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 Gameguru Mania News - May,27 2005 - tech 
Friday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 11:52 AM EDT - May,27 2005 - Post a comment / read (2)

SECURITY...

  • Microsoft advises IE users to uninstall Netscape 8 - Dave Massy, a senior program manager for IE, warned users in a blog posting that after installing Netscape 8, IE will render XML files as a blank page, including XML files that have an XSLT transformation. Microsoft did not make clear what versions of IE were affected, but a user of the DeveloperDex forum said he experienced the problem on version 6 of IE, which had been patched with Windows Service Pack 2. Microsoft said it is investigating the problem and will work with Netscape to resolve it. It advised a "workaround" of uninstalling Netscape 8 and editing the registry settings.
  • Firefox users snap up Netcraft's antiphishing toolbar - Users of the Firefox Web browser have been flocking to Netcraft's Web site to download the security company's new antiphishing toolbar, a company representative said Thursday. The free toolbar, released Tuesday, was downloaded more than 60,000 times within hours of its release, according to Netcraft Internet Services Developer Paul Mutton.
  • CIA war game simulates major Internet attack - The CIA is conducting a cyber-war game this week geared to simulate a major Internet attack by enemy computer hackers, an intelligence official said today. Dubbed Silent Horizon, the three-day unclassified exercise is based on a scenario set five years in the future and involves participants from government and the private sector.
  • Microsoft Delivers New Tools to Help Reduce Spam - Microsoft has announced new MSN Hotmail tools and services designed to expand e-mail industry collaboration in fighting spam - MSN Postmaster and Smart Network Data Services. These new services complement ongoing industry efforts supported by Microsoft, including e-mail authentication mechanisms such as the Sender ID Framework, to help protect MSN Hotmail customers as well as the overall e-mail community from online safety concerns such as spam, phishing and viruses.
  • Robin Hood hackers hunt down phishers - Hacking teams are targeting phishing websites in a spate of online vigilante attacks. UK security firm Netcraft has spotted two recent phishing sites that were quickly taken down and replaced by pages warning customers of the attempted fraud. A hacker known as 'sickophish' took down a site targeting PayPal customers, while a group known as 'The Lad Wrecking Crew' has defaced a number of phishing sites and even offers a website of images for others to use.
  • Bank of America to Launch ID Theft Protection - Bank of America will protect 13.2 million online banking customers with a new authentication service it calls "SiteKey," the company said in a statement. The free service will be launched in Tennessee in June and will eventually be rolled out nationwide.  SiteKey uses a combination of an image, user-created phrase and three challenge questions to authenticate both the customer's identity and the authenticity of Bank of America's Web site when customers log on, Bank of America said.
  • Fraud expert becomes victim of credit card crime - The founder of an anti-fraud website has himself become the victim of credit card fraud. Andrew Goodwill, managing director of Early Warning UK, a scheme set up to help retailers avoid credit card fraud, is down $600 (£329) after crooks used his credit card to pay for services online
  • Federal agents shut down network that leaked "Star Wars" - U.S. law enforcement officials have shut down a computer network that distributed illegal copies of Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith before it appeared in movie theaters. Federal agents executed 10 search warrants and seized the main server in a network that had allowed people to download nearly 18,000 movies and software programs, including many current releases, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said.
  • Internet Check Services Let Anyone Write Fraudulent Checks on Your Checking Account!? - check it out!

OFFTOPIC...

  • Airport screeners could see X-rated X-rays - Get ready for electronic portals known as backscatters, expected to be tested at a handful of airports this year, that use X-ray imaging technology to allow a screener to scan a body. And yes, the body image is detailed. Let's not be coy here, ladies and gentlemen:
  • Nanotubes help neurons get chatty - Italian researchers have managed to persuade brain cells to grow on a nanotube-coated surface - a breakthrough that could provide immediate help to good, old humans. The team found that the nanotubes actually boosted communication, or neural signal transfer, between the cells, which were taken from the hippocampus.
  • Nanoscale light tricks promise huge DVD storage - The US patent describes a disc that could store 40 to 100 times more information that a conventional DVD, using more nanometre-scale sloped ridges to diffract light. US patent number 6879556 - entitled "Method and Apparatus for Optical Data Storage" - was issued to Iomega on April 12 2005.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft Opens x64 Upgrades to Retail - Following confusion surrounding its Windows x64 Advancement Program, which offers a free upgrade from the standard 32-bit version of Windows XP to the recent 64-bit release, Microsoft has clarified the language on its Web site. All users, whether they purchased or built their PC, are now eligible for the 64-bit upgrade.
  • The "Dirty Little Secret" About Longhorn - Developers say there's a dirty little secret about Longhorn that few Softies are discussing publicly: Longhorn won't be based on the .Net Framework. We're still expecting that the .Net Framework will ship with Longhorn - on the CD and/or "in the box" in some way. But the .Net Framework won't be at Longhorn's core, we hear. Instead, the .Net Framework will be the core for a small subset of Longhorn, specifically the Windows API Platform (WAP), which consists primarily of the "Avalon" Windows presentation system and the "Indigo" Windows communications system, our tipsters say.
  • Yahoo says rolling out new PhotoMail service - Yahoo Inc. is introducing a test version of a new service called PhotoMail that lets users insert up to 300 digital photographs into the body of an e-mail and store an unlimited numbers of photos on the Web and media company's computers

HARDWARE... 

  • VIA announces C7 processor  - VIA today announced the new VIA C7 processor family based on the 'Esther' core, the world's smallest, lowest power and most secure native x86 processor.  With a tiny die size of a mere 30mm2, the VIA C7 processor idle power is as low as 100mW (0.1W), while 2.0GHz will run at about 20 watts peak power, an average of 40% cooler than competitor solutions.
  • Chipset Roadmaps from NVIDIA, ATI - This summer, Intel, ATI and NVIDIA will all be vying for the IGP market - not just on the AMD platform, and not just on the desktop. Intel's 945G, NVIDIA's C51/C60 and ATI's RS482/RS410 will turn the second half of 2005 into a market with options again.
  • R520 set to deliver H.264 decoding - The H.264 is a new compression standard designed to be two to tree times more efficient than the MPEG-2 codec that we are using to watch DVDs. H.264 video will take more space but you will be able to store 30 to 50GB if not even more on HD-DVDs and Blu-ray disks.
  • XBox 360 to sport 48 unified graphics pipelines - Compared with desktop parts this chip will be more advanced than the R520 and it should be comparable with the R600 generation of cards - the one scheduled for autumn of 2006. This one will have WGF 2.0 compliance and will be able to deal with Shader model 4.0 at the same time.
  • Acer debuts black Ferrari-series notebook - Acer unveiled its Ferrari 4000 carbon-fiber black Ferrari-series notebook in Taiwan yesterday, with the notebook expected to be available worldwide in June. The new 15.4" Ferrari 4000 is based on the AMD Turion 64 processor and features ATI Mobility Radeon X700 graphics with 128MB DDR memory, as well as a DVD Super Multi double-layer drive and a 5-in-1 card-reader.
  • Intel Pentium D 820 - There are two downsides to the Pentium D 820, though. The first of those is that while it is a dual-core processor, priced at a premium, it is still only a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 when it comes to individual, single-threaded tasks. It is a slouch when it comes to office-application and compression performance, but it is especially disappointing in game performance
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ - The magic of AMD's Athlon 64 X2 is that it sports the same 939-pin package in the current Athlon 64 processors meaning that you can experience the sorcery of dual-processors by swapping out your current Athlon 64 for an X2, and upgrading your BIOS. Voila -- instant SMP! Of course, there are exceptions to that rule. AMD's official statement is that motherboards capable of delivering enough power to happily keep an existing 90-nm Athlon 64 humming along should drive an Athlon 64 X2 without problems. Heat will also not be an issue, as the thermal design power (TDP) of the X2 is not any higher in most cases than the 104W of the FX-55 at 2.6 GHz.
  • OCZ 2x 512 MB PC3200 Gold (2:2:2:5) - The memory performed beautifully at very aggressive 2-2-2-5 timings and we pushed memory bandwidth towards ~5100 MB/sec on a (normally) 800 MHz FSB Pentium 4 processor which really needs memory bandwidth. It would have gone much further with a higher Voltage. This product uses Winbond BH chips. The nature of these chips is such that they do very firm 2-2-2 timings at 200mhz with 2.8v, yet for a good overclock at 2-2-2 timings, they generally require 3.4v to 3.5v
  • Intel 945G vs. 955X - So where do these two new chipsets stand? I would say that with the current system configuration, it would be a hands-down victory for the Intel 945G chipset simply because it performed consistently throughout the benchmarks, while the 955X chipset wasn't as stable with the results.
  • ATI RADEON X800 XL 512MB PCI-E - Indeed, in many cases the X800 XL 512MB outperforms the 6800GT, but the same can be said about the X800 XL 256MB, which is much cheaper. That's why it's hard to make a cold evaluation of the new product. Let's see what other tests and new games will show. One thing is clear: if you buy an expensive LCD monitor with the maximum resolution of 1600x1200, you will surely want to play games in this resolution and probably to buy a video card with extra capacities as a reserve for future upgrades (there need be no doubt that 512MB will be a must in future!).
  • ATI's Latest TV-Tuner Cards (First Look) - ATI's All-In-Wonder X800XT is replete with toys. In addition to its formidable gaming capabilities, it has a DVI connector and a VGA connector (you can connect two monitors at the same time), plus an analog TV tuner, an FM radio, and an incredible array of input connectors, both on the card itself and on three separate breakout boxes--one for inputs, another for outputs, and another that adds component-video-out so you can connect the card to an HDTV set.
  • Hitachi Deskstar 7K80 SATA II - Hitachi's DeskStar 7K80 can be picked up for $59 from retailers on the net, an excellent price for the drive and storage capacity. Competitors like Western Digital come in at $70 in this price range giving them a slight advantage though prices of course fluctuate highly from retailer to retailer.
  • NEC ND-3540A DVD writer - Looking at the specs of the ND-3540A it's clear that NEC was looking to create a very fast DVD writer. Both DVD+R and DVD-R discs are burned at 16x, while DVD+R DL media can be written at 8x and DVD-R DL discs will burn at 6x. For DVD+RW the ND-3540A is rated at 8x and it can write DVD-RW media at 6x. CD performance is up there with the best too, with 48x CD- R and 32x CD-RW ratings.

GUIDES... 

  • How to Install a Motherboard - Installing a motherboard seems to be very easy, but there are many tricks involved in the process. If your motherboard isn't correctly installed you will face problems like overheating and system crashes (computer "freezing", "locking", "reseting" - you name it). This tutorial is a step-by-step guide on how to correctly install your motherboard, avoiding such troubles.
  • Access Hidden Files on Your iPod - Apple keeps the music files on your iPod hidden, but with a little hackery, all your music will be revealed, allowing you to copy the files (legally, of course) from one machine to another.
  • 10 Windows registry hacks for Microsoft Office - This download contains 10 useful registry hacks for Microsoft Office.
  • Troubleshooting drivers with XP's hidden Driver Verifier Manager - Microsoft provided Windows XP with several high-profile tools for troubleshooting potential problems with drivers, namely File Signature Verification and Device Manager. However, Windows XP also includes the tool called the Driver Verifier Manager, which is mainly designed for developers but it can provide you with useful information during a troubleshooting operation
     

SOFTWARE...

  • Debug Diagnostics 1.0 - RC1 - The tool, called Debug Diagnostics 1.0 (Login in with your passport id -> Login using the guest ID "DebugDiag" (it's case sensitive) -> Click on the "IIS Debug Diagnostic Tool" link -> On the left hand side expand survey and select "IIS Debug Diagnostic Tool Nomination Form") is the next generation debugging utility that extends on the functionality of previous tools such as IIS Debug Toolkit 1.1, Debug Matrix, and IIS State. This tool will be the only fully supported tool for debugging applications that run on IIS upon release and is supported on the IIS 4.0, 5.0, 5.1, and 6.0 platforms.
  • Sysinternals Process Explorer 9.10 - Another Process Explorer update unifies 32-bit and 64-bit (x64) compatibility into a single image and adds 64-bit user and kernel-mode stack information, in-memory image string scanning, packed image highlighting, window manipulation (minimize, maximize, etc), and a new column option for information on signed images
  • Longhorn Transformation Pack X - Do you know about Codename Longhorn? It's an upcoming operating system from Microsoft in the nearby future. Now this software pack will try to emulate possible Longhorn alike graphics from the alpha OS screenshots. But it is just a possible emulated eye candy so it's not what Longhorn actually will be.
  • Firebird 2.0 public Alpha - This release contains a large number of new features, including derived tables, support for Execute Block, increased table sizes, new improved index code (the 252-byte index length limit is no longer applicable), expression indices, numerous optimiser improvements, enhanced security features, support for on-line incremental backups along with numerous other improvements and bug fixes.
  • AOL AIM Triton Beta 2 Build 0.2.11 - AOL AIM Triton is the next generation release of AOL Instant Messenger. It is an all new user experience with an elegant, tabbed look and feel.
  • MR Tech's Disable XPI Install Delay 1.0.0 Firefox Extension - It does one thing, disables the delay (download) when installing Extensions.
  • BitTorrent 4.0.2 - Another original BiTorrent release (download) and there's also BitTorrent v4.1.1 Beta
  • Aim Ad Hack 4.0.7 - AIM Ad Hack (download) is the only program that fully removes the ads and options you don't want in AIM instead of just hiding them. Thats why you may still get pop ups and audio ads in other AIM programs. Also AIM Ad Hack actually modifies AIM itself, it is not a program that loads every time along with AIM like deadaim and after you run AIM Ad Hack once it never needs to be run again until you upgrade to a new version of AIM.
  • Earthlink releases hacked firmware for Linksys routers - Earthlink, has released experimental firmware for the popular Linksys WRT54G routers (currently selling for $59 greenbacks), modified by them to add IPv6 support. This removes the need for "NAT" translation and can in fact make every device in your home have a public IPv6 address (if such devices and computers support IPv6).
  • DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) Patch - This update enables Microsoft DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) of Microsoft Windows Media Video (WMV) content in Microsoft Windows Media Player 10 for video cards when the drivers of those video cards are designed to take advantage of this feature.
  • Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility 7.2.0.1006 WHQL -  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 release adds Intel Lakeport, Glenwood, and Mukilteo Chipset support
  • NVIDIA nForce 4 drivers 7.11 beta - NVIDIA has new nForce 4 drivers available on NVIDIA FTP server with the following driver details: Audio driver version 4.62 (WHQL), Audio utility version 4.51, Ethernet NRM driver version 4.82 (WHQL), Network management tools version 4.88, SMBus driver version 4.45 (WHQL) with updated uninstaller files with updated uninstaller files, Installer version 4.72, Win2K IDE * driver version 5.33.
  • ForceWare 72.12 WHQL - The good news is that it is a WHQL approved driver (Microsoft tested and verified). Even better news is that almost any GeForce graphics cards is supported. Although WHQL these drivers are of course considered somewhat beta, so try only at your own risk.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,26 2005 - tech
Intel Pentium D & Pentium 4 670 - tech
(hx) 10:27 AM EDT - May,26 2005 - Post a comment
The Pentium D 820 /left/ and Pentium 4 670 /right/
Today, Intel is launching a couple new processors, the Pentium D 820 and the Pentium 4 670. The P4 670 is the fastest single Pentium 4 processor ever released, running at nearly 4GHz. The Pentium D 820, meanwhile, runs a full gigahertz slower, but it has two complete Pentium 4-style CPU cores onboard for a very nice price. Which is better? Well, that depends on a great many things:
TechReport: Still, Pentium D 820's performance does present some rather bold contrasts. It's the slowest CPU in the pack whenever we throw a single-threaded test at it. The 820's gaming performance especially raises some red flags for us, as we've noted. Eventually, games will most likely make the conversion to multithreading, but in the interim, I worry that the newest, most intensive game engines may not run terribly well on a Pentium D at 2.8GHz. Many games will work just fine, no doubt, but those that use lots of AI or physics may be a strain. Hard-core gamers will want to stay away, as will others who extensively use one single-threaded application at a time. The Athlon 64 3500+ is the better choice for them.

AnandTech: So what is the final verdict? There are cases where the 670 performs better than the 570 and cases where it performs worse. It all comes back to the differences between the two processors. Running with the Pentium 4 670, some applications benefit from having more cache, and other suffer due to the higher latency. To recap, applications that stream data (encoding and rendering) aren't impacted by the cache differences between the 5xx and 6xx series. The two processors perform nearly identically in the tests we ran in these areas. Games have generally seen a boost from the added cache (we've seen this since the first Extreme Edition), so the 670 has a slight edge over the 570 in that category. Under office and workstation applications, the impact varies from case to case.

Bjord3D: More benchmarks are in order to really see how well these new processors perform, but from the tests I ran, I was surprised by the Pentium D 820. I thought that it would fall behind in many of the benchmarks because of its lower frequency, but it held pretty solid ground and put up some impressive numbers more than a couple times. It was especially interesting for me to see just how much better the Pentium D 820 performed than the Pentium 4 670 in the ABBYY FineReader 7.0 tests. To some, 15-20 seconds might not seem like a lot, but if you used applications like that day-in and day-out, then I'm sure you could really appreciate the increase in productivity and efficiency offered by the dual-core processors. Thankfully, the 820 comes in at an affordable price level.

TrustedReviews: The Pentium 4 670 is just more of the same and is expensive to boot. The Pentium D however, is a decent introduction to dual-core from Intel, and for most consumers it will be the better choice by far. It's clear that AMD's X2 is a far better performer, but it also costs a lot more. Ultimately, with Intel's projected pricing, we could see entry level dual core PCs sooner rather than later.

 Gameguru Mania News - May,25 2005 - tech
Wednesday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 08:18 AM EDT - May,25 2005 - Post a comment / read (2)

SECURITY...

  • Denial-of-Service Flaw Found in DNS Protocol - A high-profile security research outfit on Tuesday warned that a newly discovered flaw in the Domain Name System protocol could be exploited remotely to crash vulnerable servers. In a public advisory, the NISCC said the flaw exists in the recursion process used by some DNS implementations to decompress compressed DNS messages. "Under certain circumstances, it is possible to cause the DNS server to terminate abnormally," the Center said.
  • Miscreants encrypt files, hold them for ransom -  Researchers at Symantec have seen the malicious program used in the ransom attack. The "Trojan.Pgpcoder" searches a victim's hard disk drive for 15 common file types, including images and Microsoft Office file types. It then encrypts the files, removes the originals and drops a note asking $200 for the encryption key, Friedrichs said. If the Trojan successfully completes its encoding routine on all files, it will delete itself through the creation of the file c:tmp.bat. This .bat file will also delete itself.
  • Worm, phishing scam hit IM services - Piggybacking on the popularity of the new "Star Wars" movie, a new worm and a phishing scam target AOL and Yahoo IM users.
  • MS SQL Server Passwords Bruteforce via SQL Injection (PoC) - The following tool will utilize SQL injection vulnerabilities to brute force MS SQL's sa password.
  • Attack on the zombie spammers - The Federal Trade Commission yesterday stepped up its campaign against spammers by asking Internet service providers to better monitor "zombies," or computers infected with programs that send out millions of e-mail messages without the owner's knowledge. The commission is enlisting the help of agencies from about two dozen countries to send letters to more than 3,000 ISPs, detailing ways they can help customers keep their computers secure and identify the zombie machines.
  • Microsoft: SP2 makes Windows 15 times safer - Computers running Windows XP Service Pack 2 are 15 times less likely than those running XP or XP SP1 to be infected by some of the most dangerous forms of malware, according to a Microsoft security guru.
  • Microsoft seeks protection from spyware firms - Microsoft wants the Senate to rewrite anti-spyware legislation (statement) in order to protect companies that provide spyware removal utilities. The software maker warned Tuesday that two bills approved by the House of Representatives this week fail to prevent "frivolous lawsuits" filed by adware and spyware companies that are upset when their code is removed. Microsoft's fears are hardly theoretical. Gator, now known as Claria, sued anti-spyware company PC Pitstop on grounds that included trade libel, false advertising and tortious interference. Claria distributes pop-up ad software, often bundled with free applications, that some surveys say is installed without a person's direct knowledge and consent.
  • Decriminalizing File Sharing in France - Record labels and movie studios are counting on the courts to help wage their war against global online piracy. But in France, some courts are refusing to go along. Judicial activism is roiling the entertainment industry here, as judges release convicted fileswappers with suspended sentences associated with otherwise draconian penalties stipulated by copyright law.

OFFTOPIC...

  • In-car DVD is legal - A car with a built-in DVD system can't be impounded, say KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) traffic authorities. However, the system should be installed in the driver's seat headrest, for safety reasons. This follows a recent article in a Durban newspaper, stating that motorists face a risk of having their cars impounded if they have in-car DVD systems.
  • The 2020 vision of robotic assistants unveiled - Several utility robots, including autonomous garbage collectors, vacuum cleaners and security guards, are already patrolling the wider Expo. But the Prototype Robot Exhibition gives academics and commercial researchers a chance to showcase a more distant vision of robot utopia. The exhibition features a mock-ups of homes, streets and workplaces from the year 2020 and more than sixty different types of robot will be exhibited
  • Light gun fires photons one by one - The first photon gun capable of firing single particles of light over optical fibres was unveiled on Tuesday. The breakthrough may remove one of the final obstacles keeping perfectly secure messages from being sent over standard telephone fibres.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • IBM will unlock door to Cell - The three developers of the Cell processor are preparing to release full chip specifications and software libraries in an effort to rally the open-source community around the device that powers the Sony Playstation 3. With the outlook for the multicore chip's use beyond Sony's internal systems cloudy at best, the partners are hoping to spark its uptake in applications ranging from HDTVs to supercomputers.
  • Virtual Earth Video - This is MSN's answer to Google Maps, coming in July 2005. As you see in the video MSN Virtual Earth goes noticeably further than Google Maps or other mapping services. In addition to complementing MSN's local search index, MSN Virtual Earth will let users overlay maps and satellite photos in order to create hybrid images that combine the best of both mediums, says Stephen Lawler, general manager of Microsoft's MapPoint unit. Microsoft officials said it will become available sometime between June 21 and September 22.
  • Prodisc Boosts DVD-R Capacity - Prodisc Technology has developed a DVD-R disc that can hold 200MB more data than current discs and plans to unveil it at next week's Computex show in Taiwan. The disc has a capacity of 4.9GB, versus 4.7GB for a conventional DVD-R. The extra capacity was realized by reducing the gap between the successive turns of the disc's spiral recording track. By reducing the gap, also called the track pitch, a longer track can be fitted onto the disc and so more data can be stored.
  • IBM starts 45 nanometre chip development - Big Blue has inked a $200 million deal with the Tokyo-based Toppan Printing to jointly build a 45 nanometre chip making process that may be ready for production by mid-2007

HARDWARE... 

  • Unreal creator believes G70 beats R520 - Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games, maker of the Unreal and Unreal Tournament games confessed that he believes that G70 Nvidia Geforce 7800 GTX is actually going to end up better than ATI's upcoming R520. In a video interview, a chap asked Tim "I have to ask you: R520 or G70?"  Tim smiled and said, "Oh, G70 for sure." You can download his video confession here  I have to advise you to be careful about your thoughts, as Tim and Epic are in bed with Nvidia with it's "TWIMTBP" (The way its mean to be played) marketing program. Epic also happened to be was showing its Unreal 3 engine at Nvidia's booth.
  • Intel Pentium D 820 May Be Incompatible with Third Party Chipsets - Intel Pentium D processor model 820 may not be compatible with at least some of the chipsets by third party designers, according to ASUS, NVIDIA and X-bit labs performance testing experience. The lowest-speed grade dual-core processor from Intel does not work properly on some of NVIDIA nForce4 Intel Edition-based mainboards, it emerged. NVIDIA's spokesperson confirmed that the company had scrapped support for Intel Pentium D processor 820, which works at 2.80GHz, on its chipsets citing low demand for such chip from enthusiasts. NVIDIA's nForce4 SLI Intel Edition chipsets will only support Intel dual-core processors at 3.0GHz and above, including Intel Pentium D and Intel Pentium Extreme Edition products.
  • Elonex Lumina 40in Media Center PC - The most obvious improvement with this latest itteration of the Lumina is the 40in LCD panel that makes up the basis of the machine. Elonex has used a Samsung TFT panel with a native resolution of 1,366 x 768, which of course equates to a true 16:9 aspect ratio. Specification wise, the panel offers an 800:1 contrast ratio, which isn’t bad for an LCD, along with a commendable 16ms typical response time.
  • Athlon 64 3800+ 90nm Venice - The gaming performance side was hardly a surprise, as the Athlon 64 3800+ Venice managed to show a noticeable improvement compared to its 130nm counterpart, and never once fell behind the older Newcastle core. Compared to the Athlon 64 4000+, with its monstrous 1-MB L2 cache, the Venice simply couldn't keep up in the gaming arena. Even given the debut of the San Diego 1-MB 90nm core, this is very understandable due to AMD's current model number and pricing structure. The only area we got a few surprises in was the sub-system and media encoding areas, where the Athlon 64 3800+ Venice proved to be a serious contender to the Athlon 64 4000+ and even outperformed it in three out of the four benchmarks.
  • GSkill 2-3-3-6 PC3200 Memory (F1-3200PHU2-1GBLA) - This may look like your average "value" RAM, but GSkill makes some pretty big claims, saying "It is capable of achieving outrageous speeds of up to 433MHZ [at 2-3-3-6] OR DDR480 above at CL 2.5-4-4-8". DDR480 from a low priced set of PC3200 memory is nothing to turn your nose up at.
  • DDR2 memory group test - Developed by JEDEC and championed by Intel, DDR2 isn't just DDR running at higher speeds with the number "2" tagged on the end. Yes it runs faster, starting at the 400MHz threshold where DDR currently ends, but  there are other important technologies implemented into its design.
  • Hitachi's Deskstar T7K250 hard drive - Regardless, the T7K250 held its own against the competition. With a strong WorldBench performance, quick load and boot times, and the lowest noise levels of the pack, the Deskstar seems best suited for desktop and perhaps media center applications. Unfortunately, our IOMeter results suggest that the T7K250 isn't as well-suited for database, workstation, or file server use, although its performance with the web server test pattern is quite impressive.
  • Mouse round-up - Nevertheless, Logitech expects to grab hardcore gamers' attention with the MX1000 and from what we have seen, they haven't done bad at all. People more sensitive to high prices will want to know the MX1000 can now be bought for slightly more than $50 which is way better than the introductory price of ~$80.
  • Samsung SyncMaster 243T - PyroPort take a brief look at Samsung SyncMaster 243T.
  • Samsung 910MP & 730B -  The 730B was a great monitor. I found the smaller screen more favourable when I was playing SWAT 4, but your preferences may be different. This doesn't mean I didn't like the 930MP for gaming as it will give CRTs a good run for their money. Given the size advantage these LCDs have over CRTs and the advancing of various display technologies, the CRT days are numbered.

GUIDES... 

  • GeForce 6800 Ultra 512MB PCI-E Voltage Mods - The 512Mb 6800 Ultra PCI Express cards have a different layout compared to the 6800 ultra 256Mb. As such, voltage modding them are a bit different.
  • Microsoft's Windows XP Professional x64 Edition - If you are a casual desktop user or gamer, we would recommend sticking with Windows XP Professional (32-bit) for the time being. Migrating to a 64-bit OS at this time will present more headaches and you will not see a huge (if any) performance benefit. In addition, a lot of consumer-level hardware won't have 64-bit drivers and consumer-level software is likely to be more problematic with the 64-bit environment, so it's really not worth the hassle at this time. The situation may change in the coming months, but it looks doubtful.
  • Inside the Xbox 360, part I: procedural synthesis and dynamic worlds - In all, the Xbox 360's procedural synthesis capabilities show great promise. Of course, the big question is going to be how many polygons per second can it produce in real-time. It's way too early to tell what percentage of the polygons in the average scene will be procedurally rendered, or what kind of impact this technique is going to have on the first generation of games. But perhaps we'll get some hard data once the first generation of games are out and developers can talk in more detail about the hardware and what it can do. Part II of this series will take a closer look at the actual microarchitecture of the Xenon.
  • SLI & Forcewares - 3D-Chip.de investigates single card and SLI performance of MSI GeForce 6800 GTs and MSI GeForce 6800s cards with 71.89, 76.44 Beta and 76.50 Forceware drivers.
  • How To Samba With Suse 9.3 And Windows XP - This guide is intended for those using Suse 9.3 and Samba with the firewall (SuSEfirewall2) enabled. Samba works great out of the box with Suse 9.3 however the firewall adds some complexity to the issue.
  • Photoshop CS2 review - TCMagazine just posted a more in-depth look at Photoshop CS2 and its new features, with an eye as to whether the upgrade from CS1 is worth the cost and hassle.

SOFTWARE...

  • Error Messages For Windows 2.9 - MS Windows Error Messages is a small utility that will allow you to look up MS Windows error code numbers and display a descriptive message explaining what the numeric code actually means. If you have software programs that produce numeric error codes now you can find out what they really mean.
  • Exe2VBA - Tool for Converting Backdoors to VBA Macros - download
  • Network Installation Wizard, v2.1 - Network Installation Wizard, Version 2.1 for use with network installation of Office 97
  • CacheDump - Recovering Windows Password Cache Entries - CacheDump will create a CacheDump NT Service to get SYSTEM right and make his stuff on the registry. Then, it will retrieve the LSA Cipher Key to decrypt (rc4/hmac_md5 GloubiBoulga) cache entries values.
  • CWShredder 2.15 - A small utility for removing CoolWebSearch (aka CoolWwwSearch, YouFindAll, White-Pages.ws and a dozen other names). Spybot S&D tends to forget essential parts of the hijack, so until it updates, you can just this to completely remove the hijack. Updated to remove the new variants once they come out. ~ download
  • Firefox 1.0.4 Release Optimized Build - s8v3 - The s8v3 optimized build of the Firefox 1.0.4 Release is out. It was built using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003. (ed.note. this build is much faster than the original rls!)
  • Messenger Plus! Extension 3.54.132 -  A small update for Messenger Plus! (download) is now available. Version 3.54 only fixes a couple of small bugs found in version 3.52 in addition to restoring proper Unicode compatibility in every area of the software.
  • News Interceptor 3 Public Beta Test - This is a total re-write using a new technology powered by RSScache.com services. This allows saving bandwidth and getting more great features.
  • MetaProducts Download Express 1.8.327 Beta 1 - MetaProducts Download Express (download) is a file download replacement for Internet Explorer. Now you can control your download speeds and resume downloads without ever leaving Internet Explorer.
  • BitTorrent Beta 4.1.1 with trackerless support  - Another original BT release (download).
  • CoolMon 1.0 Final -
  • DVD Region+CSS Free 5.88 - DVD Region+CSS Free enables you to watch and copy any region code CSS-encrypted DVD movies on any DVD drive! It fully supports region-protected (RPC2) DVD drives, and does not require any firmware modifications.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,24 2005 - tech
PhysX physics chip preview - tech
(hx) 06:08 PM EDT - May,24 2005 - Post a comment
The chaps over at PC Perspective have published a preview of AGEIA's upcoming PhysX PPU, or physics processing unit. Here's an excerpt:
The other main disadvantage that the AGEIA PhysX PPU has is that in order for games to use physics in a way to drastically affect gameplay, they have to be able to write ONLY for the physics model of a PPU card. On the other hand, in order for finicky gamers to buy a PPU card, they are going to want to see games that take full advantage of the physics processor. It brings about a "chicken or egg" debate on who will be the ones to bite the bullet and spend the money first: a gamer on a PPU card or a developer on PPU card development. Why is this a requirement? Simply put, developers can't dramatically change gameplay in a game engine utilizing a PPU in a way that is not possible to also do on a CPU-based physics engine without alienating a HUGE portion of their market.

That means that what current game engines, and those for the immediate future, that have implemented support for the PhysX processor with the inclusion and use of the NovodeX API are merely going to see game "fluff" added to systems with a PPU in them. In this case, I mean "fluff" in the sense of new effects and interactions that may be very, very cool, but won't be required to finish or play the game. There won't be any game coming out that is going to require you to blow apart a building full of completely interactive crates (that wouldn't be possible for a CPU to handle) to find a key to move on to the next level. Instead you might see some added mist into a jungle portion of a game that instead of being stagnate and permanent, might move when you or another character walks through it.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,23 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 09:22 PM EDT - May,23 2005 - Post a comment / read (3)

SECURITY...

  • Bypass found for Windows piracy check - Researcher Debasis Mohanty outlined what he said was a technique to trick Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage validation check in a posting to the Full Disclosure security mailing list on Monday. WGA is a software tool that verifies whether a particular copy of the operating system is properly licensed.  Using a secondary Microsoft validation tool called "GenuineCheck.exe," it may be possible for people to trick the checking mechanism, Mohanty said in the posting. They could then download and run supposedly restricted software from Microsoft's Download Center on a PC running a pirated version of Windows, Mohanty wrote.  Microsoft confirmed that the technique could circumvent the piracy check, but a representative said Monday that the company is not worried.
  • TCP Does Not Adequately Validate Segments Before Updating Timestamp Value - Certain TCP implementations may allow a remote attacker to arbitrarily modify host timestamp values, leading to a denial-of-service condition. The following exploit code can be used to test the remote host for the mentioned vulnerability.
  • Microsoft security guru: Jot down your passwords - Companies should not ban employees from writing down their passwords because such bans force people to use the same weak term on many systems, according to a Microsoft security guru: How many have (a) password policy that says under penalty of death you shall not write down your password?" asked Johansson, to which the majority of attendees raised their hands in agreement. "I claim that is absolutely wrong. I claim that password policy should say you should write down your password. I have 68 different passwords. If I am not allowed to write any of them down, guess what I am going to do? I am going to use the same password on every one of them."
  • Over Half a Million Bank Accounts Breached - Bank of America Corp. and Wachovia Corp. are among the big banks notifying more than 670,000 customers that account information was stolen in what may the biggest security breach to hit the banking industry. Account information on the customers was illegally sold by bank employees to a man identified as Orazio Lembo, whom police said was doing business by illegally posing as a collection agency.
  • China pirates give Warner a headache with multi-movie DVD's - Last fall, Time Warner Inc. quietly began selling cut-rate DVDs in China to better compete with cheap bootleg copies of its movies. But the bootleggers were already a step ahead - they started peddling DVDs that compress four or five movies onto a single disc.  Although their picture quality is far from perfect, they are watchable. And priced at 5 yuan -- or 60 cents -- a disc, they are helping steer buyers away from the cheapest legitimate alternatives on the market, including DVD movies from Warner, which start at $2.65.
  • Want the Sith DVD? Go to Usenet - NZB files are supported by most popular newsreaders, including NZBGet for Mac and Linux, and NewsBin Pro for PC. There are now also several dedicated alt.binaries.nzb newsgroups. More dramatically, NZB allows web searches of files posted to Usenet, making Usenet almost as easy to use as eMule or Kazaa. This new file format and the rise of commercial high-bandwidth Usenet services -- such as NewsGroups and Usenet.com -- are fueling the revival of Usenet. Pirates now are discovering, to their surprise, that the old newsgroup system, patched with modern technology, outperforms most other P2P networks.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Gates leaks "Halo 3"release date ... maybe - For all the fanfare about its new video-game console, Microsoft was decidedly quiet last week about one of the biggest questions in the industry: the potential timing of a third installment in its blockbuster "Halo" video-game franchise. Well, everyone except Bill Gates was quiet about it. In a cover story published last week in Time magazine, the Microsoft chief software architect was quoted as saying that the company would have "Halo 3" ready by the time Sony releases its PlayStation 3 next year. Time described him as "radiant with bloodlust" over the prospect of using the exclusive Microsoft game to foil the Xbox 360's rival. "It's perfect," Gates was quoted as saying. "The day Sony launches, and they walk right into Halo 3."
  • Building the world's most powerful laser - In a building the size of a football stadium, engineers have assembled the framework for a network of 192 laser beams, each traveling 1,000 feet (305 meters) to converge simultaneously on a target the size of a pencil eraser. The trip will take one-thousandth of a second during which the light's energy is amplified many billions of times to create a brief laser pulse 1,000 times the electric generating power of the United States.
  • Downloadable Brains and Depressed Computers In the Future - According to a leading British futurologist, death could become a thing of the past by the mid-21st century as computer technology becomes sophisticated enough for the contents of a brain to be "downloaded" on to a supercomputer. The loophole however lies in price. The technology might be expensive enough to remain a perk of the rich for a decade or two.
  • Man sells vast collection of ancient software - A MAN who has a vast collection of software for computers is going to start selling them in the middle of June on Ebay. The collection, according to Elisoft.com, includes around 20,000 separate titles, many of which are for non IBM PC machines. The machines mentioned are the Apple II, the Amiga, the Atari, the Commodore 64, the Mac, the Timex (Sinclair), the TRS 80 and the Vic 20.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Apple allegedly explores using Intel chips - Apple Computer has been in talks that could lead to a decision soon to use Intel chips in its Macintosh line, according to a report published Monday. The Wall Street Journal, citing two industry executives with knowledge of recent discussions between the companies, reported that Apple will agree to use Intel chips. Neither company would confirm the report, and an Apple representative told the Journal that the information should be characterized as "rumor and speculation."
  • AMD releases a consumer electronics chip - The new Geode LX800 is an energy-efficient processor for small computers, set-top boxes, TVs and handhelds, according to Chief Technical Officer Fred Weber. The chip runs at 533MHz and is said to provide the equivalent performance of an 800MHz processor from Via Technologies.
  • Firefox Developer Rips Netscape - Responding to Netscape 8's release and immediate security gaffe last week, a lead developer of Firefox lambasted the rival browser -- which uses much of the same code as Mozilla's Firefox -- as "unsafe."  Ben Goodger, a former top Mozilla Foundation developer who now works at Google -- albeit still at least part time on Firefox -- used his blog to blast Netscape. Goodger posted a link on his blog to a demonstration of exploit code that the original Netscape 8 was vulnerable to when it first rolled out early Thursday. "If security is important to you, this demonstration should show that browsers that are redistributions of the official Mozilla releases are never going to give you security updates as quickly as Mozilla will itself for its supported products," Goodger wrote.
  • Bram Cohen to Release BitTorrent Search Engine - Bram Cohen and a small cadre of developers and entrepreneurs are in the final stage of launching an advertising-supported search engine dedicated to cataloging and indexing the thousands of movies, music tracks, software programs and other files for download over Cohen's popular BitTorrent protocol.
  • Scientists Invent Ultra-Thin Camera Lens - A team of Canadian scientists have invented a camera lens that is five times thinner than a piece of paper, enabling even the smallest of cameras to take high-quality photographs
  • Samsung Replaces Hard Drives With Flash - Samsung Electronics has developed a replacement for conventional hard drives that is based on flash memory chips. The company plans to begin mass production of the device in August, it says. The Seoul company is planning SSDs with parallel ATA interfaces in capacities up to 16GB. The 16GB devices will contain 16 memory chips holding 8 gigabits each, it says. Such chips sell for about $55 each on the spot memory market, according to DRAM Exchange Tech. That would put the chip cost of the 16GB SSD at almost $900.

HARDWARE... 

  • Creative launches Neeon "smallest" HDD MP3 player - Creative launched its latest hard drive-based MP3 players on Friday. The new arrivals include the 5GB Zen Neeon, a 20GB version of its Zen Micro, this time simply dubbed the Zen, and a Zen-branded version of its MuVo V200. The black 8 x 4.7 x 1.6cm, 75g shell contains a 5GB drive, FM radio, microphone and line-in port for direct-to-MP3 encoding.
  • AboCom to showcase new WiFi and Bluetooth devices at Computex - Network equipment maker AboCom Systems will showcase its latest WiFi devices, including the HGW810 router and its WR-201 wireless AP sound card as well as its BSH203 Bluetooth stereo headset at the upcoming Computex Taipei 2005 (May 31-June 4), according to company sources. The HGW 810 is a completely wireless and wire integrated router that incorporates three devices - a wireless access point supporting IEEE 802.11a/b/g standard, an 8-port switch with four ports exclusively for full-duplex 10/100Mb and four ports exclusively for Gigabit Ethernet and four USB2.0 ports, the sources said.
  • DFI LanParty UT NF4 Ultra-D - Zone365 published a review of the DFI LanParty UT NF4 Ultra-D motherboard.
  • Asus Extreme Radeon AX800XL/2DTV - HotHardware.com has posted a review of the Asus Extreme Radeon AX800XL/2DTV video card
  • Sapphire Radeon X850 XT PE VIVO AGP - When it comes to the features and specifications that really matter, the PCI Express and AGP forms of the X850 XT PE card are no different. The X850 XT PE is clocked at 540MHz for the core and 590MHz for the memory while the X850 XT is clocked at 520MHz and 540MHz, respectively. This, of course, makes the X850 XT PE ATI's top card right now.
  • EVGA GeForce 6200 TurboCache 64MB PCI-Express - The performance of the GeForce 6200 TurboCache performed very well in all the benchmarking compared to the ATI X300. For the overclocking, the EVGA GeForce 6200 TurboCache has an increment of 92MHz for the core and 125MHz for the memory. That brings it up from the default at 350/550MHz to 442/675MHz. The only bad thing is the poor bundle, anyway who cares as long as the performance of the graphic card is good.
  • Logisys Wireless Remote Multi-Function Panel - PimpRig posted a new review up on a pretty unique multi-function panel in that it allows you to remotely start-up/shut down your PC
  • Vantec Iceberg 5 VGA Cooler - The performance difference between the stock cooler and the Vantec Iceberg 5 definitely shows that the Vantec Iceberg 5 performs very well, keeping the GPU almost 15C lower than stock cooler.

GUIDES... 

  • Maximum CPU Temperature - Hardware Secrets posted an article about maximum CPU temperature
  • Bursting the Athlon 64 Memory bandwidth bubble - Mad Shrimps posted an article about Athlon 64 Memory bandwidth.
  • How to run the 32-bit Explorer shell on Windows x64 - One of the first things many users notice about Windows XP and 2003 x64 Editions is that they do not support any kind of shell integration (Deskbars, Toolbars, Context-menu handlers like WinRAR, etc). The reason for this is that 64-bit processes cannot communicate with 32-bit processes or libraries. Running the 32-bit shell maintains all the benefits of having a 64-bit OS underneath, allows the full use of standard 32-bit Windows shell integration, while still allowing you to run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications side-by-side.

SOFTWARE...

  • Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Trial Download - The Windows XP Professional x64 Edition trial software download (550MB) is available at no charge. After you have completed the download registration process, you will receive an e-mail message with a link to the download page. The download page will include the download file and a product key for the trial software. The file will be in ISO format and must be burned to a CD or DVD before you can install the software on your computer
  • AVG Antivirus 7.0.322 Build 531 (free) - AVG Free Edition (download ~ 11MB) is the well-known anti-virus protection tool. AVG Free is available free-of-charge to home users for the life of the product. New AVG 7.0.322 program update was released with a host of changes and news: significantly improved Accessibility support (screen readers), support of more compression and archive types, digital signature for AVG installation files.
  • Aim Ad Hack 4.0.6 - AIM Ad Hack (download) is the only program that fully removes the ads and options you don't want in AIM instead of just hiding them. Thats why you may still get pop ups and audio ads in other AIM programs. Also AIM Ad Hack actually modifies AIM itself, it is not a program that loads every time along with AIM like deadaim and after you run AIM Ad Hack once it never needs to be run again until you upgrade to a new version of AIM.
  • 7-Zip 4.19 Beta - 7-Zip (download) is a file archiver with high compression ratio.
  • foobar2000 Normal 0.9 Beta 3 - foobar2000 (download beta) is an advanced audio player for the Windows platform. Some of the basic features include ReplayGain support, low memory footprint and native support for several popular audio formats.
  • NGO ATI Optimized Driver v1.5.5 (2.5) - The NGO ATI Optimized Driver is a tweaked version of the ATI Catalyst driver. The main purpose is to satisfy the users with a better performance and better image quality.The Driver has support for all Radeon cards.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,22 2005 - tech
Sunday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 06:16 AM EDT - May,22 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • MS Security Advisory reveals TCP flaw in Win XP, 2003, 2000 - The bug resides in Microsoft's implementation of the TCP/IP stack. A tenacious attacker could remotely alter the TCP connection timer, causing existing TCP connections to time out. By doing this repeatedly, an attacker can effectively launch a Denial of Service (DoS) attack on the targeted machine. Microsoft stresses that anyone attempting to exploit this flaw would first have to "predict or learn the IP address and port information of the source and of the destination of an existing TCP network connection." Programs keeping connections open for long periods of time or having predictable traffic flows are most vulnerable.
  • Sober reloaded - Zombie PCs infected with the Sober-P worm are set to reactivate on Monday, 23 May. Sober-P posed as offers of a free ticket for next year's World Cup and set up backdoor access on compromised PCs, claiming thousands of victims since its first appearance earlier this month. These infected machines were later used to generate a German hate-mail spam outbreak this week. The sheer volume of this deluge illustrated the potential for further mischief.
  • "Secure" Netscape released with vulnerabilities - Netscape has released the newest version of its browser with serious known vulnerabilities, claim developers of the code which forms the basis of the product. Netscape 8 is based on version 1.0.3 of the open source Mozilla Firefox browser, with features such as a new interface and ability to use the Internet Explorer rendering engine added. (ed.note: Netscape already released _fixed_ Netscape 8.01)
  • "New" BitTorrent forces anti-piracy regroup - BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen has eliminated the need for Web site hosting of centralised files known as 'trackers' in the latest beta version of the peer-to-peer software. These easily-located files have been a key resource for anti-piracy units in identifying infringers downloading and sharing copyrighted material. The enhancement may cause problems in shutting down the illegal online distribution of software and content, according to software piracy watchdog, the BSA.

OFFTOPIC...

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Xbox 360 backwards compatibility confirmed - The Xbox 360 will be backwards compatible with the Xbox, according to Microsoft. However, current game titles will need to be 'recompiled' for the new hardware in the 360, the firm has told journos at E3. Will there simply be a patch for each game, perhaps available over Live? How much work is needed to be done to each game to get it to run? The Microsoft statement that first on the list of titles to be compiled - note, not among the first, which would imply a quantity - are the Halo titles, rather indicates that it's quite a lot of work to get them done.
  • Apple Recalls G4 Batteries - The recalled lithium ion batteries were manufactured for use with the 12-inch iBook G4, the 12-inch PowerBook G4, and the 15-inch PowerBook G4. Batteries recalled include those with model numbers A1061, A1078, and A1079 and serial numbers that begin with HQ441 through HQ507 or 3X446 through 3X510.
  • Dell wants $40 for upgrade to 64bit Windows XP - Intels representative on earth - Dell Inc, will charge you a staggering $40 for upgrading your copy of Windows XP 32-bit to Windows XP 64-bit, it has emerged. That compares to around $12 or so the Vole is charging if you take up its offer to upgrade - caveats compris.
  • Japanese boffins develop vampire battery - Japanese researchers have developed a new fuel cell that can run on human blood. The team at Tohoku University's Department of Bioengineering and Robotics have developed the tiny fuel cell to power implanted medical devices like pacemakers or blood sugar monitors. It can produce 0.2 milliwatts of power, enough for simple processing and radio communication.
  • Particle Accelerator Used to Decipher Text - A particle accelerator is being used to reveal the long-lost writings of the Greek mathematician Archimedes, work hidden for centuries after a Christian monk wrote over it in the Middle Ages. Highly focused X-rays produced at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center were used last week to begin deciphering the parts of the 174-page text that have not yet been revealed. The X-rays cause iron in the hidden ink to glow.
  • Toshiba announces its first network equipped DVD recorder with 250GB HDD - Toshiba has announced RD-XS54 Multi-Drive (DVD-RAM, DVD-R and DVD-RW) DVD Recorder with a 250GB Hard Disc Drive. Not only can users record and playback their favorite TV shows and build personal movie libraries with the RD-XS54, they can also expand the recorder's capabilities through other devices and rooms in the home.

HARDWARE... 

  • AMD to launch dual-core Athlon 64 on May 31 - AMD will launch the first dual-core version of its Athlon 64 desktop processor at Taiwan's Computex trade show on May 31.
  • Intel to Enable 64-bit Support for Low-Priced Pentium 4 - Intel Corp. on Friday disclosed plans to enable 64-bit processing capability on a low-cost Intel Pentium 4 processor clocked at 2.66GHz. The chip is likely to be priced well below $163 and enable very low-cost computers with Enhanced Memory 64 Technology
  • Innovatek Cool-Matic X850 Available - The Cool-Matic X850 is especially designed to suit the ATI Radeon X850/X800 Graphic Cards (with AGP and PCI-Express Interface) and cools the GPU and the memory on the VGA card. The X850 fits on all ATI Radeon X850 and X800 in all AGP and PCI-E versions. The integrated cooper core enables highest cooling power and maximum performance - while keeping noise levels near silent. The cooler does not block a PCI Slot and comes with standard 8x1 connectors aswell.
  • G70 scores 7800 in 3DMark05 - The G70 core chooses a name is the Geforce 7,800 series, could some three editions respectively be GTX(Ultra), GT, Standard, the core uses 0.11 micro metric system regulation, will have 24 assembly lines, the GTX core frequency is 430MHz, will support the CineFX 4.0 engines and the Intellisample 4.0 specifications, but the DirectX edition or 9.0c, will support Sharder Model 3.0. The memory aspect uses the GDDR3 memory pellet, the speed reaches the 1.4GHz frequency width is 256Bit, but the official issue date will be on June 22, 2005.
  • Abit AX8 motherboard - Overclocking the AX8 was a pleasure. The VIA K8T800 based KV8 Pro overclocked rather well and I had no doubts that the K8T890 chipset, which is essentially the same chipset as the K8T800, would yield any poor results. I proceeded to find the highest HTT allowed with dual sticks of memory installed. The first test will be conducted with the memory divider at 1:1.
  • Sapphire Set to Use "Liquid-Metal" Coolers - Sapphire is experimenting with liquid metal cooling for its new Blizzard Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition. Sapphire's Blizzard RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition for PCI Express will be equipped with 256MB of GDDR3 and will operate at 540MHz/1180MHz for core/memory. The board will come equipped with 2 DVI-I ports. Pricing is yet unknown, but the graphics cards already exist in prototypes. The liquid-metal cooling technology is based on liquid metal cooling loops that contain a patented fluid called liquid-metal. Since the metal is electrically conductive, an electromagnetic pump is used to propel the liquid within a loop rather quickly. The liquid-metal loops act as typical heat-pipes: they rapidly and efficiently transfer heat from a heat-source to a radiator which is cooled-down either actively or passively.
  • ATI's new AGP Radeons - Physically, the Radeon X800 XL AGP card is huge. At nearly nine inches long, it's the largest ATI graphics card we've ever had in the labs. Note that the card also sports a four-pin Molex connector; a PCI Express x16 slot has enough juice to power the X800 XL on its own, but the AGP version of the card needs a little help.
  • ASUS W2P00VB notebook - This notebook model easily handles office and multimedia tasks, DirectX 9.0 games and graphics applications. The built-in TV-tuner together with a widescreen 17.1” matrix makes this notebook an entertainment and multimedia center, too. Adding to the notebook's appealing features are the wireless network adapter, LAN controller, and Bluetooth controller.
  • PowerColor X850 XT Platinum Edition VIVO AGP - The card is a beast and power hungry one indeed. With 16 pipelines and remarkable performance no gamer will stray away from getting one of those unique VGA boards. Even though the X850XT is last year's refresh part it is here to compete with NVIDIA's offering -- GeForce 6800 Ultra. With great bundle, VIVO capabilities and vast amount of raw power, AGP users will love the PowerColor X850 XT Platinum Edition VIVO AGP.
  • Gigabyte GV-RX80256D PCI Express Video Card - R&B Mods checked out the Gigabyte GV-RX80256D PCI Express video card
  • Sapphire Radeon X850 XT PE AGP Video Card - The Sapphire Radeon X850XT Platinum Edition performed very well throughout our entire battery of benchmarks. In every game, except for Doom 3 and Chronicles of Riddick, the Sapphire Radeon X850XT Platinum Edition (and the ATI built X850) was the best performing card that we tested here. And where it did trail behind the GeForce 6800 Ultra, the GeForce's performance lead wasn't monumental.
  • Crucial Radeon X850 XT 256MB PCI Express - Initial inspection of the Crucial X850XT PCI-E 256MB card appears to be following the ATi reference design to the letter. Under the massive cooler lies the R480 core, manufactured in the 0.13nm process and having over 160 million transistors. The card has 16 parallel pixel pipelines and 6 parallel vertex pipelines. There is 256MB of 256bit Quad-Channel GDDR3 memory attached o­n this card. The core runs at a frequency of 520MHz and the memory at 540MHz (1080MHz DDR).
  • Gigabyte GeForce 6200 TurboForce vs TurboCache - The graphics card has a total bandwidth of 13.6GB/s, yet only features 64MB's of onboard memory clocked at 350MHz with a core clock of 350MHz. Theoretically the onboard memory only accounts for 5.6GB/s, the other 8GB/s is delivered via the PCI Express bus. Although this graphics card does support 256MB of memory, there is physically only 64MB of local memory found on the card. The other 192MB of memory is shared from the system RAM, which is of course accessed via the PCI Express bus. Another review can be found on THG.
  • Jetart JACSH1 Graphics Card Cooler - However, its fan is louder than the fan used in the Zalman VF700 coolers. So, this cooler won't be a great choice for those who demand silent cooling. If silence is what you are looking for, the Zalman VF700Cu would still be a better choice. And if you want passive cooling, you should definitely go for the Zalman ZM80C-HP or ZM80D-HP. Of course, those coolers won't be as easy to install as the Jetart JACSH1!
  • Seagate Barracuda 400GB 7200.8 Hard Drive - The Barracuda 7200.8 is a native SATA product and supports speeds of SATA 1.5Gb/s. Unlike some of the first batches of SATA drives, a native drive will bypass the legacy Task File reads and writes, as well as avoiding the limitation of 133 Mbytes/sec for Ultra DMA Mode 6 transfers. While the 7200.8 has some features of the Serial ATA II specification, the drive does not support SATA 3Gb/s transfer speeds. There tends to be some confusion that Serial ATA II = SATA 3Gb/s, but that is not necessarily true.
  • Gigabyte GO-B5232A CD-RW Burner - InsaneTek takes a look at the Gigabyte B-5232A CDRW Burner/DVD ROM combo.
  • Lite-On SOHW-1673S 16x DVD±RW  - The drive is capable of 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW and 4x DVD+R DL writing speeds and a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. Of course, the SOHW-1673S can do more than read and write DVD's. Lite-On's new drive also boasts 48x CD reading and writing speeds, 24x rewriting speeds, and support for technologies like SMART-BURN and SMART-X.
  • Belkin MediaPilot - The Belkin MediaPilot wireless keyboard is split into three separate parts - the actual keyboard, docking station, and a wrist rest. The keyboard itself is much like a combination of a laptop's condensed keyboard and a standard desktop keyboard in the sense that the keys are fully tactile and not flat, and on the right side are the home, page up, insert, delete, etc keys in addition to arrow keys in the standard inverted T arrangement. The keyboard's height steps up above the function keys, where all the hotkeys and multimedia controls reside.
  • Logitech MX518 Gaming-Grade Optical Mouse - This product is a high-end mouse made specifically to suit the need of gamers. It is obvious that Logitech has been taking a hit in the gaming sector of the mouse market so that have responded with this product.
  • Logitech MX 1000 Laser Cordless Mouse - If you currently own a corded--or worse yet--ball mouse then the MX 1000 is a no-brainer. Like the earlier MX 700 it games as well as a corded mouse. If you already own a recent optical, cordless mouse the question becomes more problematic. There are clear but subtle advantages of the new Logitech MX 1000, such as the new rechargeable lithium-ion battery mentioned above. Whether these advances warrant upgrading, though, depends on what model mouse you currently own and what your driving habits are.
  • MonsterGecko PistolMouse FPS - Suited primarily for first person shooters, the PistolMouse is an 800dpi optical mouse masquerading as a Glock pistol.
  • Creative I-Trigue 5600 5.1 Speakers - The I-Trigue 5600 is a cracking speaker set, with sound quality right up there alongside anything else in the same price range. If that range seems a little too rich for you, know that until you've enjoyed the pleasures of surround sound, it's impossible to appreciate how much it enhances the enjoyment of DVD movies and gaming.
  • Epson AcuLaser CX11N - Multi-Function-Device - If a consumer All-in-One combines a colour inkjet printer and a scanner, a business All-in-One should combine a colour laser printer and a scanner. Until recently, though, the best you could do was a mono laser. Epson is changing all that with the AcuLaser CX11N, the first in a new range of multifunction devices, this one based on the company's C1100 colour laser engine

GUIDES... 

  • How to Avoid Overheating - Hardware Secrets has posted an article about how to avoid overheating.
  • Memory Cards Tutorial - Hardware Secrets posted a Memory Cards Tutorial.
  • Low-End Buyer’s Guide Q2/2005 - The goal of this guide is to outline an entire low-end computer system for around $750. This includes the internal hardware, input devices, monitor and speakers.
  • ASUS X850XT PE with Catalyst 5.1 ~ 5.5 - TCMagazine have a new Catalyst driver comparison online, done with the ASUS X850XT Platinum Edition.
  • Xbox 360 GPU features - Both AnandTech and HardOCP take a look at Xbox 360 GPU.
  • ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide /Updated/ - This guide refers to the latest Official ATI Catalyst drivers Version 5.5, including the ATI Catalyst Control Center. Make sure to check back regularly as the guide is updated for each new Catalyst release
  • America's Army Tweak Guide Updated - TweakGuides.com updated their America's Army Tweak Guide. The fact that the game has been upgraded to the Unreal Engine 2.5 means many changes under the hood, and my guide covers all of these - from basic to advanced. Even if you have read the guide recently you should definitely go through it again to fine tune your America's Army setup.

SOFTWARE...

  • Netscape Browser 8.0.1 - Just days after releasing the official 8.0 version, AOL has now come out with the 8.0.1 release (download)
  • FastStone Image Viewer 2.1 - FastStone Image Viewer 2.0.5 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, watermarks and more.
  • FreeEnc 0.44 - FreeEnc is a free MPEG-2 encoder, which uses avcodec library to encode. This encoder takes AVISynth input(.avs) and outputs MPEG2 like QuEnc, but the main difference is that every parameter is tweakable, plus it comes with the optimized parameters of MencodeMe, which are known to produce great quality.
  • Winamp 5 Full 5.091 Final - Winamp supports playback of many audio (MP3, OGG, AAC, WAV, MOD, XM, S3M, IT, MIDI, etc) and video types (AVI,ASF,MPEG,NSV), custom appearances called skins (supporting both classic Winamp 1.x/2.x skins and Winamp 3 freeform skins), audio visualization and audio effect plug-ins (including two industry dominating visualization plug-ins), an advanced media library, Internet radio and TV support, CD ripping, and CD burning.
  • Folder View 2.1 - Files are often scattered around many different folders on the harddisk and locations on the network. Every time you want to copy, move, open or save a file, this situation leads you to a quest through levels of folders. With Folder View, these quests are over. Folder View enhances the Windows file Explorer by making all folders you need available in a single click. It integrates with other applications, speeding up opening and saving of files and also lets you copy and move files very quickly.
  • BhoScanner 1.5  - It is known that the browser helper objects are loaded each time the browser is started up. Such objects run in the same memory context as the browser and can perform any action on the available windows and modules. For ex., a browser helper object can install hooks to monitor messages and actions, etc  BhoScanner (download) gives you a quick look at the BHOs installed on Local or Remote PC, tells you by coloured icons ( green icon - safe, yellow icon - unknown, red icon - harmful ) whether specific BHO is known to be safe or harmful.
  • xpy 0.8.11 - xpy is a small tool which disables the default threats of a Windows XP installation.
  • IBM - Hitachi Drive Fitness Test 4.04  - This download creates a self-booting DOS diskette to run the DFT utility. The Drive Fitness Test (DFT) provides a quick, reliable method to test SCSI and IDE hard disk drives. The Drive Fitness Test analyze function performs read tests without overwriting customer data.
  • HWiNFO v4.9.6 (DOS) -  A new version of professional hardware information/diagnostics tool has been released. This new version (download 14days free trial) adds support for VIA P4M800 and PT894 + VT8287 chipsets, recognition of ATI X850 and X800XL cards, recognition and support of ATI Radeon Xpress 200 (RS480) chipset, SATA bus support for some nForce chipsets and more.
  • HWINFO32 v1.53. (Win32) - This new version (download 14days free trial) fixes CPU clock ratio detection for some AMD K7 models, updates "unhiding" of ICH6(-M) SMBus host, adds support for ATI RADEON X850 XT, Pro, Platinum based on R481 and fixes DRAM Row memory info for VIA KT/PT880 chipsets.
  • Xtreme G 76.45b (ForceWare) - This is the updated bugfixed version B. This is the Xtreme G driver which includes many performance and Image Quality tweaks. These are modified NVIDIA ForceWare drivers for Windows 2000 & XP.
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 Network Connection 7.1.4.0 WHQL - Intel has released a new Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 Driver and supports only Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Tablet, and Windows 2000 Professional.
  • Creative Sound Blaster Live! 24-bit 1.04.0050 WHQL - Latest driver for the Creative Sound Blaster Live! 24-bit. Warning: This one is for Windows 64 ONLY!!
 Gameguru Mania News - May,20 2005 - tech
AGEIA Sets Pricing on PhysX Add-In Cards - tech
(hx) 06:54 PM EDT - May,20 2005 - Post a comment
Xbit Labs is reporting that AGEIA has set pricing on its PhysX add-in cards. The cards will cost between $249 and $299:
The PhysX chip will be manufactured with 0.13 micron technology at TSMC, and the 182sq.mm die will host 125 million transistors, which is larger than that of mainstream graphics processing units, such as ATI RADEON X700.

The designer of the PhysX co-processor claims that the first games to be use capabilities of the chip will be out by year end, at the same time gamers will be able to get the add-in board.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,19 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 08:56 PM EDT - May,19 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Fake Microsoft Patch Triggers Virus Attack - The file is actually an executable for a variant of W32.Pinfi, a memory-resident polymorphic virus capable of replicated via mapped drives and network shares. The Pinfi virus, also known as Pate or Parite, has been programmed to infect every PE and SCR file on every drive and network share.
  • Microsoft confirms TCP/IP flaw - Microsoft on Wednesday issued one of its first Microsoft Security Advisories, responding to reports of a flaw in Windows that could allow DoS attacks. In the advisory, Microsoft acknowledges the issue. The software giant also says that the problem was fixed with a patch it released in April and that systems running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and that Windows Server with Service Pack 1 are not vulnerable.
  • Government says Wi-Fi networks not secure - A hacker on a park bench could log onto dozens of U.S. government computer networks thanks to slipshod security standards at many agencies, according to a congressional report released on Tuesday. The report by the Government Accountability Office found that few government agencies can ensure that their wireless networks are protected from unauthorized access.
  • Securing Wireless LANs with PEAP and Passwords - This guidance provides step-by-step instructions for deploying wireless local access network (LAN) security for Microsoft Windows XP, and Pocket PC clients using the Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol (PEAP) and password authentication

OFFTOPIC...

  • Cloned human embryos deliver tailored stem cells - Woo Suk Hwang, of Seoul National University, South Korea, and colleagues, used an improved technique for cloning embryos to create stem cell lines for 11 patients with various diseases or injuries. The lines exactly match the patients’ nuclear DNA and immune system.
  • The most accurate clock of all time - Now Hidetoshi Katori and his colleagues at the University of Tokyo have come up with an elegant solution that combines the advantages of both systems. Katori uses six laser beams to create a pattern of standing electromagnetic waves. This creates a series of energy wells, each of which supports one strontium atom, in much the same way as each dimple in an egg box holds an egg (see Diagram). This prevents the electromagnetic fields of individual atoms interfering with those of their neighbours, and allows the oscillating signals of many atoms to be measured at once.
  • New Star Wars Movie "Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" leaks out onto the internet - WinBeta.Org has learned that a workprint copy of the new movie Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith has leaked out onto the internet several hours ahead of it's debut in theatres across North America and the UK

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft Developing Windows for Low-End Machines - Microsoft Corp. is working on a new Windows-based operating system designed to help companies make older machines run better. The software, code-named Eiger, will look and feel like much like Windows XP and will be equipped with Service Pack 2, a major security upgrade released last summer, said Barry Goffe, a group product manager for Microsoft's Windows client unit.
  • Microsoft wins email technology patent - Microsoft has won a patent that could give the company control of certain essential features found in multiple email applications.  The company was granted US patent number 6,895,426 on Tuesday. The patent covers, "treating electronic mail addresses as objects". Among other uses of this patent, Microsoft claims the technologies lets email addresses be added to a contact list easily: it also covers situations in which a user copies an address to a clipboard or double-clicks to access contact information that is relevant to an email address.
  • Game Boy Micro revealed - Nintendo has also revealed a tiny new addition to the Game Boy family. Measuring just four inches wide, two inches tall, and 0.7 inches thick, the 2.8 ounce Game Boy Micro is designed to fit comfortably into the pocket of your "tightest jeans."
  • Google introduces personalized home pages - The feature, which has not yet been named, lets people with Gmail and other Google accounts create a home page with different modules that they can drag and drop across their page, giving them one place to go for e-mail, headlines, weather reports, maps, movie schedules and, of course, Web search.
  • Google Launches Enterprise Desktop Search Tool - Google has released an enterprise-oriented version of its desktop search tool. Unlike the consumer version of Google Desktop Search, the enterprise version will not transmit any search information to Google.
  • TDK develops 2X, 100GB Blu-ray Disc prototype - The disc, unveiled at a TDK exhibition in Tokyo this week, can record data at 72Mbps (bits per second), double the 36Mbps rate for current Blu-ray Discs. TDK increased the write speed by using a more powerful laser and making some changes to the material of the disc’s recording layer, said Nobuyuki Koike a spokesman for TDK. The first generation of Blu-ray discs can already record data faster than it is transmitted in high-definition TV broadcasts, so the faster recording speed isn’t needed there. But it will be advantageous when content is copied from a hard-disk drive to an optical disc for backup or archiving, said Koike.

HARDWARE... 

  • Samsung creates 40" OLED display - Samsung has apparently developed a 40" Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) display panel that's less than an inch thick. The display has a widescreen resolution of 1280x800, 600 nits brightness, and a 5000:1 contrast ratio, but its most notable feature is really its size
  • WD ships Caviar SATA-II hard drives - The platters on these puppies spin at 7,200 RPM, and seek times are cushioned by 16MB of onboard cache. A fast PC should be able to pull data from that cache at rates up to 300MB/s thanks to the SATA-II interface. Initial capacities look to be 160GB and 250GB, with the 250GB model ringing up at $199. WD will cover these drives with a three-year warranty, and they claim "noise levels are virtually below the threshold of human hearing."
  • Nvidia G70 is a 90 nanometre chip - It turns out that the G70, also known as the Geforce series 7, is going to be a very similar chip to the just announced Playstation 3 chip. Nvidia is still keeping quiet about the final spec of the chip but we know it's a 90 nanometre chip and that it's likely that it will have at least 10MB of cache memory. ATI's Xbox 360 chip has exactly the same 10MB as you need to have enough buffer to render HDTV picture quality games. That's what the new consoles are all about.
  • NVIDIA SLI guide part 3: GeForce 6800 and GeForce 6600 GT SLI game play evaluation - The GeForce 6600 GT SLI is a slightly more attractive proposition, in a number of ways. The performance differences between the GeForce 6600 GT SLI and a single GeForce 6800 GT are more in the favour of the GeForce 6800 GT than 6600 GT SLI, as you are guaranteed that performance, even if the title does not support SLI.
  • MSI Megabook S250 - Unlike most notebooks, there's no port cluster on the rear edge of the unit. That space is where the removable battery lies for the Megabook S250, S260 and AMD-powered S270. Ports are therefore distributed along the sides and front. Down the left you've got the DVD rewriter's tray space, an integrated media reader slot that'll do SD, MMC and MemoryStick, USB2.0 port and a PC Card slot.
  • DDR roundup - LostCircuits has posted a DDR-II Roundup
  • Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840 Dual-Core CPU - This CPU has dramatic power consumption which sets additional requirements to the voltage regulators designed for the mainboards supporting it as well as to the system PSUs. As a result, Pentium Extreme Edition 840 requires special cooling solutions. Besides, this processor will not work in old LGA775 mainboards and is compatible only with the limited number of solutions based on i955X and NVIDIA nForce4 SLI (Intel Edition).
  • Athlon 64 4000+ - The Athlon64 4000+ outperformed a Pentium 4 540 by a 10-20% margin in real-life applications and games, with Hyperthreading disabled. That's a pretty impressive result, and the most astonishing achievement is how quickly AMD caught up to Intel in the memory access department.
  • Sapphire Hybrid RADEON X800 XL 512MB (PCIe) - From our testing analysis, we don't see how a 512MB frame buffer based product from ATI would benefit you immediately unless you belong to the niche user group who go beyond the standard 4x FSAA settings and push the graphics card to its knees with 6x FSAA. Even then, you would have to be using pretty high resolutions to have any positive benefits.
  • Seagate Barracuda 400GB 7200.8 - Viperlair take a look at be checking out Seagate's newest monster, the Barracuda 400GB 7200.8. As the name implies, the drive sports a massive 400GB capacity and if that sounds like overkill, think about it for a second.

GUIDES... 

  • Powering Your PC: Truths and Misconceptions A Guide To Power Supplies - The complexity and function of a PC power supply makes choosing a brand / model a very important and tough decision. High-end video cards (especially in SLI setups) require a lot of current and stable voltages to operate properly. Many video cards are starting to use a dedicated power plug for additional 12V current. Processors also require a lot of current, and with dual-core chips appearing power consumption took a noticeable jump.
  • ATI Catalyst 5.5 performance analysis - As usual it will go through our normal array of benchmarking to see what the latest release has done for us in terms of performance.

SOFTWARE...

  • AMD Athlon 64 General Overclocking Guide - Mad Shrimps published an AMD Athlon 64 General Overclocking Guide.
  • [MS Patch] Update for WinXP/2k/2003 - Install this update to address an issue that may cause a "Generic Host Process" error message to be displayed after you install security update MS05-012, or cause attachment file names not to be displayed in Rich Text e-mail messages.
  • AutoPatcher XP May 2005 - AutoPatcher is a comprehensive collection of patches, addons and registry tweaks that give you peace of mind in the knowledge that your Windows system is up to date, even before you connect it to the Internet. It's designed to quickly patch a system with the most current updates and tweaks available, and requires no user interaction once you have selected what to install.
  • RightMark Memory Analyzer 3.5 review - This article will be devoted to the review of this utility.
  • InterVideo Offers demos - InterVideo (WinDVD maker) offers its MediaOne SE suite for download. For a limited time you can download the three packages (Package 1 (136 MB) MediaOne WinDVD Creator Silver; Package 2 (56 MB) MediaOne Disc Master Gold, PhotoAlbum Gold; Package 3 (30 MB) MediaOne Smart Backup) from the Intervideo website. Note: 14 uses until user has to register!  
  • OpenBSD 3.7 - It's official: OpenBSD 3.7 has been released.
  • MySQL 4.1.12 - A new version of MySQL 4.1.12 is available for download (changelog)
  • Weather Pulse 2.05 Build 21 Beta - Weather Pulse is a powerful weather display program for the Internet. Display popular Satellite images from around the globe, share images with your friends and family, stay updated on current and expected weather conditions, it's just plain fun. Displays the current temperature in your Windows task tray with adjustable colors, border and fonts and much more.
  • Portable Firefox 1.04 RC2 - Portable Firefox is a fully functional package of Firefox optimized for use on a USB key drive. It has some specially-selected optimizations to make it perform faster and extend the life of your USB key as well as a specialized launcher that will allow most of your favorite extensions to work as you switch computers. It will also work from a CDRW drive (in packet mode), ZIP drives, external hard drives, some MP3 players, flash RAM cards and more.
  • Yahoo! Messenger Yahoo! Messenger 7.0.0.242 Beta - Yahoo!'s Instant Messenger (download) service has been updated again.
  • Netscape 8.0 Final - Netscape 8.0 (download) is based on the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox code, but includes both the Firefox and Microsoft IE engines, officials with Dulles, Va.-based, AOL, a division of Time Warner Inc., said. The upgrade automatically switches between engines on each web site, depending on user preference or demands of the site.
  • WinAmp 5.091 - Nullsoft Winamp (download) is a fast, flexible, high-fidelity media player for Windows.
  • CCleaner 1.19.108 - CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) (download) 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. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history.
Xbox 360 GPU Explained - tech
(hx) 03:50 PM EDT - May,19 2005 - Post a comment
HardOCP sat down with Bob Feldstein, VP of Engineering at ATI, and lead sled dog on the Xbox 360 GPU development team to get the lowdown on just what the XBox 360's graphic unit is capable of. Here's an excerpt:
The Xbox 360 Smart 3D Memory is a relatively small piece of DRAM sitting off to the side of the GPU but yet on the same substrate. The Smart 3D Memory weighs in at only 10MB. Now the first thing that you might think is, "Well what the hell good is 10MB in the world of 512MB frame buffers?" And that would be a good line of questioning. The "small" 10MB of Smart 3D memory that is currently being built by NEC will have an effective bus rate between it and the GPU of 2GHz. This is of course over 3X faster that what we see on the high end of RAM today.

Inside the Smart 3D Memory is what is referred to as a 3D Logic Unit. This is literally 192 Floating Point Unit processors inside our 10MB of RAM. This logic unit will be able to exchange data with the 10MB of RAM at an incredible rate of 2 Terabits per second. So while we do not have a lot of RAM, we have a memory unit that is extremely capable in terms of handling mass amounts of data extremely quickly. The most incredible feature that this Smart 3D Memory will deliver is "antialiasing for free" done inside the Smart 3D RAM at High Definition levels of resolution. (For more of just what HiDef specs are, you can read here. Yes, the 10MB of Smart 3D Memory can do 4X Multisampling Antialiasing at or above 1280x720 resolution without impacting the GPU. So all of your games on Xbox 360 are not only going to be in High Definition, but all will have 4XAA applied as well.
Another article can be found on TechReport.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,18 2005 - tech
Asus to build PhysX boards - tech
(hx) 10:13 AM EDT - May,18 2005 - Post a comment
At the E3, AGEIA Technologies today announced that ASUS Computer will be AGEIA's first PhysX board partner. Details of the agreement will be announced at a later date, but the two companies have agreed in principle that ASUS will develop and market PPU boards with the AGEIA PhysX processor, the world's first and only dedicated physics processing unit. Gamers using ASUS add-in boards with the AGEIA PhysX processor will experience unprecedented physics-based effects and environments in next-generation games. Products are expected within 2005, coinciding with the release of popular game titles incorporating AGEIA physics technology. In related news, AEGIA has announced that several upcoming games, including Yager, City of Villians, Ghost Recon 3, Arena Online and Stoked Rider will use its technology.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,17 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 08:53 PM EDT - May,17 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Virus infecting Neo-Nazi political spams circulating on the Web - Sober.q, an email virus that sends neo-Nazi spam, has attacked thousands of computers last week and has been circulating over the Web ever since. Targeting email addresses stored on infected computers, the virus sends messages that contain links to news stories with topics that ‘smells of right-wing political rhetoric’, said security specialist McAfee Inc’s Vincent Gullotto. Some of the email messages have links to a Web site that tries to infect the computers of those visiting the site. According to Gullotto, Sober.q is the most successful variant of the Sober family of viruses.
  • Malicious Bots Hide Using Rootkit Code - Computer viruses and remote control programs called bots are adopting features from stealthy programs called rootkits to avoid detection, according to researchers at Finnish anti-virus software company F-Secure. New versions of Rbot, a malicious and ubiquitous remote control program, have features copied and pasted from a well known open-source rootkit called FU. The new features make Rbot invisible to system monitoring tools.
  • Commwarrior virus marches on -The cell phone virus Commwarrior recently surfaced in Italy, in a sign that destructiveness of the Symbian OS nemesis is reaching a boil after simmering for months. As feared, the virus is showing its propensity for spreading. Italy is the third nation in only three weeks to suffer Commwarrior attacks, according to security experts F-Secure. The other nations are India and Oman.
  • Security Update for MSN Messenger 6.1 or 6.2 (KB890261) - A security issue has been identified that could allow an attacker to compromise your Windows-based system and gain control over it. You can help protect your computer by installing this update from Microsoft
  • Apache HTDigest Realm Command Overflow (Exploit) - htdigest is "a utility included with Apache Web Server, useful to create and update usernames, realms and passwords for digest authentication of HTTP users". Due improper testing of bounds by the htdigest program, an attacker that is able to invoke the program can cause it to execute arbitrary code.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Nuclear battery will last 10 years - US researchers have claimed a breakthrough that promises nuclear battery technology with a lifespan measured in decades. The project, which is in development at the US University of Rochester, has demonstrated an enhanced fabrication method that "in its roughest form" is already 10 times more efficient than current nuclear batteries.
  • Manufactured diamonds move closer to nature - Researchers at the Carnegie Institute have come up with a way to produce 10-carat diamonds measuring a half-inch thick that are also colorless, an attribute that has bedeviled diamond makers until now. Manufactured diamonds--which some believe could play a large part in the industrial and jewelry market--are generally produced through the so-called high pressure/high temperature (HPHT) method, similar to how diamonds are created in nature.
  • Star Wars Ends With Solid Sith - Aside from a number of impressive set pieces (the movie's got light-saber showdowns galore), Sith's best feature is that it finally answers all those nagging questions about the galaxy from long, long ago, particularly about the role of the clones/stormtroopers in the future Emperor's monumental conspiracy to gain power. Here we get to see exactly how the clone wars go down, what happens to the Jedi, how the Republic turns into the Empire, and how earnest Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) plays the ultimate pawn in all of this. It's a long way from Attack of the Clones to A New Hope, but Lucas deserves credit for getting us from point A to point B -- logically (for once), and in just 138 minutes.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Xbox 360 will include built-in Windows Media Center Extender - Microsoft today announced it will release a free software update to Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 that will enable customers to take advantage of the Media Center Extender technologies built into Xbox 360  gaming systems to access and enjoy digital entertainment anywhere in the home. Every Xbox 360 will have Media Center Extender functionality built in and available out of the box.
  • Xbox 360 will play old Xbox games - As for backwards compatibility, Microsoft is hedging its bets. Currently, the company is only promising that Xbox 360 will be compatible "top-selling" Xbox games, and not the entire catalog of first generation games. The problem, apparently, is that Xbox 360 runs on a completely different hardware platform than the original Xbox, and Microsoft will have to custom-create software fixes, or shims, that will let Xbox titles run normally on the new system. Continue At Source
  • Games Get AIM - AOL today announced a new kit that promises to make it easier to integrate its AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) into video games. The new AOL Messaging Software Developer Kit (SDK) offers developers the opportunity to AIM- or ICQ-enable their games. An integrated buddy list will let gamers see when their friends are online and ping them to play a game. The SDK also allows for IM integration within live play, including game-specific AIM expressions, icons and sounds.
  • Creative Xtreme Fidelity claims to make MP3's beat CD quality - The Xtreme Fidelity features a 24-bit DAC, minimum SNR of 110dB and multi channel sound experience on headphones. Its processor is capable of 10k+ MIPS, or 24 times the performance of its predecessor. For gamers, this means that with less audio processing load on the CPU, more processing is spent on the game itself thus leading to faster refresh rates as well as the advantage of more realistic audio.
  • IE 7 to take a cue from Firefox - Microsoft has confirmed that its upcoming version of Internet Explorer will include tabbed browsing, a feature made popular by competitors Opera Software and Firefox. In a Microsoft blog, IE product unit manager Dean Hachamovitch told consumers not to expect too much from tabbed browsing in IE's beta offering.

HARDWARE... 

  • ASUS' Intel 945P Mainboard Supports Multi-GPU Mode - ASUSTeK Computer is showcasing a mainboard based on yet unreleased Intel 945P chipset which is believed to be designed for performance-mainstream PCs. The mainboard has two PCI Express x16 slots and officially supports multi-GPU setups, such as NVIDIA SLI, which, in case such mainboards are affordable enough, will enable platforms supporting two graphics cards for customers in budget.
  • PowerNotebooks PowerPro A 2:21 Laptop - While you can configure the the A 2:21 for the most part, the 15.4 inch WSXGA screen is locked in stone, as is the GeForce Go 6600. Otherwise, you have a range of processors from 1.6 to 2.13 Ghz; hardrives starting at 40GBs and going as high as 100; 512MB of RAM to 2 GBs; Combo DVD/CDRW drive or a DVD +/- R/RW drive, and a spare bay you can use for an additional battery or hardrive. Oh, and the Arctic Silver option.
  • AMD's Athlon 64 3800+ "Venice" processor - The Venice core typically offers a bit of a performance advantage over the previous Newcastle core, and it does so while consuming less power at idle and under load than any of the processors we've tested alongside it. In some cases, like 3DMark05's CPU test, Sphinx speech recognition, and video encoding with Windows Media Encoder Advanced Profile, the Venice version of the Athlon 64 3800+ even outruns the older-rev Athlon 64 FX-55. Such events may become more common in the future, as SSE3 becomes more widely used.
  • OCZ EL PC-3200 Gold Series Dual Channel Kit - I would recommend not getting these if you’re still on the 478 P4 platform though, unless you have some massive voltage available for your VDIMM. Considering that you can pick a set of these up for about $200 bucks, they are also very competitively priced.
  • EPoX 9NPA+ Ultra (nForce 4 Ultra AMD) Motherboard - EPoX has done a pretty good job with the 9NPA+ Ultra, with only a few design layout flaws, Twektown recommends this motherboard as one of the better non-SLI AMD configurations which they have tested so far.
  • BFG GeForce 6800 Ultra OC 512MB - If it indeed turns out that the performance seen herein is what you can expect from a 512MB GeForce 6800 Ultra, BFG has a tough sell on its hands at an MSRP of $999. Out of the box overclocking is exciting, as are BFG’s warranty, tech support program, and accessory bundle. But even after ratcheting our test bed’s resolution up to 1980x1200, there is still no discernable difference between the 512MB and 256MB GeForce 6800 Ultra cards in the tests run herein.
  • ASPIRE X-QPACK-AL/420 Black/Silver Aluminum MicroATX Case w/ 420W PSU - At 420 watts and a 25 amp +5 volt rail, this power supply should be plenty good enough for all but the most demanding systems and a power cord is included. I wasn't able to get any other specs for this PSU, but I assume it lacks PFC and other features desirable in a higher-end power supply.
  • I.Tech Bluetooth Virtual Keyboard - Looking like an extra terrestrial black monolith may be part of what makes the i-Tech cool, but it's actually the functionality that's the really cool part. Stand the i-Tech on a desk/table/any flat surface and press the button on the side - instantly the image of a keyboard will be thrown onto the surface in front of it. Press the button again and the keyboard disappears - magic! Of course just having a keyboard projected onto your desk isn't much use unless you have some kind of device connected to it. Here i-Tech has pulled the stops out and gone for a Bluetooth connection method, allowing the keyboard to be connected to a multitude of devices, without the shackles of any wires.
  • Logitech Z-5500 THX Certified Digital Speakers - The Logitech Z-5500 Digital speakers are well designed, and produce jaw dropping high quality sound.
  • SonicWALL TZ 150 Wireless - The TZ 150 showcases SonicWALL's experience in security matters to a tee. It may be no bigger than a video cassette but it’s packed full of features that few, if any, vendors can match, let alone beat at this price. Wireless security options are better than most and the Security Gateway Suite upgrade is well worth having for the price. The web content filtering options in particular are far better than those offered by Watchguard and are also geared up to enforce AUPs in the workplace.
  • Lite-On LVW-5045 160GB HDD+DVD Recorder - If you aren't quite ready to have a PC in your living room, then a TiVo or other hard drive recorder would make a great DVR (digital video recorder) for you. With its 160GB LVW-5045, Lite-On enters the hard drive recorder market with an affordable offering that has a lot of potential. The LVW-5045 not only features recording to hard drive but also to DVD and CD media, building on the capabilities of the LVW-5005.
  • Sony PlayStation 3 coverage - More PS3 coverage can be found on AnandTech, DesignTechnica, Bytesector.

GUIDES... 

  • Getting Started with 64-bit Windows - ExtremeTech has posted a Windows XP Professional x64 installation guide.
  • A Guide To Audio Cables - Do They Sound Different? - One of the most common questions asked by consumers faced with purchasing cables for their audio or home theater system is, "What is so important about cables anyway?" They can cost as much or more than some of the hardware in the system and to many it is difficult to understand why wire isn't just wire.
  • Controlling peer-to-peer applications with Cisco routers - Networks Today has posted a new article about controlling peer-to-peer applications with Cisco routers
  • ATI Catalyst 5.5 performance comparison - Check this article for the results.

SOFTWARE...

  • Unofficial Windows 98 SE Service Pack 2.0.1 - It contains all Windows98 SE updates from Windows Update site and more. It is a self-extracting and self-installing pack like Microsoft's update files. Thus, you cannot choice files individually. However, the pack installs only required fixes for your system.
    Uninstallation is possible from Add-Remove Programs.
  • DVD Region+CSS Free 5.85 - DVD Region+CSS Free is an unique, effective DVD tweaking tool. It allows you to watch all region DVDs on any DVD drive even if it has been locked.
  • Real Alternative 1.38 - Real Alternative will allow you to play RealMedia files without having to install the official RealPlayer
  • FileZilla Server 0.9.8 - FileZilla is a fast FTP and SFTP client for Windows with a lot of features. FileZilla Server is a reliable FTP server
  • Hmonitor 4.2.1.3 - Hardware Sensors Monitor (download) has been updated. Hmonitor has much more functions than MotherBoard Monitor, for example, including thermocontrol features and COM/PerfMon API support (quoted from the author). Please check its homepage for additional information. This new version adds suport for Windows 2003 x64 edition (for AMD64/EM64T).
  • EVEREST Home Edition v2.00 - EVEREST Home Edition is a freeware hardware diagnostics and memory benchmarking solution for home PC users.
  • Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS series x64 driver 2.03.0002 - This standalone driver adds Windows XP Professional x64 Edition support for Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS series internal audio devices.
  • NGO nVidia Optimized Driver x64 v2.7671 - The NGO NVIDIA Optimized Driver is a tweaked version of the nVidia Forceware driver. The main purpose is to satisfy the users with a better performance and better image quality. The Driver has support for all Geforce cards. These drivers are for Windows Server 2003 AMD64, Windows Server 2003 IA-64, Windows XP AMD64, Windows XP IA-64. This release is for the 64 bit versions of Windows only !
  • NGO nVidia Optimized Driver v1.7300 - The NGO nVidia Optimized Driver is a tweaked version of the nVidia Forceware driver. The main purpose is to satisfy the users with a better performance and better image quality. The Driver has support for all Geforce cards. These drivers are modified Forceware drivers, meaning they are NOT supported or endorsed by nVidia, or any 3rd party OEM manufacturers.
  • MATROX Parhelia, Millennium drivers 1.09.01 - This driver supports Parhelia 128MB/256MB AGP, Parhelia PCi 256MB, Millennium P650, Millennium P750, Millennium P650 PCIe, the QID series boards, G550 Low-Profile, G450MMS and Millennium G450.
ATI CATALYST Drivers v5.5 - tech
(hx) 04:36 PM EDT - May,17 2005 - Post a comment
ATI has released a new ATI Catalyst drivers (release notes / download ~ 26MB) bringing them up to version 5.5. The package contains: RADEON display driver 8.132, Multimedia Center 9.08, Catalyst Control Center 5.5 (requires .NET Version 1.1 Framework), HydraVision Basic Edition 3.25.9006, Remote Wonder 3.02, WDM version 5.03 (6312) and Southbridge/IXP Driver.
The following section provides a summary of the issues that have been resolved in the latest version of Catalyst. These include:
  • 3DMark05: Running the application under Windows XP for extended periods of time no longer results in the operating system failing to respond when using an ATI Radeon X700 PRO
  • Ashli Viewer sample Wood: Display corruption is no longer noticed when Anisotropic Filtering set to 4x or above
  • Ashli Viewer v1.6.0: Running the application under Windows 2000 and launching a sample item found in the Programs & Shaders no longer results in corruption being displayed in the sample item
  • City of Heros: Playing the game under Windows XP with an ATI Radeon Xpress 200 series installed no longer results in the characters in the game appearing corrupted
  • Freedom force VS The 3rd Reich: Playing the game under Windows XP with an ATI Radeon 8500 installed no longer results in the super hero character attributes appearing blank
  • Imperial Glory Demo: Playing the game under Windows XP with an ATI Radeon X800 installed no longer results in the game failing to respond
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: Setting the graphic option in the Catalyst Control Center to Optimal Quality, followed by launching the game and setting the resolution option to 1600x1200, no longer results in a performance drop being noticed
  • Star Wars Knights of the old republic: Loading the Dantooine level of the game under Windows XP no longer results in slow game performance
  • Setting the desktop display to 800x600 or 1600x1200 16/32bpp no longer results in the incorrect display resolution information being provided when checking the video control panel in the Catalyst Control Center
  • Setting the display device to 1080i no longer results in the text on the custom format being illegible
  • Setting a customized resolution for 720p now works properly when maintaining the aspect ratio
  • Moving the TV to desktop2 and selecting swap device or double up no longer results in the CRT being in panning mode and display corruption being seen on the TV
  • Having a TV connected as the only display device and clicking the OK button in the ATI displays tab found in the Advanced section of the Display Properties results in a flash of the TV image being noticed
  • Connecting and enabling an HDTV and entering the properties page for the HDTV no longer results in the D3/D4 options being available in the D-Connector Control Panel
  • The occasional Windows error messages no longer occurs when booting into extended desktop under Windows XP when using an ATI Radeon X300 or X600
  • Corruption is no longer seen when connecting a secondary display device and moving the primary display device to the left of the secondary device, followed by disconnecting the primary display device and then reconnecting it
  • Previewing or launching the aquarium screen saver under Windows XP Media Center Edition no longer results in the operating system failing to respond
  • RF online game compatibility issue with all ATI Radeon series
  • Launching the Catalyst Control Center help files from the Start->All Programs->Catalyst Control Center now results in the localized version of the help file being displayed
  • Catalyst Control Center: Running the French custom install no longer results in a NewFeature1 component being listed
  • The link found in the second and third help page for the Change Desktop Settings found in the Japanese version of the Catalyst Control Center no longer cross-references to an incorrect help page
  • A black screen is no longer displayed when launching AMCap and attempting to view video from the tuner when using either the svideo or composite inputs
  • Display corruption is no longer noticed on the TV when setting the TV format to PAL-B and attempting to adjust the flicker removal in the TV Advanced option
  • Having a TV and CRT connected and clicking on Preview Automatic adjustment in the Optimize Media Center no longer results in both display devices displaying a black screen
 Gameguru Mania News - May,14 2005 - tech
Saturday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 01:34 PM EDT - May,14 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)

SECURITY...

  • Critical flaws found in IPsec protocols - Flawed cryptography is leaving people using IPsec security protocols vulnerable to hacking, according to the UK's National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre (NISCC). The organisation has released an advisory about the discovery of three key flaws in the Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP) that provides base-level encryption of data, typically travelling though virtual private networks. "An attacker could modify sections of the IPsec packet, causing either the cleartext inner packet to be redirected or a network host to generate an error message," warned NISCC.
  • Mozilla fixes Firefox flaws - Less than a week after the discovery of critical flaws in Mozilla's Firefox browser, the organisation has released a fix. The Mozilla Foundation is urging users to upgrade their browsers to the new version 1.0.4, which is available for download.
  • Symantec Worm Simulator 1.0 - A new simulation program developed by Symantec Research Labs not only has the answers, it also provides pictures. The new Symantec Worm Simulator visually demonstrates how worms spread through the Internet, and how they fare against a custom network and security policy.To use the Worm Simulator, all users need to do is load a simulation file and click "play." The Worm Simulator is distributed with simulations of six actual worms: MyDoom, Netsky, Sasser, Slammer, Blaster, and SoBig. Each simulation is tailored to accurately represent how the real worm spread in the wild. As the worm spreads, nodes in the network and on the globe start turning colors.
  • Tiger update to patch Dashboard vulnerability - The fix is believed to be one of over three dozen expected in Apple's Mac OS X 10.4.1 Update. According to rumors, the update, code-named "Atlanta," could see a release as early as the end of the week
  • Student Raises the Specter of an Attack on Intel Chips -  A research paper released on Friday by Oxford University computer science student Colin Percival details a method by which an attacker could heist cryptography keys on servers running Intel processors with Hyperthreading. Hyperthreading technology runs two threads or streams of data, making computer software view a single processor as two.  The exploit Percival details takes advantage of the threads' shared access to memory caches within the processor to interpret data that's being processed and thus lift the keys. A software timing attack basically watches the behavior of a computer in an effort to expose protected information.
  • In War on Terrorism, New Search Engine Seeks Hidden Vulnerabilities - As part of an effort to anticipate -- and thwart -- the plans of potential terrorists, the Federal Aviation Administration is supporting the development of a new search engine by University at Buffalo researchers that is designed to detect "hidden" information that can be gleaned from public Web sites.
  • MPAA targets TV download sites - Continuing its war on Internet file-swapping sites, the Motion Picture Association of America said Thursday that it has filed lawsuits against a half-dozen hubs for TV show trading.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Cornell researchers build a robot that can reproduce - video - check it out!! (story)
  • Hybrid Mileage Comes Up Short - Hybrid cars are hot, but not as hot as their owners, who complain that their gas mileage hasn't come close to well-advertised estimates. Don't knock the car companies for inflated claims: Experts say the blame lies with the 19-year-old EPA fuel-efficiency test that overstates hybrid performance.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft Readies a 'Lean' Windows Client - Code-named 'Eiger,' the stripped-down version of Windows XP is designed for business users who want more security and manageability on older Windows PCs. What's fatter than a thin client, but svelter than Windows XP? Microsoft's forthcoming "lean" client, code-named "Eiger." Eiger, a stripped-down version of Windows XP Professional, is designed for customers who want more security and manageability, but who aren't ready or able to upgrade to Windows XP, according to Microsoft officials. It is not a thin client in the traditional sense. Instead, Microsoft will offer it as an interim, "bridge" solution for enterprise users who ultimately plan to move to XP or Longhorn, officials said
  • IBM backs Firefox in-house - Firefox is already used by about 10 percent of IBM's staff, or about 30,000 people. Starting Friday, IBM workers can download the browser from internal servers and get support from the company's help desk staff.
  • Broadband Over Gas Lines - Nethercomm Corporation announces the development of Broadband-in-Gas (BiG) Technology. This technology is designed to effectively multiply the current available bandwidth of cable television and all other broadband systems with data capacities exceeding ten gigabits. Broadband-in-Gas delivers unmatched levels of connectivity by making use of Ultra Wideband technology to wirelessly broadcast information in a way that is both safe and reliable by using the private spectrum isolated within natural gas pipelines.
  • Xbox 360 previews - An Xbox 360 previews can be found on AnandTech, ByteSector, HardOCP and GamerAlias. In related news, Bit-Tech has posted an interesting editorial called "How the Xbox 360 will affect PC gamers"

HARDWARE... 

  • 283000$ AMD Turion 64 notebook - AMD Board has posted some info about the Tulip E-Go! Diamond a 283000$ AMD Turion 64 notebook.
  • OCZ EL 1GB DC DDR400 Gold Edition - The OCZ EL 1GB Dual Channel DDR400 Gold Edition memory module is great memory; with the use of the legendary Winbond BH-5 RAM chips, it will meet the needs of most enthusiasts. This pair of DDR400 is one of the fastest RAM frequencies of the DDR memory range. This dual channel RAM kit is able to run tight timings of 2-2-2-5, which is the best and basic requirement for a good memory module. Furthermore, with the voltage of 2.8V, it was able to hit 221 MHz which is equal to DDR 442 with the tight timings of 2-2-2-5. With higher memory voltage at 3.5V, this pair of modules is able to read 251MHz which is equal to DDR502 at the timing of 2-2-2-5.
  • Asus K8N4-E Deluxe/Extreme N6600 - TrustedReviews posted a review of the Asus K8N4-E Deluxe/Extreme N6600 Motherboard & Graphics Card Bundle.
  • Gigabyte's GV-RX80L256V graphics card - The lack of bundled oven mitts aside, it's hard to find fault with the GV-RX80L256V, especially given its $312 street price. At that price, it's only about $10 more expensive than competing Radeon X800 XLs, and well worth the premium for low-noise systems. Even if we disregard the card's silent cooler, the rest of the package—its VIVO capabilities, HDTV dongle, and decent software bundle—packs in plenty of value. Dual DVI output is the only feature we found lacking on the card, and while that may only be a minor issue for some, it will undoubtedly be a deal-breaker for others.
  • ASUS Extreme AX800XL-2DTV - Performance in our tests was pretty good. In all the game tests, except Doom 3, the x800XL did very nicely providing playable frame rates in basically all situations. Doom 3 is playable at 1024*768 with 4X AA and 16X ansiotropic filtering, but going higher isn't too recommended.
  • SLI Comparison : nVidia's nForce4 SLI for Intel and AMD  - Unfortunately, the new nForce4 SLI Intel Edition cannot make up for the architectural differences which have held back the Pentium 4 against the Athlon64 FX-55. In the majority of benchmarks, a top of the line Athlon64 FX-55 SLI system will best a top of the line Pentium 4 Extreme Edition system in gaming benchmarks.
  • Budget Battle: HyperMemory vs. TurboCache - We really can't see much reason to recommend the 64MB TurboCache part. Unless one of the vendors comes out with a solution that runs the memory at 700MHz or more, there's really no advantage to the 32MB onboard part (in fact, there is a disadvantage at the speeds that we tested). We really can't see any reason for the most expensive part that we tested to cost as much as it does.
  • Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200JB - 320GB models from WD are presently the second in capacity on the market (after 400GB models from Seagate and Hitachi), but they are noticeably less noisy and less hot than similar models from the competitors. The WD3200JB/JD drives with their current price only slightly exceeding $200 are a good choice for those PC users, who want a high-performance system of a high capacity, which will still be quiet and relatively cool. 
  • Vantec All in 1 USB Card Reader - The size of the Vantec All in 1 USB Internal Card Reader is specially design to be mount into the 3.5" drive bay. It also bundles with a extra face plate to be exchange in order to match the color of your case. The card reader function is even better, it able to support the CF/CF ll, MMC/MMC2, SD,SM, Microdrive, MS, MS DUO, MS Pro and MS Pro DUO.
  • HP PSC 1610 Multi Function Device - TrustedReviews posted a review of the HP PSC 1610 Multi Function Device.

GUIDES... 

  • XP Media - A Windows XP Media Guide - Media editing in Windows XP requires having the right software. This guide will show you the best Free Applications that will let you create, edit, playback and display Documents, Reports, Spreadsheets, Multimedia Presentations, Graphics, Photos, Pictures, Audio, Music, MP3s, Video, Movies, DVDs and CDs.
  • Linux vs. Windows Web Hosting - The Tech Zone continues their guide to web hosting with a comparison of Linux vs. Windows web hosting.

SOFTWARE...

  • Nero 6.6.0.13 - Nero 6.6.0.13 (changelog / download - mirror1, mirror2) fixes these bugs: AAC Audio encoder settings not applied, Error using disc finalize feature in the 'Disc Info' section, Using UDF as default file system for using dual layer DVD-R medias with multisession compilation, Nero Express did not ask to save a LightScribe document if the application was closed by ALT+F4 or the [X] close button, An internal LightScribe error occurred for print and/or preview if Nero was accessing (e.g. erasing) the same device, An "Internal error" occurred if accessing a folder which was linked to a remote network path.
  • MR Tech's Local Install 1.3.2 Firefox Extension - This extension adds an Install button to both the Theme & Extension Manager to match the Thunderbird interface, "Install.." options to the File Menu, Alt-X Access Key for "Install Extension" 1, Alt-M Access Key for "Install Theme" 1 and more.
  • EliteToolbar Remover 1.3.0  - This freeware utility (download) helps people to delete the new infestions caused by the EliteToolbar variants that are circulating on the Net nowadays.  Tool should be run from safe mode.
  • VideoLan 0.8.2 Beta 1 - VideoLAN (download) main goals is MPEG streaming on a network, but it also features a standalone multimedia player. The VideoLAN Server can stream video read from a hard disk, a DVD player, a satellite card or an MPEG 2 compression card, and unicast or multicast it on a network.
  • Forceware 73.00 WinXP & Win2k BETA Driver - A new ForceWare driver has hit the web. This time version build 73.00 It Supposedly fixes dual display issues with SLI. Also it seems some game profiles were added. OpenGL 1.5.3 supported.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,13 2005 - tech
Nvidia to showcase G70 at Computex - tech
(hx) 07:15 AM EDT - May,13 2005 - Post a comment
Nvidia will unveil its next-generation flagship chip, the SLI-supporting G70 graphics chip, at the Computex Taipei 2005 show from May 31 to June 4, according to motherboard makers in Taiwan. Market sources indicated that the Nvidia G70 should deliver twice the performance of the current flagship series, the GeForce 6800. The chips will be built using a 0.11-micron process at TSMC, as opposed to ATI’s R520 chip, which will be manufactured using a 90nm process, the sources suggested. The makers did say the G70 may begin volume shipments in the latter half of the third quarter at the earliest and will retail for US$549.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,11 2005 - tech
Wednesday Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 04:17 PM EDT - May,11 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • [MS patch] Vulnerability in Web View Could Allow Remote Code Execution - This update resolves a newly-discovered, public vulnerability. A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the way that Web View in Windows Explorer handles certain HTML characters in preview fields. By persuading a user to preview a malicious file, an attacker could execute arbitrary code in the context of the logged on user.
  • [MS patch] Default Setting in Windows Media Player Digital Rights Management Could Allow a User to Open a Web Page Without Requesting Permission - This issue does not automatically cause malicious software to run on a user's computer. However, as a result of the malicious attacker's actions, users may be persuaded to install malicious software if they are redirected to a malicious web page when acquiring a license. An update to the Windows Media Player is available that allows users to modify the functionality involving automatic license acquisition in order to help prevent such attacks.
  • Mozilla Firefox Arbitrary Code Execution (Exploit) - This proof of concept involve exploiting two flaws: 1) Tricking Firefox into thinking a software installation is being triggered by a whitelisted site, using history stored trusted URL. 2) Software installation trigger not sufficiently checking image URLs containing JavaScript code. More details can be found here.
  • Cisco: Dude, who stole my IOS? - Cisco Systems has recently announced the Swedish authorities have detained a person accused of stealing the source code and instructions which regulate the world wide Internet traffic. The company based in San Jose, California, has announced it encourages through every available means the case's inquiry. The Times announces the accused has been identified in the person of a 16 year old teenager from Uppsala, Sweden, and the FBI confirmed this information. For now, it is unknown if the teenager will be convicted for violating American laws
  • Serious holes in antivirus software - What if the bad guys found ways to infiltrate your computer through the very antivirus software that you thought was protecting you? Recent discoveries suggest that this scenario isn't so far-fetched. If you have the latest antivirus definitions, aren't you protected? Not necessarily. Most programs have an automatic update feature that's turned on by default, but the tool may update only the definitions, not other software modules such as the scanning engine. The good news: Several antivirus software companies have patched their programs to fix this vulnerability.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Centrifugal weapon could deliver stealth firepower - A gun that spits out ball bearings after spinning them to extreme speeds is being developed by a US inventor. The novel design has already caught the imagination of some defence industry experts. The gun consists of a mounted circular chamber that spins the metal ball bearings to high speed. A release mechanism on one side spits the balls out one behind the other, a handful at a time. St George says the projectiles travel at around 300 metres per second upon release from the weapon, about the same speed as a handgun round. He claims a fully developed DREAD gun would be quieter than a conventional gun, less prone to malfunction, and could contain more ammunition. DREAD also releases its balls in extremely rapid succession, which allows it to unleash formidable firepower against a target. Promotional material for DREAD states: "Due to its extraordinary high rate of fire capability, it delivers its bullets 8.5 millimetres apart, thereby delivering more mass to the target than any other weapon."
  • Solar sail completes first crucial tests - A lightweight solar sail that could one day allow spacecraft to be propelled by the power of the Sun has passed its first crucial test. The sail, made by NASA and Alliant Techsystems (ATK), was successfully deployed and its orientation controlled in the world's largest vacuum chamber - which mimics the space environment - it was announced on Tuesday.
  • Self-cloning robots are a chip off the old block - The first scalable robot to have built an exact copy of itself could herald a fundamental rethink of how robots may be used to explore other planets. Hod Lipson and colleagues at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, built their self-replicating device using small mechanical building blocks that can swivel, and also attach themselves to one another using electromagnets. (Ed.note: Do you remember replicators from Star Gate series?....)

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft, HP unveil new high-def video disc formats - While a compromise standard for high-definition DVDs is being negotiated in Japan between backers of the HD-DVD and rival Blu-Ray discs, two rogue high-def video disc formats may have a chance to sneak in the back door. Both came to light at the recent Home Entertainment Show in New York. A Microsoft executive, Ed Bland, let on that his company's forthcoming second-generation game console - now expected to be called Xbox 360 - will deliver high-definition content using a conventional red laser pickup and the DVD-ROM discs found in current game consoles, computer drives and video disc players. By contrast, both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats require finer-focusing blue lasers, as well as new breeds of higher-capacity discs.
  • Toshiba expands HD-DVD capacity to 45GB - Toshiba Corp. has developed a prototype HD-DVD disc that increases the format's storage capacity by 50 percent and brings it much closer to that of the rival Blu-ray Disc, the company said Tuesday. The new disc has a capacity of 45GB, which is just under the 50GB offered by a dual-layer Blu-ray Disc, and will give content producers additional space to store longer high-definition movies or extras such as trailers, out-takes or interactive features. Toshiba accomplished the capacity jump by adding an extra data storage layer to the disc. Each HD-DVD layer has a capacity of 15GB and the new disc packs three such layers. Toshiba will take the wraps off the new DVDs at the Media-Tech Expo 2005 in Las Vegas. In related news, Toshiba yesterday admitted there are still major stumbling blocks to efforts to create a single format for the next generation of DVDs.
  • Gates confirms Office 12 will release in 2006 - Microsoft will release a new version of Office next year, Bill Gates said yesterday. The last major version arrived in late 2003. Microsoft officials have been coy about the next release, but Gates released some new details including that it will include improvement in workflow capabilities, rights management, advanced scheduling, document sharing and business intelligence.
  • Microsoft Releases Windows Mobile 5.0 - Microsoft has released Windows Mobile 5.0 (fact sheet). Word is "this new version of the Windows Mobile software platform delivers on partner requests, including more platform flexibility to customize devices and solutions; productivity enhancements that include updated Microsoft Office software and persistent memory storage for more efficient data management; and a powerful multimedia experience with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile and support for hard drives. "
  • Blue Screen of Death, Move Over - As if the dreaded "Blue Screen of Death" that plagues users of existing Windows variants weren't enough, some beta testers are reporting that they've encountered a new "Red Screen of Death" in early versions of Longhorn. The first Red Screen of Death (RSOD) reports surfaced this past weekend on various Weblogs, including one written by a Microsoft employee.
  • Google launches mini search-in-a-box  - Google has launched the Google Mini, a scaled-down version of its enterprise search appliance, to the UK. The small, blue box is designed to provide a search function for the intranets or public websites of small to medium businesses. The box is capable of searching and indexing 100,000 documents and it recognises over 220 different file types, including HTML, PDF and Word, provided they are web enabled.
  • MS IE7 screenshots - According to a screenshot making its rounds on some forums, Microsoft's answer to Mozilla's Firefox, Internet Explorer 7, might be in its alpha stage. The about IE shows a build of 0719, and another screenshot shows what appears to be tabbed browsing.

HARDWARE... 

  • Via Plans Sub-$250 PCs - The designs are part of a Via project called Terra PC and will be unveiled at the Via Technology Forum (VTF), scheduled for the first week of June in Taiwan, says Richard Brown, the company's associate vice president of marketing. VTF will be held alongside the Computex exhibition in Taipei. The Terra PC range includes a fully featured PC, priced at $250, including a hard drive and a monitor, Brown says. It also comes with a flash memory-based Media Station and a $100 Communication Station, that uses flash memory and is designed for broadband Internet applications, such as VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol), he says.   Additional details about the Terra PC effort will be announced in June.
  • Sony announces VAIO T-Series with Cingular EDGE Built-in - The new Sony VAIO VGN-T350P/L and VGN-T-350/L have now built-in SmartWi, that lets users switch from Wi-Fi connectivity to Cingular EDGE connectivity. The Pentium M powered Sonys feature also Bluetooth, DVD writer, 60GB HDD, 512MB RAM and a 10.6" WXGA screen with XBRITE. The difference between the Sony VAIO VGN-T350P/L and Sony VAIO VGN-T-350/L seems only to be that the P/L has Windows XP Professional installed and the /L only the Home edition.
  • NVIDIA integrated graphics chipset on the way - The C51-series will have two versions, with the C51PV supporting Socket 939 K8-compatible motherboards, and the C51 supporting Socket 754 motherboards, the makers stated. Sources at the makers stated that the two chips will have different graphic cores, but declined to provide more details. In addition, Nvidia plans to reduce the prices on its current line of SLI chipsets, with the FOB (free on board) price of SLI-based motherboards expected to fall from US$110-120 at present to US$90, the motherboard makers expect.
  • Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 - Open up the XPS and things just get better - you're instantly greeted by a 17in widescreen display, with a high contrast gloss coating. The coating makes both games and movies look so much better, and although you do have to put up with a more reflective screen, I find that a small price to pay. But it's not just the size and the coating that make this screen so impressive, it's also the resolution. The 17in display in the XPS sports a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 - this gives you an amazing amount of desktop real estate and makes working at the XPS almost as enjoyable as gaming.
  • Pentium Extreme Edition 840 - Does a dual-core, single-die CPU make much difference in the performance of your PC? If you are looking to utilize your computer for calculation heavy tasks such as 3D animation, CAD and vector calculations, then yes. If you're looking for a CPU to use in a video or audio editing workstation, then yes, there is a benefit. However, when you look at how small the performance increase is, you might be questioning the expenditure. Also, the issue of using HyperThreading Technology is something to pay attention to.
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800 - The key things to take from today's look at the 4800+ is that it's generally no slower, but generally no faster either, than an FX-53 in single-threaded tests, yet it'll cost you a fair bit more. I hope it's obvious that a dual-core processors benefits lie elsewhere, with multi-threaded applications and real-world operating system usage. Think HyperThreading. Another reviews can be found on TechWareLabs and X-bit Labs.
  • AMD Vesus Intel Battle of the Dual-Core CPUs at Motherboards - Although both Intel and AMD have entered the Dual-Core CPU arena, it was the AMD 4800+ CPU, which showed the best results here in the lab
  • DDR2 Memory Roundup Q2 2005 - Results:  1) Overall Mushkin did very well in this roundup and given the recent changes made over at Mushkin in R&D and customer service I highly recommend looking into their entire product line. 2) Corsair took a firm second, and while it's somewhat more costly the ergonomics and reliability can't be beat. 3) Crucial has done some amazing things with their Ballistix line, and was the only company to spec double sided DDR2. All the brands represented here today have their strengths and looking over the results I was simply amazed at the performance consistency comparitively.
  • ATI Radeon X300 SE 128MB HyperMemory performance comparison -  Looking back at the series of tests we ran, the majority of the tests leaned in favor of the GeForce 6200 TurboCache 128. Final Fantasy, 3DMark05, Halo and Doom 3 were all dominated by the 6200 with its higher clock rates. Half-Life 2 was the tightest race between the two cards, but still, the 6200 prevailed. The only time the X300 SE came out on top was with Far Cry, where we saw the X300 SE HyperMemory 128 hold a slight lead over the generally faster GF 6200 TC128.
  • Western Digital Essential 120GB USB 2.0 external hard drive - Unsurprisingly, the external drive is some way slower than its internal cousins, although it does manage to match the 250GB Serial ATA offering when it comes to access times. The use of a USB 2.0 interface means that CPU utilisation is much higher, although not disastrously so in all honesty, and indeed this figure will vary dependant on motherboard chipset and the like. Read and burst speeds are clearly limited by the USB interface, staying around a steady 18MB/second.
  • 23" and 24" LCD Monitors Roundup - The Dell PVA panel provides nicer colors but has a lower reactivity. It compensates with a reasonable price and astonishing ergonomics. (there is no point in listing once more all the details ).  ViewSonic and HP IPS panels provide a less deep dark, the color quality (for a professional or a player looking for high contrast ratio in order to see the dark areas' details) is slightly less good, and the liquid crystals' reactivity still doesn't allow the possibility of playing FPS games without afterglow effects.
  • Samsung Yepp YP-MT6Z 1GB MP3 Player  - The Yepp YP-MT6Z's retails for around $230CDN ($180USD), a remarkably affordable price compared to just a year or two ago, given its 1GB of internal flash memory. Furthermore, in a rare move of consumer friendly design, the Yepp YP-MT6Z is powered by a single AA battery that will last for upwards of 42 hours (straight playback). Long battery life and inexpensive AA batteries are probably one of the greatest attributes of this MP3 player; heck a AA battery is even included!
  • Optek Fretlight USB/LED Guitar - TrustedReviews take a look at the Optek Fretlight USB/LED Guitar which is a guitar for beginners that teaches you how to play with the help of built in LED lights.

GUIDES... 

SOFTWARE...

  • May 2005 Update for Outlook 2003 Junk Email Filter (KB894384) - This optional update provides the Junk E-mail Filter in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 with a more current definition of which e-mail messages should be considered junk e-mail. This update was released in May 2005.
  • Attachment Options 1.8.17 - Attachment Options (download) is a COM add-in for Outlook 2000 SP3 or higher, Outlook 2002, and Outlook 2003 that provides a user interface for changing which file types are restricted as Level 1 attachments. Level 1 attachments are hidden by Outlook, and cannot be seen, saved or opened from Outlook items. Moving an attachment extension to Level 2 enables the user to see the attachment and to save it to the file system. The attachment saved to the file system can later be opened by the user.
  • Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.8 SP1 - Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.8 SP1 contains core Data Access components such as the Microsoft SQL Server™ OLE DB provider and ODBC driver. This redistributable installer for the MDAC 2.8 SP1 release installs the same Data Access components as Microsoft Windows XP SP2. This release does not include Microsoft Jet, the Microsoft Jet OLE DB Provider or ODBC driver, the Desktop Database ODBC Drivers, or the Visual FoxPro ODBC Driver.
  • Internet Information Services 6.0 Migration Tool - The Internet Information Services 6.0 Migration Tool is a command line tool that automates several of the steps needed to move a Web application from IIS 4.0, IIS 5.0 or IIS 6.0 to a clean installation of Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0. The tool transfers configuration data, Web site content, and application settings to a new IIS 6.0 server.
  • Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool 1.4 - This tool checks your computer for infection by specific, prevalent malicious software (including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom) and helps to remove the infection if it is found. Microsoft will release an updated version of this tool on the second Tuesday of each month
  • phpMyAdmin 2.6.2-pl1 - 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.
  • Win32Whois 0.9.6 - 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). It has it is internal list of servers that it connects to in order to provide a detailed report on a requested domain.
  • [!] Mozilla Firefox 1.0.4 RC - Firefox 1.0.4 (download RC) includes security fixes for the two security flaws that can lead to arbitrary code being executed. See our article about the arbitrary code execution exploit and yesterday's report with details of the two vulnerabilities for more information.
  • Firemonger 1.04 CD - Firemonger 1.04 has been released. Firemonger offers a downloadable Windows CD image of Mozilla Firefox 1.0.3 and Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.2 packaged with some popular plugins, extensions and themes
  • Google Toolbar 3.0.123.2 Beta - The Google Toolbar (download Win2k/XP / Win98/ME) increases your ability to find information from anywhere on the web and takes only seconds to install
  • DustBuster 2.8.1 - DustBuster (download) is a free garbage file removing utility for Microsoft Windows operating systems. It searches for junk files and temp files that are of no use and are just taking space on your hard drive. Based on a "common sense" scanning technology, DustBuster cleans over 1500 different types of useless temp files and directories in a single click, detecting and deleting all these unneeded files automatically.
  • AIM Ad Hack 4.04 - With this small file (download) you can effectively remove all the ads from AIM you must be using.
  • Gaim 1.3.0 - Gaim (download) is a multi-protocol instant messaging (IM) client for Linux, BSD, MacOS X, and Windows. It is compatible with AIM and ICQ (Oscar protocol), MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, IRC, Jabber, Gadu-Gadu, SILC, GroupWise Messenger, and Zephyr networks.
  • Apple iTunes 4.8 - This new version includes new Music Store features and support for transferring contacts and calendars from your computer to your iPod (requires Mac OS X version 10.4 on your computer).
  • GIMP 2.2.7 - The GIMP (download) is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.
  • WinRAR 3.50 Beta 4 - WinRAR (download) is a powerful archive manager. It can backup your data and reduce size of email attachments, decompress RAR, ZIP and other files downloaded from Internet and create new archives in RAR and ZIP file format.
  • TaskInfo 6.1.0.140 Beta - TaskInfo (download) is combination of Task Manager and System Information Utility, It visually monitors different types of System information in Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP.
  • RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.5 - The test suite performs various tests of electroacoustical performance of sound cards and other real-time audio devices. Testing is accomplished by playing the test signals and recording them after they pass through the testing chain.
  • PSPad 4.3.3 Beta Build 2072 - PSPad editor (download) is freeware programmer editor.
  • New Sony PSP Firmware 1.51 - Playstation Japan have released an updated firmware v1.51, that fixes a few security bugs. Try at your own risk!
  • nForce 6.56 64-bit Beta - This nForce WinXP 64-bit driver package contains the below components: Audio driver version 4.60 (WHQL), Audio utility version 4.51, Ethernet NRM driver version 4.75 (WHQL), Network management tools version 4.80, SMBus driver version 4.48 (WHQL) with updated uninstaller files Installer version 4.64,WinXP IDE driver version 5.24 with updated uninstaller files, WinXP RAIDTOOL application version 4.82.
  • Radeon Omega v2.6.25a (2000/XP) - OmegaDrivers has released their modified Drivers of the Official ATI Catalyst 5.4 Drivers. These drivers always deliver exellent performance and image quality.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,09 2005 - tech
AMD's Athlon 64 X2 processors - tech
(hx) 04:42 AM EDT - May,09 2005 - Post a comment
Now it's time for AMD's dual-core desktop processor line, the Athlon 64 X2, to take its turn on stage. TechReport has tested two versions of this CPU - the screaming 4800+ that may be the fastest single microprocessor on the planet, and the gotta-have-it 4200+, AMD's most affordable dual-core processor that promises to be every enthusiast's new sweetheart. Here's an excerpt:
Let's start by talking about the Athlon 64 X2 4200+. This CPU generally offers better performance than its direct competitor from Intel, the Pentium D 840. Most notably, the X2 4200+ doesn't share the Pentium D's relatively weak performance in single-threaded tasks like our 3D gaming benchmarks. The Athlon 64 X2 4200+ also consumes less power, at the system level, than the Pentium D 840—just a little bit at idle (even without Cool'n'Quiet) but over 100W under load. That's a very potent combo, all told.

In fact, the X2 4200+ frequently outperforms the Pentium Extreme Edition 840, which costs nearly twice as much. Thanks to its dual-core config, the X2 4200+ also embarrasses some expensive single-core processors, like the Athlon 64 FX-55 and the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz. Personally, I don't think there's any reason to pay any more for a CPU than the $531 that AMD will be asking for the Athlon 64 X2 4200+.

If you must pay more for some reason, the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ will give you the best all-around performance we've ever seen from a "single" CPU. The X2 4800+ beats out the Pentium Extreme Edition 840 virtually across the board, even in tests that use four threads to take best advantage of the Extreme Edition 840's Hyper-Threading capabilities. The difference becomes even more pronounced in single-threaded applications, including games, where the Pentium XE 840 is near the bottom of the pack and the X2 4800+ is constantly near the top. The X2 4800+ also consumes considerably less power, both at idle and under load.

Another review/preview of AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ can be found on Bit-Tech, TrustedReviews, X-bit labs, Hot Hardware, SimHQ, Sudhian, Techware Labs, AMDZone, HardOCP.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,07 2005 - tech
Saturday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 08:21 PM EDT - May,07 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Microsoft revamps security hole approach - Microsoft has a new security service that will provide an immediate response when researchers publicise unpatched vulnerabilities. The pilot programme run by the Microsoft Security Research Center (MSRC) and called simply Microsoft Security Advisories, complements the monthly scheduled Security Bulletins ordinarily accompanied by patches.
  • QuickTime PictureViewer GIF Images DoS Vulnerability (Depth) -  QuickTime player contains a module PictureViewer to view still images". PictureViewer for Windows suffers from a vulnerability that allows an attacker to crash the program when opening a specially crafted GIF file.
  • Security Fears Over Google Accelerator - Google Web Accelerator is currently in beta and automatically stores and updates the content of pages accessed through it. However, ZDNet reports at least one user having problems as he suddenly discovered he was logged in as someone else - a problem replicated here. The searchenginejournal.com is offering some free code to companies who want to block Google's Web Accelerator traffic from accessing their web site here.
  • Key-loggers the new phisherman's friend - Phishing attacks are increasingly using key-loggers as another method to steal personal information, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). These attacks usually redirect users to a bogus website and record details once they are entered. But the past six months has seen a tenfold rise in the number of phishing sites hosting key-logging software which can be transferred to a user's PC via an improperly patched browser.
  • Spammers launch Tony Blair Trojan - UK computer users are being warned of a malicious email purporting to be about Tony Blair. The emails were spammed out last night with the subject line: 'BBC: Tony Blair email account hacked!'. If users click on the link a series of Trojan programs are downloaded that monitor key strokes and could allow a hacker to take remote control.
  • Jail for "Robin Hoods" who cost Microsoft millions - Four Britons have been jailed for being part of a global gang described as "Robin Hoods" who stole expensive software from rich companies and gave it away for free over the internet. The group, described by prosecutors as 'sad individuals' who spent their lives in front of computers, were said to have cost firms such as Microsoft Corp. millions of dollars in profit and enraged its chairman, Bill Gates. Prosecutors told London's Old Bailey criminal court that the four men, motivated by a hatred of software companies, were the key players in an international ring called DrinkorDie.com, said to be one of the world's most sophisticated Web piracy groups.The gang allowed internet surfers to download new software for free, often before it came on the market, including the Windows 95 operating system two weeks before it was released.
  • Court says 'No' to digital TV 'copy flag' - A federal appeals court on Friday struck down an antipiracy rules requiring computer and television makers to use new built-in technology that would make it difficult for consumers to copy and distribute digital programs.
  • Hackers figure out file extraction from Sony UMD - Software developers have figured out how to extract files from the Universal Media Discs used in Sony Corp.'s new PlayStation Portable handheld video game device, though there is no way to play the games extracted from those discs. Some details of the exploit were posted Wednesday night on the Web site PS2nfo.com, along with lists showing all the files pulled off the game discs for "Ridge Racers," "Wipeout Pure" and "Vampire Chronicles." Another story can be found here.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Bold thieves build complete ATM - Audacious thieves in Romania have constructed a complete automated teller machine (ATM), minus the cash box, to steal the details of account holders, banking officials said. Fake ATMs have appeared at apartment buildings or in areas of the capital where there are no banks, local papers reported.
  • Vacuum elevator gives users a gentle lift - A one-person vacuum elevator that slots into buildings with a minimum of fuss has gone on sale in the US. The tube-shaped transporter carries a person upwards at a steady speed of 15 centimetres per second using turbines to suck air out of a pressurised chamber above the passenger capsule. The capsule is lowered when the pressure in the upper section is returned to normal.
  • Gore to receive Internet lifetime achievement award - Al Gore may have been lampooned for taking credit in the Internet's development, but organizers of the Webby Awards for online achievements don't find it funny at all. Gore, who boasted in a CNN interview he "took the initiative in creating the Internet," was only 21 when the Internet was born out of a Pentagon project. But after joining Congress eight years later, he promoted high-speed telecommunications for economic growth and supported funding increases for the then-fledging network, according to the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which presents the annual award
  • Central Park Media Offers PSP Downloads - Starting today, the trailers include both recent CPM releases such as Munto, Cat Soup, Shadow Star Narutaru as well as classic anime titles such as Dominion Tank Police and Patlabor. Ranging from the family oriented Doggy Poo to the ultraviolent Ichi The Killer: Episode Zero, CPM's trailers will demonstrate the amazing variety of animation art which is the hallmark of Japanese anime. Trailers will rotate on a regular basis.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard trailer - See Jessica Simpson, Johnny Knoxville, and Seann William Scott in the trailer debut for 'The Dukes of Hazzard."

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Yahoo developing an audio search engine - The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company plans to introduce the music search engine within the next couple of months, according to a source familiar with the service. The specialty engine will let people search on an artist's name, for example, and retrieve all the available songs from other music services, as well as album reviews and band information from Yahoo Music.
  • Yahoo! video search is fully operational - Yahoo! has launched its eagerly awaited its video search service, which will allow viewers to search news clips, music videos and movie trailers from sources such as CBSNews.com, MTV.com and IFILM.com. The yahoo video search, which was released as a test site last December, is now available as a fully operational site at http://video.search.yahoo.com.
  • AOL Builds Browser into AIM - America Online Inc. is bundling its own Web browser into the newest versions of AOL Instant Messenger in an effort that is likely to expose a wider swath of users to the browsing features it has built atop Internet Explorer.
  • Red Hat/Apache Slower Than Windows Server 2003? - In a recent test by a company called Veritest, Windows 2003 web server performs up to 300% higher throughput than Red Hat Linux running with Apache. Veritest used webbench to do there testing.

HARDWARE... 

  • NVIDIA to Fix “Dual Display Issue” with Upcoming GPUs - Those of you with NVIDIA's SLI configuration and dual monitors know that both monitors must run from a single card in order to operate. If dual monitors are enabled, two cards operating as one takes control of the single screen, which leaves the other monitor ineffective.  A source close to NVIDIA recently confirmed that the dual display issue will be corrected with NVIDIA's upcoming line of GPUs that are expected to debut at Computex in early June.
  • AMD Next Gen. Socket M2 & S1 Revealed! - AMD's next generation of processors will be based on the Socket M2, like the current Socket 939 it will be based on the PGA package, but the pin counts will increase to 940. The S1 socket, engineered for the mobile platforms for the next generation, will have a pin drop from 754pins to 638pins.
  • Alienware Unleashes Star Wars PC - Star Wars-series computers are based on up to AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 processors as well as NVIDIA nForce4 SLI core-logic. Users may choose to equip their computers with up to two NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra graphics cards for enhanced performance in modern games. Systems' price starts at $1499 for a mainstream configuration.
  • ASUS M5A Notebook - This review is about the ASUS M5A model that has all the typical traits of a small-size notebook like small dimensions and weight, portability, compactness, but is not technically impaired as it is based on the new platform. Yes, ASUS based the M5A on the second-generation Centrino technology thus increasing its performance in contrast to its analogs on the older platform.
  • Processors for common people Part 2: Intel LGA775 Platform - Celeron is no good for complex professional packages anyway (though Photoshop was a pleasant surprise), the same concerns games, at least if you expect high performance. However, there are still a couple of applications, where these processors are very good - MP3 and DivX/XviD encoding. In other respects, it's a regular low-end, nothing special.
  • Asus K8N4-E Deluxe Motherboard - Based around the nForce4 chipset, this motherboard supports Socket 754 AMD Athlon64 or Sempron processors. It's memory slots will accommodate up to 3GB of single channel DDR memory. Graphics come courtesy of a standard PCI Express x16 slot, which is the key selling point as far as we're concerned.
  • NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT Round-Up - Asus provided the fastest card overall, although it didn't seem to be clocked any faster than the competition. We can guess that Asus has somehow overclocked its card but tweaked things so that the card reports standard clocks, essentially delivering overclocking but under warranty. But in the end the winner of this group test is MSI, as the NX6600GT-TD128E is the cheapest card on test. It performed just as well as any of the other cards in the 3D benchmarks and comes with a very good accessory and software bundle.
  • Budget GPU Comparison: TurboCache vs HyperMemory - Without going into too much detail here, both HyperMemory and TurboCache technologies attempt to do the same thing. Using the north bridge of the core logic chipset that usually controls the memory (except for the case of AMD's Athlon 64 processors), ATI's X300 SE HyperMemory GPU can directly address system memory for frame buffer usage, just as the TurboCache technology allows the 6200 TC cards to do the same.
  • PNY Verto GeForce 6600 GT 128MB AGP - The underlying technology is good enough to state that you cannot buy a bad GeForce 6600 GT card. It's best-suited for playing games at 1280x1024 with a modicum of image enhancement. That fits in perfectly with the kind of customer it's aimed at, who'll most likely be using a 17" TFT or 19" CRT that both tend to run natively at that resolution. PNY's effort, by dint of its bundle and warranty, is a pretty good choice for those who have <L150 to spend on a graphics card right now, although the addition of a custom, quieter fan and dual-DVI would be on the top of my wish list for PNY's engineers, however. A solid card based on sound tech.
  • Heatsink Comparison - By comparison Gigabyte's G-Power is a wonder; reasonably sized and not too heavy, it has the best performance, is the easiest to install and comes with is the only heatsink of the three which is supplied with a re-usable tube of thermal paste. Far and away the best heatsink on test here today.
  • Creative Sound Blaster Audigy4 Pro Sound Card: Nothing New? - Creative Labs replaced the converters with better quality ones and pushed the product into the market. Therefore, the actual hardware of the sound card got only a few small changes. It would be fun if next time Creative launches not the fifth version but maybe the tenth right away, why wait? Maybe the next offspring will be designed for PCI Express, but I am not quite sure about it yet, because in this case they will have to completely modify the CA-102-ICT, which implies additional financial investments in RND.
  • Hitachi SATA II - 250 Gig Hard Drive -  As with SATA 150 we are not seeing the full speeds as per the specifications. However if you are building a new computer it makes sense to go with a SATA 300 drive. Provided your motherboard supports it of course. Currently the Hitachi cost the same as most SATA 150 7200 RPM equivalents or even less and it's faster.
  • External Storage round-up - At the end of our testing we couldn't help but be impressed with each drive in a different way from the others. The Maxtor won us on looks, durability and its best-in-class performance, while the Seagate 100GB took our hearts for its size, and finally the 400GB Seagate unit did us in for its sheer capacity and lower price.
  • Corsair USB2.0 Flash Voyager 512MB - Overall, the 512MB Flash Drive is a solid in what it does. With a slew of sizes to choose from (128MB - 2GB, it also provides shock protection, water resistance, password protection and bootability at an affordable price.
  • LG Flatron L1750H 17in TFT monitor - That said, the L1750H is not really designed for high-end colour critical applications - you'd have to pay far more than the L1750H's current L203.16 price tag for one of those - yet for gaming and day-to-day use overall image quality is acceptable.

GUIDES... 

  • Install and Upgrade to Windows Server 2003 R2 - This article describes how to install and upgrade from earlier versions of Windows Server to Windows 2003 R2. Includes information about installing Server 2003 from the product CDs, a shared network resource, and using unattended setup.
  • Voice for the Masses - Voice Over IP technologies, on the other hand, have come a long way in the last decade, and they have finally reached the level of integration and performance that turns them into a viable alternative to traditional phone calls. They still require the use of a computer, which may well be a household item, but that still has many older generations terrified with its blue screens of death and incomprehensible jargon.

SOFTWARE...

  • SQL 2000 Service Pack 4 - SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4) (download) adds platform support for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition, allowing 32-bit SQL Server 2000 applications to run on 64-bit platforms using the Windows on Windows emulator (WOW64). SP4 addresses specific issues discovered in SQL Server 2000 since its ship date. SP4 is also the first service pack to service the 64-bit edition of SQL Server.
  • MDAC Utility: Component Checker updated - The new tool includes updated snapshots for MDAC 2.7 SP1 on Windows XP SP1 and MDAC 2.8 SP2 on Windows Server 2003 SP1
  • MSN Messenger for Windows 7.0.0813 - MSN Messenger lets you see when your friends are online and exchange instant messages with them.
  • Google Web Accelerator 0.1.52.58 Beta - Google Web Accelerator employs a number of different methods to speed up Web browsing, including caching frequently looked at pages to make them more accessible. Google will only refresh a Web page when it has been updated, saving the user from reloading content when unnecessary
  • FlashFXP 3.2 (shw) - FlashFXP (download) is the most powerful and popular FTP & FXP Client for Microsoft Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000/XP on the market today
  • WhereIsIt? 3.67 - WhereIsIt (download) is an application written for 32-bit Windows operating systems, designed to help you maintain and organize a catalog of your computer media collection, including CD-ROMs, audio CDs, diskettes, removable drives, hard drives, network drives, DVDs, or any other media that Windows can access as a drive
  • Opera 8.01 Technical Preview 1 - Opera Software has released the first Preview release of Opera 8.01. Word is: "Unfortunately, a number of users have been experiencing frequest crashes when clicking links on certain pages since installing Opera 8.0 Final. This build contains a fix for these crashes. Your feedback about the stability of this release compared to Opera 8.0 Final is greatly appreciated."
  • xp-AntiSpy 3.94-1 - The xp-AntiSpy (download) is a little utility that lets you disable some built-in update and authentication 'features' in WindowsXP.
  • RivaTuner 2.0 RC 15.5  -  The purpose of this utility is to give you access to all the undocumented features of the Detonator drivers. All versions of the Detonator drivers have a lot of undocumented registry entries. Some of them don't affect anything, but there are some that are very useful.
  • DNA-Force 1.4.7644 (ForceWare) - These are modified NVIDIA ForceWare drivers for Windows 2000 & XP. Modified drivers simply means that the author takes official or beta drivers from the manufacturer and starts to tweak them for either better image quality and or performance. Please bare in mind that the driver manufacturer, in this case NVIDIA, does not support drivers like these.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,05 2005 - tech
Intel's Pentium Extreme Edition 840 processor - tech
(hx) 11:06 AM EDT - May,05 2005 - Post a comment
TechReport has posted a review of the Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840. In fact, this dual-core chip, code-named "Smithfield," is actually a pair of Pentium 4 "Prescott" cores situated together on a single piece of silicon. Each core has 1MB of L2 cache onboard, and the two cores share an 800MHz front-side bus. Here's a taster:
Our benchmarks have dramatically illustrated the power of thread-level parallelism to enhance performance. The Pentium Extreme Edition 840 was able to take advantage of this effect to outshine its primary single-core competitors, the Athlon 64 FX-55 and P4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz, in a range of multithreaded applications. Even without considering its multitasking benefits, the Pentium XE 840 looks like a worthy addition to Intel's Extreme Edition lineup, so long as threading is the name of the game. Throw in the smoother multitasking that comes with any SMP system, and the logic behind the XE 840 begins to make sense.

Unfortunately, not all applications are multithreaded, and many won't be for months or even years into the future. The relatively slow 3.2GHz clock speed of the XE 840 demands a real shift in mindset in order to accept the loss of single-threaded performance in exchange for multicore bliss. I wouldn't expect big-time PC gamers, some of the Extreme Edition line's supposed target customers, to accept this tradeoff willingly. Gamers would be better served by the P4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz, or, as we have pointed out in the past, practically any variety of Athlon 64 down to the 3500+. Non-gamers who use mainly single-threaded applications may not want to accept the XE 840's slower performance, either.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,04 2005 - tech
Wednesday Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 04:32 PM EDT - May,04 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)

SECURITY...

OFFTOPIC...

  • Rebecca Romijn on X-Men 3 - IESB.net caught up with Rebecca Romijn, who has played Mystique in the first two X-Men movies: "I took a few minutes to ask Rebecca about the X-Men franchise and her thoughts on Bryans departure from X-Men 3. She was quick to say that she will miss Singer as the director and that she has now been given an August 1 start date." When asked about the script she mentioned that last she heard it was not done yet and that there has been plenty of changes from the first drafts. The early reports that the storyline would revolve around the Dark Phoenix may no longer be accurate. Part of the problem that Fox is having is that they currently don't know what character the third movie will focus and revolve around.
  • Constantine DVD Announced - Warner Home Video has announced the details for the Constantine DVD, coming July 19th. The movie will be available in both a two-disc Deluxe Edition and single-disc Widescreen and Full Screen versions. The Deluxe Edition includes audio commentaries, 18 minutes of deleted scenes (including an alternate ending) with optional commentary by director Francis Lawrence, "The Production From Hell," "Imagining the Underworld" (includes a 'Demon Face' Easter Egg), "Foresight: The Power of Pre-Visualization" and "Conjuring Constantine" featurettes, A Perfect Circle's "Passive" music video, theatrical trailers, DVD-ROM content and a collectible Hellblazer comic. The single-disc editions will include the 18 minutes of deleted scenes with alternate ending, theatrical trailer and DVD-ROM content.
  • New Movie Trailers @ Coming Soon - Batman Begins (final trailer) | Brothers (drama starring Connie Nielsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Ulrik Thomsen) | Flightplan | Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (early look at the film) | House of Wax (horror) | Kicking & Screaming (five clips from the Will Ferrell comedy) | Pure (drama) | Saving Face (romantic comedy) | Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith ("A Hero Falls" music video featuring new footage) | The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D (Robert Rodriguez action adventure) | The Legend of Zorro | The Devil's Rejects  | Three...Extremes (three clips from the horror comedy) | The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (third TV spot) | The Man (Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy action-comedy) | Unleashed (music video from Massive Attack)

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Xbox 360 Will Not Make Microsoft Dominant - Analyst - The analyst suggests that once Microsoft Xbox 360 is launched, people will continue to get software for the PlayStation 2 anticipating the PlayStation 3 release. He believes few PlayStation 2 owners will get the new Xbox save for hardcore gamers who own numerous consoles. Mr. Pachter thinks only about 30% or a bit more of consumer gamers will get the Xbox 360 in foreseeable future even with Microsoft’s advantage in terms of time-to-market over Sony and Nintendo.
  • Showtime to give Xbox games to new subscribers - Showtime Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc. said on Tuesday it will give away games for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox video game console throughout the summer to its new subscribers. People who sign up during the promotional period will get either two free Xbox games or one game and a starter kit with 12-month subscription to the Xbox Live online gaming service.
  • Google eyes better news searches - Google is planning to improve online news searches. A patent filed in the US will allow stories to be ranked according to their quality, rather than just by relevance. The patent would create a system to compare the track record and credibility of different news sources, New Scientist magazine has reported. The database would weigh up a series of variables, including story length, number of staff employed and amount of traffic to its website.
  • Bluetooth Looks To UWB For Turbocharging - The 3,400-member Bluetooth special interest group, whose members include Nokia, Motorola and Intel has said it has begun working with two industry bodies developing versions of Ultra-Wideband, or UWB.
  • NanoCoolers puts liquid metal in your PC - The liquid metal has significant advantages (homepage) over other single phase liquid solutions. The thermal and physical properties of the material give it the ability to cool extremely high heat fluxes. With its very low vapor pressure, the boiling point of the material is in excess of 2000°C. This provides the capability to cool extremely high power densities without the liquid-metal changing phase, removing power density as the limiting factor in cooling performance. The liquid metal is non-flammable, non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
  • OLED: the Next Thing in Monitors - The future for OLEDs looks bright! For conventional displays, OLED will offer a better, clearer picture and lower power consumption. OLED technology will spread far; it will make new displays into previously undeveloped markets. We will see the emergence of transparent and flexible displays.

HARDWARE... 

  • Sony Unveils DRU-800A, DRX-800UL - Sony s latest addition to its DVD burner line-up is a pair of new drives that support 4X DVD-R Dual Layer recording. The internal DRU-800A and external DRX-800UL models can burn up to four hours of high-quality video or up to 8.5 GB of data, music or images onto a single DVD-R DL disc.  The internal DRU-800A drive comes with an ATAPI interface and includes a black replacement bezel for black-colored PC cases. The external DRX-800UL drive features a space-efficient vertical design and offers connectivity with both i.LINK (IEEE 1394) and hi-speed USB (USB 2.0) digital interfaces for set-up and maximum flexibility. The 800 series features 4X DVD+R DL, 16X DVD+/-R, 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW, 48X CD-R and 24X CD-RW recording.
  • Athlon 64 Venice 3800+ - As is seen in the benchmarks, the Athlon 64 3800+ is very fast and is fairly dominant in gaming, but it does have some weaknesses on the rendering and encoding side of things. There should be no instances where a 3.0 Ghz P4 should beat the 3800+, but we see that in both XviD encoding as well as MPEG2 encoding. For those who like to dabble in media editing / encoding, the results here suggest that an Intel solution would be a better choice.
  • OCZ PC2-6400 Platinum Bandwidth Enhanced DDR2 Memory Overview - OCZ Technology has just announced the release of the OCZ PC2-6400 Platinum Bandwidth Enhanced series - an extremely high performance line of DDR2 memory. The OCZ PC2-6400 Platinum Bandwidth Enhanced memory boasts 4-3-3 timings at 800MHz! Those are ultra low latencies for DDR2-800 memory! Let's take a look at it!
  • Corsair Twin2X1024-4300C3Pro DDR2-538 Memory Module - The TWIN2X1024-4300C3 is a pair of 512MByte, two-rank DDR2 SDRAM DIMMs designed for extreme speed. This part delivers outstanding performance in the latest generation of DDR2-based motherboards. It has been tested extensively as pairs in multiple DDR2 motherboards to ensure compatibility and performance at its rated speed. This memory has been verified to operate at 538MHz at the low latencies of 3-3-3-8.
  • Corsair XMS Xpert TWINXP1024-3200XL - The XL memory IC's are actually rated at 500MHz, though at this frequency the timings are not quite as aggressive being 3-4-4-7: 2T. The great thing about the memory modules is a feature Corsair calls Plug-and-Frag. No surprises that this is much like Plug-and-Play, in the sense that it will make installation easy for novice users as the SPD is programmed with the 2-2-2-5: 1T settings. This means by simply selecting the BySPD option in the BIOS, the memory modules will operate at their eXtreme Latencies. Another review can be found on Ninjalane.
  • ABIT AG8 Motherboard - The ABIT AG8 is Abit's answer for performance gamers on a budget. With SATA RAID, Dual Channel DDR 400, PCI-Express X16, IEEE1394, Gigabit LAN, and ABIT Engineered µGuru, what more could you ask for? Let's take an indepth look at the AG8.
  • ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE i925XE Motherboard - Remember back to the ABIT IC7-MAX3 - a premier Canterwood-based S478 motherboard that ran with a decent array of features, both in terms of peripherals and cooling. Well, ABIT is kind of at it again. This time, its Intel-based LGA775 AA8XE has been given the makeover from ordinary, decent i925XE Alderwood to Fatal1ty status. Fatal1ty, I hear you say? Read on to see why this could be the must-have LGA775 mainboard if you like pushing your CPU and memory to the absolute limit.
  • [!] ATI's Radeon X800 XL 512MB graphics card - The Radeon X800 XL 512MB's extra 256MB of memory certainly improves performance, but only in Half-Life 2, and then most dramatically with 6X antialiasing and 16X anisotropic filtering. Otherwise, our test results don't show much performance benefit from the extra memory apart from the elimination of stuttering in DOOM 3's Ultra Quality mode. Those benefits are far from universal, especially since DOOM 3's Ultra Quality mode doesn't look all that much better than its High quality setting. Another reviews can be found on Beyond3D, Guru3D, PC Perspective, DriverHeaven, ExtremeTech
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 SATA NCQ Hard Drive - Because of their capacity, low noise level and performance, I look forward to using these drives when I rebuild my main rig. Having 400GB (it's really 372GB) of storage is a great luxury, and as you know, luxury doesn't come cheap. The 400GB 7200.8 costs around $290-300 if you shop at the right places. The unit cost of 73-75 cents per gigabyte is very reasonable though, so the only reason this drive seems "expensive" is that it packs a huge capacity. It might not be the cheapest 400GB drive available, but I think getting the industry-leading 5-year warranty is worth the extra cost.
  • Seagate 400GB Pushbutton Backup External Hard Drive - With hard drive capacities increasing at an exponential rate backing up your PC has become an increasingly difficult task. As far as capacities go, Hitachi is in the lead at the moment with its recently announced 500GB drive. The Seagate 400GB Pushbutton Backup external hard drive might not be able to back up the Hitachi monster drive, but it should be ample for most of us.
  • Plextor PX-716A DVD Writer - Looking at the basic specs the PX-716A doesn't look anything special ­ 16x DVD+/-R, 4x DVD+R DL, 8x DVD+RW, 4x DVD-RW, 48x CD-R and 24x CD-RW. However, a quick firmware flash boosted DVD+R DL speed up to 6x and DVD-RW up to 6x, while also enabling DVD-R DL support. Of course there's still no DVD+R 8x, DVD-R 6x or DVD-R DL media, so despite having the  ability, the drive couldn't prove itself in these areas. That said, like all the drives I've looked at recently, the PX-716A did manage to over- burn to 2.4x DVD+R DL media, turning in some blistering times.
  • Trust BT210 Bluetooth Headset - Techconnect take a look at Trust's BT210 - a wireless earpiece/microphone combo that relies on Bluetooth technology to provide magic wire-free voice recording and playback.
  • Canon PowerShot A510 Digital Camera - The A510 has nearly all of the features I like to see on a camera, including aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual exposure modes, manual focusing, spot metering, AA batteries and it even comes with a digital zoom set to off as a default. Of course, it also has a full auto mode and a wide selection of scene modes and program modes. It also has a useful 4x optical zoom, equivalent to a 35-140mm zoom on a 35mm film camera.

GUIDES... 

  • nVidia Chips Comparison Table - Hardware Secrets published a nVidia Chips Comparison Table
  • How to improve HDD speed - One of the improvements you can make on your storage is to align the disks. Microsoft provides a tool, Diskpar, which allows to align the disk tracks with sector tracks. For partitions created by Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003, the default starting sector for disks that have more than 63 sectors per track is the 64th sector, causing one out of every eight blocks of data written to your disk to span two disk tracks. Diskpar can increase disk performance as much as 20 percent, but you should always consult your hardware vendor before using this tool. Some disk configurations will have no benefit from the tool.
  • What's a Longhorn? - Microsoft has recently released a great deal of information about their upcoming Longhorn operating system. Here is a compilation of both recent features and information, along with what's been known for a while. The guide explains all the features, so you understand what's coming with Longhorn.
  • Changes to Functionality in Windows XP Professional x64 -  Microsoft have today, released a document at their Download Center, that describes the changes in functionality for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition over Windows XP Professional SP2.
  • Benchmarking Games using Windows XP 64-bit - This article is not an overview or in-depth look into WinXP Pro x64 Edition. The chaps over at HardOCP decided to find out the hard way if upgrading to Windows XP Professional x64 Edition would offer an ehanced gaming experience.

SOFTWARE...

  • UNOFFICIAL W98 SE SP1 v2.0 Final -  It contains all Windows98 SE updates from Windows Update site and more. It is a self-extracting and self-installing pack like Microsoft's update files. Thus, you cannot choice files individually. However, the pack installs only required fixes for your system.
    Uninstallation is possible from Add-Remove Programs.
  • Apple Mac OS X v10.3.9 - 2005-005 Mega Security Update - This massive update patches tons of issues with: Apache, AppKit, AppleScript, Bluetooth, Directory Services, Finder, Foundation, Help Viewer, LDAP, libXpm, lukemftpd, NetInfo, Server Admin, sudo, Terminal and VPN
  • McAfee AVERT Stinger 2.5.4 - McAfee AVERT Stinger 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.
  • SPAMfighter Standard 3.5.3 -  A tool to remove spam from your Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express
  • [!] Total Commander 6.52 - Total Commander is a file manager replacement that offers multiple language support, search, file comparison, directory synchronization, quick view panel with bitmap display, ZIP, ARJ, LZH, RAR, UC2, TAR, GZ, CAB, ACE archive handling plus plugins, built-in FTP client with FXP, HTTP proxy support, and more. This is a minor update, which fixes some problems found since the release of Total Commander 6.5, and adds IPv6 support to the FTP client.
  • Azureus 2.3.0.0 - Azureus (download / changelog) 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.
  • BWMeter 2.3.1 - BWMeter (download) is a powerful bandwidth meter and monitor, which measures and displays all traffic on your network. Unlike other products, it can analyze the data packets (where they come from, where they go, which port and protocol they use).
  • ChrisTV 4.50  - ChrisTV is a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) Software (download) designed to control analog TV Cards, Graphic Cards with Video Input (VIVO), Combo Cards (Graphic Card and TV Card), Webcams, DVcam Capture that have WDM Drivers(Windows Driver Model) compatible with DirectShow specifications.
  • FreeEnc 0.43 - FreeEnc is a free MPEG-2 encoder which uses avcodec library to encode.
  • AnyDVD 5.1.2.1 (shw) - AnyDVD allows you to decrypt CSS encrypted DVDs on the fly. Insert your CSS- (Content Scrambling System) and RPC (Region Code Protected) - protected DVD into your DVD drive.
  • CloneCD 5.2.2.1 (shw) - CloneCD 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. Because of its special operation, it requires a CD-Writer which is capable of writing in this mode.
  • Nullsoft WinAmp 5.09 - Winamp (download) is an audio player that can handle audio CDs, MP3 audio files, and streaming audio broadcasts. It combines extensive functionality with an intuitive interface.
  • FileZilla 2.2.13c - FileZilla (download) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. They fixed these bugs: PROT command was not sent if using implicit SSL; Move TYPE command before PORT/PASV command; If showing Site Manager on startup, main window did not always appear.
  • Forceware 76.45 Win2000/XP WHQL *BETA*-  Station Drivers stumbled into new ForceWare drivers dated at the 22th or April!. The download is a 15 meg sized file and does include an easy to install setup.exe in the extracted folder. The good news is that it is a WHQL approved driver (Microsoft tested and verified). The bad news is that it's only for GeForce series 6. This driver has an included modified.inf file (courtesy of laptopvideo2go) for non-GeForce series 6 users.
  • WDM driver - GeForce2 to GeForce FX GPUs  - This WDM driver kit must be used with the latest ForceWare Graphics driver for GeForce GPUs. Please install that driver first before installing this WDM driver. This driver only supports GeForce2 through GeForce FX products with a TV Tuner or video capture input.
  • WDM driver - GeForce 6 series GPUs  - This driver only supports GeForce 6 series products with a TV Tuner or video capture input.
  • NGO nVidia Optimized Driver v1.7189 - The NGO nVidia Optimized Driver is a tweaked version of the nVidia Forceware driver. The main purpose is to satisfy the users with a better performance and better image quality. The Driver has support for all Geforce cards.
  • Audigy 4 Pro Drivers 2.05.0000 Beta - This beta driver (mirror) adds full support of the OpenAL interface for Sound Blaster Audigy 4 Pro audio devices. The driver provides full OpenAL / EAX ADVANCED HD support when used with the DOOM 3 3 1.3 patch, Includes EAX 4.0 support for the new DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil expansion pack and Improves performance of all OpenAL game titles, including Battlefield 2.
  • Realtek ALC AC97 Audio Driver 3.72 WHQL - This driver (mirror) supports all ALC series audio chipsets from ALC100 up to ALC861. It is used as onboard sound on many motherboards.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,02 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 09:04 PM EDT - May,02 2005 - Post a comment / read (3)

SECURITY...

  • Sober worm variant makes the rounds - A new variant of the mass-mailing Sober worm has been discovered and is spreading among consumer PC users, security experts said Monday.  Sober.P, which operates in a similar fashion to other Sober worms, uses a subject header in an e-mail to try to entice people into opening an attachment. The virus then harvests e-mail addresses from the victim and directs a barrage of spam to those addresses.
  • Data for 600,000 Time Warner employees MIA - Personal information for 600,000 current and former Time Warner employees has been lost, the company announced on Monday, potentially setting the stage for one of the largest cases yet of identity theft.  Time Warner said the mishap occurred on March 22, when data storage company Iron Mountain was transporting its backup tapes to a storage facility away from its offices. The company lost the tapes while in transit, said Kathy McKiernan, a Time Warner spokeswoman.
  • TV Limits Copies - Aiming to prevent mass piracy of digital TV programs, especially over the Internet, the Federal Communications Commission has mandated a new copy-protection scheme called the "broadcast flag." The FCC's ruling, which goes into effect this July, lets you make a backup copy of flagged shows, but no further copies.
  • Microsoft WINS Vulnerability + OS/SP Scanner - While replicating, it's possible to guess the OS and SP, in addition you have the heap base address.
    Conclusion: all needed for a skilled hacker to intrude a vulnerable computer, however a script kiddie wont be able to do something because each wrong hacking attempts may corrupt the WINS database and so on , move where this is needed to overwrite. ~ download scanner.
  • Probing Your PC's Weak Spots - A must-read new report lists more than 600 software flaws that could let attackers invade your computer with viruses or spyware.
  • Apache hacks (./atac, d0s.txt) - check it out!
  • Multiple Vulnerabilities in Kerio Product - Kerio WinRoute Firewall, Kerio Personal Firewall and Kerio MailServer drive a local/remote administration protocol in order to manage the service. By using a brute force attack technique on Kerio WinRoute Firewall, Kerio Personal Firewall and Kerio MailServerit administration protocol it is possible to retrieve the administrative password from a remote installation. Further, the Kerio products are also vulnerable in to a denial of service in their pre-authentication state.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Tracking Sex Offenders via GPS for Life - According to Yahoo! news, the governor of Florida just passed a bill that, along with increasing the jail time served for convicted sex offenders, requires them to be tracked for life via GPS.
  • CNN on the Spam Attack? - The blogosphere is buzzing with rumors about a strange viral marketing campaign concerning CNN, that may be promoting the cable channel or squelching criticism of it -- or perhaps both at the same time.
  • Website dedicates itself to stopping the spread of IE - StopIE.com claims that Internet Explorer is the worst browser on the net and recommends removal of the browser suite immediately :P
  • [game] Free PC Lumines Knock-Off - Sweep is a straight-up knock off of Lumines but without the fantastic audio and visual eye candy. If you haven’t had a chance to play the excellent Playstation Portable puzzler and don’t own a PSP, this is worth your time.
  • Episode III Music Video - Tomorrow the official soundtrack to Star Wars: Episode III hits stores. Along with the soundtrack is a separate DVD called Star Wars: A Musical Journey. It's about an hour long and contains 16 pieces of music all in Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The music is edited to video from all six films in full enhanced widescreen. One of those videos is called A Hero Falls and can be seen at the official Star Wars Site. (thanks EvilAvatar)
  • Scientists: Life on Mars Likely - Not so long ago it was unthinkable for respectable scientists to talk about life on Mars. Such talk was best left to X-Files fans. But no longer.  Evidence is building to suggest biological processes might be operating on the red planet, and life on Mars, many scientists believe, is now more a likelihood than merely a possibility.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Next-Generation Xbox to Be Media Hub - Microsoft Corp.'s next-generation Xbox gaming console will be more of a digital entertainment hub than its predecessor, making it even more of a PC hybrid than ever, Bill Gates told a meeting of business journalists on Monday. Another story can be found on Yahoo News.
  • Toshiba shows Cell decoding 48 video streams -  Toshiba has demonstrated the Cell simultaneously decoding 48 MPEG2 video streams at once - in the film, 48 MPEG-2 streams stored on a HDD were read, decoded and projected onto a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution display divided into 8 x 6 cells, each of which showed a different video in each cell. The company expects the technology to be used to display thumbnails for a video list. Of the eight synergistic processor elements (SPE) used in the Cell, six are used for decoding 48 MPEG-2 streams and one is used for scaling the screen. The remaining SPE can be used for a completely different processing function.
  • Microsoft Updates IM Server to Connect with Other Networks - The Redmond, Wash., software maker on Thursday shipped Service Pack 1 for its Office Live Communications Server 2005. One of its key features is the ability for enterprises to connect their LCS installations with the AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger IM networks.
  • Windows XP SP3 to arrive before Longhorn - A blog filing hidden away in the cobwebbed corners of the web suggests that Windows XP SP3 will hit before Longhorn does. The blog is written by the guys at F-Secure. The information was handed out by Steve Ballmer, and the event was Surfa Lugnt, also known as Swedish National Data Security Day. Ballmer allegedly also said that IE7 would have anti-phishing technology built in.
  • Longhorn at WinHec 2005 - Round-Up - check it out!
  • ABC News, AtomFilms offer PSP video - In a one-two punch for PSP owners, ABC News and AtomFilms have both said they will offer free downloadable video content for Sony's new handheld. ABC News will soon offer video snippets on its Web site that can be downloaded and viewed on demand, similar to podcasted content popular with bloggers and owners of MP3 players. There is no word yet on exactly when ABC News will make its content available.

HARDWARE... 

  • AMD cuts 4000+ desktop chip price - AMD said it has cut the price of the Athlon 64 4000+ and at the same time made changes to prices for the 754 Sempron 2600+, 2800+, 3000+ and 3100+. It told its resellers to contact distributors for the pricing, but has made changes to the price list on its web site, which you can nearly always find here. That shows the 4000+ listed as $482.
  • Intel Slashes Pricing of Mobile Chips Slightly - The decrease of pricing is not significant - Intel Centrino bundles that consist of an Intel Pentium M processor, an Intel mobile core-logic and an Intel PRO/Wireless WLAN controller dropped $2, or in the range of 0.28% - 0.74%. For instance, a package with Intel Pentium M 770 (2.13GHz), Intel 915 GM chipset and Intel PRO/Wireless 2915ABG controller now costs $703, down from $705. The most noteworthy price change was made to ULV Intel Celeron M processor 373 (1.0GHz): the chip now costs $144, down 10.56% from $161.
  • EVGA 512MB Ultra - EVGA issued a press release late Friday announcing that their Genuine Spec e-GeForce 6800 Ultra 512MB graphics card was selected by Alienware to power the high-performance Area-51 and Aurora desktop systems.
  • Athlon 64 3800+ (Venice core) - We managed to overclock our 3800+ to 12 x 245 MHz or 2.94GHz at least to the point where the CPU would POST using standard air cooling. However, leaving the core voltage setting at "Auto" caused the supply voltage to automatically increase from 1.4V to 1.47-1.48V (as shown in the CPUZ screenshot below), which is one of the reasons for the increased power consumption shown in the Caligari TrueSpace results. Stable operation was possible up to 2800 MHz.  Another review can be found on HotHardware.
  • 1GB OCZ PC2-5400 EB Platinum memory kit - OCZ's PC2-5400 EB Platinum DDR2 memory is rated to run at DDR2-667MHz at 2.1V with 4-2-2-8 timings, which translates for most people as running their CPU at 250MHz FSB with a 3:4 memory divisor (for the effective memory speed of DDR2-667MHz).
  • Leadtek Winfast PX6200 TC TDH 256MB - This card comes with 64MB of on-board DDR memory while topping out at 256MB with TurboCache. The main goal with TurboCache is to offer an economical alternative to integrated graphics, improving overall performance while enabling base level gaming potential.
  • Connect3D X850XT PCI-e - The Connect3D X850XT is an astoundingly fast card, capable of playing any game you care to throw at it, with stellar image quality to boot. The X850XT is not the flagship ATI card, that honour belongs to the Platinum Edition, but even when overclocked well beyond Platinum Edition specification at 600/590, the performance increase is in most cases negligible over stock performance due to CPU limitations. What this all boils down to is that the X850XT is a high-end bargain. Well, maybe not a bargain but it is a great deal. The card I reviewed was a very good overclocker, too.
  • Gigabyte GO-W1616A DVD Burner - It supports a maximum writing speed of 16x for both single layer DVD+-R media, 4x for DVD+R DL media, 8x for DVD+RW and 6x for DVD-RW. The GO-W1616A supports 48x burning for traditional CD-R and 24x for CD-RW. In terms of reading, the drive can read single layer DVD+-R media at 16x, DVD+R DL at 4x, DVD+-RW at 8x and standard DVD media at 16x speeds. With CDs, the drive can read CD/CD-R media t 48x and CD-RW at 32x speeds.
  • Sound Blaster Audigy2 Nx - The unit is external, so you will need a spare USB 2 slot, and a power cable. It's a shame this unit can't draw power from the USB cable, but judging by what it can do - the power is needed!
  • Diamond XtremeTV PVR600 USB 2.0 - The XtremeTV PVR600 USB 2.0 Tuner itself is very clean in nature. The silver and black casing feels very sturdy and does not push inwards when subjected to pressure, protecting the components inside. On the backside of the unit resides ports for the more permanent connections - a single coaxial connector, USB port, and DC port.
  • Logitech MX518 gaming mouse - The Logitech MX518 is here. If you're a gamer or just someone serious about getting the most out of your computer you'll want to check out this new mouse.
  • Bluetake BT510 Bluetooth Mini Mouse - The small Bluetake mouse is amazing. It has comfort, style and an excellent design. It is lightweight, has a backup power source and a feature called Reversible Button Function. It contains a power switch to conserve battery power and functions on many surfaces because of its optical technology. The pouch that arrives with the mouse is a handy product that prevents the mouse from receiving minor damages during journeys
  • Palladio USB Bluetooth Adapter - TechConnect has posted a review of an USB Bluetooth adapter.
  • Triplett Line-Bug 4 Phone/LAN Tester - Phoronix has posted a review of the Triplett Line-Bug 4 Phone/LAN Tester.
  • Ethernet for MSX - MSX Resource Center have published a review on ObsoNET, an ethernet cartridge for the 8bit home computer system MSX.

GUIDES... 

  • Firefox Tweak Guide - Whether you're a first-time user or a veteran, this Firefox Tweak Guide brings together all the major tips, tricks and tweaks for Firefox. From the basic to the advanced, the 12 page guide is sure to enhance your Firefox experience.
  • April value gaming PC buyer's guide -  In a nutshell, the Value Gaming PC Buyer's Guide delivers the system and gaming performance you want, but at a price that won't break the bank. The overall scenario is bit different than some of the other buyer's guides on Sharky Extreme, as they limit the budget to $1,000 in cold, hard cash while the goal remains the same: to assemble a kick-ass gaming system that will play today's hottest games and still have some power in reserve for tomorrow.
  • How To Backup Your Hard Drive - The Tech Zone has a guide on different ways to back up your hard drive.

SOFTWARE...

  • Windows XP update provides support for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) - This update to Windows XP provides support for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2), which is the latest standards-based wireless security solution derived from the IEEE 802.11i standard. It also contains Wireless Provisioning Services (WPS) Information Element support, which enables improvements in wireless network discoverability.
  • VS3.0 Displacement Mapping OpenGL demo - This demo (download) written in OpenGL uses NV_vertex_program3 option on NVIDIA newest cards to perturb a grid mesh and simulate a water effect. For those who are not too familiar with the OpenGL nomenclature, NV_vertex_program3 is what the DX folks refer to as Vertex Shaders 3.0. If this demo fails to detect VS3.0 hardware support, it will still run but will only give the illusion of displacement (a 2D water effect instead of a full 3D), so ATi users might still enjoy this one.
  • EssentialPIM 1.5 - EssentialPIM (download) is free and innovative Personal Information Manager.
  • BitSpirit 2.8.0.065 - BitSpirit (download) is an easy-to-use BitTorrent client which provides not only full BitTorrent protocol implementation but also many personalization functions
  • Firefox 1.0.3 Optimized Build - s8v9 - The optimized build of the Firefox 1.0.3 Release is out. Try at your own risk.
  • jv16 PowerTools 2005 1.5.0.278 (shw) - With jv16 PowerTools 2005, you can diagnose, monitor and tune up your computer, and it's easier than you would ever believe. The program offers a range of advanced tools that provide a safe yet powerful way of getting ”under the hood” of your computer.
  • FastStone Image Viewer 2.0.6 Beta - FastStone Image Viewer 2.0.5 (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, watermarks and more
  • Computer Cleaner v1.4 - This is a fast and efficient computer cleaner that deletes a lot of logs and unneeded files to speed up your computer and clean some space out on the hard drive.
  • DVD Identifier 3.6.3.1 - DVD Identifier retrieves and interprets the pre-recorded information that is present on all DVD+R/+RW and DVD-R/-RW and and DVD-RAM media.
  • PlexTools Professional v2.23 - You can use PlexTools for instance to get more information on your drive, tweak its settings and besides that you can use it to play audio discs (with support for CD-Text) and of course you can use PlexTools to copy CD's or to make your own audio compilations with.
  • ATI Tray Tools 1.0.2.640 - ATI Tray Tools v1.0 is ATI Radeon utilities made by Ray Adams. This new version fixes bug when some games and applications can not start with enabled "Aggressive 3D Detection" option.
  • Radeon Omega Drivers 2.6.25 - Radeon Omega Catalyst Drivers will provide gamers with an alternate set of drivers, ones that have more options and features than the original sets. The drivers contain optimizations, extra features (like OC capabilities), more resolutions and internal tweaks that can give them the edge in a gaming enviroment over the normal drivers, which are often tailored for synthetic benchmarks. All Omega driver sets are tested to ensure maximum compatibility and reliability.
  • nForce4 SLI Intel Edition - As released by MSI this NVIDIA's nForce Win2K/XP driver package contains the below components: Audio driver version 4.60 (WHQL), Audio utility version 4.51, Ethernet NRM driver version 4.73 (WHQL), Network management tools version 4.73, SMBus driver version, 4.45 (WHQL) with updated uninstaller files, Installer version 4.61, Win2K IDE driver version 5.21 (WHQL), Win2K RAIDTOOL application version 5.21,
    WinXP IDE driver version 5.21 (WHQL), WinXP RAIDTOOL application version 5.21. Remember, this targeted at the INTEL edition mainboard, not AMD.
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