17th > January > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Taiwan shifts slot to socket. Clock it? Slotket.

A Taiwanese firm has come up with a solution to allow owners of Slot One motherboards to upgrade to 370-Socket Intel parts. Abit has invented a card called Slotket which it claims will plug into the slot on an old fashioned Intel motherboard and allow end users to push in 370-pin Celerons. The Overclockers Comparison Page was the first to reveal its existence. According to Abit, its Slotket gives the ability to use a wide range of current CPUs available. The product could be useful, we at The Register feel, because Intel has made no secret of the fact it wants to phase out Slot One Celerons just as quickly as it can. Abit claims that with a correct BIOS upgrade, any board that runs old fashioned Celeron Slot 1s can now run 370-pin Mendocino core Celerons. But in an intriguing extra nugget of information, Abit claimed that the current BX chipset will not support UDMA/66 while only Camino and Whitney will support UDMA/66 in the future. ® *RegistrOid Front Side Bus. "Clock it" is a foggy old London phrase, meaning "look at it". There are many other quaint London sayings, such as "boiled beef and iron", "wouldn't give you tuppence for your old watch chain" and "init". No one knows what any of these mean...
Mike Magee, 17 Jan 1999
The Register breaking news

Compaq puts tentative toe into Alpha water – ouch it's Intel

A report from a US newsletter has outlined the shape of Compaq’s XP1000 workstations, shortly to be announced there. But sources close to Compaq UK said the company is still vacillating over when, and how, it will unleash the Alpha based systems on the home market. (Is there an If?) A report in the latest issue of Shannon knows Compaq gives chapter and verse on the platform. According to newsletter editor Terry Shannon, the 500MHz boxes – formerly codenamed Monet -- which use the EV6 bus, an Alpha 21264 chip and a low price to boot, are already filtering their way through the distribution channel. But here in the UK, the speed of their movement in the channel could be measured in microns rather than miles per hour. Sources close to Compaq told us last week that prices are likely to compete with workstations using Intel’s Xeon technology, putting more pressure on the chip giant to lower prices on its (rather expensive) top end parts. Shannon said yesterday that the boxes will come with a 4Mb of external level three cache, two 64-bit PCI slots, and one PCI/ISA 32-bit combo slot. There is a total of six storage bays, plus onboard Ultra SCSI, SoundBlaster support, 10/100 Fast Ethernet and the other bits and bobs people expect these days. The newsletter claims that the workstations, which have blazing throughput speeds, will come in the usual Personal Workstation package. Readers of The Register will remember from our many stories last year that Eckhard Pfeiffer, Compaq’s CEO, apparently faces a dilemma on whether to push Alpha hard or not. While the Gartner Group thinks the Alpha platform is only a short term measure, Pfeiffer is not so sure. He has many contacts from Texas which he is still cultivating...and then there’s AMD and Samsung too... There are other, channel dilemmas. Although Compaq UK told us last year that the overlap between Compaq workstation distributors and Digital workstation distributors are slight, we have reason to know differently. The coming weeks are likely to herald a battle royal on the channel front. But then, it were ever thus... ® Register EckFact .22 micron. Eckhard Pfeiffer continually worries about the return on investment -- ROI for short. Go here to see what he might say if he talked to us these days...
Mike Magee, 17 Jan 1999
The Register breaking news

Updated: Intel to retain Celeron Slot One until year end

Intel said today it will continue supplying Slot One as well as 370 Socket Celerons until the end of this year. That represents a u-turn from its previous position. Last week, a US distributor is claiming that Intel has already discontinued Slot One designs for the Celeron 300A. A notice at The Ram Warehouse is claiming that Intel said it was discontinued on the 13th of January. An Intel spokesman said: "All Celeron processors up to and including the 433MHz will be available in both Slot One and PPGA. The Slot One for Celerons will continue at least until the end of 1999." He confirmed Intel had changed its mind since November last. "The 366MHz was going to be the last Slot One. We were talking about that before the launch." ®
Mike Magee, 17 Jan 1999
The Register breaking news

Updated: SMP Celerons hacked together

Hardware enthusiasts worldwide are combining Celeron processors to create symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) systems, despite Intel's attempt to block the possibility. The trend was started by Japanese enthusiast Kikumara, but now others are putting together systems based on the technology. Kikumara has provided step-by-step instructions on his Web site and there is another series of instructions now available at Fastgraphics. The process is not trivial unless you're a wiz with a soldering iron and a screwdriver, but The Register believes it won't be long before some entrepreneur starts to sell systems based on the fix. Because the Celeron is basically a cut-down Pentium II, there are few differences between the processors. This fact is known to Intel and to hardware enthusiasts, the chip giant wants to differentiate the Celeron from the Pentium II -- because of its pricing strategy. However, Kikumara closely studied the documentation and managed to make working systems. Intel is likely to take a dim view of the technology, which is almost certain to breach its warranties. But whether it can prevent entrepreneurs selling such systems is a different matter. Isn't it? An Intel representative commented: "The simple question is why someone would do this. I can't see you can make any margin unless the parts are overclocked. Would you buy a system with holes drilled in the motherboard? These guys have too much time on their hands -- they should be writing novels rather than drilling holes in microprocessors." ®
Mike Magee, 17 Jan 1999