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.The new Pentium 5?
.MSI nBox 5900U
.Gigabyte P4 Titan
.Aopen nForce2 Ultra
.Colin's Weekly Tips

NVIDIA FX5900 Ultra and nForce2-Ultra Action!

If everything is on schedule the AMD Athlon 64 should be out September 22, and Intel's Prescott processor about the same time. The wait for the Athlon 64 is exciting for sure, but the big question surrounding Intel's Prescott (Pentium 5?) is whether or not it will actually work with i865 Springdale or i875 Canterwood chipsets.... Officially the word is no, but it's up to the manufacturers to redesign their power regulators for the new core and hopefully spare us all a major upgrade expense. Unofficially the jury is still out, or at least being very, very quiet.

In this weeks PCstats Newsletter we've had the pleasure of playing with, err... testing the MSI NBOX 5900 Ultra videocard bundle. Considering the games are included along with a mouse and a bunch of other useful tidbits, the FX5900U-VTD256 is one cool videocard. Though, it is an expensive proposition for gamers. Next in line is the very unique Gigabyte 8PENXP Springdale motherboard which features a six-phase powersupply!

GEIL show us that the newest memory packaging technique can be used to improve aesthetics, and also performance of PC3500-class DDR. Lastly, the wizards at Aopen have shown us just how well the nForce2 Ultra chipset really is with their AK79D-400 Max AthlonXP motherboard. Have a great weekend, and get ready for another Newsletter next week!

MSI NBox FX5900U-VTD256 Ultra Videocard Review
Back in the days when 3Dfx was king and nVIDIA still a pre-pubescent teenager, manufacturers differentiated themselves by clocking videocards higher then what was advised, and some even included large software bundles to tip the scale. In this wonderful period videocards were rarely based entirely on the reference design, then came what I like to call the "dark ages"... In the 'dark ages', manufacturers did nothing exciting with their products and followed the reference design down to a tee. Not only that, but most products arrived on store shelves with the software bundles cut out. Games if they were included, were old, out of date, or titles that never carried much weight anyway. Recently though, there seem to have been some changes to which might indicate the videocard industry is on the precipice of a renascence. Many manufacturers are now overclocking their cards right from the get go, and better software bundles are once again being assembled.

To differentiate the nBox, an extraordinary bundle of hardware (and we do mean items other than the videocard) and software has been assembled. In fact, the nBox has easily the most impressive bundle of goodies we've seen in the last 12 months! Continue -- Click Here>>

Gigabyte P4 Titan 8PENXP i865PE Motherboard Review

Read it Now!

Competition has always benefitted the end user because it has the effect of driving down prices, and typically increasing the number of features that come standard. With the upsurge in the tech sector these last few months, competition has reached a fevered pitch, and the goal is your hard earned spending money. As the movers and shakers shell out product after product, Gigabyte, who are one of the larger manufacturers in the industry, have been quietly making waves amongst the hardware community.

One such example is the P4 Titan 8PENXP which is based on the mainstream i865PE Springdale chipset. The i865PE chipset has shown that it's a very powerful solution, rival to Intel's i875P in terms of performance! With that in mind, and the relatively low price, it's no wonder manufacturers have multiple boards based on the highly successful i865PE chipset. But with so much competition, how does Gigabyte separate itself from the rest? Well, for starters the Gigabyte 8PENXP motherboard is possibly one of the most equipped i865PE motherboards on the market. Standard features of the board consist of Serial ATA/Serial ATA RAID, Ultra 133 IDE RAID, IEEE 1394, 5.1 audio, Intel CSA enabled Gigabit LAN, dual BIOS's and Gigabyte's special DPS2 (Dual Power System).Continue -- Click Here>>

GeIL Ultra PC3500 Golden Dragon Memory Review
Read it Now!

GeIL incorporated advanced WLCSP (wafer level chip scale package) technology into the Golden Dragon memory line, and aside from the functional reasons to go in this direction, it does look rather cool. To protect the naked silicon DRAMs from damage, the manufacturer added a transparent plastic cover over top. Doesn't that look cool? The eye of dragon glows red thanks to a small LED when the system is on. Very cool indeed, case modders out there should like that!

There are no speed markings on the DRAMs themselves, however GeIL has said that they're using hand picked 4ns modules. The Ultra PC3500 Golden Dragon DC memory is rated to run at 433 MHz with memory timings of 2-3-3-6, and is rated to run at between 2.5-3.1V.Continue -- Click Here>>

AOpen AK79D-400 Max Motherboard Review

Read it Now!

With the K7 near the end of its lifespan, it seems as if every mainboard manufacturer worth its salt is making one last big push with socket A boards. Since nVIDIA recently rehashed the highly successful nForce2-SPP chipset under the moniker of the new nForce2 Ultra 400 name there is no better time than the present. Of course you'll recall that nVidia's nForce2-SPP chipset officially supported the 400 MHz based AthlonXP processors, but it was starting to get old (nForce2 has been around for about 11 months already!) so it was time for a refresh. When nVIDIA released the C1 stepping of the nForce2 they decided to rename the chip the "nForce2 Ultra 400."In this review, PCstats will be testing out the spiffy AOpen AK79D-400 Max mainboard which, obviously, uses the "new and improved" nForce2-Ultra 400 chipset. The Ultra name may be more symbolic than descriptive, but I would expect a little extra performance over stock nForce 2 chipsets at the very least - maybe even a little higher overclocking potential? AOpen packs quite a bit into their AK79D-400 Max so critics remain content. The AK79D-400 includes Serial ATA/Serial ATA RAID, an additional Ultra/133 IDE channel, 5.1 audio (nVIDIA SoundStorm - the good stuff!), IEEE 1394, 10/100 LAN and dual BIOS's.Continue -- Click Here>>

Allocating Resources is a quick fix!
Search Dealtime
Super Micro

We've been spending a lot of time with WindowsXP recently, but I've gotten quite a few e-mails from people using Win98 who are feeling a bit left out. Well this tip is for you guys.

Most users work with programs that are running in the foreground however Windows allocates resources equally to both foreground and background tasks/applications. You can set the priority higher to the foreground tasks (which should increase overall application performance) with a simple registry tweak.

Load up regedit (Start -> Run -> Regedit) then follow this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> System -> CurrentControlSet -> Services->VxD -> BIOS. Once you're there modify/create the DWORD value named CPUPriority. Now you have four options for values...

0 - Applications in the Foreground run in real-time mode. Be careful though, running applications in real time mode can cause the system to become unstable!
1 - Foreground apps are set to run at maximum priority.
2 - Foreground has higher priority than background.
3 - (Default) Foreground and background are equal priority.

Choose what you think is appropriate for you and reboot. You'll probably want to experiment to see what best suites your computing style. On a side note, the 'Stats Forums are the coolest place on the web!!

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PCstats Issue
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The High Tech
Low Down

Intel's upcoming "Prescott" core has been receiving a lot of attention as of late. It would seem that there is a bit of controversy regarding the processor's compatibility with the 875P and 865PE motherboards currently on the market. Further, it sounds like the chip's added complexity will push it into new territories for power dissipation, despite a fresh 90nm manufacturing process.

One rumor, it appears, is related to the other. According to sources in the East, "Prescott's" thermal design power (TDP) is estimated to be above 100W, putting it above today's 3.2GHz flagship by about 20 watts. Unfortunately, this is well above initial predictions and the result is a more stringent power specification to which many of today's boards do not conform.

What, then, happens to those who purchased pricey 875P motherboards under the assumption they'd work with the Socket 478 version of Prescott? Quite simply, the jury is still out. Some motherboard manufacturers are already claiming Prescott compliance, while others are keeping mum. Meanwhile, Intel has withheld official comment. There always remains the possibility, of course, that it will change the pin-out of Prescott when it arrives. I imagine Intel would prefer not to, though.

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Weekly Tips
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. C. Angelini
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