High Performance nForce2 Motherboards!
- the mere mention of the word brings serious performance freaks to their
knees, and puts a smile on gamers of all types. PCstats reviewed the MSI K7N2
last week, and today we may just have found something even better - the
nForce2-based FIC AU11
Chameleon motherboard! What, still not enough performance for you?
Okay I think we can do better.... how about putting all of
Colin's Weekly Tech Tips together for your reference, and system
We've done just that, a 2002 Roundup
of Colin's Tips.
If serious performance is what really
interests you and your
web applications; Tyan have a
dually Xeon 1U server board which recently made it out of the PCstats labs. The Tyan S2722 is based on the E7500 Intel chipset, and is the
first ATX compatible dual socket 603 Xeon server board available anywhere. Since we're on a roll here with
performance oriented gear, our review of a 48X CDR / 24X CDRW / 16X
DVD optical drive from Samsung for $100US is worth a read, and
you might want to check out what C. Angelini has to say about DVD+RW
drives in this weeks High Tech Low Down. Lastly, I've included a
classic guide to unlocking the AthlonXP 2100 since we're all eagerly awaiting the new "Barton" core from AMD here. Also, our friends
at Crucial Memory have let us know that they currently have a nice little deal going on the Crucial Radeon 9700 Pro video card.
You get a $40US
discount on the Radeon 9700 Pro when you purchase a 512MB Crucial DDR
memory upgrade. Quite a nice little deal, so if you're in the market for
Radeon 9700 Pro this may be just the ticket you've been waiting
for. Our review of the Radeon 9700 Pro is right here in case you need a refresher. Until next
If you're a PCstats.com newsletter subscriber, you most
certainly know what an integral part Colin's Weekly Tech Tips is. I have
always prided myself as a "tweak master" and I love helping my readers
improve their computing performance and experience. While all the tech tips are stored in an archive in the
forums, I often get requests by the
readers to put together a comprehensive article with all the tips. I guess this
is much easier to read then 20 odd forum threads! =) Without further
adieu, here are all the Tech Tips of 2002... Check them out!
Tyan are a server and workstation motherboard
company to be sure, and in a meeting with them several years ago in
Fremont CA, we were told Tyan-based servers run Google and Yahoo.
If that's 100% true or not now I can't say for certain, but that kind of
news does raise the bar on expectations significantly. The Tyan Tiger S2722 is based on the Intel
server E7500 chipset and supports up to two Socket 603 Xeon processors
with 512 KB L2 cache and a 400 MHz system bus to provide up to 3.2 GB/s of
available bandwidth. We will be testing with two 2.0GHz Xeon parts, but
there is no reason why the board couldn't be outfit with just a single
Xeon processor. The E7500 supports NetBurst microarchitecture and
HyperThreading which are built into the Xeon processor. On board expansion consists of just two
64-bit 133/100/66MHz PCI-X slots and a regular 5V 32 bit 33MHz PCI slot. Realistically speaking,
with the Tyan Tiger S2722 mounted in a 1U rack mount chassis,
only one of the three slots would be available via a PCI or PCI-X 90
degree riser card. Memory support consists of four 184-pin DDR DIMM sockets
which will hold up to a maximum of 8 GB of Registered ECC
PC1600/2100 DDR memory (in pairs).
Optical drives are an old technology,
but still constitute one of the pillars of ever computer system. A
combo drive as the industry terms them, are a combination of a
CD-R/RW burner with a DVD-ROM. The Samsung SM348 is a combo drive
which boasts the following read and burn speeds for the four
essential optical media platforms.
- CD Read Speed: 48X
- CD-R Write Speed: 48X
- CD-RW Rewrite Speed: 24X
- DVD Read Speed: 16X
CD-RW rewrite speed threw us for a bit of a loop because we
were unable to find any CD-RW recordable media rated above the current "high-speed" of 10X
to test with in our area. In any event, the remaining aspects of
the SM-348 are nice; the drive is quite in operation, the geared
tray mechanism is smooth and nearly silent, and any burner with DVD
capabilities built right in for a little over $100USD is a winner in my book.
on the same nForce2 SPP (System Platform Processor) you can already guess that
that the FIC AU11 is going to be fast, but is it worth extra $20
CDN over that of MSI's K7N2-L solution? For starters, what exactly does the FIC AU11
have to offer? Is it chocked full of USB and firewire ports, or is it just
a plain and simple mainboard solution? Well thanks to the nForce2-128 SPP
Northbridge chipset, the AU11 supports any 200/266/333 MHz based Athlon
processor, even the upcoming Barton based Athlon's so upgrade paths are
clean and simple. There are three DIMM slots for a maximum of 3
GB of PC1600/2100/2700/3200* (* there is no JEDEC PC3200 standard) memory,
but since the NF2 is able to take advantage of dual channel DDR, you'll
really just want to populate the first two slots with identical memory
|The AXP21K+ Trick - Unlocking the
||MSI K7N2-L nForce2 Motherboard
Unlocking AthlonXP processors have always been relatively easy to
do - just fill the laser cut valley's with some sort of non
conductive filler and short the L1 bridges with a conductive
material. That was then, and with the release of the AthlonXP 2100+
things have gotten a lot more difficult. Is this a sign of
things to come for future AMD processors like the Thoroughbred?
I've unlocked a few of the brown AthlonXP processors in the past
and have never had any problems which weren't resolved by the second
or third attempt. With the green AthlonXP 2100+ I tried at least
five times with no success. The reason I found it so frustrating
trying to unlock the XP 2100+ wasn't because I was not connecting
the L1 bridges properly, but because that technique simply wasn't
working anymore! So what was going on? After all, the same method
worked with the most recent processors AMD released; the AthlonXP
1800+, 1900+ and 2000+. What was so different about the 2100+?
nForce chipset had lots of potential and made a lot of promises, but
in the end it fizzled out big time. When nForce was announced the
AMD chipset performance leader at the time was the SiS 735 chipset.
The nForce was faster and more advanced, however after long
delay the nForce eventually reached a market where the main
competitor had now changed.
Faced against the VIA KT266A chipset,
the hype brought on by dual channel DDR was just that, hype.
Performance was good, but it just couldn't compete with VIA's
chipsets at the time. The question this time around is whether or
not nVIDIA have learned from their mistakes. When the nForce2 was originally
announced back in July of 2002, nVIDIA was hoping to steal a bit of
ATI's thunder for the release of the 9700 Pro videocard which was
announced a few days later. Consequently, the nForce chipset was
delayed yet again, and eventually reached the markets in October,
albeit in limited quantities. Now a days, you can get an nForce2
board from any of the large motherboard manufacturers
The Last Word:
We know, we know.... you've been telling you friends and co-workers to sign up for the PCstats.com Newsletter themselves so they'll stop bugging you, but haven't known where to send them... Today we have a solution I think you'll appreciate - send your friends to our brand spanking new PCstats.com Newsletter Subscription page where they can get their very own Free subscription. The URL to pass on to a friend is: http://www.pcstats.com/newsletter.html
| Colin's Weekly Tech Tips|
| DOS Junkies Unite!!|
I'm a bit of a DOS junkie myself, I'm
more comfortable with it then I am with the pretty Windows GUI. I
find I'm using the command prompt quite a bit while within Windows.
Because I'm also quite lazy, I find
that the auto complete function in the DOS prompt quite invaluable,
however it's disabled by default. Luckily enabling it is quite easy,
all we have to do is some registry editing.
If you load up Regedit (Start, Run and
type Regedit and then press the ok button) follow this path
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Command
Processor. Rightclock on the CompleteChar DWORD
value and change it's value to 9 (does not matter if you use
Hexidecimal or Decimal).
Reboot your computer and now when
you're mucking around in the DOS prompt after you enter the initial
DOS command (like CD, Copy, etc) simply hit the tab button to scroll
through the list until hit what you're looking for. This works with
Win2k as well as WinXP.
|Colin's Tips Archives | The PCStats.com Forums|
|The High Tech Low
Storage technology may not evolve as rapidly as a processor or
video card, but lately, we've seen quite a few changes in that
particular market. To begin with, it looks like Serial ATA drives
are finally shipping to retail outlets. Seagate is
apparently leading the charge with its 80 and 120GB drives. My own
tests show that even while increased drive performance may not be
immediately perceptible, configuring the interface is simple and
tidy – a pleasant departure from the bulky parallel ATA cables.
As Serial ATA takes off, it looks like the
progression in CD-RW technology is slowing to a crawl. It was
originally thought that 48x would be the fastest speed possible, but
several manufacturers have recently released 52x burners. Don't
expect to see many Serial ATA
burners. In talking with a VP from one of the larger optical drive
manufacturers, I've learned that the market for external CD-RW
drives is larger now that USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394 have caught on. Of
course, Serial ATA is being considered, but nothing has been set in
stone quite yet.
The future seems to lie in writeable DVD
drives, though. There are several standards, like DVD-R, DVD-RW,
DVD+R, and DVD+RW so it is important to choose the burner that suits
your needs. DVD-R generally boasts the best compatibility with
set-top DVD players, but DVD+R
is faster. Then again, you could always pick up a drive that
supports all four standards.
Killer Hardware Poll:
What hardware do you want most in 2003?
(Athlon64 in the
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