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[H] Enthusiast Archives: January 2003Archive Listing

Friday January 31, 2003

[H]ardNews 9th Edition

GeForceFX & AA:

NVIDIA has informed us this afternoon that their GeForceFX does in fact handle 2XAA and QuincunxAA in a totally different fashion than the remainder of their Antialiasing solutions found on their GFFX card. As verified last week, our 2XAA screenshots showing IQ were not representative of actual in-game images. The rest of our images showing 4XAA and better are correct in their representation. NVIDIA did tell us that no more in-depth explanations of their AA would be forthcoming as they intend to protect the specifics as a proprietary technology that they do not want their competitors to have access to.

We are currently working to update the GFFX Preview with the correct images and reconsider our opinions on IQ.

We will have a quick update on the GeForceFX next Monday and I will be heading out to San Francisco next Tuesday to be a guest on The Screen Savers TV program. Patrick Norton and I will specifically be covering the GeForceFX and all the issues surrounding it.

[H]ardNews 8th Edition

UT2K3 Bonus Pack:

For those of you who never read the ShackNews headlines on the right hand side of the page, the Unreal Tournament 2003 Bonus Pack is now out. It weighs in at almost 72mb, and includes a bunch of new maps ( DM, CTF and Bombing Run ). I downloaded mine from ShackFiles because the official site is being hammered right now, as expected. Get it if you want it and get your weekend frag on, but I highly suggest getting it from the Shack, it is a LOT faster.

A bit later than expected due to an extremely slow Digital Extremes FTP site, the first Unreal Tournament 2003 bonus pack has now been released. There are six new maps: BR-DE-ElecFields, CTF-DE-ElecFields, CTF-DE-LavaGiant2, DM-DE-Grendelkeep, DM-DE-Ironic and DM-DE-Osiris2. If manually extracting the files into the right directories scares you, there's also an auto installing UMod version of the bonus pack.

[H]ardNews 7th Edition

Zero-Mode Waveguides:

Wrap your brain around this. A single-mode waveguide is a hole small enough to allow one wavelength of light through. A multi-mode waveguide can allow several wavelengths of light through it. The one recently developed here is ten times smaller than a single-mode... the best part is they have pictures of the waveguides. Blair hooked me up with this one.

A group of researchers at Cornell University here perforated the top layer of a chip with two million "holes" that serve as nanoscale waveguides for a 488-nanometer laser, allowing them to film individual molecules during chemical reactions. Professor Watt Webb's group put 40-nanometer holes in the aluminum top layer of a 25 millimeter square chip. "Conventional wisdom would tell you that this is not a single- or multimode waveguide, since its size is ten times smaller than the light going through it. Rather, we call it a zero-mode waveguide,"

Teleportation A Reality?

Is teleportation a reality? Well, yes…kinda. I can’t wait for the day when teleportation is everyday stuff…you know, like "damn I’m late for work", *poof* and you are there.

It's not quite "Star Trek" — for Captain Kirk, read a batch of light particles — but teleportation is making headway. From an idea that was only considered practicable 10 years ago, scientists on Thursday say they have succeeded in teleporting laser photons over two kilometers (1.25 miles), the biggest distance yet achieved.

Time Waster:

Here is a pretty cool time wasting shockwave game. Not that we would encourage you to waste time playing games on a Friday…or any day for that matter, we are simply putting the information out there. Blame Banditt for this one.

Mods & Ends:

Power Tool Guide @ Bit-Tech - Corsair Low Latency 3200 @ DeviantPC - Readers Letters @ DansData - Radial P4 Heatsink @ FrostyTech - Union Mid Tower Case @ FuriousTech

[H]ardNews 6th Edition

Internet Speed X10:

No, this is not an e-mail promising this, this is a legitimate article about research conducted by Penn State that could make the net 10x faster. Thanks Wicker Bill.

A Penn State researcher has developed a faster method for more efficient sharing of widely distributed Internet resources such as Web services, databases and high performance computers. Jonghun Park, assistant professor in Penn State's School of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) who has proposed the protocol, says the new technology speeds up to 10 times faster the allocation of Internet resources.

GFFX Questions Answered:

Beyond3D ( wouldn’t that technically make them 4D then? ) has some reader submitted questions that were kindly answered by NVIDIA concerning the GFFX. Here is a good one:

Will dust, hair, animal fur be a major worry with cooling system on GeForce FX? Will the cooling need cleaning?

NVIDIA believes the FXFlow thermal solution will be reliable as designed under operating conditions that meet the specification.

Ummm, after someone translates that answer for me, I’ll tell you what that actually means.

Water Cooling Giveaway:

A reminder that I have one of the Koolance EXOS, external water cooling kits up for grabs in the first of 5 water cooling kit giveaways at that freaky little corner of the internet I call Hypothermia. We reviewed this very same unit here recently, and liked it a lot. There is one week left to win this kit, then we have a complete Danger Den kit up for grabs after that.

We will kick off the first of at least 5 separate water cooling kit giveaways. The first contest is courtesy of the fine folks at Koolance. This is an external cooling solution that can be transferred easily from one system to another, very impressive, very effective and a great prize for our first H20 giveaway.

[H]ardNews 5th Edition

Innovation Killed the Upgrade?

The Tech Report has a very interesting article that asks the question whether innovation killed the upgrade? It is true that we live in a time when often your whole package needs upgrading…not just a CPU or video card anymore. As always, a good read by the gang at the Tech-Report.

Remember way back when a motherboard would last at least one or maybe two meaningful CPU upgrades? My, how things have changed. These days, most major CPU upgrades require new motherboards and often new memory sticks, making the processor upgrade process potentially more expensive and involved than it used to be—and perhaps needs to be. Were we really better off in the good old days? After all, those CPU upgrades produced systems with the latest and greatest processors running on stale motherboards with old memory technology. By today's standards, that doesn't sound like much of an upgrade, does it?

AOpen AK77-8XN:

Our Irish buddies over at Tech Seekers have posted up a review of the AOpen AK77-8XN mainboard. If you are looking for a board to base your new AMD system around…could this be the black beauty you are looking for? Or should you take a pass? I’ll let the gang over there fill you in.

The AOpen AK77-8xN is quite a good solid board, and as with all KT400 based boards, performance is quite good also. (Although nForce2 is the preferred choice now) The board was complete stable during all tests right up to 180MHz FSB. So if you like to overclock then this is not a bad choice.

Mods & Ends:

Chameleon Case @ PCAbusers - 64mb USB Drive @ Techfreaks - Case Venting System @ Xtremods - Sunbeam Rheobus @ OCModshop- TweakMonster Light Kit @ OCIA

[H]ardNews 4th Edition - Blair Tech Ed

Spacecraft Computing:

Houston's Mission Control will play a diminished role in future space flights as new ships are equipped with advanced supercomputers from Purdue University. With a $15 million grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Purdue will establish a center to design a new generation of compact, high-performance computers that will free spaceships from their dependence on ground-based intelligence.

Telemarketers Sue:

Telemarketers went to court on Wednesday in an attempt to stop the U.S. government from setting up a proposed "do not call" list that would help consumers block unwanted sales calls. Four telemarketing companies and a trade group filed suit in federal court in Oklahoma City to stop the Federal Trade Commission from setting up a program that would allow consumers to place their names on a list of households that do not want to receive such calls.

How Chess Computers Work:

How can a computer play chess? For many people, that is a mind-boggling concept. Chess seems like a distinctly human activity, requiring intelligence and thought, so how can a computer possibly do it? In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we will take a look at this question. What you will find is that computers don't really "play" chess like people do.

Coder Stops Tunes:

Like Daniel entering the lions' den, programmer Jim Speth is about to release some new music-sharing software that could land him in a world of legal pain. Unlike Daniel, Speth doesn't have divine protection. But he does have faith that his software is the digital equivalent of something like a private lending library, which may or may not shield him from the entertainment industry's legal eagles, according to experts

[H]ardNews 3rd Edition - Hammer News

Hammer News:

SUNNYVALE, CA-JANUARY 31, 2003-AMD (NYSE:AMD) today announced that the worldwide introduction of its next-generation, 64-bit AMD Opteron(tm) processor for servers and workstations will take place on April 22 in New York City. AMD plans to follow up with the introduction of the AMD Athlon(tm) 64 processor for the desktop and mobile markets in September 2003.

AMD also announced today that it will introduce the AMD Athlon XP processor 3000+ on February 10 and the AMD Athlon XP processor 3200+ in mid-2003. These processors, based on the core code-named "Barton," feature additional integrated cache memory for industry-leading performance.

"With the enhanced features of the AMD Athlon XP processor, AMD will extend its leadership position in high-performance PC processor solutions," said Rob Herb, executive vice president, chief sales and marketing officer for AMD.

AMD expects that the AMD Opteron processor will be the highest-performing server and workstation processor in its class, will expand our competitive position in these markets, and will help establish AMD's leadership role in 64-bit computing for the enterprise.

"AMD believes the future of computing, from high-end servers to mainstream desktop and notebook PCs, will be based on pervasive 64-bit computing. We expect to work with our customers and partners to bring the benefits of 64-bit computing to end users worldwide," Herb said.

[H]ardNews 2nd Edition

More nForce2 Reviewage:

AMDMB is the latest to hop on the nForce2 review bandwagon. The fellas look at the MSI K7N2 flavor of nForce2 board which is like the base model for this product line. Long on performance, not as many extras.

The MSI K7N2 is another good addition to a line of nForce2 motherboards that are dominating the current AMD motherboard market. It has a slight performance advantage over the other motherboards that we tested for this review, but not enough of one to actually base your purchasing decision on. All of the nForce2 motherboards are showing themselves to be great in terms of performance – so it kind of leaves the user to make a much more difficult choice for their purchase.

Getting On TV:

Well, not like you think. Bjorn3D reviews the Leadtek WinFast TV2000 XP Deluxe today for people interested in getting TV on the PC. Well, it does other stuff too…not just the TV thing. The review itself is a quick and dirty one pager with mostly specs though, not a full blown review.

Crucial vs. Sapphire:

3DVelocity pits the new 9700Pro from Crucial against the 9700Pro from Sapphire. I don’t want to give away the winner of the catfight, but the truth is…if you can get a good deal, the winner is you with any 9700Pro right now.

Hopefully what we have shown here is that a top performance GPU needn't cost the earth. By cutting back on the extra's both Crucial and Sapphire have done an exceptional job of providing the end user with great value for money. Crucial in particular have produced the finest R9700 we have used thus far and done it for a far cheaper price than anyone else, a tremendous feat.

[H]ardNews 1st Edition

MSI K7N2G nForce2:

DeviantPC has a handful with the latest from MSI, the K7N2G nForce2 board. If we have said it once, we have said it a million times, the nForce2 is “the board” to have for all you folks on an AMD platform. Here is a clip from the review:

NVIDIA have proved beyond doubt that the nForce 2 platform is an ideal contender for the AMD performance crown. NVIDIA's good reputation with driver design should perhaps improve the performance of the graphics on the IGP, which is substantially less than a GeForce 4 MX440. This, coupled with MSI's striking red PCB looks and good reliability should provide an ideal solution to those in the mid-range and business markets.

nForce2 Drivers:

There are brand new WinXP nForce2 drivers listed on the NVIDIA website you will want to grab a hold of. Here is what was listed at NVIDIA as changes.

WHQL certified kit for nForce and nForce2, Added nForce2 IGP support, Audio performance enhancements, SPDIF on ACI support, Adds support for audio with the ASUS A7N8X Deluxe product. Windows XP users must install Service Pack 1 prior to attempting to install this package. Failure to do so will result in the inability to support USB 2.0. Audio drivers will not install on the following nForce2 products: Chaintech 7NJS. Please use the drivers that come with these products to enable audio functionality.

Video Game Widows:

Blair sent me this little gem about what women losing their spouses online to the internet or online video games. They use EQ for an example, but it can be applied pretty much to all online games and the intarweb in general.

"I'm not ugly, stupid, or selfish, and I don't understand why he would choose imaginary people over me," says one posting on the EverQuest Widows group at Yahoo. "The sad truth is that in many ways, EQ is better than real life. It is easier to succeed in EQ; I can be beautiful, fit, and healthy. In real life I am chronically ill, and there isn't much fun or achievement to be had," writes one gamer.

Video Card Retrospective:

The Elite Bastards have a small write up that covers the history and blunders of the big three video card makers. Kinda cool to see some of the old cards they are showing. I still have a Voodoo 1 card and a pair of V2 12mb boards around here somewhere for nostalgia sake.

From here on we will be keeping score of blunders and awarding blunder points for them. Please keep your own score and compare it with mine later. There will be three sections on 3Dfx, ATI and nVidia. I try to give my best view of the three through out the given time period.

Thursday January 30, 2003

[H]ardNews 8th Edition

Built In Encryption:

With security being at the forefront of technology “issues” it doesn’t surprise me to see companies trying to implement hard wired security features. Looks like all the big names are getting on the bandwagon too.

Microprocessor makers are rushing to add encryption and data security features to their chips as the technology rapidly becomes a must-have item for PCs and wireless devices. The trend is expected to be embraced most quickly by corporate buyers on the hunt for IT hardware with built-in security, though consumers will not be far behind, according to analysts.

New MSI Boards:

Digitimes has a little info on that SiS746FX-based MSI mainboard we told you about. Looks like it has everything but the kitchen sink, and then some.

MSI on January 30 launched its new motherboard for the AMD platform. Based on the SiS746FX chipset from Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS), the new 746F Ultra motherboard is able to support high-speed DDR400 (PC3200) memory and AGP 8x graphics. With USB2.0 support, its AGP 8x slot, five PCI slots and three DIMM slots, the 746F Ultra offers plenty of room for expansion and a maximum memory capacity of 3GB. The 746F Ultra also offers optional 10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN and 5.1-channel audio.

Mods & Ends:

Volcano 9 HSF @ Unreal Ops - Taisol Copper P4 Cooler @ FrostyTech - Aluminum Case @ DansData - Vantec Aeroflow @ Overclocked Café - Corsair PC3200 @ Nexus Hardware

[H]ardNews 7th Edition

Leadtek K7NCR18D nForce2:

The overclockers down-under-and-slightly-off-to-the-side have posted a review of the Leadtek K7NCR18D Pro nForce 2 today. The nForce2 boards are all the rage these days, I hear all the cool kids are getting them. Heh, joking aside, the nForce2 has become “the” AMD platform right now. This Leadtek seems to be giving the fellas fits over there, and they are no recommending it to overclockers.

The Leadtek K7NCR18D-Pro is as fast as our current champion, the Epox 8DRA+. It is not too strong in the overclocking department, but hey, people do not buy a system/OEM board to overclock. Future BIOS releases may increase it stability somewhat. All in all, a good system board for system integrators but not overclockers.

Hercules SmartTV:

Overclockers Online reviews the Hercules SmartTV PCI add-in TV card. For people looking into adding TV capabilities to their existing vidcard, this might be the answer.

Hercules has put the necessary time and effort into the design of this TV capture card. Apart from the lack of stereo sound and a remote control, the SmartTV we reviewed today has just about everything a TV card should and could have.

TV Tuner Help:

While I am on the subject, I need everyone to take a look at this stand alone TV tuner solution and give me your input on it. I want to pick this up to add TV capabilities to my Radeon 9700Pro. This is actually pretty important to me, and your input would be greatly appreciated. Take a look.

[H]ardNews 6th Edition

Seagate SATA 120gb:

You guys know that normally we don’t cover much hard drive news, but reviews like this Seagate SATA 120gb drive review focus on emerging technology that will no doubt directly impact all of us sooner or later. Expect to see a lot more SATA reviews in the coming months.

After several long hours of putting this drive through the paces, checking benchmark scores against one another, and testing as many configurations of benchmarks as possible, the drive has proven itself a contender in a new battleground, the world of Serial ATA. Like its Parallel ATA brother, it has been reliable, silent, and never given a single problem.

Gigabyte 7VAXP Ultra:

Dukgamers does a mini-review of the Gigabyte 7VAXP Ultra KT400 mainboard. A small review you can get basic info on the board from.

Overall this is one of the most fully featured motherboards available for the Athlon XP Processor, complete with Gigabyte's usual reputation for creating good products this is one motherboard you should definitely consider looking at.

More Mods @ Ends:

Cold Cathode Fans @ DVHardware - Rheobus Review @ BOPC - Sound Activated CCFL Fans @ SubZero Tech - Clear Cables @ Xtremods - Vantec Fanbus @ Overclocker Café - $15 Speakers @ Monkey Review - 19” LCD @ Modfactor