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Newsletter Contents

. SiS and VIA Chipsets
.DFI AD77 Mobo
.Viewsonic 19"
.Samsung 80GB HDD
.Maxtor 60GB HDD
.Colin's Weekly Tips

AMD Athlon64 and Barton Processors


As we wait patiently for AMD's latest AthlonXP incarnation based on the Barton core to arrive, it's hard not to get excited. After all, we know that in just a few months time, the Athlon64 will also be here! From what we've been hearing, March or April will be when the 64-bit processor is to be released (barring any more delays). The initial Athlon64 processors operate at 1.4GHz, as shown in this picture to the right, but that may not necessarily be the introductory speed consumers see.

New AMD motherboards are starting to have support for Barton processors through BIOS updates, a sign that the wait may soon be over.

K8 Athlon64 motherboards were shown in plentiful supply late last year, waiting only for the processor to be released before ramping up production. As if that isn't enough to look forward to, Intel still has Prescott up their sleeves... spring 2003 is looking very, very interesting. :)

Everyone is excited about the new nVidia nForce2 based motherboards hitting the streets now, and we have our review of the MSI K7N2-L loaded with benchmarks for you to read. As if that were not enough by itself, we're also bringing you a review of the DFI AD77 KT4000 motherboard you absolutely must read!! We really liked this board by DFI, and if you pair it with a nice Radeon 9700 or Geforce 4 Ti4600 you'll definitely want a good monitor to play UT2003 on. The Viewsonic P95f+B is a 19" aperture grilled flat face display that we were very impressed with. Retailing for a measly $320USD ($490CDN) if offers a heck of a value.

Also in this weeks newsletter, new cellphones from Nokia in the TechWatch section, a really useful tip in Colin's Weekly Tech Tips, and our man with an ear to the ground - C. Angelini - has something to say about chipsets that don't support HyperThreading properly. Till next week, be sure and check out the latest low noise cooling deals at ExoticPC, and if you have any questions please post them in the Forums.
MSI K7N2-L nForce2 Motherboard Review

Read Article Now!

nVIDIA's original nForce chipset had lots of potential and made a lot of promises, but in the end it fizzled out big time. When nForce was announced the AMD chipset performance leader at the time was the SiS 735 chipset. The nForce was faster and more advanced, however after long delay the nForce eventually reached a market where the main competitor had now changed.Faced against the VIA KT266A chipset, the hype brought on by dual channel DDR was just that, hype. Performance was good, but it just couldn't compete with VIA's chipsets at the time. The question this time around is whether or not nVIDIA have learned from their mistakes.When the nForce2 was originally announced back in July of 2002, nVIDIA was hoping to steal a bit of ATI's thunder for the release of the 9700 Pro videocard which was announced a few days later. Consequently, the nForce chipset was delayed yet again, and eventually reached the markets in October, albeit in limited quantities. Now a days, you can get an nForce2 board from any of the large motherboard manufacturers easily.

Read the Rest...

TechWatch Nokia MobilePhones: Sexy little MMS

A few weeks ago we received word from Nokia about their newest mobiles for 2003, all of which have full colour LCD screens, MMS capabilities, and loads of sex appeal. Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a global standard messaging format for sending and receiving text, pictures, and sound. Think of it as Short Message Service (SMS) on steroids, but don't make the mistake and parallel MMS to email, attachments and all that hoopla. A MMS message is a single entry (containing sound, imagry, and text) which can be sent from phone to phone, or email address. I'm still steadfastly ignoring any WAP features on the mobile phone I use, but the prospects of what MMS and a digital camera enabled phone can accomplish are quite alluring. SMS is widely popular, and while the costs to send MMS messages will vary, it would be safe to say the technology will steadily drop in price over the next few quarters. Already on the road to 3G, Nokia is embracing MMS for their 2003 mobiles as we've outlined it here, with eventual plans to support MMS video clips, and the eventual shift to GPRS. Industry support includes the likes of Ericsson, Sony, Motorola, and Siemens.Read the Rest...

DFI AD77 Infinity KT400 AMD Motherboard

Read Article Now! In the latter half of 2002, AMD really slowed down in terms of technology advancement - chip release slowed, and even motherboards supporting AMD processors seemed to be all but forgotten. Now that AMD has solved their initial teething problems with 0.13, the future for them and their partners seems a lot brighter. Barton is just around the corner and AMD's long awaited Hammer line of processors will finally debut sometime in the spring of 2003, possibly even as early as March. Today we're going to check out DFI's latest KT400 based motherboard; the AD77 Infinity. The AD77 Infinity has all sorts of "goodies" such as Serial ATA, USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, 10/100 LAN, 5.1 audio and 8x AGP.

Read the Rest...

ViewSonic P95F+B 19inch Monitor Review

Introduce a "new" display technology like LCD and suddenly everything which is based on a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) is old, obsolete, and totally uncool. Normally I'd be the one saying that, but when it comes to CRT's there have been some very good improvements to the technology which are keeping it up to date with its' anorexic counterparts. The Viewsonic P95f+B is a 19" CRT based around a "PerfectFlat" aperture grille mask screen. The display features a 0.25mm dot pitch at the center of the screen, and 0.27mm dot pitch towards the corners. Optimal resolution is 1600x1200 @ 87Hz, but the screen will go as high as 2048x1536 if you are lucky enough to use a videocard which will support that resolution.

Read the Rest...

Samsung SP8004H 80GB-7200RPM HDD Review Maxtor 5T060H6 60GB Hard Drive

Like most things, Samsung knows that diversity is the spice of life. From monitors LCD or CRT, to memory and even hard drives, if it has something to do with computers Samsung is usually close behind. Today we're looking at their 80 GB 7200 RPM Ultra/100 SP8004H hard drive which retails for $180 CDN.Samsung like most other hard drive manufacturers has not jumped on the Ultra/133 bandwagon rather they're going to be focusing on the new upcoming Serial ATA that's why their SP8004H is not Ultra/133 compliant. Still it does boast quite an array of impressive specs, the hard drive spins at 7200 RPM, uses two platters with an areal density of 40GB and has 2MB of cache.

Maxtor is the old standard and a personal favorite around here. Based on our experiences with their drives, longevity and quality are pretty good. Even more importantly, the RMA service is fast and easy. When comparing Maxtor drives to those made by IBM and Seagate, you'll generally find the Maxtor drives less expensive, and slightly noisier.If an ultra quiet hard drive is your desire, the less expensive 5400RPM Samsung drives are worth noting, although we've seen that the 7200RPM Maxtor drive posts faster read times.

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Colin's Weekly Tech Tips

C. Sun
Digital Music, From Digital CD's

Even though audio CD's store the music in digital format, most of the time the music you hear is analog. The reason behind this is, when the information is moving from the CD-ROM to your sound card it is first passed by a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) which can possibly degrade the quality of the sound you're listening to. Fortunately Win2k/XP also support digital reading of audio CD's.

To enabled digital reading we'll have to change some of the CD-ROM settings in the device manager. Right click on the "My Computer" icon on the desktop and go to properties. From there click the "Hardware" tab and then the "Device Manager" button. Once the Device Manager window opens, expand the "DVD/CD-ROM drives" by clicking the + sign next to it. Next, double click on the CD drive which you use to listen audio CD's from. Once inside there select the "Properties" tab and check the box next to "Enable digital CD audio for this CD-ROM device". You may have to reboot your system for the changes to take effect.After that's done, all the CD's you listen to on your computer will no longer first be converted to analog before it reaches your ears.

Colin's Tips Archives | The Forums

The Last Word: Colin had a good time chatting with many of you last week in the Forums. If you have any computer questions, make sure you post them this weekend so Colin, or one of our expert moderators can help you out. First timers can Join the forums for Free , right here.

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PCstats Issue

Circulation 193,000

The High Tech Low Down
With Chris Angelini

We've been hearing a lot about Pentium4 chipsets. Intel is going one way, SiS is going another and VIA is somewhere in the middle. In fact, I just finished testing Intel's Granite Bay chipset and I must say that I'm particularly disappointed in the platform's performance, especially considering that a Granite Bay board costs well over $200. The real contender should arrive in the second quarter of this year alongside a version of the Pentium 4 'Northwood' core, which is expected to run on an 800MHz front side bus. Several new chipsets will consequently emerge to support the anticipated processor, the most impressive of which appears to be 'Canterwood.' The dual-channel DDR chipset will offer tuned performance thanks to DDR400 memory support.

And while Intel polishes its next generation of core logic, SiS is still reportedly struggling with HyperThreading support. Supposedly, the 655 chipset (dual-channel DDR) would incorporate the feature, but it seems that the initial revision isn't quite functioning with HT. So, even while SiS may have surprised the enthusiast community with the 645 and 648 families, it may run into trouble promoting the 655. VIA may not have an official license to sell Pentium 4 chipsets, but at least we know the P4X400 has proper Hyper Threading support!


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