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Crucial PC4200 DDR-2 Memory

The PCstats Newsletter is not only a great place to find out how the latest computer gear performs, but we're also here to help you with your PC problems. PCstats Beginners Guides tackles the art of making you computer work the way you want it to, and in "A Reader Asks..." the Guru of guides dishes out helpful insight each week. And hey, if there is a guide you'd like to see, let PCstats know!

In this issue, we test a pair of Crucial's new PC4200 DDR-2 RAM, Gigabyte's NX57128D PCI-Express videocard, a socket 754 AMD Athlon64 Epox 8KDA3+ motherboard, and the UV-reactive Lanparty Pro 875B. Also on the slate, a guide to converting old videotape home movies into digital video clips.

While Chris delves into the slated releases from Intel and AMD this year, we round up with a guide to Firewall setup and configuration. A perfect bit of info for getting those MSN file transfers past WinXP's built-in firewall!

Beginners Guides: Converting Videotape Into Video Files
Break out the BETA and VHS tapes, it's time to convert those old home movies into video files you can email around the world, and publish on the web in all their digital splendor!
In this PCstats Guide, we'll provide some simple guidelines to converting your old videotapes into video clips that you can store on your computer, or send around to friends and family. Once you have converted your old videotapes into the new digital format, you have several options open to choose from. You can store your flicks on the hard drive indefinitely, or place them on a recordable CD-R/RW for storage. If you have a DVD writer, you can even burn your entire collection onto a DVD. Continue Here>>

Crucial PC4200 DDR-2 Memory Review
As you can imagine, the choices can be confusing with new technologies, and that is why today we are going to be testing out a pair of Crucial PC4200 DDR-2 DIMM's which have just rolled off the production line. Each module is 256MB in size, and the FBGA DRAM (the small back memory chips) are rated to run with 4-4-4 memory timings, at 200 MHz, while drawing just 1.8V. During testing, we found that the Crucial PC4200 DDR-2 memory had no problems running with more aggressive 3-3-3 memory timings, and without having to increase the voltage!Continue Here>>

Epox 8KDA3+ nForce3 250Gb Motherboard Review
When it comes to enthusiasts, the Epox name is well known. For starters, the Epox 8KDA3+ boasts onboard Serial ATA RAID, Gigabit LAN (including hardware firewall), 7.1 channel audio, and of course the classic Epox Port 80 diagnostics card. The rear IO has both an optical and RCA SPDIF connector, four USB2.0 headers, and a multitude of jack-sensing audio connectors for the 7.1 channel set up. Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GV-NX57128D PCI-E Videocard Review

The Gigabyte GV-NX57128D video card is a PCI Express x16 solution that is based on the GeForcePCX 5750 GPU. The blue-PCB card is backed up by 128MB of TSOP-II 3.6ns Samsung DRAM, and it supports S-Video out, DVI and analog connections. The card doesn't require any extra power connectors incidently. In customary Gigabyte fashion, the GV-NX57128D videocard comes bundled with an S-Video-to-Composite converter, good for those of you who plan to hook up your PC to the computer. Continue Here>>

A Reader Asks...

Q: I recently purchased a second-hand Compaq system (Pentium 3 600Mhz) from a fairly reputable neighborhood computer shop. Right off the bat I had issues with it as the motherboard BIOS was password protected apparently... I had to call the shop to get that fixed. Now I'm running into more disappointment as the system will not play the (older) 3D games that I have purchased, such as Rainbow Six and Black and White. The system is within the minimum specs for these games, but the graphics are unbearably slow and distorted. Why is this, and is there anything you can recommend?

A: I'm afraid you've run into one of the great computing divides... If you want to play games, it doesn't matter how fast your system is; if your video card is not up to snuff, the experience is not going to be a pleasant one.

Modern games rely on your computer having an independent 3D processor built into the video card (with its own exclusive supply of memory) to take some of the load of rendering complex 3D graphics off of the main processor. Without an effective video card, these games are generally unplayable as you have found out. Nowadays, companies like Nvidia and ATI make their living selling 3D capable 'gaming' video cards for new computer systems, and today's games push them to the limit.

In your situation, the only option is going to be to upgrade the video card, and I'm afraid it's unlikely to be of much help. Your computer system likely has what is known as an 'integrated' video card, where the graphics processor is built into the motherboard. Most of these solutions have only rudimentary 3D capabilities at best. It's possible that your system is using an AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) video card, in which case you could upgrade to an older 3D video card (if you can find one).

Otherwise, you can try to track down a PCI 3D card to upgrade your graphics. The best bet for this is to drag your system down to your local shop and explain the situation. If they have anything that will work in your PC, it's going to be an older model, so make sure it works before you leave the shop. Don't let them sell you a brand new (meaning 'latest model') AGP video card, as it will not work and may well damage the computer. Anything you find should at least be cheap. Next week: Digital vs. analog? To submit your questions, send PCstats an email.

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

DFI LANParty PRO875B Motherboard Review

The LANParty PRO875B motherboard comes with a HighPoint IDE RAID controller, Intel CSA Gigabit LAN and 5.1 audio. If that's not enough for you the board also has five PCI slots and an 8x AGP socket. While the i875P officially doesn't support 400 MHz based processors, DFI claim that the board can support any Socket478 Pentium 4 or Celeron processor. Among the long list of bundled in extra's are a FrontX drive bay, two orange braided UV reactive rounded IDE cables and an orange UV reactive rounded Floppy drive cable, and of course the 'PC Transpo' PC carrying strap. Shine a black light cold cathode at this motherboard and they glow brightly in the dark!Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: Firewall Setup and Configuration

Firewalls are a necessity, but configuring them so that every internet-based program still works is often troublesome. With this guide, you can have your Firewall, and MSN File Transfers too.
Today's Internet is a dangerous place for your computer; there's just no denying it. To prepare yourself for today's Internet environment, you need the holy trinity of computer security: effective antivirus/anti-spyware software, regular updates and a firewall. In this guide, we will walk you through every procedure involved in setting up and configuring a hardware or software firewall to protect your computer or network. In short, this should be the last firewall article you'll need to read. As for the first article you should read, our original guide to firewalls and Internet security contains more information on how firewalls work and the kind of threats you face on the web. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips Create Restore Points
Search Dealtime
Super Micro

Are you ever happy with the way your system is running, or have you just finished reinstalling the system and dread doing it again?

Now is the perfect time for you to set a restore point.

First load up System Restore (usually Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> System Restore).

From here click on the "Create a Restore Point" then next, enter the name of the restore point like (good system) then click the create button.

Once that's done, System Restore takes a "image" of your computer. If something gets corrupted in the future, you can restore easily. Make sure you're folding for team PCStats with your spare CPU cycles.


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PCstats Issue
Circulation: 251,182

Industry Insights

2004 has been a year of ups and downs for Intel. On one hand, the processor giant successfully launched its 900-series chipsets with support for PCI Express, DDR2 memory, and a brand new socket interface. Unfortunately, an untimely chip fabrication problem forced the recall of a few thousand 915P motherboards and tarnished the release somewhat. Several other products delays have peppered the past few months, from notebook releases to enterprise server platforms. Most recently, the Lindenhurst chipset for multi-processor Xeons, was claimed to have some issues with PCI Express.

After having to retract its prior posit that the 4GHz Pentium 4 would emerge by the end of the year, we're hearing reports that Intel is slowly slipping EM64T (Enhanced Memory Technology 64) support into its desktop processors. The feature, which adds compliance with AMD's 64-bit initiative, is already present in the newest Xeon processors. However, the desktop chips aren't expected to surface in retail quite yet. I recently spoke to an Intel representative who told me that official EM64T support wouldn't be announced until a 64-bit version of Windows XP was announced. Perhaps Microsoft's recent concession that the 64-bit operating system would again be delayed until 2005 soured Intel's milk.

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