Back to the Good Old Days!
(link) Friday, 31-March-2006 13:05:23 (GMT +10) - by Agg
I'm pleased to announce a new policy for OCAU's Forums. We often hear feedback from our members that OCAU was better in the "good old days" and after lengthy discussion the Admins and I have formulated a plan to return us to that former glory. This is quite a bold move but I think you'll agree the end results will be worth it.
OCAU's "Back to the Good Old Days" policy has several facets. Firstly, several non-core forums will be deleted:
The trading forums: Because they're frankly more trouble than they're worth, causing the majority of complaints and reported posts.
Current Events: This forum was a mistake from the start and has turned into a breeding ground for intolerance and stupidity.
The Pub: This forum seems unlikely to ever contain anything other than rubbish, and attracts the wrong sort of people to OCAU.
Motoring: Because it's turned into a "second Pub" and again attracts the wrong type of members to the forum.
A further step, that I know many people won't understand at first, concerns new members. It's a tough reality, but we have realised that new members are the cause of many of the changes to OCAU over the years. To control this issue:
OCAU's Forums will no longer allow new members to sign up.
Forum accounts less than two years old will be deleted.
I realise that some of these actions seem harsh, but you'll agree that something had to be done. I believe this policy will return OCAU to its former glory and make it a more enjoyable experience for those of us who will still have access to it. For those who don't, I hope you enjoy your time at Atomic.
These changes will be enacted one week from today's date. Thanks for your patience during the transitional period.
Update: APRIL FOOLS! hehe :)
Friday Night Reviews
(link) Friday, 31-March-2006 12:44:02 (GMT +10) - by Agg
MadShrimps decided their nVentiv MachI wasn't cold enough, so modded it for extreme subzero cooling. At 200W the display came to life and showed -41°C, the thermal probe at the evaporator read -26°C.
Corsair have an article about building an HTPC. Interesting article from them.. hmm.
Techgage compared three GPU coolers from Zalman, the VF900-Cu vs. Fatal1ty FS-V7 vs. ZM80C-HP.
A recent iPod update allows you to set a maximum volume setting, to reduce the risk of hearing damage.
Intel are promoting the use of interchangeable notebook components. Intel has identified seven component categories - hard disk drive, optical drive, LCD panel, battery pack, customizable notebook panel, power adapters and keyboards - that can be built on common building blocks, making them interchangeable and readily available for replacement or upgrade. Some standards would be great in that area.
Peter sent word of an article about OpenSSH, which I didn't know was an offshoot of OpenBSD.
DJ-Studd spotted info about ILM's serious render-farm and the storage subsystem to keep feeding it data. The 3000 disks are divvied up into 20 stacks, and as they fill up, the data moves from one to the next. However, the users can still get to all their data via normal paths.
NordicHW have some photos from CeBIT 2006. CeBIT is one of the biggest events in the world and it's not easy to describe exactly how big it is. Take a regular size hockey arena (~7,000-10,000 people), such as the one where DreamHack (the world largest LAN party) is held and multiply it by 27 and you get something similar.
Is your PC sitting around bored most of the time? Make it do some real work for a change, by donating your idle CPU cycles to Folding@Home. This runs quietly in the background, without affecting your use of the PC, and simulates protein folding to help find cures for diseases such as cancer. You can also have fun competing to have your PC (or PC's) complete more work-units than others. For more info, see our Folding page or our Team OCAU forum. For a quick "how to start" guide, see this page. We're currently the #2 team in the world - help us regain first place!
The ACMA has laid down new rules for Australian ISPs, requiring them to provide spam filtering and email sending limits. The code will come into effect on July 16, after which ACMA plans to conduct compliance checks of the country's 700 ISPs.
Azul has announced a 48-core CPU, using TSMC's 90nm process. Using the Vega 2 processor, Azul will be able to design future versions of its Azul Compute Appliance server platform that can scale up to a 768-way multiprocessing system with up to 768 gigabytes of memory.
If you've got a pile of money to burn on a gargantuan new monitor, C|Net's comparison of Apple's 30" Cinema Display and Dell's UltraSharp 3007WFP may be of assistance. All tests were run at the monitors' 2,560x1,600 native resolution. Neither Dell nor Apple would specify the origin of the panel used in each monitor, but various reports have surmised that the panels are the same.
Slightly more approachable is this 19" LCD monitor roundup on THG. As our tests show below, there are some truly exceptional, all-purpose monitors that are good for gaming, photo retouching and other applications.
Techgage have their first impressions of PhysX, based on info and demos from GDC. I was able to see the Ageia PhysX card in action as well as sample ATI and NVIDIA’s approach to physics and gaming.
Anandtech checked out Sun's T2000 server, based on their UltraSparc T1 CPU. Sun claims that this 72 W eight core, 32-thread CPU can outperform the power hungry (200-400W) quad IBM Power 5, Intel Xeon and the AMD Opteron machines in many server applications.
TechPowerUp have a marketing presentation from ATI called The Product Stack. There is a comparison of different price segments against what the competition from NVIDIA has to offer. Also there is a hint of "cable-free CrossFire mode" with upcoming Catalyst 6.5.
TheTechZone have more info about ajaxWrite, the free web-based wordprocessor. I encourage you to try ajaxWrite.com from Firefox 1.5, or newer, and experience the future of software firsthand. There's no cost. No registration required. Nothing to install.
OCInside updated their interactive S939 pinmod guide. Choose the original volts and the volts you desire, and the relevant pin mod is displayed.
FriendlySlugs talked to ATI about their take on physics acceleration. If you recall, ATI first demonstrated physics acceleration during the R520 (Radeon X1800) launch last year.
Tomshardware have an article about the complexity of memory upgrades. As we delve deeply into the memory upgrade jungle, we'll consider the problems that could affect any purchase decision, and what resources major brands - such as Apacer, Corsair, Crucial, Kingston, Mushkin, PNY and Viking - offer to assist potential customers.
Brenton noticed us coming one step closer to The Borg. The proteins allowed the neuro-chip's electronic components and its living cells to communicate with each other.
Eroda meanwhile spotted some interesting videos about augmented reality. This one demonstrates a few artificial objects being inserted into a video in real time, while this one shows how games can use the technology.
Nature has a few articles exploring Computing in 2020. This Nature web focus combines commentaries from leading scientists and news features analysis from journalists assessing how computing science concepts and techniques may transform mainstream science by 2020. Thanks RnR.
XYZComputing have Part 3 of their Mini-ITX project running Linux. The plans were, roughly, to install a hard drive, move to a more powerful Linux distribution, and add PVR capabilites to the system.
BTXFormFactor report on Perpendicular Hard Disk Drives. Perpendicular Hard Disk Drives aim to stem the theoretical limit of disk capacity, and this article aims to explain how and why.
TheTechZone muse about some lessons learned from IDF. After a few minutes of Pat Gelsinger’s keynote, we knew we were going to spend a lot of time on Wikipedia! ATCA, DLNA, RAS, DRM, VQM, AKE, AES and new acronyms on top of old ones.
Thetron spotted a new game being made, based on the Desperate Housewives TV show. In the game, players take on the role of a new Wisteria Lane housewife, who can uncover or create new scandals on the seemingly idyllic street where the show takes place. Sure, but do you get to drive tanks?
The University of Queensland has had a successful hypersonic scramjet flight test. Researchers are now analyzing data from the test, focused on the last six seconds of flight prior to impact when the scramjet may have reached Mach 8 - eight times the speed of sound, or nearly 8,000 kilometers per hour. More info on UQ's site, thanks FatMan.
LostCircuits interviewed Jeff Lewis from Innovative Silicon, about Z-RAM. The ZRAM approach, on the other hand, solves this problem by getting rid of the storage capacitor. Essentially, what that means is getting rid of the fundamental memory structure that holds the data in the form of electric charges.
SilentPCReview have an article about building an overclocked Pentium D 830 system, and making it quiet. ordered a 120mm DustProof AcoustiFan to attach to the Ninja, since I was dubious about dissipating >130W passively, even with the two case fans close by.
An unpatched IE flaw is the target of several compromised websites. According to a list obtained by Security Fix, hackers have infected at least 200 sites, many of which you would not normally expect to associate with such attacks (i.e., porn and pirated-software vendors).
If the forums just stopped working for you, and instead started spitting out 404 errors and the like, it's because you are for some strange reason still trying to use them on the wrong server. All forums.overclockers.com.au and forum.overclockers.com.au access should now resolve to 184.108.40.206, aka bbq. So, check if you have an old entry in your hosts file or something like that, which could be making you still try to access via the old server.
Dan has letters vers 163. More advice that'll one day bar me from high public office, lithium for flashes, DIY ultrasound, mercury hunting, suspiciously efficient motors, and solidified smoke.
The OCAU Battlefield2 team played clan =NrD= (No Real Danger) to defend their rank in the gamearena Battlefield 2 ladder. The end result was a win for OCAU 161-0. There is a thread about this in the OCAU GA Ladder team's forum (might be a bit slow). Or, drop into our gaming forums.
Finally the various seasons are kicking off. This weekend even on free-to-air there's the V8 Supercars today and tomorrow, A1GP tonight and the first round of the MotoGP tomorrow night. Comfy chair, beer, doritos, go!
More sods and odds for Friday night
(link) Friday, 24-March-2006 15:35:14 (GMT +10) - by Amran
At this year's GDC, everyone's talking physics. If you like computer games, you should sit down and have a good read of these articles. The PPU now is what the GPU was 8 years ago.
AGEIA's PhysX - a dedicated "Physics Processor Unit" card is discussed at length at Techgage. Nvidia and ATI have both announced that their GPU's can perform a similar function using the HAVOK FX engine. PC Perspective spoke to ATI about their implementation of the HAVOK FX engine. PC Perspective compare all three offerings and show some videos of the system in action.
Another innovation that may improve the gaming experience in the future, nanotube circuits in CPU cores for near-terahertz speeds.
Intel launched the World Cyber Games 2006 in Singapore yesterday. For the World Cyber Games (WCG) tournament, the underlying theme has always been about building global harmony, friendship and fostering a healthy multi-cultural society on-line and off. Yep, nothing promotes global harmony and a healthy multi-cultural society better than a game of Counter-Strike or Battlefield 2...
As Lowgoz alluded to on Wednesday, EA are indeed working on Battlefield 2142. Thanks kimbecause.
Why was Windows Vista delayed until 2007? According to Smarthouse, they had to rewrite over half of it. Thanks Eroda.
Dan's unhealthy fascination with torches continues.
NGO HQ have a mini-rant about a recent XBox to PC port of The Godfather. ...EA forgot something relatively important with this port.
A reminder from White Rhino that this is the last week to vote for Feburary's Iron Photographer. You can also enter the competition for March, the theme is "pubs". Might take my camera to work, I wonder if I could photograph someone as I'm kicking them out?
Lastly, if you really must get away from the PC for a while and go outside, why not participate in the Brisbane Zombie Walk. A 48 hour LAN party would be perfect preparation for such an event.
As I sit here in front of my new Dell SC430, grinning from ear to ear at the sheer speed of the thing (not to mention at the rate of folding that is now happening), it's time to post a few bits and pieces that I've found after a hectic week at work:
As many are now aware, Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef, has quit South Park over the infamous (and very, very clever) Scientology episode (available as a legal download from this link, courtesy of the South Park producers). In response, the producers have had their revenge (warning: spoilers enclosed in the article).
Finally, if the initial hint wasn't enough, those of you with new SC430s need to get folding with them, as we aren't making up any ground to regain the top spot. Hell, even those of you without new SC430s who aren't folding need to get involved as well.
NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS and 7300 LE
(link) Friday, 24-March-2006 03:13:42 (GMT +10) - by Agg
NVIDIA has released two more cards in the GeForce 7 range - these are "mainstream" cards.
The GeForce 7600 GS GPU—this NVIDIA® SLI™-Ready GPU delivers extreme high-definition (HD) gaming and home-theater quality HD video with silent operation for an incredible entertainment experience.
The GeForce 7300 LE GPU—previously available only to system builders, the GeForce 7300 LE boasts the video and gaming features of today's most advanced GPUs and delivers stunning, HD video—up to 1080i resolution—and ultra-realistic gaming effects at mainstream price points without compromising performance.
Just a reminder that NSW, VIC, ACT, SA and TAS are not changing back to standard time at the end of this week, as we would normally expect to, because of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Instead, the change will occur on April 2nd. However, your PC may not be aware of this change in schedule and may change itself a week early. There's a patch here on Microsoft's site which may help.
After about 2 years of press-release hints, AGEIA have.. some more. At the current Games Developer Conference, AGEIA and a bunch of developers announced support for PhysX in their games. FiringSquad have a report on the press conference.
There's some demo videos on AGEIA's website.. the middle one is probably the most impressive. BTW, I like how the one with blood requires a warning, but the one showing people being incinerated doesn't. :)
Finally, a few hardware vendors announced support, most notably Dell, who are offering a $10,000 USD PC with 4.26GHz CPU, quad SLI and a PhysX card, for truly insane graphics power.
AGEIA PhysX Accelerator add-in boards from leading board manufacturers ASUS and BFG will be available in wide distribution in May of this year. Well, I can't wait until we've actually seen one.. or non-press-release photos of one.. or a review of one.. or anything other than press releases telling us how great it's going to be. :) I hope this rush of press info isn't just a reaction to NVIDIA's unveiling of their competing technology.
Righto, after all the rumours and denials, Dell has now announced that it is buying Alienware. "Alienware's products are an excellent complement to Dell's own line of high-performance computers designed for gaming, enthusiast and media content customers. In addition to offering high-quality, high-performance products, Alienware has tremendous brand appeal with consumers and creative business professionals," said Michael Dell, chairman. No confirmation on Alienware's site yet, but some thoughts on TheReg and in our Forum.
HWSecrets took a trip to Legoland. Do they still have that Lego centre down in Circular Quay in Sydney? Or wherever it was? I remember going in a competition there when I was a little kid. I think I did ok. :)
Nightranger sent word of a Western Digital Class Action Settlement which is USA-based so probably doesn't affect us. It's to do with the old "how big is a gigabyte" argument, where hard drives format to less space than the advertised size. I've bought loads of Western Digital (and Seagate, and Maxtor) drives over the last few years and I really don't care too much about losing 3GB of an 80GB drive or whatever.
LegionHW have a VGA cooler shootout posted, comparing six products from Arctic-Cooling, Thermalright and Zalman.
Eroda spotted another Solid-State Hard Drive from Samsung. The 32 GB solid state disk (SSD) drive comes in a 1.8" form factor and reads data at more than twice the speed of hard drives. Best of all: The SSD is promised to consume 95% less power than a hard drive.
ABIT and USI have formed a new company named Universal ABIT Co., Ltd. With the new partnership, ABIT receives a strong financial backing from which to continue its core business, and also eliminates the financial straits which began late Q4 2004.
I felt bad seeing Agg all alone on the front page so I thought I should contribute. That being said i have a good reason as to why I haven't been posting lately.
For those who are about to take ownership of a new Xbox 360, a firmware hack is out allowing users to boot using a backed-up copy of their game. Speaking of hacks and workarounds, everyone probably knows by now that Windows XP has been booted on an Intel Mac. Quite a nice way to win over $13,000 for hacking an operating system.
Windows Vista has been delayed until January 2007. I cant really say I'm surprised, obviously Microsoft wants to get the new operating system "just right" so that they wont have to release service packs, updates and patches. While we are on the topic of exciting new software, Battlefield 2142's existence has been confirmed by EA with the release of a trailer.
I'm sure that at least some of you would have a camera phone. For those that do, you might be interested in a little gadget called Phlash. "his nifty little accessory attaches to the back of your cell phone and emits an intense pulse of light when taking pictures. It’s available now for $30 at select retailers.
For those who just don't have camera phone, but do have unripe avocados in the fridge that you accidentally cut open, there seems to be some sort of forum that has some suggestions of what to do when all seems to be lost. Oh, I also found out that if you get ink in your jeans (stupid university) the alcohol in hairspray actually lifts the ink from the fabric!
There's a new firefox extension out that allows you to create and run macros inside the browser for all you little mischievous monkeys.
ATI FireGL V7350
(link) Wednesday, 22-March-2006 07:53:48 (GMT +10) - by Agg
ATI announced their FireGL V7350 recently. This is a workstation card costing in the region of USD $2000, so normally wouldn't be of that much interest to enthusiasts. However it's noteworthy, being based on the X1800XL but having 1GB of GDDR3 RAM onboard. More info in the PR document here and on the product page.
We've already linked a couple of reviews on Hexus and XbitLabs, but here's another one from Sudhian.
ElectronicsWeekly have some interesting info about a ClearSpeed co-processor for AMD systems. The Bristol-based firm's CSX600 chip has 96 processor cores, runs at 250MHz, dissipates 10W, and adds 25Gflops to a computer’s performance.
PC-Perspective have their thoughts on news that NVIDIA are looking into physics calculation acceleration on their latest GPUs. Even before the now famous AGEIA can get its feet wet in the world of physics acceleration, NVIDIA is jumping into the right with all guns blazing. ARP have more info on an SLI version.
For something different, LaptopGamers have an article about why we play games, from a pyschological perspective. In particular, we take a look at what draws different types of gamers to the hobby.
Apparently your files could be held to ransom by a new trojan. Don't panic, though: According to both Sophos and LURHQ, the password is: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio\VC98". Thanks gecko!
Tweaktown have an ATi Catalyst 6.3 performance analysis. Never fear, our Catalyst performance analyst for March 2006 is here, so let’s take a look at what ATI have done this month.
Google have largely won the battle to stop the US Government from getting access to user data. Meanwhile, their reach continues to grow, with Google Mars now available, thanks RobW.
Speaking of Mars, one of the Mars Rovers has a dodgy wheel and its teeth have worn out! Also, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission is going to plan, and NASA recently announced plans to put men on the dark side of the moon in about 10 years.
Brando Workshop USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE Cable
(link) Sunday, 19-March-2006 01:39:34 (GMT +10) - by Agg
A retailer in Hong Kong sent over a handy little gadget. It's a cable that goes from USB at one end, to IDE at the other, supporting normal 3.5" HDD's, 2.5" laptop HDD's and SATA drives. It's like a USB external enclosure.. without the enclosure.
PCStats have some USB memory drive projects & tips. As you will see here though, there's a lot more you can do with your USB memory key than just transfer files.
Here's an interesting one from Bryce, with U-boat Enigma codes from WWII cracked by a distributed-computing project. It's pretty cool, but I can't help feeling Folding is a bit more useful.
PCMech have an article about making a simple home monitoring system. Roger shows what you can do with an old PC collecting dust in order to turn it into a simple alarm system hub for a home or small business.
A couple of mates I had lunch with last week told me to check this out, and Eroda has reminded me... Spore is an upcoming game from the creator of the Sims. There's a 30-minute video on this site. I'm watching it now and it's just amazing. There's a thread here in our Games forum about it.
Matrix Orbital MX610
(link) Thursday, 16-March-2006 09:38:45 (GMT +10) - by Agg
If you're after a little system info screen but can't be bothered to connect one yourself, try this one from Matrix Orbital. Not only does it connect simply via USB, but it has the potential to do much more than simply report system info..
HardCoreWare have a dual-core battle between AMD's Athlon64 X2 and Intel's Pentium D Presler. You can read Chainbolt's take on this battle in our recent Presler review.
HWAnalysis wonder if AMD's AM2 + DDR2 combination will improve performance or lower it.
Tech-Hounds look at their Radeon X1900 XTX in more detail. As promised, in this article we examine both adaptive antialiasing and HDR rendering on the Radeon X1900 series.
ArsTechnica covered TV over IP. As AT&T continues to build out its fiber network, IPTV will become an alternative to traditional cable and satellite delivery methods. We haven't even worked out digital TV properly yet.
CNet report on Intel's Australian Viiv launch. More of a platform than a product, Intel is hoping that Viiv will do for the lounge room PC what its Centrino brand has done for Wi-Fi notebooks.
More small PC's from XYZComputing, who look at the UMPC. Simply put, the ultramobile PC (UMPC) is a tablet computer which will run a modified version of Windows XP Tablet edition and is powered by an Intel processor.
Murray spotted a new keylogger trojan that can even record mouse clicks. So much for that annoying web keyboard thing I have to use whenever I log into my Westpac internet banking. :)
FarmingSheep are showing off with one of Dell's 30" widescreen monitors, by gaming in 2560x1600. 2560x1600 provides two times the resolution of 1080p, coming in at 4.1 megapixels. Running at a res this high on a 30" screen is simply awesome, but as you can imagine, not just any GPU can run at 2560x1600 and still dish out good frame rates.
Here's an article about problems with copy-protection from the editor of PC Gamer. Despite years of combating piracy, by the late ’80s and early ’90s, the games industry could do little more than ask nicely that people not pirate their wares.
Digitimes have Part 3 of their interview with AMD's Henri Richard. As you know, at AMD we took a very different approach to Intel on the subject, in the sense that we don't believe that the media-center PC should be the center of your living room.
We're a bit late reporting this, but McAfee AntiVirus went nuts and started eating legitimate files.. ouch. More info here. I guess if you were affected you'd already know. :)
InternetNews have an interesting article about the workings of Google. In fact, at Google, many will fail every day. So, Google has automated methods of dealing with machine failures, allowing it to build a fast, highly reliable service with cheap hardware.
Mobile phones may be the key to getting cheap broadband in the bush, thanks Sniper. Remote communities could access cheaper wireless broadband services than their city cousins via new-generation mobile phones and computers, say Australian researchers.
Futurelooks played with two XFX 7800GT in SLI. Now we're going to put two of them together to find out if the extra dollars are worth the upgrade for the every day gamer.
You can take it with you now, with an SLI laptop on Bit-Tech, thanks Cadal. We'll show you some scale over the next couple of pages, but you can see that the 19" widescreen runs a resolution of 1680x1050 (with the option of a 1920x1200 screen if you want it).
PureOC meanwhile wonder if 256MB vs 512MB makes any real difference on video cards. I don't believe anyone reading this would disagree that 512MB cards will become a firm requirement of high end gaming very soon, but the key question here is do 512MB framebuffers offer anything to us now, other than future proofing?
There's still some tweaking to do here and there, but hopefully we should have a faster site that's also more reliable and more fault-tolerant, touch wood! Thanks for your patience during the outages and slow times. Thanks again to PlusCorp for their help building the new DB server too, and of course to AusGamers and SOUL for continuing to host our ever-growing community.
(link) Wednesday, 15-March-2006 09:13:22 (GMT +10) - by Agg
The TV coverage for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne has started. If you'd like to chat about the Games as they unfold, check out our Olympics & Commonwealth Games Forum.
There'll be an outage tomorrow while I swap us over to our new webserver, which will go nicely with our recently-upgraded database server. Should be from about 9am for a couple of hours or so, depending on how things go. Proper PCDB entry with pics etc of the new server coming soon.
Update: Of course, you'll still be able to use the forums just fine, because they run directly off the other server now. News page, PCDB, OCAU.mc, Wiki, Folding page etc will be unavailable during the outage. So bookmark the forums now if you haven't already. :)
The guys from Bjorn 3D and some others asked Nvidia's Brian Del Rizzo & Sean Cleveland all the sticky questions. You can read the chat log here. ATI's Terry Makedon also got a grilling by an interviewer from ThinkComputers. Read his responses here.
Thhhza let us know there is a new version of CPU-z out. You can Download it from their website.
Nunog sent in this about the worlds first notebook with a 19" LCD Monitor. He also let us know Toshiba have just released a laptop with a HD-DVD ROM in it. More details on Trusted Reviews.
Pc Mechanic have an article all that much loved Malware that we seem to see nowdays.
SLI in your desktop not enough? Well what about a pair of 7800's in your Laptop?
Design Technica are asking "Shouldn't you be Banking Online?" in this article. If you haven't yet, you should.
Phoronix had a look at a few different sound cards under a linux gaming enviorment and what effect they had on FPS. Read it here.
We've been a bit quiet regarding IDF and CeBit so far, so after the press releases we present a roundup of tasty morsals from the respective trade shows:
IDF - The Intel Developer's Forum:
Xbit have eyes everywhere, here's what they have uncovered so far at IDF. Day 1, more on day 1, and day 2.
Hardware Secrets were drawn to the AMD Turion 64 X2 Prototypes. There were two reference designs for Turion 64 X2 (dual-core version of Turion 64) running, one based on ATI chipset (Xpress) and the other based on nVidia’s (SLI Power).
PC Perspective sat a new Conroe cored CPU from Intel next to an AMD FX-60 and ran some benchmarks. At the more reasonable resolution, that gamers might actually play at, the minimum frame rate is 23% faster and the average frame rate is 11% faster in the favor of Conroe once again. These are much more modest performance gains, but are still very impressive as we have never seen a simple processor change result in this much of a performance gain in an application that normally is a beast on current systems.
Hardware Zone have another set of benchmark results from the above CPU types, as well as some general coverage on the goings on at IDF this year.
TG Daily wrap up IDF. Core, an impressive piece of technology, determined the headlines and will carry Intel through the rest of the decade, we learned. Let's take a step back. What exactly was announced? And what does that all mean? Here's our take.
Love this - The battle for GPU supremacy escalated somewhat at CeBit, with Nvidia and ATI personnel almost knocking each other's block off. Like most fisty cuffs, the incident started in a pub over a girl.
More details on Asetek showing off that 5.5GHz P4 system using a VapoChill cooling solution. The VapoChill LightSpeed system keeps the processor running at a temperature of -33 degrees Celsius when operating at maximum processing loads, while the company's WaterChill system keeps the computer's graphics chip and motherboard components from overheating.
Hardware Zone have quite comprehensive coverage of the event split into the creatively named part 1, part 2, and part 3. A good, long read.
Xbit cover day 1, day 2, and day 3. Another good read if you have the time and interest.
Asetek showed off with a 5.46GHz PC at CeBIT. The jointly configured system based on, VapoChill® LightSpeed CPU cooling, WaterChill® graphics and motherboard chipset cooling, Kingston Technology HyperX KHX7200D2K2 DDR2 RAM, WD Raptor® X hard drives and Intel P4 3.8GHz CPU, forms the basis of the ultimate Dream Machine for PC enthusiasts and gamers. More info in this 38KB PDF.
ASUS sent over info about their notebook range, including one designed with the help of Lamborghini, and another which is clad in leather. The ASUS W1J, W2J and A7J notebooks with cutting edge built-in DVB-T feature offer wireless digital TV reception wherever the service is available. Catch live TV shows right out of the notebook for a complete digital entertainment experience. More info here and pics of the leather one below:
click images to enlarge
ATI have a new "Avivo Video Converter" feature in their latest drivers. The Avivo Video Converter is available today, as a wizard found within Catalyst® Control Centre 6.3, a software package designed to enhance ATI’s Radeon® X1000 series of graphics cards. The Avivo Video Converter simplifies the conversion of digital video from one file format to another and enables even a novice user to quickly and easily convert their videos to play on an industry standard DVD/DivX® player or portable media devices such as the Apple® iPod®, Sony® PSP, Creative® Zen and many others. More info in a 156KB doc file, and a 2MB PDF brochure.
Corsair claim to have the world's fastest production DDR2 and DDR1 memory, unveiled at CeBIT. Rated at 1066MHz, the new TWIN2X1024-8500 from Corsair delivers the highest memory frequency currently available to Intel users. Simultaneously, the new TWINX2048-4400PRO takes the lead with its rated 550MHz speed to unleash maximum performance on the AMD platform. More info in this 244KB PDF.
Game On Interactive announced a new Xbox Gaming Lounge in Sydney. Game On Miranda currently has 24 networked Xboxes displayed on 20 x 58cm Samsung 8ms LCD Screens and 4 gigantic 155cm Samsung DLP rear projection screens. Each of the LCD screens has its own executive high back leather chair, and each 155cm screens has its own suede two-seater lounge. They also have Xbox 360's available. More info in the 80KB doc press-release.
Matrox have what they're calling the first "remote graphics unit", in the form of their Matrox Extio F1400. With this solution, the user interface of the computer - the keyboard, mouse, monitors, audio peripherals, and graphics hardware - are separated from the rest of the computer by up to 250 meters (820 feet) of fiber-optic cable. More info in the 177KB doc file.
Sapphire have a new liquid-cooled model in their X1900 video card range. Taking up a single PCI slot in addition to the PCI-Express slot occupied by the graphics card, the new Blizzard cooler is a sealed and silent liquid cooling solution. Maximum efficiency is achieved by the use of a Pure Copper Water Block on the GPU for superior heat conductivity together with a Pure Copper Radiator in the Blizzard cooler for great heat dissipation. More info here and pics below:
A quick bit of news before the first Formula One race of the season begins (in Adelaide, at least - it's already on the box in the Eastern states...)
mini-itx.com has posted a series of pics and specs of a variety of Mini-ITX (and other small form factor) boards that it saw at CeBIT. For those of us interested in low-power, small machines, these new products look promising - especially as the current VIA boards are showing their age a little.
If you're looking for something on OCAU, remember we have a search page that's powered by Google now. It will search the news archive, articles and reviews, PCDB and Wiki - basically the whole site except the Forums, which are closed to Google and have their own search engine. You can use it to search the internet via Google also.
From Ellroy80: The race starts on Sunday, we are still able to take last minute entrants. The prizes - TeamXFAU members, plus other OCAU folders, will be folding under the winners' username for two weeks (no, the winner's don't actually get the computers). Here's a breakdown of the prize list:
Digitimes report on claims that Intel is cutting prices for Dell, to make them re-think adopting AMD CPUs. For example, the Dell PowerEdge SC430 server, which adopts the Intel Pentium D 820 CPU, is currently specially priced at NT$7,900 (US$243) in Taiwan, while the Pentium D 820 CPU itself is listed on the Intel website selling for US$241 (in 1000-unit lots). If this is true, then in some way the people grabbing cheap servers in this thread are helping to keep Dell away from AMD. :)
A few people sent word that Novell has signed a deal with the New South Wales Department of Commerce to become an approved supplier of Open Source software and Solutions. This is the first panel contract of its kind by an Australian jurisdiction that contains provisions specific to open source software, giving government agencies and departments formal access to Linux solutions. There's a thread with opinions on this here in our Other Operating Systems forum.
I linked this blog a fair while ago but rediscovered it recently.. Someone Else's Life is an interesting insight into the life of a freelance journalist and photographer.
Sciby spotted some very hot things being created at Sandia National Laboratories. This is hotter than the interior of our Sun, which is about 15 million kelvin, and also hotter than any previous temperature ever achieved on Earth, they say.
A few other people sent in this very fast thing on Australia's Lake Gairdner salt flats. "I was only looking at the GPS dial," he said. His on-board system showed a top speed of 236mph (380km/h) but the timing lights are official.
Meanwhile, there's a very pointless thing going on in space soon. Russia plans to hit a golf ball into Earth orbit from the International Space Station.
Finally, Timbot sends word of a 24-monitor display project. Fancy playing Quake III in 10240x3072?
Intel also showed off a liquid-cooling system at IDF. Coverage on Hexus and HWSecrets.
ATI Radeon X1800 GTO
(link) Friday, 10-March-2006 04:06:14 (GMT +10) - by Agg
As hinted at in an earlier news post, ATI have released the Radeon X1800 GTO. Featuring the same ultra-threaded shader architecture and revolutionary new memory architecture of ATI's award-winning Radeon X1800 XT and Radeon X1800 XL GPUs; the Radeon X1800 GTO rounds out the series at an unbeatable value-to-performance ratio.
AusGamers Files have the BF2 v1.21 patch (385MB) and the v1.2 to v1.21 patch (14.5MB). Check your ISP mirror servers for off-quota downloads. This patch seems to be mostly bugfixes rather than game balancing stuff. Keep on top of things in our (second) gargantuan BF2 thread in the Games forum.
There's a huge thread for these new cards here in our Video Cards forum.
NVIDIA also released some info on their Quad SLI technology. The graphics horsepower generated in a PC using Quad SLI technology allows gamers to set their monitors to extreme HD resolutions, including an incredible 2560x1600, while still maintaining silky smooth frame rates. In addition, support for a new 32x antialiasing mode, and 16x anisotropic filtering enables stunning visuals and image quality for a truly immersive gaming experience. VelocityMicro have a press-release about their Quad SLI PC.
Misc: Vizo Luxon 3.5" external enclosure for IDE & SATA HDD drives at A1 Electronics.
Forums moving to new server..
(link) Thursday, 9-March-2006 01:45:44 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Just a quick note that I've made the DNS change so that forums.overclockers.com.au will take you directly to the new server from now on (as opposed to going via the older webserver). This is part of the project to replace the old webserver next week. The DNS change should start happening immediately, with all changes completed within a couple of days.
If this makes no sense to you, don't worry, the process should be totally transparent anyway. The end result will be that you'll automatically be on a server that (hopefully) doesn't slow to a crawl the next time we have 1000+ people in the forums. :)
However, if you DO notice anything weird about accessing the forums over the next couple of days, let me know!
Sciby spotted a cool thing to do with an old laptop.
Bit-Tech have published their thoughts about ethical gaming. Some may (wrongly) believe that games have only been criticised in recent years, since Grand Theft Auto. However, as a matter of fact the video games industry has been targeted as a source for misleading the youth of tomorrow pretty much since the word go.
Get Hump day started with a cup of coffee and the news...
First off, the TechZone look at the eight faces of Windows VistaFor almost 20 years, Microsoft has followed Henry Ford's business model, giving users little choice in the "color" of their operating system. No pics though, we will have to take their word for it.
Bjorn3d's chat with NVidia will be happening soon, check here for the details, it's on IRC and only relates to NVidia's chipsets, not GFX cards.
DriverHeaven have released the new version of the DHzer0point drivers, based on the 8360 official nVidia drivers.
Dan has taken the time to bring you, the reader, another bout of letters! In this issue: Data storage, junk mail, mercury down the sink, a quack, marvellous contrivances, and getting really really drunk. Responsibly of course!
Thanks for your help if you were in the Forums at about 9pm Sydney time tonight, whether or not you knew there was a stress-test of the new server underway. :) The new database server performed admirably - any slowness or outage you experienced was due to the older webserver running out of memory (as predicted), but that machine will be replaced in a couple of weeks anyway.
As for the previous forum record of 829 user online at once.. we smashed it, as this pic from DoCsIs shows:
Most users ever online was 1059, Today at 09:21 PM.
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Monday, 6-March-2006 09:09:49 (GMT +10) - by Agg
So, tonight we stress-test the new server. If you do notice some slowdown on the normal forums address, try going to just forum.overclockers.com.au (note forum, not forums). This will connect you directly to the new server. You'll need to log in, so if you can't remember your password, don't worry, just keep using the normal forums.overclockers.com.au address as per usual. For a more detailed explanation, see this thread.
Well, so far the performance of our new server has been fantastic. Monday night of course is normally very busy, and we'd like to make it even more busy at about 9PM Sydney time tonight, breaking the forum record for online users. So, if you can manage to be in the forums at about that time, you can be part of it. In fact, you can even help by doing things slightly differently if you like. :)
ArsTechnica report on an Australian copyright fees for educational net use proposal. "If it turned out we'd have to pay them, we'd turn the internet off in schools," the council's national copyright director Delia Browne said.
NewScientist report on stealth sharks patrolling the seas for the Pentagon. Hmm, I wonder what happened to those commando dolphins that supposedly got let loose during the New Orleans floods.
From Bern: I'm pleased to report that the Australian House Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has presented its *unanimous* report on exceptions to Technological Protection Measures and it is largely good news for open source and bad news for cartels.
TweakTown have some sneak preview pics of a Gigabyte AM2 board.. AM2 being AMD's upcoming new socket, of course.
Thetron spotted some interesting MySQL utilities.. might need some of those at 9pm tonight. :)
Dan looks at a weird flashlight. I have, of course, not yet answered the big question. That question is: Why the heck does this lamp have LEDs that point sideways?
Hexus have posted their thoughts about FutureMark 3DMark06, the latest in the most popular 3D graphics benchmark family.
From Neevo: Microsoft re-designs the iPod packaging, a short and amusing video of what could happen. The claim on Monkinetic's blog is that it was created for microsofts' internal purposes, but how true that is could be anyones guess. Anyway it's a fun vid.
From Pete: I haven’t seen this on the front page news portion before but I ran across this looking for the game Blaster Master from Nintendo. This site has old console games you can play online for free. Games from Nintendo, Sega multi-system, Sega Game gear and so on. Heh, 1942 is a fave of mine and very playable on that site.
It's Sunday and I'm cold and wet.
(link) Sunday, 5-March-2006 06:43:53 (GMT +10) - by Lowgoz
The US Military has unveiled its mechanical 4 legged horsey device. It looks like 2 actors in leggings who have linked arms and bent over, and it's tactically designed to be as loud as possible, giving away the positions of the troops who are silly enough to use it. The video of it (25meg link on that page) made me giggle and the article made me hungry. It reminded me of a loud, spastic, baby horse. This proves that fully armed Mechs are only a matter of time now, frankly I can't wait.
Google's new GDrive is a step closer to reality with a leak reporting that the company is trying for an "infinite storage" online drive. While we are on the topic of Google, it might be interesting for you to make a kite camera to supplement Google Earth.
Rather than sweltering in the Sunday afternoon Adelaide sun, what better way to spend it than in a sweltering room next to a machine that is folding?
The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported on the retro game revival. For some of us, the classic era of gaming never ended, but it's nice to see that mainstream media outlets are also catching on.
Remember the film "The Last Starfighter"? If not, make sure you watch it when it's on at 3am at some stage. In any case, the title of the film comes from the name of the arcade game at the centre of it. This site not only has a replica Last Starfighter cabinet, but it also has the game available for downloading.
Now to my favourite IT-related website at the moment. Many of us (most OCAU readers?) are far too young to remember Computer Space, the first arcade machine (hell, some people here are too young to even remember arcades at their peak...). This site documents the first - and arguably most beautiful - arcade machine ever.
Interested? Well, although it's not Computer Space, it is the inspiration for it. Spacewar! was the inspiration for Computer Space and was developed at MIT. The original source code has been modified to run under Java, and you can play it here.
The Imperator Updated
(link) Saturday, 4-March-2006 17:24:52 (GMT +10) - by Agg
BlueSmurf has been busy elsewhere, but I notice The Imperator's website has been updated with some more in-progress photos:
Macworld has pictures of the inside of an Intel Mac Mini; reezle has a step-by-step series, beginning with the cardboard box, through to the motherboard sans processor. I feel all hot and worked up... must be all that naked IT goodness. Could always be the stuffy Adelaide weather, though.
The Register is reporting that Carnegie Mellon researchers have concluded that portable electronic devices do interfere with aircraft systems and should therefore remain banned from operation during key stages of flights. This includes laptops and DVD players.
Finally, in 1919, William Westfield (self-)published one of the lost gems of scientific research of the twentieth century: "Does the Earth Rotate? NO!" Rather than ruin the conclusion for you, you can read about it here.
New server is gooooooooooooo!
(link) Friday, 3-March-2006 09:47:38 (GMT +10) - by Agg
As should be immediately obvious to anyone browsing the forums, our new database server is now serving the site! Initial response looks very good, but the true test will come on Monday night, touch wood!
Many thanks to Nigel from PlusCorp for his help putting together the new server and his continued support of OCAU through the years. Also of course many thanks to AusGamers and SOUL (was Comindico) for providing server hosting and internet infrastructure.
Also, thanks to all of YOU for putting up with our intermittent speed over the last few months. As a very small token of my appreciation I've increased the size limit of forum PM's from 1000 characters to 2500, as this is a popular request we were putting off until the new server came in. Enjoy the speed!
Here's a bit of an odd one. Apparently it ends today, which may mean only a few hours to go. But anyway. On this Dell page they're showing a $299 (plus $99 delivery) server machine with a free upgrade to dual-core Pentium D 2.8GHz CPU. That CPU is worth pretty much the asking price of the whole box by itself, never mind the 80GB hdd and 256MB of DDR2, PSU, etc. It's been on the site for a few days so I assume it's not a pricing error. Could be a good way to add some extra firepower to your Folding@Home farm, or get a cheap workstation. It has integrated graphics but also PCIe, so presumably it would serve as a decent desktop machine.. hmm.
Edit: ahh, ECC memory only, and PCIe X8 only (not X16).. which will make it less attractive. But still not a bad way to add some Folding grunt. Or will we be seeing a few chassis+mobo for sale on eBay, while people keep the CPU, HDD etc..
The bad news is, OCAU will go down for an hour or so tomorrow middayish. The good news is, the outage is to replace our current database server pie with the much-delayed server bbq. I will also be upgrading the webserver chips to 2GB of memory (from 1GB). Expect some hiccups while we fine-tune both machines but this should (touch wood) eliminate the site speed issues of the last few months. Hooray!
A Fix for IRC Junkies
(link) Thursday, 2-March-2006 02:31:09 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Oz.Org, the normal location of our IRC channel, seem to be having some technical difficulties. There's a few of the IRC regulars hanging out in #overclockers on AustNet, if you're in need of a chat fix. :) In mIRC, it's as simple as changing the setting from Oz.Org to AustNet. Otherwise, connect to server au.austnet.org and /join #overclockers.
Here's a quick review of a hard drive enclosure from Welland. Nothing too amazing about it, but it does the job and looks nice. Would go well with a SFF mini-PC or similar, once you've run out of space inside:
From Paul: TeamXFAU, OCAU's leading subteam in the Folding@Home project, is about to hit the 2 million point mark, and to mark the occasion, we've decided to organise a race for all OCAU folders, old or new!!!
It is a time trial race. It will be run over 4 weeks, and whoever can increase their average PPD production the most over this time wins!!! Simple as that, no handicaps, no divisions, nothing - it's all against all!!!!
As prizes, TeamXFAU members will be folding under the winners' username for two weeks. The prize breakdown has yet to be confirmed, but will probably look like this:
1st prize: 24 x P4's (all 3.6 ghz), donated by EH_Holden_1964 on behalf of Sunraysia Institute of TAFE
2nd prize: 4 x P4's (2x 2.8 ghz, 2x 3.0 ghz), donated by me
3rd prize: 1 x A64 4400+, 1 x P4 3ghz, donated by karsa
4th prize: 2 x P4's (2x 2.8 ghz), donated by Pyro
5th prize: 1 x A64 3000+ @ 2.5ghz, 1 x XP-M 2800+, donated by CaeSiuM-X
6th prize: 1 x P4 3 ghz, donated by kitwalker
7th prize: 1x Athlon 64 3500+ w/RAM OC'ed, 1x 2.8Ghz Pentium 4, Donated by FearTec
There's some great prizes there, they are good for current folders, providing a boost in production (good for those of you competing in other races as well), or for inactive folders, as a kickstart to get folding again, or for new folders, as a nice addition to your folding beginnings. If you would like to enter, please enter your folding name in this thread.
Update: I should clarify, the prizes are that those systems will fold under your name for two weeks, boosting your overall Folding score. IE, you don't actually win 4x P4 CPUs to take home. :)
ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200
(link) Thursday, 2-March-2006 00:18:43 (GMT +10) - by Agg
ATI released their CrossFire Xpress 3200 motherboard chipset today. Developed from the ground up for multi-GPU gaming, the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset enables the world's fastest gaming performance, advanced overclocking capabilities and bedrock stability available in an AMD-based PC motherboard today.
ATI Event in Sydney
(link) Wednesday, 1-March-2006 15:44:10 (GMT +10) - by Agg
You've no doubt seen the banner ads on OCAU about this. From midday this Friday 3rd of March (ie, tomorrow) there's an ATI event at Fox Studios in Sydney. They're launching the X1900 and highlighting CrossFire technology, giving away $10,000 in prizes and having some gaming teams thrash it out in exhibition matches and against the public. There's even dancing girls apparently. :) For more info, listen to this 485KB mp3.
With the 2006 Formula One season fast approaching, a few sites have previews of the upcoming season. According to this one, Renault and Honda are likely to lead the field early on, with new team Super Aguri not surprisingly at the back.
With school and university back and the end of the hot weather approaching, it's a good time to remind people about the Folding @ Home team. Team OCAU lost the lead over the summer break to [H]ardOCP. Although we are now pulling even with them on a daily basis, we have a bit of ground to make up, so every new and past folder is most welcome to join the, um, fold. The Team OCAU page can be viewed here.
A nice timewaster, and it's not even a game... assuming, of course, you can waste hours reading endless webpages like I am more than capable of doing. In these times of heightened political tensions about freedom of speech involving religiously offensive cartoons and Holocaust deniers, the best response is the Mad Revisionist. Rather than simply sitting by and watching from the sidelines, the Mad Revisionist is at the forefront of historical research, using revisionist methodology to prove that the Moon does not exist and that the Sydney Olympics never occurred.
Free USB drive from Microsoft
(link) Wednesday, 1-March-2006 12:42:57 (GMT +10) - by Lowgoz
This is somewhat like a double prizer in a cornflakes box, it just doesn't happen.
Microsoft are giving away free USB drives full of interesting information about windows licensing, windows product information, and other cool marketing stuff. I plan to wipe mine clean and put a bootable Linux Distro on it to create the ultimate paradox and as a result, bend the space- time continuum.
When you go to the page, click on the green "valuable information" box. The answers for the quiz are "2" and "true" for the rest of the questions.
They certainly have been busy...according to Processor Blog, Intel are also making major changes to their roadmap....by the Fall of 2004 Intel had announced plans for a complete roadmap change, perhaps the most profound roadmap change in the last decade from the chip giant, that would allow it to better compete with other processor manufacturers – namely Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD).
Alternative's to Cable and ADSL broadband have taken a step forward.Telstra's recently-announced plans to extend fibre-optic cables to street-side cabinets in order to provide faster ADSL services could be the kickstart broadband over powerline (BPL) technology needs in Australia, thanks iroquois. They still have to deal with the fact that BPL uses the same frequency as short-wave radio though.
Once you have BPL all set up, you might even be able to pay a toll and get in the information superhighway's virtual fast lane. ...the major US phone companies want to change by effectively adding a toll lane: they want to be able to give priority treatment to those who pay to get through faster.
Nordic Hardware have interviewed ABIT about thier purchase of USI.Many feared that ABIT's identity as an enthusiast company would disappear at the same time. We therefore decided to contact ABIT and hear what it had to say about the merging with USI.
Bjorn3D is having a chat online with NVIDIA on March 7th using IRC. More information to come. (site is currently down)
Adrian's Rojak Pot reveal the task killer lurking in Windows XP.Join us on this mini-guide as Dashken tells you all about this hidden killer and why it can be a very powerful tool for those who know its secrets!
Hardware Overclock have overclocked an Opteron to 3060 mhz using air cooling. The link will take you to the main page, hit the British flag on the sidebar for English version.
We've all noticed our Windows-based systems bog down over time. The TechZone have an article on maintaining your PC to aviod this situation.
On Designtechnica, home theater "expert" Mark Fleischmann explains why you should not fall for the 7.1 hype.With the marketing of 6.1 and 7.1 surround, the industry has decisively outwitted itself. It has convinced many consumers to buy new receivers and more speakers. But it has also undermined the 5.1-channel standard, which is more appropriate for the home, slowing the acceptance of surround sound in general.
Cory Doctorow (copyright activist) has spoken to Bit Tech about DRM among other things. DRM systems are usually broken in minutes, sometimes days. Rarely months. ...the secret isn't a secret any more.
Interesting article on the ski gear worn by USA and Canadian skiers at the recent Turino Winter Olympics. A futuristic flexible material that instantly hardens into armour upon impact. Plenty of other applications for that material too.
Dan's pretty new site has been beefed up with some new letters!In this edition: Horizontal heat pipes, the mystic 65536, what PC means when it doesn't mean PC, invisible bits, USB audio, speaker zombification, and large sparks. Cup of coffee recommended as usual.
The long awaited timewaster has returned with a vengance! Pliphunt will test your mousing skills by bopping the poor Plips on the head, while the US Army want to "test your memory". Cue the conspiracy theorists.
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