[cts-newsletters-html] Leo & Patrick in St. Louis/House Call Contest

  • From: "The Screen Savers Today" <screen_savers_today@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: cts-newsletters-html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2001 21:13:12 MST

Get to the gateway to the West;


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Hosts Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton will be at
the CompUSA in Sunset Hills from noon to 2pm.

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The Screen Savers Show Notes for Friday, February 2, 2001
(repeat of January 22, 2001)...

* How fast a CPU will my mobo take?

Dennis from Lebanon, Tennessee has a Delta i440cx motherboard.
What's the fastest CPU he can put on it?

Time to do some research! Leo says to go to the mobo
manufacturer's website and see what they say about the range
of speed that your particular mobo support. Generally
speaking, the bus speed on your mobo (and the clock
multipliers it supports) reveal how fast it will run). We'd
guess around 550 MHz or 600 MHz.

If you wanted to go with a new mobo/chip combo (Dennis did.)
we'd go for an 800 to 1.2 GHz AMD Athlon and an Asus A7V mobo.
Unless you can purchase a AMD 760 based motherboard and DDR
RAM. Again, it's a question of how much you want to spend.

Looking for an Intel recco? We'd go 800 to 1 GHz PIII with an
815 based mobo from Asus or Abit.

* Windows ME vs Windows 2000

Jeremy from Ashville, North Carolina wanted to find out the
big difference between Windows Me and Windows 2K. The real
question should be what is the difference between Windows 98SE
and Windows 2000. Me doesn't make any significant changes we
feel are worth paying for. At least not to upgrade from 98SE...

Win2K an extension of Windows NT, completely 32-bit coded from
the ground up, and (relatively) legacy free, at least compared
to Win9-whatever. The OS will almost never crash, though your
applications might, they generally won't take down the OS with
them the way they often do in Win9x.

Along with being more stable, Win2K is also more secure. We've
also seen it offer a modest performance advantage over Win98.
The only thing you need to worry about with Win2K is proper
driver support for the hardware you already own; it uses
different drivers than 9x.

Frankly, if you're willing to spend the money, we recommend
Windows 2000 hands down over Windows Me. If you're not a (mad)
power user, we'd wait. Why? Microsoft will soon release
Whistler, a home user OS, like 98 and Me, but with a Win2K
based core. That should be considerably less expensive, but
nearly as secure and stable. Stay tuned!

* Network HUB vs Network Switch

Ron from Celementon, New Jersey called in to find out the
difference between a network HUB and a network switch. A hub
basically connects a lot of Ethernet cables so a group of
Ethernet devices  can talk to each other. A hub creates a
segment, if memory server.

A switch 'filters and forwards' packets between two different
LAN segments. That means it passes some through, and keeps
others inside. Think of it as a railroad switch (Thanks, Line
Producer Russ!). A switch improves performance on a larger
Ethernet network.

Turns out Ron wanted to know more about the Linksys Etherfast
Cable/DSL Router we often talk about for home network
security. That's actually a router, or as Leo thinks of it, a
'smart hub.' Heavy duty routers (think Cisco) read a packet's
headers to figure out where to forward it... in simpler terms,
the Etherfast keeps the Internet outside of your home network.

Here's a link to the Etherfast; NetGear and DLink make similar


* I need a new FTP program!!!

Herb from Las Vegas, Nevada uses Fetch (Ewwwww, that's old.)
for FTP. What FTP program do we recommend for use at home on
his PC? Leo demoed FTP Explorer on air, which is "about as
simple as it gets:


You should also check out CuteFTP and FTP Voyager, which offer
a touch more utility. Here's the links for each of 'em:



* What exactly is a VxD error?

Clinton cammed in from Westfield, Massachusetts; he repeatedly
gets a VxD error listed up on a bluescreen. It seems to happen
mostly when he goes into an ICQ chatroom.

A VxD is a virtual device driver, a driver that has access to
the system kernal. A VxD error means that virtual
device driver crashed. Without knowing which device
or driver it is, it's kinda tough to get to the root of the
problem. But, given that it mostly happens in ICQ, it's
probably something releated to accessing the Internet... its
more valuable to know what you're doing when the system
crashes than what the error message says, oftentimes.

If this is really bugging you, we'd start by deleting and
reinstalling all our network protocols. Write 'em down,
first!!! Then we'd look for updated drivers for our Ethernet
card, and we'd reinstall the software. We'd also try a
different ICQ client, just to see if the one you're using is
tres' upset with your system.

* DDR RAM ... Should I go for it?

Aaron from Charlottesville, Virginia wants to upgrade his
system to an 800 or 800 MHz AMD Athlon Thunderbird. That's the
Socket A Athlon we prefer over the Slot A version. He wants to
know if he should get DDR (double data rate) RAM or the
regular SDRAM.

Only if you want the best performance from your Athlon!

DDR RAM speeds up memory performance by transferring data on
both ends of each clock cycle. In theory, it should double the
throughput on your system memory. We haven't seen a shipping
mobo yet, but, frankly, the early benchmarks put the Athlon
AMD 1.2 GHz with DDR RAM ahead of Intel's Pentium IV on
today's applications!

Frankly, if you can track down a DDR mobo (we're looking for
one from ASUS!), and can afford the cost of the mobo and
memory, we'd go for it. We've pretty sure we're going to
update our ultimate gaming machine with an AMD Athlon and DDR

We do recommend going with brand name RAM. Leo's a big fan of
Crucial, I use a lot of Kingston RAM, and Leo hears the
overclocking crowd raving about Mushkin RAM. (Mushkin?) Here
are the links for you:




BTW, the best prices aren't always at the manufacturer's
website. Check www.pricewatch.com to see if you can find a
better deal!

* A new hard drive for a 120 MHz PD

Rodney from Laotto, Iowa has an old 120 MHz Pentium with an
850 MHz HD and desperately wants to upgrade that critter to
something with more space on it. How can he determine how big
a hard drive he can use with that system?

The IDE spec originally topped out at 512 MBs, but it's been
tricked a few times into considerably larger sizes. And there
are ways of tricking your mobo's BIOS into recognizing larger

Most retail boxed hard drives come with software to do just
that. Maxtor's is called MaxBlast and your can read more about
it, and what it can and can do here:


Now, since you have Win95, all you have to do is lop that
drive into 2 GB partitions!

* What happened to SCOUR?

Paul from Mobile, Alabama wants to know how he can use
applications with Scour. Right now, Paul, you can't. Scour is
no longer in the 'business of peer to peer file sharing.' You
can check out Napster and Gnutella for your 'peer to peer file
sharing' needs. And, please, Paul, don't rip off copyrighted
materials. It's not only not nice, it's illegal.



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