February 28th, 2002
I am deactivating the link to
AnandTech because the quality and objectivity of Anand's material has
degraded to the point that it is an embarrassment to the hardware review
community. Likewise, I am killing the Tom's Hardware link. I will
compile a list of direct hyperlinks to my THG articles since their search
engine has been modified so that only a handful of my roughly 40 articles can be
quickly pulled up.
AMD Opens Boston Design Center
AMD's HyperTransport™ technology
received an important boost when AMD announced the opening of the Boston Design
Center. The new design center will be responsible for developing server and
HyperTransport™ interconnect solutions supporting AMD’s Computation Products
Group. Gerry Talbot, former president and chief technical officer of API
Networks, has been named senior AMD fellow and director of the AMD Boston Design
Center. The team of prominent engineers who form the foundation of this design
bureau, has a proven record of developing customer-driven solutions and
technologies based on HyperTransport technology.
the inquirer reported the
problems that API Networks ran in to with the demise of Alpha. It looks like AMD
was able to pick the cream of API Networks' engineers.
It should be noted
that API Networks co-developed the HyperTransport™ technology specification.
They were also the first company to have HyperTransport™ technology in silicon,
and they have created intellectual property that has been licensed to industry
leaders. It's clear that this design team is fully switched on and up to speed
and will contribute greatly to the development of HyperTransport™ technology.
Linux Kernel 2.6 To Support AMD’s x86-64 Technology
Mario writes, "AMD's
Hammer technology reached another milestone this week. SuSE Linux AG, one of the
world's leading providers of the Linux operating system, has submitted
enhancements to the official Linux kernel to support AMD’s x86-64 instruction
set. The Linux kernel is the fundamental source code upon which all Linux
operating systems are based. This achievement will further drive Hammer's
AMD Takes Jab at Intel
Evan sends this
in, "If you look closely at the picture, you'll see that AMD burned in the music
notes to Intel's 'token' theme. Also notice that the two stickers above the
music notes are covering a picture of an actual hammer, which I assume is
supposed to crush Intel's 'token' theme. ;)"
February 27th, 2002
Labs’ Sound Blaster Extigy
Gamers should steer clear of the
USB 1.1 version of the Creative Labs’ Sound Blaster Extigy. In a quick test we
conducted on a low-end PC, Quake III frame rates fell by nearly 40% from 54.9
fps to 33.7 fps. Extigy is a completely external PC sound “card” solution that
utilizes lowly USB 1.1 to stream audio data to the device. Perhaps FireWire or
even USB 2.0 versions of Extigy might be worth considering in the future, but
with the staggeringly high CPU dependency of the current iteration of this
device, perhaps only notebook users with extreme 5.1 audio requirements should
consider buying this $150 PC sound card alternative.
AMD Upstages Intel at IDF
Mario writes, "Intel's
announcements were rapidly relegated to news fodder when AMD high-jacked the
IDF show and
demonstrated two running ClawHammer systems with silicon less than a month old,
one with Windows XP and another with 64-bit Linux. What a way to change the news
When ClawHammer and SledgeHammer debuts, AMD will introduce two new socket
platforms to support these CPUs, Socket 754 and Socket 940. Both chips support
an Intel like heat spreader which will protect the core and enhance thermal
performance. The demo motherboard used is code-named Solo 2 and supports the
AGP3.0 Graphics Tunnel which is part of the AMD-8000 HyperTransport chipset.
in Japan has a nice collection of photos showing the CPU packaging and sockets.
The press release is
here. The press presentation is
Shuttle AS40 GTR Review and Giveaway, Thermalright
AX-7 Heatsink Review, NVidia's GeForce4 Ti4600, Custom Made GPU Waterblock and
Intel Dropping Rambus - Birds of a Feather Parting Ways
As we have been saying for about
a year, Intel has been secretly eager to divorce itself from the Mountain View,
California-based IP company. In fact, we are certain that the rift goes
back much further than this. According to Reuters, MSNBC and other news
sources, nearly two years ago one of my articles caused Rambus's stock price to
plummet over $150 in one day. That piece and my other Rambus exposes were
actually praised in private to me by key Intel personnel, highly ironic at the
time since the Santa Clara chipmaker was publicly pushing RDRAM as the next
generation memory standard for personal computers.
The moral of the story? If
you work with Intel, watch your back, although it is hard to have sympathy for
Rambus, a company whose ethical composition closely mirrors Intel's.
Rambus RDRAM offers high bandwidth, low pin-count
memory technology that is well suited for embedded applications where low
pin-count and granularity are paramount. However, as main memory for
personal computers, RDRAM has several drawbacks that make it less attractive
than other high performance alternatives, namely DDR SDRAM. These
shortcomings include relatively high latencies, challenging thermal
characteristics and innately higher production costs than conventional memory
This Page Cannot Be Displayed
Another parody error message
link sent to us by Brain Cruikshank.
February 26th, 2002
AMD Demos Hammer
Runs 32-bit Windows and 64-bit
Athlon XP 2100+ Close to Launch
"Pre-orders are now being taken for AMD's Athlon XP 2100+. Thermal constraints
will probably make this the last speed grade increase using the 0.18 micron
process. It might also be possible to see Thoroughbred launch at this speed
grade as well using the next generation 0.13 micron process. Cost for this part
is $299. With pricing still in the stratosphere for Intel's 2.2 GHz Northwood,
$467 on Price Watch, AMD's new addition
to its stable of very fast horses looks very good in value."
Radioactive boy scout!?
Spencer Kittelson writes, "As a
Cub Scout den leader with planned future involvement in Boy Scouts, I'd be proud
as can be if one of my scouts pulled this off. Via GMSV comes the story of the
radioactive boy scout."
writes, "Sick of 404 errors? Here's a nice twist"
Office of Strategic Influence To Close
Kathy writes, "A rose by any
other name would smell as sweet...."
Yahoo News Updates: WASHINGTON _
Rumsfeld says Pentagon to close Office of Strategic Influence, criticized as
designed to spread misinformation.
February 24th, 2002
ExtremeTech in Trouble?
Sources have informed VHJ
that Ziff-Davis Media's massively funded, self-proclaimed "Uber hardware site"
might be in serious financial trouble. Allegedly, one client has claimed
that advertisements promoting ExtremeTech have not been paid for in months,
costing them thousands upon thousands of dollars in lost revenue. A
corporate oddball in a crowd of low-budget websites, allegedly ExtremeTech
has had difficulty winning the trust of the highly influential computer hardware
Microsoft Takes Out XPKeyGen Site
MSBetaNG is a site where
we obtained a program that thwarts Microsoft's WPA. According to the
webmaster, MSBetaNG has been taken offline by the Redmond software
February 22nd, 2002
February 16th, 2002
Corsair Micro Cobra 266LE
System Review, Creative 3D Blaster GeForce3 Titanium 200 Review, MSI GeForce3
Ti200 Pro-TD Review, MSI K7T266 Pro2-RU KT266A Motherboard Review and more.
Program Successfully Defeats Microsoft XP Product Activation
A small program called "XP KeY ReCoVeRER AND DiSCOVErER 5.12" appears to be
capable of successfully neutering Microsoft's notorious WPA.
We obtained XPKeyGen from the site MSBetaNG.
Although the program remained available through them for days after our
article, predictably, the site has recently been taken down -- Microsoft has
long arms and many eyes. MSBetaNG provided an alternative outlet
for material posted in certain "alt.binaries.warez..." newsgroups.
February 15th, 2002
Mario writes, "
Silicon.com's On the Spot program interviewed AMD's Patrick Moorehead, VP of
Customer Advocacy. This is the intro to the program: Intel's insistence
on measuring chip performance in megahertz is misleading, according to AMD.
It wants to focus on 'total performance' instead. Is this any more than a
marketing initiative designed to confuse the end user? Or should Intel be
running scared? Tony Hallett investigates... The RealMedia video clip
can be seen
here. FAQs of AMD's True Performance Initiative (TPI) can be read
Kentron Losing QBM
An industry insider has informed
VHJ that a major chipset vendor has backtracked and decided to forgo
Quad Band Memory support in its upcoming products. According to the source,
the company’s decision was not due to technical reasons, but was made in
order to cost reduce its products in an economy that remains tight. The
core logic manufacturer believes that the $10 cost premium for QBM support
added to the total price of the motherboard is a prohibitive disadvantage in
the highly competitive mainstream chipset arena.
If true, this could be a debilitating
setback for Kentron and its promising technology. Although almost all of
the DRAM makers we have spoken with agree that QBM is a workable solution,
there exists a pronounced lack of enthusiasm for the additional cost of Quad
Band Memory, even though it represents a relatively small bump in total
price while greatly boosting performance.
If you are interested in seeing
Kentron’s QBM reach the mainstream desktop, we suggest that you contact your
favorite chipset vendors and let them know. We believe that a market exists
for Quad Band Memory-enabled motherboards, despite the slightly higher cost
these products will demand. QBM is a more elegant solution to doubling
memory bandwidth than adding multiple memory channels at the motherboard
level. With DDR-II not scheduled to appear for several years, there is an
acute need for a cost effective path to higher memory bandwidth platforms in
February 14th, 2002
AMD Announces ‘Extreme Performance’ Golf Team
Mario writes, "Having
accomplished the coup of sponsoring Ferrari, which VHJ reported
last week (6th), AMD moves
from the high octane world of Formula One, to the finely manicured greens of the
golf course. AMD will sponsor pro golfers Chris DiMarco and Brian Gay on the
newly formed AMD “Extreme Performance” golf team. This sponsorship deal will
target another high exposure audience, PGA Golf, and will nicely complement
AMD's efforts to further promote its name and its products."
U.S. Government to Allow Indian’s Lease Money to Trickle
Ten weeks after a court ordered shutdown
of the Interior Department’s computers, lease payments to American Indians are
finally beginning to trickle out again. This money comes from lands that the
government used to try to divide tribes by allotting plots to individuals. The
government then “managed” the land by leasing it out for purposes such as oil
and gas drilling or timber harvesting. Over the course of time, Indian tribes
claim up to $100 billion (U.S.) have been lost due to mismanagement and graft.
A Short History of Valentine's Day
Kathy writes, "Need a brief history on
today's holiday? Be the toast of your dinner celebration with your enlightening
conversation. This website is a great place to go to kids' crafts, activities
and pre-K educational materials."
AMD Desktop Roadmap, Ahanix C47 Mini Server Case Review, MSI K7N420 Pro nForce Motherboard Review, Review of Abit BD7-RAID Mainboard, Quantispeed Calculator and more.
February 13th, 2002
EU on collision course with US over Web Tax
Mario writes, "The
European Union's Council of Economics and Finance Ministers has approved, which
the EU Parliament still has to ratify, a web tax which would apply to digital
products that are sold in Europe via the Internet, despite disapproval from the
Bush administration. Because VAT across Europe varies from as low as 15% in
Luxembourg, to as high as 25% in Denmark, non-EU companies will be at a
disadvantage because EU companies can register with VAT authorities in any one
of the 15 EU states, and charge the tax of that country, regardless of whether
that customer lives in that country. For non-EU companies, they will have to pay
the tax at the prevailing rate of the customer's country of purchase."
AMD's Hammer Ahead of Schedule
Mario writes, "On
VHJ reported that AMD would sample its infrastructure partners with
Hammer in the second quarter. Yesterday, Xbit Labs reported that AMD's
closest partners already have samples of
ClawHammer, and in March, AMD would showcase this product at the CeBIT show
in Hanover. If this is true, this would give AMD the flexibility to launch
Hammer earlier than the end of the fourth quarter if market conditions are
Intel 2.2GHz Pentium 4 Northwood Review,
Leadtek A170 DDR-T, XP Unlocking Kit Review/How-to Guide, Soyo K7V Dragon Plus Review, Thermalright AX-7 Heatsink Review, some
water cooling ideas, and much more.
February 12th, 2002
Microsoft's Lobbying Budget 'outstripped Enron's'
Mario writes, "In
a twist of political intrigue, Microsoft's lobbying budget exceeded that of
Enron to become the largest in US corporate history by the time the anti-trust
case was underway. When one sees the political favors that
Enron was able to cultivate,
due in large part to its donations, it's clear to see the parallels that will
probably apply to Microsoft. Bigger donations, bigger political favors. Let's
hope that Senator McCain's
campaign finance reform bill becomes law as it would put a stop to the "soft
money" that Microsoft, Enron, and others have used to lobby and garner
Hypertext Links - Will We Pay To Use It?
Mario writes, "British
telecommunications company BT Group PLC (British Telecom), has brought a case to
the US federal court to hear preliminary arguments to determine if the most
elemental of Internet activities, using hypertext links, is the business
property of one company and is protected by patent. BT holds a patent covering
hypertext links, so it now wants to cash in. This case will probably be one of
the most closely watched patent disputes in history.
"It's probably among the top ten most controversial patents in the world," said
Charles Cella, a former patent attorney and co-founder of BountyQuest, a U.S.
startup that monitors patent cases. "It's a rock star in the patent world," he
added. "That's a scary thought."
More Security Flaws in Microsoft's Software
Mario writes, "Following
Trustworthy Computing memo,
have been found in the Swiss cheese of software. Security holes have been found
in Exchange 2000 and Windows 2000. This follows hot on the heals of a
in MSN Messenger; and yesterday,
released a collection of software fixes to plug six security problems in
Internet Explorer. Microsoft is currently on a one month
try to fix its leaky software. They will also use this time to train their
developers to better incorporate security in its software. It looks like they've
still got some work to do."
February 11th, 2002
KSM-GOLD Case Review, Flexible transistors, A device which can be implanted
such that it shocks the person/animal when they go near certain objects, Nexland ISB
Pro800turbo Review, Tyan Tiger MPX Motherboard Review and more.
February 10th, 2002
Blizzard Z4 Internal Water Cooling Kit (Review), MSI
G3Ti500 Pro VTG CARD, Gainward GeForce3 Ti/550 Golden Sample Review and more.
MMR triple vaccine concerns in the UK - Measles Mumps
and Rubella vaccinationn
Mario writes: "There
is great concern in the UK about the possible side effects of the MMR
vaccination, these include autism and bowel disease. The Panorama Program
will go off air today, Sunday, at 2:15 PM pacific time. The Panorama
Q&A Program should be available indefinitely."
Kathy writes, "In the U.S., Van and I have
neighbors whose son reacted to the MMR vaccine several years ago. During the
past 1.5 years I have watched as they struggle to find answers to what exactly
are the results of the reaction and how their son can be treated to minimize the
effects of the reaction."
February 9th, 2002
Semiconductor Newsround Update
Mario writes, "After
AMD's acquisition of Alchemy Semiconductor,
EBN reports on
how this will impact the PDA market. The
Electronic Times has a story on the release of Intel's XScale
processor which will compete against the dominant ARM based designs. The
addressed the single biggest issue at the International Solid-State Circuit
Conference - will integrated-circuit technology continue to scale?
reports on AMD's joint venture with Infinion to develop future advances in
semiconductor technology. The
has written a piece on the possibility of Sun becoming a major tier one supplier
of x86 systems using AMD processors.
CNet has a story
on Intel's hyper-threading technology which will debut soon.
Akiba has more details of AMD's Cool'n'Quiet technology that is being
pushed in Japan and which VHJ reported on
last month (18th). The
also reports on the impact that the collapse of Enron continues to have on
increased DRAM pricing without the corresponding demand.
HardwareCentral has details of Sigma Designs X-Card which is an MPEG-4
add in card for the PC, the press release can be read
European Union To Continue Intel Probe
Confirming our exclusive report two days
ago, the European Union has now substantiated that its investigation of chip
giant Intel will, in fact, continue. This follows
false reports circulated last week by major new organizations claiming Intel
had been found not guilty of breaking EU competition laws.
Taiwanese chipset maker VIA Technologies
has dropped its side of the Intel complaint, allegedly to accelerate individual
civil cases filed in national courts. However, American MPU maker Advanced
Micro Devices has expressed commitment to press its EU petition to resolution.
So far, no retractions have been published
by either MSNBC or Reuters regarding last week's fallacious accounts.
February 8th, 2002
Maker Of Kyro Calls it Quits
STMicroelectronics announced today that it
will drop out of the graphics accelerator market in a retreat to its core
business areas. Popular among many budget conscious computer enthusiasts,
STMicro’s Kyro and Kyro II graphics chips introduced effective and innovative
“tile-based” rendering. Due to its bandwidth efficient design, Kyro technology
might prove to be a very attractive plum to savvy chipset vendors interested in
extracting maximum performance from integrated graphics cores.
New Leadtek 7350KDA Bios, Taisol 50 cfm Heat Sink Review, Budget Video Shootout
- ATi versus Nvidia Review, Gigabyte GA-7VTXE Review, Fong Kai Midi-Server
FK-320 Black Tested
Big Brother's Eyes Are Opening
Five years from now, the United Kingdom
is expected to have 25 million public surveillance cameras deployed, a tenfold
increase over the already staggering 2.5 million unblinking electronic eyes
the country has today. Reportedly, the average Brit is now caught on
camera 300 times every 24-hours. Combined with networked facial recognition
systems, it may become possible to track anyone's movements about the Isles.
Ashcroft is likely beaming at the
possibilities. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Chief Joseph, Chief
Sitting Bull and their ilk, who were willing to fight and die for freedom, would be outraged.
How much invasiveness are we willing to
tolerate for single digit reductions in pick-pocketing? How much pride
are we willing to swallow? Have the terrorists won? Are we willing
to give up our liberties and dump our sacred way of life into the garbage bin
in exchange for pervasive paranoia under increasingly fascist, omnipotent
governments who promise us safety from bogeymen? I am not!
Right now our biggest enemies are not
terrorists, but our own fears.
February 7th, 2002
European Commission’s Investigation of Intel to
reported rumors claiming that the European Commission will soon be
wrapping up its investigation against chip giant Intel, sources close to the
case have told VHJ, “We have no information to substantiate press
reports that the Commission has concluded its investigation of Intel. Our
only information is that the investigation is continuing.” The European
Commission has been reviewing complaints against the Santa Clara,
California-based chipmaker alleging that Intel has abused its dominant
position in the CPU and chipset markets to unfairly exclude competition.
Updated: The People Have Spoken!
Mario follows up with the judgment on
Microsoft's proposed settlement.
Cnet reports that
Microsoft Corp. and the U.S. Justice Department are considering changing the
Sun to Join the MS Litigation Train
Mario writes: It is
no surprise that Sun will file suit against Microsoft. This repeats what
AOL Time Warner did
last month. These suits could have been avoided if the DOJ had not negotiated
weak and inept anti-trust settlement with Microsoft. We can only hope that
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly can see that this settlement falls far short of
the requirements of The Tunney Act. If not, then litigation against Microsoft
will continue into the foreseeable future.
In other litigation news,
the inquirer reports
that Intel was found not guilty of breaking EU competition rules. This case
was not helped when Intel successfully prevented AMD from showing the European
Commission court details of the
Intergraph v Intel case.
What did Intel have to hide? Without full disclosure of information, judgments
of this type will always be in doubt, and in the worse case scenario, Enron is
the result of such abuse.
RAID 0 Shootout with ATA-100 and ATA-133, Akasa Silver Mountain2 HSF Review and
"Beaming" Objects Edging Closer?
Some claim that recent advances in
quantum entanglement may lead to the teleportation of large objects.
February 6th, 2002
GeForce4 Hits the Streets
Mario writes, "Nvidia
officially launched its next generation graphics processor chip, the GeForce4.
This chip comes in a variety of flavors to cover a broad market segment.
Nvidia has developed this design for use in laptops, desktops, and even the
Mac. The improvements can best be described as an optimization of current
technologies which will translate into a nice bump in graphics performance.
The press release is
AMD Sponsors Ferrari!
In an effort to further publicize the
AMD name and its products, the chip manufacturer has signed a sponsorship deal
with the best known name in motor sport, Ferrari. With the exposure that
Formula 1 and Ferrari receive throughout the world, this can only be seen as a
major coup for AMD in its efforts to establish their name as a world class
It's ironic that AMD has been using the names of horse breeds to identify
future products, because the image that Ferrari uses to symbolize its cars is
a prancing horse. Maybe future AMD products will now receive a Ferrari
inspired name. We'll see. The press release can be read
Mario writes, "After
closing its doors for the last time on Sunday, which was caused by excessive
levels of bandwidth that could not be maintained, AMDWORLD is again open for
business. No explanation has been given for this apparent turnaround. Welcome
back anyway. With
to now remain open, the fighting spirit to survive is certainly in evidence.
reports on last weeks event.
Newsforge reported on the movers and shakers.
share their LinuxWorld pictures.
IDG announced the winners of the Open Source Achievement Awards.
reports that Linux is in the running to power the world's biggest
In hardware news, LinuxHardware reviews Pogo Linux's latest
Altura which comes saddled with AMD's Athlon XP 1800+. Also, using the
cream of last year's components, they put together their
2001 System of the Year. Of course, it's based on AMD's Athlon XP.
Celeron Goes AWOL
Mario writes, "the
inquirer reports that Intel is having supply issues with their high end
Celerons. Last week, VHJ reported on the shortage of Northwood P4s.
Both these products are manufactured on the 0.13 micron process, so these
issues may be connected. More good news for AMD sales."
Intel Loses Important Intel-only Account
Mario writes, "Tiny
Computer, the UK's largest PC manufacturer and an Intel-only account, has
collapsed. Time Computer, AMD's biggest UK customer, snapped up Tiny for a
song. This is a significant boost for AMD as it consolidates their position in
a very competitive market. The Time/Tiny combo will now be the second largest
PC retailer in the UK. This big change in the retail landscape will not only
stimulate healthy competition, it will also give more choice and better value
to the UK consumer. More details can be read
Via Eden Review, Gigabyte 8IRXP P4 Titan Review, an
innovative new autogyro, all in-one gas and break pedal,
Logitech Cordless Optical Mouse Review and VIA Eden
(mini-ITX) Motherboard Review
ECS Purchases Shuttle, Biostar?
We have been told that upstart Taiwanese
motherboard vendor ECS has purchased rivals Shuttle and Biostar, but we have
not yet been able to confirmed these transactions. If you have inside
knowledge into these companies, please let us
February 5th, 2002
Intel's Itanium Sinking
According to reliable sources, several servers
based on Intel's catastrophic 64-bit failure, the Itanium, are being pushed
rapidly towards EOL (End of Life) to make room for McKinley, a better
performing next generation part that the chipmaker hopes will find much more
market success. It is rumored that only a few more than 500
Itanium-based systems were sold last year. It is critical for the Santa
Clara, California-based CPU vendor to find more traction with McKinley in the
brief window before rival AMD introduces its first 64-bit solution, codenamed
Clawhammer. Intel has invested approximately a decade's worth of work in
its 64-bit EPIC architecture, upon which both Itanium and McKinley are based.
February 1st, 2002
Asus A7M266-D (AMD 760MPX) Dual Mainboard Review, Shuttle AS40GTR Board Review,
Western Digital WD100JB and heatsink and fan reviews.
Review: Radeon Mac Edition
Joel reviews. "If you’re reading this review
and you’re a faithful Mac user, take a deep breath! That two or three year old
computer has hope of staying “cutting edge” with the help of a video card
AMD Strikes Deal with UMC
Following AMD's November's statement that a
partner would be announced to build and operate a 300 mm wafer fab, that day
arrived yesterday. United Microelectronics Corporation is that company and
Singapore will be the home of the new fab. The joint venture, called AU Pte
Ltd., will start production in 2005 at the 0.065-micron processing node.
Before this time frame, UMC will also become a foundry to make AMD
processors to augment output from the chip firm's own fab in Dresden,
Germany. The press release can be read
The conference call can be listened to from
Jerry Sanders, commenting on
Intel's plan B, which
would come into effect if Itanium should fail in the market, said, "I think
it just validates our position, that our solution (Hammer) is better for the
customer and Itanium is Itanic." the inquirer has been using Itanic for many
months to describe Intel's Itanium, it might just prove prophetic. the
inquirer has now cheekily
invoiced Jerry Sanders £55,000 for marketing services rendered!
Donation Page is up.