14 January 1999 - Thursday

Site Maintenance  22:02 pm - Kan
Our Singapore Mirror at http://hardware.s-one.net.sg will be down on 16 Jan (Saturday) from 2pm to 10pm for re-cabling work in the network room. You still access us thru http://www.hardware-one.com

Abit BM6 Press Kit  21:25 pm - Wilfred
Oh wow! After a long while, Flashman has staged a mini-comeback when he mailed me this Abit BM6 press kit (in .PPT format). Though he'd not written this but it's a nice great bit! I've html-ed the goodies so roll over to his Toy Garage at once!

From the great tradition of BX6 and BH6, ABIT’s latest BM6 was also designed with the Intel’s performance 440BX chipset. Added to support Intel’s latest CPU specification - Socket 370, BM6 will be the first choice, and the high-end solution for Basic PC segment.

The BM6, as others in ABIT’s family, supports the most advanced Jumperless technology- SoftMenu IITM which provides ABIT’s customers the easiest and safest environment to achieve ultimate performance.

Irish Teen's New Invention!   20:08 pm - Wilfred
Read a snip of this in today's papers and found a chunk of it on CoolInfo's that there's this brilliant 16 year old Irish teenage girl who developed a way of encoding data on the internet 10X faster than today. Here's everything to put us to shame:

DUBLIN (January 13, 1999 12:04 p.m. EST - An Irish 16-year-old is being hailed as a genius for developing a way of encoding data on the internet 10 times faster than systems used globally now. Sarah Flannery, from the city of Cork, used 2x2 matrices to speed up the "encryption" of data, an advance which could be applied globally and in particular benefit the fast-growing world of electronic commerce or e-commerce.

"The implications for her are a lot of very good job offers, and a lot of universities chasing after her," said William White of Dublin-based Baltimore Technologies, where Flannery began developing her idea during a two-week stint in March. "They're estimating that billions of dollars of e-commerce will be done on the internet and that's a lot of business to be protected," White said.

The teenager, who wants to complete a doctorate and work for one of a burgeoning number of hi-tech companies in Ireland, was amazed at the interest she had attracted. "I don't really want to get my feet back on the ground but if it means getting away from the press I will," she said in a telephone interview. "It hasn't sunk in yet," she said, reflecting on a series of awards she has won, culminating in Esat Telecom's Young Scientist of the Year in Dublin last week.

She had no plans to patent her work as current systems were free. "It's good to share your ideas with the science world. By patenting it I'd be hindering that process," she said.

Hoontech Digital I/O Card for SBLive!  19:59 pm - Wilfred
Sniffed this bit off our buddy's page at Alive! that Hoontech has put their secure ordering server online. So guys and gals, here's your chance: http://www.hoontech.com/

Thanks to Richard Hamel for letting us know that Hoontech has finally placed thier secure ordering server online. This means everyone living outside Korea can get the digital IO card and the SPDIF amplifier by using their credit card.

Coincidentally, I was corresponding with a long "lost" friend who told me how happy he was with his Hootech card which he uses together with his SBLive! and MiniDisc player. Maybe we don't need the RIO?

Quake 3: Arena Preview 19:53 pm - Wilfred
Our affiliate 3DSpotlight sent me a note that they've completed a preview on Quake III Arena coupled with lots of sweet screenshots. Here's a short snippet to whet your appetite:

Models will be broken in three different parts, the head, the body and the legs, that should allow better control over the character, each one of the parts will have it's own bouncing box....yea, bounceback will be present on Q3A, it's strength will be somewhere between Quake I and Quake II. Some other fancy little details that enhance gameplay will be added like a crosshair that changes color depending on how your health is doing so that you won't have to look all the way down to check it. Weapons will change very fast, no more time wasted on that, it will only take 6 frames. When you are aiming to a player his name will be shown to you and also if a player is typing on the console an icon wil appear above his head, sure, you will be able to kill anyway but now you can't say you didn't know !

Of course Quake 3: Arena will be packed with lots of Deathmatch maps and team play (CTF) will be also included. Voice communication will be available for people with fast connections like ISDN or cable modems while in the other hand for people with slow connections there will be auto rate adjustements so the can also enjoy of smooth netplay without the need of modifying commands.

DirectX 6.1 Goes Gold 19:48 pm - Wilfred
Thanks to ActiveWin for sharing this with us. It reports that DirectX 6.1 has finally gone gold with build 426 and should be available sometime near end of this month.

Dual Celeron - How it Works   17:28 pm - Kan
Ars-Technica posted an interesting read on how the dual Celeron works. If you are itching to try to get a dual Celerons system working, be sure to read this article.

The PII has the necessary equipment (both BREQ# pins) for getting an Agent ID and requesting the bus.  Since the Celeron is just a PII without the external L2 cache, it, too, has that equipment.  To keep people from using the Celeron in an SMP configuration, Intel had to cripple the chip a bit.  The ideal place to cripple a PII's SMP abilities would be at the BREQ pins.   The Intel Pentium II Processor Manual states that "during power-up configuration, the central agent must assert the BR0# pin." (p. 85)  Hence, you've got to have BR0# to initialize the system properly.  The Celeron has its BR0# pin connected to the land on its SEC cartridge, just like the PII.  However, on the Celeron, Intel didn't connect the BR1# pin from the CPU to the land on the SEC. 

AMD K6-2 for Notebooks   09:34 am - Kan
According to an article from The Register, AMD has officially release their mobile K6-2 for notebooks.

Originally, sources close to AMD had predicted Compaq would be the first major notebook supplier to release a Mobile K6-2 based machine.

Clocking in at 266, 300 and 333MHz, the Mobile K6-2 supports Socket 7 and Super 7 interfaces -- the latter adds support for a 100MHz frontside bus and AGP graphics. The chips operate at 1.8V and consume less than 8W of power, AMD claimed. They are based on 0.25-micron technology.

New Trojan Horse   09:28 am - Kan
A new trojan horse virus was discovered by NAI.

When the Picture.exe attachment is launched, it invades the system by "dropping" a file contained inside the original program into a Windows subdirectory on the users system. The next two system startups induce the program to create a file containing a list of .TXT and HTML files and a list of the URL's from the users Internet cache. This Trojan is of particular concern to users that have AOL client software installed on their systems as the program looks inside an index file containing the user name and password. Picture.exe is programmed to send the files of information it creates to an E-mail address in China, presumably to the program's author.

Coming G3   09:12 am - Kan
Apple is making cuter and cuter Macs. The new PowerG3 will feature a G3 300-400 MHz processor running at 100 MHz FSB with a maximum of 1 GB memory. It will also have gooides like 100Mbps Ethernet, USB as well as FireWire support.

Celeron 366 at Intel ZX Motherboard   09:07 am - Kan
Our pal over at Overclockers Workbench had an article on the Celeron 366 Socket370 version running on the Intel ZX motherboard.

Intel’s "Bimini" board (say that 5 times out loud, quickly) is their new Socket 370 mobo. It comes with 1 AGP, 2 PCI, and 1 PCI/ISA shared slot. Yup, a true bargain basement motherboard aimed at OEM’s. It comes with a Creative Labs Sound Blaster PCI64V chip built in, perfect for those who worship at the altar of mediocrity. With two DIMM slots, it can support an amazing 256megs of ram (which I tested it with). However, as with all Intel motherboards, the build quality is high. The board comes with rather huge capacitors, high quality connectors, and no 90-degree bends in the PCB traces. If only Abit would learn to build boards like this. Then again…

Performance Comparison among TNT cards   09:05 am - Kan
Funsreview posted an article on the performance comparison among nVidia RivaTNT based cards. The popular cards being compared include Spectra, Creative RivaTNT, Elsa Razor II, Viper V550 etc.

Ultimate Guide to Networking: Part One   09:03 am - Kan
HardwareCentral posted another article on Networking: Part One, teaching you all the essence of networking.

Many types of networks exist, but the most common types of networks are Local-Area Networks (LANs), and Wide-Area Networks (WANs). In a LAN, computers are connected together within a "local" area (for example, an office or home). In a WAN, computers are farther apart and are connected via telephone/communication lines, radio waves, or other means of connection.

TennMax Celeron Cooler  09:02 am - Kan
There is a TennMax Celeron TF Cooler review over at HardwareCentral. It features dual high speed 5000 RPM fans to cool your Celeron.

While there are many fans on the market, few of them are properly equipped for the extremes of overclocking. TennMax however, is one company that has been consistently producing great cooling solution for overclockers. TennMax's first big success was with its video card cooler, the Stealth V2 Cooler. Recently though, TennMax announced that they might be releasing a new cooling solution specifically designed for Celeron Overclockers: The Celeron TF Cooler. After putting the Celeron TF Cooler through rigorous testing, Hardware Central found TennMax's Celeron TF Cooler lives up to its title as the "Celeron Overclocker's Dream."

RC5/DES Buld 430  08:55 am - Kan
Gosh, they come out more often than I change my underwear (which is once every 2-3 days). You are highly recommended to upgrade to this release from ftp://ftp.distributed.net/pub/dcti/v2.7105.

Since we can't trust the blocks from the 2.7104.428 GUI release, we're going to start filtering win32-x86-2.7104 blocks real soon. So, within a few hours, please move to 2.7105.430 or download if you're a windows person using .428 or .429.

If you're not using a windows .428 or .429 client, IGNORE THIS MESSAGE. linux/solaris/whatever else are not affected. Earlier versions are OK too.

How to Choose the Right Motherboard?  08:53 am - Kan
Firing Squad posted a new article on teaching you how to choose the right motherboard for your CPU.

After selecting a CPU, most people pick up the motherboard as an afterthought. The basic motherboard, once considered merely a detail in the computer upgrade scheme, is now one of the most scrutinized categories for the do-it-yourselfer. If the CPU is the heart of the system, then the motherboard is the body.

Most comparable motherboards now score within a few percentage points of each other in performance benchmarks such as Winstone. Performance shouldn't be an issue unless a motherboard is really mediocre.

13 January 1999 - Wednesday

Adaptec 2940U2W  17:47 pm - Kan
Super7.net posted a review on the Adaptec 2940U2W. The U2W support data burst rates of up to 80 MB/s on the Ultra2 SCSI bus. Yum yum...

Adaptec has further enhanced the adapter card with its own SpeedFlex™ technology, adding even greater functionality. SpeedFlex effectively segments the card's capabilities providing for simultaneous operation of Ultra2 and Ultra devices at the full burst rate of each bus and allowing both standards to co-exist while operating at optimal speed. With SpeedFlex, the board can support Ultra2 peripherals at speeds up to 80 MByte/sec on the Ultra2 SCSI bus segment, simultaneously supporting Fast and Ultra SCSI devices at speeds of up to 40 MByte/sec on the Ultra SCSI bus segment. Without SpeedFlex technology, any Fast or Ultra SCSI peripheral connected to an Ultra2 SCSI bus would limit the maximum burst rates of all peripherals on the bus to the Ultra SCSI performance level.

Voodoo3 Screenshots  17:45 pm - Kan
Sharky posted some screenshots of the Voodoo3 in games like Quake 2, Shogo as well as Need for Speed III. Don't think they look impressive compared to newer cards like the TNT.

Shuttle LX Socket 370  17:39 pm - Kan
AnandTech posted the review on the Shuttle HOT-683 LX based Socket 370 motherboard. 370 sucks. It's suppose to be cheaper but I'm seeing prices of Socket 370 motherboards even higher than the good old BH6. What a joke.

When the Pentium II was released, Intel did a quick job of releasing a chipset to support their newest processor. In actuality, they didn't do any innovative development for a Pentium II chipset, rather they released a hacked version of their Pentium Pro chipset, the 440FX Natoma, with Pentium II support.   Less than 6 months later, Intel announced a real Pentium II chipset, the 440LX, which boasted the industry's first support for the Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) interface.  Unfortunately, for those that invested in LX based motherboards, less than 6 months later, the 440BX came in and took the spotlight off of the LX chipset with it's 100MHz FSB support. 

Y2K Bug: We're NOT Scaring You 17:35 pm - Wilfred
Saw this sad sad bit on our affiliate CoolComputing that in a recent C|Net article, the Y2K bug reared its ugly head in Sweden and sweet Singapore!

Already, millennial poltergeist have made little incursions around the globe.

In Singapore, computerized taxi meters suddenly went dark on New Year's Day. Hours later, when the New Year arrived in Scandinavia, the taxi bug came with it.

Anders Malmqvist, managing director of Taxi Sweden, said, "We haven't gotten to the bottom of it yet. The pricing went out of proportion - it became extremely cheap to take a taxi ride with Taxi Sweden."

At airports in Stockholm and two other cities in Sweden, harried travelers were turned back when computers refused to issue temporary passports after midnight on Jan. 1.

Nascar 3 Preview 17:32 pm - Wilfred
Racing game fan? Thresh's has put up a preview on Papyrus' upcoming Nascar 3 racing that will feature more cool features and a new 3D physics model.

With the recent slew of arcade-style racing games hitting the market, racing fans are being handed a great year. NASCAR 3 sets itself apart from the rest of the pack by going the "racing-sim" route, providing far more realistic elements than arcade-style racing games. Just as id Software's Quake legacy has with first-person shooters, Papyrus' NASCAR Racing series will once again set the tone for racing sims to come.

RC5/DES GUI 428 Pulled  17:20 pm - Kan
The 428 GUI client was pulled due to the tendency to fail the self test for some processors. In the meantime, you can get the 429 client from ftp://ftp.distributed.net/pub/dcti/v2.7104

428 Clients Pulled We've pulled all -428 clients due to a tendency to fail the self-test for some people. We've not been able to identify any common element that is present for all the people experiencing this intermittent behavior. No additional information is available at this point. Expect to hear from the coders as they diagnose the situation. In the interim, the -427 clients are the preferred version. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Lost In Time: Windows  17:09 pm - Wilfred
Maybe I should have titled it "Windows - A Timeless Masterpiece" Hahaha... Forgive me, I'm a little off tuned today. Here's a big chunk of C|Net goodness I caught off CoolInfo's:

"A newly discovered bug may result in many Windows-based applications registering the wrong time for at least a week in the year 2001, Microsoft has confirmed.

""The problem is caused by the Visual C++ runtime library being confused and assuming that daylight savings time doesn't start until April the 8th," explained Smith to the mailing list. "The confusion appears to be caused by the fact that April 1 falls on a Sunday in the year 2001. The same bug occurs in other years where April 1 also falls on a Sunday," such as 1990, and 2007, according to Smith's email post. Microsoft has confirmed the existence of the bug, but believes that any actual problems resulting from the glitch will be few and far between."

Probably no cause for great alarm coz I don't even see people fretting about the Y2K problem YET! Let me exaggerate a little here, "Wait for half the machines to fail on 1 Jan 2000 and the other half on 1 Apr 2001!"

Why 3Dfx Will Survive 17:06 pm - Wilfred
Game Asylum has finished up their (nope! not crazy!) article explaining why 3Dfx will survive. Interesting way he put this portion, though probably not everyone will agree:

When a developer codes a game in D3D, he is basically saying that you can play the game on any D3D compatible accelerator… But each accelerator is so different internally that it is hard to code a general API for all of them. That's where Glide comes in. A game shipping with Glide support automatically gives you two things: You kill 4 birds with one stone (Voodoo, Voodoo RUSH, Voodoo2, and Voodoo Banshee), and you get a speed boost over D3D. And you only have to test on one of the cards, 3Dfx guarantees backward and forward compatibility (of course this is not always true, but for most games…)!

Frontline Returns  17:02 pm - Wilfred
Sorry guys, was too busy last night with the review and only posted this now. Our buds at Frontline returns with a refreshing new look! Check them out now!

Celeron 550 Review  05:18 am - Kan
AGNHardware posted a review on the Celeron 366/400 MHz processors and managed to crank them up to 550 MHz.

The new 366 and 400 Celerons do not look like they are based upon a new core, in fact general consensus is that they are no more than a Celeron 300A with new multipliers. After all it seems stupid for Intel to take the time to re-engineer a chip that is working fine at higher speeds. Kyle over at our affiliate, The Overclocker’s Page (OCP) has similar feelings on the origins of the new Celerons. He stated that the core stepping numbers on the new Celerons seem to be the same as what we have seen on the 300A, meaning they are from the same family of chips. Another thing that makes me wonder about the origin of the Celeron 366 and 400 processors is that I have heard that a large quantity of 300As were dropped on the market at the same time as the new chips. This type of buildup can only be attributed to Intel using the same design.

Microsoft IntelliMouse Review  05:15 am - Kan
DimensionX posted the Microsoft IntelliMouse review. Hey! When will people start manufacturing ergonomic mices for left-handed people like me??

Installing the IntelliMouse follows the same procedure as installing any regular mouse. One had to turn off the computer, plug out the old mouse, and then plug in the IntelliMouse. After rebooting the only thing left to do is to install the IntelliPoint Software. After the software installation the user is prompted to restart the computer again and the installation is finished.

RC5/DES Build 428  04:37 am - Kan
I must say this new build is impressive! My DES keyrate jumped from 3.7 MKey/s to 5.2 MKey/s with the new MMX-2 DES core. Remember to upgrade your old copy from :

WinAmp 2.09  04:30 am - Kan
New version of WinAmp is out. It's available for download from here.

  • Fixed hanging bug in CDDA support
  • Fixed Windows-making-the-window-too-high-after-awhile bug.
  • Fixed clear-playlist-then-seek bug.
  • Fixed Nitrane's invalid-genre %6 bug.
  • Added full Xing VBR support to Nitrane. Seeking and time estimation work perfectly.
  • Preliminary ID3v2 support (tag is skipped reliably)
  • Improved Directsound output (Thanks to Leif Claesson)
  • No longer including vis/dsp plug-ins. Download them from www.winamp.com/plugins.
  • AXP release available
12 January 1999 - Tuesday

Hardware-One: TennMax Coolers Review  23:31 pm - Wilfred
It was a long delay, but finally it is completed tonight. Be sure to check out Hardware-One's latest review on TennMax's LasagnaX and StealthV2 coolers for the Banshee and Voodoo2 respectively.

Tom's Monday Blurp 23:31 pm - Wilfred
Before your face turn red with anger when you hear his name, you might want to check out the man's latest mini-editorial lamely titled "Monday's Blurp" which is all about clarifications, latest developments etc. There was one nice bit he'd written on the KCS Spintel card (which made news some months back):

As a matter of fact, the Spintel Card is only containing some status bits and it's accessed over the addresses C79Ch/C59Ch. The software that's delivered together with the Spintel Card is checking those addresses to make sure that the card is installed and the user is eligible to run it. However, the software does have a positive effect. It makes some benchmarks indeed run faster! Andreas found that the secret behind the Spintel Card is a software that fixes some major performance failures in the GDI in case of some, maybe many, graphics cards. The Spintel software accelerates particularly the BitBlt -function of the GDI, besides some other functions. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any effect of this software on DirectX (mainly for games, but also for modern graphic intensive software) or video. Andreas concluded: "Spintel is merely fixing some GDI performance failures of some graphics cards. Thus you can only find some performance increase with graphic intensive software. Modern software, using DirectX and thus skipping the GDI won't benefit from the Spintel software. The card itself is nothing but a copy protection for the Spintel software. I suggest to rather spend the money on a new CPU, which will increase the whole system performance."

DES-III Test 2 20:46 pm - Kan
Should be starting in a few hours time (12th Jan, 9am Pacific time). The new 428 core with enhanced MMX support should be out soon. Be sure to check ftp://ftp.distributed.net/pub/dcti/v2.7103.

Sub US$1000 Alpha Machines 19:27 pm - Wilfred
While we are still on the topic of Linux, I caught this bit off CoolInfo that AMD & Compaq will be leveraging on the Alpha platform and Linux will be part of their strategy.

"Further details have emerged about a joint strategy between AMD and Compaq to leverage the Alpha platform. And the companies are including the Linux OS as part of their plans. As reported here last week, both companies are embarking on a motherboard strategy where high-end Alpha machines will drop to around the same price as top notch Intel boxes at present."

"But it is not just at the server level that Alpha could win, according to the documents. Desktops, too, will be targeted by Compaq and its partners. Later this month, the market will see dual 21264 Alpha processors in the 600/650MHz range, with designs aimed at the $1.5K to $2.5K level using a PCA 57 design and running at 600MHz. In the second quarter of this year, Compaq and its partners will go further and introduce 700MHz versions of the 21264, with 667MHz designs aimed at the lower end of the market."

Linux to the Linux Newbie 19:17 pm - Wilfred
Ars-Technica has cooked up this really interesting experience of a Linux newbie, from getting the OS installed to getting the first bread toasted on it.

Basically, the argument goes, if you want Grandma to throw out her Windows or MacOS box (or perhaps, not the box, just its OS), you've got to make Linux installation easy enough that a grandma could do it. While I don't know many grandmas that go around installing their Windows 9x or MacOS, at the very least, an easy installer is a worthy goal. After all, until there are major system manufacturers distributing Linux boxes, the fact is that somebody is going to have to install Grandma's Linux.

Definitely worth a read for those of you needing this little more confidence before taking the plunge. He had much of the same complains I had.. and yes, not booting into a GUI after installation was a negative experience (at least for me).

3DSoundSurge Best of 1998 Awards 19:11 pm - Wilfred
3DSoundSurge has whipped up a small award roundup for the best of 1998 audio related products. Products in the undermentioned categories were picked:

  • Best Audio API of 1998
  • Best Overall Sound Card & Bundle of 1998
  • Best Gaming Sound Card
  • Best Budget Sound Card
  • Best 3D Audio Chipset
  • Best Multimedia Speaker System
  • Best Budget Speaker System
  • Best Implementation of A3D 2.0
  • Best Implementation of EAX
  • Best Implementation of 3D Sound

No More Spectra 2500! 19:08 pm - Wilfred
Oh dear! Canopus will be discontinuing the production of the Canopus Spectra 2500, which many consider the best TNT card there is. Purified3D has sourced from Jim Anderson of Canopus who confirmed the rumours:

Canopus' very own Vice-President of Sales & Marketing, Jim Anderson, has stepped forward to provide us with an official statement on behalf of Canopus. Sadly to say however, all the rumours are in fact, true.

"Yes, we have been doing a lot of soul searching lately regarding the graphics business. We truly love it but it hasn't been loving us back. The saturated Voodoo2 market over the summer gave us quite a start. The prices dropped like a rock and the channel was stuffed all summer. The SPECTRA 2500 sales have been great, in fact, too great. We under forecasted and ran out of product. Based on the summer experience with Voodoo2 boards, a decision was made to not restart manufacturing because boards would not be available until late January at the earliest. We had no idea demand would remain so strong. As time slips away and prices for TNT boards start to erode, we felt that we should not step back in. Our market in Japan remains strong and we will continue in that market with the 3200 and other products."

Jim also commented on the VideoPORT 600:

"The VideoPort 600 was delayed by technical problems. It looks like we will ship it in Japan, however, it's future for US availability is in question right now."

This is indeed disheartening that something not because of poor product quality stop them from making this card.. while some companies get away with problematic or inferior goods.

Falcon4 Competition 09:07 am - Kan
Get ready, the fans (aircon??) of Falcon4. Caught this piece of news from Fun that there will be a Falcon4 Competition on 16th January.

Organiser New Era has finally pitched tent and flag. The Electric City – The Heeren will be the venue for Furball ’99 (!) on the 16th January. This 6-hour event, which starts at noon, is the ever Falcon 4.0 competition in Singapore.  
Falcon 4.0 is an air combat simulation set in the Korean peninsular in which the player takes the role of a single pilot in an F-16 jet fighter. The texture-mapped graphics, detailed models of the F-16’s avionics and weapons are touted to be mind-blowing. The graphics, however, is not the only feature that’s life-like. The US President in this game is Bill Clinton, and his nemesis? The enduring Saddam Hussein. (Think US air strikes!)  
The campaign is unlike any ever played. It uses a real-time campaign engine, which means that other battles are being fought while you're planning your mission; plus it's a multi-player campaign, allowing your buddies to target at you while you're targeting someone else.  

PC-DVD Encore 5X 09:01 am - Kan
Tech-Review did a review on the Creative PC-DVD Encore 5X kit.

With the introduction of the DVD platform to the PC only a year or so old, Creative has already reached their 3rd generation DVD player. The PC-DVD Dxr2 5X DVD drive is Creative's third round in the DVD market. With the initial release of DVD drives costing upwards of $500 easily, consumers have welcomed the newest generation becoming affordable. But why is there a need for DVD drives? Well how about their 17GB storage capacity on a double sided, double density DVD disc. This allows for the storage of huge amounts of information on a single disc. Making it the prime choice for computer storage and high definition video. Being the multimedia giant that they are, Creative has responded each and every time by bringing consumers quality drives at competitive prices. The Encore 5x kit provides everything you need to begin watching DVD movies on your PC. Let's take a closer look at what this drive has to offer.

Tyan Tsunami ATX-S1846 08:53 am - Kan
SysOpt posted a review on the Tyan Tsyunami ATX-S1846 board.

On initial inspection of the motherboard, we saw that we were sent the Tsunami with onboard sound.  Before reviewing this board, we considered onboard sound a poor trait of a motherboard.  The board has clock-multiplier jumpers supporting ranges of 3.5 to 5.5 with no documentation for lower settings.  The power connector is in a tight spot over the ram.  Thankfully, the motherboard only has 3 SDRAM slots, saving on cost and enhancing stability over a four Dimm configuration.  The 85 page manual/book that came with package was very well documented with some pictures to help aid in the installation for all but the novice.   Included with the motherboard is a CD that has Win95 drivers, the users manual, and the drivers for the Ensoniq onboard sound.

Wicked3D eyeSCREAM 08:47 am - Kan
AGN Hardware posted a review on the Wicked3D eyeSCREAM.

Stereovision is another of these anomalies that needs some further explanation.  In all actuality we see the normal world in stereo.  Each eye sees a different image which are then integrated in the brain to make one 3D perception of the world.  This is done primarily through the use of depth cues and feature detection (which is the perception of an edge or border).   The image that each eye detects is slightly out of phase from the other eye, and so picks up a slightly different set of depth and feature cues.  The summation is all done in your brain to make the world look the way it does to you (mine is aided by a pair of glasses...but I get the feeling that I am not alone).

Adaptec Optimizes Ultra2 SCSI 08:42 am - Kan
We have quite a lot of press releases today. Adaptec announces two new Ultra2 SCSI cards, the 2930U2 and the 3950U2.

Adaptec has introduced two new Ultra2 SCSI cards. The 2930U2, designed for the desktop PC, is an affordable 80 MB per second solution with connectivity to all SCSI peripherals. The 3950U2, Adaptec's first 64-bit PCI SCSI card, doubles Ultra2 throughput, providing 160 MB per second performance to enterprise servers. Both products are available at prices comparable to previous generation SCSI products.

The 32-bit PCI, single-channel 2930U2 SCSI card is Adaptec's lowest priced Ultra2 SCSI card, and is designed to connect common desktop peripherals such as hard disk drives, removable drives, CDR, and DVD drives. Because the 2930U2 incorporates Adaptec's SpeedFlex technology, 80 MB/second throughput can be realized regardless of the kinds of peripherals being used. Without SpeedFlex, users concurrently running Ultra2 Low Voltage Differential (LVD) hard disk drives and common (non-Ultra2) desktop peripherals cannot achieve this maximum performance. No other SCSI card on the market has the combined connector design and SpeedFlex-like technology which make this possible.

ATI Rage XL/XC 08:39 am - Kan
Another press release from ATI announcing the new Rage XL and Rage XC chips.

The RAGE XL is the world's first volume graphics chip with an integrated Transmission Minimized Differential Signaling (TMDS) transmitter, to support digital flat panels using the P&D, DFP or DDMG industry standards. TMDS provides a direct digital link from the computer to the flat panel, with no need for digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital conversion, saving the necessity and cost of an external transmitter. RAGE XL support for TFT panels extends to 1280x1024 resolution, and use of Ratiometric expansion technology ensures that images can be scaled to any screen size.

"The high quality of RAGE XL's and RAGE XC's 3D acceleration, coupled with the DVD capabilities and chips' low cost, will enable millions of corporate systems to quickly transition to the latest in graphics and video technology," said Philip Eisler, director of component marketing, ATI. "In addition, the RAGE XL will drive mass market adoption of flat panels, because OEMs can include flat panel functionality for no additional cost over the price of the graphics subsystem."

Intel Pentium III 08:34 am - Kan
Just received from Intel that they officially announces the Pentium III brand for next generation processors.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 11, 1999 - Intel Corporation today announced the Intel® Pentium® III processor brand name for its next generation microprocessor code-named Katmai.

The new Pentium III name builds upon one of the world's most recognized brands to convey the most powerful personal computing experience for the next generation of the Internet. Scheduled to be introduced later in the first quarter of 1999, the new Pentium III processor offers enhanced multimedia realism and is a sound investment for all of today's and tomorrow's applications.

11 January 1999 - Monday

Banshee Review 16:33 pm - Kan
VoodooNation posted a rather rare review on the Gigabyte GA-630 Banshee card. The card is blue in colour. Hey! Why don't we have an assorted colours just like the upcoming iMacs?

2D performance is no issue on any Banshee board since all Windows functions are implemented in hardware, it hardly gets faster than that.

The display resolutions are ok, even though I am missing the 1152x864 step that I personally prefer as my desktop resolution - it let me still use small fonts and offers plenty of window space at the same time. I hope Gigabyte gets down to implement it in the next driver release.

The image quality is a subjective matter to judge, but I find that it is rather close to what I got used to from the TNT and decidedly crispier than the Victory II's I had as the Banshee paladin before. Good work there.

PC99 Specifications 16:27 pm - Kan
Ars-Technica posted an article on the upcoming PC99 specifications for new computers.

PC 99 systems cannot have ISA implementations.  Period.  Are we ready for ISA to go away?  Somehow, I doubt it.  This seems like one of those things that should just fade out as the market sees fit.  My BH6 has both of it's ISA slots filled.  I'm not interested in buying a PCI modem.  Why bother?  I have a cable modem (and chances are high in '99 that you will, too), and my analogue modem, though still useful for some things (faxing, banking, etc), is hardly useful enough that I'm fired up about needing to replace it.  I'm just not ready to see ISA go.  Sure, ISA is outdated, but what's in vogue for me is saving money, and the 2 goofy ISA cards I have are not worth replacing with PCI versions.  Ugh.  Of course, the death of ISA is sumored to, and and of itself, boost PCI performance by 10% or more.  

New 3Com Drivers 10:16 am - Kan
Saw from Betanews that new 3Com drivers 4.01 for 3C90x family is available for download.

  • Remote Wake Up Test
  • New Network Connection Test Functionality
  • Enhanced NIC Details Information
  • Auto web link to 3Com site for troubleshooting information
  • Improved GUI interface
10 January 1999 - Sunday

Celeron 400Mhz - Socket 370 Vs Slot 1 23:56 pm - Wilfred
Saw over at Voodoo Extreme this link to Firing Squad's latest article comparing the Socketed version of the 400Mhz Celeron to the Slot 1. I found this para on the 'Slocket' particularly interesting:

According to several prominent motherboard manufacturers, using a slocket design may actually hinder your ability to overclock your processor. The reasoning is simple - when a motherboard is designed around a slot or socket connector, the physical lengths of the trace components (the etched "wires" you see on all printed circuit boards) must be set correctly for CPU to bus and memory timings to be accurate.

In this way, Socket-370 motherboards based on existing Slot-1 designs must still be modified on a low level to ensure proper functioning. In other words, you can't just take off the slot and solder in a socket and expect it to work well. A socket-to-slot riser card must be manufactured very carefully to preserve as best as possible the existing trace distances, but as you can expect, the tolerances will be stretched to accommodate the adapter. Throwing off the required timings slightly may not affect normal operation, but at higher frequencies, problems are more likely to arise.

Thief Review 23:39 pm - Wilfred
Game Post has just put up a nice review on Thief: The Dark Project. Probably worth a look for people bored stiff with the plain shooting FPS of today.

Thief: The Dark Project comes along and blows your mind with more than a sparkle of originality, as Myth: The Fallen Lords did last year to the crowded RTS market. And like Myth, Thief is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s a complex game that demands patience, a sense of stealth, and more commitment than random violence against unknown enemies. Unlike most FPS games, Thief takes time. The first level alone took me something like an hour to beat, all while I’m running on pins and needles listening to each beautiful sound effect for the location of the next guard or supernatural beasty I’ll have to sneakily dispatch.

It’s not all good, but Thief deserves respect for originality when too many other titles are clones with minor twists.

Building a Dual Celeron 19:57 pm - Wilfred
Thanks to Eng Tiong who pointed me to this guide on FastGraphics which we'd missed. If you are the likely maniac to wanna attempt this feat, be sure to check this out!

Running a dual Celeron system appears to be very well possible. You need to drill a hole and solder a few wires on the Celeron board, but when all that is done you've got yourself a really nice high-end system at an incredible price. Naturally a dual-CPU system won't give a 2X increase in real word, but in CPU intensive applications the difference is very well noticeable. The downside of all this? Well, it's not really something I'd recommend to everyone. It's precision work and if you mess up you might might damage the CPU and/or other parts in your computer. But if you're not afraid to drill and solder a bit, this is great fun.

Yeeeassh! I'm already trembling at the thought of soldering the wires and seeing my Celeron in a melted heap. =)

Talk about My Generation 19:15 pm - Kan
Ace's Hardware posted an article called Talkin' 'About My Generation. The article went on analysing the new processors which are coming in this year.

Half a generation, or a generation and a half? In technical terms, soon to be released microprocessors like AMD's K6-3 and Intel's Pentium III are not much more advanced than those they aim to replace. Aside from Intel's addition of SSE, only incremental improvements have been made to these upcoming products. The K6-3, for example, is merely a K6-2 CXT with 256 KB of onboard cache. While it was rumored earlier that the Pentium III would contain 64 KB of L1 cache, that rumor has yet to be verified, and at the moment it would seem that Intel's only addition to the Pentium III is SSE.

mIRC 5.5 19:13 pm - Kan
Noticed over at HPC that mIRC 5.5 is available.

A great new mIRC version has just been released. We are absolutely sure you'll love it :-) In the past months we have been steadily working on new features and better code and we performed a lot of testing. Of course the new list of IRC servers is included, as well as a new IRC Intro. We really recommend you to download and try this new mIRC v5.5!

The mIRC homepage provides the latest news on mIRC, general IRC information, and links to many other IRC-related websites and resources. Please click on one of the links to the left to find out more. We hope that you find this website useful, and your experience on IRC enjoyable! Have fun :)

Accolade Redline 18:23 pm - Wilfred
Talking about mix genre/hybrid games? Accolade will be trying for success with their upcoming Redline, and GameSpot takes a look at what this first person auto-racing shooter is all about. (Story)

If you still think multiplayer action gaming can never get better than the Quake games, think again. Redline is revving its engine full throttle to prove that vehicular combat can be successfully integrated into a first-person shooter. All that's left to see is whether players will have as much fun gibbing opponents with a hood-mounted lightning mortar as they do being on the friendly side of a rocket launcher.

Game of The Year 18:14 pm - Wilfred
To sum things up for the year of 1998, Game Over has consolidated readers' polls and posted the results. They have given a "Best" award to every genre of game and finally the overall best "Game of The Year" which went to Sierra's Half-Life.

1998 was a very good year in the PC Gaming industry. There were numerous innovations; both in the areas of hardware and software. TRG/Game-Over literally did hundreds of reviews this year, usually weeks before other magazines even touched the game box. We all had our favorites and our least favorites, and a few games stood out from the crowd however. You chose which you thought they were and here, organized in categories, are the first, second and third place game for each, followed by overall game of the year.

Cyberstrike 2 03:23 am - Kan
Avault posted a review on Cyberstrike 2.

Cyberstrike 2 features 4 clans, and each has its own, yet related reason for engaging in full-scale war. Here's the situation: yell, scream, or shoot your weapons all you want -- gravity isn't listening. You see, Syren, your home planet, has begun moving into its new orbit closer and closer to the sun. Eventually, all life on the planet will be destroyed. For the Disciples of the Apocalypse, this is just the cataclysmic event they've been waiting for; they believe the end of Syren has been prophesied, and it's their job to make sure no one, particularly the Terran Alliance, interferes. Of course, the Terran Alliance is made up of scientists who believe the members of the Disciples of the Apocalypse are nothing more than religious wackos with a death wish, and they think that with advanced technology the planet can indeed be saved.

Altec Lansing ADA-70 03:15 am - Kan
HardwareCentral posted the Altec Lansing ADA-70 USB speakers review. I just had my first contact with USB devices and I must say they are rather fun to play with.

While USB has been around for a little while now, it seems that USB peripherals have just suddenly started to flood the market. Joysticks, scanners, portable media, and now speakers are enjoying the use of this easy to use interface. This review will cover Altec Lansing’s ADA-70 speakers. Many manufacturers advertise their speakers as supporting USB, they usually refer to the ability to control the volume, bass, and treble via software over the USB bus. The ADA-70s are true USB speakers in that they do not require a sound card. Instead, all signaling is handled via USB.

First Look at Katmai 03:11 am - Kan
In another article, Firing Squad posted A Literal Look at Katmai.



The Single-Edge-Contact-Cartridge II is the new generation of Slot 1 for Pentium II and III. You can't see it too well from this angle, but notice how the contacts are visible from behind the plastic. This is because the casing isn't a complete "cartridge" anymore, but rather just a cover that snaps onto a pair of mounting holes on the PCB. The processor core and cache chips are "naked" and visible on the opposite side.

Newly manufactured Pentium II processors are also available as SECC2, and as you can obviously see, the plastic casing on our Katmai even says "Pentium II" on it. The four holes are where the factory-installed heat-sink locks in.

How to Select System Memory 03:10 am - Kan
Firing Squad posted an article teaching you how to select system memory.

For example, when buying new RAM, do you want SIMMs or DIMMs? What's all this talk of 8 ns, or 10 ns? EDO or SDRAM? ECC? What is the difference between asynchronous and synchronous, or all the hype of CAS2 and CAS3? All of these questions and more are important considerations when buying RAM, and making incorrect decisions about RAM can sometimes cause mysterious problems with your system. On the flipside, some consumers are probably spending more on hyped-up RAM technology than they should, when this money can be spent on other upgrades.

9 January 1999 - Saturday

FIFA '99 Review 22:40 pm - Wilfred
Posted this so late today because I'd been challenging my friend to several matches of soccer and needed some time of reflection after the defeats. Anyway, 3DSpotlight has written on this "must buy" soccer game.

When I first saw Fifa 99 I felt like I was in heaven... again EA surprised me with an amazing product.

The graphics have been greatly improved over the previous versions of the game, player modelling and animations are much smoother now, making a pass doesn't take ages anymore, this "speed boost" on the gameplay can be noticed inmediately and adds much more realism to the game, also there is no waste of time on animations like a player getting the ball for a corner, instead these have been replaced by some cool in-play cut scenes like a player regreting, the goal keeper complaining because of a poor defense and of course the sometimes funny cut scenes for fouls are still present, there is a wider variety of them now.

All the players don't look the same anymore, you'll notice a difference in size between big and tiny players and that does affect gameplay.

Intel Socket 370 Celeron 366 22:35 pm - Wilfred
Anand has completed his Intel Socket 370 Celeron 366 review. I think this bit on overclocking it should interest some of you:

The 366MHz PPGA part AnandTech tested made it up to 458MHz reliably (83.3MHz x 5.5), unfortunately the part did not hit 550MHz reliably enough to be considered an option. One thing must be taken into consideration, this is a single processor, and there are quite a few out there. Once Intel's manufacturing process matures, the Celeron 366 may even grow to be the replacement for our beloved 300A's running at 450MHz.  From the reports of Celeron 366 users all over the world, the chances that the 550MHz Celeron will become the next big thing to hit the tweaking world are good, for you Slot-1 users out there, don't worry, the Celeron 366 and 400 are both supposedly availabe in slot-1 formats as well, so keep your eyes peeled (although preliminary reports suggest that overclocking the 400 is about as useful as overclocking the first Celeron 333's, it could work, but chances are, it won't to the degree you want it to).

DES Trial Test Closed 16:40 am - Kan
The DES trial test had finished and the key was found.

I'm extremely pleased to announce that our DES-TEST-1 contest was a success. Not only were we able to evaluate the performance and reliability of our new v300 ("devel") proxies and our v2.7103 clients with quick-start, but we successfully found the key after only 59 hours of searching. The key, 0x5ED9204FECE0B967, was able to recover the plain-text message, "The unknown message is: The DES-test contest's plaintext" We have yet to contact the individual who was running the lucky client, so I won't release his/her email address yet. If (s)he has no objection, I'll announce the winner in another email. The winning block was cracked on a Macintosh PowerPC in the US running v2.7103 of the rc5des client and submitted at 04:17:13 GMT on 01/09/98.

More information is available from here.

ATI Rage128 Fury Review 10:30 am - Wilfred
Home of The Lost Circuits has cooked up a review on the ATI Rage128 Fury card. Looks like the card is not without its problems.

All in all, the ATI rage Fury is a graphics adapter with an incredible hardware potential and what it needs now is some detail work in the software, addressing the basic aspects of 3D processing. If these issues can be resolved, the Rage128 Fury will become the card of choice, at least for the SS7 market.

Jane's A-10 Warthog Preview! 00:46 pm - Wilfred
GameSpot previews Jane's A-10 Warthog! Yes, the ugly but deadly tank-killer in the US arsenal. It's a long and detailed preview, so make sure you don't give this a miss!

An impressive aspect of the terrain engine is its use of detail textures when you get low to give you a better sense of speed. When you get down low, a "noise" texture adds pixel details to the terrain. Because your aircraft is now visibly passing over thousands of pixels instead of large patches of a single color, the appearance of fast movement is dramatically enhanced.

With its deadly authentic systems and flight modeling, Jane's A-10 looks as if it can stand up to the new realism standards set by Falcon 4.0. While the lack of a dynamic campaign will annoy more experienced sim pilots, the ramp-up campaign will be welcomed by casual and new sim pilots, and the randomness and wide branching of the second campaign should offer quite a bit of replayability.

Sheesh! I almost sworn off flight sims ever since they became so irritatingly realistic and next to impossible to learn (flame me for being stupid, I don't care!)... but hey the A-10 was one of my favourite aircraft in those aircraft journals. Intriguing.

Palm VII Review 00:35 pm - Wilfred
I don't think this is new but I just saw over at The Gadgeteer, a review on the Palm VII which shall be a wireless internet ready PDA. With it is a very cool new way to get connected:

This is cool! The Net-Pilot (or is that iPalm?) :-)

The size of the unit is only marginally larger than the Palm III, so the "pocket-friendly" nature of the device is retained. Or, in other words, it is still our good old 'pilot'; except now it has an amazing new feature.

There are already a number of existing wireless connectivity options for the Palm and more on the way, but having built-in capabilities on the 'pilot' was an extraordinary experience. The Palm VII includes a 1-watt, 2-way radio that operates at 8 Kbaud on the Mobitex network.

The Internet functionality in the Palm VII requires a new way of thinking about getting information from the Net. Web clipping and iMessaging are efficient ways of getting important info on the go. By efficiency, we are talking 50 bytes per query and a few hundred bytes per response - not thousands (or tens of thousands) or bytes. So, while 8000 baud might sound relatively slow, real-world latency is very good and Queries and iMessages got results in 7-16 seconds on average. (For details on Pilot Query Applications (PQAs) and iMessaging, see Part II of this review.)

Gravis Stinger Laptop Gamepad 00:31 pm - Wilfred
Purified3D has stained their hands with the sin of reviewing the Gravis Stinger Laptop Gamepad.

Do you own a laptop? Ever try to hook up one of your old joysticks but noticed there is no gameport on it? That's right. Adding a gameport to a laptop is too costly for the average mobile user. Most portable PC's have a serial port, and is usually not used. Here's something to put that port to good use: The Gravis Stinger laptop gamepad!

Didn't anyone spot this need earlier or hasn't anyone bothered about this small segment of the market before? I only realised that the lack of a gamepad on a laptop was highly frustrating when I attempted to play my usual game of FIFA '99 on Kan's notebook in S.Korea. =)

8 January 1999 - Friday

Inside FrontPage 2000 23:58 pm - Wilfred
Noticed over at BetaNews a scoop about FrontPage 2000. Checking the link, I was so wowed... so wowed. Take a look for yourself, I think I'll like it.

Some Microsoft® FrontPage® 2000 beta testers have given up testing the soon-to-be-released product—they are already using it to create and manage their personal Web sites, customer Web sites, and maintain and update internal project and communications intranets.

SBLive & Diamond Underground Touched Up 23:54 pm - Wilfred
I'm not sure if this is called a revamp, but Creative's SBLive! page is seeing a slightly different front today. Also, Diamond Multimedia Underground is revamped!

Celeron 400Mhz Reviewed! 23:33 pm - Wilfred
BXBoards has reviewed the Slot-1 version of the 400Mhz Celeron! Andy has concluded that the 366Mhz may be a better buy due to its overclockability. This however is subjected to the possibility of Intel locking the chips (as mentioned below)

For the overclockers, I'd recommend skipping the Celeron 400 and shoot for the Celeron 366 - the few reports in so far, show is seems reasonable happy @ 5.5 x 100! Incidentally I would not expect the Socket370 Celeron variants to be as overclockable as their Slot1 brothers due to the smaller die size - its going to be harder to dissipate heat from those babies - this is just speculation until I test one however :)

Desktop Theater 5.1 Review 23:24 pm - Wilfred
Tech-Reviews has written quite a nice review on the Cambridge SoundWorks DT5.1 speakers (for once, ourselves guilty as well, Gozilla, isn't used to review them!)

We popped Starship Troopers into the DVD drive, skipped a few chapters, and were englufed in a wave of machine guns and screams. As most people know by now, small speakers can pack some big sound, and these are no exception. Utilizing Dolby Digital 5.1 definitely brings a more engrossing effect to movies, and in this case, the computer. Sound quality was good, except for the somewhat limited subwoofer. These speakers definitely pound out enough sound and noise to engulf any computer user, but for serious audiophile enthusiasts comes no where close to the quality and quantity that a true Dolby Digital home theater system can pump out.

The big difference between the two? Oh, only a few thousand dollars. Which is exactly why the Desktop Theater 5.1 is so appealing. For around $299 you get Dolby Digital support with great sound quality.

Do check out Hardware-One's very own take on this little cubies, right here!

Pentium III and SSE Instructions 23:15 pm - Wilfred
Recently Intel gave the Katmai a name as Pentium III. Not less newsworthy is that Intel has decided to change also KNI (Katmai New Instructions) to be called Streaming SIMD Extensions or SSE for short. Catch this bit from MaximumPC now.

Intel's upcoming Katmai processor is getting a new name before its official introduction later this month: Pentium III.

The name change wasn't a big surprise, considering the branding success of Intel's Pentium family of processors. But the name game isn't limited to the processor only. Katmai's, er... Pentium III's instructions are also getting a new moniker--Streaming SIMD Extensions--or SSE for short.

Choosing Your CPU Upgrades 23:11 pm - Wilfred
Scoring once again is Ace's Hardware with a new article advising on how to choose a suitable CPU this 1999 or should you even purchase one this year? These are the concerns of the article and some questions it attempts to answer:

Looking at the specs of the K7, the M-III and the PIII, you can rest assured that the software on your PC will be running like it has never done before. Will these new monsters deliver incredible frame rates, render your 3D-creations in seconds, and apply filters to your photos in a blink of an eye? Not really, but they will come close.

With all those new shiny CPUs on the horizon you will be haunted by the same question that has haunted you before: upgrade or wait?

Clock Locked Celerons? 23:09 pm - Wilfred
The Register mentions Intel's warning that clock locking might be clock locked. Wah... a painful extract for you:

An Intel representative confirmed the company was building locks into future processors. "We're not telling people exactly how we're doing it because we don't want them to break the method," he said.

"Early samples [of the 366MHz and 400MHz] parts are not clock locked, but productions will be," he said.

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