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TechnologyWhat Is NewSeptember 1997

September 1997

Tuesday September 30, 1997

  • Technicians are gone for the day. If you have technical questions, please email techsupport@esc-tech.com
  • Benchmark results for the GA-686LX board are posted.

Monday September 29, 1997

  • Happy Birthday Joan!
  • We have extra ASUS T2P4 motherboards in stock.
  • We also have: AX6F board; TX97-E (only 1); and TX97-XE no audio (only 1).
  • Lora is getting on her soap box for a moment:

Biodiversity is relatively high in Indonesian forests. This area is home to 12 known / described non-human primate species. Orangutans, one of the four great apes living today  (people, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorrilas, orangutans), is found only in Indonesian lowland forests. Out of control fires are destroying their habitat and homes. (Yes, homes – orangs frequently build huts with roofs when it rains.)

Timber companies, plantation operators, and other sub-contracted companies in Indonesia that practice burning of Indonesian natural forests are responsible for these fires.

If you would like to help, please contact:

Dr. Barita O. Manulang, Orangutan Consultancy of WWF Indonesia Programme
Dr. Jito Sugarjito at Fauna and Flora International (FFI) (ffi@indo.net.id)
Willy Smit at Warnariset
Birute Galdikas – Orangutan Foundation International

Other people who may be helpful:

D.Ashari, former head of Zoological Association of Indonesia and Southeast Asia
Sujarwo, former of Indonesian Forestry ministry
A. Ramli, leader of Leuser International Foundation (Yayasan Leuser)
Dr. Emil Salim, founder of Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation
Soraya Affif, Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia
Bob Hasan Indonesian Forestry Society (APKINDO) – special advisor to President Soeharto with conservation projects

The government has allocated Rp.3.1 bn (about $1.07 m) to fight these fires. Smoke masks will soon be available in Kerinci. Unfortunately, the 1,500 rps are too expensive for many families to spend.

(source: paraphrased FFI message to Primate-Talk 9/29/97)

Sunday September 28, 1997

  • Here are some cool Intel rumors.  Apparently the chipset for the 100 MHz bus is behind, Ceramic MMX CPUs are on the way out by 2nd quarter 1998, and Intel feels embarrassed by IBM’s R&D department which patented copper technology in microchips.
  • And in the Microsoft corner:  Microsoft revenue stream will not be improved by all of their product delays.  Some prognosticators are saying that now is the time to sell MS stock.  Sounds pretty steep for such a high flying company.  Just remember, if anyone sells then that means someone else is buying.  So, you probably shouldn’t listen to the prognosticators. Follow your own judgement.
  • AOpen AX6L will be tested next week.  Hopefully the results will be available by Friday.
  • Did you know that the PIIX4 in the TX chipset is also part of the LX AGPset?  Therefore, if you are using Windows 95, make sure that you load the patch so that memory, ISA cards, all are seen properly by the operating system.  If you see the yellow bang next to “PCI host to ISA’ in the device manager, you probably didn’t load the patch.  You can get the patch from the manufacturer’s websites.

Friday September 26, 1997

  • We added more categories to our book list today.
  • A passenger plane crashed in northeast Sumatra today.  The fires are suspected to have influenced flight capabilities. Our thoughts are with those who lost family members.
  • Did you know that orang means ‘person’ and  utan is derived from a word that means ‘forest’ in Maylay? The Orangutan Foundation International has interesting points, behavioral and ecological information about these intriguing ‘people of the forest’. If you are interested in other non-human primates, the Primate Information Network is an excellent source for research, educational and other applications within primatology.
  • We have received extra AGP V3000 video cards.  We will now offer these for sale separately.  The cards are $176.00.  If you purchase an LX chipset board at the regular price we will add  the video card for an additional $166.75.
  • We’d like to thank the Sacramento UPS Center.  Last night a UPS supervisor and worker (Ed and Mike) were able to help us locate a person’s lost package.  They literally sorted through trailers of packages.  Thank you.
  • Thinking about thanks.  We’d like to thank everyone using the new shopping cart.  It has been working well. One advantage the cart has over the order form, is the security.  The credit card information is never transferred to us.  Instead it stays on the secure server.  You don’t need to worry about the information being lost in email.
  • Question of the day.
    Q. I receive an error message “The following file is missing or corrupted…” during the installation of OSR2.  I think my diskette is defective.
    A.  No, the diskette is not defective.  Line 12 of the CONFIG.SYS needs to be changed to your particular CD-ROM driver.  The AUTOEXEC.SYS and DRVCOPY.INF also need to be changed to reflect your particular CD-ROM.
  • In terms of the Intel boxed Pentium II 300 MHz CPUs, the official announcement was May 1997.  Therefore, all boxed 300 MHz CPUs are elligible for the Intel warranty.  We’d like to thank Intel for the clarification.
  • ASUS P2L97 and ultra DMA drives might not be seen correctly under DOS 6.22 FDISK.  After some preliminary tests, the complete capacity was not seen.  However, ASUS has given us a beta BIOS that we will try.  If you are using OSR2, you will see the complete capacity.

Thursday September 25, 1997

  • The availability of the ASUS P2L97 motherboards has increased.  We have several available for our systems.
  • The Intel Atlanta, AL440LX, has not arrived yet for testing.  We expect it approximately October 1.
  • Have you read Tim Allen’s latest book?  I’m not really here is an excellent one night reader.  Next time you visit your local bookstore you might want to grab a copy.  But be prepared to grab your sides from all the laughter you’ll be enjoying.
  • VIA announced support of DDR SDRAM.  This should give the product a much needed boost.
  • Pricing for the Pentium II 300 MHz CPUs has been bouncing around quite a bit lately.  The release of the boxed version to the gray market has caused a considerable headache.  Did you know that Intel is considering introducing its tray CPUs to the commercial distributors?  That could really change the market.
  • Are you planning on attending the fall Comdex?

Wednesday September 24, 1997

  • Hurricane Nora is flirting with the coast off of Baja and Southern CA.  Local forecasters are predicting rough weather in Phoenix for the next 24 to 48 hours.  If the weather is bad enough we may lose phone service in that area.  In addition, if the local internet infrastructure is affected, you will have difficulty in connecting to the Arizona website.  The Florida and Northern California sites should not be affected by Nora. We wil
    l post more announcements as new information is available. In the meantime, Al and Gracie are practicing their windsurfing.
  • For those of you who wonder why we are particular about selling Windows 95 OSR2:
    • As a Microsoft OEM, we try to adhere to guidelines of our agreement with Microsoft. 
    • Microsoft recently announced that a sweep of eight Southern California resellers accused of hard drisk loading produced five settlements and three lawsuits. Six of these eight targets also sold counterfeit OEM Win 95 to Microsoft investigators. All of the companies had previously been sent cease and desist letters for hard disk loading. Charges against these three resellers include copyright infringement and counterfeit distribution of Microsoft software.
    • Microsoft recently announced the results of a widespread hard disk loading sweep of Northern Virginia and Maryland computer shows. The investigation identified twenty-two resellers as hard disk loading. These resellers were sent cease and desist letters. Eight vendors continued to sell illegal systems with unlicensed software and were confronted with settlements (6 companies) or lawsuits (2 companies). Investigators also uncovered numerous copies of counterfeit OEM Windows 95, OEM Office and OEM Microsoft Mice at these swap meets.
  • We thank everyone who wishes to visit our facility, however we do not have a will call area at this time. Please be careful near our main door, Einstein and Gracie bite.
  • Alert about Boxed Pentium II 300 MHz warranty on pre-officially released processors.
  • We have a limited supply of TX97 boards in stock.
  • We have an Intel LT430TX and Intel Pentium 233 MHz with MMX technology in stock.
  • ASUS TXP4 board is available.
  • Intel Pentium II 300 MHz processors are available.
  • Check out our new book listings.

Tuesday September 23, 1997

  • We updated our Inside Intel information.
  • AMD K6 233s are in short supply. The price increased considerably.
  • ASUS TX97 series boards are still on backorder.
  • We added pricing on Corsair 64 and 128 mb 168-pin, SDRAM modules with ECC.

Monday September 22, 1997

  • The Western Digital 3.2 Gb drive we offer is model number AC33200. It has 256K cache and is an Ultra DMA/33 drive. There are some 3.2 Gb drives that are available on the market that are not Ultra DMA/33. If the first two digits of the triple C #  are A8 or higher then the drive supports Ultra DMA/33. If the first two digits are A2 or A1 then the drive does not support Ultra DMA/33. Now, there have been questions about an AC33300. Western Digital tech support does not show this as a current model number.
  • There is limited availability of ASUS TX97 series boards after today. We have boards on backorder, and should receive them later this week.
  • We have OEM Intel Pentium II 300s in stock.
  • ESC operates on a just-in-time inventory. We purchase products specifically for your order then assemble, configure, and test corresponding items together. These items ship together. If you are interested in parts being shipped separately, please let us know. We do not release motherboards without testing them, unless it is a sealed Intel Boxed motherboard and you’ve requested that package to not be open.
  • Corsair 32 Mb SDRAM modules dropped in price. This price will apply to new orders.
  • Memory is distributed in various grades. Parts start out as Grade A, those modules that fail certain tests are labled grade B, those modules that fail tests under Grade B category are labled Grade C, then down to Grade D. Generic memory is frequently Grade B, C, or D, and are major-on-thirds (the SOJs are soldered onto a third party board). We offer major-on-major Grade A memory through Crucial Technology, a division of Micron. Corsair Microsystems and Advantage Memory is also Grade A.

Friday September 19, 1997

  • If you use www.einsteinscomputer.com or know of a site that referred you from that site, please update your links to www.esc-technologies.com.
  • Attention International clients: If you would like to place an order with us, please fax your order request, billing address, phone number, email address, payment information, and signature to 916-671-6780.
  • Does ESC accept purchase orders?
    We do not accept purchase orders. All our prices are based on prepayment. However, if you are interested in purchasing memory only, then you may call Crucial Technology, a division of Micron, and they will accept your purchase order. (888-363-2562)
  • If you have problems with a product beyond our 20 day warranty, contact the manufacturer of the product and ask them how they suggest you proceed. Many manufacturers have direct RMA procedures. Other manufacturers ask that you return your product for repair through us. In these cases, we act as the intermediary, and only ship your product back to the manufacturer. We are not responsible for the time that it takes for the manufacturer to make a decision or repair your product. You are also responsible for any and all costs. We appreciate everyone’s patience during this waiting time.
  • Do you know who Al and Gracie are? Do you know where we are located? Check out these and other frequently asked questions about ESC and their answers.

Thursday September 18, 1997

  • Several people yesterday and today asked us about I/O shields for In-Win cases.  If you need a plate, we only ask that you confirm the style required and take responsibility for paying the shipping.  We will not charge you for the shield.
  • We’d like to thank everyone who is using the new shopping cart.  Some of you may have noticed today that we have added to the cgi script.  There is now a minimum weight of one pound.
  • We tested Advantage 32 Mb Toshiba on the SuperMicro P6DLS motherboard.  This combination seemed to work well together.
  • We have more Pentium II 300 MHz CPUs for sale today.
  • Factoid:  According to Press Releases from Micon – More than 50% of new machines are Pentium II based.

Wednesday September 17, 1997

Tuesday September 16, 1997

  • Question of the day:
    Why do I need to load the txpatch.exe file for my motherboard?
    Windows 95 was written prior to the introduction of the tx chipset.  Because the chipset is responsible for controlling video, IDE controllers, and memory functions, it must be recognized properly by the Operating System.  In Device Manager you will notice a yellow caution.  After loading the patch, new devices will be recognized by Windows 95 and you should not see any more yellow cautions.
         In addition, if you need the USB file, you can find this on our ftp site.  ftp.esc-technologies.com.
  • We have added new testing procedures for our product combinations.  Motherboard, CPU, and memory are stressed in different temperature environments.  We excluded the microwave option that was suggested by a new technician that didn’t understa
    nd we are not trying to destroy product.
  • The shopping carts for hardware and software have been opened for business.
  • Double Data Rate (DDR) SDRAM has been proposed by Samsung. Known as SDRAM-II, this technology uses a clock-doubling method in which data is written to, or read from, the DRAM at twice the memory-bus frequency.  Initial devices will operate 1.6 Gbytes/s with a 100 MHz memory bus; future generations may hit 2.4 Gbytes/s with a 150 MHz bus. 

Monday September 15, 1997

  • We will release the SuperMicro LX boards once SuperMicro is mass producing the boards.
  • ASUS P2L97 and P2L97-S boards are available.

Friday September 12, 1997

  • We apologize, but we must close early today. A family member’s memorial service is being held early this evening, and we would all like to attend. Someone will be here to answer the phones until 4 PM Pacific Time.
  • Special: OEM Intel PR440FX motherboards in quantity 10 or more $205 each. (Must purchase qty 10 to get this price)
  • We received another shipment of OEM Intel Pentium II 300s today. Please call if you are interested.
  • ASUS TXP4 motherboards are available. We should see the AXT counter part late next week. We’ll keep you posted.
  • ASUS P2L97 motherboards and P2L97-S boards are available today.
  • The GigaByte LX board arrived today. We’ll test it on Monday then let you know the results as soon as we can.
  • Advantage 64 Mb true parity modules are in limited supply. Advantage needs 4 lead days on orders.
  • We have extra Intel OEM Pentium 200 MHz processors with MMX technology.

Thursday September 11, 1997

  • We updated pricing on the workstations.
  • We have a new domain name at esc-technologies.com. This domain name is replacing einsteinscomputer.com. If you have any pages bookmarked on einsteinscomputer.com, please change them to either esc-tech.com, esc-ca.com, esc-technologies.com, or esctechnologies.com within September.
  • If you have technical problems today, please email techsupport@esc-tech.com. Technicians are not here to answer questions over the phone today. They will respond to your email as quickly as possible once they return tomorrow.
  • Layne is gone until Monday.

Wednesday September 10, 1997

  • An Intel Representative has helped us today locate 300 MHz Pentium II CPUs.  We appreciate the help.    Apparently there are different distributor part numbers that have caused confusion over the last two weeks. Phew. There will only be four extra CPUs on this shipment.  Please call us (do not attempt email) at 800-427-3726 if you are interested.  We most likely will not see more product until October.
  • We have extra ASUS KN97-X boards without audio in stock. We have Intel LT430TX and AN430TX with audio and video as well.
  • ASUS TXP4 boards are available. Other ASUS boards are still backordered. ASUS says they are working on increasing the distribution of their boards.
  • If the customer who called yesterday early afternoon (Pacific time) from Massachusetts would please call us, we would appreciate it. Our system went down just after you called.
  • Intel Boxed Pentium II 300 MHz CPUs are expected to be available early October.

Tuesday September 9, 1997

  • Eidea is fine arts exhibit that will be on display for approximately one month. The project is run by the Institute for Studies in the Arts.
  • Just learning about the world of computer components? We have a list of buying guides and product reviews.
  • Articles of interest: The two faces of 300 MHz and Hot Graphics PCs: AGP boosts 3D power
  • We apologize to all those we had to put on hold or ask to call back today. Our techs were working on our internal system. Hopefully, everything will be working beyond our usual speed tomorrow.
  • Remember, we assemble, configure, test, and ship your motherboard, cpu and memory combination.
  • The GigaByte LX board should be arriving tomorrow or the following day. We’ll post benchmarks as soon as possible.
  • If you’d like for us to email you a package tracking number you may leave a proper email address at the time of your order.
  • Attention on-line order form users: We would appreciate it if you would use an email address other than @hotmail.com or other non-traceable services. The rate of invalid and fraudulent orders with these email accounts is extremely high, and we have learned to distrust these requests. Thank you for your consideration.

Monday September 8, 1997

  • Create a creature at eidea. Its an interactive art exhibit that is on display on-line.
  • Corsair Microsystems 128 Mb SDRAM will be tested with the SuperMicro P6DLS and ASUS P2L97 motherboards as soon as the modules arrive.  We expect them in the next couple of days.  Pricing per module is $896.88.
  • Question of the day.
    Does the SuperMicro P5STE support the LS-120 drive? 
    O.R. Technology LS-120 Drive is supported by all of the motherboards that we offer from SuperMicro.  Older versions of the P5STE will require a BIOS upgrade.  Check ftp.supermicro.com for the latest BIOS releases.
  • 200 MHz OverDrive Processors are excellent upgrades for socket 7 motherboards.  If you have a socket 5 board, you should check with the manufacturer.  You may also look at the voltage regulator.  If it can handle 5 amp current, then you may be able to use this upgrade processor.
  • As a reminder: If you call us for technical support, then please make sure that you are in front of the machine.  You are more than welcome to call us. But a technician will attempt to determine the severity of the problems you are experiencing.  This is difficult for a technician if you are not next to the machine.  We are all sure that the friend you asked to help you is experienced.  We are all sure that your 5 year old is a genius and capable of programming the greatest java “killer-application”.  However, please realize that the technicians on our end try to mentally picture what is happening so that they can help you.  Please describe everything that is happening on your end.
  • Chuck the Duck memorial services were Saturday.  For these past 14 years Chuck preening in puddles and tried to teach chickens to swim in the northwest corner of Connecticut. After an extended illness and time at a hospice in a bathtub, Chuck didn’t survive a  heart attack. The memorial service was a private family gathering. Chuck now rests next to his beloved mate, Mocha, and friend the rooster. He is survived only by Stella the dog.  Please send sympathies to Al and Gracie who will terribly miss their cousin at heart.

Friday September 5, 1997

  • Question of the day
    Q. Should FAT32 be used on a new hard drive installation?
    A. FAT32 (File Allocation Table 32) was implemented under Windows 95.  Hard Drives above 2 Gb require partitioning under FAT.  However, under Windows 95 and FAT32, the drive does not need to be partitioned.  We have not seen any measurable performance differences between FAT32 and FAT.&#
    160; Therefore, if you prefer one drive partition, then by all means use FAT32.  As a general warning, there may be utilities that do not operate properly under FAT32 and so verify that you software will function before converting.
  • For a great place to relax, check out www.first-tv.com  Layne’s personal favorite is “Cavemen: Greed’s Retribution”.  He just loves that Scrolling text at the end by David Cooper.
  • ESC Technologies does not spam.  We do not appreciate junk email and we suspect neither do you. It has been our policy to repect everyone’s privacy and therefore we do not offer our client list for sale to any company.  We do look at the demographics internally so that we know that those of you in Maine are not washed away by all of the New Yorkers who talk quickly with that accent we all love to immitate.

Thursday September 4, 1997

  • Most ASUS motherboards are still on backorder. We have a couple extra T2P4 boards arriving (@$139) as well as P2L97s.
  • We have 1 OEM Intel Pentium 166 without MMX technology in stock. Please call if you are interested.
  • We have Intel Boxed Pentium 166 with MMX technology and SuperMicro P5MMS98 boards in stock (our special this week).
  • An AMD representative contacted us this morning to follow up on our inquiry about the errors some Linux users were running into. Here is a paraphrase of the statement: They seem to be encountering erratum 2.6.2, which is fully documented in the AMD K6 Processor Revision Guide. The issue does not effect journal users of DOS and Windows. It appears to be limited to a special case of Linux kernel recompiling, where you receive an error after an extended time. AMD has made a design change in the processor that resolves this situation. AMD is offering to replace the processors of people who encounter this rare erratum. If this applies to you, then AMD needs some detailed information from you. Please contact AMD techsupport for more information.

Wednesday September 3, 1997

  • After spending more time with the SuperMicro P6DLS, the AGP card benchmarks versus the Matrox Millinneum doesn’t show a tremendous advantage.  Despite the fact the AGP video card from ASUS had 4 Mb RAM while the Matrox only had 2 Mb, the Matrox was just as fast or faster.  We will post all of the numbers for you to see.
  • Here is a section we are working on for future integration into the website.  This is an identification of the parts of the mainboard. If you have any suggestions on how to improve this page, please let us know.
  • The ASUS P2L97 motherboard arrived today.  We will get it onto the bench and run some preliminary tests.  Those of you unwilling to wait for our results, we are taking advanced orders and will ship your product as soon as possible.
  • The shopping cart is designed and functioning.  We are attempting to tie in the database from our accounting package so that the upkeep is faster and more efficient.  Please watch for the on line ordering system to change within the week.  (are you reading this Lora?!)

Tuesday September 2, 1997

  • We finally have preliminary SuperMicro P6DLS motherboard benchmark scores.  Using Winstone 97, NT Server 4.0, Intel Pentium II 266 MHz, and the Matrox Millenium 2 Mb PCI card (not AGP), the Overall Business Score is 78.7 and the High End Graphics is 32.3. We have not finished the testing with an AGP video card. 
    Here are some of the issues we ran across while trying to test this board.   First, none of our 32 Mb SDRAM modules worked.  The IDE channels did not operate correctly when these modules were installed.  Even an XCOPY from an ATAPI CD-ROM to IDE drive would be corrupt.  With the 32 Mb modules, disabling external cache, then the SCSI channels operated fine (obviously not the way to go).
    Only Ultra DMA hard drives operated correctly on the IDE channel.  Do not attempt to use EIDE drives.
    There are TONS of new BIOS settings.  We stuck with the Optimal settings for all testing.
    Once the modules were replaced with 64 Mb Corsair SDRAM modules, everything worked great.
  • The price differential for purchasing a pentium II system versus socket 7 is starting to shrink.  In comparing the cost of a system per Winstone unit, the numbers are very close.  For example, a TX chipset system costs approximately $17.50 per winstone unit; 440FX system costs approximately $19 per winstone unit; and the 440LX boards cost $21.50 per winstone units.  This is comparing an Intel socket 7 233 MHz CPU versus a Pentium II 233 MHz system.  Maybe someone reading this can spend some time comparing these price/performance units with other benchmarks. 
  • Intel has announced they are discontinuing the VS440FX mainboard.
  • For all of you trying to install Windows NT 4.0 through a DOS installation, make sure that you load himem.sys in the config.sys as well as smartdrv.exe 32767 in the autoexec.bat.  It will cut the time down extensively.
Lora is passionate about student access to technology and information, particularly 1:1 computing environments. Also, has strong interest in natural user input, user experience and interaction behavior patterns.

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