With every new month, there seems to be a new
technology to shock the computer world. This month was no
exception, with giant expos such as Computex taking place. Computex
was the perfect time to release a lot of new technologies, although
this time, chipsets seemed to be the focus.
New chipets emerged from everyone from VIA to Intel, and even
included a newcomer to the motherboard chipset scene, NVIDIA. VIA
pushed DDR on the Pentium 4, Intel flexed its muscles with its new
i860, and NVIDIA rolled out their new AMD-only chipset, the Crush,
along with an obligation to fully support it under Linux. The
chipset has integrated video (GeForce2 MX), as well as audio. The
audio looks to be very robust so far, with Dolby Digital 5.1
channel support, and one can guess that NVIDIA will pour a lot of
resources into getting all of its features working under Linux.
Still, NVIDIA has insisted that these are again, binary-only
drivers. Kind of makes me wish that IP didn't exist.
With the new month also came a new version of XFree86. 4.1.0 to
be exact. This new version brought support for Trident's
CyberBlade3D series, the Radeon on Alpha/Linux, as well as an
open-source (2D only) NVIDIA GeForce3 driver. In addition to this,
the Radeon performance on i386/Linux has gotten a lot better, with
XFree86's careful linking to a more current version of DRI. This
may be one of the last steps in making the ATI Radeon a force to be
reckoned with under Linux. Performance of 3dfx cards has also been
stepped up, and while it isn't quite at the Windows level, it is
rather impressive, considering no has touched the Windows drivers
in a while.
Within this last month, I've also had a chance to dabble with a
couple new products like Intel's Pentium 4. Will the Pentium 4
finally make it on this list? Find out this and more in our Linux
Buyer's Guide #11.