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In This Issue...

- Foxconn 8600GTS GFX
- Biostar 690G Mobo
- Guide: 104 Tips
- Zalman PSU 600W
- Guide: XP Services
- PCstats Weekly Tips

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HDMI on the Motherboard - Biostar's TA690G Platform


Core, Quad, Quint... it's getting hard to know just which kind of CPU one really needs these days. More processor cores and faster clock speeds generally indicate better "performance", but perhaps you should keep a little bit of reality in mind as a family of new DDR3 friendly CPUs sprout from Intel next week. The fastest CPU you need is the one that gets the work that you do, done. If a single core AMD or Intel chip handles what you use a computer for, then you're set. Perpetual upgrade cycles are all well and good, but prove somewhat unnecessary when software can't take full advantage of all that horsepower don't you think?

This week, your videocard is obsolete if it isn't DirectX 10 compatible. It's a good thing Dx10 games aren't out yet... ;-) If you are preparing for the onslaught of killer DX10 graphics, then look no further than a mainstream Geforce 8600GTS, we've got two reviews this issue. The first Geforce 8600GTS comes from Foxconn with 256MB memory, and the second from MSI with equivalent tech specs and a pleasing low noise heatsink.

Up next is Biostar's excellent little AMD 690G chipset based TA690G AM2 motherboard. This platform has DVI, Analog and HDMI video outputs! It would be pretty awesome for a compact home theatre PC. The upcoming Geforce 7050 chipset from nVidia should make things even more interesting. Also in this edition are 104 Tech Tips for WindowsXP, the ultra quiet Zalman 600W power supply, and a PCSTATS Beginners Guide to Tweaking Windows Services.

The May edition of PCSTATS handy ShoppingList is posted here for those in need of hardware advice.

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

Foxconn 8600GTS-256 Geforce 8600GTS DirectX10 Videocard Review

As you might expect, the Foxconn 8600GTS-256 is backed up with 256MB of GDDR3 memory that runs at nice even 2000MHz. The videocard does not come with much, which is a bit disappointing, there are just two DVI to analog converters, a TV output break out box (component and S-Video), a dual molex to six pin power converter and a couple of HDD utilities on the driver disk. No games, no fancy game controller, no DVI-to-HDMI converter. In its current configuration the 8600GTS-256 is a single slot solution, although you'll want to keep the expansion slot adjacent to the videocard free so it gets a nice steady stream of cool air. Continue Here>>

Biostar TA690G AM2 AMD 690G Motherboard Review

Biostar has been releasing some really cool products the last little while, the Sigma-Gate GeForce 7600GS being one of the neatest videocards to pass through the PCSTATS test labs in all of 2006 in fact. Today though, PCSTATS is excited to be testing out the Biostar TA690G AM2 motherboard; a MicroATX platform ideal for home theatre PC application. This board stands out because of the comprehensive video outputs it has. A standard analog video output isn't too astounding, but a digital DVI port, S-Video TV-output and an HDMI video output all on one motherboard is pretty darn unique! With its' ATI Radeon X1250 Graphics on board, the Biostar TA690G AM2 provides a good solid platform for office applications and the like, without the need to install a stand alone videocard. Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: 104 Tech Tips for Windows XP

From quick tips to WindowsXP, right through to cool tweak, toys and experiments, PCSTATS has go you covered with over a hundred new Tech Tips! PCSTATS is pleased to present this latest installment of our Windows XP Tips collection. This guide brings you 104 ways to make using Windows XP faster, safer and more enjoyable. Combined with our first two tips articles,101 Tech Tips and 99 Performance Tweaks, PCSTATS now has over 300 of the best tips for Microsoft Windows XP assembled in one place! Continue Here>>

Zalman ZM600-HP 600W Heatpipe Cooled Modular Power Supply Review

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 600W, the Zalman ZM600-HP power supply is good for all types of systems, from a quiet entertainment HTPC to a high end gaming system with two videocards. Continue Here>>

Beginners Guides: Understanding and Tweaking WindowsXP Services

A Windows service is an 'always on' application that is constantly running in the background of your system. These applications are loaded at startup with an executable file or started when needed, and do not have a user interface or require a user to run them. They allow Windows XP to perform functions that require constant management or access without forcing the user to run a specific program or command. In Windows XP, these background processes are called Services and they will be the topic of this edition of PCSTATS always handy Beginner's Guides. We're going to look at what the WinXP Services are and do, why they are necessary, which ones should be running on your system and which ones you can do without. Continue Here>>
MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC GeForce 8600GTS Videocard Review

nVIDIA is on an absolute roll, and there are no challengers in sight! As its name indicates, MSI's NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC videocard is based on the new nVIDIA GeForce 8600GTS core. The card packs in a modest 256MB of GDDR3 memory. High Definition is the next big gaming challenge, and so it's not surprising that we have dual DVI (dual link) outputs along with component HDTV output via dongle. The NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC installs into a PCI Express x16 slot, supports nVidia SLI if you have two of them, and is fully DirectX 10 and OpenGL 2.0 compatible. What really makes the MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC special is that MSI factory overclock the card to 700 MHz core, 2100 MHz memory. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: Customized Search Tool in IE 7
By Colin S.

By default Internet Explorer 7 has a search option at the top right hand corner of the browser. This embedded search tool makes quick work of the web, and for your convenience (and Microsoft's coffers) is connected directly to Microsoft's Live Search.

In case you're not a fan of Microsoft's search engine, and we're not particularly attached to it, you can change it to another search engine. To do this click on the triangle to the right of the search text box and select the "Find More Providers..." option. That will open up a new window and from there you have the following four search engine options "AOL", "", "Google", "" and "Yahoo!" Select the one you want, that will pop open a new "Add Search Provider" option remember to check the "Make this my default search provider" check box and then click the "Add Provider" option. Congratulations you've just changed IE7's search provider and don't have to use Microsoft Live Search anymore.

Alternatively, you can set the search box to go directly to just about any search box on any website, provided it meets certain criteria. While you're still on the "find more providers..." page look for "Create Your Own" and follow the instructions posted there. FireFox has a similar set of options if you use that great browser.

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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