28 September 1999 - Tuesday

Elsa Erazor III
23:02 pm - Wilfred
SystemLogic also got hold of the Erazor III TNT2 card with the Revelator glasses. So what did they think of it? How does it differ from Hardware-One's very own take, or does it? =)

Well you know how the glasses work, its benefits, how they look, but how did they really work when I applied them to some of the games? Believe it or not they worked wonders. I have to say, I had my doubts at first, but the glasses really came through and the games looked great. The best game that worked with the glasses? In my opinion it was EA Sport's NBA Live 99, it was unbelievably realistic, and made the game all the better. 

S3TC vs FXT1 22:05 pm - David
GPU3D has posted up a nice article on S3TC vs FXT1 compression.

As the race to build the perfect video card has raged on, we have witnessed great technological changes on the hardware level, packing more memory and faster clock speeds on an ever-smaller chip. Although any videophile can recite the specs of their beloved TNT2, few have a grasp on the software which brings to you the reddest of blood and the biggest of explosions. Granted this would be a perfect segue to the new DirectX7, I am alluding instead to compression.

Epson Stylus 740 21:50 pm - David
Target PC has done a review on the Epson Stylus 740 printer. And it's USB, sweet!

As a matter of fact most early printers from other manufacturers emulated many of Epson's printers both in operation and with drivers designed for Epson's own machines. However today the playing field involves many other products that are very competitive and feature aggressive pricing. While Epson does provide more feature laden printers one could consider the Stylus 740 to be their flagship for the home user as it provides the features common to most bubble jet printers with a few more special features thrown in.

Unlimited ADSL? 21:43 pm - David
Bet I got your attention now? Saw this down at our forum, regarding a new plan from our local SingTel Magix. So hop on in! 

19" Monitor Roundup 21:40 pm - David
PC Magazine has thrown up an article about 19" monitors, are you getting one soon? I am very tempted. =)

But in general, the 19-inch monitors we looked at are more than adequate for both business and graphics or CAD use. 19-inch monitors are affordable, and they don't take up much more desk space than 17-inch models. For those reasons, we see them becoming the standard for any business environment that involves PC-intensive work

Sega’s Zip Drive Revealed 21:00 pm - Sniper
Well, kind of miss out this piece of news. Anyway, Next Generation Online has posted an exclusive shoot of the Zip drive for the Dreamcast.

During the Tokyo Game Show, an NGO reporter managed to snag a shot of the Sega Zip Drive, a 100 Meg ATAPI device designed to hold extended save data from both games and the internet. The device, which features a front-mounted USB port, not only enhances Dreamcast storage capabilities, but also opens up the machine to whole new avenues of data distribution.

Intel 820 Chipset Review 20:54 pm - Sniper
Perhaps it's pretty useless to review this chipset now since its flawed. However, it's still interesting to find out what Ace's Hardware has to say about it.

The Willamette, Intel's seventh generation processor won't be ready before Q4 2000, but Intel still has a few tricks up its sleeves to get the performance crown back. One of them is the i820 chipset, the successor of the very reliable and successful BX-chipset. The 820 boasts interesting features like 133 MHz FSB, AGP 4x and support for RDRAM (RAMBUS DRAM). 

Handspring Visor Deluxe 19:14 pm - Sniper
This is the 1st review that I came across on this new product. Thanks to PC Magazine for it. A clone or a stronger hybrid?

The Palm organizer gets its first serious competition, and it comes from the same people who designed the original Palm. The most exciting feature of this $250 PDA: a special slot for plug-and-play hardware and software upgrades.

AMK SECC-80+ 17:24 pm - Kan
The AMK SECC-80+ is one-hell-of-a-cooling system (though it doesn't look really impressive). Check out TheTechZone review on it:

The fan used in the SECC80+ is a lot bigger and more powerful than what is used in the SECC80. The fan is so big it goes off the edge of the sink. The fan is held to the heatsink by 2 screws. While this doesn't seem very secure it works quite well. Those screws holds really tight. The ball bearing fan spins at 2900 RPM, blowing 36 CFM of air onto the heatsink. Noise level is a quiet 32 dBA. The fan use a pass though power connector and gets power directly from the power supply, not the motherboard.

Cooling Your System 17:22 pm - Kan
3DRage sent note on their new article on Cooling your System. All I know is if I stay in the North Pole, my overclocked PC will be rock stable!

The fundamental practice of successfully overclocking your new CPU is keeping your system at an ambient temperature for its surrounding components. In fact, sometimes the heat of a system can rise so high it will cause an ordinary(non-overclocked) system to run without stability. Not only does heat cut short your chances of overclocking, but it also shortens the life of your system. As time passes and computers become technologically more advanced, the heat that the average system is generating is rising. There are many factors in your system's environment that will cause your system to gather heat.

Earthquake In Taiwan 17:18 pm - Kan
Alright, our pals over at iXBT-Hardware whipped up an article analyzing on the PC market after the massive earthquake in Taiwan. Even though we may feel the pinch when the prices raises, let us not forget the 100,000 people who were homeless due to the earthquake.

As for the damage, it will take pretty long before it is finally calculated. For today, the preliminary estimates show that Taiwanese economy has lost about $3.1 billion. Quake damage can cut the island's exports by as much as US$1 billion this month. Among this money the semiconductor manufacturers lost about $100 million, according to preliminary estimates. And here we mean not the destroyed buildings. To tell the truth, not so many buildings were directly ruined.

Kan Moans 17:13 pm - Kan
Thanks for the flood of mails babes. In case you don't know, I just came back from the hospital. Darn, I think I saw a pretty babe down there. :) Anyway, yes, I had an orgasmic (read PAINFUL) time  in the hospital with surgeons opening up my head to squeeze pus out (I had an infection, probably it's because I suck too much juice (what juice?!) ). Anyway, I think I'm still alive (barely), so not to worry. 

Oh yes guys, thanks for the wreaths (cough...flowers?) and soup (can soup??) and teddy bears. I'm not yet ready to leave, so stop eyeing my car and my BP6!  

More Computing Tidbits At osOpinion 15:25 pm - Yingzong
osOpinion has given us three more computing tidbits for our digestion. I will touch on two of them. One of them has an interesting title, "Wincing for WINCE". Here's a bite :

Except, I'm not impressed. Microsoft still hasn't resolved in creating a proper OS that Windows 9x/NT series should've been since the beginning. I only have to compare them with MacOS, which has evolved quite nicely over the years. By contrast, there are still to many crashes, cryptic error messages and hardware/software incompatibilities that'll never be resolved in Windows. Yet Mike wants us to depend on the same company that's extraordinarily lax about security issues, has a tendency to program its OSes that require expensive purchases in memory and hard drive just to ensure that code has enough space to function properly and will need 3 versions before the company succeeds what it should done so the first time.

Here's a longer one named, "NT versus Linux for Small-Business Networking". This is about a honest personal experience by a network administrator on using MS BackOffice and Red Hat Linux.

Due to my own experience, I harbor serious doubts about the ability of the average non-technical small business owner or workgroup leader to easily use BackOffice Small Business Server 4.0 without the assistance of a highly-skilled sysadmin. I'm not even sure Microsoft intends them to, despite the "easy" rhetoric on their promotional materials -- the constant exhortations to "ask your sysadmin" and "contact your BackOffice SBS compliant ISP" suggest otherwise. My personal opinion is that the current advertising campaign featuring small, family-run or sole proprietorship, non-technical businesses is misleading. Given the relatively high cost of deploying the software package, this could be an expensive and frustrating mistake for real-world small business owners with limited resources. Although I haven't yet been able to use Small Business Server 4.5 -- I'm waiting for my upgrade, although now might be the moment to ask why Microsoft knows my address well enough to send me junk mail but not well enough to send me upgrades without making me re-register for them -- my real-world experience with 4.0 has been such that I could not personally recommend it to anyone.

In contrast to published accounts insinuating otherwise, I found Linux to be easy to learn and fun to work with, as well as the lowest-cost option. I'm now my own sysadmin and sleep a lot better at night, because every component of my Linux setup does exactly what it claims it will do.

SE Reviews P3-533B And P3-600B CPUs 15:10 pm - Yingzong
Another review on the P3 "B" series of chips by Intel. This time round, it's by the guys at Sharky Extreme. As mentioned, these chips are your regular P3 processors save for their 133MHz Front Side Bus. Here's the article in brief :

For now, buyers who wish to operate their systems at a 133MHz bus speed will need three specific items:

- A mainboard that's capable of selecting and handling the 133MHz bus speed.

- PC-133 SDRAM, although most PC-100 SDRAM we've seen the past two months can handle 133MHz without a problem.

- An Intel CPU that's set to operate at a 133MHz bus speed, which consists solely of the P3-533B and P3-600B at the moment. (100MHz-class Intel P3s can only achieve a 133MHz bus speed if grossly overclocked, which is not a guaranteed solution.)

The best part of the list above is the fact that if the user decides they want to upgrade later on to an i820 mainboard when they finally arrive, all they'll need to do is swap out the 440BX or i810e mainboard itself and plug in the new i820 board.

Rainbow Six : Rogue Spear Review 15:00 pm - Yingzong
Caught this down today at The Adrenaline Vault. They just did a review on this First-Person Tactical game by Red Storm Entertainment, Rainbow Six : Rogue Spear. It's a brief article, but it appears that the guys loved it enough to warrant a Reviewer's Choice.

Like the first game, this sequel follows the storyline depicted in Clancy's Rainbow Six novels. The plot, which is presented during intermissions, is extremely entertaining, albeit a little complex for action fans. And surely, it would be an error to group this title into the action category, mainly because it focuses as much on strategy and tactics as it does on adrenaline and reflexes. Notwithstanding these added elements, even first-person shooter fans should heed the arrival of Rogue Spear -- it's definitely one of those special games that transcends genre lines.

Defection From Intel? 14:07 pm - Sniper
Seems that OEMS are shifting away from Intel chipsets in the wake of delay of the 820 chipset.  Read it fully here.

IBM will announce tomorrow that it is using chipsets from Taiwan-based Via for three new systems in the wake of the delay of the 820 chipset, sources at IBM said. Today, Micron Electronics said it is incorporating Via products into its boxes for the first time. 

Sun Posts Beta Of Next-generation Java 14:03 pm - Sniper
Java for e-commerce?  Hope it beats Microsoft's offering.

In development for the past year, the Java 2 Enterprise Edition competes with Microsoft's programming model called Windows Distributed Internet Applications. The two companies are at odds because Sun wants programmers to use Java so the software they build can be used in all computers. Microsoft primarily wants developers to create software that operates with its Windows operating system. 

IBM 1GHz 64-bit PPC To Deliver 11,000 MIPS 13:50 pm - Sniper
More information has been available on this hot chip at The Register. Wow, wish I have a chance to try this baby out.

Power4 will have two microprocessors on a single piece of silicon, and at 1.1GHz should be able to deliver 11,000 MIPS. The architecture comes out of Austin, and chips will be fabbed at the Fishkill Semiconductor Center. 

Poll #27: Your Preferred Fast Food Outlet 08:30 am - Wilfred
Once again, nothing really related to computers, except for maybe geeks regular fast food chains more frequently than pubs and such? Ha! We might have left out some popular names in your area, but amongst the familiar ones (at home here), it is quite clear that the golden arches is the most visited.

FEP32 on BP6 07:44 am - Kan
Guys, check out our pals ArsTechnica review of the GlobalWin FEP32 heatsink slapped on top of the ABIT BP6 motherboard.

In this test system, none of the fans were able to change the fact that the BP6 needed to be crankin' with 2.10 volts on both CPUs to remain stable.  All temps are reported at that CPU voltage, in Celsius, and averaged over 6 hours.  Needless to say, the room temperature was the same for all of the tests - 74° F, or about 23° C.  Also, we didn't bother trying to overclock these CPUs without cooling, so there's no real "ground" measurement. Instead, we figured the CoolMaster Socket heatsink and fan combo is comparable to any default cooling solution, i.e., it's nothing special, so I believe that it provides a pretty effective basis for comparison.

CL GeForce 256 Part II 07:38 am - Kan
Hot from 3DHardware.net is the second part of their review on the CL GeForce 256. Here's an excerpt from the review:

Cube environment mapping in hardware is a new feature found in the GeForce 256. It is fully supported by DirectX 7 and OpenGL and will allow game developers to create accurate, real-time reflections. Because the GeForce 256 accelerates it in hardware, cube environment mapping will free up resources so that developers can let their creativity run free and use reflections and specular lighting effects to create immersive and stunning environments. A cube environment map is based on a six-sided cube map and reflections are captured by the six projected faces of the cube map that surround an object. A cube map shape allows linear mapping in all directions to six planar texture maps. This results in no warping nor damaging singularities associated with the use of a sphere map, particularly found at the edges of the "reflection".

Freeway Designs Dual Processor Motherboard 07:28 am - Kan
Guys, check out our pals over at Freak! with a very interesting review on the Freeway Designs Slot-1 Dual Processor motherboard. This one comes with 6 PCI, 1 AGP, no ISA slots and the board is red in color!

The best legitimate reason for buying the board is the 1 AGP / 6 PCI / 0 ISA configuration.  I haven't used an ISA card in nearly a year so an all PCI solution was very attractive to me.  The next thing was the software based BIOS that supports an obscene amount of different FSB settings up to 155MHz 

Windows 2000 RC2 For European Customers 07:23 am - Kan
Yup, Philipp from NT Gaming Palace sent note that the Windows 2000 RC2 for European customers will delivered to them in the next 60 days (yikes!) follow up with other language versions in November.

Homeworld Review 07:20 am - Kan
If you like action and strategy game, then Homeworld may be for you. Check out the review done by Speedy3D.

Having played Homeworld (HW) for literally two days solid since it arrived in the post and being utterly consumed by it's universe, I feel now is a good time to put my views across. Initially I ignored this game in its early stages of development, even shrugging off the early beta through the test program as a little flimsy and lacking depth. Since then some months have passed, the game is more balanced, graphics and engine have been tweak and so is it any better? I'm sure a lot of you would want me to sum it up in one word so that then you may return to your every day lives, unfortunately I'm going to make you read on.

27 September 1999 - Monday

Theme Park Preview
23:42 pm - Wilfred
I'm more on this type of games (if I ever find the time to play'em), and you bet when Theme Park comes out, it will be on my shopping list. The idea of running a theme park vs the old 'build a civilization' genre is very refreshing! =) Check out FiringSquad's preview of this enchanting game from Bullfrog.

What's really cool is that Theme Park World will allow players to explore their park from a first person perspective! That's right, you'll be able to run around the park you design, Quake style (without the guns of course). Not only that, but you'll actually be able to board one of your rides and ride it from the first person! Imagine getting all the thrills of loops and dives without the nausea. How about the excitement of log flumes and water rapids without the soaked socks and drenched jeans? Sweet! It remains to be seen how detailed this will be (how about buying a drink and a burger first person? Heading to the bathroom?), but just the promise of getting on the rides you design is exciting enough!

Taking Bets On Y2K Disasters 23:33 pm - Wilfred
According to this story at Wired News, a Costa Rica-based company is taking online wagers for a variety of disasters that could possibly strike humanity at the turn of the millennium. Duh?!

Quantum Atlas 10K 18.2Gb 23:24 pm - Wilfred
The HardwarePros posted a review on Quantum's high-end 10,000 rpm UltraSCSI HDD. Whaddaya think of a 5ms average seek time?

This drive is not lacking in any area.  It's has an amazing low average seek time of 5.0ms, which is amongst the lowest in the industry. It was the first drive to support the Ultra160/m interface and along with that it also supports the Fibre Channel SCA-2 interface to provide up to 200MB/s Buffer-to-Host transfer rate.  In practical use, none of today's hard drives, including this one will be able to read and write data this fast.

Tsunami Bombs Tested During WWII 23:20 pm - Wilfred
Wowzers! Ok, since a reader wrote in asking WTF has this gotta do with computing? Errmm... nothing! =P Recent declassification of military top secret documents revealed that the Americans and British tested to perfect a bomb that could trigger devastating tidal waves during the Second World War. The war was over before the project completed. Hmm... thanks to Slashdot for reminding me, check out this 'Deep Impact' spoof over at this link.

SECRET WARTIME experiments were conducted off the New Zealand coast to perfect a bomb that could trigger devastating tidal waves, according to government files declassified in Auckland.

The New Zealand Herald, citing the files, said that senior United States defence officials believed the weapon had the potential to be as deadly as the atomic bomb. But the tsunami bomb, as it was known, was never fully tested and the war ended before the project was completed.

Its mastermind was Thomas Leech, an Australian professor who as the dean of engineering at Auckland University from 1940 to 1950. He was seconded to the New Zealand Army during the Second World War. He set off a series of underwater explosions that triggered mini tidal waves at Whangaparaoa, just north of Auckland, in 1944 and 1945.

Vantec P3-D5030 Cooler 23:13 pm - Wilfred
The TechZone put up a review on Vantec's coolers for the Pentium III chips. Comparatively, their tests showed the GlobalWin VEK32 coming out tops in terms of cooling performance... check this!

The Vantec stacks up very well against the AMK-SECC80. The Global Win kicks everyone's butt. I didn't really find this unusual for 2 reasons. First the Global Win has more fin area than the Vantec and much more powerful fans. While the AMK-SECC80 has more fin area than the Global Win, it's weak 80mm fan only blows out 8CFM of air, compared to the VEK32 twin 60mm fans that pumps out over 50CFM. The second reason for the great performance of the VEK32 is in order to install the unit on a P3, I had to remove the P3 backplate. The removal of the backplate does help to reduce the CPU temperature.

The Vantec P3-5030 had no problems running the P3-450 at 580Mhz. After a whole day of Quake 3 on the LAN, the CPU temp never went higher than 45.5C. This is a really good performance. The only recommendation I can think of would be more powerful fans like the ones used in the Global Win VEK32. With a street price of $27, it's on the higher side of the price scale. However, considering all the added features that comes with the Vantec cooler, I say it's worth it.

Soul Reaver 23:09 pm - Wilfred
David of SystemLogic sent mail about a game, Soul Reaver, they reviewed. Apparently, they guys really dig it and awarded it a very high 9/10. So many games but so little time to play them <sigh>

The whole devouring of souls aspect of this game will attract players from all over. Underneath that there exists an intricate storyline coupled with excellent voice acting to immerse you in a totally new type of gaming experience. The basic elements of the game are not anything new but Crystal Dynamics adds their own unique twist to create a truly innovative game. Even though this is a great game, it is not perfect. The camera can definitely interfere with gameplay sometimes. In addition, I usually play the game in short bursts rather than sitting there for hours, and every time I start again, I get lost. The world is large and it is difficult at times to navigate. The portals are helpful but with so many symbols it is hard to keep track. Those are just minor flaws to an otherwise excellent game. If you have not played it yet, you do not know what you are missing.

Interesting Read Dept. Down at osOpinion 18:45 pm - Yingzong
More technical opinions and commentaries are available at osOpinion, which in my view, is one of the more refreshing sites around. This time, they have given us three more articles to relish. One of them is titled "The OS of Choice" and here's some of it :

When you moved into the home you live in now, did you have a choice who would supply you electricity? No you did not. How about your water supply, not likely. Do you think that the people that supply your electricity care if you "like" them or not? I will have to answer no to that also. Why? Because where else are you going to get electricity from? The same is also true with Microsoft. They do not care if you "like" them or not, They make their money when they sell the product to the PC seller, not the buyer. Microsoft does not have you in mind at the time of the contract signing. They have their bank account(s) in mind. They do not care if the seller gets rid of all the OS’s.

The second is titled "Applying Copyleft To Non-Software Information":

Copyleft contains the normal copyright statement, asserting ownership and identification of the author. However, it then gives away some of the other rights implicit in the normal copyright: it says that not only are you free to redistribute this work, but you are also free to change the work. However, you cannot claim to have written the original work, nor can you claim that these changes were created by someone else. Finally, all derivative works must also be placed under these terms.

The third is an interesting piece titled "Fighting E-mail Spammers" :

You have probably at one time or another received e-mail promising you lots of money or cheap phone sex. You reply to the spam but unfortunately the e-mail address is invalid so your reply to the spammer bounces. The purpose of this document is to allow you to identify the site and possibly the user who sent the mail.

Identifying these people is an art form. There is no right or wrong way to go about tracing their e-mail. This document attempts to identify several methods you may use to find them and make sure your comments are heard. Successful hunts can be aided with some background knowledge in DNS and SMTP.

SE Reviews Intel i820 VC820 Motherboard 18:35 pm - Yingzong
Sharky Extreme has given their take on Intel's very own Vancouver i820 mainboard. Lots of facts and figures here. With all the controversy concerning the i820 chipset, I believe users are still clinging on to the i440 chipset for the moment. Here's a small cut-off from the article :

The bottom line answer is that there's a small degree of noticeable improvement in most areas with the i820, and a large degree of noticeable improvement in a few areas where it was sorely needed.

A good example of this dichotomy lies in the Win98 boot up sequence.

Will i820/RDRAM users notice a speedier boot up time than their 440BX/PC-100 PC used to provide?


We measured the boot times with a stopwatch just for kicks, and determined that there was no appreciable difference between the two platforms in that regard.

But did we notice a difference when multiple applications within Win98 were launched back to back, or when Win98 decides it needs to reorganize its swap file right as you round the corner in a Quake3 multiplayer game and expose yourself to enemy fire?


Booting apps from the i820 platform is an interesting experience versus the months of experience from doing the same thing on a 440BX. Click on MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint one right after the other and you're rewarded with faster response times and quicker launches.

Some of this is due to the i820's much needed ATA-66 HD protocol, which when used with a newer ATA-66 hard drive provides a 15% to 25% faster disk access environment. A lot of it though is due to the i820's architecture not allowing the hard drive to eat up both CPU cycles and memory bandwidth as it frustratingly has so often in the ATA-33 limited 440BX chipset environment.

i820 Chipset and Intel PIII "B" Chip Review 18:25 pm - Yingzong
Some interesting stuff down at Anandtech. This time, the man has given us a reviews of the Intel 820 "Camino" chipset and the Intel Pentium III 533B & 600B. The Pentium III "B" series of chips are basically 133MHz P3 processors which have different clock multipliers. Here's a short clip on the "Camino" chipset review :

It’s the chipset we’ve all been told to wait for, and it’s finally here, the elusive "Camino" chipset has finally been released as the i820 on this day, the 27th of September in 1999.

Actually, no, it hasn’t. Due to a bug just recently discovered in the chipset, the i820 has been, as you’ve probably already heard, delayed until further notice. This is a huge hit for Intel because this is the first time they’ve truly screwed up a chipset launch. Sure, there have been delays before, but never have they come within a few days of releasing a product and had to cancel the launch due to a severe problem with stability. Could this be the market slipping through their clutches? Is it time for AMD and VIA to step in and take control of the industry?

And here's a bit from the P3 "B" chips review :

So what makes the Pentium III B any different from the previous generation of Pentium III processors? Other than different clock multipliers and a different pin setting to allow motherboards to detect the processors as 133MHz FSB CPUs, there is absolutely no difference between the Pentium III and the Pentium III B.

The real reason for a review on the Pentium III 533/600B is to illustrate the performance improvement (if any) those processors at the 133MHz FSB, offer.

Firingsquad Reviews Matrox Marvel G400-TV 18:15 pm - Yingzong
Our buds down at Firingsquad have given us their ballistics report on the latest offering from Matrox, the Marvel G400-TV. This cool card has hardware video capture and editing, a TV-Tuner and a G400 graphics engine. They also have some benchmarks on a steroid-pumping "TurboGL driver" for the card.

The Marvel G400-TV is the best all-in-one card on the market. It's the top consumer level video capture and editing product available, and also has great 3D performance in Q3test thanks to the new TurboGL driver.

The G400 will be able to go head to head against the Voodoo3 and TNT2 on Pentium III and Athlon systems. Don't forget that Matrox is also working with software developers to implement DualHead display technology and Environment-Mapped Bump Mapping into today's newest games. As we mentioned earlier, the only feature that the Marvel lacks is the second monitor output. The second DualHead display will be limited to the s-video and composite video outputs on the Marvel's connector box, but you will be able to purchase an add-in card that will allow you to use a flat panel display with the second output.

Preview of GeForce256 08:27 am - Wilfred
A mail from our pals at iXBT Labs never fails to bring a smile to our faces. As usual, the chaps gave it their thorough and technical analysis of nVidia's GeForce 256 in this preview.

Then, GeForce 256 can boast 4-pipeline architecture. It means that every time step there can appear 4 pixels simultaneously. Since the GPU clock frequency is 120MHz, the fillrate will make 480 million pixels per second. However, the pipelines of our hero have one texturing block each, which means that at the same clock frequency equal to 120MHz the fillrate will drop down to 240 million pixels in applications using multitexturing (when two textures are superposed over one pixel). Note that only filtered textures are superposed and 8 texture samples are used for each texel, which provides "free" anisotropic filtering.

To tell the truth, anisotropic filtering based on 8 texture samples is quite an interesting solution, however, the samples seem to be insufficient. It could be much better to involve 16 or even 32 texture samples to define the final texture color. In this case the final color definition requires 8 samples, which should in the end provide high quality image. Why does NVIDIA use only 8 samples and not more? Because this realization can be carried out with one texturing block only, which was made in GeForce 256.

The samples are selected according to the anisotropic dependence on the detailization along X- and Y-axes of the screen (LOD_X, LOD_Y). The sampling field on the texture looks similar to an ellipse with the ratio LOD_X/LOD_Y. Gauss method very well suits as a sampling function. The samples are taken from one and the same mip-level. If the ratio is not big the image will be deprived of blurring and washed out effects, however, if the ratio is quite significant, 8 samples won't be enough, and some artifacts will turn up.

Wilfred Coughs, Kan Shivers 01:42 am - Wilfred
Dear dear... Kan is ill with some undiagnosed sickness and temporarily out of action. You can always flood his mailbox with well-wishes to cheer him up a little. Ok, back to work...

VIA Apollo Pro 133 Vs Intel BX 01:39 am - Wilfred
BXBoards scored a nice benchmarking article pitting the VIA Apollo Pro chipset against the aging BX. With official support for PC133 SDRAM and a 1/2 AGP clock divider, how does it fair? Listen:

BX, despite its age, is still a good performer, and VIA have some catching up to do. The AX63Pro is an excellent implementation of VIA Apollo Pro 133 chipset, and it is a fast performer, both in relation to other VIA 133 boards, and other BX boards. The AX63Pro also produced very good application benchmarks.

It's Doctor Linus Torvalds 01:32 am - Wilfred
According to this story at IDG.net, Linux Torvalds, 29, was awarded an honorary doctorate by Stockholm University for his accomplishment as the creator of the Linux open-source operating system. 29 years?! =)

RAMBUS Problem Stings PC Makers 01:26 am - Wilfred
Take a look at this article at CNet. Sources revealed that a major problem involving the RAMBUS memory technology will further delay its introduction. Apparently, the problem is huge and early adopters are forced to take apart and destroy the boards. Doesn't look good... Here's what happened.

"It's going to be very, very expensive," he said. "Every machine put together has to be taken apart. The motherboards have to be taken apart and destroyed, and they have to build new motherboards."

The problem stems from how much memory the computers can use, Glaskowsky said. The systems built so far have three slots in the motherboard for Rambus memory, but now Intel has said that systems should only have two, he said.

The existence of the third memory slot can cause data to get lost while being transferred between memory and the main processor, Glaskowsky said. According to sources, Intel has notified manufacturers that the third slot is a problem, even if it's empty.

i820 Camino Preview & Celeron 500 Review 01:17 am - Wilfred
Review-Zone sent mail about two new updates on their site. First, they've touched up their previous Camino preview. Using newer drivers from Intel, they saw benchmarks surge slightly above that of the BX. Hmm... ok! Next in line is their review on the Celeron 500 - prolly the last Intel chip on the 66Mhz bus.

The present 0.25-micron Celeron core itself is limited to around 550MHz with standard cooling. So unless you get a real jewel, you won't be able to go beyond 550MHz. The Celeron 500 only displays an improvement of 12.5%, which is not good for a "Celeron". In fact, if you want to go past 550MHz, the best deal is to get a Celeron 366 that will work at 100MHz, giving you a clock speed of 550MHz to work with. Keep in mind that we used the stock heatsink + fan, but with better cooling you should be able to squeeze out a little bit of added performance.

Modem Tweak Guide 01:08 am - Wilfred
3DSpotlight updated their modem tweak guide. Those of you with strange modem problems or seemingly slow connections can check this to see if any miracle cure can be located.

Guillemot Maxi Gamer Cougar TNT2 M64 00:58 am - Wilfred
That's a VERY long name to type if you ask me. Well, SharkyExtreme posted a review on Guillemot's card for the budget conscious buyers. This card is no stellar performer, but it'll do just fine for RPG/RTS games that won't require that much horse-power.

In the end, the Guillemot Maxi Gamer Cougar is a solid product with excellent NVIDIA standard image quality, but when it's raced against the competition, it just can't keep up. If you are a die-hard NVIDIA fan and need a newer card but can't afford a full TNT2, the Cougar is a solid product that will keep you happy as long as you don't venture out far beyond 640x480 or compare frame rates and receipts with your friends. If you are into games designed for Glide, go for the 3dfx Voodoo3 2000. But for a value-priced card, the feature and performance of the Savage 4 Pro Extreme is that bit more attractive than the Guillemot Maxi Gamer Cougar TNT2 M64.

26 September 1999 - Sunday

HW1: Adaptec EasyCD Creator 4 Deluxe - Wilfred
Kan and les teamed up to deliver this writeup on Adaptec's EasyCD Creator 4 Deluxe software - without a doubt one of the most popular utility for 'burning' CDs. They'll walk you through using the software effectively and discussed the new features incorporated into this version. Check it out!

Adaptec Easy CD Creator V4 Deluxe is a major improvement over the previous versions, incorporating a host of new programs which helps you to perform CD burning more efficiently. This program is suitable for 
beginners/intermediate users. But if you are a self-proclaimed advanced user who walks on the edge and use features like track extraction and overburning, you might want to consider others.

Klipsch Pro-Media v2-400 19:35 pm - Wilfred
This is the second review on this set of high-end speakers from Klipsch (or at least, that's the number I'm aware of). After the chaps at 3DSoundSurge, FiringSquad also got their hands on the relatively affordable THX-certified system.

Let's just start out by saying that these speakers can really rock. I was able to achieve volume levels that rivaled my home theater system, this wasn't surprising since the Klipsch speakers are backed by a 400 watt amp. You don't need any SPL meters to tell you that these speakers can play much louder than any other multimedia speaker system. What was most pleasing was that the little satellites were able to soak up this power without maxing out until the insanely loud volumes. By insanely loud, I mean volumes SPL's where you would have to shout into the ear of the person next to you, like at a concert.

Creative Blaster 6x4x24x CD-RW 19:30 pm - Wilfred
3DAlpha wrote to tell us about their short review on Creative's latest CD-RW drive, sporting 6x Write, 4x Re-Write and 24x Read speeds.

"Bear in mind that there are faster drives than this (8x or 1,200kb/sec), but also bear in mind that not everyone buys a CD-R/CD-RW drive that writes faster than 4x. Though let me say one thing before I tell you the performance notes: 6x is simply sweet, and what's better: It's being brought to you by a company who knows what the hell they're doing. Creative has been making dependable computer equipment for some time now, and this drive isn't any exception for performance or stability."

ICQ Surf Alpha 1.00 13:30 pm - Wilfred
Remember the program called Gooey, which allows you to chat with people visiting the same web page as you? ICQ, too, released ICQ Surf in the same fashion. Check out the page right here.

Windows CleanUp Guide 13:15 pm - Wilfred
Tweak3D has updated their Windows cleanup guide after a while. Yes, many of you could prolly do with a major spring cleaning of your system, but before you hit that format command, see if this guide can salvage the mess for ya!

It has been a few months or longer since you last made a clean reinstall of your OS. The overall performance of the computer is beginning to suffer, a product of unused DLL's cluttering up the system folder, and the overall obesity of the registry files which Windows does a terrible job of managing. A feeling of dread is clouding over the workspace in which the computer resides. It's time to reinstall the OS. But wait! That painful process of deleting the Windows directory, reinstalling the operating system, and then having to reload all of the applications and games CAN be averted.

ActionTec USB Call Waiting Modem 08:49 am - Kan
WickedPC posted a review on the ActionTec USB Call Waiting Modem. Hmm, not bad as now you won't miss a call when you are surfing the net.

This incredibly tiny modem was a breeze to install. We did not even look at the manual until after installing the modem. First, take the modem out, plug it in, and when it asks for drivers, pop in the CDROM and it installs itself. Since the USB ports on your PC power the modem, there are no power cords or bulky adapters to install, just the USB cable, and the phone/line cords. If you mess up the install, we must question your sanity. There isn't any way you could possibly install it wrong.

Water Cooling 08:45 am - Kan
Check out the crazy Water Cooling article over at Overclockers Australia. Remember, implement them at your own risk! 

For the water reservoir I bought a very high-tech device - a white plastic 4-litre bucket for $4.00. I wanted something with a lid so I could avoid pets drinking out of it, stuff falling into it, the exhaust line spraying water out of the bucket etc. The lid cost an extra $1.50. After having experimented a bit, the plastic bucket is a bad idea as it insulates the water from the surrounding air, so the water can only lose heat through the top (and not even that with the lid on). A metal one would let it radiate heat from the sides too. I didn't see a small-capacity metal bucket at the hardware store, though. And, I guess, if the water is below room temp, insulating it is a good thing. Hmm.

Tiberian Sun 08:43 am - Kan
More reviews on the game Tiberian Sun and this time it's from SystemLogic

Command & Conquer 2: Tiberian Sun is the third installment to Command & Conquer series of games from Westwood. It basically represents the culmination of all the elements in the previous RTS games with innovations of its own. Nowadays, RTS games are beginning to move more and more to 3D environments. Tiberian Sun stays true to the original by adopting the same style interface and views. Westwood has, however, added more interactivity through the use of changing environments, three dimensional terrain, and colored & dynamic lighting. This is definitely a step up from previous games, but does Tiberian Sun offer enough innovation to really set it above the rest? Let's find out. 

NEC Versa LX 08:41 am - Kan
Digital-Clips dropped us a line on their latest review on the NEC Versa LX laptop. This one comes with a Celeron 366, 96 MB of RAM and a 13.3" TFT LCD.

However, the intense competition in the notebook market has certainly stretched this generic stereotypical train of thought.  Hell, even Asus are making notebooks now. =)  When it comes to electronics, nothing beats the Japanese, and well, a notebook can be thought of as an electronic more so than a computer.  Notebooks are intricate little darlings (well the new models anyway) and seem so much more human than the grey boxes we’re used to.  Anyhow, lets get on with the review, after all, I haven’t even mention NEC, when I’m supposed to be reviewing its latest “back to school” offering, the NEC Versa LX 366C series.  Here’s an excerpt from the official site.

Ultima Online 2 Announced 02:55 am - Yingzong
How could I have missed this? Gamecenter has given us word that Origin Systems will be producing the next in online entertainment : Ultima Online 2. I've personally tried UO before. It's quite enjoyable if you play it with friends and the group of you like a gradual pace of development that lets you feel the breeze and smell the roses. But the monthly costs kept me away. Well, you wanna play, you gotta pay. Check it out :

"One of our primary goals is to make Ultima Online 2 fun, exciting, and accessible," said Starr Long, UO2 producer, in a prepared statement. "We're implementing an intuitive interface and easy-to-use tutorials to give players a jump-start on their adventures. We're also designing UO2 around extraordinary fiction, artwork, and animation, which will [put] UO2's virtual world in a different class from the competition." To that end, UO2 will feature monsters and characters conceptualized by producer/director Todd McFarlane, creator of the award-winning HBO animated series, Spawn. Origin is also partnering with Todd McFarlane Entertainment to create an action-figure line of products based on the UO2 world.

There will be emphasis placed on community building in UO2. The game will feature community-building tools that include communication software, a party/guild system, player-owned property, and character customization. UO2 is also the first Ultima game that Ultima creator Richard Garriott will not produce. Garriott is busy finishing up Ultima IX: Ascension, and then will move onto another unannounced project.

REALmagic Hollywood Plus Review 02:45 am - Yingzong
Caught this down at Planet RIVA. It's a review on Sigma Designs' REALmagic Hollywood Plus, a MPEG-2 decoder. If DVD is your cup of tea, you might want to check this out.

DVD means digital and digital means crap-free. Although the image quality depends on the transfer to DVD, the Hollywood Plus does an excellent job of displaying the video and you can use the DVD Station to adjust the contrast, brightness and color levels to fix any small quality problems. Just take a look at the screenshots. Bug's Life is the perfect example of a pure digital transfer to DVD. No artifacts or graininess whatsoever.

The choice is yours, do you really need this product? If you want perfectly smooth playback, digital audio and the ability to show your DVDs on your TV then the REALmagic Hollywood Plus is a great product. Installation was a breeze, nothing short of perfect and the decoder performed very well without any problems.

Maxtor DiamondMax 6800 Review 02:40 am - Yingzong
FPS3D has done their review on the whopping 27.2GB offering from Maxtor, the DiamondMax 6800. This is a 5400RPM ATA/66 drive with a 9ms seek time. According to the guys, it's a quiet performer too. Catch a slice of the goods here :

Well, the DiamondMax isn't as fast as I thought it would be, but it does have a few other things going for it. For example, it has a HUGE 2MB cache buffer. The Quantum Fireball Plus KA only has a 512 kilobyte buffer.

The DiamondMax also supports ATA/66, a fairly new, and wonderful, interface. So, it may kill you to know that it's RPM is a little low, and the seek time is a little high, but it has a nice size buffer and supports ATA/66.

Sharky Extreme Reviews Elitegroup Mobo 02:35 am - Yingzong
Yuppers, the fellas down at Sharky Extreme just finished their review on the Elitegroup P6BXT 440BX Motherboard. Nothing notable to say about it though. It's just another run-of-the-mill BX board. Let's hear it from the dudes themselves :

The ECS P6BXT - A+ is a competent, if not generic, 440BX mainboard that is outshone by some of its competition who have boards that offer a greater level of feature support.

We liked the integrated audio solution, but only if a stand-alone card is unavailable. We also appreciated the inclusion of both a Slot-1 and a Socket370 connector on the board, although the availability of slotket converters renders this feature relatively moot.

If you aren't concerned with the sub-par aspects of the P6BXT (primarily the lack of overclocking and ceiling of just four PCI slots) then we can recommend it as it served us well.

Anandtech Reviews Matrox Marvel G400 TV 02:30 am - Yingzong
Again, the incredibly resourceful Anandtech has given us their review on the new G400 TV from Matrox. The G400 cards with their Enviroment Mapped Bump Mapping (EMBM) appear to possess quite a bit of potential, but it is a pity that they have not taken off. Anyhow, here's the say from guys :

So when should you buy the Marvel G400? If you aren't low on disk space (or are willing to go out and buy another hard drive for your videos) and want to produce high quality home videos and, at the same time, you want to use that system for gaming and can find a use or two for the DualHead feature then the Marvel G400 starts to make sense.

It is a difficult sell at $299, since the software bundle could be strengthened considerably and the video editing capabilities are relatively unchanged since the Marvel G200 but that still doesn't keep the Marvel G400 from being the best overall solution of its kind, at least until some competition pops up.

As a cost effective solution that brings desktop video editing to you in an easy to use package, Matrox succeeds where the rest have failed. The $300 pricetag still brings you, as a home PC user or a video enthusiast, video editing at a reasonable price without compromising features. The support for hardware MJPEG just makes the Marvel G400 a little more unique than the competition, in a very good way.

25 September 1999 - Saturday

Marvel G400 TV
08:23 am - Kan
Darn! This is fast! GA-Source is quick to post a review on the new G400 TV card with hardware MPEG editing capabilities.

Also include is the MPEG2 Transcoder. It allows you to convert avi files that you recorded into a variety of different MPEG1 and MPEG2 sizes and formats. It helps to fill in the file types that Avid Cinema does not directly save to.

The other piece of software that Matrox includes is a software DVD decoder, which is also a must. One thing that I thought was somewhat funny in the TNT/2 manufacturers is that (if you look at it) the manufacturers who included TV out DIDN'T include software DVD players, and vice-versa. Matrox, having the best video out, also included the DVD player. One nice feature with this is that using the Dual-Head, you can pump the DVD output through the secondary connector, and not have to watch it on the monitor while it is displayed on the TV.

Digital Video Guide Part 3 08:20 am - Kan
Rather interesting piece of article over at TomsHardware on Digital Video. The guys touched on topics like the commonly used compression formats such as .AVI, .MPG etc. They also have explanations on how MPEG encoding works.

Avid PC users will almost certainly remember the first time they were able to view a video clip on their computer. The clips were about the size of a postage stamp and were generously referred to as "multimedia". Later, the first acceptable video clips were used in the opening scenes of computer games. In some cases, there were even digital 3D animations that couldn't be created in real-time with the hardware and software that was available in those days. As the video clips demanded extensive storage space (despite their short length), they were only available on CD-ROM drives that had recently become popular.

Cyborg 2000 vs Thrustmaster Top Gun USB 08:14 am - Kan
We have a game controllers thrash out over at SharkyExtreme with the Saitek Cyborg 2000 vs Thrustmaster Top Gun USB.

Flight simulators suck when you're using a keyboard and mouse. Space fighters like Freespace and X-Wing are virtually unplayable without a flight stick. Every gamer's arsenal should include a joystick or flight stick. We took a look at ThrustMaster's popular Top Gun USB and Saitek's incredibly customizable Cyborg 2000 to see if we could find you an inexpensive flight stick we can recommend.

G400 TV 08:07 am - Kan
Thanks to 3aG who sent us this piece of news. Looks like Matrox just announced the G400 TV graphics card (similar to the G200 Marvel we had last time) with hardware editing capabilities.

As the most powerful all-in-one graphics, video capture and video editing card for the PC, the Marvel G400-TV delivers the industry’s highest 3D, 2D and multimedia performance plus the unparalleled quality of hardware Motion JPEG (MJPEG) video capture and editing, an onboard TV tuner with audio decoding, high quality DVD playback and the best PC out to TV functionality on the market. In addition to achieving the fastest 3D gaming acceleration with the flagship Matrox G400 chip, this all-in-one graphics plus video editing card adds to the most comprehensive all-in-one solution with unique features that include DualHead Display and support for Microsoft DirectX 6 Environment-Mapped Bump Mapping.

Targeted at video editors, PC enthusiasts, multimedia authors, family users and other demanding home and business users, the Marvel G400-TV builds on the Marvel G200-TV’s phenomenal success, which includes winning PC Computing’s “Breakthrough Technology of the Year” award (1998) and “Best Video Editing Product of the Year” from PC Magazine (1998). The new 16 MB Marvel G400-TV is an AGP card equipped with a 300 MHz UltraSharp RAMDAC, an easy-to-use Marvel connector box that simplifies connecting all audiovisual cables, and a value-added software bundle that includes the award-winning Avid Cinema video editing software.

G400 Tweak Released 08:01 am - Kan
Just to post a small blurb here. DemoNews dropped us a line on the new version of G400 Tweak for Matrox G400 graphics card.

This utility is for setting various undocumented and unsupported registry settings for the Matrox PowerDesk V5.x drivers. It is using Registry Tweak, which allows you to create your own registry tweaking utilities by adding to it’s registry. New in this version: Created Registry Tweak and implemented G400Tweak using that. This mean you can add new registry entries and implement other pages. 

Building Your Own Rig Part 3 08:00 am - Kan
SystemLogic posted Part 3 of Building your Own Rig. This time, they covered things like setting up your BIOS, partitioning your hard disk and installing Windows.

In this section, I will just show you the basic selections that will need to be made, later on in Part 4, I will show you the more advanced tweaking methods of the BIOS as well as other different areas to tweak. First off, when you bootup your computer, it will show at the bottom left corner of your screen what key to press to get into the BIOS, and most usually it will be the DEL key. Once you have entered the BIOS, first, set the time by going into the Standard Settings area. You will be able to tell what the format for the date and time will be when you enter the Standard Settings area.

24 September 1999 - Friday

Commentaries Worth The Look
21:00 pm - Wilfred
New thought-provoking commentaries are freshly put up at osOpinion. Well, I read the latest and think you'll like to read them too! The first is on Sun Microsystems, a discussion whether their ideas about thin clients are what the user wants. Second on the list is Stuart Norman's "Problem With Operating Systems" - his hope for an OS nirvana. I have here clips from both articles:

Sun Also Rises
Most people despise thin clients for the same reasons that Sun loves them. Desktop computers give people the power of customization in terms of both hardware and software. Users have come to appreciate this power and are not very willing to give it up.

My Problem With Operating Systems
An OS should not be exclusively graphically-based; a text command line could appear anywhere the cursor or pointer is, as in Oberon. Text should be both character and graphic object, i.e., all text displayed should have graphical properties and be displayed in any desired font and size. There should be no difference between a text mode and graphics mode.

Installing and upgrading software should be made simple. No more should one need to replace whole applications, modules or even the entire OS. I suggest patches that would update and overwrite only the necessary code, as is often used in UNIX systems. The installer should be built into the OS so as to enforce a uniform method of control, no more separate installers with new software. The OS should be able to handle these automatically and in a user-friendly manner.

The operating system should know where everything is and what it is at all times, so it should automatically database all objects and their properties/characteristics, as do journaling file systems.

i-Art Eye3D 20:43 pm - Wilfred
VoodooExtreme sent a note about their review on the above, which is a pair of cool stereoscopic glasses from i-Art Corporation. This hot new gadget works with existing drivers by Elsa and Wicked3D, and it features the widest 'screen' there is as well as a wireless, infra-red connection. Check this out:

So, now we’ve covered how these glasses are built and what they can do, and they are, all in all, the best shutter glasses on the market. The real limiting factor, then, is not of i-Art’s product, but of the concept behind it. Shutter glasses by no means provide a perfect replication of the way we see in 3D with two eyes. Ghosting, or seeing the image intended for the other eye, in a pale form, occurs, especially when the VirtualEyes’ on-board battery power source runs low; there is no way to prevent this (barring the invention of a cheap, completely opaque, extremely responsive LCD screen).

Outrageous 3D Sound 20:38 pm - Wilfred
Outrageous is a new start up company that manufactures sound and video cards. 3DSoundSurge has an in-depth review of their Vortex2 based card. Can't really go wrong with a Vortex2 card, so here's their summation of its worth:

If you're looking for a soundcard that will offer a great gaming and DVD experience the Outrageous 3D Sound is the card you should buy. Right out of the box you'll get the full version of of the two best 3D audio games so far (Thief and Heretic II), play DVD movies including support for Dolby Digital sound without need for any additional hardware. In addition to that it comes with a limited version of Half-Life and Descent 3, optical out for use with MiniDisc or DD 5.1 systems and Music Match 4 that let you create MP3 files from your current CDs with near CD quality.

ST: Quake Hits Asia's Link To Internet 11:17 am - Wilfred
Some of you will recall the Internet outage we had days back when earthquake hit the Taiwan island. While reading my daily dose of The Straits Times Interactive, I caught this headline that should concern our local and Asian readers. First of all, we recognize the unfortunate tragedy that befell the Taiwanese people - the loss of lives and properties - but another matter of concern is the alarming fact that our crucial Internet access, which businesses depended on, clings only to a few fragile strands of cable. Worrisome. Some clips:

The disruption of Internet access to the United States and Canada that subscribers here experienced on Tuesday has revealed a basic weakness of connections to the Internet, at least from Asia.

It would seem highly improbable that a disaster so far away from home would have crippled the Internet access of more than 250,000 people here. Frivolous, one might say, considering that, in Taiwan, more than 1,670 people lost their lives to the earthquake while people here lost only their ability to surf or were unable to check US-based e-mail.

The inter-Pacific Internet connection is nowhere as resilient as the intra-US network, which is startling when you consider that the US is the world's biggest e-commerce, content, and technology market. It is simply where the money and information are. Losing access to the US cannot be an option.

It is timely that 10 Asian telecommunications companies are meeting here next month with potential investors to study the feasibility of laying another underwater cable, presumably within Asia, to the tune of US$750 million. Perhaps, more lines should be laid across the Pacific as well. A costly endeavour, no doubt, but necessary?

C&C2: Tiberian Sun 09:44 am - Kan
Digital-Clips dropped us a line on their latest review on C&C2: Tiberian Sun. I must confess, I still haven't played this game! (updating HW1 is my favorite game nowadays).

One can hardly miss the similarities of Tiberian Sun to its predecessors.  Firstly, the storyline is set decades after C&C, where Earth was covered by tiberian. The people who survived were forced to eek an existence underground away from the intoxicated land. The Brotherhood of NOD once again resurfaces is led this time by Kane’s brother (whom we all know died in the original story.)  Once again, it’s the NOD versus GDI.  What happened to political maneuverings and peaceful settlements?  I guess a game like that won’t be much fun…     

Mooncake Festival 09:40 am - Kan
With so many unfortunate incidents happening lately, I'm glad today is the Mooncake Festival. Have you tasted a mooncake before? They are expensive, small, cake-like stuffs made up from the Moon's sand dust (nah, just joking). Anyway, tonight is the chance to catch exotic Asian chicks carrying lanterns. Woohoos! 

New Articles @ AGN Hardware 09:31 am - Kan
Two new articles over at AGN Hardware. First is how to apply the thermal compound to your processors. Second is how to backup your hard disk using the Norton Ghost program (don't leave home without it). Here's some excerpts:

Heat transference from one surface to another is accomplished by displacing the air that gets trapped between two surfaces, in our case the top of the CPU and the bottom of the heatsink are the two surfaces.  The surfaces of the CPU and heatsink are such that air is trapped between the two when they are joined together.

Asheron's Call 09:19 am - Kan
There's a preview on the wacky game Asheron's Call over at Exxtreme3D. Talking about games, I just tried the demo for Delta Force 2 and it was disappointing! 

You might of heard (err, I mean you should of heard) of EverQuest’s archenemy, “Asheron’s Call”.  It’s much like the game I’m addicted to right now, but in its beta stages.  I received this game at my doorstep, and thought to myself, it’s another addicting game that will take most of my life and sleep away from me.   

ACT-LABS GS Gun System 09:17 am - Kan
Over at AnandTech, there's a new review on the ACT-LABS GS Gun System. Here's some snippet:

The GS (Gun System… get it?) is a slick-looking two gun set with a supplemental controller which looks kind of like a flashlight with a thumb joystick on the top. This additional controller can simulate a mouse for games like Quake, in which you have to do more than just shoot. The unit is typical Act-Labs gray, and typical Act-Labs quality-built. It doesn't feel like a piece of cheap junk when you pick it up (the Super NES so-called Super Scope comes to mind).

Microsoft NT Service Pack 6 09:07 am - Kan
Thanks to our pals over at ActiveWin who sent this piece of news. NT Service Pack 6 is NOT out yet (supposed to be out today?!?!). It will be delayed for another week due to 'unforeseen' circumstances (*ahem* as always).

Pentium III/Athlon Prices 09:01 am - Kan
Yeah, I just love it when prices goes down. CPU Review sent note on their latest review on the Pentium III/Athlon prices and yes, the Athlon 600 Mhz is cheaper than the Pentium III 600 now.

SGI Gets US Govt Funding For New Cray 08:37 am - Wilfred
You can be sure nobody is satisfied with the fastest, when it only lasts that long. SGI announced that they will be receiving financial funding to develop the Cray SV2 supercomputer.

The supercomputer will feature powerful vector processors while exploiting SGI's ccNUMA (cache-coherent non-uniform memory access) architecture. Plans call for the system to scale to peak performances of multiple tens of teraflops, many times faster than any supercomputer in existence today. One teraflop is equivalent to a trillion calculations per second.

Cable Vs DSL 08:23 am - Wilfred
There isn't much difficulty telling which is better here in Singapore, but elsewhere, the competition is much stiffer. Here's an article explaining the relative merits of the technologies involved. Check it!

I've been engaged in the debate between the proponents of cable modems and DSL for nearly a year now, and I've become increasingly frustrated. Both sides seem to be speaking past each other, arguing half-truths and twisting the facts to suit their own arguments. This isn't entirely surprising, considering the amount of money on the table. But it isn't necessary, because both technologies have merits and should be able to stand on their own.

Creative GeForce 256 Annihilator 08:19 am - Wilfred
Wow! I had to read this review when I saw the note in my mailbox. This is what could possibly be the most popular chipset for the coming 6 months. 3DHardware.net scored a first with this review of Creative's sexiest board to date. It's still an early beta board, but if the Quake III benchmarks are anything to go by, the final drivers will make this board kick some serious ass!

So what do we think of the card so far? It definitely have potential of becoming something really great, the Quake III Test scores indicate very good performance for such immature drivers and the performance can only go up, especially when T&L starts working. Creative Labs will not have TV-Output on their GeForce 256 card and that is a shame for us who use it. But the demand for it hasn't been large enough to justify the added cost of TV-Output which is why Creative Labs left it out.

23 September 1999 - Thursday

Future Power Dual Millenium
17:56 pm - Kan
Our gang leader over at FiringSquad just finished their review on the Dual Millenium computer system powered by two Dual 466 Mhz Celerons.

Then again, there isn't exactly a huge demand for dual Celeron systems out there. Most multiple CPU systems are servers, and most companies will chose a dual Xeon or P3 configuration (or something more powerful) over the Celerons because companies are skittish about buying unproven technology.

Dual Celeron systems might be attractive workstations, but are companies willing to risk putting mission critical data on a dual Celeron server? Only small businesses would seriously consider a dual Celeron server. In addition to the small business market, a small portion of the PC and game enthusiast market would also be interested in dual Celeron systems.

9 Heatsinks Roundup 17:54 pm - Kan
Overclockin.com dropped us a line on their new massive roundup on 9 heatsinks. So if you are still shopping for a heatsink, check out their review.

The heatsink is a good compromise between size and cooling.  The fans used do not push a lot of air, but do an adequate job of keeping the heatsink cool.  An increase of only 3-5 degrees at speeds of 558 and 580MHz is very good.  I was impressed with the performance of this heatsink from the first time I tested it.  The PIII-450 I used for this test saw temps in the 125 degree range when running at 580 MHz.  With this processor it was running at 107 degrees.   Much better cooling. 

AMK SECC80 17:42 pm - Kan
TheTechZone reviewed the AMK SECC80 heatsink. The heatsink doesn't look very impressive though, here's some snippet:

The 80 in the SECC80 stands for the size of the fan used on this cooler; 80mm. While it looks big and impressive, the fan really isn't that powerful. It moves only 8 cubic feet of air per minute. Many 50mm fan can do more than that. The upside to this is that it's super quiet because the fan doesn't spin very fast.

Size wise, the SECC80 is the same height and length as Global Win's VES20 or TennMax TF coolers. However the SECC80 is twice as deep. It's like taking 2 Global Win VES20 or TennMax TF and sticking them together!

OfficeJet T65 17:41 pm - Kan
Our pals over at FPS3D reviewed the HP OfficeJet T65 printer cum fax. Hmm, I won't mind having one at home (hey stupid, who will mind anyway?).

The OfficeJet T65 could not be any easier to install. It took longer to unpack out of the box than to make the necessary connections. The unit comes in a single piece with two easily inserted paper-loading trays. If you already own a parallel printer cable, no additional purchases are required to print, scan, fax, and copy. For the less technologically adept, I recommend you pop in the installation CD prior to installing. The CD contains informative videos that will guide you step by step through the installation process. If you wish to activate the scan and print modes, you must install HP's included software, which is not a hassle. If all you have is a single phone jack, you can connect a phone to the OfficeJet T65 and both fax and phone will be operational, but not at the same time, of course.

Shark Multimedia USB Review 17:40 pm - Kan
Two new reviews over at Win-News. First it's the Shark Multimedia USB modem review (which is so darn small) and the second one it's the review on the Voodoo3 2000 PCI graphics card.

The installation is really, really, really easy, just plug the USB cable to your computer and hook it up to your modem/hub. Windows will detect your hub and will install the drivers right away. For the modem, you have to use the CD that is included in the package.

One really bad thing about this modem is that it only works in Windows 98; it won’t work on Windows 95 and 2000(drivers soon, probably have to wait until Windows 2000 hits RTM).

Windows RC2 Preview 10:12 am - Kan
This is something new as 2CPU dropped us a line on their preview on Windows RC2 Build 2128. My verdict: it still hangs like crazy.

This was definitely not flawless.  The machine gave me a couple errors telling me my profile was not found, and my default environment was missing.  Then the OS comes to life.  I thought "ok, finally it is time to play a little".  I click on START and it sticks.  The machine was not locked, the START button was just depressed and would not come back up.  A quick <ctrl><alt><delete> brings a pleasant surprise.  The new task manager is very nice.  It has a built in performance meter, and a process ID list similar to what you get in Un*x by typing "ps -A" at the command line.  So I restart the machine and all appears to be well to this point.  Office 2000 installed flawlessly and I am typing this review in Front Page now.  

Alpha1HO Slot-1 Cooler 10:10 am - Kan
Looks like we have another review on the Alpha1HO cooler, this time it's from 3aG. Here's some juice:

I have to say that this monster could be a tough to install if you're not exactly sure what you are doing. The installation instructions provided were for several various models, and it was unclear which was the proper one. However, instructions on 3DfxCOOL's site made it much easier. If you grab one of these fans, print out the instructions on the site before trying to install it. From the standpoint of how well it installs, it goes on like most other fans. The heatsink attaches to your processor, but the fans are perpendicular to the metal strips on the heatsink.

Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 10:08 am - Kan
There's a blurb of the Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer over at CPR Extreme. Looks like the guys love it a lot and gave it a rating of 10!

The Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer is a breakthrough in mouse technology.  This mouse drops the ball in favor of a new optical technology.  It uses a red LED to light up the surface the mouse is on, then it has a sensor that takes up to 1500 pictures per second of the surface.  This totally eliminates the need for a mouse pad as well as roller cleanings.  You do need, however, a slightly detailed surface for it's tracking capability.  A wood desk surface is awesome.  About the only surfaces that don't seem to work as well are white plastic, and glass. 

Terratec Xlerate Pro 10:07 am - Kan
I'm sure I got the spelling correct. Anyway, Speedy3D sent note on their latest review on the Terratec Xlerate Pro soundcard based on the Vortex2 chipset.

The Xlerate Pro is yet another A3D 2.0 card based on the PCI A3D reference design. The Xlerate Pro is made by Terratec, a huge audio card manufacturer in Germany, but not so well know here in the US. The Xlerate Pro is a card based on A3D's reference design (Terratec didn't even bother to print their logo or name on the PCB even). On top of that the Xlerate Pro's drivers are also based on the A3D reference drivers, but this time they put in their logo in place of the A3D one. The Xlerate Pro also ships with Stereo connector cables if you feel like connecting you Xlerate Pro to any external sound devices.


22 September 1999 - Wednesday

Hardware-One: Asus V3800 & VR Glasses 23:35 pm - Wilfred
Whew! It's here, David posted his personal take on the Asus V3800 TNT2 Ultra card and the VR Glasses that came along. It's no poor man's card, so is it going to be worth the dimes at all?

The only thing that holds me back from strongly recommending this card is its price. The card currently retails at around S$450 and this makes it one of the most expensive cards in the market now. I suggest that you wait a few more months for the next wave of graphics cards to be out as prices of TNT2 Ultra cards might have fallen by then.

Antec PhotoChute3 USB Card Reader 23:31 pm - Wilfred
Ohmigawd! This is an EVIL review I tell ya! They are trying to make me a really really poor guy. ReviewFinder has a new review on Antec's PhotoChute3 USB card reader - basically a reader for CompactFlash/Smartmedia cards that transfers via the USB. Hmm... he mentioned that he has the same toy (C2000Z) as I do! I have to agree that serial transfers for photographs are SUPER pain in the 'behind'... To give you the magnitude of the trauma:

To test it out, I filled up my 32MB SmartMedia card with pictures from the camera, and inserted it into the PhotoChute reader. I double-clicked on the associated drive in Explorer, and it showed me the contents of the card as if it were any other drive in the system. I readied my stopwatch, then selected the entire batch of pictures and dragged them to a folder on my hard drive. To copy 32MB of pictures took a mere 80 seconds. That's it. From an hour using the serial cable down to just over a minute with the PhotoChute3 USB.

3DfxCool AlphaHO1-P3 23:22 pm - Wilfred
3DRage posted a review on the fearsome Pentium III coolers. According to Will Geer, the thing took one of their 'weak' P3 from 450Mhz to 560Mhz. With this kind of cooling, I'm only afraid my processor will catch a cold! =P

The heatsink of the Alpha1-HO P3 is absolutely massive, the biggest ever tested at 3D Rage. The Alpha comes equipped with all the necessary mounting hardware to successfully cool a SLOT-1 Celeron, SECC-2 Pentium 2, and SECC-2 Pentium 3 CPU. The cooler will stick out 65mm from your CPU, so make sure your motherboard can support this beast of a heatsink. What would a heatsink be without two extraordinarily large fans? Well, the Alpha1HO-P3 comes with two 60mm YS-Tech fans that push a whopping 27cfm of air each. Along with these dual ball bearing fans and heatsink comes a tube of heatsink compound that is a must if you plan on overclocking your CPU, as this will contribute to the heat transfer from the heatsink to CPU.

Video Card Overclocking 23:13 pm - Wilfred
Tech-Reviews has a new guide on video card overclocking. It's brief but it covered the necessary. I wonder what's next for tweakers to play with, sound cards? Hmm... =)

There are two main parts to overclocking your video card; 1) Overclocking the rate at which the core operates, and 2) Overclocking the rate at which the memory operates. While this may initially seem more complicated, it actually is a much better way of doing things.

Apple G4 Preview 23:05 pm - Wilfred
Thresh's FiringSquad threw up a preview on Apple's upcoming G4. Termed 'Desktop Supercomputer' and comes with cool sounding features like 'Velocity Engine'. Looks even too good to be true huh? All the power under this super SWEEET design!!! I say, drool...

P3-600 = P3-500 Overclocked? 13:10 pm - Sniper
Hmmm, this article seems to suggest that the P3-600 selling out there is actually an overclocked P3-500.

The latest SL3JT 600MHz P3 shares the same stepping, core stepping and tagRAM stepping as the original SL35E 500MHz chip introduced at the beginning of the year.
The only difference is an increase in clock multiplier from 5X to 6X and core voltage from 2.0V to 2.05V. 

500Mhz Shoot-out 13:01 pm - Sniper
One hell of a shoot-out at AnandTech, featuring the Celeron, P3 and Athlon.

We took those 25 CPUs we compared and picked out the three 500MHz processors that are powerful enough to drive a high end gaming rig or a strong workstation yet aren't bleeding edge so they won't set you back that cold thousand for a single chip. What this comparison at 500MHz isn't designed to do is give you an idea of which CPU you can best use for your business applications or which one makes for the best web surfing machine. If you're in either of those categories then you are thinking way too high on the performance ladder and you should focus your attention on something a bit less powerful such as a slower Celeron or a K6-2. Why?

ABIT BE6 2.0 Preview 07:13 am - Kan
Our wacky buds over at HardOCP posted a preview on the new ABIT BE6 2.0 motherboard. Touted as the most overclockable board on earth, it will definitely bring you endless hours of fantasies.

First and foremost to me is the fact that the board has a new BIOS that is a bit different from the previous ABIT BIOSes we have seen.   There are help screens integrated into the interface that will try to give you some guidance in your use of the BIOS.  I like this feature, it still needs to be tweaked and is not up to ABIT standards quite yet.

Second is the addition of the multiple FSBs.   Jeez.......these guys really went off this time.  Front side bus speeds from 83MHz to 200MHz in integers of "1".  I would say this board will keep you going for a while.

Third, they have ripped one of the ISA slots off.  Hasta la vista!!!!!!!  They could have taken the other one and I would have not cared.

MSI 6178 07:11 am - Kan
Our pals over at BxBoards scored a review on the MSI 6178 motherboard based on the i810 chipset.

The MS 6178 comes in various flavours. Many manufactures upgrade the rather basic and CPU intensive AC97 audio with a hardware solution. Optional, although not present on our review board, is the inclusion of Aureal Vortex 8810 hardware audio. Be warned however that this chipset only includes a software interpretation of A3D capabilities however. The onboard AC97 audio can be disabled by onboard jumper, and it is possible to fit a PCI soundcard to on of the boards 3 PCI slots.

C&C2: Tiberian Sun 07:10 am - Kan
SharkyExtreme dropped their usual hardware reviews and for a change, reviewed C&C2: Tiberian Sun.

Both sides of course still have to harvest the Tiberian crystals that are slowly covering the surface of the earth. Tiberian is the main resource in Tiberian Sun, allowing you to create new buildings, troops and tanks. Westwood also decided to include a new blue coloured strain of Tiberian that is twice as valuable as the green Tiberian, yet on the downside of things is ever more damaging to unarmored troops and is highly unstable, reacting to all nearby explosions quite violently with its own self destructive explosions. This new type of Tiberian adds a new tactical aspect to the game as taking control of blue Tiberian can swing the balance of a game, and yet it can be very dangerous to troops (and indeed your Harvester if an enemy troop decides to blow up the blue Tiberian).

Wingman Formula Racing Wheel 07:07 am - Kan
Over at AGN Hardware, there's a new review on the Wingman Formula Racing Wheel. With the wheel, you can tear thru your opponents in Need for Speed more easily (hey, if you are really good, using the keyboard also does the same job).

The pedal base unit is separate, and takes up a fair amount of space under a desk. The gas and break pedals offer different amounts of tension, which makes telling the two apart with your feet fairly simple. Also molded into the pedal base unit is what Logitech calls a "dead pedal", which is essentially a foot rest. Like most of Logitech's recent WingMan products -the WingMan Formula is programmable via the Logitech WingMan Profiler software.

Updated Banshee/V3 Fix 07:03 am - Kan
NT Game Palace dropped us a line that a updated Banshee/V3 fix is available for Windows 2000 RC2 again.

Delta Force 2 Preview 06:57 am - Kan
Woohhos, this is one of my favorite games again. Speedy3D previewed Delta Force 2. Thank goodness the graphics is improved over the last one (which was very disappointing).

This time around NovaLogic (NL) have added 32Bit rendering and texturing (not really textures though, Voxels) to the engine. Not only that but fog, rain, grass, snow, more trees, variety in landscape design and environments as well as new play styles. Basically the old Delta Force is there but now you have a much-improved engine, which puts some polygon systems to shame and many different locations with accompanying effects to add depth.

OpenLinux v2.3 06:53 am - Kan
CPU Review done a first looks on OpenLinux v2.3. So check it out over there if you are one of those Linux fans. :)

The inclusion of Wordperfect 8, ApplixWare 4.4.2, StarOffice 5.1, and BRU PE is prominently featured on the back of the package.

The included ApplixWare is only a 30 day trial version, the included Wordperfect 8 and StarOffice 5.1 licenses supplied with COL 2.2 are for personal use only.

Rogue Spear Demo 06:51 am - Kan
The firing boys reviewed on the game Rogue Spear Demo. Hey, this game is nice!

Rogue Spear boasts improved graphics over its predecessor, including pretty weather models that should make your team's nipples stand out on those crisp autumn mornings. Overall, though, it looks fairly similar to the original - solid, decent looking graphics, but nothing groundbreaking. After all, who has time to break graphical ground when they're busy designing a game that's fun, fun, fun?

Memory Prices: Analysis and Forecast 06:48 am - Kan
Our buds over at iXBT sent note on their latest article on Memory Prices: Analysis and Forecast. Anyway, due to the Taiwan earthquake, don't expect prices of motherboards and other electronics to be any cheaper.

As we see, some companies left the market, and some of them decided to save time and trouble and simply shifted to more profitable memory - 128Mbit SDRAM. This is undoubtedly a very logic solution. This seems particularly clever keeping in mind that though the manufacturing of these chips costs almost the same money as that of 64Mbit SDRAM, their price in May was almost 6 times as high as that of 64Mbit SDRAM chips. The only problem is that we will have to wait for some time before 128Mbit chips are really widely used for memory modules manufacturing, while 64Mbit chips are urgently needed right now, which may appear a problem since most companies simply escaped the market.

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