28 January 1999 - Thursday

Linux In-Car MP3 System 20:15 pm - Wilfred
I fell over my chair seeing it at The Register. Ouch! Take a close look at this man! Now if we have fully digital software-based dashboards to go with it? (No, not the 'Start' button!)

The device contains up to 28.2GB of disk storage (the base model contains just 2.1GB of storage), allowing users to store some a massive 476 hours of MP3-encoded music, the equivalent of 500 albums.The unit also features a FM stereo tuner, and can be removed from the host vehicle's dashboard for security and to load it with music tracks.

Because the Empeg-Car is effectively a StrongARM-based computer running the Linux operating system, Empeg hopes the device will not fall foul of the kind of legal battle that briefly held up the release of Diamond Multimedia's Rio portable MP3 player. Computers are exempt from US legislation requiring consumer devices capable of recording music to pay a royalty to the music industry.

Microsoft ForceFeedback Wheel 20:02 pm - Wilfred
Vince sent word that he's posted a new review on the MS ForceFeedback Wheel. From what he described, it sure sounded like he wanted to call it 'sexy'.

The first time I sat down in front of this wheel, I felt a sense of comfort that I've rarely experienced with any game controller. The wheel is perfectly shaped, with easy-to-reach buttons and shifters and with a heft and wheel angle that's close to perfect. Ergonomics definitely played a big part in the wheel’s manufacture and the MS engineers deserve kudos for the excellent placement of the steering wheel, buttons and pedals. The MS Force Feedback Wheel is also the most visually stunning game controller I’ve ever seen. It’s sleek lines and incredible flair give it a space age, or perhaps comic book, appearance. It has a "cool factor" that’s off the scale and is certain to elicit oooohs and aaahs from your impressed family and friends.

Hard Drive Guide 19:54 pm - Wilfred
PCPowerhouse has written a information guide on hard disk drives. If you haven't familiarised yourself with terms like Average Seek Times, Internal Transfer Rates, Areal Densities, and lah lah lah lah lah... then you might want to check this out!

Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) and pronounced 'Scuzzy' is the other standard for connecting hard drives (among other things) to your computer. Instead of relying on your system BIOS, SCSI has its own built in BIOS that does all the necessary translation work for the drives connected to it. Generally SCSI connectors are included through add-on expansion cards (either PCI or ISA), but there are motherboards that have SCSI built into them. One of the major benefits of SCSI is the many different types of peripherals that your allowed to connect to it. From hard drives, scanners, and CD-ROM drives, to tape drives, and all types of removable media, SCSI connects just about everything to your PC.

Quake 3 Arena Preview Updated 19:25 pm - Wilfred
ShugaShack.com has updated their nice Q3A preview and if you haven't already checked it out, you can't be a Quaker.

At first glance my initial reaction was "Wow." The graphic quality increase is instantly noticeable. Sure Half-Life, SIN, Unreal, etc all used 16 and 24bit color, but the quality of the images just don't seem to compare.

Mr. Carmack has done such superb work with the renderer; the colors just pop out at you. If you've read through Carmack's previous .plan updates and been to any of his speeches you are probably familiar with the tecniques he is using. The short list of improvements is 24bit color, curved surfaces, volumetric fog, mirrors, and drastically higher poly counts in general.

CuteFTP 2.8 Final Downloadble 19:23 pm - Wilfred
Can't make you happier than having the 'cutest' FTP program updated again right? Sigh... whatever! Grab the file here.

MX300 at CombatSim's Labs 19:18 pm - Wilfred
It's been a while since I last posted sumthin' from CombatSim. Today, I noticed that they'd reviewed the Diamond MX300. Catch it!

I've read that WW2 Fighters supports the reverb effect of the Live, yet I can't imagine the game sounding better than it did on my MX300. And the same goes for Longbow 2-the crisp sound of your egg-beater fills the room, punctuated by the staccato bursts of your 20mm cannon.

So it appears that Diamond has delivered the goods with the latest installment in its line of Monster sound cards, from hassle-free installation to incredible 3D sound that begs for its owner to have four speakers.

OCP Moves & Renames! 19:14 pm - Wilfred
Frivolous?! The Overclocker's Comparison Page has moved AND renamed! It is now to be known as Hard OCP or Hard Overclocker's Comparison Page... find it at www.hardocp.com alright?

Thief: The Dark Project 19:08 pm - Wilfred
Our buds at the FiringSquad sent word about a review on Thief: The Dark Project which they'd done. Haven't it impressed enough people yet?

Probably the only thing keeping Thief from 5 stars is a better graphics engine. Aside from that, we loved the game through and through. The incredible sound engine, innovative design and game play lift Thief above all others as a single player adventure. Even if you're not a fan of first person games, you'll want to at least try out Thief.

Celeron 400, PII-400 or K6-2 400? 19:05 pm - Wilfred
Loyd Case of GameSpot has thrown up a roundup titled "Gunfight at the 400Mhz Corral", pitting the Celeron 400, the PII-400 and the K6-2 400 together. Which to get?

The Pentium II is well-known by now. It has 32K of level 1 cache (16K for instructions and 16K for data). The level 2 cache is decoupled from the processor and runs at half the CPU speed. So, the level 2 cache on the 400MHz part runs at 200MHz. The Pentium II / 400 also uses a 100MHz frontside bus, which makes for fairly speedy memory accesses.

The Celeron 400 is built on the Pentium II core, but only has 128K of level 2 cache. However, that level 2 cache is actually embedded in the CPU chip itself and runs at the full clock speed of the CPU - 400MHz. This speed difference between the Pentium II cache and the Celeron 400 cache makes up a bit for the size difference. The flip side is that the Celeron 400 uses a 66MHz frontside bus (so the clock multiplier is a staggering 6.0x).

The K6-2 has a bigger level 1 cache - 64K. The problem with the K6-2 is that the level 2 cache resides on the motherboard and hence only runs at 100MHz. The soon-to-be released K6-3 will have its level 2 cache on the chip itself (albeit only 256K), so it will likely run faster than the K6-2. I'll give the K6-3 a spin when it's released.

EPox EP61BXA-M 09:57 am - Kan
Fresh3D had a new review on the EPox EP61BXA-M Slot 1 BX motherboard.

The EP61BXA-M (from here on in, the BXA) is one of the fastest motherboards we've used, and at the same time is very stable. It is performing admirably well in all three environments we introduced it into. First, as a workstation in our offices, all our new computers are running this motherboard, and together with Intel Pentium II 350 CPU's, it is providing us with a very stable and solid platform to run our business applications in Windows NT 4.0 Workstation. Second, as a server, both our new servers are running this motherboard, and it has proved to be very capable in this setting, as well as very stable running Windows NT 4.0 Server.

PII-300 SL2YK Review 09:55 am - Kan
Bxboards had a review on the Pentium II-300 SL2YK processor.

Andy mentioned the in his SL2W8 review how the Deschutes P2-300 came into being. We are not looking at the boxed version - the SL2YK. To recap the brief history, in the beginning, the PII300 used the Klamath core (0.35 micron technology running at 2.8 volts), which was not a friend in the heat department. With the newer Deschutes core, using 0.25 micron technology at 2.0 volts, you now have something you can work with. If you're lucky enough or smart enough to do your homework before buying, you can increase your odds of obtaining a part that will overclock to impressive and stable levels. One example is the stepping I have, SL2YK -perfect for 450Mhz.

Gainward TNT 09:48 am - Kan
PlanetHardware posted a new review on the Gainward CARDExpert TNT card.

The actual board layout isn't all surprising, it's almost identical to the layout of STB's Velocity 4400 TNT board, but not quite as wide. The board is equipped with 7ns Hyundai memory chips, (2x8) 16 megs total of SGRAM. We won't get into the whole SGRAM vs. SDRAM argument, but I can say this, this SGRAM is top-quality, in fact, I've never seen TNT ram that has the ability to be overclocked so much (can we say 135 MHz memory clock?).

Intel Celeron 400A 09:33 am - Kan
The new review of the Celeron 400A from AnandTech is completed. Is it overclockable? Read on to find out.

What is the difference between 512KB of L2 cache running at clock speed and 128KB of L2 cache running at clock speed? In terms of performance, very little. If a CPU attempts to access data located in the cache and fails during the request (a cache miss), regardless of how much L2 cache is present and how fast it is operating, the performance of the system (overall) will not vary as a direct result of the cache size/speed. The only time performance would be biased towards one of the two processors would be in the event that the CPU succeeds in retrieving the data (a cache hit), in which case the CPU with the faster cache would prevail.

Multiprocessor Systems 09:32 am - Kan
Anand's new article is on the benefits of Multiprocessing Systems.

As you can see, the performance of single processor systems under multitasking environments is much lower than that of dual processor systems under the same conditions, which is to be expected. The interesting points to notice are that the difference between a dual Pentium II 266 and a single Pentium II 400 in general multitasking performance benchmarks still favors the single Pentium II 400 due to its sheer advantage in processing power over the dual 266. While that may not apply to high-end applications, it does apply to this scenario illustrated by AnandTech for the other type of multiprocessor user

Katmai Introduction 09:30 am - Kan
Game Asylum had an introduction to the new Katmai processor.

The only catch isthe first appearance of the PIII is going to be crippled by too many factors (IMHO) for it to be an intelligent upgrade at that time. Initially, the only real benefit will come from the 70 new instructions (KNI = Katmai New Instructions) incorporated into the PIII architecture. This certainly wont be an overpowering enough reason (not for me anyway) to rush out to buy one as soon as theyre available. In order to take advantage of KNI, Software will first need to be coded to recognize all those newer

Diamond Viper 550 09:28 am - Kan
Our pals over at 3DSpotlight posted a review on the Diamond Viper V550 Riva TNT card.

In the other hand the TNT falls a bit behind the Voodoo2 in games that use OpenGL API such as Quake 2, SiN and Half-Life. It's also important to mention Unreal, as we know this game just supported Glide (3Dfx only) and PowerVR when it shipped and now there is available a beta OpenGL patch for cards like the TNT but it's performance isn't the best, Epic has announced that a new OpenGL driver will be included in the 221 patch that will make TNT cards perform as fast (or faster) as a Voodoo2.

27 January 1999 - Wednesday

RIO Dilemma Escalating 22:52 pm - Wilfred
Wired has got an article about this new functionality added to Diamond's RIO MP3 player enabling it to transfer data/music out of the device. The new hack (not posted by Diamond) has generated quite a stir and apparently Diamond is not happy.

Diamond argued in defense that, since files couldn't be copied or otherwise transferred from the Rio to other devices, the Rio is merely a playback device and was therefore exempt from the Act.

"We specifically disabled the ability to copy files from the Rio to other devices as a form of copy protection," said Wirt. "We've not released the specs that allow people to interface with the Rio outside its standard software interface."

But that didn't stop the two enterprising hackers, one in England and one in California, who separately managed to restore the unit's two-way transfer functionality.

A preliminary injunction sought by the RIAA against the Rio's release was denied in October, and although the suit is still pending in court, thousands of the Rio players have already been sold around the world.

Civilization for Linux! 22:45 pm - Wilfred
Oh yes, now who says Linux is all work but no play? CoolInfo reported that Loki Entertainment will be porting Activision's Civilization: Call to Power to the Linux platform. They are planning to release the game simultaneously with Activision's launch.

Based on its agreement with Activision, Loki Entertainment Software is porting the game from the original source code so that the graphics, action and user interface will be the same as the PC version. The Linux version also will include the new tools, options, combat and graphics featured in the PC game. It will be based on the identical story line and characters, challenging players to create a civilization of their own making through the 7,000 years from primitive history to 3000 A.D.

``We couldn't ask for a better title to launch a new game line and are committed to providing an identical port of the new release,'' said Draeker. ``From our review of the code and working with the program, we think Activision has created a worthy addition to the best-selling Civilization franchise. Linux users will be able to enjoy 'Civilization: Call to Power' in the Linux environment with all the benefits that entails.''

"3-Of-A-Kind" Contest 22:37 pm - Wilfred
Ok, my host has just mailed me about this really simple to join contest at Gamehut. By just entering your name and email, you'll (perhaps end up in a mailing list? =P) stand a chance to win a copy of either Heretic II, Half-Life or Starcraft BroodWars (a total of 9 sets).

So what are you waiting for? Click here!

Myth II: SoulBlighter 22:31 pm - Wilfred
dk of Frontline had excitedly mailed me about the review he's done on Myth II. Listen to this:

With compelling story and gameplay enhancements (with 2 secret levels), Myth II: Soulblighter is a real time strategy game that should provide weeks of sleepless nights, well it only took me a week (yawnz) to finish.

Interview with E-Mu's Chief Scientist 22:21 pm - Wilfred
Alive! pointed me in the direction of this interview Ee Siang read about in MaximumPC. Creative has posted the whole bag of love.

Maximum PC So when will we see a consumer-grade soundcard with pro-caliber performance from Creative Labs?

Rossum As far as soundcards go, the Sound Blaster Live! is most of the way there. The SB Live! is very similar to our Emulator 4 in terms of its overall sound quality. The SBLive! uses eighth-order interpolation for its pitch shifting, actually one point higher than the algorithm used in the Emulator family. The pitch-shifting algorithm is the source of most of the distortion involved in wavetable synthesis. When you construct a sound library, you base a lot of your work around how effectively you can shift the pitch of the samples. Because the SB Live! is at least the equal of the Emulator 4, the sound libraries are easily ported over with no loss in quality.

We didn't put the Morpheus technology into the SB Live! because its complex filters are very expensive to do. SB Live! sells for an awful lot less than an Emulator 4, and that's one of the shortcuts we had to make.

Voodoo 3 4000 Clarifications 22:12 pm - Wilfred
Voodoo Extreme posted a little mouthful on this email from 3Dfx saying that while the V3 4000 will make use of AGP 4X chipset in the upcoming CPUs but it does NOT require it. Check out the blurb!

BX6 2.0 Review 17:21 pm - Kan
AGN Hardware did a review on the new ABit BX6 2.0 motherboard. This board is solid!

To start with the BX6 2 includes enough multipliers to get you lost when you are flipping through them with your arrow key in the bios. From a lowly level of 2X, the board goes in increments of .5 all of the way up to 8.0. With a little bit of math in your head, you can see that this board will support up to a 800MHz P3 if it is running on a 100MHz FSB. As we already know, multipliers are not going to help us out at all with overclocking. It is that FSB adjustment that squeezes the extra speed out of our Celeron or Pentium 2 processors.

New Banshee Drivers 17:18 pm - Kan
Creative sent note that the new Creative Banshee drivers are out.

3D Blaster Banshee BIOS & Windows 95/98 Driver Update
3DBB-9XBIO-1-US (Rev 2)

This update:
* Allows users to disable DirectX 6.0 support when running DirectX 5.0 applications for faster support
* Solves mouse scrolling problems in virtual desktop mode
* Allows DirectX 6.0 users to select from texture stages=1 for accelerated performance or texture stages=2 for enhanced visual quality with slower performance.

26 January 1999 - Tuesday

Q&A On EAX + Dolby Digital & Soundcards 21:02 pm - Wilfred
If not for the links at Ee Siang's Alive! I was surely going to miss these articles at Creative. I really wished I could snip off the delicious parts, but the whole chunk is damn good. Gotta read!

Why Geometric accoustic modelling may be better?
Game developers who, like film directors, want control over the expressive quality of their 3D audio environments therefore find an appropriate tool in EAX. Their needs aren't easily addressed in a geometric modeling system like ray tracing. If, for example, you decide to increase the reverberation decay time to provide a greater sense of awe in a simulated cathedral, there is (under the ray tracing model) no simple knob to tweak for the increase. You may instead have to increase the size of the geometric audio model by moving walls out to get that effect. This is difficult to do and, worse yet, creates an audio model that's much different from the graphic model, which can cause problems as you move linked sound sources and graphic objects around through the models. And if you can work through those problems, the result is still proscribed by the laws of physics. You can't go beyond them to find the psychological realism and emotional engagement that game designers, like film directors before them, may want in the sound.

(Q&A On EAX)

What's installed for your SB Live!
... in an upcoming Live!Ware update, users of Soft-DVD and the Sound Blaster Live! will be able to tap the Dolby Digital signal from a DVD source and send it to four speakers, while using your PC's host processor to do the decoding. (Dolby Digital & Soundcards)

1394B - 2X Faster Than Apple's 1394. 20:52 pm - Wilfred
The Register has this about an "Anti-Apple" coalition who proposed an alternative to Apple's 1394 FireWire standard, in an effort to side-step Apple's $1-per-port licensing fee. The standard sounds promising and real fast... but wait 2 more years??? (Article)

According to a report in, a number of developers are proposing what they call 1394B. Not only is the specification twice as fast as current FireWire technology but avoids relying on the Apple-patented signalling techniques that Apple is using to justify charging a licence fee.

'Apple-free' 1394 would operate at 800Mbps instead of the current 400Mbps and use a signalling system borrowed from the Fibre Channel world. The next stage of the design process would be to incorporate support for current FireWire devices in a way that also eliminates the key Apple intellectual property.

Intel Backs Off Pentium III ID Feature 20:46 pm - Wilfred
Off CoolInfo I read this news that Intel reversed its announcement and now its Pentium III will NOT automatically transmit identification codes when a user go online. Catch this:

Facing an imminent boycott by online privacy groups, Intel reversed course Monday and announced its new Pentium III processor will not automatically transmit identification codes when users go online. "We don't have to make the choice on the behalf of the consumer," said Howard High, an Intel spokesperson. "If they want to be anonymous they can; if they want a more secure connection they can do it as well."

Exclusive Abit BM6 Review 19:57 pm - Wilfred
All this exclusives are driving me green with envy. Thresh's FiringSquad has had this review on the Abit BM6 Socket370 board. Read what they say here:

Of course, the biggest and best reason for investing in the BM6 is for the overclocking potential. After all, why use a 100Mhz chipset (the 440BX) for a motherboard dedicated CPUs running 66Mhz FSB? Considering Abit's history, it makes sense that the BM6 is to Socket 370 what the BH6 is to Slot 1, quite simply the most advanced and easy-to-use overclocking motherboard on (or about to hit) the market.

Still disoriented? Take a look at Flashman's Abit BM6 Press Kit to get a complete feel of its features.

Thief Game Guide 19:53 pm - Wilfred
Wanna know how to thief around? Look no further coz here's another game guide I discovered today. Gamespot has posted this really cool looking online guide for Thief: The Dark Project. This guide contains:

  • Information on being a thief and staying alive - all at the same time
  • A level-by-level account of how to beat the twelve missions in Thief and the best ways to do it, from Lord Bafford's Manor to the Maw of Chaos

Heretic 2 Takes On The FiringSquad 19:50 pm - Wilfred
Yes, Bob sends word of a new review they've done on Heretic 2. I dunno what to say here, but you might want to hear them describe it:

Wow, what can I say? Heretic II was one of the most amazing games I've seen in a while. The 3rd person perspective (done right) provided a fresh, unique style of gameplay that has been rarely seen before. The beautifully rendered levels, attention to detail, and fluid animation/gameplay really sets this game apart from the rest. If nothing else, Heretic II has raised the bar for third-person POV games to come -- Drakan and Max Payne have some huge shoes to fill.

Microsoft Cordless Phone Review 19:32 pm - Wilfred
Hullo? Was kinda surprised when I followed this link on BetaNews to this review of the MS Cordless Phone system at The Upgrade Center. It sounds like a tremendous piece of technology... requiring Windows 9X to function!

The Microsoft Cordless phone's base station, separate from the charging station unlike most cordless phones, has something extra than your standard lights and page button.. its got a tail. A serial cord that is, that attaches to the serial ports on the back of your computer. Using this connection, the companion software to the MS Phone, Microsoft Call Manager, enables many more features on the phone, giving it the extra punch needed to make it a good buy.

Microsoft Call Manager enables the Voice Command, Answering machine, Call Screening, etc. that are included with the phone. Using this program, this phone quickly becomes one of the most powerful phones available today.

So what's Uncle Bill going into next? MS Intelli-Wok (ergonomic but not for left handers) that tilts itself to cook your food evenly and MS Force Feedback Washing Machine to rock all the grime off your laundry!

BroodWars Game Guide 19:26 pm - Wilfred
Still struggling to complete StarCraft BroodWars (like me?? =P), GameCenter posted a GameGuide for it. Read it if you must coz they have also covered things like build order, so you never have to miss a beat when amassing your armies!

We begin with a quick rehash of basic StarCraft strategies for the rusty, the uninitiated, and the clueless. Before we go any further, though, remember that it's essential to learn the hot keys. Whether you're fighting against a human opponent or the AI, speed and efficiency are of the utmost importance. Learn to use hot keys to quickly select your advanced units with special abilities, such as Ghosts (who have that nifty Lockdown spell).

Learning to build efficiently and quickly is key. Real-time strategy games traditionally reward players who get their empire up and running in no time flat; StarCraft is no exception to this rule.

Tom's Monday Blurb 19:18 pm - Wilfred
Tom Pabst has released another of his 'Monday Blurb'. A long long blurb that attempts to dissect all the important development in the hardware scene lately. Here's an excerpt:

Intel is offering a cheap and very well performing processor line, the Celeron. Intel wants to fight AMD with those CPUs, they certainly don’t want to jeopardize Pentium II sales. Marketing campaigns and the support of the OEMs (who are smelling the strong taste of lots of money) are supposed to make sure that Pentium II-sales remain untouched. Don’t let them get away with it! Also consider AMD and the K6-3 as a player that well deserves to get into the high-end system lines. This should also result in a strong signal to the motherboard-makers, so that they will stop supplying us with crappy Socket7 and Socket370-boards.

Final Linux 2.2.0 Kernel Released 19:11 pm - Wilfred
It's here today! So the Linux world rejoices! Yes, BetaNews has got an excited blurb on this. Check this out!

Two months and 10 days after the last stable Linux Kernel, 2.2.0 has reached final release and the Linux world can rejoice once again. As we announced on Friday, Linus is right on schedule with this release, making sure pre9 had no major problems with it.

http://www.kernel.org/mirrors.html

Bus Clock Locked Celeron 366? 19:06 pm - Wilfred
So full of questions today you say? Ars-Technica received a rude shock from this unsporting Celeron 366 processor. Read about their experience!

The practical upshot of all that is above, is this: I tested the Celeron 366 in multiple motherboards, with multiple bus speeds, multiple SEL 100/66# settings, and 2 different types of PC100 SDRAM. Any attempt to force the Celeron to run at a bus speed of 100MHz or higher, resulted in a failure to POST. While not unequivocal, this is good evidence that Intel has introduced bus-speed locking on Celeron 366s and probably 400s also.

Voodoo 3 4000 - Are the Gamers' Wait Over? 18:53 pm - Wilfred
Very interestingly, SharkyExtreme has posted some very tasty bits after they dropped by 3Dfx Labs.

3Dfx disclosed that besides the V3 2000 (clocked at 125Mhz) and V3 3000 (clocked at 183Mhz)... they will release V3 4000 AGP. At this stage, we know little about it and here's the juicy part:

... what little we do know about the board is that it will require the use of an (as yet unreleased) Intel Camino chipset. It will also be specifically designed and optimized for Camino in order to take advantage of AGP 4X just in time to compete head to head with nVidia's .25micron TNT2. This is indeed a first for 3Dfx and it seems as though (with 4X), AGP is finally worth more than it's initials and is thus getting full implementation. Remember for both the Voodoo Banshee and the Voodoo3 -2000 and -3000 the board will be compatible with AGP slots but won't support full AGP 2X texturing as 3Dfx will stick with their own memory transfer routine. 3Dfx will time the release of the Voodoo3 -4000 to coincide with Intel's launch of Camino in summer 1999.

New Savage3D Drivers 18:48 pm - Wilfred
Noticed over at VoodooExtreme that S3 has released a new non-beta driver for its Savage3D cards. Grab them at this link.

S3 Savage3D Win95/Win98 Driver With ICD, Version 4.10.02.4004-6.12.01
S3 Savage3D TVOUT Utility Version : 1.00.05

Authentic Celeron Keychain 18:41 pm - Wilfred
Just fried your Celeron? Here's a consolation from Tim Brinkley coz' he will show you how to make a keychain out of that chip. Really!

I'm also sure that at least one or two of you out there has ended up with an overcooked celery that no longer has electrons coursing through through it's veins. Hmm, I knew 3.0 volts was a little to much juice...

XStore Pro Drivers - Does it Deliver? 18:32 pm - Wilfred
Alan of Freak! wrote to tell us about this mini-review on the XStore Pro Bus Mastering Drivers he tested on a Super7 board. So are they superior? Find out!

From the physical drive benchmarks, it shows that XStore Pro doesn't give you any performance advantages. If anything, they are very close to Windows98's own native drivers. In 'real-world' testing however, XStore Pro shows that it's read ahead caching technology can edge Windows98 by a significant amount. This shows that with a very small CPU utilization hit, XStore Pro delivers on its premise of higher system performance and optimization. Though WinBench 98's 'real-world' testing isn't really indicative of today's applications, we can assume that since newer applications are based on the same architecture, XStore Pro should still give you a marked advantage.

Honey Jar 06:43 am - Kan
This reminds me of Pooh The Bear soft toys which can be bought from McDonald's outlets now.

Anyway, Ars-Technica has a new review column called the Honey Jar where you can view your opinions on BeOS 4.

The Honey Jar is for BeOS users who came to the OS for the love of it and are now looking for the best ways to get some use out of it. None of us are so feeble-minded as to think that an operating system as newly commercial as this has a lot of power apps orbiting it yet. On the other hand, we'd like to think we aren't going to have to spend all our time watching a cube revolve either.

AOpen AX6B+ 06:40 am - Kan
Another motherboard review over at HardwareCentral. The AOpen AX6B+ features a onboard Adaptec Ultra Wide SCSI controller onboard as well as 4 DIMM slots.

Almost every setting can be made in the BIOS. Unfortunately, you can not change as many advanced settings in the AX6B BIOS as you can in the Soft Menu II of the Abit BH6. One major omitted feature was the ability to change the CPU voltage. This can greatly limit the overclocking ability with some chips. The only jumpers on the board are CMOS Clear and AGP Ratio. CMOS Clear is used incase a bad CMOS entry causes the motherboard not to boot at all. The AGP Ratio setting changes the AGP bus speed to Auto, 2/3, or 1/1 of the front side bus.

Shuttle HOT-649a 06:32 am - Kan
Lost Circuits posted a review on the Shuttle HOT-649a Dual BX Slot1 motherboard.

Ok, with regard to unlocking the real possibilities of the HOT-649a, it is finally time to let the cat out of the sack. It all comes down to one undocumented jumper, that is JP45 already mentioned above, located next to the voltage jumpers (so you dont have to scroll back) and described as factory reserved. As soon as JP45 is removed, finally all possibilities of the HOT-649a start to unfold in that, by setting both bus speed and CPU multiplier to autodetection / default, it is now possible to go into the BIOS and specify any possible bus speed there. This, in turn, is rewarded by a blast of performance unmatched by any other BX board so far. In this regard, also the positioning of the FSB selector jumper block in the path of the AGP card is no longer a bad choice since there is no need to access it anyway.

25 January 1999 - Monday

Saitek R4 Force Review 21:00 pm - Wilfred
The Saitek R4 Force feedback wheel & paddles are reviewed by our buds at Hardgame. Naturally, they can't escape discussing the effects they experienced playing NFS3.

... whereas in The Need for Speed 3, the force feedback implementation is excellent and actually adds to the gameplay. When implemented correctly, the force feedback effects on the R4 Force are excellent. Looking at the Need for Speed 3, there are several good effects. The road effects are not just limited to the changes between smooth and bumpy roads but also account for traction as the wheel slips back and forth in snow or rain. Additionally, resistance can be felt in tight turns. A vibrating engine effect has been around since force feedback was invented, but in recent games it is much improved. The amount of vibration is proportional to the engine rpm level and car model. This not only increases the realism and the differences between the cars, but also helps with manual shifting.

Wilfred Coughs & Chokes 20:51 pm - Wilfred
I was so thrilled today playing around with my Palm III (acquired from your other friendly editor).

It's not the first day I got it... and it's been long since its launch. In fact, the Palm III X and Palm VII will be out soon. But hey... I just think sending emails, surfing to Hardware One as well as ICQing my friends on the Palm III was way cool!

Now wait till I purchase my GSM kit! I'll be responding to you from anywhere!

The Sensaura Technology 20:48 pm - Wilfred
Mark of 3DSS sent word that he's finished an article on Sensaura's 3D audio technology. Something big, but not everybody's heard of it. They've been around and they've got exciting things in the works!

Sensaura early this year will also (probably first quarter) introduce something new they call MacroFX. Current implementations of HRTF aren't good at placing sound within 1 meter of the listener, especially when using loudspeakers, MacroFX will fix this.

MacroFX provides 6 zones, where zone 0 (far distance) and zone 1 (distant mode) will work just like DS3D distant model. The other 4 zones are Near Field, in the right ear, in the left ear and inside the head. Sensaura claims that this will allow the game developers to offer special 3D sound effects like whispering in the ear, wind noises (very useful when you're skiing, running, cycling etc), headphone simulation (e.g. air-traffic) and ultra-close fly-by (useful for bullets, rockets, insects etc).

RIO to Upload/Download Files 16:48 pm - Kan
Talking about MP3, that's a news over at FiringSquad on how to use your Diamond RIO as a portable media to store your files.

Out of the box, the Diamond RIO MP3 player makes it so that you can only upload .mp3 files to the flash card. It doesn't allow you to download anything, nor can you upload any files BESIDES .mp3s.

That's all changed now with a little utility called RioGeo. The version up on the website is a tiny (70K) utility that allows you to upload AND download ANY kind of files from the RIO. So what's the big deal you ask? Well basically with RioGeo, now your tiny little RIO is a jury-rigged, ultra portable 32MB disk. One-third the capacity of a standard zip drive but infinitely more portable.

Right now RioGeo is a command line only program, so if you're not quite familiar with how to use DOS prompts you better wait for the Windows version. A Linux version is also in the works. Use RioGeo AT YOUR OWN RISK. We haven't tested it, but the news was too exciting not to report right away.

MP3 CD Support! 15:13 pm - Wilfred
Wow! Noticed this hot hot chunk off PlanetHardware that we might soon be able to transfer our harddisk full of MP3 files onto CDs and have them played by on your home or car stereo system!

Wouldn't it be great to play MP3s on a regular CD player?

GoodNoise is working on just such a technology. The Internet music label will work with Adaptec, a designer of computer components, to come up with new software that lets CD players and car stereos read MP3 files recorded on CDs. GoodNoise (OTC: GDNO) and Adaptec said it plans to introduce the technology later this year. When it comes out, the technology could turn MP3 from a geek toy into a mainstream audio format.

Check out the article off Wired News. I can't wait... but how about the highly probable legal battles that will bound to take place?

Lotus Notes For Linux 13:51 pm - Wilfred
Over at BetaNews.com, I noticed this interesting post taken off ZDNet's [email protected] Resellers Online. Surely, this is good momentum for Linux.

Lotus Development Corp. plans to release a Notes version of Linux in the second half of 1999, adding the support of yet another major vendor and adding fuel to the fire under Microsoft Corp. Elements of Linux support are already undergoing testing at Lotus' Iris subsidiary, say company insiders.

The move is just one of a series of developments planned for Notes over the next couple of years that will transform Notes from basic groupware into a Web-savvy knowledge-management environment.

More Therapy For You At Hardgame 13:48 pm - Wilfred
The chumps at Hardgame have completed another series of their Hardware Therapy for ya! This time about the long time debate that "30 fps is NO difference from 60 fps". Makes a good read!

The World and fans of chips like the PowerVR saying "the human eye can’t differentiate above 30 fps." and "20 fps is the same as 60 fps…" among other famous lines. This 3Dfx demo clearly shows that is not the case and definitely makes a case for higher framerates at lower colour depths, something that I think was the intent all along. The demo was impressive enough to win 3Dfx some new fans and did wonders for their old ones too.

Another MX300 Review 13:41 pm - Wilfred
We're never bored with more aren't we? Thanks to a link at 3DSoundSurge which pointed me to this review at GA-Source. Here's a snip of the reviewer's dizziness:

WOW!!! I hooked 4 speakers up and used the flying helicopter demo that is part of the card's drivers and it sounded real. I felt like I had a helicopter circling around my head. I then decided to try a few games. I loaded Recoil first, and it's hard to truly pass along the feeling of hearing seagulls circling above you with rapid-fire machine guns, plasma weapons, and missiles going off all around you. In Half-Life the sound effects were almost disturbing... I felt so immersed in the game that I began to get scared at the little sounds I heard behind me. The difference in the way that echoes sounded-- depending on the room's wall and floor surfaces -- was fantastic. Unreal was also very good, especially the background music. Each of the instruments were seemingly suspended in space around me in different locations. Jedi Knight (which I bought when it came out largely because of the Star Wars authentic sound effects) was spectacular. Descent 3? Words almost can't describe it.

Exclusive Abit Interview! 13:33 pm - Wilfred
Terry of Hardware Extreme popped me a mail in the morning about an exclusive interview with Abit he posted. Will there be a BH6 2.0 board following the upcoming BX6 2.0?

TERRY: When will the BX6 2.0 be avaliable ? I heard that TC Computers has stock of the BX6 2 already.

JEREMY: Yeah you can get some from the states, but the official launch date is not until Feb 1st.

Hercules Dynamite TNT 13:27 pm - Wilfred
Anand is on a roll again, closely following his review on the Elsa Erazor II review is this writeup on Hercules' Dynamite TNT card. Pitting the card against the Creative and Elsa TNT boards, the board championed all the benchmarks!

In the performance department, the Dynamite TNT cannot be beat, since you are getting a card which is running 8mhz faster than the competition. Of the TNT boards I have tested, I see no reason why a performance gamer would settle for anything but the Dynamite TNT. To think that the Dynamite TNT board is only an option for performance gamers is a mistake, because with an excellent retail price, and even better street price, the Dynamite TNT rivals the Creative Lab's RIVA TNT solution for cheapest board on the market. Hercules has managed to give us a high performance card at a low price, and for that they deserve my recommendation.

24 January 1999 - Sunday

Evolution Review 23:50 pm - Wilfred
For all of you, Krank has completed his first review of a Dreamcast game - Evolution. It is the first RPG game for the Dreamcast console and you have to read what the man has to say about it!

... if Evolution is this good for a 1st Generation RPG for the Dreamcast, then I have very high hopes for future RPGs on the system. The battle system ranks top notch in my books, as well as character design. Environment wise, it isn't really much. Not like pre-rendered ones, but it still allowed a total immersion of gameplay rather than distraction.

Gainward Cardex GX3 Savage3D 23:42 pm - Wilfred
3DHardware.net has thrown out a review on Gainward's Savage3D based card. Still looking for a cheap and fairly good card?

With the Gainward GX3, it seems as if S3 has finally worked out most of the kinks in their Savage3D drivers. Now that things are pretty stable and fast, the Savage3D becomes a much more viable option. It's not the fastest card in the world, but it's sort of a compromise between a TNT and a Banshee. You get the price and performance of a Banshee, but the capability for 24-bit rendering from the TNT. Then you also tack on S3's own texture compression and this package is starting to look better and better.

And since we are on S3D, I noticed on Frontline reporting that Savage World posted news on the latest Win9x Savage3D reference drivers 6.13.08.

More Sections In Q&A Forum! 21:27 pm - Wilfred
Have you visited our forum? I've just added 4 more sections. You'll find sections on CPUs & Overclocking, Video Cards, Sound Cards, Gaming! The registration is easy, so let the discussions begin!

Micronics C400 19:06 pm - Kan
Another motherboard review by The Techs on the Micronics C400 BX motherboard.

What about overclocking, gotta love that Celeron The C400 automatically detects the speed that the chip should be run at and locks the BUS frequency with no way of changing it. This leaves virtually no way to overclock your system. Unless you have an older Pentium design where the multiplier clock is not locked, you will not be able to change anything on the system. This has done away with Celeron overclocking for any of the Diamond motherboards.

Celeron o/c Guide 19:06 pm - Kan
Sharky updated his Celeron overclocking guide. Updated in the guide include the latest processors like the Celeron 366 as well as Celeron 400.

This meant that the Celerons were literally 'frozen' at their respective speeds when they shipped. Luckily for the legions of overclockers on a tight budget, Intel overlooked a critical fact. The release of the Intel 440BX 100MHz FSB chipset and the accompanying PC-100 SDRAM brought a variety of new mainboards out on the market almost overnight. Most of these mainboards had the ability to override the 440BX's CPU autodetection routine, and thereby set the Celeron's bus speed upwards from the stock level of 66MHz to 100MHz or beyond.

Freetech P6F9li 19:02 pm - Kan
A rather rare board, the Freetech P6F9li BX motherboard was reviewed by bxboards.

Freetech were an unknown quantity to me when I was first asked if I would like to review some of their boards. Let me say straight away they are no "Mr. Generic" of the motherboard world! Designed in the USA and manufactured in Taiwan, this new startup company are hitting the ground running with a number of boards including this BX based offering, as well as entries in the Socket 370 arena, video cards and even dual SCSI BX motherboards. Let's take a look at what this new company have brought to the table....

Jane's World War 2 Fighters 18:59 pm - Kan
One of my favourite games by Janes. Reddawn did a review on World War 2 Fighters and I must say the game is fantastic!

Among the numerous World War 2 flight sim titles, none would match the fantastic graphics from WW2F. Upon starting the sim, you would be greeted by a nicely done intro and then to the beautiful virtual museum. Here you have the option to select multiplayer, quick mission, mission builder, campaign, check out the Aces and single mission. All the above are presented in a "Kiosk" layout and not to forget the impressive hangar where you can scroll sideway to view all the aircraft flyable in the sim. Sitting in the hangar are: British’s Spitfire F.IX, German’s BF 109G-6, FW 190A-8, ME 262A-1A, American’s P-47D, P51D and P-38J.

Elsa Erazor II Review 16:48 pm - Wilfred
The Elsa Erasor II TNT card is reviewed at AnandTech. Well, boy Anand is not impressed, but as a TNT card it still satisfies!

The Erazor II is a better board than most; however, when compared to other TNT boards, it failed to impress. While the marginally slower performance of the ELSA board wasn't a major issue in my disappointment, the price is. The board does feature an excellent manual, SGRAM, and a fan; however, the lowest street price I could find (~$130) does not justify this cards advantages over competing TNT boards, which are priced under $130, some around $110.

PC133 Vs DDR SDRAM 16:42 pm - Wilfred
EETimes has got this interesting article citing sizeable developer support for the new PC133 SDRAMs.

Though Intel Corp. has turned thumbs down on adding hooks to its chip sets for SDRAMs running faster than PC/100, several chip makers don't see things the same way. A small chip-set company, Reliance Computer Corp., and IBM Corp. believe there's plenty of life left in synchronous DRAMs. Carving a path that parallels Intel's straight road to Rambus, the companies foresee using PC133-standard 133-MHz SDRAMs first, and then double-data-rate (DDR) SDRAMs.

Advocates argue that the performance gain from 133-MHz SDRAMs is significant. Where Direct Rambus DRAMs may be dogged by a supply shortage, the next generation of SDRAMs will be plentiful, as DRAM vendors will find it relatively easy to tweak their process to bump up the speeds. And while certain modifications will need to be made to the dual in-line memory module (DIMM), they are fairly straightforward, supporters said.

Intel CPU ID for Data Security -  Gimmick? 16:35 pm - Wilfred
I'm not certain if this is late news, but I just thought I'll post a note about this after reading it. Tom's Hardware has posted some expert comments on this matter:

The serial number is tied to the processor chip. To uniquely identify an individual, there would have to be a fixed one-to-one user-processor relationship. While this may be true (at least to a certain extent) for computers used at home, it would be useless in environments where people share computers. Of course, the identification would change with every processor upgrade, change hands legitimately by the computer (or the CPU chip) being sold or given away, and SMP environments would feature multiple unique serial numbers. Additionally, ID-less CPUs will be around for a long time, and even on chips that have it, it can be disabled through software. Therefore, it is unlikely that software will ever rely solely on the CPU serial number to identify a user.

Diamond MX300 Review 16:11 pm - Wilfred
Accelerate! has reviewed the Diamond Monster Sound MX300 card. If you are buying a new sound card and needing some opinion, check this out!

MX300 is one hell of a sound card. For just US$99 or S$178, you could have a totally new gaming experience as well as near theatre sound effects. Playing a game and watching a movie with your DVDs will never be the same again. Not to forget, it does play your favourite Clinton's jokes wav files pretty well.

Running the Celeron In SMP 16:07 pm - Wilfred
BXBoards has put up an article on "Running the Celeron In SMP". So if that's your taste, be sure to check this out!

So, It is possible to run the Celeron in SMP (Dual) configurations. But how is it done? Well the main thing to remember is that the Celeron is merely a crippled P2. Although the lack of L2 is the most visible "feature" of this processor, Intel also performed some behind the scenes sabotage, aimed at firmly anchoring the Celeron at the low end. However despite the publication of the original article I am please to be able to confirm that the dual SMP trick does indeed work with the Celeron300a and 333!

Due to the excellent overclockabiliy of the Celeron 266 and 300 in particular (the cache-less 300 and 333 with 128k of L2 are not recommended for overclockers due to their lock at a higher multiplier), it is quite feasible to run a Celeron 266 @ 4 x 112. Multiply that by 2 for the dual configuration and we have near 1 Gigahertz of computing power at our finger tips!

MSI 6163 ATX Part 1 16:06 pm - Kan
Overclockers' WorkBench also posted the MSI 6163 ATX BX motherboard review.

The packaging contains the manual, the Retention Module and the cables for HDD and FDD and 1 CD.

From what I would see, The MSI 6163 looks very similar to the MSI 6119 that I reviewed earlier on. Both has the same footprint. Other than that, the MSI 6163 has 5 PCI, 2 ISA and 1 AGP port for expansion. The most appealing thing about this board is that it now supports the following FSB: 66, 68, 75, 83, 100, 103, 112, 117(2), 124, 129, 133, 138, 143, 148, 153 Mhz.

Other than that, it now includes CPU/System temperature detect, CPU/Chassis Power fan speed detect and CPU/System voltage detect. It also has an optional audio module based on Creative ES1373

Dual Socket 370 Celerons 16:05 pm - Kan
Overclockers' WorkBench translated an article from http://kikumaru.w-w.ne.jp on how to modify the MSI 6905 (Socket370 to Slot1 Adapter) to support dual Socket 370 Celerons. I must say by using the adapter, it's even simpler for home users to modfiy the hardware to support dual.

If you have read his previous articles at his web site in Japanese and mirrored at some other sites in English, you would probably already know that he was successful in bringing the possibility of a Dual Celeron (Slot1) based solution.

Now as Slot 1 is about to be killed and new higher end processors like the Celeron 366 and 400 is out. Is SMP still possible ? The answer is YES !

According to Intel Celeron Data Sheets, BR1# pin is reserved. Now, reserved pins are normally used for some purpose. It was mentioned earlier on this pin does the trick by connecting it to the B75 pin on the Celeron Slot 1.

ThrustMaster Frag Master 15:34 pm - Wilfred
PCTechware.com mailed to tell us a new review they've put up on the ThrustMaster Frag Master. Looks like one futuristic toy to play with!

Rant-A-Plenty At Alive! 15:28 pm - Wilfred
Ee Siang popped a note to tell me of this new Rant#4 which he put up on Alive!. Basically the rant coincides with a poll which he started asking if you're want EAX 2.0 to be a proprietary or open API? Here's a quote:

"...a lot of people prefer to get the MX300 over the SBLive!. Why? Simply because consumers like to play safe. They want the best of both worlds . They want A3D 2.0 and they want EAX 1.0 too cause they know that Creative being a heavyweight in the industry, chances are EAX 1.0 would be widely supported. Why get a cutter when you can have a multi-function Swiss Knife? This mindset is clearly evident in all the MX300 reviews that appear. All consider support for EAX 1.0 an important factor in choosing MX300 over SBLive! which cannot support A3D 2.0 .It is make worse by the fact that some renowned websites proclaimed that they got "Flawless EAX" on the MX300 when EAX drivers for it are not even out yet ! Add to this the marketing effort by Aureal to create the impression that EAX 1.0 is so simple to support, consumers are easily mislead into thinking that they can get the same EAX quality."

Wilfred Coughs - After A Long Time 15:23 pm - Wilfred
Oh yes, I'm back in action after my PC caught this terminal illness forcing me to perform a massive surgical operation on it. Damn.. though it's finally alive and chumming away, my scanner still refuse to work.

23 January 1999 - Saturday

Compudex IW-A500 12:58 pm - Kan
Ars-Technica posted another new ATX case review. The Compudex IW-A500 is a mid-tower casing which supports a removable motherboard tray and has a 300W ATX power supply.

This case isn't poppa bear or momma bear; it's baby bear--that is, it's just right, dammit!  It has three 5.25" external bays, two external 3.5" bays, and one internal 3.5" bay. I was able to fit a Tyan S1836DLU, which is the biggest damn motherboard I have ever seen, into it without using a hacksaw.  Of course, I wouldn't have been able to fit the Tyan board in had I been using the second processor slot on this mobo, but I was impressed to see the rather large Tyan footprint snuggle up in this case like Goldy Locks in baby bear's bed. When I went to move my Abit BH6 in, I was even more impressed.  'tis simply a nice fit.

Epox BXB-S BX Dual Processor 12:52 pm - Kan
Anand finished his review on the Epox BXB-S BX Dual Processor Slot-1 motherboard. This motherboard also includes onboard U2W SCSI controller as well as support registered 256MB DIMMs.

If you look over the specs on the EP-BXB-S there is one thing that should stand out at first, and that is the expansion slot configuration, 4/2/1 (PCI/ISA/AGP).  What's so special about having 4 PCI and 2 ISA slots?  The fact that on the BXB-S, none of the PCI or ISA slots are shared, meaning all 7 on-board slots can be occupied at once unlike other motherboards that either feature a 5/2/1 or a 4/3/1 configuration which sacrifice either one PCI or one ISA slot in order for all 7 slots to be filled.  Since the 4/2/1 configuration of the BXB-S is non-shared expansion slot configuration, the expandability of the board is equivalent to that of a 5/2/1 board when using 2 ISA expansion cards.  A unique approach to the relatively uncharted dual processor market, and an eye catching one at that.

Monster Fusion Review 12:48 pm - Kan
AGN Hardware did the review on the Diamond's Monster Fusion. The Banshee with the ability to support native Glide games, is probably the  reason why gamers choose it instead of the Riva TNT...

The Banshee is also one of the strongest 2D performers on the market, thanks to a 2D core based upon the same innovation that 3Dfx implemented in the 3D side of the chip. The internal 250MHz RAMDAC allows you to run at even 1600x1200 without image degradation. The chip also features hardware support for DVD acceleration, giving you comparable output to standalone DVD decoder cards. The chip can also render 2D and 3D in the same space, thanks to a shared frame buffer. This should make it the perfect solution for upcoming technologies such as Microsoft’s Chrome. (Which has been delayed due to lack of hardware to run it as Microsoft intended)

Dixon 12:45 pm - Kan
You probably heard of them before. The new Pentium II PE, code-named Dixon will run at clock speeds of 300 MHz, 333 MHz as well as 366 MHz. The special thing is that it will feature 256K of cache integrated directly onto the processor.

Speed, however, is more crucial than size and the chips with the 256K should outperform even faster chips with the 512K of alongside cache. The PE designation exists to differentiate between the integrated and non-integrated chips that run at the same speed. The PE designation will fade out as all of the mobile chips become integrated. Intel added an "A" to Celeron chips when integrated cache came to that product line

For the full article, read here.

ATI Rage 128 12:43 pm - Kan
Another high quality review from FiringSquad on the ATI Rage 128.

The following hands-on preview is based on beta silicon and beta drivers. The beta drivers, which are now a month old, are nowhere near stable enough for day to day work. I experienced lots of random freezeups and 2D graphics glitches during testing of the card on my primary machine. Note that such major and minor problems should be fixed by the time the product ships. Game compatibility on the other hand was certainly good enough to complete my testing, though as of this writing it was far from perfect. So take all these results with a grain of salt, because they may or may not be indicative of performance you will see from a retail boxed version.

Storm PageScan USB Scanner 12:40 pm - Kan
HardwarePlus did a review on the Storm Technology PageScan USB scanner. Talk about USB, how I wish I have a USB scanner now...

The software that comes with this scanner is excellent; very easy to use, flexible, and feature-laden when you need more power. Scanning is easy; the default scanning software is called ScanBank, and is is very intuitive. You can also use any TWAIN-compliant software for scanning, such as Adobe Photoshop 4 or 5. The PageScan USB does a great job of scanning pages for optical character recognition. And as long as the pages scanned for OCR are uncomplicated and simply formatted, the integrated TextBridge does a satisfactory job. For complex pages, small or unusual fonts, or to retain the original page formatting, you will need a full version of TextBridge or OmniPage Pro

Next Expansion Bus 12:38 pm - Kan
PCPowerHouse sent note on their Next Expansion Bus article.

So your overclocking your system, and now the PCI bus is running at 37.5MHz or ever 41.5MHz. How would you like to run your PCI cards at 66MHz, 100MHz or even 133MHz? Not only that but at twice the bit rate (64-bit instead of 32-bit). Well the PCI-X specification developed by Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM will let you do just that. Heck you might be able to get rid of your AGP video card and replace it with a card running at 133MHz and sending data at 64-bits instead of AGP's 66MHz and 32-bit interface. Care to find out more? Than go check out our article on Your Next Expansion Bus

Septerra Core 12:34 pm - Kan
Yeah yeah, I know I'm slow (better slow then nothing), but FiringSquad posted a preview of Septerra Core, a RPG/adventure game.

To understand the story behind Septerra Core, you must first get acquainted with the geography of the planet. The planet has seven continents that lie in concentric layers over top of one another, like the layers of an onion. The richest people, known as the Chosen, live on the top layer and consume massive quantities of resources and energy and dump refuse on to the lower continents. You play the role of Maya, a junk scavenger who lives on the layer immediately below the outer continent and you make a living by gathering the most useful refuse to sell.

22 January 1999 - Friday

ATI Rage Fury 21:51 pm - Kan
That's a new review on the ATI Rage Fury over at FastGraphics.

Looking at the specs of the chipset it could be a twin brother of the Riva TNT chipset from nVidia. TNT does single pass multi texturing, so does Rage 128. TNT supports full screen anti aliasing, so does Rage 128. nVidia supports 32 bit rendering, so does Rage 128. ATI did a pretty good job in making the Rage 128 chipset a head to head competitor with Riva TNT. On paper the Rage 128 is even a bit faster: since it uses a 100 MHz CORE speed it has a theoretical fill rate of 200 Mpixels, while TNT has to do with 180 at it's default clockspeed of 90 MHz. To lure to customers in buying Rage 128 products ATI added a few more features like memory configurations of up to 32 Mb and hardware DVD support.

New ADSL Trial 21:48 pm - Kan
SINGAPORE--In a move to make high-speed Internet access cheaper, SingTel Magix, Intel Corporation, in conjunction with Newbridge Networks and Efficient Networks have announced the field testing of a new ADSL technology.

G-Lite, previously known as Universal ADSL has the potential to offer a lower cost high-speed Internet connection because it eliminates the need of hardware like splitters or additional home wiring. "The knowledge gained from the trial will benefit consumers by accelerating the deployment of less expensive and more robust high-speed communications," said Kevin Kahn, director of communications architecture at the Intel architecture labs.

The Singapore trial started in December 1998 with 20 participants, while the second phase will expand to 50 users by the end of the first quarter of 1999.

For the full article, read here.

300A @ 600 MHz 09:58 am - Kan
Millennium PC Kingdom had a short article on how they managed to get the 300A working at 600 MHz, for err...10 minutes. They actually put the processor in the freezer for a couple of hours before taking it out.

The reason that we do not recommend freezing your cpu is that once you take it out of the freezer and place it in your computer the coldness of the processor will create condensation by sucking water molecules out of the air and condensing them. This can make the cpu and surrounding material moist which is obviously not a good thing. So what are we saying? Try this at your own peril! We currently have somebody working on making a liquid super cooler and we'll keep you posted on our news page once he has made any suitable progress.

Pentium III Technology Brief 09:54 am - Kan
Tech-Review had an article on the Pentium III Technology Brief. The new Pentium III processors will be available at the end of next month (Feb 28th). So, are you going to upgrade?

So Intel is about to release their latest CPU, the Pentium III in both 450MHz and 500MHz flavors. Previously known as Katmai, the Pentium III is to boast some 71 new SIMD instructions to improve performance. The 71 new Streaming SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) Instructions, formerly known as Katmai New Instructions or KNI, are to boost 3D performance and multimedia performance in general. But in order for these new instructions to work, software developers and hardware companies have to specifically code their programs or drivers to use them. Currently there are a few games in development that will utilize these new instructions, including Quake 3: Arena. In addition, Microsoft's Direct X 7 will natively support KNI.

Labtec APX 4620 09:52 am - Kan
Our bud over at 3DsoundSurge posted the Labtec APX 4620 speakers review.

Any Brian Adam's fans out there? Waking up the neighbours is a distinct possibiltiy with this system! The 4620's put out a total of 70 watts RMS using five, yes thats five, discrete amplifiers! There's 44 watts to the progressive suspension subwoofer, 7.5 watts to each pair of midrange drivers and 5.5 watts to each tweeter. Frequencies are split using a 3 way electronic crossover. The satellites use what is called a D'Appolito speaker configuration

Adaptec 2940-U2W 09:50 am - Kan
PlanetHardware also posted a review on the Adaptec 2940-U2W SCSI card. In my opinion, this card rules for home users!

Of course, the main attraction to buying such a high-end SCSI board is the speed you'll gain from it. In the case of this board, your main concern is Ultra2 SCSI LVD. If you're not too familiar with this, it's simply a subset of Ultra Wide SCSI, with new LVD capabilities. LVD stands for "Low Voltage Differential", which basically just sends data packets through two SCSI wires instead of one, providing data transfer rates up to twice as fast as standard Ultra Wide SCSI (80 MB/s for Ultra2 LVD, 40MB/s for Ultra Wide SCSI). The new LVD cabling allows for data to be transferred with less electromagnetic and noise interference, which in turn allows for a clearer data signal along with the ability to have longer SCSI cables. In fact, you can have an Ultra2 LVD cable up to 12 meters long, whereas Ultra Wide SCSI cables are limited to 3 meters maximum cable length.

Diamond FirePort 40 09:46 am - Kan
Fresh3D posted a review on the Diamond FirePort 40 SCSI card.

I think most clear-headed but slightly cynical users will not believe upstart Diamond could put out a better SCSI card than industry veteran Adaptec. I hate to break it to you guys, but the FirePort 40 creamed the Adaptec 2940UW in all tests.

How can this be, you ask?

Latest News from AMD and Intel 09:44 am - Kan
You can find the news from TomsHardware. They don't seem to be the latest news to me though...

K7 is also still on track, planned release time is Q2/1999. This seems surprising, because the delay of K6-3, which was expected in January 1999. K7 will be running in a new unique platform using a slot called 'SlotA', which is mechanically identical to Slot1, but using a completely different bus protocol. Thus K7 will not run in Slot1-boards and no Intel CPU will run in SlotA-boards. K7 will require its own new chipset and AMD will be the first supplier of one. The bus protocol used by K7 is called 'EV6', known from Digital's Alpha CPUs. The EV6-bus of K7 is supposed to run at 200 MHz, offering a significantly higher bandwidth than the 100 or later 133 MHz bus clock used by Intel's Pentium II and Pentium III CPUs.

Race Leader 3D 09:41 am - Kan
AGN Hardware finished the review on the Race Leader force feedback wheel. If only there is a force feedback helmet to blow your mind away....

Guillemot’s entry into the wheel market is its Race Leader 3D, with a retail price of only $129.99. The wheel features a total of 20 buttons, an amount that could confuse a team of trained monkeys. Guillemot promises that their wheel will give you the most bang for your buck. I will give you my impressions of the wheel to see if that is true. They say that their wheel "Is priced to deliver the maximum amount of features at the minimum amount of price."

Celeron 400 Slot 1 09:38 am - Kan
Today, Sharky came out the Celeron 400 Slot 1 review. This processor is clocked locked at a multiper of 6.0 which means it will be more difficult to overclock than the 366 MHz Celeron.

As you can see from the chart above, the 6.0x multiplier is tough to overcome. It sends MHz levels shooting into the stratosphere too quickly, and forces jumps of nearly 75MHz between settings. One positive note lies in the 6.0 x 83MHz selection, as 500MHz for $170 is a pretty fair bargain. In fact, even our in-house P2-450 CPUs can only overclock to 504MHz (4.5 x 112) thanks to their handicapped 4.5ns L2 cache, so when the Celeron 400 CPU is evaluated by gamers for purchase, it seems clear that it brings a lot to the table.

PowerStrip 2.35 09:35 am - Kan
Just got it from Betanews that PowerStrip 2.35 is available.

  • PowerStrip 2.35 syncs the latest OEM and shareware releases, and includes - amongst other things - better support for ATi and NVidia chips, as well as some fixes for the G200 and Savage3D

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