- Foxconn G9657MA Mobo
- Zalman ZM600-HP
- Epox EP-5P945 Mobo
- IcyDock eSATA Box
- Aopen miniPC System
- DFI LanParty UT Mobo
- PCstats Weekly Tips
Intel Motherboards and Windows Vista
Will you be upgrading to Windows Vista? According to
PCSTATS' weekly poll, 60% of you are saying no, 7% have tried
out Vista before going back to WinXP and only 32% said they
would upgrade to one version of Vista or another. In the PCSTATS
labs, we're running a test PC with Windows Vista Ultimate - the top
of the line OS version. With 2GB of memory, a 3.2GHz CPU, and a
6800GT videocard, Vista runs well and looks fantastic. The first
impression? Vista has many clever features, and just as many "security"
measures which are exceedingly annoying to experienced users.
In fact the first security "feature" we toasted was User Account Control
(UAC), it pops up confirmation boxes so frequently it might as week be a desktop background! You can disable UAC by: Control Panel > User Accounts > "Turn
User Accounts Control On/Off". Then, to get rid of that little red "X"
in the Task Bar: Control Panel > Security > Security
Center > "change the way security center alerts me"
and toggle off "don't notify me and don't display icon". If you're not a
very experienced user, it might be best to leave both of these settings as is.
With that in mind, I'd like to ask you
what your top 10 initial tweaks to Windows Vista were? Drop us a line
A motherboard is foundation on which all computers are built, so choosing the right board
is an important decision. Today PCSTATS tests the Foxconn G9657MA and Epox EP-P945
Pro motherboards, both of which offer good mainstream features. The Foxconn G9657MA
in particular has an integrated Intel GMA
X3000 graphics card, a step up from the GMA950. Zalman's low noise
600W power supply contains several innovative features to improve
cooling, cable management, and reduce noise output. In terms
of storage space expansion, IcyDock's
MB452 external eSATA/USB2.0 enclosure offers a quick way to add a hard
drive to a PC or notebook. It has the added benefit of a removable
drive tray that is compatible with PC-mounted systems.
The DFI Lanparty UT
NF590 SLI motherboard is back for a second time, as is AOpen's
MP945VX ultra small formfactor PC.
side column, the fourth installment of Dan's discussion on e-waste touches
on possibilities of reusing old computers for new tasks - like
schools or community centers. This weeks PCSTATS Tech Tip deals with two
Windows Vista related tweaks.
Thanks for reading!
The Foxconn G9657MA-8KS2H
motherboard is a prime example of what Foxconn can do. Based on the Intel
G965 Express and ICH8R chipsets, the board supports a 533/800/1066MHz Front Side Bus (FSB). It features 3GB/s SATA II RAID (0, 1, 5, 0+1), 8GB of PC2-800/667/533 dual channel DDR-II RAM,
a PCI Express x16 slot for a stand alone videocard, the
PCI Express x1 and two 32-bit PCI slots
for legacy hardware. The G9657MA-8KS2H features the Intel G965 Express GMA3000 integrated
videocard, so a PCI Express x16 videocard really isn't even required if
all you intended on using the system for is Microsoft Office,
the internet, or email. Continue Here>>
Zalman has launched a low noise power supply of
its own, and no surprise then that the 600W unit packs in components from
a standard heatsink to augment its cooling capabilities. Instead of
building its own power supply outright, Zalman teamed up with SPI (Sparkle
Power Inc) to introduce the ZM600-HP power supply to the world. Sparkle
are in the same league as PC Power & Cooling and Seasonic in terms of
quality, and heck the ZM600-HP has already received both nVIDIA SLI and
AMD CrossFire certification! At the heart of the Zalman ZM600-HP is a
short length of heatpipe that connects part of the power supplies' power
circuitry to a compact aluminum heatsink fin array. The aluminum fins take
the place of a second fan, and those horribly inefficient power supply
heatsinks... well for the most part.Continue Here>>
The Epox EP-5P945 Pro is a budget performance
motherboard is an affordable Intel platform of complementary technologies
for consumers on a budget. The EP-5P945's system bus runs at
1066/800/533MHz FSB, so you can use high end Intel Core 2 Duo or Core 2
Quad processors as well. The list of features here is a short one, but all
the major must have's for a modern day computer are ticked off: USB2.0,
multi-channel audio, 3GB/s Serial ATA support and Gigabit networking. This
is a good no frills motherboard, inexpensive and ideal for office
workstation environments where PCs are used for simple tasks like email,
the internet, and running office applications.Continue Here>>
To be honest, I can't recall many good experiences using removable hard
drive racks, particularly the single slot kind. Well, lucky for us Icy
Dock have introduced the MB452, an external eSATA and USB2.0 hard
drive enclosure whose removable drive caddy is compatible with the
companies PC mounted MB122SKGF system. The removable serial ATA hard drive
caddy's are interchangeable with each product family, allowing internal
and external drives to be swapped in a few moments. The unit is black in
colour with some nice aluminum detailing and vibration reducing rubber
feet; multiple units can be stacked one atop the next, or it can be stood
on its edge on rubber feet. 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, and every
major "must have" feature for enthusiast grade motherboards is also ticked off
the list.Continue Here>>
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
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>>
||PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Vista's Missing Menu Bar and Installing Vista
Windows Vista's new Aeroglass interface is supposed to make
things easier on users. One of the new "features" was to
remove the familiar old menu bar from the browser window to
keep clutter down. For more advanced users who want the menu
bar back, open up Windows Explorer in Vista, and press the
"ALT" key. Once the "alt" key is hit, it will toggle the menu
bar to reappear (hit it again, and it disappears). From there
go to "Tools" -> Folder options and check the "Always Show
the Menubar" option to force it to display all the
time. From now on you'll have the menu bar no matter which window you open.
This tip is brought to you by the Sony VAIO TX notebook. Born to travel at just 2.8 pounds. www.sony.com/vaio-tx
Tip #2. So you've just picked up a shiny new copy of Microsoft Windows Vista but are wondering about the other versions? Well there's a way you can get a taste without buying. When you're installing Windows Vista it will prompt you for a CD key, instead of entering that information, click the "Next" button. The installer will prompt you to enter a key, here click "No". That will bring you to new window which give you the following options.
Windows Vista BUSINESS
Windows Vista HOMEBASIC
Windows Vista HOMEPREMIUM
Windows Vista ULTIMATE
Windows Vista HOMEBASICN
Windows Vista BUSINESSN
Windows Vista STARTER
From this list you can install any version that you want (all versions of Vista are on the same DVD) although you should take note of a few things. HOMEBASICN and BUSINESSN are exclusively for the European market where Windows Media player is not included in the operating system, Windows Vista STARTER is designed for emerging markets such as third world countries. From there select the OS you want to try, and follow through on the installation process.
This allows you to try all
the various different versions of Windows Vista without having
to buy before hand (other than the version you have bought, at
least). Best of all you can try each version of Windows Vista for 30 days before the Windows activation feature kicks in and locks down the operating system. Once it locks, you will need to activate it by purchasing a key for that version, if you wish to continue, or format and reinstall.
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 IV|
Reconnecting with Local E-Waste Options
So now that you're stepping away from the garbage can, what can you do with
that old computer?
The best option for disposal of anything is always reuse rather than
recycling. Recycling requires much more energy, and the end product may be of
a lower quality. So with that in mind, your best option for
that old desktop machine is going to be a company that will refurbish it for
resale or donation like Computers For Schools. Some companies might even pay
for what you thought initially of as garbage!
If there doesn't appear to be any resellers in your area, there are numerous
non-profit groups that will take your electronic donations and refurbish the
stuff for charities. Reboot is pretty popular, and Charity Village has a long list of alternatives as
well. There's also The
National Christina Foundation in Connecticut and Share the
Technology in New Jersey. Try Googling for "computer refurbish [city
name]" for options available to you locally.
Some companies like IBM, HP and Apple have implemented "take-back"
programs. These companies will arrange to dismantle and recycle your computer
once you're finished with it. Programs like this are the direct result of new,
stricter legislation in Europe and elsewhere in the world regarding the harmful
chemicals found in virtually all electronic products to one degree or
The broken-beyond-repair things are a tougher sell with refurbishing
companies, so it's always best to contact them in advance to see what they can use. In cases where your old junked computer really is just junk, what are your options?
Stay tuned for Part 5 next week.
- Daniel Quinn
"Get the 'Stats and Stay Informed!"