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Newsletter Contents

.AMD and Athlon64
.MSI 875P Neo
.NForce2 Mobo
.Springdale Mobo
.Barebones PC
.Albatron NF2 Mobo
.Colin's Weekly Tips

The GeForce4 Videocard Winner is....

Now that summer is here the tech industry appears to be kicking into high gear - we have more motherboards and videocards from all the big names you know and crave in the lab right now. This includes a bunch of videocards from Albatron, MSI, Prolink, Crucial and Gigabyte along with a few things I can't tell you about just yet...

I'm also pleased to announce the winner of our most recent Newsletter Giveaway is Mr. Smith from Ohio, USA.

Mr. Smith, (or perhaps Agent Smith?) has won a MSI GF4Ti4600 video card, and our congratulations go out to him!

In this week's edition we have motherboards, motherboards, and more motherboards!! Starting with the 875P Neo from MSI we go into unfamiliar territory and test out the Magic Pro K7N Ultra-S, though it really is just made by Soltek. After that we have the MP-P6PE-1000 (made by Albatron) and a nifty barebones system by MSI with PCMCIA ports and a memory stick reader.

Capping off the Newsletter this week are three mini-Colins Tips (Hi Agnes!) all rolled into one, and a look at V2.0 of the Albatron KM18G nForce2 mainboard. C. Angelini talks about the Athlon 64 and AMD - a topic that so many of us are eagerly waiting on. Until next week, thanks for reading! If you know someone who might like a copy our newsletter, feel free to point them in this direction to sign up!

MSI 875P Neo-FIS2R Motherboard Review
Read Article Now!

A lot of manufacturers like to bundle just the bare necessities with their products so it's always a bit of a treat to test out a top of the line model that comes with literally everything in the box. There are different flavours of the 875P Neo which are designed to fit different requirements and budgets, but the -FIS2R version is like getting A/C, leather, CD, and mag wheels with that new car. Heck, we're even geeky enough to get a little excited about that "new motherboard smell" that wafts out of the box once the anti-static bag is cracked open. This bright red ATX board is currently MSI's flagship model on the i875P Canterwood chipset. It commands a bit of a premium in terms of price, retailing for $245 CDN ($185 US) or thereabouts. With the release of the 875P Neo and 865PE Neo2 motherboards, Canterwood and Springdale-based respectively, MSI is now also targeting the overclocking market head on. The question as we see it is whether or not MSI can provide the gear necessary to convert die hard overclockers who usually have a lot of brand loyalty (ie. Asus, Abit, Epox). Read the Rest...

Magic-Pro K7N-Ultra S nForce2 SPP Motherboard Review

Read Article Now! The rise of nVIDIA's nForce2 chipset as top dog among AMD chipsets has been nothing short of remarkable. So swift was the momentum of this chipset that only now are VIA and SiS catching up.... to silicon which has been around for over eight months now. That is just about a full life cycle in the computer industry. If you were to ask anyone which new AMD motherboard to get, you'd no doubt be recommended to get something using one of the nForce2 variants! The competition will be tough for VIA since their chipset is hardly even battle tested, let alone proven in the minds of AMD's consumers. Knowing VIA though, they'll need to rehash the KT600 before things are done right.... you can almost bet that somewhere on the horizon there is a KT600A. Magic-Pro also include five PCI slots on their flagship K7N-Ultra S should you need to expand a few months down the road. Of course, there are the usual 8x AGP port and three DIMM slots which support a maximum of 3GB of PC1600/2100/2700/3200 DDR RAM. Read the Rest...

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Magic-Pro MP-P6PE-1000 i865PE Motherboard Review MSI Hermes 650-P Barebones System Review

Read Article Now! As prices continue the downward slide there really has never been a better time to upgrade or buy computer components for a new system. While high end devices are still relatively expensive, mainstream products have never been less expensive; prices are so low in fact that some peripherals seem almost disposable. With the new mainstream Springdale (i865PE) Pentium 4 chipset on the market we're starting to see the influx of new boards which always accompanies such a release. Of course if you're looking for a new motherboard, determining which one to get can be a difficult decision. Like the i845PE chipset before it, some might argue that the difference between one i865PE based motherboard and the next is virtually nil. The board has native Serial ATA support (then again all i865 and i875P based motherboards do as well), onboard 3Com 10/100 LAN and a 5.1 soundcard. Read the Rest...

Read Article Now!

These days computers cannot be just fast and powerful, they also have to be small and packed full of features. The MSI Hermes Barebones system is not quite as small as some of the other SFF systems out there, but it's certainly slimmer than regular mid tower computers. The system when installed with a CPU and hard drive is perfect as a home theatre, or bookshelf PC. The Hermes is powerful enough for everyday computing as well. We're going to be taking the MSI Hermes for a spin today and be giving you our $0.02. The barebones Hermes is based around the SiS 650 chipset and that means it supports Socket 478/400 MHz FSB Celeron/Pentium 4 processors. The SiS 650 chipset does not support the newly released 800MHz FSB Pentium 4 processors. After using the Hermes for a while it is easy to see the unit has been designed with the end user in mind. Read the Rest...

Colin's Weekly Tech Tips

Colin Sun

I think WindowsXP is the best and most reliable Windows operating system to date, but there are still quite a few quirks that canb be annoying to deal with. The next few tips are require registry tweaking so load up regedit (Start -> Run and type regedit then press the Ok button).

I find the balloon tips very annoying, and luckily turning them off is pretty easy. With regedit loaded up, follow this path. HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Software -> Microsoft -> Windows -> Current Version -> Explorer -> Advanced. Create an EnableBalloonTips DWORD and set its value to 0 to disable the balloons.

For the more advanced users out there, you know well how much free space is on your HDD so you don't need the OS reminding you that you're running out. To disable the low disk space notification go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> CurrentControlSet -> Services -> lanmanserver. Inside there create a DiskSpaceThreshold DWORD and set it to 0.

Do you have some old applications that just won't install on XP but work fine in 2k or 98? You can trick the software into thinking you're running an older OS by changing a few registry keys. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows NT -> CurrentVersion. Inside there change the ProductName string value to Microsoft Windows 2000 (default is Microsoft Windows XP) if you want to install a Win2k only application. Please note, sometimes you may need to change the CurrentBuildNumber string value as well.

Colin's Tips Archives | Forums

It's funny that while the SFF fad is in style not many manufacturers have a micro ATX nForce2 motherboard in their lineup. Albatron do, and have just released their KM18G Pro V2.0 nForce2 IGP based motherboard which could easily become the backbone of a home theatre PC. Of course just because the motherboard is small in size does not mean it will not be just as good for everyday computing... or does it? Only the benchmarks will tell us where the KM18G Pro V2.0 really stands, so let's get started. Because of the relative small size, the only "frills" of the motherboard are its 10/100 LAN, integrated video & TV-out, and 5.1 audio. So what makes a small micro-ATX motherboard such as this worth checking out? It's expandable, and that takes up less space. My dad would have freaked if I plunked down a mid or full tower ATX case next to his HDTV instead of the micro-case he currently uses. Smaller computers definitely have their positive sides! Read the Rest...
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PCstats Issue

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The High Tech Low Down

By: Chris Angelini

Is there life for the venerable Athlon XP once Athlon 64 hits the streets? My sources say yes. Think about it for just a minute - Athlon 64, anticipated as it may be, will be a costly upgrade when its time comes. Don't believe me? Look at the tremendous price differential between the top-end Athlon MP and flagship Opteron processors. Not only will enthusiasts need to buy a new processor, but a compliant motherboard will also be in order, complete with a Socket 754 interface. Then, if you haven't invested in DDR400 memory yet, you'll want that, too.

So what will happen once Athlon 64 is released, reportedly only three months from now? It's too early to tell, my source reminds me, because the marketplace itself dictates demand. But it wouldn't be far fetched to guess that the Athlon XP 3200+ won't be the last "Barton"-based chip to see the light of day, despite what we've heard from AMD. In fact, my own testing confirms that even while the fastest Athlon XP is clocked at 2.2GHz, the same chip can be stable at speeds of up to 2.4GHz. AMD's yields may not accommodate such a lofty frequency, but the Athlon XP should remain a viable solution, at least through the beginning of 2004.

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