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.Windows Longhorn
.OQO Palm-size PC
.Gigabyte FX5950U
.Guide: PC Checkup
.Radeon 9600XT
.Albatron K8X800
.PCstats Weekly Tips

Transmeta and Palm-sized WinXP PC's

The PCinsight Newsletter has been acquired by the PCstats Newsletter, and we are now very pleased to be able to offer you the same leading-edge content you have come to expect. From now on, the PCstats Newsletter will be keeping you informed and updated on the latest developments in the computer world and online hardware reviews. If you feel we're not the right newsletter for you, there are unsubscribe links to the right, and at the base of this email. Try us out for a week first, and I'm sure you find Colin's Weekly Tech Tips, PCstats acclaimed reviews, and PCstats' Industry Insights by C. Angelini well worth it!

Fresh from a CES 2004, there are a couple of really cool items I want to go over this week. The first and foremost is the brand new OQO Model 1 plam-sized WinXP PC, or as the company call it; "Ultra Personal Computer." I had a few minutes to check out this little marvel of magnesium alloy and compact processing power, and with the 1GHz Crusoe CPU inside, hidden Blackberry-like keyboard, TrackStick mouse and full compliment of Bluetooth and 802.11b networking there is a lot to like about it. See our quickie overview of OQOs 'UPC' for the full 411.

While at CES I had the great fortune to sit down with videocard newcomers XGI and talk shop. I can tell you now that XGI are scaling to the DirectX 10 compatible 'XG51' GPU in 2005, and we'll have more on what was said in the coming days.

With all the games scheduled to arrive this year, and the changes being made on the PCI Express front, deciding on a videocard has never been more complicated. In the short term, the Gigabyte FX5950 Ultra makes a good option for high performance gaming systems, and if you're on a budget, the Gigabyte Radeon 9600XT is a worthwhile second choice too. Couple either of those videocards with an Athlon64 motherboard, like the Albatron K8X800 Pro II, and you'll have one lean FPS machine.

If buying new PC hardware is not on your agenda right now, then it's probably a good time to spruce up the hardware you've already got. PCstats Annual PC Checkup Guide is full of info you can use to keep that old faithful PC, running faithfully. :-) Tired of WindowsXP? The next generation Microsoft operating system is code-named 'Longhorn,' and in this weeks Industry Insights, we have a few things to say about when you can expect this OS to actually arrive. Remember, for the full countdown on all of PCstats' latest reviews and Guides, simply click on the Articles & Reviews tab.

OQO Model 1 Palm-size PC at CES 2004

This year at CES 2004, Transmeta exhibited with a small booth, showcasing its two latest CPUs, the TM8000 Efficeon, and the shrunken down TM5700/TM5900 processors. Of special note is the newly announced OQO model 1 "Ultra Personal Computer" (or UPC for short). OQO which runs on a 1GHz Transmeta Crusoe Processor. OQO debuted a year or two ago at PCexpo in New York, and since then this micro PC running WinowsXP has generated substantial interest. The OQO model 1 will retail for between $1500-$2000 USD by the fall of 2004; running on a 1GHz TM5800 Crusoe processor with 20GB hard drive and 256MB RAM. Battery life is pegged at 6 hours, thanks in part to a transflective LCD screen that can be viewed in direct sunlight just as easily as in the office. The small PC also features Firewire, a microphone, multifunction thumbwheel, a full size USB1.1 port, digital stylus, headphone jack and support for 1280x1024 external monitor. Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GV-N595U GeForce FX5950 Ultra review
Read it Now!

We recently got the chance to take a look at Nvidia's latest graphics processor release, the FX5950 Ultra chip, as thoughtfully provided by Gigabyte in their GV-N595U video card. We were eager to see how this card compared to recent offerings by ATI, as well as the older FX5900, since the FX5950 is identical to the FX5900 except for a core and memory clock speed boost. More on this in a moment... Gigabyte's software bundle for the GV-N595U includes full copies of Rainbow 6: Raven Shield, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness and Will Rock: just Will Rock. Power DVD 5.0 is also included in addition to the drivers. All the necessary cabling is included: a DVI-to-VGA adaptor for using dual monitors, a Y-splitter for the cables from the power supply, in case you have run out of plugs, and an S-video cable with an additional composite plug. What was the experience like? Read on. Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: Annual PC Checkup
Read it Now! A medical primer for your computer, from dust bunnies to defragging, keep your computer in good health.
There comes a time in every once-new computer's life when it just doesn't feel fresh anymore. You know, when it's taking 5-10 minutes to boot up into Windows, the fans are making funny squealing noises, and there's a wad of orange cat hair protruding from the rear fan grille. It's the computer equivalent of senility, your once precious box has lost its edge. Time for action. Let's take a quick look at some of the most common hardware and software problems related to constant use, and find some quick solutions. an problems are by far the most common age-related computer health issue. Fans are essential to your PC's well being, and they will gum up eventually, unless you habitually work in a clean room. Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GV-R96X128D 9600XT Videocard Review
Read it Now!

How many people got a new videocard this holiday season? If you did, it will probably be the last AGP based videocard you get, considering PCI Express is just around the corner. Yup, the dawn of a new graphics interface is just around the corner. These are exciting times to be sure, and in this review we'll be exploring Gigabyte's latest mainstream videocard called the GV-R96X128D. Based on the ATI Radeon 9600XT GPU, the Gigabyte GV-R96X128D should be up to some pretty decent performance numbers, and more than well suited for those of us on a hardware budget. Continue Here>>

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The Windows key on the keyboard can be very handy, but it can also get in the way when playing FPS games. On more than a few occasions I've hit that button by accident, causing me to drop back to Windows desktop, and get killed in the game. Should this happen when you're playing competitively online it can seriously affect your rankings!

Luckily it's something that can be fixed with a simple registry tweak, first load up regedit (Start -> Run -> Regedit then press ok) and follow this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> CurrentControlSet -> Control -> Keyboard Layout. Once you're there right click and create a new binary value. You'll want to edit its value and enter this...

00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 03 00 00 00 00 00 5B E0 00 00 5C E0 00 00 00 00

Save, then reboot your PC. After that's done you should notice that the windows key *no longer functions* which I'm sure is good news to some of you out there. This works in all versions of Windows.

Albatron K8X800 ProII Motherboard Review
Read it Now! The AMD Athlon64 was probably one of the most anticipated processors in history. It has the potential to revolutionize the computing industry, and it marks one of the few times that AMD has really out done Intel big time. Now that the Athlon64 has finally been unveiled, manufacturers can strut their stuff, and earn themselves a name when it comes to 64-bit computing. As virtually none of the corporate computer makers (Dell, HP, Gateway) are selling Athlon64 systems yet, preferring instead to launch their systems when the Athlon64 CPU supply improves and WindowsXP 64-bit Edition is on the market, the field is wide open for mainboard manufacturers. Since its inception, Albatron has produced a good many enthusiast-friendly motherboards, and so many users have been patiently waiting to see what Albatron has to offer before jumping into an Athlon64 motherboard of their own. Continue Here>>

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Industry Insights

Microsoft's next-generation operating system, code-named Longhorn, was recently pushed back until 2006. That's undoubtedly bad news if you are anxious to get rid of Windows XP. With new vulnerabilities uncovered on a seemingly weekly basis, it's hard to feel completely secure. Fortunately, Microsoft has a second service pack planned - this time, security is the company's primary focus.

One of the most notable upgrades is an overhaul of Microsoft's Internet Connection Firewall. The latest version facilitates application-level exceptions and comes enabled by default. The wireless configuration tool is also completely different; the new interface is much more manageable, especially in instances where there might be three or four access points within range.

Arguably, the most exciting inclusion is an integrated pop-up blocker for Internet Explorer. And Outlook Express should also be much more secure thanks to a restricting preview pane, which shouldn't automatically execute script, malicious or otherwise.

Finally, Service Pack 2 will also expose a seldom-discussed feature in the Athlon 64 architecture called Execution Protection, which prevents buffer-overrun errors on the hardware level by restricting the execution of certain buffer data. Whether or not the feature impacts the propagation of viruses remains to be seen; however, it is certainly good to see hardware manufacturers taking an active role in addressing security. Incidentally, Intel's Itanium supports the same feature, though you won't see any Itanium machines running Windows XP Professional.
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Written By
. M. Page
Weekly Tips
. C. Sun
I.I. Columnist
. C. Angelini

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