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In This Issue...

- 6600GT Roundup
- Dual core CPUs
- MSI 661FM3-V
- K8SLI mobo
- 3.2GHz P4
- Building PCs
- Memory Basics
- PCstats Weekly Tips
nVidia Geforce 6600GT Videocard Roundup


In Taiwan right this second, thousands of new products are being displayed at Computex 2005. Of interest to us are the AMD Athlon64 X2 dual core processor, ATI Crossfire (SLI) videocard technology, nVidia G70 GPU, ECS Athlon64/Pentium 4 supporting motherboard, and the release of the VIA C7-M processor, among other things...

The Athlon64 X2 is arguably the most important release, and ATI's Crossfire (SLI) technology the most predicted.

In this issue we have reviews full of benchmarks on the MSI 661FM3-V and compact Albatron K8SLI motherboards, 3.2GHz Intel Pentium 4 CPU, and the technology behind dual core processors. The Guru of Guides answers a reader question on firewalls, and two fantastic Beginners Guides dish out the knowledge you need to know on Building a PC, and Memory. The focus of this newsletter however, is a roundup of nVidia Geforce 6600GT videocards. Enjoy!

Nvidia Geforce 6600/6600GT Videocard Roundup
Continue on... We're testing out nine Geforce 6600 and Geforce 6600 GT based videocards, in both AGP and PCI Express versions! The features of each videocard will be compared, as well as the standard run of gaming benchmarks. The nVidia GeForce 6600/6600GT (NV43) core is built on IBM's 0.11 micron manufacturing process and contains 146 million transistors. nVIDIA has cut the number of vertex pipelines from the six found in the GeForce 6800 class cards to three, as we mentioned. To economize further, the memory controller has also been dropped to 128-bit. At high resolutions with AA/AF enabled, Geforce 6600GT cards cannot handle the load as well as their more expensive siblings, but past reviews have shown that 6600-based cards do scale better. Continue Here>>
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The Technology Behind Dual Core CPUs

The past 16 months or so have seen an unprecedented number of genuine breakthroughs in the field of processor design, especially from AMD. In this article, PCSTATS is going to focus on Intel and AMDs versions of dual-core CPU technology, how it works, and the kind of performance boost you can expect from it. Currently only certain of AMD's Opteron server-class processors are available with dual cores, but very shortly AMD will release the Athlon 64 X2 line of dual-core desktop processors. Intel has taken the opposite approach, already releasing the 'Pentium Extreme Edition 840' desktop dual-core chip, while its 'Pentium D' and dual-Xeons lines are not far behind.Continue Here>>

PCstats Q & A - Taming The Firewall part XVIII

Q: I've read your "remote access to computers " article. I like it very much, but I don't think you've addressed anything related to a server computer that is behind a router. What do I do if I have a router and I want to access my computer at home behind a router from 1000 miles away?

A: A router firewall will block remote access programs just as it will block any other unsolicited data attempting to come into the server. The key then is to determine which ports your remote access program uses and either open those ports in the firewall or create a 'virtual server' rule. A virtual server rule tells the router firewall to forward any data received on a certain port directly to a specific computer inside your network. For example, the VNC server program uses port 5800 by default, so creating a rule which forwarded data received on port 5800 to port 5800 on your internal server would allow VNC to work unhindered by the firewall.

Virtual server rules can be easily created using the internal interface of most home routers. Generally you need to provide an outside port number, the IP address of the PC inside the network that will receive the forwarded data, and which port that PC should receive the data on. For a more detailed guide to creating virtual server rules, see our Beginner's guide to firewall setup and configuration. As stated, VNC uses port 5800 by default (though other versions of the software may vary) and Microsoft's remote desktop software uses port 3389. To submit your questions, send PCstats an email.

-Join us - Beginners Q and A in the PCstats Forums

MSI 661FM3-V Motherboard Review
Continue on...

The boom in SFF (Small Form Factor) PCs with tiny motherboards already integrated into their cases has made the slightly-less tiny micro-ATX form factor boards and the smaller cases that fit them considerably rarer. On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for upgradability, one thing that SFF PCs really don't offer much of. The MSI 661FM3-V Micro-ATX motherboard, which is based on the SIS 661FX chipset and SIS 964 Southbridge. This tiny board supports all 533/800MHz FSB Intel Socket 775 Pentium 4 processors and can hold up to 2GB of DDR memory in its two slots.Continue Here>>

Albatron K8SLI Motherboard Review
Continue on...

The Albatron K8SLI motherboard being tested over the following pages is a compact nVidia nForce4 SLI board that packs in quite a bit into a small space. The Albatron K8SLI comes with a basic set of features, such as Gigabit network ethernet, 5.1 channel audio controller (with SPDIF out), two free 32 bit PCI slots as well two PCI Express x1 & PCI Express x16 slots, and the standard assortment of SATA and IDE connectors supported by the nForce 4 SLI chipset. The first thing that stands out about this board is the compact size of the PCB. The K8SLI will have no problem fitting into cramped mid-tower cases, and it brings with it SLI capability!Continue Here>>

Intel Pentium 4 540 (3.2E) Socket LGA 775 Processor Review
Continue on...

The Pentium 4 3.2E LGA775 (Land Grid Array) Socket 775 processor is based on the same 0.09 micron manufacturing process as its Socket 478 Prescott cousin. The Socket 775 Pentium 4 3.2E still incorporates the integrated heat spreader (IHS) to help protect the underlying silicon core from physical damage. It is made from nickel-plated copper and presents a larger surface area for heatsinks to work with.Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: Assembling Your Own PC
Continue on... Assembling your own PC is not hard. Modern computer systems are designed to be easy to fit together, and they are. The majority of components are keyed so they will only fit a certain way, for one thing, and everything is standardized. This is not to say that it is foolproof, but perhaps foolresistant would be true. I have to admit that charging $65 for the 10 minutes of labour required (computer must be left for service overnight of course) is somewhat thrilling.... though really not necessary if you know a few basic things about what lies under the hood so to speak. So, follow along as we show you!Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: RAM, Memory and Upgrading
Continue on... What is memory? Well, let me think... Modern computer processors can perform several billion operations per second, creating and changing incredible amounts of data in a short period of time. To perform at this level, they have to be able to juggle the information they process, to have someplace to store it until it is needed again for modification or reference. Computers have a memory structure which can be easily (if somewhat sloppily) compared to the human brain. RAM (Random Access Memory) provides a pallet that the computer can work from in normal operation, similar to our short-term memory. It holds information that is essential now but may or may not be transferred to long-term memory, depending on need. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Restore Points

System restore is a very useful feature, but sometimes you might not want it to back up everything. If there's a specific folder or location that you'd like system restore to pass over, you'll have to do a bit of registry editing.

Click on Start then select Run and from there type "regedit" then follow this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> System -> CurrentControlSet -> Control -> BackupRestore -> FilesNotToBackup. From there create a new multi-string value and name it something descriptive so you know for the future. From there double click on the value to open it up and type in the full path of the directory you do not want to restore.

From now on when you create a restore point, System Restore will bypass any folders you wish not to backup.

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