April 30th, 2002


Notes from AMD-Merrill Lynch Meeting

VHJ Forums: Dave has published a set of quick notes from the AMD-Merrill Lynch meeting this morning.  Points of interest:


VHJ Quicks

Mario writes, "Chinese Linux to topple MS Windows. Via's profits fell because the chipmaker lost market share. Intel to attack its own chipset customers. Q&A: Sun VP says Solaris-on-Intel question unresolved. UMC posts first profit in a year. IBM to detail PowerPC networking chip. Duron's departure is a mixed blessing. Duron lives fast, dies young. Intel cuts mobile Celeron prices. Despite tough year, Intel performed in 2001. Intel executives offer upbeat picture. Lindows and high-tech trademark troubles. Two major labels have unveiled online systems for licensing the music in their catalogues. Hynix rejects £2bn Micron deal. PlayStation2 price cut expected. Microsoft, Nvidia squabble over prices. Gigabyte's GA-8IRXP: The little board that couldn't. Asustek and MSI report record-low gross margins in Q1. TheOpenCD project hopes to convert Windows users by giving them a taste of Free Software. Mulberry: A powerful, multi-platform email client. Installing Linux on a Wal-Mart OS-less PC. An interview with Bruce Perens, HP's strategic advisor on open source initiatives. Microsoft Exec: OEMs must not install Linux besides Windows.


Care to Think Big?

Spencer writes, "In the field of epistemology, there are few questions as difficult as 'Where did we (and everything) come from?'  As a fundamental issue, you have to tackle the existence of the cosmos which requires thinking big and I mean REALLY BIG!  How about as big as the source of the so called Big Bang? In this article, theoretical physicists at Princeton and Cambridge  have come up with the idea of a cyclical meta-universe in new speculative model of everything that some are calling 'the first new big idea in cosmology in over two decades'. The Princeton website has all kinds of wonderful links."


Nils Responds to Penstarsys' 64 Bit Top to Bottom Article

"... the guy evidently overlooked the licensing of Athlon to UMC - so that AMD could use its Dresden fab for Hammer and rapidly ramp up production using soi."


Future Processing Techniques

Nils talks about IBM's new Power 5 processor and AMD's use of Hypertransport technology.


AMD Licenses 64-bit MIPS Architecture

Mario writes, "MIPS Technologies, Inc. has licensed the MIPS64™ Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) to AMD for the development of personal connectivity solutions. AMD will use this technology to develop 64-bit designs that will co-exist with its current MIPS32™ based products. "Both 32-bit and 64-bit MIPS architectures deliver the performance, power efficiency, and broad application-based industry support. In addition, they are designed to deliver a level of design flexibility and scalability unavailable from any other processor Intellectual Property (IP) provider," said Dr. Billy Edwards, vice president and general manager of AMD's Personal Connectivity Solutions group. Processor core details can be read here.


AMD's Ruiz Takes the Reins

Mario writes, "VHJ reported on AMD's election of Hector De J. Ruiz to CEO last week, but that was merely a sentence, even AMD's press release only managed to spare two paragraphs for the great man. We'll try to redress that here. e-inSite has published a fairly detailed profile that covers his birth through to his election as CEO. This ZDNet story goes back to June 2000, where Ruiz discusses the technological and competitive issues of that time. This last piece is an ebn interview from April 2000, which was a forward looking discussion of our day. It's interesting to note that SledgeHammer was slated to debut this year! Let's hope that Ruiz is far more vocal than the last two years have proven to be.


Web Watch

Nexland ISB Soho Home Router, Thrustmaster FireStorm Dual Power Game Pad, Legend QDI PlatiniX 2S-AR Review, X-Wing 101 Mid-Tower Case Review and more.


April 29th, 2002


New Arm Design to Extend Beyond 1GHz

Mario writes, "ZDNet reports that Arm Holdings has announced their new ARM11 architecture. This will give a speed boost to handhelds, smartphones and other multimedia devices. 'The ARM11 microarchitecture is the foundation of our next generation of CPU cores, and delivers new levels of performance and efficiency for leading-edge wireless and consumer devices,' said John Rayfield, ARM's director of R&D, in a statement. Arm will release this design to ARM11 licensees in Q4. ARM's press release is here."


Apple Unveils the eMac

Mario writes, "ZDNet reports that Apple has launched a new product, the eMac. "e" stands for the education market, and hence will not be available to the general public. The all-in-one all-white desktop will only be sold to teachers, schools and college students. It features a 700MHz G4 processor, 40GB hard drive, CDROM drive, a 17-inch flat CRT, and 128MB of memory, all for $999. For an extra $200, you can burn CDs and watch DVDs. I like this machine a lot. Is there a teacher who would purchase this on my behalf? Apple details are here."


Web Watch

Epox M762A Tested, ECS A900 Desknote Review, Chenming 601AE Black Server Case (Review), Review of GlacialTech Igloo 2400 Heatsink, Tiger Miprocool II Review, Asus V8460 Ultra TD (GeForce4 Ti 4600) Review and more.


Thoroughbred Not Just a Die Shrink?

Mario writes, "the inquirer has linked a very interesting Silicon Investor story, which suggests another change in AMD's roadmap may be on the way. The last paragraph states: 'On the topic of Tbred, he heavily hinted that Tbred has some enhancements, which he did not want to get into, which will enable it to work faster than Palomino. So it is not just a shrink. He said that the desktop version has been qualified, and it is now up to marketing people when the public release will happen.' Is this another stealth change by AMD? If it is, is it a 166/333 MHz/DDR FSB device? Let's hope so."


ECS Still Top Dog

Mario writes, "DigiTimes reports the motherboard makers Q1 results, some of which are estimates. ECS has the largest pre-tax sales, which should enable it to claim to be the most profitable Taiwanese motherboard company. ECS is definitely making inroads with its low-price strategy. This can only mean good news for AMD, because ECS manufactures more Athlon boards than P4."


AMD & Ferrari Win in Spain

Mario covers Sunday's win.


AMD All 64-bit???

Spencer writes, "This article at El Reg references this intriguing piece of work by Josh Walrath at Penstarsys.  Could AMD really be planning a massive 64-bit top-to-bottom coup?  The Register piece has several others AMD related links."


Intel Will Continue to Lose Market Share

Link courtesy Tim S.


April 28th, 2002


Tell a Friend

Mario writes, "With the current onslaught of Intel's advertising campaign, AMD's marketing efforts are effectively zero. Every AMD news story and review that I see or read seems to be accompanied by the requisite, for Intel anyway, Intel ad.

Now, you can make a difference and possibly win a prize. AMD and Nvidia have teamed up and want you to discover "The Ultimate Digital Experience." They also want you to share this message with your friends by email. Answer five questions correctly and you could possibly win an MSI nForce/Athlon XP 2100+ bundle. There is also a chance to win the grand prize: An all expense paid trip for two to the 2002 PC Expo in New York City... a $5000 value! A personal email from a friend will have a far bigger impact than a cold call advert from a monopolist. Help AMD to compete in this market by sending an email to all your friends.

AMD fans will love the intro to the website. I was impressed. The site also has tech specs, benchmarks, and most important of all, where and what to buy. So, do your less informed friends a favor, if you don't, they may inadvertently by an Intel PC and pay far more money for less performance than they had to."


AMD/Ferrari Dream Team

Mario writes, "Michael Schumacher pips Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello to pole position for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix. AMD/Ferrari leaves Intel/Williams eating dust."


April 27th, 2002


IMPORTANT: VHJ Domain Spoofed

Quite a few people (including ourselves) have gotten emails apparently from Mario, Phil, or me that are infected with "Klez" variants.  We have checked our computers and we are uninfected. 


The pathology of these new email worms is to traverse through the infected victim's address book choosing random recipients while also randomly spoofing the sender from the same address list.  Because the sender is spoofed, tracing back to the infected computer is more difficult, so a machine afflicted with one of these worms might go unnoticed for long periods of time.


Recipients who simply preview these messages can trigger the payload in some email clients (namely Outlook and Outlook Express).  These worms may also include a virus that will destroy all files on the 13th of March and September.


Spoofed infected letters outwardly from VHJ have been sent from Asia, Europe and, most recently, many messages have come from columbus.rr.com.


More Klez.H information can be found on the Grisoft web page.  Norton also has published information on the worms and has provided a free cleansing tool


Grisoft distributes a very effective, free antivirus program called AVG Antivirus.  This program has an attractive, intuitive interface.  Importantly, Grisoft updates its virus definitions frequently and free of charge.


Mozilla Takes Center Stage

Mario writes, "Mozilla is an open source web browser, designed for standards-compliance, performance and portability, and is the only browser that can work on Windows, Linux, and the Mac. Mozilla was the original code name for the product that came to be known as Netscape Navigator, and later, Netscape Communicator. Mozilla is now the generic term referring to Internet client software developed through the open source project. Mozilla 1.0 Release Candidate 1 has been released, which is a trial run for their upcoming Mozilla 1.0 release. Newsforge has reviewed Mozilla with praise, as have ZDNet, Time.com, and LinuxPlanet. CompuServe users can now move away from Microsoft to Netscape with CompuServe 7, which is using the open source Netscape Gecko engine. I'm already using CS7 and have to say I'm impressed. There is a bug in the email client as I'm unable to check my AOL mail, but overall the feel and use of CS7 is very similar to AOL6."


VHJ Quicks

Mario writes, "Hector De J. Ruiz is elected CEO of AMD. Intel confirms 6MB of Madison cache. Judge promises swift decision on HP's merger efforts. SIS turns in quarterly profit. Hynix employees to strike against Micron deal. Ireland gets 12-inch boost from Intel fab re-start. Hammer time at Microsoft. MS exec argues for right to break rivals' software. VIA claims KT333 chipset as first choice platform for AMD Athlon™ XP Processor. Microsoft's SGI 3D patents trickling back to Redmond. IBM hope to cash in with new blade server. Scientists breakthrough on Moore's Law. Nvidia Q&A: Sketching the future of graphics. SuSE 8.0 arrives without StarOffice. Details of Big Blue's future Power5 and Power6 server chips. Intel's CEO chats about new chips. Xbox guru Blackley: Why I left Microsoft. Dumping Windows might be a good idea. Linux mainframe grandfather: Several companies are proving Linux's worth. Antitrust case: Gates to the rescue? The stallion and the penguin: DreamWorks uses Linux to create new animated film. Why you want Linux - Or not. IBM shatters benchmark performance record with WebSphere running on Linux. GNU/Linux is helping to take the benefits of computing to schools in Thailand. Real Networks: licenses could kill MPEG-4. SOT launches Office Suite for Linux and Windows. Fears about Microsoft return, in Mexico. Con Zymaris: The Penguin and the Hare. How do you run an IT department on a tight budget? Two words: Linux and eBay. Got old electronic equipment? Don't add it to the local landfill--recycle, reuse."


90nm Clawhammer to Have 63mm^2 Die Size

...and ThoroughbredS to be 50 square millimeters.  More info from Dave's posted slideshow of AMD's shareholder meeting on our forums.


Alpha Documents

Dave has published a collection of Alpha technology papers on our forums.


April 26th, 2002


Web Watch

ABIT AT7 Tweak Guide, ABIT AT7 Overclocking Review, PC3000 Memory Comparison, SOYO KT333 DRAGON Ultra Review and more.


Sanders: Hammer Opteron is a Grand Slam

Mario writes on Jerry Sanders' comments about the Opteron at AMD's annual shareholders' meeting.


AMD Shareholders Meeting Slides Posted

Dave has posted a slideshow on our message boards.


April 25th, 2002


Eating Food Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

Nils sends us this link.


Understanding AMD

Nils Dahl writes on how AMD's business practices make the chipmaker a positive role model for Intel.


Web Watch

Thermaltake Volcano 7+, Review of Custom Light Strips for PCs, Review of Soyo KT333 Dragon Ultra Motherboard, Nexland WaveBase Review amd much more.


April 24th, 2002


Updated: AMD Announces Opteron

In a teleconference today, AMD christened the Sledgehammer “Opteron.”  We also discuss the background of this new enterprise-class CPU and have pictures from WinHec of the Opteron in action.


AMD and Microsoft Collaborate on 64-Bit Computing

Mario writes, "Extracts from press release: Sunnyvale, CA -- April 24, 2002 --AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced it is collaborating with Microsoft to incorporate 64-bit support for the future 8th-generation AMD Athlon™ and AMD Opteron™ processors into the Windows® operating system.

AMD and Microsoft sign agreement to help grow 64-bit computing market- -AMD to demonstrate dual AMD Opteron™ processor-based system running 64-bit Microsoft Windows®- Full release here.

AMD links: Opteron announcement. Latest AMD roadmap. 8th Generation News has links for press presentation pdf, FAQs, Microsoft FAQs, and 8th-generation processor photos.


All of Greece’s Schools Shutdown by Fatal Mystery Virus

All of the schools and universities in the country of Greece have been ordered to close after evidence indicates that a fatal mystery virus seems to be spreading.  The flu-like illness attacks the heart and can cause serious tissue damage.  Three of the 32 reported cases have been fatal.


VHJ Quicks

Mario writes, "Apple's iPod music player takes on new guises. China's home web use soars. Xbox creator resigns. Counting the clicks and misses. INQUIRER gets into T-shirt business. Man arrested trying to buy Geforce 4. Yahoo settles yodel case. New Pentium 4-M and Xeon processors from Intel. HP & Compaq so far. Intel moves Xeon line to 300-mm wafers. Intel's Itanium makes a sale. Review: TiVo Series|2 Personal Video Recorder. Linux makes inroads in Peru and Spain. Interview: Bart Decrem - Leveraging desktop Linux. Gates pitches Armageddon scenario to court. Lindows.com Michael's Minutes: A Million Windows? New medical study: Microsoft products better for your health. Samba runs rings around Win2000. Review of Hancom Office 2.01 Standard for Linux and Hancom's push to crack Middle Eastern market. Microsoft to schools: Pay up or face audit. Gates: GPL will eat your economy, but BSD's cool."


Microsoft To Support AMD's 64 bit Hammer CPU

Chris Tom of amdzone.com sends us this news, "Infoworld has confirmed that Microsoft will unveil support for AMD’s 64 bit Hammer CPU today at AMD’s annual analyst meeting.  Jerry Sanders will also step down as CEO today."


Web Watch

75GXP HDD Autopsy, Matrix Orbital NK204-V budget LCD, Epox 8K3A+ Motherboard / KT333 Review, Shuttle AK35GTR Review, ASUS A7V333 and much more."


Register Reader "VanSmithed"

Mario writes, "The Register today had one story of interest that lacked one important ingredient - accuracy. They give credit for the coining of the Itanic name, Intel's aptly named Itanium, to the inquirer's Mike Magee. But this rightly belongs, as Mike knows, to a well deserving Register reader. The truth of this story can still be found in the vaults of the Register, courtesy of Mike Magee. Having exchanged emails with the author, this story is still conveying this untruth as of 6 p.m. PT. Maybe this more public reminder will spring the Register team into action. We wouldn't want to see a repeat of the head in the sand shenanigans that THG, the Register's co-partner, so infamously displayed. Surely, the Register doesn't want to "VanSmith" the Register reader who so kindly donated this name. If you have concerns about the integrity of this story, send your email here."


April 23rd, 2002


Microsoft is Committed to AMD’s x86-64

Sources attending Seattle’s WinHEC 2002 maintained that Microsoft has successfully pressured Goliath chipmaker Intel Corporation into adopting archrival AMD’s new 64-bit chip language.  According to our confidential sources, the Redmond, Washington-based software vendor expressed a clear preference for Advanced Micro Devices’ x86-64 instruction set over Intel’s competing IA-64.  Furthermore, the OS developer advised Intel to comply with x86-64 if the Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker desired ongoing 64-bit support.


Used in AMD’s upcoming “Hammer” line of 64-bit processors, x86-64 is a straightforward yet much more powerful evolution of the existing 32-bit x86 instruction set.  Seen as the blood enemy of Intel’s IA64, a CPU lingo introduced with the flagging “Merced” Itanium, Intel’s adoption of AMD’s x86-64 serves as a resounding victory for the much smaller MPU designer. 


Despite being severely handicapped in terms of relative size, AMD is widely viewed as the superior innovator.  In fact, AMD has been awarded more U.S. patents than Intel for each of the last three years.  With a total of 1,090 patents in 2001, AMD ranked 14th in the world and 5th in America in number of awarded U.S. patents.  Intel trailed with only 811 U.S. patents during the same year.


Our sources also allege that top Microsoft decision makers view x86-64 as the clearly superior solution over IA64, an underperforming VLIW architecture widely judged as Byzantine.  Intel is expected to make a formal announcement of its x86-64 support, code-named “Yamhill,” in June or July during a face-saving presentation delivered with Microsoft.


Web Watch

ZZZ Issue 125, Sony 24x10x40x CDRW Drive, Review of Corsair PC2700 ( PC3000 ) DDR SDRAM, SOYO KT333 Dragon Ultra Review and more.


April 22nd, 2002


VHJ Quicks

Mario writes, "AMD-Microsoft Hammer memo: leaked? Opinion: AMD in need of an OEM. Nintendo slashes GameCube prices in Europe. It's baaaack--Klez worm variant infests UK and may turn you red. World's fastest computer lives in Japan. Our next witness--Bill Gates. More foreign banks switching to Linux. Compaq celebrates iPaq's success. Yodeler: Pay me for Yahooooo. Open source: Could it serve you better? The truth behind ATI and Intel's cross licenses. Microsoft proposed Intel anti-Java deal to cut out AMD. Profile of AMD's incoming CEO: Hector de Jesus Ruiz. IBM/Hitachi merge drive business. UMC to develop a chipset for AMD CPUs. VIAHardware.com's WinHEC coverage. Red MSI 760MPX duallie with the fixed USB is a delight to see."


Great Self Education Article

Spencer writes, "the inquirer linked to [H]ardOCP which referenced this great little article about essentially illiterate kids in India learning how to use a computer by themselves!  The great part is later, when a reporter asked them how they knew so much about computers they responded "What's a computer?"! The article goes on to cite an example of 9th graders teaching themselves about viscosity, simply by challenging them and giving them access to the net.  A great quote from the article is "The teacher's job is very simple. It's to help the children ask the right questions."  (Isn't that the truth about much in life?)"


Asustek to Introduce Low-price Motherboards

Mario writes, "Asustek, which lost the number one Taiwanese motherboard spot to ECS, will follow ECS and enter the low-price motherboard market. This may be good news for AMD, because ECS's low-price model is currently shipping more Athlon product (up to 20%) than P4 because of Athlon's lower cost. Asustek's strategic change is a clear response to ECS's success. As the performance of the same chipset motherboards becomes less distinguishable between the different manufacturers, cost will play a bigger role in determining who wins the biggest slice of the pie.


VIA C3 Review

Jesse writes, "I came across this accidentally. A bit old, but if you've never seen it, it's not a bad review."


Why Consider Open Source?

Spencer Kittelson writes, "Here's a rather excellent (if longish) treatise that purports to provide quantitative data which indicates that open source software is generally superior to proprietary products.  On issues such as reliability, security, TCO, scaleability this has been obvious for quite some time but this is one of the better consolidated sources of data on the subject.  If nothing else, skim the article and save the URL for reference in case you want to take on a 'Windows only' zealot."


PhysicsWeb - Super-sensor Seeks Out Water

Phil sends us this. Pretty neat stuff. Another great byproduct of silicon technology.


Former Top Executive Files Against AMD

Mario writes more on this story from Mercury News.


Web Watch

Epox 8K3A+ Review, Asus GeForce3 V8200 Ti500 Deluxe Video Card (Review), DFI AD73 KT266A Motherboard Review, Soyo MB first look, Ahanix Rare XG Midtower Case Review, MSI KT3 ULTRA-ARU review and more.


April 20th, 2002


nVidia Clawhammer Chipset Undergoing Compaq Qualification

...and other rumors.


In addition to NVIDIA's nForce recently picking up Compaq as an OEM win, our sources say that Compaq is also qualifying an NVIDIA Clawhammer chipset.  Technical details of this chipset are not clear, but Compaq systems utilizing NVIDIA core logic are expected to appear in January, 2003.


Meanwhile, more AMD scuttlebutt has it that the chipmaker is to begin wide shipments of Clawhammer samples to component vendors in June, when the first third party core logic is also expected to be ready.  According to our sources, while the broadly rumored October Clawhammer release appears to be technically achievable, the actual date has not yet been committed to by marketing.


And yes, Intel's Banias reportedly has SSE2 support.


Web Watch

EtherWAN Xpresso 1624E Switch Review, Triplex Millennium Silver GF4 Ti4600 Review, AOpen GeForce 3 Ti 200 DV Review and more.


April 19th, 2002


VHJ Quicks

Mario writes, "Dell confirms its proprietary nature. Will Nvidia buy the loss making Transmeta? SiS obtains 533MHz FSB technology license from Intel. Are Nvidia and AMD cooking up something special for ClawHammer? Demand for motherboards increases in Europe. Trident to target the notebook market first with its new XP4 graphics chip. Will Intel's Banias become the dominant notebook processor? Huge Xbox price cuts in Europe and Australia as Microsoft lowers sales forecast. Intel's Prescott could have 1MB L2 cache and Yamhill extensions. Gates: PC will rule home network. Latest on Microsoft settlement. How a Windows guy learned to love a Mac. Why open source software? Microsoft patents shut out open source. Michael's Minutes: What is Click-N-Run? Interview: Developing Open Source games. Netscape, not IE, put on new CompuServe. Microsoft learns a lesson from competition? New 'ultra-personal computer' will run Linux (and much more). Apache 2.0 beats IIS at its own game. No justice from Microsoft for the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice. WinHEC roundup. Ace's Hardware has an excellent article on CPUs for workstations and small business servers."


Web Watch

MSI G4MX440-T Review, Alpha Pal 6035 Super Silent, VisionTek Xtasy Everything Review and more.


VHJ Forum Logo Contest

Create a winning logo for our forums and win an Athlon CPU. Logos must use an American Indian motif, but do not have to incorporate details from our main site's logo (which might change if your entry is good enough). Dave has posted contest details at the above link and you can see current submissions here.


April 18th, 2002


Duron to be Replaced by Athlon

Mario reports on AMD news.


Intel Demos Banias

Van reports from WinHEC 2002. Exclusive details and pictures from Intel's Banias demo at WinHEC.


Web Watch

Chaintech A-GT61 GF4 Ti4600 Review, iCute Aluminum Power Supplies Review, OCZ PC3200 DDR RAM, 7v Voltage Mod Guide, SiS 33x Xabre Graphics Chipset First View, Microlithography and more.


April 17th, 2002


Letter to Arctic Silver: Benefits Of CPU Compound Combined with Carbon Nanotubes

Phil writes, "Spencer’s link on the thermal properties of carbon nanotubes got me thinking how it might be used in thermal paste for CPUs.  Here is my email to Nevin House with Arctic Silver along with his response."


Intel's Willamette-128 will be a Massive 210mm^2

Mario writes, "the inquirer has reported the die size of Intel's Willamette-128, Celeron's replacement. This makes it over two and a half times larger than the 130nm core that it replaces, which will have cost and production implications for Intel. That's not all though, with the 66mm^2 (extrapolated) die size of Appaloosa Duron, AMD is able to garner 294 more dies per wafer, assuming perfect yields. This will enable AMD to ship high volumes of Duron at very competitive price points."


ECS: More Revenue from Notebooks than Motherboards

Mario writes, "ECS, the number one Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer that ships more Athlon product than P4, generated more revenues from notebook products than from motherboards in Q1. This reflects the success of its Desknote line of notebooks that have been well received in China. This also signals a change in consumer buying habits as well. Both Intel and AMD are seeing increased sales of their notebook products. Additionally, with more manufacturers now making notebooks with Intel desktop CPUs, it's clear to see where PC sales are headed."


AMD Launches First Thoroughbred

Van reports from WinHec. With the new 0.13-micron-based CPU introduction, the chipmaker revamps its mobile lineup. Barton is also discussed.


More Head's Up

Spencer on other for aurora events.


Head's Up!

Spencer writes about a planetary alignment which will occur this evening and not again for decades.


And Don't Forget The Carbon Nanotube Thermal Paste

Spencer writes, "In recent testing, the addition of carbon nanotubes to epoxy adhesive increased the strength of the cured product by a factor of three and more than doubled its thermal conductivity.  These miniscule, one atom thick structures that are about 1/10,000 the width of a human hair, are perhaps the best thermal conductors ever discovered.  One of their possible future uses may be as an additive to the existing thermal pastes we use to grease the interface between our CPU's and HSF's."


Web Watch

Pictures of a Greenpc, RecordNow Max (CD Burner) Review, Gigabyte GA-7VTXH+ Review, A4 Tech Wireless Optical 3DMouse and more.


April 16th, 2002


AMD's Barton to Have 512KB of Level 2 Cache

Mario writes, "AMDZone was quick off the mark to link AMD's latest updated roadmap that shows Barton as having 512KB of level two cache, but no SOI. I have to say that I'm surprised and very pleased. With AMD saying that Thoroughbred was only a die shrink, it got everybody thinking that Barton would be the same but with SOI. We were proved wrong. 640KB of total full speed cache really puts the cat among the pigeons, and must be Athlon's defense against Intel's 533 MHz FSB P4. Those who were thinking that AMD's resources were stretched need to think again. The second half of this year will see these parts debut in mobile and desktop solutions. Multi-processor devices appear next year. This can't be good news for Intel on the day that they announce their quarterly results."


VHJ Quicks

Mario writes, "Latest processor pricing for Intel and AMD. AMD teams up with Nvidia and HP. LTC announces single-chip 45 A polyphase power supply solution for AMD's Hammer. Trident is sampling its new 3D graphics processor for notebooks. Its XP4 offers the best 3D performance at the lowest power dissipated (less than 3 W). Beware of Dell's proprietary ATX design; more can be read here. Oracle's unbreakable database has apparently been broken. AMD's Sanders will testify for Microsoft. PC Magazine takes a first look at Apple's Dual 1-GHz Power PC G4. Evil3D.net has a detailed review of Pogo Linux's top of the line dual processor Vorticon 1800+. Microsoft attacks free software developers with new license. Open source software news wrap-up. X-bit Labs has benchmarked all of the available chipset solutions for the P4.


New Memory Type

Spencer writes about a new non-volatile memory technology.


Another Microsoft Freak-Out

Spencer writes, " I normally don't bother with Ziff-Davis since they are completely sycophantic. However, John C. Dvorak's comments on Micro$oft's inability to get security right are too choice."


Web Watch

Gigabyte Maya AR64S-H Review, Video Chipset Analytical Comparison, Actiontec Wireless USB, CoolerMaster Rounded Cables,

Asus V8460 Ultra (GeForce4 Ti4600) Review  and much more.


April 15th, 2002


Ferrari Picture Update

Mario writes, "In response to VHJ's Ferrari story, Brian Cruikshank kindly sent in these great picture links from the San Marino Grand Prix. These show the AMD logo on Rubens Barrichello's helmet, as well as the left and right arms of his racing leathers. This side shot of Michael Schumacher's Ferrari clearly shows the AMD logo."


Hammer Names: 'Athlon Pro 64' is the One

Mario fills us in on the name game.


AMD's Thoroughbred Shipping To Manufacturers

Chris Tom of amdzone.com writes, "CNet has a story on CPU price cuts that includes information about AMD now shipping Thorougbreds to manufacturers for an introduction characterized as 'soon'. PC's may suggest these CPUs are destined for the desktop."


Controversial Digital Copyright Clause To Be Abandoned

From NewScientist.com, "The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which publishes 30 per cent of all computer science journals worldwide, is to stop requiring authors to comply with a controversial US digital copyright law."


The Pit and the Pentium

Phil Trent writes on the struggle between AMD and Intel for dominance in the 64-bit arena.


Ferrari and AMD Win Again

Mario writes, "Ferrari and AMD again proved dominant and outstanding at this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix. At Saturday's qualifying session, both Ferrari drivers set the fastest times with Michael Schumacher just edging out Rubens Barichello to take pole. On race day they repeated this feat with Schumacher taking the checkered flag. This was Schumacher's third victory in four races this year, and extends his lead in the championship to 14 points. Up to this point in the season, AMD looks to be backing a winning horse. And what of Intel you may ask? They've as per usual backed the less successful thoroughbred. The team that Intel partners is BMW/Williams, which is the second most successful team in Grand Prix racing, after Ferrari of course. I've found the best picture yet that clearly shows the AMD logo on the rear aerofoil of Ferrari's dominating Grand Prix car. Click on the zoom button to get a perfect view."


Web Watch

Abit AT7 MAX Motherboard Review, AOpen AX45-V SiS645 Motherboard Review, MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU Review and Pentium 4 Overclocking Guide


You Know You're in 2002 When...

...you start tilting your head sideways to smile.


Visit our joke forum for a chuckle or two.


April 14th, 2002


Saints Still Walk the Earth

Serving as a bone marrow donor can be physically unpleasant.  It is not like donating blood, but involves a several hour procedure where the donor goes under general anesthesia (about 80% of the time).  The doctor makes an incision in the lower back to insert a hollow needle into the underlying bone.  Tissue is then extracted from the marrow of the pelvic (hip) bones.  Usually around a full liter (quart) of marrow is collected in this process. Several incisions might have to be made to extract this amount of tissue.  After the process is complete, the donor's lower back usually remains sore and stiff for several days.


Although in time a donor will fully regenerate the lost tissue, clearly donating bone marrow is an act of selflessness and self-sacrifice.


In the day-and-a-half since we put out our plea for donors for Amber, our two-year-old niece, several heroes have stepped forward.  Honestly, given the rarity of O- people and the severity of donating marrow, we thought we would be lucky if we found one person willing to consider helping Amber.  Instead, Tony, Andy, Shad, Lance, Matt and Amy, Petyr, and Derek have all stepped forwards to donate if necessary.


These people are saints.  We are humbled.


The doctors are currently working to bring Amber's leukemia into a temporary state of remission so that a transplant can occur.  This stage to drive back the cancer can take two to three months.  Although no suitable matches have been found inside the family, the doctors will explore traditional channels for suitable donors.  Given the rarity of the O- type and the further screening that will reduce this number even more, it is conceivable that a suitable donor will not be found in the required timeframe.


It is our desire to create a list of additional candidates in case all other channels are exhausted.  God willing, this list will never be needed.


We would also like to thank 4Peeps.com for aiding in the donor search.  Their efforts have yielded at least one willing hero.  Likewise, we would like to thank WinOSCentral.com for their help.


In today's world it is easy to become cynical -- and the power/money-lust of this industry's players entrenches cynicism even deeper -- but the acts of these heroes responding to help a sick little girl show that there are still saints walking our earth.  We humbly thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.


Interview with VIA's CEO

Mario writes, "Tecchannel has a very interesting and frank interview with VIA's Wenchi Chen. A large part of that interview is spent discussing VIA's chipset performance. Discussion then moved on to future products and VIA's desire to grow and diversify. Tecchannel has also updated a story it ran last December about how VIA chipsets slow down PCI cards. This update reviews the latest driver patch that seems to fix this problem."


Web Watch

Antec Performance Plus 1080B SOHO File Server Review, Falcon Northwest Mach V Review, Thermaltake Volcano 7+ HSF Review, H530 TFT Monitor Review, Soltek SL-85DRS2 DDR333 P4 Motherboard Review and more.


April 12th, 2002


O- (negative) Bone Marrow Donor Needed

Amber, our niece, is 2 years old and has leukemia. She has undergone chemotherapy, but the cancer did not go into remission. She now needs a bone marrow transplant. The family does not have an O- (negative) blood type match for her. If you are interested or know someone who can help, please contact us. Also, please keep Amber in your prayers.


New AMD Desktop Roadmap

Mario writes, "VHJ reported on Intel's desktop roadmap last Wednesday. Today it's AMD's turn. X-bit Labs has unofficial details of AMD's desktop roadmap through to and including Q4 2002. This quarter debuts Thoroughbred at speed grades from 2000+ to 2400+, which backs up an inquirer story that Thoroughbred will debut between mid-May and June. Palomino will receive one last speed grade increase to 2200+. The Athlon XP 1600+ transfers from the performance category to take pride of place as the top value processor until it is displaced in Q3. Q3 removes the top two and bottom two Palomino speed grades and all Morgan Durons below 1.3 GHz. Appaloosa Duron debuts at speed grades from 1600+ to 1900+. Q4 unveils two more Thoroughbreds at 2600+ and 2800+, and the last Duron Morgan exists no more. They didn't mention Hammer, but this also debuts in the fourth quarter. More AMD roadmaps can be viewed here."

Xbox Sales Not Cutting the Ice

Mario writes, "Microsoft's Xbox is not selling as well as Microsoft would have liked. Sales in Europe and Japan have been poor, and in Australia, Sony's PlayStation 2 is outselling Xbox by two to one. Price is definitely an issue in Europe. In the UK, Microsoft charges British shoppers $430 (at today's currency rates) or $131/$167 more than US/Japanese consumers for the pleasure of owning an Xbox. I don't think the Europeans are too enamored to be subsidizing Xbox sales in other parts of the world, which may explain the European rejection of Xbox. We now live and work in a global economy, prices now need to reflect this."


LostCircuits: The Register, Tom's Hardware and Windows XP all Thieves?

Condemnation over "apologist" piece.


PC World's PC Charts for May

Mario rounds-up PC World's charts.


Web Watch

ABIT AT7 Review, Soyo P4S Dragon Ultra Review, Preliminary Benchmarks: VIA C3 Versus Transmeta TM5600, Dr. Thermal Extreme! Review and more.



April 10th, 2002


New Intel Desktop Roadmap

Mario writes, "the inquirer has an exclusive on up and coming Intel desktop products through to and including Q2 2003. Q2 and Q3 will be equally busy quarters for new desktop launches this year. This quarter will see the launch of the last PIII based Celeron and the debut of Willamette-128, Celeron's replacement. On the P4 front, the 533 MHz FSB product also debuts.  Q4 reveals just one P4 addition. Q1 2003 transfers all Celeron product to Willamette-128, and the P4 passes 3 GHz for the first time. More details can be read here. More Intel roadmaps can be viewed here."

Amiga Back From the Dead?

A resurrected version of the groundbreaking computer is rumored to use AMD's Hammer.


Quarky Star

Astronomers claim seven-mile star is made entirely of its constituent quarks.


Message Boards Being Upgraded

Participation in our new message boards has exceeded our expectations.  Regarding our newly relocated forum, Dave relays that a there is a "massive server upgrade going on," and that "the message boards will be unavailable until this afternoon."  Sorry for the inconvenience, but thank you for the interest.  Because of the enthusiastic participation we are determined to provide message board services for our readers.  UPDATE: The Van's Hardware Forum is tentatively up again.


It just keeps on ticking...

Spencer writes, "Nearly 8 billion miles later (twice as far as the orbit of Pluto) Voyager 1 is still functional and has yet to reach the heliopause.  After 25 years of continuous operation it's pretty amazing that we can still "talk" to this spacecraft, although the time delay due to the extreme distance for a command/response sequence is 24 hours.  Talk about latency!"


Web Watch

Kathy writes, "Our move is mostly over, so we'll be posting more regularly our web watch. Here are some reviews posted in the past 2 days." nVIDIA Video Card Overclocking with CoolBits, Asus A7V333 Review, ASUS P4S533 SiS645DX Mainboard Exclusive Review, ASUS 645DX Mainboard pictures, ABIT AT7 pictures and more.


April 9th, 2002


Quick Take: Microsoft’s Dungeon Siege

The new Diablo-esque role player from Chris Taylor, the creator of Total Annihilation (perhaps one the best games ever), delivers beautiful graphics and engaging game play.  Controls are generally intuitive (bordering on clever) and camera pans are seamless and silky smooth.  However, be warned that this program demands a lot of CPU muscle.  Running on an Athlon 2100+ using a GeForce4 Ti 4600 at 1024x768x32 with maximum detail, frame rates often dropped to around 30 when under attack.  Worse, we witnessed considerable jerkiness on lesser gaming systems.  If your system has the power, Dungeon Siege rewards with rippling shadows, rainbow auras, sparkling reflections and detailed animation in what might be the handsomest RPG ever.  PC gamers have been beaten down to expect bug ridden new games.  Unfortunately, there are a number of unintended insects creeping around the Dungeon Siege code base, but we have yet to encounter one that has softened our very positive impression of this excellent, thoughtful and well-executed product.


Commentary on Intel

Mario writes, "Much has been written about Intel's FUD-ing of AMD and the associated smear campaign that has swung into action. Geek.com has two pieces of interest. Their first has a very funny skit about a computer sales person trying to explain the difference between AMD's model numbers and Intel's GHz. Their second is the first of a three part response to the Aberdeen Group's white paper. AMDZone unveils Intel's FUD machine in action. ZDNet reports on the training classes offered by Intel for its channel customers that directly targets AMD's model numbers. the inquirer reports that Dell, Intel's close buddy, is also playing its part but in a far more subtle way. They're running ads that basically says: 'Beware of imitations, buy a real 2 GHz machine, a Pentium 4 from Dell.' It sounds like the cola wars between Pepsi and Coca-Cola. We'll soon be hearing that Intel's P4 is 'the real thing'. It's unfortunate that we don't have the same price parity between Intel and AMD as we do between Pepsi and Coca-Cola. These are after all commodity products. If Intel and AMD were selling cola, would you pay twice as much to drink the Intel brand? "


Purported i845G Benchmarks Appear

P4 integrated solution looks very weak in comparison to the Athlon XP’s NVIDIA nForce.


iPod Review

Peter Molfese writes about this slick looking MP3 player.


Implantable Chips

Spencer writes, "Doesn't anyone bother with the book of Revelations?"


Van's Hardware Forum!

Many, many thanks to Dave Graham. Problems with Xsorbit, although it had a lot of nice features, just not enough server/bandwidth resources, made us look for other options. Dave Graham graciously offered this solution and set-up the forum site for us. It looks great. Thanks!


Rambus Still Alive and Kicking

Mario writes, "DigiTimes reports that Intel and SIS will both launch 533 MHz FSB RDRAM chipsets in Q2 and Q3 respectively. Intel will launch the 850E in April and SIS is planning to debut its R658 chipset in the third quarter. This refutes all those claims that Rambus was dead on the PC. This may also be a cunning plan by Intel to try to head off Hammer. Intel doesn't know the performance advantage that Hammer will deliver, so this may be insurance to cover for that unknown."

As I Said Some Time Ago

Nils on anthrax and amigas.


April 8th, 2002


VIA Eden Imagination Competition

Win a trip to this year's Computex by coming up with innovative applications for the teeny-tiny VE1500 EPIA Mini-ITX mainboard.  VIA will pick up the tab for the flight as well as six days of accommodations in Taipei, Taiwan.  The island of Taiwan is among the most naturally beautiful places in the world.  Running from June 3rd to the 7th, Computex is one of the biggest computer hardware shows of the year.  If you need a starter idea, there are videos on the signup page for putting together a computer in a shoebox.  Application deadline is April 16th, so hurry!


AMD Announces New Alchemy

Mario writes: The Alchemy Au1100 processor is the first fruits for AMD since its purchase of Alchemy Semiconductor last February. This processor is based on a MIPS32 instruction set and will be sold alongside its older siblings, the Au1000 and the Au1500. The Au1100 is a System-on-a-Chip (SOC) processor that has a core around which there are a custom set of integrated memory controllers and industry standard communication interfaces. With three speed grades being offered, 333, 400, and 500 MHz, this product will be targeted at the non-PC mobile Internet appliance market. Reduced power consumption is the most important improvement that this design brings to the table. The 400 MHz device reduces power by half, 250 mW instead of 500 mW for the Au1000 part. These new parts are currently being sampled and the 400 MHz device will be priced at $29.50 in 10,000 unit quantities. Full tech specs can be read here.


DePauw Fire Update

Joel writes: Rector Hall did not burn to the ground--only the 5th and 4th stories were destroyed. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, though extensively water-and-smoke damaged, will eventually be repairable. Even more thankfully, the fire did not spread to Lucy or Mason Hall (the two halls connected to Rector) so the fire ended up destroying the homes of about 120 students--not the nearly 500 we originally feared. Also, no one was hurt in the fire.


Lost Circuits: 2.4GHz P4 Review

Among the Old Guard, Dr. Schuette is one of the few remaining trustworthy and insightful hardware reviewers.


April 7th, 2002


Appaloosa Durons on the Horizon

Mario writes: X-bit Labs reports that AMD is likely to launch its 130nm Appaloosa Duron in Q3 at speed grades of 1600+, 1700+, and 1800+. These new horses will support a faster 266MHz FSB, but will maintain the same 192KB of total on-chip cache as the current Morgan core. The reason for AMD's introduction of model numbers for Duron is to head off Intel's frequency laden Willamette-128 Celeron. This P4 based processor will be severely handicapped by having only 128KB of level two cache. This will further enhance Duron's performance advantage and value when both of these new products are launched.

There is one other critical detail that needs to be reported, the Willamette-128's 180nm die size. Assuming this hasn't changed, this makes it a very unpalatable 217mm^2 , which is 2.7 times larger than the current 130nm Celeron. As Intel ships 180nm Willamette-128 Celerons, AMD will be shipping 130nm Appaloosa Durons. In this scenario, the dies per wafer from 200mm wafers, assuming 100% yield, would be a paltry 115 for Willamette-128 and a tidy 418 for Appaloosa, which is 303 more dies. In other words, for every Appaloosa wafer that AMD produces, Intel has to produce 3.6 Willamette-128 wafers to match Appaloosa's die volume. This is a great example of AMD's virtual gorilla strategy in action. This comparison shows why Intel has little choice but to move to 300mm wafers ASAP.   


Fire at DePauw University

An intense fire struck Joel's alma mater displacing roughly 40% of the student population.  Joel, who continues to work for the university, is helping prepare his fraternity's hall, Sigma Nu, to temporarily accept roughly thirty of the evacuated students.


More Evidence for Mac-AMD Connection?

Are AMD Clawhammer powered Apple Macintoshes coming?  Steve Jobs' adoption of the AMD chip would definitively give Apple the world's most powerful and sophisticated desktop CPU, while AMD would benefit from Mr. Jobs' uber-marketing.  Link courtesy Jerry.


Five Cannibals

Bill Brier sends us this joke.


April 5th, 2002


Independent Media Center Under Cyber Attack

IndyMedia has been publishing eyewitness reports critical of recent Israeli action against Palestinians.  IMC claims that as a consequence of their reporting, the organization is now the target of varying “Cyber Attacks” including flood attempts and disinformation uploads.  The war to control information rages, and is similar to message board contamination conducted by corporate operatives.


Woman 8-Weeks Pregnant with Clone

…so claims fertility specialist.  Disregarding the profound ethical issues, considering the high rate of abnormalities among cloned animals, this seems reckless.


2GB On A Postage Stamp!

Spencer writes, "Holographic storage, where information is represented in a physical medium as the interference pattern resulting from the phase relationships of multi-path coherent light sources, gets a big reality boost next week at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in Las Vegas. InPhase, a Lucent spin-off has developed a 100GB holographic disk recorder which has potential to go to over a terabyte in capacity.  By using a spatial light modulator (a two dimensional light valve similar in function to an LCD) they record bitmaps as holograms.  Playback is done by projection to a sensor array and the data is read in parallel, thus giving extremely high bandwidth (vs.the single stream serial nature of existing CD/DVD technology).  Although you can get 2GB on a postage stamp there is no indication of how much of that data would survive a tortured journey through our postal system."



Van answers Bryan's questions.


Articles Reborn?

It looks like some of our articles have miraculously been republished.


April 3rd, 2002


From Bill Brier...

EverCrack kills...  Do as I say, not as I do...


Site Update

We apologize for being offline for the last week.  We have moved and our lab is still only partially reassembled.  We will ramp up again over the next few days.  Thank you for your patience.



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