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February 1998

February 28, 1998

  • Quantum has introduced an extension of UDMA 33.  This is termed as ATA-66.  The bandwidth is extended from 33 Mbytes to 66 Mbytes.
  • Last week Intel and Rambus announced S-RIMMs.  These are synchronous RIMMs (Rambus in-line memory modules).  OEMs are debating the necessity of a new memory module to compete with three generations of DRAM – Rambus, SLDRAM, and DDR-SDRAM.

February 27, 1998

Prices have dropped considerably. Keep in mind that qualities of modules can vary greatly.

Crucial Technologies is the only company that offers high quality Micron chips on Micron boards (Grade A memory).  Spectec is lower grade Micron. Many other companies use low grade Micron chips, solder them on low quality boards, and this final product is generic or major-on-third memory.

  • We received a shipment of extra Boxed Pentium II 333 MHz processors. If you order before 2 PM PT, the order can ship today.
  • Corsair 64 MB non-ECC SDRAM modules are in stock.
  • Intel Boxed 166 MHz Overdrive processors are available.
  • Question of the Day: I’m trying to decide whether to upgrade my old 486 or buy a new machine, what steps should I take?

We’ve outlined a few issues you need to consider when upgrading. www.esc-ca.com/html/upgrade.html

  • Thank you for your patience while we make adjustments on our website entry pages. Please let us know if you have suggestions of things you’d like to see or changes.
  • I’d like to build my own machine, but am still wondering about other options….

Whether you’re building your own machine for fun, experience, customization, or cost, you need a technical background. If you don’t have some configuring experience then you may want to have someone choose and assemble the components for you. Most areas are serviced by A+ certified technicians who should be able to help you.

SuperStores have computers that sales people can pull systems off the shelf and you take it home in the same day. What the company offers and what the machine can do varies from model to model and store to store. One company may offer an Cyrix P166+  based system for around $800, while the store next door may have a Pentium II 266 MHz at a good deal.

Major OEMs will build a system for you with their mass customization model. If you purchase a prebuilt system then you may have a machine by the end of the week. If you choose items that is built to your specifications (within their category selections) then it may take anywhere from 1 to 7 weeks before delivery. The advantage is that you’ve chosen the capacity of your system, and you don’t need a high level of technical information.

Other options are component dealers, where you can purchase individual components. These companies usually bring product in from a distributor and ship, without testing the product. Local resellers offer their own brand of systems. They may purchase from a distributor product line with which they are familiar then build, or the distributor assembles the system for them and they add value (install software, add a component, etc.).

And of course, there are companies like ours: we offer a variety of select components, you choose your items, we purchase the items from the manufacturer or distributor, we assemble, configure, and test the components.

No matter where you go, you need to protect yourself before you purchase.  Know what industry trends are and what is considered current technology. Be familiar with different manufacturers. One thing will be constant: no matter what you buy today, it will be obsolete in the near future. This is a hard concept to accept, especially since computers are an investment that most people plan to use over time, and the intrinsic value of a computer is different for each person.

There are two common approaches to how to balance the expense: 1) buy an inexpensive system that you will replace quite a few times within a few year time period.; or 2) buy the most powerful machine you can afford at the time and use it for a couple of years. There are many analogies that fall short because of the industry momentum and performance considerations when dealing with computers: hand-held vacuum cleaners versus shop vacuums, types of cars, types of stereos, plastic filing cabinets versus metal or hand-made wood filing cabinets, etc. Choosing your computer will need to fit with the rest of your life choices.

Even if you opt for a low end system, you will need to make sure you have certain fundamental capabilities otherwise you will end up 2-3 weeks later trying to upgrade your brand-new system.

  • at least 32 MB of memory if it is a Pentium (64 MB is quickly becoming standard)
  • make sure it uses a processor with MMX technology (it doesn’t matter if it’s a feature you think you are going to use, but the voltage considerations may limit your upgradeability)
  • 24x CD ROM (32x is the standard now)
  • 3.2 GB hard drive is the ‘sweet spot’ or the entry level drive

Another common choice is to build the best you can afford at the time. Many technicians consider the Intel Pentium II 300 MHz with MMX technology processor to be the lowest performing system a person should invest in. The reason? The Pentium II 333 MHz is still at ‘introductory pricing’, as the most recently released Pentium II. The price gap between the 333 MHz Pentium II and 300 MHz Pentium II makes the 300 MHz more affordable, and yet it’s a high performing system, that the average home user will not outgrow quickly or be disa
ppointed in it’s performance.

So, do you build or buy prepackaged? Weigh the convenience of just taking it out of the box, plugging in the surge protector, and pressing the power switch versus having a system that was built with items you choose and a flexibility you design. Time, cost, experience, long term satisfaction, and many other elements are variables you’ll need to consider. Research (yes, the verb): read manufacturer web sites, talk with people who have bought recently and have similar expectations and requirements as you, read product reviews, watch pricing so you understand what position the market is currently in (remember, components are commodities), read about vendors, and read technical documentation.

February 26, 1998

  • Question of the day. Why does my 64 MB generic memory not work on my Intel AL440LX motherboard?

The AL440LX, DK440LX, NX440LX, and R440LX use reverse clocks relative to the industry standard.  The latest BIOS apparently corrects this problem.   Because the 128 MB modules use all four clocks there isn’t a problem. Corsair Microsystems has the proper memory for the  64 MB SDRAM capacities.

Corsair Microsystems PC100 Compliant Memory

64 MB PC100

64 MB ECC PC100

128 MB PC100

128 MB ECC PC100

February 25, 1998

February 24, 1998

  • Startling advance on chips reported
  • Now the Governor’s want to collect sales tax on Internet sales; however, here is a great example of how our government is spending the money they already take from you.

Nevada legislators and laptops don’t mix

"The Internet Tax Freedom Act, sponsored by Representative Chris Cox (R-California) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), would bar states and local governments from passing any new Net taxes until 2004."

By John Borland, Net Insider

  • We can accept orders on PC100 compliant memory from Corsair Microsystems.  For orders placed today, Corsair will ship to us in 3-4 business days.  

Four different PC100 168-pin SDRAM modules are available for purchase:

To order these items, please give us a toll free call, 1-800-427-3726

  • Al and Gracie decided to play hooky from work today. Instead of working they are playing in the sunshine. Al is probably basking in the sun, while Gracie watches the birds fly around their yard. We hope you are enjoying your day too.
  • Corsair Microsystems’s white paper on the PC100 spec is on their website.   This is probably the most authoritative paper about PC100 memory on the Internet.
  • Here is a really pro-business stance — just like Al loves taking baths. Al and Gracie suspect that Governors are going to win a lot of votes with this initiative. Actually, Al and Gracie read the article this way:  "Big Business fears Internet"  It seems that Big Business can’t spin-control their way around their poor business practices, therefore they’ll just get rid of the Internet commerce.

Governors set to support Internet sales tax


If you would like to contribute to this website please let us know.

  • Our hearts go out to everyone in Florida that has been devastated by the Tornadoes.
  • Al and Gracie were busy reading Newsweek last night.  There is an interesting article on mergers. Specifically, the article dealt with search engines and start pages. Microsoft is entering the start page market, while Infoseek and other "smaller" search engines are increasing value in order to attract more visitors.

PC100 Compliant Memory versus 100 MHz SDRAM

Historical Perspective

Synchronous DRAM is the main computer memory used in most new motherboards.  The latest chipsets from Intel, SiS, and VIA support this type of memory.  Early adopters of these new memory modules had many headaches getting their systems stable.  It turned out that the specifications for manufacturing SDRAM was very loose as well as many other issues came to light. 

  • 2 clock versus 4 clock
  • 66 MHz versus 100 MHz
  • 100 MHz versus PC100

One of the most common issues raised by migrating to SDRAM is the 2 clock versus 4 clock timing of the modules.  The Intel LX chipset supports 4 clock, unbuffered, SDRAM.  Some motherboards using the TX chipset require 2 clock memory modules.  The majority use the 4 clock modules.  It is difficult to identify 2 clock SDRAM versus 4 clock.  They look the same!

(Update: A caller to our 800-number stated that if you look at pin 78 you will notice a difference between 2-clock and 4-clock SDRAM.  You can find pin 78 by counting back from the edge 6 pads.  He states that if there is a trace, then the memory is 4 clock.  If the pad is blank, then it is 2 clock.  Does anyone disagree?)

The Pentium II processor with the LX chipset uses an external bus speed of 66 MHz.  Some people overclock their systems using higher bus speeds of 83 MHz or 100 MHz.  Intel deems this as overclocking and will not support the configuration.  SDRAM manufactured today is pushed at these higher bus speeds which could cause the loss of data.  However, increasing the bus speed dramatically increases a system’s performance.

Future Requirements

Because of the increase in performance, Intel will release the 440BX chipset as well as new processors in second quarter of 1998.  The 440BX chipset will support the higher bus settings for the new Pentium II processors.  SiS 5591 and VIA MVP3 also support the higher bus speeds.

The SDRAM presently on the market will most likely not operate on these new motherboards.  Even if they are termed 100 MHz SDRAM by the manufacturer, the modules will need to be PC100 compliant in order to operate properly at the higher bus speeds.

Intel released a specification for manufacturers termed PC100.  This specification tightens the requirement for SDRAM manufacturing and ensures that the modules will run at the higher bus setting.  100 MHz SDRAM and PC100 SDRAM are not one in the same. 

PC100 compliant memory modules are built on at least 6 layer PCB, use at least 8 ns SDRAM chips, follow EEPROM SPD guidelines from Intel, and many other changes.  Here is a list provided by Corsair Microsystems.

  • SDRAMs used must be compatible with the current Intel SDRAM Component SPEC (Version 1.5)
  • SPDs used must be compatible with the current Intel SPD Component SPEC (Version 1.2)
  • 6 layer PCB boards must be used and must incorporate the Power and Ground Planes
  • Signals are not routed in Power and Ground Planes
  • Clock traces must be routed strictly to Intel’s specifications matched, in length to better than 10mils and capacitive loading (0.01inches)
  • Remaining traces must strictly follow Intel specification on trace length, via count and placement, and trace topology

February 23, 1998

  • How did ESC choose it’s product line?

Yes, there are thousands of products available in the market. We are very select in what we offer. Originally, ESC started out offering only memory over the Internet. That was in 1995. After a few weeks, clients asked us to add processors, so we did. Later, enough clients requested motherboards too. By 1996, we offered barebone workstations and systems.

At that point we decided that if we were going to offer motherboards, CPUs, and memory that we would assemble, configure, and test the corresponding items before they shipped from our facility. With this method, we know products work.

Now, how did we choose which brands we offer? The companies with which we work have knowledgeable and pleasant staff. Their products have low return rates, and high client satisfaction.

  • Will ESC add video cards, DVD ROMs, monitors, SCSI drives and other items in the near future?

Good question. We always talk about which items we should add next. We try to pay attention to market trends, product availability, and how competitive we could be with price.

We add new product categories when our techs feel comfortable with the product, tech and sales people feel comfortable enough with the product to answer questions, we can be competitive with pricing, and when the product is available on the market.

Video cards, DVD ROMs, LS-120 drives, and SCSI drives are all items we talk frequently about adding. At this point, we do not have a time line for adding these categories. If we were to offer a video card, which AGP card would you choose?  Monitors and modems you can pick up at a local store less expensive than we can offer or ship them. Keep letting us know which products you are considering, and think we should consider.

  • The 25 Top Best computer books sold in the last month are listed on the Computer Literacy website.
  • ESDRAM is compliant with the Intel’s 440BX to be announced in the near future. Other PC chipsets will support ESDRAM in the near future
  • The rain is continuing to fall from the sky,  almond blossoms are on the trees, birds are flocking back to their springtime home.  Al is busy chasing birds and Gracie is busy hiding from all the rain.  Both  Al and Gracie are determined to patch up their canoes and hitch a couple joy rides while the water levels are high. Spring is such a wonderful season!
  • AMD K6/233 Processors in a Box are on special for $175.00.   The regular price is $188.00.
  • Al and Gracie were thinking about all the DEAE in shampoos as well as test tubes used in murder investigations.  Now these dogs have turned scientists and are telling us that they knew all along that this additive isn’t healthy.  In fact, the two dogs are hoping we’ll all buy this unhealthiness as the justification for them not wanting to take baths.  As Al says, "Who needs a bath with all this DEAE?" and Gracie complains, "Now what do I do about my hair?"
  • Taiwan taking Socket-7 route to 100 MHz
  • OEMs Can Expect Merced Samples Later This Year
  • How many people does it take to write the what’s new section for ESC?  One, Two, Three, or more?  Even though Al and Gracie contribute their thoughts, we wont count them as writers.  Therefore, the answer is three writers and six contributors.  Would you like to contribute?
  • In fact, thinking of contributions, Intel is now in full swing regarding Sub $1000 PCs.  Ain’t life a kick.  Watch for the 440EX and Camino chipsets to come off the design table and into our homes.

February 20, 1998

PC 99 System Design Guide Version 0.3 NOW Available

  • AMD To Expand Chip Factory In Thailand
  • Al and Gracie were amazed to find out Spam is a food.  It seems that they are eating their own words regarding email practices.  Only one person agreed with them that a consumer sending email to many computer companies on the Internet is Spam.  It seems everyone who emailed Al and Gracie regarding this growing consumer trend thought that the email should be answered even if the individual never visited Al and Gracie before.  Oh well, sigh.  That’s why we asked.  It seems the concern over Spam is when it’s your own mailbox and not anyone else’s.  So Al and Gracie will do their best to answer this email.
  • The part numbers for the Intel Seattle Motherboard (BX Chipset) have been assigned by a major Intel distributor.  It generally takes 6 to 8 weeks after the part number is assigned for the new product to be readily available.   That places the product availability in the middle of April.  The approximate prices are:
  • BOXSE440BXIA with ISA Audio $260.00
  • BOXSE440VXPA with PCI Audio $275.00
  • Macromedia introduces a new "lunchtime" website.
  • After Apple opened it’s online store, it was only a matter of time before we saw all of the other manufacturers start to offer their products directly to the consumer over the Internet. 

IBM To Sell Product Line Over Web

February 19, 1998

The other day we were chatting about mergers, acquisitions, etc.   This one might impact things a bit.

  • Al and Gracie are watching the rain today.
  • Intel plans a "Basic PC"
  • Many websites on the Internet have processor roadmaps, but we should point out that the Intel website has a processor roadmap that you might enjoy reading.
  • In Win cases will be in short supply through early March. We do have cases in inventory at this time.
  • We want to congratulate Intel on making sure we have Boxed Pentium II 333 MHz processors available. With prior releases, we experienced immediate backorders upon release of a product. We do have these Boxed processors in stock.
  • According to one source, the future Willamette processor is rumored to:
  • have MMX2 instructions and
  • be named Pentium III
  • The Face Of Innovationupside.com
  • Here’s the best name we received in email for the upcoming family of microprocessors from Intel: 

The Pentium II – II

That way, instead of paying minimum wage to some overworked snail, Apple can just put a ballerina outfit on it and spin it around.

Samsung in talks with Intel

  • Gunmen broke into an airport warehouse in San Francisco last week and stole $1.05 million worth of 16- and 64-megabit DRAM chips.
  • Intel’s Tanner chip is the transition from 32-bit microprocessors to 64-bit processors.  Intel’s slot M and the 460GX chipset will be the implementation for moving to the 64-bit code.
  • Steps to take when you receive new product

February 18, 1998

A high percentage of GigaByte’s  motherboards are used by corporations. Their boards have been chosen because they are known to be of consistent quality. Companies can rely on data integrity and high performance when using a GigaByte motherboard.

More recently the company has started attracted home and small business users. GigaByte’s popularity grew with this new market when AMD released their AMD-K6 series processors early last year. GigaByte’s  products continue to impress a large group of users.

Other places to go….

We’ve heard it said that the Internet is producing ‘neighborhoods’. We are interested in certain topics, we form habits about how to find information, and once these are established we filter out where we choose to visit. How often do you take a walk through your neighborhood and over to the ones on the other side of the sphere? If you are trying to find information, do you go to a search engine like Alta Vista, do you use a static source like Yahoo or LookSmart, do you look through advertising pages like Excite, or do you have another favorite spot?

Einstein and Gracie have different styles of searching around the Internet. Einstein’s hound instincts are obvious with his behavior pattern. Once he starts sniffing and gets on a trail, he follows relentlessly one lead after
another (although he may not remember how he got their nor where he even started). If he is looking for a new flavor of dogbone he may go to a search engine and follows the links until he finds information about birds, small animals, bones and other potential entertainment.

Gracie is a purebred, and she is methodical and meticulous with her approach. When she is looking for new flavors of bones, she starts at research institutions to read up on what will keep her coat glossy and her energy levels high, then she investigates who they list that make such products.  She wants to not only know what the bone will do once she eats it, but whether she’ll want two or three more the hour after she eats it.

It’s exciting to look for new places to visit on the Internet, especially because it is changing so quickly. Please, let us know how you found us.

  • Today’s special: GigaByte 686LX or 686BLX motherboard with Intel Boxed Pentium II 333 MHz processor with MMX technology for $986.00.
  • Intel AL440LX, AL440LX no audio, and DK440LX motherboards are backordered at this time.
  • Reminder:

We do not accept orders with non-traceable email addresses such as @hotmail.com, @usa.net, @juno.com, @techie.com, @whome.com, etc.

Why? We want to make sure information is accurate and personal information is protected. If we receive an on-line request from a free email account, it is an automatic flag that the order may not be valid. The majority of on-line requests from these email accounts are fraudulent.

Also, we do accept orders from outside of the United States. If you would like to order, and your billing and shipping address are not in the US, please FAX your order to 209-550-4998. The request must be accompanied by a signature of the credit card holder, and contact FAX and voice number for the issuing bank.

We turn over fraudulent use of credit card information over to appropriate authorities.

We do not sell nor give away your  personal information.

February 17, 1998

Intel’s Grove outlines spread of P6 architecture

  • Speculation on a new name for the Slot 2 Deschutes Family of processors.  Would you like to guess?

    Pentium Ultra, Ultra Snail or Super Snail, Pentium 3 or do you have another insight?

  • AMD called today to confirm that the production on the K6/266 is improving.  Their yield is better than what they were encountering before.  IBM is getting product, and Compaq is not receiving as much as they would like.  Therefore, it will still be a few more weeks before we see the K6/266.
  • The Super7 socket motherboards which will use the AMD processors with a 100 MHz external bus setting are expected to see a 50% improvement in cache performance.
  • AMD-K6/233 MMX enhanced Processors in a Box (retail) versions are available.
  • Happy Birthday Leanne!
  • We have extra Intel Boxed Pentium II 233 MHz and Boxed Pentium II 333 MHz processors in stock.
  • Hard drive breakthrough claimed  According to Seagate they can pack 10 to 20 times more data on a storage device with their Optically Assisted Winchester technology.

February 16, 1998

  • Email spamming by vendors is considered to be poor Internet etiquette.  We don’t do it and we don’t like companies that spam.

However, we are seeing an increasing number of people emailing us with a question that has also been sent to dozens (even hundreds) of other companies on the Internet.  Most of the answers are on the website: prices, product list, manufacturer’s websites, etc.

Our policy in the past has been to not answer them.   It is difficult to distinguish between other companies sending us junk email versus the consumer sending us requests for information.  Recently we started to answer a few with inquiries as to why they felt it necessary to do this.  Sometimes we were tactful and other times blunt.  In our view, these messages are "strange."  

The defense by many consumers is that this strategy yields the best price and is simply competition.   We disagree. There are companies that require bids, and we see this as an obvious exception.

If you find it a pain for you to receive spam, then just think about the people here who receive hundreds of email messages every day!  Our policy has been to get people answers as quickly as possible; however, we can’t do this if we are answering junk email.

If you disagree or agree with us, we’d like to hear from you.  Please let us know what you think.  Does spamming include a consumer or is the sidewalk only functional in one direction? webmaster@esc-tech.com .

  • Al and Gracie spent their Valentine’s Day with their family.  We hope all of you enjoyed yourselves too.  In fact, due to all the closeness, it has been decided that they both need a little grooming and baths.  Al’s toenails are being clipped and Gracie’s hair is being shortened.
  • The computer industry is doing a bit of pruning and grooming too.  We’ve seen the Compaq-Digital megamerger, the Intel and Chips and Technology acquisition, and dozens of other mergers.  Change is definitely happening all around us.
  • Siemens sees rising chip sales
  • Sorry, we didn’t mean to miss this article on the L2 cache on the slot 2 systems!

Intel Bets On Custom Cache Device For Slot 2 Platform

February 13, 1998

  • We primarily operate as a just-in-time inventory. Normally, when an order is placed, we purchase the requested product, and when it arrives at our facility we test it then ship it.

Today, we do have a few extra items in stock:

ABIT LX6 boards
Intel Boxed Pentium II 333 MHz processors
Intel Boxed Pentium II 233 MHz processor
Western Digital OEM 3.2 GB UDMA drive
Quantum Fireball ST 3.2 GB drive
Intel LT430TX motherboard

Please call 800-427-3726 if you are interested in any of these products. Saturday delivery is possible if the order is placed before 2:30 PM Pacific Time.

  • Today’s special:
    IBM Deskstar 8 8.4 GB IDE hard drive $367.40
    Western Digital 5.1 GB IDE hard drive Retail pack $297.30
  • Black cats crossing the street, the witching hour, don’t walk under a ladder
    , step on a crack you’ll break your momma’s back.  Yes, today is Friday the 13th.  Watch for Jason coming your way.
  • "Go ahead nerd.   Make my day."
  • Having trouble with your machine.  Try this website or go to this site for "live" help.

February 12, 1998

  • Reminder: If you’d like us to email your package tracking number when your product ships, please provide the information at the time of order.

We do not sell or give out your private information.

  • We do have extra Corsair 32 MB SDRAM modules in stock. They are on special for $71.50 while supplies last. Normal pricing is around $97. Why are we running them on special? Well, it’s simple. We ran a weekend special about 2 weeks ago, when the special ended Monday morning, we had so many requests that we started the special again!
  • We have an extra tray AMD-K6/200 MMX enhanced processor in stock.
  • Question of the Day:

What companies are most likely to survive the industry wide shake-up of manufacturers?  I want to know, so I can decide which products to buy and have my warranties honored if I need them next year.  I don’t want to pay for the research and development of short-lived products.  Why don’t manufacturers understand that?

This is a great time for computer users and buyers.  ‘Competitive’ is the operative, but understated (subtle?) word for understanding the computer industry’s constant release of new products.  Change is constant.  New companies emerge with a "better idea," then, buyers flock to it, and a new competitor has taken its place in the market.  You can count on new product to replace the one you just bought. 

People keep coming up with new products for a better computer system based on the same model a company is already using, while another group of people are thinking of a better model, and a third group – the users – dream about their perfect system. These changes are obvious throughout the industry: new memory, processors, video, audio, mainboards, storage devices, and other peripherals.

    One idea is to make a ‘system’ easy enough to use so these systems easily blend into our lives and become productive tools. Hopefully and ultimately, decreasing the time we spend ‘working’ and increasing the time we spend with our friends and family. 

    ‘Ultimate’ and ‘proximate’ are two words commonly used in scientific disciplines. How do the two approaches coordinate? How are people effected in the meantime? What are products really like in the meantime? How do companies plan to survive during the constant change? How do companies plan and pay for the extreme costs of project developments?

    It’s this latter question of cost and paying for project developments that is one of the most pressing proximate issues for companies.  Each product’s ontogeny is being challenged when an evolutionary view is used to understand the industry.  Initial planning, design, building the model, testing the model, revising the model, implementing the project, building the product, making those final touches, training, marketing, and using the product. It’s thought, skilled-labor, and money intensive. The rate at which this development process occurs is phenomenally fast. Multiple people work for months to get a product to market. Then, that product is available for a shorter time than it took to develop it before a newer product surpasses it.

    Many of the articles on news.com, CNET, and Wired today focus on such investments and how video companies are projecting where the industry may be by the end of the year. These same cost pressing situations are also occurring with the new memory to be released for the upcoming Intel BX chipset, the shift from socket 7 to slot 1 and slot 2 processors, and the shift from CD ROM to DVD ROM, and then to DIVD next year.

    Change over a short period of time is  extremely expensive for everyone involved. Distributors, resellers, and users pay for the costs of this thought and labor intensive process. Sometimes losses are taken to move product. Other times, profit on an item may be a little higher to help pay for the costs involved in developing a new idea. Since we thrive in a financially based society, the real costs have to be addressed eventually.

    Remember, evolution is exciting. From a short term perspective, we see opportunities for new companies, growth in exisitng companies, new jobs, and improved products. Moreover, the industry continuing to work toward developing a seemingly effortless computer system.

  • Intel Graphics Chip To Make PCs Life-like Wired
  • Terror in the Graphics World: Intel Specter Looms
  • "As companies design faster and more sophisticated chips at an ever-increasing rate, graphics processors that only nine months earlier defined the premium class become second-tier. This dizzying speed of innovation makes it hard for companies to recoup the costs of developing their chips, analysts say. " — www.news.com
    Ruthless Competition Rules The Market
  • "Additional MMX instructions will appear in the "Katmai" generation of Pentium II processors, which are due in 1999, said Richard Dracott, marketing manager for the processor division at Intel. Dracott surmised that Katmai processors which go into low-cost PCs may even obviate the need for a separate graphics chip. " — new.com
    Intel’s Entry Means Big Changes
  • DVD/3D Kit to Hit Market
  • Today’s special is Quantum 8.4 GB Fireball SE hard drive. 
  • The new Intel BX chipset motherboards will use different memory from what is currently available on the market. These boards will require PC100 compliant memory. The memory is expected to be backward compatible with Intel 440LX chipset motherboards. The exception might be 64 MB modules for the Intel 440LX motherboard, which required special design.

PC100 compliant memory is expected to be released around early March.

  • Have you seen the Apple commercial where the snail is carrying the Intel Pentium II processor?

February 11, 1998

  • UPS told us today that their national tracking server is down for a while. Hopefully, it’ll be up and running soon.
  • We have Intel Boxed Pentium II 333 MHz processors with ECC and 512K cache in stock.
  • Gracie and Einstein are enjoying the sunny weather today. Grandma even brought cookies in for everyone here at the shop, and the duo are thinking up new tricks to try to get a tiny bit. They can hardly wait for early summer when Grandma bakes her boysenberry pies….
  • In what city is ESC located?

Modesto is located in the San Joaquin Valley of Central California. It’s home to many large companies as well as a large agriculture base. To the east rise the high Sierra Mountains. Just a short drive up Highway 120 is Yosemite National Park. To the west is the Coast Range and San Francisco Delta reg

Our family originally came to California at the turn of the twentieth century. Papa (Grandpa and Great-grandpa), Mama, and six children rode over in a modified Chevrolet touring car and a Dodge touring car. The kids had cut the back seats off of cars to make room for the family and their belongings.  They had been living in Rocky Ford, Colorado and Shickly, Nebraska, but the lack of rain water for the fields prompted them to leave their farm.

The San Joaquin Valley offers some of the most fertile soil in the world. Walnuts, almonds, peaches, and grapes not only provided food for the family, but supplemental income. Agriculture is still a large force in the Valley. The Modesto area is also a fast, growing business and residential area. It is within a two hour commute to the Silicon Valley, and it’s population is growing everyday.

For more information about ESC, please see www.esc-ca.com/html/esc.html. For more information about California history see, www.ca.gov.  

  • Can I use just one processor on GigaByte’s 686DLX dual Pentium II motherboard?

Yes. The motherboard autodetects whether you are using one or two processors, and adjusts accordingly.

February 10, 1998

  • We have extra Quantum 3.2 GB drives in stock. We also have one Intel Boxed Pentium 166 MHz OverDrive processor with MMX technology. Please call us at 800-427-3726 if you are interested in the OverDrive.
  • We have been running a special on Corsair 32 MB SDRAM. We’re also going to run a special this week on Crucial 16 MB EDO SIMMs.
  • Did you notice any changes to the webcart?
  • Intel Boxed DK440LX motherboards are not available at this time. Our major distributors do not have inventory on this product, and are hoping to get a few more pieces soon. Will they? One distributor commented that they may not be quick to stock many since the new BX chipset is to arrive this spring.
  • Al and Gracie have been rather quiet today.  Al is resting up from the storms.  Gracie finally has her head out from under the bed.  The rain has not helped her hairdo.

Did you know that Gracie is an Intel refugee?  Yes, she attended the parties when a project was completed – pig roasts and knows the Pentium chants. 

Al gets rather jealous when Gracie talks about "the old days."  After all, Al likes pigs too.  Come to think of it, Al likes anything that is edible. 

Hey there’s an idea, a new chocolate bar in the shape of a Pentium II.  Naw.  Intel’s put us on a diet – just a few boxed Pentium II 333 MHz   products, no cache in the Covington,  and only a few ISA slots.   Obviously they don’t have time for a chocolate bar.

Wait!  Now Al is wishing for a Slot 2 version.   The "Big Al" chocolate bar in the shape of a Pentium II with 2 MB L2 cache.  That oughta make us all fat and happy.

Chipset Features
440BX 100 MHz
440GX addressable memory to 2 Gigabytes
440EX formerly 440LXR, for the Covington CPU
440JX formerly 440BX2, PIIX6, FireWire feature added
Camino DDR SDRAM and Direct Rambus support, 2 Katmai processor support

February 9, 1998

Microsoft Debuts DirectX 6.0

February 6, 1998

  • It’s Friday! We hope everyone enjoys their weekend.
  • We have a couple AMD-K6/233 PIBs left in the Monday shipment. If you are interested, please call 800-427-3726. They are $185 each.
  • We have extra Intel LT430TX motherboards in stock.
  • We have extra GigaByte 686DLX motherboards available today. We also have an ASUS TX97.
  • Clients have declared today Connecticut day. We have had a high number of calls from from CT today. We’ve even had people from other parts of the country call because someone in Connecticut recommended they call us. Thank you!

February 5, 1998

"Financial news provider Bloomberg and techie news network CNET announced a deal on Wednesday to create several co-branded fin
ancial news services, including News.com…." Wired

  • Here’s another article about future processors:

" Intel, which says it will be making some announcements of its own at the ISSCC conference, says it expects to be launching 550-MHz chips for PCs by the end of this year." Wired

IBM Meets Digital on the 1,000-MHz Roof

  • We have another shipment of AMD-K6/233 MHz Processors In a Box on the way! Quanities are limited, so please call 800-427-3726 if you are interested.
  • Does the fan on the AMD PIB attach to the motherboard or the power supply?

The fan on the AMD Processors in a Box connect to the power supply.

Also, the fan is mounted on the processor.

  • There is limited availability on Intel Pentium OverDrive processors. We removed the 166 and 180 MHz OverDrive processors from our on-line order system until we have updated availability information.
  • We apologize for some of the strange shipping calculations on our shopping cart. We’re still trying to fix some of the little bugs. In the meantime, a good reference is UPS’s web site: www.ups.com. There, they have an on-line shipping calculator for pickup rates. Our zip code is 95356; we declare insurance (the invoice value); and we do require a signature to release a package.

February 4, 1998

Bill Gates hit by cream cake in Brussels

Late last Fall, AMD released their new Processor In a Box program, PIB, where AMD packages their AMD-K6 enhanced MMX processors with a heatsink and fan and honors a three year warranty on the product. The new program was developed for resellers and system integrators to install AMD’s  processors in machines and be able to honor a warranty on the product. The new product has been extremely successful. Demand for the PIB has exceeded the supply, but AMD will improve supply in the reseller channel. We should see more K6/233 product at the end of February.

AMD officials say that they will release their new K6/266 processor through the PIB program in late March to early April. Currently, their new processor is available through Level 1 OEMs: IBM and Compaq. IBM and Compaq using AMD’s new product in their systems demonstrates AMD’s continuing success. 

  • We are now offering the GigaByte 686DLX motherboard. It is a dual Pentium II board, with SCSI on-board.
  • We have an extra AMD PIB K6/233 in stock. Please call 800-427-3726 if you are interested.
  • Overdrive processors currently available: Intel Pentium 200 MHz OverDrive with MMX technology. Estimated time of arrival of the 166 and 180 MHz OverDrive processors…hopefully, soon. Many distributors are not expecting new shipments of the Intel Boxed Pentium 166 MHz Overdrive processor.
  • Many distributors in the Silicon Valley have told us that they have been short staffed the past two days. Some of their employees have not been able to get to work because of the severe weather conditions. Our thoughts are with those who’s homes are threatened and have been damaged this season.
  • Local Central and Northern California weather and river information. monsoon.water.ca.gov

February 3, 1998

  • Corsair SDRAM prices dropped.
  • Crucial memory prices dropped.
  • We received a few more AMD-K6 PIB 233 MMX processors. We are offering the processors at $185 each. Please call 800-427-3726 to order.
  • The 440LX-R chipset will apparently only allow 2 DIMM sockets and 3 PCI slots.  Now Intel calls this chipset "Cost Reduced" but we call it "Restricted."  Al and Gracie call it something else.
  • IBM joins the 1,000-MHz club

February 2, 1998

  • More about ATX 2.01 specifications:



  • Intel Boxed Pentium II 333 MHz with MMX technology processors should arrive at authorized distributors between this week and the next week.
  • We are adding the Toshiba 32 X IDE CD ROM.
  • ASUS T-10AB cases are backordered until the end of February. A new shipment is expected to dock in the U.S. in about two weeks.
  • Intel Pentium OverDrive units are in limited supply.
  • Pentium motherboards that will take advantage of AGP are starting to arrive on the market. We’ll see more information within the month; keep watching What’s New.
  • Alpha chips zoom to 1000 MHz
  • Gracie is practicing her version of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star":

Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How they wonder who I am
Up above the world so high
I’m a diamond in the sky

Al’s version is a little more crude. We won’t reinforce that though.

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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