Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tech Link (Gaming): World of Warcraft 2nd Year Anniversary Sweepstakes

Happy Halloween for the FanBoyz!!! I will be taking an early off from the office and will be basking in some gaming at home. Wohooo! Then tomorrow, you might miss me posting a daily update because I'll be busy visiting my relatives and seeing old friends. So while still waiting for my update, why not lazy yourself with Blizzard's latest event. I'm a heavy Blizzard fan, and I really love their games. Expand for more..

World of Warcraft 2nd Year Anniversary Sweepstakes
Do you remember the first time you set foot in Orgrimmar and saw the watch fires burning on the parapets? What about the first time you saw the hot molten iron flowing beneath the catwalks of the city of Ironforge or gazed at the towering statues of the heroes of the Alliance in Stormwind? It has been two years since players first entered the world of Azeroth to forge such memories, and to celebrate the second anniversary of the launch of World of Warcraft, we will be awarding prizes to our loyal players over the next five weeks! Click here for more details.

Source:World of Warcraft 2nd Year Anniversary Sweepstakes

Monday, October 30, 2006

Tech Link (Platform): Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron Battle Head to Head

Whether the topic is on the desktop computing, laptop computing or server computing, rest assure that Intel's great processor and chipset uA is the best. In this review, THG puts Woodcrest head to head with the competition and comes out the big winner. Expand to check out the conclusion...

The Woodcrest platform performed very well, exceeding our initial expectations. It is the fastest in all of the tests and completely dominates our benchmarks. The new Xeon 5100 series helps Intel to get back on track, providing class-leading server/workstation processors. The now older 5000-series (Dempsey) Xeon, based on the Netburst architecture, is often last in the competition and merely serves as a point of reference in our tests.

Intel has retaken the throne from AMD in the server/workstation sector and sent AMD back to the drawing board. Next month Intel will release the quad core Clovertown CPU with 2 combined Woodcrest cores. AMD is ready for this threat with the introduction of their X4 Opteron, which is reported to have a L3 cache. Servers will benefit more from these quad core processors than desktop users due to the limited deployment of multithreaded-capable applications in the desktop sector in comparison to the server sector.

In mid-2007 AMD is expected to answer Intel's new threat with a line of faster Opterons utilizing the new Socket F, as well as support for DDR2 memory. Whether or not this will be enough to regain the performance lead has yet to be seen, but with no major architectural changes, it is expected that Intel will still retain the overall better performance per watt status.

In all, both platforms perform quite well, but the nod goes to the Xeon 5100 series for its superior performance and greater efficiency.

Source:Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron Battle Head to Head

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Brag: Goodies come in boxes!

Who would have thought that going to the office on Saturday would be so awesome? I got this pretty boring box, but as the saying goes,
"Don't judge the box by its appearance".
Ok, I made that up, but you know, the shipping boxes often comes battered, all dirty and messed up so I kind of invent that "saying", yay for me!

Anyway, these boxes of goodies really are nice. I will let the images speak for themselves. Of course, this is a brag thread so don't go calling me a show-off. Dang, my Christmas present is so early for me. Will there be even more goodies left in store for me? I hope so, I can always make room for another goodie!

But bragging aside, this quad core babies should really be awesome in terms of performance. If you are a gaming buff, it will be your ultimate processor. If you are a multimedia buff, this is the savior. If you are a guy who likes to join LAN party, this will be the main box in that event for sure. So make sure you save up and get one too. Till next bragging....

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Tech Link (Motherboard): Foxconn 975X7AB - FOX ONE and Digital VRM

I used to be a fan of LostCircuits when they are very objective and not subjective and seemed to be oblivious as to what the industry is trying to push on the "marketing" and they are focusing on "what's really in for the technology". Over time, I feel that this has changed, and I also began going away from the site.

I always wish I'd give the site the same reverence I used to give it to, but I just can't help but wonder if they really deserve it. But hey, it's just me, so you may have a different perspective and outlook on the way they post their articles. Have a look see, they have a new motherboard for the new Chipzilla processor on the test bench.


The probably hottest newcomer in the motherboard scene is Foxconn, who has recently set new standards of how to build motherboards based on nVidia and Intel chipsets. One thing we love about that company is that there is always one board where it seems that all stops have been pulled, examples have been the Winfast NFPIK8AA as well as the C51XEM2AA but both were aimed at AMD CPUs - understandable at the time of their introduction but things have changed. Intel's Core2 processors have conquered the enthusiast community by storm and - who might have guessed - Foxconn is following with the appropriate board, based on Intel's 975X chipset and displaying the inspiring name 975X7AB.

What the name lacks is made up by the feature set. A digital voltage regulator module borrowed from server class motherboards in combination with an auto-overclocking ASIC supported by proprietary software are the hi-lights but there is more in the form of Azalia audio and Dual Gigabit Ethernet. Having the features is one thing, having them working together is another issue and overclocking is yet a third issue since getting into Windows with enough stability is not the same as ramping the performance accordingly. So how does all of this pan out in the grand picture? Especially when we test with SLI instead of CrossFire?

Source:Foxconn 975X7AB - FOX ONE and Digital VRM

Friday, October 27, 2006

Tech Link (Utility):SpeedFan 4.31 is available

Wow, this is really fast. The 4.30 version didn't last for long. There's a new version of SpeedFan from Mr. Almico. This software is FREE, small in size, and fast. Expand for more......(note, I don't provide direct download of the files as is required by the author).

SpeedFan 4.31 is available. A lot of users should find this release interesting because of W83627DHG support. Starting with 4.30 new hardware monitor chips are fully supported, like ADM1026, ADT7473, MAX6640 and SCH311x. Added full support for Intel 631xESB and improved support for ICH7-M. Fixed support for other chips and added new advanced settings for some of them. Added full support for the internal temperature sensor from K8 chips on multiprocessor systems. There are several bug fixes and performance improvements too.

If you are planning a software upgrade and would like to move to Vista, consider that SpeedFan is compatible with it too. The 32 bit version works fine already. For the 64 bit version I made some tests and SpeedFan will work fine on it too.

Source:SpeedFan 4.31 is available

Misc: "Disconnected" - Editorial@PPC

I just read this Editorial over at PPC. Anyway, like the author, I lost all three: connectivity, electricity, and yes, clean water. Clean water is the most essential for me, for my family, being the head honcho at my home :)....

I have to travel to different places (my parent's and my wife's parents) just to "igib" clean water. We got water three(3) days after the typhoon, but not "clean", so I have to get this basic necessity from relatives, and groceries stores.

Power never came back till two+ weeks after. The hardest part for the father is to hear your kids ask you when will the power be back, when can they access the net, when can they have better sleeping time (two young kids age 2 and 4).

Staying at the hotel is too expensive and by the time I succumb to the idea (after 3 nights), I can't find one that is available or fits my budget. My parent's and my wifey's parent's homes weren't an option either, because they have the same problems: no water, no electricity, same banana.

I spent long nights awake trying to shoooo away some insects, and act as a human fan.

I could care less about broadband connection though, but my kids missed Barbie, Barney and the Disney characters. They can't watch TV, play DVD or access the internet (funny how kids of 2 and 4 can really learn operating a PC and these electronic stuff on their own). In the end, I have to bring them to the office with me on Saturdays (and I hate going out of the home during weekends, I am a homeboy) and Sundays so that they can get their fill of their favorite website (now, they are actually asking me when are they going back with me to the office again).

So what do I do during weekdays and kids were clamoring accessing the net? Well, I figure, we'll go back to the basics and whipped out their coloring books and many un opened crayons and water color. I play the guitar while they sing and dance. It was fun, I enjoyed it, we actually enjoyed it.

And oh, as for keeping wifey from getting really bored? We played Pusoy Dos, Tong Its, and Pek Wa before bed time. Even the two yayas were happy that they get the chance to play with us, no money involve though, just the usual "asaran" during gameplay.

Millenyo made me go back and trace my roots, I have started looking back at the stars at night time again. I have started staring at the clouds after I got back hhome from the office. I have started doing old skool art activity again with the kids. I started playing guitar again. I started going around my home garden and do some basic cleaning again. I started communicating with my neighbors again, asking them how they are doing as of late. I started to re-arrange my VCD collection again (yes, original, they are cheap so why buy pirated) and whatever DVD I have (less than 50, they are pricey yay). I started to strike conversation with old friends, I started using "text messaging" which I really love back in '97 but hated it when it boomed late '99 (so many text speak).

So yeah, being disconnected has its blessings as well, at least for me, it does bring me back and made me do things I love again.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Brag: FanBoyReview's 10th Month Anniversary is Special!

Wohoo, I got some really nice stuff from TPC main man himself, ReB. It is just too bad that I am currently in the phonecon, I didn't know it'll be a special visit. Had I known, I would have declined the meeting instead.

Anyway, the least I can say is extend my thanks for the special gift. It's such a cool item from TPC community. There are to items, a bag and a shirt. I really loved them both, really really nice. I am thankful that the shirts doesn't have A* logo anymore, I can really wear them proud wherever I got.

The bag goes to wifey, she'll be sporting and parading with the cool bag. The color is very very nice, formal black, and the logo stands out.

Many thanks to TPC, and this makes my 10th month anniversary even more special :).

Here are more pictures of the items (warning: big images)
Shirt Front
Shirt Front Logo
Shirt Back
Shirt Back Print
Bag Front
Bag Back
Bag Pockets
Bag Shoulder Strap

Brag: Woot, reached a decade, err, 10months (and some AMD* bits to post too)

So, it's that day of the month again where I post about how I reached a certain month of anniversary or so. I will not play like a smart ass and try to post something witty, or act like I know everything so I will not really elaborate much on this posting. If there's one thing I'd like to elaborate, or shall I say, "emphasize" (yes, it's more fitting than "elaborate") is that: I hit ten (10) months of existence, I have never accomplished such a long time kind of web posting, so yep, this is a milestone for me.

On another note, with my FanBoyism kicking, a friend sent me an email about AMD* and ATi* touting Chipzilla's platform as the "Winner: "Best Gaming PC" 2006*… Computer Shopper". Grantedm it's Computer Shopper that pronounced that claim, but still, they put it up on their website. Note the "url" carefully when you click and directed to the link. Expand for more if you would like to check out the URL...

Overdrive PC™ built an ATI X1K series based gaming computer that appeals to the uber gamer. A dream machine that has exactly what high-end gamers are looking for today —speed, stability and ultimate visual quality!

This gaming PC achieves benchmark and performance standards above and beyond anything thought possible by the average gamer. Featuring two HyperClocked ™ Radeon® X 1900 XTX graphic cards, Overdrive PC™ provides one of the fastest solutions in the industry.

Source:Winner: "Best Gaming PC" 2006*… Computer Shopper

I know, I know, that ATi* is the one promoting it, and it's their feature of the month. I guess, either they tout their Video Cards and ignore their affiliation with A* or, I don't know, I can't really say much aside from that ;) (hey, I'm a FanBoy, whatdaya expect!)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tech Link (Motherboard): Abit AW9D-Max on Vapochill LS

Uber owner, FUGGER of XS has geared up an Abit board under some pure fun run of Vapochill LS. The board proved to meet FUGGER's expectations and gave it a really high score of 9.5!!! I am itching to get my hands on this board, mine is due to arrive in about two to three week's time. Expand to check out FUGGER's thoughts on the board...

Final words:

There is no power restart issues like those found on the Asus line of boards and I only had done the cmos reset once by choice. The system will reset after failed overclock correctly making life much easier when testing.

It would be safe to reccomend this board for both benching and gaming. Stability is one of this boards stong points. Knowing the board hits so high on 1066 strap makes this board very strong in bandwidth at top speed. If it had the 1333 strap I am sure this board could huge bus speeds like those found on other boards.

The other problem is my top multiple is 11x with the x6800 on the beta bios, not the big of a problem as I use 10x now.

Abit needs to include the fans with the Max boards, not sure why that was overlooked. Despite that oversight I still give this board 9.5 score. Taking points off for small bios problems and the lack of fans in the Max package.

After gaming on this board for a few weeks it has proven itself for stability. My NB gets very hot but not unstable if dont have a fan on it.

Source:Abit AW9D-Max on Vapochill LS

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tech Link (Platform): Intel Core 2 Duo in Notebooks: Centrino Duo Platform Refreshed

I almost forgot to do a posting today, it's holiday so I got myself the needed rest. In any case, I browsed the web today and can't find any interesting info. My InBox is also not having anything from my contacts and friends, so, I dropped XBitLabs a visit. I saw that they have a Merom on the test bench so it should be interesting. Expand to read their thoughts...


The today’s results can hardly help us make any final conclusions. The thing is that we are still under great impression from the success of new CPUs on Core microarchitecture in the desktop market. Unfortunately, the situation with the mobile Core 2 Duo processors is not as rosy. While the desktop Core 2 Duo processors became significantly faster and set new performance records, the mobile Core 2 Duo couldn’t provide the same significant performance improvement compared with their predecessors – Core Duo CPUs.

According to our tests, Core 2 Duo are faster than Core Duo in all applications, however the average performance improvement (provided the clock speed is equal) is less than 10%. And this is a purely evolutional change. In other words, despite all significant micro-architectural improvements that were introduced when shifting from Core Duo to Core 2 Duo, the practical performance increase in the mobile platforms didn’t prove up to our expectations. Of course, video application are working much faster now, sometimes even 20% faster, but video editing is not a really typical task for mobile platforms. So, the significance of the mobile Core 2 Duo launch is not in the higher performance, but in the Intel 64-bit modes support that has been introduced in the notebook platforms with the arrival of the new generation of mobile processors.

In addition, I would also like to say that higher performance of the Core 2 Duo processors is not free and results in higher power consumption. As a result, mobile platforms equipped with Core 2 Duo processors run slightly less on battery than the systems featuring Core Duo inside. However, I have to be fair here: the performance improvement is still higher than the power consumption loss.

In conclusion, I would like to point out again that the arrival of mobile Core 2 Duo processors will not cause any revolutionary changes in the notebook market. Especially, since Intel is not updating the entire platform just yet, but offers to use new CPUs in the old Napa platform. So, if you already have a Napa based notebook with the dual-core Core Duo CPU, there is hardly any real need to upgrade.

A for the real revolution in the mobile market, we should wait for the next spring, when the expanded Core 2 Duo processor family with higher frequency models in it will acquire a new chipset with better integrated graphics and Robson technology, as well as a new wireless network component with higher data transfer rate.

Source:Intel Core 2 Duo in Notebooks: Centrino Duo Platform Refreshed

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tech Link (Industry): Intel in grave trouble, say unreliable sources

Hexus author seems a bit irked as well by the crazy Sharikou guy (yes, no link here) who kept on blabbering things out of proportion and saying things without even thinking for a moment. He's been proven wrong on so many occasions and fortunately for me, I have never visited his Blog site ever again. Expand this article to check the author's thoughts about this...

And finally...
There's a distinct lack of financial analysis in this article, for the sole reason that I'm an expert in hardware, not a financial analyst; I'm not going to pretend to be something I'm not. Still, I'll leave you with this fairly simple thought: If Intel was in any serious danger, shouldn't shareholders have been running scared in their masses by now?

Source:Intel in grave trouble, say unreliable sources

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Misc: Wow, my host is back! This is great!

Thanks a million, darky73 or arno :). You brought back the server in no time. Wow, this is really awesome, I can't ask anything anymore. Thanks mate, for your kindness and everything.

Misc: My host is down :)

So you'll notice slow web loading, and a lot of broken images. Expect to have it down for, well, I don't know. I'll bug the server owner (an internet friend), but really, I don't like to bug him since I am just having a "free ride".

I mean, if it's down then it's down. He's been hosting all, yes you read it right, ALL, of my files for free all these years. I am forever greatful, having an "unseen" friend do service for you for free without asking for anything in return is great.

So don't poke, it'll be back when it comes back. If it doesn't, well, I guess I'll try and find another host. For now, I can't do much about it, I'm sure he has his reasons and I am not at all feeling bad.

Till next blogging...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tech Link (Motherboard): Intel P965: Mid-Range Performance Sector Roundup

It seems that AMDTech got out there and make a whooping review of different motherboard makers based on the i965 chipset. Well, all I can say is that they are learning when judging what motherboard to get. I have been saying this in the forums for such a long time: it's not all about performance; warranty and support must also be top notch.

For extreme hardcore enthusiasts, it's not much because most of the time, their warranty is void anyway. But for 99.999999999% of the population out there (yes, I am exaggerating) performace difference of 0.00000001+/- between manufacturers isn't much of a big deal. Oftentimes, users will end up having a nightmare of an experience RMAing their broken board. Anyway, if you woud like to read on their thoughts, expand this posting...

Final Words

After twenty five pages of information we can safely say that an Intel P965 is still an Intel P965 no matter which motherboard you place it in. This should come as no big surprise as the days of one motherboard manufacturer truly outperforming another one at stock clock speeds with the same chipset is over. The basis of competition is now on features, price, warranty, appearance, overclocking capability, accessories, availability, and reliability. If that sounds a lot like the motherboard being a commodity item, it is, as the consumer expects or demands a certain level of performance and support from all motherboards. They will pay extra for the features that are deemed important based upon their needs. One only has to look at the fallout and consolidation of the motherboard suppliers over the past couple of years to realize this simple fact.

While we believe performance is still extremely important, it is no longer the only reason to consider a particular motherboard supplier. In our opinion, the features, price, warranty, support, and reliability of the motherboard should be first on your list as base performance will generally be equal among all motherboards based on the same chipset. To a lesser degree even the performance amongst various chipsets for the same CPU family performs almost identically now. It comes back to features and support for making that final decision. We would love to make a final decision on the boards we tested today but we have another eight or so left to present to you. We can draw a few conclusions from the results and information we presented after testing these boards for past few weeks. Our first conclusion is that the P965 was released too early and the first motherboards while being very solid from a features and quality viewpoint had very immature BIOS releases.

The inability to boot many boards with most performance oriented memory modules was inexcusable. Do not get us wrong as it took two to tango this sorry dance. We blame the memory manufacturers also as they were just as guilty by having modules in the market with SPD settings that assumed the board would boot at 2.0V or higher. While the motherboard manufacturers will state they followed Intel's 1.8V requirement they are still guilty for not having the BIOS cycle properly to recognize the memory speed, voltage, or timings after the POST issue. The majority of these issues have been solved with the latest BIOS or SPD releases. We still cringe when installing a new memory module but now concentrate on how well it performs instead of crossing our fingers and calling the psychic hotline.

Other issues included incompatibilities with the new SATA/IDE controller chips resulting in PIO mode operation or failure to see the drive at all. This goes back to quality control and pushing an early release. It also brings up the point that Intel in their infinite wisdom decided to pull PATA support from this chipset when over 98% of optical drives are still based on PATA technology. They could have waited for the Bearlake chipset next year to do this. This change also increased the cost and complexity of the motherboards as you now introduce another chipset on each and every motherboard sold.

Overall, the BIOS releases have greatly matured and the amount of issues have declined sharply over the last two months. In this case we have to give credit to the motherboard and memory suppliers for acting quickly... but only after upsetting an untold number of customers. While there are still a few nagging issues here and there, like getting AHCI to work on the Intel ICH8R equipped boards without an engineering degree and a day off, we are seeing most of the issues being reduced now to what we have come to live with in an open PC hardware world. Those issues would be where a combination of parts that you would never expect to be used together creates an issue that is extremely difficult to fix or even diagnose. We still get mail on a fair share of those and will report our findings in the final article. We can safely say that with out list of components used in our test bed that our motherboards were virtually error free of issues that would cause instability or create a no POST situation.

Overall, the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 performed the best in our benchmarks when not overclocked. This is a very good accomplishment and shows a level of consistency and fine tuning that was not matched by the other suppliers. However, the total margin of victory over the other P965 motherboards is less than one percent. It took several hundred hours of benchmarking to come to this conclusion and without those benchmarks it would have been impossible to tell the difference between any of the P965 motherboards tested today.

The overclocking capability of ASUS motherboards continues to be impressive in their mid-range series. If you are looking to get the highest possible overclocking results with an E6300 or E6400 processor then we would recommend the ASUS P5B-E 1.02G at this time. Of course it is not available yet (it will be shortly) and unless you have expensive PC2-8000 RAM then chances of going over 500FSB are not that great with the ASUS P5B-E 1.01G board. However, it is hard to complain about the ASUS 1.01G board with 7x490FSB results using mid-range PC2-6400 memory. Gigabyte has not solved their Micron D9 1GB module issue yet so they are stuck in the 450FSB range with our test components. Biostar has a 500FSB level BIOS limit but more importantly you cannot find the board. That brings us to Abit and the AB9-Pro which has improved its overclocking capabilities a great deal since we first reviewed the board but apparently has reached its limits at this time. If you have an E6400 or E6600 then this board still has great overclocking potential for the majority of users.

When it comes to features we really liked the ASUS and Abit boards as they provided just about every possible option on a midrange/performance motherboard that one could want. While the Gigabyte and Biostar boards are also feature rich, they both lack Firewire support which should be a given on boards in this price range. We have to have to give Biostar a gold star for overall layout design although the location of the 24-pin and 4-pin ATX power connectors are a detraction. The ASUS and Gigabyte motherboards have fairly standard layouts that we could live with on a daily basis but we have to wonder what the layout design group at Abit was thinking when they placed the IDE and two SATA connectors between the PCI Express x1 and PCI slots. We will call it a creative design inspiration at this time to be nice as we still like the board's overall capabilities.

The Analog Devices AD1988A HD Audio Codec really put the screws to the Realtek ALC-88x series of HD Audio Codecs in our EAX 2 gaming tests. The EAX sounds were clear and concise unlike some of the warbling and muddy sound generated by the Realtek codecs in our Battlefield 2 test. While the audio quality of both codecs was almost equal in our standard game, DVD video, and audio tests we still think the ADI solution had the superior overall audio quality.

Wrapping up part one, there was not a real loser in this group. Each board has its strengths and weaknesses so it comes down to what the individual user wants in a board that will meet their needs. We received varying support from each supplier and not in a way you would think. Our direct support was excellent but we wanted to find out how well the manufacturers supported a retail customer so we acted like one. We logged on to their support forums if available and asked questions about our issues or those of other users. We purchased retail boards (when possible) and called technical support. We emailed, faxed, or otherwise bugged the hell out of some customer support personnel for the last six weeks. We will provide our results in the final article and these results will help determine our Editor's Choice awards. After all, it's not just about performance anymore.

Source:Intel P965: Mid-Range Performance Sector Roundup

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tech Link (Graphics): MSI RX1950XTX-VT2D512E Water Cooled Edition (Radeon X1950 XTX)

If you feel like wanting to have watercooling for your video card yet you aren't feeling you're up to it, maybe you can resort to a factory-ready watercooled solution then. HardwareZone has an article about this watercooled high-end gaming video card that will certainly be fit only to those who have the $$$ but not the experience nor the courage to embark on DIY watercooling system. Expand for more...


Vendors have been gradually encroaching into niche segments in order to differentiate themselves. An example would be how liquid cooling, which used to be custom projects involving lots of time and effort, becoming a mainstream product available off the shelves. Perhaps the enthusiasts who used to have the time to indulge their hobbies have all grown up or moved on. Or maybe they just saw the writing on the wall: their hobbies are no longer niche and Big Business has muscled into their field. It's not necessarily a negative development since those who lack the technical skills would benefit. But there's also probably a proportion who feel that the 'exclusivity' of their niche has been lost. Not to mention that the motivation to start projects like liquid cooling will be undermined by the easy availability of such products. There are probably some who would hence move on to other less developed, niche hobbies. Overall though, the market has probably increased in size, with terms like overclocking entering the mainstream consciousness.

MSI's latest effort shows how far the manufacturers have come. A third party liquid cooling kit by Thermaltake is grafted onto a Radeon X1950 XTX by MSI. Practically all the work has been done, whereas in the past, there could be no such thing as a readymade liquid cooling kit. Is it more convenient for consumers? Definitely. However, judged as a Radeon X1950 XTX, the performance of the MSI RX1950XTX-VT2D512E did not break new ground, due to its standard clock speeds. Neither did we manage to overclock it beyond the usual limits of this chipset. You could probably notice a drop in noise with the Tide Water Mini liquid cooling kit but that's only if you have the fan at the Low setting. Then, the temperatures were at best on par with the reference card though more often than not, they were a tad higher. In short, on almost all possible criteria, the MSI card only had a minor edge in terms of operational noise levels.

Since everything has been done for you, MSI will naturally expect you to pay for the convenience. While we don't have a confirmed retail price for this card at the moment, it will probably add up to more than the combined total of the selling price of a typical Radeon X1950 XTX and that of the Tehrmaltake Tide Water Mini unit. Throw in the new Heroes of Might and Magic V game and other accessories in the bundle and the cost of this product can be quite substantial. The standard Radeon X1950 XTX goes for around US$430 - US$450 so you can probably add 60 to 80 dollars to that, based on the average price of the Thermaltake liquid cooling module. For some, it looks like a cool toy thanks to the novelty of liquid cooling but be warned, it's not for those with shallow pockets.

Source:MSI RX1950XTX-VT2D512E Water Cooled Edition (Radeon X1950 XTX)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tech Link (Industry): Microsoft* Internet Explorer 7.0 released for the public

I just got a tip that the newest browser from Microsoft* is now released for the public. I have only tested it before during the early days and my experience wasn't quite good, but hey, blame it on the software being "non production release". Go check it out.

Cut through the clutter.Simple is good. A redesigned, streamlined interface gives you more of what you need and less of what you don't. The new look maximizes the area of the screen that displays the webpage.

Do more by doing less.Open multiple websites in one Internet Explorer window with tabbed browsing. See thumbnail images of all open tabs in a single view. Organize multiple tabs into a single tab group and save it as a favorite.

Print it right the first time.Internet Explorer 7 automatically shrinks text for improved printing , so all webpage content fits on your final printed page. Print options also include adjustable margins, customizable page layouts, removable headers and footers, and changeable print space.

Get news delivered directly to you.Tired of looking for the latest news and information on the web? Internet Explorer 7 can deliver the latest updates from your favorite sites to you. Subscribe to RSS feeds through Internet Explorer 7, and get instant access to personalized sports, news, and shopping feeds that keep you up to date on the latest information online.

Choose multiple search providers.Search the Internet directly from the browser frame using your favorite search provider with the instant search box.

Put safety first.Robust new Internet Explorer 7 architecture and improved security features help protect you against malicious software, and help to keep your personal data safe from fraudulent websites and online phishing scams.

Source:Microsoft* Internet Explorer 7.0 released for the public

Tech Link (Processor): OPB's 3rd attempt got super pi 1m 8.906s and new pifast wr

I would have not posted it but I just checked the link again and it seems that some folks over at XS are doubting this new WR. If you are fond of running SuperPi benches, there's a lot discussion on how OPB was able to improve his score. Go check it out, and maybe, pitch in your thoughts. Me? I don't doubt the score, it's a Chipzilla CPU, it must be good, yay!

Let me share with you guys, LN2 playing is really hard job, I am only one person, and I need to watch temp, take picture, and capture windows benchmark screeny....how many hands I have? lol...

here we go, finally reached sub 9 as super pi 1m 8.906...

really tired, and out of LN2...will keep 8m and 32m challenge next time.

This will be the same for the Conway, Captin Insano.


Source:OPB's 3rd attempt got super pi 1m 8.906s and new pifast wr

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rant: Yes, TagBoard is STILL out...

I know it's down, so I took it out of the Blog because it is very annoying when a popup is triggered for a site visit. It's annoying, but what can I say, they're still down and I don't know why. I am still contemplating whethere to bring it back or not. So for now, it's out. Darn!

Tech Link (Graphics): Dual R580+ Gaming : ATI’s Radeon X1950 XTX Crossfire Edition

Looks like enthusiasts on the budget who love Crossfire* will have a merry time with this new graphics card. Personally, I am moving away from ATi*, and going to change color from Red to YellowGreen in terms of GPU. Expand to check out what GamePC thinks about these GPUs...

The Final Word
We’ve never been greatly impressed with ATI’s Crossfire technology in the past, namely because it’s always followed well behind comparable Nvidia SLI offerings in launch times, while delivering solid, but un-impressive overall performance while being louder and more of a pain to install. In addition, you had to use selected Crossfire-enabled chipsets which were rarely the first choice of enthusiasts. In short, there were a lot of factors in the equation, but the end result is that Crossfire has never been up to par with what ATI was hyping it to be.
Today’s combination of the Intel 975X chipset, the Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and a pair of ATI Radeon X1950 XTX graphics cards certainly make us re-think our earlier issues with Crossfire. This combination gives nearly unbeatable performance while maintaining a surprisingly quiet running environment. Our tests consistently showed Radeon X1950 XTX cards in Crossfire besting similarly priced GeForce 7900 GTX cards in SLI, sometimes by a fairly large margin. Not only is overall performance great, but image quality looks superb with excellent output quality and buttery smooth 14x full-scene anti-aliasing support. We were able to play every high-end game on the market at smooth frame rates at high resolutions, along with image quality settings cranked up high.

Of course, we haven’t factored in the new GeForce 7950 GX2 graphics cards in SLI on the new nForce 590 SLI Intel Edition boards (which just hit the market in volume this week), but we will be looking at this combination soon. We also should note that while this combination is brand new hitting the market now, it may be a tough sell when one considers the price of these cards (around $1000-$1200 for dual X1950 XTX cards in a Crossfire configuration) in comparison to the time until Nvidia and ATI’s next generation DirectX 10 compatible graphics cards are launched (not too far off), X1950 XTX Crossfire is going to be a tough sell. It’s really quite a shame too, because the combination as it is now is amazingly powerful and remarkably quiet, yet due to pricing and timing, will most than likely not make a dent in Nvidia’s multi-GPU market-share numbers.

For now though, we have to say that we very much like ATI’s Radeon X1950 XTX Crossfire combination. The hardware is finally more powerful than Nvidia’s while maintaining very low noise levels. Sure, the cards consume lots of power and create lots of heat (and still have that annoying external cables), but the amazing performance of these cards helps us forget the fringe drawbacks which these cards currently have. If you want unbeatable DirectX 9 performance today, this is an excellent way to go. However, keep in mind that DX10 is just around the corner, and it’s unlikely that this combination will be on top of the benchmark charts for long.

Source:Dual R580+ Gaming : ATI’s Radeon X1950 XTX Crossfire Edition

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tech Link (Motherboard): ABIT AW9D-MAX

VR-Zone's newest editor, Steeldogs, seems very impressed with Abit's* top dog motherboard for Chipzilla CPUs. I love this board too, if only it comes short with PCIe slots. I would have love to see this have three(3)+ PCIe slots! Expand to read the conclusion...


My over all experience with the abit AW9D-MAX is nothing short of excellent. From setup to benchmarking the AW9D-MAX performed flawlessly. Out of the box performance while based on related hardware shows the performance and stability of this product. Granted I didnt do much tweaking with the ram settings other than just allowing the system to default to specifications, but the fact we have such great scores combined with rock solid stability proves once again abit is moving in the right direction and doing so with a vengence.

With some extra cooling and tweaking this board can and will push our E6700 2.66GHz CPU to well over 3.6GHz giving us a full GHz or better of over-clocking potential. This is amazing headroom to say the least. abit has hit a home run in the world series of motherboard products and the AW9D-MAX makes this possible. abit has been a major player for many years and with products like the AW9D-MAX, is a testiment to abit's commitment to excellence by offering milestone products, giving the consumer a high end solution and features, combined with the best product support by trained professionals, makes abit a leader in there domain.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Press Release: ASUS Introduces Silent Knight All-Copper Cooler for Dual-Core Processors

This is a very pretty cooler. I always love pretty coolers such as this, and oh, I believe it can indeed cool down those Quad cores. I want one so bad!

Taipei, Taiwan, October 5, 2006 – ASUSTeK Computer Inc. (ASUS), today announced the Silent Knight CPU cooler, which utilized 100% copper (an highly effective conductor) for its fins, base and heat pipes to enable efficient heat dissipation for the latest dual-core processors. The Silent Knight offers quiet performance and a unique design with blue LED, providing a peaceful computing environment and a stylish system interior.

Fast heat dissipation – All copper cooler with 6 heat pipes
Besides the fan, the Silent Knight is an all-copper CPU cooling solution. With copper, an effective heat conductor, large heat exchange area, lightweight design to relieve stress on the motherboard, and six curved heat pipes to transfer heat to the fins, processor temperature is always maintained at levels most suitable for high-performance and reliable computing.

AMD and Intel dual-core CPU support
The Silent Knight supports the Intel®’s Core™2 series, Pentium® D Dual-Core CPU, Pentium® 4 LGA775 and Socket 478 processors as well as the AMD®’s Socket AM2/940/939/754, AthlonTM 64-FX, AthlonTM and SempronTM processors. It is ready for the latest and most powerful computing platforms in the market.

Voltage regulation module protection
The voltage regulation shield inside the cooler directs airflow created by the 9cm LED fan to surrounding VRM (voltage regulation modules), which are critical to processor operation and overall system reliability. This unique design effectively reduces VRM temperature by 10-15˚C.

3-step installation
The patented retention module adopted is made specifically to enable easy cooler installation in three simple steps even without removing the motherboard from the system or memory modules from the board, and regardless of the processor platform.
1. Place retention set on the motherboard
2. Place cooler over the CPU
3. Lock cooler with spring clip
Specification summary

CPU support

Intel® Core™2 Extreme/ Core™2 Duo/ Pentium® D (Dual-Core)
Intel® Pentium® 4 HT/ Celeron® D CPU
AMD Athlon™ 64 X2/ FX (Dual-Core)
AMD Athlon™ 64/ Sempron™
Cooler dimension

115(L) x 140(W) x 110(H)mm, 610g

Heat sink material

Copper base + copper punched fins + 6 copper heat pipes

Heat sink material

PW201 LCD Monitor
S6 Leather Collection Notebook
VX1 Notebook
WL-700gE Wireless Storage Center
Fan dimension

92 x 92 x 25mm
Fan speedl

2,200 rpm ± 10%
Bearing type Sleeve bearing

The Silent Knight is now available. For more detail information, please visit the ASUS homepage at www.asus.com.

Source:ASUS Introduces Silent Knight All-Copper Cooler for Dual-Core Processors

Rant: Responsible news posting...

I have seen XBitLabs post about "Dell Drops Intel Viiv in Favour of AMD Live!", below is an exceprt and I added emphasis.

The world’s largest maker of personal computers (PCs), Dell, and its fully-owned subsidiary Alienware have announced their first breed of AMD Live! PCs designed for living rooms. The notable fact about the new computers by Dell is that it no longer offers Intel Viiv platform-based computers, which are direct rivals for the Live!.

Of course, this isn't true and where did XBitLabs get this "news"? Maybe at c|net, but the article states "not promoting" but still supports the platform from Chipzilla.

How can I say it's not true? Well, I've seen several postings already that Dell* still sell and not ignoring Chipzilla's digital home platform. Take [H]'s posting for example:

Dell NOT Snubbing Viiv

The folks over at Dell let me know that the story I linked yesterday is inaccurate. Dell is not snubbing Viiv and the reason for the so called “missing Viiv” information is because of a simple site redesign. Dang, another conspiracy theory down the drain. wink

The reason Viiv is currently less prominent on our site is simply a function of our recent site redesign. One of the final details that the team is working on is to replace the Viiv logos and educational content on the new site. Those should be in place in the next few days, and in plenty of time to help holiday shoppers learn more about Viiv.

And then there's the dreaded INQ (eeeew) posting:

SUBJECT: Dell Does Sell Viiv

I'd like to clarify Dell's position on Viiv. We do sell Viiv-enabled systems, all of which feature the Core2Duo processor. Our Dimension E520 and XPS410 are the two most popular models we sell.

The reason Viiv is currently less prominent on our site is simply a function of our recent site redesign. One of the final details that the team is tending to is replacing the Viiv logos and educational content on the new site.

Those should be in place in the next few days, and in plenty of time to help holiday shoppers learn more about Viiv.

I'd be grateful if you could help us set this story straight.

Thanks in advance.

Ira Williams

Till next, hopefully, we'll get to see more responsible and accurate news posting from reputable sites. They aren't regular Blog sites, they are promininent sites and making such baseless posting isn't nice.

Tech Link (Cooler): Thermaltake Bigwater 745 Liquid Cooling System Review

I am still a fan of Thermaltake* so I can't resist to read up on this review for their watercooling system. I hated the first ever Thermaltake* water cooler (Aquarius* series) since it's not good enough even back in the days of socket478. But Thermaltake* has improved thru the years and well, they are making more and more of these watercooling systems and components so I guess they are succesful here. In any case, checkout i4u's review. They used a pretty nice set up there. Expand for more...

Thermaltake Bigwater 745 Performance
If you are a hardcore overclocker, liquid cooling systems from the likes of Danger Den and other manufacturers will likely offer higher performance for your needs. However, for casual overlclockers and those looking to make their systems quieter the Thermaltake Bigwater 745 is an excellent option. The heat/sink fan combo I was using prior to the Bigwater was a high performance unit from Zalman called the Fatal1ty for the LGA775 Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 CPU I use in my system.

At idle with default CPU settings on the Zalman fan my system ran 35C degrees with ambient room temps at about 80F(a bit under 27C). With the same ambient temps in the room the Thermaltake Bigwater 745 kept the Core 2 Extreme at 28C idle temp. That is a bit over one degree higher than room temp. Under full load with looping 3DMark06 runs going the Zalman fan kept the CPU at 48C. Bigwater kept the CPU at 41C under full load with the same 3DMark06 loop running. Note: All temps were taken with the Abit uGuru panel via the built in temp probes on the board.

Good performing liquid cooling system with no glaring issued during install other than not having enough coolant included. The components are of good quality and the system will work with most current CPUs. The system components are large, be prepared for creative installation and possibly having to mod your chassis to fit the system inside the case. Hardcore overclockers may want to shop elsewhere, but the majority of liquid cooling users will find the system to be great for typical needs and much better than high performance air cooling. Great performance for cost sets the Bigwater 745 apart from its peers.

Source:Thermaltake Bigwater 745 Liquid Cooling System Review

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Rant: Too many toyz, so little time. Kentsfield QX6700@QX6900

Well, I have been quite busy and I have to say that I have been neglecting all my hardware again. It's no suprise, it has always been like that, my reports about these hardware has always been sent just before the deadline (luckily). I have just sent my findings about overclockability, stability, application performance, compatibility and all other details about the new baby to make sure these will be problem free when it becomes available. The gist of the report? Well, aside from what you have probably seen from the websites about benchmarks, all I can really say is that these quad cores are as solid as a rock.

I have put this Kentsfield thru overclocking, and torture testing and they have stood the test of time. This particular CPU-Z is taken after almost two(2) days of Prime95 (four instances) with looping 3DMark2001 in the background and Mcafee AV running the background.

I can't ask for more with these babies. Performance is superb with multi-core aware and multi-threading applications. It is the fastest CPU I have used in the desktop so far and I have to give this a thumbs up. If you plan to get these Quad Core babies, start saving up. Till then, hope to see you on the Intel vPro launch this Tuesday and Wednesday. I'll be there too!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Tech Link (Gadget): USB Cannon

You have seen the USB Missile Launcher, now how about a little going back in time and instead of Missile, a Canon is used instead! Wow, this is one hot stuff, it's out of stock last time I check. You gotta have this one, if only to annoy anyone you found poking behind your back looking at what you are browsing when you're not busy at work. Woot!

Why boing rubber bands around the office when you can aim and fire foam darts with a flick of your space bar? Powered and controlled by your PC, this comedy cannon will blast its squishy ammo up to 20ft amidst a cacophony of circus music. Includes net for target practice.

Source:USB Cannon

Friday, October 13, 2006

Tech Link (Gadget): Optimus Mini Three Keyboard Review

Looks like XBitLabs had some issues with the gadget, but if you're a gadget freak or worst (or better, depending on your belief, yayayay) a fanboy, then you'll be drooling (if not getting) over the really cool looking piece of device. Expand to check what is XBitLabs' thoughts...

Today we did our best to share with you our impressions and experiences from working with Optimus mini three keyboard from Artemiy Lebedev’s Studio. Summing up I have to say that our impressions turned out pretty ambiguous. On the one hand, Optimus mini three is a very interesting, beautiful and useful USB gadget. It can be used for a lot of different tasks and theoretically features unlimited functionality thanks to flexible software. Besides, this keyboard is designed greatly and looks good. I believe the use of OLED displays inside the keys is a nice solution.

Unfortunately, despite all the positive emotions we had from this product and the pride we feel for our fellow Russians, we cannot forget about the drawbacks and bugs that we discovered during our tests. The hardware solution turned out pretty slow and it generates some strange whistling noise during work. But the biggest problem with Optimus mini three is the software. The current version of Optimus mini Configurator boasts very scarce features that are much less impressive than what they promised us before the launch in the marketing and promo materials. Moreover, the software is not free from frustrating bugs and loads the entire system pretty heavily. Luckily, the software issues may be resolved in the upcoming Configurator versions, which we hope will happen soon. We also hope that the third-party developers will support this product as well.

In conclusion I would like to say that Optimus mini three should be regarded as the first try before they roll out a fully-functional 101-key Optimus keyboard where each key will feature a small OLED display. Of course, Artemiy Lebedev’s Studio will take note of all our comments and remarks and hopefully the review of their next offspring turns out much more positive.

Source:Optimus Mini Three Keyboard Review

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tech Link (Technology): MultiMeter Basics

It's a bit dated but still I find this very useful for those wanting to learn how to use this nifty tool. Mine is a pretty old one, and I think I may need to get new digital-based one. So if you would like to learn more about usage of Multimeter, overclockers.com has the 101 for you. Expand for more...

"What the? Why won't my computer turn on? Crap! Did the power supply die?"

Pretty much anyone who has owned a computer has been in this situation. But sometimes there just isn't that handy spare power supply laying around to double check your suspicion. Thus it is always good knowledge knowing how to test a power supply. But how do you test a power supply? This seemingly magical act can actually be performed multiple ways.

One way it so simply buy a power supply tester online (as most computer gear stores don't carry them, at least in my neck of the woods). Most of them are very simple devices - plug in your main 20/24 pin power supply connector, make sure all the lights come up green and you're good to go. Coolmax has recently (to me anyway) released a very cool upgraded power supply tester - you plug in your main power connector as usual and it displays the voltages on an LCD screen for you.

Source:MultiMeter Basics

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tech Link (Processor): Cheap Thrills: Core 2 Duo E6400 Overclocked to 3.33 GHz

THG, that reknowned website, yep, needs no introduction. And one of their article is just sooooo, well, THG. Go ahead and check it out, they even have a nice image of sunny side up egg ready for the taking, *rawr*

We have to congratulate Universal Abit and Gigabyte, as the AB9-Pro and 3D Galaxy II combination brought us clock speeds far beyond our expectations, which were over 10% faster than what Intel's specifies for its fastest Core 2 Extreme X6800!

A quick look at the game benchmarks indicates that any increase in processor cost, including money spent on cooling in the pursuit of top clock speed, would be better spent on a top graphics card. We used relatively low resolutions, and increasing quality only serves to put even more bias on graphics power. Yes, the lowly Core 2 Duo E6400 appears to be "good enough" at stock speed to match nicely with an upper-midrange graphics card.

On the flip-side are processor-intensive applications such as audio and video conversion, where anything less than 3 GHz in the Core 2 Duo seems downright slow in comparison to overclocked numbers. But even then, the lowly E6400 got good numbers using stock cooling at "only" 3.1 GHz. Using DivX as the example, the performance difference between the E6400 at its max water cooled speed of 3,336 MHz and the E6700 at its max stock cooled speed of 3,460MHz is only 3.5%....and the E6400 plus 3D Galaxy II combination is a full 30% cheaper!

The surprise here just may be that a $160 water cooler is actually a reasonable value for anyone who really needs the extra processing power. But those who can settle for just a little less performance will find ultimate value using the E6400 with Intel's retail-boxed cooler at a modest 3.1 GHz heat-imposed limit. We only wish we'd had an E6600 on hand to complete our value analysis

Source:Cheap Thrills: Core 2 Duo E6400 Overclocked to 3.33 GHz

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tech Link (Industry): AMD helps Intel get back its market share

Hexus just posted an article about A* giving back the market share to Intel. I don't know about you, but I think Intel just tried its best to gain the so called "share" and not because A* simply handed them out. To be honest, I haven't really read the article past the title but I will later on. So for now, my thoughts is just about the title and this is why I'm saying A* doesn't simply handed the shares back, Intel did their best and they are focused....and dangerous too! Expand for more...

Is AMD trying too hard to fight against Intel, and is it fighting on the wrong fronts? It looks that way to us.

AMD appears to be almost completely neglecting its consumer market in an effort to make inroads into the corporate and enterprise market. The cost to AMD could be catastrophic.

What are we ranting about? You needn't look far to see what we mean. Last Thursday evening, the marketing team for MESH Computers posted an apology to its customers in the MESH.care@HEXUS forum, due to delays in shipments of AMD processors. Customers are ordering the systems, but AMD hasn't been delivering the CPUs on time, leaving MESH in a sticky position.

MESH isn't the only company thinking of expanding its Intel-based line of PCs, folks. System integrators, distributors and e-tailers are all feeling the shaky AM2 processor supply line coming from AMD, with the high-end chips seemingly the worst affected. The problem looks to have been going on for several weeks now, and when it'll end isn't clear, but the longer it goes on, the deeper AMD digs a hole for itself.

Core 2 really rocked the boat
It's been a challenging few months for AMD. It launched its AM2 socket for desktops and workstations in May, but the move to DDR-2 hasn't come with any great performance leaps. That in itself wouldn't be too much of a problem, but Intel delivered on its promise of opening a can of whoopass with its new mArch, letting Core 2 desktop chips loose just a month after the release of AM2.

Core 2 is faster and cheaper than what AMD has to offer. That's a simple fact. By letting its customers down, AMD has rubbed salt further into the wound. Companies that once sold systems primarily built around AMD processors now have product ranges increasingly dominated by Intel's wares.

The only effort AMD's made to compete with Core 2 so far is to lower its prices, but without any faster SKUs in sight and no breakthrough architectural changes taking place any time soon, all the company seems to have done is reduce its margins. There's little point in lowering prices on products that you cannot reliably supply, either. One might cite the launch of the Athlon 64 X2 5200+ as another form of response, but the company made such a woeful effort at publicising its launch that it hardly earns itself a mention.

The way we see the current situation, AMD's gone running after the corporate and enterprise markets and forgotten all about the consumer market. There was a cheer from many when Dell started selling AMD gear, but has this move hit AMD's manufacturing capacity? Even if it hasn't, AMD is now feeding stock to a company that can ship products at prices that undercut many of the smaller system builders.

It's hard enough to keep customers loyal when you're not pissing them off with unreliable shipments, helping giants to crush them, while going after other markets, right?

Right now, Intel's ploughing ahead, most definitely clawing back a market share it has gradually being losing. Meanwhile, AMD's helping them by giving distributors and system builders every reason to make the switch. There's either one hell of an ace up its sleeve (early arrival of quad-core, perhaps?), or some people inside AMD are pushing some very silly strategies.

Source:AMD helps Intel get back its market share

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tech Link (Casing): Project War Machine

KikBoxes has new case mod ready for you! I mean, a tank and a computer chassis, what more can you ask for? Go ahead, gear up and stuff up and check out the new bad boy.

Project War Machine (available at www.XOXIDE.com)

What is War Machine?
Sometimes the best way to explain the mood of a piece is to create a back story. Imagine the Nazis found a mystical piece of ancient Roman war machinery. Imagine they cleaned and repaired it by adding panels of sleek shiny black to those areas that had been ravaged by time. Maybe they hoped it would help them win the war. Whatever, you get the idea...

The design
War Machine will be an amalgamation of styles from a few sources. The idea is to create a case that appears menacing and yet stylish. Light in weight but very heavy in mood and appearance. A case that mixes elements of organic looking cast iron power with sleek polished features.

I am focusing on what I hope will be a nice balance of mods and finishing. I imagine this case being what you might get if you mixed the Roman Empire at its peak with that of Nazi Germany 1942. Hard to imagine? Well, maybe it will begin to make more sense as you read the work logs or buy the case today!

For a long time I have been fascinated with the Roman Empire. As a kid I read a great book about the ancient general Hannibal who led an army made up of many nations over the Alps to take on the Romans on their own turf. At the end he faced the same bitter defeat that so many who opposed the Romans shared but he had some stunning victories along the way. That book started my interest in all things Roman. The fighting style, the culture, their society and technology.

Another thing that I found interesting was how the Nazi party of WWII modeled much of their imagery after that of the Roman Empire. Bold colors in black and red, vertical banners, use of the eagle in their emblems...I could go on and on. This project is, in part, about that contrast. So let’s get down to it.

Source:Project War Machine

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tech Link (Industry): Intel shows off quad-core gaming power (video)

I just got this link from the forum I regularly visit. It's one of the showcases at IDF, where they have shown the power of quad core computing. Expand for more...

Why do we need quad-core processors? The answer is as old as the question itself: gaming and video rendering.

Rendering a video makes for lousy demonstration, so Intel again opted for the game demonstration at its Intel Developer Forum today in San Francisco.

But as we were rendering the video below, I was dying for a nice multi-core processor to replace the old single core model that currently powers my laptop.

Source:Intel shows off quad-core gaming power (video)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tech Link (Motherboard): X1 vs X2: Who's Badder?

VR-Zone managed to get their hands with an early sample of Bad Axe 2 and pit them together with the Bad Axe (1). They also tackled an interesting topic, EPP, which I already gave a hint on before. If you would like to know who's badder, go expand and read more....

The Intel D975XBX2, Bad Axe 2, is Intel's most liberal (in terms of overclocking) Motherboard made to date. From the little details such as the onboard power button to the generous Memory Voltage offered, the Bad Axe 2 looks a lot more welcoming for enthusiasts... I would say that it is very competitive even against Motherboards from makers which have been catering to the enthusiast market for a long while. While it offers no performance benefits over the BX1, with the exception of the support for EPP Memory, the overclocking ability on this board is looking very good when bundled with a Core 2 Quad processor. It will make very little sense to upgrade from a BX1 or a very decent 975 chipset motherboard to this, but those who are on a more dated platform and are looking for an upgrade should give this a serious thought.

Source:X1 vs X2: Who's Badder?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Article: Intel® Core™ Duo T2600 Preview (The Calm Before The Storm)

I finally got time to upload the review today. Sorry for the typo and if there's any critical mistake, please let me know. If you haven't seen how Yonah performs, check this out. Expand for more...

The Intel® Core™ Duo T2000 series of processors is the first processor to ever receive the "Core" branding, even before Conroe, Merom, and Woodcrest is given birth. It was first given limelight in January of this year, along with Apple's thrust to use Intel processors in its line of products. And while it is the first time for the world to hear, officially, about Mobile on Desktop, enthusiasts has already been playing with such concept long before and if you are an Intel enthusiast, then you would have already heard, or better yet, own an Asus P4GD1 + Asus CT-479 + Intel® Pentium® M.

Source:Intel® Core™ Duo T2600 Preview (The Calm Before The Storm)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Brag: Intel® D975XBX rev304 supports Kentsfield!

Yay, I just figure I'll try and test if my Bad Axe (Intel® D975XBX) rev304 (no, not the Bad Axe 2) will boot up a Kentsfield and lo and behold, it does so without problem. You can click on the image to go to the validation link. Expand for more...

Most people know that Kentsfield will be released partnered with the second generation Bad Axe. While I still suggest for people without much budget to use their older Bad Axe, I'd still push people to go ahead and purchase the newer motherboard based on Bad Axe 2 since it offers more overclocking options (2.8v for your DDR2 for example).

But again,if you don't have enough budget or still saving up, your older rev304 Bad Axe will work without problem. I even transformed the Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme QX6700 to Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme QX6800 by just changing the multiplier. Neato!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Brag: My Kentsfield...

To quell the curiosity, I am posting a CPU-Z validation of my Kentsfield Extreme Edition. I did mentioned it several times that while I have some, with the recent typhoon, I don't have enough time to play with it. It's been tough, for the past six(6) days, we don't have electricity. But we finally got "clean water" already yesterday so that solves 90% of the problem, the remaining 10% is just a matter of getting power at home. (Click on the image for the full version or expand for more).

In any case, I still haven't gotten time to play with (yeah, I said it already), so I figure I'll just post a CPU-Z validation. I'll post some really badly needed previews later on so that I can at least keep to my own target of posting an article I made and not just some news posting across the web.

Till next post, for now, hope the validation make do and tide you over and thanks for visiting the site again, and again, and again...

Tech Link (Utility): CPUID is on update spree (New CPU-Z 1.37 and PC PC Wizard 2006.1.70)

I guess this day is software update day. The author of one of the best (at least, for me it is the best), CPUID utility has just updated the list of processor supported by CPU-Z. He has also released a newer version of PC Wizard which, as time passed by, is becoming more and more of my staple-type of utility next to SiSoft SANDRA due to its small size and features. Give this software a try and learn more about your system, and yes, this is FREE. Expand for more...(note, I don't provide direct download of the files as is required by the author).

PC Wizard has been updated to its 2006.1.70 version.

This new release adds the following :

New Processor support : AMD Athlon64 X2 5200+, Intel Pentium D 915.
New Processor Cache support : Intel Core 2 Duo Prefetcher Optimization (Adjacent Line, IP, DCU, DPL).
New Chipset support : Intel E8501, Intel 5000X/V/P/Z, nVidia 5xx, Intel i3000, i3010.
New Bus support : VIA V-Link and Ultra V-Link.
New Video Card support : AGEIA PhysX processor.
New Sensor support : AMD Rev. E and AMD NPT Processor Thermal Diode, Analog Devices ADT7467, ADT7468, ADT7473, ADT7476.
New DVD support : DVD BD-R, DVD BD-RE and BD-ROM reading and writing features, Region information.
New Application support : Microsoft Windows Live Messenger.
New Password support : MSN Messenger 7.5 recovery.
New Disk Benchmark support : Processor usage information.
New OSD support : OSD Desktop window can be moved.

Preliminary Intel Processor support : Core 2 Quad "Kentsfield", Xeon "Clovertown", Core 2 Duo T5200.
Preliminary Chipset support : Intel 946PL/GZ, Intel Q965/Q963/G965, Intel 3100.
Preliminary Sensor support : ITE IT8716F, ITE IT8718F, Winbond W83627DHG, Analog Devices ADT7475.

New Extras support : Logitech G15 LCD screen support.

Several bugs fixed.
And more ...

Go to PC Wizard page for more information.

Download PC Wizard 2006.1.70

CPU-Z 1.37 is available. The news are :

New HTML report.
Intel Core 2 Quad, Celeron 360, Mobile Core 2 Duo T5200 support.
Changed SSE4 to SSSE3 (Supplemental SSE3).
Added VIA VT8237A southbridge.
Go to CPU-Z page for more information.

Download version 1.37.
CPU-Z forum.

Source:CPUID is on update spree (New CPU-Z 1.37 and PC PC Wizard 2006.1.70)

Tech Link (Utility): SpeedFan 4.30 Final is available

Alrighty, we have a new SpeedFan from Mr. Almico. If you don't know what SpeedFan is, it is a nifty utility that reads your PC's environmental status such as, yep, Fan Speed, temperature and other niceties such as CPU utilization and S.M.A.R.T.-related information. I suggest you try this one out if you haven't used it yet and once you started using this, you'll find it very useful for tweaking purposes. It is not a bloated software, in fact, I find it very lean for the type of job it can do, and this software is FREE. Expand for more......(note, I don't provide direct download of the files as is required by the author).

SpeedFan 4.30 Final is available. This release includes a lot of improvements. New hardware monitor chips are fully supported, like ADM1026, ADT7473, MAX6640 and SCH311x. Added full support for Intel 631xESB and improved support for ICH7-M. Fixed support for other chips and added new advanced settings for some of them. Added full support for the internal temperature sensor from K8 chips on multiprocessor systems. There are several bug fixes and performance improvements too.

If you are planning a software upgrade and would like to move to Vista, consider that SpeedFan is compatible with it too. The 32 bit version works fine already. For the 64 bit version I made some tests and SpeedFan will work fine on it too.

Source:SpeedFan 4.30 Final is available

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tech Link (Industry): Second Life plays AMD vs. Intel

You got to love this FanBoyz.

During a session exploring Second Life at the AMD Global Vision Conference, Linden Lab CTO Cory Ondrejka (pictured below) outlined the basics of the virtual world, which he said attracted 750,000 users in August and is growing at 15 percent per month. Unfortunately for AMD, Ondrejka said that his company has switched from AMD dual core Operton’s to Intel’s new Core Duo chips, which he said have a superior CPU/$ ratio, including the cost of power to run servers. However, he threw AMD a bone, saying that he was looking forward the quad-core AMD chips, which aren’t due until mid-2007.

I asked AMD CTO Phil Hester when he would get Second Life back in the fold. He acknowledged the horserace, and noted that Second Life’s benchmarks are atypical–100 percent utilization on a 24×7 basis. Hester hopes that Ondrejka will take a look at the new Rev F Opterons, which add new AMD-V virtualization technology and Double Data Rate (DDR2) memory. Intel also has hardware virtualization and is FB-DIMM (fully buffered dual inline memory modules), a sequel to DDR2 that provides higher capacity.

Ondrejka, of course, likes the competition between AMD and Intel. It pushes the technology, drives up performance in Second Life’s 250 square miles of virtual world and lowers the cost to deliver the bits

Source:Second Life plays AMD vs. Intel

Tech Link (Industry): Intel Fires Back at A.M.D. Over Bragging Rights on Chip

So I remember some AMDroids saying how I am just a "braggart", in fact, being such a braggart, I even make my own image brag about brag so I don't hide the fact that I am such (much more like I don't hide the fact that I am a FanBoy). So yeah, you can't hurt me with such empty words.

But yeah, I guess it's not just "me", but Chipzilla is such a braggart too. In fact, The New York Times covers what the uber FanBoy said over at IDF, and I quote:

“This is about bragging rights,” the Intel chief executive, Paul S. Otellini, said in an interview after his speech opening the three-day Intel Developers Forum, an annual event for makers of PC’s and accessories.

Expand for more FanBoyz...AMDroids, you can go away now!

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 26 — A war of words between Advanced Micro Devices and Intel is heating up as they vie to claim the advantage in creating a new generation of chips with four processing cores.

A week after A.M.D.’s chief executive, Hector Ruiz, called Intel an “abusive Goliath” using monopoly tactics, his Intel counterpart responded Tuesday that the harsh words were those of a rival losing ground on a new battlefront.

“This is about bragging rights,” the Intel chief executive, Paul S. Otellini, said in an interview after his speech opening the three-day Intel Developers Forum, an annual event for makers of PC’s and accessories.

Mr. Otellini announced that Intel would begin shipping quad-core processors for both high-end PC’s and servers in November, at least six months before quad-core processors are due from A.M.D.

Advanced Micro was first to make dual-core chips, featuring two processors, an approach the industry has taken in recent years to gain performance without increasing PC energy consumption. And in the last two years it has made significant inroads in Intel’s market share of both desktop and server computers.

But Intel, despite a deep round of cost-cutting announced Sept. 6, is beginning to reverse its market-share decline based on the success of its first two generations of dual-core processors, analysts said.

“I think that Intel now has the initiative,” said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technology Associates, a computer industry consulting firm. “They’re hitting their deadlines and even pulling them in a bit.”

Intel’s success in quickly bringing to market several generations of multiple-core chips is reflected in its winning back customers like Rackable Systems, a server maker that had moved almost entirely to A.M.D.

“We’re hearing a lot behind the scenes about new customer wins for Intel during the next nine months,” said Richard Doherty, president of Envisioneering, a computer industry consulting firm in Seaford, N.Y.

Intel and A.M.D. are taking different routes to the next generation. On Monday night at a dinner for reporters here, A.M.D.’s chief technology officer, Phil Hester, displayed a test wafer holding prototypes of the company’s quad-core processor, to be commercially available in mid-2007.

A.M.D. is beginning to focus on new designs that it is planning for 2008 based on its soon-to-be-completed acquisition of ATI Technologies, a maker of graphics coprocessors. By combining aspects of the two types of processors on a single chip, A.M.D. will be able to create a more balanced system in the future, he said.

“This is not just technology for technology’s sake,” he said.

In contrast to Intel, which will initially make its quad-core processor by packing two connected dual-core chips in a single package, A.M.D. will wait until its manufacturing process can achieve features as small as 65 nanometers, compared with the current 90, permitting it to place all four processor cores on a single chip.

Intel has a substantial lead in 65-nanometer manufacturing, and said Tuesday that it planned to add capacity in Arizona and Israel for a total investment of $9 billion in the most advanced generation of chip making. But the company decided to package two dual-core chips in a single package to gain a half-year lead in the new quad-core approach.

At a news conference, Mr. Otellini defended the approach, asserting that it would not result in any performance disadvantage. “The initial ones are multi-chip, but so what?” he said. “You guys are misreading the market if you think people care what’s in the package.”

Intel also announced that it was making quicker progress on an initiative it introduced at its annual developer conference last year to reduce the power required for processing by a factor of 10. “In 2008 we’ll meet our decade goal of a 10X reduction in power,” he said.

According to Intel executives, this degree of power savings is needed to enable a future generation of ultra-light and portable computers.

Mr. Otellini also described a new research effort to build a processor capable of a trillion mathematical operations a second on a single piece of silicon. The research prototype, which contains 80 specialized math processors controlled by a single general processor, will be commercially available within five years, he said.

The project is an effort to match the processing power of what was in 1996 the world’s fastest supercomputer. That machine was used by weapons designers and was composed of 10,000 Pentium microprocessors, occupied about 2,000 square feet of floor space and cost $50 million.

In the interview after his speech, Mr. Otellini said that the new teraflop chip did not undercut the need for Intel’s troubled Itanium microprocessor, which the company has aimed at the high end of the computing marketplace.

Intel executives also described a new notebook design code-named Santa Rosa, to be available in the second half of 2007. It will include the coming 802.11n wireless standard, potentially five times as fast as current Wi-Fi systems.

Source:Intel Fires Back at A.M.D. Over Bragging Rights on Chip

Monday, October 02, 2006

Brag: Kinc and crotale sets a new 3DMark 2001 world record with 89,120 points

Well, it's not surprising anymore with the power of Chipzilla processor. The world reknown overclockers Kinc and crotale managed to break the 3DMark2001 world record with such blazing score. It seems that the race to 90k is on!

Even if the weekend is still young our OC gurus Robert 'crotale' Kihlberg and Marcus 'Kinc' Hultin have already managed to score a new world record. With 3DMark 2001 they've managed to reach 89,120 points. It might be worth mentioning that the system still needs some tweaking for optimal performance and that the CPU is still our tired ol' X6800. However, now they've managed to get above 5GHz at least, while they also used a X1950/X1900 combo, waiting for another X1950 card without too bad coldbugs. Unfortunately, it's still impossible to raise the memory frequency of the X1950 very much, but that shouldn't stop them from reaching 90,000 later on.

CPU/cooling: X6800 @ 5050MHz, Mousepot + LN2
Motherboard: Asus P5W-DH
Memory: Corsair 6400C3
Master card: X1950 @ 830/1143, Mousepot + LN2
Slave card: X1900XTX @ 873/873, Cascade
Power supply: Cooltek 600W

Source:Kinc and crotale sets a new 3DMark 2001 world record with 89,120 points


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tech Link (Processor): Do We Really Need Quad Core?

ExtremeTech has posted a review about QuadCore processor from Chipzilla, it's not that long and boring, well a little boring, but still a nice to read article. Go on and check it out or expand to read their thoughts...

So is now the right time for quad-core CPUs? Hell yes it is. It was the right time for quad-core months ago. It's the right time for six or eight-core CPUs. You could give me 16 cores and I would ask where the 20-core chips are. More cores are faster, and faster is better, because it enables richer, easier-to-use, more fun software. Bring on the many-core CPUs, heavily multitasking OS environments, and multithreaded software. I'm ready for the parallel processing universe.

Source:Do We Really Need Quad Core?