128-bit Data Bus when applied to video cards, on any given CPU clock cycle the data being transferred via the internal 128-bit Data Bus can only flow in one direction (to the graphics engine).   On the following clock cycle the data can be transferred down the bus in the other direction (from the graphics engine).  While this approach does have its benefits, when dealing with 2D images and bitmaps where the data that must be transferred down the bus remains quite small (less than 128-bits) there is a much more efficient way of approaching this.

Site Maintenance & More... 28th September 18:34 pm

Hardware One is undergoing some major maintenance to clean up our underlying directory structure, etc.

We are hoping that the transition will be a smooth one for everyone, and the fact that many changes remain invisible to you is a good indication. However, do inform us of any broken links that you might find as you surf around.

Also, we'll be putting up some exciting reviews which we have ported. Do check back with us in a little while! :)

Xerox sues HP 28th September 07:21 am

Seems like everybody are sueing one another. Xerox has filed a lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard alleging patent infringement on a technology that enhances computer printouts.

The alleged infringement "has caused and will continue to cause Xerox substantial and irreparable injury, for which Xerox is entitled to receive injunctive relief and damages adequate to compensate it for such infringement," the complaint reads, stating later that the alleged infringement "has been and is being committed in a willful manner, and in deliberate and intentional disregard" of Xerox's rights.

Xerox got a patent in 1984 for the technology in question, which is called "low resolution raster image."

"Earlier this year, we mounted an aggressive policy of protecting our intellectual property and have found infringement of Xerox patented technology in some HP products," said Judd Everhart, a Xerox spokesman.

In mid-May, Xerox filed a lawsuit accusing HP of using Xerox technology in some of its inkjet printers. Later that same month, HP sued Xerox, alleging an infringement of a copier patent.

"It seems strange that they didn't contact HP at all to discuss the matter, that's my understanding," said Alison Graves, an HP public relations manager in San Diego. "And it's strange that no specific products are named in their complaint, which is standard in these cases. We hope they will provide more details about their lawsuit.

27th September 1998 {Sunday}
Sonique Beta 0.55 27th September 20:47 pm
Wow! Wow! Wow! This is one hot MP3 player everyone should be watching out for when it finally releases!

Here's a 0.55 beta version of Sonique that was already working excellently when I tried it out! Check out the jaw dropping screenshots I got from BetaNews.COM!

(These might just persuade you to download)

Other Screenshots:

It's below 600Kb. You can download it from:

CuteFTP 2.6 beta 2 27th September 20:30 pm

Well, the ever popular FTP software has been updated and the beta is available for download from here. FTP-ing can't get easier than this. :)

MPEG Compression 27th September 15:37 pm

The Hardware Game at Adrenaline Vault came up with this article explaining how MPEG compression is achieved. Using relatively simple terms and layman's language, this proves to be an interesting read without too much technicalities.

There are two basic types of compression, called lossless and lossy compression. Lossless compression (such as in the ZIP files processed by WinZip) is completely reversible -- the files you get after decompressing are bit-for-bit identical to the ones you compressed. You must use lossless compression for programs, because even a one bit change can render a program file corrupt and useless. Some forms of data require lossless compression too -- flipping bits in your checkbook files or e-mail store isn't a good idea.

Sensor data, such as images and sounds from the real world, is an approximation to begin with -- there's always some error in what the sensor records. Small changes in the color or brightness of a pixel, or in the amplitude of a sound waveform, are likely to escape notice. Lossy compression exploits the ability to make small changes to image and sound data in exchange for far more effective compression than is possible with lossless compression.

More articles on these coming up in the next few weeks.

Anand On Low End TNT Power 27th September 14:57 pm

AnandTech has updated his page with a new article on how the TNT cards perform on low end systems. A must read for those of you considering to boost your aging Pentium with TNT power.

For high-end systems, the Riva TNT will probably be the top 2D/3D choice, however if S3 can pull through with the OpenGL drivers on their Savage3D then nVidia may be forced out of that position and into more of a price war between themselves and S3 for control over the rest of the high end market.

Mid-range systems will find that the absolute best 2D/3D solution will be divided fairly evenly between all of the contenders, and depending on your priorities, the favor can be tilted in virtually any direction, including that of Matrox's G200 which, although it doesn't offer the best 3D performance, does offer the best 2D acceleration out of all of the current 2D/3D cards in its class.  

Low-end systems will probably have one clear option, the 3Dfx Banshee, and unless S3 can make their Savage3D a Super7/Socket-7 friendly device upon its introduction 3Dfx will have managed to hold both extremes of the spectrum, the low and the high ends, leaving Matrox, nVidia, and S3 to battle it out in the middle of the arena.  Who would've thought that 3Dfx would be such great strategists?

Digital Audio Moves to 24-bit, 96kHz 27th September 14:51 pm

EE Times got this article about the newly available technology bringing about the possibility of a giddy 24-bit dynamic range and 96kHz sampling rates to audio mixing consoles.

Once 16 bits of dynamic range and a 44.1-kHz sampling rate was the best technology audio engineers could muster to digitize a musical waveform, but advances in semiconductor technology have given professional audio-mixing consoles the benefit a 24-bit dynamic range and 96-kHz sampling rates.

I'm gonna have to go for some ear-tuning surgery to hear this!

Intel & Netscape stake Red Hat Linux 27th September 14:17 pm

I missed this stuff yesterday. Oh hell, it's here anyway. It seems like even Intel can't ignore the fact that Linux is getting very popular in niche markets on their platforms.

"Intel, Netscape, and some venture capital firms are said to be preparing to announce a deal on Tuesday under which the companies will take equity stakes in software vendor Red Hat Software, which makes a version of the Linux operating system."

"...Nonetheless, Nathan Brookwood, processor analyst at Dataquest, did not have information on any deal, but said it makes sense on a certain level. Intel is trying to expand its presence in the server market, which in turn means greater alliances with Unix vendors.

"Intel is very interested in Linux. It's very popular in the low-end Web server market and that is a market that Intel cannot ignore," he said. "Intel needs to forge other alliances.""

Read the whole story at NEWS.COM.

Celeron 333A at 500Mhz 27th September 14:08 pm

Kyle Bennett just sent word of his 'hilarious' review on overclocking the Celeron 333A. Yap, hilarious was the word. He's got his new 333A to crunch everything at a whopping 500Mhz reliably!

My final synopsis, I am gonna put another OCP BEST BUY status on the Celeron 333.  I have been playing pretty hard with it for a few days now, and it has been rock solid.  (no, not like that.)  It makes the Sin Demo SOOOOOOOOOOOO SWEET.  Damn it is smooth, smoother than a raw oyster on a velvet plate. (?)  Unreal can't be beat either.  I cannot certify that every CPU is going to do this, but this one sure the hell has.

Roll over to read more great stuff he's got for you. Benchmarks and more!

Powerstrip 2.27 27th September 13:49 pm

Yes... it's updated again. The favourite swiss army knife of video card utilities can be downloaded at our Utilities section.

Canopus Spectra FAQ 27th September 13:40 pm

Canopus has put up a FAQ for its TNT based hot-rod. It provides a couple of short answers to some interesting questions about the Spectra 2500. Be sure to check it out!

Microsoft and Netscape 'Clashes' 27th September 13:33 pm

Ripped this juicy page from CoolInfo, talking about the most recent row between the 2 "king of internet browsers" wannabes. I thought this to be quite amusing (Microsoft thinks otherwise...)

Microsoft Corp. [NASDAQ:MSFT] apparently isn't amused with Netscape Communications Corp.'s [NASDAQ:NSCP] decision to release a "Windows-friendly" version of its Communicator Internet browser software. Officials from Microsoft have called the software a "Trojan Horse" of a browser that fools its users and corrupts their computers.

Software giant Microsoft said yesterday that the Netscape Communicator 4.5 product interferes with its own Internet Explorer browser software and dupes potential users by changing their browsers' default home page without any notification. Netscape has made its strategy to "bring Windows users home to Netscape" and has reportedly incorporated tools in Communicator 4.5 to help it execute on that plan.

Netscape is defending that it only provides users with the ability to easily switch to its browser on a Windows-based system but Microsoft contends that the developer has gone too far. "This is an unprecedented case where a developer is designing its product to deliberately interfere with another developer's product," said Mike Nichols, product manager for the Windows Group at Microsoft. One of the major issues which Microsoft is defending itself against in its federal antitrust suit is that the software company tried to take over the browser market by including its Explorer as part of the popular Windows operating system. Microsoft is also charged with trying to derail Netscape's business in particular with is tactics.

The Windows-friendly version of Communicator 4.5 features a simple set- up screen which it contends is designed to help users make Netscape Navigator their default browser software, the developer's Netcenter portal their default home page, and Netscape's search engine their primary search service. All of this can be transferred with a single click, according to Netscape. The company said that it included the function to eliminate a time consuming predecessor for switching browsers, going to Netscape's Web site, http://www.netscape.com , and downloading a program to accomplish the same task. It contends that Microsoft has made it hard for Windows users to utilize Netscape Web browsers by including Explorer and giving the browser complicated default settings.

But Microsoft contends that in the process of changing the browser and making the Netcenter portal site users' default opening screen, the newest version of Communicator also tampers with the Explorer software in the Windows OS by shifting its default home page too. In doing so, Microsoft contends that it is Netscape that is trying to take over the Internet. "All of their advertising has been about giving users a choice," Nichols said. "Users have always had a choice in picking a browser. But what we really feel is the wrong thing to do is to make changes inside a customer's computer without letting them know it. They're not just giving you the browser, they're creating ties to their portal without letting the user know." Nichols said that by changing Explorer's default home page and search function to its own site and services Netscape has truly crossed the line.

Portal sites are thought by many, including Microsoft chief executive, Bill Gates, to be the future money-makers of the Internet. The sites, which lead users to the rest of the Internet, are thought to be the best prospect for gaining highly sought after user hits, which site providers can use to justify advertising sales. The Netscape default set-up function also takes the developer's products directly onto the desktop screen by adding a Windows tool bar icon to jump quickly into the Navigator browser, as well as Netscape's Messenger mail client and Composer editing tool. It also adds a Netscape icon directly into the Windows "Start" menu so that users can launch Netscape's browser to automatically download updated versions of the company's client software.  (Newsbytes)

Seagate Barracuda 9LP (ST39173LW) 27th September 13:30 pm

HardWire has churned out a review on the Seagate Barracuda 9LP SCSI harddisk drive.

The numbers really do speak for themselves, but I still want to add my own opinion here.  I thought the drive was a great performer.   With this review, I tried something different.  I put the drive in regular use for 3 months, making sure nothing odd happened with it's performance or functionality over a short time span.  In fact, I'd like to thank Seagate for having the patience to deal with my little experiment here, and they should be proud of the product they produced as it passed all performance and functionality tests with flying colors.

26th September 1998 {Saturday}
Iwill XA 100 Super7 Mobo 26th September 13:16 pm

Lars Nyberg first brought the Iwill board to my attention and now HPC has put up a review on this great product using the ALI Aladdin V chipset. This board comes with 4 PCI, 1 AGP and 3 ISA slots.

The XA100 comes with 512kb of L2. While it would seem that the XA100 would be at a performance disadvantage against VIA MVP3 boards that have one meg of L2, the XA100 managed to come out on top. At 350 MHz, the XA100 pulls a Winstone98 rating of 25.4 with the same configuration that pulled a 25.2 with the Photon 100 HC. This came as a surprise, since the Photon 100 HC sported a one meg L2, which is twice the size of the L2 on the XA100. As far as performance is concerned, the XA100 can go head to head with the best of the Super7 market.

Asus CD-S400 40X CDROM 26th September 12:13 pm

The High Performance PC Guide has put up their own review on the Asus CD-S400 CDROM drive and got some very impressive benchmark numbers of over 6000kb/s on the outer tracks. (Now is my drive still faulty? Shucks!).

As you can see, this CD-ROM drive is pretty fast under Win95. As a fact, this is the fastest CD-ROM drive I've tested to date. I've seen better access time speed but the Asus 40X is not bad at all compared to many other CD-ROM drives with its 75ms. This drive also has a very low processor utilization as indicated in the tests results above.

Abit BH6 26th September 12:02 pm

Our friend at HardWire has completed his review on the Abit BH6 motherboard (the present leader for BX boards).

Abit is known to be one of the leading innovators in the motherboard industry.  While their premier BX board, the BX6, went over very well with the crowds, their blockbuster lay hidden below the surface.    Now available is the Abit BH6, and I wont keep a secret, it is the prime i440BX motherboard on the market.

Office 2000 in February 26th September 11:57 am

Got some cool news from CoolInfo about Microsoft's next big affair - Office 2000. They've got even a spicy bit about FrontPage 2000 that'll be coming along too.

Microsoft will officially launch Office 2000 to retail in February, according to retailers briefed on the company's plans. The Internet version of Office, which was first previewed at PC Expo in June, features native support for HTML documents, Web collaboration features and the ability to cut and collect multiple pieces of data on the clipboard. The software went into beta testing in late July.

Next week, Microsoft plans to debut another upgrade to its Office family -- FrontPage 2000 -- its Web-site creation and management software title, which will be bundled with select versions of Office 2000, officials said. Microsoft is preparing another new Office product, a graphics title called PhotoDraw 2000, which will also be tightly integrated with Office 2000, officials reported.

Retailers expect the retail rollout of Office 2000 -- the highest-grossing business software title aside from Windows -- to be a major event. "Once 2000 is announced, you'll begin to see sales of Office 97 taper off," said a retailer briefed on Office 2000 plans. "From an upgrade standpoint, Office 2000 will be bigger than Windows 98."
(Computer Retail Week)

25th September 1998 {Friday}
Unreal Benchmarks on K6-2 25th September 21:52 pm

Our affiliate CoolComputing.com has put up an updated benchmark scoresheet of Unreal running on the K6-2. It seems like 3DNow! is not playing a big part in Epic's hottest game at this moment.

As you can see the current implementation of 3DNow! "optimizations" in the Unreal engine is not impressive at all- turning off 3DNow! support (via the -nok6 switch) barely affected performance.  Hopefully Epic and AMD can optimize 3DNow! support some more in the near future so that customers of the K6-2 will benefit from the promise of significantly faster 3D gaming.

Recent Reviews at Hardware One 25th September 21:47 pm

Here's a short roundup of the most recently completed reviews. Just in case you've missed anyone! :)

Dylan Rhodes on New CL V2 Drivers 25th September 20:36 pm

Over on the newsgroup, Dylan Rhodes of Creative has got these things to disclose:

Within the next few days we're going to have another official driver release.  This release will consist of the latest core drivers from 3Dfx(the ones which are currently on the 3Dfx site) as well as a few other goodies which will be a surprise.  We're officially releasing them so that our customers can contact us for technical support if they need assistance.

At around the same time (but possibly delayed; it's dependent on 3Dfx), 3Dfx will be releasing a new version of their OEM drivers.  This is the long-awaited version with DirectX6 optimization and H3D support as well as taking care of various other issues.  They'll release it to us first, and then to the public in two weeks.  We should be offering it to our customers as a beta immediately after 3Dfx releases it to Creative.

-- Dylan

3DSpotlight Shines On Velocity 4400 25th September 20:55 pm

This is one huge review on the STB Velocity 4400 card. One of the best I've read with lots of interesting benchmark numbers and visual quality comparisons! Read some nice stuff I've siphoned off! (Full Review)

The STB Velocity 4400 is by no means a perfect card. It has growing pains like its older sibling the Riva 128. New drivers and developer support will make any TnT based card a top 3D competitor. With full Dx6 support upon us, TnT boards will shine. Nvidia has learned from its earlier chips and now has one that has yet to show its Achilles’ heal. Great performance, great image quality, full Dx6 support and a full 16MB of SDRAM make this the leading 2d/3d card.

Creative Blaster RivaTNT 25th September 20:21 pm

Frontline has just put up a reader's review of Creative's Blaster RivaTNT. A sharp and concise look on another of Creative's aggressive attempt to wrestle some market share in the heated graphics card industry.

The Creative Blaster Riva TNT is an all-rounder, an extremely good 2D/3D combo. It is quite good for its price considering that it can beat a single Voodoo2 in Direct3D applications, and still cost less. Who knows, the drivers can be tweaked further to provide better performance.

Yamaha 4W/4RW/16R Drive 25th September 18:42 pm

Yamaha introduces the new 4 Write/4 Rewrite/16 Read drive.

Currently Yamaha claims title as the firm with the fastest CD-RW and the largest line of choices.

The new Yamaha CD-RW models, the CRW4416, will ship in October, the firm says. The units will come as either internal Small Computer Systems Interface (SCSI) or Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics (EIDE) interfaces and will offer 160 millisecond (ms) access speed and transfer rates of up to 2400 kilobytes per second (KB/sec).

Yamaha drives use RapidLinked packet writing to let users drag-and-drop files to a CD one-file-at-a-time. Yamaha says its CD-RW drives are supported by all major brands of CD mastering software and will come bundled with Adaptec's DirectCD.

Yamaha says the new drives, coupled with the software, are the only ones to format a CD-RW disk in just 2.5 minutes, a fraction of the time required by other CD-RW drives. The CRW2216 drives can format a disk in five minutes.

For more information, you can read them from Newsbytes.

WinAmp 2.01 25th September 18:35 pm

WinAmp v2.01 is out. New features are:

  • Nitrane 1.20 MPEG decoder.
  • Vastly improved layer 2 and layer 1 support. Supports all layer 2 streams, does correct EQ and Visualization.
  • Better handling of switched-bitrate files and indirect streaming.
  • More optimizations, etc.
  • MIDI Playback (primitive, but working). With volume control :)
  • New playlist editor font system in 2.01 -- uses system fonts and is resizable
  • Tons of bugfixes and slight usability improvements
  • Up/down arrow (and mousewheel) control in Windowshade Playlist.
  • Changed the EQ so that you can click and drag across bands to quickly set it
  • Fixed some stupid window-related paint bugs
  • Fixed silly position bar moving bug
  • Added checks to playlist width and height to avoid overgrowth
  • Fixed some weirdisms in the skin selection box's sorting.
  • Fixed a hide-mainwindow-while-minimizing bug.
  • HTML Playlist generator (useful for printing)

As usual, you can download the new version in our Utilities section or by clicking here.

Cooling Devices Review 25th September 08:32 am

StorageReview had came out with the ultimate cooling devices review.

Today, cooling hard disks is more important than ever. Spindle speeds of hard disks have ratcheted up to previously unheard-of levels. Seagate and IBM have introduced 10,000rpm units, hot in both performance and price. The new 7200rpm ATA drives from Maxtor, IBM, and especially Seagate may also require cooling in many installations. We've recommended drive coolers for many of the units we've reviewed, yet volumes of mail show that there's relatively little awareness of the options available. Do you need a drive cooler for your disk? Though there are exceptions that run both ways, a general rule of thumb: If the drive spins at 7200rpm or faster, you should look into cooling. Here, the Storage Review will examine eight offerings currently available on the market.

Below are some pictures of the cooling devices.

SB Live! Under NT 25th September 08:29 am

There's a very interesting update over at Zanshin's GLDojo on some real bad SoundBlaster Live! driver compatibility problems with Windows NT. He's got some pretty harsh words for Creative as well. Thanks to Hardgame for this.

"This may be slightly outside the scope of this site, but I feel a strong need to say something about this; I was sent a SoundBlaster Live! for review, and in the process of testing it on several different machines, I discovered something interesting. This bastard just doesn't work right on NT. It appears Creative Labs can't write an NT driver to save their lives...."

"I then called a friend of mine at Microsoft, who works with companies like Creative in certifying drivers on NT. He told me that Creative had repeatedly ignored Microsoft's instructions on handling kernel mode exceptions, and that Creative's developers were not using the code to properly handle SMP. Now, being curious, I wrote a trap in SoftICE to try and catch the SB Live driver doing something notty, like taking shortcuts. Sure enough, it doesn't handle a variety of different exceptions a driver might encounter, it doesn't properly return messages to the kernel; in fact, when an exception occurs the driver usually just freezes. Not to mention the fact that most of these exceptions are caused by sloppy driver programming to begin with. It appears that they tried to write a direct port of the '95 drivers with only minor changes for NT. A fatal mistake."

New Creative TNT Bios 25th September 08:24 am

Got this from RivaZone. Creative Labs (Asia/Pacific) has posted new Win9x drivers (1.5mb) and a new BIOS flash (416k). Here's a snippet of the BIOS readme file:

On the ASUS P2L97 rev. 1.05 and P2L97-DS rev. 1.03 motherboards, the AGP sidebanding bus protocol that allows a graphics card to access system memory in a Direct3D game or application is broken. We provide a patch that disables the sideband protocol and allows Direct3D applications to run normally, with some performance degradation depending on the application.

Media Player v6.0 25th September 08:03 am

Just saw over at Fun that Media Player v6.0 is out.

Media Player is the latest universal media player released by Microsoft and is designed to receive and playback streaming audio and video media over the Internet or your private intranet. The player serves as the successor to the standard media player in Windows 3.x/95/NT and will be a critical component of the upcoming releases of Windows 98, NT 5.0, and Internet Explorer 5.0. It also serves as the successor to the Microsoft NetShow player -- Media Player retains all of NetShow 2.x's features and functionality and at the same time delivers a ton of its own. Media Player is also the only client available that will play encoded and/or served NetShow 3.0 media files.

Anyway, Wing Commander Secret Ops Episode 5 is out. You can download it from here.

24th September 1998 {Thursday}
Problems in Office 97 Service Pack 2 24th September 15:26 pm

From News.com, the plagued short history of Microsoft's Office 97 service release pack 2 got a little longer yesterday as a bug-finding group issued a bug advisory for the patch.

Because many longtime users of Office 97 have reported severe difficulties trying to install Office 97 SR-2, BugNet is recommending that users not install SR-2 if they have any Office 97 application dating from the first half of 1997 installed on their system, the bug-busting group said yesterday.

The advisory comes just more than a week after Office 97 patch SR-2 was released and on the same day a browser controversy sprang up around the patch.

BugNet said Office 97 SR-2 will choke if it detects any original Office application on the system, or if the versions of some files are reported inaccurately.

Users of more recent versions of Office 97 probably will have no problems installing SR-2, BugNet said.

The new Office 97 SP 2 contains a number of upgrades including support for Euro currency changes and Year 2000 fixes. It also contains the Excel 97 for Windows Auto-Recalculation Patch, but if users don't want to download the new service release, they can download the Excel recalculation patch alone from the Office update Web site.

Hard disks Reviews 24th September 08:18 am

ZDNet posted a review on 10 huge hard disks. Their sizes ranges from 6 gig to 16.8 gig.

The arrival of Windows 98 also makes it a great time to invest in a monster-size drive, in part because Win 98 makes the FAT32 file system readily available. Unlike the FAT (also called FAT16) file system used by Windows 3.x and most variants of Windows 95, FAT32 supports partition sizes larger than 2GB. In other words, with Windows 98 you'll be able to access your new drive as one big volume rather than having to split it up into a few, although you may have to overcome a BIOS limitation to do so. FAT32 first became available with OEM Service Release 2.0 of Windows 95, but OSR 2.0 was available only with new systems.

The faster a drive spins its platters the better its performance, a rule of thumb that held true for these 10 drives. The fastest two drives--the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 2500 and the Seagate Medalist Pro 9140--spin their platters at 7,200 rpm, compared with the 5,400 rpm of seven of the other contenders and the 4,000 rpm of the Quantum Bigfoot TX 12.0GB.

Intel Price Cuts 24th September 08:10 am

From News.com, Intel is going to slash prices on 25 October. The Xeon 450 MHz will be announced on 6 October. The 2MB cache version will not be available until next year.

This makes room for the 450-MHz and 500-MHz Katmai processors," said Kelly Spang, an analyst at Technology Business Research, a Hampton, New Hampshire-based consulting group. The 450-MHz Katmai will start at under $600 in volume quantities, Spang estimated

Processor   Sept./Oct. '98 price   Oct. 25 price
450-MHz Xeon 2MB cache   $3,690   $3,690*
450-MHz Xeon 1MB cache   $2,675   $1,980
450-MHz Xeon 512KB   $1,060   $825
400-MHz Xeon 1MB cache   $2,675   $1,980
400-MHz Xeon 512KB   $1,060   $825
450-MHz Pentium II   $659   $559
400-MHz Pentium II   $482   $375
350-MHz Pentium II   $299   $210
23th September 1998 {Wednesday}
Diamond's Viper V550 23th September 22:03 pm

AnandTech reviews the Diamond Viper V550 card based on the TNT chip. Here's a scratch comparing it with the Canopus Spectra 2500:

"Just about as unique as a cloned sheep, the Diamond Viper V550 brings very little to the table that hasn't already been provided by the competition.  It may be that Canopus ruined the competition for everyone else by releasing a truly spectacular TNT product for the same price (see Spectra 2500 Review), however for most people, it will end up being a war of drivers, software bundles, and RAM, yes, RAM."

While the Spectra marginally beats the V550 in most of the tests, what about the TV-Out functions and Anand's final conclusions ???

"... The Viper V550 is based on the reference Riva TNT design provided by none other than nVidia themselves.  While the design was modified to support TV-Output, the quality of the TV-Output on the Viper V550 isn't even remotely in the same league as the TV-Output on the Canopus Spectra 2500, so if you're looking for good quality TV-Output, grab a Canopus."

"... Overall, Diamond has another quality product on their hands, unfortunately it isn't enough to win a recommendation over Canopus for the price, or over Creative Labs because of the low cost ($169) of their Graphics Blaster TNT.   If the Viper V550 is all that is available, then it isn't a bad card, although there are competitors out there that can offer you a bit more."

Hop over to read the full review of the Diamond Viper V550 here! Be sure to check out our very own exclusive on the Canopus Spectra 2500!!

HP Sued over CD-RW 23th September 16:37 pm

According to CNet, Hewlett-Packard has been hit with a lawsuit alleging that the company's recordable CD drives do not store as much data as advertised, and may actually erase information.

CD-R drives can record data to a CD-ROM disc once, unlike CD-RW drives, which can record, erase, and re-record data. Many CD-RW drives use about 100MB of storage capacity on "overhead" depending on the type of data recorded, but CD-R drives are not usually susceptible to that kind of data loss, experts say.

"It's like buying a cassette, and never being able to record a full 60 minutes," Shub said. "With a CD, if you're trying to record 74 minutes, and it breaks at the 60 minute point, and it won't allow you to read the data you've recorded, then you have a coaster," he said, alluding to its lack of utility.

One industry expert claims the drives in question are based on technology licensed from Philips, according to Shub, who said he was contacted by the plaintiffs after filing a separate lawsuit against Philips.

"We filed a similar suit against Philips," Shub said, "These two HP products were licensed from Philips. HP licensed the technology and put their own name on the product."

AMD release mobile 300 MHz 23th September 07:14 am

Advanced Micro Devices today released a 300-MHz version of its K6 processor for notebooks, a move that should advance the slow but steady march toward low-priced portables.

The 300-MHz K6 chip itself won't actually find its way into sub-$1,500 notebooks at this stage, but it will serve a larger trend toward lower notebook prices, said Dave Somo, director of product marketing at AMD. Selling for $229 in volume quantities, the chip will be found in portables ranging from $1,999 to $2,500.

"Just like there was a sub-$1,000 computer, there will be a sub-$1,500 notebook," Somo said. "The desktop market is very competitive and they [computer makers] see incremental revenue in notebooks."

But despite matching Intel in speed, the chip is not the latest generation of AMD processors. It is a plain vanilla K6 processor, not the more advanced K6-2 design that is used widely in desktop PCs.

22th September 1998 {Tuesday}
Creative's LiveWare Downloadable! 22th September 22:16 pm

Creative's latest update can be downloaded from a faulty link they've put up. Going to the SoundBlaster Live! webpage at www.sblive.com, under the 'new drivers available' section and clicking on the link which supposedly points to a 780Kb file, will lead you to their latest drivers updated 21 Sept 98.

This LiveWare! update brings you the following exciting features:

  • Front Rear Balance slider. This slider allows you to "balance" the volume between the front and the rear speakers. To view the balance slider in the Mixer applet, make sure that the Advanced Control mode is selected. The Front Rear Balance slider.will appear next to the Master Volume slider.
  • 512 voice software MIDI synth (up to 512 software voices depending on CPU)
  • Environment/Speaker setup import/export feature. This feature allows you to import/export the environment and speaker setup that you have created. More information can be found in the respective online help files.
  • Added environment presets : Dream Scape and H2S04 environment.
  • For Windows 95/98 only
    • A new SBESET.EXE utility to allow you to manually configure SB resources (I/O, IRQ, DMA) or disable
    • SB emulation, especially if there is conflict in DOS before it can boot to Windows. An updated SBEINIT.COM file that recognizes settings from SBESET is also included. For more information, see SBESET.TXT, can be found in the directory where all the DOS drivers are installed or by default in the C:\Program Files\Creative\SBLive\DosDrv\ directory.
  • Improvements.
    • 3.1 SB Live! applets can now co-exist with graphics cards that use the I740 chipset.
    • Resolves driver conflict that may occur with certain audio USB devices.
    • 3.3 Resolves SPDIF fade-in/fade-out problems in certain models of CD-ROM drives.
    • 3.4 Fixed joystick support for Windows NT 4.0

Diamond Sonic Impact S90 22th September 07:17 am

Diamond announces the release of the Sonic Impact S90. Features includes:

  • Hot positional 3D audio with Aureal Vortex® technology
  • Accelerates A3DTM, DirectSound3D® & DirectSound®
  • Rich, brilliant sound with 64-voice DLS wavetable
  • Perfect for Windows or DOS games or software
  • Features MP3 tools for cutting-edge Internet audio
  • Free Software including Jedi Knight: Pathways to the Force, a rich suite of Midisoft audio utilities, and hot MP3 utilities from MusicMatch.

Diamond's Sonic Impact S90, powered with Aureal Semiconductor's Vortex/A3D 3D audio technology, features concert-quality 64-voice wavetable synthesis and real-mode DOS support for an affordable, high-performance PCI-based sound card solution for mainstream PC users and casual gamers. Diamond's new Sonic Impact S90, including powerful audio utilities, is now shipping to retailers, distributors and system integrators in North America with a U.S. estimated retail price (ERP) of $49.95.

Diamond's new Sonic Impact S90 features 64-voice hardware wavetable synthesis, including acceleration for as many as 48 independent audio streams, delivering studio-quality playback of MIDI music files and Microsoft's DirectSound API. The Sonic Impact S90's wavetable synthesis is compatible with Microsoft's Downloadable Sample (DLS) technology that allows PC users to download additional sample sound patches.

3Dfx sues nVidia 22th September 07:13 am

Got this from AGN3D, apparently, 3Dfx is sueing nVidia for patent infringement.

3Dfx Interactive, Inc. announced today that it has filed suit against nVIDIA Corporation in the Northern California District Federal Court asserting patent infringement. 3Dfx Interactive claims that Nvidia is using 3Dfx Interactive’s unique patented multi-texturing technology in nVIDIA’s newest product called Riva TNT. The suit follows repeated attempts by 3dfx to reach a mutually acceptable solution with nVIDIA.

“We see litigation as an unfortunate last resort,” said Greg Ballard, president and chief executive officer of 3Dfx Interactive. “We regret having to pursue this matter legally, but it is imperative that we protect our intellectual property on behalf of our employees, shareholders and industry partners. Our goal is to resolve this without disrupting the industry.” 3Dfx developed its multi-texturing technology over the last several years with it first appearing as advanced technology for coin-operated arcade games in 1996. Multi-texturing was first supported in 3Dfx’s own Glide® software environment.

QSound iQ 22th September 07:10 am

CoolComputing just sent me a note on their latest review on the QSound iQ.

iQ: Internet QSound 3D Enhancer is a cool little piece of software that appreciably enhances most forms of wave sound. The $24.95 iQ comes from QSound Labs, the company famous for QSound 3D audio technology. Although iQ is aimed at improving Internet audio, MP3s and all other forms of wave audio (except 4 bit ADPCM sound) are supported. Keep in mind that non-wave audio such as MIDI and external line-in and CD music are not enhanced, however.

Hardware One Reviews Canopus Spectra 2500 22th September 00:58 am

Yes, it is completed at a long last! We are proud to bring you our latest and most exciting review on the Canopus Spectra 2500 card. Based on the Riva TNT chipset, loaded with 16Mb of SDRAM and chokeful of features, this will be one hell of a card when it debuts in Singapore end of this month.

Please check out our review right over at the "Exclusive Reviews" section.

[Beam me to the latest news archive!]

Copyright © 1998 Hardware One
Last updated 03 October 1998 14:12