12/22/2000

AMD, part II. Intel will have its work cut out for it when Micron releases its Mamba chipset for the Athlon and Duron. Micron noticed a great waste of space in its Samurai chipset, so they decided to turn the wasted silicon into 8 MB of high-speed, low-latency L3 cache. Intel wouldn’t license the P6 bus to Micron, so Micron went to AMD, who of course welcomed them with open arms.

The Mamba is expected to perform 15% faster than the AMD 760. Unfortunately, I know nothing about expected release dates.

And what of AMD’s great hope for the Duron, the VIA KM133? Horrendous 2D performance holds it back. While it has the memory bandwidth of the earlier KT133 and KX133 and offers decent 3D performance, its 2D performance seriously lags behind the SiS 730–and SiS video isn’t exactly renowned for performance. In other words, the reason the Savage series flopped as a standalone card remains. Intel’s integrated chipsets put up better numbers overall, so if AMD’s going to beat Intel in this space, it’s going to have to be on price.

The new Musicmatch Jukebox. I normally don’t pay any attention to this app, but I caught a review of it and it includes a compelling new feature. It’s optional, and most privacy activists will hate it, but that’s why you can turn it off. For me, it’s the draw.

Tell it your favorite artist, and it streams stuff that other people who like the same thing like. I punch in Aimee Mann (who else?) and it responds by playing a set of Aimee Mann, Moby, Abra Moore, and Lou Reed. Nice. The next set was David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Blur. And none of the tracks was the artist’s best-known song.

For me, the whole point of radio is to discover new stuff. I love my music (I’ve got a modest-sized collection of nearly 200 CDs), but radio has become so repetitive and it’s really hard for a quality artist like Aimee Mann to get any radio play. And when she does get play, it’s “Voices Carry” (her smash 1985 hit with her band, ‘Til Tuesday), or if a station is especially progressive, her Oscar-nominated “Save Me.” About once a year, you might hear one of her minor hits like “I Should Have Known” or “That’s Just What You Are” or “Red Vines.” The problem is, she doesn’t have the promotional engine behind her to give radio stations much of anything in return for playing her stuff (short of the occasional concert ticket, but she doesn’t tour much). So we get the same ‘N Sync and The Backstreet Boys and Celine Dion and Elton John songs over and over and over. Nothing new about that.

Sometimes a good station does come around, but when you hear a new song, good luck finding out anything about it because the DJ usually doesn’t say (except for the songs everyone already knows). When a song is playing, MusicMatch optionally brings up a browser window with album info, a review, a listing of the most popular tracks off the album. And in some cases, you can download a free track off the album. And–unlike radio–if you don’t like a track, you can skip it!

You can also choose from a list of 18 preset stations, and you can tell it to mix selections from the stations. So if you yearn for the days when AOR stations mixed in a dash of alternative music, you can approximate it by mixing Classic Rock, Hard Rock, and Adult Alternative (since that’s what they now call most of the stuff that was considered alternative in 1992).

The other nice thing is it’ll favor the artists whose MP3s you rip using the program in the 18 preset stations. So presumably if I rip a lot of Badfinger and Cars (I still have trouble calling The Cars classic rock) tunes, if I click on the Classic Rock station I’ll hear something other than a constant barrage of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Rush (which, as far as I can tell, is all that anyone listened to in the ’70s). Sounds good to me.

This, I think, is a killer application for the Internet. Musicmatch is at www.musicmatch.com.

Spam. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. At least the phrase “boost the reliability of ordinary Windows 3.x…to nearly the level of Windows NT or 2000” gave me a chuckle.

Ignore these chumps.

Dear Windows User,

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The new WinFix 4.3 is a very effective way to improve the reliability of Windows, because it makes Windows fault-tolerant and self-repairing. And WinFix is very safe, because it operates completely independent of Windows.

http://www.backtoday.com/comph to find out more about WinFix, the safest, most effective way to keep you working, by keeping your PC working non-stop.

Arlen Dixon, CEO
Westwood Software Marketing

This announcement is being sent to PC users who asked to be kept informed about new developments in Windows(tm) technology. To be removed from our mailing list, go to the Email-us page. OR To be removed mailto:remove@backtoday.com?Subject=REMOVE

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