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[H] Enthusiast Archives: February 2003Archive Listing


Friday February 28, 2003

[H]ardNews 8th Edition

Lexmark Wins Injunction:

A win for Lexmark is a win for high prices and less competition. The reason this is so important for printer manufacturers is because they sell the printer for dirt cheap, and then charge you up the wazzoo for ink. People selling cheaper cartridges are obviously not liked by the big companies. Either way, sucks for consumers.

Printer maker Lexmark International won a preliminary injunction Thursday in efforts to prevent a company from selling computer chips that allow printers to use unauthorized recycled toner cartridges. Judge Karl Forester of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky issued the pretrial injunction against Static Control Components, a small Sanford, N.C.-based company that sells printer parts and other business supplies.

Got RatPadz?

For those of you who haven’t had chance to see our new RatPadz GS mousing surface, this review at PCExtreme will give you a good idea of what our totally redesigned RatPadz offers besides a great value. And yes, I am blowing our own horn here, but you really have to see them.

I would say that the RatPadz GS would most likely wear better and last longer than any other pad tested and its also the least expensive. Overall, the RatPadz GS is an outstanding product, and most definitely worth every penny of it's purchase price!

AMD Roadmap:

A new roadmap from AMD is out. Nothing earth-shattering, but cool to check out none the less.

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[H]ardNews 7th Edition - More Blair Tech

Supersensitive Disk Drives:

Being able to move electrons from one place to another more efficiently translates to more sensitive electronics that can read information packed more closely on disk drives. Researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo have made their ballistic magnetoresistance device 33 times more sensitive by shrinking its electrical contact from 40 nanometers to as small as one nanometer. A nanometer is the length of 10 hydrogen atoms.

Home-office tax fallacies:

The deduction is sometimes abused because it can save you a lot of money. Say you have a 1,500-square-foot home with a 150-square-foot office. Because the office is 10% of the home’s total space, you can deduct 10% of the year’s mortgage interest and taxes (or rent payments), insurance and other utilities. You can also deduct the square footage of a workspace that’s not a dedicated room, such as a corner of the den or bedroom. Even better, office furniture, equipment, business telephone and fax/data lines, and the business calls made on them, are often fully deductible.

Cosmic Dust:

The inner Solar System is suffused with a vast cloud of 'interplanetary dust.' This dust cloud is visible with the naked eye as the zodiacal light - a triangular glow rising above the horizon shortly after sunset or before sunrise. The picture to the right shows the zodiacal light together with comet Hale-Bopp. During each passage by the Sun, a typical comet loses roughly 1 m of surface material, composed of ices and dust, forming dust and ion tails millions of miles in length.

Brain Imaging Study:

Human intelligence is like a mental juggling act in which the smartest performers use specific brain regions to resist distraction and keep attention focused on critical pieces of information, according to a new brain imaging study from Washington University in St. Louis. People with higher fluid intelligence use specific brain regions to help focus their attention and resist distraction during a difficult mental task. "Some people seem to perform better than others in novel, mentally-demanding situations, but why?" asks Jeremy R. Gray, Ph.D., co-author of the study to be posted Feb. 18 in an advance online issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience. "Presumably, people are using their brains differently, but how? "

[H]ardNews 6th Edition

ASUS P4G8X:

The ASUS P4G8X is on the bench at Dark Tweaker today. The review is not in English, and the translate button doesn’t provide a very good translation, but the pictures and graphs are universal, so there you have it. You can see our review of the same board here, for comparison.

(translated) We could find in any case during the entire testing time hardly errors, now the board would have to be storing still everywhere, then we all would be content. Intel carried good work out with the new chip set, made for Asus no unnecessary errors, and everything well blocks. Our opinion: Absolutely good board!

Mobile 3D Gaming:

While some companies are bailing out of the mobile 3D market, there is still an equal amount of companies pushing towards the mobile 3D thing.

Lured by the siren call of mammoth shipments for cellular handsets, graphics companies will come to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Jose, Calif., next week to ponder technology game plans for the phone-based game market. There are choices to be made as mobile gaming drives mainstream 3-D graphics into new low-power, high-integration and real-time territory.

Cure For Stupidity:

WickerBill has everyone’s hopes up with this article saying stupidity can be cured…well, kinda.

Fifty years to the day from the discovery of the structure of DNA, one of its co-discoverers has caused a storm by suggesting that stupidity is a genetic disease that should be cured. On 28 February 1953 biologists James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA - the chemical code for all life. The breakthrough revealed how genetic information is passed from one generation to the next and revolutionised biology and medicine.

[H]ardNews 5th Edition

NVIDIA Loses MSI To ATi:

Keith Cyr points out that there is big news for ATi, bad news for NVIDIA according to this Yahoo Finance report. The report is saying that NVIDIA lost one of their biggest card making partners, MSI, to rival ATi. Here is the clip.

8:34AM NVIDIA estimates trimmed at FBR on large design loss; target $11 (NVDA) 12.57: Friedman, Billings, Ramsey has learned that NVDA has lost a large design win at Micro-Star (one of its largest customers) to ATYT; firm now believes that other designs at Micro-Star are at risk, given that they had been an NVDA-exclusive customer; additionally, firm believes NVDA's new GeForce FX line will ramp more slowly than expected due to low yields on both discrete and board-level products; trims FY04 rev/EPS ests to $1.80 bln/$0.61 from $1.83 bln/$0.63 (consensus $1.82 bln/$0.59). Price target is $11.

[H]ardNews 4th Edition - Blair Tech Ed.

Bodies Make Ozone?

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is reporting that the human body makes ozone. Led by TSRI President Richard Lerner, Ph.D. and Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry Paul Wentworth, Jr, Ph.D., who made the original discovery, the team has been slowly gathering evidence over the last few years that the human body produces the reactive gas—most famous as the ultraviolet ray-absorbing component of the ozone layer—as part of a mechanism to protect it from bacteria and fungi. "Ozone was a big surprise," says TSRI Professor Bernard Babior, M.D., Ph.D. "But it seems that biological systems manufacture ozone, and that ozone has an effect on those biological systems."

Toll Free Sex:

Out-of-work Ohioans might welcome a diversion, but state officials say they never intended to suggest they call a toll-free sex line. Embarrassed officials in the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said all 165,000 unemployment checks issued during the first two weeks of February carried a toll-free number to file an automated claim.

Net Sales Tax:

California--the birthplace of the Internet revolution--is considering taxing e-commerce, a policy reversal being urged by some lawmakers desperate to head off a budget crisis. California Gov. Gray Davis vetoed a bill in 2000 that would have required Web-based retailers to collect sales taxes, a move that came as the Internet bust was just beginning to undo many of the state's high-flying dot-coms. Three years later, California's high tech-fueled surpluses have evaporated and the Golden State faces a shortfall that could reach $35 billion over the next year and a half.

[H]ardNews 3rd Edition

ATI and NVIDIA Editorial:

The Tech-Report has a very good editorial online today that deal with the ongoing ATi vs. NVIDIA issues. With NVIDIA stumbling and bumbling and ATi hitting their mark like a seasoned veteran, what is there to discuss? Apparently, a lot.

NVIDIA'S GEFORCE FX delays have left a lot of graphics card manufacturers in a bit of a bind. A short supply of GeForce FX 5800 Ultras has forced manufacturers to offer these cards as special edition products in only limited quantities, if they're even offering Ultras at all. Manufacturers will, of course, have non-Ultra GeForce FX products, the first of which should trickle onto the market in early March. Unfortunately, it looks like those cards could be too little, too late in the face of ATI's full court press of Radeon 9500, 9700, and upcoming R350-based products, and there's not much that NVIDIA's graphics card partners can do about it. Or is there?

[H]ardNews 2nd Edition

Operation Quiet PC:

If you want a quiet PC, get some earplugs...that’s what I say. EnvyNews thinks differently and actually spent a little cash on trying to silence their PC. Does it work? Or should you stick to your $0.50 earplugs? Find out here:

Well, what can I say other than what has already been said. Using a combination of a high-quality PSU, fans and enclosures can make your PC quiet enough to keep even the lightest of sleepers from loosing their beauty sleep, there's no question about it there. My whole system using just the components listed here the dB level of my mediocre PC in a standard Midi-tower ATX case dropped from a bearable 62dB to a soothing 45dB. Just 5dB above ambient in my living room.

Command & Conquer Fun:

What makes Command & Conquer: Generals so fun? I’m not really sure, but Gary Webb seems to think he knows what it is. Look:

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UV Fan Adapters:

These are really pretty cool, UV Fan adapters. We’re not talking a performance item here, or anything else, just a pretty inexpensive “wow” gadget for the mod market or people that dress up their computers.

Overall these UV adapters are just darn cool looking. If you have a heatsink that only takes 60mm fans this is a great way to add some extra air flow, possibly a more quiet fan, and at the same time add some styling to your case. It would be very easy to mix and match these fans and adapters to create some really smooth looking color schemes.

[H]ardNews 1st Edition

Radeon 9700Pro eview:

Actually the name is Sapphire Radeon 9700Pro Ultimate Edition. What makes this card an “Ultimate Edition” card other than the price tag? The fellas at VR-Zone can tell you:

The performance of the card when not overclocked is as great as any other 9700 Pro, which at the moment is the best and fastest card on the market. Well to put it simply, Sapphire has finally found the hardcore enthusiast market with their Sapphire Radeon 9700 Pro Ultimate Edition.

Darth Vader PC:

This is a continuation of a previous article, but BurnOutPC takes you inside Darth Vader’s head, literally. They found a PC in there, in case you were wondering.

I was amazed at the attention I received from my Darth Vader PC. Some of the emails I received had great suggestions. I think the question that was most relevant was "where's the CD drive?" The problem is that there was no place to put a drive in the original. So I came up with a completely new design.

I guess this makes him like, Darth Vader v2.0, doesn’t it?

Cut Down The Noise:

No, we are not talking about the noise from the voices in your head, we are talking about case noise. The gang at Dark Tweaker used a fanbus to get rid of noise by controlling fan speed, pretty slick looking when it is all installed too. Now, about them voices….

Laser Record Player:

Damn, a laser record player…no needle required! Break out the vinyl guys!! Well, you old fogies like me know what you I’m talking about. I still have KISS: Destroyer ( my first LP ). Ahhhh, the memories. Blame Rich Hein for the linkage.

No Record Wear. Your records are played without being touched. Easy Operation. Using the controls on the front panel, you may select an individual cut, repeat a part of the record or program your selections from a single side. Renewed Sound. Discs with cracks and scratches, warp and wear can look like new to the laser eye. Pure Analog Sound. The Laser Turntable does not digitize the signal at any point in the reproduction.

Thursday February 27, 2003

[H]ardNews 9th Edition - Rumor Mill Stuffs

Intel’s New Socket?

I debated posting this since the reliable source that sent this info has also sent it to about 50 million other websites ( who subsequently posted it as “exclusive” ), but there is a roadmap floating around that is showing the Grantsdale chipset supporting a new Land Grid Array ( LGA ) 775 socket that will support both the Tejas and Prescott processors. The same roadmap is showing 533MHz and 800MHz fsb for the chipset. Interesting stuff if it all pans out, but this is all total rumor mill stuff with no one from Intel confirming any of it. There you have it, straight from the mouth of the cousin of the brother of the sister of the friend of a friend that saw a guy wearing an Intel shirt walking out of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant operated by the husband of a friend that originally got this roadmap.

[H]ardNews 8th Edition

Overclocking The PDA II:

We posted a link to a story in our 4th Edition today about the hazards of overclocking, a story by PCWorld.com. Hayes Haugen, the developer of Clear Speed one of the two overclocking programs mentioned in the article, contacted me with his take on the situation, and here is what he had to say:

I develop and publish one of the programs profiled in this article (Clear Speed). I'm currently corresponding with the author for a follow up piece he's going to run (hopefully). The CPU used in the Pocket PC (PXA250) is completely clock configurable as far as memory speed and core multiplier. Just imagine an unlocked Pentium with memory speed settings in the CPU itself. It sucks that Intel gets a free ride on the whole "overclocking" issue. We all know what goes on between chip manufacturing and marketing.

Some of my main issues:

- Intel says a heat sink isn't necessary on the PXA250 so I can't see how they can claim heat is an issue.

- Can the PXA250 actually be damaged by software, even inadvertently? How does Intel feel about designing a CPU this way and then documenting how to do it?

- Assuming that somehow each CPU off a wafer has performance characteristics that vary by a factor of 2 (200 mhz to 400 mhz) how is Intel's testing any different than just running the CPU at a speed and seeing if it works? Does Intel suggest that their processors degrade over time and can fail at some future point? How do they account for such poor manufacturing techniques that would result in such a variation in the parts produced?

Thanks for listening!

Hayes

Going back and reading the original PCWorld.com article, I am hoping to see a follow up to the original article and see what their take on Mr. Haugen comments are. As I am sure all of you guys are.

[H]ardNews 7th Edition

Mass Exodus:

Hynix loses 50 more executives today, just one day after the VP stepped down. What is up with the troubled memory maker? Who knows, I am amazed they have made it as far along as they have.

About 50 company executives at troubled DRAM maker Hynix Semiconductor Inc. have resigned, according to a Dow Jones Business News report. “As part of measures to maintain the company's competitiveness, the executives earlier this week elected to resign,” a spokesman is quoted as saying.

Nintendo & 3D Memory:

Remember that stacked cell memory from early 2002 that was announced by a company called Matrix? They are back in the news for striking a deal with Nintendo to develop memory for the game maker.

Nintendo has invested $15 million in Matrix Semicondcutors Inc., which has developed a non-volatile 3D memory, Matrix said this week. The investment in Matrix was made quietly last year by Nintendo. Observers said it shows Nintendo's strong interest in the memory technology. "We are always looking for good solutions for our mobile game" devices, said Nintendo spokesman Ken Toyoda. "Matrix's 3D memory is one such possibility."

Perfect Automotive Engine:

Well, that is what they are saying. Now, they had better develop at least a prototype or something…cause this I gotta see. Thanks Blair and Wicker Bill.

Marlan Scully, the Texas A&M; University professor who applied quantum physics to the automotive engine and came up with a design that emits laser beams instead of exhaust, has been tinkering under the hood again. This time, he's sized up the perfect engine -- and improved it. Scully, known as the "Quantum Cowboy" for his innovations in quantum physics and his Franklin Society prize-winning research into beef cattle production, has invented a theoretical design more efficient than the Carnot engine, which had stood for nearly two centuries as the standard for efficiency -- an engine so ideal it exists only in theory.

[H]ardNews 6th Edition - Gaming Stuffs

Got Game?

Interesting gaming news at CNNMoney, Take Two Interactive had a whopping $400 million in Q1 revenue, but what makes that really interesting is the fact that almost 70% of that revenue came from ONE game. Whoa….

Bat-wielding gangsters are the heroes of Take Two Interactive Software these days, but Duke Nukem's popularity is starting to fade. The exceedingly popular (and controversial) "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" has sold more than 8.5 million copies worldwide since its late October debut. Those sales, according to the company, made up 68 percent of Take Two's first quarter revenue of $408.8 million.

The video game publisher reported a first quarter profit of $50.5 in its fiscal first quarter, compared to $34.8 million in 2002. Additionally, the company raised guidance for its full fiscal year to $970 million. Write-downs and impairment costs totaled $14.5 million, with a significant portion of that blamed on the anticipated, but long-delayed action game "Duke Nukem Forever". First announced in 1998, the game still has no targeted release date. And company officials said there's no hope of it shipping within the next three months.

Ugh, not good news for 3DRealms and Duke Nukem Forever. Take Two says that the long delayed game is responsible for most of the $14.5 million write-downs and impairment costs. *Ouch*.