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Newsletter Contents

.Barton and Intel
.Albatron Ti4800SE
.Belkin KVM
.AthlonXp 3000+
.Folding @ Home
.Porsche Display
.Glowy Fan / GF4
.Colin's Weekly Tips

Meet the New AthlonXP 3000+ Barton CPU

Read Article Now! I'd be surprised if anyone reading today's newsletter wasn't familiar with the 3DMark2001 benchmarking program already. And, after a long wait we finally have 3DMark03 to play with now; so be sure to download it and compare your system results against the 4612 3DMarks (3DM03) we got with a AthlonXP 3000+ / nForce2 / ATI Radeon 9700 Pro combo.

That's right, to start things off with a bang we've inserted a bunch of 3DMark03 results into our review of the brand new 2.17GHz AMD AthlonXP 3000+ processor. The AthlonXP 3000+ is based on the "Barton" core which has a larger amount of L2 cache to help speed things up and makes a pretty wicked basis for gaming rigs.

Also in this week's newsletter we have the Belkin 4-port KVM switch with USB and audio built in, and a close up look at Albatron's latest 8X AGP videocard. The Albatron Ti4800SE is actually based on a Ti4400 core, but you have love Nvidia marketing for calling it something else. Today's TechWatch looks at a 3D display like the kind in "The Matrix" that is actually available, and C. Angelini has some interesting things to say about Intel and AMD. Don't forget to check out the rest of the newsletter, including Colin's Weekly Tech Tips (and his personal invite to join the Folding @ Home Team).

Albatron GeForce4 Ti4800SE Videocard Review

Read Article Now! Even though all mighty nVIDIA saw fit to finally release their much anticipated, and long awaited GeForceFX GPU the current crop of GeForce4 Titanium GPU's still have loads of power left in them. The recent addition of 8XAGP breathes new life into the GeForce4 core, not really in terms of performance, but in terms of the ever lasting marketing battle between manufacturers. Today we're going to be examining Albatron's Ti4800SE videocard which is based on the Ti4400 platform with 8x AGP.

Don't you just love nVIDIA's marketing department. :) The Albatron Ti4800SE is backed by 128MB of 3.3ns BGA DRAM and comes with a DVI output for LCD displays, 15-pin analog output for regular old CRT monitors, and TV-Output port for video and such things. In terms of other goodies; the Albatron Ti4800SE comes with an S-Video to RCA converter, a RCA-to-RCA cable, SVideo-to-SVideo cable, WinDVD software and full versions of Motocross Mania and Serious Sam. We would have liked to see Albatron include a DVI-to-analog converter as well, but I guess you can't win them all every time. Read the Rest...

Belkin OmniView 4-port KVM/audio/USB/PS2 Switch

Read Article Now!It might seem inconceivable to someone who just started working on their first computer that anyone would actually need a Keyboard/Video/Monitor Switch - let along one with four ports. Aside from the fact that around here we regularly work on at least two computers at once, and sometimes many more, a KVM switch can free up one heck of a lot desk space if you have multiple computers to operate. By routing the keyboard, mouse and monitor signals through to one set of well... keyboard, video and mouse you save a bundle on hardware otherwise necessary to operate two, three, or even four computers. The big difference which separates the Belkin Omniview from other digital KVM's is that it supports either USB or PS/2 based keyboard and mice. As if that weren't nice enough, the KVM also supports two audio channels. Most digital KVM's do not support this many connections, and inexpensive analog units rarely support more than the basic keyboard/video/mouse features. Read the Rest...

TechWatch 3-D Monitors No Longer Fiction
By: M. Page
Visit News PageThink 3Dimensional displays are the stuff of movies and special effects only? Think again. A company from Cambridge Mass. called Actuality Systems Inc. have created a 117 million Voxel 3-Dimensional display called the "Perspecta 3D System" which retails for $45,000. An actual close up of a 3D medical image is shown to the left since that blows the budget for 99.9% of us. :)

The 'monitor,' which looks more like a large fortune tellers crystal ball, consists of a unique 360-degree spatial display and associated Perspecta software. It enables users to render high-resolution spatial images that can be viewed from any angle as the user moves around the transparent dome display. The display itself illuminates a record 100 million volume pixels, or "Voxels," within the clear polycarbonate dome. Typical applications for the Perspecta 3D System will most likely include nuclear medical imaging, aerospace and oil and gas exploration but that isn't to say the display won't eventually find more entertaining uses in the future.

AMD AthlonXP 3000+ Barton Processor Review
In the latter half of 2002, all AMD could talk about was about their 64-bit processor code named "Hammer." Hammer this, Hammer that. You'd think the Hammer line of processors was the next best thing after sliced bread! Unfortunately for AMD, things did not pan out as they had hoped and Hammer... well let's just say we're still waiting for it. Today though, we're testing out AMD's AthlonXP 3000+ processor which is based on the core code named "Barton." The Barton core is the last core of the fan favorite K7 Athlon, and a holdover before the K8 Athlon is realized. Unlike the transition from the Palomino core (0.18 micron process) to the Thoroughbred core (0.13 micron process) which was simply a die shrink, AMD have added something new to the Barton core! AMD have incorporated an extra 256KB of L2 cache on the core, thus giving it a grand total of 512 KB L2 cache. In the past we have seen that when a processor doubles the amount of L2 cache, performance clock for clock usually increases by around 10%. Read the Rest...

Visit the ShoppingList Page for our $1800 Mainstream System, $3000 High-End Performance System and Budget $999 System recommendations.

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Samsung F.A. Porsche Design 171P LCD Display

It is not everyday that we get to review a product which has come from a highly respected industrial designer. The 171P Syncmaster display from Samsung is a 17" LCD monitor designed by brilliant minds at F.A. Porsche. This is the same "Porsche" which is responsible for the 911 and other iconic cars. Ferdinand Alexander Porsche founded Porsche Design in 1972, and from a small studio near an Alpine lake in the Austrian mountains he has applied detail and precision to a broad range of electronic and consumer products.

Read the Rest...

Also read our original guide to making a Glowy GeForce4 Mod here.

Colin's Weekly Tech Tips

Colin Sun
Today: Enable Boot Defrag

WindowsXP includes a neat little feature called boot defrag which helps speed up the startup process, but for some reason it's not always enabled by default. Of course this can be easily turned on with a simple registry hack.

Go to Start, then Run and from there type Regedit and press the ok button. Follow this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Dfrg -> BootOptimizeFunction. Look for the "Enable" string and if the value is Y, boot defrag is enabled. If the value is not Y, change it to Y, close and reboot.

If it wasn't enabled before, you should notice your system boots much quicker now. Please keep in mind, only some computers do not have this feature enabled by default.

Colin's Tips Archives | Forums

The Last Word: Folding @ Home - Does your computer sit idle during the day, or overnight? Why not use put those spare CPU cycles to good use and join the PCStats Folding @ Home Team! It's for a good scientific cause and it's also a lot of fun.

Folding @ Home is a Stanford University distributed computing project. The project uses a screen saver that makes use of idle computer time to study protein folding related diseases such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, and Parkinson's.

For more information, and to download the necessary files, please visit the Team PCStats Folding@Home forum discussion. You can make a difference, and all you have to do is support this worthwhile cause. Tell your friends to sign up for their own weekly Newsletter here .

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The High Tech Low Down

By: Chris Angelini

I'd rather not beat a dead horse, but AMD made a few announcements recently that either speaks volumes about its readiness to ship the Athlon 64 or its confidence in the potential of 'Barton.' The Athlon XP 3000+ with 512KB of cache is easily faster than the 2800+ before it. And although I was able to operate my own sample at 2.45GHz, AMD's plans only include one more Athlon XP, the 3200+, before it unveils the Athlon 64.

Unfortunately, this means the launch for Athlon 64 has been pushed back... again. AMD is now guessing that we'll see the evolutionary architecture sometime in September. The server market is a bit luckier, as the Opteron processor will debut on April 22nd. On the bright side, AMD's 2.0GHz goal for Athlon 64 should be a lot more feasible in September since we bore witness to 1.4GHz chips during Comdex last year.

Intel's reply is an 800MHz front side bus, which we have discussed before, along with DDR400 memory. There will be a 3.2GHz processor accompanying the new platform and a slew of Hyper Threading-enabled processors will follow at speeds as low as 2.4GHz. Rumor has it that we'll here more from Intel in late April.

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