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June 2005



Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide Out Later Today

30 June 2005


I apologize for the long wait, but I've finally managed to finish off my full Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide. All that's left is a last run-through to edit for mistakes, add anything which is missing, one last search-around for any new tips or info and format the whole thing and it will be up later tonight.



PCMark 2005 Released

29 June 2005


The all-in-one general PC benchmark PCMark05 has been released, and is available for free download.



Another Update

26 June 2005


I know many of you are eagerly awaiting the full Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide, so I thought I'd provide an update. The guide is now more than half finished, but I want to make sure that I find as many tips and tweaks as I possibly can before publishing it. It's not easy to test things on BF2 because of the way the game takes ages to load up maps, optimize shaders etc. I want to thank those of you who have written to me with your experiences and tips - this all helps me put my personal testing into perspective.


For those of you who have written to me asking for help, I realize a lot of you are struggling to get various games to work, or perhaps you're experiencing strange problems with your system. I want to ask you to please read this section and this section of my TweakGuides FAQ before writing to me about anything, and understand the situation I am in time-wise.


In any case, stay tuned people - I'm working on the BF2 Tweak Guide as we speak.



Dammit...!

24 June 2005


Just my luck, my new system has arrived at a time when I have to finish a new tweak guide, update a current one, and even worse - it's not complete. You can see pics of it here and here, with the full specs here. As you can see, it's all in pieces at the moment, because my 7800GTX and 2GB of RAM have not yet arrived. So I can't build it, test it and enjoy it just yet...very frustrating! It's distracting me a lot from finishing my full Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide, but I'll push on and hopefully finish it off in the next day or so. Once I put together my new system, I'll also be able to update my Nvidia Forceware Tweak Guide because I'll be using one of Nvidia's latest and greatest graphics cards to test out all the new features of the 77.72 Forceware Drivers.



Nvidia Forceware 77.72 Released

23 June 2005


Nvidia have released the official Forceware Version 77.72 graphics drivers. These are designed to support newer nvidia cards such as the 7800GTX, as well as providing improved performance and several new features. I strongly suggest all Nvidia user download these drivers, and I will update my Nvidia Forceware Tweak Guide shortly to account for the changes.



Battlefield 2 Released

22 June 2005


In case you've missed the hype, the full version of Battlefield 2 was released today, and I was lucky enough to get my pre-ordered copy at lunchtime. Tonight I'm going to install and play around with the game, and hopefully have my full BF2 Tweak Guide up and running shortly. For the moment although the current guide relates to the demo, most of the tweaks and tips in it should apply equally to the full version. Stay tuned and I'll have the full one out soon.



Far Cry 1.32 Patch Released

22 June 2005


A new patch for Far Cry has been released, bringing it up to Version 1.32. This 1.32 patch is for all versions of Far Cry (not the 1.32 64-bit patch released earlier) and fixes several issues with high level shaders and Nvidia graphics card hardware detection among other fixes. It is recommended you download and apply this patch. I have updated my Far Cry Tweak Guide accordingly.



So What's Next?

21 June 2005


You may be wondering what's coming up on TweakGuides.com in the near future - this update is to tell you my plans on that front. First and foremost, since Battlefield 2 is coming out tomorrow, I will immediately work on completing my full Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide, which should be up within a few days. Then (and with apologies to those who are waiting) I will complete my Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Tweak Guide after that. In the meanwhile I will also have to put together my new AMD-X2 based system and then do a full write up in my Hardware Confusion article, providing pictures, benchmarks and details of how the latest technology performs and whether it lives up to the hype. In between that I expect I'll have to update several guides as new versions of Firefox and the Nvidia Forceware drivers appear.


As you can see, I have my hands full over the next few weeks - especially since my day job is becoming more and more time-consuming and mentally draining. But don't worry, I'll keep the guides coming, and I'll throw in a few surprises here and there as time permits, so stay tuned!



How to Prevent RSI

19 June 2005


If you're a PC gamer, you need to make sure that you do all you can to prevent Reptitive Strain Injury (RSI) and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). Since PC gaming involves the same sorts of movements over and over again for extended periods, it's a real risk and this article looks at both the symptoms and the preventative measures you can take. Nothing to get alarmed about, but something to keep in mind.



Nvidia nForce Driver Version 7.13

19 June 2005


Nvidia have released a new official nForce driver Version 7.13. If you run an Intel-based nForce motherboard it is recommended you download and install this driver.



Microsoft Outlook Express Fix

19 June 2005


Microsoft have released this Outlook Express Fix which addresses several issues with Outlook Express. I recommend you download and install it.



ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide Updated for Rage3D Tweak CCC

16 June 2005


I've updated pages 9 and 10 of my ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide to provide details of how to use the newly-released Rage3D Tweak CCC utility. Check it out as Rage3D Tweak CCC looks very promising and already has some neat features.



Microsoft Critical Updates Released

15 June 2005


Microsoft have just released 7 new critical security updates for Windows XP, which you should immediately download and install by going to Windows Update.



DivX Version 6.0 Released

15 June 2005


The latest version of the popular DivX media format has been released, bringing it up to version 6.0.



Steam and Source Engine Updates

15 June 2005


There have been some updates to the Steam client and the Source Engine released. You can read about them here. Basically they're required for VAC2 to work correctly.



Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide - Updated

14 June 2005


I've added an extra page to my Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide and re-arranged things a little to accommodate a couple of new tips, as well as the full list of Console Commands. Thanks to all the people who have written to me so far, and now let's see if we can get that console commands list filled with accurate descriptions!


Note: Make sure you press the refresh button on your browser so you see the latest version of the guide if you've viewed it recently.



Stuck Pixel Fixer

13 June 2005


If you run an LCD monitor like I've recently started to do, you may well live in fear of 'stuck' pixels. Stuck pixels are pixels on your LCD screen which stay fixed in a particular color, and are very annoying. However it seems that you can now download a short MP4 movie from here which when played through Windows Media Player in a loop for several hours might just unstick those nasty pixels. Give it a try, it can't do any harm and it has helped several people already.



Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide

12 June 2005


I've put together all the tweaks and tips I could find to help you run the Battlefield 2 Multiplayer Demo as smoothly as possible into my brief Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide. This guide has 2 pages of the known tweaks for BF2, and should help overcome many of the difficulties people have been experiencing with this game - check it out. The complete BF2 Tweak Guide will be here shortly after the full version of Battlefield 2 is released in late June.



Battlefield 2 Demo Released

11 June 2005


The much-anticipated Battlefield 2 Demo has been released. It weighs in at 546MB, and you can download it from a large number of places like 3DGamers and FileShack. For more download locations, and more details about the game, go to the EA Games BF2 page. Note that the game has very steep system requirements, including the need for a 1.7GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM and a 128MB FX5700 or Radeon 8500 or higher graphics card, as well as broadband Internet. As expected I will put aside my other guides and start messing around with the demo to see if I can quickly find some initial tips/tweaks and post them here.



SoundBlaster Audigy 2 and Audigy 4 x64 Driver

11 June 2005


Creative have released official SoundBlaster Audigy 2, Audigy 2ZS and Audigy 4 Pro Windows x64 drivers version 2.03.003. If you run one of these sound cards on Windows x64 you should download and install these drivers.



VIAVGA Doom3 Multiplayer Map

11 June 2005


VIAVGA have released a new Doom3 Multiplayer Map which serves as a great benchmarking map. It puts more stress on your system than most other maps due to its plentiful use of shadows, curved surfaces and other eye candy.



NForce4 SLI Intel Edition Beta Drivers

11 June 2005


Nvidia have released new beta NForce4 SLI Drivers Version 7.12. Since these Intel-based NForce4 motherboards are quite new, and there may be compatibility problems, I strongly suggest using these drivers even though they are beta.



Rage3D Tweak CCC Released

10 June 2005


The ageing Rage3D Tweak tweaking utility - as covered in the Advanced Tweaking section of my ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide - has received a much-anticipated upgrade. The new version is called Rage3D Tweak CCC, and is designed specifically for Catalyst 5.6 with the Catalyst Control Center - I suggest you give it a try. I will update my ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide once I've had a chance to use it myself.



ATI Catalyst 5.6 Released

10 June 2005


ATI have released the Catalyst 5.6 graphics drivers. If you run an ATI graphics card you should download and install these ASAP as they contain a significant performance improvement in most games and 3D applications! The new Catalysts also contain a few new features for video playback, and streamline the Catalyst Control Center resource usage slightly. You can read more about the specific changes here.


Update: I've updated my ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide to reflect these changes. There are a lot of small changes, but for the most part if you've been through the guide recently you don't have to read through it again. Or maybe just give it a quick flick-through if you want to read about the new features.



Is Windows x64 Worth it for Gamers?

9 June 2005


More and more people with 64-bit CPUs are wondering whether upgrading to Windows x64 is worth it, especially in terms of gaming performance. This article looks at Windows x64 vs Windows XP 32-bit to see what the practical performance differences are through a range of benchmarks in recent popular games. Since I have recently decided on a 64-bit based dual-core system (see Hardware Confusion below), I also briefly considered purchasing Windows x64. But in the end I came to the conclusion that given Longhorn is due out next year, it simply isn't worth the price of the upgrade to x64, especially given the many 64-bit driver issues which are yet to be resolved.



Intel Chipset Drivers Released

9 June 2005


Intel have released the official Intel INF Version 7.0.0.1025 motherboad drivers for all major Intel chipsets. It is recommended you install these drivers if you run an Intel motherboard, especially a recent one like the Intel 955X chipset.



Hardware Confusion Over (Sort of)

8 June 2005


Well I finally bit the bullet and bought my new system. After plenty of research, thought and good advice from other knowledgeable tech-heads, I've ordered an AMD A64 X2 4400+ dual-core based system which I will build in the next couple of weeks. If you want to see what I bought, check out this Hardware Confusion page for my full specifications. Over time as I build and experiment with the system I will write a full article based around what the latest technology means in practical terms and how it performs compared to existing technology.



QuickTime 7 Preview Released

7 June 2005


If you're a Windows user, you can download QuickTime 7 media player free as part of a public preview of the new version. To find out more about the preview, read this Preview FAQ.



Savage - Free Game

7 June 2005


Saw the heads-up about this over at 3DGPU.com - you can now get the game Savage which is a 'Real Time Strategy Shooter' absolutely free. The full game weighs in at 260MB and can be downloaded from here.


Update: More details of how to download, patch and use this game free are here.



XP Home to XP Pro Hack

5 June 2005


This article in The Register explains how you can apparently convert Windows XP Home to gain some of the advanced functionality of Windows XP Professional by altering the Setupreg.hiv file. More detailed instructions are provided here, although note that I have not tried this myself, it is likely to be illegal, and may be quite tricky. I'm just letting you know out of interest, and it's not recommended that you do this.



Hardware Confusion Update

5 June 2005


Continuing my interest in recent hardware, I found this article at Tom's Hardware which compares the latest Pentium D 840EE with the AMD A64 X2 4800+ dual-core CPUs. The test is more interesting than usual, because Tom's are doing it live on the web, and putting these chips through a week's worth of 100% full load testing using 4 simultaneous applications/games. You can view the current Intel System Performance and the AMD System Performance live, and the overall results so far here. At the moment the AMD system is cooler, more stable and faster - very interesting!



Windows Update Version 6

4 June 2005


It seems Microsoft have released the new version of Windows Update. You can access it by clicking on this link with Internet Explorer: http://update.microsoft.com (it won't work with Firefox or other browsers). You'll have to agree to download some new software which may take a couple of minutes, but once done you'll see the new version of the Windows Update website - although there don't seem to be any new updates on there at the moment.



Battlefield 2 Goes Gold

2 June 2005


Battlefield 2, the sequel to the popular Battlefield 1942 has gone Gold, meaning the final version of the game has been sent on a gold master disc to the manufacturers to be mass-produced for distribution on 21 June. I know a lot of you are looking forward to this game, and so am I. I will receive my copy shortly after its release and I'll begin writing the BF2 Tweak Guide straight away - hopefully to be complete within a week. Stay tuned!


Note that I'm still trying to find the time and patience to finish my Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Tweak Guide as soon as possible, so keep an eye out for it shortly.



Windows Media Bonus Pack

2 June 2005


Microsoft have released the free Windows Media Bonus Pack for Windows XP. This pack weighs in at 18MB and contains new skins, visualizations, customization tools and utilities for Windows Media Player. It's not a necessary download, however if you like messing around with WMP you might want to download it.



Half Life 2: Deathmatch Steam Update

2 June 2005


An update for HL2: Deathmatch has been released, providing several fixes which you can read about here. As usual, to get this update simply restart your Steam client when online.



AMD Drivers and Utilities Released

1 June 2005


AMD have released a new CPU Info Utility for all A64 CPUs, as well as New Drivers for A64 X2 CPUs.



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