Sunday, December 31, 2006

Misc: Happy New Year Everyone, Goodbye 2006, and Welcome 2007

It's 30th of December 2006 and I'm getting warmed up for the fireworks display tonight. I am not sure what to expect, but I'm sure it's going to be fun. I just hope there will be lots and lots of fireworks compared to last year.

So for this last day of the year, I wish you all FanBoyz to have a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tech Link (Motherboard): Intel P965: Foxconn P9657AA- 8KS2H

Hmm, today is value board day. AMDTech decided to get out of their uber high end motherboard review and have gone mainstream. It's nice to see websites doing such kind of review since most of the time, only mid-end and high-end motherboards are being reviewed by websites. I haven't read the full review, but I found out that it can overclock as well, though you can't expect it to compete against the big boys. Check out their review, expand this article for more.

Final Words

Once again we have a P965 based motherboard that performs equally with our other review units at stock levels. This is not necessarily a bad thing because with the base level performance basically being equal you can decide if features, price, quality, overclocking performance, or support will be the determining factor in your buying decision.

Our expectations of the Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H varied over the course of testing as we did not anticipate much from a $100 P965 board at first. These expectations changed as we noticed the quality of the motherboard, its components, and general layout. Once we booted the board and updated to the latest BIOS our interest was piqued as maybe this motherboard would offer that perfect yet elusive price to performance ratio that we have been looking for during our P965 review process. We were at first disappointed with the overclocking capability of the board and then took a moment to recheck our original expectations of the board but more importantly ourselves.

Our original expectations of this board were centered on the stability and performance we would experience on a board that was selling for right under $100. We were also interested in the feature set and more importantly if Foxconn had designed a board that would live up to their marketing materials. Except for their recently released NVIDIA 590SLI motherboard which received a great deal of attention from NVIDIA's engineering group, their previous WinFast product lines were not the best enthusiast level boards.

This board is part of the CORE Series that promises leading technology products at affordable prices. Foxconn delivers on this point with the P9657AA-8KS2H motherboard. While not perfect, this board does exactly what it promises at a price that we find amazing for a board based on the Intel P965 chipset. The overall quality of the motherboard and its components are excellent while the feature set and layout is very good. We found the board was rock solid during several weeks of outright abuse in testing along with very good technical support from Foxconn.

We were originally disappointed with the overclocking performance and then realized we were expecting something from this board that was not promised by Foxconn in this series of product. We have grown accustomed to grading a board with the latest technology on its overclocking and pure performance aspects first and then looking at the features, stability, and other aspects of the board. We usually do this based upon how the motherboard is marketed but at times we also expect or demand premium performance at budget prices.

There have been just enough motherboards that have met these expectations to spoil us but they were usually a surprise and not an expectation. We have recently started to readjust our expectations to the point where features, quality, support, and overall platform stability are at the top of the list. Once those are addressed then we will certainly dive headfirst into the performance potential of the motherboard but with our eyes open as to what market the product is intended to reach. This board is intended for the mainstream user who needs stability, a good set of features, basic overclocking potential, and a strong technical support group behind the product. We believe this board is near perfect for that user and those buying the product looking for outrageous overclocks or class leading performance will be disappointed.

Not all is perfect with this board but a few minor issues can be overlooked considering the price/performance considerations. The location of the 8-pin ATX power connector will mean some creative cable routing will be required for the larger air coolers and even the stock unit to some degree. The overclocking capability of both the FSB and memory is limited but up to that limit the board was very stable. This board needs decent DDR2-800 to extract its performance potential but there is no need to purchase expensive kits as CAS 3 timings are not recommended. We had a few ghost issues such as our SATA drives not being recognized at various overclocks with a P4 processor or the Fox One utility occasionally not reporting the correct CPU temperature. One last minor quibble would be the addition of another fan header and Firewire support.

Overall, this is the best P965 motherboard available for under $100. It is not meant for the enthusiast group or even the hardcore gaming user. However, for the mainstream user that needs a high quality and stable Intel platform for general use then we highly recommend the Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H.

Source:Intel P965: Foxconn P9657AA- 8KS2H

Tech Link (Motherboard): Biostar P4M890-M7 VIA P4M890 Core 2 Duo Motherboard Review

If you are looking forward to getting a new Conroe system up and running, but is hampered by the high cost of motherboards, PCStats has reviewed one ultra-value board that can really perform. They seem impressed about this board and gave it an award, and oh, it can do mild overclock as well. Expand the article to check it out check it out.

The entry level market is often neglected by the online computer community but it's the largest and most lucrative market for manufacturers. In general Intel rules this house, and given what we have seen from the Intel Core 2 Duo processor and the single channel memory controller equipped VIA P4M890 and VIA VT8237R+ chipsets you'll definitely want to check out what Biostar has done here.

For just $53 CDN ($46, £23 GBP), you get the tiny Biostar P4M890-M7 motherboard that's compatible with the most advanced Intel Core 2 Duo processors and it comes with an integrated VIA UniChrome Pro videocard too. The basic essentials like sound, 10/100 networking, SATA I RAID, IDE, USB and all the rest are covered too.

What's surprising is that with just a few more basic essentials you can put together a very low cost PC that's still powerful enough for most office and workstation applications.

The Biostar P4M890-M7 motherboard is fairly easy to work with even for novice users. The user's manual does a decent job at describing the headers and basic rundown on how to install and set up your new hardware.

Keeping in mind the intended audience, we certainly didn't expect much from the Biostar P4M890-M7 motherboard in terms of performance, but as you've seen that impression is quite wrong. Even with the single channel memory controller and DDR2 memory running at 533 MHz, the P4M890-M7 motherboard and an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 processor performed quite well in the benchmark tests. It was the slowest Intel Core 2 Duo motherboard in the roundup, there's no getting around that, however it was still faster than the Intel Pentium D and AMD Athlon64 systems...

The Biostar P4M890-M7 motherboard was decent at overclocking, hitting 336 MHz FSB from a stock 266 MHz. You'll also be happy to hear that the VIA P4M890 and VT8237R+ chipsets do not generate much heat so passive cooling is all that is required.

If you're in the market for an incredibly inexpensive basic entry level computer, or the components to build one, definitely check out what the Biostar P4M890-M7 has to offer. It's not super fast, but with PCI Express expansion possibilities it has a lot of value to offer those looking for only the most essential features in a computer. Plus, as the benchmarks indicate it handles most workstation style applications satisfactorially

Source:Biostar P4M890-M7 VIA P4M890 Core 2 Duo Motherboard Review

Friday, December 29, 2006

Press Release: OCZ Technology Launches the Highly Anticipated OCZ GeForce 8800 GTX GPU, Hand-Selected for the Extreme Enthusiast and Gamer

The inevitable happened, OCZ has joined the market of serving uber individuals with the best handpicked NVIDIA 8800GTX video card. I seem to remember NVIDIA having a negative stance about overclocking their card, so if I recall it correctly, then OCZ might be treading on thin line here since they are actually promoting to overclock it, and with lifetime warranty and technical support.

That's just hard to beat, even if there are others doing similar lifetime warranty, I haven't seen video manufacturers actually supporting customers to overclock their video card. And while there are manufacturers releasing a factory-overclocked video cards, OCZ is releasing it on stock speed (575MHz core, 1.8GHz GDDR3) but touting a better headroom for overclocking with the usual support and warranty. Expand to check out the full release.

OCZ Technology Launches the Highly Anticipated OCZ GeForce 8800 GTX GPU, Hand-Selected for the Extreme Enthusiast and Gamer

Sunnyvale, CA—December 28, 2006—OCZ Technology Group, a worldwide leader in innovative, ultra-high performance and high reliability memory, today announced their exciting return to the world of graphics cards. Leveraging a strong expertise in high performance overclocking memory and the unique needs of PC enthusiasts, OCZ is prepared to deliver a differentiated GPU solution to gamers and enthusiasts with the launch of the OCZ NVIDIA GeForce® 8800 GTX 768MB PCI Express®.

Separating OCZ’s GPU from the rest is the stringent requirement for the highest level of performance and stability. Each and every 8800 GTX card offers more overclocking headroom by means of premium GDDR3 memory and an advanced screening process in which only the best complete cards make it into the systems of worldwide gamers.

Based on the ground-breaking NVIDIA GeForce 8 unified architecture, the OCZ 8800 GTX delivers an incredibly realistic gaming and visual experience thanks to a wealth of unparalleled features. As the world’s first DirectX® 10 compatible GPU, the 8800 GTX with full Shader Model 4.0 support and NVIDIA Quantum Effects™ enhances graphics quality and realism to unprecedented levels.

"The graphics sector is currently the technology sector with the most direct impact on the gaming experience," commented Dr. Michael Schuette, VP of Technology Development at OCZ Technology. "It has become a logical step for OCZ Technology to get back in the game, and naturally, we are doing it with the highest end solution currently available. The OCZ 8800GTX is a limited edition of hand-selected GeForce 8800 GTX, featuring a 1350 MHz 128bit stream processor and a core clocked at 575 MHz, interfaced with the frame buffer consisting of 1800 MHz GDDR3 through a 384 bit wide data path. What sets the OCZ 8800GTX apart from the competition is the uncompromised commitment to delivering the highest possible headroom for overclocking that all OCZ products are known for."

With the addition of OCZ Geforce 8800 GTX GPUs to an industry leading line-up of OCZ SLI-Ready power supplies and memory, OCZ provides the total solution for the hardcore gamer. As a premium OCZ product, the OCZ 8800 GTX is backed by a Lifetime Warranty for unparalleled piece of mind.

For complete specification information and additional product material on the OCZ GeForce 8800 GTX Graphics Card, please visit our product page here.

Source:OCZ Technology Launches the Highly Anticipated OCZ GeForce 8800 GTX GPU, Hand-Selected for the Extreme Enthusiast and Gamer

Tech Link (Motherboard): ECS PN1 SLI2 Extreme Motherboard Review

LegitReviews has an ECS* board up for some lovin'. The board is labled as an Extreme motherboard, with an NVIDIA* chipset, with 2x16 PCIe slots. However, the folks at LegitReviews aren't convinced that this board is an Extreme one due to some issues with overclocking and BIOS options. Find out more...

Final Thought and Conclusion
So, how do we end this review? We end it by saying that this board is a nice board. It has some nice features, and its bundle is pretty good to boot. It is a rather attractive board (subjective, I know), so it does have a flare to it. The layout is very good, leaving room to work on the board. The only issue is the top pcie x16 slot, which is difficult to use with the heat sink fan unit that is being used on the southbridge. It is also shame that this board did not have a great BIOS to work with, but that can easily be fixed as when the board comes out ECS can release updates for the BIOS. We hope that ECS willl get a new BIOS out the door that will help with the overclocking of this board.

If you are looking at this board, you canexpect the MSRP to be around $139.99 - $149.99. As of now, it is not listed at any etailers, but according to ECS, you can expect it to shop up at the usual suspects! If you are the average Joe that set it and forgets it, this will be a board that will fill the bill so to say. If you are an enthusiast, it is hard to recommend this board, when you have the Intel Chipsets like the 975X that is rock solid and the NVIDIA 680i and ATI RD600 which have new overclocking features like unlinked memory frequencies.

Legit Bottom Line:
ECS really produced a decent board in the PN1 SLI2 Extreme. I cannot help but think that it could have really been an Extreme board with just a little more attention, especially in the BIOS department.

Source:ECS PN1 SLI2 Extreme Motherboard Review

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tech Link (Industry): Intel’s Affordable Quad-Core Chip for Desktops Due in Days – Rumours

XBitLabs posted a news/rumor about the upcoming QuadCore from Chipzilla. As per the said article, the quadcore will be "affordable". Hmm, sounds like great news for the FanBoyz! Expand this if you would like to read the full scoop.

Intel Quad-Core Core 2 Quad Q6600 Set to Be Released in January

Category: CPU

by Anton Shilov

[ 12/27/2006 | 11:55 AM ]

Intel Corp., the largest maker of x86 microprocessors on the globe, is expected to release its new quad-core processor for desktops in days, at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The release of chip will allow Intel Corp. to further increase its competitive advantage over arch-rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 chip is expected to run at 2.40GHz, come with 8MB L2 cache and use 1066MHz processor system bus. The new microprocessor is projected to cost $851, which is much higher than that of premium dual-core Intel Core 2 Duo 6700 chip, which costs $530, but is still lower compared to $999 the chipmaker charges for its “extreme” versions of its Core 2 microprocessors with two or four cores.

The 40th Consumer Electronics Show will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from 8th to 11th January, 2007. The exact release dates of the launch are unclear, but, according to a report from IDG news-agency, the chip will be formally unveiled at the show.

The new microprocessor, which rivals not only dual-core AMD Athlon 64 X2 central processing units (CPUs), but even the high-end platform called Quad FX that includes AMD Athlon 64 FX chips, will be yet another example of Intel’s competitive advantage over its main rival AMD.

Still, the popularization of quad-core chips does not mean that Intel will cease to improve its dual-core microprocessors. Intel is projected to release Intel Core 2 Duo processors with E6850, E6750 and E6650 model numbers with 3.0GHz, 2.66GHz and 2.33GHz clock-speeds respectively and 1333MHz processor system bus in Q3 2007, when appropriate code-named Bearlake-series chipsets become available. The new chips will support TXT technology.

Due to pretty high prices of the quad-core microprocessors, their share among Intel’s desktop shipments will be only 3% in 2007, according to some information.

Source:Intel’s Affordable Quad-Core Chip for Desktops Due in Days – Rumours

Press Release: ASUS Commando Gaming Motherboard Enables System Bus Overclock up to 2,280MHz for Smooth Graphics Performance

Woah, this is going to be my next board from Asus. I have posted some early reviews and benchmarks of this board, and if you haven't seen it yet, better check it out and start saving up. Aside from the all-solid capacitor and on-board switches, the CPU socket area is free of capacitors! Way to go Asus!

Taipei, Taiwan, December 18, 2006 – ASUSTeK Computer Inc. (ASUS), the worldwide leader of motherboards, today introduced the Commando, a new addition to its R.O.G (Republic of Gamers) family of gaming motherboards. The Commando provides extreme overclock ability for enhanced performance, and unique features to jazz up the gaming features and simplify the DIY process.

Overclock system bus up to 2,280MHz
Supporting the Intel® P965 Express Chipset, maximum 8GB dual-channel DDR2 architecture, PCI Express x16 graphics and multi-core CPU, the Commando is ready for the latest computing hardware and software specifications. With superior engineering, the Commando provides unmatched overclockability, taking FSB and memory up to 2,280MHz and 1,300MHz, respectively.

Extreme Tweaker – One stop performance tune-up
Extreme Tweaker is a one stop solution for fine-tuning system performance. Frequency adjustment, over-voltage options, memory settings etc. can all be tweaked with this feature, which is found exclusively in ASUS motherboards.

8-phase cap-less power – Reliable power supply and longer component life
The 8-phase cap-less power design demonstrates two hardcore commitments of R.O.G.: ultimate overclocking capability, and trustworthy stability. 8-phase cap-less power yields unparalleled superiority in the overclocking arena, while the EL cap-less design removes any worries of capacitor problems once and for all.

Onboard Switch – Turn system on/off, reset and clear CMOS with one push of a button
Overclockers and power users typically build systems outside of the case, and hence they need to short the front panel pins to power up or restart the system, switch jumpers, and pop the battery to clear CMOS. With the Commando, doing all that is now just a push of a button.

LCD Poster – Easy System Tweaking with Style
Most hardcore users and engineers install a debug card, which displays a two-digit code that enables them to recognize which part of the system is responsible for hanging the system during boot-up. LCD Poster, located at the back I/O, displays the names of each boot-process instead of using codes. When system hangs due to faulty connection or configuration, the LCD Poster will freeze on the displayed process name that caused the hang up, allowing users to know exactly what needs to be fixed.

For more information on the Commando and other R.O.G motherboards, please visit the company website at

Specification summary
CPU: LGA 775 Core2Duo, Quad-Core CPU
DDR2: 800/667/533
FSB: 1066/800
Chipsets: Intel P965 + ICH8R
6 SATA II 3Gb/s
Supports ATI Crossfire Graphics
SupremeFX Featuring ADI 1988b
Extreme Tweaker
LCD Poster
8 phase capless power design
Onboard switches

Source:ASUS Commando Gaming Motherboard Enables System Bus Overclock up to 2,280MHz for Smooth Graphics Performance

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tech Link (Utility): RivaTuner Version 2.0 Final Release

RivaTuner 2.0 has been released by Guru3D. This provides support for the lates 97.xx nvidia drivers and with really lots of new improvements. I dare not copy the whole list, so just check it out and download the utility over to Guru3D.

Welcome to the rivatuner English homepage. is the official hosting partner for this software. Webmaster, RivaTuner can be only distributed electronically through either or

Distribution though other websites or in any other form without the author's permission is prohibited.

RivaTuner is a complete powerful tweaking environment, providing you everything you may need to tune NVIDIA GPU based display adapters. The widest driver-level Direct3D / OpenGL and system tuning options, flexible profiling system allowing to make custom settings on per-application basis, both driver-level and low-level hardware access modes, unique diagnostic and realtime hardware monitoring features and exclusive power user oriented tools like built-in registry editor and patch script engine make RivaTuner's feature set absolutely unmatched.
RivaTuner supports all NVIDIA display adapters starting from Riva TNT family up to the latest GeForce 7 series and widest range of NVIDIA drivers starting from the oldest Detonator 2.08 up to the newest ForceWare drivers family.

In addition to complete NVIDIA hardware support, RivaTuner also provides limited support for display adapters based upon ATI RADEON 8500 and newer ATI graphics processors. All RivaTuner's features besides driver-level tuning options are also available on supported ATI hardware.

Source:RivaTuner Version 2.0 Final Release

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Brag: One Hundred Percent Plus Overclock (100% +++) with Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E4300 (Anniversary Special Post)

This day marks my First Year anniversary. While there's no cakes, balloons, or fireworks to celebrate it, I decided to remember this day and make it memorable by hitting a certain goal: 100% overclock of Chipzilla CPU. I have always been busy, always putting this Blog site to neglect, that I even forget posting some items. So to make up for it, I'll be spending time, and this time, I'll be spending my time playing with toyz and doing what I love most: tweaking hardware. And the victim is, the unreleased, Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E4300.

And so, I finally got some quality time for the yet-to-be-released processor(Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E4300) and got intimate with it. I have been easy-goin' with this baby till today but since this is my First Year Anniversary, I decided to put the CPU for some OCing goodness and I won't be soft this time.

After ensuring I have the latest beta BIOS (thanx NicoOCZ) on my Abit AW9D-MAX board working flawlessly (some reported a borked board after the flash), I put this board for some warm up. I put my Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6400 and started pushing it till 400FSB and the system is very stable. I recorded all the settings, for both the RAM and motherboard, and ran stability testing software. I used the new multithreading Prime95 software (thanx eva2000) since I don't really like Orthos. So at a mere stock voltage on CPU, lowly 1.6v in vMCH, and 2.3v on RAM, it's perfectly stable and I can even complete any bencmark software I throw at it.

The result is very promising, and looking good in preparation for the Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E4300 overclocking spree. The last time I overclock it, I hit 95% overclock. But aside from lacking inspiration and the will to overclock, I gave up after not making it able to boot up past 395MHz.

But today is a different day than during the first time I overclock this bad boy. First, I have all the time in the world, without worrying if I have completed all my obligations before doing what I love most: playing with hardware. Second, I am such a fan of this kind of powerful yet low cost processor and I'd like to see how far it'll go. Third, it's Christmas season and I'd like to give myself a self-gratification of reaching 100% overclock on stock cooler, on an unmodded board! And last but not the least, it's my freakin' First Year Anniversary post. Anyway, if you clicked on the image, you'll see that I hit 100% OC on FSB already but this isn't truly 100% since I lowered the multi from the default of 9x to 8x, giving a hefty 3.2GHz clock frequency. However, the vMCH must be set to 1.7v!

So I tweaked the board, while still making sure that I am within my sanity's limit. At 1.7v on the vMCH, and 2.3v on RAM, I changed the multi to it's default of x9. Unfortunately, the system with reboot upon reaching Windows screen. It won't stabilize. This time, I am already pumping 1.5v from 1.425v that I used to ran at 3.2GHz. It will still not boot up, so I figure, either I change the cooler or pump the vCore even more. However, I am a lazy bum and I don't like to replace the stock cooler since it's much easier to pump the vCore than replace the cooler. Besides, I am not in the mood to change the cooler, and re-apply all the thermal goo and all that.

So, I just pumped 1.6v and be done with it, and woooolah, I hit the magical number. I don't know how stable it is, I could care less. I am not after stability, just clockage. If I wanted stability, I would have used a better RAM that runs at stock of DDR2-800 and aftermarket cooler. I reached 100% overclock, and I figure, why not go further? Not being satistifed with 100%, I decided just to push it a litte more, just something for Christmas and Anniversary spirit.

So mustering all my strength and the will to carry on, I brought up the FSB to 402MHz, but it's a no go. But 401MHz is just fine, so I inch a little to 403, and it's good to go. Hmmm, interesting, I went up further and shoved 404MHz and it works. At this time, I am just getting tired and lazy of all the reboots and save, so I pushed to 410MHz, and it's no go. After a few more misses, I settled for 406MHz final FSB on stock cooler, on air. Here's the final overclock of 103%! You may click on the image for the CPU-Z validation.

That is all FanBoyz, and have a Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Misc: All I Want For Christmas is....

Images with a girl model owned and came from THG
So, it's Christmas time today. We just finished our tradition of sharing food come Christmas Eve on 00:00 hours. It's fun and lively, and we got to open up our gifts and I'm satisfied with I got from wifey.

However, I still have requests, not from wifey, but from my very own pocket. Somehow, I need to raise my money of my own and get myself a piece of hardware. This has been a nagging target since the product has been announced, since I've seen the very first review, and since I first lay my eyes on it on the announcement page. I just can't help but drool, I so want this hardware. What is it you ask? Well, let me list it for you.

So, I already have an Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme QX6700 and Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme X6800. These CPUs are a total kick ass and has been very good with me so far. They overclock really well, and both can do 3.73GHz even on stock cooler. And for higher than such overclock, an aftermarket cooler and a hefty bump in vCore is needed. Go check out my previews on them by clicking on the links.

And then, I have this superb motherboard from Abit. Man, I am so overwhelmed by this motherboard, except for Intel's very own Bad Axe 2, I haven't tested any other board that can handle the Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme QX6700 and Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme X6800 this good. My only gripe is that Abit is so slow to release any new BIOS to provide better-than-average overclock on the Kentsfield, but with Conroe, it's all smooth sailing.

But, and this is a big "but", I don't have my favorite RAM. I so want this RAM, I wish I have all the moolah. I just ran out of moolah and I am stucked with a 2x512MB Micron DDR2-533MHz with Fat Body D9 chips. Sure, my current RAM can overclock really well, around DDR2-800MHz for about 2.2v-2.3v, but it's not as cool looking as this OCZ PC2-7200 Spec Ops Edition Urban Elite from OCZ. That's all I want for Christmas, and I don't think I can even get one, so sorry FanBoyz, no review for this memory, not even soon.

Anyway, not to have my spirits dampen by such, I will still be happy with what I have right now, and I sure am having a Merry Christmas this year. Thanks for stopping by and reading my yet another blog posting. Till next, and may your Christmas be merry and happy too.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Misc: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

It's just a few hours before Christmas, and I'd like to extend my well wishes and good luck to all the visitors. I'd like to extend my well wishes most specially to those who always visit the site and just check out on how the site is doing.

I am monitoring this site since its inception last year, and I am going to hit my very first year anniversary. Without you visitors, I would have not continued on for so long. My web hits has peaked before the launch of the new uA from Chipzilla and it has stabilized after the Conroe launch this year, it's been a truly roller coaster ride.

I know some of you have been wanting to see some action, benchmark if you may, of unreleased processors. But unlike others you see on the net and fora, I just can't post my results since I am under NDA. As much as I'd like to share results, it's just not right. So thank you very much, despite the dissapointment, you stayed on for long and visiting the site.

Again, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Tech Link (Memory): OCZ PC2-6400 Spec Ops Edition Urban Elite

One my favorite site, MVKTECH.NET, reviews a really cool memory from OCZ. The reviewer is impressed and had a nice time overclocking it too. I want one so bad, the looks is just so neat, so amazing. I wonder how it'll perform on my rigs, I'm sure it'll be a winner. Hey OCZ, send me one quick!

Final Thoughts
The Special Ops theme is quite cool, though I would do away with the chrome heat spreaders. Replacing the chrome with a simple black honeycomb heat spreader is the way to go. The heat spreaders looked sleek and it would certainly add a touch of uniqueness to your system. OCZ Technology has designed these Special Ops Edition PC2-6400 Urban Elite modules with the overclocker in mind. The ability to operate at higher speeds with reasonably tight timings makes them an ideal solution for today and tomorrow. Performance wise these OCZ Special Ops Edition memory modules were very impressive, providing outstanding gaming experience.

We were able to overclock these modules up to 975MHz, quite a major increase, which shows that there is some elbow room in these Special Ops Edition modules. It is likely that with reduced timings, like 5-5-5-12 or slower we would have been able to increase the clock rate of these memory modules, however there is no real point, as it is simply not possible to pump that much data through to the CPU over the FSB. You can rest easy that memory speed will not be the bottleneck in your system with these modules, as a matter of fact; they should be fast enough for any of the current processors around.

Don't forget the lifetime warranty that is valid even if overvolted up to 2.3V setting. The OCZ Special Ops Edition Urban Elite memory kit was specifically designed for uncompromising gamers and enthusiast audiences who will welcome it with open arms. The memory performs its duties and exceeds where many other PC-6400 memory modules fail. When comparing price, performance, and its presentation, the Urban Elite memory is a unique and very worthy alternative to any other comparably priced high performance PC-6400 DDR2 kit on the market. It's great seeing something unique...

These Special Ops Edition modules epitomize everything that OCZ prides themselves on; they look good, overclock nicely, gives solid performance and provide outstanding stability. The OCZ Special Ops Edition PC2-6400 Urban Elite modules offer excellent performance for a great price. They are a great choice for the hardcore gamers and enthusiasts who like to overclock their systems. These can also sustain better timings than what they are rated for. The bottom line is, the product is not hyped up in anyway, the ram deserves the recognition and awards it is receiving.

Source:OCZ PC2-6400 Spec Ops Edition Urban Elite

Tech Link (Motherboard): Quad Core Bliss? : Nvidia’s nForce 680i SLI and Asus’s Striker

GamePC posted a comprehensive review of the new board from Asus. It does overclock really well, but they are not impressed with the pricing. I personally don't really like 3rd part chipset, but coming from Asus, I may have a change of heart on this one.

The Final Word
The Asus Striker Extreme is, and will remain for the foreseeable future, the premiere Socket-775 motherboard on the market. The nForce 680i chipset which is the core of this platform supports all of the high-end features which enthusiasts demand now, along with being the most future proof platform on the market, supporting technologies like 1333 MHz FSB and DDR2-1200 speeds. In addition, the board supports 16 x 16 SLI, a dedicated third PCI Express x8 slot, 6 x SATA-II/300 RAID ports, just about every high-end feature an enthusiast can ask for. This board would certainly be our favorite Core 2 platform to date if it wasn’t for some lingering BIOS issues which are hampering stability at this point.

As one would expect for a platform of this nature, the Striker Extreme is incredibly expensive – more so than any other Core 2 platform to date. Asus does, however, provide a slightly less exorbitant option in their P5N32-E SLI platform, which uses the same chipset and PCB design, but lacks features such as the diagnostic LCD screen, backit LED’s, dedicated power/reset/CMOS buttons and dual eSATA, in addition to having less chipset cooling and a more limiting BIOS. However, for the removal of these items, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $100 less for this board compared to the Striker Extreme. While those who want absolutely everything, the Striker is there, but for those who have a bit more common sense, the P5N32-E SLI is an excellent 2nd choice.

We will say, no other Core 2 platform we’ve tested to date matches the high-end overclocking features of this board. We certainly appreciate Asus providing high-end overclockers the necessary tools to achieve the highest speeds without any arbitrary limitations thrown in for their protection. Also worth noting, Asus recently launched a board called the “Commando” with a similar concept and overclocking features like the Striker, but is based on the Intel P965 chipset. For those who don’t want SLI and want to use a little less power, while keeping tremendous overclockability, this might be a board worth considering.

Our benchmarks showed that if you’re only using a single graphics card (even a high-end model like the 8800 GTX), you will see virtually no performance difference between these high-end platforms. The only area we saw real performance differences were where applications required disk access, and in these cases, the Intel 975X chipset tended to perform a smidge better. We’re confident that Nvidia will ramp up their SATA performance in time, but for now, Intel’s got the edge here. We would still recommend an Intel based chipset if you’re looking for stability rather than performance.

The Striker Extreme is a dynamo of a motherboard, there’s no doubt about that. Personally, I feel that the feature-set doesn’t justify the cost, and if I was purchasing a high-end platform for a new quad-core system, I would likely opt for the less-expensive P5N32-E SLI. Once Asus gets their BIOS issues worked out and we see the price drop a tad, we feel that the Striker will rightfully take its place as the most lusted-after Core 2 platform on the market.

Source:Quad Core Bliss? : Nvidia’s nForce 680i SLI and Asus’s Striker

Tech Link (Motherboard): FOXCONN 975X7AB-8EKRS2H Motherboard Review

I know, I am on a posting spree, this is what's happening when you put a FanBoy on a vacation leave. It just gives me more time to brag and post and brag and post, what more can you ask from a FanBoy? Anyway, LegitReview got themselves busy with a nice motherboard from FoxConn. This motherboard is the only board that I know of that has a digital VRM to regulate power for the CPU. It looks ok, not attractive, but decent enough. The red PCB reminds me of standard board from MSI though, but anyway, check this out since LegitReviewer seems impressed.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion
So what do you say about a board that:a) Has a great layout with a great bundle; b) Performs as well as any other board out there; c) Overclocks like mad? You say that this board should be on the top of your list as you are looking at motherboards to house your brand new Core 2 Duo processor. Also, we should mention that this board comes in at a MUCH lower price than many other boards out there. Right now, you can pick this board up for a cool $159.99, which is much less than the $200+ that some of these new Core 2 Duo boards are retailing for.

One thing that should not be overlooked as we close up this review is the fact that Foxconn heard us when we let them know of a bios issue, and then within a matter of 72 hours, we had a new bios in hand, that had been tested by them over the weekend to make sure that it worked properly. This is almost unheard of anymore in the industry.

Feature-wise, this board has really everything you would want. And the bundle that comes with it is very generous considering the "low" price tag. The Foxconn 975X7AB-8EKRS2H motherboard can be found for $159.99 from online retailers, which makes it less than competing boards like the abit AW9D-MAX that we reviewed at the start of the week. The Foxconn 975X7AB-8EKRS2H represents great value from a price versus performance standpoint and an ideal motherboard for those looking to try out mild overclocking.

The ability to run a Crossfire setup also insures that you will be gaming to the best level that you can, and that you will be able to upgrade to a dual card setup if needed at a later date to extend the life of this board.

Legit Bottom Line: Foxconn really has outdone themselves with the offering of the 975X7AB. The performance and overclockability of the board are outstanding and the customer support is first class. This board certainly was not a "Dog" but a Fox to be desired. What more could you ask for in a board? With all that said, at $159.99, this board is certainly worthy of of value award for the 975X series of boards.

Source:FOXCONN 975X7AB-8EKRS2H Motherboard Review

Tech Link (Motherboard): Abit 975 board takes on two Asus contenders

If it's not for a friend and Abit, I wouldn't have posted this article. So anyway, INQ posted a "First Impression" look at Abit's greatest offering. It may not be the latest, but currently, it is the greatest. Be careful reading it though and try to develop a skill that will help you isolate the FUD from FACT when you are wading thru that freaky review. If you are ready, then take the plunge.

In Short
Abit made a great overclocker's motherboard. It has all the features that one would like and it is the 975X board that will run two ATI cards. We wonder if it will run two R600s but this will be the big question for 2007.

The board has a nice layout, illuminates the room with its LEDs, heat-piped chipsets and it make memory faster than any other 975 board we seen so far. It is great and it goes neck-to-neck with Asus' P5W DH Deluxe. It costs around €190 in Euroland depending on the country.

It is one of the best 975X boards we've come across. It is stable and worth the money but you can also consider Asus very good alternative. For dessert, we tried cableless Crossfire and have an answer to some of your questions on X1950PRO cards, we will try to tell you that story in 2007. µ

Source:Abit 975 board takes on two Asus contenders

Tech Link (Motherboard): MSI P965 Platinum

The folks over at [H] has placed an MSI i965-based board to the test bench. While it performs well and shows no sign of nagging problems, [H] doesn't give this board a big thumbs up. Check it out...

Dan's Thoughts:
Working with the MSI P965 Platinum was a pleasant experience, but not a perfect one. For starters, the motherboard always changes the boot sequence whenever any drives are added, or if the drive configuration changes in anyway. This lead to a situation where the system wouldn’t boot, and I’d have to go back into the BIOS and change the boot sequence again. This is not an issue that is specific to MSI as many motherboards do this, but there has been a change started in the industry to correct this. Otherwise, I also had several issues with stability until I raised the ram voltage to 2.1v. The memory defaults to 1.8v, which was totally unstable. (Editor's Note: In my testing with different Corsair RAM we showed not voltage issues whatsoever.) I had another issue once the OS was loaded originally. When I went to install the .NET framework, and the Catalyst 6.9 drivers for my test X1800XT Crossfire setup, the OS blue screened, and I was forced to re-install it. This was an isolated incident, and I have no explanation why this happened.

Stability at stock speeds, while running my drive benchmarks and network tests was exemplary. For 48 hours, the system ran flawlessly, and gave me no issues. During the stress test I ran Orthos and ran SuperPi along side it just to be extra abusive. The system performed flawlessly under these conditions. Overall the MSI board was easy to work with and the problems I did encounter were easy to solve or work around entirely.

Essentially, the P965 is a great motherboard, especially at stock speeds, but unremarkable. Overclocking is mediocre, but not horrible. The layout is excellent, and the board has a solid feature set, and isn’t over burdened with an excessive amount of features that most users will likely never touch. Some issues I experienced were annoying, but should easily be fixed with BIOS and driver updates. All in all the P965 Platinum merits some consideration and I would recommend it for use in non-overclocked or mildly overclocked systems, but for the hardware enthusiast, I think there are better choices out there.

The Bottom Line
MSI has presented us with a very stable motherboard in the P965 Platinum. It ran like a champ under very heavy usage models at stock settings. When it comes to enthusiasts looking for overclocking motherboards for new Core 2 Duo processors, there are better choices available.

Source:MSI P965 Platinum

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Tech Link (Industry): abit Xtreme OC Workshop-Update

The era of enthusiasts has really come of age. Overclockers, unite and rule the world, err, well, something to that effect. abit has just completed an event that takes the cake with Kentsfield overclocking, reaching the highest clock frequency known to man.

I snag some pictures over at INQ, and posted it here so you can also check out the nice images aside from those posted at the official abit site. The parts that helped reached this amazing overclock is, of course, Intel® Core™2 QX6700 Extreme Processor, Abit AW9D-MAX motherboard, and a Kingston DDR2-1200. Philly-boy and FUGGER were given the challenge, and they accept and beat it with flying colors.

Click these for more pictures:
Is that the cooler?
Just can't get enough of LN2
Philly-box (left) and FUGGER (right) chillin' out
Cooling attached and ready to roll
Wheee, let's get it on.

DECEMBER 15, 2006 – Xtremelegends Philly-boy and FUGGER attained unprecedented success at the abit OC Xtreme workshop. It began as a slow day, working up to some speed. With various obstacles such as the LN2 being late we began with using a 3-stage compressor cooler. Initially we ran with a normal QE6700 Kentsfield “Core 2 Quad” processor pushing up the multiplier further and further. Clocking it up to 12x, then 14x. The results then improved drastically especially after the liquid nitrogen arrived, until late in the day some worthwhile figures came about.

The final result obtained was the highest Overclock of the Kentsfield on an AW9D-MAX to date. This remarkable achievement gives abit the OC World Record for a Kentsfield QE6700. The 5010.03 MHz seen on the CPU is literally a 100% Overclock. In this, the AW9D-MAX does not disappoint. Any board that can give you that kind of stability is certainly worth owning. Of course this record is not expected to last long, as enthusiasts will continue to strive and push the boundaries further. We managed a stable Super-pi of 10.5sec for 1M at 4918.7MHz. the multiplier manually set at 18x for a chip which is usually automated at 10x.

Several unusual benchmarks were also computed. The team was guided by a renowned expert in the shady sides of internet security. One thing of note was that with a special utility programmed onto our super overclocked monster, we were able to run a benchmark using the AES 128 bit encryption algorithm.(this is the standard used by many banks and secure websites around the world according to our specialist). It seems as if things are not as safe as we are led to believe. The brute force of our overclocked beast enabled roughly 10.5 million times cbc’s on 64 size blocks in 3.81 seconds. What that means to the layman is that in every four seconds, this computer could provide 10.5 million unique codes to attempt to crack a 128 bit encryption code sequence. In essence, if the decryption software is very good, then this OC beast computer could crack your (128 bit encryption) code in a matter of hours at the most... Before you spring into an uproar, please bear in mind that not everyone has liquid Nitrogen as a coolant, nor the assistance of the World’s best overclockers at hand. Then to make matters more complicated, you would need to have the VERY complex software to achieve this goal. But if you did, cracking codes would be a breeze.

Special thanks must go out to Intel who co-sponsored the event: Intel has stood by abit strongly, helping us promote their flagship chipset and CPU, while giving abit the necessary collateral to make the event happen.
Special kudos’ go out to Kingston who supplied some of their latest high speed 1200MHz Ram. In Addition, rallied some of their finest in abit’s hour of need and many thanks for stepping up to workshop with us.

The support is highly appreciated as our search for the perfect Overclock goes on…

abit is continually committed to make hardware designed to keep guys who demand the best completely happy. Our μGuru BIOS is second to none in the industry, giving holistic and immersive features for tweaking and fine tuning motherboards to obtain the perfect Overclock. abit is taking the lead and is surging forward embracing the principles of overclocking, taking it further than ever before. At this event abit used a special edition modded board from HIPRO the ultimate overclocker of them all. OC expertise came from FUGGER & Philly-boy, both from All in all an excellent combination to take the MAX board to the MAX with Intel and beyond**.

**Please note we do not recommend overclocking as it may harm your motherboard and other hardware, in this case we are dealing with experimental circumstances and so please do not attempt this at home nor anywhere else. In fact it should be noted that if you Overclock your hardware, it voids your warrantee. Only those qualified should ever attempt to push hardware to the extremes that were achieved at this event.

For more information on abit, go here:

For more information on Xtremesystems, go here:

Source:abit Xtreme OC Workshop-Update

Friday, December 22, 2006

Press Release: Shuttle introduces newest lineup of gaming PCs - 1337 and 1337 SDXi system

Aside from the sucky model name of 1337, the new SFF system is very nicely done. With a custom paint job, a watercooled GPU, with an extreme Intel processor (Conroe or Kentsfield), Ati Radeon X1950 (Crossfire), 2GB of yummy Crucial DDR2-800MHz RAM, on a small form factor, this is just so freakingly awesome. This little wonder will set you $4999 at the minimum though, so it does have a hefty price tag to go with the looks and power.

Shuttle introduces newest lineup of gaming PCs - 1337 and 1337 SDXi system

Shuttle Inc, the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of small form factor computers and accessories have announced the launch of its newest lineup of gaming PCs—1337 and 1337 SDXi system. Shuttle 1337 systems bring together the best technologies the industry has to offer to make one blazing fast gaming system. 1337 systems are able to match performance of larger and louder tower systems without sacrificing the small form factor foot print.

According to Kevin Tu, Product Marketing Manager, “We made it our goal to extract the most performance from our existing XPCs without sacrificing portability for LAN parties. The Shuttle 1337 SDXi is the result, blending the best engineering we have to offer with the best technologies from Intel and ATI.”

The new Shuttle 1337 systems differ from the regular Shuttle XPC systems in form and function. Sporting a unique paint job and liquid-cooling system the Shuttle 1337 PCs deliver are truly unique in appearance. Every Shuttle 1337 system is painted with premium-grade glossy automotive paint by Smooth Creations for that customized touch. Paint jobs by Smooth Creations offer unmatched quality and craftsmanship. According to Smooth Creations PR representative Ashley Willis, “Quality is not expensive … it’s priceless!”

Liquid cooling is employed on 1337 systems to keep the graphics cards cool and quiet. Air-cooling can no longer cut it anymore with the increasing complexity of graphics cards. In the past users would have to install their own liquid-cooling system with fears of leaks. However, with Shuttle 1337 systems, you can have the cooling performance of liquid without the headaches previously associated with it. The liquid-cooling system employed in 1337 systems is completely self-contained, maintenance free and guaranteed not to leak.

Shuttle 1337 SDXi systems integrate the best technologies for blazing fast performance in games and applications. Powered by the Intel Core 2 Extreme Edition X6800 or QX6700 processor, 1337 SDXi systems deliver two and four cores of processing with seamless multitasking capabilities. Joining the Core 2 Extreme processor is a pair of AMD ATI Radeon X1950XT graphics cards in CrossFire. The pair of ATI Radeon X1950XT graphics cards delivers breathtaking visuals with outstanding performance.

System Specifications

Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 or QX6700
2x AMD ATI Radeon X1950 XTX CrossFire
2GB Crucial Ballistix DDR2-800
Western Digital Raptor 150GB
Fully internal liquid-cooling system
Premium glossy automotive paint
Shuttle 1337 SDXi systems will be available late December starting at $4999.

Source:Shuttle introduces newest lineup of gaming PCs - 1337 and 1337 SDXi system

Tech Link (Platform): Octa-Core Computing : Intel’s Cloverton Xeon Processor

This is a bit late, but I since I missed posting it, I figure better late than never. So, GamePC has put up an article for which I can't do because, well, I'll get my ass kicked for breaking NDA. Anyway, they have a comprehensive review, but I only have one peeve: they mentioned they have a Maxon Cinebench 9.5 benchmark but they actually don't have it in there :(. Bummer....

The Final Word

Intel’s new quad-core Xeon 5300 series processors can offer spectacular performance at fairly low clock speeds, while at the same time consuming no more power or creating no more heat compared to higher-clocked dual-core variants. On a technical level, we feel that the chip is certainly a success, as one can now deploy eight-core systems just as easily as dual and quad-core systems of yesteryear. With new standard ATX sized Xeon motherboards from Tyan and Supermicro, it’s also now possible to have eight-core computing in a standard ATX sized case, something which would simply be impossible as of last year. Eight-core systems used to require proprietary (read : ultra expensive) components and were extremely limited, whereas with these new Xeon 5300’s, one can assemble an eight-core system using over the counter components.

As one would expect, Intel’s quad-core Xeon processors are quite expensive - roughly double the price of their dual-core brethren at the same clock speeds. Price wise, an eight-core setup with 2 x 1.86 GHz quad-core processors will cost about the same as a quad-core setup with 2 x 3.0 GHz dual-core processors. So, which is better, more cores or higher-clocked cores? Turns out that in the majority of our benchmarks, a highly-clocked quad-core setup will outperform a lower-clocked eight-core system in most real-world applications. This is simply due to the fact that most applications don’t know how to handle eight cores, whereas most multi-threaded applications can properly handle four cores without getting too confused. If you have an application which is heavily multi-threaded and can take advantage of eight cores, the Xeon 5300’s actually provide better price/performance compared to the dual-core 5100 series. However, such applications are extremely rare on the market.

For everyone outside of the high-end server market, or those who heavily multi-task with multi-threaded applications, this chip will simply be overkill. However, an interesting area to consider will be virtualization, which will very likely show these eight-core processors in a much more positive light. A fairly inexpensive eight-core system could potentially run dozens of servers at with low power consumption and low-heat, which is certainly attractive for potential rackmount customers. For workstation and desktop users though, we would recommend sticking with the dual-core Xeon 5100 series until quad-core prices drop and software can catch up with what this hardware is capable of.

While it’s a great product to drool over, the real-world benefits of an eight core system are few and far between for the vast amount of users out there. Even during heavy multi-tasking, we couldn’t feel a difference between and eight-core and a four-core system. We applaud Intel for getting the prices of eight-core systems down to a far lower-level than they once we, and once again raising the stakes against AMD (who won’t have eight-core systems available until mid-2007). We’ll update our scores once Intel starts shipping the high-grade (2.33/2.66 GHz) quad-core Xeons in the coming month.

Source:Octa-Core Computing : Intel’s Cloverton Xeon Processor

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tech Link (Motherboard): abit AW9D-MAX i975 Express Motherboard Review

I highly agree with the author over at LegitReviews about their impression on this board. It has pushed my Conroe Extreme up high there in the clouds, along with the angels and cupids, err, I mean, you get the idea. But be forewarned though, this isn't engineered for QuadCore, at least, not at the current official bios release. Here's the snippet, and you can check out their site for more....

The abit AW9D-MAX motherboard is one of the best Intel 965P/975X motherboard that I have used to date. It's actually refreshing using a motherboard like the abit AW9D-MAX because everything just works out of the box. The NVIDIA 680i chipset has gotten a ton of attention in recent weeks, but at the same time it launched with numerous bugs that are just now starting to be taken care of via BIOS updates. The Intel 975 Express chipset has been on the market for over a year and has 99% of the bugs worked out, which is nice for those of us that want to set up their system with a stable overclock and be done.

Source:abit AW9D-MAX i975 Express Motherboard Review

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tech Link (Motherboard): Commando Results by Tony and Andre

AndreYang of XS has posted a lot of nice pictures. Try to check out the link, but make sure you have broadband since the images are huge and massive. It's a treat for the FanBoyz, check it out.

We know ASUS ROG mobos are different from other ASUS mobos because ROG has more voltage and Ram timming.

I went to ASUS main company last week and took this mobo.

I will share some pics and simple result to everyone.

ROG Commando pictures

Source:Commando Results by Tony and Andre

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rant: Cathay Pacific is strike two.

Crap, I can't believe they still suck big time. I just got back from my outrageously extended long trip, and too tired to blog. Sorry if this post is messed up, I'll post the details soon. For now, I am signing out, I am tired.

Update (12/20/2006): I am one of the stranded passengers of Cathay Pacific Flight CX885, scheduled to depart L.A. to H.K. on Dec. 17, 2006 11:30AM (Gate 122). Normally, you'll have to be in the gate about 30mins earlier for boarding (that's 11:00am for the really slow). But being a panic traveller that I am, I usually am at the gate an hour earlier and then I just move around the shops near the gate to pass up the time. I am excited since I am just a few minutes and I'll be one step closer to home.

However, 11:00am came and we're still not boarding, no announcement whatsoever. At this time, I decided to stay there near the gate so that I will be able to catch up what's happening and to be up to date. In my last year's trip (same gate, but different flight), I encountered a one-hour delay (and the flight need to re-fuel at Taipei so another 2+ hours additional flight time) so I just want to make sure I know what's happening.

Then, 11:15am hit its mark and then they began to announce to be in line and prepare for boarding. Those travelling with children, aged people, disabled, or travelling business and first class has been given a special lane. While me and the rest of economy flyers was to follow the row-seat boarding arrangement, that is, those seating at row 60-70 (or was it 50-60, can't remember) will board first. My seat number isn't in there so I am stuck at my gate seat.

Anyway, after about another 15mins, that's 11:30am and the announcement was given that our flight will have one hour delay due to technical problem. Oh crap!!!! I am very hungry at this time, it's 12:30PM and I don't want to spend my precious dollars on lunch since I am hoping that I'll be able to take lunch on the plane.

So I tried to relax and think positively, it's better that Cathay is taking time to ensure that we are going to have a safe flight, so what's another hour to wait, right? I decided to get a quick snack so I won't lose conciousness due to hunger. And since it's an airport, all prices are jacked up really niceley (plus, it's L.A.). A bottled watter + a Doritos will cost me $7.00, wow, so screw quick snack and I'll just go ahead and get heavier snack. A heavier snack set me $15.65, that sucks so bad. A sandwich and a bottled watter, for $15, what a crap.

One hour wait time quickly passed by, and another announcement was given, flight is freaking cancelled. Arggggggggh, screw you! However, they seem to have an emergency plan brewing up, they have another aircraft that has just landed and we'll use that instead. Technically, it's supposed to be good since it just landed so it should be fit for flight. But all the passengers will have to move to a different gate, I think Gate 115. In my opinion, Cathay Pacific is actually just waiting for this next airplane, that the flight has been cancelled already way before they announced it, they just needed to make sure that everyone will fit in.

Anyway, moving to that gate is like a long Exodus from Purgatory to Hell. To be honest, I don't really know how Purgatory or Hell feels like, but this experience is really devastating. Coming from Portland, Oregon from a 6:10am flight (I woke up at 3:00am, and checked it at 3:45am and was at the boarding gate at 4:20am), I don't have much strength and the will to walk. They just ask us to follow a ground crew, without even giving us a mobile vehicle to ride on. They are just so crappy, I can't believe such bad customer service still lingers on a such a well known company. It's not a short walk, specially from a tired traveller like me.

After arriving at the Gate of Hell 115, we were asked to sit down. They said a bus will come and pick us up since the airplane is "parked" somewhere else (I don't know what term to use, so I just said park). They also made an announcement that since the aircraft is a bit different, our seating arrangement will be impacted. Oh crap, that's another sucky one for those who are impacted. Specially to families who are travelling in groups or sweethearts, or bands, etc.

However, the time is around 2:00PM already and we're still waiting from the messengers about the news to pick us up. I can't believe we'll encounter another waiting time. The airline keeps on making blunders. People are tired and hungry, come on, it's common sense to give refreshment to your passengers. We are hungry, tired, and angry. We are confused and losing focus. All this waiting game is a losing game for the passengers. I know airlines are doing their best, but heck, bottom line is that customers are not happy with the service. At least give us food. Now my fault is that I never really complained hard, I just thought they'll figure it out. Besides, all along I thought we'll bever have to wait again at that "flight boarding station-turned bus station" anyway.

And 2:15PM came and people are still waiting, blasted! How long can these airline torture us even more? When 2:25PM came, the buses arrived, and we're all again ushered to follow the seating arrangement blah blah, like business class, Marco Polo members, etc. etc. has a special lane while all economy flyers suffered the dreaded long line of boredom. It pays to have the money I guess. Anyway, we got in the bus and we were happily riding.

At 2:30PM, we reached the plane, but we can't get off the bus. We're like sardines in there, sitting idle for the next 5mins, wow, the waiting game never stops. It appears that the airplane is not yet ready for boarding. You suck Cathay Pacific. And we're hungry hungry hungry, I just want to eat those people around me. Curse you After the grueling wait inside the bus, we were "let go", only to be greeted by another long line of waiting. Yes, we have to wait. We have to enter a small structure (like a two-storey building, but not really a building, just a structure for people to ride the plane) and another waiting line of boredom awaits us.

Hahahahahahahah, if this is a joke, it must be very funny for all the Cathay Pacific management. But it is curse for me. Very hungry, tired, and dizzy, I keep drifiting in and out of the "real world". I just can't focus anymore, I want to relax, lie down, have a rest. This whole trip is taxing my energy way more than I can normally take. I should have taken a much heavier lunch.

After another waiting, and I can't keep of the time anymore, we finally boarded the airplane of sorrow, sat down, only to keep hearing the captain announce how sucky some passengers are for not accepting the changed seat allocation (remember how I mentioned some seats are impacted?) and how we can't take off if passengers doesn't cooperate. Hey, don't be such an ass Mr. Captain, I would have knock out your skull if I am besides you and you're talking to me like that. I came from a very early flight, I am tired, and hungry and you let me wait for the longest time and now you are asking me to why not just cooperate? I swear, I don't care how big that guy is, I would have jumped into him and pummel his face like there's no tomorrow. Anyway, my seat isn't impacted, and all I can think about is eat eat eat eat eat.

After I placed my handcarried bag at the overhead compartment, I approached a flight steward and I said, "Can I get a sandwich and a cup of water please? I am really hungry since I haven't taken my lunch yet.". I was greeted with a "Uh, me too, I haven't taken lunch yet" and for the moment, I feel like kicking her in the butt but then again, a spark of reason came into me, this airline just landed and the flight steward must also be tired and they are still cleaning the airplane when we arrived (which explains why we have to wait a long line in that structure I mentioned earlier). However, the flight steward must be stumped as well with her answer and she ushered me to a location where I can help myself so she can get back to preparing the aircraft.

I quickly grab a sandwich and a cup of water and that feels like the best thing in the world for me. I felt energey building up, and as much as I'd like to munch all of them, I just can't since I know some people still needs to take some as well. And true enough, after I sat down, I saw some passengers approaching the "food area" and asking the flight crew if they can have something to eat and drink as well. I feel for them, I know how they feel, I have been thru it all.

So back to the seat I am, and I kept hearing the jerk Captain of the Airline how we are stranded and can't take off since there's still some people who aren't cooperating. I think they should have more heart than brain at time around, we suffered, and while it is reasonable to tell people that seats has changed, they should have enough patience as well. Yeah, I know, you all came from a previous flight and might be very tired as well, but hey, we are the customers and your airline better be prepared for such situation. It is not our problem that you are tired, the airline must be able to provide enough crew and be ready for such situation.

If you want reason, try reasoning with a person who is in a tip-top condition and not us who have been under the hassle of airlines incompetence to handle such situation. The ground crew assisting us never even have the tiniest idea to serve their "travel-worn" customers some sort of refreshment. Yes, I understand that if everyone doesn't cooperate then we're gonna get screwed with the flight even more. But screw you too, we paid for a service and service is we're going to get. Not some alternative that definitely isn't working right. Understand the people, why they are upset and don't try to announce such threats anymore and lay it on the passengers shoulder on why we are going to get delayed even more. It is Cathay Pacific's incompetence that started it all, not the passengers, we were all obliging and following customers, until such horrible ordeal happened. So stopped preaching Mr. Captain, you suck. How I wish Cathay Pacific will fire you for such condencending attitude.

Anyway, since Captain Jerko announced that there's some legal issues, it's out of their hands and that is why we're going to land in Taipei, Taiwan so that a new shift of flight crew can take over (must be something about the number of hours they can do per shift) and so our flight to HK is delayed once more. I wonder why they don't have alternate crew in L.A. though, and have to get replacement in Taiwan. One thing is sure though, I don't give a flying *uck if they are going over the number of hours to work, get someone in L.A. to fly instead of the the crew in Taipei so we don't have to go to Taipei. I might have misinterpreted it, but that's how my weary brain understood the Captain's reason for yet another delay.

So we get to Taipei, and there we get a fresh set of crew. The flight is ok, decent, and I took the time to survey the environment and everyone seems pacified (including me). But we're all weary, I am sleeping and snoring like a horse.

We reached, I think around 12:30am(Dec.19) already and we're given free accomondation and boarding pass scheduled for 8:05am. Our accomodation is at Regal Apt, a hotel that is connected to HK airport. The airline is kind enough to give us three(3) meal stubs: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We are given a 3minute international call for free. No room service, and the minibar is locked (wow). That is freaking awesome, they locked the minibar, I am not sure if it's hotel's policy or the airline's advise, but that sucks. In our note that hotel receptionist handed out, in order to take something out at the minibar, we'll have to pay it upfront. Screw you. Btw, no free internet.

Anyway, wonder why I am having a pet peeve over the minibar if dinner is already given? Well, it is because after reading the fine print, the restaurant offering the free dinner is open till 10:00PM only, and that the stub is valid on Dec. 19. Wow, sounds like another jerky decision from Cathay Pacific. You gave us a dinner stub that can't be used. Someone needs to be fired. And yes, lunch is screwed as well. I know that there are other people who may have another flight time, but still, make sure that the freebies you are going to give because you messed up is usable and not something that is almost useless.

Wow, they tried to do a shotgun approach and maybe get the same offering for all the stranded passengers, not thinking that some of their offers may not be valid. Please, use the brain.

Anyway, most of my major complaints are already mentioned and while there's some I'd like to rant, I am out of energy to write it.

My last words will be that first strike is last year's screw up and this second screw up is the last Cathay Pacific flight I am going to book, ever!

I will give my final recommendation to my company to remove this airline from the accredited list and I will never fly Cathay Pacific again. Goodbye Cathay Pacific, hello new airlines.

Have a good day all FanBoyz, and take my words for it, Cathay Pacific sucks big time.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tech Link(Industry): Bloomfield To Hit > 4GHz & Has 8MB Cache

VR-Zone has a nice info for the upcoming Chipzilla products. These featurs isn't a slouch, with a mouth watering 8M of L2 cache, getting it at speed higher than 4GHz is just amazing. Check it out, now!

Based on the 45nm Nehalem architecture, Intel aims to bring Bloomfield clock speed above 4GHz in 2008. It is a speed that Intel never get to hit with their previous generation of processors where the highest clock speed reach is 3.8GHz with their Pentium 4 570 & 670. Bloomfield will contain 8MB of shared L2 cache which is smaller overall in comparison to Yorkfield 2x6MB L2 cache. As we have previously reported, Bloomfield is Socket B based, quad core and is capable of 8 threads. It is still within the 130W thermal envelope.

Source:Bloomfield To Hit > 4GHz & Has 8MB Cache

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Misc: Person of the Year: You

This is a very nice article from Time. I mean hey, "we" got the honorable mention this time around. And it's not just "we", it's actually "us", the Information Age users. I agree with the article completely that "onliners" should be given recognition for the boom of so many interesting "ideas" found on the site. Below is an excerpt, you may want to visit the site for the full scoop.

The "Great Man" theory of history is usually attributed to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, who wrote that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men." He believed that it is the few, the powerful and the famous who shape our collective destiny as a species. That theory took a serious beating this year.

Source:Person of the Year: You

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Misc: Omigosh, USB Humping Dog!

Anyone who may know how to get one, do let me know please. I want one (or two) for Christmas! I am drooling for this cool USB device! It could be from Japan or Taiwan, I can't be sure, but I am 100% sure I want it this Christmas.

Tech Link (Industry): 2006 CRN Industry Hall of Fame: The Inductees and The Event

Wohoo, congrats Craig R. Barret, crn recognized a genuine treasure! You deserve such honor, you indeed steer Intel into what it is today: strong, resilient, agile, agressive and has that instinct to win and the spirit to get back into action.

He looks mighty cool in his picture image in his profile. I still remember the first time I shook hands with the guy, and like Andy, and Paul, I felt that it's really such an honor to at least such experience. I even got to ask a question during one of the Q&A sessions he had. Anyway, if you're a FanBoy and would like to pay homage to one the great leaders of Intel, or you're just interested to know more about the guy, read on.

During his seven-year tenure as CEO, Barrett invested to assure Intel and America remain competitive -- no small feat in an age when other industry CEOs were taking an axe to R&D budgets and sticking their head in the sand regarding globalization.

Source:2006 CRN Industry Hall of Fame: The Inductees and The Event

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tech Link (Motherboard): NVIDIA nForce 680i Chipset Problems

It's a shame that such a very promising chipset will be plagued by some many issues. I have actually given up my eVGA 680i board because of the many issues, but the killer one for me is that performance. Clock for clock, and for it's price, I just can't justify owning this board anymore, it can't even compete with a motherboard from Asus based on i965.

Anyway, the cool thing about this board is that it supports Conroe Extreme as well as Kentsfield Extreme and of course, native SLI rather than hacked driver. Actually, the native SLI is the only factor that made me try this board, other than that, it's just not worth it. If you like high FSB, this board will be your board. If you like native SLI, this will be your board. If you like decent stock performance, then this is your board. But if you like overclocked + outstanding performance + stable, then look for another board. Check out HardOCP's article, if you would like to know more.

Out of the gate, the nForce 680i chipset from NVIDIA seemed to be the best Core 2 Duo overclocker going, that is of course when your system is not plagued with BSODs and data errors. You need to read this if you are considering a 680i motherboard.

Source:NVIDIA nForce 680i Chipset Problems

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tech Link (Motherboard): abit IL9 Pro Motherboard Review

If you are looking for an affordable motherboard, that supports the latest Conroe processor, and supports Crossfire, well, look no further because a nice board is available from Abit. Not the latest chipset, but this i945-based board makes it also cheaper than other boards that supports Conroe. If you are looking for one, reviews one and you may want to consider this board as your next board.

Intel generally releases two new motherboard chipsets a year, a high-end one and a mainstream one. In 2004, when Intel released the 925X high-end chipset, they also released the 915 mainstream. 2005 saw the release of the 975 chipset for the high-end and the 945 chipset for the mainstream. This year the 965 chipset was released but the 945P chipset remains for the mainstream inexpensive market. The board on the test bench today is the abit IL9 Pro board they recently announced.

Source:abit IL9 Pro Motherboard Review

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tech Link (Storage): Samsung's Solid State Disk Drive Unveiled

Wohooo, this is just so nice. I can't help but drool over these technologies. It's so nice to have such ultra super fast storage system. I'm lovin' it already, well, I just hope the price is lovable too.

In May 2006, Samsung was the first to come out with a consumer 32 GB flash-based solid state drive for mobile PCs, opening up the category for other solid state drive manufacturers. This article explores the solid state drive technology that might replace our aging hard drives in only a couple of years.

Source:Samsung's Solid State Disk Drive Unveiled

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tech Link (Technology): Overclocking Guide Part 1: Risks, Choices and Benefits

Hmm, THG posted an article about overclocking. I don't know about you, but it looks awkward to me. Yes, they are enthusiast site but to me, they have already evolved far from being an enthusiasts' haven but more focused on comercial value of what they are doing. But hey, if you're new to overclocking, they seems to have a good article over there. Check it out if you think you're a noobie or just want to freshen up.

Who Overclocks?

Since the very beginning of the PC era, the most demanding users have sought ways to increase system performance. "Overclocking" may in fact pre-date PCs, going back to the days of simpler devices, but legends of 8 MHz 8088 processors overclocked to 12 MHz via a simple change in clock crystal started a phenomenon. Overclockers later came to be divided between two camps: "the many" who desire high-end performance on a low-end budget, and "the few" seeking ultimate performance at any price.

Source:Overclocking Guide Part 1: Risks, Choices and Benefits

Monday, December 11, 2006

Tech Link (Technology): OCZ APAC Summit 2006

VR-Zone has an exclusive article on OCZ's APAC summit. They have lots of pretty cool OCZ goodies. They showcases affordable watercooling parts, and guess what, video card. Wooot!

OCZ, a company known for Enthusiast range of Memory and Power Supplies, dips into the graphics cards market. Pretty unexpected, and there are some more interesting stuff they have in store, announced during OCZ's APAC Summit 2006.

Source:OCZ APAC Summit 2006

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Rant: Too cold in Oregon

I still haven't checked the actual temperature, but all I know is that it's too cold for my tropical-comfy body. I can't believe I'll begin to shudder as soon as I stepped out of the airport. It's so darn freezing for me. I hope I'll survive my stay here.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Misc: Free WiFi at the Hong Kong airport

The joy of using free broadband. I am now browsing the net and blogging at HK International Airport Gate 46 going to Los Angeles by 01:15 PM today. My connection is fairly low in terms of speed (5.5Mbps). Most probably because I am quite far from an access point (wherever that may be).

I remember going to Texas, USA last year, and in the same airport, at Gate 6, I got some sort of WiFi signal but it's a PPV (pay-per-view) i.e. you need to enter your credit card number. And I was like "WTH, Singapore Changi Airport has free WiFi everywhere and this airport has very limited WiFi scope and they even charge for it".

So anyway, nowadays, PCCW's free wifi coverage seems a lot "larger and wider" in scope. I have been getting nice coverage and "Fair" signal from this Gate 46 and some areas in SkyMall. But the best place should be at the top level where the restaurants are, and near the Wild Fire restaurant. There's an "ad-box" near there, and there's an open lounge where people can sit. They also have a table so travellers can easily put down their things. But the best is that they have a power outlet because of the ad-box. Sure, you can sit down in places where there's signal, but hey, this location is best for me coz I am also charging my lappy and my mobile phone.

I am thinking of making a dedicated web page for airport that has free wifi and how to access them and what's the best location. Hmmm, this should be nice, if only for my own use so I don't forget which area is best whenever I roam the Globe.

Till next...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tech Link (Motherboard): Never mind Striker bring on Commando

Seems like Tony (of OCZ) have finally agreed that 680i isn't necessary = best performance. I'd only get this for "certified SLI" support for current and future high end video cards, I'll always go for Chipzilla chipsets for everything else aside from SLI. I really wish Chipzilla will finally close a deal with NVIDIA* so that i975 will have SLI support without the hacked drivers. It's just a matter of driver/chipset identification to enable SLI rather than technological limitation (yes, for the uber anal, chipset and driver is part of the technology, but duh).

In any case, over at TechRepository, Tony has posted some really neat screenshots of the BIOS and he seems to have lotsa fun testing. I went to XS and I also saw his post. His header is much cooler there than what is posted on their persnal Tech Blog, so that's why I used his "Never mind Striker bring on Commando" title. Enjoy!

All the excitement about DFI had me forgetting another board which i will be testing over the next few weeks. Asus have released what could possibly be the finest i965 board we will see. Codenamed commando the board is part of the ROG line of boards which also have crosshair and Strker extreme as members.

I have the board and can say I have not yet tested a board that overclocks DDR2 better than this one, if you want to run 1300+DDR this is the board for you

Voltage options are nothing short of stunning, i will post screen shots in the next 24hrs so sit tight. Tests to come in the nex week or so.

1 pic for your enjoyment, you may see others posted as Asus gave a sneek peek of the board here in taiwan at the 1st OCZ Overclocking summit.

Source:Never mind Striker bring on Commando