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Windows-Help.NET Newsletter13 Feb. 1999, Vol 2 No. 7

 Intel "previews" Pentium III chip

by Arie Slob

Dear Windows-Help.NET Subscriber,

Intel last Wednesday held a preview event of their new Pentium III processor in San Jose, in front of hundreds of software developers and PC OEM's (Original Equipment Manufacturers). Intel is claiming it to be their most important product launch of the year (the Pentium III is to be launched "officially" on 26 Feb., but systems with the processor are already selling). Many people are however questioning the benefits of the Pentium III.

According to Intel, the Pentium III should improve 3-D performance by introducing new SIMD (Single-Instruction Multiple-Data) extensions - formally known as Katmai New Instructions. But in a benchmark report published on the Ars Technica Web site, it was found that the new 500MHz Pentium III chip didn't offer a significant performance boost over a Celeron 300A overclocked to 450MHz (you have to realise that many gamers overclock their systems), when used with today's 3-D graphic boards.

Now this may not seem significant, but Intel has said that this chip is more for the consumers then for corporate users, and gamers are the first to embrace new technologies, especially when it improves their systems 3-D performance. They may have to wait for the next generation of 3-D graphic sets to get the better performance from the Pentium III.

A Pentium III at present costs over 12 times as much as a Celeron 300A, so it doesn't seem to be much of a good deal right now.

The comments coming from IT managers at present is that they like the Pentium III for one reason: the price of Pentium II's are likely to drop.

It looks like the Pentium III might be of to a slow start, but when optimised hardware will arrive later this year (including a new chip set from Intel - code named Camino - which will boost a 133MHz system bus), and optimised software will start arriving in volume, sales will likely increase. Expect the Pentium III to be running at 800MHz by the end of this year.

Microsoft meanwhile touted the performance increase which it said would be achieved with a range of products in a press release on 17 Feb. According to MS, this includes software such as the upcoming Windows 2000, games such as Flight Simulator, Full Auto, Midtown Madness and Baseball 2000, as well as Windows technologies such as DirectX and Internet Explorer.

Windows 95 and 98 won't identify the Pentium III as such, the chip will be identified as a Pentium II on the General tab of the System tool in Control Panel. This does not affect performance - according to Microsoft Windows 98 fully supports the Pentium III processor. Microsoft has posted a Knowledge Base Article about this issue. More on this in an article on CNet.

Patch Available for Authentication Processing Error in Windows NT® 4.0 Service Pack 4

Microsoft has released a patch that eliminates a logic error in Service Pack 4 for Windows NT 4.0 that could, under certain conditions, allow a user to log on interactively and connect to network shares using a blank password. The vulnerability primarily, but not exclusively, affects Windows NT servers that serve as domain controllers in environments with DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroups, OS/2 or Macintosh clients. In general, customers who have deployed only Windows NT, Windows 95 and Windows 98 client workstations are not at risk from this vulnerability.

A fully supported patch is available for this vulnerability, and Microsoft recommends that all customers evaluate the risk to their systems and, as appropriate, download and install it on affected computers.

More information can be found in Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q214840


ICQ Sound Schemes
Mirabilis has added a bunch of new ICQ Sound Schemes which users can use to replace the boring default sounds that come with ICQ. There are over 30 schemes divided in 4 categories available for download. Changing the sound schemes is easy, and instructions are available on the Web site.

WindowBlinds is a utility that will change the way you look at Windows. It allows you to completely customise your desktop, changing the style of title bars, buttons, and toolbars. Windows buttons and checkboxes can be replaced by skins, and you can assign buttons to toolbars that will launch programs. You can create your own skins, or personalities, choose from the four that are included in the program, or download additional skins from the developer's Web site. You can also choose to exclude certain programs from WindowBlinds if you don't want to change their appearance.

Win 95 / 98 / NT, FREE

Web site | Download [1.2MB]

Windows 98 Tip
Winmodem Problems
There are many reports from people having trouble with their Winmodem. Here are some possible solutions:


Windows 95 Tip
Speed up the Windows Refresh Rate
If every time you add a new folder, or you delete something from a window, and you have to hit F5 (Refresh) to see the results, here is how to make Windows refresh automatically:


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