7 April 1999 - Wednesday
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SoundFX NT 20:24 pm - Kan
Philipp from NT Game Palace sent note on a new niffy utility that enables sound in DOS games under NT. Bad news is you need to register the program, or it will only work for 3 minutes.

Voodoo3 3500 Preview 18:40 pm - Kan
FiringSquad posted a writeup on 3Dfx's highest-end Voodoo3 3500 graphics card. Due for release this month, It runs at 183 MHz and features what 3Dfx call "22-bit filtering". Check out what the lads have to say.

Basically, the Voodoo 3 is a Banshee card with multitexturing, running at a higher clock rate. And I can prove that this is indeed the case: I loaded up the latest Banshee drivers from the 3dfx web site with my test Voodoo 3 card. Almost every game I tried ran under the Banshee drivers, including both OpenGL and Direct3D titles. While I wouldn't dream of benchmarking or testing the card this way, it proves an important point: Voodoo 3 is the same technology we've seen before from 3dfx.

Sonic Storm Pro 17:12 pm - Kan
3DsoundSurge posted a review on the Videologic's Sonic Storm Pro. This is a PCI soundcard using the ESS and 3D technology from Sensaura. The best part is, they are giving away the Sonic Storm Pro as well as a cool T-shirt free!

Now the Sonic Storm wasn't exactly hi-tech. Boasting an ESS-Maestro 1, it was more a DirectSound than DS3D accelerator, though it did have host-based Q-Sound algorithms. This time round, we have an ESS Maestro 2E, capable of up to 8 DS3D streams (with driver update). 64 channels of hardware MIDI are also along for the ride, as is a coaxial SP/DIF output

Leadtek WinFast 3D S320 II 17:09 pm - Kan
HotHardware sent note on their latest review of the TNT2-based Leadtek Winfast 3D S320 II graphics card.

The above image was taken on an even earlier model which utilized 7ns. SDRAM. Our card actually came with 6ns. Samsung SRAM on board and with the extra margin built into these devices, we feel it will be easy to clock the memory to at 166MHz., possibly even 175! Notice there are also two square connectors on this board and the Dual SVideo/Composite jacks. That's right boys and girls, flat panel support right out of the box! Oh man, I feel the hurt in my wallet already with the idea of a sweet 20" Flat Panel Display on my desktop! :-) Notice also the heat sink/fan combo. This card is built VERY well and has overclocking written all over it!

MS Reveals Win98 Plans 09:59 am - Wilfred
Over at BetaNews, there's a juicy bit about what Microsoft plans for current Win98 users. If you wonder what's left for you with the announcement of Win98 Second Edition, check this out!

Up to this point, Microsoft has not made it clear how current Windows 98 users would upgrade to the new version of the OS, recently dubbed Windows 98 Second Edition. The planned Windows 98 SP 1 was killed off in beta due to many factors including its large size, but most in the IT world still assumed some sort of upgrade patch would be released for Windows 98 users. However, just today Microsoft announced to testers that a special version of Windows 98 SE would be released for current Windows 98 users. The 'StepUp' version will be available via retail stores like the Full and Upgrade versions, although it will be only for Windows 98 users who simply want to 'step up' their machine to the newest version. Windows 95 and Windows 3.1 users will still need to purchase the Upgrade release. Once again, Microsoft has learned from the mistake it made with Windows 95 OSR 2 and has seemingly come up with an ingenious marketing strategy. Despite many of its upgrades being available on Windows Update, the Windows 98 SE StepUp version will offer a few things not available to current Windows 98 users, including Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) and device driver updates. It seems the Windows 98 Service Pack, once thought to be made freely available, has manifested itself into a full blown retail release. However, Microsoft has not yet announced pricing for Windows 98 SE and could easily charge less for the StepUp version. The Beta Team is shooting for a May Release to Manufacturing (RTM), which means we may see Windows 98 SE in stores as early as June.

MechWarrior 3 Preview 09:48 am - Wilfred
GamersCentral has a preview on the upcoming MechWarrior 3. Well, try out the demo if you haven't. You won't regret it!

After playing the demo for a while I realized that it had me longing for more, an effect that the Mechwarrior universe always had on me. There's something about the idea of controlling something as huge and powerful as the Battlemechs used in Mechwarrior. This has always been the great strength behind the series. Even though this time a relative newcomer to the series (Zipper Interactive) is developing the game I really feel this game will be able to dig deep into the imagination of fans of the series as well as attract some fresh recruits.

Short Interview with S3 09:40 am - Wilfred
GuruTech posted an interview with S3's PR Manager Paul Crossley. Must I tell you what they talked about?

How do you see the Savage4 chipset faring against other newly announced and upcoming chipsets, such as the TNT 2 and Voodoo3?

Paul: Obviously, we believe Savage4 will fare very well against TNT2 and Voodoo3 given the amount of performance and functionality it delivers at ~$100 board price. TNT2 will be a bit faster, but more expensive and will not have all the same functionality (S3TC, hardware DVD) as Savage4. Voodoo3 3500 will be on par with TNT2 in terms of speed and price, but is lacking considerably more functionality and image quality than TNT2 and Savage4.

ATI Rage Pro 128 Announced 09:36 am - Wilfred
We've heard rumours on it but now it's official. ATI has announced the optimised Pro version of their Rage128 chip. Having undergone architectural enhancements together with an increase in clock frequencies, the newer chip is said to deliver up to 50% improvement in 3D performance.

"The RAGE 128 PRO combines architectural enhancements with higher clock frequencies to achieve a 50% improvement in 3D performance,'' said Phil Eisler, Director of Component Marketing, ATI. "This accomplishment reinforces ATI's high-end leadership already established by the RAGE 128 accelerator.''

Brain Project at Microsoft 09:29 am - Wilfred
Hmm. I was so intrigued by this article, I actually read it from top to bottom. Well yes, check out Seattle Weekly's feature article that Microsoft has a 9 year old boy working 13 hours a day to develop their next breakthrough OS.

Microsoft is betting that the technology that will ultimately render Linux obsolete is something called TR, the acronym for Thought Recognition. Using a complicated set of electrical impulses and biofeedback responses, a TR-driven machine accepts commands directly from the computer user's brain. If you want to open a certain Word document, for instance, the TR operating system senses the desire and, without having to be told, opens the file. If the user, while working in that file, wonders, 'How'd my Amazon stock do today?' the TR would immediately open a small window with the current Amazon.com quote, downloaded from the Internet.

New Chip from Aureal 09:12 am - Wilfred
Aureal Semiconductor has announced the availability of their new Vortex AU8810 audio processor chip. With Motorola soft-modem support, it is meant to be a low cost, integrated solution for mobile or budget PCs. Not a bad idea! A3D support on your notebooks!

Fremont, CA  April 6, 1999  (AURL: OTC Bulletin Board) Aureal Semiconductor Inc., leaders in digital audio imaging, today announced the availability of the Vortex® AU8810 audio processor, a new digital audio accelerator for desktop and notebook PCs.   The AU8810 is the latest addition to Aureal's award-winning line of Vortex audio processors, with support for Aureal's A3DTM positional audio standard.  The new chip is a low-cost audio solution designed for the building of PC'99 compliant systems through the integration of audio and modem capabilities. (Press release at 3DSS)

Championship Manager 3 09:04 am - Wilfred
A lot of you must be interested in CM3 (Hmm... I'm not! =P) but Singularity has posted their review about it. If you are into soccer management, then you have to check this out. I'll rather play FIFA.

Anyone who has any interest in football (soccer, to you American folks reading this) must have played the phenomenal Championship Manager 2. Why do I say phenomenal? How many other games can you find gamers discussing tactics/good players to buy 5 YEARS after the game was released? In fact, I know of hard core football fans who actually bought or upgraded their computers just to play the game. Throughout the years leading up to Championship Manager 3, many gamers have contributed game updates on the web that keeps in touch with transfers in the current season. The programmers of CM2 also released the excellent CM97/98 update which not only brings player tranfers up to date to the 97/98 season, but also included a player editor which brings a whole new dimension to the game.

Voodoo3 2000/3000 06:56 am - Kan
HardwareCentral posted a review on the Voodoo3 2000 and 3000 video boards. Check out what they have to say.

The Voodoo3 2000 is the lower-end Voodoo3 part that is aimed more towards average gamers. It has the same features chipset features as the 3000 and 3500. The difference is that both the clock and memory speed are lower, clocked at only 143Mhz for both. The RAMDAC is clocked slightly lower than its big brothers, but is still at an extremely respectable 300MHz. The 2000 does not have TV out capabilities.

Thresh 06:50 am - Kan
If you ever wanted to know more about the man behind FiringSquad, they've updated their page on him.

Whether or not you're a regular reader of FiringSquad site, you've probably heard of our founder and Editor-In-Chief, Dennis "Thresh" Fong. One of the most-widely known names on the Internet, Dennis has achieved on-line notoriety and fame through his incredible performance in the new and growing world of multiplayer on-line gaming.

Cooling Project 06:22 am - Kan
If you understand Japanese, HardwarePlus pointed out an article over here on some cooling project going on. To translate briefly (Kan knows Japanese?!), they used the Kendon cooling unit to cool a P2-333 MHz and managed to overclock it to 620 MHz.

Re-Volt 06:20 am - Kan
Something new again over at CRUS. This time is the Re-Volt review by Acclaim. The graphics looks astonishing!

Re-Volt has 28 different cars that you can choose from. There are also 14 single player tracks set in 7 different environments and 5 single player game modes. In multiplayer mode can you play against 11 of your friends in either race or battle mode. You have 4 multiplayer arenas to choose from. There will also be a track editor included with the game so that you can create your own tracks for either single or multiplayer mode.

Tekram DC 390U2W 06:18 am - Kan
One of my favourite stuffs. AGN Hardware did a review on the Tekram DC 390-U2W SCSI card.

The Tekram 390U2W is a fully featured SCSI controller that is primed and ready for Ultra2 Wide devices.  That means that it has a maximum transfer rate of a whopping 80MB/second!  The board is powered by the Symbios Logic SYM53C895 Ultra2 SCSI chip.  I have grown to be very fond of Symbios based SCSI controllers, and this board is no exception.  They are tested with a wide range of SCSI devices for better compatibility, so you get added comfort when using one.

SIA First To Use Dolby Headphone Tech 00:07 am - Wilfred
Received word from my excited friend that Singapore Airline will be first in the world to make use of Dolby Headphone technology. To further enhance the quality of its in-flight entertainment system, ALL passengers on ALL classes of travel will get to enjoy high-quality virtualised 5 speaker home-theatre sound via normal stereo headphones.

Singapore, April 5, 1999 - From 1 May 1999, the revolutionary Dolby Headphone technology will be available to Singapore Airlines (SIA) passengers on all classes of travel. This will be the first time the new technology will be available anywhere in the world.

Dolby Headphone technology provides cinema-quality surround sound to airline passengers using standard stereo headphones. Originally developed by Australian company Lake DSP, Dolby Headphone will soon be used in consumer electronics and personal computers. It will be SIA customers, however, who will experience this new technology for the first time, while enjoying SIA's in-flight entertainment system, KrisWorld.

New Edition: EH Online 00:05 am - Wilfred
Extreme Hardware sent word that the latest edition of EH Online is up. Yes, this round the guys have quite a bit to bring up on the V3, TNT2, Savage4 and MORE.

The Savage4 will definitely not be for everyone, especially those who are primarily interested in straight out performance numbers. The attraction of the Savage4 is that of a high performing card with all the 3D features, large amounts of memory, high image quality, S3TC, and coming in at a very competitive price. Performance is important, but OEM deals, shelf space and affordability can easily separate the winners from the losers.

The areas I'm interested in are Win 95/98 2D performance and driver stability and compatibility, where in the case of the Savage3D, were noticably worse than the competition. Those two factors helped sink the Savage3D cards and will definitely have to be improved on if the Savage4 is to make a real impact.

Wilfred Coughs Blood 00:01 am - Wilfred
In my excitement after my PC formatted the drive, I thought the DS16GP 10.1Gb was gonna work perfectly. No! Arrgghh! It doesn't! Getting all kinds of invalid boot records and bad partition table errors after couple of reboots. Tried everything under the sun, reformatted the drive, re-did the partitions, wrote in new MBR using IBM Disk Manager and all but to no avail. I resorted to low-level formatting using IBM Disk Manager - but it failed at 87%!!! That's freeakin' 5 hours down the drain! I'm returning the drive!

6 April 1999 - Tuesday

G400 "MAX" Press Release 22:52 pm - Kan
HardwarePlus sent note on the official PR mail from Matrox on the new version of the G400 card.

Montreal, Canada, April 6, 1999 - Today at WinHEC 99, Matrox Graphics Inc. announced the launch of the new Matrox G400 MAX, a higher speed version of the already blisteringly fast Matrox G400 graphics chip. The Matrox G400 MAX benefits from an increase in raw speed of more than 30% over the Matrox G400 and can achieve peak 3D fill rates in excess of 333 Mtexels/second. On industry standard benchmarks, the new Matrox G400 MAX comes close to maxing out Ziff Davis' 3D WinBench 99 test with a score of 1080 at 1024 x 768 resolution. The Matrox G400 MAX graphics chip also includes an industry-leading 360Mhz UltraSharp RAMDAC capable of driving high-end monitors at resolutions up to 2048 x 1536, 32-bpp at 85Hz.

Fly3D 0.62 22:50 pm - Kan
DemoNews sent note on a new release of Fly3D 0.62. This is a game engine written in C++ which supports Direct3D 6.1/OpenGL 1.1.

Fly3D is full plugin directed. All you need to do to create a new game is build new plugins. A plugin wizard is available for Visual C++ that makes all the code required for a Fly3D plugin in a few mouse clicks.

Included in this version is the main front-end exe, the editor for .fly files, one same sample scene, five plugin game demos and some utilities (3dsMax BSP export plugin, 3dsMax BSP import plugin, 3dsMax texture map editor, 3dsMax landscape plugin, BSP lighting tool, PVS computation tool and Visual C++ plugin wizard).

Intel Celeron 433 21:51 pm - Kan
Anand finished his Celeron 433 Mhz processor review. Somehow, I'm always amazed by his introduction everytime before a review. :)

You can’t buy a reliable car without mortgaging an arm and a leg, you can’t live in a world without war, and you can’t know the straight facts on what processor is right for you. Hummed to the tune of Bruce Hornsby’s most remembered song, there are a number of users out there that see the multitude of Intel processors hitting the market yet are never told what path they should take, other than the famous six word solution, That’s Just the Way it is.

Super-Cooler Series 19:52 pm - Kan
HardOCP had cranked out the latest super-cooler series. I just love these guys! *smooch*

The SuPaChillä is a TEC-based setup that is capable of pumping heat up to a rate of 80Watts, and thus will cool your Celeron down to sub-zero temperatures. The SuPaChillä is best suited for the hardcore OC’er that will go to great lengths to gain that extra MHz. The design uses a condensation seal, closed cell foam gaskets, a liquid heat exchanger and a special aluminum casing, all parts developed and tested by the HardOCP to guarantee absolute stability and reliability even after a long period of use. The SuPaChillä is a compact unit, measuring approx. : 3.5”x 1.8” x 1.8” that attaches directly to the Celeron CPU.

Matrox DVD 19:50 pm - Kan
AGN Hardware did a new review on the Matrox DVD upgrade card for the G200/G100 family.

With the exception of 32bit mode, the Matrox DVD does an excellent job of playing back DVDs. All of the image problems that I had seen with software solutions are non-existent and you are only using about 4% of the system resources for playback. This means that those of you with low end systems will be able to playback DVD, without the need of a standalone decoder. The Zoran software is easy to use and makes navigating you DVDs easy.

Using the Marvel G200 I was able to output the DVD to my TV, for what I have to admit was the best TV picture that I have seen yet. One of the biggest problems with software DVD is that most video cards have inferior TV-Out. You end up with DVD playback to TV with blurred text and an image that is not very sharp. The Marvel on the other hand has excellent TV-Out, giving you DVD playback on the TV every bit as good as a stand-alone decoder.

Western Digital Caviar 19:47 pm - Kan
New hard disk review over at Storagereview. The Caviar AC420400 is a 5400rpm drive with a whopping 20.4 GB and it supports ATA-66.

A fundamental change indicates that this latest "Caviar" may be so in name only. Caviar drives, from their heyday all the way up to their decline always featured three platters in their flagship designs. This time around, however, the top-of-the-line unit features four disks. Combined with 5.1 gigs of data per platter, this allows the AC420400 to weigh in at a respectable 20.4 gigs of space. When it comes to the seek time, there's some discrepancy. The original press release (dated in December) along with the box sticker state seek time to be 8.5 milliseconds. WD's web site and promotional literature, however, list seek time at 9.0 milliseconds. We'll assume here that the more conservative of the two is true. Finally, like it's 7200rpm brother, the Caviar features an eye-popping 2 megabytes of buffer. This latest Caviar, like its last two predecessors, incorporates a collection of self-tuning feature collectively referred to as "Data Lifeguard." The drive is protected by a three year warranty.

Battle For The Common Desktop 10:45 am - Wilfred
Slashdot posted a link to this interesting article at 32BitsOnline.com where CDE and Gnome duked it out to be king of Linux's windows manager. Well, KDE was left out.. but worth a read nevertheless.

This is an unfair review. In one corner, you have a product that is the culmination of several proprietary Unix vendors' desktops. It has a quality tool kit that has had years of refinement for its code-base. It has features that are rock solid, dependable, and in general, very friendly. Of course, I'm talking about the Common Desktop Environment, or CDE. This review focuses on the implementation provided by TriTeal.

In the other corner, we have the new kid on the block, GNOME. GNOME is a newcomer, based upon an open widget set, and has had to play catch-up in many respects to other window managers. But it's hardly under-powered. To pit it against CDE is probably unfair. Most people would expect GNOME to be the underdog. This is clearly not the case. GNOME matches or exceeds the features found in a typical CDE desktop, and that's what's so surprising. GNOME is also evolving at an accelerated pace. The current features are just a starting point. Given the high-speed development of GNOME, it's doubtful to me that CDE will ever catch up.

Wilfred Coughs 10:27 am - Wilfred
Had a terrible nightmare setting up a simple harddisk drive I just bought. Dammit! Don't think it's the fault of the Deskstar 16P 10.1Gb. It's working mighty fine now, whisper quiet and all. But somehow the combination of Win98/Partition Magic/Bad Luck screwed it up ALMOST irreversibly... till I was totally unable to delete or create partitions with FDISK and Norton Disk Doctor refused to work on it.

Crossing my fingers and holding my breath, I used DiskEdit to manually blanking out the weird things written into the FAT and partition table, before using Linux FDISK to create my new partitions correctly. Whew! Well yeah! Now a full 18 Gigabytes to splurge on downloads and more downloads!

Saitek R4 Force Wheel 10:11 am - Wilfred
There's a review on Saitek's R4 Force Feedback Wheel at GameCenter. It sure looks good, but how does it perform?

On the other hand, Monster Truck Madness II and Fox Interactive's force-feedback masterpiece, Motorhead, both showed the R4 in a better light with a variety of feedback from beginning to end. In these games, the unit performed impressively and with subtle effect transitions. Granted, it wasn't nearly strong enough to shake our fillings, and the wheel did get annoyingly noisy when pushed to its limits, but if it were a low-cost wheel it might do the trick. Yet therein lies another problem: The R4 isn't a low-cost alternative. Instead, it's a medium-priced offering that just doesn't meet the power and versatility of such products as ACT Labs' beefy Force RS or Logitech's slick WingMan Formula Force. In non-force-feedback games, meanwhile, the R4 performs competently, though the aforementioned idiosyncrasies keep us from recommending it as a killer simulation controller.

If you are into wheels, don't forget to check out Julian's review on the MS ForceFeedback wheel as well as Flashman's article on the Logitech WingMan Formula Force

Celeron 333A Overclocking 10:04 am - Wilfred
AirGumpy posted quite a whoop-ass article on his research and experimentation with PPGA 333a overclocking. Check this out!

All of a sudden Intel releases a PPGA form of their celeronA line. I thought to myself hmmm. What's so different from these to the Slot 1 counterpart? This can be debated from time to time that PPGA's can be better OC than there Slot 1 couterparts. I won't bore you with those details. I just want to share my experience with the "Sleeper" of a CPU, the 333a. Yes that's right the 333a. You probably think I'm crazy. With a multipler of 5 the chances are very very slim. Let me tell you these 333a's PPGA'sare just as good as a 300a in my opinion.

Alien Vs Predator Demo Review 09:46 am - Wilfred
Gamer's Crypt posted a review on Fox Interactive's Alien Vs Predator Demo. Ok, check this out before you get the real game!

Enter Aliens vs Predator. The movie tie-in deal initially makes Fox Interactive's eagerly anticipated title sound a tad dodgy, and on paper the whole basis of the game looks to be a case of 'old dog, new tricks,' however AvP is hardly another 'me too' title.

DVD ROM 08:34 am - Kan
Something new over at our bud iXBT Hardware site. This time there is a whopping 7 DVD ROM drives roundup. Whoa, I want one too!

At first sight you can easily detect an outsider, which will definitely fail to compete with its more up to date fellows. It's Creative Labs DVD2240E. The second candidate for our condolences, which is the last but one according to its technical features, is Hitachi GD-2500. And then goes a rather homogeneous group where we can single out Pioneer DVD-103S (only taking into account its DVD characteristics). Quoting the saying on its company site "it is the only 6-speed DVD-ROM in the world". By the way, it is the only DVD-ROM in our test, which has a slot-in insertion opening instead of tray-insertion. However, the same company has developed a DVD-103S's twin-brother, which is much dearer to me personally (actually, I do not impose my likes) since it has a tray I'm so much used to.

Terratec Promedia 07:07 am - Kan
Something new over at 3DHardware is the Terratec Promedia soundcard review. However, this is a ISA sound card... :)

The DSP chip is what makes the card appealing, hosting real-time, hardware accelerated effects such as a four-band equalizer, chorus, reverb and the previously mentioned spatializer.

The I/O of the chip comes in form of one stereo input and two separate stereo outputs and a serial link to the system. The serial link can emulate a standard MPU-401 MIDI interface and can transfer samples or other audio from or to the DSP at a rate of around 1500 kb/sec. It’s this that enables the card to perform harddrive recording/playback on a relatively low-end PC. The chip allows for stuff like simultaneous harddisk recording and, for example MP3 player are running, all without any extra processor strain! This is done by its support for multiple separate audio channels, all acting like separate stereo soundcards with individual volume settings etc.

Redline 06:50 am - Kan
FullOn3D did their review on Redline. Okay, I still don't have time for games yet. :(

BUT the one thing about this I did not like was you cant hop in a vehicle that you were just fighting with. The game has them lying around levels, and you can take those. Oh well. I believe Interstate 82 will have that option. But each vehicle comes with tailored weapons. Ever seen a mounted shotgun on a car? You will in here.

PowerVR Series 2 06:50 am - Kan
4-Gamers posted a preview on the PowerVR Series 2 chpset.

First of you should know that a "normal" 3D card renders a scene triangle by triangle and simply stacks them on each other until there's a finished scene in front of you, the PowerVR architecture doesn't do that. Instead it divides the scene into different "tiles" and then it renders each tile one pixel at a time applying all effects needed for that particular pixel at once, hence there is no overdraw (when the accelerators render a pixel more than ones it's called overdraw).

AMD K7 Interview 06:45 am - Kan
Incidentally, over at Hardware Central, they have chomped up an interview with AMD on the K7 processor.

HWC: Currently the L2 cache speeds seem to be unknown. Should we expect them to debut at 1/3 core speed and go up?

AMD: Sorry, haven't disclosed that yet. Whatever the speed, you shouldn't necessarily think of it as a process of moving only upwards throughout time. The K7 platform (CPU included) is scaleable, and offers the ability to meet many different requirements for different segments of the PC market. By varying the L2 cache size and the speed at which the cache runs, different "flavors" of the K7 can be targeted at different applications and markets --- from high-end desktop PCs to workstations etc.

Home PC Link Kit 06:43 am - Kan
GA-Source posted a review on the Home PC Link Kit. This thing uses exisitng phone lines and allows simultaneous internet acess from multiple computers using one internet account as well as sharing of computers and files.

Since I was used to a regular Ethernet network in house, you might expect me to think that the 1 Mbps speed of HomePNA cards is slow by comparison. Speed is definitely a relative thing. If you used one computer as a file server, and installed all of your software there, you would notice the difference between HomePNA and Ethernet. However for most home users including me, you are going to use it to share a printer or internet connection, and play some games. There is not usually going to be a whole lot of file copying from machine to machine on a regular basis. When I did copy some large files, it seemed somewhat slow, but not ridiculous. While we were both surfing the net, it took around 10 minutes to copy a 50mb directory from the one machine to the other.

AMD K6-2 475 MHz 06:41 am - Kan
Read it from PlanetHardware on the official launch of AMD K6-2 475 MHz. Wow, that's just 25 MHz short of the Pentium III 500 MHz.

AMD today announced the introduction of its 475-MHz AMD-K6®-2 processor with 3DNow! technology. The AMD-K6-2/475 processor offers a powerful combination of system price and performance and exceeds the clock speed of Intel's fastest available Pentium® II processor. The AMD-K6-2/475 processor will power a soon- to-be-released IBM Aptiva consumer personal computer system targeted at the retail market.

"With the advent of the AMD-K6-2/475 processor, we continue to deliver leading-edge, cost-competitive solutions for the consumer and small business markets," said Dana Krelle, vice president of marketing for the Computation Products Group at AMD. "IBM's use of our fastest AMD-K6-2 processor strengthens AMD's leading position in the retail marketplace."

Savage4 Q&A 06:33 am - Kan
Extreme Hardware scored an interview with S3's Mark Hirsch on the upcoming Savage4. Read what Mark has to say.

EH: What speed (MHz) does the Savage4 attain? Are there different versions (processor MHz/memory configs)? Pixel/Triangle ratings?

Mark: The SavageGT will ship at 125 MHz/125MHz (engine clock/memory clock) and the SavagePro will ship at 125MHz/143 MHz. Keep in mind though that our internal specs are quite conservative and that our yields on higher speed Savage4 parts has been really good. It's quite possible that you will see a 143MHz/143MHz Savage4-based card on retail shelves.

Voodoo3 3000 Review 06:33 am - Kan
Sharky posted a review on the Voodoo3 3000. Enuff said about this card. :)

The 3000 ONLY comes in the AGP flavor, so if for some strange reason you're looking to fill an PCI slot then look elsewhere to the Voodoo3 2000. The layout of an STB Velocity 4400 board resembles the Voodoo3 3000 (and indeed 2000). Except… there's a bloody great, huge, massive, heat sink (well as the picture of the board shows, it's BIG). As bizarre as the heat sink looks, it seems to do the job it's meant to do adequately. That is to say we never experienced any lock ups whatsoever during the three day benchmarking period (no Easter bunnies for us folks). Another plus point of a heat sink as opposed to an on-board fan, is that there's no extra noise generated.

Everbody Chill! 06:33 am - Kan
Our bud over at Bxboards has a chill-out article on some extreme cooling for your processor. Check it out!

Immediately to the right of the SECC, we see the Heat Transfer Plate. Unlike the CPU forming the basis of the HardOCP article, my transfer plate DOES come into contact with the L2 cache chips and, therefore, I left the assembly intact. The main heatsink is an aftermarket Antec unit with dual fans. It costs about $28US and I bought mine at MicroCenter. You'll also notice that I have foregone powering this array from the 3-pin header on the BH6. I've already returned one BH6 for fan header failure and I'm not doing the mobo "tee-tee" dance again. Fan monitoring is sacrificed, unfortunately.

Messiah Preview 06:29 am - Kan
There's something new over at ReviewZone,  including a Messiah preview as well as their updated TNT2 vs Voodoo3 review.

Messiah is a third-person action game, similar in principle to games like Tomb Raider. The protagonist is not, however, a buxom, gun-toting adventuress but an angel by the unlikely name of Bob, who may be described cherubic on the outside and pugnacious on the inside. He needs to be, though, because God has sent him to sin-soaked and decadent old Earth to prevent Satan from initiating Armageddon (No, not the movie). 

Voodoo3 Preview 06:27 am - Kan
Singularity sent note on their Voodoo3 preview.

Well, the quest for the ultimate 3D card is part and parcel of EVERY gamers life. EVERY gamers wanted a super duper fast 2D/3D card so as "TO PLAY THE GAME THE WAY IT SHOULD BE PLAYED". With no less than 60fps, the higher the better. 32-Bit colors seem to be a must for the best possible on screen vivid color display. Z Buffer, Stencil Buffer, Frame Buffer and all the rest of the technologies being used inside one teeny weenie fabricated chip.

5 April 1999 - Monday
SuperCooler 23:00 pm - Kan
After reviewing the JustCooler, AGN Hardware went ahead and trashed out the Jameco SuperCooler. Boy, this thing looks a lot like my digital alarm clock :)

The unit is simple.  It combines a standard 2 fan bay cooler with a digital unit that keeps track of the time, 2 temperature probes, and several heat alarms.  The fans are capable of blowing  5.3 CFM each.   Each fan is covered by a plastic grill which covers a very thin, replaceable air filter.  The Fans can be toggled on or off using one of the buttons on the front of the unit, or can be controlled by a heat alarm to kick in when things get a bit too hot.

Starlancer 22:54 pm - Kan
CRUS posted another preview on Starlancer by Microsoft. Gosh, Microsoft is coming out lots of new games lately.

Starlancer features a strong immersive story line based on the dynamic history of 20th century warfare. The digital effects team who have just completed the effects for the Wing Commander movie will be creating all the cinematics for Starlancer with more then 30 minutes of Hollywood-quality full-motion video cinematics, 6,000 unique speech samples, and 40 custom composed music tracks

Sound and Immersion 22:53 pm - Kan
There is a special feature article over at 3Dsoundsurge on Sound and Immersion. A rather interesting piece on what sound is all about.

Sound can be *felt*, literally. Extreme low frequencies can cause nausea, and extreme highs can cause restlessness. A constant sound pressure can be maintained to manipulate the audience's physical sensation. Go watch a sci-fi thriller in a movie theatre with a good speaker system. Listen for that "low rumble"when unspeakable horrors lurk around the corner. The low rumble is meant to physically stimulate the audience (subliminally, of course) into feeling anticipation and nervousness. Hitchcock was very fond of this technique.

DSL Internals 21:16 pm - Kan
Over at Avault, there is an editorial on the internals of DSL modems. Check out how the DSL send data up and down your telephone line.

Modulators are devices to send data over a channel -- they're the transmit side of a modem. The essential function of every modulator is to apply a data stream to a carrier. When that happens, the spectrum -- the range of frequencies -- occupied by the carrier widens by an amount proportional to the rate of the data stream. Apply a slow data stream and the spectrum broadens only slightly; apply a fast stream and the spectrum broadens noticeably.

Elitegroup P6BXT-A+ 07:39 am - Kan
Our bud over at iXBT posted another motherboard review, this time it's the Elitegroup P6BXT-A+ Slot1/Socket370 motherboard.

The first thing that catches your eye when you take this exotic P6BXT-A+ mainboard is a really strange combination of two different slots - Slot1 and Socket370. And no matter what CPU you install (a SECC, or a PPGA), the mainboard will detect your processor type automatically. If you are a curious and risky person and install 2 CPUs in both slots simultaneously, the system won't even start. No wonder, since it is not a dual processor mainboard but is simply intended rather for CPU up- or downgrade. :)

4th Coming 06:53 am - Kan
Review by Singularity. Actually, editing this website is the most interesting game. :)

4thcoming.gif (18880 bytes) Unlike non-RPGs, The 4th Coming is not about winning. It’s a simulation that allows you to interact with dozens of other players whose goals may sometimes coincide with yours, sometimes oppose them. As in real life, you have to deal with other players on an individual basis. Some will be treacherous, some will be helpful. With time, you will learn who can be trusted and who cannot.

USB VideoBus 06:48 am - Kan
USB Workshop had an interesting review on the Belkin USB VideoBus. This thing allows you to capture from video sources thru USB! Ingenious...

To record audio, users have to plug in the RCA-to- mini-stereo plug cable. Beware that Belkin’s VideoBus does not use USB to carry the audio signal to the PC. I think Belkin has considered video already occupied over 60% (8Mbps maximum according to the Belkin’s specification) of the USB bandwidth. Having audio to share USB bandwidth would be unwise. Video resolution may have to lower in order to archive this. So, sound cards have to do the audio recording. This is not what I expect but USB’s 12Mbps bandwidth cannot do everything. Only if you wish to record full multimedia movie, you don’t really need the audio cable. 

Leaderboard 06:45 am - Kan
StorageReview whipped up their Leaderboard, which is basically a short summaries of recommended drives available.

Here we'll briefly describe the drives we believe are the best in some given categories. Note that we don't believe these capsule comments are any substitute for reading the full reviews of the drives you're considering.

Guillemot T Leader 3D 06:21 am - Kan
Wicked3D posted a review on the Guillemot T Leader 3D. I wonder why it's T-shaped, perhaps to rest on your beer tummy?

As you can see by the pictures, the gamepad is shaped like a T as the name implies, and has a variety of buttons, controls and modes. On the right side there are the standard 6 buttons. From the top of the controller it has the push buttons, one for the left hand and one for the right hand. Beyond that it has a button for when you are holding the bottom of the "T", a digital D-Pad, plus the bonus of a small analog joystick. If that isn't enough, there's a sliding throttle control, auto fire mode, and a mode selector for digital, Thrustmaster, and CH, which sets the controller up for each game accordingly. Just the variety of options on this gamepad is what impressed me the most.

Memory Guide 06:12 am - Kan
Memory Guide article over at SharkyExtreme. Memory plays an important role in computer performance. Oh, so does cache and bus speed. So does everything. Okay, I'm sprouting nonsense again...

All DRAM memory designs have the same basic core, and thus the same internal speeds and relatively large latency periods. Various schemes have been developed over the years to optimize or hide these limitations, sometimes improving one while having a negative effect on another. Unfortunately, because of the relatively high cost of SRAM, and the extremely competitive nature of the industry, DRAM is still the only real option for large amounts of system memory and for use in graphics subsystems. SRAM memory is generally used only for cache, either externally (on the motherboard) or internally (small amounts built into the processor or DRAM chip).

JustCooler 05:48 am - Kan
AGN Hardware did a review on the JustCooler hard drive cooler. In my opinion, it's totally useless (err..I mean the cooler!).

One of the biggest arguments against SCSI hard drives is the amount of heat they create.  The drives are big, they spin very fast, and they generate a tremendous amount of heat.  Some won't even use SCSI drives because of the heat.  They say that the price and heat are simply not worth the speed increases.  For those of you who know otherwise, this review is for you.

Baseball 2000 05:32 am - Kan
CRUS posted a game preview  on Microsoft Baseball 2000. This game looks kinda cool.

Microsoft Baseball 2000 looks to be one of the good sport games that will come in the next two or three months. As always when it comes to Microsoft so can we believe that the game will be extremely well done and everything will work from the beginning. That means no bugs or anything like that (now are we talking Microsoft games and not the operating system).

House Of The Dead 2 00:17 am - Wilfred
Boon Kiat has returned with what he calls a 'first-look' on Sega's House Of The Dead 2 for the Dreamcast console. Nah, I wouldn't call it a 'first look' if you find 9 whopping pages on what he thinks of the game! =)

"I can safely say that the Dreamcast version seems 100% arcade perfect for those levels. There are no slowdowns and the textures are as crisp as they were, all running in high resolution, like the arcades."

"... the cheesy music, and the great graphics and great animation will keep you hooked on the game, and just going back for more."

Wilfred Coughs 00:13 am - Wilfred
Forgot in my last posting to ask (again) for your participation in the new poll! And don't let the discussions in the forums die down! Arrghh... stomach's rumbling in hunger - methinks I need some food.

Aural Fixation: 19 Speakers Review 00:08 am - Wilfred
Whoa! CGO posted a huge 19 speakers roundup and if you are in the market for a pair of good speakers, allow yourself a little time to read this review first.

Still suffering with the tinny, buzzy speakers that came with your PC? The sound in games has been improving steadily, and we now enjoy CD-quality music and sound effects, sometimes even in 3D. This cornucopia of sonic wonders may be lost on you if your speakers aren't up to par.

 

4 April 1999 - Sunday
Poll 7 Results. You wished! 20:07 pm - Wilfred
Hiak! Hiak! If some divine intervention takes place right now, you guys might have your wishes granted right away! If you industry gods are listening... then come on!!!!! Give it to us!!!!!

It came as a little surprise more people voted for faster Internet connection than for stable Windows. <applause for Mr Gates!>

Kenwood CL-701 Speakers 18:52 pm - Kan
Review article over at HardwareCentral. Nope,  I don't have money to buy a pair for you babe.

The human ear can hear from 20Hz to 20000Hz (20kHz). The CL-701 claims to be able to cover that entire frequency range, although with the omission of an extra ''tweeter'' driver in the satellites, sounds in the higher treble frequencies will probably tend to be lost or indistinguishable from the mid-ranges. The speakers were tested with all kinds of sounds, ranging from MP3's and CD's of every genre, and gaming. The satellites seemed to put out quality sound, with almost no static, even at high volume levels.

Tyan Thunderbolt 18:49 pm - Kan
Anand boy had another new review, the Tyan Thunderbolt GX Dual Slot1 motherboard. Yup, it's based on the GX chipset with onboard UW SCSI, 10/100 ethernet, supports up to 6 PCI slots and all the goodies you can ever dream of having.

Two final improvements were made to make the Thunderbolt Tyan's newest flagship product, the first being the removal of the DEC PCI-to-PCI bridge, and the second being the inclusion of a second ATX power connector for cases with dual power supplies to help balance the power load in do-or-die server situations.  Speaking of which, if you've ever run a dual processor system, you'll know that cooling can become a hassle, and with a large number of fans spinning away in your case, you may have a tendency to run out of available power connectors for all of the fans. Tyan's solution?  The Thunderbolt features a total of 5 on-board fan connectors, three of which are positioned around the two slot-1 interface connectors. Not too shabby for cooling expansion.

Shuttle HOT-597 18:45 pm - Kan
Another Socket7 board based on the VIA MVP3 is reviewed by LostCircuits. Actually, Socket7 will really be dead if not for AMD processors.

In addition to the documented jumper settings for CPU multiplier and bus speed, there are the undocumented settings for 112 MHz and 124 MHz that are (SW1, 1-3) ON, OFF< ON for 112 MHz and OFF, ON, OFF for 124 MHz. Typical for the MVP3 chipset there is a jumper selection for setting the memory speed to FSB or AGP frequency by jumper JP9. In times when the lower bus frequencies are still used as an alternative to reach clock speed values in between what can be achieved beyond the 100 MHz boundary, the PCI divider of 1/3 kicks in as early as 83 MHz. This is certainly of benefit for those that are stuck with a AMD K6-2 /66 not reaching the 100 MHz bus threshold.

Elimination of Slot-1 Celeron 18:42 pm - Kan
You heard it man. Intel is going to eliminate the Slot-1 design on all  Celeron microprocessors, according to EBNews.

Intel Corp. has decided to eliminate the "slot" design from its Celeron microprocessors, according to customers briefed by Intel earlier this week.

The change will take place with the release of the 466-MHz Celeron, expected about April 26. Instead, the Celeron will ship only in the 370-pin "socketed" plastic PGA in order to eliminate the incremental packaging costs associated with the printed-circuit board and connector used in the "standard" Celeron package.

Search Engine Up! 14:40 pm - Kan
Well, it sure took darn long, but it's up and available at here. My gratitude to Jason Birch on helping me get the whole thing up (without Viagra!) Whew...

Anand: 3Dfx Voodoo 3 14:20 pm - Wilfred
Anand also posted a "can-you-believe-it's-33-pages-long" review on the V3 today. The real show starts after page 7, but I was all giddy by the time I came to the concluding paras:

3dfx did a good job with the Voodoo3, it wasn't a stellar production on 3dfx's part, the lack of 32-bit color rendering and AGP texturing support are among the two biggest gripes you'll have with the video card, and its lack of a true OpenGL ICD will keep most professionals from going down the path of the Voodoo3 as most professional 3D rendering programs require a fully functional OpenGL ICD to work properly. The 2D performance and 2D quality of the Voodoo3 are amazing, considering just last year 3dfx was a 3D-only company, whereas now they are going head to head with companies like Matrox that have been boasting their incredible 2D image quality for quite some time now.

Fixes for Internet Explorer 5 and Win98 14:00 pm - Wilfred
The Register reports that Microsoft has issued the fixes for the Win98 "49.7 days" bug as well a patch to remove the hardware ID from your Windows system. An updated build of IE5 is available for download.

And another reader has since reported: "If you're like me and haven't been to Windows Update for a long time, it's time to pay a visit. Several patches for Windows 98 have been released and there are several additional updates available. Most notable are the fixes for the 49.7 day bug and the highly controversial hardware ID number given to your system during online registration.

"Microsoft has also updated both Internet Explorer 4.0 and 5.0. The updated release of IE 5.0 went relatively unnoticed, although it most likely fixes the bugs that accompanied the initial March 18 version. The update is only available through a complete IE 5.0 download. The new version is IE 5.00.2314.1003 compared with the original 5.00.2014.0216.

The first reader to notice the changes said: "Did you know there appears to be IE5 service release already? The main fix is to the MS Data Access components (MDAC)." Check out this place

"This site suggests there is an IE5a release that includes the fixed MDAC 2.1. (It also suggests Office 2000 has actually been shipped as it says the update is included in that too!)

Voodoo 3 3000 Review 13:53 pm - Wilfred
GameSpot has got a short review on 3Dfx's Voodoo 3 3000. So we have the real thing in testers' hands, do we have a verdict yet?

So here I sit, watching 3Dfx fight a determined rear-guard action with Voodoo3. There's the $20 million ad campaign - not targeted at you or me, mind you, but at people who know little about computers and whose gameplaying experiences lie more with consoles than PCs. There's the argument that 32-bit doesn't matter in today's games, and 3Dfx does 22-bit equivalent rendering. There's the argument that 32MB cards are too expensive (someone better tell Creative Labs that). Still, it will probably work because Voodoo3 is the final chapter in a mature technology. Because it's a mature technology, it brings to the table excellent performance in today's games and puts what was once a two-card, six-chip solution into a single board. There are limitations to the current Voodoo3 architecture: no 32-bit output for 3D, 16MB maximum memory, no bump mapping, and no stencil buffers.

Tech-Junkie Revamps 13:41 pm - Wilfred
Ever shooting for higher heights and newer frontiers, our fellow caffiene addicts revamps Tech-Junkie. Don't miss Issue 1 of the new funky online magazine - Update: 15:19 pm => particularly their latest review on all 4 of ATI's Rage128 cards!

Is it just us? Has the world gone mad? Seriously. The Rage128 would be a great card if ATI gets their act together and releases some good drivers. We want all our games to run, regardless of what DirectX version. We want 3DMark99MAX to run. And we want the TV Out to work. We've seen the true power of the Rage128 in the Rage Dawning Demo. It looks great, some say better than the TNT. But if we can't even play most of our games, something is VERY wrong.

Preview: MS Midtown Madness 12:10 pm - Wilfred
The FiringSquad has a preview on the upcoming luny game from Microsoft. Take a look at what Midtown Madness will bring:

With so many streets to explore I loved taking random turns through the city just to admire the scenery, see how the traffic works, and such. However, this game isn't about obeying the rules - it's about breaking them and doing crazy, reckless stuff you always wished you could do! Tear around corners, run red lights, and crash into cars. Drive through glass shop facades. Plow through rows and rows of parking meters and spill out the change. Knock over trash cans and newspaper machines. As you damage your car, you'll see smoke pouring from your hood and dents/cracked glass on your car body. These damage marks will only appear in the locations that you damaged your car!

Pentium III Review 10:49 am - Kan
Our bud over at iXBT sent note on their latest review on the Pentium III 500 Mhz. Though I will prefer the K7 when it comes out, this processor is the best out there now (almost).

piii_logo2.gif (5182 bytes) SECC2 represents a sort of an intermediate link between a standard SECC and its complete absence. Cartridge SECC2 has lost its front part, the one where the cooler is usually fastened. And this is another big advantage because now the radiator touches the chip and not the separating metallic plate pressed to the core. It means superior heat dissipation in SECC2, and the true evidence of this statement is the outlook of Pentium III sample, which we have received for testing: it has just a pin radiator without any coolers

Tech Zone 10:45 am - Kan
I wonder how many of you remember, but Kraemer moved his Tech Zone to PCVelocity. Previously, it was at Redwood's site where he discussed his rantings on the PC industry. Hear what he has to say.

Understanding the K7 10:42 am - Kan
Ace's Hardware sent note on their latest article, Understanding the K7. Have a look right away!

Initial K7 systems will be based on PC100 SDRAM, since this will be the only mass market technology available in June when the K7 is scheduled to launch. The memory market is currently in a bit of chaos, and since AMD is not driving the memory market, we will have to adapt to whatever memory technology emerges as the winner.

We should have RDRAM support by the end of the year, and there may be support for PC133 and DDR-SDRAM.

 

3 April 1999 - Saturday
ATX Reviews 15:15 pm - Kan
You guys gotta check the photos over at HotHardware on the ATX casing. It must be the easiest to install casing I've ever seen! Anyway, check out their trash out with 4 ATX casings.

When is the last time you thought about your system chassis? It was probably when you had to get into it to replace a card or processor. Perhaps it was when you made the jump to ATX from the AT form factor when you bought that cool new Pentium 2 Motherboard. Regardless, you probably didn't give it much consideration beyond how fancy it looked. The fact is, a good case with power supply is one of the most important aspects of your system. It is the foundation on which you build the custom PC of your own unique design. So let's take a look at a few options in the ATX case market and hopefully show you a new home for your precious high tech. cargo.

ATI Fury 128 15:05 pm - Kan
Our bud over at Overclockers Workbench posted a review on the ATI Fury 128. Catch what they have to say on this card.

ATI's RAGE FURY 32MB and RAGE 128 technology offers the fastest 3D acceleration for incredible 3D gameplay. With full 3D acceleration in all modes and color depths in resolutions up to 1920x1200 at 32bpp, RAGE FURY will bring your power-hungry, graphics intensive 3D games and entertainment applications alive. Together with an advanced set of 3D features including triangle setup engine, ATI's new SuperScalar Rendering technology (SSR), twin cache architecture, complete alpha blending, video textures, texture lighting, RAGE FURY's 3D performance at super light frame rates delivers smooth animation, rich and realistic lighting effects and life-like textures.

Cough, Cough 07:27 am - Kan
Looks like I'm coughing nowadays. Anyway, just to ask, do you guys ever click on those colourful banners on top? :)

We just received our monthly server bill and I guess I need to get some more KY...$200 and 800 MB transferred per day ain't really what I expected. Enough rants, click on those banners will ya? :)

Soyo SY-D6IBA 07:10 am - Kan
Looking for a dual motherboard for those 300As of yours? How about the Soyo SY-D6IBA reviewed by Freak! ?

I'm sure all of you hard core people out there are wondering "what about overclocking?". Despite the lack of voltage controls, the SY-D6IBA overclocks fairly well. I easily ran a single SECC Celeron 300A at 450 and SL2W8 Pentium II-300s at 450. The 66, 68, and 75 Mhz bus speeds work very well with the on-board SCSI. 83Mhz is another story. I generally don't recommend the 83Mhz since most SCSI devices hate it and a lot of IDE drives also don't like it. There are a lot sites that show overclocking at 83Mhz as a very viable option but I think you should really stay away from it since it stresses both the AGP and PCI buses way over their specifications.

IDT WinChip2 300 Review 06:42 am - Kan
FullOn3D took a shot at the IDT WinChip2 300 processor. Are these processors ever good?

A year later, IDT introduced the successor to this chip, still based on its sibling's older design but with several key improvements: the addition of a pipelined FPU, 3dnow! instructions, both of which amount to a 2x improvement in FPU and higher clock speeds of 200 to 240 (although still relatively low by today's standards). In 1997, the three alternative processor companies at that time, AMD, Cyrix and IDT introduced proprietary 3D SIMD (single instruction multiple data) instruction sets as a measure to raise their 3d gaming level to that of Intel's Pentium II.

Aztech 368DSP 06:38 am - Kan
3DHardware posted the Aztech 368DSP soundcard review. One thing special about this card is that it's base on QSound, utilizing the Thunderbird 128 soundchip from VLSI.

The Aztech 368DSP also features soundtechnology such as QMSS and QXpander.
QMSS is an abbreviation of QSound Multi-Speaker System, and what it does is to expand normal stereo sound to 4 speakers. Basically, QMSS is nothing more than enabling 4 speaker support for any stereo soundsource - nothing really special.

What QXpander does is Stereo-to-3D conversion, producing "3D" sound from just two speakers. This feature is exactly something you'd use frequently, as it doesn't sound that good, plus the fact that the 368DSP actually does support 4 speaker output.

Reviews 06:32 am - Kan
Guys, check out Singularity, a daily updated gaming site. They have the following articles available:

EtherFast 10/100 8-Port 06:23 am - Kan
AGN Hardware posted a review on the EtherFast 10/100 8-port switch.

While a Hub has a total bandwidth (10Mbps or 100mbps) that is shared between all of the connected computers, a Switch has a dedicated bandwidth for each connection. 

This means that a 100base-TX Switch has a dedicated 200Mbps per port in full duplex mode!  Bandwidth like that makes a switch the ideal migration for a growing LAN running off of only Hubs, because each port can power a 100base-TX Hub without breaking a sweat. 

Dual 370. Keith Is Away 02:14 am - Wilfred
Hi People! Keith just mailed me a short note in his tiredness. See, he's just been enlisted to perform national service in the armed forces so he's only back for weekends, tired and all. He will be replying to mails on the Dual 370 article selectively. We ask of your understanding. =)

Melissa's Suspect Captured 02:10 am - Wilfred
Saw over at AGN3D a news posting about the above-mentioned. ABCNews.com reported the following:

David L. Smith, 30, of Aberdeen was arrested Thursday night at his brother’s house in nearby Eatontown, said Rita Malley, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Peter Verniero.

Smith originated the virus, which caused worldwide e-mail disruption earlier this week, from his apartment in Aberdeen, Malley said. He is charged with interfering with public communication, which carries a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and up to a $150,000 fine, Verniero said. Smith was released on $100,000 bail.

Melissa appeared last Friday and spread rapidly around the world on Monday like a malicious chain letter, causing affected computers to fire off dozens of infected messages to friends and colleagues and swamping e-mail systems. It disrupted the operations of thousands of companies and government agencies whose employees were temporarily unable to communicate by e-mail.

Smith was snared with the help of America Online technicians, and a computer task force composed of federal and state agents, Malley said.

Another Kenwood 52X TrueX Review 01:26 am - Wilfred
The crew at WickedPC also kicked up a review on the Kenwood 52X TrueX CDROM drive. Hey, somebody bring this drive onto my island's shores will ya?

There's nothing else to say, except that Kenwood scored bigtime with this drive. Not only is it fast, but it's reliable as we've heard. Their first drive (the 40x40) had a lot of failure problems, where suddenly you couldn't read a CD anymore. From what I've seen so far, this is a null issue with the 52x drives, so you can expect a decent life from the drive. The price is a little bit high, but then again, it's the fastest CDROM drive in the world.

MidiLand Forzando Plus 01:14 am - Wilfred
Those people at EH are on a streak, read their review on the MidiLand Forzando Plus speaker systems. This system is actually developed for the low-end market segment, unlike its other well-know siblings.

"... after using the Forzando Plus system, I can safely say that they’re more than acceptable and even comparable to some higher-end speaker systems. Sure, the sound could be a little clearer at times, and the controls could be improved, but for $79, the Midiland Forzando Plus is an excellent buy."

OpenGL Support For Elsa 3D Revelator 00:53 am - Wilfred
Pete of Fresh3D has brought to my attention the following, and I ask you to support their efforts as a sort of petition.

Wanna play Quake with your Elsa 3D Revelator? So you need a full stereo-supported OpenGl MCD/ICD for your Elsa board - a driver which, as of now, is not planned by Elsa. Send this mail to helping us to convince them that we need this driver! And check out the mail below we got from Ole-Morton from Norway who is supporting us!

 

2 April 1999 - Friday
Savage4 Preview 18:25 pm - Kan
Live like a Savage (wow!) posted a preview on the Savage4. Check out what Savage4 has to offer.

The most significant new feature seen here is the single-pass multi-texturing support, which the Savage3D lacked. This is where   in a single pass multiple textures can be rendered on the same pixel. The long awaited feature which some say should have been in the Savage3D.

The Savage4 features a dual-texturing pipeline which means that the Savage4 can render 2 textures on a single pixel in a single pass. Initally it was thought to have a dual rendering pipeline but we soon found otherwise. There are several other features which stand out like the hardware bumpmapping, the stencil buffer etc.

AMD Interview 18:20 pm - Kan
PCVelocity scored an interview with AMD on topics ranging from the K7, 3DNow!, overclocking to AMD's future plan. Check the interview out!

AMD: No doubt the Celeron 300A is widely-regarded as the king of overclocking, but that is really not something you are likely to see a manufacturer touting anytime soon. Often, there are specific reliability and manufacturing issues that determine the speed grade at which we ship a CPU. We don't recommend overclocking ---in fact it voids the warranty -- but that doesn't stop folks from doing it. I think the overclockability of the Celeron 300A is probably not a good measure of the typical performance gain one should expect to see from any CPU. As for the gaming community, 3DNow! has definitely been well received and helped us with these folks. When we introduce the K7 later this year (with a completely re-designed floating point unit) gamers should have a great new high-end platform

Soyo SY-V6BE+ 10:43 am - Kan
3DHardware wrote a review on the Soyo SY-V6BE+ based on the Apollo Pro chipset.

The SY-V6BE+ is based on the trusty 1+4+3 layout, making it hold one AGP (1.0) card, three ISA cards and, yes, you guessed it, 4 PCI cards. The design is getting a bit aged ans not many people have three ISA cards worth using nowadays, whereas a lot have four PCI’s. But as ISA cards stille exist, hey, some manufacturers actually still produce ISA cards, I can’t really say it’s a minus. It’s just not being very innovative, thats all.

Moving on to the memory the SY-V6BE+ supports 768Mb of ram in three DIMM sockets, in form of 256Mb modules. Nothing special, although it will certainly be enough for almost anyone.

Metabyte Interview 10:43 am - Kan
Extreme Hardware did an interview with Wicked3D on their PGC Technology. Check out the juice:

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Kerry Philpott over at Metabyte about their upcoming Wicked3D PGC technology. In a nutshell, Metabyte has devised a way of getting any two 3D video cards to work in parallel, similar to what 3Dfx has been doing with SLI with their Voodoo 2. One main difference between the SLI and PGC is that SLI splits the screen up by the horizontal lines (even and odd lines) and distributes it equally to the two cards, whereas PGC technology splits up regions of the screen.

Windows 9x System Cleanup Guide 10:40 am - Kan
Tweak3D had a Windows 9x cleanup tweak guide up. If your computer is feeling sluggish these days, you better be reading what the guys have to say.

It has been a few months or longer since you last made a clean reinstall of your OS. The overall performance of the computer is beginning to suffer, a product of unused DLL's cluttering up the system folder, and the overall obesity of the registry files which Windows does a terrible job of managing. A feeling of dread is clouding over the workspace in which the computer resides. It's time to reinstall the OS. But wait! That painful process of deleting the Windows directory, reinstalling the operating system, and all of the applications and games CAN be averted. What follows is nearly a miracle of nature, a renewal of life into a drooping computer.

ATI All-in-Wonder 128 10:36 am - Kan
After Anand posted his ATI All-in-Winder 128 review, Sharky also posted their thoughts on the card.

Powered by ATi's newest 2D/3D accelerator chip, the Rage 128GL, the All-In-Wonder 128 supports the same 3D specifications that the successful Rage Fury card does. What differs the two products is the All-In-Wonder's Video IN and OUT features. By placing a co-axial cable connector/tuner on the card itself, along with an S-Video Out port, the All-In-Wonder 128 makes its intentions known to the user right from the get go. Add in a cable connected "break out box" which holds both RCA and S-Video IN ports, and you have one of the most well rounded video decoding and encoding products available for purchase in any price range.

STB Desktop TV Review 10:13 am - Kan
TheTechs sent note on their STB Desktop TV review. This card looks cool, allows up to 125 TV channels and switching between TV, S-Video or composite input mode.

The Desktop TV includes all of the cables that you will need to get started.It comes with the Desktop TV card (big one here), the FM Antenna cable, Installation CD-Rom, CD Audio Cable and registration card (have you ever filled one of these out?). Once you have the card installed in one of your PCI slots, go ahead and power your computer up. Then Windows 9x "Plug 'n Pray" will initiate and it should recognize the card and ask for a driver disk. Then you can insert the CD-Rom provided by STB and then it will ask you to reboot. Upon re-entering Windows, go ahead and pop that STB CD-Rom back in the drive and an autorun application should appear. You want to install Visual Reality, once that is done your final reboot awaits.

1 April 1999 - Thursday
Overclocking Guide 23:49 pm - Wilfred
Firingsquad sent note of their Overclocking Guide. Yes, we don't keep count here.. so this could be the 103 guide. For the unintiated, check it out!

[You get what you pay for...well, not exactly]
In the case of CPU's, you actually get more than you pay for, usually. The reason why entails a brief, VERY SIMPLIFIED account of a major vendor's manufacturing process. When CPU manufacturers produce CPUs out of certain fabrication plants, or "fabs", they don't actually produce a certain clock speed of CPUs at a time. What I mean is when Intel, for example, produces PIIIs, they don't actually produce a whole bunch of PIIIs that are clocked at 500. They make a bunch of PIIIs using their manufacturing process, and then have to clock the PIIIs to see how fast they should be sold at. So, the CPUs that are made in a batch can be varying speeds, due a variety of factors in regards to the very ultra-sensitive process of microprocessor technology.

Buyer's Guide 21:08 pm - Kan
New Buyer's Guide over at SharkyExtreme. If you are shopping for any new stuff, take a look at what the sharks have to recommend.

The Sharky Extreme staff reviews a whole caboodle of hardware each and every month. Each and every week we put every newly released piece of hardware that we get under the hammer. If we like what we see, then it usually ends up in our systems. We have to say that by the most part we're left unimpressed and only a 'select' few products make it into Sharky's and Mako's PCs. Alas the list below reflects what Craig and I recommend for the month of February after several long phone calls and some snowball fights.

ATI All-in-Wonder 128 21:06 pm - Kan
Anand posted the ATI All-in-Wonder 128 graphics card.

ALL-IN-WONDER 128 is powered by ATI's newest graphics technology, RAGE 128GL, and up to 32MB of memory to deliver the ultimate 3D experience. This translates into stunning 3D gaming action that your entire family can enjoy. ALL-IN-WONDER 128 offers full support for DirectX 6.0 and OpenGL and includes a host of advanced 3D features such as Triangle Setup Engine, SuperScalar Rendering, Single Pass Multi-texturing and Twin Cache Architecture all of which can process massive graphics textures resulting in smooth animation and life-like graphics without slowing down performance.

Warning! Read This Carefully. 10:20 am - Wilfred
Ok people, I'd just received this solemn letter from Kim. Brace yourselves for a world internet outtage today. Heed the advices closely. Thanks! (Please direct your comments here)

As many of you know, each year the Internet must be shut down for 24 hours in order to allow us to clean it. The cleaning process, which eliminates dead email and inactive ftp, www and gopher sites, allows for a better-working and faster Internet.

This year, the cleaning process will take place from 11:59 p.m. GMT on March 31 until 12:01 a.m. GMT on April 2 (the time least likely to interfere with ongoing work). During that 24-hour period, five powerful Internet search engines situated around the world will search the Internet and delete any useless data that they find.

In order to protect your valuable data from deletion we ask that you do the following:

  1. Disconnect all terminals and local area networks from their Internet connections.
  2. Shut down all Internet servers, or disconnect them from the Internet.
  3. Disconnect all disks and hard drives from any connections to the Internet.
  4. Refrain from connecting any computer to the Internet in any way during this time.
  5. We understand the inconvenience that this may cause some Internet users, and we apologise. However, we are certain that any inconveniences will be more than made up for by the increased speed and efficiency of the Internet, once it has been cleared of electronic flotspam and jetspam.
  6. We thank you for your cooperation.

Kim Dereksen
Interconnected Network Maintenance staff,
Main branch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sysops and others:
Since the last Internet cleaning, the number of Internet users has grown dramatically. Please assist us in alerting the public of the upcoming Internet cleaning by posting this message where your users will be able to read it. Please pass this message on to other sysops and Internet users as well. Thank you.
- Comments

Chris Owen's SBLive NG FAQ 10:18 am - Wilfred
Alive! has hosted the NG FAQ posted by Creative's Chris Owen. Two interesting questions he answered:

When will the next Sound Blaster Live! driver release occur? What will be in it?
The next driver release for the Sound Blaster Live! will be a big and important one, and, as with all good software, it will be done when it's done. If you are experiencing bugs, make sure you have visited http://support.soundblaster.com and filled out the email form after trying the basic troubleshooting steps. That's the best way to make sure we can coordinate our testing efforts to duplicate your problem and fix it in our next driver revision.

Linux. What's the scoop?
There's no scoop yet. Creative has hired and trained programmers who are proficient in Linux device driver programming, and we continue to work on drivers for various products, including the Sound Blaster Live!. There's no set release date yet.

Epson Photo 750, 1200 And Stylus 900 10:15 am - Wilfred
Kok Leong's printer crazy site has a couple of new stuff on board today! Check out his quickie with the Photo 750 and Stylus 900, as well as a lowdown on the big Photo 1200. Some snips...

"No surprises that the Photo 750 is the best of the lot with the Stylus 900 trailing really close. I can easily say that the Stylus 900 is a photo-printer in its own right even though it only uses 4 colors. If Epson pushes the envelope of droplet size even further (eg 1 picolitre!), there may well be no need to go the way of 6 color printing and just sticking it out with 4 colour printing."

"The Stylus 900 can actually be named the Photo 900! It is a photo-realistic printer to me barring the colour reproduction (less saturated colors. For instance, the metallic gold looks less golden on the 900 printout) which I am guessing is a problem with the drivers."

"To summarize, brilliant printer, though only a few people will be able to extract the best out of it. Having said that, even with an uncorrected driver, just out of the box, it will print absolutely excellent colour, better than anything costing many hundreds of dollars more and certainly better than any HP, Lexmark and the like that I have seen."

Creative Encore  6X with Dxr3 10:14 am - Wilfred
A new kit is to be borned. Thanks to the pointer at Alive! you can have a look at Creative's official page on this. No wonder prices are falling for the 5X kit. So soon you ask?

The next-generation Creative Dxr3 decoder board delivers impeccable image quality and provides better processing of color video at high resolutions. In addition to stunning video, the Dxr3 board takes Dolby Digital (AC-3) audio and feeds it to a receiver or DeskTop Theater™ 5.1 for theater-like, room-shaking audio with a 6-speaker surround system *. Or you can connect Dxr3 to your Sound Blaster® audio card for great stereo sound.

The versatile Creative PC-DVD 6X drive reads DVDs at up to 6x speeds, giving you near-instant access to your data. Support for popular disk types such as DVD-R, CD-R, CD-RW, and CD audio provide seamless access to your existing data and audio library.

The Seven Best PC Upgrades 10:12 am - Wilfred
You can find this article at GameCenter which will advise you on the few best things to get for an upgrade. Seven? That's about every major component you'll want to change excluding the mousepad!

We've heard your cries and put together some of our favorite upgrades. Some are fun, some are essential, and some may even be dangerous. But all are guaranteed to add some excitement to the PC gaming experience. Though most will cost you, it doesn't take much money to make a real difference in how your system performs. A strategic upgrade now can give your PC that hopped-up feeling you've missed for so long.

Ultra TNT2 Preview 10:11 am - Kan
Sharky whipped up a in-house nVidia Ultra TNT2 preview. If I were you, this will be my next graphics card. Forget 'bout the Voodoo3. :)

The 3D feature set is as you'd expect similar to Nvidia's TNT chipset. The main benefit of the Ultra TNT2 over any past or present 3Dfx board lies within its ability to utilize larger texture sizes. The Ultra TNT2 is capable of handling textures up to 2048x2048 as opposed to the Voodoo3's more limited 256x256. The 16-bit image quality of the TNT2 is clearly superior to that of the any 3Dfx based product- including the Voodoo3 (see composite screenshots below). The TNT2 also has the ability to shift these larger textures with its full support for AGP texturing (the Voodoo3 doesn't support this feature and uses its own proprietary DME).

Matrox G400 10:03 am - Kan
Our bud Kert did a preview on the coming Matrox G400. Read how he describe the architecture of the new chipset.

The 256-bit DualBus architecture comprises two independent unidirectional 128-bit buses working in parallel. The two internal buffers store instructions and/or data. On every chip clock cycle, data from the input buffer is sent to the engine via the 128-bit internal input bus and on the same chip clock cycle, processed data from the engine is sent back to the output buffer via the 128-bit internal output bus. The data multiplexing logic manages the data buffers to ensure a constant flow of data across the dual buses. The potential of dual bus is somewhat limited by an external 128-bit bidirectional memory bus.

Anatomy of a Re-Marked PII-333 10:01 am - Kan
What? I'm surprised this wasn't posted up yet. Ars-Technica did an anatomy of a re-marked PII-333, and guess what they found inside?

A re-marker maximizes his (or her) profits just like any good Warren Buffet disciple: he buys low and sells high. Wwe’re not talking about stock, though; we’re talking about MHz. A re-marker buys a chip at a low MHz rating and overclocks it to the highest possible MHz rating. The greater the difference between the rating at which he bought it and the rating at which he sells it, the more money he makes. A 400MHz PII overclocked to 450MHz isn’t going to give him nearly the return that a 300MHz PII overclocked to 450MHz will. So a re-marker usually buys a CPU designed for a 66MHz bus and sells it at a speed that requires that it be run on a 100MHz bus. This means that every re-marked CPU has to have the B21-style trick implemented somewhere on it.

AMD K6-III 09:57 am - Kan
Super7 penned their thoughts on the AMD K6-III processor. Now, if you study hardware architecture, you will know that cache is a very important factor. ;)

AMD's new TriLevel Cache design implemented on the K6-III, improves overall PC performance by providing, with the introduction of Level 3 (L3) cache, the desktop's largest total system cache - up to four times larger than systems based on the Pentium III processor. Combined with the new XT core's improved Write Allocate buffer, the on-chip cache goes a long way toward sending the K6-III skyrocketing to the top of the performance charts for all socket 7 CPUs and evening out the playing field against Intel's Pentium III.

WingMan Formula Force 09:52 am - Kan
Also check out what PC Sports Games has to say on the Logitech WingMan Formula Force feedback wheel. Don't forget to check out our dear Flashman's review too!

The Wingman Profiler is the configuration software included with the racing unit. It allows you to assign game commands to the buttons found on the wheel to create new game profiles. How does it work? Lets say, for example, that I just installed Viper Racing and I want to create a new game profile. I would click on "create new game profile" and then on "create from scratch". From here you would be prompted to find the game on your computer and add its executable to the profiler. Once this profile was added you could choose it and then edit the game commands to your liking. You can edit any button or pedal on the racing unit.

Plextor UltraPlex 40X Max Wide 09:11 am - Wilfred
A 9 out of 10 stars rating. AGN3D has a review on Plextor's latest ultra-wide SCSI CDROM drive that sports super low CPU utilisation and seek times as well as great performance!

You have to love when you get more from a product than you had expected. I already knew that I liked Plextor drives, but my expierences with this UltraPlex 40x WIDE CD-ROM have really convinced me that their drives are superior. I do not feel that you should run out and replace your 40x Max drive with a Plextor 40x Max WIDE drive, but if you are looking for a new SCSI CD-ROM, I think it would be a waste to buy anything else.

AMD K7 Preview 09:05 am - Wilfred
Yes, the hardworking folks at ReviewZone has another one for you! Read their preview on AMD's K7 processor, and let them prepare you for its coming!

While it does throw some hurdles at market acceptance technically the EV6 is quite a wonder. While not as radical as Suns Packet Crossbar architecture EV6 does bring a few benefits over GTL+. For one it's expected to debut at 200 Mhz. This is quite a bit higher than Intel's upcoming 133 Mhz bus. Secondly it's designed to work all the way up to 400 Mhz leaving room for future expansion... What ends up running at 200 Mhz is the part of the bus that links the CPU and the core logic chipset (in the case of the PII the BX chipset). The memory bus can run at a snug 133 or 100 Mhz

Morning People! *Coughs* 08:53 am - Wilfred
Caught in a heavy downpour in the heart of my little neighbourhood. Breakfast was a cold and windy one as I chomped on noodles from the kopi-tiam. So April's Fool day it is! What do we have for you? Errmm.. nothing really, but you can check this The Hamster Dance then The McBlink Dance over here.

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