30 April 1999 - Friday
Tiberian Sun Preview 22:33 pm - Wilfred
GameSpot stole a preview on the hotly anticipated C&C2: Tiberian Sun. This is a first parter which covered the storyline, interface and more! Here's the snippet.

Although Westwood's hard-earned stake in the genre has been challenged, it is by no means lost. For just shy of three years, Westwood's been developing the third entry in the venerable Command & Conquer series, Tiberian Sun, a title Westwood hopes will vault the company back to the top of the genre. By offering new tactics, interactive environments, detailed units, an intuitive interface, addictive mechanics, and the age-old conflict that made the original a classic, Tiberian Sun could expand the boundaries of real-time strategy gaming beyond anything we've yet to experience.

Guide to 3D Terminology 21:06 pm - Kan
Ever wanted to know what exactly are frame buffer, bit depths, tripple buffering etc? Sharky whipped up an article telling you all these 3D terminologies.

Double Buffering In order to maintain fluid graphics without artifacts a technique called double buffering is deployed when rendering both 2D and 3D. The video board renders into what's referred to as a back buffer and when the image has been finalized it's flipped into the front buffer and the back buffer is cleared so that the video board can start rendering the next frame. Easy as your ABC…

SingNet Scanning Computers 19:07 pm - Kan
This time, SingNet was caught with their pants down (literally) for scanning more than 200,000 SingNet as well as Magix customers' computers without their knowledge. Hey! How can they scan and invade our privacy without our knowledge? It seems like they can brush it off by saying it's a "value-added service" and we (consumers) should be "glad" SingNet offers such a service to us.  Voice your comments over at our forum.

MORE than 200,000 SingNet and SingTel Magix customers' computers, or close to half of Internet subscribers here, are being scanned without their knowledge to see if their systems are vulnerable to hacker attacks.

The Internet Service Provider had asked the Home Affairs Ministry's IT security unit to do the scan following news on March 6 that two boys who had hacked into 17 SingNet customers' accounts had been arrested. The scan, begun last month, will continue till all customers' accounts are covered.

Revolutionary Pen Computing Text Entry 19:06 pm - Kan
In an article from TheRegister, looks like those geeks from New York University's Media Research Lab developed a new method for pen computing text entry.

Designed for the Palm handheld, the Quikwriting system is, the researchers claim, much faster than the Palm's current text entry technology, Graffiti.

Developed by MRL Associate Professor Ken Perlin, Quikwriting arranges characters in a special sequence of groups that determines how each letter, number or symbol will be drawn. Within the sequence are symbols which tell the software which character within a group you actually want to enter.

Moving the stylus from the centre, towards the desired character's location, to one of two special symbol areas and back the to the centre allows the system to figure out which character you want and display it.

The speed comes because it's instantly clear how to get a given character -- you don't need to learn Graffiti's shorthand -- and you need never take the stylus off the screen while writing.

Roller Coaster Tycoon 19:05 pm - Kan
Those chums over at Firingsquad did a review on Roller Coaster Tycoon. This game looks interesting in which your objective is to build, design and manage a theme park. Sounds fun huh?

The graphics in Roller Coaster Tycoon are nothing short of amazing. Chris Sawyer, developer of this game, pulled out all the stops with this. The game is colorful from top to bottom, and it utilizes just about every color in the visible spectrum. You'll be amazed at all the tiny little details. Hundreds of people will be jam packed into your parks, but the game can keep track of every one of them, as they enter the park, walk around, stand in line, get on a ride, dump trash on the ground, whatever. One of the cooler aspects of gameplay comes when it rains - put up an information booth and all the park patrons will purchase umbrellas there and walk around with umbrellas.

New WinTune & Powerstrip 18:22 pm - Wilfred
Johnny of DemoNews informed us of the following updated versions of WinTune v1.0.38 & Powerstrip 2.41.09. Here's some information:

WinTune v1.0.38
New Direct3D tests run full-screen, measure NULL driver, PRIMARY display, and SECONDARY display performance.

Here's what I written in my news if you want to easier it up: "Windows Magazine released a new version of WinTune 98 just a while ago. WinTune 98 benchmarks all your computer's parts like, Video, OpenGL, Direct3D, Memory, HDD, etc. A great benchmark program! This version has some great updates. Now you can run the Direct3D test in full-screen and now you can choose between the PRIMARY and SECONDARY display, ex. Voodoo2 and a TNT." [Download Here]

Powerstrip 2.41.09
".....preliminary support for Voodoo3, TNT2, Savage4 and Rage128."
[Download Here]

Windows 2000 Hardware Compatibility List 18:10 pm - Wilfred
NT Game Palace sent word that Microsoft has updated their Win2k HCL (dtd 29/4). What's new? They added the Riva TNT as Direct3D HAL compatible. That's it.

Shuttle MB11 BX 09:23 am - Kan
Another motherboard review over at AnandTech. The Shuttle MB11 is a BX Socket370 motherboard and it comes in the microATX form factor.

Here's the challenge, take a 9" x 8" circuit board, and cram as much on it as possible. How did Shuttle tackle this design? The MB11 escapes Shuttle's usual motherboard nomenclature by providing a feature never seen before on a Shuttle motherboard, integrated video. The lack of an AGP slot on the MB11 is due to the presence of an integrated ATI Rage Pro Turbo AGP controller chip. Mind you that the Rage Pro Turbo isn't the newly released Rage 128, rather the old-school variant that was popular a little over a year ago. The integrated video occupies what would be the AGP "slot" on the motherboard, leaving the 3 PCI and 1 ISA slot alone to handle all of your expansion needs.

Voodoo3 3000 09:20 am - Kan
Here, we have another Voodoo3 3000 review by SysOpt. The V3 3000 looks as fast as the SLI in benchmarks shown. Pretty good I will say.

After the failure of the Voodoo Rush to deliver the goods, Voodoo2 entered the scene in March of last year. It was probably the most anticipated video accelerator to this date.  It's performance level was incredible as compared with the Voodoo(1), and its 8-12MB allowed for resolutions up to 800x600.  If you could afford a second Voodoo2, you could hook them up in SLI (Scanned Line Interleave) which gave a huge increase in performance and allowed the maximum resolution to increase to 1024x768.

Boston Acoustics BA635 09:17 am - Kan
Something new over at 3DHardware is the Boston Acoustics BA635 pair of speakers review.

Last, but not least, comes the subwoofer. This is the part of today’s speaker system that really decides on the general impression and can either bring a lot of joy or even more anger. The BA635 subwoofer is very compact, measuring only around 8x6x6 inches, making it the smallest sub I’ve ever seen. On the rear of the woofer is the AC in, the two RCA jacks for the satellites, a signal input jack for a standard 3.5 mm jack and a separate subwoofer volume control. All the audio plugs are colored in accordance with the proper jack, which will make connection easy even for the very most untrained computer users.

D-Link 5 Port HUB with Switch 09:15 am - Kan
Avault did a review on the D-Link 5 port hub with switch. Hey, this thing only cost US$99 !

The D-Link DSH-5 looks like most any hub, with 5 ports plus an uplink port. Each of the 5 ports supports 10 or 100 Mbit speeds automatically, depending on what is plugged into it. An internal switch provides the ability to communicate between the two speed segments. This is very useful if, for example, your two PCs have Fast Ethernet (100Base-TX) connections and a friend comes over with a computer with only an Ethernet (10Base-T) card. He/she simply plugs into a spare port on your hub and you can all communicate with each other. The DSH-5 also has LEDs to indicate network status such as data transmissions and collisions. Unlike most hubs however, the ports are on the back of the hub, while the LEDs are on the front of the hub, allowing for more of a clean installation where the network cables can be moved out of sight.

SuperSlotFan 09:07 am - Kan
WickedPC done a review on the SuperSlotFan. Hey, isn't this the fan I got a year ago? It sure looks bright and clean down there, unlike the dusty one mine became.

Picture a new cooling solution for your PC that has no drawbacks or flaws, and one that just exhausts all the air it possibly can at incredible rates at a pretty decent price. This cooling solution would blow air out of your PC rather than add more to it, and it would sit in any expansion slot where the majority of your heat is created. It would then take this heat and pump it directly out the back of your case, and into the open where your computer will never know the heat was there. 

Winfast 3D S320 09:05 am - Kan
AGN Hardware posted a review on the Winfast 3D S320 II TNT2 card. Looks like Leadtek is determine to capture a slice of the graphics market by being the first to offer the TNT2 on the market.

Leadtek has done a great job making sure that their card includes everything you need to get you up and running. It was just a matter of plugging in the card, hooking up the monitor and booting the computer. After I was beyond that point I just pointed Windows to the CD and installed the card. Total install time was around 5 minutes, this included the time for rebooting the computer.

The card includes a TV-Out adapter with support for S-Video and Composite out. They have even included a composite and S-Video cable, so that you a prepared to hook up the card to your TV. Leadtek has also included a great manual with instructions on installing the card and using the utilities for the card.

ASUS TNT2 09:03 am - Kan
HardwarePlus has some info on the pricing as well as specifications for the range of ASUS TNT2 family cards. Hmm..looks like it will cost US$249 for the AGP-V3800 Deluxe (Ultra TNT2).

Windows 2000 Final Beta 09:01 am - Kan
NT Game Palace told us that the Windows 2000 Beta 3 build 2031 is available for download. Duh, you need to be a technical betatester before you can do that.

Interview @ QuakeCity 09:00 am - Kan
QuakeCity had posted an interview with John Scott, developer for Raven software and they had some exclusive screenshots on Solider of Fortune.

Technology wise : detail textures add a lot to the game removing the bi/trilinear blurriness. The modeling system Ghoul is looking amazing. Many different model types are allowed, one model can have hats, sunglasses, different weapons et al. In brief, any effect that can be done in 3dsMax can be done on the models in SoF. Aureal are doing our 3d sound and have optimized their code from the Heretic2 version. The net play will incorporate most of the improvements in the later versions of Quake2 and we are looking at some of the external packages (such as Q2admin) to see what ideas we can use to improve the user friendliness of the game.

First Savage4 Review! 01:13 am - Wilfred
Our good Russian pals at iXBT scored big with a review on a sample Diamond Stealth III S540 card. Due to incomplete drivers sent to them, the benchmarks delivered a mix bag of results. Take a look!

Summing up we would like to say that Diamond Stealth III S540 graphics card performed beautifully and is comparable to all the new graphics cards. 3D quality is perfect. And as for a comparatively low speed in 2D, it is more than compensated by the purely gaming aims of this product together with its relatively low price, which makes it available for most 3D admirers. Besides, we feel like mentioning once again that all we had was just a sample without proper drivers.

Click on the image for an enlarged image of S3TC-enhanced Unreal. The clarity of the textures is really astounding, so let's hope the final shipping boards will have all the kinks ironed out nicely.

Apple G3-350Mhz Macintosh 00:47 am - Wilfred
Still on the talk of translucent casings, have a look at Ars-Technica's review on Apple's sleek beauty. Who says aesthetics are not important and they can't pack a punch at the same time?

I feel like I've got a powerful computer that's trapped under an insufficient OS for my needs or the hardware's capabilities. The Macintosh is fast, at times, on account of the G3, which is thanks to Motorola and IBM. My forays into Mac OS X Server shows me that the MacOS has a very bright server future, largely thanks to NeXT technology and BSD.  My Q3Test experience has been piositive so far, thanks to OpenGL and a decent card from ATI.

Translucent PC Casings 00:31 am - Wilfred
Over at Slashdot, I followed a link and found some alluring translucent casings for your PC. The new G3 Macs are really sexy, but I suspect my PC will look stupid with biege monitor and translucent orange casing? =)

Return of PIII Serial Number Debacle 00:24 am - Wilfred
It has returned to haunt Intel so quickly. Apparently, a small Canadian software company found a way to make the ID number on the Pentium-3 visible without the knowledge of the owner.

Intel in January reacted quickly to complaints from privacy advocates about the serial numbers by distributing software that enabled owners of computers containing Pentium III chips to hide the number, the newspaper said. But the problem has not gone away. The newspaper reported that a small Canadian software maker has found a way to make the serial number, that has been hidden, visible without the knowledge of the computer owner.

Acting in what it says is in the public interest, the Montreal-based Zero-Knowledge Systems placed a program on the Web site demonstrating the vulnerability.

Intel, however, has reacted by persuading Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq:SYMC - news), a maker of the popular Norton Antivirus software, to include the Zero-Knowledge program on its list of malicious programs. Consequently, users who visit the Zero-Knowledge site get a warning that the program is a virus. Zero-Knowledge officials have said that Intel has unfairly portrayed it as outlaws, the newspaper said.

Breakthrough On Quantum Computer 00:13 am - Wilfred
The Register reported a claim by NEC of a breakthrough achieved on the supercomputing front. This is quite beyond me, have a look.

According to NEC, the consortium has developed the fundamental building block for a future quantum computer by controlling the superposition of quantum states in a solid state electron device.

The quantum states are used to represent data as a quantum bit or qubit, with similar characteristics to the binaries used by current machines. And NEC claims that when a machine is built using the breakthrough, it will allow computation to be thousands or millions of times more powerful than current supercomputers.

NEC boffins made the solid state qubit by creating a so-called Cooper pair box by connecting a super conducting electrode some billionths of a meter with a reservoir of electrons using a Josephson Junction2. Quantum superposition states allowed the wave-like quanta to tunnel through the junction. In the device, two quantum states with a different number of electrons are coupled into superposition.


29 April 1999 - Thursday
TNT vs TNT2 vs UltraTNT2 20:11 pm - Kan
A thrash out over at Rivazone comparing the good old TNT vs TNT2 vs the UltraTNT2. The UltraTNT2 clock at 175/200 simply smokes!

The TNT2 performance curve and price point is different for each of these configurations. The TNT2 designation is placed upon boards that generally run at 125MHz core and 150MHz memory speed, or less. The Ultra TNT2 type is generally the speedier board with core speeds reaching all the way to 175 to 183MHz or higher and memory speeds of 183MHz, 200Mhz and more. The main difference is speed. Ultra TNT2 boards are Ultra due to their more expensive memory and tough testing that ensures the high speed operation.

Each of these TNT2 boards was equipped with a passive cooling fan and a varying style of heatsink. The board with the fastest default clock sported the smallest heatsink. The NVIDIA reference board had a spring-mount style fan. Leadtek's board had a slimline heatsink and fan almost identical to the 175/200 board, but with thicker fins on the sink.

TNT2 Drivers for TNT users 20:09 pm - Kan
Anand put together an article on the benefits of using TNT2 drivers for TNT users.

AnandTech decided to fire up the good ol' TNT2 test bed, however instead of using the previously installed TNT2, AnandTech swapped it out for a trusty reference design 16MB AGP TNT. The result? The system booted into windows without even so much as a beckoning for updated drivers. The TNT2 drivers worked perfectly fine with the TNT, not too surprising, since the core has not changed all too much.

AnandTech experienced the same stability with the TNT running the TNT2 drivers as was experienced with the TNT2 running its own drivers, an indication that NVIDIA's revision 0172 drivers are not yet ready for mass deployment. The majority of crashes occurred under Direct3D applications, while the OpenGL stability was rock solid, an indication of a very mature OpenGL ICD on NVIDIA's part, something no other manufacture in their class has a claim to fame for.

Windows 98 Special Edition 20:05 pm - Kan
Speedy3D reviewed the coming Windows 98 Special Edition, which is actually the long awaited service pack for Win98. Gee, can't wait to use the new ICS feature.

There are three main things that Special Edition will fix. 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. Another program that will conflict with the dates in the year 2000 is DOS XCOPY, because it uses recognizes dates in the international form instead of standard form. It will not recognize 00 as 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.

SuperMicro TMR-006 20:03 pm - Kan
FiringSquad done a review on the SuperMicro TMR-006 slotket. This thing is cool man! It has the dual-Celeron modification built in. All you need is to pop in two PPGA celerons onto a dual board and you will be cooking away!

Supermicro was kind enough to deliver 2 TMR-006s to us, and of course 2 slockets immediately gave rise to the thought "dual-Celeron!" These unique slockets are already modified for dual-Celeron operation. The modifications are incorporated into the original design the slocket, so you don't see any weird wires and resistors glued on the converter. Even with a trained eye these slockets look like any other slocket. We didn't bother squinting at the trace elements to see that they were connected to the proper pins. Thus, you get the dual-processing capability without the headache of having to solder stuff yourself!

High-Performance CPU Part 4 16:42 pm - Wilfred
Getting The Most of Each Clock Cycle. Ace's Hardware posted part 4 of this article which will tell you more on where CPUs draw their raw power from. Hehe... more importantly how this raw power will translate into real world applications.

The main reason why the 20 year old x86 architecture is still competitive with the younger RISC CPUs is the fact that modern x86 CPUs use an advanced RISC Core, register renaming, and out of order execution to make sure that the x86 limits are breached.

The K7 is not a revolution, is an evolution, the most balanced x86 Out of Order CPU architecture. Intel's Merced, however, is a completely new design. Will this EPIC CPU crush its opponents? Is the AMD K7, the Cyrix Jalapeno, and the Intel Williamette the last x86 Mohicans? What does EPIC/VLIW offer that x86 CPUs can't?

Samsung Yepp MP3 Player 16:25 pm - Wilfred
SystemLogic has a press release of the attractive Samsung Yepp MP3 player. If I didn't remember wrongly, the Creative Nomad was co-developed with Samsung and they both bear striking resemblance. Will this be the next revolution in portable music?

Survey results of 500 young people, the main target for "yepp," were used in developing the product. Respecting the wishes of most survey respondents, Samsung Electronics included an FM radio, recording capability (160 minutes) and telephone directory (500 names). The magnesium case provides a touch of elegance that has been well received by consumers.

The center of "yepp" has a liquid crystal display that indicates the title of the song being played, the song length and the lyrics. The product takes two AAA batteries which will last for ten hours of continue play time. The sound quality of "yepp" is on a par with that of a compact disc player. The songs being played will not skip or be interrupted even when the "yepp" user is engaged in rigorous exercise.

Leadtek Winfast S320 II 16:20 pm - Wilfred
The Sanctum did a review on the Leadtek Winfast S320 II TNT2 card. This card seems to be great value for money too.

We think Leadtek did a great job in putting it's first TNT2 powered video card together. It's packed with plenty of features and sports excellent image quality, doing this at a competitive price that most will find affordable. We found the software bundle to be unique and the drivers stable and full of options. If you are in the market to pick up a TNT2 powered card we think you should check out Leadtek. They also have a S320 II packing with either 16 or 32MB of SGRAM. The Digital LCD connector is optional, but everything else is included.

3DfxCool CelRex Cooler 16:11 pm - Wilfred
FPS3D finished a review on the CelRex activies heatsinks from 3DfxCool. Gotta love the sight of this brick-size cooling monster sitting atop your processor.

A dual fan combo might sound like a plausible solution… And it is. But what about that percentage of the hardcore crowd that want to squeeze performance out to the last drop? Enter CelRex, the black beauty of the 3DfxCool design division, and the successor to the renowned TRex for Pentium II based systems. With four whisper quiet, HO (high output) fans, and one of the largest heat-sinks in the business, there is nothing better than this.

Leadtek Winfast 5300 Mobo Review 16:08 pm - Wilfred
Not a very commonly reviewed item. CPUReview posted their evaluation of this Super7 mobo which features a 1Mb L2 cache, integrated audio and video. Have a look!

The Leadtek Winfast 5300 is a good motherboard for a low-end computer - just don't expect it to be a killer games machine (although you can add a Voodoo 2 card to improve its gaming performance). The high level of integration (on-board audio and video) can save you a fair bit of money.

Shuttle Spacewalker HOT-681Z 04:50 am - Kan
HotHardware reviewed the Spacewalker HOT-681Z Socket370 motherboard based on the Intel ZX chipset. Things are beginning to move again in the industry, with the launch of the 810 chipset as well as the coming 820 chipset The good old BX doesn't seem that good anymore.

Shuttle's Hot 681z Motherboard is a socket 370 mothboard based on the low end ZX chipset. There are two rather painful problems with this chipset and the socket 370 architecture. First there are only 2 Dimm Sockets. The other, the fact that it takes only Celeron PPGA based CPU's leaving not a fantastically large upgrade path. Rumors abound about a socket 370 P3 but until that is confirmed, there is only one type of CPU for this chipset as well as any socket 370 board.

WaveForce Digital Updated 04:42 am - Kan
FiringSquad just updated their Yamaha Waveforce Digital 192X soundcard with Winbench99 benchmarks comparing between the Waveforce vs the Monster Sound MX300 and the SB Live!

The Ziff-Davis Audio Winbench 99 tests show that the Yamaha Waveforce is a competent stereo performer, easily handling all stereo sound mixing chores with a maximum of 5 percent CPU usage, but it stumbles a bit in 3D. The card reports only 8 accelerated DirectSound 3D streams, and CPU usage veers up sharply after that.

Baseball Edition 2000 04:30 am - Kan
SystemLogic emailed us on their new review on Interplay's Baseball Edition 2000. Wow, the graphics looks quite cool!

The best part of the game is the looks of the players themselves. The people look very realistic, especially the body. Everything just goes perfectly and each are definied perfectly. The faces could use a little, but if you were not actually looking for the player themselves, then it is pretty damn good for a game.  In the next version they should work on looking more like the player.

ATI Rage Fury 04:23 am - Kan
Some new reviews over at CRUS. First, it's a ATI Rage Fury 8MB (Xpert 99) card, the other one is a review on Requiem.

The card also have hardware mpeg accelleration which is becoming a standard on newer boards. Thats a pretty good thing because then first of all you save money because you don't have to buy a seperate hardware mpeg accelleration card and second you save expansion slots on your motherboard.

P3-550Mhz May Have Overheating Problems 01:49 am - Wilfred
As The Register reported, Intel's P3-550Mhz (scheduled for release on May 16) has overheating problems. Hot stuff.

Early reports from OEMs sampling Intel's stopgap 550MHz Pentium III  indicate that there are serious thermal issues with the new top-end desktop chip due for launch on May 16. "We've cooked several already," said one assembler who asked not to be named.

Fastest Overclocked PC On Earth 01:36 am - Wilfred
Dual processors aside, our crazy friend Kyle managed to nail the Celeron at 633Mhz. I'll retype that - 633Mhz. Only at HardOCP.

The SupaChill cooler lets your Celeron run at an insane 633 MHz core speed, needless to say the bottleneck is not longer the CPU in these tests. Using a TNT2 or a VooDoo3 will reveal its full performance at this speed, we are currently pushing the VooDoo2's and the TNT beyond their capabilities. This becomes clear if you compare the software scores with the 3D accelerated scores, the CPU wants to push some more polygons, but the VooDoo2's and the TNT are already running at max performance. And it goes to show that we at the HardOCP mean business, even when the pompous one thinks his 618 MHz Celeron is all that.

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