|14 February 1999 - Sunday
FTG: The New Living Room
Appliance 13:11 pm - Wilfred
Ok, everyone missed him. Today, Flashman is
back! He'd taken a glance into his crystal ball and here's what he saw of his future, YOUR
future - The New Living Room Appliance.
||Yeah, I've seen the future. Picture a
little box, about 1.5' by 1' by 3" in size. There's no hard disk. There's a small
computer inside to run Java and browser code, and to control the DVD, SVCD stuff ... You
can watch TV, DVD, anything. You can overlay TV on DVD, DVD on TV, TV on browser, etc.
|It can connect to a phone
line and you get VOD. Stick in a MP3 pirate disc and you listen to cheap and good
music. Stream MP3 music off the net. Read email. Shit - what else do you want?
ASUS TNT vs ASUS
Banshee 10:25 am - Kan
So, who is faster? TNT or Banshee? Riva Station posted a roundup on
these 2 video cards. Here's the blurb:
There´s also a couple of 3D features
missing in comparsion to actual 3D Chipsets (watch table below). Banshee supports only AGP
1x and does not support AGP features. The cards are not capable to use System Memory to
But in contrast to Voodoo2, Banshee is not
limited to fullscreen mode. Banshee can accelerate games and applications in window-mode.
As TNT, the Banshee is manufactured in 0.35 micron. So you need a higher voltage to
run the chip and this results in more heat. The consequence is the use of a fan
(ASUS/Diamond) or a hetasink at minimum (ELSA/Guillemot/STB/Creative).
Marvel G200-TV 10:22 am - Kan
Another video card review from NetExcite on the Matrox Marvel G200-TV card.
Just a note on the Marvel connector box.
If you have the Marvel G200-TV, you should have a TV cable input while on the Marvel G200,
there are no TV cable input. In this case, you would need a VCR for tuning channels if you
want to watch TV on your PC. Also, you will find a Dolby Digital output on the box as
well. In order for the Dolby Digital output to function, you must install the hardware DVD
upgrade for the Marvel video card which is not available at the time of this review.
Finally, you will find all those composite video/audio, s-video inputs and outputs. The
look of the connector box is pretty cool too! Its nothing like those old gray box which
bunch of composite connectors facing you or the Canopus VideoPORT 600 for Spectra which
requires a free 5.25" drive bay.
Motherboard Roundup 10:18 am - Kan
has a new motherboard comparison
article up on the Abit BH6, AOpen AX6BC 2.1, AOpen AX63 and the MSI 6163.
This test is good enough to see how
compatible the system is to old PC-66 SDRAM. On the ABIT BH6, when I have all 3 RAM
modules all inserted e.g. 1 pc of PC-100 MIRA, 2 pcs of Hyundai PC-66 SDRAM, The BH6
detected the total memory incorrectly. It should show 131,072 KB. It showed 130,048 Kb and
sometimes even worse, left with 96Mb left.
On the other 3 other boards, the total RAM
detection is right. The only thing that isn't right is with the AOPEN AX6BC which suggests
that my CAS 2 SDRAM should be CAS 3. I think this can be solved by doing a flash upgrade.
Abit BM6 05:39 am - Kan
Hardware had another new review on
the Abit BM6. The new PPGA version has a newer stepping and are even easier to
overclock than the Slot 1 siblings.
The new PPGA seems to be quite stable for
overclockers, giving the 300A speeds of 504MHz without even blinking an eye. I have some
thoughts on this stability, that really make Slot 1 look like an outdated technology that
Intel should have never used. If you look at a Slot 1 processor, it is quite large as is
the slot you plug it into. This sheer size means that you have extremely long paths for
data to travel across between the processor and the memory. The longer data paths leave
the information more susceptible to interference from resistance along the way and
internal noise. Socket methods on the other hand plug directly onto the board, shortening
the distance that the data needs to travel and eliminating some of the stability problems
that are caused by a slot based approach.
Elsa Erazor II TNT 05:22 am - Kan
Incidentally, Hardware Pros also had a review
on the Elsa Erazor II. Catch what they said:
This card rocks! ELSA has done a
great job putting together a well rounded video card based on Nvidia's Riva TNT chip.
The optimized board design as well as the fan/heatsink combo are very welcome
additions especially for squeezing out that extra bit of performance through overclocking.
The fan on this baby keeps the chip from getting too hot and causing system crashes
even if you don't overclock.
Elsa Erazor II TNT 05:21 am - Kan
had a new review coming out of the stove, the Elsa Erazor
II TNT card.
ELSA has been a big name in the
professional graphics market for quite awhile now. More recently, ELSA has also made a
name for itself in the consumer graphics market. ELSA currently has two RIVA TNT boards in
their lineup, the ERAZOR II, and the Synergy II. The ERAZOR II is designed for use in the
consumer market, while the Synergy II includes custom drivers written by ELSA which make
it better for Professional applications. The ERAZOR II is a unique TNT card. Unlike most
of the cards on the market, it is not identical to NVIDIA's reference design. Instead, it
is placed on a smaller board and includes SGRAM and a fan*.
Guillemot New Bundle 04:33 am - Kan
sent us a press release on their new bundle when you purchase any Maxi Gamer Phoenix
accelerator card with the Race Leader Force Feedback wheel, you will get the full version
of Ubi Soft's Speed Busters.
is pleased to announce that starting this month, all Maxi Gamer Phoenix accelerators and
Race Leader Force Feedback steering wheels will be shipping with the full version of Ubi
Soft's Speed Busters. "Guillemot is excited to be bundling such a hot new game",
says Parth Shukla, Product Manager. "Since it's launch two months ago, Speed Busters
has received rave reviews and we are happy to offer this great new game with our two
3DSoundSurge 04:26 am - Kan
Our pals over at 3DSoundSurge had shifted to a new address. If you
are interested in sound cards news, do drop them a visit!
Swapfile Optimization 04:12 am - Kan
Rojak pot had some new updated juice on optimizing
the swapfile article. New updates include confirmation on whether constant rewriting
of the same area of the hard disk reduces the MTBF of the hard disk or not. Also included
is a tip on how to move the swapfile to the outer tracks of the hard disk without paying a
cent for a commercial defragger.
A swapfile (or Virtual Memory) is important
because often, the programs we use require more RAM than we have. Therefore, instead of
returning an error message and refusing to run, the program can use the swapfile for the
extra memory needed. This is because the swapfile acts as pseudo-RAM by using some of the
hard disk space to store the data that would normally need to be stored in the RAM.
Final Voodoo3 Specs 03:38 am - Kan
Hai. Those Sharks sent us a note saying they had chomped up
an article on the final
Voodoo3 specs and product info.
Originally the Voodoo3 3000 was all set to
be the Voodoo3 flagship for Q1 1999 (another Voodoo3 will be released in Q2). It was all
set to have its 16MB of SGRAM bumped up to 183MHz but in a surprise turn-around 3Dfx has
stated that the 3000's memory will now be locked at the initial 166MHz. It's not actually
a 'lowering', as the original Voodoo3 3000's memory we saw at Comdex '98 was actually
clocked at 166Mhz and seemed to work flawlessly. The great yields obtained at 166MHz are
said to be the main reason for this. Thus, 3Dfx has decided to stick to the same clock
speed and re-introduce the 3000 as the 'gaming enthusiasts' board.
Gigabyte GA-630 Banshee
03:33 am - Kan
sent us a note on their new review, the Gigabyte GA-630 Banshee card. The
quality of the card seem to be better than most other cards and it comes with a onboard
CPU fan for the Banshee chip.
In addition, as you may be aware, the
Banshee chip set is an integrated 2D/3D solution. That also means no more eating up your
precious PCI slots for that Voodoo board! I feel the greatest asset the Banshee has is its
ability to run 2D, D3D, and Glide based games all on one board! 3Dfx set the standard with
Glide and there is a lot of support and developement behind it. It is extremely convenient
to have all video solutions on one card. No other chipset manufacturer can claim that. It
is obvious why Gigabyte chose this chipset from a compatibility standpoint. Now the
question is, how is the image quality and speed in these areas.
Kan @ Rantings 03:23 am - Kan
Guess what? It's Valentines day today. For
those old dudes out there, remember to keep your Viagra ready. :)
|13 February 1999 - Saturday
DVD-Audio Standard Adds AC-3
20:30 pm - Wilfred
has got this nice bit on the latest established DVD-Audio standard. Hear them out!
TOKYO After more than three years of
labor pains, the DVD Forum has announced the establishment of a format for DVD-Audio. The
Forum's Steering Committee approved the format, dubbed Version 1.0, at its meeting earlier
this month and will have the DVD-Audio Format book published shortly. DVD-Audio is the
fifth DVD format to be put into place, following DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM and DVD-R.
The final format includes one modification
to the provisional Version 1.0 format announced in September: the addition of Dolby AC-3
encoding as the standard for video clips. The new DVD-Audio format supports sampling
frequencies as high as 192 kHz and as low as 44.1 kHz, and uses 16-bit, 20-bit and 24-bit
quantization bits. Version 1.0 can store 192-kHz, 24-bit, two-channel sound for 74 minutes
on single-layered, single-sided disks. When standard linear PCM coding is used, 64 minutes
of 192-kHz, 24-bit, two-channel sound can be stored in the single-sided, single-layer
No Copper for Intel Till
0.13 Micron 20:23 pm - Wilfred
Register has it that Intel will not use copper interconnects for its processors until
0.13 micron process technology arrives, citing cost effectiveness as the main issue. (Full story)
There is no need for Intel to implement
copper interconnects in its processors until 0.13 micron process technology arrives, a
senior executive said today.
Pierre Mirjolet, architecture marketing manager at Intel EMEA, claimed that while copper
does have a resistivity less than 40 per cent than aluminium, Intel's interconnect
technology provided better performance than current copper interconnect.
"We have copper technology but from a volume production point of view, it doesn't
make sense yet," he said. "We're not necessarily against new technology. For us,
the new technology is not cost effective."
He admitted that if Intel moved to its own existing copper technology, it would have to
invest in wholly new equipment. He claimed that copper processs equipment is still
immature, and would mean higher costs and lower initial yields.
Total Annihilation: Kingdoms
Preview 20:11 pm - Wilfred
Dennis sent word of their latest preview on TA: Kingdoms over at
the FiringSquad. As usual, here's the snip:
All in all TAK is shaping up to be an
amazing game, both in single player and multiplayer. The pure carnage that is the Total
Annihilation signature will try to prove once again why it has earned its right amongst
the best games of all time.
Nintendo To Sue 20:11 pm - Wilfred
Golly! I'm slow to this but hey! I think the
decision left a bad taste in my mouth. Sure hurts to be damn smart! (Thanks to VE for this chunk!)
Nintendo sucks. Multi-Billionaire game
company to sue two garage programmers for making a kick ass N64 emulator. Nintendo should
be hiring these guys instead of suing them.
I'm wondering what case Nintendo has here, if Sony couldn't sue Connectix (who make the
Virtual Game Station - PSX emulator), that will be used on the G-3 Mac's. Unless these
guys illegally obtained code of specs from Nintendo to write the emulator, what did they
It's a sad, sad day when you get sued for just making a handgun, and not actually
committing a crime with it.
New WarpBench 20:08 pm - Wilfred
Noticed over at Voodoo Extreme that there's this new graphic
benchmark available. Haven't got time to download it myself ($#@%!) so here, check it out
WarpBench is a program that I wrote for
exploring real-world scenes using image-based rendering. The images that we are walking
around in have been down-sampled by a factor of sixteen for this benchmark. The program
renders each pixel of these ten images as two triangles in OpenGL. There are an average of
93000 triangles drawn per frame. That's a very large model compared to a typical Quake II
database. The triangles are in triangle strips (64 tris long) and are stored in display
lists (each with 32 strips). There are some textured triangles, but over 90000 of the
triangles are not textured, but have color per vertex. Having lots of polygons and not
much texture makes this app more similar in to a CAD program or 3D Studio Max than to the
current line of 3D games.
You can grab WarpBench right here (4.01Mb).
Out of Space & Luck
19:59 pm - Wilfred
Sheesh. In these connected times, you won't
understand how much it suck when your connection goes bad. Man! And I had been taking my
Magix connection for granted! I just had to flip the switch, wait a couple of seconds and
there - 512K access right?! NOT! (Anand seem to be suffering from an ADSL outtage over at
his side of the world too... duh?!)
To make things worse, our US host ran out of disk space and
we are unable to update anything properly over there till they sorted things out. Sigh...
Right, we have 3 new articles/reviews for ya people after a long while and I shall have
them up ONCE the problems are solved.
Official Voodoo3 Press
Release 06:32 am - Kan
The official press release is finally out. Ouch. They
are expensive as usual.
SAN JOSE, Calif., - February 12, 1999 -
3Dfx InteractiveŽ Inc. (NASDAQ: TDFX) today debuted Voodoo3 2000, Voodoo3 3000 and
Voodoo3 3500, the first graphics board products to carry the highly acclaimed VoodooŽ
brand name, through in-store and online pre-sale programs. Based on 3Dfx Interactive's
hotly anticipated Voodoo3 family of advanced graphics chips, the new boards are expected
to deliver the world's fastest 3D and 2D performance, and provide support for ultra
high-resolution displays. In the near future, 3Dfx plans to announce the anticipated date
for retail availability of its Voodoo3 products.
Xitel Storm Platinum 06:30 am - Kan
(they serve delicious shark's fin soup) had a Xitel Storm Platinum sound
card review based on the Vortex 2 chipset.
Xitel might not be a name as well known as
Diamond or Creative to John Doe, but for those that have sampled the goods it's a name not
easily forgotten. Back in 98 whilst playing the role as hardware reviewer at AVault I
stumbled upon Xitel's original Storm VX board based on the first incarnation of the Vortex
chipset and I've been faithful ever since. (and don't think I haven't had my share of
audio boards, the Monster Sound, MX200, Sonic Storm and various CreativeLabs boards have
all taken a turn in my humble gaming rig as well as a few Taiwanese Vortex 1 boards).
IWill XA100 Plus 06:26 am - Kan
done a IWill XA100 Plus Super
7 motherboard review. Here's some juice:
The IWill XA100 was a simple, solid design
that performed well. The XA100 Plus builds upon that design by adding additional voltage
settings and additional bus speeds. Like the XA100, the XA100 Plus comes with one AGP,
four PCI, and three ISA slots. The XA100 Plus is currently selling for about US$110. The
XA100 Plus has official support for the K6-2 CTX core and the upcoming K6-3, as well as
legacy socket 7 CPUs. If you are in the market solid performer with insanely good
overclocking results, the XA100 Plus deserves a serious look.
Effect of Bus Speed on
Performance 06:23 am - Kan
Andy had written another article on the imapct
of bus speed on performance.
As you can see from the trend-line marked
in blue, the increase in performance is linear to the bus speed. Looking at some basic
statistics for a moment, an analysis of the results gave us an R Square value of 0.9957 -
showing only a small amount of variance which is expected from Winstone99. So the
benchmarks are accurate - lets have a look into the future!
AlphaServer DS20 06:20 am - Kan
Do you have any spare cash to lend? The new
Digital aka Compaq AlphaServer
DS20 is a dual processor server running on 21264s 500 MHz processors.
||The Compaq AlphaServer DS20 shows a
strikingly powerful capability for numerical calculations in scientific/technical
research. Were creating a large parallel computer system with more than 64 Compaq
AlphaServer DS20 systems in RIKEN and its performance easily exceeds that of existing
parallel computers with more than 1,000 nodes.
HOT-661V 06:18 am - Kan
The house of Pain over at AnandTech had a new review on the Shuttle HOT-661V
Apollo Pro Plus Slot 1 motherboard.
Shuttle follows the ATX specification
virtually to the letter with the 661V, giving it an excellent layout. The board a standard
ATX format, but is extremely short - just a bit longer than an ISA slot. Following what
has become a Shuttle tradition, the 661V features a 4/3/1 (PCI/ISA/AGP) slot
configuration. With the the ever increasing popularity of PCI sound cards and modems, not
to mention other PCI devices, this is a somewhat old fashioned and limiting configuration.
Fortunately, there are four DIMM slots support up to 1GB of SDRAM to more than adequately
cover the system memory department.
|12 February 1999 - Friday
of 1998 22:37 pm - Kan
Another updated release of Sharky's 1998 Hardware Awards.
Well, I want no awards, except for a bowl of shark's fin soup!
But the cream of 1998's CPU
crop was without a doubt the Intel Celeron 300A. Sporting 128Kb of full speed on-die L2
cache, the 300A served as a warning to AMD and the general public that the Celeron was a
"handicapped" or "castrated" CPU no longer. Its benchmark speeds
easily matched a true-blue Intel Pentium 2-300's for a price that was more than 30% lower.
And as far as the Celeron 300A's overclocking ability was concerned, well, does the word
"legendary" mean anything to you? We doubt that there will ever be a CPU that
can be so dramatically overclocked while maintaining its life span and system stability.
Overclocked Celeron 300As made it easily to 450MHz with the right cooling and system
setup, which allowed them to match the performance of Intel's desktop flagship, the
Specifications 22:33 pm - Kan
an article on all the juice about monitor and
their specifications. Ever wanted to know what exactly is dot pitch? Read on!
As with televisions, computer monitor size
is measured on the diagonal. Where things get misleading is that the measurement includes
the hidden part of the tube recessed behind the bezel on the front of the monitor. The
drawing on the right shows what happens. The orange area is the visible part of the tube;
the dashed line under the blue bezel area is the outer edge of the picture tube.
21:08 pm - Kan
Read from Matroxusers
that Matrox announced two new products based on the
G200 chipset, the G200 LE as well as the G200 SD. Both cards are based on the newer 0.25
micron process as well as faster 250 MHz RAMDACs.
Montreal, Canada, February 11, 1999 -
Matrox Graphics Inc. is proud to announce two new additions to the Matrox MGA-G200 Series
of graphics accelerators: Matrox Millennium G200 LE and Matrox Millennium G200 SD 16MB.
The introduction of these new graphic solutions offers greater flexibility to system
integrators, PC assemblers and end users.
Designed to deliver superior
price/performance in 2D, 3D and video applications, the Matrox Millennium G200 LE is a new
low cost, non-memory upgradeable, non-multimedia upgradeable graphics card available
exclusively to system integrators and PC assemblers in Q1 99.
Overclocking Guide 20:42
pm - Kan
updated their Celeron
Overclocking Guide as well. This time, they teaches you how to o/c your Celeron 366 as
well as 400 MHz processors.
The cooling was quite simple
for this machine, just a dual heatsink/fan (FAB24 from Global
Win) and 1 interior case fan (blowing out) in a standard mid-tower case. I was able to
boot at all up to 456Mhz with no problems running Windows98 for 24 hours, along with some
CD-R copies. Then the problem came at 550Mhz, I was able to post but it froze at the
second screen. So I figured that I could up the core voltage to 2.1v or then 2.2v,
unfortunately both did not work.
52X 20:40 pm - Kan
posted their latest review on the Kenwood True 52X
CD-ROM drive. This drive is fast! But do you need so fast?
"The Multiple Beam approach to
illuminating and detecting multiple tracks uses a diffracted laser beam in conjunction
with a multiple beam detector array. A conventional laser diode is sent through a
diffraction grating which splits the beam into seven discrete beams, spaced evenly to
illuminate seven tracks. The seven beams pass through a beam splitting mirror to the
objective lens and onto the surface of the disc. Focus and tracking are accomplished with
the central beam. Three beams on either side of the center are readable by a detector
array as long as the center is on track and in focus.
Update 11:21 am - Wilfred
Yeah, I know you are NOT interested in more of
these draggy trials.
They stink! But things took an interesting turn when a
Microsoft witness *finally* conceded that they feared losing the browser war if consumers
had a choice.
Microsoft witness Cameron Myhrvold
conceded a major point Wednesday. Myhrvold, who's Internet customer unit vice president,
told the court the software company feared consumers with choice would pick Netscape's Web
browser over Microsoft's Internet Explorer. "We were nowhere," he told
government attorney David Boies. "We were the Johnny-come-lately to the
Internet." Myhrvold's testimony contradicts previous Microsoft witnesses who
maintained consumers would choose IE because of its technical features.
Now, I didn't think it was TOO difficult
to admit this. Come on! Nobody will believe you if you said otherwise!
Asus P2B Mobos 11:18 am - Wilfred
Dear! Ars-Technica brought this sham to my
attention that Asus had found counterfeit P2B mobos in the US market. Better be warned of
these frauds! Check out this page for more information!
Conference Call 11:15 am - Wilfred
JC's PC sent word of an article they posted
about AMD's 3DNow! conference call rambling much about 3DNow! and Intel's SSE. Check this out!
One other thing that the AMD folks said
that was better in 3DNow! than in SSE was number of instructions. As you recall,
3DNow! uses 21 instructions while SSE has over 70. The major reasons why SSE has so many
- It emulates the x87 unit, so it copies most
of the regular x87 instructions.
- There are data moving and other kinds of
instructions used by MMX that 3DNow! can utilize. SSE much make all new instructions to
this effect because it works on a seperate register set in a different processor mode.
So, basically, the net effect of SSE having
more instructions than 3DNow! is that SSE may be a lot harder to learn. Keith (or
Drew, I forget), referring to developers, made the comment "they can memorize our 21
instructions and code with it quickly".
Maintenance 10:59 am - Wilfred
Hardware One Singapore will be unavailable to
most users from 4-6pm on 13 Feb 99 (Saturday). This is due to some scheduled maintenance
work done by S-One. Of course, you can always find us at www.hardware-one.com.
Savage4 10:52 am - Wilfred
Saw this tasty bit of Savage4 lovin'
at GameSpot this morning. Gotta wait for the real thing if you are still hungering for
Today at Milia, we had a
chance to take a look at the performance of a near-final board, running a series of demos
including a heavily modified version of Unreal. As the screenshots indicate, the results
are most impressive. The huge texture maps (up to 2,000x2,000 pixels) enabled by S3TC give
the gaming environment a level of detail that we've simply never seen before, and the
various lighting, fog, and reflection effects are mesmerizing. Frame rates were crisp,
despite the fact that the test card was running at only 100MHz (the final chip will run at
143MHz). The demo even included some DirectX 7.0 features, including animated texture maps
with more than 200 frames of animation. Translucent animated texture maps were also
ADSL Refuses To
Sync 10:34 am - Wilfred
Yup, dammit! The whole of last night till now
the black box won't sync and I'm here crawling along with my 28.8kbps. =(
Soundworks Microworks 08:56
am - Kan
Blow me away! Tech-review had done the Cambridge
Soundworks Microworks review. They sure look nice and sound good.
||Feature wise, the Microworks does not
have the most complete set, but let me tell you, it doesn't matter because these speakers
really sound great. You can use them with your computer, television, or stereo system to
pump out excellent sound.
volume control module you see above in the little picture might seem a bit strange at
first, but works well.
(Rev. 2.10) 08:53 am - Kan
done a review on the AOpen AX6BC Rev. 2.10
motherboard. The new features include supporting up to 152 MHz as well as a 8.0x
The AX6BC sports possibly
the greenest motherboard I have seen from the AOpen badge heatsink sitting atop the BX
chipset, to the colour of the PCB itself. Like most modern boards ISA expansion is spurned
somewhat in favour of PCI, so we see the ever more common 5 PCI / 3 ISA combination. The 3
DIMM's are capable of taking 256 megabytes of registered DIMMs allowing for a healthy 768
of RAM. Quite what anyone will do with that amount is quite another matter, although
seeing 4 DIMM slots is even nicer, and allows "baby stepping" in RAM upgrades -
add 64 megs now, and 64 megs later down the road.
ATI Xpert 128
AGP Review Part 2 08:51
am - Kan
had finished part 2 of the ATI
Xpert 128 AGP review. Wow. The ATI actually perform faster under 32bit color depth
compare to 16bit. Interesting...
The 2D performance is pretty
amazing. ATI has always been solid in this area and the benchmarks speak for themselves. I
was very surprised with the 32 bit score since it completely blew away the 16 bit score. I
ran this benchmark nearly 10 times for each bit depth and with 2 fresh Windows 98
reinstalls to make sure there was nothing wrong with my results.
Search for the Ideal PC
08:48 am - Kan
had a new article The
Search for The Ideal PC. Search? I don't need to search...I already have the ideal PC.
Every day, we receive scores of email
asking us for advice on what PC components to buy. This brought to our attention the fact
that many end users deeply concerned with the innards of their machines are deprived of
accurate information. All too often, people are forced to muddle through on the basis of
information provided in hyped-up advertising campaigns. Oh, the information is out there,
but so is a lot of misinformation. They dont call it the Net of a Thousand Lies for
Memory Guide 08:32 am - Kan
CRUS sent us
a note about a new review on called Memory Guide. Here's
The memory is a small Silicontray that is
placed in a black capsule. To make the memory easier to handle so are there several of
these capsules placed on small circuit boards. There are several types of circuit boards
but in the most common one today is called Dimm which stands for Dual Inline Memory
Module. If we go back a few years there was one type of cards that were called Simm,
Single Inline Memory Module.
|11 February 1999 - Thursday
Unix Security Alert 22:15 am - Kan
wu-ftpd and proftpd are affected by buffer
overflows problems which can be used to gain root access. Full article is available from here.
Any server running the latest version of
ProFTPD (1.2.0pre1) or the latest version of Wuarchive ftpd (2.4.2-academ[BETA-18]).
wu-ftpd is installed and enabled by default on most Linux variants such as RedHat and
Slackware Linux. ProFTPD is new software recently adopted by many major internet companies
for its improved performance and reliability
Rage 128 Fastest in 3D
22:09 am - Kan
According to an article from The Register, Mercury Research
has released the latest benchmark results and the data shows that ATI's Rage 128 is the
fastest under Winbench 99.
Using the Winbench 99 test suite running on
a 450MHz Pentium II-based system, the Rage 128 was, with a score 743, the number one 3D
performer, closely followed by the Riva TNT at 669. 3Dfx's Voodoo 2-based Banshee ranked
third, with 431 points. S3's Savage3D scored 424 and Matrox's G200 rated 332.
However, despite its relatively poor 3D performance, the G200 was the joint number one 2D
acceleration technology, with a benchmark of 186 -- 3Dfx's Banshee also scored 186. At
number three, the Riva TNT scored 177, closely followed by the Rage 127, with 175. The
Savage3D and 3DLabs' Permedia II ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, with scores of 157
Saitek R4 Force Wheel 22:06 am - Kan
Hardware tested out the Saitek
R4 Force feedback wheel. It sure looks fun!
The R4 Force Wheel follows Microsoft's suit
and sticks with a gameport interface. While this may be an initial turnoff
about the wheel, it really is able to provide accurate control. This is partly
because of the licensee agreement with Microsoft and partly to do with ratio Digital
control that Saitek has added to the wheel. The end result is a wheel that responds
as fast as a similar USB device, but avoids heavy CPU usage when using the gameport.
VIA MVP4 Preview 22:04 am - Kan
a new preview article about the VIA MVP4 chipset.
Here's the juice:
At first sight, the MVP4 can be a
relatively frightening product, simply because the thought of having an AGP accelerator
integrated into the North Bridge of a chipset is quite limiting. This is completely true,
meaning that the MVP4 will not be a high end solution for those users looking to achieve
the best possible performance out of their systems with no consideration for cost. The
MVP4 will, however, be a solution that is both cost effective, and a good performer for
Soyo SY-6VZA S370 06:25 am - Kan
latest review is the Soyo
SY-6VZA S370 motherboard. Sorry, but I hate Socket 7 as well as Socket 370
The various FSB speeds that the SY-6VZA
supports are intended more for future Celeron CPUs, as most current PPGA Celeron CPUs
can't handle bus speeds above 83MHz due to their increasingly higher clock multipliers.
Intel does plan on moving the Celeron to a 100MHz FSB speed with the arrival of the 500MHz
version of the chip sometime in late Summer/99. The SY-6VZA is ready for that jump a
little early, as it supports a clock multiplier rating of up to 6.5x along with an FSB
speed maximum of 133MHz.
PlexWriter 8/20 CD-RW 06:21 am - Kan
had a new review on the PlexWriter
8/20 CD-RW. Wow, 8X write? It's a MUST BUY!
The 8/20 is a tray loading drive with an
impressive 4MB buffer. This large buffer helps to reduce any potential errors due to data
not arriving to the drive fast enough. It has a Fast SCSI-2 interface capable of 10MB/sec.
The 8x drive can write data at 1.2MB/sec and has a 170ms access time. It has a maximum
read speed of 20x, or 3MB/sec. A small fan is built in to the rear of the drive to help
keep the drive cool while operating.
Asus V3400 TNT 06:18 am - Kan
sent note on their latest review, the Asus V3400 TNT Video In/Out card.
So what's my take on this TNT card? Quite
frankly it beats the other TNT boards I've tested in performance and in features. When it
comes to performance differences between TNT cards, the margin between any of them is
small. What sets this board apart and ahead of the pack in my opinion is it's excellent
overclockability. I don't know quite how they do it but ASUS has put together a high
quality board here. What they've learned in manufacturing motherboards has obviously
carried over to graphics boards.
Matrox G200 06:12 am - Kan
the Matrox Millenium G200
review. Nah, I prefer a TNT now.
Most of you want a graphic card that
performs well in 2D and in the same time has great 3D performance. Most cards only perform
really well in either 2D or 3D so a while ago the only way to get both great 2D and 3D
performance was to get 2 different cards. But the Millenium G200 from Matrox is different
from most cards as it is supposed to handle both 3D and 2D well according to Matrox. So I
decided to take a look at the card and see if this is true or not.
Abit BM6 02:38 am - Kan
Adrian's Rojak Pot had another new
Abit BM6 Socket 370 motherboard.
Now that the L2 cache has been placed on
the CPU die of the Celeron, there's no longer a need for the PCB. In fact, the entire
Celeron line (right from the first cacheless versions), has never really needed the Slot 1
PCB. So, Intel is going to package the new Celeron models as PPGA (Plastic Pin Grid Array)
processors, just like the Pentium MMX. However, with 370 pins, the new PPGA Celerons won't
be pin and electrically compatible with the old Socket 7. They require a new socket - the
|10 February 1999 - Wednesday
Fifa 99 Review 20:58 pm - Kan
note on a new review FIFA 99.
This soccer game simply rocks!
The commentary has improved and the
commentator now actually says the stuff that is happening in time and not 3 seconds later
like in the earlier versions. The commentator also says the right word at the right time
and I havent noticed that he has said the wrong thing in these weeks I have been
playing the game. Still you will probably get a little annoyed, as it is the same 10 lines
that he is saying over and over again.
ATI Xpert128 Fury Rev A22
20:38 pm - Wilfred
has done a second review
on the Rage 128 card from ATI. This time round, they got hold of a later revision that's
got some circuitry corrected and runs cooler.
The chip revision on the Fury board is a
A21, and ATI has recently sent me an Expert 128 board, also featuring the Rage 128 GL
chipset. This board has the newer A22 revision of the chipset which doesn't add anything
to the performance, but which has a revised power circuit which causes it to get less hot.
ActiveWin On TNT Detonator
Drivers 20:29 pm - Wilfred
too has written
on these great drivers which nVidia finally delivered. They sound impressed.
These new drivers seem to offer a
considerable increase in most situations. These drivers do especially well in the CPU
intensive Crusher demo, this would seem to indicate that the new drivers have less
overhead, which would free up the CPU to send more information to the video card. These
new drivers seem to provide, on average, about a 10 to 25% increase over the drivers that
shipped with the Velocity 4400.
Brian's Guide to
Networking 20:18 pm - Wilfred
Brian of Ace's Hardware has delivered his guide to networking. Those
who wants to learn this trade, check it out:
Networking has traditionally been reserved
for the office, but there has very recently been a big push to move it into the home. Home
LANs are starting to make a great deal of sense, as home computing resources are growing
every day. A number of companies are touting a new concept, "Home Networking,"
(i.e. home appliance interconnection). This, however, is far from the same kind of
networking one may see in the office. Standardized ethernet (10/100baseT, TCP/IP, etc.) is
the ideal, and most general purpose solution for tying together computer resources.
Additionally, industry standard ethernet components are becoming quite inexpensive.
Supercharged Beast Examined
Again 20:14 pm - Wilfred
has also written their share on Hercules
Terminator Beast Supercharged. If you have been thinking thrice whether to get a
Savage3D-based card, read this:
This is a very interesting and unique
feature to the Savage 3D chip set. The folks at S3 have design a compression algorithm
that allows transfer of textures over the AGP bus in 1/4 to 1/6 the size of their original
state. This allows game developers to compress their artwork into a smaller footprint with
no image quality loss whatsoever and thus using less local texture memory (or on board
RAM) to store textures for processing. In addition, S3 claims the larger amounts of data
can be transferred over the AGP bus and decompressed on the fly for faster frame rates and
higher quality graphics as a result. I really think S3 has a great technology here. By the
way, that little company that make the O.S.... Who are they? Umm, oh yeah, Microsoft has
licensed the product as their standard for texture compression in Direct X 6.0 and moving
forward. Can you say "serious critical mass"?
Real Action at HardOCP 20:03 pm - Wilfred
sent word about some serious action they got into
with two Socket370 Celerons as well as a video rumble between a Banshee and a TNT card.
I next clamped on the Socket
370 Celeron 300. This CPU is a SL36A, Week 51, Malay. I immediately went
to the 100MHz Front Side Bus at default voltage. Bingo-Bango, No problemo. She
up and ran at 450 without missing a beat. I ran a couple of quick 3D Marks to check
for stablility and ran a few games. The Socket 370 Celeron 300 (jeez, that is a lot
to say) was right at home at 450Mhz.
Now was the time to whip out
some of that fancy ABIT bios action. I shut it down and rebooted at the 105MHz FSB.
I won't keep ya in suspence, it did 473MHz at default voltage with no problem.
I have run the 300 on the ABIT BM6 for a couple days solid without any errors or
problems at all. The system was as solid as a rock.
TNT Drivers with KNI
optimizations 07:28 am - Kan
By now, you should heard of the new nVidia TNT
drivers codenamed Detonator released for the entire product line of video cards. The new
drivers promises up to 30% increase in performance under DirectX 6.0 and OpenGL
Anyway, the gals over at FiringSquad whipped up an article on how fast the new drivers will
perform with a Pentium III.
The "big deal" about Detonator is
that they provide a number of optimizations which yield significantly performance gains
the current Nvidia reference drivers. In addition, it's also implied that they support the
Pentium III's KNI instruction set, something that would mean increased performance across
the board for Pentium III processors. In short, it would give a lot of us a palpable
reason to move to P3 once it's released.
MX300 07:26 am - Kan
sent note on their latest review on the Diamond MX300 soundcard.
So you were one of the smart ones. You
purchased one of the original Monster Sound cards (or one of the other first generation
A3D based sound cards), and although it has been a faithful card, it's starting to show
its age. Then Diamond released the MX200, and you drooled over all the glorious reviews of
this newer sound card. Wait a minute, this card uses the same drivers as my original
Monster Sound card, so how much better can it be? Besides it's still using the same old 3D
sound technology (A3D) that my current sound card is using.
Leadtek Winfast S320 07:24 am - Kan
Hardware posted another new review, the Leadtek
Winfast S320 video card based on the TNT chipset.
With all of the rushing around to post the
most up-to-date gaming benchmarks, hardware reviewers often loose sight of the intended
purpose of the hardware they review. When was the last time you read a review
of a TNT board that pointed out that the board was great for professional 3D design as
well as playing half-Life?
TNT 07:21 am - Kan
Prices of TNT cards are dropping to dirt cheap
level. Ars-Technica had another wonderful
review, this time on the Gainward CARDExpert
As you can tell from the pictures above,
the CARDEXpert TNT doesn't include a TV out port, which I don't miss since my monitor is
nearly as large as my TV, anyhow. (And you try moving an SC-750A downstairs to the
living room every time you want to play Mario on UltraHLE. Sheesh.) The RAM
chips you see in the picture are each 2MB SDRAM chips, for a total of 16MB of SDRAM on the
card. Note also that the BIOS chip is socketed, which could save you from having to
throw out the card if you got a power blip while flashing the card's BIOS. Most of
this stuff is standard fare for a TNT card, but it's good to see Gainward didn't cut any
|9 February 1999 - Tuesday
Socket 370 Roundup 04:57 am - Kan
the new Socket 370 roundup ready. The boards
reviewed were from Abit, Epox, Soyo as well as Freetech.
The board is based around Intels LX
chipset, which is making something of a revival since the introduction of the socketed
Celeron. The LX chipset is Intels chipset of choice on which to base PCGA boards. The
cynical could argue this builds in overclock prevention by default - the LX chipset does
not support 100Mhz - but as the 366 is less than co-operative at 100Mhz, the real reason
is probably cost :)
Voodoo3? 04:52 am - Kan
finished on a new article called Voodoo3,
Something for me?
The Voodoo 3 will, as announced, come in
two versions, the Voodoo3 2000 (V3 2k) and the Voodoo3 3000 (V3 3k). There will also be
PCI versions of both, the fillrate will be the same as the AGP versions but triangle rate
will be lower due to the slower bus. It will support PCI 66 and will function on a
Merlin G740 04:47 am - Kan
CRUS had a
review on the Abit
Merlin G740 video card based on the i740 chipset.
And infact the intention was never to break
any speed records, and it doesn't, but this isn't really important when it comes to a chip
that has a retail price of less than $40 (board equipped with 8Mb SDRAM). But what the
Intel i740 does offer is stable, well-supported and fully acceptable 3D support both
through Microsofts API D3D and through a full OpenGL ICD, and it does it good.
One of the main reasons for this is very
good drivers, infact, because of the drivers the i740 is one of the current top performers
in tests done by ID Software in their upcoming release Quake 3 Arena.
SimCity 3000 Review 04:41 am - Kan
sent note on their latest game review, SimCity
3000. Hop in to take a look at their review.
Your job in SimCity is to be mayor of a
small town, and to try and grow it into a huge metropolis. You start out with just a patch
of land (small, medium, large, or IMMENSE); the land has varying elevations, bodies of
water, and trees. Of course since this is a game, you don't really have to deal with
annoying things like city councils and such, to get your decisions done. You're pretty
much a dictator, and as dictator, anything you say gets done.
Card Cooler 04:38 am - Kan
had a new review on the Card Cooler
specifically to cool your graphics cards etc.
The idea behind the Card Cooler is actually
very simple, just attach two standard 12 volt case fans together to custom metal holders,
and that's that! The way the Card Cooler is made, it's meant to cool multiple
boards at once, not just one hot graphics board. Some graphics cooling units made you
remove current heatsinks or fans to attach a larger cooling device, therefor voiding the
warranty on that particular graphics board, which of course the Card Cooler does not,
since the Card Cooler doesn't make contact with the board itself.
ATI Xpert 128 AGP 04:32 am - Kan
note on their latest review on the ATI Xpert 128 AGP card. Talking
about video cards, I finally managed to remove the heatsink on my CL Banshee. Sweat!
Looking at the XPERT 128's specifications,
they are very similar to the Riva TNT. Both have 16MB of onboard memory, comparable 2D and
3D potential, and a functional and shipping OpenGL ICD (Matrox take notice!). One thing
that does stand out though is that the Rage128 has provisions for hardware decoding of
MPEG-2/DVD. This is an important feature in my opinion, and will probably be in all of the
next generation video chipsets. Having this funtionality eliminates the need for a DVD
decoder card and frees up another expansion slot. Moreover, with hardware decoding, there
is less of a strain on the CPU and leaves it more time to be able to handle other
App Incompatibilities Dog
Win2000 Beta 20:34 pm - Wilfred
Thanks to this link at our affiliate ActiveWin, I saw that PCWeek has this to report about
the development of Windows 2000.
Incompatibility with existing
applications is emerging as the latest problem to plague Microsoft Corp.'s development of
Only about 60 percent of Windows
NT applications can run on the current Windows 2000 beta, sources close to Microsoft said.
While that number is up from a figure that hovered around 40 percent when Microsoft (MSFT)
shipped Beta 3 Release Candidate 0 last month, it still falls below the company's target
goals, sources said.
Aztech PCI 368DSP 20:25 pm - Wilfred
Kert has completed his technical analysis of
the Aztech PCI 368DSP card
(based on the Thunderbird 128 chip jointly developed by QSound and VLSI). There's not only
Aureal and Creative in the playing field!
While DSP368 boasts 32 hardware 3D streams
without performance loss at high sampling rates, 3D positioning is not nearly as distinct
as Aureal's algorithms. Although audio purists may frown at the lower SNR of the second
audio codec, the overall sound quality of the DSP368 is on par with SBLive! and MX300.
PC Makers: Linux Not For
Desktop Yet 20:13 pm - Wilfred
In a recent PCWeek article,
several major PC Makers have expressed that while they plan to bundle and support Linux on
the server side, it'll be a couple more months before it's suitable for the masses'
Indeed, representatives from Dell Computer
Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HWP), both
of which recently promised Linux bundling and support on the server, say no deals for
putting Linux on PCs are imminent at this time.
The problems, they say, are the lack of
customer demand for the Linux desktops, the dearth of desktop apps for the open-source
operating system and a less-friendly user interface. Those hurdles have translated into
slower growth for the Linux desktop, which commands 2.2 percent of the market compared
with 17 percent for the Linux server, according to International Data Corp. research.
"As an OS, Linux is much more viable
in the server market. Our customer feedback has not placed it as a priority for the
desktop," said one HP official.
New Word Virus Discovered
20:00 pm - Wilfred
posted this bit from CNet that a new Word macro virus was discovered. Fortunately, the
virus was described as mild and will not cause your PC a catastrophic failure.
The Energy Department has found a new macro
virus that infects Microsoft Word, and while the virus is relatively mild, most current
antivirus tools can't yet detect it. The virus, called W97M.Footprint, overwrites the
footers--standard text that word processors can print at the bottom of each page to
identify the source of the document--of all open documents, DOE's Computer Incident
Advisory Capability group said this week. If your computer is affected, the virus will
delete an open document's existing footers as well as any macros attached to the document.
Asus AGP-V3400 TNT 19:23 pm - Wilfred
Adrian's Rojak Pot has put up a new
review on the Asus AGP-V3400 TNT card. Nice read about all its pros and cons.
ASUS uses the MIRA 8ns SDRAM shown below to
populate the board. They ran at 125MHz reliably with and without Fast Timing enabled. I
then ran them at 130MHz. They ran without much problems in 2D but failed several 3D
benchmark tests so 125MHz is about the highest the MIRA 8ns SDRAM will go reliably.
Considering that this is only 8ns SDRAM,
the ability to run at 125MHz is quite amazing. Even the Creative Labs Graphics Blaster
RIVA TNT which uses 7ns Samsung SDRAM can only run at 125MHz (memory) and not any higher,
even though the Samsung G7 SDRAM is rated at a maximum of 143MHz.
Interview With AMD: The Road
Ahead 19:18 pm - Wilfred
Brian dropped me a mail that over at Ace's Hardware, they've thrown up an interview with Drew
Prairie of AMD.
Ace's hardware :
Is it true that AMD will implement some sort of non-defeatable multiplier
Drew Prairie (AMD): Where
did you hear that? Right now, we have no plans to lock
the multiplier clock on any of our CPUs.
OHC: Why is the K7 L2 now running
with 1/3 divider, even as a sample? Is AMD having problems with stability? [What speed
will the "final" K7 L2 run at?]
Bob_AMD: The reason will be
obvious once the K7 ships. It will not be a dissappointment to anyone, I promise. :o)
Things are going very smoothly, and you should not expect to see instabilities in
a shipping K7 motherboard. Obviously we are hard at work on our prototypes to make
sure we are able to deliver our 200MHz throughput boards with no stability problems.
The K7 bus rate will debut at 200MHz, and I don't believe that there will be
slower BUS rates for it.
TNTs Roundup 07:53 am - Kan
posted 8 TNT cards roundup
on Socket 7 motherboards.
Graphics cards based on the nVidia RivaTNT
chipset are at the moment the best 2D/3D cards out there. While in terms of speed, nothing
yet beats the Voodoo2 SLI and in terms of picture and rendering quality the Matrox G200,
both solutions have serious flaws which leave them interesting to only a certain flavour
Pioneer 6X DVD-ROM 07:48 am - Kan
Damn, I know I should have gotten this drive.
Anyway, AGN Hardware posted a review on the Pioneer 6X
Because the drive uses a slotless design,
Pioneer had to come up with a different method of keeping dust out of the drive. They
accomplished this by using a shield in the front of the drive that cleans the disk as you
insert it, and keeps dust from flying into the drive. This also keeps the drive from
scratching your disks. I played around and inserted a DVD-ROM about 25 times in a row, and
the drive did not scratch the disk at all. It even removed a fingerprint smudge from the
disk that was there when I first put it in the drive.
Celery Report #6 07:42 am - Kan
Part 6 is ready and available here. In
this issue, AnandTech goes on talking about Cooking your Celery. Hmm...
I test each CPU under initial identical
conditions prior to "burning in" my combos. I do an initial test run using the
same Abit BH6, same RAM (single stick 64MB Micron, CAS3) and the same video card, a
Trident 975, 4MB AGP. For those who are interested, this is a very fast 2D card that
consistently scores better than 5 in Final Reality. Not very good in 3D, but for a
business system, its a screaming bargain. I use an old 270MB Quantum hard drive
(actually have 3 set up identically, so I can burn multiple combos at once). I use an old
hard drive because I assume that these setups will be going in to a variety of situations
with a variety of drives and that if itll work with this clunker, itll
probably work anywhere.
AOpen AX63 Apollo Pro Plus
07:38 am - Kan
posted the AOpen AX63
Apollo Pro Plus Slot 1 motherboard. This motherboard is based on the VIA Apollo Pro
chipset instead of the popular Intel BX chipset.
The layout of the rest of the AX63 is
perfectly identical to that of the AX6BC, the majority of the empty space on the mainboard
is taken up by capacitors that are strategically placed around components that are
critical to stable operation of the motherboard. A unique absence from the AX63, and
all Apollo Pro Plus boards for that matter, is the green heatsink that made its way to the
440BX counterparts. Other than that difference, there is no way you could tell the
AX63 apart from the BX based AX6BC other than looking at the printed model number on the
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