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.The new Pentium 5?
.Radeon 9800 Pro
.Epox i875P
.Albatron FX5900
.Asus P4C800
.Colin's Weekly Tips


Wow! PCstats has some really exciting reviews for you to read in this weeks Edition! In the left corner we have the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, and in the right - nVidia's GeForceFX 5900 Videocard from newcomer Albatron. Who will be the winner, and who will be the vanquished? When it comes to a battle of GPU vs. GPU on the field of FPS, your court side seats are the best in the house!

What good is a fast videocard if your current motherboard goes back to the day of the BX chipset? Not much unfortunately, but there is a good upgrade path in the form of the i865PE chipset. We had some reviews of Springdale-based motherboards in the last few Newsletters, so today we are examining an i875P motherboard from EPOX called the EP-4PCA3+. recently tested the Asus P4C800 DLX 800MHz FSB Pentium 4 motherboard which is also built around the powerful i875P chipset, so be sure to read that review if you are deciding between i865PE and i875P chipsets.

I'm looking forward to what could be the 'Pentium 5' processor, and in this week's High Tech Low Down Chris fills in the the details as they have started to emerge. Colin talks memory speed in the Tech Tips which are always helpful, and remember to visit for up to the minute news throughout the day!

Crucial Radeon 9800 Pro Videocard Review
Read it Now! ATi are laying down the same game plan set by nVIDIA many years back, releasing new VPUs every six to eight months. The Radeon 9800 Pro VPU was released seven months after the highly successful Radeon 9700 Pro and the upcoming 'R420' is on course for a late September release. The Radeon 9800 Pro VPU is really nothing more than a higher clocked 'R300' core that has been tweaked for just a bit more performance. We'll get into the specifics in a moment, but as you're about to see it really does improve performance nicely. In any event, the highly successful Radeon 9800 Pro we are examining now came to market from an unlikely source - Crucial, a division of Micron, and a tier one memory manufacturer. Crucial ventured into the highly competitive world of videocards in the summer of 2002, originally releasing a Radeon 8500LE. Their videocard caused quite a stir in the hardware community due to the use of 6ns DRAM, however the performance of the card was not able to live up to expectations.

Today we'll be checking out Crucial's new Radeon 9800 Pro videocard. The same questions arise; does this card live up to the Crucial name and expectations? You'll just have to read on to find out... Continue -- Click Here>>

Epox 4PCA3+ i875P Motherboard Review
Read it Now! When the news came down the wire that the Epox 4PCA3+ i875P motherboard was on the testing block I have to admit I was a little excited. You see, Epox are one of the few manufacturers that can make my [techie] pulse rise. This isn't because of any grand marketing schemes, promotions, or bundles of software and USB break-out boxes in the box. Nope, this impression is one which has been built over many months, and over experiences with many different motherboards from Epox. And if the past is any indication of what to expect in the future, then the 4PCA3+ has a lot to live up to. For not only are Epox motherboards typically fast, they are also typically very good overclockers; and as you may have realized, I'm all for hitting the high numbers!

I understand the future is in Serial ATA but I still have quite a few large capacity IDE drives that are far from being tossed out with yesterdays BX chipset. It's easy to see why a quiet grin swept across my face the second I saw not four, but six IDE headers on this motherboard. With the right sized hard drives one could make very nice use of the on board High Point HPT374 controller indeed.

Continue -- Click Here>>

Albatron GeForce FX5900PV Videocard Review
Read it Now!

The FX5900PV comes in a nifty carry case which through us for a loop as I thought Albatron had sent a notebook by accident! The Albatron GeForceFX 5900PV is packed securely in a block of antistatic closed-cell foam inside the nylon notebook style bag, which also includes a full version of Duke Nukem: MP, a five game demo/lite CD, Power Director and Power DVD among other items. Because the card supports VIVO, Albatron also a VIVO break out box a S-Video to S-Video, and a composite to composite cable. An analog to DVI converter is also bundled in with the package as well. The Albatron GeForceFX 5900PV is a long videocard at 22.5 cm, so you may have to remove the videocard when you're installing system memory. The card only has 128MB of memory that's why you see silk screens for eight additional DRAM modules. With no memory on the back of the card and with the core clocked at 400 MHz, the Albatron GeForceFX 5900PV does not require any rear-PCB cooling. Albatron employs the Phillips 7108AE VIVO module with their GeForceFX 5900PV videocard. These days it's not good enough to have a fast videocard, you must also have well rounded multimedia options as more and more users are taking advantage of these features.

Asus P4C800 DLX i875P Motherboard Review
Read it Now! Today we're going to be testing out Asus' P4C800 Deluxe Intel motherboard - the companies flagship board for the Canterwood chipset. This little bad boy comes with a whole slew of features like; four Serial ATA/Serial ATA RAID headers, a low-profile Ultra/133 IDE channel, 5.1 audio, Gigabit LAN (not CSA) and IEEE 1394 firewire for starters. If that's not good enough for you, you can upgrade the board from any of its five PCI slots and long 8x AGP Pro port. Officially the i875P chipset only supports Northwood B and C processors (533MHz, 800MHz FSB respectively) however according to Asus, you can also run 400 MHz based Northwood Pentium 4 processors in the P4C800-DLX. The four DIMM slots can accommodate up to 4GB of PC1600-3200 DDR RAM, ECC or non ECC. One thing we really liked about the Asus P4C800 was that the manufacturer installed a plastic back plate behind the CPU socket for added support. This back plate help to ensure that the motherboard will not warp, or buckle when a stiff heatsink is attached to the HSRM (Heatsink Retention Mechanism).

Continue -- Click Here>>

Aggressive Memory... Grrr!
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Super Micro

One of the biggest things you can do to boost your overall system performance is to tune your system memory. When your computer is POSTing (when your memory is being counted) you have to get into your BIOS, usually it's as simple as pressing the "Delete" key, on some motherboards you have to press "F1".

After you're in the BIOS you want to go to your "Advanced Chipset Features". Inside that sub menu's look for "DRAM Timing" or "DRAM Control". Once you find that, look for "CAS Latency" or "CL". On the safe side this is usually set to "SPD" (Serial Presence Detect) but you'll find if you can adjust the value to "2" your overall system performance would go up approx. 5-7%!

Basically what this tweak does is, it forces your memory to run a little more aggressively. It no longer waits as long when addressing and transferring data between the bus, CPU, or other peripherals. You should notice the biggest performance differences in games or anything that heavily taxes your system.


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PCstats Issue
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The High Tech
Low Down

Let's talk Grantsdale for a bit, shall we? Intel's 875P chipset is wildly popular at the moment for its 800MHz front side bus support, CSA gigabit Ethernet architecture and native Serial ATA RAID 0 support. But as we all know, it won't last. Intel always has something bigger and better running behind closed doors. That something is primed to debut in 2004 alongside a new version of the 'Prescott' core, which still lacks association with the Pentium moniker (will it be an extension of Pentium 4, will it be Pentium 5, or will it be something new?).

At any rate, Grantsdale is the chipset that will invariably replace 875P. Its main allure will be an implementation of PCI Express x16, delivering an increasing quantity of throughput to the next generation of graphics cards. Initially set for an 800MHz front side bus, the platform will eventually transition up to 1.2GHz, accompanied by DDR-II memory running at up to 533MHz. Undoubtedly, a version of the chipset will surface with integrated graphics - said to be an entirely new core. Finally, the ICH6 will succeed today's ICH5, sporting four channels of Serial ATA support and PCI Express x1 slots. Save your pennies, though. Like today's 875P, don't expect Grantsdale to be inexpensive!

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Written By
. M. Page
Weekly Tips
. C. Sun
HTLD Columnist
. C. Angelini
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