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Newsletter Contents

. AMD Opteron
.May ShoppingList
.15" LCD Monitor
.Plextor CDR-RW
.Fan Controllers
.Colin's Weekly Tips
.Keyboards, Keyboards

Athlon64 on the Horizon

The release of i875 Canterwood motherboards has come and gone, Springdale is reported to be on the horizon, and back at the labs we are running the new 800MHz FSB 3GHz Intel Pentium4 through its paces.

In just a short time, we'll be facing off the newest of Intel's processors with the much adored AMD AthlonXP 3000+ Barton processor. Sparks will fly, benchmarks will be tossed about, and you'll finally have the answer to the age old question; AMD or Intel?

That is at least until Chipzilla and Big Green launch their next round of processors - oh to be on the bleeding edge of technology... Will it be 'AMD me' or 'Intel inside'? You'll have to stay tuned to the Newsletter to find out!

In this weeks wonderfully packed edition we start off with the May ShoppingList, and then move right into a slinky little 15" LCD display that would make James Bond look twice.

From there we test out a CDR-RW burner from the folks at Plextor, and a fan controller from the low-noise cooling gurus @ Zalman.

Colin's Weekly Tech Tips talks to us about making quick email shortcuts, and The High Tech Low Down investigates the entry of 64-bit computing care of AMD's Opteron processor. There is more to this weeks newsletter, but you will have to read on to find out! ShoppingList

It's that time of the month again; time for an updated ShoppingList. We know how confusing it can be choosing the right components for a new computer system, or an upgrade to an existing one. That's why every month we assemble the ShoppingList as a guide to help you get good gear. We cover the basic components needed to assemble a full system, with monitor, and list the average $USD price each part retails for so you can print it out and take it with you. Use the ShoppingList as a guide to build a better "white box" system, or follow our recommendations to the letter - it's totally up to you.

Visit the ShoppingList Page for the May 2003 Budget $599 System and $1500 Mainstream System hardware recommendations too.

Search Dealtime for Computer Hardware
Abit ASUS Gigabyte Intel iWill Shuttle Soyo Super Micro Tyan

AMD Intel

Fast Memory

Video Cards
Albatron ATI Visiontek PNY MSI

Samsung Syncmaster 152T 15inch TFT LCD Display
Read Article Now!

The 15" Samsung 152T is an incredibly thin and incredibly cute LCD-TFT display on the precipice of released into North American stores. Europe has had the 152T display for a while now, and it is easy to see why the similarities with the popular F.A. Porsche Design 171P will make this miniature TFT display equally delectable in space sensitive areas. The display is so thin that it at first appears as though a notebook has mistakenly been left in the carton. The 152T folds up in "Z" fashion into just under 2" of thickness, and with an included adaptor plate, can be mounted to 75mm VESA compatible wall mounts or radial armatures. The LCD panel itself is just 24mm thick, and all wires and power cables are routed through the collapsible stand to waiting rear-mounted jacks. With support for both DVI and Analog video, a very minimalist design and a bright 350 cd/m² display, Samsung make the small 15" screen size seem just fine in the face of larger LCD's.Read the Rest...

Plextor PXW4012TA 40x12x40 CD-RW Burner Review Zalman ZM-MFC1 Fan Speed Controller Review

Price, speed and bezel style are the deciding factors, and Plextor falls well.... short on a few of those when compared side-by-side to Acer, Samsumg, or TDK offerings for example. In any regards, it is the performance of a drive, not the appearance that matters most, so let's begin. The Plextor PXW4012TA is a decidedly well spec'd out CD-RW; supporting 40X write, 12X re-write and 40X read, along with BurnProof, a 4MB buffer, but it is kind of an ugly duckling. The Plextor PXW4012TA comes standard with buffer underrun protection in the form of BurnProof, and also uses Powerec-II to ensure data integrity. In fact looking at the specs, we find that Powerrec-II actually calibrates the media to each drive before burning, ensuring as Plextor say; a "quality write using Z-CLV servo positioning." Read the Rest...

Up until now Zalman have been pretty much been a heatsink-only company. And while it's true that they have produced fans and powersupplies, they haven't worked on many accessories beyond that. Namely, the ZMMFC1 comes with four fan speed channels and a side of two extra channels that operate auxiliary devices at either 12V or 5V. We'll get to those in just a second, but getting back to the four fan speed controllers we find each one with a three-pin connector, dial control (rheostat) and blue LED indicator light. Read the Rest...

Colin's Weekly Tech Tips

Colin Sun
Today: Speed up WinXP Shutdown
I sometimes want to send an e-mails without actually opening my mail software (I use Outlook Express). To do this I've created a shortcut on the desktop that will automatically open up a new message window for me in a split second. How did I do that you ask? Well it's very easy.

Right click anywhere on the desktop (do not right click on an icon) and go to new>shortcut. Once you're there Windows will prompt you for the location of the shortcut item, type mailto: into the box and press next. With the next window, simply type the name of the shortcut (email) and press finish.

Once that's done you no longer have to open up your full e-mail software program just to send out a quick message.

On a side note, in the last few weeks I have been swamped with your questions. I always try to reply to as many emails as I can, but I can't answer everyone. So, if you're looking for some good computer advice, or have some technical problems you need answers for, you're best bet is to go right to the PCStats Forums. I'm usually there, and hey, if I can't figure out your question, one of the Moderators, or other forum members probably will!

Colin's Tips Archives | Forums

Keyboard Roundup - Internet Style

I don't have to sit here and type in just how important it is work or game on a keyboard which is responsive, comfortable, and quick. A 'fast' keyboard with a sharp return, and well spaced keys is almost as important as a keyboard _here the "w" _orks properly. Badly made keyboards are hard to type on, and can cause serious medical problems after prolonged use. Well, these are all things we know, and none of this is very exciting. After all, a keyboard is just a keyboard right? They are used for typing, and sometimes they get trashed by a spelt coffee, or can of coke. Keyboards, no matter how important they are to our ability to interface with computers are essentially disposable these days. If they show the slightest signs of wear or poor service they are tossed out and another $10 replacement is found. Read the Rest...

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PCstats Issue

Circulation: 226,559

The High Tech Low Down

By: Chris Angelini

AMD's much-anticipated Opteron server processor launched recently, giving us a taste of what can be expected from Athlon 64. But if multi-processor architectures are so much more complex, why was AMD able to polish its Opteron before rolling out the simpler desktop version? Enthusiasts may claim that AMD isn't able to reliably hit the frequencies necessary to compete with top-end Pentium 4 processors. Meanwhile, AMD will claim that the "infrastructure" isn't in place for Athlon 64 to succeed. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the President of an unnamed server manufacturer, though, who provided some interesting insight into AMD's current plight.

When the Thoroughbred core first launched, it received lukewarm reviews. A mere revision brought the chip back into favor with performance enthusiasts, bringing the Athlon XP family up to the 3000+ rating we see today. And the core still has headroom to spare. In fact, I've taken the 2.17GHz 3000+ beyond 2.4GHz using a simple heat sink. Why, then, would AMD want to cannibalize sales of its Athlon XP when it could stretch the family to 3200+ and 3400+ levels, all the while polishing its Athlon 64 and clearing out inventories of Athlon XP processors. "Remember," he said, "nothing speaks louder than the dollar."

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