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In This Issue...

- Pentium D 940 CPU
- MSI K9N SLI Platinum
- Seasonic Energy+ 650W
- OCZ Tempest Heatsink
- DIY Home Theatre Guide
- iStorm D-300 Rack Case
- PCstats Weekly Tips

Intel Pentium D 940 Benchmarked

Perhaps it should have been called the great paper launch. Officially announced twice (first a press preview, then officially so), the much touted Intel Core 2 Duo 'Conroe' processors remain elusively unavailable in retail channels in our neck of the woods. The Core 2 Duo E6600 looks like it will be the sweetheart of the bunch, whenever it happens to appear...

In this weeks Newsletter, PCSTATS reviews the dual core Intel Pentium D 940, a 3.2GHz processor which has reaffirmed AMD's dominance up till now. Following this, the MSI K9N SLI Platinum motherboard and its nForce 570 SLI chipset show us some really nice benchmark results, good enough in fact for this MSI motherboard to garner an award. Most would agree that HDCP is an unavoidable nuisance, especially if you're on the consumer side of things. The MSI NX7900GT PCI Express videocard is the first graphics adaptor we've yet seen with HDCP support, so if you like High Definition content on your computer you'll want to read this one.

Energy efficiency is a topic we find ourselves returning to often, and power supplies are the cornerstone of assembling an efficient PC. The Seasonic S12 650W Energy+ scores well in this regard, and impressed us in its own right. The iStar D-Storm D300 may have a silly name, but it's a suitably fitted out 19" barebones rack mount case . Oh, and one more review care of the boys at our brother site FrostyTech - the OCZ Tempest heatsink.

Colin dishes out a double Tech Tip Treat this week, especially if you're running with Win98 or Win2000. Enjoy!

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

Intel Pentium D 940 3.2GHz Dual Core Processor Review

The Intel Pentium D 940 processor is the latest victim, errr.... component to pass through the PCSTATS test labs. Built on Intel's 65 nanometer manufacturing process and with two physical processing cores running at 3.2 GHz each, backed up by 2MB of L2 cache, the socket 775 chip certainly makes quite a splash. The Pentium D 840 is more than ever a worthy competitor to AMD's dual core Athlon64 processors. The Pentium D 940 processor runs on an 800 MHz Front Side Bus (FSB) and uses Intel's pinless Socket 775 form factor. Each core on the Pentium D 940 has access to its own L1 and L2 cache memory, 16KB and 2MB respectively. Both class of processor run on a 800MHz front side bus like traditional Prescott Pentium 4s, and are currently only supported with DDR II memory.Continue Here>>

MSI K9N SLI Platinum nForce 570 SLI Motherboard Review

The MSI K9N SLI Platinum motherboard PCSTATS is testing today is based on the brand spanking new nForce 570 SLI chipset, and with it you get a slew of technologies like Linkboost, FirstPacket, DualNet, MediaShield and an assortment of network connection tweaks that can make gaming a hell of a lot faster over the internet! MSI have put together a solid upper level gaming platform which can accommodate up to 8GB of PC2-6400 memory along side any Socket AM2 processor. The board has tweaks handy for overclockers looking to push the boundary. Judging by what we've seen from nForce 590 SLI boards and the Socket AM2 I think the MSI K9N SLI Platinum should probably overclock to the 270 MHz area... let's find out.Continue Here>>

MSI NX7900GT-VT256E-HD HDCP-enabled Geforce 7900GT Videocard Review

HDCP or High bandwidth Digital Content Protection is a hardware digital rights management tool developed by Intel to protect high definition video and audio content during transmission from the player to the screen, in whatever form those two devices may take. MSI has just released its NX7900GT-VT256E-HD which is HDCP compatible - this is the first HDCP-enabled PCI Express x16 videocard from that company. That's right, this card is not just a 3D gammer's baby, it also plays nicely with High Definition hardware as well. The MSI NX7900GT-VT2D256E-HD videocard is backed up by 256MB of high speed GDDR3 memory and it supports a whole host of TV output options. Continue Here>>

Seasonic S12 Energy Plus SS-650HT 650W Power Supply Review

What makes a good power supply? Well the simple answer to that question from a computer enthusiasts perspective is that it must have a sufficiently high output wattage to handle top of the line components; be it multiple videocards or whatever. Furthermore, it should be power efficient, and quiet in operation. Seasonic's flagship power supply this summer is the S12 Energy Plus SS-650HT 650W model. The SS-650HT is SLI certified, and that itself should be a sign of what's to come. It is fully ATX 2.0 compatible and has an energy efficiency rating above 80% and there are four +12V rails that can each deliver a maximum of 18Amps , with total power output of 455W!Continue Here>>

Do-It-Yourself Guide: Building a Home Theatre PC / HTPC
Continue on...

Computers are a perfect fit for the entertainment room, and building your own home theatre PC is not more difficult than assembling a standard system - as long as you have the right components for the task. In this Do-It-Yourself Guide, PCSTATS are going to walk you step-by-step through the process of assembling your own home theatre PC out of contemporary components. We'll also explore the various things you can do with an HTPC after it's built. Continue Here>>

iStar D-Storm D300 3U 19-inch Rackmount Chassis Review

In hosting facilities, individual computers are stacked one on top one another in 7-foot tall 19" wide metal framed racks. Each individual computer is contained in specially shaped cases that conform to standardized dimensions, and specific rack mounting criteria that fit into a standard 1.75" Unit, or "U". The iStar D-Storm D300 is a 20.8" deep 3U steel chassis that will accommodate a standard ATX2.0 motherboard, up to four hard drives, and optical drives. The D-Storm D300 19" rackmount case features two lockable vented aluminum swing-out doors that incorporate removable dust filters that can be rinsed out and reused when the dust bunnies get too thick. Continue Here>>

OCZ Tempest Heatsink Review

After a long absence from all things heatsink related, OCZ is back in the game with a compact little multi-socket heatsink called the Tempest. The OCZ Tempest heatsink weighs in at 580 grams, and is built upon a design that relies heavily on copper components. The design is a fairly predictable mix of copper, heatpipes and a big low RPM fan, so it will be interesting to see how OCZ's product fairs against the strong lineup of socket AM2/939 AMD Athlon64 heatsinks on the market right now. The performance of the stock Athlon64 X2 AM2 heatsinks is quiet remarkable, and I suspect the Tempest will need more than a bit of copper, or a blue LED illuminated fan to prove its mettle. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Revisiting Windows 98 and Windows 2000 Tips

Windows 98 Tip:
With this week's tip we're going to focus on an older operating system, Windows 98. There are lots of us still using this OS, and it's time we devoted a little time to tweaking it. Rock on!

You may know 'Active Desktop' as the lousy feature in WindowsXP, and the even worse one in 'Windows 98.' It's a huge memory hog, and it posses many instability problems; Active Desktop is definitely a bad idea to use with Win98. To disable this feature for good, first load up your registry editor (Start -> Run then type Regedit and hit the OK button) and follow this path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> Software -> Microsoft -> CurrentVersion -> Policies -> Explorer. In the right hand window create a new "Binary Value" with the name "NoActiveDesktop". After it has been created, double click on it and give it a value of "01 00 00 00". Save, reboot, and you're all set.

From now on, Active Desktop will remained disabled even if you try to enable it. This change should speed things up considerably, and probably improve stability of the operating system too.

Windows 2000 Tip: Here's a quick shutdown tip for all the Windows 2000 users in the house. Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up the Task Manager, while holding the Control key click the Shutdown menu and select 'Turn off.' That will force your system to shut down quickly ending all tasks, a warning box might pop up saying "If you continue, your machine will reboot and any unsaved data will be lost. Use only as a last resort." click the Ok button and Windows 2000 will immediately start closing all tasks. Badda-bing, baddda-boom!

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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That thing called "RoHS"

If you've purchased any computer components the last little while you've probably noticed the little garbage can with an X running in front of it, that is the RoHS symbol. Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS ) is a European Union initiative which targets electrical and electronics equipment.

Specifically, RoHS targets heavy metals used in electronic components like Lead, Mercury, Cadium, Hexavalent Chormium, PBB and PDBE. In order to comply with EU's RoHS legislation, all substances must either be removed or reduced to within maximum permitted concentrations. This applies to all electrical components that will be sold within the European Union.

RoHS was introduced as law in European Union on July 1st 2006. Manufacturers caught putting non compliant products onto the EU market will face stiff fines and have their products barred.

While manufacturers are primarily affected by RoHS, the law is also seeking to change how we as consumers handle our old electronics at the end of its life cycle. End users are advised to handle electronic waste as "hazardous waste", and dispose of old electronics through proper waste channels - not simply toss these items into the trash. As the RoHS symbol indicates, it is no longer okay to throw old computer gear into the dust bin.

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

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