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.Hardware Security
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Fast Videocards, RAM and Motherboards

Chilling info in the Industry Insights column... What will the world be like with "secure hardware," and is this a sign of serial number based components which must be activated in a similar fashion to software today?

On the other side of the tech spectrum is surely the "Blog." Do you know someone who runs a blog? Would you like to start one, but aren't sure how? Never fear, Mike has put together a quick guide to get you 'Blogging' away in no time.

Now the topic of Issue No.118 is fast hardware, and so I'm sure you'll find PCstats' review of the Albatron FX5700 Ultra videocard, OCZ PC3700 'Gold' DDR memory, and DFI Lan Party Nforce2 Ultra B motherboard just the gear you need to remain fast! DFI has really put together an amazing package which is arguably the best nForce2-based motherboard ever! Read our review and judge for yourself if you disagree. No PCstats Newsletter would be complete without the Weekly TechTip, and you can find that golden nugget of information at the bottom of this email. Just below that is a review of the game X2: The Threat. PCstats is trying out game reviews for size, so please let me know what you think.

And speaking of opinions, I've set up a quick 7-question Quiz about how PCstats might be able to serve you better. Please take a moment to fill it out, I'd really appreciate your input.

Beginners Guides: Creating a Weblog / Blog
Read it Now! In the 90's Grunge was in. Now in the 00's, Blogging is the next biggest thing. Create your own Blog page, or simply find out what all the fuss is about. Nothing personifies the Internet's promise of easy and unlimited communication possibilities quite like the humble weblog. Never mind the millions of commercially driven website; what could be more creative than placing your own thoughts, feelings, art, rants, your own... whatever, in front of a potential audience of millions? A Weblog or Blog is a frequently updated online journal, organized by date and containing whatever the person that creates it wants to put down. Whether used as an online diary, a forum for political rants, or simply for stream of consciousness commentary on day-to-day life, a blog is an easy (and now well-accepted) way of communicating your thoughts and feelings to the world. Continue Here>>

Albatron GeForceFX 5700 Ultra Review
Read it Now! The first glimpse of NV36 came during Computex 2003 in Taipei this past fall. Though the cards were only showed to media behind closed doors, it was easy to see nVidia and its partner companies were eager to reveal something to counter ATI. The NV36 GPU on the other hand was set to compete where past Nvidia GPUs had proved to generate little demand.... and to its credit Albatron have certainly brought together an enticing assortment of specs and stats to dwell over. The Albatron FX5700U spits out fast graphics care of its 475MHz GPU and 128MB of 900MHz DDR-II memory. Coupled with a host of nVidia software such as CineFX, Intellisample HCT, and Ultrashadow, makes this DX9 compatible card an easy contender against the popular Radeon 9800XT.Continue Here>>

OCZ PC3700 Dual Channel Gold Edition Rev 2 Memory
Read it Now! OCZ has really taken the memory market by storm and they're advancing so quickly that even the "traditional big boys" such as Corsair, Mushkin and Kingston are having a hard time catching up. OCZ is on fire right now, and it seems they're the real 'kings' of the memory market... at the moment anyway. The OCZ dual channel PC3700 Gold Edition Rev 2 is intended for the no-fuss enthusiast who wants a fast machine without a lot of tinkering. At stock speeds the OCZ memory is rated to run at 233 MHz, while maintaining timings of 2.5-3-3-7 at 2.7V. Not the greatest timings, but they're more aggressive than most other high speed DIMM's on the market. Please keep in mind that this memory is intended for i865PE/i875P based motherboards... Continue Here>>

DFI LANParty NF2 Ultra B Motherboard Review
Read it Now!

A year ago DFI didn't have much of a presence in the motherboard market, and then along came Jacky Huang and the "Lan Party" concept. Fast forward to the present, and DFI have firmly staked a name for themselves by providing gamer-oriented motherboards with a little florescent flash. With Team DFI roaming around the states visiting local LanParty events, like the recent CyberXGames at CES , DFI are evolving into a motherboard company that aims to speak directly to its consumers. A couple of friends of mine who like to try out new things gave the DFI LANParty motherboards a shot a while back, and all I heard was how great the boards were... from what a great accessory package they come with, to how fast they are at stock speeds, and how great an overclocker they are... Now that it's our time to test the DFI LANParty NF2 Ultra B, I can tell you my expectations are raised pretty high.Continue Here>>

Server Tweaks
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This tweak is for those of you who use your PCs as servers. Because Windows2k Pro and XP are tuned for more for desktop applications, you can change the way your system optimizes its cache for a bit more performance in the 'server' environment. Servers usually need a bit more memory for file caching.

First we have to load up regedit (Start -> Run -> Regedit and press Ok) then follow this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> System -> CurrentControlSet -> Control -> Session Manager -> Memory Management. From there find or add the LargeSystemCache DWORD and change its value to 1 (0 is default for desktops). After that's done save, exit and reboot your system.

After you should notice that your system is a bit smoother when it comes to dishing out information to other PCs.

X2: The Threat - Game Review
Read it Now! To start 2004 off with a bang, zap and kaboom! we decided to take a look at a game which many of our readers, even those that are into PC gaming, may not be familiar with; X2: The Threat. X2 is a space-simulation that mixes fairly typical story driven missions with an extremely detailed and complex economic system, achieving a sort of pseudo-RPG effect as players choose whether to follow the missions or branch of into one of the many entertaining career possibilities afforded by the free-form universe. The synopsis is this. The player is a hard-bitten but skilled pilot who has lapsed into piracy and been apprehended. He is reprieved by mysterious benefactors who are in need of his piloting skill and blah blah blah. You get the idea. Continue Here>>

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PCstats Issue
Circulation: 246,809

Industry Insights

Both Intel and AMD are taking security very seriously. Both companies concede that software alone isn't sufficient to protect our systems against malicious code, which is why they've both outlined plans to develop the next-generation of secure platforms.

Last week I told you about the Execution Protection feature on AMD's Athlon 64 family, but the future of its security roadmap is much more involved. There aren't many details available, as AMD is keeping a low profile until the technology matures. However, the initiative, Secure Execution Mode (SEM), is a collaborative work with Microsoft. As you can imagine, it involves a specially secured operating system and "trusted" hardware, purportedly hardened against intrusion.

Intel's LaGrande technology is much more widely discussed, and in concept is strikingly similar to AMD's idea. At its heart, LaGrande is designed to address client security, which often lags behind more heavily guarded servers. And like SEM, LaGrande Technology employs a combination of secure hardware and software. On the software front, expect Microsoft's upcoming Longhorn to be the first compliant operating system. LaGrande also calls for a secure input device, graphics adapter, and Trusted Platform Module (TPM), in addition to a properly enabled processor and chipset.

Representatives from both Intel and AMD claim that their respective technologies are still two to three years away.
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