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Dux Computer Newsletter
October 2, 2001; Vol. 1, No. 11

Recent News and Commentary
Tech Tips
Around the Internet
Recent Web Site Articles, Etc.

Recent News and Commentary.  This month is going to be highlighted by the introduction of new processors and motherboards as the industry ramps-up for the holiday shopping season.  Yesterday, Intel announced no fewer than 12 new processors for mobile computers and stole a lot of thunder from AMD's Introduction of the 1.1 GHz Duron processor for the low-end PC market.  IBM, Intel Pose as Low-power Computing Brokers reports on how Big Blue and Intel are devising ways of cooling off the processor process in computers to conserve energy and keep the products from burning up...  AMD is doing likewise.  Expect the long awaited Palomino core desktop Athlon processor to be introduced within the next two weeks.  I have seen dates for the introduction of October third and ninth, and it should come-out no later than during the Microprocessor Forum 2001, October 15-19 in San Jose.

The Palomino core Athlon, will be called the Athlon XP.  The XP stands for eXtra Performance (unlike Windows XP where the XP stands for eXPerience or, maybe, X-Pirating).  The fastest XP at introduction, 1.5 GHz, will actually be known as the Athlon XP 1800 (or 1800+).  The1800 designation will be AMD's attempt to succeed where Cyrix failed with a performance-rating scheme to change the less astute computer purchaser's mindset on MHz as the only measure of processor performance.  It might (but I doubt it) as the 1800 rating looks quite conservative when compared to a 2 GHz (2000 MHz) Pentium 4, which the 1.5 GHz Athlon XP may equal or surpass in performance.

Other than an increase in performance though architectural improvements, the Athlon XP should (if they don't, they should) bring features of AMD's PowerNow! Technology presently found in the Mobil Athlon 4 to the desktop.  This hardware capability, together with software, allows the processor to run dynamically at different frequencies and voltages depending upon CPU computing demand.  In portables it saves on battery power.  The main advantage in desktops is that it also reduces the amount of heat generated by the processor.  Also, the Athlon XP processor should come equipped with the thermal diode found in the Mobile Athlon 4 and Athlon MP processors.  This diode measures the actual core temperature and can be coupled to external circuitry to shut down the computer if the CPU fan fails.   While this is an improvement over the thermister currently installed in the middle of the CPU socket of most Socket A motherboards and is a step in the right direction, it is not as good as Intel's Pentium III and 4 processors which, according to Tom Pabst, will literally halt or slow down enough to prevent them from burning-up if the heatsink itself is removed.  I have also heard weak rumors that the Athlon XP's Front Side Bus (FSB) or System Bus may be boosted again from DDR266 to DDR333.  The Athlon's FSB is the data path from the processor to the chipset (usually the Northbridge chip) on the motherboard (memory is connected to the chipset with the memory bus).  The DDR266 bus is a double-pumped, 133 MHz bus.  That means data is moved on both the raising and trialing edges of bus clock pulse, effectively doubling the speed.  DDR333 would use a 166 MHz clock pulse.  However, why stop there and remain in the shadow of Intel's P4 processor with a quad-pumped 100 MHz FSB (effectively 400 MHz)?   The rumormongers may have forgotten that the Athlon was originally designed and touted with 'front-side bus that is scalable to operate beyond 400 MHz..'

Meanwhile, nVIDIA's nFORCE motherboard chipset has been slow in arriving on scene.  It has been well over three months since nVIDIA had a dog 'n pony show and lot's of hoopla all over the world introducing the chipset.  NVIDIA has repeatedly denied having problems with it despite many rumors to the contrary.  And we all know that 'nVIDIA and AMD have a close working relationship.'  If there are no problems, what is causing the delay?  The Athlon XP?   Have they been waiting for the desktop Palomino?  If so, why?  I don't know the answers, but look above (and below) and speculate.   Indications are that nFORCE is about to, coincidently, appear-just in time for Windows XP official release, xBOX release and hype, and the holiday shopping season.   I think we will know at a AMD media event on October 9th at 10:00 AM in San Francisco, or shortly thereafter.

Also, in the same time frame, motherboards with the new VIA KT266A chipset for the Athlon are starting to appear.  This chipset is faster than the previous Athlon speed king, the SiS635.  And. Anand has a bunch of benchmarks that indicate that it performs approximately on a par with the nFORCE chipset. with existing Athlons.  Apparently, the Athlon 266 MHz FSB is a bottleneck to realizing the full performance potential of the nFORCE twin bank memory architecture, which should be superior to the KT266A's memory pipe.  .With existing Athlons.

Visit the news section our web site for more news..

Tech Tips.  Do you find the requirement to log into Windows or your network every time you boot-up Windows 9x/Me annoying?  Here's how to automate it. If you are logging into a Windows network with a Domain Controller (Windows NT/2000 server, Windows 2000 Pro, Linux, etc.) see How to Automate the Windows 9X/Me Logon to a Windows NT/2000 Network Domain.   Otherwise, you can use the Windows logon to logon to just Windows, if you do not have a network, or to both Windows and a peer-to-peer Microsoft network without a domain controller or login requirements.  Boot-up Windows and Logon.  Do not cancel the logon.  Click Start, Settings, Control Panel, Network, Configuration, select Windows Logon, OK.  Do not restart Windows when prompted.  In the Control Panel, Double-click Passwords, Change Passwords tab, Change Windows Password, uncheck the Microsoft Networking check box  (if you are also logging into a domain; that is handled elsewhere per the above link),  OK, enter your current password in the Old Password box, leave the New Password and Confirm New Password boxes blank, OK, OK.   In the User Profiles tab, select All users of this PC use the same preferences, Close.  This will do it in most cases.  Restart Windows and test.  If Windows prompts for a logon again, you may have to rename the password files.  If you rename the password files all of the passwords Windows has stored for Internet Service Provider, web site, etc. logins may be forgotten.  To rename the password files, click Start, Search or Find, For Files or Folders, enter *.pwl in the Search for files or folders named box, Look in: local hard drives, and change the .pwl extension for each file to .old (I use .dux, so I know I did it).  Restart Windows.  If you still get a logon prompt, it could be because you have TweakUI installed.  You can find TweakUI in the Control Panel and fix it there.  Also see How do automate the NT (and Windows 2000) Server login in the event of a power outage.

Around the Internet.   Some great disk drive tools (my thanks to "Waddy," a regular visitor to our forums, for this one).  If you are a science news buff like I am, try these links:  Scientific AmericanScience News, UniSci, Reuters, NASA, and one I still have not outgrown in nearly a half a century, Popular Science.

Recent Web Site Articles, Etc.

Installing a Laptop Hard Disk Drive in a Desktop PC

How to Troubleshoot a Monitor


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Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.