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In This Issue...

- Buffalo FireStix RAM
- Gigabyte Qual PCI-e Mobo
- Seasonic S12 600W
- Asus X1600XT Silent
- Patriot PC2-8000 XBLK
- S3 Chrome S27 GFX
- PCstats Weekly Tips

Gigabyte's Quad PCI Express Videocard Motherboard

June is set to be a very exciting month of new technology releases, with CPUs from both Intel and AMD, and the usual flurry of releases to come from the Computex tradeshow floor in Taipei!

For the moment though, PCSTATS is continuing its look at high speed DDR-2 RAM - set to be the enthusiasts best friend when AMD socket AM2 processors emerge. As such, this issue starts off with 1GB Buffalo Technology Firestix PC2-8000 memory. Following that review, the focus is a quad-PCI Express x16 Gigabyte GA-8NSLI Quad Royal motherboard. The Seasonic S12 600W power supply comes next, followed by the Asus X1600XT Silent videocard, Patriot PC2-8000 DDR-2 RAM, and S3 Chrome S27 graphics card.

The fourth installment of PCSTATS' look at AMD vs. Intel can be found just off to the left, while the Weekly Tech Tip rounds out this issue.

Thanks for reading,
Max Page

Buffalo FireStix FSX1000D2C-K2G PC2-8000 DDR-2 Memory Review

Buffalo Technology's 2GB PC2-8000 FireStix FSX1000D2C-K2G memory has a default clock speed of 1000 MHz (DDR2-1000), which when running in a dual channel configuration can provide up to 8GB/s worth of bandwidth. The interesting back story on these Firestix modules is that the Buffalo engineers veered away from the standard JEDEC design, and instead relied on the talents of Kazuyoshi Tsukada to develop the PCB trace layout. Kazuyoshi-san has been recognized by JEDEC for PCB design, and now heads the Melco Inc. PCB design team. When running at 1000 MHz, the Buffalo Technology FireStix FSX1000D2C-K2G modules have CAS Latency timings of 5-5-5.Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GA-8N-SLI Quad Royal Motherboard Review

Officially, the nVIDIA nForce4 SLI chipset enables two PCI Express videocards to operate together under a technology called SLI - or Scalable Link Interface. The GA-8N-SLI Quad Royal is the first motherboard ever to feature four physical PCI Express x16 slots! Quad PCI Express videocards are obviously the main focus of this motherboard, but it still comes with a rocking good list of on board features. Embedded into the GA-8N-SLI Quad Royal motherboard are four Serial ATA II channels, dual Gigabit network cards, IEEE 1394a firewire, a 7.1 channel audio controller (optical SP/DIF and Coaxial), and my personal favorite - a Port 80 diagnostics card.Continue Here>>

Seasonic S12 600W Power Supply Review

Seasonic's flagship power supply is its S12 600 and computer enthusiasts have put this bad boy in the same category as PC Power & Cooling! The Seasonic S12 600 is SLI certified, that itself is already like a badge of honor and it is fully ATX 2.0 compatible. Many of the enthusiast class power supplies that are 500W+ are physically larger than the Seasonic S12 600 which can cause space restriction problems. According to the Seasonic label the +3.3V line can deliver a maximum of 30 amps while the +5V rail can deliver 30 amps as well. Total output for the +3.3V and +5V rails are 180W. There are two +12V rails in the Seasonic S12 600 and each can deliver a maximum of 18 amps with total power output of 432W.Continue Here>>

Asus EAX1600XT Silent/TVD/256M/A Videocard Review

Devices like the Asus EAX1600XT Silent/TVD/256M/A videocard won't eat up the 8GB/s worth of bandwidth the PCI Express x16 bus has to offer, but this passively cooled graphics card strikes a good balance between price and 3D rendering power. The Asus EAX1600XT Silent/TVD/256M/A is supported with 256MB of GDDR3 Infineon memory, which is only located on the front of the videocard. Asus equips the EAX1600XT Silent with a DVI/Analog combination output and should users want to use dual analog monitors, a DVI converter connector is bundled in. Continue Here>>

Patriot Memory PDC22G8000+XBLK Rev.2 DDR2-1000 Memory Review

One of the main reasons for integrating the memory controller directly into the processor is because latency decreases between the two devices - cpu and memory controller. AMD is on the cusp of dropping DDR and adopting DDR-2 RAM, and this is why the socket AM2 Athlon64 processor is being introduced. This pair of dual channel DDR-2 RAM is capable of running with timings as tight as 3-3-3 under DDR2-667 speeds, and with timings as tight as 4-4-4 under DDR2-1000 speeds... Yes you've read that right, the PDC22G8000+XBLK memory isn't married to those all too familiar 5-5-5 CAS Latency settings.Continue Here>>

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 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>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Performance Focus and Visual Optimization

Within WindowsXP you tell the operating system to give priority to background or foreground applications. So for example, you can make XP allocate more CPU cycles to programs you are using at the moment, or split them equally between background applications like a weekly virus scan and your open programs. To change this setting, go to Control Panel> System> Advanced> Performance> Settings. Under the Advanced Tab click on 'Processor Scheduling' and choose 'Programs' if you want more processing resources allocated here, or 'Background Services' if you want to assign equal amounts of CPU cycles to all programs.

For most situations it is best to leave focus on Foreground applications, but if you routinely do backups from your computer to another location, setting the focus on Background applications should speed up that process a little.

While you're under the Performance Options window, click on the 'Visual Effects' tab and select 'Adjust for Best Performace'. This does away with all the WinXP eye candy, but it nicely speeds things up if your PC is strapped for memory. Be sure to stop by PCSTATS Forums and post your comments or questions to this tip.

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Circulation: 181,759
AMD vs. Intel Part 4
Chipsets - The "X" Factor

For the longest time chipsets from Intel were the companies "ace up its sleeve." No other processor manufacturer could match Intel's performance or stability in the area of desktop motherboards and core logic. It was one of the primary reasons why AMD has had a very difficult time upsetting Chipzilla.

It probably wasn't the best move on AMD's part to state that it would never get into the chipset market, after all it does not have the expertise to devote to this area, and a processor without a good chipset isn't much. Relying upon companies such as VIA, ULI, and SIS to come up with really powerful core logic has been hit and miss... at least that was the case until graphics giant nVidia came into the game.

The emergence of nVIDIA as a chipset power house is exactly what AMD needed, and now the Athlon64 has a legitimate partner that has an excellent track record in both performance and stability. I think persistence of the nForce 4 chipsets will continue to thrust AMD based computers against Intel strongholds (such as the workstation PC) like rain in the middle of a monsoon. With great chipsets, and a very capable processor there's little Intel can do to stand up to a better chip.

The only question that I'm left dwelling on is the little stickler of nVIDIA also producing Intel chipsets; will the company devote more resources here at the expense of its K8 solutions? Considering how much market share Intel has, and in corporate terms it is monumental, it would be beneficial for nVIDIA to try and increase its stake in Intel based systems more than promote AMD. I think AMD offers a better desktop processor right now, and is just breaching the hill on the server processor front with its Opteron CPUs. Time will tell, and as VIA seems to be the lame duck in this race for the last year and a bit, there doesn't seem to be much on the horizon pre-positioned to upset nVidia's apparent dominance.

As anyone weighing the pros and cons of AMD vs. Intel computers will tell you, it's dangerous to depend on what-ifs. It's dangerous for AMD to depend so significantly upon a single significant third party chipset manufacturer for the majority of motherboards in demand, and it really needs to even things out with the other core logic vendors. AMD may not be interested in chipsets, but you've got to wonder why it keeps holding out when just about every company and its uncle is vying for space in the chipset biz - ATI, ULI, nVidia, SIS, VIA, Intel, etc.

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

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