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[H] Enthusiast Archives: June 2004Archive Listing


Wednesday June 30, 2004

[H]ardNews

[H]ardForum [H]appenings:

Here is your daily dose of [H]ardForum Happenings. If you live in L.A. area, a case modder is needed for an upcoming event in July. Maybe you’re not a case modder, but more of a HTPC kinda guy, check out other forum members HTPCs here or get in on the action and toss a few pictures of your set up in the mix. Speaking of HTPCs, check out this water cooled small form factor thread. Now that would make a nice computer for the living room wouldn’t it? And remember, the For Sale & Trade forums are a good place to find a SFF to mod into an HTPC like this one right here or here. Have fun!

[H]ardNews 13th Edition

VapoChill Lightspeed:

Hexus has the Asetek VapoChill Lightspeed on the review bench for a little (actually a lot) hard core cooling action. The Lightspeed is virtually the same VapoChill you have come to know and love over the years only smaller.

The cooling performance is phenomenal, if you can stress it. Even if you can't, it's a better chiller than the XE, just noisier, and it'll really get into its stride with future processors.

AOpen GFFX 5900XT:

The 5900XT is “the” budget video card to get right now if you are a fan of NVIDIA based GPUs. PCStats has the review spotlight on the 5900XT from AOpen. Here is a snippet from the review:

Any card based around the GeForceFX 5900XT will be fast, and the AOpen GeForceFX 5900XT is no different. Performance at stock speeds was very good, and when the card was overclocked to 466/845, things were simply that much sweeter.

MSI RX9800Pro-TD128:

It looks like this MSI RX9800PRO-TD128 R9800XXL reviewed by Overclockers New Zealand is quite the performer when OC’d.

At default clock, MSI R9800Pro is just an ordinary R9800Pro, except for the huge software bundle. When overclocked to the maximum, MSI R9800Pro is faster than your standard R9800XT, despite having half the frame buffer.

[H]ardNews 12th Edition

Sempron Benchmarks:

The Tweakers.net staff have posted early Sempron benchmarks that confirm what most people know already…the budget CPU is an underachiever in the performance arena. The tests show a Sempron 3100+ coming in well below an Athlon64 2800+ in all but one benchmark. Here is a translated quote:

According to earlier bulletins the Semprons 17 will come augusts on the market. The Sempron are the family name of a range processors which the Duron must succeed as a budget line. The according to reports use Sempron 3100 + will provide clocked be on 1.800MHz (200MHz FSB x 9) and with 256KB L2-cache.

[H]ardNews 11th Edition

Infinium Stormtroopers Europe:

Infinium Labs, maker of a Phantom console, is moving into Europe (most likely looking for new investor money there) and have hired Greg Koler. To quote GameDaily and Koler:

Koler's duties, initially at least, call for him to "recommend and direct" market entrance strategies in various areas for the Phantom, including communications, channel relationships and investments. He likened his obligations to, "taking a helicopter view of a beach front operation into Europe, if I can coin a D-Day phrase."

I am no marketing genius, but I am not sure I would want the kind European community to associate Infinium Labs with the deaths of tens of thousands at the hands of the Nazis. Call me crazy, but that is just me. Although I can see the comparison with an effort to stop Infinium Labs at the beaches.

Koler went on to say of the Phantom system:

I think any reasonable person with a right mind would be a little bit on the cautious front, because of the other players in the market...

We could not agree with you more. He went on to note that Sony did not have a Kevin "Special K" Bachus at the helm and they made it in the marketplace in which they had no foothold.

If you are not familiar with these goings on surrounding our story posted in September of last year about Infinium Labs and their subsequent actions trying to force us to remove the article, please take a look at our links as well as Gamespot coverage (1, 2, 3, 4) and WhereIsPhantom.com.

[H]ardNews 10th Edition

ISPs Not Liable:

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously (9-0) that ISP are not responsible for paying royalties for music downloaded by its customers. We can only hope that our legal system here in the states will eventually see things the same way.

The court said although ISPs provide the hardware and technology, they are only "intermediaries" who are not responsible for what people download and are not bound by federal copyright legislation. The decision is the latest legal blow to the music recording industry.

Can-Spy Act?

InfoWorld ha an extremely informative article covering the recently passed Spy Act, we told you about earlier this month, how it closely resembles the Can-Spam act and what all of it means to you and me. Will the overly broad Spy Act backfire on us or just end up like the inept Can-Spam law? Thanks to Joshua Morich for the linkage.

There's a very familiar pattern to current legislative activity regarding anti-spyware laws. It's very reminiscent of where Congress was last year at this time on anti-spam legislation, and that ultimately led to the disastrous Can Spam Act.

PolarFLO TT Series:

PolarFLO has launched a pretty impressive looking line of new blocks that are worth checking out. The blocks sport a two piece design and come in two and three port configurations. This is a short list of features:

The main body of the block rotates to relieve stress and deflection on hoses. All the components are available individually. You can take apart the new PolarFLO TT CPU to clean, modify or interchange parts. The PolarFLO TT CPU uses the PolarFLO TT Series Posi-Seal Barbs and Plugs. These Posi-Seal barbs and plugs are easy to interchange. You can get the PolarFLO TT CPU in a 2 port or 3 port configuration. The low profile design will fit into the smallest cases and with the low flow performance, you don't have to worry about your pump-life.

[H]ardNews 9th Edition

AMD Folding Issues Revisited:

Matt "CIWS" Waters sends me news that AMD has posted an errata concerning an issue we posted information on regarding Athlon64 processors hard locking while running the Folding@Home client a while back. This is what Matt had to say:

Remember a few months back where certain AMD CPUs were causing hard locks with the Folding client ? AMD did get with the Stanford folks and help them produce a workaround to the issue that was incorporated into the newer Folding client core and the problem went away. Well there has apparently been an Errata issued (rather quietly) on the problem and is now shown in this document on the AMD website. It's errata # 105. So thanks to AMD for working the problem and finding out what had been going on all of those months.

From the AMD Revision Guide:

105 Misaligned 128-bit Store May Cause Deadlock

A processor deadlock may occur under the following conditions: A 128-bit store operation (MOVUPS, MOVUPD, MOVDQU) occurs to a cacheable memory type. The store is misaligned across two cache lines such that the upper 8 bytes span a cache line boundary. The store has retired but not yet written the data cache. The store is followed by two other load or store operations to the same cache index as the second half of the misaligned store store (i.e., bits 11:6 are the same).

Potential Effect on System: In the unlikely event that the above conditions occur the system may hang.

Suggested Workaround: None

Fix Planned: Yes

You can download the whole Revision Guide #25759 rev 3.25 (right click, save as) for AMD Athlon™ 64 and AMD Opteron™ processors in .PDF form here.

[H]ardNews 8th Edition

Infinium's Wacko Cracko?

WhereIsPhantom?? digs deeper into Infinium Labs (the makers of the Phantom Console) CEO Tim Roberts' past and comes up with some information that is at the very least entertaining. WhereIsPhantom's article turns over an IP trail that seems to point to Tim Roberts still being "The Wacko Cracko Brothers Inc.," but you will need to decide for yourself. The article is posted in two installments. The Masquerade Ball of Tim Roberts: Part 1 and The Masquerade Ball of Tim Roberts: Part 2.

Indeed, that seems to be a theme of this article. "Why?" Why would Mr. Roberts pretend to post as someone other than himself? Why would Mr. Roberts post such a thread that calls [H]ardOCP "screwed, ugly"? There is a near impossibility to avoid these questions when one researches and finds such things.

From reading the article it seems as though more than a couple of IP addresses have been traced back to Infinium Labs.

[H]ardNews 7th Edition

Shuttle XPC SK83G:

The Tech Report has the socket 754 VIA K8M800 powered Shuttle XPC SK83G small form factor PC in-house for a little review action. Overall I would say that the TR crew seemed to really like the SK83G.

The SK83G's competitive benchmark scores with a Radeon 9800 XT, the cube's south bridge Serial ATA RAID controller, and its 16-bit/800MHz HyperTransport link, the SK83G is also a capable option for performance-oriented gamers and enthusiasts.

AOpen XCCube EZ18:

Bjorn3D covers the AOpen XCCube EZ18 nForce2 SFF in their latest review. While they are no means “state of the art” anymore, these older socket A style systems make inexpensive back-up machines, HTPCs or LAN box. The reviewer thought he would share this little nugget of information with you as well:

If you want a sleek and sexy nForce2 SFF system that offers at least average performance, then I definitely recommend the EZ18 to you. I reserve the word 'sexy' for female homo sapiens almost exclusively, but I made an exception with the EZ18.

CPU Vs. GPU:

Guru3D has posted a CPU/GPU scaling article today comparing graphics cards on different platforms. What video card should you buy to match your lower end CPU? How about a high end CPU? Guru3D tries to answers those question for you.

Right now I look at it this way, up-to a 3000 MHz you simply are better suited with a Radeon x800 Pro or GeForce 6800 GT. If you have a faster than 3 GHz (3000+) system and want the best of the best, then and only then I can recommend you the GeForce 6800 Ultra or the Radeon x800 XT.

I must also say that our very own Brent Justice wrote a great CPU/GPU scaling article the other day that is definitely a must read.

Spyware Removal:

Aselabs has a quicky-two-pager write up on spyware removal using Adaware. I can sum up the article in a few words “download and use spyware removal tool…the end”. There you have it.

As I just stated above, run Adaware first. Make sure you get the latest definitions. After you have the latest update, run the normal smart scan. It'll go through the registry and some of the hard drive and clean out the most important areas for spyware.

[H]ardNews 6th Edition

Spam Bounty Hunters?

The FTC is mulling over a “bounty system” to catch spammers. Turning in or catching a spammer would net you a percentage of the civil penalty levied by the courts. I think they should take it one step further and mold the whole process after the show America’s Most Wanted. Now that’s be funny!

With no indication that a six-month-old federal spam law is lowering the tide of unwanted commercial e-mail, the Federal Trade Commission is considering a new approach that would put spammers in the same category as coyotes, rats and nutria by putting a bounty on their heads.

[H]ardNews 5th Edition

Homebrew H20:

Josh sent me a link to his very own homebrew H20 system that flows more water than Hoover Dam. You know things are going to get interesting when you see stuff like this:

I had an empty 5 gallon laundry detergent bucket lying around so I decided to use it as my water receiver. The first receiver that I built, I tried sealing with hot glue but it leaked so I had to get a new bucket and start all over again. Only the second time I used marine GOOP and it worked like a charm.

TechTV Editorial:

Designtechnica has an editorial posted today on the topic of the recent TechTV / G4-TV merger and what it meant to thousands of loyal viewers. HardOCP has had a great relationship with the TechTV crew and made many appearances on the Screen Savers. Trust us, no one liked Leo & Pat more than we did here. TechTV and the Screen Savers will be missed.

Leo, his Screen Savers co-host Patrick Norton, and the rest of the cast helped hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people with tech problems. Leo even spent all day on the day after Christmas doing his Call for Help-athon in which he answered as many calls as he could from people who just got new gadgets and didn’t know how to use them.

[H]ardNews 4th Edition

ABIT K8V Pro:

While all the attention is currently on socket 939 mainboards, Hothardware wants you to remember there are still a few socket 754 boards like the ABIT KV8 Pro K8T800 Pro worth looking into. How high does the KV8 Pro rate on the “Heat-o-meter?” read the review and find out, here’s a clip:

Taking into consideration it's relatively low price and complete feature set, we think the ABIT KV8 Pro is a fairly good choice for the cost conscious consumer who wants to get a taste of the Athlon 64.

New RivaTuner:

There is a new version of the very popular RivaTuner video card tweak utility out today. This latest installment weighs in at 1.27mb and bring it up to version 2.0 RC15. Grab it if you need it, try it if you haven’t.

RivaTuner is the most powerful tweaking utility for NVIDIA and ATI display adapters running under Win98/SE, WinME, W2k and WinXP. The purpose of this utility is to give you access to all the undocumented features of Detonator and Catalyst drivers.

Geek Squad:

BestBuy is now offering in-home tech support known as The Geek Squad! Initially the service will only be available in certain areas but BB hopes to have it rolled out nationwide this summer.

"It's just like a counterpart of ours, Home Depot, which has moved from do-it-yourselfers to 'We do it for you' " -- offering in-home installation of everything from fences to dishwashers. "Some people like to do it themselves, some don't."

[H]ardNews 3rd Edition

Interview With Valve:

Driver Heaven has an interesting interview with Doug Lombardi from Valve Software posted today that is certainly worth checking out. As you could imagine there were no earth shattering revelations or set in stone release date given, but some of the questions were pretty good:

What kind of computer do you use at home? Did you build it yourself?

I have three working PCs at my house, the three current consoles, and many consoles and PCs from days past. Two of the PCs are off the shelf Dells (a laptop and a desktop “for everyone in the house”). The other began as a prototype unit AMD sent me years ago that I’m continually Frankenstein’ng in the endless attempt to stay current. As such, it’s the one that only I get to touch, break, yell at, etc.