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In This Issue...

- Shuttle SFF PC
- Aopen i945G Mobo
- Gigabyte RX1800 GFX
- Gigabyte 6150 Mobo
- Gigabyte 6600GT
- Corsair PC4400 Pro
- Athlon 64 X2 4800+
- PCstats Weekly Tips

Shuttle's Uber-Quiet Pentium M SFF PC

The small form factor Shuttle XPC SD11G5 PC runs on a mobile Pentium M processor, and doesn't have a powersupply inside the chassis. This, along with a couple other refinements helps to make the XPC a very quiet customer. We were impressed with the solution, so be sure to check out the full 16-page review.

Gigabyte's RX18L256V-B Radeon X1800XL videocard packs in a healthy dose of pixel punching power, making it a great option for gamers. If you're on a budget and want to diminish noise, the GeForce 6600GT-based Gigabyte NX66T256DE is another good choice.

In other news, PCSTATS has tested out a neat motherboard from AOpen that has component output integrated right into it; the Aopen i945Ga-PHS. Rounding out this issue are three other reviews; the Athlon64 X2 4800+, Corsair PC4400 DDR, and Geforce 6150-based Gigabyte K8N51PVMT motherboard. Colin has also put together three very simple, but useful tech tips.

Thanks to everyone who responded to our question last issue, your feedback is important and always appreciated!

Shuttle XPC SD11G5 Small Formfactor PC Review
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Shuttle recently introduced a line of SFF PCs that rely on the kind of CPU made expressly for notebooks. The mobile Intel Pentium M processor combines excellent performance characteristics with low power consumption and low heat output. Technically speaking, the Shuttle XPC SD11G5 SFF PC is based around the Intel 915GM and Intel ICH6M chipsets, and it supports socket 479 Intel Pentium M processors. Onboard goodies consist of a hardware 7.1 Creative Sound Blaster Live! 24-bit sound card, a Gigabit Broadcom BCM5789 network card that runs through the PCI Express x1 bus, IEEE 1394a Firewire 400 and of course an onboard Intel GMA900 videocard care of the i915GM chipset.Continue Here>>

AOpen i945Ga-PHS Motherboard Review
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At first glance, the AOpen i945Ga-PHS socket 775 Intel Pentium 4 motherboard is a pretty well rounded platform, it even supports HDTV component output by default! This is a feature that very few Intel motherboards can boast, and the AOpen i945Ga-PHS is only able to incorporate component outputs because is has a special chipset by Chrontel. Based on the Intel's i945G Northbridge, the AOpen i945Ga-PHS motherboard supports Socket 775 Pentium 4 processors. The four DDR2 memory slots can accommodate up to 4GB of dual channel PC2-6400 unbuffered DDR-2 RAM. Onboard goodies consist of an integrated videocard, Gigabit network card, Intel Azalia HD 7.1-channel audio codec, IEEE 1394a Firewire and an additional Silicon Image SiI3132 Serial ATA II/RAID controller. Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GV-RX18L256V-B X1800 XL Videocard Review
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Gigabyte's GV-RX18L256V-B Radeon X1800 XL videocard is a pretty nice single-slot PCI Express x16 videocard! The Radeon X1800 XL GPU is clocked at 500 MHz, and backed by 256MB of Samsung GDDR3 memory that hums away at 1 GHz. The videocard supports video In/Video Out and High Definition Television output. The software bundle consists of Xpand Rally, Counter Strike Condition Zero, Power Director and PowerDVD. Hidden under the Gigabyte GV-RX18L256V-B heatsink is an ATi Rage Theater chipset which gives the videocard its VIVO ability. Continue Here>>

Corsair TwinX2048-4400 PRO PC4400 DDR Memory Review
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A total of 1GB of system memory is no longer enough for enthusiastic gamers, so faced with building a PC with 1GB or 2GB of installed DDR to start with, the consumer has a couple decisions to make. Though before making that decision, perhaps it is best to first consider the effects of Corsair's new 2GB TwinX2048-4400 PRO DDR RAM kit. Rated to run at speeds of up to 275 MHz, who says you had to sacrifice speed for larger capacity? Each TwinX2048-4400 PRO memory module is rated for up to 275 MHz with 3-4-4-8 timings at a voltage of 2.8V. Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GV-NX66T256DE Videocard Review
Continue on...

Quiet computing is all the rage, and from noise dampening materials to quiet fans, heatpipe based heatsinks and the explosion in watercooling, the choices are plentiful. The Gigabyte GV-NX66T256DE videocard is not just another run of the mill GeForce 660GT with 256MB of DDR2 memory, this card is unique. The GV-NX66T256DE is cooled by fully passive means, and incorporates a couple of unique attributes to lower ambient case temperatures too. The 'Silent-Pipe II' cooler, as it is called, bridges the GPU to two separate heat exchangers.Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GV-K8N51PVMT-9 Motherboard Review
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The AMD K8 platform is the most popular desktop solution right now. According to recent statistics from Ziff Davis, AMD desktop systems out sold Intel, 49.8% to 48.5% for the first time ever. Looking at year thus far, AMD has seen its retail market share leap from 20% to 40%, as of late summer. The nVidia GeForce 6150 improves the situation markedly by offering a usefulness that rivals it mainstream GF6-series graphics counterparts. The Gigabyte GV-K8N51PVMT-9 supports all Socket 939 model AMD Athlon64/FX/X2 processors, and its four DDR DIMM slots can accommodate up to 4GB of PC3200 memory in a dual channel configuration.Continue Here>>

AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ Processor Review
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The AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ processor we tested in this review is based on the 'ACBWE' stepping, and beneath the integrated heatspreader are two physical processor cores runing at a default speed of 2.4 GHz. Both cores individually have 128KB of L1 cache and 1MB of L2 cache, so essentially what we have here are the equivalents of two Athlon64 4000+ CPUs. Both cores share a single 128 bit DDR memory controller. This potentially means that the individual cores will be starved for bandwidth during high load times. TheAthlon64 X2 4800+ processor connects to the motherboard Northbridge chipset via a single 2 GHz (1 GHz up/down 16-bits wide both ways) Hypertransport link. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: The Simple Things Matter Most
This week we go back to basics with two very simple tips that form the cornerstone of a well tweaked system.

Tip #1: Do you Defrag?

Have you ever heard your HDD chug along when you launch a large program? Because of HDD's fast rotational speed, they often plunks down data all over the place on the platter of the drives when you're storing information.. This is very inefficient and takes a lot of time when bits and pieces are all over the place.

Defragging your HDD puts all related information next to each other for quicker access and since all the data is in the same proximity the drive doesn't have to search when you request data. Microsoft has included a defragging program in their OS's for the longest time even dating back to the DOS days. You can access your hard drive defrag program in the "System Tools" folder that is usually in your "Accessories". It's recommended that you defrag your HDD at least once a month so your HDD doesn't get bogged down.

Tip #2: Setting Comfortable Refresh Rates

After prolonged periods of time in front of the computer, do you get headaches or eye strain? Many times this problem can be traced to the monitor running at a low refresh rate. Luckily this is a rather easy fix. Click on the "Start" button, go to "Settings" and then "Control Panel". Once you're inside there, go to "Display". From there click the "Settings" tab and then the "Advanced" button.

Here in Win9x based OS's go to the "Adapter" tab and you should see the "Monitor Settings". Under that should be a number followed by the "Hertz". The sweet spot is 75 Hz or above and in general you want to get that number as high as possible. In Win2k/XP OS's you want to click the "Monitor" tab. There you'll see "Monitor Settings" and you should do the same as what's written above.

When you press the "Apply" or "OK" button your monitor will blink and you should be set. Now you be able stay in front of your computer for long periods of time and not have any problems!

Tip #3: Running WindowsXP in Memory

While allowing Windows XP to manage is the standard way to go about things, you can make the actual WinXP operating system run more efficiently by keeping all of its code in system memory rather than on a hard drive swap file.

Go to Start -> Run and type regedit. From there follow this path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> CurrentControlSet -> Control -> Session Manager -> Memory Management. Right click on the 'DisablePagingExecutive' DWORD value, change its value to '1', save and reboot. With this quick change WinXP will stay in your system memory, instead of loading into a hard drive swap file. Please note, you must have at least 1.0GB of system memory, otherwise you'll notice a serious slowdown in performance!

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

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