Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Rant: Exploits from AMD?

What a bunch of nutcase. At least make sure your site is safe for crappola's sake. What a great way to spread over exploits to your visitors.
Image owned by F-Secure. As usual, click for larger image.
We're not sure what's going on in here, but there's something wrong at AMD's user discussion forum, located at forums[dot]amd[dot]com.

If you visit the site (and please don't visit it right now), you get a WMF exploit sent to you right from the front page.

When inspecting the source code, you'll see that at the bottom of the HTML is an encoded IFRAME directive:

When decoded, that translates to http[colon]//toolbardollars[dot]biz/dl/adv586.php.

How did it end up on the AMD site? We have no clue. But we have informed relevant people, so hopefully this will be resolved soon.


Tech Link (Operating System): Microsoft Dual Core HotFix

I just got a tip that there's a dual core hotfix from Microsoft*. I personally haven't tested it, but you may want to give it a try. According to Microsoft*, without the hotfix, there will be degradation of performance.

Computers that are equipped with multiple processors that support processor power management features, such as Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) processor performance states, require Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). Additional updates are available to optimize performance and behavior on computers that are running Windows XP SP2. Without these updates, computers that are equipped with these power management-capable, mobile, dual-core processors may experience decreased performance or unexpected behavior


Let me know if you notice any improvement.

Brag: Manila Maki at Pinoydon

I have been hearing about this place that fuse Filipino dishes with Japanese style for quite some, and this afternoon, I was finally able to give it a try, at the Pinoydon

My friends knows I love sushi and maki, and actually, most Japanese food (though I don't really recall their names or what they are called), and I was like, "hmm, this should be interesting to finally give it a go".

So, we went there at Magallanes, Makati (where the South Super Hiway grocery used to be) around 11:00am. The place was simple, not as "bright" as I wanted it to be, but it's acceptable. I was handed the menu, and I really don't know what to choose due to the numerous offerings that looks very savory =).

Anyway, after a bit of discussion (against myself *yay*), I finally ended up ordering three(3) dishes. Manila Maki, Teriyaki Salpicao (I think) and that other food that looked like Katsudon but I already forgot the name.

Anyway, what strike me the most and left me wanting for more is Manila Maki. I never expected it to taste so good, I love it very much. The Salpicao is great as well, but it tastes like the way it should taste (I think), with a touch of Filipino (sweeter than what I'd lilke, but nevertheless great), and the Katsudon is the least of my favorite and wasn't able to finish it (but it's acceptable).

I can't really describe the taste of the Manila Maki, but if you're a Japanse food fan, try to give this place a try. The staff are ok, not excellent, but doing ok (you know, the typical corteous, attentive, and responsive). Price is along the line of Teriyaki Boy, Tokyo Tokyo, etc. I think a little higher, but with the taste, I'd definitely say the Manila Maki isn't comparable (hey, Pinoydon is the only one offering Manila Maki anywy ;))...

Anyone else tried this place, and can share what your favorite dish is? Give me a Tag if you have any tips =)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Press Release: Thermalright announce the new HR-01-775 for LGA775 Processor

If you have been keeping tabs on the cooler arena, you'll know that the newest Thermalright* cooler for Intel® processor was baptized on the Intel® Xeon® Processor (an SI-9XV). Well, seems like Thermalright* finally heed our cries and brought a new outstanding cooler for the more mainstream processor. Hey, who among you normally owns a server-based motherboard and processor (ssshhhh, I know I have three(3))...

HR-01-775 News Release

Due to higher processor frequency enabling computers to run even more intensive business, multimedia, and gaming applications, the LGA775 processor has been known to generate more heat than any other processors in the CPU market. As any PC enthusiasts would know, stability and heat control go hand-in-hand when it comes to building a good quality PC. Intel made a valiant effort in making a semi-efficient heatsink for the LGA775 processor, but let’s face it...it just does not cut it! In response to more heat generated by the CPU, the fan RPM turns up higher and higher which translates into louder and louder noise. Can your ears bare the noise?

That’s where third-party heatsink designer/maker comes in. The challenge was to find better solutions in cooling the scorcher in the LGA775 core, plus with minimal noise from the CPU cooling fan. Once again, Thermalright has stepped up to take that challenge and introduced the HR-01-775*.

HR-01-775 is a passive tower cooler that utilizes the fan that is already installed in your computer. It works side by side with the fan duct system developed exclusively by Thermalright. Basically, the fan duct connects the HR-01 to the 120mm outtake fan, thus making the heatsink serve as a portal to the wind tunnel that leads to the outside environment of the computer, effectively pulling out hot air and cooling the HR-01 (designed with its proprietary through holes for efficient ventilation) at the same time. Lab results have shown that HR-01 with the fan duct works just as efficiently and as effectively as having a 120mm heatsink fan installed to the HR-01.

We at Thermalright care not only about cooling CPUs but also about your hearing health. Don’t you think it’s time to give your ears a break?

* With every HR-01-775, the fan duct comes standard. There is no need for a separate purchase.

Janurary 26, 2006


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Rant: theINQUIRER is a sold out!

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine who frequently visit the site and a fellow fanboy, sent me an SMS (Short Message Service or Text Message) inquiring (pun intended) why I haven't posted the news about theINQUIRER. No, not the news posted on their website, but about their website.

Well, I said I don't really care about the status since I don't value the articles posted there. But then again, after giving it a thought, I ponder why I don't like the site in the first place, why I treat most if not all, of their articles trash, why I don't get excited by their news postings.

So looking back, and checking the site again, I tried to refresh my memory, of what really makes me look at that site the way I "look" at it: a so-so site. True, the site might have millions of hits, visitors, members, and what nots. But gaming site, porn site and torrents site might be the same, or even getting more hits. So I don't value the site by the number of hits, that's for sure. Sometimes, first impression do last, and while I have forgotten the true cause of my dislike for the site, I somehow have mentally condition myself to dislike the site without actually having to remember what made me dislike it in the first place because of my first impression.

After a brief tour back to the site, and reading some of the articles, I vividly remember the reason. No, it's not the blandness of the site layout and design. The site is full of rumors. Rumors, rumors, rumors. Well, rumors doesn't make the site bad and this doesn't make me look at that site as "so so". But it's the combination of rumors and hard facts. Seems ironic eh? But really, the site posts rumors, and at the same time, hard facts. In some cases, rumors and facts are posted in a single article, and if you are a weak minded reader, you will not know how to separate facts from fiction, how to separate downright fanboyism to valid criticsm. Well, I guess that's why there's a 'fricition' portion on their war cry tag line, sort of a disclaimer but not really.

With my faith and reason known, I did thought of what might happen to the site. Maybe the acquisition may turn out to be good, thought about what will they become. The team up may even cause better news story telling, and article postings. Maybe the rumors will still linger, but confine them to a single article not mixing with facts. Why, well they are now under a big umbrella of a "known" business publications, being more careful of news posting and be more exact to article posting should be improved, or they risk tainting the credibility of the whole network that composed of Computing, IT Week and CRN in Business Technology Group of VNU.

This year, 2006, has brought many changes: Intel® announced their new identity, Dell™ released a true gaming machine, Apple® showcased the fruit of the parnership with Chipzilla, and many more. Maybe, there's something to be excited with theINQUIRER after all, maybe it's time for me to have a change of heart and look at the site differently, maybe the sold out web site will not change after all, maybe...
VNU Business Publications Ltd, the London-based publishing arm of VNU Business Media Europe (BME), has purchased The Inquirer, www.theinquirer.net, one of the leading technology news sites. The investment is part of VNU’s ongoing strategy to enhance its online portfolio and transform its business into a fully cross-media content publishing organisation.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Tech Link (Industry): Jobs vs. Gates: Who's the Star?

I am definitely not taking sides. I like both of them.

Gates is the cutthroat capitalist. A genius maybe, but one more interested in maximizing profits than perfecting technology. He's the ultimate vengeful nerd. Ostracized at school, he gets the last laugh by bleeding us all dry.

On the other hand, Jobs has never seemed much concerned with business, though he's been very successful at it of late. Instead, Jobs has been portrayed as a man of art and culture. He's an aesthete, an artist; driven to make a dent in the universe.

But these perceptions are wrong. In fact, the reality is reversed. It's Gates who's making a dent in the universe, and Jobs who's taking on the role of single-minded capitalist, seemingly oblivious to the broader needs of society.


Tech Link (Industry): Intel Itanium gets US$10 billion new lease on life

Looks like detractors are going to cry again. Those who always prophesized the doom of Intel® Itanium® Processor will surely be weeping and shout in disbelief. Go sulk in the corner, Intel® Itanium® lives on! Well, if you ask the fanboy in me, who wouldn't fund something that has gained 70 solutions based on the architecture within the Fortune 100 corporations.

Despite rumors of its impending demise, Intel's Itanium received a US$10 billion new lease on life on January 26 in the US, according to several US-based media reports. The investment is a coup for the Itanium Solutions Alliance (ISA) that was founded in September last year. The announcement happened at the organization's first Executive League event, which was held to lay out the strategy for Itanium solution delivery through the end of the decade.


Tech Link (Industry): Thermaltake Take Off!

It seems like Thermaltake, the well known PC component cooling company, is going to a different direction. If you have seen the new Intel® website, then you'd say there's a similarity.

I tried sifting thru Thermaltake's site and see if there's any announcement about the company's direction, new plans, goals or whatever related to the site facelift that will signify a revamped vision for the company, and found a very brief announcement. If anything, the new "splash" portion of the site is captivating, and livelier. Where they used to have a normal product listings and news offering for their Home site's index, they now have a "portal splash" page that is geared towards "human emotion" rather than focusing purely on hardware brawn.

As per Thermaltake Press Release, they are changing to enhance their image, provide a more localized content, and expand their offerings beyond cooling and include storage options. Just to test drive it, I made a quick tour of the new site, and I did find lots of things that are interesting. While the new site layout brings easier navigation, it's the product offerings that has captured my senses. Who wouldn't be captivated by their new iFlash Mini fan, iFlash 12 fan and their ever succesful series of Hardcano, the new Hardcano 14.

I highly suggest you take a gander over at their homesite and check their new offerings. They have a lot to offer, ranging from coolers, to chassis, and now, even storage options as is incarnated by the sleek and great looking Eclipse DV that has a built in CDRW/DVD Combo drive. Join me with the drooling and check them out.


Brag: Brag-o-Badge

I was watching TV last night and saw a flash of commercial about Manny Pacquiao. It was just a short commercial, but the message of the commericial is about how Manny beat all other TV, Movie, and Political personalities as having the most number of products being endorsemed.

Update: You can visit the dedicated page for Brag-o-Badge here: http://www.sleektech.nl/~dm/article/logobrag/logobrag.html

I actually noticed how Manny was battle-geared with company logos and endorsers, which makes me very edgy looking at how the fight will turn out to be. I mean, just look at those sponsors, even the underwear is being aired. And I know that if Manny loses, those sponsore might just leave him and disregard him as major endorser of the product.

So anyway, that game the idea, to come up with a Brag-o-Badge fun game. It's not necessarily a "normal" game, it involves editing images. And in some cases, might be frustrating for others, but hey, even Game & Watch was frustrating during its times. I decided to dabble up with the logos that I have, ranging from the different hardware I got. I would like to add my software like Microsoft* Windows* 95, 98, Me, XP Home, XP Professiona, 2000, 2003. I even have DOS and Novell* Netware*, but too bad, I can't fit them all up.

The template is as you can see above, and the instructions is pretty simple:

  1. Use the template as posted

  2. Place badges inside the Green area

  3. Add your avatar inside the Orange area

The general rule is don't mess up with the original logos unless it's just resized to fit the template, so no adding of anything or changing the color of the logos. If you would like to join, head on to TPC and check this thread out. And oh, here's what I came up with:

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tech Link (Gaming): Worldwide Invitational Tournament Mini-Site Launched

A few days ago, I posted about the Worldwide Invitational Tournament. Just now (or maybe a few hours ago), Blizzard* launched a mini site to be fully dedicated in covering for the upcoming event.

In that mini-site, Blizzard* will give daily updates, post replays, upload results, and provide interviews, before, during and after the conclusion of the event. You should really give the mini site a try as it really looks very spiffy. And after a minute of dabbling, I already found an "Easter Egg". Honestly, I don't really know if anyone has found it already, but hey, no one told me about the Easter Egg and I feel uber FanBoy for getting to see that Easter Egg, besides, it's just been launched as can be seen on Blizzard's posting time dated January 25 2006. Is this a secret announcement of an un-announced sequel of their famous game? Oh wow, I'm just dying to hear the announcement.

Anyway, the Easter Egg clue is [*see spoiler info below*], go check it out and spread the word about the Easter Egg, redirect them to this web site, and discuss it among fellow fanboys! By the way, if you don't like a spoiler on where to find the Easter Egg, then don't scroll below past the source/link to the mini site. But in case you can't find the Easter Egg, and has given up on finding it, check the clue past the link.

Source:Blizzard Mini Site

And here's a spoiler....scroll below to find the location of the Easter Egg...

Update: Crap, I just checked the BNet forum and it seems like it's not a spoiler actually *lol*. Shows how long I've been out from the Bnet Forum Scene =)...

***Spoiler Alert***
Scroll the web page way down to the bottom. At the middle section, there is what appears to be a Hologram with lights coming out of it. If you hover your mouse over the lights, the cursor pointer changes into a hand. If you leave it there for a few seconds, a "text" will appear which says "Help me Jim Raynor...you're my only hope!". If you click it, Ms. Sexy but "Infected Kerrigan" appears =)...

Brag: Intel® Pentium® 4 631(Cedar Mill) 5.51Ghz on air

Holy smoke, a 5.51Ghz on air, from a measly 3.0Ghz stock. By the way, if you don't know how to map processor number to Ghz and features, check the FanBoy tools at the right side of this site. The processor details listed there is always up to date. The Cedar Mill core (single core 65nm CPU) currently available are lookin' good everyday!

Seems like my plan to order five(5) Intel® Pentium® D 930 will be beefed up with another five(5) Intel® Pentium® 4 631. The new cores are much colder compared to the Prescott big brother and they eat much lesser power. It's no wonder they'll overclock like there's no tomorrow. I have tested the early samples, and man, they do rock the boat.
All images owned by TeamJapan

Anyway, I'm getting too carried away. The info came from the so called TeamJapan, as listed on his Blog site (Google translated). And from the looks of it, he attained 4.8Ghz from the *drum roll* stock vCore. He did use a Thermalright XP-120, but it is still on air. Subcooling should definitely bring it to uber OCing spree. Is it time to see 8Ghz already? Well, we can always drool and hoped for the best!
You think, but you do not understand at all something it is not too enormous, whether the fact that it is which rank is high tolerance. (Laughing)
Present condition, 631 is not cost performance highest, probably will be?
Simply, it is regrettable for ×14 time not to be possible.


Rant: Intel D975XBX: Intel brings their Bad-Axe to Market

Oh brother, AMDTech beat me to posting a review about this board. Bah, mine was supposed to have arrived on the 5th of January, but the shipping got messed up and all these custom duties and all have sent me to a very long intermittent calls here and there and everywhere.

Anyway, I have been touting the coming of Bad Axe ever since I have gotten a taste of its power with my engineering sample. Too bad, my ES board suffered a very early death since I accidentaly spill coffee all over it and sent it to hardware heaven. No RMA for the said board, ES don't qualify for that, ES is like you use it and then destroy it. In the case of my sample, it died prematurely after a week's use. Darn, if only I am more careful. Anyway, I actually placed an order for retail board and it was supposed to arrive early first week, but drats, problem appears when you least expect it.

Anyway, AMDTech reviewed it already. Well, it's not that it's the first review, in fact, I've seen other reviews of this particular board already. It's just that, well, knowing it's AMDTech, they often always never fail to screw things up like what I discussed in one of my previous Blog entry here.

Well, crap comes to crap, I'll just post an excerpt of their review here (and check out the other related links).
The Intel D975XBX is an interesting solution for the Intel Enthusiast at this time. The performance of the board was average or below in all testing phases while stability was superb. In fact, unless we were overclocking the board past its obvious limits, we never experienced any stability issues. Unlike other boards reviewed recently, we did not find any test issues with our peripheral inventory. The Intel D975XBX exemplifies Intel's trend of offering very stable and secure board solutions with excellent documentation and support.


Related Links:
OC Workbench

Brag: First Month Anniversary

Wohooo! I can't believe I can make it thru the first month. I know and actually planned to make this Blog to last only two weeks. But things changed, I can't believe I really have time to post Blog regularly, not necessarily everyday, but at least frequently.
The last time I've been busy with updating website is during the time when cellphone logos are hard to find, ridiculously priced, and virtually out of the scene where I live (that was circa '97-'99) and I was sending logos across the world almost everyday for free.

Anyway, so I started posting in the web again, and while there are so many typos and grammatical errors, I really could care less now. I usually just re-read and correct them when I see any mistake. I can't help to make mistakes as I usually just make my Blog entry at the Blogger site and too lazy to spell check.

In celebration of my pimping spree for a month, I decided to treat myself for a celebration and a gift. Well, the celebration is this posting, and the gift is *drum rolls*, a new 88x31 icon. Anyone who wants to link to my site can use that icon. It's not spiffy, it's not even pretty, but the best part is that I made it myself, a true FanBoy act if I may call it in its truest form. And if you haven't noticed where the icon is, crap, it's in the first paragraph above and you should be seeing it anywhere on the right side (I still am not sure where to place it). Anyone and everyone is free to link to my site, and use the icon. But don't edit it please, just use it as is.

And before I forgot, thanks everyone, for giving me a 2000+ hits within a month's operation! That's not much compared to what known websites are getting, but 2k hits for me is a big achievement already.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tech Link (Overclock): Yonah T2500超頻2.7GHz vs Athlon 64 FX-60

Pardon the ??, I just copy/paste what is posted on an Asian website. Again, I have no idea what they are talking about there, translating the web makes my head spin. The graphs should be a universal language though.
All images are owned by that site.

From what I can pick from the bits and pieces of English words there (via poor translation), they pit the new Intel® Core™ Duo Processor against an AMD* FX-60. They seem to have used an AOpen motherboard based on the i975X chipset, and ran a bunch of benchmarks, ranging from the usual SuperPi, SiSoft Sandra, PCMark05, and 3DMark05.

Do keep in mind, that the battle between I vs A is Ghz vs PR. AMD A64 FX-60 is slated to be rebadged as an AMD X2 5000+ on Socket M2 in mid of 2006 as posted in my old Blog entry.
So with a little bit of substitution, the face-off between Intel® Core™ Duo T2500 vs AMD* A64 FX-60 is equal to Intel® 2.0Ghz vs AMD* 5000+. Since they are both Dual Core, both mention of DC is cancelled out. Also, in the spirit of the old way of comparison, price between the two shouldn't be discussed (even if the other camp has always been touting they get better performance for lower price, *duh* *duh*, $1,000.00+ is cheap?), after all, those who remain on the cheap use the Pr0n CPU. On the other hand, the Intel® Core™ Duo, like all Intel® that isn't a Celeron, is an uber enthusiast beast.

As proven with the Banias, and Dothan core integrated memory controller isn't necessary to reach uber performance. Dropping the Intel® Pentium® !!! Timna core Processor (which, contrary to other Fanboys' and expert-wannabe-websites beliefs), this is even an earlier processor that has an integrated memory controller (which the current AMD* processor has). Inducing too much things on the processor die severely impacts succesful yields, since many components tend to fail. High failure rates (aka low yields) will lead to high-priced processor (now you don't have to wonder why the other processor isn't ramping just as fast and why they are even more pricier than Intel®'s offerings). The lesser components that can fail, then the better yield that can be produced, and high yields = lower priced processor (aka Intel® Pentium® D 820 and 920 and other mainstream processors).

Enough with FanBoyism for now, and do let me know if you happen to understand what they are discussing over the Chinese/Japanese/Korean land.


Tech Link (Video Card): ATI Radeon X1900 Reviews

The new talk of the town, will it hold itself against the competition? Will it live up to the expectations? Check out the reviews around the web, I rounded up for your reading pleasure.

But what an excellent position from which to start following through on everything: the R580 launch is a resounding success in our eyes. Availability at launch, 4 new parts based on a huge and powerful chip, a triumphant return to the top with the new fastest graphics card available, and enough power to make the high quality features of the architecture more than useable. ATI couldn't have asked for anything better, and they certainly would not have been in a good position if they had come up with anything less.

ATI certainly has the upper hand with X1900. Users looking for the power of a dual card solution can find it in the power of a single card - the X1900XTX - and with Crossfire, ATI deals out even more frames per second.

The bottom line is that ATI has produced an impressive refresh to the X1800 XT. We are very happy to say that ATI has informed us that production is not a problem with this X1900 GPU and that these video cards are everywhere now for people to purchase. Timely availability has really been ATI’s main problem recently. ATI had some very impressive technology in the recent past; it was just that no one could buy it in the right timeframe. It seems ATI has turned the tables and provided the hardest launch we have ever seen—video cards that were actually available and in people’s hands before the card was even announced! While not official, that’s as hard as it gets folks; let’s hope ATI can maintain these hard launches and provide products the day of launch.

Legit Bottom Line: ATI has released a pair of cards that can be taken seriously by anyone that was considering the 7800GTX 512. The feather in ATI's cap is that finding the Nvidia card for anywhere near the X1900XT asking price would mean that you bought it used, if you could find someone willing to take such a huge loss on it. In fact you'd be lucky to find one at all. Today you can buy a brand new ATI card that offers features not found in Nvidia's line and performs at or near the same level in most situations, and much better in others

Thus, the current implementation of CrossFire technology seems to be a good choice for a wealthy PC enthusiast. It is not going to be a sensation since the multi-GPU system market is in fact small, but it will surely occupy a niche of its own. Moreover, the upcoming RADEON X1900 family promises to push the performance bar of CrossFire systems even higher. NVIDIA should take care to reaffirm its current leadership and you will see everything in the practical tests of ATI’s new graphics cards on our site.

Debuting at the same price as the Radeon X1800 XT first did a couple of months back, the US$549 priced Radeon X1900 XT is in a class of its own with no real competitor. We speculate the Radeon X1800 XT to gradually wane away as stocks deplete in the following weeks and months while its price slides to yet below the US$500 mark as the Radeon X1900 XT becomes the definitive successor with performance gains of up to 30%.

Well, it looks like the Radeon X1900 XTX has earned the title of the fastest single video card known to man. Oddly, though, two Radeon X1900 cards in a CrossFire config can't claim the title of the fastest two video cards known to man. The CrossFire card's marginally slower clock speeds, along with a tendency not to scale quite as well as SLI overall, leave that title with NVIDIA's GeForce 7800 GTX cards in SLI. Still, the Radeon X1900 series is quite an accomplishment. If they are indeed widely available for sale as planned, they should be very solid choices for those looking to spend an insane amount of money on a graphics card, especially since GeForce 7800 GTX 512 cards have become scarce and expensive since their launch.



Brag: First Month Anniversary is Nigh

Well, I can't believe I am going to make it to my first month. I never really planned to post at this Blog beyond the first week of January 2006. My purpose was to post updates regarding new product launches that will come from our FanBoy source. The first week of my posting was not only hectic, I need to be accurate and at the same time, not to spill too much info, I still need to maintain confidentiality.

And when the first of January 2006 has come and gone, I decided not to update the site as much as I did during the first week. But I got a few PMs (to be honest, just five(5)) to continue posting news bits and related information. I figure, I'll add a ShoutBox and enable comments so I can just basically get in touch with readers via these means (which, unfortunately, very few used). Well, not to be discouraged, the site is still getting hits, and this is what I really would like to brag about. But, I'll spill the info once I reach my first month anniversary two days from now!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tech Link (Video Card): Quad Crossfire against Quad SLI?

We've all seen (well, if you haven't you should) Quad SLI released by Dell* and so far, Gigabyte* and Asus has been developing it as well. NVIDIA has been leading the pack with their very strong release of video cards for the enthusiasts, and ATi must respond soon if they still want to maintain a toe-to-toe stand-up with NVIDIA.


An Asian website, Hardspell have posted a news in what appears to be an ATi Quad Crossfire solution. I can not read Chinese/Japanese/Korean or any similar characters so I'll just make a best guess based on what my browser is rendering. From the image (and some readable words) it would look like a manufacturer (I don't really know who so don't ask) can pair up an X1600, X1800 and the planned X1900 series. Anyway, maybe you can read it better than me, so just head on over the at HardSpell (and not only can I not spell the written article, I can't read it).


Tech Link (Overclock): Air cooled Presler XE benchmarked at 4.27 GHz

While I usually just dismissed tINQ's posting as rumors, there are still some of the articles there, that if you look hard enough, that are quite ok. They actualy write articles there, so just be on the lookout for a few good postings. Among this few is tINQ's article about an aircooled overclocked Intel® Pentium® Processor Extreme Edition 955, a dual core Extreme Edition Presler Core with 2x2MB L2 Cache. Here's the snippet:
Again, for a dual-chip MCM with two hot CPUs and shared three-load FSB, 3.46 GHz Presler XE overclocks incredibly even on thin air, if you give it a device to dissipate heat into that thin air efficiently (like the Zalman heat sink here). The 23% CPU overclocking, from 3.467 to 4.267 GHz should give you anywhere between 15% and 20% actual speedup on most apps - remember these cores have big 2 MB caches each, so a lot of stuff can be accessed from within at full clock speed. Also, by swapping the CPUs, I proved to myself that the chips themselves seem to consistently scale up to this speed, i.e. while it is not guaranteed of course, many Presler XE's should be able to do this kind of clock speed in stable everyday operation with a top-notch heat sink.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Brag: I just installed a News Feed from Intel® , Apple® and Dell™

I can't really keep up posting articles from time to time, and to be honest, my bogus email that are subscribed to countless technology (actually, anything under the sun) sites are just piling up with updates. I will always have to sort thru and pick out that I feel is great for posting here, and read the article and made a short entry.

But hey, while GMail is great, my available time isn't enought to accomodate for that. So to make up for my lost time in posting news bits, I decided to install the news feeder directly to this site. I manage to have it configured and repositioned some of the items in my sidebar.

Do let me know if things get screwed up, or you are having problems loading the page i.e. too slow, bad fonts, fugly layout, etc. I checked the site using IE and FF and everything seems ok.

Anyway, back to the news feed: I only get one from our beloved Intel®, Apple®, and Dell™ as well. I might add some more news feed, or remove some later on. Till then, if you haven't seen any new blogs, just check out the news feed to get your fill of new technology newsbits.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Tech Link (Game): Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational 2006

I don't really understand Korean, but one thing is clear, Blizzard Entertainment* is really, really, really huge in Korea.

I particularly love the games they are exhibiting at the event. There's World of Warcraft Battlegrounds, World of Warcraft Burning Crusade, Starcraft Ghost, and of course, the game that started the craze and professional gaming career in Korea, non other than Starcraft.

I always believe the Koreans knows how to set up an event, but this time, it is really grand. They have the large stage, and looking at the site, they'd probably invite known celebrities to join the event. Just look at those babes!

Here's what is Blizzard* has to say:

Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational 2006
Blizzard is proud to announce that our second Worldwide Invitational will be held next month in Seoul, Korea on February 3-5. The Worldwide Invitational will be home to an invite-only StarCraft tournament as well as the Warcraft III Season Three Finals.

The StarCraft invitational players will be announced in the days leading up to the event. Season Three of the Warcraft III ladder ended in December and the finalists from the season-ending qualifiers will be playing in the Season Three Finals. Click here for more information.

You can also go directly to the Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational 2006 site.

Article: The Battle for Wesnoth Game Review

This is a game that I always wanted to share. I have always liked it, yet, the game's expanse features is prohibiting me to make a review that can justify it. I then decided to just make a crash review, just to try to impart and share the fun I have playing the game in the quicky way. If you are up for it, you can check out the article by the usual way: click the link below.

When was the last time you play a game, in almost epic proportion, that is free, legal, full featured, highly enjoyable, offers hours of re-playability, simple to play yet complex in strategy, and open source? I honestly can not remember playing any such game. Sure, there are many freeware games found on the web, and they abound. But most of them really suffers in various terms of shortcomings. A game could be free, yet it has limited features i.e. demo. Some offers great graphics, but has poor gameplay. A game can be full featured, yet could be too easy to beat and story-line is too short.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Tech Link (Platform): Alienware* Joins Intel® Viiv™ Wagon

Two weeks past since the Intel® Viiv™ announcement at CES 2006, the platform has been gaining grounds across various PC manufacturers, OEMs, ODMs, and system integrators. Alienware* is one of those who plunge, and just released a desktop touting Intel® Viiv™ feature.
Images owned by Alienware*

Who would not drool at the sight of such a beauty? Their desktop version comes in two savory colors: black and white. The white one reminds me of Apple* though, yay. Alienware* even goes beyond the desktop scene and will release a laptop version of the system as well. This is going to be a very very nice laptop, I will not complain if anyone is going to donate one.

One thing I find very interesting is that Alienware* is known for high-end gaming machine, and it's the first time I've noticed that they are already covering a broad range of market segments.

Give Alienware* a visit, and check their Alienware Intel® Viiv™ platform.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Brag: Err...ok, more Alessandra Ambrosio Images

Sheesh, Google would be helpful for you guys. Anyway, I got several messages about the model girl for the Intel®-sponsored BMW F1. I'll post some I found on the web (not mine), just to get you started. Just expand and see all other pics I downloaded off some webhosts. Enjoy...(the usual, click the image for larger version applies)

Brag: Enter the new Intel®-sponsored BMW Sauber Formula 1 (F1) race car

You have got to see the new Intel®-sponsored BMW F1 race car. One of the sweetest car I have ever seen to date (pimping mode). The new car was unveiled on January 17, 2006 on the bright race track at Valencia, Spain with estimated 500 photographers and reporters from all over the world covering the event. And of course, accessories associated with Intel®, BMW* and the race itself is a must, hence, none other than supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio sports the new apparel on the stage with laser lighting, multimedia, and digital projection in front of all the cheering crowd.
All images owned by Intel®

The brand new Formula 1 car bears the Intel® name, as it zoomed out onto a sun-bathed race track, showing no fewer than eight Intel® logos freshly affixed around the car's shining body. The BMW Sauber F1 boast of the BMW P86 V8 Engine:
  • Type: normally aspirated V8

  • Bank angle: 90 degrees

  • Displacement: 2,400cc

  • Valves: four per cylinder

  • Valve Train: pneumatic

  • Engine Block: aluminum

  • Cylinder Head: aluminum

  • Crankshaft: steel

  • Oil system: dry sump lubrication

  • Engine Management: BMW

  • Weight: 95Kg

While the team is fairly new, BMW* fans are already excited to see the company entering into the F1 field. BMW* fans as well as F1 fans will now have a common bonding to share with each other. And as with any other team (and a new team at that), time will tell if they'll snag out the victory crown sooner than expected. Personally, I already have my hopes up if only for the engineering feat and marvelous combination of innovation and creativity between the two corporate partners. Race on!

Check out the official BMW* Sauber F1 Website

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tech Link (Power Supply): Ultra X-Connect 2nd Generation (X2)

This new PSU just makes me drool so much. I currently own a first generation Ultra* X-Connect*, and while they really do look good, I find using them on mid-atx chassis is a bit tricky. The full-atx chassis is best suited for the first-gen Ultra* X-Connect*, but even so, those huge round silver-braided-plastic-coated cables are just too huge. The benefit of making them modular just ensures you really don't have to fight for bending and forcing the stiff cables around your chassis, if they aren't modular in the first place, they'd be counter-productive.

Aside from the new looks and new electrical features, one design aspect I really like about this PSU is their Flex-Force Technology. It makes managing, sneaking your cable connectors inside the chassis much more easier. The feature also improves airflow, and making your chassis looking neat and clean, and for modders, neatness is king.

Then they have usual feature they had with the first version, like the High-Gloss Mirror Finish, Modular Design, and Power Protection (Short Circuit, In-Rush Current, Thermal Overload Cutoff). Other new features is the Titanium Finish, Dual-Rail, and 120mm Cooling Fan.

However, even with all those features, I think they missed Active PFC. I really don't know why they keep missing that feature. Anyway, I guess they're leaving it for the next revision.

And oh, 3DGameMan already has a review up on their web. Go get a look see here.

Press Release: Futuremark Overhauls "The Gamers' Benchmark" With 3DMark®06

For all you benchmark addicts out there, specially for the 3D benchies, Futuremark* Corporation released a new benchmark software that is a follow up on their 3DMark05 benchmark.

Anandtech and Hexus already got their hands dirty with "benchmarking" the benchmark software. The reviews can be viewed here (Anandtech) and here (Hexus).

Futuremark Overhauls "The Gamers' Benchmark" With 3DMark®06

Benchmark includes improved Shader Model 2 tests, new CPU tests and HDR Shader Model 3 tests for system-wide gaming performance measurement.

Saratoga, California USA – January 18, 2006 – Continuing forward in the development of advanced game performance benchmarks, Futuremark announced today the release and immediate availability of 3DMark06. A more comprehensive and unrestricted benchmark than previous versions, 3DMark06 includes an array of 3D graphics, CPU and 3D feature tests for overall performance measurement of current and future PC gaming systems. With this broader design approach, 3DMark06 will be the benchmark of choice for all PCs with top-of-the-line graphics hardware and CPUs. Futuremark predicts that 3DMark06 will emerge as the most complete 3D graphics benchmark for Windows XP, paving the way for new benchmarks targeted at future OS environments such as Windows Vista.

New Technical Heights
Building on 3DMark05 as a foundation, Futuremark improved the core 3D engine, adding more complex ShaderModel 2.0 tests, stunning High Dynamic Range (HDR) ShaderModel 3.0 tests, and overall enhanced the product with substantially higher polygonal counts expected to be found in games two years into the future. Even with the addition of HDR/ShaderModel 3.0 tests, 3DMark06 still enables ShaderModel 2.0 compliant graphics card owners to run most of the benchmark and get a fully comparable 3DMark score. With these demanding new DirectX 9 implementations, 3DMark06's four graphics tests measure performance of the most advanced hardware while showing visually the compelling advantages of these new shader types.

3DMark06 is the first product from Futuremark using the AGEIA(tm) PhysX software physics library in two very complex, game-like threaded CPU tests conceived to measure properly performances of single processor, multi-core and multiple processor systems in next generation of games. In addition to using real-time physics, both CPU tests also employ multi-threaded artificial intelligence algorithms. By combining the results of the two CPU tests and four graphics tests, 3DMark06 enables users to get a 3DMark score which reflects the overall gaming performance of their PC. Futuremark and their industry partners anticipate that CPU performance promises to be increasingly important in next generation PC games as new titles increase their use of artificial intelligence and complex physics and their reliance on multithreaded processing.

"The PC industry and PC gamers alike want true apples-to-apples comparisons, and with 3DMark06, they get it," said Tero Sarkkinen, Futuremark's executive vice president of sales and marketing. "3DMark06 is by far the most technologically advanced gamers' benchmark we've ever delivered. With new CPU tests, four graphics tests and expanded feature tests 3DMark06 will provide valuable overall performance scores. And by updating three existing graphics tests we are able to produce taxing, yet beautiful content, graphically revealing what these mathematically complex shaders can provide while measuring system wide hardware performance."

New Scores and More
The new scoring system in 3DMark06 acknowledges the use of CPU related tasks in the latest and future games, and accordingly the CPU results affect the final 3DMark score. To further enable media professionals, end-users, IHV's and OEM's to compare pure graphics and CPU performance, 3DMark06 also provides three new sub scores – SM2.0 Score, HDR/SM3.0 Score and CPU Score, all of which are fully valid and comparable scores.

Industry cooperation during development
Futuremark is known industry-wide for producing well designed, unbiased and impartial benchmarks based on next generation game workloads and 3DMark06 adheres to those guiding principles. Developed in conjunction with BDP members AMD, ATI, Dell, Imagination Technologies, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, S3, SIS, Velocity Micro and XGI, this latest offering from Futuremark is a collaborative effort that reflects the projected workloads of game content two years from today.

"For gamers and power users it's all about system and graphics performance," said Kevin Kettler, chief technology officer and vice president, Dell Product Group. "Among the many industry-standard tools Dell uses to evaluate technologies in its XPS gaming PCs, 3DMark06 stands out as a critical benchmark for analyzing how next-generation processors and 3D graphics engines can benefit customers."

"We applaud Futuremark's continued support of Microsoft's DirectX 9.0 set of APIs, which provide our partners and the industry with a robust and time-tested foundation for their benchmarking tool," said Dean Lester, General Manager of Graphics and Gaming Technologies, Microsoft Corporation. "As DirectX 9.0 was designed to make game development on the Windows platform more advanced and efficient, 3DMark06 provides additional benefits for mainstream applications by providing users with Futuremark's latest set of diagnostic tools."

Key Features
3DMark06 provides a host of standard features. All editions (basic, advanced and professional) include:
  • DirectX 9 3D game performance benchmarking,

  • Separate tests for graphics cards and CPUs,

  • Workloads that simulate next-generation gaming requirements,

  • Advanced 3D gaming engine that supports HDR rendering with SM2.0 and SM3.0 Shaders,

  • Two HDR/SM3.0 game tests and two SM2.0 game tests,

  • Threaded CPU performance testing based on AI and physics workloads applied to a variety of processor environments.

The advanced edition of 3DMark06 has these additional features:
  • Full control over benchmark display configuration,

  • 3D graphics feature tests that include Fill Rate, Pixel Shader, Vertex Shader, SM3.0 tests, and Batch Size tests,
  • Professional tools, including image quality analysis and graph creation of runtime statistics,

  • Importing of results from MS Excel for easier result management and report creation, and

  • Access to the Pro-Online ResultBrowser,

  • Playable mini-game based on CPU test, and

  • Full demo.

The professional edition has these exclusive features:
  • Command line functionality for test automation,

  • Batch-run functionality for automated testing,

  • Licensed commercial use of 3DMark06, and

  • Demo Loop option.

Price and Availability
Futuremark's Basic, Advanced and Professional editions of 3DMark06 are available now. The Basic Edition is free and can be downloaded from Futuremark's Web site at http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06. An Advanced Edition is available online for $19.95 per license, or $29.95 plus shipping and handling for software on CD. The Professional Edition costs $490 per license when downloaded electronically, or $500 plus shipping and handling for the software on CD.

About Futuremark® Corporation
Futuremark ® Corporation is the leading provider of performance analysis software and services for PCs and smartphones. Futuremark® is known around the world for its benchmark products, including the 3DMark® and PCMark® Series and SPMark™ (with more than 30 million copies distributed worldwide) and value-added services powered by a database of over 12 million real life benchmarking results. Futuremark® maintains offices in Saratoga, California and Helsinki, Finland. For more information, please visit http://www.futuremark.com.

© 2006 Futuremark® Corporation. 3DMark®, PCMark® and SPMark™ trademarks and logos, Futuremark® character names and distinctive likenesses, are the exclusive property of Futuremark Corporation. All other trademarks are property of their respective companies.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Press Release: New NVIDIA nForce® MCPs Bring High Performance, Low-Priced Solutions to Intel PC Market

It's not surprising that NVIDIA* will release a more broad range of chipset for the Intel® platform. And why not, Intel® has a very large customer base, and seeing how Chipzilla continue to hit high volume processor, even to the point of running out of chipset, it signifies that the Chip giant is never waning in its market share. Today, NVIDIA* official announced their NVIDIA Intel SLI XE chipset.

Click image for larger picture
The new chipset targets mainstream solutions for the Intel® customers who wishes to experience SLI without denting their wallet since the currebt NVIDIA* offering right now is a bit steep for the enthusiasts. The introduction of this chipset will truly ensure that all market segments, from value to mainstream to performance users will entirely be covered.

Compared to the current high end offering (NVIDIA Intel SLI X16), the NVIDIA Intel SLI XE chipset has 20 PCIe lanes (vs 40 PCIe lanes) and 2x8 SLI support (vs 2x16 SLI support). However, NVIDIA Intel SLI X16 only offered AC97 audio while the new NVIDIA Intel SLI XE sports the new Intel® HD Audio. Some people will be anal about how high end users will skip the integrated audio in favor of discrete solution, however it is always a good thing to lessen your cost but still maintaining good quality audio solution and Intel® Azalia is not a cheap performing one and even setting the standards for onboard audio solutions. Besides, not everyone can affort all high-end parts for their rig, and there will always be people who will run short of the dough and make do with the integrated solutions. The new NVIDIA Intel SLI XE also supports all the latest processors from Chipzilla, from the top of the heap Intel® XE to the lowly Intel® Celeron® D.

Below is the official Press Release from NVIDIA*

New NVIDIA nForce® MCPs Bring High Performance, Low-Priced Solutions to Intel PC Market

New Top-to-Bottom Solutions Support All Intel Dual-Core CPUs

For further information, contact:

Bryan Del Rizzo
NVIDIA Corporation
(408) 486-2772


SANTA CLARA, CA—JANUARY 17, 2006—NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the worldwide leader in programmable graphics processor technologies, today announced the NVIDIA nForce4 SLI XE and NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra media and communications processors (MCPs). Together with the award-winning NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16 MCP already available, NVIDIA is now providing its system builder and do-it-yourself (DIY) communities with two, new, lower cost, discrete motherboard solutions for Intel® PC platforms. All three are compatible with all currently available Intel dual-core CPUs, including the new Intel Pentium® Extreme Edition 955.

In addition to providing cutting-edge features—including advanced storage and security capabilities and support for high-definition audio—the Company has also dramatically lowered the entry point for those interested in building multi-GPU PC platforms using Intel CPUs. With an expected retail price of less than $100 USD for NVIDIA nForce4 SLI XE-based motherboards, consumers can now take advantage of the acclaimed NVIDIA® SLI™ technology and install two graphics cards immediately for scalable gaming performance, or use the second PCIe slot for other PCIe devices or future expansion. Targeted for single-GPU configurations is the NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra MCP, offering users a solid platform with more features and performance than alternative motherboard products that also have a retail price of around or less than $89 USD.

"Our core-logic business is a strategic growth driver for NVIDIA, and these new products allow us to capitalize on these high-volume Intel segments," said Drew Henry, general manager of MCP business at NVIDIA. "With a top-to-bottom product family including NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16 for the high-end enthusiast, NVIDIA nForce4 SLI XE for those interested in performance, and the NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra for more general PC usage, we are excited about our opportunities and the potential growth for our MCP business group."

Together, the advanced architecture of the NVIDIA nForce4 MCPs and the dual-core capabilities of the latest Intel Pentium processors provide a compelling technological foundation for driving today’s hottest games and demanding digital media applications, including the playback of high-definition video.

PC OEMs, system builders and motherboard manufacturers, including Biostar, ECS, Epox, Foxconn, Jetway, J&W, MSI, and others, are expected to have retail products based on the NVIDIA nForce4 SLI XE and NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra MCPs available starting in late January 2006.

For more information on NVIDIA hardware, please visit www.nvidia.com or www.nzone.com.

NVIDIA Corporation is the worldwide leader in programmable graphics processor technologies. The Company creates innovative, industry-changing products for computing, consumer electronics, and mobile devices. NVIDIA is headquartered in Santa Clara, California and has offices throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas. For more information, visit www.nvidia.com.

Certain statements in this press release including, but not limited to, the features, benefits, capabilities and performance of our nForce MCPs, expected retail cost of the new products, market opportunities for our products, potential growth for our MCP business group and the expected date of retail availability are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause results to be materially different than expectations. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, development of new and faster MCPs, decline in demand for new MCPs, unforeseen expense that negatively impacts the products’ price, difficulties in integration of products, changes in industry standards and interfaces, the impact of competitive products and pricing, manufacturing or software defects, and other risks detailed from time to time in the NVIDIA reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission including its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended October 30, 2005. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. NVIDIA disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.


Copyright® 2006 NVIDIA Corporation. All rights reserved. All company and/or product names may be trade names, trademarks and/or registered trademarks of the respective owners with which they are associated. Features, pricing, availability, and specifications are subject to change without notice.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on NVIDIA, please visit the NVIDIA Press Room at http://www.nvidia.com/page/press_room.html

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Article: Building your own Intel® Viiv™ Platform

Warning:This is supposed to be a Brag, but after writing it and noticing how long it takes my brag, I just changed the category to Article. But this doesn't change the fact that I am not really able to detail out the exact steps, and just proceeded with my experience in building the system. In any case, this should be targetted for experienced builders as the little details in building the platform were left off. In the future, I migth have to rework this article, and maybe, call it Intel® Viiv™ Review *yay*.

Wohoooo, finally, the PC is now a certified Intel® Viiv™ machine. After spending sometime tinkering with the test machine I was able to finally install all the necessary hardware and software to make this a true-blue Intel® Viiv™ PC.
Click on picture for larger version
Target Audience: E (N=Newbie, E=Hardware Enthusiast, O=Overclocker, B=Budget)

"Starting the engine"

I got the sample parts during the 2nd week of December 2005. Due to hectic testing, and other things for validation such as getting ready for the Glenwood (i975X) launch on the last week of December, and launch of several products such as Cedar Mill (Intel® Pentium® 4), Pressler (Intel® Pentium® D 9xx), Yonah (Intel® Core™ Duo), and Eastfork (Intel® Viiv™) on the first week of January, I am not able to play with the Intel® Viiv™ hardware.

"Nitty gritty"

Anyway, after putting all the parts together, I have been battling with the system to pass the Intel® Viiv™ Technology Test Utility for the past several days already. I gave this hardware a serious look at the hardware level about a week ago. I used the following parts:

I forgot what the Power Supply is and I don't really know the name of the chassis. I also have a 5.1 speakers, a TV Tuner and a remote control for both the TV Tuner and OS. I'll post the brand/model of them later on as soon as I get back to checking it. One thing that I am not provided though is an HDTV *yay* but hey, I am given $650 to look for a decent HDTV. I don't think I can get a high end for that amount, so I'm thinking of just asking for $650 more so I can get a cool HDTV.

"Test driving"

So with all these provided freebies, my mindset is that I have a full pledged Intel® Viiv™ platform. After finishing all the other trivial tasks I had after the successful launches of the products (such as doing the final report out and pending improvements) I prepared to spend quality time with my new baby that's starting to collect dust in the corner. The first would be to verify if it will pass the test utility. Since it came from the core team that designed the platform, my assumption is that this is a certified Intel® Viiv™ platform. I downloaded the latest test utility, and fired it up. Alas, all but one test failed. The only test that passed was the LAN test.

The Intel® Viiv™ test utility checks several items to ensure that a platform is certified. The items being probed are:
  • Processor

  • Chipset

  • LAN

  • Other [Audio, Hard Drive, Software, Battery]


Knowing that I have an early board i.e. engineering sample, I quickly opened up a retail boxed motherboard, thinking the chipset was messing up everything. After playing with the complicated connectors, headers, and other necessary power connectors (man, this setup has just too much cable) and bolting the BTX fan, I fired the system up again. I still encountered the same problem. So I did what was logical (I think) and downloaded all the necessary software, mainly for the motherboard chipset and even updated the BIOS. The test still failed, on all except LAN.

"Back into action"

At this time, I am focusing on ensuring the chipset passed the test since the "Other" test results mostly failed as well. I downloaded all the newer QRTD drivers and still got the same result. Since I can't make it pass, I just decided to give myself a consolation and ripped open a retail boxed Intel® Pentium® D 820. I am pretty sure I'll get at least two items passing the test, at least, I am making progress (that's what I'm telling myself). After installing the new processor, I fired up the system and run the test utility. And surprise, I got all three(3) major tests passed.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Woah, that's an interesting turn of event. At this point in time, I am thinking the test utility somehow will bypass the chipset test as soon as the processor testing failed. While I am not 100% certain about this, I have strong reason to believe it is so. Just to verify my test, I put back the ES processor and failed all test again but one. I put back the retail boxed processor and passed all but one!!! I will have to report this back either to the motherboard engineer/designer and the software developer, to check why the chipset portion of the test failed when in fact, it should pass.

Smooth sailing, with a bump

After the major tests has succeded, I focused on the "Other" portion. This portion is failing due to "Audio" and "Software". While the "Audio" report is clear, "Software" report is not. After installing the latest Audio Software (not driver), only the "Software" portion of "Other" is failing. The trouble report, stating that "Software" portion has failed isn't very clear so what I did was just to check the requirements of an Intel® Viiv™ system again just to ensure I am not missing anything. There, I noticed the Intel® Matrix Storage Technology software and again, just to be sure, downloaded the latest version. And from there on, the wall prohibiting me from passing the test utility is finally broken. I now have a full pledge Intel® Viiv™ system, and I'm pretty sure I'm one of the few! Wohoooooo.

I quickly test drive if it can power up and down "that fast". I even used the remote to power it up, wohooo, I'm uber (err....). Anyway, initial powering up is "normal" like what you would see with a PC. But after the system has power up, I switch it on and off and it functions like a normal CE (consumer electronic) device like your TV or Radio. I navigated the OS via the remote, played music, and watched sample movie such as Tom Cruise' War of The Worlds. The experience is stunning indeed.

In closing

Making your own Intel® Viiv™ is both very challenging, fun, and exciting. I can't say I never ran into quirks, but those are really quirks that "normal" users won't encounter "normally". This is because some of my parts were Engineering Sample, and if you are buying one from your favorite retail store then you'll be head-ache free since your parts will all be production version. And what's even better, all your parts will be officialy supported by Intel® worldwide. You will have a 24x7 tech support, and of course, three(3) years warranty on motherboard and processor which is great.

However, with this system, I can not recommend first time and inexperienced builders to integrate one unless you're not going to play with all the Intel® Viiv™ features. Unlike regular PC, you can not build an Intel® Viiv™ without meeting all the necessary requirements. In a regular PC, it can be built with a single ATA drive, but with an Intel® Viiv™, you can not. So just to skip the frustration, I am only recommending a DIY Intel® Viiv™ for experienced users. And oh, I chose a BTX system to ensure it is silent and cool.

For those who do not have the patience to tinker with the hardware, Intel® Viiv™ has many ready-made platforms. In fact, there are many manufacturers shipping a built system based on this platform already. To get you started on the available goodies, check this gallery.

And finally, for those looking for benchmarks, I did thought of that. I then decided not to post it since my focus is about a DIY Intel® Viiv™ Platform. But in the next revision of this article, I'll add a section about benchmark. Till then, hope you enjoy this brag-turned-article blog.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Tech Link (Platform): ASUS A6J Centrino Duo Notebook

Ever since I saw the launch at CES 2006 about the new Intel® processor, I am always drooling at the available products. I'm most specially drooling the Apple* iBook* and iMac* (the "i" really looks cool now that they are using Intel® Processors.

Anyway, this is not to say that other manufacturers aren't up to speed and at par when it comes to developing notebooks and other platforms based on the newer cores. It's just that I haven't been an Apple* guy, in fact, I am Apple* system incompetent. But hey, if you're not drooling or salivating over Apple* offerings (sorry, I know I mention Apple* for far too many times), then there's Asus* to the rescure. Asus* is a long known solid manufacturer in the industry and they sure know how to make a great product. One of their new products is based on the Intel® Core™ Duo processor. If you are prepping out to grab one, go take a stab over at VR-Zone and check their latest review.
The Asus A6J Laptop is one of the first few laptops that will hit the market, featuring Intel's latest Centrino Duo Mobile Technology that comprises Core Duo processor codenamed Yonah, mobile Intel 945 Express chipset codenamed "Calistoga" as well as Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG codenamed "Golan". The A6J also comes with other some power features like a WSXGA+ screen, up to 2GB of DDR-II RAM support, an ATI Radeon x1600 Mobility and a HDD of up to 100GB. Apart from all these excellent components that is implemented on the A6J, Asus did not forget about the other functions that mobile power users might need while on the move, like a built in 4-in-1 card reader, bluetooth, wireless a/b/g LAN. Before we continue giving you guys a further insight of this portable wonder, let's take a look at the basic specifications.