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Your Comments: "You guys rock, keep up the good work." - Marc
nVidia Geforce 6800 Ultra Reviewed

Behind glossy pixels which proclaim "Newest Computer Hardware Reviewed!" there's a lot at stake. Especially if we consider that the first websites to review a new CPU, videocard, or motherboard, influence what the rest us - and you the consumer - think about it.

However, the most persuasive factor in any review you read, including those on, is your own opinion. As a consumer you have your favourite hardware brands, and you've naturally come to expect good things from them. Yet when it comes to testing computer gear, or running a benchmark for the 100th time, PCstats has learned that a products' value is not necessarily guaranteed just because of the brand name on its box.

As we get ready for a great summer, one that will see the introduction of DDR-2 RAM, new Intel and AMD CPUs, BTX formfactors, PCI Express, and more, I think it's important to mention something... Since began, our main goal has simply been to provide you with enough information to make informed decisions on your own. I certainly hope our reviews & guides continue to reflect that attitude as you browse this, the 133rd PCstats Newsletter!

In this issue, PCstats reviews the nVidia Geforce 6800 Ultra videocard (based on the new NV40 core) against the best gamer videocards on the planet! Then the tables turn and we spend a little time testing the Leadtek TV2000XP TV-tuner card. Next, Mike has just completed his latest PCstats Beginners Guide, and this time we help you deal with the problems of Browser Hijacking. PCstats Weekly Tech Tips looks at solving pesky Windows errors, while Industry Insights dishes out the info on SiS' latest chipset release. Don't forget to read our guide to advanced VPN networking, and lastly, in "A Reader Asks..." the topic turns to DDR RAM and CAS latencies. Remember, if have tech questions, or just need help; come to the PCstats Beginners Q and A Forum.

nVidia Geforce 6800 Ultra Reference Videocard Review
Read it Now!

In order to fully appreciate the level of technical complexity involved in manufacturing NV40, the chip powering nVidia's GeForce 6800 Ultra, consider that the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra consists of 130 million transistors on TSMC's 130nm manufacturing process. NV40, in comparison, sports no less than 222 million transistors on IBM's 130nm process. The graphics processor wields 16 pixel-pipelines and a 256-bit memory bus populated by GDDR-3 memory modules. In its GeForce 6800 Ultra configuration, NV40 runs at 400MHz for a peak fill-rate of 6.4GPixels per second and as many texels. The GeForce 6800 Ultra also boasts a 256MB frame buffer running at 550MHz, effectively 1.1GHz. Theoretically, the card should enjoy up to 35.2GB per second of memory bandwidth, though the effective rates are somewhat lower.Continue Here>>

Leadtek WinFast TV2000 XP Expert TV-tuner Review

Leadtek's TV2000 XP Expert card itself is rather small, with two coaxial inputs for TV and radio respectively, and an additional port for the included S-video and RCA combination cable. The small plug on the end is for the Infra-read sensor that goes along with the included remote control. The 41-key remote is simple to operate works well too. Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: Dealing with Browser Hijacking
Read it Now! If you though pop-ups were annoying, just wait until your web browser is hijacked! In this guide, PCstats shows you how to regain control and kick out the hijackers, kung-fu style...
Browser hijacking is one of the web's constant dangers. Whether it arrives in the form of a flood of obscene pop-up windows assaulting you after a mistyped URL, or malicious code taking over your browser completely, chances are good that every Internet user will be subjected to this practice in some form. Fortunately, avoiding a browser hijacking is not impossible if you stay aware, and take a few simple precautions. Take the metaphor of locking your car doors while you are out for a drive as an example. If your browser keeps redirecting you to some site. To sum it up, this PCstats Beginners Guide will show you how to avoid and defeat these annoying and potentially embarrassing attacks on your computer, starting with seven preventative measures... Continue Here>>

A Reader Asks...

Q: Would it be faster or more efficient for a system to run more slower timed memory or less faster timed memory? For example, which would be better: 2 units of 512MB Cas Latency: 2.5 8-4-4 2T DDR memory, or one unit of 512MB Cas Latency: 2 6-3-3 1T DDR memory? Both are PC3200.

A: I would say it depends on the application. For gaming, I'd assume that the faster memory would be better, unless the game in question was really memory hungry.

The advantage of more memory is that it frees the system from the need to use hard disk space as virtual memory, which can really slow things down. The more memory hungry your apps or games are, the more adding memory will help your speed. That's why the phenomenon of diminishing returns kicks in with memory, since few apps or games really need a gigabyte of RAM. It's unlikely that you would see an improvement in system performance from 512MB to 1GB unless you multitask a lot. This being said, many newer applications and games are quite capable of eating up a huge amount of memory, so going with 1GB is certainly not a bad idea.

Obviously, the advantage of the lower-latency memory is its ability to do operations faster, resulting in a slight but definite overall boost to system performance. Another factor you might wish to consider is if your motherboard chipset uses dual-channel DDR memory. If it does, the performance you would gain from using two identical higher latency memory modules in tandem might well cancel out the single, lower latency module's advantage. Finally, lower latency memory modules are generally more difficult to overclock with, though this is not a hard and fast rule, more like a tendency.

For more information on this subject, see our resident memory expert's article on memory timings and overclocking here. Next week: Help me save my data... To submit your questions, send PCstats an email.

-Join us - Beginners Q and A in the PCstats Forums

Advanced Guides: VPNs and Internet Connection Security
Read it Now!

Keep a velvet rope around your data as it travels through the vastness of the internet.
This article is intended to deal with creating Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to connect a home network with the outside world. In the course of this slightly more advanced PCstats guide we will discuss the nature of VPNs, the dangers of the Internet, and the encryption methods involved in securing yourself from them. At it's simplest, a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is an extension of a given private network (say your home network) that uses public network space (the internet) to allow remote users or networks to connect. A VPN incorporates two features, encryption and tunneling, to ensure that the data is delivered safely and privately across the public space. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips Use the search Engine
Search Dealtime
Super Micro

Every week I get e-mails asking for help, and most of the time I have no idea what the problems are! Error numbers can be hard to decipher, so it helps to do a search with Google first.

If you see strange BSOD message, odd error numbers, or giant exploding warning signs on your computer, write down that cryptic error message and do a search for it on Google or in Microsoft's knowledge base. There's a lot you can do as an end user to fix the problems that crop up on your PC. If you're experiencing a bug, most likely you aren't the first... There's bound to be information about it on the web. A quick search can really save you a lot of time and potential headaches!

Make sure you come down to the PCStats forums today and say hi! Hey, did you cast your vote for PCstats today in the Techlinks?

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PCstats Issue
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Industry Insights

SiS looked like it was on a roll when the 648 chipset first hit shelves, competing with Intel's best work at a fraction of the price. Things only got better when the 655 chipset followed, making waves amongst those looking at 865PE-based motherboards. But then the Taiwanese chipset designer fell silent for a while. Of course, XGI, SiS' graphics division, briefly turned heads with the dual-processor Volari Duo, but with PCI Express on the horizon, we should be hearing more about core logic.

The latest rumor to emerge is that SiS' R659 chipset - the one slated to employ Rambus' PC1200 memory modules - won't make it to retail. Originally demonstrated in action late last year, R659 apparently doesn't have the horsepower to compete with Intel's Grantsdale and Alderwood chipsets that are anticipated within the next few months.

SiS does have a couple of new chipsets on the horizon, though. Its 656 chipset boasts a single x16 PCI Express bridge and a dual-channel memory controller with DDR and DDR2 support. Mated to the 965 South Bridge, SiS' upcoming release will also feature two x1 PCI Express slots, four Serial ATA ports, Gigabit Ethernet, and eight-channel audio. Interestingly, SiS is also planning an Athlon 64 FX version of the same core logic, called the 756 chipset.
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. C. Angelini
A Reader Asks...
. M. Dowler

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