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[H] Enthusiast Archives: July 2003Archive Listing


Thursday July 31, 2003

[H]ardNews 8th Edition

RIAA Update:

It is almost getting to the point where we should make one daily RIAA post that covers who is suing, who is getting sued, what jurisdiction the RIAA has and doesn’t have and what side of the fence your local politician is on. Honestly, we only cover the RIAA stuff because we know how important it is to everyone. You can’t help but wonder how much all of this is costing.

The United States' largest supplier of ADSL broadband connections is challenging the recording industry's current campaign of targeting song swappers with a lawsuit filed late on Wednesday, charging that the RIAA is violating its customers' right to privacy. Pacific Bell Internet Services (PBIS), operated by telecommunications giant SBC Communications, challenged the subpoenas served against it by the RIAA on procedural grounds, arguing that hundreds of them were served improperly. However, the group made it clear that its action was taken in order to protect the privacy of its customers.

[H]ardNews 7th Edition

Refreshing WindowsXP:

Tweak3D shows you how to give your WindowsXP install a little refresher-upping (I just made that word up) or something like that. Most of you can benefit from this write up, I see a few things I can do to my rigs right now. Check it out.

At Tweak3D, we insist on having our PCs run squeaky clean: as fast as possible with the given hardware. We like to turn off silly graphical effects and clean up hard drives for maximum efficiency. So today, I've written a short guide on making your aging Windows XP installation run like new. Reinstalling the OS usually takes too much time and effort, so for now we'll just 'refresh' our Windows XP install with a few tricks of the trade.

Leadtek A350 GFFX 5900:

Here is a quicky one pager review of the Leadtek Winfast A350 THD MyVIVO video card. This is the card with the goofy looking HSF that resembles a radio with two speakers. The review doesn’t have much for pictures of the HSF though, just a few of the normal press photos. The fellas give it a whopping 10 out of 10, so there must be something to it.

As mentioned before, the A350 is entirely encased in an aluminum heatsink. The top piece is Leadtek’s Twin Turbo-II cooling system. Underneath the cover is a copper heatsink that attaches to the GPU with aluminum, which then covers the memory chips. The cover houses two 50mm fans, which are quiet, yet surprisingly efficient.

Something not mentioned in the review, and it is hard to see from the one picture they used, is the fact that the fans are covered with screens that get clogged fairly quickly. Something to look for if you have this card.

Carbon Black Thermal Paste:

If you are of the thinking that “thermal compound is thermal compound”, you wouldn’t be alone. But a new approach to thermal paste might be yielding some really good results.…check this stuff out.

The problem with current commercial pastes is that they have focused too long on the thermal conductivity of the material, and not on the fundamental principle of a thermal paste, which is gap filling. Silicone based ‘goop’ from radio shack is fairly thermally conductive, but the size of the particles and the terrible spreadability cause it to be more of an insulator than a conductor.

[H]ardNews 6th Edition

3DFX Story, Part II:

Sudhian has posted up part two of their 3DFX retrospective titled “A Fallen Titans Final Glory”. Some really good nostalgia stuff in this write up, but today’s installment holds a very nice treat, some hi-res Voodoo5-6000 pictures and benchmarks as well.

Looking at our assembled benchmarks, there's no doubt that the Voodoo5 6000 packed one mother of a punch, offering frame rates 30-50% higher than the GeForce2 GTS in most benchmarks and competing well against the Ultra and GeForce3. Yet when you consider the mammoth amount of RAM the V5 6K needed to compete at this level (plus the huge amount of PCB real estate those four GPU's occupied), the card begins to look like less of a deal.

[H]ardware Workshop @ QuakeCon:

We got all the particulars down finally and we will be serving up the [H]ardware Workshop at QuakeCon this year. It looks as though we will have over 30,000 square feet to work with and seating for over 1000. The [H]Worshop will take place on Saturday, August, 16 at 1PM and will be at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Downtown Dallas. There is NO CHARGE for this event but registration is required. Anand of AnandTech fame will be joining us as well!! We are rounding up prizes for sponsors currently.

id Software has also signed off on RatPadzGS for this year and is allowing us to supply a FREE RatpadzGS to every person bringing a machine into the BYOC. The estimated BYOC count for this year is over 2000 folks!!!

So all in all, even if you cannot get into the BYOC, as it is booked, we would love to have you come down for our workshop. There will of course be vendor areas and plenty of other stuff going on that is yet to be announced.

As this was only announced last week, we are just starting to line up prize sponsors. As of today, we have BFG Technologies and HackerThreads lined up to donate prizes consisting on GeForceFX 5900 video cards and [H]ardWear. We also have great stuff from the fine folks at Alpha Novatech, CoolerMaster, EPoX, Logitech, Thermalright and TYAN.

[H]ardNews 5th Edition

AOpen AK79D-400 Max:

PCStats has a little nForce2 mainboard review action posted today. The gang seems pleased with the AOpen AK79D-400 Max nForce2 board and had very good overclocking results to boot.

Even though AOpen motherboards are not known for their overclockability like brands such as Epox or Abit, we had quite a bit of luck with the AK79D-400 Max. While maintaining the most aggressive memory timings we were able to hit a nice 223 MHz FSB. Lowering the memory timings gave us a result of 234 MHz!

Gigabyte Radeon9800Pro 256MB:

What do you do to improve on an awesome card like the 9800Pro 128MB? Do what they did with the Gigabyte Radeon9800Pro and slap a total of 256MB on the card. It might not drastically improve performance…but what the hell, if you are gonna go big, you might as well go all out.

As one can tell from the benchmarks above, Gigabyte R9800Pro 258MB is one of the fastest gaming cards on the planet. Its performance is even more astonishing when overclocked to 442Core/782Memory, where it scored 14094 in 3DMark2001SE at a resolution of 1024*768*32bit with 4xFSAA and 4x Anisotropic filtering. On the flip side, it is also one of the most expensive graphics cards on the planet.

VIA and SRI Team Up:

VIA has teamed up with SRI to develop a platform in which a team of small robots is based on. The robots or “Centibots” are used in search and rescue, they can be deployed as a unit, they will map the area and then search it. Very cool stuff, definitely worth checking out.

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, and SRI International, an independent U.S. research institute, today announced a live demonstration of "Centibots", SRI's Linux-based robots, at IDG's LinuxWorld 2003 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from August 5-7. Demonstrations will be held at the VIA booth 1776, and at the "Taste of Linux Theater" event held at the show on August 6, the Centibots will navigate a course to find a hidden Linux penguin doll.

[H]ardNews 4th Edition

Nero 6 Bug:

I had better pass this one along since a lot of us use Nero 6 for burning CDs. Apparently there is a serious bug that will wipe your hard drive clean if you accidentally select the wrong thing. Worth looking into.

An Chang used our news submit to tell us that the German online magazine PCwelt.de reports that Nero 6 contains a 'bug' that could delete your entire harddrive. The bug is introduced with the Nero 6 Recode project. Bug might even not be the correct word for it, it seems more that Ahead forgot to limit the feature to empty the destination folder for temporarily files.

[H]ardNews - Blair's Tech Ed.

Fiber Optic Stuff:

A cheap alternative to the lasers used in surgery has been devised using an energy source that is free and abundant - sunshine. The working prototype made by Israeli physicists concentrates sunlight down a fibre-optic cable to provide a tool for surgeons.

NanoFab Partnerships:

Intel Corp., has high hopes for nanotechnology — and a $4 billion research budget to make those hopes a reality. Intel expects to perfect 100-nanometer chip features this year, two years ahead of schedule. At its current pace, that number should drop to 22 nanometers by 2015. Paolo Gargini, director of technology strategy at Intel Corp., has high hopes for nanotechnology — and a $4 billion research budget to make those hopes a reality.

PCs That Monitor You:

Researchers from Duke University have devised a detector that determines if a person is present and looking at a computer screen, and keeps the screen on only when it is being watched. The key to making a practical power-saving detector was using very low power sensors, and simplified algorithms that did not use more energy in overhead than it saved.

Spousal Spying:

Suspicious husbands and wives who once might have hired a private eye to find out if their spouses were cheating are now using do-it-yourself technology to check on an increasingly popular hideaway for trysts - the Internet. Divorce lawyers and marriage counselors say Internet-abetted infidelity, romance originating in chat rooms and fueled by e-mails, is now one of the leading factors in marital breakdowns.

[H]ardNews 2nd Edition

ASUS P4P800 Deluxe:

For all of you looking at a Springdale based board for your next system upgrade or project, thisASUS P4P800 review is right up your alley. See what Doc Overclock and the Motherboards.Org crew had to say:

It seems than once again the D865PE chipset shows more promise in the 3D gaming arena than the D875P and at a much lower cost as well. Intel has dropped the price on the D875 but the D865 still is the price leader and is becoming the number one choice as the chipset of choice by most gamers and enthusiasts.

Letters To Dan:

Recently voted the “most likely to become Dear Abbey” of the hardware world, Dan’s Data spends the day answering reader mail…some of this stuff is priceless.

This time, hapless organisms seek my guidance concerning magnetic monitor interference, do-it-yourself wireless headphones, LEDs that people may shoot at and will shoot near, PS2 video cables, a fried computer that isn't, digital art photography, in-office videoconferencing, and making a self-propelled PC.

1GB Corsair XMS4000:

With all these motherboards needing dual channel memory nowadays, these 1GB Corsair TwinX XMS4000 memory kits seem like a pretty good idea. The peace of mind you get from good memory is well worth the investment.

Corsair has answered the call of enthusiasts and released a product that eliminates the worry of having too little memory bandwidth! As we have shown by our benchmarks we saw very little real world gain at higher front side bus speeds when we kept the CPU clock at a constant 3.0GHz. We have reached a point in time where memory bandwidth is no longer a major factor for the Intel Pentium 4.

[H]ardNews 1st Edition

800MHz FSB To Go:

SiS announced their SiSM661FX integrated mobile chipset today that offers 800MHz FSB, DDR400 and Ultra-AGPII. The new chipset will support data transfer rates of 6.4GB/sec, DDR400/333/266 memory and a VGA throughput of up to 3.2GB/s using DDR400, all this according to the press release. Here’s a clip:

Silicon Integrated Systems Corp. (SiS), a world leader in core logic products, today announces the introduction of SiSM661FX, an 800MHz integrated core logic chipset for Notebooks. SiSM661FX is currently one of the most comprehensive integrated chipset for Notebook, supporting the 800MHz Front Side Bus format, DDR400 function and an advanced graphic technology--Ultra-AGPII™ technology. SiSM661FX is expected to usher in the era of 800MHz mobile computing.

Wednesday July 30, 2003

[H]ardNews 10th Edition

Gainward GFFX 5600 256MB:

Gamers Depot looks at the Gainward FX PowerPack! Ultra 780 TV/DVI 256MB video card today and overall felt your money would be better spent on a 5600 Ultra card.

Overall this card offers a nice performance step over the 5200FX series, however, still doesn’t come close to what we’ve seen so far from the 5600 Ultra series. It’s obvious that having 256MB on board isn’t really justified as the performance is still mediocre. We don’t place blame on Gainward, to the point, we’re rather disappointed – for the extra 20-40 dollars we’d take a 5600 Ultra any day.

More Half-Life2 Videos:

ShackNews has posted the 5th video in the Half-Life 2 video series. If you haven’t checked these bad boys out, you need to check them all out. The videos are in Bink Video format, and rather large…bandwidth challenged need not apply. The current video weighs in right about 98MB but well worth it. Grab the whole series! Collect them all! Fun for the whole family!

[H]ardNews 9th Edition

File Swapping Tools = Legal:

Today’s ruling in favor of Grokster and Morpheus has got to just boil the RIAA’s blood. There will definitely be an appeal filed, millions and millions of dollars spent until all legal avenues are exhausted or they get a ruling in their favor. Thanks Wayne.

A federal judge in Los Angeles has handed a stunning court victory to file-swapping services Streamcast Networks and Grokster, dismissing much of the record industry and movie studios' lawsuit against the two companies. "Defendants distribute and support software, the users of which can and do choose to employ it for both lawful and unlawful ends," Wilson wrote in his opinion, released Friday. "Grokster and StreamCast are not significantly different from companies that sell home video recorders or copy machines, both of which can be and are used to infringe copyrights."

The Business Of Music:

This story is a great follow up to the one posted above just because it shines a light on how screwed up the music industry is right now. It gets more complicated by the day.

Those in charge of music copyrights don't mince words when it comes to music file sharing. ''You mean theft?'' said David Basskin, president of the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd., a group that collects royalties for songwriters in Canada.

Pretty soon, if someone is playing a song to loud, and you didn’t pay for the right to listen to it…the RIAA will sue you for overhearing it. This is getting out of hand, and the only people really being hurt through all of this is the ARTIST and the CONSUMER. Artist deserve to be paid for their work, we just need to find a more efficient way to get the money directly to the people who make it so maybe they can earn more than $1 a CD.

Mods & Ends:

Enermax Case Review @ Gruntville - Antec Sonata @ Ars Technica - CoolerMaster Aero 7 Lite - Mitron Fan Controller @ SystemCooling - 3R Landrover Server Case @ PC-Max

[H]ardNews 8th Edition

3DMark03 Performance Factors:

Ace’s Hardware has a good write up posted about 3DMark03 performance factors when using a 350MHz Pentium II versus a similarly equipped Pentium4 1.4GHz system the results were surprising to say the least. The same configurations were tested again using real world gaming benchmarks and benchmark scores were almost the opposite of what were reported by 3DMark03. Very interesting stuff, it goes a long way towards our position on the future of benchmarking.

While doing some research on an old 350 MHz Pentium II system, Johan came across some interesting results while benchmarking 3DMark03. When equipped with a high-end video card, like a Radeon 9700 Pro, the 350 MHz Pentium II was able to more than keep pace with a 1.4 GHz Pentium III Celeron and even a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 in several of the 3DMark03 game tests. *snip* Indeed, if modern 3D games reflected the same performance characteristics, then a PC next in line for the scrap heap could very well become an exceptional gaming machine with one simple upgrade of the video card.

[H]ardNews 7th Edition

Biostar iDEQ 200N SFF:

The gang at myWorld Hardware have reviewed the Biostar iDEQ 200N SFF. Kind of a spiffy looking little unit with slide cover that conceals the drives. Worth looking at for sure.

The Biostar iDEQ 200N is a small form factor PC that must be taken note off. It came with impressive set of features, functionality and best of all, it came in small form sized! Perfect for users who prefer small PC that requires less space, as well as hardcore LANners who can carry around this little baby without straining .

Video Card Utilities:

3DCenter.org let me know that they have new versions of their video card utilities posted today. RTool has hit version 0.9.9.7b and aTuner is up to version 1.5.36.4490. Grab them if you need them…get them if you don’t already have them.

aTuner 1.5.36.4490

- support up to driver version 44.90 (works also with 45.20)

rTool 0.9.9.7b

- support up to driver version 03.6

- can force a full trilinear filtering on all texture stages (ATi control panel filters under anisotropic filtering only texture stage 0 trilinear, all other texture stages bilinear)

Ubi Soft = Uber-Cash:

Congrats to Ubi Soft, maker of fine games such as Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell, for posting a whopping $76 million in first quarter sales. That total is up like 107% from last year at this time. Then again, Splinter Cell selling 1.1 million copies didn’t hurt either.

Record first-quarter sales of $75.6 million – up 107% (142% at constant exchange rates). Very strong growth in North America, which represents 65% of sales versus 25% the preceding year, thanks in part to the successful launch of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell™ for PlayStationÒ2, which was the number 1 seller in April. Ubi Soft ranked sixth for the quarter among independent publishers for consoles in the United States.

[H] Sightings:

Every so often you guys send us some really good [H] sightings. This is a rather common occurrence, people look for stuff like crop circles or images of the virgin Mary on the side of a building, so why not randomly occurring stuff like this [H] logo found on a remote beach by one of our readers.

News Image

What’s that? You don’t like the beach or sand? What about money? …everyone loves money. This guy got $25,000 and immediately started making big [H] logos everywhere made out of cash. Heh, how many [H]s can you get for $25k?

News Image News Image