You Asked Us- PC
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1997. First
published in Toronto Computes,
I recently read mention that the MMX chip by Intel
requires an extra
to operate. I have checked my back issues of both
Computer Paper and have been unable to find the quote,
alas I did
not have my
higlighter to hand and thus nothing was marked. I must
out to your
I have seen adds that state that relatively common
boards are "MMX"
capable-indeed, one company stamped "MMX CAPABLE"
across all the
their ad. So, how does one tell if a board is MMX
operable and indeed
you tell (board or system) if you are recieving the
specs as promised
Are MMX and Standard Pentium chips socket compatible?
If an MMX
pluged into a board without the extra 2.8 volts, would
work but with
only the capabilities of its less expensive sibling?
Is the 2.8
present on all boards as a standard ? I have a Pentium
GA-586VX board and there is no mention of MMX or what
for the CPU
Is there a program or test available to determine
if a MB/CPU combination
reality delivers the paid for performance.
Yes, you?re correct?the MMX cpus are not directly
compatible with many
standard Pentium motherboards; as you?ve stated, they operate at a
voltage?plugging one into an incompatible motherboard could damage the
chip, the motherboard, or both. If you?re not sure whether your
voltage can be reset to support an MMX cpu, check with your vendor and
get a written confirmation that it is supported and will not void your
But if your motherboard doesn?t allow you to simply
replace your existing
cpu with an off-the-shelf MMX replacement, you may still have an
is just beginning to ship MMX OverDrive Processors (ODPs) for P75, P90,
and P100 machines; ODPs for P120 and P133 machines are due later this
These chips include built-in voltage regulators, and the beefed up L1
cache of the original MMX CPUs.
Each replacement ups the clock speed by 66%, turning a
P75 into an MMX
P125 or a P100 into a P166. These replacements include the beefed-up L1
cache, which, by itself, is a real performance-enhancer. Prices should
range between about $500 for the P125 chip to $700 for the P166 model.
Look for lower-priced alternatives using competitive CPUs from AMD or
in the near-future.
As for a test to determine whether your hardware
?delivers the paid
for performance?? utility programs ranging from Norton Utilities to the
new Helix Software Nuts and Bolts include programs to test performance,
and compare your system to industry-standard models. For a free
look for the WinBench and WinStone benchmarks from publisher Ziff-Davis
I wonder if you could give me an "unbiased"
opinion. I'm fascinated
the prospect of scanning pictures into the computer. I
have a limited
let's say $300. I like the flexibility of a hand
scan pictures on their own or something out of a book
but I understand
need a steady hand and the quality is so-so. On the
I own a video
camera. Going head-to-head, which method would
reproduce the better
picture in the computer:
a) the low end scanner, or
b) video taping the picture with a video camera and
it into the
computer with Snappy V2.0?
I?d propose a third alternative? if you?re primarily
interested in scanning
photos or print material, flatbed desktop scanners have taken a real
in price; entry-level models from a number of companies are now
within your budget. You might, for example, take a look at models such
as the Microtek E-3, which includes a SCSI adapter, or the Plustek
which plugs into your parallel port.
Flatbed scanners will provide much clearer pictures
than either of your
proposed alternatives. In addition, most include optical character
software, to convert scans of text into word processor files, and
letting them be used as a (slow) photocopier, together with your
They won?t, however, let you capture pictures from other video sources
such as videotape or TV broadcasts? it that?s one of your requirements,
go with the Snappy (or look at replacing your current computer?s video
card with a model like ATI?s new All-in-Wonder card, which gives you
input and output in addition to excellent 2D and 3D acceleration).