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Newsletter Contents

. NVidia NV40
.Gigabyte Radeon 9600
.Waterfield Designs
.HyperX PC3500
.NF2 Roundup
.Albatron GFX5200
.Colin's Weekly Tips

NV40, Radeon 9600Pro and Ballistic Nylon

Welcome back to another edition of the Newsletter. If you haven't been by then you've missed our cool new look, and new features! News has been moved to the font page of the site, so to get the latest information you only need to type in, and since Colin is working hard to keep the news coming throughout the day you can be sure there is always a tid-bit of information to interest you.

A brand new Albatron GeForceFX 5900 has just arrived in the labs and the results are going to be mouth watering - but you'll have to tune into next weeks issue for the review of this videocard. Today we have a look at Gigabyte's Radeon 9600 Pro - a videocard which has impressed us enough to win my coveted Editors Choice Award (hey I am the Editor after all). Also on the block are a set of high-tech peripheral bags from the folks at Waterfield Designs in San Francisco. Waterfield make their gear out of ballistic Nylon and industrial materials like Indium and Neoprene. Cool stuff indeed, and the notebook sleeve is just priceless at protecting little magnesium laptops from nasty scratches.

Albatron enter into this weeks Newsletter with their ZeusPC were good enough to send a couple sticks of Kingston HyperX PC3500 DDR in brilliant blue anodized aluminum heatspreaders. The memory performed well, but you'll have to read the review to get the full story. There's much more this week, so be sure to see Colin's Weekly Tech Tip - as this will be his last in this newsletter.... that's because next week the PCstats Newsletter is getting a completely new look for Colin to write his tips in. ;-) Don't forget to check out what Chris has to say in the HighTech Low Down this week about NV40!

Gigabyte GV-R96P128D Radeon 9600 Pro Videocard Rev
Read Article Now! Ever since ATi released their Radeon 9700 Pro VPU in the summer of 2002 they've taken control of the graphics card markets. Even now ATI are still firmly in the drivers seat, despite the recent release of nVidia's GeForceFX lineup. ATi knows though that no matter how fast your high end part is, it's in the budget and mainstream markets where the war is must be won. Gigabyte (a tier one manufacturer) has been on the ATi bandwagon since the release of the Radeon 8500 line of GPU's, and today we're going to be looking at Gigabyte's mainstream Radeon 9600 Pro which is obviously based on an ATi VPU. The tiny Radeon 9600 Pro VPU is built on 0.13 micron technology instead of larger more expensive 0.15 micron like the Radeon 9500/9700/9800's. This was a smart move for ATi as it's better to experiment on the lower cost chipsets and have all the quirks worked out by the time you migrate your high end VPU's to the smaller manufacturing process. nVIDIA learned this the hard way with their GeForceFX 5800 GPU's! Read the Rest...

Waterfield Designs Gear Bags and Notebook Sleeves
Read Article Now! 'Ballistic Nylon' just rolls off the tongue so nicely, and makes even the simplest of objects appear exotic. Take for example the bags we use to carry around cables, power adapters, and things of this nature. Sure, they could be packed away in a Ziplock bag, but what fun would that be? To be realistic, most people don't pay all that much attention to the bags we use to lug around a adapter cables, ac/adaptors or for that matter even a digital camera or notebook. Most of the time we simply use whichever carry case was thrown in with the equipment when we bought it - typically made from vinyl, nylon or pleather, and without much credence towards appearance, comfort or long term durability and protection of the gear inside. There are of course cases which are built like a tank, and do a great job, but in my experience they are few and far between. Now, say hello to Ballistic Nylon, Neoprene and engineered textiles like Indium. Waterfield Designs, a company based in San Francisco originally caught my attention three years ago after reading a short article on them in ID, and today we are going to examine a few more articles of interest from this company. Each the three bags below are meant to compliment the small things they carry - whether it be a bundle of adaptor wires, a notebook or even a digital camera. Read the Rest...

Visit the ShoppingList Page for the July 2003 Budget $599, Mainstream $1500, and Performance $2500 System hardware recommendations!!

Kingston PC3500 HyperX DDR Memory Review
Read Article Now!With the recent release of the nForce2 Ultra and the i875P/i865 based chipsets, there has never been a greater demand for fast, high quality, memory modules. Kingston is a name that's been long associated with quality memory products and late 2002 they released their "HyperX" line of memory specifically designed for overclockers and the performance enthusiast. While relatively new to the overclockers game, Kingston are starting to make a name for themselves, and even the most hardcore overclockers are slowly starting to adopt their memory modules. At this point, Kingston can easily stand in the same crowd as Corsair and Mushkin, but which company will take supremacy still remains to be fought over. With a retail price of $230 CDN ($160 USD), the Kingston HyperX KHX3500/256 memory kit is decently priced. Two sticks of 256MB Corsair XMS3500 CAS2 would run you around the $260 range, and $255 for the OCZ PC3500EL DC DDR kit. Today we're going to be looking at two sticks of 256MB Kingston PC3500 HyperX DDR memory supplied to us through ZeusPC, which are rated to run with memory timings of 2-3-3-7-1 at 216 MHz FSB with only 2.5V. The two DIMM's we're going to be testing are not rated to run in dual channel mode but we had absolutely no problems running them in our Epox 8RGA+ (nForce2 IGP) test motherboard or other DC based mobo's. Read the Rest...

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Albatron GeForceFX 5600P Turbo Videocard Review Massive nVidia nForce2 Motherboard Roundup

Albatron made quite a name for themselves back in the GeForce4 era. Who could forget the awesome GeForce4 Ti4200 Turbo line? Albatron has done what they set out to do, and have become a major player in the videocard industry within one generation. Now that the GeForceFX is upon us we were quite excited to discover what Albatron would potentially do with their videocards to make them stand out from the rest of the pack.

If we look back into history you'll remember that nVIDIA lost some Ti4600 sales to the GeForce4 Ti4200 GPU which offered great bang for the buck. It's a good bet that the same situation wasn't going to be allowed to develop for the new GeForceFX's! Read the Rest...

Read Article Now! As a newbie to the chipset market, nVidia's original nForce chipset struck out pretty badly despite being fast for its time. The reasons for the failure were simple, the first nforce chipsets were expensive and bogged down by delay after delay which caused a very late release to market. Despite a bit of a delay at the release of the nForce2 chipset, nVidia appears to have learned their lessons well and have not made the same mistakes twice. Consequently, the nForce2 chipset is enjoying widespread popularity among consumers. Read the Rest...

Colin's Weekly Tech Tips

Colin Sun
Today: Messenger and system load

Personally I only use MSN because the guys at work do (I'm more of an ICQ guy) but one thing that has always bothered me is the version of MSN messenger that is bundled with WindowsXP loads by default, sucks up a lot of resources and is difficult to remove. Even after you upgrade your MSN Messenger to something newer, the bundled version still loads up at startup!

Luckily we can remove it after a few clicks of the mouse and keyboard. First load up Windows Explorer (right click on the My Computer Icon and go to Explore). Go to your Windows/INF directory and find open up the sysoc.inf file. From there find msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7 and remove hide and nothing else. Save, close and now you can remove that old MSN Messenger from your XP system.

Colin's Tips Archives | Forums

Albatron GeForceFX 5200 Ultra Videocard Review

Read Article Now! Buying a new videocard has never been more difficult and confusing than it is today. There are only two major players in the video graphics chipset manufacturing game (nVIDIA and ATi), but the market is flooded with various GPU's that have huge price differences, and very similar names. Manufacturers know that most computer users are not gamers, and of those who game, only a small fraction are "hardcore" enough to keep buying those $500 videocards every six months. That's why most manufacturers wisely focus on the low-to-mid end videocard markets. With the new GeForceFX class videocards even those on a tight budget can enjoy the benefits of DX 9, albeit at lower resolutions. Now that the arena has been set, Albatron has sent their GeForceFX 5200 Ultra to do battle with the other budget based videocards on the market. To help keep costs down, Albatron bundled only the basics with their FX 5200 Ultra. The only piece of CD that Albatron includes is (other then the driver CD) WinDVD. For those of you who want to output the image onto your TV, Albatron includes a S-Video to composite converter as well as a Composite to Composite cable. We would have liked to see Albatron include a DVI to analog converter too so users could take advantage of dual monitors. Read the Rest...

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PCstats Issue

Circulation: 259,235

The High Tech Low Down

By: Chris Angelini

It isn't a comfortable position, the one that NVIDIA is currently in. With a vile memory of the GeForce FX 5800 several months ago and accusations of benchmark cheating even more recently, the graphics giant needs something especially compelling to pull it back into the game it once definitively dominated. That product, code-named NV40, should do just that according to several sources.

At this point, the most reliable figures are the core and memory frequencies targeted by NVIDIA. By the time NV40 rolls around (late in 2003 or early 2004), the graphics processor should be running at least 550MHz, potentially on IBM's 130nm manufacturing process. Memory technology will have evolved a bit as well, and it looks like NVIDIA is expecting GDDR2 (or maybe GDDR3?) to be a viable option, even at speeds up to 700MHz. At that speed, we're looking at 44.8GB per second of bandwidth, assuming a 256-bit memory bus! NVIDIA can also be expected to incorporate support for the Vertex and Pixel Shader 3.0 specification.

Of course, early specifications are tricky to tackle. They're subject to change as unforeseen obstacles appear - NV30 was a perfect example of that. But as the year progresses and DX9 games become available, you can expect more detailed specifications of the cards that were designed to power Doom III.

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