28 April 1999 - Wednesday
Gainward TNT 10:19 am - Kan
Yup, no typo there. Not exactly very exciting, but the TNT is still a pretty good card. 3DHardware penned a review on the Gainward CARDEXpert TNT card.

As with most video card packages, in the box there was, well, a LOT of wasted space. However, here there was no bundle - only a single CD with nVidia reference drivers, a software movie player, and a few other miscellaneous bits of software. There was a useful utility called "Expertool," which added the single feature of controlling memory clock speed. Of course, this is nice for the overclocker, but there have been better implementations of this feature. The manual was fairly thorough, and even explained some of the more advanced properties which are adjustable for the TNT, such as mipmapping options, including autogeneration, detail level, and dithering, as well as enabling/disabling hardware anti-aliasing and a number of Direct3D "tweaks." There was no way to disable V-Sync under these standard tabs - I used Powerstrip to accomplish the task.

Alive! Liveware 2.0 Chart 09:30 am - Wilfred
Creative has just asked Alive! to take down the jap-translated chart on Liveware 2 as it will not apply to any other parts of the world. Such is the Creative's statement on Ee Siang's page:

These products are relevant only to Japan and we do not intend to ship these models to anywhere else in the world. With the upcoming Live!Ware2.0 update, existing users can be assured that their Sound Blaster Live! cards will have "new life" in the areas of game, music and digital entertainment. Hence, current owners have little to worry about other new Live! models since Creative has their interest in mind and will continue to deliver additional features to existing users via the Live!ware program. Watch out for more information on Live!Ware2.0 from Creative soon.

Great! So I hope we don't have to plong down no money for the software upgrade. They WILL win many more supporters this way - me, at the very least. =)

Matrox G400 Preview 09:20 am - Wilfred
PCParadox delivered a preview on the Matrox G400. Previews of this card ain't everywhere yet. So you might like to check this out yourself in detail!

One of the most important things that Matrox did not mention enough in their spec sheets is the fact that the G400 will be able to use multi-texturing. The V2, V3, TNT, and soon to be the TNT2 and Savage4 will all and have all been using multi-texuring for some time now and is only reasonable that Matrox has finally bought into it. As we saw in the second specs page the multi-texture pass can be used for MANY different 3D tricks and is going to be a boon for future G400 owners. One other important feature is solely possessed by the G400 and that is the ability to use bump-mapping in hardware. Bump mapping allows textures to stand out, water to look even more real than it does now, and for facial expressions jump out at you like never before.

Intel SR440BX Motherboard 09:12 am - Wilfred
FPS3D.COM has done a review on Intel's SR440BX mobo, which features integrated RivaTNT and Creative PCI64 processors.

There are a lot of things to like and to hate about the SR440BX. Although the one fact still remains, the SR440BX is made of only quality parts on a quality design. It is definitely not the ultimate board, but it is near the top end if you want to have a decent system. This would be a perfect upgrade from a 486 or an original Pentium and it would blow your socks off. If you haven't seen Quake2 at 1024x768 using OpenGL then this is the perfect gear to get you going. While buying a BX motherboard, RivaTNT, and PCI SoundBlaster seperately will run you nearly $275-$300 the SR440BX can be found for as low as $174. That's a pretty big savings if you ask me.

I feel uneasy with this kinda thing, especially when they remove the AGP slot assuming you'll stick with the TNT forever. But perhaps, this board should do well in the corporate sectors?

nVidia RivaTNT 2 09:03 am - Wilfred
Anand posted his article on the nVidia RivaTNT 2 card. You'll learn in it the long drawn battle of 3D graphics accelerators and how the TNT2 came to its present state. In his article, he pitted the 'conventional' 125/150 and 150/170 clocked TNT2s against the V3 2000 and 3000. Results of the early samples proved quite impressive.

Is the TNT2 the choice for you? If you happen to have a slower CPU, anything slower than a Pentium II 350 or a Celeron 366, the Voodoo3 will probably offer you greater performance for a similar price. However, a couple months down the road when you want to play a game of Quake 3, don't complain about the quality of the textures. The Voodoo3 and TNT2 both perform at a level where there is not a huge difference of performance between the two, although in some cases it is definitely noticeable. The best overall solution out of the two seems to be the TNT2, whose combination of superior image quality and above average performance do make it a powerful successor to the original TNT. Owners of first generation Pentium II's (233/266) will probably want to stick to 3dfx in this case, as the Voodoo3 is a much better choice for slower CPUs, in spite of the difference in image quality.

Flanker 2.0 Sneak Peek 08:40 am - Wilfred
Many of you may have had enough with NATO fighters, how about a chance to fly a Russian superiority fighter? GameCenter has a sneak peek at SSI's Flanker 2.0!

"I think the flight model is a lot tighter than the original. All the aircraft characteristics are very closely modeled to what it's really like to fly," says Norman. "When I'm coming in and I dump the flaps... I feel like I'm really landing." Norman would know--he's a licensed civilian pilot. "If you get cavalier while flying this airplane, you're gonna have trouble," he says. "No doubt it's a complex flight simulation, but that appeals to me."

Although the complex flight model was the beauty of the original Flanker, it was also its bane--many were intimidated by the steep learning curve and voiced their opinion by buying simpler simulations. SSI has heard those critics and will introduce an arcade mode in Flanker 2.0. Similar to the Scramble mode in Israeli Air Force or Falcon 4.0's Instant Action game, the arcade mode will, in Norman's words, put the gamer "in flight and in fight."

S3TC Gartnered 50 Software Developers 08:28 am - Wilfred
Next-Generation Online reported that S3 gartnered over 50 software developers and publishers who will include texture compression in their upcoming titles. Some major releases are...

S3TC enables games to utilize up to six times the amount of textures found in today's games. Mark Rein, Vice President of Epic Games said: "It means 6X the resolution of what they're used to without a perceivable loss in performance. The gravel is so real you can almost reach out and feel the texture. It's an unbelievable improvement in graphics and technology."

Titles set to utilize this upcoming technology include Quake 3: Arena, Unreal Tournament, Unreal 2, Babylon5, Anachronox, DeusEx and Half-Life: Day One.

S3TC has also been adopted by Microsoft as a standard in Direct X. "By integrating texture compression based on S3's technology into DirectX, we gave software developers the confidence to ship compressed textures with their titles, secure in the knowledge that the textures would be supported by a wide range of graphics cards," added Kevin Bachus, Group Product Manager for DirectX at Microsoft. "Consumers can now look forward to more realistic, higher-quality graphics in Windows applications.

Celerons Are The Best Out There? 01:20 am - Wilfred
Ooops Intel! The Register posted another major juice here, that the latest Celerons are indeed the fastest processors you can find. Faster than the Pentium II, that Intel fears to admit.

3D Chips And Cards 01:14 am - Wilfred
Tom's Hardware has got an update! The doctor talks about 3D Chips and Cards. As usual, it is a good read for anyone. He blurbed on what features power gamers should want in their ideal card. 3rd generation of 3D chips, anyone? Check it!

We can expect the first announcements of third-generation 3D-chips within the next couple of months and there's supposed to be a new quantum leap in 3D-performance and quality. Fill rates of 500-600 Mpixel/s, triangle rates of 20 million/s and more as well as the support of new quality enhancements will ask a lot more from game developers, CPU, memory, RAMDAC and even display technologies than we can imagine right now.

Liveware 2.0 Information Chart 00:55 am - Wilfred
Alive! has got a nice chart translated from Japanese about Creative's Liveware 2. It's too much to summarise here, so you better hurry down for a look! =)

Apple Beats School Boy 00:25 am - Wilfred
I have to agree that this is an eye-catching headline used with great effect. The Register has this article that Apple succeeded in grabbing the appleimac.com domain from a 17 year old school boy.

Apple's attempt to wrest ownership of the Appleimac.com domain name from a Canadian schoolboy succeeded last week when he agreed to hand it over.

Calgary-based Abdul Traya registered the domain name for his own Mac-oriented Web site last summer. Six months later, Apple began a major move to grab as many Apple-related domain names as possible, and Traya's domain was there in its list.

So Apple sent forth its lawyers to demand Traya surrender his rightfully registered property. However, the 17-year-old employed legal eagles of his own to force Apple to cough up a measly 30 iMac for his school in return for the domain name -- hardly an act of domain name piracy, for all Apple's claims to the contrary.

Minus the legal proceedings, won't it be nice to get someone donate some PCs to the Hardware-One garage? So dammit... what's my next purchase? orangeimac.com, purpleimac.com or what? =)

Wilfred Coughs 00:19 am - Wilfred
Was just taking an early look at the poll results and my! Am I surprised? Out of a total of 1145 votes, 44% still use legacy soundcards, 30% use the Live!, 13% Vortex 2 cards. That's pretty interesting I thought. Duh?

 

27 April 1999 - Tuesday
NFS4: High Stakes Screenshots 23:39 pm - Wilfred
Cool. The Adrenaline Vault has posted the screenshots for Need For Speed 4. You are always clueless how those boys keep improving this incredible game... I can't wait for the release man!

Extreme Magnification 23:04 pm - Wilfred
Check this out! Over at Digital Darkroom, there's a magnificient article on Stylus 900 printouts! If you think only biology students study with the microscope, then take a look at this!

WaveForce 192 Digital 21:00 pm - Kan
FiringSquad just reviewed the WaveForce 192 Digital soundcard from Yamaha. This card supports 3D positional sound, EAX as well as A3D APIs. Pretty good huh?

If you want the full-blown XG MIDI software synthesizer or any of the other optional bundled applications, you'll need to install them from the driver CD afterwards. Unfortunately, the Waveforce is saddled with one of the most tedious and annoying autoplay installation programs I've ever seen. Unless you have a lot of time to waste on pointless multimedia antics, I suggest you skip the autoplay installation routines and just run the setup executables directly from the CD.

Metabyte PGP (SLI) Update 20:29 pm - Kan
Update of the Metabyte PGP (SLI) from SharkyExtreme.

From what Sharky Extreme's sources have learned, system integrator Alienware will be the first and only company who produces a PGP configuration with two video cards in tandem, based on the Metabyte driver technology.

Alienware is no stranger to high performance, they've consistently offered some of the industry's fastest gaming rigs, complete with only the highest quality parts and peripherals available.

Interview 20:29 pm - Kan
Beyond3D has an interview with 3dfx's Gary Tarolli covering stuffs like 16bit vs 32bit rendering etc.

Glide is a very important part of our business strategy.  It allows us to differentiate our products by supporting our unique hardware feature in an API and push the 3D envelope.   It gives developers the ability to use many of those advanced 3D features without having to wait for them to be added to the next build of D3D.  Multi-texture support is a good example of that.  GLIDE had it in 6 months before it was incorporated in D3D.  Our goal is not to compete with Direct 3D, but to coexist with D3D.  The Voodoo3 has D3D performance that is second to none.  We see nothing wrong with offering developers the choice of programming in D3D or GLIDE.  Many prefer GLIDE.

Final Compatibility List for Windows 2000 20:29 pm - Kan
Our bud over at NT Game Palace email us on the final hardware compatibility list (04/25) for Windows 2000 Beta 3. Gee, how come I'm not seeing Voodoo3 and TNT2?

The following computers and peripherals have passed compatibility testing with Windows 2000 Beta 3. Some computers may be sold with peripherals that are not yet supported by the Windows 2000 operating system, or that require a device driver supplied by the manufacturer. Computers and devices on this list have not been tested in all possible configurations. Please refer to the Release Notes for additional compatibility information when installing Windows 2000 Beta 3.

Fireball Plus 11:12 am - Kan
Noticed the Fireball Plus hard disk review over at The Storage Review. This is a 18.2Gb ATA-66 drive with a 7200rpm spindle speed. Wow the drive is fast as well.

This latest unit from Quantum trumpets the arrival of the company's "Data Protection System" (DPS) in the drive's firmware. DPS is basically a quick-run diagnostic suite that's supposed to allow end-users to determine whether problems in a machine are a result of the drive or some other component. Though DPS can be downloaded and run on Quantum drives less than 2.5 years old, integrating it into the KA's firmware further aids ease of use. Yet another salvo fired in the "reliability enhancement" battle. As always, time will tell whether all these features decrease failure rates. The KA is backed by a three-year warranty.

Soyo SY-5EHM 11:09 am - Kan
SOYO SY-5EHM Super7 Socket7 motherboard review over at WickedPC. Not the type of motherboard I will get... :)

The first noticeable problem before even installing the board would be the lack of expansion slots. There are 3 ISA slots, 3 PCI slots, and one AGP slot. One of the ISA and PCI slots are shared as well, so you will be limited to 5 useable slots. A typical scenario would be an AGP video card, a PCI sound card, a network card or modem, and probably some other funky gizmo that you come up with to fill slots. There's not a whole lot of room for expansion, and that's not too welcome these days, including with Wicked PC. The next problem is the way the processor and the ide/floppy connectors are laid out. It seemed to me that the best solution is to move the ide and floppy drive cable connectors to where they would actually be plugged in (on the middle right side) and put the CPU there instead.

RedHat 6.0 08:07 am - Kan
According to The Register, RedHat 6.0 is officially out and available from their FTP site. It's time to leach 'em again! :)

Red Hat has unveiled the latest version of its eponymous Linux distribution, 6.0.

The new release brings the company's implementation of the open source OS up to date with version 2.2 of the Linux kernel. The new kernel's most touted feature (at least by Red Hat, whose official release mentions it three times) is its supp

Red Hat Linux 6.0 also marks the company's first Linux distribution to offer the Gnome GUI. It will also include the latest versions of the numerous applications, utilities and development tools that Red Hat bundles with the OS. The new release also includes a CD of Linux applications, including Applixware, StarOffice and ViaVoice.

GA-BX2000 06:32 am - Kan
Over at Planet Hardware, the guys reviewed the Gigabyte GA-BX2000 motherboard which features the evolutionary dual BIOSes feature.

Dual BIOS is pretty straight forward in concept nature, it's simply a secondary BIOS chip to protect your system from BIOS loss due to mis-flashing it or outside forces. It consits of a primary and secondary BIOS chips, placed right next to eachother on the motherboard, and will utilize the secondary chip if the primary fails. Unlike some misconceptions, it will not allow you to use to two completely different BIOS setups (i.e Award and AMI), and allow you to pick and choose. All the Dual BIOS setup really does is work as backup system in case the unmentionable happens.

D-Link DSB-500 06:10 am - Kan
Something new over at USBWorkshop is the D-link DSB-500 PCI USB controller. If your motherboard does not come with USB ports, then this PCI card is for you.

Enough tech talk here. What most of us want is simplicity. D-link DSB-500 can help you on this one. In my compatibility tests, DSB-500 USB controller does a pretty good job handling all my high-powered (scanner, camera, USB-to-Ethernet) and low-powered (keyboard, mice, joysticks) USB devices. You can connect up to 127 USB devices in theory. Last year Comdex, USB-IF broke the world record when the group successfully connected 111 USB devices without a single glitch. Installing DSB-500 is a charm.

Intel SR440BX Slot-1 05:45 am - Kan
Another microATX motherboard review over at AnandTech.

AnandTech took a look at Intel's only BX based motherboard a while back, the SE440BX, however in a world dominated by overclocking, the motherboard did not emerge with a favorable review.  The only strength of the SE440BX seemed to be its design and construction, which lead it to be one of the most reliable motherboards AnandTech has ever tortured in the labs.  How many gamers do you think bought the SE440BX for their systems?  Most likely very few.  Last year was the year of the overclocked Celeron, and the only motherboard available that provides absolutely no potential for overclocking happened to be the SE440BX.

Interview 05:42 am - Kan
QuakeCity posted the Puppet's Levelord inteview, where Levelord took time to discuss his level-making past, FAKK2 etc.

After finishing SiN, and barely surviving, we hit the ground running on FAKK2. FAKK2 is based on the Heavy Metal movie coming out late this year. It should be very cool if only for the fact the we have the FAKK Universe in which to design. Anyone familiar with the Heavy Metal magazine and/or The Melting Pot will know what I mean ;) It is also very cool for us to be working with the likes of Kevin Eastman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Simon Beasley (Melting Pot and Slaine).

Xitel Storm Platinum 05:35 am - Kan
DimensionX did a review on the Xitel Storm Platinum soundcard based on the Vortex2 chipset. Check it out!

The Storm Platinum is based on the wicked Vortex 2 audio processor. It supports all major sound APIs, including EAX (with a soon driver revision) and the awesome A3D 2.0 API.

 

26 April 1999 - Monday
Win98 Second Edition  21:06 pm - Wilfred
Speculations say that this thing is very near delivery. The Register has something to say about it and what they think will be included:

As we've mentioned before in these parts, SE's origins as a service pack mean it's a lot more achievable than Win2k, so the appearance of the final RC beta plus stern instructions to shake the last bugs out makes it pretty clear that gold code is close. Microsoft's determination to get it out can be gauged by the fact that there were actually two builds in the last seven days - RC2 build 2185 was posted and shipped around a week ago, and RC3 build 2222 followed it almost immediately.

So what do you reckon for gold code? May? It could happen. How Microsoft is going to differentiate between the 98 service pack and SE is a tricky question though. As the service pack beta turned into the SE beta, they clearly have similarities, but while Microsoft says the service pack will be free, SE is going to be charged for. Something about them will have to be different - could some of you good people out there suggest what?

EA Announced NFS: High Stakes For PC  21:00 pm - Wilfred
Whoopee! Here comes the announcement. We'll soon see the next version available for the PC. I wonder how much longer I have to keep NFS3 running till this game comes!

Career play sports a series of 30 tournaments, Knockouts and High Stakes races in which players compete for virtual cash to purchase cars and repairs and upgrade existing cars. This includs head to head tourneys against the AI where the player must bet one of his or her cars.

Single player arcade mode has five types of gameplay, including Knockout, Tournament and three "Hot Pursuit" modes: "Classic" -- borrowed from the previous NFS title, "Get Away" -- players evade the AI police as long as they can or human cops catch AI speeders, and "Time Trap" -- a timed race in which players try to get to the finish line before getting arrested or arrest speeders before they cross the finish line.

Inside Red Hat's Bunkers  20:53 pm - Wilfred
It might be interesting to learn what activities go on behind the quiet doors of Red Hat Inc's headquarters, especially with their next Linux version so near release. Have a look at this ZDNet article.

The company, which has grown so fast in the past four years that it's just moved into its fourth location, is still waiting for approval from the city, county and business park before it hoists its trademark shadow man and the words "Red Hat" over the front door. But inside workers are generating the biggest buzz this side of the iMac. And the red hats are everywhere. The company has ridden the Linux wave to fame in the past six months, landing investments from everyone who's anyone in the computer industry -- except, of course, Microsoft Corp.

Xitel Storm Platinum Gamers Pack  19:26 pm - Wilfred
Extreme Hardware posted a review on the revved up Xitel Storm Platinum Gamers Pack. Coming with a free pair of professional headphones, this card should give the Diamond MX300 a good run for the money!

The Xitel Storm Platinum is based on the high-end Aureal SuperQuad design, with both 4-speaker output and a S/PDIF port. The S/PDIF output lets you hook the Storm Platinum to your home stereo equipment through a pure digital line, which is definitely a welcome addition for the home entertainment buff. Xitel is also promoting its use with mini-disc players and MP3 recording. The ability to have 4-speaker support isn't something I had really appreciated until I tried it out. With the proper set of speakers (I use the Midilands for front-end power and the Logitech satellites for background effects) the 3D acoustics are incredible with dual speakers instead of a single set. This 4-speaker feature also puts it firmly in the Diamond MX300's league and ahead of the TB Montego OEM.

Intel 810 Core Logic AGPset Preview  19:15 pm - Wilfred
The Sharks posted a preview on Intel's 810 Mainboard Core Logic APGset. It is intended as a replacement for the 440EX and 440ZX with support for Celeron processors today and the upcoming 100Mhz Celeron chips. Intel 810 will also feature an integrated i740 graphics processor and support for UltraDMA/66. Tighten your seatbelts, there's more to come in the form of i820!

As the 810 is intended exclusively for the Celeron PPGA market, it offers strong improvements when compared to the 440ZX chipset, and also could provide a powerful foundation for a Celeron 466 buyer who pairs an 810 board with a Voodoo3 or TNT2. UltraDMA/66 combined with a revised I/O routine and superior AGP 2X implementation can only equal a positive gain for the Socket370 market, where 810 chipsets will find themselves almost exclusively. The one thing that is for certain now more than ever is that the countdown to the revolutionary 820 chipset's introduction has begun….

Pocket Size 56K USB Modem  19:01 pm - Wilfred
Tech-Review has done a review on this nifty gadget from Shark Multimedia. The Leopard Pocket 56K USB modem is barely the size of your palm and looks very portable indeed. But does the performance cut out to match the bigger names?

The Leopard Pocket 56k USB Modem is perfect for someone looking for a one modem solution for their laptop and desktop. No need for a PCMCIA or ISA/PCI slot, just plug this guy into an available USB port and you're set. Normal web browsing speed was on par with a normal 56k modem, with download rates a bit lower. If you could care less about gaming performance and are really looking for a small, portable modem, the Leopard Pocket is for you. If you are a gamer that demands the lowest ping times, stick with an ISA/PCI modem.

Fire & Darkness Preview / Interview  18:51 pm - Wilfred
Thresh's FiringSquad sent note about a new preview cum interview of Fire & Darkness and it's crew. This looks like one of those new 3D RTS games (aka Warzone 2100). Check this!

FS: Obviously you've had multiplayer in mind from the start, but how do you envision the single player aspect? Multiple campaigns? Linear missions? Skirmish battle with AI like Q3 Arena?

DR: It will be a non-linear/linear hybrid :) Explanation: There will be a start, middle, and end to the game. You will play them in that order. Each time you play through a new single player campaign you will work on different missions. Our design philosophy on that we don't want a bad outer game that you play in between real missions. We want all of the action to take place in the normal FND engine. Any big choices (on a campaign scale) that you will make done in the engine. Imagine a mission where you could do one of two things: kill a research base or take out a communications outpost

SonicVortex 2 Review  13:21 pm - Wilfred
AGNHardware posted a review on the SonicVortex 2 soundcard. You don't have to guess which chipset it's based on, so let's get on with it. This Videologic card scored an 8 out of 10 star rating:

The SonicVortex 2 is a decent card with some great features. It has a good bundle for the musician, while leaving the game demos out. It add an optical S/PDIF connector for digital recordings but falls short on it's multi-speaker support. There are now several Aureal Vortex 2 based sound solutions, which makes it a bit harder to pick one from the bunch. I would have to conclude that the VideoLogic SonicVortex 2 sits at about the middle of the spectrum in terms of price, bundle, and features. As far as performance goes, it's about par for the course for Vortex 2 based cards.

Poll #10 Results  13:14 pm - Wilfred
I apologise for the late capture of poll results. Here's the update for you guys, we just discovered (oh, aren't we surprised?!) an unhealthy 66% or 1380/2091 voters don't change their passwords at all! Anyway, those 21 freaks who change their passwords everyday should seriously consider getting psychiatric help. =)

On the left, you can see the new poll on your sound card. There's no hurry, just pick and click! Thank you.

New SoundBlaster Live! Information  13:09 pm - Wilfred
Our buddy's Alive! page has been updated with a wealth of Live! information. Hot! Hot! Hot! Some juices about EAX 2.0 as well as new variations of the SBLive! sold in Japan.

Before this weekend, Live! Full/Value versions based on Live!Ware 1.0 were on sale in Japan. After this weekend, the following family of SBLive! are on sale :

  • Live! Pro > Digital in/out support and Live!ware2.0 (Complete driver included) and 5'inch Bay Digital interface
  • Live! Digital Entertainment (DE) >   Live! full Digital in/out Support and Live!ware2.0 (Basic Driver included)
  • Live! Gamer Edition (GE) > Live! Value Digital in/out not support and LiveWare2.0 (basic driver included)

The old Live! family are "renamed" to DE (Full) or GE (Value) and owners will buy Live!Ware2.0 CD (Complete version) online by the end of the April though the price is not confirmed yet.

All these talk about differentiating between complete and basic drivers worry me a little here, I don't relish having to purchase the 'full' version of Liveware 2.0! I'll check this out with Ee Siang and keep you guys posted. Hmm.. just realised my Live! is now the jap-equivalent of the Digital Entertainment Edition.

FreeBSD and Matrix 06:59 am - Kan
Just caught it off from Slashdot that the film The Matrix was rendered using 32 dual processors running under FreeBSD.

Manex Visual Effects used 32 Dell Precision 410 Dual P-II/450 Processor systems running FreeBSD as the core CG Render Farm. Charles Henrich, the senior systems administrator at Manex, says, "We came to a point in the production where we realized we just did not have enough computing power on our existing SGI infrastructure to get through the 3-D intensive sequences. It was at that point we decided on going with a FreeBSD based solution, due to the ability to get the hardware quickly as well as the reliability and ease of administration that FreeBSD provides us. Working with Dell, we purchased 32 of these systems on a Wednesday, and had them rendering in production by Saturday afternoon. It was truly an amazing effort on everyone's part, and I don't believe it would've been possible had we chosen to go with any other Operating System solution."

KLH Soundbites  06:45 am - Kan
For all those audiophile fantics out there, 3DHardware reviewed the KLH SoundBites Speaker System. Looks pretty high end to me.

Let’s concentrate on the SoundBite satellites for a moment. Used to seeing satellites getting smaller and smaller, most of the newer ones being pathetic small sugar cubes of treble, the SoundBites pack a surprising amount of sound. I plugged them into an average stereo amplifier (Technics SA-EX100) to see what they could do on their own, and was pleasantly surprised to see they were capable of producing as much sound (in the bass department too) as my old (very old) Trust stereo speakers from the beginning of the 90’s. Not that they would be enough without the BassBite, but it’s sure impressive to hear them after being used to tweeters.

810 Chipset  06:42 am - Kan
Over at TheRegister, Intel is going to launch the 466 MHz Celeron as well as the 810 chipset. Hmm, Socket810 motherboards?

The 810 rather mysteriously supports both 66MHz and 100MHz front side bus speeds – Celeron isn’t due to move on up to 100MHz FSB until early 2000 and there’s still a 100MHz/66MHz FSB Celeron due out later in the year.

Intel has denied that the 810 will be able to support Pentium II processors so it’s not easy to see exactly why 100MHz is on offer right now, unless there’s a Socket 370 Coppermine waiting in the wings (something Intel’s Paul Otellini has denied).

Canyon3D  06:35 am - Kan
Over at Kert's Page, there's an article on the Canyon3D sound chipset.

The 'Canyon3D' is a 500 MIPs audio accelerator from ESS Technology. It has dual, programmable processors: a 64-channel, pipelined 'wave Processor' and an audio signal processor. A bus-mastering PCI interface and dedicated DMA engine supports the audio signal processor.

The support functions ensure efficient transfer of audio data streams to and from system memory buffers. Audio data streams are conducted to various functional blocks along the ring bus. Together, the 'wave processor' and audio signal processor accelerate more than 32 DirectSound3D streams, in addition to DirectSound and wavetable streams.

FIC CE31-A 06:32 am - Kan
For those people crazy about Socket370 motherboards, Anand reviewed the FIC CE31-A SiS 620 Socket370 microATX motherboard.

Also with the increase in popularity of the Socket-370 standard came the increase in popularity of alternative chipset solutions, such as VIA's Apollo Pro Plus, providing cheaper and more "feature filled" alternatives to the standard Intel LX/BX/ZX options for Socket-370 motherboards.  One of the first to implement SiS' Slot-1/Socket-370 chipset, the 620, is the well known FIC.   AnandTech was shown FIC's 620 board at last year's Comdex, and now it's finally time to see how well the chipset performs on FIC's CE31-A.

Actima 4x4x20 CD-RW 06:17 am - Kan
Spotted two new reviews over at AGN Hardware. The Actima 4x4x20 CD-RW and the SonicVortex2 soundcard.

The Actima 4x4x20 CDRW is a fully Plug and Play compliant device, which helps to make installation a snap. As I mentioned earlier, the drive uses the ATAPI/EIDE interface and also doubles as a 20x max CD-ROM reader. Add to that mix the fact that the Actima 4x4x20 is fully compliant with Photo-CD, CD-Extra, CD-ROM XA, CD-I, Video CD, CDI Ready, CD-G, and MPEG III and I would say you have one of the most fully featured CD-RW drives on the market. The drive is even capable of Overburning with Nero so you can squeeze those extra few minutes onto a CD-R.

Midtown Madness 06:14 am - Kan
Midtown Madness review over at 3Dspotlight. Yes, it's like to have a change and play this instead of NFS3.

There are five types of racing, one of them is Explore/Cruising in which you can fool around the whole city with any car you choose without any type of restriction, no time or checkpoints thing, just you in the city with the traffic and all people walking around. The Blitz is another type of play, this is pretty much like a time attack mode, again will all the traffic this is no easy task.

In the Circuit Racing mode you're almost back to the typical go-as-fast-as-you-can-and-get-the-first-place but this one has got a cool twist, you can break out the barriers that limit the road of the Circuit, head for the shortcut and get into the track again. The multiplayer mode is called Cops & Robbers in which you can play against eight human players in the MSN Gaming Zone.

Voodoo Cooler 06:12 am - Kan
FPS3D did a review on the Voodoo Cooler. You know, I just found out that a 30cm desktop fan cost only $29 bucks. It always amazes me how much we can bear to part with our money on such expensive computer parts. :)

The 48cfm spec might seem a bit ambitious, but I put The Card Cooler and the VoodooCooler right next to each other: Despite the fact that The Card Cooler dwarfs the VoodooCooler, the output from the latter was impressive in comparison. 3DfxCool fans are very high quality, but what impressed me the most was the VoodooCooler's air-moving ability

Voodoo3 3000 06:10 am - Kan
Our bud over at iXBT posted another review, the Voodoo3 3000. If you can have sufficient cooling and make your V3 3000 running at 195 MHz, then you have a real screamer there.

The radiator mentioned above is actually worth saying a few words about it. About three weeks ago when we saw a picture of Voodoo3 3000 with such outstanding construction for the first time we considered it to be an experimental sample. What made us think so was the radiator looking like a piece of metal torn out of some other device and fastened to the card unless they managed to design something less awkward and strange. Nevertheless, it is not a trick work but a mass product perfectly fitting for this particular card. Of course, the size of this cooling device excites us since we have never seen anything like that before that's why we may sound a bit too mocking.

Alpha Centauri Vs Civilisation Call To Power 00:45 am - Wilfred
GameCenter has a new shootout between Alpha Centauri and the recently released Civilisation: Call To Power. I don't think we posted this before... so check this out!

"... Call to Power focuses on the acquisition of power. Of course, once your tribe spreads out and encounters other races, it quickly becomes clear that the only way to acquire more power is to take it from someone else. Although there is some token implementation of a diplomatic model, CTP leans toward combat, and a great deal of its design involved coming up with a variety of detailed combat units with their own strengths and weakness. Nonviolent combat is also a big part of CTP, with units such as slavers, clerics, lawyers, and neural ad blimps (among others) capable of affecting enemy cities in a variety of nonviolent yet nefarious ways. So even during peacetime, CTP has found a way to keep you thinking offensively. Players will relish the ability to build cities in space as well as underwater. Although this opens up new and interesting realms to explore and exploit, CTP has been designed in such a way that you'll often find yourself reaching for that trusty can of whup-ass, no matter how peaceful your inclinations may be."

Sports Car GT Review 00:40 am - Wilfred
Operation Sports posted a review on EA's latest racing game, Sports Car GT. Read what they have to say about the game!

This may be where Sports Car GT makes its big run at the checkered flag. The AI drivers might not be the smartest in a PC game, but they sure make it as fun and enjoyable as I have ever witnessed. A slide bar dictates the intelligent level of their driving, from easy to hard, which EA claims they have designed around their real racing styles. Leave a small gap between you and the inside of a turn, and watch as the AI drivers stuff the nose of their vehicles to the inside of the track, and push you out of the way to gain control. Let off the gas too early to negotiate a turn or curve, and the AI drivers without hesitation will drive their cars right into your rear bumper and send you spinning into the infield.

 

25 April 1999 - Sunday
Unreal Tournament 15:15 pm - Wilfred
U-Games posted a preview on Unreal Tournament. I'm not a hardcore fan of first-person shooters, but I think UT will make me spend on impulse again. Roll over for the article!

"I think it will keep the lone-gamer hooked longer. Every game is different. You'll never get the exact same game twice. If you worked your way all the way through the single player ladder to Unreal Grand Master it would probably take as long as Unreal itself took to play from start to finish. After that you've got four great game types to play against the bots. Plus, like Unreal, we intend to spend a considerable amount of time after UT ships to keep it fresh with new things players can download. We recently released a set of new deathmatch levels for the original Unreal and they're clearly the best we've ever done. UT will have a devotion applied to it."

Wilfred Coughs 15:04 pm - Wilfred
Howdie! Today's a slow day. The trickle of news as well as the unbearably warm weather are spoiling my day. To make up for that, I'm going to spend the next few hours productively watching more South Park episodes as well as catch 40-50 winks before tonight's TCS Star Search. Of course, send along any interesting news and we might just post it up later!

How To Write Email To Game Developers 14:57 pm - Wilfred
A good read for those of you who always liked to give their five cents worth. Writing to a game developer? Ask GrandMaster B. has written something to teach you just that! Check this snippet out!

Rule #1: Do not start spouting insecurities and hero worship - "I'm not a game developer, I'm just a hardcore gamer, so compared to you I'm nothing, but I really think you should listen to what I have to say, but you've probably heard it a million times before."

Rule #2: Do not establish an adversarial relationship for no reason - "The SK character class in EQ sucks! WTF were you thinking? I mean, EQ is cool, but it's got serious problems, and you need to fix this!"

Brief History of Clock 06:49 am - Kan
Ars-Technica posted a followup to their earlier article on the History of Clock. Hardcore stuffs.

For the hardcore overclocking historians among you, yes, I neglected to mention the practice of desoldering the clock crystal from the motherboard and soldering in a new, higher frequency crystal to overclock the system. This is from the days of the XT and 286, by the way, which is a ways back there.   Amigas and Macs, back in the day, could be overclocked using the crystal method (isn't that a band?), as well--hence the proclivity for the term "clockchipping" amongst Mac users (and others).  I left the the crystal method out because, although the title implies a history, I also intended the article to be an explanation of how and why overclocking works.  Starting with talk of desoldering clock crystals would probably have done a lot to scare off some of my intended audience.

EPox CPU Converter Card 06:47 am - Kan
I noticed over at Super7 there's a short review on the EPox CPU Converter card.

I had expected to find an ever so slight performance hit to be present while using the card as the processor is moved farther away from the system board, but, I am happy to report, that in benchmarking the cards capabilities, there seemed to be no difference in benchmark scores whatsoever. I first tested the card using both Slot-1 and PPGA 370 Celerons on EPoX' P2-133A Slot-1 mainboard (an outstanding board that we will review soon on this site!). The converter card's benchmarks in Ziff-Davis' Winstone 99 were virtually identical but the Winstone 98 scores favored the PPGA 370 Celerons by from 0.1 to 0.2 pts.

Card Cooler 06:46 am - Kan
There's a card cooler review over at Speedy3D.

The card cooler is a simple cooling device that utilizes 2 ordinary case fans set side by side attached to a thin strip of punched sheet metal. The card cooler is very simple to install. All it requires is a 12 volt DC connector to supply it's power. You then screw it into the 1st and 4th card slots in you case, and voila! It is installed. The length of it extends far enough to cover most cards in the first 4 slots adequately. Plus since the card is nonabrasive it does not touch any of your cards, which would normally void it's warranty.

ASUS AGP-V3800 06:42 am - Kan
TNT2 review of the ASUS AGP-V3800 over at iXBT.

What conclusion can be drawn from these figures? Well, undoubtedly Riva TNT2 based graphics card retains the leadership in all Direct3D benchmarks. In OpenGL (Quake2) it manages to be the first only with 32-bit color, and with 16-bit color depth the victory is gained by Voodoo3 2000 (note that it takes place at the almost equal graphics processor and memory frequency values!). However, we suppose that additional drivers improvement will help reduce this gap significantly.

 

24 April 1999 - Saturday
What Is TCP/IP? 21:06 pm - Wilfred
Yeah! Do you know it? How does it work? Here's a simplified version for ya! This should be named "TCP/IP for Dummies Who Couldn't Care Less!". Hey, that's me all right!

TCP/IP is used because the Internet is a packet-switched network. In a packet-switched network, there is no single, unbroken connection between sender and receiver. Instead, when information is sent, it is broken into small packets, sent over many different routes at the same time, and then reassembled at the receiving end.

Preliminary Linux SBLive! Drivers 20:58 pm - Wilfred
OSS has released a preliminary set of Linux drivers for the SoundBlaster Live! It will allow the use of the midi port and CD audio. Download from www.opensound.com if you are keen on trying it out!

We have released Alpha1 of the SBLive! driver in OSS for Linux 3.9.2j. This driver only enables the Mixer and the MIDI I/O port. Users can atleast listen to CD audio via the soundcard. There is no digital audio or MIDI synthesis support yet. We're doing this only because a number of customers have asked us for mixer support to enable them to hear CDs.

More Y2K Issues In Windows 98 20:23 pm - Wilfred
Hmm...  looks like the supposed Y2K-ready operating system has more holes to patch for the big day! According to this WinMag article over at CoolInfo, Microsoft has uncovered more bugs and will be delivering patches within the next few weeks.

Microsoft has found still more year 2000-related issues in Windows 98 and is currently working on a fix, which it expects to issue in the next few weeks. The changes will also be rolled into Windows 98Special Edition, an update consisting primarily of bug fixes and Internet Explorer 5.0, due later this year. Microsoft said that the incompatibilities pose no threat of data loss or system corruption, and that users are not likely to encounter these issues in their regular daily computer use.

The three newly discovered issues are documented at the Microsoft Year 2000 Resource Center, and the fix will be posted on the Windows Update website. The issues are:

The OLE Automation Library routines for interpreting two-digit years cuts off years at 2029, so two-digit years with "30" will be interpreted as 1930 instead of 2030, regardless of the date settings

Two-digit dates don't work for DOS XCopy on systems using the international date format of "yy-mm-dd" instead of "dd-mm-yy," as is used in the United States. When a system is configured to use the yy-mm-dd format, XCopy will not accept 00 for the year 2000.

International versions of Windows 98 that use a non-Gregorian calendar will give an error in certain Visual Basic applications that use dates. This does not affect English versions of Windows 98.

Intel To Drop PII By Year End 20:19 pm - Wilfred
Gosh! My Pentium-II will be totally obsolete by end of this year. Shucks! Check out the whole clip at CoolInfo's, we've got only the juicy portion.

Intel executives on Thursday confirmed the schedule for the rapid transition of the company's core microprocessor line almost entirely to Pentium III chips by year-end. Speaking to financial analysts in New York, Paul Otellini, executive vice president of the Intel Architecture Business Group, said the company planned to rapidly phase out its older Pentium II technology over the course of this year.

K7 500Mhz Trounces PIII-500 20:05 pm - Wilfred
According to this article at The Register, an AMD engineer leaked the FPU WinMark of the K7 500Mhz which beat the PIII by a significant margin. Oh great, so when are we seeing the rollout?

The engineer, who insists on strict anonymity, said that the K7 running at 500MHz has an FPU Winmark of 2767. That compares to a Pentium III/500 which, he says, has an FPU Winmark of around 2562.

TNT2 Preview 18:51 pm - Kan
Looks like we are seeing TNT2 previews everywhere now. Ok so Sharky has a preview on the 16Mb Guillemot Maxi Gamer Xentor TNT2 card.

Other than the 'by now standard' single pass multi-texturing done by NVIDIA's (or 3dfx's depending on which company you ask) Twin texel 32-bit graphics pipeline, the Xentor 16MB is capable of a whole lot more. The NVIDIA bump-mapping demo (provided with the CD) looks superb and displays the ripples on a pond well enough via bump mapping of 'some sort'. But for those of you that like to cross your Ps and Qs the TNT2 does NOT do true hardware bump mapping. Although the TNT2 spec sheet does list the feature, the method used is embossing and not true hardware environmental bump mapping like the Matrox G400 (using a per pixel combination of three separate texture maps, including a special 'bump map').

ACT Labs EagleMax 18:50 pm - Kan
There's a ACT Labs EagleMax Joystick review done by 3DHardware. Hey! Nowadays, joysticks are looking weirder and weirder. Very different from the Quickshot I own in the early '90s. :)

A joystick is a joystick is a joystick. That’s the way many people have been thinking ever since the days they first touched a computer. Not very surprisingly, these people own a joystick, never use it, and miss out on all the fun. Even as far back as in the mid-eighties, when the Commodore 64 was reigning, there were bad joystick and good ones, although the dividing line back then was not how good it was, but how fast it broke.

TeamFortress Classic 18:47 pm - Kan
Over at Singularity, they posted a review on TeamFortress Classic.

Teamfortress(TF) has been one of the best mods every created. Sure, there were other great mods, Painkeep, Capture the Flag, HeadHunters, Action Quake, but Teamfortress just stood out the most. If you refreshed the servers in Gamespy that has TeamFortress running, you will be completely overwhelmed by the amount of people in it, and the amount of servers running.

IBM Deskstar 14GXP 18:46 pm - Kan
AGN Hardware has another new harddisk review, the IBM Deskstar 14GXP. Actually, I can use some harddisk space now. Kinda running out of 'em. :(

My first look at an IBM drive is the Deskstar 14GXP 371440, a 14.4GB 7200RPM drive with 512k of cache and a 9.5ms access time. This makes the Deskstar a big step up from my aging Maxtor with only a 5400RPM spindle speed and a 13ms access time. This step up results in a big performance boost that is noticeable in everything from bootup to running applications.

Voodoo3 18:42 pm - Kan
Looks like our bud over at HotHardware managed to get the Voodoo3 running at 200 MHz. Wow! Isn't that a CPU fan smacked on top of the Voodoo3 chip?

Xeon 500 18:40 pm - Kan
Yikes! There's a  Pentium III Xeon 500 MHz review over at Review-Zone. Get four of these and start rocking!

When Intel released the Pentium III Xeon, they gave it pretty much the same improvements over the PII Xeon processor as the Pentium III itself had over the Pentium II. The Pentium III Xeon processor debuted at 500MHz, and while a 550MHz processor is also due for release in the near future, we’re concerned with the 500MHz family in this review. The 500MHz PIII Xeon is available in L2 cache versions of 512KB, 1MB or 2MB, and we have everything you need to know about them right here.

Voodoo3 FAQ 18:38 pm - Kan
FAQ on the Voodoo3 over at WickedPC. It won't hurt to do a little research before spending a hefty sum.

What's the difference between the Voodoo3 2000/3000/3500? The biggest difference is clock speed. The Voodoo3 2000 runs at 143Mhz and has a 300MHz RAMDAC, while the Voodoo3 3000 has a 166Mhz core, with a 350MHz RAMDAC. The Voodoo3 3500 has a 183Mhz core, and still the 350MHz RAMDAC. Of course, the capacity of "X million triangles/sec" and "XXX megatexels/sec" also go up from the 2000 to the 3500 accordingly.

FPS2000 Digital Speakers 18:36 pm - Kan
TheSanctum posted a review on the Creative FPS2000 Digital Speakers. Do they have a beige version of the speakers to go with my computer?

The speakers themselves carry the Cambridge Soundworks logo on the grilles. On the top of all the speakers a Creative logo is flush against its plastic. The speakers inside look like they are created with better quality. It actually looks like a real speaker now, almost like a mini woofer. They come with all the stands and mounting hardware for a rear placed setup. Everything you need to start making some noise is included in the 20LB box. Creative didn't leave anything out.

Intel Getting Into ISP Business 02:31 am - Wilfred
According to this news from InfoWorld, Intel will be getting into the ISP business and compete with the likes of IBM and AOL.

Intel looks to be getting into the ISP business. At an analyst briefing here Thursday, Intel executive vice president and general business manager for the new business group, Gerry Parker, announced that the chip giant will be getting into Internet hosting services.

The move positions Intel to compete with companies such as IBM Global services, officials said. The scale and scope of Intel's data centers could range from small centers with roughly 2,000 servers in place to larger centers with 5,500 servers. The first Internet Data Service will be in the United States.

New Domain Name Admin Takes Off 02:22 am - Wilfred
Goodbye Network Solutions. According to The Register, the monopoly to register domains ending with .COM, .ORG and .NET will end on Monday when 5 new registrars will join in.

On Monday, the monopoly to register domain names ending in .COM, .ORG and .NET, held hitherto by Network Solutions, will end and five new registrars will be authorised by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

These are: AOL, France Telecom, The Internet Council of Registrars, Melbourne IT, and register.com [no relation]. Network Solutions will be able to charge a fee to the other registrars to access its database, and will receive a one-time fee of $50,000 from new registrars, while ICANN will receive $5000 annually from each registrar.

Yellow Dog Linux For Power Macs G3 02:17 am - Wilfred
Whoa! A new Linux distribution in development for Apple's latest line of G3 'blue & white' Macs. Check out the report at The Register.

Yellow Dog has become the first Linux distributor to officially support Apple's latest generation of Power Mac, the blue'n'white G3. Though the company warns that the modified PowerPC Linux kernel is in development and may not yet prove fully stable.

Kryotech Cooled K6-III 550Mhz 02:03 am - Wilfred
Looks like the parts are passed round pretty quickly. The FiringSquad also has a review on the Kryotech Cooled K6-III 550Mhz machine.

This is one fast system. It simply rips through business applications, beating out just about any other CPU, including those running at higher clock speeds. Additionally, the Cool K6-III 550 gives good performance in games optimized for 3DNow!, although AMD's general floating point performance is not entirely there yet, as evidenced by less-than-stellar Quake II and 3DMark scores. Pure 3DNow! performance stands tall even when compared to Intel's latest Pentium IIIs, but as a strict gaming machine, the Cool K6-3 can't quite make the cut.

 

23 April 1999 - Friday
10 Questions About Linux 21:55 pm - Wilfred
CNet has this article which attempts to answer the top 10 questions asked about Linux. It is a good start for any newbies.

We've collected the answers to ten of the most common questions about Linux. Right here and right now, you can find out if your system and peripherals will work with Linux, where to get the OS in the first place, how to install it, how to start cruising the Web with it, where to get technical support, and even how to make it look more like Windows, if that's what you really want to do.

Performance Testing 21:50 pm - Wilfred
GameSpot has a nice article about 'The Black Art of Performance Testing'. It concerns you if you're those who worship benchmarks and live your life strictly upon them.

On the most basic level, understanding what benchmarking is, what its limitations are, and how good benchmarking is conducted lets you make a more informed buying decision when it comes time to upgrade your hardware. This is part of being an informed consumer. Since all graphics card companies do benchmarks, understanding the process helps you cut through the chaff that's often printed on product boxes.

Terratec Xlerate Pro 21:46 pm - Wilfred
Extreme Hardware has done a review on the Vortex 2 based Terratec Xlerate Pro soundcard. I think Michael is suitably impressed with it!

Moving on to sound quality with A3D 2.0, the Xlerate Pro really excels. Due to the advanced reverberation engine (with Wavetracing) and occlusions, pinpointing the exact location of various sounds is very easy, even on two speaker or headphone output. With previous sound APIs on a two speaker output, 3D sound quality was lost when the sounds moved behind the user. However, with A3D 2.0, sounds placed from behind the user are easy to detect with just two speakers.

In addition to helping with the accuracy of the positional 3D audio, Wavetracing also adds reverberation effects. Because of this, it is much easier for users to notice subtle changes in their environment. Unlike Environmental Audio Extensions (EAX) which use presets instead of a dynamic 3D audio geometry engine, transitions between environments with A3D 2.0 are very smooth and not abrupt.

Auto Hardware Detection Linux 21:37 pm - Wilfred
The Register reported that Mandrakesoft is pushing a project to enable Linux to auto-detect hardware in a system. Yeah, the time has come for Linux to be more user friendly.

The open source project, called Lothar, includes automatic hardware detection using the "detect" library and will pick up configurations of boards such as sound cards, SCSI cards and Ethernet cards. According to Mandrakesoft, many would-be Linux users are put off by the difficulty in detecting and configuring hardware. The company's software means that configuration files do not have to be manually edited, it claims.

Stealing Bandwidth 21:34 pm - Wilfred
CPUReview has an article so titled which discussed the effects of UMA video on memory bandwidth. An informative read:

Intel has been promoting the idea of 'Unified Memory Architecture' for some time; and with ever-decreasing PC prices it was inevitable that inexpensive motherboards would adopt UMA based video "cards".

SiS has produced a number of shared frame buffer (UMA) chipsets; this article examines the memory bandwidth impact of using part of the main system memory as the frame buffer for the SiS 530 / SiS 5595 Super Socket 7 UMA chipset.

It is easy to understand why using part of the main memory for the video frame buffer is attractive to board manufacturers; they can save the cost of 4Mb-16Mb of additional SDRAM and lower the overall parts count.

Overclocking The V3800 TNT2 11:34 am - Wilfred
Hardware Central has a follow up article on their Asus V3800 TNT2 review yesterday. Here, they overclocked the card and made it the beast it should have been. =)

While overclocking is not for everyone, it is quite clear that it does have its advantages. We had absolutely no stability problems at 170MHz clock speeds, and were very impressed with the scores. Hopefully with some new drivers we will see even higher scores, especially at lower resolutions.

IBM Deskstar 25GP 11:31 am - Wilfred
The Storage Review posted a review on the gigantic 25Gb HDD from IBM. If you're needing some warehousing space for 'god-knows-what' then take a look here:

When it comes to heat and noise, the 25GP performs just like the Caviar: i.e., it's quiet and cool, but not much more so than the 7200rpm units available from IBM/WD. Again, these latest drives illustrate how the penalty one pays in heat and noise by switching to faster spinning drives is slowly fading away. With such considerations diminishing, it's easy to see the approaching future where 5400rpm drives will be phased out. IBM has once again reestablished itself as the capacity king with the gigantic Deskstar 25GP. Its performance is right up there at the top with the best 5400rpm drives. If you absolutely need the biggest disk out there, this drive is the only one for you.

Requiem Review 11:27 am - Wilfred
CRUS has done a review on Requiem. So you want to be an avenging angel? The storyline looks interesting, check this article out!

The graphics engine used in Requiem is odd to say the least. It’s a bit like Shogo’s yet without the coloured lighting, it has a something in common with Quake’s yet it’s more detailed and can deal with outdoor areas. Ok, well it’s fast, the textures are highly detailed, the animation is very good.

Asus V3800 TNT2 AGP 11:24 am - Wilfred
OptimumPC sent word of their latest review on the Asus V3800 TNT2 card. Whoppee! I told you this card rocks!

Judging from the benchmarks performed so far the V3800 could easily dominate the TNT2 market as the V3400 once did. This card like it's earlier sibling offers more than just blazing performance. It offers value that you aren't going to see in other boards. I believe I am correct when I say it's the only TNT2 card that comes with VR Glasses! Oh and don't worry I'm working on giving you more information on that. It's just currently I don't have a D3D game to experience the goggles since they only work in D3D games. The V3800 also has 2x as many ports as the other cards and for most users I'm sure the more the merrier.

Kryotech K6-III 550Mhz 11:19 am - Wilfred
WickedPC tested a thermally-accelerated AMD-based PC and posted their review about it. Pitting it against the fastest PIII-500Mhz from Intel, they found some interesting results.

Most overclockers overclock for gaming reasons. For gaming, the Pentium III 500 is faster. If you have the money to burn, the Cool K6-III/550 is a great choice, although you should keep in mind that folks with a Pentium III 500 will outperform you by a small margin. In super-high resolutions, the Cool K6-III/550 did outperform the Pentium III 500, so that is something to keep in mind as well.

Elitegroup P6BXT-A+ And Shuttle B001 11:16 am - Wilfred
BxBoards has completed reviews on 2 BX motherboards. What's special? The Elitegroup features both a Slot-1 and Socket370 interface, while the Shuttle has a build-in ATI video card as well as a Creative sound card. The blurb on the P6BXT-A+

This is a good product, that stands out more for Elitegroup's innovation that for any other reason. Take away the dual CPU interface, and the board is just a face in an increasily crowded playground. Nevertheless, it is fast and stable, If you are looking for a board with which to pair your new PPGA Celeron and are thinking of going Slot1 in the near future, its well worth a look. A very interesting, if not outstanding product.

Computer Display Clips Onto Eyeglasses 01:45 am - Wilfred
Remember those shades you clip onto your spectacles? How about a high tech computer version or what they call head mounted display? The display will allow you to see through it and focus on real-world objects beyond it. Cool? Think Terminator!

"This is the first real ergonomic breakthrough to make this [HMD] thing practical," Holzel said. With this "see-through" monitor technology, the eye easily focuses back and forth between the monitor image and the real world beyond it, and the user views the image without feeling cut off from the world.

"Think in terms of adding information to the normal view," said Holzel, "or superimposing information on the normal view." Such superimpositions, he said, "might be an image of a night-vision camera mounted in a soldier's glasses. A firefighter might use it with a special camera to see through smoke, a diver to see through tepid water, a fighter pilot to aim a missile. Or you can simply watch your personal TV or computer screen on an airline without caring whether the guy in front of you leans his seat back all the way."

Enhancing MP3 With EAX 01:32 am - Wilfred
NomadWorld posted an article about how you can enhance the aural experience when you listen to MP3s. Hmm.. well, for the first time I actually went beyond the preset environments and customised my own effects while a song is playing. The amazing part is to watch your SoundBlaster Live! do the change in REALTIME!

"... you may want to try your hand at a little DSP remixing; that is filtering songs through a variety of special sound effects to create Custom Environmental Audio Presets (or .EAP files). Just like the pro's use, you have access to effects such as Reverb, Chorus, Flanger, Vocal Morpher, Frequency Shifter, Pitch Shifter, Delay and Distortion to give you end-less creativity. And you can do this all in real-time so you can really impress your friends!"

 

22 April 1999 - Thursday
NT Looking Great On Paper 22:40 pm - Wilfred
According to this paper at CNN, a research by IDC revealed that the adoptation of Windows NT for mission critical application isn't as widespread as Microsoft would want us to believe.

"Media reports often leave the impression that Windows NT is being adopted by organizations of all sizes for every conceivable mission and that organizations are abandoning their investments in other operating environments," said Dan Kuznetsky, program director for IDC's operating environments and serverware research programs. "However, when IDC shines the light of empirical research on Windows NT usage, a different view emerges."

According to IDC, NT is used primarily as a departmental infrastructure server, for things like file/print, messaging, and communications, rather than as a major enterprise server running mission-critical applications. The rest is just good advertising.

On a side note, our pal at NT Game Palace is compiling an application compatibility list for Windows 2000. So if you are testing out that beta, do send him his much needed info. Thanks!

Pioneer 6X DVD Rom Review 22:35 pm - Wilfred
The Adrenaline Vault posted a review on Pioneer's 6X DVD-ROM drive. Indeed, this is every bit the high performance drive we expect from Pioneer. Looks cool too!

With the fastest DVD data rates available, and CD data rates that match current drives, the Pioneer DVD-103S is an excellent choice for upgrading that aging 12x CD-ROM drive, and/or jumping into the world of DVD. As a third generation DVD-ROM drive with the kinks ironed out, it is now reasonable to use this as your only DVD/CD-ROM drive in a system, with no fears of compatibility problems. The Slot-in loading mechanism is like icing on the cake as a time-saver, and it is hard to go back to tray-load drives once you are spoiled by it. The 6x DVD transfer speeds allow for fast scanning of movies as well as improved performance of DVD-ROM titles. The only other challenger at this point is the upcoming TrueX DVD drives on the horizon.

PowerVRSG Not Delayed? 22:24 pm - Wilfred
Ahh.. Dammit! Oh great! Whatever! Saw this blurb over at Voodoo Extreme from Videologic's PR Manager, saying that the EETimes article was a boo boo. Catch this:

In regard to the EETimes: it is indeed a mistake. An NEC spokesperson in Japan did discuss the PowerVR 250 with them and indicated a June shipping date for the Neon 250 from VideoLogic. Unfortunately, they then went on to discuss NEC's plans for future PowerVR parts in the second half of this year and the two dates became confused, resulting in the published story. 

I hope this clears up the confusion.

Regards,
David Harols
PR Manager
VideoLogic

More Cooling! 17:57 pm - Kan
Our dear Kyle sent note on more super duper cooling for your processors. Sheesh, I nearly fell off my chair when I saw this. Hop over there for more pictures!

The next decision was the evaporator. Do I couple direct to the compressor and allow the “phase change” to occur at the processor or cool a liquid and circulate it though the exchangers? Again, after all the research and reading, I determined that I would build a small chamber to cool a 40/60 mixture of glycol and water. I decided this because the compact size of the exchanger on the processor would again lead to fluctuation in temp if I had the refrigerant “phase change” at the processor. Surface area, volume, material all effected the decision.

Fierce Harmony 17:54 pm - Kan
CPR Extreme did a preview on the game Fierce Harmony. Hey, this game looks interesting... take a look!

Players create their warriors by choosing basic attributes essential in the Nexus world and then challenge others to battle or seek to make strategic alliances. Warriors fight in one of 12 arenas depending on where they are in the Nexus world. These arenas are also imbued with attributes, which in turn can help or hinder combatants. Warriors can make alliances with each other, allowing them to their share attributes and power in combat with one another. The mightiest warrior in each alliance has the controlling influence of that alliance allowing natural rivalries to occur in each alliance group.   

Kryotech 17:34 pm - Kan
Read something brewing over at Toms Hardware on Kryotech's super cooling technology. Don't tell me we have to resort to this soon?

Kryotech is nowadays a name that is known to most of my readers and particularly the power users amongst you have certainly already contemplated running your system with one of the super cooling devices from this company based in the deep and hot South of the US.

Unfortunately, Kryotech was not yet able to cut any kind of deal with Intel, so that there hasn't been any Kryotech cooled system with an Intel CPU so far.

Speed Busters Review 17:31 pm - Kan
3DSpotlight sent note on their new review, Speed Busters. Hey, this game looks like NFS3 doesn't it?

In-game graphics are awesome, textures look rich and colorful, there are some occasions in which they look a bit grainy though. Always, before entering the game a small window appears and let you choose any resolution you want, ranging from 512x384 to 1600x1200 and also you can modify all other graphic detail settings such as particles, sparks, chrome, lights, reflections, you can also choose the color depth... yes, you've got 32bit color rendering as an option.

Wilfred Coughs 13:21 pm - Wilfred
There has been a healthy splutter of postings in the forum and yet again, I'm asking those of you who haven't visited it to try it for yourself. Registration is NOT mandatory, so come on in! =)

JPEG 2000: Next Wave of Compression 12:47 pm - Wilfred
Wowzers! This new format of image compression will utilise what is called wavelet compression technology and it offers both lossy and lossless compressions. Most impressively, JPEG 2000 addresses the drawbacks found in in traditional JPEG DCT compression, to provide both extremely high compression ratios as well as high image quality.

"JPEG 2000 delivers extremely high compression ratios and still guarantees high image quality. On the simplest level, JPEG 2000 will offer both lossy and lossless compression. More important, it abandons DCT compression in favor of wavelet compression. Wavelets are mathematical expressions that describe an image in a continuous stream, and so avoid the blocky artifacts associated with DCT compression."

"The Internet provides a perfect example of wavelet technology in action, because it will let you download the same image at different resolutions depending upon the available bandwidth. For instance, with a T1 link you'd be able to download more of the wavelet stream (for higher-resolution display) than you could with a 56K connection. This ability to uncompress multiple resolutions on the fly can also pay big dividends in print production workflows."

"While today's JPEG files contain only RGB data, JPEG 2000 will handle up to 256 channels-enough to describe alternate color models such as CMYK or CIE Lab and store alpha channels internally. JPEG 2000 will also work within a color managed environment, because it will include ICC profile information. And extensible metadata fields will make it possible for developers to add all sorts of information to the file. For example, a digital camera could insert the date and time a picture was created."

Corel To Develop New Linux Distribution 12:40 pm - Wilfred
You've heard the news? Now here's the official press release at Corel's website. Their distribution will be based on Debian and KDE, both famed for their extremely good quality. Yeah!

“Corel has chosen to work with KDE as our preferred desktop interface because we believe its development is further ahead than other offerings at this time,” said Derek Burney, Corel’s executive vice president of engineering. “KDE can easily be configured to offer a strong Windows-like look and feel, which we see as being very important to our strategy of making all aspects of work in a Linux environment compatible with present-day Windows offerings.

Corel will also build its desktop Linux offering around the Debian GNU/Linux distribution, which already has one of the largest installed bases in the Linux community, and is known for its stability and security.

“Debian has already made significant strides toward Linux on the desktop, so this is a natural partnership,” said Erich Forler, Corel’s Linux product manager. “The Linux community has also recognized that Debian’s Linux distribution is built around extremely clean code, and their commitment to documentation within their code, and for the applications, makes Open Source development more efficient and organized.”

Further Delays To PowerVRSG 12:31 pm - Wilfred
The EETimes posted about further delays in the rollout of the PowerVRSG. Ahh.. I'm tired of waiting. Just forget it!

Design glitches will delay NEC Corp.'s introduction of a 3-D graphics processor based on VideoLogic Ltd.'s second-generation PowerVR architecture until late summer, marking the second delay in the chip's production in a year. More recently, NEC announced last December that the PowerVR 250 would be in volume production by the first quarter of 1999. But NEC continues to have trouble casting a production-worthy design, which will force a delay in the introduction of the part until September, an NEC spokesman said.

Despite the delay, an NEC official said the device will still be competitive with rivals' parts upon introduction. The spokesman cited the rave reviews that a prototype Neon 250 board with a second-generation PowerVR processor received at the CeBit conference in March when compared against graphics cards based on Nvidia's TNT and 3dfx's Voodoo3 processors. "It's still going to be on the cutting edge, even though it's late," the spokesman said of the PowerVR 250. "The architecture is unique. It can handle lots of data quickly and is scalable."

Oh wow! It's still going to be competitive? Then imagine it released last year? They would have given all the competition a good thrashing! Just deliver it ok? We are all tired of waiting.

Zip Drive For Dreamcast 12:25 pm - Wilfred
GameCenter has some news that Sega signed up Iomega to design a Zip drive that can be attached to its Dreamcast console. Users will then be able to use the 'unlimited' storage to save emails, and other internet content. Of course, you can use it to save your games and character information. Cool huh?

With the device attached, the Dreamcast's storage capabilities would be boosted drastically. The hardware expansion would give players the ability to save email messages and other Internet content, as well as download and save game updates from the Web. According to Lynch, the Zip drive would have a number of applications. For example, a Zip disk could be used to store saved games, or to hold new characters or levels for a game that could be bought and downloaded online through Sega.

Voodoo3 3000 08:18 am - Kan
TheSanctum also did a review on the Voodoo3 3000 AGP card. Damn, gonna get one of these soon - for review.

The Voodoo3 box is graced with vibrant and eye catching graphics. When you open the box you will be surprised because of the highly excellent software bundle 3dfx scored. This is the best bundle we have seen yet. You'll receive in the box, full-versions of Unreal, Need ForSpeed3, and a special version of Descent 3. Not to mention a coupon for Unreal Tournament when it is released. You will just have to pay for shipping. Also the DVD player isn't shipped on disc. You will have to mail to coupon to receive it.

April 1999 SDRAM Comparison 07:28 am - Kan
Anand updated their SDRAM Comparison guide, using the latest beta PC133 modules from Samsung.

In order to isolate the memory modules as the only realistic causes of any fluctuation in stability, choosing the proper test bed was a bit of an ordeal, luckily AnandTech was aided in lab by the wonderful folks over at Kryotech who supplied AnandTech with a room temperature cooling system a week before the first stability tests were to commence. At the heart of AnandTech's SDRAM stability test bed was a Pentium II 333, capable of being reliably overclocked to 416MHz, running at room temperature with the aid of Kryotech's Renegade ATX-PE Room Temperature Cooler. The ambient case temperature of the Renegade test bed was kept at room temperature, or approximately 22 degrees Celsius, as was the surface temperature of the Pentium II processor.

IBM Ultrastar 9LZX 07:25 am - Kan
AGN Hardware their latest hardware review on the IBM Ultrastar 9LZX. This is a 10,000 rpm drive with an average seek time of 5.6ms and a whooping 4MB cache. Kickass!

The 9LZX Mako is what IBM calls their Low Profile model.  With 5 platters the drive only sits about 1" tall, making it a bit easier to cool than the 18ZX, the 18 GB version of the drive. IBM has also included S.M.A.R.T. technology and a feature known as Drive-Temperature Indicator Processor (Drive-TIP) which relays heat information to the SCSI controller.

Of course, LVD is where it's at for SCSI right now. It has an 80MB/s burst and a sustained rate of just over 20 MB/sec. LVD is also capable of operating with 15 devices on the bus and extends the maximum cable length to 12 meters.

Interview 07:25 am - Kan
QuakeCity has done an interview with Robert Gee, 2D artist and illustrator for Raven, discussing on their upcoming Star Trek Voyager game. Check this out!

The Star Trek: Voyager game we’re working on is a 1st person action game. Activision has chosen us to handle the Voyager license because of our outstanding track record in these type of games. Activision, Raven Software and Paramount are working together closely, making sure the game reflects the series’ integrity and is worthy of the Voyager name. So far, Paramount is extremely pleased with our efforts. This game will be one of Raven’s best thus far. The curtain will be unveiled at E3 this year in LA. Till then, "mum’s the word."

Voodoo3 Coverage 07:23 am - Kan
Singularity emailed us on their coverage of the Voodoo3 launch over at Heeren Electric. Missed the event? No problem, read this!

The whole front door of the Electric City entrance is adore with Voodoo 3 pin-ups and those little hang from the ceiling things. The place was pretty much it was during the normal days. Curious gamers standing by the computers system on the side of the store, getting their hand on the latest games on demo. The system used in both the launch and for the usually demo are a mixture of brands, speed and specifications. A good mixture of Compaq, HP and local brands such as Compro and Datamini. They all ranged from a basic Pentium II™ 300 MHz to the top of the line Pentium III™ 500 MHz. The 9 system using the Voodoo3, is easily identify. Why? You should know the answer.

The End To O/C-dom 01:01 am - Wilfred
Sheesh! Knew it was coming, but never felt so close till you read The Register's report. The end of overclocking - all the fun, all the benefits will soon end. Back to the days where we paid S$1200 for the premium chip. Dammit!

Plans by Intel to prevent overclocking of its processors are nearly complete, according to sources close to the company. At the end of last year, we reported that Intel would introduce locks on microprocessor speeds which would prevent end users from increasing the clock rate on chips. But now, its manufacturing methods mean that Intel chips cannot be overclocked, the source said.

Starlancer Preview 00:56 am - Wilfred
GameCenter posted a preview on the highly anticipated space-sim from Digital Anvil. With all the big names behind this game, the hype is inevitable but from the looks of it... it's hard to disappoint. But then again... first check out the snips:

"With this in mind, Starlancer will boast an immersive story line that is loosely based on some of the epic air-and-sea engagements of World War II, including the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor and the climactic Battle of Midway..."
"Digital Anvil has also gone to great lengths to create a living universe, similar in many respects to the detailed game worlds in today's advanced flight sims. Expect to witness all sorts of secondary operations, such as neutral peoples building enormous jump gates or engineers mining vast asteroid fields. Again, the idea is to give players the sense that they are participating in a truly epic struggle, a conflict in which their actions play a significant but not necessarily critical role in determining the outcome of the war."

"Starlancer is a space opera in the grand tradition. The space terrain has been beautifully rendered, marrying dark and foreboding star fields with realistic-looking space anomalies. By the same token, the in-game combat sequences are especially intense, giving you the sense that you are flying and fighting in a truly epic conflict. After repeated hits, parts and other debris break off of damaged ships with frightful regularity; this is typically followed by huge fiery explosions and radical shock waves."

Asus V3800 TNT2 Preview 00:53 am - Wilfred
Hardware Central scored a preview on Asus's V3800 TNT2 card. Let me predict, this is gonna be one kickass card when it comes out! It is seriously feature rich and reminds me of a Canopus card - all the frills and more! Be sure to catch this!

The model HardwareCentral received had both the 3D glasses, and TV out, which we can say are both spectacular. The black backgrounds showed up as black on the TV, and although the TV-out cuts out at over 800x600, we still think produces one of the best quality TV-out pictures we have seen. The stereoscopic glasses are another story. Right now, they are only supported under D3D, but the rumor is that OpenGL support is being worked on. I must say the result is quite amazing. You can almost feel the overhanging trees brush past you in Tomb Raider3, and the explosions go right over your head in Incoming.

TNT Detonator Drivers #2 00:45 am - Wilfred
System Logic got a follow up article for ya! This is a correction of their first writeup in which they wrote about an older set of drivers.

I did not realize that what I had downloaded were the Detonator drivers from NVIDIA that were older than the ones that Microsoft had just released.  The ones I had downloaded were version 1.09 released on 2/17/99.  Microsoft released version 1.15 on 4/17/99.  I made the mistake by thinking that the drivers from NVIDIA said 4/17/99, so I am sorry for any trouble that has caused anyone.

Issue 2 - Tech-Junkie 00:42 am - Wilfred
It's out. Some of you waited a month for this. Check out the second issue of the Tech-Junkie. The team got to taste the powers of an SGI workstation, revelled at Southpark and more!

Voodoo III AGP 00:39 am - Wilfred
CPRExtreme posted a first look at 3Dfx/STB's Voodoo 3. All I can tell is that these guys love it. Very much.

I have one item on my wishlist for this 3d card and no, it's not 32bit color rendering, it's that they should have considered a SLI solution for v3 like they did with v2. A second or 3rd v3 under the hood could be quite an experience I would imagine. In conclusion, if you havn't already checked your account for the cash to drop on one of these babies, your laggin! This is the best computer upgrade in town, and you deserve it.

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