21 September 1999 - Tuesday

Poll #26: What You Hit Your Shift Key With 
19:59 pm - Wilfred
Ok, we regret not offering more options for which some of you hit your shift keys with. Not too surprising that most people use their right finger to tap the shift key. Yupz, that's all to last week's poll, now check out Kan's latest idea... Fast Food? Hahahaha... tryin' to understand your tastes better.

IBM Deskstar 34GXP 19:41 pm - Wilfred
StorageReview did a review on the hotly anticipated monster from IBM, the Deskstar 34GXP that boasts 34.2Gb of storage, 7200 rpm, 9ms seek time and a 2Mb buffer. Seriously kicks ass!

The Deskstar 34GXP begs to be compared with, of course, the WD Expert WD273BA. Such comparison yields virtually indentical results in the Business Disk WinMark 99 run in either Windows 9x or Windows NT. In both cases, the victor "triumphs" by a margin of only 0.3%! The High-End Disk WinMark exhibits more difference, relatively speaking. Here the Deskstar pulls ahead of the Expert by about 3% in either operating system. Yes, a margin ten times as large as the difference in Business WinMark scores, but still hardly something one should expect to perceive.

Also interesting to note are the low-level results turned in for the two drives. Though both units sport nigh-identical transfer rates, the Deskstar consistently finishes with a slightly faster access time. Interesting, especially in the light of the common wisdom that states all things being equal, the drive with the heavier actuator (i.e., more patters) seeks more slowly.

The reigning 7200rpm drive, however, is not the Expert but rather the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 6800. Here the Deskstar edges past the DiamondMax in the Business Disk WinMark run under Windows 9x by 1%. The IBM drive underscores the glaring weakness of the Maxtor, however, when it comes to the High-End WinMark in Win9x. Here the Deskstar whallops the DiamondMax by a margin of 22%! NT, however, allows Maxtor to flex its muscles. Here the Deskstar trails the DiamondMax by 15% and 9% respectively in the Business and High-End Disk WinMarks.

TNT2 Ultra Overclocking Project 19:30 pm - Wilfred
The TechZone just put together their latest article they termed 'TNT2 Ultra Overclocking Project'. They're still trying to push the envelope with some major additions of huge fans and stuffs. How about waiting another month for the GeForce? =)

Microsoft's Response To Linux 19:23 pm - Wilfred
osOpinion sent along a note pointing to this interesting column they published yesterday. It analyzes strategies Microsoft adopted against Linux and what more we can expect.

We think that what Microsoft has done so far is a first-rate example of a typical quick-fix: try some FUD, dismiss the "problem" in disparaging terms, try not to let it gain credence in the minds of the captive customers and hope and pray that it will just go away. The latter - hope it goes away - is usually a good tactic. Seasoned managers the world over know that this works well about ninety percent of the time. It's commonplace for this month's panic to be evaporate of its own accord a few weeks later. A policy of relative inaction is often a good one.

Microsoft's difficulty is that Linux is far from going away, but gaining visibility by the day. Linux is by no means their only problem either; their attempts at domination of the handheld and PDA markets are struggling, the mobile phone manufacturers are proving very awkward, sales of desktop systems (and hence software) are flat, NT penetration has levelled off and the press seem to sense a wounded giant. The news is not good.

Earthquake In Taiwan 19:14 pm - Wilfred
Some of you may have learnt about the quake that just hit Taiwan. Apart from the imminent surge in PC component prices with the damage done to many of Taiwan's IT related industries, news has it that death toll is rising rapidly, with the last official count at 800. Our condolences to the people.

Wilfred Coughs 19:03 pm - Wilfred
Land masses rose and sunk, life came and went and time wore away mountains. It seemed like ages I last coughed and nobody missed me huh? =) Been terribly terribly terribly busy, but I thought I should post something lest you guys forget my existence! Oh, since most of you know of my latest toy, here's a pic I snapped several hours ago.

Diamond Stealth III S540 08:18 am - Kan
TomsHardware whipped up another new review, this time it's the Diamond Stealth III S540 Savage4 graphics card.

After all the hype of the upcoming "high-end" graphics cards, we feel that we should also look into the important area of the low and medium ranged graphic boards. Not everyone can afford the higher price tag on most of the big performers out in the market right now so we felt it was time to bring you word of one of the new players in the price/performance oriented market. The main competitors of the S540 Xtreme in my opinion are NVIDIA M64 based cards, i752 graphics boards, Voodoo3 2000, and products with the ATI Rage 128 chip.

BP6 Review 08:15 am - Kan
Talking about the BP6, my BP6 failed to POST after flashing the beta BIOS from BxBoards. Oh well, when will I finally learn my lesson?! (see, see, I told you!)  Anyway, High Performance PC Guide posted a review on the ABIT BP6. Catch some of the juice over there:

The new Abit BP6 is the first Dual socket 370 motherboard available at this moment and chances are that it'll be the only one for a long time if not forever. Taking advantage of the SMP capability of the Celeron PPGA processors, Abit took the chance to built this motherboard even if Intel said that the SMP capability of the Celeron PPGA would be disabled. We all know that Intel didn't disabled the SMP capability of the Celeron PPGA even if they printed on the box that these processors were designed for single processor use only. As a fact, it would have costed way too much money to Intel to modify the Celeron in order to make them not ompatible for multi-multiprocessor use.

ADS 1394 Firewire Card 08:13 am - Kan
Woohoos, HardwareCentral reviewed the ADS 1394 Firewire card (my last impression on Firewire is that they are DAMN expensive!). They also have a new review on the A-trend ATC-6240 motherboard.

Until recently Firewire capture cards have been due to their high prices exclusively found in the high end consumer and low end professional set ups. With the recent explosion of sales of DV camcorders a market has sprung up for Firewire devices that just wasn't there a short while ago, thereby driving prices down into the mainstream market. Now the market has split into two types of Firewire capture devices those with hardware compression chips and those that compress with software routines instead. The only difference being the hardware based ones can render your final video files in close to real-time while software ones take more time.

Matrox Millennium G400 08:08 am - Kan
For those who like the G400, take a look at PC Paradox's review on it. Dual head capability is pretty impressive (just saw a live demo yesterday) and bump mapping technology sure brings realism to another level. Catch the rest of the review from here:

The 256-bit DualBus technology is best explained by going back to my old favorite, the pipe/straw/freeway explanation (It sounds tricky but it isn't ;) To begin, lets talk about the bus itself. The graphics card has to talk to the processor and the rest of your system, SO, it has a "Bus" which connects it to everything else in the system. The bus can be thought of as a freeway, and most graphics cards have a freeway, but Matrox has a really nice one. Most other freeways are one-way freeways and thus the information, or video if you will, can only travel in one direction (talk about traffic jam). Now what Matrox has done, is developed a two way freeway. Now there are other cards that use this two way system, but most of them use a 4 lane per side freeway (64 bit both ways), while Matrox has upped the lanes to 8 for EACH side (128 bit buses).

Lightfax 56K USB Modem 07:59 am - Kan
DansData took a look at the Lightfax 56K USB Modem. USB modems are actually not bad as you don't need a power brick and they are small and convenient to carry around. But then again, make sure your OS support USB modems properly.

The problem with all software modems is that they only work on platforms - in this case, Windows - which have drivers for them. They also cause a performance hit, because the CPU has to think about modem functions, although with modern PCs with their more-than-a-thousand-million-instruction-per-second processors, this is not much of an issue. The Lightfax hardware recommendations specify a 200MHz Pentium-class processor, which will indeed run the Lightfax all right; anything slower will be having a hard enough time with Win98 by itself.

Soyo SY-6BA+ III 07:56 am - Kan
While we have the press release of the new Soyo SY-6BA+ IV today, our pals over at 3DHardware.net posted a review on the Soyo SY-6BA+ III motherboard. 

The board itself looks pretty much like any other well-designed board out there. A little surprise was the lack of PC99/97 colour coding, which all new boards from Soyo (apart from this one, obviously =) have had. The floppy/IDE connectors are placed just the way I like them, but Soyo missed out on one biggie, the power cord is placed on the ‘other side’ of the processor. This is a completely unnecessary complication of things, which I thought Soyo had abandoned (they’ve had boards before with absolutely PERFECT board design). Anyway, this ‘feature’ won’t kill you, but is definitely an irritant. As a patch for the wound Soyo have included a little green LED that goes on as soon as the ATX power connector is plugged into the motherboard. This is helpful when error-checking a dead computer.

Soyo SY-6BA+ IV 07:54 am - Kan
HardwarePros sent note on the press-release of the Soyo SY-6BA+ IV motherboard. The new one comes with ATA-66 support as well as supporting up to 4 IDE channels.

SOYO today announced a new 100MHz Front Side Bus (FSB), Slot 1-based motherboard that features new components and software-driven management, which have been designed to maximize the performance of both Intel Pentium III and Celeron CPUs.  SOYO’s SY-6BA+IV motherboard has been reengineered to include an onboard ATA66 controller to power next generation high-speed hard drives. With its on-board ATA66 support, system builders now have a total of four IDE disk drive channels (two with Ultra DMA 33 and two with Ultra DMA 66 support). Soyo’s new ATX footprint motherboard also features a new clock generator that allows the CPU Frontside System Bus (FSB) and PCI bus clock to be configured 29 different ways -- from 66MHz-155MHz -- in order to fine-tune the system bus speed for performance-oriented applications such as 3D modeling, animation or gaming. The new design also protects overclocked systems from crashes, particularly when using PCI bus add-in cards, because the redesigned SY-6BA+IV automatically sets the PCI bus clock to a safe level when the CPU FSB is set. When users overclock the CPU FSB, the PCI bus clock will be automatically clocked to a safe level. 

Acer Ergo Keyboard 07:48 am - Kan
Ah, we have a keyboard review today. Speedy3D dropped us a line on their review on the Acer Ergo keyboard (it's one of those 'Transformers' keyboard which splits itself into 3 parts). 

Now I will cover the most important issue on a keyboard, its comfort. I found this keyboard to be incredibly comfortable. It far outpaces any other keyboard on the market in this area. I have not ever used a keyboard that has been more comfortable than this one. Never. The ergonomic design was perfect for me. Some people might find the keys to be a little big, but since I have big hands, the keys were great for me. That’s another thing, if you do have big hands then I would particularly recommend this keyboard to you!

20 September 1999 - Monday

Matrox G400 
14:39 pm - Kan
Our pals over at 3DSpotlight posted another new review on the Matrox Millennium G400 graphics card. I guess dual-head capability and bump mapping are the strongest selling point of this card.

Definitely this are good news for overclockers since 5ns memory can run at 200mhz with no problem at all. Anyway the core and memory speeds were clocked at 125/166mhz respectively, which is Millennium G400 manufacturer default speed.

Also I noticed the card had a fan connector on-board which shouldn’t be present in the normal Millennium since it uses a plain heatsink as a cooling solution, this connector is present in MAX cards however. Apparently this card was a MAX that didn’t make it in Matrox testing labs for running at those high speeds. I noticed several messages on Matrox forums from people that also got a card with faster memory, it seems that I was one of the lucky guys =).

TurtleBeach Montego II 13:38 pm - Kan
Another new review from SharkyExtreme today. The TurtleBeach Montego II is actually rather popular with vendors like Dell. So, let's take a look at how it performs:

Although the Quadzilla is powered by a standard Vortex 2, the way Turtle Beach has chosen to outfit the supporting gear around the chip differs from their competition.

First off, Turtle Beach opted to off-load the dual rear channel out port of the Montego II onto a second PCI card, or daughtercard, along with adding a digital S/PDIF port to the mix.

It may seem like this is a strange move compared to the solutions that both Creative's SBLive! and Diamond's MX300 products currently use, which is to include both dual channel speaker outs (for a total of four independent channels) on the primary audio card itself.

AMK 810 Casing 13:36 pm - Kan
Woohoos, gigantic casing review over at TheTechZone on the AMK 810 casing. If the price (US$258) doesn't kill you first, the 24 inches of thickness (err..height) will.

The AMK-810 has to be the wildest case I've ever seen. First built as a one of a kind test model, it is now being considered for production. If you're looking for the highest performing case money can buy, the AMK-810 may very well be it. The 810 in the name stands for the amount of air this case moves in one minute. 810 cubic feet! With this kind of air movement, I bet it can cool down your room as well as the case.

Many of you who follow my projects will note that I always make modifications to the case. This is because most cases were not designed to house an overclocked system. AMK cases were designed for overclocked systems however. The AMK-810 is a case that needs no mods what-so-ever to produce proper air flow. All the needed mods (the fans and "blow holes") are done for you. In this case, they may have done too much.

Darkstone Review 13:35 pm - Kan
3DRage reviewed the RPG game Darkstone. If you like Diablo type of gameplay, then this game may be for you. Here's some juice:

Speaking of monsters, Dark Stone is populated with wonderfully rendered and imaginative creatures. Expect much more than tired old undead and skeletons. Some of the highlights include swarming wasps, poisonous spiders and scorpions, lumbering ogres and trolls, lizard men, man-sized rodents (wielding two-handed meat cleavers), and Skeleton Captains (armed with lightning bolt crossbows, blood-sucking vampires, and mini fire-breathing dragons). Better still, there are often variations of one monster. For instance, you'll face a white, yellow, red, and blue Skeleton before you meet the Skeleton Captain around level 15.

Is Intel Dragging Us Down? 13:34 pm - Kan
Rather interesting piece of article over at FPS3D on Is Intel Dragging Us Down. Well, I won't be surprised if there's one called Is Microsoft Dragging Us Down. :)

Intel today: Pushing roadmaps, rushing fabs, hustling motherboard manufacturers, and slashing prices. It's all part of Intel's daily regime these last few months. But even if Intel were to die (hey it could happen), they would die anything but slowly... But the question is, are they dragging us down with them? Let's dive into the issue.

Mushkin Black ATX Case 09:58 am - Kan
3aG just finished their review on the Mushkin Black ATX Casing. It ain't cheap ($126) but it even comes with a hydraulic door!

As you can see in the above picture, the case is quite roomy. I was really impressed in how well everything went into this case. The motherboard is easily placed in, and secured down with your standard procedures. Because everything is out of the way, installing the processor is a breeze. One of the most innovative (and very simple) features of this box is that the metal covers over unused card slots are attached at the bottom of the slot, not the side. This makes it much easier to remove the metal covers from the card slots.

A-Trend Savage4 Pro  08:06 am - Kan
New review over at SharkyExtreme on the A-Trend Savage4 Pro graphics card. 

There seem to be some bugs with Quake3 and the default drivers, causing graphical glitches when switching resolutions from within the game. Also, upon loading the game, everything is visible, but after a few seconds, the gamma correction "feature" kicks in, lowering the gamma to unacceptable levels.

With the only apparent difference from the Diamond Stealth being the RAM speed, we would expect a small price decrease in the A-Trend card. After all, 125MHz RAM is still cheaper than 143MHz RAM and why would you switch and take the performance hit if it didn't save money?

HotRod 66 08:05 am - Kan
Our buds over at iXBT-Hardware told us they have the ABIT HotRod 66 review ready. Check it out!

As we have already mentioned several times in our reviews, manufacturing of hard disk drives with Ultra DMA/66 (Ultra ATA-66) interface began earlier than the manufacturing of mainboards supporting it. Besides, the storage devices strive for perfection (i.e. cheapness) in a really impressive tempo. That's why most of us, users, are now the happy owners of HDDs with Ultra DMA/66 interface and are also enjoying a mainboard based, shall we say, on BX chipset, which is exactly what we need in all possible respects but unfortunately doesn't support the data transfer rate of 66MB/sec. Of course, there is always a way-out and you can change your mainboard but again we would like to remind you of the minimal gain you get to the data transfer rate! 

Freetech Socket370 Motherboard 08:04 am - Kan
More motherboard reviews over at AnandTech.  This time the gurus reviewed the Freetech P6F107 Socket370 motherboard. 

The ATX specification is also closely followed with all major components strategically placed to minimize cable clutter and provide the most room to work around the board. All HDD/FDD connectors are located where they should be, right at the front of the board, so that no cables are forced to run over the CPU and/or memory. The ATX power connector is unfortunately located at the back of the board, next to the Socket-370. That means that the power cable will have to run over the CPU and memory, reducing airflow to the CPU and cluttering up the inside of the system. The front panel connectors will prevent the use of a full length card in one ISA slot, while one PCI slot is blocked by a fan connector.

3DfxCool hddHO 08:00 am - Kan
Speedy3D whipped up a review on the 3Dfxcool hddHO. Basically, hddHO (stands for Hard Disk Drive Output) is a powerful hard disk cooler. Here's some of the extraction from the review:

Besides that it comes with 2 20mm thick fans. That provide us with some serious horse-power to cool your entire hard drive effectively. After getting all that for $30 some people would call it a “bargain.” Now I get to talk about how this cooler performed, which is what really matters. By using a heatsink to take the heat off the top of the drive and 2 fans to blow the hard drive’s hot air out of the case, it has put it self in a good position. This cooler cools the whole hard drive effectively. The first that I have come across that can lay claim to that. Reducing the entire temperature of the whole hard drive, that is. With no cooling at all the hard drive was hot to the touch after I ran several benchmarks on it for 30 minutes.

Building your Own Rig Part 2 07:55 am - Kan
SystemLogic let us know that they released Building your Own Rig Part 2.

Depending on the amount of RAM you've bought, you may have from 1 up to 4 seperate DIMM's. Find the DIMM slots on your motherboard, once you've found them, insert the DIMM(s) in the slot(s) and push down on them (not forcing them) until the levers on both sides come in to lock the DIMM(s) in place. And shazam, that's all there is to it! This will complete the installation of the RAM. Make sure to check all connections before continuing to the next section.

Sidewinder Gamepad Pro 07:50 am - Kan
Check out ActiveWin review on the Microsoft Sidewinder Gamepad Pro. It looks cool!

The SideWinder Game Pad Pro has a new kind of look for Microsoft Hardware (The new MS IntelliMouse Explorer also has the same scheme). The Game Pad now has a cool silver finish, it has a total of nine buttons (Including the shift button, which allows you to program up to two game actions for each of the game pad's buttons and triggers) and a slightly newer look Directional Pad.

Voodoo/Banshee Glide Fix 07:48 am - Kan
Our pals over at NT Game Palace sent note on the release on the fix for Voodoo and Banshee cards for Windows 2000 RC2. 

PaintShop Pro v6 07:46 am - Kan
Webmaster Resources dropped us a line on their new review on PaintShop Pro v6. Hmm, how does it pit against Photoshop? Check out some of the juice:

The text tool in PSP6 has been completely revised, and a new entry dialog created to support all the new features. Text can now be created as a vector object, which allows for the editing of properties like content and color. The new dialog now includes options for leading and kerning which provides additional formatting control for the designer. Jasc Software has also finally decided to implement a text on path feature which allows you to place text on a path corresponding to an object. Once it is created, the path can be edited at any time and the text will be automatically redrawn to follow the new path.

19 September 1999 - Sunday

Savage2000/Viper II Preview
14:11 pm - Kan
3DAlpha posted a sneak preview of the Viper II based on the Savage2000 chipset. 

Now, what about Diamond's own plans for this chipset? For starters, it will be based on the Savage2000 chipset, making it a very end piece of equipment, considering all the features I just listed before. There will be 32MB of onboard high-speed video memory for plenty of demanding calculations that need to be made to get the job done. The Savage2000+ will be able to render polygons four to ten times faster than the fastest current-day applications will allow. Of course, when they say four to ten times faster, that means it's tentative due to CPU speed. If you're running an Athlon, I would suspect that this card would be practically on fire.

Intel Camino 820 10:36 am - Kan
For those who like to live on the edge, check out ReviewZone  review on the Intel Camino 820 chipset

That's what it comes down to, doesn't it?  Toys.  Getting the latest and greatest, the fastest processor, the best new video card, the quickest hard drive... it's what drives the industry.  Well, on September 27th, Intel will release its newest baddest toy, its answer to the EV6 based K7, the Camino chipset motherboard, otherwise known as the i820.  Just under two months later, the Coppermine CPU will debut, with 133mhz Frontside Bus speed and 256k of full speed on die L2 cache.  Side note: I'm willing to bet Intel's sweating the Athlon pretty badly.   Chances are, they'll push their timeline up as much as possible.

Zerotech MP2000 10:31 am - Kan
New review over at Digital-Clips on the Zerotech MP2000 soundcard which supports A3D 1.0 and EAX 1.0. Hmm, don't look like a high-end soundcard to me.

We were rather unimpressed at first. The included manual turned out to be no more than a shiny piece of 5” by 12” paper, with a bare description of the MP2000, a useful diagram of the various ports and jumpers, , barebone installation instructions and a screen-capture of the included utility software. It’s light years from the comprehensive, detailed and well laid-out manuals we’re used to from OEMs like Asus, FIC etc.  

Warmonkeys 10:28 am - Kan
The guys over at Speedy3D reviewed the game Warmonkeys which is a totally wacky strategy game. Here's some juice:

WarMonkeys is sadly not a game like SimLife or SimCity which revolves around the simulated life of monkeys =), surprisingly it’s quite the opposite. The name does however have a certain ring, a ring that tells me the developers were on some hard drugs when they thought up the name, but a ring no less. Ignore the Monkeys and what do you have? A much happier on-line reporter? Nope, or a game revolving around War?

Wireless Notebooks the Way of the Future? 02:45 am - Yingzong
Caught an piece of interesting news down at ZDNet UK about the increasing popularity of radio wave LAN cards. Wireless appears to be the direction our notebooks are heading in the future. In fact, it seems that one of our local universities here in Singapore actually use Lucent wireless LAN cards in the campus! Great! Here's a snippet:

"We have Lucent cards... and we also have Aironet cards working in campus buildings," said Tim Peters general manager of Dell's Latitude business. "We see the benefits of (wireless LAN) and the usability. At the same time the performance and the cost have come in line."

Dell this month will begin shipping wireless LAN cards with its Latitude notebook PCs. The company will make Aironet Wireless Communications's 4800 series wireless LAN card a factory-installed option on Latitude notebooks. The cards, which utilise using direct sequencing, 802.11 compliant radio transmitters, allow for wireless network access from up to 300 feet from a network access point. The cards slide into the notebook's PC Card slot and sport a small antenna.

Hauppauge WinTV USB TV Tuner Review 02:25 am - Yingzong
Just got this short article down at Hot Hardware about the new USB TV tuner by Hauppauge. For those of you who lug notebooks around and complain of not being able to watch your favourite sitcoms while at work or in school, this might be what you need! Just remember to bring your little satellite dish along with you... Here's a titbit for that couch potato in you :

So if you can spare a little desktop space or want a tuner you can take anywhere, you should look into this USB tv tuner. Most new computers now have USB so it can be installed withing 5 minutes on any Win98 machine equipped with USB.

Using the tuner on my DSS satelite system worked well. In windowed mode the 2 different TV applications worked like it's PCI version does. The only drawback is the video seems to pull a lot of system resources. The opening of other applications running in the background seem to slow down the video playback. The image quality is decent also. But if you switch to full screen mode, then the speed of playback and quality of the image will decrease. Based on my experience, this device is best run in small window.

Athlon 600 Review with PIII-600 Comparison 02:10 am - Yingzong
I'm sure many of us have heard that the Athlon range of chips outperforms similarly clocked Pentium III chips by quite a margin. GamePC has finished a review of the AMD Athlon 600MHz CPU and has done a couple of benchmarks on a PIII-600 as well. From the numbers, it appears that the Athlon is a winner. Check it out :

As you can see from the results, the Athlon really is a step ahead of Intel, but not as big of a step as we had hoped for. After reading review after review of the Athlon on the web, we had some pretty high expectations. It definately is faster than an exact-clocked Pentium III unit, which is no easy feat, but the margin of difference between the two chips isn't that big.

Looking closer at the results, you can see the largest margin difference in performance was using a TNT2 Ultra board, which edged out 20 FPS in Quake3 : Fastest, for the exact same clocked processor, that's a hefty difference. Also in all three tests, you can see the huge difference in the 3DMark CPUMark scores, which have a large difference between the two processors. You should note also, the Pentium III 600 also performed really well in these tests, and it's still a top-notch processor, but it seems AMD has one-upped them, finally.

18 September 1999 - Saturday

Super Slow Day And Lazy Me! 23:41 pm - Wilfred
Heheh! I'd been very caught up with work and my latest acquisition, the Olympus Camedia C2000Z digital camera. Woohoos!! It was after long deliberation, plenty of recommendations and temptation that got me to splurge my life savings. It is widely recognised to be one of the best in its class, and I can't fault it but my own amateurish skills! =) Fortunately in this case, the tool more than made up for the carpenter. You'll catch it in action soon!

Embrace Linux, Buy Sun & Dump Windows? 22:32 pm - Wilfred
Not you, but this is a writer's suggestion to Microsoft. You can read the article at The Register. It's not quite absurd if you'll consider this:

These are based on a pretty fair analysis of Microsoft's current situation. Its Win2k and after development roadmap looks unconvincing and increasingly difficult to execute: "The difficulty of further product development [after Win2k] is extreme; a 30 million lines of code tarpit has been created." Its desktop dominance is threatened by PDAs and appliances, and "the whole concept of 'desktop' could become an anachronism - perhaps within as little as five years."

Abit Hot Rod 66 23:16 pm - Wilfred
As you may have noticed, UDMA/33 HDDs are almost extinct, so for those of you with older motherboards, adding a UDMA/66 controller card represents the only way you can utilise the additional speeds of the new breeds. There are a couple options in the market, but iXBT has a review on Abit's, check this out!

... the situation appears rather paradoxical: the higher is the data transfer rate, the slower is the transfer itself. In fact, there is nothing to be surprised at. The thing is that in order to win relative independence from the operation system cache, the test uses very long files (doubled by the system memory size - in our case 256MB). So, Ultra DMA/66 brings almost no gain to the general performance. And the losses can be explained by the fact that the integrated controller works much better with the multithread input/output.

Montego II Quadzilla 23:00 pm - Wilfred
3DAlpha has a review on the above sound controller from Turtle Beach. Sound cards are cheap these days, but still you shouldn't end up with a dud. In this case, the guys seem to be suitably impressed with its performance.

I launched up a game of Quake, and I was quite surprised: Perhaps it's just my young ears, but I was surprised at how much more crisp and clear this card was in comparison to my SBLive! Value card! The environment around me seemed to be right with me. I may have to attribute this to messing with the equalizer enough on this thing, but it was still a pleasant surprise.

Motherboard Roundup 07:57 am - Kan
Five motherboards roundup over at TomsHardware with brands like ABIT, ASUS, Gigabyte, Biostar and Microstar.

I only have a few complaints with the ASUS P3B-F. Although the IDE labels are better marked than the ABIT board, I would like to see ASUS use different colored connectors for the floppy and primary IDE connectors (such a white). This allows for a quick identification, of which connector is which. Regarding layout, I wish ASUS wouldn't have placed the floppy connector in front of the PCI slots. Routing the floppy cable around and over a full length PCI card makes the system look a bit cluttered.

Kodak DC240 07:55 am - Kan
USB Workshop reviewed the Kodak DC240 digital camera. Though it's not the highest end, it's sufficient for beginners like me.

Camera controls capture settings (everything users can set in the camera through camera top buttons and in the the camera menu, displayed in the camera-top LCD: eg. self timer, flash type, quality, resolution), and camera settings (other settings including date/time, sharpness, auto-exposure metering, video out format and memory card. It also allows capture (zoom set, status and a bit strange in the simple interface that allows only taking, pre-viewing in a small window, and deleting just the current viewing picture).

Wintec Omega Notebook 07:51 am - Kan
SharkyExtreme reviewed the Wintec Omega Notebook which is powered by a whopping Pentium II 400 Mhz.

When we first took the Wintec OMEGA Notebook for a test drive back in June, it came with a Pentium II 333MHz, which, at the time, was close to being at the high-end of the scale. Gaming was more than just possible in D3D and coupled with the Rage Mobility 3D accelerator, the machine was the first laptop on which we'd ever been able to play any 3D games properly.

Interview with Intel 07:45 am - Kan
Woohoos, this is one hot interview with Intel as SystemLogic bring to us some news they gathered from Intel:

SL: How much of an advantage do you see AGP 4x bringing to gamers? And 133MHz bus speed? Which will have more of an advantage?

Intel: AGP4x capability brings a 2X graphics bandwidth improvement over AGP2x. ISVs that take advantage of this bandwidth can provide applications with richer graphics capability. Moving to a processor with a 133MHz front side bus (FSB) provides additional compute bandwidth for nearly all application types. Both of these bandwidth improvements enhance the PC experience, the one with the greater impact will need to be assessed on an application-by-application basis.

Increase in DRAM Prices 07:40 am - Kan
Catch the usual hot stuff over at HardOCP smacked right in the frontpage.

DRAM manufacturer output:
DRAM manufacturers have been monitoring their memory production levels to determine the most appropriate capacities needed to maintain a constant equilibrium between supply and demand. They are capable of higher production levels however, they are currently not producing at full capacity. This lower capacity has not allowed room for the extra demands the market is currently experiencing.

Wireless Application Protocol 07:35 am - Kan
Over at 3DHardware.net, a new article touching on the Wireless Application Protocol is available. Surfing the net thru your mobile phone?

Now you'd like to think that the Internet, or essentially the Web, is the only one of it's kind, but that's wrong. Another communications revolution has been taking place concurrently with the web-boom, namely the cellular phone revolution. From the beginning of the 1990's, when the cell phone lost it's yuppie-stamp (80's cell-phones often came along with owners with the hairstyle of Billy Idol, white socks in black leather shoes and a red Ferrari Testarossa), they have penetrated the society, and as of today, there are countries (not talking Singapore, Japan or other space-colony nations folks, but European counties and parts of the US here...) where a MAJORITY of the population owns a cellular phone.

Windows RC2 07:32 am - Kan
Our buds over at NT Game Palace dropped us a line that RC2 will be free for all CPP customers.

Microsoft will proactively ship RC2 to all CPP customers
who either ordered direct from Microsoft, or who attended the Windows 2000 Live events. All other CPP customers can order RC2 by calling the toll-free number 1-888-219-1310. Note, there is no cost to CPP customers for the RC2 code. Please allow 3-4 weeks to receive your copy of RC2.

RC2 for MSDN subscribers: Windows 2000 RC2 is now available at the MSDN subscriber download page (http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/).

Also, here's some juice for the official support of Voodoo cards in Windows 2000:

Anthony Toste send word that Direct3D on Voodoo 3 is now official supported but Glide and OpenGL ICD doesn´t work longer with Windows 2000 on 3Dfx based cards (Voodoo Graphics, Voodoo 2, Voodoo Banshee & Voodoo 3).

Adrenaline Vault Reviews Tiberian Sun 02:40 am - Yingzong
Everyone appears to be giving TS a piece of their mind and The Adrenaline Vault has just laid theirs down. The guys have written a fair review of the game. I personally thought the game was one big hype that really disappointed expectations. Below's a little of what the article says :

The anticipation for C&C2 may not have been quite that strong, but there have been hordes of strategy gamers salivating over this one since the final scene of the teaser trailer that appeared at the end of the original Command & Conquer. That was four years ago, almost an eon in the incredibly fast-moving world of PC gaming, where trends rise and fall within the space of a few months. But as the game approached release, the pre-orders piled up and hordes of rabid RTS junkies (myself included) clamored for any and all information about it. When it was announced that C&C2 had gone gold, the tidal wave of anticipation reached its zenith. It came crashing down with full force on a cloudy day in September when this sequel to a title that many believed helped jump-start the real-time strategy revolution finally reached store shelves.

High Performance PC Guide Mobo Reviews 02:25 am - Yingzong
Caught these motherboard reviews down at The High Performance PC Guide. The dudes there have done a review of the GA-6BXDU, a dual Slot 1 motherboard by Gigabyte. Here's a slice :

The GA-6BXDU motherboard is a very impressive piece of equipment in as much as in terms of dimensions, as it is in terms of performance and functionality. One gets a sense from it of assurance and stability from the first instant of use. Everything seems to have been considered in a polished design that rises above the vulgar uses of a game platform... On the other hand, it's unfortunate that the Dual BIOS system developed by Gigabyte was not integrated into this board.

In addition, they've also done a review on the EPoX EP-6VBA slot 1 VIA Apollo Pro + 133 (Damn, that's a monthful.). Here's what the guys have to say about it :

The EPoX EP-6VBA motherboard - while less than pleasant to install, due to the reasons mentioned above - is nothing less than an excellent motherboard. It must be noted that once all the connections have been done, this argument loses all its significance; as there is no longer a necessity to touch them again. On the other hand, the numerous functionalities of the EP-6VBA's integrated sound card, ATA66, and PC133 memory, more than make up for its few faults. All in all, the EP-6VBA seems to be a sure value for those looking for fine products.

New Palm Vx Set for Release 02:15 am - Yingzong
CNet's News.Com has sent word that 3Com will release the Palm Vx, soon to be the newest member in the Palm Computing family. It is touted as the successor to the popular Palm V. The prices for the Palm IIIx and Palm V will also be cut to pave the way for the new Palm Vx. Yes!! Here's the news in brief :

On October 4, Palm Computing will release the Palm Vx, sources close to the company say. The release of the much-anticipated successor to the Palm V comes at a momentous time for Palm specifically and for the industry as a whole.

The new Palm Vx will feature the same slim design of the Palm V, but with expanded memory. While the existing Palm V offers 2MB of memory, the new Palm Vx will feature 8MB of RAM, sources say. The Palm Vx will be priced at $449, while the Palm V will be cut to $399. The Palm IIIx is expected to be discounted to $299.

17 September 1999 - Friday

Aureal SQ2500 18:40 pm - Kan
Our buds over at 3DsoundSurge reviewed the Aureal SQ2500 soundcard based on A3D 2.0.

Those of us following the sound card industry raised a few eyebrows when Diamond and S3 announced their merger, especially given that S3 had once ventured into the audio market only to later drop that side of its business. Until recently, we had no idea what that merger might mean to Diamond Multimedia’s future in the sound card market. When Aureal first shared the news of their move to the retail market a few weeks ago we speculated that it was one more sign that Diamond was getting out of the sound card market. We also speculated that this would have played a large part in Aureal’s decision enter the retail market, given that Diamond is currently the major retail presence for Aureal, at least in North America. For this reason, as well as the other benefits noted above, it makes sense for them to shore up their market, as any setback in retail presence could be disastrous in the cut throat PC audio market.

Creative 4224 CDRW 18:38 pm - Kan
GameWire posted a review on the Creative 4224 CDRW drive. Hmm, with only 4 Write and 2 ReWrite, it doesn't seem to be a cut above the current drives available in the market. 

So where does Creative step in? Just this year Creative made their first stab to the RW market (they did have a CDR but it wasn't in the public eye for very long if at all). In general CDRs and RWs are becoming a lot more affordable, and public awareness is at an all-time peak. In a survey recently conducted, 7 out of 10 people own or plan to buy a CDR in the next year. The first steps to really make a widespread market for them came from HP with their "Easy Writer" series. They were just as the name expressed.

SDRAM Pricing 18:36 pm - Kan
Over at CPUReview, the guys posted an article analyzing the sharp increase of SDRAM prices we are seeing lately.

Memory manufacturer's were taking a beating; not making as much as they wanted to on 64Mbit parts. Everybody was making them, in ever increasing numbers. Why? Due to the ever increasing size of software (what happened to writing efficient code?) and operating systems PC manufacturers have been increasing the amount of memory supplied with computer systems.

MC1000 Peltier 14:33 pm - Kan
For those gals who have a fetish for peltiers, our buds over at FiringSquad posted a review of the MC1000 Peltier which cost a whopping 100 bucks! 

The Swiftech unit has two "Military Specs" 60x60mm fans that spin at 6850RPM and each can push 33CFM (cubic feet per minute) for a combined total of 66CFM. These fans are the best we've ever seen. Most good single fan setups only move 10-15 CFM. One fan from the Swiftech unit is more powerful than many of the dual fan setups out there. Of course, the Swiftech fans are also very loud, clocking in at 43dB, the same as an average refrigerator or a hushed conversation.

Vantec P3-D5030 Cooler 14:30 pm - Kan
Over at SysopSolutions, there's a new review on the Vantec P3-D5030 Pentium III Cooler. Needless to say, the cooler is gigantic!

The P3-D5030 heat sink came to us in a nifty black, retail box. Its contents included the aluminum heat sink which is extruded in a fashion that utilizes maximum surface area for heat dissipation. The block is comprised of individual fins which are serrated for better efficiency. Mounted to the front of the sink are two large 50mm x 50mm x 10mm, ball bearing fans capable of putting out 4,600 RPM. These fans operate very quietly at 29.8 dba. The cooler also has a very impressive and innovative fan guard that looks like something from the Starship Enterprise.

Interview with 3Dfx 07:03 am - Kan
AnandTech posted an Interview with 3Dfx where they talked about the Voodoo4, FXT1 and T-Buffer and stuffs like that.

A lot more information is now available about the GeForce so we’ve been able to form much stronger opinions on it. In summary, the GeForce appears to be a couple of TNT2 raster engines coupled together with a new geometry engine bolted on top. We give nvidia a lot of credit for being first to market with a geometry accelerator, but we do disagree with their decision to emphasize geometry over fill-rate. The reality is that the announced fill-rate for GeForce is not going to allow it to remain competitive with our next generation products for games which run at high resolution and high color depth.

Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro 07:00 am - Kan
ActiveWin sent note on their new review on the Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro. Sorry, my standard keyboard rules! :)

The keyboard uses two connections to attach to your computer. One goes into the traditional PS2 keyboard connector that is standard on personal computers. The other connector attaches to a Universal Serial Port (USB), if your computer has one. You don't need to use the USB connector if you don't want to, but one of the nice features of this keyboard is that it has two USB connectors built into it that allow you to daisy-chain other USB devices. I currently have my USB Zip drive connected to one of the ports in the keyboard and it works fine. The documentation states that if your computer's BIOS supports a USB keyboard, you can actually connect only through the USB port.

Intensor GS350 LX 06:58 am - Kan
Wow, this is one hell of a review. The gals over at AGN Hardware reviewed the Intensor GS350 LX force-feedback chair!

If you were to purchase the first Intensor chair with the optional chair base you were in for a treat too, as putting it together was a task in itself. Getting the armrests in place would try your patience, and took a little re-bending of the tubular metal framework offered, and just getting the base screwed onto the bottom of the chair was work too. See the holes where the screws were to go, weren't tapped very well at all, so if you didn't have a socket set and a little elbow grease you'd be in trouble when it came time to put it all together.

IntelliMouse Explorer 06:52 am - Kan
ComputingPros dropped us a line telling us that the new Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer (yeah, the one with the optical sensor) is available with prices starting from US$69.95.

  • Accuracy - The precise IntelliEye optical sensor tracks movement on just about anything. All the sensor needs is a surface with a small amount of detail, including wood, plastic, or even your pant leg.
  • Easier Internet navigation - The two thumb buttons act as forward and back buttons in your browser.
  • Precision - No moving parts, so your mouse is smooth and precise and there's no need to use a mouse pad.
  • Feels great in your hand - This mouse is designed to support your hand and fingers. The rubberized sides make the mouse easier to grip and more comfortable to use because it requires less effort to hold.

PC100 vs PC133 06:49 am - Kan
In case you didn't catch it yesterday, TheTechZone whipped up a comparison article between PC100 vs PC133 SDRAM modules.

My conclusion is this. Good quality PC-100 RAM will be enough for most overclocked system. You should look at the CPU you're running and buy your RAM according to that. In the case of my Celeron that runs at 605Mhz, even average PC-100 RAM will do as the bus speed will only be 110Mhz (110x5.5=605Mhz).  If you are using a PIII-450 or another low multiplier CPU, then you should get high quality PC-100 or PC-133 RAM.

16 September 1999 - Thursday

Alpha Cooler Review
19:36 pm - Wilfred
Kyle is really mad about cooling as you can see. 2 in a day! Take a look at this and you will soon realize you ain't know nothin' about huge CPU cooler bricks yet! Size doesn't matter if it doesn't satisfy (gosh! I think I'm negatively influenced by Kan and gang, but in case you misunderstood, I'm NOT describing my inadequacies! =P), yet this giant fixture really cools - in fact it managed a good 8 deg lower than TennMax's offering and 7 deg against the Vantec. And Da Man has this to say when comparing it with the ALREADY IMPRESSIVE coolers from Vantec:
Here we are making a Mercedes 500SEL to Ford Crown Victoria comparison. While the Crown Vic is still a nice ride to get the family to church in on Sunday, wouldn't you rather show up in a new Benz?

If You Think Playing With Fire Is Bad... 19:23 pm - Wilfred
Sometimes people just don't get it! It's not about shooting yourself in the foot or head, but mankind just enjoys living on the edge - and living is not really of concern to these all-too-clever chaps. 'Look Mom, this is a black hole I made in my lab!'. Methinks you have a fighting chance in Half-Life's scenarios but if a black hole is what you're creating... I'm getting incoherent... you read this:

Melville is preoccupied with what he regards as the most dangerous event in human history: an experiment, scheduled for November, at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y. Brookhaven has a device, called the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, that has the world’s physicists tremendously excited. Scientists believe they can use the collider to duplicate the conditions that prevailed milliseconds after the Big Bang, when the universe consisted of a primordial soup called the quark-gluon plasma. Brookhaven scientists think that by colliding gold ions at extremely high speed, they can create a tiny, fleeting version of quark-gluon plasma to gain a better understanding of the origins of the universe.

Sounds like fun. The only problem, according to David Melville’s panicky e-mail, is that, “It has been theorized by Steven Hawking that from this quark-gluon plasma other forms of matter are also produced. The most dangerous being a black hole.”

Unreal Tournament Preview 19:15 pm - Wilfred
This is one game whose graphics had my jaws on the ground, and that was only the beta I saw. Hmm ok... let's just say I'm not exactly into fragging, so you may want to read FiringSquad's preview of other aspects such as gameplay and yes, multiplayer?

On the multiplayer side, Unreal Tournament boasts a wide variety of different game types aside from straight deathmatch. Built in support is included for team deathmatch, Capture the flag, and other games like Assault, Domination, and Last Man Standing. What's interesting is that Unreal Tournament uses a GUI menu system to allow players to tweak their settings, preferences, game types, and everything.

Microsoft Buys Visio 19:10 pm - Wilfred
A FYI headline you might just want to KNOW. The deal went for US$1.3 billion worth in Microsoft stock swap, and so now the Redmond giant effectively gained a highly profitable company with great software for technical drawings and the likes. The ZDNet Article...

Cooling The BX Chipset On The BP6 19:04 pm - Wilfred
I've heard it before, and this is the first time I read it in a formal endorsement put up by none other than Gonzo at ArsTechnica. As you may know, the BX chipset on your BP6 undergoes enuf stress running 2 CPUs (when it was designed for 1), so the effect is doubly strenuous if you attempt to overclock your dual setups (who doesn't?!). The tremendous amount of heat generated will put a cap to the maximum speeds and overall system stability, which is why there exist this article!

I can happily say this particular system has been considerably more stable since I slapped some custom cooling on the BX chipset. In the 7 days since I performed this procedure, I have been able to run this machine at 550MHz (5.5 x 100) with no problems except for one day that I left the air conditioner off and it was over 80°F in my computer room. Even then it ran at 522MHz without any problems at all, even while playing Q3A extensively. Of all of the BP6 machines in the Ars Labs, this one was the most finiky, but now it was on par with the others, as far as I was concerned.

3DfxCOOL S370 Alpha Cooler 18:56 pm - Wilfred
3DSpotlight has a review of the above cooler from 3DfxCOOL. It looks quite similar to the GlobalWin Alphas, but how does it perform?

The Alpha is by far one of the best coolers, even for the Socket 370 CPUs. You can tell that there was some major research done in design the design of the Alpha. 3DfxCOOL make this heatsink and fan combo available at a reasonable cost. The package also includes a tube of high quality MPU 3.7 heatsink compound and a converter for the power connector on the fan, which is always a welcome bonus.

REALMagic Hollywood DVD Decoder 18:51 pm - Wilfred
Received an email from Overclockers.COM that pointed me to their new review on the a/m card. With prices so affordable, it is a matter of time before I grab my own DVD kit. Well, this is a damn fine card if you asked us, and our reviewer, Boon Kiat, stands by it! =)

The EM8300 MPEG-2 Decoder provides full screen high-resolution jitter-free movie playback, utilising a 10-bit video DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) for crystal clear TV output to either NTSC or PAL systems - the playback system being selectable from within the player application. It will decode both DVD-video as well as MPEG-2 and MPEG-1 interactive titles (those V-CD's you've been hanging on to), at a sustainable input channel data rate of up to 20 Mbps. Most 3rd generation DVD drives have transfer rates that max out at around 8 Mbps with averages around 6 Mbps - this decoder has way more than enough grunt to handle it.

Building Overclocked Dual Celeries Systems 18:45 pm - Wilfred
It's an 'IN THING' now - well, at least for geeks like us, to assemble our own dual Celeron systems given the convenience provided by boards like the Abit BP6. The guys at SystemLogic has an article for you if you intend to build one yourself. Check it out!

Enlight EN-8950 Casing 06:37 am - Kan
Over at AnandTech, Anand reviewed another casing, the Enlight EN-8950 server casing. Powerful stuffs, it even comes with wheels.

As with most server cases, the 8950 does offer built in electrical chassis intrusion detectors as well as the dual locking front door as mentioned before as two types of prevention against unauthorized case access, which is much more of an important issue when dealing with server cases than with your home computer case.  Another feature commonly found with server cases are the four wheels present on the 8950.  The two front wheels feature a locking mechanism that effectively prevent the case from rolling when you don't want it to. 

Skywell Magic Theater Pro Review 06:35 am - Kan
SharkyExtreme released another new review on the Skywell Magic Theatre Pro.

With DVD video playback on the PC becoming more commonplace, Skywell obviously saw the need for a capable Dolby surround compliant audio solution that could easily be connected to your PC. One that didn't cost an arm and a leg either. The Magic Theater Pro kit, which has an estimated retail price of US $180 consists of a 5.1 speaker setup, a Dolby surround compliant audio board, the Magic Sound Live! (which is also available separately) and the necessary cables for hooking up the speakers to your computer.

NOMAD MP3 Player 06:33 am - Kan
AGN Hardware reviewed the Creative NOMAD MP3 Player. Heh heh, watch out for the NOCRAZY MP3 player from us (nah, just joking).

The MP3 market was bound to the PC only a short time ago, but now MP3s are also headed toward everything from the car to your pockets. The new Creative Labs NOMAD is one of those pocket players, with a miniscule size and weight that is sure to fit perfectly in a pair of tight jeans without much of a pocket. 

The NOMAD is more than just small size though, they have also done a great job of delivering massive features as well. When armed with a NOMAD in your pocket, you can use everything from MP3 playback to Voice recording and to FM radio as well. You can also program your songs into MP3 using Creative's EAX options, that is true to bring a new level of quality to your MP3 playback.

Corsair PC-133 SDRAM 06:30 am - Kan
ComputingPros posted a review of the Corsair PC-133 SDRAM. RAM prices are not exactly what you call cheap now, so hold off your purchases.

Currently there is no motherboard out that truly supports the 133MHz FSB (upcoming Athlon boards will support it). So the benefits of PC133 SDRAM won't be realized by the average computer users who buy it now. Only the few hardcore overclockers out there that are overclocking their CPU and using a 133MHz FSB are going to truly benefit. This isn't to say you shouldn't go out and buy it now. There's still some performance gain from using PC133 SDRAM over PC100 memory as you'll see in the benchmarks. The other benefit is if you're overclocking to FSBs above 100Mhz. If you're experiencing trouble overclocking successfully, using PC133 memory just might do the trick.

Evation IRMan 06:23 am - Kan
Interesting piece of review over at 3DHardware.net. Evation IRMan is a blackbox which you hook up to your serial box and it is able to receive infrared red signals from any remote controller (e.g. TV, LD, DVD). Hmm, Windows Update thru your TV remote controller?

After connecting the IRMan to your PC, it's time to install the software. As I said none was shipped with the IRMan, (which in other words doesn't need any drivers), but like any true brink-of-the-millennium company should, Evation offers a huge list of compatible software, all free for download in either free or shareware versions on their website. The utility that's easiest to use and will probably be the one you install first if you buy the IRMan, is the remote control WinAmp plug in

Palm Pilot V Review 06:21 am - Kan
For those Palmsters out there who use Palm Pilots, ActiveWin dropped us a line that they have the Palm Pilot V review ready.

Next you need to charge up the Palm Pilot V for 3 hours. The Palm V comes with a Lithium-ion battery that can be recharged every time you place the organizer back into its cradle, you never need to do a battery replacement and it only needs a few minutes a day to get a full recharge. While the Palm V is charging up you can start to install the Palm Desktop software that comes in the package.

BP6 Cooling 06:12 am - Kan
Wow, I nearly fell off from my chair when I saw the BP6 Cooling article at our pals over at HardOCP. This is what I call hardcore cooling. Kids, don't try this at home unless you are specially trained.

There are actually two different systems here. The first is a bit tricky and I wouldn’t recommend it to newbie ductheads. It does however work with the Global Win units that are a bit cheaper than the Alphas. The “GW” fans blow down onto the heat sink, which dumps hot air all around the base of the socket, and without proper direction, back thru the fan again. (not good) This manifold wraps around three sides of the twin hs/f set and uses a 92mm/70cfm fan to suck that hot air away. A port in the side of the case gives vent to that fan while three 80mm/36cfm fans bring in fresh air. 

Windows RC2 Launched! 06:10 am - Kan
I actually can get so excited with some beta OS (oh well, it's all along beta-ware anyway). Spotted this over at BetaNews on the official launch of Windows RC2.

PRESS RELEASE - Steve Ballmer announced at Windows Strategy Day today that Windows 2000 Release Candidate 2 for the Professional, Server & Advanced Server editions will be available this week. Microsoft is very excited about this important milestone to deliver Windows 2000. As Microsoft gets closer to launching Windows 2000, they are pleased to announce the anticipated system requirements as well as reiterate the upgrade path. While Windows 2000 has been feature complete for some time now, Microsoft has continued to make key fit and finish adjustments and improvements to the code based on customer feedback. Below is a list of what beta customers can expect from RC 2 as well as important information about system requirements and upgrade paths.

15 September 1999 - Wednesday

Maxi Gamer Cougar 22:10 pm - Wilfred
While other sites busied themselves with first pics of Leadtek's GeForce256-based card (everyone received the same pic simultaneously!?) or writing about 3dfx's FXT1, a quiet notice from Guillemot slipped into my mailbox. This card won't appeal to the high-end, but at least it is wallet friendly!

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - Wednesday, September 15, 1999 - Guillemot is showing its claws with the new Maxi Gamer Cougar(tm) graphics card based on the NVIDIA RIVA TNT2 M64(tm) chipset. The card will offer unrivalled visual quality and ultra-fast 3D graphics for only $99.99 after a mail-in rebate.

"Gamers as well as home PC users will get the best deal from the Maxi Gamer Cougar. With 32 MB of RAM, this cards offers excellent 3D and 2D resolutions and high-speed frames and refresh rates," says Parth Shukla, Product Manager for Guillemot. "The new card offers high image quality and the ability to play the latest and next generation games at their best and at a very affordable price."

Maxi Gamer Cougar
With an attractive set of features and an unbelievable low price, the Maxi Gamer Cougar will appeal to customers wishing to upgrade their systems without spending a fortune. It offers the best visual quality with photo-realistic 3D and razor sharp textures in the most demanding 3D games, as well as fast frame rates for unparalleled 3D acceleration. Using TwiN-Texel(tm) architecture with 32-bit rendering allows for high definition resolutions and extraordinary fill rate results as well as advanced single-pass multi-texturing effects such as fogging, lighting and fully operating bump mapping. The 32-bit Z-buffer also provides higher depth details. In 2D applications, the 300 MHz RAMDAC supplies outstanding resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 in 16.7 million colors.

The Maxi Gamer Cougar features:

  • 128-bit 3D processor for ultra-fast frame rates.
  • 32 MB on-board RAM with over 1 GB/s bandwidth
  • AGP 2X/4X interface with full AGP texturing support
  • 125 MHz core clock
  • Complete OpenGL® ICD and Direct 3D(tm)/Direct X(tm) hardware support

Overclocking Guide 18:18 pm - Wilfred
Yup! 3DRage just cooked up their very own overclocking guide, so newbies... catch this first before you accidentally fry that chip of yours! It's lengthy and covers a great bit, so check it out!

The most important element of cooling your CPU is the heatsink/fan combo that is utilized to cool your CPU. This is one area in which you cannot be too frugal. The retail heatsink and fan that comes with the Intel line of CPU's is ok for overclocking one or maybe two levels up, but any more and you will be best off purchasing a better heatsink and fan. Some people may opt for a peltier cooler, which will cool even better, but it does have some dangers, and they cost more too. The bigger the heatsink the better, this is a basic rule.

First Pic Of Leadtek WinFast GeForce 256 18:12 pm - Wilfred
To be fair, the first mail came from SystemLogic about a shot of the card that will soon be hitting shelves. I know many can't wait already!

Introduction To Linux At The FiringSquad 18:09 pm - Wilfred
Our buds at The FiringSquad can't seem to stop churning out review after review, article after article - now they bring you their Introduction to Linux. Here's a clip:

The three biggest draws to Linux are it's stability, versatility, and raw performance. When compared to the OS's most people are used to, Linux is an extraordinary stable system. It is very rare for a well-administered Linux system to crash in a way that necessitates a reboot. Even for people without system administration experience, Linux is definitely more stable than Windows NT, and almost indescribably more stable than Windows 9x.

Swiftech MC1000 Cooler 18:02 pm - Wilfred
BXBoards sent note of an expensive review on the heavy-duty peltier CPU cooler from Swiftech (expensive coz they accidentally blew a PIII chip in the testing!). Ouch!!

Windows RC2 To Be Released 11:26 am - Kan
This is good news for people running Windows 2000 now. BetaNews posted this little widget:

Earlier today, Microsoft posted the second Windows 2000 Release Candidate to the NTBeta FTP. As reported, Microsoft first declared Release Candidate 2 late last week, whereupon it went through last minute testing from independent service vendors, bringing the build number up to 2128. As stated early this month, Microsoft will officially launch RC2 tomorrow at DevDays '99, where all attendees will receive a copy of the build. Windows 2000 testers are expected to receive download access sometime tomorrow. Release Candidate 2 will be the last major pre-release of Windows 2000 before it goes RTM (Release To Manufacturing) on November 15th.

SyGate Review 11:22 am - Kan
Our pals over at ArsTechnica posted a review and HOWTO on the NAT software SyGate. Basically NAT is a protocol which allows you to share your cable/ADSL with multiple users in your internal LAN.

SyGate is a Win32 application and runs fine on 9x and NT both.  If you're a Linux type or just feeling adventurous, there is definitely something to be said for procuring an inexpensive box, throwing Linux on it, and starting up IP Masquerading.  If you've already got an unused machine on hand, that would be a good way to put it to use.   However, not everybody has the time or the spare hardware to put such a solution together. SyGate can run fine on a Win32 machine that has other uses as well and, as we'll see, the time investment is practically nil.

Pioneer 10X DVD Drive 06:51 am - Kan
Yup, 10X of pure madness available now. AGN Hardware reviewed the Pioneer 10X (13.5 Mb/s) IDE DVD Drive. This drive is equivalent to a 40X CD-ROM drive. Woohoos!

Sit down and imagine two years back and the type of games that were available for the PC. Those games were quite low in image quality, with very limited 3D support and much slower frame rates. The reason for the more impressive quality games we are seeing now is the popularity of impressive 3D supporting video cards. The months and years of technological advancement for the 3D video world, has allowed software developers to provide games with higher quality graphics that can still work properly on a large selection of computers.

Monthly Hardware News August Edition 06:48 am - Kan
Our buds over at iXBT-Hardware consolidated their thoughts in the IT scene and published it into the Monthly Hardware News August Edition. Take a look at their power writing!

Of course, most attention was drawn to two processor cores, which fell into the company's hands - Gobi and Mojave. The future of the letter looks pretty doubtful in the present day conditions. VIA sincerely complains about the fact that there is still enough work to be done with this processor, it is far not ready yet, and the salaries of American engineers are incredibly high. In this respect certain economizing measures were taken: according to the agreed terms VIA got only 160 specialists out of about 330 Cyrix employees and National was so kind to fire all the rest. Moreover, in August it suddenly appeared that even those lucky guys from Cyrix, who were taken on staff to VIA won't manage to retain their jobs over there and that they are very likely to follow the footsteps of their dismissed colleagues in a month or two after the launching of Gobi.

Sidewinder Dual Strike 06:27 am - Kan
Our pals over at ActiveWin brought us a review on the new Sidewinder Dual Strike gamepad. Totally awesome!

Next up I plugged the Dual Strike into my USB port on my PC. Almost straight away Windows 98 recognized the USB device as the Microsoft Sidewinder Dual Strike, it began to setup the drivers and then asked me to insert my Windows 98 CD. Once it had grabbed a couple of files off of the Windows 98 CD, it ejected the CD and I was ready to go.

FXT1 06:25 am - Kan
More juice on the recently announced 3Dfx's FXT1 technology over at HotHardware. Excitement, anticipation and drool, that's what happens each time new tech is announced!

How do you get more large textures cranking through a 3D Graphics Chip? You guessed it, compression. 3dfx has a new compression algorithm for their next generation product. Like S3, 3dfx realizes that there are significant bottle necks in processing the large textures in today's 3D game. 3dfx will introduce this new algorithm with their next generation 3D processor and it will be resident on chip. In addition, they have taken the approach that S3 has taken, to the next level. Here's what we were told...

Dual E-Switch  06:21 am - Kan
DansData dropped us a line of their new review on the Mototech Dual E-Switch 8 port switch. Hmm, this switch is pretty affordable too!

A proper eight port 10/100 duplex compatible switch for about the same price as a an eight port 10/100 hub sounds like a misprint. Switches are supposed to be big and black and expensive, as befits their network-accelerating function (see the sidebar to the right, if you're wondering what exactly that function is). But this one's the size of a hub with the same number of ports, runs from a mains plugpack just like a cheapo hub, and only costs $240 (Australian dollars).

IBM 22GXP 06:19 am - Kan
Adrian's Rojak Pot posted a review on the IBM 22GXP 7200 rpm hard drive. Prolly we'll witness the 5400 rpms being phased out in no time.

However, with the ever faster processor speeds and increased RAM bandwidth, the hard drive was increasingly becoming a major system performance bottleneck. Evidently, 5400rpm drives are not very suitable for today's high bandwidth multimedia requirements. Try as many hard disk manufacturers will, they will not be able to squeeze much more out of their 5400rpm drives. So, the obvious move would be to migrate to a faster spindle speed - 7200rpm.


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