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Intel Celeron; Cleansweep Deluxe v3.0

Cleansweep Deluxe has extra Internet features over the standard version, and runs faster as well.Cleansweep Deluxe has extra Internet features over the standard version, and runs faster as well.

Just when you thought you'd got your cholesterol down, it's nothing but chips again. Martin Walker wades through the new CPU options, and uninstalls some more software.

In a recent flurry of activity on the processor front, prices have been cut on all models in the Intel Pentium II range (by between 20 and 30 per cent), and new devices are also available from Intel (the Celeron 300MHz), and AMD (the 266MHz and 300MHz K6‑2).

The first machines featuring Intel's Celeron 266MHz processor (released in April) are now appearing — to a very mixed reception from most people in the industry. Celeron is basically a Pentium II processor without the Level II cache which is designed to be used with a low‑cost motherboard sporting the new 440EX chipset (although several manufacturers are already working on ways to fit it to other motherboards). Celeron is Intel's entry‑level answer to rivals such as Cyrix and AMD because it enables manufacturers to offer home user Pentium II systems for under £700. But it's also seen by many as a reaction to poor initial sales of full Pentium II systems, since many users still seem to be finding their Pentium MMX‑based PCs perfectly adequate.

Although the Celeron 266MHz chip is half the price of the full Pentium II version, most mainstream applications still run faster using Pentium MMX 233MHz and AMD K6 processors. However, because of its faster Pentium II floating‑point performance, 3D games (and probably MIDI + Audio software) will run significantly faster. In fact, tests using 3D Winbench 98 showed that the Celeron 266MHz beat a Pentium 233MHz MMX by a healthy 26 per cent. For cheap game‑based PCs, the new CPU may prove a good seller, but the problem is that because of the special motherboard, upgrade potential is poor. Until this is resolved (and with Pentium II/266MHz systems now selling for less than £1000), those looking for a new machine for music should still invest in the full monty.

The 3RD Dimension

Some of the excellent freeware VST plug‑ins written by Paul Kellett of Maxim Digital Audio.Some of the excellent freeware VST plug‑ins written by Paul Kellett of Maxim Digital Audio.

For many years, people were eager to upgrade their business systems to cope with the demands of the latest software. However, apart from more specialised applications such as computer‑aided design, many business users now seem perfectly happy with the performance of their Pentium machines, and see little point in upgrading to the faster Pentium II range. After all, if you are using a word processor or a spreadsheet, most of the time the PC is waiting for user input. So what's the point of buying a faster machine?

Faced with this problem, more and more effort is being expended on selling machines at lower prices for consumer use. The fact that most people with home systems play games (even if they work at home too), means that excellent 3D games performance seems to be where most manufacturers are aiming.

The Amd K6 2

Despite the fact that Intel are intending to drop their MMX Socket 7 processors altogether by the end of this year, the other CPU manufacturers are still pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with this format. The

AMD K6 2 is yet another Socket 7 device.

The original K6 processor range has been very successful for AMD, as for most business applications it runs faster than Pentium MMX processors at the equivalent clock rate. However, for audio processing (with lots of floating‑point calculations), it runs significantly slower, as I have discussed in this column before. It's no good saying that MIDI doesn't use floating point. All music software developers now incorporate audio processing into their latest products, so floating‑point performance has become important for virtually every musician.

AMD recognise the importance of 3D games, but their K6 2 processor takes a very different approach to that of Intel. Whereas the Pentium II has strong brute‑force floating‑point performance, 3D games tend to need a specialised set of instructions to carry out the same instructions many times over on lots of data. This process is known as SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data), and was used in the MMX version of the Pentium. Although great benefits were promised from MMX, only image processing really gained significantly from its integer acceleration. However, the K6 2 optimises floating‑point performance, using a new part of the instruction set which is called 3DNow!

Much like MMX, the potential benefits of this new feature depend on software developers writing specific 3DNow! routines. Once again, music software is unlikely to do this, so, as always, we come back to the same recommendations. The new AMD K6 2 range provides the best value and performance for games only, and while the Cyrix 6x86MX range is ideal for the business user, it is not really suitable for musicians, due to its lacklustre floating‑point performance. Currently, the best (but most expensive) CPU for music use is the Pentium II. Once initial teething troubles are over, the Celeron may prove to be a very cost‑effective solution (especially for games, and possibly for music, but not for general office work).

This leaves the Pentium MMX system hanging on as an entry‑level system for a few months more, although some retailers are already dropping these, as Pentium II prices are now so competitive. The potential choices for the musician seem therefore reduced to a list of one. Monopoly, anyone?

Cleansweep Deluxe

I've been using the excellent Cleansweep v3.0 utility from Quarterdeck ever since I first reviewed it way back in SOS April '97. Its Smart Sweep utility can automatically monitor any new install on your PC, so that whether the developer provides an uninstall function or not, you can later safely remove anything from your hard drive completely (including all the impossible‑to‑find entries that get placed in your Registry). It can also scan previously installed applications to determine what files they use, so that thorough uninstalls are still possible. Along with comprehensive selections to clean up orphaned, duplicated or unused files, and a Registry editor and cleaner, it also has the ability to update itself automatically over the Internet.

A new Cleansweep Deluxe v3.0 is now available, and in addition to all these normal functions, it also cleans up unwanted files downloaded over the Internet, including the cache (which admittedly is easy to do by hand), cookies, browser plug‑ins, and ActiveX controls. It also includes TuneUp AV, the new Anti‑Virus utility.

Cleansweep Deluxe seems significantly faster than its predecessor (especially when scanning your hard drive), with enhancements for Smart Sweep that are claimed to be more efficient and thorough. This new version is still a bit too enthusiastic at times when it suggests files that are no longer needed, but still provides Safety Sweep — a perfect safeguard in the event of anything being accidentally wiped that you later find you need. Just backup everything you delete and leave these backups on your hard drive for a few days. If an application does grumble, you can restore the appropriate file.

Although the Internet additions of CleanSweep Deluxe are useful, they are probably not essential if you already have CleanSweep (although you can upgrade to the Deluxe version for £15. Phone Quarterdeck on freephone 001 800 7212 7212, or email This is still the most comprehensive uninstaller I have used to date, and anyone who installs software on a regular basis would find it indispensable. Most mail‑order suppliers should have it at about £40, with Cleansweep v3 still available at about £30. By the way, although the Quarterdeck web site ( has details of Cleansweep v4.0, this is a US‑specific release not available in the UK at present.

PC News In Brief


Windows 98 is apparently going to be available by the time you read this. New machines will have this pre‑installed, and Microsoft are also confident that initial upgrade sales will be similar to those of Windows 95, although few others in the industry seem to agree. According to Microsoft there are three main reasons why people will upgrade

  • The launch time of applications will be up to 30 percent faster (largely by rearranging the most‑ used files on your hard drive).
  • You will regain about 25 per cent space on your hard disk (due to FAT32, which is already available as part of Windows 95 OSR2.1).
  • USB peripherals are finally supported (which should mean that manufacturers will launch a few more).

People may race out and buy the upgrade in droves, but somehow I don't think so (although I may be proved wrong!). Mind you, I've already seen several retailers offering vouchers if you order Windows 98 before the launch date — perhaps they're attempting to gauge demand before deciding how many to stock!


There seems to be a subculture developing for freeware and shareware VST plug‑ins on the Internet. A few months ago this may have been a novelty, but there is now some serious kit out there, developed by enthusiasts (using the Steinberg VST Plug‑in Software Development Kit), and freely downloadable. This is possibly a backlash over the high cost of some commercial bundles, although many prices are coming down. Many of the web sites have banded together under the Cubase Webring logo, which aims to make it easier for Cubase users to find them.

Some URLs to look at include:

I particularly liked the Sub Bass Synthesizer from Paul Kellett of Maxim, which provides four different techniques for adding bass:

  • Distort — compresses the low frequencies.
  • Divide — provides the classic octave divider guitar pedal effect.
  • Invert — a simplified sub‑harmonic synthesiser.
  • Key Osc — uses a gated oscillator to add body to kick drums.

Dave Brown (, who may have kick‑started this whole movement, has now updated his free‑plug‑ins to v3.00, and introduced some more advanced shareware ones: ProDelay and ProComp.

But before you fire up your browser and go grab the lot, remember the shareware ethos — these folks need supporting!


For anyone who has not yet spotted it, Cool Edit Pro has now been updated to version 1.1, with the most significant change being real‑time previews for DirectX plug‑ins. A host of other enhancements have been made, including some transforms with up to 300 percent faster DSP, new transforms such as Pan/Expand, Grouping of Waves in Multitrack mode for editing purposes, and five new noise‑shaping curves in the dither options. Point your browser at for a hefty 4.2Mb download.

Tiny Tips

When using audio recording software, it's not uncommon to find lots of extra files appearing on your hard drive. Of course, you can just leave them alone, but it's annoying when the clutter starts to build up, and you're not quite sure what can safely be deleted. The reason for many of these files is that although loading of audio files for playback can be done piece‑by‑piece as required, to first display their entire waveform on screen involves reading the entire file, which can take a considerable time. The

solution is to create a waveform 'overview' — a much smaller file that allows subsequent loads to display the entire waveform quickly on screen. It's these files that can accumulate, although it is safe to delete them during hard‑drive housekeeping. If the associated audio file still exists, it will simply take longer to open next time. Wavelab uses the suffix *.gpk (graphic peak) for such filenames; Cool Edit Pro uses *.pk;Sound Forge uses *.sfk; Cubaseuses *.ovw (overview); Cakewalkuses *.wov (waveform overview); and Logic Audio uses *.ovm, *.ovl, and *.ovr (overview mono, left and right respectively).