DDR466, GFX5200 & an Aluminum Coolermaster Case
What is it they used to say? April showers bring May showers? So
far May has been showered
with technology releases; so much so that we're left wondering how many more
cool products can possibly come out in just ONE month.
There is more to come, the first of which will be announced late next week....
of that, this week we
are diving head strong into cool hardware. First on the review chopping block
is some nice DDR466 memory from a company by the name of Buffalo
Technology. Buffalo are based in Austin Texas (imagine that), and have entered
into the performance markets with Winbond BH-5 DRAM's that I'm sure
you'll be interested in reading about.
Next on the plater is
a nVidia GeForce FX5200 card from MSI - a good card by all accounts as
MSI tend to pack in the value with most of their products. If you
like this card, stay tuned, we should have some interesting things to say
about MSI's GFX5600 model fairly soon.
Coolermaster make a rare appearance in the PCStats.com Newsletter
this week with the aluminum ATC-201B SXT mid-tower case. This
puppy has metallic black painted side panels, a side window, and
the drop-dead good looks to match. How does this aluminum case fare against
the acclaimed Lian Li? You'll have to read the review to find
make a double appearance
in this weeks edition with their nForce2-based AK79G Max Motherboard
and a value-oriented black case that brings a little bit of style
to the world of 'white boxes.' AOpen's newest Canterwood motherboard is
in the PCstats.com Labs right now, but you'll have to check out future
Newsletters for that review. Don't forget to read Colin's Tips regarding error messages and BSOD's, and have
a look at our review of a 3-in-1 printer from Samsung too.
Free stuff Alert! If
you'd like to try your hand at winning a Free Zalman CNPS7000-Cu Pentium 4 / Athlon 64 heatsink, then head on over to FrostyTech.com and enter into
the contest being run there. A big copper heatsink is always nice, but a
big copper heatsink which is extremely quiet is even better!
As an performance
enthusiast, I know that the search for the "ultimate" overclocker memory
is a never ending battle. While we've been happily testing away with
Corsair XMS3500 CAS2 memory modules for the last little while, we've
always kept our eyes open for even more overclockable memory modules.
Buffalo Technologies is not a newcomer to the memory market, they've been manufacturing
and selling memory for the last 15 years. While the big guns of Kingston,
Mushkin and Corsair only have PC3200/3500 rated memory in their lineup and
OCZ and GeIL recently announcing PC3700 DDR, we were surprised to receive
some PC3700 DIMM's from Buffalo Tech for testing.
With a PC3700 (DDR466 at CL3)
speed rating the Buffalo
memory is easily the fastest rated memory we've tested to date at the
PCstats labs. Whether the memory can actually reach those speeds is
another question, but we'll soon find out!
Read the Rest...
MSI's videocards usually have a lot to offer the end user a lot in
terms of value. This contrasts many other manufacturers who either include
an extensive software bundle and bump up the retail price a little, or
strip the videocard down to the bare essentials and include absolutely no
frills other than a really low sticker price. Today we're going to be checking out one of MSI's latest budget
videocards, the MSI FX5200-TDR128. Based on the GeForceFX 5200 GPU, the
card sports 128MB of 4ns TSOP-II Samsung memory, has TV-Output
capabilities and even a remote control. Other hardware goodies included in
the bundle are a DVI to analog adapter, S-Video to S-Video cable and a
media breakout box. With a $175 CDN ($115 US) price tag, the MSI FX5200-TDR128 is
about average for a run of the mill GeForceFX 5200 videocard. Not quite as
affordable as the Albatron GeForceFX 5200P we reviewed a bit earlier, but
the MSI comes with a heck of a lot more in terms of features! Read the
I still remember buying my
first Lian Li PC-70 full tower aluminum case almost three years ago now,
before they were cool. All my friends were in awe and thought I
was insane for spending $300 CDN just on a case. I'm a trend setter, not
follower! ;-) While it has served me
well, with all the new fancy aluminum cases on the market I really want to
go with a new look. It has been three years after all and I think a face
lift is in order. Today we're going to be
looking at the Cooler Master ATC-201B SXT mid tower aluminum case. The
first thing I thought when I saw and touched the ATC-201B SXT was that
this is a pretty solid case. This is apparent with the black metalic auto
paint finish which cover the side panels. The side panels are 3mm thick
and the frame is 3mm thick and the entire appearance looked high quality.
Of course I would expected that from a case that retails for $255 CDN
($170 US)! Read the Rest...
Visit the PCstats.com ShoppingList
Page for the May 2003 Budget
$599 System and $1500 Mainstream System
|Aopen QF50A Budget Case Review
||AOpen AK79G MAX nForce2-GT
Motherboard Review |
Let's face the bitter truth of the
matter; while we all like to look at big and shiny aluminum cases
with lights pouring out of every vent, and plexiglass showing off a
million bucks worth of cutting edge computer hardware, most of us
still rely on the good old "white box" to hold our systems together.
After all, why spend precious dollars on a fancy case when you could
be putting that money towards other things? Shopping on a budget is not only something for
students, but businesses and education faculties also know how
invaluable it can be stretch that dollar and get something more
modest, and as they say, cost effective.
|| AOpen are
one of the larger component manufacturers in the industry, also
producing a vast array of peripherals like keyboards and even
computer cases. Such is the diversity of products that it would not
be a stretch to say you could just about assemble an entire computer
from purely AOpen parts, even down to the very last stick of RAM.
Aiming for the mass markets generally means you get good value with
AOpen products, and one such example of this is the AK79G Max
nForce2-GT (Crush 18G) motherboard we are examining here which is
priced at about $140USD. |
The AK79G Max supports 200/266/333 MHz FSB
AthlonXP based processors as we expect. What is not certain is
whether or it not it also handles the upcoming 400 MHz FSB AthlonXP.
Officially the word is "no," but with the correct components and a
little overclocking... who knows?
Colin's Weekly Tech Tips
|Today: Reading BSOD Error Messages|
|While I hate BSOD's as much as the next guy,
I often like to read what they say and write that information down so I can
figure out exactly what is causing the instability. Unfortunately I
find WinXP's auto reboot function often resets the computer too
quickly for me to even see the error message.
To turn off the auto rebooting
function, right click on the "My Computer" icon and go to
properties. From there click the advanced tab then click the
settings button under the Startup and Recovery box (2/3rds down
the window) and that will open up a new window. Now
uncheck the Automatically restart box, click ok and
click ok again.
From now on when
your system crashes it will no longer automatically reboot your
system leaving you with enough time to read the actual
error message. Figuring out those BSOD messages is another thing altogether...
|Colin's Tips Archives | PCStats.com Forums|
Small business fuels the country; and if we
look for example at the Canadian economy which grew by 3.2% in 2002, and
is projected to grow a further 3.4% this year, it is easy to see why
manufacturers are targeting the SOHO segment heavily. As consumer
confidence remains high, and the Canadian unemployment rate at a low 7.4%,
things are going very well indeed. This prosperity has done well to
support the many individuals running a small business (aka SOHO) in the
technology sector, or perhaps in even more traditional fields. For those
individuals there are a few basic tools and resources that typify
themselves as "must haves". The most
important of which aside from a computer (and internet connection :), are
generally the fax machine and printer. Invoices, RFP's, PO's, I/O's, and
other business correspondence still need authorizing signatures that
necessitates pen-to-paper. Despite all
the advancements that email has brought in improving communication between
businesses, when timely access to these authorized documents is required
it is a hundred year old technology which reigns supreme - the fax
machine. Invented by a Scottish mechanic named Alexander Bain in 1843 the
fax machine is as ubiquitous as the telephone nowadays.
The High Tech Low Down
Technology is a beautiful thing, if you can understand it. Unfortunately, a lot of today's graphics technology is so advanced that it becomes difficult for mainstream users to distinguish the capabilities of a given video card. A product with DirectX 9 compliance is automatically assumed to be better than a DirectX 8 card. But beware, especially if you already own a RADEON 9500 or GeForce4 Ti 4200; buying either NVIDIA's GeForce FX 5600 or 5200 cards won't give you much more than a higher score in 3D Mark 2003.
NVIDIA is first to be commended for bringing DirectX 9 support to the mainstream space. Unfortunately, performance numbers from today's games reveal that the 5200, in particular, is unable to compete with some of NVIDIA's older cards. The 5600 definitely fares better, but again, is outperformed by NVIDIA cards from a previous generation. When DirectX 9 applications begin appearing with advanced pixel shading, will these same cards even deliver playable frame rates, or will they bog under the computationally intensive instructions? That remains to be seen - for the time being, if you've got a GeForce4 Ti4200 or better, hold on to it until prices fall further. NVIDIA's spring refresh is coming soon to drive prices down further, but you probably already knew that.
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