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[H] Enthusiast Archives: October 2003Archive Listing

Friday October 31, 2003

[H]ardNews 10th Edition

Pentium 4 EE Monday:

The fellas the Tech Report have a little inside info that says the Pentium 4 EE will be available on Monday. Street price is looking very high, hovering around a $1000. Not sure how accurate the dollar figure will be though. Good stuff, check out the Tech Report for all the rest.

Numerous sources are reporting that Intel's Pentium 4 Extreme Edition will be released on Monday. The processor will be available in limited quantities in high-end systems targeted at gamers. With a price tag between $900 and $1000 for the CPU alone.

MS Threat Model Tool?

As I sit here reminiscing over the 50+ security updates I have applied to WinXP this year…this story pops up about Microsoft getting set to release a threat model tool. What the?!?! Thanks Blair.

Microsoft Corp. plans to publicly release a threat modeling tool it uses internally to help software developers create more secure software, the company said Thursday. The tool can display threats in a diagram after information such as usage scenarios and the environment in which the application will run is entered, Michael Howard, senior program manager for security engineering and communications at Microsoft, said in a presentation at the vendor's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles.

Mozilla 1.5:

Bob Sutan reminds us that Mozilla 1.5 is no longer Beta and ready for download. I know a handful of you guys really go for Mozilla, so this post is for you.

We are pleased to announce new versions of Mozilla 1.5, the award winning Internet suite, and new Technology Preview releases of Mozilla Firebird (version 0.7) and Mozilla Thunderbird (version 0.3). Check out the beta version of the upcoming web site and give us feedback.

[H]ardNews - [H]appy [H]alloween


[H]ardForum member, Deadlierchair, got into the holiday spirit and sent us in his 2003 [H]ard-pumpkin. Not to be outdone, we had the gang from DreamCatcher Games put a whole PC into a pumpkin and another reader send us his version of a hardware holiday pumpkin. We wish everyone a safe and Happy Halloween, be cool, have fun...and remember, if things start to get REALLY out of hand..take pictures!!

[H]ardNews 8th Edition

New Virus:

Kyle actually mentioned this to you guys last week, but it is just getting big now. There is a new virus that hijacks your box turning it into a spam machine. Please, update your virus software. If you run your box unprotected without anti-virus software, please reach over and unplug your network cable, take a step back from your PC and proceed to kick yourself in the's the right thing to do.

A new e-mail virus capable of turning infected personal computers into "spamming" machines emerged Friday, targeting corporate and home users in Europe and the United States, a computer security expert said. Anti-virus software makers Trend Micro reported that tens of thousands of its corporate computer users in France and Germany were hit Friday afternoon by the virus, dubbed "Mimail.C." The virus carries the subject message line "our private photos ???." Opening the e-mail triggers the virus into action.

[H]ardNews 7th Edition

ASUS Radeon 9800XT/TVD:

Hexus has a review of the ASUS Radeon 9800XT/TVD. ASUS has always went the extra mile with their products and put out great video cards in the past, let’s see how this card stacks up this time around.

It overclocks decently, SmartDoctor makes it quieter than almost any other card, it's presented well, exudes quality and carries ASUS' 3 year warranty. Factor Half Life 2 into the price too, if you're feeling that way inclined. Shipping date for that title stops it making any real difference though. Should you want the fastest graphics card money can buy and you're deep of pockets, the ASUS is as good as any to relieve you of your cash.

MS Wants Google:

Is Microsoft actively pursuing Google? This story says that MS is desperate to get a piece of the ad generating search engine pie. Could Google patches & BSODs be in our future? (heh….kidding, just kidding)

Wall Street is not the only one wooing Google. Microsoft is as well. Google, the highflying Silicon Valley Web search company, recently began holding meetings with bankers in preparation for its highly anticipated initial public offering as it was still engaged in meetings of another kind: exploring a partnership or even a merger with Microsoft.

Speed Of Light CPU:

I could’ve sworn we had covered this already, but I can’t find anything on pardon me if this is a repost. Israel has developed a CPU that uses optics instead of silicon enabling it to work at the speed of light.

“Optical processing is a strategic competitive advantage for nations and companies,” said Avner Halperin, vice president for business development at Lenslet. “Processing at the speed of light, you can have safer airports, autonomous military systems, high-definition multimedia broadcast systems and advanced next-generation communications systems.” An optical processor is a digital signal processor (DSP) with an optical accelerator attached to it that enables it to perform functions at very high speeds.

[H]ardNews 6th Edition

State Of 3D Affairs:

You know what they say about opinions…everyone has one. When you share your opinion in written form, it is an editorial. Penstarsys has an editorial online dealing with the state of 3D graphics that is worth reading. The article touched on a lot of things that are right / wrong / inevitable in this industry and I think you guys will find it interesting.

In 3D graphics, the word “optimization” has now taken on a negative inflection. In the past, when manufacturers say that they are “optimizing” their product for a certain application, it had a very positive spin. Here was a company that was actively working to make their product run faster and better with an application. Ever since ATI released their R200 chip, and the Quake/Quack situation, optimizing has never been the same. Now NVIDIA is caught in this loop, and the accusations of NVIDIA “cheating” and “lying” seem to grow on a daily basis. Let us take a step back and really view the situation as it stands.

[H]ardNews - Blair's Tech Ed.

How Halloween Works:

October brings an avalanche of carved pumpkins, dancing skeletons, smiling ghosts and witches riding on brooms. Halloween certainly stands out from the rest of the holidays we observe throughout the year: It's full of frightening ghost stories, pranks, elaborate costumes and bizarre games. On Halloween, we all revel in being scared. Halloween also stands out because of its unique mix of secular and religious elements. In recent years, the holiday has stirred up a lot of controversy because it offends some Christian groups, which in turn upsets many modern-day Wiccans and Druids.

Boosting Semiconductor Lasers:

Physicists have made a new type of laser by combining a quantum cascade laser with a photonic crystal. Raffaele Colombelli of Bell Labs in the US and colleagues say that their novel proof-of-concept device could find use in sensing applications and fundamental research in optics. Conventional semiconductor lasers emit photons when electrons in the conduction band and holes in the electron band recombine. The wavelength or energy of the photon is determined by the energy difference between the conduction and valance bands - which is a fundamental property of the semiconductor.

Soldering Process:

The following information will aid you in learning basic soldering skills. It should enable you to solder wires to electrical connectors, splices, and terminal lugs that we have discussed earlier in the chapter. Special skills and schooling are required for the soldering techniques used in printed circuit boards and microminiature component repair.

IBM Adds Jobs:

IBM Corp., which announced plans this month to create 10,000 jobs next year, also will retrain 100,000 employees for computer-services and software work, Chief Executive Sam Palmisano said. Palmisano said Oct. 15 that Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM will add workers next year because information-technology spending may be accelerating and the economy has "stabilized." IBM, the world's largest computer maker and services seller, had about 316,000 employees at the end of last year.

Foiling Fraud:

Working with capsules of dye just a few billionths of a metre in diameter, researchers at University of Toronto and the advanced optical microscopy facility at Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital have created a new strategy for encrypting photographs, signatures and fingerprints on security documents. This technology will give security or customs authorities the confidence that documents are not fake.

[H]ardNews 4th Edition

Albatron PX856PE Lite Pro:

What exactly makes the Albatron PX856PE Lite Pro i848P any different than a regular i865 mainboard? There is only one 64 bit memoy controller instead of the regular two on the i865. Check out the PCStats review for all the info, here’s a clip to hold you over:

The Albatron PX865PE Lite Pro which is based on the i848P chipset is built for those out there who are on a budget, or need a good solid board for office environments (ie. without breaking the bank). As the benchmarks suggest, when working on 2D applications (like word processing, etc) the board is approximately 5-10% slower which is not really too bad. In 3D apps, the performance gap is more like 10-15%, but even then the Albatron PX865PE Lite Pro does pretty well relatively speaking.

Shuttle’s P-BIOS:

Shuttle is boasting a 30% performance increase with its new P-BIOS. Damn, a free 30% from a BIOS upgrade? Sign me up.

Shuttle Inc, a leading provider of small form-factor (SFF) computers and mainboards, has posted P-BIOS with Turbo Mode. Design to improve performance on Shuttle's SB61G2, SB62G2 and SB65G2 XPC's by up to 30 percent (individual user results may vary). "P-BIOS gives user’s as much as 30 percent performance increases," said Stan Cheng, vice president, research and development, Shuttle Inc. "This directly relates to better game play, faster frame rates and increased overall performances."

MS Juicing Up Graphics?

You know, I am almost scared to even ask how Microsoft plans to “juice up” graphics in their next OS. But, the truth is they have far more graphics processing power available at the bottom end now than they used to 5 years ago. Things should be interesting to say the least.

The next generation of Windows will use a computer's graphical processing power to present everyday computer images in a manner typically reserved for high-intensity video games. Better use of the graphics processing unit, or GPU, inside a computer will enable much higher-quality visuals for programs on desktop PCs, said Rick Rashid, senior vice president in charge of Microsoft Research, during a presentation yesterday at the company's Professional Developers Conference here.

I got this in from one of our readers who talked about what “graphical changes” there will be in the next OS from MS.

You didn't hear this from me BUT I was at a presentation of Longhorn and talked to the presenter afterwards, he was running longhorn on a 3.06 ghz laptop. New title bars look like a transparent curtain waving in the wind, and it uses zero cpu power, all gpu. Although I'm not sure how useful it is, they showed a Media player whose window was a sphere.

[H]ardNews 3rd Edition

Chaintech FX-71 GFFX5600 Ultra:

With everyone flocking over to get ATi based boards right now and their free copy of HL2, there are still some mid-range boards getting high praise like the Chaintech FX-71 GFFX5600 Ultra in this review by TweakNews.

Chaintech has released THE most refined FX5600 Ultra based videocard on the market. With not a single corner cut, the great looks and industry leading cooling technology coupled with great performance and a great software and accessory package makes the FX-71 an excellent videocard to put on your short list if you are considering a mainstream targeted videocard.


ExtremeMHz has the plain jane ABIT IC7 on the test bench today. A great board even with though it isn’t one of the MAX versions. Check out the review:

What can I say, we were completely impressed with this board. Abit has a reputation for making some high quality, high performing motherboards. The Abit IC7-G is no exception. Its got just about everything an enthusiast would look for in a motherboard. It’s a full-featured board with an excellent hardware bundle and appealing design.

7 Free Radeon 9600s:

I have seven Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9600 128MB cards up for grabs over the next seven days over on my alter-ego website Hypothermia. These are your basic OEM style cards, no Half-Life 2 with them, just the cards..but you can’t complain about free video cards, now can you? Go get you some.

I have those seven Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9600 128MB cards on the block in my next one a day for a week contest. While these are not ultra high-end Radeon 9800XT cards, they are still very capable and would be a great card for someone that needs DX9 capabilities in their secondary rig, or someone upgrading from last a generation GPU. Get in it to win it.

Albatron K8X800 Pro II:

If you are contemplating the big move to the Athlon64 platform, reviews like this Albatron K8X800 Pro II review at Legion Hardware might be of interest to you.

Recently, I reviewed the Gigabyte K8VNXP employing the VIA K8T800 chipset. This was the first AMD Athlon64 supportive motherboard to appear on Legion Hardware. Since then I have been eager to test other boards based on the K8T800 chipset in particular. Already the K8T800 is a proven product for both the Opteron and Athlon64 processors.

[H]ardNews 2nd Edition

Panther Erases Hard Drives:

Oops! Got an external hard Firewire hard drive and thinking about upgrading to the latest OS from Apple? Cover your but and remove the drive before install or risk being erased. Not sure how that one slipped by R&D.;

A problem is causing some of those who install the new version of Mac OS X to lose the data that's stored on their external hard drives. Apple Computer said the glitch is limited to external hard drives that use a high-speed FireWire connection and a particular chipset Oxford Semiconductor manufactures. The company encouraged those who have a drive that uses the chip to disconnect their drives from Macs that are being upgraded to Mac OS X version 10.3, or Panther.

[H]ardNews 1st Edition

Asetek WaterChill Review:

Another review of the updated WaterChill from Asetek. As most of you know, this kit is brought to you by the people responsible for the famous VapoChill, they know a little something about cooling. The crew at Asetek expanded into the realm of watercooling at the beginning of the year with much success and have gathered momentum ever since. You can take a look at our review of the WaterChill here for comparison purposes.

As you could see from the results, the Asetek New Generation WaterChill has a great deal to offer. Each aspect of this kit is of high quality, and the install method wasn’t anything to be concerned with. I highly recommend this kit to anyone considering water cooling or anyone looking for a high quality upgrade.

ABIT IC7 Max3:

The ABIT IC7 Max3 reviewed today by the fellas at Overclockers New Zealand is one of the best Canterwood boards out there. We know because when we took a look at it a few months ago it snagged a “Must Have Hardware” award.

The performance is certain top notch and the overclocking is also the best among the dual channel DDR motherboards. The six SATA ports with RAID functions should be enough for users with many SATA hard drives. All these benefits add up the cost of the motherboard and the price of IC7-MAX3 isn't cheap.

Radeon 9800 Flashing Guide:

Honestly, I have a 9800Pro and I don’t see the need to flash the BIOS for better performance, but the guys at 3DMAXX have a guide to flash your 9800Pro into a 9800XT. Obviously, I wouldn’t try this unless you know what the hell you are doing. Here is the link complete with a disclaimer.

This article will involve flashing your video card's BIOS to that of the Radeon 9800XT which will void any warranties which you may currently have on your card., Team 3DMAXX, nor any of its forum members take no responsibility if you kill your video card.

Thursday October 30, 2003

[H]ardNews 8th Edition

RIAA Suing Again:

The second wave of lawsuits against downloaders just got underway. The RIAA warned 204 people they were about to be sued unless they reached a settlement…Apparently 80 of those people couldn’t reach an agreement by paying the RIAA so it’s off to court they go. The RIAA claims that they are making headway with these tactics, but sales figures are saying the opposite. I think we all know that CD sales are still on the decline which means the RIAA won’t have the P2P people to blame all their problems on.

The Recording Industry Association of America on Thursday said it filed 80 new lawsuits against alleged file swappers, a move that comes after a wave of letters it sent earlier this month that warned targets of their legal risk. The action marks a second round of suits against computer users who, record label investigators say, have made hundreds or even thousands of copyrighted songs available for download through peer-to-peer services such as Kazaa. The first round, filed in early September, targeted 261 individuals accused of putting "egregious" amounts of music online.

XFX GFFX 5600Ultra:

People looking to upgrade their video card to a midrange GPU might be interested in this quick and dirty XFX GFFX 5600Ultra review posted at Nex-Gen Electronics. So, if you ain’t one of the 52 billion people out there running out and grabbing an ATi card that comes bundled with Half-Life 2, take a look at the other side of the midrange performance isle.

XFX has put together a real nice solution for people wanting to upgrade to the GeForceFX line of video cards, and not break their budgets doing it.

[H]ardNews 7th Edition

Corsair TwinX1024:

Memory not what it used to be? SubZeroTech has a review of the Corsair TwinX1024 Pro DDR500 dual channel memory kit that might be of some help. This is some good memory but it seems that the little lights on the heatspreader is what gets everyone so excited.

In closing I will make some much needed observations of the LED bars so prominently displayed on the back of this memory. Simply put they are both attractive and fascinating. Of course I was interested to see when exactly the memory was accessed, and in what intensity. So once I got these installed I found myself running and loading programs, then jumping on the floor to see what was going on with the memory and how it related to what was going on in the hard drive.

Mods & Ends:

Titan AMD HSFs @ 3DXtreme - Kamakazi HSF @ System Cooling - Vantec Nexus Fan Controller @ FastLaneHW - Yeong Yang YY-5601 Cast @ Dark Tweaker - Globalwin 520w PSU @ OC ModShop - IceMax Fan Controller @ Crazy Modders - Lighted Keyboard @ Ownt - Taurus Silent Switching PSU @ Ohl’s Place