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.XGI Volari
.101 Tips/Tweaks
.Intel Extreme Edition
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.Albatron i848P
.Vantec PSU
.Colin's Weekly Tips

101 Tips and Tweaks From PCstats

With the holiday season in full swing, we're happy to give you all a little pre-festivities gift in the form of 101 Tips and Tweaks for Windows! At 36 pages in length, this is one of the most comprehensive Beginners Guides PCstats has assembled to date, and I'm sure beginners and experts alike will find many tips of interest.

Now if the words "raw performance" and "money is no object" pique your curiosity, then sit back and read our look at the absurdly expensive, and equally fast, 3.2GHz Intel Pentium4 Extreme Edition. If you can afford it, this CPU would make for a very cool stocking stuffer.

Next in line is Crucial's 'Gizmo' - and no, I'm not talking Gremlins the movie. After that, the PCstats Newsletter tests out Albatron's newest i848P Pentium4 motherboard, and a rather quiet aluminum power supply from Vantec. The 400W Stealth PSU is jet black, and offers several modes of operation depending on how loud, and how cool you'd like your PC to run.

And now for something completely different. I'm looking for topics for new Beginners Guides, so if you have any ideas or questions that you think PCStats ought to tackle, please email me with your suggestions. Who knows, we may just cover your topic in the very next PCstats Beginners Guide! PCstats Industry Insights column looks at XGI's Volari GPU this week, so don't forget to give it a read as well!

Beginners Guides: 101 Tips and Tweaks for Windows
Read it Now! From performance to security and privacy tips; from essential advice for beginners to registry tweaks, PCstats 101 Tips Guide will help you get the most out of your current PC!
We'd like to present you with our first tip guide for Windows XP; 101 useful and sometimes spicy tips that may improve your experience with the operating system. Some you might know already, some you might not want to use, but we bet that everyone will find lots of interesting advice in here. From beginner's tips to registry tweaks, it's all present and accounted for. This list is presented in two sections. The first is composed of tweaks and tips you can implement using options already present in the Windows XP interface. The second is composed of Registry tips which require the use of the REGEDIT program. Instructions are included, so read on, and enjoy!. Continue Here>>

Performance Tips (1-12) Essential advice for beginners (59-80)

  1. Turn off or reduce system restore to save hard drive space
  2. Altering page files
  3. Clean out prefetch folder
  4. Set priority for individual programs
  5. Cleaning up unwanted startup programs
  6. Defrag your hard drive
  7. Disable unnecessary services
  8. Disable the Disk performance counter(s)
  9. Turn Off Windows Indexing service
  10. Increasing desktop Graphics Performance
  11. Check and set the DMA mode on your drives
  12. Smooth out your mouse movement

Useful Tips for WindowsXP (13-30)

  1. Resize screen fonts on the fly in Internet Explorer
  2. Mouse Sonar
  3. Quick back and forward commands in Internet explorer
  4. Mount a new hard drive as a folder in your C: drive
  5. Enable clear type
  6. Create a keyboard shortcut to a folder or program
  7. Use remote desktop to connect to your PC from anywhere (XP Pro only)
  8. XP Powertoys
  9. Backing up or transferring your email manually with outlook express
  10. Running legacy software in Windows XP
  11. Compressing files and folders to save space
  12. Open explorer window from current command prompt directory
  13. Using Quick Edit in the Command Prompt
  14. Select 'No to all' when copying files in XP
  15. Bypass the recycle bin when deleting a file
  16. Create a link to shutdown your PC
  17. Hosting online games through the Windows XP firewall
  18. Rename multiple files simultaneously

Security, privacy and recovery tips (31-44)

  1. Use the Windows 2000-style secure logon screen
  2. Hiding shared folders with $
  3. Using advanced file security settings in Windows XP Home
  4. Create a password reset disk
  5. Applying a password to the 'administrator' account in XP Home
  6. 'Rolling back' a faulty device driver
  7. Disable simple file sharing (XP Professional only)
  8. Using the Windows XP firewall
  9. Turn autocomplete off in IE
  10. Using the Windows XP repair installation process
  11. Add, Clear or remove the 'my recent documents' menu
  12. Creating a desktop shortcut for locking your computer
  13. Giving a password to the 'Guest' user account
  14. Use system restore when you cannot boot your system normally

Customizing Windows XP (45-58)

  1. Stop Windows messenger from running
  2. Run command prompt utilities successfully from shortcuts
  3. Remove the XP desktop theme
  4. Change start menu style
  5. Add my computer and other missing icons to your desktop
  6. Change the picture in the welcome screen
  7. Add items to the 'Send To' right click option
  8. Automatically run programs when starting Windows XP
  9. Create a screensaver from your pictures
  10. Modify autoplay for different types of CD
  11. Different folder types with XP
  12. Using 'my computer' as a toolbar
  13. Enlarge and resize the quicklaunch bar
  14. Disable desktop cleanup wizard
  1. Stopping desktop ad popups
  2. Displaying hidden files and folders
  3. Convert Your drives to the NTFS file system
  4. Formatting a hard drive partition larger than 32 Gigs with FAT32
  5. Finding your IP address and other information with IPCONFIG
  6. Update your machine automatically
  7. Logging in as the 'Administrator' account
  8. Update your drivers
  9. Check your PC for spyware and other nasties
  10. Show the quicklaunch bar
  11. Locking the desktop
  12. Using the Windows Scientific calculator feature
  13. Accessibility tools
  14. Set a new home page in explorer
  15. Remove the annoying dog from the search screen
  16. Change the look of your mouse pointer.
  17. Email attachments are the most common vector for viruses.
  18. Keyboard shortcuts
  19. Set monitor refresh rate
  20. Set power options
  21. Creating shortcuts
  22. Create passwords for all your user accounts!

Registry tweaks For performance (81-93)

  1. Backing up and restoring the windows registry
  2. How to edit the windows registry (before other reg tips)
  3. Keep Windows operating data in main memory
  4. Disable the DOS 8.3 naming convention to save system resources
  5. Stop the 'last access update' from taking up system resources
  6. Clear the Page File (virtual memory) when shutting down XP
  7. Get Rid of XP's annoying balloon tips
  8. Adding additional Icons to 'my computer'
  9. Speed up the Start Menu
  10. Display message on startup
  11. Set the default download directory for Internet Explorer
  12. Change the size of thumbnail pictures
  13. Opening a Command Prompt to a Particular Directory from Explorer

Miscellaneous registry tweaks (94-101)

  1. Disable error reporting on program crash
  2. Automatically close non-responsive programs
  3. Permanently bypass the recycle bin when deleting files
  4. Show administrator account on welcome screen
  5. Enable/Disable Active Window Tracking to Mouse Movements
  6. Launch Programs at Login Without Using the Startup Folder
  7. Force windows XP to reboot upon crashing
  8. Disable admin shares

Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz Extreme Edition Processor Review
Read it Now!

What, then, is the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition that is purportedly giving AMD's long-anticipated Athlon 64 a run for its money? Well, if you found a lot in common between AMD's Opteron and its Athlon 64 FX, then you're sure to see the similarities between Intel's Xeon and the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition. The most significant departure between today's Pentium 4 and tomorrow's Extreme Edition are the processors' cache sizes. High-end P4s currently sport 512KB of level 2 cache and 8KB of L1 data cache organized inclusively. Of course, integrated memory is expensive in terms of die space. Compared to the "Northwood" core, which weighs in at 55 million transistors, Intel's new Pentium 4 Extreme Edition consumes no less than 169 million. Perhaps the most tangible advantage that Pentium 4 Extreme Edition holds over the new Athlon 64 family is that it works with existing platforms. Our test platform ABIT IC7-MAX3 didn't even require a BIOS upgrade to function properly...Continue Here>>

Crucial 256MB 'Gizmo' USB Hard Drive Review
Read it Now!

When it comes to carrying data between computers, the computing world has come a long way from the venerable 1.44MB floppy drive. First there were Superdisks, then Zip drives, then Jazz, and CD-RW's. Nowadays, we have solid state, high speed, and nearly indestructible memory that fits neatly into the smallest of pockets, and requires nothing more than a free USB port. So long as your PC is running Windows2000 or higher, you will need no drivers, and installation will only take but a second before you can access and transfer files to and from the USB hard drive as you would any other such device.Continue Here>>
Desktop Backgrounds!
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Super Micro

Desktop Wallpapers can be a fun way to spice up a boring computer screen, but Windows sometimes isn't very friendly on placement of the pictures. Normally you can only center, tile or stretch the image. Often the picture is smaller than the actual desktop screen size and tiling or stretching makes things look wonky. Luckily with a bit of registry tweaking we can place our desktop pictures anywhere we want.

First load up regedit (Start -> Run -> regedit then press ok) and follow this path HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Control Panel -> Desktop. From there create two new string values Wallpaperoriginx and Wallpaperoriginy. It should be obvious but changing the Wallpaperoriginx changes the pictures horizontal position and Wallpaperoriginy moves the image vertically.

Simply enter the values where you think the wall paper will look best, save and exit (you may need to reboot). Now your wall paper should be located where you said it should be. =)

If you have some spare CPU cycles why not Fold for Team PCStats! You're not just helping us out, you're doing your part to cure the diseases around the world!


Albatron PX865PE Lite Pro i848P Motherboard Review
Read it Now!

Let's be frank about this, who wouldn't want to have the best equipment in their PC? I'm going to be buying a new car soon and I'd love to get a Porsche... but my budget doesn't allow that. For the average consumer, most view buying a PC hardware in much the same way - they want the fastest gear, but then reality sets in. So what are the options? Well for one, a motherboard based on the newly introduced Intel i848P chipset could work. The i848P's feature set is almost identical to that of the i865PE except for one thing, there is only one 64 bit memory controller instead of two. That means the i848P has half the bandwidth of the i865PE at any given time, and is more suitably targeted towards value conscious consumers. Continue Here>>

Vantec ION 400W VAN-400B Power Supply

Buying a poor quality power supply for a computer is often like buying cheap tires for a car. They'll work for a while, probably not very well, and you're only a small steep away from total disaster. When visiting the local computer stores in my area I always cringe when I hear "just give me the cheapest power supply you have" coming from a customer. If there's one thing I've learned from both testing and troubleshooting PC's, it's that you should never buy a poor quality power supply for your computer. All too often, I've seen what happens when a poor quality powersupply fails, taking several hundred, or thousand dollars worth of high-end hardware down with it. Just recently one of my friends had everything inside his system completely fried when a generic 400W PSU popped a capacitor. The only items salvageable were the videocard, soundcard and memory modules....Continue Here>>

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PCstats Issue
Circulation: 244,130

Industry Insights

The graphics market, once a crowded thoroughfare, has consolidated over the past few years. In recent memory, both 3dfx and Matrox, each company with its own set of strengths and weaknesses, have ceased competing for 3D supremacy (Matrox is able to stay afloat by other means). Now it's just ATI and NVIDIA, brawling on a grand scale for everything from high-end to integrated market share.

Or is it? Back in September, when I was in Taipei for the Computex 2003 trade show, I had the opportunity to sit down with the minds behind Volari, a new graphics chip from XGI. Despite the fact that the company is a marriage of technology from SiS and Trident, two companies unfamiliar with performance gaming, the wares they were peddling actually looked promising.

However, recent reports show the anticipated hardware might be ailing. When I spoke with XGI, I was told retail hardware would be available in a month or two. It's been about that long, and the latest reports indicate we'll have to wait another month or two. Apparently, the card's drivers are still very immature, as anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering are still non-functional. Plus, performance doesn't seem up to snuff. Will Volari die stillborn? Only time will tell - we're still hoping for the best, though.
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. M. Page
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. C. Sun
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. C. Angelini

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