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In This Issue...

- Vento 3600 case
- 8N-SLI Royal
- MSI NX6800GT
- AirCruiser
- Raptor Drives
- 925XE Mobo
- WinXP Services
- Linux Part 2
- PCstats Weekly Tips

Bright Blue Cases and NF4-Intel


With the release of Intel's new 955X and 945P chipsets this week, the highly anticipated nVidia nForce4-SLI Intel Edition chipset is finally emerging. PCSTATS has an exclusive first look at the Gigabyte 8N-SLI Royal motherboard, and how the Intel NF4 solution stacks up against an AMD NF4-SLI board.

There are two new Beginners Guides this week, the first deals with WindowsXP Services and dishes out some tricks to improving system performance by disabling unnecessary ones. The second is our look at Linux (pt2.), which you'll want to read through before the next installment which covers Windows software and Linux.

On the hardware front our attention is drawn to the Asus Vento 3600 case - which you will either love, or hate. After that we have benchmarks for the MSI NX680GT PCI Express videocard, the Albatron 925XE based PX925XE Pro-R, and ultra-speedy Raptor WD740 SATA hard drives in RAID.

Innovation is not something we see often, but when gear like the (internal) AirCruiser Wireless Router comes along, we just have to test it out. This little card is a full WiFi router, except it goes inside your PC, which is a nice space saving measure. PCSTATS Weekly Tech Tips, and a few other helpful bits of info round out this issue, so enjoy!

ASUS Vento 3600 Case Review
Continue on...

If you've been in a computer store recently, you no doubt are aware of the way the computing mainstream is embracing the whole PC modding craze. It used to be the solitary pastime of a few geeks with Dremels and too much free time, and then there was the Asus Vento 3600 case. Something about its looks captured our imagination. Beyond merely housing a computer, the Vento seemed to be begging us to leap onto it, fire up the engines and shoot off through the trees of Endor, dodging Imperial Scouts as we went...Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GA-8N-SLI Royal NF4-SLI Intel Edition Rev
Continue on...

There's a new player in town, and nVIDIA's core logic chipset for the Intel Pentium 4 platform is the 'Crush 19' nVIDIA nForce4-SLI Intel Edition. In this exclusive review, PCSTATS is benchmarking Gigabyte's initial offering, the regally named GA-8N-SLI Royal motherboard. Like AMD-based NF4-SLi boards, this motherboard sports dual PCI Express x16 slots which can be used singly or together with SLi-compatible nVidia graphics cards. SLI for the Intel Pentium4 processor has arrived!Continue Here>>

MSI NX6800GT-T2D256E Geforce 6800GT Videocard Review

Continue on... With the release of the new WHQL Forceware 71.84 drivers, users can now create their own SLI game profiles, a point which will probably save SLI from becoming an obscure curiosity 6 months from now. Beyond the catchy name, the MSI NX6800GT videocard's notable points are 256MB of GDDR3 Samsung BGA DRAM, and that it doesn't take up an extra slot on your motherboard with a huge cooling solution like ATI seem so fond of doing lately. Quiet is king, so listen closely as we dish out the details... Continue Here>>

Gigabyte AirCruiser GN-BC01 802.11g Wireless Router

Continue on...In Canada, just about every network appliance from home routers to DSL and cable modems takes the form of an external box which is connected to your computer(s) via CAT5 Ethernet cabling. The Gigabyte AirCruiser GN-BC01 is an 802.11g internal wireless PCI router. This device incorporates a fully wireless home router/Internet sharing device onto a PCI card which you install directly into your desktop PC. It also comes with a nifty, blue-LED tipped magnetic external antenna which is fairly high gain at 3dB.Continue Here>>

Western Digital Raptor WD740 SATA Hard Drive Review
In this review, PCstats is testing out a pair of sleek 10,000 RPM Western Digital WD740 Raptors. These are the first SATA drives we've seen that reach 10,000 RPM, and we're going to be testing them both singly and in a RAID stripe and mirror to see what kind of performance implications we can expect to a standard PC system. The Western Digital 74GB Raptors are also going to form the basis of PCstats' updated hardware test platform, so expect to see a lot more of these drives in our future reviews. Let's get the specifications of these drives out of the way first. Continue Here>>
Albatron PX925XE Pro-R Motherboard Review

At the tip of the current chipset ice berg is the Intel 925XE, and motherboards like the Albatron PX925XE Pro-R which are built upon its foundations. The 925XE chipset is a fickle one, supporting only Socket 775 Pentium 4 processors compatible with an 800 MHz or 1066 MHz FSB. Its four dual channel DDR-2 memory sockets will accommodate up to 4GB of non-ECC unbuffered DDR2 memory. Considering that the 925XE is ideally suited for use with '1066FSB' Pentium 4 Extreme Edition CPUs, as a killer gaming rig, we'd recommend using at least 2GB memory. Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: Understanding and Tweaking WindowsXP Services
Continue on...

Learn to use the 'Servies' young Jedi, they are powerful and control much of WindowsXP. Without mastering the 'Services', you'll be forced to run programs in the system tray for all eternity!!

In Windows XP, there are background processes that run constantly called Services, and they will be the topic of this edition of PCSTATS popular Beginner's Guides. We're going to look at what the WinXP Services are and do, why they are necessary, which ones should be running on your system and which ones you can really do without for a nice speed increase. Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: Linux Part 2: Installing a PC
Continue on...

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, so tag along as we walk you through installing Suse Linux 9.1 on your PC.

In the first part of PCstats Beginner's Guide to using Linux, we explored the basic features of this open-source operating system by using the Knoppix 'live' CD Linux distribution which does not require a permanent installation onto your computer's hard drive, but instead loads entirely from a single CD. For the second installment of this guide, we're looking at something a little more permanent. We're going to take one of the most popular and easy to use free Linux distributions, SUSE Personal 9.1 and explore the process of installing Linux onto your hard drive as a full operating system. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Lock it or Move it!

Today's tip might seem a bit basic but you wouldn't believe the number of emails we get about this. Today we're going to show everyone how to move and lock the taskbar in place. By default Windows does not lock the taskbar in place and moving it around is as simple as clicking on it (not on an open application) and dragging it to the other side of the monitor.

First let's put the taskbar back in place, once you get it where you like it right click on the task bar and simply check the "Lock the Taskbar" option and you will no longer be able to move it. =D If you change your mind about things, uncheck the "Lock the Taskbar" option, and resize/reposition where you like then lock it again once you're done.

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Tech Support and Help by PCstats

Interested in what makes Windows XP tick? Then we have some articles for you. Our guide to the Windows XP registry will take you through this storehouse of XP customization settings, while our comprehensive article on Windows XP's Safe Mode will equip you to use this powerful recovery mode to your advantage. If you are experiencing frustrating crashes or errors (and what Windows user hasn't at some point or another?) our guide to understanding and resolving the infamous BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) error should be interesting reading. Finally, get to grips with the Windows XP command prompt to increase your knowledge and control of the OS.

Upgrading and updating your PC is another inevitable task that we try to make easier. Take a look at our guide to flashing your motherboard's BIOS for one example. If you've grown used to your Windows XP install and hate the thought of reinstalling to accommodate a new computer system or hard drive, see our guide to cloning windows XP for another solution....

Networking is a very important area of computer knowledge, especially as many homes now have more than one computer. Sharing an Internet connection among the computers in your household is a good start. If you're curious, PCstats also has guides to home networking, allowing you to share files between the systems in your home, and an article on the benefits of wireless networking.

For some comic relief, as well as a serious look into the kinds of problems and errors of judgement that may one day destroy your precious computer, take a look at our extremely popular guide to the most common ways to kill a PC. Why not visit PCstats feedback page and let us know what you'd like to see covered in the future?

The PCstats Forums

Our readers ask a lot of questions, and now you can see all the answers! Choose the 'Tips' news category to read through all the tech advice!

This weeks tips are:
Losing the SP2 Blues
Pest control
Codec confusion
Data Deletion
The Forgetful Drive

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

Send in your tough tech questions today!
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