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Today's Contents

.800MHz FSB P4
.3-in-1 Drive
.DVD vs. CD
.Antivirus Software
.Xabre 600
.Flash memory drive
.Domain Names
.Colin's Weekly Tips

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 write in asking for more guides that shed light on computers, part of this weeks newsletter is devoted to you.

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.

For the experts 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.

Portwell EZDRV-300NCF Review
Read Article Now!

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.

Read the Rest...

Pitting DVDs against CDs
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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....

The basics of antivirus software

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 about it.

SiS Xabre600 Reference Videocard Review
Read Article Now!

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 Adaptor How to Register Domain Names

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 data transfer!

So you plan to be the next 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.

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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 Forums

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PCstats Issue No.66
Circulation 173,000

The High Tech Low Down
With Chris Angelini

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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