21 June 1999 - Monday
Diamond Fusion 100 21:25 pm - Kan
Hardware Extreme sent note on their latest review on this card. Pretty old card, but nevertheless it used to be pretty good. :)

The Monster Fusion performed well in all benchmarks. Since my Quake II timedemo woudn't work for some reason. I compared mutitexturing performance with the most unreliable test- the eye. When run though, the TNT card I borrowed from Ove®clck99performed noticeably faster, a bad sign showed by the Banshee's single TMU. It also lost in image quality, as the Banshee chipset, like all other 3dfx chips, cannot support 32-bit rendering, unlike nVidia's chips. 

D-Link Network Kit 14:51 pm - Kan
Kinda missed this out. AnandTech reviewed the D-Link 10/100 in-a-box network kit. Pretty good for home users as well as those mini LAN parties.

The hub is D-Link's DSH-5 10/100 5-port hub. There's an additional uplink port for network expansion through connection to another hub. Note that the uplink port and port 1 cannot be used simultaneously. All ports auto sense a 10Mbps or 100Mbps connection and, unlike some other hubs, both can exist simultaneously on the DSH-5. It's powered by an average sized AC adapter and features a small and relatively quiet fan to keep things cool. Each port has two link lights - one for a 10Mbps connection and the other for a 100Mbps connection. This link light will blink whenever there is activity on that port. Two collision lights, again one for 10Mbps and one for 100Mbps, provide collision information.

Spire Zoom Notebook Backpack 13:44 pm - Kan
This is rather interesting. Tech-review reviewed the Spire Zoom Notebook Backpack. Ideal for people who wish to climb the Everest yet wish to check their email at the peak. Check it out.

Tired of lugging that notebook computer around in a briefcase style bag that makes your shoulder and back beg for mercy? A company by the name of Spire claims that their notebook carrying cases provide maximum comfort and reliability with a lifetime guarentee to back it all up. So we got our hands on their Zoom notebook backpack to throw around and beat up. The Zoom is probably Spire's most popular carrying case and is aimed at people who want a comfortable, effiecient, and stylish way to carry/store their notebook.

Ingram Micro Showcase'99 13:20 pm - Kan
AbsolutePC written an article on what they saw during the Ingram Micro Showcase'99. Ingram Micro is the worlds largest distributor of computer parts and accessories who runs their  Showcase trade show in several different cities over the world.

Intel – This was the one I was really looking forward to but am disappointed to say that I did not learn anything new here and all the information that was presented is common knowledge or easily available over the net. They did briefly discuss Merced and said that it is the processor of the future, but isn’t that what Intel always says. They are definitely not backing down on the PIII and no mention of AMD was uttered. The only thing that presented a bit of a look to the future Intel expects were the comments that the PIII will be the industry standard (they better hope this is so…K7 anyone?), and that the roadmap for Intel in the future is the best that it has ever been (they did not convince me).

Diamond Viper Ultra 770 12:22 pm - Kan
More goodies over at WickedPC with the Diamond Viper Ultra 770 review as well as a triple fan hard drive cooler from 3DCool.

What's the 2nd hottest component in your case? Your video card is probably the number one for heat, with your hard drive (or CPU) following 2nd place. Hard drives get painfully hot, especially if you own a 7200RPM or SCSI hard drive. Owners of really fast hard drives know the problems. Frequently hard drives die or crash and also lose data because of the massive heat they create. The outside of the hard drive might not be too hot on a 5400RPM drive, but if you could only feel the temperature inside, especially since a hard drive doesn't have any vents to get the air from the inside out. It's quite safe to say that it's a furnace inside.

SCSI vs IDE 10:47 am - Kan
Noticed that FiringSquad did a guide comparing the differences between the SCSI and IDE. Is SCSI really good enough to justify the extra cost?

The other way to get SCSI connectivity is by getting a motherboard that has built-in SCSI support. That is, the motherboard has the functionality of a SCSI host adapter integrated into it, like how some motherboards have integrated video or sound (yech, by the way). Motherboards that have built-in SCSI adapters are typically higher-end, as SCSI tends to be a more advanced, and thus more expensive, technology. The problem here is that many of us are very choosy about our motherboards, because we have certain favorites that allow us to do some things. If you're not following this train of thought, what we're saying here is we like our overclocking capability. Hehe.

Pentium III 550 Mhz Review 10:44 am - Kan
Review-Zone did a review on the Pentium III 550 Mhz processor. Damn, I wish I have one to play with now (err..make it two)...

The 550 has a fixed clock multiplier of 5.5x and is designed to run at a 100MHz front side bus- that’s right, this isn't the one meant for the 133MHz FSB speed. For this to happen, you're going to have to wait for the next installment of Pentium III processors, the Coppermine series, not to mention an Intel 820 (Camino) based motherboard to house the new chips. 

DirectX 6.1 vs DirectX 7 Beta 10:43 am - Kan
TwinTexel sent note on their comparison article between DirectX 6.1 vs DirectX 7 beta

Nothing new in DirectX7.0 Beta 1 , but the final will be  improved with new software algorithms for 3-D sound and greater flexibility for managing hardware mixing capabilities. DirectX 7.0 provides hardware acceleration for the DirectMusic application programming interface on supporting sound cards, allowing users to create more complex musical soundtracks. The new version runs about 20 percent* faster than version Dx6.1, improving overall game performance.

Maya 2 00:43 pm - Kan
Realized that our girls over at Tech-Junkie did a overview on Maya 2. Now, what's Maya? It's a professional 3D rendering software from Alias/Wavefront. Is it good? Read their review to find out more!

Maya 2 builds on the orginal's success by giving more tools, easier usage and even more photorealistic rendering capabilities. Maya 2 will be available in two packages - Maya Complete, and Maya Unlimited. Complete contains everything a professional 3D artist or game developer would need, with the room to expand. Maya Artisan, Invigorator Lite and Maya Fusion Lite compositing software. Maya Unlimited includes everything in Complete plus Maya Live, Cloth, Fur, PowerModelling and two extra batch rendering Licenses. Basically, Maya Unlimited is for those at the cutting edge of entertainment.

20 June 1999 - Sunday
HW1: In House Abit BX6-2.0 Review 21:42 pm - Wilfred
This is our very own in-house review of Abit's BX6-2.0 board, no doubt still one of the top Slot-1 board for any DIY-ers. Enjoy!

"Minor rough edges aside, it is hard not to recommend an Abit BX6-2.0 to anyone looking for a BX board. The only other board capturing my attention is the new AOpen AX6BC Pro which comes almost on par with the BX6-2.0. While I have never used an AOpen board and have been a loyal fan Asus’s high quality boards, it’s difficult not to be won over by the comprehensive range features found on the BX6-2.0. Until I am convinced otherwise, the Abit BX6-2.0 will remain at the top of my 'A' list of Slot-1 boards.

Mechwarrior 3 21:24 pm - Kan
Speedy3D sent note on their new review on the classic game Mechwarrior 3. Gee, up till now I'm still stuck in Level 1. Damn...

The missions in the game are fairly linear, go here, blow the base up, and get out, it's all very simple. One noticeable addition though, is the mobile field base. The field base allows you to rearm, and refit your mech mid-battle, in times of extreme battle you better have some cover though, because in order to use it you need to shut down your mech for nearly a minute. The mission briefings are excellent. Despite having bad voice overs from some old guy who sounds like he is about to die, you get a brief flyby of the mission area, and detailed instructions on what you need to do.

Pure Cooling Madness 18:34 pm - Kan
Realised there are more madness over at our bud site HardOCP on a processor cooler. Damn, where the hell is the Celery hiding? Check out the pic.

Benwin BW2000 Speakers 18:30 pm - Kan
FPS3D reviewed the Benwin BW2000 speakers. Let's hear what the guys have to say on the sound quality on speakers using the flat-panel technology.

Installing these speakers were surprisingly easy. Ok scrath that, installing any speakers is, and should be easy, so no surprises here. But I almost jammed my fingers straight through the thin covering of the speakers upon removal from the box... Personally, I think they could have put some sort of plastic covering on them to prevent this.

New Voodoo INF Files for Windows 2000 18:24 pm - Kan
NT Gaming Palace kindly sent note on the new Voodoo INF files for Windows 2000. You can download the whole load from there:

If you encounter any problems, you can hop over to their message board over there.

Soyo SY-6BA+ III 12:32 pm - Kan
Hot babes over at HotHardware scored a review on the Soyo SY-6BA+ III Pentium II/III motherboard. This one comes with nearly 30 FSB settings for you to play with!

Another feature of this board that I love are the various available PCI Bus speed settings that you can adjust in the BIOS to go along with your FSB speeds. You can relax the PCI bus speed when overclocking the CPU so that your other periphs don't freak out. Finally, the BIOS adjustable CPU core voltage settings are just what the Doctor of Speed ordered for that extra bit of stability. No, you can't take it any higher than 10% (2.2V) over CPU spec. but rarely are there any benefits to going higher than that. We once had a P2-300 that liked 2.4V but it was a little scary running at that voltage all day and we took it down for sanity.

Linux and the Gamming Community 12:28 pm - Kan
Gamecenter posted an article on Linux and the Gamming Community. So, do you know what games are available on the Linux platform?

It's clear, upon speaking to game developers about the Linux community, that the relationship between the gaming and Linux communities is on the rise, because developers appreciate the technical savvy that exists in the Linux community. According to Draeker, "Feedback from the Linux community has been tremendous, and people are very excited to play games [on Linux]. Historically, everybody said, 'Linux is a server OS'; that's because if you look at what kind of applications have been available for Linux, it's been server applications. The fact is more people are installing [Linux] on their home computers and once it's there asking themselves, 'What am I going to do now? I'm reading email and browsing the Net,' but people also like to play games."

Transcend i440BX 12:05 pm - Kan
AnandTech reviewed the Transcend i440BX Slot-1 motherboard. Transcend is well-known for their memory chips and now they are jumping into the motherboard market.

Transcend also wisely chose a 5/2/1 (PCI/ISA/AGP) slot configuration that is by far and away the most popular on newer i440BX boards. The typical 3 DIMM slots are included as well. The ATX specification is followed fairly closely in terms of layout, with just one minor change - the ATX power connector is located behind the CPU. Fortunately, it is placed on the right edge of the board, but this is still not an ideal location. The FDD/HDD 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, minimizing cable clutter. The board extends an inch and a half beyond the ISA slots, so it should fit fine in any standard ATX case.

Monthly Hardware News 10:15 am - Kan
Our buds over at iXBT sent note on their updated monthly hardware news article. They have posted info on the coming K7, Voodoo3 3000 as well as the new Whitney i810 chipset. Also, they posed a review on the Creative TNT2 Ultra graphics card. Check'em out over here.

Frankly speaking, AMD seems to be living through a technological upsurge. To prove this statement we would like to mention the latest announcement made in the end of May about a considerable rise in processor volumes coming out, as well as the 500MHz version of K6-III, which mysteriously appeared in the market. It was actually pretty strange because AMD usually announced a new CPU far before its launching into the market. This time all the traditions were broken: the vendors were placing orders for the processor without any preliminary official introduction of the device. 

19 June 1999 - Saturday
IBM's Tiny HDDs Threaten Flash Memory 18:55 pm - Wilfred
TechWeb posted an article about IBM's unique postage-stamp-size disk drives that may carve significant market out of the present compact flash memory cards. Here's a snippet:

On the surface, the Microdrive would seem to compete directly with flash memory, especially since it conforms to the CF standard's physical dimensions. With an adapter, it can also fit into a PC Card slot.

"Microdrive works where flash capacity cannot be had or is too expensive," said Martin Reynolds, an analyst at Dataquest, in San Jose, Calif. "Generally, flash is better -- if you can get enough of it and you can afford it. But there is no such thing anywhere as 340 MBs in a [CompactFlash Type II] slot except with the Microdrive."

Firm Exposes NT Security Loophole 18:40 pm - Wilfred
I'm sure you've read about it or seen some of the damages of this loophole from the recent spade of attacks on several websites (even some local ones). Check out this ZDNet's article:

Believing that Microsoft "was not giving the problem the attention it deserved," eEye released not only a description of the hole but two working demonstration programs that allow anyone to break into an NT server running IIS 4.0. The break-in code appears to work on any server from which a Web page can be retrieved, even if a firewall is present.

eEye explained its decision to disclose the bug, and to publish a program that lets anyone readily exploit it, in a brief note on its Web site.

"We are a full-disclosure security team," they wrote. "If our team starts hiding the facts, we'll be no better than a software vendor that rushes insecure products to market."

AOL Sharpens ICQ Ambitions 18:34 pm - Wilfred
AOL who bought over the ever popular and indispensable buddy list software a year ago for US$271 million, is eager to recoup this money. Here's a CNet article on their ambitions!

But Leonsis said the real revenue driver is waiting in the wings: opt-in direct marketing. While not formally unveiled, the idea is to have ICQ users develop a one-to-one communications channel with e-commerce vendors or other services. For example, if a user wants to know when Amazon has a book sale, the company can notify the ICQ user through a buddy list message.

"You could envision on your buddy list your banker, stock broker, or travel agent," said Leonsis. "This would be a very convenient way to communicate with them."

Using opt-in marketing is widely accepted by privacy advocates and industry analysts as a positive way to market to Web users. Instead of sending out spam, or mass unsolicited emails that peddle goods and services, users can choose whether they want to receive offers from vendors.

MSI-6163 Motherboard 18:27 pm - Wilfred
BxBoards has done a review on the MSI-6163 Mobo, a very well regarded board spoken in the league of the BX6-2.0 and the new AX6BC Pro. Check this out!

This is an absolutely superb motherboard. The BX chipset is nearly a year old, and some would say coming to the end of its shelf life. However if it takes a year to wait for perfection then so be it. 5 PCI slots, 2 ISA, 16 bus speeds, selectable PCI speeds, onboard sound as a bonus - which can be disabled in the BIOS. Stable as hell - and excellent stability even at crazy speeds such as 152Mhz. Stability with all the SDRAM's was excellent, and it is the only board tested to provide a useable (and totally stable!) 152Mhz. With Camino (Intel 820 chipset) now delayed until September 1999 at the earliest, the stability of this board at speeds past 133Mhz is a decisive factor for me here.

I've tested over 40 boards and counting at BXBoards and this is the best motherboard I have ever tested! The AOpen AX6BC runs it close for sheer stability and the Abit BX6-2 is its equal (or perhaps still its master?) in the overclocking arena. You get the best of all worlds here - great stability, SDRAM compatibility, and overclocking prowess.

Five Reasons To Love Bill Gates 18:23 pm - Wilfred
Yep, this is certainly a refreshing article. We hear Jesse Berst halt his Bill bashing temporarily to reflect upon the virtues of the most successful man in computerdom.

Yes, Mr. Microsoft is arrogant, greedy and nerdy beyond description. But Bill Gates has his good points, too. Which is why I'm taking a break today from Bill-bashing. Come to the site to discover five things to like about Gates. (Then we'll resume the verbal floggings.)

Wilfred Coughs 18:18 pm - Wilfred
I shan't speak of my ordeal reinstalling Windows for the #$!th time. Finally, I'm back in action but this will be short as I shall be traveling to Malaysia for a short drive-away holiday. Now let me post what had been accumulating in my mailbox.

3DCool Super Slot Fan 11:43 am - Kan
Over at Extreme Hardware, the guys reviewed the 3DCool Super Slot Fan. One personal opinion, this thing does take up 2 slots once you installed it.

The Super Slot Fan is installed in an expansion slot and its 2800rpm fan pumps air out of the case. The ideal use for the Super Slot Fan is for video card and/or CPU cooling. In this respect, the Super Slot Fan does its job well. It is the first cooling device not directly attached to my CPU that has noticeably lowered its temperature by several degrees, a five percent drop on average. Furthermore, the Super Slot Fan helped to cool my TNT2 enough for a few extra MHz increase when overclocking.

Diamond Viper 770 Ultra 11:40 am - Kan
FullOn3D reviewed the Diamond Viper 770 Ultra card. Pretty standard and it comes with a InControl Tools program to customize your games. Pretty cool!

Those 8 black rectangles are the Viper's 32megs of RAM, SDRAM to be exact. This is odd in my book, as a few other companies are shipping SGRAM with their TNT2 Ultras. What's the difference? SGRAM allows for block access meaning it reads and writes chunks of data at a time as opposed to SDRAM which only does it individually. Since block access reduces the amount of time spent reading and writing, it generally increases the performance of the video card by it's improved efficiency. Of course, it is more expensive too. Although I would have preferred to see SGRAM on the Viper, I doubt you will be unimpressed with it's performance

Silicom USB Phoneline Network Adapter 11:38 am - Kan
USB Workshop did a coverage of the Silicom's USB Phoneline network adapter. Basically, you just plug one end to the USB port, the other end to a phone line and you are done!

The U2P is compatible with the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) 1.0 industry specifications. It supports data transmission across existing home phone wires, without interfering with standard phones, modems or fax machines. The two RJ-11 connectors (one equipped with a pass-through filter) included in the Silicom USB Home Phoneline Network adapter, allow users to make and receive telephone calls, or use a modem to dial out to the Internet, while simultaneously sharing files or peripherals and playing multi-player games.

IWILL Slocket 11:31 am - Kan
AGN Hardware posted a review on the IWILL Socket370 to Slot-1 Slocket. You can even catch the review using RealPlayer if you don't like to read. Anyway, the IWILL also supports dual Celeron processors. No extra fiddling is required.

The IWILL Slocket was actually quite impressive, especially considering the price of the adapter is going to only set you back about $15. Most Slockets are nothing but a raw PCB, which leaves you with an adapter that may fall over the computer if you move it or if your wife beats on it. The IWILL Slocket on the other hand includes a plastic casing that looks very similar to the Pentium II casing. This allows you to push the Slocket firmly into your motherboard and actually have it fasten. Although this is not a big deal for the average user, I am sure that the people who actually sell systems will be quite impressed.

NetMeeting 3.01 Final 11:29 am - Kan
ActiveWin sent note on the official release of NetMeeting 3.01 final. If you have a fetish for these type of stuffs, you can get'em from here:

Elsa Erazor III TNT2 11:27 am - Kan
More graphics cards reviews and we have the Elsa Erazor III from HardwarePros. This is is running on a TNT2 (not Ultra) and comes in the default 125/150 speed.

So at this point in time, NVidia has finally changed over to the 0.25 micron process and those 125MHz+ chips have become a reality.  The TNT2 comes in two flavors, the regular TNT2 and the TNT2 Ultra.  They are really the same chip but because manufacturing processes and silicon wafer qualities can vary, some chips will be able to reach higher clock speeds than others. 

Gainward CARDEXpert Savage4 Pro 11:23 am - Kan
Dedicated to S4 fans out there (bowwow), AnandTech reviewed the Gainward CARDEXpert Savage4 Pro graphics card.

Since video chipset manufacturers usually offer up reference board designs, and motherboard chipset manufacturers don't, it stands to reason that designing a video card is a lot easier than a motherboard. This is apparent in Gainward's strict use of an S3 Savage4 reference PCB design. This keeps costs down by reducing engineering costs. And in this case, the reference design make efficient use of space, which further cuts down on costs.

Xentor32 TNT2 Ultra 11:17 am - Kan
Our buds over at The Sanctum just finished their review on the Guillemot Xentor32 TNT2 Ultra graphics card. Damn, I'm just waiting for the prices to drop further before getting one of these.

Removing the Xentor32 from it's plastic sleeve revealed a rather medium sized video card, the same size as most UltraTNT2's being sold now. It's large protruding heatsink fan combo sits on top of NVIDIA's .25 micron'd UltraTNT2 chipset to keep it cool under high pressure situations. Generic SDRAM sat on the dark green silicon. We did have some problems with the fan upon bootup, it didn't work. When we pushed the fan power connector while it was off, then we booted the computer back up it sounded like a wounded muffler scraping on the pavement.

System Shock 11:15 am - Kan
Gamers' Crypt sent note on their review on System Shock. A classic indeed...

It was during this year of unprecedented growth throughout the PC CD-ROM industry that System Shock made a relatively low key and unassuming entry, amidst a fan-fare of praise directed mainly towards other titles. Although taking its fair share of glowing reviews and critical acclaim, Origin didn't quite secure the market owned by id's Doom, although it did manage its own cult following that has lasted equally as long. While those who missed the original cyber-punk thriller in '94 will have the chance to catch up with the System Shock universe in its upcoming sequel, System Shock II, those who have played, and enjoyed the first will take to the next in the System Shock series with scrutiny. It seems that System Shock II has big boots to fill.

Starwars: Episode 1 00:20 am - Kan
AGN3D kicked off with a review on the game Starwars: Episode 1. If you wanna be like Anakin in the movie, this is the closest you can get...

I will admit that there is a definite sense of speed. The pods do travel at an incredibly high rate of speed but the course design subdues the excitement somewhat. The physics of the pod racer doesn’t thrill me either. On the icy level there is one portion that is like a frozen lake and the pod almost completely loses control. What I don’t buy is that even though you can turn the jets on the pod completely sideways to the direction of travel, the thrust from them seems to have virtually no affect on your movement.

TNT2 Roundup 00:17 am - Kan
Noticed 3DHardware.net posted a TNT2 roundup comparing three TNT2 graphics cards. Check out whether the AOpen, Leadtek or Creative is the best.

The nVidia TNT2 chip comes in two flavours - Standard and Ultra. As the name suggests, Standard TNT2 chips are standard (duh) and cost less than the faster Ultra versions, you'll see most standard TNT2s running at the nVidia recommended speed of 125MHz for the graphics chip and 140MHz for the memory. On the other hand, the Ultra version is a buffed-up version, running at a designated speed of 150MHz for the graphics chip and 175MHz for the memory. Although nVidia has their recommended clockspeeds you will find some companies taking it one step further and offer products clocked beyond the pre-specified.

18 June 1999 - Friday
Photoshop 5.5 23:23 pm - Kan
My darling over at Digital Darkroom sent note on the announcement of Photoshop 5.5 from Adobe. Check out what's new over there!
"Raising photo design and production to exhilarating new heights, Adobe® Photoshop® 5.5 expands its scope to bring you innovative artistic tools, Web-feature enhancements, and the power of Adobe ImageReadyTM 2.0 for advanced processing of images for the Web. Now you can design interactive Web graphics or prepare sophisticated images for print with the same power and ease. Let Adobe notify you when Photoshop for Mac or Windows ships."

Build your own System 23:20 pm - Kan
FiringSquad has another new article, this time on how to build your own computer. If you still don't know how to build one, you should be reading that article. :)

If you've never opened up a computer case, we don't recommend trying to build your own system just yet. Start small. First try upgrading a few components. Install a new sound or video card, maybe a memory upgrade. Try some minor overclocking; it'll familiarize you with motherboards and configuring jumpers. We hope this guide will tell you everything you need to know when you're finally ready to build your system, but it still doesn't beat having an experienced friend watching over your shoulder.

3dfx Interview 23:19 pm - Kan
PCVelocity sent note on their interview with 3dfx's Brian Burke on the Voodoo3 as well as future technologies.

PCV: In your opinion, how well does the Voodoo3 stack up against the competition performance-wise?

3dfx: Voodoo3 is the performance leader. There was a lot of misinformation about the TNT-2 board early on. Now that the boards are starting to ship, we see that the TNT-2 boards are not shipping at the exurbanite clock speeds that consumers were lead to believe they would ship at. Now that the product is out, we can see that these claims where overstated, and the numbers do not lie.

Satellite Radio 15:39 pm - Kan
How does this sound to you? Crystal clear reception/quality and you never drive out of range from a local broadcasting station. Time Digital has an article on what the future of satellite radio holds for us.

Satellite radio is just what it sounds like -- radio signals broadcast from an orbiting transmitter -- but it'll have huge advantages over conventional radio. Satellite radio can blanket the country with its signals, so you'll never drive out of range of your favorite station; zones that a satellite can't reach, such as areas with tall buildings, will be taken care of by ground-based relay stations. Satellite radio is also much clearer than conventional radio, and it can offer hundreds of different channels, some of which (or so its promoters promise) will be commercial-free.

Pioneer 6X SCSI DVD 15:38 pm - Kan
I will personally give a thumbs up for this DVD-ROM drive. AGN Hardware did a review of it as well as a review on the ATI All-in-Wonder 128 graphics card.

Of course, certain features of the drive are shared between both versions. Both drives feature a slot-less design that has no tray mechanism. Instead, Pioneer has included a dust skirt that helps to keep the disk dust free and cleans your disk as it is inserted. Getting used to this slot-less design took a little while. The disks are just grabbed and pulled in much like a car CD player. The action is a bit jerky but we performed this task countless times with both versions of the drive and never once received an error or scratched a disk. Jeremy reported that the skirt even removed a fingerprint from one of his DVDs!

Promise Internal-to-External IDE Converter 15:35 pm - Kan
Noticed that AnandTech posted the Promise Internal-to-External IDE Converter review. 

The case is plastic and secured by two screws to a metal frame. On the back, there's a 50-pin centronics connector, two RCA jacks, a fan exhaust, and a power switch. The card features an external 50-pin high density SCSI connector for connection to the outside world. A standard power connector from the PC power supply plugs into the card and power is carried over the 50-pin cable to the device.

Unfortunately, the solution is not exactly ideal. The card takes up a valuable slot, while the ISA interface limits transfer rates to about 5 megabytes/s - faster than USB or parallel, but still fairly slow for a hard drive. ISA also means high CPU utilization compared to a PCI bus mastering solution (like that featured on current motherboards). Finally, since the custom ISA IDE card must be used for the interface, the external device will not be portable to other machines unless they also happen to have this same kit installed.

Yamaha Waveforce 192 Digital 15:28 pm - Kan
Buds over at 3DsoundSurge took a look at the Yamaha Waveforce 192 Digital soundcard. 

The most sophisticated member of the WaveForce family, the WaveForce 192 Digital uses Yamaha 724 chip which is featured on several other OEM products and motherboards. This PCI card features a S/PDIF with an optical output connector, a 16 bit digital to analog and analog to digital converter (DAC/ADC), Yamaha's XG synthesizer, Yamaha’s exclusive physical modeling synthesizer and positional 3D technology from Sensaura (using DS3D).

Reah - DVD Edition 15:25 pm - Kan
Check out ActiveWin review on the DVD edition of Reah from Project Two Interactive. Take a look at the stunning graphics!

Finally we get a new DVD-ROM title that takes advantage of the excellent space provided on a DVD disk. The game consists of over 87,000 frames of 3D rendered animation plus 40,000 frames of video sequences giving over 127,000 frames in total - this is definitely not an interactive slideshow. These are real numbers not the values "created" by marketing people. There are over 400 sound effects and similar number of spoken phrases - audio data occupies over 280 MB. Actually the developer had problems fitting the game on 6 discs.

It was impossible to fit the data on "standard" DVD-5 single sided disc after decreasing compression rate in order to take advantage of better DVD-ROM performance so Project Two have put it on one DVD-10 Disk (Which means you can turn the disk over to play the other side).

Coppermine Delayed 15:22 pm - Kan
Gee, I'm sort of expecting this. According to an article from Techweb, Intel confirmed that Coppermine will delay till November.

A desktop version of the Coppermine -- the generic codename given to a 0.18-micron Pentium III with on-chip level 2 cache -- was originally expected to ship in September at 600-MHz using Intel's 0.25-micron process. Instead, a 600-MHz Pentium III without on-chip cache will ship in September, and the Coppermine's ship date will be pushed out until about November, an Intel spokesman said.

Desktop CPUs - A Gamer's Perspective 15:19 pm - Kan
PCParadox posted an article on a brief history of CPUs and what the future will hold.

Before jumping straight into the good stuff, maybe a little history would be in order to set the scene. The first single-chip CPU was made by Intel way back in 1971. It was called the 4004 and was a 4 bit processor intended for use in pocket calculators. More recently came the 8088 and the 8086, Which were 8 bit CPUs used in the first PCs such as the IBM XT. The progression through 80286, 80386, 80486 was more evolutionary than revolutionary, as processors went from 8 bit to 16 bit to 32 bit architectures. Competitors sprang up, such as Zilog, AMD, NEC and Cyrix. Some of them are still players in today's PC CPU market, while some decided to pursue other ventures.

AOL's Dream 15:16 pm - Kan
Our pals over at ArsTechnica posted a commentary on what-the-heck is AOL up to this time on their recent shopping spree, buying up companies like Mirabilis, Netscape and Winamp.

Let's face it - all of these things are replaceable.  Those of us using Linux know all too well that ICQ is but one of many Internet messaging tools available (and we also know how easy it is to find a compatible client that works with Mirabilis' servers, too).  Opera and Internet Explorer have already demonstrated that Netscape isn't the lone ranger we once thought it was, and Winamp, well, c'mon folks, it plays MP3s (among other things)!  In other words, its not as if there aren't already alternative to all of these proggies.  So why buy?

Battlecruiser 3000AD 15:14 pm - Kan
Gamers' Crypt scored a review on the developers edition of Battlecruiser 3000AD

Going in guns ablaze, and manual still in its shrink-wrap on the floor by your feet may work for 99% of the titles out there, but in comparison to BC3K, they are merely the kazoos of the gaming industry. The 40 page out-of-the-box manual is little more than an overblown reference card, for it’s the 170+ page online manual included on the CD that truly explains the guts of the game. Every single word of that manual is relevant to your BC3K experience, and every single word needs to be memorised like the bible. Take it to the toilet with you, read it on the train to work, or enjoy sleepless nights in front of your computer wading through the endless flow of information.

Corsair PC133 11:38 am - Kan
DemoNews posted 2 new articles. The first one is the Corsair PC133 128MB RAM module as well as the Skywell TNT2 graphics accelerator card.

Corsair's PC133 modules are fully compatible with current Intel (INTC) PC100 modules that support most of the Intel chipsets today. Additionally, according to Richard Hashim, the Director of Memory Products at Corsair, there are real measurable benefits to use PC133 modules in Intel's PC100 compatible systems, "The Corsair PC133 modules offer enhanced operating margin in today's PC100 compatible systems. The enhanced operating margin provided with PC133 will be most noticeable to high power users looking for the maximum reliability/speed in their systems and applications".

They also told us that there are two new programs over at EnTech Taiwan. The new EnergySaver as well as OSD.

OSD is: For those of you with older, but perfectly serviceable monitors that lack the digital amenities of OSD is a little 123kb freeware utility that will provide, well, an OSD (OnScreen Display) of the horizontal and vertical frequency you're monitor's in. It works with practically any graphics card that's register-level compatible with the original IBM VGA.

The EnergySaver makes the DPMS services provided by the PowerStrip available to mainstream NT users and administrators in a lower-cost and more compact package. Designed to operate as a familiar screen saver, the EnergySaver can be configured to power down Energy Star compliant monitors when not in use, extending monitor life-span while reducing electricity expenses. Direct hardware manipulation of vertical and horizontal sync signals supplement full support for industry-standard VESA hardware and software power management protocols to ensure the widest possible compatibility. Graphics chipsets specifically supported include those from 3Dlabs, 3dfx, ATI, Cirrus Logic, Intel, Matrox (single and dual monitor configurations), NVidia, Rendition, S3, Trident and Tseng Labs.

K7 Site 11:32 am - Kan
Looking for more info on the K7? Well, wait no more. Generation K7 is a site dedicated to the K7 and include daily news on the K7.

Hardware-One: Microsoft Midtown Madness 02:45 am - Wilfred
Check out Yingzong's totally crazee review on Microsoft's Midtown Madness! It's not your everyday driving game! Here's the milder bits:

"... there’s a sense of freedom in the game unseen by other games. You can be the law abiding driver and meekly totter your way through the streets of Chicago or break the rules by inventing your own. That’s the essence of the game: It is no holds barred when you’re out there; You enjoy the freedom of safely driving like a manic because there is no possibility of doing so in reality."

Matrox G400 At Thresh's 02:38 am - Wilfred
Oh my! I can't wait for this card to arrive. But before that, check out what the FiringSquad whipped up for us! Those 'bumped' candy sure made my day! With the vanilla G400 alone, it kicked so much ass in their benchmarks, just wait for the G400Max to do its stuff!

The Matrox G400 is an incredibly future-proof card. With the revolutionary features that it offers, it gave us excellent performance as well as outstanding image quality. Users who would buy this card are those interested in image quality, without having a huge emphasis on framerates. While slower CPU systems may want to think twice, fast, high-end systems can squeeze out good performance.

BattleCruiser 3000AD V2.0x - Developers Ed 02:25 am - Wilfred
Gamer's Crypt has smacked up a review on BattleCruiser 3000AD V2.0x Developers Edition. It's not a game for everybody, read this and decide if you are up to it....

It is discouraging to no ends to see review after review cite BC3Ks learning curve as one of the main stumbling block of this game. ‘Steep’ it’s called, as if to denote an uphill battle. It stands to reason that the deeper the game, the more satisfying the experience. Yet the deeper the game, the higher the ‘learning curve’, and the more mental resources and commitment it takes to play. Do the means justify the ends? Apparently not. Those who have stuck with BC3K, have bothered to read the manual and thus understood the mechanics of the game, have all unanimously agree that BC3K is a fantastic title. The depth of a game is almost directly proportional to its longevity, just as it is directly proportional to its challenge. To acknowledge the depth and challenge of the title, and then condemn it for having a ‘steep learning curve’ shows that many reviewers have simply missed the point altogether.

Who Do That Voodoo Like STB Do 02:16 am - Wilfred
As usual, an unusual title from Kyle, your favourite hardware site next to your porn dens. He's checked out the Voodoo3 and you will want to find out what he has to say after you seen this pic!

Well lets just tell it like it is. Is this card a good/great video card? I think so. Would I buy one? I am not real sure. This is going to highly depend on what gaming camp you sleep in.

At this point, if I was looking to purchase a decent card, or did not have a lot of dinero to spend, I think I would still go with the Voodoo3 2000 because the performance to cost curve leans so far towards the buyer's favor. Although $40 extra bucks could get you a lucky V3 3000 with awesome ram and then all of a sudden you are waxing the upcoming V3 3500 MHz levels..... 

You also have the issue of no 32 bit color support which you will most likely not find as a real world hindrance if you are an online gamer. I don't know too many people that are gonna sacrifice that many FPS for a little bit more fancy colors anyway.

Gigabyte GA-5AX V1.4 Mobo 02:08 am - Wilfred
Extreme Hardware tested out the Gigabyte GA-5AX, revision 4 of its Aladdin V Super7 motherboard. Quite a lot of enhancements were squeezed into this revision. The snips:

In addition to the usual bug-fixed and overall increased stability, Gigabyte added a few key new features. The most obvious upgrade is the move to a 5/2/1 (PCI/ISA/AGP) expansion slot design, instead of the older 4/3/1 design. Additionally, the bus speed support has been increased to support speeds over 100mhz, including 105, 115, and 120mhz. Other minor improvements include keyboard Power On and Off functions, a CPU temperature sensor and monitoring, and an expanded voltage range (1.3v – 3.5v).

Leadtek WinFast S320 II 02:01 am - Wilfred
Here's GameWire's take on the first TNT2 card to arrive on the scene - Leadtek WinFast S320 II. Some thoughts on V3 vs TNT2:

This certainly was unexpected, after all the hype around the TnT2 made most users think that it would be about 150% of the performance of the Voodoo 3. Well let's look at it this way, the Voodoo 3 may have been marginally faster but its image quality is nothing compared to that of the TnT2 which means the TnT2 is actually pumping more power. On top of that our tests are using a Voodoo 3 3000 in original anticipation they were probably comparing it the weakest Voodoo 3 there was, the 2000.

Gooey Download 01:51 am - Wilfred
Remember my posting on this ingenious app 2 days ago. No? Check out the TechWeb article again... nevertheless thanks to Mattias for pointing me to this URL where you can grab it and test for yourself!

Asus 50X CDROM 01:47 am - Wilfred
ComputingPros.COM posted a review on the Asus 50X CDROM drive. Most people still go for their 40X and 36X which are much quieter and not far slower.

The Asus 50x drive is ideal for those who are going to build a new computer system being that the drive has good performance and it under the $60.00 marker on sites such as Pricewatch.com and Buy.com. The drive is also good for people who own 24x speed CD-ROMs and slower who are looking to upgrade because at that point you will see and increase in speed.

If you are one of those people who like to have the newest and the fastest I would suggest holding off on this drive, being that it may not be much faster then your 36x or 40x speed CD-ROM drive you own at the present time.

Editors Downtime 01:35 am - Wilfred
Oops! Both your editors went on strike from 1400hrs yesterday for a fishing trip in search for some inspirations (whatever!). Don't ever think we've left you... the good stuffs are starting to trickle out. =)

 

17 June 1999 - Thursday
Recordable CDs May Replace Zips 13:59 pm - Wilfred
Err... Definitely! Recordable CDs are the way to go man! ReWritables are cheap and practical too! CNet has a story about the sunset coming for the Zip Drive.

Recordable-rewriteable CD-ROM technology (CD-RW)--which allows users to record their own CD-ROMs and play them back on stereos or PCs--is steadily becoming the storage platform of choice among PC manufacturers and consumers.

CD-RW drives come with only a few high-end PCs now, but declining prices, improvements in speed easier-to-use interfaces, and other factors will prompt PC makers to start including CD-RW units as a feature in more models by 2000. Performance users, meanwhile, already can get CD-RW drives that run DVD disks as an added bonus.

AOpen AX6BC Pro 13:29 pm - Wilfred
BXBoards has done a review on the highly anticipated board from AOpen. The AX6BC Pro retained the legendary stability of the first AX6BC as well as included new overclocking friendly BIOS, allowing for voltage tweaks and the likes! It has all the winning ingredients!

The AOpen AX6BC was a top notch board, and the AX6BCPro builds on that, by retaining all the reliability, speed, and stability we have come to expect, but the all new Pro version wears its newly found overclocking credentials with pride. The Pentium III @ 560 was totally stable, as was the P2-300 SL2W8 at 4.5 x 117 - the first time this has ever been 100% on any board. Clearly the extra work on the capacitors has borne fruit here, and of course, the voltage tweaks work wonders for overclocked stability

RIOWORKS XDG-LS Dual Slot-2 10:00 am - Kan
Anand reviewed the RIOWORKS XDG-LS Dual Slot-2 motherboard based on the GX chipset. Well, this baby comes with 6 PCI slots and 1 AGP slot as well as accepting a full length ISA slot. It also supports a total of 2GB of memory. You want one?

The RIOWORKS XDG is available in three flavors, the XDG-L, XDG-S, and the XDG-LS which was the sample provided to AnandTech for review.  The three boards are built on the same PCB, and are essentially the same board with the XDG-L featuring on-board 10/100 Ethernet, the XDG-S featuring on-board Ultra2 SCSI, and the XDG-LS featuring both on-board 10/100 Ethernet and Ultra2 SCSI.  If you're going to be running the board as a stand alone workstation for CAD/Design, development, etc.. then you may opt to get the XDG-S which doesn't feature the on-board Ethernet controller.  Or if you have your own 10/100 Ethernet controller the XDG-S will give you the on-board Ultra2 SCSI that you may be looking for.  As a server, you may want to opt for the XDG-LS which has both the on-board Ethernet and SCSI adapters, as chances are that you'll be making much use of both of those features. 

What's With All This Linux I Hear? 03:35 am - Wilfred
The above is yet another editorial piece from osOpinion discussing, well - Linux. Very plain and honest opinions from the author on what he thinks and feels about the recent Linux craze. Check this out... 

As far as I can tell, the answer lies in cute little buzzword that the Linux users have coined: Open Source. No, I’m not claiming it started with Linux, nor am I claiming that no one else offers it, but the bottom line is this, combined with it’s famed stability makes Linux seem like the wave of the future. After all, it’s the Open Source that makes Linux so stable because the kernel can be quickly modified to work for any variant of any PC (or Mac) making it virtually bug free. If you were to have a problem, the online knowledge base has the input of hundreds of other users who have also had similar issues and posted fixes.

Diamond Won Key Court Ruling On RIO 03:27 am - Wilfred
Diamond Multimedia has won a key court ruling on its RIO portable MP3 player. Here's some short snips from CNet:

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Diamond Multimedia Systems' Rio PMP300 player does not fall within the "digital recording device" definition used in the Audio Home Recording Act. Under the law, manufacturers of digital audio recording devices are required to implement code systems to curb serial re-recordings of copyrighted music.

"The computer industry is now free from the restrictions that the recording industry was trying to impose on it," Bridges said. "Device manufactures stand to gain and recording artists stand to gain."

He noted that the music industry, with their distribution channels firmly established, viewed the Internet as a threat to their business with its cheaper alternative distribution means to consumers.

Sony Spressa CRX100E/CH 03:19 am - Wilfred
Tech-Review did a review on the Sony Spressa CRX100E/CH - a 4XWrite/2XReWrite/24XRead CDRW drive. CDRWs.... I want!!!

So far I have burned about 12 CDs with this drive, four of them specifically used for testing. The following is a chart outlining some real world benchmarks that I recorded during testing. I started the timer the second I hit the record button and stopped it as soon as the congratulations prompted popped up. Overall, the Spressa performed exactly as expected by pumping out accurate recording speeds without error.

Choosing The Right PC 03:14 am - Wilfred
This should be easy, or at least easier than choosing your future spouse? Heheh... CPU Review has some advice for you if you're in the market looking for something that suits your needs, or rather they posted a few questions you should ask yourself before splurging on the biege thing. It's a short writeup.

By nailing people down to what they actually need a computer for, in contrast to what they think they want to use it for, I can get a much better idea of what kind of computing horsepower they actually need.

Given the rapid pace of technological change, it really does not make sense to buy more computer power than you need (unless you need it for developing software, or if you really want the fastest gaming box).

Intel Roadmap 02:32 am - Kan
SharkyExtreme just posted a CPU/Graphics/Chipset Intel Roadmap. Read what will be available in the coming months, including the new Coppermine processors.

The BX has been around for over 18months now and has proven that it can live longer than a California Redwood (at least in the PC market). In any event, Q3 will see the introduction of their Intel 820 and 810e chipset and deliver RNG, AC97, ATA-66 with WfM2.0 features. Just to remind you, the Intel 820 will encompass greater bandwidth capabilities via RDRAM, which should be scalable to the core processors speed by late Q3. Our biggest hope is for AGP 4X, which should put to rest any AGP demons. Graphics cards such as the TNT2 and G400 (3dfx will of course have an AGP 4X part by then) will really come into their own here. Systems based upon the 8XX chipset will take full use of the 133MHz front-side bus and RDRAM of course. As this is an Intel Roadmap we won't go into VIA and their 133MHz FSB- it just isn't tennis.

EverGlide Mouse Pad 02:29 am - Kan
DansData did a review on the EverGlide Mouse Pad. Hmm, this mouse pad has been getting lots of reviews lately, and it looks pretty good. Well, until I can get my paws on one...

When I switched to the EverGlide pad it felt a lot slicker than the PMS, as indeed it is. After using it for only a few minutes, though, I got used to the easier mouse movement, and stopped overshooting. An ultra-slick mousemat is a bad thing, partly because the mouse ball might slip and partly because a bit of friction's needed to damp the mouse movement and bring it to a halt when you stop pushing it; you shouldn't have to push the thing back the other way to stop. The EverGlide is, I think, about as slick as a mousemat can be without becoming annoying. When I tried the PMS again, it felt as if somebody'd yanked on the handbrake on my mouse.

Game Reviews 02:27 am - Kan
Gaming Vortex sent note on two new games reviews. The popular Baldur's Gate as well as Expendable.

For those of us who have been long time pen and paper roll players, "Baldur's Gate" represents a long time dream. Now you can control your favorite character and not have to worry about die rolls, manuals, and player character sheets! All the things that slowed down the pen and paper game are gone! You can even play on-line with 5 friends adding to the overall pleasure of the game.

Intel 1999 CPU Pricing 02:25 am - Kan
Over at FiringSquad, the hot boys posted an article on Intel 1999 CPU pricing. Basically, check out the article before you buy your processor and take note of the price cut dates.

We've taken the opportunity to put together a plan of Intel's 1999 pricing structure, for its mobile, server, and desktop markets. This pricing plan covers Intel's forecast to the end of the year, but of course is subject to change as they see fit. The report is made available to Intel's first and second tier OEM partners, such as Dell, IBM, and Compaq, and also to Intel Architecture component companies, such as motherboard manufacturers.

Interview 02:23 am - Kan
Gamers' Crypt did an interview with Paul Butterfield of Monolith on their current project, No One Lives Forever (What a name!?).

What kind of multi-player experiences will NOLF offer the seasoned as well as the novice online gamer? Deathmatch has been around since DOOM but to many (myself included) is beginning to get old. Will NOLF offer some innovative multi-player quirks? Will NOLF be more of a mano-e-mano game (ala DM) or more tactical (ala Tribes)?

NOLF multi-player will be very mission based (like Tribes or TF2) with the agents battling the villains in action packed levels. The will also be deathmatch only maps but our main focus will be on the mission oriented levels.

16 June 1999 - Wednesday

ASUS V3800 TVR 14:33 pm - Kan
Kinda miss this out. AGN Hardware reviewed the ASUS V3800 TNT2 with TV-Out and they did a video capture of their review, playable thru RealPlayer. Cool huh?

After the release of the ASUS V3400, TNT users were treated to an incredibly well performing card with plenty of overclockability and some nifty video capture abilities. Following up, the V3800 line of cards takes this fantastic performance to the next level with TNT2 support, higher video capture sizes and a list of upgrade options that could take up a shelf at your local Fry’s Electronics. The V3800TVR Deluxe kit that I am reviewing is a TNT2 based card with 32MB of RAM, TV-IN and TV-Out and a nifty set of 3D LCD glasses as well.

Sono International's 1008S 14:27 pm - Kan
Sono motherboard? Sorry, haven't heard of it before. HotHardware did a review on this Slot-1 motherboard which looks a bit like the BH6.

Second is the on board 3D PNP Sound Chip which is a CMI388 chipset. It supports A3D1 3D Positional Audio. We tested this out with the game "Half Life" which supports A3D and it did not disappoint. Granted, A3D2.0 is out now with cards like the Diamond Monster Sound MX300 but A3D1 is nothing to scoff at. In addition, it is basically for free with this motherboard. Personally, I think A3D2 and future generations of 3D sound are beginning to reach a point of diminishing returns anyway. With two speakers (a configuration most users have) you can only synthesize the effect so much. Don't get me wrong. It still sounds amazing. I just feel that there are better places to invest your money once you reach a certain level. This board provides a very capable feature set in the sound department.

Windows 98 SE Review 14:24 pm - Kan
AGN3D did a review on Windows 98 SE. So, what's new in SE? Basically, it just saves you the time to download from Windows Update and integrate everything nicely onto a CD-ROM. Nothing much huh?

I've had this new "SE" version of Windows 98 installed for about a month now, and overall it runs well. Before this update came out, I was still using the OSR2 version of Windows 95. The original version of Win98 didn't really offer anything above what Win95 OSR2 had so I held off on the upgrade. This new SE version does however have useful features like ICS (Internet connection sharing), Direct X6.1, IE5 and some new drivers. The install time of Win95 is barely 10 minutes compared to Win98's 30 or so minutes of install time. The offset for this increase in time is that Win98 will be ready to use when it's done.

IBM Pushes The Hard Drive Envelope 10:38 am - Wilfred
CNet has a story about IBM's latest products, namely a 37Gb harddisk drive and a matchbox-sized micro-harddisk.

The 37GB drive is one of the highest capacity drives to date, offering about twice the data storage found today on high-end consumer PCs. The drive is estimated to have a street price of $420. A drive this size can hold hundreds of music CDs, allowing the PC to server as digital jukebox, said Greg Puhalla, director of IBM's Desktop PC Hard Disk Drive business. Using another metric, it can hold almost 40 hours of full-motion, high-resolution video.

IBM also said that it has begun limited shipments of its Microdrive. This matchbook-sized hard drive fits into a small slot in a handheld Windows CE device or a digital camera. For example, IBM's z50 Windows CE handheld PC can use this drive and camera makers have released products that can use the drive. The drive offers data capacities up to 340 MB. Though IBM has shown the drive at conferences since last year, this is the first time it has announced shipments.

A US$1000 Supercomputer In 18 Months 10:33 am - Wilfred
There's this attention grabbing news at CNN about a US$1000 Supercomputer-equivalent PC that will be possible in 18 months!

The new computer will be able to process 100 billion instructions per second, according to Kent Gilson, chief technical officer of Star Bridge Systems. Company representatives discussed their plans for a high-end PC this week while announcing HAL-300GrW1, a "hypercomputer" that is said to be 60,000 times as fast as a 350-MHz Pentium, and many times as fast as IBM's supercomputer Pacific Blue.

In today's computing terms, the architecture Star Bridge Systems has developed is a "massively parallel, ultratightly coupled, asymmetrical multiprocessor." It is based on a processor called a field programmable gate array, Gilson says. FPGAs can be programmed on the fly, so their configuration can be changed to perform the particular task at hand most efficiently.

FPGAs can be changed thousands of times per second. So in essence, an FPGA can become a specially designed CPU tailored to perform a required task right when you need the new processing architecture.

3Com & Sun To Bring Java To PalmOS 10:26 am - Wilfred
Excited? =) 3Com and Sun announced that they will integrate Sun's Java onto the Palm Computing Platform. 

At the Java Developers Conference in San Francisco's Moscone Center, Sun and 3Com outlined plans to develop a reference port of the JavaTM 2 Platform, Micro Edition, Sun's highly optimized Java runtime environment for consumer products, for 3Com's PalmTM operating system (Palm OSTM) software later this year. The companies also agreed to make Sun's K Virtual Machine (KVM), formerly known as project KJava VM, a key component of the Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition, available on the Palm OS software. The companies will develop an end-to-end solution for delivering content and Java applications to Palm Computing platform devices via Sun's software products. The companies are also exploring opportunities to integrate Sun software with 3Com's Palm.net service, the recently announced wireless Internet access and messaging service for the 3Comr Palm VIITM connected organizer.

Pine BA1-D Motherboard 06:45 am - Kan
More motherboard reviews over at AnandTech. Pine Technology is a rather new name to most of us. So, is their BA1-D dual motherboard good? 

The BA1-D is the first dual processor BX motherboard AnandTech has reviewed that doesn't look like a dual processor motherboard.  Built on a PCB that's about the size of the single processor ABIT BX6, the BA1-D doesn't carry too many case requirements other than your standard mid-tower ATX case.  Keep in mind that the positioning of the 4 DIMM slots may rule out some cases, however that problem is already well know by ABIT BX6 users and is common to most motherboards of this size.  As with most dual BX boards, the 4 DIMM slots are placed almost flush with the 443BX controller in hopes of decreasing trace lengths and improving stability. 

Re-Volt Preview 06:42 am - Kan
FiringSquad sent note on their new Re-Volt preview. The concept is rather fresh in which you play the game as if you are controlling remote-control cars. Innovative!

We all remember our little Tyco RC cars, with neighborhood races around back lots and dirtholes. Ramps were set up out of flattened cardboard boxes, and air time was king, regardless of the damage it caused to even such rough'n'tumble toys. Most of us outgrew the RC phase, while some of us (*ahem*Wemmick*ahem*) unfortunately failed to mature. Well, now it's possible to relive those summer days, but without the cuts and bruises resulting from romping around a dirt lot!

EasyCD Creater v4 Announced 06:38 am - Kan
Just received from Adaptec that EasyCD Creater v4 has been announced. Here's some of the juice:

MILPITAS, Calif.  June 15,1999  Adaptec's Easy CD Creator 4 Deluxe, now includes Take Two, the easy-to-use image-based disaster recovery program that allows users to safely backup their systems so they can recover from hard disk disasters.  The world's number one CD Recording software now also offers an improved user-friendly interface and an animated guide to assist users. Other key new features include the ability to turn authorized MP3 songs into CDs, access to the CDDB online Disc Recognition Service, and the ability to edit video clips for customized movies.

"Our goal is to make CD recording an easy and rich experience for the millions of consumers drawn to the benefits of CD-R/RW," said Tom Seaman, group marketing manager for Adaptec's Software Products Group.  "Easy CD Creator 4 Deluxe incorporates dramatic improvements in ease of use. Version 4 also adds exciting new features our customers have been asking for, such as seamless MP3 recording and an ultra-simple backup solution."

Creative Labs MiniGL 06:32 am - Kan
AGN Hardware posted a review on Creative Labs MiniGL for their Voodoo Banshee and Voodoo2 based products. Looks like the new version is pretty good and improves the overall quality, especially under Q3Test.

In passing, we really like what Creative has done with their MiniGL.  They truly have improved the visual quality of the Voodoo Banshee and the Voodoo 2 in OpenGL based games.  We were also impressed with the fact that there was not really any performance hit using the latest MiniGL.  While we can not report Quake III Arena benchmark numbers while it is still in test, we can tell you that the creative MiniGL did not seem to slow down the performance more than 3-5 FPS if at all.  Now if only they could do that with the Voodoo 3 ;)

Diamond Viper 770 Ultra 01:43 am - Wilfred
Planet RIVA has taken apart and scrutinized Diamond's flagship product in their 18-pages review of the highly overclockable baby. You better check this... my eyes are getting real tired already.

I am pleased to say that the Diamond Viper V770 Ultra has surpassed even my wildest dreams. I never thought I could run games at resolutions as high as 1280x1024 without swearing at the computer for its low performance. What I didn't like however was the fact that it can't be overclocked past 175/200 whereas I know that other cards can. I was also disappointed at the drivers Diamond provided. Their performance is extremely low and the InControl Tools aren't enough to make you keep them loaded. It's also rather expensive at the moment but as more TNT2 Ultra solutions make their way onto the market, the prices will drop. Nonetheless Diamond's TNT2 Ultra solution is one of the best, if not the best.

The Microsoft Roulette 01:37 am - Wilfred
I didn't scare you, did I? No, this is not a new product from the Redmond giant, but an editorial from osOpinion. So how has trouble been piling up upon Microsoft and why it will continue for quite a while ??? ...

First among the obvious challenges are the lawsuits, most particularly the DOJ antitrust suit; they're going to lose. And, in losing, they will be declared a monopoly, which will breed new lawsuits like bunnies in springtime.

In some very important ways, the lawsuits have already cost MS a bundle. Up until the last several months, how often did you see anything negative about the company in the mainstream press? Now, that's almost a daily occurrence, and that's no small thing to a major corporation. They have changed some of their business practices in ways that surely cost them money, but just might conform to the law. Before the DOJ suit, what chance was there that major PC makers would sell machines with Linux preinstalled? It's happening today, and those companies are likely to take any chance they can get to pull a little further away from Redmond. Intel is putting money into anything that looks like it might offer an alternative to Windows.

Second, Year 2000; I don't know how MS software stands in regard to Y2K, and I don't think MS does either. I expect we will see SP 8 in early January, with the final, complete absolutely for-sure fixes for all (or most) Y2K problems. And, as the most visible software company, Microsoft is likely to take the biggest hits for any problems that do exist. More bad press, more lawsuits, more problems.

Third, NT 5/Windows2000/98 upgrade/whatever. Do we even know what this is anymore? All that seems clear is that they will, at some point well after they promised, release some kind of OS update. It will probably be six different flavors of NT, all of them full of bugs, none of them targeted at the consumer market. Don't bet on ever seeing a consumer version of NT.

Asus V3800TVR Vs Elsa Erazor III 01:32 am - Wilfred
Gamers Depot posted a shootout between the two 'stereoscopic glasses capable' TNT2 cards from Asus and Elsa. On the Elsa...

The picture produced by these babies, is just as good as that on your monitor. Enough said. Reception was never an issue on the Infrared ELSA glasses, and in general I got the impression that the ELSA 3D technology was lightyears ahead of the ASUS. ELSA employ a technology which allows them to maintain the vertical resolution (and horizontal) of an image or game. This one feature alone has significant (positive) impact on picture quality. Once I had tried the Revelator, there was no way I could consider using the ASUS glasses anymore.

Software Turns Websites Into Chat Rooms 00:23 am - Wilfred
This sounds like real fun! Gooey - Imagine users of this particular software can visit any website and chat up any other similar users 'onboard' that particular site. Not a bad idea indeed!

Israeli company Hypernix on Monday released via the Web a new application called Gooey that gives registered users a chat environment they can carry around the Web with them.

When a user visits a Web page, he/she will see the alias names of every other Gooey user who is currently visiting that site. They will also see a public chat room connected to that particular URL, which all Gooey users present may respond to. Users can also click on the names of particular users, giving them an option of opening up a private chat channel. Users are also able to turn the application off and surf in non-chat mode.

USB Troubleshooting Guide 00:15 am - Wilfred
The USB Workshop put up a USB Troubleshooting Guide for Windows 98 SE... You will also find a list of incompatible devices with 98 SE.

This guide provides some early warnings and precautions users should take when upgrading to Windows 98 SE with the USB devices listed on this page. Check to see if you have these USB devices before installing Windows 98 SE. Some of the problems can be solved by changing BIOS settings, and driver updates; however, some USB devices do not work with OpenHCI-standard USB controllers. In this case, a hardware upgrade to UniversalHCD-standard USB controller is required if users intend to install the USB device on their systems.

Intel Ships First 0.18 Micron Processors 00:06 am - Wilfred
Among the the 400Mhz mobile PII and 400Mhz Celeron processors shipped this morning my Intel used their new 0.18-micron process technology. A snip for ya from EDTN Network!

Among the 400-MHz, mobile Pentium II and 400-MHz Celeron microprocessors shipped this morning by Intel Corp., were MPUs manufactured using the chip giant's new 0.18-micron process technology, the company reported.

The long-awaited 0.18-micron process technology will allow Intel to manufacture a greater number of chips per wafer, at faster speeds than using a 0.25-micron process.

15 June 1999 - Tuesday
Elsa 3D Revelator 16:17 pm - Kan
The firing cakes over at FiringSquad published another review, the Elsa 3D Revelator.

So what do you need to play? Well, the obvious hardware is required: a pair of 3D Revelator glasses. The infrared glasses also need the cable that we were missing, which connects the IR signal transmitter to the monitor. You can connect up to 4 of the cabled glasses, or an unlimited number of the infrared glasses to a single system! The only prerequisite of attaching an unlimited number of infrared glasses is that all of them can receive the signal from the little device that sends the signal out.

Motherboard Reviews 12:41 pm - Kan
More motherboard reviews over at the House of Anand with the AOpen MX3W i810 MicroATX as well as the Freetech P5F110 MVP4 Super7 motherboard. 

The Socket-370 MX3W features a 3/1/0 expansion slot configuration.  The nomenclature AnandTech will be using for the expansion slot configuration of all 810 and future 820 motherboards is as follows: PCI/AMR/AGP.  Meaning that the MX3W features 3 PCI, 1 AMR (Audio Modem Riser) and no AGP slots like most other MicroATX 810 boards.  The PCI/AMR slots are driven by the on-board Intel 801AA ICH (I/O Controller Hub) which will be one of the more popular hub selections for motherboard manufacturers

How to Flash your BIOS 12:37 pm - Kan
Two new articles over at AGN Hardware. The first one is a dummy's guide to flashing your BIOS. Darn, I always love the adrenaline rush of flashing your motherboard BIOS and then finding it won't POST after that. The 2nd article is a review on the Benwin Flat Panel Speakers.

Up until now I have only referred to the system BIOS, however, there are several BIOSs in your computer.  Peripherals such as video cards, sound cards, and modems have their own BIOSs which can also be updated or flashed provided that the BIOS is stored in EEPROM memory. I can recall flashing the BIOS on my US Robotics 28.8 kbps modem in order to upgrade it to 33.6 kbps. Just as with motherboards, flashing the BIOS on a peripheral is done in order to remedy hardware incompatibilities or to add new functionality to the peripheral. BIOSs on peripherals generally do not require the ability to retain settings in the same manner that a motherboard does. An exception to this is SCSI controllers.

Clocking and Hacking the BX Chipset 12:34 pm - Kan
More goodies over at ArsTechnica on using SoftFSB and Hirobo's Turbo.PLL to clock and hack your BX chipset. Use'em at your own risk!

SoftFSB and Hirobo's Turbo.PLL are two extremely hard-core overclocking hacks that involve hacking not the CPU but the BX chipset.  Both of these mods give you the ability to tweak the FSB speed in very small increments: SoftFSB gives you software control of the FSB and the Turbo.PLL gives you hardware control.  From a technical standpoint, I haven't seen anything this cool since the dual Celeron hack.  Unlike Tom's B21 trick, this isn't something you'll stumble across by reading a PII datasheet.  The folks responsible for these two hacks had to do a lot of research, and they really had to understand system clocking and the intricacies of the BX chipset.

EverGlide Large Attack Pad 12:31 pm - Kan
FPS3D called this the Greatest Mousepad on Earth. Looks like mousepads nowadays are not made up of your normal-dish-washing-sponges anymore...

The grip it gives a mouse is awesome. We're talking pixel-perfect aiming in all shooter games. However, one BIG problem I noticed for people (me included) who rest their wrists on the edge of the mousepad, is that the four little rubber feet on the bottom (which are there so the pad doesn't slide everywhere while you play) are placed very close to the center. So if you put anything more than a feather's weight on the edge of the pad it will tilt and wobble in a way that is completely unacceptable. But rather than accepting that as just a horrid flaw and give the Everglide a bad review, I fixed it.

K7 Benchmarks 12:28 pm - Kan
Our buds over at ArsTechnica posted some exciting benchmarks on the coming K7, which is suppose to be release this month. Looks like the K7 can be 50% faster in some benchmarks. But how well will it perform in real world applications?

Judging by responses I've received in the mail and elsewhere, I would like to mention that Spec benchmarks are not complete indicators of real-world performance.  If you'd like a long talk about why that's so, check out Hannibal's article on the matter.  If I could summarize, let me just say that SpecINT performance doesn't equal "raw integer performance," nor does SpecFP performance equal FPU performance, per se.  In other words, you can't say that the K7 @ 600MHz is 15% faster than the PIII Xeon in integer ops.  To do so ignores the fact that you're measuring a benchmark on a platform, not raw (virtually immeasurable, only theoretically available) performance.

Voodoo2 Under Windows 2000 12:26 pm - Kan
Philipp from NT Gaming Palace sent note on instruction on how to get your Voodoo2 to work under Windows 2000. You can get the file from here.

3DNow! Enabled 3D Adapters 11:59 am - Wilfred
Tom's Hardware has an update. Today, they put up an article titled "3DNow! Enabled 3D Adapters - Which Solution Offers The Best Performance". While a huge part of the snips here talked about nVidia and 3dfx... I suggest you read about Matrox farther below! 

One thing is certainly still true, an owner of a K6-2 or K6-3-system can hardly go wrong with a product from 3Dfx, at least Voodoo2 and Voodoo3 are good performers with an excellent 3DNow!-support. NVIDIA has indeed managed to do an excellent work on their new drivers as well. TNT2 is the best 3DNow!-performer in Direct3D, which is still the platform for the majority of 3D-games. It's very impressive to see the difference between the old and the new drivers for TNT2. The OpenGL-performance of TNT2 is not quite as high as Voodoo3's Glide-performance under Quake2, however, it's not far behind. This story looks very different with Quake3. Id's upcoming game requires a real OpenGL-ICD, which is the strength of NVIDIA and the weakness of 3Dfx. Once the new Q3test-version is out you will see that TNT2 performs better than Voodoo3 in this OpenGL-game as well.

In regards to compatibility, we recommend hanging tight before installing a NVIDIA TNT2 based graphics adapter into an ALI-V based motherboard until both NVIDIA and ALi get all of their drivers working together. If you own an FIC PA-2013 and an AMD-K6 III 450MHz we advise to wait until FIC understands how to fix their onboard power supply before installing a Voodoo3 3500 (183MHz). The real surprise in this comparison was the Matrox G400 MAX. It is not quite true that G400 is simply requiring a lot of CPU-power, it performed very well under Direct3D even with a K6-2 400. Once Matrox can bring the G400-OpenGL-ICD up to speed, we'll have another tough competitor in the 3D-graphics market for Socket7.

Frying Your L2 Cache Unknowingly? 11:47 am - Wilfred
The HardOCPers are known for their crave for insane overclocked CPU speeds, so they should know better the real limits of overclocking any CPU. Kyle sent word that his formally stable PIII-450 will no longer run reliably at 558Mhz, unless he disabled the L2 cache. The investigation on what he smoked is still ongoing...

Well, I have bad news.  My previously stable PIII-450 will no longer run stable at 558MHz.  I thought at first it was due to either SDRam or BIOS problems, but after hacking around since last Wednesday, I have decided that I have actually damaged the L2 Cache on the CPU.

This is the second time I have done this with a Pentium Class CPU.  I was pushing the CPU beyond any real level of attainment (4.5 x 129/133), and when I failed at my attempts and went back to use it at 4.5x124Mhz, no bueno dude.  I only used voltages of up to 2.3.  I think I have permanently damaged the L2 Cache on the processor.  We also did this several months ago with a PII-300 SL2W8, but I thought I was just crazy at the time.  Now the same situation has occurred, I thought I should share it with the peeps.

Digger: Poll #17 Results 11:41 am - Wilfred
This is by far the most disgusting and irrelevant poll we've had. The results showed that we have a pool of totally crazee readers with novel ways of exploring the depths of their nostrils. My guess: most of you here have warped brains, gymnast's flexibilities and deformed noses. =P

SOYO SY-6IZA Review 09:58 am - Kan
CRUS sent note on their review on the SOYO SY-6IZA motherboard. It comes with the Creative Labs ES1373 onboard audio chip as well as the 440ZX chipset.

Most Slot1 motherboards have support for much more memory but who actually needs all that memory. Not me anyway. The integrated sound chip on this motherboard clears up one PCI slot but the ISA slot is a shared PCI/ISA slot. This means that the PCI and ISA slot sit very close to each other and that makes it impossible to put one card in the PCI slot and another in the ISA slot at the same time. Most motherboard nowadays are made in this way but then they support 5 PCI and 2 ISA slots and then it's probably enough but now there can be some problems with space.

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