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In This Issue...

- Raeon X1800XT Videocard
- Powerware UPS
- Aopen i945G Mobo
- AirCruiser Router
- PCstats Weekly Tips

MSI Radeon X1800XT 512MB-Version

When it comes to videocards, the entire industry is constantly reinventing itself. What is a pixel-pushing videocard one quarter, quickly becomes fodder for mainstream PCs the next... While the Radeon X1900XT is enjoying a brief spotlight right now, the MSI Radeon X1800XT with its 512MB memory shouldn't be overlooked. This 512MB MSI videocard offers quick gaming performance, at about the same levels as nVidia's 7800GT.

Moving right along, this issue of the PCSTATS Newsletter also looks at the 1000VA Powerware 5125 UPS (a great devices to have in the face of brown-outs) the home theatre-friendly Intel Pentium 4 AOpen i945G motherboard, and Gigabyte's internal wireless network AirCruiser router.

Thanks for reading,
Max Page

MSI RX1800XT-VT2D512E 512MB-Version RX1800XT Videocard Review

For hardcore gamers, there is no other component in a computer more important than the videocard. Equip a state of the art AMD Athlon64 FX-60 or Intel Pentium Extreme Edition based system with a low end videocard and frame rates will still crawl along... On the flip side, a high end videocard can breathe new life into an aging system even, and at the moment one of ATi's best video processing units (VPU) is the Radeon X1800 XT. The MSI Radeon RX1800XT-VT2D512E videocard that is the focus of this review incorporates Radeon X1800 XT GPU and includes and extra 256MB memory above the standard amount, for a whopping 512MB GDDR3. The X1800 XT core hums along at 625 MHz, and the GDDR3 at a remarkable 1500MHz. Continue Here>>

Powerware 5125 1000VA UPS Review

The Powerware 5125 is a Line-Interactive 1000VA UPS, and with additional Electronic Battery Modules (EBMs) can increase its overall power capacity to 2200VA or thereabouts should your future requirements increase. The Powerware 5125 1000VA UPS features Powerware's own advanced battery management console, "buck and double boost" regulation to deliver constant voltage, hot swap batteries, the ability to power up the UPS without utility power, sequential shut down and load management, network transient protector (surge protection), and the very handy X-slot communications port. Continue Here>>

AOpen i945Ga-PHS Motherboard Review

The AOpen i945Ga-PHS socket 775 Intel Pentium 4 motherboard is a pretty well rounded platform, it even supports HDTV component output (Y, Pb, Pr) by default! This is a feature that very few Intel motherboards can boast, and the AOpen i945Ga-PHS is only able to incorporate component outputs because is has a special chipset by Chrontel. Based on the Intel's i945G Northbridge, the AOpen i945Ga-PHS motherboard supports Socket 775 Pentium 4/D/XE and Celeron processors running with a 533/800/1066 MHz FSB. The four DDR2 memory slots can accommodate up to 4GB of PC2-6400 unbuffered DDR-2 RAM, while running in a dual channel configuration. Continue Here>>

Gigabyte AirCruiser GN-BC01 802.11g Wireless Router

Today we're going to bring a bit of European flavour to PCstats with a review of Gigabyte's AirCruiser GN-BC01 802.11g internal wireless PCI router. This device incorporates a fully wireless home router/Internet sharing device onto a PCI card which you install directly into your desktop PC. It also comes with a nifty, blue-LED tipped magnetic external antenna which is fairly high gain at 3dB. The internal form factor of the Wifi Router AirCruiser GN-BC01 is new to us though, so we're interested to see how it performs and what kind of range it gets compared to conventional external wireless networking routers. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Encrypting Instant Messaging Conversations

Instant Messaging has replaced email in a lot of businesses as the most convenient way to ask colleagues a quick question, pass on a link, or share urgent information. Even if you're using instant messaging (IM) to chat with your friends, sooner or later private or confidential data will pass through your fingertips into the dialog box. The IM software will dutifully transfer those bits and bytes across the internet to the other person's IM client. The problem resides with the fact that the majority of instant messaging sessions are unencrypted, so everything you type is being transferred as clear text over the pipelines of the internet... With a packet sniffer, access to your network, and any one of several freely available programs (ie. Ethereal), that data can be captured and instant messaging conversation read in entirety.

One possible solution for more secure communication is to return to carrier pigeons... but if you lack space for a coop, a 3rd party instant messaging encryption ad-on will do the trick nicely. :-)Applications like's SimpLite and's imTwister will encrypt individual IM conversations from every major player. Enterprise versions from both respective companies offer network wide IM conversation encryption that is better suited to business environments.

Irregardless of the software package chosen, both parties will need to have the same IM encryption software installed for the system to work. Once that's done, a set of SHA-1 Hash keys will first need to be generated, and then it's just a matter of authenticating individual IM users. Thereafter, pairs of authenticated users can have their instant messaging conversations protected by RSH / AES-128 level encryption as the information flies through the internet. An add-on solution like this is not as straightforward as it would be had mainstream IM providers integrated information security into their software already, but it is effective. On the plus side, CPU load from the encryption / decryption process is pretty much negligible with text conversations.

The conversation on IM encryption options continues here...

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This Issue By
. Max P.
Weekly Tips
. Colin S.

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