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Awards for Asus' Athlon64 K8V-Deluxe

The Novarg (aka MyDoom) virus is "successfully" littering millions of email boxes with little ticking time bombs of virus-ladden fun. According to the BBC, it is one of the most successful in recent months, and currently accounts for 10% of all e-mail traffic on the internet. To get infected, you have to double click on the infected attachment. If you don't open it, you're fine. Just delete the email. To make sure you aren't infected with this annoying little virus, run the Novarg removal tool from Symantec, which you can download here. If you're running WinME/XP you must first turn System Restore off, otherwise the virus will not be removed! For full instructions, please see Symantec's notes.

With the public service announcement over, let's turn our attention to a new column in the PCstats Newsletter we're trying out. Say hello to "A Reader Writes...", a response to your questions by PCstats' guru of guidance, Mike. I hope you'll take a moment to read over the column, and don't forget to also check out PCstats Industry Insights (this week: AMD 64-bit Roadmaps ), and of course the Weekly Tech Tips!

This week, PCstats covers the very impressive Asus K8V-Deluxe Athlon64 motherboard which earned top marks in all categories. Also on the chopping block is the brand new ATI IGP9100-based Gigabyte 8TRS300M motherboard. In related news, Gigabyte have just released a neat USB WiFi/hard drive storage key that allows anyone with a notebook, or PC sporting a USB slot to have an 802.11b wireless connection. Check out the full review to see what we thought of the Wireless Storage USB adaptor.

I'd also like to thank everyone who participated in the recent PCstats Newsletter Quiz for 1 of 10 complete MSI Computer Wireless 802.11g Networking Bundles! Nearly ten thousand people entered, so congratulations are definitely due to the Winners: Greg C., Brian B., Lindsay S., Mike M., Jeff H., Kenneth S., Nathanial E., Anthony M., Kenneth I., and Robert S.

Asus K8V-Deluxe/WiFiB Athlon64 Motherboard Review

Read it Now!

Asus is easily the most common brand available our local computer shops big and small. That kind mass market approach has gone along way towards also making Asus one of the most respected component manufacturers out there. The fully-equipped Asus K8V-DLX/WiFiB is based on VIA's popular K8T800 chipset, meaning it supports the Socket 754 AMD Athlon64 processor. The three DIMM slots can absorb up to 3GB of unbuffered ECC or non-ECC DDR memory paced as fast as PC3200 speeds. Standard features of the board include an additional Serial ATA/Serial ATA RAID controller, a third IDE channel, 5.1 audio, 3Com Gigabit LAN, IEEE 1394a and a proprietary 802.11b wireless LAN adapter that we'll get to in a moment. Thrown in for good measure is interVideo's WinDVD software suite, and a bundle of headers and other cables that are sure to come in very handy. Continue Here>>

A Reader Writes...

Q: I was reading your article in PCStats about remote access ( Remote Access to Computers ) and I wanted to be able to remotely connect to my computer, but I have a small problem. I have a router for my home network which uses an Internet firewall; how do I get around that?

A: If you are using a home router that has a firewall (hardware or software designed to prevent non-approved data from entering), it may also stop you from using remote access software, or any other software that needs to pass data to your computer from the Internet. The reason for this is that by default, firewalls are set to block out any data that they have not been explicitly told to allow.

The solution is to find out the port that the remote access software uses to pass data in and out of the computer, then to open up that port for use. Ports are the entry-point for data coming into and out of your computer. Firewalls block most incoming ports. To allow a particular application to pass through your firewall, you must find the port the program uses and configure your firewall to unblock that port. For example, if you were planning to host a website on your computer, you would need to open port 80 (the port that is used when viewing web-pages) on your firewall in order to allow viewers from the Internet to access your website. If you did not, all requests from the Internet would be blocked by your firewall. Check your program's documentation for information on the port it uses.

Most firewalls, for example the one that comes built into Windows XP, allow you to open ports by creating a service (also known as a virtual server) which tells the firewall which port to open. When configuring a firewall on an Internet sharing device like a home router, you will also need the IP address of the computer that the data should be sent to once it is allowed into the network. Certain software firewalls like Zone Lab's Zonealarm do not allow the user to configure ports, but instead allow or deny traffic based on the applications installed in your computer.

For more information, check out the Beginner's firewall article. To submit your question, send us an email.

Gigabyte GN-WLBZ201 USB/802.11b Dongle Review
Read it Now!

Now here's a new idea! For the GN-WLBZ201 Gigabyte has combined two of the most popular USB accessories; memory keys and wireless network adaptors into a single product. On one hand this makes a lot of sense. After all, it's not like the components of either the NIC or the memory key themselves take up much space, and it saves you the hassle both of paying for them separately and of plugging them in separately. Certainly a boon for mobile users. Removing the lid reveals the USB 1.1 connector and one more useful feature. The GN-WLBZ201's USB plug is capable of moving 180 degrees vertically and swiveling 90 degrees to either side. This gives much needed flexibility both in plugging in the device, since it is much bigger than a standard USB memory key, and in using the GN-WLBZ201 as an antenna to obtain better wireless reception.Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GA-8TRS300M Radeon 9100 IGP Review
Read it Now!

Following in the footsteps of nVIDIA, ATi are focusing on providing core logic that system integrators can use in white box PCs for the masses, and if successful, garner a slice of the lucrative Pentium 4 chipset market share. The benefit of the using the Radeon 9100 IGP chipset is that it includes a Radeon 9200 class VPU within. Gigabyte have been producing ATi based videocards for the last few years so it was a natural step for them to adopt the new ATi Radeon 9100 IGP for the Gigabyte GA-8TRS300M motherboard.Continue Here>>

All about Air Pressure
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One thing I've noticed when talking to novice computer enthusiasts are that they often use too many case fans in an attempt to keep case temperatures down. While their hearts are in the right place, most run into the common problem of having too much 'positive air pressure.'

What I mean is, if there are more fans blowing air into a case than exhausting from it the air pressure just builds up. What we need is the airflow entering into the case to be matched by the air exhausting from the case so air currents don't stall.

If the air has no where to exit, it can't very well cool your $500 videocard any better now can it? What I recommend is that enthusiasts focus on creating a situation where your case has negative air pressure (more exhaust fans than intake fans simply) inside a case.

This has the tendency to pull fresh cool air into the case, and ensure some guaranteed air flow in and around the exhaust fans. In most cases, a system with negative air pressure should run cooler than one with positive.


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Industry Insights

When AMD released its Athlon 64 3400+, I was under the impression that I knew AMD's roadmap for the rest of the year. Socket 940 was on the way out; Socket 754 would be a relatively secure investment for the purpose of upgradeability. Yipes. Since then, I've had the chance to review the roadmaps AMD doesn't make public, which tell an entirely different tale. Beginning with Socket 940, expect the Athlon 64 FX-53 to be the final enthusiast chip on that interface. However, Opteron will continue the lineage, leaving your upgrade path wide open.

At some point in the first quarter of 2004, we're expecting to see the first Socket 939 processors. Incidentally, that'll be an Athlon 64 FX-53 as well, which AMD expects will take it through the end of the third quarter. The same 939-pin socket will also support standard Athlon 64 chips, like the 3700+, set to debut between the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second.

Then, in the third quarter, we'll see the first 32-bit Socket 754 processors rated at 2800+. It remains to be seen how high those will scale. Socket 940 will be useful in workstations and servers, while the 754-pin Athlon 64 will suit mainstream users. Bear in mind, though, that Socket 939 promises to be AMD's sweet spot for the AMD64 initiative.
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