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Newsletter Contents

.Barton from AMD
.Colin's Weekly Tips

A Dozen Videocards, a Dozen Months

Hi, This week we are going all out on videocards! A full years worth in fact. With the industry eagerly awaiting the highest of high end videocards, the GeForceFX, and ATi's R350; this spring is going to be good. However, with the lack of any real titles to stress these videocards, it might make more sense for the rest of us to choose something that is a little more down to earth, and not as brand-spanking-new.

So without further delay, this weeks newsletter presents a dozen videocards for you to read about - everything from the 8X-MX440 - to the latest and greatest 8X-Ti4200 hybrids. Enjoy!

- Max Page
The Editor
MSI Champion Edition G4Ti4600-TD Videocard

We really liked the original MSI G4Ti4600-VTD but probably its biggest downside was a rather plain looking appearance (if you can call that a flaw). Style plays a key role in today's computer hardware market and the older plain green G4Ti4600-VTD is the technical equivalent of bell bottoms. To be honest it was a bit surprising to see that MSI's first GeForce4 Ti4600 was using the green PCB - after all their previous flagship videocard the G3Ti500-VTG was a rather spiffy red, and so are most of MSI's motherboards. The new Champion Edition G4Ti4600-TD is not red but purple in colour! Using the same shiny GPU cooler, the videocard does look very fancy.

Read the Rest...

ATI All in Wonder Radeon 8500 128 MB Edition ATI Radeon 8500 Videocard Review
ATi has carved out quite a niche market with their All in Wonder videocard; they offer great flexibility that often rivals mid-level professional video editing systems, but with ease and use any consumer can appreciate. ATi's All in Wonder (AIW for short) Radeon 8500DV is clocked slower (240 MHz core/340 MHz memory) then the standard Retail ATi Radeon 8500 (275 MHz core/550 MHz memory) videocard however ATi knows that most consumers looking at the AIW Radeon 8500DV aren't too concerned about 3D performance.

Read the Rest...

The card had immense potential, and with such a powerful chip it should have done well but in true ATi fashion the 8500 was plagued with driver problems. With subsequent driver updates the card got better and better, and now it's performance is even better than the GeForce3 Ti500 in certain benchmarks! ATI built in support for DirectX 8.1 features so the Radeon 8500 is still one of the most advanced videocards on the market today. Yes, even more advanced than the GeForce4 Ti line of videocards!

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Video Cards
Albatron ATI Visiontek PNY MSI

Gainward GeForce 4 PowerPack GS Ultra/750XP Video

Gamers have always held Gainward in high regard because they openly embrace the overclocking community, and provide software such as "EXPERTools" which can overclock the card with the push of a button. Supporting overclocking in this way gives Gainward a little more control over what settings are used, so hopefully less cards will be fried in the process. One pet peeve I have with the Gainward GeForce 4 PowerPack GS Ultra/750XP surrounds it's somewhat confusing name which is really too long. With so many different varieties of GeForce 4 videocards out there - from the GeForce 4 MX420 to the GeForce 4 Titanium line - one can often get lost in the sea of nomenclature.

Read the Rest...

SiS Xabre600 Reference Videocard Review ECS AG400 SiS Xabre 400 Videocard Review
When SiS released the Xabre400 GPU earlier this year, it was a huge step forward for budget-minded gamers. Based on a 0.13 micron technology core running at 300 MHz the new Xabre600 is an evolutionary advancement of the older 250 MHz 0.15 micron process, Xabre400 core. The Xabre600 reference card we are examining is backed up with 64MB of DDR memory. The memory is made by Hynix and runs in sync with the GPU at 300 MHz - what SiS call the "Duo300". The Xabre600 boasts Pro8x8, so like it's predecessor, it is both DirectX8 compatible and 8x AGP compatible.

Read the Rest...

SiS is very hot at the moment and seems to be very much on the ball in terms of producing chipsets. It all started about a year ago with the release of the SiS 735 chipset for the Athlon and has simple grown from there. That chipset was the fastest thing when it came out, totally dominating the competition however SiS's success was not limited to AMD platforms alone, their 645/645DX also was very powerful and popular. When SIS recently announced the Xabre line of Graphics chipsets the hardware community greated the news with some skepticism.

Read the Rest...

Albatron Ti4680P-Turbo GeForce4 Ti4200-8X Review

For half of the price of nVIDIA's high-end GeForce4 Ti4600 videocard, you can grab yourself 90% if its performance with a GeForce4 Ti4200 based card. There's really no argument about which GPU has been the best value in 2002; the GeForce4 Ti4200 sits on that thrown, and rightly so. Now if you ask any computer enthusiast which GeForce4 Ti4200 to get, you'd no doubt hear the name "Albatron" mentioned more than once. Albatron's original Ti4200P-Turbo videocard took the hardware community by storm. The card combined a Ti4400/4600 PCB and 3.3ns memory so well that many enthusiasts could overclock it well past Ti4600 levels.  

Read the Rest...

Albatron GeForce4 Ti4200P-Turbo 128MB Review

Even though the GeForce4 Ti line of videocards are no longer the fastest on the market, the GeForce4 Ti4200 is still easily the best value GPU around. With so much competition, manufacturers are finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate themselves from their rivals. To start things off, the Albatron GF4 Ti4200P Turbo uses the same 8-layer PCB design as GeForce4 Ti4400/Ti4600 videocards. It has a very impressive and well designed GPU heatsink (which we'll get into later), some flashy memory sinks, TV-Output (using the Phillips 7104E) and finally a DVI output. It seems that Albatron has taken a liking to the blue PCB's, and I for one say they look pretty awesome!

Read the Rest...

Albatron GeForce4 MX440 Videocard Review Asus V8200Ti500 Pure Videocard Review

Alba... who? You're forgiven for not knowing who Albatron is even though they're not exactly a new company. Like most other manufacturers, have already adopted nVidia based videocards. The Albatron GeForce4 MX440 videocard is a no frills videocard targeted towards the budget conscious gamer. Based on the reference nVidia GeForce4 MX440, the Albatron MX440 doesn't have many features.

While almost every other has been content to use the reference designed GeForce3 Ti500, Asus has always been an innovative company willing to do things their way. In usual form, Asus have released two models of the V8200Ti500, the pure version which is a no frills videocard (which is what we're reviewing today) and the Deluxe model. As both cards use the same PCB layout it's much cheaper for Asus to manufacturer the cards, only adding the necessary components to bring the Deluxe version some TV in/out and S-Video for example.

Read the Rest...

Colin's Weekly Tech Tips

Colin Sun
Turn off File Sharing
While I like WindowsXP very much, it does have a few quirks that bug me quite a bit... Probably one of my bigger qualms with WinXP is that Simple File sharing is enabled by default. It poses just too large of a security risk IMO and it also does not work very well. Luckily it's easy to turn off!

Open up your Windows Explorer and go to the Tools menu and choose Folder Options. From there click the View Tab and uncheck the Use simple file sharing (Recommended) and click the Ok button. Now when you click the sharing tab when trying to share devices you will get a more detailed control like you see in Windows 2000.

Please note, this tweak only works with WindowsXP Pro and not Home edition.

Colin's Tips Archives | The Forums

ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 8X AGP Videocard Review Introducing the Matrox Parhelia

When ATi didn't counter nVIDIA's GeForce4 Ti GPU release with a new product of their own earlier this year many people speculated that trouble was afoot in the same way that Matrox has been faltering. To counter the gossip, ATI publicly stated that they didn't see any value in revising the old R200 (Radeon 8500) core to compete against nVIDIA's new offering. The only thing interesting on the back of the Radeon 9700 videocard is the little aluminum strip. According to ATI, this piece of metal is merely for EMI shielding since the Radeon 9700 Pro's power plant can generate quite a bit of EMI signal noise.

In recent times, Matrox and video games technology have not exactly gone hand in hand so it was with a lot of anticipation that the information about the Parhelia was analysed. Given that the Millennium G400 came out in May of 1999, Matrox have been essentially upgrading the same basic GPU all the way up to the G550. After seeing the advanced features they touted for their G400 card, (hardware bump mapping, etc.) made quickly obsolete by a flood of products from Nvidia and ATI offering similar features and significantly faster 3D performance, Matrox apparently gave up on the gamers market.

Read the Rest...

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PCstats Issue

Circulation: 189,000

The High Tech Low Down
With Chris Angelini

Did someone say 'Barton?' Rumor has it - and reliable sources confirm - that the successor to AMD's 'Thoroughbred' core is being readied this very moment for an early February launch. Armed with 512KB of Level 2 cache, the new Athlon XP will be able to complete more aggressively against the Pentium 4 without relying solely on frequency increases. While 'Barton' processors are physically able to interface with any Socket 462 motherboard, it sounds like only a select few will be able to support the chip at launch, at least until the other manufacturers are able to release the necessary BIOS updates. Word has it that the initial speed grade of the new core will be set to compete against the 3.06GHz Pentium 4, though actual megahertz numbers still haven't been disclosed.

Looking even further into the future, it sounds like ATI is putting the finishing touches on R350. Call is a hunch or even a sound tip, but I think we'll be hearing more from ATI about its next-generation part sooner than later. Then again, before we see anything else from ATI, NVIDIA will be unveiling its NV31 and NV34 value and mainstream graphics processors, which are believed to complete with ATI's RADEON 9500/9700 family. Until next week...

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