The Bug Report
A Publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group
Volume 16 Number 2
February 1998

Shopping - On - Line

Software Library News

Windows Tip

Tips & Tricks

Year 2000

PC Wizard

The IDT WinChip C6 CPU

Windows 95 Intermediate Meeting

Shopping - On - Line

By Sam Brewer, NJPCUG
Reprinted from New Jersey PC Users Group, 8/97 
Recently I "bit the bullet" and tried out on-line purchasing.  Previously I had always ordered by telephone after checking prices on-line.  The primary advantages of on-line ordering are: you can order any time you want (provided you can get on-line), you don't have to listen to recorded messages telling you how important you are, while waiting for the next available customer service representative, you can "window shop" at your leisure without bothering a busy sales rep. and there are some Internet only specials or discounts including close outs.  The disadvantages are you cannot ask any questions about what you want to buy, at present the selection of vendors with on-line-stores is relatively small and if your browser/computer crashes (as mine did) you will have to start over from square one.  The way on-line purchasing works, on most sites I have visited, is you enter the store at some point (some at the beginning of the session /most at check out time). The store is a secure connection (requires version 3.0+ of  Netscape or Internet Explorer) and you have to enter your name, address, town, state, telephone no., and e-mail address as well as your credit card info.  If you complete the transaction, a confirmation is e-mailed to you.

Depending upon what you order, shipping and handling can be a significant add-on cost.  Some sites don't calculate shipping on-line, a note cautions that it will be added at shipping time, some sites list codes for items and a table of shipping charges by each code, some give general guidelines you can use to manually calculate your shipping and some sites give you shipping charges for all shipping methods offered.  Note that each site has a different default shipping method if you don't specify one, on some it's the cheapest (ground) while on others it's the fastest (overnight).  For a 17" monitor, shipping via ground can vary from about $21 to about $50 (charges vary with distance, as well as shipping company).  Thus, for heavy items you should consider shipping costs as well as selling price. This is more easily done on-line (where available) than trying to get shipping from sales reps and then canceling your order.

At Computer Marketplace (www. cmpExpress.com) the store is completely automated and it is one of only a few tied into a data base.  The pages look like a classic database - listed, single space on the screen, for each item is: price, quantity available, order no (ordering link), weight and other info on the products.  While not pretty it gives you more information than most sites.  They confirm orders with two e-mail messages, 1-they received your order, 2-an invoice with notice that they shipped your order.  At Dalco Electronics (www.Dalco.com) I messed up and ordered stranded network cable when I wanted solid, but discovered it on the e-mail confirmation and called customer service to correct the problem (my order arrived as corrected, although one item was back ordered and shipped separately a few days later).  Dalco takes off on-line order twice a day and sends one e-mail confirmation with your order number.  I also checked out JDR Microelectronics (www.JDR.com) but I ordered via the phone because I had a catalog with a special code for a 5% discount which was not honored on the web.

1 am pleased to report that I did not have any major problems with my on-line shopping experience other than having Internet Explorer crash twice (but no problems when I switched to Netscape, this time anyway).  Overall I found that I could order quicker giving the data over the phone to someone who is trained in order taking, but in fairness online shopping is new and the process will evolve and it takes a while to get used to the way it is set up on each site.  Most sites are not tied into a data base and what you order may not be available for immediate shipment since most service reps have access to inventory, if you need it in a hurry it would be best to call in your order.  Despite security I used one of my not normally used credit cards that had no other transactions on it just in case I had a problem (good advise when trying any new vendor also).  Overall on-line shopping has a place along side the traditional methods of ordering: telephone, mail order, TV, shows and retail stores.  I am sure that I will order on-line again, as well as via telephone (as soon as I pay off what I have already bought), so why not give it a try.
 

Software Library News

By Bob Hudak, GSBUG, Inc.
I want to refresh your memory on last month's additions to the library. Disk # 41 is loaded with Win95 tips, tricks and secrets. It also has some Win95 help stuff that Liz Orban brought to my attention. The DOM was ShareTax/1040. This reminder is because we did not have a January general meeting.

This month I have a Norton Commander clone program for Win95. Ask for Disk # 64. It is a 32 bit program that handles long file names. Commander is a complete file manager for the Windows 95/NT desktop. If you've ever used and liked Norton Commander, you'll like this dual-windowed program, which comes complete with bubble and online help. You can search directory trees and directories and perform actions, including Run, on files.  You can also check file attributes and edit files with search-and-replace and drag-and-drop. Use the internal editor or associate one of your choosing toedit files, easily view files and configure the buttons to suit your needs, and get system and disk information with a click of the mouse. Choose from Danish, German, English, French, Italian, Hungarian, Nederlands and Rumanian at program start. A good install routine will have you up and running in no time.

ZTreeWin

Using Win32 APIs, ZTreeWin avoids several of XTreeGoldís limitations:
* Doesn't hog the CPU while waiting for keyboard activity.
* Deals gracefully with an attempt to log an in-use device.
* Copies and searches open files.
* Allows Directory Grafting.
* Supports long filenames.
* Has flexible support of *ANY* archiving program present and  future.

Try one or both of these programs to see if they can make your life a little easier.

EZ TAX  1997, IRS approved 1040

This tax program was written by: David Osman,
1555 North Rim Court # 278
San Diego CA 92111
Tel: (619) 569-8629
E-mail: osmantax@aol.com.

To get an EZ TAX program send a check for $12. ($10 for years 89-96)

Forms in the program include: IRS 1040, CALIFORNIA 540, Schedule A: Itemized Deductions, Schedule B: Interest and Dividends Income, Schedule C: Profit and Loss from Business, Schedule SE: Social Security Self Employment Tax, Schedule D: Capital Gains and Losses, Schedule E: Supplemental Income (rental) & Depreciation 4562, Schedule EIC: Earned Income Credit, Schedule 2441: Credit for Child and Dependent Care, Schedule 2106: Employee Business Expense, Schedule 8606: Computation of Non Deductible IRA.

California forms are not approved but you can choose: Print  540 on original forms using Overlay Menu. The program will print with laser printers on the original 540 forms. I have always found it very easy to do the State 540 form once I had my Federal return completed.

This is not a shareware program. It looks good and works fast. It can be run under DOS (my favorite), Win3.1 or Win95. You can run the program right from the floppy disk if you like. This keeps the program and tax return files all in one place, backed up and ready to put away after filing. I like tax programs because they do such a neat job of calculating all the information input and printing a great looking return ready for filing. If there is an interest, I can show you this tax program at my February SIG meeting.

This is the third and last tax preparation program I am telling you about. Of the three, AM-TAX has been around the longest, costs the most, and has the greatest features. I am not going to go through all of them because I have an information brochure that will be available at the general meeting. This program has a much nicer on-screen look. It supports some 450 printers.  It prints official-looking signature forms and attaching forms and schedules are printed in IRS approved typed out style. There is NO problem printing the forms. This is a very fast DOS program that will run under Windows 3.1 or WIN95. (DOS is best!)  It comes on a 3 1/2" disk and will run on a 286 or better machine running DOS 3.0 or later. It has 85 of the most commonly used forms and a built in calculator that puts results right on the forms. It does an audit of your return checking over 100 items for omissions, errors and inconsistencies. Itemized deductions are compared to national averages and you are alerted if you are exceeding thee averages. You receive a reference manual plus they have technical support which you will not need. This is an easy to use program that will not give you problems. There is a Ten Minute Tour that will get you going. The program comes with a 30 day money back guarantee. You are able to put your return file on the floppy that the programcomes on when you are finished. This allows you to file away the program and files for future need and delete everything else off your hard drive. Call 1-800-859-8537 to order. Let them know that you are a GS-BUG member and you can purchase the program for $29.00. This is $10.00 off the normal price! It pays to be a member.
 

Windows Tip

By Martin Knight
Reprinted from Big Blue & Cousins
Greater Victoria PC Users Assn,8/97

How To Point Your Program To The Right Folder

Here is a tip that I have found to be really useful. I have always wanted to do this but just recently found out how. Perhaps you may be thinking the same.

To find things fast on your computer, you need to keep your hard drive orga-nized. For most people, that means keeping work files in one (or more) folders and applications in their own separate folders.  Unfortunately, the first time you run an application and choose File/Save, the directory or folder you see in the dialog box is often the same one in which you installed your application. You can click your way to your work files, of course, but this gets old after a while.

How can you make Open and Save dialog boxes automatically open to the directory you use most often? Simple.

In Windows 3-x, switch to Program Manager, select the icon for your appli-cation, and choose File/ Properties [or press Alt-] to open the Program Item Properties dialog box. In the Working Directory box, type the path to the folder where you want to store the files you use with this application (for exam-pIe, c:\doc\1etters). Then click OK.

If you're using Windows 95, right-click the Start button and choose Explore. Dig through the Start Menu folders until you fmd the Shortcut icon for your application, the icon with the curved arrow. Right-click the icon, and choose Properties [or select it and press Alt-] to open the Properties sheet for the appli-cation. Click the Shortcut tab. In the "Start In" box, type the path to the folder where you store the files you use with this application. Then click OK.

The next time you start your applica-tion and choose File/Open or File/Save As, the dialog box will display your working directory without further fuss.
 

Tips & Tricks

By Susan Biggs
Reprinted from North Texas PC NEWS, 8/97

Custom Screens in Win95

This is a tip for changing your logon and logoff screens in Windows95. The file that controls the opening screen is located in your root directory and is called logo.sys. The files that control the "Please wait..'" and "It is now safe to shut down your computer..." are located in your Windows directory and are named logow.sys and logos.sys.

To change these screens, open a graph-ics file or picture that you like in Photopaint, or create a new file. The steps mentioned here were done in Pho-topaint 7 but you can modify them for an earlier version. Make any changes you wish or add a text message to your file or files. For best results, convert to 256 colors or less. Next convert your image to Palleted (8-bit) under the Irn-age menu. When the dialog box opens, select the Adaptive option under Palette type, and the Error Diffusion option under the dither type. If you have not already converted to 256 colors, you can do so in this dialog. Next go to Image/Resample and resample your image to 400 pixels high by 320 pixels wide exactly, and 100 dpi. At this point, your image will probably look squashed, but it will sort itself back to landscape format when used.

Finally, save the image(s) as Windows bitmaps(BMP) format.  In your root directory, save the existing logo.sys file to something like logo.old. Move your new bitrnapped image to the root direc-tory and rename it logo.sys. This file will come up as your opening screen when you boot. Move your two closing bitmapped files to your Windows directory. Rename the current files from logos.sys and logow.sys to something with an *.old extension or similar, and rename your two new files. Your computer will now boot and close down with the new files in place. This method can be used to per-sonalize your opening screen with your company name, address and phone num-ber or some other distinctive identifying message. If your computer is stolen and the thief does not know how to reformat your drive, it just might be the ticket to reclaiming your property.
 

Year 2000

By Eric Nisly, Elkhart PC Users Group
Reprinted fromCPC Newsletter, 8/97

A major food warehouse dumps thousands of dollars worth of 'outdated food,' a law firms computer begins deleting recent clients entire files.  These are incidents caused by databases that use a date to make decisions.  It seems every computer magazine and every computer show lately has discussed what effect the turn of the century will have on our computers.  Most Pentiums will not have a problem.  But many 486's and nearly all earlier computers will.  This will pose no problem for the person who uses their computer mainly for games.  But if you use any finance program and many databases (depending on what you use them for) you might want to check yours out.
-To check your computer, at the DOS prompt:
- Set the date to Dec. 31,1999.
- Set the time to 11:58pm
- Turn off your computer and wait a few minutes
- When you turn it back on, check the date.  It will read either 01/01/2000 or 01/01/80.
This will tell you that you join the ranks of millions who will be looking for a fix for the problem.
 

PC Wizard:

By Dr. John  Hanson, GSBUG, Inc.
Brain Development Center, P.O. Box 1862,
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
1.  How was CES?
At  Comdex  there were 200,000 attendees and  CES  was  also quite crowded but I don't know how many were there.  There was so much to see in the main convention center I never did get to  the Sands  which  is even larger.  Getting to the Sands and  back  is always  a  hassle waiting in lines for the bus and who  wants  to wait in lines in the cold and rain.  The rooms upstairs are quite private  for exhibitors but I don't find them very  appealing  so don't go.  It's too much of an effort to find and peek into every room.  Normally I like to visit Panasonic but this year they were up in one of those rooms so I missed what they had to offer.
My  feet really hurt from four days of  constantly  standing and  walking.  There were many presentation where you  could  sit and  rest  but at the price of a boring  presentation.   In  some places they put a few sofas to cover up spaces they couldn't sell but I only discovered them on the last day.  I like to buy calculators  and  stop  watches for uses in my  business.   Would  you believe  that many of the stop watches you see in stores for  $15 to  $20 cost only 61 cents in relatively small  quantities.   And now  there is a little door in the back so it easy to change  the batteries which was a disaster before.  When you opened the  case before  all kinds of parts for switches, etc. would fall out  and changing  the  battery  was a challenge so I would  end  up  just throwing them away and the same for the schools.

There  was  a lot of hoopla over DVD and HD TV but  I  would advise  anyone not to get either.  One young woman who had  spent $500  on an Epson digital camera last year was disappointed  that all  her investment would be lost if she bought the newest  Epson which  is so much better.  None are even close to film but  there are some significant advantages I haven't seen written up in  the magazines.  For instance, with the Epson you can take a number of pictures and then sequence them in the order you desire.  If  you were doing a demo at someone's office or home you just attach  it to  their  TV and presto you have a great  presentation.   Before doing  that  you  can add text and edit the  pictures  with  your computer  and  put them back in the computer.  All  you  have  to carry is a tiny 10 ounce camera and a cable.  Now you don't  need that $7,000 projector and a 2 to $4,000 notebook.

Giga  pets  that kids like so much are only about  $1.60  in quantity.  I bought about five different ones for $3 each for  my grandchildren.  Surely you have seen those digital organizers you carry  in your pocket with phone numbers, memos, schedules and  a calculator,  etc.  They are so powerful and yet only about $5  in quantity.   I bought two different ones to try for only  $8  each and  was amazed at what either could do.  But I got taken by  one as it was only 3 kb of memory and the other 32 kb.

One of the nice things about CES and Comdex is that you  can talk to people who really know what they are talking about  after  you  sort thru the inevitable people who don't know even tho  all are quite friendly.  I need to get another pair of VCRs that work together  so I can turn either one on or the TV with  one  remote and so far my RCAs have been the best.  At the RCA booth I  found a  very talented manager who cut thru all the hype and made  some good suggestions.  He gave me a useful lesson on marketing and on how  they have to make a variety of models to meet certain  price points and to compete.  He showed me on a chart of various models and  features which would be the best for me.  The models I  have now have lasted about seven years so I have really got my money's worth  but  one is starting to act up when I insert  a  tape  and shuts off.  They have most of their controls right on the set  so I can instantly record for an adjustable time without looking for the remote and turning the TV on,  A the booth they also had the GE line as the same company makes both.

Another very big deal at CES was all the exhibitors dedicated to providing remote controls for your home.  Luron was one  of the  best  and of course X-10 was there.  I was smiling  as  they described  what their automation could do as I designed a such  a system for my home way back in 1954 to control lights, TV,  radio and sound thruout the house.  In 1959 when I moved to  California to  work on air to air missiles I perfected the system so that  I have telefones all over the house, includingn the bathroom  and a  speaker so I can hear the TV or radio in there and adjust  the volume.  But to do that and make it work reliably all these years, you really have to be an engineer.  So it is wonderful that anyone can have these same features without all that work.  The  problem I have is that the circuits have worked flawlessly for some 40 years,  and if a relay or junction box connection should  fail,  I would have trouble remembering how to fix it and not be able to understand the notes I made way back then.

In  fact,  the remote control thing was so big it occupied almost all of the enormous Hilton Hotel space along with the home theater stuff where the TV is so big along with the enormous amplifiers that you would need a special room.  In fact, a number of vendor even sold theater seats.  That could be going a  little far.  I am sure they also had cars with sound systems so powerful that the equipment almost fills the whole car. But I didn't find the cars this year because their usual space was taken over  by  the others.

I went to hear Bill Gates talk as did thousand of others and he as OK but not nearly as good as Bob McNeally of Sun  Microsystems.  I wish Bob lots of luck in competing with Microsoft.  What a boon to everybody if  Java could really take over and get us out from under Gatesí thumb.

2.  Thinking about a new Monitor?

Past president Emmett has been trying to talk me into a 17 inch monitor, but who wants to spend $700 when my all my 14 inch monitors work perfectly fine in Wordstar. In Decembe, my wife got a 17 inch along with her Pentium 200 with MMX, 4 disk 6x CD-ROM, sound card and the works, all for about $1200 at the Pomona Swap Meet. While she was away on a short trip, I exchanged her 17 inch with my 14 inch in the bedroom and found that it fits fine on my extendible, swivel arm. Because the text is much larger, it is easier to read with or without my glasses. So I began to get attached to it. At first, my wife didn't notice the switch as I kept her computer on. But one day I forgot to turn it on and, when she tried to turn on the monitor, she noticed that the switch was in a different place and she got suspicious. So I had to give it back and went looking for a 17 inch monitor. Hers is quite good even though itís an off brand and only cost $350, which meant that her very powerful computer was only $850.

I looked around at Pomona and found a Mag DX-17 for only $370 from Allstar Computers. I liked the fact that the brightness and contrast controls were simple analog knobs and easy to access. The other controls were mostly digital without those dumb menus on the screen and worked very well. The picture was sharp and clear. When I got home, I discovered that I had been taken. So one has to be careful. I immediately stopped payment on my check and wrote them a letter noting that the serial number on the monitor had been scratched but with a powerful lens I could see it was not the same as on the box or my receipt. In addition, the date of manufacture was Jun 94. So what good is a three year guarantee in 1998? Also, the brightness control was weak, suggesting that someone had been using it all these years. The company took a long time to respond but were very nice on the phone and in person except for the manager named Robert.

They did replace it with another DX-17 where the serial numbers matched, but the year of manufacture was such that it was only barely readable with a strong lens. Their technician realized this when I took out my lens and said we could check that later after I checked out the monitor with his computer but we never did. At home it appears that this one was made in 1995. But that is OK if it hasn't been used and if they guarantee it for three years from the date of purchase as they claimed. It seems to be good but I will still write to the manufacturer and verify. They claimed that their supplier must have switched the first monitor. But if I ever bought anything else from Robert, I would check very carefully as he doesn't seem very trustworthy. He wasn't willing to put the three year guarantee in writing. But by this time I liked the Mag so much I decided to go ahead. At one time Mags received a very high rating in the magazines.

3.  What's a good price on a computer?

At CES and Comdex the buzz was all about computers under $1000, and indeed, many name brands are under that. But beware, as those brands are still not a good deal and no monitor is included. At Pomona there are many Pentium 166s, even with MMX, modems, sound cards, CD-ROMS and big hard drives for only about $700-800 but follow the cautions in my previous articles. Be careful not to follow the advice in PC Mag. It appears that the 166 mc speed is the best value and plenty fast for almost anything. I still get tremendous results with my 386 25 mc.

4.  Have you used Inctrl 3?

You should before you install any software. It is a free utility from PC Mag and it is very efficient. It tells you what a program is doing to your system when it is installed, so that when you want to get rid of I,t you know what to do. It is bad enough to sprinkle new files all over the place but worse to change your important existing files. There are some commercial programs that try to do this but check out Inctrl 3 first. Bob Hudak might even have a copy on disk in the club's library. In essence, it takes a picture of your system before and after you have added a new program and tells what was added or changed. Many programs are very badly behaved so you should know it. I like having two computers so that I can try out new software on the non-essential computer first.

5. Store Evaluation: Micro Center vs Comp USA and Frys

Everyone knows that Frys does a great job in merchandising, but we also realize how useless their sales people are. You can get some good buys by watching their sales ads. but you must be very careful because it's a high pressure store. In general, never buy a computer or motherboard there but other things like hard drives, TV, VCRs and cam corders, etc. may be OK. Have you ever noticed that the return line at the Manhattan Beach store seems longer than the sales line? Often there are so many people lined up to return defective merchandise that you have to push your way into the store while hearing their complaints. If I were Frys, I would move the returns to an out of the way place so incoming customers don't see how bad it is. Are you aware that many of their returns are shrink wrapped to look like new? Look for a little sticker that says it was a return but fully guaranteed. I wonder if all returns have such stickers.

On the other hand, they have a very deep selection of many products including test equipment and other electronics, even resistors. so they can be very useful at times. Just be cautious of their hard sell practices. I saw a sale for a 5.1 gig hard drive by Western Digital for only $200. You weren't allowed to just buy it, but had to wait in line for a special salesman who tried to talk you into buying a $20 or $30 three year guarantee. Why buy something that is already included by Western Digital? That is a favorite trick of those camera stores in New York where you pay extra for items that are normally included.

Finally I was given a piece of paper to take to the cashier and it mentioned I had refused their generous offer. At the cashier, a "supervisor" came over and bugged me some more to buy the protection and when I refused I had to sign a statement to that effect. How ridiculous! By this time, they didn't really want to sell me the drive, so they kept me there for over a half hour pretending to call my bank for a check that has easily been proven viable in many previous purchases. I think they were just waiting for me to give up and leave.

Compare that with the Micro Center where it is always a pleasure to shop. Their sales people are sharp and alert and go overboard to help you when you want, but donít annoy you. They have a good selection of everything computer related and the store is very well laid out in sections in a much more pleasing atmosphere. Their book section is excellent and the salesman on duty there is very helpful for finding books on any subject. You can buy a computer at Micro Center with almost complete safety, whereas you should never buy one at Frys. The computer salesmen I talked to were very knowledgeable about the features of different computers but I did hear another salesman taking apparent advantage of a woman who seemed to know very little about computers. I don't know if their salesmen are on commission but it appeared so by his comments. He told her not to consider anything less than a Pentium 233 even tho there were two perfectly adequate computers on sale for only $500 and $800 which would have been great for her word processing and spreadsheet needs. Maybe he was the exception.

I think everyone interested in computers should check out the Micro Center. I have bought many things there and it has always been a pleasure. Unfortunately we don't see their ads in the South Bay. Even when I buy there, I only get a mailing now and then. So one must take the time to drive out to Tustin. Actually it's easy to get there, just southeast of the intersection of the Santa Ana freeway and the 57 freeway at Edinger. Take the 22 east to the 5 south and just after going south on the 57 get ready to get off at Edinger. Go under the freeway and you can see the Micro Center on your right in a large building with excellent parking. It is such a great store that you would think they would add more in the L.A. area. Imagine only one here and one in Santa Clara near Frisco. All together they have about 14 around the country.  Maybe the owner is more interested in quality and service than in making money. What a wonderful person! Incidentally that is the way I run my companies.

Where does Comp USA fit in? In my opinion, they are quite a bit better than Fry's but not nearly as good as Micro Center. By the way, Micro Center has a very helpful manager whose name is John Caldwell. Call him or one of his people at 714-566-8500 and ask that they send you one of their flyers. You will be delighted. It seems that every time I go there, they have some bargains I can't resist. On a recent visit, there were two books on sale for from $2 to $4. The one on fixing computers is terrific and current but the other was a rather out of date "Dummy" book.

Editor's Note: John Hanson is the inventor of Tooties, a superb self-teaching system used by millions in schools, homes, and by eye doctors around the world to improve vision. He also invented a new form of psychology called QET (Quick Effective Therapy) which transforms poor students into good into good students, almost overnight, usually in 5 to 15 days. He has also had outstanding success in helping brain damaged people, even years after their accident. Why go to therapy for years and spends lots of money when you can improve quite fast with QET? He uses computers to document his cases for his books so that others may benefit.
 

The IDT WinChip C6 CPU

A Review By Rich Bulow

When IDT announced the C6 CPU in the first half of last year, it came as quite a surprise to me. Targeted against the Intel Pentium MMX, IDT claimed that the C6 has about the same integer performance at the same clock speed as the Pentium MMX. IDT was also not making any secret of the fact that the floating point as well as the MMX unit of the C6 will not be as fast as in the Intel Pentium MMX. The C6 is targeted at the lower end market, similar to the lower clocked versions of the IBM/Cyrix 6x86MX. The special trick of IDT is supposed to be the fact that the chip is fairly small as well as requiring little power. IDT is therefore pretty confident of raising the clock speed to up to 400 MHz soon, as well as using the C6 in notebooks where low power consumption is crucial.

The architecture of the C6 is much less sophisticated than the architecture of its competitor IBM/Cyrix 6x86MX. No 'register renaming' or 'out of order execution' is used here for reaching Pentium MMX performance but simply a large L1 cache (two 32KB) in cooperation with a pretty classic but straight forward microprocessor design.

IDT shipped via Treasure Chest a M5ATA motherboard with a 200 MHz C6 so that I could test if this new Socket 7 CPU is living up to its claims. I compared the C6 200 to the IBM/Cyrix 6x86 PR200 (166 MHz) and the M5ATA to the a Intel 430TX motherboard. The price of the C6 200 lies pretty much somewhere in between most CPUs, with the Intel Pentium MMX as the most expensive, the IBM/Cyrix 6x86 PR200 166 as the cheapest. The motherboards are about the same price.

The Benchmark Runs

The first surprise to me was the voltage the C6 is running at. It requires 3.52 V, not exactly what you would expect  of a low power CPU. However the C6 stays very cool. The IBM/Cyrix 6x86 PR200 (166 MHz) requires 2.6 V. I only had to change two jumper setting for the C6 when switching to the Intel 430TX motherboard, the CPU core power and frequency ratio.
 
My current system is a IBM/Cyrix 6x86 PR200 (166 MHz)  with a Intel 430TX motherboard with Award 97 Bios V4.51 and 32 meg of 60ns EDO memory. The video card is a Mach Speed PCI, S3 Virge/DX  3D with 2MB, the hard drive a Maxtor 3.5GB Ultra DMA. I tested the M5ATA motherboard with Award 97 Bios and the C6 because it was recommended by IDT.
The CPUs and motherboards were tested under Windows 95 OSR2 using WinTune 95 and SiSoft Sandra Benchmark software.

CPU Benchmark WinTune 95

                 C6 M5ATA     IBM M5ATA     C6 430TX     IBM 430TX     P6200        P5-166
Clock Rate     170MHz         489MHz         252MHz        491MHz         195MHz    166MHz
DhryStone      42MIPS         70MIPS          42MIPS         70MIPS         417MIPS  303MIPS
WhetStone     42MFlops       70Mflops        42MFlops      70MFlops     112MFlops 94MFlops
Video Speed     1.8MPs        2.0MPs          1.7MPs         1.8MPs              2.1MPs     4.9MPs
D: Uncached       38MB         39MB              24MB           26MB
D: Cached           34MB         50MB             30MB            48MB
G: Uncached       37MB         38MB              23MB           23MB
G: Cached           31MB         51MB             25MB           41MB
Installed RAM     32MB         32MB             32MB           32MB             128MB        64MB
RAM Read Avg 270MB      409MB           265MB         418MB             419MB      271MB
RAM Write Avg 172MB      252MB            85MB          260MB             248MB       83MB
RAM Copy Avg 121MB        96MB            71MB          104MB             157MB       60MB

CPU Benchmark with SiSoft Sandra

 Pentium-200MHz, Triton 2 MB CPU:     370 MIPS, FPU: 116 MFlops
 Pentium-133MHz, Triton MB CPU:        247 MIPS, FPU:  77 MFlops
 C6 with M5ATA CPU:                           299 MIPS, FPU:  52 MFlops, CPU Load:   92%
 IBM Pr200MX, Intel 430TX CPU:         300 MIPS, FPU:  87 MFlops. CPU Load: 100%
 C6 with Intel 430TX CPU:                      302 MIPS, FPU:  52 MFlops, CPU Load:   91%
 IBM Pr200MX, M5ATA CPU:              359 MIPS, FPU:  87 MFlops, CPU Load:   89%

Hard Drive FAT 16:

                             C6 M5ATA     IBM 200MX430TX     IBM  M5ATA     C6 430TX
Buffered Read:         61409 KB/s     55426 KB/s             45260 KB/s      51328 KB/s
Sequential Read:         5734 KB/s      6538 KB/s               5899 KB/s         6967 KB/s
Random Read:            2785 KB/s      3785 KB/s               2905 KB/s         3782 KB/s
Buffered Write:         61409 KB/s     27694 KB/s            55577 KB/s       40000 KB/s
Sequential Write:        2590 KB/s       4271 KB/s               3339 KB/s         4400 KB/s
Random Write:           2002 KB/s       2639 KB/s               1802 KB/s         1812 KB/s
Average Access Time:   12 ms             7ms                         11 ms                 8 ms

Hard Drive FAT 32:

                                     C6 M5ATA     IBM 200MX430TX     IBM M5ATA     C6 430TX
Buffered Read:               62249 KB/s       51457 KB/s              51264 KB/s        50630 KB/s
Sequential Read:              6268 KB/s         6947 KB/s                5392 KB/s           7011 KB/s
Random Read:                 3744 KB/s         3929 KB/s                3006 KB/s           3940 KB/s
Buffered Write:              61594 KB/s       52046 KB/s              50258 KB/s         45562 KB/s
Sequential Write:              2378 KB/s         3378 KB/s               3175 KB/s            4051 KB/s
Random Write:                 1934 KB/s         2506 KB/s               1909 KB/s            2164 KB/s
Average Access Time:         7 ms                 7 ms                           9 ms                     7 ms

Summary

The IDT WinChipThe IDT WinChip C6 CPU is certainly not particularly great When it comes down to pure FPU performance the Pentium MMX still rules the Socket 7 market. The Intel CPU needs less than half the render time of the C6 and the IBM\Cyrix. It appears to me that the IBM\Cyrix perform just slightly better then the C6. It is a CPU with a decent integer performance under Windows 95 that might have some impact at the low end sector of IBM's and Cyrix's 6x86MX market. I personally like this CPU and do not really have a preference over the IBM\Cyrix PR200MX. However as long as the IBM\Cyrix PR200MX is cheaper, I wouldn't see a sensible reason for spending more money on the C6. I also was impressed with the Data Book supplied with the CPU which explains the inner workings of the processor.
 

Windows95 Intermediate Meeting

By John Sullivan, GSBUG, Inc.

This will be a little short, because I'm getting it in at the last minute. I just wanted to report that the first "Intermediate" Windows 95 meeting was successfully held on January 23. We had a good turnout, but there were still a few seats empty, so we could have accomodated 4-5 more. This meeting is not a formal "class"  (and probably never will be); it is more a "workshop" where you can bring in your questions about Windows 95, and hopefully, either I or someone else can answer them for you.

This last time, we spent the first hour going over a few tips on how to use Win95, and trying to help people with whatever problems they were having. One gentleman was having trouble getting Win95 to even boot up, and it would only boot up in "safe mode".After we talked about it for a while, I was thoroughly confused. I finally told him that I wouldn't be able to help him without actually seeing his computer, and that it was too bad he didn't bring it with him. Well, it turned out that he had!

I wasn't sure that I wanted to devote the rest of the meeting to working on just one person's computer, so I put it to the group as a vote. We got an unanimous "yes", so he went out to his car, and brought it in. To make the story short, we were not able to fix his problems in the time we had left, but I think the group enjoyed working on it anyway. I'm still not sure if we want to do this in the future (work on one computer, rather than work on Windows95 in general), but I will leave it up to those  who show up. We can all learn something, whichever way we decide to go.

I pick up a lot of tips on Windows 95 from "tip world", an internet site run by PC World magazine at http://www.tipworld.com. I'll attach a few tips to this article, and if youíre not sure how they work, come to the next meeting and we'll show you!

Print Your Own BIOS

Want a printout of your system's BIOS setup? The following technique works on most systems:  Boot your system normally. Select Start, Shut Down, choose the restart option, and click on Yes. During the second boot, press the key indicated (on-screen) to enter Setup mode--probably F1, F2, or Delete. At the first Setup screen, press your keyboard's PrintScreen key. (Whereas in Windows 95, the PrintScreen key sends the screen contents to the Clipboard; here they go straight to the printer.) If necessary, press your printer's page feed button to complete the printing of the first page. Go to the next Setup screen, press PrintScreen, and so on. A special thanks to L.H. for suggesting this tip!

Open (With) Sesame

Previously, we ran some tips explaining how to remove a file extension from a file type with multiple extensions (via File Manager), and then how to re-associate that extension with another application. Boy, did we get a lot of feedback on those tips, with suggestions and variations on the theme! We've discussed many of them in previous tips, but one bears repeating:

You can change the association of a file type using the Open With dialog box. While holding down Shift, right-mouse click on a SELECTED icon of the file type you want to change and select Open With. (If you don't hold down Shift, this command won't appear.)
In the Open With dialog box, choose the application you'd like to use to open files of this type, make sure you've selected Always Use This Program to Open This Type of File, and click on OK. A special thanks to E. Stanicki for suggesting this tip!

Ctrl Your Windows

When you double-click a folder inside a folder inside a folder (and so on), does each folder open in a separate window? There are two ways to switch to a one-window view, so you don't have all that mess on-screen.
- Hold down Ctrl as you double-click a folder icon (inside an already-open window). Its contents will replace those of the current window.
- To make the one-window view a permanent thing, in any Explorer window, select View, Options, and on the Folder tab, select the second of the two browsing options. Click OK. (Tip: If you want to go back to multiple windows temporarily, use the Ctrl trick, above. It toggles you between the two browsing options on the Folder tab.)

(Note: If you have Internet Explorer 4.0 installed, getting to the option described in the second method, above, is a little different. In any Explorer window, select View, Folder Options, and on the General tab, select Custom, Based on Settings You Choose. Click the Settings button, select an option under Browse Folders as Follows and click OK.

One Minute Logos

Back in October, we ran a four-part series on replacing the three startup and shut-down logo files: logo.sys, logos.sys and logow.sys. Do you find all the necessary sizing and resizing tedious (who doesn't)? Unless you have a personal picture that you simply MUST have on-screen, try ready-made logo screen replacements (and get on with your life).

You'll find these replacements screens all over the Web. For a mind-boggling selection, all in one place, check out http://www.windows95.com/apps/startup.html  To use the ready-made screens, copy any downloaded logo.sys file to your root directory and copy downloaded logos.sys and logow.sys files to your Windows folder. Just make sure to rename your original files first, in case you want to use them again. (For more detailed instructions, each download typically includes a readme.txt file.)

Ready to check out all that hard (ha!) work? Restart.

Hand Me My Highlighter, Please-

Want some tips for quick text highlighting in Word Pad (or most any other word processor that runs under Windows 95)? All that fussy letter-by-letter clicking and dragging is for the birds. Here are three shortcuts you're sure to love:
- To highlight a word, double-click it.
- To highlight a single line, click once directly to the left of the line, in the left margin.
- To highlight an entire paragraph, double-click directly to the left of the paragraph, anywhere in the margin.
 
 

 
 
 


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