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In This Issue...

- Dual Boot 64/32-bit OS
- Kingston USB Drive
- XGI Volari 8300
- Internet Explorer 7
- PQI USB memory
- Shuttle SFF PC
- PCstats Weekly Tips

Standby Power and Electricity Bills

Standby power draw from your collection of home electronics and computer hardware could be inflating your electricity bill when the power is supposed to be off. PCSTATS has some dead simple advice to cut off 'phantom power loads' at the source a little later in the newsletter, but first we'll walk through the steps of installing a dual boot, 64/32-bit Windows XP system. After that handy guide, it's on to a Kingston USB flash drive with 128-bit AES encryption built-in to protect your data on the road. The XGI Volari 8300 may not rival the massive 512MB nVidia Geforce 7800GTX videocard, but it does offer several innovative content playback features to improve visual quality. Rounding out this holiday edition is a preview of Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 browser, the PQI Intelligent Stick Pro 170 USB flash drive, and Shuttle's XPC SD11G5 small formfactor PC. The XPC SD11G5 runs on a Pentium M (as in mobile) CPU, and is virtually silent in operation.

Thanks for reading PCSTATS and sharing us with your friends and co-workers; we'll see you all in 2006!

Beginners Guides: Dual OS Installation of WindowsXP 32-bit/64-bit

In this short guide, PCSTATS is going to show you how to go about creating your dual 64-bit/32-bit Windows XP installation. This allows you to mix and match the two operating systems, avoiding software failure and discovering which is best for each application and game. In order for this guide to work, we've got to make a couple of assumptions: number one, that you have a 64-bit capable processor (either AMD Athlon 64, Opteron or EMT-64 enabled Intel Pentium 4/D/EE) and a working 32-bit installation of Windows XP...Continue Here>>

Kingston 2GB DataTraveler Elite AES-128 Encrypted USB Drive Review

There is no login, no password, no intrinsic security structure at all on a USB flash drive. Whomever has the device, has full and unfettered access to all the information it contains. Plug it in, open up a folder and there it is. Recovering lost and accidentally erased data is one thing, but what happens if you loose a 2GB USB drive packed full of confidential information? Kingston Technology has developed a novel product to address USB flash drive data security issues, by embedding a hardware-based 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) co-processor to handle all algorithm processing within its flagship DataTraveler Elite series USB flash drives.Continue Here>>

XGI Volari 8300 Reference Videocard Review

The basic tech specs of the XGI Volari 8300 include a UMC 0.13 micron manufactured GPU with a 90 million transistors, support for Shader Model 2.0, DirectX9, OpenGL 1.5 and WinVista Aero Glass standards; which means in theory it supports all the latest games on the market, and the upcoming Windows Vista operating system. The Volari 8300's 'XG47' GPU and memory are both clocked at 300 MHz. We'll go into the technology in detail momentarily, but first a quick overview of the reference solution. The Volari 8300 utilizes 128 MB of memory, and when running in 3D mode it occupies a bit of system memory care of Volari's eXtreme Cache architecture. According to XGI, the power consumption of the Volari 8300 can dip down to as low as 13W!Continue Here>>

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 'IE7' Preview

To cut a long story short, Microsoft accelerated the development of the browser technology it was working on for Microsoft Vista. Essential features like tabbed browsing were added and it was announced in February of 2005 that Internet Explorer 7 would, after all, be released. We're going to look at the new features which Microsoft plans to bring to the table With Internet Explorer 7, and examine how the underlying functionality of the browser has changed to better protect your computer. Internet Explorer has the distinction of being the browser most targeted by all forms of spyware, malware, and other nasties, so more security is always good news. Continue Here>>

PQI Memory Intelligent Stick Pro 170 512MB USB Flash Drive

What PQI has done with its Intelligent Stick Pro 170 is replace the standard metal-wrapped USB connector with a low-profile smart-card-esq connector pad. With a total size of just 43 x 18 x 3 mm, the PQI Intelligent Stick 170 is definitely one of the thinnest USB drives we've ever seen. The PQI Intelligent Stick 170 has a speed rating of up to 25MB/s when running through a USB 2.0 connection. The device is compatible with Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, Mac OS 9.x+ and Linux. Continue Here>>

Shuttle XPC SD11G5 Small Formfactor PC Review

Shuttle recently introduced a line of SFF PCs that rely on the kind of CPU made expressly for notebooks. The mobile Intel Pentium M processor combines excellent performance characteristics with low power consumption and low heat output. Technically speaking, the Shuttle XPC SD11G5 SFF PC is based around the Intel 915GM and Intel ICH6M chipsets, and it supports socket 479 Intel Pentium M processors. Onboard goodies consist of a hardware 7.1 Creative Sound Blaster Live! 24-bit sound card and of course an onboard Intel GMA900 videocard care of the i915GM chipset.Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Beware Phantom Power Draw

There is no tip from Colin this week. Instead, we have some advice of a different sort that can help reduce how much you'll be paying for electricity in the new year. Did you know that virtually every consumer electronics device, computer, battery charger and tech gadget that plugs into the wall continues to draw power from the socket even after it's "turned off?" Tell tale signs of this covert power consumption include status LEDs, vacuum flourescent display digital clocks, unused AC/DC adaptors that remain warm, and anything that works with an infrared remote control or boasts a 'quick start' mode.

For devices that are supposed to be "off," the continued power draw may be no more than 12W for a computer, 2-5W for a monitor, a couple of watts for the cable modem, DVD player, VCR, microwave oven, television screen, and assorted cellphone, digital camera and iPod chargers... but it all adds up. Over the 8,760 hours in a year it can add up significantly. The standby power load over a year may even be more than the unit drew while in use over that same period. This so called 'phantom power draw' occurs every second that a standby-power-sapping-electronic-device remains plugged in.

Most likely you haven't taken the simple step of adding a power bar between the wall and your electronics devices, but it's the most effective way to control standby power draw. Turning off the power bar closes you wallet on standby power sipping.

While it is hard to control the in-use power load of consumer electronics devices (which can be very inefficient), look for the Energy Star approved label. This indicates more efficient power use when the device is on, and for computers always stick to a power supply that employs Active Power Factor Correction (APFC).

If you follow these three simple guidelines - add powerbars and turn them off when you're not around, choose Energy Star approved devices, ensure you PC's power supply is APFC - you will reduce your energy bill in 2006. This item entitled "Beware Standby and Phantom Power Loads" has a few more tips worth reading.

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. Colin S.

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