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In This Issue...

- ASUS M2N32SLI Mobo
- AOpen MacMini SFF
- 1KW Power Supply
- IcyDock 3-SATA Rack
- Epox 9U1697 GLI Mobo
- Syncmax PC2-5300 DDR2
- PCstats Weekly Tips

ASUS M2N32SLI Deluxe AM2 Motherboard Benchmarked

The rumour mill is running rampant about a series of upcoming processor introductions from Intel and AMD. First up is the Intel Core 2 Duo 'Conroe' CPU, which is supposed to be released on July 23rd. If indicators are true, 'Conroe' is going to be one very nice performance chip. AMD on the other hand is expected to introduce its new Athlon64 FX-64 CPU on August 8th, preceded by some alluring price cuts to existing socket AM2 models on July 24th... the day after 'Conroe' is announced. Whichever way you slice it, there's going to be a need for good quality DDR-2 memory. Corsair's fancy-pants new Twin2X PC2-8500 C5 2GB memory kit might be just what the doctor ordered, or if overclocking is not in your sights the SyncMax PC5300 DDR-2 RAM kit might be a better choice.

In this long-weekend edition of the PCSTATS Newsletter, the testing begins with the flagship ASUS M2N32-SLI socket AM2 motherboard - one of the first, and best AM2 boards out there. Next up is the EPox 9U1697-GLI Athlon64 motherboard, it's based on the ULI M1697 chipset and features support for two PCI Express x16 videocards. Along with the 1000W PC Power and Cooling Turbo-Cool 1KW powersupply you'll find reviews on the "MacMini" AOpen miniPC MP915B ultra small formfactor barebones PC, and three-SATA drive IcyDock MB453SPF-B hot swappable rack.

Colin lists his best suggestions for what to get in this month's ShoppingList, and dishes out tech advice in the Weekly Tech Tip too. Today's column digs into a new technology you've probably heard about called Enhanced Performance Profiles, or EPP for short. Last but not least, July 1st marks the introduction of the RoHS Directive in Europe.

Thanks for reading & Have a Great Long Weekend!
Max Page
Editor-in-Chief - PCSTATS

Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe nForce 590 SLI AM2 Motherboard Review

READ AMD has turned up the heat on Intel by releasing its long awaited Socket AM2 platform, further extending the companies' technological and performance lead over Intel's best. If a new high end computer system is on the books, you really ought to have a good long look at what AMD is offering. The Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe is one of the first Socket AM2 motherboards to make it into the PCSTATS labs, and it's one motherboard with a lot of expectations attached. The Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe supports 940-pin socket AM2 AMD Athlon64/X2/FX and Sempron processors and is based on the flagship nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI and nVidia MCP55PXE chipsets. Continue Here>>

Epox 9U1697 GLI ULi M1697 Motherboard Review

READ The Epox 9U1697 GLI motherboard that's passing through the PCSTATS test labs today is based on ULi's last chipset which was quite a sleeper, the M1697. Make no mistake about it, the Epox 9U1697 GLI motherboard is inexpensive, but that doesn't mean it's a slow motherboard! The Epox 9U1697 GLI is a lean Socket 939 motherboard and supports all AMD Athlon64 processors. The four DDR RAM slots can accommodate up to 4GB of DDR400 memory. The only on board goodies which stand out are a 10/100 NIC, a 5.1 channel audio controller, and Port 80 diagnostics card. Still, this board has a lot to offer as you'll soon see... Continue Here>>

SyncMAX PC2-5300 DDR2-667 Express Memory Review

READ We'd all love to play with the latest and greatest technology but reality often brings us down a few levels. If you're looking for memory that won't break the bank yet offers decent performance, SyncMAX thinks it has what you need. Its 1GB kit of dual channel PC2-5300 DDR-2 memory is quite a bargain. The SyncMAX PC2-5300 Express memory has been certified to run in a dual channel configuration at speeds of 667 MHz with CAS latency timings of 4-4-4. The memory can also be run at 533 MHz (PC2-4300) with tighter CAS 3-3-3 timings if one so chooses.Continue Here>>

AOpen miniPC MP915-B Super Multi System Review

READ There is no doubt that Small Form Factor computers have revolutionized the way technology fits into the home, and our lives. AOpen's mini PC's are some of the most innovative machines we've seen in a long time, and what really sets this small silvery box apart is that its essentially built with laptop components. The sleek looking AOpen mini PC MP915-B (Super Multi) system is 165x50x165 mm in size and weighs just over 1.5kg when fully loaded... and it kinna reminds you of a MacMini doesn't it? Continue Here>>

PC Power & Cooling Turbo-Cool 1KW Power Supply Review

READ Aside from perhaps the optical drives, the power supply is the most underrated component inside the modern PC. The new PC Power & Cooling Turbo-Cool 1 Kilowatt power supply is easily the biggest computer power supply on the market. This power supply has the ability to deliver 1kW of power continuously, and has a peak rating of 1.1kW! The PC Power & Cooling Turbo-Cool 1 Kilowatt power supply has three +12V rails with the ability to deliver 66 Amps of continuous current (70A peak). It is almost twice as long as a standard ATX power supply, and pretty heavy. Like many of the other power supplies that have passed through the PCSTATS test labs, the PC Power & Cooling Turbo-Cool 1KW supports Active PFC.Continue Here>>

IcyDock MB453SPF-B SATA Multi-Bay Backplane Module Review

READ A multi-bay backplane module is a box the size of a couple optical drives stacked on top of one another that stores a handful of serial ATA hard drives in compact, individually hot swappable drive caddy's. When internal hard drive space in a computer case is full, or if quick access to hard drives is called for, this box will allow you to add up to three SATA hard drives in the space normally occupied by two 5.25" optical drives. IcyDock call this module the MB453SPF-B.Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Windows Explorer Speed up

When you load up Windows Explorer you might notice a delay, this is due to WindowsXP automatically checking the network for shared folders and printers. Depending on the size of the network you're on, this can take a bit of time and I'm sure we can all agree that sitting in front of the computer waiting for programs to get ready is loads of fun... ;-)

Disabling this feature is easy. First load up Windows Explorer (right click on the "My Computer" icon and select "Explore") then click the "Tools" menu and select "Folders Options". From there click the "View" tab and find the "Automatically search for network folders and printers" check box and uncheck it. Press the "OK" button, reboot your computer and you're all set.

From now on Windows Explorer will no longer check for shared folders or devices on your network automatically when first loading up.

Was Colin's tip as good for your PC as it was for his? Let PCSTATS know what you think, and be sure to stop by PCSTATS Forums and post your comments or questions.

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Enhanced Performance Profiles - EPP

Corsair and nVIDIA have co-released a new memory-centric standard called Enhanced Performance Profiles (EPP), which for the moment is specific to the nVidia nForce 500 series chipset and Socket AM2 AMD Athlon64 platform.

Enhanced Performance Profiles take over from where the Serial Presence Detect (SPD) EEPROM that is on every stick of memory leaves off, and adds extra information about how much faster the memory can run while remaining completely stable. The EPP information permits compatible motherboard chipsets and BIOS' to dynamically adjust memory timings and voltages for improved overall performance without any user interaction. If you're an expert overclocker EPP provides a jumping off point, if you're a novice it does all the hard work for you automatically.

In additional to the settings the SPD provides to the computer, EPP memory contains up to two full performance profiles and up to four additional abbreviated profiles which allow the computer to switch between various settings on the fly.

CAS Latency, RAS to CAS Delay, Command Rate and memory voltages are just some of the options that EPP can adjust on the fly.

With automatic motherboard overclocking already a hit in the retail market, Enhanced Performance Profiles compatibility adds memory tuning to the performance mix. EPP will especially appeal more to the novice or moderate overclocker who doesn't want to muck around with memory timing adjustments much.

Enthusiasts can still override the EPP profile by setting memory timings manually in the BIOS.

At the moment EPP memory is only compatible with the nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI chipset, but VIA and Intel are expected to follow suit the idea is being proposed to JEDEC as an open standard. If you are wondering whether the set of memory you're looking for is EPP compatible, just watch out for the 'nVIDIA SLI Ready' sticker.

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

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