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In This Issue...

- ABIT Fatal1ty AN9 32X
- MSI K9N Dimond Mobo
- Biostar P4M890-M7 Mobo
- Biostar V-Ranger 7600GS
- PCstats Weekly Tips

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ABIT's Fatal1ty Motherboard Pushes Faster...

It's 2007, when was the last time you backed up your photos, important data, music, email or whatever? If the answer is "ummm...." take a moment later today and back it up.

External hard drives work great, or grab a couple recordable DVD-Rs and burn that data to disc in 4.7GB chunks. There's nothing worse than loosing a years' worth of digital photo's, or "all that work" so back it up! Hard drives fail, and judging by the letters of thanks PCSTATS has received this past week for our Guide to Hard Drive Data Recovery, there is something about this time of year that leads to lots of data disasters.

Next week PCSTATS will be covering the 40th annual Consumer Electronics Show! CES 2007 is shaping up to be an exciting event, with new nForce 680i and 650i motherboards aplenty, and a few surprises we can't yet talk about... Keep it tuned to for coverage from the CES 2007 show floor.

Moving on, the ABIT Fatal1ty AN9 32X motherboard tops the list of hardware PCSTATS has on the platter for you today. This is a great gaming board, with several extra's for the tweaker at heart. MSI's Mega MPC945 is a elegant small form factor barebones PC based on the 945 Express chipset, and it packs a lot in without sacrificing videocard expansion. The MSI K9N Diamond is another AMD Athlon64 nForce 590 SLI motherboard which offers everything under the sun, including an Audigy 7.1 sound card. Last but not least is the super cheap Biostar P4M890-M7 motherboard; it supports Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs and is built on VIA's P4M890 chipset. The overclocker friendly Biostar Sigma-Gate 7600GS videocard rounds out today's list of reviews.

In the side column, the second part in Dan's timely discussion on e-waste focuses on product sustainability. If you're getting ready to toss out old electronics, do try and recycle them first. Working with Safe Mode and the recovery prompt are the topics of PCSTATS Weekly Tech Tip. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!
Max Page
Editor-in-Chief - PCSTATS

MSI MEGA mPC 945 Barebones Small Formfactor PC Review

The MSI MEGA mPC945 system is based around the Intel 945G and Intel ICH7 chipsets and is compatible with all Socket 775 Intel processors. Under the glossy white hood, the mPC 945's two DDR2 memory slots will support up to 2GB of dual channel DDR2-533/667 memory. In terms of storage space, the system has one 3GB/s Serial ATA II channel and one IDE controller. There is onboard video care of the integrated Intel GMA950 graphics card, it comes part and parcel with the Intel 945G chipset. A single or double slot PCI Express graphics card can also be installed if desired. PCSTATS would advise a Geforce 7800GTX or equivalent videocard if you plan on doing any gaming at all... as you'll see in the benchmarks.Continue Here>>

ABIT FATAL1TY AN9 32X nForce 590 SLI Motherboard Review

Scanning through ABIT's product lineup of late is like reading the menu at an enthusiasts restaurant! The ABIT FATAL1TY AN9 32X is built on the flagship nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI 'C51XE' chipset and MCP55PXE Southbridge. The board supports socket AM2 AMD Athlon64/FX/X2 and Sempron processors, and thus 64-bit and 32-bit operating systems. There are four DDR2 memory slots which accommodate up to 8GB of DDR2-800 RAM. On board goodies offer nothing less than dual PCI Express x16 slots and nVidia SLI compatibility at a full 16 PCI Express lanes apiece, dual GigABIT Ethernet network jacks, an Intel Azalia High Definition 7.1 channel audio controller, IEEE 1394a 400Mpbs Firewire, and six 3GB/s SATA 2 jacks for storage devices! An audio daughter card provides every imaginable option for truly mind-blowing multi-channel speaker systems, leaving the rear I/O largely free of ports.Continue Here>>

Biostar P4M890-M7 VIA P4M890 Core 2 Duo Motherboard Review

The Biostar P4M890-M7 motherboard offers good performance for Intel Core 2 Duo class processors, and it is absolutely rock bottom affordable. The VIA P4M890 has a concise set of features, really nothing more than the basics, but with a UniChrome Pro integrated videocard all the important bases are well covered (network, video, IDE/SATA I RAID, audio, ect.) The Biostar P4M890-M7 motherboard PCSTATS is testing in this review for you today is a purebred mainstream motherboard. When it comes to the essentials, this board offers exactly what you need to build a simple working computer. There are no fancy features or accessories here, apart from the integrated UniChrome Pro videocard, and for this reason the Biostar P4M890-M7 motherboard is incredibly inexpensive - under $60 bucks!Continue Here>>

Biostar Sigma-Gate GeForce 7600GS V7603GS-21 Videocard Review

At first glance the Biostar Sigma-Gate GeForce 7600GS looks like a rather vanilla mainstream videocard, but included in the package is a very very unique piece of software. Biostar's two videocard overclocking programs allow you to not only tune the core and memory clock speed from within Windows XP, but also adjust the GPU core and memory voltages! The real fun happens when you open up Biostar's "V-Ranger" tool and key in some pretty serious voltage adjustments for the videocard GPU and memory. There is enough room to manoeuvrer with the voltage values, that mainstream and hard core overclocking enthusiasts alike will be satisfied... again, all from the comfort of your Windows XP desktop! This is a first for videocard overlcocking, so don't miss out! Continue Here>>

MSI K9N Diamond nForce 590 SLI Motherboard Review

If you're a gamer, multimedia enthusiast, or future indie rock star mixing tracks for your debute CD, the MSI K9N Diamond is a board well worth your attention. Why? Because it integrates in a Creative Audigy 7.1 channel hardware sound card! The MSI K9N Diamond supports all Socket AM2 processors from AMD, and handle 8GB of DDR2-800 unbuffered non-ECC RAM. Onboard equipment includes dual Gigabit Ethernet network jacks, a Soundblaster Audigy SE 7.1 sound card, IEEE 1394a 400Mpbs Firewire and USB2.0. When it comes to peripheral expansion we find two PCI Express x1 slots for high bandwidth devices, a 32 bit PCI slot, and the two PCI Express x16 SLI slots for videocards (each with a full 16 PCI Express lanes). Data storage is supported by one Ultra 133 IDE channel and six 3GB/s SATA II ports. Nvidia RAID (0/1/0+1/5/JBOD) comes standard with the nForce 590 SLI chipset. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Using the Recovery Console in Safe Mode

If your like me and tweak your PC, I'm sure you've toasted the operating system a few times... This can happen when drivers and services are tweaked for better speed, and the fix once boot problems crop up is generally to reinstall them via WindowsXP Safe Mode. If the PC doesn't even boot into WindowsXP Safe mode, you're not totally out of luck. What you'll need to do is load up the Windows Recovery console, put your WindowsXP CD into the optical drive and boot off it. Once you get to the main menu press "R", from there allow the 5 second timer to countdown then select the installed operating system you want to work on (there be only one option if you've only installed one OS). You will be prompted for the "Administrator password", enter that and you're in.

The system will load a quasi DOS prompt, but many conventional DOS commands do not work here. At the prompt type "listsvc" and press the "Enter" key. Scroll through the list and find the driver, service or switch that you believe killed the boot process of your OS. After you find all of them, press the "ESC" key to get back to the prompt.

Type "disable ?????", where "?????" is whatever driver or service that you want to stop from loading up during the boot process. Once you disable enough problematic drivers/services, the PC should at least boot back into Safe mode which will give you tools to correct the problem. If you happen to turn the wrong switch off by accident don't worry. Once you boot back up you can re-enable those options by going into the Services control panel and re-enabling them.

Let PCSTATS know what you think about this Tech Tip, and be sure to stop by PCSTATS Forums and post your comments or questions.

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What Do You Do With Old Computers? - Part II

Canadian professor and world-renowned environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki often refers to the lack of a "connect" when discussing the average person and our environment. The "connect" he refers to is the idea that we don't see our actions in the world and the result of those actions as related occurrences. More often than not, most of us are content to know that a problem has gone away, rather than know what happens after it's out of our sight. This is how phosphates and dichlorides can invariably end up in our rivers and lakes; we flush the stuff and forget about it. A parallel situation is brewing with e-waste, and in an effort to stem the future effects of these components, many governments are beginning to strongly regulate the materials that go into electronics, and how take the issue of how they are disposed of at the end of their useful life more seriously.

Product Sustainability
Lets be honest with ourselves for a moment. In the long run, most of us don't think about the environment outside of what directly affects us... hot days, smog, litter in front of our house - that sort thing. At the end of the day, the economic burden we face on a business or personal scale is the price tag that weighs heaviest, and this is a key facet of sustainability. If we take a moment to rethink the economics of something as trivial as tossing out an old junked computer, the idea of "garbage" can be viewed in a whole new light. Consider the amount of time, money and energy spent in acquiring and transporting the materials, not to mention actually making the thing in question.

When that old DVD player or Pentium II computer finally gets unplugged for the last time, the idea of simply sentencing everything it's composed of to an eternity as "just garbage" is rather odd. In the shadow of a looming demand for energy and raw materials, sustainability basically means that the products we produce should minimize their impact both at the beginning, and end of their life cycles. Economically speaking, if we knew the price of copper were to rise significantly, would it then make sense that we're tossing out tones of the stuff in old electronics while still going through the trouble of mining tones more from the ground?

Reclaiming materials from obsolete electronics can be tricky, and to be realistic the face value of a good majority of an old PCs bits and pieces is low... However, include the cost of energy to refine those raw materials, and the equation certainly changes. Include the costs associated with disposal, and the equation changes a little more.

Stay tuned for Part 3 next week.
- Daniel Quinn

"Get the 'Stats and Stay Informed!"

This Issue By
Editor-in-Chief. Max P.
Weekly Tips. Colin S.
Columnist. Daniel Q.
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