7 January 2000 - Friday

Cyrix Joshua Preview
- 20:59 pm Wilfred

PC Insight has a nice preview (other then the cramped out fonts) of the upcoming 'Joshua' chip from Cyrix. Interesting, interesting...

Joshua is designed on the Cayenne core which is based upon a .18 micron process thereby reducing power consumption and temperature when compared to .25 micron chips. One thing we would like to see is how well this puppy overclocks considering the .18 micron factor. This CPU will be available in speeds of 433, 466, 500, 533 and 566 MHz in which all flavours of the CPU will have an on-die 256KB on-die L2 cache running at clock speed. This is the same as what the newer Intel Pentium III CPUs offer and double of what any Celeron on the market offers. This does certainly have an edge over the Celeron in the lower end market, especially under L2-cache intensive business applications. Along with the boost in L2 cache, the Joshua bumps the Celeron by doubling the amount of L1 cache from 32K as on the Celeron to a whopping 64K. Not bad for an entry-level CPU, eh?

Information On Canon S20 Digital Camera - 20:53 pm Wilfred
Over at Digital Photography Review, Phil's got some information of the Canon S20 pasted on his page. It seems like Canon just house an even more capable camera within that small, yet cool metallic box.

Creative Webcam Go - 20:48 pm Wilfred
Though you must have seen it in stores and on retail shelves, many prolly don't know what this new gadget is supposed to have over its predecessor. Mellenger.com has a review of it here.

Videoconferencing worked great. I tried it on my home network because I wanted to see what the output looked like. It is great for what I want to use it for, I'm going to get my mom to buy one. The images which are taken when the camera is disconnected from the PC and stored on the flash memory are the same quality as the captured to disk pictures but the captured pics have the advantage of having their levels adjusted. When using the Webcam Go as a digital camera you have no control over any of the levels. The focus is adjusted by a focus ring on the front of the camera, the manual explains focusing like this, "To focus on an object aprox. 6 inches away, turn the focus ring until the focus mark is at the 12 o'clock position. To focus on objects 3 to 5 feet away, turn the focus ring to the 6 o'clock position, etc."  Sounds easy, huh? Since the focus ring doesn't do anything for the viewfinder, it's pretty useless in the great outdoors, you don't know if your photos are in focus or not. Best bet is to probably leave it set for infinity.

Guillemot Flat Maxi Speakers 2.0 - 20:45 pm Wilfred
Tech-Review threw out a review of Guillemot's chic-lookin' flat panel speakers. Looks like the guys weren't very impressed.

Considering the Maxi FS lack of a subwoofer, the bass test didn't turn out too well. First off they are limited to a 150 Hz rating, which is way too high for good bass performance, as the low bass hits come from the 20 - 100 Hz range. The lower the Hz, the lower the sound and bass hit, so speakers sets that are rated as low as 20 Hz have the ability to produce improved bass performance. And bass is not what flat panel speakers are intended for, which is why bass in itself is completely lacking all together with the Maxi FS. Even with the inclusion of the bass control, it would not make much of a difference without it. Unfortunately, this set of speakers is in desperate need of a separate bass unit. But when considering their super low price, it is obvious that these speakers were not intended for high end use.

On the higher frequency end, the speakers put out a somewhat good quality sound, but the overall sound quality is simply not up to par with other speaker sets out there. The sound quality takes me back to the days of my $12 Labtec speakers that I bought with the original Sound Blaster sound card. The Maxi SF do however put out clear vocals, but not without a tin pan like sound to accompany them.

AMD, Compaq And Kryotech To Join Forces - 20:39 pm Wilfred
You would have thought this is the most unlikely of teams this same time last year. Yahoo! News reports that AMD, Compaq and Kryotech will be demonstrating the super-cooled 1Ghz Athlon PC at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show. So ok, we don't have sales plan for a Compaq SuperG PC, but the closer working relations from this demonstration product does signal some defiance on Compaq's part, I guess. Check this!

LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 6, 2000--KryoTech, AMD and Compaq Computer Corp. today demonstrated a 1 Gigahertz (1000Mhz) Compaq Presario Internet PC powered by the AMD Athlon(TM) processor and KryoTech SuperG(TM) technology.

The Presario PC features innovative technology that enables the system to reach the 1 GHz mark and offers leading edge system performance. The demonstration is being held at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the Digital Living Room, North Hall, at Compaq's Booth No. 6653.

The 1GHz Compaq Presario PC demonstration is based on KryoTech's SuperG technology, a "super-cooled'' computer featuring an AMD Athlon processor. To achieve this speed, KryoTech's patented cooling system thermally accelerates the AMD Athlon processor, enabling the processor to run at 1GHz, or one billion cycles per second.

"By combining a powerful AMD Athlon processor with KryoTech's patented cooling system, Compaq is able to be the first major computer manufacturer in the world to publicly demonstrate a 1GHz system,'' said Mark Vena, Director, Consumer Desktop Product Marketing, Compaq Computer Corporation. "The rich combination of Compaq Presario desktop technology using an AMD Athlon processor and KryoTech's innovative SuperG cooling solution provides a glimpse into what the future holds for consumers who desire incredibly powerful personal computer systems.''

Wilfred Coughs - 20:33 pm Wilfred
I think it's been only 12 hrs but you are already missing us, some of you panicking and wondering what's wrong at Hardware-One? Heh! Again I say it, caught up with trivials of life. I paid Kan a visit in the command bunker 13th floor underground, and he's a tired man with bloodshot eyes, unshaven stubs and trembling hands. But he'll see it through if you all understand. :)

Meanwhile, most of us are busy with some form of review or the other, so you can expect some new articles in the near future.

Microsoft Intellieye Mouse - 20:31 pm Wilfred
Yes, another of our network affiliate is hard at work (unlike us loafing around! =P)! Planet GeForce has a review of the one-eye balless rodent from Microsoft. They love it plenty, it seems.

Specifically, the complaints I heard centered around the IntelliMouse Explorer responsiveness under twitch movement situations. Those concerns are actually legitimate; let me explain from my own experience thus far. Under most conditions the IntelliMouse Explorer acts much like any other mouse (with the exception of much higher resolution), with the cursor moving proportionally with the movement of the users hand. However, under extremely high rates of movement (and I'm talking unusually high) the cursor has a tendency of either not updating correctly or going straight down.

Either condition can mean instant death in multiplayer matches. Again, the type of twitching to get this to happen is kinda ridiculous. I would recommend (as I would with any mouse) testing it out first in a store or at a friend's before going out and purchasing.

ABIT BP6 Motherboard Review - 20:28 pm Wilfred
Our pals at rejuvenated Tech-Junkie have a review of the BP6 today! Surely, this is still be best and most cost-effective way to double your processing powess! How about a 5/5 rating from them?

But does the slight performance increase justify having two CPU's? Although you will not get a full 2x speed increase, having two CPU's will allow you to do background tasks such as rendering while sustaining a foreground application. Applications such as Maya (a leading 3D animation package), allow the user to set the rendering engine to utilize only one CPU, meaning that the other is free for other applications.

Having a dual processor system can also boost your ego while around friends. Believe me, hauling a dual-processor system to a LAN party can turn a few heads - until they realise that having 2 CPU's might not necessarily make things any faster than a single CPU at a higher clock speed. Many applications still do not support SMP. If you don’t intend on running applications that utilise two CPU’s, consider a single processor solution and go for a higher clock speed.

0.13 Micron Copper Chips Next Year? - 20:24 pm Wilfred
CPUReview had my head turned again with this striking piece of news in my mailbox. It seems UMC will be fabricating some of these in Japan. You might want to check out the full blurb there.

D-Link USB Radio - 20:21 pm Wilfred
Well, well, ever since the inception of the USB, we've seen more and more novel uses for it. Most of you must be aware of D-Link's new FM radio product and AbsolutePC today give it a good thumbs up!

Nearly instantly, Windows found the device, and prompted for its drivers. After that completed, he ran the setup program off the CD, and installed the software and MP3 compressor. Next, all he had to do was launch the program, and set the station, and boom, we were listening to his favorite station. The clarity was great, and he was able to adjust the volume just to his liking with the three volume knobs in the software.

Shuttle AV61 VIA Apollo Pro 133 Mobo - 20:18 pm Wilfred
Our fellow network buds at HotHardware has a review on the VIA Apollo 133 based Shuttle AV61 motherboard. VIA has generated a lot of interest in its current crop of chipsets, and I think the Apollo Pro 133A is worth a look!

In closing, this is a quality product, which may perfectly fill the void between Intel's BX and i820 based boards.  With the exception of the choice for 5PCI slots, Shuttle's choice of features is excellent.  The layout is great, and compatibility, performance and stability are top notch.  With the exception of the initial resource conflicts (which may very well have been my fault), this board is easily installed and setup.  With the age of the BX chipset and the cost of an i820/RAMBUS combo, I'd have no problems recommending this board to someone contemplating an upgrade.  With support for every current Intel processor (slotket required for FPGA chips) and compatibility with standard DIMMs you have a lot of versatility.

Corel Linux To Run Windows Apps - 20:11 pm Wilfred
Whoa! This is perhaps a sign of things to come? Corel has announced that they will be working with GraphOn Corporation to integrate their Bridges connectivity software onto Corel Linux. This integration will allow it to seamlessly and instantly access Windows applications much like Citrix.

CAMPBELL, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 6, 2000--GraphOn Corporation, (Nasdaq: GOJO - news; www.graphon.com) has signed a licensing agreement with Corel Corporation (CORL) to integrate GraphOn's Bridges(TM) connectivity software into Corel® LINUX® OS. By integrating Bridges, Corel LINUX becomes the first and only complete desktop Linux operating system that lets users instantly access and run Windows® applications unchanged and seamlessly on their Linux PCs or devices over any dial-up, network or Internet connection and without the need for any additional hardware.

``Linux has been embraced as a truly viable, powerful and stable alternative to Windows, but the market still has a large investment in Windows applications,'' says Walt Keller, CEO and president of GraphOn Corporation. ``Corel and GraphOn are taking Corel LINUX to the next level by giving users the freedom to adopt Linux on their desktop while still using their familiar Windows applications. It's no longer a matter of one OS or the other. GraphOn Bridges and Corel LINUX let users have it all.''

ABIT BE6 Review - 08:33 am Wilfred
Late, this is quite late. But just to let you know, CTNews has a review of the ABIT BE6 motherboard. Here's the customary blurb:

The BE6 is as polished as the best i440BX Intel boards. That would be the Abit BE6II, ASUS P-2-B-F, or the excellent Soyo 6BA+III. We will be looking at the BE6II soon. It has ABIT's SoftMenu III with adjustments for more FSB settings. You can get full support for the newest Video Cards such as the GeForce based Annihilator and the 3D Prophet. You can also use UDMA/66 drives as storage for your system. This works very well, and allows much faster data transfers.

More Realistic Q3A/GeForce Benchmarks - 08:30 am Wilfred
Over at MaximumHardware, they have a new set of benchmarks that well, is supposed to be more indicative today's performance video cards. I am unaware of the detailed testing procedures at other sites, but indeed, I've ALWAYS been puzzled at the lower numbers we get here. Perhaps MaximumHardware answers my question... Check this out on their front page.

Now what I have noticed in many GeForce reviews on the web is that in order to achieve the highest possible timedemo frame rate results, reviewers have been turning off many (if not all) of the Quake 3 graphical options.  These can be enabled or disabled in the "Game Options" menu and many hardware reviewers have been turning off such features as "sky", "dynamic lighting" and "marks on walls".  This indeed results in a considerable performance boost but I find this benchmarking procedure questionable.  Why someone owning a GeForce card would then want to turn off all of these graphical features is beyond me, and I feel that doing so for the purposes of achieving higher benchmark results is misleading. 

Matrox G400 Marvel TV - 08:22 am Wilfred
Hardware Central has a review of the G400 Marvel TV, they called the swiss army knife of graphics card. If you are into video editing on your PC, this could be one card for all your needs!

With all of the features the Matrox Marvel G400-TV has to offer and the high quality image of its hardware codec the Marvel G400-TV is simply the best all-in-one card available. There is no product on the market with a similar price tag that offers the flexibility and broad range of features the Marvel G400-TV has to offer. Although the cost of a hardware video capture and editing solution may be slightly higher than a software one, the Matrox Marvel G400-TV delivers as promised on all counts.

6 January 2000 - Thursday

Q3A Massive Tune-Up Guide For GeForce
- 23:24 pm Wilfred

nV News just gave their Q3A Tune-Up guide a major update, covering detailed comparisons between the Creative Annihilator and Annihilator Pro cards using just about every performance setting and resolution that could be found. It seems, we must be humbled even with the DDR GeForce, and here we are reminded that it's a life of compromise.

You immediately head for the graphics options and choose the high quality settings. You proceed to play a few heavy duty matches against 6 bots with the frame rate counter enabled and begin to wonder why performance seems a bit sluggish. After all, you have a GeForce now and think "Hmm...I should be able to play at high resolutions in 32-bit color with all the options cranked to the max."

So you're a "hardcore" gamer and have been playing Quake since you were in diapers. You crave the need for speed and switch to 16-bit color and give it another shot. "Ahh, that's more like it, but..."

But you had a taste of playing Quake 3 Arena in 32-bit color. Vivid colors, crisp textures, and the effects of dithering are history. You think "Man, if I could play in 32-bit color, with the performance of 16-bit color, I would... (insert sarcastic remark here)."

DDR GeForce In Australia - 23:15 pm Wilfred
In all his excitement and ermm.... Dan-di-ness, Dan popped a note to us on his latest DDR GeForce card roundup. He's scoured all of his continent to bring you everything he can find, all tucked into a single large scoop:

If money is no object and/or you've got to be the first on your block, get a GeForce now. The V6600 is a perfectly good one; the plain Leadtek is a little better overall, the DDR Leadtek is the speed king, and the V6600 Deluxe is great if you can use its extra features, don't want to muck about with manual overclocking, and can afford it. If the better game bundle with the more expensive brand name GeForce cards appeals to you then get one of them instead, but you lose nothing performance-wise with the cheaper ones.

MacWorld '99 Part 1 - 23:04 pm Wilfred
You're not turned on by a Mac? Hold it, hold it... you hate the overbearingly cute, un-macho tangerine and turquoise translucent desktops? Check, ok. Well, are you into digital video editing? What do you think of wireless networks within your home and or perhaps a powerful mission critical OS with ease of use that's unparalleled and well, looks mighty pretty too? The FiringSquad made a trip to MacWorld '99 and they're here to tell us what they'd seen. Wait, I forgot, there're games mentioned too! =)

The newest Macintosh operating system isn't just a cosmetic makeover like previous updates have seemed to be. OS X is the one that rips out everything and changes the Macintosh from the inside out. The underlying kernel, called Darwin, finally brings protected memory and true preemptive multitasking to the Mac. It's also totally open source. We'll have Sam, our Gamers.com Mac editor go over the underlying changes more thoroughly in a future article but for now we'll go over the more visible changes to the operating system.

D-Link USB Modem - 19:50 pm Wilfred
SystemLogic has a review on the D-Link DSB-650 USB modem. Looks like they have some problems with the performance and connection. Have a read:

There is nothing worse than a review that I think was supposed to go one way but it goes the other. Truthfully, although I am not biased, I thought this modem would blow me away because great things come in small packages is my motto and for the $129 price tag, I thought it’d be a great performer but I was disappointed.

China Bans Windows 2000 And.... Whoa! - 19:27 pm Wilfred
Indeed a big 'Whoa!' from me, The Register reports that China is banning government use of Windows 2000 and is developing its own version of the Linux OS. A must read!

But while you could maybe reckon this is just a bit of price-gouging by China, the development of what seems to be called Red Flag Linux (unless you want tanks on your lawn, Mr Young, we'd caution you not to sue) is being justified for other reasons. According to Chinese officials quoted in the paper the development of an indigenous operating system is being seen as an IT parallel to the cold war leaps China made in producing nuclear weapons, missiles and satellites.

Exactly (or even approximately) how China intends to conform to Linux licensing terms and conditions isn't made clear, but any geeks out there salivating over the prospect of gaining access to the source for missile control systems shouldn't hold their breath.

ABIT VA6 At Ars-Technica - 19:19 pm Wilfred
The chaps at Ars-Technica took a look at ABIT's VA6 board and they found it totally smack-ass stable with a lot of potential under the hood. Yes, if performance could be upped a little more... ??? 

In the end, performance of this board is a bit more than behind the curve, but the stability of the board was quite good, and a look at the feature list shows you that you can get some impressive tech on a "low end" board (ATA66, 4 USB ports, onboard audio, etc). If ABIT continues to make these boards and produces one using the VIA Apollo Pro133A chipset, things could get downright interesting.

TIME Digital Tech Predictions For 2000 - 19:07 pm Wilfred
With the rollover of Y2k, TIME Digital feels ready with their predictions for the year ahead. See where they think the industry will shift towards and who or what will be in the limelight:

The Stock Market: Plus Ca Change The hype over dot-com stocks will gradually fade (see prediction number 2), and overvalued, unprofitable Internet companies will see their stock prices gradually decline. (Yes, I know we predicted this last year. We're gluttons for punishment.) But what market-watchers will discover is that the dot-com mania has permanently changed the market, and that investors have become addicted to the thrill of meaningless skyrocket IPOs. They'll find some other industry (biotech? pharmaceuticals? who knows?) inflate with meaningless hype, and give the Internet a well-deserved rest.

Final Fantasy VIII Preview - 19:03 pm Wilfred
Vault Network has a big ass preview of SquareSoft's Final Fantasy VIII for the PC. So in case you are growing bored waiting for its arrival, read this as appetizer first.

The second title in the series to hit the PC, Final Fantasy VIII continues the style that made its predecessors so popular. The game is built around a twisting plot that focuses on character development and relationships. Also featured are massive visual effects, more than an hour of animation, and a stirring soundtrack by a composer who has been with the series since it's inception.

The setting is best described as a high technology world with a mixture of fantasy and science fiction elements. Where Final Fantasy VII started out with a dark, harsh atmosphere, this game starts out bright and relatively peaceful. However, peace is about to be threatened - there couldn't be a game otherwise.

Hackers, The US Military Wants You - 19:00 pm Wilfred
Wired is reporting that the US Military is enlisting hackers into the ranks to form perhaps some covert net force against enemy nations in the future. Do you have a suitable resume to submit?

Myers told reporters that Pentagon planners are currently devising general hacker-war procedures, which must be approved by the Secretary of Defense and should be complete by October.

In October 1999, the Space Command took over the job of protecting Defense Department computers from hacker attacks.

But its new roles raise some knotty questions. For instance, should the military be involved in defending vital military communications when they travel over commercial networks? Should online attacks on an enemy's infrastructure be viewed as an act of war, and should such attacks be approved by the president, Congress, or the Pentagon?

OS X Interface Information - 18:51 pm Wilfred
Not the usual commentary you'll find at osOpinion, but today, senior editor Kelly McNeill writes about Apples' Mac OS X interface. Looks mighty cool from the few screenshots offered:

Mac OS X combines Quartz (based on the Internet- standard portable document format), QuickTime and OpenGL to give users the sharpest graphics ever seen on a personal computer. In fact, the quality of on- screen type alone reflects the attention that went into making Mac OS X the equal of its counterparts in the hardware space.

ACT-LABS GS Quake II Conversion Mod - 11:15 am Yingzong
Many of you remember the silver sleek gun system that ACT-LABS released some time back. Well, -glitter-, an independent third party software developer, has released the GUNFRENZY!-2- mod for Quake2. This mod brings you through a pre-programmed route in Quake II levels while 1 or 2 players shoot it out! It's like a Virtual Cop or Time Crisis experience, but this time, it's in Quake II! You can also check out our review of the ACT-LABS GS. Here's a snippet of the press release :

Instead of navigating independently, gamers are taken on a pre-programmed route from beginning to end through enabled levels with full support for 2-player action. -glitter-'s revolutionary intelligent camera system reacts spontaneously to GUNFRENZY!-2-'s random monster generation, and gameplay is never the same. GUNFRENZY!-2- even allows sophisticated gamers to generate new "rail shooter" missions by customizing their own paths through (any) Quake2® levels and scripting game events.

"FPS engines are the perfect vehicle for this type of conversion - With GUNFRENZY!-2-, I wanted to experiment with a intelligent automatic camera that would turn it into the ultimate lightgun first-person shooter - I'm rather pleased with the way it turned out." says -glitter-, author of GUNFRENZY!-2-.

3D Cool Tornado 100 Case - 08:26 am Wilfred
Hardware Masters threw out a review on 3D Cool's 'biggest cooling solution' for the PC - their casing. Looks like a sturdy one with nice ventilations fans installed.

The whole point of designing this case was for cooling. Ben of 3D Cool tested many different fan locations and found this setup to be the best. (Yes, these cases are hand made) There are a total of four fans not counting the power supply fan. There is one in the bottom front bring air in, one in the back under the power supply near the cpu blowing out and then two on the side panel blowing directly on the AGP and PCI slots. Let me tell you, these fans move air REALLY well. Just one of these fans is more powerful than the two combined in my old case. The fan in the front has a filter to prevent dust from coming in, but the two blow holes on the side don't. After using the case for a month now, I noticed a layer of dust on the cards inside and on the side of the heatsink/fan for my processor. A can of compressed air fixed this but it would have been nice to have a filter for the blow holes too.

Intel Pentium III 500E - 08:19 am Wilfred
They all seem to be able to read Wymun's mind and all out to tempt his wallets. GamePC went on an overclocking frenzy with the FC-PGA PIII-500E, 667Mhz easily and 700Mhz with a fair amount of luck!

We also tried the chip on an Abit BE6-II motherboard, which has FSB speeds up to 200 MHz, and that nifty Softmenu III in the BIOS. With the BE6-II, we were only able to get the chip stable at 630 MHz, bumps in voltage didn't help. While the chip only worked up to 630 MHz in games, daily Windows work was another issue. Without launching any processor intensive games, the chip would run day to day work at an unheard of 750 MHz (5.0 x 150 MHz FSB), and seemed to work great, but would freeze when we launched 3DMark or Quake3. As we're never satisfied, we decided simply to see how high the thing would boot at. Our answer, 770 MHz. If we can get it to boot at 770 MHz with retail cooling, more extreme cooling methods like peltier pads and water cooling will definitely be able to push this chip over 800 MHz. For a $250 or so processor, you basically get a guaranteed 650+ MHz overclock, 667 MHz seems to be pretty safe all around the board, talk about a bargain.

5 January 2000 - Wednesday

MS Office Blocks Linux Progress... - 23:19 pm Wilfred
The Register caught what Larry Augustine, CEO of VA Linux Systems, said about what he feels is restricting Linux onslaught into the desktop PCs. For a long time, I haven't read a more insightful story. Really, it's simple and plain. Nobody seem to tell it?

Office, not Windows, is Microsoft's real killer asset, according to VA Linux Systems CEO Larry Augustine. In an interview with CNBC yesterday Augustine described MS Office as "the one big application" in the desktop arena, and said Linux wouldn't make serious headway here until a strong enough rival appeared.

Sony's PDA For PS2? - 22:10 pm Wilfred
Whoa! My eyes nearly popped when I saw this on ArsTechnica... WHAT A GREAT IDEA! Daily Radar is reporting that Sony's collaboration with Palm Computing is to create a PDA that will interface with the Playstation 2 via the IEEE1394 port. Damn kewl! What? Download some Pokemon characters onto your Palm and nurse them before they return to the main console for more adventure? =) I dunno, but apparently, there's MORE!

When Sony announced during this year's COMDEX conference that they would build their entire product line around the broadband network and the PlayStation2, we just got a glimpse of the company's future plans. Those plans are becoming clearer every day. Take for instance the recent news that Sony is building a PDA (personal digital assistant) that will plug into the PlayStation2 via the IEEE1394 (FireWire or iLINK) port.

P3-600 FC-PGA Overclocking - 22:03 pm Wilfred
The FiringSquad just churned out a P3-600MHz CuMine overclocking review. Now with the FC-PGA chips arriving, the overclocking scene with Intel chips is looking bright yet again.

Our overclocked processor put up impressive numbers, but the overclocking success rate is still a question. Only one processor out of our three was able to reach 750MHz. Of course, our results are in no way indicative of what to expect from all P3-600 FC-PGA overclocking. We only tested a very small sample of non-producion processors.

The 600MHz Pentium 3 processors are still on the expensive side with prices hovering near $430, but the 600E might be the best Coppermine P3 processor for overclocking. The 500E's 5X multiplier will require extremely high FSB speeds in order to overclock to a decent 650MHz+ level. The 600E's 6X multiplier will fit in perfectly with the popular 124MHz FSB for a nice 744MHz overclocked speed.

Aspects Of A Performance Machine - 21:55 pm Wilfred
Definitely not on Carl Lewis or a tuned up Nissan Skyline, but SystemLogic churned out an article where important aspects of what you'll find in a typical performance machine.

What makes a great gaming system? A lot of factors contribute to make it a whole. Lets go back 8 years when we thought the ideal game was DOOM. DOOM didn’t require much, a 386, 4MB RAM, and a couple of megs of hard drive. Graphics cards weren’t even talked about back then. After DOOM, the computer gaming industry began to flourish with advances in gaming technology and it’s followers. Keeping up back then was easy, 3dfx had the Voodoo Graphics board which was the unchallenged power for years, then the Voodoo2, which was still unchallenged for a long time. Now, with serious competitors, 3dfx has been losing ground to NVidia, S3, etc.... What does that mean to us? It means we have to keep upgrading to keep up with graphics technology. Lets say you purchase a Voodoo3 in January and you see a TNT2 is faster, you then purchase that 2 months after the Voodoo3, then a couple of months later, you buy the TNT2, then the GeForce, all in the timeframe of less than a year and a half. This industry is spitting out technological advances so fast that it takes a fortune to keep up with the tug of war that happens between the companies who make the boards.

Athlon O'Cing Adapter Review - 21:34 pm Wilfred
HardOCP sent word of a review on the Outside Loops' Afterburner O'Cing adapter. Wanna know what good it did for an Athlon paired up with the Asus K7M? Read here:

If you want to OC your Athlon without the risk of destroying it, I would say that this is what you want.  As long as the specs stay the same on the K7, which it most likely will for a little while, the Afterburner is an upgrade you can take with you to your next CPU.  We were able to dial a 500 to 800MHz and a 600 Athlon to 750MHz quite easily while applying voltage tweaks along the way.

One other thing that should be VERY IMPORTANT in your decision is whether or not you will have room in your case for a Golden Fingers mod.  Every other mod I have seen on the market is designed so that it sticks up instead of lying across the top of the processor like the Afterburner.  Now in a full tower this may not be a problem, but with a mid or mini, you may find your power supply or something else in the way.  I would be very careful about this.

More Heatsink Reviews - 18:01 pm Wymun
The overclockers at Overclockin.com, have taken a look at a few PPGA heatsinks and put them to the test.  Hmmm...Seems like they're makin' them taller and taller these days....  

Although good old-fashioned air-cooling is definitely the most portable and safe of the solutions today, not all PPGA heatsinks were created equal. Today we'll take a look at a couple of socket370 coolers based on the good 'ol heatsink-and-fan and see just how well they keep that hot Celeron cool. The two heatsinks I'm out to test are both from Global Win, maker of the ever-popular CPM32, distributed by many system builders with their [email protected] systems.

Cooling & Heatsink Technology - 17:55 pm Wymun
The experts at Anandtech have written up an article on the basics of cooling & heatsink technology. Guess one never fails to learn something new from these chaps.

So, in order to design an efficient heatsink, a solution would be to make it as big as possible, and add a very powerful fan. Another solution would be to let it have very fine fins, and use a clever design that allows the airflow from the fan to travel easily through the heatsink - by using a heatsink design that avoids turbulence and high air pressures inside the cooler. Of course, the ideal solution would be the combination of both solutions.

Athlon 800 @ 900MHz!! - 17:49 pm Wymun
Woah!  Such insane clock speeds are making my PIII450 o/c to 558MHz look rather pathetic.  The Tech Report has just posted an update cum review on such a beast.  

Well, I've done some more experimenting, and I am pleased to announce that I got our Athlon 800 up to 900 MHz. This heady speed was the result of pushing the core voltage of the processor up to 1.75 volts; things were 95% stable at 1.7 (Unreal Tournament benchmarks were the only thing that caused problems), and at 1.75 we saw only problems in one test, which could quite possibly be blamed on the benchmark itself (I'll explain in a minute).

Network Your Home - 17:43 pm Wymun
Ever thought it was viable to link up your home PCs via normal phone-lines?  Well, D-Link has the DHN-910 kit available (with HomePNA 2.0 techonology) and 3D Rage has just completed a review on it, giving it a thumbs-up for performance cum value.

The D-Link networking solution performed wonderfully, yielding excellent results when transmitting multiple and single large files. On one of the tests I ran, I transmitted a 13.8MB file from the server system to the client. The total elapsed time was 15 seconds, which results in a throughput of around 7.36Mbits/sec if I'm correct, which is close to the 10Mbit/sec maximum stated on the box.

G4 vs Athlon Shootout - 17:37 pm Wymun
CPU Review has yet another shootout between the G4 and Athlon.  But this time round, they compare their performances in Photoshop and Lightwave.  So if you're considering either processor, best check this out...  

I've found some interesting, and rather comprehensive Photoshop 5.5 benchmarks pitting an Athlon 600 against several G4-based machines and a stock Blue & White G3/400. The test is PS5Bench, which tests how fast each computer processes some 21 filters and other common Photoshop functions.

New BIOS for Tyan Trinity 400 - 17:30 pm Wymun
Aw...Just after I had thought of waiting for the new rev 3 Tyan boards to become available, Tyan releases a full-fledged v1.00 BIOS (dated 04/01/2000) to tempt me further....Hmmm...This BIOS apparently enables 133MHz and the new FSBs as well....Check it out!

VST/USB Firewire Harddisks - 07:50 am Kan
Wooah. Over at CDR-Info, the guys posted some info on the VST firewire hard disks which broke the 25GB capacity barrier (previous was only 14GB). Firewire allows hot swapping of hard disks and is able to have a data rate of up to 14 MB/s.

VST's 6 and 12 gigabyte ultra compact drives measure only 3 in (W) x 5.5 in (D) x 0.7 in (H), and weigh just 6.5 ounces. The 18GB and 25GB FireWire models address users demands for larger capacities for a variety of digital video, audio and multimedia applications, while maintaining true portability and the same small 3 x 5 inch foot print. The VST FireWire drives may be FireWire cable bus-powered, so no external power source is necessary. With typical shock ratings of 500Gs, the drives stand up to the rigors of portable use.

Maxtor DiamondMax 36 - 07:45 am Kan
Review of the whopping Maxtor DiamondMax 36 hard drive over at CTNews. Though it's 36GB, it only has a spindle rate of 5400rpm, but hey, it's a good way to store all those ASFs and MP3s. :)

Think about having fast access (<9 ms access times) to 36.5 Gigs of data storage. While the spindle speed is only 5400 rpm's that's one way keep construction costs down. With the protection of MaxSafe Media scan you have a viable memory recovery utility. The DualWave Controllers add to the pot of memory management. A 2 Megabyte Buffer keeps your data streams going. If your using Max Blast for the installation process its pretty Boobah (idiot) proof. With only the shear size of the drive becoming a problem (discussed later). If you know anything about maximum storage then this Hard Drive is sounding mighty remarkable. Lets take a more meaningful look at the Maxtor DiamondMax 36.

3Com Internet Gaming Modem - 07:43 am Kan
3DAlpha just sent note on their review on the 3Com Internet Gaming Modem. Low latencies and more reliable connection is what 3Com claims this modem is capable of. 

Getting on with the hardware side of things, the modem appears very much like any other 3Com 56k modem, with the notable exception of it's PCI interface. Most PCI modems to date have all been software-based "Winmodems", which utilize the computer processor extensively to handle all modem functions. With the modem and graphics card fighting for use of the processor, the end result is usually an unbearable amount of lag. The 3Com Internet Gaming Modem, however, is not such a device, as all modem functions are handled by the modem itself.

4 January 2000 - Tuesday

ATi Rage Fury MAXX - 20:50 pm Wilfred
SharkyExtreme threw out a review on the Rage Fury MAXX card and compared it to the nVidia GeForce SDR and DDR cards. After reading it and studying the benchmarks, I would definitely go for the GeForce cards (the DDR if money is not a problem)... Below: 'at higher resolutions...' seem to refer to above 1024x768 32-bits colour with an ultra-fast CPU, and less than 2 fps difference? Hmm... you go see for yourself. =) 

It is indeed a breath of fresh air to see ATi utilizing their vast resources to manufacture an offering for the high-end gaming market. The Rage Fury MAXX offers performance like nothing ATi has ever brought to the table, beating the GeForce SDR hands-down at higher resolutions and 32-bit color. Having the best DVD support on the market doesn't hurt the MAXX either, as ATi is already known by DVD aficionados for having the best quality available.

Understandably, the price of two processors and 64MB of RAM is significantly higher than what it would take for a single chip solution, but if it takes two processors to deliver the performance, the price will be an issue. At $299, the MAXX is more expensive then even ASUS's V6600 Deluxe, without the features present on the ASUS card. For ATi to compete against the SDR GeForce boards, they will have to lower the price to match. When/if this happens, the ATi Rage Fury MAXX will indeed become the price/performance king.

AOpen AX6BC Pro II Millennium Edition - 20:37 pm Wilfred
LostCircuits has a review of the AOpen AX6BC Pro II Millennium Edition BX motherboard. Find out if they liked the board!

The AX6BC Pro II is most certainly one of the hottest mainboards currently available. There are a few features that require rethinking of the old fashioned ways of setting up a computer (e.g. the odd position of the FDD connector). However, if one takes advantage of all the features, including the more aggressive BIOS settings activated by the Turbo setup, one can’t but notice that the AX6BC Pro II is carved out of the stuff that dreams are made from. The visual appearance of the board itself is as stunning as stunning can be, putting immediately the lucite side panel for the case on the next wish list.

Stability of the AX6BC Pro II is exemplary under any conditions as is the performance, at least in combination with the coppermine processor. The IDE controller may need a bit more tweaking which should not be too difficult, considering the fact that there are no more ISA slots and therefore also the PCI / IDE latencies can be adjusted for optimal performance.

Benwin BW2000 Flat Panel Speakers - 20:32 pm Wilfred
There is a new review on the Benwin flat panel speakers at SystemLogic and from the sound of it, they liked it.

The Benwin BW2000 did an impressive job in the music department but not in games because the subwoofer simply cannot deliver the punch that is needed. There is a upside to this though, if you’re a gamer who doesn’t turn sound up high, then you’ll get along great with these speakers. Music on the other hand is what these excel at, having the high frequencies down to the cent.. The 3D feature sets these apart from it’s competitors though and that sounds great too.

Voyetra Turtle Beach OEM Montego Cards - 20:29 pm Wilfred
Dan's Data has a neat single page roundup of the Turtle Beach Montego A3DXStream, Montego II and Montego II Quadzilla cards.

With EAX drivers due shortly and super-fast CPUs and graphics cards getting cheaper by the day, Vortex 2 based sound cards are looking like a better and better idea. Their technology ain't new, but neither is it outdated, and a sound card that supports positional audio is worth a bit extra. With the OEM versions of the cards you get the hardware you need and none of the software you (probably) don't, and Turtle Beach's take on the Vortex and Vortex 2 has a lot to commend it.

Of the three, I prefer the plain Montego II, because I don't need S/PDIF and the panned-rear four speaker mode of the Quadzilla is less than amazing - it's headphones all the way for me, baby. If DVD is your thing, though, the Quadzilla is a good choice, provided your playback software likes it.

Sony FD Trinitron VAIO HMD-A200 - 15:05 pm Wilfred
Digital-Clips seriously LOOKED at the 17" Sony VAIO HMD-A200 monitor. Armed with a Trinitron tube, the Flat-CRT monitor will look great on any desktop! But I want the 21"... =)

Text output is, simply put, razor sharp. Never seen anything this nice, and we weren’t even using G200 or G400 for that sense, just a plain-Jane TNT graphics card. Unlike other 17” or 15” monitors where we could pick out faint ghosting or image defects, the A200 churned out nothing short of perfect, at any resolution from 640 by 480 all the way to 1280 by 1024, although it truly shines at higher resolutions. Bold text, however, seems to lack the eye-popping clarity that normal text has, but remains extremely eye catching.

Cold Fusion 1000 - 1Ghz Athlon - 15:01 pm Wilfred
AnandTech just posted a take on SYS Inc's line of 'Kryotech powered' Athlon PC. SYS Inc. is selling this ColdFusion line of PCs with the customizability of Dell and the likes.

When a friend of ours had a problem with his Cold Fusion 1000 ordered from SYS, the company had a new system overnighted to him right away.  That is what we like to call customer service.  When we had a problem with the power supply not supplying enough current to the AGP slot in our system, SYS immediately sent us a replacement unit.  It’s good to see the same level of support granted to paying customers (who really count) as is normally granted to reviewers.

If you’re set on getting a pre-built, custom configured SuperG system, the Cold Fusion 1000 offers an impressive set of configuration options that go beyond what is listed on the web page to pretty much anything you can think of.  Not to mention the power of the world’s fastest x86 processor under the hood. 

While you’ll definitely want to work with SYS when configuring your Cold Fusion 1000, they are a very capable company and obviously have what it takes to get the job done right.  Their concentration on customer support and dedication to the consumer is very impressive, though you’ll be spending a good $4200+ on a Cold Fusion 1000 from them. Even if you’re not in the market for a Kryotech system, SYS may be just the company you’re looking for.

Learning From The Past - 14:55 pm Wilfred
osOpinion has got new updates to their growing list of editorials today, one of which I found interesting is what the Linux community can learn from Microsoft's past to succeed. Before you protest, you might want to read what the author has to say:

Zooming back to the very near future, Linux is taking the commercial world by storm; it has gained wide acceptance with IBM and HP's backing; and is replacing Windows NT in the back office. Sun Microsystems is giving away an office productivity suite that rivals Microsoft Office, but now the workers are revolting, saying: "Why should I have to use Linux on my desktop? I know Windows 2000 real well. Can't I use Windows?" At this point, we ask: what does Windows have over Linux? Games! If Linux is to take over as the desktop of the future, it must support games, and lots of them. Not FreeCiv, or Craft, or Quake, or five-year-old Doom, but all of the blood-letting, gut-wrenching, macho games that people (mostly men) like to play. Linux needs game support. But that's not all.

Linux also needs an integrated development system like Visual Basic - a system with a very intuitive interface and a set of manuals that can teach an idiot how to program. The set of manuals that came with my old Visual Basic 3.0 Professional Edition would serve as a good reference. Not one of these systems that forces you to read lines and lines of includes and compiler directives. Right now, Linux programming is in the hands of the gurus - we need to get it in the hands of the commoner. I watched a guy with no computer background at all develop an envelope printing utility in a week with Visual Basic. This utility later became a very popular piece of shareware. Not bad for a non-programmer.

Aureal SQ2500 At Cole3D - 13:44 pm Wilfred
It's not COLD, but Cole3D... today they have a new review released. Choosing between Vortex2 and a SoundBlaster Live! is still a difficult decision for many?

Overall, the sound quality was very nice. There isn't anything special to say about DirectSound or DirectSound3D. The sound quality from those two API's are pretty much on par with the other sound cards available. Now, A3D 2.0 is where this card truly shines. Playing Half-Life in A3D is an absolute must. The directional sounds in Half-life were nothing less than perfect. Despite the awesome 3D sound in Quake III, the framerate was not acceptable. More about that on the next page.

The music quality was very good, also. I fired up a couple of my favorite CDs and the music was very nice. The sound was clear, and I didn't notice any problems.

I popped in the Matrix for some quick DVD action and jumped to the scene where they enter the Agent Headquarters for a three-minute firefight. The sound was what basically what I expected. The audio was clear, and sounded superb on my Klipsch Promedias.

Opening Of ReviewClick! - 13:41 pm Wilfred
It was brought to our attention that a new reviews "portal" is up! If you have difficult finding that particular product review you'd been searching for, try ReviewClick!?

Power Management In Windows 2000 - 13:39 pm Wilfred
Our buds at CoolComputing put out an article about Windows 2000 Power Management features, and from their tests, they work much better than that of Windows 98 SE.

In Windows 2000, Microsoft has done a fantastic job in improving the power management features since Windows 98.  The highly-touted Hibernate feature works great, and the Standby mode is flawlessly stable. I can find little to complain about except that Windows does not allow you to choose which hard drive the Hibernate image is saved- it seems that it has to be saved on the C: drive.  I suspect, however, the image location can be changed in the registry.  Computers using hibernate can easily boot into Windows 2000 several times faster than those without without.  The time-savings can really add up and translate into dollars-saved and white-hairs prevented.  The feature alone makes Windows 2000 a very compelling upgrade.

Pontis MP3 Player - 13:36 pm Wilfred
Heh, didn't I tell you there are more than the Yepp, Nomad, RIO and JazPiper? Check out 3D Accelerated Gaming's writeup on this player.

OK, so we’ve been through the look, how does it sound? Sounds Great. In fact, I was perplexed (Is that good? :P --Ed) by the sound quality provided by the SP503. This player comes with very good earphones, in which with the whole ensemble, if you maxed the volume, everyone in the room can hear the sound clearly. I learned this, of course, during math class that day. I’m a biggie on equalizers and many barely do anything at all. The equalizer on the SP503 works fine, and the changes can actually be heard. Any drawbacks? Well I was listening to a couple of my favorite songs on the player during math class. THAT is the drawback. What? Well its very simple, I could only fit TWO songs on there. Of course they were high quality, each running at approx. 5 minutes each. But you still can’t fit many songs onto a 16 meg card. At the most I could fit about 5 songs. This was the GREATEST annoyance I experienced using the SP503. Pontis does not even have a 32 meg card (scheduled to be released in Febuary 2000), yet they are planning to have a 4 GB card in the future. This is just unbelievable to me. Most MP3 players carry about 32 megs of space on them, and this European company seems to have trouble carrying this out.

This is another biggie. The transfer rate. Oh boy. I actually played about 45 to 60 minutes of Half-Life while putting 3 songs onto the SP503. That really surprises me. The rate is extremely slow, the wait is painstaking. The download program (the Pontis L.E.D.) is fairly easy to use. But again the rate is just...just...well to put into words, it just plain sucks.

Microsoft Explorer Mouse - 13:33 pm Wilfred
Review Finder completed a review of the Microsoft Explorer Mouse after a month of 'intensive use'. I reckon the silverish coat and rounded red rear set many of your hearts fluttering, but many still wonder if it's worth the extra dollars?

A larger issue I have is that the pads under the mouse (on which it rests) are not as smooth as on my Logitech mouse. As a result, it doesn't glide as smoothly as what I'm used to. In fact after using it for a few hours on a plastic mousepad, it developed a stickiness which made it impossible to move very short distances, such as just one or two pixels. This is particularly annoying in image editing software such as Photoshop. Because of the pressure required to get the mouse moving, I found myself moving too far, and then having to move back again. A thorough cleaning of the pads solved the problem for a short while, but it came back again within hours. In the year I've had my Logitech mouse, it never exhibited this problem, and I've never once cleaned the pads. While this is annoying, it's not a show-stopper. I'll reveal the bigger problems on the next page.

X-10 DVD Anywhere - 13:25 pm Wilfred
BoomGames sent word of the X-10 DVD Anywhere kit they took a look at. Perhaps you are asking for PC level of control over your DVD system but drool at the better image/colour of a TV setup?

Well, now onto the heart of the DVD Anywhere: the Video Sender. This nice piece of hardware plugs into the output of your computer (RCA jack, you must have one or a converter to use the DVD Anywhere as it will not plug into a monitor port). You then use a sound Y-cord to split your sound output into two pairs, one going into whatever you usually use and the other splitting into two RCA plugs. The kit includes many RCA and coax extenders, but does not include the Y-cord or sound->RCA cord (both a small Radio Shack expense).

Once set up, you set the sender down somewhere and aim the freely-rotating antenna pad-thingy in the general direction of your TV. You plug the receiver into your TV via the coax jack (RF/modulated from your RCA inputs) or the RCA jacks themselves. Aim this antenna pad in the general direction of your sender unit.

Creative Annihilator Pro Review - 08:41 am Wilfred
Riva3D whipped up a review of the Creative Annihilator Pro card. If you want the best gaming performance, then be sure to get a DDR-based nVidia GeForce 256 card.

Besides the obvious performance benefits that you get from the DDR-equipped Annihilator Pro, you get a pretty decent software package to play with. This includes the seemingly obligatory DVD software (in this case, WinDVD) that seems to be standard in any GeForce offering, plus the Colorific color matching and monitor calibration software. On the gaming side, you get the Evolva Demo, which uses hardware T&L, plus the NVIDIA Demo Suite. AND you get the full version of Need for Speed: High Stakes, which is a very good racing game that even non-race fans (such as myself) can enjoy. WinDVD is definitely one of the best software DVD players currently on the market, and game afficianados will appreciate the ability to use 3Deep's automatic gamma adjustment for gaming visuals the way the developer meant them to be.

Diamond RIO 500 - 08:37 am Wilfred
Been wanting a cool portable MP3 player? GA-Source reviewed the Diamond RIO 500, and you may want to consider this amongst the many from the competition.

With the second generation of MP3 players, Diamond extends and continues their quality that they started with on the Rio PMP 300. In the process they changed some things and left some the same. I think they did an excellent job overall. One nice thing that they changed was the ability to upgrade the firmware, to allow potential support for new music formats. One thing that they left the same, and at first I had to question the logic behind, was the lack of ability to use the Rio to transfer files from one PC to another.

Among MP3 players, the Rio is almost unique in this. Most of the other manufacturers have set up their players in a way that allows you download NON-MP3 files to the player, and then upload them back to a different computer. I had to do some thinking about it when I saw that Diamond "left out" this feature again. You know what I realized in the end? The Rio 500 is a music player. If I wanted to transfer files on a regular basis, I would get a Zip drive. You get a Rio player because you want to be able to listen to MP3 music away from your PC.

Tyan S1854 Trinity 400 Mobo - 08:29 am Wilfred
Heh! Many of you held back your drool for the Apollo Pro 133 chipset and awaited VIA's Apollo Pro 133A chipset instead. Now you have it, Tyan is one of the first few makers with this board with the AGP4X support you wanted! Here's a review of it:

While performance is not much higher than the average BX board, what you do get are features. It is nice to know that in most applications it is as fast as a BX, and the new chipset is still in its relative infancy. Things can only improve from here (as compared to the BX which is a very mature product and not much more performance can be extracted from it). In late stages of testing, I was able to use a GeForce 256 based board, and it worked flawlessly with the Tyan S1854 motherboard (AGP 4X with Fast Writes enabled). That combination was definitely superior to the older TnT2 Ultra combination, as there were a few problems present. This could be understood, as Micron has been using the GeForce cards with the Tyan board since its introduction, and Tyan wanted to make sure the combination worked perfectly!

Ricoh MP7060A-DP - 08:23 am Wilfred
Jsi Hardware let us know of a review they did on the Ricoh MP7060-DP CDRW drive. This model writes at 6X, rewrites at 4X and reads at 24X.

I was very impressed by how fast the writer wrote the cds, it wrote a full cd it about 12 minuets including table of contents and disc closing. After a wrote the cds I tested them on various drives to see how well the had written and I was pleasantly surprised, the cd's read on all the drives even my crapy old 2x creative dvd drive that even has trouble reading origional cd's.

Asus V6800 Deluxe DDR GeForce 256 - 08:14 am Wilfred
GamePC has a little treat for you this morning, by reviewing the DDR version of the highly-acclaimed GeForce card from Asus. Some of you have waited long for this full-featured card... have a read!

The V6800 simply put is, the fastest card we've ever tested. While it's pretty much the same in 16-bit as the competition, the V6800 shines in 32-bit applications, where it outdid it's Guillemot GeForce brethren. Keep in mind, this is running off beta, pre-release drivers, performance may increase or decrease with time. Although, the competition is very, very close, in fact we see the Guillemot DDR winning a few of the tests, it's your call, but the performance difference between the two cards isn't even noticable.

Plextor PlexWriter 8432 IDE CDRW Drive - 02:00 am Wilfred
We reviewed this just some time ago, and today Tech-Review started the week with a writeup on this high-performance CD-ReWriter. This drive doesn't disappoint where it promises:

After having some time with the PlexWriter 8/4/32, the drive performed very well. We did encounter some read/write errors which was due to disc errors. We found that while some discs claim 8x compatibility, we had a few instances where 4x burning was needed to ensure the quality of the copy. So, make sure you have quality CDs when burning at 8x rate.

Overall, the Plextor PlexWriter 8/4/32 is everything it claims to be. The performance is on par with the specifications and the drive is exactly what we expected. Known for their high quality optical drives, Plextor has again delivered the goods.

Elsa Erazor X2 GeForce DDR - 01:56 am Wilfred
Whoa! SharkyExtreme completed their study of Elsa's flagship graphics accelerator for gamers - their DDR based GeForce card.

The fact of the matter is, unless you are the type who requires the best of the best at all times or you really love high resolutions, the DDR cards will cost you dearly. This may not bother some people, but it is definitely something to keep in mind. It should be noted that the SDR cards will slowly drop in price as a result of the DDR cards being on the market.

Elsa's ERAZOR X˛ has hardcore gamer written all over it, and the truth is that 1024x768 is the lowest resolution I will run Quake III as a result of using this card. Based around the reference DDR card, the ERAZOR X˛ is a solid performer in 3D applications and DVD quality.

Wilfred Coughs - 01:51 am Wilfred
Hey, so quickly we're 4 days into the year 2000 and nothin' catastrophic happened of late... but let's just keep it that way eh? I hope all of you had a great time partying into the new year (I quit saying 'new millennium' lest people disagree with me! =P) and hopefully peace prevails! Some of you ask me what's up lately? Well, Kan will be staying underground for a longer period to monitor the situation (in bio-suits, and other frightening gear)... News has only started to pick up after the holiday season, but you'll be sure we're working hard to bring you more exciting things to come! Thanks! 

Quake III: Arena Review - 01:44 am Wilfred
Better late than never? Sometimes late is good, and in this case, I think Digital-Clips has a nice review of the game you might want to check out! Since you already know that Q3A has excellent graphics and unparalleled deathmatching, here's a blurb on the excellently crafted player models (you knew also??!):

Quake 3 has over 30 different models and all of them look fantastic. With several different skins for each model (not just CTF variations), Quake 3 offers many choices for you to choose from. The models are of original design and have highly detailed skins. Each model also has its own set of animations, so they have different ways of jumping, gesturing and dying, making each model truly special.

A few interesting models to take notice are Slash, Orbb, Uriel, Klesk and Bones. Slash has her special way of jumping and doing the splits at the same time. Orbb is a giant eyeball running on two legs, Uriel is a menacing looking gargoyle, Klesk is an alien making high pitched noises similar to the ones in Aliens, while Bones is just a model of a human skeleton. There are also the heroes from previous id games. From Quake, we have 'Ranger', 'Grunt' from Quake 2 and from Doom, we have the space marine 'Doom'.

3 January 2000 - Monday

Athlon Overclockers Rejoice! - 23:59 pm Wymun
Woah...This is HOT NEWS!!  Just received word from Tech Report on how the L2 cache divisor on the Athlon may be controlled via software!!  Check it out here and tweak that Athlon today!   

Athlon L2 Cache Settable by Software!
Hardly has the 2/5 divisor become known than the next hammer blow falls. There is a new little program that permits one to simply set the Athlon L2 cache by software, so soldering is no longer necessary. The program with the name AthlonL2 originates from a programmer at www.h-oda.com, which has already developed SoftFSB, WCPUID and other tools. True, I haven't (yet) got the program but am presenting a screenshot!

Free DSL Access?! - 22:02 pm David
WOW, saw this article over at CNET, according to it, a company called Broadband Digital Group is providing free DSL subscription to consumers! When will Singapore ISPs follow suit?!

The Broadband Digital Group, led by the same entrepreneur that started Net ad companies AdForce and AdSmart, plans to give consumers Net connections that are nearly seven times faster than dial-up alternatives. The Orange County, Calif., company will offer a digital subscriber line (DSL) service supported entirely by advertisements, according to executives. DSL is a technology that allows existing telephone lines to carry ordinary voice and high-speed Net traffic simultaneously.

If successful, the service has the potential to light a stick of dynamite beneath the fast-growing high-speed Net market. Telephone and cable companies already are hard-pressed to keep up with demand for speedy Internet access even when charging $30 to $50 per month. Offering the service for free will likely boost demand still more.

"This is the opportune time [to gain market share], before the tidal wave breaks for the massive deployment of DSL," said Ryan Steelberg, the founder of the free DSL service and chief executive of the Broadband Digital Group.

Sound Blaster Live! Platinum - 21:04 pm Wilfred
ActiveWin delivered their review on the Live! Platinum card, so who should buy this card? What makes it worth the premium? Here's a blurb from them:

The SoundBlaster Live! Platinum is an excellent sound card that builds on the previous in the series of Live! cards, but is mainly aimed at the music side of things rather than the gaming side. If you are going to be creating music and want the best then the Platinum card is the one to go for. If it is gaming then possible the 1024 from Creative Labs would be worth looking at.

Asus GeForce 256 Review - 20:55 pm Wilfred
Gamers Depot also churned out a writeup on Asus' GeForce 256 card. Interestingly, they got better numbers from the Asus over the Creative make, something we didn't get on our side when we tested their early boards... hmmm... have a read!

The benchmarks really speak for themselves, the V6600 beats the Annihilator by quite a margin in most cases.  It would appear that by going with a non-reference design, ASUS has had time to tweak this card to their liking, and place higher quality components onboard what are more stable at higher speeds.

Kodak DC-290 Digital Camera - 20:48 pm Wilfred
Digital Photography Review reviewed the Kodak DC-290 digital camera and if you're in the market for a > 2.1 megapixel digital still camera, be sure to do some reading up for the money you are going to be spending!

Colours are excellent, bright and accurate, a little more saturated than I like but pleasing to the eye and just as with the DC265 the DC290 loves greens. My only gripe with the image quality of the DC290 is that it just doesn't have that punch, that depth and feel to it that I get from other 2+ megapixel digicams.. Images also seem softer and even sometimes simply out of focus.

Annihilator Unified Drivers - 20:44 pm Wilfred
Cool! Just saw this at Voodoo Extreme! Well, just in case you still need that Glide compatible drivers to play an aged '3dfx-optimized' game on your spanking new GeForce Annihilator card, be sure to download these drivers for a test-run. I say, get newer games! =)

G4 Vs K7 - 20:40 pm Wilfred
The chums at Ars Technica posted an architectural look at these two post-RISC processors. Here's just a blurb of the goods inside:

The fact that both the K7 and the MPC7400 execute instructions out-of-order (OOO) constitutes a major architectural similarity between the two.  OOO execution requires lots of extra hardware, and it ads serious complexity to a CPU's design.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept of OOO execution, it's pretty easy to summarize.  

Any modern microprocessor has limited resources, in the form of registers (for storing data) and execution units (for crunching data).  Different types of instructions use these resources in different ways.  To keep the processor running at top speed, you have to make sure that instructions are flowing through all of the execution units, and that no part of the processor has to sit idle and wait for a resource to free up.  Allocating all of these resources for optimal use often means rearranging the instruction stream so that instructions execute in a different order than the way they came in.  The processor has to be smart, and it has to have lots of buffers and queues so it can shuffle those instructions around and send them out to be executed in the most efficient manner.

Cap Gemini Warns Against Y2k Complacency - 20:33 pm Wilfred
I don't want to speculate on the possible problems. After the rollover, there were just 3 camps of people... the first group heaved a sigh of relief: Whew! For the negligible known glitches.... The second group: The entire scheme to combat Y2k problems is but a HUGE scam where consultants just sat back and earned easy dollars! The third group: What's a Y2k bug look like?!. The Register has an article warning of over complacency and over-optimism.

Blakey said: "It's been immensely boring, but we've been pleasantly bored. We weren't expecting huge problems at the rollover stage."

However, he warned against complacency. "The clock shift in hardware is only part of the process and we'll run tests to at least the end of January and probably until the end of February." Some business processes will need monitoring until the end of this year, he added.

Digicom Pro 2000 Low Cost Athlon Mobo - 20:28 pm Wilfred
Ace's Hardware took a look at Digicom's latest budget Athlon Slot-A mobo that will sell under US$90. Other than being a 4-layer board as opposed to the previous 6-layer 'Fester', the Shinner uses a lower voltage as well as the new AMD 751 northbridge. It looks like a decent performer, but the beta board did exhibit some problems.

We will soon see the arrival of a less-expensive breed of Slot A motherboards. At this moment, we know that DFI will also be offering an inexpensive Slot A solution, the DFI AK70. Just like the Digicom Pro 2000, this model is equipped with three DIMM sockets, one AGP slot, five PCI slots, and no ISA slots.

We hope the companies offering these budget motherboards will not skimp on voltage regulators, as it is clear that good voltage regulators are necessary to produce a stable motherboard.  I doubt customers will mind paying an additional $10 to $15 for a reliable product. We can not recommend the Digicom Pro 2000 at this time, due to the stability/compatibility issues we encountered.

Pro/Engineer Performance Of High-End CPUs - 20:19 pm Wilfred
Over at AnandTech, they pitted the P3 vs the Athlon in Pro/Engineer application tests. Wow! Some of you would be really interested to know which is the best CPU to get for professional applications.

The OCUS benchmark is yet another perfect wake-up call that brings to attention the fact that although the Athlon could easily compete against and topple the old Pentium III, the newer Pentium III is giving AMD some serious competition in certain situations. If AMD is falling behind by 3% in overall Pro/E performance with an L2 cache running at 2/5 of the core clock, when the Thunderbird hits with its full speed L2 cache, AMD should be able to pull very far ahead in the Pro/E world.

From a current standpoint, the Athlon makes for an excellent Pro/E workstation. An overclocked Athlon 500 would be both a cost effective and a high performing solution for Pro/E users that would also be able to run the entire library of x86 software unlike the 21264. If you're more of an Intel fan, then Intel's FC-PGA Pentium III (Currently available in 500 and 550MHz parts) would make for the perfect solution. With the 500E and 550E being very strong overclockers, and neither one retailing for more than $400, these nice overclockers would make for a pretty fast Pro/E workstation without the incredible cost of going with a true 600MHz+ Pentium III E.

DiamondMax40 Plus & DiamondMax6800 Plus - 12:39 pm Wilfred
Digital-Clips has a comparative review between these two harddisk drives from Maxtor. Damn cool, I'm looking for a new HDD too!

Both Maxtor drives fare exceptionally well in our benchmarks, but quite unsurprisingly, the DiamondMax 6800 Plus was outshine by its newer brother. The newer 40 Plus is faster in Windows 98 SE by up to 15%, while NT benchmarks show a 11.6% edge in performance under NTFS. Like we mentioned before, both drives are cached by 2MB of 100MHz SDRAM sitting underneath the drive mechanism (we got both Hyundai and Samsung RAM chips). The outputted signals are passed through a DSP ensuring clean data output.

One reason the DiamondMax 40 Plus leads its elder brother by a considerable margin is its high platter density – the 6800 Plus uses 6.8GB platters while the 40 Plus spins with 10.2GB platters. The difference? Faster disk access, since the drive head doesn’t need to move as much to read data. This, and a well-engineered drive design allow the DiamondMax 40 Plus to outrun any ATA-66 drive to date, including IBM’s legendary 34GXP series.

Man To Stay Indoor, Living Entirely Online - 12:39 pm Wilfred
For 1 year that is! Strangest things people do to prove something... but heh, I'm not sure how many of the fellow weirdos here at Hardware-One can live up to this kind of challenge. MSNBC is reporting that this 26 year old man, in his efforts to prove how wired the world is, by living in an empty house in Dallas with only his laptop and depending on 'e-links'. The story...

HIS PLAN: live exclusively online, including ordering food, furniture and clothes and hosting a 24-hour live video feed of his life.

“Our vision is that new online shoppers will go to our site to learn how to utilize e-commerce,” said Mitch Maddox, who legally changed his name to DotComGuy and set up a company, DotComGuy Inc., for the stunt.

After locking himself inside the rented house Saturday, he added: “I’m going to come out being a loon.”

Matrox G400Max Review - 12:31 pm Wilfred
Cole3D pushed out a writeup on the G400 Max graphics accelerator from Matrox. Nothing but the highest build quality and packaging is what you would expect from this company, and indeed I was very impressed with their attention to detail... now can they match the aggressive competition?

As you can see, the OpenGL performance is getting better and better. Playing Quake III at 1024x768x32 is now a viable option. Personally, I play Quake III at HQ 1024x768x16. I can't tell much of a difference at all between 32-bit color and 16-bit color.

Most of the Quake III benchmarks are very similar in relation to different color-depths and resolutions. The overclocking results show that the G400MAX is very CPU dependent, I would recommend at least a Pentium 3 450 or 500; of course, an Athlon will always do the job, too.

So What OS Do You Really Use? - 12:23 pm Wilfred
There are several new editorials smacked up at osOpinion, and this article is as true as it gets, for what drive an OS are the applications available on the system.

I have a machine at home with Linux loaded on it. Caldera's OpenLinux to be exact, but I've been thinking of changing it over to Mandrake. The important point to make here is that it's not my only machine at home. It's just my server. My, ahem, work machine runs the infernal Windows 98, which has been surprisingly stable the last couple months despite the fact that I did nothing to stop the frequent crashing. Go figure.

Why do I mostly use Windows? I can honestly name three simple reasons. First, I need Word and Excel, it's what we use at the office and how I submit documentation and reporting. I know, I could use StarOffice, but since Sun bought them I'm not really eager to do that, given Sun's handling of Java. Sun hates Microsoft because they envy them, not because they hate their business practices. They'd do it too, if they thought they could get away with it, so I'm less likely to support StarOffice now. Besides, have you seen that interface? Ugly, though perhaps not as bad as Lotus' Word Pro.

Aureal Vortex SQ2500 - 12:15 pm Wilfred
BoomGames whipped up a review of Aureal's Vortex SQ2500 sound card. Ok, they poked fun at Live! owners playing Quake III Arena! Arggh... damn! =P

For my purposes, I used headphones for my experiences. The first thing to note about this card is it's alliance with Quake III Arena. I was very happy to get to go under System->Sound->Enable A3D and lite up the cute little picture. I feel sorry for my friends with Live! cards, for there is no EAX lite on this dialog.

Playing Quake III Arena was a blast. This is something you should experience. If you already have a 3D audio card, disable A3D and play the game for a while. Now, play it with A3D. You should notice that A3D not only adds to the realism of the game, it helps you distinguish the location of opponents. Half-Life worked pretty much the same way, although HL has both A3D and EAX support.

Guillemot Maxi Gamer Cougar TNT2 M64 - 12:10 pm Wilfred
AnandTech looks at the low end too, and today, they reviewed the TNT2 M64 based Maxi Gamer Cougar card from Guillemot. If you are not into gaming or only play 'lite' strategy games, this card may just fill the bill.

Guillemot was one of the first companies to push beyond that recommendation with their Maxi Gamer Xentor 32 that ran at 175/183, one of the fastest on the market. Since the Cougar isn't aimed at the hardcore gaming market, it's no surprise that Guillemot chose not to push things in the interests of keeping costs down.

Nevertheless, we pushed on and found that our Cougar evaluation sample would run at 155/170, offering quite a nice performance boost. This performance increase is without any additional cooling and it would be simple enough to add a fan atop that passive heatsink to possibly push things further. As always when overclocking, results will vary.

Generally, the 2D image quality of the TNT2 M64 is fine at resolutions up to 1280 x 1024, but at 1600 x 1200 the image quality makes a small, but noticeable drop.

2 January 2000 - Sunday

AOpen AX6BC Pro II Millennium Giveaway Winner - Wilfred
You've waited long for the draw winner? Yes. The winner of the stark black AOpen AX6BC Pro II Millennium motherboard is someone who calls himself "Wizard Diz". CONGRATULATIONS and here is the winner's particulars (minus his phone number and residential address to save him from hate mails and terrorist parcel bombs). =)

Name: Aaron Tan Joo Siang
Email: [email protected]
Answer to "Hardware-One founding date": 14 May 1998

Once again, congratulations to Aaron of Jurong East! You will be contacted by email and phone for the collection of the bounty! The rest of you, thanks for participating in this draw. HNY!

HDD Coolers + Competition - 20:41 pm Wilfred
Overclockers Australia sent word of their investigative writeup on harddisk coolers, as well as a contest to win some cool prizes. Don't miss it!

I stand by my position that the entire concept of a hard drive cooler is of debatable usefulness to overclockers, as we usually have well-cooled cases and our hard drives don't really get THAT warm. However, I accept that some people will insist on using little tiny cases jammed with high-performance goodies and that (for a variety of reasons, even in larger cases) it is not always easy to ensure good airflow past the drive bays. In those kind of situations, if you have enough room for mounting it and can afford it, the Ultimate Hard Drive Cooler certainly delivers. There is probably some situation where the HD-600 is useful, but I couldn't replicate it during testing. Be aware that either of these units might disturb the path of air through your case - if you've paid careful attention to getting good flow across the motherboard area this may be affected so check your CPU temps.

Quake III Arena Review - 17:24 pm Wilfred
GameWire has a review on Q3A, with loads of screenshots of the fantabulous graphics. Loads... and I mean loads.

Anyone who thinks that they're buying Q3 without the graphics in mind is, basically, kidding themselves. Out of all the elements that make up the game, the visuals are undoubtedly a primary selling point. Quite simply, this is one of the best-looking games ever released.

Yet Another Abit BE6-II Review - 12:10 pm Wymun
Well, Club Overclocker has struck up a BE6-II review this New Year's weekend.  Here's a snippet for a glance: 

The performance of the BE6-II is nothing less than astounding especially when it comes to overclocking!  The high performance of the BE6-II is right on target with other ABIT boards but the SoftMenu III puts this board way out on top.  With SoftMenu III the overclocking potential is far beyond today's CPUs and will be for a long time to come.  This board is an Overclockers dream come true, imagine being able to step up your FSB speeds by 1MHz at a time! 

Gigabyte GA-6CX & GA-MG400 Review - 12:00 pm Wymun
What do you get when you mix the latest and best from Gigabyte into one system - their own renditions of Matrox's MG400 graphics card and INTEL's I820 motherboard with RAMBUS technology? Well, HotHardware has a review done on this interesting combo, so check it out!  Hmmm...This makes me wish we could get samples of RDRAMs to beta-test some motherboards of our own too... 

Not only did the Pentium!!!533B we used, overclock easily to 600 MHz. but stability at default voltage was perfect.  This was something that we have not been able to accomplish on all motherboards we have tested with this CPU.  Furthermore, if your CPU needs an extra voltage boost to remain stable when overclocked, the board does have the ability, as we noted earlier, to set the core CPU voltage 10% higher than the CPU default.

Trinity Micro GoldFinger Device - 07:57 am Wilfred
Reviewnews.com has a review on the Athlon overclocking device from Trinity Micro. I say, check this out for they say it 'works like a dream' (though like AnandTech, I'm puzzled why it's only awarded 4/10 for what they said it was).

It helped me overclock my Athlon like a dream. It really dosn't affect stability, but it made it really easy to overclock the lil puppy. I was able overclock the Athlon 500 all the way up to 750Mhz. Perfectly stable! It's pretty nice to be able to get 750Mhz out of something that only cost $200. This type of overclocking almost puts the Celeron's overclocking abilities to shame.

1 January 2000 - Saturday

Super Bypass Verification Tool - 21:59 pm Wymun
After reading Tom's detailed description of the Super Bypass capabilities in Athlon motherboards with newer AMD751 chipsets, you must be wondering just how to verify this on your own motherboard.  Well, just saw that AMDZone.com has snagged a utility to do just that.  If your chipset shows a rev C, then you'll theoretically have support for Super Bypass! Yumm...

Dreamcast VGA Adaptor Review - 21:55 pm Wymun
Looks like the guys at 3D Alpha are working overtime on New Year's Day. This time they review Interact's VGA adaptor for Sega's Dreamcast to see if it's a worthy contributor to the console gaming experience....

The switch on the one end of the hub was one thing I found to be very useful. During my SoulCalibur sessions, I found many reasons to have to switch back to my PC display to reply to an ICQ message, write an e-mail, get some tips for the game online, or whatever I needed to do. The switch served as an invaluable tool I could use, and thanks to the standby mode on the switch panel, I didn't have to manually switch back to my computer display. Once I turned off my Dreamcast, the hub automatically displayed the output from my computer's video card. Quite convenient indeed!

Megapixel.net January 2000 Issue - 16:19 pm Wilfred
Yippee! The latest Jan 2000 issue of Megapixel.net arrived on the dot. No sign of the bug working... In this issue, the Olympus C2500L, Nikon CoolPix 800, Casion QV-2000UX and Sony Mavica MVC-FD73 are rated. Also, there are many more articles to whet your appetite!

Overall though, we would be hard-pressed to state unequivocally that the Olympus C-2500L's photos are obviously superior to other high-end 2 megapixel plus cameras. Even though its images contain 182,016 pixels more than the images produced by a 2.3 megapixel sensor, the fact is, picture for picture, some lower priced high-end 2-megapixel cameras produce very comparable photos to the C-2500L, and the distinction between a 2.1 and a 2.5 megapixel sensor is not as clear-cut as one could expect. If there is an advantage to the C-2500L's 2.5 megapixel CCD, it is probably that its larger images can be printed at a slightly higher DPI.

The Olympus C-2500L will give good service in most applications. The TTL viewfinder, the flexibility of both memory formats, and the addition of a dedicated external flash, make it worthy of consideration by those wishing to acquire a complete digital camera system.

Giveaway Contest Result Notification Date - 14:28 pm Wilfred
As you know, the AOpen AX6BC Pro II Millennium giveaway contest closed yesterday. We'll be sorting out the piles of emails for eligibility and the draw result will be posted on Hardware-One tomorrow, 2 January 2000. So stay tuned! =)

ACT-LABS Gun System Review - 14:16 pm Wilfred
3dgn posted their thoughts on the ACT-LABS Gun System. Bet you've eyed the silverish guns for a long while, want to know if they are going to change they way you play games in the future?

The accuracy of the guns is great. Listed on the specs of the system is pixel accuracy at up to 1600x1200. On an interview provided on the CD however, Act Labs says that they were not able to get quite pixel pixel accuracy, but they said it will stay under 3 pixels accurate. This is the basic experience I had.

Accuracy test- In Half Life, I set up a trip mine(mine with a laser that bounces off a wall, when shot, big explosion) and backup up so far that it only took about 10 pixels on the screen(extra space because I'm probably not as accurate as the guns). I with the gun about 2-3 feet from the screen and nailed it first shot. I then recalibrated the guns, purposely being inaccurate in the calibration to see how much this affected performance. As expected, it was severely hindered, and would often not register certain areas of the screen.

ATI Rage Fury MAXX - 11:17 am Kan
Tom's Hardware posted their review on the ATI Rage Fury MAXX. Yup, this is "similar" to the SLI technology we have seen from the good old Voodoos. Two ATI Rage 128 PRO chips on a single board, here's some info:

For those unfamiliar with the Rage Fury MAXX, it literally is two Rage 128 PRO chips each with isolated 32MBs of memory per chip. That's right, two graphics processors and 64MBs of memory on one board. Unlike the first consumer brute-force approach taken by 3dfx using SLI, the ATI product uses AFR Technology to tap the power of both graphics processors. In essence, AFR Technology lets the graphics card alternate rendering of each frame per Rage 128 PRO chip. AFR gives ATI fill-rates never before seen in their products as well as a broad memory band that can deal with memory intensive factors like 32-bit textures and high resolutions. The Rage Fury MAXX also sports the ATI Rage Theatre chip that enhances DVD playback and offers impressive video encoding. For greater details on the Rage 128 PRO chip, check out our ATI Rage Fury Pro Review.

Kan Yawns - 11:05 am Kan
Hiya. So it's a brand new year. Hmm, year 2000. *Yawn*. Nothing special to me really. I'm still at HW1 Command Center bunker and will only be out next week or so. So guys, enjoy yourself, and remember to drive safely.

Cabo MP3 Player Review - 08:30 am Wymun
Seems like over the millennium, the Hardware Pros folks were busy reviewing Best Data's very artsy-lookin' Cabo MP3 Player. Haven't seen it around in Singapore though, but you may wish to check it out nevertheless.... 

Next thing on our list is to examine the players sound quality.  Two words:  Absolutely Amazing!  If my life depended on it, I could not tell the difference between this player playing 128Kbps MP3's and a high-end Discman playing a CD.  The high quality (gold plated) earphones that are provided produce excellent sound and are very comfortable on the ears.  In case you're curious, the earphones are made by Leemax and one cable is longer than the other for two reasons, so two people can listen at once without hitting each others heads and so you can quickly tell which earphone goes in the left and ear and which goes in the right ear without looking at them each time.

It's A Brand New Year! - 08:20 am Wymun
Wow. Just had a mini-scare prior to the Y2K rollover where I discovered my gf's Motherboard BIOS was non-Y2K compliant. But in the end, managed to update it at 23:45H (..Phew..) 

Thanks for the hint on the date.  I believe it wasn't a Y2K bug, but too much alcohol in your fav web-master's system last night that spawned it...;P

In any case, from the numerous discussions amongst the Hardware-One staff, expect some exciting and dynamic "happenings" for the site over the next few months. But importantly, we have all our regular viewers to thank, for making 1999 a most unforgettable  one. Have a good one and Happy New Year again guys + girls!

Congratulations! - 05:39 am Wilfred
Hi all! Some 12 hours since my last post?! Yeah, I am glad to report that Singapore sailed through the roll over and I'm unaware of even the tiniest glitches. By this time, Australia, NZ and most of eastern Asia's major cities would have crossed over already. Didn't hear of any stumbles over radio, and I would assume a fairly smooth transition. Congratulations mankind... and for those waiting, still the same wishes for you: God Bless! =)


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