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In This Issue...

BTX Formfactor
MSI 6600GT AGP
Belkin 802.11g
Unattended XP
Seasonic PSU
Corsair Flash
Firefox Browser
Corsair PC2-4300
PCstats Weekly Tips
BTX Form Factor Explained

Hello,

A lot of us have been wondering about the new BTX standard Intel is proposing, and if it's really worth buying into. PCstats looks into this new form factor for how PC cases, power supplies and motherboards will be built. We've also test run Microsoft's new beta spyware protection software. It fails to completely replace the assortment of applications currently out there... but is a step up. The last part of PCstats series "Mysterious Motherboard Troubles," finishes off our look at a continuing industry problem. Three more Q & A letters have also been posted.

The reviews start off with a bang, and a little AGP videocard MSI call the NX6600GT. Belkin recently sent in an 802.11g print server, while Seasonic's Power Angel and Corsair's 512MB USB flash drive also made it past the test bench. We can't forget PCstats Weekly Tech Tip, and a set of PC2-4300 DDR-2 from Corsair. It's fast DDR-2 RAM, so see our review for the full details.

The PCstats Newsletter and the friendly folks at Crucial.com would like to applaud Clayton O. of Utah, for taking home 1GB of Crucial's Ballistix Tracer PC4000 DDR! Thanks to everyone who entered! There will be more chances to take home the latest computer gear, so stay tuned!

BTX Form Factor Explained - A New Way of Building PC

Weren't we all supposed to be using BTX by now? Its introduction was supposed to coincide with the birth of the 'Alderwood' and 'Grantsdale' chipsets we now know as the Intel 915P and 925X. Instead, the standard took until just recently to get off the ground with manufacturers in Taiwan, resulting in Intel bumping the official introduction of the BTX form factor to their upcoming chipset generation, 'Glenwood' and 'Lakeport.' Continue Here>>

MSI NX6600GT-VTD128 Geforce 6600GT AGP Videocard Review
The MSI Geforce NX6600GT-VTD128 AGP card is compatible with 8x/4x AGP motherboards only, and will not physically fit in AGP 2X or earlier slots. It comes equipped with 128MB of Samsung GDDR3 BGA memory on a 128-bit memory bus. At 900MHz, the MSI NX6600GT-VTD12's memory is clocked 50 Mhz slower than the Albatron Trinity 6600GT AGP card we reviewed recently, and a full 100Mhz slower than the Gigabyte GV-NX66T128D's memory. We'll see later if this has any impact on benchmark performance.
Continue Here>>

Belkin 802.11g Wireless USB Print Server Review

In this article, PCstats will be reviewing the new Belkin 802.11g 2-port USB Wireless Print Server. This useful little device can support two USB printers on either a wired or wireless network (but not both, more on this later). This is a dedicated print server, not a router with some extra functionality. It's intended for small office environments and comes equipped with WEP encryption to safeguard the privacy of your documents (and your ink) when then are transmitted over a 54Mbps 802.11g connection. Continue Here>>

Advanced Guides: Unattended Windows 2000/XP Installations

Every now and then there comes along a computer or server that needs Windows installed with a specific blend of drivers and settings. It's times like this that having your own customized Windows installation can be a time saver, and life saver. The goal of this guide is to help you create a bootable WinXP/2K install CD that contains the latest version of your operating system, and once you start the installation process will install automatically on its own. Continue Here>>

Seasonic Power Angel Test Kit Review
Now what if you knew that leaving a PC on all night cost X amount of money, would that change things? To answer such a question we need a test kit to find out how much power is actually being drawn to keep your PC running.... Enter the Seasonic Power Angel Tester. This nifty device provides everything you need to precisely measure the power draw of your PC and monitor, and even power efficiency of your PC's power supply. Continue Here>>
Corsair Flash Voyager 512MB USB Flash Memory Review
With USB memory drives gaining popularity, manufacturers are jumping into this market as quickly as possible. In this review, PCStats is testing Corsair's new rugged Flash Voyager 512MB USB 2.0 drive. The Flash Voyager is priced around the same as most other 512MB USB flash drives, and boasts read speeds of 19MB/s, and write transfer speeds of 13MB/s. Continue Here>>

Mozilla's Firefox 1.0 Internet Browser

First there was IE6.0, the next moment Mozilla's Firefox 1.0 appeared seemingly fully formed in an instant, and gaining momentum at a furious rate. Suddenly we have the potential for a browser war again... we haven't seen anything like this since Netscape. Firefox (like Mozilla) has been in development for a while, slowly perfecting its browser technology on both Windows and Linux platforms, and it shows.Continue Here>>

Corsair Twin2X1024-4300C3 DDR-2 Memory Review

Both of these Corsair Twin2X1024-4300C3 memory modules are unbuffered, non-ECC in nature and are rated to run at PC2-4300 (or DDR2-538 speeds) with a voltage of 1.8V. The SPD timings are set at 3-3-3-8. Like all other Corsair TwinX DIMMs, the Twin2X1024-4300C3 memory is wrapped in aluminum heatspreaders that are supposed to keep the memory 'nice and cool'... but overclocking usualy heats things up just a little... Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips:
If you're worried about what your family or employees are printing, why not limit the times during which they can print documents to regular office hours? This feature is already built into Windows and is quite easy to configure, just go to your Control Panel and open up the 'Printers and Faxes' folder.

From there right click on the printer you want to limit and go to properties. That will open up a new window and click on the advanced tab. Select the 'Available From' radio box and enter the time you'd like the printer to be available.

From now on whenever someone tries to print something from the computer and does not have administrative access, they will only be able to print at the allocated time.

We're looking for new people to join the PCStats Folding@Home team and help us to break into the top 50 teams!

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PCstats Issue
No.164
Circulation: 219,763

Mysterious Motherboard Troubles - Part 3

In the past two columns we've talked about the mysterious motherboard troubles which lead to a FIC AU11 motherboard, ceasing to function.

More specifically, 4 of the board's GSC 10 volt 2200microfarad capacitors and 4 of its GSC 6.3v 1000mf caps blew their tops, frying the board. This should NOT happen.

Faulty capacitors were a major issue in the industry a couple of years ago, stemming from an interesting case of industrial espionage in Japan in which a flawed electrolyte formula was stolen and put to use. Now there is no easy way of telling which companies produce potentially faulty capacitors, or even which models to avoid.

The best thing you can do with your existing computer is inspect your motherboard every now and then. Take a good look at the capacitors on the board, especially the larger ones. In our observation, these are more likely to go. Check for unusual bulges on the top of the capacitor and/or leaks around the base. Obviously, if one or more of your caps have burst their tops, this is a bad sign.

If you see any sign of bulging or leakage, you are likely to have computer problems in the near future. Your only real option at this point (besides backing up your data fast) is to RMA your motherboard and attempt to get a replacement. Depending on the state of the board and your warranty, this may or may not work. If you are competent with a soldering iron, you can try replacing the faulty caps with identical spec new ones also.

If you are looking to buy a new motherboard, look for good quality capacitors (typically Sanyo, or known brands). As a rule of thumb, the cheaper the board, the cheaper the components are likely to be, but do your homework and don't buy bargain basement components if you want your system to last.

The PCstats Forums
PCSTATS Q & A
Our readers ask a lot of questions, and now you can see all the answers! Every week from Tues. to Thurs. around 5pm, keep an eye out for the new PCstats Q & A column as it pops up on the front page of PCstats. The only address you need to remember is www.pcstats.com

If you miss it, select the 'Tips' news category from the box just below our four latest feature reviews to read through all the tech advice that has been dished out.

This weeks letters are:
Crippled cameraphone
To Clone or not to Clone?
Motherboard mixing

Last weeks letters were:
Thanks for the Memory
Cold, Hard Reality
Out of Sync


This Issue By
Editor-in-Chief
. M. Page
Weekly Tips
. C. Sun
. M. Dowler

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