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In This Issue...

- Corsair PC2-8500 C5 RAM
- AOpen MacMini SFF
- Asrock 7775Xfire
- MSI Nx7600GT VGA
- Epox 9U1697 GLI Mobo
- Samsung 173P+ LCD
- PQI mPack P800 PMP
- Synchronizing Guide
- PCstats Weekly Tips

Exploding Laptops... Oh my!?

By now you may have heard about a handful of laptops spontaneously "exploding." Perhaps you've even seen the photo's of a certain laptop reportedly self immolating at a Japanese convention... Exploding laptops, fiery batteries, what's this all about!?

As laptops have become more compact, the high capacity Li-ion batteries that power them have been crammed into increasingly compact spaces with little room for appropriate ventilation... The issue, and it is a very rare one, appears to stem from situations when a notebook's Lithium-ion battery pack catastrophically overheats. This causes the sealed Li-ion power cells to rupture, and in the ensuing chemical reaction sets off the rest of the power cells in a burst of fiery flames which ultimately result in one very charred notebook. Poof... hope you backed up recently. Have a look here to see if your notebook falls under the umbrella of models with recently recalled battery packs.

Today also marks the release of five new Intel Core2 Duo processors based on the incredibly impressive 'Conroe' core. We haven't seen an Intel CPU compete against AMD's dual core AM2 Athlon64 like this before... a full run down of all the 'Conroe' reviews is compiled here. In this edition PCSTATS tests the new ASrock 77XFire-eSATA2 motherboard for Intel, and Epox 9U1697-GLI motherboard for Athlon64 CPUs. The MSI NX7600GT PCI Express videocard makes a strong impression with us, while the 17" Samsung 173P+ LCD display reaffirms our admiration of flat screens. The AOpen miniPC MP915B ultra small formfactor PC makes a return visit, before thoughts shift to a Beginners Guide on Synchronizing Files and Folders. Last but not least is a review of the brand new EPP-ready Corsair PC2-8500 CAS5 1GB DDR2 memory kit, and PQI's mPack P800 personal media player. The PCSTATS Weekly Tech Tip rounds out this issue of the newsletter.

Thanks for reading!
Max Page
Editor-in-Chief - PCSTATS

ASRock 775XFire-eSATA2/A/ASR i945PL Motherboard Review

The new ASRock 775XFire-eSATA2/A/ASR motherboard is based on the Intel 945PL chipset and supports ATi's dual videocard CrossFire technology; ATi has given its CrossFire blessing to the high end Intel 975X chipsets, but there has been no mention of CrossFire support anywhere else curiously. The ASRock 775XFire-eSATA2/A/ASR supports all current Socket 775 Intel processors. The motherboard can accommodate up to 2GB of DDR2-533 memory, in pairs for dual channel operation. Other hardware goodies includes High Definition 5.1-channel audio, 10/100 Ethernet networking, and USB 2.0 ports. The ASRock 775XFire-eSATA2 A/ASR boasts support for two external Serial ATA II devices by way of a pair of rear-mounted external SATA2 ports as well. Continue Here>>

Corsair Twin2X2048-8500C5 2GB PC2-8500 Memory Kit Review

Corsair has introduced a whole slew of memory in the last month; the releases spanned the gamut from low latency DDR2-800 parts to super high speed DIMM's like the Twin2X2048-8500C5 that PCSTATS is evaluating now. Even though much of the memory has been targeted towards Socket AM2 users, these DDR-2 parts will work equally well with dual core Intel Pentium 4/D processors. Corsair's latest Twin2X2048-8500 memory is almost too hot to handle right out of the package.... just look at these specs - default timings are 5-5-5-15, each PC2-8500 module is 1024MB in size, and Corsair guarantees that its memory can run at a blistering 1066 MHz! Yikes!Continue Here>>

MSI NX7600GT-VT2D256E Geforce 7600GT Videocard Review

The GeForce 6600GT is a great GPU, but its age is starting to show. Hence, the new nVidia GeForce 7600GT is hitting the streets. The GeForce 7600GT GPU holds a lot of promise but it also has a lot to prove... At first glance the MSI Computer NX7600GT-VT2D256E PCI Express videocard is pretty impressive compared to GeForce 6600GT class models. The frame buffer has been increased to 256MB, the core clock speed jumps to 560 MHz and memory to 1400 MHz!Continue Here>>

Samsung Syncmaster 173P+ 17inch LCD Display Review
Continue on...

The new Samsung 173P+ incorporates all of the original models best physical attributes, along with a better contrasted 17" LCD panel and 8ms gray-to-gray pixel response time. The compact little 17" screen of the Samsung 173P+ boasts a native resolution of 1280x1024 pixels. The Samsung 173P+ offers up a contrast ratio of 1500:1 and brightness value of 270 cd/m2. Viewing angles on the Samsung 173P+ break the barrier at 178 degrees horizontal/vertical. The unit accepts both 15-pin Analog and DVI digital video connections, though DVI is naturally the preferred standard. Continue Here>>

AOpen miniPC MP915-B Super Multi System Review

READ There is no doubt that Small Form Factor computers have revolutionized the way technology fits into the home, and our lives. AOpen's mini PC's are some of the most innovative machines we've seen in a long time, and what really sets this small silvery box apart is that its essentially built with laptop components. The sleek looking AOpen mini PC MP915-B (Super Multi) system is 165x50x165 mm in size and weighs just over 1.5kg when fully loaded... and it kinna reminds you of a MacMini doesn't it? Continue Here>>

PQI mPack P800 Portable Entertainment Centre
Continue on...

Today we have the pleasure of looking at PQI's mPack P800 portable entertainment centre. From it's nice 3.5" LCD screen outwards, the PQI mPack P800 supports a pleasingly large array of formats. For video, MPEG4, and DivX are covered, along with XviD, WMV and ASF. Advertised battery life is 4.5 hours for video playback and 10 hours for audio playback (with screen off).Continue Here>>

Epox 9U1697 GLI ULi M1697 Motherboard Review

READ The Epox 9U1697 GLI motherboard that's passing through the PCSTATS test labs today is based on ULi's last chipset which was quite a sleeper, the M1697. Make no mistake about it, the Epox 9U1697 GLI motherboard is inexpensive, but that doesn't mean it's a slow motherboard! The Epox 9U1697 GLI is a lean Socket 939 motherboard and supports all AMD Athlon64 processors. Still, this board has a lot to offer as you'll soon see... Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: Synchronizing Files and Folders
Continue on... This guide is for all the road warriors who use a PC at work, notebook on the road, and two or three other computers throughout the day. With this guide, you can synchronize your files between your PCs, so you always have the latest files at hand. Sexy topic huh? In this article we will explain the process of file synchronization and show you the two major methods of synchronization within Windows XP. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Locking Down Group Policy Editor

Regular readers of my Weekly Tips should know how powerful the Group Policy Editor can be, yet in the wrong hands it can completely wreck the operating system. Luckily it's possible to lock out other users from accessing the Group Policy Editor, even those with administrative privileges...

What you need to do is load up the Group Policy Editor (Start -> Run then type gpedit.msc and press OK) and follow this path "Computer Configuration" -> "Administrative Templates" -> "System" -> "Group Policy" and in the right hand window find the "Registry Policy Processing" option. Double click on it and a new window will appear, change the setting to "Enabled" and check the "Process even if Group Policy Objects have not been changed".

While users can change the settings, the original configuration will quickly be reapplied as the system refreshes itself. Please note that this is not a fool proof option, but should deter most would be experts from breaking their computer systems. ;-)

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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