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.VIA PT880 Chipset
. FTP Guide
.AthlonXP 2500+
.Gigabyte i865 Mobo
.DDR533 for Intel
.UB2.0 HDD Case
.Colin's Weekly Tips

AthlonXP 2500+, A Performance/Value CPU

The newest chipset to be released by VIA for the Intel Pentium 4 is called the PT880. Recently, VIA stopped by the PCstats Labs to tell us about their newest chipset, and to demonstrate some of its attributes. PCstats look at the PT880 reference platform is just about complete, so keep your eyes on next weeks Newsletter for an in depth look at what might just knock the Intel i865 right off its perch... In the mean time, PCstats' Industry Insights column has a few things to say about the PT880 chipset, so be sure to give that a read.

If you haven't already been to to vote on our poll for the next prize we should give away.... then I guess you don't mind if we give away an old 720K floppy disk instead of an ATI videocard or Athlon64? ;-)

In this weeks newsletter we have a couple of reviews I'd like to direct your attention towards; the first of which is our latest beginners guide which is all about FTP. I know I've sometimes found instant messaging a slow way to transfer large files, and email can be just as precarious. On the other hand, knowing how to set up an FTP on your PC means you can receive and send large files a lot quicker with your friends or colleagues. Definitely a good guide to check out.

Moving right along, PCstats has a look at one of the best AMD processors currently available to consumers on a budget. The AthlonXP 2500+ offers a really good price/performance value, and as you'll see by the benchmarks, stacks up pretty well to the cutting edge chips from both Intel and AMD.

It's been a while since we've talked about motherboards, and so this week I've also included a review of Gigabyte's latest i865 Intel Pentium 4 motherboard. Since you'll need the right kind of memory to run a motherboard like the 8IPE1000 Pro2, some dual channel OCZ DDR533 RAM might just be what the doctor ordered. Lastly, for those of us who need some extra storage space but don't want to crack the computer case open, a USB2.0 hard drive enclosure, like the Bytec ME-350US, is a good way to achieve just that.

Beginners Guides: Setting up an FTP Server in WinXP
Read it Now!

FTP is an easy way to transfer files over the Internet and in this guide we'll explain the basics of using it, and how to set up a home FTP server in WindowsXP
If you've ever tried to share a large number of files over the Internet, you've no doubt noticed that it is not the easiest thing in the world to do. Sure you can use MSN messenger to send things… One file at a time. You could email, but that's slow and limited by the size of your mailbox. Create a website? Doesn't seem worth the effort, and besides what if you want to receive files as well as share them? What if you want to make several directory's worth of your files available to yourself over the Internet while you are traveling? You could use remote desktop software, but that typically has anemic file transfer options and slow performance. What's the solution? Why FTP of course! FTP simply stands for File Transfer Protocol, and as you might guess, it's a method of transferring data over a network or the Internet. The main advantage of FTP is the ease with which it can transfer files over the Internet or your network. Individual files or whole directories can be made available, allowing clients to choose what they wish to access. Continue Here>>

AMD AthlonXP 2500+ Barton Processor Review

The AMD AthlonXP processor has long represented an equal balance of pure economical value and performance. These traits have been enticing consumers towards AMD since the introduction of DDR memory, and that has given the company a strong foothold in the consumer PC markets. While it used to be said Intel was a force to be reckoned with, it now seems as though AMD has become just that, leaving Intel more on the defensive than ever before. While the price of an AMD processor is not as inexpensive as it once was ($200 CDN for a flagship processor anyone?), it still packs in one heck of a punch! The AMD AthlonXP 2500+ is easily the gem in the AthlonXP lineup, as it has arguably the most ideal price/performance ratio of any processor on the market right now. For enthusiasts, the AthlonXP 2500+ holds significance not simply because it is the lowest priced processor based on the Barton core, but also because it holds the promise of significant performance boosts when run at over stock speeds. Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GA-8IPE1000 i865PE Motherboard Review
Read it Now!

I have to admit, getting a Pentium4 motherboard based on the Intel i865PE chipset really does offer a lot of value for the buck. I suppose it's not surprising then that the demand for Springdale motherboards is pretty solid these days, in spite of attempts by SiS, and now VIA, to undermine it with more economical chipsets like the 655FX and PT880. The GA-8IPE1000 Pro2 is Gigabyte's first motherboard with 'CIA' technology (CPU Intelligent Accelerator) which is very similar to MSI's 'dynamic overclocking functions' found in the 865PE Neo2-FIS2R. The GA-8IPE1000 Pro2 is PAT enabled with it's special MIB (Memory Intelligent Booster), and as you'll see in the benchmarks the board is indeed very speedy! The GA-8IPE1000 Pro2 features a concise set of capabilities, but in this way Gigabyte saves you money and allows you to select what devices you want in your PC instead of integrating them. For instance, if you're not going to use RAID why spend the money on that feature? Continue Here>>

Bad DLLs, Bad I say!
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Super Micro

We all know how messy Windows can be when it comes to keeping the HDD clean of temp files or memory management. One thing that really bugs me is how Windows will keep unneeded DLLs loaded in memory. This slows down overall system performance and if you're opening and closing a lot of programs, it can even bring your system to a grinding halt! I know I have experienced this more then a few times.

Luckily with a registry tweak we can force Windows to unload all the unnecessary DLLs from memory! =) First load up regedit (Start -> Run -> Regedit then click ok) and follow this path. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows -> CurrentVersion -> explorer -> AlwaysUnloadDll and if the folder is not there simply create it. Inside the AlwaysUnloadDll folder double click on the Default string value, change its value to 1 and click ok. From there save and reboot.

This tweak works with all Windows operating systems from Win95 and up. If you experience any problems simply delete the value and you should be set. =)

OCZ EL PC4200 DDR533 Dual Channel Memory Review
Read it Now!

One problem that is universal to among all 'high speed' memory modules is that to reach the fastest speeds they must be set to use very lax CAS latency timings. As most experienced computer users understand, CAS timings play a key role in overall system performance. The looser the timings, the greater impact on total system performance we tend to see. Dubbed, Enhanced Latency PC4200 (DDR533) DDR RAM, this 512MB pair (1GB total) of dual channel DDR boasts CAS timings of 2.5-4-4-7, and comes packed in standard OCZ copper heatspreaders. Copper has always been a good indicator that something mighty lies below, so is this really a sign of what to expect from OCZ's memory?Continue Here>>

Bytecc ME-350US USB2.0 HDD Enclosure Review

What sets the Bytecc ME-350US apart is the significantly more compact size, external power brick, and smooth aluminum chassis. The jury is still out on the little blue LED at the very front of the drive, but everything else is in order, and configured fairly neatly. When it's all said and done, the Bytecc ME-350U2 locks the hard drive behind at least three sets of screws, and provides a very clean, and very compact housing for the drive itself. Continue Here>>

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PCstats Issue
Circulation: 249,218

Industry Insights

Up until recently, VIA Technologies has been relatively quiet. Over the past couple of years, NVIDIA and Intel have pummeled the company's best products. On the AMD side, nForce2 trumped KT333, KT400, and KT400A. By the time VIA unveiled KT600, the world was focused on Athlon 64. VIA wasn't even able to legally manufacture Intel chipsets until recently. Its P4X series performed well, was priced attractively, but just never got off the ground.

Things are turning around for the Taiwanese manufacturer, though. With a P4 license in hand, VIA is traveling around the world, showing off its PT880 chipset, equipped with Serial ATA, USB 2.0, Ethernet, and up to 7.1-channel audio. It looks to be an impressive competitor to Intel's 865 family, and VIA even claims to compete with 875 on a number of benchmarks.

On a recent stop by my laboratory, VIA disclosed its plans for PT880's successor, P890. Sampling in December of this year and in mass production Q1 of 2004, I will carry forward dual-channel memory technology with DDR400 support and DDR2 at 400/533/667MHz. It will be equipped with PCI Express connectivity and Ultra V-Link, with 1GB of throughput between north and south bridges. It will be paired to the VT8239 south bridge, which, when finished, will offer four Serial ATA channels and integrated 20-bit audio.
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