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Videocards, WiFi and Guides - the perfect mix

Hello,
In this weeks issue I think you'll find some very intriguing info within our Industry Insights column... nVidia's upcoming PCI express GeForceFX cards to be exact. The big question surrounding PCI Express is this; should you buy into PCI Express videocards when they first come out? The answer is a little tricky, since the nVidia PCX5950 (for example) uses an enhanced AGP bus to bridge the GPU and PCI Express bus' together. It's not a 'native' PCI Express solution per say, but nVidia are extolling some of its virtues none the less. When native PCI express cards (say NV40 and R420) hit, it should be very exciting indeed!

Mike is busy working on a Tips guide you won't want to miss... but in the mean time he has been good enough to dish out some of his Zen-like knowledge on Decrypting Document Passwords that have long since been forgotten. If you have a Word or Excel file you password-protected, but can't remember the password to, this guide is for you. We also explain how to encrypt your Word, or even ZIP files for transmission through e-mail, since their native password protection is circumventable.

On the review front, Gigabyte's 802.11g Networking gear; the GN-WMAG Wifi adaptor, and GN-A17GU Wifi Access Point, showed us what upgrading from 802.11b could offer (hint - more speed ;-) DFI's Pro875B motherboard showed us what a true i875P enthusiast-oriented board should really be like, and MSI's FX5900XT videocard kept the frame rates nice and fast. Just the way we like it.


Beginners Guides: Decrypting Document & File Passwords
Read it Now!

Quick and simple way to unlock those Microsoft Word, Zip, or PDF files that you've forgotten the password to.

Security is a cause for concern in all areas of computer use. As we have shown in previous beginner's guide articles, nothing is quite as easy a target as an unprotected, un-passworded, un-updated computer floating on the tides of the Internet like a fat, juicy duck. You should always keep your system updated and password protected, lest someone take a bite out of your data. Security does not begin and end with the operating system however. If you want to make sure that only you and your compatriots can access certain documents, encrypting and password protecting said documents is the obvious way to go. To this end, many popular software packages provide a method of safeguarding files, generally based on a password. But what if you forget the password to that really, really important Word file, or Zip of Excel spreadsheets? You might as well have deleted your work, right? Only this time the 'previous saved document' function will not save you... But not so fast. We have some tips to help you regain control! Continue Here>>


DFI LANParty PRO875B Motherboard Review
Read it Now!

When we reviewed the DFI LANParty NF2 Ultra B motherboard earlier we didn't really know what to expect. We had heard a lot of good things about it and not only did it turn out to be well equipped and full of extra's, it's also extremely fast and overclocks like nothing we've ever seen before.

The LANParty PRO875B motherboard comes with a HighPoint IDE RAID controller, Intel CSA Gigabit LAN and 5.1 audio. If that's not enough for you the board also has five PCI slots and an 8x AGP socket. While the i875P officially doesn't support 400 MHz based processors, DFI claim that the board can support any Socket478 Pentium 4 or Celeron processor. Among the long list of bundled in extra's are a FrontX drive bay (USB, Audio, LED), two orange braided UV reactive rounded IDE cables and an orange UV reactive rounded Floppy drive cable, and of course the 'PC Transpo' PC carrying strap. Continue Here>>

Gigabyte GN-WMAG 802.11g PCMCIA WiFi Adaptor

The Gigabyte GN-WMAG is a type-II PC card wireless network adaptor supporting both the 802.11b and 802.11g wireless standards. It is capable of WEP encryption up to 152-bit, and supports other wireless security schemes such as WPA (Wireless Protected Access) and 802.1x security.

The GN-WMAG supports 'turbo-g,' a proprietary wireless transfer mode which is in theory capable of transmitting data at 108mbps. we tested the Gigabyte GN-WMAG with a brand new Gigabyte 802.11g compatible access point (which does support 802.11g 'turbo-g' mode), and found some performance improvements came from using 'turbo-g,' though nothing overwhelming. The card itself is typical PCMCIA appearance, with the exception of the six LEDs arranged on the top surface of the device. These lights, arranged in two groups of four and two respectively, indicate the GN-WMAG's current status at a glance, which is extremely useful.Continue Here>>

A Reader Asks...


Q:In your article on the PCI-Express technology you mentioned the BTX standard. I wanted to know, when the standard is released in the summer, does that mean I will need to get a new case? I will also be upgrading my system by the summer, but am worried a new motherboard (if any are available in BTX) will not fit in my old full tower case.

A: Yes, you will need to purchase a BTX compatible case (with power supply) to go along with a new BTX form factor motherboard if you upgrade to one. Given as they are both going to be a rare item at first, I would expect that where you find one, you'll be able to get the other. The BTX form factor is intended to serve as a replacement for the current ATX motherboard form factor in order to better accommodate current processor developments and new technology.

It relocates many motherboard components to different locations, including the CPU socket, ports and PCI/PCI-Express slots. As a result of this, BTX motherboards will not fit into current ATX-compatible cases. BTX power supplies will also use some different connectors and will be (obviously) a requirement for BTX motherboards and cases. Next column we'll field a question about using the NTFS file system with Windows XP. To submit your question to PCstats, send us an email.


Gigabyte GN-A17GU 802.11g WiFi Access Point Review

For today’s review, we take a look at Gigabyte’s entry into the WIFI ‘g’ business arena, the GN-A17GU wireless access point. Gigabyte has released several wireless ‘g’ products recently, and the company is starting to make a name for itself in the business wireless market. The GN-A17GU can be considered their first foray into ‘corporate’ 802.11g products. The GN-A17GU comes with a decent bundle of equipment, at least for a networking product. Inside the box (ooh... shiny) are a couple of CAT 5 Ethernet cables, one crossover and one patch, a stand that doubles as a wall mounting bracket and the screws necessary to attach said bracket.... Continue Here>>


MSI FX5900XT-VTD128 Videocard Review

After years of dominance in the graphic card market, nVIDIA suffered a series of blows which have since seen their market share shrink accordingly. The trouble started with delays surrounding TSMC's 0.13 micron manufacturing process, then the fateful 128bit memory controller on the GeForceFX 5800 Ultra, and of course who could forget about the whole 3DMark03 fiasco? Naturally, being a top of the line card, the MSI GeForceFX 5900XT easily outperforms the GeForceFX 5700 Ultra, and handily trounces ATi's Radeon 9600XT to boot. The MSI FX5900XT-VTD128 videocard we are testing in this review retails for about $290 CDN ($220 US), and is backed with 128MB of DDR RAM, has a DVI port, and even sports S-Video output. With an nVidia FX5900XT chip under the hood, the results should be pretty good. Continue Here>>

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PCstats Issue
No.123
Circulation: 310,620

Industry Insights

It may have come as a surprise when NVIDIA announced its PCI Express lineup a short while ago. After all, motherboards that support the technology are still a ways off. Nevertheless, NVIDIA unveiled four cards, all of which it says are available to its partners for qualification. At the top end is its PCX 5950. A PCX 5750 occupies the "performance" rung, while PCX 5300 and PCX 4300 cards cover the bottom-end.

Don't let the new names fool you, though. The PCX 5950 is based on the same GPU as today's GeForce FX 5950 Ultra; NVIDIA's PCX 5750 is a GeForce FX 5700. Meanwhile, the PCX 5300 bears the same GPU as the lethargic GeForce FX 5200, and that value oriented 4300 is a GeForce4 MX 440.

You see, NVIDIA is using a bridge chip to add PCI Express support to its AGP-compliant line of graphics chips. According to NVIDIA representative Brian Burke, these chips won't introduce a significant delay; in fact, they benefit the architecture in that NVIDIA's native PCI Express chips may be backwards compatible with AGP motherboards by simply reversing the bridge chip. At least from a gaming standpoint, don't expect the new NV3x-based PCI Express cards to be any faster than their AGP counterparts.

Check out the Latest Content on PCstats.com.

Written By
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. M. Page
Weekly Tips
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. C. Angelini
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. M. Dowler


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