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In This Issue...

- Shuttle xPC SN27P2 SFF
- Athlon64 FX-62/X2-5000+
- Tforce 6100 mobo
- Corsair PC2-6400 C4
- Asus EN7900GT PCIe x16
- Mushkin XP650W Power
- Zalman CNPS9500 AM2
- PCstats Weekly Tips

Shuttle's socket AM2 xPC - Small Formfactor Done Right

Hello,
Did you ever think a Toaster sized PC would exist that could pack in 8GB of RAM, SATA RAID, and a dual-slot PCI Express videocard? We didn't until the socket AM2 Shuttle xPC SN27P2 small formfactor barebones arrived in the labs. Small, sleek, with plenty of expansion in a quiet little black box... sometimes you've just got to love the pace at which technology runs. PCSTATS has an extensive review of the Shuttle xPC SN27P2 right here, running on the 2.6GHz AMD Athlon64 X2-5000+ processor and some nice Corsair PC2-8500 DDR2 RAM.

If bundles of cash aren't flowing from your pockets, the socket AM2 Biostar TForce AM2 motherboard will certainly interest you. It's got integrated Geforce 6100 video, is socket AM2 compliant, and pretty darn cheap. Mushkin busts into the powersupply world with a modular 650W PSU with rather cool shielded cables that click into the back of it - so you only need to connect what's needed. PCSTATS also reviews the newly announced Asus En7900GT Top PCI Express videocard and Corsair PC2-6400 CAS4 DDR2 memory kit in this Newsletter edition.

The final installment of PCSTATS' look at AMD vs. Intel can be found just off to the left, and Colin Sun's Weekly Tech Tip is right where you expect it.

Thanks for reading,
Max Page
Editor-in-Chief, PCstats.com


Shuttle XPC SN27P2 Small Formfactor Socket AM2 Barebones PC Review
READ

Shuttle's latest Small Formfactor PC is its XPC SN27P2 which is based around nVIDIA's nForce 570 Ultra chipset and supports 940-pin socket AM2 Athlon64 X2/FX and Sempron processors. There are a whopping four 240 pin DDR-2 DIMM slots, making this toaster capable of supporting up to 8GB of memory. The BTX-style motherboard layout means you can install a PCI Express x16 videocard with a dual-slot heatsink! Other standard features integrated into the nVidia nForce 570 Ultra chipset include Gigabit Ethernet LAN, IEEE 1394a Firewire, high definition 'Azailia' 7.1 channel audio, three 3GB/s SATA2 ports (one IDE channel) that offer up RAID 0/1/0+1/5, an external Serial ATA II jack and the full gamut of nVidia nTune, FirstPacket and MediaShield technologies. Overall theShuttle XPC SN27P2 Small Formfactor barebones PC is a nice package - it looks great and is built with reducing an impact both in the space it occupies, and in the amount of noise it generates.Continue Here>>

Biostar TForce 6100 AM2 Motherboard Review

READ

nVIDIA's integrated GeForce 6100 is on par in both 3D abilities and feature sets as other stand alone entry level videocards. To anyone on a tight budget looking to get the most from their computer, a motherboard with this kind of chipset offers a tone of value. The Biostar TForce 6100 AM2 motherboard packs quite a lot into a microATX platform; top of the line integrated graphics, PCI Express, networking, SATA and IDE hard drive support, and integrated sound card. The Biostar TForce 6100 AM2 should be a good little workstation motherboard, perfect for one of the new Socket AM2 Sempron 3600+ or Athlon64 3800+ processors.Continue Here>>

AMD Athlon64 FX-62 and X2 5000+ Socket AM2 Processors Reviewed
READ

Advanced Micro Devices' latest release in its salvo of 64-bit chips is the Socket AM2 Athlon64 dual-core 64-bit processor, a new 940-pin CPU whose integrated memory controller now thrives offlow latency DDR-2 RAM. In this review PCSTATS will introduce you to two socket AM2 processors; the 2.8GHz AMD Athlon64 FX-62 and 2.6GHz Athlon64 X2-5000+. We'll discuss new socket AM2 CPU family, the different type of heatsink you'll need for AM2, performance per watt metrics, hardware virtualization, AM2 chipsets from nVidia/VIA/Sis, DDR2 and EPP memory, and even wet your whistle with some overclocking and benchmarks!Continue Here>>

Mushkin Enhanced XP-650 Power Supply Review
READ

What makes a good power supply? Well, it must have a sufficiently high output wattage to handle top of the line components, but more importantly is how that power is split up between the various voltage rails. Looking at the Mushkin Enhanced XP-650 power supply I see four pretty hefty +12V rails which will have no problems feeding even the most demanding dual core, mutli-videocard system - each has 20A headroom. Nice. XP-650 power supply has a peak power rating of 650W and is multi-videocard ready. The first thing you're eye will be drawn to on the Mushkin XP-650 is its metallic glossy grey finish, and its modular cable system. The surface looks very cool, and picks up fingerprints like iron filings to a magnet.Continue Here>>

Corsair Twin2X2048-6400C4 Memory Review
READ

Corsair has just released a set of its DDR2-800 memory that is perfect for Socket AM2 Athlon64 processors. Fast memory modules with low latencies? Its new Twin2X2048-6400C4 memory is exactly what the doctor ordered. This state of the art 2GB set of memory incorporates the new EPP memory standard. When running in dual channel mode, with timings of 4-4-4-12, the Corsair Twin2X2048-6400C4 provides 12.8GB/s worth of memory bandwidth which happens to be exactly what the dual core Socket AM2 Athlon64 X2/FX processors need.Continue Here>>

Zalman CNPS9500-AM2 Socket AM2 Low Noise Heatsink Review
READ

The Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 heatsink is compatible with all current AMD Athlon64 processors, and in particular the just introduced AMD 940-pin AM2 processor and socket AM2 heatsink retention frame. The Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 is a full copper heatsink, except its surface has been brightly chrome plated to give it that nuclear winter, Terminator 2 android feel. The heatsinks' 92mm fan is internally illuminated with a pair of nVidia green LEDs, which create a very spectacular light effect, and plus it is backwards compatible with socket 939 Athlon64 processors too. Continue Here>>

Asus EN7900GT TOP/2DHT/256M/A Videocard Review
READ

At first glance, the Asus EN7900GT TOP/2DHT/256M/A looks like a normal GeForce 7900GT... Closer inspection shows that it is a highly tuned videocard that is faster than the average stock 7900GT. The 256MB Asus EN7900GT TOP/2DHT/256M/A videocard is compatible only with PCI Express x16 slots so that means AGP users needs to get their fix elsewhere. The game comes with a large software bundle and DVI to analog converters. The Asus EN7900GT TOP/2DHT/256M/A can connect to the television via a couple of different methods; through S-Video and component output for high definition televisionsContinue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: AMD Cool 'n' Quiet

With the release of Socket AM2, AMD has shifted the majority of its product line to dual core processors. Unfortunately WindowsXP w/SP2 can act a bit wonky with Athlon64 X2/FX processors when Cool n Quiet (as noted here http://support.microsoft.com/?id=896256) is enabled. There is fix, albeit a complicated one.

First you must contact Microsoft support for a patch, if you don’t want to get Microsoft involved, you can download the patch here (http://www.evilkitty.org/misc/WindowsXP-KB896256-v3-x86-ENU.exe). After it has been installed, you need to reboot your system. Once it's back up, click "Start" -> "Run", type "regedit", then press the "OK" button and follow this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> CurrentControlSet -> Control -> Session Manager.

Right click on the "Session Manager" folder, create a new "Key" and name it "Throttle". In the new "Throttle" key right click in the right hand window and create a new "DWORD" value and name it "PerfEnablePackageIdle". Modify its value (default is 0) and give it a value of "1". Quit the registry editor and reboot your system.

Now your new shiny dual core Socket AM2 Athlon64 system will no longer have any stuttering or performance problems. =)

Was Colin's tip as good for your PC as it was for his? Let PCSTATS know what you think, and be sure to stop by PCSTATS Forums and post your comments or questions.

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PCstats Issue
No.215
Circulation: 176,908
AMD vs. Intel Part 6
A World of Two CPUs

In the last few years I've witnessed a lot of fan hardware sites pop up and primarily praise one manufacturer while vilifying the other. I don't see much of a point to this since every company has its own distinctive strengths and weaknesses. In the computer world, brand loyalty is useless; there are no frequent buyer points or discounts for returning customers after all, now are there? Now it's not my job to tell you what to buy, but rather try and give you enough information to make an informed decision on what's probably going to be the best solution for your situation.

As it stands right now, AMD's Athlon64 architecture is better than anything that Intel has to offer, plain and simple. The current Intel platform simply runs too hot, too slow, or is considerably more expensive than its AMD performance equivalent. The direction Intel is headed certainly looks promising considering the mud is licking its fenders right now, but those processors aren't available yet. As enticing as early 'Conroe' samples appear, let's not rush to judge. After all delays can pop up anywhere at anytime. Remember 90 nanometre!?

All of Athlon64's success cannot be attributed to AMD alone, and I have to give credit where credit is due. nVIDIA has done a fairly phenomenal job at making the transition from a VGA company to motherboard chipsets. Of course this partnership can disintegrate at any time now that nVIDIA also spits out chipsets for Intel. Will this spell doom for AMD's success in the long run, and will ATI ever decide to issue an attractive K8 chipset of its own? These are the questions I'm left wondering.

AMD has dramatically improved the quietness and reliability of its retail heatsinks, and durability of its processors from just over two years ago. Intel has tried to make the best of a bad situation; with the Netburst architecture essentially stalled it has moved towards parallelism (multi core) for more performance. Intel's large enough to suffer the financial impact of such problems, and it's reassuring to see its next generation processor is not being rushed out the door. Intel's 'Conroe' core looks like it may be a force to contend with, but it's way to early to call that fight. We'll see next year.

So where does all of this opinion leave you? You're struggling with a decision and I'm talking about a bunch of seemingly unconnected issues. The question should be simple; AMD or Intel, Intel or AMD?

So, which will it be?

I think if you need to buy a computer in the very near future, gravitate towards a PC based on AMD's Athlon64 processor. It's simply superior to Intel's current Pentium 4 or Pentium D or Pentium XE processors. The Athlon64 trails a little when it comes to multitasking, but it's not behind by much.

Now, if you're planning on a new computer in eight months to a year's time from now, then I don't recommend Intel, or AMD. The way things are going now, both companies are involved with massive changes to their computing platforms, and there isn't a clear winner to side with right now. You'll be better of waiting and see how the next AMD VS. Intel war turns out... Just remember though, it's an eternal struggle and you'll need to choose a side at some point. Right now AMD simply kicks Intel's offerings out of the arena.

The Last Word Goes To... You

What do you think of the current AMD vs. Intel situation? If your opinion differs from mine, feel free to press your case by using PCSTATS feedback page - we read every single comment that comes in.

(PS. For the record, after a few Intel Pentium 4 systems over the last couple years my latest rig packs an AMD Athlon64 processor, and it's totally sweet.)

Recommended Reading on Topics Relating to the Socket AM2 Athlon64 processor and 64-bit Computing:

· Dual OS Installation of WindowsXP 32-bit/64-bit
· Athlon64 and AMD's 64-bit technology
· Intel's 64-bit Technology
· Athlon64 - 64-bit vs. 32-bit Head On Comparison
· Overclocking and WindowsXP x64 Edition

This Issue By
Editor-in-Chief
. Max P.
Weekly Tips
. Colin S.

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