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In This Issue...

- Guide to Linux
- Colour Laser
- PC6600U GFX
- IBM Cell CPU
- Mobo Factory Tour
- PC Destruction
- Mini MP3 Player
- Printer Sharing
- PCstats Weekly Tips
This Thing Called Linux...


Linux is an operating system that most of us have heard plenty about, but probably haven't ever used on our own PC's (experts excluded). In part 1 of the Getting Familiar with Linux guide, we get your feet wet in Linux, and explain some of the basic ways it differs from WindowsXP. This is a good primer for beginners, so have a look. Next up is a very nice 21/5ppm colour laser printer from Samsung called the CLP-550N, followed by our review of the Albatron PC6600U SLI compatible PCI Express videocard. A very low noise cooling solution is employed on the PC6600U, making it stand out from the flurry of Geforce 6600's recently released.

Mike discusses the newly announced Cell processor; it's multi-core design, and some of the potential benefits for future Playstation users. There is lot's more in this issue of the PCstats Newsletter, including a look at a recently released media player, some advice on printer sharing over networks, Intel's Sonoma chipset, PCstats Weekly Tech Tip, and a few other items. Enjoy!

Beginners Guides: Linux Part 1: Getting Familiar
Continue on...

Since its creation in 1991 by Linus Torvalds to the present day, Linux has been half operating system and half symbol. This publicly licensed operating system has a sort of mystical aura about it that's about as cool as you can get in the computer world. Conquering Linux has been the right of passage for a generation of computer enthusiasts. In this first part of PCstats two-part guide to basic Linux use and installation, we aim to familiarize you with using Linux for everyday computing purposes by means of the most popular Linux desktop environment, KDE.Continue Here>>

Samsung CLP-550N Colour Laser Printer Review
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The Samsung CLP-550N colour laser printer PCstats is testing out in this review is one of the new breed of networked colour laser printers, offering efficient colour and black and white laser printing over a wired or wireless network. This 1200 dpi, 21 page-per-minute (black and white), 5 page-per-minute (colour) laser printer comes with several nice features, not to mention the option of wireless networking and expandable onboard memory.Continue Here>>

Albatron Trinity GeForce PC6600U Videocard Review

Continue on...

What makes the Albatron Trinity GeForce PC6600U special is that it is one of the first commercially available, virtually silent videocards. This next generation 'stealth assassin' gives the consumer excellent performance without the noise. Nice. Albatron has slightly increased the core speed of the video processor on the PC6600U to differentiate it from its PC6600 card. While both sport the same Geforce 6600 GPU, the Trinity PC6600U has it clocked at 400MHz with 700Mhz memory speed, as opposed to 306MHz and 500MHz memory clock for the PC6600. Continue Here>>

IBM's CELL Processor: Preview to Greatness?
Continue on...

IBM, in cooperation with fellow industry giants Sony and Toshiba, recently announced a new processor, called the Cell. The Cell processor is vastly different, inside this tiny chip is a powerful 64-bit Dual-threaded IBM PowerPC core but also eight proprietary 'Synergistic Processing Elements' (SPEs), essentially eight more highly specialized mini-computers on the same die. PCstats is going to take a quick look at what's currently known about the architecture of the Cell processor and its potential as a rival to today's x86-based 32 and 64-bit processors.Continue Here>>

How Motherboards Are Made: A Gigabyte Factory Tour
As PCstats recent trip to Gigabyte's Nan-Ping factory in Taiwan showed us last summer (during Computex 2004), there's a lot to making motherboards. In fact, producing and testing a single motherboard involves a mind-boggling host of automated machines, people and processes; so we'd like to detail the whole assembly line to give you a feel for how things are really made. Follow along as PCstats walks through the whole motherboard manufacturing process.Continue Here>>
Beginners Guides: Most Common Ways to Kill a PC

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. Continue Here>>

Samsung Yepp YP-55i MP3 Player Review
Continue on...

Smaller, fixed memory players like the Samsung YP-55i are just fine for the morning commute, a trip to the store, a jog around the block, or whatever. Able to store 192MB worth of music in MP3 or WMA format, the roll-of-quarters sized YP-55i also includes a digital FM tuner. It also offers the very neat capability of encoding FM-Radio to MP3 recordings on the fly; how cool is that!?Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: Printer Sharing on a Home Network
Continue on... In this short but sweet guide, PCstats will look at how to make a printer available over your home network using Windows XP's built-in sharing abilities. Since most of us use USB or parallel connected printers, we are going to assume that this is the same for you. This article assumes that you have a printer correctly installed on a Windows XP computer and a working network connection to at least one other computer. If you need help in setting up your home network, be sure to read PCstats in depth guide to Home Networking and Wireless Networking before getting started here. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Time Control and Printers

If you're concerned about co-workers printing our resumes after hours, why not limit printing to business hours? This feature is already built into WindowsXP and is quite easy to configure. Go to the control panel and open up the Printers/Printers and Fax's folder. From there right click on the printer you want to limit and go to properties. That will open up a new window and click on the advanced tab. From there select the Available from radio box and enter the times you'd like the printer to be available.

From now on, whenever someone tries to print something from that PC who does not have administrative access, they will only be able to print at the allocated times.

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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 www.pcstats.comIf 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.

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Intel's Sonoma: Second-generation Centrino

In January, Intel announced the second generation of its wildly successful Centrino mobile technology for laptops, code named 'Sonoma.' As you probably know, the Centrino name can only attached to laptops featuring an Intel mobile M processor and compatible Intel chipset in conjunction with an Intel Wireless adaptor. This new generation of the technology will still be commercially branded as Centrino, but includes laptops using the new 915 Express GM, GMS, PM and GML chipsets as well as new 533MHz bus, 2MB cache Pentium M processors.

Since the original Centrino technology came onto the scene, we have seen several advances in mainstream PC technology and Sonoma will integrate many of these into your laptops. For starters, PCI-Express 16x graphics will now be available in the 915 Express PM chipset, bringing faster graphics performance to the mobile market. Also, DDR-2 in both dual and single channel varieties is now supported, along with conventional DDR memory. A new line of Pentium M 'Dothan' processors has been introduced, running at 533MHz FSB. The switch to DDR-2 should have power saving benefits as DDR-2 modules are less power hungry than conventional DDR. Price is another matter though.

The new 'Intel Control Hub' for Sonoma is the ICH-6M, a variant of the ICH-6 Southbridge chip found on 925X and 915 desktop boards. This adds SATA support to the laptop market, though any benefit this will offer is dubious, since RAID is not supported, and availability of SATA 2.5" drives is currently poor. IDE drives will continue to be supported. PCI Express 1x support is also added, and may appear in the form of ExpressCard support, a technology we discussed in our PCI Express article that may eventually replace the PCMCIA interface. Last but not least, Intel's High Definition Audio technology is now onboard.

Integrated graphics in the 915 Express GM, GMS and GML models will be provided by Intel's GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) 900 chip. First seen in the 915 'Grantsdale' desktop chipset, this will offer decent 3D performance to users. The 915 Express PM chipset will feature a full PCI Express 16x interface for third-party mobile graphics chipsets.

Intel appears to be forgoing the usual massive price increase expected with new processors and chipsets, so the price premium of new Sonoma-equipped laptops should not be massive. A lot depends on where DDR-2 prices go by the spring though.

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

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