Computer Basics, AMD's Barton CPU
Last weeks newsletter looked
at the cutting edge of where the computer industry is
headed, and dealt with some very technical aspects. Since a number of you
took the time to
in asking for more guides that shed light on computers, part of this weeks newsletter is
We will be looking at some basic computing
components, technologies, and info many of you might already know. If you
are new to computers then you will find it invaluable however.
in the crowd, we have a first look at the new SiS Xabre600 reference card,
a small PCMCIA 4-in-1 flash memory reader (great for photographers on the run with their
notebook), and space saving 3-in-1 drive from Portwell.
Every once in a while we stubble across a really useful
product. The Portwell EZDRV-300 fits into a 5.25" drive bay, and what
makes it really unique is that is contains a CD-ROM, floppy drive and hard
drive in just one bay! The unit manages to squeeze in all these things
because it uses drives originally designed for notebooks - stack up an
ultra-thin CD-ROM, FDD, and a 3.5" HDD and they are less than 40mm in
height. Ultimately this set of drives is the perfect space saver for cases which have run
out of free bays, for serves where expansion space is always limited, or for
anyone faced with installing or testing lots of computers (like a IT person) that
generally carries around a HDD, FDD and CDROM taped together to get
the job done.
Remember when VHS videos whupped the pants off
Beta? You had to replace your VCR as well as any Beta videos you owned; it
was a pain in the home-entertainment system. Then CD-ROMs became all the
rage on your computer, and you suddenly needed a PC that allowed you to
steer a CD drive. Now, the past-blasting technology of DVDs is replacing
CD-ROMs, and we're all facing another expensive high-tech revolution. The
secret behind DVDs' superiority is their similarity to CD formats. Both CD
and DVD drives send lasers onto the surface of the disc, and depending on
the intensity of the reflected beam (hitting pits diffuses the laser and
sends a weaker signal back to the drive), determine whether they've hit a
land or a pit.
Microscopically that all means....
Everyone who uses a computer has been at one time or another
indebted to antivirus software. It sits like a watchdog in your PC's backyard,
waiting for some pesky virus to jimmy the lock and try to mess with
the treasures you've stored in the inner sanctum of your hard
drive. And, like a high-strung Doberman, an antivirus is much
more useful to you if you understand how it operates, when to
feed it, how often to walk it, et cetera. In today's world of
service-oriented antivirus companies, this is becoming the favoured method
of dealing with bugs. The customer is kept both protected and calm. After
all, what you don't know can't hurt you as long as your antivirus knows
When SiS released the Xabre400 GPU earlier
this year, it was a huge step forward for budget-minded gamers. Today SiS officially releases the
Xabre600 GPU which is basically a shrunken, beefed up version of the
original Xabre400. Based on a
0.13 micron technology core running at 300 MHz the new Xabre600 is an
evolutionary advancement of the older 250 MHz 0.15 micron process,
Xabre400 core. The Xabre600 reference
card we are examining is backed up with 64MB of DDR memory. The memory is
made by Hynix and runs in sync with the GPU at 300 MHz - what SiS call the
"Duo300". The Xabre600 boasts Pro8x8, so
like it's predecessor, it is both DirectX8 compatible and 8x AGP
compatible. DirectX 8 compatibility means that games which take advantage
of the Xabre's pixel shaders should look more vibrant and lifelike.
Whereas, 8x AGP effectively doubles the bandwidth available on the AGP bus
to the videocard. With 8X AGP compatible
motherboards, bandwidth will increase from 1.06 GB/s (4xAGP) to 2.1 GB/s,
so in theory it should boost performance because the videocard can compute
more data. So far though, we haven't seen much of a performance boost from
any manufacturers 8X AGP solution.
|Taisol 4-in-1 PCMCIA Flash Media
||How to Register Domain
This tiny little black connector is undoubtedly
soon to find its way into media bays, USB-based media readers,
notebooks and countless other devices. Since it measures about 5mm
thick and 45mm wide, it is easy to embed the unit in the smallest of
locations. One adaptation of ths connector made its way to us in
the form of a Type II PCMCIA card. The Taisol "Musketeers" (get
it? 4-in-1... all for one, one for all!)
flash memory adaptor supports Secure Digital (SD), Multi Media Card (MMC), Sony Memory Stick
(MS), and Smart Media (SM) flash memory.
With a full set of flash media bays now open (except of course
Compact Flash) I've switched over to Smart Media modules for quick
plan to be the next www.filthyrichwebmogul.com? Plan to ride a nifty
push-bike to work, wearing flip-flops and capri pants and a sun hat?
So far, over 97% of the words in Webster's Dictionary are already
registered on the world wide web. You'll need to use your thinking
cap and invent some sort of moniker that's both not taken and will
draw visitors to your site. Recent adjustments in
domain-registration rules make it easier to invent your virtual
title. Previously, the length-limit for domain names was quite
restrictive -- only up to 22 letters. Now, however, you can register
a name that's up to 67 characters in length. And while concise names
are certainly desirable, the lengthy ones are gaining acceptance.
| Colin's Weekly Tech Tips|
| Written By: Colin "Leafs" Sun|
No name Login Screens
Last week we changed how people log into a WindowsXP OS, this week we're going to stop the OS from displaying the previous users account name.
We need to do some registry tweaking to disable that feature, so go to "Start" then "Run". From there type "Regedit" and press the "Ok" button. Follow this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ System. Find the DWORD value "dontdisplaylastusername" and change its value to 1.
Once you reboot you'll notice that you have to enter your user name when logging into your computer. Very useful if you have nosy friends who like screw with your Windows OS (Steve D, I'm looking in your direction! =)).
This works with Windows 2000 as well as XP.
|Colin's Tips Archives | The PCStats.com Forums|
|The High Tech Low
The first supposed pictures of the
AMD Athlon XP based on the "Barton" core emerged
this week. In my meeting with AMD at Comdex, I
confirmed that Barton will debut supporting a 333MHz front side bus
(in the words of AMD's representative, "Why would
we offer anything less than top performance?"). Additionally, the
chip will offer 512KB of L2 cache - twice the cache of the current
Athlon XP. The most interesting "Barton" rumor is that a 1.8GHz
processor will compete with Intel's 2.8GHz Pentium 4. Currently, is
takes a 2.25GHz Athlon XP to head off the same Pentium 4, so the
extra cache may prove to have a profound effect on performance.
Providing AMD is able to ramp the frequency on Barton, it should be able to stay competitive until the Athlon 64 hits retail shelves. One of Intel's retaliatory moves, as we
discovered at Comdex, is an 800MHz front side bus
that will debut next year in the 3.2GHz "Northwood" processor. Even
more exciting, though, is that Intel plans to introduce the 800MHz
bus throughout its Pentium 4 product line, meaning slower processors
will support the bus and Hyper Threading. The battle between
Intel and AMD
promises to be heated throughout 2003
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