Yoink has put together an excellent Wiki article about the current spate of fake memory cards. These are usually not the advertised capacity or speed, or are in other ways inferior. This article covers how to identify them visually, as well as testing them via software. Nice work!
First up for tonight, Peter sends word that ATI have released Catalyst 6.7, head over to ATI.com to grab them.
ChileHardware have a guide to changing faulty capacitors on your motherboard. If your motherboard´s capacitors are leaking or you wan´t to upgrade the quality of them on your motherboard (like we did with the DFI LanParty nF4 in the article) this is a must read guide. The original guide is in Spanish, but the pictures make up for the poor translation.
Hardware Secrets have posted Everything you need to know about Serial ATA. "Serial ATA - or simply SATA - is the hard disk standard created to replace the parallel ATA interface, a.k.a. IDE. SATA provides a transfer rate of 150 MB/s or 300 MB/s against of a 133 MB/s maximum using the previous technology. In this tutorial we will explain everything you need to know about Serial ATA."
EclipseOC have an article on their Open Air test rig: Frustrated with your closed and cramped case?! We were as well. Have a look to see what can be done about it.
Trusted Reviews have an article entitled "Build Your Own Media PC" Heres a snippit: "Anyone who read the recent budget HDTV roundup might be after a little more information on what we used for our testing. While Riyad was vigorously testing these displays with his Xbox 360 and a copy of Dead or Alive 4, I could be found bent over my lab desk with a screw driver in hand, doing things the hard way."
Linux is headed into Boeing anti-sub aircraft.Boeing has awarded Wind River Systems a contract to embed its version of Linux into a new military aircraft, the company plans to announce Monday along with a new batch of products built around the open-source operating system. Thanks Jotham.
From BFM: Whilst looking for live penguin webcam feeds, turns out this site has some absolutely AWESOME Nintendo VST effects that OCAU music composers will love!
Voltus sends word that Amd have released (Subscription required) the X2 3600+ "to combat the entry level Dual core arena." Discussion right here in our own forums.
Guru3D have posted part 9 of the Definitive Multi-GPU World TourThe Definitive Multi-GPU World Tour is a collaboration between nine respected sites around the world to cover the entire ecosystem of products that make up the multi-GPU marketplace. In this comprehensive series of articles we cover the basics of implementing a multi-GPU setup and the technology behind it, what products we feel represent the best performance and feature-set for each price point, and how each setup performs using 60+ applications and benchmarks.
Once again, remember to keep our Sponsor Specials Forum in mind when shopping around. All OCAU Forum members can view it. Currently there's a few Conroe-related specials and new AMD pricing, plus some amazing LCD monitor and hard drive bargains too.
As always, there's an incredibly detailed worklog thread here.
Get a Free Copy of WinRAR
(link) Sunday, 30-July-2006 09:35:47 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Apparently the people who make WinRAR (a compression/decompression utility) are giving away free copies of their registered version for one day only, as a way of giving thanks for being voted the "Best Overall Utility" in a recent People's Choice award. The site is, as you can imagine, being absolutely hammered at the moment, so you might have to try later on - the promotion should still be going for a few hours yet.
There's discussion in this thread in our General Software forum.
Anandtech have a 320GB showdown between Seagate and Western Digital. What makes it interesting is that the Seagate drive is the first production model to use Perpendicular Recording. Simply put, during perpendicular recording the magnetization of the disc stands on end, perpendicular to the plane of the disc, instead of lying in the disc's plane as it does in current longitudinal recording. The data bits are then represented as regions of upward or downward directed magnetization points.
HKEPC have a flashback through Intel's desktop processors of the last 25 years, beginning with the 4004 and ending with Core 2 Duo.
Heh, seems Metallica are now OK with being on iTunes, despite previous concerns about internet availability of their songs. Fire bad!!!
Metku have a cool-but-kinda-pointless mod of a mobile phone LCD into a mouse. One can find LCDs and TFTs embedded to almost everything so why not inside a mouse.
BusinessWeek report on the Top 100 Brands in the world. Here's a look at the world's most valuable brands according to the latest BusinessWeek/Interbrand survey.
Apparently the MSDN library is now free to download. Sure, the whole thing is available online and searchable, but I've always enjoyed having my local copy. It's much faster than going out to the web, plus the search isn't nearly as bad.
GamePC checked out NVIDIA's Quad SLI. A few weeks ago, nVidia released an official driver which allows for multiple GeForce 7950 GX2 cards to be run in a Quad-SLI configuration without the need for specialized hardware or software. As of today, this technology can be purchased by anyone with a big enough wallet.
FiringSquad have a report on Quad SLI performance too. Now that NVIDIA and Alienware have had a bit more time to work some of the bugs out of Quad SLI, a fully-equipped Alienware ALX Quad SLI system sits on our desk for testing. As a result, we figured this would be a good time to take another look at the platform.
We linked this earlier, but it's worth a closer look: PC Perspective reviewed a Core 2 Duo Mobile or "Merom" CPU. This new mobile CPU is the successor to the wildly successful Yonah Core Duo CPUs and comes with many new improvements including EM64T (Intel x86-64 extensions) for 64-bit processing.
Digit-Life examine how much a PC's video performance is CPU limited. Evidently, a weak CPU is unlikely to unveil all the video card's potentials. A contrary example - a powerful CPU with the explicitly weak video subsystem is unlikely to enjoy the high-quality picture.
While we're having a Tomcat day, these two pics are from Wishywashy: Took these two photos on my vacation to Corpus Christi, TX. It's of a F-14 on board the USS Lexington.
click to enlarge
Farewell to the Tomcat
(link) Saturday, 29-July-2006 14:27:36 (GMT +10) - by Agg
This may not be relevant to a lot of people, but an icon from my childhood has retired recently. The Grumman F-14 Tomcat has jumped off the deck for the last time, as they have been retired from active service in the US Navy. I was a bit of an aircraft nut as a kid and built a few model F-14's - in fact, I remember painting one up in the "Jolly Rogers" colours:
(What Agg isn't telling you is that he's still a large plane nut now, and frankly, so am I. It's a bit worrying when two grown men get nostalgic over a fighter being retired, but damnit, leave us alone. The Tomcat had a great career, except for that 'thing' with Tom Cruise, but let's not be too hasty to judge: it was young and needed the money. In this day and age of 'multi-mission capability' and cost cutting, there will never be such a brute force, bar-brawling fighter aircraft such as the F-14 again. - Sciby)
TrustedReviews have a memory card roundup. In order to help you make a choice we’ve gathered a selection of 2GB SD and 4GB CF cards from a number of popular manufacturers and subjected them to a series of tests.
TheTechZone suggest how to protect your eyes while gaming. Greenery soothes eyes, so glance as often as you can at green trees, bushes, or plants. I don't think the trees in Far Cry count.
PCMech explain how ATI HyperMemory and nVidia TurboCache work. Making use of the latest release of PCI-Express, nVidia's TurboCache, along with ATI's incarnation of the technology called HyperMemory, crafted an efficient method of borrowing system memory for graphical use.
The Multi-GPU World Tour continues at LegitReviews. We benchmark eight common games that do not have built-in benchmarking utilities and see how CrossFire and SLI do in games that don't get much attention with the media. The results are interesting and a must read for any gamer considering SLI or CrossFire!
From James: "The Chaser's War on Everything" now has a podcast!!! :) old episode segments are on the page for download. good for a giggle =)
GideonTech built a biped robot.. interesting. Then I used an L bracket to allow the ankles to rotate, which will be attached to the servo brackets which will make up the knees.
Beyond3D have some info on Direct3D 10, the graphics portion of DirectX 10 in Windows Vista. What follows is a summary piece based on our notes from the D3D10 sessions, chats with various game devs, ATI devrel staff and Intel guys, who were all there to either learn or evangelise about D3D10, XBox 360 and multi-threaded game development.
TweakTown checked out how RAM is made at TEAM Group's factory. We’ll also show you how memory is tested for stability before testing along with how heat spreaders are installed on TEAM’s range of Xtreem memory modules.
TweakTown report that the much-anticipated RD600 chipset from ATI, for Conroe, will still go ahead despite the AMD+ATI merger. As for future ATI based Intel platform based chipsets, the future is uncertain.
ArsTechnica ponder place-shifting television shows. A few cables here, a few networking adjustments there, and you can use a product like the Slingbox or the software-based Orb to watch your TV (or TiVo, or DVD player) from just about anywhere you can get a network connection, be it your office, your hotel room, or the other side of the planet.
David sends word that Scorched3D has been updated. Scorched 3D is a game based loosely (or actually quite heavily now) on the classic DOS game Scorched Earth "The Mother Of All Games". Scorched 3D adds amongst other new features a 3D island environment and LAN and internet play. Scorched 3D is totally free and is available for both Microsoft Windows and Unix (Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, Solaris etc.) operating systems.
1st prize: Sexy Hiper Type-R 580W PSU (as seen here, but BLUE) from Arena PC 2nd prize: Your choice of Zalman Theatre 6 5.1 headphones (that we tried to give away earlier, pic here) OR HEC PowerOP 435W PSU (from our roundup a year or so ago now) 3rd prize: The other 2nd prize.
The basic idea is to "remix" the podcast by cutting bits out and rearranging them into a funny conversation, or fake interview or song or something. Audacity is our free editing tool of choice, but you can use what you like. More details and quite a few funny entries already in this thread!
From Nitrov8: Space Invaders recreated by stop-motion animation of people sitting in auditorium seats. Cool. :)
Tech-Report have info about AMD's 4x4 kits for quad-core computing. Read on to see why 4x4 may prove to be a really nice development for PC hobbyists, not just a stunt to distract attention from The Other Guy's shiny new processors.
Tim sent in an amazing gallery of Visions of Science pictures.. check out the giant peppercorn!
ArsTechnica checked out some temples of technology in New York City. Ars heads to the Big Apple and checks out the flagship stores for Apple, Nintendo, Samsung, and Sony.
Episode 16 of our podcast is now out, slightly late this week. Sciby was unfortunately transformed into a robot before this episode was recorded, so it's just Andypoo and I, with a bit from thetron in the middle. We have some thoughts on the AMD+ATI merger, Conroe availability, DS Lite brain training stuff, interstellar travel and a few other topics.
You can grab this week's episode via iTunes here (you might need to subscribe (free!) in iTunes before you can see the new episode), or download the files direct from our server:
FlingingSquirrels have a ranty editorial about real-world benchmarking in reviews. When testing a specific hardware component, whether it’s a graphics card, CPU, or any other component, as a reviewer you want to try to isolate the performance of that component as much as possible.
TomsHardware consider the graphics state of the union at present. But I have to warn you not to let the hoopla of well-oiled public relations and marketing machines cloud your judgment. Yes, there are many advances taking place, but there are so many elements with varying schedules that make this whole situation somewhat unclear.
BBC report on magnetoresistive RAM or MRAM, which they think could one day replace flash memory and hard drives. Put simply, Mram stores data magnetically, in the same way a hard drive does. This makes it non-volatile. It is also very quick, and does not wear out over time. So it seems to have the advantages of both RAM and flash, with none of the disadvantages.
This site has a couple of videos of future display technologies putting images into thin air. This new technology requires no screens, monitors or other physical surfaces to be able to project and display its images.
Microsoft have confirmed the existence of their iPod competitor, the Zune. There's a thread about this gadget here in our Audio/Visual forum.
TomsHardware also have a graphics beginners' guide. If you're new to the graphics card scene, or you're coming back after a short vacation from the hardware world, it can be extremely daunting. So if you count yourself among the confused or newbies, then this guide is for you!
Anandtech covered NVIDIA's PureVideo HD, offering HD-DVD playback on the PC. It will still be some time before we see a notebook capable of playing an entire HD-DVD or BD movie at resolution on one charge.
Outy spotted this cool hydrogen-powered toy car. This month, it will begin sales of a tiny hydrogen fuel-cell car, complete with its own miniature solar-powered refueling station.
For a bigger toy, how about a giant ball you roll down hillsides in? Thanks PodgeSSS.
Bit-Tech have a PC in a football. Can you mod a PC into a regulation match football and a pair of soccer boots for our tradeshow stand, asked Foxconn?
TechSport are the latest to check out GeForce 7300GT's in SLI. Running two SLI capable 7300GTs one besides the other, performance can be almost doubled surpassing that of a single GeForce 7600GT.
Murray spotted some Vista improvements in the latest beta. Installation time, something an earlier Computerworld story criticized, has been cut by about 40 percent -- making it the best Windows installation experience ever. Overall performance of this build is noticeably faster, including boot times and general performance of opening and closing applications, windows and dialogs.
Edit: uh, if you're confused, I did accidently link the wrong video on here temporarily. It's over 500MB, so you probably don't want to bother downloading it anyway. :)
Forget the rumours, AMD now have a Press Release explaining how they're joining forces with ATI to create "a processing powerhouse". More info here, although there doesn't seem to be any info on ATI's site as yet.
NEW YORK -- July 24, 2006 --AMD (NYSE: AMD) and ATI (TSX: ATY, NASDAQ: ATYT) today announced plans to join forces in a transaction valued at approximately $5.4 billion. The combination will create a processing powerhouse by bringing AMD’s technology leadership in microprocessors together with ATI’s strengths in graphics, chipsets and consumer electronics. The result: A new and more formidable company, determined to drive growth, innovation and choice for its customers, particularly in the commercial and mobile computing segments and in the rapidly-growing consumer electronics market. Combining technologies, people, and complementary strengths, AMD plans to deliver in 2007 customer-centric platforms for the benefit of customers who want to collaborate in the development of differentiated solutions.
There's discussion in this thread in our AMD Hardware forum.
How Safety Switches Work
(link) Monday, 24-July-2006 09:42:05 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Here's an interesting Wiki article from Terra operative, about how RCD safety switches work - you know, the things that stop you getting fried when things go electrically wrong in your house. Quite a bit more complex than the old fuse days:
TrustedReviews want to explain all about HDTV. From now on the picture on our television set will be as clear, vivid and lifelike as the image we see from our living room window. Well that’s the idea anyway, but unfortunately things are rarely that simple, and in the case of high definition television, things a very far from simple.
Allen spotted this article about surfing the web using only your brain. Someday, keyboards and computer mice will be remembered only as medieval-style torture devices for the wrists. All work - emails, spreadsheets, and Google searches - will be performed by mind control. That could get a little embarrassing if daydreaming at your work PC.
From newcomic: i came across these macro photographs which are extremely impressive. Wow, they're amazing. Don't look if you hate close-up pics of bugs etc tho. :)
Here's a few poorly-chosen domain names. It is advisable to look at the domain name selected as other see it and not just as you think it looks.
ByteSizedReviews have updated their high-end PSU shootout. Our tests are now updated with the Silverstone Strider 600W.
More on the AMD->ATI rumours here thanks Falkor and here on Techgage.
TBreak checked out Conroe performance under OS X, perhaps giving a glimpse of what future Macs will hold. Its really no secret that a "home installable" version of the Intel OS X has been floating on the "scene" for sometime now and we used one such version based on 10.4.6 version of the O/S. Hardware-wise, we used Intel’s 975X motherboard with a Core 2 Xtreme CPU running at 2.93GHz along with 2GB Corsair RAM running at DDR2-800MHz speed.
The next part of the "Multi GPU World Tour" has been posted on Neoseeker.. this time covering the most played games. Our contribution has us looking at a rough cross section of a few of the most played multiplayer games on both XFire and Gamespy, though we do cover a couple more recent high profile titles such as Oblivion.
MadShrimps have a 7900GT roundup, including four cards from MSI, eVGA, Sparkle and Club 3D.
ABIT Recalls Some AN9 32X Motherboards
(link) Monday, 24-July-2006 08:53:20 (GMT +10) - by Agg
This from ABIT: After a series of heavy testing programs, our Quality Control test department has found that a small number of units from the early manufacturing of the AN9 32X product line has a hardware issue caused by heatsink component displacement due to accidental rough handling during shipments. This will cause high temperatures and possible overheating. Therefore, Universal abit has chosen to recall those AN9 32X and Fatal1ty AN9 32X motherboards that have been affected by this accident.
Units with the following serial numbers will be recalled:
Units with the following serial numbers are certified problem free and will NOT be recalled:
Fatal1ty AN9 32X:
FAN93UDC002714 ~ FAN93UDC005422
AN932UDC001408 ~ AN932UDC002612
Shipping costs will be covered in full by Universal abit and its world-wide branch offices. All affected end-users should return said motherboards and abit will examine and repair them accordingly if needed.
HWSecrets have an A64 overclocking guide. In this tutorial we will cover Athlon 64 overclocking with several tips and tricks that even users with some overclocking experience will learn something new.
HardOCP interviewed NVIDIA about DIY Quad SLI. Although the GeForce 7950 GX2 is fully compliant with the PCI-Express specification, it was the first mass-produced graphics card design to use a PCI-E switch, and frankly it was unlike anything motherboard builders had seen before.
3DGameMan have a look back at their video reviews, having now done over 650 of them. Take a peek through 7 years of Rodney Reynolds Video Reviews. Rodney also explains how he got started doing video reviews and much more.
From DavoRulz: Just a quick note on IE7: Beta 3 has been released recently. I’ve had a play with it, and while it seems more streamlined and a little bit more compatible with certain sites, it feels a lot more bloated. On my A64 3700 navigating through certain type of menus can bring my PC to it’s knees with 100% CPU usage. Hopefully Microsoft will optimise the final build of IE to be a bit more lenient on system resources. You can find more info on Microsoft’s website here.
If you like pictures of toasted or otherwise dead hardware, VIVIAN says there's loads on this page. Ouch, looking at those roasted AthlonXP's brings back some bad memories!
Eroda wants the world to know that there's a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie on the way, with trailers on Apple.com. Seems to be fully CGI. Turtle Power!
Haven't mentioned these in a while - OCAU QuickLinks are a quick way to get around OCAU, using the ocau.com domain. They're a quicker way to get around the site when you're on someone else's PC or on a slow connection.
The Conroe announcement and subsequent AMD price drops has lead to all kinds of interesting threads in our Sponsor Specials forum. Remember to keep it in mind when you're shopping around!
GM Building Hybrids for "Good Press"
(link) Saturday, 22-July-2006 04:42:32 (GMT +10) - by Agg
According to Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman of General Motors, hybrid vehicles are "economically nonsensical". "Hybrids are technologically of doubtful benefit, and expensive, but necessary from a political and public relations point of view," Lutz told Just-Auto. "Toyota has said, economically, hybrids make no sense. The reduction in fuel [consumption] does not pay for the technological content and cost of the vehicle so therefore economically it remains fairly nonsensical, so that's the left-brain analytical argument."
You may not be aware, but Andypoo (of SecretNet and podcast fame) is offering a 512MB (or perhaps bigger) USB Flash Drive to the person who submits the best question for the podcast, each week for the next little while. So far this week we have.. one person's submission! So it looks like they'll win if you don't email a better question to firstname.lastname@example.org before we record Episode 16 on Sunday night. :)
Edit: err, 50+ submissions now. so that's enough for this week, ta. :)
From Silicon Angel, a critical vulnerability in certain D-Link routers. The vulnerability affects the Local Area Network (LAN) interface of several of D-Link's consumer-grade routers, and a company spokesperson said the networking vendor has released patches for download on its website.
The "Multi-GPU World Tour" continues, with HARDiNFO providing a pile of benchmark results. This Multi-GPU World Tour is essentially 9 different sites working together to produce the largest and most comprehensive GPU review yet, featuring 6 multi-GPU setups and 60 benchmarks!
Speaking of which, Xbit report that NVIDIA have enabled quad-SLI for DIY users. "This driver is a Beta driver that enables Quad Nvidia SLI technology, allowing you to put two GeForce 7950 GX2 graphics cards in a single system with an Nvidia nForce SLI motherboard. This driver is strictly for end user Beta testing with two GeForce 7950 GX2 graphics cards only and is not intended for production," a statement by Nvidia reads.
Thetron spotted this page (translated from Japanese) which covers overclocking a DS Lite. But if the DS Lite is faster.. then my Brain Training results will be lower..
VR-Zone found a WiFi Hard Disk in Singapore. A 1.8" Hitachi 30GB Travelstar in the Wi Drive, up to 60GB potential in this small a form factor. Definitely qualified to be coined pocket sized.
Dink found something interesting in Google Earth. Note there's 2 pages to that article. Those among you who like your skies darkened by black helicopters are invited to mosey on down to the remote Chinese village of Huangyangtan which hosts what must be the strangest military installation ever spotted by the Google Earth Community.
From koopz: I noticed over @ EETimes that NVidia have won the deal to supply multimedia chips in the next iPod. Why the hell aren't these thing folding yet!@#%???
PodgeSSS spotted the latest fashion in invisibility cloaks. The wearer is moving in front of a television screen and colored backgrounds. Observe that his face is not covered by the wallpaper background displayed on the cloak. Very impressive. Plus, he has mad dance moves.
Not to be outdone, XbitLabs have a dual-core desktop CPU shootout. In this article you will find the latest data on the consumer features of Core 2 Duo, Pentium D and Athlon 64 X2 that have changed noticeably because of the new arrivals and price policy changes.
Timbot sent in this list of dumb internet criminals. The producers of Agg Townz Fights 2 were peddling their wares on the Internet for $15 to $20! I did what now?
If you suddenly find you can't post, most likely you need to fix your email setting in UserCP and respond to the confirmation mail the system will send you. You should then be able to post, and within an hour, see the trading forums again.
Even if your forum account is ok, please quickly check your email is up to date. We receive thousands of bounced emails every day now, due to people not keeping their settings updated.
Remember, you need to use a non-free email with your OCAU forum account.
Marty noticed that THG have some PhysX food for thought. Since our previous article covering the Ageia PhysX processor we have continued our work in the labs to get a better handle on what this hardware can do.
Adr_an spotted this computer game shop in Japan that is pretty insane. I felt like a kid in a candy store. I didn't know where to start.
Hexus have a 4-vendor roundup of Radeon X1900 XTX video cards. We grabbed Radeon X1900 XTXs from GeCube, ASUS, Sapphire and MSI - and ran them through the mill.
From Murray: Technology that helps airlines keep track of baggage and sounds an alarm when a shoplifter tries to leave the store may be able to stop surgeons from losing a sponge inside a patient, a study said on Monday.
Bit-Tech ponder the life of a Web Hermit. I'm sure I have no idea what they're talking about..
TweakGuides have a guide to Gamer's Graphics & Display Settings. I looked around and realised that many of the most basic and commonly used graphical and display-related settings such as FPS, Resolution, Refresh Rate, Triple Buffering and VSync are never really explained in sufficient detail in plain English, particularly with a gaming audience in mind.
ARS consider some Digital Rights Management issues from the last few years. Like it or not, DRM has become a fact of life in the 21st century. Ars takes a look at some of the more noteworthy hacks of the past several years and what the future might hold as Blu-ray and HD DVD take hold.
Fun with Portals and Physics
(link) Wednesday, 19-July-2006 06:47:32 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Sciby spotted this mind-bending video from Valve, demonstrating Portals:
From there I found the site fun-motion.com, which is a blog about physics-based games. I'm interested in knowing how people feel about this whole Physics Acceleration thing, which has become quite a buzzword lately. PhysX cards are here and soon we'll see GPU-powered physics acceleration from NVIDIA and ATI (recent info here and here). But, to be honest, I'm finding it hard to get excited about the technology and I don't really see what it can bring to the gaming experience that can't be provided by a fast CPU and GPU. Let me know your thoughts, in the Comments thread for this news post.
Sciby spotted this cool Media Mirror project. Media Mirror is an interactive video installation, in which over 200+ channels of live cable television are continuously arranged in real-time to form a mosaic representation of the person that stands in front of it.
Apparently not everyone liked the IT Girls calendar we mentioned a few days ago.. there was a US-based DDoS attack on their website. A separate aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of women in IT and highlight their diversity, but it is on these points that many critics are divided.
Anandtech recently checked out Intel's Woodcrest, their new server CPU. The new processor features a 4MB L2 cache shared between each of its two cores and a 1333MHz Dual-Independent Bus architecture. Clock speeds for the Woodcrest launch will start at 1.6GHz and top out at 3.0GHz, and power consumption for the parts will range from 65W to 85W for the top bin part (3.0Ghz).
Meanwhile THG reported on Intel's 32-core project, thanks Chris. Although it was designed to come up with architecture to beat the pants off Sun in the server market by 2010, Keifer may easily be the technical basis for future server and mainstream processors as well.
Extremetech have a series of articles talking to the people behind DX10. In Part 2, we turned our attention to the GPU manufacturers, interviewing ATI's CTO of the PC Business Group, Bob Drebin. Of course, asking one GPU manufacturer about its DX10 ideas is only getting half the story, so today we present an interview with Nvidia's Vice President of Technical Marketing, Tony Tamasi.
From Luke: I'm not sure if this has been covered at all - and it is kinda old news but I found it to be pretty interesting and handy. Its a tutorial on how to turn an iPod into a universal remote.
TechReport compared nForce 590 SLI boards from ASUS and Foxconn. The C51XEM2AA and M2N32-SLI Deluxe represent opposite ends of the nForce 590 SLI motherboard spectrum, but are they really so different?
Lithium-based batteries are getting more bad press, with suspicions they caused a UPS cargo aircraft fire last February. FAA official William Wilkening testified that there have been 60 incidents since 1991 that involved batteries catching on fire, smoking or getting hot. According to Wilkening, most of the batteries were lithium or lithium-ion.
Phoronix looked at Linux vs Windows performance with ATI drivers. Even for the Linux drivers being based upon the ATI Windows Catalyst suite, the frame-rate performance under Linux is one of the critical areas for improvement in this graphics battle.
The "multi-GPU world tour" continues on Bjorn3D, where they are picking out motherboards. Many concentrate on picking a good CPU and video card but forget that the road to a stable and fast system starts with the motherboard.
Dan's had enough of megapixels. If you pay extra for more resolution in a digital camera, you may be buying less than nothing.
From Murray, info on a tiny wireless "memory spot" that can store up to 100 pages of text. Developed over four years by HP Labs in Bristol, the chip is about the size of the head of a match and could potentially store a patient's medical chart on a hospital band, said Howard Taub, associate director at HP Labs.
Also from Murray, Microsoft releasing Virtual PC 2004 as a free download. The PC emulation package allows users to run multiple operating systems on a host PC, making it suitable for software developers and testers. The software previously cost around £90.
Hexus visited FSP Group, a PSU manufacturer. Over the course of four days in sweaty Taoyuan, I got a good picture of just how FSP Group go about producing a new model for retail, how their R&D group works to make it happen, how they self certify and how that all fits in to their overall product strategy for the supplies they expect you guys, the PC mainstream and enthusiast, to buy.
Episode 15 of our podcast is now out. This week the focus is on Conroe, Intel's new CPU family. We have a half-hour interview with Chainbolt, the author of our Conroe review. Andypoo, Sciby and Agg also take time to answer a few questions, which results in some funny stories and recollections etc. This episode is also recorded in stereo, with slight stereo separation between hosts to help distinguish our voices.
You can grab this week's episode via iTunes here (you might need to subscribe (free!) in iTunes before you can see the new episode), or download the files direct from our server:
The Space Shuttle Discovery is currently firing its navigational motors in a "de-orbit burn" to slow it from orbital velocity and allow it to return to earth. You can watch on NASA TV and keep track of things in this thread.
Silent PC Review have a brief overview and guide for consumers seeking to minimise the power consumption of their computer gear, as seen in the Homepower Magazine Aug/Sep 2006 issue.
Hardware Secrets have updated their Athlon 64 quick reference tables. All new processors from AMD found on the stores nowadays are based on AMD's Athlon 64 architecture, also known as x86-64 or "hammer". In this tutorial we will list all Athlon 64, Athlon 64 FX and Athlon 64 X2 models released so far and the main differences between them." Also updated to include socket AM2 models.
Second Life lets you make, buy and sell property in-game. World of Warcraft specifically forbids you. Flickr is all about creating your own content. How should we handle user-generated content in MMO experiences? Bit-tech look at this in Who owns your virtual life?.
Adrians Rojak Pot have posted the Seagate 2006 Technology Briefing where they take a look at the 11 new products Seagate will be launching in the coming months.
From Scott: Tremulous is a free, open source game that blends a team based FPS with elements of an RTS. Players can choose from 2 unique races, aliens and humans. Players on both teams are able to build working structures in-game like an RTS. These structures provide many functions, the most important being spawning. The designated builders must ensure there are spawn structures or other players will not be able to rejoin the game after death. Other structures provide automated base defense (to some degree), healing functions and much more...
Dan has posted More Letters!In this issue: I-RAM imaging, ancient monitors, RAID disasters, Y-adapting fans, inefficient file transfers, fiddling with Windows' clock, more UPS batteries, and The Joy of Baluns.
Intel Core 2 Duo "Conroe" Review
(link) Friday, 14-July-2006 04:05:22 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Intel have unveiled their new microprocessor family, which will replace the Pentium 4 and eventually extend across their entire product line from mobile, to desktop, to server. It's called "Core 2 Duo", but we've known it as Conroe for a long time. With a more efficient design than the Pentium 4, 1066MHz FSB and dual cores that share a large (up to 4MB) L2 cache, will it be enough to wrestle the CPU performance crown from AMD's Athlon 64?
Chainbolt has prepared an in-depth review of the two high-end CPUs from this range, the 2.93GHz X6800 and the 2.67GHz E6700. There's loads of info, plenty of benchmarks, and of course, some overclocking:
Remember to keep an eye on our Sponsor Specials Forum if you're in the market for something. Right now there's a lot of LCD monitor specials, and some Conroe-related items, too - and on that note, keep an eye on our newspage at about 2pm this afternoon.
OCAU Idol - Grand Final!
(link) Friday, 14-July-2006 00:08:15 (GMT +10) - by Agg
It's down to the five finalists in our "OCAU Idol" contest. Some of our finalists have used backing instruments to enhance their performance, which may or may not make their song more appealing. Its purely up to you and your reasoning to decide who deserves to be crowned the OCAU Idol winner.
You can check out all the original entrants in this thread, too.
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.
From Feartec, info on a free 1400x1080p HDTV show he describes as half fashion, half adventure - beware tho, it's up to 2GB per episode! Also, possibly a bit too babelicious to qualify for "work safe".
mariposaHD is the world's first High Definition TV series distributed directly on the Internet. And it's free. mariposaHD is recorded, edited, and distributed in the full 1920x1080 pixel resolution of the 1080i standard. We distribute mariposaHD using the BitTorrent peer-to-peer software. With a broadband Internet connection, you can download and watch mariposaHD on your PC, your HDTV, or even a video iPod.
mariposaHD is produced by four ordinary guys who quit their jobs, moved to South America, and decided to make a TV show. We film everything with HDV camcorders and edit the video on a PC in our living room. You can download mariposaHD for free from our Web site, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere in the world. mariposaHD is distributed under a Creative Commons license which means that you can keep it, copy it, and share it forever as long as you don't charge for it or alter it.
Sniper spotted this interesting copy-protection flaw in Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Computer magazine c't has discovered that the first software players running on Windows XP allow screenshots of the movies to be created in full resolution. To do so, you only need to press the Print key on your keyboard while the movie is running. Such a screenshot function could then be automated to produce copies of HD movies both from Blu-ray Discs and from HD DVDs picture by picture. As c't calculated, the performance of current PC systems is sufficient for a clean recording using this procedure. What'll they think of next. :)
LegionHW wondered if using two slower cards in SLI is worthwhile. The benefit of two GeForce 7300GT cards such as the Gigabyte ones used in this article, is that they are passively cooled and produce very little heat, even when overclocked
TheTechZone have a guide to wireless security. For a start, most of the wireless base stations sold by suppliers come with the in-built security Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol turned off. This means that unless you manually reconfigure your wireless access points, your networks will be broadcasting data that is unencrypted.
From lostintranslation: Microsoft and Yahoo have finally released versions of Windows Live and Yahoo Messenger that allows users on both networks to communicate with each other. Info here and here.
LegitReviews cover building your own Core Duo Gaming Notebook. It's been nearly one year since Legit Reviews has written an article on building your own custom whitebox gaming notebook and boy how times have changed.
From Nick: VMware has released v1.0 of their VMware Server product for free.
PenStarSys have part 1 of a giant multi-GPU article. In the spring of this year nine sites around the world decided to work together on a single, comprehensive article covering the multi-GPU space. Part 2 is here on Bit-Tech.
From Ma77: Tuesday was D-Day for Windows 98, 98 SE and ME users. After some extensions, Microsoft finally ended its association with the eight-year-old Windows 98 operating system by dropping all support and updates on July 11th. Info here and here.
LegitReviews compared budget and inbuilt graphics. So what we did learn here? That integrated video is slower compared to even the least expensive cards on the market including an add-in board with the same name. The X300 was much faster while the 6200TC was easily capable of doubling the performance of the integrated video in all but one situation.
Episode 14 of our podcast is now out. Despite there being very little in the way of interesting news this week, Sciby, Andypoo and I still managed to waffle on for nearly an hour. I also experimented with putting music between topics in this episode, so it's ended up sounding like a podcast about nothing, recorded in a disco! I bet you're just itching to download this one.. :)
You can grab this week's episode via iTunes here (you might need to subscribe (free!) in iTunes before you can see the new episode), or download the files direct from our server:
From Dink: This website is attempting to fight the DMCA style laws waiting to be introduced in Australia. It is run by Linux Australia.
Tech-Report checked out the new CrossFire Xpress 3200 offerings from Abit and DFI. With some calling DFI the new Abit, we thought it only fitting to pit these two companies' latest Athlon 64 motherboards against each other head to head.
Here's an interesting video of drag cars filmed using a 1000-fps camera, showing how much the tyres distort and other interesting things you can't normally see.
Dewy noticed this Australian girls of IT calendar being organised. "The IT Screen Goddesses Calendar features beautiful photos of real women working in the IT industry, in poses inspired by movie goddesses old and recent," the group says on its website. Strangely the article doesn't link their website, but Google turned it up here.
OCModShop look back at the Radeon experience. So one day I thought, "How fun it would be to compare the Radeons I’ve owned." Well, what started as my own little comparison has become a much larger project, and has turned out to be a very enjoyable blast from the past to look at the roots of our present day Radeons.
On the other side of the GPU fence, Hexus checked out GeForce 7900 GT, 7900 GTX and 7600 GT OC cards from BFG. BFG Tech were gracious enough to provide their OC examples of all three products, two-up for some SLI testing.
TechDomain have a "born again" article about Overclocking the Athlon XP-M CPUs. This article covers my personal experiences of overclocking the AMD Athlon XP-M chip and all of the barriers encountered. While it isn’t a comprehensive guide for beginners, it does cover many important aspects of overclocking.
Getting a little silly now - Moggity spotted this Turbo PC.. with a real turbo. As for the cooling system, an LED case fan just wasn't going to be original enough. Instead, our case fan is a turbocharger commonly found on late 1990's Mitsubishi Eclipses and Eagle Talons.
If you're a member of our hidden Conspiracy Forum, you might be interested in these advanced tinfoil hat designs from Daztay. With your homemade tin foil hat, your brain is safe.
Lexar's Firefly range of USB drives may be unfortunately living up to its name, with a recall issued due to a "potential to overheat". The device, which comes in 256MB, 512MB, 1GB and 2GB flavours, has been removed from store shelves and Lexar is asking any Australians who have purchased the device to "stop using the product immediately and return the product to Lexar head office for a replacement".
AMI Technologies and GeIL are teaming up with an interesting contest. You can win prizes, then compete against some hardcore CounterStrike players, and then take revenge on them in real-life paintball! For details see the flyer below:
From VooDoo, an article about metal body grafts. A TEAM of British scientists has overcome one of the great challenges of modern medicine by developing technology that allows skin to bind with metal without causing infection, improving the prospect of bionic limbs. Early clinical trials on a group of patients who have lost limbs, fingers and thumbs, including two people injured in the July 7 London bombings a year ago, are described as very promising. I bags a skull-gun! Thread here, thanks Zzapped.
Bjorn3D have an article about PCI RAID controllers. In preparation for Part 2 we decided to limit the targeted controllers to those that still function in either a 32 or 64 bit, 33 MHz or 66 MHz PCI slot and support SATA or SATA II drives.
DriverHeaven took a look at some PC2-8500 memory from Geil and Corsair. Additionally we'll take the world’s first look at Abit's new Fatality AN9 32x SLI motherboard. Abit are not the first to market with an AM2 board however they do produce some of the most feature packed products which perform to the highest level.
BenZor spotted this 715Mpixel pic of Sydney at night.. very cool. I can almost see into my old office window, wow. Anyway, discussion and "who can find this?" games in this thread in The Pub.
OCW have info on an ASRock board that can not only be upgraded from S754 to S939, but now supports AM2. If you own the K8Upgrade-1689 Socket 754, you are in luck. Thanks to ASRock, thehy have released a new BIOS upgrade which allows you to upgrade the S754 board to Socket 939 (already available since 2004) and now to Socket AM2!
Azrael has more info on the worm that looks like WGA. The Cuebot-K worm spreads via AOL Instant Messenger, registering itself as a new system driver service called 'wgavn'. It carries the display name 'Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Notification', and runs automatically during system startup.
Tech-Hounds revisit SLI with modern GPUs. Even with the addition of vertex shader units and much higher clocked core, the GeForce 7600GT SLI behave in a similar way to the GeForce 6600 SLI and 7800GTX SLI. With a hit-or-miss proposition on performance and a surpassed quality offering, the only advantage SLI has at the moment for users is ease of installation.
Bit-Tech have a lengthy article considering the ethics of video-game violence and kids. But the potential for violence to leap out of the game world into reality is not the only danger. Your health could be at risk as well. In August 2005, a 28-year-old South Korean man collapsed in an Internet café in the city of Taegu after a 50-hour Starcraft session. He hadn’t slept at all or eaten much during his mammoth bout of ‘real-time strategy’. The end result was death from heart failure induced by exhaustion.
Nintendo DS Lite
(link) Wednesday, 5-July-2006 04:38:24 (GMT +10) - by Agg
As mentioned in Episode 12 of the OCAU Podcast, thetron has written a review of Nintendo's DS Lite portable game console in our Wiki. This modern take on a Nintendo handheld includes voice recognition, a touch-screen and even has WiFi!
The DS Lite has attracted quite a following, even among people who (like me) don't have much interest in the traditional Mario Bros / Sonic the Hedgehog type games. As I explained in the podcast, I use mine exclusively for the "Brain Training" games. But with the Opera web browser on the way and rumours of a Skype client, not to mention a growing "homebrew firmware" and modding community, it's an interesting little gadget indeed.
In our Games Consoles forum the DS and DS Lite have some dedicated threads:
We now have an RSS feed which will contain the headlines of current stories on the news page. Consider this a "beta" feed as I'm still getting my head around this RSS stuff. :) If you're an RSS user, feedback is appreciated.
I've been playing around with www.netvibes.com as a pretty cool way to test RSS feeds, so give that a go if you don't have a preferred client yet.
Discovery Launch, Take 3
(link) Tuesday, 4-July-2006 15:10:49 (GMT +10) - by Agg
At about 4:30am AEST, Discovery is scheduled to launch on its mission to rendesvous with the International Space Station. There's a running text commentary here on SpaceFlightNow, or you can watch NASA TV's coverage (currently showing the astronauts in convoy to the launch pad) here. OCAU's Current Events thread for this launch is here. Weather looks good for launch, fingers crossed!
SmartJoy Dual Plus PS2-USB Converter
(link) Tuesday, 4-July-2006 11:59:58 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Here's another forum review. This time Bearz checks out a way to connect up to two PlayStation 2 controllers to your PC. This makes for a much better way to control console-type games than using the normal PC keyboard etc:
Here's a blast from the past, a look back at ABIT's BP6 dual-celeron board from 1999 that brought SMP to the enthusiast's desktop. I actually still have mine, which was my main PC for a while, and then powered OCAU for about 18 months.
From Fester2001, a report denying a WGA Kill Switch from Microsoft. Meanwhile, more confirmation that they are dropping it anyway, thanks Murray. Now Microsoft has reacted to user anger by switching off the boot-up check. The company has retained another tool, WGA Validation, which checks back periodically with Microsoft headquarters.
There's an interesting report on IHT about Google's DIY approach. Even as it spends more than $1.5 billion this year on operations centers and technology, most of the hundreds of thousands of servers it will deploy are being custom-made from Google's eccentric designs.
Check out these amazing dust paintings that someone makes on the back window of their car. When the dust gets thick on the back window of his Mini Cooper, Scott Wade uses it as a canvas to create temporary works of art.
The Space Shuttle Discovery's twice-delayed launch will apparently not be stopped by the latest concern about insulation foam. The decision means that Florida's unsettled skies will again be the major launch constraint, and forecasters have put the probability of weather prohibiting today's liftoff - slated for 2:38 p.m. - at 40 percent. Updates etc in this forum thread.
PCMech have a guide to setting up a windows-share server under Linux, using Samba. Even a computer as slow as 500 Mhz will run a Samba server just fine, so if you have any old computers around you might as well give it a try. Finally, Samba is very customizable and tweakable, offering much more detailed control than Window file sharing.
LegionHW compared NVIDIA's 570 SLI and 590 SLI chipsets for AM2 processors. The nForce 590 SLI also includes a total of 46 PCI Express lanes, meaning SLI mode can operate at full speed. By this I mean both PCI Express x16 slots will operate at full speed when using two graphics cards. This is not a feature of the nForce 570 SLI chipset, which only operates each SLI card at PCI Express x8.
Bit-Tech have an extreme-cooling Lian Li project. We follow the progression of a PC70 mod that not only adds a Prometia box on the bottom, but a watercooling box on top.
What do you call a toothbrush with bluetooth? A Bluetoothbrush, of course, thanks Tim. Probably not coming soon to a chemist shelf near you, though. :)
Computer Alliance - Major Sponsor for 5 Years!
(link) Monday, 3-July-2006 16:20:13 (GMT +10) - by Agg
How about a round of applause for Computer Alliance? This month marks FIVE YEARS since they came onboard as an OCAU Major Sponsor. A Brisbane-based retailer with an impressive online presence, you should definitely consider them next time you're shopping around. Without their support, OCAU wouldn't be the success it is today. Thanks to Jason, Adam, Ken and the rest of the staff!
Episode 13 of our podcast is now out. In this episode: Spooky theme music! Plus site updates, annoying contest laws, WGA disabled, transparent laptops, Reservoir Dogs being banned, FON wireless, periodic table waffling, a secret sound that doesn't suck, Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD, etc.
You can grab this week's episode via iTunes here (you might need to subscribe (free!) in iTunes before you can see the new episode), or download the files direct from our server:
You may have noticed some subtle changes to the site design. Firstly, each news story can now be linked and viewed individually - see the word (link) after the title. This makes it easier to link to news stories, for example sending links to friends who don't have OCAU Forum accounts. On that note, here's a few interesting stories going back to the beginning of the year:
The News Archive has been updated too, and now uses Google for searching instead of the old internal system that didn't work all that well. I've also added news archive links to the bottom of the news page, so if you scroll down the page and the story you were after has fallen off the bottom, you can follow those links to find it.
Finally, the "Current Threads" at the bottom left of the page now have the full thread title available in a "mouseover tooltip" preview. Hover your mouse over a truncated title to see what I mean.
This evening Formula One races in the United States. You might remember last year's shambles where all but 6 cars (only 2 competitive ones) pulled out of the race due to tyre issues. Anyway, there's discussion about this year's round in this thread in the forums. NOTE: some TV guides are saying a 3:45AM start for Ch10's coverage, while others are claiming live coverage, which would start at 3AM AEST. So if you're recording it, bear that in mind!
IBM have once again dominated the supercomputer rankings, with four of the top 10 computers on the list and almost half of the top 500. IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., remained in the top position with the Blue Gene/L system installed at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in Livermore, Calif. The system's peak performance on a Linpack benchmark was 280.6 teraflops, or 280.6 trillion calculations per second. Because it so easily outdistances the rest of the field - no other supercomputer has exceeded 100 teraflops - organizers expect the system to remain at the top of the list for at least the next few editions.
Another giant rock will fly close by the Earth tomorrow. The latest calculations show that 2004 XP14 will pass closest to Earth at 04:25 UT on July 3 (12:25 a.m. EDT or 9:25 p.m. PDT on July 2). The asteroid's distance from Earth at that moment will be 268,624-miles (432,308 km), or just 1.1 times the Moon's average distance from Earth.
RM sent in this amusing (but depressing) blog about a US Senator's view of Net Neutrality. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes.
Dan has more letters! Fancy RAM that nobody seems to need, speaker loudness, TV licenses, making pretty pictures, cheap(er) photo batteries, and CD burning in the olden days.
From Ken: A Night in Fantasia is back again this year. This year it is travelling to Melbourne Town Hall as well as the Sydney Town Hall. Its a symphony orchestra playing music from video games and anime. Being showcased this year are pieces from Shadow of the Colossus, Katamari Damacy, Final Fantasy series including Final Fantasy XII, and from anime such as Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle just to name a few. More information here.
From Petercr: Love him or hate him but the Free Software Foundation is petitioning U2's frontman and social activist Bono to take a stand against copy-protection technologies used by the music industry according to this article on the SMH website. Strangely though no sign of the petition or mention of this over at www.fsf.org.
From sleator: I recently order a AMD AM2 X2 Athlon 4000+ with the 1mb L2 Cache, I got a email this morning as follows: "Ben, Looks like the distributor has made our minds up for us. It appears the 4000+ AM2 is now EOL (End of Life) and no longer avaialble." Just to confirm that AMD are no longer making non-FX cores with 1mb l2 cache. Bummer!
XbitLabs give us their thoughts on Intel's Core 2 Duo or Conroe microarchitecture. Our article contains all the info on Core microarchitecture that will give you to understand why AMD is going to have really hard times.
Phoronix meanwhile checked out a Core Duo under Linux. We have taken a look at the Intel Core Duo T2400 in conjunction with the Lenovo ThinkPad T60, and have comparison results today against the previous Pentium M 750 1.83GHz.
Motherboards.org explain some power-supply buzzwords. Well, now's your chance to finally become a power supply guru. I am going to try to explain it all to you. Hopefully, in the end, your brain will not be a buzz of over-information.