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In This Issue...

- 400GB WD Caviar
- 3D Aurora Case
- Albatron 915-SLI
- Epox 8NPA SLI
- Foxconn 761GX mobo
- Nexstar GX
- Matrox DualHead2Go
- Little Known XP Tips
- PCstats Weekly Tips

400GB Drives, SLI Upgrades & Watercooling Cases

VIA Technologies launched its new AMD Athlon64 K8T900 chipset today, and among its notable features are HD Audio and NCQ support. In other news, PCSTATS has a look back at the little known features of WindowsXP for you. First though, we have the massive 400GB SATA Western Digital hard drive on the test bench. The capacity of this drive is huge, and it boasts a 16MB cache too. Next is the popular Gigabyte 3D Aurora water cooling case, followed by the Vantec NexStar GX external hard drive enclosure. We also look at some of the technical features of Matrox's DualHead2Go system. Albatron surprised us with an Intel Pentium 4 i915-chipset motherboard that incorporates support for SLI videocards, called the PX915SLI. Epox have produced a compelling SLI motherboard for AMD Athlon64 socket 754 users, and that board is the EP-8NPA-SLI. Last but not least is a review of the Foxconn Winfast 761GXK8MC motherboard. Colin's Weekly Tech Tip is a good one... now with more 'Wow' and less 'Group Policy Editor' ;-)

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD4000KD 400GB SATA Hard Drive Review

The Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD4000KD hard drive supports the 150MB/s Serial ATA I standard, and sports a mammoth 16MB on board cache buffer! The Caviar SE16 is rated to have average read and write times 8.9ms and 10.9ms. Average latency is 4.2ms, while track to track seek time is just 2ms. The drive is rated to burst up to 150MB/s data, and comes with a three year limited warranty from the manufacturer directly. Inside the Caviar SE16 WD4000KD are four 100GB platters with a total of eight read/write heads. Despite its relatively high rotation speed and complex 4-platter nature, the manufacturer lists the Caviar SE16 as generating just 28 dBA of noise on average.Continue Here>>

Gigabyte 3D Aurora GZ-FSCA1-AN Aluminium Case

Gigabyte seems to have a hand in every conceivable PC market these days, and cases are now no exception. Today we'll be looking at the company's first stand-alone computer chassis, the high-end Gigabyte 3D Aurora aluminium case which is designed to especially accommodate watercooling systems. While it is considerably taller than your average computer case, it weighs less than you might think, due to its (almost) all-aluminium 1mm thick construction. When the case is installed and powered on, an internal blue LED shines down through a transparent window on the bottom of the case, displaying the '3D Aurora' logo on the ground. Air intake grills include a fabric filter, while the side vent uses a plastic grill to keep out larger particles or insects.Continue Here>>

Albatron Mars PX915SLI Intel 915PL SLI Motherboard Review

nVidia's Scalable Link Interface (SLI), just three little words that until recently have separated top of the line graphics performance, and AMD and Intel platforms. Albatron is one of the more innovative motherboard manufacturers, and its team of engineers has actually figured out a way of running SLI on the budget Intel 915PL chipset! We will get into how the 915PL is turned into an SLI chipset in just a moment. Since the Albatron PX915SLI is based on the Intel 915PL chipset, the motherboard only supports Socket 775 Pentium 4 processors that run on a 533/800 MHz FSB. The two DIMM slots will handle a maximum of 2GB of PC3200 DDR RAM which will run in a dual channel configuration. Continue Here>>

Epox 8NPA SLI Motherboard Review

With an nForce4 SLI chipset hidden below that golden heatsink, the Epox 8NPA SLI supports all Socket 754 Athlon64 or Sempron processors on the market. The green motherboard only comes equipped with two DIMM slots and supports a maximum of 2GB of PC3200 DDR memory. Other onboard goodies, some new to Socket 754 are nVIDIA's Serial ATA II RAID controller, Gigabit LAN, and 5.1 channel audio. My personal favorite is the Port 80 diagnostics card. Expansion possibilities are numerous with the boards two legacy 32 bit PCI slots, two PCI Express x1 slots for high bandwidth devices, and two physical PCI Express x16 slots for dual videocard goodness! Epox have certainly built a lean green motherboard here.Continue Here>>

Foxconn WinFast 761GXK8MC-S Motherboard Review

The Foxconn WinFast 761GXK8MC-S motherboard we're testing out in the course of this review is based upon a new chipset from SiS which has a couple media-friendly assets. The SiS 761GX chipset includes SiS' Mirage 1 graphics core, accessible through the analog video jack nestled into with all the other motherboard inputs/outputs. The SIS chipset is being positioned as a good alternative to the nVidia 6100 series IGPs which recently launched. Elsewhere on the WinFast 761GXK8MC-S motherboard are two DDR memory sockets for up to a maximum of 2GB of PC3200 DDR memory. The microATX board includes one PCI Express x16 slot and three 32 bit PCI slots.Continue Here>>

Vantec NexStar GX USB2.0 Hub & HDD Enclosure Review

The Vantec NexStar GX (NST-370GX) is the ideal solution for anyone looking for more flexible external HDD space. The small grey unit comes with a three port USB hub embedded into the back of it. The Vantec NexStar GX supports a single 3.5" IDE hard drive, and connects to the computer via a 480Mbps USB 2.0 cable. The NexStar GX is larger than a traditional external HDD enclosure, but not by too much. The Vantec NexStar GX is basically built to look like the Apple Mac Mini, and it can rest under or above that mini-computer quite comfortably. Continue Here>>

Matrox DualHead2Go Notebook Multi-display Breakout Box

The Matrox DualHead2Go is black box about the size of a paperback book that enables laptop and tablet PC users multi-display functionality from twin side-by-side 17" or 19" LCD monitors. The DualHead2Go works off of the analog video output from an approved list of notebooks at resolutions of either 2048x768 (60, 75, 85 Hz) or 2560x1024 (60Hz). The device takes the novel approach of splitting that double-width video signal in half, with one portion of the screen going to monitor A, and the second portion going to monitor B. The end result is that two monitors will act as a single screen, yet with just one monitor cable plugged into the host computer.Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: Little Known Features of WindowsXP

As WindowsXP is based on Microsoft's line of server operating systems, it is undoubtedly that which provides it with a rather pleasing lack of crashes. Compare WindowsXP to Windows 98, where the daily reboot has pretty much been accepted as a feature of the operating system, and you can see why it has been embraced so well. This same sever-OS-origin also provides XP with a deep layer of configurability. Not necessarily tweaks as such, but tricks to getting a grip on what is happening behind the scenes for those with an interest. Call it... Zen and the art of WindowsXP Maintenance if you will. In this PCstats Guide, we will explore some of the little-known features and abilities of Windows XP Home and Professional Editions, with an eye towards providing a better understanding of the capabilities of the operating system, and the options available to the user. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Overclocking Selections

While overclocking the processor is 95% luck, enthusiasts can increase their chances by specifically picking out a good processor to start with instead of getting simply what's on the shelf. Both Intel and AMD have stepping, revision numbers and manufacturing dates printed on the processor core and on the box, you just have to learn how to cherry pick the right one.

Before the next processor is bought, do a bit of homework in the PCSTATS forums and find out which stepping/revision are hot. For instance in the AMD market, the hot Athlon64 stepping right now is 'CABNE' and finding one of those can mean a chip that can do 3GHz stable on air. Lesser steppings can have difficulties hitting 2.7 GHz so as you can see, doing your homework can definitely pay off!

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

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