14 January 2000 - Friday

Eye Candy! Eye Candy! Try NFS5! 
- 22:55 pm Wilfred
Hey kiddies! I know what you like! Eye candy isn't it?! GameSpot has a hefty preview of EA's coming Need For Speed 5: Porsche Unleashed. I can't wait! There's a lot in this preview to tell you what this new release would be and what it won't:

This game is a true sequel in every sense of the word. First of all, EA is sharply deviating from previous NFS titles by only including a single car manufacturer in the game: Porsche. Every single Porsche is included in Unleashed, from the first 1948 356 roadster to the speedy 959, which was banned in North America - the one that got Bill Gates in trouble. That's more than 80 in all. The game uses a brand-new graphics engine developed from the ground up, not a rehashed one from an older game. The physics have been totally revamped to accurately simulate the individual handling characteristics of each car as well. And best of all, Unleashed sheds its arcade racer skin and instead plays more like a simulator - more like the original The Need for Speed.

Wilfred Coughs #2 - 22:15 pm Wilfred
Second cough of the day?! Yeah! Oh well, the editors are all tight up with things today, so bear with us eh? Indeed, there's quite a bit of news for you. One more thing, Magix is still unbearably SLOOOOOOooooOOOOW today! Arrgggh... somebody do something!

Midiland S4/7100 5.1 - 22:08 pm Wilfred
Wow! Quite a number of audio products on parade today. AnandTech just checked out the high-end Midiland S4/7100 5.1 channel surround speakers system. Hmm.. but this system doesn't come with an onboard Dolby Digital decoder.

The S4 7100s are a decent set of 5.1 speakers that should keep most users very happy. Now, if you are the kind of person looking to shake screws loose and rattle windows, then you should probably look elsewhere. These are not meant to tear the house apart :) The construction quality seems to be quite sturdy; and overall, the design and appeal were well thought out. The control module was a great idea, but why they left out a headphone jack is beyond me. How do these compare to the Cambridge 2500? They are both very similar in sound, but the Midilands are a bit louder than the Cambridge. It's a toss up really: stands & dolby decoder vs. volume and a slick green LED :)

Marmitek Gigavideo 30 - 22:04 pm Wilfred
What's this?! Well, I spent a good 15 mins figuring out too. Hardware Central reviewed this video/audio transmitter and receiver meant to allow you to transmit high-quality movies from your PC's DVD kit to any TVs. Go over for a detailed reading.

SoundBlaster Live! Platinum  - 22:00 pm Wilfred
Where? At the Ars. So what is it with this card that you have to pay a price premium for? They developed a liking for it, so will you.

As one would expect, the card sounds great.  Since it's based on the same DSP as it's other Live! brethren (the EMU10K1), sound quality is basically as the original SBLive series cards.  No, what makes this card da ballz (pardon my French) has to be the Live! DRIVE.  I simply love it.  The 5 1/4" drive gives the Platinum more silicon on which to connect audiophile goodness, and even if it makes me the lamest person in the world, I absolutely, positively love being able to plug both my headphones and my mic right into the front of my box. 

Interview With Dan Kennedy Of Tweak3D  - 21:56 pm Wilfred
SystemLogic posted an interview they did with the tweak monkey of Tweak3D. Heh, just for interest sake eh? You want to know what goes behind the life of the webmaster?

SL: How many people do you have working for Tweak3D? Can you tell us a bit about your staff and what they do?

Tweak3D: There are a lot of people on the staff right now. Most of them aren’t even doing anything. I’m just too busy to remove their names from the About page, etc.:-)  As far as who updates the most, Chris Burek and Keith McClellan both write tons of reviews/guides. They really work hard and get a lot done. Our HTML guru and hardware editor, David, gets news posted almost every day. Lately he’s been busy though. The majority of the other guys aren’t around a lot anymore, but Nafterclifen still moderates the discussion boards, and Xero and tapped both post news and articles from time to time. I probably missed someone too, but it’s getting late.. sorry guys!

Monsoon MH-500 Speakers  - 21:52 pm Wilfred
AbsolutePC let us know that there is a new review of the MH-500 flat panel speakers at their site. Wanna hear what they have to say?

So how did these suckers perform? We had our doubts about exactly how well a 2 speaker system could perform in the days of 4 speaker surround kits, especially for a price of just under $100. Well we were pleasently surprised! These speakers sound in one word, great.

NinjaMicro Freespeed Pro - 21:44 pm Wilfred
BXBoards reviewed this nifty Athlon overclocking gadget from NinjaMicro (whoa!), called Freespeed Pro. This is pretty sweet stuff!

Right now I'm running my Athlon 500 at 700MHz with a 1.65V core voltage. In raw megahertz, that's a 40% increase! With the FreeSpeed Pro and products like it on the market, Athlon overclocking is finally made easy. Changing the core voltage and clock speed settings are accomplished via the FreeSpeed's DIP switches, something reminiscent of days before Soft Menu.

Bill Gates Steps Down as CEO of MS - 11:40 am Yingzong
Caught this piece of revelation down at ZDNet News. Bill Gates announced on Thursday afternoon (US time) that he will step down as CEO of Microsoft Corp. MS President Steve Ballmer will take over the role. Bill Gates will continue as chairman of the company and assume the role of "chief software architect". Here's a piece of the news :

The executive shuffle comes as Microsoft is facing stepped-up pressure on the antitrust front -- namely, reports this week that the U.S. Department of Justice will demand a breakup of the software giant into separate companies as part of an antitrust settlement. Ballmer responded to those reports Thursday, saying a company split would be "the single greatest disservice that anybody could do." "It would be absolutely reckless and irresponsible for anyone to try and break up this company -- there is no precedent," he said. "It would be reckless beyond belief."

Gates, meanwhile, said his "commitment to working full-time" for the company remains "100 percent" but that it was time for the management structure to evolve. Calling the move "a very exciting evolution for me," Gates cited his 25 years as CEO of the company he co-founded in January 1975 as a reason for him to take "the next step."

AOpen MX64 VIA Apollo Pro 133A - 07:14 am Kan
Before I leave for work, here's a review of the AOpen MX64 VIA Apollo Pro 133A motherboard from AnandTech. Note, this AOpen is a MicroATX board with 3 PCI slots and no ISA slot.

The MX64 also features 2 USB ports in the standard location, but also adds a header for 2 more ports, a feature that comes, once again, courtesy of the VIA 686A south bridge. A small cable leads to the 2 ports, which are mounted in a bracket designed to take the place of an expansion slot cover. With a little ingenuity, they could easily be mounted anywhere else in the case, such as on the front panel. Finally, the 686A provides dual channel Ultra ATA 66 support without the need for additional controllers.

ABIT BF6 - 06:27 am Kan
3dgn reviewed the ABIT BF6. This is the one with 6 PCI slots, 1 ISA slot, 1 AGP slot and it comes with 3 DIMM slots which supports up to a maximum of 768MB of RAM.

The board comes with the good stuff Abit got us used to: dual IDE cable, dual floppy cable, driver/utility CD, manual, and a thermal sensor cable. The CD contains the usual array of programs, as well as some drivers and an online version of the manual.

It’s also pleasant to see how well written the manual is; even a beginner to computers could find out how to install the BF6. It has very well done illustrations of different parts of the motherboard, and every step to correctly install the BF6 is clearly explained. This changes from some manuals where you have to flip back and forth to find what you need.

MX400 Sneak Preview - 06:06 am Kan
Hey, check out our pals over at 3DsoundSurge on their preview of the new MX400 soundcard. Gosh, I can't keep up with these sound on such technical terms. =)

Its also worth noting that like the Hoontech Digital-XG, these MX400 drivers use Sensaura's new reverb engine that supports EAX 1, 2.0 and I3DL2 along with translating A3D 1.x calls to DS3D.    In terms of API support, don't let the Monster name fool you.  The MX400 does not use an Aureal chipset and as such does not support A3D 2.0 or the upcoming A3D 3.0.

The reverb quality is improved from earlier drivers and while to our ears its still not as good as the Live or QSound's reverb,  its definitely good enough to be a positive feature.  Finally, a quick test seems to say that the Canyon3D can finally play multiple wave files as I was able to run WinAmp with waveout and have 2 other wav files going at the same time.  

128MB Compact Flash - 06:05 am Kan
Now, I know Yingzong will be jumping with joy. Spotted this press release over at Dimension X on the new 64MB/128MB Compact Flash from Transcend. Forget it, I know they will cost a bomb:

With the ever-growing popularity of both Digital Cameras and Mobile PCs (PDA, Palm PC), demand for high capacity CompactFlash (CF) Cards has also increased rapidly. The small dimensions of the CompactFlash specification means only a maximum of 4 flash Integrated Circuits (ICs) can be mounted into a single CF card. So having high capacity ICs is vitally important for the newer devices which require more and more memory for increasing numbers of applications and improved picture quality. Using 128-Mb flash ICs, the maximum capacity is 64MB. However, Transcend’s new cards use high quality 256-Mb ICs from a leading Japanese manufacturer - which means 128MB of memory in each CF card. This amount of memory will meet the requirements of digital still cameras with a resolution of over two million pixels, and easily supports the most powerful mobile PC applications.

Aureal SQ2500 - 06:02 am Kan
ArashBest reviewed the Aureal SQ2500 soundcard today. Powered by the Vortex2 chipset and supporting A3D 2.0, some of the features include 576 wavetables, full duplex 48KHz, four speaker out, mic in, Game/MIDI port, S/PDIF.

The SQ2500 utilizes the famous Vortex 2 (Rev B.) chip, which has amazingly good 3D audio in games that support A3D, such as Half-Life. The Vortex chip is known for higher than average CPU utilization, which may drop framerates in some games, but those of you with a fairly fast CPU should not worry about this. In fact, I personally think the amazing audio effects more then make up for the 1-5 fps loss. As for the quality of A3D 2.0 audio, the Vortex 2 is excellent with headphone or two speaker setups. As for the four speaker support, it is also very good, however, not the "best" when compared with other high-end cards.

The Future of Technology - 06:00 am Kan
BuyBuddy whipped up an article called The Future of Technology. So what sort of future technology enhancements do you expect to see in this new Millennium? 

As many are aware, Moore’s Law states that processing power will double in speed over an 18-month period (and/or decrease in price by 50%). This still holds true with processors such as the Intel Pentium III and AMD Athlon chips in the market. Within the next decade, Lithography--the means in which processors are produced today--will become obsolete, if Moore’s Law is correct. With microprocessors at 0.18 micron in size, and soon to become 0.13 micron, they will reach their physical limit within the next decade. Many scientists and researchers today are working on a post-lithography process that will create processors with unimaginable speeds. One of the most exciting prospects for future computing is DNA computing. While still in highly experimental stages, researchers have progressed quite dramatically and have produced working parts.

Microsoft Internet Keyboard Pro - 05:57 am Kan
Our buds over at ActiveWindows sent note on their review of the Microsoft Internet Keyboard Pro. I think the biggest attraction is the inclusion of two USB ports in the keyboard itself, allowing you to plug in other peripherals like your mouse with ease.

Once the IntelliType Pro software is installed, you are ready to use the keyboard. The Hot Keys give pushbutton access to programs and functions used every day. Some of the Hot Keys default to pre-established functions. For instance, the multimedia keys are standard controls, such as volume control or track control. most of the Internet Hot Keys are standard controls, such as back/forward, and the Web/Home Hot Key loads the Internet default home page. The Search key will either default to your Internet browser's search page of the user can define a different search engine in the IntelliType software. The Email Hot Key is defined in the IntelliType Pro software.

New 3.69 nVidia Drivers - 05:54 am Kan
Thanks to our pal over at NT Compatible, we got hold of the knowledge that 3DWin2000.de has links to the new 3.69 nVidia drivers for Windows 95/98 as well as Windows 2000!

Outrageous 3D GeForce DDR Review - 01:10 am Wilfred
Heh DemoNews, where did you find one of this??! Well, aren't you excited by the entry of a new player? So now we have another shipping GeForce 256 DDR card out there, does it offer anything different? Check out this card from Absolute Multimedia!

The Outrageous3D's boundle is great. You get a so called "Software's Choice". It's a piece of paper on which you can choose to buy: Supreme Snowboading (Boarder Zone), Rollercoaster Tycoon, Driver, UEFA Champions League 1998-1999, Unreal Tournament, Colin McRae Rally, SIN, TOCA 2, Space Invaders, Rollcage, Heretic II or Astroids. You can actually buy 3 of these titles for just £54.99 or four of them for £64.99. And the best of all, you can pick on for FREE if you buy this card. That's a great deal you get there. Along with the board you get 3 OEM titles and WINDVD+MP3 Software.

Well, the Outrageous 3D GeForce 256 cards is featured with an s-video out port on the back. Many card manufactors doesn't send the needed s-video cable, but Absolute Multimedia does and that's a good sign of a thoughtful company who wants the buyer to be pleased able use all the features the card have.

Diamond Viper II - 01:04 am Wilfred
You love these guys. Beyond3D reviewed the Diamond Viper II, Savage2k card. While they were decently impressed with the numbers, some issues were raised concerning the present state of things with the Viper II:

There were some rendering issues with the board in both OpenGL and D3D. For example, when using Winamp Goes 3D, the entire screen became a mess and was totally unusable. Also, in trying Need For Speed: High Stakes, having the Z option enabled totally distorted the screen, with objects showing up through other objects. Turning this off made the game much better, but still not perfect. Also, I found that both Quake II and Quake III's menus had problems when at 640x480 and 800x600. So point being, the drivers are still immature and there are problems to be resolved.

The future of the Viper II is very questionable. While it is certainly true that the drivers are very immature, is that the only thing holding it back from it's full potential? Or is bandwidth the real issue? As 3D accelerators are becoming more and more powerful, bandwidth is becoming more and more important. There is certainly a lot of potential behind the Viper II even if a bandwidth limitation exists. Driver optimization is really the key for S3 right now. A primary focus for them needs to be reducing the amount of time the CPU is forced to deal with the  drivers. If they can do that, performance will certainly go up for everyone, especially ones who don't have the absolute fastest CPU. And of course if S3 can/does get T&L going on the Viper II, that will also take the geometry load off of the CPU in supporting games.

FC-PGA Overclocking - The Next 300A? - 00:58 am Wilfred
HardwareCentral covered today's hottest CPUs (for overclocking!) and compares the PC-PGA Pentium III 500E, 550Es to the infamous 300A! Don't miss this!

Every once in a while, an excellent deal comes along. A processor much more than it actually appears, which, with a little tweaking, is a real steal. Arguably the best all time example was Intel’s Celeron 300A, which could be overclocked very easily, and at the time offered performance similar to, if not better than, Intel’s flagship PII 450 for a fraction of the cost. Of course, steals like that are few and far between, so we need to remain sharp, and not miss the opportunity when one does come along.

When Intel announced their Pentium III 500E and 550E MHz processors, a few well-trained eyes began to notice some striking similarities between them and the famed 300A, and the enormous overclocking potential of these two was quickly brought to light.

SoundBlaster Live! X-Gamer & MP3+ - 00:53 am Wilfred
Thank goodness we here in Singapore are safe from these hideously difficult to remember names and models (don't flame me if you think otherwise!). Anyway, 3DSoundSurge has a review on these cards and you will probably want to read this if you are in the market for one (outside of Singapore, that is! ;P ).

To me it seems pretty clear that unless you also want the rest of the MP3+ bundle or unless you already have the games that come with the X-Gamer,  the thing to do is buy the X-Gamer and then buy a third party MP3 player that might be Music Match Juke Box or it might be another one of the excellent programs that are available on the market.  No matter which one you pick it will cost you much less than buying the three games you get with the X-Gamer, even if you wait long enough to get the games at discount prices. What you give up by going with a 3rd party MP3 encoder is the ability easily add EAX effects to your MP3s at high or variable bit rates. You can of course use the lite version of DAC that comes with the X-Gamer but you will be limited to a 96 khz bit rate.

ASUS V6600 Deluxe Vs ELSA Erazor X - 00:49 am Wilfred
3D Wars started a new battle between the Erazor X and the V6600 today. Well, what has the reviewer got to say about each board? Find out!

Overall, both cards are high-end graphics boards and are not for everyone. If you are a basic gamer, I would still recommend you buy a Voodoo3 or TNT2 until you were really 'into' the video card scene. On the other hand, there are many users who want performance and they want it now. In that case, it comes down to pricing as well. The Asus card is a bit over 300 dollars in retail and just under on the street. For the Elsa board, it's fewer than 290 dollars at retail and well under 250 when bought at street price. If you wanted to add the 3D Revelators to that, you would be looking to spend just about the same price for the Asus board, if not less. All in all, the V6600 Deluxe is faster than the Erazor X, has more features and comes with a bigger bundle. On the flip side, the Erazor X is a decent card, not really 'filled-up' with items that many gamers don't use. Both cards are pretty easily overclockable, so if speed is your thing, go for whichever one has the features you want.

Wilfred Coughs - 00:40 am Wilfred
After some days of quiet, 'Wilfred Coughs' is back due to popular demand (yeah right!).

Ok, what happened yesterday? Hmm, was expecting to receive my S$15 pack of ClearScreen protectors for the Palm V, which I ordered from Silicon Horizon. But hmm, was informed that it'll come later today.

Then Wy Mun let me know that the ASUS DDR GeForce is out at SLS and whoa, some pieces of the Olympus C2020Z are brought into Singapore (yeah!).

There is however, one thing, that annoyed me the entire day - MAGIX! Arrggh... the DNS had some problems in the afternoon and couldn't seem to load HW1 (unless I switched to my Starhub account. Duh!). Now Magix is so AWFULLY slow and pages JUST refuse to load up, I'm back to dialup. Come on, what's wrong?!

The Game Of Monopoly - 00:33 am Wilfred
There's an editorial at osOpinion on the hot topic of a broken up Microsoft. The author doesn't think the Justice Dept's consensus would do much good and offers some of his own thoughts. Here's why he thinks splitting them up doesn't help:

Instead, we will have a software company that has the virtual monopoly of the Office software suite to power its growth, and an OS company that has the actual monopoly of Windows to fuel its advance. Competition in either market will be unaffected because neither of the new companies will compete with each other! Both of these new companies will retain their current Microsoft-minded management and business practices. Both companies will control cash cows for which there is essentially no competition.

 

13 January 2000 - Thursday

P3 Coolers Comparison
- 20:51 pm Kan
Overclockers Australia just posted their P3 Coolers Comparison article in which they did a roundup with four P3 coolers. Looks like there is a whopping 8 degrees Celsius difference between the retail fan and the best cooler they reviewed:

Well, the RDJD units show themselves to be quite respectable if not spectacular. The P302 is about a degree cooler than the P301 so it appears there really is a difference between the units. The fan RDJD uses is loud though, there's a definite low-pitched buzzing sound. Given they're the same cost as the standard UltraCool unit which is better and quieter, it's hard to recommend them.

Reversing the fan didn't have a positive effect on any of the units, noise or cooling-wise.. There's some wind noise from the big fan on the modified UltraCool, of course, but it's a fairly unobtrusive hiss - and the cooling performance is very impressive. In fact, even in standard form the unit offers surprisingly good cooling. If you wanted to go for the big monster (another for the clear perspex case?) the modified UltraCool, or "Mega 80mm P3 Cooler" as it's called on the website, is probably a pretty good buy.

Pricewatch - 20:01 pm Kan
Yup, it's the time of the day in which price lists get updated. Check out CPUReview's Athlon/Pentium 3 Price Comparison as well as SharkyExtreme's Weekly CPU Prices.

Oh yes, 3DChipset also sent note on the new ASUS V6600 drivers for NT 4.0 as well as Windows 2000. You can grab'em from here.

The Time Machine - 19:58 pm Kan
3DRage dropped us a line on their latest game review The Time Machine which is developed by the dudes over at Cryo-Interactive. Sounds fun, so here's some of it:

In "The Time Machine", you portray H.G. Wells who is projected into the distant future with the time machine that was built by himself. The year is 800,000, which is pretty damn far into the future if you ask me. Upon arriving in this strange place and time, your time machine is nowhere in site, and the only thing that is present before you is a dreary world where the people's memories are scattered due to the "temporal storms". Only one being is capable of restoring the balance of time and help Wells find his own era again - a mythical being, a Demi-god, The Master of the Hourglass: KHRONOS.

Scientists Have Created a DNA Computer - 19:52 pm Kan
Wowzee! Whaddaya know. I know this will happen sooner or later. CNEWZ sent note on this article in which scientists have created a DNA computer by using strands of synthetic DNA and coaxed it into solving relatively complex calculations. 

The short-lived chemical computer has no immediate practical applications, but it nudges the fledgling technology of DNA computing further out of world of science fiction and into the realm of the possible, the University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers said.

"It's kind of a non-automated computer -- an abacus of sorts -- but it's an approach we're confident can be automated like a conventional computer," said Lloyd Smith, a professor of chemistry.

Conventional computing is driven by computer chips, but that technology is fast approaching the limits of miniaturization. Scientists dream of using the vast storage capacity that enables DNA and its chemical cousin RNA to hold the complex blueprints of living organisms.

3Dfx At MacWorld Part 2 - 19:49 pm Kan
FiringSquad covered some of the juice in MacWorld in which they discussed the difficulties in porting the VSA-100 architecture to the Mac platform. 

It happens that there's plenty of room for competition in the Mac video market. 1999 opened with great hopes for ATI's Rage 128. Finally, Apple was shipping systems with 3D capabilities that, if not at the top of the pack on the PC side, could - with faster system buses and AGP giving a helping hand -- surpass the then Mac 3D king, the Voodoo2. But whatever the success of ATI as Apple's OEM, they had problems shipping retail versions of the cards and producing quality drivers in a timely fashion, making the Voodoo3 a very popular add-on this year. With ATI's next-generation offering, the Rage Fury MAXX, reportedly suffering from a technical incompatibility with Apple motherboards, Apple might be open to new options besides ATI.

All About DVD Technology - 19:46 pm Kan
Always fascinated by DVD? Then check out CTNews3D detailed article on DVD technology. Hmm, DVD can hold up to a maximum of 17GB of data. Simply amazing...

When a movie is transferred to video, distributors have two choices: they can lop off the sides of the picture or put it in a "letter box." Cropping the picture works. That's the way that most movies are transferred and is the explanation for that message which appears at the beginning of most VHS movies: "This movie has been formatted to fit your TV." In addition to robbing you of the sweeping vistas captured by the film maker, this cropping sometimes leaves characters in conversation with an invisible partner.

Movies transferred in letterbox format include the full breadth of the movie by shrinking it until the picture is small enough that the whole width shows. The result, however, is a black band at the top and bottom of the screen: a letter-boxed movie gives you all of the movie, but wastes much of the television's vertical resolution.

EPoX EP-BX6 Review - 18:13 pm Wymun
Just received news from the folks at VR Zone that they've churned out a review on the EPoX EP-BX6 motherboard (based on the aging INTEL BX chipset). Check it out if you're hunting for a BX board.

In the Award BIOS, you will find the Sensor & CPU Setting. There are lots of settings you can meddle with to maximise your overclocking experience. There are a lot of bus speed selection to choose from with 1 MHz increments available from 66Mhz right up to 200Mhz which is over 130 FSB settings! Also you can also select CPU:AGP ratio from 1/1 to 3/2 and CPU:PCI ratio from 1/1, 3/2 and 1/4. You can also change the multipiler from the range of 3.0x to 8.0x.

Elsa Erazor X2 DDR GeForce Review - 18:10 pm Wymun
Looks like Anandtech are starting the year with loads of reviews.  This time round they put Elsa's DDR GeForce through its paces.  Hmmm...Expect one soon from our own "gold-fish" webmaster too, and you can then compare their findings....

The 166MHz setting was the highest we were able to push the 6ns Infineon DDR SGRAM to which was pretty much expected.  The performance improvement was noticeable but not tremendous but since it came without the sacrifice of stability you can consider it to be something for nothing. 

Athlon Overclocking Goodness - 18:03 pm Wymun
The Tech Zone have posted their own little review on a nifty overclocking gadget for Athlons by Ninja Micro - FreeSpeed Pro.  This simply plugs into your Athlon CPU and allows you to change both multiplier and voltage settings!  

FreeSpeed Pro won't let you overclock your Athlon higher than any other methods. How high your Athlon can overclock is still determined by the quality of your CPU. FreeSpeed Pro is just a nice simple way to go about overclocking. Using the FreeSpeed Pro I was able to get my Athlon 550 to 700Mhz using the big Alpha P3125 cooler

NV11 and NV15 Preview - 12:40 pm Wymun
Just saw that iXBT Labs has a sizzling, hot article on Nvidia's upcoming graphics processors - NV11 and NV15.  It seems that graphics chips are becoming obsolete far faster than CPUs these days!!

The new GPUs will be manufactured with 0.18 micron technology. In fact, it has been known for a long time. The shift to a new technology will allow increasing the graphics core clock frequency and reducing the die size, the power consumption and power dissipation. For example, NV15 will dissipate twice as little power as GeForce256, and NV11 - 30% less power than NV15. And as for the mobile NV11, it will dissipate even less power. Besides, the manufacturing of the new chips will require much less financing.

AOpen AX6BC Pro II Millennium Ed  - 08:27 am Wilfred
Our bud at BXBoards also got his paws on the ultra-sleek collector's item motherboard, so go check out his review and win yourself a piece of this in his giveaway lucky draw! It's no longer the fastest sports car out there, but there's always room for classics.

Nevertheless the boards overclocked stability is exceptional due to its excellent stability at high bus speeds, with the board doing particularly well up to around 150Mhz. This product is probably aimed at the out and out overclocker, and this limited edition board will surely fly. However I feel that while this is a great board, the is not enough room in the market for yet another revision of the AX6BC Pro. If you need ISA, or onboard Ultra/DMA66 then either the Soyo SY-6BA+ IV or Abit BE6-2 will probably the better choice.

IWill SIDEpro66 ATA66 Card  - 06:42 am Kan
Lots of IWill products today, including the review from ActiveHardware on the IWill SIDEpro66 ATA66 card. Here's an excerpt:

The idea of adding an ATA66 card to one's PCI slot is more interesting in terms of expanding the number of devices one's system can support - rather than being enticing for its offered performance increase. In fact, I don't think that the performance gains are enough to be readily noticed under normal operating conditions. Then again, the immediate ability to add an another 4 devices to one's system is nothing to sneeze at. Anyone who often needs to use a CD-ROM, a DVD-ROM, and a CD-R simultaneously can well imagine the benefits. In short then, anyone who is, or will be looking to add a device or 4 to their system, and take advantage of the ATA66 standard, need look no further for a solution...

Promise Ultra ATA-66 PCI  - 06:38 am Kan
If you are looking for an ATA-66 controller card for your mobo, you can check out the Promise Ultra ATA-66 PCI card reviewed by PlanetHardware. This one provides an additional 2 ATA-66 channels to support up to 4 hard disks.

I don't know how many people may have put in PCI cards or hard drives...but it's actually very simple. Put them in. The important thing is with linux you may not want to plug in the hard drive just yet. This is because of a nasty error I got when I tried to run it without proper configuration. When you boot your machine it should say something about plug-and-play mass storage controller. Make sure the IRQ isn't being shared. This can be accomplished by adjusting IRQ settings in the BIOS (mine was PIRQ_SLOT1 yadayadayada). Once you get the card all worked out (drive still not plugged in to the card) boot your machine.

Another IWill Socklet II Review  - 06:30 am Kan
Yep, we have another review of the IWill Slocket II review from Scott's Hardware. There's also a helpful guide on how to relocate the capacitors on the Iwill Slocket II adapter card to the back side in case you want to use an oversized heatsink.

The Iwill Slocket II comes in a cardboard sleeve, which has basic instructions printed on the back, which outline the steps for installing your processor into the Slocket II circuit board. The Slocket II features 31 adjustments for voltage, choice of 3 FSB speeds, support for FC-PGA or PPGA processors, and the choice of using either an Intel or Cyrix processor. These selections are all accessed via 9 3-position jumpers, which are placed along the right hand side of the board. Iwill includes a jumper setting sheet which outlines the options and their corresponding jumper settings.

To sum things up, there's an article on how to lap your CPU to improve heat transmission. So, remember to check'em out!

Soyo vs ABIT  - 06:27 am Kan
GamePC reported a fight (err, roundup) between the Soyo Sy-6BA+ IV and the ABIT BE6-II motherboards. Both motherboards are well known for the features and stability. 

The biggest differences lay within the motherboard's BIOS's, both offer jumperless overclocking abilities, as well as the ability to tweak voltages, SDRAM timings, all the nerdy goodness you can handle. Of course, Abit has some large advantages over the Soyo, including FSB speeds up to 200 MHz in 1 MHz incriments, along with an external dipswitch pad at the top of the motherboard for tweaking settings without having to flash your BIOS if you overclock too far. Now, it sure sounds cool that the BE6-II can reach 200 MHz FSB speed, but in reality you'll never reach even close to 200 MHz.

IWill Slocket II Review - 06:24 am Kan
HardwareCentral reviewed the IWill Slocket II card which supports the new FC-PGA Coppermine processors. From the looks of it, the guys think very highly of it. Here's an excerpt:

Firstly, to run an FC-PGA processor, the motherboard in question must be mechanically capable of accepting a Socket 370 style processor. Thus, the base for the Slocket II is a standard adapter card, similar to Iwill’s own Slocket I, allowing Socket 370 processors to be utilized in conjunction with Slot 1 motherboards--no problem there.

Secondly, the current crop of FC-PGA processors require a cool 1.6V core voltage setting, something not supported by most current Slot 1 motherboards. So, voltage modification capabilities were added to the adapter as well, allowing it to deliver the required 1.6V to the processor, even if the motherboard itself does not support such a setting.

Benwin BW2000 Speakers - 06:20 am Kan
SystemLogic brought us a video review (their first actually) of the Benwin BW2000 Speakers. If you are shopping for satellite speakers, you may like to check the review out:


Slow Connection
 
Fast Connection

AOL and Time Warner Merger - 06:18 am Kan
If you read from the newspaper etc, you will know about the AOL and Time Warner merger. CTNews written an article discussing the impact to the industry with this move:

The first thing to remember is this, AOL has realized it is in trouble for some time now. 56k modems are dying out, and broadband is quickly taking over. The need for speed is incredible in the computer world. All computer buyers know enough to ask "how fast does this machine go" or "how fast will I be able to download this or that." We are becoming a pampered generation, used to having information at our fingertips. Waiting has become a thing of the past. Now, back on topic, I came across a ZDNet article which pointed out something I completely looked over. Time Warner owns cable systems. AOL is looking to get into the cable modem market. Hmm, do I sense something brewing here? They have even begun commenting on this publicly. Road Runner users, I pity thee.

Annihilator Giveaway - 06:17 am Kan
nv News sent note on their Creative Annihilator GeForce giveaway. If you reside in the States, this is your chance to grab a piece of this baby!

 

12 January 2000 - Wednesday

ACT-LABS Force RS And Shifter
- Wilfred
In the past weeks, Yingzong has been fervently trying to advance his racing career in The Need For Speed with his newly acquired toy - the ACT-LABS Force RS wheel and Shifter. Today, we have his review for your consumption! How do you like a 8-gate gearbox?! This para should send your adrenaline rushing!

Wow... The action really heats up with free shifting! The number of times I slam the gears in a single race is uncountable. Whenever I'm going fast and see a sharp 90° turn coming up, I will do one of those 6th to 3rd gear changes, Daytona style! It's really satisfying to see the rig you're in doing a power slide to negotiate that sharp bend. The "snick" coming from each gear change sounds great too. Some getting used to the gear positions is required to remove constant attention on the RS Shifter during gear change. The gear stick at rest positions itself midway between the 3rd and 4th gear positions.

Home DSL for a Dime - 21:00 pm Kan
Digital-Clips wrote an article on how to setup your DSL modem and have them working with the rest of your computers in your local LAN. Pretty detailed, except that DSL doesn't cost a dime over here. It costs a bomb! :(

“…Simply put, xDSL uses advanced line coding algorithms to effectively divide the spectrum on copper phone wire between voice and data. As shown in the figure below, voice transmissions reside in the baseband (4 KHz and below) while upstream and downstream data channels are in the higher spectrum (300 KHz and above). The end result is that service providers can deliver multimegabit data rates while leaving voice services intact; all on a single line. ADSL is connecting two worlds, voice and data, by facilitating simultaneous activities over a single physical access line”

CES 2000 Part 2 - 20:58 pm Kan
FiringSquad is back with the second CES update in which they covered even more MP3 technology. Pretty interesting, so check it out:

The LANSONIC Digital Audio Server (DAS) connects to your Local Area Network (LAN) and is able to play MP3 files directly from PCs on network. No hard disk is needed, but units will be available with 13GB+ drives. The DAS doesn't have an internal CD player, but you can use it with an external player or the CD-ROM of a computer on the network.

Casio has a new WMP-1V Wrist Audio Player that functions as a watch, stopwatch, alarm, and MP3 player. Sure beats that geeky calculator watch doesn't it? (No offense to any current or past calculator watch owners out there. I though they were cool once, but then I turned twelve.)

Arswards '99 - 20:10 pm Wilfred
Ho! Well, hoping to be the tech industry's 'most coveted' award, Ars Technica rates what we had the last year that defined Geek Life for us, in their Arswards '99. It's a hefty listing, so be sure to take a look! Whoa! ME - Webmaster of the year?! (nah.. just kiddin'!" ;P).

From deep within the steel bowels of Olympus Mons, our top secret orbiting headquarters, we at Ars Technica monitored the entire year in tech. We tested and tweaked and benchmarked every product we could get our hands on; we scrutinized technology trends, product announcements, corporate mergers, stock prices, controversies, and the CINEMAX channel (we had to have something for Gonzo to do). Finally, when the year ended at midnight on December 31, 1999, we retired to the Ars Senatorial Chambers to debate which technologies, products, people, and events deserved to be honored with the tech industry's most coveted award: the Arsward.

IBM Rolls Out Unified Linux Strategy - 20:04 pm Wilfred
Big Blue is throwing its weight behind Linux, and from this report at The Register, it's no longer multiple initiatives but a full company-wide embrace of the OS. Read it here:

IBM is increasing its bet on Linux by adopting software's counter-culture as a primary operating system for the Internet. This turns a series of initiatives within IBM into a strategic, company-wide embrace.

Gabriel Knight 3 - 19:55 pm Kan
Those professional gamers over at FiringSquad just posted their thoughts on Gabriel Knight 3. Darn, I thought I just completed Gabriel Knight 1 last night? 

The 3rd installment in the Gabriel Knight series is set shortly after the end of the second game. Gabriel's assistant and erstwhile romantic interest, Grace Nakimura, encourages Gabriel to start rubbing elbows with the local nobility. At one such gathering, the duo pick up a job from Prince James Stewart. Apparently the royal family has experienced an on going problem with "night visitors." Victims in the family awaken exhausted and pale…with a pair of small wounds in their neck. It all sounds disturbingly similar to the work of vampires.

AOpen 9420 CDRW - 19:49 pm Kan
Another CDRW this time by Systemlogic on the AOpen 9420 4x4x20. Hmm, 4X seems to be rather slow nowadays with the gaining popularity of 8X drives.

In my opinion speed is the most looked at feature, and in reality the most important, especially if you are going to shell out the money and buy a drive. Of course reliability is important as well. I know that nobody wants to sit on their computer waiting for a CD to record, so the higher speed the CD drive is, the less you are going to wait.  For example a Plexwriter 8X which has 8 speed recording, can copy a whole CD within 9 minutes, while the 4x we tested took somewhere between 15-20 minutes, you'll see more in the benchmarks. Although, realize this, not only do you have to worry about the drive itself, but you'll need to make sure you get the right blank CD. For example, say you have the 8x Plexwriter, you'll need to get blank CDs which support 8x drives, otherwise you will be recording at the max speed for that CD, making you wait just as long as you would have to with an slower drive.

nVidia GeForce Links - 19:47 pm Kan
Jukka sent note on the compiled links for reviews on the GeForce graphics cards found in the web. If you wanna a quick link to the various reviews out there, check it out.

Maxi Sound FORTISSIMO - 19:45 pm Kan
AbsolutePC just dropped us a line of their latest review on the Maxi Sound FORTISSIMO soundcard. Powered by the new Yamaha YMF744 chipset, it supports EAX, A3D 1.0 as well as Sensaura Interactive Positioning on 2 or 4 speakers or headphones 

The Yamaha YMF744 audio processor, which combines support for EAX, A3D 1.0, DirectSound, and Sensaura positioning does a decent job in 3d postitioning sound, however it is an area that we found lacking when compared to the SB Live and Aureal Vortex 2 cards. The rear speakers for the most part, mirrored the sound of the front speakers, which is not true 3d postitional sound. In certain games we were pleased with the effects, In Quake III and Unreal Tournament, shots could be heard from every direction. It was a joy to know just where those fellow fraggers were hunting us from. The CD/MP3 playback was excellent as the card provided no apparent background noise and sound was full and very pleasing.

X-Win32 Review - 17:55 pm Kan
StarNet's X-Win32 is one of the programs I can't live without. CPUReview took the chance and reviewed this piece of X-terminal emulation software for the Windows platform. Here's what they have to say:

X-Win32 assumes that you will use XDM, rsh or rexec to start your X session; unfortunately the default configuration opens a separate Windows window for each X11 window; filling your screen with tiny windows if you run KDE or Gnome.

Fortunately X-Util32 allows you to configure X-Win32 to use a single window to hold your X11 desktop; I strongly recommend you do this if you run one of the more advanced Unix/Linux desktops.

New Reviews @ HardNews - 17:50 pm Kan
Alright, there's a few new reviews over at HardNews. First it's a review of the 3Dfx Voodoo3 3500 TV graphics card, the Act-Labs Gun GS System as well as the ASUS P3B-F motherboard. Oh yes, the boys are officially launched today, so check it out!

The V3500 is a 3d gfx (graphics) card, meaning that you plug it into your machine and it will render scenes involving polygons and fuzzy little animals. All other sites assume you know this, but I assume otherwise considering you're a moron if you're trusting my opinion. :). Anyway what the voodoo 35000 does is it renders the polygons at a faster rate allowing the games that you play to add more effects because they don't have to worry about speed. 

Quantum Fireball Plus KX - 17:46 pm Kan
TheTechZone started off with another review on the Quantum Fireball Plus KX 7,200 rpm hard disk. It comes with only 512KB (I prefer a 2MB cache) of cache and scores under 8.5ms for average seek time.

Well it’s pretty evident from the above benchmark that this is a solid performer and deserves serious consideration for any future hard drive purchases you may be considering.

Regardless of your motivation for wanting to get this hard drive, be it to have the most hard core system you can put together for gaming (which is my driving force in life..haha…) or if you have less trivial pursuits in improving your computer then you will be very happy with the Quantum Fireball Plus KX.

Elsa Erazor X SDR - 14:53 pm Wilfred
AnandTech is on a roll today. Check out their review on the Erazor X SDR card. You see many of these boxes around but wonder if it's worth the extra dollar? Decide for yourself!

The choice to buy the ELSA ERAZOR X over a comparable GeForce SDR card is not an easy one to make. On one hand, the ELSA card contains excellent monitor tweaking utilities, the ChipGuard utility which prevents the card from ever becoming a coaster, and fits NLX form factor. On the other hand, the drivers are a convoluted and the ChipGuard feature is not that useful in normal circumstances. Then there is the final line: price. The ELSA ERAZOR X actually runs on the more expensive side of SDRAM based SDR cards with no video features. This is most likely due to the high quality of products that come out of ELSA, making a first time buyer a life long supporter. In addition the price increase may be due to the design and test processes that come along with the production of a board. Most companies simply use NVIDIA's reference design, however to make the card NLX form factor ELSA had to produce and test their own design.

3DCool Super Duper Slot Fan Review - 14:49 pm Wilfred
Whoa! I wonder who came up with this name - super duper? Heh! Ok, BoomGames has a review on this slot fan meant to exhaust the hot air from your system, through any slots on your PC.

First and foremost, note that this sucker is quiet. It's nice to have this sort of power not make much noise. Remember that this is not a video card fan.

To test this cooling solution, we ran the system with and without the SDSlot Fan. First, we tested the system with the fan and after running the 3DMark2000 demo 5 times, the system temperature was at 32 degrees C. Note that this system is highly overclocked. Without altering anything except removing the fan, we ran the tests again. This time, after booting, we already noticed the system temperature at 37 degrees, a quick, fast rise from its room temperature value. After the tests, we found a 42 degree temperature! The system was still running stable, but no one knows how long it would take that temperature to get any higher.

Saitek ST110 Digital Stick & Throttle - 14:45 pm Wilfred
Any budget conscious flight-sim buff will want to examine this review at ExtremeHardware. Well, a point brought up - this is NOT for lefties!

If you’re in the market for a basic joystick that will let you dabble in a wide variety of casual gaming interests, the Saitek ST110 is an excellent candidate. The fact that it’s available at such a low cost should be regarded simply as a bonus.

3DCool Tornado 1000 Casing - 14:42 pm Wilfred
The chums at SharkyExtreme got to play with the Tornado 1000 casing from 3DCool. High-quality stuff with excellent cooling, definitely one you can trust your o'c-ed system to.

3DCOOL.COM has taken this design and added four 80x80 mounted fans, supplying 172 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) of total airflow. The first fan is located at the front of the case and enables cooler air to blow inside the case and onto the motherboard. The second fan is on the back of the case, near the CPU, and exhausts warmer air outside of the PC. These two fans would be more than enough to cool a standard PC, but 3DCOOL.COM has also cut dual blowholes to the side of the case and installed fans in each. These dual fans flood cool air onto the motherboard, CPU and AGP video card, creating a great deal of cooling power. All four fans used in concert supply the incredible 172 CFM of airflow through the case, with the intake fans supplying cool air, while the outtake fan and power supply exhaust the internal warmer air.

Seagate U8 ST317221A - 14:39 pm Wilfred
StorageReview has a new HDD evaluated today, the 'value' 18.2Gb ATA/66 drive. I'm still saving up for a new HDD boy! :)

The Seagate U8 isn't a performance leader. It isn't one even when the field is restricted to value-class drives. Then again, performance isn't the end-all when it comes to drives like this. SR caters to a large audience of hardware enthusiasts; our tests have evolved from the desire to pinpoint performance differences between drives. Our test suite, however, is unfair to value units. We run tests and evaluate these drives only to put the differences between value lines and performance units in stark, objective light. This isn't a drive that we'd recommend to the typical SR reader.

Tyan S1854 Trinity 400 Apollo Pro 133A - 14:33 pm Wilfred
I told you before, this is one board contending for your attention if you are out shopping for the right board to match that new CuMine 500/550E. Of course, there seem to be issues even with this popular choice from Tyan. AnandTech has this review (reads more like a superset of the overclocking guide they released yesterday) you might want to check out!

The Tyan Trinity 400 was the first Apollo Pro 133A available and was chosen by Micron for its top of the line Millennia MAX. The vote of confidence from Micron goes a long way to show just how good the Trinity 400 is. It does have a few quirks when it comes to overclocking, but all around there's no doubt that it's a solid board. In fact it's quite possibly the best overall solution from the first wave of Apollo Pro 133A boards. The biggest problem with the Trinity 400 may be finding one of these in stock as they seem to be flying off the shelves at the moment.

Backup Strategies - 06:35 am Kan
Ever wanna know how to backup your data in the correct way? There's an article over at Mars Technologies on some of the backup strategies we ought to know:

Since media is relatively inexpensive when compared to the value of your data, it is a good idea to periodically backup your system on media not used in the media rotation scheme and store it permanently.

The threat of viruses is an issue here also. Some viruses take effect immediately, while others may take days or weeks to cause noticeable damage. Because of this, you should have at least the following backups available to restore at any time.

3DCool Product Line Overview - 06:32 am Kan
This caught my eye as AGN Hardware did a roundup on the 3DfxCool line of products including the Ultimate Hard Drive Cooler, Ultra Thin Slot Cooler, Monitor Cooler and Mini Cooler etc.

All fans consume power. This power must be drawn from your power supply. If you're running two hard drives, a CDR, a DVD, a TNT2 board and an Athlon 700 plus 4 fans you'll probably find that even a pretty sturdy 250 Watt supply can be pushed to it's limits. If you find you're getting lots of blue screen error messages in Windows (aka blue screens of death) or random restarts, a power supply taxed to it's limits may be the cause. This is the drawback of adding fans to your system. It's probably going to help you but it might cause problems you didn't have before especially if you already have a loaded system and a weaker power supply. Just something to keep in mind before you buy that fifth or sixth extra fan.

ABIT BE6-II - 06:28 am Kan
T-Break wrote a review of the ABIT BE6-II motherboard. Ah, this board has been mentioned many times before, so I leave it to you again to read thru yourself.

Also present are the four IDE ports, first introduced in the original BE6, out of which two are your standard UDMA/33 and the other two UDMA/66 powered by the High Point HPT366 controller. What’s worth noting is that the motherboard came installed with the latest firmware version of the HPT Controller – something a lot of other hardware vendors so easily oversee. Also, since you need a special cable to use UDMA/66 devices at full speeds, ABIT thankfully provides one in the package. Besides that cable, you also get a Thermal Sensor Cable that measures the temperature of your CPU - very handy for overclockers.

Build your Own Network - 06:25 am Kan
PCMech released their tips on how to Build your Own Network. So, you need NICs, cables, and probably a hub/switch. Can be pretty fun, check it out:

Now that you've settled on what type of Ethernet to use, (thanks to me) you'll want to get some Network Interface Cards for each computer you plan to put on your network.  Network Interface Cards, are just that, they are a card that interfaces your computer with the rest of the network.  If you can, get cards that will fit into a PCI slot in your computer, if your computer has such slots.  PCI Network cards are much easier to use than any other type of card..  If you can't get PCI, I recommend ISA cards made by 3COM. They are just as easy to use, and require no jumper configuration.  If you can't get either, it's time to shop around, or save up your money.

AOpen AX6BC Pro II - 06:02 am Kan
3DHardware.net reviewed the AOpen AX6BC Pro II Millennium Edition. With only 2500 pieces around in the world and a 24K platinum coated heatsink makes this board one hell of a classic.

The box is of standard AOpen design, nothing flashy that is. The contents are also very similar to previous AOpen motherboards and include IDE cables, an installation CD and a fold out poster serving as the Quick Installation Guide. For reasons unknown, most probably to cut costs though, AOpen included the user's manual only on the CD - pretty useless if you can't get the motherboard working. It feels as if AOpen are targetting more experienced users with this motherboard - figuring only people like us would buy a limited edition motherboard.

Intellimouse Review - 06:00 am Kan
We start off this morning with a review of the Microsoft Optical Intelimouse Explorer review form ComputingPros. Incidentally, this mouse does need some sort of cleaning. You won't be cleaning the ball (obviously), but you need to clean the Dupont strips underneath the mouse (like what I did yesterday) as they tend to attract a lot of dirt.

For the past 5 years, we've seen quite a few revolutionary ideas come to the mouse. First there was the invention the trackball. "Why not take the ball out of the mouse and flip the whole thing upside down and let our hands be the tracking surface", someone thought since then you didn't have to push an entire mouse around, but instead just a ball that sits stationary somewhere. Then the ergonomic revolution came about and companies like Logitech jumped all over that and we've seen some of the most comfortable mouses around and the trackballs are slowly disappearing. Both of these revolutionary ideas never did solve the poor tracking problem that results after some extended use. Now we're on a 3rd revolutionary idea. This time Microsoft, the company we all either love or hate, or love to hate, came up with the ultimate solution for the gunk problem. Remove the ball and the gunk will go away!

CGO Reviews ATI Rage Fury MAXX - 01:30 am Wilfred
For those with little time to spare, here's a concise review of the ATI Rage Fury MAXX card. Judging from the performance figures, it fairs close the GeForce cards. I said before, I would still go for the GeForce DDR over the ATI Fury MAXX based on both price and performance. CGO gave it 4/5 stars:

The hardcore gamers this card is marketed toward are generally less concerned about game bundles, but it would be nice to get a little more for that price. ATI has plans to lower the price and include a software bundle in the near future, but they can't yet say exactly what the bundle will be or when this will take place.

The Rage Fury MAXX is quite a good video card, overall. It's bested only by GeForce cards with DDR memory, and takes a commanding second place, even edging out regular GeForce cards in many applications. The drivers proved nice and stable as well, delivering great image quality with no visual artifacts or crashes. The only problem is the price—paying more than $250 for a video card with no TV-out or software bundle is a lot to ask.

PlexWriter 8432X  - 01:23 am Wilfred
HardwareCentral has a neat review of the PlexWriter 8432X CD-ReWriter drive. Like us, they loved it and gave it high marks!

As expected from Plextor, the PlexWriter 8/4/32X performed admirably. In the two weeks we've been evaluating its performance we've written over fifty CDs, of which most were CD-Rs, with a couple of CD-RWs. We've lost not a single disk to a writing error caused by the PlexWriter, nor have we run into trouble when trying to back up scratched or 'multi session' CD-ROMs.

11 January 2000 - Tuesday

Athlon 800 Mhz
- 18:53 pm Kan
How fast can they actually get? FiringSquad reviewed the Athlon 800 Mhz processor and it's smokin' hot! Feel the might of the Athlon 800 Mhz as it tears thru Quake3 with ease!

Also like the Athlon 750, the Athlon 800 features the same 2/5th (0.4) L2 cache divider. Previous Athlon CPU's ran their L2 cache at 1/2 the speed of the processor core. For the Athlon 750 and 800, that would require L2 cache chips of 375MHz and 400MHz respectively. AMD must feel the cost associated with these parts is too great to make the CPU affordable. The end result is L2 cache running at 300MHz for the Athlon 750 and 320MHz for the Athlon 800.

TennMax Detonator - 18:48 pm Kan
New review spotted over at TheTechZone on the TennMax Detonator cooler. One hell of a cooler, but kinda expensive in my opinion. If you are the ultimate gamer, don't miss out this fan:

The fan includes a 12V DC ball bearing type that spins at 8,500 RPM and is, "you can hear a pin drop" quiet at 29 DBa. It uses a Mylex standard 4 pin power connector and has both male and female connectors so that you won't have a problem connecting it. You can obviously tell Tennmax put much thought into making this cooler. The only problem with buying a Tennmax cooler is that you must remove the wimpy factory heatsink on your card. Before you begin you will need a few tools to help you remove the heatsink which are: A small slot head screwdriver, rubbing alcohol, and a single edged razor.

Voodoo4/Voodoo5 Interview - 18:48 pm Kan
Extreme Hardware managed to score an interview with Peter Wicher, the 3dfx Director of Product Marketing from 3Dfx in which they touched on some of the topics like performance specs, memory configurations etc.

We focused on image quality more than anything else: 32-bit ARGB rendering, 24-bit depth buffer, 8-bit stencil buffer, 32-bit textures, 2Kx2K texture size, up to 64MB of frame buffer, 4X AGP, and both FXT1 and DXTC texture compression, and new alpha blends (Alpha subtract, src*src, dst*dst) are the key features. It’s important to note that our texture cache can store textures in compressed format thereby greatly increasing the effective cache size, increasing performance. As far as full-scene AA goes, a single VSA-100 is able to create two jittered sub-samples per pixel. We don’t think that’s enough to do high-quality full-scene AA or digital cinematic effects therefore those features are only being enabled when two or four VSA-100’s are linked together in SLI.

Ricoh 7060A CDRW - 18:44 pm Kan
Cool, we have another review of those CDRW drives from Ricoh by GameWire.org. This is a 6X drive with 4RW capability and comes with 2MB of buffer:

Now for the performance of this monster, what can I say? It worked each time! It wrote to each CD without a flaw, unless the data I was writing had a flaw. I saw nothing wrong with the drive itself. It worked pure miracles and everything to a "T". I even tried this CD-RW with 5 different kinds of CD-R CDs. I tried the Kodak kind, no flaws. I tried the FujiFilm CDs, no flaws. I tried the Maxwell CDs, no flaws. Ricoh sent me Ricoh CDs, no flaws on them either. I also tried regular CDs with no labels, the cheap kind, and again, no flaws. I give this thing a perfect 10 on performance.

The guys also whipped up another article today called Team Fortress 2 Will Change Multiplayer Gaming. Woah, I leave it to you to read thru:

A perfect mesh, role-playing with a FPS. Abilities are specialized characteristics of each class that makes him special, different from his counterparts. Now, engineers can build all different kinds of weaponry and cameras, and must take a greater responsibility in maintaining his
manufactured industry. The 'cheap' characters have been modified to decrease the amount of spamming in the game. Spies now can only use a silenced pistol to kill his prey. The virus of the medic will be less deadly, the flame of the pyro less annoying. The only other main difference in the class system is the implementation of the COMMANDER. This user is not directly involved
in the game, but can oversee the action on the battlefield. This person must be able to strategize, or see his team fall to its enemy.

Speed Demonz Guide - 18:41 pm Kan
Adrian's Rojak Pot written a detailed article on the effects of twiddling with your BIOS Cache settings. Here's an excerpt:

Now, the Celeron 504 (that I'll be using for the tests) has a bandwidth of 4.0GB/s (64-bit x 504MHz). That's only 1.6GB/s higher than the average bandwidth of the average graphics card or just 0.8GB/s higher than the memory bandwidth of higher-end cards. So, there's little use in caching the already fast video RAM. On the other hand, the motherboard RAM's bandwidth is only a pitiful 0.8GB/s (64-bit x 100MHz), which is way slower than the L2 cache (only a miserly 20% of the L2 cache's bandwidth). It would be much better to use the limited amount of cache to speed up the slow motherboard RAM instead of the much faster video RAM.

NEC 40X SCSI CD-ROM Drive - 18:39 pm Kan
3DAlpha dropped us a line on their latest review on the NEC 40X SCSI CD-ROM drive. Wow, SCSI, how sweet. It's been a long time since I saw these in the market.

The next task was mounting it, and connecting the cables needed. This wasn't so hard, and if you've had experience with connecting SCSI periphrials, you know that it's just like connecting IDE periphrials, except for the fact that the terminated device has to take the last connector on the cable. I opened my case, opened up a 5.25" external bay, and popped my CD-ROM in. Then it was an issue of screwing it in place, connecting the 50-pin Ultra SCSI cable, connecting the CD Audio cable from my sound card to my CD-ROM, and then connecting the power supply to it. Done! Now it was time for me to see if it all worked, and to test the drive out.

Overclocking The FC-PGA Coppermine - 12:44 pm Wilfred
How apt! This article came at the time when, 3 of our crazy reviewers bought themselves Coppermines to play with (and they are trying to tempt me into it as well! EVIL!! Grrgghh!!). Whoa! AnandTech has a HUGE guide on overclocking these babies! You will want to check out what he has to say about various motherboards for this purpose. Go go go!

Mind you that our 550MHz to 825MHz overclock wasn't accomplished with supercooling, water cooling, or using an insane amount of fans, we didn't even do so much as use an "overclocker's" heatsink, instead we just stuck to the retail heatsink/fan from Intel (which isn't a bad combo at all) and were blessed with some very impressive results.

As with all overclocking attempts, you are risking the life of your CPU as well as sacrificing stability for the benefit of the increased speed at no added cost. The degree that these two downsides are felt depends entirely on your situation in particular and could vary from severe to virtually nonexistent, as was the case in our tests. It's a disclaimer that we must remind everyone of, but honestly speaking, the FC-PGA 500E/550E are two very impressive processors from an overclocker's standpoint and should have no problem reaching speeds between 700 - 800MHz.

Why Corel Linux May Spoil The Future For MS - 12:23 pm Wilfred
At osOpinion today, there is a new editorial that wrote on the recent Corel, GraphOn partnership and the possibility of them spoiling Microsoft's business. The article has a point, but may history not repeat itself; for we know better that the technologically more advanced DOESN'T always win. Instead, it is all about timing, marketing and well, monopoly (if I may use the word).

Several months ago I heard about Corel's dealings with GraphOn, and saw the possibility that Corel would bundle their Application server software with the then upcoming Corel Desktop Linux. I have to congratulate Michael Cowpland and the Corel team for thinking two steps ahead of Microsoft. I think Corel has realized that sooner or later most apps, especially the ones most crucial to Microsoft will be rented on the web. When I speak of crucial applications, I'm talking about Microsoft Office, what many consider to be Microsoft's only worthwhile application. Though users would still have to follow Microsoft's rental scheme, at least the applications would be available to those using Linux, or any other "Bridges" equipped operating system.

Sys ColdFusion 1000 1GHz Athlon  - 12:17 pm Wilfred
Not far behind the gang at AnandTech and CPUReview, SharkyExtreme also delivered an article on this 1GHz system.

Although KryoTech's technology has been used in the past at trade shows to power both Intel (somewhat secretively) and AMD (more openly) CPUs, SYS' Cold Fusion series make use of AMD's top of the line Athlon CPU. Inside the KryoCavity sits a .18micron AMD Athlon 750 (a very fast CPU in its own right) sporting 512K of off-die L2 cache.

Pine D'Music Digital MP3 Player  - 12:11 pm Wilfred
Our network affiliate Hardware Extreme has a review on this hippy MP3 player! The gadget sure looks pretty to me, and I think the gang at HE loves it too! Hmm, they have one with an FM receiver too!

Sound playback quality on the player is simply amazing. The vocals of Aerosmith's live "I don't want to miss a thing" were clearly presented with the highs and midrange delivered very well to the listener. On bassier tracks such as Britney Spears's (You drive me) Crazy, Stop Remix, the bass tends to sound rather hollow but this can be easily remedied by using one of the five preset EQ (Flat, Pop, Jazz, Ex-Bass, Classic) options present in the player. We found the Classic EQ setting to be a comfortable choice for all kinds of music desipte it's name :)

America Online & Time Warner Marries  - 08:33 am Wilfred
This was the first piece of news that greeted me on TV when I woke, and the most glaring news mail in my mailbox this morning. If you haven't already heard, this is a big merger that could have significant impact pointing in the future convergence of broadband + content. Read this at Jesse Berst's Anchordesk:

Online giant America Online (AOL) is merging with media/entertainment king Time Warner, giving AOL a much need cable strategy and Time Warner an Internet strategy. Click for more.

The two corporate behemoths will join via a stock swap worth $350 billion. It's being called the largest marriage of an Internet company and a traditional media company yet -- and the largest corporate merger in U.S. history. The new company will be known as AOL Time Warner Inc. Steve Case of AOL will serve as Chairman and Gerald Levin of Time Warner will be CEO. Ted Turner will remain vice chairman of the merged company.

Diamond Viper II  - 08:30 am Wilfred
GamePC let us know they just reviewed the Savage2000-based Diamond Viper II card. I think the drivers are still immature by any standard, so it may be prudent to wait, afterall, it's not THAT cheap an investment.

All in all, we're pleasantly surprised with the hardware capabilities of the Savage2000 chipset, but there is still work to be done. While OpenGL games ran smoothly and without problems, Direct3D needs some serious fixing before we can consider this a viable gaming card. Not only were there visual problems, it was just plain slow in D3D, and since about 50% of the games out there are D3D only, some people are going to get upset with their cards. It's greatest strength seems to be in 32-bit OpenGL, where it was amazingly close to a GeForce DDR, and considering the price comparison (DDR GeForce for $300+, Savage2000 for 175+), for most people it will end up being a great deal. Now if we could only get some good drivers for it…

HP 5100C Fix under W2K  - 05:25 am Kan
Okay, NT Compatible sent note on the HP 5100C fix available for Windows 2000. Anyway, if you are using W2K, head over to NT Compatible to look for the appropriate drivers.

Mouse/Mouse Pad  - 05:20 am Kan
It's Mouse Day <tm> as FullOn3D brings us two reviews today. The Razor Boomslang 2000 gaming mouse as well as the RatPad, a bigger version similar to the the Everglide pad. Cool, don't miss'em:

The Sensitivity section allows for adjustments to be made in both the double-click speed and sensitivity of the mouse cursor as it travels across the screen, as well as providing a small test area for the double-click adjustments. There is also a setting to disable/enable the Boomslang's unique On-The-Fly Sensitivity feature. This handy little feature will be most attractive to the snipers, campers and generally sneaky players. With the OTFS feature, you can simply click the thumb button and use the scroll wheel to adjust the sensitivity of the mouse. So, when you're zoomed in with sniper mode, you can adjust the sensitivity so you can more easily pin point exactly where you want to shoot, rather than have a short stroke of the mouse send your crosshairs all the way across the screen. As an option, a graphical display will pop up that shows exactly at which sensitivities you are scrolling through. This is handy for eliminating guesswork from scrolling back and forth through sensitivities.

New ASUS V6600 Drivers - 05:17 am Kan
Planet GeForce dropped us a line on the new ASUS V6600 Drivers, bringing it up to v3.66 beta 2. Also, good news for Linux users as XFree 3.66 has been released, and includes native support for the GeForce among other updates.

Highlights of the new release include: support for the ATI Rage128. Support for the ATI Rage Mobility, support for the SiS 540/630 and SiS 300, support for Silicon Motion Lynx chipsets, support for the Savage2000, support for the NVIDIA GeForce, support for the Intel i810 (not enabled by default as it needs a kernel module), and fixes to several drivers. 

How to Update NT in the Wrong Way - 05:15 am Kan
ArsTechnica written an article on How to Update NT in the Wrong Way. Heh heh, there are definitely lots of ways in which things can go wrong. 

When you get ready to do anything to an important server, heck, to any Win NT machine, make absolutely certain that you have an updated copy of your NT Emergency Repair Disk, and make sure it's readable. In this case it probably wouldn't have helped me fix the initial problem, but it definitely would have helped me fix some of the later side-effects I struggled with.

10 January 2000 - Monday

Palm Fiesta II at Silicon Horizon
- 22:50 pm Yingzong
Our affiliates and product sponsors down at Silicon Horizon have launched a PDA fiesta today. For those of you living in sunny Singapore and have been hungry for some of those products which we've been reviewing, check them out! For those of you outside our borders, you can try out their International E-commerce front too. Here's a little on the press release :

You've been waiting for weeks. And this ain't a bad sequel. The first Palm Fiesta has made you hungry for more...and now, after revolutionizing the PDA market in Asia, we're at it again! We present to you-Palm Fiesta II. Before you cry foul:"Hey! You didn't slash all the prices like the last time!", we'd like to tell you that we're doing it somewhat different this time. In the week to come, we will be uploading promotions and slashing prices by the hour! If you think this is cool, well, check out our upcoming promotions this week where we will be giving away freebies, super special prices to our forum members and more! Get more details at the xpress!ons forum.

VIA KX133 Volume Shipped - 20:36 pm Wilfred
Yay! Indeed this is exciting news, for hopes are high that this will be THE Athlon chipset we have waited so long for, supporting AGP4X and PC133 SDRAM. The Register reports that VIA has shipped it in volume to 20 motherboard makers, so we can expect some goods to hit the streets in time to come!

Taiwanese chipset manufacturer and Intel microprocessor rival Via said today that it has started volume shipments of its Apollo KX-133 chipset to 20 of its motherboard customers.

Artic Cooler Fan Review - 20:08 pm Wilfred
Kyle of HardOCP managed to steal a review of the super-sweeet looking Artic Cooler (featuring 'Polar Logic' technology from HP). See if it performs as cool as it looks! Hey! Where can I find one?!

If I was sitting at home thinking about getting a new cooler for my Slot1 PIII hoping to take it to the next level, and MONEY was in the equation.... I think I would have to go with the Arctic Cooler from Montac. It is less expensive and gives great results. We have been using the "Orb" around here for months now, but have not had the kind of mounting system that Montac is making accessible to everyone. Bottom line to Montac, good work on resurrecting an "old" product that we never got to experience in the mainstream.

One thing that clearly places the Arctic Circle above the Alpha is the issue of noise. The Alpha is quite a bit louder than the Circle for sure. I don't have a decibel meter here but I would guess the Alpha is about twice as loud. The Arctic Circle might keep the roommate or significant other off your back.

Hoontech SoundTrack Digital-XG - 20:04 pm Wilfred
The Korean firm first famous (to me!) for creating SoundBlaster Live! daughterboards now make their own line of soundcards. Using the Yamaha YMF744B chip, they have a very affordable card of good quality. 3DSoundSurge has the investigation files here:

Without the XG-DB I bracket board the Digital-XG with a SRP of only $47 is still a good gaming card with support for DS3D, A3D 1.X, I3DL2, EAX 1.0 and 2.0, excellent 3D audio, good reverb and while performance isn’t top notch it’s still good enough. The only major disadvantage is that Yamaha appears to be completely phasing out of the PC sound chip business which would include support for the YMF744 chip. This makes it unlikely that we will see any new drivers and while the current drivers works with most games there is a possibility that future games may, just like Aliens Versus Predator, fail to work with the card. Despite that cloud hanging over the YMF744 chip, the Sound Track Digital XG, when bundled with the XG DB-I the Digital-XG, in addition to being a good gaming board, becomes an excellent digital i/o board with coaxial, optical and AES/EBU in out, for just $69.

The SoundTrack Digital-XG easily sweeps to our 3DsoundSurge Surge of Approval award and was even flirting with our silver medal of excellence with the main items holding it back from a digital I/O perspective being very uncertain long term driver support from Yamaha and from a gaming perspective the reverb quality.   With those concerns taken into account the Digital-XG still earns our new  Bronze Medal of Excellence award. 

D-Link DSB-C300 USB Camera - 19:57 pm Wilfred
SystemLogic had another toy they played with over the weekend and here's their verdict. So how much fun can you derive from a simple webcam? Read this here:

There is also a handy feature on this webcam called a screen capture button. It is located on the side of the webcam and it lets you capture a single screen of whatever is in front of the camera. As soon as it is pressed, it launches the standard Windows image program and displays the image as a bitmap file. The quality is better than expected for a webcam. The downside of this is that this camera is lightweight and the base is not sturdy at all, the force of a finger pressing the still image capture button is enough to shake the camera at the crucial moment of capture, making the image blurry. The best bet is to mount this camera on the tripod (has a nice hole on the bottom of the camera to screw in a tripod) and take the image that way of if you have strong hands, hold it in your hand and press the button.

3dfx At MacWorld Report - 19:57 pm Wilfred
If you had thought 3dfx only made PC and console graphics accelerators, well it might also help to know that they've been making their 3D cards for the Mac platform for quite a while also. The FiringSquad put together a report on what they saw of 3dfx at the recent MacWorld.

Since the jury is still out on T-buffer, we asked 3dfx if they planned to offer an option to disable it in the control panel. Fortunately they answered in the affirmative, they do plan on offering some form of control panel for enabling T-buffer effects, but the exact functions in the control panel are still unknown.

Hopefully it will have some array of options for enabling only certain effects. A good example would be panel options to turn on full-scene anti-aliasing and depth of field, but disable motion blur. Just think how cool Microsoft's NFL Fever 2000 would look if the entire screen was anti-aliased and the fans in the stadium appeared slightly out of focus!

One thing is for certain, some gamers like eye candy and others don't. For gamers who enjoy playing games with the visual quality set to the highest settings, 3dfx offers their T-buffer technology; gamers who enjoy high framerates can turn the visual settings down and enjoy the smoother gameplay.

Sys ColdFusion 1000 Review - 19:50 pm Wilfred
Right after the gang at AnandTech, CPU Review also took the Sys ColdFusion 1000 PC for a test run. Powered by the Kryotech-cooled 1GHz Athlon processor, a 64Mb nVidia Quadro AGP and even more juicy stuff under the boot. Whoa! For the fun of it, I'll just quote the system spec:

  • GigaByte 7iX Athlon motherboard (AMD751, ATX)
  • Athlon 750Mhz CPU @ 1000Mhz !!!!!
  • ViewSonic PT-795 19" monitor
  • 128Mb PC100 SDRAM
  • 2x 9.1Gb IBM 7200rmp UDMA66 hd
  • Promise FastTrak UDMA66 PCI RAID controller
  • Kenwood 72X CDROM drive (should be a DVD ROM)
  • Aureal Vortex2 SuperSquad sound card
  • 3Com 3C905C-TX 10/100 network card
  • nVidia Quadro 64Mb DDR AGP video card
  • Windows 98SE, Windows NT 4.0
  • Altec Lansing ACS-54 speaker system
  • KryoTech cooling subsystem with 300W power supply
  • MicroSoft Intellimouse Explorer
  • PS/2 Keyboard

EAX Support In Quake 3: Arena - 19:43 pm Wilfred
This is a nice workaround to get true 3D sound from your SBLive! card fraggin' in Quake 3: Arena. Thanks to T-Break for dropping this note, you will want to roll over to find out HOW!

D-Link DHN-910 10Mb Phoneline Network - 19:40 pm Wilfred
Overclockin.com has a review on D-Link's DHN-910 Phoneline network kit. Though I think a 100Mbits kit is cheap and easily available, I won't mind having this kit as a setup for a PC in the living room, networked via a phoneline.

I'm sure that some of you are thinking "Why would I even consider a 10Mb networking kit when there are 10/100 or even 10/100 switched kits available (including D-Link's own DFE-910) for around the same price?" First, if you are a hardcore gamer or transfer huge amounts of data around, this kit is not necessarily what you would be in the market for. However, if you are a casual user or just someone that doesn't want to go to the trouble of running wires through your walls then the kit makes a lot of sense. Another scenario where the kit would work well is if you have a computer located where it just isn't practical to run an ethernet cable to it (upstairs or in a basement, for example) but you still want to be able to join it to your network. With this kit it is very easy to add that system to your network with nothing but the kit and a phone jack.

AnandTech Takes On nVidia Quadro - 15:07 pm Wilfred
Kewl? Hey, Anand just checked out the high-end Elsa Gloria II Quadro SDR card and if you are onto professional graphics, this is possibly the most cost effective solution - or should we say, "most bang for the buck!?"

In the world of desktop systems and workstations, the best is usually the newest and the GLoria II Quadro SDR seems to live up to that standard. It is an excellent graphics card for professional applications and its competitors will have to work very hard to match or exceed its performance. 

If the advantages the Quadro holds over the GeForce don’t matter to you, then a GeForce based card may be a better overall option because of its lower cost.  Even if you go with the Quadro, the  $650 card earns its value by the incredible performance improvement it holds over previous title holders that fall in the $1000+ range.

Intel Celeron 533 PPGA - 15:01 pm Wilfred
The last of its kind... but are we going to get soapy about it? Hey no! Anyway, SharkyExtreme threw out a review on the last Celery to be manufactured on the 0.25 micron fab with 66 MHz FSB.

Chances are, the Celeron 533 will see its greatest success under the hood of shiny new OEM systems rather then being picked up in the retail market. With such a fierce megahertz battle going on, the 533 demonstrates high clock speed on an affordable platform, and that is the most attractive aspect of the new CPU.

What we won't be sorry to see go is the 66MHz front side bus, which has been with us since the early days of the Pentium processor. So, with the death of the old generation of Celeron CPU's, room will be made for the new processors, which we anxiously look foreword to.

Aztech PCI 368DSP - 14:50 pm Wilfred
iXBT Hardware has a review on the Aztech PCI 368DSP, a board based on the not so common VLSI Thunderbird 128 chipset.

The retail price on 368DSP sound card is about $25. For this considerably small money you get a good sound card supporting sound playback through the headphones and 2/4 speakers using Q3D and QEM via API DS3D and EAX 1.0. Besides, it also supports A3D 1.0. In fact, you will be able to hear 3D sound in most games available in the market today. Since 368DSP card is an absolutely fully-fledged PCI card with hardware sound playback and mixing support, you will also get the whole bunch of such pleasant trifles as simultaneous reproduction of different sound streams, including 2D and 3D.

Thanks For The Memory - 08:30 am Wilfred
Sigh... the present state of things concerning CPUs, mainboards and memory types can indeed be frustrating for any DIY-ers preparing for an upgrade. The TechRepublic tries to make sense of the memory market as well as shed some light on its performance.

Tests done by various labs have verified that, under normal PC applications, Rambus has about a 3-5 percent performance boost above PC133 SDRAM. VCM and DDR, on the other hand, provide 3-25 percent increases, depending on the type of application. VCM proves superior with many small operations, while DDR wins out where bandwidth is needed. Because VCM and DDR technologies modify different aspects of SDRAM, they could theoretically be combined in the same components, resulting in high bandwidth, low latency, double data rate memory with virtual channel registers. It's unlikely that VCM could be used on Rambus without massive redesigns because of the special bus, memory controllers, and exclusionary patents.

The Disk Subsystem I - Hard Drives - 08:25 am Wilfred
Here's another splendid article at RealWorldTech about the disk sub-system in your PC. Heh, here's a blurb:

Many users insist on Ultra2Wide SCSI controllers and LVD drives, because of the SCSI bus transfer rate of 80MB/sec vs. the 40MB/sec of their Ultra2SCSI/SE counterparts. Note very carefully, however, that these are burst data rates between the drive's buffer and controller. Given sustained rates between the drive and the buffer like those we show for BoB drives, it would take continuous simultaneous access to quite a few drives to saturate the UltraSCSI 40MB/sec bus to the controller! Business applications on stand-alone workstations have no such patterns of access (the ThreadMark synthetic benchmark, which simulates multithreaded sequential access to multiple drives showed that two 10,000-rpm drives yield a sustained multithreaded transfer rate of 20.31 MB/sec, half of the 40MB/sec ultrawide SCSI bus rate!).

The Rise Of Free ISPs - 08:17 am Wilfred
osOpinion has an editorial about the Internet Revolution which gave rise to the presence of free ISPs. Well, we just witnessed the first birth of such here in Singapore and many users cannot help but wonder what the 'catch' could be? The ISPs war has ony just begun here, but we can prolly read about more established markets in the West. Check this!

How high the prices go? This gave rise to the second revolution, the free ISP. No longer do you have to pay for Internet access. How is this possible? Well, for the most part, your access is being paid for by advertisers. You look at Advertisements. WorldSpy.net is the only exception. WorldSpy.net is an e-commerce site, that provides Advertisement free Internet access, they gain through the recognition of their site through running an ISP. This program is provided by Microportal.com.

Razor Boomslang 2000 - 05:35 am Kan
Over at 3aG, there's a new review of the Razor Boomslang 2000. Comes with a cool packaging and an extra sensitive mouse is what I need to frag Lighthouse (that's the bugger's nick) in Q3. :)

As far as design goes, it looks the same except with a slightly green tint on the plastic. It is, as it's partner, able to be used with the right or left hand.
My first reaction upon boot was amazement at the magnification of movement. Going from a BoomSlang 1000 I didn't expect much differnce, but in all true reality (hey, "All True Reality" that could be a pretty cool movie name) the difference is a big as the difference between an iMac and a Athlon. Ok, maybe a bit of exaggeration, but it's very impressive.

AvB Sonix S-2000 - 05:30 am Kan
3DHardware.net reviewed the AvB Sonic S-2000 pair of speakers. These are flat panels speakers and connect to the woofer thru RCA cables (cool).

Being an obsessively visual person, I tend to take my first impression of a computer product not by it’s name, but by it’s package. There go all the low-budget companies’ products, you might think, but this is not the case. In fact, many of the smaller companies, with more control over their product lines and maybe even an assortment of products small enough to be kept under a single designer’s responsibility. Anyway, this seems to be the case with AvB and their Sonix S-2000 speakers, which’ box is one of the nicest I’ve seen around.

3DMark 2000 - 05:24 am Kan
PCParadox dropped us a line regarding their review on 3DMark 2000. The helicopter benchmark scene looks so good that I wish it's Jane's Longbow 3 in disguise!

3DMark2000 is no slouch when it comes to benchmarking. As with 3Dmark99, there are 2 main tests the Helicopter and Adventure demos. Both are excellent gauges of system performance and both allow for ramping up the polygons and scene detail, so 3DMark2000 should have no trouble stumping all those Voodoo6 6000's and ATI Fury's we will see coming. Interestingly enough, for those of you who have been following Remedy's Max Payne, here is probably the best tech demo you will ever get for a game. What am I talking about? Well MadOnion.com has licensed the MaxFX engine and boy are they putting it to good use! =)

9 January 2000 - Sunday


Consumer Electronics Show 2000
- 23:10 pm Wilfred
The Firingsquad penned down what they saw at the Consumer Electronics Show 2000, focusing mainly on the Creative Nomad II, Nomad II MG and Nomad Jukebox.

Creative has improved on the original NOMAD and is now ready to introduce the NOMAD II to the market. The built-in FM tuner and voice recording capabilities of the original NOMAD are still present in the NOMAD II.

The NOMAD II also features a USB connection for faster data transfers, and you'll be able to connect the NOMAD II to your PC without having to reboot your system. A back-lit LCD display, and wired remote control round out the rest of the physical features. There is also an optional docking station that will allow users to easily connect the NOMAD II to the PC and recharge batteries along with adding an infra remote control and a stereo output.

Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro - 15:19 pm Kan
3D-Unlimited released their thoughts on the Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro. For all you know, I'm still using my 10 years old XT-type of keyboard. Hmm, things tend to last longer last time?

This board also incorporates 2 USB Ports, which are located at the back of the keyboard for devices like a mouse or other device that uses less then 100mA. However, they require taking up one of your USB ports on the motherboard or USB hub before you can use them. Also a USB Internet camera won’t work because they require more than 100mA’s. Now lets take a look at all those blue buttons above the function keys and 10-key pad. Well 16 out of the 19 are already pre-defined keys and so you can’t change them no matter what. Of those 16, 7 are dedicated to Internet browser functions such as: Back, Forward, Stop, Refresh, Search, Favorites and Web/Home. Another 8 are for media type functions such as: Mute, Volume up / down, Play/Pause (one button), Stop, Prev Track, Next Track and Media. And lastly 3 are user defined and 1 Sleep button. On default the three user defined buttons access My Computer, the Calculator and your default E-mail program.

Voodoo3 3000 PCI - 15:10 pm Kan
Sure ain't in the list of any smoking cards out there, but if you like a tad of retro, check out HotHardware review on the Voodoo3 3000 PCI graphics card.

As we all know with any business, you go where the market is.  The old adage, "if you build it, they will come" works only in the movies.  Not long ago the PC platform standardized on the next generation PC Graphics Bus Interface, known as AGP.  The promise of increased bandwidth and performance was ushered in along with yet another variation in motherboard expansion slots.  As a result, many users who had just purchased a pre-built PC with on board graphics, may have been left out in the cold.  In addition, many of the new PCs being released still came equipped with on board AGP graphics and several PCI slots but no AGP slot for graphic upgrades.  Since the average Joe doesn't upgrade their computer every six months with each new product evolution, there were many folks opting to hold out of the next evolution in 3D graphics.  That's when somebody at 3dfx put on their marketing hat.

Quake III Combat Guide - 15:08 pm Kan
Ah, I definitely need this. Planet GeForce sent note on their updated version of the Quake III Combat Guide. With the new guide in hand, I'm sure I can last longer out there in the Arena *determined look*.

There are several aspects of the Rail Gun that make it unique amongst the weapons in Quake III. First and foremost is it's ability to fire through multiple targets. This is easiest to do in crowded and long hallways, which tend to be a rarity in Quake III. To put it in perspective, while I used to be able to get "double-kills" (and even "triple-kills) in Quake II often enough I find it near impossible to do so in Quake III.

Kan Yawns - 15:09 pm Kan
In case you haven't noticed, I managed to 'escape' out from the HW1 Y2K Command Center. After spending over 300 hours cooked in that mad place (I tell ya, at no time did I revealed the classified data), I finally managed to chop open the cell (while the guards are not looking) and escaped out. Tomorrow is a special day. I will be starting work in a multi-billion company (guess?) and I will be growing older by a year (hint). So as usual, teddy bears only; no wreaths or flowers.

Funny, is that what people call left-handed users? Lefties? Wohoos, sounds kinky. 

Microsoft To Let Kan Live Longer - 15:05 pm Wilfred
Yes, Microsoft decided Kan will probably be still useful in his senior years and came out with a LEFTIE Optical Intellimouse Explorer. Whoa, lefties rejoice! =) Check out this announcement.

ABIT VA6 Motherboard - 14:44 pm Wilfred
There's really a lot of interest in the VIA Apollo Pro 133/133A recently. But my advice would still be "Be damn sure and careful". KaiPing just informed me that if AGP4X is what you want, you will want to wait longer, for the CE revision of the 133A. The present CD crop (even that in the Tyan Trinity 400 rev.2) will not exactly give you proper AGP4X speeds. Don't quote us, but be careful ok? Anyhow, UncaMity's Website has a review of the ABIT VA6 Mobo.

Matrox Millennium G400 - 14:34 pm Wilfred
FusionHardware reviewed the Matrox Millennium G400 throwing together numerous benchmarks stringed together. It seems to me, people who's used Matrox's cards always fall in love with them.

The Image quality is simply the best I've seen. I've zipped up the bitmaps from 3dMark here, bitmaps, so you can compare the image produced by the G400 to the reference image from MadOnion.The scores under OpenGL and Direct X put this card in the same league as cards based on the TNT2 Ultra chip, giving it once again, ranking near the top. I've seen this card available online for under $140.00. This makes it an excellent option for those looking to upgrade, but don't want to spend $250.00-$350.00 for GeForce based card or a Rage Fury Maxx. Who should buy this card? People that stay close to but not on the bleeding edge, people who work with Adobe products, and people who simply don't have $300.00 available for their video card upgrade should buy this card. A combination of image quality,  performance, features, and price make this a wise choice IMHO.

Apple's Palm-Based PDA To Arrive Soon - 14:25 pm Wilfred
According to this report at The Register, it seems like the suspected relationship is indeed true and Apple will be releasing Palm-based PDAs soon. I wonder if there will be any difference rather than just another IBM Workpad (basically a charcoal black Palm V)?

Alpha Novatech Athlon Heatsink Cooler - 09:40 am Kan
AGN Hardware reviewed the Alpha Novatech Athlon Heatsink Cooler. Looking big and menacing, I'm not sure whether you can fit it inside your motherboard:

The first thing you notice when looking at the heatsink is that it's big, but if you are used to Alpha's product line for the Intel units you will see is a bit smaller in size. This is due to the Athlon motherboards and the placement of the power supply connector on these boards. The second thing you may notice is the 50mm fans on these units. These fans have spring steel clips already mounted on them and do not require any screws to hold them to the heatsink. For their size they are very good fans.  As you can see above they are high speed (typically, mine have all run about 7000 rpm's) , and move a sufficient amount of air. Overall I really like the method of fan attachment, it's quick and easy.

DVD Player Buyer's Guide - 09:34 am Kan
For a change, SharkyExtreme wrote a guide on How to choose a DVD Player. If you have always been confused on the difference between AC3 and DTS and all those nifty gritty details, take a look at the article:

DTS is a surround sound alternative to Dolby Digital 5.1. In order to replicate this sound, buyers will need either a separate DTS decoder or an audio receiver or DVD player with a built in DTS decoder. As with Dolby Digital 5.1, there are six discrete sound channels for playback through dedicated speakers--two front, two back, one center, and one subwoofer.

DTS uses a higher bit rate than Dolby Digital 5.1 does, and has a lower compression rate that requires more space on the DVD disc itself. It's not uncommon for the DTS version of a DVD movie to be offered on two separate DVDs due to the size of the audio versus the same movie needing only one disc in its Dolby Digital 5.1 version.

Yamaha 8424S CD-RW - 09:30 am Kan
Atomic Geek reviewed the new Yamaha 8424S CD-RW drive. I tell ya, this drive should be really good. 

The 8424S is a SCSI-3 (Ultra SCSI) device so you would need an ultra SCSI card to use it. I am using Adaptec's 2940UW card that I've had since my old burner. I would recommend spending around $100 to $200 for the card; there is no need to spend more unless you plan to have ultra wide SCSI 2 hard drives and the rest of your peripherals on the SCSI bus.

Building a PC - 09:24 am Kan
Jsi Hardware penned a guide on how to Build a New PC. Let me see, you need a motherboard, a stick of RAM, a processor, a hardisk, some cables....Hmm, can get pretty confusing to me. :)

Case : You can get lots of different sizes and types of cases, the main sizes are, Desktop, Micro Atx, Midi tower, and Full tower, the differences are the size of the cases. There is also two main types of case, AT and ATX. If your buying a new Pc then the chances are that you will be buying an Atx case. The type of case you buy will determine the type of motherboard you put in your Pc.

Pine D'Music Portable MP3 Player - 07:20 am Kan
GameWire reviewed the Pine D'Music Portable MP3 Player. The good thing is this one comes with recording functions which allows you to allow a short conversation into the memory. 

The Pine D'Music Portable MP3 player is relatively unknown. This is their first attempt in the market with a 64 MB (32 int 32 ext) player. It has a built in microphone for recording voice and conversations or sound, perfect to record a lecture. Being as 99 percent of MP3s are ripped form CDs it's supports for MP3s with double CD quality is practically useless because the higher quality would make no difference in sound but make the file much larger. Lastly the MP3 player can also be used as a means to transport files meaning you can put any file from your computer into the memory for storage.

ABIT BE6-II - 07:15 am Kan
CTNews dropped us a line on their new review on the ABIT BE6-II. I'm sure all of us are very familiar with this board by now. So here's an excerpt:

If your considering going with the Intel Celeron or Pentium III you already know to build a new system. Your going to need a solid motherboard. If you have considered overclocking, there are cheaper boards. The chances are that those are mobos that might cost you a CPU (and other precious pieces of equipment). You may need a mobo that is as solid as the best of the Intel i440BX chipset boards? You probably want it to come with robust support for all the most popular features. If you want to go with with an Intel (Celeron or Pentium II/III) and stay as functional as you can, the BE6 could be your board plus some.

Adaptec and RealNetworks - 07:12 am Kan
This is cool. Adaptec sent note on the new agreement between Adaptec and RealNetworks entered an agreement in which future versions of Easy CD Creator will be able to record directly from the RealJukebox playlists into audio CDs directly.

MILPITAS, Calif. - January 7, 2000 - Adaptec, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADPT) announced it has entered into an agreement with RealNetworks (NASDAQ: RNWK) to provide CD recording functionality for RealJukebox, the
Internet's most popular digital music system. This agreement will give more than 21 million RealJukebox users the freedom to make CDs from their custom playlists and listen to them whenever they like on any
standard audio CD player.

For Adaptec, the RealNetworks relationship represents a marketing milestone. Gaining access to the tens of thousands of Internet audio fans who use RealJukebox every day is a significant marketing boost and provides Adaptec valuable mindshare among those Internet aficionados. Using the Internet to drive the Easy CD Creator upgrade cycle to the full-featured, higher-performance version of the software is expected to create new revenue opportunities for Adaptec's software business. And providing users access to a range of CD recording solutions and making them aware of CD recording's benefits over other methods of Internet music downloads (such as convenience, ease of use, and portability to standard home and car audio systems) should help grow the overall CD recording market.

Logitech Cordless iTouch Keyboard & Mouse - 01:28 am Wilfred
Heh! This is damn cool! Or issit because I haven't done enough geek walks at Sim Lim Square?! Fast-MHz just let me know they reviewed the Logitech Cordless iTouch Keyboard & Mouse kit. This is quite tempting!

Well, this keyboard is nicely laid out, the one touch buttons are well labeled, and with the cordless features it gives you adequate space for my desktop. Installation of the Logitech Cordless iTouch keyboard and mouse is fairly straight forward as the directions included with the iTouch are very descriptive showing excellent photos and diagrams. Software installation is also as easy. The software that's included with the iTouch is neat, easy to use software to custom the options of the keyboard and mouse you can define each button hot key with your favorite programs. It also comes with a music media software for making custom play lists of you favorite MP3's, DVD's and CD's and in that it also supports all format of the media age. Like I said in the top of this review is...

An excellent product with no negative aspects, the Logitech Cordless iTouch Keyboard and mouse are well worth the investment...

8 January 2000 - Saturday


Hercules 3D Prophet DDR-DVI Review
- 15:10 pm Wilfred
The mammoth of our network affiliates FiringSquad threw up a review on the Hercules 3D Prophet DDR-DVI card. Like I like to advise my friends now, if you got $$$ it has to be the DDR GeForce and nothing else!

The 3D Prophet DDR-DVI performed just as well as any other GeForce 256 DDR card on the market - FAST! With DDR SGRAM the additional memory bandwidth available opens up the full performance potential of the GeForce 256 chip, especially at high resolutions and high visual quality settings. For gamers who prefer to run at lower resolutions, the SDR and DDR board perform almost identically.

RDJD K Heatsink Review - 15:03 pm Wilfred
Club Overclocker (hey, it's not supposed to evoke that sleazy mind of of yours!) has a snappy review of this small but capable heatsink:

RDJD has a great line of heatsinks that can handle a big workload with less material.  Because the K 601 heatsink is small, it makes a perfect choice as a high performance cooling solution for motherboards with little room to give.  The K 601 is destined to become one of the most popular choices in heatsinks for socket 7 and 370 CPUs

Selamat Hari Raya - 12:21 pm Wilfred
Yes, we at Hardware-One want to wish all Muslims, especially our fellow Singaporeans, a very happy new year! From the looks of it, today's a sunny holiday here and a great day for visitations! :)

MP3 Players RoundUp - 12:15 pm Wilfred
Over at ZDNet, there's a roundup for some of the most popular MP3 Players sold in the market now. The Diamond RIO 500 got the top pick, but I'm surprised they didn't cover the Creative Nomad this round. Dum-dee-dee-dum...

Of the seven products here, all but two rely on parallel-port connections, which are inconveniently slow compared with the USB connections offered by the Diamond Rio 500 and the HanGo Personal Jukebox. We expect USB to catch on in this market quickly. In fact, several new USB-based players—the Creative Nomad II, Samsung Yepp, and Sony Vaio Music Clip and Memory Stick Walkman—just missed our roundup.

1999 Hardware Technology Tour - 12:10 pm Wilfred
iXBT has thrown together an informative article about the 'best things that happened to us' in 1999. Well, 1999? Hmmm... I think it was the GeForce 256 for me! Heh!

Erazor X Review - 12:07 pm Wilfred
3DColony has a review of Elsa's Erazor X card. This is one of the few non-reference designs for an SDR GeForce 256 card.

After our first encounter with the GeForce, I must say that the world is changing, and it’s changing fast. With some of the NVIDIA’s T&L- utilizing demos, I occasionally got the same feeling I had when watching some pre-rendered super computer animations from TV years ago. It will take some time before all new products will fully use GeForce’s potential, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t get it right away.

ELSA’s Erazor X could be the right one for you if you need a reliable high-quality basic card with no extras like TV out. However, could it be that the time of SDR cards is over before it really began? Erazor X is an SDR card, meaning Single Data Rate. DDR (Double Data Rate) cards have began to show up from many manufacturers.

How to Build an Alarm Clock - 08:15 am Kan
Hey, I think this is what I need. A loud alarm clock to wake me up everyday from my sleepwalking trance. CTNews has an article on How to Build An Alarm Clock, using your PC that is.

You should have the X10 Firecracker box in your hot little hands by now.  Rip it open, you should have one PalmPad, one small black plug, a white little box with an antenna, and another white little box.  Plug the small black plug into your serial port.  Plug the little box with an antenna into a spare power outlet.  Plug your lamp into the other white little box, and then plug the box into a power outlet as well.  Now put in 4 AAA batteries into the palmpad if you have batteries, if you don't have batteries, grab this X10 Virtual PalmPad and install it on your computer.  Either way, hit the first (from the top) on button and pray that your lamp lights up.  Did it?  If it didn't one problem might be that the switch in your lamp is set to off.  

ATI Rage Fury MAXX - 08:13 am Kan
AnandTech released their thoughts on the ATI Rage Fury MAXX. I find it hard to recommend the MAXX as the GeForce SDR/DDR simply wins the MAXX flat. Here's an excerpt:

The Rage 128 Pro itself is a 0.25-micron chip clocked at 125MHz, resulting in a 250 Mpixel/s fill rate; put two of these together and you have a setup capable of beating NVIDIA's recently launched GeForce 256 (500 Mpixel/s versus 480 Mpixel/s). The Rage 128 Pro was featured on ATI's recently released ATI Rage Fury Pro, and the combination of two of these chips using ATI's AFR technology is a product known as the Rage Fury MAXX. With less than three weeks left in 1999, ATI will be pushing for the sale of the Rage Fury MAXX within the next 10 days, pitting it head to head with NVIDIA's GeForce that has been dominating the store shelves. Not only is ATI attempting to compete with NVIDIA on a performance level, but on the issue of price as well, as they have vowed to match the price of the GeForce with the Rage Fury MAXX. Bold claims from a company that isn't known to be a present competitor in the gaming community.

ELSA Gloria II Quadro Review- 04:35 am Yingzong
Those into serious professional graphics applications like MAX 3.0 might be interested in this. GamePC has done a review of the ELSA Gloria II Quadro, nVidia's new entry into the professional graphics market. The Quadro is essentially a tweaked and souped up GeForce graphics chip. However, it seems that the guys weren't particularly impressed. Anyhow, check out this snippet:

At this time, the Quadro seems to have been a big let down for us. For the list price of this card, we had our hopes up for much more performance than we got with the card, but there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. While Elsa may be the only company producing Quadro boards, they do state on their website that a DDR version is in the works. This could drastically help video and overall performance, but we can guarantee, a 64MB DDR Quadro board will cost enough to take out a second mortgage for.

Perhaps once AGP4X and Rambus memory take hold, there could be more of a use for this card, but on current platforms, there's no real reason to choose this card over a DDR GeForce card. This card seems more like a GeForce SDRAM "Ultra" card more than a whole new chipset, nonetheless, Elsa IS the only game in town, and we'll have to wait until the DDR version to see the full potential of this chipset utilized.

ECS P6IWT-A+ V2.0 Motherboard Review- 04:30 am Yingzong
The names of various motherboards never fail to amaze me at times. Sharky Extreme has done a review of this i810E (Enhanced) motherboard from ECS which offers a couple of improvements over the original Intel i810 chipset. An integrated Intel Graphics and Memory Controller Hub (GMCH) is one of them. Here's a lookie :

With Intel switching processor packages seemingly overnight, this can make choosing a CPU a difficult proposition. The ECS P6IWT-A+ V2.0 motherboard solves this by implementing both Slot-1 and Socket 370 interfaces, supporting SECC, SECC2, PPGA and FC-PGA CPUs. This allows support for all current Intel Pentium II/III and Celeron CPUs, and ensures a very easy upgrade path. The V2.0 of the ECS P6IWT-A+ dispenses with the hardware jumper when choosing between Slot 1 and S370 processors so upgrading is a simple plug and play operation. Since the i810E does not feature dual-processor support, only a single CPU can be active at one time.

The physical layout of the ECS P6IWT-A+ V2.0 features five PCI slots, two DIMM sockets and the standard floppy and dual IDE connectors. The five PCI slots ensure lots of upgrade room, but since the i810E features on-board video, there is no AGP slot present for future 3D card upgrades. Having only two DIMM slots is problematic, especially since it severely limits memory upgrades. As a business user, I know that system memory is one area that is upgraded on a regular basis, and two DIMMs just don't offer the expandability most businesses require. Using 256 MB DIMMs, the effective motherboard limit is 528 MBs.

AquaStealth CPU Water Cooler - 04:25 am Yingzong
A water cooler you say?! One of those you find in school canteens and office cafes? Nope, not quite. HardwareCentral has done a review of 3DCool's water-cooling AquaStealth kit for a dual Celeron BP6 setup. The AquaStealth kit is also available in Slot-1 and Slot-A flavors for cooling Intel Pentium 2/3’s and AMD Athlons. Check it out:

The AquaStealth is not a solution for everyone. For anyone wanting to use or experiment with water-cooling, however, it is an excellent choice. All of the parts are well made and should provide reliable performance. If installed and used properly, the AquaStealth is just as safe as any other cooling method, although special care needs to be made making all connections correctly, monitoring the bowl water level and making sure the pump is functioning correctly. This is very much a do-it-yourself project; be ready to improvise. Do not expect a “plug and play” installation!

The great thing about water-cooling is that the temperature levels remain very stable, even under maximum stress. This is unlike conventional heatsink/fan cooling in which temperatures can vary widely depending on what the CPU is doing. Single CPU users will probably experience an even greater temperature drop simply because less heat is generated in the first place. Dual CPU users looking for maximum performance might want to consider adding an extra radiator, although I was quite happy with the performance of one.

Alpha Centauri : Alien Crossfire Review - 04:16 am Yingzong
For those of you who can't get enough of Sid Meier's line of civilisation-like games, the guys over at Digital Clips have posted a review of the Alien Crossfire extension of Firaxis' Alpha Centauri. Here's a small blurb :

Alpha Centauri, Alien Crossfire should have been what Alpha Centauri should have been. The low rating I give it here does not mean I did not enjoy the game, but merely because it falls in the graphics, sound and multiplayer department. For lovers and fans of Sid Meier, this expansion pack is a must have. If you haven't played Alpha Centauri but like the strategy genre, I'd suggest you first buy Alpha Centauri before considering Alien Crossfire. If you hated Alpha Centauri (how could you?), don't even bother with this title.

What Alien Crossfire adds to the already deep Alpha Centauri is even more depth and strategies to play the game. The AI has also been considerably upgraded from the original version and has become extremely cunning and devilishly difficult to anticipate, especially at the higher levels. Although Alien Crossfire does not mark a leap in technology and style of turn based strategy games, in an overly used cliché, Alien Crossfire is the product of an evolutionary process. Lets see what else comes from Firaxis, because I'm eagerly awaiting for more.

MS Intellimouse Explorer Review - 04:12 am Yingzong
3D-Unlimited has posted a review of Microsoft's latest mouse, the IntelliMouse Explorer. The newest MS mouse with the new IntelliEye, not only reduces weight of the mouse, but it can also be used on almost any surface. Figured on your next mouse yet? Oh, you can also catch our very own review on the rodent!

So, if you like to pay a lot for a mouse, enjoy the newest technology and gadget’s then purchase the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer after trying it out at a store or friends house. If you still like the latest and greatest but don’t mind not having full ergonomics and the fourth and fifth button then I recommend the IntelliMouse with IntelliEye. It can be found on the internet and in stores for a little less than $60. Otherwise I recommend you go down to your local computer hardware store, spend a day talking to other people and trying out the other mice that can be found there. I’m sure you’ll pick a winner that you can enjoy and be happy with it for a long time.

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