|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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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.
|27 April 1999 - Tuesday
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Pocket Size 56K USB Modem
19:01 pm - Wilfred
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
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
SonicVortex 2 Review 13:21 pm - Wilfred
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
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
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
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.
Lets 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 90s. Not that they would be enough
without the BassBite, but its sure impressive to hear them after being used to
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 isnt due to move on up to
100MHz FSB until early 2000 and theres 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 its
not easy to see exactly why 100MHz is on offer right now, unless theres a Socket 370
Coppermine waiting in the wings (something Intels 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
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
Midtown Madness 06:14 am - Kan
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
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
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
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
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
Tournament 15:15 pm - Wilfred
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Thats 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
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
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
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, were 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
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.
Speakers 18:36 pm - Kan
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
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
About Linux 21:55 pm - Wilfred
which attempts to answer the top 10 questions asked about Linux. It is a good start for
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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. Its a bit like Shogos yet without the coloured lighting,
it has a something in common with Quakes yet its more detailed and can deal
with outdoor areas. Ok, well its fast, the textures are highly detailed, the
animation is very good.
Asus V3800 TNT2 AGP 11:24 am - Wilfred
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
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
Elitegroup P6BXT-A+ And
Shuttle B001 11:16 am - Wilfred
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?
"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
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
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
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.
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
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
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, Corels 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, Corels Linux product manager. The Linux community has also recognized
that Debians 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
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
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
Voodoo3 3000 08:18 am - Kan
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
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
IBM Ultrastar 9LZX 07:25 am - Kan
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.
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
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 were
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 Ravens
best thus far. The curtain will be unveiled at E3 this year in LA. Till then,
"mums the word."
Voodoo3 Coverage 07:23 am - Kan
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
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
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
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
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
Voodoo III AGP 00:39 am - Wilfred
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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