28 June 1999 - Monday

Soyo 6BA+ III 20:28 pm - Kan
Over at HardOCP, our dear Kyle reviewed the Soyo 6BA+ III motherboard. Looks like this motherboard is pretty good. Go take a look over there!

Next is the Auto PCI Clock. The PCI bus speed is automatically set between 33MHz and 41MHz regardless of FSB setting.  This is a great feature but I would actually like to see it be a bit more controlled by the user instead of preset with the corresponding FSB. With some FSB's you will actually underclock the the PCI bus. It would be great if we could have a larger set of multipliers to pick from for the PCI bus, although I don't know if this is economically feasible. 

Ancient Conquest 20:25 pm - Kan
Gamer's Crypt reviewed the game Ancient Conquest.

The key to Ancient Conquest is that it doesn’t pretend to go up against TA:K – in fact it doesn’t pretend to even go up against the original Total Annihilation. While RTS titles are growing infinitely bigger and more complex, with well in excess of 100 air, land, and sea based units, Ancient Conquest subscribes to the ‘more is less’ mindset. Going by sea only, Ancient Conquest features limited sea-faring units, and a style of gameplay that lends itself to simplistic multiplayer action over the net, and an overall feel that puts it more in the league of Warcraft II than Tiberian Sun. So put those groans of displeasure away at the mention of yet another RTS title and read on – Ancient Conquest is a good sight better than looks might first suggest. 

Barracuda 50GB 20:23 pm - Kan
Over at PlanetHardware, the guys reviewed the Seagate Barracuda 50GB hard disk. 50GB ?? WOW! I wish I have one...

The Seagate Barracuda50 is one of Seagate's largest density offerings in the workstation market. The drive itself is a 50GB drive, spinning at 7200RPM, has a 7.4ms seek time, and a 1MB buffer. The drive utilizes the Ultra2 SCSI LVD interface, which allows for up to 80 MB/s maximum throughput. All of these features are somewhat standard for the 7200 RPM SCSI drive market, but what makes this drive standout against the competition is its large density. Seagate offers the ONLY 50GB SCSI drive on the market, with the closest competitors being down at the 36GB level. I believe that this density is reached through an 8-platter design, with each platter containing 6.26GB.

MechWarrior 3 20:22 pm - Kan
One of my favorite games out there. CPUReview wrote down their thoughts on this classic. Check out the fantastic screenshots they have out there.

BattleMech Operations describes all of the Mech systems (chassis, armor, weapons) as well as the cockpit displays and Mech controls. You really should read all of this information, as you will survive longer (and advance further) if you are able to effectively handle your Mech

1998 News Archives Removed 13:09 pm - Kan
I just put our 1998 News Archives off-line. Don't think most of you  read the old archives. :) Anyway, I'm back on-line after a little "get-away" with my girl at somewhere for the past 2 days. I'm quite shagged...(or shack??) and I will probably take 2 weeks to read the emails I've received for the past 2 days. Webmasters, if you don't see your news being posted up, kindly yell at us again.

Some pictures/links may not appear correctly after the deletion. If you spotted any, please email us

Liquid Cooled Heat Exchange 13:06 pm - Kan
SysopSolutions just sent note on their latest article on the Liquid Cooled Heat Exchange. Lots of pictures on how to cool those processors of yours. Damn, I'm tempted to try it one of these days. :)

We have been talking about liquid cooling and discussing liquid heat exchangers for some time now, however we were a little hesitant to get involved in the technology. It seemed at the time like there was nothing on the market being produced on a large enough scale to be cost effective when used in computer applications for cooling CPUs. Typically good liquid exchangers were reserved for high-end applications and the medical industry. In addition we contemplated making our own liquid cooled heat exchanger but this seemed too labor intensive and also it would not serve as a proper example because it would  be very difficult for most of our reading public to duplicate and implement.

Elsa 3D Revelator IR 10:22 am - Kan
Our fellow addicts over at Tech-Junkie posted their thoughts on the Elsa 3D Revelator IR glasses. This article is a follow up to their previous review on the Elsa 3D Revelator.  Hop over there to take a look!

Although the IR is a big improvement, we found that on rare occasions, the signal would die and the view would go back to a double-image. This happened during one of our TJ networked pod races and my pod hurtled into the side barrier at 600 miles an hour. It wasn't my fault! It was the Revelator! After the crash, the Revelator sprang back to life. Incidentally, this bug lost me the race and the other TJ's had a blast gloating about it.

Cyborg Stick 2000 10:20 am - Kan
AGN Hardware reviewed the Cyborg Stick 2000 joystick. Very awesome looking, this joystick comes with lots of buttons as well as a POV hat-switch for you to play with.

We told you that stick was adjustable, but you not going to believe the level of control that Saitek has given you over the orientation of the stick.  The POV hat-switch height and angle can be adjusted to the length of your thumb, and the three button platform mentioned earlier can pivot to either side to help accommodate the orientation for either right or left handed people.  The palm rest is also adjustable, and easily converts the stick for use with either hand but it can also be adjusted up or down along the length of the stick to accommodate for different hand sizes. 

MechWarrior3 Review 10:12 am - Kan
Extreme3D sent note on their review on the classic MechWarrior 3. Also, they have a review on the game Re-Volt. Remote Control cars used to be my favorite long time ago, and it's pretty fun to play games similar to that now.

Ok, enough about my opinions, let's talk about the game. The game starts with you choosing a mission (however, you could play simple parts like the Instant Action sequence). These missions are VERY difficult (for me, at least. Some of you that played MechWarrior1 & 2 will probably find it easier). By my undestanding, the controls in MechWarrior3 is the same with that of the originals. Once you pick your mission, they give you a briefing so we know what exactly to do.

PC Expo'99 10:04 am - Kan
PC Show'99 just finished here. Anyway, our buds over at ArsTechnica posted their final report on PC Expo'99 over at New York City.

PC Expo is a pretty small affair, relatively speaking.  It lacks most of the glitz you’ll find at COMDEX, and because it’s dedicated to business computing, there’s only a handful of things there that are really interesting to me, product-wise (I did think that the Mimio electronic whiteboard was cool, though).  I’m not complaining about the show-–in fact, I’ll be the first to admit that as an outsider to the real business world, it’s fascinating to see how things are sold to people who are supposedly IT computing professionals. Anyhow, that's not what I'm here to report on. ;)

OnStream SCSI Tape Backup 10:01 am - Kan
Those chums over HotHardware sent note on the OnStream SCSI digital tape backup drive. This one backups at 7 Gig/hour with their new ADR technology.

Our first pass was intended just to let the drive sit and do its "thang" undisturbed. While backing up our data, the drive was extremely quiet only whirring slightly as it streamed data on to the tape at approximately an average of 70MB/minute. Our drive was only about half full of data and the back up took an hour and 15 minutes for 5.6Gigs. This a substantial improvement over traditional tape drives that would have taken more than 3X the time it took the SC30.

The Awakening 10:00 am - Kan
Speedy3D sent note on their review on Amen: The Awakening. This game has a great story line, awesome graphics as well as a realistic environment. Hmm, looks pretty fun!

The graphics in Amen are among some of the best I have ever seen! You will need a 3d card, similar to a Voodoo II chip card to play the game though. This seems to be the trend lately, most new games are moving to 3d-only, and ditching the software rendering. You also will be able to play multiplayer on the Internet, LAN or direct connections.

Also, they have some information on 3Dfx's coming Voodoo4.

With a house hold name like 3dfx (some people even get it confused with the name "graphics accelerator") we have all come to expect an extremely fast processor, with all the next generation features. Even though 3dfx's current voodoo 3 line is not all what we expected (more like a banshee2), 3dfx still has a chance to redeem it self with an awesome next-generation video card.

28 June 1999 - Monday
Optimizing VCache's Chunksize 20:15 pm - Wilfred
Adrian of The Rojak Pot mailed about his latest article on optimizing vcache's chunksize. He found that default is best!

It appears that whatever improvement in efficiency that a small chunksize gains and the extra overhead associated with it are so insignificant that they hardly make a ripple in the benchmark scores. The same goes for the large chunksize and its lower overhead. None of the other chunksizes offered a significant improvement over the default chunksize of 512 bytes. Many actually scored worse than it. So, based on the results, I can only recommend that you leave the chunksize at the default 512 bytes.

Future Windows To Block Violent Games 20:12 pm - Wilfred
The ever friendly OS, just got friendlier? Heh! Microsoft said that an update to their Windows would allow parents to restrict and block off any games they deem unsuitable for their children with rating system based on the amount of violence, foul language and gore.

The feature, which a Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) spokesman said will probably be called Windows Game Manager, addresses the concern of many parents about the influence of violent games on their children. Access to games could be based on title or ratings, and could be controlled by password or username, Microsoft said.

AMD To Sue Singapore Airlines 20:08 pm - Wilfred
Duh? There are no details, I just thought fellow Singaporeans may want to know. AMD is
suing Singapore Airlines around *something* and The Register is not even sure at the moment. What gives?

Chaintech 6AIA 20:06 pm - Wilfred
Anand's (who just turned 17!) AnandTech has a review on the Chaintech 6AIA VIA Apollo Plus microATX Socket-370 board (whoa! what a mouthful!). Check it out if it interests you!

Despite the Apollo Pro Plus's official support for 100MHz FSB, the 6AIA only claims support for 66, 75, and 83MHz FSB settings. All are available through Chaintech's own jumperless CPU setup, known as SeePU. Clock multipliers are also adjusted in the SeePU section of the BIOS. Generally most Socket-370 Celerons won't be able to make the jump to bus speeds 100MHz and above, so it's not a big deal for most users at this point in time. However, Celerons that officially support 100MHz FSB speeds are coming down the pipes soon from Intel. At that point, the lack of 100MHz FSB settings may limit upgrade options. Of course, support is in the chipset, so it may just take a BIOS upgrade to enable those speeds. In fact, a jumper is labeled in the manual for bus speed selection, but no additional information is given. Our Celeron 366 would not boot with that jumper at it's alternate position, but this is not surprising since it never runs at 550MHz.

Power Conditioning 20:01 pm - Wilfred
Dan's Data posted an article about power conditioning. What is that? Heheh! Read on. Don't let power surges, sags, spikes and the killer stuffs disrupt or destroy your PCs!

A surge is a lengthy (2.5 second or longer) increase in the supply voltage. A sag is a similarly lengthy decrease. By and large, computer power supplies deal with both of these quite well, though it of course depends on the severity of the irregularity, not to mention the quality of the power supply, and how much of its capacity is being used by the computer. The closer to maximum capacity a power supply is, the less likely it is to handle a given surge or sag. For this reason, a computer with a 300 watt (W) Power Supply Unit (PSU) is likely to deal better with line irregularities than one with a 235W PSU, although it may not ever need more than 200W of the PSU's possible output.

Hardware-One: Acer TravelMate 330T 03:05 pm - Wilfred
Looking for a full-featured ultraslim notebook for business or school? Here's our review on the award-winning Acer TravelMate 330T sub-notebook.

The notebook served me well in the short span of two weeks, and battery life had been consistently over 2 hours on general use. I liked the fact that no corners were cut to produce this fine product. Armed with all the standard ports, 128Mb RAM, and a Pentium II 300Mhz  processor with integrated 256kb cache, all packed into its thin magnesium alloy casing. I almost had it all.

Interview: Creative On S3 02:28 pm - Wilfred
GA-Source scored an interview with Creative's VP Graphics Division, Steve Mosher, to gain an understanding on how S3's acquisition of Diamond Multimedia will affect them and others. This is the coolest bit of the chunk:

We see that custom engineering has been improving the 3D Blaster Voodoo2 experience for users, as well as the experience for TNT/2 customers, if/when S3 stops sending software to develop on, will the custom engineering team develop projects to retain value for 3D Blaster Savage4 owners?

I don't care whose chip is on the board. The customer bought a board from us; we owe him our best effort, regardless of what actions the chip company takes. This is Creative's heritage. I keep challenging the guys in the custom group to do something cool for the guy who put his faith in us and bought our product. So, for example I had one of the guys write his own GL, from scratch for the Voodoo2 and Banshee. He loved the project, because he got to own it and actually connect in a real way with the end users. The whole team is incredibly open to end user feedback. So yes, we will probably have some special projects for Savage owners. Again, if the end users ask us to do something, our gut reaction is "Yes".

AMD Athlon Benchmarks 02:19 pm - Wilfred
AMD released some internal benchmarks for your reading, which showed their coming Athlon processor beating the Intel P3 550Mhz in every category at the same clockspeed.

Take 3D Pictures! 02:16 pm - Wilfred
MSNBC has a story about this new camera system developed by scientists, capable of taking 3D-imagery using visible light.

The camera system cannot project an image, like a hologram, which uses a laser beam. But it can create an image that can be viewed in three dimensions on a computer and even “walked through” using virtual reality, the researchers said.

David Brady of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and colleagues combined two kinds of technology - computed tomography, which is used to scan the inside of the body, and interferometry, which makes it possible to see an image without focusing on it.

LightSaber That Really Hurts 02:11 pm - Wilfred
Calling all Darth Mauls and Jedis out there, have your lightsabers checked before you really hurt somebody. Here's an announcement from the weapon's maker:

In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Hasbro Inc., of Pawtucket, R.I., is voluntarily recalling about 618,000 Star Wars Lightsaber toys for repair. The spring in the battery compartments of these toys can dislodge, causing the batteries to overheat or rupture. This can cause burns to consumers.

Hasbro has received 38 reports of Lightsaber batteries overheating, including six reports of batteries rupturing. There are three reports of minor burns to consumers, and one consumer reported experiencing eye irritation.

There are two models of Lightsaber toys involved in this recall. The Darth MaulTM Double-Bladed Lightsaber has retractable red plastic "light blades" on both sides of a metallic-gray hand grip. When the blades are fully extended, the toy is 5 feet long. The Qui-Gon JinnTM Lightsaber has a single retractable "light blade" made of green plastic that extends from a metallic-gray hand grip to about 3 feet. Both Lightsaber toys operate with two "C" batteries. The plastic blades on double-bladed Lightsaber light up when struck against another object, and the single-bladed Lightsaber stays continually lit when turned on. Both feature energy "humming," "charge-up" and motion-activated battle crash sounds.

Permedia 3 Benchmarks 01:05 am - Wilfred
Our pals at SystemLogic posted the benchmark figures from the Permedia 3 card. Apparently, it doesn't seem to perform all that great at all in games and benchmarks. Ooops! Nevertheless, we wait for a full review.

Monsoon MM-700 Flat Panel Speakers 01:00 am - Wilfred
PlanetHardware did a short review on the Monsoon MM-700 Flat Panel speakers. Have a look!

Once the speakers are setup in a suitable configuration, the picture changes for the better. For a flat panel set, the MM-700's will give you the best audio quality on the market today, and they even match up incredibly well against traditional cone-based speakers. Although, the system fails to reach highs as well as traditional sets, but it does lows and deep bass incredibly well, thanks in part to the large cube for a subwoofer that's included in the set.

The subwoofer is a welcome change for flat panel sets, which usually include a wimpy subwoofer to go with the overall theme of "compact" audio setups. The Monsoon MM-700's, as well as the original MM-1000's have large bulky subwoofers which can pump bass with the best of them. The shape of the subwoofer is actually quite odd, the dimensions are that of a perfect cube.

Editors Downtime 00:57 am - Wilfred
Yeah, both Kan and myself are pretty caught up with life recently, so that explains the skimpy amount of updates yesterday. We'll be back in no time. Here's two more updates to keep you occupied for a while. Stay tuned, there will be a review coming along within the next 24hrs. =)


26 June 1999 - Saturday
Riva TNT3 / NV10 12:26 pm - Wilfred
A buddy just sent me a link to KAC Hardware who wrote about nVidia's next graphics chip. What do you think of photo-realistic graphics and up to 256Mb of RAM? Crazee??

Generally speaking the more realistic and advanced graphics you want rendered the larger texture buffers you need and since TNT3/NV10 will have photo-realistic rendering 64MB will probably be the minimum if not a 16/32MB OEM-version is released. Like Voodoo3 TNT3/NV10 will presumably be released in four different versions; an OEM-version with 16/32MB of RAM, a standard with 64MB, a standard ultra with 128MB, a professional with 192MB and an professional Special Edition with 256MB of RAM.

Cyrix MII-400 Pic 11:42 am - Wilfred
The Upgrade Center got hold of the pic of Cyrix's 2.2V MII-400 chip. I didn't just copy the pic here, so I suggest you check out this link.

Alpha's 1Ghz Processor Demonstrated 11:42 am - Wilfred
A 1Ghz Alpha was demonstrated at room temperature during the PC Expo 99. ZDNet has a full story of the happenings, take a look!

Alpha is on the PC Expo floor this week showing off its achievement: One of its 64-bit, 21264 processor chips is running at 1 GHz. At room temperature. No refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, ice cubes or liquid-bearing cooling tubes. Just some fans on the processor and a well-vented tower box. The screen attached to the 1GHz computer was running a program that shows just how fast it's doing its thing. Sure enough, the number was constantly changing from something like 0.98765 GHz to 1.01234 GHz.

2 New TA: Kingdom Maps 11:42 am - Wilfred
As usual our pals at CPRExtreme have been hard at work churning out better maps for those of you Total Annihilation fans. They have 2 new ones in store. Download them if it interests you.

Dungeon Keeper II Review 11:38 am - Wilfred
Out in the UK today, ActiveWin delivered a review on the Bullfrog game. Does the sequel live up to its predecessor? I have a snip:

To say that if you played Dungeon Keeper you have pretty much played Dungeon Keeper 2 is pretty much close to the truth, but there are a number if new features that manages to make it an even better game than before.

The 3D accelerated engine really makes a difference over the first game, I remember when Dungeon Keeper got a Direct3D patch released and many people were left disappointed with the quality, well we can safely say that Bullfrog have redeemed themselves with the graphics in Dungeon Keeper 2.

Quake III Screenshots On Permedia 3 11:33 am - Wilfred
Whoa! Good stuff here at SystemLogic! They've posted some Quake III screenshots taken from a Permedia 3 card they will soon review. Teasers, teasers, teasers.... another killer card potential.

NT IIS 4.0 Beat Linux In Every Category 11:31 am - Wilfred
Remember the bitter dispute some time ago? Well PCWeek arbitrated a rematch and they have some interesting insights and analysis:

After a tortuous five days of tests, audited by the best and the brightest from Mindcraft, Microsoft and Red Hat Software Inc., and despite significant tuning improvements made on the Linux side, Windows NT 4.0 still beat Linux using the Apache Web server and Samba in every performance category, although the margin of victory was smaller than in Mindcraft's tests.

But far more interesting is that, in all the areas in which the Linux community cried foul, its assumptions were wrong. Where kernel problems were found, fixes are already under way.

Triple Fan Cooler 04:33 am - Kan
FPS3D sent note on their review on 3DCool's Triple Fan Cooler. Hmm, is it good enough for 10,000 RPM drives? Read'em to find out more!

Well I must say, I did feel like an idiot for a second getting the mounting brackets in place correctly. However a couple minutes later it was all set and ready to go. For power, it uses a Y-adapter, so you don't have to worry about it gulping up a power cable that would potentially power another device. No real complaints about the install... Not much there could be either, considering there are no drivers or anything (!).

25 June 1999 - Friday
Abit BP6 Dual S370 Board 22:20 pm - Wilfred
Wowzers! FiringSquad scored a review on the awaited Abit BP6! Now your dreamed dual celeron performance can become a reality without painful soldering! You know what? Abit supports tweaking of voltages on individual CPUs! This is the board to get for the millenium! Don't miss this!

As this is a dual-CPU motherboard, any changes to one processor are implemented on the other as well, meaning that you can only overclock as fast as your slowest chip can handle. Fortunately, Abit saw this limitation during development, and allowed for two separate CPU voltage adjustment channels. Your high-tolerance chip may be able to get away with 85MHz FSB at 2.0V, but if the second CPU is giving you voltage-related problems, just up that one individually to 2.2V!

GlobalWin FA420 Cooling 22:06 pm - Wilfred
The Sanctum popped a mail about their latest review on a GlobalWin FA420 cooler installed onto a Xentor 32. Check it out:

Overall you can't go wrong with GlobalWin's FA420 combo. No matter if you have a 3dfx Voodoo3 or Matrox G400 this combo should assist you on your way to squeeze every bit of performance from your video card. It's large quality fan and heatsink should last you a good while. The only drawback we found is you lose the first PCI slot after your AGP port. Otherwise this combo is perfect and comes easy to install. If you have quality memory and a better chipset yield, you most likely will obtain higher scores then ours.

Diamond Viper 770 Ultra TNT2 21:58 pm - Wilfred
ExtremeHardware just delivered a review on the Viper 770 Ultra in all the usual EH detail. S3 Diamond? Hmm....

Of all the TNT2 Ultra boards available, I would venture to say the Viper V770 Ultra is the best mainstream board. Offering stable drivers and an excellent game bundle, the Viper maximizes the out-of-the-box experience. Compared to other TNT2 Ultra cards, the Viper may be slightly slower, but its real benefit is found in its software bundle. If you've played the games in the bundle or if you are not interested in them, the Viper V770 Ultra is probably not your best TNT2 Ultra choice. On the other hand, if the games appeal to you, they make the $200 price tag on the Viper much easier to swallow.

IBM's Electronic Newspaper Prototype 21:51 pm - Wilfred
Really amazed me when I read this in yesterday's The Straits Time. If you missed it, be sure to check out this link! News might no longer be delivered the traditional way!

A prototype of the paper, created by IBM, so impressed industrial designers in the United States last week that they gave it a gold prize in this year's Industrial Design Excellence Awards (Idea), sponsored by the American magazine, Business Week.

Each sheet of the newspaper is a thin and light fibre-glass-reinforced paper, called "Tyvek", covered in a clear, protective sheet.

The text, headlines, drawings and photographics on the page are composed of electronic "ink" -- electrically-charged molecules on the paper that can be made to appear either black or white, and will remain in that state until changed by another charge.

Each edition of the newspaper has 16 double-sided "printed" sheets, bound by a metallic bar on one side. There are buttons along the bar for you to scroll the text of, say, a particularly long article.

Outcast 21:43 pm - Wilfred
ActiveWin sent note that they've completed a review on Infrogames' Outcast, probably a first on the Internet. Scoring a 91%, the reviewer must have been adequately impressed!

I can't say that I have played another game so far this year that has enthralled me quite so much as Outcast. Despite the lack of High Resolutions and 3d accelerator cards the graphics still tend to amaze and have a Wow factor. The only other disappointment is that despite having a Pentium II 450 with 128 MB and an AGP 2d card is that I can't really run the game well enough to play it in the highest resolution, but considering the graphics hardly change no matter what resolution you use it doesn't really affect the game.

I also have to say that Outcast easily has the best CD music that I have heard in a game and that includes Star Wars because this soundtrack is original. Overall this is an excellent game that I recommend to anyone who can run it.

WebPrint Smart 2.0 12:43 pm - Kan
One of my favorite utilities to print out hard copies from the web. HP just released v2.0 of the award winning program. For more information, you can click here. Anyway, you can download the program from here.

For people tired of Internet output that's not what they need, more than they want, and riddled with broken graphics and choppy text, Hewlett-Packard Company today announced HP Web PrintSmart Plus! 2.0. The enhanced Internet printing solution enables users to collect Web content from multiple sites into a personalized Web report that is easy to format, print and share. In addition, it offers better printing, with improved layouts, graphics control and scheduled printing.

Designed to meet the evolving printing needs of Internet users, HP Web PrintSmart Plus! 2.0 fixes common Internet printing problems --automatically formatting Web pages -- before they print. HP Web PrintSmart Plus! 2.0 helps users create Web research documents, comparison reports or any summaries of Web information.

Removing Pentium III Heatsink 12:40 pm - Kan
SysopSolutions has a guide teaching you how to remove those heatsink on your Pentium III. Lots of pictures to go with it, it certainly looks dangerous! 

It has become common knowledge to the overclocking world that the standard heatsink assembly shipped with the Intel line of PIII processors is sub-standard to say the least, when it comes to efficiently cooling the processor. This inferiority becomes far more evident if the individual were to (heaven forbid) overclock the PIII.

Counterstrike 12:39 pm - Kan
SystemLogic sent note on their write-up on Counterstrike, a Half-life MOD which is currently in beta.

Counterstike is a realistic display of two "teams" that rival each other on a map. The first being the Counter Terrorists, and the second being, well yeah - the Terrorists. When you first join the game, you're given
a pistol and absolutely no money. Depending on your team, you'll either be given the USP (single shot, semi automatic) or the Glock (rapid fire, semi automatic). The catch behind that little subtle part I mentioned a few sentences ago is that he who has the most money, probably has the sniper rifle and when he sees you in his crosshairs, he won't hesitate to use his investment.

New Limit To Size of Chips 11:36 am - Wilfred
Yes, of course the silicon ones! Bell Labs scientists have 'ruled' that 5 atoms is the minimum thickness of the silicon dioxide film at the heart of computers. That's the maximum potential from today's materials. Have a look here!

Bell Labs scientists say they have found what they believe is the limit for making ever-smaller computer chips using current materials.

Five atoms is the minimum thickness possible for the silicon dioxide film at the heart of computers -- a part of the transistors that turn on and off at lightning speed, the scientists report in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. 

For practical purposes, the layer will have to be about twice that thickness. Currently, the so-called gate oxide films used are about 25 atoms thick, said Greg Timp, one of the study's authors.

While the researchers say they believe limit is absolute, the good news is the limit is lower than had been thought. So, manufacturers will be able to keep shrinking chips at the current rate for 10 to 12 years, instead of six years using current technologies, as some had estimated, the authors said.

Diamond Spins Off RIO 11:36 am - Wilfred
ZDNet has a story that Diamond Multimedia will spin off Rio as a new company, and their new Rio model will debut with anti-piracy built in. Anti-piracy? That's only going to cost them business.

At an event in Los Angeles Wednesday night, Diamond (Nasdaq:DIMD) also unveiled the Rio PMP 500 audio player, whose 64 megabytes of memory can hold up to an hour of high-quality audio -- twice the previous version's capacity.

The new Rio, slated to be available in August, also includes anti-piracy software to prevent unauthorized distribution of audio content. Diamond has been working with InterTrust Technologies to incorporate copyright protection features into the Rio. The lack of copyright protection in the Rio and other MP3 digital audio players has been an issue of great concern to the Recording Industry.

Videologic Neon 250 PVR 11:27 am - Wilfred
The Neon 250 is going to be launched? Many people died holding their breath for this one, so just read this and save the expectations. It is interesting to note the confidence and some of the benchmarks they are confident of delivering. Check this:

Customers worldwide will be able to purchase Neon 250 from retailers and mail order companies as well as direct from VideoLogic online at www.videologic.com from mid–August 1999.

Kevin Dale, marketing and sales director, VideoLogic Systems, says: "Already Neon 250 has achieved considerable acclaim, and with good reason. Our recent internal testing shows that for Quake II and III Neon 250 will be the highest performance 3D graphics card available on the market. At just over £100 Neon 250 is the only choice for gamers."

On a PIII 500 PC with 128 MB of RAM Neon 250 is capable of scores of over 55 FPS on the Quake II Crusher Timedemo at 1024x768 resolution with 16-bit colour, full 16-bit textures and maximum texture detail.

On the same topic, Beyond3D posted some Quake III screenshots taken off the Neon 250. Not bad at all! Take a look!

Combination MP3-CD Hybrid Player? 11:16 am - Wilfred
Hmm... Do you want to be able to read MP3s off CDs on a portable player? The advantage is probably the huge 600Mb of storage on CDs compared to present 64Mb flash memory devices. However, that means more bulk and a skippy player depending on all sorts of anti-skip mechanisms.

The technology is based on a specialized chip the company has devised that lets a player read MP3 files off a CD, Yoo said. MP3 is a popular digital download format for music.

Maxi Gamer Xentor32 10:20 am - Kan
The guys over at Rivazone have another new review, the Maxi Gamer Xentor32 TNT2 graphics card. Pretty cheap and good and if you are considering between the Creative and this one, take a look at the Xentor32 review.

The Xentor32's specs are fairly admirable. I won't go into the same stuff that every TNT2U board has. I'll just tell you the stuff you really need to know. The Xentor32 offers 32MB of 183MHz 5.5ns SDRAM. The memory on this particular board was stamped with the EliteMT logo. The core speed on the Xentor32 has caused a bit of a controversy. While the box says 150MHz, my sample board was clocked at 175MHz core. Oddly enough, the memory was clocked at 195MHz when it said on the box 183MHz.

Alpha P125 10:16 am - Kan
We have another Alpha P125 CPU fan cooler review over at TechZone. It's like slapping a brick to your processor. Just look at the size!

The Alpha P125 was the heatsink that put Alpha on the overclocking map. The P125 was originally made to work with Pentium II and Celerons only. Alpha is working on a version for the Pentium III.

The Alpha P125 is big. No, make that HUGE!!! The unit is so big it doesn't fit some motherboards or computer cases. Lucky for me I had a big 24 inch In Winn case to put this in.

ASUS P2B-F 10:12 am - Kan
The Sanctum posted a review on this extremely stable board from ASUS, the P2B-F. Hmm, I feel that the BX chipset is one of the most successful chipsets ever made. It's been in the market for so long, and it's interesting to see how motherboard manufacturers continue to enhance their boards based on this chipset.

ASUS wanted to build upon the P2B model and refine it a little bit. They came out of the gate with the P2B-F model and added more PCI slots. The difference between the classic P2B is not at all evident on the outside though. It still doesn't have a non jumperless board and it doesn't feature a large assortment of Soft Menu® type options in the BIOS for your tweaking pleasure. It mainly builds upon support for Intel's latest x86 Pentium III processors which can be supported with a BIOS update on the classic P2B but makes it easier with the P2B-F model.

Western Digital INF File 10:08 am - Kan
Our bud over at NT Gaming Palace told us that there is a new INF file for Windows 2000 for owners of Western Digital SCSI hard drives. You can download the INF file from here.

Need For Speed: High Stakes 10:05 am - Kan
The savages sent note on their review of this fantastic sequel Need for Speed: High Stakes.

The first thing to be noticed is the inside of the car, its no longer a simple dashboard bitmap overlaid onto the road, you are now actually in the car! It is simply unbelievable, the realism simply cannot be matched by any other racing game available on the market. Even the dials backlighting changes depending on which beam is chosen for the night driving.

Another thing is the fact that since the car is now a proper 3D object there is now a driver visible inside the car whose are arms can be seen steering the vehicle. Even the dashboard light can be seen from the out sideviews. It would be nice if the driver's arms would appear to have joints at the elbows, but that is minor detail which can be overlooked

Final Reality Benchmarks 10:01 am - Kan
MaximumHardware told us there is a new Final Reality benchmark submission system for users to post their results up. You can also check out their 3D Gaming Benchmarks Center where they have a database for benchmarks results like 3DMark, GLQuake, Unreal etc and you can use these results to compare against your system.

FPS2000 Digital 09:58 am - Kan
Those babes over at Review Zone sent note on their latest review on the Creative FPS2000 Digital speakers

The recreation of sound positioned in 3D space is of course best served through the use of headphones. Since we have two ears, it would make sense that two sound sources catering to them should trick us into believing the sound comes from just about anywhere. This is probably the best way to have a multiplayer Half-Life session, no doubt. But what if you’re playing alone or with just a couple of spectators? Headphones will never give the booming and quite palpable bass kicks of a good subwoofer under your desk! Quite often, the most enjoyable way to race around the countryside -in NFS: High Stakes, for example- is to have a subwoofer plus satellite setup. And if you want to position that sound ahead of and behind you as well as to your left and right, you need four satellite speakers.

24 June 1999 - Thursday
Athlon Pic 21:18 pm - Kan
Our pals over at Hardware Extreme sent note on the picture of the coming K7 processor from AMD.  Looks cool huh?

Rhino 21:15 pm - Kan
Demonews sent note on a new beta version of Rhino. Now Rhino is a 3-D Modeling Workshops for Design, Drafting, and Graphics Educators which include many features like:

  • Surface from Curve Network:
    Use the NetworkSrf command to create a surface from a network, or grid of curves. Creation of periodic surfaces, kinked surfaces, edge tangency and curvature continuity, and increased controls for surface creation will come soon.
  • Dimensioning:
    Linear dimensions (other dimension types will follow soon). Rhino's dimensioning and annotation tools are designed to produce shop drawings and illustrations rather than production or contract drawings.

You can download the software from here.

Windows 98 SE 21:14 pm - Kan
Here, we have another Windows 98 SE review over at SystemLogic. Basically, it's just Windows Update in-a-disc. Check out what they have to say.

Your good friends from Microsoft got smart and decided to make the CD copy protected, meaning that you're going to have a hell of a time getting it to work. When I copied it for, um, backup purposes I tried installing it to my machine again and I got a bunch of critical exception errors; however, when I used it to install drivers for my
video card and for some of its applications, it worked without a hitch.

DSL Modem Standard Gets Final Approval 19:10 pm - Wilfred
The G.lite has been approved by the ITU as a lower DSL standard to be used for the mass-market. Check out CNet's article for more details. A clip for ya!

Advocates tout G.lite as a technology which will eliminate the lengthy home installation process. Instead of relying on a technician to install a DSL modem, a consumer would be able to buy the technology at a retail store and install it--saving phone companies a considerable amount of money.

Industry experts say offering G.lite DSL modems through the retail market, rather than using proprietary DSL technologies, could boost the adoption of high-speed Net access--at least in the residential markets.

Harddrive Roundup 18:56 pm - Wilfred
The Upgrade Center posted a simple roundup of 3 harddrive. If you just want to hear honest and short opinions if that drive is sucky or not, check here - David took a look at the Quantum 8.4Gb Bigfoot TS, Fujitsu MPD3084AT 8.4Gb and the Quantum 6.4Gb Fireball EX.

PC Card Click! Drive From Iomega 18:50 pm - Wilfred
The Register has a page about the debut of Iomega's PC Card Click! drive. The drive fits into the notebook's standard PC Card slot and accepts 40Mb Click! disks.

Iomega has started shipping its Clik! PC card drive, worldwide. The new drive fits into the PC card slot on a notebook and accommodates 40MB Clik! disks.

Iomega says that as this drive comes without the fuss of extra cables, it eliminates the need for external storage backup. The company hopes that this new drive will be to laptop users what the Zip drive became to the desktop.

Matrox G400 Review 18:45 pm - Wilfred
CGO whipped up a short review on the Matrox G400, giving it a 4 out of 5 stars. Have a look!

All the bells and whistles in the world mean nothing if performance is sub-par, and the Millenium G400 is a barn-burning waiting to happen. Direct3D performance is nothing short of stellar—the Millenium G400 delivered higher benchmark scores and framerates than just about every card we've tested. 2D performance is likewise ahead of the pack, scoring a few percent higher than our previous 2D speed leader in Business Winbench scores. OpenGL performance, unfortunately, isn't quite yet ready for prime time. Quake II, Q3Test, and Descent 3 perform adequately with the included driver, but not quite as well as with TNT2 or Voodoo3 cards, which have well-tuned OpenGL drivers.

Multi-Head Displays In Linux 18:42 pm - Wilfred
Interested in getting multi-monitor support in Linux? LinuxPlanet has an article for you. Intriguing! Here's their intro:

Multiple head displays. Macs have had it for ages, Windows users just got it, and you know you want it. Let's take a detailed look into what this desktop-enhancing technology is, and how it works in Linux.

The term "multi-head" refers to using more than one monitor side-by-side to create a very large logical desktop. For example, rather than having a single 17" monitor running at 1280x1024, it is possible to take two older 14" 800x600 monitors and place them side by side, creating a single 1600x600 display. If this sounds impractical to you than you may be right; multiple heads take up a rather large amount of space on your desktop, and they also require purchasing a second monitor and a second video card. However, for true desktop junkies, more is never enough.

Multi-head lets you do things like run apps full-screened on one monitor, while managing toolbars on another. If this kind of capability sounds intriguing, then read on...

Final Fantasy 8 Preview 18:36 pm - Wilfred
The FiringSquad did a preview on SquareSoft's Final Fantasy 8. Aren't you eagerly awaiting the release for the PC?

From that introduction alone, you already know the story is going to be damn good. Had that story-line been accompanied with any other game, it would have been worth buying. Put it together with Square's handpicked artists and musicians, and you have the must-buy game just like Phantom Menace was the must-see flick of the year.

In all honesty, I had my doubts about FF8 being better than Final Fantasy 7, but after learning more about it, I know now that everything visual and audio about it is totally superior (with the possible exception of the Cactrot. Come on. What is that thing doing in the game?), and the story-line is as good if not better than Final Fantasy 7. Out of all the games at E3, I'd have to say this and Diablo 2 impressed me the most. Both those titles have strong predecessors to live up to. While both will probably surpass them, I have a feeling that Final Fantasy 8 will just leave 7 in the dust.

The Factoid Project 18:27 pm - Wilfred
A friend sent me this link to read about the Factoid Project that's being developed at the Western Research Laboratory. Do you fancy a puny keychain-size device that records every second of your life and store them in tiny spaces, so that not a moment of your life will go unremembered? (I rather not, some things are meant to be forgotten!)

A Factoid can be viewed in many ways. Perhaps the simplest is to think of it as a minimal PDA. It is about 3" long, 3/4" wide, and 1/4" thick. It has no display, no buttons, no microphone, and no speaker. The only I/O device is a 900MHz radio with a range of 30 feet. There is no power switch, as the Factoid is always turned on. The device fits on a keyring using not much more space than a key.

The Factoid's purpose in life is to accumulate information that is broadcast from other Factoids, and upload it to the user's home base. The sort of information envisioned are tiny facts, such as one might see on a sign, in an advertisement, on a business card, or on the display of an instrument like a thermometer or GPS receiver. These facts are small, say 200 bytes.

While gathering up data, a Factoid is also on the lookout for an Internet connected Factoid server. When it finds one (that is, when you walk near one), it uploads the facts to the user's home base in a reliable and secure fashion, and deletes them from its own memory.

Once uploaded, these facts are kept forever. There simply is no need to delete things that are only 200 bytes in size. If you gathered 1,000 facts per day for a year, that only comes to 73MB per year, and is highly compressible. Thus, they can be saved forever and constitute a sort of history of the user's life.

At home base, the user interacts with application software to access his lifetime collection of facts. Various reports could be generated, perhaps in the format of a trip diary, a daily diary, or perhaps even client billing records. Search engines could be used to find that "needle in a haystack" fact that you want to recall. Since this lifetime collection of facts is very personal, privacy concerns are a major part of this project.

PC Show Singapore 1999 18:22 pm - Wilfred
Hmm... just returned from a geek walk at the opening day of the annual PC Show at Singapore's World Trade Centre. It's a yearly bazaar where Sim Lim and Funan tenants shift their businesses under a common roof to sell their promotion wares.

The only things that caught my attention were the portable MP3 players on sale! Wow! First is the tremendous price drop of the Diamond RIO to only S$199, and next was the availability of the Creative Nomad. It's damn small, smaller than in their brochures. And it's probably the most beautiful thing that you'll see in the show. Sweeet! Now I must find S$409.

Software Raid 16:29 pm - Kan
Ever wanted to run your own RAID system? Check out the Linux HOWTO on how to build your own software RAID system.

Be sure that the bus(ses) to the drives are fast enough. You shouldn't have 14 UW-SCSI drives on one UW bus, if each drive can give 10 MB/s and the bus can only sustain 40 MB/s. Also, you should only have one device per IDE bus. Running disks as master/slave is horrible for performance. IDE is really bad at accessing more that one drive per bus. Of Course, all newer motherboards have two IDE busses, so you can set up two disks in RAID without buying more controllers.

PC Expo'99 16:15 pm - Kan
Our buds over at ArsTechnica wrote down their experiences with PC Expo'99 over at New York City. Check out what they saw over there!

I attended a seminar presented by Microsoft and FastLane Technologies on Windows 2000. It related to my real life, so hey, that's why I went.   (In fact, that the real reason I went on this trip. What, you think I'm rich?) Windows 2000 is generating a lot of excitement. In fact, it was a bit odd to see just how much excitement there was. Across the hall was a Linux presentation led by a Red Hat developer. It looked to me like there wasn't even a third as many people in that room.

Linksys Phoneline Network Kit 16:13 pm - Kan
Tech-Review did a review on the Linksys Phoneline Network kit. Phoneline networking stuffs are something which I will avoid. They are just too slow.

Looking for a networking solution for your computers without dealing with extra cabling? Phoneline networking has taken a spot on the home networking stage as an easy to use and install network for computers. The system works by plugging the network cards into your existing telephone jacks. The network cards use the pre existing telephone lines to transfer data back and forth between computers. This is very appealing to people looking for a networking solution without using a network hub or having to figure out how to install extra cabling throughout their home.

Windows 98 SE 16:10 pm - Kan
CPUReview sent note on their new article on Windows 98 SE. Read what they feel about the latest reincarnation of the Windows family.

The first thing that struck me as I examined the OEM package is that the software "KEY" has gotten much longer & complicated. I don't know why they need such a long identifier string. I suspect quite a bit of information is encoded into it (software version, etc.). No matter.

For the purposes of this review, I used the same "Super 7" test computer that I used for the recent Linux reviews.

Textures 16:08 pm - Kan
Speedy3D had an article on textures size. With new chipsets supporting up to 2048x2048, Voodoo4 better be good.

The texture resolution in most of today's games does not go very high. Most only travel upward to about 256x256, 3dfx's maximum texture size possible with their processors. With new games like Quake 3: Arena on the horizon supporting 512x512 textures, 3dfx's limitations are going to become far more apparent. This is where Nvidia and most other graphics chip makers come in, most their chips support texture resolutions all the way up to 2048x2048. While a texture of that size would be far more then today's graphics chips could handle, it is better to support that option then not have it at all.

AMD Ships K7 Processor 10:15 am - Kan
According to an article from ZDNN, AMD is now officially shipping the K7 (also known as Athlon) processor. Prices are the most important:

But the Athlon chip may put AMD back in the black. Priced at $699 for a 600MHz chip, $479 for a 550MHz, and $324 for the 500MHz, it could finally bring AMD's average selling price above the $100 breakeven point that Sanders set as his goal over a year ago.

Anyway, if you are dying for the official press-release, here's some of it:

SUNNYVALE, CA--JUNE 23, 1999--AMD today announced that it has commenced shipments of its new seventh-generation microprocessor, the AMD Athlon™ processor, to computer manufacturers. Formerly code-named the AMD-K7 processor, the AMD Athlon processor is initially available in speed grades of 600, 550, and 500 MHz.

"For the first time in the history of the computer industry, AMD leads the competition in delivering an entirely new generation of processors that offers not just higher clock speeds, but higher performance and processing capabilities clock-for-clock based on a more advanced architectural design," said W.J. Sanders III, chairman and chief executive officer of AMD. "This announcement is truly a watershed for AMD and the entire industry because it heralds new choices based on superior processor technology for system platforms in the enterprise space."

P125 Alpha Cooler 10:05 am - Kan
Noticed that our buds over at BxBoards had a new P125 Alpha cooler. Check out the pic on the different types of coolers they got.

Petition 09:39 am - Kan
There's a petition going on over at FPS3D which is to be sent to Phoenix Technologies to stop selling ads during BIOS bootup. Yep, Phoenix is thinking of display those colorful CNET,Yahoo ads during your computer bootup.

You just overclocked the daylights out of your new Celeron machine, and added a badass graphics adapter. You invite a couple friend over to check out what your new kickass rig can do, but as soon as you hit the power switch, they are assaulted with a yellow and pink, flowery ad for AOL, complete with animated dancing monkeys. I don't think you could call your new rig "badass" anymore... It just loses the personality of your machine!

Unlocking the Multiplier 09:19 am - Kan
HardwareCentral sent note on their latest article on unlocking the multiplier. Damn, I wish those multipliers are not locked....

The Deschutes core was a big step forward in terms of performance and power consumption. While .35micron (Klamath) Pentium II / 300 would consume up to 43 Watts, its .25micron (Deschutes) brother would only consume half of that clocked at the same speed. Without the reduction in die size we would never have been able to go beyond the 300 MHz mark without needing extraordinary big cooling devices. As both core types needed to be backward compatible, the multiplier lock used on the .25micron Deschutes core had to be compatible with older motherboards as well as the newer generation ones.

Iomega ZIP USB 09:10 am - Kan
Noticed that AGN HArdware posted the Iomega ZIP USB drive review. Forget about ZIP drives, get a CD-RW. :)

Despite all this, Iomega is not without competition. CD-RW drives have become so affordable and easy to use that they offer a very appealing alternative to the Zip drive. Furthermore, since the 100Mb Zip was first introduced, hard drives and application files have become so enormous that 100Mb of storage per Zip disk seems silly for many applications. Perhaps the greatest threat to Iomega’s Zip drive is the Internet and local networks. Virtually all games and shareware applications can be downloaded from the Internet, eliminating the need for a high capacity removable storage solution as a data transportation device. 

AOpen PA3010 TNT2 08:56 am - Kan
SystemLogic sent note on their review on the AOpen PA3010 TNT2 (not Ultra) graphics card. Check out the latest offering from the motherboard leader.

Many of you have probably heard of AOpen, not as a maker of video cards, but as a maker of motherboards.  AOpen is a well known company for quality motherboards, from socket 370 to slot 1 to on-board SCSI slot 1 motherboards.  What you probably didn't know is that AOpen also makes products in these categories: Optical devices, housings, memory modules, VGA cards, Sound cards, Fax/Modems, networking devices, keyboards, mice, and motherboards of course.  That pretty much covers the whole computer field :)  They do everything from a home network kit to a DVD-RAM drive.  

23 June 1999 - Wednesday

Hardware-One: Yamaha CRW6416S 22:56 pm - Wilfred
You did not expect this, did you? Well, yes believe your eyes for the best just got better and it will be hitting town very soon. Feast your eyes upon our very own exclusive review on the Yamaha CRW6416S SCSI CDRW drive. 6XWrite, 4XRewrite and 16XRead performance...

Previously on the 4416, I was staring at the dialog box of Adaptec EasyCD Creator which displays a constant 600 kb/s being burned onto the CD. But now, I'm seeing a consistent 1 Mb/s burn speed, that's even higher than the 6x (900kb/s) rating!

Voodoo 3 3000 22:43 pm - Wilfred
If you've read a dozen of these, then read this again coz it comes from the chaps at Beyond3D. It's a very in-depth look!

I believe that Voodoo3 offers among the best, if not the best, 16-bit color output. This fact can be very important for people who want a card that can provide them super high frame-rates. No card will be able to satisfy those people at 32-bit color (at least not yet), so those people will run at 16-bit just for the speed. If they do that they might as well use the highest quality 16-bit output out there. Read the tech articles linked above to know why Voodoo3's 16-bit output is so good that some consumers described it as : “equal to 32-bit” (note that this is not a fact for all game situations, e.g. multi-layer transparency effects like smoke and fog still suffer from noticeable dither patterns).

George Rainey - Portfolio 22:43 pm - Wilfred
Our good pal at DigitalDarkroom sent along a link to the archived portfolio of George Rainey, showcasing some of his award winning Epson prints. Check this out!

I use several papers that work on certain pictures, however I still  haven't beaten the Epson photo paper for all round performance. Haven't tried any other inks, can't see how they could improve my output. My wife says she won't divorce me anymore, since I can still be involved with the family while I work on pictures. All nighters in the darkroom never impressed her. Most of my work is done with one hand (I normally have a baby on my lap taking up the other). I must be one of the fastest one handed Photoshop 5 operatives in the business. (I have six children)

System Shock 2 Preview 22:34 pm - Wilfred
Thresh's FiringSquad has a preview on System Shock 2. They have some nice screenshots and a long writeup for you. Check out the blurb on the game's multiplayer aspect!

Multiplayer is included in SS2, but rather than go the deathmatch route and force a style of game play that might not be suited to the game, SS2 will primarily cooperative mode. At E3 we learned that cooperative mode wouldn't just be the same game as single player - certain puzzles and problems would be modified that require team work by two or more players (SS2 supports up to 4) in order to solve them. This should be welcome news to the non confrontational gamers out there who want to play as a team with, rather than adversaries against, human players.

Cool Peltier Action 20:16 pm - Kan
Guys, check out our bud HardOCP review on the Swiftech MC2000 and MC1000 peltier coolers! They are the largest coolers I've ever seen so far and I will say this is simply pure MADNESS!  

Let's face it, while liquid is a superior way to cool a peltier unit, it is just NOT something you want to have to maintain on a daily basis.  I can assure you if you don't watch a liquid system, something is gonna end up wet sooner or later and probably void a few warranties along the way.

Algorithm Hides Data 20:13 pm - Kan
This is pretty interesting. According to an article from Techweb, information can now be hidden inside images without altering their appearance. So, you can probably encode your PIN number inside your photographs now.

The new 'steganography' method hides data using a software encoder that preprocesses the image. The embedded data, which can be audio, for example, is stored in specific portions of the image that the software encoder chooses on the fly. A matching decoder, at the receiving end, finds the hidden data and separates it from the image.

"Steganography literally means 'covered writing,' because ancient Greek spies would hide messages beneath wax-covered boards. Our method is similar, because the information is hidden right there in plain sight, but can only be recovered with our software," said Eason.

The Sky's the Limit 17:28 pm - Kan
Gee, I sort of like that caption. Anyway, I've just bumped up the version of UBB to the latest. So, hop on inside and let's orgy!

Intel Anypoint 17:26 pm - Kan
FiringSquad posted the Intel Anypoint Networking Kit. Basically not the type I will go for (too slow). Here's the snip!

Normal networks are designed to use coaxial cable, cat5 twisted pair cable, or even fiber optic cable. These cabling options provide clean, noise-free network environments dedicated solely to networking. Considering that phonelines were originally designed to only carry voice traffic, being able to run a network over regular household phonelines is pretty impressive.

Elsa Erazor III 17:24 pm - Kan
First we have the glasses, now we have the graphics cards. ComputingPros reviewed the Elsa Erazor III TNT2 (not ULTRA) graphics cards.

Elsa's ERAZOR III is based on nVidia's TNT2 chip. They decided to stick to nVidia's recommended specifications of 125 core 150 mem. So you're looking at a plain vanilla TNT2 here with no additional features. They do have varying models to offer ranging from 16MBs to 32MBs of memory, video input/output, or 3D Revelator glasses included. The model we received was the plain 32MB model with no extra ports. I was lucky enough to get a chance to check out their Revelator glasses a few weeks back and it was awesome.

Elsa 3D Revelator 17:22 pm - Kan
Dump away your Oakley and wear the Elsa 3D Revelator reviewed by Avault. Here's some of the juice:

Unlike the H3D System which used a pass-thru video connection, not unlike the 3dfx pass-thru cables of the past, the 3D REVELATOR uses what could be described as a y-adapter cable. The purpose of the different cable design is to eliminate the signal loss and blurriness inherent with pass-thru cables, and it appears to work as designed. Your monitor connects to one part of the cable, and the other side of the y-cable then attaches to the glasses (wired set) or a very small infrared transmitter (wireless set). The transmitter is very unobtrusive, compared to the larger unit employed by the H3D System, but seems to be just as effective, if not more so. I was able to go at least 10 feet back with no problems with the wireless set. (The wired set has an 8-foot cable, so don't feel like you are that restricted with that version)

New MS USB Natural Keyboard 11:01 am - Wilfred
ActiveWin posted about a new Microsoft USB keyboard they spotted. Here's a nice glossy picture for your eyes to feast upon. The new Intellimouse (with no balls) and a new SideWinder gamepad is in the background.

19 buttons on the keyboards are programmable and most of the presets are used for Internet browsing.  I can barely read some Chinese characters on the keyboards. Some of them are refresh, stop, search, etc. Volume controls are also part of the keyboard design.  Microsoft Internet Keyboard Pro is scheduled to be released in year 2000.

Why are they looking bulkier and bulkier? Hmm... the numerous button additions make the whole setup so cluttered. The only plus I see is the inverted "T" directional keys which my present MS Natural Keyboard doesn't have.

More On S3's Acquisition of Diamond 10:54 am - Wilfred
Beyond3D has posted some Q&A comments they obtained from S3, some of which answered some of my concerns (blurted 8 hours ago). Whew! Here's some relief.

Will Diamond continue to produce boards based on other chipsets (such as NVIDIA, 3DLabs, etc)?

Yes. Diamond currently has purchase agreements in place with companies such as NVIDIA and will continue to service the needs of customers with products based on this non-S3 silicon.

Will companies such as Creative and others still be able to produce boards based on S3's chipsets?

Absolutely, S3 has substantial relations with add-in card makers worldwide and we will work with each of them to determine what's the best strategy for them. Savage4 and follow on products can offer them competitive advantages in the market and we will help them in any way we can.

Logitech QuickCam VC Review 10:46 am - Wilfred
The USB Workshop posted a review on the Logitech QuickCam VC. Want to jump onto the video-conferencing bandwagon? First you must have high-speed Internet access, then you can think about adding these gadgets.

Tested images and movies are captured with a K6 233 machine, with 32 MB RAM, 16bit color Win98 desktop, Mystique 220 video card. Note that this setting is a bit less than optimum, which needs a scale down of color, and possibly decrease in frame rate. Also that quality and frame rate are highly dependent on the range and lighting of the focused object and on the machine speed. From the images you can see that the images and movies have slightly off color reproduction and they are not extremely sharp.

Viper 770 Ultra TNT2 10:29 am - Kan
Hot shots over at FPS3D posted their thoughts on the Viper 770 Ultra TNT2 graphics card. Hey, dump your Voodoos for these babies. :)

InControl '99 comes bundled in with Diamond's drivers and is a wonderful tool for any gamer. InControl '99 automatically detects any OpenGL or Dicret3D software the first time you run it, and creates an individual profile so you can tweak the 3D settings from your desktop. It's a quick and painless way to add a few FPS to your favorite game. InControl measures the speed of the V770 Ultra in "Boost Levels." Boost Level 5 will get the speed to 175/200, which is pretty damn fast.

G400 Upgrades 10:25 am - Kan
Check out SystemLogic where they posted the press-release for the G400 upgrades. The upgrades include the G400 Flat panel module, the Rainbow Runner G-Series as well as the DualHead and TV-out module.

Delivering industry-leading video quality, the Rainbow Runner G-Series allows users to create and play back digital video using hardware MJPEG compression at full frame rate and full resolution. Users can capture video from a camcorder, TV or VCR and then play it back on the desktop, save it to hard disk, and output it to TV or VCR tape. The ability to output to TV or VCR is made possible by the Matrox Millennium G400 Series’ high quality MGA-TVO chip, which ensures the crispest images and the highest quality flicker-free output to TV. This card is also equipped with a built-in TV tuner for antenna or cable.

S3 To Acquire Diamond Multimedia Systems 02:12 am - Wilfred
I was planning to sleep and put all postings till tomorrow until I saw this headline glaring at me. According to a company press release, S3 has entered into a 'definitive agreement' to acquire Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 22, 1999---S3® Incorporated (Nasdaq:SIII - news) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:DIMD - news), a leading supplier of PC Multimedia and Internet connectivity solutions. In a strategic move to capitalize on high-growth areas, S3 expects to emerge as a key player in the Internet appliance and home networking markets. S3 also plans to maximize the two companies' multimedia strengths to become a total solutions provider (silicon, software and PC boards) for its graphics business.

"Today's announcement represents a significant strategic shift for S3, which was focused solely on the PC graphics market,'' said Ken Potashner, president and CEO of S3 Incorporated. "By merging the strengths of both companies, we intend to create a major force in the industry for Internet appliances, broadband communications, home networking and complete graphics solutions.''

Added Potashner, "The acquisition is part of our ongoing strategic plan to return S3 to profitability and diversify into related high-growth areas. We are extremely pleased with the execution of our plan, which has included the successful launch of our Savage4 and Savage MX graphics products resulting in design wins with volume OEMs including Compaq, IBM, NEC/Packard Bell and Micron. We also are pleased with the company's financial improvements and expect these to accelerate based on our volume shipments.''

So 3Dfx found themselves STB and S3 found Diamond... leaving Creative, the last of the multimedia giants without a permanent ally. I'm not certain if this will turn out good for anyone. STB only produced 3Dfx cards... Diamond will have to stick with with whatever S3 cooks up... and Creative is cut off from yet another of its graphics chip providers. So does that mean a nVidia and Creative pair up? Heh heh! There will be more to come!

Heavy Gear II 02:00 am - Wilfred
Gaming Vortex posted a short review on Heavy Gear II. Wow, the author gave it almost a complete thumb's down!

Overall, I got bored of this game fast. There just aren't enough features that would make me want to continue playing it for more then a week. The gameplay was very dissapointing, and nothing really made the game stand out against other games. If you're a fan of the genre and enjoyed other games like the Mechwarrior series, then I'm sure you'll like this game just the same, but for those who have never been a big fan of "mech" games, this game won't change your feelings.

Montego II Quazilla 01:53 am - Wilfred
The FiringSquad reviewed the Turtle Beach Montego II Quazilla (what a mouthful!). It scored a 4 out of 5 stars, so have a look at what this Vortex2 card has to offer!

The performance of the card was on par with the other Vortex2 cards. Other reference cards may have easier access to the latest, performance enhancing drivers, but Turtle Beach did spend money redesigning the Vortex2 to meet their standards. Most of the Vortex2 cards are priced around a hundred dollars. The only differentiation between these cards comes from the software bundle or other extras, such as force feedback headphones.

Dispatched Preview 01:47 am - Wilfred
CRUS has scored a preview on the game, Dispatched. What's the game about? You should click here to find out more for yourself!

Dispatched will have a state of the art 3D engine according to them selves which creates spectacular real-time lighting and generated shadow effects. Almost like in every game that has been released through the years J . The person viewpoint is third person which allows the player to see the way light interacts with their character and to see the massive suite of movements which their character carries out. There is also a cinematic viewpoints which look all around the player, increasing the player's immersion in the gameworld and creating unique gameplay opportunities.

22 June 1999 - Tuesday
Why Win2000 Is Already A Failure? 22:32 pm - Wilfred
NooOOO! I don't want to believe this! Jesse Berst drew a controversial conclusion about the upcoming OS from Microsoft. He declared it a flop, even before its launch. Read about it:

"He who attempts to be strong everywhere... ends up strong nowhere." That old adage refers to military campaigns... but it could have been written about operating systems. Take Windows 2000, for example.

Due this fall, Windows 2000 is the update to Windows NT 4.0, Microsoft's "serious" operating system for business workstations and servers. Despite the new name, Windows 2000 carries over an old NT problem: It is too much for consumers. And too little for mission-critical business environments. By trying to be strong in both places, Windows 2000 is strong in neither.

NT4 SP5 Available International Available 22:24 pm - Wilfred
NT Game Palace popped us a mail that Service Pack 5 for NT 4.0 is available in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. If you've been hunting for it, here's the URL.

Poll #18 Results 22:19 pm - Wilfred
Yeah, so these are the compiled results of last week's poll. Looks like most of you visiting here have been in this surfing business for at least 2 years. There are more veterans than rookies, or so it seems?! Hmm... 


Diamond's New Rio Expected 22:13 pm - Wilfred
Ohmigawd! So that's why the massive price cuts for the present RIO? There is something cooler over the horizon - with no copyright protection? Hmm... I think the Nomad needs some competition to bring its price down. =P

Diamond confirmed it's unveiling a "new digital audio platform" in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening. The San Jose, California-based company declined to give further details.

The new Rio will hold about an hour of near compact-disc quality digital music, more when an extra memory card is inserted, analysts said. But the cigarette box-sized device won't include any of the copyright security features called for by the music industry. Like the older Rio, it will play files exclusively in the MP3 format.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 22:05 pm - Wilfred
Gamers' Crypt v2 posted a review on the game - Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace (yadda!). Here's a clip:

Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace is definitely an exciting game. Running through Federation ships while blasting evil droids, leaping through Naboo swamps, and discovering new sights on Tatoonie make this game awesome! At times you may snag on some of the puzzles you need to figure out, but overall they have easy solutions. Almost all of the levels really keep you going wanting more. The final battle against Darth Maul is what really motivates you to want to finish the game. When you reach that final battle against the evil villain I found out, to my dismay, is less exciting than it should be. You end up spending more time searching for a way to get to him than you actually do fighting him. Once you get to him sure, Maul flips and uses his deadly double lightsaber, but he is too quickly destroyed and I think that Lucasarts could have made it a little more of a challenge. However, it is still very satisfying to beat him and the game.

Intel Acknowledges Defective i810 Chipsets 21:59 pm - Wilfred
In this TechWeb article, Intel has acknowledged that some defective i810 chipsets were shipped to their customers and they may not boot properly. Here's a snippet:

A very limited number of its low-end 810 chip-set shipments were involved in what Intel called the "production-test escape issue."

The flawed 810 chip sets may not boot properly. Ones that do boot will not load the graphics drivers properly and will supply only VGA for PC display mode. They will not support Super VGA, a refined version of VGA that provides enhanced resolution.

Intel, in Santa Clara, Calif., has addressed the issue so the current production of 810 chip sets is problem-free, a spokesman said. The company notified its customers and will replace flawed 810 chip sets. Intel is providing its customers with a test to screen their 810 chip sets for the problem.

MS & Linux: Software Development Equals 17:41 pm - Wilfred
Here's another entertaining read from osOpinion. This editorial discussed the software development models of these two OS powerhouses. You can't blame the consumers, beauty is only skin-deep to some. =)

"7 years of Linux development, but only 2 years of concentrated development on "easy to use" add-ons to everyone's favorite kernel. Sure, a plethora of window managers to ease up the sometimes pain of using Unix have been available for a while now. But it's only relatively recently that windowing environments such as KDE and GNOME were launched with the goal of providing an easy to use 'face' to the Linux OS. Only within the last year to a year-and-a-half that easy use installations began to become popular. Linux Mandrake and its self installing KDE distro and the new (but not universally popular) Caldera 2.2 'I'll hold your hand during the install' distribution."

"Microsoft on the other hand has taken ease of use, marketing sampling, and some (better don the asbestos jacket) brilliant programmers to give people mind numbing ease and troublefree (as in--"use 'click', not commands") computing. Or such was their goal. From Windows 2.0 to NT 3.51 to Win2K they emphasized ease of use first and then delivering of customer wants and not needs. Graphical Admin screens as well as Graphical file management all make you feel warm and cozy working with their product… and so what if you have to reboot every now and then? Keep it friendly, keep it friendly. And now, having done and provided that, they are attempting to build 'power' into their operating system. Originally meant to be a Unix-killer, NT is just now adding meaningful 'terminal' support from within their operating system."

FPS2000 Digital 17:32 pm - Wilfred
3DSoundSurge posted their review on the Cambridge SoundWorks FPS2000 Digital speakers system and, as promised, updated their Encore6x review (based on newly released Dxr3 drivers).

Imaging on the system is great. This will benefit music playback with has an excellent sound stage as well as 3D imaging for games and DVD. Speaking of 3D imaging, other than for the effects of above and below, you simply can not beat the 3d audio experience of a four speaker system with a single two speaker system. The imaging quality of the speakers will benefit 3D audio technology that uses head related transfer functions (HRTFs) on the front two speakers (eg. Vortex 2) and 3D audio technology that uses HRTFs on front and rear speakers (SB Live with Live!Ware 2.0 and cards using ESS’s Canyon3D which utilize Sensaura’s Multidrive).

In terms of frequency response specs, the official specs show the system rated for 50Hz - 20kHz.    Using a HIFI Surround test CD I was able to do a subjective analysis of the low frequency response.  I found that these speakers have really excellent even subwoofer response with good volume right down to 45 Hz!  At 40 Hz the volume just starts to drop off and at 35 Hz there is a significant drop in volume. Again, not sure of the subwoofer crossover specification as they are not listed and unfortunately my test CD only has single track increments up to 200 Hz at which point the subwoofer was still firing so we know that the crossover has to be above 200 Hz.

Future x86 CPU Brief 17:27 pm - Wilfred
David has updated his 'Future x86 CPU Brief' chart. You can check that out before making any important buying decisions.

Linksys Phoneline Network In A Box 17:24 pm - Wilfred
Dreamt about networking with phonelines? Tech-Review did a review on Linksys's kit which does just that. If you do not need the speed, this kit might just satisfy your needs.

The features state that the network is capable of 1Mbps data transfer, which is decent, but nothing compared to the 10/100 Mbps transfer rate of normal networking systems. When transfering large files over the network, you might be pressed when having to wait minutes, instead of seconds to send or receive the data. However, if large file transfers are not a posing dilemma, phoneline networking is an excellent solution.

Home-Sweet-Home 17:20 pm - Wilfred
The feeling of home is indescribable. The ecstasy of seeing my 17" monitor and ADSL modem vs the puny notebook. Nothing to report but it was a good rest. I hope you enjoyed the BX6-2.0 review I posted from up north! =)

BX6 2.0 Burnt 11:53 am - Kan
In loving memories to Kyle's BX6 2.0. Rest in peace. Check out HardOCP for more pictures! Damn, it pains me to see a motherboard go into flames like that.

Alpha Cooler Review 11:50 am - Kan
Hop right to Bxboards where our pal Andy reviewed the Alpha cooler for Socket370 processors. Check out the pics!

Further, in looking at cooling, it is important to see how the cooler you are testing compares to other coolers. I must confess that I have been able to do NOTHING with this cooling combination than I can do with a boxed Intel fan. These coolers do keep the CPU at around 40 degrees C, but so often cooling is not the issue in overclocking failures. I wish people would get this message: Your Level 2 cache and CPU are the decisive limiters in overclocking. Unless you are talking sub zero temperature, then a cooler really isn't going to make that much difference.

Fujitsu Desktop 18 10:50 am - Kan
Storagereview reviewed yet another hard drive. This time it's the Fujitsu Desktop 18.2 GB giant.

Like all recent drives from major manufacturers, the Desktop 18 is an ATA-66 drive. As a result, our standard warning applies: due to incompatibilities with certain late-model Award BIOSes, the drive may be detected as an ATA-66 drive even though the supporting Intel LX/BX chipsets can only support ATA-33 operation. We recommend disabling ATA-66 operation using Fujitsu's Utility.

CL Unified Driver Review 10:45 am - Kan
Riva3D did a review on the Creative Unified Drivers. Catch what they have to say on the drivers. Personally, I've yet to get the drivers to work on my favorite Longbow 2.

Unified is nothing more than a file (possibly one or two others) copied into your Windows\System folder. This file, glide2x.dll, is what games look for when they go to initialize 3dfx support. A Glide-only game will recognize this file and believe that you actually have a Glide-capable 3D accelerator. Whenever a game calls on glide2x.dll for a specific function, glide2x.dll in turn forwards that call with an appropriate translation to Direct3D. 

Global Win VEK 12 10:40 am - Kan
This is a BIG heatsink for your Pentium II processors. Tech Zone scored a review with this baby and check out what they have to say.

The VEK 12 from Global Win is one of the best SECC Pentium 2 heatsink on the market today.  Even though it still carries the same name, this VEK 12 is a little different than the first VEK 12 that Global Win shipped. For awhile, Global Win planned to rename the cooler the VEK 18. However they decided to keep the name VEK 12. Go figure.

Viper V770 Ultra 10:34 am - Kan
Pals over at AGN Hardware posted the Diamond Viper V770 Ultra graphics card review. You can even watch the review by using RealPlayer if you are tired of reading the text. :)

Yes kiddies, it is time for yet another review of a TNT2 Ultra video card. I know you were probably expecting more, especially considering the fact that there has been quite a few reviews of these cards on the net since their inception only a few months ago. The newest card is the retail Diamond TNT2 Ultra, one of the first TNT2 cards to make it to my desk without TV-Out. Ok, so TV-Out is not a big deal if you do not want it, so only a bit will be held against them because of that.

ABIT BM6 10:28 am - Kan
Adrian posted their latest review on the ABIT BM6 Socket370 motherboard. Also, the results for the ABIT give-away contest is out! Check and see whether your name is inside! :)

The ABIT BM6 is based on the Intel 440BX chipset and comes with ABIT's famous Soft Menu II software CPU setup. Overall, the board looks like an ABIT BH6 with a Socket 370 in place of the usual Slot 1. But underneath the exterior, ABIT has changed a couple of things, enhancing and improving on the previous BH6 design. First, we'll have a look at what you can expect to get in the BM6 box.

Soyo SY-6BA+ III 10:23 am - Kan
HotHardware just sent note on their little FAQ for the Soyo SY-6BA+ III motherboard, including the price as well as the place to get'em.

The current single unit list price of the SY-6BA+3 motherboard is $105, with volume discounts available.

Each SY-6BA+3 motherboard ships with a CD-ROM bundle (3-in-1 Deluxe Extra Software Pack) that has a retail value of $150. It includes:

* Symantec Norton AntiVirus, to protect board components and software from virus attacks
* Symantec Norton Ghost disk cloning software, which allows users to rebuild their Windows operating system environment in minutes
* Virtual Drive CD-ROM emulation application

Sonique Media Playback System 10:23 am - Kan
Heard of Winamp? But have you heard of Sonique player? It's a MP3 player similar to Winamp and Gamers' Crypt managed to do a review on this niffy player.

Enter Media Science. On May 25, the otherwise unheard of team of programmers released version 1.0 of their MP3 player, Sonique. The timing couldn’t have been better, for just as many lost faith in WinAmp, up cropped Sonique, a potential successor. While countless other MP3 playing utilities vie for a small chunk of the market, Sonique sets itself well and truly above its competition with a smooth, and glossy interface, an extensive range of features that even manages to out-gun WinAmp, and design right out of the latest Star Wars prequel (in fact, there exists an Episode 1 skin for Sonique).

Previous Archive >