The BH7 sports plenty of connectivity options, with two S/PDIF ports for optical audio; six-channel audio, SATA and side-mounted IDE ports.
The IC7 offers support for up to 4GB of dual-channel DDR, delivering bandwidth of 4.8GB/s. Decked out with every port known to humanity, it has integrated FireWire; USB 2.0; SATA; 10/100 Ethernet and six-channel audio.
Almost identical to the IC7, the IC7-G also features Gigabit LAN and four SATA connectors. Three fan headers on the board allow for the heatsink fan, case fan and an auxiliary fan, which is good for tweakers.
Finishing around the middle of the features and benchmark department this month, the KD7-SL still has a lot going for it.
A board with middle-of-the-road features, the NF7-M boasts a well-designed and spacious layout with some nifty additions.
One of only three ABIT boards in our roundup supporting ATA133, the SR7-8X lacks SATA and features only two-channel audio.
Albatron's offering to the 865P family is bursting at the seams with features. SATA and IDE RAID, eight-channel audio, FireWire, dual-channel DDR, USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet.
The Athlon XP 3200+ will probably be the last Barton-core desktop processor to come from AMD before the launch later this year of the Athlon 64, its desktop 64-bit processor.
With the AX4C Max comes a whopping four SATA ports, which support RAID. The board will also be popular with overclockers with its comprehensive BIOS tweaking features, such as 1MHz stepping for the CPU and AGP/PCI clocks, as well as adjustable voltage for the CPU, AGP/PCI and RAM.
Built with convenience in mind, this board features six board-mounted USB 2.0 ports, and two more on a rear panel.
The A7N8X Deluxe features dual-LAN ports, which allows you to connect to a broadband service and share it without the need for a separate PCI network card.
One of the most interesting features of any board in this Labs is the 'AI' in the P4C800 Deluxe. The board will automatically inform you if you've plugged the wrong sort of peripheral into an audio jack, as well as informing of network cable problems.
A little lacking in the feature department, the P4G8X Deluxe is lean in some big areas. Short 800MHz, DDR400 or DDR333 support, its biggest selling points are its BlueMagic PCI slot, inclusion of PC-cillin antivirus software, and ASUS PC Probe for system monitoring.
The board's ability to increase CPU core voltage in 0.025V increments as well as adjustable FSB/DDR ratio with fixed AGP/PCI frequencies allows for maximum performance with absolute control.
Accounting software is a tough market to get into and is littered with the carcasses of many who had tried and failed to take on the established giants in Quicken and MYOB. Business Breeze is a locally designed product specifically aimed at the small business market.
Computer Associates (CA) is one of the biggest names in the software industry, even compared to Microsoft. Most of its business is done in the enterprise and corporate field, and this heritage shows in eTrust Antivirus.
Canon's new 600i series of digital video cameras doesn't offer any major changes to the 500i series, just
a continuing improvement in quality and a few nice extras.
The cameras still look the same and are just as easy to use, but the new top of the range 650i is about as good as you are going to get in its price range.
Whether you're upgrading your existing PC or building one from scratch, the motherboard you choose is of pivotal importance.
The only problem with email is that it is difficult to sort through them or track down any important attachments.
Creo believes it has the solution in Six Degrees which can track down attachments and emails quickly by building relationships.
Powered by a 1.6GHz mobile Pentium processor, featuring dual-band 802.11a/g wireless capability and sporting a 15.4in wide-screen display, the Dell D800 represents the best of the Latitude series of notebooks. At around 3.3kg, it is not light, nor is it thin – but is complemented by an exceptional finish and a solid set of technology.
Data recovery is a mystical and varied art that shares much with archaeology. Depending on where you dig for data you may or may not find what you are looking for, and the longer you leave going after your lost data the greater the chance it will be worn away by age and reduced to fragments of its former self.
At the very reasonable price of $157, ECS's L4IPEA2 is a great little board.
The 4PCA3+ packs a whopping six IDE slots and two SATA ports, perfect for a jumbo-sized array. A PCB-mounted LED displays error codes, great for quick boot troubleshooting, and the inclusion of Gigabit Ethernet and ECC DIMM support would make this the board of choice for a single processor server, while USB, dual-channel DDR and S/PDIF ports would set you up nicely for a home machine setup.
Scoring strongly for features across all the boards, the EPoX 4PDA2+ is formidable with, four IDE and SATA ports, IDE and SATA RAID, and excellent I/O connectivity
Davey Winder explores the moves that brought artificial intelligence out of the labs and into the black and white world of popular science.
For it's price, the 7NNXP has the usual set of features, and offers IDE RAID but no SATA RAID.
Compared with some other VIA KT400A boards, the Gigabyte 7VAXP Ultra is a little pricey; however it’s also the most feature-packed.
How could a motherboard possibly cost over $1,000? The short answer is: if it has everything built in. The 8KNXP is geared towards the server market, and is the only board in this Labs with an Ultra360 SCSI controller.
You might be wondering why the Gigabyte 8PENXP costs $582.
The Gigabyte SINXP1394 is a little pricey, but supports SATA, IDE RAID and Hyper-Threading, as well as FireWire
The HardKey/EG Pro is a combination of USB dongle and software together encrypting files or systems keeping your data safe from prying eyes.
The Hi-Grade Xperian can simply be described as a bundle of essential technology ingeniously put together in one desirable package.
The tiny Hewlett Packard PhotoSmart 1200 is a sleek, portable, flatbed scanner tailor-made for scanning small items with minimal hassle.
Weighing in at a tiny 680g with a scan bed of only 10 x 15cm it's perfect for scanning photos. Features include 1,200 x 1,200dpi optical resolution, a USB 2.0 port, CompactFlash card and shared MMC/SD slots. Power is by the USB 2.0 port, or by four AA batteries when unplugged
The 845PE was supposed to be Intel’s mainstream desktop DDR chipset, although the e7205 (the Granite Bay), and now the 865 and 875, have stolen much of its thunder with dual-channel DDR.
Intel's 865G chipset (codenamed Springdale), is almost identical to the 875 (Canterwood), and is designed to support the new Intel Pentium 4 processor with Hyper-Threading as well as the 800MHz frontside bus (FSB). It also includes 8x AGP, USB 2.0 and Serial ATA support.
The Intel 875P chipset (codenamed Canterwood) is very similar to the 865 in features. In fact, the 875P is essentially just the best silicon from the same line as the 865, which allows Intel to include its new Performance Acceleration Technology (PAT).
Recently Intel recognised it needed a stop-gap chipset with dual-DDR before the release of the Springdale and Canterwood (865 and 875 respectively).
Whether you're upgrading your existing PC or building one from scratch, the motherboard you choose is of pivotal importance.
The WinFast K7NCR18G-PROII has a well -rounded set of features, and besides the ABIT NF7-M, it is the only Socket-A board in our round up to offer support for a front side bus speed of 400MHz.
FreeHand has had a long, distinguished career since its launch 15 years ago, but time has caught up with it. While Macromedia concentrated development on its Web-oriented MX applications, FreeHand was put on the back burner and fell seriously behind its main rivals CorelDRAW (see issue 60, p54) and Adobe Illustrator (see issue 51, p88). So, is this latest release evidence of further decline, or has FreeHand finally risen to the challenge?
Motherboards. The Labs this month is absolutely filled to the brim with them. Not only do we have our massive motherboard Labs, but with all the testing needed for our upgrade feature, the Labs team have been knee deep in components all month. As such, we’ve hereby dubbed this month 'Australian International Month of the Mobo’ in the Labs. Ahh, it all took me back to my Labs days of fiddling with SIMMs, DIMMs and RIMMs, probing BIOSes and hacking the registry to get stubborn drivers and benchmarks to work…
Based around the SiS655 chipset, the MSI 655 MAX-FISR is a well-rounded Socket 478 motherboard.
The MSI K7N2 is a good nForce2 board overall, scoring well against other nForce2 contenders.
The VIA KT400A chipset forms the foundation of the KT4A Ultra-FISR motherboard. Unlike the two other MSI boards in this roundup, the KT4A only supports SATA, and not IDE, RAID.
When Quicken decided to revamp its range and take on MYOB’s Premier products with its new look QuickBooks Pro, MYOB countered by stepping into Quickens traditional turf at the lower end of the price range.
The nForce2 is the only dual-channel memory controller available in the AMD pantheon.
There are two Northbridges to choose from: one with the Integrated GeForce4 MX-class graphics (nForce2 GT) and one without (nForce2 ST). Both offer support for AGP 8x and up to DDR400 memory, although we recommend you use DDR266 or DDR333 memory in synchronous mode (DDR266 for chips with a 266MHz FSB, DDR333 for those with a 333MHz FSB) for best performance.
An often irreverent look at some of the past week's other news.
The Labs team delves into the guts of this month’s motherboards, and points out what you need to know to chose the right one for your needs.
The D400S packs the usual gear, and offers well-thought out front-mounted FireWire along with 802.11b on/off controls for the optional WLAN device. We were surprised the right-hand side of the chassis contained absolutely no connectivity options – a shame given the inclusion of only a single PCMCIA port. Three USB ports are present – two rear-mounted and one on the left-hand side.
When we opened the box for the Dream PC from Pioneer, we though there must have been some kind of mistake. Coming in a form factor reminiscent of external hard disk units, the Dream PC packs an entire P4 system in a surprisingly small space, and at 3kg, it weighs less than some notebooks.
Before you complain about how little expansion this board allows – note that it' Micro ATX. In fact, the P4I865GMA packs a punch. Offering DDR400 support, AGP 8x, SATA, Gigabit LAN, onboard audio, and top I/O options, this little board also sports onboard Intel graphics.
QDI offers another board similar to the P4I865GMA Micro ATX board, except this one is full-size ATX.
It's an accepted fact that most Microsoft Office users only ever use about 20 percent of the suite's capabilities, often because they don't have the time to learn about all of the goodies it contains. Excel, with its complicated interface and feature overload is notorious for baffling even experienced users. However, many of its features are very useful in their own right.
The slump in the accounting software market since the heady days leading up to the introduction of GST has seen the major players completely revamp their products. For example, QuickBooks Pro once sold for less than half its current price and was designed for small business.
Like the AK39N, the AB48N is a slightly smaller ATX board with two DIMMs, and does not come with SATA, although it does incorporate six-channel audio and 10/100 Ethernet.
For an attractively low $119, the Shuttle AB60RS offers all the basics, and also includes SATA, AGP 8x, and support for up to eight USB ports.
A barebones Athlon mobo, the AK39N has enough functionality to set this board apart as an ideal platform for building a home PC or workstation.
Although this board is fairly small on features, such as lacking SATA and FireWire, it does offer a space-saving platform for building a first PC or for upgrading your current system and would make a decent but no frills workhorse.
SiS's 648 is one of the oldest chipsets on test here, and parallels many of the features of the Intel 845. It still has AGP 8x, 533MHz FSB and DDR333 support, though.
SiS wasn't far behind Intel with its own dual-channel chipset – the 655. This goes one step further than the e7205 to offer PC2700 support for a bandwidth of 5.4GB/s, far in excess of the 533MHz FSB Pentium 4's capability, giving extra room for AGP and I/O.
Well and truly gone are the days of boring green and brown PCBs – and welcome to the yellow motherboard, care of Soltek.
This is one of the few nForce boards here to take advantage of the GeForce4 MX graphics chip and supply an AGP 8x slot.
One of the mid-priced Intel 845PE boards, the Soltek SL-85DR3 comes in just shy of $200.
Soltek offers a 865 board for a fair price with the SL086MP-L. It has some good core specifications – it hosts both Pentium 4 and Celeron processors, with support for 800MHz FSB and up to 4GB of DDR400.
Soltek, purveyor of all things shiny and glittery, is one of the first companies to release a motherboard based around Intel’s eagerly anticipated i865 Springdale chipset.
Another inexpensive Soltek board that's not too heavy on the features, this KT400A board sports the bare minimum to scrape by, with six-channel audio, dual-USB 2.0 ports and ATA133 support.
Last year the Pentium 4 was beginning to show its true colours as a top performance desktop CPU, but it was still squarely outmatched in the value stakes by the new Athlon processor. DDR RAM was also becoming the standard, with SDRAM finally going the way of the extinct plankton, graptolites.
This is no ordinary notebook, sporting Intel’s 1.6GHz Centrino processor with a 1MB on-die L2 cache, 400MHz frontside bus and a half gig of DDR. It’s nothing short of impressively fast.
The S2662AN differs from most of the mobos in this Labs in that it is designed as a workstation-class board.
VIA has dominated the AMD arena the last couple of years, and its latest offering is the KT400 chipset, which despite its name, only officially handles DDR333 memory. Many boards however do have limited support for DDR400, as well as AGP 8x.
The Viewsonic airPanel V110 is the first of its kind – a wireless, portable display that unfetters you from your PC and allows you to work around the home and office while your PC sits in another room. It runs Windows CE for Smart Panels which is like a pared-down version of Windows XP, and mimics your system desktop allowing you to access files and programs without needing to be next to your PC.