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In This Issue...

.6800GT Videocard
.MSI K8N Neo2
.Gigabyte USB Drive
.Guide to BSOD
.Albatron PX915G Pro
.Guide to File Synch'n
.Geil Ultra-X DDR
.PCstats Weekly Tips
Albatron's GeForce 6800GT NV40 Videocard

Up until now, I've only heard secondhand stories of processors and other computer hardware getting fried in a power supply failure, or through some manner of electrical short in the PC. That was until I inserted an innocent little USB key into the back of my computer this weekend. The USB key didn't go in straight, and perhaps some of the electrical contacts shorted out... It's hard to say for certain what really happened, but I will admit to the end result; it killed my Pentium 4 processor. I now have a nice paper weight, and a rather embarrassing tale to tell since this kind of thing isn't supposed to happen to the 'experts.'

One possible reason for this fatality may reside with the resettable PTC (Polymeric Temperature Coefficient) fuses, but it is too soon to say. We're looking into the matter, and hope to have some answers soon. In the mean time, I pose this question; "have you ever fried hardware in your PC, and how did it happen?" Use the PCStats Feedback page to let us know your story!

Starting from the top, the PCstats Newsletter covers the awesome little Albatron 6800GT videocard as it runs through a series of Doom3 benchmarks, and a couple dozen other tests. Following that is an i865PE based Small Form Factor PC from Soltek called the QBIC. MSI's K8N Neo2 (socket 939) motherboard bats its way through the benchmarks and the Albatron PX915G Pro does the same for the Intel Pentium 4 socket 775 platform.

PCstats handy Guide to Crash Recovery and the Blue Screen of Death is a must read, as is our Guide to File Synchronization; an excellent data backup utility. GeIL submitted a pair of its Ultra-X DDR this week, which Colin took to task in this review. As we round things off, please don't forget to check out PCstats Weekly Tech Tips!

Albatron GeForce 6800GT Videocard Review
The nVidia GeForce 6800 GPU is a powerful chip, as are videocards based on it like the Albatron Geforce 6800GT. The 'NV40' GPU is the backbone of the 6800-series, and comes in a couple flavours, and with so many differently clocked 6800 models to choose from, consumers have a couple of routes to follow. They can shop on price points alone, or shop smart and overclock for a little after-the-fact performance upgrade. For example, it's safe to assume that the 6800GT is overclockable to Geforce 6800 Ultra levels (400MHz core), and in fact in our own round of testing we were able to push this card as fast as 433MHz! Continue Here>>

Soltek EQ340IM QBiC SFF PC Review

In this review, PCstats is investigating what the Soltek QBIC miniPC has to offer. This is a bare bones Small Form Factor (SFF) PC, based on the Intel i865G chipset and Pentium 4 800MHz FSB processor architecture. Soltek's EM340IM QBiC model supports any current Pentium 4 Northwood CPU, so if you don't need a lot of power simply get yourself an inexpensive chip and you're all set. The Soltek QBiC is as well equipped as any SFF PC on the market; with an 8X AGP and PCI slot for peripheral expansion, integrated 5.1-channel audio, IEEE 1394 firewire, 10/100 LAN and onboard video care of the i865G. Its two DDR DIMM slots support up to 2 GB of RAM. Continue Here>>

MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum Motherboard Review

Over the next few pages PCstats will be sussing out the MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum motherboard to see just how it performs, and the features it offers up. Built upon the nVidia nForce3 Ultra chipset, the MSI K8N Neo2 supports the socket 939 AMD Athlon64 or AthlonFX processor, and will support up to 4GB of PC3200 DDR memory. With respect to its onboard components, users of the MSi K8N Neo2 Platinum will find two onboard Gigabit NICs, IEEE1394 Firewire, 7.1-channel audio, four Serial ATA ports with NVRAID (RAID 0, 1, 0+1), and MSI's own CoreCell technology. That might not sound like a lot, but remember the four Serial ATA channels are integrated, as is Serial ATA/IDE RAID, and all this runs us about $140USD.Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GO-U0128B 128MB USB Hard Drive Review

Gigabyte's entry into the world of Hi-Speed USB flash drives is the aptly named GO-U0128B, and it has to be one of the most compact flash drives we have ever tested. The whole device measures 45 x 20 x 9mm when the USB jack is retracted into its protective case. To indicate data transfer activity, the GO-U0128B uses a bright blue LED that illuminates the clear plastic behind the aluminum shell.Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: Crash Recovery: The Blue Screen of Death
If you've ever used Windows, chances are you've experienced the lovely shade of blue associated with the famous Windows Stop Error or 'Blue Screen of Death.' This frequent, although less so in newer operating systems, error occurs whenever Windows senses a software, hardware or driver error which will not allow it to continue operating properly. In other words, it happens all the time, for all sorts of reasons. In this article we'll provide you with a set of tools for troubleshooting that you can use to get around any Blue Screen Of Death.Continue Here>>
Albatron Mars PX915G Pro Motherboard Review

The small blue PCI Express x1 slots on the Albatron PX915G Pro on the review bench today offer more bandwidth than the entire PCI bus. That's 500MB/s at full duplex mode folks! To remedy the shared bandwidth issue, each PCI Express slot has its own direct pipeline to the ICH6 southbridge. Individual PCI Express devices can no longer steal bandwidth away from other peripherals. Of course there's more to the Albatron Mars PX915G Pro than PCI Express, and we'll be getting to those other features in a bit.Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: Synchronizing Files and Folders

This guide is for all the road warriors who use a PC at work, notebook on the road, and two or three other computers throughout the day. With this guide, you can synchronize your files between your PCs, so you always have the latest files at hand. Sexy topic huh? Well if you have a laptop or a work computer as well as your home desktop, you should know about file synchronization. It can make your life a heck of a lot easier if you do work on more than one system during the week. In this article we will explain the process of file synchronization and show you the two major methods of synchronization within Windows XP. New files created on one system are replicated to the other, as are changes made to existing documents. Continue Here>>

GeIL Ultra-X PC3200 Memory Review

GeIL make it their business to offer enthusiast calibre DDR, and this particular pair of GeIL's Ultra-X PC3200 512MB DDR RAM DIMM's certainly have a lot to offer. Each DDR memory module has a liquid crystal thermal monitoring sticker attached, which shows the temperature in both Celsius and Farenheit. The Ultra-X PC3200 DDR is rated to run at 200 MHz, while keeping memory timings of 2-2-2-5 at a voltage of just 2.55V. To help protect the memory from physical damage, tin coated copper heatspreaders are utilized. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Admin Controls

Are you tired of continually fixing someone else's PC because they keep screwing with the registry settings? We can save you some time by disabling that ability all together. ;-)

First log into the person's account and load up regedit (Start -> Run then type regedit and press the ok button), from there follow this path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Software -> Microsoft -> Windows -> CurrentVersion -> Policies. Right click on the Policies folder, create a new key and label it System. Right click on the window on the right and then create a new DWORD value, name it DisableRegistryTools and give it the value 1. Once that's done save, exit and reboot.

Now in the future when the troublemaker tries to open up the registry editor they'll be prompted that the feature has been disabled by the system administrator! This tweak even works on users who have administrative access (but who are not the administrator).

If you're a deals hunter, check out the PCStats Web Deals Forum. Fellow forum members have found quite a few gems, and I'm sure it'll save you money on your next upgrade.
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