30 September 1999 - Thursday

Pawns. Huh?
23:59 pm - Wilfred
Just to clarify the 'huh?', osOpinion posted another interesting read which I shall point you to. It discussed some strategies and guessed at what Big Blue is up to and capable of. Don't be mistaken by the snip, it's not about chess! =)

As any good chess player knows, pawns are often the key to victory, despite their miniscule power and range in comparison to other pieces on the chessboard. A well-arranged set of pawns can reinforce one another and block access by opposing pieces; a single pawn pushed to the end of the board can become a queen or another piece, as needed, and may shift the balance of power dramatically. Pawns stacked around a king can keep it protected from numerous assaults.

Nintendo Selects S3 Texture Compression 23:54 pm - Wilfred
Off The Register, it is said that Nintendo chose to license S3's S3TC technology for use in Dolphin - their next console to replace the N64. It is curious to note that the Japanese firm would rather pay than use 3dfx's currently open-sourced FXT1 compression scheme.

Top marks to S3 for rushing out a release informing us all of Nintendo's decision to license its S3TC texture compression technology in Dolphin, the in-development successor to the Nintendo N64.

However, Nintendo will have to wear the dunce's cap and stand in the corner for paying S3 for technology it could have got from S3's rival, 3dfx, for free.

A couple of weeks back, as we reported here, 3dfx unveiled its FXT1 texture compression technology under an open source licence, allowing anyone, including rival 3D vendors, to use it in their own products.

Naturally, 3dfx claims FXT1 is superior to S3TC, and indeed its use of multiple compression algorithms depending on the nature of the texture to be compressed and its smaller compressed-texture format (check out our previous story for the full specs.) make it seem a better choice than S3TC, quite apart from its open source availability.

Red Hat Preps Linux Upgrade 23:49 pm - Wilfred
According to TechWeb's report, Red Hat is readying version 6.1 of its Linux OS for Monday's release. It shall feature a couple of worthy updates. Read this:

Red Hat Linux 6.1, scheduled to be unveiled Monday, will feature a streamlined installation, online software updates, and enhancements for managing distributed computing architectures, according to company information.

Celeron Overclocking Tests 23:41 pm - Wilfred
This must be relevant to some of you. In our forum, I've read of posts asking which Celeron processor to procure for best overclocking results. Well, FiringSquad should have the answer for you. Take a look at their tests performed on the range of Celeron CPUs available.

From our limited exposure to several Celeron chips, the average maximum speed that we're beginning to see for all of the new Celeron chips is somewhere between 550MHz and 600MHz. Okay, so which Celeron should I get? The results of our tests has us leaning towards the Celeron 366 or 400.

The relatively low 5.5 and 6 multipliers of the 366 and 400 let us use the 90-100MHz bus speeds. On the Abit BP6, the 1/3 PCI Bus divider doesn't kick in until you reach the 92MHz bus speed. The Celeron 433 and 466 force us to use FSB speeds in the mid eighties with a 1/2 PCI divider, and that PCI bus speed in the 40s won't be good for stability. We'll stick with the Celeron 366 or 400 and our hard disks will appreciate the mild PCI bus.

Asus V3800 Ultra Deluxe TNT2 23:35 pm - Wilfred
The TechZone posted their review on the Asus V3800 Ultra TNT2 card. What surprised me was the tremendous success they had at overclocking the card... a whopping 195Mhz and 245Mhz for the core and memory respectively. Wowz! Amazing indeed! Check this out!

The Asus V3800 is a great card to overclock. The stock heatsink comes off very easily and having all the RAM chips on one side of the card makes them easier to cool. With the cooling system I made for the V3800 I was able to overclock the card to a blistering 195Mhz core and 245Mhz memory!

Wilfred Coughs 23:23 pm - Wilfred
It's a long day for most of us here at Hardware-One, partying or otherwise =P . Hope you have enjoyed reading the reviews we put up in the past weeks. There's much to say, you people have been great in the support of our forum as well as our RC5 efforts... so a big thanks for building this 'community'. Heheh, another important group of people to thank is our sponsors. They have been a patient lot man! Firstly, waiting for lazy bums like us to actually get down to writing and completing the reviews... then having to accept our not-always-thumbs-up opinion of their products. They are most understanding of our situation. Of course, we recognize that our readers are no fools, you deserve to know the truth, for we are but users ourselves. =) 

The Cars of GT2 12:01 pm - Sniper
GTO, FTO, GTi, WRX and Bettle too!!!  Kan must be drooling over this. IGN has an article featuring all the cars in the upcoming Gran Turismo 2.

Bottom line, the cars are pretty much everything an auto fan could ask for. From classic sports and musclecars of the '60s and '70s, through modern-day daily runarounds and supercars, to yet-to-be-released concept cars like the Chrysler Phaeton, the roster is simply incredible. The
game even includes the loony Espace F1 -- a mini van which Renault engineers thought that they'd soup up by taking out the passenger seats and replacing them with an 800 horsepower Renault Formula One engine. Personally, I can't wait to test out a minivan that does 0-60 in 2.8 seconds and can go nearly 200 mph. 

Thrustmaster Is No More 10:26 am - Sniper
Avault has this piece of news that Thrustmaster has been sold to Guillemot Corporation for $15 million cash.

ThrustMaster's shareholders have approved the sale of the hardware business and the new company name, CenterSpan Communications Corporation. The company also announced it expects to close the sale of the hardware business to Guillemot Corporation for $15 million cash within the next five business days. Beginning today, the company is focusing exclusively on its Internet community, collaboration and communications software business. 

Elsa Erazor X GeForce 256 Benchmarks 08:54 am - Wilfred
Beyond3D translated a piece of benchmark article originally posted at C't Magazine. So does it please you to know that Quake III will run impressively with all the bells-and-whistles turned on? However, it does seem that the GeForce 256 is fillrate limited on a PIII-500mhz system after T&L acceleration put to use.

OpenGL games can already use the T&L acceleration of the 3D chip. Quake3 Arena 1.08 using maximal texture detail and lightmaps produced 63 fps at a resolution of 1024x768 in 16bit colour, 16 bit textures and bilinear filtering (TNT2 only manages 33fps). When we increase to trilinear filtering the results dropped to a still impressive 60 fps.

The T&L acceleration pushes the GeForce card continuously against its fillrate limit on the P3-500Mhz system. We can conclude this from the fact that the framerate drops every time we increase the image quality. If we increase quality by selecting a 32bit frame buffer the performance drops to 42 fps, if we add 32bit textures we end up at 37 fps (TNT2 = 32 fps). The filter quality remained Trilinear. Increasing the screen resolution to 1280x960 really hurts the GeForce fillrate since the framerate drops to only 22 fps.

IBM To Release Wearable PCs 08:42 am - Wilfred
Wows! If you think carrying your PDA is way cool, let it be known that the future is prolly not that mm'kay? IBM said they will be releasing their portable PC, so small they clip onto your belt and weigh four sticks of butter. Better still, the price is expected to be more human at US$2500.

The latest device comes with an eraser-sized mouse that works like a miniature joystick and a headset that holds speakers and a monitor. The monitor, about half the size of a pen cap, sits about an inch from the eye, giving the user the illusion of reading a 14-inch screen at normal viewing distances. The PC can also hook into a desktop monitor. Users can attach a keyboard but can also direct the PC through speech-recognition software that is included.

The PC could accommodate a satellite-driven Global Positioning System, which would allow the computer to locate its position on Earth and display maps for directional guidance.

Glaze3D 08:31 am - Wilfred
Sounds like a miracle of a creation if it ever comes to shipping, noticed over at Voodoo Extreme this piece of information translated from Finnish.

"The Glaze3D chip is at the moment in the last stages of the silicon implementation, and when ět is done, the database goes to Infineon for processing. We will get the first prototypes in the very beginning of the next year. We have at the moment a 100% accurate simulation model of the chip, which can do nanosecond accurate runs. From these we have been able to "calculate" that to draw one Quake3 frame takes 3-5 nanoseoconds, which means 200-300fps on behalf of the graphics card."

Dan's Data Reviews VRJoy 3D Glasses 08:17 am - Wilfred
Yup, Dan reviewed a pair of VR Standard VRJoy 3D glasses and compared it to Asus' competing product. I'm still skeptical on the use of VR products at this juncture, they give me splitting headaches.

VRJoy is a 3D glasses kit that is touted to work with pretty much any PC that has a CRT monitor (as opposed to an LCD flat panel). Not being tied to a particular brand of video card is attractive, and the VRJoy's price isn't ridiculous, either; $US79 for US buyers, or $US110 for overseas shoppers, shipping included.

Massive Fibre Cut Pauses East-West Traffic 08:20 am - Wilfred
[email protected] week reports that a fibre cut which put out four OC-192 lines in Ohio placed a stopper on traffic. Sources have blamed an unidentified gas company for the cyber-disaster.

The news is sending shockwaves through the networking community, with many carrier operators struggling to understand why, all of a sudden, their traffic is routed through London and Denmark. At least four Internet service providers are being affected by the outage. Various online sources have named AboveNet; GTE Internetworking; and MFS Communications, a WorldCom subsidiary, as ISPs hit the worst.

29 September 1999 - Wednesday

Hardware-One: Logitech Cordless WheelMouse
- Wilfred
Julian just whipped up a review on his month-old cordless wheel mouse from Logitech. Trivial? Well, given the right price and performance, I'm certain many users will make the switch to 'wireless' rodents. The man is happy, check it out!

The wireless mouse features the use of digital radio technology for the communication between the mouse and the compact receiver. Apparently, digital radio technology allows for better reliability for the communication between the mouse and the receiver. Digital radio communication is supposed to be less susceptible to interference from other sources of radio signals. The digital communication between the mouse & the receiver has a range of six feet. Logitech claims that objects between the mouse and the receiver do not affect the mouse performance.

Assorted Gaming News 19:32 pm - Wilfred
Avault has wind that Panzer General Assault 3D is now shipping. This may be no news to some, but I haven't told you I liked this game. Next, I chanced upon GameSpot's Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun game guide, so for those of you on this game, be sure to sharpen those tactics before taking on multiplayer challenges!

SuperMicro SC750A 17:25 pm - Kan
Yup, this is the casing I once had my eyes on - SuperMicro SC750A. Check out AnandTech review on this giant if you happen to be shopping for a casing now.

Since most motherboards lack a turbo LED output these days, this LED can be used for any other function, such LAN activity, overheat warning, or any other LED outputs that your system may have. Plenty of ventilation holes allow for excellent airflow into the front of the case. The back of the bezel features a washable air filter that prevents the uptake of dust into the case - a serious issue for a machine that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Unreal Tournament Editorial 17:20 pm - Kan
The best Quaker Thresh, who walks on the surface of the earth, wrote a special Unreal Tournament Editorial. Be sure to catch it if you are a FPS fan!

Id software is taking the approach of refining deathmatch. They've taken the best elements from each of their games, and have combined everything into what could be described as "pure deathmatch experience." With more than 3 generations of FPS engines, weapons and play balance, and network code, there's no doubt that id software is the powerhouse incumbent in this battle. With a proven track record and a majority of FPS players, it's their position to lose.

W2K RC-2 17:18 pm - Kan
Okay, thanks to BetaOS, here's another article pertaining to Windows 2000 RC2. An excerpt goes like this:

Windows 2000 RC-2 is arriving in front of Windows 2000 CPP customers as you are reading this now.  Some have already obtained a copy and are running it now.  But for those of you who have not received a copy yet and are planning on upgrading to Windows 2000 RC-2 from RC-1 or Beta 3, there are a some "issues" you should know.

First of all, you should check Microsoft's Hardware Compatibility List for the most up-to-date list of supported hardware. Your Windows 2000 CD includes a copy of this list (drive:\Support\Hcl.txt) that was accurate as of the date Windows 2000 was released.  Or - you can download the actively updated copy of the HCL.txt file from Microsoft's website.

Intel i820 Preview 17:16 pm - Kan
More madness on the new Intel i820 chipset as HardwareCentral bring us some juice on it:

The main hub of the i810 is the GMCH (Graphics and Memory Controller Hub). The i820 uses a slightly different hub. The i820’s main hub is referred to as only MCH (Memory Controller Hub). The reason for this is simple--the i810 was designed as a value chipset, and included on-board video. The i820, however, does not include such video, and thus has no need for the graphics controlling abilities of its younger brother. The MCH of the i820 is a comparatively basic design, responsible for controlling the processor (system bus), memory bus, and AGP bus. Of course, this chipset will support 133 MHz front side bus, so inherently, a ˝ AGP divider has been instituted on the i820. At this point, it is believed that Intel will NOT include a 66 MHz FSB option on the i820, so current Celeron and Klamath Pentium II users may be out of luck. As well, the AGP 4X specification is supported, more on that later.

Another 3 Articles At osOpinion 14:00 pm - Yingzong
There are 3 more computer editorials available at osOpinion. This time, they have one on the subject of Y2K titled, "The Warped Perspective ". It's about the general awareness of computer users concerning the problem. Intriguing...

Computer sellers don't like admitting that they don't know something. It ruins the false impression that they are all-knowing gurus who have all the answers. It ruins the pleasant, mindless atmosphere of casual acceptance of everything "new" as automatically "better" by a brainwashed populace. You know, the people who believe evolution is fact because it's "obvious" or because "everybody else believes it." You know, the people who think that technology can only get better, never worse. You know, the people who equate clever marketing with technological excellence. If you calmly and rationally explain that this attitude is self-deception and that the people in the computer industry are not really as sharp and all-knowing as they appear, you will likely be branded as a "dangerous person" who must be harassed and shut-up.

Here's an interesting piece called, "The Hatchet Job". It's about biased journalistic views by product reviewers.

This review is a perfect example of being "penny wise and pound foolish." No doubt a large percentage of the two trillion dollars spent on information technology in the last few years by U.S. companies is another such example. I suppose that kind of stupidity is one reason why WindowsNT is still used, despite the fact that OS/2 WarpServer is actually a less-expensive solution. That's right, if you count the cost of doing business instead of just the price on the label, OS/2 is far cheaper. The real problem here is that the reviewer is fooled by the unrealistically low entry cost of the Windows platform, and fails to recognize that a network is more than just the sum of its parts.

37.5GB IBM Deskstar 37GP Review 13:40 pm - Yingzong
Our authority in storage news, StorageReview, has done a write-up on the IBM Deskstar 37GP DPTA-353750. This is a 5400rpm ATA-66 drive which packs a whopping 37.5GB of storage space over 5 platters. Yeah, baby! More bang for the buck! Check it out :

Big Blue, however, like Maxtor, has chosen to barrel ahead with a flagship 5400rpm design incorporates just as many platters as its 7200rpm units. The Deskstar 37GP's 5 platters, each weighing in at an impressive 7.5 gigabytes, yields an incredible top capacity of 37.5 gigs. The 37GP is the second largest hard drive around, yielding only to Seagate's 11-platter 1.6" Barracuda 50 (a SCSI drive, of course).

The drive's seeks are rated at a very standard 9.0 milliseconds. Like it's predecessor, the Deskstar 25GP, the 37GP's top-capacity models are equipped with a two megabyte buffer. It should be noted, however, that the two smaller units in the series (22.5 GB and 15.5 GB) are equipped with a 512k buffer. Nevertheless, it's likely that the smaller buffer doesn't significantly impact performance. IBM protects the drive with a three-year warranty.

NT Tweaks 09:36 am - Kan
Our guru pals over at ArsTechnica whipped up another two new articles on optimizing your NT system. First is the Disabling extra subsystems (don't ask me what that is) article and the second one is Disabling paging of the NT Executive. Not for the faint hearted, here's some juice:

What?  What is POSIX, and what is this subsystem for?  Well, the POSIX (Portable Operating Subsystem Interface for Computing Environments) Subsystem was designed to enable POSIX.1 applications to run on NT--applications that, typically, would utilize C API calls between the OS and an that application.  Such API calls are based on UNIX system calls.  Do you need the POSIX subsystem?  Probably not.  The vast majority of NT applications are written for Win32 (thankfully), so only those of you who are using very special software would need to worry about this.  The rule of thumb is that the subsystem is unnecessary, and should be removed off of any hardcore tweaker's box.

Athlon Motherboards 09:31 am - Kan
Over at GamersDepot, there's a review on two Athlon motherboards (FIC SD11 and BMC QS750). Here's a short blurb:

On these K7 boards, it reached over 100fps!! Talk about bang for your buck. Both boards offer rock-solid performance. I was able to run all applications repeatedly without a hitch, and reboots were quick and painless. The SD11's AMIBIOS boots substantially faster than the AWARD PCII (non-Phoenix) BIOS on the QS750, but shutdown was almost immediate on both boards, since ACPI is supported on both. The SD11 is slightly larger than motherboards I have recently seen, so it took just a little juggling to get it seated in my case. The QS750, on the other hand, has a proprietary speaker connector which requires a two-pin wire.

Winamp 2.50D 09:26 am - Kan
Just spotted this from BetaNews on a new release of Winamp 2.50D. You can download the file straight from our FTP server or thru Nullsoft.

Nullsoft has posted yet another version of Winamp for download. Not yet on the web site, you can download it from the Nullsoft FTP. Here is what's new in this popular media player:

  • New MJuice code
  • Cleaned up CDDA plug-in and fixed a few bugs

Linksys 10/100 Switch 09:08 am - Kan
CRUS posted a review on the Linksys 10/100 switch review. So how does the performance fare against our own reviews on the DLink DFE-910 and DFE-905? Check'em out!

Well, to put it very simple, when using a hub all users on a network share the bandwidth of the hub (for example 10 or 100Mbits) and if there’s a lot of users connected to the hub, you’ll get some really poor performance (try copying some files over a network while your friends are playing a game over the same hub. You’ll run out of friends.)  

Cooling Tools 09:07 am - Kan
HardwareCentral whipped up an article teaching you how to cool down your computer to acceptable levels. 

Most people are under the impression that adding a huge CPU-cooler to their CPU is going to solve all of their heat problems. Well, that might hold true to some extend, but we must not forget that even the biggest CPU-cooler can only bring the CPU down to case temperature.

Thus, if a high case temperature is holding you back from running your system reliably, you might want to consider cooling your whole system, or the peripherals within the case.

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