7 February 1999 - Sunday

BX6 2.0 Review  22:57 pm - Kan
Sharky also posted their share on the Abit BX6 2.0 review.

Fitting the BX6 2.0 into a standard ATX case was easy, it offers a myriad of mounting holes and options when placing it onto the case's mounting plate. Likewise, the placement of the various peripheral connectors was well thought out with one possible exception: the ATX power cord connector. Abit is one of a few mainboard vendors that places the power cord connector in front of the CPU mounting bracket, meaning that the cord has to stretch over the CPU once it's in place. Although this doesn't affect the heat level of the CPUs that we tested with, it's still inconvenient for those with chubby fingers. (I'd insert a Binky reference here, but we're attempting to bury the hatchet. Feel free however to insert your own Binky reference if you so desire).

Asus 50X Max CD-S500  20:03 pm - Wilfred
The guys at the FiringSquad sure are fast. They've laid their hands on this CDROM and here's their verdict:

The Asus 50xMax CD-S500 is the first CD-ROM drive to hit the 50x mark, transferring data at a maximum of 7,500 KB/s. There have been drives rated at 40x, 42x, and even 45x, but there's significance in big rounded numbers, if nothing then for simplicity. It also boasts a super-fast access time of 75ms, one of the best in the industry.

Windows On Sun 11:52 am - Wilfred
CoolComputing spotted a report that WinMag put up. It said that Sun introduced a SunPCI expansion card for its workstations that will allow Windows 95, Windows 3.1 and DOS to run within their OS. Check out the report.

The SunPCI card gives the Unix community access to Windows 95, Windows 3.x, and DOS applications, letting companies streamline their enterprise software. The SunPCI card includes software that lets Windows and Solaris share networking, storage, monitors, and input devices.

The $495 card is compatible with Sun Ultra workstations that include PCI slots and features 64 megabytes of RAM, a 300-MHz AMD K-6 2, and VGA adapter. The Windows OS can be displayed within a window on Solaris, or through a separate monitor.

Engineers Drive Craze for MP3 Players 11:43 am - Wilfred
Over at EETimes, there's an article on a new wave of MP3 players.

"The main advantages of MP3 are that it's good enough in terms of music quality, it's out there and it's popular," said Fiennes. But he also said MP3's image "is clouded by the fact that pirates use it."

In fact, Fiennes is acutely aware that MP3 is a political hot potato. First off is the potential problem of customers encoding their compact-disk collections into MP3 format. Fiennes argues that people already copy CDs onto analog audio cassettes to play in their automobiles, and that is usually regarded by the music industry as a legitimate personal use rather than lost sales. In any case the empeg-car could be used entirely for legitimately recorded MP3 files. But that touches on the second problem: uncertainty about the MP3 legal situation.

How to Upgrade Your Graphics Card 11:26 am - Wilfred
GameSpot has posted an article on How to Upgrade Your Graphics Card. Quite suitable for newbies who wants to attempt some DIY stuff.

OK, you bit the bullet and bought a new accelerator. Or maybe you got one for Christmas, and it's lying unopened on your shelf, beckoning you. But you've resisted its blandishments, even regarded it with dread. You've heard about all the nightmares that can occur when you install a new card, and your system is running fine, thank you very much. Sure, Quake II is running at 12fps, but, hey, it's stable.

I can't promise to remove all the headaches, but if you read this guide, you'll at least encounter a minimum of headaches.

DiamondMax 4320 09:27 am - Kan
HotHardware posted a review on Maxtor DiamondMax 4320 17.2G UDMA hard disk. Actually, I can use some of that disk space now.

In summary, I found this drive to be a fast and stable performer. The drive is also somewhat quieter than the IBM drive and runs slightly cooler to the touch as well. This drive would make a fine addition in space to your system and would accomodate your needs for months maybe even years to come. That is saying alot in a market where technology outdates itself every 6 months.

Linux 2.2 Upgrade Pack for Redhat 5.2 09:18 am - Kan
If you are itching to upgrade to the new 2.2 kernel, you can get the upgrade pack from http://www.affinity-systems.ab.ca/software/.

Packages include are:

  • ipchains-rhcn-1.3.8-2.i386.rpm
  • modutils-rhcn-2.1.121-1.i386.rpm
  • net-tools-rhcn-1.50-1.i386.rpm
  • procinfo-rhcn-16-1.i386.rpm
  • util-linux-rhcn-2.9h-1.i386.rpm

STB Desktop TV 09:08 am - Kan
Yup, yup. AGNHardware posted a review on the STB Desktop TV video capture/TV tuner card. I just love to play with these type of stuffs...

Along with Still image capture, the card allows you to capture streaming video at a 320x240 resolution at up to 30 frames per second. I have to admit that the capture quality was pretty good, but I wish STB had offered more options on how we could save the video. The way it is setup up now, 36 seconds at 320x240 with 30 frames per second turned into a 160MB file. If they had offered the ability in the software to change the capture quality, capture with a codec or anything, we would have been able to cut the size down.

Hercules Terminator BEAST 08:53 am - Kan
More reviews from AnandTech, including the Hercules Terminator BEAST Supercharged S3 Savage 3D.

In a frantic effort to make a come back after a series of dismal attempts at over hyping the ViRGE chipset, S3 decided it was time for a change. Shortly after the former Operation 3Dfx's April fools announcement of a killer 3 inch S3 chipset capable of 1600x1200 Quake2 rendering at well over 100fps, S3 announced their real next generation product, the S3 Savage 3D. Whether or not Operation 3Dfx's announcement inspired S3 or not is a different story, but it was real, S3 had announced a new product which wasn't even remotely based on the ViRGE chipset design. Being the first 0.25 micron based 3D accelerator released, the Savage3D boasts a 100-125 million tri-linear filtered pixel/sec fill-rate (depending on clock speed), new Microsoft endorsed texture compression method, 32bit rendering and more... the Savage3D was sure to please.

Chipset Guide 08:23 am - Kan
CRUS posted an article on Chipset Guide. If you are confused about names like 440BX, 440EX, 440LX, do take a look.

440GX and 440NX is another two chipsets that come from Intel. These are meant to be used with the Xeon. 440GX have many similarities with the 440BX but the GX handles up to 2-gigabyte memory. 440NX is mostly for large servers and can handle 4 processors and 8 gigabyte memory. Intel has been the only maker of chipset for Pentium II but recently they have had some competition of a few minor manufactures like Via, Sis and Ali. Vias chipset is called Apollo. Sis has two alternatives and they are called 620 and 5600. Ali’s version is called Aladdin Pro II.

6 February 1999 - Saturday

Cardex GX3 Review 21:27 pm - Wilfred
Singularity has delivered a short review on the Gainward Cardex GX3, a Savage3D-based board. Check out the goods!

Many months later, after much hard work from the S3 engineers, they have come up with many releases of the savage driver and OpenGL LCD. It hand come to a stage that most Direct 3D / OpenGL based game would run properly, but still at a speed most gamers would have a second thoughts about its performances. Here comes the miniGL to the rescue! Well with the miniGL 1.1, games such as Quake 2 ran at very fast speed, so fast that it is now chasing the tail of the Riva TNT benchmarks.

ATI Rage Fury 128 21:21 pm - Wilfred
Ritualistic has a review on the ATI Rage Fury 128 and the author was  impressed at the quality difference between 16-bit and 32-bit colour. So boys, who said we only need 16-bit colour?

I was impressed by my TNT's performance in Sin, so I figured that the Fury would blow my mind. Graphically, yes. The card lives up to its promises in this area. It renders the game beautifully. No slow downs, or lock ups. Sin uses 32-bit color rendering, and this card performs better than my TNT when in 32-bit color mode. ATI took detailed care in providing excellent 32-bit color performance. Hats off to them for showing this gamer the vast difference between 16 and 32-bit color depth.

Video Discrepancy Due To Windows Bug? 14:56 pm - Wilfred
According to this juicy information found on MaximumPC, Microsoft is blaming the video discrepancy on Windows bug.

A tape showing a 200 to 300 performance decrease in Windows 98 after Microsoft's browser was removed was shown to back up his claim. Instead, under cross-examination by the government, Allchin was forced to say the computer in the video didn't appear to be one that had Internet Explorer removed. Using a freeze frame from the video, the prosecutor noted that a title bar still clearly said Internet Explorer even though Microsoft claimed it had been removed.

The admission was a blow for Microsoft and an embarrassment for the defense which was still trying to explain away the discrepancies Wednesday. The company flew in technicians who supposedly ran a custom program that removes Internet Explorer from Windows 98.

Seagate With Highest Drive Areal Density 14:47 pm - Wilfred
MaximumPC has posted about Seagate's new achievement by squeezing 16Gbits/inch on a harddisk platter. Wow!

For those wondering how these new areal densities equate to drive sizes, 16Gbits per inch works out to 22.8MB per platter (using both sides of a 3.5” platter). This means a typical five-platter drive would weigh in at over 110GB!

Seagate plans on releasing drives based on GMR technology later this year, and even though they won’t yet take advantage of this new 16Gbit/inch areal density, they'll still be at a lower areal density than current drives. As a result, expect the new drives to have capacities somewhere between 36GB and 70GB.

Oh dear, even without using the 16Gbits/inch technology they are going to make harddisks between 36Gb and 70Gb???

MS Accused of Telling Staff to Spam ZDNet 14:41 pm - Wilfred
Coolinfo has a snip off The Register, that Microsoft is facing accusations from its employees who were told to post pro-Microsoft messages on ZDNet. More scandals?

A woman claiming to be a former Microsoft employee has accused the company of encouraging its staff to post pro-Microsoft messages on ZDNet. It is of course perfectly possible that Michelle Bradley is an anti-Microsoft zealot seeking to blacken the company's name further, but her case has been supported by a second individual, signing himself "Tom Thumb" and claiming to be a current MS employee.

Says Bradley on ZDNet: "I can safely tell this now, since I 'retired' from Redmond last week. A verbal memo (no e-mail allowed) was passed around the MS campus encouraging MS employee's to post to Z-Net articles like this one. "The theme is Microsoft is responsible for all good things in computerdom. The government has no right to prevent MS from doing anything. Period. The memo suggests we use fictional names and state, and to identify ourselves as students."

Turtle Beach Montego II 14:36 pm - Wilfred
Hardgame dropped me a line that they've completed a review on the Vortex2-based Turtle Beach Montego II.

As usual, Turtle Beach has added an extra level of quality to the board. For one, the Montego II has a very high Signal-to-Noise ratio of 97dB, which is excellent (average home stereo amps have a 93-95 Signal-to-Noise ratio). Unfortunately, the OEM version of the Montego II is somewhat crippled in comparison to other Vortex 2 based sound cards. The card is really a bare bones design with only two speaker output (plus the usual gameport and input ports). However, bare bones or not, the Montego II’s audio still offers an amazing audio experience.

WebCam II NT Drivers 06:02 am - Kan
Just to let you guys know that the new drivers for the Creative Video Blaster Webcam II for NT is available.

  • More fast DMA available on more PCs
  • Backlit mode is now set to off by default to give a better exposed image

Netscape Security Bug 05:49 am - Kan
Read from slashdot that a new Netscape bug has been discovered.

The problem appears with the way Netscape handles forms. In many cases, the browser will store data entered on a FORM in C:\WINDOWS\TEMP in a NSFORM*.TMP file. This file is supposed to be deleted when its use is completed. Unfortunately, this does not happen and the file is left in the temp directory for prying eyes to see.

Depending on the site you are visting and the nature of the form, you could uknowingly reveal everything from your phone number and address to your credit card and Social Security number.

The only solution? Other than avoiding forms altogether, the only option is to scan the temp directory and manually delete the NSFORM*.TMP file. It is expected that the final release of Netscape Communicator 4.51 will resolve the issue. At this time, however, the 4.51 beta has the same problem.

Tomorrow's PCs 05:43 am - Kan
HardwareCentral posted an article called Tomorrow's PCs on what future PCs will look like.

They expect that by the end of next year Intel chips will be hitting 700 MHz; AMD's Sharptooth will hit 400 MHz and, due to a large secondary cache, may outperform similar speed Pentiums. AMD's K7 will hit 500 MHz and power a 200 MHz system bus (compared to a more typical 133 MHz bus.) On the "low end," PC World expects "surprisingly powerful desktops for $699 to $999," with notebooks heading below the $1,000 mark. And high end PCs will have so much processing power that it "...will be absolutely scary," according to Insight64 president Nathan Brookwood.

Pentium III Review 05:38 am - Kan
Review-Zone has a good and long article on the new Pentium III 450 MHz and 500 Mhz processor. They also have benchmarks of the Pentium III o/c to a whopping 620 MHz.

The Pentium III processors are all shipped with a thick heatsink. In fact, this heatsink is slightly larger than the Pentium II heatsink. Unfortunately, Intel isn’t providing a cooler, even with the retail versions. So overclockers may need to look elsewhere for cooling devices.  The processor packaging used by the Pentium III is the new SECC2 (Single Edge Cartridge Contact 2) package, also used by the latest Pentium II processors.

Hands on the Voodoo3 05:23 am - Kan
FastGraphics released an article called Hands on the Voodoo3. So, have you saved enough money to buy it?

Basically it's all that we've heard so far: Voodoo II SLI and banshee combined on one board. There will be two versions, namely the 2000 which is running at 125 MHz for both core and memory, and a faster 3000 version which will run both the core and the memory clock at a stunning 183 MHz. Both of the chipsets support the block write function offered by SGRAM but also support the cheaper SDRAM for a cost effective solution. Tony expects the difference in performance between SDRAM and SGRAM to be about 2 to 10% depending on the resolution

Marvel G200 05:13 am - Kan
5-Dimensions has done a review on the Matrox Marvel G200 capture card.

The Marvel G200 is powered by the same MGA-G200 chip that comes with the Matrox Millennium G200, and Matrox Mystique G200. The Marvel G200 comes in two flavors, one with a TV tuner and one without. The Marvel with a TV tuner is only sold in North America, as it has the NTSC broadcast format. The Marvel without a TV tuner is sold international, and one can purchase the TV tuner that works in their country seprately. I asked whether the Matrox Marvel G200 would be going through a change from .35 micron and a 250MHz RAMDAC, like the other G200 products. It seems the Matrox Marvel G200 will stay in it's 230MHz RAMDAC and .35 micron form, like the one I had for review.

5 February 1999 - Friday

SimCity 3000 Gets Reviewed 17:46 pm - Wilfred
Noticed at GameCenter their latest review on SimCity 3000. Haven't you buy it yet? Check out what they have to say about the game:

SimCity 3000's most easily apparent feature is its wonderful style. The game's soft, pastel color scheme, along with the evocative musical selection (ranging from Gershwin-esque to Yanni-esque), give SimCity 3000 a cozy atmosphere. The interface has been redesigned to be more stylish and elegant, as well as easier to use. At the same time, SimCity 3000's scope is much bigger, both graphically and under the hood. The maximum city size is four times larger than what SimCity 2000 offered, giving players approximately 100 square miles to play with.

You'll find a lot more to look at as well. The game includes more than 400 buildings (compared to 80 in SimCity 2000). Moreover, whereas SimCity 2000 "cheated" by presenting the same building face for each structure, the buildings in SimCity 3000 are 3D-rendered, providing them with four unique sides. Throw in myriad animations (for example, you can watch cars and pedestrians navigate their way around), and the game's cities come to life more vibrantly than ever before.

FIC PA-2013 Review 17:39 pm - Wilfred
HotHardware sent word about this new review on the FIC PA-2013 Super7 motherboard.

Note the Floating Point Scores... Not bad for a Non-Intel CPU! That handily beats a P2-333 at 387MFLOPS! MIPS on a P2-333 are a little better at around 966. Anyway, not much of a conclusion can be drawn as to the potential of this board in a Gaming System. It has serious compatibility problems with TNT based cards. I think there is a known problem with the VIA Chipset and TNTs... If someone knows of a work around, please drop me a line!

Turtle Beach Montego II 16:01 pm - Wilfred
FiringSquad scored with the review on the Turtle Beach Montego II sound card. Here's a snip of the verdict:

An OEM Vortex 2 card, at retail prices. There don't appear to be any specific advantages to the Turtle Beach version of the Vortex 2, which makes it hard to recommend. You'll pay the same price for this card as the MX300, which has a better software bundle, four speaker support, and an expansion-friendly hardware design. The MX300's position in the market is well-defined - for 3D sound enthusiasts it's the high-end card to get.

Asus 50X CD-S500 CDROM Drive 15:53 pm - Wilfred
Missed this press release for couple of days. Asus now has the new 50X CDROM drive in its CDROM lineup.

ASUS launches the world's fastest CD-ROM Drive. The CD-S500, a 50x CD-ROM drive, transfers data at a fiery 7,500 KB/sec and offers remarkable access times of 75ms.

"The CD-S500 is the result of the cooperation and devotion of the R&D team, which has generated remarkable success for our CD-ROM in the European market," said Charles Chi, the Director of CD-ROM Division at ASUSTek Computer Inc. "In the CD-S500, ASUS has made remarkable technical improvement to overcome the vibration associated with motor rotation speeds of up to 10,000 RPM, as well as the heat dissipation associated with the spindle motor and driver IC."

Fastest I'm not certain as Kenwood Technologies just developed their TrueX 52X CDROM.

TennMax Lasagna XEON Cooler 08:37 am - Kan
TennMax just officially announced the Lasagna XEON Cooler.

The Lasagna XEON Cooler, only 15 mm (0.59 inch) in height, is an active thermal solution for Intel's powerful processor. TennMax extends its patented integrated fan/sink technology to create this new unique cooler for the Pentium II XEON processors by Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC - news). The patented slim multileaf layer design with an embedded fan produces an active cooling solution with an extraordinary large surface area for heat dissipation, while keeping the cooler size to a fraction of conventional fan plus heatsink combination.

433MHz Celerons 08:12 am - Kan
Read from the porn site VE that the new Celeron 433s are going to be released on March 15. The new Celerons will have a multipler of 6.5x and I do not think they will be very overclockable.

Sources close to Intel said the chip maker will introduce its 433 megahertz (MHz) Celeron processor several months ahead of schedule, on March 15. The processor was not expected to arrive until sometime during the second quarter.

Microsoft Digital Sound System 08:10 am - Kan
Tech-Review had done a review on the Microsoft Digital Sound System 80. The speakers are USB based and they do cost a bomb. :(

Now that Microsoft has made a solid space for themselves in the software market, why not try the hardware market? The Digital Sound System 80 is Microsoft's first journey into the highly competitive speaker market. Ever since the boom of MP3s on the market place, high-end quality computer speakers seem to have been more in demand. And with the addition of USB to the computer mainstream, products that take advantage of the interface have been in demand. The DDS80 makes use of USB and brings us high quality sound without requiring a sound card. But does the DSS80 bring down the house?

Grim Fandango Review 07:41 am - Wilfred
GameLinks.Net has a nice review on LucasArts' Grim Gandango. Similar to their highly popular Monkey Island series, they haven't fail to inject that magic or humour.

Put simply, Grim Fandango is a work of art. This beautifully crafted game draws on elements of Mexican folklore, film noir, art deco, and Aztec sculpture, creating a world as vibrant as it is engrossing. The characters (which are all based on the stylized skeletons of the Mexican Day of the Dead festival) are exquisite, each one unique, memorable, and full of life (or death, as it were). You'll laugh at them and fall in love with them, and rest assured, when the game ends, you'll be sorry to see them go.

3Com Cuts PalmPilot Prices 07:35 am - Wilfred
Over at CoolInfo, a CNet article announces that 3Com will cut the prices of its present Palm III and PalmPilot Pro. Following which Palm Computing should be releasing new products like Palm VII and Palm IIIX.

3Com's Palm Computing division discounted its Palm III and PalmPilot Professional Edition, the company announced today. Palm Computing is expected to release two new products at the end of the month, and today's price cuts make room for the new higher-end products. The company filled one of its open management positions earlier this week, when it tapped Robin Abrams as president of Palm Computing.

Turok II: Seeds of Evil 07:24 am - Wilfred
AGN3D has reviewed Acclaim Entertainment's Turok II. Here's a snippet for youu:

Much noise was made about Turok 2’s new graphics engine but other than the slightly higher available resolution of 1024x768; the visuals look the same as the first. The game can be run in either 16 or 32 bit color, but I saw no significant difference in the graphics except for the fact that when at the 32 bit color setting, effects like smoke and fog brought the frames per second crashing down from a smooth 30+ to basically 0. The graphics looked the same at either color depth so I put Turok 2 back in 16-bit mode to avoid the ridiculous slow-downs.

One thing that originally impressed me about Turok, was the attention to detail. The graphics were somewhat sparse but everything appeared to be “finished”. In Turok 2, the general appearance of the levels looks so stark that you would think the levels were incomplete.

WinRAR vs WinZip Comparison 07:12 am - Wilfred
Adrian's Rojak Pot has got a new comparison review, pitting WinRAR and WinZip.

WinRAR 2.50B2 has come a long way to rectify the previous versions of WinRAR's shortcomings. As we can see, WinRAR 2.50B2 compresses better and much faster than WinRAR 2.06.

Considering that WinRAR 2.06 already compresses better than WinZip, further improvement to the compression ratio and not to mention speed will certainly make WinRAR a more attractive alternative to the popular WinZip. In addition, WinRAR has several unique features that make it a much better archiver than WinZip.

Pioneer A03S DVD 07:09 am - Wilfred
FullOn3D sent word of of their latest review on Pioneer 6X DVD/32X CDROM reader. Roll over now!

Proclaimed by Pioneer as the world's fastest DVD ROM drive, the 03S series is a 6X DVD/32X CD ROM reader that comes in both an Ultra-SCSI version, the U03S, a UDMA33 ATAPI version called A03S and corresponding bulk versions that can be told apart by the absence of an alphabetic character at the beginning of the barely imaginative type numbering scheme (103S and 303S).

Pioneer is boiling things down to the essence, there is no frill surrounding the drive, the tested bulk version DVD-103S doesn't even bother to show the maker's name on the front panel. In fact the drive is almost identical in appearance with the DR-704S 36X CD ROM drive that usually spins in my system, only the imprinted DVD ROM logo under the Pioneer-patented slot-in insertion opening (no tray, nor - god forbid - caddy) announces the big step forward in storage capacity.

4 February 1999 - Thursday

No Consumer NT for Another 3-4 Years? 19:01 pm - Wilfred
S***! Some news to greet me as my first mail to pop in. ZDNet's Jesse Berst's AnchorDesk kinda devastated me and made my terrible cough much worse. Here's the stuff:

Under relentless grilling from ace [email protected] Reseller reporter Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft has admitted its next desktop operating system won't be NT-based, as promised. (Click for more.) Expect instead another version of Windows 98. Consumer NT has been postponed at least four years. (Microsoft says two to three years, but that's Redmond time. Add 18 months to convert.)

Don't you feel cheated? To think that I naively waited in the hope of a NT based Win2k, capable of playing games. Tell me it isn't true! Whatever the case, there is a poll on this issue of AnchorDesk. See the results as of 4 Feb 99 1845 hrs.

Shuttle Dual BX Motherboard 15:44 pm - Kan
The Shuttle HOT-649A Dual BX motherboard review from AnandTech.

At a quick glance, the HOT-649A appears to have very few full-length expansion slots, however upon closer examination an interesting approach to the layout of the 649A is revealed.  Shuttle positioned the SCSI connectors parallel to the peripheral expansion slots, and purposely placed them in a position shifted downwards and to the right, meaning that they allow for two full length cards to be placed around them without interfering with the cards themselves. 

Clocking & Locking the Pentium II 15:37 pm - Kan
Ars-Technica sent note on a new article on how PCs control CPU clock speeds and how Intel locked the bus multipler in the PII.

Lately, overclocking has become more superstition than science. It’s much like astrology, where the year, week, and minute of a processor’s birth are thought to determine it’s qualities and course in life. You have medicine men who observe the signs and seasons, read bird entrails, and watch the stars trying to determine which chip, which serial number, or which product line will be the most overclockable.  Rumors run wild, and otherwise rational people make assertions that sound more like ancient prophecies than verifiable fact (e.g. "in the Third Quarter of the year 2001, the great god Intel will send the dreaded Bus Lock to punish the unfaithful…").

MSI 6163 Review 15:34 pm - Kan
Another new review from Overclocker Workbench on the MSI 6163 motherboard.

From what I would see, The MSI 6163 looks very similar to the MSI 6119 that I reviewed earlier on. Both has the same footprint. Other than that, the MSI 6163 has 5 PCI, 2 ISA and 1 AGP port for expansion. The most appealing thing about this board is that it now supports the following FSB.

66, 68, 75, 83, 100, 103, 112, 117(2), 124, 129, 133, 138, 143, 148, 153 Mhz.

Other than that, it now includes CPU/System temperature detect, CPU/Chassis Power fan speed detect and CPU/System voltage detect.

It also has an optional audio module based on Creative ES1373.

3 February 1999 - Wednesday

Windows Blinds 0.40 Official 19:31 pm - Wilfred
Those sick of the standard desktop interface of your Windows 9x will be glad to know that StarDock announced the official release of v0.40 of Windows Blinds. Here's the snip off BetaNews:

Late yesterday, Stardock announced that WindowBlinds 0.40 was officially released for free public download. WindowBlinds 0.40 is the ultimate in Windows user interface tweaking and will set the precedent for things to come. By changing the way Windows creates its user interface from the ground up, Stardock has managed to allow users to alter every possible aspect of their desktop to suit their needs. Starting out as Object Desktop's WindowFX, WindowBlinds 0.40 adds more features then ever before and proves that you can choose the way you want your computer to look.

It can be downloaded free at here.

TA: Kingdoms Previewed 19:25 pm - Wilfred
Total Annihilation fans will check out CGO's latest preview on the upcoming TA: Kingdoms. Dum-dee-dee-dum-dum...

It has been just over a year since Cavedog released their first game, the slow-building sleeper hit Total Annihilation, and already they are preparing to unleash a sequel upon the real-time strategy-starved public. Unlike Blizzard, who left fantasy behind and headed for the stars with Starcraft, Cavedog is leaving the stars behind and polishing up their swords for Total Annihilation: Kingdoms. Not so much a sequel as a new game built around the original engine, Kingdoms promises to add a number of improvements to the formula that made Total Annihilation a hit with fans.

Nintendo May Sue UltraHLE Makers 19:21 pm - Wilfred
Boo! If you remembered my posting couple of days back about this great N64 emulator for the PC... well the makers incurred the wrath of Nintendo. I dunno what to make of this, but here's the piece of information I ripped off CoolInfo for ya!

Two programmers sparked an avalanche of responses last week when they released software on the Web that lets people play Nintendo64 games on their PCs. The overwhelming response forced the two -- who use the names Reality Man and Epsilon -- to pull the software after only a few hours, but not fast enough to prevent potential legal action from Nintendo. The software -- called Ultra High Level Emulator, or UltraHLE -- simulates the same video and audio experience for PC users playing the game as for those using Nintendo64 hardware. Although UltraHLE was only available online for a short time, it was downloaded hundreds of times and several mirror sites were set up.

UltraHLE wasn't the first Nintendo64 emulator, but the consensus in the emulator community is that it is the best so far. According to ManBeast, the pseudonym of the main site editor of Emulators Unlimited, the website where UltraHLE first went up, it's so good that it may have forever changed Nintendo's method of dealing with the emulator community. "They have been very active in the past year or so in shutting down illegal ROM distribution sites," ManBeast said in an e-mail interview. "But have not gone after any emulator author or site distributing emulators themselves."

Abit BX6 II Review  19:16 pm - Wilfred
The Sanctum scored with a review on Abit's BX6 II motherboard. Having a hard time deciding between the BH6 and the BX6 II?

Enter Abit’s BX6 Revision 2. A half BX6 half BH6 in the flesh. It took the good points From both, and tried to add a couple of extras. Most notably the extra DIMM slot, Expandable to 1GB of SDRAM!! It grew a little wider in length, and added a 5th PCI Slot. It also got a one button quick power on. With the power off You can turn the PC on by say pressing CRTL - F1. A small but pretty cool feature. It also added support For Advanced Configuration Power Interface (ACPI). A few bios fixes were added to Support Intel’s upcoming Pentium III/500/Katmai chip reflecting the 1.8 Voltage value. The Speed using Intel’s Celeron 300(a) overclocked to 464MHZ is the same with both The BX6-2 and the BH6 Boards.

Most Users who own the BH6 wont have much of a reason to switch to Abit’s current Flagship the BX6-2. A few added features might turn those Owners around though. BH6 Owners with Memory problems, or IRQ Hardware Conflicts, and the ones not Satisfied with 384 MB total of Memory. Those that havent made the Abit jump, or Still own the Classic BX6 might want to purchase one of these bad-boy’s now. Those Users looking for a highly stable motherboard still will have to look elsewhere.

Epson Stylus 900N  19:10 pm - Wilfred
Kok Leong has mailed this exclusive piece of news on Epson's upcoming Stylus 900N printer, a top of the line series with 6 variable dot sizes and an amazing dot size of 3 picolitre!

Stylus 900...the newest member in the family of Epson inkjet printers. This new model has an amazing dot size of 3 picolitre!!It also has a claimed 12 PPM black text performance. It's still only a maximum resolution of 1440x720.  Comes equipped with Parallel, USB and serial ports and drivers for MacOS, Windows 95, 98, and NT and uses Variable-Sized Droplet Technology (6 variable dot sizes supported)

Voodoo 3 Pics and Info   19:04 pm - Wilfred
3DConcept has a posted a blabber about the Voodoo 3 after the 3Dfx conference in Germany. You haven't decided to give this a miss have you?

V3 is going to rock in speed. V3 will be the first chip that is capable matching Voodoo 2 SLI. You can expect to get very stable drivers already in the beginning, as Voo3oo won't be a new technology. 3Dfx can reuse a lot of code from their Voodoo 2/Banshee-drivers for Voodoo 3, as it is based on the same cores. As a result Voo3oo should be fully backwards compatible to Glide-Games. Furthermore, Voodoo 3 is going support a texture compression method called "Norrow Channel", so that there are fitting more textures into the 16 megs. The downsides vo V3 are that it does not support 32bit-output and the maximum size of textures is limited to 256x256 Pixels. Pricing of Voodoo3-Boards should be about 130$ in the beginning for V3 2000, while V3 3000 cost another 50$ extra.

Abit BX6 2.0  18:42 pm - Kan
Our bud Overclocker sent note on the Abit BX6 2.0 review. Yeah! This is the motherboard to get in the future.

My initial impression is the board is reasonably well made. The layout is much like the BH6, the only thing I'd really like to see changed on it is the location of the ATX power connector. The connector is behind the CPU, right next to fan connector #2. The problem with this is the power connector needs to be stretched over the CPU, not only blocking the airflow but, making connecting and disconnecting a big time PITA. Some cheaper power supplies may come with wiring that is a tad short. I can see how this might be advantageous for this mobo however. You would want it close to the Slot1 on a mobo with an adjustable Vcore.

Pentium III Showroom  18:40 pm - Kan
Intel sent note that their new Pentium III showroom is up and available.

This new processor will integrate the best attributes of our latest processor platforms with new technology that enables advanced imaging, amazing 3D, streaming audio and video, and speech recognition applications. Catch a glimpse of how you might shop, surf easy and play hard on the Internet with our fastest desktop processor ever.

Pentium(R) III Processor: This Way In(tm)... to a better Internet experience.

52X TrueX CD-ROM  18:38 pm - Kan
Following the success of the True 40X drive, Kenwood Technologies had launched the True 52X CD-ROM drive. Gee, who really needs 52X?

Feb. 2, 1999--Kenwood Technologies (USA), Inc. today unveiled the Kenwood 52X TrueX(TM) CD-ROM drive, the second in a family of high performance drives based on Zen Research's TrueX(TM) technology.

Unlike other ``Max'' CD-ROM drives that reach top performance only on the outermost tracks of the disc, the Kenwood 52X TrueX CD-ROM drive delivers a typical transfer rate ranging from 6750 - 7800 KB per second across the entire disc.

BM6 Review  18:36 pm - Kan
Yup, the Abit BM6 review is available from AnandTech. Nah, I still prefer the BX6 2.0.

Case in point would be the situation involving the PPGA Socket-370 Celeron processors from Intel, which refuse to break their physical limitation of 500MHz on the whole.  Although some processors will be it up to 550MHz, the majority of them will fail at speeds greater than 500MHz, a level to which any decently manufactured motherboard can take you.  This obviously presents a problem for ABIT, if everyone else can do what they've been claiming sole rights to for the past couple of years, then ABIT suddenly loses their footing on the overclocked pedestal above the competition.  This is unless ABIT can construct a motherboard that is both stable, and of a high enough quality that non-overclockers will be attracted to it as well.

Yamaha CRW4416S  18:28 pm - Kan
Looks like Anand had a new review, the Yamaha CRW4416S. Incidentally, read our own exclusive Yamaha reviews first.

In order to help ensure streaming uninterrupted data, CD-RWs make use of "on-drive" memory as a buffer. The system hard drive (or any other input source) sends the information to the CD-RWs buffer. In turn, the CD-RW then reads the data from the buffer (since the buffer is RAM, it is very very fast) and burns the data into the CD. The size of the buffer is very important to help maintain consistency and allow the user to run other programs while burning a CD.

Viewsonic PT795  18:25 pm - Kan
HardwareCentral posted a review on the Viewsonic PT795 19" monitor. If only I have the money...

The PT795 uses a new Mitsubishi tube. The image quality on the ViewSonic PT795 is truly first rate. Distortion is eliminated due to the perfectly flat screen moire, color, contrast, and uniformity was tested using several display test images. You may notice that the advertised dot pitch is 0.25mm aperture grill in the center and 0.27mm aperture grill at the corners. This is due to some of the tricks needed to make a true flat CRT.

AOpen AX6B 18:01 pm - Kan
Another motherboard review from TheTechs on the AOpen AX6B SLot 1 motherboard.

This jumper-less motherboard unfortunately does not have CPU Soft Menu II installed in the BIOS. This could lead to people leaning towards the A-Bit BH6 motherboard because of that. So this board has extremely limited overclocking capability. About the only tweaking close to overclocking you can do is change the AGP settings from Auto to 2/3 or 1/1. Other than that, forget about overclocking



2 February 1999 - Tuesday

Sorcery: The Myth of the Command Line 21:29 pm - Wilfred
Panders of Ars-Technica mailed me about their latest article on Linux, attempting to debunk the myths about the penguin OS.

I am writing to inform you that we are posting an article indulging on the common misconceptions of the Linux OS. This overview includes a down to earth comparison between both Windows and Linux on common issues like usability and support. Furthermore, this review goes on to address common myths attributed to the Linux OS and offers stepwise insight into how to minimize numerous unnecessary gaps between your OS of preference (whether is be Windows or MacOS) and Linux.

Need For Speed: High Stakes 21:25 pm - Wilfred
Wow! Saw this press release put on CoolInfo. Looks like we have more to look forward to in the next inCARnation of Need For Speed. Here's a snip of what High Stakes will offer:

"High Stakes" mode provides the ultimate challenge in an intense head-to-head duel, by challenging players to bet one of their highly prized cars against one another. Adding to the intensity, the cars waged will be those that the players have earned and customized in previous races. The winner takes possession of the other player's car via memory card.

"Hot Pursuit" mode is revamped with new and improved features including the ability to be the police -- or conversely, the object of the police chases. Players choose from an assortment of performance cars or pursuit vehicles with ongoing real-time cop chatter from the police scanner to alert players of the state of the chase.

"Tournament and special events" mode to feature an economic system in which racers earn money by competing in more than 12 unique tournaments and special events, use their winnings to purchase new exotics, repair damaged cars, as well as upgrade and modify supercars into their dream cars.

Bet your cars... did you hear that? Strip racing anyone? ;)

Asus V3100 Savage3D Card 21:11 pm - Wilfred
I'd been living under the rock for the past weeks and didn't know that Asus produced a Savage3D card. Ha! Ok, so Zetabyte has, in their review, offered me a first glance of this card.

The main chip Savage 3D has not a fan, but only a passive cooler (see the photo on the left) and it is very useful. The chip temperature didn't rise, also after some hours of tests (like the TNT or the Voodoo 2) Another difference is the ammount of the RAM: the last-generation boards have 16mb of SDRAM memory, but this board has "only" 8mb of EliteMT SGRAM memory (cleary greater than SDRAM) divided in 4 memory bank of 2Mb all around the main Chip. In the centre of the board we can see the Video-In controller and the VIP-A and VIP-B connectors. The board use the AGP 2x slot. The connections allowed by the board are Video-In and TV-out (the Video-In is implemented only in some models of the board). Another important features is the DVD acceleration: looking in the future this features is really really important and with this you can see DVD videos even with slow computers.

Windows 9x Once More? 21:08 pm - Wilfred
I am going to yell! aaaAAAHhhhhgg! ZDNet's posted this article that Microsoft may (yet again?!?!) put up a refresh of its Windows OS based on the 9x kernel. Oh dear!

For at least two years, the Redmond, Wash., company has said that the next version of its desktop OS would be based on the NT kernel. Instead, Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) is now contemplating extending its venerable Windows 9x kernel for at least one more release, according to sources close to the company. Timing for the release of the beta and final code for this operating system update -- which may be called Windows 2000 Personal Edition, according to sources -- is uncertain.

A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed that the company is evaluating a refresh of its desktop operating system based on the 9x kernel, although she declined to provide details about pricing, availability or why Microsoft may be considering the new Windows 9x-based release.

Ok, now we can yell together. aaaAAAHhhhhgg!

New Voodoo 2 Reference Drivers 20:57 pm - Wilfred
Another cheer to VE for posting this news. Here's a bit of lubricant for your already smoking card(s):

Windows 95/98:

  • Voodoo2 v3.01.01 (WHQL Compliant) v1.03.01
    Run-time drivers for Voodoo2 on Win95/98. They include: Glide 2.54, Glide 3.01, Direct3D, DirectX 6.x, support for AMD 3DNow! and the Voodoo2 Control Panel. This is the minimum set of drivers that you'll need to run your Voodoo2 board.

  • Voodoo2 Control Panel (Non-WHQL Compliant)
    A non-WHQL compliant Control Panel for Voodoo2 (it does not include any of the components included in File #1). This file will allow you to use the enable/disable VSync feature, but will overwrite the WHQL certified Control Panel in the process.

Windows NT reference drivers:

  • File #1: Voodoo2 v3.01.01
    Run-time drivers for Voodoo2 on WinNT. They include: Glide 2.54, Glide 3.01, support for AMD 3DNow! and the Voodoo2 Control Panel. This is the minimum set of drivers that you'll need to run your Voodoo2 board on WindowsNT.
  • File #2: Voodoo2 Control Panel (Non-WHQL Compliant)
    A non-WHQL compliant Control Panel for Voodoo2 (it does not include any of the components included in File #1). This file will allow you to use the enable/disable VSync feature, but will overwrite the WHQL certified Control Panel in the process.

Savage 4. Savage 4. Savage 4. 20:55 pm - Wilfred
Stop it! No? Ok, sometimes I admit that I enjoy the hype coz it gets me really really excited. So here's more from the chumps at Hardware Central who has put up a preview on it.

With the new Savage4, S3 opted to go with image quality instead of raw performance like the Voodoo3. The Savage4 now has single-cycle trilinear filtering, which means that it can do trilinear filtering per pixel per clock cycle without any performance hit. With the capability of of addressing 32MB of 143Mhz local frame buffer, S3TC compression as well as a AGP 4X interface, the Savage4 looks to be the ultimate texturing chip. If the first Savage3D was able to smoothly run an Unreal level with 200MB of textures, the possibilities with 4X as much local frame buffer and AGP 4X seems almost spell-binding.

Updated 3D WinBench 99 20:48 pm - Wilfred
Thanks to the para at VoodooExtreme which pointed us in the direction of the updated ZDNet 3D WinBench 99 file. It's been upped to version 1.1 and here's the new stuff:

  • 3Dfx Voodoo2-based adapters will get higher scores on version 1.1 than on version 1.0 when they use 3Dfx's new DirectX 6 drivers (other adapters' scores should not change).
  • We fixed a bug that kept part of the background from showing up in the Stations tests.
  • We fixed a mistake that let up to three 3D WinMark 99 tests run on adapters that did not support source alpha pixel blending or that failed the Source Alpha Pixel Blending quality test
  • We fixed some minor errors in the 3D WinBench 99 user interface.
  • We fixed several minor problems in the quality tests, added a new Perspective Correct Fog quality test, and added more information to the dialogs.
  • We upgraded the User Defined Scene Test to use DirectX 6 filtering modes.
  • We fixed several minor problems in the results viewer.

Baldur's Gate Patch 20:45 pm - Wilfred
Yippee! You can get the latest patch for your favourite RPG Baldur's Gate. Yup, the file link is right here from Interplay.

Gigabyte GA-630 Banshee 06:23 am - Kan
Another Banshee review from CPU Review on the Gigabyte GA-630 video card.

3Dfx is the best-recognized 3D accelerator design house - their original Voodoo chip was followed by the highly successful Voodoo II, and now the Voodoo Banshee. Only recently have other 3D processors exceeded the performance of the Voodoo II, and the 'SLI' (Scan Line Interleave) dual-Voodoo II is still the fastest 3D solution for most games.

Gigabyte is a well-respected motherboard manufacturer, whose motherboards I've had great success with in the past. When I heard that they were now producing video cards, I expected them to keep to the same high standards they had employed with their motherboards - and I was not disappointed with the quality of the board.

ICQ99a Build 1700 05:58 am - Kan
Just grabbed this piece of news from Betanews. Build 1700 is out and available from Mirabilis directly. We have the file mirrored in our Downloads section as well.

Creative Labs PC-DVD Encore 5X 05:58 am - Kan
Hardwire posted a review on the Creative PC-DVD Encore 5X kit. Muaah....I want a DVD kit!

The decoder card is for playing DVD movies. It takes care of the hardware-hungry task of decoding MPEG 1 and 2 video, which is the format for DVD movies. Since most DVD movies are 60 frames per second, double the framerate of television programs and videos, the card has a lot of work to do, and this keeps the hardware requirements down. There is a connector like the CD-Audio connector on current CD-ROMs which hooks into the decoder card. The decoder card also has another port for one of these connectors to come from a second CD-ROM. The decoder card then connects to your sound card through its CD-Audio port. The reason for this is because the decoder card uses this channel to give you audio, bypassing your wave device and thus giving minimal distortion and maximum sound quality.

Sonic Impact S90 Review 05:51 am - Kan
SysOpt had put up a review on the Diamond Sonic Impact S90 soundcard. Oh well, to think that I am still using my good old ISA soundcard. Time for an upgrade?

I found the Diamond Sonic Impact to have sharper and crisper sound as compared to the Ensoniq AudioPCI and Yamaha OP3L-SAx sound cards that I tested.  The A3D makes a huge difference when playing such games as Unreal or Jedi Knight - Dark Forces II that utilize its technology.  3D gaming is a whole new experience with the positional 3D audio that drags you into the surrealism of the game

S3 Announces Savage4 05:51 am - Kan
Here is the official accouncement from S3.

"Given the substantial demand for Savage4 thus far, we expect to win a significant share of the mainstream OEM designs in 1999," said Ken Potashner, president and chief executive officer for S3 Incorporated. "Following our strategic agreement with Intel, Savage4 is the next major step toward S3's goal the game

S3 Announces Savage4 05:51 am - Kan
Here is the official accouncement from S3.

"Given the substantial demand for Savage4 thus far, we expect to win a significant share of the mainstream OEM designs in 1999," said Ken Potashner, president and chief executive officer for S3 Incorporated. "Following our strategic agreement with Intel, Savage4 is the next major step toward S3's goal of graphics leadership."

Targeted at the commercial and consumer PC markets, Savage4 is designed to deliver 3D rendering capabilities equivalent to high-end, niche gaming solutions, as well as leading 2D graphics and video acceleration. Built around a new 128-bit super pipelined 3D engine, Savage4 provides AGP 4X technology, true 32-bit 3D rendering, S3TC, trilinear filtered single-pass multi-texturing, hardware accelerated DVD, 32MB memory support and complete digital flat panel support.

Socket-370 to Slot-1 Converters 05:43 am - Kan
Firing Squad had a Socket-370 to Slot-1 converters roundup. The SlotKET compared were from Abit, MSI and Gigabyte.

The Celeron PPGA basically closes this door completely. Since the form factor is different, a completely new motherboard is required to even plug in the CPU. As the Celeron is marketed as a low-end CPU, you can see where this is headed - no dual-CPU or on-board SCSI/LAN for Socket 370 motherboards, less focus on overclocking or supporting FSB frequencies above 100Mhz, and so on. With PPGA, there's not only less variety, but fewer high-end options. What's more, Intel is planning on phasing out Slot-1 for Celeron all-together, in a plan to keep the Celery from cutting into high-profile Pentium II sales.

Guillemot Phoenix AGP Review 05:32 am - Kan
My favourite porn site VoodooExtreme posted a review on the Guillemot Phoenix AGP Banshee card. Note: You must be above 18 to enter the site.

By now, I’m sure that everyone is pretty familiar with 3Dfx’s Voodoo Banshee chip. However, they have just starting trickling into the maintream with OEM deals with Gateway (and others) computers. Chips that score OEM integration are usually ones that are relatively low cost and look good on paper (marketing fuzz). 3Dfx had all intentions of making the Voodoo Banshee an OEM powerhouse, and leaving the Voodoo2 to fight their battles in the retail chains. It came as a surprise that the Voodoo Banshee was also a strong retail seller, thanks to OEMs like Guillemot. Guillemot (another fine Canadian company) has a history of selling 3Dfx boards following the reference design to the tee, and the Guillemot Phoenix follows the tradition.

1 February 1999 - Monday

Another Savage4 Preview 20:56 pm - Go and see the S3TC enhanced images, razor sharp and plain cool!

Acer 2X/6X CD-RW 17:50 pm - Kan
Our pal over at Bxboards did a review on the Acer 2X/6X CD-RW. In my opinion, nothing beats the cheap cost of CD-R medium to backup your data.

During my critical listening of a burned copy onto CD-R media of Matchbox20's "Back2Good" and Dave Matthews Band's "Crash", the audio through my SBLive! sounded perfect. I was very pleased with the results. One word of caution though, your car stereo or home stereo will not advance tracks properly on multi-session audio CD's burned with this drive and Adaptec's EasyCD Creator. I think it is a software limitation from EasyCD Creator, not a hardware problem. The same multi-session audio CD's play perfectly on all computer CD-ROM's though; pure audio equipment can't seem to see any tracks except those from the first session. My tip for perfect audio CD's is to do all your tracks, even from multiple sources, in one session. Of course, this means lots of time in front of the monitor.

Horrified! 17:10 pm - Kan
Wow! Flame us. I just realised that when you use Netscape to view the main page, there are some font problems. Hey! I swear Internet Explorer display them fine! Anyway, I hope I rectified the problem already.

Quantum Viking II 09:02 am - Kan
Our buds over at PlanetHardware sent note that they had a new review on the Quantum Viking II 4.55 GB SCSI hard disk.

Ultra2 SCSI is the latest SCSI incarnation, while SCSI-2 cruises in at a measly 20 MB/s, and Ultra Wide SCSI revs up to 40MB/s transfer rate, Ultra2 races by with a top speed of 80 MB/s of consistent data transfer rate. Down the road is Ultra3 SCSI, which boasts an ungodly 160MB/s transfer rate, but Ultra3 products won't be hitting the market for months at least, so Ultra2 is the king of the nest now. So, if you want the fastest hard drive performance other than getting a solid state memory hard drive, Ultra2 is what you're looking for.

Gobe Productive 1.1 for BeOS 08:53 am - Kan
Blame me! Ars-Technica had posted an application review on the Gobe Productive software for the BeOS.

GP is very much the type of program I envisioned all those many wrinkles ago. With the exception of database functionality, it does a splendid job in pulling together some of the most common productivity tasks into a single, slick interface. And with its plug-in approach to tasks, there are virtually no limits to where this thing could go. More about that coming up. First, let's do a fly-over.

Elsa Victory II Review 08:32 am - Kan
HardwareCentral posted a review on the Elsa Victory II Banshee card. Talk about Banshee, I'm beginning to disklike Creative lack of drivers support (or rather very slow support) for their Banshee cards.

The Victory II is pretty much your standard issue Banshee based video card. The only difference being the onboard SGRAM instead of the more commonly used SDRAM. The Banshee chip is cooled with a standard heatsink, making it a poor candidate for overclocking.

Desktop Theater 5,1 Review 08:12 am - Kan
FastGraphics posted a review on the Creative Desktop Theater 5.1. Incidentally, have you read our review yet?

Since Dolby Surround is the best surround sound you can get from an analog two-channel signal like a VCR or analog cable TV we need to move to digital sound to get better surround. And so it happened. About ten years ago the first theaters featured "Dolby Digital" sound systems. These soundsystems offer true surround sound, meaning five completely separate channels, left, center, right, left rear, right rear and even a subwoofer channel. Dolby Digital is also referred to as AC-3 or Dolby 5.1. Since the channels are not encoded into two analog channels the separation between them is as good as it gets. An other advantage of Dolby Digital is that all channels have equal power and are driven with the full frequency spectrum

Maxi Gamer 2 08:12 am - Kan
TheTechs posted a review on the good old Voodoo2 based card, the Guillemont Maxi Gamer 2.

Since the release of the 3Dfx Voodoo2 chipset a little less than a year ago, we’ve been bombarded by a million other Voodoo2-based 3D add-on cards. In such a large field, it is hard for one card to distinguish itself from the competition. Sadly, the only feature of the Maxi Gamer 2 that warrants purchase is its fairly good price.

S3 Savage 4 Preview 07:47 am - Kan
Sharky also posted the new S3 Savage 4 preview. The new card will be out somewhere in April. This is the card to look out for.

S3 went to great lengths to explain that the Savage4's digital flat panel support was free from the image degrading effects of an analog to digital converter, which several vendors are planning on using to skirt around support for the true digital signal. Number Nine and Matrox are the only two previous vendors who have either announced or have actually shipped a video product that supports a true digital flat panel signal. The rest are fudging a bit, on the hopes that buyers won't take the time to analyze the true process by which the companies are providing flat panel support. S3 hopes to make the issue a more public one, as digital flat panels enjoy lower prices and higher volumes in 1999.

IStorm Cooler 07:32 am - Kan
SysOpt posted a HDD cooler review on the IStorm Hard Drive Cooler. The drive is suited for high speed 7200 or 10,000 rpm drives. However, the cooler very expensive!

Enter the I-Storm, a hard drive cooling device which attaches to the front of a hard drive, and mounts at the front of your case in a standard 5.25" drive bay. I-Storm uses a cylindrical fan (similar to the blower devices used in central air and heating systems) to pull air into the case and blow it over your hard drive. The I-Storm uses a standard power supply Y-adapter which connects to one of your power supply's drive connectors, without requiring one of its own (i.e.- unplug the power connector from a drive, plug the connector into one end of the I-Storm adapter, then plug the other end of the I-storm adapter back into the drive).

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