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 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,18 2006 - tech 
GeForce 7900 Series Specs - tech
(hx) 03:29 AM EST - Feb,18 2006 - Post a comment / read (2)
VR-Zone has posted some specs for the upcoming 90nm G71 series already. There will be two models as we have revealed before; the GeForce 7900 GTX and GeForce 7900 GT. GeForce 7900 GTX will be clocked at 650MHz core / 1.6GHz memory and has 512MB GDDR3 1.1ns memories onboard while GeForce 7900 GT will be clocked at 450MHz core / 1.32GHz memory with 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns memories.
GeForce 7900 GTX will be clocked at 650MHz core / 1.6GHz memory and has 512MB GDDR3 1.1ns memories onboard while GeForce 7900 GT will be clocked at 450MHz core / 1.32GHz memory with 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns memories. We have also heard that GeForce 7900 GTX will win Radeon X1900 XTX in most benchmarks so we shall eagerly wait for the launch on March 9th at CeBIT.
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,16 2006 - tech
F-Secure confirms rootkit-like copy protection - tech
(hx) 06:06 PM EST - Feb,16 2006 - Post a comment
The German DVD of Hollywood blockbuster Mr and Mrs Smith, released on 24 January, contains copy-protection software called Alpha-DVD, according to Heise Online, which first reported the issue. The disc will not play on Windows PCs unless the software is installed. Alpha-DVD contains user-mode rootkit-like features that hide its own process, according to F-Secure. (thanks TechWorld)
The Settec Alpha-DISC copy protection system used on the DVD contains user-mode rootkit-like features to hide itself. The system will hide its own process, but does not appear to hide any files or registry entries. This makes the feature a bit less dangerous, as anti-virus products will still be able to scan all files on the disk. However, as we note in our article on rootkits, it's not that uncommon for real malware to only hide their processes.

Our message to software companies producing any software (not just copy protection products) is clear. You should always avoid hiding anything from the user, especially the administrator. It rarely serves the needs of the user, and in many cases it's very easy to create a security vulnerability this way.

If you suspect you have this copy protection system installed on your computer and you wish to remove it, the manufacturer is providing an uninstaller.
Will Apple Adopt Windows? - tech
(hx) 05:59 PM EST - Feb,16 2006 - Post a comment / read (7)
PC Mags writer John C. Dvorak discusses the idea that Apple may dump OS X and 'switch' to running Windows in a recent column:
The idea that Apple would ditch its own OS for Microsoft Windows came to me from Yakov Epstein, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University, who wrote to me convinced that the process had already begun. I was amused, but after mulling over various coincidences, I'm convinced he may be right. This would be the most phenomenal turnabout in the history of desktop computing.

Epstein made four observations. The first was that the Apple Switch ad campaign was over, and nobody switched. The second was that the iPod lost its FireWire connector because the PC world was the new target audience. Also, although the iPod was designed to get people to move to the Mac, this didn't happen. And, of course, that Apple had switched to the Intel microprocessor.
Saitek A-250 Wireless 2.1 Speaker System - tech
(hx) 05:47 PM EST - Feb,16 2006 - Post a comment
BigBruin take a look at the new A-250 Wireless 2.1 Speaker System from Saitek Audio. The A-250 Wireless 2.1 Speaker System offers some unique features, with one of the most interesting being the ability to stream and control music from your computer remotely via a 2.4 GHz RF wireless connection.
I am always happy when a product performs as advertised, and the A-250 Wireless 2.1 Speaker System live up to all the claims Saitek makes. They have an attractive appearance and produce better than average sound for a portable 2.1 speaker system.

Battery life is still some what of an unknown factor at this point. I estimate I have approximately 20-22 hours of use on a set of Kirkland brand AA batteries and to this point they show no signs of running out of juice. Whether they will die suddenly or fade away remains to be seen. All of the claims Saitek has made have been lived up to, and I suspect they will meet or exceed the published duration of 24 hours.

- Wireless portability
- Ability to control music stream remotely
- Can connect to many music sources and be powered by A/C adaptor or battery power
- Better than average sound quality

- Can not control music stream when powering speakers thru A/C adaptor
- Possible dead spots within reception range
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,15 2006 - tech
Microsoft Security Updates: February 2006 - tech
(hx) 03:46 PM EST - Feb,15 2006 - Post a comment / read (7)
As promised last week, Microsoft has released their security patch builletin for the month of February. As usual all required patches for your PC can be found on Microsoft Update
  • MS06-004: Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (910620) [Critical] - A vulnerability exists in the Graphics Rendering Engine that could allow remote code execution.
  • MS06-005: Vulnerability in Windows Media Player Could Allow Remote Code Execution (911565) [Critical] - A vulnerability exists in the way that Windows Media Player processes certain files that could allow remote code execution.
  • MS06-006: Vulnerability in Windows Media Player Plug-in with Non-Microsoft Internet Browsers Could Allow Remote Code Execution (911564) [Important] - A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the Windows Media Player plug-in for non-Microsoft Internet browsers that can allow remote code execution.
  • MS06-007: Vulnerability in TCP/IP Could Allow Denial of Service (913446) [Important] - A vulnerability exists that could allow an attacker to send a specially crafted IGMP that could cause an affected system to stop responding. (Ed.note: if you have issues with this patch when installing it from Microsoft Update then download the patch and installing it manually)
  • MS06-008: Vulnerability in Web Client Service Could Allow Remote Code Execution (911927) [Important] - A vulnerability exists in the Windows Web Client Service that could allow an attacker to take complete control of an affected system. An attacker must have valid logon credentials and be able to log on locally to exploit this vulnerability.
    MS06-009: Vulnerability in the Korean Input Method Editor Could Allow Elevation of Privilege (901190) [Important] -
    A vulnerability exists in the Windows and Office Korean Input Method Editor that could allow an attacker to take complete control of an affected system. For an attack to be successful an attacker must be able to interactively log on to the affected system.
  • SavRow Launches AXEN-X1 Meganotebook - tech
    (hx) 03:16 PM EST - Feb,15 2006 - Post a comment / read (2)
    SavRow informed us that they have launched the AXEN-X1 Meganotebook. This notebook has a 19" widescreen, AMD Turion64 processor and duel 7800 GTX Go modules. Here's the press release:
    The AXEN-X1's 19" WSXGA+ widescreen is one of our finest to date, operating at 1680×1050 pixel native resolution. Bring the next generations of games to heel with the graphical prowess of two 7800 GTX GPUs! Effortlessly power through even the most demanding 32 and 64bit applications with AMD's Turion64. As per SavRow's uncompromising philosophy the AXEN-X1 is a computer system a cut above the rest.

    SavRow's professional auto body, corporate branding and custom airbrush SavRoyal paint options are available for the AXEN-X1. In addition, the AXEN-X1 features SavRow's award winning 3 year silverspoon warranty and accidental damage cover, as standard. Moreover, as the AXEN-X1's component and feature set grows and develops, the same upgradeability that our clients have come to expect will be extended to AXEN owners. The AXEN-X1 is available to pre-order immediately.
    Nice, one of the few laptops I would actually consider buying if I had the money :P
     Gameguru Mania News - Feb,14 2006 - tech
    AACS copy protection for Blu-ray/HDDVD delayed - tech
    (hx) 09:14 AM EST - Feb,14 2006 - Post a comment
    Heise Online reports that the AACS specification has been postponed once again, so the sales releases announced for the first Blu-ray burners, HD DVD drives, and stand-alone players at the beginning of March will probably not be possible.
    Last Friday, the meeting of the AACS LA was to resolve the final specifications of the new Advanced Access Content System (AACS). But insiders are reporting that no such agreement was reached. Instead, it is said that an important member of the Blu-ray Disc Association is still voicing concerns about the interaction of AACS and the additional BD+ protection for Blu-ray movies. The next meeting is scheduled for February 23rd and 24th.

    Without the AACS specification, the copy protection keys that manufacturers of drives and media need cannot be produced. For instance, manufacturers such as NEC, Pioneer, Samsung, and Toshiba are eagerly awaiting the specifications so they can implement AACS in their equipment.

    Hollywood movie studios are insisting that such protection be included in all drives. Without AACS, high-resolution movies can only be played at lower resolution. A Mandatory Managed Copy (MMC) can, however, be made. Only if the holder of the copyright gives explicit consent may a limited number of copies of the original disc be created; the movie may also not be streamed via a Media Center or to mobile devices without express consent. An online connection is required to check for rights to make a permitted copy. The holder of the copyright may, however, completely rule out copies or demand a fee.
    2.5" Serial ATA hard drive round-up - tech
    (hx) 06:12 AM EST - Feb,14 2006 - Post a comment
    TechReport tested the latest 5,400- and 7,200-RPM Serial ATA notebook drives from Hitachi and Seagate:
    Our test results show very clear performance differences between the 2.5" mobile Serial ATA hard drives we assembled. At times, those performance differences were surprising, as we certainly didn't expect to see Seagate's Momentus 5400.2 beating Hitachi's Travelstar 7K100 in so many tests. We also didn't expect the 7K100 to falter so much in IOMeter, or for either Travelstar to perform so strongly in our iPEAK multitasking tests. Those iPEAK results in particular make it clear that the Travelstar drives are capable of spectacular performance. However, whatever caching and command queuing optimizations cause them to do so well in our multitasking tests appear to be hindering performance in other applications.

    Although the Momentus drives didn't fare so well in iPEAK, they did offer better overall performance throughout the rest of our test suite. WorldBench performance was particularly strong, suggesting that the Momentus drives are better suited for the kinds of desktop applications that typically face laptop users. In fact, given the performance we've seen today, I'd actually recommend a 5,400-RPM Momentus 5400.2 over a 7,200-RPM Travelstar 7K100 for most users.

    The Momentus recommendation is even easier to make given the fact that Seagate's five-year warranty gives users an extra two years of coverage compared to Hitachi. You don't pay much of a premium for the extra coverage, either, as there's little difference in price between comparable Momentus and Travelstar models. There's little difference between their noise levels and power consumption, as well, making the Momentus drives an even clearer choice.
     Gameguru Mania News - Feb,13 2006 - tech
    Intel's Pentium M 760 vs AMD's Turion 64 ML-44 - tech
    (hx) 06:07 PM EST - Feb,13 2006 - Post a comment
    The chaps over at TechReport take a quick look at the two most widely available mobile processors today: the Pentium M versus the Turion 64.
    What strikes me about these results is how, for all of the differences in architectures and the back-and-forth battles on individual tests, on the whole the two processors seem evenly matched, as evidenced by the tie on the overall WorldBench score. It seems that every place where one chip should have an advantage, it's brought back into check by another deficit. The Turion 64's on-die memory controller is hampered by the single channel DDR400 limitation, while the Pentium M's high memory bandwidth is handicapped by its slow front-side bus.

    From a power consumption perspective, the Turion 64 surprised me. Yes, our Turion 64 test system consumed a third again more power than the Pentium M system at 100% CPU load, but unless you're using your laptop to crunch that F@H work unit on the plane, maximum power consumption isn't usually all that important. For typical use, it seems likely the Turion 64 would be competitive with the Pentium M on the battery life front, as well.
     Gameguru Mania News - Feb,12 2006 - tech
    Samsung 244T 24" LCD Monitor - tech
    (hx) 05:06 PM EST - Feb,12 2006 - Post a comment / read (2)
    OverclockersOnline take a look at the Samsung 244T 24" LCD Monitor:
    Samsung has once again delivered an exceptional display product that's far superior than any of the monitors I have worked with to date. The colors are exceptionally beautiful and there was no ghosting or blurring even during the most action packed scenes tested.

    With a variety of input options, I managed to try both the Digital and Analog connections, and neither of them caused any problems whatsoever. With the option of using HDTV, S-Video or Composite in, all this monitor is missing is a TV Tuner and a remote. :) The addition of two USB ports is a very nice touch, despite the USB input not being exactly where I would have preferred it to be. For those programmers who want more vertical space for their work, the portrait view is what you want. The old adage of "you get what you pay for" is certainly true, and while this monitor costs a bit more than some alternatives, perfection is priceless.
    2GB DDR SDRAM Memory Kits for Overclockers - tech
    (hx) 05:00 PM EST - Feb,12 2006 - Post a comment
    The chaps over at X-bit Labs take a closer look at 2GB DDR SDRAM kits from Corsair, OCZ, G.Skill and PQI:
    Among the numerous DDR memory modules with 1GB capacity available today on the market, modules on Infineon's revision C chips seem to be the best. Such modules can work with 2-3-2 timings at frequencies near 200MHz (400MHz DDR), with 3-3-2 timings at 250MHz (500MHz DDR) frequency, and with "bad" timings at 280MHz (560MHz DDR) and higher.

    Among the products we have reviewed today, the pair of OCZ PC4000 EB Dual Channel Platinum Edition modules features such chips. And it is this memory kit that has shown the best overclockability and maximum performance in our tests.

    We'd want to draw your attention to the Corsair TWINX2048-3500LLPRO kit, too. Although the overclocking potential of these modules is lower than of the OCZ PC4000 EB Dual Channel Platinum Edition, they boast better stability with the aggressive 2-3-2 timings at frequencies over 220MHz (440MHz DDR). Moreover, these modules look cute and have a LED indicator on the top edge. On the other hand, don't forget about the possible problems that may arise due to their really huge size.
     Gameguru Mania News - Feb,10 2006 - tech
    Friday Tech Madness - CloneCD - tech
    (hx) 07:29 PM EST - Feb,10 2006 - Post a comment / read (5)


    • Prepare for Microsoft's Patch Tuesday - Microsoft on Tuesday plans to release seven patches for several of its software products, including at least two critical updates for known vulnerabilities, according to the company's monthly security update. The planned patches include one critical fix for Microsoft Windows Media Player; four patches for Windows, at least one of which is critical; one security update rated as important for both Windows and Microsoft Office; and another important update for Office.
    • Malware Evolution: 2005 report - The report is based on data received from Kaspersky Lab's round the clock monitoring of malicious code. It covers the evolution of malicious code over the past year in detail, including developments which have taken place in the criminal underground.
    • Techconnect Magazine's Under Attack - A new article detailing the nature and protective measure one can take against malware, from viruses to spyware, is up at Techconnect Magazine.
    • Firefox Users Surf Safer - According to two University of Washington Professors, Firefox users have a safer browsing experience than users of IE. These researchers sent their crawlers to 45,000 websites and studied the impact on Firefox and IE.
    • Don't use Google toolbar - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has warned that people should not download Google Desktop because it "greatly increases the risk to consumer privacy".
    • Settec protection on German video DVD impairs CD/DVD writers - This copy protection is known as Alpha-DVD. The main application receives a different name on every install, using inconspicuous names such as "win32k2.exe" and "msxhtml.exe". Its file properties characterize it as a "System PTHelper". The executable launches as a cloaked process which Process Explorer. The copy protection also loads a DLL file into memory (hadl.dll), which becomes a child process of all running executables. In the system registry, Alpha-DVD sets itself up as "SystemManager" and armors this entry in such a way that it is restored on every reboot.
    • Zone Alarm fix bettered - Jim Borck of Infoworld having originally caught Zone Alarm 'phoning home' has released the following work-around to stop the firewall connecting to four remote servers for whatever reason.  To implement the fix, add the following to your Hosts file:,,, and
    • IBM Lotus Notes Multiple Vulnerabilities - Secunia Research has discovered multiple vulnerabilities in Lotus Notes, which can be exploited by malicious people to bypass certain security restrictions or compromise a user's system.


    • FBI probes hacking incident at Indiana clinic - An orthopedics clinic in Indiana has called in the FBI to investigate a hacking incident that involved a back door placed on one of its systems, with the unauthorized access allegedly being traced back to computers at the vendor that developed the software.
    • Newest Patent Threat to MPEG-4 - PCMag reports that AT&T claims to have a patent covering core MPEG-4 technology and has warned Apple and others of Patent Infringement. Pentax and Nero have already paid them.


    • MP3 Inventor Develops Tool to Fight Piracy - Researchers at the Fraunhofer Integrated Publication and Information Systems Institute have successfully tested a software system, based on the group's own digital watermarking technology, for tracking pirated audio files in peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, says Michael Kip, a spokesperson for the institute. Kip referred to the Fraunhofer approach as an alternative to DRM (digital rights management) systems, which he says require special players and are prone to hacking.
    • Intel shows off its quad core - Clovertown, a four-core processor, will start shipping to computer manufacturers late this year and hit the market in early 2007. Clovertown will be made for dual-processor servers, which means that these servers will essentially be eight-processor servers (two processors x four cores each).
    • Intel offers reseller rebates on dual-core chips - Intel is apparently offering resellers instant rebates on select dual-core processors until April 22nd. The rebates affect Pentium D 820, 830, and 840 chips and amount to $40, $60, and $80, respectively
    • UK gains first free movies channel - Channel 4 are continuing the UK's digital free-to-air revolution by providing their subscriber service, FilmFour, free of charge. Bosses have decided to enable anyone with a digital terrestrial receiver to experience the L10m a year Channel 4 spends on independent film. After the relaunch, which is expected in July, the channel will show a range of Hollywood, classic, world cinema and cult films running from 3pm to 3am.
    • Microsoft Contest Hints at Vista Ship Date -  Microsoft contest to guess Windows Vista's ship date hints that the product's release date could be December 1, though the company itself is remaining characteristically mum on the topic. A contest through the Microsoft BetaExperience campaign for users in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region is offering prizes to people who guess the correct ship date of Windows Vista.
    • One In Two PCs Won't Run Vista's 3D Interface - Roughly half of today's PCs won't be able to take advantage of the "Aero Glass" compositor found within Microsoft's upcoming Vista software, due at the end of this year. The fault was that the low-cost integrated graphics controllers customers have chosen process the 2D windows of Windows XP and Windows 2000 just fine, but lack the bells and whistles necessary to process the Windows Desktop Compositing Engine used in Vista. About 63 percent of the 203 million PCs sold used an integrated graphics controller, JPR reported.
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 teaser Video - check it out
    • Nintendo ups its game with DS promo - Nintendo has announced the launch of an initiative offering DS owners free downloadable game demos and other content at thousands of participating retail locations. The game of their choice will download automatically and users can play all they want until the Nintendo DS is turned off. Players can try out as many games as they like. The first DS Download Service stations will include free demos of Tetris DS, Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day, Mario Kart DS, Meteos, True Swing Golf and Pokemon Trozei.
    • PlayStation 3 May Play Too Much - Businessweek has a article looking at the PlayStation 3, worrying that Sony is confusing the consumer with all of the technology it's trying to work into the console.
    • Europeans ripped off on mobile charges - Charges for calls to European mobile phones are among the most expensive in the world, analysts have reported. The average cost per minute in Europe is more than three times the rate in Asia, according to research conducted over the past year by Telecoms Management Group (TMG).



    • AMD Cool 'n' Quiet - Similar to Intel's SpeedStep Technology, which originally came about to prolong the battery life for mobile users through reducing the CPU clock frequency and voltage, AMD's Athlon 64 processors support the use of Cool 'n' Quiet Technology.
    • Thinking About Discount Laptop Computers - There are a variety of reasons that a particular model may be discounted and it's smart to try to find out why.
    • How To Maximize Hard Drive Life - The following is a list of important maintenance and monitoring techniques you can use to maximize the life of your hard drive and prevent data loss.
    • Aperture Vs. Shutter Speed  - The aperture setting of a camera refers to the amount of light that is let into the camera body by the lens. An iris contracts or expands depending on this setting on the camera, thus controlling the light that hits the film. Shutter speed and aperture values are at a constant tug-of-war concerning light.
    • Closer Look at 17" LCD Monitor Features. Part VII - check it out!
    • ATI Catalyst 6.2 Performance Analysis - check it out!


    • Diskeeper 10 Professional Premier review - Diskeeper is the only defragmenter truly designed for the network. Keeping your servers automatically defragmented to maintain peak performance and reliability has never been easier.
    • DirectX 9.0c February 2006  (unofficial download!)- Microsoft DirectX (previously WinG) is a group of technologies designed to make Windows-based computers an ideal platform for running and displaying applications rich in multimedia elements such as full-color graphics, video, 3D animation and rich audio.
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar Beta 2 - The Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar (download) provides several features for exploring and understanding Web pages.
    • Windows Live Messenger Build 0562 - Build 0562 is now available on
    • MSN Messenger 7.5.0324 - MSN Messenger (download) is more than just text, it’s a great way to collaborate with co-workers or touch base with family and friends.
    • Skype - Skype (download / release notes) is the next phenomenon from the people who brought you KaZaA. Just like KaZaA, Skype uses P2P (peer-to-peer) technology to connect you to other users – not to share files this time, but to talk for free with your friends.
    • Google Talk Beta - Google Talk (download) enables you to call or send instant messages to your friends for free–anytime, anywhere in the world.
    • Microsoft Genuine Validation Firefox Plugin Updated - download
    • FastStone Image Viewer 2.30 - 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 1.82 - XnView, a software to view and convert graphic files, really simple to use. Support of more than 400 graphics formats!
    • Songbird O.1 - Songbird is a Web player (MP3) built from Firefox's browser engine.
    • MAME v0.104 - MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, and currently runs 1800+ classic (and even some not so classic) arcade games.
    • Adobe (Acrobat) Reader 7.0.7 - Adobe Acrobat Reader is free, and freely distributable, software that lets you view and print Portable Document Format (PDF) files - download full / update only
    • 3DMark03 Patch - Build #360 - download the #350 patch from this page
    • Process Explorer 10.0 - This major Process Explorer update (download) has an extensive list of new features and enhancements aimed at usability and malware hunting. Just some of the examples include Runas and Run As Limited User commands, process restart, column sets, enhanced process tooltips for service-hosting and Rundll32 processes, working set breakdown columns, and DLL image verification and packed-image detection.
    • CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) 1.27.255 Beta - CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) is a freeware system optimization tool that removes unused and temporary files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster, more efficiently and giving you more hard disk space.
    • CloneCD - CloneCD (download) is a powerful CD-Copy program. It writes in Raw mode, which allows it to have total control on the data written. Therefore, it will produce real 1:1 copies of your CDs. This new version adds overburning for DVD media, support for DVD-R DL media, and more.
    • ConvertXtoDVD (ex-DivxToDVD) - DivxToDVD (download) is a 1 click solution to convert and burn your movie files to a compatible DVD playable on any home DVD player.
    • Free iPod Video Converter 1.32.852 - Free iPod Video Converter (download) provides an easy and completed way to convert all popular video formats to iPod video. You can enjoy DVD/VCD and AVI, MPEG, WMV, RM, RMVB, DivX, ASF, VOB video files in your iPod with few clicks.
    • SpeedFan 4.28 - SpeedFan (download) is a freeware program that monitors fan speeds, temperatures and voltages in computers with hardware monitoring chips
    • CPU-Z 1.32 - CPU-Z (download) is a freeware detection program base on the Panopsys hardware detection engine. It allows to get some information on your system.
    Radeon X1900-series roundup - tech
    (hx) 01:49 PM EST - Feb,10 2006 - Post a comment
    The chaps over at Bi-Tech have tested three X1900 XTX cards (Club 3D, Connect3D and Sapphire), one X1900 XT (PowerColor) and one X1900 All-in-Wonder. The Radeon X1900XTX cards are all clocked at the reference clocks of 650/1550MHz, while PowerColor's Radeon X1900XT is clocked at 625/1450MHz and the All-In-Wonder comes clocked at 500/960MHz with only 256MB of memory.
    So, which one do you buy? Ultimately, it depends on what you're looking for, and whether you're looking for a video card with a games bundle. If you're looking for something with a bundle of games, the Sapphire Radeon X1900XTX looks to be the best choice out there. The extra L1 asking price over Club 3D's Radeon X1900XTX well worth it if you're after a good solid bundle. Having said that, Club 3D's bundle is pretty good too and it was the best-packed card of the bunch with its foam cutout protection.

    Connect3D's card is also tremendous value (for a high-end card) at L400, especially when you consider that NVIDIA's GeForce 7800 GTX 512 costs well over L500 if you can find it available in the UK. Overclockers are selling BFG Tech's card at a whopping L646.19 including VAT. At least it's available, though. There's nothing to write home about when it comes to Connect3D's bundle, but it's adequate and has everything that you're going to need to get the card up and running in the latest and greatest games.

    PowerColor's Radeon X1900XT is also pretty good value and the performance is generally very close to the performance delivered by the Radeon X1900XTX cards. Our sample overclocked to Radeon X1900XTX speeds, but it didn't go any further than that. Of course, overclocking is a lottery, so we can't guarantee that every Radeon X1900XT will overclock to XTX clock speeds. By the same token, other Radeon X1900XTs might overclock even further than the one we've got here. The bundle doesn't come with any games, but it does come with a decent amount of multimedia software.

    The one reason not to get a Radeon X1900XTX at the moment would be ATI's CrossFire technology. It seems a little strange that ATI chose to use the Radeon X1900XT clock speeds on the CrossFire Edition card, as it means that the Radeon X1900XTX will be clocked down to the same 625/1450MHz, rendering the additional cost for an XTX a little pointless if you've got the vision of moving towards CrossFire later down the line.
     Gameguru Mania News - Feb,09 2006 - tech
    ATI CATALYST Drivers v6.2 - tech
    (hx) 06:29 PM EST - Feb,09 2006 - Post a comment / read (4)
    ATI has released a new ATI Catalyst drivers (release notes / download ~ 34.7MB) bringing them up to version 6.2. The package contains: RADEON display driver 8.221, Multimedia Center 9.13 Catalyst Control Center 6.2 (requires NET Version 11 Framework), HydraVision Basic Edition 3.25.9006, Remote Wonder 3.03, WDM versions 8.221 and 4.07 and Southbridge/IXP Driver.
    Issues Resolved in Catalyst Software Suite 6.2:
    • BattleField 2 Special Forces: A blooming or ghosting effect is no longer noticed when playing the game in night vision mode. Further details on this resolved issue can be found in topic number 737-21648
    • City of Heroes: Running Shadertest 7 no longer results in slow performance being noticed. Further details can be found in topic number 737-21463
    • Dragonshard: Playing the game under Windows XP Media Center Edition with CrossFire™ enabled, no longer results in the screen becoming out of sync, and a scrolling display image occurring shortly there after. Further details on this resolved issue can be found in topic number 737-20975
    • Fable: The Lost Chapters: Playing the game under Windows XP MCE may result in the shadows found within the game appearing jittery, when the desktop resolution is set to 1024x768 32bpp, and all the game options are set to default. Further details on this resolved issue can be found in topic number 737-21184
    • Half-Life2: Enabling Catalyst AI no longer results in the outer edges of the water appear dark or black in color. Further details on this resolved issue can be found in topic number. 737-21649
    • Pacific Fighters: A stuttering effect at certain levels of the game is no longer noticed when playing the game with CrossFire enabled. Further details on this resolved issue can be found in topic number 737-21650
    • The Fall: A VPU Recover event or the operating system failing to respond no longer occur when playing the game. Further details on this resolved issue can be found in topic number 737-21651
    • World of Warcraft: Pixel corruption is no longer noticed when playing the game on systems containing an ATI Radeon X1600 series. Further details on this resolved issue can be found in topic number 737-21652
    Western Digital WD1500ADFD: King Raptor - tech
    (hx) 07:36 AM EST - Feb,09 2006 - Post a comment / read (1)
    The chaps over at AnandTech take a look at the Western Digital WD1500ADFD. The drives still sports the 10,000 RPM spindle speed, 4.6 milli-second read seek time, and a two-platter design now at 150-gigabyte capacity. The platter's density has been increased to 75-gigabytes and equals those of its 10,000 RPM SCSI competitors. The buffer size has been doubled to 16 megabytes, matching the latest offerings from other drive manufacturers.
    Western Digital has addressed the shortcomings of its previous models with the addition of a 16 MB buffer, NCQ, and native SATA implementation wrapped in two different packages depending upon your tastes and budget. With the upcoming transition from the parallel SCSI Ultra320 interface to the new Serial Attached SCSI interface, the drive stands a very good chance at competing successfully in the entry-level enterprise market. The SAS standard offers interoperability with the current SATA standards. In fact, both standards utilize the same physical connectors, while SAS host adapters can control SATA drives. This also offers the opportunity for the drive to become a standard in the workstation market where, historically, SCSI has competed well against SATA based upon performance to price ratios.
     Gameguru Mania News - Feb,08 2006 - tech
    AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 CPU - tech
    (hx) 08:56 AM EST - Feb,08 2006 - Post a comment
    GamePC posted a review on the AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 CPU. This new FX-60 dual-core processor has two cores running at 2.6 GHz, each with their own 1 MB of cache to utilize (2 MB total). With each core running at a brisk 2.6 GHz.
    The FX-60 is the fastest processor out there, and Intel's offerings really aren't coming close in the big picture. Our benchmarks clearly show that this new FX model gives better performance compared to AMD's own Athlon64 X2 models along with Intel's new Pentium-D processors. While Intel has improved performance and efficiency with their new 900-series chips, and they can even win a benchmark here or there, it's still pretty clear that AMD owns the dual-core arena. The FX-60 really is the best of both worlds, as the chip provides excellent performance in both workstation-class application and games.

    However, the limitations of the FX-60 chip also reveal potential kinks in AMD's armor, most notably dealing with their manufacturing process. The FX-60 is based on 90nm technology, and AMD is pushing the limits of how far they can take their design while manufacturing at this level. The FX-60 chip chews quite a lot of power, creates noticeably more heat than its predecessors, and generally does not overclock well, all three are signs that their current architecture is reaching its limitations. That's not to say that AMD couldn't refresh their chips to last a little longer, but if they don't do something fast, it's unlikely that they will be able to get beyond 2.8 GHz on their current 90nm tech. Luckily, AMD has 65nm tech in the pipeline, and all signs point to them making the switch sometime this year.

    None of these minor nuisances should keep potential buyers away. The price-tag, however, certainly will. The FX-60 is a tough pill to swallow at roughly $1200, especially when AMD just dropped prices on their Athlon64 X2 lineup, and the (still very fast) X2 4800+ processor is nearing half that level at around $700. The FX-60 is certainly not a winner in the price/performance realm, but the FX lineup never has been. It's excessive and un-necessary, but if you're looking for the best, well, here it is.
    Lifebook P7120 - tech
    (hx) 08:15 AM EST - Feb,08 2006 - Post a comment
    MobileMark 2005 perfomance
    Trusted Reviews take a look at the Lifebook P7120 from Fujitsu-Siemens. This new model has taken the best parts of the P7010 and then had the latest in mobile technology added to it. The processor is an ultra low voltage Pentium M 753 which is clocked at a comparably slow 1.2GHz. However, the ULV processor means that you get less heat and longer battery life. Interestingly, the Lifebook P7120 is passively cooled; there isn't a single fan inside it.
    Performance wise the Lifebook P7120 is no scorcher, but it compares well to similar machines. However, the Sony Vaio TX1XP offered about the same performance and had longer battery life, but at a higher price. Still, with seven minutes short of five hours battery life in MobileMark 2005 it's hard to complain and the DVD playback test was two minutes short of four hours.
    This doesn't mean that the Lifebook P7120 is a bad notebook by any means as there are few that can touch it in terms of battery life in its class. Considering that you can pick ono up for L1,397.08 this is a pretty good value proposition for anyone that needs an ultra portable machine with a built in drive. Fujitsu-Siemens has once again shown that the Lifebook P family of ultra portable notebooks is one of the best
     Gameguru Mania News - Feb,07 2006 - tech
    NVidia Forceware 81.98 WHQL Drivers (Feb7) - tech
    (hx) 02:44 PM EST - Feb,07 2006 - Post a comment
    A new WHQL Forceware graphics drivers v81.98 (dated February 7, 2006 -  Win2k/XP ~ 20.8MB) are available for download from the official NVIDIA download page. These WHQL certified drivers add support for GeForce 7800 GS AGP.
    Issues Resolved in Version 81.98:
    - Removed the Direct Access functionality from the driver user interface.
    - Low Viewperf 8.01 scores occur with Dual Core and dual processor systems.
    - Dual Core Processors: Corel Paint Shop Pro X does not work.
    - Rendering problems occur in Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
    - GeForce 7 Series: Ground textures in Flight Simulator 2004 do not render correctly when using “Ultra High” settings.
    - GeForce 7800 GTX 512: The system cannot resume from Standby.
    - GeForce 7800 GTX/GT: Running F.E.A.R. hangs the system on the Apple 30ʺ Cinema display when Monitor Scaling is used.
    - GeForce 7800 GTX/GT, GeForce 6800/6600: Ground and water textures are corrupted when zooming out in Civilization 4.
    - GeForce 7800 GTX/GT, GeForce 6800: Shadows fail to render in Splinter Cell 1.
    - Dual GeForce 7800 GTX/GT: Everquest 2 launches to a black screen when antialiasing is set to 2xQ at 1920 x 1200 resolution.
    - GeForce 7800 GTX 512: Chronicles of Riddick does not run at resolutions higher than 800x600.
    - GeForce 7800, GeForce 6800: Corruption is seen in Flight Simulator 2004.
    - GeForce 7800 GTX, GeForce 6800, Quadro FX 4500: The system slows down with the Liquid Edition SD time line.
    - GeForce 6800: Wrong colors appear when playing QuickTime trailers using the non-native video resolution.
    - GeForce 6800 Ultra / GeForce FX 5950 Ultra: Battlefield 2 has corruption or crashes when a player switches from zoomed commander view to zoomed sniper view.
    - GeForce 6800: Shimmering or cropping of the full-screen video mirror occurs when covering the video window with another window.
    - GeForce 6150/6100, Windows XP Media Center Edition: The driver does not recognize display connection changes that occur during a system shutdown.
    - GeForce 6100/6150, Windows Media Center Edition 2005 Update Rollup 2: HD modes are listed as available when a TV is connected using S-Video.
    - GeForce 6150/6100, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005: The display remains inactive when resuming from Suspend mode.
    - GeForce FX 5200: Textures disappear in CrimeLife v105.
    - GeForce4 Ti 4200, Windows 98: Java applications crash when calling OpenGL
     Gameguru Mania News - Feb,06 2006 - tech
    NVIDIA GeForce 6800GS Roundup - tech
    (hx`) 11:51 AM EST - Feb,06 2006 - Post a comment
    LegionHardware tested six different NVIDIA GeForce 6800GS video cards - three eVGAa GeForce 6800GS graphics cards (425, 450 and 490Mhz models), two Leadtek WinFast cards (425 and 485Mhz), Gigabyte GV-NX68G256D-B (425Mhz), Microstar MSI NX6800GS-TD256E (425MHz), PNY Verto GeForce 6800GS PCIe Overclocked (470MHz) and two cards from XFX (450Mhz and 485Mhz):
    Given that all six manufacturers included in this roundup used the exact same cooling design, being the NVIDIA reference cooler, there was not a lot that could be compared here. The biggest alterations here had to do with the graphic plastered to the cooler. Even the PCB designs were identical with almost all of them using the same components. Furthermore, all were able to achieve a core clock of over 500MHz and a memory frequency of 1.2GHz. This leaves us with only the price and package for comparison.

    The first question you have to ask yourself is do you need to purchase a pre-overclocked graphics card? I guess to do this you first need to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages to such a purchase. The advantages to a pre-overclocked graphics card are better performance, although limited improvements they are there nonetheless. Another would be the fact that the manufacturer guarantees the overclock and it does not affect the warranty. Finally the last advantage is inexperienced users get the extra performance without the "daunting" overclocking procedure.

    Okay so the disadvantages are? Well first and foremost the price, manufacturers seem to charge at least another $20 US for the overclocked variant. The performance increase on average was about 5% while the price increase was in some cases a 20% rise. Although some users may consider overclocking to be daunting this really is not the case. Most graphics cards even come with user friendly overclocking software these days. Nevertheless, the coolbits registry hack is the quickest and easiest way to overclock any NVIDIA based graphics card.

    Therefore I strongly do not believe there is any value in purchasing a pre-overclocked graphics card if the same manufacturer sells a standard card for $20 US less. More often than not the memory is the same, the PCB design is the same and the cooling solution is the same. Therefore consumers are paying potentially $20 US more for a procedure that should take no more than 5 minutes. Squeezing another 55MHz out of a GeForce 6800GS core is extremely easy and I do not believe there is a 6800GS card out there that cannot achieve this.

    The GeForce 6800GS is designed to be the ultimate performance vs. price graphics card. Therefore if I were to be purchasing one I would be aiming to pick up the cheapest version possible. This would leave me with the eVGA e-GeForce 6800 GS, Gigabyte GV-NX68G256D-B, MSI NX6800GS-TD256E and Leadtek WinFast PX6800 GS TDH. The prices of these four graphics cards will vary depending on where you look, though they should all be around the $190 US mark. While I am a huge fan of the MSI and Gigabyte cards I really like what the Leadtek WinFast PX6800 GS TDH has to offer at the price point. Therefore I am going to give this Leadtek graphics card the Legion Hardware Value Award!
     Gameguru Mania News - Feb,05 2006 - tech
    Sunday Tech Madness-Total Commander v6.54 - tech
    (hx) 06:26 PM EST - Feb,05 2006 - Post a comment / read (28)


    • Adobe Patches Photoshop, Illustrator Flaws - Adobe Systems has pushed out security patches to cover a potentially serious code execution flaw in the Adobe Creative Suite 2 platform. The flaw, which carries an "important" rating, affects Adobe Creative Suite 2, Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Adobe Illustrator CS2 on both Windows and Mac OS platforms.
    • Spyware tunnels in on Winamp flaw - A security bug in Winamp is being exploited by miscreants to install spyware on machines running the media player software, experts have warned. The Winamp problem affects version 5.12 of the media player. (fixed v5.13 is available here)
    • Warnings reduce effect of worm - Companies and people heeded this week's warning about a file-destroying computer worm known as ''Kama Sutra,'' helping minimize its damage Friday, security experts said
    • Computer virus fells Russian stock exchange - As the world waited for one computer virus to strike on Friday, another wriggled its way into the Russian stock exchange and knocked it offline. Russian anti-virus company Kaspersky said sources had revealed that the infected machine was controlled remotely to launch a denial-of-service (DoS) attack against other systems on the trading network.
    • WMF Exploits Sold By Russian Hackers - It's been revealed that the code used in attacks during December that exploited a flaw in Windows, was sold for just $4000.
    • Firefox Multiple Vulnerabilities - Multiple vulnerabilities have been reported in Firefox, which can be exploited by malicious people to bypass certain security restrictions, conduct cross-site scripting attacks, potentially disclose sensitive information, and potentially compromise a user's system.
    • MediaWiki Edit Comment Formatting Denial of Service - A vulnerability has been reported in MediaWiki, which potentially can be exploited by malicious people to cause a DoS (Denial of Service). The vulnerability is caused due to an error within the handling of edit comment formatting. This can be exploited to cause PHP to go into an infinite loop, potentially consuming a large amount of CPU resources, via certain malformed links. The vulnerability has been reported in version 1.4.x prior to 1.4.14, and in 1.5.x prior to 1.5.6.


    • US patent office agrees to review JPEG patent - The US patent office has agreed to review the controversial "JPEG patent" owned by Forgent Networks.
    • FAQ: When Google is not your friend - Google's recent legal spat with the U.S. Department of Justice highlights not only what information search engines record about us but also the shortcomings in a federal law that's supposed to protect online privacy.  It's only a matter of time before other attorneys realize that a person's entire search history is available for the asking, and the subpoenas begin to fly. This could happen in civil lawsuits or criminal prosecutions.
    • Apple sued over iPod earphones - A Louisiana man has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple Computer for allegedly putting consumers at risk of suffering noise-induced hearing loss. Patterson claims that the iPods and the accompanying "ear bud" earphones are defectively designed.
    • RIAA tries forcing settlement out of a woman despite no PC - A home health aide in Brooklyn, New York, has been sued by the Recording Industry Association of America for illegally downloading music files, even though the woman claims she has never used a computer, or even turned one on.


    • Google delists BMW germany for foul play - Google has flexed its muscles and dropped BMW Germany from its search engine following the German car manufacturer's attempts to artificially boost its popularity ranking.
    • Siemens launches first-person cameraphone soccer game - Ahead of this year's World Cup in Germany, Siemens have announced a cellphone soccer game that takes advantage of built-in phone cameras. The game, which is called Kick Real, works by reading the location of the player's feet. Players will be able to take virtual penalty kicks by "aiming a mobile camera phone at their foot while kicking an imaginary ball."
    • Advent Children DVD finally coming to US - Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, a movie set in the universe of one of Square Enix's popular Final Fantasy video games, may be released on DVD before the end of the year.
    • Man-made blood won't carry bacteria, viruses - Japanese firm Terumo claimed that artificial blood it developed won't pass on viral or bacterial infections.
    • Inside the brain of an alcoholic - A team in Australia has found that alcohol dampens down the expression of hundreds of genes in the amygdala, which might account for why alcoholics suffer dysfunctional symptoms such as disrupted sleep and depression. It may also help explain why recovering alcoholics are prone to relapse.
    • Vin Diesel to Topline Babylon A.D.? - According to, French movie paper Le Film Français is reporting that Vin Diesel will star in Babylon A.D., a big-budget futuristic thriller to be directed by Mathieu Kassovitz (The Crimson Rivers, Gothika) from his script.
    • What is Google Maps hiding in this image? - check it out!


    • AOL and Yahoo put price on e-mail - Companies will soon have to buy the electronic equivalent of a postage stamp if they want to be certain that their e-mail will be delivered to many of their customers. Under the scheme, the two firms will deliver special messages paying between a quarter of a cent to one cent to get them delivered.
    • Google Navigates Volkswagen Next - The Electronic Research Laboratory (ERL) of Volkswagen located at the heart of the Silicon Valley in California, along with Google and chipmaker nVidia are reportedly working on an in-car navigation map system plus 3-D display, which is being touted as closer to virtual reality than ever before. The innovation promises to enable both driver and passenger to instinctively recognize their location vis- -vis the surrounding topography - particularly in urban areas.
    • LAPD to test new way to chase cars - The Los Angeles Police Department's latest plan to avoid high-speed car chases is a test of a high-tech version of darts used by Stone Age hunters. Police officers who observe a traffic violation or a possibly stolen car can dart it. The dart sticks to the car and gives off a radio signal, allowing police officers to avoid a dangerous hot pursuit and take more time going after the quarry.
    • The Future of Digital Camera Technology - CNet News has an interesting look at where digital camera technology is headed now that the megapixel buzzword can be put to rest.
    • Cutting edge round-up - The BBC have published an article showcasing some original new products from around the globe. Inventions include robots, touch screen coffee tables, electronic paper and the wackiest remote control ever.
    • ATI Trims Power Consumption of High-End Graphics Cards - When X-bit labs originally measured power consumption of high-end Radeon X1800 XT graphics card back in September, 2005, it was about 112W under maximum recently, the absolute maximum for that time. However, when the measurements were carried out later, the power consumption dropped to slightly below 103W on the same graphics card with the same BIOS version, but on a newer driver.
    • Few monitors and virtually no graphics cards are HDCP-Ready - As the launch of HD DVD and Blu-ray products draws near, a lot consumers are going to be disappointed to find that their TV, PC monitor or graphics card will not be compatible with the equipment if it does not fully support HDCP. When it comes to high definition TVs, any TV that is HD-Ready or HDCP Ready will be fine, however no CRT monitors and very few TFT displays currently available are HDCP Ready.
    • Sony Introduces RDR-VH95 and RDR-VH85 DVD, HDD and VHS Recorder - The Sony RDR-VH95 features a 250GB HDD and the RDR-VH85 a 160GB drive. Both can recorder DVD-RW and DVD-R discs. The new Sony recorders feature two tuners that enable users to record two programs on two media types at the same time.



    • Power Consumption of Modern Graphics Cards - Is power consumption a problem? Yes
    • SLI: Myth and Reality Part 2 - In average, SLI can only offer around 30 % increase, occurring mostly when AA and AF are enabled. So, getting a single faster card is always better than putting two slow cards in an SLI setup.
    • How To Select A LCD For Gaming - With faster response time, smaller dot pitch and a host of other display technologies, the LCD monitor has become a viable choice for gaming.
    • 5 Tips For Buying A Laptop - Here are five tips that will help prepare you for making the best and most well informed decision when buying a laptop
    • How To Troubleshoot Wireless Networking Problems at The TechZone - To get you back up and running TechZone published this Wireless Networking Troubleshooting Guide.
    • How to Buy a PC Without Being Fooled - Tips on how to buy a PC without being fooled and how to check if the computer you've bought really has the parts you ordered.
    • BitTorrent Client Shootout - Hotwired take a look at the major BitTorrent clients.
    • Bittorrent Masking: How to Avoid Getting Tracked as You Download - If you are a bittorrent P2P downloader in the USA or UK, then you are at risk for legal prosecution. Because torrents use public locating servers called "trackers", your computer's IP address is publicly available. Any tech-savvy officer from the RIAA or MPAA who logs onto a torrent tracker can easily see the addresses of all people downloading that song or that movie.


    • Total Commander v6.54 Final - Total Commander (download / changelog) is a file manager for Windows, a program like Windows Explorer to copy, move or delete files.
    • McAfee AVERT Stinger 2.6 - Stinger (download) is a stand-alone utility used to detect and remove specific viruses. It is not a substitute for full anti-virus protection, but rather a tool to assist administrators and users when dealing with an infected system.
    • Bulk Rename Utility - Bulk Rename Utility (download) is a utility which allows you to easily rename files and directories, based upon extemely flexible criteria. Add date-stamps, replace numbers, insert strings, convert case, add auto-numbers, process folders and subfolders, etc.
    • Picasa 2.2.0 Build 28.10 - Picasa is software that helps you instantly find, edit and share all the pictures on your PC. Every time you open Picasa, it automatically locates all your pictures (even ones you forgot you had) and sorts them into visual albums organized by date with folder names you will recognize.
    • @icon sushi 1.19 - Image to icon converter (download) that supports the mask editor and the creation of Windows XP 32bit icons.
    • Microsoft Windows XP Jet 4.0 Database Engine Update - This update (download) provides proper default mapping in the Jet 4.0 Engine to the General (EN-US) LCID for language support added since the release of Windows 2000, and is discussed in Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 913296.
    • BitTorrent 4.4.1 - This new version adds these features: no longer violates Windows hardware DEP; Windows installer no longer says "Could not initialize plugins directory"
    • Free DVD MP3 Ripper 1.21 - Free DVD MP3 Ripper (download) can extract audio from DVD, VCD/SVCD and MPEG (MPEG-1, MPEG-2) files into MP3 which can be played in MP3 Players.
    • Free iPod Video Converter 1.26 - Free iPod Video Converter (download) provides an easy and completed way to convert all popular video formats to iPod video. You can enjoy DVD/VCD and AVI, MPEG, WMV, RM, RMVB, DivX, ASF, VOB video files in your iPod with few clicks.
    • AnyDVD - SlySoft have released AnyDVD What's new:  "Settec ALPHA-DVD protection" as found on "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" R2 (German) or "Old Boy - Final Edition" R3 (Korea) can now be copied with Drag and Drop in Windows explorer or with the copy command from the command prompt.
    • DVDInfoPro 4.54 build 2 - DVDInfoPro 4.54 build 2 is available for download! It fixes a small bug affecting some older Pioneer burners.
    • Central Brain Identifier Build 0205 R6 - Central Brain Identifier Build 0205 R6 is available for download! New feature include: negative processor temperature detection for Winbond I/O chips, improved support for Winbond I/O chips, full recognition of two Sempron 64 processors based on the Winchester core
    • NextSensor Build 0202 - NextSensor is an easy to use temperature and voltage monitoring tool. It probes Vcore, VDIMM, VAGP, VBAT, 5VSB, 3VSB, +12, -12, +5V, -5V, +3.3V sensor lines and shows system temperatures (including processor, HDD and North Bridge) in the Tray Bar. The program is capable of monitoring negative temperatures. The current version supports Winbond Super I/O LPC chips only.
    • Realtek 8139(A/B/C/D/8130)/810X 6.39 NIC Drivers - download
    • nForce4 AMD/Intel v6.85 - Windows XP/2000 (32-Bit) - This new package features some "Compatibility fixes".
    • ForceWare 83.60 Win2000/XP  - Dell just released a ForceWare driver with revision 83.60, and yes .. they have the new control panel. The driver is initially intended for the GeForce Go laptop series. But since these puppies use the same.