XGI Volari V8 Videocard and nF3-250GB Motherboard
The XGI Volari
GPU burst onto the scene a little over
a year ago with a lot of fan fare, but little in the way of concrete
benchmarks to back the hype.
In this newsletter, PCstats tests the Volari
V8, a mainstream videocard which for a
change isn't based on either ATI or nVidia GPU's. The benchmarks tell an interesting
tale about what newcomers face in the videocard market... Also on the
chopping block this week is our review of the new AMD Athlon 64
Gigabyte K8NSNXP nF3-250GB
This socket 754 board is loaded to the resistors with features,
and its new nVidia
chipset certainly gives it a leg up on the competition too.
Dimension 2400 gets the stuffing knocked out
of it, while on the other end of the spectrum, the VIA PT880 chipset
is the focus of this
Aopen's latest combo
drive spins through the tests, as we take a
break from the ordinary and look to our sister site for a review of
an ultra-quiet Pentium
4 heatsink from Germany. The PCstats Weekly Tech Tip has a handy tool
to stop scam emails dead in their tracks, while over on the
right, Nocona and Tumwater are the topic of this issue's I.I. column. Mike has some great
advice on integrated audio and gaming too.
another note, if you reside in the Toronto area and think you have what it
takes to write for PCstats.com, then pay attention. Send me an example of
your work, your resume, and along with that, in 500 words or more explain
why you're the best person to join our team!
any consumer interested in a fast motherboard that is fully featured, pay
close attention to the Gigabyte GA-K8NSNXP PCstats is testing today. Based on
the nForce3-250Gb chipset, this Socket 754 Athlon64 motherboard is
literally filled to the gills with virtually every option under the sun.
It has on board native Serial ATA RAID care of the NF3-250Gb chipset, and
if that doesn't satisfy your storage needs, an additionally Silicon Image
SiI3512CT128 Serial ATA RAID controller, for a total of four SATA
This article marks a rare occurrence in the
world of computer hardware reviews. PCstats is going to take a look at a
video card that is not based on ATI or
Nvidia graphics technology. To be precise, we are going to test
XGI's Volari V8. The Volari V8
comes equipped with 128MB of Hynix DDR memory clocked at 300Mhz. The V8
GPU was also clocked at 300Mhz for a nice symmetrical 300/300 starting
point. As for the specs of the chip itself, the Volari V8 uses eight pixel
pipelines with two vertex and four pixel shaders, all fully DirectX 9
compatible. It is capable of 2X or 4X FSAA (Full Scene Anti-Aliasing) and
anisotropic filtering up to 4X. The V8 uses an 128-bit memory interface
and can support up to 256MB of DDR or DDR 2 memory. Continue
PCstats recently took some time to take a look at one of Dell's
latest PC offerings, the home/small business targeted Dell Dimension 2400
PC system. As this computer package is one of the cheapest full systems
(including monitor and operating system) available right now, we were
curious to see what kind of value and performance Dell offers its
customers for the Dimension 2400's minimal price. We examined this budget system inside and out, and ran
it through a full spectrum of benchmarks and subjective tests before we
were satisfied. But were we satisfied? Read on for the full details...
In any event, in this review, PCstats.com
is testing the new AOpen COM5232 CD-RW/DVD combo drive. The AOpen
COM5252 is capable of burning CD-R media at 52x speeds and CD-RW media at
32x. Reading CD-ROM material hums along
at 52x, and the drive can also read DVD's at 16x. As a bonus, the Aopen
com5232 also comes with removeable face plates so you can mix with your
A Reader Asks...
Q: The integrated AC'97 5.1 audio that I have in my computer sounds pretty good, but I haven't heard much of any other cards. I have another computer with a SB Live sound card, and about the only difference I notice is the fancy environmental audio that the card has the option of using. I was thinking of buying a Creative Audigy audio card, which has support for EAX, DirectSound acceleration, etc. Would that produce much better audio?
A: It depends on your definition of 'better.' If you are a gamer, then I would definitely advise investing in a sound card that supports some of the major audio standards like EAX, as they can make a major difference to the atmosphere and effects of certain games.
For music and movies, it's really up to your own ears. I won't make any claim to be an audiophile, but I've used Creative sound cards alongside systems with integrated sound for many years and there is no doubt in my mind that the add-in cards beat the integrated audio on every level. That being said, if you do not notice the difference between your two systems, there's no reason to upgrade. The newer Creative cards have substantially better specs and gaming support than the SB Live card you are using, but in terms of actually listening to MP3s and watching movies, there's not much between them.
There are also several other companies on the market producing excellent audio solutions, like this card which PCstats reviewed
recently. Next week: Wiping an NTFS drive the easy way.
| -Join us - Beginners Q and A in the PCstats Forums|
VIA's memory controllers have been revamped
for the PT880, and now implement a technology called DualStream64.
As with many modern memory controllers, DualStream64 is capable of running two
64 bit DDR DIMM's in
parallel. This action doubles the bandwidth available to the processor, and that means
even the bandwidth-hungry 800 MHz FSB Pentium 4 is satisfied. Other
differences between the PT880 and high end i875P chipset worth noting revolve
around the amount of memory the board can support.
This week, a look
at an ultra low noise Pentium 4 heatsink from our sister-site,
Frostytech.com - Enjoy!
Verax Polargate AL S Pentium4 Heatsink Review
The Verax Polargate AL S can be characterized as a
Pentium4 socket 478 heatsink, but compared to just about any other CPU heatsink on the
market, it is radically different. For starters, Verax have equipped the
Polargate AL S with two of their ultra-quiet CAIRdB fans, back to back. Verax's heatsinks have never been the kinds of coolers for overclocking as they focus on noise suppression first, and cooling second. Still, the Polargate Al S does take a few steps towards higher
cooling performance which may interest some mainstream consumers.
Weekly Tech Tips
|| Validate the Scam mail|
I get a few hundred scam e-mails a day, everything from banks asking for personal information to the Paypal and eBay scam's. I find that scammers are getting more sophisticated and often employ obscenely long URL's in an attempt to confuse people. After all, if it's long and complicated it has to be legit right?|
A little gray box should pop up which displays the name of the web server that is currently
displayed. Now you can verify the address of any website you
browse to see if it really is who it says it is.
Hey, Team PCStats needs more 'folders! If you have some CPU resources to spare, make sure you're helping us and the rest of humanity out!
Late last month, Intel took the wraps off of Nocona and Tumwater, the newest additions to its server lineup. Though the processor is still officially named Xeon, there are a number of changes that make it distinct from its predecessor. To begin, the latest Xeons are built on Intel's 90nm manufacturing process.
It also runs on an 800MHz front side bus and uses SpeedStep as a throttling mechanism for power conservation. But the most significant addition is what Intel calls its Extended Memory 64 Technology, or the same sort of 64-bit memory addressability that AMD introduced last year with its Opteron. The new Xeons are running at up to 3.6GHz, and with all of the Hyper-Threading and SSE3 enhancements of the Prescott core that was introduced earlier this year on the desktop.
The platform's supporting chipset, E7525 (formerly Tumwater), adds PCI Express support on top of the 800MHz front side bus. Like the recently released 925X chipset, E7525 also employs DDR2 memory support and officially supports the Extended Memory 64 Technology initiative. When asked about the technology on desktop platforms, the Intel representative I spoke with suggested it would emerge as soon as Microsoft readies Windows XP 64-bit Edition.
. M. Page
A Reader Asks...
. M. Dowler
. C. Sun
. C. Angelini
PCstats.com asked its readers a simple question;
"Who makes the best DDR memory on the planet?"
23,734 votes were cast, and the company that came out on top was Corsair Memory!
Rounding out the Top Memory Brands:
Corsair - 38.0%
Kingston - 27.9%
Crucial - 9.3%
OCZ - 8.9%
Mushkin - 6.1%
GeIL - 4.4%
TwinMOS - 2.8%
KingMax - 2.7%