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. i925x and i915
.Repair Install
.Gigabyte FX5950U
.Sapphire R9800XT
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.PCstats Weekly Tips

Videocard Madness: nVidia and ATI's Best!

You asked for videocard reviews and you got them! This week the PCstats Newsletter looks at a host of fast videocards from MSI Computer, Gigabyte and Sapphire. There should be something here for everybody, so take your time as you browse through the plethora of benchmarks.

The party starts with Gigabyte's 'green monster', an FX5950 ultra, and moves right into Sapphire's Radeon 9800XT. From there, Colin spends some quality time with MSI'sFX500 ultra and the massive FX5950 ultra. The MSI FX5950 Ultra is one heavy card with all that metal to cool the GPU!

PCstats resident Guru of Guides answers another of your tech questions in this weeks "A Reader Asks..." column (a slight name change there). This time the topic is Windows Repair Installations.

Speaking of which, I'd like to ask you what you think of this new column? Tell us what your thoughts are here.

Down below, the Weekly TechTip has a clever trick useful for the registry tweakers in the audience. And, as if that wasn't enough already, PCstats Industry Insights dishes out the full 411 on Intel's upcoming chipset plans, including the i925x. Oww... can't wait for that one!

Gigabyte FX5950 Ultra GV-N595U-GT Videocard Review
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Unsure of what exactly to expect from the Gigabyte's FX5950 Ultra "GT" version, this should be quite a treat for us... After all, the Gigabyte GV-N595U-GT videocard is based on Nvidia's current power-house GPU clocked at 520MHz. While the heatsink on this puppy takes up two full slots, you can be assured it's not there to cool the digital equivalent of a 'Ford GEO.' As you can plainly see, Gigabyte are still using the same reference GPU/memory cooling system, and all the same capacitors, resistors, and ICs, so what is it that makes this videocard worthy of the "GT" model name over that of the regular one? Well, read carefully and well tell you. Continue Here>>

Sapphire Radeon 9800XT Videocard Review
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A little more than a year ago, the graphics market exploded in a frenzy of excitement. What used to be a one-sided race for graphics dominance quickly evolved to include two capable players. Then, over the course of a few months, it reverted to a one-manufacturer show once again; only this time, it was ATI on top as NVIDIA fumbled its plans for NV30. Of course, a lot of work has gone into coordinating board layout, cooling design, and software support, so we aren't surprised that Sapphire chose to stick with ATI's reference card for its own RADEON 9800 XT. The only feature that distinguishes the two is a sticker that adorns the clear, plastic heatsink cover. That isn't a bad thing, though. Continue Here>>

A Reader Asks...

Q: The motherboard in my computer died recently. Since I have a little experience I decided to replace it myself with an ECS K7S5A that was compatible with my AMD Athlon processor and memory. Everything seems to work fine, except that Windows XP Pro will not load. The computer POSTs fine, and the XP loading window comes up, but then the computer resets itself... I'd thought heat was the problem, but the temperature readings in the BIOS are normal. I don't want to reinstall, are there any steps I can take to get my PC working again?

A: The problem you are having is most likely with Windows XP itself, or rather the fact that you changed the motherboard and Windows XP is not finding what it's looking for on boot up. I'm assuming that the motherboard you used previously had a different chipset than the ECS board just installed. All versions of Windows (and most other operating systems too) have difficulty in adapting to major hardware changes, and changing the motherboard chipset, which allows the various other parts of the system to work together, is about the biggest change you can make.

Fortunately, Windows XP makes this situation considerably easier and less time consuming to recover from than previous versions. What you need to do is a "repair install". To perform this fixl, boot your PC from the WinXP CD. Choose the "press enter to set up Windows XP now" option. Press "F8" to skip through the EULA and then press "R" to begin a repair installation.

Your system will go through the entire XP install process, but will not attempt to replace any of your existing data. It will simply reinstall the vital system files, fixing any that are corrupted or missing. During this process, your new motherboard will be taken into account by the OS. Windows XP (with SP1) contains the necessary drivers for your new board, so you should not have trouble after the repair install finishes. You will however, need to re-activate your copy of XP so have your CD-key handy.

To submit your question, send us an email.

MSI FX5700 Ultra-TD128 Videocard Review

If you're looking for a new videocard, you're in luck because it's a buyers market in the mainstream sector! A fierce competition between ATi and nVIDIA has resulted in lower than average prices for some pretty decent cards. nVIDIA has taken an aggressive two pronged stance against ATi's Radeon 9600XT; first there's the very capable GeForceFX 5700 Ultra, and then came the quietly released the GeForceFX 5900XT to mop things up. In this review we'll be examining the GeForceFX 5700 Ultra powered MSI FX5700 Ultra-TD128 videocard. With 128MB of memory on board, and nice little bundle of software in the box, this should prove to be a pretty good deal for about $280CDN. Continue Here>>
MSI FX5950 Ultra-VTD256 "Red PCB" Videocard Review
Read it Now!

For its time, the nVIDIA GeForceFX 5900 Ultra was one of the fastest GPUs you could hope for, but like all good things, the real story of the FX5900 was not so rosy. TSMC, the company nVIDIA use to fabricate their silicon, had a lot of problems getting the new 0.13 micron process right, and that caused serious delays in production. Fast forward six months, and now the GeForceFX 5950 Ultra is upon us. Thankfully, the teething problems TSMC experienced with 0.13 micron manufacturing have been laid to rest. The MSI FX5950 Ultra-VTD256 with its red PCB and large copper plated cast aluminum heatsinks weighs in around 500g, making it one pretty heavy videocard. Continue Here>>

Quick Restarting
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Super Micro

For those of you who are extremely impatient there's a way of restarting Windows without having to restart the actual PC... I know this has saved me a bit of time when trying out new registry tweaks and such.

First load up regedit (Start -> Run then type regedit and click the ok button). From there follow this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows NT -> CurrentVersion -> Winlogon. From there add/modify the EnableQuickReboot string value and change it to 1. Save exit and reboot your PC normally.

After that's done every time you want to reboot simply press Shift + Ctrl + Alt + Del and Windows will do a quick restart without rebooting.

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PCstats Issue
Circulation: 314,886

Industry Insights

Intel is going to be very busy in 2004, as evidenced by its impending transition to the LGA-775 processor interface. The move over to LGA-775 is expected in the second quarter, and will be accompanied by a couple of new chipsets with a plethora of never-before used technologies.

The flagship, equipped with Intel's infamous Performance Acceleration Technology (PAT), is to be called 925X. It will support PCI Express, of course, in addition to DDR-II memory and a new ICH6. Multiple versions of ICH6 are said to exist, one with four Serial ATA ports and one with an integrated wireless interface, at the very least.

The 915 family will occupy mainstream space, populated by four different variants. Intel's 915P is expected to support DDR-II, but pundits are claiming that the chipset will probably emerge on boards with standard DDR sockets to better help differentiate between high-end boards and the more affordable 915 family. Lower-end chipsets, like 915GL and 915GV will appeal to business clients in the third quarter of 2004, while the 915G will match 915P for performance and add integrated graphics support.

If you've been holding off on a system upgrade, your day of reckoning is fast approaching. Just remember, you'll need a new processor, motherboard, video card, and, if you opt for DDR-II, a new memory subsystem. Though it won't be cheap, you'll at least have a platform on which to grow.
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