Hammer Chipsets on the Horizon
the 3GHz barrier about to be broken, it seems rather remarkable how far
processors have come since the days of the first 386 CPU running at
25MHz, or so. November 7th also marked the release of the Tablet PC.
Spurred on by Microsoft; Acer, Fujitsu, Compaq, Motion Computing, Toshiba,
and FIC released devices which break, and blur the lines between slate and
notebook computing. The 'convertibles', like the 1GHz Crusoe powered
Compaq Evo are the most interesting because they still encompass a
keyboard. Only time will tell if consumers embrace or reject the new
technology, but I for one can't wait to test them out at Comdex in a few days
This weeks newsletter covers a wide spectrum of gear,
starting off with a nice metallic grey case from Antec, and some Kingmax
PC2700 DDR BGA memory. In the how-to arena we have an article by
guest writer Keith McClellan on tweaks to make a BIOS faster during boot
up, and a guide to cutting your own CAT5 Ethernet cables. With practically
every computer networked these days, knowing how to crimp your own CAT5
cable can save a lot of money in the long run. As if that weren't enough
already I dug up an article which explains some of the benefits and
down sides to different types of cooling fans. Okay, that might be a little
too techie for everyone, so we've also
included our review of a 47" rear projection HDTV - because big TV's are fun!
Computer cases used to be the
last thing on everyone's shopping list, and then something changed - case
modding brought about a resurgence in design and case style. Now it's
possible to buy pre-modded cases and even all aluminum cases filled with
blinking lights. In this situation, the case is
designed to look professional, and be exceptionally functional. The
Antec 1080AMG is an updated model of an old standby - the SX1030B and the
face lift is well worth it.
The new Antec Plus 1080AMG as it is formally
called, comes with a coat of metallic grey paint, and features a hexagonal
side blowhole and USB/Firewire ports up front. Add to that a few other minor refinements
and you'll be left wondering why you ever decided to go for a
bland "white box." Adjacent to
the USB ports is a single IEEE1394 jack which is great for devices
like digital video cameras, or even external hard drives.
You can make some simple changes
to your BIOS (the initialization program of your computer that runs every
time you start up) that will drastically
increase the speed of your system. To
enter your BIOS, press the designated key during the power-on self-test.
If your computer doesn't appear to have a power-on self-test, and instead
you have a splash screen with the name of the system builder, check the
computer's manual for information on how to enter the BIOS (or, worst
case, you could always call the manufacturer). Once you are in the BIOS, several very simple
modifications can be performed to optimize your BIOS. The first thing
to do is to use the Auto-Detect IDE drives utility. Once you have used the
utility to detect all of your IDE hard drives, enter the standard BIOS
setup menu and disable all of the other IDE channels. Don't worry if
you have a CD-ROM
or other device attached to those channels
- the computer has another way of detecting those pieces of hardware separate from
these settings. After you've performed that simple tweak, enter the advanced BIOS
setup menu and modify the following entries:
Remember when you were a kid and
all fun you had playing around with discarded refrigerator boxes? Well,
the Samsung HCL473W certainly comes in a huge box that will make an
excellent fort for the kiddies, but this time, what's inside is much more
exciting than corrugated cardboard ever was - a 47" rear
projection HDTV capable of 1080i/480p!
Pipe in component output from a
trusty Progressive Scan DVD player to this bad boy and movie nights will
have a whole new meaning. Or if you're like us and X-Box does it
for you, try playing a few rounds of multi player Halo on this $2,150
USD 47" wide screen HDTV. With a 16.9 aspect ratio,
letter box films fill the screen in full glory, and two player split
screen games like the oh-so-addictive Halo are really in their element.
Samsung make the HCL473W for the home theatre
crowd and there are more than a few touches which make it very easy to
Until recently good DDR memory
was hard to find and there were only few players out there on the market
Corsair, Mushkin, OCZ and KingMAX. Now that JEDEC has approved a DDR333
standard the market has been flooded with DDR333 memory and it's even
possible to purchase generic DDR333 modules. Just by looking at the DIMM,
you know the 256MB KingMAX
DDR333 is something special. KingMAX is the only memory manufacturer
that equips their DIMM's with BGA DRAM modules and It's not just for looks
either, at 166 MHz+ FSB's DRAM based on TSOP-II does get very warm and
almost hot to the touch while at the same speeds BGA based memory only
The 256MB KingMAX
DDR333 test sample was equipped with 5ns DRAM and has a CAS Latency of
2.5 which isn't surprising since 99% of PC2700 memory is CL 2.5 by SPD. As
you can see from the picture on the left the KingMAX DRAM has a 5ns rating
which means it should
run up to
200 MHz no problem.
|How To Cut Cat5 Ethernet Cable
||Heatsink Fundamentals: Ball Vs. Sleeve Bearings|
5 cable is a multi-strand wire that forms the backbone for Ethernets everywhere.
Ethernets are gaining in popularity in the home as prices for Network Cards
decrease and the number of computers in a single home increase. An Ethernet
can provide a fast and extremely convenient method of data transfer between two or
more computers, but remember all that data has to go over a wire. The
Cat 5 cable. Cutting lengths of Cat 5 is not difficult,
and only really requires one special tool, and the
flexibility in cutting one's own cable can be well worth it
in the long run. There are a few things to be aware of
however - especially if the cable is going to work! All this twisting
can seem a bit confusing but it does serve a purpose.
Let's take a few minutes out of normal hardware reviews
and explain what these essential components of every cooling fan
are; their differences, their strengths, and most
importantly their weaknesses. It's accepted that ball bearings
produce more noise then sleeve bearings - 1 to 3 dBA according
to some sources - but the differences are rarely noticeable during
their typical roles in cooling fans. Noise generated by the fan
blades tends to overcome the sound of the bearings. For example, one
fan we tested rotated at 8,000+RPM and was rated to about 60 dB's of
sound. When operating the fan without blades it was nearly silent.
Air moving over the blades was responsible for 95% of the sound
generated by the fan and masked the 5% generated by the bearings
| Colin's Weekly Tech Tips|
| Written By: Colin "Yoda" Sun|
Faster Menus's - we have the technology
WindowsXP is a great OS, but one pet
peeve of mine is how it can be to navigate through each menu, and
sub menu. The delay is just long enough to
be annoying, but luckily there is an easy way to speed things up if you want.
Click the "Start" button and go to
"Run", type "Regedit" and press the the "Ok" button. From there go to
HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Control Panel -> Desktop. Once you're there, go to the MenuShoDelay string and get ready to edit the value which should be "400". To speed up the delay between menu's opening, change this number to 0 and reboot.
After this registry tweak you should
notice that menu's pop up instantly when you select them!
|Colin's Tips Archives | The PCStats.com Forums|
The Last Word:
After winning an award at the Cannes Film Festival, Michael Moore's new film has arrived in theatres.
|The High Tech Low
As the world waits for AMD's Athlon XP 2800+ to hit retail shelves, which I've been told will happen early next year, I can't help but wonder when we'll see the eighth generation Hammer family. Originally slated for release late in 2002, processors built on the K8 architecture will feature an integrated memory controller, making the job of chipset manufacturers a little easier.
Several manufacturers have already vocalized
plans to support the Hammer. VIA's upcoming K8HTA
(K8T400), for instance, will support AGP 8x, Serial ATA, and
integrated Ethernet. SiS will take that one step
further with its 755 chipset, possibly sporting integrated graphics
and IEEE 1394, in addition to AGP 8x and Serial ATA. Acer
Labs supposedly has a chipset in the works, though it
doesn't appear to be nearly as feature-complete as
VIA or SiS' products. Of course,
AMD will have its own 8000 series chipset ready at
launch time, just as it did with the 750 and 760 chipsets.
AMD's solution adds PCI-X support, though it
neglects Serial ATA and FireWire. Finally, NVIDIA
will offer its own nForce-derived Hammer chipset, which I'd expect
to perform well considering NVIDIA's experience with Hyper Transport.
845PE motherboards and neat
little computing accessories we can't live without...
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