Denk je vorige week net de maandelijks update van Tom's Hardware Guide te hebben gehad, komt ome Tom potjandorie vandaag al weer met een update. Hij heeft een nieuwe column in het leven geroepen die iedere maandag moet verschijnen. Leuk.
Hij heeft zelfs wat info over de KCS Spintel kaart (je weet wel, van die extreem fout vormgegeven advertenties):
I can remember a few months ago when I quite a few readers asked me to test the Spintel Card from KCS, a little ISA card that is supposed to change the program code in real time, thus making software run faster. I could not really be bothered testing a product that was sounding so hyped, I never really trusted the wonderful promises of KCS. In the last issue of c't-Magazine, Andreas Stiller, my hero of computer hardware knowledge, had put one of those little miracles to the test. The first thing Andreas found out about the wonder card was that the card itself is nothing else but an oversized dongle for an ISA slot. I spoke to Andreas today on the phone and he commented "Well, I never thought that an ISA card could do anything much about changing CPU code or improving system performance in any way. What would you expect from a card that's running on the slow ISA bus?" As a matter of fact, the Spintel Card is only containing some status bits and it's accessed over the addresses C79Ch/C59Ch. The software that's delivered together with the Spintel Card is checking those addresses to make sure that the card is installed and the user is eligible to run the special program. However, the software does have a positive effect. It makes some benchmarks indeed run faster! Andreas found that the secret behind the Spintel Card is a software that fixes some major performance failures in the GDI of some, maybe many, graphics cards. The Spintel software accelerates particularly the BitBlt -function of the GDI, besides some other functions. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any effect of this software on DirectX (mainly for games) or video. Andreas concluded: "Spintel is merely fixing some GDI performance failures of some graphics cards. Thus you can only find some performance increase with graphic intensive software. Modern software, using DirectX and thus skipping the GDI won't benefit from the Spintel software. The card itself is nothing but a copy protection for the Spintel software. I suggest to rather spend the money on a new CPU, which will increase the whole system performance."
Thanks to Andreas for being the first and only one to find out the truth about the Spintel Card. I guess I don't have to comment on his conclusions any further. You can find his article on page 42 in the issue 1/1999 of c't-Magazin, still the best computer magazine in the world.