|27 February 1999 - Saturday
Stepsister SLI Preview
16:20 pm - Kan
had an exclusive preview on the "Stepsister"
technology from Metabyte. It allows SLI of *ANY* 3D Graphics chipset, ranging from the
TNT2, Savage4 to the Voodoo3.
The setup Metabyte had for us was
demonstrating proof of concept, or in less pretentious talk, "this thing is real and
it exists now." The setup was a Pentium II 400 with two modified 3DFX Banshee cards,
pimpin' the Stepsister technology. Before we got on with the demo, we had a few questions
about the technology that our hosts were more than happy to answer.
3DMark 99 MAX 11:29 am - Kan
The new 3DMark
99 MAX version was announced. New features include support for Pentium III SSE
instructions, DirectX 6.1 etc.
3DMark 99 MAX edition is a major update
that includes following enhancements and new features:
- Cutting edge optimizations for AMD 3DNow! instructions
- Cutting edge optimizations for Intel Pentium III SIMD instructions
- Analysis tools for comparing different optimizations
- Bump mapping tests
- Comprehensive Batch Run feature
- Updated Game Content for faster accelerators
- Updated for Microsoft DirectX 6.1
- Hardware Upgrade Feature and Internet Interactivity
In addition to major features, MAX edition also includes numerous fixes and minor
The benchmark will be available for public download during March 1999 from www.3dmark.com.
Kenwood True 52X 10:06 am - Kan
Another review on the fastest CD-ROM drive by PlanetHardware.
The actual Zen Research technology is
incredibly complicated, but the basics can be understood if you compare it to various
items you might have used before. Think how a projector takes a smaller image, and uses
light to project it to 2-3 times it's original size. Now think of this in terms of
cd-rom's. Conventional cd-rom's use a single laser to read data from the bottom of the CD,
whereas Zen Research's technology "projects" the beam into 7 beams using a beam
splitter. The Zen drive reads from 7 independent lasers, allowing for more of the actual
disc to be covered during a single rotation, and allowing for a constant disc speed and
faster data transfer.
Controllers 10:04 am - Kan
Hardware also had an article on Microsoft's
latest GamePad family of game controllers.
Microsoft's upcoming Zulu controller is a
mix of an Orb controller and a standard gamepad. Scheduled for a fall 1999 release, the
controller will be USB only, showing that Microsoft has finally realized the importance of
USB devices. The Zulu is targeted as the perfect controller for first person shooter
games, because of its rotating ball mechanism for 3D control.
K6-III 400/450 MHz 00:40 am - Kan
had a new review up on the K6-III
400 and 450 MHz processors.
One thing that AMD is certainly bragging
about is the K6-IIIs tri-level cache design. The phrase tri-level cache
does not refer to a new, third cache being introduced by this CPU, but refers to the
existing L2 cache of the motherboard. Since the CPU carries both L1 & L2 cache, the L2
cache fixed on your motherboard will be switched automatically to L3 cache. When this
happens, your system will experience a performance increase ranging from 5% to 8%,
depending on the size of the L2 cache on the motherboard.
SMP with 300A & SL2W8 00:38 am - Kan
Andy managed to get a PPGA 300A with a P2-300 SL2W8 running under dual
configuration. Boy, can I get one of these too?
The mix of both Celeron and
Pentium II processors create some interersting results. At 100Mhz bus speed, the BIOS
claims the system is a dual P2-450 system, whereas at 4.5 x 103 it becomes a Celeron 464
system! RC5 will identify either a dual Celeron or dual P2 system, depending on which
execution thread starts first.
I've been asked how my RC5
keyrate holds up at 2 x 464 - after last nights site update, I ran RC5 for about 9hours up
until now: The results? Over 100 keys cracked at a rate of 2.59M/Keys!
|26 February 1999 - Friday
3Com Palm V
Review 21:47 pm - Wilfred
It's the PDA frenzy season. Check out The
Gadgeteer's review on the
recently released Palm V! Wow! It looks damn damn sexy!
||"As far as the overall speed of the
Palm V, it seems to be quite a bit faster than my Palm III. I'd like to do some type of
benchmark test but was not sure how to go about that. If anyone has any ideas, please let
||"The Palm V is a very sexy looking
PDA with an excellent display and a nice rechargeable battery. But, should you buy it? At
$449, you'd better think about a few things first. First of all, the Palm V can not be
upgraded to add more memory."
||"One word of caution.... if you don't
want to upgrade to the Palm V, don't go to a store and look at, fondle or otherwise go
near one. If you do, you will walk out of the store with it!"
Gadgets like the Palm does so
much more than allowing you to be totally organised (digitally). It goes beyond taking
memos, keeping appointments, remembering your contacts... if you're properly armed, you
can use it to check your emails, read newsgroups and even surf the web!
Tycoon Preview 19:50 pm - Wilfred
fired a mail to us just over a minute back that they have a preview on Hasbro
Interactive's RollerCoaster Tycoon.
You'll build your park from
the ground up, and hire staff members, set prices, build and design rides, and arrange
concession stands all around you park.
It sounds like a really unique
idea but Bullfrog actually pioneered the amusement park simulation with "Theme
Park." I was hopelessly addicted to Theme Park, because it had many of the same basic
principles as Rollercoaster Tycoon. You had to micromanage almost every little detail of
your park. If people became hungry, build more stands. Pricing for food and park admission
were the source of your income, while your money was drained away on staff salaries, park
expenses, etc. Rollercoaster Tycoon takes this premise to the next level, with even more
features, micromanagement possibilities, and of course, better looking graphics!
Hmm... I haven't tried Theme
Park myself, but after reading this preview, I won't mind getting my hands on one of
Official Outlines Windows 2000 19:33
pm - Wilfred
has it that a MS official stressed the company's commitment to deliver the next Windows on
a single code base that we have been waiting for. So I would assume no more 9x kernel?
PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA -- Despite recent
announcements from Microsoft that there will be another release of the client version of
Windows, a Microsoft official said here Wednesday that the company has not deviated from
its strategy of a single OS. "A single operating system code base is Microsoft's
long-term direction with a single development target for drivers, hardware, and
testing," said Carl Stork, platform product manager for Microsoft, during his keynote
at the Intel Developer Conference here. That code base would be the foundation of the
long-awaited Windows 2000, for which Stork laid out plans Wednesday.
Stork detailed for the more than 2,000
developers attending the conference the four versions of Windows 2000 that the company
will begin shipping in 1999--adding one caveat to the promised ship date. "Our target
is '99, but it depends on customer feedback," Stork said. The four versions of
Windows 2000 include Windows 2000 Professional, which will be the primary desktop and
mobile operating system and will include Plug and Play and power management using ACPI.
Savage 4: An
Interview With S3 19:27 pm - Wilfred
has scored an interview
with S3 regarding their upcoming Savage4 chip. Have a look!
Question: Savage 4 is
supposed to be playing on the same field as TNT2, PVR250, Rage 128 GL, Permedia 3 and to a
lesser degree, Voodoo 3. Where in this pecking order would you place your product and for
what reasons? Who should be buying a Savage 4 board?
We're better than all of them combined =) Seriously, it depends on what you're looking for
and how much you want to spend. Take Voodoo3 for example, it will cost more than a Savage4
board, but it won't deliver features such as texture compression, AGP texturing, true
32-bit color, support for textures larger than 256x256, support for 32MB of memory,
hardware DVD acceleration, etc. In pure frame rates, it may be faster in some benchmarks
and a few "twitch" games, but does that make up for all its other shortcomings?
We don't think so.
Terminator Beast Supercharged 19:13
pm - Wilfred
Ok, the chaps are on the Beast Supercharged again which
is without a doubt the best Savage3D card you can find now. Check VE's review!
One quick glance at the comarison benchmark
and youll immediately see what an improvement the 20MHz jump in clock speed makes.
At a ratio of approximately 1 MTex/s of fill rate for every MHz of speed, the SGRAM
transforms Herculess board from a mediocre attempt to an industry-leading product
when it comes to single-texture performance. With the Tennmax cooler, I was able to turn
up the clock speed 8 more MHz - 3MHz past the S3-rated maximum for the Savage3D - without
any display anomalies or stability problems (I could go higher, but image artifacts began
to occur above 128MHz). Factor S3TC into the equation, and you have the makings of a real
However, when it comes to multitextured
games like Quake2 (or Unreal), the Savage3Ds lack of dual texture pipelines really
hinders its effectiveness, especially when the competition (Voodoo2, TNT or Rage 128)
sport them. And similar to the TNT, 32-bit support comes at a cost. For the same
framerate, you can take the extra colors or move up a notch on the resolution ladder.
Personally, I think 1024x768x16 looks better than 800x600x32. Id prefer to be able
to use 32bit color, but right now, that isnt an option.
High-Performance CPUs 19:00 pm - Wilfred
Hardware has a new
article on the crop of high-performance CPUs - about how manufacturers obtain such
high clock speeds and optimise them.
"Using better process
technology is easier said than done. It cost truckloads of money to change the
manufacturing process. It is a brute force approach. Isn't there a more subtle intelligent
ways of things ? After all the Alpha engineers laugh at 500 MHz (.25), they attained 600
MHz with the older .35 process!"
"The Ultrasparc II
(Brian's favorite) uses a 9 stage pipeline, but you should consider the fact that RISC
CPUs do not need as much decoding work. Fetching and decoding alone takes 7 stages on the
PII, but only 3 on the UltraSPARC. So in a way, the UltraSPARC is pipelined deeper than
the PII (compare the two RISC cores)."
"The Alpha CPU has a 7-stage deep pipeline (10 for the FPU), but has also
fewer problems with decoding the (simple RISC) instructions, compared to the PII. On top
of that, the engineers of Alpha are masters in keeping each stage as simple as possible by
making sure that each component does as much as it can in parallel."
Mipmapping 18:56 pm - Wilfred
& Mipmapping - what do you know about it? Have a look at FullOn3D who has an article on this.
"Mip mapping is the idea that
the size of a texture should approximate the size of the polygon on-screen in pixel-count
to prevent certain artifacts or quality losses that are hard to avoid if the texture and
polygon size diverge too much."
This deals with the problem that the original aspect ratio of textures cannot be preserved
for oddly shaped triangles they are supposed to be rendered to, which would result in
unequal compression or stretching of the texture and hence texturing artifacts or quality
Obsidian X-24 13:54 pm - Kan
That's a Obsidian X-24 review over at M Factor-1. Lots of pretty pics on this baby.
I did some benchmark tests
using Timedemo 1 from Quake2 to compare the Obsidian2 X-24 and the Diamond Monster 3D II
SLI. Both cards were overclocked to 95MHz using the slider control feature in their
respective Display Properties window. The tests were done with sound and I used a
variation of Kruzin's Config file settings for maximum visual quality for the G200. It
also works well with Voodoo2 cards.
14GXP 13:53 pm - Kan
just sent us note on his latest review on the IBM
Deskstar 14GXP hard disk.
Spinning 33% faster than
5400rpm drives, this new generation of high-speed EIDE hard disks will provide a major
boost in all aspects of hard disk operations. Increased spindle speed means higher
platter-to-buffer throughput, a shorter seek time and lower latency. While most 5400rpm
drives have seek times of 10.5-12ms and a latency of over 7ms, the new generation 7200rpm
drives boast seek times of 9.5ms, latency of around 4ms and a high platter-to-buffer
throughput of over 190Mbits/s.
SSE vs 3DNow! 11:00 am - Kan
of the CPU also did a comparison article between the Pentium III SSE vs AMD 3DNow! instructions.
Check it out!
Intel's Pentium III is a very powerful CPU,
which is based on the Pentium II Deschutes core, with a few modifications, and the
addition of 70 new multimedia instructions, called SSE (formely known as KNI). These SIMD
(Single Instruction Multiple Data) instructions work about the same way that AMD's 3DNow!
does. Unlike the almost useless MMX instructions, the SSE instructions can be used at the
same time as the FPU, which enhances the chip's multimedia (especially 3D-rendering)
power. The addition of these instructions to the CPU is a very clever way of quickly, and
dramatically, increasing the CPU's multimedia performance without doing major
modifications to the CPU.
Enterprise 10:55 am - Kan
did a review on one of those mammoth drivers, the 18.3
GB U2W-SCSI hard drive.
This newest Enterprise drive
continues the tradition set by its predecessor when it comes to heat and noise. There is
no noticeable whine. Seek noise is quite tolerable when compared to other 7200rpm SCSI
drives. Outside of a drive cooler, the drive runs only moderately warm to the touch.
Granted, our testbed case is spacious, but it's quite possible to run the WD drive without
a cooler. Now that's a true rarity when it comes to 7200rpm disks!
Measurement Gadget 10:51 am - Kan
If you are interested in building your own thermal diode measurement circuit, Overclockers has an article on it teaching you how
to do it. Pretty technical stuff.
Now the circuit: You can use the diode
thermometer sample circuit from the PDF but with one important modification: The B14B/B15
have input protection clamping diodes to max. 1.5V which prohibit using COMMON (floating
at 2.5V) of the 7107 as a Voltage Reference and using the sample circuit.
COMMON must not be connected to the
cathode, but only to REF LO. Therefore we need an external reference. Burr's REF2OO would
be ideal but I didn't have one handy so I used a 78L05. With a 22K resistor from the 78L05
output to the anode (B14) and the cathode (B15) connected ground we will have the input
voltage of the anode which is connected to IN LO.
Review 10:49 am - Kan
Hardware did a review on the Storm Platinum
Storm Platinum uses Aureals
revolutionary Vortex 2 processor to provide the most potent hardware acceleration
available. On-board support for 96 DirectSound streams at full 18-bit 48Khz resolution,
translates into massive processing power capable of tearing through complex audio
algorithms without missing a beat. Dedicated hardware engines rapidly facilitate sample
rate conversion, digital mixing, and PCI streaming. With Storm Platinum youll always
have plenty of power to burn and sound quality that is simply amazing.
PDA ShootOut 00:37 am - Wilfred
has put up a really nice PDA
shootout namely between the Palm III and the Cassiopeia E-11. Amidst their cool
but flawed designs, Caesar thinks the E-11 edged the venerable Palm III by a little.
In fact, it would be foolish
to try to argue that. But I'm not gonna cop out and not name a winner. I
really appreciated the Palm IIIs speed and ease of use, but when it comes down to
it, I like the Cassiopeia E-11 just a bit better. Both Gonzo and Ator own Palm
III's, and they would disagree with my estimations on several points, so let me say this:
screen size, resolution and real estate win the day for me.
|25 February 1999 - Thursday
And Pentium II 23:58 pm - Wilfred
Here's another one, though a bit late here.
Check out FiringSquad's article
on the Dual Celeron processors vs the Pentium II.
The idea of running two Celeron processors
in parallel is not a new one. When it was first released, the Celeron was based on the
same Deschutes core as the existing Pentium II CPUs, which could be run in multiprocessor
mode without any problems. In essence, it was easier for Intel to add or remove external
circuitry to disable SMP rather than remove the ability from the processor core itself.
And that's just what they did.
Even with the on-die cache of the Mendicino
core processors, it still wasn't worth the effort to completely reengineer the CPU to take
out dual capability. Knowing this, it was just a matter of time before people figured out
"fix" multiprocessing on the Celeron. Unfortunately, Intel did make it a
difficult task to modify the SEPP design, and the number of power users willing to
physically drill and solder their CPUs is understandably small.
Avault On The
Pentium III 23:49 pm - Wilfred
Vault has put up a review on
the Pentium III processor. Have a glance at the snippet:
... the Pentium III
architecture is a Pentium II core with modifications for the new SSE instructions. Same
caching, same front-side bus. Initially similar clock speeds. If you don't run software
that exploits SSE, you're running the equivalent of a Pentium II. You may have seen other
reviews of the Pentium III on the net released before Intel launched the Pentium III chip
and released before Intel lifted non-disclosure agreements. Many of those reviews say that
the Pentium III technology is comparable to Intel's release of the MMX-enabled Pentium,
and conclude that the chip is no big deal.
Before you buy into what they
said, consider that those pre-release reviewers were not under NDA with Intel, and did not
have SSE-enabled software. We're going to show you here that they completely missed out,
sacrificing accuracy and responsible reporting to be first. Far from the yawner they
report, the Pentium III is a hot chip with new functionality that will change the games
Here's why the Pentium III will be a
winner for gamers and why MMX only had limited impact. The 3D shooters like Quake
required a Pentium or later for decent performance because the calculations of what's
where in the game all use floating point values.
Set Up Petition 23:43 pm - Wilfred
Mark of 3DSoundSurge
sent a note that they've set up an petition to iD Software
to appeal for 3D Audio support in Quake III: Arena. So come join this coordinated door banging
kindly put up here.
The most recent information
that we have available indicates that Quake III: Arena will not support 3D Audio.
Rather than prompting everyone to email the
Quake III team (which would definitely irritate them) we thought it would be more
effective if we coordinated a petition to forward to ID Software once we get enough names.
USB 2.0 18:27 pm - Kan
had an on the new Intel's USB 2.0
standard. The new standard could run faster than 200 Mbps. Wow!
The new version of USB should be available
as a version 1.0 draft at the September Intel Developers Forum, and will appear in PCs in
the middle of next year, Gelsinger said. It will sport data-transfer rates between 120 and
240 Mbits/second, he said, although one source said it is already running even faster in
lab tests and could ultimately roll out at speeds of up to 300 Mbits/s.
At those speeds, USB 2.0 could not only
become a much more competitive interface for digital cameras, but might appear in some
external hard disk drives as well, according to one source. It will also give a boost to
USB as an interface for high-end color printers.
18:20 pm - Kan
Singapore had an article on the MPEG revolution,
including the new MPEG 7 standard.
MPEG-7 will focus primarily on
standardizing descriptors, description schemes and description definition language to suit
audio-visual data. To describe text data associated with the audio-visual data, MPEG-7
will adopt existing text description methodologies and provide interfaces as required.
K7 on 400 MHz
FSB? 18:16 pm - Kan
Boy. Read from PlanetHardware who read from ugeek that the K7 will be able to read
up to 400 MHz on the EV-6 Alpha Bus.
AMD has high hopes for the K7,
claiming that it will be the fastest chip available in floating point and integer
operations when it is released. That's quite a statement when you are competing with Xeons
and Alphas. In addition, the K7 will feature 3D instructions with a 128-bit pipeline,
backwards compatible with the 3DNow! instructions, but faster, to give KNI a run for the
AMD has stated that the K7 will feature chipsets that support SMP or Symmetric
Multi-Processing. The K7 will be the first non-Intel x86 chip to be able to use more than
one processor in a system. This will be significant in the workstation and server market,
especially if AMD can deliver the performance it is promising. Supposedly, the K6 is
capable as well, but we will never see a SMP chipset available for it.
New CL Drivers 18:09 pm - Kan
New drivers from Creative includes the 3D Blaster
Banshee as well as the Video Blaster WebCam Control.
Latest Bios update
(v1.03.2d) for users of 3D Blaster Banshee in Windows 98
This driver corrects the problem of intermittent screen distortions and frequent system
lockups for users running Windows 98.
G400? 17:37 pm - Kan
posted a short news on the upcoming G400 chipset by Matrox.
Sources close to Matrox
Graphics have revealed that their next generation processor, called the G400, will be
previewed for the first time at CeBit '99 in Hanover, Germany (March 18th). Initial
release dates of cards based off of the chipset are for Q2 of 1999. No more details are
available at this time.
HOT-681Z 17:36 pm - Kan
Another motherboard review from AnandTech on the Shuttle HOT-681Z
i440ZX Socket 370 motherboard.
The HOT-681Z follows the
traditional Shuttle mold. This time, Shuttle has taken the HOT-681 and
substituted the i440ZX chipset for the i440BX. One DIMM slot was removed from the original
HOT-681 (the solder pads on the PCB from the removed slot are still visible) thanks to the
i440ZX's ability to address only four rows of memory. This leaves a total of two DIMM
slots, exactly the number of double sided DIMM's the i440ZX chipset could support. Note
that the HOT-681 is shown at right, not the HOT-681Z, and hence the 3 DIMM slots in the
Savage4 12:38 pm - Kan
Those lucky gals over at Sharky had a preview on the Diamond Stealth Savage4 video
||The detail is stunning, we've never seen
such a dramatic visual representation of an image or texture map. The nice part is that
thanks to the texture compression technology, the Savage4 doesn't bog down or show visual
signs of slowness while rendering images like these.
Gaming Devices 12:38 pm - Kan
sent note on thier new article on Microsoft new gaming
devices. Hey! Take a look at the picture of the new SideWinder Gamepad Pro.
The SideWinder Gamepad Pro is a high-end PC
game controller, the natural progression from the award-winning SideWinder Gamepad,
released in 1996. The SideWinder Gamepad Pro sets a new standard of evolution in
proportional and digital d-pad functionality, along with superior ergonomic design and
Gamers control their on-screen personas
and/or vehicles by using the buttons and control pads positioned conveniently on the
gamepad. Pass, accelerate, shoot, steer, run, aim, drop, hit, throw, jump-all the action
in today's games come to life with this immersive new device.
Singapore League 12:29 pm - Kan
Singapore League is accepting applications now. If you are a crazy Fifa99 fan, join
the league and enjoy!
On a site note, my ISP DNS server seem to be
facing problems. Sheehs.
Activision's Asteroids 00:13
am - Wilfred
It's really rare that Hardware One put forth 2
reviews ON A SINGLE DAY! So yes... it is finally here! Check out KH's notalgic experience with an old hit. Now re-introducing Activision's
"Activision heard you, and it
revamped the classic Asteroids by sprucing up the graphics tremendously, adding a
throbbing, sound track and effects, and adding a storyline to go with the revised
Initial Impression 00:11 am - Wilfred
Our good friend at Alive! has written his first impressions of the
Diamond MX300. Hear him out!
Digital audio is very clean but fidelity is
noticeablely lower than Live's if you bothered to listen carefully ( yah yah..some might
say I listen to what I wanna hear ) . The difference in acoustic richess and fidelity is
further emphasized if you use the digital CD connector on the Live! and activate some
awesome environmental audio DSP effects. No amount of tweaking the 10 band EQ with the
MX300 can make up for this difference.
A3D 2.0 "Room"
This is the only demo that I find is really useful.
Outstanding postional audio in headphone mode, including z-axis. In 4 speaker mode
however, z-axis is no longer that outstanding but it's still there. Occlusion effects are
demonstrated when helicopter hide behind wall. The sound becomes obviously muffled.
This downloadable demo from the Net showcase the workings of reflections and
occlusions. Neat but they didn't blow me away. I didn't really scream "[email protected]#$%
amazing" as others on the Net do. What I notice however is that the source
reflection seems to "pick" their own path to the listener. And the sound is
modeled like a ray ( of light ) that bound off walls like a mirror. But when combined with
the visual, they seem to make sense. However I still doubt the accuracy of the geometrical
model and I seriously doubt it emcompasses every sound theories known .
DreamCast - A Review 00:08 am - Wilfred
Hot blooded Boon Kiat just lost control and
bought himself a Sega Dreamcast.
As expected, he lost himself in it. But he picked himself out of it soon enuf to bring you
his 'review' on the console!
Dreamcast gamepad feels like a step backwards to me, having gotten so used to the
Saturns excellent gamepads."
"The Windows CE
platform could be a double-edged sword. It allows most developers to port their games
easily to the Dreamcast, but it might also be a resource hog, which fails to give games
that extra edge."
|24 February 1999 - Wednesday
AMD K6-III and Pentium III 23:23 pm - Kan
posted a whole suite of benchmark results in his latest article comparing the AMD K6-III and Pentium
K6-3 adds a 256 kB on-die L2-cache to the
CXT-core. This should result in a significant performance increase, because it removes one
of the most important speed killers of Socket 7-systems, the on-board L2-cache thats
only running at bus clock speed, thus at either only 66 or on Super7-boards at 100 MHz.
Intels Pentium Pro was the first CPU that had a L2-cache running at core clock and
thus this L2-cache was getting faster with a faster processor core.
SSE vs 3DNow! 20:20 pm - Kan
posted another article on the differences between the SSE vs 3DNow!
One of the most notable differences between
SSE and 3DNow is the addition of 8 new 128bit "vector" registers. Unlike 3DNow's
SIMD implementation which uses the 8 existing FP/MMX 64bit registers, SSE will have its
own dedicated set of registers in order to minimize mode switching and maximize
parallelism between FP, MMX, and SIMD instructions. Applications which make extensive use
MMX and SIMD will benefit from the new registers.
Dual Celerons vs Pentium II 18:31 pm - Kan
My girl over at FiringSquad just did a review on the Dual Celerons vs the Pentium II.
The new Socket 370 Celerons are so easy to modify that it will be a pity not to get them
running under a dual configuration.
The twist is that all of the modifications
that need to be made can now be done on these converter cards (informally called
"slockets") rather than the CPU itself. This should save you the trouble and
worry of tampering with an $80-$150 piece of equipment. What's more is that many
manufacturers, such as MSI, have built in some of the dual-processor modifications
straight into the product, requiring little modification.
Optimizing the Riva TNT 13:42 pm - Kan
sent us a note on their new article on optimizng
the Riva TNT and teaches you how to configure those BIOS settings.
The RIVA TNT is currently the world's
fastest 2D/3D gaming graphics processor. Boasting an official fillrate of 180MPixels/s and
a 36 billion operations/s pixel engine, the RIVA TNT is supposed to be able to take up to
6 million triangles and spit them out in vivid colour at very high framerates. Many RIVA
TNT users were ecstatic with the huge increase in performance and visual quality. Games no
longer jerked like a bucking bronco and textures no longer looked like they have had a bad
case of the rash.
Voodoo3 13:40 pm - Kan
The pretty gals over at Bluenews also did a preview on the Voodoo3. Hey! since the
Voodoo3 is so fast, can it run RC5/DES ? :)
The Voodoo 3 is an 8.2 million transistor
.25 micron process single chip solution. Two models of the Voodoo3 were initially
announced at Comdex, a 125 MHz version, and a 183 MHz model. The plan subsequently
changed, and the Voodoo3 will now come to market with three initial varieties, the 2000,
3000, and 3500, running at 143, 166 and 183 MHz, respectively. The Voodoo3 is an
all-in-one accelerator, offering a 2D core based on that in the Voodoo Banshee, and 3D
based on the Voodoo/Voodoo2 chipset, offering the raw horsepower of SLI mode (which
typically requires two Voodoo2s) in a single AGP or PCI card. There are no plans to create
any sort of "Voodoo3 SLI" using more than one card in a system.
Pentium III 13:38 pm - Kan
also contributed to a Pentium III review.
When will all these stop? Pentium X ?
Imagine a Pentium II, except outfitted with
64KB of L1 cache, operating at clock speeds derived by the 133MHz Front Side Bus (FSB),
and combined with the release of a killer chipset that would boast AGP 4X acceleration as
well as the introduction of Rambus DRAM. The processor you're imagining is what the
majority of the market envisioned the Pentium III's release as being, and as you can
probably conclude by now, the vision we all shared of the Pentium III was a bit on the
Logitech Formula Force 13:32 pm - Kan
New review from PlanetHardware on the Logitech Formula Force
wheel. Talking about wheels, I just realised my Fiamm horn in my car wasn't working
when I needed it. Hmm...
The pedals are a pretty low-profile design
- they fit nicely under a desk, and you can leave them there, because they don't take up
much space. They actually work pretty well as a footrest even. This makes setup a lot
easier, all I have to do any time I want to use my wheel is plug one wire into the wheel
itself, and screw the wheel onto the desk. The wheel is equipped with built-on clamps that
work with just about any thickness of desk. They are, however, a little large if you have
a short desk or you're tall, or just like your seat up high. If your seat isn't adjusted
in some cases, your knees hit against them when using the pedals
Waveforce 192 Digital 13:30 pm - Kan
Another new article from GA-Source on the Waveforce 192 Digital
soundcard which uses the Sensaura technology to implement DirectSound 3D.
One of this card's features that shows its
Yamaha heritage, beyond the MIDI quality, is its optical digital output. It appears that
digital out is becoming a standard in high-end sound cards, as most of the last batch have
had some form of digital output. So far, Yamaha is the only one to support optical digital
out. Why is this important? Not all home Dolby Digital receivers have coaxial digital
input (the choice used on other sound cards); some only have the optical input. Optical
digital is also absolutely free from any outside interference. Why is digital output
important at all? If you use your computer for musical work, you can run the digital out
to a digital tape recorder or minidisk recorder and have no analog stages in the
Gaming under NT4 13:27 pm - Kan
also had a new article on Gaming Under NT4.
Seems like running Unreal under NT is faster than under Win98.
If you're a big fan of any game that uses
the Quake, Quake II, or Unreal 3D engines then you're in luck and will be able to run many
games. Also, if you're into DirectX 3 compatible real-time strategy games then NT will
also work with many titles. You'll definitely want to do some research on the title that
you'll want to play before you go out and buy it. It will usually make some reference on
the box or web site whether or not it will run under Windows NT.
S3 Savage 4 13:25 pm - Kan
3DSpotlight sent us a note on their
exclusive interview with Paul Crossley from S3 about the Savage4.
While S3 has made several improvements to
its 2D architecture with Savage4, it's features such as AGP 4X, S3TC, 32MB memory, digital
flat panel support and hardware accelerated DVD, not 2D acceleration, that makes this
product a winner.
As evidenced by Sharky Extreme and AGN3D's
recent positive review of the new Hercules SuperCharger Beast, all of Savage3D's initial
software and compatibility issues have since been resolved. Building on what we learned
with Savage3D, Savage4 will be a super clean product from the start.
Metabyte TNT SLI 13:19 pm - Kan
This is just too hot. Sharky had a preview of the Metabyte TNT SLI.
Woah woah woah. TNT2 will also feature SLI feature, just like the Voodoo2. So, will you
still get your Voodoo3?
Metabyte's engineers have been working on
an undercover technology that allows not only nVidia chipsets to be SLI'ed in tandem, but
virtually any future chipset from any vendor that hits the market.
The internal code name for the Metabyte
project is "Wicked3D Stepsister" (don't ask us, no one we talked to remembers
where this name originated from) and it heralds a new dawn as far as linked high-powered
video options go. Our Metabyte sources answered "Yes, yes, and yes" when asked
if it was possible for the Wicked3D Stepsister program to be adapted to work with the S3
Savage 4, 3Dfx Voodoo3, TNT2, or another brand new chip architecture. Although it's
unlikely in Metabyte's mind that they'll do a Savage4 or Voodoo3-based SLI product, the
TNT2 is a whole different enchilada. Later in this article we'll break the news on two
possible TNT2 SLI solutions, but for now let's look at the Step Sister technology itself.
|23 February 1999 - Tuesday
Sennheiser HD 580 Headphones
23:45 pm - Wilfred
I already stumbled trying to read the brand
name. Ahh... whatever, FiringSquad has done a review on this pair of
Sennheiser Headphones - supposedly one of the most high-end and the audiophile's dreamed
earpieces. It's prohibitingly expensive at US$360 a pair. What's the cost you said?!!!
... if you've ever done a little research
into audio equipment, you will find that true audiophiles turn their noses up at mass
market brands like Sony or Aiwa. Basically, if you can find it in a Circuit City or some
department store, it's not audiophile quality. True audio snobs turn to brands like
Parasound, Bang & Olufsen, Carver, and Harman Kardon for their hardware. There are
also some 'tweener brands that regular schmucks like you and I have heard of - Denon for
example. So what name keeps coming up among audiophiles who are looking for headphones?
Tom Previews Voodoo3 23:14 pm - Wilfred
Rush over now! Tom (who recently became a
controversial reviewer) has completed a big big preview of
3Dfx's Voodoo3. Have to check this out!
I guess you want to know now if I would
recommend Voodoo3. As a matter of fact I do. However, I dont recommend the purchase
of Voodoo3 because its really satisfying my expectations, I recommend it because
theres currently nothing better out there. I would also like to criticize
3Dfxs ambitious claims Voodoo3 would run games at no less than 60 fps at 1280x1024.
Have a look at my benchmarks and check if Voodoo3 was anywhere near 60 fps at resolution
of even less than 1024x768.
3Com Ships Palm V, Palm IIIx
23:03 pm - Wilfred
Yup! This page over at The Register tells you this exciting piece of
news.. the best just got better!
The Palm IIIx is the essentially a Palm III
with and extra 2MB of memory (for a total of 4MB) of memory and a new internal expansion
port which appears to be just the III's internal RAM slot... ...The device also features
an enhanced LCD that offers better image contrast than its predecessor.
The Palm V contains the same screen, but
features the much anticipated slimline, case, all done out in brushed aluminium. The
reduced thickness is down to the Palm V's built-in Lithium Ion battery, which is recharged
via the device's cradle, but it comes at the cost of memory: just 2MB in total.
How Creative Will Enhance
Drivers? 22:52 pm - Wilfred
posted a blurb by Creative who shall continue to dazzle users with exciting driver
enhancements (answers to our prayers?).
Creative does take your feedback seriously. We are
presently working on our largest update project yet: Live!Ware 2.0. Many of the
things you have asked for, like a simpler way of setting up speakers and effects, better
3D positional audio, synchronization of Environmental Audio settings to games and task
oriented wizards are coming. We'll continue to improve on the product, striving to
make it the best it can be.
Voodoo 3 Review at Voodoo
Extreme! 22:41 pm - Wilfred
Can't be more appropriate to have Voodoo Extreme review 3Dfx's V3. A must read for any gamers
on the lookout for a new card. Surely you'll consider a 3Dfx card?
With the Voodoo 3, higher resolutions at
very high frame-rates becomes a reality. However, even with blazing frame-rates, not every
one will want to jump on the Voodoo 3 bandwagon just yet. Lacking 32-bit external
rendering, the Voodoo 3 will create its own niche of users that are willing to sacrifice
some visual quality for "balls to the wall" frame-rates.
New Banshee Drivers 22:37 pm - Wilfred
More stuffs to download tonight for Banshee
users! 3Dfx has made available new release-candidate
drivers for download. Here's the goods for both Win95 and Win98:
Voodoo Banshee Reference Drivers - AGP/PCI
Boards - Windows 95 Release Candidate 1 - Version: 1.02.01
Reference Drivers for AGP/PCI based boards running under Windows 95
Voodoo Banshee Reference
Drivers - AGP/PCI Boards - Windows 98 Release Candidate 1 - Version: 1.02.01
Reference Drivers for AGP/PCI based boards running under Windows 98
SuperCharged Review 22:35 pm - Wilfred
has done a review
on the Hercules Terminator Beast Supercharged, Savage3D-based card. Turn your attention
Thanks to Hercules, the Savage3D has
finally lived up to its statistics on paper. Increased performance with SGRAM and a higher
clockspeed had been part of S3's plans all along, and I wonder if things would have been
different if this was the first product we saw instead of the original Beast.
On the other hand, there are still a few
flaws, that aren't really Hercules' fault. 8MB is clearly not going to be enough to be
able to play most upcoming games at resolutions like 1024x768. If you're forced to use
640x480 or anything lower, you will have to suffer at the hands of the void and cluster
16-bit rendering. And turning off Vsync still won't be an option, it seems that problem
will never be fixed. But these are just little things that probably wont bother you until
it's time to upgrade.
Huge AMD K6-3 Presentation 22:31 pm - Wilfred
If you are keen on finding out more on the
K6-3, then there's a gigantic 29-page
presentation on AMD's new baby at GA Source.
Using Multi-Monitors With
Windows 98 22:23 pm - Wilfred
Instead of you people mailing Kan one after
another asking how this could be done, check out GameCenter's article on getting this to
The allure is undeniable. You have a free
PCI slot, an abandoned video card, and an old monitor; if only you could put them to work
to create an expanded desktop. Mac users have known that pleasure for years, but finally,
with the arrival of Windows 98, multimonitor support has trickled down to the Wintel
masses. Unfortunately, getting multimonitor support to work correctly isn't an easy
ICQ99a Beta v2.13 Build 1700
22:20 pm - Wilfred
Yup! Everybody's favourite buddy list software sees another new build today. Grab the file
Soyo SY-6VZA VIA Mobo 22:18 pm - Wilfred
Kyle dropped me a mail that his latest review on the Soyo SY-6VZA Socket-370 mobo is
up. Have a look here:
SOYO has been a bud and of
great support to the HardOCP, but I gotta tell it like it is. This mobo is NOT a buy
for an overclocker! The VIA chipset has proved to be unstable with OEM Socket
370 Celerons at FSB speeds higher than 83Mhz. The board was stable at 374MHz with
the 300A, but that is not what we have come to expect out of the 300A.
Now dont get me wrong!
The board did exactly what it was designed to do and delivers some great value doing
it. Built-in sound card that sounds awesome! Built-in joystick port that
worked fine also. If you are looking at building a low-cost system and find
yourself in the market for a Celeron 400 that you want to run at 450 ( which I am doing on
the SY-6VZA as I type this) this may be the board for you!
New Vortex 2 Drivers 22:06 pm - Wilfred
Ok, thanks to the chumps at Voodoo Extreme we have here the links to the
latest reference Vortex 2 Drivers:
Download the latest Vortex 2 drivers
(Version 4.06.2015 - 7.7MB zipfile - 02/22/99)
Download the latest Vortex 2 drivers
(Version 4.06.2015 - 2.3MB zipfile - 02/22/99)
Gainward CARDExpert TNT 01:48 am - Kan
had another new review on the Gainward
CARDEXpert TNT card.
The drivers are nothing different than the
reference versions from NVidia. This has the drawback that there is no possibility for
Gainward to influence their quality or to add their own little tricks and the advantage
that immediately after release of a new version you can grab those off NVidia's site and
use them, which I did for the "Detonator" ones.
To make up some for that, Gainward is
packing on the CD what they call Expertool which resides in the tray and gives immediate
access to resolution, refresh and color depth control as well as memory speed tweaking,
zoom and DirectX version info. Good enough for most users and since it is free, let it be
PowerColor GameBoard 01:46 am - Kan
3DSpotLight sent us a note on the new Powercolor GAMEBOARD. These are
actually a Intel BX motherboard with built in Yamaha YMF724 3D positional chipset. They
also feature either a onboard 3Dfx Banshee or nVidia Riva TNT.
More than the high performance from
INTEL® 440BX, YAMAHA Audio and powerful 3D chip such as RIVA TNT, PowerColor presents two
important service tools within GAMEBOARD product. First is "Power Installer", a
very best easy method to install 3 different chipsets in one time. This tool can make
auto-detection and scan what parts you need to build. It will help user install correct
drivers step-by-step. No more easier install tool can be found today. Secondary is a
Web-Update tool. Once user think about update latest driver, just click the Web-Update
button in PowerColor CD-ROM. This tool will automatically check if there is any newer
driver available, download and install it. The most convenient way to update and maintain
Kenwood 52X CD-ROM 01:41 am - Kan
did the review on the Kenwood
52X CD-ROM drive. Oh well, I rather get a DVD drive nowadays.
The 52X Multibeam is based on the same
technology as the 40X Multibeam, which splits the beam that reads the data from the CD
into 7 beams. This technology has many benefits, including its low rotation speed. Most of
today's CD-ROMs spin at approximately 10,000RPM, which explains why your computer sounds
like it is going to implode when it is spinning up. The 52X Multibeam spins between
1840-4800 RPM and is the quietest CD-ROM drive I have ever heard. This low rotation speed
also decreases spin-up time when you either insert a CD-ROM or click on it in Windows
Another Abit ZM6 01:36 am - Kan
also did a review on the Abit ZM6
Very good stability, great compatibility.
Excellent layout for what should be a low-cost board; the 1/5/2 layout is still my
favorite. Abit did well to add an extra DIMM slot and PCI slot even though not they aren't
fullly supported by the chipset. It's great to see that they have a full list of
monitoring functions including system temperature, fan speeds, voltages, and even the CPU
temperature. The ZX chipset shouldn't detract for most users, but should be welcomed
because of good stability, compatibility, and should lower motherboard costs.
Abit ZM6 01:35 am - Kan
also took a look at the new Abit ZM6 based on the
Intel ZX chipset.
Intel's ZX chipset is essentially a scaled
down version of the BX chipset. In terms of cost of implementation, the ZX and BX chipsets
probably vary very little. The ZX chipset was most likely created to segment the low-end
and high-end market. From a practical standpoint of an average user, the differences
between the ZX and BX chipset are virtually negligible. The only differences between the
two chipsets are, the amount of memory they can address and the number of bus-mastered PCI
slots that are supported.
Networking your Cable Modem 01:33 am - Kan
had a short article on how to do networking
with your cable modem.
As far as a hub is concerned any 10Base-T
hub will do.I would not recommend going with 100Base-TX unless you expect a lot of
trafficinside your LAN. It really isn't worth the extra money since your cable modemat
most only downloads at most 5 Mbps. (Mine only does 1.544) Category 5UTP (Unshielded
Twisted Pair) wire is the building block of your network.Take a look at the cable
connected to your modem and you will notice thatit has a bigger connector than your phone
cord does. That is an RJ-45 connectorthat you are looking at. RJ-45s have 8 wires compared
to the RJ-11 that yourphone cord has with only 4 wires.
RC5 Stats 01:30 am - Kan
Just for your info, preliminary stats for RC5
is available at http://tally.distributed.net/rc5-64/
|22 February 1999 - Monday
Microsoft Kicked Off IE5
Countdown 23:47 pm - Wilfred
pooped us a note that
Microsoft has kicked off the countdown to Internet Explorer 5 launch with a "reserver
your copy early" offer. Here's the juice:
Microsoft Corp. today kicked off the
countdown to the launch of Microsoft® Internet Explorer 5 by offering
customers the opportunity to preorder Internet Explorer 5 through the Reserve Your Copy
Early program. Starting today, customers can preorder Internet Explorer 5 to avoid the
anticipated download demand and ensure they will be among the first to receive the next
version of Microsoft browser software on CD-ROM. Internet Explorer 5, scheduled to be
available on the Web worldwide starting March 18, 1999, is the browser that saves users
time by simplifying and automating common Web tasks.
ATI Rage Fury - Part 2 21:42 pm - Wilfred
Extreme posted part
2 of their ATI Rage Fury review. Yes, if you are into the latest video cards, check
out the Rage Fury.
In the face of the S3 Savage4,
Voodoo3-2000, and nVidia TNT2, all of which run at a baseline core speed of 143MHz, the
Rage Fury will struggle to fend off the performance oriented wolves very soon. (Btw,
that's exclusive information on the TNT2's new baseline speed, don't tell anyone we told
But where the Rage Fury's performance level
does assert itself is against the currently available competition. In our benchmarks the
Fury turned in numbers that beat the high scores we've recorded for the TNT, the Voodoo2,
the Savage3D as well as the Banshee and G200. The Fury does this while also adding the
high resolutions and color depth support that 32MB of on-card dram gives.
Abit ZM6 & Socket-370
Roundup 21:34 pm - Wilfred
Andy mailed to say that he's got a new ZM6 review and a Socket-370 roundup. Better check out BXBoards!
An excellent board,
featuring all the support for overclockers we have come to expect from Abit. The health
monitoing and extra bus speeds means that this board offers the Celeron overclocker even
more scope for a bit of tweaking then the now legendary BH6. The board is a stable as hell
at 4.5 x 112, and at that speed it runs a Pentium
III close in the speed stakes. Not bad for a board and CPU that comes to under $150 if
you shop around :)
This boards looks
almost identically to the BM6, which is also
an excellent Socket 370 board. And it performs almost identically, although 105 and 110Mhz
bus speed do not seem quite so stable. The Socket370 is designed as a low cost solution
and the ZM6 is a low cost (around 80-90 US dollars), yet high quality board. The PPGA is
also a low cost solution.
Wilfred Coughs And Nose Runs
21:23 pm - Wilfred
Although feeling damn sick now, the great
consolation is that my ADSL is BACK! Yes... after a damn long and dreadful
troubleshooting. I won't rant too much, I have to do some serious html-ing tonite.
Trident Blade 3D 15:41 pm - Kan
Noticed another new review at AnandTech, the Trident Blade 3D.
Whoa! I still remember my good old Trident 256KB video card for my 386!
What is the Blade 3D? The Blade 3D core
is an attempt at a reasonably priced, OpenGL/Direct3D AGP 2X solution (AGP - can't leave
home without it) that offers DVD acceleration for the sub-$1000 PC market, without
providing those who purchase the chipset at a loss of performance. The goal of the Blade
3D, just as virtually any other product that enters this section of the market, is to
provide the low-end market with a high-end performer. Unfortunately, with the history of
Trident backing them up, the Blade 3D seemed to be doomed from the start. Trident has
never had too much success in developing quality products that offered a low-cost and high
performance at the same time, the Blade 3D's name is reminiscent of Trident's earlier
failures, the Blaze 3D which did very little than provide the ugliest picture of 3D
acceleration that $20 could buy.
Boston Acoustics 15:37 pm - Kan
just posted a review on a set of rather high end speakers, the Boston Acoustics Media Theater.
The speakers look kinda cute though. :)
Frequency response is listed as 25Hz-50kHz.
My testing, using a HIFI Surround test CD graciously provided to me by Boston
Acoustics, shows that the there is excellent low frequency response right down to 45 Hz!
At 40 Hz its much quieter, but you can still really feel it. At 35 Hz the sound is really
quiet but I still feel the bass. At 30 Hz the sound is barely audible
(and no feeling) and 25 Hz and below the bass does not get lower but the sound is
DNS Transfer 06:34 am - Kan
Yesh! Looks like they are finally kicking in.
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