GFX5200 Review and Workstation Hardware
It's early morning and
as I write this I'm knocking back a coffee from Second Cup and checking
the daily tech news over the wireless link built into my little
Fujitsu P2000 Crusoe-based notebook. As much as there are downsides
to setting up an 802.11b wireless network, once you get it going it's really nice.
This kind of 'revelation' doesn't come with a billion dollar ad campaign, or a new processor from the boys in blue, but
just good gear that works and is easy to configure. After the last
round-up of 802.11b wireless gear we did, I've come away with both an
appreciation for 802.11b wireless, and a deep resentment for badly setup
management consols and lackluster manuals. This isn't an isolated
situation of wireless born frustration either, with the flick of
NetStumber.com's application, it's pretty obvious that there are
plenty of other wireless converts in our area who have avoided most
forms of wireless security as well. This includes leaving 64-bit WEP disabled,
keeping the default management console settings, and believe it or not
naming their WAP after their company or street address... one place
even went so far as to call it "Company XYZ
What's the point of all this? Well, I think there are
a great deal of businesses out there who are possibly broadcasting their
networks over the airwaves with little or no protection. One look with
NetStumbler and a wirelessly-enabled notebook will tell you who's doing
this in your office, or on your street - keep in mind though, if you
attempt to access someone else's network, that is illegal. With that said,
the PCStats.com Newsletter is officially making the month of May "Check your
Wireless Network for Proper Security Month." There are
four basic security parameters outlined here that you can direct your IT people
to now for starters.
This week the PCstats.com Newsletter has a review of
an E7205 Granite Bay Workstation motherboard which comes equipped with a
MiniPCI slot on board. Next up is a look at Albatron's brand new GFX5200P budget
gamer card along with a set of rather nifty image quality comparisons I
highly recommend you check out. Also on the table are a couple of 19"
monitors, one LCD and one CRT, and of course Colin's Weekly Tech Tip.
In the High Tech Low Down, Chris has more to
say about the eternal struggle between ATI and Nvidia (remember the days when
Matrox used to be uttered in the same breath?) and
what's next for the graphics card industry.
Before the i875 Canterwood chipset surfaced
and brought in support for 800MHz FSB Pentium 4 processors, we had the
Intel E7205 Granite Bay. Slated as a the new 'workhorse of workstation
systems', this chipset has been received with much interest, though in
limited numbers. PCstats.com tested out one such example in the form of
the MSI GNB Max-FISR motherboard a few weeks ago, which while
incorporating the E7205 chipset, is a purely desktop-oriented solution.
The GNB Max is a good board by its own right, but if your computing
situation demands more of a heavy-hitter then todays review of the MSI
E7205 Master-L could be just what the doctor ordered.
Boasting the same dual channel DDR memory
capabilities, the MSI E7205 Master-L is clearly a solution for workstation
environments which demand a little more punch, like (drop-in) onboard SCSI
for example. Outfitted with a MiniPCI socket, the board has a level of
expandability not often seen out of the server, or SBC (Single Board
Computer) environment. Of course, the inclusion of the MiniPCI
socket does not a workstation motherboard make. Other appealing features
included on the MS9126 E7205 Master-L are a 50-watt 8X AGP slot, Gigabit
Ethernet care of Intel's own RC82540EM chipset, 5.1 channel AC'97
codec-based audio, and five bright blue 32 bit PCI expansion
Read the Rest...
nVIDIA received a lot of flak when they
released the GeForce4 MX GPU last year, many screamed that the GPU while
fast, did not deserve the GeForce4 nomenclature since it was not DirectX 8
compatible. It seems like nVIDIA learned from their mistakes this time
around because the entire GeForceFX line of GPU's are DirectX 9 compatible
- even the budget GeForceFX 5200 based Albatron videocard we're testing
today! Using a cool coloured blue PCB,
the Albatron GeForceFX 5200P is oriented towards budget gamers who want
the latest and greatest in terms of technology but do not need the
$500-levels of performance the other nVidia cards offer. With a street
price of just $155 CDN ($95 US) the Albatron GeForceFX 5200P does not come
with any other frills other then TV-Output and WinDVD. With no DirectX 9
games on the market, it was a wise move for Albatron not to bundle any
games with the videocard since the older games would just tack on to the
While working on my dad's home theatre SFF PC
recently, I found out just how useful combo CD-ROM drives can really be.
Because this computer was hooked up to an old 10-BaseT home Ethernet at my
parents house which also has broadband internet access, my had dad
downloaded a whole lot of stuff he wanted to burn. He likes to use the SFF PC on the 52" HDTV
instead of his main PC, but this tiny computer didn't have room for both a DVD-ROM
and CDR-RW burner. Samsung has been pumping out quite a bit of
value optical drives lately and today we're going to be taking a look at
their latest SM-352 52x24x52x16 CD-RW/DVD combo drive. In terms of speed
the Samsung SM-352 is in the fastest class for combo drives on the market.
With an 8MB memory buffer and Samsung's 'Buffer Under Run Free'
technology, the SM-352 pretty much guarantees error free
burning. Read the
|Samsung Syncmaster 191T 19 inch
TFT LCD Display
||Innoventions Ramcheck Advanced
Memory Tester |
|We often take for granted the standard LCD
display, looking first for the ultra thin dimensions primarily, and
then investigating other areas. Big bulky Cathode Ray Tube monitors
have taught us to think that a computer display can only, and should
only turn left or right, and tilt up or down.
The beauty of the LCD display is that
not only does it take up one heck of a lot of less space, but it
also offers other freedoms that many of us are honestly not
accustomed to. Now part of this will depend on how well the
manufacturer has thought things through, and part of this will
depend on what kind of LCD display you are considering. Value
displays are typically made in once piece and offer only very
limited adjustments. A display like the Samsung 191T is a more of a
higher end LCD display and this is immediately evident when you look
at what the removable stand has to offer. Read
built with the reseller, memory manufacturer and computer service
center in mind, the Ramcheck memory tester from Houstin-based
Innoventions is a one-of-a-kind
portable memory testing platform for the professional. At a cost of
just under $2,000 USD for the standard unit, the Ramcheck memory
tester comes in fairly inexpensive in a market populated by large
desktop testers that can range in price from as much as
$8,000-$26,000USD. The basic unit comes in a
padded protective case with a serial cable, power supply, desktop
software and instructions. Depending upon individual requirements,
expansion adaptors can be used to widen the capabilities of the
Ramcheck from standard 168-pin SDRAM through to DDRAM, SODIMM, SIMM,
and even individual TSOP memory modules. The versatility of the unit
is quite unique, though at first glace it presents a more humble
Colin's Weekly Tech Tips
|Today: Speed up WinXP Shutdown|
|WindowsXP is probably the most user friendly Microsoft operating system ever but I find it takes forever to load and shut down. Luckily with a few strokes on the keyboard I can make XP shut down much faster. =)
Load up regedit (Start -> Run -> regedit) and follow this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> CurrentControlSet -> Control. From there find the WaitToKillServiceTimeOut string. Change its data from 20000 (default) to something lower like 10000 or even 5000. Please keep in mind that the computer value used here is milliseconds. After that's done close regedit and reboot your computer.
After this change has been made, your computer will shut down much faster!
|Colin's Tips Archives | PCStats.com Forums|
Introduce a "new" display technology like LCD
and suddenly everything which is based on a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) is old,
obsolete, and totally uncool. Normally I'd be the one saying that, but
when it comes to CRT's there have been some very good improvements to the
technology which are keeping it up to date with its' anorexic
counterparts. For instance, "Flat Face" CRT monitors have evolved out of
consumer's desire for a better viewing display with less image distortion
at the outside corners of the tube. The technology has delivered on this
desire fairly well, though there are a multitude of variations on this
highly marketable trait.
The three basic variations of a flat face CRT
display are all flat on the outside part of the screen you see, but on the
inside face of the screen glass things are different. LG's Flatron have a
completely flat piece of glass inside and out, but other manufacturers use
inside surfaces which are either curved in both directions like a
traditional CRT, or are flat in one axis, and curved in the
The High Tech Low Down
ATI's RADEON 9800 Pro is beginning to see availability, as is the GeForce FX 5800 Ultra (the latter at ridiculously high prices) and yet we're already hearing rumors of the next generation products from both NVIDIA and ATI.
Understandably, NVIDIA is in more of a hurry, as its FX 5200, 5600, and 5800 cards are all rare commodities. The second generation of DX9 cards will be based on a graphics processor codenamed NV35. Rather than utilizing DDR-II memory on a 128-bit bus, NVIDIA looks to be following ATI by incorporating a 256-bit bus and DDR-I, which is less expensive and more available. It will also sport a feature set eerily reminiscent of the GeForce FX we know today, though initial claims are that it is significantly faster.
On the other hand, ATI is already showing its RADEON 9600 hardware, based on a .13-micron process. It would make sense that at some point, late in '03, ATI could transition its flagship line to the smaller manufacturing process, concurrently increasing the chip's operating frequency. There has also been some speculation that the next-generation R400 won't be launched until next year, in which case NVIDIA may regain the performance crown through the end of 2003.
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