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New 3.2GHz Pentium 4 Processor!

The newest processor in the Intel family, called the 3.2GHz "Prescott" was released this past weekend. PCstats reviews the Prescott against AMD's best and brightest 64-bit chips, and side by side with Intel's 3.2GHz Extreme Edition and Northwood models. I highly recommend you read the review. Given what we have seen from Prescott, I think it's safe to say that not many people are going to be racing to the stores for this processor just yet... Only after the Prescott CPU scales up in GHz will we see the real tiger released. For now, your best bet is to stick with the Northwood P4 until socket 775 debut's.

Representatives from VIA spoke with PCstats a while back about the VIA PT880 Intel chipset, and in this newsletter you'll find a review of the reference board which showcases many admirable features of the PT880. Looking for an FX5700 Ultra? Gigabyte's N57U128D is on the test bench this week, as are a handful of other cards we'll tell you about next issue. This weeks Industry Insights talks about SSE3 codes which could make many of our programs run faster with the Prescott CPU, and in "A Reader Writes..." Mike looks into what options exist if you want to freshly install an OS without reinstalling all the software again.

Last but not least, Waterfield Designs have let me know that they've just come out with some new iPod-friendly cases. Since I'm currently iPod-less, we take a look back at several of Waterfield Designs nifty Gear Cases. The Weekly Tech Tip is waiting for you at the bottom of this newsletter, and next week it's going to be a Videocard Bonanza!

Intel Pentium 4 3.2E GHz Prescott Processor Review
Read it Now!

Fortunately, Intel is in the position to begin manufacturing processors using a 90nm process, the very latest wafer technology that carries with it a host of other enhancements. Additionally, the Pentium 4 itself has gone under the knife, reemerging with larger caches, new instructions, and higher frequencies. The end result is a brand new core that, in theory, should be significantly faster than its predecessor. Prescott's L2 cache is two times larger than the Northwood core before it, weighing in at 1MB. It's attached to the processor core via a 256-bit bus, which, running at 3.2GHz, yields 102.4GB per second of bandwidth. As Prescott continues scaling, that number will follow suit. Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GV-N57U128D FX 5700 Ultra Videocard Review

Read it Now!Today PCstats is evaluating the new Gigabyte GV-N57U128D GeForceFX 5700 Ultra videocard. Sporting 128MB of Samsung DDR2 BGA memory and a TV-Output, the manufacturer has also included a fairly decent software bundle here; with full versions of Will Rock, Raven Shield and even Tomb Raider: TAOD. The standard length of all 5700-class videocards means you may have to wrangle a few stray cables out of the way when installing it, and don't forget that all important auxiliary molex power connector either. Between the DDR2 BGA DRAM modules and the heatsink is a rather thick thermal pad, but heat transfer seemed to be pretty good as the metal did steadily rise in temperature.Continue Here>>

A Reader Writes...

Q: I recently bought a new hard drive (Seagate 120G 7200RPM) which I would like to add to my Windows XP system. I'm planning to install Windows again on the new drive and use that as my system disk. My question is: My old 10GB drive has all the software I regularly use still installed on it. Can I keep it in my system as a second drive and still use my programs after I install XP again on the new drive? It would be a huge hassle to have to re-install everything again.

A: You can keep the old drive around as a secondary drive, but you will not be able to use most of your software from the old drive once you re-install windows.

The reason for this is that Windows XP, like previous Microsoft operating systems, forms links between most installed programs and the windows registry. This is done to allow the software to correctly access the resources it needs to run and also to allow full cooperation with other programs within the Windows operating system. Unfortunately, this also means that when the registry is wiped out, all the information XP needs to correctly run your installed software is also wiped out. There is not really a way to get around reinstalling your software when you reinstall windows.

Now your data, on the other hand, will remain perfectly usable and accessible after a re-install. By 'data' I mean files that are created and used by applications, such as word documents, MP3 files, pictures, etc. These require no link to the registry, just software capable of opening them.

Because of this, the recommended configuration for installing any Windows operating system is to have two separate partitions, one for the operating system itself and your installed software and a second partition for storing your data files. This system reduces wasted disk space and hassle when Windows needs to be re-installed. The operating system and software partition can be wiped clean, while the data partition can be left alone. To submit your question, send us an email.

VIA PT880 Reference Pentium 4 Motherboard Review
Read it Now! VIA is very excited about their new PT880 chipset for the Pentium 4 processor, in fact they're so excited they even had a representative come the PCstats office to meet with us, and explain the in's and out's of the new VIA chipset. Quietly they told us that the PT880 can hold its own against the i875P in terms of performance, yet will be less expensive than the i865PE chipset, meaning boards based on the PT880 should more affordable without sacrificing performance. That's a very compelling combination, but will VIA be able to live up to its own expectations?Continue Here>>

Waterfield Designs Gear Bags and Notebook Sleeves
Read it Now! 'Ballistic Nylon' just rolls off the tongue so nicely, and makes even the simplest of objects appear exotic. Take for example the bags we use to carry around cables, power adapters, and things of this nature. Sure, they could be packed away in a Ziplock bag, but what fun would that be? Now, say hello to Ballistic Nylon, Neoprene and engineered textiles like Indium. Waterfield Designs, a company based in San Francisco originally caught my attention three years ago after reading a short article on them in ID, and today we are going to examine a few more articles of interest from this company. Each the three bags below are meant to compliment the small things they carry - whether it be a bundle of adaptor wires, a notebook or even a digital camera. Continue Here>>
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In most households it's common for a family to have more than one computer. Heck, between my fiancée and I we have five machines for set up for various tasks. What has always bothered me is how long it takes for one PC to connect to another. One of the reasons for the delay is your computer will check for any scheduled tasks on the remote PC. The more that PC has, the longer you wait.

If you're using WindowsXP you're in luck because there's a registry tweak you can do to speed up the process. First load up regedit (start -> run -> regedit then press ok) and follow this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> Software -> Microsoft -> Windows -> Current Version -> Explorer -> RemoteComputer -> NameSpace. Once you're there delete the {D6277990-4C6A-8D87-00AA0060F5BF} key and reboot.

Next time you use that PC to browse the network it will no longer check for scheduled tasks before hand.

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PCstats Issue
Circulation: 315,293

Industry Insights

By now you're well aware of the latest addition to Intel's evolved Pentium 4 family, formerly called Prescott. Loaded with larger caches, an improved implementation of Hyper-Threading, and SSE3 support, it's a sure sell on paper. But my benchmarks showed that until Intel procures more frequency, Prescott's bark is worse than its bite.

Now, it seems like the top-end offering, the Prescott core clocked at 3.4GHz, may have been a "paper launch product; that is, formally introduced, but unavailable through retail channels. Even the 3.4GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, with its 2MB L3 cache, is unattainable through online vendors.

Even if it were, however, it'd be a good time to put your Pentium 4 purchasing plans on hold, especially if you gravitate towards cutting-edge equipment. In the second quarter of this year, Intel plans to unveil a 3.6GHz Pentium 4 designed with its new LGA-775 interface in mind. Purportedly, it will not serve double-duty as a Socket 478 offering. Intel's roadmaps forecast a 3.8GHz chip in Q3, while Q4 will see a 4GHz Pentium 4 employing the Prescott core. You can also expect the Extreme Edition to emerge as an LGA-775 chip at some point in the second quarter. Next week I'll cover Intel's chipset situation for the rest of 2004, which is developing very quickly. Until then…
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