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 Gameguru Mania News - Oct,27 2005 - tech 
GeForce 6800 GS on the way? - tech
(hx) 02:53 PM EDT - Oct,27 2005 - Post a comment
X-bit Labs is reporting that NVIDIA will introduce a GeForce 6800 "GS" to compete with ATI's Radeon X800 GT and the recently unveiled Radeon X1600 XT:
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GS is expected to work at 425MHz for the chip and 1000MHz for the memory, some sources close to NVIDIA Corp. are reported to have said. The product is projected, according to the sources, to have 12 pixel pipelines, 256-bit memory bus support all the advantages of the GeForce 6 architecture, e.g. Shader Model 3.0. Moreover, the card will be equipped with 256MB of GDDR-3 graphics memory working at 1000MHz frequency. GeForce 6800 GS will also support SLI, so the PCB will also carry a MIO connector that allows connecting two graphics cards into an SLI configuration with the help of the SLI bridge.
ForceWare 81.87 Beta drivers - tech
(hx) 11:30 AM EDT - Oct,27 2005 - Post a comment
NVIDIA has released a beta revision of its Forceware drivers (v81.87):
Single GPU Issues Resolved
- GeForce 6 and 7 Series GPUs, Windows XP: Improved compatibility and performance on GPUs when playing Call of Duty 2.
- GeForce 7800 GT/GTX: Reflections are corrupt when set to high in Serious Sam 2.
- GeForce 7800 GT/GTX: There is screen corruption when panning in overscan shift mode.
- GeForce 7800 GT/GTX: Cyan-colored pixels appear randomly on the water tower in F.E.A.R.
- GeForce Go 7800 GTX, Sager system: LCD compressed scaling mode is not retained after rebooting the system.
- GeForce 6800: After switching playback from one DVR-MS file to another, the second file experiences dropped frames.
- GeForce 6800 GT, GeForce FX 5950 Ultra: Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault has sky and ship rendering artifacts.
- GeForce 6800/ 6600: Silent Hunter III characters located outside experience random fogging effects.
- GeForce 6600: When applying a new resolution on a Samsung 30" CRT via DVI, the resolution reverts after rebooting the system.
- GeForce 6600, HDTV, Windows XP MCE: The mouse cursor disappears after when opening the MCE extensions resize Desktop option with MCE in fullscreen mode.
- GeForce 6600, Windows XP MCE 2005: Fluctuation in video brightness and color occurs when running a 1080i.ts file using VMR9.
- GeForce 6150/6100: Playing an HD MPEG2 clip while another is playing causes corruption on the bottom half of the playback window.
- GeForce 6150/6100: The lower half of the screen fails to render at 512x384 or lower resolution.
- GeForce 6150/6100: Video tears when playing back MPEG HD clips with latest WinDVD. - GeForce FX 5900: Water rendering corruption occurs in Links 2003.
 Gameguru Mania News - Oct,26 2005 - tech
Wednesday Tech Reading-$999 XPS Notebook - tech
(hx) 06:43 PM EDT - Oct,26 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY... 

CRIME/LAW...

  • Swedish court fines file sharer $2000 - A 28 year old Swede prosecuted for sharing the movie Hip Hip Hora (The Ketchup Effect) on the Direct Connect network was fined 16000 SEK (about $2000) by Swedish court today. Screen shots taken by the anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån were used as part of the evidence in the trial. The 28 year old man did however also confess that he had shared the movie during the police interrogation but withdrew the confession in the trial.
  • RaFa sentenced to 7 months - A computer hacker from Venezuela known as "RaFa" was sentenced Friday to the seven months he already has spent behind bars for breaking into a U.S. Air Force training computer in 2001.

OFF-TOPIC

  • Six-seat spacecraft top of Russian space plan - Russia is paving the way for a crewed mission to Mars, according to its new 10-year space plan. The plan also calls for it to finish the construction of its section of the International Space Station, though some analysts say this may now be impossible.
  • Nano skyscrapers may precede space elevator - Liftport, a space-infrastucture company, has been among those who support construction of a space elevator, a long thin cable made of carbon nanotubes anchored to a platform or ship at sea and extending out into space. Held in place by the earth's rotation, the space elevator, with the help of robots, would ferry materials to outer space.
  • Engineers Report Breakthrough in Laser Beam Tech - New York Times is reporting that Standford engineers have discovered a method to modulate a beam of laser light up to 100 billion times a second (10 times faster than the highest-performance commercial products available today). Such an advance could have broad applications both in accelerating the already declining cost of optical networking and in potentially transforming computers in the future by making it possible to interconnect computer chips at extremely high data rates.
  • Scientists complete map of human genetic variation - They have completed a map that charts patterns of human genetic variation in the world population, to better understand human biology, evolution and how to diagnose diseases.
  • Modding, Where to Next? - There are many levels of modders out there, some are considered 'professional' but are they? What makes them a professional? Being in a magazine? Being contracted by a company for a mod? Winning an award? Charging $40 an hour to do a mod? What exactly makes them a professional?
  • Gamer shells out $100,000 for virtual property - A gamer has paid $100,000 for a virtual space resort in the massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Project Entropia.
  • Catholic school bans blogging - Head teacher Rev Kieran McHugh said that any student who ran a blog on the internet will be suspended. Although he didn't say from what, although we are assured that the Church doesn't hang people for opposing it these days. McHugh said that what he was doing was not censorship it was common civility, courtesy and respect. McHugh said he was protecting children from sexual predators, cyber-bullying and harassment.
  • 14 things you didn't know about Bill Gates - check it out!

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Dell Introduces $999 XPS Notebook - Dell has added a low cost XPS branded notebook to its product line, the XPS M140, to complement the XPS M170 introduced in September. This "budget" minded laptop has a 14.1" widescreen display and weighs in at 5.5 pounds. Stock configuration for the new laptop includes a Pentium M 740 operating at 1.73GHz, 512MB DDR2 RAM, 40GB hard disk, Intel integrated graphics, a CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive, 5-in-1 card reader, and integrated 802.11g wireless.
  • NVIDIA makes GeForce Go 7300 official - NVIDIA has formally announced its GeForce Go 7300 graphics processor.
  • Microsoft reportedly sets date to release Windows Vista to OEMs - Microsoft Corp. is expected to release to manufacturing the next version of its Windows desktop operating system on July 25, 2006, to ensure PC vendors have it on machines in time for the 2006 holiday season in the U.S., according to sources familiar with the company's plans.
  • Asustek debuts 3ms LCD monitor - Asustek Computer recently unveiled its new series of 3ms 17-inch LCD monitors, which are slated to hit the market in November, according to the company. But alsoViewSonic has recently released a very exciting product, a nineteen inch LCD display with a 3ms response time.
  • LCD price cuts on the way - Price reductions in LCD monitors are likely due to the ramp up of new seventh-generation production plants, according to a report in the Financial Times.
  • IBM to reveal details on Xbox 360 processor - IBM reused some components from other chips, but for all intents and purposes the chip is a brand new design. IBM's team implemented the design and finished it around 14 months after signing the contract.
  • XBox 360 games single threaded - Looks like the first generation of Xbox titles, all of them, are single threaded: "The Inq has gotten its hands on an Xbox360, yes, there is a Wal-Mart near us, and was completely underwhelmed by the quality of the games. Graphics quality was poor, and pixels were showing up blocky, ruining the wow-factor of the new console. Every new machine has a nasty first set of games as the programmers work up to speed on the hardware. In this case, the up side is that there is about 6x the CPU power available and coming to a console near you in the second generation of games."
  • P2P Service iMesh Re-opens Legally - After a year of tests to appease major record labels, P2P service iMesh is set to reopen as the first unregulated P2P network to convert into a paid music service. Now, however, iMesh must win over the 5 million customers that have grown used to free music.
  • Disney aims to plug screener leaks with secure DVDs & players - Disney said Monday that it will release DVD "screeners"--copies of movies sent to groups that vote on awards--only for DVD players made exclusively by a Dolby Laboratories unit, Cinea, and engineered to thwart illegal copying.
  • Nokia Fleshes Out CDMA Lineup - Nokia today launched four handsets designed to operate over CDMA networks

HARDWARE... 

GUIDES...

  • Athlon 64 Cores - A quick guide to all Athlon 64 cores released to date: ClawHammer, NewCastle, Winchester, Venice and San Diego.
  • The Rules of RAID - RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives) is a way of ganging up a number of hard drives to either increase performance, increase reliability, or preferably, both.
  • The Mini-ITX Project Part II - The first iteration of the Mini-ITX project computer was based on a VIA EPIA MII10000 motherboard, a SilverStone LC12 enclosure, 512MB of OCZ RAM, and a Corsair 512MB Flash Voyager USB flash drive. The system booted off of and saved onto the flash drive.
  • Do All Audio & Speaker Cables Sound The Same? - Audio engineer Adam Blake tackles the question and gives you the answer. Find out how sound is affected as it travels through the cable and into the speakers.
  • Full FEAR Tweak Guide - This guide refers to the latest version of FEAR, Version 1.01
  • Quake 4 Guide with Framerate and Visual Tweaks - A nice tweak guide for Quake 4.
  • Disk Defragmenters Demystified - Most people think of disk defragmentation as a process that involves gathering and reordering pieces of data files that have been scattered on a hard drive. That process is called physical defragmentation. However, no disk utility on the market does that. Instead, the tools reviewed here-PerfectDisk 7, Diskeeper 9 and the Disk Defragmenter utility included with Windows XP-all defragment logical hard drives (or volumes) created by the operating system's file system.

SOFTWARE...

  • UNOFFICIAL Windows 2000 Service Pack 5 - Microsoft Windows 2000 Unofficial SP5 combines 403 hotfixes into a single hotfix - fully automated. It's not just a matter of determining file versions, there's much more to it. The interface is very easy to use since it's identical to a normal Windows update setup.
  • WinImage 8.0 supports Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk format - With 8.0 version WinImage introduces now read/write support for Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk (vHD) format, used by Virtual PC and Virtual Server, since Microsoft now discloses format details under a royalty-free license.
  • phpMyAdmin 2.6.4-pl3 - phpMyAdmin can manage a whole MySQL-server (needs a super-user) but also a single database. To accomplish the latter you`ll need a properly set up MySQL-user who can read/write only the desired database.
  • Windows Media Lite 1.20 - Windows Media Lite will allow you to play and stream Windows Media files without having to install Windows Media Player from Microsoft.
  • MSN Messenger 7.5.0311 - download
  • jetAudio 6.2.4 - jetAudio 6 once again redefines what a digital player should be. Tons of new features are added in this version, and jetAudio give you the best digital audio/video experience ever as well as the easy-to-use skinnable interface.
  • FileZilla 2.2.17 - FileZilla (download) is a fast FTP and SFTP client for Windows with a lot of features. This new version adds support for servers needing an account for successful logon using ACCT command and experimental support for BS-2000 servers.
  • Adobe Reader Speed-Up 1.33 - Adobe Reader SpeedUp (download) is a simple application that was created to help make the loading time of Adobe's Acrobat/Reader software bearable for everyday use
  • DeepBurner Free 1.7.1.123 - DeepBurner (download) is an advanced and extremely powerful CD and DVD burning package.
  • DivxToDVD 1.99.22 - DivxToDVD (download) is a 1 click solution to convert and burn your movie files to a compatible DVD playable on any home DVD player
  • DVD Identifier 4.2.0.0 - DVD Identifier retrieves and interprets the pre-recorded information that is present on dvd media (dvd+r, dvd+r dl, dvd+rw, dvd+rw dl, dvd-r, dvd-r dl, dvd-rw and dvd-ram) and on blu-ray media (bd-r and bd-re). This information contains a variety of parameters such as disc manufacturing information and supported write speeds.
  • Nero CD-DVD Speed 4.08 - Nero CD-DVD Speed is a benchmark which can test the most important features of an optical drive. These tests include: Transfer rate, Seek times, CPU (Central Processing Unit) usage, Burst rate, DAE (Digital Audio Extraction) quality & Spinup/spindown time.
  • VisualRoute 2006 10.0b (shw) - VisualRoute (download) delivers the functionality of key Internet "ping," "whois," and "traceroute" tools, in a high-speed visually integrated package.
  • Skype 1.4.0.84 - Skype (download) uses P2P (peer-to-peer) technology to connect you to other users. Not to share files, but to talk with them for free.
  • Quak4 v1.0.1b - tertsi has released an updated version of his awesome Quake 4 graphics tuning tool Quak4 v1.0.1b. Quake 4 supports the G70, NV40, and NV30.
  • Win32Whois 0.9.8 - Win32Whois (download) is a small and efficient Whois client. It is able to retrieve domain information for most of the common TLDs (top level domains
  • Autoruns 8.3 - Autoruns goes way beyond the MSConfig utility bundled with Windows Me and XP.
  • Sisoftware Sandra Lite 2005.SR3 (10.69) - SiSoftware Sandra (download) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software, and other devices whether hardware or software. It provides similar level of information to Norton SI, Quarterdeck WinProbe/Manifest, etc.
  • Intel Desktop Control Center 2.0.00.18 - Intel Desktop Control Center enables you to perform stress tests to verify system stability and to conduct performance testing to measure the impact of system configuration changes.
  • Radeon Omega Drivers 2.6.75 - Radeon Omega Catalyst Drivers will provide gamers with an alternate set of drivers, ones that have more options and features than the original sets.
  • ForceWare 79.11 Win2000/XP (Fujitsu/Siemems release) - Fujitsu/Siemems released a new NVIDIA ForceWare driver.
  • nVidia ForceWare 81.87 Official Beta - nVidia has released a new ForceWare beta driver
  • ATI Catalyst 5.10a with CCC (Updated) - ATI has silently released an update to their beta Catalyst 5.10a. This set includes the OpenGL performance improvement which everyone is talking about.
 Gameguru Mania News - Oct,24 2005 - tech
F.E.A.R. benchmarks - tech
(hx) 07:52 PM EDT - Oct,24 2005 - Post a comment
Setup: AMD Athlon 64 3700+ (operating at 2200MHz, 11x200MHz), DFI LANParty nF4 SLI-DR (NVIDIA NForce4 SLI), 2 x 512MB Corsair XMS4000 Pro (operating in dual channel at 200MHz with 2.0-2-2-10 timings), Western Digital Raptor 74GB, 10000RPM SATA 150 Hard disk drive, OCZ PowerStream 520W Power Supply, Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c, NVIDIA NForce4 Standalone chipset drivers version 6.66.
The chaps over at Bit-Tech have published an in-depth review of the Graphics and Gameplay of top new title, F.E.A.R. Rather than synthetic 'stress test' benchmarks which don't test the CPU and cut out sound, they've gone into a deeper level of detail, with their real-world experiences chronicled across a whole range of high-end and mid-range graphics cards and CPUs. Here's an excerpt:
With last year's mainstream and high-end video cards, we saw that NVIDIA had the slight edge in the game's built in stress test. We didn't test the Radeon X850XT PE, but we expect it to slot in with a frame rate a little higher than the X850XT, equaling or edging the GeForce 6800 Ultra.

The Radeon X800XL's average frame rate was lower than the GeForce 6800 GT's by two frames per second at both 1280x960 and 1024x768. However, the Radeon X800XL's minimum frame rate was two frames per second higher than the 6800 GT's at 1024x768. Interestingly, the GeForce 6600 GT with a 128MB frame buffer edged the Radeon X800GT with twice as much frame buffer and almost double the memory bandwidth.
 Gameguru Mania News - Oct,22 2005 - tech
Weekend Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 06:44 PM EDT - Oct,22 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)

SECURITY... 

  • Microsoft reports second patch problem - This time, a problem with a critical patch related to Microsoft's DirectShow streaming media software is leaving some Windows 2000 users unprotected even after they have installed a patch. Windows 2000 users who have installed Microsoft DirectX Version 8.0 or 9.0 may not have fixed their software by installing Microsoft Security Update MS05-050, the company said in a statement posted Thursday to its Web site.
  • Yahoo fixes Web mail security flaw - Yahoo has fixed a security flaw in its free Web-based e-mail service that opened the door to phishing scams, account hijacks and other attacks. The flaw, known as a cross-site scripting vulnerability, existed because Yahoo's Web site did not detect certain script tags in combination with certain special characters, according to SEC Consult, which issued an advisory on the flaw Friday.
  • Exploit out for Zotob-like Windows flaw - Exploit code was published Friday for a Windows flaw similar to the vulnerability that led to the Zotob worm that wreaked havoc in August. The code takes advantage of a bug related to plug-and-play technology in Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Microsoft provided a patch for the flaw on Oct. 11 in security bulletin MS05-047, along with fixes for 13 other Windows flaws.
  • MySpace Worm Source Code - The MySpace worm uses XSS in order to access services on MySpace web site that are not available to not paying customers.
  • Cisco 11500 Content Services Switch SSL DoS - Cisco CSS 11500 Series Content Services Switches (CSS) configured with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) termination services are vulnerable to a Denial of Service (DoS) attack when processing malformed client certificates.

CRIME/LAW...

  • Botnet operation controlled 1.5m PCs - A recently foiled botnet operation has turned out to be 15 times larger that police initially thought. On further investigation, authorities found that the operation had put about 1.5 million computers and servers under its control. The crime ring was thought to have created a botnet of 100,000 systems, which they claimed was the largest ever detected.
  • Police hail car boot piracy bust - The UK games industry loses £2bn a year through fraud, but police and trading standards officers are claiming the capture of just £18,000 worth of counterfeit goods as a "major coup".
  • Large scale piracy continues in China - The BSA estimates that 90 percent of all software sold in China is pirated. Vendors pushing wheelbarrows piled with CDs offer Windows 98, 2000 and XP for as little as 4 yuan-just 50 cents. A slightly higher-quality product is available from tiny, hole-in-the wall storefronts. There, a copy of the software still in its original packaging-or what looks like original packaging – is available for 18 yuan, or $2.25. Still a bargain.
  • Major Book Publishers Sue Google - Google on Wednesday was sued by a major publishing association for digitizing library books without the permissions of copyright holders, the second such suit filed against the search engine giant.
  • Suit filed over Nano scratches - Claiming that the iPod Nano has a widespread propensity for scratching easily, lawyers this week filed a class action suit against Apple Computer on behalf of those who have purchased the diminutive music player. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday on behalf of all those who have bought a Nano, alleges that Apple violated state consumer protection statutes, as well as express and implied warranties.

OFF-TOPIC

  • DOOM Movie In Theaters - The DOOM movie has finally arrived in North American movie theaters. Here're a few reviews: Ars Technica, Edge, Film Freak Central, IGN Film Force, Zap2It.
  • Xbox Live to close for 1 day on 24th October 2005 - Scheduled for October 24th, with full services to be resumed the following day, the company has confirmed that a number of enhancements and additional community and global ranking functionality will launch to coincide with the launch of its next generation console. Changes include the addition of Xbox Live Marketplace, and an 'achievements' record system, which catalogues every player's special accomplishments in every Xbox 360 game played, although all new additions will be invisible to gamers until the Xbox 360's US launch date on November 22nd.
  • The End Of The Light Bulb? - This MSNBC article discussing the likely eventual replacement of common light bulbs by LEDs. That replacement is likely to come quicker thanks to an accidental discovery announced this week: "Michael Bowers, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University, was just trying to make really small quantum dots, which are crystals generally only a few nanometers big. ... When you shine a light on quantum dots or apply electricity to them, they react by producing their own light, normally a bright, vibrant color. But when Bowers shined a laser on his batch of dots, something unexpected happened. 'I was surprised when a white glow covered the table,' Bowers said. 'The quantum dots were supposed to emit blue light, but instead they were giving off a beautiful white glow.'"  (thanks Slashdot.org)

TECHNOLOGY...

  • AMD to standardize on Socket M2 - AMD plans to simplify its 90nm CPU platform with its 940-pin Socket M2 CPU design, according to motherboard makers. As Intel schedules to unify desktop PC- and notebook-use processors in the second half of 2006, AMD is looking to standardize a full CPU line for entry-level, middle-range and high-end segments, indicated the makers.
  • Gizmondo handheld fails to impress - With GPS functionality bolstering its gaming and multimedia playback capabilities, the Gizmondo actually has something unique to offer. Unfortunately, the device costs $399 and lacks quality games. A cheaper Gizmondo is available without the GPS software, but that version forces users to sit through 40-second commercials several times a day.
  • DVD Jon to relocate to United States for position at MP3Tunes - Jon Lech Johansen, the 21-year-old Norwegian media hacker nicknamed DVD Jon, is moving to San Diego to work for maverick tech entrepreneur Michael Robertson in what can only be described as the most portentous team-up since Butch met Sundance.
  • Warner to release films in the Blu-ray Disc format - Warner Bros. has now officially announced that it has joined the BDA (Blu-ray Disc Association) and will release movies in the Blu-ray Disc format. This was an expected move after Paramount's announcement a couple of weeks ago.
  • Studios aim to do away with VHS format by the end of 2006 - After 28 years, manufacturers have decided to stop making the tapes. By the end of 2006, companies within the home-video industry will phase out VHS technology, leaving only DVDs as the way in which people can buy or rent a movie.
  • Video to PSP with Sony's Sugo Roku DVR in Japan - Engadget is reporting that Sony has just unveiled a DVD/HD recorder that can copy video direct to a Playstation Portable memory stick. Dubbed the RDR-AX75, the dual layer burning unit works with DVD+RW/+R, DVD-R/RW media and sports a nice sized 250GB hard disc.
  • New PS2 suffers compatibility problems - According to PS2.IGN, the latest PS2 will have a troublesome time with seven PS2 games and as many as 40 PS1 games. The newest model, satin silver, is due for release in Japan next month, immediately before the Xbox 360 launch there. Aside from the plethora of backwards compatibility problems, there is a list of current gen PS2 games it freezes while playing. The list includes, Gauntlet Dark Legacy, F12002 and the newer Tekken 5.
  • Murdoch gets Easynet - BSkyB has agreed to shell out £211m to acquire broadband ISP Easynet in a deal that catapults the satellite broadcaster into the UK's telecoms sector. The deal, which still needs shareholder approval, gives BSkyB the opportunity to offer its punters the all important "triple play" of TV, phone and internet in a move to rival merging cablecos NTL and Telewest.
  • Seagate drive problems cause EMC, HP headaches - The problem, according to the source, is with a batch of Seagate SCSI Series 6, typically installed in disk arrays. A proportion of the drives are causing problems and when corporate customers contact support they are escalated swiftly to the highest levels.
  • VIA launches integrated K8M890 chipset with DirectX9 support - Enabling support for DirectX 9.0 and Pixel Shader 2.0 for high quality video processing, the VIA K8M890 also boasts the Chromotion Video Display Engine for enhanced visual output, including support for all HDTV output formats up to 1920×1080, advanced 2D/3D graphics capabilities, comprehensive de-interlace support and DuoView for enhanced productivity and presentation capabilities

HARDWARE... 

GUIDES...

SOFTWARE...

  • Apache 2.0.55 - Apache 2.0 (download) offers numerous enhancements, improvements and performance boosts over the 1.3 codebase. The most visible and noteworthy addition is the ability to run Apache in a hybrid thread/process mode on any platform that supports both threads and processes.
  • OpenOffice.org 2.0 - Available in 36 languages, with more on the way, and able to run natively on Windows, GNU/Linux, Sun Solaris, Mac OS X (X11) and several other platforms, OpenOffice.org banishes software segregation and isolation and dramatically levels the playing field. And, with its support for the OASIS Standard OpenDocument format, OpenOffice.org eliminates the fear of vendor lock in or format obsolescence.
  • AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic 6.32.00.50 - The cost-free virus protection -> download
  • EliteToolbar Remover 2.1.2 - The new EliteToolbar Remover (download) deletes any traces of many persistent malwares.
  • avast! Virus Cleaner 1.0.208 - avast! Virus Cleaner (download) is available free for every user. This tool will help you remove selected worm infections from your computer.
  • FastStone Image Viewer 2.27 Beta 2 Build 2005-10-19 - FastStone Image Viewer (download) is a fast, stable, user-friendly image browser, converter and editor. It has a nice array of features that include image viewing, management, comparison, red-eye removal, emailing, resizing, cropping and color adjustments.
  • XnView v1.80.3 - XnView (download) is a utility for viewing and converting graphic files (Import about 400 graphic file formats / Export about 50 graphic file formats)
  • Flock Developer Preview - Moments ago, Flock, a new Web browser with a social bent, hit the Web in a public beta. Some impressions can be found here.
  • Netscape Browser 8.0.4 - This new version features all security and bug fixes through Firefox 1.0.7, improves proxy handling and Flash 8.0 is now bundled which fixes a variety of crashes.
  • Opera 9.0 Preview 1 - changelog&download
  • YPOPs! 0.8.0 - YPOPs! (download) is an application that provides POP3 access to Yahoo! Mail.
  • AIM Ad Hack 4.14 & 5.0 Beta 8 - AIM Ad Hack 4.14 (Fixed false positives during install with some virus scanners) / AIM Ad Hack 5.0 BETA 8 (Updated for AIM Triton Beta 0.7.13, fixed virus scanner false positives and rewrote bundled software blocking)
  • Azureus for Windows 2.3.0.5 Beta 50 - Azureus is a Java based BitTorrent client that offers multiple torrent downloads, queuing/priority systems (on torrents and files), start/stop seeding options and instant access to numerous pieces of information about your torrents.
  • µTorrent 1.1.7.1 - µTorrent is an efficient and feature rich BitTorrent client for Windows sporting a very small footprint. It was designed to use as little cpu, memory and space as possible while offering all the functionality expected from advanced clients.
  • QuickTime Alternative 1.63 & 1.52 - QuickTime Alternative will allow you to play QuickTime files (.mov, .qt and other extensions) without having to install QuickTime Player from Apple. It also supports QuickTime content that is embedded in webpages.
  • Real Alternative 1.44 - Real Alternative will allow you to play RealMedia files without having to install RealPlayer or RealOne Player from Real Networks. Supported are: RealAudio (.ra .rpm), RealMedia (.rm .ram .rmvb .rpx .smi .smil), RealText (.rt) and ReadPix (.rp). It also supports RealMedia content that is embedded in webpages.
  • Apple iTunes 6.0.1.3 - download
  • nVIDIA PureVideo Decoder 1.02-177 Trial - The nVIDIA PureVideo Decoder combines the industry’s highest quality DVD and MPEG-2 playback with rich surround sound audio and provides the best experience with Microsoft Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center Edition.
  • Winamp 5.110 - Nullsoft Winamp (download full / lite) is a fast, flexible, high-fidelity media player for Windows. Winamp supports playback of many audio (MP3, OGG, AAC, WAV, MOD, XM, S3M, IT, MIDI, etc) and video (AVI, ASF, MPEG, NSV) types...
  • RatDVD v0.77.1509 and RATattack v0.2 - The guys of RatDVD have released another new version of their software, bringing the version to 0.77.1509. This new release includes changes to several translations and also a new version of the plugins for ratDVD, RATattack, has been released.
  • Logitech SetPoint 2.46  & IntelliPoint 5.4 Mouse Software - If you were using Logitech MouseWare with a Cordless Click! or a Cordless Click! Plus mouse, installing SetPoint on top of MouseWare will transfer control of your mouse from MouseWare to SetPoint. MouseWare will no longer recognize your mouse. If you were only using one mouse with MouseWare, you can now uninstall MouseWare and use SetPoint. Also Microsoft has released a new IntelliPoint 5.4 mouse software.
  • Chipset Installation Utility 7.2.2.1006 - The Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility installs to the target system the Windows* INF files that outline to the operating system how the chipset components will be configured. This is needed for the proper functioning of the following features: Core PCI and ISA PNP Services, AGP Support, IDE/ATA33/ATA66/ATA100 Storage Support, USB Support, Identification of Intel Chipset Components in the Device Manager.
  • Quality patched LiteOn 1693S firmware for 1673S, 1693S, 720A, 800A (KC1B) -  C0deKing has released a new patched firmware for LiteOn 1673S, 1693S, 720A and 800A users. The purpose of this patch is for increased writing quality when using most +R media.
Memory Bandwidth & Capacities - tech
(hx) 05:49 AM EDT - Oct,22 2005 - Post a comment
Given we now know 1GB of memory is the sweet spot, how much faster is 1GB than 512MB or even 256MB in today's games? There are still a huge amount of gamers out there fragging away with just 512MB of memory. Of course games such as Far Cry, UT2004 and many others will work quite well with just 512MB of memory. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if benchmarking with these games will show significant improvements favoring 1GB when compared to 512MB. Quite a number of readers also question the performance of dual-channel memory configurations.
Given dual-channel DDR400 offers so much more bandwidth I was expecting to see huge frame rate gains when using this configuration. However, moving into Doom 3 this was not the case as dual-channel appeared to be no faster than single-channel. Despite the average frame rate being so similar the game did seem to play much smoother in dual-channel mode, which really is no surprise. Nevertheless, it was surprising to find that the 512MB, 1GB and 2GB capacities all rendered 60fps in Doom 3 with "No AA/AF" enabled. The only weakness here was the 256MB configuration which was extremely painful to test. The game just seemed to take forever to load and I honestly find it hard to believe the frame rate sustained an average of 53.2fps. There was no point in the demo where the game did not look extremely laggy.

Unlike the Doom 3 results Far Cry does favor the larger memory capacities. Though there was little difference between 1GB and 2GB's of memory, 512MB was noticeably slower. The 256MB single-channel configuration was again extremely choppy. However, once again 1GB appears to be the sweet spot, matching the 2GB setup very well. The UT2004 results were much like those of Far Cry, showing very little difference between the 1GB and 2GB configurations. Even the 512MB setup produced much of the same performance we saw out of the larger capacities. Battlefield 2 was the big test here and again there was nothing separating the 1GB and 2GB configurations. The 512MB capacity was noticeably slower and made the game unplayable in my opinion.
 Gameguru Mania News - Oct,21 2005 - tech
F.E.A.R. GPU Performance Tests - tech
(hx) 08:01 AM EDT - Oct,21 2005 - Post a comment / read (2)
The chaps over at Anandtech recently tested FEAR with the 1.01 patch on AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 2.6 GHz, 1GB RAM and various videcards including GeForce 7800 GTX, 7800 GT, 6800 GT, GeForce 6600 GT, X1800 XT, ATI Radeon X1800 XL, X1600 XT, X1300 Pro, X800 GT:
This game alone gives players without high end monitors a real reason to justify saving up for a 7800 GTX. Those who want to play FEAR at the highest resolution and settings with AA enabled (without soft shadows) will basically have to use the 7800 GTX, as no other card available gets playable framerates at those settings, and the 7800 GTX does just barely (if uncomfortably). If you have to play at 1600x1200 and you don't care about AA, then the 7800 GT and possibly the 6800 GT will play well, as will ATI's X1800 XL. However, don't run out and buy an X1800 XL just yet because the 7800 GT runs the game better, and right now, you can buy the NVIDIA darling for less money than the X1800 XL (about $340 as opposed to $390).

FEAR looks good enough that people will enjoy the game at even the lowest resolutions, and all of the cards that we've tested will run the game fine at resolutions as high as 1024x768 without AA and soft shadows, with the exception of the X1300 PRO. This card performed the worst overall, but it still runs FEAR fine (without AA and SS) at 800x600. If you are on a shoestring budget, but need to buy one of these cards to play FEAR, a good choice would be the X800 GT for $130, or even better, the 6600 GT for about $15 more. That's not much more money considering the 6600 GT gets 31 fps at 1280x1024 compared to only 25 fps on the X800 GT, which we wouldn't waste our time. With the MSRP on the X1300 Pro sitting at about $150, we can't see how the part will sell at all given its competition.

If you are looking for a good middle-of-the-road card that could handle 1024x768 with AA enabled, the 6800 GT might be a good choice, but at $280, it might be nice to save up and get the 7800 GT ($340). Overall though, given performance and price, you'll want to stay away from both the X1800 XL and the X1300 PRO, as they just aren't practical. Keep in mind, however, that these are still very new graphics cards and prices change.
Quake 4 Performance - tech
(hx) 07:43 AM EDT - Oct,21 2005 - Post a comment
The chaps over at AMDZone have tested Quake 4 with Athlon 64 3800+ at 2.4GHz, 1GB RAM and Nvidia's 7800GTX, 7800GT, and 6800GT as well as the Radeon X800XL 512MB and X850XT PE (WinXP SP2, Forceware 81.85):
We tested by setting Quake 4 to high quality, and then changing to the desired resolution with AA off. Here we see the 6800GT drops off noticeably at a resolution higher than 1024X768. The 7800GTX stays North of 60fps at each resolution, and the 7800GT SLI setup is able to pass it by about 10% at 1600X1200. Solo the 7800GT hangs pretty well with the 7800GTX. The X800XL 512MB drops off considerably after 1024X768 and really is not in the same league as the GeForce cards. At least the extra memory allows it to keep up with the X850XT PE which can not hang with the 6800GT. Now lets see how performance fairs when we switch to 4XAA.
Another Quake 4 performance review can be found on HardwareZone:
As the results show, upgrading to one of the fastest consumer CPUs isn't the way to go to crank more performance if you already have a mainstream class CPU like the AMD Athlon 64 3500+. Given the 12% performance boost at low and mid-range resolutions and none at the high resolutions, the extra investment to obtain an FX-55 class CPU isn't too justifiable. Hence for Quake 4, the more worthwhile solution to crank high-resolution performance is naturally the SLI path to double your graphics crunching power (or the CrossFire route if you are using ATI's graphics cards).
 Gameguru Mania News - Oct,20 2005 - tech
NVIDIA ForceWare Drivers v81.85 WHQL - tech
(hx) 06:57 PM EDT - Oct,20 2005 - Post a comment
A new WHQL Forceware graphics drivers v81.85 (Win2k/XP ~ 20.7MB) are available for download from the official NVIDIA download page. These new drivers add support for GeForce 6600 VE, GeForce 6150, and GeForce 6100, mixed vendor support for NVIDIA SLI, TV-Out/HD-out support for NVIDIA SLI, add support for VSync on Direct3D games when running NVIDIA SLI, performance enhancements for dual-core CPUs, PureVideo high definition MPEG-2 de-interlacing support, Usability enhancements when connecting to an HDTV and Microsoft DirectX 9.0c and OpenGL 2.0 support.
Single GPU Issues Resolved
- GeForce 7800 GT/GTX: Soft shadows in FEAR are not rendered correctly.
- GeForce 7800 GT/GTX: The system crashes after a minute or so of playing Half-Life 2: Lost Coast.
- GeForce 7800 GT/GTX: The Apple 30" panel display splits into four grids at 800x600, 1024x768, and 1600x900 resolutions.
- GeForce 7800 GT/GTX: Application performance drops when Gamma Antialiasing is enabled.
- GeForce 7800 GTX, SLI: With SLI mode enabled, the mouse cursor image occasionally sticks as the window resize graphic instead of being restored to the pointer graphic.
- GeForce 7800 GTX SLI: Resuming from system Hibernate results in a corrupt or distorted desktop.
- GeForce 7800 GT/GTX: F.E.A.R demo - The system hangs when entering room with volumetric lighting.
- GeForce 7800 GTX: Random pixels appear during gameplay in F.E.A.R.
- GeForce 7800 GTX / GeForce 6800 Ultra/ GeForce 6600: There is intermittent glowing corruption around the edges of the screen in Far Cry patch 1.33 when HDR is enabled.This has been partially fixed in driver version 81.85. An upcoming patch for Far Cry fixes the issue completely.
- GeForce 6 Series: With the latest FarCry patch, the application profile breaks the HDR functionality. This has been partially fixed in driver version 81.85. An upcoming patch for Far Cry fixes the issue completely.
- GeForce 6 Series: Tiger Woods 2006 crashes
- GeForce 6800 / 6800Ultra: Corrupt pixel-blocks and slow frame rendering/long pauses occur in Colin McRae Rally 2005.
- GeForce 6800 Ultra: The system hangs when running 3D applications on a x16 PCI-E system. This issue is resolved with an update to the nForce4 430/410 motherboard BIOS. Contact your motherboard manufacturer for the update.
- GeForce 6800 Ultra: Fable hangs during gameplay.
- GeForce 6800: De-interlacing problems occur with Friends Finale DVD.
- GeForce 6800 Ultra: Prince of Persia: Warrior runs slowly and does not render shadows.
- GeForce 6800 Ultra: Prince of Persia: Warrior quits to the desktop.
- GeForce 6800 Ultra: Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow fails to render shadows.
- GeForce 6800 Ultra: Flight Simulator 2004 has scenery corruption when 3D clouds are not set at 100%.
- GeForce 6600, DVI-HDTV: The Underscan option is grayed out on HDVT DVI outputs after setting an HDTV resolution
- GeForce FX 5950 Ultra: Far Cry has severely corrupt textures on the Research map.
Catalyst 5.10a Beta; ForceWare 81.85 Beta drivers - tech
(hx) 05:23 AM EDT - Oct,20 2005 - Post a comment
ATI has released a new ATI Catalyst beta drivers (47.4MB) bringing them up to version 5.10a. These new drivers fixes problems with Quake 4 and Serious Sam II. The hotfix is a precursor to a full driver update, incorporating performance improvements mentioned in a recent HEXUS.net preview. (thanks BluesNews)

Also NVIDIA has released a beta revision of its Forceware drivers (v81.85). This version includes a large number of fixes over the previous 81.84's. Here's a quick list of the fixes: Mixed vendor support for NVIDIA SLI, TV-Out/HD-out support for NVIDIA SLI, Added support for VSync on Direct3D games when running NVIDIA SLI, Performance enhancements for dual-core CPUs, PureVideo high definition MPEG-2 de-interlacing support and Usability enhancements when connecting to an HDTV.
 Gameguru Mania News - Oct,19 2005 - tech
AMD's Opteron 254 processor - tech
(hx) 11:38 AM EDT - Oct,19 2005 - Post a comment
TechReport take a look at the Opteron 254 (2.8GHz):
At $851 per chip, the Opteron 254 is significantly cheaper than the Opteron 275-and in some cases, a better value. That question turns entirely on the issue of workloads and software parallelization, but based on what we've seen, we can draw some general conclusions.

When it comes to 3D rendering performance, however, the Opteron 275 is the 800-pound gorilla; no other CPU or configuration that we've tested from AMD or Intel comes even close to competing with the Opteron 275's results. The differences are more than academic. Consider, for a moment, the Opteron 275's render time in Lightwave 83's Radiosity_Box test (784 seconds) versus the Opteron 254 (1097 seconds) and the dual Xeon 3.6 (1017 seconds). That's the time required to compute a single frame of animation, and animations typically run at 24 frames per second. An animation scene that rendered at the same speed as Radiosity_Box would require 5.2 hours of render time on the Opteron 275, 6.8 hours on the dual Xeon 3.6GHz, and 7.3 hours on the Opteron 254. That's a huge gap, and it makes a dual-socket, dual-core Opteron 275 rig an easy choice for any render station.
 Gameguru Mania News - Oct,15 2005 - tech
Saturday Tech Madness-clean 4kb wallpapers - tech
(hx) 06:24 PM EDT - Oct,15 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...  

  • Exploit Already Out For New Microsoft DTC Windows 2000 Bug - The exploit is against the MSDTC vulnerability (details) within Windows, which was patched Tuesday by Microsoft and outlined in its MS05-051 security bulletin. Because the MSDTC component - which coordinates any sort of transaction on multiple servers -- is enabled by default and remotely exploitable on Windows 2000 systems, experts fear that the bug will result in a repeat of the Zotob attacks of August. ~ download free scanner tool from here.
  • Security experts warn of Windows worm - Fears are growing of a new Windows worm after security companies reported that exploit code is already circulating for three Microsoft patches released on Tuesday.Within 24 hours of the patches coming out Symantec's DeepSight Threat Management System issued an alert over patch MS05-051. The security firm has issued a signature for its intrusion detection systems.
  • Critical Windows patch may wreak PC havoc - The patch was released Tuesday to fix four Windows flaws, including one that experts predict will be exploited by a worm in the coming days. The flaw, tagged "critical" by Microsoft, lies in a Windows component for transaction processing called the Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator, or MSDTC. 
  • Microsoft Exec Warns of 'Fake' XP Update - A Microsoft employee is warning against downloading an unauthorized version of Windows XP Service Pack 3 that has surfaced on a popular Web site that provides software patches.
  • WinRAR Format String and Buffer Overflow Vulnerabilities - Secunia Research has discovered two vulnerabilities in WinRAR, which can be exploited by malicious people to compromise a user's system.
  • phpMyAdmin Directory Traversal (Exploit) - A directory traversal vulnerability in phpMyAdmin allows to access /etc/passwd, the following exploit code can be used to test your system for the mentioned vulnerability
  • Symantec Tests 'Big Brother' Data Monitor - Engineers in Symantec's research and development organization have built a new database security appliance that could eventually lead the company into the database security business. The project has been tested by a handful of customers since September, and Symantec is expected to decide within the next few months whether to bring it to market.

CRIME...

  • Three Indicted for 'Massive' Piracy - Three California men were indicted Wednesday for their alleged participation in a "massive" software and music-CD copying scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California. Arrests in the scheme to illegally copy 325,000 software and music CDs were part of the largest CD manufacturing seizure in the U.S., the attorney's office said. The indictments follow the arrests of five people and searches of 13 locations in California and Texas on October 6.
  • US still world's top spammer - The United States is still the world's top spammer, despite new anti-spam law and a series of high-profile court cases, but the problem is improving.

OFF-TOPIC

TECHNOLOGY...

  • HD DVD Movie Titles to be Region Free - According to the DVD Forum, the standardization of the HD DVD-ROM/-R/RW and the HD DVD hybrid disks has been completed, as well as for the 8cm HD DVD-ROM. Note that the HD DVD-R is a write once disc, while the HD DVD-RW is more aligned with DVD-RAM media, since it will be a Random Access medium featuring defect management algorithms in order to offer data storage reliability.  The hybrid disks consist of two layers. The first layer conforms to the HD DVD-ROM standard (15GB), while the second will most likely be a DVD-ROM layer (4.7GB). The disc will be recognized and reproduced by both HD DVD and DVD players. Hybrid discs are claimed to be easily manufactured with current equipment used for dual layer DVD media.
  • HP Recalls 135,000 Laptop Batteries - HP has announced a recall of 135,000 laptop battery packs (HP) sold with HP and Compaq notebook computers globally between May 2004 and May 2005. Of those recalled, 85,000 were sold in the United States.
  • Samsung Agrees to Pay $300M Fine -  Samsung has pleaded guilty to price fixing and agreed to pay a $300 million fine, US officials announced yesterday.
  • Samsung claims DRam breakthrough - Samsung Electronics unveiled what it claimed to be the industry's first 512Mb DDR2 SDRam fabricated using 70-nanometre processing, the smallest process technology yet applied to a DRam device.
  • BT starts 8Mbps broadband trials (UK) - BT is to begin rolling out 8Mbps broadband to a limited number of customers across the country.
  • GAIM Lead Developer Hired By Google - According to the GAIM website, Sean Egan, the lead developer of the open source instant messaging application, has been hired by Google.
  • New Microsoft Office 12 Screenshots - ActiveWin has posted 16 brand new Office 12 screenshots of the latest build available.
  • Alliance Formed to Complete Wireless Networking Standard - A group of 27 technology companies said on Monday they would collaborate on a new, faster Wi-Fi wireless Internet connection standard for computers and other portable devices. The new Wi-Fi standard is known as 802.11n and follows the 802.11a, b and g standards. The n-version is billed to be two to 10 times faster than current Wi-Fi technologies and will enable high-quality wireless video transmission in office and home networks.
  • Gaitcode adds bite to mobiles - Finnish researchers have presented new technology designed to prevent thefts of mobile phones and laptops, using biometrics to recognize the gait of the device's owner
  • AMD holds grand opening for new 300mm fab - Fab 36 is close to beginning volume production of microprocessors on 300mm wafers using AMD's 90nm process, with shipments of products for revenue expected to begin in the first quarter of 2006. The fab will then make a gradual transition to a new 65nm process over the course of the next year. Because 300mm wafers offer significantly more surface area than the 200mm wafers manufactured at Fab 30, Fab 36 will more than double AMD's total production capacity once it's running at full speed.

HARDWARE... 

GUIDES...

SOFTWARE...

  • AutoPatcher XP October 2005 - This release is based on the all-new AutoPatcher 5.1. Although it was made with Windows XP SP2 English in mind, it will load on any (English) Windows version, showing only the items which match the running environment.
  •  WindowsX's Vista Transformation Pack - WindowsX's long awaited Vista Transformation pack has finally been released. With 16 wallpapers, the famous Aero style look for all supported versions of Windows, and a slew of new Vista-inspired icons and functionality, this all-in-one wonder pack will allow all Windows users to sample the delights of Vista long before the actual OS is released...
  • Create clean 4kb wallpapers - You like desktop wallpapers but you hate the lots of memory they take and you hate the way those huge pictures slow down your system? If so this tool is made for you. It's setting a user-defined sexy looking vertical or horizontal gradient as your wallpaper. And it takes almost no RAM. For example let's assume your system runs under a 1024x768x24 bit display: just 4 kB of space would be required to hold the full screen gradient bitmap. Active desktop must be disabled in order for this to work.
  • phpMyAdmin 2.6.4-pl2 - phpMyAdmin can manage a whole MySQL-server (needs a super-user) but also a single database.
  • Microsoft Ships Last XP Media Center Update - Update Rollup 2 (UR2) for Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) 2005, as the update is awkwardly called, is a minor but free update to the current Media Center version, and not a major upgrade.
  • Update for Windows 2000 (KB820608) - Install this update to resolve an issue in Windows 2000 that restricts the functionality of the Exchange Best Practices Analyzer (ExBpa) tool. This tool is used to diagnose issues in an Exchange environment.
  • Windows Vista Game (Solitaire) Hacked For XP/2003 - Here's a package Michael Riviera quickly put together (download), using win32 versions of bspatch and bsdiff, for Windows Vista's Solitaire application. No, this doesn't work with the Solitaire in the newly leaked 5231. Don't try it. No, the package does not contain any Microsoft binaries (e.g. Solitaire.exe). He also hacked Shanghai Solitaire to work on non-Vista platforms.
  • All Seeing Eye 2.3.6 (shw) - Supports all the popular games such as Counter-Strike, BF1942, Quake III Arena, etc. Designed for what gamers want: fast and easy access to the game servers of their choice.
  • Apple iTunes 6.0.0.18 - iTunes lets you create your own personal digital music library, allowing you to manage and play your music collection with drag-and-drop simplicity.
  • Symantec LiveUpdate 3.0.134 - The 3.0 release (download) contains integrated Enterprise management features that are compatible with the Symantec Enterprise Security Architecture (SESA) v2.x.
  • Copernic Desktop Search 1.61.0.783 - The Search Engine (download) for Your PC Find Your Files, Videos, Pictures, Bookmarks, Browser History, Contacts and Emails with the Power of a Search Engine Right on Your Desktop.
  • AbiWord 2.4.1 - AbiWord is a free word processing program similar to Microsoft Word. It is suitable for a wide variety of word processing tasks.
  • QuickTime 7.03 - A new Quicktime is available for download (changelog)
  • Adobe Reader for Windows 2000/XP 7.0.5 - Adobe Reader is free software that enables business professionals and home users to reliably share information using intelligent PDF files. This update provides features such as expanded browser support, improvement in dynamic forms performance among others.
  • Azureus for Windows 2.3.0.5 Beta 44 - Azureus is a Java based BitTorrent client that offers multiple torrent downloads, queuing/priority systems (on torrents and files), start/stop seeding options and instant access to numerous pieces of information about your torrents. Azureus also features an embedded tracker that is easily set up and ready to use.
  • TCP Optimizer v2.0.2 - TCP Optimizer is a free, easy Windows program that provides an intuitive interface for tuning and optimizing your Internet connection. Just download and run, there is no installaion required. The program makes it easy to find the best MTU and RWIN values, test latency and tweak all the important broadband related registry parameters. The Optimizer can be helpful with tuning any Internet connection type, from dialup to Gigabit+.
  • Sony Launches PSP 2.50 Firmware - Sony have released version 2.50 of its firmware. This version adds many features.
 Gameguru Mania News - Oct,12 2005 - tech
ATI CATALYST Drivers v5.10 - tech
(hx) 04:22 PM EDT - Oct,12 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)
ATI has released a new ATI Catalyst drivers (release notes / download ~ 25.3MB) bringing them up to version 5.10. The package contains: RADEON display driver 8.18, Multimedia Center 9.08, Catalyst Control Center 5.10 (requires .NET Version 1.1 Framework), HydraVision Basic Edition 3.25.9006, Remote Wonder 3.02, WDM versions 8.17 and 4.07 and Southbridge/IXP Driver.
Issues Resolved in Catalyst Software Suite 5.10

  • 3Dmark03: Setting the display resolution to 1024x768 32bbp and having Anti-Aliasing set to 6x no longer results in Windows crashing when running 3Dmark03 Mother Nature test
  • Dungeon Siege 2: The cursor image is now displayed properly when playing the game under Windows XP with an ATI Radeon® X800 series installed
  • Graphedit: Watching and listening to audio/video using the composite input found on the ATI Radeon® X300/X600 no longer results in the left and right audio being swapped
  • Max Payne 2: Erratic mouse pointer behavior is no longer noticed within the game's menu after a short time period of game play
  • Pacific Fighters: Setting the display device to 1024x768 32bpp and enabling Anti-Aliasing to 6x no longer results in display corruption being noticed within the game
  • Prince of Persia: Sands of Time: Attempting to launch the game under Windows with an ATI Radeon® X800 XL installed no longer results in an error message being displayed
  • Silent Hunter 3: Enabling all video options within the game and setting the particle density to 100, along with setting Anti-Aliasing to 6X and Anisotropic Filtering to 16x, no longer results in display corruption on the left portion of the display
  • Stronghold 2: Attempting to launch the game under Windows XP Professional x64 edition no longer results in the game failing to load and the operating system rebooting itself
    ...more
 Gameguru Mania News - Oct,11 2005 - tech
Creative's Sound Blaster X-Fi audio processor - tech
(hx) 07:53 AM EDT - Oct,11 2005 - Post a comment / read (4)
The chaps over at TechReport take a look at the Creative's Sound Blaster X-Fi audio processor. They've tested the most affordable X-Fi offering, the $110 Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic against competitors ranging from M-Audio's Revolution 7.1 to integrated "Azalia" High Definition Audio:
Picking the XtremeMusic over the Revo is an easy call, but handicapping it against Creative's own Audigy2 ZS is more difficult. The Audigy2 costs 40% less, and you still get hardware acceleration for 3D audio and DVD-Audio playback support. However, the Audigy2's EAX's only scales to 64 voices-half that of the X-Fi. The XtremeMusic also offers much more balanced playback than the Audigy2, avoiding its predecessor's tendency to favor foreground vocals at the expense of background instrumentals. And that's without the 24-bit Crystalizer and CMSS-3D effects.

Of course, the 24-bit Crystalizer and CMSS-3D aren't for everyone. Despite Creative's claims, we didn't find that the Crystalizer made MP3s sound better than the original CD. Some listeners may favor the sharpness that the Crystalizer lends to the foreground elements of certain recordings, but we prefer higher quality recordings over Crystalized low-bitrate MP3s. We also prefer a real multi-channel speaker setup to virtualized speakers via CMSS-3D, but for those occasions when headphones are a must, CMSS-3D does come in handy. Users should also enjoy CMSS-3D's ability to expand stereo recordings for multi-channel playback, and we're quite pleased with Creative's philosophy of not messing around with the original intent of the recording.
 Gameguru Mania News - Oct,06 2005 - tech
Massive Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 10:13 AM EDT - Oct,06 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)

SECURITY...

  • Sober worm variant starts to spread - McAfee said a variant of the Sober worm, described as Sober.r, has started to land in people's inboxes. It raised its risk assessment to 'medium' on the worm, which it labels W32/Sober.r@mm! M51. The worm arises in your inbox in a .zip file attached to email and if it's activated, looks for email addresses on the machine that's been hit, sending out more examples of its itself.
  • Bug spotted in Symantec antivirus - A buffer overflow flaw in the Symantec AntiVirus Scan Engine could let remote attackers run code on vulnerable machines, Symantec said in an advisory Tuesday. The problem affects various versions of the engine, which is the part of the security software that actually scans for threats. Security patches are available to correct the problem, which Symantec rates 'high' on its risk impact scale.
  • Kaspersky Antivirus Remote Heap Overflow - Successful exploitation of Kaspersky protected systems allows attackers unauthorized control of data and related privileges. It also provides leverage for further network compromise. Kaspersky Antivirus Library implementations are likely vulnerable in their default configuration.
  • Trillian remote crashable - If Trillian using the ICQ protocol and a reverse connection is requested, then Trillian crashes.
  • New mysql-dfsg-4.1 package fixes arbitrary code execution  - A stack-based buffer overflow in the init_syms function of MySQL, a popular database, has been discovered that allows remote authenticated users who can create user-defined functions to execute arbitrary code via a long function_name field. The ability to create user-defined functions is not typically granted to untrusted users.
  • Patches available for critical flaws in HP Openview - David and Mark Litchfield of NGSSoftware have discovered a number of critical and high risk vulnerabilities in HP Openview. The flaws can be exploited by attackers without valid credentials to fully compromise a vulnerable server. Windows, Linux. HP-UX and Solaris are all affected. These issues have been now been addressed and patches are available from here.
  • Windows Vista's New Security Features - Microsoft's new operating system won't be out until late 2006, but here's a look at some of the new security features expected

CRIME...

  • Spyware maker to be shut down - Odysseus is about to be shut down by the FTC which believes its software is just a cover for spyware.The FTC claims that one bit of Odysseus software, called Clientman, lures users with the promise that it will give them free software that would make illegal peer-to-peer file sharing anonymous and hard to trace.
  • Sony sent packing from Australian courts over mod-chips - Sony has been kicked out of the Australian courts after trying again to get Mod chips declared illegal in Australia . The High Court ruled that chips that allow imported games to be played do not breach any copyright law, and has allowed them to be sold. This final ruling by the Australian courts means that a four year battle between a seller of mod chips and Sony comes to an end.
  • RIAA takes a Shotgun to traders according to legal experts - Hundreds of people are being wrongly sued by the Recording Industry Association of America for illegally trading music online, legal experts say. Attorneys representing some of the 14,000 people targeted for illegal music trading say their clients are being bullied into settling as the cheapest way to get out of trouble. Collection agencies posing as "settlement centers" are harassing their clients to pay thousands of dollars for claims about which they know nothing, they say.

OFF-TOPIC

  • Sms.co.uk domain sale could be a 'record breaker' - The domain sms.co.uk is up for grabs and those behind the sale reckon it could net more than £100,000. Earlier this year, for example, website.com and property.com changed hands for $750,000, while porker.com reached $155,000, according to listings compiled by DN Journal.
  • Epidemiologists play games to study plague, pestilence - Scientists are considering using the accidental spread of a "plague" in the online role playing game World of Warcraft in an attempt to correlate the response with real-life disease outbreaks. While players online were obviously more playful about the whole event, few genuinely wanted to catch the virtual ailment.
  • Universal to Offer its Movies Online - Universal expects to be able to offer movies online by the end of the year or early next year, company chairman and CEO Bob Wright said Tuesday
  • Single-play DVDs a Hoax - That's the lesson from the bogus story published in an obscure UK business magazine yesterday that claimed Microsoft is about to unleash a new single-play DVD format. Paul Thurrott reprinted the story without giving credit to the original source. Bink.nu picked up the story from Paul and reprinted it verbatim. Techdirt commented on the original story, with attribution but without any fact-checking. So did John Walkenbach. The funny part? There's no truth to the story.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Windows XP SP3 Preview Surfaces Online - Though Microsoft still won't confirm that it will release a third service pack for its Windows XP operating system, a preview version of the software update has been made available on the Web. An "unofficial" preview pack of Windows XP Service Pack 3 is available at The Hotfix, a software download site and discussion forum that focuses on patches and software updates.
  • Network feud leads to Net blackout - On Wednesday, network company Level 3 Communications cut off its direct "peering" connections to another big network company called Cogent Communications. That technical action means that some customers on each company's network now will find it impossible, or slower, to get to Web sites on the other company's network.
  • NVIDIA G72 to arrive in early 2006 - Citing sources at Taiwanese graphics card manufacturers, DigiTimes is reporting that NVIDIA's G72 graphics processor will arrive in early 2006. G72 is apparently a 90-nano version of the G70 GPU that powers the GeForce 7800 series.
  • Game developers don't take x64 seriously - Very few games actually support Windows XP Pro x64 edition. The popular games that really have x64 binaries are: The Chronicles of Riddick, FarCry, and UT2004.
  • ATI Explains Their Warranty Reduction - When LegitReviews spoke to ATI about the warranty changes they explained that it was done for a number of reasons. After studying the average "return rate over time" charts it was discovered that nearly 90% of all video card returns were done in the first 60 days. This means that consumers very seldom used their warranty on the second and third years per the old warranty plan. Since ATI's warranty plan covers production cards for three years a large inventory of cards has to be kept on hand for warranty work. Another reason for the warranty change was to give ATI's partners something unique. The bulk of ATI graphics processors are sold to card makers to build "ATI Powered" graphics cards. Instead of matching or offering a longer warranty period than some partners ATI has chosen to step away from the warranty race. 
  • Intel explains main reason to back HD DVD instead of Blu-ray - Intel has weighed into the debate over high-definition DVD formats, explaining its decision to back HD DVD in preference to Blu-ray.  The company abandoned its usual neutrality over a single issue: copying. This was one of six problems with Blu-ray that Microsoft listed when it joined with Intel in backing HD DVD. The reason we provided support for HD-DVD is that basically it has committed to several features. Specifically, the mandatory managed copy,' said Donald McDonald. Managed copy ensures that users can copy the HD content to a PC or media centre for accessing anywhere in the home and on to portable devices. (ed note: HD is no use to me if I can't copy as I wish like DVD. So DVD is where I will stay...)
  • AMD prices 2.4GHz Turion 64 - The Turion ML-42 is listed for $525, and its ML designation indicates a 35W TDP, but no other details are given. According to roadmaps published this summer, the ML-42 runs at 2.4GHz and has 512KB of L2 cache.
  • Toshiba unveils first laptop with next-generation DVD drive - Toshiba has claimed that they have developed the first laptop computer with its new HD DVD drive. This supports the Microsoft’s claims that the format is suitable for the next generation portable computers. The company has collaborated with South Korean tech giants Samsung Corp and now plans to sell personal computers with a slim HD DVD drive designed specifically for laptops in Japan beginning next year.

HARDWARE... 

GUIDES...

SOFTWARE...

  • DirectX 9.0c October 2005 - This download provides the DirectX 9.0c end-user redistributable that developers can include with their product.
  • XP AntiSpy v3.95 - The program now offer 2 modes, the 'Standard' and the 'Accessible' mode. In the latter it is possible for blind and color-blind people to get access to the xp-AntiSpy. (thanks Csimbi)
  • Cool winXP Update - Install this update to add a Tools tab to the System Configuration Utility (msconfig.exe). The Tools tab will allow further diagnostic tools to be launched from within the System Configuration Utility.
  • McAfee AVERT Stinger 2.5.8 - Stinger (download) is a stand-alone utility used to detect and remove specific viruses.
  • EliteToolbar Remover 2.1.0 - The new EliteToolbar Remover (download) deletes any traces of the persistent malwares.
  • AbiWord 2.4.0 - AbiWord (download) is a free word processing program similar to Microsoft Word. It is suitable for typing papers, letters, reports, memos, and so forth.
  • Update for Windows 2000 (KB904368) - Install this update to resolve an issue in which Microsoft Office programs may stop responding when you try to save new files to a floppy disk drive after installing Update Rollup 1 for Windows 2000 Service Pack 4. After you install this update, you may have to restart your computer.
  • CCleaner 1.24.180 - CCleaner is a freeware system optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space.
  • Belarc Advisor 7.0t - The Belarc Advisor (download) builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, including Microsoft Hotfixes, and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server
  • Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.7  - I mentioned this new Thunderbird version earlier, but if you missed it then download it!
  • Google Talk 1.0.0.72 Beta - Google Talk (download) enables you to call or send instant messages to your friends for free–anytime, anywhere in the world
  • GNOME 2.12.1 - GNOME project has built a complete free and easy-to-use desktop environment for the user, as well as a powerful application framework for the software developer.
  • µTorrent 1.1.3 - This release brings many fixes and new features, highlights being: greatly improved connectivity with peers (and thus better transfer rates) along with support for language translations. µTorrent is now available in English, Swedish and French
  • Messenger Plus! 3.61.145 - Messenger Plus! Extension (download) is a program that adds functionalities to the MSN Messenger/Windows Messenger chat program. Some of the added features are logging, personalized Away Messages, transparency effects.
  • Messenger Plus! Extension 3.61.145 - download
  • AIM Fix (10/05/05) - AIM Fix was created to remove all known AIM viruses in one consolidated removal tool.
  • Maxthon v1.5 build 90 - Maxthon (MyIE2) (download combo / download standard) is a powerful web browser with a highly customizable interface. It is based on the Internet Explorer engine (your most likely current web browser) which means that what works in IE, works the same in Maxthon but with many additional efficient features.
  • PowerStrip 3.62.531 (shw) - PowerStrip (download) provides advanced, multi-monitor, programmable hardware support to a wide range of graphics cards - from the venerable Matrox Millennium I to the latest video cards.
  • Paint.NET 2.5 Beta 2 - Paint.NET v2.5 Beta 2 is now available that fixes a critical bug in Beta 1. If you already have a previous build of v2.5 instealled then we prefer that you install this update via the built-in update mechanism within Paint.NET.
  • WindowBlinds 5 beta - Stardock has released a beta version of their Windows-skinning software. Still beta, but this gives you an 'almost Vista' UI on standard Windows XP, including transperancy and glass-effects.
  • nLite 1.0 RC1 - nLite is a GUI for permanent Windows component removal by your choice. After removal there is an option to make bootable image ready for burning on cd or testing in virtual machines. With nLite you will be able to have Windows installation which on install doesn't include, or even contain on cd, unwanted components.
  • FastStone Image Viewer 2.26 Beta Build 2005-10-03 - FastStone Image Viewer (download) is an image browser, viewer, converter and editor with an easy to use interface and a nice array of features that include resizing, renaming, cropping, color adjustments and more.
  • foobar2000 Normal 0.9 Beta 10 - Foobar2000 Media Player (download) is a very very recommendable player. It is developed by Peter Pawlowski who is or used to work on Winamp3.
  • 1by1 1.50 - 1by1 (requires mpglb.dll v0.92)  is a very small sized player which is not only small: It plays whole directories without any playlis
  • VirtualDub 1.6.11 - VirtualDub (changelog / download standard version / download AMD 64 version) is a video capture and processing program. It features fast capturing, process files larger than the 2 gigabyte limit, optimized for linear editing, support for Motion-JPEG, MPEG-1 video and layer 3 audio, real-time and near-realtime video processing, video job queues, and much more.
  • BlindWrite Suite 5.2.18 (shw) - Blindwrite Suite (download) is the best set of tools to reproduce or clone any CD, even protected ones. Blindwrite Suite is the most powerfull tool to create a perfect copy from your original CD for personal private copy.
  • Memtest86+ 1.65 - Based on the well-known original memtest86 written by Chris Brady, Memtest86+ is a port by some members of the x86-secret team.
  • NVIDIA nTune v2.05.15.08 - NVIDIA nTune is the ultimate utility for accessing, monitoring, and adjusting your system components, including temperature and voltages with clear, user-friendly control panels.
  • NvTempLogger v3.33 - This is a simple program that is used to watch the temperature (Core and Ambient) of NVIDIA based GPUs. You have the options to check the graph for the last 10 mins approx. or make a log file for as long as you like or export it to an Excel graph and sheet.
  • Realtek AC'97 Drivers 3.77 WHQL - This driver supports all ALC series audio chipsets from ALC101 up to ALC861. It is used as onboard sound on many motherboards. Chips covered include ALC101/201/202/203/250/650/653/655/658/861.
  • zer0point Catalyst 0.59 - if you want 10 more points in 3dmark these drivers aren't for you, if you want your games to look great and play great without stability issues then I think you'll enjoy our drivers.
  • zer0point ForceWare 0.8182 - Currently these drivers are for all GeForce based desktop cards. (If it’s not on a laptop, and says either GeForce or Quadro in the name, it’s supported).
  • ForceWare 81.84 beta - The new _beta_ drivers (release notes) include specific optimizations for dual-core processors, an HDTV setup wizard with a full-screen calibration tool, and SLI support for TV and HDTV output.  Word is: "BETA driver to support the availability of the game Black and White 2."
 Gameguru Mania News - Oct,05 2005 - tech
ATI X1000 Series Announced - tech
(hx) 02:54 PM EDT - Oct,05 2005 - Post a comment
ATI Technologie today launched the Radeon X1000 family. Word is: "For those getting started in gaming or who are more interested in editing photos and videos, the Radeon X1600 delivers the best image quality available, for high-fidelity editing and playback. For those who want all of the features and capabilities of the Radeon X1800 and Radeon X1600 but who are on a budget, the Radeon X1300 will meet their needs for as low as US $79."  The first batch of cards include the X1300Pro ($149 MSRP), X1600 ($249), X1800XL ($449) and the X1800XT ($549) and all except the X1800XT, should be out soon.
Guru3D:  The Radeon X1800 XL is impressive, but not as impressive as the GeForce 7800 GT is. Often the score is close to the competitors card yet for some reason at several tests falls behind in performance quickly up-to a level where it was close to the Radeon X850 XT series of cards. Now don't get me wrong, that's still really lovely performance. Yet you can pick up an x850 XT for under 350 USD these days. It might be driver related though. The drivers we had available were beta and what I understand from the driver team not at all optimized just yet for the new cards. The Radeon X1600 XL then, a very striking series. For the money that is going to be one kickass mid-range product ! For the money you have to pay this card will bring the most performance. It's the new GeForce 6600 GT and can be compared to it from a performance and feature level, in most cases it definitely was faster though. It offers heaps of features and functionality for a fair sum of money. This series can be a big hit as the performance it offers is rather good. The Radeon X1300 XT, again something very notable. For not a lot of money ATI lifted the performance close to NVIDIA's standard 6600 when we talk solely about gaming. Not bad at all huh? Also bare in mind that this could make a very excellent HTPC card. Good stuff for the budget user.

TechReport: At the very high end of the market, the Radeon X1800 XT is indeed a worthy competitor for the GeForce 7800 GTX. In Direct3D games, the X1800 XT is usually faster than the 7800 GTX. Unfortunately, ATI's weak showing in OpenGL games keep the X1800 XT from capturing the undisputed heavyweight title. I also have a few concerns about the likely extent of the Radeon X1800 XT's availability in the market, given its relatively high GPU clock speeds. We will have to wait and see about that.

FiringSquad: Clearly the RADEON X1800 XT and XL shined in many of our benchmarks. Half-Life 2, Far Cry, and Battlefield 2 all tended to favor the RADEON cards, on the other hand, the OpenGL titles we tested with, including the flight sims and DOOM 3 all performed better on GeForce. ATI's new adaptive AA mode is a worthy competitor to NVIDIA's transparency AA, with both cards using the same method to accomplish the same task. In our opinion, the most critical deciding factor is going to come down to price and availability.
Another reviews can be found on Beyond3D, Bjorn3d, Driver Heaven, Hardware Secrets, HotHardware, NeoSeeker, T-Break and The Tech Lounge.
 Gameguru Mania News - Oct,03 2005 - tech
WD Caviar SE 2500JS HDD - SATA vs. SATA-II - tech
(hx) 07:13 AM EDT - Oct,03 2005 - Post a comment
TweakTown take a look at Western Digital's WD2500JS, a 250GB hard drive with a 7,200RPM spindle motor which supports the new SATA-II interface allowing for a theoretical maximum 300MB/s transfer speeds. They compared the drive against a high-performing SATA-150 drive to find out the performance differences between SATA and SATA-II:
In our testing, Serial ATA-II running at full speed doesn't offer any great speed advantage over the SATA-150 drives, so until the magnetic storage components are replaced with high speed non-violate memory, we won't see much in terms of speed upgrades with SATA-II at its current form.

Overall the speed of the Western Digital drive isn't impressive as a single drive not in RAID, but the additional features make SATA all the more enticing as the new storage interconnect standard and in a RAID 0 array we've seen SATA-II drives really shine. Western Digital's implementation of SATA-II is good and drive is built to typical high-quality WD standards however unfortunately our performance benchmarks were not as impressive as we imagined they would be.
 Gameguru Mania News - Sep,30 2005 - tech
Friday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 11:42 AM EDT - Sep,30 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Microsoft probes report of IE flaw -  A new flaw in Internet Explorer could be exploited to launch spoof-based attacks, or access and change data on vulnerable PCs, security experts have warned. The problem lies in the way Microsoft has implemented a JavaScript component in its Web browser, security researcher Amit Klein wrote in a research document. Internet Explorer does not validate some data fields provided by a PC when the component, called XmlHttpRequest, is used, he wrote.
  • AntiVirus Filename Bypassing - Several AntiVirus programs do not scan filesnames that contain non-printable ASCII characters, in addition instead of blocking them they are simply ignored.  
  • The VIA StrongBox at Hack in the Box - From the annual Hack in the Box conference in Malayisa, Tim Brown reports on attempts to hack the VIA StrongBox security software for a $5000 prize reward.
  • Visa delays plan to cut ties with CardSystems - Visa USA Inc. plans to delay by three months its plan to cut ties with CardSystems Solutions Inc., the payment processor hit by a large security breach earlier this year.
  • IPSec Policy Agent updated on XP/Server 2003 platforms - Install this update (WinXP / Win2k3 server) to address multiple issues in the IPSec Policy Agent. The IPSec Policy Agent (IPsecsvc.dll) manages Internet Protocol security policy

CRIME...

OFF-TOPIC

  • Road rally hawks hydrogen cars - No more oil changes. No more pricey gas. No more trips to the service station. That is, unless your car needs its fuel-cell stack adjusted. Most drivers would call this crazy talk, but it's the sales pitch for hydrogen-powered cars coming from big carmakers such as General Motors, Honda, Volkswagen, Toyota and Nissan. From Thursday to Saturday, the companies are driving $1 million-plus prototypes of fuel-cell cars, or the "car of the future" as they call it, throughout Northern California, promoting the benefits of fuel cell technology, which among other things if widely adopted, would remove U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Analysts predict Xbox 360 will beat PlayStation 3 - Through to 2008, the analysts predict that the Xbox 360 will shift 19.6 million units whilst the PlayStation 3 will lag behind with 15.5 million units, and Nintendo's Revolution will shift only 5 million units, based on late 2006 releases for both the PS3 and the Revolution.
  • RIAA vs. Online Music Stores- What For? - The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is yet again up to no good. They are seeing that lots of money can be made from the online music store business and they want a bigger piece of it. So the RIAA is "rethinking" its deal with Apple and other online music stores. Some RIAA members think that Apple is getting double the profits that they should be getting because they sell the iPod and then the music to go on the iPod and the RIAA thinks that that isn't fair. Come on, the RIAA is sounding like a big baby here.
  • US rejects changes to net control - The US has rejected calls by European Union (EU) officials to give control of the net over to a more representative United Nations (UN) body.
  • Sony cracks down on PSP hacks - Sony is engaged in a tug-of-war with hackers who keep cracking its PlayStation Portable software to unlock the device and run their own applications on it. The company is preparing another update to the PSP firmware to fix a recently disclosed bug that lets hackers downgrade the PSP system software and run their own, so-called homebrew code on the device, a Sony representative said Thursday. "It is not...what the device was designed for," said Patrick Seybold, a spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment America. "We plan to deal with this issue with the next system update." He declined to say when that update would be ready. 
  • New Skype for Windows gets off ground - Skype for Windows 1.4, first available in beta in August, lets callers forward incoming Skype calls to another Skype account for free. Users can also forward calls to up to three landline or mobile numbers for as little as 2 cents a minute, depending on the country, according to the company's chief marketing officer, Saul Klein.
  • Toshiba confirms US HD DVD delay - Toshiba yesterday confirmed its next-generation optical disc format, HD DVD, will not launch in the US until "February or March". The technology had previously been expected to hit the market before the end of this year. However, HD DVD players will ship in Japan, as set down in the original launch timetable.
  • No AGP for Radeon X1800 - The Inquirer is reporting that ATI will not make an AGP version of its R520-based Radeon X1800. It's expected that the upcoming Radeon X1300, and possibly even X1600, will be available for PCI Express and AGP, but ATI appears content with PCI-E-only for the high end.
  • ATI X1800, X1600, X1300 (R5XX) Pricing - The top dog X1800 XT with 512MiB of memory will be priced at $549, with a 256MiB variant weighing in at $499, while the X1800 XL 256MiB will cost $449. A quick check of a popular US online retailer showed NVIDIA's GeForce 7800 GTX selling around the $460 mark, with the 7800 GT costing ~$360

HARDWARE... 

GUIDES...

  • BIOS Optimization Guide Rev. 8.3.5 -  This guide serves as a repository of knowledge on various BIOS options. It also serves as a guide on how best to optimize your BIOS. Every system is different and every user has different requirements.
  • Data Compression Explained - Compression is quite common these days and is used transparently in many computer systems. A simple example for using compression is the web, in which every time we view an image, we in fact decompress it.

SOFTWARE...

  • Norton AntiVirus 2006 - Symantec has released Norton Antivirus 2006.
  • OpenOffice.org For Windows 2.0 RC1 - OpenOffice.org is the open source project through which Sun Microsystems is releasing the technology for the popular StarOffice productivity suite. It is an international office suite that will run on all major platforms and provide access to all functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an XML-based file format.
  • XP Firewall Control 1.6.029 ($19.95) - XP firewall control (for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows) uses all the present abilities of the firewall and extends them with application level security model. XP firewall control introduces per-application named security zones and allows security zone management at application level.
  • Kerio Personal Firewall 4.2.1 Final - Kerio Personal Firewall (download) helps users control how their computers exchange data with other computers on the Internet or local network. Kerio Personal Firewall is a necessity for all desktop computers connected to broadband Internet, using DSL, cable, ISDN, WiFi or satellite modems.
  • Fasterfox 0.6.5 - Fasterfox - Performance and network tweaks for Firefox. Fasterfox allows you to tweak many network and rendering settings such as simultaneous connections, pipelining, cache, DNS cache, and initial paint delay.
  • MSN Messenger 7.5.0306 (Bug fix update) - With MSN Messenger you can chat online via text, voice, mobile phone or even video conversation -- in real time -- with your friends, family, or colleagues.
  • Skype 1.4.0.71 - Skype (download / changelog) is a little program for making free calls over the internet to anyone else who also has Skype.
  • DivxToDVD 1.99.19 - DivxToDVD (download) is a 1 click solution to convert and burn your movie files to a compatible DVD playable on any home DVD player.
  • PSP Media Player v0.0.5 for PSP - PSP Media Player is a media player which is capable of playing AVI (DivX)/OGG/WMA files, especially DivX AVI files at 480x272 full resolution of the PSP.
  • Virtual Hypnotist 5.3 - Virtual Hypnotist is a free, open source, interactive hypnosis program.  It includes features such as voice recognition, speech synthesis, subliminal messages, completely customizable scripts (featuring a unique scripting language), videos, audio, and lots more. Its purpose is to simulate a real hypnosis session as much as possible.
  • Serious Samurize 1.63a - Samurize (download) is a system monitoring utility with outstanding configuration power. The configuration program is totally separated from the client for minimal memory usage. The program displays almost any kind of information right on your desktop/taskbar and homepage.
  • ForceWare 81.26 Win2000/XP WHQL - Station drivers got hold of the WHQL version of these 81.26 ForceWare drivers. The binaries themselves are dated at August 26, 2005 and 100% similar to the previous beta release, mind you that to preserve the Microsoft WHQL tag only GeForce 6 and upwards are supported in this release
  • ForceWare 81.33 Windows 2000/XP - Station drivers got hold of the 81.33 version of these new ForceWare drivers. Pretty much all GeForce 2 GTS and upwards cards are supported in this release.
 Gameguru Mania News - Sep,29 2005 - tech
ATI cuts Radeon warranties to one year - tech
(hx) 01:12 PM EDT - Sep,29 2005 - Post a comment / read (8)
A member of the Extreme Overclocking Forums noticed (thanks TechReport) that ATI has dropped the warranty period for its consumer graphics cards from three years to only one. It should be noted also, this new warranty rule counts on ALL ATi products, not just videocards, with the exception of the FireGL cards which have a 3 year warranty.
Purchased after august 31st, 2005...

ATI warrants to the original purchaser of the hardware product, that the product is free from defects in materials or workmanship under normal use and service for a period of one (1) year from the date of purchase at retail. If this product is a Workstation product such as ATI's FireGL or FireMV family of products, ATI warrants to the original purchaser of the hardware product, that the Workstation product is free from defects in materials or workmanship under normal use and service for a period of three (3) years from the date of purchase at retail. All cables and accessories provided with an ATI product are warranted to be free from defects in materials or workmanship under normal use and service for a period of for (90) ninety days from date of purchase at retail.
Purchased BEFORE august 31st, 2005

ATI Technologies Inc. warrants to the original purchaser of the hardware that the product is in good working condition, according to its specifications at the time of shipment, for a period of one to five years from the date of original purchase. The warranty term depends on the product. RADEON 7000 and newer products have a three year warranty. DV Wonder cards have a two year warranty. The Remote Wonder has a one year warranty. All other ATI products have a five year warranty.
 Gameguru Mania News - Sep,28 2005 - tech
GeForce 7800 Go Notebook Benchmarks - tech
(hx) 05:00 PM EDT - Sep,28 2005 - Post a comment
The chaps over at Bit-Tech take a look at one of the first notebooks powered by a 7800 Go mobile chip from Nvidia. They have tested a Pentium M based notebook with the mobile chip against a Pentium M based desktop system with a full 7800 GTX to see whether or not the mobile part really is as fast as the desktop:
The Evesham laptop: This laptop is something of a stunner. It's form factor is the best we've seen for 17" mobile PCs, and the battery life we obtained was pretty damn impressive. We like the fact that hardcore gamers - and let's face it, who else is going to buy this thing? - can have a DVI output for a secondary display. However, the most amazing thing about this laptop is the price. The 2.0GHz model comes in at £1349, which for the graphics power you are getting, is absolutely outrageous. Even with the extra processor speed, the uprated display and the faster hard drive, it's still only £1700 - which for the amount of PC under the hood, is brilliant, in this form factor. Our only quibble is with the design - we would really like something a little racier.

We've said we didn't have enough time with the machine to test it fully, and so we can't call this a review and give it an award. However, we can wholeheartedly suggest you check out this machine if you're in the market for a gaming notebook.

The GeForce Go 7800: Frankly, we didn't believe NVIDIA when it told us that this mobile chip was going to be as fast as the desktop chip. However, leaving aside the fact that desktop enthusiast mainboards and chips are faster than laptops, the graphics chip itself appears to be almost exactly as fast as the 7800 GTX - that's an incredible feat.
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