-MSI K8N Neo4-SLI
- K8NSP-SLI Mobo
- Intel 64-bit Tech
- Aopen 915P Mobo
- Albatron K8X890 ProII
- SLI 6600GT's
- Handy Recovery
- PCstats Weekly Tips
SLI Motherboards For Intel and AMD
It's March, and the updated PCstats
ShoppingList dishes out our ideal hardware
recommendations for three budget levels. This is a handy tool for anyone
seeking advice on what to put into their next PC... And while we're on the
topic of new PCs, expect nForce 4 SLI boards for the Intel
Pentium 4 to start popping up in May. Nvidia's Intel-friendly 'Crush 19' NF4 chipset
will reportedly support 800/1066MHz FSB Pentium 4 CPUs, as well as
the dual-core 90nm 'Smithfield' processor which was announced by Intel at IDF today. Also generating buzz are two
new multi-core supporting Intel chipsets, the 955X 'Glenwood'
and 945P Lakeport. Both of which will be paired with the ICH7 Southbridge.
As you know, Intel recently released its new 64-bit EM64T processor technology
just in time for Microsoft tell us all that WindowsXP 64-bit Edition will hit store shelves early April. AMD has had its Athlon64 processor out for
nearly two years without the proper OS to take full advantage of its capabilities, now we'll just have
to wait a few more weeks for Microsoft's 64-bit OS to make
its imminent debut!
In this issue, PCstats covers the MSI K8N Neo4-SLi and Gigabyte
K8NSP-SLi motherboards. If SLi has tempted you into running two PCI
Express videocards side-by-side, these reviews are not to be missed! Also
on the agenda is a look at MSI's NX6600GT-SLi videocards, the Albatron
K8X890 ProII and AOpen 915Pa-PLF motherboards, and a look at Intel's 64-bit
As always, the PCstats Weekly Tech Tip is a good one, and along the
right hand side you'll find an interesting column about keeping up with
The MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI is actually the third revision of MSI's popular K8N Neo series, and it's now
based on the brand new nVIDIA nForce4 SLI chipset. The motherboard supports Socket
939 AMD Athlon64 processors with HyperTransport running at a smooth 1 GHz. There are two
physical PCI-Express 16x slots on the motherboard as well as
three standard 32-bit PCI slots. Under SLI, the two PCI Express videocard
slots operate with 8 lanes each. The K8N Neo4 has a onboard
Creative Soundblaster (CA0106-DAT) soundcard!Continue
Today, PCStats will be looking at Gigabyte's
next generation AMD Athlon64 motherboard, the GA-K8NXP-SLI. Based on the
popular nVidia nForce4-SLI chipset, this motherboard supports socket 939
Athlon64 and AthlonFX processors, as well as up to 4GB of PC3200 DDR RAM
in a dual channel configuration. As an SLI-compatible board, it sports two
PCI Express x16 slots for dual videocards. This
board features an onboard four port SATA/RAID Silicon Image controller,
two Gigabit NICs, one wireless 802.11g PCI network card, a
7.1-channel audio controller, three IEEE 1394b ports, Gigabyte's DPS-2
power system, and of course dual BIOS'. Continue
SLI Factoid: The first round
of Intel SLi boards will include the Asus P5ND2-SLI, Epox 5NVA+SLi,
Gigabyte 8NNXP-SLI and MSI P4N Diamond. Each of which will support 1066MHz
FSB, DDR2-667, PCI Express SLI graphics, and run with an 800MHz Hyper
Transport connection. SerialATA-II will be standard on nVidia's MCP04
As you may know, Intel recently brought legacy compatible 64-bit
technology to its Xeon and Pentium 4 lines of processors. This move was
inevitable when you take into account the huge success that AMD has had
with its Opteron line of 32-bit/64-bit chips as compared to Intel's Itanium
('I-tanic') Server processors. The Itanium of course, is not compatible
with software designed for standard x86-based computers, while the Opteron
is. Intel needed to close this gap, and they have. The question is, why is
Intel being so quiet about it? Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T) is outwardly practically
identical to AMD's 'AMD64' set of 64-bit extensions. And when
we say "practically identical", we mean it...Continue
The AOpen i915Pa-PLF motherboard is a socket 775 Intel
Pentium 4 solution designed for mainstream users getting ready to upgrade
a little of everything. Obviously based on the Intel 915P chipset, this
blackened-PCB motherboard supports current 800/533MHz FSB Socket 775 CPUs
(Celeron or Pentium 4), and requires a PCI-Express compatible video card.
AGP videocards are not supported at all. For its class, the
i915Pa-PLF is not the most well equipped motherboard out there, but it still
features the minimum of necessary peripherals users are likely to need.
|Dual MSI NX6600GT-TD128E SLI Videocard Review
an enthusiast I'm less than impressed with the last few years under ATi's
rule; they've been turbulent at best... and not especially innovative.
What ever the situation, there's no doubt that nVIDIA's
GeForce 6600GT is the best mainstream core on the market right now. A
single GeForce 6600GT-based videocard is about as quick as last
generation's Radeon 9800XT/GeForceFX 5950 Ultra cards, and then there is
around the GeForce
6600GT core, both cards are backed up with 128MB of
memory on a 128-bit bus. Continue
Today we're going to look at an Albatron
K8X890 Pro II motherboard which uses VIA's new
K8T890 chipset, so you know what that means - PCI Express videocards!
This Albatron motherboard supports all Socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 or FX
processors as well as up to 4GB of PC3200 DDR memory. The VIA K8T890
chipset supports PCI Express, so as you'd expect we see a full PCI
Express x16 video slot on this board as well as a single PCI Express x4
|| PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Controlling Hidden Shares
Linux is a great OS, but things can be tricky when one wants to move from Linux to Windows. The problem is the various Linux distributions use a boot loader (usually either LILO or GRUB) which is written on the boot sector of the HDD. Removing the Linux partition via FDISK or other means does not change the master boot record so when you restart the system you're still greeted by boot loader, which then freezes the PC since Linux is no longer on the system.
Luckily the fix is easy... it's just not that obvious. First you'll need a DOS style boot disk (if you don't have one and need to get a copy Bootdisk.com is the best place) with the fdisk utility. Once you boot to a command prompt simply type fdisk /mbr and press enter. That resets the Master Boot Record and now you can then install a Windows operating system.
Hey, Team PCStats needs more 'folders! If
you have some CPU resources to spare, make sure you're helping us and the rest
of humanity out!
|Join the PCstats Forums Today @ Forum.PCstats.com!||
|Keeping up on your Game|
If you are a PC games enthusiast like us, you know that patching your computer games is an unfortunate chore of life. Given the huge variety of hardware which the average computer might be composed of, getting a given game to work on every system is a daunting task for programmers. Add to this the fact that many major game publishers place restrictive schedules on their game developers and its no wonder that so many promising products make it to the marketplace half-finished. Sadly, many companies know that with enough publicity, they can release untested games onto the market, then patch them up after the fact. This patch-and-release strategy has become so common that checking for patches before playing a game is now routine for most of us.
Fortunately, the easy accessibility of the Internet on home PCs also enables a positive flip side to the whole game-patching problem: Developers can easily release new content for their games, making it available for downloading in the same way as patches are. Better yet, many popular games release Software Development Kits, map-making tools, guidelines and even scripting tools to enable home users to create their own content. This legacy of 'modding' and creating new content for games stretches all the way back to the original Doom. Some great recent examples of this are Half-Life (the game that launched a thousand mods, including Counter-Strike), NeverWinter Nights which allows its players to create detailed role-playing adventure 'modules' which can be played by other players, and the recent Doom 3 and Unreal Tournament 2004.
Many games now incorporate a patching engine into the game's front-end, making the process of obtaining software fixes painless. We're pretty sure that this will become almost mandatory in the years to come. What we'd like to see is games shipping with an entire content downloading mechanism; not just patches, but new maps and content from other players, available within the program itself. Currently, the most reliable source for patches and downloads are the major web gatherings of Gamespot, FilePlanet, etc. A few companies have even created 'patching software' which when installed, will assemble a list of the games you have installed and find available downloads for you automatically. VIA's Grease Monkey software is one good example of this type of service. As you'd expect, these applications are subscription based and come with a price tag attached, but generally offer better performance and less waiting around than free website servers.
The moral of the story is, if you have a game you are enjoying, take a little time to explore what web-based resources are available. You might be surprised at what you find.