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In This Issue...

- SLI Power Supply
- FB-DIMM Tech
- OCZ PC4800 DDR
- MSI RS480M2-IL
- Guide: Bad RAM
- PCstats Weekly Tips
SLI Power Supplies and a Radeon X850XT

Over the last few days, the PCSTATS lab has been busy testing and retesting a pair of nVidia Geforce 7800GTX videocards in SLI (the gist: they're fast). Then came the latest set of nVidia drivers, and a new feature - SLI-AntiAliasing... so back the lab we went. The tests are all done, so keep an eye out for that review, it'll be out very shortly. :-)

With the increased demand of SLI systems on the power supply, it was only a mater of time before power supplies started appearing with twin 6-pin SLI videocard connectors. We have one the first (and best) PSUs on the review agenda today - PC Power and Cooling's Tubro-Cool 510. Following that is a review of MSI's Radeon RX850XT videocard, a 1GB pair of OCZ PC4800 high performance DDR, and the ATI chipset-based MSI RS480M-IL motherboard.

I'm also pleased to bring you an introductory article on a new type of memory called FB-DIMM. FB-DIMM is kind of like taking a PCI Express or Hypertransport pathway directly to DDR2 memory - a sort of 'Serial DDR subsystem' if you will. Last but not least, we revisit the topic of diagnosing bad memory with this excellent PCSTATS Beginners Guide!

Let me know what you think about PCSTATS Weekly Tech Tips, and have a look at the Poll on the front page too. Enjoy!

PC Power & Cooling Turbo-Cool 510 Express/SLI Power Supply Review
Continue on...

This no-nonsense black 510Watt (650Watt peak) power supply, with woven sleeved cables eminating from this PSU main selling point is its suitability for SLI videocard systems. This starts with the pair of 12V six-pin video card power connectors on the unit and ends with the fact that the PC Power and Cooling Turbo-Cool 510 Express/SLI power supply is one of only four officially recommended by nVidia for use with SLI videocard computer systems. The +3.3V line can deliver up to 30 Amps while the 5V rail will of 40A. The 12V rail can deliver 34A which is important since the processor runs off this line. The Turbo-Cool 510 Express/SLI powersupply uses Active Power Factor Correction (A-PFC), meaning that the power supply automatically detects the wall voltage and adjusts itself, eliminating the need for an external voltage level switch.Continue Here>>

MSI Radeon RX850XT-TD256E Videocard Review
Continue on...

By all accounts, analysts agree that ATIs CrossFire technology should breathe new life into the company's current high-end line of PCI Express videocards. The PCI Expres sMSI RX850XT-TD256E videocard, which does not feature CrossFire, is built upon the Radeon X850 XT, with 256MB of GDDR3 memory and it supports VIVO, TV/S-Video output and component output. The ATi X850 series of GPUs are the current 3D performance leaders and the XT is the second fastest available GPU in the line. As usual for MSI Computer, the software package is among the best on the market.... Continue Here>>

Introduction to FB-DIMM Memory: Birth of Serial RAM?
Continue on... FB-DIMM memory (short for Fully-Buffered Dual Inline Memory Module) is a variant of standard DDR2 memory where both large amounts of memory and memory co-ordination and accuracy at high speeds are essential. FB-DIMM memory combines the high-speed internal architecture of DDR2 memory with a brand-new point-to-point serial memory interface which links each FB-DIMM module together in a chain. Conventional memory modules use a parallel 'stub' connection in which each module in a memory channel has a separate set of links to that channel and the memory controller.Continue Here>>

OCZ PC4800 Dual Channel Platinum Limited Edition Memory
Continue on...

OCZs PC4800 Dual-Channel Platinum Limited Edition kit consists of two 512MB sticks of DDR. By default the RAM is rated to run at 300 MHz with 2.5-4-4-10 memory timings (at 2.85V)! The timings are pretty quick, but not quite at the level of 2-2-5. Still, DDR600 is definitely an impressive feat and tight timings are not as important to the AMD Athlon64 as they are to Intel Pentium 4 systems.Continue Here>>

MSI RS480M2-IL Motherboard Review
Continue on...

ATi has released a handful of processor chipsets over the last couple of years, but motherboard manufacturers have been slow to adopt them. I think it's safe to say that ATi actually has a leg up on the competition when it comes to graphics integration. The MSI RS480M2-IL supports Socket 939 AMD Athlon64/FX processor, with up to 4GB of unbuffered non-ECC PC3200 DDR RAM. Onboard goodies include the aforementioned integrated videocard, 10/100 LAN, 5.1 channel audio and IEEE 1394. If you are not a fan of integrated video, the MSI RS480M2-IL also features a full PCI Express x16 slot as well as three PCI slots for expansion.Continue Here>>

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Beginners Guides: Diagnosing Bad Memory
Continue on...

Having problems figuring out if your system is plagued with bad RAM or DDR? PCstats walks you though the steps to diagnose bad RAM.

In this short but sweet guide, PCstats will discuss the common symptoms of faulty memory as well as looking at a handful of free memory testing software programs which can help you diagnose your troubles.
Signs of bad memory: 1. Starts Smoking, 2. Becomes Moody...

The indicators of faulty memory are legion, but let's start with a few common ones. From the top:

  1. Blue screens during the install procedure of Windows 2000 or XP. This is one of the surest signs of faulty memory.
  2. Random crashes or blue screens during the running of 2000 or XP. Note that heat can also be a culprit in the case of general flakiness like this, so you should test for that possibility too.
  3. Crashes during memory intensive operations. 3D games, benchmarks, compiling, etc.
  4. Distorted graphics on screen. This can also be related to the video card.
  5. Failure to boot. This can be accompanied by repeated long beeps, which is the accepted BIOS beep code for a memory problem. In this circumstance, you cannot test the memory with diagnostic software, so your only option is testing by replacement, either at home or at your computer dealer. Continue Here>>
PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Disable Task Manager, Protect Your Common-Use PC
Task manager is an extremely powerful tool in Windows, from diagnosing problems or closing stuck programs/services, even accounts that are limited have access to this program. While this might sound like a good thing it can cause huge headaches for system administrators if there are trouble makers in the company.

Disabling Task Manager is possible, and we'll show you how! First, click the Start button and go to Run and from there type gpedit.msc and press the ok button. The Group Policy Editor window should open and from there follow this path User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System -> Ctrl+Alt+Delete options. From there on the right hand window find the Remove Task Manager option and change its value to enabled.

Once that's done Task Manager will be disabled no matter the user, if in the future you find you need it again, simply set the option to disable.

If you have problems with this tip, or have questions, stop by the PCStats Forums Beginners Q and A section. All the cool kids are already there, so go! ;-)

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. M. Page
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. C. Sun
. M. Dowler

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