Sunday, April 30, 2006

Tech Link (Chipset): Intel® 975X Express Chipset = ATi Crossfire + NVIDIA SLI Ownage

It seems like it's a long time ever since I posted the info about the i975X supporting both dual graphics card technology. Back then, the motherboard hasn't been released yet, and supply of motherboards sporting i975 is still very scarce and rare.

But time passed, the motherboard based on this chipset has been released, and yet while ATi's Crossfire has been touted by OEMs, SLI is nowhere to be seen on the motherboard label or feature lists of the boards sporting dual PCIe x16 PEG. Enthusiasts has accepted the fact that to run SLI, and NVIDIA-based chipset supporting Chipzilla processor should be used, or so it seems back then.

Howeved, again, about four(4) days ago, I posted the sudden appearance of SLI on i975-based motherboard. This signals many doubts, questions, confusion, excitement, and some disbelief from the enthusiasts' community. However, while I also tried the older Forceware drivers, new ones seems to have completely removed SLI support and so this new emergence of SLI support is still hard (but exciting) to swallow.

But another one just pops up, this time, from coolaler, a respected enthusiast, showing SLI on Yonah with 7600GT. This is the final nail to the coffin, as all speculation and doubts are removed, and the interest is now shifted from "is it true?" to "how is it done?".

So with this new exciting information, the buzz word will now shift very much in favor of the very strong and flexible i975X chipset. Chipzilla rules!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Tech Link (Processor): HEAD TO HEAD, T2600 VS FX60

A very nice and direct article, coming from, yep, independent reviewer. The comparison is between an Intel® Core™ Duo T2600 vs A-FX60, the current cream of the crop, top of the line processor from A*. The benchmarks varies from SuperPi, to 3Dmark, to Sandra, to Cinebench. A pretty comprehensive set of benchmarks, covering a lot of areas, from gaming to over-all system performance.
Image owned by IAMXTREME

The previous CPU review INTEL OUTSIDE! CORE DUO T2600 ON Desktop 975X, we did some little testes to compare between FX60 3G and T2600. Today I am going to do more tests and see who is better. From our experience, FX62 with DDR2 667 is about the same performance as 2.8G FX60. So today, we are going to overclock FX60 from default 2.6G to 2.8G, 3G and 3.1G and compare with 2.6G, 3G, 3.1G, and 3.25G T2600. Could this be the pre-match of Intel VS. AMD on summer?


Tech Link (Gadgets): A DIY MP3 Boom Box

Wow, a marriage of 01d sk00l and modern technology, playing MP3 on your old cassette player "Boom Box". I guess people just can't get the "coolness" factor of carrying a heavy Boom Box on your shoulder, dancing to the rhythm and whiling your night away on the streets together with a pack of your friends. If you're up to the challenge, there's a how-to-do linky, ummm........heavy!
Image owned by PCMag

You've doubtless seen the iPod Hi-Fi, Apple's supposed boom box, by now, and you've probably also realized that it's nothing of the sort. It's a tabletop audio system, less likely to venture outdoors than a New York City house cat. Why would Apple want to make a boom box anyway? You'll recall that in their heyday boom boxes were widely reviled, seen as an assault on the senses and a way of imposing one's musical tastes on others who likely did not share them.
MP3 Player Boom Box

Sometimes you want your music to fill a room, though, or to make it portable and listen to it in situations where earbuds just won't do. With that in mind, I developed the iBoom Lo-Fi, a portable music player that's more boom box than hi-fi. I found an old boom box, gutted its cassette player, and adapted it to hold an iPod instead. The result is a portable music player with a stealthy secret—its high-tech payload isn't obvious unless you spy the iPod inside the cassette compartment. I designed it so that the cassette transport buttons now control the iPod. That way, you don't have to reveal your cargo to start playing or to forward to the next song.

Unlike the iPod Hi-Fi (which leaves your iPod exposed to the elements), the iBoom Lo-Fi completely encloses and protects the iPod, so you can take it to the beach, on a picnic, or just to the kitchen while you paint the trim. You too can build an iBoom; it takes a minimum of tools and a bit of ingenuity. I budgeted $50 for this project. It came in at $46.—Putting It All Together >


Tech Link (Industry): AMD Opteron CPUs hit by heat stroke

Duh, so much about quality control. This is another nuts in the work, what a great way to screw your customers.
Exclusive AMD today admitted it has inadvertently allowed a number of 2.6GHz and 2.8GHz single-core Opteron x52 and x54 processors that could corrupt data under extreme conditions to escape into the wild.

It is believed that the glitch is triggered when the affected chip's FPU is made to loop through a series of memory-fetch, multiplication and addition operations without any condition checks on the result of the calculations. The loop has to run over and over again for long enough to cause localised heating which together with high ambient temperatures could combine to cause the result of the operation to be recorded incorrectly, leading to data corruption.

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To trigger the effect, the loop has to be run millions of time, an AMD customer source told Reg Hardware, potentially for hours at a time with no other operations being introduced during the run.

According to the source - who claimed to be party to emails highlighting the issue and sent by AMD to a number of the chip maker's major customers and partners - AMD has investigated the problem and found it was only able to reproduce the bug's effects in a synthetic benchmark test.

The problem is believed to affect only a fraction - perhaps no more than 3,000 individual CPUs - which managed to slip through AMD's screening net. It is not known how this so-called 'test escape' ocurred, but it took place "in part of 2005 and early 2006", an AMD spokesman said.

AMD said it has introduced another screening test to catch any further affected parts. Chips caught in this test in future will be re-rated at a lower clock speed to prevent the problem. The company is also working with OEMs to identify affected parts and contact customers who could be affected - if they are, they will be offered free replacements.

AMD stressed the problem was due to "a convergence of three specific simultaneous conditions", not a fault with the Opteron architecture. The company claimed the issue had not been observed on systems running commercially available applications.

"It's very hard to imagine this type of [tight FP loop] code in our [financial services] environment," Reg Hardware's source said. "The only thing I could think that would be coded this way would be some type of strange cipher code. For example, any type of 'for' loop that uses a compare operation would not have the problem." ®


Friday, April 28, 2006

Tech Link (Overclock): TRAVELLING TOWARDS 7000

Hmmm...I'm speechless. They overclock a very affordable Intel Pentium D 805 to 6GHz, and then pushed an Intel Pentium 955 Extreme Edition to 7GHz. Now this is rockin'! The cooling system they have is definitely top notch, as they automate the adding of Liquid Nitrogen. I believe it's not just efficient, it's a lot safer too!
Images owned by PcTuner

3 years have passed since we wrote Travelling towards 3000. Today we get a loan from the past with this new article we think will get ourselves talked about.
Come on, let’s go to altitude 7000!

In these period we have constantly searched the limit of the cooling finalized to extreme overclocking: we have used Peltier cell (we still employ today with Ybris T-Rex family), Co2 (reaching temperature of -60°C), ending with liquid nitrogen we use permanently since 2 years; with it we could have reached -190°C,


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Brag: Conroe E6300, possibly the next 2.4C

Another one of my Conroe CPU. The low multiplier should be good for those who wish to OC this processor with high FSB ceiling. I doubt this is going to be the "clock" world record breaker due to the low multiplier, but for those wishing to get the most bang for their buck, the E6300 might be their magical CPU.

As is usual, no benchies and no other info except the screenie. It's tough to convince anyone about the authenticity, but I doubt there's a CPU-Z of such speed since most I've seen are E6600 series like the one I posted earlier. Nevertheless, this processor is already rockin at such low clock speed, I can almost remember my early Northwood A. At this speed, I can't help but imagine it's like a Northwood on steroids, only better...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Brag: Fourth Month FanBoy TechWeb Anniversary

Yay for me! It's my 4th month anniversary, and going limp...well, I guess still limping :)...In any case, April is my highest hitting month, close to 5000 hits to date for this month. For the past four months, my hits increased slowly, with visitors coming from the websites I frequent, to Google hit matches, and even to other forums linking to my site.

Anyway, today, I celebrate my fourth month anniversary without any loud bang, just a whimper in this vast space of digital community we call Internet. My total hit since I started this website is ***drum roll*** 12,000!!! Now, that's a lot for me, with visitors coming from many countries and sources. I guess, I can make this keep going and going, till, well, I get tired of it.

In any case, thanks to all who have given this site a hit, one way or another. For those who were leaving hate comments, I just delete them, so the last laugh is still on me!

Till next anniversary :)

Tech Link (Technology): i975 supports SLI

Ok, I personally have seen and tested a dual 6800 SLI set up with 66.81 driver and it works ok on a D975XBX. Though that was last year, I am not sure what happened to the next generation of video cards, and chipset drivers. In any case, as time passed by, the i975X only touts support for ATi's Crossfire solution, and nVidia fans are torn apart whether to get a crappy NForce4 for Intel or stick with the i975X.

In any case, in a Russian site, it was posted last year that an Asus P5WD2 can actually run on SLI configuration. Not many has reported it, in fact, I haven't really seen much about it. Maybe because of the fact that it didn't reach the top of the ORB, nevertheless, the score was impressive.

And then last week, FUGGER of XTremeSystems mentions that NVIDIA* will not support SLI on i975X because

"Intel chipsets do not provide enough bandwidth to support SLI"

In any case, Big_Sam made another splash when he posted another SLI-based score on a i975X board. This makes a lot of Chipzilla fans very excited, as the thought of Conroe with Crossfire and SLI comes sweeping thru their drool nerves.

So if i975 can support the newer NVIDIA* and ATi cards, it will be coolest play rig for the uber enthusiats: SLI + Crossfire, who would have thought such system exists? Intel really rocks big time!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Brag: My Conroe for the World to See

A couple of weeks ago, I posted that I finally am able to bring up my Conroe motherboard. This motherboard is actually part of the new deskbrand from Chipzilla, Intel® vPro™.

In any case, I use this board along with my Conroe ES processor and it is rockin'. I will hold a private demo soon, just fixing up the schedule and see if I can invite a few and have them sign an NDA. I plan to do it by the end of the week. Anyway, I hope that I can post benchies soon, if not, well, there are always a lot of people posting at XtremeSystems so you may want to hang out there more.

Till next bragging...

Press Release: Intel Unveils Game-Changing Direction For Business PCs

Today, Chipzilla announced an addition to their existing platform brands, the Intel® vPro™. It used to be under the codename Averill, slated for Digital Office computing.
Intel Unveils Game-Changing Direction For Business PCs
Intel® vPro™ Technology Delivers Strengthened Security, Cost Reduction and Energy-Efficient Performance

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 24, 2006 – The way the world views and uses business PCs is about to change with the introduction of Intel Corporation’s new Intel® vPro™ technology, a revolutionary shift in desktop PC security and manageability along with remarkable energy-saving computing performance.

Businesses today are plagued by increasing economic and security threats such as malicious viruses, spyware and identity theft, while IT managers are driven to improve processes and customer service models. Intel vPro technology will offer businesses and IT a competitive edge with breakthrough innovations and technologies to help get the most out of resources and shrinking IT budgets.

The company today outlined how Intel vPro technology will deliver these benefits later this year through broad collaborations with industry-leading software leaders and IT service companies, and support from PC system manufacturers around the world. Intel vPro brand is the newest addition to Intel’s brand portfolio, and its first targeting businesses and IT customers.

“Like Intel® Centrino™ mobile technology and Intel® Viiv™ technology, Intel vPro technology will bring together world-class innovations throughout the processor, chipsets, networking and software,” said William A. Swope, Intel vice president and director of Digital Enterprise Brand Management. “This technology significantly advances desktop PCs and will quite simply offer businesses security and manageability like never before – all on one of the most powerful and energy-efficient PCs in the market.”

At the heart of the first Intel vPro-based PCs will be an Intel® Core™ microarchitecture dual-core processor. This next-generation, 64-bit microarchitecture bestows significant gains in performance and reductions in power-consumption improving responsiveness and productivity.

Intel vPro technology also includes the second-generation of Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) and Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT). Intel VT will be integrated into the dual-core processor while the next-generation Intel AMT will be integrated into the new platform chipset. These hardware innovations, when combined with industry-enabled software solutions, represent the superior manageability and strengthened security behind the Intel vPro brand.

Offering businesses avenues to reduce PC support costs, Intel AMT helps manage, inventory, diagnose and repair PCs even when systems are turned off or have crashed operating systems or hard drives. The second generation of Intel AMT offers the ability to isolate infected PCs before they impact the network and alert IT when threats are removed.

Further strengthening PC security, Intel VT allows for separate independent hardware-based environments inside a single PC so IT managers can create a dedicated, tamper-resistant service environment – or partition – where particular tasks or activities can run independently, invisible to and isolated from PC users.

Demonstrating the industry support for Intel vPro technology, Symantec*, an IT-trusted industry leader, today announced plans to work with Intel to build security solutions creating an isolated environment outside of the main PC operating system for the purpose of managing security threats. This tamper-resistant virtualized environment will deliver stronger control and protection in the data infrastructure.

Support for Intel vPro technology is also evident from new applications and solutions that will be available over the next year from global software vendors, including Adobe, Altiris, Avocent, Check Point, Cisco, Computer Associates, Hitachi JP1, HP OpenView, Kaspersky Lab, LANDesk, Lenovo, Lockdown Networks, Microsoft, Novell, Panorama SW, SAP, Skype, StarSoftComm, SyAM Software, Symantec and Zenith.

Leaders in the IT services industry are also benefiting from the built-in manageability capabilities of Intel vPro technology. Global technology services companies, including Atos Origin, EDS and Siemens AG have all achieved IT costs reductions through Intel AMT and have published papers outlining the time and cost saving benefits of Intel AMT-based platforms.

Intel vPro-based PCs will also include Intel’s latest integrated graphics providing performance for mainstream business applications and being capable of delivering the full array of graphics interface features in Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Vista* operating system.

Intel vPro technology will be part of the Intel® Stable Image Platform program, which offers predictable transitions and promises that the Intel software stack and drivers will be available and unchanged for five quarters from the time of the product launch. In its fourth year, this program allows businesses to qualify a system once, instead of being forced to requalify the system due to software or hardware changes.

Intel vPro technology will usher in this new era for business computing starting in the second half of the year and will be identified by a new logo on PCs from major system manufacturers and channel resellers worldwide.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Rant: Blogger draft...

All my previous postings were in draft mode? This is just plain crapzzzzzz.....I'll fix it up, I hope this post shows up. If not, I guess I am in trouble..

Test test test

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Article: Overclocking and Tweaking Intel® Platforms

I posted a revised Overclocking guide for Noobies. It's the same as the one that used to be posted in TPC, and since it's not there (hey, it's still in the forum, just search for it), I am tired of those PMing me about how to OC. I'm not the best guy in the world when it comes to OCing, heck, I run my PC on stock. But I do play around with it and I understand things about OCing. Anyway, it's posted already, I'll add more contents since currently, it's just a two-part article, but more will be added later on.

This article is targetted for beginning overclockers of Intel® systems. The aim is to aid clueless beginners on the basics of overclocking, starting up on the building blocks, and presenting information in a manner easily understood.

But before jumping in, I just want to clarify the meaning of overclocking. Simply put, by the word "over", it means going above the nominal values of a certain device, breaking the default speed, and increasing it several notches up. The goal can be different from one hobbyist to another. It can be about improving performance of the platform, getting more out of the money i.e. bang for the buck, better game response, or simply, bragging rights of having an overclocked system.

Source:Overclocking and Tweaking Intel® Platforms

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Tech Link (Gaming): GameBridge Transforms PCs into Entertainment Centers

THG's sub-site (or is it a sister site) TwitchGuru has an interesting article up for your viewing pleasure. It's an add-on device from Adaptec (umm, I think they used to make SCSI controllers) and it looks like an old-school pager/beeper to me. Anyway, I quickly read thru it, just a fly-by browsing and found it interesting (yay, take my word with a grain of salt, I never spent a long time digesting the info there).

The GameBridge is a tiny little box that interfaces your PC with an analog video source. Adaptec refers to it as the world's smallest TV tuner, since it includes a tuner that can turn your computer into a TV system, delivering all of the benefits of a personal video recorder (PVR). Hooking up video sources, such a video recorder or a game console to a PC is one thing, but being able to convert home videos or gaming sessions into MPEG2 videos, and archiving them on DVDs, is just plain cool.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Brag: I have a new Conroe sets coming in...

I just got confirmation that my new sets of Conroe processors just came in. I should be able to play with it in the next following days. I am thinking of holding off a mini demo for a select few people, and maybe have them sign an NDA. If you are interested to join, do left me a PM, post a comment here, or post in the FanBoy forum. Of course, this invitation doesn't extend to those outside of my beloved country :)

Am really not sure how to go about this but I guess maximum of four(4) would be easy to handle. It's tough being under NDA sometimes, bragging will always have to be held off till public information is released. Well, that's the trade off: I get to play with really early samples, and yet can not brag about them.

Anyway, I will definitely not include an AMDroid. AMD user is welcome, but not the AMDroid version, they tend to ruin all the fun, including the pun.

Another challenge would be the scheduling, I am such a lazy guy during the weekend, I don't actually want to do anything but sleep, play with the kids, eat, and watch TV. But if I do this during the weekdays, then I don't have enough time as work, work, and more work gets in the way. Besides, after 4:00 PM, I tend to have my mind a blank as virgin white board. It's like my creativity suddenly stops when the bell began to ring.

Hmmm...would you believe this, people have been waiting for this processor, and yet I have nine(9) of em coming in, both with 4MB of L2 cache, yet can't really post any benchies in public.

Anyway, this isn't final yet, so don't try to hold me for this. It's a thought, it's an idea, worst comes to worst, I'll demo it to those whom I know are already under NDA and not to anyone who hasn't signed any.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tech Link (Overclock): World Record

An amazing overclock, breaking the 7.2GHz with an Intel® Pentium® 965 Extreme Edition. It's a very big drool factor for the FanBoyz, as big numbers always impress. At this clock speed, it can do major damage at 3D, well, if only it could ran that.

But hey, nevertheless, a world record IS a world record and no one can take awat that from him. Of course, a new one may be posted, but fact of the matter is, he did it this time and he can always cherish it and be honored that he got the prestigeous award of a Word Record Holder. Congratulations!


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Brag: Intel Plant Site Tour, select invitational?

I am working currently with my friends and contacts within Intel. I plan to bring a couple of my support staff so they can finally have a look and see of the Intel manufacturing plant. The coverage would be the three(3) major factories: Processor, Chipset, and Flash factories.

I have scheduled it tentatively in the 2nd week of May, and on Friday. The tour will start at around 10:00am and will end at around 01:00PM. I reserved about 10head counts, maximum is seventy five (75) but hey, I can't keep track of all those people anyway, so yep, ten(10) would be reasonable.

I still haven't gotten a confirmation, and still working on whose going to do the tour. I might do it myself, but I'd rather just stay on the sideline and enjoy the trip. I doubt I can speak continously for that long duration, and besides, I'm notorious when it comes to becoming more of a braggart than a tour guide.

I will send a private message to those I believe are FanBoys to the core, AMD users who aren't AMDroid, and a coupld of my own staff. Dang, I miss the smell of the factory, I haven't visited it in, umm, eight(8) months already.

If you have any thoughts on this, you can let me know by posting at the ShoutOut, making a comment, or post here

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Press Release: Kingston Launches Fully Buffered DIMM Memory Modules

Kingston, one of the world-reknowned memory manufacturer, has just announced their new FB-DIMM RAM. Ok, I know it's a bit late to announce, but hey, it's not like I can scrounge thru my InBox of subscribed news bits every second. They are cool to be used on the server of course, so if you have been having a bad luck looking for one, this may ease up the pain. I mean, hey, I have been looking for FB-DIMM since...December'05? and I am having a hard time finding them.

Kingston Launches Fully Buffered DIMM Memory Modules
Kingston FB-DIMMs Offer Cutting-Edge Solutions, Driving the Market to a New Standard by Breaking the 16GB-Memory Barrier.

Fountain Valley, CA – (April 5, 2006), Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent worldwide leader in memory products, today announced the release of its new line of Fully Buffered DIMM memory modules (FB-DIMM). As the leading independent manufacturer of memory modules, Kingston made an early and strategic decision to commit major resources to support next generation memory technology like FB-DIMM thus becoming a leading manufacturer and supplier of FB-DIMM memory to Intel and the industry.

Kingston’s FB-DIMM modules are a high-speed, high-density memory solution for related technology workstation and server platforms. Kingston’s FB-DIMMs will offer memory flexibility and more expansion options, opening new horizons in memory technology. Kingston’s FB-DIMMs resolve the DDR2 memory speed vs. capacity bottleneck and comply with JEDEC standards. FB-DIMM memory architecture allows up to six memory channels with each channel supporting up to eight dual-rank memory modules and allows for two channels to simultaneously read and write in concurrent transactions.

Already a strategic FB-DIMM supplier to major OEMs, Kingston’s FB-DIMMs provide a solution to many signal integrity and quality concerns. “FB-DIMM architecture increases server memory capacity from 8 GB to 192 GB at a high speed based on a 4GB-module configuration, a twenty-four-fold increase.” said J.K. Tsai, director of technology, Kingston®. “In addition to higher capacity, FB-DIMMs will have a peak bandwidth four times greater than standard DDR2 server modules,” continued Tsai. Benefits of using Kingston’s FB-DIMM technology on high-end server include scalability, flexibility, and higher capacity while the same new technology will increase speed and performance.

Kingston engineers have developed special boards and test-programs that are used to conduct “parametric” and characterization testing on high-end Agilent testers to ensure that FB-DIMMs are functional and comply with specifications. Kingston’s FB-DIMMs come with a lifetime warranty and 24/7 technical support plus the legendary reliability that makes Kingston the leader in memory.

Kingston FB-DIMM
Part Number Capacity and Features MSRP (U.S. only).
Prices subject to change.
KVR533D2S8F4/512 DDR-2 533-MHz, Single Rank, ECC 512MB Fully Buffered DIMM $122
KVR533D2D8F4/1G DDR-2 533-MHz, Dual Rank, ECC 1GB Fully Buffered DIMM $238
KVR533D2D4F4/2G DDR-2 533-MHz, Dual Rank, ECC 2GB Fully Buffered DIMM $468

Kingston FB-DIMM Features and Specifications:
Tested at 533 MHz for optimal performance
1.8 Volts operation
Operational enhancements to increase memory performance, efficiency and timing margins
Latency timings: 4-4-4
Memory kits (modules) up to 2 GB


Rant: My Web Skills Sucks

A friend I talked to yesterday asked me why my web page suck. Well, I said, coz I am a fanboy. Well, he said it doesn't suck coz I am a FanBoy but the layout and font and all the little details that should go in to the website just failed to render properly. Well, guess what, I did check it up and boy, everything looks fine from my end. And what seems to be the cause why he said things look bad on his end? Browsers.

I have been using FireFox for the longest time and I thoght it was like the standard one, when in fact, FF shouldn't account for more than 20%, if my guess is even close, of the Internet browsing users. So, I did check my statistics and yep, I.E. accounts for my >50% hits, with FF around 30% and the rest are "others".

Well, I guess I failed to account I.E., at least, that's what I did really wrong. I checked my reviews and boy, they really look ugly, they are so bad, I won't spend a second reading thru it.

So my next goal would be to use I.E., and FF, to test and render every articles I made. At the very least, I would have to skip FF testing and focus on I.E.

So yeah, I suck!

Tech Link (Coolers): Scythe Mi-ne Multi-Socketed Heatsink Review

The folks over at VR-Zone are having a merry time testing a cool heatsink from Scythe. What is great about this cooler is that it fits both older Chipzilla Socket478 processor as well as the newer LGA775 based CPU.
Images owned by VR Zone

The cooler seems to perform better against Thermalright* XP90C as well, and can cool even the mighty Intel® Pentium® 955 Extreme Edition using the same fan across the coolers. Wow, I am quickly becoming a huge fan of this cooler. While I like the Thermaltake BT*, I really hate the mounting style. Here's a snippet from the review:

As we all know, there're a thousand and one heatsinks available out in the market currently and anyone who wants to venture into the enthusiast cooling market will definitely have a headache choosing a heatsink that's suitable for them. Many brands have managed to carve a niche in this very specialised component cooling market, with significant examples like Thermalright, Zalman and the like. In the last few years, we have not seen many companies who have managed to enter this market successfully.

Source: VR-Zone

Monday, April 17, 2006

Brag: First generation dual core supported on older i865 chipset

I have just been testing a new beta board and found some interesting tidbits. While I still haven't really gotten into the rigorous part of the test, the system is usable and I encountered no problem.

So far, I have tested four(4) processors and three(3) out of four(4) dual core processors work without a hitch. Since this is an i865 board, I'd like to emphasize that the video card is based on AGP and memory used is based on DDR1. Not that they are a compromise, AGP is still very strong right now though it will come short of Crossfire and SLI support. DDR is still a very good memory, though the lack of high frequency can be a "turn off" for some enthusiast, but my testing shows that DDR is still very competitive in the entry level segment for LGA775-based processor.

Anyway, the processors I've tested are:

  • Intel® Pentium® D 805/Smithfield

  • Intel® Pentium® D 820/Smithfield

  • Intel® Pentium® D 830/Smithfield

  • Intel® Pentium® D 840/Smithfield

  • Intel® Pentium® D 920/Presler

Except for the Presler core, the dual core works flawlessly. Who knows, a BIOS update may allow Presler core to be used. So for those using AGP and DDR1 memory, you do not have to pout for the lack of Dual Core support. The new baby will arrive sooner than you think.

And oh, did I mention that the new board enjoys the same OCability found on early i865 socket 478 boards? Except for the CPU socket, you can enjoy the previous luxuries of life: high end video card, cheap high capacity DDR, and yep, dual IDE channels for a total of four(4) IDE devices!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Tech Link (Mobility): Rock Xtreme CTX notebook

BitTech has cool gaming laptop on the test bench. They seem to be raving its uber geeky specifications and its gaming performance. Hey, it has an Intel® Core™ Duo T2600 + 1GB DDR2-667 Corsair* RAM + ATi* Mobility X1800XT Video Card so it's definitely a killer combo in gaming. I bet it'll thrash a lot of benchmarks too.
Images owned by bit-tech

Using the words gaming and notebook in the same sentence has always been a bit of a contradiction. Whereas true notebooks are all about portability and low power consumption, gaming requires as much grunt as you can give it. So although the last few years have seen some very capable gaming portables at last, such as Dell’s Inspiron XPS Gen2 or Rock’s SLI notebook, calling them notebooks is a trifle misleading. Fitting these gaming monsters in a laptop bag often requires a degree in engineering, and you wouldn’t want to be carrying an extra 4kg around for long periods anyway.

Rock’s Xtreme CTX fits squarely into this category as well. It’s sleek and good-looking, but with an Intel Centrino Core Duo processor and ATi Mobility Radeon X1800XT graphics inside, plus a 17in widescreen panel, it’s also a decidedly hefty beast. If you’re looking for the power of a desktop, though – including gaming ability – in a package you can carry around a bit more easily, it could be just the ticket.

The chassis is exactly the same as the Xtreme CT that we reviewed a few months ago, so we won't spend hours going over it here.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Tech Link (Technology): PCSTATS Beginners Guides: Got an Easter Weekend Project?

PCStats posted a very comprehensive list of "projects" on their website. It has a lot of things posted in there, I don't even know where to start! Anyway, you should check their articles as they really have a balance "programming" and while there's a bit of FanBoyism flying around at times, over-all, I prefer PCStats over AMDTech.

PCSTATS has worked hard to provide guides that detail every facet of modern computer use. Starting with the basics, PCSTATS covers installing Windows XP and upgrading from Windows 98 to XP. Once you've got XP installed, how about learning about some of its hidden features. Moving on, we tackle some of the most asked computer questions like "how do I create MP3 files from my CDs?", " how do I burn CDs/DVDs and what formats should I use?." We also put you on the right track towards converting your home movies into video files, then turning those video files into DVDs. Most important of all, how should you protect your data? We have some good answers, and more than a few helpful hints to put you on the right track.


Friday, April 14, 2006

Press Release: OCZ Technology Announces PC2-5400 EL Platinum Edition XTC

The mighty OCZ Technology, did it again by releasing a fast memory based on their new XTC series. Standard DDR2-533MHz series nowadays runs with a modest CL5-5-5-15, but their new RAM runs at a blazingly fast CL3-3-3-15@DDR2-667MHz. That is fast!!!!

OCZ Technology Announces PC2-5400 EL Platinum Edition XTC

The new OCZ PC2-5400 Platinum XTC with 3-3-3 timings delivers the ultimate balance of speed and access latencies for unparalleled memory performance

Sunnyvale, CA—April 5, 2006—OCZ Technology Group, a worldwide leader in innovative, ultra-high performance and high reliability memory, today launched the PC2-5400 Platinum XTC Series with enhanced latency. By integrating 3-3-3 timings, these next generation DDR2-667 solutions are the fastest available in the PC2-5400 speed-grade.

The demand for high performance DDR2 continues to mount due to the interdependence of several existing Intel platforms and the impending arrival of the new AMD and Intel CPU architectures. With ultra-fast timings of 3-3-3, the OCZ PC2-5400 Platinum XTC series provides the unprecedented memory performance that is preferred by so many DDR1 enthusiasts.

“Memory access latencies are the pivotal factor for system performance," commented Dr. Michael Schuette, VP of Technology Development at OCZ Technology. "It is much easier to document raw clock speed and its theoretical bandwidth than the performance increase achieved by low access latencies; however, the latter is what really matters for the ultimate gaming and multimedia performance. The new PC2-5400 EL DDR2 Platinum Edition XTC fills this void by offering faster access times than even the lowest latency DDR400 modules in the market.”

Each PC2-5400 Platinum XTC Edition 512MB module and 1GB dual channel kit is 100% hand-tested for quality assurance and compatibility and feature high quality, platinum-mirrored XTC heatspreaders for the most effective heat dissipation. Furthermore, each OCZ Platinum series module is backed by the industry leading OCZ Lifetime Warranty and technical support for unparalleled peace of mind.

As a result of unceasing innovation and the addition of the ground-breaking PC2-5400 XTC into the OCZ Platinum DDR2 family, OCZ continues to offer the most extensive collection of sophisticated DDR2 solutions on the market.

For more information on the OCZ PC2-5400 Platinum XTC Edition, please visit our product page here.


Tech Link (Memory): Reviews around the web

I figure I'll just post a couple of good read I found on the net rather than making each separate entry. Legion Hardware has an article about an OCZ PC2-6400 Platinum XTC, while Madshrimps has a PC2 6400 dual between Super Talent and Crucial.

The heat spreader debate has been a hot topic over the years and OCZ recently added a little more fuel to the fire with their XTC memory series. Basically the only difference between the normal OCZ memory and XTC memory are the heat spreaders. XTC is short for “Xtreme Thermal Convection” and OCZ claims that these heat spreaders provide better cooling performance than their standard versions. The standard design is of course also used by a number of other memory manufacturers and one of them happens to be the mighty Corsair.

Source:Legion Hardware

Today we bring two PC2-6400 heavyweights into the Sumo dohyo, Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400 and Super Talent T800UX2GC4. If you´re unfamiliar with DDR2 overclocking, DDR2 confutes the axiom smaller modules scale much higher then their larger brethren. Just how well are current BGA IC´s scaling these days?


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tech Link (Motherboard): ECS 945G-M3 Motherboard Review

PCStats has an article up about a new Intel® Viiv™ capable motherboard. It is a cute little board from ECS based in mATX form factor. Though folks at PCStats seems to just missed the true meaning of Intel® Viiv™, as they seem to just think it's just a typical HTPC which can easily be done. Oh well, I guess it's like when the Intel® Centrino® was conceived, many enthusiasts think in a very narrow way: a chipset, a wireless lan, and the processor. Well, they totally forgot the utmost compatibilty, worry free, stable, and full support from OEM that the branding also provides.

Intel might be touting VIIV as the next great thing for home entertainment computers, but the secret behind it is not Earth shattering. What Intel has done is take a smaller Micro ATX based PC, install WindowsXP Media Center on it and put a shiny sticker on the front. It's nothing more than what enthusiast computer users have been quietly doing for quite some time now, aside from the nice sticker of course.

For enthusiasts who want all this Intel-branded multimedia goodness, buying a pre-built VIIV system is like buying a Dell to replace the ol' main rig, it's just not going to happen. Sorry Dell, we build our own PC's here at PCSTATS. Seeing as Intel VIIV components are pretty much "off the shelf", it's dead simple to put together a VIIV system of your own and bust out a custom Home Theatre PC (HTPC).


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Article: Intel® Pentium® D 805 and Intel® Pentium® D 820 Duel (Mainstream Dual Core Brethren)

Ever since the Intel® Pentium® D 805 Processor is released on the mainstream market, the computing world has been swarmed with mix emotion, denial, scrutiniy, mockery, excitement, and acceptance. And this isn't surprising, Intel® made a significant leap to bring Dual Core computing to even the most budget conscious consumer, paving the way for an upgrade, replacement, and even an extra PC.

And during this transition period from single core to dual core computing, there are many unknowns, ranging from questions such as whether the upgrade is worth it, performance increase against single core processors with higher rating or GHz speed, and even gaming. This short article will try to unravel the answers to some, if not all, of the questions.

Full Scoop:Article: Intel® Pentium® D 805 and Intel® Pentium® D 820 Duel (Mainstream Dual Core Brethren)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Press Release: Elgato Releases eyetv 250

If you're a Mac* boy then you probably have heard about the Elgate eyetv series. It is a very portable pvr replacement. It makes possible cable and antenna shows recording, and matches an iPod in both size and color.The EyeTV* easily plugs into any available USB port, and its coax input will stream in the data, and using a built-in hardware encoder, it will offload any CPU processing of video to MPEG-1 to MPEG2.

Watch, pause and rewind live television on your Mac.
# Record and edit your favorite TV shows using EyeTV’s powerful yet easy-to-use interface.
# Find programs and schedule recordings using the built-in Electronic Program Guide (EPG).
# Create playlists to manage your recordings and TV channels.
# Export clips and complete episodes to your video-capable iPod.
# Store your collection on an external storage drive, or burn it to DVD.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Tech Link (Overclock): "little test with 805 D 2660@1xx%oc"

An extreme overclocker manage to hit an amazing overclock with the youngest, most affordable Intel® dual core processor. Make no mistake though, this isn't something you'll do on a typical overclocking machine, and reserve only for those who have the guts, money, skills, money, perseverance, money, and more money.
Image owned by respective owner

The overclocking adventure was done in two phases, one is on watercooling and the other is through sub cooling. The specification used is an Asus* P5WD2-E motherboard, and Corsair DDR2-5400 UL. At watercooling, the processor manage to hit 4.7GHz with 1.6vCore and with extreme cooling, world record overclock for this processor is achieved.

Check out his posting below:
CPU-Z Validation

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Tech Link (Overclock): Intel Dothan 780 Overclocking with Liquid Nitrogen (LN2)

The crazy crustaceans did it again, and this time, they went to go on overclocking spree with a powerful Intel® Pentium® M 780 under LN2. Now that is one top of the line processor for some benchmarking spree. They hit some pretty crazy numbers of on the mini wonder!

Reminiscing the days, I remember everytime I'll post something over at TipidPC about such kind of overclocking, a lot of AMDroids and detractors would say whether something like that under a frozen liquid is usable, it's a waste, or just plainly stupid act. Well, how times changed when some AMDroids began putting their favor A* processor under such extreme condition as well and hitting crazy numbers and they were like "oh man, that is just wonderful and wickedly sick fast". These people really are dumb.

Another instance that I remember was when SLI was first released on the Tumwater platform (yes, it wasn't first released on A*'s platform you dimwit AMDroids, here's another linky), AMDroids and detractors were whining it's just a waste of money, and all such bullcrap. Well, until NVIDIA* decided to release it on A*, then the whole new song of how wonderful it is to have two great card as an uber gaming platform becomes AMDroids' favorite hymn. They sure are crap, the AMDroids.

As for the integrated memory controller? AMDroids, A* isn't the first to have thought it out and implemented it on the processor. Go research on Google about the Timna processor from Chipzilla. Anyway, I took too much time whining again, below is the linky:


Tech Link (Modding): Making acrylic fan grills

GideonTech has a nice article about making your own customized acrylic fan grills. I always fancy making one, and every time, I ended up messing the whole acrylic sheet and cursing myself along the way. I would totally waste a whole sheet to just come up with a simple modding project, I guess the art is just lost in me and patience is definitely not part of my virture.
Images owned by respective site/owner

Anyway, if you have the knack for modding or just want to learn more about this "hobby" or skill, then hea>d on over at GideonTech. I read thru all the processor and browsed thru all the pictures. What I can probably say that you shouldn't "copy" from the article is the lack of protective gear for the hand. It just doesn't look right, and I find it really scary that the modder was actually operating it with his bare hands. Eeeew, I quiver with the thought. Call me chicken, but for me, safety comes first and I'd definitely love to have my fingers complete.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Brag: Intel® Core™ Demo is Up and Running

I just posted a link under the FanBoy Tools section of the site (look at the right side links). This is a very good primer both for the FanBoys, "switchers", and would-be system builders or whether you just want to get the low-downs direct from Chipzilla.

The demo covers all the necessary details about the new uA such as the Intel® Wide Dynamic Execution, Intel® Intelligent Power Capability, Intel® Advanced Smart Cache, Intel® Smart Memory Access, and Intel® Digital Media Boost. The demo is an animated flash with explanation each step of the way. The demo is nicely done, with a clear voice explanation, and interesting real-time animation of what is being discussed.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Tech Link (Processor): Yonah vs Presler

Another legendary overclocker posted an amazing comparison and pit two Chipzilla processors head on. An Intel® Pentium® D 920 overclocked to 4.5GHz goes head on against the new Intel® Core™ Duo T2600 overclocked to 3.1GHz. The results is pretty amazing and astounding. The newer processor with lesser clock and bus speed won six(6) out of eight(8) benchmark tests.

coolaler, use two enthusiast combo. The Intel® Pentium® D 920 is partnered with an Asus P5WGD2-WS Motherboard, and 2x512 DDR2 Corsair RAM while the Intel® Core™ Duo T2600 is running on an AOpen i975Xa-YDG and 2x512DDR2 Corsair RAM. Below is the outcome of the battle:

1.TMPEG3:INTEL Pentium D920@4.5G Win
2.WINRAR: Intel Core Duo T2600@3.1G Win
3.PTT to PDF: Intel Core Duo T2600@3.1G Win
4.CINEBENCH2003: Intel Core Duo T2600@3.1G Win
5.PERFORMANCE TEST 6.0: Intel Core Duo T2600@3.1G Win
6.Dual SUPERPI1M: Intel Core Duo T2600@3.1G Win
7.CPUMARK99: Intel Core Duo T2600@3.1G Win
8.Mem Benchmark:INTEL Pentium D920@4.5G Win

The thread can be seen at XS.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Brag: So I already have my Conroe mobo installed =)

I decided to play around more with my i965-board and this time I succeeded in installing all the necessary drivers. Drivers are looking good right now though I might add that it takes a lot of work around and tweaking to make the motherboard fully stable. It's been an up and down experience, well, not that it's bad, it's part of being an early adapter and playing with an Engineering Sample board. For the Chipzilla fanboys, they'll notice the difference with the Chipset installer screenshot at the left, for the un-initiated, well, boooyaaah =)

At first, I have trouble loading up CPU-Z, and v1.33 seems a bit buggy at first. After some tweaks here and there, I finally am able to fire it up and loaded the validation. At this time where posting screenshot isn't enough, the CPU-Z validation web is a very handy tool to shush off the skeptics. Below is the screenshot of CPU-Z (note the Northbridge and Southbridge chipsets).

Click Me for CPU-Z Validation

Don't expect a Conroe submission though. Unlike Victor Wang over at XS, I am still under the veil of NDA :)

Long live Intel® Core™.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tech Link (Technology): Ryan Brooks's 6502 Nixie Clock

At this time and age of digital computing, tiny cameras, and small mobile phones, it has always been a "refreshing" experience to see such retro devices. It is ironic, people of the past have been pushing for newer and newer devices, making things more and more compact, more "digitized" and yet now that we are enjoying this era, then we are looking back at the roots and enjoying those things.

Ryan Brooks is one such person to enjoy such, and even develop and made one himself. He made a very good one and even so generously provided the necessary steps and materials to make one. If you are up to the task, has the patience to solder parts, and has passion for these things, then it's your lucky day. Head on over to Ryan's site and take a gander at such a masterpiece.

So, I wanted a Nixie clock and I really wanted to design the hardware and program it myself. Most of the kits out there are based around a PIC or some other new, easy to use microcontroller. I thought it would be much more interesting to make a clock powered by an old school computer.

The result is a 6502-powered Nixie clock. I started this project about two years ago when large tubes (Z5680M in this case) were still available. Since then, any large tube is 5x the price it was -- if you can find them.

Source:Ryan Brooks's 6502 Nixie Clock

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tech Link (Processor): Conroe benchmarks from an Enthusiast

Finally, a benchmark that didn't come from the web. Got published first and wowed the crowd once again. It's been a great time for both the FanBoys and the switchers, and even more so for those wishing to get even more performance out of their upcoming upgrades.

This processor, like what Chipzilla is touting, is going to be a killer processor. It packs a power punch on a low clock, going to priced at the mainstream and yet going to kill some massive competing processor.

Check out the post from Victor Wang and be wowed yourself.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Tech Link (Industry): 3DMark06 Under the Magnifying Glass

THG decided to give the latest and greatest FutureMark* product, the 3DMark06. I am not sure what has taken them this long to make a review of the benchmark utility (or maybe they did already, I just missed it).

In any case, if you feel like spending some time and scrutinizing the benchmark utility, they have a pretty much comprehensive report.

Futuremark's previous benchmarking suites have paved a way for enthusiasts to evaluate gaming performance, but along with this prestige comes the requisite skepticism over its methods and implementations. Arguments have arisen over techniques and the scoring calculations used. While one group will praise Futuremark for developing a neutral analysis tool as well as being forward-looking in its execution, another will accuse it of developing a benchmark that does not represent certain hardware implementations, or that utilizes techniques that game makers don't use. The newest version of "The Gamer's Benchmark" once again finds itself in the middle of this debate, so we decided to talk to both Futuremark and the hardware makers to get a better insight into the situation.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Review: AOpen Mini PC MP915 Review (Mobile on Desktop Realization)

While it is not something new for the hardcore hardware enthusiasts, and embedded computing industry, a small-footprint system is not something common for the typical consumers and mainstream computing industry. While Small Form Factor systems has been in circulation for quite sometime, it hasn't reached peak maturity due to the fact that the component within it are those made for desktop computing, with the the exceptions of a few that makes use of mobile processor. But still, SFF that use mobile processors and chipsets are still not able to reach that even smaller footprint because subcomponents are still based on desktop peripherals such as power supply, hard drive, optical drive, and even regular full height memory modules.

In this aspect of ultra-small, and even highly portable desktop computing, AOpen develop a complete system that not only meets the needed size, but also went ahead and make it into a very aesthically pleasing system which they aptly call MiniPC. The components that made up the MiniPC are all well thought out, from the power supply, to memory modules to cooling, processor, and hard drive. Many will smirk at it as a clone of MacMini and it is really not that different when looking at the exterior of the system. However, the MiniPC in the testbench today is a bit more flexible than the MacMini and can actually compete in this target market segment.

Read the full scoop:AOpen Mini PC MP915 Review (Mobile on Desktop Realization)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Brag: More info coming from FCG

If you haven't checked it out yet, you should =)...FCG has more exciting tidbits for us solid fanboys =)

I just got word that a second chip is available and I'm having it sent directly to me. I should probably receive it Tuesday. FUGGER is also going to send me a MB and everything I need to get a second rig up and running for testing.

For those that are unclear on what's going's what I can tell you:
- The motherboard to be used is an Asus with a "new" BIOS. (not sure if I can share detail just yet)
- I am under no NDA with Intel and am free to post whatever I want about Conroe.
- The chip shown is indeed Conroe and not Merom. Conroe is in an LGA775 package, Merom is pin-to pin-compatible with Yonah and is in the newer Socket 478 packaged used in mobile applications.
- Merom and Conroe are the same on the architectural level. They differ in the cache used for different model numbers, the standard FSB speeds and the target TDP.
- I like chicken.
- No one knows for sure where Conroe will scale too. Rest assured this will be tested at XS as we will be the FIRST to bring overclocking results on the Conroe and not just stock benches with an Intel CPU/MB combo time share (like at IDF). This will be a world exclusive to XS.


Source:XS #402