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.Nvidia QuadroFX
.Soltek K8 Mobo
.Asus Radeon 9600XT
.400W PSU
.CDROM Guide
.Athlon64 3200
.Colin's Weekly Tips

Holiday Quiz, Contest and Reviews

The Holiday Season is upon us, but before Santa prepares his flight plan, the Newsletter and MSI Computer have a couple WiFi prize packages up for grabs....

Take the PCstats Newsletter Quiz, answer 15 multiple choice questions and you'll be entered for a chance to walk away with 1 of 10 complete Wireless 802.11g Networking Bundles! And what's more, just for taking the time to fill out our Newsletter Quiz, you'll get a coupon code for 10% off any purchase over $100 at! Now, how cool is that?!

Each Wireless 802.11g Networking Prize Bundle consists of a MSI RG54GS 802.11g Residential Gateway, MSI CB54G Wireless 802.11g CardBus, and MSI PC54G Wireless 802.11g PCI Card! With this gear, you can wirelessly connect your home PC, and notebook together for internet access around the house at speeds of up to 54mbps.

To recap, not only is your PCstats Newsletter giving away a bundle of brand new high-speed MSI wireless networking gear to ten lucky winners, but we've also managed to get a 10% off* coupon for everyone who takes a moment just to fill out the Quiz and Enter!*

Once you've taken the Newsletter Quiz, I think you'll find our review of the Soltek SL-K8AN-RL motherboard pretty interesting. If video cards are more your thing, the Asus Radeon 9600XT offers up a lot of value for the price. Seasonic are probably not the most familiar company to most of us, but their new 400W Super Tornado PSU strikes new ground for those of us with aspirations of low noise PCs. After that, PCstats latest Beginners Guide deals with the subject of Optical Drives (CDROMs) and Recording Formats. What the title lacks in adrenalin, the Guide makes up for in clear explanation of the differences between CD-R, CD-RW, and the dozen or so different recordable DVD formats .

Soltek SL-K8AN-RL nForce3 150 Motherboard Review
Read it Now! Despite the lack of 64bit software, we're glad to see that consumers are adopting the Athlon64 early on. As I'm sure you're all aware, the 32 bit performance of the Athlon64 is outstanding, rivaled only by Intel's extremely rare Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processor. Soltek have arguably produced the least expensive Athlon64 motherboard on the market with their SL-K8AN-RL. The remarkable thing is, a low bottom dollar doesn't mean all the extras have been left by the way side, as the SL-K8AN-RL is very well equipped. Did we mention that the SL-K8AN-RL retails for as little as $130 CDN ($100 US)? That's pretty amazing considering the SL-K8AN-RL has a fair number of goodies included on board. Continue Here>>

Asus Radeon A9600XT Videocard Review

Read it Now!

Asus' mainstream Radeon A9600XT comes packing 128MB of Samsung memory, and includes a DVI connector and DVI-to-analog converter. These little DVI-to-analog converters always come in handy, especially if you want to configure dual analog monitors. If you've ever wanted to connect the PC to a Television, you'll be happy to know the Asus Radeon A9600XT videocard is also fully VIVO compatible! The software package that comes with the Asus Radeon A9600XT is also quite impressive, and oh, I almost forgot to mention that the Asus Radeon A9600XT also comes with a Half Life 2 coupon that will allow you to download the full game via ATi's website when it's released! Continue Here>>

Seasonic Super Tornado 400W Power Supply Review
Read it Now! Experienced enthusiasts know that a quality power supply can be the difference between a good overclock and a bad one. These days with computers facing larger power draws it's essential that you equip your PC with a steadfast PSU. Otherwise, you're just asking for trouble. Today we're going to be checking out the new Seasonic Super Tornado 400W power supply, which has refreshingly not adopted the ultra-tacky tacktic of gimmicky LED fans, fan controllers or aluminum housings. Rather, Seasonic rely on the stability of the powersupply, and large low-noise fan design. Continue Here>>

Clear Type
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Super Micro

Clear Type Font Smoothing is one feature that's suppose to help make text more readable on LCD and low resolution monitors in WindowsXP however, it's disabled by default. If you have problems reading the text on your monitor perhaps this will help.

We're going to have to edit two registry values the FontSmoothing and FontSmoothingType string values. First load up regedit (Start -> Run -> regedit then press OK) and follow this path HKEY_Current_User -> Control -> Desktop and locate the two strings and change the values of both to 2.

After that's done save and reboot. Now the text that is displayed should be a lot cleaner and smoother for those of you who thought the text in WindowsXP was lousy.

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!


Beginners Guides: Optical Drives & Recording Formats
Read it Now!

The first of two parts; Everything from the differing optical media recording standards, read/record speeds to selecting the best recordable DVD format is covered.

In a way, the current computer market mirrors the conditions of a few years ago when the CD-R drive, like email, became a driving force behind home computer sales. Except this time the emerging technology is DVD writing. DVD drives are dropping in price, the media is easily available, and the idea of them has been absorbed by the public. Or, at least by those consumers with more than a passing interest in computers, digial music, movies, or whatever. In this article, PCstats will attempt to clear away some of the fog from the issue of writeable DVD media standards, as well as explaining how DVD and CD writing technology actually works, and much much more. In the second half of this beginners guide, PCstats will explain how to burn a CD-R, create an ISO image, and several other fundamentals for burning your data to recordable optical media. Continue Here>>

AMD Athlon64 3200+ 32/64-bit Processor Review

With the K8, AMD has even more ambitious goals than in the past; they're simply trying to revolutionize the computer industry. The K8 will be the first 64-bit desktop processor which is fully compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit software! With 64 bit software obviously the way of the future, the Athlon64 processor allows users to migrate their software over to 64-bit when they're ready. This contrasts pure 64-bit processors which translate into expensive purchases of new hardware and new software. With the Athlon64 processor capable of running 32-bit software now, you can even still use your favorite 32-bit applications under a 64-bit OS later. Continue Here>>

*The contest runs from December 15th to December 31st 2003, and is open to any residents from the US or Canada over the age of 18. Coupon for is valid for purchases over $100 before tax, until 12/31/03.Official rules for the Newsletter Wireless 802.11g Networking Bundle Contest.

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PCstats Issue
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Industry Insights

Understanding the workstation graphics market is a lot like interpreting the differences between Intel's Itanium 2 and AMD's Opteron. Performance is an important consideration, of course, just as it is when comparing a RADEON 9800 XT to a GeForce FX 5950. However, there are a number of other factors that come into play, including price, reliability, and useful life. After all, if there weren't some tangible benefit to buying a $2,000 Quadro FX 3000 over a $500 dollar GeForce FX, nobody would spring for the pricier card.

The most recent news comes from NVIDIA, who just released its Quadro FX 1100, based on the NV36GL core. If you can't imagine paying nearly $1,000 for a glorified GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, consider that NVIDIA's latest "mainstream" offering is capable of outperforming ATI's flagship FireGL X2-256, according to the most recent published results of SPECviewperf 7.1.1. The Quadro FX 1100 is optimized for the applications that constitute the SPEC test, but the practice is actually encouraged in the workstation space, where many users want maximum performance in the few applications that they use.

In response, ATI will be unveiling a new version of its X2 in the next couple of months. I haven't received any specifics, but I'd expect that the upcoming workstation product would look a lot like the 9800 XT.
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