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In This Issue...

MSI 915P Neo2
AOpen EX915 XCube
Albatron PC6600
Mushkin PC2-4200
DIY Networking
17" LCD Monitor
PCstats Weekly Tips
Sleek Mini-PC from AOpen

I have a couple really exciting reviews ready for you this week, but before we get into that I'd like to direct your attention to the PCstats ShoppingList. This isn't a shopping portal, or partnership with a big e-comm. What the ShoppingList does is answer those "what PC should I get for my budget" questions that PCstats frequently receives. We've broken the answers to that question down into three price ranges, and listed the hardware that we would actually buy ourselves. The list is updated each month, so keep an eye on it if you are looking for recommendations on computer hardware.

Now, the one piece of kit which caught our attention this week was the Aopen EX915 XCube small form factor PC. Compared to some Shuttle SFF PCs I've used in the past, this mini-PC just blows them out of the water. After that you'll find PCstats review of the MSI 915P Neo2 Platinum motherboard, and Albatron PC6600 mainstream-class videocard. While interest in DDR-2 systems seems to be cooling in light of the recent Athlon64 announcement, this review on PQI's PC5400 DDR-2 memory is still a good read. Rounding out the list is PCstats look at the Samsung 173P LCD monitor, and a visual home networking DIY guide.

I'm putting the finishing touches on PCstats' review of the Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 Athlon64 and PCI Express motherboard, which is based on the nVidia NF4 chipset.... so stay tuned as that review will be posted on PCstats tomorrow!

MSI 915P Neo2 Platinum Motherboard Review
Continue on...

Sit back and relax as we take a look at the MSI 915P Neo2 Platinum motherboard, built with the performance user in mind! This full-size ATX motherboard includes a comprehensive feature set, from IEEE 1394 (for your high speed external multimedia devices like HDDs, scanners, MP3 players, etc), to an additional IDE RAID controller, Gigabit PCI Express ethernet controller, and Intel's Azalia onboard 7.1-channel audio. For future expansion requirements, the 915P Neo2 Platinum has thee regular 32bit PCI slots, two PCI Express x1 slots, and one PCI Express x16 slot for your videocard. The four dual channel memory slots support DDR-2 533MHz memory. Continue Here>>

AOpen EX915 XCube SFF PC Review
Continue on...

Small Form Factor (SFF) PCs have advanced in leaps and bounds since they were first released by Shuttle a few years ago. PCstats recently reviewed an attractive SFF kit from AOpen, the EX915 XCube. This is a 'barebones' kit. AOpen's XCube is easily among the best looking SFF PCs available, and AOpen has been extremely quick in getting the latest technology into their systems. Who else has an 915G Socket 775 Pentium 4 board available in a SFF system?Continue Here>>

Albatron GeForce PC6600 Videocard Review
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Based on the highly successful NV40 architecture, the small 0.11 micron manufactured GeForce 6600 GPU only has half the rendering pipelines of the 6800GT/Ultra, but still packs quite a powerful punch. PCstats will be putting the Albatron's new GeForce PC6600 PCI Express videocard though its paces in this review, so let's get started. Using the NV43 GPU, the Albatron card is backed up by 128MB of 5ns Hynix DDR memory. Not a lot, but it should suffice for the average gamer. The Albatron GeForce PC6600 supports dual monitors, which means this card can be used for work or business purposes, as well as gaming. Continue Here>>

PQI Turbo PQI25400-1GDB DDR-2 Memory Review
Continue on...

PCStats had the opportunity to play with some of PQI's latest and greatest, in the form of their Turbo PQI25400-1GDB dual channel memory kit. Officially rated to run at PC5400 speeds, or DDR2-667, the PQI Turbo memory uses conservative timings of 4-4-4-12 by default; it seems companies from Corsair to Crucial, Kingston and OCZ are being conservative with their ratings these days. Continue Here>>

Mushkin 1GB PC2-4200 DDR-2 Memory Review
In this review, PCStats will be testing a set of new 512MB Mushkin PC2-4200 DDR-2 RAM modules, for a total of 1GB. These green single-sided DIMMs are wrapped in black aluminum heatspreaders, and fall into the PC4200 class. They are rated to run at 266 MHz with 4-4-4-12 memory timings, at 1.8V. The memory runs a bit conservatively considering it's Mushkin, but then again it seems like most memory manufacturers are being cautious right now.Continue Here>>
Home Networking: A Visual Do-It-Yourself Guide

Handy tips are interspersed throughout the book, and contain relevant information to each section. A 'what went wrong' trouble-shooting section ends most chapters, providing a list of the most common potential problems and a brief guide to resolving them. The step-by-step guides cover all Microsoft operating systems from Windows 98 up to XP, which is a nice touch for users of older systems. Continue Here>>

Samsung Syncmaster 173P LCD Display Review
Read it Now!The compact little 17" screen of the Samsung Syncmaster 173P boasts a resolution of 1280x1024 pixels, and an industry standard dot pitch of 0.264mm that makes for a crisper image than current 19" LCDs can muster. While the 173P does retail a bit higher than the average 17" LCD, it does offer up a contrast ratio of 700:1 and brightness value of 270 cd/m2. Its pixel refresh time is pretty standard at 25ms, but its viewing angles break the barrier at 178 degrees (horizontal/vertical). I'm not sure what person would expect to work on a screen from an angle of 2 degrees, but at least you have the option open to you. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Monitoring Users

While I have administrative access on almost all the PC's I maintain, I'm not too keen on someone using WindowsXP built in user tracking feature to monitor my movements. Luckily, there's an easy registry fix to stop this!

If you'd simply like to stop Windows from monitoring your activities load regedit (Start -> Run then type regedit and press the OK button) then scroll to this path HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Software -> Microsoft -> Windows->CurrentVersion -> Policies -> Explorer. From there modify or create the NoInstrumetation DWORD value and give it a value of 1.

If you'd like to disable this feature completely follow this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> Software -> Microsoft -> Windows->CurrentVersion -> Policies -> Explorer and create or modify the NoInstrumentation DWORD value and give it a value of 1. Once that's done, reboot your computer and you're set! No more Windows tracking your movements.

Have you checked out PCStats Forums Webdeals yet? If you're planning to upgrade your PC or buy electronics any time soon, makes sure you give that forum a spin first.

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