June 1999 - Monday
Mapping With DirectX 6 21:47
has an article discussing the 'Ups
& Downs' of Bump Mapping with DirectX 6.
Here's a snippet:
may be asking, "I’ve never used a
modeling package – what is bump
mapping?" First, I should explain that
the way bump mapping is implemented under
DirectX 6 is not what purists would call
"real" bump mapping. If you asked
Jim Blinn to tell you about bump mapping
(and he would know, as he invented it), he
would likely tell you it’s different than
what I’m about to present. Blinn would
tell you that bump mapping adds surface
detail (bumpiness) to objects in 3D scenes,
without adding more geometry than already
exists. It does so by varying the lighting
of each pixel according to values in a bump
370 Pentium III To Come? 21:32
has news that Intel is planning to release a
new low-cost socketed version of its Pentium
III processor. Check
the new "FC-PGA 370" configuration
is nothing more than a Pentium III in a
low-cost socket, similar to the 370-pin pin
grid array (PGA) socket used by Intel's
low-cost Celeron microprocessor, according
to sources close to Intel. Intel will use
"flip-chip" technology to bond the
die to the package.
said the flip-chip design will allow new,
thinner PCs to be developed, allowing for
more creativity in designing a PC chassis.
By contrast, a Pentium III will usually ship
inside Intel's single-edge cartridge module,
whose physical dimensions are considerably
larger than the microprocessor inside it. In
addition, the module is mounted vertically,
perpendicular to the motherboard.
370-pin flip-chip version of Intel's 550-
and 600-MHz Pentium III MPUs will be added
in the fourth quarter, and a 650-MHz
flip-chip Pentium III will be shipped in the
first quarter of 2000, sources said. A
418-pin option is under consideration to
handle faster speeds and multiprocessor
capabilities, according to confidential
roadmap documentation obtained by EBN. All
flip-chip Pentium III microprocessors will
use a 100-MHz system bus, at least at the
like the Starwars craze will hit us for the
next few days. FiringSquad
also did a review on Starwars
Racer and they had slapped the article
with over 50 screenshots of the game.
is definitely an arcade-style racing game.
Little attention is paid to realistic
detail: for example, it costs money to
upgrade your pod, but you can destroy the
entire thing as often as you want for free.
It's all about getting into the action
quickly, and finishing even faster. The
focus is on plain and simple action; don't
explore, don't use strategy, just go faster
and win more!
sent note on their SuSE
6.1 review. Hmm, how good is SuSE vs
RedHat or Caldera OpenLinux 2.2 ? Read'em to
find out more!
inclusion of KDE, StarOffice 5, WordPerfect
8 and 60 days of installation support is
prominently featured on the front of the
The right handed spine of the box shows the
hardware requirements as well as listing the
supported IDE and SCSI (including RAID)
controllers, and video cards. A nice touch
is the listing of unsupported video cards.
2414 Speaker System 15:14
this is another Labtec
speakers review from Tech-Review.
It only cost 50 bucks and comes with a
subwoofer and two satellite speakers. Pretty
satellites are comprised of 2" shielded
Max-X drivers. Max-X is Labtec's name for
what they describe as "High-excursion
drivers for greater dynamic range, improved
bass and lower distortion.".
subwoofer is comprised of a 4" Max-X™
high-excursion subwoofer backed by 15 watts
of power enclosed in a wooden case.
Unfortunately the subwoofer is not shielded,
so it is recommended that you keep it away
from any electronic equipment.
2632 Speaker System 15:09
speakers review over at Upgrade
Center with the Labtec
2632 Speaker System.
let me begin by saying what I change!
I remember my first set of speakers, they
were a non-powered set which were about two
inches high. That was five years ago!
Times have changed haven't they? Now
we're dealing with powered 3-5 piece
systems, some with enough power to be in
your living room entertainment center.
I haven't gone that far just yet. At
this point I prefer the middle of the road,
that's where the Labtec 2632 system comes
in. I realize I'm thinking ahead, but
just let me say I thing these are the
Desktop Theater 5.1 15:07
pals over at 3DsoundSurge
just did a review on the Creative
Desktop Theater 5.1. Pretty awesome stuff
for your PC, though I prefer a more decent amp
for my home TV.
the arrival of DVD the interest of DD 5.1
has increased significantly and unlike those
who own laser disc players or have a
standalone DVD player in the living room,
most computer owners doesn't want to spend
$1000 on speakers. That's why Creative
decided to put together a very inexpensive
DD 5.1 system targeted at computer buyers,
called Desktop Theater 5.1 (DTT 5.1).
Featuring 5 watts and a dimension of 2.75"
for each of the satellites, 15 watts and
a dimension of 3.5" for the center
channel and 15 watts for the subwoofer, the
DTT 5.1 this system certainly has specs far
below what most audiophiles would put in
their living room. In this review we will
find out if the system offers good sound for
games, music and most importantly DVD
movies. We will also look at how it compares
with the AC-3 down mixing to 4 speakers that
most software DVD decoders now supports.
BW2000 Flat Panel Speakers 10:21
reviewed the Benwin
BW2000 Flat Panel Speakers. The speakers
look like some mousepad to me though. :)
have not heard of Benwin, and for good
reason - they simply haven't been around all
that long. Their US distributor, Kwong
Quest, was founded just last year. Benwin
really got people's attention at the Fall
1998 Comdex where they introduced what they
claim to be "the world's first flat
panel multimedia speakers." Really,
Benwin was just the first to introduce this
technology to the multimedia speaker market
Episode 1: Racer 10:08
have another review of the game Starwars
Episode1 over at Speedy3D.
can choose from a number of pod racers, and
a whole bunch of different characters taken
directly from the movie. Among the more
known few is Anikan skywalker, a.k.a. young
darth vader. The pod racers, just like in
the movie are no more then 2 giant engines
connected to a pod seat through 2 long
control cables. The engines are linked by a
strong magnetic charge so that one engine
does not go off in 1 direction, and the
other in another.
3 Review 09:36
did a review
on Mechwarrior 3. Yes, the reviewers had the
usual high regards for Microprose's game.
Here's snippets of the graphics and the AI.
combat it again becomes clear that the sound
and graphics capabilities of the game are
exceptional. Each weapon has its own clearly
distinct sound effect. Machine guns hum in a
deep baritone and lasers singe the air. The
tracer rounds of the Autocannon light up the
sky and allow for immediate correction of
one's aim. The vapor trails of outgoing
missiles create a temporary haze that limits
visibility. The only thing missing is the
smell of the gun powder.
The AI of the enemy units is excellent. I
was engaged in an ordinance duel with a
smaller less armored enemy Mech and I had
disintegrated most of its offensive
capabilities. Rather than continue to stand
toe to toe with me as he would have in MW
II, he retreated. Bloodthirsty for the kill
(and salvage) I followed. Unfortunately, he
lead me within range of a heavily armored
and distant long range missile platform that
opened up and tore both my Mech's arms
Skywell Magic TNT2 09:32
gurus posted a review on Skywell's
Magic TNT2. As my previous experience with
their Voodoo1 card, I was quite satisfied with
the no frills/low cost and adequate
performance delivered. How's the TNT2?
Magic TNT2 is a pretty damn fast card ! Yes,
it is not as fast as some other TNT2 based
cards and could use a little bit tweaking.
However, if you outrule this matter then you
have an fast 2D/3D 32Bit, D3D/OpenGL,
2024x2024 texturemapping capable videocard
at extremely high resolutions. As always it
gives you some serious bang for your bucks.
Savage4 Review 09:24
Extreme whipped up a review on the Creative
Savage4 card. The low price of this card
is really tempting me to go grab one! At
S$182, this is half the price of the S$355
Creative TNT2 Ultra... but here's something
the Sharks spewed, any truth in it? Check it
due no doubt to the extreme testing
procedures that Creative Labs performs on
all of their products prior to release
(heavy sarcasm here) the 3D Blaster Savage4
is set at a default speed of just 110MHz.
that the speed of video cards that debuted
six months ago? Who dropped the ball here?
Even relatively conservative Diamond
Multimedia set their Savage4Pro-based
product at a default level of 125MHz.
can only speculate that in order to keep
their profit margins high on a $100 product
that Creative has cut a deal with S3 to take
what we call the "slop yield" on
the Savage4Pro. This means that the chips
that fail to sustain 125MHz as tested by S3
at the fab plant are being sold to Creative
at a discount price versus the Savage4Pros
being sold to other OEMs.
RDRAM Vs PC133 09:09
Labs has a writeup on Direct
RDRAM Vs PC133. You can read about the
background, history and technologies involved
in these two RAM types. Which of them will be
found in your desktop?
is the memory that became the subject of our
discussion because this year you will hardly
be wondering about the chipset of your
mainboard while deciding on this or that
one. The only question you will be asking -
What about the memory? Both: i820 and Apollo
Pro Plus have the same features and the only
though significant difference between them
is the supported memory spec. That's why
when you make up your mind to buy a
mainboard the point for your concern will be
the choice between Direct Rambus DRAM or
PC133/PC266 SDRAM. And then having decided
on the memory you will choose the board
without any difficulty. So, our initial
intention to compare Apollo Pro Plus and
i820 turned into PC133/266 and Direct RDRAM
June 1999 - Sunday
Magic TNT2 21:43
posted a review
on the Skywell Magic TNT2 32Mb card. From
their tests, it was found that this is not for
the overclocker. Nope, they are not impressed
with this showing.
found that the Skywell Magic TNT2 did not
live up to TNT2 standards. We were
expecting a well built card and a
significant performance increase.
Unfortunately the 150Mhz clock speed did not
enable this card to perform nearly as well
as other TNT2 cards. It could barely
compete with the Guillemot Maxi Gamer Xentor
which featured only 16 Megabytes of RAM.
Though the Magic TNT2 is a well built card
and does perform relatively better than the
TNT, other TNT2 based cards significantly
outperform it. With the low clock
speed, and an onboard fan, there is room for
some overclockability. We did not
recieve any information on pricing for this
card, so cannot say if it is a good buy.
But if you're a real hardcore gamer you
should opt for another TNT2.
Formula Review 21:38
reviewed the Thomas
Super Wheel 2 Formula - a budget,
non-force-feedback, driving wheel. No
frills... but issit for you?
times have not improved much with this
steering wheel, but my tires are wearing a
lot less, lasting 3 or more laps in NASCAR
1999, which can, and has, won me races in a
hotly contested race. It is very hard to
describe the wheel, but it is a vast
improvement over other wheels. While it
doesn't have force feedback, I have heard
that most force feedback is pretty bad, and
the best thing about them is that they are
more precise in steering, but not
comfortable like this wheel.
#16: Who Has The Nicest Butt? 21:35
has the nicest butt? Cameron Diaz won by a
convincing margin. Whew! It's NOT Kan.
Thankfully! But I don't like this poll at all,
it hasn't got my name inside. Not fair. Not
fair. Not fair. Now who's calling me
3DXtreme Riva TNT 21:35
this sound completely foreign to you? It was
to me. Terry of Hardware
Extreme sent word of their review
on this TNT card.
in all, the Yuan 3DXtreme 16MB Riva TNT
graphics card is a good buy today if you're
looking for good business 2D and moderate 3D
(moderate yes ! - TNT2s are just on the
horizon) considering you can pick one up for
around $100 - $120 currently and with prices
dropping further, TNT based cards will soon
drop in price and will be replaced with
upcomming graphics chipsets from 3dfx such
as the Voodoo 3 and nVidia's followup - the
posted a guide
to 3D Basics. First part of the guide
covers stuffs such as the the different
elements that are used in graphics to the
difference in color depths. They also talked
about alpha blending, dithering etc.
resolution of your display refers to number
of pixels your screen is able to display. A
800 x 600 resolution displays 800 pixels in
each horizontal line, and 600 pixels in each
vertical column for a total of 480,000
pixels. In contrast, a higher resolution of
1600 x 1200 displays 1,920,000 pixels. Wait,
does this mean that a screen with a 1600 x
1200 resolution will be 4 times bigger than
a screen with an 800 x 600 resolution? No,
not exactly. The size of your display will
remain the same, but it will have 4 times
Orb Drive 10:36
posted a review on the Castlewood
Orb drive. This is a removable drive with
a 2.2 GB ORBit disk, which is enough to store
204 minutes of CD music or few hundreds of
disks can be used in a wide variety of
applications requiring the use of large
amounts of digital data, including content
authoring, like CAD/CAM, graphic design,
publishing and multimedia presentations, and
editing of content, like music and video.
Information technology (IT) markets are
expected to use ORB drives as a way to
easily and quickly increase PC storage, and
for backing up employee files and digital
electronic sales via Web sites.
Castlewood offers the Orb drive in just
about any available interface you can think
of. Internal SCSI and IDE drives, and
external SCSI, Parallel and USB drives are
all available and while my experience is
limited to the internal IDE interface, I can
easily say that I am very pleased and
impressed with the Orb drive's performance.
3D Revelator Stereo Glasses 10:32
sweet buds over at Dimension
X did a review on the Elsa
3D Revelator Stereo Glasses.
you decide to buy the 3D REVELATOR glasses,
then you must either own an Elsa card or buy
one with the glasses. That's a major set
back in my mind. You do get your choice of
the Erazor II (Riva TNT), Erazor III (Riva
TNT2), Winner II (S3 Savage 4), or the
Victory II (3dfx Banshee) for your graphic
card, but most games want the best 3D card
First Dual Processor Slot-1 Interface 10:29
press-release from QDI on the first dual
processor Slot 1 interface motherboard.
QDI, one of the world’s largest PC motherboard
manufacturers, today announced the launch of
TwinMagic, the first dual processor motherboard
on slot 1 interface at Computex ’99 Taiwan.
Legend QDI is the first to offer dual
processor capabilities supporting dual Intel
Celeron PPGA 370 CPU interface for personal
This innovation offers a substantial
increase in performance at a competitive price.
did a Q3Test
Strategy/Tips guide to teach you how to get
more frags. Remember, always kill newbies. :)
of the first things you'll notice when you
play with others in DeathMatch is Q3T's visual
help in identifying who you're looking at. It
actually will put the user's name above their
character. The other cool feature is the talk
icon that goes above you if you decide to chat
during gameplay. Although I'm sure it's meant
as a means of playing fair by not shooting
people who are in the middle of typing along
with positive proof that you were typing and
not camping, you can use it to your advantage.
It's a dead giveaway for an easy kill.
Crystal Ball 10:17
Sanctum, the babes updated their monthly Hardware
Crystal Ball. Stuffs they recommend for this
month include the Pentium III 550 Mhz as well as
the IBM Ultrastar 9LZX. *drool*
Storage Division is one of the best around.
It's drives are built around quality and bring
you the speed you need to run today's
applications and programs with ease. It's U2W
interface brings data across at 10,020RPM and
with a 4MB buffer cache it makes other drives
look like ancient fossils. If you crave speed
and work with audio and video this is your
drive. Sure it's only around 9GB, but we feel
this is perfect for most users. While SCSI
isn't for everyone it's still faster then
everything else and that's all that matters.
Coupled with Adaptec's 2940U2W controller you
too can bring the Daytona 500 to your home or
Phantom Menace 10:15
the buds over at ActiveWin
did a review on the game The
Phantom Menace. Anyway, if you haven't seen
this movie yet, you should! It's good.
game begins in the same place as it does in
the movie, on a Trade Federation battleship.
You take the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the
first level as you work alongside Qui-Gon to
escape from the clutches of the battle droids.
The game gets off to a good start as you walk
into a corridor full of Battle Droids and then
you fight them off with your extremely cool
lightsaber, the John Williams soundtrack booms
into action. Your lightsaber cannot only cut
your enemy to shreds but it can also deflect
off laser shots and fire them back at the
enemy. You can also use your Force Push to
"Push" the battle droids onto the
ground and then finish them off with a few
lightsaber swings. The rest of the opening
level has you opening a series of doors and
switches before you can complete it by flying
off to Naboo.
YST Speaker Technology 01:04
has a press
release of Yamaha's newly patented YST
speaker technology. Catch the blast here!
Corporation of America, Consumer Products
Division, announces another leap forward in
greatly improving bass performance in
small-format computer and multimedia
speakers. With the introduction of Advanced
YST, Yamaha's exclusive new patented
technology, smaller-size speaker systems can
now deliver unparalleled sonic performance
and accuracy, superior to that of much
larger and more expensive speaker packages.
Yamaha's new MS50 and MS55D powered
multimedia speaker systems are the first to
feature this groundbreaking technology.
"The MS50 and MS55D are perfect
examples of how Advanced YST delivers a
satisfying, full-range, audio experience
from smaller speaker enclosures,"
CL-Unified Drivers 01:00
Saw at Voodoo
Extreme a link to a new release of
Creative's Unified drivers. You may want to
visit the link right here.
3 Review 00:57
PC.IGN did a review
on Microprose's MechWarrior 3. Your former
crazy editor Yingzong completed this game in 1
the previous 'Mech games, when you take a
hard hit in MechWarrior 3 you don't just see
a burst of light and continue to move at top
speed. MechWarrior 3 attempts to accurately
simulate damage (well, as accurately as you
can portray something that's set over 1,000
years in the future) so, if you get an arm
blown off, you'll see a mass of twisted
metal and dangling wires hanging from your
shoulder. You'll even see your ripped
appendages on the battlefield.
Extreme Extravaganza 00:52
I've exaggerated a little here but HE
is back with a fresh new look as well as 3 new
reviews on the following: ABIT
P6B40D-A5 Dual PII / PIII Mainboard and
HOT649A Dual PII / PIII Mainboard.
6X DVD-ROM Drive 00:47
Prophecy did a review
on the acclaimed Pioneer 6X DVD-ROM drive.
This is the drive I will get if I'm into PC-DVDs
Pioneer 303s is a 6X DVD-Rom Drive with 32X
CD-Rom compatibility. This is one of
the highest rated DVD-Rom's out today, so
I'd thought I'd see what all the fuss was
about. First obvious thing unique about this
drive is that it handles discs thru a slot
insert mechanism. Not only is this
feature neat looking, it may also be better
for your CD and DVD discs. There's no
tray for it to sit on so the drive cannot be
blamed for scratching your precious DVD
movies or favorite music CD's. It's
your own fault if you get drunk and start
chucking them around the house. The
slot itself has a brush-like shield thing to
keep the dust out of the drive and brush off
the dust of every disc you insert into the
June 1999 - Saturday
Celerons Board? 14:31
Thanks to Uncle
Loong for this link. What you see here is
no slotket for your Celerons. Seen during
Computex 99, this is a dual Celeron Socket 370
board from QDI called TwinMagic which allows
you to run dual-processors under your existing
Slot1 motherboard. Hmm, sounds a bit amazing.
Catch all the juice right
Phantom K7 11:50
not The Phantom Menance, but the Phantom
K7 which SharkyExtreme reported on their
last day at Computex 99.
we said in our last report, we've seen a
working K7 (a good thing indeed) and were
left optimistic about the performance. Once
again, the worries seem to sit firmly with
AMD's track record for not being able to
deliver. It didn't exactly inspire us with
confidence when virtually all (apart from
the three mentioned above) the Taiwanese
motherboard manufacturers revealed that they
currently did NOT have a Slot-A based
product in the works. Even if the second
round of OEMs were to get in on the act
today, the market still won't be awash with
Slot-A based mainboards.
to a Gigahertz 11:48
posted a massive
15 pages article on supercooling your
processor and breaking the Gigahertz barrier.
put, a CPU is made out of a silicon
substrate: a wafer, on which layers of
metal, used as conductors, and metal oxides,
used as isolators, are doped to create the
circuitry. At some points intersects are
made between the layers through the silicon,
that thereby can be made to function as a
semi-conductor, mostly in the form of a
transistor. There are millions of them in
your average CPU.
process used to make today’s CPU’s is
known as the CMOS, Complementary Metal Oxide
Semiconductor (CMOS) technology. One of the
characteristics of semiconductors made with
this process is that they tend to become
more efficient if we lower their operating
MX3ZA i440ZX 11:39
motherboard madness over at AnandTech
with the review of the AOpen
MX3ZA i440ZX motherboard. This is a
microATX Socket-370 motherboard with a FSB
supporting up to 150 MHz.
Rage Pro Turbo get its own bank of 8MB
100MHz SDRAM, so no memory and performance
sapping unified memory architecture here.
That 8MB should be plenty to handle most 2D
tasks. ATI's Rage Pro Turbo is a tried and
true chipset, with drivers available for
just about any operating system, including
Linux, BeOS, and OS/2. Of course for Windows
gaming, the Rage Pro Turbo still lacks a
really good OpenGL ICD.
onboard ESS Solo-1 is a PCI based solution
that does a good job at providing basic
audio functionality. CPU utilization is low
thanks to the PCI interface. AOpen also
wisely made the sound only take up one IRQ,
unlike some other solutions featuring the
same chip that take two. Unfortunately, that
IRQ is the same one taken by the USB
controller, whose IRQ cannot be disabled.
vs Predator 11:39
over at QuakeCity
did a first impression on the game Aliens
alien's visual enhancements include "hunt
mode", which looks much like a light
enhancer(night vision). As the alien, you can
scale any surface to sneak up on your prey,
and take their heads off to gain energy. This
is tough, and might even be a drawback unless
there are a lot of campers in the game. You
must get close enough for you jaws to retract,
then hit primary fire to remove the prey's
head. This is the only source of energy for
the alien, and in a fast-paced DM game, you
stand little chance. The marine has typical
"space-marine" gear and power-ups.
Tournament Preview 10:26
has posted a preview
of Unreal Tournament they caught running in
the offices of Epic. You should hear this:
was floored. The quantity and quality of the
content just blew me away. If Epic plays
their cards right (free advanced copies for
server operators, etc) and continue to work
on their net play performance, this will be
an awesome online game.
Afraid Of Sony 10:17
to this report
at PSX Nation, Microsoft is taking even the
Sony Playstation 2 as a potential threat to
unquestionably cares about anything that
would reduce the demand for the PC operating
system,'' Fisher said. Lacovara presented
several exhibits to show that Microsoft
faces competition from a host of new
portable information devices in the next few
years, such as 3Com Corp.'s Palm Pilot
hand-held computer, and from the potential
transformation of the Sony Playstation's
powerful chip into a serious computer.
6X/ 24X SCSI CDR 10:12
posted a review
on the 6X/24X Internal SCSI CDR drive from
Teac. You should definitely go for a CDRW
drive these days with their plummeting prices
and increasing performance.
have burned 26 successful CDs and 0
bad CDs. If that isn’t reliability, then I
do not know what is. Remember, SCSI devices
offer a better throughput ratio so as to
transfer data to the CD with a bigger
cushion for possible errors. The throughput
is larger and more stable, which allows for
the perfect burning that I have witnessed so
far. Along with the ratio, the drive comes
with a 2 MB buffer that again allows for
more accurate and faster burning. As for
speed, the Teac suffers a little. In the age
of the 8x writer, this 6x drive seems a
little under powered.
0.60 Released 10:09
mailed to say that he's released v0.60 of his
freeware online game browser - Bowzer. You can
grab it here.
Little More MS-DOJ Juice 04:14
don't normally read the ongoing trial but
since they mentioned my old flame, OS/2, I
found it hard not to post anything. Here's
heard in the courts:
wanted $75 from IBM for Windows 95 - a very
high price - but was willing to offer some
discounts in an MDA. Microsoft offered an $8
reduction if IBM agreed to "restrict,
limit or delay shipping OS/2".
Additional reductions were offered if IBM
ramped-up Windows 95 shipments to 50 per
cent of PC shipments in 60 days, but IBM was
unable to meet the requirements and thought
they were over-optimistic on Microsoft's
part. Close analysis of the Norris'
deposition transcript shows uncertainty as
to whether a decision was in fact made and
implemented to squash OS/2, in order to take
advantage of an $8 discount for Windows 95.
No doubt there will be further evidence
about this when Norris is examined and
cross-examined. Many OS/2 developers and
users have felt betrayed at the sudden
change in IBM policy towards OS/2. Many feel
that it was a moment of infamy: but we now
know that eight pieces of silver were
offered, and probably taken.
Norris negotiated the agreement for a
Windows 95 licence, with a further $7 of
discounts agreed in mid-1995. The first
draft of a Windows 95 licensing agreement
was received by IBM around the time Norris
took up his new appointment. IBM did not
commit wholeheartedly to Windows 95 at the
time - probably as a negotiating tactic,
although some IBMers might have thought that
OS/2 could compete with Windows 95. The
agreement was finally signed 15 minutes
before Windows 95 was launched, on 24 August
So this was
one of the many reasons that led to the
downfall of my once favourite OS, just when I
thought it picked up some steam against
Are Monitored! 03:57
it is not a hoax, then this article
is pretty worrisome - just mailed a mushy
letter to my girlfriend! Dammit! The snippets
from the story:
has become the first country openly to admit
that it takes part in a global electronic
surveillance system that intercepts the
private and commercial international
communications of citizens and companies
from its own and other countries. The
disclosure is made today in Channel 9's
Sunday program by Martin Brady, director of
the Defence Signals Directorate in Canberra.
Brady's decision to break ranks and
officially admit the existence of a hitherto
unacknowledged spying organisation called
UKUSA is likely to irritate his British and
American counterparts, who have spent the
past 50 years trying to prevent their own
citizens from learning anything about them
or their business of "signals
intelligence'' - "sigint'' for short.
with the giant American National Security
Agency (NSA) and its Canadian, British, and
New Zealand counterparts, DSD operates a
network of giant, highly automated tracking
stations that illicitly pick up commercial
satellite communications and examine every
fax, telex, e-mail, phone call, or computer
data message that the satellites carry.
five signals intelligence agencies form the
UKUSA pact. They are bound together by a
secret agreement signed in 1947 or 1948.
Rage Fury 128 03:50
is my first posting after the break. First in
my mailbox is CRUS's review
on the ATI Rage Fury 128 card. Not the most
stellar of cards released lately, but probably
still worth a look.
sum things up, the Rage128 offers great
features and acceptable performance, but
unfortunately it’s a little bit late to
the marked to compete with newer cards such
as the TNT2, Voodoo3 or the G400. But the
Rage128 offers a truly viable alternative to
the nVidia TNT, with similar performance but
with better DVD hardware decoding
capabilities, but it comes at a slightly
Returns To Cough 03:30
I'm back to the editing business after my
Melbourne trip. Quite an exhilarating
experience going on a free-&-easy tour. Oh
well, I was back more than 24hrs ago but it
sure took me a long time to catch up on lost
time with Hardware-One. All the news and
development when I was away...
good pal (except when he calls me Fishman!)
Yingzong for doing such an incredible job
covering my 'duties' and of course Mr Kan for
his undying endurance.... heh heh!
June 1999 - Friday
and Upgrade Guide 21:43
sent note on their new article Pricing
and Upgrade Guide. This will be a
regularly updated article talking about the
most kick-ass products available in the
even when it comes to hardcore hardware,
price is always an object. Sure you can go
out and spend tens of thousands of dollars
on workstation-class processors and RAID
configurations, just for that extra 5%
increase in general productivity and gaming
performance, but I'll bet I can count the
number of people who do that can be counted
isn't saying that the best hardware comes
cheap, mind you. If you want 100fps, you're
still going to have to pay for it.
Hopefully, this guide will help you decide
what's worth investing in, and what's just
going to be burning a whole in your pocket.
There's nothing worse than having something
you can't take advantage of, and watching it
depreciate at industry speed!
your usual hardware/software reviews, but Singularity
posted a review on Starwars:
The Phantom Menace. I just caught the
movie yesterday and it's good!
nevermind, the way of a true Jedi is doing
what you feel is right - and the Force is
now telling me to catch the first screening
on opening night. I bought my tickets at
around 8 pm, and literally camped at
Tampines Mall from 8 to 12 am - reading,
eating, walking around, all hyped up in
anticipation of the show. During the wait I
bumped into one of my female friends
(actually my Church cell group leader) and
she looked incredulous when she knew I'm
watching the show alone at mid-night.
Another one weak in the Force! My mind
control attempt to ask her to watch it with
me didn't work on her though..looks like
it's back to more training for me in the
I can do some yawning. Fishman (where the hell
did he get this name??) is back and I can
finally catch up with some beauty sleep (miss
'em quite a lot). Talking about the porn
industry, they are probably the most lucrative
out there. Remember, they get more hits than
most hardware reviews sites out there. :)
Sees and Sez 10:25
people, checkout what my bud and I saw two
days ago in a cybercafe in town; The both
of us were walking towards the bus stop when
I noticed this dude using one of the Acer
rigs to surf the Net using ADSL. Always interested
in what people are surfing nowadays, I leaned
towards the window for a closer look. Guess
what I saw? Holy crap! This dude was surfing
por.. err, I mean "objectionable material"
like he was reading his daily paper! He was
expressionless and cool-looking, with a look
that didn't the least bit betray what he was
doing! Now that's a talent for our local soccer
Anyhow, your favourite editor Wilfred is back!
Yes, fishman is back from Australia and will
be updating the news and reviews for you very
soon. So for now, brown cows, ciao and all
Midtown Madness Map 10:20
this over from Midtown
Madness Online. Seems that Angel
Studios has sent them a new map
for Midtown Madness. For those road rage fanatics,
visit this page and bookmark it 'cos more
updates and goodies are coming up soon too.
Here's the word on the
is a small cops and robbers level that we
made to use for a small group of people
playing (works great up 8 also). It's made
specifically for multiplayer games, but
you can select it to cruise around and "get
the lay of the land -- if you know what
Atlas 10,000 RPM Hard Drive 08:47
RPM hard drive review over at StorageReview.
Seems like SCSI hard drives are slowly moving
up to the 10,000 RPM range while EIDE hard
drives are moving up to the 7,200 RPM range.
usage with our testbed's
Adaptec 2940U2W SCSI host adapter, I ran
into problems getting the drive detected on
the LVD (U2W) segment of the controller. The
drive would appear just fine when attached
to the UW segment. After much hair pulling,
a Quantum applications engineer determined
that the 2940U2W had to be "hard terminated."
In other words, setting host adapter
termination in the BIOS (sufficient for
every LVD drive thus far) was not enough: a
jumper physically located just beneath the
LVD connector had to be shunted. Isn't new
technology great? ATA-66 and Ultra160/m both
arrive, both (supposedly) completely
backwards compatible, yet these problems
PW-9801 Mini-Notebook Review 08:44
posted the Soyo
PW-9801 Mini-Notebook review. Now, one of
the most important things when purchasing a
notebook is the size. A 3kg notebook will
weigh like 10kg at the end of the day.
have got to be one of the most
"neck-snap" inducing items a
person can carry onto a plane for a long
flight. Passengers' heads whip around and
look slack jawed as you not only power up
the unit free from an external battery, but
the drool really drips in high volumes when
they see the true-blue Win98 splash screen
appear in perfect color.
isn't one of those limited MS
"Jupiter" devices running the
handicapped Windows CE, this is the real
V3800 TVR TNT2 08:42
also took a look at the ASUS
V3800 TVR TNT2 graphics card with TV
capture and In/Out capabilities.
Chrontel chip has been used by ASUS as well
as Canopus in the past and does make for
excellent TV output. To build on the feature
set, ASUS included composite (RCA) as well
as S-Video output connectors for the sake of
convenience. The TV-out mode is set via a
jumper on the board (JP1) that allows the
user to select either NTSC or PAL TV-out
depending on their video standard. Going
along with the TV-out theme is a unique
feature on the V3800 board, the presence of
a S-Video input for video capturing. Once
seemingly a feature only Canopus would ever
bring to the eyes of the gamer, ASUS decided
to capitalize on a market that exists but
isn’t really addressed by most graphics
vendors. In a world where the lowest price
usually takes the gold, it’s nice to know
that ASUS strives to achieve a balance
between quality/features and an affordable
Erazor II 08:39
TNT reviews floating around. High
Performance PC Guide reviewed the Elsa
Erazor II TNT graphics card.
software bundle coming with this graphic
card seems to be the same than the Erazor II
version as both drivers as well as drivers
for several other Elsa graphic cards are
included on this CD. Other than the drivers,
the applications included on this CD, are:
Microsoft DirectX 6, Elsa Winman suite,
Microsoft Media Payer, Intel Indeo 5 nmedia
player and an offline Elsa WWW browser.
There is also a directory on the CD named
Elsaware where you can find and install
several other application demo such as:
3DMax2, Autocad 13 and 14, Allplan, DosTools,
Elsa View 3D for Win NT, Guardian, LogoCad
and many other various applications to name
only these ones. An Acrobat version of the
users manual can also be found as well as
the Acrobat Reader of course.
Dynamite TNT2 Ultra 08:34
just finished their review on the first batch
of production Hercules
Dynamtic TNT2 Ultras. So, how fast is it
when the memory speed is pushed to 220 MHz?
Read the review to find out more!
TNT2 Ultra reference specification
originally called for 175MHz core speed and
200MHz memory speed. However, this
specification was slightly modified to the
current spec of 150MHz core and 183MHz
memory speeds. It was speculated that both
TNT2 chip yields and 5.5ns memory yields
spawned this decision by nVidia. As a
possible "save face" move by
nVidia, they encouraged hardware
manufacturers to explore various settings
for their respective cards. As a result, the
TNT2 market is flooded with cards coming
with different clock speeds. In addition to
the different features such as TV-out, and
video in and out that manufacturers are
offering, the TNT2 market is all the more
Motherboards Massive Roundups 08:30
pals over at Review
Zone posted a massive
Slot-1 motherboards roundup. This is a
whopping 24 pages review covering 14
motherboards. Catch all the live action there!
said this before (and we’ll say it again),
but the motherboard is not only one of the
most important components of any system but
also one of the components least often
recognized as such. When was
the last time someone came up to you and
bragged about their really cool motherboard,
as opposed to, to pick an entirely random
example, their new processor or their new
graphics card or sound card? You could think
of this as a case of missing the wood for
the trees, since your motherboard is
literally the most fundamental part of your
computer in that everything else connects to
it, directly or indirectly. That also means,
however, that it is your motherboard that
determines what exactly you can chuck into
your computer. Nowadays, nobody builds a
system without allowing for future
upgradability as best as possible- and
nothing will matter so much in deciding the
limits of your future upgradability as your
choice of motherboard.
Dynamite TNT2 Press Release 08:27
sent note on the Hercules
Dynamite TNT2 press-release. You can get 7
different TNT2 cards from them, including 3
Computer Technology, Inc. today announced
the Hercules Dynamite TNT2, integrating the
NVIDIA RIVA TNT2® graphics processor, a
300MHz DAC, and up to 32MB of ultra fast
SDRAM. The Hercules Dynamite TNT2 is
the highest performing graphics board in its
class, with retail models guaranteed to
operate at a blistering 145MHz engine clock
and 170MHz memory clock. Hercules’
superior board design and software support
in conjunction with an active cooling fan
assures outstanding performance and
stability. For added value, the
Hercules HercuMeter overclocking utility
will be included for even further
performance enhancement. Initial
shipments begin the second week of June,
with the 16MB retail model starting as low
as $149.99. The rollout of the
Hercules Dynamite TNT2 completes Hercules’
high-end line of graphics accelerators.
Rage 128GL 08:25
posted a review on the ATI
Rage 128GL All-In-Wonder graphics card. Is
it really that wonderful? Read their review to
128 is the latest in an award-winning series
of products. Powered by world-leading RAGE
128 graphics technology, it provides
stunningly fast 3D graphics, DVD video
playback, still and motion video capture,
Intelligent TV-Tuner, Instant Replay,
Digital VCR with MPEG-2 video compression,
Video-out, and much more.
All these features on one card makes it big.
Not that BIG but it's big for a graphic card
if you know what I mean. The AIW is a card
that could be the number one buy for person
who looks for a card with great support
video and multimedia. This review will not
cover technical information. What is written
in this review is the stuff that interested
me while doing the testing of the card.
June 1999 - Thursday
dudes! Check out our caffine pals Tech-Junkie's
interview with Brad Dosland, chief editor of
MaximumPC on the wackiest stuffs under the
What's with the Kick Ass award? Why didn't
you guys settle for something more
"politically correct" such as
"Editor's Choice" or "Big
From the start, we wanted the voice in
the magazine to be more like the way we
talked in real life. We wanted to escape
the canned language in other mags and
express the excitement we earnestly felt
about the subject matter. If something
sucked, we wanted to say it outright. If
something rocked, we were going to say it
loud and clear. "Kick Ass"
captured our sentiment as far as the
best-of-the-best went and we had the cajones
to go with it. We haven't looked back since.
Some recipients have been timid about using
the accolade on their packaging, but that's
OK. We would rather be affiliated with gutsy
2000 Review 18:58
the software I hate to use, but can't do
without it. :) ActiveWin
posted a review on Microsoft's latest web
editing software, FrontPage
begin, FrontPage 2000 lets you create your
own FrontPage Web on your hard drive. By
clicking on File - New - Web you get a tab
like the one below. For personal users who
would like to create say a homepage, you
just click on the Personal Web option and
the FrontPage 2000 wizard guides you through
the next few phases to setup a web on your
PC, the web will include a folder of images,
photos and a starting page for you to work
on. For those of us who feel like can do
pretty much all of this by themselves just
click on the One Page Web and take it from
to LiteStep 18:55
WooHoos <tm> pals over at ArsTechnica
had an Introduction
to LiteStep article. LiteStep is a shell
replacement for Windows which resembles the
famous NeXTSTEP desktop. Sick of the Windows
interface? Well, I am.
consists of nearly everything that you
see/use. From the Start button to the
windows that open up, these are all
Explorer.exe. Explorer is the
"shell" that you use to interface
with Windows. What LiteStep does is replace
the Explorer.exe shell with LiteStep.exe. Is
this better? More "user friendly"?
Faster? Not necessarily, in all cases. Is it
cooler? Does it impress your friends and
neighbors? Will it make your computer pretty
much unusable to others? Yes, it will.
Can it turn your bland, English-style
cuisine into quality Turkish cooking?
Caesar thinks so.
it is! 3DsoundSurge
sent note on their LiveWare
2.0 review. Hmm, I love my SB Live! :)
presets are fixed environmental settings
that can be applied to those applications
that do not support the Environmental Audio
Extensions (termed legacy titles)
First off, this should really be described
as 30 new environmental audio presets as we
were starting with 50. These new
presets present something immediate for
users and the effects have a very nice
"wow" factor. It's one of
those things that you can do to impress
people about your PC. Changing your voice
from male to female (or vice versa), a
chipmunk or Zeus in real time is sure to
garner attention from your friends. The
selection of caves, caverns, pipes, etc. are
also nice to add to some legacy title. This
feature impacts on more than games as the
presets can be applied to music, voice, etc.
On its own, this is not an earth shattering
upgrade but all the small things will start
to add up.
Crypt posted an interview
with Timothy Gerritsen on their current
will be using the UNREAL game engine. What
was it about the UNREAL game engine that
enticed you the most? Were there other game
engines (either in production or in
development) that you considered at the
time? What made you choose to use a
pre-built game engine rather then develop
originally picked up the Unreal engine
because we signed on with Ion Storm to do
Daikatana 2. We really got into the meat of
the engine while we were ramping up into
design phase, and found that it to be a
solid engine that was easily adaptable to
what we wanted to do. Unfortunately,
Daikatana 2 just didn't happen. Eidos and
Ion decided, rightly in our opinions, that
they shouldn't split focus when the first
game wasn't done, and decided to put off the
sequel. We really respect John and the gang
in Dallas, so we were disappointed that we
wouldn't be working with them again (John
was the producer for some of the Raven
games), but this sort of thing happens, and
we would definitely like to team up again
when it makes sense to do so.
guys also posted some Q3Test
screenshoots captured at 1024x768x32 with
everything turned on.
Phoenix 2 18:45
have a Guillemot
Phoenix 2 review over at TNT2.net.
The Phoenix 2 is based on the nVidia Vanta
chipset which is designed for low-budget
This board comes in an AGP architecture,
which is keeping up with today’s advancing
computers. The image quality of the board is
far superior to most video boards in its
class. Compared with the Banshee 16MB video
board, the image quality is about the same
(for the same price). 1920x1080, maximum
resolution, is very good for a low-budget
gamer. The price is also a definite plus on
Bad: The 8MB of RAM is not up to the
day’s standards. The board also lacks the
superior speed of having 16MB or 32MB of
video memory, therefore games run a couple
of frames per second less than a higher RAM
III Glitch Hangs 810 Chip 14:25
news from ZDNet
that Intel's new 810 chip can't work with
the Pentium III. Shouldn't be much of a problem
to the computer community as the 810 is targeted
for Celeron users. Here's a piece of the story
erratum that affects the Pentium III's SSE
or Streaming SIMD multimedia instruction
set is keeping Intel's new 810 chip set
from working with the chip. The erratum,
called MaskMovQ, is a Pentium III glitch.
And while Intel has created a workaround
for it, the 810 doesn't support it, making
it incompatible with the Pentium III. Intel
isn't supporting the workaround in the chip
set because the 810 was not designed or
validated to work with the Pentium III,
said Intel spokesman Dan Fancisco.
3 Vs Riva TNT2 Shoot-out 14:15
a look at a Voodoo3
and TNT2 shoot-out cum comparison down
just now. I felt that it was an unbiased and
well organised article. They've looked at
performance, image quality feaures and more.
In addition, there's a summary at the end
with some buying advice. Here's a titbit of
get complicated pretty quickly when you
try to compare the performance of the Voodoo
3 and the TNT 2. The Voodoo 3 is currently
available in two flavors: the 2000, running
at 143 MHz; and the 3000, running at 166
MHz. According to 3dfx, its 3500 TV with
an integrated TV tuner is expected to ship
in July at 183 MHz. The standard TNT 2 runs
at a 125-MHz core clock speed and a 150-MHz
memory speed; the Ultra TNT 2 runs with
a 150-MHz core and a 175-MHz clock speed.
However, individual cardmakers are shipping
boards at a wide variety of speeds; for
example, Guillemot's 16MB Xentor runs at
135/166, and Hercules is planning a board
to ship at 175/200 by default. And vendors
such as Diamond and Creative, which are
shipping at the standard clock speeds, are
including utilities that allow you to overclock
V3 Fighter Review 09:10
have another classified review on the Stealth
V3 Fighter bomber, errr...I mean the Stealth
V3 Fighter cooler for the Voodoo3 over
installation for the Stealth Voodoo3 Fighter
is quick and painless. The heat sink that
shipped with the Voodoo3 is removed, and the
Stealth Voodoo3 Fighter is put in it's
place. The fan attaches directly onto the
processor using TennMax's phase change
thermal interface pad, so no thermal
compound is needed. The pushpins at the
corners of the fan are snapped in place to
make sure everything is secure. This is to
make sure the fan doesn't fall off and
tumble onto the helpless chips below, a
safety measure the V2 Cooler didn't have.
APX-4620 Speakers 08:39
APX-4620 speakers review over at 3DHardware.net.
For that price, you get a rather decent pair
of speakers for your PC.
taken a look at Labtec's shot for the
high-end speaker market - the APX-4620. Ok,
so Labtec might not be the first company
that pops up in your head when you hear the
words: High quality sound and thundering
bass. Well, all of this is beginning to
change, beginning with the APX-4620. Branded
under the "Performance" series, we
should expect some serious sound from the
As mentioned, the system consists of a
6" Max-X (Labtec's own driver design)
subwoofer housed in a sturdy cabinet made
out of a strong particle design. Sounds
impressive so far. Anyway, enough with the
introduction, let's get on with the review.
Winfast S320 II 08:32
we have another TNT2 review around and it's
Winfast S320 II over at HardwarePros.
the first to release a new card is one
thing, but making it a good one in such
short time is another thing. Was
Leadtek able to do it? In short, Yes. I'm
not keeping it a surprise because there have
been a ton of S320 II reviews and the
results are all the same. So there is
no point keeping you in suspense.
However, I will try to examine all aspects
of the board as best as possible. Most
TNT2 boards from different manufacturers
will be very similar in performance because
they are closely based on NVidia's reference
Stuff Department 01:25
had a look at these pieces of work : Windows
CE MP3 players and an intriguing looking mouse
pad from Everglide
with, check this out, "Micro-Beveled
Edge Traction Control Surface". What
a mouthful but nevertheless, still sweeet...
Reviews done by the folks down at The
Gadgeteer and AGN
Hardware respectively. Hell, the mouse
pad even got a perfect ten score! Here's a
quickie from The Gadgeteer :
player has a nice interface that displays
the song titles in your current playlist.
You can create multiple lists and save them.
So, if you have a bunch of country tunes,
or top40 tunes, you can separate them into
different lists. You can then tap on them
one at a time to play them or you can shuffle
here's the review
quickie from AGN Hardware :
you can tell if a mousepad is good within
the first 10 seconds of use. The Everglide
mousepad is the smoothest yet best tracking
mousepad I've ever used. It is ungodly smooth.
I was afraid that it would be really smooth
but have zilcho tracking. This isn't the
case however. The surface of the Everglide
mousepad has tiny bumps which give excellent
tracking but don't hinder the smoothness.
Other vinyl pads are very smooth but the
mouse just slips away since it has nothing
to "grab" onto when you stop moving. Using
the Everglide mousepad is actually less
work because it is so effortless to use.
This helps to eliminate that stiff wrist
feeling that can build up after a long gaming
session. For kicks, I grabbed the cutting
board from my kitchen to compare it. It
does look similar but the bumps aren't nearly
as fine and it's nowhere near as smooth.
Durability wise, this pad isn't going to
wear out. In five years there is no reason
why it won't be as smooth as the day you
2020u 21-inch Monitor 01:00
is one of the better monitors out there (I
love Mitsubishi!) and Gamespot
managed to review the 2020u
DiamondPro 2020u has a seemingly infinite
number of adjustments - even more than the
Sony. However, the onscreen display is a
little more difficult to use, as there's a
lot of button pushing you must do to set any
parameter. With some patience, you can get
an incredibly sharp image out of the 2020u.
The default settings were OK, but I had to
adjust convergence and corner sharpness a
Viper V770 TNT2 Review 00:48
is the third time I'm posting review news for
the Diamond V770. This time, the
stuff comes from The
Tech Zone. A rather brief review with
benchmarks to checkout. Here's a sneak :
Great visual quality. Expensive. That's the
Viper 770 Ultra. So, should you get this
card? That depends. If you want excellent
visual quality and ultra high speed and
you're willing to pay for it, then we can
highly recommend the Viper 770 Ultra. If you
just want speed above all else and visuals
can take a back seat, then get a Voodoo 3
3000. You'll save money, get a better game
bundle and TV out.
by past Diamond products, there is very
little doubt that the Viper V770 Ultra will
be the best selling TNT2 card this year.
Diamond dominated Voodoo sales with it's
Monster 3DII and it looks to take the market
by storm with the new Viper 770 Ultra.
the price may be a little high, we feel it's
worth it for what you get. Given a choice
between the V770 Ultra and the V770 we would
take the Ultra. Then again, we're a bunch of
performance hungry nuts. You may not need
the speed that this card can generate.
new motherboard review over at AnandTech.
6IBA comes with 4 PCI/3 ISA and 1 AGP
slots. Rather ordinary.
impression given by the 6IBA after a first
look is that it is appears much like any
other ATX i440BX Slot-1 mainboard with no
special features nor any obvious defects.
The ATX specification is also closely
followed with most major components
strategically placed to minimize cable
clutter and provide the greatest possible
space to work around the board. All HDD/FDD
connectors are located where they should be,
right at the front of the board, so that
these cables are not forced to run over the
CPU and/or memory.
Show Report Part 2 00:41
updated their Computex
99 Show Report with info on nVidia NV10 as
well as stuffs like the Intel Camino and
interestingly was the identical line being
touted by the aforementioned sources with
regards to the projected performance of the
NV10, which is said to be somewhere in the
region of four times that of the TNT2 (the
current 350MegaTexel/second fill rate is
already high). Many of you will already know
that NVIDIA is aiming to take 3D graphics
into the 'next stage of realism' by sporting
hardware T&L (transformation &
lighting), clipping and geometry features
on-chip but what if we told you that this
will be backed up by a 64MB-128MB memory
specification? Obviously full AGP 4X support
will increase the memory bandwidth
Data reviewed the Avision
AV100C sheetfed scanner. Damn, scanners
are kinda cheap nowadays and you can get one
for less than $100 bucks.
scanners, which pull a page past a
stationary scan head, are a trade-off. They
take up a lot less desk space than a
standard flatbed model, and ones with a
proper document feeder are great for
multi-page scanning. But you can't scan
anything but individual sheets of paper or
card in a sheetfed scanner, and the scans
you get are often not as good as those from
a flatbed scanner, because the scan
mechanism is likely to have lower
specifications, and because the paper feed
mechanism may have a hard time keeping the
is Back! 00:35
hunks over at PlanetHardware
is back with a new facelift (I could use one
of 'em these days) and more juice than ever.
So, head over there to take a look!
P3 TF Cooler 00:33
posted a review on the TennMax
P3 TF Cooler for the Pentium III
processors. What the hell is Intel trying to
do by not even providing a default
heatsink+fan for the Pentium III?
unit itself is a very dense pin construction
and has two 5K RPM fans mounted on the top.
These fans are harnessed together into one
three pin intelligent power connector that
plugs right into an available header on your
motherboard. This is a much neater solution
than the standard pig tail set ups you
usually get with dual fan models these days.
As you can see in the above picture, on
either side of the CPU contact plate the
sink is hollowed out so it doesn't make
contact with the CPU board or cache chips.
Optical I/O Card 00:28
babes over at 3DsoundSurge
had a short note on the lack of availability
of the Creative's Optical I/O card.
to customer feedback, Creative has decided
that the Optical I/O card demand was met
after the first shipment of cards was sold.
Initial sales feedback confirmed this, as
sales have gone down significantly since we
first offered the Optical I/O card. Thus, in
lieu of further demand, the Optical I/O card
is only available on a first come, first
serve basis from the regions that still have
them left - currently that leaves only the
If demand is sufficient, there is no reason
why Creative couldn't offer this product
again. But looking at the sell through for
the first offering, it appears this item is
not all that desirable to the general Sound
Blaster Live! population. I would encourage
your readers to inform their local Creative
representative, via the respective web sites
listed below, that they still want such a
guys also updated their Benwin
BW2000 review with a picture of the
Benwin-EX4 prototype which is targeted at
Crypt sent note on their latest preview on
the game RaceAge
which is a futuristic type of racing
premise of RaceAge is as simple as it is
effective; the year is 2040, and instead of
impending doom or apocalyptic landscapes
ravishing the planet Earth, the world has
cleaned up its act. The multi-gazillionairs
and corporations are finally using their
powers for good instead of evil, and
developing themed mega-cities to entertain
the populous - ‘Retro Living,’ as the
Immersion team calls it. Within these
cities, citizen do far more than just
sight-see, living and interacting in the
theme-park-come-mega-city as a part of the
pals over at 3D
Spotlight just did a review on Midtown
Madness. I'm kinda beginning to enjoy this
game. Hey, knocking into pedestrians used to
be my favorite pass time. :)
you first begin a race, you need to know how
to get through stoplights and the traffic
that pauses there. The stoplights seem to be
timed as they would in the real Chicago.
Cars will converge at one stoplight while
the others on the left and right will just
be making their way from a green light. Of
course it is also fun to go full speed into
a bunch of stopped cars. Just push the pedal
to the metal, go full speed, and just before
you get upon them push in the brake and pull
the parking brake, steer either left or
right and your going to be in for some fun
June 1999 - Wednesday
Voodoo3 madness over at SysopSolutions
where the guys reviewed the Voodoo3
3000 AGP card.
I seem to be touching on the "have nots"
the second concern is the lack of 32-Bit
rendering. What does this mean?
Typically 16-Bit color is adequate for most
applications, however problems occur when
gameplay generates effects like smoke or
fog. 32-Bit rendering allows for
merged "dithering" which is better
able to blend colors and pixels for an
improved visual effect. The more
levels of imaging (e.g. fog layers) the
heavier the requirement for 32-Bit rendering
as without it the "dithering"
effect starts to become noticeable. As game
engines develop and imaging becomes more
intense the lack of 32-Bit rendering could
become a negative issue for the Voodoo3.
Labs Gun System 03:02
is cool! Extreme
Hardware conducted an interview with
Brandon Crick on the new Act
Labs Gun System. Finally, we have Virtual
Cop shooting style games on your PC monitor!
happens is similar to the way a console
light gun works except we have fine
tuned the technology so that it is
compatible with high resolutions and the
full scope of refresh rates. The problem
in the past has been that any gun
designed for the PC required an
interface card. Our technology is
different in that we simply intercept
the video signal and gather information
via that connection. During the
process a rapid white flash is executed
which paints a white canvas for our
hardware to interpret the current gun's
Monday Blurb 02:59
updated his Monday
Blurb with how stressful his week was.
Wow, I'm stressed as well.
one very stressful week is over, but I have
to say that all the stress I've been through
for the last 8 weeks was finally worth it.
Many of you have certainly noticed the lack
of updates in the last two months and also
that my mood was not exactly cheering. The
reason for this was a major restructuring of
the business behind Tom's Hardware Guide.
Most of you probably know that I am a
medical doctor and not a slick business guy,
which is why those changes didn't really
come easy to me. I don't really enjoy
business meetings, lawyer appointments and
contract negotiations, and even though I
have learned how to deal with it in the last
three years, I still prefer spending my time
for updating the website
Pro Joystick 02:56
posted a review on the VR
Pro Joystick. Seems like joysticks ain't
like those few years back. Ahh...this is what
I call progress.
wandering through the booths, we got towards
the back right corner of the area showing
off hardware and strolled past the VR
Devices booth. If they were not out doing a
demo of it, we would have kept walking
thinking it was just another joystick. But,
they were out playing with it, except for
one thing. The stick was off the base and
they were about 3-4 feet away from the
monitor playing. Motion sensing technology,
we needed to investigate. The VR Pro uses
Analog Device's micro G-Tilt Sensor. The VR
Pro allows gamer's to strafe, rotate,
throttle, accelerate, and freelook on 4 axis
to create complex moves like Circle Strafes
and hat up/down looks. The Patented
one-handed technology built into the VR Pro
senses up all the pushes, pulls and twists
that you apply among the axes and translates
them into fluid and smooth movement in your
WinFast 3D S320V 02:54
pals over at iXBT
posted their review on the Leadtek
WinFast 3D S320V graphics card based on
the nVidia Vanta chipset.
integrated graphics chipsets turn out worth
it for office systems in the first place,
where there is no need in high-quality
gaming features, and good and fast 2D
graphics is more than enough. Integrating
the graphics card component onto the
mainboard allows saving a few bucks and
making a cheaper system compared to a
multi-component one. Besides, the system
logic manufacturers aim at continuing the
integration development. They are planning
to integrate the graphics accelerator
directly into the main chipset and to use
system memory for graphics purposes, which
will make the whole system even cheaper. Got
the point? To illustrate this recent
approach we can mention VIA MVP4 and i810.
10,000 RPM Hard Drive 02:49
this over at Storagereview.
A new Fujitisu
10,000 RPM hard drive is available in
their Reviews section. This is a 18.2 GB UW2
SCSI hard drive spinning at 7200 rpm.
Incidentally, I saw the new IBM 7200 rpm 9.1
GB hard drive with 2 MB cache buffer today.
MAG3182LP is Fujitsu's second 10k rpm Ultra2
SCSI offering, a direct competitor to the
third-generation Cheetah 18LP. The specs of
this 18.2 gigabyte drive, however, read a
bit more impressively across the board.
Instead of the Cheetah's 3.0 gigs per
platter, the MAG3182LP features 3.6
GB/platter. The Fujitsu's specified average
read seek time of 5.0 milliseconds comes in
just a hair faster than the Seagate's 5.2
ms. Finally, the MAG3182LP's 2 meg buffer is
twice the size of the Cheetah 18LP's one
meg. A five-year warranty protects the
99 Show Floor Report 02:45
fished up another new article on the Computex
99 Show Floor Report. Read up on what's
going on at Computex 99 over at Taiwan (Woohoos,
I love those babes over there).
is the world's third largest source of
computer products and also accounted for no
less than 50% of the world's IT products
that were sold last year- clearly the
industry is buzzing in this part of the
world. Whilst economic crisis set in last
year in the rest of Asia, Taiwan instead
enjoyed an annual growth rate of over 20%.
That's the economics out of the way… and
in layman's terms, a large proportion of
your home/work PC was probably manufactured
in Taiwan (motherboard, graphics card, CDROM
etc.). The same can be said if you're
thinking of buying a new PC this year.
Computex traditionally attracts over 10,000
overseas (make that 10,002 with two SE
representatives over here) visitors, with a
primary focus of catering to overseas volume
GA-6BX7 Socket 370 02:42
posted another motherboard review, this time
it's the Gigabyte
GA-6BX7 i440BX Socket 370
GA-6BX7 is a much more traditional
motherboard where Gigabyte decided to focus
primarily on the board itself rather than
gimmicks. Just looking at the GA-6BX7, it's
clear that they set out to follow all
current specifications and standards set
forth for motherboard design. The one that
catches the eye first is the color coded ATX
ports on the back of the board for PC99
compliance. Almost every new motherboard
will start including this nifty little
"feature." While it does little
for the tweaker, it certainly does make it
easier for grandma to setup her computer
using color coded plugs. It's no longer just
for Packard Bell's ;).
TNT2 Ultra 02:35
Depot did a review on the Creative
TNT2 Ultra graphics card. Pretty high
quality looking, it comes with TV-out as well.
out those scores!! I can definitely live
with them. All games felt smooth and rich in
color. And for those of you who've been
complaining about green smoke in Kingpin on
V3, OK I admit ... smoke does look better on
this card. In fact, I'm here to tell you
it's steam, not smoke. Go buy one of these
cards and look again. Quake3Test looks
noticeably better on this card, both in
16-bit and 32-bit, than on other cards that
do not handle such large textures. Only in
Quake3 Test can I see a significant
difference in image quality between V3 and
TnT2 (i.e. 16-bit vs. 32-bit).
Give Away 02:34
is having a Zaero
Quake II Add-on give away. You can win the
game from Team Evolve by simply answering the
poll questions. Sounds great!
Bots Hack 02:33
sent note on the Q3Test
Bots Hack which enables you to run bots in
luck! I've tried the bots personally and
they are actually very smart, it comes with
four preset bots for you to try out, and you
can spawn as many as you wish (of course
you'll hit a limit some where). It's great
for all you high pingers out there... Hey,
I'm running a cable modem and I still enjoy
4th Coming 02:29
Crypt, the guys posted a preview on The
4th Coming which is what the guys called a
Massively Multiplayer Role-Player Game.
Anyway, they also posted some screenshots of
Monolith's upcoming No
One Lives Forever. Looks pretty cool.
however, has circumvented this issue of lag
by using a system seen commonly with FPS
shoot-em-ups. Instead of there being a
single, and all-knowing server, the game is
fragmented over 200+ servers around the
world, hosted by various ISPs and suchlike,
meaning that even down here in Australia
there exists a server with a ping that
shouldn’t impeded on gameplay. 28.8k modem
owners rejoice, for I have met many low-end
gamers in T4C, tasting the fruits of the
genre reserved almost exclusively for the
high-end elitist on PIII's with a cable
connection (you know who you are).
Viper V770 TNT2 Review 01:30
another Diamond Viper V770 review,
this time, down at Thresh's
Firing Squad. Covers both the "Ultra"
and "non-Ultra" flavours. Got lot's
of benchmarks against the Voodoo3 boards down
for comparison too. Here's a performance summary
flavors of the Viper 770 outperform their
Voodoo3 equivalents at default speeds, which
is even more impressive considering they
are clocked approximately ten percent lower.
Evidently the TNT2 architecture is efficient
enough to overcome the raw fill rate difference
in the cards, even at high resolutions.
Also, both the regular and ultra versions
of the Viper 770 are clocked quite conservatively.
Tweakers should be able to coax another
twenty percent speed improvement out of
both cards, though it may take some additional
June 1999 - Tuesday
reviewed the ASUS
AGP-V3800 TNT2 card. This one looks kinda
good with S-Video In/Out and Composite Out
as well as ASUS shutter glasses.
permanent concern for all those who did
not submerge their mainboard in olive oil
cooled down beyond the freezing point of
helium, is taken care of on this board by
a quality fan and heatsink.
didn't encounter stability issues at default
clockspeed, at 200 MHz memory clock the
board gets a little more fickle about things,
but that, after all, is beyond of what you
paid for and hence not covered by reviews,
previews or views other than your own.
Board Shoot Out 11:46
cute babes over at BxBoards
did a massive 5
board overclocker's shoot out. Check out
which board is the best out of the whole lot.
AOpen AX6BC is fastest at 133Mhz with the
Samsung -G8 and PC133 Enhanced SDRAM. The
board was totally stable at CAS / RAS latency
settings of 2. The Abit BX6-2 required a
latency of 3 for both SDRAMs and was not
stable at all at 133Mhz with the HSDRAM.
If only the BX6-2 were more stable past
133Mhz - this is a real concern with official
133Mhz CPU's soon to become available. A
stable 133Mhz implementation guarantees
your BX motherboard will be able to run
the next generation of CPU's successfully.
The MSI 6163 was one of the slower boards
at 133Mhz although it was stable up to 152Mhz.
This suggests that MSI have used less aggressive
internal timings to ensure stability at
these high speeds.
Buyer's Guide 11:41
updated their Buyer's
Guide, bringing'em to the sixth edition.
Check out what they have to recommend.
CPU front has also been quiet this past
month, with only the Celeron 466MHz having
been released. We met with Intel recently
and it became apparent that the 466MHz Celeron
is far from being the last in a long line.
We have it on good authority that even when
the Pentium IV and V are around, the Celeron
will still be there. We expect an August
9th release for the 500MHz Celeron. As for
Camino? It'll be Q3 before AGP 4X becomes
standard (see our road map) but when it
is unleashed, the 3D accelerator market
should really benefit from the extra bandwidth.
AGP will have truly arrived. Of course the
only problem will be, just which 3D chip
manufacturer will harbor the best support
(more on that another time)?
have 2 new reviews over at AGN
Hardware. They are the Montego
II Quadzilla soundcard and the IWill
le370 Socket370 motherboard.
the IWill LE370 motherboard first showed
up on the doorstep I was pretty excited.
The board featured your standard Socket
370 motherboard amenities plus the addition
of Aureals Vortex sound chip on the
motherboard. This allowed you to have great
sound in your budget computer without having
to drop down extra money for a sound card
for your system. Opening the box up and
reading the instructions I noticed something
that left a frown on my face trying to figure
out what was up with IWill. The motherboard
was using a 1 ½ old LX chipset from Intel
rather then the newest BX or ZX chipsets.
This meant that there was no way I was going
to be able to pop in my 300A PPGA processor
and run at 450/504 like I can do with my
Abit boards, due to the inability for the
LX chipset to support the 100MHz FSB. Due
to this reason I kind of stuck the box up
on a shelf and meant to get to it whenever
I had some time.
of PC Audio 11:14
written an article on the Future
of PC Audio. Hmm, how good will soundcards
be in the next 5 years? Support 10 speakers
with 2 subwoofers?
was caught off guard with all these new
technologies, and as soon as Ensoniq introduced
their Audio PCI card, Creative Labs went
out and bought them (the company!). However,
nothing could have prepared Creative for
A3D, the technology that Aureal had been
working on for years. This technology, as
you probably already know, was capable of
producing near ture 3D audio from just two
speakers. It took Creative over a year to
throw together a competing technology.
Fantasy VIII Preview 11:07
guys over at GameWire
did a preview of Final
Fantasy VIII. A classic out there, read
how the guys describe the exciting storyline.
reigns across the land in FF8...or does
it. In this world, Garden uses its military
power to quiet disputes between countries.
All this worked till an evil witch awoke
from her long silence. In a very short time,
the peace in this land has at last come
apart. After fast forwarding a little bit,
you learn that Galbadia has annexed its
neighboring country, Dole, and has declared
war on the rest of the world. The evil witch,
Edea has been suspected of collaborating
with the Galbadia president.
sent note on the new version of PowerStrip
2.50.01. Anyway, it's available for download
from our Downloads
section as well.
is now available for downloading - the first
"official" release with support
for the NVidia Vanta/TNT2, Voodoo3, Savage4
and Rage128, under Windows 95/98 and NT.
Although - aside from the additional chips
supported - there are no new features, this
release includes quite a few small improvements
and bug fixes. Note that 2.5 is likely to
be the last major revision of what is now,
in fact, a very old and dated program. The
next major release will be the first ever
to be completely unencumbered by prior OEM
demands and restrictions (the source of
many legitimate complaints by end-users),
and has a completely different architecture
and feature set.
Stealth III G540 Review 10:30
review just popped up at Sharky's.
Well, in this era of Ultra TNT2 cards, I believe
the article was just patronizing the Savage4
Pro board. Not really impressed with the benchmarks
though. But I guess we have all got to wait
a while for S3TC games to come out en masse
for the Savage4 boards to show their worth.
Check it out :
we've been living the high life too long
with the recent Hercules Dynamite TNT2 Ultra,
Diamond ViperV770 Ultra and Matrox G400
MAX video cards. It's sobering to see how
the other half lives who have to power their
PCs without the latest and greatest "price
is no object" products from video card
vendors. That being said the results from
the Stealth III aren't as dismal as they
appear at first glance, the card definitely
provides an adequate gaming experience if
it's utilized at 800x600x32bpp or 1024x768x16bpp.
Viper V770 Ultra TNT2 Review 10:15
has just finished his final testings on the
V770 and has released his review.
Still left with his ASUS V3800 TNT2 review
before a huge TNT2 and Voodoo3 roundup. Anyhow,
the Guillemot Maxi Gamer Xentor 32 which he
recently appeared to be a faulty board; So
take that review with a pinch of salt. Here's
a snipplet off the V770 review :
been proven that the V770 Ultra isn't the
overclocking monster everyone expected it
to be, limited by a maximum of around 170
- 180MHz core and with a default clock of
150/183, there is no guarantee that your
board will even work at 155/183, much less
175/200 as AnandTech's sample turned out
to be relatively stable at. If you're a
hard core gamer, and only care about performance,
then the Hercules Dynamite TNT2 Ultra is
still probably your best bet. What if you're
not all that interested in overclocking?
if you're looking for a decent TNT2 Ultra
board that gives you the features you want?
In that case, the Viper V770 Ultra is definitely
a viable option. It is probably what will
turn out to be the best overall, normally
clocked TNT2 Ultra card. The ease of use
and installation of the V770 Ultra is top
notch, it's obvious that Diamond put a lot
of effort into making their InControl Tools
99 drivers the best they could be, and it
would take quite a bit to make them any
better. Kudos to Diamond on making a good
card, but they take a back seat to Hercules
as the overclocker's choice.
Miadness Review 09:50
just posted their review
of the latest addition in the "Madness"
titles from Microsoft
Games. Looks like road rage really appealed
to them. I've had a go at it too. This clip
from the review probably best sums it up :
Madness's visuals really stunned me at first
because so much was happening in an enormous
environment. Many cars continuously stop
and go obeying the traffic lights, and pedestrians
innocently walk the sidewalks only to find
out that my car was coming around the corner.
Lights flickers green, yellow, and white
and drawbridges made absolutely awesome
jumps to clear. Chicago is an impressive
city to begin with, and Angel Studios has
definitely added a touch of their own imagination
to make Midtown Madness's environment astounding.
So much is always happening in the game,
even brake lights light up, so one's eyes
can never get tired of seeing the same thing
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