14 May 1999 - Friday

Civilisation: Call To Power Review 23:49 pm - Wilfred
GamesWire posted a review on Civilisation: Call To Power. You ain't a Civ fan if you haven't already played this game through and through.

If you liked Civilization, Alpha Centauri, and other turn-based strategy games, go buy this game. It's really a lot of fun, but it's not something to do on a school night since it takes hours to play. It's worth it, and it's very satisfying to win, either by conquest or by creating an alien baby (don't ask, it's really cool though). The learning curve is steep, graphics are great, sound is horrible, and gameplay is superb. Go for it!

Liveware 2.0 Press Release & Mirrors 18:41 pm - Wilfred
Many of you didn't manage to access the busy servers yesterday. Well, 3DSoundSurge has put up a list of mirrors where you can grab the staggering 28 Mb file. Also just available is its official press announcement. Some of you would also have noticed that our favourite Fun has to file too! Grab it!

Info: Creative TNT Unified Driver Beta 18:34 pm - Wilfred
MaximumPC has an article on the subject with regards with what 3dfx has to say about this technology as well as Creative's plans to bring this driver to the TNT2 and UltraTNT2.

Unified's use of OpenGL-like extensions also lets game use 32-bit color rendering, large textures and AGP texturing if the developer recompiles to take advantage of the features. Sound a lot like a wrapper? No, Creative believes its implementation of the technology makes it quite different than what others have done.

"It isn't just a Glide wrapper," Carlson told Maximum PC. "This is a pure translation layer and nothing more."

Creative is being very careful to differentiate itself from people who have attempted to publish wrappers for Glide. 3Dfx recently shut down several small web sites under threat of suit because they had released wrappers that allegedly contained 3Dfx IP. Some of those wrappers used 3Dfx's SDK which may be a key difference in technologies. Creative used only publicly available information, Carlson said.

3Dfx officials reached at E3 said they didn't have enough information about Unified to say whether it infringed on intellectual property or not.

"We'll evaluate this and determine if legal action is appropriate," said Michael Howse, 3Dfx senior vice president of marketing. "We will defend our IP as we have in the past."

Creative RivaTNT Unified Driver Beta 14:03 pm - Kan
You mean you still don't know it's out? Creative posted a beta driver which allows you to run games which support GLIDE API only. Pretty cool!

G400 Press Releases 13:58 pm - Kan
SystemLogic sent note on two G400 press releases. They are the G400 with Multi-Head technology as well as the bundling of Expendable with the G400 and G400 MAX graphics cards.

"We are very excited to offer the Matrox Millennium G400 Series DualHead Display option with flight simulator titles like, Microsoft® Flight Simulator 2000 and Combat Flight Simulator," says Jason Della Rocca, Developer Relations Manager, Matrox Graphics. "Our DualHead Display feature of the Matrox Millennium G400 Series will change the look and feel of the games, allowing the player to customize the game."

"In Flight Simulator titles, visual real estate is extremely valuable" says Jose Pinero, Product Manager of the Flight Simulator group at Microsoft. "By allowing flight sim fans to use a secondary monitor to display additional views, maps or controls, the Matrox Millennium G400 Series could change the way Flight Simulator 2000 and Combat Flight Simulator are played."

Powercolor GameBoard Dreamcode 13:56 pm - Kan
Powercolor Dreamcode motherboard review over at Gamewire. This is the one with a onboard TNT as well as a Yamaha soundcard built-in.

As for all motherboards, physical installation is a pain in the ass. You have to take everything out, screw the motherboard in, put everything back in, connecting power supplies and such, and finally spend half an hour pouring over detailed schematics, reattaching a ridiculous number wires just to get those three pretty lights on the front of your case working. Nothing more then I expected though.

On the jumpier side of things, this thing uses dip switches. They are much easier then jumpers but harder than Abit's jumper-less solution. Everything was labeled well though, and there were no real problems.

Boston Acoustics MicroMedia 13:42 pm - Kan
We have another speakers review over at 3DHardware.net.

The subwoofer of the MicroMedia’s is, as usual, it’s weakest point when you churn the volume up a bit. And by a bit I mean to around 60%< of the maximum volume level with a track playing containing a healthy amount of deep bass and pretty much the rest of the frequency spectrum as well. At this time the subwoofer starts making an "I’m breaking" sound, which, if bearable (if even noticeable) during gameplay and movie watching, is very annoying when enjoying some tunes.

Hercules Dynamite TNT2 Ultra 13:37 pm - Kan
Probably the fastest TNT2 card out there now is reviewed by SharkyExtreme. Hmm, pretty expensive though.

Thanks to Hercules' and nVidia's close relationship, Hercules has told Sharky Extreme that they're confident enough in nVidia's TNT2 Ultra chip yield quality that they believe consumers will be able to overclock their Dynamite TNT2's to 185MHz+ using the card's drivers, which have a special feature called the "Hercumeter".

We first saw the Hercumeter in use with the Beast Supercharged, a product we gave high marks to for its ease of use and strong overclockability. By using the simplistic sliders, users are able to experiment with their particular Dynamite TNT2 card to find its exact sweet spot (the spot that offers the most reliability while still faster than the stock speed level.)

Labtec LCS-2414 13:33 pm - Kan
Something new over at AnandTech is the Labtec LCS-2414 3 piece speakers review.

The subwoofer features a wooden enclosure for improved bass response. A four inch driver fires downward in the bottom-ported enclosure. This driver is complete unprotected, so be careful with it. Since it is on the bottom, this shouldn't pose a major problem. The power button is right on top and the AC adapter plugs into the back of the sub. The sub is not shielded and is designed to be placed on the floor.

Hercules Dynamite Ultra TNT2 10:21 am - Wilfred
Ohmigawd... will this be the fastest Ultra TNT2 ever?! Check out the report at the FiringSquad who'd put this baby through a series of rigorous tests.

We've had the good fortune to have played with and tested several TNT2 cards, in the vanilla and Ultra flavors. The Hercules Dynamite TNT2 Ultra is the fastest one that we've seen. Period.

Hercules made a name for itself back in the day with a video standard. Now, in 1999, they are back to make themselves a name with a hardware standard. The Dynamite TNT2 Ultra is going to be the TNT2 Ultra that others will be compared by. It offers an excellent package of technology, by way of nVidia's TNT2 Ultra specifications. You can't beat the 32 MB frame buffer and 32-bit rendering capability. Throw nVidia's TNT rendering pipelines into the mix, add AGP texturing and 4x support, a 24-bit Z-buffer, an 8-bit stencil buffer, and the list goes on and on. The final result? A winner.

Voodoo 3 3000 10:19 am - Wilfred
FPS3D posted their review on the Voodoo 3 3000 AGP. Having played with one myself, I quite like it actually. Now to see if it will run future games with the same finesse.

The Voodoo3 was very solid throughout all of the rigorous testing I put it through. The framerates were amazingly high at all resolutions, the image quality was crisp, and the 2D was clear. It's got it all. The Voodoo3 3000 AGP is selling for around $179, which is very fair for what you get.

3dfx has a winner, and the TNT2: a competitor. The choice is yours when purchasing a video card. If you want to run next-generation games, you will need a next-generation video card. I noticed a gigantic increase in FPS over the Banshee, it is unbelievable.

The issue on image quality still remains. I couldn't detect a major difference between the 32-bit color the TNT2 offers and the 22-bit color of the Voodoo3. I was happy enough running @ 83 FPS in 1024 not to notice how deep the colors actually were! I was busy enjoying the speed!

Floppy Killers 10:16 am - Wilfred
PC World has an article on the so-called 'floppy killer' formats that emerged in the past months, if they are really destined to replaced the old 1.44mb format anytime soon.

With so many different kinds of removable-media drives available, how do you know which one is right for you? Many of the drives here are affordable, easy to install, and/or provide good performance. The question then becomes, how will you use the drive? If you're interested primarily in sharing files with colleagues or friends, the Iomega Zip is the logical choice because of its ubiquity. The USB version of the Zip is a breeze to install. For more storage space, go for the 250MB Zip SCSI drive, which accepts 100MB Zip disks. If compatibility with standard 1.44MB floppies is your main concern, opt for a SuperDisk drive like the Hi-Val or Imation--or, for slightly higher capacity, the 200MB Sony HiFD drive, when it becomes available. If you need lots of space and maximum speed for storing large amounts of data--say, for full-system backups or AVI playback--then the Castlewood Orb is your best bet.

13 May 1999 - Thursday
US Military Vetoes NT, Exchange 21:07 pm - Wilfred
I wasn't able to post this up yesterday, but here it is. The MS chaps must be quite infuriated but I found it a little hilarious. Check this:

The US Army, currently not deployed in Kosovo but who knows what may happen next (it's in Earls Court -- CIA maps again -- Ed), does not trust Windows NT or Exchange security. Microsoft hasn't been allowed to tender for the US Army Battle Command System (ABCS), which requires secure messaging.

The winner is Lotus Notes, running on Sun Solaris. Microsoft was peeved, especially as it had persuaded the UK Information Technology Security Evaluation Criteria (ITSEC) certification board to give Windows NT 4.0 (with Service Pack 3) an E3/FC-2 rating, which Microsoft calls "the highest security evaluation possible for a general purpose operating system". MS also claims this is "roughly equivalent to a C2 evaluation under the US Trusted Computer Security Evaluation Criteria (TCSEC) regime, better known as the Orange Book".

Mary Ellen O'Brien, director of DoD sales, Microsoft Federal, confirmed that MS is working with a third party, which she refused to name, to develop a Unix client for Exchange. This is part of the fight back, as Microsoft is concerned that Notes may increasingly replace Exchange in the military. Terry Edwards, director of technical integration for the US Army's Force XXI initiative at Fort Hood, Texas, said that "Lotus Notes is a far more technically superior product". At Fort Hood, Solaris x86 is being used, because "NT cannot support out security requirements".

Q3Test: Our Little Side Of The Story 20:49 pm - Wilfred
Well, my two great pals, like all other Quakers, jumped onto some serious Q3Testing and wrote to me about their experiences. It is by no means comprehensive tests but this is indeed our side of the story. Discuss this in our forum.

Boon Kiat:
Managed to do a timedemo* to test my comparative assessment of the Voodoo2 SLI and TNT from last night.

*at the console type
cg_drawfps 1
timedemo 1
demo q3test1

For some reason or other, the game would load the data then apparently freeze for a couple of minutes then go into the timedemo Secondly, running subsequent iterations would yield vastly differing numbers, so for consistency, i am only showing the first timedemo numbers (which seems the same) after starting q3test from the desktop.

The game's graphics configuration was set to the following:
OpenGL extensions - enabled
video mode - 800x600
color depth - (see below)
full screen - YES
lighting - lightmap
geometry level - high
texture detail - maximum
texture quality - (see below)
texture filter - bilinear

The preferences setting was as follows:
marks on walls - enabled
dynamic lighting - enabled
light flares - enabled
identify target - enabled
sky - high quality
sync every frame - disabled

video card/video mode/texture quality/framerate:
V2SLI / 16/ 16/ 48.0
TNT / 16/ 16/ 49.4
TNT / 32/ 16/ 38.1
TNT / 32/ 32/ 32.6

What these numbers fail to show was HOW the benchmark ran. The TNT seemed to show every frame of the demomap, but the V2SLI "cheated" by dropping a LOT of frames from the animation. The TNT on the other hand seemed to execute and display all the animation frames.

WM: I can tell the difference even on my measly S3D, where 32bit / 800x600 looks & plays great. But once I drop that to 16bit even on my S3D, although the visuals are still slightly better cf 16bit V2 SLI, it seems that a strange dithering pattern gets used & is very obvious (a bit like diagonal interlacing). A lot of people have raised that it is a conspiracy by Id to show off V3's flaws, as it seems that Id has only optimised Q3 test for 32bit colour.... Also, I believe the new 3Dfx drivers didn't really do the game justice - people have commented that the Linux version on a V2 SLI / V3 looks and plays much better!! Even Unreal in 16bit looks tons better than Q3 in similar colour depth. On my V2 SLI, the visual quality is quite bad - kinda like Q2 with an enhanced graininess effect. Noticed the same problem with fogs & sky, where you can distinctly see banding (like Trespasser's sky)....

Boon Kiat: Well, from Tom's Hardware, he did say that both V3 and S4 had problems with their OpenGL drivers that gave glitches in the graphics, so perhaps there was a perceptable change in my case, except for a slight banding in the skies, the TNT looked about the same in both 16 and 32 bit colour.

WM: On my S3D in 32bit colour depth, I tried altering the textures from: compressed -> 16bit -> 32bit. Didn't see much difference though. Don't know whether this function works properly?

Boon Kiat: Dunno about visual quality but the benchmarks show a perceptible performance hit when switching textures to 32 bit as well

Yugoslav Internet Shutdown 20:43 pm - Wilfred
A rumour from Beograd was posted on Slashdot that the US ordered the shutdown of satellite feeds into Yugoslavia. I'm not certain if there is any truth here, but ohmigawd... browsing through Beograds' live news is REALLY frightening! Here's a snip of their typical day:

10:13 Sabac - Air Raid Alert at 10:30. We hear no planes...for now....

09:09 Nis - From 08:30 planes are flying over in 5 minutes intervals. No activities for now. The air raid alert is on from

09:04 - Bravo ir Defence and Yugoslav Air Force, you have shot down another plane in Macedonia around 07:30. It exploded somewhere toward Kicevo, the pilot catapulted southwest from Skopje. I'll report the exact place later NATO helicopters went right away toward Kicevo.

09:02 - TV PANCEVO AT 01:30 : ACCORDING TO THE INFORMATION FROM BEOTELNET, AMERICAN GOVERNMENT HAS DECIDED TO DISCONNECT SATELLITE INTERNET LINKS TO YUGOSLAVIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

08:27 Skopje - a loud explosion heard in 07:25.

08:12 - RTS news at 08:00: 1 plane was shot down above Batajnica last night

MS Issues Challenge To Linux 20:36 pm - Wilfred
"Show You Can Beat NT!" Yeah, that's what a peeved Microsoft is asking the Linux camp to proof. As reported at The Register, a neutral test will be conducted in the near future to settle the ongoing disagreements to the bias of all previous tests.

Microsoft has issued what amounts to a declaration of war on the Linux community, issuing a public challenge to a Linux versus NT shootout, to be hosted by PC Week Labs. Microsoft seems to have been seriously needled by Linux criticism of an MS-sponsored study carried out by Mindcraft (Linux camp slashes out at survey), and claims Mindcraft has now agreed to redo the tests, and to meet all of the conditions required by the "top Linux creators," Linus Torvalds included.

Coincidentally the challenge, issued
here yesterday, is supported by recent tests published by PC Week and PC Magazine. NT seems to do awfully well in these, and Microsoft says they "corroborate the Mindcraft findings."

Tom's Q3Test Fallout 20:11 pm - Wilfred
Ars-Technica also posted some after thoughts to Tom's Q3Test article. Hmm... it is sometimes nice to see different opinions as long as nobody gets slammed (too badly?) =)

As for the tone of Tom's comments regarding 3dfx, I've gotta say, I just got a Voodoo3 3000 and TNT2 in here for testing this evening, and the V3 runs Q3Test relatively well. Obviously, it's not as purty as the TNT2's 32-bit rendering mode, but I popped the TNT2 into 16-bit mode for deathmatching, anyhow. (I feel the need for speed.) 3dfx's drivers need some work, but the hardware itself is clearly quite competitive. I see no reason for this hardware and driver combo to elicit the sort of contempt it seems to have earned from Tom. I don't know who at 3dfx did something that stuck in Tom's craw, but this present situation hurts both 3dfx and Dr. Pabst; 3dfx gets slammed by a very influential enthusiast-oriented web site, and Tom's credibility takes a beating. 

CM-167 Clock Multiplier Kit 20:00 pm - Wilfred
GameWire has a review on an interesting kit which will enable users of old Socket5 and Socket7 systems to play around with their clock multipliers to achieve higher performance.

How does this thing perform? Well, it just overrides your motheboard's multipliers and inputs a higher one of your choice. To test it, I used a K6-2 350 mHz processor on a Asus P/I-P55T2P4 and even a P5A. There were no problems what so ever, but i wasn't able to reach 350 mHz only 366 mHz, 5.5x @ 66 mHz. Be advised that older motherboards only have a bus speed of 66 mHz or even the very low 50 mHz. So even if your motherboard does 66 mHz, the highest processor speed you can attain is 366 mHz. Not too shabby, but I wish the multiplier went up to around 7.0x then it would be more useful.

Hardware-One: USB Hub Review 13:49 pm - Wilfred
I wonder how many of you already ran out of free USB connectors on your motherboards? It is time to consider a USB hub! Do check out our review on this aesthetically pleasing and affordable hub!

hubtop1-small.jpg (14683 bytes)

IP Addresses Shortage 13:38 pm - Wilfred
Internet's doomsday? Apparently, even 4.2 billion unique IP addresses would soon be exhausted and the ICANN is facing a huge challenge to resolve this problem before the numbers run dry.

Every online device or computer needs an Internet Protocol (IP) numerical address to connect to the global network. When the system was being designed, hardly anyone imagined that its 4.2 billion unique addresses would ever be exhausted. Just a few decades later, however, some in the technical community fear that the rapid pace of innovation one day may cause the Net to run out of numbers. Demand for IP numbers is naturally growing due to the Net's evolution as a meeting place and marketplace.  Further draining the IP pool is the aggressive rollout of "always on" cable Net access and the array of handheld devices that need dedicated IP numbers.

Currently, most online access providers and companies utilize a small batch of IP addresses by dynamically assigning the numbers based on demand when people log on to their networks. But with broadband services such as cable, customers must have their own dedicated number.

"It's going to come to the point where your TV remote is speaking IP to your TV, and they'll each need an IP address," said Paul Vixie, an architect of the Net's address system. Under such a scenario, a typical household could have more than 250 IP addresses, he added.

DirectX Future Outlined 13:29 pm - Wilfred
Computer Reseller News has an article on the future of DirectX, speaking particularly about DirectX 7.0.

But first, DirectX 7. Bachus said the portions of this version will be released, along with updates from DirectX 6.1, in the Microsoft Windows 98 Revision 2. (New versions of DirectX are also distributed by game developers on CD-ROMs and can be downloaded from Microsoft's Web site at www.microsoft.com.)

Speed is the name of the game with DirectX 7, Bachus said. Microsoft has optimized the new version to run about 20 percent faster, and even games developed for DirectX 6 will perform better with the new runtime, he added. To improve the realism of 3-D graphics, DirectX 7 will add support for hardware-assisted transformations. The result will be faster 3-D operations, Bachus said. 3-D images will get a boost through DirectX 7 support for projected textures, an effect that fabricates the look of reflections in a 3-D world,for example, a mirror reflection or light passing through a stained glass window.

DirectX 7 also will include enhanced audio features. Bachus said Microsoft will provide hardware acceleration support of direct music. Processing direct music on the sound card will improve overall game performance, he added.

Soyo 5EMM Super7 Mobo 13:20 pm - Wilfred
Freak! posted a review on the above Super7 mobo. Based on microATX form factor, this is about the smallest mobo a system integrator can find to squeeze inside anywhere!

Speaking of the 5EMM exclusively, of all the MicroATX mainboard setups, the 5EMM has one of the best. The 5EMM offers a 1/3/1 AGP/PCI/ISA slot configuration. Most MicroATX boards have onboard video, audio, or both. The 5EMM incorporates integrated audio via the embedded Avance ALS120 audio chip, but they've left the AGP slot free for the user to choose what kind of video solution they want to use. Integration is great, but sometimes having the choice can be even better. The 5EMM's three PCI slots is actually a boon in MicroATX terms. Some boards feature a 2/2 PCI/ISA setup which I think is wasteful, since ISA is on the way out and dedicating more than one slot to ISA is a tragedy. Heck, if I had my way, there wouldn't be any ISA slots at all! But all things considered, this is a great MicroATX board, one I wouldn't hesitate using in one of my machines.

Palm V Review 13:16 pm - Wilfred
Ars-Technica's Palm V review is out of the oven. Have a look at what Gonzos think of the incredibly cool PDA!

I like the Palm V.  It's just cool.   If a curious individual asked me which PDA to buy for a first timer, I'd unreservedly recommend the Palm V.  It has a decent amount of memory, it's speedy, has a great screen and a great backlight.  Even more important than that, it is really easy to use. 

Wilfred Coughs 13:13 pm - Wilfred
Home! I'm always lost after going away for few days. Mailbox would be choke full of mails from friends, fellow editors and readers. Responding to them one by one now... =)

Quake3 Performance Guide 11:26 am - Kan
Quake3 Performance Guide over at 3DHardware.net. It teaches you all the tweaks as well as how to benchmark your Q3Test.

Quake 3 has become something more than a game over the past months. After many people declaring Quake a religion, Quake 2 a sport, god knows what Quake3 will turn out to be. Anyway, something that helped Quake to gain popularity in the first place was QuakeGl, or the fact that you could now run 3D games very smoothly with relatively modest hardware. This changed when Quake2 came out, but now the standard was set, noone would be going back to the software rendered graphics

Happening @ HardOCP 11:20 am - Kan
My man Kyle had some rantings over at HardOCP on Tom's Hardware latest article about the Q3Test. Check it out!

I didn't want to draw down like this but I am. Tommy Pabst is trying his best (which is not very good) to weasel his way back into the hardcore gamers' and hardware freaks' view. He has lost the respect of many of us in the last year or so due to the fact that he is totally out of touch with us. Now he starts thowing up cutting edge hardware reviews? His actions might very well work even though he has been totally unattached from the community for some time. (when was the last time you saw Tom at the FRAG? will he be a QCon? he is not registered.) Do you think his results are worth the bandwidth you d/l'd them on? I seriously doubt it. 

Hottest Games at E3 11:17 am - Kan
GameSpot posted the hottest games titles debuting at E3. Titles like Age of Empires II, Heroes of Might and Magic III etc sure makes us drool.

While we weren't too happy with Age of Empire's single-player experience, what we've heard about the sequel's plans for campaign play is piquing our interest. Everyone agrees that Age I solo play was uninspired and boring, but Age II will have four campaigns that center on interesting historical figures: William Wallace, Joan of Arc, Saladin, and Genghis Khan. The campaigns will have several unique buildings, hero units, and story-based missions. You'll play as the Scots, trying to win independence from England; rally the French to put an end to the Hundred Year's War; defend the Muslim lands from King Richard's crusades; or unite the Mongol hordes and create the most expansive empire the world has ever known.

Tech-Junkie Issue #3 11:15 am - Kan
Issue #3 of Tech-Junkie is out! Hurry, get it while stocks last! Damn, I just love their Burger King look... :)

Welcome to Issue 3 of Tech-Junkie! This issue, we pay tribute to Burger King, our favorite fast food hangout! Jam packed in this issue, we thrash test the Elsa Erazor III and Synergy II Riva TNT2 cards, plus we take the 3dfx Voodoo3 2000 & 3000 out for a spin. We also test the AMD K6-3 400 and Philips USB Webcam. Hope you have as much fun going through this issue than we did making it!

Super Floppies 11:11 am - Kan
Yup, over at C|Net, they had reviewed a whole range of "Super Floppies" drives, including the Imation Superdisk as well as the Iomega ZIP drives.

Installation of the SuperDisk USB is a no-brainer. We plugged the drive's USB cable into the iMac keyboard while the computer was on, installed the software, and were ready to start using the drive. We were a bit disappointed by the drive's complete lack of utilities. Although the Zip drive includes tools for easy disk-to-disk copying and matching file versions, the Imation SuperDisk includes drivers only.

Kan @ Rantings 11:08 am - Kan
Rather happening day. Landed in SGH, was fussed around like a small boy by the nurses there. Did I say they are damn pretty!? Wow... and to think one of them still remember me. Heh heh...

Seagate Medalist 11:06 am - Kan
Storagereview took a look at Seagate's latest Medalist family, the ST317242A. This is a 17.2 GB mammoth on a ATA-66 backplane, but surprisingly, it's only running on 5400 rpm.

Thus, it was little surprise that Seagate debuted the first 7200rpm ATA drive, the Medalist Pro ST39140A. With its new fluid-bearing motor, the drive was a scorcher when it came to both performance and heat. Though IBM and Maxtor eventually joined the pioneer with 7200rpm ATA drives, Seagate stood alone for several months. Since then, IBM and Maxtor (along with Fujitsu, Western Digital, and Quantum) have followed up with second-generation 7200rpm units. But what of the pioneer? Where is Seagate's second-generation unit? Surprise. There is none. The 7200rpm Medalist Pro has been discontinued. Seagate's flagship ATA drive is now the 5400rpm Medalist ST317242A.

More TNT2 11:03 am - Kan
More TNT2 reviews. Over at Extreme Hardware, the babes took a look at the Leadtek Winfast 3D S320 II TNT2 card.

What’s new in the TNT2? First of all, the clock speeds have been increased considerably due to the reduced micron size to .25. Where the original TNT was clocked at 90mhz with a 110mhz memory clock, the TNT2 is clocked at 125/150mhz and higher (depending on the manufacturer, the Leadtek Winfast 3D S320 II is clocked at 140/150). The maximum amount of onboard memory has been increased from 16mb to 32mb. Additionally, the TNT2 supports AGP 4X mode and Digital LCD output. While these two features aren’t too useful for most users, in the next year or so, they will be more valuable. Additionally, these features will most likely appeal to OEMs, which means that we will probably be seeing more TNT2 systems from the larger manufacturers such as Dell, Micron, etc.

LiveWare 2.0 10:59 am - Kan
The moment you have been waiting for. Creative released LiveWare 2.0. SBLive! owners, get your files from here. Some of the new features include:

AudioHQ - enhanced

  • Creative Device Control
  • Surround Mixer
  • SoundFont Control
  • Environmental Audio Control
  • Auto EA presets
  • Keyboard
  • Creative Sound Graph
  • Speaker Configuration integrated into Surround Mixer

Funny 06:38 am - Kan
Something wrong seemed to have happened to the network recently. Looks like the link to UUNet was down and was only up few minutes ago. I think I'm late for shopping.

 

12 May 1999 - Wednesday
Misc'O Love 15:23 pm - Kan
Some new stuffs, including HyperSnap DX v3.40 Beta 3 (thanks to the dudes over at DemoNews) as well as Bowzer, one of the first Windows server browsers to support Q3Test.

ComputingPros also sent some info on how Tom (you mean you don't know which Tom??) obtained the benchmarks figures for his recent Q3Test article.

Linux 2.3.0 15:20 pm - Kan
I noticed Linux 2.3.0 was released to the mirror sites almost the same time as 2.2.8 hit the shores. AFAIK, the only new changes in 2.3.0 is only the version number. Linux geeks, check out Slashdot for more information.

Q3Test LAN Party 15:19 pm - Kan
The most talk about thing in town now. Cyberarena emailed us that they will be hosting their 1st Q3Test LAN party on this coming Saturday, 15 May from 10AM to 6PM. Give 'em a email for advance booking and tell 'em Kan sent you.

New Sidewinder 13:35 pm - Kan
Over at IGN, there's an short article on the debut of the new Microsoft Sidewinder Pro as well as Dual Strike controllers.

The Dual Strike is a game controller targeted at first-person shooter games, meant to combine the functionality of a mouse and keyboard with the ease of a game pad.

"Gamers who struggle with the complexity of the keyboard and mouse now have a game controller suited to their style of play," says Microsoft. "Dual Strike's rotating pod helps make gameplay easier in games such as Half-Life, Tomb Raider III, Mech Warrior 3 and Quake 2."

Mixing TNT Drivers 13:34 pm - Kan
If you are interested in running the new TNT2 drivers for your good old TNT card, check out Tweak3D guide on how to do it. Well, upgrade 'em at your own risk. :)

The D3D drivers included in the 1.73 leak are very unstable - but as far as I have been able to tell, the OpenGL driver isn't nearly as bad. If you would like to take advantage of the ARB optimized OpenGL driver from the 1.73 (or 1.76) leak without suffering the unstability of the D3D drivers, copy the nv4ogl.dll file from 1.73 (or 1.76) into the Leadtek/1.15 driver mix above (basicially you end up using the Nvidia shell, the Leadtek D3D drivers, and the 1.73 OpenGL ICD). Then apply the Quake 2 hack as instructed. This may be less of an issue with the 1.76 drivers, which are supposed to have better D3D support.

Q3Test For Win32 TimeDemo Scores 13:26 pm - Kan
Tom's Hardware posted some benchmarks on the Q3Test based on several TNT2 cards as well as different clock speed versions of the Voodoo3.

The Dynamite TNT2 from Hercules is supposed to ship at 175/200 MHz by default and mine could be overclocked to no less than 180/220, which can be done with the good old 'Hercumeter' within the Hercules drivers. Those drivers are actually based on NVIDIA's reference driver 0173. I still ran the benchmarks with the 0181-drivers though, which score almost identical. Anyway, the Hercules Dynamite TNT2 is so far the fastest 3D-card that made it into my lab. Let's hope that the actual shipping cards will also all do the 175/200 or even 180/220 MHz. I'll upload an image of the card and its impressive active heat sink later on tonight. The Dynamite TNT2 uses 32 MB of 5.5 ns SDRAM.

Onstream 30G Digital Drive 10:31 am - Kan
That's a Onstream 30G Digital Drive review over at Tech-Review. Wow. 30GB of removable storage, pretty good to mirror your whole hard disk onto them.

In order to store so much data on the tape, the drive uses ADR (Advanced Digital Recording) technology to record data. ADR is a variable speed digital tape storage technology. Initially developed by Philips Electronics, ADR is based on an 8-channel array head technology that allows the single solid-state design to read and write eight tracks of data simultaneously. This allows for faster transfer rates and contributes to increased data reliability.

Tiberian Sun Preview 10:20 am - Kan
The guys over at Speedy3D scored a preview on Tiberian Sun, the long awaited game from Westwood. Damn, I swore I grew a few years older waiting for this game to come out.

Tiberian Sun will be much more realistic with many new features. For example grenades or other devices that are thrown they will bounce on the ground depending on what kind of terrain it is. Also rivers will freeze as the game progresses and units themselves will gain experience each time they go into battle. The environment will also change too. Ion storms occur often which bring down huge bolts of lightning destroying units and disabling buildings. Meteor storms will bring down a shower of meteors that can be very destructive. In Tiberian Sun you can blow up just about everything in the game. When you hit trees forest fires start that can spread very rapidly. These fires can be used strategicly or can be harmful to you. While traveling over land your units must be aware because wildlife will sometimes attack them.

G400 Screenshots 10:10 am - Kan
SystemLogic sent note on a site choke full of G400 screenshots. If you wanna see how good the G400 is with thier bump mapping, check it out.

Prince of Persia 3D Preview 10:08 am - Kan
Over at FiringSquad, the guys did a review on Prince of Persia 3D. Used to be my favourite game back in 1990, the latest reincarnation looks great as well.

The story of Prince of Persia 3D starts out very similar to the older ones. In this newest game of the series, you've been married to the princess for a couple of weeks now, and you've been invited by the King to visit his palace for a banquet. While there, he sets a trap for you, and you're thrown in the dungeon while your newlywed bride is kidnapped. It turns out that the King and the Sultan (the villain in the original) had a secret pact that their children would marry - and no two-bit newcomer was going to spoil the plan. You start off the game by making your way out of the dungeon to find your lost love.

Leadtek WinFast 3D 02:42 am - Kan
Another TNT2 review over at CPUReview. Lots of benchmarks and screenshots thrown in to spice up the review.

The Leadtek WinFast S3200ii is an excellent piece of hardware - obviously great care was taken building this card; note the presence of a fan (even if it is a small one) on the TNT2 chip. The 2D and 3D images produced by this board are sharp and well defined.

Quake3 Test 02:39 am - Kan
Check out Singularity Quake3 Test screenshots. The boys managed to capture lots of 'em and the graphics are simply mind-blowing.

Soyo SY-6VZA Socket 370 02:37 am - Kan
Socket 370 motherboard review over at High Performance PC Guide. This one is powered by a VIA Apollo Pro chipset with an integrated Soundblaster PCI 64 soundcard.

The Soyo SY-6VZA is a socket 370 motherboard designed for the new Plastic Pin Grid Array (PPGA) processors. Based on the Via Apollo Pro chipset, this motherboard doesn't duffer from the restrictions imposed by the Intel 440ZX chipset. Including a built-in Soundblaster PCI 64 soundcard, the SY-6VZA has a lot of very interesting features to offer. The Soyo SY-6VZA takes advantage of the Soyo Combo Setup BIOS utility to allow most of the processor setting to be determined within the BIOS menu. Only a single jumper has to be set on the motherboard for the processor as all the other settings can be selected in the Soyo Combo Setup BIOS utility. Ease of use, good versatility, good expendability and interesting feature are the qualities making of this motherboard a very pleasant motherboard to use. Let's see more in details this new motherboard from Soyo in the following review.

Celeron 466 02:36 am - Kan
Noticed that SharkyExtreme has also a Celeron 466 Mhz processor review. This is currently the fastest Celeron out in the market and you can expect the 500 Mhz version to be out later this year.

All Celerons still utilize a 66MHz front side bus speed and the new 466 is no different. This is one of the ways that Intel keeps the Celeron line separate (inferior really) from the speedy perception of their high-end 100MHz FSB CPU models. In reality, since so little software has been designed to press system DRAM through massive texture swaps being performed via AGP, the jump from 66 to 100MHz hasn't shown a tangible benefit to end users since its introduction in April of 98. Sooner or later we'll see entertainment titles that virtually require an AGP 4X spec PC, along with support for the optimized floating point instructions of Intel's P3-only (at the moment) SSE instruction set.

 

11 May 1999 - Tuesday
Liveware 2.0 Information 15:30 pm - Wilfred
Creative has a new Liveware 2.0 Information page which I think all Live! owners should check out at once! In brief:

Live!Ware 2.0 includes an enhanced 3D Audio Engine, which allows you to distinctly experience discrete 3D audio sources. With support for 3D audio elevation, you get better discrete positioning and immersiveness in games. Now you can pinpoint the sounds like never before. You can feel a fighter jet taking off, ascending into the sky and diving down below the clouds. To maximize your 3D audio gaming experience, get one of the Cambridge Soundworks FourPointSurround speaker systems.

With 32 Accelerated 3D Audio Channels, Live!Ware 2.0 enables the rendition of every sound detail in a game. You will also be able to experience the Occlusion and Obstruction Effects offered with EAX 2.0 support, enabling you to distinguish a sound distinctly coming from behind an obstacle or even the next room. Together, these features deliver you the best gaming experience on Environmental Audio games.

Live!Ware 2.0 has also included 80 Environmental Presets to ensure that you continue to enjoy your legacy games with Environmental Audio. You can also easily customize your own Portable Environments and share them with friends.

Final Fantasy 8 For PC 15:19 pm - Wilfred
Just saw this at Voodoo Extreme that Squaresoft plans to ship the PC version of FF8 in winter 1999! Ohmigawd! Can I wait that long?!

COSTA MESA, CA, May 10, 1999 - Square Electronic Arts L.L.C. (Square Electronic Arts), the exclusive publisher of all Square Soft® products in North America, today announced that FINAL FANTASY® VIII is currently in development for the PC. The title, which will be published by Square Electronic Arts in North America, is scheduled to ship in Winter 1999. FINAL FANTASY VIII for the PC will be showcased this week during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. FINAL FANTASY VIII for the PlayStation® game console, slated to ship in fall 1999, will also be unveiled at the show.

Quake3 Arena Test 12:57 pm - Kan
Ben from 3Dfiles sent note that the fully playable test of Quake III: Arena will be available for download from 1AM EST (1400 hrs SG). You can grab the files from here.

Motherboard Buying Guide 12:29 pm - Kan
Just received from ArsTechnica on their new Motherboard Buying Guide. Want to choose a motherboard, but don't know what to lookout for? Check their article to find out more!

The motherboard, also called the "mainboard," is the central part of your computer. Every component of your computer is somehow connected to the motherboard. Peripherals (e.g. video cards, sound cards, modems) plug directly into it. The type of motherboard also determines what CPUs will and will not work with the motherboard--the CPU connector and the motherboard logic chipset being the biggest determinants. The motherboard determines how much, and what type, of RAM you can use. Hard drives, CD-ROM drives, and floppy drives all plug into the motherboard via cables.

Aureal Vortex2 SuperQuad Digital PCI Card 12:20 pm - Kan
Aureal Vortex2 SuperQuad Digital PCI soundcard review over at 3DHardware.net. It supports quad speakers as well as digital S/PDIF output.

Remember I mentioned the Vortex2 wasn’t a general purpose DSP? Well, theoretically that fact wouldn’t be anything negative if the feature set covered "all you needed". And Aureal have done everything possible to ensure it really is. Some things that come with all the news are a bit annoying though. The card doesn’t function with very old PCI compliant motherboards due to it’s requirement of 3.3V running through all PCI ports. This is part of the PC98 specification, but still is a bit of an annoying requirement. Users that don’t have a PC98 compliant motherboard might experience glitches in the audio or complete malfunction of the board. As I’ve tried the board with some of the oldest 440LX motherboards around I’d say you’re out of danger if you’re using a Pentium II powered machine.

G400 Review 12:16 pm - Kan
Over at Fastgraphics, they did a review on the upcoming Matrox G400. The G400 is priced aggressively at US$149. Enough for you to consider the G400 instead of the TNT2 and Voodoo3 3000.

On of the really cool new features of the G400 cards is the so called "dual head" functionality. Both the Millennium G400 and the Millennium G400 MAX have two outputs, either two RGB outputs or a RGB output and a VESA flat panel output. The cards with two RGB outputs ship with a conversion cable which allows you to connect a TV (PAL or NTSC) to the second RGB output with either a S-VIDEO or a CINCH connector. This all doesn't sound like anything new since the option for TV output is available on almost all cards today, and Windows 98 also allows for multiple graphiccards to enhance the display area.

Take Two - Dual Celeron in Action 12:11 pm - Kan
Catch Take Two - Dual Celeron in Action! over at Toms Hardware. Dual processors is slowly catching on for the end-users now and it won't be long before we see games making use of the 2nd processor.

The 2nd best choice for overclocking are the Celeron models running at 366, 400 or 433 MHz. By rising the bus speed to 75 or 83 MHz you usually don't risk any components and still get higher CPU performance. So the Celeron 366 will run at 412 MHz, the 400 MHz type runs at 450 MHz and the Celeron 433 should reach 487 MHz. I intentionally wrote ,should because this is already a clock speed which the CPU possibly may not tolerate.

Teac 6x24 CD-R 11:59 am - Kan
Teac 6x24 CD-R review over at AGN Hardware. This one is on the SCSI platform, supports 6X burning and comes with a 2MB buffer.

Physically, the TEAC drive is a bit simpler that the Plextor Drives.  The drive features the standard headphone jack and volume knob which we have come to expect on all CD drives.  The drive carries a single light, which flashes during a burn and glows a solid green during a CD read.   In contrast, the Plextor units have multiple drive lights to denote status as well as burn speed.  The TEAC drive also only carries a single eject button and skips by the play / fast forward button that has become commonplace on most new CD-R drives. 

ASUS V-3800 11:56 am - Kan
3DSpotlight told us that ASUS sent them some new configurations for their TNT2 based card, the V-3800. And yes, ASUS will be selling the Ultra version of the TNT2. You can check out all the juice from here.

Pentium III 450 11:55 pm - Kan
Over at The Tech Zone, the guys did a review on the Pentium III 450 Mhz processor. Till now, there are only a few applications making use of the new SSE instructions. Probably need to wait till end of the year before new apps/games make use of it.

The main difference between the Pentium III and PIIs/Celerons is the new SSE instruction set. This is a set of 70 new instructions to enhance your 3D gaming and net surfing experience. So far there are no games and very few applications that takes advantage of SSE. Quake 3 will be among the first game to use the instructions. id software, makers of Quake 3, claims that when SSE is used, it can provide up to 25% performance increase in the game.

Creative Launchs TNT2 11:54 am - Kan
You can catch the Creative press release on the TNT2 over at SystemLogic. It comes with 32MB of RAM and TV-out and is priced at US$229.

Manufactured with the hardcore gamer and technology enthusiast in mind, the 3D Blaster RIVA TNT2 Ultra offers high-performance acceleration for ultra-fast gameplay. The advanced design of this card, including custom-designed heat-dissipating PCB and active cooling, provides a comprehensive platform for gaming with one of the most complete 3D rendering engines found on any PC-based accelerator. Critical features such as full 32-bit color rendering, multiple textures and textures as large as 2048x2048, bump-mapping, full-screen anti-aliasing, and stencil buffering deliver unmatched gaming performance and compelling 3D images.

Q3Test Review  11:51 am - Kan
FiringSquad sent note on their new Q3Test review. Sorry, not my type of game. :)

As our regular readers may know, most of the FiringSquad crew has Quake on the brains. I've had a blast with both Quake and Quake II, and despite what he says, Kenn was a pretty damned good player in his day as well. Calbear lives in a house with men, and Tim has been addicted to the railgun since his first kill. That being said, it's no great surprise that we were all eagerly awaiting the release of Q3test, the Quake III online test.

Voodoo3 3500  11:49 am - Kan
HotHardware had some news on the new Voodoo3 3500 TV graphics card. Cool man! Nowadays we want rich functionality!

SAN JOSE, Calif., - May 10, 1999 - 3dfx Interactive® Inc. (NASDAQ: TDFX) today debuted the ultimate system for PC-based entertainment: the Voodoo3 3500 TV. Based on the acclaimed Voodoo3 graphics accelerator technology, the Voodoo3 3500 TV combines the industry's most powerful 3D and 2D graphics with complete TV tuner and multimedia functionality in a single AGP or PCI board. Featuring support for MPEG 2, DVD, FM stereo with dbx, and high-resolution displays, the new board includes the most feature-filled entertainment card for hard-core game enthusiasts and cutting-edge multimedia entertainment consumers.

Voodoo Review 11:48 am - Kan
New issue of the Voodoo Review over at VoodooMag. Contains stuffs like Voodoo3 3500 TV, Voodoo Crystal ball and other odds and ends.

First of all, those of you who were holding off getting a Voodoo3 until the 3500 are going to have to wait a little longer, but your patience will be rewarded. 3dfx has slightly redesigned the 3500, adding a couple more features and they are keeping the cost at $250 US. It's now called the Voodoo3 3500 "TV". On this card you are going to get full TV multimedia and FM stereo support. Interestingly, the card will be available in both PCI and AGP. This seems to be 3dfx's response to the ATI "All in Wonder" cards. Unfortunately the DVD support is still via software like the rest of the Voodoo3 line. ( I just ordered a DVD-ROM for the Official Voodoo Review rig so I hope to be able to report on the Voodoo3's DVD quality in an upcoming newsletter.)

CPU Dependency 11:47 am - Kan
Over at Beyond3D, the dudes posted an article discussing CPU dependency on several graphics cards under Quake2 massive and crusher benchmark on a P3.

The TNT2 (I think this is a 150Mhz clocked one) still appears to have some headroom, but it could just be that, because there is no sample point at around 1.25, we are getting misleading results. Still, it looks quite promising. 

I would guess that the Neon will bottle out at about around (sub) 60, assuming that the quake polys are all dual textured (and the clock rate is 125Mhz). (I could have done with some higher res benchmark figures here, but the curve does seem relatively well behaved). I would hazard a guess that their may just be some opaque overdraw going on in these games. 

Celeron 466 Review 11:21 am - Wilfred
Our Russian friends at iXBT Hardware have a review on Intel's Celeron 466Mhz. The fastest budget chip in the line up.

The main conclusion, which runs through the entire review, is that all we should do it's to have patience and wait. Wait until Intel Celeron 500MHz with the official 100MHz FSB comes out. This CPU is supposed to provide perfect performance and be highly overclockable at the same time. However, its price is expected to be significantly lower than that of the eldest Pentium III models, which will be available in the market at that time. And at present the best choice is a Celeron 300A overclocked to 450MHz. Unfortunately, the manufacturing of this processor version has been already stopped, that's why you may simply fail to find it on sale. In this case Intel Celeron 466 will make up for it practically in all applications. It will offer you a good performance for a reasonable price. So, will you agree to such a replacement?

Matrox G400 And G400 Max Press Release 11:13 am - Wilfred
ComputingPros sent word of the press release information on Matrox's G400 and G400 Max cards. Check it out here!

Matrox Graphics Inc. today announced the first 2D, 3D, video, TV-Out and dual display graphics boards based on the Matrox G400 Chip Series: the high speed Matrox Millennium G400 for the most demanding business and home users; and the industry's benchmark leader, the Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, for power gamers and professionals requiring maximum resolutions for high-end displays.

"The Millennium G400 and Millennium G400 MAX offer the highest levels of speed in the industry combined with a dramatically different feature set," said Dan Wood, Senior Product Manager, Matrox Graphics Inc. "Add a second display to your PC with Matrox's unique DualHead Display. Enhance the visual realism of 3D gaming with built-in hardware support for DirectX 6 Environment Mapped Bump Mapping. Enjoy the richest, most photorealistic colors with Matrox's Vibrant Color Quality2 rendering-all on a single Matrox Millennium card."

10 May 1999 - Monday

Slot-1 BX Motherboard Roundup 19:20 pm - Kan
Anand posted a May 1999 Slot-1 BX motherboard roundup.

A large majority of today’s slot-1 BX motherboards are available in standard ATX flavors, however a few manufacturers have explored both the microATX and full ATX sizes as an attempt at getting the edge over the competition. A currently weak area in the motherboard industry is in the supply of AT form factor BX motherboards, with a very small percentage of manufacturers bothering to dedicate their time to producing newer AT boards.

The only reason you should pursue an AT BX board is if you have a great deal of money invested in a large AT case (or if you have a particular need for a larger AT case). Otherwise an investment in an AT BX board would be another way of quickly bringing about a curse of obsolescence.

More Y2K Problems in Win98 19:17 pm - Kan
Looks like Windows 98 is still not fully Y2K ready. From an article in Planet IT, Microsoft found 3 new bugs and promised to have a fix in a couple of weeks time.

The three newly discovered issues are documented at the Microsoft Year 2000 Resource Center, and the fix will be posted on the Windows Update website. The issues are:

The OLE Automation Library routines for interpreting two-digit years cuts off years at 2029, so two-digit years with "30" will be interpreted as 1930 instead of 2030, regardless of the date settings

Two-digit dates don't work for DOS XCopy on systems using the international date format of "yy-mm-dd" instead of "dd-mm-yy," as is used in the United States. When a system is configured to use the yy-mm-dd format, XCopy will not accept 00 for the year 2000.

International versions of Windows 98 that use a non-Gregorian calendar will give an error in certain Visual Basic applications that use dates. This does not affect English versions of Windows 98.

Creative Labs FPS2000 Digital 19:15 pm - Kan
Review of these pair of mighty speakers over at GA-Source. You know, if they have a white version, tell me!

After plugging in the digital DIN cable to the Live! soundcard, I powered up the system. I got no sound from the speakers at all. After unsuccessfully looking for a power light on the subwoofer, I started leafing through the manual that came with the speakers (something I really should be more in the habit of doing first). At that point I realized that the volume control had both the power light and the power switch built in.

Starlancer 19:13 pm - Kan
New game review over at Avault. Sarlancer is a game similar to Wing Commander. E'nuff said, I will get this game.

Despite this rich legacy, the developers of Starlancer view the game as quite different from its predecessors. Peterson claims, "We think Starlancer is a unique experience in that we have complex interactive environments and living space; the player will actually feel like there is a large universe going about its business as he or she plays the game." This notion of an interactive "living space" is an intriguing one; instead of the usual space combat game backdrop with empty space behind fighting spaceships, the Starlancer universe will be more alive with neutral craft seen in the background going about their business doing mining or construction activities. Moreover, players actually can affect the environment. For instance, if you fail to destroy a ship, you may see it come back in later missions, and the better you do, the faster you rise through the ranks and become eligible to make more important decisions as flight leader, and the more quickly you gain access to bigger and better ships and weapons.

Leadtek TNT2 at HardOCP 18:19 pm - Wilfred
The title said it all! You'll find Kyle's review on it smacked on the first page. Here's a snippet for you.

I think that Leadtek has lead the pack with one hell of a card.  This card is something you can purchase right now that will let you expand into the next generation of games most likely. By that I mean that the card is capable of expanding with your system over the coming year. Larger textures will be showing up in games soon and this card should be able to handle most of them.  4X AGP Sidebanding is also capable with this card. Right now we are locked into 2X until the Camino chipset gets here.  32bit color display is also possible on this card.   

Socket370 Mainboard Comparison 18:17 pm - Wilfred
iXBT Hardware has a biggy Socket370 mobo comparison of 22 boards. You'll find this useful reading if you are looking for one!

Only half a year has passed since Intel's announcement of a new CPU socket - Socket370. However, one thing is beyond doubt: this novelty has deserved its living. But it managed to win public acknowledgement due to one very simple fact rather than to its peculiar features. The thing is that low-cost Celeron processors are now produced only for Socket370, and as for Slot-1 CPUs they have already had their day and all the pieces, which are still available somewhere are the remains of former splendours.

PCChips M750i Mobo 18:13 pm - Wilfred
CPUReviews has a writeup on this queer mobo from PCChips, it supports dual processors, comes with an onboard i740 8Mb graphics and 3D sound.

The M750i is based on the popular Intel BX chipset, and adds an Intel i740 2D/3D video controller with 8Mb of SDRAM as well as a 3D PCI Soundpro audio controller. Normally I prefer to have the video separate on an AGP card, but let's face it: Windows 95/98 can't make any use of the second CPU, and as a Linux / NT server/workstation I don't need blazing 3D.

Windows 2000 Beta 3 05:35 am - Kan
How I wish Windows 2000 will come out right now. Windows crashed again 10 minutes ago (as usual) on me. Anyway, Winmag whipped up a 9 pages preview on Beta 3.

The most compelling reasons to make the switch to Windows 2000 are architectural, and many pertain to services provided by Active Directory or the three server flavors of the OS. There are mobile and roaming enhancements, reliability improvements, Windows Installer services, and new trouble-prevention and management tools. You'll also find an update to the NTFS file system that introduces encryption, plug-and-play device detection and configuration, and new support for a wide variety of device types, including USB, ZIP drives, infrared, and digital cameras.

Fingerprint Identification System 05:32 am - Kan
Hey, read it from my favourite site DimensionX on the Compaq Fingerprint Identification System reviewed by the dudes over at KAC Hardware. This looks like a rather cool gadget to play with. Retina scan, anyone?

Each person has his own unique fingerprint and each fingerprint has its own unique characteristics such as special curves and distances between the lines. These characteristics are called minutiae and is the technology behind Compaq Fingerprint Identification.

First time Compaq Fingerprint Identification is installed you will have to scan your fingerprint into the system's SAM database. However the system does not store your entire fingerprint, thus it will take hours comparing one fingerprint against thousands in a database, but only the minutiae points. The next time you are accessing the system you fingerprint will once again be scanned, the minutiae found and compared to the database.

Super Slot Fan 05:30 am - Kan
Here we have a slot fan review done by the kids over at Voodoo3.net. This type of things sure get dusty fast, but then, it's rather good.

Now, after I connected it and put the cover back on my case I was a little concerned that the noise level will be much louder.   To shock me even more, I turned on my computer and did not hear a thing.  I already have a fan with the power supply and I could not hear the Super Slot Fan at all.   This was almost to good too be true. So, I stuck my hand behind the computer to see if the fan was even working. It was all right, and it was working great.  It was pumping out all of the air in my system, and at an incredible rate.  It got rid of all the hot air at a rate of 32 cubic feet per minute.  This was perfect, it got rid of all that heat and was virtually silent.   The noise level was at 26 decibels and to compare, a whisper is at 20 decibels.

BX6 2.2 Update 05:28 am - Kan
AGN Hardware posted a update to their original Abit BX6 2.0 review. The BX6 2.2 is suppose to address certain stability issues the original BX6 2.0 had. You can read the update from here.

Among the complaints were random tales of system incompatibilities with SoundBlaster Live! sound cards and certain DVD-ROM drives.   There were countless accounts of thermistors not working properly or at all.   Some users complained of random system re-boots and a host of other strange anomalies.  While we can not be for sure that all of these problems had a BX6 2.0 at the root, it did seem to stand out as a common factor.

When you put as much faith in a product line as consumers have given Abit's B-6 models of main boards, you want answers when the products fail to meet the needs of the users.  Abit's original BX6 and the LX6 before it were fantastic performers, so what had gone wrong with the BX6 2.0?  Even before we had a chance to ask Abit, they had an answer.

Voodoo3 2000 05:25 am - Kan
Here, we have another Voodoo3 2000 review, but this is special. It's done by one of our local SIGs site. :) Read what Singularity has to comment on this card.

Thirdly, though the Voodoo 3 is an AGP card it doesn't have AGP texturing support. In other words, you can call it a PCI card mounted on a PCI to AGP converter. The only real benefits which the Voodoo3 will enjoy when shifting to a AGP slot will be the faster AGP BUS. While this does increase the Voodoo3's overall performance it does no justice to the AGP slot (note that a PCI BUS is only around 33MHz and a AGP BUS is 66MHz. This means that a Voodoo3 on AGP would have transfer speed of 2x the PCI slot).  One of the core benefits of the AGP BUS is to enable the 3D card to use the extra memory of the system to store textures. Using the system memory beats reading the texture off the Harddisk (reading from Memory is faster then reading from a Harddisk).

Voodoo3 - Image Quality 05:22 am - Kan
That's a no-holds barred article on the image quality of the Voodoo3. How bad is it really? Check out Beyond 3D Voodoo3 Image Quality article.

The logical conclusion is this: the acceptability of image quality is a standard you have to decide for yourself. I cannot tell you what is good and what is bad, it all depends on your personal taste and how biased you are. Maybe you like to believe that your are unbiased, but AFAIK everybody is always a little bit biased no matter how hard they try not to be, and this has an influence on whether others will like it or not. I mean, let's face it. If you spend $X on a product and a friend visits you and says that card sucks, how do you feel? How do you respond? If you're like me you'll kick him in the crotch and tell him to get out of your house. It's natural for people to feel defensive about their choices, even up to such levels that it becomes ridiculous. This is why sentences like "crushes the competition", "kicks ass", and "wipes the floor with" are so funny.

P2B-LS 05:20 am - Kan
SystemLogic did a review on the ASUS P2B-LS BX motherboard with onboard U2W SCSI. Though a old board by now, but it's still pretty good.

The most prominent feature included with this board is the onboard Adaptec ® AIC 7890 & 3860 Ultra2 Wide SCSI controller. This controller alone would cost you over $400, which makes the $350 price tag on this board very acceptable. All the SCSI cables are included too. Another useful feature which makes the that price tag look cheap is the onboard Intel 82558 100/10Mbps LAN. This alone would be about $75. Having SCSI and LAN onboard is really convenient, since you would normally have to buy expansion cards which would take up your expansion slots. This board offers 1 AGP, 4 PCI and 2 ISA. Which is pretty impressive considering all the features packed on this board. This is also why the P2B-LS is larger than most ATX motherboards.

Logitech Cordless Desktop 05:18 am - Kan
FPS3D sent note on their latest Logitech Cordless Desktop. Anyway, those guys also have a hacked version of the Quake2 ref_gl.dll file which enables ARB multitexturing using the 1.73 TNT drivers on a TNT. Check it out.

Logitech's Cordless Desktop is a truly inspiring mouse and keyboard duo. Retailing for around $100 (you can find it cheaper using the link at the bottom), the mouse and keyboard have that sweet look to them that goes just beyond a standard mouse+keyboard combo. The mouse feels great, not overly ergonomic, and not square-like. Probably the first great ambidextrous mouse on the market. "The Feel-Good Mouse of the Year" if you will.

9 May 1999 - Sunday

Desktop Theater 2500 Digital 15:11 pm - Wilfred
Whoppee!!! It's FINALLY coming! Creative has posted the product datasheet for this upcoming speaker system. Having won rave reviews for its FPS2000 Digital speakers, they have finally decided to take it a step further.

I just find it hard to contain my excitement. You will be able to connect it to the DIN connector on your SBLive! and it will perform as a Dolby Digital Receiver for your favourite DVD movie! Damn cool!

Act Labs Force RS 14:49 pm - Wilfred
Hardware Pros posted a review on Act Labs Force RS. Torn between which FF wheel to get? Take a look at this first!

Act Labs has put together a great Force Feedback wheel/pedal system. With top notch, incredibly strong force feedback effects, a comfortable wheel and pedal system, this system is hard to beat. And to add to that, this system can be easily adapted to console systems like the Nintendo 64 or the Sony Playstation by simply buying a small cartridge. It doesn't end there, Act Labs has also developed a 6-gear gear shifter add on for the Force RS which looks exactly like a real gear shifter.  All this at the lowest price for any Force Feedback Wheel on the market, it makes me wonder how Act Labs did it!

Expendable Review 14:44 pm - Wilfred
The chaps at Voodoo Prophecy have completed a review on Rage Software's Expendable. What instantly came to mind was that this is a game full of eye candy... check the snip:

Expendable supports many of today's latest 3d technology. From bump mapping to stencil buffering, you name it, Expendable has it. You can tweak almost every aspect of the game, from the angle of your speakers to resolution as high as 1600x1200 @ 32bit color. The graphic is so beautiful that you have to stop shooting and enjoy all of the explosion. Explosion makes up for most of the awesome scene in the game. Even the destruction of a small little box causes a huge explosion.  The game is really beautiful at 1024x768 resolution in 32bit color. You can really see the difference between 16 and 32bit color within the game. Everything in the game is fully polygonal, and there is no flat bitmap to be found in the game. Even the plants are fully polygonal and they actually move when you bump into them. The game makes heavy use of the multi-texturing feature found on many video cards. If your card doesn't support multi-texturing, then you'll have a blast watching the framerate drops like flies. Expendable really stretches the limit of your video card. 

Poll #12 Results 14:41 pm - Wilfred
Yep. Last week's poll results are here! Out of 2411 voters, 606 of them are mad like ME! The majority have between 2-4 fans in their systems. Most of you are overclockers huh? =)

Q3Test On Mac G3 14:38 pm - Wilfred
FiringSquad sent note of a gigantic Quake3Test review they'd done on a Macintosh G3. Fans, you have no reason to miss this!

The actual surface of a curve is determined beforehand and rendered into the level. The most likely ways to do this are by using invisible clip brushes or hard-rendering clipping around a specific tessellation level. The former would take much more time in terms of manual labor, but placing clip-brushes in is a necessity of complex level design.

The visual curves can be adjusted to whatever detail level the player requires, and are independent of what your player model can actually hit. This works well for the most part, but sometimes results in odd game behavior, as players clip through small bits of the curve before hitting the solid clip brush, or hit the clip before they come in contact with the visible surface.

Casing Review 11:48 am - Kan
WickedPC sent note on their new CS-802PX casing review. Gosh, yesterday I saw the SuperMicro and it's definitely as heavy as the price tag. :)

The features are incredible. Having the expansion for 5 internal hard drives or other such items is really a big plug, including the filter on the fan covers allowing only the clean air inside the front of the case. Do note that there is only one filter in the front, and no filter on the power supply or middle fan mounts. The 3.5" floppy bay as you see in the picture appears that there is only one bay, however a replacement plastic cover for this reveals both bays that comes with the CS-802PX at no additional charge.

Cyrix Impact 11:24 am - Kan
Dudes over at Fullon3D wrote on what will happen to the market when Cyrix pull out. Pretty interesting.

This week marked a significant pullout of a major x86 vendor from the PC market. Rumors had spread over the last few weeks about the possible acquisition of Cyrix by IBM. The rumor started when employees at Cyrix noticed IBM officials touring their Portland, Maine fab. While Cyrix officials denied such rumors, they could not deny the fact that they were losing ground in the crowded x86 field.

Their losses in the x86 market were not caused by the small upstarts IDT and Rise but rather the exit of IBM (due to the broken contract between IBM and Cyrix where Cyrix decided not to let IBM fab any of its CPUs) which in turn led to the rise of AMD, managing to capture all of IBM's share leading to the first real chink in Intel's untouched armour.

Leadtek 3D TNT2 11:23 am - Kan
Here we have another TNT2 card reviewed by our bud over at BxBoards.

I must confess to being a little underwhelmed by the TNT-2. Having just reviewed the Voodoo 3 2000 a few days ago, the TNT-2 seems a little underpowered. The Quake2 scores in particular are low, and frankly even the Voodoo 2 is a better performer in Quake2. Direct 3d is better as you'd expect, and performance is good although again not as high as I would have expected. It is faster than the Voodoo3 in Direct3d though, and as D3D is the way of the world right now, this is probably more important to most people. Speed is not everything however, and frankly what you get is fast enough for most people. Who really plays games at 100FPS after all???

Paradise Wavecom 56K Modem 11:20 am - Kan
Dan's Data reviewed the Paradise Wavecom 56K modem. Gee, looks pretty much like a discman to me.

As is becoming traditional, the modems come with only slim installation guide on actual paper, with the main manual in Adobe Acrobat format on the software CD (which also contains the Acrobat reader software). The Pro modem's manual is the first CD manual I've seen that comes with printers' cropping and registration marks; they've obviously directly exported a paper-manual file to Acrobat, without removing the peripheral stuff. The plain modem's manual looks normal. Both explain what you need to know clearly enough, in only occasionally funny almost-English.

E3 Survival Guide 11:15 am - Kan
Over at Gamecenter, they have a E3 survival guide for you guys out there going this year. Hey, what should you wear?

The sun always shines in L.A., but it's a dry, desert heat; thankfully, this year's show won't be another humidity-fest-cum-sweat-a-thon like last year's E3 in Atlanta. With that in mind, don't forget to pack light. Bring your shorts, sunglasses (hey, it's L.A.), and a hip outfit for all the nighttime parties. Consider bringing a bathing suit--that is, if you can find time to make some poolside calls on your cell phone. (You can even pose as an important Hollywood director, unless, of course, you're Chris Roberts, in which case the posing isn't necessary.) Although it will be warmer outdoors, expect the temperature inside the Los Angeles Convention Center to rise when everyone starts jockeying to get a glimpse of the best booth babes.

Meanwhile, there is a E3 Lineup as well covering on new games available during the exhibition.

Intel 8 Port 10/100 11:10 am - Kan
Intel 8 Port 10/100 hub review by UpgradeCenter. Recently, prices of 4/8 port 10/100 hubs have been falling rapidly. Probably a good idea to get one of those in the future.

As I said, this is an 8 port 10/100 Base T hub with an up link port included. What that means is this, no matter what your network speed may be this hub will auto negociate the speed and auto configure itself to your network. Pretty nifty! This takes away your compatibility issues so no matter what kind of network cards you and your friends have you can be sure this hub can get the job done without any input from you other than plugging it in and turning it on. You'll notice when a card is plugged in the light on the corresponding port varies to the speed of the card. You'll see an orange for 100 Base T and a green for 10 Base T. However, keep in mind in most cases your network and your hub is only as fast as your slowest network connection.

Logitech QuickCam Pro 11:06 am - Kan
AGN Hardware reviewed the Logitech QuickCam Pro. Rather cute looking, this thing comes with a USB interface and a 10 feet long cable to allow you to hook the camera virtually everywhere.

The image quality for the video capture is quite good as well, allowing you to capture an ok 15fps of video. This makes it perfect for your own video emails and for messages to other family members left lying on the desktop. This same video movement is what you use for NetMeeting, VDOPhone or whatever other video conferencing software you use. Everyone that I talked to said the video quality was great on their end, thanks to the speedy USB connection and excellent video hardware. This made the QuickCam Pro USB a much better option than the other Parallel Port cameras on the market.

Pre-E3 Drakan Interview 10:49 am - Kan
Firingsquad posted a Pre-E3 Drakan interview with the development team at Surreal.

Our engine and tools are completely custom. We've written the Riot Engine (the engine Drakan is running) over 4 years to be incredibly flexible and object-oriented. Object-oriented technology allows us to build effects and other AI in the game by creating generic, independent modules (entities) that can be connected together to create more complex behaviors. This means the designers are able to come up with new AI and special effects that the programmers never intended! The graphics renderer portion is built to handle both compact indoor environments and huge, expansive outdoor environments, all seamlessly in the same engine.

Unreal Mission Pack Preview 10:47 am - Kan
Speedy3D sent note on their new unreal mission pack preview: Return to Na Pali. Sounds interesting!

Return to Na Pali takes place right where the original unreal left off. The escape pod you left the planet in has been caught in a tracker beam by the UMS Bodega, a "good guy" military ship with a mission. Another more important ship (the prometheus) has crash landed on the planets surface. That ship was carrying secret weapon plans which are going to be salvaged by the UMS Bodega. Your mission is to recover the plans. In return you get a full pardon from whatever crimes you have committed in the past.

Second Hand Smoke 10:45 am - Kan
Something new over at Tom's Hardware on this article: Second Hand Smoke Heads or Tails: Diamond and Creative.

It used to be, and still is the case I guess, a board vendor would market a chip technology at retail and prove its viability, even if it was only in getting it a PC Magazine benchmark award, then the PC OEM would be more inclined to include said graphics technology in its PCs. ATI and Matrox proved how wonderful the process could be if the PC OEM was talking to chip and board company in the same breath. The high-end graphics workstation vendors said, "This is the future of 3D". Then, 3dfx and said, "This is the future of graphics". Not many board vendors left to disagree with them.

A Quick Look At Red Hat 6.0 01:01 am - Wilfred
Linux Weekly posted a short review on Red Hat 6.0 which is not without it's own problems with a 'dot-zero' release.

With 6.0, you automatically get a kernel which is optimized for the processor, which is nice. There is also an option to install an SMP-enabled kernel. When we tried that, however, on an SMP system, that kernel ran into confusion when it found kernel modules built for the uniprocessor system and would not boot properly. 6.0 has a modern version of the PCMCIA system, and power management works out of the box, both of which are nice.

The Practical Manager's Guide To Linux 00:51 am - Wilfred
If you are a manager of an IS department in your company and curiously cautious if Linux can do anything for you, then this must be a pretty good read for you! The synopsis:

This document on Linux is unique in that it speaks the language of business, from the viewpoint of a corporate user. It addresses the issues managers want to talk about, -- cost savings, ease of use, support, uptime, productivity, vendor independence, staffing and training, -- backed up by detailed references. You may or may not decide to use Linux after reading it, but you will certainly come away with a better understanding of the options that Linux now gives you.

Industry Standard For Benchmarking 00:48 am - Wilfred
Gamasutra posted an article so titled. If you are into benchmarking or happen to read benchmarks ALL the time, it helps if to know what is going on.

Slipstream Enhancement products include two elements Our adavnced software component features MS directX6.1 for the latest games on the market, ZD Winbech to measure the performance increasees of your video subsystem, and our own software that allows the user to seamlessly tune the video subsystem to optimal performance. No longer must one go into system regestry and balance the settings with memeory and core chip speed. Gone is the risk of mistakes in fine tuning the registers. Our software will allow the user to find the optimal settings for each graphics chip.

Slipstream Enhancements include the SOTA Thermal Coupler Cooling system. This easy to use cooling system has all the tools needed to attach the State Of The Art fan and heatsink to allow the graphics chip to run at higher speed. Its easy to follow instruction sheet coupled makes it a snap for even a beginer to prepare their graphics subsystem for unparralled performance.

 

8 May 1999 - Saturday
Powerleap PL-PII 20:24 pm - Kan
Over at BxBoards, Andy reviewed the Powerleap PL-PII Socket370 to Slot1 converter. This slotket is also capable of enabling dual celerons operation as well as having a full jumper settings to enable voltage tweaking.

A set of 5 jumpers controlls core voltage selection. This basically overrides the VID voltage lines on your motherboard. To recap, the VID lines on a Slot1 CPU report to the mainboard voltage regulator the desired voltage. By default 0.25 micron (Deschutes or Mendocino) request 2.0v, while Klamath (0.35 micron) requests 2.8v. Overclockers use voltage tweaking to increase voltage by a couple of steps, therefore increasing, in most cases, overclocked stability. Many motherboards now offer this feature in some form. An extra jumper allows the mainboard to run at 66Mhz default, or to use the onboard bus speeds of the mainboard.

Remarking 20:20 pm - Kan
SystemLogic had written up an article on processors remarking.  

To start with, if you bought your computer from a first-tier company (Compaq, Dell etc..) then you shouldn't have anything to worry about, its the less well known companies that might have bought products from the gray market that you should be wary of. The suppliers of such companies generally buy their chips from PC makers who bought too many chips from Intel, AMD or some other processor manufacturer, and then resell them at razor-thin profit margins.

Voodoo3 3000 20:18 pm - Kan
Here, we have another Voodoo3 3000 review done by the whiz kids over at ComputingPros. They also compare the V3 3000 against the TNT2 as well as chances of overclocking the card.

The end of 1998 was quite a ride for the video card industry. As consumers we saw the merger between 3dfx and STB and it's profound effect on the industry. Some peopled disliked it others claimed it was better for 3dfx. In the end we also saw nVidia climb to the spotlight while Voodoo2's popularity declined. So starting off 1999 3dfx decided to show the world what they can do when they have the manufacturing capabilities to produce their very own cards. This leads us to where we are today. 3dfx released the Voodoo3 cards at the end of last month.

Leadtek WinFast 10:35 am - Kan
We are getting another TNT2 review over at Avault. While you are there, check out their new article on Software Security as well.

That time would be now, with the NVIDIA TNT2 boards ready to explode onto the market. Leadtek is the first vendor to make a TNT2-based board available, with its WinFast 3D S320 II. Leadtek is no stranger to the NVIDIA TNT family, as they had a TNT-based offering with the WinFast 3D S320. The new board is available in four configurations: equipped with 16 MB SDRAM with (S320 II-16Pro) or without (S320 II-16) Digital Flat Panel (DFP) output support, or instead with 32 MB SGRAM, again with (S320 II-32Pro) or without (S320 II-32) the DFP connector option. All of the boards utilize the AGP interface, at 1X/2X and 4X speeds (soon to be available with Intel's next chipset).

ACT Labs PoweRamp Arcade Stick 10:32 am - Kan
ACT Labs controller review over at 3DHardware.net. This thing looks like it's built to withstand all the  kicks and punches you can throw at it.

The box is properly spaced out with rendered stealth fighters and cyber-robots on it. I don’t know if ACT Labs missed the point with their product or something, but it really doesn’t have much to do with the content. Anyway, the inside is what counts and it holds the PowerRamp arcade stick and an installation disc. This includes a setup utility which lets you configure the different functions of the stick. Everything about the program and the stick has a whim of the early 90’s over it.

Windows 98 SE Review 10:30 am - Kan
ZDNet managed to get a copy of Windows 98 SE and had written an article on the new changes found. One of the new cool features is the Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) which unfortunately, it's not available for download from WindowsUpdate.

The most obvious change is Internet Connection Sharing, which adds a feature previously available in Windows 98 only through third-party networking software. When ICS is installed on a home or small-office network, all networked client computers can access the Internet through a single host computer. The host can use any existing Internet connection. Installation is simple: In the Add/Remove Programs applet in Control Panel, choose the Windows Setup tab and select Internet Connection Sharing.

Gravis Xterminator 10:15 am - Kan
Fresh3D reviewed the Gravis Xterminator Gamepad. Gee, this thing has over 20 programmable buttons. Crazy huh?

There are 2 direction pads, one "proportional" or analog directional pad, which gives you very precise control. The amount of force applied in a direction determines how fast you move in the game. And of course there is the standard digital D-pad. An analog throttle control is available on the right side, which I could not find a use for. Anything with throttle requires a real joystick or steering wheel to operate correctly, but it's a nice touch. The 6 main buttons (on a Genesis or Saturn, this would be ABC/XYZ) are well shaped and placed perfectly so they are all easily accessible by your right thumb.

IIS Site Server Vulnerable to Hackers 10:13 am - Kan
How come I'm not surprised? ZDNet reported a security problem involving Microsoft IIS Site Server which can leave data and files stored on these products vulnerable to hackers.

Three sample Active Server Pages (ASP) tools which ship as part of IIS and Site Server are the culprits, according to Microsoft (Nadaq:MSFT) and WebTrends. The default configurations of IIS and Site Server install the showcode.asp, viewcode.asp and codebrws.asp pages without proper access-control settings.

Any remote browser user who has read permissions and knowledge of file names on a given system can get at data and files on a given system via the ASP tools.

Future of 3D Graphics 10:10 am - Kan
Gamespot had an article on the Future of 3D Graphics. How far will graphics technology go on?

But there are certainly warts in the picture. Put aside, if you will, the hulking size of Lara Croft's breasts and she still looks unrealistic. More recent titles have characters that have no necks, cubed heads, and a 2D appearance to clothes or hair. Try to fly 150 aircraft in an air war 1000 feet above a city, and your frame rate goes to hell in a handbasket. Walk into a foggy landscape in a game, and you soon realize that you're not really in the fog, but rather, looking at an ever-receding, transparent gray polygon.

AMD K6-III vs Pentium III 10:05 am - Kan
A lengthy thrash out of the AMD K6-III vs the Pentium III over at Hardware Upgrade.

It is important to check the Super 7 motherboards, above all if one of the first manufactured, to see if they can be used with K6-III CPUs; to do this you can read the readme file of the newest version of the BIOS; the certification for K6-III CPU ensures that the electrical part of the motherboard matches the power requirements of the K6-III so to avoid stability problems and misbehaviours. You can also install K6-III CPU on some Socket 7 motherboards including Intel 430HX and 430TX chipset with power voltage at 2.4V; these motherboards don't include bus frequency of 100 MHz, but this doesn't affect the performance as you can see in the following illustration:

Actima 44x CD-ROM 10:02 am - Kan
AGN Hardware reviewed the Actima 44x CD-ROM drive. This drive is a IDE drive which supports UDMA as well. Pretty fast, but nowadays we don't really need anything more than 32x.

The Actima 44x CD-ROM looks like your average run-of-the-mill CD-ROM.  It is a tray loading drive, and carries a play and eject button on the face of the unit.  There are also the standard volume knob and headphone jack.  That's it, just a simple CD-ROM with no extra frills.

PSX 2 09:59 am - Kan
There's some news on Sony's PSX 2 over at GameCenter. Sony will design and build their own 128-bit processor to realise this goal.

Processors inside game consoles usually toil away in obscurity, derided as poor cousins to desktop chips, such as Intel's Pentium line. But with Sony Computer Entertainment's ambitious plan, its chips could outclass the offerings of the world's largest chipmaker--if all goes well.

To keep up with the heavy graphics demands of video games, the new PlayStation will rely on a 128-bit chip based on core technology from MIPS and manufactured under a joint venture with Toshiba. This new main processor, called the Emotion Engine, will run at 300 MHz. It also has the 32-bit processor from the first-generation PlayStation attached alongside of it on the same piece of silicon so it can play older games.

ASUS AGP V-3800 01:55 am - Kan
3DSpotlight sent note on their latest review on the TNT2 based ASUS AGP V-3800 card.

Although some manufacturers have announced TNT2 cards running at 140/170mhz and 183/183mhz (core/memory), the most common combinations you'll see in final products are 125/150 (basic one), 150/175 and 175/200 ("TNT2 Ultra").

In the case of the ASUS V-3800, it comes default clocked at 125/150mhz, however I was able to clock it much higher thanks to a handy little utility ASUS included in the drivers and also because the card came with a heatsink/fan combo mounted on the chip. I included overclocked benchmarks of the card, you can take them a look in the next pages.

Kan Spits 00:57 am - Kan
Hey you two clowns over at Tecdro**! Wake up your ideas before I slap your faces with my cold hard cash. Watch who you are shouting at next time.

Clustering 00:41 am - Kan
Wanna try doing clustering with Linux? My spy sent me this site in which it teaches you how to configure your Linux machines for clustering. Hey, you may be on your way to render some beautiful graphics as shown below. Totally awesome!

These pages describe my efforts to build a scalable supercomputer at home using Linux and commodity off the shelf components. These efforts began after reading an article on Los Alamos National Labrotories Avalon Computer on  CNN's web site.

Kenwood True 52X 00:39 am - Kan
Probably read this review a thousand times, nevertheless, catch what UGeek has to say about this True 52X CDROM drive.

This multi-beam technology allows the drive to spin at lower rates than other drives, yet still read data faster than any of them. The drive spins at between 1850 and 4750 RPM using CLV (Constant Linear Velocity) technology, like most CD-ROM drives before 16x speeds used. This technology spins the disk faster when the drive is reading data towards the center of the CD and slower as it reads data towards the edge.

PCMCIA USB Adapter 00:38 am - Kan
Something new over at USB Workshop is the PCMCIA USB adapter. Looks rather interesting, this card allows you to add USB ports to laptops which do not have them.

PCMICA USB adapter is fully compatible with USB OHCI specification 1.0a and USB specification 1.1. To ensure perfect compatibility, users should get a USB specification 1.1 controller. Paragon employed OPTi 82C861 USB controller for the core of the card. Both high-speed, 12Mbps and low-speed, 1.5Mbps are supported.

Video Cards Thrash Out 00:37 am - Kan
Whoopee. Two new reviews over at Sharky. First it's the LeadTek WinFast3D TNT2 card as well as the Number9 SR9 Savage4 Pro card.

The card itself varies very little from NVIDIA's reference design and has an 8x2MB layout of SEC 150MHz memory chips (four on each side of the card). The memory is obviously clocked at 150MHz, which is in compliance with NVIDIA's technical recommendations. But surprisingly the S320 II's graphics clock is NOT set to NVIDIA's specification of 125MHz. Surprisingly (and refreshingly), LeadTek chose to ship the board at a DEFAULT speed of 140MHz. Heat (more on that later) is not a real problem for the TNT2 chipset in general but nevertheless with the fan and heat sink combination (almost identical to Diamond's Viper V770) on-board, the S320 II seems to have no trouble whatsoever running at this increased speed. We witnessed zero lock ups or page faults (always a good sign). Clearly, when heat dissipation is handled well, the TNT2 is capable of going in excess of 125MHz.

Voodoo3 Overclocked 00:33 am - Kan
HotHardware sent note on  a Slipstream Enhancer Kit for your Voodoo3 which can supposingly give you a 45% increase in speed by tweaking and overclocking your card. Sounds too good to be true.

Slipstream Enhancement products include two elements Our adavnced software component features MS directX6.1 for the latest games on the market, ZD Winbech to measure the performance increasees of your video subsystem, and our own software that allows the user to seamlessly tune the video subsystem to optimal performance. No longer must one go into system regestry and balance the settings with memeory and core chip speed. Gone is the risk of mistakes in fine tuning the registers. Our software will allow the user to find the optimal settings for each graphics chip.

Slipstream Enhancements include the SOTA Thermal Coupler Cooling system. This easy to use cooling system has all the tools needed to attach the State Of The Art fan and heatsink to allow the graphics chip to run at higher speed. Its easy to follow instruction sheet coupled makes it a snap for even a beginer to prepare their graphics subsystem for unparralled performance.

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