21 August 1999 - Saturday

LAVA! The Future Of MP3? 
12:35 pm - Wilfred
ALive!'s got an interesting writeup, I believe one of the first reviews, on Creative's LAVA! LiveWare update. On first impression, it seemed like a souped-up animated visualization. But with a little customization, let Ee Siang show you what it's capable of. Rinoa?

'...when an independent artist offers his song for download on MP3 sites like MP3.com, his/her fans cannot identify with them without the visual element in place... I mean, if one day, you and I decide to start a band and publish our songs via MP3 on the web, how are we going to let the world know who the hell are we? The answer? LAVA!, of course. All we need to do is just take some cool image shots of the band and customize our very own band's LAVA! scene and the whole world will know who we are...'

Celerons To Kick More Ass Come 2000 12:19 pm - Wilfred
Perhaps the chip mammoth is feeling the heat and rushing to make promises? Intel announced that they shall be moving the Celeron line to Coppermine core. I'm keen to see Athlon development put even more heat on the chip giant! =)

With this transition, Celeron will receive a performance increase thanks to a number of features that are now reserved for high-end Pentium III processors. The list includes Streaming SIMD Extensions, a set of instructions for processing multimedia, along with support for a 100MHz system bus, sources said.

Celeron will also adopt a new packaging design, called "flip chip," pin grid array for the 370 pin Socket 370. Flip chip packaging moves the pins that attach the chip to the motherboard from its edges to its center, making for a shorter electrical path and a shorter thermal path, and increasing performance and heat dissipation, sources said.

The History Of Q3Test 09:26 am - Kan
Exxtreme3D posted an article called The History of Q3Test which describe the subtle changes you may see from the various versions of the demo.

Hereís another subtle change to the game -- a change in the smoke produced by the rocket launcher. When looking through it from directly behind the smoke, it looks much thinner which I think is a great difference from the old model. With the previous smoke, it was hard to see if you even hit your target if you didnít strafe to the side after firing. One tip that Iíd like to include is not to move forward too much in the same direction as your rocket after firing -- Iíve seen opponents using as a mask to hide behind with their Railgun.

MS Elite Keyboard vs Future Power 09:23 am - Kan
AGN Hardware thrashed out two keyboards, the MS Elite Keyboard vs the Future Power keyboard. 

First off lets look at the actual layouts of the 2 keyboards. The Future Power keyboard uses the standard straight layout that basically everyone on earth is familiar with. The Microsoft keyboard uses the unique "natural" design that it pioneered in its first product, the MS Natural keyboard. The "Elite" is an updated version with a smaller footprint and USB capability. Now comes the tough part, are you a steadfast supporter of the conventional keyboard design or can you take a chance on MSís idea?

Elsa 3D Revelator 09:14 am - Kan
We posted the review on the Erazor III and Revelator 3D two days ago and today, iXBT posted their thoughts on the Revelator 3D Glasses. Check it out.

However, life keeps going, and the technological progress inevitably develops further. And voila! Now we can watch the action in Unreal with all the stereo effects, which became possible due to special stereo glasses. The new tool provides an absolutely different level of perception and you really wish you could see behind the monitor: what else is there, that we can't notice from outside? The stereo glasses make the images on the monitor look not flat but real 3D and we can easily follow the missile flying from the front somewhere far to the horizon. 

Seven Kingdoms Screenshots 09:12 am - Kan
Our buds over at SG-Gaming posted some screenshots on Seven Kingdoms. The game reminds me of Age of Empires except that the graphics are really dazzling!


20 August 1999 - Friday

Linux Won't Dominate 
23:59 pm - Wilfred
osOpinion has a new editorial titled "Linux Won't Dominate The Desktop". A very interesting read which I found myself agreeing with much of the author's views. Here's a para:

The non-technically minded want the freedom to indulge in their interests or goals with the minimum of fuss. Ultimately, when it comes to the desktop the monetary price of the OS is irrelevant. For an average user, a system where every program runs the first time, does what it should and has a consistent interface with a single place to lay the blame is a small price to pay for the occasional crash.

While this probably explained Microsoft's success and popularity. I hope people reading this won't just ACCEPT that we deserve software that crashes every now and then for NO GOOD reason. So while we CAN put up with it, surely they can do better!

Sony DS5000 Surround Headphones 23:55 pm - Wilfred
Wow! If you think you'll only enjoy true cinematic audio fidelity and effects with super elaborate home theatres, think again! The FiringSquad just reviewed the Sony DS5000 headphones, which are wireless and even has AC-3 decoding in place. Check this out!

The DP-IF5000 Digital Surround Processor is designed to stand unobtrusively on your desk or by your theatre setup. Serving as both a wireless transmitter and Dolby Digital decoder, the IF5000 makes the MDR-DS5000 a unique product. Touted as the world's first "Virtual Dolby Digital" system, the IF5000 accepts 3 types of digital input and two types of analog input and contains built-in decoders for both Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic.

The transmitter will accept a digital optical stream for 5.1 and PCM audio, or any coaxial stereo analog input, which will then pass through a 24-bit DSP for surround decoding and output to 2 channels. Support is offered for Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic, an enhanced stereo effect, and standard, unmodified output.

Diamond V770 TNT2 Ultra 23:50 pm - Wilfred
MaximumHardware posted their detailed review of the V770 Ultra. It's a long long single page writeup on Diamond's flagship card. Go and have a look!

Creative Labs Dxr3 6X DVD 14:46 pm - Kan
GamersDepot just sent note on their latest review on the Creative Labs Dxr3 6X DVD drive. Beam me up!

The first thing that you'll find about this kit is how complete it seems, complete with manuals that explain everything down to the last detail.  Setup was like installing any other CD-type drive.  Just find an empty 5 1/4" bay, slap it in, hook up the IDE and audio cables, and your set.  The first thing you'll need to do from there is to install the cool DVD software that comes with the drive.  The Creative PC-DVD Encore Dxr3 software contains everything you'll need to get your own PC-theater up and going in no time at all! 

ABIT BE6 13:55 pm - Kan
The House of Anand reviewed the ABIT BE6 Slot-1 motherboard today. Hmm, 8 IDE channels and support for ATA-66 sure is sweet.

The ATX specification is also closely followed with all major components strategically placed to minimize cable clutter and provide the most room to work around the board. All HDD/FDD connectors are located where they should be, right at the front of the board, so that no cables are forced to run over the CPU and/or memory. The ATX power connector is unfortunately located at the back of the board, next to the Slot-1 connector. That means that the power cable will have to run over the CPU and memory, reducing airflow to the CPU and cluttering up the inside of the system. The front panel connectors will prevent the use of a full length card in one ISA slot, while the other is blocked by a fan connector. Fortunately, all 5 PCI slots can accept full length cards. The UDMA/66 connectors are color coded white to help differentiate things at a glance, while the entire back panel I/O looks like a rainbow for PC99 compliance.

MP3 Anywhere 12:36 pm - Wilfred
Whoa! Wired News has it that a new product called MP3 Anywhere will allow you to WIRELESSLY broadcast, up to 100 feet, MP3s from your PCs to home stereos!

MP3 addicts can now bypass those wimpy PC speakers and broadcast straight to their stereos, thanks to a wireless attachment that comes in under US$100.

On Wednesday, hardware developer X10 launched the MP3 Anywhere, a wireless kit that can transmit MP3 songs from a PC to stereos up to 100 feet away. The MP3 Anywhere Kit sends the audio signal over a 2.4-gigahertz radio band, the same high bandwidth radio signal used in consumer devices like cordless phones.

The MP3 Anywhere Kit comes with the transmitter and receiver, as well as MouseREMOTE, a remote control unit that functions as both a universal remote and PC mouse. A WinAmp plug-in enables the MouseREMOTE to control the popular MP3 player software

Internet Is Y2K Ready? 12:17 pm - Wilfred
How many of you are concerned about carrying out online activities during the turn of the millennium? A spokesman from the White House has said that the Internet, in general, will at most be affected by localized problems and services will be able to proceed as usual... "routing around the damage".

'... the Internet is a global network, made up of some 200,000 networks and an untold number of individual computers ďbehindĒ those networks, any failures are likely to be temporary ďglitches,Ē said Donald Heath, president of the Internet Society, which oversees the development of technology standards used throughout the Internet. ďThe Internet will route around the damage,Ē he said, borrowing from a well-worn Internet maxim.'

Everglide - Large Attack Pad 12:13 pm - Wilfred
3DSpotlight reviewed the most-hyped mouse pad ever! =) So issit going to give you more satisfaction than your trusty $2 version?

I ordered the Large Attack Pad and as soon as I got it I started a Quake2 CTF match to see what this mouse pad could do for me, and I was really amazed. It felt much more comfortable than my old mouse pad, the area was larger and it really helped for big turns and all that stuff.

I really found the Everglide Large Pad to be worth the 20 bucks, not only for the hardcore/average gamer but also to any person that spends a lot of time on his computer everyday.

KDE 2.0 - An Interview With Daniel M.Duley 12:09 pm - Wilfred
Linux.com had an interview with a core KDE developer and they talked about the features to be found in the coming KDE 2.0. There are also screenshots and link to the KOffice suite expected to release with KDE 2.0. Take a look!

How do you think the development of Gnome has affected the development of KDE?

Daniel M. Duley: Gnome has certainly caused us to look into user interface issues we probably would have put a lesser priority on.

For example, it was Gnome which showed me how important user interface customization is. KDE's focus has always been on applications, and many of us didn't really understand why one would really need features such as Gtk themes or Enlightenment's advanced themeing. Most people were busy coding productivity stuff ;-) Gnome caused myself at least to take another look at these interface issues and work hard to resolve them in KDE 2.0.

Microsoft To Release Code For Messenger 12:02 pm - Wilfred
Now you understand the importance for competition? Sounds like good news (in a way), but who cares? I don't! ICQ is still more appealing to me now! Check out Yahoo News for the full story:

Microsoft Corp. turned up the heat Wednesday in its instant-messaging battle with America Online Inc., pledging to release software code this month in a step toward establishing a widely accepted Internet standard.

Microsoft's decision to publish its MSN Messenger protocol was welcomed by a leader of the independent committee that has been working for two years to agree on a universal standard for the hugely popular way to communicate over the Internet.

Intel Software To Overclock Chips 09:30 am - Sniper
Came across this just now and I think this will bring a smile to all overclockers out there, The Register reported that there is an Intel software that allows users to overclock their CPUs safely. Read on.

The Register has learnt today of a piece of Intel software, run from the DOS command line, which can make chips run at twice the speed. 

The software, called NEWSPEED.EXE will push processors up to the limit. 

The software is designed for OEMs and Intel staff themselves, one of whom said he had used it on a 450MHz processor, overclocking it to 550MHz for a year, without anything
falling over. 

More On Sun's MAJC 08:51 am - Sniper
Looks like putting several processors on a single die is the wave of the future, hot on the heels of IBM Power4 chip, Sun's (MAJC) Microprocessor Architecture for Java Computing.  EETimes has a nice article that sums up the features of this chip.

In addition to multithreading, the MAJC architecture (pronounced "Magic") is designed for chip multiprocessing (CMP), or the placement of several MPU cores on a single die. Just as today's high-performance servers feature several discrete processors chips, more MPUs means more computing horsepower. And putting them all on the same chip means even faster performance because of the shorter distances and faster bus speeds. 

The first MAJC chip will most likely feature two processor cores, although Tremblay said the architecture can scale far beyond that. Although two is faster than one, the combination does not produce a straight linear advance because some of the power is diverted to accurately dividing up the threads and sending tasks to each core. Tremblay said that initial tests have shown a two-chip MAJC implementation running 60 percent faster than a single-chip design. "Once it scales past four processors, we could see a more linear performance increase," he predicted. Sun will disclose more details of the early MAJC chips at the Microprocessor Forum in October. 

P3-600 @ 800 Mhz 06:56 am - Kan
More overclocking madness as TheTechZone posted a blurb on overclocking the P3-600 to a whopping 800 Mhz using the Alpha P125 cooler. 

Saitek P120 Gamepad 06:53 am - Kan
AGN Hardware posted a review on the Saitek P120 Gamepad. Also, the babes posted a video review of the V3500 TV graphics card. 

We found the movement of the D-Pad to be adequate, but slightly loose feeling. Luckily, it's nothing that couldn't be overcome after playing with the pad for a half hour or so. The buttons were responsive, while not being mushy, which is a plus. We also used the Action Pad with, and without the additional mini-joystick, and actually it works pretty good with it. Due to the flat, penny-sized head of the stick, it felt more like an extension of the gamepad's D-Pad, than using a joystick device, so it made using the pad a little more comfortable. Most users may overlook this feature, as I sort of like it now, but first I didn't think much of it, as I never was very fond of the mini-sticks the classic Gravis GamePads used to offer.

Gaming PC on a Budget 06:50 am - Kan
As usual, our buds over at FiringSquad posted an interesting article called Gaming PC on a Budget pointing you to the cheapest and fastest PC available in the market.

Dual processor systems appeal to the techie in all of us, but people don't need two processors for a simple gaming rig yet. Quake 3 is the only upcoming game we know of that features SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) support, and unless you only plan on playing Q3A, dual processors might be overkill. You'll also need an operating system with SMP support such as WindowsNT or Linux. (Luckily, this writer is one of the Q3A only freaks, and I'll include the information on a dual processor system for my brethren.)

FA420 Cooler 06:48 am - Kan
Speedy3D kicked off with a review of the FA420 Graphics Chipset cooler. 

A video card works like a person. The hotter they get the more likely something is to go wrong with them and the slower they work. When itís hot people donít feel good when they are working hard. On the other hand when people feel nice and cool they work hard and longer. That is how your video card operates. Now you can easily see why everyone should get a cooler for their video card. Even if it doesnít overclock or you donít want to overclock it you should still get one. The point Iím trying to get across is this: Buy a video card cooler.

DirectX7 RC2 06:47 am - Kan
NT Game Palace is kind enough to tell us that the DirectX7 RC2 is out for official beta testers. You can download'em from here.

Windows 98 Shutdown Patch 06:37 am - Kan
Our pals over at ActiveWin told us that Microsoft released a patch to solve the Windows 98 shutdown problem. FINALLY! 

Microsoft has also learned that some customers were replacing the Windows 98 Second Edition version of CONFIGMG.VXD with the Windows 98 version to address shutdown issues. Microsoft strongly recommends that users do not do this. This is an untested scenario that could result in blue screens, ACPI errors and hardware failures. This update will check to see if the appropriate version of CONFIGMG.VXD is installed on the system and replace any older versions with the Windows 98 Second Edition version.

Jensen JMP-53 06:37 am - Kan
3DHardware.net posted a review on the Jensen JMP-53 speakers. Nothing spectacular about the speakers as the unit doesn't come with a subwoofer.

As the JMP-53 system do not come with a subwoofer, we did not expect any tremendously great performance in the bass department and we were not surprised either. With the lack of a dedicated woofer for the lower frequencies the midrange driver has to do all the work. The outcome? The bass is much less defined and the overall sound just doesn't feel the same. Jensen have thought of this, and their solution was to add a subwoofer output jack on the right speaker so users could connect an external subwoofer to the JMP-53s. Beware though, subwoofers that are especially found with dedicated 3-piece systems often receive the sound signals and later transmits these to the satellite speakers which means that those types of subwoofers will not work with the JMP-53 for the simple fact that they are not connected that way.

Star Trek Voyager Screenshots 06:35 am - Kan
CRUS just posted 10 screenshots of StarTrek Voyager. No need to explain further, see for yourself the dazzling graphics.


19 August 1999 - Thursday

Hardware-One: Elsa Erazor III & Revelator 3D 
20:38 pm - Wilfred
Right! Today Hardware-One gives you the low-down of the Erazor III TNT2 card together with the much hyped Revelator 3D combo. Other than dizzily-realistic stereoscopic performance, Wy Mun also looked at how using 3D stereo affected game performance!

'... the 3D Revelator Specs undoubtedly offers a virtual sense of 3D feel and simulation. However, by dawning on the "shades" youíll be inevitably sacrificing vibrant colours for it and getting weaker contrasts. Even by turning up the settings via the monitor doesnít aid much, as itís just like putting on a screen-filter whilst playing games. So donít expect beautiful, glorious and dazzling 32-bit colour to accompany the stereoscopic images you see.'

Einstein's Theory Break New Ground In Crypto 20:29 pm - Wilfred
Interestingly, CNet has a story about Dr Adrian Kent's discovery of a new application for Einstein's Theory of Relativity, at the Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics department of Cambridge University. I read, understood little, though it sounds amazing. =)

Dr. Adrian Kent, assistant director of research in the department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge, has used Einstein's discovery that signals cannot go faster than light to devise a new type of code.

The new encryption allows an individual to make a prediction with a guaranteed date stamp that only they can reveal.

Someone could use the code to predict something and unveil the message after the event with proof that it was made before it happened.

"We have learned in the last 15 years that quantum physics has important applications in code-making, but this is the first serious application of Einstein's relativity theory. It solves what was up to now thought an impossible problem," Kent said in a statement.

Videologic SonicVortex2 20:24 pm - Wilfred
ExtremeHardware has a review on the SonicVortex2 soundcard. Check it out along with ours. Here's a snip:

The Videologic SonicVortex2 is a very functional Vortex2 board for both the general gamer, and those looking for the best in A3D 2.0 performance. The Vortex2 chip is an excellent 3D audio chip and the SonicVortex2ís Aureal SuperQuad implementation is seamless. VideoLogic also seems to be actively supporting the SonicVortex2 through regular driver upgrades and game patches.

Pioneer 6X DVD Review 20:20 pm - Wilfred
One of the things on my 'future acquisition' list. CPUReview took at look at the Pioneer DVD-103S drive that comes with a nice slot-in mechanism typical of current Pioneer drives.

The drive is a bit noisy; like all variable speed drives. I believe the last quiet CD-rom drive I used was a 24x Toshiba... but I will admit that the drive is nice and fast; Linux Mandrake installed very quickly from it :-)

Great drive; better supported under Windows 98 than Windows 95. I *really* like trayless design. Recommended.

Micrsoft's Secure Music Format Cracked 20:16 pm - Wilfred
Wired News has it that Microsoft's recently released alternative to MP3 has been cracked, even though it was meant to be a secure music format that would restrict playback to only a PC. Yeah, even the crack file has a nice name to go with it! =)

Microsoft launched the Windows Media Audio (WMA) format as an alternative to the popular MP3 technology on Tuesday. WMA files can be encoded to restrict playback to a single PC, time period, or number of plays.

Almost instantly, cracking software that removes all playback restrictions began making its way around newsgroups and IRC sessions.

Why Are Games Fun? 15:26 pm - Kan
Noticed over at Fat Ars that Gonzo whipped up another article on Why are Games Fun? Well, beats me, but games are a good way to release juice (err...I mean stress).

While graphics, and to a lesser extent sound, are advertised and excessively harped upon by the media and game publishers marketing departments, they are relatively inconsequential to the fun factor of the game.   Sure the first ten minutes you play a gorgeous game you go "Wow!" a lot, but after a few hours you become accustomed to the fancy graphics.  No game can be based purely on spectacular graphics (unless the developer is marketing their game toward video card bundles).  You probably have a copy of Incoming, and have played it for a grand total of 1 hour.  Why?  Because after you get used to the nifty effects, shooting down wave after wave of bad guy gets boring.  More on Incoming later. 

Sega Rally 2 15:29 pm - Kan
VROOOM! We have a review of Sega Rally 2 from TheTechZone. Talking about cars, I just found out recently that the BMW M Coupe cost $310,000 over here. Duh!

When you are racing in the snow, or mud, the terrain slowly gathers up on your car. That sounds kind of funny, so I will try and explain what I mean. When you start a race in the snow you have a nice clean car. When the race is over, half of the car will be cover in white. I find that pretty realistic. I mean in how many racing games would your car still be clean after racing through the snow? Everyone that I know of. This is the first racing game that I know of to include such effects as that.

Voodoo3 3500 TV 14:33 pm - Kan
Our buds over at ReviewZone just released their review on the Voodoo3 3500 TV graphics card. Darn, this is very tempting. :)

The Voodoo3 3500 was expected to have a core and memory clock of 183Mhz but seemed to sport nothing else, though a TV-Out was expected. In order to make it more competitive in the TNT2 Ultra-soaked market, 3dfx announced that the 3500 would come with some new nifty multimedia features that werenít included in the original specifications. Because of these multimedia features the card was named the Voodoo3 3500 TV, because other than the TV-Out it also had TV and FM inputs.

ABIT Virtual Tour 12:52 pm - Kan
You must check out HardOCP ABIT Virtual Tour where Kyle posted TONS of pictures he took while touring in the ABIT factory in Taiwan. Very interesting!

You ever wonder how some of this hardware stuff is actually made?  I know I have.  When we were lucky enough to be able to travel to Taiwan for the Computex Show, we had the opportunity to visit several mainboard factories.  One of these was ABIT.  You know damn well I am a big ABIT fan and jumped at the opportunity to go check out the "inside" of what was going on.  They let me take pictures of just about anything I wanted. I am gonna lay all this out here with a ton of thumbnailed pics and just as little commentary as I can get by with.  The "Virtual Tour" should give you some idea just how mainboards are made.  When it comes right down to it, it is a process that requires extreme precision but is pretty simple to grasp.  In other words, while this tour might get the attention of us geeks, it is safe for the everyday computer user too.

Early Athlon Motherboard Review 12:50 pm - Kan
TomsHardware posted a review of motherboards supporting the Athlon processor. Looks like only 3 motherboard manufacturers agreed to produce Athlon boards.

Let's pick three examples, Abit, Asus and FIC. Abit already announced that they won't do Athlon-motherboards. Does that surprise anyone? Abit never made any Super7-boards as well. It doesn't seem too unlikely that Abit wants to stay on good terms with Intel. Asus is the next and saddest example. I know for a fact that Asus has designed a highly excellent Athlon-motherboard. However, who expected Asus at the launch-event in Taiwan last week waited in vain. Asus is chicken, they could easily supply Athlon-boards, but they are afraid of Intel's reaction. Well, well. Example number three is FIC. FIC has got a relationship with Intel too, they are actually a significantly big customer for Intel chipsets. However, FIC belongs just as VIA to the Formosa Plastic empire, and thus FIC used to be one of the first to supply motherboards with VIA and thus non-Intel chipsets. FIC doesn't have the slightest problem with launching their Athlon-motherboard. They weren't afraid of Intel in the past and they're not afraid of them now as well. That's the spirit, dear readers! Asus is one of the very best motherboard makers in the world, but being afraid of Intel doesn't score them any points with me.

D-Link DFE-910 Network Kit Review 12:05 pm - Yingzong
Saw this review down at Overclockin'. I have the DFE-905 and have personally found it a great kit to work with. Wish that they would price it cheaper here in Singapore so that it would be a compelling reason to recommend it to my friends though. Ah well, can't have a cake and eat it I guess... Here's a snip from the article :

This kit is very impressive. During the testing I had absolutely zero problems. The kit installed easily, performed very well, and contains all the parts you need to setup a small network. Since it contains a hub that will allow you to mix and match up to five 10 or 100Mbps cards, this kit is very flexible.

The kit is well suited for the beginner and the more advanced user as well. If you are looking to get into 100Mbps Ethernet, but still have some 10Mbps hardware you will need to use, this kit is definitely something you should look into. If you are a little more advanced and want to use your network for a little more than drive and print sharing, the kit comes with software that will allow you to share an internet connection as well. As with the rest of the kit, the software is very straightforward.

During my testing, I used the card at a variety of FSB speeds (including 66, 75, 83, 100, 112, 117, 124, and 129MHz) with no problems. Unlike some network cards that have problems when you overclock the system bus, the DFE-540TX cards worked flawlessly. This will be something that is very important to those of you out there that plan on overclocking your system.

Tyan S1598 Trinity Super7 Mobo Review 11:55 am - Yingzong
Anandtech has given us a run-down on the Tyan S1598 Trinity MVP3 ATX Super7 motherboard (Damn, that's a mouthful). Well, for those of you K6-2ers or K6-3ers, this might be worth a lookie. Here's what Anand has to say about it :

The S1598 isn't a bad board at all, in fact, it is one of the best Super7 boards you can possibly lay your hands on. However, the board isn't worth a penny of your time unless it features the most up-to-date VT82C598MVP North Bridge, why should you settle for a buggy chipset? Epox is just around the corner...

Overall, the S1598 is very promising. Compared to Tyan's Slot-1 and Slot-2 server solutions, the board is crap, however compared to the rest of the Super7 motherboards available, the S1598 is a very rare creation that is actually a very decent Super7 solution. While it may not be the best for K6-2 users looking to overclock (K6-III users don't get too big of a benefit from increased FSB vs increased clock due to the on-chip L2 cache), it does offer enough voltage tweaking settings and clock multiplier settings to give you at least a small opportunity to overclock.

If overclocking isn't your game then the Ultra ATA 66 support is a definite plus, and for the beginners, the User's Manual measures up to Tyan's usual standards. A good board, with a few easily correctable problems, let's hope Tyan takes care of them.

Drakan Interview 11:13 am - Kan
Our pals over at 3DsoundSurge just told us they have an interview on the game Drakan.

3DSS: Thanks again for taking the time to do this interview. Perhaps you can start out be telling our readers a little about your background and your current role with Surreal?

Stuart Denman: I'd been programming graphics, sound, and games on my own for almost 14 years.  After graduating with a Computer Engineering degree (specializing in computer graphics) at the University of Washington, I started Surreal with three other founders.  I am Vice President and Technical Director of Surreal and I am Lead Programmer on Drakan.

Tim Ebling: My professional background is primarily in the sciences, namely physics and physical oceanography.  Before that, I was a hardcore gamer and game programmer back when the Atari 800 was the machine of choice, so working for Surreal is really an opportunity for me to get back to my roots.  I'm currently responsible for nearly all the programming related to player systems in Drakan, so Rynn and Arokh could be considered my "babies" :)  I'm also acting as musical producer and co-composer for the game.

Quantum Fireball Plus KX 09:32 am - Kan
StorageReview sent note on their latest madness on the Quantum Fireball Plus KX which is a whopping fat 27.3 GB hard drive with 7,200 rpm and ATA-66 interface.

The Fireball Plus KX promises "more of the same" coupled with a higher areal density and thus higher capacities and faster transfer rates. Quantum's second 7200rpm ATA drive features 6.8 gigs per platter, yielding a flagship capacity of 27.3 gigabytes. The KX continues the tradition set by the KA, featuring an 8.5 millisecond seek time. In yet another interesting display of drive performance strategy, the KX's buffer remains at a stalwart 512k.

Reliability features-wise, the KX takes a breather and remains with technology introduced in earlier Quantum drives. Quantum's Shock Protection and Data Protection systems combine to ease diagnosis of problems and theoretically increase drive reliability. The drive is protected by a three-year warranty.

Interview with Glaze3D 09:30 am - Kan
TheTechZone had an interview with the boys behind the Glaze3D project. Included are more details of the chipset.

What is your estimated price of the Glaze3D 1200 and 2400? Will it compete with the Voodoo4 and NV10 (Nvidiaís next generation card) on price?

No, it doesnít compete with these products, Glaze3D surpasses these products in performance. The pricing is competitive with other consumer-level 3D-graphics products.

Do you have your own fabrication plants? Or are you manufacturing the Glaze3D elsewhere?

Glaze3D is manufactured by Infineon Technologies AG, a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens AG. Infineon was previously known as Siemens Semiconductor. They have fabs all over the world and employ over 25,000 people.

Console vs PC 09:28 am - Kan
Exxtreme3D posted a rather interesting article on the differences between Console and PC games. Well, I still prefer PC games (go ahead, flame me). 

Consoles were the first gaming machines to come out to home arcade action, and for many years, it has been a great experience for teens and kids around the world. After a few years of pong came the big time machines like NES, Sega, etc. So the console machines grew, and now we have big time graphics systems like the DreamCast, the PXS2 and N64.

With these consoles coming out, PC gamers will most likely buy them, try them out, and go back to old console gaming for a week or so. Current console gamers will be taking in the graphics like a sponge. Console gaming is innovative and new. The designers of the games always find new ways to make a game better even with the limited graphics or speed. Take SNES for instance, StarFox was the first game to have the FX chip, and Donkey Kong was surprisingly popular with its advanced rendering.

ABIT ZH6 Review 06:25 am - Kan
Yup, this is pretty exclusive. CRUS managed to get their paws on a pre-production ZH6 motherboard. Now now, don't get excited as the ZH6 is quite identical to the BH6, but uses the ZX chipset. 

This motherboard was originally aimed for the budget systems but ABIT changed their mind and decided to cancel this motherboard so you wonít be seeing any of them in the stores. Why are we at Crus.com then doing a review of the motherboard? Well we wanted you to know what you are missing and exactly why this motherboard was cancelled.

The BH6 was one of the first motherboards with Softmenu II and since then we have seen more and more motherboards from ABIT with that feature. The ability to change the CPU Voltage was another great thing that really helped the overclockers. The ZM6 motherboard from ABIT that we have tested earlier is also one of the best Socket 370 motherboards that we tested and Iím sure that ABIT have been selling a lot of those boards.

Dlink Vs Linksys 06:23 am - Kan
There's a Dlink vs Linksys networking roundup over at GamersDepot where they compared the the Linksys 10/100 network in a box to the Dlink DFE-910 10/100 network kit. 

The world of networking has indeed changed for the mainstream consumer market with the advent of FastEthernet or 100Mbps. 100Mbps is 10 times the bandwidth of 10MB, and is such a large pipe, that most peoples harddrive in their machines can't even peak it out.  With this kind of speed you could now get even lower pings, and plug in more of your buddies, as there is more of a "pipe" to go around without fear of saturation.  This kind of speed used to be overpriced for most people wanting a home or small business network solution.  Within the last year or so, we've seen prices drop to the point where it really doesn't make sense to even own a 10Mb network. 

18 August 1999 - Wednesday

NT Hardware Compatibility List 22:44 pm - Kan
Our pals over at NT Game Palace sent note that they have added a new NT Hardware Compatibility list. Inside the list contains many good tips for getting specific devices to work under NT 4.0 and Windows 2000. So, check it out!

System Shock 2 22:42 pm - Kan
I'm so tired that I'm going into a shock right now. :( Anyway, Speedy3D posted a review on System Shock 2. So, let's go shocking over there:

The original System Shock never really caught my attention; at the time it flew onto the market without much hype and basically past a lot of us by. The original game itself revolved around a unique mixture of action and role-playing strategy in which you played a hacker trying to stop an intelligent machine from taking over. Itís not that the game was complicated, but just it missed out having an immediate appeal simply because it didnít explain how to do things properly (one reason). System Shock2 is basically more of the same, the difference is a totally different setting, bang smack up to date in every way and simplified interface method for doing everything that is needed.

Nocturne Interview 22:40 pm - Kan
Earlier today, FiringSquad posted the preview on the game Nocturne. Now the babes posted part two and bring to us an interview on the game with the programmers.

Thresh's Firingsquad: I understand you're using cloth that's modeled in real time so curtains/coats flap realistically. Can you describe how the cloth modeling works? Are you using weighted vertices or..?

Terminal Reality: Cloth modeling takes in a mesh of vertices created by a 3D artist, then hooks up connecting vertices to a skeletal model. The rest of the vertices are simulated using a cloth simulator. The cloth simulator keeps track of weight, thickness, springiness, elasticity, wind area, moment of inertia, connected vertices, etc. for each vertex, then solves those equations in real time. It also collision-detects the cloth with the skeletal model it is attached to. It is very complicated, and it takes upwards of 20 million to 50 million floating point operations a second just to do the cloth simulation in Nocturne. This is a brand new technology far beyond what "weighted vertices" could do.

AMD Athlon Dinner 22:38 pm - Kan
More Athlon madness as TheTechZone bring to us an article on the Athlon Introduction Dinner at Hilton Hotel in Richmond (Ferraris spoting place).

The Althon processor is AMD's newest and fastest CPU. Clock speed for clock speed it's faster than Intel's Pentium 3. I got an up close look at the Althon 550 that was on display at the intro. My first impression was that heatsink was nice and big but that fan on it sure is small.

While everyone was eating dinner I decided to go up and take another look. Checking through the list of programs I noticed that Quake 2 was installed! Being my ever nosey self I fired up the game and decided to run a quick timedemo while no one was looking. What I didn't count on was the computer being hooked up to some very BIG speakers. I think I made some people spilled drinks on themselves.

Windows 2000 Demo 22:32 pm - Kan
BetaOS sent note that they have a Windows 2000 Demo made in Flash 4. Pretty cool and it gives you a feel of how Windows 2000 will look like.

BIOS Optimization Guide Revision 3.2 22:31 pm - Kan
You may like to check our Adrian's Rojak Pot on their updated BIOS Optimization Guide, bumping it up to revision 3.2.

Some of those BIOS settings that have been updated include :-

IDE HDD Block Mode
Video BIOS Shadowing
Shadowing Address Ranges
PNP OS Installed
CPU L2 Cache ECC Checking

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Do Your Part For Charity! 22:30 pm - Yingzong
Our contacts at Microsoft Singapore have requested a helping click for a charity web site project. You-can-do-more.com.sg aims to log over 3.5 million page accesses. The hosting company will donate 1 cent for every access, with the aim of achieving 3.5 million cents, or $35,000, to fulfil the IT needs of mentally-challenged children in three schools under the National Council of Social Services. So let's do our part for charity and give them our Click of Life!

You Can Do More 22:25 pm - Kan
I should charge a commission for advertising this, but hey, for the sake of charity I should waive it. :)  So, remember to take a look at YOU-CAN-DO-MORE.COM.SG ok?


Singapore [ 18 Aug. 1999 ] -  When Microsoft Singapore Pte Ltd needed a server solution for its community outreach web site project, it decided on Webvisions Pte Ltd, a local dedicated web hosting company.

Housed at Webvisions' server facilities on a major Internet Service provider in Singapore, Microsoft's you-can-do-more.com.sg was launched  on August 15 and aims to log over 3.5 million page accesses.  The  company will donate 1 cent for every access, with the aim of achieving 3.5 million cents, or $35,000, to fulfil the IT needs of mentally-challenged children in three schools under the National Council of Social Services.

Conceptualised and created by top-ten advertising agency in Singapore Ammirati Puris Lintas, the web project needed a high speed server and the ability to handle the expected high traffic volume.

"APL gave us two strict requirements," said Webvisions CEO Roger Lim.  "Firstly, they wanted a server that could handle the load of a few million hits.  They also wanted this done on an aggressive deadline.

"We are pleased to be able to offer a server solution for this special project on our dedicated high speed connections."

Webvisions' corporate hosting services have been featured in Data Communications magazine and range from Email or database hosting to system administration. The ability to respond quickly in customising server plans allowed Webvisions to meet Microsoft Singapore's unique server requirements.

"With great input from everyone involved, you-can-do-more.com.sg has since evolved from a good idea to become a website we believe is truly inspirational," said Saw Ken Wye, Managing Director of
Microsoft Singapore.

"In this way we hope to dispel the fear of IT, and further motivate its use in empowering people's lives."

TA : Kingdoms Review 22:20 pm - Yingzong
3DRage has sent us news on their review on Cavedog's Total Annihilation : Kingdoms. Give the game a skip if you're looking for something new in the strategy gaming genre. Here's a peek :

In Kingdoms you get to control the armies of four fantasy warlords using 3 modes of play: Adventure, Play the machine and multiplayer. This gives you access to a huge number of different (and at times imaginatively conceived) units.

The adventure is Kingdoms version of a campaign and is played in a story mode which sees you switching allegiances as the struggle between protagonists unfolds. One minute you are the leader of the Aramon and the next you are controlling the armies of Zhon, and then you have a quick turn playing as ruler of Taros. This approach does give you a sense of variety, but it also feels very disjointed, and because you are constantly switching allegiances it is hard to get particularly excited about your loyalty to any group. As a result the story mode isnít nearly as compelling as it should be, as you donít care about your unit types in battle as much. One minute you are controlling an army, the next you are trying to destroy them.

MSN Messenger Security Flaw  20:00 pm - Sniper
Betanews has came out with this advice on a possible security problem with MSN Messenger. Me? I stick to my ICQ.

Users of the MSN Messenger Service will find that anyone with physical access to their computer can obtain their password if they leave their computer unattended.

The bug affects all versions of the MSN Messenger Service, released on July 22, 1999.

Playstation 2 @ HotChips  19:58 pm - Sniper
My favorite toy was demonstrated at HotChips Conference and I managed to sniff out this juicy news by Wired.

Harrison said the PlayStation II may ship with software that allows a user to import a photograph from a digital camera, animate it in 3-D, add a little sound, and
then email it to friends and relatives as a greeting card. 

Vantec P3D-5030 Heatsink 19:20 pm - Wilfred
Thresh's FiringSquad also posted a review on these high quality coolers for your Pentium III processors.

The temperature reading for the Vantec cooler never rose above 29.1 degrees Celsius. This pretty damned cool, as the heatsink never even felt warm to the touch. We replaced the Vantec cooler with an Intel standard Heatsink and fan cooling unit. The Intel cooler stabilized at 31.5 degrees Celsius, only 2 degrees higher. So, how much of an improvement is that? We reattached the Vantec and left the fan units unpowered. As Seti continued to search out intelligent life, the temperature climbed to a high of 49.5 Celcius. With the retail Intel heatsink (sans fan), the temperature rose to 55.3 Celcuis, stabilized, and 5 minutes later, crashed.

Athlon Review 19:14 pm - Wilfred
Not to lose out to the rest, VoodooExtreme also has a review on the much fussed AMD Athlon. Here's a snip:

AMD decided to pull out all the stops on their seventh-generation processor and make no excuses. They wanted to create the fastest x86 processor on the planet and they have certainly succeeded. They have proven to the gamers market that they will not be ignored and have learned from the mistakes made on the K6 series of processors. With the much-improved FPU and high-speed bus, the Athlon looks like it could finally put Chipzilla in a position where it has to actually come up with a design that is revolutionary <cough> unlike the Pentium 3 </cough>. What do we think the Athlon will bring to the gamers market? We'll for now, if you can afford the Athlon, it can only mean increased frame rates to help you on your way to the perfect game of Quake 3. Coupled with a TNT2 Ultra, the Athlon is the fastest gaming rig on the planet.

CPU Naming Guide 19:09 pm - Wilfred
For general knowledge perhaps, iXBT has drawn up a CPU Naming Guide to the present and future CPUs that shall be arriving with fanciful names attached. Here's one:

Deerfield. This processor is expected only in 2003. It will be manufactured with a new copper 0.13 micron technology by Motorola and will succeed Foster. As all the other new CPUs, it will be designed for Slot M. It is positioned as a low-cost processor for IA-64 workstations and average servers.

Elsa 3D Revelator  19:03 pm - Wilfred
Our bud Julio at 3DSpotlight peeked through the 3D glasses from Elsa and guess what they saw? =) Check this out!

I didn't even look at the other screenshots and I just went straight to my "Games" folder to open up Halflife. I started up a new game and watched in amazement, just like Disney World.... I quickly ran upstairs to tell my family about my awesome discovery, but nobody was too enthusiastic, I grabbed my little sister and dragged her into my room and shoved the glasses on her face.

I pointed at the screen and she sat there and drooled.  She said, "This is just like a movie" and "What is this test that everybody says that I am late for?" After causing an enomilee in the testing chamber we journeyed through the giant underground laboratory for a good hour with her screaming as "face suckers" leapt at the screen. Blood guts and other body parts looked so much groovier when flying at you.

Voodoo 3 1000 SLI  18:55 pm - Wilfred
I hope you're not confused by the header, which simply means Voodoo2 SLI. Check out 3D Alpha's review on the 'still-good' double card combo from yesteryears.

Hardcore Professional 3D? 18:48 pm - Wilfred
Well, if you're into some serious 3D modelling work you might be interested to read this rare review of the 3DLabs Oxygen VX1 card at Freak! Very neat review!

Well, after weeks of using this card for all of the activities that I do, I can honestly say that I'm very pleased with it and am hopeful that it will get even better with the final driver release.  I was really impressed with the card under 3DStudio Max since I use that program quite a bit.  In a world where time is money it really helps to have such an affordable card that can help you visualize your ideas before you commit to final rendering.

D-Link DFE-910 Network Kit 18:43 pm - Wilfred
Overclockin.com sent word of their review on the DFE-910 network kit. Don't miss out our very own review on this kit!

As you can see there is, as expected, a very big improvement going from 10Mbps to 100Mbps.  In the real world (or at least in my testing...), there doesn't seem to be a tenfold increase in speed, but it is quite significant.  Also, the performance between the DLink DFE-540TX and the 3Com Fast EtherLink 3C905B-TX was negligible.  Since the 3Com card is an expensive and highly rated card, this shows that the DLink card is quite good. 

Vantec P3 Cooler 06:44 am - Kan
BxBoards posted a review on the Vantec P3 Cooler and Andy highly recommend it as it is able to cool the L2 cache effectively.

This is one of the best coolers I have seen for the P3. Most of the previous coolers have used the same chassis, and merely tinkered with fan placement or connectors. Vantec have taken a different approach and by providing a flat surface for the cooler, more heat is draw away from the "naked" P3 as a whole, and not just from the more obvious hot spots

VIA Apollo Pro 133 06:30 am - Kan
Anand released an review on the new VIA Apollo Pro 133 chipset. Check it out!

Since the dawn of the single chip solution, the idea of creating chipset solutions with interchangeable "parts" was the goal in order to keep flexibility at a maximum.  The theory was then translated into what is now known as the North/South bridge architecture, where the main memory/graphics controller is housed in a chip that makes up the North bridge and all I/O functions are handled in a chip known as the South bridge.  In theory, a single North bridge could be coupled with one of three different south bridges in order to tailor to the needs of various types of computer users.  In practice, no chipset manufacturer has truly used this technology to its full potential.

Digital Photograph Review 06:12 am - Kan
Our pals over at Digital Photograph Review just reached their 1 million visitors mark. So, if you are looking for reviews on digital cameras and stuffs like that, let the experts over at Digital Photograph Review recommend you what you need.

Voodoo3 3500 TV 06:10 am - Kan
We have another review of the Voodoo3 3500 TV done by the gurus over at AGN Hardware. So finally it's out in the market huh?

We knew what to expect from the STB Desktop TV.   It's video capture capabilities were not as breathtaking as the Hauppauge WinTV but was certainly good enough to do the trick, especially for capturing Console gaming footage (something that we are doing more of at AGN). We also had some inkling of how the 183Mhz core would perform from an early Alpha that we had the pleasure to test some time ago.  What we did not know was how 3Dfx was going to handle the final presentation of the Voodoo 3 3500 or how this new board would perform given it's new features.

Darkstone Review 05:59 am - Kan
Exxtreme3D posted a review on Darkstone, a RPG game with a fine story line, mucha like Diablo.

Monks are peaceful people, yet they always wear large articles of clothing. Thatís for a good reason; in Darkstone there is a good chance that they have a good, old rusty halberd just waiting to pierce through a dragonís scales. A monk is only one of the 4 classes of characters you can pick from.

The gallant knight. He's brave and ready for any situation, unless he canít find his way around the dark corridor walls.

The sorcerer is menacing and powerful. He strikes fear in the heart of his enemies as he stares at them in the eye. Yet he enjoys wearing a funny hat with horns and walking as if he is prancing around. But when his mana supply is depleted, he will run like a coward for the nearest town portal.

17 August 1999 - Tuesday

22:28 pm - Kan
Can't help but to post this up from our Forum on some pretty innovative iMac design. Above 18 only, please. :)

In the meantime, in case you are not aware of, yes, we DO HAVE a forum for you to swing around (like a monkey??). So hop on in and have some fun!

Killing Spam 22:24 pm - Kan
Don't you just hate spam mails? Netigen posted an article on this program called SpamKiller which effectively remove all those unwanted spam mails from your mailbox. Pretty neat huh?

SpamKiller can connect to any POP3 or MAPI compatible e-mail service and through both dial-up and LAN connections. Since SpamKiller runs independently it's compatible with virtually any mail client on the market today. It runs in the system tray and checks your e-mail accounts either on pre-selected intervals or manually and will alert you of incoming mail or spam. SpamKiller also supports multiple accounts, a feature missing in many other spam programs.

Nocturne Preview 22:20 pm - Kan
Our buds over at FiringSquad sent note on their latest preview on the wacky game Nocturne. Sure looks scary!

Scary games are back and they're back with a vengeance. Some older gamers may remember a series of horror/adventure games called "Alone in the Dark" which featured 3Dish scenes and a story revolving around zombies, haunted houses and the like. That series was a big success, but for a long while, developers seemed to forget about creating involving storylines and chilling atmospheres like the ones in Alone in the Dark. The first person shooters and real time strategy genres took the gaming world by storm, and horror/adventure was forgotten for a while. All of a sudden, everyone was out to create the next Doom/Quake clone or Warcraft 2/C&C clone.

Kan Yawns 18:46 pm - Kan
Second time I'm yawning today. Anyway, can those babes running the RC5 for Hardware One check his client configuration? Apparently someone is using the incorrect email ID. The email ID should be [email protected] and not any other IDs like [email protected]

Can GNOME Build A Better Desktop? 18:12 pm - Wilfred
MSNBC has a must-read article on the GNOME project and some impressive preview code demonstrating sophisticated interoperability features surpassing that of the Mac and Windows. 

GNOMEís code draws heavily on a new core technology called Bonobo. Bonobo is an abstract model for creating components or chunks of code, which de Icaza says are comparable to ActiveX or JavaBeans. The technologyís name is inspired by a species of chimpanzee, called Bonobo, discovered in 1929, de Icaza said. ďBonobo monkeys have sex six times a day. Thatís the idea. These components flip together,Ē he says.

De Icaza drew applause for developers at the LinuxWorld show in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, with a demonstration of seamless in-place editing: manipulating an image within GNOMEís Excel-compatible spreadsheet, Gnumeric. Although the code was clearly very new (a debug console displayed a stream of warnings), the demonstration exhibited none of the flickers and screen redraws familiar to those who use Windows OLE features.

And it didnít crash.

ďThis demonstration took a weekend to write,Ē according to de Icaza, since much of the open-source software had already been written. ďBonobo is very simple.Ē

Some Promises We Don't Want On Y2k 18:05 pm - Wilfred
Slashdot posted this hilarious Unofficial Y2K Page that has stuffs we want to laugh about after our millennium parties.

Even if our accounting software stops working on January 3, 2000, you can count on us finding a way to bill you for whatever you bought from us prior to Armageddon. Even if we have to write your invoice on the back of bubble gum wrappers, we're going to bill you. This is the promise our lawyers made to us and it's the same promise we're going to make to you. It's the only thing we're going to guarantee you-- but at least we're guaranteeing something.

i-Jam MP3 Player 17:57 pm - Wilfred
Another MP3 Player for your consideration here... there's a review on the i-Jam MP3 player over at Gamers Depot. The sporty version to the sleek and classy Nomad? See for yourself.

The great thing about a portable Mp3 player is the ability to take great sound music, that you choose, and take it wherever you go. The I-Jam gives you that kind of flexibility. At only 2.5 ounces, you won't grow weary from carrying it around. Sporting a backlit LCD display gives you excellent viewability, even at night and the relatively easy to navigate controls are right at your finger tips even while in the included belt clip/pouch (see image to right. Both the play/stop/pause and FM-Tuner/Mp3 buttons are located on the top which makes them easy to reach while walking along. 

Dirty Story Of The MS/AOL War. Who's Dirty? 17:51 pm - Wilfred
I hope you don't need to ask that. Here's some interesting gossip about the ongoing war between the two giants duking it out on the instant messaging front.

Microsoft Corp. acknowledged Thursday that one of its programmers apparently masqueraded as an independent computer consultant earlier this week in an effort to discredit America Online's tactics in the companies' quarrel over instant messaging.

Matrox Millenium G400 17:44 pm - Wilfred
ExtremeHardware just rolled out a massive 22 page review on the Matrox Millenium G400 card. The reviewers really loved it!

The simplest way to describe the G400 is to say that Matrox has finally gotten it right. With all the features that you could ask for and speed to back them up, the G400 is hard to beat. Its DualHead technology offers great benefits both in home and office environments, and its Environment Mapped Bump Mapping support adds a good amount of gaming realism. Furthermore, the G400ís image quality is fantastic, both in 2D and 3D. Overall, the G400 is one of the best all-around 3D video cards available. It may not be the absolute fastest card on the market, but for most users, itís fast enough. Once Matrox works out all the kinks in the G400ís drivers, the G400 will be simply amazing. Unfortunately until then, owners of low-end (Pentium-II 300 and slower) CPUs wonít be able to use the G400 to its full potential.

HP Capshare 910 Scanner 17:39 pm - Wilfred
iXBT has an exotic review of Hewlett Packard's Capshare 910 scanner device, a futuristic handheld James-Bond-like gadget. They guys declared it signified the coming of the XXI century of toys!

As for the scanner's technical peculiarities, it proved really cool in all respects so that we have every right to announce the beginning of the XXI century. You may move the device along the newspaper, for instance, in any direction you like, zigzag or forward-backward, and it will store a real newspaper page and not some kaleidoscope tracery, which could be produced by a mechanic hand-held scanner in its place. Although CapShare 910 is a black-n-white scanner and stores bit images, the image rotating and combining it allows implies that this device is equipped with a very powerful processor. However, the practical use of this scanner is still not so evident. Of course, the beautiful casing, the foppish carrying pouch, the price, which is almost 20 times as high as that of the hand-held scanner, - all these things are really cool and may significantly contribute to your image of a superman, but... But it is not so universal as it might seem. Scanning newspaper articles runs just perfectly, however, as it comes to books and magazines two grave problems arise.

Evergreen AcceleraPCI 17:32 pm - Wilfred
The boys at the TechZone has really been working damn hard to churn out these reviews for you. As usual, they have the budget upgraders in mind, so come the AcceleraPCI review - a PCI card upgrade containing a Celeron 433 CPU and 64Mb of SDRAM for old Pentium computers. Instant upgrade + overclockability! Looks neat!

Evergreen Technologies makes three versions of the AcceleraPCI. There is a Celeron 400 with 128 megs of RAM, a Celeron 433 with 128 megs of RAM and the unit we tested, a Celeron 433 with 64 megs off RAM. Prices range from $399 to $499 for the top of the line Celeron 433/128 meg model.

At first glance that looks very expensive for an upgrade. After all, for $399, you can buy an Abit BP6, Celeron 433, 64 megs of RAM, and a new ATX case for the same amount of money. However, we shouldn't view  this upgrade kit that way.  The AcceleraPCI was not meant for the do-it-yourself power crazy computer nut like myself or most of you.

The AcceleraPCI is for people who want an easy upgrade. For those who wants to upgrade their computer and just shake at the idea of getting a new motherboard, CPU, case, etc., and then having to put all that together; then the AcceleraPCI is made for you. The unit is as close to a plug and play upgrade as you can get. Installation is no harder than installing a video card.

Tomb Raider 4: The Last Revelation 17:28 pm - Wilfred
ComChip scored a preview on Eidos Interactive's upcoming blockbuster - Tomb Raider 4. They've plugged in a few screenshots for accompaniment. Go check it out if you're a fan of Laura!

Abit BE6 UDMA/66 Compatibility Problems 17:25 pm - Wilfred
Haven't tested one out myself, but here's a snip of what the chums at FPS3D gathered from a reader's conversation with Abit.

According to Abit, HPT366 (the chip powering the BP6's UDMA66 features) doesn't work with all UDMA33 hd or cd drives. For most people, there are usually some compatibility problems. Abit said only UDMA66 hard drives are guaranteed to work with HPT366.

What does this mean? It means that you won't get the "support for up to 8 devices" that many people promise with the HPT366 controller working in tandem with the normal IDE ports. If you are having problems with a CD-ROM, Zip Drive or anything else that is plugged into the BP6, BE6, or Hot Rod 66's HPT366 ports, you should transfer them to the old IDE ports.

Monitor Cooling - Homebrew Style 17:17 pm - Wilfred
I don't know who's being paranoid here, but I guess it's always better to be safe than sorry. Check out this monitor cooling madness at FPS3D:

Another Motherboard Review: Asus P3B-F 16:50 pm - Yingzong
On another front, Arstechnica has reviewed Asus' answer (in a way...) to the BE6 - the P3B-F. From what the dudes say, it seems like the newcomer doesn't appear to have what it takes to take on Abit's champions. Hmm... I would like to get my hands on one of these new Asus boards to see for myself how it fares against my existing BX6.

The BE6 ran that processor at 558 MHz (124MHz FSB * 4.5) without a problem, but the ASUS just couldn't get there. It wouldn't boot above 504 MHz (112 MHz * 4.5) for me, no matter what I did. I tried to work my mojo through the JumperFree BIOS menu and the dipswitches, but to no avail. At 504MHz, the board was quite stable, hence I was a little surprised to see higher FSB speeds bring that thing to its knees.

But the strangeness didn't stop there. I noticed that once I overclocked the CPU and booted into Windows, I'd get a blank screen on restart. Nuthin'. Mind you, this wasn't a problem when I ran the mobo at standard bus speeds. No voltage tweaking or adjustments could get me around this sticking point.

All of this would be easier to stomach if I didn't have to go through two boards to get something working. Two boards? Yeah, I couldn't get my RAM into the first one I received! The DIMM slots just would not allow my RAM to fit. I'm thinking, "this is odd...never had this problem before." I mean, after fiddling with it for a bit, I had to stop and recite my SSN, walk a white line, and take a breathalyzer: what could be the problem? Had someone slipped some gin into my kool-aid?

ABit BE6 Motherboard Review 16:40 pm - Yingzong
SysOp Solutions has posted their review on the BE6, Abit's successor to their highly acclaimed BX6 boards. I personally had some naggy problems with incorrectly oriented floppy cables provided with my BX6 and had to remove the key from one end of the connector. Anyhow, here's what the guys have to say about the BE6 :

ABIT has never been known as a "slacker" when it comes to introducing new product and sure enough they have not disappointed in terms of more product releases for 1999. The BE6 in particular first reared it's head approximately 7 weeks ago. Although this board is still based on the 440BX chipset ABIT threw in a barage of new features making it a worthy successor to the BX6r2 which won the hearts of many end users. ABIT has always ensued a large following of users with overclocking in mind and the BE6 falls neatly in line for the next and newest option in their main board progression.

Guillemot Xentor32 Ultra TNT2 Review 16:30 pm - Yingzong
Tweak3D has just posted a well-written review on the Guillemot Xentor32 TNT2 (Ultra). This is an article worth checking out. Here's a piece of the write-up :

The Maxi Gamer Xentor 32 isn't perfect, but then again, no product is. It would've been nice to see a slightly beefier HSF unit keeping the TNT2 cool, but I can take the positives with the negatives. After all, it was mounted correctly, which is a change. Also (yes, I'm saying it again), as thorough as the manual is, it's a wonder that there nothing on TV-out. Why not? It's right there on the box as a feature!

On the other side of the coin, this card has a lot goin' for it.... The board installed flawlessly, overclocked reasonably, ran everything I expected it to... and then some. The drivers are stable, and the PowerSprinter utility is a nice plus. The card's performance is breathtaking, the image quality is great, and the TV-out is well implemented. (I won't say it again...)

When it comes right down to it, I'd recommend this board in a heartbeat. Guillemot has put together a quality package with the Maxi Gamer Xentor 32, and for a price of $199.99 (even less if you shop around), you really can't go wrong. box the HX-45 is packed in is solid, with good Styrofoam insulation to make sure the box comes unscratched to your

Athlon Special 12:34 pm - Sniper
Came across this link at the AMD website, it has links to recommended mobo, thermal solutions and drivers.

AOpen HX-45 Casing
06:59 am - Kan
Over at 3DHardware.net, the babes posted a review on the AOpen HX-45 casing. Talking about casings, I think it's high time I changed mine. Here's a whiff of the juice (now now, don't get the wrong idea)

The box the HX-45 is packed in is solid, with good Styrofoam insulation to make sure the box comes unscratched to your desktop. Inside lies the case, a plastic bag containing all the nuts and bolts and a one-page installation quick guide. As many people out there who want to change their case don't have years of computer experience this guide could, and should have been a lot more extensive.

Heck, I think they should have thrown in a cheap small "how to build a PC" guide in there, as the little it costs would have opened a whole new market for this box.

Kan Yawns 06:55 am - Kan
I just love it when Windows 2000 Server crashes on you while editing news. Looks like editing news is a resource intensive job and is probably a good way to test the stability of a OS. 

On a side note, there was this spider 'spidering' our site. It got itself stuck in one of the directories and went into a infinite recursive loop. Darn, this is irritating! Alright, gotta go. You don't get much choice when your girl asks 'Who do you choose - Me or Computer?' (sounds familiar er?) :)

USB Flash Memory Card Reader 06:53 am - Kan
USB Workshop posted a review on a USB Flash Memory card reader. Hmm, pretty good to copy those images you snapped with your digital camera to your computer.

New Media is among the first companies to bring flash-memory storage read/write solution to the market with its Film Reader USB. Primary features of Film Reader USB include: high-speed interface to storage cards, Plug and Play support, and versatile support for SmartMedia, CompactFlash, ATA Flash Type I and Type II PC cards. Film Reader USB comes with Windows 98 and 95 OSR2 drivers, an installation diskette and one CompactFlash adapter.

Where Will We Be Tomorrow? 06:46 am - Kan
Our buds over at CPUReview just launched another new site, AboutLinux. For their first article, they have 'Where Will We Be Tomorrow?' Here's some blurb:

I was also quick to point out that Linux was free, so we would not be paying through the nose for SCO (digging up SCO pricing helped get Linux in the door <grin>), and the fact that Linux could act as a router so we could use a relatively cheap 28.8kbps dedicated dialup connection... after all, we were (mostly) after e-mail access.

After a *LOT* of lobbying, with the support of everyone in the software department, I got the go-ahead to establish a dedicated connection, install a mail/web server and get the company on-line.

Athlon Video Card Review 06:44 am - Kan
Ace's Hardware posted a roundup of how the AMD Athlon perform with various video cards

AMD shipped the Athlon test units with Nvidia's powerful TNT2 chipset. A good choice, considering the excellent performance this duo has achieved in our benchmarks, but is there an alternative? Surely AMD's flagship product, the processor they have bet the company on, must work equally as well or better with one of the other video cards? That's what we intend to find out, and to do so, I've tested the G400 MAX, Voodoo 3 3000, and Savage 4 Pro.

StarTrek: Hidden Evil 06:40 am - Kan
Those gals over at CRUS posted 14 screenshots of StarTrek: Hidden Evil. Hmm, will you ever get tired of playing games?

Star Trek Mission Structure:  Follow orders from Captain Picard. Your tricorder displays a mission log on the story and the tasks at hand.  Clear goals and clues guide your movements, and rewards await your success.

Sci-fi Action Gameplay: The intuitive interface, fast paced, fast-paced gameplay and suspenseful storyline of  Star Trek: Insurrection will please Star Trek fans and all levels of game players. Realistic 3-D character modelling allows you to move fluidly through vivid, pre-rendered environments as the true-to-life-modeled Ensign Sovok.

FA Premier League Stars 06:38 am - Kan
ActiveWin reviewed the FA Premier League Stars. Wow! Check out the screenshot of the game under the Matrox G400 with dual head support.

Once you have set your 3D Graphics card up it is on to the game. The F.A. Premier League Stars begins with the obligatory EA Sports introduction video, now that they have licensed the premier league they can now show a whole load of video footage of all the teams who play in it. The quality of the sound and music in the intro is excellent, although you are only likely to want to watch it once anyway.

Once the actual game has loaded you are greeted with the usual bulk of menus and as usual they are very flashy, but flashy doesn't mean easy to use does it? No certainly not, the majority of menus in The F.A. Premier League Stars are fiddly and annoying to use.

Inside the TNT 06:35 am - Kan
Our buds over at HardOCP posted some inside pictures of the TNT - literally. It sure ain't a pretty sight. :) Anyway, they also have some news on a retailer in England selling 133 Mhz FSB Pentium IIIs. Catch all of'em over there!

3Com Palm VII 06:32 am - Kan
ReviewZone reviewed the 3Com Palm VII. Hey, I still prefer my 20 cents paper-based notebooks. :) Anyway, if you haven't read it yet, catch our Palm Overclocking article over here.

Grab that Palm VII. If you saw the Palm V and decided that sleek and sexy look was the future of PDAs, you're going to be disappointed. The Palm VII is an evolutionary throwback to the Palm III and the Palm IIIx in its looks, not -of course- counting the extensible antenna. On the other hand, when I reviewed the Palm V, I did tell you to disregard the cute look and stick to a Palm III or IIIx for functionality, so maybe it's a good thing that the VII resembles its more successful ancestors than a glamorous but not so successful one.

Super Slot Fan Review 06:29 am - Kan
Speedy3D posted a review on the Super Slot Fan. This one works by plugging into one of the slots on the casing and drawing out hot air.

This brings me to the first thing you must do, install it. Installation was quite simple and the instructions provided clears up any questions that you may have. More detailed ones would have been nice but you canít have everything. 3Dcool.com states that installation will take under 60 seconds. I donít know about that but installation was pretty fast. I know you are probably wondering how this thing is supposed to work. What it does it do? It takes the hot air that your video card produces and puts it out of the case. In other words it takes all they hot air it can and blows it out the case.

Yingzong Sez 01:20 am - Yingzong
Talking about i-Mac designs, we here at Singapore have these information booths called i-One kiosks dotting the stretch of our shopping district. Don't really see a lot of people using them and from the feedback I received from my buds, they don't think that it's such a useful thing to have at the moment. But they make good rain shelters though. Perhaps they should have them in 5 delicious colours to attract usage? Hmm... i-dea...

How to Build an i-Mac Casing? 01:15 am - Yingzong
Holy Mother of Casings, Batman! The dudes down at ComputingPros have sent word that they have posted a 8-step (I think) article on how to build a clear computer case akin to those delicious i-Macs! Here's a piece of the craze :

After a few sketches I had the basic Idea of what I was looking for... (i.e. six sided computer case with plastic for sides.) So without any idea how it was going to be done, I shopped around at some local hardware stores and checked into a sheet of plastic. I managed to find a 4 X 4 sheet of quarter inch plastic, some corner brackets, some hinges and plenty of small nuts and bolts. Basically to get the design you see in the pictures I had to build the computer into the case. Some of the trickier things were how to mount the card, mounting the Drives, and how to cut through the plastic that wouldn't damage the overall appearance.

Over all I am really proud of the final product and it was definitely worth all the blood and sweat poured into making it. And I sure hope some company out there will see what a real power house machine should look like... Just kidding, but I do hope it sparks the IBM compatible industry will make their cases a bit more aesthetically pleasing.

FiringSquad Reviews Voodoo3 3500 TV 00:45 am - Yingzong
Thresh's FiringSquad has just posted a review on 3dfx's Voodoo3 3500 TV. Features are a 183Mhz clock rate, support for LCD display panels, an integrated TV tuner and a slew of other stuff. Is this a little too late considering the proliferation of TNT2 Ultras and the threat of the G400 MAX with it's impressive bump mapping capabilities? From the benchmarks, it appears that the hardcore gamer has to look elsewhere. Here's a piece of the snoop :

The Voodoo3 3500 tackles two goals at once. It delivers top-notch 3D performance in the form of the fastest Voodoo3 card yet, and adds to that the audio/video capabilities that until now were only available on lower-end cards. By leveraging technologies and products designed by STB, the Voodoo3 3500 is a winner.

Is the 3500 late to the 3D game? Well, if you consider 3dfx's press announcement at Comdex, or the fact that 4th generation products are just around the corner, then the answer is yes. However, if you look at the fact that no one has shipped a current-generation TV and A/V solution, it's just as valid to say that the Voodoo3 3500 is the first kid on the block. If you're looking for 3D and nothing else, you can save yourself some money by not investing in the 3500 TV. However, if you've been looking at one of the other A/V cards out there, don't take another step until you check out the Voodoo3 3500 TV.

16 August 1999 - Monday

Customized Redhat Bootdisk 23:37 pm - Sniper
This thing is fantastic if you intend to install several PCs with Redhat quickly. Check it out!

What is the Fezbox Installer?
Installing with Fezbox is a lot different than any other way of installing an operating system onto a computer. We will ask you some questions about your system configuration through a series of web pages. Once you're finished, you will have a completely customized boot disk tailored to your very own computer(s) which you can use to install the exact same Linux configuration over and over again. If you've got a really screaming fast CD-ROM drive or 100base-TX network connection (for network installs), it takes less than 10 minutes to install the entire operating system. Pretty neat, huh?

Iomega ZipCD 23:25 pm - Sniper
Looks like Iomega is diversifying its business, their latest offering is a 4X4X20X CD-RW drive.

Iomega's ZipCD drives and discs bring the ease and convenience expected of Iomega products to the historically technical CD-RW market. The internal ZipCD
drive features an animated installation tour to help customers install their new ZipCD drive. Separately shipped ZipCD discs include a pre-formatted CD-RW disc
with the potential to spare users up to 90 minutes of formatting time. Iomega brings ease-of-use to customers by also bundling a wide array of software tools and accessories with the ZipCD drive. 

FiringSquad Posts Tiberian Sun Interview 20:50 pm - Yingzong
Thresh's FiringSquad has just posted a lengthy interview with Bret Sperry, head of Westwood and producer of Command and Conquer 2 : Tiberian Sun. Lots of screen shots there. Here's a little of the Q&A :

No one thing is the coolest. It's the total package that makes Tiberian Sun cool. Everything works together to provide an experience that's satisfying on many levels. In general I love the strategic dynamic between all the units and I really love the kinetic battlefield which is a result of voxels, lighting, great sounds, high energy weapons and so much more. I love so many aspects I can't name one and it is too early to tell if I will favor one side over the other. The whole Nod dynamic is very, very cool and GDI is also a bitÖmeaner than ever before!

Arstechnica Reviews Dungeon Keeper 2 20:45 pm - Yingzong
Our funny friends down at Arstechnica have just had a go at the second and latest of the Dungeon Keeper games by Electronic Arts. Looks like they were rather impressed by it. Here's a rip from their review :

Wow" sums it up pretty well. The graphic and audio quality of DK2 is something to behold and, erÖ, behear. From the first moments of the tutorial missions, I was immersed in the dark, dank world of my dungeon. Each creature has wonderful and unique animations, clever and appropriate sound effects, and 3D models thatíll make you smile with disgust. Watching the trolls run around dragging their big hammers behind them made my side hurt with laughter. I love these guys.

Your dungeon echoes with the sounds of dripping water, the howls of pain from your torture chamber, and the activity of the steaming forge of your workshop. Your minions track the ground with wet footprints after wading through water or bloody footprints after a fierce battle. The music sets a perfect mood to make your rendered 3D dungeon come to life. The people at Bullfrog are really the masters of the atmosphere thing, and, as far as Iím concerned, DK2 is their magnum opus.

Linux Vs Windows 2000 17:29 pm - Wilfred
Sniper pointed me to this article couple of days back, and I should think you'll be interested to read about. Not really an apple to apple comparsion, but it's good to note the strengths of each OS.

If Windows 2000 meets its goals, it will be a big step forward for operating systems. But development delays have put it months away from hitting the shelves.

Meanwhile, Linux is reliable and available now-- although usability snags and limited support make it a better server than desktop OS. As big-name software vendors and support continue to emerge, Linux will remain a serious contender.

Linux is best for: Small business owners or IS professionals who need email, Web, file sharing, or other types of servers but can't afford to spend a bundle on hardware (or Windows NT for that matter) are the best candidates for Linux. The OS is perfect for basic server tasks, and the latest packages (such as those from Red Hat and Caldera) make installation more painless with each new version.

If you're considering Linux for use on your home PC, make sure you know what you're getting into. Installing Linux-- even the commercial versions that arrive on CD-ROM with a manual-- is not for the faint of heart. And using it is not always headache-free. But if you understand technology and insist on switching from Windows to something more stable and more flexible, Linux may be the best option.

Poll #23: Total HDD Space  17:17 pm - Wilfred
Here's some statistics from our last poll on HDD space. Looks like most of you do splurge on huge HDDs with the majority having above 11Gbs... what do you use this space for??!

New Super Iron Battery  17:11 pm - Wilfred
It is so said that Israeli researchers created a new iron-based battery that lasts much longer than conventional ones, they are also greener when thrown away. Add in rechargeability! How's that?!

The new "super-iron" batteries are rechargeable and could be used anywhere from portable CD players to medical implants, the researchers wrote in the journal Science.

"Super-iron, compared to conventional alkaline batteries, have over 50 percent energy advantage, and in the important high-drain region provide a 200 percent higher energy capacity increase," lead researcher Stuart Licht of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, said Thursday

PC Workshop: Linux Installation 17:08 pm - Wilfred
GameSpot's PC Workshop has recently popped an article on getting Linux installed on your desktop. For any newbie, don't take things for granted... better check this out at the very least.

Australian Court Ruled Cybersquatting Illegal 17:04 pm - Wilfred
Cybersquatting, what's that? Well, this ruling effectively scuttled domain name 'pirates' or 'cybersquatters' who registered popular/established names of companies/individuals in the hope of selling it back at a profit.

Domain name piracy or "squatting" has been relatively common for many years, almost all of it done through one or two domain name registries in the US. Generic names such as www.melbourne.com have not so far come into dispute, but many others, ranging from names of famous people to those of well-established companies or products, have been registered by individuals seeking a quick profit.

Anarchy Online Interview 17:00 pm - Wilfred
Gamers' Crypt scored an interview with FunCom's Tor Andrew Wigmostad regarding their upcoming online game - Anarchy Online.

Gainward CARDExpert TNT2 14:31 pm - Kan
Another new review - Gainward CARDExpert TNT2 hot from the stove of my favorite bakery shop AnandTech.

The first thing Gainward did to differentiate their TNT2 from the rest of the market was to design a custom PCB. While the layout is basically like NVIDIA's reference design, they got rid of a lot of the extraneous unused space. That doesn't do a whole lot for performance or features, but what it does is allow Gainward to produce these guys at a lower cost, and that translates into savings for the consumer without sacrificing quality. Everything is still there though - TV out provided by the Brooktree BT869 and Digital Flat Panel (DFP) support by a SiI DFP controller. Both of these features are manufacturing options, so make sure you know what you're ordering.

3Dfx Velocity 100 14:31 pm - Kan
Our buds over at iXBT just sent note they have a new review cooking - the 3Dfx Velocity 100 graphics card. Oooh, this is interesting.

For our benchmarks we got a new graphics card from 3dfx - Velocity 100. However, the fact that this card is based on 3dfx 500 chip isn't mentioned anywhere, There wasn't a single word about it even in Velocity 100 press release posted on 3dfx web-site. Besides, not all the specs listed in the press release correspond to those of the sample we had for testing. But as to 3dfx, Velocity 100 graphics cards are intended for OEM market only, which means that the distributors have the right to call these products any name they like having agreed upon it with 3dfx company.

Diamond Rio PMP300 14:30 pm - Kan
We have the Diamond Rio review over at 3DAlpha. Hey, who doesn't know what's a MP3 player? Raise your hand!

When I first heard about the Diamond Rio on MP3.com, immediately I knew I needed it. When I finally got it, I was amazed about the size, it was no bigger than an Audio Cassette Tape. I've been a big fan of the MP3 Format, for about 2 years now I've been converting my cd's into mp3's. After about 1,000 songs I purchased a CD-Burner, but even then I really didn't have all the control of song selection I wanted. That was because even if I'd burn a multi-session disk only my computer was able to read it, and what was the advantage of that? Well I did some reading on burners and I also found out even with a CD-Rewritable pretty much of all the portable cd players also wouldn't be able to read them.

Western Digital 5400 rpm Drive 14:28 pm - Kan
Storagereview posted another new hard drive review - the Western Digital Caviar WD205AA.

Like its contemporaries from Maxtor and Quantum, the WD205AA is a 5400rpm drive that features 6.8 gigs per platter. After having finally reached the four platter per drive plateau, WD has chosen to revert back to a maximum of three platters per unit for its Caviar line. This tactic, also adhered to by Quantum, has a two fold effect. First, those considering plain-vanilla 5400rpm drives likely have lower capacity needs. Secondly, it will allow the next iteration of WD's premiere ATA line, the Expert series, to hold a capacity advantage over the Caviar line. A 9.5 millisecond access time and a two megabyte buffer round out the package.

Card Cooler 14:26 pm - Kan
Yup, more reviews on the wonder card cooler by 3DSpotlight. Just slap the card cooler on top of your cards and it's ready to suck all the hot juice (err...air) out.

The Card Cooler is very easy to install. If you have opposable thumbs and a screwdriver, you can install the Card Cooler. The Card Cooler is mounted on the top and 4th expansion slot brackets. The only thing that you would have to worry about would be to keep anything that would possibly touch it from not touching it. One thing you have to consider before using the card is if you have an adequate power supply to give power to these two very powerful fans and the rest of your system. Believe me, I have gone through my share of power supply troubles.

AMK Casing 14:25 pm - Kan
TheTechZone sent note that they reviewed another new 17" tall casing - AMK LAN-0334.

The AMK LAN-0334 is now the second case I've ever came across that needs no mods what-so-ever to produce proper air flow in an overclocked system. All the needed mods (the fans and "blow holes") are done for you with the LAN-0334.

The LAN-0334 is a 17 inch ATX case. Just the right size to bring to LAN parties. There is even an optional carrying handle! There are three 5.25" drive bays, two 3.25" drive bays and two 3.25" internal drive bays. This is one more internal drive bay than the bigger AMK-0334 case. In other words, it can hold more hard drives and it's smaller to boot! Inside the case, all the metal have rolled edges so you don't cut your fingers. Unlike the AMK-0334, the LAN-0334 doesn't have a slide out motherboard tray.

RC5 Stats 12:54 pm - Sniper
We managed to hit pretty high stats yesterday (compared with past performance). Check out our stats here! We want to thank those of you who'd contributed and we welcome all to join this collective effort at [email protected]! =)

10,756 blocks were completed yesterday (0.00001565% of the keyspace)at a sustained rate of 33,418KKeys/sec! Ranked 145 for the day.

Creating a CD in less than 10 minutes 08:22 am - Sniper
This drive looks so attractive that I'm tempted to get one myself. Seems like SLS is selling for around S$480-490 which isn't bad for a 8X-Write CD-R! Check out the review by CNET Singapore!

It takes less than 10 minutes to create a typical 650MB CD or 74-minute disc with the Compro CDR7503 CD Recorder. Which is plenty fast. 

As an 8x write 20x read CD Recorder, ACS Innovation's third-generation internal recorder can transfer 1.2MB of data onto a single disk per second, and fetch up to 3MB of data per second at a respectable 175 ms average seek time, respectively.

Understanding Video Performance 06:47 am - Kan
Spotted over at Avault another kinky article called 'Understanding Video Performance' where the blokes define the various video bus technologies.

The PCI  bus transfers 32 bits of data per cycle, at a burst (peak) rate of one cycle per clock pulse. The clock runs at 33 MHz; multiplying that clock rate times 4 bytes per cycle (32 bits) works out to a burst rate of 133 MBps. (Technically, revision 2.1 of the PCI specification permits operation at 66 MHz, and a 64 bit data path is defined, but few systems implement those features.)

Knowing that, the immediate question is "What exactly is a 'burst' rate, and what acts to slow the bus down?" Burst rate means the maximum rate the bus can transfer data, even over very short time intervals. The average rate is always less than the burst rate over multiple bus cycles, because during the time a transfer is being setup, no data passes over the bus. The figure below shows what that means.

3DSpotlight Shifted 06:36 am - Kan
Our pals over at 3DSpotlight shifted their domain to http://www.3dspotlight.net. So check'em out!

AcerRouter 101 06:34 am - Kan
Dan'sData sent note on their new review on the AcerRouter 101 10/100 BaseT IP router.

Like the higher-spec Lightspeed sharers, the AcerRouter can connect to two modems and use them simultaneously, to improve throughput when demand warrants it. You'll need a couple of separate Internet accounts or an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that permits multiple simultaneous connections to the one account, and you still won't get more than modem speed on any given connection, but you can at least have a couple of modem-speed things happening at once. As with the Lightspeed dual-port IP sharers, the AcerRouter can dial the second modem only when there's enough going on to warrant it, and disconnect when demand drops again - or it can try to stay connected all the time.

NBA Inside Drive 2000 06:29 am - Kan
There's a review of Microsoft's new basketball game NBA Inside Drive 2000 over at FiringSquad. If you are a basketball fan, you will like to check it out.

NBA Inside Drive is part of Microsoft's second punch at EA's dominance over the sports market. The first was the release of Baseball 2000 earlier this year. MS's NFL Fever 2000 (which we reviewed last week) and NBA Inside Drive 2000 represent the next step for Microsoft this year. Inside Drive features all the usual you've come to expect in a sports title - detailed stats, all NBA teams and players, updated rosters during the course of the season, and a variety of camera angles for in game play. One aspect that NBA Inside Drive tries to emphasize is the post game. You've got a pivot button at your disposal, and this allows you to spin back and take the fallaway, or spin under to get the lay in or the dunk.

15 August 1999 - Sunday

Supermicro 370SWD  17:30 pm - Sniper
AnandTech has come up with a review of the Supermicro 370SWD i810 microATX Socket-370 mobo.

As many other i810 boards are starting to do, Supermicro has also included Suspend to RAM (STR) as another power management feature. STR uses the +5VSB power from your ATX power supply to continue to power the system RAM while everything else is powered down (even the power supply) so that the system appears completely off. When the power switch is hit again, the system is up and running in just seconds. You'll need an ACPI compliant OS that is properly configured to take advantage of this feature. Fortunately, the manual covers the upgrade in Windows 98, the only publicly available OS currently to support ACPI. An onboard LED is always lit whenever the system is powered on or in suspend to RAM mode so that you remember that power is still being applied to the motherboard.

A nice touch is the ability to configure what the system will do when AC power is restored after a power outage - either remain off, turn on, or resume last power state. This is a feature often overlooked since ATX and soft power became available, but is critical for anyone using their system where it must be on 24/7 or as close as possible. It also allows for users to shut the system on and off from a surge protector. 

3dfx T-Buffer Q&A  16:07 pm - Wilfred
Not another sermon on T-Buffers!? No! Rather this is a Q&A interview ExtremeHardware scored with 3dfx's PR manager Brian Burke. So hear what the guys discussed:

Extreme Hardware: What is the visual difference between using a T-Buffer card with current 3D games (like NFS3) compared to developer-supported T-Buffer 3D games that will come out later?

Brian Burke: As for the spatial AA, there will be none. All the APIs have support for full scene AA already. Because of the huge performance hit on todayís 3d accelerators, it is seldom implemented. As for the other features like motion blur, soft shadows and depth of field, they are not supported in any APIs. We will be faced with a task like we had when we introduced multi-texturing with the Voodoo2, in that it will take some evangelizing on our part. We control GLIDE, so they will all be supported in GLIDE. We are lobbying Microsoft to have them included in the next version of DirectX. We also can add them via the OpenGL extensions, or the DirectX extensions. I do not think it would be fair to characterize the fact that there is not support for these new technologies in current APIs. 3dfx is taking steps to advance 3d technology instead of doing the same things other 3d accelerator manufacturers are doing. It is good for the industry when someone pushes the envelope, it forces everyone to step up and deliver better products to the consumer.

Power Tools For Windows 15:39 pm - Sniper
Came across this in the morning, feel free to take a look and try out.

Power Tools includes five utilities: a program that updates and optimizes the Windows GUI and Win32 Matrix Core Settings that make Windows run faster; a utility that fine-tunes various Internet settings to make Internet connection faster and increase modem dialing speed; a program that speeds up the Windows Start menu and pop-up menus by as much as four times, and also adds a DOS Mode extension to every folder in the Windows right-click pop-up menu so the change directory (cd) command is no longer required; a RAM-Magnifier that increases the system RAM by 3MB to 21MB--depending upon the amount of physical RAM available--by loading a Virtual Device driver that simulates virtual memory and compresses the E000,EFFF,EBFF,E7FF regions of RAM. It also speeds the Windows caching by optimizing and cleaning the Swap file and Disk Space; and finally, this program gives Windows added security and anti-hacking features.

When Will Retail Die? 09:59 am - Kan
Check out this very interesting article 'When Will Retail Die' over at ArsTechnica on. Seems like more people are going 'online' to purchase their stuffs (which is really cheaper) than going to a retail store.

Best Buy wants $850 (excluding tax) for a Kodak DC260 Digital Camera that I can get on-line for for ~$650.  That is an amazing difference. Even with shipping, Iíd save over $200 after taxes by getting it on-line! Sure, you say, I'm getting added value at Best Buy.

Nope, I don't think so. Where is the added value that Iím getting for all that cash?  When I was looking at this camera in particular, "knowledgeable, helpful service" certainly wasnít there.  The person selling the camera didnít know the difference between USB and a serial port. ĎMegapixelí meant nothing, and when it came to OS compatibility, well, I can read the back of a box just as well as anyone else can. Itís not the salespersonís fault, itís the companyís fault.  Donít get me wrong Ė Iím not holding the salesperson responsible (and I know this is a trend at this Best Buy, because Iíve been there several times, and run into the same problem over and over again--in fact, I worked there a long, long time ago, in a high school galaxy far, far away, and I got to "train" people). 

USB ScanJet 4200C 09:55 am - Kan
USBWorkShop posted a review of the HP USB ScanJet 4200C. Small, light and fast, this scanner is quite good!

HP ScanJet 4200C is simply very easy to use. It has a long 6' USB cable, a light flat (but a bit big) power adapter, an hinge extendible and detachable lid, and 3 on-scanner quick launch buttons: scan, print, email. It comes with load of software: Adobe PhotoDeluxe Image Editor, HP Creative Ideas Guide, and options like Caere PageKeeper Lite Document Management, G&A Imaging PhotoRecall Deluxe Photo Management, and Caere OmniPage Pro Trial. However, according to the web site, this should be packaged as ScanJet 4200Cse. It does not really matter though, because the hardware and driver for the three favors of 4200C (4200C, 4200Cxi, 4200Cse) are all the same.

Studio MP10 09:48 am - Kan
We have another new review from AGN Hardware, the Studio MP10 which is suppose to bring amazing levels of sound to your PC. Sounds pretty fun to play with!

Since the Studio MP10 is an external device, installation should was quite easy and only took a few minutes. Sit the Studio MP10 on the desk, hook the included cable up to it and your PC and plug in the power adapter and hook up that as well. One thing to remember is to have your parallel port set to EPP support from your bios. This allows your PC to communicate with the Studio MP10. Without the EPP setting enabled you might as well use the Studio MP10 as a doorstop. On the software front it is only a matter of inserting the included CD-ROM and following the directions. Total install time including the hardware and software was only 5 minutes. Not bad considering I have the equivalent of a video studio with my computer now for making perfect MPGs.

3DCool Giveaway 09:46 am - Kan
FPS3D sent note that they are going generous and giving away every 3DCool fan products that ever existed. That is a total of 11 products to be given away FREE! Check it out!

3DCOOL.COM and FPS 3D are joining forces to give away one of every single 3DCOOL product in existence! That's right, 11 different product are being given away, and each of the highest quality for all your cooling and overclocking needs. All you have to do is sign up for the ones you would like to win by answering a few questions, and you're good to go!

Metal Fatigue 09:44 am - Kan
3DRage also posted a blurb on the game Metal Fatigue due out in Fall '99. Here's some juice:

Surprisingly, Metal Fatigue's story has the depth and immersiveness similar to that of a first person shooter inspired by Japanese Anime. During the 23rd century, when man has discovered the ability to travel faster than light, they discover ancient ruins of planets that were destroyed by a technologically superior race called the Hedoth. As Earth Ships trace the destruction to its source, Earth's Mega CorpoNations are frantically upgrading and improving their vast military, in hopes of protecting Earth from the Hedoth. From the wreckage of ancient Hedoth war machines, the CorpoNations found invaluable technological cognition, so the military forces of the Corporations ascended at an astounding rate.

The Joy Of Dying Hardware 09:43 am - Kan
Darn, what will you feel when your motherboard goes dead on you early in the morning? Anyway, AbsolutePC posted an article called The Joy Of Dying Hardware where the poor guy had the experience of his SB Live! dying on him.

Well what do you know, the SoundBlaster Live! that I gave such high praise to in my review has up and died on me. This baby was not cheap, and anything that I pay 200 bucks for had better last me a little longer than this did. Well thatís ok, right, itís covered by warranty isnít it? Well Iíll make you read the whole thing for that answer :). 

King Kong Hard Disk Cooler 09:40 am - Kan
Those speed guys over at Speedy3D reviewed the King Kong hard disk cooler. This one is powered by 3 powerful fans, really good for those sizzling high RPM harddisk drives.

The 3 fans donít even make a noise when they are running full bore. Well, at least one good thing about the hard drive coolers so far is that they donít make a noise. This has really surprised me as I thought that 3 big fans blowing constantly would make a noise. Guess not. Oh yes and before I forget, was this cooler King Kong size wise? The fact is yes. Each of the three fans is weighing in at 4cm by 4cm by 1cm. The same size as the HD 200 hard drive cooler. One massive hard drive cooler if nothing else. Guess Global Win decided they would do more than just name this cooler King Kong. They would also set out to make it the King Kong of hard drive coolers in every way. Did they succeed? We shall soon find out whether or not this cooler can live up to the name of King Kong.

PowerStrip 2.51.07 09:37 am - Kan
DemoNews sent note on the new release of PowerStrip, bringing it up to v2.51.07. You can download the file from our Downloads Section or from EnTechTaiwan directly

Designed to compliment the native Windows Display Properties sheet under Microsoft Windows 95/98/NT, the PowerStrip combines advanced, multi-monitor API support with extensive programmable hardware support. A simple toolbar and menu that pops up from the system tray provides configuration and fast access to your favorite display settings, incremental enlargement and reduction of desktop size, comprehensive color calibration controls with gamma hotkeys, the ability to associate specific applications with custom display settings, graphics system diagnostics, flexible font controls, extensive hotkey and screen saver support, a database of over 1500 monitors, and on-the-fly color depth, resolution and refresh rate switching. Additionally, the PowerStrip includes direct hardware support for many chips, permitting an unprecedented degree of control over your display sub-system, particularly under Windows NT.

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