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In This Issue...

- Common PC Deaths
- PDP PC3200 DDR
- Anti-Spyware
- Albatron 6600GT
- MSI Gigabit Switch
- Ultra X-Connect
- BTX Formfactor
- Corsair Flash
- Firefox Browser
- Belkin 802.11g
- PCstats Weekly Tips
Most Common Ways To Kill a PC


The recent introduction nVidia's SLI nForce4 chipset has been a well deserved boon for Athlon64 users waiting to adopt PCI Express videocards. We're currently putting the finishing touches on MSI and Gigabyte SLI board reviews, so keep one browser glued to

Lots of you have been sending in questions, and PCstats has been busy answering them in the tech Q&A section. The most recent tech questions are hiding a little further down the page; see if you can find them! :-)

This week, the PCstats Newsletter starts off with the Most Common ways to Kill a PC; a culmination of hundreds of tech horror stories. After that, PDP Systems' PC3200 DDR spends a little time on the test bench, followed by in-depth reviews of Albatron's PCIe PC6600GT videocard, an MSI Gigabit Networking Switch, Corsair's Flash Voyager, and Belkin's 802.11 G wireless print server. Also on the agenda is the bright green Ultra X-Connect modders powersupply, and a first look at the new Microsoft beta spyware protection software.

In the last PCstats Newsletter, Clayton walked away with 1GB of Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC4000 DDR. For the rest of us who didn't win, here's your second chance...Gohere, and very carefully choose "PCstats" from the list before submitting your contest entry.

Of course, PCstats Weekly Tech Tip is a good one, as is a reader Q&A on HDD cloning over to the right. The February Shopping List, and much much more round out this issue!

Beginners Guides: Most Common Ways to Kill a PC

PCstats guides you through the list of the most popular ways by which you will eventually kill your PC, despite your good intentions. This is a good primer for "what not to do" folks.

Computers should be essentially immortal right? Anyone who's ever owned a computer knows that this is not quite true. Computers and their component parts do have a finite life span, and just like us, they have a list of afflictions that are most likely to claim their digital existences. A few months ago the PCstats Newsletter asked its readership a pretty simple question;"have you ever killed your PC?" Hundreds of stories flooded in, encompassing everything from standard computer failures to tales of blue smoke and fire.

Out of all these tales, one thing became clear; sometime soon, one of your computers or one of its essential components is going to get fried and fail. So here are the most common ways this is likely to happen!Continue Here>>

PDP Systems Patriot PDC1G3200+XBLK DDR Memory Review

In this article, PCstats will be evaluating one of PDP System's newest Patriot Dual-channel DDR memory kits, the PDC1G3200+XBLK. According to the PDP Systems the pair of 512MB PC3200 DDR memory modules included in the PDC1G3200+XBLK kit are capable of 2-2-2-5 memory timings at their stock 200MHz speed, and can run up to 266MHz at a loose 3-4-4-8 timing. Continue Here>>

Microsoft Windows Anti-Spyware (beta) Software Review

This Windows 2000/2003/XP only product, currently named Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (beta) is up for its public test run. The version available for download now is free and fully functional. According to the license agreement, this beta software will cease to function in June of 2005 so expect a commercial version around that time. The spyware scanning application itself contains the options you would expect, including a scheduling feature and full and quick scanning options.Continue Here>>

Albatron Trinity GeForce 6600GT AGP Videocard Review

The Albatron Trinity GeForce 6600GT AGP is only compatible with 1.5V 4x/8x AGP motherboards and it's physically impossible to insert this videocard into a 2x only AGP slot. If you tried to force it, you'd only damage both the videocard and the motherboard (and possibly yourself). The Trinity 6600GT AGP sports 128MB of Samsung BGA DDR3 memory, and uses a 128-bit memory bus; which is enough memory for today's most demanding games. Continue Here>>

MSI SW8G 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch Review

The MSI SW8G is a 8-port Gigabit Ethernet Switch. It's intended for SOHO business/server operations, but it can also be useful to home users who demand a lot of bandwidth. So what exactly is a network switch? The main point of switches is that they are not limited to a single internal bandwidth of 10, 100 or 1000Mbps. Rather each port has it's own personal 10/100/1000Mbps pipeline, and when two ports communicate they form an exclusive circuit between themselves.Continue Here>>
Ultra X-Connect Green UV 500W Power Supply Review

There's a good reason why we always recommend consumers spend good money on a power supply, and skimp elsewhere, if necessary, when building systems. The danger of a cheap power supply blow up and destroying the rest of the computer is more likely than you might imagine... In this review, PCstats will be testing the Ultra X-Connect Green UV PSU. It's not just pretty with its UV reactive panels and fans, it's also the first 'modular' power supply on the market. Continue Here>>

BTX Form Factor Explained - A New Way of Building PC
Weren't we all supposed to be using BTX by now? Its introduction was supposed to coincide with the birth of the 'Alderwood' and 'Grantsdale' chipsets we now know as the Intel 915P and 925X. Instead, the standard took until just recently to get off the ground with manufacturers in Taiwan, resulting in Intel bumping the official introduction of the BTX form factor to their upcoming chipset generation, 'Glenwood' and 'Lakeport.' Continue Here>>
Corsair Flash Voyager 512MB USB Flash Memory Review
The MSI Geforce NX6600GT-VTD128 AGP card is compatible with 8x/4x AGP motherboards only, and will not physically fit in AGP 2X or earlier slots. It comes equipped with 128MB of Samsung GDDR3 BGA memory on a 128-bit memory bus. At 900MHz, the MSI NX6600GT-VTD12's memory is clocked 50 Mhz slower than the Albatron Trinity 6600GT AGP card we reviewed recently.Continue Here>>

Mozilla's Firefox 1.0 Internet Browser

First there was IE6.0, the next moment Mozilla's Firefox 1.0 appeared seemingly fully formed in an instant, and gaining momentum at a furious rate. Suddenly we have the potential for a browser war again... we haven't seen anything like this since Netscape. Firefox (like Mozilla) has been in development for a while, slowly perfecting its browser technology on both Windows and Linux platforms, and it shows.Continue Here>>

Belkin 802.11g Wireless USB Print Server Review

In this article, PCstats will be reviewing the new Belkin 802.11g 2-port USB Wireless Print Server. This useful little device can support two USB printers on either a wired or wireless network (but not both, more on this later). It's intended for small office environments and comes equipped with WEP encryption to safeguard the privacy of your documents (and your ink) when then are transmitted over a 54Mbps 802.11g connection. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips:

Windows Desktop Cleanup Wizard is annoying, let's face it. I like my icons the way they are, so luckily disabling that feature is not difficult.

Right click anywhere on the desktop (not on an icon though) and go to properties, that should pop up the Display Properties window. From there click the Desktop tab then the Customize Desktop button near the Ok button. That will open up yet another window called Desktop Items, go to the Desktop cleanup section and uncheck the "Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every 60 days" and press ok, then ok again.

Now Windows will not prompt you to clean up your desktop every 60 days, great for those of you who keep everything nice and tidy. =D

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Cloning Hard Drives

This week we're touching on a question sent in by Larry via the PCstats Feedback page. Remember to try our friendly forums for help too.

Q: "I have a 160GB hard drive containing both my current system partition and a small recovery partition. I've purchased a 200GB drive which I now want to use as my system disk. I'd like to clone the system partition from the 160GB disk onto the 200GB disk, but not the smaller recovery partition, which I no longer need. I've read your article on disk cloning, and I was wondering how you thought I should proceed."

A: If you really don't need the second partition on your 160GB drive, the easiest way to proceed would be to delete the partition completely from Windows using the storage manager before you begin the cloning process.

As for the cloning procedure itself, using either of the free utilities we outline in the article will leave you with ~40GB of unpartitioned space on your new drive which you can use for a second partition or add to your system partition with a utility like Partition Magic. Otherwise, Norton Ghost (and most commercial cloning software) will automatically append the extra space on your 200GB drive to your system partition.

The PCstats Forums
Common PC Killers
26% PSU and power
23% Bad gear, negligence
13% Heatsink related
15% Bad Assembly
10% Lightning / static
3% Computer cruelty
6% USB related
2% Overclocking

Our readers ask a lot of questions, and now you can see all the answers! Every week from Tues. to Thurs. around 5pm, keep an eye out for the new PCstats Q & A column as it pops up on the front page of PCstats. The only address you need to remember is

If you miss it, select the 'Tips' news category from the box just below our four latest feature reviews to read through all the tech advice that has been dished out.

This weeks letters are:
Cloning in 3 Easy Steps
Disobedient Desktop
Automatic logoff?

Last weeks letters were:
Naughty IE
XP key confusion
SLI rundown

This Issue By
. M. Page
Weekly Tips
. C. Sun
. M. Dowler

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