- AOpen Mini PC MP945
- DFI LanParty UT Mobo
- Asus P5B-E Moboo
- ABIT AN9 32X Mobo
- PCstats Weekly Tips
Ultra Mini PC From AOpen: Big Punch Small Package?
AOpen's Mini PC
MP945-VX is an ultra compact barebones system only
slightly larger than a stack of CD cases. The small size of this system
allows for creative applications; like mounting onto the rear of a
plasma screen for example... Up next is PCSTATS' test report on the DFI LanParty
UT NF590 SLi - an enthusiast grade AMD Athlon64 (AM2) motherboard with
punch. The board is built for overclocking, and has the finite controls to
match. On a more economical front, the ASUS P5B-E
motherboard could be the basis of an affordable Intel Core 2 Duo
platform. It eschews a lot of the frills, but delivers good performance in
the benchmarks with the right hardware. The
Fatal1ty AN9 32X motherboard is a great
gaming board, with several extra's for the tweaker at heart.
In the side column, the third installment of Dan's discussion
on e-waste focuses on the reduction in hazardous materials brought forth
by WEEE and RoHS. This weeks PCSTATS Tech Tip is an answer
to a specific request we received, and if you need a tip on something
please let us know.
Thanks for reading!
In the world of computers, compact PCs always finish
first. AOpen has employed an unorthodox method of
building its super small, super compact, super quiet miniPC
MP945-VX small formfactor system. It has essentially turned a laptop
(minus the LCD display) into a uber-compact macMini-esque
desktop computer. Albeit one that is barely larger than a stack of six
CD cases. Laptop components definitely allow smaller and more energy
efficient systems to be built, but such luxuries come at a financial and
performance cost. The high level of
miniaturization with laptop parts tends to dictate a higher price than
an equivalent desktop small formfactor box. Even with a small price
premium, AOpen has succeeded in creating a rather nice
Mini system here.Continue Here>>
The latest gear from the tweakers at DFI is the LANPartyUT
NF590 SLI-M2R/G motherboard, and it's looking like a real gem too. The
Socket AM2 motherboard supports single and dual core AMD Athlon64, X2 and
FX as well as budget Sempron processors. DFI have
based the LanpartyUT NF590 SLI on nVIDIA's extremely competent nForce
590 SLI and MCP55PXE southbridge chipsets. The list of features reads like
a must have novel for building a killer motherboard. The most important of
which are dual Gigabit network cards, twin SLI
compatible PCI Express x16 videocard slots, eight 3GB/s Serial ATA II
ports (with RAID), six USB2.0 jacks at the rear I/O, an 8 channel Intel
Azalia High Definition audio controller, Firewire, and much more. Every
major "must have" feature for enthusiast grade motherboards is ticked off
the list.Continue Here>>
Asus has a large selection of Intel motherboards to
choose from, and its P5B-E looks
pretty good for a no fuss Core 2 Duo motherboard. With the Intel P965
Express Northbridge and Intel ICH8R
Southbridge, the motherboard supports all current Socket 775
processors. From the Celeron D to the Pentium 4/D series and the Intel
Core 2 Duo/Extreme processors (FSBs from 533-1066 MHz) theAsus P5B-E
makes upgrading for current Socket 775 owners a breeze. The Asus P5B-E
motherboard sports four DDR2 memory channels which can be installed with a
maximum of 8GB of non-ECC unbuffered DDR2-400 to DDR2-800
memory. Onboard goodies include an PCI Express x1 Gigabit
network card, an Intel Azalia compatible 7.1 audio controller, IEEE 1394a
and of course an IDE controller since Intel removed IDE from the ICH8
series Southbridges.Continue Here>>
Scanning through ABIT's product lineup of late is
like reading the menu at an enthusiasts restaurant! The ABIT FATAL1TY
AN9 32X is built on the flagship nVIDIA nForce
590 SLI 'C51XE' chipset and MCP55PXE Southbridge. The board supports
socket AM2 AMD Athlon64/FX/X2 and Sempron processors, and thus 64-bit and
32-bit operating systems. There are four DDR2 memory slots which
accommodate up to 8GB of
DDR2-800 RAM. On board goodies offer nothing less than dual PCI
Express x16 slots and nVidia SLI compatibility at a full 16 PCI Express
lanes apiece, dual GigABIT Ethernet network jacks, an Intel Azalia High
Definition 7.1 channel
audio controller, IEEE 1394a 400Mpbs Firewire, and six 3GB/s SATA 2
jacks for storage devices! An audio daughter card provides every
imaginable option for truly mind-blowing
multi-channel speaker systems, leaving the rear I/O largely free of
|| PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Disabling Hibernation in Vista
previous Microsoft operating systems, disabling hibernation is easy. With Windows Vista, you can probably guess that it's a little trickier. If you don't ever use the hibernation feature, you might as well disable it and save some space (the size of your system memory) on your hard drive, or to get rid of that laggy delay due to hibernation start up. With Windows Vista you'll need to jump through loops before you can disable its hibernation feature though.
To disable the hibernation feature in Microsoft Vista, press the Windows key and type "cmd" into the "Start Search box" however do not press the "ENTER" key. Right click on the letters "cmd" and select "Run As Administrator" Continue through the UAC prompt then type "powercfg -h off" and press the "ENTER" key.
That will disable Windows Vista's hibernation so you won't have to worry about putting your system to sleep.
Let PCSTATS know what you think about this Tech Tip, and be sure to stop by PCSTATS Forums and post your comments or questions.
Join the PCSTATS Forums Today @ forum.PCstats.com!
|What Do You Do With Old Computers? - Part III|
Reconnecting: Fewer Hazardous Electronics - RoHS and WEEE
Given the growing awareness of our environment, a number of
governments around the world have begun to adopt regulations restricting all
aspects of a product's "life cycle". Europe appears to be leading the way with
the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive
(WEEE) which severely restricts what is allowed into landfills,
and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS),
designed to keep hazardous waste from ever entering the market in the first
place. As a result of these new laws, many companies have sought out alternatives to lead based solder, and
arsenic in their electronic components, as well as initiate take-back programs to keep
their products out of the waste cycle when they are finally ready to be disposed of.
Obviously, such dramatic shifts in what can and cannot be used causes challenges. We are, after all questioning the validity of decades of engineering development. Materials like lead and arsenic were not chosen for their fresh minty flavour, no we use this stuff because it fulfills a technical role well. Companies are re-inventing tried-and-true techniques to conform to new standards, and the results are predictably unstable at first. As a result of the unavoidable learning curve, some industries remain exempt from the new
environmental regulations. Most notable of these are the medical, aviation and military
sectors, but exemptions are available to other industries as well.
Exemptions are not however, meant to be permanent. As the technology develops
and using more environmentally friendly materials becomes more commonplace,
stability will improve and the exceptions will become fewer in number. The end
goal is an abolishment of harmful waste entering the ecosystem.
Despite some shortcomings, legislation like RoHS and WEEE are an
excellent step in the right direction toward a true product sustainability. The
next step in terms of what the government can do is making companies responsible
for their products from cradle to grave,
thereby moving toward a "zero-waste" system. Or at least, a product cycle not
dependent on a primary industry (mining for example). Some companies like Mercedes-Benz are ahead of
the curve and have begun designing their products to be easily dismantled,
with each piece bar coded to reflect the materials used in it's composition. In
the long run, as legislation is refined, and acquisition of raw
materials more expensive, business should begin to see post-consumer material as
a valuable resource rather than a hassle to be externalized.
Stay tuned for Part 4 next week.
- Daniel Quinn
"Get the 'Stats and Stay Informed!"