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In This Issue...

- S3 Chrome S27 GFX
- ASRock 939 SLI Mobo
- Guide C:\ Prompt
- Patriot PC4000 DDR
- Asus' Silent 7800GT
- PCstats Weekly Tips

Holographic Storage Not Just Sci-Fi Anymore


Holographic data storage long ago shed its kitschy Sci-fi factor, but has only recently moved from the R&D labs to commercially available recorders. A traditional DVD records data on the surface with very small pits and lands, while a holographic disk uses light sensitive material to encode data within the medium. A split laser beam passes through the holographic storage medium to then create a 3-Dimensional interference pattern that holds 1 million bits of electronic data in the resulting light and dark 'pixels.' Holographic data is stored in 'pages' rather than bits, and the holographic disk is positioned rather than spun continuously, so huge amounts of data can be accessed quickly. In fact, capacities as high as 300GB on a single DVD-sized optical disk are possible now (1.6TB in the future), which is sure to make holographic storage the holly grail of archivists once it goes mainstream.

Moving right along, part 2 of our look at AMD vs. Intel can be found just off to the left, while PCSTATS Weekly Tech Tip focuses on speeding up CD-R burning.

On the review front, the S3 Chrome S27 videocard offers a fresh take on component output support in a PCI Express videocard format. Elsewhere, the Asus EN7800GT Top Silent dishes out pixels at a quick pace without a noisy cooling fan. The ASrock 939SLI32-eSATA2 motherboard shows some very enticing performance in the benchmarks, while Patriot Memory's PC4000 DDR modules get taken for a spin on the test bench. Last but not least is a refresher course on the command prompt. Why you ask? Well because PCSTATS switched IPs last week, and you may need to flush your DNS if you find unavailable. To do this go to Start> Run> type "cmd" > then type "ipconfig /flushdns" Close all IE browsers and try loading again. If have any problems accessing the site, please let us know.

Thanks for reading,
Max Page

S3 Chrome S27 PCI Express Videocard Review

With Microsoft's Windows Vista due out at the end of this year, or perhaps early 2007, there is a feature called Aero Glass that is set to break plenty of legacy videocards. If you want to take advantage of Microsoft Vista's fancy Aeroglass visual interface (and by all accounts you really do) the computer must have videocard hardware capable of at least DirectX 9 with a minimum of 64MB on board memory. And wouldn't you know it, the new S3 Chrome S27 videocard fits the bill perfectly. The card boasts a 90nm manufactured silicon core, eight pixel rendering pipeline, 128MB GDDR3 memory, dual monitor outputs, and one other device.... Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: WindowsXP Command Prompt

Back in the heyday of text-based operating systems like Unix and DOS, the command prompt was the operating system, and not knowing how to use it meant that you could not really use your system without someone experienced in computing holding your hand. The command prompt, a purely text-driven interface, is still present at the core of Windows XP, and it contains many options that are not otherwise accessible without third-party software, but which most 'experts' could not live without. The mighty IPCONFIG command being one simple example. In this PCstats Guide, we will show you how to access and use the Windows XP/2000 command prompt and reveal some useful commands for administering your system with it.Continue Here>>

ASRock 939SLI32-eSATA2 ULi M1695 Motherboard Review

Pick the wrong motherboard and you'll be plagued with compatibility problems, or worse yet have bought into a dead end. The brand spanking new ASRock 939SLI32-eSATA2 motherboard is one of the future friendly motherboards, and it looks pretty sweet. Based around the ULi M1695 and ULi M1697, the ASRock 939SLI32-eSATA2 motherboard supports all current Socket 939 AMD Athlon64/X2/FX processors. The board accommodates 4GB of PC3200 RAM and AM2 support is also available thanks to the "Future CPU" port when the "AM2CPU daughter board" is used.Continue Here>>

Patriot Memory PDC2G4000ELK 2GB Memory Kit Review

Microsoft Windows Vista is rumored to gobble up quite a bit of RAM when its features like Aeroglass are turned on. Add in a few applications or games like Battlefield 2 on top of all that and it's pretty obvious that 1GB of system memory is not going to cut it anymore. The latest Patriot Memory kit to pass through the PCSTATS test labs is the companies 2GB PDC2G4000ELK DDR modules (PC-4000), wrapped in bright red aluminum heatspreaders no less! These DDR-500 DIMMs are rated to run at up to 250 MHz in a dual channel configuration, with CAS Latency timings of 2.5-4-4-7...Continue Here>>

Asus EN7800GT TOP Silent 2DHTV/256M Videocard Review


Just yesterday I was speaking with a colleague about some graphics cards on the test bench in the PCSTATS labs, and specifically about how loud videocard fan was. ASUS has caught on to all of this, care of an innovative heatsink called the 'SilentCool', this graphics card is dead silent. Behind the mass of metal is an nVidia GeForce 7800GT GPU and 256MB of 1.6ns GDDR3 memory - the Asus EN7800GT TOP Silent/2DHTV/256M is guaranteed to be fast with a package like that...Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Faster Burning Without WinXP

When loading up your favorite burning software WindowsXP waits for its own IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service to initialize first, even though it's not being used. This can delay the loading of third party software, but here's a little trick to increase the speed. First you need administrative rights, then go to the "Control Panel" and open up the "Administrative Tools" folder and go to "Services". From there find the "IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service" and change its "Startup type:" from Automatic to Disabled. Click the OK button, close the Services window and you're set. The burning software should load a bit faster now because the WindowsXP burning service is no longer being initialized at the same time.

Please note that this disables WindowsXP's native CD burning software, though that should not be an issue considering how limited it is. For instance, WindowsX's native burning software cannot burn disk images, and it doesn't support CD over burning either.

Be sure to stop by PCSTATS Forums and post your comments or questions to this tip.

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AMD vs. Intel Part 2
Much Ado About Thermals

Intel's wildcard has always been its special CPU SSE series instructions, but that advantage has also dwindled away. While AMD's parts often do not support the latest Intel instructions at the time of introduction, the company does tend to integrate them in time to coincide with the release of software that uses these new features. In fact, if you look at the enhanced instruction sets in the latest AMD Athlon64 processors, you'll notice that it supports more instructions than an equivalent Intel Pentium 4 processor!

Perhaps Intel's one saving grace is that the Pentium 4/D can still overclock quite well, with a little inventive cooling it will achieve frequencies that AMD users can only reach with extreme cooling. Realistically though as nice as the round numbers are, these are empty goals. An Athlon64 may be clocked a whole gigahertz slower than a Pentium 4, but it still performs much better in benchmarks; the correlation between frequency and performance is pretty much dead. On the horizon, Intel's upcoming 'Conroe' core is starting to look like it might give AMD a run for its money, but it's not available yet so comparing it with current technology is not appropriate.

Step 2: Heat and Reliability

Cooling has always been the one major area where Intel processors were always considered to be far superior to AMD's offerings... remember the days of AthlonXP's going up in smoke? While the Socket 775 Pentium 4 heatsink architecture offers more room to grow, allows for larger heatsinks to be installed, and a bit more scalable in the long run, AMD's not totally out of step either.

AMD has dramatically improved the shape, size and quality of heatsinks that it uses to keep Athlon64 processors running cool and quietly. With the de-emphasis of OEM processors, the company has better control over the retail heatsinks that come bundled with its Athlon64 processors, and hence the end user experience. So far, this generation of 'K8' heatsinks have been quiet running, and well designed so temperatures remain at acceptable levels.

To make things easier for the end user, heatsinks can be installed in any direction without damaging the processor. Back in the days of the socket A Athlon and AthlonXP CPU, if the heatsink was installed in the wrong direction you'd end up with a dead chip in under 4 seconds. In the unlikely event that the heatsink fan fails nowadays, that little tiny Athlon64 processor below will not cook itself to death. All current AMD processors employ thermal throttling which lowers the speed of the processor automatically should the CPU temperature rise too high.

On the whole, AMD and Intel are pretty even in thermal loads this year. From the consumers point of view it makes no difference if one processor or the other is used as both will operate reliably and quietly.

...the story continues next issue.
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This Issue By
. Max P.
Weekly Tips
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