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7.1-channel Gamesurround Fortissimo III 7.1 from Hercules

Radeon 9500: the important release dates correction

New 2-megapixel MicroMV digital still/video camera from Sony

Some facts from AMD Developer Conference 2002 Summer

2Q 2002: Intel retakes some market share from AMD

Details about SiSR658 RDRAM chipset from SiS

Photo of the day: XPC SS51G barebone system from Shuttle

2.5-inch 60GB hard disk from Toshiba



7.1-channel Gamesurround Fortissimo III 7.1 from Hercules

About a month ago we reported that Hercules prepares to release its new Gamesurround Fortissimo III 7.1 sound card, based on Gamesurround Fortissimo II model.


Now we have more detailed specifications of this product, that supports multichannel (up to 7.1-channel) acoustics:

  • Bus: PCI 2.1
  • DSP: Cirrus Logic SoundFusion CS4624
  • Codecs: 20-bit 4-channel and 18-bit stereo output, up to 48 kHz sampling
  • Compatibility: Sensaura 3D, supporting Microsoft DirectSound 3D, EAX 1.0, EAX 2.0, A3D 1.0, I3DL2, MacroFX, MultiDrive, ZoomFX, EnvironmentFX; Microsoft DirectSound, DirectMusic, Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital
  • Dolby Digital EX 7.1 support (DVD playback)
  • Software wavetable: infinite DSP-supported voices, 64 hardware voices
  • 8MB General MIDI / GS sample bank
  • DLS 1.0 compatibility
  • GM (General Midi) and Yamaha XG compatibility (676 instruments, 21 drum set)
  • Effects: reverb, chorus, variation, etc.
  • External analog jacks: front, rear, center / LFE speakers, seventh and eighth channel, headphones out; Line in / Mic in, MIDI / Game (MPU 401) port
  • External digital jacks: optical S/PDIF out
  • Internal connectivity: CD-in; CD-in 2; Aux-in; S/PDIF in
  • Approximate retail price: about 80 euro

The package includes Gamesurround Fortissimo III 7.1 card, Gamesurround Fortissimo III 7.1 addtive MIDI/Game front panel, software and manual. The card will be also supplied with a special, Dolby DIGITAL EX compatible Power DVD software.

Radeon 9500: the important release dates correction

In our yesterday ATI Radeon 9500: following Radeon 8500LE... news, we stated, according to the information from Taiwanese sources, that "ATI Technologies is expected to present another R300-based chip — Radeon 9500 — about the middle of August".

Pity, but this failed to be true, as we corrected our data from our ATI sources. As a matter of fact, Radeon 9500 chips won´t appear before the fourth quarter, so the yesterday information wasn´t fully correct. We remind that, according to provisional data, Radeon 9500 cards will cost about $270. That´s far less than $399 promised for Radeon 9700 cards.

New 2-megapixel MicroMV digital still/video camera from Sony

Sony announced the release of a new digital MicroMV still/video camera — Sony IP220K (DCR-IP220K) — featuring 2.1-megapixel CCD, capable of shooting with up to 1600x1200 resolution. IP220K records video to MicroMV cassettes and stores photos on Memory Stick (naturally). The novelty has 10x optical zoom, 180,000-pixel EVF, 2.5-inch LCD screen and wireless Bluetooth interface.


Sony DCR-IP220K brief specifications:

  • Sensor: 1/3.6-inch 2.11 megapixel
  • Capture pixels: 1.08 million animation, 1.92 million still
  • Lens: 10x optical zoom, F1.8 — F2.1, ´Carl Zeiss´
  • Video cam mode: 52 — 520 mm equiv.
  • Still mode: 39 — 390 mm equiv.
  • Filter diameter: 37 mm
  • Focus: auto, manual
  • White balance: Auto, Hold, Outdoor, Indoor
  • Shutter speed: 1/4 — 1/4000 sec
  • Still image capture: VGA (640 x 480), UXGA (1600 x 1200)
  • MPEG movie mode: Standard 144 x 96, Fine 352 x 240
  • Viewfinder (EVF): 180,000 pixel
  • LCD monitor: 2.5" 210,000 pixel
  • Power: Sony InfoLithium (Lithium Ion)
  • Connectivity: A/V, MicroMV I/O, USB, Bluetooth 1.1 (wireless)
  • Internet standards: SMTP mail transmission, POP3 mail reception, HTML 3.2, Javascript and SSL; GIF, JPEG, PNG display
  • Video storage: MicroMV
  • Still image / animation storage: Memory Stick
  • Dimensions: 98 x 76 x 136 mm
  • Weight: (inc. batt & tape) 630 g

Some facts from AMD Developer Conference 2002 Summer

Yesterday AMD Developer Conference 2002 Summer started in Japan. This session is wholly devoted to x86-64 architecture and HyperTransport standard development.

AMD representatives readily reported that sales of new desktop Athlon Hammer processors will begin in 4Q 2002 already; server Opteron shipments are still "expected in H1 2003". Seems that Athlon brand is finally tied to ClawHammer chips, so, if you see "Athlon" without "4" or "XP" henceforth, it means 8G desktop chips.

Besides the demonstration of 4-processor system based on Opteron and the detailed report about multiprocessor mode organization principles for them, a report about current software developments for »86-64 architecture. German SuSe showed its 64-bit version of SuSe Linux for x86-64 processors.

Microsoft representatives reported about »86-64 developments, in particular, .NET server software — 64-bit versions of Datacenter Server and Enterprise Server. As for Microsoft Windows for »86-64, according to company representatives, the development is in mid-stage.

Continuing Computex 2002 plans, VIA, SiS, ALi, ATI and NVIDIA presented their roadmaps. VIA Technologies reported about its K8M400 integrated chipset, SiS presented SiS760 Northbridge with SiS301b integrated graphics, ALi reported the roadmap for two chipsets — integrated and discrete, ATI recounted its Radeon IGP 380 desktop and Radeon IGP 380M mobile integrated chipsets; and NVIDIA is also preparing two chipset versions with GeForce4 MX integrated graphics.







2Q 2002: Intel retakes some market share from AMD

According to analytical firms, in 2Q 2002 Intel succeeded to increase its share of the processor market mainly at the expense of AMD share.

Joe Osha, principal semiconductor analyst for Merrill-Lynch, reported that AMD share of this market dropped in 2Q from 22% to 18%. According to Mercury Research, AMD share dropped from 19.2% to 16.5% excluding Intel processor shipments for Xbox, or from 21.8% to 15.6% including them. Respectively, Intel´s share increased in the quarter to 81.7% from 79.8% excluding Xbox shipments and to 82.8% from 80.8% including them.

Analysts also note that the quantity of processors, shipped by both companies, reduced in 2Q, but AMD had it more steep than Intel. Besides, notebook processors remained stronger than desktop ones in 2Q, which is an area where Intel has far greater presence than AMD.

Details about SiSR658 RDRAM chipset from SiS

To complete yesterday announcement of new SiSR658 RDRAM chipset from SiS.

As you know, SiSR658 became possible after SiS signed a licence agreement with Rambus last November. SiS evaluates this release as the strengthening of hi-end vendor market positions.


As we already reported yesterday, SiSR658 (SiS963 Southbridge) supports Pentium 4 with 533/400 MHz FSB and up to 3 GHz clock rate, up to 4GB Dual RDRAM with up to 1066 MHz clock rate, AGP 8», 5.1-channel AC´97 2.2 sound, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet, Home PNA 2.0, Dual ATA133/100/66 IDE, up to 6 PCI slots, up to 6 USB 2.0/1.1.


Yet no one officially presented any boards on the new chipset, but Japanese journalists refer to a SiS´s R658 reference board sample (above), having already tested it for some comparatives. Intel 850E boards were tested with two kinds of memory: PC800-40 and Pů1066-32, SiS R658 board — with Pů1066-32 memory. Modules´ had 256MB capacity, Pentium 4 2.40 GHz CPU and NVIDIA GeForce3; Windows XP Professional were also used.




In general, I can state that R658 reference board, naturally, overperforms all other DDR boards, but yields to i850E RDRAM solution. Slightly lower price of R658 comparing to i850E is a doubtful advantage for expensive hi-end systems. However, it´s better not to draw a final conclusion about SiS R658 performance without serial boards test results.

Photo of the day: XPC SS51G barebone system from Shuttle

We´ve got a new XPC SS51G barebone system from Shuttle for our test lab.

Shuttle XPC SS51 is a minuature computer based on Shuttle FS51 (SiS651 + SiS962 chipset bundle) for P4 533 MHz FSB. The board has external AGP 4» slot, 2 DIMM slots (supports DDR333), SiS962 Soutbridge supports up to 6 USB 2.0 ports, 3 IEEE1394 ports, has integrated AC´97 audio, Ethernet MAC, ATA/133.

You can see the first shots of Shuttle XPC SS51, while its review is being created:





2.5-inch 60GB hard disk from Toshiba

Toshiba announced the release of new 2.5-inch 60GB MK6022GAX hard disks with unusually high 5400RPM for this class.


The 9.5-mm thick novelty features an improved controller, new heads and plates, fluid dynamic bearing (FDB), 16MB buffer. MK6022GAX data density is 49.8 Gbit/sq inch, shockproofness — up to 800G in non-operating mode, up to 200G in operating mode.

MK6022GAX features UDMA / 100 (ATA 5) interface and consists of 2 plates / 4 heads with 12 ms average access time. The size of the hard disk is 69.85x100x9.5 mm, weight — 101g, acoustic noise — 26 dB in idle mode and 33 dB at operation.

Volume production of new hard disks will be launched in September.

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