Glow in the Dark Keyboard and more Nforce2!!
In the PCstats.com offices I'm the one
who gets the job of shopping for virtually everything technology
related. Need a 1U web server? Ask Max if it should be dual Xeon or AthlonMP.
Need a new 19" CRT monitor for the graphic artist? Ask Max what to get. Need to assemble a system to upgrade an older machine; you guessed it, ask Max. I guess the point of this is that as much as
PCstats.com is a business (we review hardware, you read our
opinions, you make up your own mind) we still have to buy hardware
Knowing that when we say "Monitor X has a
luscious screen that would make angels weep"
means we more than likely
bought the very same display to use on a day-to-day basis here. I think
that connection is what really what counts. We know the pros and
we factor in the cons of the technology along with the sticker price, just
as you do.
It's a given that in six months time
there is going to be another model (if we run with the monitor example)
which is newer, better, and less expensive. The real key is to have what
you bought last long enough that by the time it has finally kicks the
bucket a few years down the line, the alternative is less than half
the price and a worthwhile upgrade. This concept doesn't
apply to all technology in the same way, but it's a good general rule of thumb.
With that in mind, in this weeks PCstats.com Newsletter we examine a motherboard which
may provide the leap many users of older PIII systems could be looking for.
The Aopen AK79G Max is based on the nForce2-GT chipset and
pretty much writes the book on integrating features you'll actually use. Alongside that motherboard we have a
look at some tasty new Crucial PC3200 DDR400 memory.
On the fun side, we have two reviews I think you'll like; the first is a
look at a little electro-luminescent keyboard that makes typing at night so much easier. The same kind of 'stuff' that makes digital watches glow in the
dark with a nice blue colour is laid out behind translucent keys,
backlighting them so you can see just what the heck you're typing in the wee hours of the morning. Cool stuff indeed. IWill
have made a rare show in this weeks newsletter with their P4HT Pentium 4 motherboard which Colin reviews. With summer on the horizon, air
travel comes into bloom. If you're a jet setter you'll want to read our review
of the DVD-L100, a portable DVD player from Samsung. With one of
these little puppies, you'll never have to sit through another bad
in-flight movie again.
In this weeks HTLD (High Tech Low Down) Chris discusses the state of Front Side Bus speeds
in the industry, and the upcoming chipsets which offer support. Check it
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.
have recently expanded on the nForce2 lineup which originally encompassed
just the nForce2-G/nForce-S Northbridges, and MCP Southbridge. The two new
iterations to be added to the family include the nForce2-GT and nForce2-ST
which contain the MCP-T Southbridge. The
AK79G Max uses the nForce2-GT chipset, and the main difference between
this and the original nForce2-G are the inclusion of IEEE 1394 Firewire,
TV-out options, networking hardware nVidia have entitled 'DualNet'
(basically describes nvidia and/or 3Com hardware controllers for 10/100
Ethernet) and use of nVidia's Audio Processing Unit (APU). Read the
I've personally always preferred typing
out articles on a notebook keyboard versus that of a full
sized klunker. Notebook-style keyboards have a shorter keystroke which makes them 'faster'. Keystroke is
a way of measuring how far you have to press a key
down before it counts as a letter to the computer, and since
a notebook doesn't have all that much free space the keystroke is
typically just 3mm.
to a full sized 104-key Windows keyboard which can have as much as a 6-8mm
keystroke. Behind the 88-translucent keys is a flat sheet of
electroluminescent material - the same stuff that puts the glow in
"Indiglo" which lights up watch faces around the world. Drawing power from
the USB port, the keyboard is intended to be used in environments where
there is insufficient light, as well as applications which would do well
to have a light-weight portable keyboard at hand. Read the
A division of
Micron, Crucial.com have been selling JEDEC-spec memory directly to the
public since 1996. Since then they have built up an extremely good
reputation for themselves. It's not that they just sell
quality memory, Crucial also offers first class service to its customers.
Heck, most of the memory in the PCstats.com servers is Crucial memory.
While we haven't had a stick go bad on us yet, we have dealt with Crucial customer service on a few occassions
(usually when ECC memory was mistakenly ordered instead of ECC Registered
DIMMs) and the results have always been helpful. If you have any
compatibility problems, or if your memory module fails, just shoot over an
e-mail or give them a call and they'll take good care of you. In any case, on with today's look at some special
engineering sample Crucial PC3200 DDR. After JEDEC approved the PC3200
standard in Dec. 2002, manufacturers began the rush to not only get their
DDR400 memory compliant, but also to encourage support within mainstream
computer manufacturers like Intel. Read the
Visit the PCstats.com ShoppingList
Page for the April 2003 Budget
$599 System, $1500 Mainstream and High-end $2500
System hardware recommendations.
|Iwill P4HT-S i845PE Motherboard
||Samsung DVD-L100 Portable DVD
Player Review |
Based on Intel's i845PE
chipset which supports 533MHz HyperThreading Pentium 4 processors,
the P4HT-S offers a good value to consumers looking to move up to
speeds of 3.06GHz now or in the future. Hyper-Threading is a technology which has
remained dormant in the Pentium 4 processor for a while now, and
only with Pentium 4-HT 3.06GHz processors has Intel decided to
finally turn it on. In the most basic of
explanations; Hyper Threading enables one processor to be seen by
the operating system as two - consequently increasing performance in
some types of applications. If you turn on Hyper Threading in the
BIOS (you can also disable it if you want) and look at CPU usage
Meter under "Task Manager" in Windows XP or Windows 2000 you will
mysteriously see two processors instead of just the one chip
physically installed in the motherboard. Read
There aren't too many things that would
get me to drop everything on the go, and use what's left of my free
time on a weekend to review just one more piece of gear... that is
until I saw the aluminum encased DVD-L100 portable DVD player from
Samsung which retails for about $900 USD.
While the flight is too short to catch an entire flick, on the
way back we could have watched about 4 movies back to back for all
the delays! The DVD-L100 is intended to be used by travellers to
break the boredom, and speed up the time a trip seems to take. And
as you can see, what we have here is a portable DVD drive, a 10" LCD
display (in perfect 16:9 aspect ratio for letter box movies), a Sony
Memory Stick media port (for MP3's), twin headphone jacks and a
small assortment of audio and video outputs. Read
Colin's Weekly Tech Tips
|Today: Making Screen Shots in Windows|
Paul Hill, a faithful PCstats.com Newsletter
reader was kind enough to send over a tip on taking screen shots,
and to be honest I couldn't have said it better. Here's Paul's
tip... I often want to make a copy of the screen for safe keeping,
or to send to someone. To do this manually is quite easy.
1) Press the 'Print Screen' key on the
keyboard when you want to take a snapshot of the screen to keep. 2)
Go to START > PROGRAMS > ACCESSORIES > PAINT to open the
program. 3) Click Edit > Paste. If your using Win98 like me and
are asked if you would like the bitmap enlarged Click Yes.
The image of the screen will appear and you can now use the 'Select' function in the 'Tool Box' to capture the part of the screen you want keep. 4) Once selected, go to Edit > Cut. 5) Then go to File > New and when asked if you want to "Save changes to untitled?" click 'No.' 6) Go to Edit > Paste and the same bitmap message may appear. Click Yes. Now just the part of the screen you want to keep is displayed, allowing you to save it as an image file for what ever you want it for.
Thanks for the tip Paul, it's greatly appreciated!
|Colin's Tips Archives | PCStats.com Forums|
The High Tech Low Down
AMD seems to be in a bit of a holding pattern. Its Athlon XP 3000+ is a worthy high-end contender, but I'm holding my breath for something else. No, I'm not talking about Athlon 64, which is slated to hit in September. I'm referring to the Athlon XP on a 400MHz front side bus, which pushes the limit of DEC's EV6 front side bus. AMD is reluctant to comment, but sources outside of the company indicate than an Athlon XP 3200+ may arrive later this month or sometime in May.
But AMD surely wouldn't unveil the chip without proper chipset support. NVIDIA doesn't hide the fact that nForce2, in its current form, is ready to accommodate the 400MHz bus. I've also been hearing rumors of a revised chipset to counter opposition from VIA's KT400A. The KT400A reportedly does not support the 400MHz bus, but a representative from VIA believes a new version of KT400A could add the necessary support. More likely, we'll have to wait for KT600, set to appear within the next few weeks. SiS' plans were made public when it
announced the 748 chipset, which does support a 400MHz bus, though
it won't include native Serial ATA support until the 964 South
Bridge is finalized.
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