28 August 1999 - Saturday


FIFA 2000 Screenshots! 
18:35 pm - Wilfred

How can I ever miss this?!! AGN3D has got a bunch of sizzling screenshots of one of my favourite games to come! Those of you playing FIFA'99 and FA Premier League will definitely want this!

Newsbytes At 1500 15:43 pm - Wilfred
Here's a couple of stuffs worth a brief mention. Dum-dee-dee-dum... these are the only stuff I managed to dig up for your reading! =)

First is a note sent to us from BetaOS, which said that Microsoft has released build 2363 of Millennium (the next consumer update to Win98) to beta testers today.

Second: W2k will be further delayed and new launch date is pushed to a Superbowl Sunday in late January (I'd conveniently erased all expectations to avoid disappointment!).

Lastly, oh...  the offices at The Register were ransacked by thieves and the guys are puzzled over their seeming lack of interest for the expensive Compaq servers and HP Vectras.

TNT2 Troubleshooting Guide 14:58 pm - Kan
Tech-Review wrote an article TNT2 Troubleshooting Guide that teaches you how to solve problems like when your 3D games stall on you.

Now that you have determined whether or not your motherboard is the source of your problems you can take a course of action. If disabling AGP support solves all your problems you can either continue to use Direct Control with AGP disabled, look for an updated BIOS, or replace your motherboard. Personally we like our systems to run at their full potential and the idea of leaving our AGP support disabled doesn't sit well with us. Therefore the first course of action you should take is to look for a new BIOS for your motherboard. In some cases an updated BIOS could solve the voltage problem saving you the extra cash of purchasing a brand new motherboard. However, if the BIOS update fails to correct the voltage problem you will indeed need to purchase a new motherboard.

Intel Nearest Plans 14:54 pm - Kan
Our pals over at iXBT posted an article called Intel Nearest Plans. They talked about new Intel Coppermine processors, and the 733 Mhz Katmai processor. Wooo.....

Well, this will be the starting day for the systems with 133MHz system bus. We all know that VIA launched its Apollo Pro133 chipset, which allows using this system bus working frequency, quite a long time ago already, however there haven't been made any processors supporting this FSB that's why fully fledged 133MHz are still a fantasy. In the end of September the situation should undoubtedly change - the world will see the first processor designed for this FSB frequency. Unfortunately, it is not going to be Coppermine, as all of you have probably expected. Just to make sure you remember: Coppermine is a Pentium III made with 0.18 micron technology and provided with a 256KB L2 cache integrated into the processor core and working at the processor frequency. The developers made too many mistakes while designing this core that's why there is no chance for us to see the processor on it in the end of September, as we have expected before. This cool event is postponed till the last quarter of this year.

Diamond Supra 56K USB 09:54 am - Kan
Now, check out PlanetRiva's review on the Diamond Supra 56K USB modem. Hmm, my old modem was as big as a stack of A4-sized paper.

One of the things I like most about this modem is appearance and size. This is the smallest modem I have ever seen! It is as big as a normal CD in size. Another cool feature is that the modems casing is translucent allowing you to see its "guts". On the casing are the words Diamond (actually its more like part of the actual casing), a stylish SupraExpress logo and four lights. My previous modem had about 10 lights on it so some users may be a bit disappointed by this. The fours lights are OH, SD, RD and ON. OH is for On-Hook, SD is for Sending Data, RD is for Receiving Data and ON is for..well..On :) Behind the modem are two phone line connectors and the USB connector. More about USB later on in the review.

TennMax Mega7 09:50 am - Kan
FullOn3D reviewed the TennMax Mega7 Socket7/Socket370 cooler. Hmm, this heatsink is BIG as well, but not as big as GlobalWin's FDP32 bad boy.

Installation is a breeze with these coolers. You take them from the box, snap the power plug into the motherboard, hook the static side of the spring into the side of the Socket 370 that is not labeled with "Socket 370", align the cooler with the CPU and press down the spring with a fingertip on the other side until it snaps on the opposite hook. Click. Done.

If you are unsure about the smoothness of the chip surface add a little bit of thermal grease to fill the cracks. Wiggle the heatsink a little to make sure it distributes perfectly and you're set.

Massive 3D Cards Roundup 09:47 am - Kan
GA-Source posted a massive 13 video cards roundup over at their site. Let me tell you, running repetitive benchmarks on 13 video cards is no joke! :)

Any test results are only as good as the methodology used. For all of the testing, tests were ran at least 3 times, and the mathematical average used. If a test did not appear stable (results were more than 10% off), I re-ran the test until I had 3 tests in a row with less than 10% from highest to lowest. All of the video cards used the latest drivers available. In each of the test systems, no other hardware was added, removed or changed during the entire testing time. During the actual running of the tests, there were no other background programs running (thanks to Ziff-Davis' Startup Manager). The testing software was all patched to the latest available version as well, and the exact same configuration files were used for each system. 

ASUS P2B-F 09:45 am - Kan
Though this is a rather old board, but nevertheless check out WickedPC's review on the ASUS P2B-F.

Besides all the normal specs, the ASUS P2B-F comes equipped with 5 PCI Slots, 2 ISA Slots (one shared) as well as the standard AGP 2x slot. Its layout is compact and it's obvious that time was spent making the board as "compact" as can be since most of the PCB is covered by stuff all over. The 4 DIMM slots are present and high up enough not to bother anything. You'll also note the AWARD bios (which means jumpers for all settings, not BIOS CPU selection and such), as well as the great Winbond chip for thermal monitoring. Besides that, it's just a standard run of the mill motherboard with dual IDE ports, dual USB ports, serial ports, etcÖ

27.2GB DiamondMax 09:39 am - Kan
Tech-Review reviewed the Maxtor 27.2GB DiamondMax hard drive. Now, that's sweet as 27.2GB can probably hold all my stuffs (err.. they're work related! =P). 

The main specifications to point out are that the 6800 spins at a rate of 5,400 RPM and uses the ATA-66 interface. The ATA-66 interface is used for higher bandwidth, a bump from 33 MB/sec to 66 MB/sec. Unfortunately, we haven't seen a large performance increase from this interface, yet in order to take full advantage of it you will need an ATA-66 add on card or a motherboard that supports ATA-66 onboard. Currently, unless you have a recent motherboard, the chances of ATA 66 onboard your motherboard are slim. In such a case, purchasing an ATA 66 add on card like the Promise Ultra66 would be your best option. However, if you still don't want to opt for an ATA 66 adapter, the 6800 along with all ATA 66 drives work on normal ATA 33 or EIDE connections.

The Future of Storage 09:36 am - Kan
Here's an interesting article from AbsolutePC on the Future of Storage. Well, one thing we know for sure is that it will only get faster, smaller and bigger (smaller and bigger? oxymoron!).

The prices of hard drives in general, but mainly IDE hard drives has certainly plummeted in the last few years.  This allows for the massive IDE hard drives coming in a 25 gigs and more that just wasn't possible two years ago. IDE/ATA/ATAPI/whatever technology has increased greatly in this time too. With ATA/33 boasting thirty-three meg/second, a number comparable with SCSI, things seemed to be looking up for IDE. Of course, that figure is nowhere near accurate for real-world performance, but that happening is quite common nowadays. 

International Football 2000 09:34 am - Kan
ActiveWin sent note on their game review of Microsoft's International Football 2000. On a separate note, they also reviewed the C&C2: Tiberian Sun as well. I don't know, but I just played the game last night and I was kinda disappointed with it.

Microsoft International Football can be run in a massive amount of resolutions, depending on your graphics card of course. I'm using the G400 so Direct3D resolutions and speed are not a problem so I went straight ahead and ran the game in 1280x1024. The animation on the players is excellent, kit designs are almost perfect and the stadium designs are much better than I have seen in any other football game thus far (Fifa 2000 excluded). That doesn't mean that it doesn't have any problems because it certainly does, some players shirts get jaded at the edges when close up, the player faces could be improved, the weather effects are bad and the net looks pretty awful.

Athlon 600 Mhz on Linux 09:31 am - Kan
Now, this is damn sweet! Check out CPUReview about running the Athlon 600 Mhz under Linux. Hmm, I wonder how long it takes to compile the kernel on a 600 Mhz processor.

Initially I tried to install Mandrake 6.0; and while the installation itself went reasonably well (other than video and network card recognition) once Mandrake was installed it would crash during the bootup process. Cursory examination of the of the displayed error messages suggests that the crash occurs when Mandrake is attempting to configure the MTRR (memory type range registers.); possibly due to a difference with how the K7 handles "FASTVID" equivalent memory write merging configuration.

Creative Labs Blaster PC 09:29 am - Kan
TheTechZone sent note on the review of the Creative Labs Blaster PC. Yup, this is the complete system from Creative which features the speakers jack, line out jack etc sticking out in front of the casing - perfect for MIDI gurus!

The first thing you notice about the Blaster PC is that big volume control knob on the front of the machine. It looks way cool. You can really tell this is a multimedia computer. The Blaster PC also comes with an excellent set of multimedia speakers which is made by Cambridge SoundWorks of course.

The volume control isn't the only thing on the front of the Blaster PC. A few manufacturers have relocated some of the ports to the front of their computers but Creative has gone overkill. Behind a sliding panel at the bottom of the comp, you can access USB, audio input/output, joystick, MIDI, SPDIF video and optical ports. There is even accommodations for FireWire! Not enough you say? How about a built in FM tuner? Nothing like listening to your favorite FM station while surfing the net. :-)

NT 2000 Resource Guide 09:27 am - Kan
BetaOS sent note on the release of their Windows NT 2000 Resource Guide where they talked about the new NTFS 5.0 file system and how to poke around with it (basically how to convert from FAT32/NTFS to NTFS 5.0).

FAT16 was always a pretty insecure file system, anyone with a DOS boot disk could easily access all of your information without any type of security stopping them. The security within the operating system that you could impose was pretty limited as well, an all or nothing type of thing.  Then there has been the large drive issue to go along with that, does anyone really want to partition one of those new fancy 20GB drives into 10 partitions, aside from killing half of your available drive letters, it would be brutally confusing. Luckily we now have a choice of better solutions, FAT32 or NTFS.

27 August 1999 - Friday

Instant Messaging: The Giants Are Not Sure  
18:42 pm - Wilfred
Not sure about? Well, not sure how to make money off users like ourselves! MSNBC has this article about the extremely popular instant messaging tool(s) proliferating on the net and the software giants fighting to control a section of this pie. While they debate over how best to rip us off, they are continuing to put exciting plans in place to entice more of us!

"That's a real tough one. It's like trying to make money off of telephone calls or CB radio service," Lim said. "When you're talking about real-time voice conversations, that's something that specifically doesnít want to be monetized. People donít want to be interrupted by anything."

And as IM progresses from a text chat to voice conferencing, Lim said, there will be less opportunity to advertise than with a text interface. But Lim sees another way that voice IM can generate dollars ó a monthly fee.

Instant messaging is likely to appear on cell phones and other offline devices anyway, said Deanna Sanford, lead product manager for MSN marketing. "Imagine a world when I'm offline, I'm on my way to the airport, and my instant messages are sent to my cell phone," Sanford said.

Matrox Millennium G400 18:35 pm - Wilfred
The Sharks have delivered a review on the Matrox Millenium G400. I like to think of this card as the Saab of video cards. Sweeet! Not ostentatious like the Benzes nor showy like a chilly red Porsche.

The visual quality of the G400 is top-notch. The G400's tri-linear filtering and mip-mapping implementations are by far superior to the TNT2's. The color quality is more vibrant and 32bit is supported and with great performance. With up to 32-bit Z-buffer and 24-bit Z/8-bit stencil buffer, it supports the current and next generation of Z-buffer precision. Support for texture sizes up to 2048 x 2048, though there's no texture compression available, and the addition of Environment Mapped Bump Mapping makes it the current leader in the VQ high performance race.

OS Religion Strikes Again 18:28 pm - Wilfred
For a more balanced criticism piece, osOpinion has an article that commended the Windows system we've all become so familiar with, over that of Apple's. Good points to note, so please learn not to take brother Gates for granted! The rest are not necessarily better! =)

Voodoo 3 Overclocking Guide 18:22 pm - Wilfred
FiringSquad posted an overclocking guide for the Voodoo 3 cards - an article they explained, to be for the MOST hardcore of Q3 gamers who really, actually, absolutely, fancied speed over graphics quality (else you would be using a TNT2 instead!). As we all know, the V3 2000 is a superb overclocker for anyone who plays present day games. Its price warrants your consideration!

Speed is king, or so 3dfx thought. Hardcore gamers don't care about how games look. It's all about framerate, right? Gamers are willing to forgo 32-bit color and large textures just for speed. Yeah, that's what we thought too.

We were very surprised by the amount of reader backlash we received over our Q3test 1.05 Optimization Guide. Our guide basically advised readers to turn off all the pretty graphics to speed up the game. We thought it was a pretty harmless guide. We assumed most of our readers would have appreciated the article, because we thought most of our readers were hardcore Quake players just like us. Then the flames started coming.

It seems our guide offended several readers who couldn't fathom playing Q3 at anything lower than 1024 x 768 with all the eye-candy enabled. We didn't expect this response at all. People playing Q3 for the graphics? We were just playing for the competition. What's the point in playing if you're not trying to win?

Kenn has a habit of running around an empty map and examining the fine textures and level design, but throw him into a packed FFA and he's the first one to turn everything off. Pretty graphics are fine, but winning is more important to us.

Did 3dfx make the same mistake we did? Only a small percentage of gamers can be considered hardcore. Is the Voodoo 3 too hardcore for the average gamer?

Stealth III 540 11:49 am - Wilfred
Diamond's Stealth III 540 is reviewed at Tweak3D today. Based on the Savage4 Pro+. The card doesn't perform too shabbily but it doesn't deliver TNT2 or V3 class performance... so that should hold off some buyers, till we see some real use of S3TC in future games like Unreal Tournament.

The Stealth III S540 with the Savage4 Pro+ is a NIIICCE addition to anyone's graphic arsenal, in the category of image quality at the very least. However, it is severely plagued by incomplete support of its number one feature, S3TC. A second downfall is the overall speed at high resolutions, and even at the lower ones for that matter. The clock of the chip just doesn't cut it, especially with today's monsters close to hitting 200MHz!

Merced Prototype: Linux Ran, NT Didn't 11:40 am - Wilfred
More juicy development reported at The Register, that Intel has finally put its Merced design on silicon. Embarrassingly for Microsoft, it's Win64 software didn't run while Linux did. Recent stories had been that Compaq will not be supporting NT on its 32-bit nor 64-bit Alpha machines and Microsoft will discontinue development of 64-bit Windows on the Alphas to concentrate on Intel's IA64 architecture.

Reliable sources close to Intel's plans say that the company has produced first silicon samples of the processor in its fabrication plants.

But while the news may be good for Intel, Microsoft is already gnashing its teeth. Because the Linux operating system is already running on the silicon while Microsoft's Win64 software won't.

Microsoft Redmond has drafted in armies of developers in an attempt to sort out the embarrassing fact, the sources said.

Overclocking The Athlon 11:34 am - Wilfred
Tom, the Big Bad Boy, whipped up an overclocking guide for the AMD Athlon processor. It is detailed with many pictures of the precise steps to carry out the intricate surgery on the precious chip. Seriously, are you mad enough to attempt this? For health's sake, I suggest not. Here's a personal warning from the man himself:

I can't say it often enough, BE CAREFUL! Start this procedure only if you have experience with SMD-soldering! You require a professional heat-adjustable soldering iron with a very fine tip. Use a very fine tool to keep the SMD-resistor in place, don't overheat the PCB, don't scratch around on it, don't rip off a half-soldered SMD-resistor, because it kills the PCB, and be careful that your SMD-part doesn't stick to the tip of your soldering iron!

Don't do it if you feel insecure in any way! Don't do it altogether as long as you haven't got a damn good reason to increase the performance of your Athlon. In most cases Athlon performs better than anything else anyway. Don't do it just for fun and don't think that it increases your pecker-size in any way. Even the crazy die-hard overclockers should have learned that by now.

Distributed.net Client Finds Laptop Thieves 11:22 am - Wilfred
Here's an incentive for you to crack RC5! (for us? =P) Take a look at this story at Wired where two laptop thieves were caught because the notebooks happened to be cracking RC5 using the Distributed.net client. That allowed police and administrators from Distributed.net to locate the IP of the machines... yadda... so what are you waiting for?

When the thieves started to use the computers, RC5 continued to process keys and connect to Distributed.net servers, sending in completed work and fetching new keys. And when the stolen computer communicated with the server, it logged in using the thief's IP address.

The Distributed.net administrators tracked down the IP address back to the thieves' ISPs, and in turn were able to determine who was using that IP address when the keys were sent.

In separate incidents, in May 1998 in Sweden, and this year at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, police were able to recover the computers, said David McNett, a programmer who runs Distributed.net.

Kryotech Enhanced Athlon 800 11:14 am - Wilfred
Pete's Hardware Domain is back online again with new looks and a new URL. They've kicked off the joyous occasion with a preview of a Kryotech cooled Athlon at 800Mhz. I'm sure you have seen benchmarks of its lesser siblings... now for the Athlon on drugs!

Based around an AMD Athlon 600 CPU running with L2 cache size of 512Kb running at 1/3 core speed, the system is already relatively impressive. When running at 800 it's fast enough to make one understand just what high speed computing is all about.

Erazor III 07:37 am - Kan
Over at AGN Hardware, we have another Erazor III TNT2 graphics card review. Be sure to catch our own thoughts on the Erazor III as well. :)

Since the ERAZOR III is based upon the TNT2 chip, you know the 3D image quality is going to be impressive. The end result is that the card can play all of your favorite games, with impressive looking quality that is truly the next level of gaming. One of the biggest advantages that the TNT2 has over the Voodoo3 is the fact that it supports from 256x256 to 2048x2048 texture sizes. This allows developers to put larger texture sizes into the game, for more impressive looking screen quality. When using the larger texture sizes games can have more realistic looking levels that are a true step above what we have seen in the past.

Soyo SY-6IBM 07:26 am - Kan
Something new is brewing over at AnandTech with the release of the Soyo SY-6IBM microATX motherboard review. Hmm, it even comes with an integrated Rage128VR graphics card. 

AnandTech's evaluation sample featured the Rage 128VR with 8MB SDRAM with the core operating at 90MHz and the memory at 100MHz. This is lower than the 105/105 that retail Rage Fury's ship at, but the same as most OEM versions. The chip itself is cooled by a small green heatsink, slightly smaller than the one shipping on retail Rage 128 cards. The drivers on the Soyo CD are quite old, so you'll want to grab the latest from ATI. The same Rage 128 drivers work on both VR and GL versions of the chip.

ABIT BP6 Review 07:20 am - Kan
How can we miss this out when our pals over at ArsTechnica released their review on the ABIT BP6 Dual Socket-370 motherboard.

I know that most of you already know all about Abit's SoftMenu, but I'm gonna lay out a little description for the uninitiated.  Let me just say that it's cool. Incredibly useful.  The purpose of the SoftMenu is to remove the need for jumpers and dipswitches on the motherboard.  Rather than making sure the J15 is on while J22 and J7 are off, an Abit owner merely uses the SoftMenu BIOS to set things in pretty much plain English. Scroll through clock multipliers, front-side bus speed settings, CPU voltages, and more.  What can you set?

C&C2: Tiberian Sun 07:20 am - Kan
The game all of us waited for, but when it finally came out, I didn't feel very excited at all. Anyway, Speedy3D reviewed Tiberian Sun and you may like to read what the gals have to say:

The first thing you notice about TS is one of itís always most important features, the movies. They tell the story as the game progresses and like itís predecessors, TS has gone all out on producing the sequences. However it doesnít seem to have always paid off, the acting is cheesy at best with James Earl Jones providing the only real talent. The thing about C&C and Red Alertís movies were that they actually showed the base you were attacking being defeated in pretty similar detail to how it was in the game, which adds depth. In TS you just see the acting and with it being so poor, they might as well not bothered with it at all.

BIOS Optimization Guide v3.3 07:13 am - Kan
Adrian's Rojak Pot sent note that he had updated the BIOS Optimization Guide, upping it to version 3.3. Guys, go read the useful guide and check it with your BIOS settings. What's new includes:

  • PIRQ_0 Use IRQ No. ~ PIRQ_3 Use IRQ No.
  • MPS Version Control For OS
  • Video BIOS Shadowing
  • Shadowing Address Ranges
26 August 1999 - Thursday

More Flaws More Flaws!!!! 
21:33 pm - Wilfred
This is NOT good. Two major security flaws were discovered independently within NT4 Service Pack 4 and Internet Explorer 5. NT4 SP4 must be one of the most widely deployed version of the NT operating systems, and Internet Explorer 5 too. So check out the implications from the links below!

The NT Problem:
The flaw enables hackers to masquerade as trusted hosts to get access to secure systems, using so-called Predictable IP Sequence Numbering - something that was identified and fixed in Unix systems several years ago, according to Richard Thomas, head of Winterfold Datacomm (Guildford, UK), a networking consultancy.

The IE5 Problem:
Bulgarian browser bugmeister Georgi Guninski is at it again. The 27-year-old independent computer consultant has discovered a new security flaw affecting Internet Explorer 5, which enables a malicious hacker to place a program on the victim's hard disk, to be executed at the next reboot.

Wilfred Coughs 21:12 pm - Wilfred
Yes, couple of things... I'm seeing increasing support for our RC5 effort so I'm on a high today, which is indeed a good thing after a traumatizing evening watching Japanese horror movie, The Ring. Really spooked and they achieved it without cheap-thrill-scares and gory scenes. I better stop talking about it, it must be erased from my memory - the quiet suspense, ghastly deaths and eerie music. Fortunately I've got 2 new friends to cheer me up today! =)

Abit BE6 19:14 pm - Wilfred
Another review on the BE6 at The TechZone. It's an ideal board for overclockers today who'll surely be interested in support for newer and faster ATA/66 drives. Interestingly, the boys found the board more stable than the Asus P3B when running a 366mhz Celeron at 605Mhz. Err... wow!?!

ATA-66 and UDMA66 sound fast, however you are not going to get a 100% increase like the letter suggest. Instead you are given burst support of 66MHz, provided the hard drive can send that level of data bandwidth to the chip. Under testing with the 22GXP from IBM (7200 RPM 22GB drive) I was seeing only about 15% increase performance on the average.

How does a Celeron 366 running at 605Mhz with default voltage sound? The Abit BE6 was even able to work with the Celeron running at 616Mhz, not 100% stable but it runs. By comparison, the same Celeron would lock up as it's about to log onto Windows on the BX6.

Comparing the BE6 to Asus's new P3B shows that the Abit is more stable. The P3B was also able to run the Celeron 366 at 605Mhz, but it needed 2.2V to get it stable. The P3B was totally unstable at 616Mhz, crashing within a few minutes of loading.

Windows Customization 19:07 pm - Wilfred
Want to learn more about system customization? AbsolutePC sent note about their new writeup which has bits of advice for novice users. Anyway, if you're keen on more advanced customization, you should download the recently released WinBoost 2000 from Megellass (Thanks to Dani for informing).

Why Did Sun Purchase Star Division? 18:57 pm - Wilfred
Not an astronomical discussion but osOpinion has an article analyzing Sun Microsystems' US$540 million purchase of Star Division, a maker of desktop application suites. With the information they pieced together, we see Sun's strategies developing.

Why did Sun, a company who markets mostly high end Unix solutions, purchase a company which sells a desktop software suite? Sun hasn't explicitly stated their intentions, but the puzzle pieces fit nicely together.

There is also a version of Star Office for Java in addition to the platform specific product. Sun will unveil the JavaStation 2, code named "Corona" in September. This time they will be able to deliver the JavaStation with the needed desktop applications required to displace more costly Windows machines.

All successful platforms are defined by their applications. The desktop is defined by office products and convenient Internet access. The JavaStation, coupled with Star Office, delivers both in a zero (or near zero) administrative bonus. Support and administration is the biggest expense of the Windows desktop platform.

C&C 2: Tiberian Sun  12:10 pm - Sniper
Just when I was about to go for lunch, this came along. I guess some of you out there are hungry to get your hands on this one

Another part worth mentioning is the lighting effect of this game. Shadows of hills and mountains are provided in this game, and if units move under a shaded around, them too will be in the dark. One thing they might improve in future titles could be the use of the sun's position through time. In this game, it seems that the sun is always on the south east corner, but in real life, the sun moves (or at least the planets move which makes the sun seem to move in the situation called "Frame of Reference") So maybe the shades will move after hours of playing or something. Who knows what
they can come up with.

Gigabyte GA-660 Review  12:01 pm - Sniper
Speaking of overclocking TNT2, 3D Alpha reviewed the Gigabyte GA-660 graphics card.

The GA-660 has an interesting jumper on it that is labeled "Turbo". According to the manual, when covered, this switch enables the user to overclock the board. I was able to safely overclock my board to a setting of 175mhz core, 190mhz memory. This may be attributed to the inclusion of a very impressive cooling system. Not only does the GA-660 have a heatsink and fan covering the front side of the TNT2 chipset, but it also includes a large heatsink covering the back of it. The default speed of the GA-660 is 150/166. The memory was stable at 190mhz, but above that it produced visual accuities. 

Riva TNT2 Overclocking Guide  11:51 am - Sniper
The boys over at iXBT did a guide on overclocking the TNT2, not bad!!

Well, let's sum up. We have every right to state that Diamond Viper V770 graphics card with 6ns memory chips from Hyundai turns out the best choice. Most cards with the standard working frequencies set to 125/150MHz (chipset and memory correspondingly) can be overclocked to 160/225MHz, which provides a 50% performance gain in applications requiring powerful graphics accelerator. V770 Ultra with 5.5ns memory chips from Hyundai can be overclocked somewhat better, but the price is unproportionally higher. 

Seagate 28GB Barracuda ATA  11:39 am - Sniper
StorageReview had just sent word about a review of the Seagate's 28GB Barracuda ATA ST328040A hard-disk drive

Finally, a year and a half after the ST39140A's debut, Seagate has followed up with another 7200rpm drive. This time around, however, the Medalist Pro moniker is
gone. For this new drive, Seagate has leveraged a brand name that's perhaps the "Pentium" of the hard drive world: Barracuda. As the first 7200rpm drive around,
the SCSI Barracuda line boasts a proud and distinguished lineage. Even today, where the latest iteration of the Barracuda isn't always the fastest around, few would dispute the name's implication of performance and reliability
.

Beta BIOSes for Abit BE6 & BP6 08:55 am - Sniper
FiringSquad sent news that they have fresh copies of beta bioses for the Abit BE6 & BP6.  Go grab it.

Fall'99 Video Card Roundup
06:49 am - Kan
There's a mass orgy of video cards roundup over at CGO where they compared 12 video graphics cards like the TNT2, G400, Savage4, Voodoo3.

To help you figure it all out, we prepared this roundup of some of the most popular video cards released this spring and summer. Our capsule reviews, along with a suite of benchmarks, should help you make an informed buying decision. The numbers in the benchmarks are important, but remember, they're not everything. For starters, we tested everything on the fastest consumer PC available, so if you've got a slower CPU, you may be wasting money on one of the more expensive video cards.

BP6 Review 06:48 am - Kan
We have another review of this superb ABIT BP6 from BXBoards

Softmenu II has undergone some tweaking to support the dual design. There is currently no capability to adjust L2 cache latency, but theoretically this feature could be reworked into a later BIOS update. One of the nicest features of this board is that voltage tweaks can be applied independently for each processor. So if one CPU is happy at 2.0v but the other required 2.2v then this can all be handled painless by the BIOS. A very nice touch indeed!

Monsoon MM1000 06:43 am - Kan
Our buds over at 3DHardware.net posted a review on the Monsoon MM1000 flat-panel speakers review. Wafer-size thin and futuristic looking, it sure looks cool on your computer!

The MM1000's employ a unique planar magnetic technology that has always been noted by true audio enthusiasts (or audiophiles) as the best way to accurately reproduce sound. Monsoon has patented a design that offers the advantages of the technology at a dramatcially low price compared to other speakers utilizing planar magnetics. The result? A sound system that's affordable to use with your PC, yet still provides a wide and deep soundstage with very accurate imaging.

Deep C Secrets 06:41 am - Kan
Oh gosh, check out our pals ArsTechnica where the gurus released an article called Deep C Secrets on expert C programming.

Programmer folklore isn't the only thing the book offers though. In fact, the various anecdotes are secondary to the main thrust of the work, which is teaching intermediate-level C programmers the kinds of tidbits of knowledge about the intricacies of the C that they'd normally pick up only through years of coding. For instance, we all learned in our "Intro to C Programming" courses that pointers and arrays are basically the same thing. The shocking truth is that they are in fact not the same thing and assuming that they are can get you into some trouble.

Draken Review 06:40 am - Kan
Speedy3D posted a review on the game Draken and the babes gave it a rating of 9.5/10. Darn, I'm still waiting for _someone_ to pass me a copy of C&C2. :)

Somewhere in between your Quake and Tombraiders lies a game type that is well known for combining the best of both worlds and turning it into something wonderful. Ever since the last one DBTS (Die By The Sword), there has been a void waiting to be filled, yet after two years of waiting little has turned up. Thief as you may be thinking does also come into this gaming genre, however like DBTS such games always seem to have mixed reception by the press and consumers. DBTS was damned for having a difficult to use fighting system, which gave you almost 100% control over how you moved your sword.

25 August 1999 - Wednesday

Ultimate Graphics Card
23:55 pm - Wilfred
Thanks to reader Adam Buckley for this pic. I had a good laugh, and you guys must be wondering what's the best card for Quake 4 and beyond... have a look at this ultimate graphics card! =)

Xitel Storm Platinum 23:40 pm - Wilfred
This review is from the sound specialists themselves, so check out 3DSoundSurge's review on the excellent package.

Vortex 2 cards were once the undisputed champions of four speaker audio because of their excellent HRTF implementation on the front speakers. However, the SB Live using LiveWare 2.0 and Terratecís DMX board using Sensauraís MultiDrive technology now sport four speaker HRTFs which allows for the rear speakers to position sound up and down. This is not to say the Storm Platinumís four speaker implementation is weak because its very good, just not top of the pack anymore.

Saitek Cyborg Stick 2000 22:18 pm - Kan
Exxtreme Hardware sent note on their review on the Saitek Cyborg Stick 2000 joystick.

The Cyborg 3Dís claim-to-fame was always its unparalleled degree of customizability to fit hands of all sizes and shapes, and in this regard, the Stick 2000 is no different. It comes with the same nifty hex tool that allows four separate adjustments. Lefties will appreciate being able to re-position the throttle knob and palm rest to achieve a mirror-image of the default right-handed stick. The palm rest may also be moved up or down to accommodate different sized hands. The two remaining adjustments allow incremental tilting and rolling of the thumb base to fit thumbs of various shapes and lengths.

Totem Motherboard 22:15 pm - Kan
No, I never heard of Totem before. But CPUReview whipped up a review on this Totem Socket-370 "BX Pro" VIA chipset motherboard.

The two-digit LED display is a nice touch; you no longer have to count beep codes if something goes wrong while you are building a system; just look up the two digit error code!

I purchased this board to use it in a sub-mini AT tower case as a semi-portable Linux system; however I did run some tests under Windows 95 to evaluate its performance...

Outcast Review 22:10 pm - Kan
Though I'm never a fan of the Voxel engine, but the Outcast review done by 3DRage may just change my opinion on this technique used to render 3D images.

An introduction to Outcast could best be summed up in a few words, these being that Outcast is probably one of the best adventure games to date for the PC. Engrossing would be one word to describe it, or perhaps challenging. Appeal started the development process of Outcast way back in January 1996. They have had ample time to produce what could be described as the best damn adventure game for the PC, is this true, read on to find out.

Skywell TNT2 Review 22:07 pm - Kan
Check out our pals HardOCP where Kyle posted a review of the Skywell TNT2 graphics card. Don't forget to read their wacky review. :)

The last unusual thing about this card is that the unit I have is NOWHERE near the spec unit that is being sold by Skywell on their Magic-3D site.   They are advertising a 150 mem / 150 core speed and my card is 140 / 125.   Also my card had the SGRam as mentioned above but the Skywell site shows that SDRam is shipping on the cards.  So all in all, this card I have for review is not even available to the general public anywhere as far as I can figure out.

World's First Virtual Model 19:40 pm - Sniper
Wow! Virtual model? Thanks to TechWeb for this link, so what are you waiting for?  Click here for her website.

Elite Models, the worldwide agency that launched the
careers of supermodels Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Naomi Campbell, now has Webbie
Tookay, a computer-generated animated mannequin
that can show up anywhere, any time.

Vanilla Video Card Buyer's Guide 15:26 pm - Sniper
Looking for a low end video card? FiringSquad has a buyer's guide that might help.

We know that many of our readers are interested in the low-end video cards. There's nothing wrong with wanting a good video card that doesn't cost a fortune. Hell, that's all we want too. Want to see how the low-end current generation cards perform? We've put together a little video card shootout comparing all the "plain vanilla" 3D chips out there. The participants include a 3dfx
Voodoo 3 2000, a regular TNT2, a Matrox G400, an ATI Rage 128, and a Savage 4 Pro. 

3DCOOL Twin Turbo Cooler 13:55 pm - Sniper
Rage3D has just posted a review of 3DCOOL Twin Turbo Cooler. Here is a little quote.

Case cooling is obviously one of the more important aspects of an overclocker's computer. If your case gets too hot, then you probably won't be able to achieve the overclocking speeds that you desire. Having a good heatsink/fan combo is probably the most important thing, but the other fans in your case also play a large part. Enter: 3DCOOL Twin Turbo.

ABIT BP6 Mainboard Review 13:30 pm - Sniper
iXBT came up with a review of the BP6.  Do you have one? Help us run RC5 on it then. =)

Well, let's start with the PCB. ABIT BP6 mainboard looks very similar to ABIT BX6 Revision 2.0, of course if we close our eyes to the different number and type of the processor interfaces. In other words, despite the fact that BP6 supports two CPUs, its size remained almost the same as the single-processor BX6 Rev.2.0. It is a very pleasing thing, actually, because it means that the dual-CPU BP6 will fit practically in any standard ATX case. This is probably due to the size of Socket 370, which needs less room on the mainboard than Slot 1, and besides, the mainboard doesn't have SCSI-controllers, which are so popular for dual-processor configurations. The result is more than evident: BP6 is much smaller than any other dual-CPU mainboard, which sometimes can't fit into a not very large case. 

Multilayer Storage Scheme 07:48 am - Kan
Over at EETimes, there's an article on a new multilayer storage scheme which promises gigabytes of storage space. Totally wacky.

Although the system is described as solid-state it does require moving parts to roughly align an optical system above the storage medium and to focus the beam used for writing, reading and erasing data. Focusing is used to provide fine control of the addressing in x, y and z directions with the variable focus and transparent microscopic layers used to store data in three dimensions. The data access time for the new storage technology is predicted to be around 100 Mbytes/second.

Fujitsu 18.2 GB vs Quantum 18.2 GB 06:59 am - Kan
Crash of the titans. SharkyExtreme compared two giant 18.2 GB drives, the Fujitsu vs Quantum Fireball KA. Like I said, size does matter.

As UDMA/66 controllers become more commonplace in today's computers, it is time to look at some of the biggest and fastest UDMA/66 products on the market. With the new Abit BE6 offering onboard UltraDMA 66 support, Intel's new i840 chipset just around the corner, and many companies offering PCI versions, everyone wants to know which drive to buy. Today we take two of the forerunners in the UDMA/66 bandwagon to face off their flagship UDMA/66 drives.

ABIT CX6 06:41 am - Kan
Hold hold. This is not a review, but our girls over at HardOCP (getting harder and harder nowadays) brought us news on the latest ABIT CX6 motherboard based on the Camino chipset which will debut in UK soon. Another interesting cup of juice is the "flip chip" design already available in Socket370 Celerons. Gee, I don't quite understand it.

"If you will look at the attached Intel docs you will see that a "flip chip" design is already in place in the socket 370's, thus putting the silicon at the top of the chip. ( this is classic Intel marketing, advertise existing features as new.) It does replace the lead frame, and provide better noise.. blah blah blah. But. will not change the pin outs, nor will they emerge from the center of the CPU packaging.   Even in direct pin out solutions, like these ones, there is still a bonding process which must take place. The " Pins " which come off the die are usually far to small to mount in a socket, I mean these are REALLY tiny. SO they mount in a sort of mini socket so to speak which is bonded to the packaging pins. This means two things, one.... No more SMP with this retool, SMP is sure to get the axe. ( unless Intel keeps it in there to promote low cost high end performance, to steal k7 sales.) two.... yes, your old boards will work, the pin outs will (most likely) not change. "

Celeron Overclocking FAQ 06:40 am - Kan
Our buds over at ArsTechnica updated their Celeron Overclocking FAQ, so be sure to read'em and learn the black art from the masters.

In theory, a CPU is tested first at it's maximum speed.  The ones that pass the testing process at this speed are marked as such and sold as top-of-the-line CPU's.  Those that fail at the fastest speed are tested at successively lower and lower speeds until they run reliably.  These slower cores are then marked with the speed at which they passed the testing process and sold as slower processors.  At least, that's the theory.  No one really knows how Intel decides which cores get marked for a given speed.  Several other factors, such as customer demand and production quality, affect how many processors of each speed are produced.

Xentor32 06:36 am - Kan
Darn, I like to get my paws on this. Anyway, TheTechZone sent note on their new review on this TNT2 based graphics card.

To give the Xentor an even chance against the Viper Ultra, I performed the same overclocking tricks I used on the Viper, which were a big Global Win CPM32 on the TNT2 Ultra chipset and metal strips on the memory chips. This help take the Viper Ultra to insane 185Mhz core and 243Mhz memory.

Unfortunately, the Xentor was unable to perform the same feat as the Viper Ultra. The core simply refuse to work above 175Mhz. However the memory did make it to 230Mhz before overheating.

The Choices 06:34 am - Kan
Hmm, rather interesting article over at Exxtreme3D where the gals talked about companies you should buy your graphics cards from (basically what video card you should get)

ATI has been known as the king of integration. With the ATI All-in-Wonder series, ATI was for many years the only way to go if you wanted a card that had the features you needed and the features you wanted. With TV-in and out plus a slew of other features, ATI cards had a strong hold of the market not used by gamers. ATI never really could get serious about 3D until their RAGE 128 chip..

TennMax Stealth V3 Cooler 06:32 am - Kan
More TennMax madness as Speedy3D brought to us a review on the TennMax Stealth V3 cooler

Overclocking your video card seems to have become a computer pastime. The reason the video card is the easiest part of the system to overclock is because it doesnít affect anything else when you overclock it. It canít hurt anything else either. When you overclock your processor, you overclock the FSB, which in turn, overclock the PCI and AGP Bus, and the Hard Drive. When you overclock the processor there are a lot of factors besides the processor in determining whether or not it will work. In the video card there is only three, which all pertain to the card itself. How much heat it produces, how well its cooled, and the video cardís limits.

DirectX 7 RC3 06:30 am - Kan
Wow, this is fast. Our pals over at NT Game Palace sent note on the release of DirectX7 RC3. Official beta testers can download it from here. Also, updated INF files for Windows 2000 are available for the Voodoo3 family. Check'em out.

 

24 August 1999 - Tuesday


Janus
19:13 pm - Kan
Hmm, I like the name more. Anyway, BetaOS posted some juice on the next OS after Windows 2000, codename Janus

The major upgrade for Windows 2000 is code-named "Janus," ... "a 64-bit operating-system upgrade that will support Intel's forthcoming Merced chip and incorporate major improvements to the Active Directory, according to sources at Fusion '99, a show attended by 3,700 Microsoft Certified Solutions Partners last weekend in San Francisco."

"Janus" is a far-bigger project than Millennium - "Janus" has been planned for a release "six to eight months after the original Windows 2000 and Windows 2000 Advanced Center hit the streets in the fourth quarter of 1999," but we all know that it will be quite a while before it is fully developed.  No one actually even knows what it will look like ... but Microsoft has already outlined some of the major features of the Windows 2000 successor, "Janus."

Troubleshooting Your Overclocked System 17:31 pm - Wilfred
This is a good read overclockers and overclocker-wannabes. The Tech Squad has an article about troubleshooting your overclocked system, some of the reasons for certain failures and how best to establish stability. Check this out!

ERROR: This program has performed a Illegal Operation.

REASON: Heat and Voltage seem to be the causes of this problem. If it is heat, the system will quickly freeze right after.

FIX: Bump up the voltage. Your CPU may need more power in order to operate. I donít recommend anything over .2 volts over the default setting. Going to .3 over is OK if you have a good cooling solution

I Guess It Shall Be PC133 For Us 17:20 pm - Wilfred
Thanks to a pointer at ArsTechnica, there's a story at EBN Online that many OEMs are skipping Intel and moving onto the PC133 bandwagon. Here's a blurb:

Intel has no PC133 chipset because it had planned to move from 100-MHz SDRAM to the forthcoming Direct Rambus DRAM. However, due to delays of Direct Rambus and Intel's own Camino chipset, several OEMs have planned to add PC133 memory to PCs this fall. Intel is now considering a PC133 chipset of its own, but has yet to announce any specific plans. Even if the Santa Clara, Calif.-based microprocessor giant were to adapt one of its new chipsets to support 133-MHz SDRAMs, the product wouldn't be available until the first half of 2000, according to an Intel spokesman.

ATI Xpert 2000 17:06 pm - Wilfred
Reactor Critical posted a review on the ATI Xpert 2000 card, featuring the Rage 128 VR chip and 32Mb of RAM. Sometimes we post about cards to watch out for, but in this case, this is an oddly shaped card with a modern name attached, and dismal performance.

Using that large amount of memory is undoubtedly a marketing step - the Rage 128 VR with its quite low speed suits only for medium resolutions (max. 800x600x16) and additionally performs slowly in 32-bits because of the narrow 64-bit memory bus. That's why in this class of boards the optimum memory size is 16Mb.

New Articles at osOpinion 12:45 pm - Yingzong
osOpinion has come up with another 3 articles for the tech-head in us. For those of you who enjoy the lighter side of computing and a dose of technology opinion commentary, check them out regularly. Here's what they've given us today :

Athlon vs Pentium III Shootout 06:45 am - Kan
More thrashout between the processors as TomsHardware compared Athlons ranging from 500 Mhz to a whopping 750 Mhz with the Intel processors.

It was a very pleasant surprise to find out that our Athlons ran at up to 750 MHz without any additional means of cooling. This shows that the Kryotech-system could possibly run even faster. Athlon ran as stable as a rock, and when I say stable, I really mean it! I am not talking of crazy overclocking and calling a system stable that needs to be rebooted twice daily. Athlon performed really stable and any software I threw against it ran without any crashes for days.

Misc Reviews 06:40 am - Kan

  • DimensionX reviewed the EigerCom (sorry, never heard of it) 56K PCI WinModem.
  • PC Paradox also reviewed the Elsa Erazor III TNT2 board. 
  • Not a new drive, but you may like to take a look at 3D Alpha review on the Creative DVD 2X kit. 
  • Thanks to DemoNews, a new version of G400Tweak has been released. It allows you to set some of the PD 5x registry settings and can also be installed as a Display Properties panel as well as a control panel

New Reviews @ AGN Hardware 06:36 am - Kan
Two new reviews over at AGN Hardware. They have the ActionTec Phoneline networking kit review as well as an interesting article called Lapping your CPU.

The first thing to discuss is why lap your CPU at all. If youíre going to overclock your unit then heat is one of the enemies you need to avoid. By lapping down your CPU and getting it flat you increase the amount of surface area that comes in contact with your heatsink. You are in effect decreasing the thermal resistance at the interface between the Cpu and the heatsink. You still have to use Thermal Compound (!!!always use Thermal Compound!!!), but you only need a very thin coat. Thermal Compound is a wonderful thing. It is used to fill in any air gaps between the two surfaces and allows better heat transfer. The problem with thermal compound is the thermal resistance gets larger the thicker you put it on.

Intel-NT Overclock Shock 06:33 am - Kan
If this is true, then it's really shocking. Take a whiff over at our pals site HardOCP where they posted an article on how Intel and Microsoft plan to stop overclocking of processors (luckily this is false).

"Chip giant Intel has warned since the beginning of this year that to overclock its processors is verboten.

A reader describing himself as 'Firestormer' wrote to us with the following tale: "You might find this interesting, but if I'm correct, Intel and MS have finally come up with a way to defeat overclocking totally, at least under NT4 Service Pack 5 and with the Pentium III. The sorry tale is as follows."

Gigabyte GA-7IX 06:30 am - Kan
We are starting to see Athlon motherboard reviews lately. SharkyExtreme took a look at the Gigabyte GA-7IX which uses AMD's internally developed 750 mainboard AGP 2X core logic chipset (sorry no AGP 4X yet).

Due to AMD's campaign to thwart resellers who remark and overcharge customers on Athlon CPUs, they've implemented a total lock on the Athlon CPU that takes away manual control of the system's front side bus speed as well as the CPU's clock multiplier.

Because of this, any possible CPU overclocking features that might have otherwise separated the GA-7IX mainboard from the AMD reference mainboard have been eliminated.

23 August 1999 - Monday

I Need Help
19:57 pm - Wilfred
Over at Yahoo! News is a report about net addiction. Do you know that if you spend more than 4 hours online everyday, you are "mentally ill and need medical help"?? Ooops, I guess the HW1 team will have to make appointments with the doctors soon!

PSYCHOLOGISTS say computer nerds hooked on surfing the Internet are mentally ill and need medical help. That means those who spend more than four hours a day on the Net could soon be treated on the NHS like alcholics and gamblers.

Top Brussels health advisers say new evidence shows constant surfing creates high brain levels of the drug dopamine, an adrenalin-like chemical linked to gambling fever. Now the EU psychologists are warning Scots GPs to brace themselves for a wave of new patients suffering from addiction to the Internet.

Stars like David Bowie and Keanu Reeves have already admitted to surfing binges. Bowie gets up at 5am every day so he can cram in four hours online.

Life After NT SP5 19:49 pm - Wilfred
Panders released another of his service pack articles for the most current NT SP5. Check out ArsTechnica's little guide for your network OS!

There's little excuse for Microsoft's lax role in trying to get fixes out to their customers. Given that the majority of "troubles" or "bugs" end users and admins complain about - heck, that the media harps on - result from not having the latest patches applied, you'd think Microsoft would've found a better way of dealing with the steady progression of fixes before now. As any UNIX admin can attest, patching is nothing new for any network OS (NOS). It's a fact of life - every software producing entity is at risk. Remember Linux kernel 2.2?  

Microsoft Linux? 19:42 pm - Wilfred
Once again, osOpinion brings you an interesting and bold interview with a 'PC Psychic' who predicts that Microsoft might even consider releasing its own Linux variant. Ok, I know I have got your attention. Read on!

Looking at Microsoft and Linux, Microsoft as the incumbent is following the predictable Ghandi pattern: "first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.'' As Eric Raymond has lucidly demonstrated, with the recent Steve Ballmer interviews, the Halloween documents, the Mindcraft benchmarks, we're clearly in the third stage by now. Eric's words were: "it's all over but the shouting.'' I can't agree more.

The more MS "fights'' Linux on the marketing level, the more the legitimization Linux earns. FUD and bench-marketing just won't work.

Larry McVoy first mentioned this "Microsoft Linux" to me about a year ago. (modestly) At first I didn't get it, but now it has become pretty clear. Larry is one of those people who sees things really early. He has a pretty consistent track record here. Again, past performance is one of the best indicators for predicting the future and history mostly repeats itself with some insignificant differences.

System Shock 2 19:27 pm - Wilfred
Avid gamers, the FiringSquad has a review of System Shock 2. What makes this review different will be the 100 screenshots posted for your eyes to feast upon. Otherwise, read on to find out why the boys gave it an editor's choice!

Further proving my point is the fact that System Shock 2 defies any conventional categorization. This game refuses to be pigeon holed. Try this on for size - it's a sci-fi, futuristic-horror game that incorporates elements from the first person shooter, role playing, action, and adventure genres. Vague? Well I suppose, but I think 'unique' hits the target closer to center. Lots of reviewers called Half-Life "the thinking man's Quake" because it incorporated some elements of puzzle solving and detective work. If that's the criteria we're working on, then I guess it's safe to say that System Shock 2 is "the thinking man's Half Life."

A-Trend ATC-6254M 14:56 pm - Kan
Anand released another motherboard today, the A-Trend ATC-6254M Slot-1 BX motherboard. What's interesting about this board is that the PCB is RED in color and it comes with an onboard Voodoo3 2000 chip.

The Voodoo3 2000 core on the board is clocked at the default 143MHz core with the 7ns memory clocked at 143MHz as well.  For overclockers, the 7ns SEC SDRAM can be pushed up to the 166MHz clock the Voodoo3 3000 defaults it at, however if you remember the basic rules of the Voodoo3's architecture, the core and memory clock speeds always run at the same frequency.  The next logical question is how far can the core be pushed?  Luckily the core is the same 2000 featured on the retail boards, which generally hit the 166MHz level of the Voodoo3 3000, and as you can expect the 6254M exhibited a similar overclocking capability.   

ATA-33 vs ATA-66 14:52 pm - Kan
StorageReview posted a roundup comparing the ATA-33 vs ATA-66 interface. Is ATA-66 really that fast? Hmm, according to their benchmark results, there's only a small improvement.

As we can see here, going from ATA-33 to ATA-66 operation results in no changes to mechanically-limited low-level test results. There's zero change in transfer rate both at the outside and inside tracks. The Fireball Plus KX is capable of sequential transfer rates up to 23 MB/sec. Should increasing the speed limit from 33 MB/sec to 66 MB/sec result in higher sequential rates? Of course not. Similarly, access time, which has nothing to do with maximum transfer rates, remains unchanged when going from 33 to 66. Lastly CPU utilization scores remain pretty uniform between the two modes. Reports that heading to ATA-66 from ATA-33 decreases CPU utilization are simply false. Such conclusions, once again, are likely drawn from the variables left uncontrolled by an unaware user.

Savage 4 Review 14:51 pm - Kan
TheTechZone reviewed the Creative Savage4 card. E'nuff have been said about this card, so here's some juice:

The chip itself comes in several flavors, the Savage4 PRO, the Savage4 GT and the mobile edition known as the Savage4 MX. The Savage4 PRO in itself has various versions, which are categorized by their core speed, the highest of which are the PRO and the PRO+. The difference here is that the PRO is rated at 110Mhz and the PRO+ is rated at 125Mhz. Initially there was a lot of confusion with the PRO+ and its actual rating, but that has now been clarified by S3.

Act Labs Gun System 14:42 pm - Kan
This must be fun! WickedPC reviewed the Act Labs Gun System which promises more accurate frags when you use this baby.

The installation for the Gun System was quite simple. Since they are light guns really, there has to be a passthru for the monitor cable to see the light shots. So, you plug in a new adapter to your video card, and then plug your monitor into the new adapter. Rather simple. 

Intel Slashing Prices 06:48 am - Kan
Today is a good day as Intel officially slash prices on the 450 Mhz, 500 Mhz and 550 Mhz Pentium III processors. The P3-500 Mhz is going down the most by almost 41 percent. 

Athlon Overclocking 06:45 am - Kan
Oooh, this is kinky. Saw it from Ace's Hardware that those Japanese freaks managed to overclock the the Athlon 600 MHz to 650 Mhz by modifying a few pins (groan) on the processor. Hmm, something to do with removing the R124 and R158 resistors.

ABIT BE6 06:43 am - Kan
After reading so many BE6 reviews, you should also read our pals' BXBoards review on this motherboard. Hmm, I still don't know why I like ABIT so much. :)

The board layout is designed around the now standard 5 PCI , 2 ISA layout. Unlike its predecessor, only 3 DIMMs are provided, which sees the demise of the TI data buffer. Although this means that the BE6 can support "only" 768 megabytes, stability at high bus speeds is a vast improvement over the first revision of the BX6-2. Abit know only two well that overclockers are the main buyers of their boards (how they would love to have Asus OEM deals....) so the layout allows for even the largest coolers to be fitted without obstruction - with the overclocking options offered by the BIOS as powerful as ever - Abit know the value of good cooling as well as anyone :)

FIC Athlon Motherboard Review 06:36 am - Kan
LostCircuits posted a review on the FIC SD11 Athlon Motherboard review. Give another month and I suppose we can see Athlons selling everywhere in the country.

Setting the board up, unfortunately proved to be a bit more complicated than anticipated. The first three attempts to load Windows98 onto a virgin HDD (Maxtor 90913DA, 8.4G 7200 rpm) were terminated at the moment when Windows configures the Plug and Play hardware and needs to reboot. At this moment, a registry error was found and corrected in typical Win98 fashion, that is, resulting in the blue screen of death and no possibility to boot into anything but a complete lack of video signal a.k.a. blank screen. It did turn out, though that the version of Win98 used (OEM) was to blame for this and switching over to Win98SE resolved all problems. 

 

22 August 1999 - Sunday


Xentor32
22:15 pm - Kan
Probably the most expensive TNT2 cards around in the market, SharkyExtreme examined this baby today.

Today we take a look at Guillemot's Maxi Gamer Xentor 32 that, of course, features the TNT2 Ultra chipset. This particular board comes with a full 32MB load and an impressive base clock of 175MHz core and 183MHz memory. To maintain stability at this high clock the board comes with a high quality onboard fan. Those that yearn for TV-out functionality will be glad to hear that there is an S-video out connector on the back plate beside the monitor output port and a converter for those in need of composite connectors included.

EMS PC-133 RAM 22:09 pm - Kan
HotHardware whipped up a review on the EMS PC-133 RAM which is available in the market right now. Better start saving, they ain't cheap.

In addition, the latency specs such as CAS (Column Address Strobe) and RAS (Row Address Strobe) are less than most SDRAM chips on the market today. As you can see 3,2,2 for CAS Latency, RAS to CAS delay and Precharge Delay, respectively. Most other SDRAM types at 133 MHz. clock speeds, need to be run at least in 3,3,2 mode and sometimes 3,3,3,. What does that mean to your system? Well, simplified, this means you have less latency (less latency good/more latency bad) or fewer useless dead clock cycles before your CPU can read or write to the memory. In a nutshell, FASTER. In additon, these SDRAMs are rated at 7.5ns Clock Cycle Times, which means they are slightly faster in general than most 8ns. SDRAMs used on current modules.

Freespace 2 Interview 22:07 pm - Kan
Speedy3D came out with a Freespace 2 interview today with Lisa Bucek of Volition Inc.

LB: FreeSpace 2 takes place 32 years after FreeSpace 1. When the game begins the player will find they are in the midst of a civil war. FreeSpace 1 ended with Earth being cut off from the rest of the galaxy, which obviously created a power vacuum. As a result, things are a bit unstable at the beginning of FreeSpace 2. However, things get even worse when the Shivans return. This time the Terrans feel that they are ready for the Shivans. The Terrans have built a massive fleet in preparation for a Shivan return, so it ends up being a real slugfest.

Third Voice 21:50 pm - Sniper
Since today we are experimenting with a new layout, I guess its time that I introduce this unique software. Its like a web base post-it note and I hope this can help us to gather feedback on the news we post everyday.  So I shall let the program do its magic, get it here fast and grab your favorite userid.  Well, mine was taken by someone else ;-(

Download Third Voice Now!

Wilfred Coughs 18:07 pm - Wilfred
Yes people, do not be alarmed by today's BETA test of a slight change in the layout. The 'beta test phase' will be over shortly and we have gathered some feedback. Thanks to all who wrote in, for we'll be ironing out the news front shortly. =) Anyway, today is another slow day... sigh...

RC5 Again 14:38 pm - Sniper
Well, time to talk about RC5 again. First of all, we would like to thank all those out there who read our post and are contributing to our RC5 efforts.  Our key rate has risen from 9000K keys to 34000k keys in just 2 weeks.

A rough estimate by us is that we currently have 35-40 P2-350s and above machines cracking around the clock. The above number does not include machines out there from readers of our site.

So if you are contributing to [email protected], do drop us a mail at [email protected].  This will help us determine who exactly is contributing to our efforts and allow us to thank you personally for your effort.  Thank you.

Industry Heavyweight Hercules Winds Up
12:10 pm - Yingzong
Yup, the word is out that Hercules Computer Technology, a longstanding heavyweight in the PC graphics card industry, has closed its doors. Catch the scoop down at Blue's News or Slashdot. Here's the bit from Blue's:

I Just got back from Hercules of Fremont California. I was just informed by the staff that Hercules is indeed "out of business". The anonymous employees told me that they site financial woes as the main reason why Hercules can no longer continue. The staff also informed me that the employees have not been paid for two weeks. The reason that they do not answer the phones is because they are working for free and are basically clearing their desk out. It will be clear very soon when Hercules issues their press release regarding their departure from the graphics business.

Hercules will also be calling the game sites with additional statements. The staff also said that its unlikely that they will be fulfilling any more video card orders, even the ones that have been ordered weeks ago.

Change in News Format 12:00 pm - Yingzong
Due to the large amount of news that we receive daily, we have decided to streamline our news format to suit our projected audience. However, we are still at the experimental stage and will welcome any feedback from you readers out there!

News Blurbs For the Morning
We have scoured our mailboxes and the Net for stuff to tickle your geek senses and have found a couple of news you might find interesting. Here's a list:

New Updated 3Dfx INF Files 10:57 am - Kan
If you're a 3Dfx user, you may like to check out NT Game Palace where our pals posted the various Voodoo INFs to download for Windows 2000.

Terratec DMX Soundcard 10:52 am - Kan
It's touted as the rival to the SB Live! and A3D cards. Check what FiringSquad has to say here.

The Ultimate Controller Guide 08:57 am - Sniper
Looking for a controller for your Heavy Gear or F-16? Gamecenter has put up an article on selecting a controller for your favourite game.

ICQ99b Beta 08:47 am - Sniper
It was early morning and as usual, I was sniffing around the web and came across this at WinPlanet.

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