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Today's Contents

.All about AMD
.Intel 2.8GHz
.3DMark Tweaks 2
.Mobo Roundup
.AquaPad Tablet
.Server Case
.Radeon 9700 Pro
.Colin's Weekly Tips

AMD's Hammer and Barton Core


Today is a 'big' day - we have a 'big' roundup of ten i845E/G motherboards to let you know about, a 'big' 2.8GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor review ready to be read, and a few other nifty components ripe for your favorite geeks' high-tech Xmas wish list.

For starters there's the ATI Radeon 9700 Pro - a fast, impressive, and pretty expensive videocard that kills the nVidia GF4Ti4600 hands down. Then there's the Antec SX1030B full-tower case which has loads of room to spare for extra drives, and even a little modding if you like. This would normally be where we sign off, but no, there's more.

I asked Colin to update his Fastest Webmaster Guide and since he had so much to say, he wrote a whole new article chronicling his rise to the #3 spot. Since we have "Tablet PC" on the brain, and since we will shortly be looking at an example from FIC, I thought you might want to read our review of the original AquaPad here.

Before I sign off, I just wanted to share one comment I received this week that says a lot about the state of the Internet, and what we're trying to accomplish with the Newsletter. This is about the best compliment we could have gotten, and I'm really glad that we are providing information and tips which are useful in your daily computing lives! Thanks Graham!

"Sorry to bother you, but I feel I just have to write to you and comment about how cuffed [happy] I am with your service!!! I signed up to some junk mail thing a while back-to enter into a competition, thinking it would only be something I would have to delete once a week. In truth what I got once a week was a stunning, short sharp and witty run down on the monthly pc news!!! - Graham"

Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz Processor Review

The Intel Pentium 4 processor has come a long way in the last two years. These days, if you want a top of the line system, it's going to have a Pentium 4 inside. Yes, AMD's AthlonXP 2700+ and 2800+ processors are just as powerful, its just that they're almost impossible to find for retail sale while the P4 2.8 GHz has been easily available since its' introduction. Ever since the Northwood core was been introduced, Intel has been in front in terms of performance, and perhaps more importantly, availability. What makes the Intel Northwood P4 so attractive is that Intel has doubled the size of the L2 cache. With 512KB of L2 cache the performance penalty for having a long CPU pipeline has been dramatically reduced. To top things off, Northwood Pentium 4's are great overclockers. Many 1.6A and 1.8A P4's have no problem hitting 2.4 GHz+ with retail cooling! The CPU is based on the new C1 core which uses the new enhanced, shrunken, Northwood core which has a surface area of only 131 mm2. Non-enhanced B0 steeping Northwoods are 145mm2 in size. C1 stepping Northwood P4's also run on a higher voltage of 1.525V as opposed to 1.5V for the B0 based Northwood's.

Read the Rest...

3DMark2001SE Tweak Guide - Part 2

Read Article Now! The 3DMark benchmarks from MadOnion are quite popular and are often used to test the power of computers, and while 3DMark may not always represent real world 3D performance, it is usually a good indicator. Like I mentioned in my earlier 3DMark2001 Tweak Guide , the best feature of the 3DMark benchmarks is the ability to upload your score to the web and compare your computer to some of the fastest rigs in the world.

As you can see, 3DMark2001 SE seems to get it's biggest performance boost from overclocking the videocard (1800 point increase), then overclocking the system (1600 point increase) and finally by using aggressive memory timings (500 point increase). Tweaking the OS and using a 3rd party tweaker to tweak the image quality only nets us about another 250 points.

Read the Rest...

10 Motherboard i845E/G Roundup
Traditionally, Intel chipsets have always been the fastest and most stable for Intel processors; just consider the venerable i440BX, i815E or even the i850E. The characteristics of motherboards based on these chipsets were all very good, but that changed with the release of the i820+ MTH... Thet chipset was buggy, caused data problems, and was eventually recalled.

Every DIY'er knows that finding the "perfect" motherboard can be a pretty difficult task. There are so many different manufacturers to consider, and then the amount of chipsets is pretty diverse. For example, Intel itself has at least eight mainstream Pentium 4 chipsets currently on the market. There are the Intel i850, i845 and the i845D chipsets which all work with 400 MHz FSB Pentium 4's, and then there are the i850E, i845E, i845G, i845PE/PG which work with both 400 and 533 MHz FSB P4's. Tack on SiS's 645, 645DX, 648 and VIA's P4X266, P4X266A, P4X266E, P4X333 and the P4X400, you're bound to have some headaches deciding what to get!

Read the Rest...

FIC Midori Linux AquaPad - Extensive Review

It was not long ago that the cry of 'webpad' was being echoed from companies like Hitachi to Gateway. To be honest though, nothing really long lasting for the consumer market ever came to fruition. Instead, webpads saw themselves transition into internet appliances, and then most recently evolving into 'tablet PC's'. The only areas these mobile devices (what we like to call them) really found a home was in the vertical markets and industrial applications where they could be tailored to very specific tasks.

The 2.5lb AquaPad is a medium sized portable device centered around an 800x600 pixel TFT touch sensitive screen. The device is larger than a PDA, but smaller than a laptop. The actual dimensions are 274x164x26 mm, and walking around with it gives the impression that you are playing a bit part in the newest StarTrek spinoff. The smooth blue and silver AquaPad has several ports for expansion cards, but not much else, and fits easily into the left hand.

Powered by a 500MHz TM5400 Transmeta Crusoe processor with 128MB of PC133 SDRAM, and a Midori Linux operating system based out of a 32MB Compact Flash card, the AquaPad is the definition of a low-footprint device. Expansion ports are kept to a minimum, with just one Type II PCMCIA port, one external Compact Flash port (useful for saving data, or for an IBM Microdrive), an IrDA window, two USB ports and a place to stick in a pair of ear bud-style headphones.

Read the Rest...

Antec SX1030B File Server Case

ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 8X AGP Videocard Review

There comes a time for every user when upgrading just the components of their computer is no longer good enough. Rather than drop my nice new motherboard and processor into the dusty no-name case I have been using for the last three years, I went out and picked up a black Antec SX1030B full tower case for about $180CDN. That is a lot of money to spend on a case from anyone's perspective, but it is a lot less than the flashy Lian Li cases which retail from around $300CDN. Looking at the shelves of cases at the store I had a choice between no-name beige cases which would get the job done, toy-like mid towers with lots of fake chrome, and flashy aluminum cases that are like some kind of geek status symbol.

Read the Rest...

Read Article Now!

On the core level, the transistor count now rings in at an amazing 107 million - that is almost double the amount in a Northwood Pentium 4!. The R300 GPU is built with older (and very dependable) 0.15 micron manufacturing technology, and contains a long list of technologies which enable it to create some of the best graphics hard core gamers have come to crave. All of this at blisteringly fast frames per second, but we'll touch on that in just a second. The first thing you'll probably be wondering about is the floppy drive power connector on the right hand side of the card. This power connector is there because the Radeon 9700 Pro is power hungry and needs to draw more voltage then allowed by AGP 3.0 specifications.

Colin's Weekly Tech Tips
Written By: Colin "Fastest Webmaster" Sun

Shift / Administrator
Most programs require administrative access to install, however if the current user which is logged on the computer has work in progress it may not be possible to log off and log back on as the admin. Never fear though, Microsoft thought of this already and there is a little hidden trick that solves this problem.

If you need to access a program that requires administrative rights, simply press the "Shift" key and right click on the program file. You will now see the "Run as..." option and when you select that, it'll prompt you for a user name and password. Simply enter the administrator name and password and now you can run that program as the Admin. Administrative rights will only be enabled for that program alone, and once it has been closed admin access will be terminated.

This works in both Win2k as well as WinXP and can even be used on programs in the Start Menu.

Colin's Tips Archives | The Forums

The Last Word: Did you know that the average staffer drinks about 2.7 coffee's a day? It's true, we really like our coffee :)

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PCstats Issue No.61
Circulation 165,000

The High Tech Low Down
With Chris Angelini

The Athlon XP 2800+ would be an excellent product. Not only is it faster than the 2.8GHz Pentium 4 (when residing on an nForce2 platform), but it is also priced much more aggressively than Intel's current flagship. There's only one problem - AMD anticipates that the 2800+ will first become available to hardware enthusiasts in the beginning of 2003. By the end of this year, Intel will already be traipsing around with a 3.06GHz Pentium 4 and a dual-channel DDR platform with AGP 8x support, among other features.

Though AMD's official roadmap still claims that the 512KB Barton core will debut late in 2002, I think it's a safe bet that New Years Day will come and go without mention of the last core design AMD has planned for the Athlon XP. Unfortunately, I suspect that the much-anticipated Hammer architecture will suffer a similar fate. It may be announced early in 2003, but processors probably won't be widely available until the middle of the year.

Perhaps AMD will surprise us, though, and release Hammer in full force. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that AMD has taken the processor market by storm, that's for sure.

Do you read the HTLD each week? Let us know what you think of Chris' Column.

Next Week

The Intel 2.4GHz processor, i845PE motherboards, and more DDR400 memory...

See all of today's news stories.

PCstats News is updated throughout the day right here.

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