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In This Issue...

- AMD X2 4800+ 65nm
- Foxconn 8800GTS GFX
- Supertalent PC2-8000
- ASUS M2N32 Pro Mobo
- Memory Latency
- ECS PN2 SLI2+ Mobo
- PCstats Weekly Tips

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AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ Processor Reviewed

In our line of work, reliable technology is a must. Behind the scenes at PCSTATS the cameras we take photos with, the notebooks we type on, the desktops used to publish each article or tackle photo editing all get major workouts. I've clocked in over 26,000 digital photos on one FujiFilm Finepix camera alone, and the Fujitsu P-series Transmeta Crusoe powered notebook this newsletter is typed on has more air miles on it than you can shake a stick at. Neither device has failed after 4+ years of service, but the time has come to upgrade. So when it came time to scout out notebooks, like you I turned to the web to read the reviews. It's great to speak from experience, but when we can't do that we must look for good solid reviews that are full of thorough details, test figures and insight.

Well, the results weren't good at all. The state of online notebook reviews is pretty appalling; single page, or even single paragraph "reviews" from major PC magazines carried no more weight than a re-spun press release. Who knows, that might have been as close as each author actually got. Generic comments revealed nothing that an image of the product didn't, and on top of that benchmarks were hard to come by and build quality was often totally skipped. Significant technologies like LED based LCD displays (more power efficient and longer lasting than cold cathode fluorescent lights), the downsizing of notebook hard drives from 2.5" to 1.8" PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) were glossed over or left unexplained.

To be fair, notebooks are time consuming to vet and benchmark properly, so some degree of brevity is understandable. However, I'd like to think the state of the industry has not degraded to the point where actual products are never even touched by the authors who "evaluate" them on behalf of us all. What's your take, what are your best sources of reliable product reviews on say... notebooks, cameras, or CE gear like cellphones?

I'll keep this short; from the top PCSTATS has a full review of the AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ processor - this is AMD's new 65nm K8 CPU, and we've got a full regiment of 32-bit and 64-bit benchmarks so you can see how this socket AM2 CPU stacks up. Next is the excellent Foxconn Geforce 8800GTS-320MB videocard, it comes with a PS2-style USB game controller. Nice. ASUS has incorporated two PCI-X slots onto its M2N32 WS Professional motherboard, giving pro-grade computer users enterprise class expansion possibilities. Supertalent is back with its' of PC2-8000 DDR2 memory, and we take one last look at the nForce 680i ECS PN2 SLI2+ motherboard.

The last article of the day is Memory Bandwidth vs. Latency Timings. It's an older one, but it clearly explains what memory latency is. Latency is key to tip top PC tuning, so if you've wondered what the '4-4-4-12' or '5-5-5-15' label means on memory, give it a read. If not, then skip right ahead to a triplet of Tech Tips this week! Daylight Savings Time, PC Uptime and Monitoring Computer Health are the themes. Enjoy.

Thanks for Reading,
Max Page
Editor-in-Chief - PCSTATS

AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ 65nm Processor Review

The 2.5GHz AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ processor offers us a decent mix of performance and value, it certainly won't break the bank either. The Athlon64 X2 4800+ is built on AMD's 65 nanometer manufacturing process, and this means it will help to address the power and heat issue that PCSTATS has been commenting on for the last six months. We do like it when processors become more powerful and more energy efficient, after all. Aside from the die shrink from 90nm to 65nm, the K8 architecture is identical to that of the Athlon64 X2 5000+ processor PCSTATS examined previously. Each core in this dual core Athlon64 X2 4800+ CPU has a 128KB L1 cache along with a 512KB L2 cache.Continue Here>>

Foxconn FV-N88SMCD2-ONOC GeForce 8800GTS 320MB Videocard Review

Foxconn is now branching off into retail videocards, using that same "quality first" approach it applied to motherboards. The Foxconn Geforce 8800GTS 320MB videocard is the first graphics card to hit the PCSTATS test bench, and along side what is a pretty standard reference PCI Express offering is a full fledged PS2-like USB game controller! Sweet! Games like Rainbow Six: Las Vegas push the limits of the current videocard technology, luckily next generation videocards like the GeForce 8800GTS 320MB is getting a lot of attention from gamers who want speed without spending too much. The Foxconn FV-N88SMCD2-ONOC videocard comes pre overclocked pretty heavily from the factory. Out of the box the Foxconn FV-N88SMCD2-ONOC spins its wheels at 575MHz core and 1800MHz memory.Continue Here>>

Asus M2N32 WS Professional nForce 590 SLI Motherboard Review

Asus is one of the few manufacturers to have released a nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI based workstation motherboard that's exactly what businesses need. Not gamers. The Asus M2N32 WS Professional is a cross between a high end desktop and workstation platform. It's perfect for those who work at home, or run advanced systems for CAD, 3D animation, video editing, or simply require a lot of computing power and very specific expansion options. The Asus M2N32 WS Professional is certainly in the right side of the fence and comes with a lot of integrated goodies. From the external SATA port, the two 64-bit PCI-X slots, 3GB/s SATA II RAID, dual Gigabit network ports, a silent chipset cooling system, PCI Express x16 SLI compatibility, and much more - this board has almost everything a professional needs. This platform is compatible with the AMD64 architecture, enabling simultaneous 32-bit and 64-bit computing. Continue Here>>

Memory Bandwidth vs. Latency Timings

Think about it this way, a car built for drag racing can go dead straight super fast, but cannot maneuver as well as an F1 race car. Likewise, the F1 racer is good in the corners but will be left in the dust on the drag strip. In other words, today's high speed memory modules are built for one thing only, and that's top speed, where timings really aren't considered all that much. As we've mentioned in numerous PCstats reviews, memory timings play a key role in terms of overall system performance. More so in 3D based applications which do not need a great deal of bandwidth, but rather quick access between the various pieces of hardware within the computer.Continue Here>>

Super Talent T1000UX2G4 PC2-8000 Memory Review

If you plan on building a computer system with the idea of overclocking it to the next level, it's really the memory you choose that determines if you're going to be successful. SuperTalent's latest memory, a pair of 1024MB T1000UX2G4 modules, has some pretty impressive specifications. The 2GB PC2-8000 memory kit is rated to run up to 1000 MHz with CAS Latency timings of 4-5-4-12. The kit is rated to run at DDR2-1000 or PC2-8000 speeds with memory CAS Latency timings of 4-5-4-12 , at a voltage of 2.2V. The SPD is set to JEDEC DDR2-800 standards, so don't forget to manually adjust the timings when tweaking and overclocking.Continue Here>>

ECS PN2 SLI2+ nVIDIA nForce 680i SLi Motherboard Review

Let's be frank. The question isn't whether AMD or Intel are leading the charge, it's nVIDIA. For the last couple of years anyway, the graphics boys in Santa Carla have shown the PC world how to make a good chipset and a feature packed motherboard. The ECS PN2 SLI2+ is one the many "Designed by nVIDIA" motherboards hitting the streets. It is based on the nVidia nForce 680i SPP and nForce 680i MCP chipsets. Compared to the previous high end nVIDIA nForce 590 Intel Edition chipset, the nForce 680i SLI really only officially supports a higher FSB (up to 1333 MHz by default). Other than this one major change, the nForce 680i SLI and nForce 590 SLI Intel Edition hold nearly identical feature sets.Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Triplet of Tweks - DST2007, Restarts and PC Monitoring

Tip #1 - Daylight Saving Time Windows Patch:

In 2005, the US government mandated the 2007 Daylight Savings Time (DST) changeover to begin three weeks earlier, and extend one week later in the fall. This minor change may or may not cause havoc with computers and network systems that rely upon accurate time stamps if they are unable to self-adjust for the new DST dates. In case your copy of Windows XP has not had the DST patch applied, you're going to want to download the update here: ( ).

Note that this requires OS validation. Alternatively, a patch can be had here ( ) if you don't want to go through OS validation. That patch will ensure that WindowsXP is compatible with the new DST 2007 dates. For Windows Server systems, Microsoft details how to manipulate the registry to accommodate DST 2007 here: ( ).

Tip #2 - Ensuring Always-On PCs Restart After Power Failures:

In offices and SOHO's around the world there are computers that are always on, dutifully running 24/7x365. But what happens if there's a power failure? A UPS will help ensure downtime is minimized, but if the power outage is long the batteries will eventually run down. Controlled shut downs can be scripted, but how do you make that always-on PC restart once the power is back up? There's a little feature in each computer BIOS that allows the motherboard to sense power, and when it's there, it can be told to power the system up. Go into the BIOS of your computer (press the "Del", "F1", "F2" or "F12" key during the first few seconds of the boot up) and find the "Power Management" options. In that menu look for "Restore On AC Power Loss" and turn it to "On" or "Enable." The wording may be different with your computer or server, but guaranteed that feature is built into all ATX motherboards. Another option you might want to adjust while you're at it can be found under "Standard CMOS Features". There is generally an option to "Halt On" any errors during the boot process, so make sure this is changed to "No Errors". Now the computer will not stop at the POST screen if the keyboard is not connected, for example, waiting for someone to press "F1 to continue"....

Tip #3 - Monitoring System Health:

If you're having problems with a computer want to know what's going on in the background, the System Event Viewer can be a real life saver. To access it, right click on the "My Computer" icon and go to "Manage", that will open up the "Computer Management" console. In the left hand window follow this path "System Tools" -> "Event Viewer" > then choose "Application" "Security" or "System". Each of the three entries provides a detailed run down on what programs or services experienced problems when loading up. If they are blank, all is well.

Let PCSTATS know what you think about this Tech Tip, and be sure to stop by PCSTATS Forums and post your comments or questions.

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