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In This Issue...

- Asus A8N-SLI Premium
- Gigabyte 7800GTX
- Ballistix PC2-4200
- Foxconn 955X Mobo
- VIA C7-M Preview
- ECS PF88 Dually Mobo
- DIY HTPC Guide
- PCstats Weekly Tips
Asus' Innovative A8N-SLI Motherboard

Summers almost up, school is a few weeks away for students, and we've got a pile of reviews to get through - so here we go!

To start with, the excellent Asus A8N-SLI Premium received high marks for its overclocking and innovative chipset thermal solution. Following that is a revisit to Gigabyte's 7800GTX green monster, a nice set of benchmarks for Crucial's Ballistix PC2-4200 DDR2, and a brief overview of the upcoming VIA C7-M ultra-low power mobile processor. Foxconn's latest 955X motherboard did well on the test bench with a Pentium 4 840, as did the radically different ECS PF88 board. Last but not least, the Weekly Tech Tip rounds out your 186th PCSTATS Newsletter Edition. Phew.

Asus A8N-SLI Premium Athlon64 Motherboard Review
Continue on...

Asus has introduced an innovative heatpipe cooling solution on the NF4 SLI Northbridge for its newly re-spun Asus A8N-SLI Premium (rev 1.02) motherboard. The 6mm diameter copper heatpipe draws heat away from the nVidia NF4-SLI chipset to a section of fins which are also used to cool the power MOSFETs. Moving on, the board can be used with any Socket 939 AMD Athlon64/FX CPU currently on the market, up to 4GB of PC3200 DDR-RAM and of course two PCI Express x16 videocards in SLI! Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GV-NX78X256V-B Geforce 7800GTX Videocard Review
Continue on...

The Gigabyte GV-NX78X256V-B PCI Express 7800GTX videocard is backed up by 256MB of GDDR3 memory and supports VIVO (Video In/Video Out) as well as component output, and is fully SLI compatible. Included in the package is also a pretty good software suite which includes two full version games and some multimedia software. Built on the smaller 0.11 micron manufacturing, the nvidia Geforce 'G70' core can get away with a single slot cooler, unlike previous generations that sounded like high end vacuum cleaners. Continue Here>>

Crucial Ballistix PC2-4200 DDR2 Memory Review

Continue on...

In this review, we'll benchmark and overclocking a 1GB set of Crucial Ballistix PC2-4200 DDR2 memory (2x 512MB) which come packed in bright yellow/orange aluminum heatspreaders. By default Crucial's Ballistix PC2-4200 runs at DDR2-533 speeds with memory timings of 4-4-4-10, at a voltage of 1.8V. Crucial has always been on the conservative side of 'enthusiast' level gear, but we're hoping that this Ballistix DDR2 RAM will still be up to the overclocking challenge. Continue Here>>

Foxconn 955X7AA-8EKRS2 Intel 955X Motherboard Review
Continue on...

Looking at the specs of its flagship Intel 955X chipset based solution, the Foxconn 955X7AA-8EKRS2, we're left quite impressed. The board supports up to 8GB of PC5300 DDR2 memory as well as 800/1066MHz FSB Intel Pentium 4/D/EE processors. Network connectivity comes care of two Broadcom Gigabit NICs, 7.1-channel audio is the work of Intel's 'High Definition' Azalia audio controller. If you need to upgrade, there is the standard PCI Express x16 videocard slot among others. Continue Here>>

VIA C7-M Processor Preview
Continue on... While VIA is known more as a chipset manufacturer than anything else, the company has had its own line of x86-based processors for a while now. The VIA C7-M is its mobile processor, slated to become available in November 2005 in speeds of 1.5GHz or 1.8GHz. During a recent briefing by the company, PCSTATS was shown the CPU in its A2 stepping. The processor is made with a 90nm IBM SOI (Silicon-On-Insulator) fabricating process. One of the most remarkable attributes of the VIA C7-M is its tiny size; the processor die is a 30mm square NanoBGA2 package, smaller than a postage stamp - making it an extremely affordable chip to manufacture. Continue Here>>

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ECS PF88 Extreme Hybrid Intel/AMD Motherboard Review
Continue on...

What would you say if PCSTATS told you that we have a motherboard here which combines the best of both Intel and AMD CPUs through an innovative daughtercard system, all one board? The ECS PF88 Extreme Hybrid motherboard is on our test bench for a thorough examination, and in the configuration pictured it works with either a socket 775 Intel Pentium 4 or socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 processor. Intrigued yet? Continue Here>>

Do-It-Yourself Guide: Building a Home Theatre PC / HTPC
Continue on...

Computers are a perfect fit for the entertainment room, and building your own home theatre PC is not more difficult than assembling a standard system - as long as you have the right components for the task. In this Do-It-Yourself Guide, PCSTATS are going to walk you step-by-step through the process of assembling your own home theatre PC out of contemporary components. We'll also explore the various things you can do with an HTPC after it's built. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Locking the Taskbar

One of my pet peeves is when my wife goes onto my computer and changes the layout of the Taskbar and Start Menu... I like the icons organized the way I use them, she can do what she wants on her PC. ;-) Luckily I have a tech tip for this very occasion that will disable her access to this! It's an easy one to, first click the 'Start' button and go to 'Run' and from there type gpedit.msc and press the Ok button.

That will open up the 'Group Policy Editor,' from there go to the 'User Configuration' area and expand the 'Administrative Templates' folder. Click on the 'Start Menu and Taskbar' folder and in the right hand window, click the 'Prevent changes to Taskbar and Start Menu Settings' option. Change its value to 'Enabled' and viola you're done.

Now if you've done this, no one can change the way things look in the Start Menu or Taskbar. Muhahaha...=)

All of the PCstats Weekly Tech Tips have been archived in the Forums for your reference.

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PCstats Issue
Circulation: 195,205

Our readers ask a lot of questions, and now you can see all the answers! Keep an eye out for the newest PCstats Q & A column by selecting the 'Tips' news category from the box just below our four latest feature reviews.

This weeks Q & A's are:
Rack It Up
Internal memory issues
Look before you leap
Kid Stuff
Unfriendly Ghost
250Gigs of pain
Cloning in 3 Easy Steps
Disobedient Desktop
Automatic logoff?

The PCstats Forums

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

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