2001 Updates to the PC Technology Guide – www.pctechguide.com

Date Details of site updates in 2001


Download/Site Licence: After an absence of a couple of months a Download version of the site is again available, together with new Site Licence options aimed at educational establishments, as distinct from commercial organisations;

Hard Disks: Section on AV capability added to cover the particular performance characteristics required by audio-visual applications and how this relates to the issue of hard disk recalibration and section on The 8.4GB limit renamed Capacity barriers and expanded to cover the three principal IDE/ATA disk capacity restrictions that have arisen since the mid-1980s;

CD-R/CD-RW: Sections added on Mini media – the 8cm CD format that’s gaining favour as a removable storage solution in digital consumer devices and Digital audio media – the special CD recordable/rewritable media for use with consumer CD recorders that incorporates the SCMS copy protection scheme;

Scanners: General update, including reorganisation and expansion of information relating to Scan resolution and the addition of an explanatory graphic to section on PMT;

Digital Cameras: Sections on Memory storage and Disk storage updated to reflect the current maximum capacities of CompactFlash and SmartMedia memory cards, IBM’s second-generation Microdrive devices and Sony’s support of CD-RW media as a removable storage option;

Product Reviews: Periodic overhaul to add links for the latest hardware and to purge dead links continued with the DVD-ROM Drives and MP3 Players product categories being dealt with in this update.



New Design: Phase 2 of the site’s redesign implemented, introducing a database driven Glossary which provides flexible Word Lookup functionality in addition to the previous Guide-to-Glossary linkage and categorised Glossary-to-Guide navigation capability;

System Memory: Section on RIMMs updated and expanded, including the addition of an image depicting the major elements of a Rambus memory subsystem;

CD-R/CD-RW: Section added for Sony’s Double density media standard, which doubles the capacity of its writable/rewritable DD-R/DD-RW discs to 1.3GB and which reached the market in mid-2001 and section on BURN-Proof technology expanded to identify other manufacturers’ similar technologies;

Removable Storage: Floppy disk section expanded to better cover the technology’s gradual evolution to today’s 3.5in form factor and section on Super-floppies updated in light of Matsushita’s new technology which increases the capacity of a standard high density floppy disk from 1.44MB to an incredible 32MB!;

Input Devices: Section on Mice expanded to cover the emergence of the wireless optical mouse and Touchscreens section expanded to cover devices based on infrared technology;

Product Reviews: Periodic overhaul to add links for the latest hardware and to purge dead links commenced this month, with the following product categories being dealt with in this update:

CD-Rewritable Drives, DVD/CD-RW Combo Drives, DVD-Rewritable Drives (a combination of the previous DVD-RAM and DVD-Recordable categories), 19in Monitors, 21in Monitors and Panel Displays.



New Design: Site given a (long overdue!) facelift. The new design gives the site a more modern appearance and menu system, whilst retaining the original design’s ease of use, unit of content delivery and page naming convention. The result is a navigation system that allows any page to be accessed by no more than two mouse clicks!

Phase 2 of the redesign – scheduled for implementation on 1Nov01 – will introduce a database driven Glossary, offering significantly more functionality and flexibility than the current system.

CD/Download: A consequence of some of the new technology underlying the new design is that the offline CD and Download versions of the site are no longer available.

Feedback: Your feedback on the new design is important – especially in its early days since it’s inevitable that its implementation will have introduced some bugs. Please report any problems you experience – and any other comments you wish to make – via the Site Feedback forum.



DVD: Section on DVD+RW updated to reflect the announcement of the first such drive, slated for availability in the USA in the autumn of 2001;

Input Devices: Input Devices: Section added on Touchscreens.

If the update this month appears a little on the light side, fear not, a great deal of time is currently being devoted to a complete redesign of the site, which is scheduled for implementation on 1Oct01.



System Memory: Section added on 1T-SRAM, a memory technology that has the speed and low power consumption advantages of SRAM, coupled with the high density and low cost advantages of DRAM;

Serial Comms: Updated in light of the recently introduced V.44 and V.92 analogue modem standards;

Mobile Communications: New page added, outlining the principal mobile communications technologies, from the early analogue 1G systems to the future digital 3G systems. Accessed via the Communications navigation level page and organised into the following sections: GSM, GPRS, 3G, WAP, Bluetooth and GPS, the new page contains some information previously located in the series of Mobile Computing pages;

Hard Disks: Section added on Pixie Dust, an IBM innovation that promises to increase the area density of hard disk drive platters.



The PC Technology Guide website has been in existence for a little over three years. In that time it has established a significant following amongst PC hobbyists worldwide as well as in the IT training and education sectors. It’s time to see if the site’s 7,500+ return visitors a month can be turned into a real (OK, cyber!) community. The introduction of a series of PC Help Forums provides the means by which this may be accomplished. The rest is down to you!


Motherboards: Section on BIOS updated to reflect some of the new features provided by modern systems and new sections added on FlexATX – Intel’s evolution of it’s microATX form factor – and Riser architectures – covering the recent emergence of new approaches designed to both reduce overall system costs and increase the flexibility of the system manufacturing process and focusing, in particular, on the CNR and ACR specifications;

System Memory: Section added on Presence detect – the means by which memory chips are identified to the memory controller logic – and section on Memory upgrades expanded to provide further guidance on memory identification;

Mobile Computing: Section on GPS updated to reflect the Presidential order which resulted in the civilian service being raised to the same level of accuracy as had been available to the military for years;

CD-ROM: Manufacturing section added, outlining the various stages in the CD-ROM production cycle from premastering to replication;

Graphics Cards: Section on Direct3D updated in respect of the latest version of Microsoft’s suite of multimedia APIs, DirectX 8.0;

Sound Cards: Sections added on Connectivity – to address the improvements as a result of the introduction and subsequent development of Creative Technologies innovative breakout drive bay panel concept – and on A3D and EAX – two extensions to Microsoft’s DirectSound3D (DS3D) standard which have gained widespread support from games’ developers.



CD-ROM: Section added on File systems;

DVD: Major update and reorganisation. In particular to sections on DVD-R – updated to cover the format’s division into authoring and general formats, DVD-RW – significantly expanded in light of the format’s emergence as the second rewritable format to come to market and DVD+RW – the much-delayed for which products are now promised before the end of 2001;

Panel Displays: New sections added – In-Plane Switching, Vertical Alignment and Multi-Domain Vertical Alignment – to describe the evolutionary developments in TFT technology and expansion of section on ALiS – Fujitsu’s high-resolution PDP technology;

Networking: Expanded description of the two IEEE 802.11 spread-spectrum techniques – Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) and Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS).



Product Reviews: New pages added for Socket A Motherboards and Pentium 4 Motherboards and the major overhaul to add links for latest hardware and to purge dead links completed, with the following product categories being dealt with in this update:

Socket 370 Motherboards, Slot 1 Motherboards, Slot A Motherboards, Super7 Motherboards, EIDE Hard Disk Drives, SCSI Hard Disk Drives and Sound Cards.



Product Reviews: Major overhaul to add links for latest hardware and to purge dead links continued with the following product categories being dealt with in this update:

Graphics Cards, 19in Monitors, 21in Monitors, Panel Displays, Flatbed Scanners, External V.90 modems and Internal V.90 modems.



Product Reviews: Major overhaul to add links for latest hardware and to purge dead links. Links to older reviews relegated to supplementary Archives pages for several product categories. New pages added for DVD-Recordable Drives and DVD/CD-RW Combo Drives. Product categories dealt with in this update are as follows:

CD-Rewritable Drives, DVD-ROM Drives, DVD-RAM Drives, MP3 Players, Personal Laser Printers, Colour Laser Printers, Inkjet Printers, Multifunction Devices and Digital Cameras.



Communications: New navigation level page introduced, allowing access to Serial Comms, Digital Comms and Networking pages;

Networking: Completely new pages providing overviews of networking technology in general – including sections on the OSI Model, Topologies, FDDI, Token Ring and Ethernet – and of the various solutions devised to support home networking – Phoneline, Powerline and Wireless – in particular.



Processors: Section on Pentium 4 expanded to provide more detail on the NetBurst architecture’s Hyper Pipelined Technology;

System Memory: Sections added on Flash memory and the a radical new memory technology with the potential to be its successor in a few years time, Magnetic RAM;

Mobile Computing: Addition of Expansion interfaces section, identifying the various means by which PDAs may be connected to peripheral devices, additional memory modules and networks;

DVD: General update, including to the various copy protection schemes identified in the section on Encryption and to the tabulation of the various DVD region codes in the Regional coding section;

Removable Storage: Section on Fluorescent disc technology expanded and updated to reflect C3D’s current product release plans;

Digital Cameras: Section on CMOS expanded to cover a breakthrough in image sensor technology which looks set to enable CMOS to rival CCD technology in terms of both quality and price and section on Memory storage updated to reflect current flash memory storage capacities.



Hard Disks: Wide-ranging update and expansion – with information being reorganised into three pages – including:

– Addition of sections on Capacity and MR technology to chronicle the progression in disk read/write head technology and associated areal densities from TFI through to GMR;

– Section on Ultra DMA renamed Ultra ATA and broadened to cover all generations of the Parallel ATA specification since its introduction in 1981;

– Section on RAID expanded to better explain its relationship with EDAP (Extended Data Availability and Protection);

– Section on SMART expanded to identify some of the types of failure condition the technology attempts to predict.

Digital Video: Section added on the DivX codec, the video compression technology which is promising to do for movies what MP3 has done for digital music.