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[H] Enthusiast Archives: August 2003Archive Listing


Sunday August 31, 2003

[H]ardNews 2nd Edition

Dually Opterons:

Dually Opteron benchmarks that utilize the available AGP slot from a site you can trust. Legion hardware shows you the ins and outs of dual Opteron ownership.

I am finding it difficult deciding what I found most impressive about the test subjects. Was it the powerful Opteron 244 processors or the highly flexible K8T800 chipset or just the rock solid MSI K8T Master2-FAR motherboard? One thing is for sure they were all top of their game; the Opteron 244 processors were amazing. Clocked at just 1.8GHz they were able to rub shoulders with Pentium 4 processors that were over 1GHz faster.

It's a Snap:

Putting TV on your PC is really just about that easy and with SnapStream software, you can record whatever you want and watch it later. HTPCNews has the information.

So far here at HTPCNews, we have tried out 3 of the 4 main PVR software titles offered as of this time. It is our opinion that Snapstream is so far the best option at this time. Sure, some of you may like your current PVR software that you use for recording shows and displaying them on your computer monitor... but this site is not about regular PC's, it's about HTPC's, ones that will be viewed primarily on a television or projector.

On that subject, does anyone know an easy way to get HiDef Satellite into my PC and not loose the HD?

Tech Talk:

A key enabler of Moore's Law has been continuous scaling (reduction) in all the physical dimensions of the MOSFET and its contacts (see Figure 1 for a schematic cross-section (1)), and in the DC power supply voltage applied to the MOSFET. However, with scaling, a number of difficulties arise in meeting the transistor requirements. One such difficulty is a sharp increase in the gate leakage current as the thickness of the silicon oxynitride gate dielectric is scaled to the current state of the art of about 1.5 nm and below

Yeah, so what, I already knew that... Blame Blair.

LCD TVs Sooner than Later:

Practically all the consumer electronics manufacturers are "moving into LCD TV sets," said Jos Klippert, marketing manager at Philips Semiconductors. They are looking for a solution that lets them "jumpstart quickly in the new market."

Thanks Joseph Alpert.

Net Crap Remembered:

USAToday rehashes the Net fads that have passed us by...

Created in 1996 to demonstrate a software program by Autodesk, the baby took on a life of its own in 1997.

Cooling:

Ram Coolers @ CTZ - Heat Exchanger @ R&B; - Maze4 @ Modfathers ( I may have put a couple of doubleposted links in here, sorry.)

Etc.:

iDeq @ OCA - 360Watt PSU @ ModTheBox

[H]ardNews 1st Edition

Google On Notice:

This is sort of interesting and brings up a particular issue about the Web that many of us would just assume is "OK". The owners of Kazaa, a file trading client that has facilitated what is surely millions of dollars in theft of copyrighted material, has sent notice to Google. Kaaza sites the DMCA sez:

Utilizing the search query, "kazaa," at www.google.com, the following search results (the "Infringing Material") contain unauthorized copies of the KMD or unauthorized derivative works of the KMD which infringe the KMD and the exclusive rights of the Owner:

Basically when you search for the term "Kazaa" on Google, it sends you to sites that are not authorized to distribute "Kazaa" material. A copy of the original document is here. There is a rant here on the subject.

The whole thing seems just a bit ironic to me...

Athlon:

Your Athlon need a new coat of paint? How bout just jumping some traces to bring the voltage down? OCInside shows you exactly that.

The interactive AMD Athlon XP, T-Bred and Barton painting guides in the OverClocked inside workshop area are now updated with a new feature to lower the Vcore down to 1.10 Volt (in 0.025 Volt steps). In the age of silent PCs I was asked very often for such a feature, because several never processors are working very fine with CPU voltages below 1.475 V also at higher clock rates.

Theme Screws:

Soon to be available from every knock off modder production house out of Asia. Today only at Metku.

[H]ardAIR:

I know that some of you folks out there do a lot of air travel and certainly would not mind being on this flight.

Saturday August 30, 2003

[H]ardNews 6th Edition

FORSA FX5600:

PCExtreme has a look at a new player in the graphics card arena. We know almost nothing about this company outside what is provided in this review, so you are on your own. Let’s take a look at what PCE had to say:

This is a good budget card if you cannot spend a lot of money but you need something that has DirectX 9 support. The red LED in the cooling fan is a nice touch that will surely grab some attention if nothing else. Do not expect to run 1600X1200 and play Half-Life 2 all day or anything but if you like to play a few games here and there then this card is a great choice.

ECTS Movies:

Accelenation has 30 movies from ECTS posted today. Most of the video is stuff you have seen already because these are the same rolling demo footage released by Valve already. The good thing is that they are much smaller ( modem friendly ) than the larger high-quality Bink videos we have seen out of FileShack.

The following thirty movie clips, each approximately 3MB in size, cover the majority of the demonstration, and although they fail to convey the quality of the graphics, they certainly show the sort of action that can be expected. That action can be explained as a cross between the original game and the movie Starship Troopers.

Even More ECTS:

UKGamer had comments to add to their ECTS day One coverage posted here yesterday. It seems the event was lacking on many fronts.

It seems that organizers have seen the publicity and money of the PlayStation Experience and decided to concentrate more on that. Fair enough, but don't try and fool "the trade" into thinking ECTS is worth traveling any further than 20 miles to, because judging on this year's performance, I find it hard to justify my tube fair, let alone what some of my colleagues have paid in order to see this lacklustre event.

[H]ardNews 5th Edition

ASUS Going ATi?

Digitimes is reporting that Asustek will launch an ATi based card in Q3 of this year. Both ATi and Asustek deny it these rumors though. That is the big question on everyones mind though, will Asustek switch from NVIDIA to ATi?

Asustek Computer, a key customer for Nvidia’s graphics chipsets in Asia, expects to launch own-brand graphics cards featuring ATI solutions by the end of this quarter. The two sides expect to officially announce the news in late September, according to sources.

Samsung Announces GDDR2:

Samsung has announced production of its 256-megabit Graphics Double Data Rate2 SDRAM. I wonder how soon it will be before we see 512MB cards using this memory? Considering current cards will not have to be redesigned to use this memory, I’d bet it won’t be too long.

SAMSUNG’s GDDR2 devices incorporate new technical features such as On-Die-Termination (ODT), Off-Chip driver-Calibration (OCD) and posted CAS to boost performance by 50 percent over graphics DDR SDRAM. The 1.6-gigabit per second pin data rate delivers an aggregate bandwidth of 6.4-gigabytes per second.

Prescott On Fast Track:

Intel has next quarter shipments for the Prescott and Dothan processors in its sights. The Prescott should be 3.4GHz part with 1MB of L2 cache. Here is a clip from the story:

Intel Corp. is sampling the first processors manufactured on its 90nm technology process -- the Prescott for desktop PCs and the Dothan, an improved version of the Pentium M chip for laptops. Intel said it is on schedule for "revenue shipments" of both processors next quarter. The Santa Clara, Calif., company defines initial revenue shipments as limited-quantity orders placed by OEMs that use the processors to build enough computers to prepare for a formal market launch.

[H]ardNews 4th Edition

AOpen AX4SPE Max Review:

You guys know we like spice things up by using terms like “bad ass black board” when describing mainboards like this Springdale based AOpen AX4SPE Max. But this is the first time I have ever heard “smelling like a summer rose” in a mainboard review conclusion…how sweet.

Fast and filled with enough features to make even the most fanatical die hard enthusiasts drool the AX4SPE comes away smelling like a summer rose and even made me want to replace my current board with it. I would not have guessed that AOpen had listened to user's opinions as closely as they did in the engineering and development of this motherboard, but in the end game it panned out very nicely for the end user who purchases one.

Cool Culance Case Mod:

Bit –Tech has a nice Koolance case mod posted today. I don’t know if anyone has pointed this out yet, but this looks suspiciously like this. The resemblance is uncanny, look at the two side by side, you'll see what I mean.

Before I start I would like to say that from an aesthetic perspective I dislike this case immensely. The build quality is superb and it is an excellent case, but to my mind it is just too butt ugly! I only mention this as a point of interest to those of you who have only ever modded your own cherished gear.

Do Not Call Deadline:

The National Do Not Call List deadline is tomorrow. Go get signed up.

Consumers have until Sunday to add their phone numbers to the 41.7 million already on a list to block telemarketing calls starting Oct. 1. K. Dane Snowden, chief of the Federal Communications Commission's consumer and government affairs bureau, said those who sign up for the do-not-call list after this weekend likely will have to wait until early next year before calls are blocked.

[H]ardNews - Blair's Weekend Tech

Busted By Google:

Student cheats at Waikato University are being caught out by Google - the world's most popular internet search engine. Lecturers reported 87 cases of plagiarism at the university last year - up from 26 in 2001. In most cases the students were cutting and pasting sentences or phrases from the internet. And that was their downfall, said Waikato University pro-vice chancellor David Swain.

Privacy Group Makes Point:

A privacy group, seeking to highlight the lack of protection of sensitive personal data, says it bought the social security (news - web sites) number of CIA (news - web sites) chief George Tenet and other top US officials for 26 dollars. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights said it obtained on the Internet the social security numbers of Tenet as well as those of Attorney General John Ashcroft and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

Rooftop Networking:

A few weeks ago, MIT graduate student Shan Sinha canceled his broadband Internet service. Now his Net connection comes through the chimney. From a computer in the living room of his Cambridge, MA, apartment, a few blocks from the MIT campus, a cable goes into the fireplace up to the roof, where it is attached to an antenna. From there, data packets hop to another roof-mounted antenna at a nearby student’s apartment.

Tweaking IE?

Will Microsoft tweak IE? The software giant tells a standards body that it's considering making changes to its Web browser in light of a recent patent infringement ruling against the company. Microsoft told the Web's leading standards body that it's considering making changes to its Internet Explorer browser in light of a recent ruling against the company in a patent infringement lawsuit

Font Theft?

When your organisation is publishing in print or on the web, does anyone check where the text fonts came from? Do you have a licence for the fonts you use? If not, the message today from the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is that you are taking a serious risk. Font designer Agfa Monotype has joined forces with FAST to tackle the growing issue of unlicensed fonts – which costs the UK font industry 40% of its revenues, according to Agfa.

[H]ardNews 2nd Edition

AOpen AK77-600 Max:

In our first edition today we featured all Intel based mainboards, so how about a little AMD action this time around? The AOpen AK77-600 Max is reviewed by PCStats today, putting this VIA based board through the wringer. Let’s see how the board held up.

If you're not a hardcore gamer and want a motherboard which offers excellent flexibility then the AOpen AK77-600 Max is a great option, and at a very enticing price.

Radeon 9600Pro Overclocking:

Got a Radeon 9600Pro with an inferiority complex? Overclock the damn thing! Well, that’s what we would do…then again, that is our approach to everything around here.

After sifting my way though the nearly infinite choice of current generation video cards, I arrived at the Radeon 9600 Pro from ATI. The 9600P is considered a mid-range rendering solution, just as when I purchased the GTS a couple of years ago. As with many consumers, I wanted to check out today's advanced filtering and anti-aliasing technologies to bring out the best in my old games, plus have enough power to enjoy current games at mid-range resolutions.

ATi Radeon Tweak Guide:

O.K., so you overclocked your Radeon 9600Pro….now tweak it! This guide applies to all Radeon 9x00 cards, not just the Radeon 9600Pro.

We will start by covering basic troubleshooting steps and general settings, then in the next few pages we will extend onto more specific Direct3D & OpenGL settings, performance comparison between settings and image quality shots to showcase differences in better detail.

[H]ardNews 1st Edition

VIA PT800 Chipset:

Hexus has the VIA PT800 chipset in house for a little review action. For those of you who don’t know, the PT800 boasts an 800MHz FSB, Hyper-Threading Technology and VIA’s advanced FastStream64 DDR400 Memory Controller. You can see our review here of the PT800 for comparison.

VIA is back on track with a single-channel design that impresses on both the performance and feature counts. We just hope that it's not a case of too little, too late. Overall judgement is reserved until we have a number of retail boards in for testing. The bottom line is that VIA is a player in the P4 market.

MSI 865PE Neo2 FIS2R:

While we are on the subject of Intel boards, UKGamer has the MSI 865PE Neo2 FIS2R Springdale based board on the review block. The fellas seem to really like the board and all the extras that came with it. Here is a clip:

The MSI 865PE Neo2-FIS2R is a motherboard for those wanting a little more than just raw performance. That said, this unit has proved to have great performance but the extras that are present provides a great incentive for consumers, especially in the mainstream market segment.

Killer Gaming Rig:

Every so often I put together a complete top of the line computer and then give it away to one of you guys. I call this little project the “Killer Gaming Rig”, this is the ninth time we have done it over the last few years. Head on over to my alter-ego site, Hypothermia, and throw your name in the hat. Check out the specs of the system so far:

The Killer Gaming Rig #9 is now officially OPEN!!! You gotta get in it to win it...simply drop your name in the hat once a day and try to win this awesome machine. We are still getting everything together, but we are off to a great start with a BFG Tech Asylum GeForceFX 5900Ultra 256MB, and a 3GHz Pentium4 800MHz FSB part, cooling will be handled by a DangerDen Maze4 Watercooling kit.

Friday August 29, 2003

[H]ardNews 7th Edition

Single Chip Supercomputer:

One trillion operations per second? Whoa. Apparently IBM thinks they can pull off a single chip supercomputer capable of just that. You have to admit, it would be pretty damn impressive even if they can do it.

The embedded supercomputer is based on an innovative architecture called "TRIPS" (Tera-op Reliable Intelligently-adaptive Processing System), which uses block-oriented execution. Instead of operating on a few computations at a time in sequence, the TRIPS processor crunches large blocks of computations in parallel, significantly boosting performance.

ABIT IC7 i875 Review:

Oc Prices reviews the IC7 today. Those of you looking at a Canterwood solution for your next box will want to add this board to their list of candidates. The reviewer seemed pretty upset that this version of the IC7 comes without an onboard network card, but they liked most everything else.

Overall Abit have done a good job with the IC7. It has excellent performance, a really nice bundle and superb overclocking ability. However, the lack of a NIC onboard is inexcusable in this day and age, and there is still room for improvement in terms of memory compatability and voltage options.

Diamond Multimedia Sold:

Best Data bought Diamond Multimedia’s communication division and plan on relaunching their line of SupraMax modems.

“We are very excited to have acquired the modem assets of Diamond Multimedia,” said Bruce Zaman, president and CEO of Best Data. “The Diamond SupraMax brand continues to have very strong recognition and appeal with consumers and value-added resellers. We know customers will be thrilled to see the Diamond SupraMax products updated with the latest technology back on the shelf. We are looking forward to working with our retailers and channel partners to make the re-launch extremely successful.”

Radeon 9600Pro Reviews:

I have a few reviews of the popular Radeon 9600Pro for you, one in Portuguese and one in German. I suggest a good translation tool like the one provided by Google or do what us lazy people do…just check out the graphs and pictures ( pictures are universal ).

[H]ardNews 6th Edition

Gigabyte GA-8S648FX:

It must be “Gigabyte Review Day” and no one told me. Once again we have a Gigabyte mainboard review, this time it is the SiS 648FX powered GA-8S648FX on the review block at Legit reviews. Here is a clip from the action:

My thoughts after I finished my performance testing on the Gigabyte GA-8S648FX Motherboard is that Gigabyte has put together a decent low-end workplace motherboard. However, since this board does utilize the features of the relatively new Pentium 4 "C" processors supporting 800 FSB, you can expect a decent gaming experience on this board even though it is not the best board for it.

New H20 Kit:

Here is a newer watercooling kit called the Wayvet CoolingKing water cooling kit reviewed by the MTB crew. There were a number of issues with this kit that the MTB guys addressed such as a leaky waterblock and damaged components, but overall they rated it high.

The performance of the CoolingKing Water Cooling kit allows for it to be classified under the mid-level water cooling category with more attention focused on silent operation rather than performance in overclocking results. The mild assembly required for the CoolingKing Water Cooling Kit can be easily achieved with some careful planning and using the included or online documentation, which I found to be very helpful.

[H]ardNews 5th Edition

Gigabyte GA-7VT600 KT600:

Another Gigabyte GA-7VT600 KT600 review today, this one courtesy of the fellas at PCStats. While the gang does like the board overall, they didn’t seem to have to overclocking success that other reviewers have had.

The layout of the motherboard is excellent, Gigabyte obviously took a lot of time and effort when laying out all the components. Having all the major connectors to the right of the DIMM slots and all the header connections at the bottom of the motherboard certainly makes things much easier for the end user. Even if you're using longer PCI cards, there's nothing that will get in the way!

Modding 101:

If we were to write a modding guide, it would no doubt contain chapters covering popular stuff like “don’t chop your damn finger off” and “running with sharp objects”. Thankfully Bit-Tech’s Modding 101 Guide is a lot more informative than anything I personally could’ve cooked up.

Computer modding is not just about producing the coolest and most original mods, sometimes mods are produced for a specific reason. Take the following project, here I take a vanilla CoolerMaster CM101 and turn it into a slightly less vanilla CoolerMaster CM101. The purpose of the work, is to enhance the looks without turning it into an over-the-top modding extravaganza.

Opera & Mozilla Betas:

If you are fans of alternative browsers then this link is for you. Both Mozilla and Opera have beta versions out for your browsing pleasure.

The Mozilla project, which is creating an open-source version of the Netscape browser, released the beta, or public test of its version 1.5 software on Wednesday. Opera Software, the Norway-based commercial Web software developer, released an updated version of its latest browser on Thursday.

[H]ardNews 4th Edition

Intel Kills Wireless:

Intel has decided to stop selling branded wireless networking. The company will focus on its Centrino line instead. The article isn’t very long, but it did produce one of the best quotes of the day ( read last sentence ):

Wireless networking technology "Wi-Fi is in danger of being overhyped, and to some degree we may be guilty of that by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on our Centrino advertising campaign," he said. Otellini added that the popularity of Wi-Fi has led to tremendous pricing pressure for chips, but that's the nature of the business. "That's life," he said. "Welcome to the semiconductor business."

Xbox Wireless:

While Intel may be shutting down their wireless ambitions, Microsoft is just getting started. Microsoft just got FCC approval for their own line of wireless Xbox network adapters. Very cool.

According to its quick start guide, users will be able to play multi-player games with either Microsoft’s own Xbox Live online game subscription service if the device is connected to a broadband Internet connection or users can use the device to create a wireless connection for System Link (console-to-console) play (requires two Xbox video game systems and Xbox System Link play certified games).

Promised CD Settlement?

What ever happened to the CD price fixing settlement money everyone was supposed to get? Remember that? Looks like more legal maneuvering is holding up the flow of settlement cashola.

We first told you about a chance to get free money in a music price-fixing settlement. That was five months ago. Checks for as much as $20 a person were supposed to be in the mail in mid-July. Over time, a lot of us forgot about it, but not Jeff Lewandowsky.