November 30th, 2001
Pogo Linux Altura Athlon XP Workstation
Mario sends us this:
This Linux Red Hat 7.2 XP1700+ system offers
tremendous value at $999 USD, Windows XP or 2000 dual boot cost option,
name-brand quality components throughout, and a peace of mind 3 year warranty.
Great performance system for those who want to migrate to Linux but wish to
avoid the do-it-yourself pit falls. This package resolves all those concerns.
CDRs and the Xbox
Taken from Xboxhacker BBS, CD-R brands that
Work/Don't Work With the Xbox.
Office Depot 700MB/80min
Mitsui 650MB/74min and 700MB/80min
Cursor and Giga Storage 700MB/80min
Imation 650MB/74min and 700MB/80min
Kingston Hypermedia 650MB/74min and 700MB/80min
Digital Research 700MB/80min
Apparently Verbatim CDRW work as well.
Xbox Hard Drive Contents
This is supposedly a list of files taken from an Xbox drive.
The information was obtained from a link in this
Run arcade games on your Xbox – if they could only distribute
More on DS1
Spencer Kittelson sends us this. In a
sequel to the Little Spacecraft That Could article a while back that showed us
the best pictures to date of a comet nucleus, NASA and JPL have release a
short Real based motion pictures made from composited images. There's also a
clip from prior to the encounter where Dr. Marc Rayman, DS1 project manager
narrates a brief description of what was being attempted and some of the risks
involved. My hat is off to a science and engineering crew who worked on a truly
Astounding New Thermoelectrics developed
Spencer Kittelson writes to us about this
By developing a deep semiconductor superlatice,
scientists at the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) in North Carolina, in
conjuction with the Office of Naval Research (ORNL) have created a new form of
thermoelectric device which is thousands of times more efficient than existing
thermocouples and peltier devices. It's not often we get multiple orders of
magnitude improvement in a technology and this looks like a monster
breakthrough. The implications for cooling, heating and power generation are
The device is composed of thousands of layers, each of which is only a few
molecules thick. The effect on electrons passing through is to separate their
electrical from their thermal characteristics (quite a trick!). Obviously, for
computer users, these things could make thermoelectric CPU coolers the norm.
Don't be surprised if they obviate the need for mechanical refrigeration too.
It's very early in the game though so it will be a while before they reach the
The above announcement may have been prompted by the
following item which originated at MIT. Their development is a miniaturized
and more efficient version of ancient thermionic devices. It doesn't look like
it's a match for RTI's development but it's another path to investigate.
The race is on!
Geek.com: ECS K7S5A Motherboard Problem
One of our favorite sites reports on an
issue with the popular ECS K7S5A and 1.4 GHz Athlons:
I've encountered an interesting problem after
building a system using a 1.4 GHz Athlon and ECS K7S5A motherboard. It appears
that some versions of the board may not work properly with 1.4 GHz Athlons, but
work ok with Athlon XPs. This appears to be a direct result of changes suggested
by AMD to support the Athlon XP/MP better.
Phil Trent's Thoughts on Intel's SOI About-Face
I was reading JC's
and noticed his remarks on Intel's SOI. I cross checked the info with what
can be found on Isonics
(all but the last point refer to the benefits about 3/4s of the way to the
bottom of the linked page).
Here are Isonics benefits of SOI versus Intel's corresponding benefits of their
"special" SOI process:
Higher speed switching - lower gate delay
Lower temperatures at active junctions - better
Lower operating temperatures - lower operating
Fewer manufacturing defects - fewer soft errors (not
sure about this one)
Reducing hotspots reduces junction leakage (see
Manufacturing benefits on Isonics' page) - lower off-state leakage
Is is possible Intel could be leveraging Si-28 to
offset their inexperience in SOI? In other words, will they use a superior
material to mitigate an inferior process?
(Disclosure: I, Phil Trent, own Isonics stock)
Beatle George Harrison is Dead
My guitar gently weeps. Time Bandits, which Mr.
Harrison produced, is one of our favorite movies.
November 29th, 2001
AMD’s 0.13-Micron Process Transitioning Smoothly
AMD’s stock tumbled on a negative report today from
JP Morgan’s Eric Chen. Chen claimed that the chipmaker is currently suffering
problems shifting its production to a new and smaller 0.13-micron copper
process. According to Chen, these difficulties are significant enough to
endanger AMD’s scheduled release of a new line of faster Athlons early next
AMD rejects Chen’s report. Damon Muzny, an official
spokesman for the surging CPU company, told VHJ:
Regarding AMD's moving to .13, the transition is
going smoothly and AMD remains on schedule to ship the first production
130-nanometer devices in Q1 2002. We're currently experiencing no process
transition problems and no production problems.
We have discussed in previous
articles the entanglement between the financial analyst community and Intel.
The Euros Are Coming
Seven denominations of the unified monetary
banknotes are scheduled to debut January 1, 2002. The designs are remarkably
benign and generic, though colorful. Follow the hyperlink above to view them. If
you are curious about coinage, look
Have Broadband? Big Brother Might be Listening
The DOJ is already using its anti-terror powers to
monitor cable modem users without a judge’s order. Meanwhile, here are a few
for the now nearly omnipotent Ashcroft.
Our Take: Is There an Intel-Compaq Conspiracy Against AMD?
There has been significant interest resulting from
our coverage of potential Intel strong-arming of a major OEM to the detriment of
AMD. This case involves Compaq's reluctance to provide "Professional"
versions of Windows 2k and XP for their AMD systems.
Despite the amount of coverage this story has
received, David Vorov's questions, posed
here on the 27th, have gone unanswered. Is there an agreement between
Intel and Compaq barring the bundling of Professional Windows versions with AMD
systems? If so, how can such an arrangement legally exist?
published on Mike Magee's the inquirer asserted that the lack of
availability of Windows XP Professional for AMD systems was simply due to the
fact that AMD processors are limited to Compaq's "home" line of PCs, namely
Presarios. The author is likely only partially correct.
Although we are not privy to the details of Compaq's
agreement with Intel, we suspect that this deal involves an exclusivity clause
for Intel processors in all Compaq business machines in exchange for more
favorable CPU pricing. To accomplish this contract, the agreed upon
written definition of a "business machine" likely includes the bundling of Pro
versions of Microsoft Windows.
What results from such arrangements is the strange
case demonstrated with
Compaq's Presario 8000 Series. In the Houston-based OEM's online
ordering system configuration utility, XP Professional is available for the
Intel Pentium 4-based systems, yet the otherwise similar
AMD Athlon XP-based systems are limited to Windows XP Home Edition.
Is this fair? Obviously no, but unfortunately
this is likely the nature of Compaq's contract with Intel. Of course,
Dell's unspoken famous arrangements are even more unfavorable towards AMD.
How can this situation change? Clearly,
exclusivity agreements would serve as a barrier to market entry for AMD and
other Intel rivals. In Europe, AMD is seeking government intervention for
some of Intel's monopolistic practices there. Unless the market demands
AMD-endowed business machines, circumstances are not likely to turn here in the
US on their own. In the meantime, we suggest that readers needing AMD
Athlon XP-based Windows Professional systems avoid OEMs like Compaq and Dell who
enter in such pacts with Intel.
Unlock the Athlon XP with a Crayon
At Bench House.
November 28th, 2001
Response to the Reader Hacking Xbox Controller
Matthew Cormie writes:
To the reader trying to put "5 LED's of varying
voltages" in parallel with the rumble motor in the XBox controller:
LED's are current devices. While high school edumacation teaches all about light
bulbs, it mentions little or nothing about PN junction devices. The junction in
an LED tries to maintain a fixed voltage drop across the device. Without current
limiting it, the LED will keep trying to maintain its junction voltage (~2.7 - 4
volts) while the Xbox power supply will try and maintain its output voltage. The
effect is similar to sticking a fork in a power outlet, if a little less
spectacular. The outlet tries to maintain ~120 volts and the fork tries to
maintain 0 volts, the result being a melted fork or blow fuse. To properly use
an LED in circuit, it needs to be current limited, usually with a resistor. To
properly add an LED to the controller, you could do the following:
1) Measure the peak voltage across the motor with a multimeter (V_motor).
2) Subtract the LED forward voltage (V_forward)
from the previous motor voltage. Let's call this the voltage we need to drop (V_drop).
3) LED's typically have a maximum operating
current around 20mA. Let's call this maximum current (I_led) so we can calculate
the required resistor to limit the current as follows: (V_motor - V_forward) / (I_led)
A blue LED has a forward voltage drop of about 3.75 volts. Assume that the XBox
motor has a peak voltage of 12 volts (I don't have a XBox to test). (12 - 3.75)
/ (20) = 412.5 ohms You will need to put a ~412 ohm resistor in series with the
LED to prevent it from blowing. You will not be able to get a 412.5 ohm resistor
without buying an expensive precision one, so a 370 ohm would probably be OK.
The LED life would suffer a bit but it would be really bright.
Reliability of CPU Suppliers
Courtesy of Mario.
Sobering Eyewitness Account of Taleban Revolt
Blames CIA, Northern Alliance.
Reader Hacks Xbox Controller
"I was intrigued by the disassembled Xbox, I was
wondering if you have taken apart the controller. If you have, have you tried
modifying it? I have tried putting LED's in parallel with the rumble motors. I
have now blown 5 LED's of varying voltages and I was wondering just HOW MUCH
voltage goes through those motors? I have tried a 6 volt and it still blew...
Any help would be appreciated."
over the Internet, while some are
claiming (unsubstantiated) to have hacked third party hard drives to the
the inquirer: Kentron CEO on QBM
Memory modules coming as soon as Q1 next year.
Cherokee at NASA
Spencer Kittelson sends us this.
inquirer: Intel Claims Itanium Bug is Fixed
Mad Mike Magee reports on an official Intel
statement asserting that a corrective BIOS has alleviated Compaq's Itanium
problem. This widely reported snafu involving the Santa Clara chipmaker's
64-bit flagship has been holding up server shipments for several weeks.
The nature of the tweak and whether it impacts performance are both still
unknown at this time.
November 27th, 2001
Follow-up on Intel Strong-Arming
Our own research done by Joel shows:
I called HP, Compaq, and Sony. Here's what they told me.
Compaq initially said that XP Pro was NOT available on
Duron/Athlon systems--but then checked into something and immediately
changed their mind and said it was. I asked for clarification: "So XP Pro
CAN be bought on a Compaq system for either an Athlon or a Duron?" They
confirmed. This was on their Presario 700 series.
Sony said that XP Pro was NOT available on any
Athlon/Duron system but could be bought with a P3. The sales rep I spoke to
said he did not know the reason for the decision.
HP does not offer XP Pro for any Home Laptops, Intel or
Athlon. XP Pro is offered only in their business line, which is entirely P3.
The sales rep I spoke to at HP informed me that I would
be unable to select XP Pro as an OS no matter what processor I chose, even
if I used a P3 (assuming I wanted to customize a notebook).
I've been unable to verify this as the HP site is giving
my browser fits.
One VHJ reader writes:
I could not believe the blatantness of this
Unavailability of XP/2000 for AMD hardware, through Compaq's website.
I called for myself pretending that I had trouble
ordering online, the minute I said WIndows 2000..., the sales guy admitted
that they don't offer the Presario 8000 with anything other than XP home.
And that it was offered on Pentium 4 systems, and that he didn't know why
that was so, and he could do nothing. I told him that I'd have to shop
elsewhere as I don't want to have to buy an additional copy of the OS.
John Norene sends us this:
I checked the
Compaq website, and it appears that Windows XP Professional is orderable as an
optional operating system with the AMD processors. This doesn't assure that
Compaq will install XP Pro on pre-configured systems for the retail sellers,
NVIDIA offering trade-in program for 3dfx cards
JOEL: While this is
a welcome move from NVIDIA and PNY, the rebate amounts are rather low. Offering
the same amount of rebate cash for a Voodoo2 or a Voodoo5 is also a rather bad
deal as the V5 is much newer and a much more recent investment. Still, its a
nice gesture for the two companies to make.
0.6 of MemLatencyPlus
The new version introduces the following changes:
2d line graph is easier to read.
Graph is zoomable by left-click dragging.
Graph is dragable by right-click dragging.
Graph can be reset by either "Reset" button or a
left-click drag to the left.
Data scale now defaults to include zero.
Assignment loop unrolled eight times. Results
are now slightly different than what was obtained in version 0.5.
A few small bug fixes.
The download is about 350kB, and like all COSBI
tools is a standalone binary that does not need to be installed.
More Rambus Setbacks
I am proud to say that some of the material we
uncovered was used in the trial. Thanks to Jeff for the link. Also
Joel points out this article
at Mike Magee's the inquirer.
Rthoreau sends in this link.
More Intel Strong-arming?
David Vorov writes:
A few weeks ago I attempted to order an Athlon
notebook from Compaq (Presario 700) with Windows 2000 as an operating system.
Compaq said they didn't offer Windows 2000 on notebooks. I pointed out that on
their website they offered Win2k on all INTEL based notebooks, but it didn't
seem to be available on any AMD based notebooks. After a lot of back and forth,
the salesperson admitted they DID sell Intel based notebooks with Win2k, but
said that Win2k did not work with AMD processors. I demanded to speak to a
After I listed all the AMD desktop and notebook systems I had running Win2k, and
giving her the Microsoft URL which shows AMD Athlon as compatible Win2k
hardware, The supervisor admitted that yes, it would run on AMD processors just
fine, but their contract with Intel prevented them from offering either Win2k or
XP Professional on AMD hardware. When I mentioned that this would probably be an
illegal contract, she got a bit nervous and said she didn't know if it was
really a contract, I should contact someone else about this, she's just a sales
manager, blah, blah... so I let her off the hook.
Last week I called a friend who has a brother-in-law who works for Compaq in
Houston. Over Thanksgiving dinner he said his brother-in-law confirmed that they
didn't offer W2k on AMD notebooks because of "Intel pressure".
So my question now is: Who do I go to about this? This doesn't seem like it
would be legal. I have two (fairly low-level) employees at Compaq admitting that
they know Intel is pressuring Compaq to squeeze AMD out of a decent operating
system and relegating it to the low end "XP home edition" piece of crap O/S.
So I go to the press. Maybe you can make a difference. Go ahead, try to get
Win2K on an AMD notebook, or anything for that matter.
Several readers have written in stating that they
believe the Xbox hard drive is password protected. One reader writes:
Your hard drive analyses is almost correct;
myself and someone else have been looking into the XBOX hardware as well, and
that someone else I mentioned figured out that the hard drive is not using a
strange firmware, but instead is adhering to a different HD standard called
ATA-3, this new standard has a password protection function that requires a
password to allow the drive to give out information.
He has also found that brute force isnt an option, because the Drive only allows
5 password re-trys before it requires the power to cycle... please post this
revision on your website if possible. XBOX will be hacked... sooon...
Another reader, SkipMeister, writes that there have
been overheating problems with some Xboxes:
Just wanted to say I have a friend that works for
an electronics store and goes to different stores setting up displayes. He said
they have had problems with the Xbox overheating. Not sure if you have had any
similar problems or heard similar reports. He said they drilled holes in the
bottom to help with air flow but not sure they grasp the concept of air flow. =)
We have not seen such problems, but if the rear
vents are blocked, the mutant Celeron would not get air flow through its passive
heat sink and could possibly get too hot.
Finally, there are widely reported problems reading
CD-Rs. However, apparently Verbatim CD-RWs do work according to a
post on the Xbox enthusiast
site we pointed to yesterday.
November 26th, 2001
AtlantaOC: Review of the GlobalWin 8850 Aluminum Case
OCmadeEZ writes "... this is a really cool looking
case. The side panels remove very easily even if you do have to remove two
thumbscrews.... The manufacturing quality is excellent and installing the
components is very straightforward and easy to accomplish."
After my stepfather's recent death combined with the
particularly egregious circumstances surrounding it, my sister, her daughter and
my family took my mother to see her relatives in the "Valley" of southern Texas.
It was our intention to attempt to distract my mother from her loss as well
as remove her from dangerous circumstances.
While visiting her family, my
mother was given a photograph of her father. This is remarkable because the
was the first time my mother had ever seen him. The tiny photo is in poor shape --
old, worn, wrinkled, dirty and scratched -- but the resemblance to Mom is still clear.
It is strange for me see my grandfather for the
first time in my 38 years, so I can scarcely imagine my mother's feelings.
Here is my grandfather's picture, probably taken in the early 1930's.
There are many contradicting rumors surrounding my
grandfather. Unfortunately, one bit of hearsay that is likely true is that
he died years ago, so neither my mother nor I will ever get to know him.
I am happy to promote any non-corporate media entity
and here is an interesting site
that seems to be a genuine enthusiast start-up. Someone there claims to
have hacked a hard drive drive for the Xbox, though there seems to be confusion
surrounding this feat. Also on another Xbox related
message board someone spent the time trying to find out how many blocks
could be stored on their Xbox drive. With a total of 312,500 blocks, it
looks like each block is 32k if their data is correct.
First Human Clone
American scientists claim to have cloned a human
Brief Site Update
This is my first post since the day before Thanksgiving. Joel made the single post
since then and he may start updating the news page more often.
Please forgive me if I am slow to respond to emails
since work and messages have piled up over the last few days.
November 25th, 2001
the inquirer: QBM Technology Doomed to Fail?
JOEL: the inquirer
has reported that Kentron's QBM memory technology may face major problems in
implementation. According to some engineers, the Kentron simulations are too
simplistic--get the full story above.
November 21st, 2001
A Time for Family
With the recent death in my family, it is time for
us to focus on what is important. My wife and I will not be tending the
site over the next few days. Although our site has grown exponentially
since we launched only four months ago, and some of our articles have had quite
a bit of industry influence, I have personally been unhappy with the quality and
frequency of my articles. It has been difficult to work fulltime testing
CPUs while tending the site on the side. Doing so has taken a great deal
of time away from my family, and with the events of the last few days I feel a
greater need than ever to reevaluate my priorities.
I have high expectations for my articles, but I have
simply had neither the time nor the resources to devote to the rigorous,
in-depth coverage that I feel our readers deserve and this leaves me with a
feeling of unfulfillment and regret after every piece I have
published recently. Those who have followed my career from Tom's
Hardware and InQuest no doubt see the decline in the depth of my
analysis. I do not know how to remedy this situation without taking even
more time away from family and work.
I want to thank Joel, Spencer, Nils, and Phil for
their invaluable help over the last few months. They have added greatly to
the site. My wife Kathy, of course, has helped to keep the site and me
together through chaos.
This site is about passion, honesty, truth and
objectivity with the focus on computer related high technology. I continue
to believe there is a place for us and our growth seems to support this. I
simply do not know how under current conditions I can balance the site with the
other, more important obligations I carry.
We will revaluate our situation after Thanksgiving.
But for now, it is time to give thanks for what really matters. Thank you,
Lord, for my family.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
inquirer: VIA Chipset to Use Kentron QBM?
The proven, simple and cost effective
Kentron memory technology allows twice the bandwidth of normal DDR systems.
Whether the rumor that VIA will pick up this design we cannot confirm, it is
good to see this technology get more attention.
Xbox Operating Frequency
It appears the operating frequency of the nVidia GPU
has been reduced from
250MHz to 233MHz. The GPU was originally announced at 300MHz. If
I am not mistaken, nVidia's
site has only been updated to the 233MHz speed in the last few days.
November 20th, 2001
ASCII Star Wars
To see an interesting rendition of Episode I, telnet
to towel.blinkenlights.nl. In Win2k, click "Start|Run..." then enter
"telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl" and hit "OK".
Purported Afghan Nuclear Bomb Papers a Spoof
The document was copied nearly verbatim from famous
10-easy step humor piece "Weekend Scientist: Let's Make a Thermonuclear Device."
The original article appeared in a 1979 edition of The Journal of
November 19th, 2001
Xbox DVD Remote = RCA DVD Remote
Victor Caro writes:
Well, I finally managed to get the DVD
Playback Kit today, and tried something... The remote kinda looks like an
RCA brand remote...so I took it to my RCA DVD player.....and it worked!!!
PERFECTLY!!! So then I took my RCA brand remote to the X-BOX.....it works
like a charm....so technically for DVD playback, all you need is the
receiver (or if you break/loose yours) and a generic RCA remote with DVD
compatibility, and you're in luck.....
November 18th, 2001
Although you have to purchase an extra kit to play
DVDs on the Xbox, out of the box the game console will rip and encode music
directly to the hard drive which is a nice feature. Microsoft charges
$30 for a
DVD kit that includes a remote control. Normally this would anger me, but
the Xbox is so feature-packed I won't complain much.
Some people have wondered why we didn't take the
heat sink off the nVidia GPU in our recent
since it appears to only be attached with a clip. The problem was that the
thermal compound used had very strong adhesive qualities and we were exerting so
much force trying to remove the cooler that we were afraid that we might damage
the system if we persisted.
The memory used in the Xbox turns out to be "Samsung
136, K4D263238M-QC50." Reading this designation was very difficult because
the markings on the DDR SDRAM chips were faint. This memory is only 128Mb
= 16MB per chip. Since we found only two chips on the topside of the
motherboard, this means that two other memory chips must be on the reverse side.
We have since verified that this is indeed the case. In fact, the empty
pads we noted in our original article are the bottoms of the two other 128Mb
chips. (Thanks to "CityZen" for help.)
According to Samsung's
product data, this memory appears to operate at 200MHz. This might
explain Microsoft's original infatuation with the AMD Duron which also happens
to have a 200MHz front-side bus.
Although Intel informally told us several months
ago that the Xbox CPU's FSB would be 133MHz, this would mean that the memory
would run asynchronously in a fractional harmonic (200/133). Since this
would be inefficient and yield only mixed results, the BGA Mobile Celeron
might only have a 100MHz FSB and performance would not be impacted much
(yielding a more favorable 2/1 ratio). Ah, but
the 733MHz CPU speed would not be possible because the multiplier would not
work, so the FSB must be 133MHz like we originally concluded.
Quick gaming impressions: Halo is fantastic.
It is somewhat reminiscent of Half-Life, but the graphics in Halo
are much, much better. Halo is a very engaging game, although it
starts off a little slowly. Dead or Alive 3 looks very, very good
-- quite a bit better than even Soul Caliber or Tekken TAG Tournament.
DOA3, however, is not a very meaty game, but fighting games are not
usually very deep anyway. Still, I much prefer Halo. The
graphics in cartoony Cel Damage are fantastic, but I cannot be very
positive about the game itself. CD looks cute and is humorous, but
it is very tedious to play. The two football games, Madden and
NFL Fever, are pretty much the same as they are on other high-end platforms
-- this is a trend we'll likely continue to see for some time from companies who
want to play the field among different systems. It simply takes too much
time and effort to exploit each platform. Nevertheless, I expected
Microsoft's Fever to look better than it did. The only
advantages these two football simulations seemed to exploit from the Xbox is
generally smoother game play.
My Stepfather Died this Morning
John Jones was a good man; may he find peace in
Heaven. God, please grant my mother strength.
November 17th, 2001
the inquirer: Compaq Internal Memo on Intel Itanium Bug
"Repeated testing of products containing 733MHz
and 800MHz Itanium processors revealed that these CPUs do not meet standard
reliability tests. Other Intel OEM boxes containing these Itanium CPUs also have
failed the standard test suite. The issue has been credibly determined to be an
Itanium issue, not an OEM system issue."
Dell's "Steve" Gets Beaten Up
Humor link courtesy
November 16th, 2001
the inquirer: Intel Says Rambus is Dead
As we have been reporting for months, our sources
have told us that Intel has been counting the days before it could jump the
leaky Rambus dingy and endorse DDR SDRAM.
We open up the Xbox and peek inside. We
discover interesting facts about the CPU and other hardware.
November 15th, 2001
November 14th, 2001
Big Brother Goes to the Beach
Facial recognition cameras will be deployed along
the Virginia Beach oceanfront. “You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to
hide,” chant the proponents of this action, apparently ready to move into glass
houses, adopt fulltime nudity and have government monitored tracking devices
implanted into their shiny buttocks. Needlessly invasive measures must not be
adopted in the haste and panic of the recent attacks. Our forefathers fought for
our precious freedoms; do not let their efforts be in vain! Do not allow
those cynically manipulating recent tragedies to undermine the basic foundation
of our great nation!
Reportedly, Kabul offices of Qatar’s al-Jazeera were
struck by warplanes just hours before the Northern Alliance entered the Afghan
Joel asks, "Is product integration a threat to
stability? Can a Passport-type of system be created and made secure by ANY
company (not just MS)?"
inquirer: New Stepping To Fix Itanium Bug?
Intel hopes so as C1 stepping heads Compaq's way.
A "stepping" is a new silicon release of a microprocessor usually issued to
correct bugs or improve performance. The initial story of Compaq's stop
shipment of Intel Itanium-based servers, broken by Mike Magee, has apparently
confirmed by a third party.
November 13th, 2001
Dell: No 2GHz Pentium 4s
The manufacturing problems plaguing the Intel
Pentium 4 have caused shortages so acute that Intel's premier customer has had
to pull the 2GHz chip from its Web "Configurator," an online catalog for
ordering Dell systems. We discussed this emerging issue for the chipmaker,
reminiscent of its recent history of "paper launches," in an October 19th news
Windows XP: We Don't Work With Anyone
Problems now with PowerNow! Supposedly both
this and the SpeedStep issue reported yesterday have fixes, although neither
patch is graceful.
Low End PC: My First PC
"Our publisher shares his personal computing story
from Apples and Commodores through DOS PCs and beyond."
Iraqi Attack of Kuwait?
Doesn't seem like a smart move in today's climate.
reports 80 Kuwaitis are still being held in a "secret jail" Baghdad.
Taliban Leave Kabul
Afghan capital falls to American backed opposition.
Meanwhile claims of
Northern Alliance atrocities have been raised by an Arab publication.
November 12th, 2001
This issue of ZZZ online includes unusual 3D
'mouse' for the second hand, sustainable streetlight,
virtual reality chair and other goodies.
Justice to break up Apple
Spencer sends us this.
In a funny item referenced by GMSV, it is announced
that Microsoft and the US DOJ have agreed to a break up of Apple Computer. Both
sides agreed that Apple's history of "self-inflicted, anti-competitive"
management practices is primarily to blame for turning Microsoft into an illegal
the inquirer: Windows XP Overheats Intel Mobile PIIIs
…and Intel Itanium bug leads Compaq to
stop shipments of servers
based on one of the most disastrous and embarrassing CPUs ever produced. Double
Veteran's Day Celebrated Today
Although yesterday was actually Veteran's day, take
a moment today to remember those who have served our Country and give thanks. I
am thankful for my many uncles, who served in WWII, my father who retired as a
Lt. Colonel from the Airforce, and Van, who served in the Army.
Mark McGwire Retires
The greatest slugger ever calls it quits.
LostCircuits: Review of
ASUS A7V266-E (VIA KT266A chipset)
"Loaded with features like support for the iPanel,
SmartCard reader and onboard CMedia 6-channel sound including SPDIF support, the
A7V266-E is bound for success."
How Low Can They Go? Is It My Imagination or Did THG
just rip off OverClockers with their latest
article on unlocking the Athlon XP? Considering some of the tantrums I
have personally witnessed, I think Lew is in line for some ranting considering
that his story was stolen and
he wasn't even given credit.
Feds Hiring Psychics To Fight Terror
Looks like the purse strings on our hard-earned tax
dollars have been opened a little too widely in the money grab that has exploded
in the last two months. Maybe they'll end up hiring
Xinoehpoel and Sollog if they haven't done so already. The next thing
you know, they'll be asking Hollywood for advice on terrorism -- whoops, it's
done. I'm sure the man who made Grease can bring potent
anti-terrorism strategies to the table.
November 11th, 2001
The End of Hard Drives?
Here's an interesting article from Harvard about
research into self assembling nanowires which have a variety of properties.
From biological sensors, to quantum computers, to ultra dense solid state
memories that could eventually obviate current hard drive technologies, these
little gems are literally only a few atoms wide which is an improvement of 1-2
orders of magnitude over existing connective technologies. Since the wires
themselves can be manipulated as semiconductors they can be used in completely
new ways to build sensing and logical devices with fundamentally new properties.
Further, the wires exhibit "ballistic conductivity" a property that appears akin
to superconductivity which could dramatically reduce or eliminate resistive heat
November 10th, 2001
COSBI MemLatency: How It Works and Get Version 0.5
In a couple of our recent articles we have used a
tool we have developed to measure memory subsystem latency characteristics.
We have also fielded a number of questions as to how it works. Here is a
Bandwidth and latency are integrally related and to
suggest otherwise is misleading. For instance, in typical tasks that do not
utilize streaming operations, bandwidth is limited by the latencies from a cache
line request until when data starts arriving -- some
chipsets increase effective bandwidth by speculatively prefetching data into
local caches directly reducing these latencies. The Athlon XP's hardware
bandwidth essentially the same way.
In our memory latency tests, we perform a simple and direct operation -- we copy
random elements from a source 32-bit integer array to random elements of a
target 32-bit integer array (it is important to choose random assignments to
defeat stride prediction). After a certain number of assignments, we then
increase the sizes of the datasets. As was our intention, this type of operation
is probably close to worst case for systems that have latency problems.
Just as reducing latency helps increase bandwidth, increasing bandwidth can
reduce practical latencies as in our MemLatency test. In typical
operations, data requests are gated by the time it takes to fill a cache line.
In the Athlon the cache line size is 64-bytes, while in the Pentium 4 the line
size is 128-bytes (sectored) and the Pentium III's cache line is only 32-bytes
long. Increasing line size will help increase bandwidth because initial
request latencies are directly reduced -- for streaming operations, the Pentium
4 only has to request data half as many times as the Athlon.
However, increasing line-size can increase
memory subsystem efficiency. On any particular architecture, reducing the
burst time -- the time to fill a cache line -- directly reduces access
latencies. This is most easily accomplished by increasing the bandwidth of
the underlying memory. DDR SDRAM has about twice the bandwidth of SDRAM
and can therefore burst data to fill a line about twice as fast.
This dynamic is demonstrated in our recent
of the Athlon XP where DDR SDRAM chipsets easily beat SDRAM chipsets on our
We are making version 0.5 of MemLatencyPlus
available here for a limited time due
to bandwidth costs to us. We are aware of a few quirks in this beta such
as the mislabeled title bar. Please send us any other issues you
Full Text of bin Laden Interview
the Dawn interview where the Saudi maintains that nuclear and chemical
weapons are at his disposal: "I wish to declare that if America used chemical or
nuclear weapons against us then we may retort with chemical and nuclear weapons.
We have the weapons as a deterrent."
Pashtun Leader Claims to Still be in Afghanistan
Contradicts US statements of rescuing him.
Tajikistan Threatened by Afghan Retreat
Remote areas susceptible to destabilization.
Dawn: US Seeking to Divide Afghanistan, Fragment Pakistan
Recently making headlines reporting bin Laden's
purported claim to control nuclear and chemical weapons, the same Pakistani
newspaper has an article covering a professor asserting that the United States
intends to divide both Afghanistan and Pakistan: "The most probable objectives
of this New International Economic Order could be to get control over the
Caspian Sea oil, imperialism and fragmenting countries into small geographical
parts, like they tried to divide Iraq."
November 9th, 2001
Laden Threatens Nuclear/Chemical Retaliation
Dawn, a Pakistani newspaper, claims to have
interviewed the Saudi-born mercenary.
Anthrax Hits Fayetteville?
Dear Lord, I hope not and it looks like a possible
VHJ Quoted at AMD Analyst Conference
A pleasant surprise.
the inquirer: Intel to Rush the 533 MHz FSB P4
The Intel Pentium 4 has fallen behind the AMD Athlon
XP, and the Santa Clara company has encountered problems with Northwood causing
the chip giant to postpone
the 0.13 micron P4 shrink until next year. Together with a
dearth of 2GHz
parts, Intel is in very poor shape to take on the Athlon XP until then. However,
Mad Mike Magee reports that Chipzilla is apparently intent on hurrying the
release into Q2 of next year of both a 533MHz front-side bus P4 and a new
P4-based "Celeron" economy chip.
Time To Upgrade: DDR SDRAM, Athlon XP Are Worth It
The Athlon XP paired with the VIA KT266A DDR SDRAM
chipset deliver compelling performance advantages over Thunderbird/SDRAM
platforms. Surprisingly, the XP wrings life from the old KT133A platform
Bell Labs, the originator of the transistor in 1947,
has created a transistor composed of a single molecule.
November 8th, 2001
Free Antivirus Software
We have been looking at two free antivirus software
packages. I have been using
AVG Antivirus (only the
English version is free) and it has a very nice interface while supporting
heuristic algorithms, scans email and can automatically update itself.
Kathy has installed AntiVir which has an
Internet update wizard to help combat the latest viruses.
November 7th, 2001
Ancient Tunnels Aid Taliban
Built around 300 B.C.
Kandahar Raid Finds More Criticism
Labeling the operation a "debacle," the article
mirrors the recent New Yorker piece. Meanwhile an Austrailian
reported today that a US helicopter crashed in Pakistan Sunday after
encountering Afghan fire. MSNBC has a
report that also
mentions this incident.
MicronPC Announces Athlon XP nForce Systems
The $2,000 Millennia XP+ includes an Athlon XP
1900+, the nForce 420, 256MB DDR SDRAM, 100 GB ATA100 drive and more.
Two More P4 / XP Thermal Videos
Courtesy of "The Condor," here are two more videos,
these coming from an Italian site,
examining the worst case catastrophic thermal performance of the
P4 and the
Athlon XP. These
massive though entertaining files require DivX.
BBC: Bush, bin Laden and the
FBI told to "back off" Saudis prior to the September
attacks. This RealMedia video will only be up a few more hours. We
removed the link since the file is no longer online. We may have a
LostCircuits: Review of the
Athlon XP 1900+
"...there are reports of XP1900+ that potentially
reach 1800 physical MHz."
"Help me, Obi-Wan!" While perusing a news
Kittelson came upon a link to a New York Times
describing a device claimed to deliver real-time 3D images. Spencer
Using a form of beam splitting projection, a
Dallas company has developed the means to transmit full size "holographic"
images. By using high speed data circuits and real time processing on both ends,
a highly interactive, "real" telepresence experience can be had. Fittingly, the
company name is Teleportec.
The New York Times piece requires a free
OCWorkbench: Review of Iwill
ALi MAGiK 1 C1-based motherboard supports a 333MHz
FSB. Most results are lukewarm, but gaming numbers look strong.
Beware the evil pop-ups on this site!
DigiTimes: i845G Integrated Chipset To Launch April, 2002
Debut accelerated from Q3, 2002. The Taiwanese
publication is also
reporting that VIA boards are currently "delivering good gross margin" that
is better than what is being maintained for comparable Intel i845-based
inquirer: Linux Poised for a Spring Breakthrough
With controversial Windows XP as opposition, this is
SocketA: nForce Review
Chris's test show that NVIDIA's chipset performs is
roughly on par with the VIA KT266A.
November 6th, 2001
Arkansas QB Matt Jones Makes CNNSI Player of the Week
The speedy 6’6” true freshman led the Razorbacks to
a 58-56 history setting seven-overtime victory against Ole Miss. The game will
be replayed on ESPN Classic this Friday.
How Can You Tell if an AGP Card / i845 Combo Will Destroy
Use of certain AGP graphics cards with Intel
i845/i850 based motherboards can potentially destroy both the video card and the
motherboard. A few days ago we
demonstrated, with the help of Hercules, that the "Pin A2 Test" could not be
used to determine which AGP cards were incompatible with these Intel-based
motherboards. Since electrical specs are rarely available for AGP cards,
how can this incompatibility be determined?
According to Hercules, a few graphics cards have
been developed with Vcc3.3 directly shorted to Vddq. Before the
introduction of AGP4X-only chipsets, this worked fine, but now, according to
Hercules, this will lead to a 3.3V AGP signal across 1.5V tolerant circuitry
resulting in a meltdown.
We are working on an article to show how to
explicitly test for this condition and hope to have it up shortly.
Inquirer: DDR-i845 Benchmarks Appear
But there are few tests and the numbers look off for
the VIA and SiS chipsets.
Inquirer: AMD Confirms the Palomino Uses Smaller Tech
But only in certain areas of the chip. This is
not an unusual practice.
LostCircuits: K7T266 Pro2-RU Retake
Dr. Michael Schuette revisits MSI's KT266A
Athlon/Duron motherboard and observes much better results.
November 5th, 2001
Crucial Technology Joins NASBA As Executive Sponsor
Leading memory upgrade supplier's sponsorship
benefits system builders
AMD Pricing for the Athlon(tm) XP Processor 1900+
Here is AMD's processor pricing, including the new
XP Processor 1900+.
Reviews of the New AMD Athlon XP 1900+
Athlon XP 1900+ reviews:
Look for our review soon.
November 4th, 2001
Arkansas 58, Ole Miss 56 in Seven OTs
In the longest college football game ever,
the Arkansas Razorbacks edged arch-rival Ole Miss 58 to 56 in seven overtimes.
Easily one of the most inspiring displays of courage, determination and
character in the history of athletics, this might have been the best football
game I have ever seen. Although Mississippi's Eli Manning was spectacular
and both teams played superlatively,
Matt Jones, the Razorbacks 6'6" true freshman quarterback/reciever who
runs a 4.4 second 40 yard dash, was perhaps the most exciting player to watch.
Unbelievably, the towering Fort Smith native runs as fast and elusively as a
deer and can pass to boot. Although I live in Austin, Arkansas will always
be my home. Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt embodies many of the qualities I
have come to recognize in Arkansans: honesty, compassion, focus, hard work
ethic, passion, humility, courteousness, intelligence, courage, love of family and spiritual
devotion. Go Hogs!
November 3rd, 2001
November 2nd, 2001
Letter to the Editors of WSJ: Grotesque Ignorance
Spencer Kittelson sends us his letter to the editors
of WSJ strongly refuting that publication’s assertions regarding Microsoft’s
contributions to the Internet. Although we are publishing Spencer’s letter
here, you can also
view it on the Wall Street Journal subscription site.
The Inquirer: VIA C3 Versus
Celeron Video Parody
With the heat and fury of the recent CPU cooler
related videos, VIA has snuck out a tongue-in-cheek digi-film (without telling
me first -- oh well) showing what happens when the heat sink is removed from an
operational 800 MHz Celeron (a rapid crash, of course) versus the consequences
from yanking the CPU cooler off a running 800 MHz C3 (Ezra) processor.
Remarkably, the C3 continues to run for over a day before the test is
ended with the chip still running Quake III. This is almost
unbelievable. I want to stress that it is not a good idea to subject your
CPU to cooler-less conditions because high temperatures will shorten your chip's
life. Nevertheless, the C3 parody is an eye-opener. You can grab the
7MB C3 video off of Mike's site.
November 1st, 2001
InQuest: Review of the VIA P4M266 Integrated Chipset
The VIA ProSavageDDR P4M266 is the first integrated
core logic solution available for the Intel Pentium 4. The VIA product boasts
such features as support for the new ATA133 hard drive interface that both
increases maximum transfer rates while breaking through the 132GB size
limitation. And yes, the chipset supports DDR SDRAM which should help boost
performance of the integrated graphics controller. The P4M266 looks like another
promising product from VIA who has produced a number of impressive chipsets
THG Heatsink Video Played at Intel
A reader sends us this interesting note.
About the same time the THG heatsink video came
out, probably a week or two later, I went to an Intel meeting where they
actually played this video. Wouldn't you assume that they would have to pay him
for the rights to run this? I may be wrong but it seemed like he may have done
this for some kickback from them...
Study: Prayer Helps Heart Patients Recover
From the BBC News, patients who were prayed for had
Inquirer: Bug in Intel's Itanium?
May explain short supply.
Florida Oil Refinery Sprayed
Unidentified airplane sprays "mysterious substance"
on a Hernando County, Florida oil refinery.
Satire: Big Brother Requiring Windows XP
It would be funny if there was not so much truth in
it. Thanks for the link, Spencer.
NewScientist: Windows XP Cracked?
Apparently WPA has been circumvented. With
Windows XP being so expensive and invasive, piracy is likely to boom.
It is likely that Linux will gain momentum from consumer backlash. In the
meantime, Mike Magee has a piece
up reporting that Win2k out performs WinXP except in dual-CPU configurations.
Donation Page is up.