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July 2005



ATI & Nvidia Drivers for Windows Vista

30 July 2005


Both ATI and Nvidia have just released Windows Vista graphics drivers. These are required for Vista's special effects to be enabled (along with a DirectX9.0-capable graphics card). Obviously most of you won't be running the Windows Vista Beta as it is not a publicly released Beta, however I'm giving the heads up on this simply because it's a great sign of things to come. If the major hardware companies get on board with solid drivers for Windows Vista early on, think of how stable and well-tested these will be when Vista comes out in June 2006.



Hands On With Windows Vista

28 July 2005


PCMag.com have written a great article which goes into detail about the new Windows Vista Beta 1. I personally haven't had the chance to try Windows Vista Beta, but these guys have and they cover all aspects of Windows Vista in detail, including screenshots. From what I've read, it looks like it's going to look better, perform better and fix a lot of complaints people have about Windows XP.


Update: Another useful Windows Vista Beta review here.



Windows Genuine Advantage

26 July 2005


Microsoft has been testing their Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program for the past year. Basically it's an anti-piracy program which has meant that downloading certain Windows software/updates from Microsoft has required a brief voluntary validation process. As of today, Microsoft is Enforcing WGA, which means that if you're running a pirated version of Windows, Microsoft will detect this and you will not be able to download the majority of Windows updates/patches/software upgrades. Only patches for certain critical security flaws will be allowed to non-genuine users.



Windows x64 Driver List

26 July 2005


A helpful fellow over at the HWSpirit Forums has compiled a List of x64 Drivers. If you run Windows x64, check out the list and make sure you have the latest device drivers for your components.



More Windows Vista Information

26 July 2005


If you're after some more details about the next version of Windows, then check out this Windows Vista Unofficial FAQ. Note that Internet Explorer 7 is due to be released at the same time as the Windows Vista Beta 1, which is the first week of August.



Battlefield 2 Patch Update

23 July 2005


EA Games have made an official announcement about the upcoming Battlefield 2 1.03 Patch - it won't be out until the end of August and will contain over 140 fixes to both the game engine and gameplay/balance issues/exploits. I've been spending a fair bit of time enjoying Battlefield 2 on my new system. Fortunately aside from some game balance issues, I haven't had any other problems with the game. But I'm well aware that many of you have been struggling to get BF2 to run with any stability on your systems. Obviously you should refer to my guides to help you out, but if all else fails let's hope this next patch helps resolve these problems, although unfortunately it is still a few weeks off.



The Next Generation of Windows - Windows Vista

23 July 2005


That's right, the next generation Windows operating system, codenamed "Longhorn" has now been officially announced by Microsoft as Windows Vista. With a name only a mother could love, and a highly inventive logo, the Vista launch is a bit of a let-down. Anyway Beta testing of Vista starts in August 2005, and the full product should be ready for release in June 2006. By all accounts this OS will be a significant improvement over Windows XP, and not just in the graphics department.



Nvidia Forceware Beta 77.76 Released

21 July 2005


Nvidia have released the latest beta Forceware 77.76 graphics drivers. These drivers fix a wide range of issues, particularly for 7800GTX and 6800 series graphics cards and those using SLI mode. I recommend you download and install these drivers, particularly if you run recent games like Battlefield 2, Splinter Cell Chaos Theory and Far Cry.



EnableSuperFetch Tweak

20 July 2005


The Inquirer claims that the promised speed increase in Longhorn can be enabled in Windows XP as well. To do this, open your Registry (Start>Run>Regedit) and go to:


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\

Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters


Create a new DWORD underneath that key called EnableSuperfetch and give it a value of 1. I don't notice any performance increase, but I thought I'd pass this on to you - it can't hurt to try it.



Firefox 1.06 Released

20 July 2005


Hot on the heels of the release of Firefox 1.05 comes another update - Firefox 1.06. The main reason for this quick update is because of some stability issues with Firefox 1.05, so it is recommended that you upgrade to 1.06. I usually recommend uninstalling the previous version of Firefox before installing the newer version, but remember this is not critical - it is only a recommendation to ensure minimum problems in the future.



MS Makes Longhorn Performance Promises

20 July 2005


Microsoft has started revealing some information about the types of performance improvements we can expect to see with Windows Longhorn. This article provides details of some of those promises, including the fact that Longhorn will launch applications 15% faster than Windows XP, and will boot PCs faster than they currently boot. Things are looking promising that Longhorn won't just be a more bloated, prettier, slower version of Windows XP.



PCI Latency Tool 2.3/2.6 Released

19 July 2005


The PCI Latency Tool Version 2.3 has been released. Note that you can download a newer Version 2.6 of this tool by going to this page and clicking the download link at the top of the message. When the newer version is downloaded, you will have to rename the PCI file to PCI.zip to be able to extract the tool and install it.


Now there is a lot of confusing information about this utility, and it is being sold as a major performance tweak. However, as I have mentioned here in the past, while the PCI Latency Tool can be useful in smoothing out your overall performance, preventing stuttering in games for example, it is not a performance maximizing tool as such.


For example, if your AGP graphics card has a high PCI Latency of 248 clocks, lowering its latency may actually reduce your overall framerate slightly but can improve smoothness. Sound cards can also benefit from altering latency to reduce crackling for example. This is because PCI Latency is the amount of time which a particular PCI device has exclusive access to the main system information pathway (or 'Bus'). Some devices need higher clocks because they are transferring larger amounts of information. Graphics cards are a good example, and in most recent games the graphics card would require longer bus access than say the sound card. In general I recommend that you allow sound cards a latency of 32, and graphics cards have a latency of 128 at the very least. You can experiment with other values of course, but write down your original latencies first. Finally, note that PCI latency doesn't apply to newer PCI-Express devices.



Battlefield 2 1.02 Patch Released

16 July 2005


EA Games have released the official Hotfix patch Version 1.02 for Battlefield 2. It is identical to Version 1.01, but fixes the problems which 1.01 had. It is strongly suggested you download and install this as soon as possible, and note that you can install this patch on Version 1.0 or 1.01 of BF2. Also note that upon installing v1.02 you will see references to v1.01. You are not installing v1.01 but are installing v1.02 (referenced in the game browser as 2484). See Page 4 of my Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide for more details.



NForce4 6.66 Drivers Released

16 July 2005


Nvidia have released the official NForce4 Version 6.66 drivers, for AMD-based motherboards using the NForce4 chipset. If you're using such a motherboard it's recommended you download and install this version. If you're using an Intel NForce4 chipset, the 7.13 version of these drivers has been out for a couple of weeks and is also available from the site above.



More Guides to Come

15 July 2005


Before you Splinter Cell fans get angry at me, don't worry - I still remember that I've promised you a Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Tweak Guide and I'll hopefully deliver it shortly...sorry for the wait. I've also got a couple more general guides which I've been thinking about, but can't discuss just yet. Despite the popularity of my recent Hardware Confusion article, I'm not planning any more hardware-based guides/reviews - I'm going to stick to writing software tweak guides which benefit the widest possible audience. Finally, I want to thank all the readers who've written to me with their feedback, and I want to apologize to those who ask me for tech support. As you know, for time reasons I cannot provide any kind of tech support, so please keep that in mind before emailing me.



Catalyst 5.7 Released

15 July 2005


ATI have released the official Catalyst 5.7 graphics drivers. The major changes with these Catalysts are performance improvements for 64MB and 128MB ATI graphics cards, so it is recommended you install these for maximum performance. You can read about the specific changes they contain here, and I have updated my ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide to reflect any changes.



Intel Motherboard Drivers Version 7.2.1.1003 Released

14 July 2005


Intel have released the latest official version of their Intel INF Motherboard drivers, 7.2.1.1003. If you run an Intel motherboard it is recommended you update it with these drivers, particularly if it is a recent 955-based chipset.



New Windows Updates Released

13 July 2005


Microsoft has released 3 new security-related updates on the Windows Update website. Make sure to run Windows Update through Internet Explorer as soon as possible to download these updates.



Firefox 1.05 Released

13 July 2005


The latest version of Firefox has been released, Version 1.05. There are no major changes, it is primarily a security update. It's still recommended that you download and install this latest version. First make sure you uninstall any previous version of Firefox, and if you haven't already, check my Firefox Tweak Guide to optimize Firefox.



Good News About Longhorn

13 July 2005


A Brief Article at Tom's Hardware describes some early findings about Longhorn's built-in modding/tweaking features. It looks like Microsoft is not going to make Longhorn untweakable, and is going to cater to modders and power gamers by giving us the tools we need to do the job. This is a very good sign, and I was a little worried for a while there that MS would take the 'black box' approach to Longhorn and make it completely uncustomizeable and aimed only at the average user.



Windows Longhorn Beta Screenshots

11 July 2005


This week tech-heads have been abuzz about Microsoft's invitation to its special beta testers to start testing the beta version of the next Windows, codenamed 'Longhorn'. You can find more details of recent Longhorn happenings at IEXBeta.com, and you can check out leaked screenshots of the latest Longhorn Build 5203 here.



Hardware Confusion Article Released

10 July 2005


For several months now I've been trying to decide which new technologies I will choose for my next PC upgrade. It's a common problem for many people out there given how many major tech developments there have been in recent times, including Dual Core CPUs, PCI-E, SATA-II, SLI, Crossfire, and Windows x64 to name a few. I wanted the best I could afford, and I wanted to future-proof my system as much as possible. Finally, I just wanted a system which worked straight off the bat, without all those terrible incompatibility issues, bottlenecks and hardware glitches we keep hearing about from various setups. The results are in my Hardware Confusion article, and might help you make a better choice if you're looking to upgrade as well.



Battlefield 2 Patch Problems

9 July 2005


EA Games have released an Update explaining that they've received feedback about the latest 1.01 patch causing problems with a memory leak. They recommend that users not install this patch, or if they already have, they uninstall and reinstall BF2 without the patch. I have updated my Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide with troubleshooting tips for those with the patch, as well as a couple of other changes. If you're like me and you installed the patch you may want to sit tight and wait for EA to release a fix. I really don't want to go through a total reinstallation of this game again, but it may be necessary anyway as their fix might only apply to the original version of BF2.



CounterStrike: Source Update Released

7 July 2005


Valve have released another major update for CS:S. The update has a large list of worthwhile changes you can read about here, and to download it simply restart your Steam client while online.



Battlefield 2 Patch Released

7 July 2005


After much anticipation, EA Games have released the first official Battlefield 2 patch, bringing it up to Version 1.01. Obviously if you play BF2 I strongly recommend you download the patch. You can read more about it on page 4 of my Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide, and the guide has been updated throughout to reflect the changes from the patch.



Internet Explorer Security Patch

7 July 2005


Microsoft has released another Security Update patch for Internet Explorer. It is strongly suggested you install this patch.



Site Update

6 July 2005


TweakGuides.com is currently receiving a lot of traffic, and in general over the past couple of months in particular the traffic has reached over 15,000 unique visitors a day - up to 40,000 people per day on some days. That's excellent news, and I'm happy to see the site doing so well and so many people are reading my guides. Hopefully readers are finding the information here useful.


Unfortunately that same popularity has meant that a lot of websites are now linking directly to the images on TweakGuides.com. Not only is this a breach of Copyright and good manners, it's also referred to as 'Bandwidth theft' - basically I pay for the bandwidth they use to show my images (without my permission). So I've taken the step of implementing a system to prevent people directly linking to my images: If you try to view an image on TweakGuides.com from anywhere else but here you will see an error page or a blank box.


If you find that you can't view any images while on this site see the instructions at the bottom of this page. If you still experience problems please Email Me with details of your browser and any router/firewall/proxy you're behind. I apologize for the inconvenience but without this measure my site costs would increase dramatically as well as site performance falling - all because people are ripping off my material to increase traffic to their own sites.



Nvidia Forceware Tweak Guide Updated

3 July 2005


I've gone through and revamped my Nvidia Forceware Tweak Guide for the 77.72 drivers - better late than never! Fortunately I now have a shiny new 7800GTX on hand to test out the new features and document them all so the guide is completely up-to-date and useful for all Nvidia users from low to the latest high end.



BF2 Advanced Tactical Center Released

3 July 2005


The official Advanced Tactical Center (ATC) for Battlefield 2 has been released. It's a free download and looks to be an excellent tool for devising new strategies and tactics with your friends/clanmates online for the various BF2 maps. Give it a try!



Next Up

1 July 2005


Ok, after the BF2 Tweak Guide next up I'm happy to say I've received all the components for my new PC, and once I get it up and running over the next few days I will update my Nvidia Forceware Tweak Guide thoroughly, as well as do the full Hardware Confusion article.



Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide Released

1 July 2005


For those of you who have been waiting, the final version of my full Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide is out. Following on from my initial release of the BF2 Demo Tweak Guide, this full version guide contains nine pages of information designed to explain BF2's settings, provide an insight into the reasons behind many common problems, and provide some handy tips and tweaks for you to try. Keep in mind that it will also be continually updated as EA releases patches for BF2 and as I discover new tips/tweaks.


Note: If you've viewed the BF2 Demo Tweak Guide recently, make sure to refresh the first 3 pages of this new guide otherwise the old versions will show up from your browser cache instead.



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