Saturday, December 31, 2005

DIY: OC* Front Panel Connectors

I decided to make a short DIY about making a quick and dirty "front panel" connector buttons and LEDs. If you are clueless about what it is, or just have the time to read thru the fanboyism, then click away to read it...

All materials ©2005 by DM, reproduction by permission only
Target Audience: N/E/O/B (N=Newbie, E=Hardware Enthusiast, O=Overclocker, B=Budget)

A tweaker in the hay...

If you are an uber fan boy tweaker, chances are, you don't have your motherboard, cpu, ram, power supply, hard disk, optical drive, and whatnots inside a chassis. Yeah, that's right, you'll be oftentimes needing to tweak your hardware and removing and installing your components inside the chassis will become troublesome for you to do in a seemingly endless manner.

Or maybe, you're just like me, a laptop user, who have my desktop parts like processor, motherboard, and memory always stashed inside the box and never used them, only until a customer would like to see a demo, or I feel like tweaking, or I just get bored and decided to play a bit.

Or maybe you're just very patient to install/remove your motherboard, and you oftentimes ended up having your system out of the chassis for some tweak loving spree.

Screw the driver...errr

In any case, chances are, you're using a screw driver or a similar tool, to jumper the "switch" to power on the system. But doing this becomes troublesome when you are tweaking for hours and hours on end. It can be a pain, or just plain hindrance or just slows you down. So instead of using a screw driver, (or similar tool) why not just make quick switches to ease up and simplify the process.

The secret ingredients!

The materials are very easy to find, you can see and buy most of them at your nearest electrical parts supplier. You'll need some cables with jumper headers, and a button-type switch. Now, I don't really exactly know what these switches are, but just your normal push-button switches.

::Switches and Push Buttons and LEDs::

As you can see from the above image, I have tons of cables ready for my modding loving spree. Btw, you will need a soldering gun and lead as well, if that's not yet obvious to you.

The steps to enligthenment...

This is elementary already, but for those who are actually still clueless, this will be a very short guide to how you actually make a button.

  1. First, you cut the cable with header like so...

  2. Then you solder the cable to the push button. If you would like, you can use heatshrink tubes, so be sure to put it these tubes before you actually solder the connectors. In my case, I never used one.

  3. And you're done. The only step needed to do is to install it on your motherboard front panel header.

How about the LEDs...

But of course, this is easily accomplished by doing the same step. Only that, you use LED instead of push button jumpers. I will not repeat the steps since it's the same old banana. I'll just post up some pics to give you a clue if you're still that clueless.

::Image Gallery::

Some more twists...

I can't stress it enough, how important and at the same time, easy it is to make this simple buttons and switch. This is a very simple mod to do, and can lasts you a long time instead of looking for your tool to jump-start the PC. You can use the LEDs to quickly give you clues as to where the motherboard is at now, specially the HDD activity LED and Power ON LED.

I made several twists for this as well, which I actually sold to my bratty clients. It's a simple one as well: just make a break out box: a simple PCB to mount the buttons and LEDs, and solder them, then set it up inside a box. Then ensure your motherboard headers are long enough, and make a provision at your box where your cabels are going out. Instead of loose parts of LEDs and buttons, you now have a single box with motherboard header protruding out of it. I even made a custom made sticker so my bratty clients will not try to open it =)...not that it contains any special chip or programmable device, but hey, if you're a clueless noobie, you will never know what's inside the box and I can sell it for a good cash too! Another one is mounted on a PCI bracket, but it actually only has the CMOS reset jumper, so I don't have to open up the chassis everytime I messed up the CMOS.

Till then, have fun doing the simple mod and happy new year!!!
All materials ©2005 by DM, reproduction by permission only

OC* = "Outside Chassis"

Friday, December 30, 2005

Press Release: OCZ Technology Announces the Gamer eXtreme XTC DDR2 Series

Wow, my favorite RAM manufacturer has just released a new generation of memory for gamers! I'd be getting a pair or two for some bratty-client show-off. I'll be holding off for a while before getting these sticks to ensure that I get good yields (hopefully). Read the press release below:

Sunnyvale, CA—December 27, 2005—OCZ Technology Group, a worldwide leader in innovative, ultra-high performance and high reliability memory, today announced the release of the first DDR2 modules designed to make use of the recently introduced OCZ XTC heatspreader design. The Gold series modules will come in PC2-4200 and PC2-5400 configurations ranging from 512MB modules to 2GB dual channel optimized kits.

The Gamer eXtreme XTC DDR2 series features the innovative XTC (Xtreme Thermal Convection) Heatspreaders. The unique design used in the XTC heatspreaders optimizes the thermal management of memory modules by promoting greater airflow by means of micro-convection throughout what is usually the dead air space inside conventional heatspreader designs. In this manner, build-up of heat is avoided and thermal dissipation of the memory components is offloaded more efficiently through the honeycomb design. At the same time, mechanical stability is maintained.

Both PC2-4200 and PC2-5400 GX XTC modules offer superior stability and performance for the modern Intel gaming platform. Operating at 4-4-4 and 5-5-5 timings, these DDR2-533 and DDR2-667 solutions offer lower latencies than standard DDR2 modules. DDR2 XTC will be offered in 2GB dual channel kits for the ultimate memory upgrade for the latest graphic-intensive PC games, such as Battlefield 2, Half Life 2, Doom 3, and Quake 4, which deliver the best end-user experience with 2GB+ of memory.

“Based on the overwhelmingly positive results and feedback on the XTC heatspreaders, we believe that we need to make XTC available for a wider spectrum of modules than originally planned,” commented Dr. Michael Schuette, VP of Technology Development at OCZ Technology. "By employing XTC heatspreaders on our premium Gold DDR2 GX memory we are able to offer high-end gamers and enthusiasts a superior solution that addresses the unique requirements of the latest 3D intensive titles.”

All OCZ PC2-4200 and PC2-5400 Gold GX XTC Edition modules are 100% hand-tested for quality assurance and compatibility and feature high quality, gold-mirrored XTC heatspreaders for the most effective heat dissipation. Furthermore, each OCZ Gold series module is backed by the industry leading OCZ Lifetime Warranty and technical support for unparalleled peace of mind. The combination of the award winning XTC series and cutting-edge OCZ DDR2 architecture is the ultimate formula for incredible performance from Intel systems.

For more information on the OCZ PC2-4200 Gold GX XTC Edition, please visit our product page here.

For more information on the OCZ PC2-5400 Gold GX XTC Edition, please visit our product page here.

About OCZ Technology Group, Inc.

OCZ Technology Group, a member of JEDEC, designs, develops and manufactures innovative, high-performance memory and accessories that set industry standards. OCZ memory is the first choice for users needing high-reliability, ultra-high performance memory solutions. All of OCZ Technology Group's products are available through its worldwide network of distributors, online resellers and retail stores. For more information visit our website at

Source: OCZ

::Image Gallery::
Cool Pair
Close Up

Tech Link (Gaming): Dead or Alive 4 ships Dec. 29

Ok, for fans of this game, you can finally get your hands on it. I am not really playing this game, but a lot of my friends are and they just sent me this link.

Tecmo confirms that its Xbox 360 fighting game will be in major retailers nationwide just in time for New Year's.

Tecmo always said that Dead or Alive 4 would be in stores during the 2005 holiday season, and now it's official: The company today announced that the game will ship to major retailers nationwide on Thursday, December 29. During the past month or so, the game's presumptive release date kept getting pushed back by about a week at a time by online retailers, causing many to wonder whether the game would indeed ship in 2005, especially since Tecmo remained mum about a specific release date all the while. But now fighting fans can look forward to an action-packed weekend courtesy of the latest game from Ninja Gaiden developer Team Ninja.

Look for a full review of Dead or Alive 4 on GameSpot later this week, followed by an HD video review early next week. For now, read our final hands-on impressions based on having spent plenty of quality time with a retail-ready version of the game.

Source: GameSpot

Tech Link (Industry): The Industry Now Knows Intel®'s New TagLine

Well, the industry knows "part" of what is to unfold early next year. Anand just posted a news article about the new tagline and Intel's new approach in marketing next year.

In this article, Anand made several links about the "Leap Ahead" tag line. However, if you're a TPC member, you'll probably seen it earlier than Anand =).

In some of the items posted, like this microphone, there's already a hint of what's to come. In the news posted at Anand, they also mentioned about the Viiv (pronounced like "five"), and how Intel® is moving away from "just" being a "processor" company. It shouldn't come as no surprise though, since Intel® imo, isn't just a "parts" builder but a whole system builder. They are already manufacturing the processor, chipsets for both low and high end, motherboards for desktop and servers, graphics cards, and even flash products used for commercial electronics.

"Centrino" will now be followed by many "similar" product offerings, building on the success of branding, marketing, and technological innovation in making a stable and easy computing. Truly, an interesting new year is ahead of us...

Misc: Snooze, You Win

Read on and ensure you give your boss a link to this article. While I do prefer "sleep" over "naps" for actual "resting", no one can dispute the fact that taking a "nap" can be useful from time to time.

This article from Men's Journal discuss about "power nap". They took the billionaire adventurer Steve Fosset as an example, who amazingly, slept just around 60mins during his 67hours of flight! Below is an excerpt of the article, but I highly encourage you to read the whole of it as it also gave tips on how you can attain such power naps.

When billionaire adventurer Steve Fossett broke the record for around-the-world solo jet flight last March, he slept just 60 minutes in 67 hours of flight time -- 60 minutes broken into two- and three-minute naps. "I slept when I needed it and awoke refreshed," he says. Fossett, who holds world records in ballooning, sailing, and flying, adds that none of his feats could have been done without these micro-variety "power naps."

So what makes a power nap effective? Think of it as an investment with the greatest return in the least amount of time, a kind of super-efficient sleep that fits nicely in a high-pressure schedule: say, between business meetings or in the minutes before a game.

Read more about it here!

Tech Link (Industry): Inside Out: Intel may get a new tag line someone beats me to it (I mean, posting the news), I am planning to give out some clue, but I can't figure out how to deliver it. This is why I have the "spoiler" thingie below, and then I thought, hey why not just wait for the actual release date first week of January instead of spoiling everything (oops, did I say that out loud?)...

Anyway, The Economic Times has just posted some of the things we, fanboys, should be looking out for. I find it interesting as well that the author have seen the new logos posted on the x86-secret site, so he's pretty much an enthusiasts (or just resourceful) imo.

Anyway, not to be outdone, all I can share is that the "announcements" that will come this January 2006 will be a lot, and I mean, a lot. There will be changes, but as far as I can recall, there will be product launches, marketing campaign, a tag line, new branding scheme, and of course, new logos!

PS: If you will be hunting for the new logo at X86, you're too late, it's been taken down already. But you can still see themm at *cough* xbitlabs *cough* thg *cough*

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Press Release: Thermalright HR-01 Passive Cooling

Oh, my brat clients would probably be drooling about this cooler once I get my early samples next year. I'll be stocking a few, and keep one myself, well, that is if reviews proved it to be better than my XP-90 which has stood me the test of time due to easy installation, good performance, and light-weight design. Screw those after-market coolers that require you to remove the motherboard.

People who live in densely populated areas, such as Manhattan or Hong Kong deal with the need to expand without the land to do it, but expand they do. How do they do it? Hint: Think upwards. Yes, those high rise buildings! If you can't expand horizontally, you go vertically!! That means up, up, up!

With that in mind, we applied the same principle to our newest product. It is designed to work on any AMD S754/939/940, Intel Socket 478, and Intel LGA775 systems.

Introducing the new HR-01

The HR-01 follows our classic tradition of Light N Easy. It's light in that it's only 520g without a fan. It's easy in that you don't need to take out your motherboard to install, or uninstall any part of your computer setup. But that is not the best part! For those of you who cannot stand the noise produced by howling cooling fans, you will definitely love this. It works as a passive cooling system. That means no fan! And no fan equals any noise produced by your CPU cooler.

What about performance?

Due to the greater surface area and to the newly developed, proprietary ventilation design, the HR-01 is able to absorb more heat and dissipates it more efficiently, with good case cooling and case housekeeping than most of other high-end passive coolers in the market.

For those of you who like living on the edge, in particular, all you overclockers (you know who you are), you'll be glad to know that our HR-01 will take any abuse you can dish out. So turn up the juice! Another ultimate cooling solution, the HR-01 from Thermalright will once again save the day.
Now the question we're asking you is,”Going…up?”

December 14, 2005

Source: Thermalright

Tech Link(Mobile): Intel® Centrino 3 Articles

If you're a laptop boy that I am, then you'll want to spend some time reading about NH's short article about this powerful baby.

Intel® Centrino is on the verge of entering generation 3. The first, which took the market by storm, was based on the extremely popular Dothan core and the i855GM/PM chipsets. Generation two took over with PCI-Express, DDR2, faster bus and an updated core, but now it is time for generation 3 and this time we get access to dual cores with the new Yonah circuit. As we have earlier reported Intel has chosen to use a, the least to say, confusing PR-rating: The first letter marks the power consumption of the processor: T stands for 25-49W, L 15-24W and U <14W. The following four digits indicate in order: number of cores (1 or 2), the computing power (the higher the better) and the last two is a bit uncertain but are at the moment just two zeros. They may very well have an important task to fill later on, with updates and such.

Full Article: NordicHardware

Matbe also have good article, and already "babeled" here

Tech Link (Motherboard): t-break's Asus P5N32-SLI vs Gigabyte G1-975X

t-break has pit together two titans in a no-holds barred slew of benchies. Who will emerge victorious? Read on to find out more or click here to go directly to the web site.
Today we take a look at two motherboards for the Pentium platform that are being targeted as gaming boards. Yes, we know that sounds a bit of an oxymoron considering that AMD CPUs hold the performance crown in games at the moment, however, that doesn’t stop two of the biggest motherboard manufacturers from releasing and packaging them as gaming boards. With us today, we have the Gigabyte G1-975X based on the Intel 975X chipset and the ASUS P4N32-SLI Deluxe based on the nVidia nForce X16 chipset.

Full Review:t-break

Here are images, and links of two motherboards


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tech Link (Processor): Intel® Pentium® Processor Extreme Edition 955 Reviews

Enjoy my uber fanboyism!!! Do note that when looking at the reviews, the "other camp" compared to this CPU is along the lines of 4xxx+ even X2 4xxx+. With Intel®, it's the Ghz, on the other camp, it's the PR. So if you're a fanboy (or just plain expert) of the other camp, the clock for clock comparison has been beaten to a pulp countless times, and only uber noobie fanboy compared clock for clock when it comes to Intel and the other camp: it's PR vs Ghz (i.e. back in AXP days, it's AXP 3200+ vs Pentium 4 3.2Ghz). If you don't know what I'm talking about, you're not fanboy enough. In any case, this article from Overclocker.Com might shake your jarred memory a bit (that goes for both you and me). And I will just quote it:

"For some reason, there's been some great desire to compare dual-core processors lately. There's a fairly poor one (spare me the Dick Clark pretending to be a teenager routine) here comparing Intel's and AMD's duallies, and a better one comparing a new Intel Yonah to the x2s.

In both cases, the real issue is somewhat to completely ignored.

In general, as a rule of thumb, an Intel Pentium IV design needs to have a MHz rating 50-60% greater than that of a Hammer design for roughly the same performance. In the case of duallies, it looks to be about 55%.

So a 2GHz Hammer works out to roughly a 3.1GHz PIV, and a 2.4GHz Hammer works out to about a 3.7GHz PIV.

In the CNet review, the AMD flagship 2.4GHz 4800+ was going against a 3.2GHz Extreme Edition (a PIV with more cache). That's a mismatch, and it should have come to no one's surprise that the AMD chip consistently won."

Anyway, feast yourselves on this news around the web, expand the article for the list:
It's evident that multi-core CPU architecture is the way to go for both Intel and AMD. When evaluated with software that's multi-threaded, dual-core CPUs simply fly, Intel introduced its Pentium dual-core range in May of this year and it's taken seven months for a faster processor to topple the Extreme Edition 840 off its perch. The Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 955, then, adds in a faster core speed allied to a faster FSB. Other improvements come in the form of a smaller manufacturing process and more L2 cache than has been seen on any consumer-level CPU to date; 4 MB, split over into 2MB over each core. Think of it as a pumped-up E.E. '840 and you won't be far off the mark.

Pentium Extreme Edition 955 (Presler) processor we have reviewed today left a very favorable impression. Especially against the background of its less successful predecessor – Pentium Extreme Edition 840 based on the 90nm Smithfield core.

The Pentium Extreme Edition 955 processor performed well overall throughout our entire battery of benchmarks. Due to the processor's relatively high-clock speed, dual execution cores, HT technology and 1066MHz bus, the synthetic benchmarks, 3D rendering tests, and audio encoding tests ran best on the Pentium Extreme Edition 955 / D975XBX platform.

To start things off I left everything alone and overclocking the processor by doing nothing, but increasing the front side bus (FSB) via the 0-30% overclock feature that is found in the Intel D975XBX motherboard BIOS settings. After start at 5% I was able to go all the way to 20% before the system became unstable. Using the stock heat sink, no extra voltage, and changing just one setting in the BIOS our processor got a solid 700MHz overclock. The FSB easily went from 266MHz all the way up to 320MHz with no extra voltage to the MCH, FSB, or processor. I was amazed by these results and wanted to know what it could do with a bit of tinkering on the voltages, multiplier, and with the help of water cooling.

The Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 955 processor brings a new level of performance to Intel's desktop products and ups the ante on performance in heavily multi-tasked environments. The technology is mostly a repeat of what we have seen in Intel's Pentium line up before, but with a 1066 MHz FSB, 4 MB of L2 cache and 65nm technology, the Pentium 955 may really add to something greater than the sum of its parts.

The latest Extreme Edition processor underscores the premise that manufacturing technology is what matters most in the processor business. 65 nm enables Intel to make up for the flaws in its current 90 nm portfolio and to deliver competitive products over the coming months.

+ Very good multitasking performance
+ More performance per clock cycle compared to the 800 series
+ Overclocking potential

- Power consumption
- Most likely very expensive

We would like to thank Intel who sent the processor and mainboard for evaluation and Corsair for the memory for the test system

Another clandestine release of another Intel flagship CPU during the last hours of the old year is unsettling the desktop world. Sporting the world's smallest transistors in an abundance of 376 million units, with 4 MB on-board L2 cache and a clock frequuency of 3.46 GHz, the new ExtremeEdition based on the Presler core is creating a bunch of new superlatives. Finally, there is an Intel processor again that can beat the AMD competition in gaming applications - and in 3dsmax - and last not least in Abbyy FineReader. But we are not really concerned about the latter too much.

Multi-Threaded games are starting to appear and it is a topic that needs to be explored in the future. At the last Intel Developer Forum, Wil noted that both F.E.A.R. and City of Villains were optimised for dual core processors. These have been joined by the recent release of dual core optimised patches for both Quake 4 and Call of Duty 2. We'll have to have a closer look at these games and also have a look at the dual core optimised graphics drivers from both ATI and NVIDIA in the new year. It's clear that games are heading in the dual-core direction - especially with the Xbox 360 and PS3 utilising multiple threads. Buying a dual-core processor is something of a no-brainer these days if you're looking to future proof your rig, and the 955 is clearly threaded to the max.

The Intel 975X should be a solid performer, and the new features should be enough that we can expect some really nice boards based on the chipset to make itself present this coming year.

That’s not to say the release isn’t exciting. Faster frequencies, two large 2MB caches, the return of a 1,066 MHz front side bus, and Intel Virtualization Technology are but a few of the reasons affluent gamers will want to at least give this setup a look. The performance gains are very real, as they should be given this chip’s price. And if you’re solely comparing the Pentium Extreme Edition 840, Presler is unquestionably the better core.

Umm....I think that's, where did I place mine?

Article: Yonah + i975X + XFire + (SLI?)

Oh my, what else can you ask for? Truly, a dream come true for enthusiasts, overclockers, and even for users who just likes a silent but powerful rig. This is a must see. Expand this item to see the whole image, in the meantime, here's a crop version.

And here's the whole picture for you to drool over!
Be ready for the i975 Drool Picture

There's not much info as of the moment, the manufacturer is AOpen. I'll post more info as I get them...

Update: 12/29/2005
This link just came in, an easy overclock of 800Mhz FSB from 667Mhz FSB!

Update: 12/30/2005
Found a better motherboard imagere here. Shweeet!

Article: Sleep Mode 101

If you're clueless about the various Sleep Mode (specially you mobile users), then this should be a good newbie guide....

All materials ©2005 by DM, reproduction by permission only
Target Audience: N/E (N=Newbie, E=Hardware Enthusiast, O=Overclocker, B=Budget)

I. "Preparing the bed, pillows, and bedsheet" (Introduction)

If you are wondering about the confusing sleep states, and what it really is, then this short guide is for you. The aim is to provide a basic understanding of the various sleep states, and how they vary from one another.

For example, how do S1 differs from S2? What is S3, and is there even an S0 and S5? So, with this knowledge, or lack thereof, the article will try to give a direct and clear definition of the various sleep states.

"Sleep state" is just one section of bigger much broader industry standard, ACPI. ACPI, or Advanced Configuration and Power Interface, is a specification to establish a "common interface enabling robust operating system (OS)-directed motherboard device configuration and power management of both devices and entire systems". Heavy huh? So as you can see, it's really broad, and Sleep State is just a section of that standard.

II. "Are you still awake?" (Sleeping States)

So without much fuzz, let's list down the various sleep states and how do they differ with one another. Let's list down the various sleep states as defined by ACPI standards:

The Five(5) Sleep States, as defined by ACPI Standards

  1. S1 Sleeping State - The S1 sleeping state is a low wake latency sleeping state. In this state, no context is lost(CPU or chipset) and hardware maintains all context.

  2. S2 Sleeping State - The S2 sleeping state is a low wake latency sleeping state. This state is similar to S1 sleeping state except that the CPU and system cache context is lost (the OS is responsible for maintaining the caches and CPU context). Control starts from the processsor's reset vector after the wake event.

  3. S3 Sleeping State - The S3 sleeping state is a low wake latency sleeping state where all system context is lost except system memory. CPU, cache, and chipset context are lost in this state. Hardware maintains memory context and restores some CPU and L2 configuration context. Control starts from the processor's reset vector after the wake event.

  4. S4 Sleeping State - The S4 sleeping state is the lowest power, longest wake latency sleeping state supported by ACPI. In order to reduce power to a minimum, it is assumed that the hardware platform has powered off all devices. Platform context is maintained.

  5. S5 Soft Off State - The S5 state is similar to S4 state except that the OS does not save any context. The system is in the "soft" off state and requires a complete boot when it wakes. Software uses a different state value to distinguish between the S5 and the S4 state to allow for initial boot operations within the BIOS to distinguish whether or not the boot is going to wake from a saved memory image.

I don't know about you, but I find the definition too geeky for me, aka, I can't dig it. Hardware vendors have an equivalent definition for these sleep states. Let's try what and how the various vendors (manufacturers) define the different sleep states.

The Six(6) Sleep States, as used by vendors

  1. S0 - No Power Management

  2. S1 - Commonly known as Sleep or Standby

  3. S2 - Commonly known as Sleep or Standby

  4. S3 - Commonly known as Sleep, Standby, Suspend, or "Instant-On"

  5. S4 - Commonly known as Hibernation

  6. S5 - Commonly known as "Off"
As you can see from the above list, the definitions from which the various sleep states are known, aren't very descriptive as well. It's not as geeky sounding as the one used on the ACPI standard, but it's still not very clear. With a little digging, we'll add some "geek" points in your portfolio by putting the various sleep states into a more "normal" person's definition.

In a nutshell, S1 thru S4 deals with the varying degree of power saving modes. How much? Well, let's look at the definitions, as simple as I can lay it down without getting too technical.

The Special Sleep State, Sleeping Wide Awake

  • S0 - this state means that there is no power saving whatsoever, system runs at full power without regard to power consumption.

I'm no expert, but I just find this an irony. The S0 sleep state is not sleeping at all!
Next, is the official sleep state listed on the ACPI, in a much simpler definition.

Sleep State, or maybe just a nap?

  1. S1 - this state can easily be worken by moving a mouse or pressing a key. In this stated, monitor and hard drive power can be turned off, and leaving everything "on". This puts your monitor and hardrive to "sleep".

  2. S2 - it is S1, plus shutting down the CPU and its cache. So in additon to monitor and hard drive, the CPU will also be "sleeping" and everything else is "awake".

  3. S3 - it is a step further in power reduction, and turns off everything except those that is needed to keep the contents of the RAM active.

I will just want to emphasize that all these three sleep states requires electricity to enable the PC to detect the "wake up" event. In the event of power failure, everything in the memory, and cpu will be lost.

Sleep State, ZZzzz....

  1. S4 - is defined as "hibernation". This state preserved everything that is on the memory to a non-volatile storage, and writing it into a "special hibernation file". All necessary settings needed to restore the system where it left off are written and preserved until power is fully restored. Mouse click and keystrokes will not wake up the system. A power switch on is required to "wake" the system.

  2. S5 - Well, this machine uses no power (well, technically, it still uses power). The main difference with S4 and S5 is that S4 doesn't have to do a complete reboot, with any applications running on the background be fully restored. S5, on the other hand, requires initialization of applications. S4 can "boot" faster since it will just restore what was saved in the memory, while S5 have to process everything from scratch

The last two sleep state doesn't require any power at all, well, not that you're interested with S5 keeping your information.

III. "Laying down to rest" (Last Words)

As I've mentioned earlier, Sleep States is just a section of a much bigger ACPI standard and I barely scratch the surface with the various definition of sleep states. If you have a fancy for more information, you can dig more details by visiting the ACPI official website. You can see why S5 is defined as "Soft Off" and what state a system is in if it has completly no "power" at all. But as much as I would like to cover that, the standard is too broad and goes beyond the scope of this short article. So till then, I'll be transitioning from G0 to G1 state in a while (oops, I haven't defined it yet, but hey, you can proceed from here on =))!

©2005-Infinity by dm for TPC. Reproduction by Permission

Review: DFI 852GME-MGF+, Intel Pentium M 730 (1.6Ghz)

This is an old article I made and posted at TPC, so some benchmark claims might not be true anymore. Nevertheless, if you're curious as to how this Pentium M and i852 chipset can perform, then read on...

Credits (parts provided by):
Motherboard and CPU: COOLTOYZ
AGP Videocard: jampax

I. Introduction

First and foremost, I'd like to thank COOLTOYZ for providing me with his expensive "toyz" to play with: DFI motherboard and Dothan CPU, and jampax for lending me his great eVGA FX5950Ultra 256MB videocard. Recently, reviews of Intel's Pentium M with Dothan core on the desktop have stirred up the interest of many enthusiasts. Where it used to be the major strength of laptop, the small, silent, low-heat, low-power but solid computing is now a reality on "regular" desktop platform. Among the motherboard manufacturers that took advantage of Intel's Pentium M acceptance at the desktop is DFI. Currently, DFI have two motherboard flavors, with their 855GME-MGF being released first and garner many recognitions, and their second one which we have in our test bed is the DFI 852GME-MGF.
Note: You can click all pictures of the motherboard
and CPU for larger image.

Motherboard Specifications

This motherboard's main marketing point against its older brother 855GME is the official support for 133Mhz FSB with it i852 MCH. Though the i852GME chipset is primarily targeted for Mobile Pentium 4, DFI's engineering prowess have led them to enable the chipset for use with Intel's Pentium M 7xx line of processors, enabling the full 133Mhz FSB. The motherboard also sports impressive features which are often offered on high end motherboards with its 6300ESB IOCH,  a rather powerful chipset for such a small package. The 6300ESB might not offer feature-rich connectors, but this Southbridge makes up for its PCI-X support, USB 2.0, SATA RAID and IDE channels. This baby comes with VIA's Firewire, Realtek 6channel audio with S/PDIF and 1Gbps NIC. And oh, the Northbridge supports up to DDR333 with ECC support. Now, this is one motherboard suitable for some heavy duty super mini file server system.


  • Intel® Pentium® M / Celeron® M processor - 400/533MHz system bus - Supports 64-bit host data bus and 32-bit addressing
  • Processor socket: mPGA479M


  • Intel® 852GME chipset - Intel® 852GME Graphics Memory Controller Hub (GMCH) - Intel® 6300ESB I/O Controller Hub


  • Two 184-pin DDR SDRAM DIMM sockets

  • 2.5V unbuffered PC1600 (DDR200), PC2100 (DDR266) or PC2700 (DDR333) DDR
    SDRAM DIMM with ECC support


  • Award BIOS
  • 4Mbit flash memory

Power Management

  • Supports ACPI specification and OS Directed Power Management
  • Supports ACPI STR (Suspend to RAM) function
  • Wake-On-Events include: - Wake-On-PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse - Wake-On-USB Keyboard
    - Wake-On-LAN - Wake-On-Ring - RTC timer to power-on the system
  • AC power failure recovery

Hardware Monitor

  • Monitors CPU/system temperature and overheat alarm
  • Monitors 5VSB(V)/VBAT(V)/1.5V/3.3V/5V/12V/CPU(V) voltages and failure alarm
  • Monitors CPU/chassis/2nd fan speed and failure alarm
  • Read back capability that displays temperature, voltage and fan speed


  • Up to 64MB of dynamic video memory allocation
  • Display core frequency at 250MHz (default)
  • Render core frequency at 250MHz (default)
  • Intel® Dual-Frequency Graphics Technology
  • Supports 2D graphics engine
  • Supports 3D graphics engine
  • Supports Graphics Power Management


  • Realtek ALC655 6-channel audio
  • S/PDIF-out interface


  • RTL8110S Gigabit ethernet controller
  • Supports 10Mbps, 100Mbps and 1Gbps data transmission


  • Supports up to UltraDMA 100Mbps hard drives

Serial ATA with RAID

  • Supports two SATA (Serial ATA) interfaces which are compliant with SATA 1.0 specification (1.5Gbps interface)
  • Supports RAID 0 and RAID 1

IEEE 1394

  • VIA VT6307
  • Supports two 100/200/400 Mb/sec ports


  • Supports 1.5V AGP 4x data transfers and 2x/4x fast write protocol (3.3V AGP card is not supported)
  • AGP 2.0 compliant

Rear Panel I/O Ports

  • 1 mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse port
  • 1 mini-DIN-6 PS/2 keyboard port
  • 1 DB-25 parallel port
  • 1 DB-9 serial port
  • 1 DB-15 VGA port
  • 1 IEEE 1394 port

  • 1 RJ45 LAN port
  • 4 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • Mic-in, line-in and line-out

I/O Connectors

  • 1 connector for an external serial port
  • 1 connector for 1 external IEEE 1394 port
  • 1 front audio connector for line-out and mic-in jacks
  • 1 CD-in internal audio connector
  • 1 S/PDIF-out connector
  • 1 connector for IrDA interface
  • 2 Serial ATA connectors
  • 2 40-pin IDE connectors
  • 1 floppy connector
  • 1 ATX power supply connector
  • 1 front panel connector
  • 3 fan connectors


  • PCI 2.2, Intel AGP 2.0, PCI-X 2.2 and AC ’97 compliant
    Expansion Slots

  • 1 AGP 4x slot
  • 1 PCI-X slot
  • 2 PCI slots


  • 4 layers, microATX form factor
  • 24.4cm (9.61") x 23cm (9.06")


The DFI 852GME-MGF comes in a rather familiar way of packaging. With the box
adorned with 0's and 1's in limy green color, it is reminiscent of Matrix. The
packaging easily shows the features of the motherboard without having to flip it
backwards. You'll never miss the features of its touted strength of 533Mhz FSB (133Mhz QPB), as well as supported RAM, USB, AGP, Firewire, SATA, 6channel audio and PCI-X which are printed on the front left side of the box.

Opening the box reveals a bland set of goodies. It is rather surprising to see such limited loot inside the packaging when thinking of the price, and then comparing it with their LanParty series on the desktop scene. This motherboard contains only the bare necessities, which is really rather disappointing when you realize how much this motherboard costs. Below, you can see that DFI bundle this motherboard with the backplate, floppy and IDE cables, a SATA connector/adapter, the obligatory CD, floppy disk driver, manual, and (thank goodness) a customized CPU heatsink and fan for the processor since regular cooler won't fit on this board.

Regarding the bundled cooler, I found out that it is missing a screw. The three(3) screws are securely fastened to the backing plate and I believe it's a factory miss since it's a bit tough to wedge out the screw from the heatsink, it isn't loose, and the heatsink is inside its own carton box. Oh well, I guess we'll just have to find out if it has any impact on cooling our little Dothan =).


At such a small form factor, let's visit how DFI cram the features and components of this mainboard. This motherboard, aesthetically speaking, is simply attractive. The black color commands superiority and stability to the users. It would be great to display this on a window-based mini ATX chassis with some lighting effects.


The CPU socket is in the familiar beige color, and looks very familiar like a socket 478 ZIF model. However, this CPU socket uses socket 479, a screw-type-slide to lock-in the processor. There are four mounting holes around this socket which is where you can mount an exact fit stock HSF for the processor. There are some tall capacitors which may provide some concern to those who would like to use other than the stock cooler. The fan connector is the traditional three-pin one, located very near the CPU socket. Keep this in mind when looking for non-standard CPU cooler.

As you can see here, this is where the WinBond hardware monitor is located. It is interesting to note that where this area of the motherboard shows the common 4pin Pentium 4 connector, this connector is not present in this motherboard. The low-power nature of the Pentium M just don't need that much power.

This motherboard is equipped with single channel MCH, and supports upto 2Gb maximum RAM. The two RAM slots just below the CPU is very easy to "use", not very stiff and yet, not too loose for comfort. Along the sides of the RAM slots are the IDE and FDD headers. Far to the bottom corner portion is another fan header. User of "older" generation 20pin PSU will not be dissatisfied with motherboard as this one still uses the 20pin standard. This ATX connector is conveniently located at the edge of the motherboard, and not in the middle as can be seen being done by other manufacturers on some desktop machines. There is also a red LED in here that lights up when the PC is powered on.

The Northbridge is passively cooled by an aluminum heatsink. This heatsink is clamped by the usual two wire clips, much to the dislike of some users who prefers mounting holes for some kind of customize cooling solution. Nevertheless, this heatsink proves just more than enough as this never gets warmer than 38c at full load.

Moving on to the peripheral card connectors, we can see the AGP 4x slot here, the single PCI-X, and two PCI card slots. Note that using monster AGP cards will occupy the adjacent PCI slot rendering it unusable. This is not a fault though, as the sheer small size of the motherboard is the limiting factor. Another noticeable thing to consider is that any monster sized videocard will provide some challenge when adding or removing RAM. But with such just two RAM slots, just fill both up before adding any video card and problem solved :). This area of the motherboard also shows the CD analog header, the Realtec and VIA chip, and clock generator. Another red LED is installed in here that lights up when the motherboard detects the presence of power even when the PC is still turned off. This is a very nice indicator to notify users assembling their rig to completely remove all power from the motherboard so as to prevent any accidental short circuit.

Next is the Southbridge area. I love the black passive cooler on the Southbridge, it's comfortably taller than some passive coolers I've seen before placed on Southbridge. This is the area where the SATA RAID headers are connected, and that all too important CMOS clear jumper. Notice that this jumper is just besides the Southbridge, I strongly suggest to overclock this motherboard outside of the chassis if you have a microATX chassis. Off to the far lower left is the front panel connector, and another fan header for your convenience.

The rear connectors of this motherboard shows just enough IOs. The VGA port is in here so you can instantly connect your monitor without adding additional video card. You'll also find some of the legacy connectors such as the parallel printer and serial port. There are four(4) USB and one(1) firewire connector available for use. The NIC and audio connectors are also in their familiar location.


I'll not bore you with too many BIOS bla, suffice it to say that the BIOS offers options for Overclockers for tweaking the following:
* RAM Timing (CAS-Active to Precharge-RAS to CAS-RAS Precharge)
* FSB in 1Mhz increment
* RAM dividers (Auto, 1:1 DDR200, 4:3 DDR266, 5:3 DDR333, 1:1 (Low GFX), 4:3 (Low GFX))
* PCI/AGP lock
* Clock Multiplier and Core Voltage (FID/VID) (1.308 max)
DFI's BIOS also offers stability testing options (MEMTest and CPUTest) right from the BIOS without booting off any software or operating system. Pretty nifty and useful for quick test.


Ahh, now we enter the fun part, at least for me :)....but before the figures, let me just layout the test bed.
* Intel Pentium M 730 (1.6Ghz/2M/533Mhz SL86G) with stock cooler
* DFI 852GME-GMF (latest BIOS as of Dec. 2004)
* eVGA GeForce FX5950 Ultra (500/650)
* Geil Ultra Platinum PC4000 2x256Mb CL2-2-2-5@DDR266
* 1x80Gb Seagate Barracuda IDE
* 1xFDD
* 1x Optical Drive Samsung DVD Combo
* Enermax EG465VE ATX v1.3
* Thermaltake LANFire Midtower Chassis

Subsystem Testing


Sandra's score is pretty interesting :), with the old chipset showing its age already by giving out a "normal" bandwidth score for a single-channel DDR266 system.


Unlike Sandra, PCMark, on the other hand, has a pretty good outcome:

SuperPi 1M

SuperPi 1M is also very impressive considering this baby runs at a mere 1.6Ghz, single channel memory, and 533Mhz FSB.

Everest RAM Read/Write

Like the Sandra results, values here are nothing to write home about. This is mainly due to single channel nature of the memory controller and low RAM frequency.


Note: Aquamark03 and 3DMark benches are run on their stock "configuration" and settings.


It is nice to see that this little CPU and motherboard combo can score that high.


3DMark01SE is a good benchmark to test not only the GPU but also the CPU. With a stock GeForce FX5950, this 1.6Ghz Pentium M on a 533Mhz motherboard produce a decent score.


Unlike it's older brother 3DMark01SE, it's performance measurement is moving more on the GPU than CPU. The results is not too high, but not too low either.


3DMark05 is the latest incarnation of FutureMark's famous 3DMark benchmarks. This software is the most reliant on GPU compared to older 3DMark benchmarks.

As some may argue that 3DMark isn't reflective of real-world gaming experience, I decided to add more graphics gaming benchmarks: GunMetal and Doom3.


The score shown here is the average of two(2) runs of benchmark options 1 and 2, with the following settings: 1024x768, 32bit, 2xAA, High, On


This benchmark is run on High Quality, 1024x768, 32bit, Full Screen. Breaking 50FPS on Doom3 is really an impressive feat here.

Running the Pentium M on the DFI board is really fun on stock settings, with tweaking here and there. However, I decided to play with it even more and see how this combo performs, and check the motherboard and CPU limitation.


I will not delve into analyzing the benchmark results here, but suffice it to say that a 2Ghz Pentium M/533Mhz/2Mb is a force to be reckoned with. It can match more expensive and more full-featured CPU available today. The CPU's multiplier is reduced to 11x, while the FSB is set to 202, giving a very good 804FSB and 2.222Ghz CPU frequency, and DDR404@CL2-3-3-7.




SuperPi 1M

Everest RAM Read/Write







Temperature Reading:

I used Prime95 to push the CPU on it's full load for 4hours, during the hottest time of the day between 11am and 3pm. Idle reading is taken 30mins after the machine is booted up. Ambient chassis temperature reading shows 33c. Motherboard Monitor is used to record temperature readings.
On idle, the CPU is reporting 26c!!! While full load just reached 42c!!! Noise is not a problem with this baby!


I won't be able to share my "conclusion" on this baby since I haven't really fully utilized this combo in a span of two weeks. However, I'd like to share, beyond numbers and graphs, my personal experience.

The DFI 852GME and Pentium M is a very powerful combination. This combo will make a very good HTPC, gaming PC, or even a file server for it's PCI-X support and Gigabit LAN uplink. The motherboard is very stable, and the whole system is very quiet I can't hear it running every time I power it on. The chassis and PSU fan are noisier than the CPU and the system never get that hot. The motherboard offers good features and ample connectivity, has integrated graphics which is useful even for light gaming, and ample storage options.

Overclocking the motherboard was fun as well. As you can see from the benchmarks, I have been able to reach 202FSB. Thru testing and burn-in, I found that this is the motherboard's highest stable FSB. While I can take screenshot at 208FSB, it's not that stable to even do anything than run CPU-Z and take screenshots. I believe that with just a minor chipset tweak, this mobo can do beyond 202FSB. Would have been nice to voltmod the chipset too :).

The CPU's highest stable frequency is 2.304Ghz, on a stock multiplier of 12 and 192FSB. It's 704Mhz above stock or 44% overclock without even tweaking any voltage settings. I have been tempted to voltmod the CPU to push it even higher, but I figure that the motherboard's 202FSB ceiling (even with lowest clock multiplier of 6) will be the limiting factor, and I can only reach 2.4Ghz, besides, this combo isn't mine so I'd rather not fiddle it to the point of breaking it :).
However, even with lots of pros, I still encountered some problem with the board.

First, the motherboard didn't detect the CPU's FSB settings automatically. It still use 100FSB and thus, produce really slow and sluggish performance. I have to set the settings manually on the BIOS.

Second, some RAM dividers are flaky. I can sometimes make it work, use the PC and then after shutting down and rebooting, it'll hang. It turned out that it's picky on RAM timing and type of RAM. I tried async options, trying to push beyond DDR400 for the RAM, but everytime, I am stalled at around 150FSB 3:4 (DDR400 for the RAM).

Third, it has a lot of shortcoming for serious overclocking options. The lack of vCore options above the CPU's stock vCore, lack of vDimm options, lack of Northbridge voltage settings severely limit this motherboard to low-voltage system or to those parts that can overclock well on their stock voltage settings. Fourth, this motherboard hates CL2.5. For some reason, I can't tweak it to boot at CL2.5, not that CL2 isn't better than CL2.5, but for better compatibility with DDR that aren't rated CL2.

I also used it as a gaming rig for about three(3) to four(4) days, and I found out that this combo has that smooth gaming experience. Choppy gameplay on Doom3 did occur when there are a lot of actions and "physics calculation" is tracking all those explosions, particle movement, etc. It doesn't appear too often though, and it can be very well attributed to my 512Mb RAM.

Audio quality, subjectively speaking from my point of view, is enjoyable. I played MP3, Audio CD, and Windows Media Audio and I have no complaints. I never experienced stalling when watching video on this combo using VCD, WMV, DVD and
DivX enconding, even when using the integrated graphics.

In Closing...

I'd like to share my thanks to the people who made this review possible:
* Cooltoyz, who provided the Pentium M 730/1.6Ghz/533Mhz/2Mb CPU and DFI
852GME-MGF/533Mhz/AGP 4x

* Jampax, who lend me his eVGA FX5950Ultra AGP Video Card
Without these guys, my last two weeks would have been revolving around watching episodes of Lost on my laptop =). Without them, I would have not made the following (Pentium M 730@2.2222Ghz@804FSB) achievements:
* World Record Highest FSB on an unmodded motherboard of same chipset and CPU, running on air
for hitting 202FSB full stable (all these benchmarks), 205 SPi 1M stable (
and 208FSB screenshot stable (

* Reach Top 5, ranked #4 at PCMark2004 at Pentium M category:

* Reach Top 15, ranked #11 at 3DMark2001 at CPU clocked between 2.000Ghz to
2.400Ghz and same video card:

* Reach Top 5, ranked #1 at 3DMark2003 at CPU clocked between 2.000Ghz to
2.400Ghz, same video card and WHQL driver (too bad, I forgot to use a FutureMark
approved driver):

* Reach Top 5, ranked #1 at 3DMark2005 at CPU clocked between 2.000Ghz to
2.400Ghz, same video card and FutureMark approved and WHQL drivers:

* Reach Top 10, ranked #6 at Aquamark03 at CPU clocked between 2.000Ghz to
2.400Ghz, same video card (has the highest CPU score on the Top 10):

Image Gallery

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by dm - All rights reserved. Reproduction by permission only