21 April 1999 - Wednesday
Internet Connection Guide 15:11 pm - Kan
FiringSquad put up a Internet Connection Guide. 56k modem too slow? Try other options like DSL, cable, satellitle and more!

Depending on a number of factors including where you live, who you get your service from, and what kind of cable modem you have, you will see throughputs of anywhere from 500K/second to 20Mb/second or even 30Mb/second. Upload speeds are usually not symmetric (the same as) your download speeds, but are generally very high as well - frequently, upload speeds are measured in megabits, just like the downstream rate. In a nutshell, cable modems have the potential to provide ultra high speed connects, always on service, and relatively low prices. Sounds pretty good right? Is cable the holy grail of internet connectivity?

Singnet DNS Server Down 13:24 pm - Wilfred
Got a shock of my life and I thought my Magix died on me again when all everything refused to load on my browser. Then I found out the DNS server was down. Fiddlesticks!

Your Heatsink. Their Heatsink. 13:15 pm - Wilfred
What's a heatsink? Things with fins sticking out of them? Mmm.. almost. But how do you tell the good ones from the bad? HardOCP has got a new article for ya!

How do you recognize a good heatsink from a not so good one, and more importantly what makes a good heatsink work. Is it the material used, the way it is build, or simply how powerful its fans are. These questions come around quite often, I get mails on a regular basis from people asking if they should spend that extra cash on a heatsink made out of some special aluminum alloy or even copper. Is there any gain if your heatsink is made out of copper, does this really affect performance that much. I’ll try to shed a different light on things and give you the lowdown on how to recognize a good heatsink from a not so good one.

Creative Savage 4 Pre-Order 13:10 pm - Wilfred
Whoopee! Fellowman, have you seen the pre-order coupons for Creative's Savage 4 in today's Computer Times? S$229 for a 32Mb card. Not bad huh? Be sure to pop over Zone A to check out the card in action.

Windows Convergence To Happen? 11:22 am - Wilfred
Over at CoolInfo, I read Mr Gates' promise that via a kernel upgrade next year, Windows 2000 will be updated and brought into the consumer markets. If this is real magic and not another empty promise, I really want to see this happen soon!

The kernel of Windows 2000--the current name for the next release of Windows NT--will be updated next year to take the operating system into consumer markets, Microsoft chief Bill Gates said here on Monday. Gates demonstrated the upcoming operating system during his opening keynote this morning at the Spring Comdex show and followed up with comments about Windows 2000 during the Microsoft Insider's Summit this afternoon.

Gates seemed to indicate that the company's Window NT and Windows 98 lines are heading toward convergence. "We think it's a lot better to have one kernel that we're focusing on," he said, adding that "the next turn of the crank" in 18 to 24 months would find the OS kernel updated for consumer use on PCs.

FreeSpace 2 Announced 11:10 am - Wilfred
Interplay has announced Freespace 2 coming winter 99. Yeah, now aside from the Wing Commander series, I've got another award winning franchise to watch out for! Space sim fans rejoice!

FreeSpace 2 will offer players significant new gameplay advances, including the most engaging dogfighting ever seen in a space combat simulation, all new single and multiplayer missions, and immersive nebula effects that will add an all new dimension to the space combat genre.

Requiem Review 11:05 am - Wilfred
Tempting me again. GameCenter has a review on Requiem. Yes, great graphics and a seemingly interesting storyline. I think I may want to check this out very soon.

Requiem's most impressive feature is the way these powers are folded into the game--they flow naturally from the subject matter. Not since the Force powers in Jedi Knight have a game's "spells" been so innovative and smoothly integrated into the story line. You can inflict locusts on your enemies, boil their blood, or turn them into salt. This salt effect is one of the most enjoyable attacks I've seen in a first-person shooter. If you became giddy when freezing your enemies and then smashing them into ice cubes in Hexen, you'll love watching them turn into pillars of salt and then dissolve in Requiem. Just as ingenious is the ability to warp time into slow motion, allowing for some John Woo-style firefights. Your angel learns to fly, throw brimstone fireballs, possess enemies, and convert them to help him fight.

Slashdot Effect 10:58 am - Wilfred
ITWeb posted about the Slashdot Effect and what it's like to be 'Slashdotted'. Well, it is the dream and also nightmare of any web administrator to be given this honour.

Slashdot (http://slashdot.org) boasts not only a nearly unpronounceable URL, but also a readership of more than 70 000 hard-core geeks. The slogan "News for nerds - stuff that matters" is well suited to a site that gathers information from all around the Internet in search of news of interest to its Linux-loving fans. Readers have a certain pride in the "Slashdot effect", caused by thousands of users pouncing on an unsuspecting site simultaneously when a link is posted on Slashdot. The effect and the term "Slashdotted" are now in wide use after being listed in Wired Magazine's jargon column, and at least one semi-scientific paper has been written on its causes and effects.

StarSiege Patch 10:56 am - Wilfred
Adrenaline Vault has put up the latest v1002 patch for StarSiege. Here' a little info about what it does:

  • OpenGL speed improvements
  • Lower memory/VM requirements
  • Fixed bug in server query causing inf loop
  • Addresses known console server attacks
  • Other little things

Altec Lansing ADA-70 10:20 am - Kan
Altec's brand new USB speakers are reviewed by FPS3D. Looks cool!

I booted up, and Windows said it "detected a new USB device." It automatically installed everything i needed. I didn't have to press even one key! Before i knew it, Windows had rebooted me, and I was glaring at my desktop, thinking, "Wow, I thought USB was a little more complicated than that." I then popped into IE5, and grabbed the latest version of the ADA70 GUI from Altec Lansing's FTP. I checked over everything one more time, then installed.

Age of Empires II 10:17 am - Kan
One of my favourites, Gamespot previewed Age of Empires II which should be out in Fall 1999.

Age of Empires II takes place over roughly 1000 years during the Dark Ages and Renaissance in Europe. Neither the Dark Ages nor the Renaissance touched Asia, although the countries in that area did experience changes that were similar to those experienced by the Western nations during that time period. The Japan depicted in Age II is the medieval Japan popularly depicted in films and media, the same Japan in which samurai fought epic battles for their daimyo, and ninja plied their dark trade behind the scenes.

Which/Whose Linux? 10:16 am - Kan
If you are confused with the various flavours of Linux, Planet IT takes a peek at the various distributions like Caldera, Debian, RedHat, SuSE and others.

Perhaps you want to power some intranets cheaply, support processing-intensive applications, or just gain some experience with Linux so you won't get caught off guard by the question, "So, what's our Linux (or Open Source) strategy?" So you get ready to employ Linux on your Pentium systems...

...only to discover you have to choose among several dozen versions of Linux from different vendors offering distinct bundles: Red Hat, Caldera, SuSE, Debian, Walnut Creek, WGS, Slackware.

RedHat 6.0 10:15 am - Kan
According to News.com, RedHat 6.0 will be announce on the coming Monday. Hurray! Okay, those people with ADSL better get ready to download it. :)

Version 6.0, code-named Starbuck, incorporates the new version 2.2 of the Linux kernel and will offer improved capabilities for multiprocessing. The CD version of the OS will also probably cost more than Red Hat's current flavor of Linux, said chief executive Robert Young. The product is expected to be available in stores May 10, he said.

The current version retails for $50. Young also said the new version will be downloadable for free.

ACT Labs Force RS 09:35 am - Kan
FF Wheel review over at 3DHardware. Momo wheel again huh?

The wheel itself is a very qualitative construction. Although it was initially supposed to built entirely in metal, and come with a real leather grip, the solution ACT Labs finally delivered doesn’t leave you let down. The wheel base is large and sturdy, and is fastened to the table with relatively large rubberized metal clamps, making it stick to the table even during the most violent treatment. The actual wheel is of a diameter of about 10.5 inches, making it a bit smaller than your ordinary car steering wheel, but big enough to feel realistic. One of the nicest touches to the wheel is the grip. The wheel is covered with a padded synthetic leather, preventing the grip from becoming sweaty and uncomfortable during long driving sessions.

Ultra ATA Hard Drive Comparison 09:31 am - Kan
Anand posted the April 1999 Ultra ATA Hard Drive comparison article.

Ziff Davis’ Winbench 99 was used to show the real-world transfer rates achieved by the individual drives, measured in megabytes per second. Ziff Davis’ Winstone 99 was used to show the real world performance increase by using one drive as opposed to another while running Business or High-End applications depending on the test bed. Both tests are designed to represent real world cases including sequential reads/writes to the disk (audio/video editing applications), random data access, as well as CPU utilization and disk access time.   

MSI 6147 Micro-ATX 09:28 am - Kan
Two new reviews over at FiringSquad. The MSI 6167 Micro-ATX as well as the Kenwood 52X TrueX CDROM drive.

Targeted as what is meant to be the "all-in-one" solution motherboard, the MSI 6147 includes not just onboard audio, but also onboard video. The audio chipset is a genuine Creative chipset, based on the same chipset that the retail Ensoniq PCI cards use. On the music playback side, the Ensoniq chipset provides 32 wavetable voices, and supports a standard 2-speaker stereo setup. No 3D positional audio here. Driver support is maintained by downloading the latest Ensoniq PCI drivers, and since Creative is good about frequently updating audio drivers, that shouldn't be a concern.

Voodoo3 Overclocking Guide 09:24 am - Kan
I noticed over at Sharky that they have updatd their Voodoo3 Overclocking Guide. If you want to know whether the 2000 and 3000 are overclockable, they are!

So are these retail boards overclockable then? In a word YES. Do the boards get hot enough to frazzle the skin off of your fingers? Oh yes… Is it worth it? We certainly think so (overclocking and not burning your skin- we don't condone that). The benchmarks conducted on the Voodoo3 2000 certainly showed that even without cooling one can 'safely' (we say 'safely' because 3dfx does not condone or encourage the use of freeze spray or overclocking blah blah) overclock as high as 175MHz.

Graphics Chip Roundup 09:21 am - Kan
Whao! Review-Zone posted a heavy 25 pages review on Graphics Chip Roundup, covering everything from the Voodoo3 to the Permedia 3.

3dfx really know how to make FAST 3D cards (and it seems, 2D as well). Together with Rendition, they kick- started the consumer 3D market that we all love so much. They gave the gamer the first really useful 3D card to play with. Because of this, and maybe because of their naming scheme, they have an almost fanatical following. This, of course, also means they have rather big expectations to live up to. They have managed to do this quite well in the past though they have had their mishaps, namely the Voodoo Rush and the Banshee. 

Voodoo3 2000 09:20 am - Kan
Here's another Voodoo3 review from iXBT. Want a viewpoint from our favourite Russian friends? Check this out!

Here we get the whole set of cool options. We may not only smoothly change Voodoo3 chip performance and memory frequency from 120MHz to 200MHz, but also disable Vsync (monitor refresh rate synchronization with RAMDAC). After changing the frequency, the PC should be restarted. By simply trying all the suitable combinations we managed to find the maximal frequency - 175MHz, when the card shows a rather stable performance. It even exceeds the nominal frequency of Voodoo3 3000 (166MHz), which is very pleasing for all overclocking fans.

Redline 09:16 am - Kan
Dudes over at CRUS finished the review on Redline. Hey, I'm interested! How does it compare to NFS3? :) Thrash it out in the Q&A forum!

However the cars are lovely and very detailed, however they turn so damn fast you won’t see any other part but the front of the car, but thats another story. When it comes to coloured lighting and explosions they are all rather over the top, blow up a flammable container for example and if you anywhere close to it, it involves a bright yellow screen and instant death. There really isn’t anything really good or bad to say about the graphics, they are very pleasing to the eye, even though it’s overly colourful I just wish they had have worked on the animation more.

ATI All-in-Wonder 128 09:13 am - Kan
3D Gaming reviewed the ATI All-in-Wonder 128 graphics card. It comes with 16 MB of RAM and includes goodies such as video capture/editing, DVD playback, support for digital TV etc.

One needs to be very careful here. The All-in-Wonder 128 provides Digital TV, however it is not an HDTV or SDTV tuner. The RAGE 128 GL chipset used is HDTV upgradable to the HD0 720p format. HDTV in the US is still in its infancy and there are numerous approaches to HDTV. Of particular note is the dichotomy between 1080i and 720p. 1080i provides higher quality images with more resolution, but is interlaced making it poor for the PC. 720p only has 720 lines of resolution (still higher than DVD) and this is what the the HD0 level of HDTV support promoted by Intel and Microsoft is using.

 

20 April 1999 - Tuesday
Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 20:46 pm - Wilfred
Mice with no balls? Whoa! Microsoft seems to have another winner in their hands. With their upcoming Intellimouse Explorer, the rodent will feature optical tracking ability which will replace the need of a moving mouse ball. The advantages are many, first there won't be dirt build-up inside the mouse, second we can use the mouse without a mousepad. Hmm.. check out Tech-Review's preview!
Microsoft IntelliEye optical technology is a revolutionary digital optical tracking technology for computer mice that helps ensure unsurpassed precision, control and reliability over time. IntelliEye replaces the mouse ball and other moving parts inside a mouse with an optical sensor and built-in digital signal processor that capture and compare digital images, tracking movement on virtually any surface.
Because there are no moving parts to wear out or collect dirt and dust, the IntelliEye optical sensor never needs to be cleaned and a mouse pad is never needed.

Looks mighty cool yah? I remember plonging down my S$129 bucks for the Intellimouse 2 when it first debut in Singapore. Surely this rat thing will cost a bomb again!

K6-III vs PIII 20:45 pm - Kan
Our bud over at ArsTechnica has a SIMD shootout: K6-III vs PIII. Pretty interesting article. Apparently, there are some routing problems between my ISP to their server for the past few days. :(

Ars Technica has published a fairly exhaustive look at the K6-III vs. the Pentium III (with an obligatory overclocked Celeron thrown into the mix). We've included benchmark scores from 3DMark 99 Max which show the advantages of SIMD extensions like 3DNow and SSE, among other things.  We even show a bit of TNT vs. Rage 128 16/32-bit color action.  This review should give you a pretty good idea where things stand in the PC processor market today, if nothing else.

Odyssey Give-Away 20:44 pm - Kan
QuakeCity told us that they are giving away two copies of The Red Odyssey add-on for BattleZone by just filling in their reader's poll. Let's try our luck!

RAM Guide 20:43 pm - Kan
Review-Zone sent note on their RAM guide article. If you ever wanted to know what are stuffs like Level 1 cache, latency etc, it's time to find out. :)

RAM doesn’t bite. RAM is where information is stored before being sent to the CPU for processing, and where it is stored after being processed by the CPU. These days, RAM comes in two different types of memory module –single inline memory modules, or SIMMs, and dual inline memory modules, or DIMMs. The older of the two types are the 72-pin SIMMs. Most machines use 168-pin DIMMs instead these days. Pentium and higher processors require a data width of 64 bits, but SIMMs are restricted to 32 bits and therefore must always be installed in pairs in Pentium and higher systems. DIMMs have the required data bus width of 64 bits and can be installed as single modules without problems.

Superbike World Championship 20:41 pm - Kan
Coolinfo posted a review on the game Superbike World Championship review. I think I better stay away from racing games for a while... :)

EASports latest title, Superbike World Championship has finally been released. It has been a long time for someone to finally come around and make a genuine motorcycle racing game that does a excellent job of providing arcade and simulation elements for the gamer. Initially it was my presupposition that Superbike World Championship would be at best a mediocre game. After all, EA has occasionally released games that are very mediocre and sometimes they have managed to capture the true essence of the sport, games such as FIFA 99 and Madden 99 are a great examples of what a good game should be like.

Hollywood Plus DVD/MPEG-2 Playback Card 20:39 pm - Wilfred
ActiveWin has a review on the Hollywood Plus DVD/MPEG-2 card. Yes, Byron Hinson said it is the best there is, like we found it to be.

I assume that most of you are wondering if it is worth spending a few extra $/£ to get a DVD Decoder card. Well all I can say is that the Hollywood Plus DVD Decoder card is by far and away the best out there today, if you like watching DVD movies (and now some games) then I recommend getting the Hollywood Plus card as it does far more than your average software decoder in both terms of picture and sound.

FYI, the Creative Dxr3 card IS based on the Hollywood Plus from Sigma Designs. Well, check out our very own review on the Sony Maximum DVD Kit which also features this card.

GameCenter Scrutinised Voodoo3 20:33 pm - Wilfred
The Voodoo 3 is reviewed at GameCenter today. I think everyone's quite impressed with the card, but are just holding back their final conclusions until the bigger, badder cards like TNT2, Savage4 and all are laid on the table. Have a look:

Image quality was excellent, rivaling the RIVA TNT in 16-bit games. We were especially impressed with the color fidelity in games such as Thief and Requiem. Voodoo 2 tends to give colors a washed-out look, but 3dfx seems to have improved quality considerably with Voodoo 3, rendering colors more vibrantly. Image quality is also helped by Voodoo 3's ability to run games at 1,024 by 768 at high frame rates.

How To Build A Computer 20:30 pm - Wilfred
PCVelocity posted a guide on 'How To Build A Computer' for any of you out there needing some help. Step by step they'll take you through the process of getting the thing up and working. Aside from  9 pages of text, they've even got realplayer clips on how it is actually done. Quite thorough if you ask me.

In this article, we're going to teach you step-by-step how to build your own custom gaming rig. Whether your system sports a processor from AMD or Intel, or your computer knowledge is limited to just the basics, this guide will provide you with an overview of what you need to know.

Better Graphics Patch For HyperSnap 20:27 pm - Wilfred
Thanks to Johnny of DemoNews for sending this info. Hyperionics has released a patch for their current version of HyperSnap letting us with 3dfx cards get better visual quality on the snaps with take in games. This little fellow weights only 46 k.

The 1Ghz Speed Barrier Broken 20:24 pm - Wilfred
The chubs at HotHardware sent an ecstatic note of their overclocking success in a dual processor unit. It's no mean feat all right! Take a look at their pride and joy!

Already we have heard of Quake 3 Arena and Falcon 4 support for SMP. So I ask you, why play the MHz. game when you can just add another processor and increase your processing power exponentially? OK, so let's back off on the hype for a minute. We aren't quite there yet. Win2000 isn't out yet and applications and games that support SMP are just now being announced for release later this year. At this point it really doesn't make sense for the average user. Only people who are running high end NT Servers and Linux Servers need apply for this kind of set up. However, at some point this technology will absolutely be a viable option for the Home/Office User.

TNT2 vs TNT1 20:22 pm - Kan
Riva128 emailed us on their new review on the Leadtek WinFast 3D 32 MB TNT2 card. Read how they compare the card against the ASUS V3400 TNT card.

First note that this is a pre-production card. Any numbers or information posted here may or may not be true at shipping time on this card. But with Leadtek's experience with video cards and NVIDIA's track record with drivers that just keep kicking more and more ass...we have a good idea of what is to come.

The WinFast 3D S320 II 32 Pro I received comes with 32 megs of SGRAM memory, SVGA out, SVHS out, RCA video out and Digital LCD Flat Panel out. The default settings are 150MHz for the core and 160MHz for the memory.  The memory is 6ns SEC (Samsung) SGRAM which seems to be maxed at the 160MHz.

 

19 April 1999 - Monday
Nikon Coolpix 950 21:55 pm - Kan
If you are looking for a digital camera, our bud over at Digital Photography just finished a review on the Nikon Coolpix 950. Nowadays, these cameras are so clear that I feel uncomfortable being taken by them! :)

For people new to the digital camera market this behaviour probably seems a little extreme. The excitement around the 950 grew up from the reputation of the Nikon Coolpix 900s (also known as the E910 in Japan), this very fine camera opened peoples eyes to the abilities of digital cameras to capture the moment in a high quality, detailed and well balanced manner, some people found it's swivel body design (now inherited by the 950) a little quirky but once you get used to it it is actually quite comfortable and useful, and offers a slim easy to carry package when not being used.

X-Wing Alliance 21:54 pm - Kan
Singularity posted another game review, X-Wing Alliance.

The return to a strong atmospheric storyline with a cohesive plot linking the missions recreates a Star Wars experience central in its magical appeal. There are 50+ scripted single player missions plus an instant skirmish mode to pilot all the in-game ships that makes for limitless replay in the combat simulator. Through the missions you’ll progress from a transport freighter pilot to a front line fighter pilot, flying all the crafts from the Rebel Alliance arsenal. The refreshing addition of freighters offer the ability to either jump into the gunnery turrets while letting the AI fly the ship, or fly while the AI handles the guns with sufficient intelligence.

Windows 2000 21:52 pm - Kan
NT Game Palace sent note on the ordering page for Windows 2000 Beta 3. Damn, it cost $59.95 just to try out beta software (not to mention Windows products are generally beta softwares).

Life After NT Service Pack 4 20:38 pm - Wilfred
Ars-Technica updated themselves today with a brand new article from Panders. Titled "Life After NT Service Pack 4", this writeup will advise you on what to patch and how to go about it.

Many of us are still stuck relying on this OS as our stable productivity machine. Indeed, this OS has at least two years of life left in it in many business and educational environments. All you can do is try to stay on top of the tide of information coming out of Redmond. 

Which patches should be applied? What is the best order in which to apply them? That's where this Editorial comes into play. I hope to show you some guidelines in keeping up with all of the hotfixes (regardless of environment complexity) - the ones you need, the ones you can do without, the order in which to apply them, alternative methods of installing them, and so on. 

EverQuest Newbie Guide 20:24 pm - Wilfred
PCVelocity posted a newbie guide for those freshman in EverQuest. Need some orientation and tips? Check this out now.

Let me first start by saying this is not going to tell you how to set up speech macros, hot buttons, or even how to make your character move. That is what the Everquest tutorial program, players guide, and handbooks are for and I suggest you make use of them before attempting to play the game. Instead, I wish to give the inexperienced player some tips to help you progress through the lower levels of the game a little easier than many of us others did.

Information: WHQL TNT Detonator Drivers 20:22 pm - Wilfred
Dave of System Logic has got an article about the Microsoft WHQL certified Detonator drivers for the TNT. So is this any good?

If you look at the charts you will notice that the update and the new drivers increased the 3D Mark score by 229 3D Marks. That is a gain of 8.6%. Performance gain was terrific: I gained 4.7 FPS on the race, 6 FPS on the First Person Game, 75.2 FPS on 2 MB texture rendering speed, 42.5 FPS on 4MB texture rendering speed, 20.4 FPS on 8MB texture rendering speed, 8.6 FPS on 16MB texture rendering speed, and 2.6 FPS on 32MB rendering speed.  I would definitly recommend downloading this new driver and the Windows 98 patch if you have a TNT card and Windows 98.

EH's TNT2 Guide 20:15 pm - Wilfred
Extreme Hardware has thrown up a little guide to the dozen of TNT2 cards that shall be making their appearances soon. Hmm.. the Asustek AGP-V3800 seems most interesting of the lot.

Colour WinCE Palm-Size PCs 18:17 pm - Wilfred
Over the past week, The Gadgeteer came up with two reviews on the Compaq Aero 2110 and the HP Jornada 420. Looking for a palm sized device that suits your needs? Colour? Read this.

So, what's the bottom line? Would I buy the HP Jornada 420? I'd take one if someone gave it to me, but I wouldn't spend my cash on one. Why? It is just too slow and the audio quality is horrible. I also don't like the chunky body but that is just a personal thing. So, if audio and overall speed are important to you I would think twice about the 420 or at least try one out before you buy it.
The bottom line is that I would say the Compaq Aero is presently my favorite PSPC. It has terrific audio, good speed, and a nice color screen. Will I replace my Palm V with the Aero?  No, but I will be sorry to send it back to Pdamart after this review. If the Aero was just a bit snappier and had a brighter screen, it would be very tempting to switch. For those of you shopping for a PSPC though, you really should check the Aero out. It is the best PSPC available at this time.

Given the choice, I'll get myself a Palm V, then send it down to EFIG.COM for an upgrade to 8Mb (efigV8). Though there's no colour yet, it's damn sleek, weighs nothing, memory efficient, the battery runs for a month and there's a zillion apps to use.

New Playcenter With SoftPC-DVD 16:12 pm - Wilfred
Wowzers! I've never failed to uncover some nice jewel with every visit to my buddy's Alive! site. It was a Comdex thing that Creative announced a new version of its PlayCenter which will feature SoftPC-DVD support. Here's the list of its impressive features:

General Features
  • A complete all-software DVD application
  • Decodes MPEG-1/MPEG-2 Video
  • Decodes Dolby Digital® (AC-3®) and MPEG Audio*
  • Supports full DVD Navigation
  • Includes tamper-resistant decryption software
  • Supports Microsoft® Windows® 95 and Windows 98
  • Compatible with Creative PC-DVD™ 5X drive (DVD5240E)
  • Creative PlayCenter: Sound Blaster Live! support and customizable playlists
Video
  • Full frame MPEG-2/MPEG-1 video with smooth delivery and no duplicated frames
  • No tearing of video through video buffering
  • Supports up to 32 languages/graphics streams
  • Supports closed captioning
  • Supports letterbox formatted content and Pan Scan-formatted content
  • Supports scaling with bilinear interpolation to maintain aspect ratio
  • Single frame stepping through movies
  • Conforms to all test procedures as defined by ISO/IEC 13818-4
Audio
  • Decodes Dolby Digital® (AC-3®) 5.1 channels
  • Playback MPEG-1 layer 2 stereo
  • Playback MPEG-2 multi-channel up to 7.1 channels
  • Playback Linear PCM up to 8 channels
  • Downmix 5.1 channel Dolby Digital or MPEG-2 to stereo
  • Supports up to 8 audio streams
  • Conforms to all test procedures as defined by ISO/IEC 13818-4

Voodoo 3 3000 Review 15:34 pm - Wilfred
Get used to it. You are going to see many more of this headlines. Voodoo 3, Voodoo 3 and MORE Voodoo 3 in all its various iterations, rounded up with many other cards. WickedPC has done a review V3 3000 which is the fastest version until 3500 comes out.

Current owners of a SLI'd Voodoo2 with 24Mb ram will probably want to stick with the Voodoo2 combination. The only reason you would want to switch to a Voodoo3 is to get rid of a crappy 2D card, to get the better visuals of the Voodoo3, or to free up 2 PCI slots. The performance increase of the Voodoo3 isn't enough to warrant the $194 for this card unless you want the above features badly. Owners of the TNT, Rage 128, G200, and owners of a single Voodoo2 will find that this is probably the best video card on the market right now to buy. As I stated earlier, I can't comment on the TNT2 as we just don't know what it will do. It might be in your best interest to wait a month until we can get a retail version of the TNT2 to test and see what happens. One strong thing to consider is Glide too. You can't play Glide games on anything but a Voodoo board, and that's something which isn't to be taken lightly. The soon-to-be-released Voodoo3 3500 might also be the better choice for super-power users as it will undoubtedly provide better performance ratings.

Matsushita Demos MPEG-4 Compression 15:25 pm - Wilfred
In this EETimes article, it is reported that Matsushita demonstrated on Tuesday its multilayered video compression, or object-based compression, algorithms for the first time.

Matsushita's technologies enable users to transmit moving pictures of a quality that is twice as good as conventional frame-based video-compression techniques, which use no layered structure, according to Matsushita. And, as the multilayered video transmission handles each layer or object separately, viewers on the receiver side can access individual elements and do some operations — such as hide and extract, a company spokesman said.

In the multilayered video compression technology, elements or objects of a video sequence, such as human figures and background images, are treated as individual layers. The individual layers are separately encoded and transmitted. After it is received, the coded data is decompressed into the original layers and overlaid to form the original video sequence for display.

Voodoo 3 2000 11:21 am - Wilfred
Even BXBoards snatched a review on the V3 2000. Andy went into detail about how the eye works to explain 16-bit vs 32-bit rendering.

The Voodoo3 is FAST. 3dfx have traditionally always had the fastest 3d part, with other manufacturers playing catch up. And for now, the Voodoo3 is King of the Hill on pure polygon pumping power. Nowadays however, with framerates regularly passing 100fps, speed isn't such an issue, and image quality is becoming more important. And this is where the Voodoo3 starts to fall down. Fundamentally, 3dfx are still using the same engine introduced with their original Voodoo Graphics part. OK, two iterations down the line, and things are now seriously fast, but Voodoo3 still over-filters textures, and some games, particularly Quake2 look "washed out", especially compared to the TNT, G200 or even the i740 (gulp!).

Half Life Audio Benchmarks 11:12 am - Wilfred
Mark sent word that he's got a new article ready at 3DSoundSurge. In his comprehensive review of Half Life, you can find some cool audio benchmarks he performed on a handful of cards.

When it comes to the sound score it's important to know that each category got a score compared to what we think is possible to do with that technology so you shouldn't compare the EAX score with the wavetracing score. The wavetracing lost a few points on the lack of any water effect, the muffled sound and especially the significant CPU hit.

EAX didn't get a perfect 10 because of the muffled sound, choosing the wrong reverb effect at some places and no way to choose how strong reverb you want, which is possible with a few other titles. I think the MX300 produces the most compelling sound in this game, this is especially true if you use headphones or 2 speakers. With 4 speakers the Live is pretty close when it comes to 3D sound but I found the wavetracing to be more compelling than EAX. If you care a lot about your fps numbers you're probably best of with the Live and as said with 4 speakers you don't lose much compared to the MX300.

Voodoo3 3000 09:10 am - Kan
Reviewed over at TheTechs. This baby card is running at 166 MHz and is faster than the good old Voodoo2 SLI configuration. Already, I can see someone tempted to get one of these... :)

The V3 2000 will run at a clockspeed of 143mhz, the 3000 will run at a clockspeed of 166mhz, and amazingly the 3500 will run at a clockspeed of 183mhz! Now the main conflict for people here is which V3 do I buy, especially if I already have a V2 SLI in my system? Well the 2000 is definitely a good card, but if your already running a V2 SLI in your system then forget about it because the 2000 is just as fast as a V2 SLI.

Heroes of Might and Magic 3 09:06 am - Kan
Review of this game over at CRUS.

Multiplayer, as with most games is where this game really stands out, it’s really quite fun to play a hotseat game with your friends, teamplay or no, it’s always more satisfying to kill your friends then the computer. Maybe that little line will get in included in that lawsuit going on in America where one of the arguments is that Doom honed that boys aiming skills, so that means that this would hone his army leading skills then??? I don’t think so somehow. Another good one would be saying that playing Carmageddon on his keyboard honed his driving skills, how many cars do you know of that you can steer by pressing a key with an arrow on it???

3dfx and Glide 09:03 am - Kan
Some news to keep you guys busy. Over at FPS3D, there's an article on the 3dfx and Glide suitation. Glide doesn't seem to be as popular as previously, and this is bad for 3dfx.

A Glide Wrapper is little program that intercepts Glide calls and converts them into either Direct 3D or OpenGL calls (of course, it could be used with other APIs). Glide Wrappers first started making their appearance around mid-98. With the advent of nVidia's all-powerful TNT card, no one wanted to give up their 3dfx-capabilities, and everyone wanted the increased power and speed of the TNT.

IDT Winchip2 266 00:37 am - Kan
iXBT just finished their IDT Winchip2 266 review. My personal opinion, I won't get this processor. Nah.

In comparison with IDT Winchip we hardly see any changes here: the FPU was and still is its weak point. However, the obtained result doesn't necessarily mean that the situation won't change in real applications. The thing is that though Winchip 2 coprocessor is not so fast as that of AMD K6-2, it operates simultaneously with the integers, which is impossible with the non-pipelined FPU of its AMD opponent. This feature influences processor performance in real applications, which is displayed in the chart below. By the way, the result achieved by Intel Celeron 266 given for a better comparative analysis, clearly shows the great improvement of Intel's arithmetical FPU.

Iwill LE370 00:15 am - Kan
FiringSquad posted the Iwill Socket370 motherboard review. Based on the LX chipset, it comes with 5 PCI/1 AGP/1 ISA configuration.

As you can see, the LE370 is a fairly full-featured board, with 5 PCI slots (1 shared), as well as 2x AGP. The motherboard is jumperless as well, utilizing "Jumper Inside" technology, which is basically their version of Abit's Softmenu. Thus, the multiplier and bus speed settings are configured in BIOS. Also, this motherboard comes with a full version of McAfee VirusScan, so you can be sure to get some infection security there. Rounding out the software bundle is Iwill's PC Doctor, a hardware monitoring utility.

 

18 April 1999 - Sunday
Caldera OpenLinux 2.2 Review 20:44 pm - Wilfred
Wanna try Linux but don't know which distribution to try? Well, you must have heard about RedHat by now, but there is quite a handful of other distributions worth your notice. Amongst them, OpenLinux 2.2 would be a strong competitor. LinuxWorld takes a look at this beautiful version of Linux from Caldera. Care for a game of tetris?
The Linux-based installation program is entirely graphical, and it's easy as pie. Once you get the first few configuration details out of the way and choose an installation set (minimal, default, default with commercial applications, or custom), it begins installing the packages in the background while it steps you through the final installation questions.
If you answer all the questions before the background installation process is finished, it drops you into a game of Tetris. That's right, Tetris. It keeps you occupied while you wait for the remaining packages to be installed.
The background installation and Tetris feature is a brilliant idea. I chose the largest installation: default plus commercial applications. Yet the background installation went so quickly that I was only able to complete a single round of Tetris before the installation finished. Then again, I am a really good Tetris player, so your mileage may vary.

Although Caldera automatically boots at this point, it installs a boot manager called BootMagic that lets you choose between Windows and Linux the next time you start up your system.

Poll #9 Results. Interesting. 20:30 pm - Wilfred
Okay people! Is this the single largest number of unique participants in a Singapore-based poll about the problem of piracy, I do not know. But according to a snip from our local Computer Times (7 April 99)... their poll from 634 phone interviewees suggested that pricing was one big factor that drove people to buying pirated software.

Over 1,000 people were selected for the survey in December last year,but only 635 with PCs at home took part in the telephones interviews. Of these interviewees, 29 per cent admitted to owning pirated software, while 59 per cent of the violators said they would buy them again. While Microsoft singapore, who commision the survey,expressed surprise at the results, users Computer Times interviewed said that it was the high price of software that persuaded them to turn to fakes.

So how has our poll coincided with their results? Out of a total of 1507 votes from a 1 week poll, 831 people or 55% felt that better pricing would be the best solution to software piracy. This differed from the views of Microsoft Singapore's Mr Butt (extract from CT):

Microsoft of Singapore however, see no direct correlation between software piracy and the cost of software. Said Mr Butt Wai Choon, marketing manager of Microsoft Singapore: "One cannot fight piracy with pricing." Instead, Microsoft will be stepping up its education efforts and plan to launch a big campaign aimed at corporate users to educate them about software piracy.


Well, what do you think about this? Share your thoughts, write your comments right here in our forum pages!

Team Singularity 17:55 pm - Kan
Singularity sent note on their new Singularity Team Fortress Classic clan. Go join in the fun!

Welcome to the launch of Team Singularity! A TFC/TFII team dedicated to foster teamwork and strategic play between it's members. Check out our recruitment page for information on joining our team!

Where Is It All Heading? 17:24 pm - Kan
TheTechs had a short article on the future of games.

That all sounds great, but I think Im overlooking one important feature. The internet, and multiplayer. I love the fact that my spellcheck doesnt recognize these words. And it brings up and interesting question. Three years ago there was no internet, at least what we consider the internet today. With internet2 coming up, what can we expect in 10 years? I think Ill leave that up to you guys to figure out, and dream about. I know I can picture a game with 0ms ping, 0% packetloss, no lag whatsoever. But, its probably much better than that.

Dynamix StarSiege 15:46 pm - Wilfred
GA-Source also got down to piloting a HERC and sending you this review they'd done. A special mention besides the high 87% awarded, there's a portion I totally agree with the editor on the high quality of the printed manuals. Applause!

I'd just like to add that the printed material in this game is some of the best I've ever seen. Over the years, game manuals have gotten smaller and slimmer, and many these days don't even fill up the small booklet that tucks inside the jewel case. Dynamix has gone the other way completely, putting in not only a nicely-thick game manual, but also a slick-paged full-color well-written and illustrated history and storyline that really gets you into the game universe before you even install the game. Nicely done, Dynamix. Let's hope we see more of this in future.

Gravis Gamepad Pro USB 15:38 pm - Wilfred
Hardware Central sent note of a new review on the Gravis Gamepad Pro USB. It looks pretty much like the Playstation controller. Check out what Jason has to say about it:

All in all, the Gravis Gamepad Pro USB is an excellent gamepad, and its small (we stress small) faults are negligible. We feel that for its price, it is a worthwhile purchase, and will provide accurate, comfortable gaming for a long time.

Age of Empire II Preview 15:29 pm - Wilfred
Oh yeah! U-Games.com previewed Microsoft's upcoming AOE2. Since I know none of you had enough of the first game nor it's expansion pack, you will want to find out here what the new game will bring.

Improvements will be evident too in the AI which will switch between three different models, one for unit movement, one for tactical and one for strategic all of which adds a new level of complexity to the game play. You have the option to determine the level of aggression for each and every unit you posses in an attempt to better control even the bits of your territory you can't keep your beady eye on for the whole time. Added to this, there's all the options to patrol, guard and attack, plus a new idea in the form of the option to follow enemy units across the map.

Poll Questions 10:28 am - Kan
Do you have any questions you want us to ask? Pen it down all here at our Q&A forum.

ActionTec Phone Link Network Kit 10:21 am - Kan
PlanetHardware did a review on the ActionTec ActionLink Phone Link Network Kit. This kit allows you to make use of your exisiting phone line to network your house, up to a maximum transmission speed of 1 MB/s. Not bad huh?

As I have had a 100mbps network at home for the past few months, I found the speed of file transfer with this kit to be quite slow. It took about 45 seconds to transfer a 5 meg file, whereas with my normal network, it takes just a couple. However, to someone who doesn't have an ethernet network, this would seem quite acceptable. LAN gameplay worked pretty well in most games. I had a ping of around 40 in Quake, which is very playable (playing Quake over the internet with a modem can give pings from 150 to 300, after which it gets completely unplayable).

X-Wing Alliance 10:21 am - Kan
FiringSquad finished their X-Wing Alliance review. Take a look now, the game and story line looks great... now if Wilfred will stop playing it and join me in updating Hardware One... Grrr... =)

One of the many highlights of X-Wing Alliance is the plot. The story of X-Wing Alliance is engrossing from start to finish, as the developers did a superb job of integrating the plot with the actual game play. One of my pet peeves is when you're playing a game that seems to only advance the plot line through intermediate cut scenes, while the actual missions seem detached and unrelated to the story. You won't get that with X-Wing Alliance. The story line meshes with the actual missions and gameplay, resulting in a more satisfying and engrossing gameplay experience.

Hitachi SuperScan 813 10:18 am - Kan
AGN Hardware posted the last of the 21" monitors roundup, the Hitachi SuperScan 813.

The Hitachi 813 offers some of the most appealing features of any of the displays we looked at.  It is aimed at the CAD and Professional graphics user, and we found that it is appropriately targeted to that market.  We tend to feel that 3D gaming is one of the most demanding on displays, and the Hitachi makes a superb gaming monitor.

The CRT in the SuperScan 813 uses Hitachi's exclusive PrecisionFocus technology to provide a brilliant picture.   With a horizontal dot pitch of .22 and vertical of .16 (.25 average), the Hitachi was one of the crispest displays we had ever seen. 

Good Writing in Games 10:12 am - Kan
QuakeCity put up a The Advent of Really Good Writing in Games. Should games have good storyline? Of course!

After reading the Reuters article about Michael Crichton starting up a company I decided to write a little article on why something like this is great. To start off I would like to say that the point of this article is not to say that there hasn't been a game that has had good story, because this is obviously not true. The point of this article is to prove exactly why good writing makes a game and why more authors like Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton should join into the game making process.

HardBall 6 2000 Edition 10:10 am - Kan
Something new over at SystemLogic is the review of HardBall 6 2000 from Accolade. Btw, they are beta testing their new site and it'll help if you can visit it and tell them any kinks you encountered.

The graphics are complete ass compared to some of the other sports games out, especially from what I have seen from Electronic Arts in Fifa 99, NBA Live 99, and Triple Play 99.  All of those games look great with awesome detail on everything from the crowd to the player themselves.  With Hardball the faces of the players looked nothing like the actual player, and the fields looked somewhat alright but when zoomed in a bit closer, for example when batting, the field looked horrible.

 

17 April 1999 - Saturday
EH Online 23:52 pm - Kan
New edition of EH Online. This time, Vince talk on the Voodoo3, TNT2, AGP4X and lots more!

Though it's been mentioned several times, the Glide API is losing its glitter, but it is still far from unimportant to gamers. I still download the occasional 3D game demo that requires 3dfx Glide compatibility to run in accelerated modes and there are still retail versions that ship with dual Glide/D3D support. One of the areas these debates tend to miss out on is 3D game compatibility. Even if the overall performance was lower, I tend to use the 3dfx Voodoo2 SLI for my 3D gaming, simply because it's as close to a plug-n-play D3d/OpenGL/Glide device as you'll ever see. In all my gaming experience, I've yet to have a serious problem with my Voodoo2 in any new demo or retail purchase. I cannot say that about any other 3D card, and I'd easily give up 5-10 fps for that level of compatibility. Just don't ask me about 16 vs. 32 bit rendering, or the 16 MB vs. 32 MB issues, as those are thornier questions to be sure.

Cheetah 18LP 22:46 pm - Kan
AGN Hardware reviewed the Seagate Cheetah 18LP. This is a totally awesome drive spinning at 10,000 rpm. It's loud. It's hot. But it's damn fast.

The Cheetah series of drives did not need to get any better.  The 2nd generation of Cheetah drives were capable of 25% less power consumption than the original Cheetahs and boasted an average seek time of 5.7 seconds.  There were the first drives on the market with 10k RPM spindle speeds, and they helped to set that standard that 10k drives would follow from that point on.

Diamond Monster Fusion 17:57 pm - Kan
AnandTech reviewed the Diamond Monster Fusion card based on the 3dfx Banshee chipset. Forget about Banshee man! Get the Voodoo3 or TNT2 !

Presented in a single chip package, the Banshee contains essentially the same 3D texture processing capabilities as the Voodoo2 with one major disadvantage in order to decrease cost.  The Banshee only has a single texture processor (known in the Voodoo2 community as a Texelfx processor) meaning it requires two passes to render multi-textured environments.

Celeron 466 17:54 pm - Kan
TheTechZone emailed us on their new review on the Celeron 466.

Let me tell you we are really really excited here. With just a stock heatsink fan, we had our Celeron 466 running at a whoppin' 525Mhz at 2.0V and the unit POST at 580Mhz! We are right now calling Global Win and begging them to send us a CPM25603-12.

We don't know if our Celeron 466 represents what all Celeron 466 can do when they go on sale. We may just have lucked out and got a really good unit. Time will tell. However this  could very well represent what you'll get with a Celeron 466 since they will be using the highest quality Celeron core that Intel produces.

Aopen MX3L 10:14 am - Kan
Something new over at FiringSquad is the Aopen MX3L motherboard review.

The MX3L also has some additional features which make it more interesting. First of all, there's the variety of wake-on headers. This motherboard practically has wake-on everything. I bet I could turn this motherboard on from the microwave in the kitchen! Between the FOUR options to turn on your computer, either remotely or from in front of the machine, you shouldn't have any problem getting your computer powered up. These options are nice to have, although in practicality somewhat redundant.

Solaris 10:10 am - Wilfred
Ace's Hardware posted an introduction to running Solaris for home. Yup, you can get Solaris free from Sun. Totally awesome.

Why not? Solaris 7 (the latest release) is a mature and well supported UNIX flavor used widely throughout the commercial and government sectors. Though the Intel edition doesn't have the same user base as the SPARC version, many vendors, including Sun itself, have worked hard to implement widespread support for Solaris x86, and they have succeeded. A good number of commercial Solaris applications run on both the x86 and SPARC platforms and freeware (Open Source, GPL'd code, etc.) can be easily recompiled if a binary is not available.

TennMax Stealth V3 Fighter 09:40 am - Wilfred
Whoa! TennMax has announced a slick new cooler fan specially designed for 3dfx's Voodoo3 card. When it ships, this must be the highest performing active cooling solution for that hot V3 of yours!

The Stealth V3 Fighter comes in a more compact yet very powerful package that can be neatly installed onto the Voodoo³ chipset with minimal user intervention.
The V3 Cooler fits well on all V3 2000, 3000 or 3500 boards. The cooler uses push pins attachment for secure installation on all 3Dfx chipsets. It utilizes a more conductive thermal interface materials which enhances the thermal conduction between the cooler and the chipset. We will post details installation procedure later.

Do check out our very own review on the StealthV2 and LasagnaX!

Ultra TNT2 Review 09:26 am - Wilfred
GameSpot UK has a review on nVidia's Ultra TNT2 card. Ok, you know what to expect, so point your browsers right here.

We found the Ultra TNT2 VIP card offered super-image quality and excellent performance, while it was also easy to install and seemed to offer good driver support - at least for the relatively small number of games we tested it upon.

Team Fortress Classic 09:11 am - Wilfred
PCVelocity posted their review on Team Fortress Classic - Valve's free add-on to Half-Life. Does it live up to the standards of Half-Life?

If you already own Half-Life, you might as well give TFC a shot, since it's not going to cost you anything. If you have a fast computer and a non-modem internet connection, definitely give it a shot. If you hated Half-Life's online lag, don't expect it to get any better for TFC - in fact, it gets worse in some places. For those of you who were angry about the issue of TF2 going full retail, then consider yourselves vindicated, because TFC, as a free Half-Life addon, is a whole lot of fun. Valve's excellence in graphics and sound in Half-Life have carried over very well to TFC, while keeping almost completely true to the gameplay of the original Team Fortress. Hardened TF players who have battled on these maps over and over for years now may be annoyed that The Hunted was technically the only "new" map (which, even then, was based loosely on an original TF map). Granted that, TFC will still open up TeamFortress to a whole new set of players who missed its wonderful gameplay the first time around.

Q&A Forum 00:44 am - Kan
You know, you are missing a lot if you don't pop by our Q&A forum. It's cool. It's fun! So hop right in for a look and join the discussions!

The LuiGui Set Up 00:37 am - Wilfred
According to this pointer at Slashdot, a Linux/Unix Independent Group for Usability Information was set up whose aims are to couple the power of Unix with user-friendly interface. This is how /. put it:

Their goal: "to couple the power of UNIX with user interfaces that are consciously designed to allow novices to become experts without removing any of the existing functionality." They look serious.

I am sure many people knows that Unix's relative ease of usability is one big lag in the grand Unix world. Now that we have a special interest group set up to promote its adventure, we certainly like to see Linux/Unix make some headroom on the average Joe's desktop.

 

16 April 1999 - Friday
D-Link DSB-H4 21:16 pm - Kan
Over at USB Workshop, they reviewed the D-link DSB-H4 hub. Hey, it even comes in the famous iMac matching colour.

The design of the hub eliminates the problem of "tipping" as seen on some other USB hubs. Users frequently hot swapping devices will be pleased to see ports are located in front of the hub. However, it would be nice for companies to design hubs to have ports on either side of the hub. DSB-H4 supports per-port switching, preventing every USB device to go down when a port is malfunctioning.  I found the hub odd to show green lights for port status even when no device is connected. Users will find hard to know which port is not working. When operating in self-power mode, the self-powered orange LED is on but the port status LEDs are still in green.

Dreamcode 21:13 pm - Kan
Fresh3D posted the PowerColor Dreamcode motherboard review.

Aimed at gamers less apt to pulling their machines apart, the DreamCode is an Intel 440BX-based motherboard, accepting Pentium II's up to 450MHz, Pentium III's up to 500MHz and Celeron's up to 466MHz (and potentially beyond, in all cases). PowerColor have also thrown an integrated video card into the fray. While in most cases users frown on this, it's target market is the type of user that is reluctant to open up their case and pop a new card in there. Then there's the fact that the onboard card is in fact a Riva TNT with 16 Megs of SDRAM. For sound, PowerColor threw in a Yamaha 3D Sensaura chip. Not a bad bundle. It also leaves users with 3 PCI and 1 ISA slot to put extras in, such as a pair of Voodoo2's or a network card.

Viewsonic/iiyama 21:09 pm - Kan
AGN Hardware posted another two new 21" monitor reviews, the Viewsonic 815-3 as well as the iiyama Vision Master Pro 502. Very expensive stuffs...looks like the Viewsonic P815-3 bagged their AGN Editor's Choice award.

The tube that the P815-3 is based on offers a vertical dot pitch of .25 (.22 for horizontal), this gives you a great looking crisp image on the monitor at even the highest resolutions. The monitor also features true digital focus and convergence, keeping the image stable on even cards that are not providing the best output. The user can even fine-tune both the focus and convergence to ensure that the image is the best quality possible. The monitor is based upon SuperClear screen technology, this improves the brightness by 30% and also improves the color and makes it look richer. They have even treated the monitor with a special anti-glare treatment, allowing you to actually see what you are doing with sun shining on your monitor.

Enlight EN-7308 21:08 pm - Kan
Anand posted their first casing review, the Enlight EN-7308 microATX Mini Tower. Hmm... the casing looks a bit too small for my usage...

With any microATX case, you get a small case that can fit anywhere, but sacrifice some expansion possibilities. While the two 5.25" and two 3.5" bays of the Enlight EN-7308 seem pretty limiting, it is necessary to remember that only a few drive bays are available in any microATX case and the EN-7308 is not abnormal at all. In fact, it's probably pretty much average in terms of expansion.

Voodoo3 Review 21:06 pm - Kan
HardwareZone sent note on their new review, the Voodoo3 2000 AGP. Read what they have to say on this killer card.

As I investigate further, I came upon the 8 pieces of 2MB SDRAM made by SAMSUNG ('SEC' in short), the number 1 memory manufacturer in the world who is reknown for their high quality. All the 8 pieces are under the code '-G7', which are a class higher than my system's SAMSUNG '-G8' 125MHz SDRAM. From sources, '-G7' refers to the ability to support up to 150MHz. This is proved by the fact that both the memory and chip are clocked at 143MHz, 7MHz short of its theoretical limit. However, do bear in mind that the SDRAM will most probably be able to overclock pass 150MHz if you use a 'Powerstrip' or similar utility to tweak the card.

Lands of Lore 3 19:40 pm - Kan
Our bud over at Singularity just posted a review on the game Lands of Lore 3. Hey, I remember playing Lands of Lore many years ago. Didn't really like it... :)

The latest edition to Westwood's famous Lands of Lore series evidently seeks to silence much of the criticism leveled against it's predecessor, Lands of Lore 2 : Guardians of Destiny.  Many players of LoL2 felt that excessive genre-blending made the game stray too far from its roots as an RPG, becoming less of a conventional role-playing game and more like the accidental bastard-child of a first-person shooter and an adventure game.  In LoL3, Westwood takes a step back to the RPG roots of the original Lands of Lore game, whist adding innovations like a guild system and an NPC familiar to accompany you in your journey.  Read on....

Creative Sheds Light On TNT2 17:53 pm - Wilfred
Here's a good reading piece from SharkyExtreme. Creative has spoken regarding their stance on the TNT. Funny, Creative's VP Graphics Business, referred to the V3 as a Banshee2. Haha!

Sharky Extreme: Can you talk a bit about the clock speeds you will be choosing for your products? What reasons do you have for choosing those? This includes memory and of course the graphics clock.

Steve Mosher: "What clock speeds will we ship products at? First off, I'm not going to break any news on upcoming products. EVERY supplier of TNT2 and Ultra TNT2 will ship a product that out performs any of the Banshee2 (AKA, Voodoo3) products. Every supplier of TNT2 products will ship cards that look better and perform better than the Banshee2 (OK, Voodoo3). Having said that, we take a no compromise approach to our performance products.

Wow! You heard that? He's saying EVERY TNT2 will outperform the V3? Saw the V3 2000 selling for S$239 today... Not too expensive but I would rather play safe - better to wait and see. =)

Everybody's Got A Kenwood 52X Today 17:34 pm - Wilfred
Hmm.. Seems to me everyone's got the 52X for review today. FPS3D sent word on their review too. If you are not jumping onto the DVDROM bandwagon yet, then this must be the fastest CDROM you'll find on the market today!

StarSiege Game Guide 14:19 pm - Wilfred
No! Don't force me to look at this! GameCenter has delivered a game guide for those stranded in their StarSiege missions (like me). If you need some tips and wise advice, check this out at once!

The key to being successful in Starsiege is pretty basic, but it's easier said than done: Learn how to hit moving targets while moving yourself. If you can do this with frequency, you'll be one of the top pilots. So how do you get good at this? Practice, of course. Play the training missions with the smallest Hercs and learn to hit them on the run. If you have trouble hitting targets while you are moving, then pilot the larger Hercs. They are naturally slower and can take much more of a pounding. These Hercs are the equivalent of a boxer who expects to take a beating but is confident he can outlast his foe or land a knockout punch.

Yah, I haven't been very into mech games before, and kept getting blasted into smithereens the first couple of missions. That was until my good pal shared this tip with me. Now, I'm lasting a little longer!

Singapore Linux Portal 08:43 am - Kan
Yup, it's here. The Singapore Linux Portal is now hosted under S-One. So, give 'em a visit if you are a Linux geek. =)

Kenwood 52X 08:31 am - Kan
Avault did a review on the Kenwood 52X TrueX CD-ROM drive. This drive is fast, but I would really prefer a DVD-ROM these days...

Just when you thought you had seen it all with the 40x TrueX CD-ROM drive, Kenwood follows it up with the 52x TrueX. The 7 MB/sec transfer rates beat the 40x TrueX performance by over 25% when it comes to reading data. Digital audio extraction was a little slower at 10x (not that 10x is slow), compared to 12x on the 40x TrueX.

Everquest Follow-Up 08:24 am - Kan
PCVelocity sent note that they have a Everquest vs Ultimate Online followup article based on what readers sent to them.

There is a very fine line here when you talk about role-playing capabilities. I agree in that Ultima Online allows a player to create a character that never leaves town and can master smithing or one of the many trade skills. EverQuest forces the player to fight monsters or perform quests to gain experience, increase your level, and raise the skill ceiling. So a smith in EverQuest must venture out and slay monsters before he can work the forge. I can see how this may look like a severe limitation on trade skills and a crippling element to role-playing.

22 Bits Color 08:22 am - Kan
Beyond3D posted an article on 22 bits color - How to run the HQ Filter on. It involves some registery hacking to get 22 bits color to work properly under the Voodoo3.

As reported in my last Article about 22 bit color there are some problems with the control panel delivered as a part of  the Voodoo3 drivers. More precisely the button to turn the High Quality Post-Filer on is malfunctioning. 3dfx is working on an updated driver but since this better filter is very essential to the output quality of the Voodoo3's they decide to release the Registry Entries that need to be changed to turn the filter on. This although they originally asked me not to reveal them. Apparently they changed their mind.

Newbie Guide To Overclocking 00:26 am - Wilfred
FullOn3D posted a Newbie Guide To Overclocking. If you're doing this kinda stuff for the first time, I don't see how it'll hurt to check this article out first. Don't do it wrong, it could mean inconvenience, it could mean disaster. Heh!

The gates in the CPU are based upon transistors which are used as switches (as opposed to amplifiers, as you may have learned in school). When they have less than a certain treshhold voltage applied they are closed and when more than a different, higher voltage treshhold is applied, they are open to let electricity flow. The different treshholds are used to keep a "neutral zone" in between that is a safety margin.

To faciliate the switching, an electric charge has to be driven out of the circuit or a charge has to be built up, quite simply spoken. The effort is the same in each case.

The higher the voltage applied, the faster you drive out the charge/build up the charge and the faster the switch operates. Also, the smaller the charge, meaning the smaller the capacitance in the circuit, the faster it switches, that is why chips based on smaller circuitry can run faster (.25 vs. .18 micron process) and need less voltage to do so, making room for higher clock frequencies to use up the thermal leeway.

 

15 April 1999 - Thursday
Playstation 2 Pic & Specs 23:18 pm - Wilfred
Check Chris' homepage! He's scored with this Playstation 2 pic and specifications. Sweet sweet stuff man! Check this!

Trident Blade 3D Graphics Card Review 23:05 pm - Wilfred
FPS3D.COM has done a review on Trident Blade 3D card. It's little known but ok you know what? It sucks!

Not everyone can afford a TNT 2 or Voodoo 3. Not everyone wants to settle for an Intel740. Trident has created something that is a competent solution for people earning $1.25 an hour at the local Levi's sweatshop. Ok, i'll cut the crap. You wanna know what I think? This card sucks it down harder than Dan Quayle at a press conference. I went easy on it because it looks alright. But spank me hard and call me Susan, this card will never find it's way back into may AGP slot again! This thing isn't even adequate. Buy an ATI or Intel if you want cheap. The box looks nice, the card installed easy, and the drivers work. Who cares? The card eats it down in any first person shooter.

NetMeeting 3.0 Beta 22:18 pm - Kan
Bryon from ActiveWin pointed to us that Microsoft released NetMeeting 3.0 beta. You can grab a copy from here directly. I tried it and it looks very different from the 2.x series. Hmm..

A first for us here. We have just gotten e-mail from Microsoft stating that Windows Netmeeting 3 Beta (Notice the rename we mentioned before has been confirmed) has been released. You can download it right this moment, it is a major update over the previous version and will take you a while to get used to, but well worth it.

Creative on TNT2 19:45 pm - Kan
Sharky scored an interview with Steve Mosher over at Creative on the company's opinions on the whole TNT2 clock speed issue.

While Creative has yet to formally announce a TNT2 based product, Mr. Mosher has shed some much needed light on the technical and business practices behind speed binning, clock speed yields, component qualification and his take on why the Voodoo3 3500 has to be released later than the 2000 and 3000. While we may infer the same reasoning on the Ultra TNT2 availability as compared to the TNT2, he did not mention that. He also has a bit of trouble recalling the actual name of the 3dfx product (Banshee 2?) that is the top speed competitor for the TNT2 and uses his own mudball catapult to good effect here and there.

Sony GDM 500PS 19:42 pm - Kan
I guessed AGN Hardware beat me to it. My dream monitor, the Sony GDM 500PS was reviewed over there. =)

The on-screen controls on the Sony are among the best we have seen on all the 21" monitors we looked at. Like most of the displays we looked at, the controls are hidden under 5 buttons on the front display. Some of the abilities of the monitor could not be found on the other models we looked. Landing correction was very well implemented for getting the 4 corners of the display in the 4 corners of your screen, something that can quite annoying on monitors that do not have this feature. A nice feature was the control lock that helps to keep your display the way you like it and very helpful for protection against curious children (and wives)! 

Pentium III Xeon 19:40 pm - Kan
Kenn from FiringSquad sent note on their latest review on the Pentium III Xeon. Extremely powerful stuff at a high price.

There are two main differences that separate the Xeon line with the standard Pentium line. The first is cache implementation. The Pentium II and Pentium III processors use a backside cache of 512KB, which runs at ½ the speed of the CPU core. This means a 400Mhz P2 has 512KB of cache running at 200Mhz. A 500Mhz P3 has 512KB of cache at 250Mhz. The Xeon line breaks with this by supporting variable amounts of L2 cache, with models ranging from the standard 512KB to even more expensive models carrying 1MB and 2MB. L2 cache on a Xeon also has the additional benefit of running at full CPU speed. A 500Mhz P2 Xeon can have an L2 cache of 512KB, 1MB, or 2MB, which will run at 100Mhz.

P6BXT-A+ 13:59 pm - Kan
HotHardware also did a review on the Elitegroup P6BXT-A+ Slot1/370 motherboard. Do take a look!

Although this board does not have voltage adjusting capabilities, it was a very competent "overclocker". We set up our Celeron 300a at 450 MHz. We also set our RAM up in a CAS2 configuration to acheive optimal memory performance. This board was rock solid stable through our battery of tests. The BIOS is easy to configure. Once you set a jumper on the board to the 100 MHz. FSB setting, you can adjust the speeds from 100-133 MHz. We also tried 112MHz. for a total of 504 with our C300a.

PlanetHardware 13:57 pm - Kan
Our bud over at PlanetHardware just sent note on their new facelift. They also included some new goodies like the 3dfx Voodoo3 2000, Elitegroup P6BXT-A+ Slot1/370 motherboard as well as the Matrox Marvel G200-TV reviews!

IDE HDD Roundup13 13:52 pm - Kan
Over at iXBT, they posted an IDE HDD roundup. Included in the roundups are the Quantum Fireball, the Western Digital Caviar, Fujitsu as well as the IBM hard drives.

Life is inexorably taking its course, and harddisks manufacturers are on their guard. Well, actually, it was put too mildly: they are at their best! That's why we had to give up the idea of collecting all the novelties and testing them all together - we simply couldn't keep pace with the manufacturers. In this respect we decided to test the new harddisks little by little as soon as we manage to get an interesting sample. So, today we would like to introduce you the samples from the most popular HDD class - harddisks with capacity from 4GB to 15GB.

Microsoft Launches MP3 Killer 08:46 am - Wilfred
Half the file size, same quality? Microsoft launches WMT beta, a supposed killer of MP3. Well, with built-in anti-piracy features, do you think that's going to happen? =)

At the core of WMT is the MSAudio compression scheme, which the company claims generates files half the size of those produced by MPEG 1 Audio Layer 3 (aka MP3). It's interesting to note that Microsoft has gone back on its earlier claim that MSAudio offered superior sound quality to MP3 - now it's merely "equivalent quality", confirming reports from Register readers who have already tried the software.

IBM Deskstar 22GXP 08:01 am - Kan
New hard drive review over at Storagereview. The IBM Deskstar 22GXP is a 7200rpm with a whopping 22 GB and supports the ATA-66 interface.

As expected, the Deskstar 22GXP delivers bleeding-edge performance. Its performance, however, seems remarkably similar to that delivered by the WD Expert. WinBench 99 Business Disk WinMark tests yield close results. The IBM drive outpaces the Expert by about 3% in the Windows 95. The matchup flip-flops in the High-End WinMark, though, where the Deskstar slipped behind by 4%. The similarities tighten up even more when it comes to NT: In both the Business and the High-End Disk WinMarks, the IBM drive leads by an all-but-undetectable 1%-2%. A look at the individual High-End WinMark tests also yields a very tight correlation between the two drives, with one notable anomaly: in WinBench 99's Adobe Premiere 4.2 disk access test under Windows 95, the 22GXP fell behind the Expert by 17%.

Gigabyte GA-BX2000 07:45 am - Kan
There's also another review of this motherboard over at SharkyExtreme. This is the one with dual BIOS which will kick in when one of the BIOS fail.

See, the DualBIOS feature on the BX2000 mainboard is exactly that: a dual BIOS system. Gigabyte has literally slapped a 2nd flash BIOS chip onto the BX2000 for use if the first BIOS chip goes bad, or self-destructs, or whatever.

Now excuse us if we can't see the logic here, but frankly we were having a tough time understanding the need for this "technical innovation".

AMD K6-III 400 Mhz 07:41 am - Kan
Yup, the guys over at WickedPC also did a review on the AMD K6-III 400Mhz. Anybody know what's the keyrate for this baby doing RC5? Tell me.

AMD calls the K6-III a 6th generation processor. It's a known fact that cache on a processor helps performance a great deal, and the more cache there is, the more performance you get. AMD implemented something interesting called TriLevel cache. Instead of just L1/L2 cache, there's now L3 cache. L3 cache is found on Super7 motherboards, which are essential in order to run the K6-3 400 on. Super 7 motherboards are the same design as Socket 7 motherboards, except they accept ATX power supplies, have an AGP slot, and take SDRAM. There are other differences, however they are minor.

Everquest 07:40 am - Kan
There's also another game review on Everquest by iGamer. This is a role playing game and it's highly rated! :)

Everything was drawn to scale, bringing very high realism. The city Kelethin is the woodelf city, which is basically a city in the sky, because it is in the treetops. Late at night I walked the different conduits that connected the city, and there were more than a few close calls where I almost fell down. Each time I felt butterflies develop in my stomach, and I realized this game was way too realistic.

Planescape: Torment 07:38 am - Kan
CRUS emailed us on their new game review, Planescape: Torment.

The Planescape universe has sharp-edged visuals, bizarre adversaries that can murder you with an idea, and strange magics that unravel common conceptions about physics and metaphysics. Explore Sigil, a city of magic and industry, barnacled within the polluted interior of a hollow doughnut where the mightiest angels and the vilest fiends will invite you to tender your views on how mortality affects the physical and emotional relations between the sexes. Manage a party of the strangest allies to walk the face of alternate planes... and count on them to be highly unpredictable. Encounter items with personalities - weapons that sing, get jealous, or even become cowardly when drawn from their sheaths.

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