14 June 1999 - Monday
Matrox G400Max Review 23:06 pm - Wilfred
MURC released their extremely thorough review of the G400Max. Oh dear, I think I must really start saving up for this one. Oh dear! Oh dear! Oh dear! =0

I am very impressed with the Millennium G400 MAX, Matrox have produced a very high quality piece of hardware. It has surprised me, I as many others were thinking it would just be more of the same from Matrox, great image quality and 2D performance but with 3D performance again one step behind the leaders. In fact they have produced a card which takes the 2D performance one step ahead of the competition again, superb image quality in both 2D and 3D, a wealth of added extras with DualHead and it's high quality DVD playback and very fast 3D speed.

Not many people were truly expecting the G400's to compete with or dare I say it, outperform the Voodoo 3's and TNT2's. I don't have samples of either of those boards so I can't say for certain that the G400 MAX does either but from what I've seen on paper the G400's will be giving both of them a run for their money.

6-Way Video Accelerator ShootOut 22:59 pm - Wilfred
The Sharks posted a video accelerator shootout with 6 participants, but concentrating on the "money is not an objection" category. First place went jointly to the Hercules Dynamite TNT2 Ultra and the Guillemot Xentor 32 Ultra. Hmm.. actually I beginning to like the G400Max quite a bit. It's actually their top scoring card in virtually every aspect! Wowzers! (Don't miss the 1024x768 32-bit colour benchmarks)

The most "futureproof" card available today, provided your budget is futureproof as well. We highly recommend the Millenium G400 MAX, and consider it to be a fantastic step forward in terms of performance and visual splendor.

MS Launches Pager & Cellphone Service 22:47 pm - Wilfred
Whoa! Microsoft MSN Mobile is in place. My! My! Perhaps they will come and take a bite of our small Singapore mobile market too? Perhaps you won't get "The subscriber you called is currently available" but a nice incomprehensible GPF message? =)

Microsoft launching service for pagers, cell phone By Martin WolkMoving aggressively to stake a claim in the wireless Internet market, Microsoft Corp . will roll out a service Monday that pushes stock quotes, sports reports and other information to pagers and digital phones. Microsoft's MSN Mobile ultimately will be broadened to other wireless devices and additional data including electronic mail, said Yusuf Mehdi, marketing director in the software giant's consumer and commerce group.

S3 Savage/MX Mobile Preview 22:35 pm - Wilfred
There's a hardware preview of the upcoming mobile chip from S3 at Sharky Extreme. Err.... mobile 3D graphics accelerator capable of true performance? Grrrr!! Why is it coming after I'd grabbed my notebook!!!???? You mean I can play NFS on my super-sub?

As this new breed of entertainment juggernaut rolls our way Sharky Extreme will be fully analyzing and reviewing the various 3D-capable laptops that we manage to obtain. With DVD, multi-monitor support, 3D acceleration, and 450+MHz of power, laptops are finally beginning to truly live up to the "desktop replacement" moniker. We're glad to see it.

6 October 6 October 6 October 17:51 pm - Wilfred
What is that? Nothing, just to drill it in you the tentative launch date of Windows 2000. Actually, better don't waste your brain cells remembering this date. It's more worthwhile spending the time considering 'Where Do You Want To Go Today?' =)

Microsoft has pencilled in Oct. 6 as the day it will launch Windows 2000. Although the date is not absolutely definite, Microsoft said it was confident enough with the development of the operating system's Beta 3 that this wouldbe the launch date. This also should be preceded by a release of Windows 2000 Release Candidate 1 in the first week of July.

SoundBlaster Live! Value 17:45 pm - Wilfred
A review on the Value edition of the SBLive! can be found at CPU Review. They even tested it under Linux! Whoa! Check this out!

I am happy to report that Creative Labs is writing device drivers for Linux; and even though the 2.2.5 kernel module for the Live! card does not appear to support Midi playback yet, the mixer applet works (I was able to use the KDE CD player applet to play music through my system) and WAV files can also be played.

For some reason the KDE system sounds don't work properly with the current driver (I am not surprised that there are some problems; the driver is an early beta version meant for the 2.2.5 kernel - and I was forcing it to run on a 2.2.9 kernel).

Creative Encore 6X DVD 17:40 pm - Wilfred
Arrggh! Stop tempting me! I'm not grabbing one. No!!!!! Anyway, 3DSoundSurge has sent this evil mail to say that they've done a review on it. They gave it a 52.5/100 but justified that the kit would score a 90 once new drivers ironed out some problems.

With a suggested list price of $250 and street prices as low as $200 the Encore 6X kit is an inexpensive way for anyone that want to experience DVD, and together with a DD 5.1 system like Creative's Desktop Theater 5.1 you will have the best movie experience possible in your home. It's not much cheaper than the cheapest stand alone player, about $300 in US, but for those wanting to watch movies on their monitor or TV the $100 saved together with the advantage of using the drive as a CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drive close by the kit offers a lot for your money.

Diablo 2 Preview 17:32 pm - Wilfred
Thresh's FiringSquad has thrown up a preview on Blizzard's hotly anticipated Diablo 2. You gotta grab it when it comes out. You will, won't you??? Check out the snippet:

A ton of RTS games and RPG titles are coming out and Blizzard is right in the middle of the fray. When I asked Bill Roper about what he felt the biggest competition of Diablo 2 was, he replied that he felt it was satisfying the fans of Diablo 1. While Diablo 1 was a huge hit, Roper said that the programmers left out a lot of stuff that they wanted in there. They put that stuff into Diablo 2 and hope that the fans will enjoy it as much as they have.

Xitel Storm Platinum Gamer's Pack 17:21 pm - Wilfred
Michael of AnandTech has delivered a review on the Xitel Storm Platinum Gamer's Pack. Considering a Vortex2-based soundcard (Read our review on the SonicVortex2)? This one comes with a set of 'force-feedback' headphones... novelty!

As Xitel's packaging implies, the Storm Platinum is definitely aimed at the gamer and is fit to be included in a Gamer's Pack as they have done. The Vortex 2 has taken the majority of the gamers in the market for a soundcard, and the Storm Platinum is an excellent example of such a card. The force feedback headphones in the Gamer's Pack are pretty cool and probably worth the extra $20 if you don't already have a pair of good headphones.

Editorial Extravaganza 11:35 am - Wilfred
osOpinion has sent along some links to their excellent editorial pieces. If you're feeling a little drained reading reviews and benchmark numbers, hop over now!

Whose World Is It Anyway? Man Vs Machine
"First, man tried to bring computers into our world. Now we are now expected to enter theirs. The dependence of man on machine continues to strengthen. Is the day near when we will have to seriously ask: Can we live without them? Are they far from taking over our lives? It is becoming more likely as we humans become hopelessly entrenched in the world of digital existence."

New Win32-only Web Plugin Raises Serious Questions
"There is a new piece of Windows only software called Third Voice. It is a browser plugin for MSIE 4.0.x which allows it's users to post messages to any website, secure or not."

"It works with the browser. It makes an "overlay" of whatever site you are looking at. Users can highlight any text or graphic, and post a comment."

"Some of the posts are nothing more than grafitti. Others are helpful comments, others are spam with links to other sites, even some porno sites."

MKS Toolkit 6.1 Review 11:31 am - Wilfred
The Upgrade Center has done a short review on the MKS Toolkit 6.1. This software brings you the power of the UNIX command line within your Windows environment and more.

MKS Toolkit is a great tool.  I find it useful for script development and the commands themselves. For people like myself who are using both the GUI interface and UNIX on a daily basis this is a great tool. I'm constantly trying to type UNIX commands in the GUI environment.  I'd say the best overall feature of this product is it's integration alone. 

PC99 Specification 10:08 am - Kan
3DHardware came out with an article explaining what-the-hell is the PC99 Specification.

The first specification set to touch the PC industry was actually the one to create it. The decision to allow outside companies to work with it's PC computer standard IBM created what later turned out to become the easily biggest and fastest developing computer standard around. Back then the requirements weren't much more different to the ones we can see now, though very lesser. I remember that companies used to advertise their systems as being 100% IBM PC compatible, something that always gives me the laughs while browsing in early-eighties computer magazines. Something even funnier was that very few of these systems were actually able to run all IBM PC programs flawlessly, a thing that blessed us by disappearing as IBM gradually lost most of it's authority as a specifications coordinator and creator in the early 90's, with the emergence of Wintel as the strong leader.

HandHeld Steering Wheel Controller 10:05 am - Kan
Noticed two new articles over at Avault. The InterAct's HandHeld Steering Wheel controller as an Q&A on the most common and interesting questions the guys received. 

InterAct is one of the biggest providers of gaming accessories, especially in the console market, and you can always depend on them regardless of what system you own. The UltraRacer 64 is a hand-held steering wheel for the Nintendo 64. The concept seems simple enough, but the execution works extremely well. One hand grasps the slick little unit's base, while the other grips the top-mounted mini steering wheel. A trigger underneath is placed precisely where your middle finger is and is used for accelerating or braking. There are plenty of buttons on top to correspond to all of the normal N64 controller buttons, plus a slider to put the controller in a mode for navigating game menus. Due to its symmetric design, it is easily handled by left or right handed drivers.

Creative FPS2000 10:03 am - Kan
3D Audio Immersion posted a review on the Creative FPS2000 speakers. The guys gave it a 98% rating. Pretty good stuff...but then again, I prefer to get a decent AV system.

Music was on the same level as gaming. Playing songs from No Doubt (New), Sarah McLachlan, Orbital, Enigma, and other artist, I felt that I covered the range of frequencies that you should encounter. I didn't notice any distortion of any kind playing at normal listening levels, and even at louder levels, distortion was at minimum. The speakers gave a nice feel to the music, and didn't sound muddy or shallow, they were warm and full sounding. Definitely speakers you can sit in front of for hours working on a paper. (Note: The digital CD spdif on the Live! made these speaker scream!) While testing, I ran the speakers through the test CD (the same one that Mark from 3DSS uses) and got these babies down to 35hz, which is great for the size of the sub, with no noticeable distortion.

Motherboard Monitor v4.07 08:28 am - Kan
SysopSolutions posted a review on Motherboard Monitor v4.07. Right now, mine is showing 39 degrees Celsius and things are getting kinda hot over here now. Surprisingly the file is available for download from our Downloads section as well.

Now for additional setups. Depending on the type of motherboard you have MBM is capable of monitoring CPU temperature as well as RT2 for Abit boards which typically is a thermister probe that is affixed to the CPU heatsink or any piece of hardware within the case that the user chooses. This setting adjustment is done via the "System" tab in the MBM top menu bar. As you can see from the picture bellow after a few quick selections the MBM screen is displaying our case temperature, etc.

Delta Force 08:24 am - Kan
CRUS posted a review on one of my favorite games, Delta Force. Too bad the Voxel engine sucks by today standards, or it can really blow your mind away.

Why the graphics are blocky I havenít figured out yet, however why companies even bother with them is known to me. Itís thanks to the fact that you can create vast open terrainís without using to much hardware. For example, if this game had have used standard techniques, it would have had to have been either A: Fogged, meaning you wouldnít have been able to see so far or B: You would have needed a supercomputer to be able to play without the fog. However just because it uses Voxels doesnít always mean itís an ugly game, in this game, if you bump the resolution up high enough, (say 800*600) it looks very nice, however it lags itself to death at this speed as soon as a character comes up on screen. Now Novalogic and some other companies are still using Voxels in their games

V3 Stealth Fighter 08:21 am - Kan
More V3 Stealth Fighter coolers for the Voodoo3 over at Voodoo3.net. High speed and high quality fans, these Stealths pack a powerful punch in cooling your V3.

The cooler came nicely packaged and included easy to understand installation directions.  First off, I opened up my computer case and took out the Voodoo3 3000.   In order for me to install the cooler, I had to remove the heatsink that is already on the V3 3000.  That was pretty easy, but you must be "gentle" with it. You have to push the pins out from the backside of the board.  Then, you can just twist the heatsink off.  3dfx has put on some thermal tape to add a better adhesive between the heatsink and chipset. For the most part, the tape came off with the heatsink, but there was still a bit of the tape left on the chipset. 

13 June 1999 - Sunday

Diamond Homefree Phoneline Review 19:08 pm - Kan
Over at FiringSquad, the babes are hard at work and brought you another two new reviews today. They are the Diamond Homefree Phoneline kit as well as the review on Rage's Expendable.

You want a home LAN, but you don't want to run networking cable all over the house. Fortunately, there are new networking technologies that don't require cat5 or coaxial cabling. Diamond Multimedia has adopted two of these new technologies in its Homefree line of alternative networking products, Homefree Wireless and Homefree Phoneline.

Unified Drivers for Non-Creative Cards 19:06 pm - Kan
Voodoo Prophecy sent note on getting the Creative Unified Drivers 1.12 to work on Non-Creative TNT/TNT2 cards. Ain't this cool?

V3 Stealth Fighter 14:11 pm - Wilfred
The ComputingPros sent word of their latest review on the TennMax V3 Stealth Fighter. Got a Voodoo3? Better grab a good fan too! =)

I ask that question because after I measured the Fighter, it was amazing to see the difference. The monitoring program measures the Voodoo3 at 60/140F. What does this mean for you? Well for those with good memory on their Voodoo3, I'm positive you can reach a stable 183 which is what the Voodoo3 3500 is clocked at. Even with my crappy Siemens-board equipped Voodoo3 I was able to get to 183, albeit unstable due to memory problems.

With a reduction of over 20 degrees fahrenheit, this tiny mighty mouse of a heatsink/fan truly reinforces the idea that it's quality that matters, not quantity. That's also something 3dfx will hopefully learn too.

MS On Trial: Developments 14:00 pm - Wilfred
Err.. sorry wrong choice of word. It's not exactly a development. Just more juices. =) The Register has 2 more reports on the ongoing trial. First on how the Win95 deals were cut to stifle OS/2, and second on Gates irate at IBM's Lou Gerstner.

Gates was evidently peeved that Gerstner had not come to kowtow at his court during the summer of 1995, despite several requests from Microsoft that were orchestrated by Kempin, who seemed to be taking on himself the mantle of chief of protocol. IBM suggested that a Thoman-Gates meeting as a first step. Dean Dubinsky from IBM's Kirkland, Washington office recorded current sentiment in an email to Norris in November 1995: "Neither IBM or Microsoft is satisfied with the current relationship as it stands. Microsoft believes that IBM is out to annihilate Microsoft, and this perception, (reality), has made any co-operation almost impossible. At a minimum, Microsoft would like IBM to stop 'disparaging their products in public'." Pepperman dwelt on this, trying to suggest that this was Dubinsky's belief, rather than a report of what Dubinsky had found out from Microsoft. Judge Jackson called 'time' and told Pepperman he thought he had "exhausted that line of enquiry".

Creative Ultra TNT2  13:48 pm - Wilfred
Sharky Extreme did the Creative Ultra TNT2 today. Apparently, they'd received a bad part which does not overclock very well. If you haven't the tendency to run things beyond their defined limits, the Creative could be a worthwhile choice.

Ever heard the expression that "less is more"? Well we really wish we could tell you that in the 3D Blaster UltraTNT2's case that less 'was' indeed more. But with a board priced at $30 more than the rebated price of Guillemot's MAXI Gamer Xentor UltraTNT2, which comes with DVD software and a games bundle, there's really little reason to recommend it. Well, we've given you the facts and the choice is still yours. Or, for a little more money, you could go for Dynamite UltraTNT2 from Hercules, which overclocks extremely well. Whilst it may not be the world's greatest UltraTNT2 'package' we'll gladly remind you that Creative's board is utilizing superb 2D/3D architecture from NVIDIA. The benchmarks (when stable) were very impressive and compared well to all other UltraTNT2 parts that we've tested at the default speed.

Should You Wait For The K7? 13:36 pm - Wilfred
If you haven't asked that question before, PC World has today. I'm just waiting for AMD to deliver on their promise and give Intel a real wallop for once! So much potential from them, but Intel still stands strong. Bring on the competition again!

"And the K7 design looks pretty solid," Gwennap adds. AMD plans to hit the 1-GHz plateau in 2000. At a dinner sponsored by MicroDesign Resources on Thursday night, AMD's vice president for engineering, Dirk Meyer, discussed the K7 development process and offered a technical review.

According to those in attendance, Meyer claimed that K7 chips deliver approximately 40 percent better performance than PIIIs running at equivalent clock speeds, as measured on the WinBench benchmark.

Those who heard him say Meyer reports that the K7-550 ranges between 106 and 146 percent faster than a 550-MHz PIII Xeon in the vendor's benchmarks.

"But the issue is whether AMD can build it in any kind of volume," Gwennap says. Once AMD starts manufacturing on 0.18-micron architecture, it can dramatically accelerate K7 production, Gwennap says.

nVidia NV10 Preview 13:33 pm - Wilfred
Duane put up a short preview of nVidia's next killer chip, the NV10 - the successor to the popular TNT2. Check out the new specs:

The graphics processor is expected to deliver approximately four times the graphical performance of the TnT-2. It will bring a new level of realism to computer generated images by integrating acceleration for hardware transformation and lighting features.

18 Pages Of Viper 770 Ultra Goodness 13:27 pm - Wilfred
My goodness! 18 pages on the Diamond Viper 770 Ultra? Yes, check Viper3D's review on the Diamond's flagship product. Scoring about 40fps for Kingpin and Crusher benchmarks at 1024x768 32-bit colour, this is really impressive stuff.

I was very impressed with the Viper V770 Ultra, especially with the increased performance it provides over the Viper V550 in both 16-bit and 32-bit color.  All benchmarks ran without problems even at an overclocked speed of 175MHz core and 200MHz memory.

Diamond's InControl Tools 99 are a step in the right direction in the area of performance tweaking, although the combination of NVIDIA's reference drivers and Powerstrip offer more features.  The catch is that to take advantage of InControl Tools 99, you have to use Diamonds V770 drivers.

Those of you in the market to purchase a new Pentium III based system should consider the Viper V770 Ultra.  I would expect Pentium III processors to provide and additional 10-15% increase in performance over the Pentium II-450 I tested with.

KU BIOs Adds 1/4 Divider 133Mhz FSB 13:15 pm - Wilfred
Paul sent word that the new Abit BX6-2 KU BIOs available (only) on the FTP site added the 1/4 divider to the 133Mhz FSB setting. Those of you with PC133 SDRAMs may be interested to try this out? Thanks Paul! =)

12 June 1999 - Saturday

Creative's Response To 3dfx's Suit 18:05 pm - Wilfred
GA-Source has captured Creative's response to 3dfx's lawsuit and here's the gists of it.

Please tell us how Creative Labs feels about this lawsuit, and does 3dfx even have a case here?

It is baseless and they have no case. John added and explained, that the wrapper's code is completly different than 3dfx's and their is no copyright infringement issues involved.

Why do you feel 3dfx has gone through with this lawsuit, even though, by the look of it, they have no chance to actually win?

Probably to shore up their marketing campaign (and perhaps stock price) now that they are being faced with more advanced technology from thier competititors.

Worm Virus Continues Devastation 18:00 pm - Wilfred
You've heard about the Worm.ExplorerZip virus yesterday. Today, there are reports of its trail of destruction. Listen to this:

One major international advertising agency, Minneapolis, said it had been basically shut down for two days after receiving the virus from a client.

On Thursday, 14,000 files were wiped out, said Guy Martin, head of new media at Minneapolis's London office. Through help from one of its major clients -- Microsoft -- and a team effort from sister companies, Martin said the company managed to eradicate the worm by the end of Thursday. However, the company was reinfected Friday morning, bringing systems down again for most of the day.

Martin said the agency's IT systems were "struck to death" after the virus spread with dramatic speed throughout its partner network. Affiliated media planning and buying companies were also infected along with Microsoft, he said.

"All their systems around the world have got it," he said of the Redmond, Wash.-based software company.

Elsa Erazor III Extreme Review 17:08 pm - Kan
Some new stuffs over at FiringSquad. The Elsa Erazor III Extreme review as well as the popular Mechwarrior 3 game.

Case in point: The Elsa Erazor III. Granted, the Erazor III is no slouch at speed. Based on the TNT2 (non-Ultra), but with 32MB of RAM, this card is ready to perform in 2D and 3D. Adhering to nVidia reference specs, it comes at the default TNT2 clock speeds of 125MHz core speed, and 150MHz memory speed. It is based on 32MB of 7ns RAM - a bit on the slow side. While there is room for improvement on the clock speed side, a little tweaking might work some minor wonders.

Fooling with Cooling 17:07 pm - Kan
Kinda missed this out. HardwareCentral also has an article on Fooling with Cooling. Right over there, they did some reviews on heatsinks and explained to you all the magic about'em.

How do you recognize a good heatsink from a poor one, and more importantly what makes a heatsink work. Is it the material used, the way it is built, or simply how powerful its fans are? These questions come around quite often, I get numerous mails on a regular basis from people asking if they should spend that extra cash on a heatsink made out of some special silver alloy or even copper. Is there any performance gain if your heatsink is made out of copper? Does this really affect performance that much? Iíll try to shed a different light on things and give you the lowdown on how to recognize a good heatsink from a poor one. Iíll also throw in a review of some of the most used Pentium II / Pentium III / Celeron Slot 1 and Slot 370 / Socket 7 heatsinks as well and suggest which one is the best available at the moment.

Epson Stylus 900 13:13 pm - Kan
Epson Stylus 900 Professional printer review over at AnandTech. Pretty high performance with 12 ppm black and 10 ppm color. That's a far cry from my good old Stylus Color capable of god-knows-how-fast pages per minute.

The technology in these printers has been evolving over the years, and Epson has been neck and neck with the best of them. Unlike many other manufacturers that use a thermal printing method, Epson uses their own technology, termed "Micro Piezo". "Micro Piezo" technology uses electronic impulses to force the ink through the print head onto the paper, resulting in crisp dots that form sharper images and text. Now, how is this different than most of the other manufacturers'?. Well most of the others use the thermal method, which means boiling the ink and then forcing it through the print head, resulting in some stray bits of ink or "splattering". The image below depicts the difference between the two technologies.

3dCool Super Slot Cooler 11:40 am - Kan
Noticed over at BxBoards they have a new review on the 3dCool Super Slot Cooler. Talking about mine, I think I'm gonna stick The Vacuum <tm> into it and suck all the juice (err...dust) out of it. Getting kinda dirty recently.

The Cooler is fitted into the case as if you were fitting an ISA or PCI card. Screw in the bracket, connect up the power supply (which uses a pass through cable so you can power a hard drive and the cooler from one socket) and away you go. It really is that simple and is no more than a 2 minute job at the most.

tested with the hottest video cards I could lay my hands on, which a TNT-1 and i740 based card winning the dubious honour. The Creative Labs TNT Blaster, with its passive heatsink and 0.35 die size, throws out heat like its going out of fashion! I let the test system run for 1 hour with the cooler, and 1 hour without. Prime95 was run for to ensure 100% CPU utilization in the test system. After 1 hour, 3dMark was looped 10 times to ensure the video card also pumped out heat.

Microstar MSI-6163 Slot-1 11:31 am - Kan
Anand reviewed the Microstar MSI-6163 Slot-1 motherboard. Nothing to say on the board, except that it's pretty good as well.

The 6163 should be very reminiscent of the ABIT BH6 in terms of its layout.  The actual footprint of the motherboard is the same as the ASUS P2B and the ABIT BH6, and does provide for the now commonplace 5/2/1 (PCI/ISA/AGP) expansion slot configuration.  The three DIMM slots that populate the board are missing a fourth cousin as to keep the costs of the 6163 manageable in order to meet the target market for a board of this class.  The SC242 interface (Slot-1) is bordered by a relatively cheap built-in Pentium II retention bracket, however it will accept a SECC2 (P3) or SEPP (Celeron) CPU with a bit of force.

Creative Optical Digital I/O 11:29 am - Kan
Some new stuffs over at AGN Hardware. The guys have a review on the Creative Encore 6X DVD kit as well as the Creative Optical Digital I/O kit

After doing my last review of the Encore 5X kits, I was attacked with email after email about the problems that people were having with that kit. It seems that the DXr2 hardware decoder card had lived past its limit and people were complaining about the cards image quality and more. After figuring out that they had outlived the life of the DXr2, Creative moved up to the DXr3. Word on the street is the DXr3 is nothing but a Realmagic Hollywood Plus, something that I found to be true. But then again is it bad to use one of the most popular hardware DVD decoder cards on the market with your own name?

Soyo SY-6IBM 440BX 11:28 am - Kan
SharkyExtreme reviewed another motherboard, the Soyo SY-6IBM 440BX which includes onboard 2D/3D ATI Rage 128 as well as a 3D audio sound chip .

Soyo obviously realized this when they designed the SY-6IBM, as they chose the Rage128VR video accelerator to propel the graphics system of the board. We've reviewed the Rage128 family of products at length the past six months and have found them to offer strong performance at a good price. In fact, the Rage128VR that's equipped on the SY-6IBM fares well when compared to other stand alone mainstream video accelerators like the nVidia TNT or S3 Savage3D.

New Abit Bios 11:26 am - Kan
TheSanctum kindly sent note on new BX6-2/BH6 BIOS hitting Abit FTP site. Gee, you know, my friend just suffered a BIOS failure recently and let me tell you, it's a pain-in-the-ass trying to find a shop to reflash the BIOS for you. 

Slipstream Enhancement for V3 11:23 am - Kan
Speedy3D did a review on the Slipstream Enhancement for V3. This thing looks good and they were able to overclock the V3 to 200 Mhz easily!

The slipstream enhancement pack is a simple device designed to cool your graphics card much better then any other fan/heatsink combo currently on the market. Instead of just making a good fan/heatsink, they also send along custom drivers for whatever video card you own, in this case the Voodoo3 3000. The drivers make overclocking the cards much easier.

Slave Zero Interview 11:21 am - Kan
FullOn3D just finished their Slave Zero Interview with Accolate/Infogrames' Slave Zero Producer, Matt Powers. Hmm, all these games are keeping me away from updating the site. Duh!

FullOn3D: What 3D positional sound API have you decided to use, EAX, A3D, DirectSound3D? And why?

Infogrames: We support all three of the API's that you mentioned. We have worked closely with Creative Labs and Aureal on supporting EAX and A3D. We also support DirectSound3D for those gamers that don't have the Creative Labs or Aureal hardware. Our goal is to support as much available hardware as possible, so every consumer will get a great game experience (audio and visual).

633 Mhz Celeron vs 1GHz Pentium III 11:18 am - Kan
HardwareCentral sent note on some supercooling benchmarks on the 633 Mhz Celeron vs the 1 Ghz Pentium III. Come on, tell me how fast this baby cracks RC5!

Guess we really took it to the extreme with all the supercooling stuff these last couple of days, but many of you might have asked yourselves the question whether or not you will really gain that much performance from a supercooled CPU. Iíll try to shed some light on all that supercooling stuff and give you the lowdown on a 633 MHz Celeron vs. a 1GHz Pentium III, so you know what you can expect when you decide to overclock your CPU using a supercooler.

3dfx Sued Creative Over Unified 08:57 am - Wilfred
You don't need to be a prophet to know that this was coming. 3dfx filed for copyright infringement and breach of contract against Creative Labs. Have a look at the press release:

3dfx Interactiveģ Inc. (Nasdaq: TDFX - news) today announced that it has filed suit against Creative Labs, Inc. and Creative Technology, Ltd. (Nasdaq: CREAF - news) in the Federal Court for the Northern District of California. The suit asserts claims for copyright infringement and breach of contract. 3dfx claims that Creative breached a licensing agreement and infringed 3dfx copyrights by incorporating 3dfx Glideģ source code into Unified, its recently announced technology designed to run ``Glide-only'' software titles on Creative TNT and TNT2-based graphics accelerator products. The license agreement prohibits the use and modification of any 3dfx source code to operate with non-3dfx acceleration technology. 3dfx also asserted a claim against Creative Technology for unpaid amounts owed for 3dfx products.

An interesting sideline: Creative just released a new beta of its Unified drivers for the TNT & TNT2. =) Grab it here.

Boston Accoustics Media Theater 3 Piece 08:49 am - Wilfred
The HardwarePros sent mail about their new review on the Boston Accoustics Media Theater 3 Piece speaker system. Looking for other alternatives to the Cambridge SoundWorks speakers? This system has a built-in Dolby Pro Logic decoder.

The first thing I want to talk about is the Dolby Pro Logic/Dolby Virtual Surround Test.  As I mentioned before, I turned the subwoofer volume all the way done to initiate the test mode.  The sound started playing from the left, then center, then right and then rear.  I was absolutely amazed at how perfect the center channel sounded.  It honestly felt like the sound was coming from my monitor when it was playing the center channel.  The rear channel sounded ok, it definitely felt like it was coming from somewhere else other than the front speakers but not truly behind you.  As you can imagine, its pretty hard to really hear sound from behind you when there are no speakers there. Overall, I was extremely impressed with this sets ability to do surround sound, especially since it only has 2 satellites!

Right off the bat, I must tell you that the quality of the sound these speakers produce is amazing!!!  These speakers easily outdo any other speakers I've had the opportunity to listen to!

Understanding Microsoft <The Glass Maker> 02:20 am - Wilfred
Gotta read this! Can't avoid my daily three doses from my newly found favourite site - osOpinion. There isn't a short snip, you must not miss any part of it. Simply hilarious!

One day a young punk, a vandal, passes by and heaves a huge brick right through the baker's display window, smashing it to bits. The vandal runs away and is never found.

However, the sound of glass breaking draws a crowd. The baker has come out of the store and is complaining to the town sheriff. "He broke my big glass window. That's going to cost me $200!! Who will pay for it? Can't you try to catch that little twerp and make him pay?"

The sheriff, a relaxed and slow-witted fellow, tries to find a way out. He doesn't like work; he just prefers to sit back in his chair and have his deputies pick up drunks. Meanwhile, some smart alec in the crowd pipes up: "Hey, Mr. Baker, don't worry. That young man has done a good deed! Now there's $200 more business for the glass maker down the street!"

As the crowd busts out in laughter, and the sheriff slowly ambles down the street. Then another voice chimes in, "You know, the fellow's got a point there. Why, Mr. Glass will be able to hire another helper now. This is really going to get the economy going!" Others in the crowd murmur their approval. A few brave souls even begin to call the vandal a hero, and they hope he sneaks back into town and throws a few more bricks so the economy will really get moving. Visions of progress and prosperity begin filling the little town, and over the next few weeks, windows all over town begin to be smashed. Soon the glassmaker hires all the small boys in town and begins teaching them the glassmaking trade.

Asus VR-100 LCD 3D Glasses 01:55 am - Wilfred
Daniel sent word of a new review at Dan's Data on the Asus VR-100 LCD 3D Glasses. The verdict in short: It SUCKED.

All of this pain pretty much cancels out the joy of such a cheap 3D solution. If you paid hundreds and hundreds of dollars for the VR-100 setup you'd be justified in marching on the ASUS headquarters with torches and pitchforks, demanding the head of the programmer responsible. As it stands, most buyers will probably just shrug and figure that you get what you pay for.

Good Morning! 01:39 am - Wilfred
Yes, I refrain from my usual coughs this time in the morning. Now listening in to the Ego Trip on 98.7FM and all the usual farnie crapola. Well, swapped a new motherboard into my system couple of hours ago... not without giving the contents of my tower a good 'overhaul'. Shoved a vacuum cleaner to wipe out the dust that's collected over the months. Feels good!

 

11 June 1999 - Friday

EH's Meltdown '99 Report 19:41 pm - Wilfred
Extreme Hardware also posted their coverage of Microsoft's annual conference. Since you've heard the juice from S3 just now, here's some on DirectX7.

First of all, DirectX 7 has been optimized as expected, and now offers a 20-50% performance increase over DirectX 6. One interesting point about DirectX 7 is that it was designed to be a "clean break" from DirectX 6, since it uses no of the older DX6 interfaces. While DirectX 7 will support all legacy DirectX 6 interfaces, for the developer to use any of the new DX7 features (T&L, Cube Mapping, Vertex SkinningÖ), old DX6 interfaces will have to be scrapped for the new design.

Maxi Gamer Xentor 18:42 pm - Kan
SystemLogic posted a review on the Maxi Gamer Xentor Riva TNT2 graphics card. The guys seem to like this card a lot, giving it a 9.5/10 rating. Check out their 9 pages review on it.

If they added on an on-board fan, the card would be a lot more appealing I believe.   That way people that would like to overclock their card can.  As for the drivers that came with the card, they were pretty much the generic NVIDIA drivers, with some changed graphics.  A feature that I would have liked would be some kind of slider to let me change the clock of the card.  Although, since Guillemot did not need to really mess around with the drivers, it is saving the user money since the money to develop new features like that would come out of the pockets of those purchasing the card. 

3D Guide 18:38 pm - Kan
Yet another installation of the 3D Guide over at FiringSquad. Along with that, the guys also posted a preview/interview of Eidos' upcoming 3D RPG, Revenant.

If the triangle setup engine takes the load off the CPU, why don't you get the same 3D frame rates on my p200mmx as your p3 500? Well, the CPU still has to perform transform and lighting tasks, but future 3D accelerators are also going to move T&L onto the video card. Nvidia's upcoming NV10 chip is going to feature onboard T&L, and you can expect that any other competitive next-gen products (3dfx and s3) will as well, on top of other performance-enhancing features.

Patches 18:34 pm - Kan
Interesting debate over at Gamewire where the guys are arguing on Patches. Yup, those patches where you will eagerly download everytime they are out.

All gamers know this by now, that every game that comes out right now, will have some patch to update it, some patch to fix a bug or a crash, some bug to fix something that was passed over through the beta stages. This is coming from a disgusted gamer, about how patches donít cut it, and how games should be done. Its simple, really. First off, any game that takes its time in production, should do well, being that it is an interesting concept that is fresh, and consumers eat it. If it doesnít do well, it means one thing, they werenít dedicated.

nVidia Riva TNT2 Ultra 18:23 pm - Kan
WickedPC just finished their staggering 12 pages review on the nVidia Riva TNT2 Ultra card. Catch all the glory of the TNT2 and read how they compare it against the Voodoo3 3000.  

In this review, we won't be talking much about other video cards except the TNT2 Ultra, and the Voodoo3 3000. The Voodoo3 3500 isn't currently on the market, so we get the luxury (probably in nVIDIA's favor) of not benchmarking the Voodoo3 3500. The reason we will not be benchmarking any other video cards is not due to time restraints but due to the lack of requiring them. The TNT2 and the Voodoo3 are by far the fastest video cards on retail shelves right now. Of course other video cards are planned to be this fast, but they aren't out yet, so we just don't care. We review current technology, not future technology.

A Digital Approach To Black & White 11:28 am - Wilfred
Check out the portfolio of Ron Harris over at the Digital Darkroom. Down here, he described the entire process of getting the final print of picturesque images onto paper - oh yes, in traditional black and white.

    You may be surprised to learn that superior black-and-white prints result from printing black-and-white as "color" images. If "monochrome" is chosen in the printer driver, only the black ink cartridge gets used. Shades of gray are achieved by spacing the black dots printed on the paper, resulting in
much empty space in the printed image. If "color" is chosen, all six inks are used, essentially filling the print with colored dots. These overlapping does generate the subtle shades of gray necessary for a fine print, and generate more detail in the image. Epson printers are capable of producing very round dots, particularly on their glossy and film papers, which results in superior prints.

New Melissa-like Worm Virus Outbreak 11:17 am - Wilfred
CNN has a new report of a new Melissa-like virus that's spreading across the Internet. Tentatively named "Worm.Explorer.Zip", this virus is pretty malicious and this is the message delivered by the virus to your mailbox. Better be on the alert!

"Hi [Name] ! I received your email and I shall send you a reply ASAP. Till then, take a look at the attached zipped docs. bye."

The message comes along with a zip file named Zip_files.exe, which if activated, will show a fake error message to the user. An executable file will then alter the Win.ini file, instructing the client to run an explorer.exe file which is delivered by the virus in place of the standard operating system when the user reboots. The worm then searches the local file drive for the following file types and deletes them: .c, .cpp, .asm, .doc, .sls, and .ptp, thereby deleting Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files.

"What it will do is it will search through the C through Z drives and select randomly a set of files of varying extensions, and then it will zero out or kill the contents of an arbitrary extension of those files"

FPS2000 09:27 am - Kan
The guys over at AbsolutePC got their hands on the Creative FPS2000 4-pt surround speakers. Hey, does this thing come in WHITE?

Now that you have everything out of the box, you set the bass level on the sub and stick it under your desk like I said before. Next, get each of the four cubes and attach the cables to them and the subwoofer. Pull off the cover over the wire and attach it to the corresponding connection point (red to red and black to black). Put the stand on, threading the cable through the little hole for it in the back of the stand. Be sure to use the five-meter cable for the rear and the 3 for the front, or you will likely run into problems when you get to positioning them.

Windows 2000 Release Date 09:18 am - Kan
Over at Techweb, there's an article on the release date of Windows 2000. Set for worldwide release on October 6, I guess it's time to assemble one of those dual Celeron rigs soon. :)

Microsoft has pencilled in Oct. 6 as the day it will launch Windows 2000. Although the date is not absolutely definite, Microsoft said it was confident enough with the development of the operating system's Beta 3 that this wouldbe the launch date. This also should be preceded by a release of Windows 2000 Release Candidate 1 in the first week of July.

Microsoft MeltDown99 Seattle 09:15 am - Kan
CPR Extreme did a coverage on Microsoft MeltDown99. MeltDown99 is the event where software and hardware developers meet together to thrash out their ideas. Some of their juice includes:

In a nutshell what this does is allow for a much larger texture to be placed on a smaller space. This is cool because it means you can have beautifully textured scenes without having to take the huge performance hit of the higher resolutions. So for instance you could play Q3 @ 640x480 and it still looks great like in 1280x1024, and believe me it does. Chipsets like the Savage4 can handle huge textures like 2048x2048 and it's allowing the use of photographic quality goodies! So instead of a cheesy "wood grain" texture some guy spent 20 minutes making with photoshop and looks like the inside of a double-wide, they can use a real picture of wood.

Elsa 3D Revelator Glasses 09:10 am - Kan
ReviewZone just sent note on their review on the Elsa 3D Revelator Glasses and mind you, this is the infrared version. 

The downside is all about hardware. First is the troublesome issue of compatibility. You need to have one of the listed Elsa graphics accelerator cards to use these glasses. This is great news to those who already have one of those cards, and unpleasant hearing for everybody else, since the choice of available Elsa graphics cards currently is in conflict with most peopleís preferred high-end upgrade path of a Voodoo 3500 or an Ultra TNT2. (Though there is a possibility of Elsa bringing out an Ultra TNT2 card somewhere along the line, which would seriously change the outlook on the Revelator glasses.) Thereís also the probability that not all up-to-date games will deliver good performance with some of the older Elsa cards available for the Revelator glasses. A comparatively minor issue is that you need a good monitor- if you already have one, thatís not a problem, but if it canít handle a refresh rate of at least 100MHz at the resolution you want to play at, then you have a problem.

Wilfred Coughs About Palm Overclocking 02:06 am - Wilfred
Received a whole bunch of emails from many many people since posting the overclocking report some 22 hours ago. Thanks for all the support, feedback, comments and inputs. If need be, I will try to write a short addendum (that is if I've the time). Palm Overclocking - Empowering the Palm, empowering you.

Oblique Ramblings 02:02 am - Wilfred
I'm a little hooked onto osOpinion lately. Here's another hilarious editorial found on the site. The author has penned down and expressed some of my thoughts and frustrations in his writing. Coolz!

Why must the user do the "housekeeping", e.g., file organizing, defragging, partitioning, empty the waste basket, deleting old temp and log files, duplicate files, perform disk error-checking? I don't want to think about these things. They are really mundane.

There are too many prompts; can the OS not watch our answers and learn to profile the user? Give the expected response once a degree of certainty is reached? I don't mean I want the computer to compose all of my e-mail for me; I am thinking on a more basic level. E.g., how many times have I answered Yes To All in Windows 98 when copying or deleting files, yet still it asks me again, and again.

Iwill IE370 Motherboard 01:52 am - Wilfred
CRUS posted a review on the Iwill IE370 mobo which has an integrated A3D audio chip. Need a good socket-370 board? Take a peek at this review first!

".. for you that wants to run your computer at the speed that it's intended to run at so is this motherboard a really good buy with the integrated Aureal A3D sound chip. The motherboard is also extremely easy to install and I havenít had any problems at all with it so if you want to go for a really stable board, you should go for this one."

10 June 1999 - Thursday

Quantum Atlas IV 23:01 pm - Kan
Noticed another Quantum hard drive review over at Storagereview. The Atlas IV is a 7200 rpm SCSI drive running on the Ultra160/m SCSI interface and comes with a whopping 18.2 GB of space.

Like it's 10k rpm brother, the Atlas 10k, the Atlas IV is an Ultra160/m SCSI unit. Though supposedly backwards-compatible with "legacy" SCSI host adapters, our testbed, featuring an Adaptec 2940U2W SCSI host adapter, required "hard termination" via a jumper shunt on the board itself. No LVD Ultra2 SCSI drive, including the Atlas III, ever required such termination to operate reliably.

Tennmax Cooler Review 21:21 pm - Kan
Guys, check out HardOCP review on the Tennmax SECC2 cooler. Lots of pics on this baby and you can see the new High Rise Cooling fin modules as well.

This badboy was extremely easy to put together and held very sturdy once it was mounted.  I had my doubts at first but the dang thing really proved itself.  Pretty soon I had my PIII 450 up and running at 558 (4.5x124) and it seems pretty stable.  The P3TF was pulling all kinds of heat off the CPU.

PC Pirates. A Long Story 20:53 pm - Wilfred
GameSpot has a very long feature article about software/game pirates. Yes, so before you all subscribe to the immoral practice of supporting those tattooed pirates (at SLS?!) - read & repent! ;) Here's a good snip to remind us of the good 'ol days:

At first, copy protection schemes were relatively simple - typing in a number or word that appeared somewhere in the manual, for instance. But all it took to get past that hurdle was making photocopies of the manual, a step that actually made it even easier for people to play an illegally copied game since they now had instructions to go along with their pirated game.

This ushered in a period where copy protection schemes grew so complex - forcing consumers to align bizarre symbols on coded wheels, pore over charts with black type on a red background that were impossible to photocopy (and nearly impossible to read), slide cards under colored gels.

Help! I'm A Net Addict! 20:47 pm - Wilfred
I speak for myself and the rest of you reading this page. Ha! Check this worrisome editorial on osOpinion. Are you an addict yet? No?!! Resistance is futile! =P

My realization came to me after analyzing my own Internet behavior. I am what many might affectionately deem "a completely 'wired' individual".

While waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, I'm always compelled to check to see that my connection hadn't dropped. Constant network activity is somewhat of a soothing reassuring feeling. I can't explain it, but I've heard that this is not necessarily an uncommon behavior for net addicts.

While others hobbies and interests might include baseball, fishing or horseback riding, mine fall more along the lines of IRC WWW and Usenet.

My e-mail is a piece of art, and a net addict's dream. I have each piece of mail categorized and sorted by sender, pen name, web e-mail, IRC e-mail, Usenet mail, and several others of which would be to long a list to mention here without boring you.

K7 To Come On 28 June at 600Mhz? 20:40 pm - Wilfred
The Register had it from their sources that AMD will launched it's K7 this 28 June at a speed of 600Mhz. Here's some juices:

Sources said that AMD will formally introduce its K7 processor on the 28th of June and will have one processor running at 600MHz. There will also be 500MHz and 550MHz flavours, as previously revealed.

Processors will ship to system integrators on the 3rd of August. In the first two weeks of August, there will be volume shipments of the product, and at introduction time, AMD will also have tier one vendors demoing machines based on the K7.

Spider 1.16 To The Rescue 20:27 pm - Wilfred
Wow! Thanks to a pal who sent me this URL. Yes, go ahead and read what it's about. You must have thought you're very good at covering the traces of Internet sites you've visited? It's high time you think again. =)

Odds are that you have frequented several web locations maybe checking your stocks, or maybe doing some online banking. You are confident that you cleaned out your history files and dumped any sign of surfing the Internet, Right?

Wrong! That is if you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0X for Windows 95 or Windows NT, Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0X for Windows 9X and possibly Windows NT, as a result hereof also Microsoft Windows 95 OSR 2.0 and greater, Microsoft Windows 98 and Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 (all SP). It is also reported using Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0Ŗ. You watch as the MS person slips a disk in your computer and recalls all of your visited sites. At this point you are just dumbfounded because you are pretty good with the computer and you are wondering how this could have happened.

When, Why & How CE Will Save Microsoft 20:21 pm - Wilfred
Recently, the Anchordesk has gotten a little more worth reading. It now stays in my inbox for more than 5 mins. The story today, Jesse Berst shares his opinion on when, why and how WinCE will actually save Microsoft's butt. Yeah, read on to find out!

Several years ago I was talking with Bill Gates, and even then he had a clear vision of what handheld computing would entail.

Microsoft's Windows CE has drawn a lot of criticism and is underdog of the Windows family. But Microsoft is hardly a Johnny-come-lately to the wireless space. Wireless has been and will continue to be a major initiative -- and I believe Win CE will save Microsoft's collective butt in this space.

Epox GXB-M Dual Slot-2 Xeon 19:18 pm - Kan
Definitely not for the weak hearted. Anand reviewed the Epox GXB-M Dual Slot-2 Xeon motherboard as well as the Epox S2C Slot-1 to Slot-2 Adapter.

The Extended ATX form factor of the GXB-M is essentially a requirement of the Intel Xeon processor, the space required for a single SC330 (Slot-2) interface is noticeably larger than that of a SC242 (Slot-1) interface, not only that, but you aren't taking into consideration the extra capacitors and resistors that such a design calls for over the good ol' Slot-1 interface of the Pentium II/III and Celeron processors.  Because of that, the GXB-M, as well as all other Xeon boards are only available in an Extended ATX form factor.  The board is equipped with the same 5/2/1 expansion slot configuration that make the old BXB-S stand out among the more conventional 4/3/1 designs of previous boards. 

Onstream 30GB Digital Drive 19:12 pm - Kan
This is for people with lots of porn on their hard disk. AGN Hardware whipped up a review on the Onstream 30GB Digital drive which is capable of backing up to 30GB of compressed data in a single cartridge. This baby is also able to dump 45 MB of data every minute. This is fast!

The main reason to get the Onstream drive is so that you can backup all of your data in case of an accident, drive failure or if your wife throws the computer out the window. Ok, so maybe the wife throwing your computer out the window may be too much, but it is nice to know that your data is secure.

The internal IDE version of the drive that I was sent for testing has 30GB of data storage, giving me enough space to backup several different hard drives of data. The included Echo software is very easy to use and provides backup scheduling and more that even a monkey without training could manage to perform. One of my favorite features of the software is the ability to backup a network drive by mapping the drive into the Echo software. You can also schedule backup times so that every night when you sleep it backs up the system to keep your data in good standing.  

Elsa 3D Revelator 19:10 pm - Kan
Checking out ComputingPros niffy review on the Elsa 3D Revelator glasses. Will you get nauseous putting on these glasses?

These glasses have a unique way of plugging into the video card also. Unlike the Asus glasses which plugged directly onto a video out port on the card, Elsa designed a splitter cable that connects to the video card and has two ends. On end connects to your monitor and the other to your glasses. I also noticed that the Revelator's shutter mechanism doesn't activate until you activate it through software and start your game. ASUS's on the other hand are ON as soon as you plug them in.

Windows 2000 Riva TNT2 Drivers 19:08 pm - Kan
NT Gaming Palace sent note on the new Riva TNT2 drivers posted by AOpen for Windows 2000. You can get'em from here.

Hercules Dynamite TNT2 Review 19:05 pm - Kan
The fiery boys over at FiringSquad put up a review on the smokin' Hercules Dynamite TNT2 card. By the way, this one is clocked at 145/170.

The Dynamite Ultra TNT2 card by Hercules was one that we were impressed with, due largely in part to its high clock speed and overclockability. What about those of us who don't need the extra RAM, or don't care about a TV-out? Not everybody has a cool $200+ to spend. What are the options? Well, Hercules has exclusively given us the little brother of its Dynamite Ultra card, which would be the "vanilla" version of the TNT2 card. Believe us, there's nothing plain about this card!

IBM Full Frontal Assault On Microsoft 15:54 pm - Wilfred
Vengeance! Well, something like that. osOpinion has an excellent editorial about IBM's latest strategy to knock Microsoft off its pedestal - and keep it off. A good read!

Although the whole picture is still somewhat fuzzy (this is probably a testament to IBM's new found strategic skillset brought on by Gerstner), it is becoming clearer by the day. IBM wants to knock Microsoft off its pedestal - and keep it off.

For those of us old enough to remember, IBM used to rule the computing world, and Microsoft was just another bit player. But those roles changed in the late 1980's and early 1990's, when Microsoft pissed off IBM a little too much. First they split with IBM on OS/2 - you might say Microsoft stabbed IBM in the back. Microsoft then threatened IBM's rates on Microsoft products, quadrupling the rates IBM had to pay in order to resell Windows from $40 to $220 million per year. Needless to say, IBM has been itching to get Microsoft back ever since.

Microsoft To License Creative's EAX 15:48 pm - Wilfred
GA-Source has got a scoop of Microsoft's announcement to license Creative's Environmental Audio eXtensions. Another win for Creative?

Microsoft today announced a licensing agreement with Creative Technology Ltd. for a number of recording-studio-quality audio effects found in Creative's Environmental Audio Extensions (EAX), an application programming interface (API) used to add environmental sound effects to 3-D games. The licensed effects include flange, chorus, EQ and environmental reverberation.

Microsoft plans to incorporate these EAX effects into its next version of the Microsoft DirectX API, the multimedia technology behind the Windows operating system. Creative's EAX API is a popular environmental audio standard among developers and is supported in more than 50 PC games currently shipping. Combining EAX technology from Creative with applications written to the Microsoft DirectSound and Microsoft DirectMusic APIs will allow developers to take audio to a new level of realism in multimedia applications, encouraging the proliferation of high-quality PC audio.

Texturing: In-Depth 15:41 pm - Wilfred
Want to be an expert on the topic of texturing? Err... better finish your high-school first! Check out Beyond3D's latest in-depth discussion about texturing.

With the advancements in 3D rendering there have come a lot of new effects like bump-mapping, anisotropic filtering, and others which most cards will support. There is a difference though, between the two main cards which are sure to dominate. Voodoo3 and TNT2 fans have been debating the merits of the 16/22 VS 24/32 bit output, and the support for 256*256 VS 2048*2048 large textures.

I've been thinking a lot about the last discussion, and I wanted to see with my own eyes what the difference was between 256*256 and 2048*2048, and what S3TC (S3 Texture Compression) and Vector Quantization Texture Compression were. To test these things, I used Quake III Arena as a reference point. I have had the test running here for a while now (Linux) and Iím sure many of you are now playing the Windows version. Quake III Arena (Q3A) uses textures up to 512*512*24.

Hercules Dynamite TNT2 15:33 pm - Wilfred
GA-Source has a review on the Hercules Dynamite TNT2 card. I'll love to get my hands on one of these TNT2 cards soon, more specifically the Ultra versions. =)

Many of the other manufacturers spoke of shipping their TNT/2 cards at any of a wild variety of speeds over Nvidia's specifications, but ONLY Hercules has kept all of their high speed promises. Although they allow for overclocking within their drivers, they shipped either at Nvidia default speeds, or lower than their original claims. This was sad as far as I am concerned.

If you are a gamer on a budget, I would have to seriously consider this card. Without some overriding reason to need 32mb of memory, this card is the ticket. The only areas that 32mb really makes a difference is handling large texture amounts, and triple buffering at higher resolutions. Even as fast as this card or any other of this generation is, resolutions over 1024x768 still are not quite "great" for play unless you are running the fastest of processors.

At 1024x768 and under, I don't think the difference in 16mb vs 32mb is noticeable in too many games. The only other things this card is lacking is TV out, and a game bundle. To me, the TV out rarely has gotten used on the cards that did have it. Game bundles have always been questionable as well. If by chance a game in the bundle interest you then great, but often they are titles that either you already own, or don't want.

The Best CPU For Your Software: Part 1 15:25 pm - Wilfred
How often are we blinded simply by the thirst for power? I mean, thirst for raw CPU power? Often enough, we need nothing more than a general use Pentium machine to run our word processors... while some required tremendous speeds for their 3D modelling work. Ace's Hardware posted a first parter of their article to recommend just the right CPU for your needs.

When you read CPU reviews on the internet, it may seem that PC's are nothing more then expensive play consoles: most reviews show quickly a winstone or two and then they elaborate on pages and pages about the 3D- game performance. This is quite normal, as the desktop CPU industry is driven by the development of new, more demanding games. Without those new performance gobbling softies, a lot of PC enthusiasts would not feel the need to upgrade their PCs at home.

Most professional users can not select their CPU based upon their needs; it is decided above their heads (and let me tell you those decisions are not always token with great care, I have seen a lot of people struggle with a Pentium MMX and 32 MB running Office 97 on Windows NT 4).

Intel SR440BX Mobo Review 15:17 pm - Wilfred
Our pals at iXBT Hardware reviewed the Intel SR440BX Mobo that sports integrated RivaTNT graphics and SoundBlaster PCI64 audio.

"... it looks as if Intel SR440BX were the best mainboard with integrated Riva TNT for those who don't care for overclocking. Frankly speaking, it isn't surprising at all. The mainboards from the chipset and CPU developer must be perfect."

Bandwidth Speed Test 15:12 pm - Wilfred
Interesting. Just click here and be patient while they analyse the speed of your connection. =)

Interview: Matthew Hanson-Weller 15:10 pm - Wilfred
3DSoundSurge has posted their interview with The Weapons Factory's head soundman, Matthew Hanson-Weller. Here's a snippet:

Weapons Factory (WF) is a multi-player, team oriented mod for Quake 2. It builds on the standard capture the flag (CTF) game patch from id Software, incorporating features from the popular Quake I mod Team Fortress and its own unique features.

It was the custom sounds and radio system that first caught our attention with Weapons Factory.  The following description was taken from the Weapons Factory website: "Weapons Factory has a large bank of audio clips built into it. These sounds were added to the game to facilitate communication between players. As such, they naturally break down into two categories: sounds you direct toward your teammates (strategic information -- we call them radio sounds), and sounds you direct toward the enemy team (taunts, epithets, editorial comments). We've organized the sounds for your reference here using these categories, although in actuality, you can use any of the sounds in any context."

Hardware-One: Palm Overclocking Report 02:59 am - Wilfred
Never dreamt it was possible to overclock your 3Com Palm devices? Thanks to Jean-Paul's Afterburner, overclocking is no longer meant for the desktops only. Check out our report on overclocking the Palm III, Palm IIIx as well as Palm V!

   

"... a 20Mhz Palm III would about just match the performance of the Palm IIIx and Palm V at default speeds. I was able to push my Palm III quite a bit further to 26Mhz, obtaining a 143% relative timing to a IIIx. Not bad indeed!"

Guillemot Maxi DVD Theater 01:48 am - Kan
Guillemot Maxi DVD Theater kit review over at 3DHardware.net. This one comes with a 4X DVD drive as well as a RealMagic Hollywood Plus decoder card.

Well, firstly instead of using the red laser beam a CD player uses, the DVD player uses a blue laser. If you managed to stay awake in physics class you might remember that the wave Ďheightí of blue light is smaller than the same of red light, thus allowing for smaller pits, and so more stored information. Secondly, the DVD can store the data in two layers on the surface of the disc, and thirdly, the 17,2Gb DVDís have data stored on both sides of the disc.

UK Users Will Get Unmetered Net Access 00:57 am - Wilfred
Wow! Read this at The Register! Users in the UK will have unmetered Internet access within 3 months, for a flat-rate fee. Not bad huh?

The UK will get toll-free access to the Internet within the next three months, The Register can reveal. Conservative MP Ian Bruce said this afternoon that telcos are working on a service that would give users access to a single toll-free number of their choice.

Although users would have to pay a premium for this service -- a flat-rate fee -- it would mean they could use the number for as long as they liked without incurring additional line charges.

Such a move would mean that millions of Net users in the UK could surf the Web without having to watch the meter.

Put it shortly. I hate my ADSL bills. I wish for a flat-rate fee also. I want. Can we work something out SingTel Magix? =)

X-Wing Alliance Review 00:47 am - Wilfred
Yes. Our good bud at Tech-Junkie has reviewed LucasArts' X-Wing Alliance. Gotta access this from their main page... Nevertheless, don't miss out on the action!

The AI of X-Wing Alliance pilots has improved alot from the previous Balance of Power (XvT addon); your wingmen aren't that dumb any more. I notice it may seems much easier to take down a Star Destroyer than a Marauder escort corvette, guess must be the turbo lasers, slower rate of shooting or am I too good? Its a worthly game for all I would say, with nice graphics, great 3D sound effects, excellent storyline and superb gameplay, X-Wing Alliance should be a hyper buoy for anyone to jump in.

Guillemot Maxi Gamer Xentor 00:43 am - Wilfred
P3D did a review on a 16Mb TNT2-based Maxi Gamer Xentor card. Damn good, just about everything is damn good. Gimme a clear choice, TNT2/G400/V3/Savage4??!!! Oh, what a conclusion!

I love this card. With its blazing fast 2D and 3D rendering, the Xentor 16MB is a terrific performer for a low price of $129, and will satisfy any hardcore gamer who knows not to waste too much money for a technology that changes so rapidly.

A final note to our Canopus readers: it is hard to recommend purchasing a $350 Canopus Spectra 5400 from Japan when you can order a 32MB Xentor for $150 less (with no huge speed difference). Times are changing...

Connecting Linux To The Internet 00:32 am - Wilfred
Sounds easy enough? Nah... you better read this. BYTE.COM has a column teaching you just that. Check it out!

In this article, we'll connect our Linux systems to the Internet. This is normally one of the first things that most Linux users want to do and certainly a logical step for an operating system born on the Internet. This first article will establish the network connection only and not configure any other services.

09 June 1999 - Wednesday

ActionTec ActionLink Home Networking Kit 17:57 pm - Kan
Over at AnandTech, there's a new review on the ActionTec ActionLink Home Networking Kit. This one runs on standard copper wire and support up to 1 Mbps. 

Up until recently, a network in the home was simply not very feasible. Ethernet cards cost too much, hubs cost even more, and then there was the problem of running all the wiring. Times have changed greatly - ethernet cards are cheap and hubs are cheap, but the wiring issue still remains. Nobody wants to run new cables through their house. Fortunately, a variety of new technologies are emerging that allow in home networks without any new wiring. The two most popular options are wireless technologies and those that run "on top" of existing wires.

By the way, you get to see some photographs of Anand's new BMW M Roadster. Now, in this cowboy town where I am, my COE probably cost more than the Roadster. Sometimes, I wonder why I am still driving a puny car instead of a Ferrari. Hmm...

TA: Kingdoms Preview 17:54 pm - Kan
Noticed over at FiringSquad they have a preview on Total Annihilation Kingdoms, the sequel to the popular Total Annihilation. Also, the guys posted a review on Aliens vs Predator as well. 

The four unique sides represent each of four elements: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. The Earth side will have units that mainly focus on land defenses, and offenses like cannon, catapults, etc. The Water side has a great number of different ship types. Air has a lot of flying units, while the Fire side is evil and relies a lot of dark magic and evil spells. Joe also noted for me that the builder or factory units of the Zhon (Air race) are completely mobile - they have no static production buildings.

Linux 2.2 Rivals Windows NT 4.0 11:39 am - Wilfred
PC Magazine has an article about how version 2.2 of the Linux kernel rivals that of NT 4.0. Read how the comprehensive list of features give Microsoft's OS a serious run for the money... in fact... for FREE.

Linux 2.2 rivals Windows NT 4, boasting a comprehensive complement of features, capabilities, and compatibilities -- even running on x86-based machines. What's more, it's free. Linux and Apache remain an attractive choice for web servers compared with Windows NT.

Freespace 2 Sneak Peek 11:34 am - Wilfred
GameCenter just threw out a sneak peek at Volition's Freespace 2. Whoppee! Get in ON!!!! Give it to me!

"It's sort of like World Wars I and II," said Volition founder Mike Kulas. "England, France, and the United States fought Germany [both times], but they were very different wars. There are certainly parallels in FreeSpace 2, but they don't diminish its value." That point is further amplified by the fact that Volition hired a writer for FreeSpace 2, whereas a programmer and an artist wrote the original game. "The story is more coherent, we tell it better, and the dialogue is much improved," Kulas said. Much of the dialogue occurs in lulls during missions, when your squadronmates fill in salient details about the back story. Instead of 12 minutes of intense dogfighting, which can get "relentless and boring," said Kulas, "the dialogue adds life to the missions."

PCs Shows Their True Colour 11:13 am - Wilfred
Wired has an article about the new Easy PC initiative taken by Intel and Microsoft. It talked about how this will advance the market penetration of PCs within homes. To get what I mean, check out the pics at Intel's site.

"About 50 percent of the US population hasn't bought their first computer yet," Sullivan said. "What's it going to take to get them into the market? We think combining easy-to-use technology with a look that's exciting is the key."

Intel and Microsoft expect the new Easy PC designs -- which resemble a stripped-down network computer in a variety of colors -- to be distributed by resellers such as Dell and Gateway by year's end. The small boxes will replace legacy connections with USB and IEEE.1394 ports and will make use of Intel's miniscule FlexATX motherboard, which measures a mere 190 by 216 millimeters.

Leadtek Winfast S320 II 10:38 am - Kan
FullOn3D posted a review on the Leadtek Winfast S320 II graphics card. Full AGP 4X support and 32 MB of SGRAM is enough to keep you drooling. 

Um, do you really care? Okay, I know you do. This board has 2D performance beyond the vast majority of available monitors. With a 300mhz RAMDAC and the 32megs of SGRAM you get sharp 32bit color support until the cows come home. Windows ran crisply and even my anal-retentive photoshop usage seemed just fine. Image quality is top-notch. Suffice it to say, we are hovering around that theoretical maximum 2D performance with this board.

S3 Savage/MX Mobile 3D Accelerator 10:35 am - Kan
The Sharks were quick enough to take a bite at the new S3 Savage/MX Mobile 3D Accelerator. Gee, imagine playing Quake on your 15" TFT laptop screen. 

Unlike the regular PC market with video cards which are based largely on performance and consumer needs, the recipe for a good laptop video accelerator is defined solely by the laptop's manufacturer.

Issues like voltage, wattage, electro-magnetic interference, heat and cost dominate the OEM video checklist of the laptop manufacturers, while items like "performance" and "color depth" aren't priorities if they're even on the need list at all.

Altec Lansing ADA 305 Speaker Set 10:30 am - Kan
Altec Lansing speakers review over at HardwarePros. You know, it seems like we have the 2nd generation of speakers now and my old Cambridge looks kinda outdated now.

The most interesting feature is what Altec Lansing calls True Digital Audio.  When you use the provided USB connection, the speakers will be completely controlled by the USB bus and Windows 9X.  The funny thing is, you don't even need a sound card to use these speakers.  That is why its called true digital audio.  When digital audio is passed to a sound card, it is always converted to an analog signal using a DAC.  This is done so that the card can process the sound, add effects, adjust amplification, etc. 

Fireball CX 13 GB 10:28 am - Kan
Sizzling Fireball CX 13 GB UDMA 66 hard drive review over at HotHardware. Catch'em before they get burnt out.

Hard Drive technologies seem to leap frog themselves faster than any other techonolgy in the PC Hardware Arena. What is leading edge technology today will be "old hat" in a matter of months when the next level of performance or density is surpassed and brought to the marketplace. It seems as if 6 month design cycles are common place for drive makers. One of the main bottlenecks in traditional drive systems is the bus interface. SCSI has its advantages over EIDE and vice-versa.

PC-DVD Encore 6X 10:25 am - Kan
CRUS finished a review on the Creative P-DVD Encore 6X. This is the new kit with a 6X DVD-ROM as well as the new Dxr3 decoder board. 

DVDs are read the same way as CDs, with laser that detects "pits" and tracks. The secret behind the DVD storage capacity is a laser with a shorter wavelength - a CD-ROM uses 780 nanometers and  a DVD uses 650 nanometers. This makes the DVD capacity better, since data can be stored in greater density (makes it possible to use smaler "pits" and less space between tracks) resulting in a greater storage capacity.The maximum size of Data that can be stored are 17GB (using double layers and both sides of the disc) DVD gives you a better quality of both the picture and the sound.

PowerColor Dreamcode GameBoard 10:17 am - Kan
Over buds over at iXBT-Labs posted a reviewed on the PowerColor Dreamcode GameBoard. It comes with integrated video  on Riva TNT 16MB and integrated sound Yamaha 724/740.

After we have cleared out the application of PowerColor DREAMCODE, let's take a closer look at its exterior. The board is made extremely carefully and neatly. However, the integrated Riva TNT together with the graphics memory had to be moved to a farther edge of the mainboard so that to reduce the influence of the electric field and to fight the image quality worsening. As a result the engineers were forced to sacrifice several PCI and ISA slots, and there remained only 4 of them: 1 ISA and 3 PCI. Though such scant amount of slots is quite enough, actually. ISA-cards are a pretty rare thing nowadays, and are likely to totally disappear in a while. And as for PCI-devices, it seems rather complicated to run out of PCI-slots with the already integrated sound and graphics if you are not demanding anything very special from your system.

What We Can Learn From Porn 01:08 am - Wilfred
Wah! I think this is the MOST interesting header I posted in years! ZDNet's Jesse Berst's Anchordesk has an attention grabbing article about the US$1 billion a year industry. Ohmigawd! Decadence!!!!

I'm not here to rehash pros and cons of pornography; you've heard it all before. I do believe porn is a problem; I don't approve of its excesses. I think it's a danger to children. Despite these negatives, we can learn from online pornography's successes. Ironically, it's been a proving ground for techniques that have gone on to mainstream success.

> 40% Of Business Software Are Pirated 01:00 am - Wilfred
The Register has some data obtained from the BSA and SIIA who found that over 40% of installed business software are pirated. I hope this doesn't surprise ANYONE?!

In a survey conducted jointly by both trade organisations, an estimated 615 million new applications were installed across the globe last year, 231 million of them unlicensed.

Creative Ultra TNT2 00:42 am - Wilfred
AGN Hardware just put on garnishes on their Creative Ultra TNT2 review. This card looks like a superb choice for overclocking!

The Creative TNT2 Ultra seems to be just fine for the overclocking loving public, by offering the ability for 183MHz for the core and 210MHz for the memory. Creative only offers a slider for adjusting the memory timing with their drivers, but access to Powerstrip or any other tweaking program with support for the TNT2 can change that. I played around with Powerstrip and had the core up to 190MHz and the memory up to 220, a speed that seemed to have been working. This turned out not to be true though as I was left with a lockup while running 3Dmark 99Max. I then moved down the speeds to 183MHz/210MHz, speeds that proved to be quite stable.

The Day Uncle Bill Screamed At Big Blue 01:00 am - Wilfred
Reading this article at The Register was both 'chucklish' and infuriating. Hear more of how Bill Gates used Windows licensing to pressure IBM to drop SmartSuite and OS/2.

The timing, the volume and the subject of Gates' phone call make it clear that he was inextricably bound up in the whole matter. He'd mailed his OEM sales chief Joachim Kempin in March 95 asking if SmartSuite "should become an issue in our global relationship with IBM," and Kempin had responded: "I am willing to do whatever it takes to kick them out."

This is the sort of email exchange that makes Bill so forgetful when he's on-camera. He's clearly suggesting the possibility of global linkage, screwing IBM in other areas until it dropped SmartSuite, but isn't actually saying 'go do it.' Kempin's understanding of his meaning does however seem firm, and he says he'll use the PC relationship (the part of the MS-IBM relationship he owned and owns) to apply pressure.

Norris says Kempin suggested IBM drop SmartSuite for six months in exchange for settlement of the audit. An August email from Norris' boss, Tony Santelli, confirms this: "Joachim offered to accept a single payment and close all outstanding audits." He suggested IBM not bundle Lotus SmartSuite on our system for a minimum of six months to one year."

That didn't happen, and Microsoft ran IBM's negotiations over a Win95 licence right up until the product launch. According to Norris, this inflicted massive damage on IBM, and the company realised it would have to deal. As a Microsoft exec told Norris, Windows was "the only game in town."

Diamond Viper 770 Review 00:27 am - Wilfred
The chums at CGO has a Viper 770 review up. So with so many TNT2 cards out now, is there a clear choice yet? Hmm... I'm still TOTALLY undecided. =)

Diamond's got a real winner with the Viper V770 Ultra. It's a quality part that operates well at high clock speeds, has great drivers and software, and like other TNT2-based cards, looks great and works with just about all modern games. It's a bit on the pricey side, retailing for $249 with no TV-out capabilities, but that price isn't completely out of the range of other 32MB TNT2 Ultra based cards.

Office 2000: Worth The Upgrade? 00:22 am - Wilfred
This is from yesterday's mailer from Jesse Berst's Anchordesk. Well, the most serious competitor to Microsoft's Office 2000 is actually Office 97. Issit worth the upgrade? I think you should READ THIS.

Microsoft president Steve Ballmer launches Office 2000 today, the much ballyhooed (if delayed) upgrade to the Microsoft Office 97 productivity suite.

I'm here to tell you, Office 2000 is pretty d*** good. ButÖ so is Office 97.

Benwin BW2000 Speakers 00:15 am - Wilfred
Sleek stuff if you ask me. How about a pair of these to match your classy LCD monitor? Hear them out at Tech-Review!

Expecting something new and exciting to jump out at us from the flat panels, we were dissapointed at what we heard. While the spread of the sound was nice, the overall quality was lacking. In fact, the satellite range was not very wide. When we turned the bass all the way down, the satellites did their job and produced the high frequencies. However, when turning the bass back up, we noticed that the subwoofer fills in the mid and low ranges instead of just handling the low frequencies. The satellites also sounded a bit tingy, or tin like, instead of producing more natural sound.

08 June 1999 - Tuesday
3D Guide #2 22:18 pm - Kan
Next installation of the 3D Guide is available at FiringSquad. This time, the babes covered topics like texture filtering, shading and lighting.
Dealing with textures is tough. They may seem pretty simple when you're just staring at a 128 x 128 mipmap, but they tend to get difficult once you apply them to polygons in a 3D environment. There, the polygons are no longer the easy-to-calculate square mipmaps. More often than not, you end up with a screenful of irregular triangles, and these triangles aren't easy to texture.

What happens when a 3D calculation gives a textel an impossible location, where the x and/or y coordinate isn't an integer? You can't just place the textel in its calculated position; you can only plot whole points.

Midtown Madness 22:15 pm - Kan
More madness over at ActiveWin where the guys reviewed Microsoft's latest game Midtown Madness. You know, I've been practicing real hard trying to knock down the pedestrians and I concluded that it's just not possible. They always seem to somersault away at the last moment. Wow.

Racing in Midtown Madness is easy to get the hang of thanks to the first couple of courses really being training runs before the action really heats up later on. While racing around the city you come up against a number of city environments that try to slow you down, they include traffic: the cars actual follow the road laws by stopping at traffic lights and driving down the correct lanes.

Police who chase after you at every opportunity you give them, once they catch up with you they will do everything they can to smash you off of the road and then arrest you. In the event that you smash into any of the oncoming traffic then damage starts to show up on your vehicle, if you crash into enough cars then your vehicle will turn into a steaming wreak and your game will end.

Interview 22:14 pm - Kan
There's a new interview over at Gamers' Crypt with Magnus Hogdahl on the game new Sorcery.

The game takes place in a world, where magic is a very essential part of life. The story, roughly, is to free the continent of a curse, that has made the most important of mages, the Archmages, mad, and they spread chaos and destruction all over the continent. The player has to defeat these mad mages, and then find a cure to the curse, as well as beat the one responsible, Empress Aderel. The story is very important to the overall game, as the gameplay is affected at how the magic is divided in different Guilds, as well as the central role the player will take. The main character as it is now is chosen by the player, including appearance, name, and starting attributes, all in the manner of RPGs. This provides for a personal touch, especially as the player will be able to see himself/herself in the inventory screen and throughout the game, as in mirrors, and other surprises.

Creative to Enter Broadband Market 19:42 pm - Kan
Looks like Creative is also jumping into the Internet market. Creative Technology will start to offer internal and external ADSL G.Lite modems from the third quarter of this year. Here's the juice:

ADSL G.Lite offers speeds of up to 1.5 mbps and do not require visits from the phone company to install the service. They are always connected, and users can simultaneously have a phone conversation while browsing the Internet, using only a single phone line.

Said Creative chief executive Sim Wong Hoo: "Creative's goal is to build better vehicles for the Internet information highway. These broadband solutions will deliver on this promise and enable a host of exciting audio and video enhanced Internet services and applications.

"It is our intent to be a leader in this new exciting market."

Using Lucent Technologies WildWire modem chipset, Creative will offer a combined ADSL G.Lite and V.90 modem on a single PCI card. This will allow people to use V.90 now and switch later to an ADSL connection.

Creative will also use Centillium's Optimizer chipset to produce an external ADSL G.Lite modem with Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface.

These products will be sold on retail shelves and to original equipment manufacturers and system integrators.

Racing Games, When is Real Too Real? 18:37 pm - Kan
There's two new articles over at GameWire. First one is called Racing Games, When is Real too Real? The other one is a exclusion coverage of the Microsoft Extreme seminar few day ago.

The next game they showed us is NFL Fever 2000. The game has very good graphics from the looks or it. It is also supposed to be much more realistic than other games similar to this. The tackles look very realistic in the way the people get tackled. They just donít stop in one spot and fall down like in other games. When they get tackled they do flips, roll over, and spin around. Sounds like what a dog would do huh? Anyway, another feature in the game is the strategies. The computer helps you a lot for plays. There is a section where you can pick from a selected category of plays for special situations. You also canít keep passing or repeatedly doing the same things, or the computer will pick up on it and get you. The game will have all the NFL teams and players. You will also be able to download the updates to the teams as the NFL season goes on. It will be released when the í99 NFL season starts.

UMAX Astra 1220U 18:33 pm - Kan
We have a UMAX Astra 1220U scanner review over at WickedPC. I was looking at the latest models just now and was surprised how slim and cheap they are nowadays.

Days have changed in regards to scanners. The old days of Hewlett Packard running the show are pretty much over, as competitors around the world are fighting hard to take the grandfather seat. One relatively new contender to the marketplace is the ever-growing UMAX. UMAX has been quite significant in scanner sales, as well as other fun items like laptops and full computers. In the current world, we see a bunch of low cost scanners selling in Wal-Mart or CompUSA for $80 or so. These scanners are typically targeted towards the small time home user or a business that never scans anything. The price is tempting, but usually you will be stuck with a parallel port scanner or a scanner that doesn't scan anything for the price of beans, or something that doesn't even function properly or scans awful slow. The solution? UMAX's ever popular 1220 series.

Iwill BD100Plus BX Slot-1 18:32 pm - Kan
New motherboard review over at AnandTech on the Iwill BD100Plus BX Slot-1 motherboard

Like the ABIT BX6 Revision 2, the AOpen AX6BC, and the ASUS P2B-F, the Iwill BD100Plus is a second generation model of Iwill's first single processor BX boards, the BD100. The BD100Plus, like the aforementioned competitors, is a symbol of changing times. While the original board did feature the now mainstream 5/2/1 expansion slot configuration (PCI/ISA/AGP) most of the first BX motherboards that hit the streets featured a now outdated 4/3/1 configuration. The BD100Plus does feature the 5/2/1 configuration, coupled with 4 DIMM slots that are placed very close to the 443BX north bridge controller of the BX chipset in order to keep trace lengths short and maintain stability when all 4 DIMM slots are populated.

Outside Loop Dual Celeron 450 MHz Kit 10:02 am - Kan
PlanetHardware did a close look on the Outside Loop Dual Celeron 450 Mhz kit. Bundled with a Epox KP6-BS Dual Processor board with two Socket-370 Celeron 300As, this baby can indeed give a powerful punch.

Setup of the kit was actually relatively simple, but not might be for someone without years of technical experience. Unfortunately, the kit came with no printed setup guide, which definitely should be taken into consideration if you're not familiar with building systems. There is a setup guide available on Outside Loop's website, but if you're building a system from scratch and you don't have access to another system, that could present a bit of frustration. After trying to install Windows 2000 Beta 3 and Windows NT 4.0 unsuccessfully on a clean hard drive, it finally came to my attention that it's nearly impossible to properly install an operating system on overclocked dual processors, as the processors have to synch data together, which overclocking messes with to a certain extent.

Chip Prices 10:01 am - Kan
Missed this one out. Over at Avault, the guys discussed on stuffs that determine CPU and memory prices and the reasons why good prices are rarely available locally. 

CPU prices follow a fairly predictable pattern -- Intel originally sets the higher prices, then cuts them. AMD follows the price drops, living under the umbrella Intel creates.

Intel sells most of the chips it makes directly to the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as Dell, Micron, or Compaq. These companies buy enormous numbers of processors, so they get prices quoted in lots of 10,000. The costs of handling, packing, and shipping chips in massive quantities are less (and production more easily scheduled), so in return the major buyers pay a price considerably less than you should expect to pay buying one or two chips at a time.

Hercules Dynamite Ultra TNT2 09:56 am - Kan
Gamer's Depot done a review on the Hercules Dynamite Ultra TNT2. If you are looking for the fastest TNT2 out there, this is the one.

The reason we chose to use the latest reference drivers on both cards, was to get down to the hardware as close as possible.  This way everything is the same, except for the cards.  As you can tell from the scores, the Hercules card is a no-holds-barred, ass stomping card, that should be on the top of any gamers list as a "must have".  I've personally never seen a faster TNT2 product of any kind.  One thing to note in the crusher demo, is how the CPU became the bottleneck.  This is evident by how we couldn't break into the 60FPS range even with the higher default clock rates on the Hercules.  We're also hopeful that Hercules will keep up with the end user by releasing up to date drivers.

ELSA Erazor III TNT2 09:55 am - Kan
SharkyExtreme reviewed the new Elsa Erazor III TNT2 graphics card. 

Therefor the 32MB TNT2 based ERAZOR III "ViVo" is CURRENTLY their top-of-the-line offering. The layout is neat/clean and harbors four 8MB SDRAM memory chips. The TNT2 graphics clock is set at 125MHz whilst the memory frequency is set to 150MHz (the default speeds as suggested by NVIDIA). With only a heat sink to help cool the chip, we weren't able to successfully overclock the ERAZOR III (it didn't run for long periods of time at increased frequencies) but we understand that some of you might be lucky enough to do so. It's a case of 'luck of the draw'.

Shark Multimedia Leopard Pocket USB Modem 09:52 am - Kan
Reviewed by our pals over at Hardware Extreme, this cute and portable modem is probably what I will get soon to replace my ageing cable modem. Talk about technology advancement in this cowboy town.

A few things to bear in mind is that the modem is very very compact and it is stripped off some features found on external modems. First, you lose your usual 7 or 9 LEDs and get it replaced by one. Second, you lose the built in speaker which means the the modem uses a software speaker emulator which uses your PC's speakers to emulate the noise that the modem makes when connecting to the internet. For me I found this to be rather annoying as it uses quite a lot of CPU power to dial up (tsk tsk, that's why it needs a P200 minimum).

Guide to Video Card Recycling 09:49 am - Kan
Catch the guys over at FPD3D on how they recycle their video cards. Hmm, by putting them into the oven and blender? Totally hilarious!

With the release of all those expensive phone gadgets for your PC, you start to wonder if there is another way to communicate via computer. Well we found it! Using your old Banshee or TNT, you can communicate with all your buddies! You simply put the heatsink up to your ear and listen for hours of enjoyment! You can even toggle between "video phone" mode and "explicit" mode! We got it running stable for a full hour, then I overheard something about Glenn and his manhood...?

First Desktop Equivalent Mobile 3D Accelerator 09:47 am - Kan
Now, what's all this about? SystemLogic sent note on the press release for the new S3 Savage/MX and Savage/IX 3D mobile accelerators for your laptops. 

"Redesigning the Savage architecture to work within a mobile environment, without sacrificing performance, is a major milestone in S3's effort to drive the PC graphics industry in new directions," said Dr. Andrew Wolfe, chief technology officer for S3 Incorporated. "We expect the mobile Savage family to not only move S3 forward, but to move PC computing forward as well -- delivering no-compromise graphics and no-compromise mobility for the first time ever."

"Our research indicates there is a rapid expansion in the deployment of 3D controllers in portable computers," said Dr. Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Associates (Tiburon, CA) the leading market research firm tracking digital media. In Q1'98, we saw 3D represent over 20 percent of the market, and 3D graphics performance on today's notebooks is far from adequate. S3's mobile Savage will dramatically change that by leapfrogging many of the existing notebook graphics technology."

Alien vs Predator 09:44 am - Kan
There's a pretty niffy review over at 3DRage on the game Alien vs Predator

The graphics in Alien vs Predator are very good, but not Half-Life quality. The alien environment has a dark, futuristic feel to it. But that was one problem I had with the game. You have to spend too much damn time in special and infrared vision modes just to make it through a level. The 3D engine incorporates rain, reflective surfaces, in-game video, and dynamic lightingjust to name a few. But, a good thing about the darkness is it gives the game an atmosphere that is frightening to the player. You always have a feeling that an alien is going to sprint out of the dark and tear you to shreds. When walking through a level as a predator I sometimes just look at the motions of his appendages as I press for the shoulder cannon or any weapon.

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