7 March 1999 - Sunday

Voodoo3 Benchmarks Updated 21:11 pm - Kan
Sharky updated their 3Dfx Voodoo3 preview with the latest Pentium III 500 MHz results.

We've taken our Voodoo3 3500 (the second one) for a test run with our new Pentium III 500MHz test machine and updated the Voodoo3 preview with the scores. Unfortunately we listened to what 3Dfx interactive told us- which is that this second board was supposed to be clocked at 183MHz. We've got a private utility that checks the clock speed and yet again it was originally clocked at 166MHz. Once again we did some registry tweaking and managed to get the board running at 179MHz and no higher. Even so it wasn't exactly stable at this speed, which raises our original doubts upon the memory yields at 183MHz. The board is now in 'critical condition' and is 'cooling off'.

K7 600Mhz 21:09 pm - Kan
According to The Register, AMD will demonstrate the K7 running at a whopping 600 MHz during the CeBIT trade fair in 2 weeks time.

According to AMD Zone, engineers at AMD have also succeeded in manufacturing K7 samples which clock at 650MHz.

The reports suggest that AMD will show the K7 clocking 600MHz but do not need Kryotech technology to achieve these speeds.

When Intel demonstrated a chip overclocked to 1GHz at the Intel Developer Forum two weeks ago, we are reliably assured it needed super-cooling to reach such speeds.

Whopper 16:58 pm - Kan

Favourite porn shop HardOCP also threw up a Whopper review on a Pentium II. Wow, catch how they ripped out the Pentium II to fix the fan & heatsink. Damn, all the talking about whoppers make me hungry...

Experience 16:38 pm - Kan
VoodooExtreme posted their in-house preview on the game Experience.

The world you travel across in Experience is amazing to say the least. The first thing you notice when glancing at the screens is the fact that most of the game takes place in the vast outdoors, instead of claustrophobic indoor areas. The reason for choosing outdoor areas was simple: the developers have had a lot of experience (No pun intended) making virtual outdoor worlds, so it was only natural to take this step when starting their game. The world of Dagoth Moor will be filled with mountains, waterfalls, bridges, animals, flowers, and MUCH more. Get ready for one helluva ride...

Whopper Review 11:43 am - Kan
Nah, not my favourite Burger King Whopper but the dual-celery whopper Bxboards came out in their menu. Wow, did anyone notice how big the fans are?

When bought as a kit, the WHOPPER includes the two heatsinks with fans already mounted, a die-cut electrically-insulating and thermally-conducting pad which goes between the back of the Celeron and the rear heatsink, a thermally-conducting pad and/or paste for the front heatsink, and four special double-ended 'Christmas-Tree' nylon fasteners

3DMark 99 Max 10:57 am - Kan
3DFiles also have a preview on the coming 3DMark99 Max benchmark program. Check out what they have to say on it.

3D Mark 99 uses MAX-FX from the forthcoming game Max Payne from Remedy Entertainment and 3D Realms. This could be part of the reason it is popular and rightfully so. The engine looks great and makes this a benchmark worth not only running, but watching. No, the demo is not interactive. The demo is not 100% entertaining, but were benchmarking not playing a game. Parts of the benchmark are very simple like a basic screensaver but since it only lasts 5 minutes and changes screens frequently its not bad.

Flex Cinema DVD-RAM 10:53 am - Kan
PlanetHardware reviewed the exclusive Pinnalce Micro Flex DVD-RAM kit. DVD-RAM are so much faster than CD-RWs and holds 2.6 GB on each side. Put them on your shopping list.

The technology behind DVD-RAM is pretty incredible, and has already proven itself to be faster and more stable than other rewritable-optical technologies on the market. The drive uses a super hot laser (we're talking 600 degrees celcius here) to heat pits in the DVD disk, and change their magnetic properties, allowing you to write, re-write, and erase data as easy as you would a floppy disk, but only a lot faster.

Freetech Jupiter P6F99 10:51 am - Kan
Lots of motherboards reviews lately. HotHardware also did one on the Freetech Jupiter P6F99.

This board was VERY stable at default voltage when overclocking our P2-333 SL2TV step code chip to 500 Mhz. This is a processor that needs a voltage boost depending on the motherboard used to overclock. Not so with the P6F99! There are no options for CPU voltage adjustment on this board, but we didn't need it. The board ran all our tests, without crashing even once, at default CPU voltage. In a word, robust!

Gigabyte/Asus Reviews 10:47 am - Kan
PCAsylum sent note on their 2 motherboard reviews on the Gigabyte GA-6BXE as well as the Asus P2B-F.

Everything was installed quickly into place without much hassle. The jumpers was setup according. x6 clock multiplier and 66MHz FSB. But there is something i do not like about the foldable/collapseable Slot-1 CPU holder. It is no where as good as the ones provided by my old Asus P2B.

Hardware One: ABIT BX6 Rev 2 01:29 am - Wilfred
Whew! It's html-ed. Check out the translated version of iXBT Hardware's ABIT BX6 Rev 2.0 review right here. Looking for the most popular BX board out there?

"Finally ABIT built in the ability to assign manually all IRQs to individual PCI slots via the BIOS. It will now save some users time and trouble with PCI devices installation."

"ABIT haven't seem to learn much from its previous experience. The power supply connector is still in the awkward position behind the processor. In this case all power cables hang above the processor blocking air circulation."

Kryotech Renegade ATX 01:28 am - Kan
HardwareCentral sent note on their latest preview on the Kryotech Renegade ATTX PE. Lots of pictures on the refridgeration unit as well as the casing.

The Renegade ATX PE is a built on top of a small refrigeration unit designed to keep your Pentium II, Celeron, or even Pentium III at about room temperature (there is also a socket7/socket370 version). From the refridgeration unit, a cold plate attaches to the front of your CPU and from our initial tests, cools things down to about 68 fahrenheit, or 20 C. Of course we'll have to see how it performs with some overclocking too, so look out for the review next week.

Shuttle HOT-681V 01:27 am - Kan
AnandTech also posted the Shttle HOT-681V review. Again, this is based on the Apollo Pro Plus chipset and comes with a 4 PCI/3 ISA/1 AGP configuration.

Nine 1000uF capacitors are located immediately around the CPU socket with a few smaller ones located around the DIMM slots. The layout of the HOT-681V also places a CPU fan connector directly adjacent to the CPU socket, with another fan connector on the open side of the AGP port to allow for easier access when blindly plugging in fans into your already filled system.

Wages of Sin Review 01:25 am - Kan
PCVelocty posted a review on Wages of Sin. Like first-person shooter? Don't miss this game...

Also making a debut appearance in Wages of Sin is the use of ropes. They are basically the same as the ropes in Heretic 2. You can climb and swing around on them like Tarzan. Actually they are not that exciting, I found them to be rather annoying actually. While a cool idea, it was hard to control.

A good job was done on the scripted sequences this time around too. In fact, I didn't have to use noclip even once. If you've never played the original Sin, the scripting sequences were pretty flawed and could block advancement in the game. (they did for me.) In one Warehouse level, the crates were scripted to roll and tumble when the ones below them were destroyed, which I thought was cool. Before they would just fall straight down.

Quake III: Arena for Linux 01:05 am - Wilfred
ShugaShack has this article that shouts the above announcement. Yes, we may soon find Q3 boxes for Linux pretty soon if Carmack's words are anything to go by!

A separate Linux package for ANY major game is big news, but when it's one of the biggest games the year, it's very exciting for Linux users. Being able to pick up Quake3 Arena in a Linux package will probably result in lots of long-time users saying "I told you so", and many new gamers coming over to check out the platform. Carmack also mentioned that distribution will be handled by RedHat software's distributor, MacMillan publishing. RedHat makes one of the most popular commercial packages of the Linux operating system.

3DMark 99 Max Preview 01:00 am - Wilfred
Our close pals at Tech-Junkies posted a preview on FutureMark's upcoming 3DMark 99 Max. Have a look at things to come for the world of benchmarking!

The version we layed our hands on is "Release Candidate 0", so what we mention here may be subject to changes. 3DMark 99 MAX may resemble the previous version, but Futuremark has incorporated several new features. This is to allow a more detailed benchmarking experience and to allow full understanding of what your system is capable of. The benchmarking utility will detect your system CPU and will make use of the extra features your CPU may offer, now that's cool! Being DirectX6.1 compatible, it will utilize what features your 3D videocard can perform, so make sure you have the latest video drivers and DirectX6.1 installed.

6 March 1999 - Saturday

Poll Results 19:36 pm - Wilfred
Yet again, I have here the poll results. Uh-huh, looks like most people are using their good'ol 56K modems with 48% of the votes. Nothing else came close to that!

Yup, with this, we thank you for the participation and bring you the next poll question "How Many Hours Do You Surf The Web Daily?" =)

3Dfx Cool hddHO 17:32 pm - Kan
WickedPC sent note on their new review on the 3Dfx Cool hddHO hard disk cooler. This one is especially good for those 10,000 rpm drives. One drawback is that these coolers are so EXPENSIVE !

Installing the hddHO proved to be very simple. First you'll need to mount the drive in the holder, which is as easy as screwing in four screws on the bottom of the drive. Then, insert the hddHO into a free 5.25" bay in your PC. Screw in four more screws to keep the hddHO from moving, just as you would a CDROM drive. Once those two steps are complete, you get the chance to plug in the power cable for the fans and the hard drive. Since the fans have an Y adapter on them, we plugged the fans into the power cable, and then the extension into the hard drive. This way, no extra power cables inside the case had to be used.

Mandatory Windows 2000 Registration? 13:04 pm - Wilfred
Whoa! Sounds like bad news?! Microsoft may change it's business model to an annuity model and make registering W2K compulsory. Looks like I'll have to shelf upgrading to W2K if this happens...

"...a report from Junkbusters Corp. President Jason Catlett that says Microsoft Corp.'s [NASDAQ:MSFT] upcoming Windows 2000 may require periodic payment to the company for its use, which would lead to inevitable identification of the user.

Currently, virtually no software programs require mandatory registration with the developer. Once the product has been purchased it is usually left to the user whether they want to register with the company or not. Companies often tie registration in with technical support services and future upgrade promotions to make it more attractive for users to register.

But critics of Microsoft claim that mandatory registration for using Windows 2000 infringes on individual privacy rights. Catlett says in his report that Microsoft's "ability to coerce mass registration of personal information from users in Windows 2000 may threaten both consumer privacy and competitiveness." "

nVidia And 3DNow! 12:44 pm - Wilfred
Ace's Hardware popped us a mail on this new article about nVidia and their support for 3DNow! It seems like people are getting impatient waiting for 3DNow! optimised TNT drivers...

Nvidia, you would not believe how many people are waiting for 3DNow! drivers for your screaming fast TNT chip. It will enable Super 7 users to finally unlock the potential of their video card investment. The poll at RIVA Zone showed us that almost 70% of the RIVA fans hold the same opinion: Nvidia should do more for 3DNow! CPU owners.

Soyo SY-6VZA 09:55 am - Kan
Soyo SY-6VZA motherboard review from GA-Source. This one is a Socket 370 based on the VIA Apollo Pro chipset.

The SY-6VZA is smaller than many other boards. Even so, the board does not seem crowded as you are installing it. All of the connectors are reasonably spaced, and there was even enough space left around each of the very few on board jumpers, so that they were accessible while the motherboard was installed. The general design of the board is well done, and in my particular case, the CPU lined up almost perfectly with the secondary rear case fan. Each generation of chips that come out seem to run hotter and hotter, making it crucial that motherboard design allows for reasonable airflow around the CPU, as SOYO did.

Sidewinder Force Feedback Wheel 09:48 am - Kan
Sidewinder Force Feedback Wheel review from NetExcite. When will I get one of those huh? *hint hint*

First of all, we connected the Force Feedback Wheel to our SoundBlaster Live! sound card. Then we clamped the controller to our table securely to avoid the Wheel from being slipped during intensive game play. After making sure that everything was steady, we installed the SideWinder controller software and gave it a reboot. For those of you who likes Microsoft's racing simulator, this product comes with Monster Truck Madness 2 and CART Precision Racing. Then, we decided to try this game in Need for Speed 3 since it was one of our favorite arcade racing games. As predicted, the Wheel did not feel like that if you are driving a real car. However, this feels very close to mini-cart racing.

Hacking Intel's CPUID 09:46 am - Kan
HardwareCentral had another short article on how easy it's to break the CPUID on those Pentium III processors. Seriously, I don't really care, cause I don't have one yet.

At this point you want to break the program, load the users upper 32 bits (which would have been stolen) into EAX. This hack will also work on a non-P3 computer if you force the last instruction not to jump, and you take out all of the rest of the CPUID Calls.

ATI Rage Fury 09:42 am - Kan
AGN Hardware latest review is on the ATI Rage Fury card. Hey, this 32MB card has more memory than my system. (Kan, you are as pathetic as your puny computer). Duh!

The Rage 128GL is ATIs first real 2D/3D chip, offering up an impressive list of features in both the 2D and 3D graphics arena. The processor runs at an internal speed of 100MHz while the memory is set to 110MHz. On the 2D side the chip holds a powerful 128bit graphics processor capable of accelerating your day to day windows tasks to the highest levels of production. The card also features an integrated 250MHz RAMDAC that can throw refresh rates higher than even the best monitors on the market can handle. The card also supports up to a massive 32MB of memory, allowing for 32-bit desktops at even the highest resolutions. The 32MB also serves as a cache for standard windows tasks, this in the end will accelerate repetitive tasks that are usually left to the CPU.

Jet Leader 3D 09:38 am - Kan
Joystick review on the Jet Leader 3D over at The Techs. Oh yes, this joystick fits left handed people as well. Try playing on a Microsoft Sidewinder using your left hand and you will get a taste of how it feels like for people like me.

The way this joystick handle is designed would be classified as quite well in my book. The handle feels comfortable and the base is nice and wide. The only problem that people run into on most joysticks is that they are for righties only. Meaning that the joystick is designed to contour to the right-handed majority person. But then what happens to the poor lefty forced to switch hands and feel uncomfortable? Well this joystick takes good care of lefties, with their contoured stick the right-handed gamer and left-handed gamer are well suited for hours of use.

Abit ZM6 09:35 am - Kan
The Sharks also chomped up a review on the Abit ZM6 440ZX motherboard. If you really want, get at least a BM6, will ya?

In addition to the hardware features of the ZM6, Abit has also included a slightly revised version of their infamous Soft Menu II Bios CPU adjustment routine on the board.

New FSB speeds of 105, 110, 115, and 120MHz show up for the first time on an Abit board with the arrival of the ZM6, each offering a 1/3 PCI clock speed divider ratio. Any FSB speeds above 120MHz (124 and 133MHz) automatically shift to a ratio of 1/4 in regards to the PCI bus ratio, which guarantees component compatibility at the higher frequency rates. (The AGP ratio is also adjustable, but only to the tune of 1/1 or 2/3 of the FSB speed.)

IOMega Zip 250 SCSI 09:28 am - Kan
OptimumPC took a close look at the IOMega ZIP 250 SCSI drive. Wow, this sure looks convenient to transfer those porn JPGs of yours.

The Zip250 with it's larger capacity SCSI interface makes it not only better for storage, but makes it faster. The closest competitor, the Sony HiFD drive has 50MBs less and it's only true benefit, like the LS-120 drive, is its capability to read 1.44 floppies. The importance of that feature becomes less important as you realize that floppies will soon fade away and the presence of the Zip family of drives will become the De Facto standard in PCs. The Zip250's backwards compatibility with the Zip 100MB floppies makes it all the more enticing to get because SO many people have Zip drives and so when you need to exchange things with friends or coworkers it makes life a little easier.

Shuttle HOT-683 09:26 am - Kan
HotHardware sent note on their hot review on the Shuttle'S HOT-683 Socket 370 motherboard. Hey! It sort of rythms. Anyway, this is based on the LX chipset and it features 4 PCI/3 ISA/1 AGP.

Again, Shuttle packs in the features! The CPU temp monitoring feature is a nice addition and a gives you a good sense of security. The board automatically detects and sets up your CPU for easy installation. You can also tweak the bus speed settings up from 60, to 66, 75 and 83, which is the top end limit of the LX chipset, with a jumper bank. I would have prefered a soft menu in the BIOS for this feature and also the location of the jumper bank is a little awkward in that it is down in between the AGP slot and first PCI slot. I had to pull the AGP card, in our tests, out to reset the bus speeds.

5 March 1999 - Sunday

Last Day of Poll Tomorrow! 23:35 pm - Wilfred
Those who haven't clicked that button you have 1 more day to make a selection! Yup, more than 2300 people already voted... so now's your turn - What's Your Connection Speed To the Internet? We'll the close the poll tomorrow evening and post the results by 7/8 March. So much for now... back to Half-Life.

PS2 Development To Be Driven By Linux? 23:17 pm - Wilfred
The Register has a nice bit of interesting information on Sony's Playstation 2. Sony has selected Linux to be the development environment for its upcoming console and may soon ship development tools for the OS.

Sony has selected Linux as the development environment for PlayStation 2 titles, according to a report in Japanese games-oriented Web site Gamespot.

The report is in Japanese, which The Register has a bit of a blind spot, but the story essentially suggests Sony is to offer its development tools for Linux.

It's not clear whether the next-generation games console will use Linux as its on-board OS -- Tuesday's launch focused more on the hardware specs. and the PlayStation 2's graphics engine -- but it would certainly be a good choice given the kernel's portability and the fact that the PlayStation 2's nearest rival, Sega's Dreamcast, is based on Windows CE.

CPU Scaling & Dependency 23:11 pm - Wilfred
FastGraphics has posted a CPU Scaling & Dependency article for the TNT, Banshee, Rage128, Savage3D and G200 cards.

As you see the Riva TNT chipset is the fastest chipset for the Pentium II processor. Even at lower CPU speeds such as 233 MHz we see that it's up par with, or even faster than, Banshee and Rage 128. In 640x480 the Riva TNT chipset scales up a bit better than both Banshee and Rage 128 and is clearly faster at 400 and 412 MHz. S3 Savage and Matrox G200 both scale up worse than the other three chipsets, but they stay very close to each other. Please note that all testing was done only on an Intel Pentium II CPU, hence the results might be quite different on a AMD or Cyrix based system.

The only big performance gain is obtained when we move to the 103 MHz busspeed which also slightly overclocks the AGP bus. The only chipset that consistently seems to gain from the higher clockspeed is the Savage3D chipset from S3. In 1024x768 it becomes obvious that Rage 128 has a fill-rate problem compared to Banshee and TNT, something we also see in a game like Forsaken.

ACT LABS Force RS 20:52 pm - Kan
Wicked PC posted the ACT LABS Force RS review. Yup, this is a force-feedback wheel with all the extra vroooms.

Installation of the wheel was pretty easy. Simply mount the wheel on the desk, and plug in the power, and the petals. The early version of it we had was a serial port hookup for the PC, however they are now shipping a USB version of the wheel at the same price. Those with the serial port version can upgrade for $10, which is simply to pay for shipping of the cartridge. For Playstation, SEGA or N64 users, all you need to do to use the wheel on those systems is pop out a cartridge and replace it with a different one that ACT LABS sells. They're quite cheap too. The wheel ships with your choice of one cartridge, which makes it great for a multi-platform customer, and great for upgrading

FIC CL31-A 18:15 pm - Kan
Another new review from FiringSquad on the FIC CL31-A MicroATX motherboard. This motherboard is not for everybody. There is no room for expansion in case you need.

With size come tradeoffs however. One of the most fiercely-protected traits of the modern PC is its expandability - everyone wants more PCI slots, more RAM slots, more drive bays, and all of the bells and whistles they've come to expect. The compromise is where MicroATX comes in. It adheres to the basic ATX guidelines, but "cost-reduces" (read: hacks out) expandability features to cater to a smaller footprint and a lower price point

SB Live! Value 18:12 pm - Kan
Extreme Hardware posted a review on the SoundBlaster Live! Value edition. What more can you ask for? It's cheap, and it's good.

The SoundBlaster Live! uses the EMU10K audio processor, which is touted as having 1000MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second) of audio processing power. Creative Labs claims that roughly half of the EMU10K’s performance is currently utilized with the latest SoundBlaster Live! drivers. Being a sound DSP, it can be easily updated to new industry standards. Additionally, new features can be added by Creative Labs as they see fit. To take advantage of the benefits of using a powerful DSP, Creative Labs has created a "Live!ware" promotional campaign to promote driver updates, which will add increased functionality to the SoundBlaster Live!

Intel: What's Really Inside 18:02 pm - Kan
HardwareCentral delivered an article called Intel: What's Really Inside. Basically it's about the new Pentium III serial number stuffs and what it's about.

You may wonder what benefits there are to a CPU serial number other than to spy on your Internet usage. Well, there are a few good points that Intel makes. First of all, serial numbers make asset tracking infinitely easier. If you work in Information Technology, you probably know what it's like to have to keep track of the computers in your workplace. Some of you are even in charge of managing thousands of them. Wouldn't it be nice if you could catalog them every morning from behind your desk?

Survey 17:33 pm - Kan
There is a survey over at 3DsoundSurge with the assistance of Aureal asking a number of questions focussing on reverb. Aureal is offering 3 sets of Sennheiser headphones to be given out to people who completed the survey. Check them out over here.

Soyo Mini-Notebook 17:30 pm - Kan
UpgradeCenter did a rather rare review on a Soyo mini-notebook. Soyo makes notebooks?? Anyway, you can catch the juice from here.

Measuring in at 8-8.4 inches (depending on what options you get when purchasing), the screen on the PW-9800 is one of the smallest you can find on a notebook today. The screen is fairly clear, allowing for full screen 640 * 480 resolution, and "Virtual" 800 * 600 and 1024 * 768 (meaning that some stuff is off screen and you must scroll to see it). Text is very readable on the display, I could type for fairly long periods of time without any discomfort or headaches (which I tend to get when using bad displays) related to the display. We tried it out with Starcraft, which would have been fine if Starcraft didn't have (a lot) of issues with the MediaGX CPU present in the PW-9800, making it scroll abnormally. Overall, I don't mind the screen on this at all.

Sony PlayStation 2 17:23 pm - Kan
The NEXT thing in gaming. Hey, perhaps virtual sex is possible since the Playstation 2 is so damn powerful...That will save me some money on those KY. Anyway, Ars-Technica posted some specs of this juicy baby straight from Sony. Check it out.

By incorporating the MPEG 2 decoder circuitry on one chip, it is now possible to simultaneously process high-resolution 3D graphics data at the same time as high quality DVD images. The combination of the two allows the introduction of a new approach to digital entertainment and real-time graphics and audio processing.

With a floating point calculation performance of 6.2GFLOPS/second, the overall calculation performance of this new CPU matches that of a super computer. When this is applied to the processing of geometric and perspective transformations normally used in the calculation of 3D computer graphics (3DCG), the peak calculation performance reaches 66 million polygons per second. This performance is comparable with that of high-end graphics workstations (GWS) used in motion picture production.

InWin Q500A 17:20 pm - Kan
Ars-Technica did a review on a fridge, err..I mean a computer casing, the InWin Q500A. I just love these type of casing. Put them in the kitchen and your mum may get confused. :)

The Q500A shares quite a bit with the KS-188. Both are full-tower ATX cases, both have removable, slide-out motherboard trays and screwless front panels, as well as rotating foot stands.  One interesting difference is the power supplies. First, the Q500 I'm reviewing has a 235 watt power supply. A 300 watt supply is available as well, hence the two prices above. Beyond that, the power supply with the Q500 has a fan on the bottom of the power supply casing, not in the back.  Looking at this arrangement, I thought the fan was going to draw air in and blow it across the processor, but it actually sucks air from the inside and expels it through vents on the back of the supply.

Gainward CARDEXpert TNT 17:17 pm - Kan
Accelerate did a review on the Gainward CARDEXpert TNT, which is   based on the good old TNT chipset (obviously).

The RIVA TNT card we have tested came with 7ns Hyundai RAM. We have managed to successfully overclock the RAM up to 125MHz stable when the core remained at 90MHz. But for some reason, when we increased the core, we had to reduce the speed of the RAM to prevent crashes and hangs.

During our testing we managed to get the best results at 112MHz core and 117MHz RAM. Any further than that, we experienced corrupted textures and frequent crashes and hangs.

This is significantly higher than the Creative Labs Graphics Blaster TNT card managed to achieve, which used 8ns Fujitsu SDRAM and the retail black heatsink.

Intel Slashes Prices 09:33 am - Kan
According to The Register, Intel will slash prices on April 11th on the PII product line by around 10 percent.

Although no chips are expected to disappear on that day, sources close to Intel's plans confirmed that the cuts are being made as a way of introducing the 550MHz part.

But another source told The Register that distributors will sell a two pack boxed Pentium II/400MHz with 512K cache for $302.55 on April 4.

This latter one puzzles us. If it is true, it means that each chip costs $150.28 and that doesn't seem to fit into any of our information, whatever.

Hey! 2 processors for $302.55 ? Time to save money for those dual processors system you dream of...

Celeron 400A 09:29 am - Kan
Super7.net took a close look (using a magnifying glass) at the Celeron 400A PGA version.

At this time, what with both Intel and AMD releasing new high performance multimedia processors, at what I consider to be very high prices, a lot of you have contacted me seeking advice on which platform I think you should pursue. Pentium III, K6-3, or K7? Well, at their current pricing structure, what could be a smarter move than to do absolutely nothing and just wait. If you absolutely cannot wait to jump in there, and can afford to, more power to you. On the other hand, if you desperately need to upgrade your existing hardware but don't relish the idea of going to the poorhouse to accomplish it, the socket 370 platform may be just the thing to tide you over until such time as AMD and Intel put a more realistic pricing schedule together for the high performance processors.

Redhat Revamp 09:27 am - Kan
Hop over to www.redhat.com and you will notice that the geeks over there had revamped the site.

Kenwood Tech CL-701 09:20 am - Kan
Another new review from PlanetHardware on the Kenwood Tech CL-701.

As you can see from the pictures of this set, there is nothing unusual about them. The satellites are slightly slimmer that most models of speakers though, they actually fit next to my monitor. The subwoofer is a big larger than most, and comes in an odd-sized perfect square size. On the subwoofer is is where the volume and bass controls are - a big no-no in most people's minds. Subwoofer controls are very inconvenient, since most people sit their subwoofers under their desks, yet speaker designers consistently put controls on subwoofers. Anyhow, despite that, the set doesn't look too bad

Logitech Internet Keyboard 09:20 am - Kan
My favourite virtual restaurant PlantHardware (they serve anything from motherboards to potato chips) had a review on the Logitech Internet Keyboard. This looks cool, and I'm waiting to replace my ageing $5 dirty and old keyboard. :)

The premise behind the Internet Keyboard is simple, just replace the main controls in your favorite web browser, and put buttons on the keyboard for easy access. 17 buttons in fact, everything from Back, Forward, Home, Stop, Refresh, History, Print, Find, etc. etc. Included on the keyboard is a small scroll bar, allowing you to scroll up and down a webpage without ever touching the mouse. Included with the keyboard come PS/2 and AT keyboard connectors, just in case you have an older system.

4 March 1999 - Thursday

Slave Zero Demo 22:14 pm - Kan
The babes over at Tech-Junkie sent me a love letter on their pre alpha demo review on Slave Zero.

Though this is only a pre-alpha of the actual game, it has already shown promising steps towards popularity, particularly among trigger happy players. We did find that the AI of enemy slaves are a little dumb, standing there awaiting for your kind mercy. You can finish them off at long range even if they've already spotted you. The slave's movements are very much similar to those of Heretic II, from slick side-stafing to high jumps. You view and control the slave from a third person view. It may take a while to adapt, especially those who haven't played Herectic II before. Prelimary sketches from magazines already show interesting boss slaves, mutated yet massive.

Alpha To Clock 1.4Ghz In Copper 20:52 pm - Wilfred
Thanks to Eng Tiong for popping this newsbyte in. The Register has it that the Alpha will hit a whopping 1100Mhz this year end and 1400Mhz come 2001 using copper technology.

Samsung and API will move to a .13 micron process in 2001, while the EV68 platform, using aluminium interconnects, will achieve a one gigahertz clock rate by the end of this year. That will be followed by a copper version of the EV68 platform which will have a clock speed of 1100MHz, also by the end of this year.

Towards the end of next year, the consortium will introduce the EV7 copper platform, with clock speeds of 1100MHz, while the EV8 copper platform is likely to arrive in 2001 with clock frequencies of 1400MHz.

AGN3D's Metabyte Poll 20:47 pm - Wilfred
Go vote in this poll at once and tell the chaps at Metabyte which chip YOU WANT them to support with their "SLI" parallel-processing technology. It's at the news corner of AGN3D. Now will somebody bring Metabyte's cards into Singapore, please!!!

BX6-2 Beta BIOS 20:41 pm - Wilfred
Saw Andy's mail yesterday but had lots of difficulty loading his page (I dunno why!) until today. Well, the man of BXBoards obviously thinks this BIOS is worth checking out!

I've managed to obtain the Abit BX6-2 Beta-BIOS that allows the Level2 cache latency of the CPU to be altered and also offers other goodies.

I've not had much chance to look at it, but its seems to offer some pretty funky features. Remember this is BETA so if you have any doubts about installing it, then don't :). I also have a Beta-BIOS for the BH6 too which offers similar functionality.

Turtle Beach Montego II 19:59 pm - Wilfred
Actually, the earliest of Vortex 2-based sound cards came from Turtle Beach in the form of their OEM Montego II. Adrenaline Vault reviews one of this card today!

The biggest feature of the Montego II OEM is its support for the new A3D 2.0 API. The included Aureal demo featuring A3D 2.0 consists of a 3D world with multiple sound sources in rooms and outdoors. "Walking" around the world, it is clear to see, err hear the sounds and pinpoint their sources, even on speakers. Being in a small room versus outdoors also changes the way the sources sound, as you might expect. A3D 2.0 clearly is a step forward from the already effective A3D 1.0.

Why Metabyte's Technology Isn't SLI 19:45 pm - Wilfred
There's another good chunk at CoolInfo which described how Metabyte's revolutionary technology works - differently from V2's SLI mode.

Basically, Metabyte has devised a way to divide the screen into a top and bottom half and have one video card render the top half of the screen while another identical video card renders the bottom half. This division of the rendering work is done on the driver level and should be totally invisible to the application. In other words, games won’t have to be written to specifically support it. In order to allow the cards to have a single unified display output, a slight board modification is necessary. After all, cards other than the Voodoo2 are not designed to be hooked up to their kin. The technology can even let more than two cards work together, and should have no problem working with digital flat panel displays.

This isn’t the same thing as SLI mode on the Voodoo2, which involves one card rendering all the even numbered lines and another card rendering all the odd lines. The scanlines are then combined, hence the term “Scanline Interleave.”

Buggin' You Again! 19:38 pm - Wilfred
Participate in our polls! It doesn't bite! Yes, tell us what is your current connection speed to the Internet! The more people, the merrier and the results will be more meaningful! Btw, thanks to those of you who sent along new poll questions! =)

More Windows 49.7 Tit-bits 19:35 pm - Wilfred
Chuckle chuckle, all these I found splashed on CoolInfo made me laugh so hard. You should check out what reaction this glitch (Oh yes! Sure it crashes your PC!) brought to the PC world.

"If a Windows machine could actually run for 49.7 days without a crash, it'd be a miracle," chimed in another Windows user.

Others were merely curious: "Are there any reported cases of Windows staying up for 49.7 days?" asked another reader.

"Honestly, do you know of anyone who has managed to keep Win95 up and running for 49.7 days? Or even 29.7 days?" another reader wrote. "I'd say the average time between reboots for any Win95 box would be more along the lines of once a day (or, at a pinch, once every two days). I must admit though, that when I saw this article, I laughed so hard that I ended up spilling my tea all over myself."

Some light relief after a hard day's work. Thanks Microsoft! Keep this kinda things coming!

Spring '99 3D Chip Round-Up 19:20 pm - Wilfred
WickedPC brings you their latest Spring '99 3D Chip Round-Up covering many upcoming chips like the V3, Savage4, TNT2 and even the Blade3D. Have a look!

NVidia, having an already great architecture on their hands, decided that instead of designing a whole new chip, they can just tweak the TNT, and get the extra performance everyone always wanted, while keeping R&D available for other tasks.

On top of the already sweet feature set of the TNT, these were added to their new chip, dubbed the TNT 2: Support for 32mb of memory, AGP 4x support, 0.25 micron fabrication.

All the rest of the features remain the same. It surprises me that nVidia is opting to go with a cheaper 250mhz RAMDAC, the same as the TNT, while products like the Voodoo 3 are seeing RAMDACs up in the 350mhz range. This will allow for a much clearer picture at higher resolutions on the Voodoo 3, and higher monitor refresh rates. This may just be a temporary decision, however, and is subject to change. As for performance specs, the figures we see floating around are 250 megapixels per second and a 5 million triangle throughput rate. These specs are much higher than S3's comparable Savage 4, but a far cry from Voodoo 3's 366 megapixel and 8 million triangle throughput rates. Although don't forget that the TNT 2 should have the best image quality out of all the chips previewed here.

Keeping Your Cards Kewler 19:08 pm - Wilfred
Yes, kewler is what da man at HardOCP says it is. Check out what Kyle did to cool the cards in his rig. Here's a funny bit to get you interested. =)

"... we are gonna be dumpin an extreme (i try to stay away from using "extreme" cuz everyone and their momma is "extreme sumptin") amount of heat into the case.  Dont believe or simply dont know this?  Take your pretty little finger and stick it on that V2 or TNT processor after you have been fraggin till your heart was content.    You are likely to pull back a bloody nub......OK, maybe not that bad, but you could burn yourself!!!  My buddy had to have skin grafts taken from his ass to rebuild his index finger that he lost most of in a terrible V2 OC accident back in the early 70's...."

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 19:02 pm - Wilfred
The FiringSquad has done a review on Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Uh-huh, the Civilisation kind of game that'll draw you into many sleepless nights.

"Yup, there's no use preaching to the converted. If you love Civ, you can stop reading and buy the game now. If you're not familiar with Civilization, keep on reading, and I'll show you how easy it is to get sucked into the most addicting game I have played in years."

"This is probably the closest I've come to giving a game five stars. I have seen and heard some criticisms of Alpha Centauri where the reviewer simply didn't explore all the game features enough to realize that he didn't have a legitimate gripe. There will also be those who point out that there's nothing really revolutionary. To this I retort: combining all the best features of a genre AND adding evolutionary improvement to them is in fact, revolutionary."

Windows 95/98 Tweak Guide 18:58 pm - Kan
PCVelocity posted a Windows 95/98 Tweak Guide. Included are tips and hints on how to speed up your bootup and optimize your overall performance. Check it out.

By default, Windows sets the typical role of the machine to Desktop computer which only reserves enough memory to cache 32 paths and 677 files. To get the optimum level of performance, change the typical role to Network server which will effectively increase the cache to 64 paths and 2,729 files. While were here you should also set the Read-ahead optimization bar to the right to allocate 64 KB to the read-ahead buffer. This will reduce the number of times your system has to access the hard disk by loading the extra data into memory, reducing disk-intensive operations.

Kryotech Cool K6-3 500 16:51 pm - Kan
AnandTech delivered the review on the Kryotech Cool K6-3 500 MHz system. Seriously, it's not worth the money to get it.

The original Cool K6-2 system featured an extremely bulky device known as the KryoCavity, a jacket like device that fit over the processor in order to isolate it from the rest of the system and provide direct cooling to the processor's surface. The problem with the KryoCavity was that it made the upgrading/removal of the CPU extremely difficult and the milling for the cavity itself had to be specially done by Kryotech and therefore drove the cost up considerably. The cavity itself was quite bulky and was difficult to manipulate in the relatively cramped Kryotech case. However the real problem with the KryoCavity doesn't have anything to do with the design of the cavity itself, rather the requirements the cavity inspires…

49.7 Explained 11:39 am - Kan
That's the magical number for those dudes out there running Win95/98. Ars-Technica explained why your Win95/98 will crash after running continuously for 49.7 days in their daily rants (Hey! I read everything!) I never got a uptime of more than 24 hrs on a Win95/98 system though...to me, the magical number is just 1. :)

A few people e-mailed me regarding the "why" of the 49.7 day Windows 95 bug; for those interested, here's the story. Windows 95/98 is of course a 32 bit operating system with integers as large as 32 bits. To keep track of the order of messaging events in the operating system, the OS uses one of these 32 bit integers that starts at zero when the operating system boots and increments by 1 every millisecond. So let's whip out a calculator, shall we?

The variable that holds this value is a 32 bit unsigned integer. Expressed in decimal terms, this has a range of 0-4294967295. Division time! 4294967295 milliseconds divided by 1000 equals a 4294967 second range of values. Divide that by 60 and you get a 71582 minute range. Divide that by 60 and you get an 1193 hour range. Divide that by 24 and you get.... a 49.71-day range. Coincidence? I think not.

This means the "how many are affected" question Microsoft neglected to answer is pretty much everybody who makes it to 49.7 days without crashing. (What--two, three people, tops?) The system queue is used all the time in Windows, and it doesn't take kindly to its counter being reset to zero right in the middle of things.  That's pretty much a guarantee for a system crash or, at best, severe system instability. Thanks to Mark Pritchard for a lot of this info. He also informed me that NT is immune to this bug because it handles messages in a time-independent fashion.

Interview 10:33 am - Kan
There's an interveiw by FullOn3D with Chris Stellwag at Real3D. You still remember the company who brought you the popular i740 graphics cards? Incidentally, check out their PowerSlide review as well. :)

Real 3D does have a chip in development under the code name Cobra. We can't tell you any more specifics; you'll just have to wait until an official announcement:) We also wouldn't characterize our not working with Intel on a so-called Portola as a "split". Intel and Real 3D have established a long-term strategic relationship. Intel owns 20 percent of Real 3D, Intel holds a license to our graphics technology, and we continue to collaborate on future graphics initiatives. Each graphics offering from Intel will include some level of Real 3D technology and will be royalty-bearing products for Real 3D. Just because Real 3D is not "co-developing" each graphics product from Intel doesn't mean we don't have some level of involvement.

GNOME 1.0 10:29 am - Kan
Yes! Gnome 1.0 was officially announced during the Linux World Conference.

SAN JOSE, CA - Today at the Linux World Conference, the GNOME Project announced the release of the GNU Network Object Model Environment (GNOME) version 1.0. GNOME is an integrated desktop environment designed to run on UNIX-like systems, including Linux-based systems.

"GNOME is a graphical user interface (GUI) that combines ease of use with the flexibility and reliability of GNU/Linux. We're very excited about GNOME and what it will mean for the future of GNU/Linux computing," said Miguel de Icaza, GNOME project coordinator.

Metabyte eyeSCREAM 10:23 am - Kan
WickedPC did a review on this pair stereoscopic glasses. Hey, imagine playing Quake2 on it. I sure can't because I will throw up. :)

The receiving unit would daisy chain into your video card, and your monitor plugged into the receiving units end. The glasses function was simple. The game modification for Quake would flicker two screens. One screen would show to the left eye, while the right eye was blocked, and a moment later the right image would flicker to the right eye, while blocking the left. This happened 30 times a second (60Hz refresh rate). The idea was to make a picture that was 3D, and really have images jump out at you. It was a great difference from those old CyberVision glasses of 1996 that had cables from the glasses to your parallel port.

Sony Playstation 2 Preview 10:12 am - Kan
Our pals over at Tech-Junkie had done a Sony Playstation 2 preview. Hey! Imagine DVD quality games on your TV, and you get the point on how good the new Playstation 2 will be.

The CPU, dubbed the "Emotion Engine" or "EE" was codeveloped by Toshiba Corp. The 128-bit EE is fabricated on a .18 micron die making it the first of its kind in the world. For the heavy graphics processing, the EE incorporates SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data), two 64-bit integer units and two independent floating point vector calculation units.

PIII 450 MHz 10:08 am - Kan
Pentium III 450 MHz review over at Sharky. Check out the benchmarks and what the sharks feel about this processor.

The specifications on the P3-450 match the Pentium 2-450 CPU it's meant to replace for the most part, with two notable exceptions:

The P3's SECC2 cartridge format, and 70 new SIMD instructions designed to aid software developers in accelerating the already-competent floating point unit the Pentium 3 is equipped with.

SECC2, or Single Edge Contact Cartridge, is the term that Intel uses to describe the P3's "topless" case design. Much like the Intel Celeron CPU product line, the Pentium III allows a heatsink/fan to come into direct contact with the CPU's core. This wasn't possible previously with the Pentium 2 CPU line, with its fully enclosed SECC format

K7 Preview 10:05 am - Kan
A new site called Storm3D had a preview on AMD K7. Enuff said, the K7 will be a killer.

The K7 has three pipelines, a load/store pipeline, an integer pipeline, and a FP pipeline. Each pipeline is capable of executing three microinstructions per cycle, and they are fed by three equally powerful decoder units acting in parallel. All nine execution units are dynamically scheduled for out-of-order execution.

The FP pipeline is the most improved of the three since the K6. The first pipeline can do floating-point addition as well as 3DNow!/MMX instructions. The second pipeline does multiplication, 3DNow!, and MMX, and the final one handles floating-point loads and stores.

Abit BM6 10:02 am - Kan
There's another Abit BM6 review by SysOpt. BM6 is based on the BX chipset, which is really better than the Abit ZM6.

The configurability of this motherboard is amazing.  I wouldn't be surprised if Abit's next generation of motherboards have FSB speed settings in 1Mhz increments ;).  The plethora of voltage and FSB speed settings allow an overclocker to squeeze the maximum performance out of their processor. 

Hardware monitoring is absolutely a must if you're going to push your CPU beyond its intended limits and specifications.   Programs like the Winbond Hardware Doctor is an excellent tool to help you protect the investment you've made into your computer. 

3 March 1999 - Wednesday

Hardware One: A Honest Powerslide Review! 23:40 pm - Wilfred
Today, Hardware One brings to you this overdue review on Rage Software's Powerslide! Well, you know what this game is about already? You don't until you checked out Boon Kiat's honest, no-holds-barred review!

"The programmers obviously spent a lot of time fine-tuning the physics models used in the game and this clearly shows. The cars’ suspension system react realistically as you turn sharp corners or bounce across the desert landscape. But the end result is something quite unplayable."

Xitel Storm 22:46 pm - Kan
Another Xitel Storm Platinum sound card by the guys over at OGR. Vortex 2 supporters may like to check out this card. Live! supporters, don't bother. :)

The board offers hardware acceleration for A3D 1.0, A3D 2.0, DirectSound, DirectSound 3D, DirectMusic and DirectInput APIs. Xitel also plans to soon release updated drivers with EAX support. On the back of the card you'll find two line outputs marked 1 and 2, Mic-in, a MIDI/Joystick port, the Optical S/PDIF-out and a Line-in jack. On the board you'll also find MPC compliant CD-in, Aux-in and Modem-in connectors, a wavetable header and an expansion header.

Abit ZM6 22:38 pm - Kan
FiringSquad fired a review on the Abit ZM6 Socket 370 motherboard. Watch out for their tracers on this board.

Reinforcing the notion of Celeron as a low end only solution, Intel has released the 440ZX chipset, a "low-cost," low-feature version of the BX designed for the Celeron's eventual move to 100Mhz. Intel's certainly got the 'divide and conquer" scenario down to a science - flood the market with enough choices to fill every niche, and nobody has time to worry about other options (such as your competitors' products).

W2k Beta 3 By April 21st 21:58 pm - Wilfred
It's not going to be April 1st but the likelihood that this April 21st release date being an empty promise is still there. The Register has quoted a reliable source saying that Microsoft will release beta 3 of Windows 2000 to 100,000 users by this date.

Reliable sources said today that Microsoft will ship Beta 3 of Windows 2000 to 100,000 end users on April 21st. And the beta will come with support for four way clustering, we are given to understand. But can Microsoft ship Win2000 on time? This is the conundrum currently plaguing both Compaq and bitter rival Hewlett Packard.

Everyone has been harsh on the Redmond company lately, so they'd better not make a boo boo of themselves this round.

Windows 2000 Compatibility 21:35 pm - Wilfred
Our friends at CoolInfo have a large bit talking about compatibility issues in Win2k. The article briefly explained that due to differences in architectures between 9x and NT systems, it is difficult to achieve near perfect compatibility.

Recent reports suggest as many as 40 percent of applications would not run on the current beta. "What we need to do is deliver compatibility," said Microsoft NT/2000 product manager Frances Reay. "And we need to deliver support. The product is in beta -- it's not supposed to be working properly. If it was, we'd ship it," she said. "There have been reports of application incompatibility. It's good we are finding out in the beta. Clearly, the further back you go with technology, the less likely it is to support it. Windows 2000 is a significant upgrade, both in terms of functionality and architecture."

Microsoft engineers suggested the most likely culprit for an application failing to run on 2000 will be where a programmer has chosen to address hardware more directly. DOS-based applications running within a virtual DOS environment may perform differently under 2000. Because 2000 follows NT's security model, the DOS environment is likely to be less backwards-compatible than the one in Win 95 and 98; however, Microsoft said it would be an improvement on the rigid, though secure DOS environment.

Super Cooling Thoughts 21:26 pm - Wilfred
My buddy at HardOCP posted some thoughts he had about super cooling designs for his CPUs. Some technical blabber substantiated with (gosh! what?!) math!

A TEC utilizes the Peltier effect which was discovered in 1834. The Peltier effect basically does the following, when current passes through the junction of two different types of conductors it results in a temperature change, this effect can be used to make a cooling device. Modern TECs use a number of p- and n-type pairs (couples) connected electrically in series and sandwiched between two ceramic plates (see picture). When connected to a DC power source, the current causes heat to move from one side of the TEC to the other, thus creating a cold- and a hot side. Normally we would want to place the TECs cold side on the object we want to cool, and the hot side needs to be cooled by a heatsink, or if there’s a large amount of heat to be pumped by a liquid- or forced convection heat exchanger.

Diamond Micronics C300 21:09 pm - Wilfred
AnandTech should be called AnandFactory instead. Look, they've churned out another review off their plant. Catch his review on the Diamond Micronics C300 i440LX Slot-1 board.

A couple of nice features are found in Diamond's implementation of the AMI BIOS that are often forgotten by other manufacturers. First is the ability to boot in any order from a variety of devices, including any IDE HDD, CDROM, ZIP, LS120, SCSI, or network. Second is the ability to control the power state of the system after a temporary power loss. Options here include previous power state, off, or on. These are simple features, that are more useful than they appear at first, but that are very often overlooked.

A jumperless CPU setup is featured that allows CPU configuration in the BIOS. Upon booting with a new CPU installed, the motherboard will instruct the user to enter the BIOS and configure the CPU. The CPU configuration is very simple and only allows the selection of the final CPU speed - there is no manipulation of FSB speeds, multipliers, or voltages available. That means the only FSB speed is 66MHz, which is all that is officially supported by the i440LX. With current CPU's featuring only a single multiplier, and the C300 only supporting 66MHz FSB settings, this CPU setup is not even required.

I wouldn't classify the lack of options to tweak FSB speeds, multipliers, or voltages as a nice feature.

Diamond MX25 Daughterboard 21:04 pm - Wilfred
Here's a long press release of Diamond's MX25 announcement. The MX25 is a daughterboard for the Monster Sound MX300 which will give it AC3 support. So what do we have here, MX325? =)

Diamond Multimedia today announced its first option in the MX-LINK series, the Monster Sound MX25 upgrade card, giving Monster Sound MX300 customers the latest advancements in Dolby Digital support at a very affordable price point. The Monster Sound MX25 option combined with the Monster Sound MX300 and software DVD offers S/PDIF (Sony and Philips Interconnect Format) output for an impressive home theater experience.

The Monster Sound MX300 audio accelerator and the Monster Sound MX25 daughtercard connected to an external receiver with AC3 (Dolby Digital) decoding capabilities allow PC users to enjoy DVD titles in a cinema-quality environment. The Monster Sound MX25 upgrade provides a true-digital signal to a home-theater system delivering a high audio listening experience.

Kert On The Savage 4 20:34 pm - Wilfred
As we have come to expect from Kert, he has done a nice in-depth technical preview of the Savage 4. If you like to dabble with more greek and jargon, it's there!

S3 has been tight-lipped about details of the 128-bit Savage4 architecture. The right figure is based on the author's impression and has not been verified by S3. Polygon thoroughput has almost doubled from 5 million to 8 million triangles per second. While a dual texture pipeline is not in doubt, the jury is still out regarding a dual rendering pipeline. Savage4 has a core clock of 125 MHz and fillrate of 140 megapixels per second. With a dual rendering pipeline, fillrates of 250 million megapixels (uni-textured) per second are attainable. Since S3 has only quoted a fillrate of 140 million megapixels per second, a dual rendering pipeline is unlikely. A dual texturing unit pushing pixels to a solitary rendering pipeline is one plausible explanation for the discrepancy.

Playstation 2 Details Released 20:26 pm - Wilfred
Heard at the Adrenaline Vault, Sony will be releasing the successor to its incredibly popular Playstation in March 2000. The "Playstation 2" will house a mighty lot of processing power... catch this:

The new 128-bit microprocessor, which integrates image processing, memory and other functions onto a single chip, is said to have data-processing speed several times faster than that of Intel Corp.'s Pentium III.

The new microprocessor will reportedly handle nearly 50 times more 3D image data compared to Sega Enterprises Ltd.'s Dreamcast game console. It will also let users produce game characters comparable in image quality to Walt Disney's Toy Story.

While the PlayStation console employs CD-ROMs as its medium of data storage, its successor will adopt DVD-ROMs, boosting storage capacity by 7-8 times to 4.7 gigabytes.

This Ain't Confirmed, But It's Hot! 20:21 pm - Wilfred
Had to pop my eyes back into their slots... err sockets after reading these juicy chunks at VoodooExtreme. They are unofficial, but accordingly the source is pretty reliable... just read:

VIPER V770
DESCRIPTION: The Diamond Viper V770 is an AGP 4X graphics accelerator based on the nVIDIA TNT2 processor. TNT2 is the next generation TNT controller that will deliver the highest graphics performance and quality and greater graphics capabilities than others in the industry.

The Viper V770 will be available for the bulk distribution channel with 16MB and 32MB. In retail the Viper V770 will come as 32MB, TV-out "Gamers Edition". This version is based on the TNT2 Ultra controller, a high performing, speed enhanced selected controller with higher memory clock to attract hard core gamers.

STEALTH III S540
DESCRIPTION: Targeted at the commercial and consumer PC market, Stealth III S540 is designed to deliver 3D rendering capabilities equivalent to high-end, niche gaming solutions, as well as leading 2D graphics and video acceleration.

Stealth III S540 is designed to bring today’s hottest graphics technology to market at volume price points. Targeted at both retail and OEM markets, Diamond’s Savage 4 – based product is expected to provide a commanding solution for commercial, professional and gaming applications.

Stealth III S540 with its advanced Digital Flat Panel (DFP) support provides a complete solution for PC manufacturers building digital flat panel-based systems.

RivaTNT Optimization Guide 20:14 pm - Wilfred
The Rojak Pot has posted a RivaTNT optimization guide paying particular attention to the Creative TNT card. So yes, go have your TNT tweaked to perfection!

The RIVA TNT is currently the world's fastest 2D/3D gaming graphics processor. Boasting an official fillrate of 180MPixels/s and a 36 billion operations/s pixel engine, the RIVA TNT is supposed to be able to take up to 6 million triangles and spit them out in vivid colour at very high framerates. Many RIVA TNT users were ecstatic with the huge increase in performance and visual quality. Games no longer jerked like a bucking bronco and textures no longer looked like they have had a bad case of the rash.

However, running the Torture timedemo of Half Life will reveal a sad fact. Even the RIVA TNT will choke with a huge number of people running around shooting each other up! The standard RIVA TNT in a Celeron 450A system can only expect an average framerate of around 18.5 fps (1024 x 768, OpenGL) in the Torture timedemo. That means that while the RIVA TNT is very fast, there's always the need for more speed.

High-Tech Speakers 07:42 am - Kan
A British high-technology firm just developed a loudspeaker that can be heard, but not seen. Wow...

NXT PLC says its transparent speakers - glass or plexiglass panels that emit sound through subtle vibrations - rival conventional speakers in quality.

The panel speakers are much less bulky than conical speakers, so the new technology should allow for further miniaturization of electronic devices like laptop computers and televisions, the company says.

See-through speakers could, in theory, be as large as movie screens and small enough to fit on a business card. Refinements in the technology might even enable a car windshield to double as a stereo speaker.

Unlike conventional loudspeakers, which contain a diaphragm that moves back and forth like a piston, different parts of the transparent speaker panel vibrate independently. The panel, or screen, ripples in a complex pattern that seems almost random.

Merced Pictures 06:54 am - Kan
The Register has some exclusive pictures of the Merced processor. Catch more over there!

The Merced package is 5 x 3. Pictured here is the connector side of the packaging. It has approximately 560 connections and can be hung from a motherboard and attached on top

Promise Ultra66 06:01 am - Kan
Review on the Promise Ultra66 controller card by HardwareCentral.

Ultra ATA/66 (also known as UltraDMA/66) is the latest technology for quickly moving data from a hard drive to the systems memory. The previous technology was Ultra ATA/33 (also known as UltraDMA/33), with a maximum burst transfer rate of 33.3 MB/s. Prior to Ultra ATA/33 was multi-word DMA Mode 2 with a maximum burst transfer rate of 16.6 MB/s. Ultra ATA/66 doubles Ultra ATA/33s maximum burst rate and quadruples multi-word DMAs maximum burst rate to 66.6 MB/s.

PC100 SDRAM Overclocking Comparison 05:39 am - Kan
There is a  PC100 SDRAM Overclocking Comparison over at SysOpt. Wanted to know which PC100 SDRAM is the most overclockable? Read on to find out!

CAS 3 is the level that truly allows users to push their memory to the limits and we where memory becomes the failing factor in overclocking. The obvious winner was the Corsair that performed consistently at 138Mhz and work most of the time at 143Mhz. I was totally amazed to find my old LGS PC100 RAM taking second place with stability at 138Mhz. Mushkin grabbed third place with complete stability at 133Mhz and bootable  at 138Mhz but failed testing. Crucial also held stable at 133Mhz but just could not boot at any higher speeds. Viking took the low end of the PC100 RAM with a max CAS 3 speed of 124Mhz. Finally, the good old Hyundai PC-66 RAM reached an impressive 112Mhz.

2 March 1999 - Tuesday

Current Connection To The Internet 23:52 pm - Wilfred
If you haven't voted, please take a minute to participate in this week's poll. Over 1300 people have voted in the last 3 days. So at what speeds are you connected? Tell us! Lastly, do you need some public opinion or reaction? You are welcomed to submit new poll questions here anyday, anytime.

Dreamcast Piracy in HK 23:26 pm - Wilfred
If Sega thought they succeeded in thwarting piracy efforts by using GD-ROM format for their Dreamcast titles, they are wrong. Apparently, pirates have gotten round this obstacle and pirated Dreamcast games are selling in HK for as little as US$6.50.

Up until now it was believed that Dreamcast games could not be copied effectively due to Sega's use of the GD-ROM formatting for their game CDs. It is unclear how game pirates have gotten around the GD-ROM format, but the games and modchips to play them are already up for sale on various websites.

Yup, thanks to Boon Kiat for dropping the line on this. Ha! I see that sly smile on your face. ;)

Savage 4 Preview 23:00 pm - Wilfred
AnandTech previews the Savage 4 from S3. The wonder boy has done some preliminary benchmarks on an alpha Diamond board and obtained some pretty ok results! It's probably not a 'V3 killer' but this is the best part:

The problems AnandTech experienced with the original Savage3D seemed to be completely absent from the quick 4 hour experience Diamond let us have in the lab, definitely a promising sign. It seems as if S3's design has finally matured to the point where a release makes sense, and if Diamond is willing to put their name behind the product, it should be a noticeable improvement over S3's last attempt at a rise to 3D power.

Wilfred Coughs 22:55 pm - Wilfred
In a disastrous miscommunication between Kan and myself, we accidentally deleted the news for 28 Feb 99. Arrgggh... no, it's irrecoverable. We would like to apologise if you're looking for it. Oops!

ATI Rage Fury Review 22:11 pm - Wilfred
Extreme Hardware has completed a review on the ATI Rage Fury. Well yes, this is the big comeback chip from ATI...

The RAGE 128 is a powerful 2D/3D chip designed for use in medium to high-end graphics cards. As the name indicates, the RAGE 128 is a full 128-bit chip. A superscalar design is implemented in the RAGE 128 (meaning that it uses dual graphics pipelines). Not only does a superscalar design effectively double performance, it also allows for single-pass multitexturing. Multitexturing is a technique that blends two or more textures together. It is commonly used in First Person Shooters (FPS) such as Quake II. Multitexturing is so demanding that it can severely cripple performance.

Falcon 4.0 Review 21:44 pm - Wilfred
Yup, you can check out the usual wordy-wordy review of Microprose's Falcon 4.0 over at Adrenaline Vault. You always loved challenging flight sims didn't you? Here's a snip to scare you:

This is probably the most overdue review I've ever written, but ask anyone who is familiar with the depth and complexities of the game and they will tell you, I've had good reasons. Just reading and comprehending the almost 600 page manual took me a week, and that's not to mention the additional 100 pages worth of supplemental information provided by the Cadet's Handbook and Communication's Guide. While that description sounds daunting, I must admit, it's the best documentation I've ever seen. It's well structured, extremely detailed, and written in a manner that while complex, is still understandable to the uninitiated simulation gamer. Learning how to fly the new Falcon F-16C will require a bit more than casual reading, it will require study and commitment.

New Windows Bug Discovered 20:05 pm - Wilfred
Thanks to Wee Kiat who'd noticed this on BetaNews about an article at NEWS.COM. It reports that a bug in Windows 95 and 98 may cause a PC to crash after 49.7 days of continuous use.

A bizarre and probably obscure bug will crash some Windows computers after about a month and a half of use. The problem, which affects both Microsoft Windows 95 and 98 operating systems, was confirmed by the company in an alert to its users last week.

"After exactly 49.7 days of continuous operation, your Windows 95-based computer may stop responding," Microsoft warned its users, without much further explanation. The problem is apparently caused by a timing algorithm, according to the company.

Pardon what I'm gonna say here... this is about the MOST MINOR bug ever discovered! Now who's Windows 9x can run for 49.7 days without crashing???!!!!! One will wonder what kind of intense efforts they must have put in to track down this bug.

Traffic Jams up Linux.com 07:15 am - Kan
Just a side note, News.com posted a short article on Linux.com being shut down due to high traffic volume.

"We think it was the Slashdot effect," he said, referring to the online "news for nerds" discussion site, which posted a story about the Linux.com Web site today. "All the lights on the Christmas tree lit up."

Getting the huge surge in Web page requests is a common enough phenomenon that the term "getting slashdotted" has entered the Internet vocabulary, at least among nerds.

VA Research is looking into the issue, but in the early afternoon, all the site said was, "This Web page is not here yet."

Happy99 06:52 am - Kan
There's an article over at Singapore C|Net on the Happy99 virus that has been circulating around.

The very idea of a computer virus is, however, interesting; the fact that it is described in medical, medicinal terms implies that it is "something" which can infest and in turn be exterminated.

The idea of a bug makes you think of something potentially small but very, very dangerous--much like the idea of a cockroach, a prehistoric insect which has managed to survive until this day: encapsulating the idea of eternity in a moment.

Creative Savage4 06:43 am - Kan
Creative announced their 32MB 3D Blaster Savage4 card, which will be available in May.

Based on S3's Savage4 PRO(TM) graphics controller, Creative's new 3D Blaster Savage4 delivers spectacular performance and stunning visual quality using S3's patented S3TC texture compression. The 3D Blaster Savage4 offers support for PCI, AGP2X and AGP4X bus architectures, true 32-bit 3D rendering, a full 128-bit 3D graphics Engine and dual texture 3D rendering pipeline to enhance gameplay. In addition, 3D Blaster Savage4 features 32MB of SDRAM, a 300MHz RAMDAC, and hardware-assisted DVD, all supported by Creative's own drivers and utilities.

SOHOWare Fast Network Kit 05:38 am - Kan
Review on the SOHOWare Fast Network Kit (by AGN Hardware) is here again with step-by-step instructions to setup your home LAN.

Once you have the adapter cards installed, everything else is literally Plug -n- Play.   First off, plug the power brick into a wall outlet and then connect it to the Hub.   The take one end of one of the 25' cables and plug it into the adapter installed in your computer.  Take the other end of the cable and plug it into any port on the Hub.   There does not seem to be any preference for port ID's as things worked just fine for us regardless of the ports we used.  When you are connected, the light for that port will glow green on the Hub, and the light on the back of the adapter will illuminate as well.

IBM Microdrive 05:34 am - Kan
New preview on the IBM Microdrive by AGN Hardware. The Microdrives offer an option of about 170 MB or 340 MB storage space, and they are really small!

Because the drive is based upon moving parts, performance is not going to be as fast as what we have currently with flash memory cards. Seek times should be around 15ms, a speed that is equal to the 350MB

 

1 March 1999 - Monday

Load Testing 22:05 pm - Kan
As usual, we are "Up to No Good" again and are currently doing some  testing with our server over at S-One. In the meantime, please bookmark our URL at http://www.hardware-one.com for all future access.

Hardware One: Dual Celeron Feat 21:39 pm - Wilfred
Just finished html-ing an article on constructing your own Dual Celeron rig. If you are adventurous enough to attempt this, you'll be greatly rewarded when you succeed! Don't just stare, do it yourself!

Some dual goodness!

Gamer's Guide To EAX! 21:27 pm - Wilfred
Our reliable sound site buddies have a new article that will tell you what EAX is all about - well almost! Have a look at these cuts:

"Current hardware can't process all the reflections but Aureal choose to actually calculate the first order reflections (up to 60 reflected sound waves at any time) while Creative instead made the choice do a reverb engine and let the developer choose what kind of environment the users are located in. Creative made that choice because they think it's easier for the developer to implement, offers more flexibility for the level designers and requires less processing power."

"Of the few EAX implementation we have heard so far the Live is superior and without any CPU hit. The Live takes a small CPU hit for the 3D sound part but no extra for the reverb. It's important to remember that cards supporting EAX won't use Live's reverb engine and the quality of each reverb engine will be different. The CPU hit will depend on the reverb engine and the power of soundcard using it."

"Creative will expand on the EAX API so it will offer developers much more than just choosing different reverb effects in the near future. It's already known that EAX 2 will include occlusion but it's possible it will include other enhancements too."

InterVideo WinDVD 1.10 Review 21:11 pm - Wilfred
ActiveWin has done a review on InterVideo's latest software DVD player. Hear what they have to say on the video and audio quality of this software decoder:

"I checked out almost all of my DVD collection with InterVideo WinDVD and the playback quality was excellent, there is in my mind at least, no doubt that this is now currently the top software DVD player in terms of playback quality. I tend to use ATI DVD Player as my main DVD player but with WinDVD I don't get juddering like I do in ATI's player, this is a big benefit when sitting close to the monitor when watching a DVD."

"Audio in WinDVD is great, there are so many options for those us with two speakers as well as great support for those with four speakers or more, and with the addition of S/PDIF support for Creative SBLive! and the ForteMedia Audio Chip, you can't go wrong. The new 3D sound option for two speakers works well, although every so often there are some weird effects given out, and also some dialogue seems to get drowned out, but all in all the 3D sound option does improve two speaker audio."

Carmack On 3DSS's Petition 21:01 pm - Wilfred
Remember 3DSS' petition I asked you to participate in few days back? Well, Carmack seems unmoved about putting 3D Sound into Quake 3: Arena at all. Listen to what he said...

There are plans for a petition to put in 3D sound for Q3A. You are known for not bowing to public pressure. Would a petition make any difference at all to you?

Petitions and public outcry make absolutely no difference to me. My mind can be changed be argument or evidence, but not by vote. The real issue is that 3D sound just doesn't excite me very much, and I have thousands (literally) of other things that I can be working on. However, as I have been informed, A3D does work on NT, so there is a decent chance I will implement some support for that.

Rollcage Preview 20:57 pm - Wilfred
Our affiliate 3DSpotlight popped me a note about his latest preview on Psynosis' Rollcage - a futuristic arcade racing game. The snips:

I played the Rollcage demo and I was amazed by the excellent graphics this game has got but of course, that wasn't all, although just two cars and one track was available on the demo I got addicted to the fast-furious gameplay of Rollcage...

In-game graphics are no less than excellent, in general they are rich and colorful, textures don't look blurry like in other arcade racing games, explosions look great and colored lighting is present. 3D support is up to date, you have plenty of resolutions to choose from, 24 and 32bit rendering are supported as well as Direct3D and Glide API.

EH Online 14:35 pm - Kan
Latest industry gossip over at EH Online (formerly known as Hardware Therapy). Yup, it's by the same dudes over at Hardgame, now known as Extreme Hardware. Confusing? A little. :)

Welcome to the very first edition of EH Online. The format is much the same as it was in my previous Hardware Therapy haunt: USENET quotes along with my own commentary. This column is perfect for the casual USENET participant who may not have the time to read all of the hardware newsgroups. I try and nab the most interesting threads and then post them in a capsule format for easy digestion. The hardened USENET veteran may also want to stop by to see if they've been quoted

Sensaura Interview 11:22 am - Kan
Another interview with Sensaura by the babes over at 3DAI.

QUESTION: And now for some questions that are a bit more technical. The big battle between A3D and EAX is getting ridiculous. I mean damn! y'know? What's your personal opinion on it? I mean, since you are trying to beat 'em both :)

Yes I agree it is getting ridiculous and certainly must be causing confusion amongst both the game development community and game buying public. In our view it is always unfortunate to have two competing standards for what is basically the same feature. Aureal have created A3D as a proprietary 3D sound API which locks games specifically to Aureal hardware, which means that if a game only supports A3D then it will not use any other kind of 3D sound hardware. EAX is implemented using an extension to the Microsoft DirectSound3D (DS3D) API. DS3D is an open standard which is published and fully documented, allowing any 3D sound hardware manufacturer to support it.

Interview with Futuremark 11:17 am - Kan
Our coffee pals over at Tech-Junkie (formerly from Frontline) had an exclusive interview with Futuremark. These are the guys who bring you the 3DMark benchmark software.

Robots. Futuristic alien crafts. Ships flying through citiscapes. Tubthumping music. Final Reality set the standard for benchmarking with style in 1997. It showed that you could entertain, wow AND benchmark at the same time. Futuremark continued the concept, this time utilising a commercial game engine (MAX-FX) and adding new features and graphics that wowed users with 3DMark99. 3DMark is quite possibly the most comprehensive 3D benchmarking software available, testing everything from real world performance in first-person and racing games to individual feature tests such as filtering speed and fill rate.

CPU Cooler Chill-Out 11:16 am - Kan
Article over at Overclockers listing a number of CPU coolers for both the Pentium II as well as Celerons. Which one is the best?

The Global VEK 12, noisy* but very effective, ranks #1 but not by as much as you might think - The TennMax VIVA PII is not that far behind and a lot quieter. With some better fans and a little more engineering, the TennMax VIVA could rank equal to the VEK 12 and a lot easier on the ears. If TennMax wants to market a superior product, IMHO it won't take much; if it costs $5 more, I'm sure they can get it if the performance is there.

The Global and TennMax Celerons are closest to each other and, for all practical purposes, equal to each other in performance. The Intel units are not bad; I was surprised at their performance and they are certainly adequate for normal use, as are the Cofans.

Thrustmaster Frag Master 11:13 am - Kan
Review brought to you by AGN Hardware. This thing look cool!

The Frag Master is a molded plastic unit that looks a bit like something from the planet Klingon.  It has a light, flat base with rubber grips on the bottom to help keep the unit from sliding around.  The primary control consists of twin ergonomically molded sticks, each with 2 triggers and 3 thumb buttons.  The unit uses something called "Direct Connect" to offer all digital performance.

Ultra ATA/66 Review 11:10 am - Kan
I had been waiting for this. Anand did a review on the new Ultra ATA/66 standard.

Ultra ATA/66 (you'll also hear it referred to as Ultra DMA/66 or Fast ATA-2) allows for a theoretical maximum burst transfer rate of 66.6MB/s, double the maximum of Ultra ATA/33's 33.3MB/s. Another change brought about during the introduction of the Ultra ATA/33 specification was the idea of Cyclical Redundancy Check (CRC) which is something that you've all probably heard of in one form or another at sometime during your computing experience. Basically, before any burst transfers take place both the hard drive and host will calculate what should make it through the transfer and then afterwards the host sends a signal back to the hard drive telling it what actually made it over during the transfer. If the two numbers don't match up then the process is automatically repeated until it is completed successfully.

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