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.New Intel Xeon's
.A Reader Asks...
.nVidia nF3-250GB
.XGI Volari V8
.Dell Dimension 2400
.Aopen Combo ROM
.VIA PT880 Chipset
.Verax Heatsink
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Your Comments: "I just wanted to say how grateful I am for your site. It's all there, and more." - Geoff
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 motherboard. 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. The Dell 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 motherboard review.

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.

On another note, if you reside in the Toronto area and think you have what it takes to write for, 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!

Gigabyte K8NSNXP nForce3-250Gb Motherboard Review
Continue on... For 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 headers!Continue Here>>

XGI Volari V8 Reference Card Review
Continue on...

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 Here>>

Dell Dimension 2400 System Review

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... Continue Here>>

AOpen COM5232 Combo Drive Review

In any event, in this review, 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 case. Continue Here>>

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 PT880 Reference Pentium 4 Motherboard Review

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. Continue Here>>

This week, a look at an ultra low noise Pentium 4 heatsink from our sister-site, - Enjoy!

Continue on...

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.
Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips Validate the Scam mail
Search Dealtime
Super Micro
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?

Well here's a little trick on how to find out the real web address of the page you're looking at. Simply copy the Javascript code below and paste it into your browsers URL and press enter.

javascript:alert("Actual URL address: " + location.protocol + "//" + location.hostname + "/");

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!

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PCstats Issue
Circulation: 261,197

Industry Insights

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.
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Written By
. M. Page
A Reader Asks...
. M. Dowler
Weekly Tips
. C. Sun
I.I. Columnist
. C. Angelini

The PCstats Forums 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%
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