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Athlon mobo shootout turns into ambush

ASUS K7M Athlon motherboard
Earlier we gave you the Athlon Motherboard Shootout.  Now we take our winner, the FIC SD-11, and pair it up against the ASUS K7M, which is an overclockin' kind of mobo.  It's an ambush!   

The K7M is, simply, the first Athlon motherboard on the market that provides you with a reasonable chance to enter into overclocking nirvana without having to face the prospects of splitting your CPU open like a melon.  First of all, we've got a decent selection of bus speeds to choose from: 90Mhz, 95, 100 through 125 in 1 MHz increments, 133, 140, and 150 MHz.  Wh00!  Sounds like an ABIT board to me. You get to play with these settings using one of two options: a CPU Softmenu-esque utility in the BIOS, or dipswitches.  It's your call.

Check it out while we're settin' up mobile base camp here at Comdex. -Csar

November 15, 1999

Early morning word from ABIT
With the doors of Comdex still closed at this early hour, PR Manager Jeremy Smith from ABIT let's loose with a press release announcing what they have on tap for this week's Comdex blowout.  In an interesting display of diversification, they introduce a new family of four SiluroT graphics cards, as well as the addition of two new motherboards based on the image tattered Intel 820 chipset.  In a nutshell, the SiluroT family includes cards based on both the TNT/2 and GeForce256 chips.  The two new mobos are the CH6 and CX6, differing mainly by memory type supported (CH6 holds 3 DIMMS, CX6 holds 2 RIMMS).  Many more lovely details are worth noting, and are available for all 6 new products in this press release, which I've posted here since ABIT has yet to publish it on their corporate site.  Enjoy! -Panders

MS game handheld
Word on the street is that MS is coming out with a handheld gaming device as a part of their X-Box project. The unit will be using at Toshiba 3D chip and processor, and its APIs will be compatible with DirectX, making PC ports easier. I wish I knew more, but the details are very sketchy right now. Supposedly, the unit is pretty far along in development, so maybe they'll reveal all at Comdex. Saw this on  While we're on the rumor-tip, rumbling from the UK has MS interested in buying Eidos, for reasons surely not limited to establishing an instant A-1 game list for the proposed X-Box.  Hmm. -Hannibal

More point-release magic
After releasing version 6.2 of their distro just several short months ago, the purple-spotted lapdogs at SuSE have updated their German site to include the details of the upcoming 6.3 release (late November for German version, early December for the rest of us).  While hoping to build up its server capabilities, the all users will benefit from updates such as the more current versions of stable and development kernels, XFree86, KDE, GNOME, Nutscraper, and other typical distro inhabitants.

Beyond the typical goodies, SuSE 6.3 will mark the introduction YaST2, a phatty GUI setup tool unique to the SuSE distro.  More details on the release can be found at this SuSE product release page.  One item not listed on said page, but reported to be included in the release by this LinuxPR article, is the journaling file system ReiserFS.  With SGI's XFS still in limbo as it pertains to Linux, that would make this release the first (to my knowledge) to include a journaling fs.  Goose-bumps galore!  For a retro perspective, check out the review of the 6.0 release we did a ways back. -Panders

Cracking down on casual piracy
ZDNet reports on a groundbreaking new lawsuit that goes where no litigation has gone before: IRC and world of warez.  The Business Software Alliance is suiting 25 individual pirates who were trading warez on #warez4cable.  This is the first time the software industry has gone after piracy on this small of a scale, and it probably won't be the last:

Kruger defended the crackdown on Internet users, saying it has to start somewhere. "If you permit piracy to run unchecked, then you let the idea that just because technology lets me do something, it's legal," he said. "It's not just this little group having fun and trading programs."  Jonathan Band, a copyright law expert and partner at law firm Morrison Forrester, said the BSA publicized the issue for two reasons. One, to justify its existence to its members, and two, "they feel it has a deterrent effect."

All of this is apparently part of the fallout from the recently-passed Digital Millennium Copyright Act, an act which gives companies greater freedom to subpoena records on individual users from ISPs.  Before the DMCA, it would have been tougher to get at small guys, but now, anybody is fair game.  Saw this on Blue's. -Hannibal

Post-weekend humor
Be Dope has a hilarious piece up entitled "Reality Distortion Field Fails in MSFT Defense."  The premise of the (satire) article is that the reason MS's defense efforts went so badly is that they were relying heavily on Steve Job's famed Reality Distortion Field, which they had borrowed for the trial.  Check it:

"We were planning a truly eloquent defense with all sorts of forged evidence done by [the agency who faked the Moon landing] - real pros," he explained. "Then [Steve] Jobs came by and said 'Hey, just borrow my Reality Distortion Field™ and everything will be all right' - in retrospect I'm not really sure why we trusted him, but he was very convincing."  Other evidence that the legal team was over-relying on the Reality Distortion Field includes the repetition of the "right to innovate" argument and several occasions where lawyers just moved their lips without actually saying any words.

ROFL!! -Hannibal

etc., etc.

  • Thresh's Firingsquad takes on the Athlon 700.  This 16-page review has a load of benchmarks, as well as a discussion of Athlon overclocking, speculation on future Athlons (they'll be faster), and various ruminations on the general state of the x86 market and the AMD vs. Intel rivalry.
  • IRC denizen Dark V' pointed me to this link, which shows you how to get an old Mac Plus up to 1GHz using duct tape, super glue, SIMMs, and some liquid nitrogen.  Smokin!! (literally)
  • Johan of Aces fame sends word of a new article: "A Preview of The Fastest PC Processors In The Year 2000" ... a comparison of the Athlon Spitfire, Thunderbird, Intel PIII EB, and Coppermine 128.  
November 14, 1999

Microsoft breakup speculation
As expected, the Justice Department is considering the possibility of breaking-up Microsoft.  Not much meat in this story, but hey, it's all speculation at this point. -Ator

Bridge, this is Captain Kirk
Another neat little COMDEX toy for y'all: a voice-activated wrist phone.  But why, you ask, do I have a Star Trek-oriented headline?  Well, according to InfoWorld the launch will be attended by actors from various Star Trek shows.  And yes, the article points out that the shows never actually featured a wrist phone:

Although the crew of the Enterprise never used such a device, the technological point Conversa is trying to make is that the age of two-way conversations with computer devices is at hand.

Uhh... seems like a bit of a stretch to me.  Well, it's a cool idea anyway.  Thanks JT Neville, who points out that these things could be even weirder than cell phones, as people walk down the street talking to their wrists. -Ator

Athlon overclocking continues has managed to get an Athlon 500MHz running at 800Mhz, though whether it's stable or not remains to be seen.  The Athlon keeps looking better and better... -Ator

Leavin' on a jet plane
Most of us Ars folks are gettin' packed for our flight out to lovely Las Vegas, but have no fear, Panders will be around to hold down the fort and those of us at COMDEX will be sending out as much stuff as we can.  For now, here's a bit of news to tide you over. -Ator

November 13, 1999 - IRC Chat Day!

Come to the editors' chat on IRC!
Hey everybody - we're all bustin' our chops to get ready for COMDEX, but today we want all of y'all to head over to #arstechnica on EFNet to chat it up with us at 3PM EST today (Eastern Standard Time, which is -5 GMT).  See ya there! -Csar 

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