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Asus FX5900 Ultra, Guides and More


Video cards. You want them, you need them; but when they come with a $500 USD sticker price we all want to be sure we're getting the best bang for our buck. To answer just that question, PCstats tests out the Asus V9950 FX5900 Ultra videocard this week. If you know the Asus name then you know this a review not to be missed! Also fresh from the test bench are a couple sticks of 512MB TwinX-4000 DDR from the enthusiast-minded folks at Corsair. As if that weren't enough already, Mike has been good enough to put together a special Guide this week.

The Guide describes the necessary steps to build your own PC - from selecting the parts to putting it all together, and even a little troubleshooting too. If you're considering building a back-to-school computer from a pile of hardware, you will want to read this PCstats Guide. If you're a newbie, and have never dreamed you would be able to build your own computer by yourself, I think this article should give you the insight to do just that. Lastly, in addition to writing all about the new AMD Athlon64 FX 51 processor in the High Tech Low Down, Chris has a preview of the new ATI 9100 IGP chipset, as well as a concise set of performance benchmarks. That's all for now, enjoy the 101st PCstats Newsletter and remember, next week we announce the winners of an Albatron FX5600EQ videocard, ABIT NF7-M motherboard and Zalman 5.1 channel headphones from our 100th Issue Drawing!

Beginners Guides: Assembling Your Own PC

Read it Now! An illustrated guide to cheating the pro's out of their service fees.
Assembling your own PC is not hard. I just want to clear that up from the start, since I'm often surprised when somebody praises me for my computer 'expertise' because I can install memory in their systems. Installing memory is an exercise roughly comparable in difficulty to cleaning the lint out of a dryer and putting the filter back in the right way. Modern computer systems are designed to be easy to fit together, and they are. The majority of components are keyed so they will only fit a certain way, for one thing, and everything is standardized. This is not to say that it is foolproof, but perhaps foolresistant would be true. The thing is, the majority of non-techie people that I know have this almost superstitious awe of computers which requires them to make pilgrimages to the local computer store every time they want something added, upgraded, or replaced in their machine. I have to admit that charging $65 for the 10 minutes of labour required is somewhat thrilling.... Continue -- Click Here>>

Asus V9950 Ultra Videocard Review
Read it Now! Asus has been a manufacturing partner with nVIDIA for the longest time so it's not surprising that they were quick to adopt nVIDIA's ill fated GeForceFX 5800 Ultra (in fact it was the only GeForceFX 5800 Ultra available in Canada!) which was then dropped quickly. nVIDIA released the NV35 a.k.a. GeForceFX 5900 Ultra a few months later, but Asus didn't jump on the bandwagon as quickly as they had the first time. One can only assume that this change of heart was because Asus didn't want to sell rebranded nVIDIA/Flextronic FX5900 Ultra's like the rest. Set on a blue PCB, Asus follow the FX5900 reference design for their V9950 Ultra. Like all GeForceFX 5900 Ultra class videocards, the Asus V9950 Ultra has the Molex power connector as the card draws more power then the AGP port can deliver.Continue -- Click Here>>
ATI Radeon 9100 IGP 'RS300' Chipset Preview
ATI is a multi-faceted company with its hands in several different markets, but most recently it has involved itself with core logic design. That is, ATI now offers chipsets to compliment both Intel's Pentium 4 and AMD's Athlon XP processors. While its first generation was somewhat uninspiring, the new 'RS300' Radeon 9100 IGP promises to offer something more - at least to prospective Pentium 4 owners. After recently extending its cross licensing agreement with Intel though, the 9100 IGP has acquired an important capability necessary to compete with Intel's own 865G integrated chipset. Mainly, the 9100 IGP now supports the full range of Pentium 4 processors, from the low-end 400MHz parts to the pricier 800MHz variants. Continue -- Click Here>>

Where oh Where is My Home Page?
Search Dealtime
Super Micro

How many of us have never bothered to update the home page Internet Explorer defaults to each time a new browser is opened? More than a few I'll wager. There is a simple fix to this, but first you need to open up an IE browser window.

Click Tools > Internet Options > and look for the Home Page field under the General tab. Where it says "Address" type in and then press ok.

The next time you open IE it will default right to PCstats (or another URL if you entered something else). For websites you access frequently, this can be a good time saving short cut to typing in the URL, or looking through the favourites folder.


Corsair TwinX1024-4000 DDR Memory Review
When Intel released the popular i865PE/i875P chipsets along side the 800 MHz FSB Pentium4 processor, the game changed forever. Before this precipitous event, enthusiasts could never have thought about about sacrificing a memory module's latency for more bandwidth, but these days P4 "C" users running 300+ MHz FSB, bandwidth is king. When we removed the black aluminum heat spreader on one of the 512MB TwinX-4000 DIMMs we were greeted with 16x 256Mb Hynix DRAM, specifically HY5DU56822BT-D43. On the Intel side of things, we plugged the memory into an Abit IS7-G test system and started to tinker with the timings. As with the AMD test system, even at 200 MHz FSB we were not able to run the Corsair TwinX-4000 memory at 2-2-2-5, in fact we could only run 3-4-4-8!Continue -- Click Here>>

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PCstats Issue
Circulation: 274,460

The High Tech
Low Down

As the official Athlon 64 launch approaches, there is no shortage of rumors circulating regarding the processor's naming convention and specification sheet. Already, an overzealous reseller, Cyberpower Inc., lists its Gamer Ultra system with an AMD Athlon 64 FX 51 processor on a public web page, pretty much spilling the beans on how you can expect the 8th-generation enthusiast chips to be named. Further, the inclusion of ASUS' SK8N nForce3 board alludes to a 940-pin package, reminiscent of the preceding Opteron. It also indicates that the high-end chip will support a 128-bit memory bus, giving it access to 6.4GB per second through the integrated memory controller. One final rumor talks about a 939-pin variant to come later, disabling support for dual-processing with the Athlon 64.

Interestingly, the motherboard option doesn't change, even if you select a difference processor, such as the Athlon 64 3200+. Prior murmurs indicated that the "vanilla" Athlon 64 would be limited to a single-channel, 64-bit memory bus and utilize a different socket interface. In fact, AMD has already published its own Socket 754 Design and Qualification Requirement guidelines, so we know that there are multiple flavors of the x86-64 architecture. Then again, we'll know all of the details soon enough - on the 23rd of September, to be exact.

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Weekly Tips
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. C. Angelini
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