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Newsletter Contents

.AMD and nVidia
.Canterwood Mobo
.Springdale Mobo
.400MHz AMD
.XMS3500 DDR
.Colin's Weekly Tips

The Art of Overclocking

I think the director of "Too Fast, Too Furious" must have had Colin in mind when they made that movie. You see, Mr. Weekly Tech Tips is a self-appointed Overclocking Guru who as I'm sure you all know is fully addicted to GigaHertz, insanely high 3DMark scores and little things like... oh I don't know.... reaching 500FPS in Quake III Arena! Well anyway, after a few days of wielding my Editorial powers I finally convinced Colin to step away from the Weekly Tech Tips for a moment and write up a little article explaining some of the reasons why overclockers do what they do. Rest assured, if you were ever a fence sitter on this subject, the five pages of Benchmarks he has included in The Art of Overclocking will decide the matter once and for all.

By the way, that 500FPS score in Quake III Arena was done with Albatron's PX865PE ProII motherboard; check page seven of the review for the proof if you need to see with your own eyes. Also on the review bench this week is a look at Corsair's XMS3500 TwinX DDR dual channel memory modules. I chatted with Corsair Memory recently, and in addition to their newly released HydroCool 200 water cooling rig (info here) it seems as though the boys in black heatspreaders have some patented technology on the memory horizon. What exactly I cannot say, but if Corsair's recent developments are any example, I'm sure it will be pretty nifty.

Canterwood makes an appearance this week with AOpen's AX4C Max mainboard. Not to be outdone, Albatron's PX865PE ProII shows us what the Springdale chipset has to offer all those tasty 800MHz FSB Pentium 4 processors out there. The performance difference is shall we say, interesting? We've bought our 3GHz P4, have you got yours?

I'll be off running around Toronto next week as I take part in the annual North By North East music festival -NXNE2003 - 3 days, 400 bands and $22 wristband @ Edge102. That means we'll continue with the Newsletter in two weeks. In the mean time, if you live in Toronto get out there and have some fun!! For the rest of you, we'd just like to take a moment and say Thank You for subscribing to the weekly Newsletter - your continued feedback is what keeps this newsletter so damn good! Now, your mission should you choose to accept it is to get two of your friends to sign up and try us out. :)

AOpen AX4C Max i875P Motherboard Review
Read Article Now!

While DDR memory crept into mainstream Pentium 4 systems in 2002, back then users looking for top of the line performance still had to go with RDRAM. The i850E/PC1066 RDRAM combo held the performance crown for most of last year, but in 2003 things are turning out to be totally different. Cast aside the i850E chipset and RDRAM which have gone the way of the dodo, and the new king of the hill is clearly Intel's i875P chipset a.k.a. "Canterwood." As for the actual performance and architectural differences between the i865PE and i875P which runs with DDR memory, we'll get to that in just a bit. Today we're going to examine AOpen's flagship AX4C-Max Pentium 4 motherboard which is based on the new i875P chipset. The AX4C Max comes with a lot of features that deserve as much mention as the chipset itself, including such items as Gigabit LAN, 5.1 audio, Serial ATA/Serial ATA RAID (ICH5R and Promise PDC20378), IEEE 1394 firewire and dual BIOS's. With the switch to i875P chipsets it is important to mention that the AOpen AX4C Max only supports Pentium 4 processors which run on a 533 MHz or 800 MHz FSB. Users with 400 MHz FSB Pentium4 (Williamette or Northwood) and socket 478 Celeron processors are simply out of luck.Read the Rest...

The Art of Overclocking; Is It For You?

I recently went to one of the local computer stores here in Toronto to chat with my friend Marlon about my new Thermoelectric cooler setup. One of his customers who was standing near by listening in interrupted to ask "is it really worth all the trouble for the last few MHz"? As an enthusiast I take pride in squeezing as much performance as I can from any given computer part (CPU, videocard, memory, etc) so I obviously said "Yes!" Skeptical, he went on to ask me a couple more questions. For instance; "I'm an average PC user, how would I benefit from overclocking?" and "just how much performance difference do you notice?" We talked for a bit and in the end, we came to a conclusion that overclocking was actually not necessary for him because of the type of computing he did. Gamers out there know full well that while a system may run games just fine, it can never really be fast enough or pump out enough frame rates every second. As a gamer myself, I need extremely high frame rates to play any FPS competitively online. I would like to get well past 150 FPS in every game from UT2003 to Quake III (yes I still play it now and then), or even Raven Shield. I know what most will ask, "Why the heck would you need that many frames per second?" Read the Rest...

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Albatron PX865PE ProII i865PE Springdale Motherboard AMDs Move To a 400MHz Bus Speed

Read Article Now! With the release of mainstream i865 chipsets today there will be soon an influx of new Pentium 4 motherboards on the market from which to choose. Albatron have never been one to sit ideally by and pass on a technology advancement; so grab a coffee and get ready to follow long as we test drive the all new Albatron PX865PE Pro II motherboard. The PX865PE Pro II is of course based on Intel's freshly launched i865PE Springdale chipset, which coincidentally enough, actually launched in spring. Boasting support for 400MHz, 533MHz and 800MHz FSB based Pentium 4's (Northwood or Prescott core) processors, the Springdale chipset forms the basis of Intel's 'mainstream' dual channel DDR chipset strategy. The only downside to Springdale is that the i865 no longer carries on support for older 'Williamette' based Pentium 4 processors, or even socket 478 Celeron CPUs for that matter. After testing the AOpen i865 AX4SPE MAX motherboard we were generally impressed with what it brought to the table. Stock performance was good, and the board was loaded to the gills with features. We expect the Albatron PX865PE Pro II will have a lot of "goodies" as well, and hopefully offer a little more in terms of overclocking. In terms of the extra's, Albatron pack in Serial ATA/Serial ATA RAID (ICH5R, RAID-0 only) and an additional Ultra/133 Promise IDE RAID controller (PDC20276), an Intel 547EI CSA Gigabit NIC, two IEEE 1394 ports, dual BIOS's and even a 7.1 audio soundcard (software codec)!Read the Rest...

Read Article Now!

While AMD just recently increased the AthlonXP bus speed from 266MHz to 333MHz in October 2002, there has been a lot of talk lately about the AthlonXP moving to a 400MHz bus speed as early as the third quarter of 2003. As most overclockers already know, FSB (Front Side Bus) speed is very important to overall system performance. As we have seen in the past with the Intel Celeron line of processors, a low FSB can severely limit the overall system performance of a processor regardless of what the CPU clock speed actually is.

If you'll recall from past articles, the Front Side Bus (FSB) is the bus within a processor that connects the CPU and memory. The faster this channel runs, the faster the processor can communicate with the motherboard and other components in the system. For example, the current crop of AthlonXP processors run with a 133MHz FSB, and in the case of AthlonXP 2700+'s and higher (including Barton), a 166MHz FSB.

Read the Rest...

(next week we're testing out the AthlonXP 3200+, so stay tuned!)

Colin's Weekly Tech Tips

Colin Sun
Today: Reading BSOD Error Messages
Even though my system has a lot of memory, I often find that the system crawls even when nothing is loading or supposed to be running. The problem stems from the fact that Explorer caches DLL files into memory for a short time after they're used. Obviously with these DLL's sucking memory the system has less for itself.
There is a solution to this of course, and luckyly you are subscribed to the Newsletter to find out all about it! Prepare (ie. backup) for a simple registry hack which should solve this problem. =)

Load up regedit (Start -> Run -> regedit then press Ok) and follow this path. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows -> CurrentVersion -> Explorer. From there create a new key called AlwaysUnloadDLL. Inside that key change the default string to 1 and close regedit and reboot.

Now when you finish running multiple/large programs all their DLL's will be unloaded from memory when you exit the programs.
Colin's Tips Archives | Forums

Corsair TwinX 1024-3200LL Memory Review
Read Article Now!

In this review today we're testing a set of 'matched' 512MB Corsair TwinX 1024-3200LL memory modules. This flavour of DDR is "officially" compatible with motherboards which have dual channel memory controllers according to the manufacturer. On a side note, we've been using Corsair XMS3500 CAS2 DIMM's to test dual channel DDR based motherboards in the Labs for several months and haven't yet had any compatibility problems. The Corsair TwinX 1024-3200LL modules are officially rated to run at a maximum speed of 200 MHz while maintaining aggressive memory timings (2-2-2-6-1) and using a voltage of 2.5V. Of course being my usual self, I wasn't satisfied with the norm - so I cranked up the speed and pushed these modules to the max! Read the Rest...

Visit the ShoppingList Page for the May 2003 Budget $599, Mainstream $1500, and Performance $2500 System hardware recommendations before they disappear!!
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PCstats Issue

Circulation: 249,643

The High Tech Low Down

By: Chris Angelini

The debut of AMD's Athlon XP 3200+ caused much lamenting, for enthusiasts with nForce2 motherboards didn't appreciate the prospect of having to buy another board based on NVIDIA's nForce2 400 Ultra chipset just to get official 400MHz front side bus support. Well, there is both good news and bad news; I'll start with the good.

According to a source at NVIDIA, it has been secretly shipping nForce2 Ultra 400 chipsets since January, meaning that many of the motherboards currently available feature the newer silicon. There are a couple of easy ways to identify such a board. First, physically remove the heat sink covering the MCP. Older nForce2 SPPs have a silver heat slug for heat dissipation, while the Ultras are completely black as a result of NVIDIA's optimizations. If you'd prefer the safer, software route, install the latest nForce2 drivers from NVIDIA's website. The newest build properly identifies the nForce2 Ultra 400 memory controller. Or, use a program like SiSoft Sandra or CPUID to check the chipset revision. A2 or A3 denotes an older SPP.

Unfortunately, if you've got an older SPP, there is a good chance you'll have to buy a new motherboard if you want an Athlon XP 3200+. There's always the chance, though, that your board will overclock.

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