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Last updated: 10/21/04


Advice on Buying a Motherboard

Hard Disk Drive

The AMD Athlon Processor

The nVIDIA nForce Motherboard Chipset

Networking and Internet Sharing



A44T  I usually use Acer CD-ROM drives, but last week the vendor I was placing an order with didn't have any.  At his recommendation, I bought a couple of 44X CD-ROM drives made by a Taiwanese company I never heard of before.  I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the...
Actima A44T 44X CD-ROM drive.

8100i.  The Hewlett-Packard 8100i SureStore CD-Writer Plus drive is my current choice for an internal CD burner. more.jpg (2015 bytes)

948E  I have been using the AOpen 9XXE/AKU series of CD-ROM drives for upgrades and new computers for years and have found them to be quality products that hold-up over time.  Currently, the 48X version of the drive is my choice for performance/cost.  Click here to read the review.

952E The AOpen 952E 52X CD-ROM drive is a reliable, fast, quiet, and somewhat economical CD-ROM drive.  This is AOpen's most recent CD-ROM drive.  The "differences" between it and the AOpen 948E 48X CD-ROM drive may come as a surprise to some.  Click here to read more.

SD-M1212  The Toshiba SD-M1212 6X/32X DVD drive not only brings first-rate DVD movie quality to you computer screen, it has enough CD-ROM oomph to make a Windows 98 install on a 650 Mhz Athlon computer quite fast.  No longer do you have to feel that you are giving up substantial CD-ROM performance to get DVD features in the same drive.


SX830/SX840 If you are looking for a large, but not overbearing ATX computer case and power supply for a high-end PC or small business file server, Antec's SX830 and SX840 Performance Series Workstation Cases are good choices.

KS282 The Antec KS282 is a very attractive and well-designed ATX mid-tower computer case.  The model with the 300 Watt Power Supply is one of the case/power supply combinations approved by AMD for the Athlon processor.  Excellent air circulation and a hefty power supply make this case an excellent choice for those who want to build a high-end, fully-loaded computer--a gamer's delight.  Click here to read the review...

.A-TOPAT589 The A-TOP A589 Translucent Computer Case
They come in orange, purple, and blue...
Which, to many, is a case quite cool...
Translucent, I mean, the latest rage...
Enter the A-Top AT589, center stage...
Is a translucent case the way to go...
Two million I-Mac owners must think so...
What's this "glowing" tower all about?
Read-on and you'll find out...

A-TOPAT900  I call A-Top AT900-ATG a mid-tower case because it isn't as tall as a full-tower case and has fewer bays; however, it is taller and has more drive bays than many other mid-tower cases.  Click here to read the review.

BG45.  I have been building computers with AOpen BG45 Baby AT form-factor, mid-tower case for years. more.jpg (2015 bytes)

BG95.  The AOpen BG95 Baby AT desktop computer case offers full expandability and good quality.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)

HX08.  If you are looking for good case for a network file server, the AOpen HX08 full-tower case, with a 13-drive capacity and a 300 Watt ATX power supply, may be just the ticket.   more.jpg (2015 bytes)

HX45. I use the AOpen HX45 ATX form-factor, mid-tower computer case for most of the computers I build.  It is an excellent choice for those who are going to build their own computer. more.jpg (2015 bytes)

HX45A The AOpen HX45A ATX Mid-Tower Computer Case is an excellent choice for those who are going to build their own computer.  It is roomy and a pleasure to work with.  The case looks good, has a solid feel, is furnished with an ample assortment of hardware.

HX95  Are you looking for a good ATX desktop case with a power supply?  The AOpen HX95 may be a good choice.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)

HX95A The AOpen HX95A ATX desktop computer case,  is an improved version of the HX95, a case I have been using for years.  It is  a good choice for building the average computer.


SOCKET7BENCH  We present benchmarks and observations for some popular Socket 7 CPU's; namely, the AMD 450 Mhz K6-3, 450 Mhz K6-2, 400 Mhz K6-2, and the VIA Cyrix 300 Mhz M2-433GP. Which one is the best buy?


HTS421B-SB The ChipCoolers HTS421B-SB is a large heat-sink fan which cools the outside of a 650 Mhz Athlon to almost body temperature.


FD83  If I could sneak $800 it past my wife, I'd be sorely tempted to go out right now and buy a Sony Mavica MVC-FD83 Digital Camera.

FD88 The Sony Mavica MVC-FD88 Digital Camera is a notch up from the MVC-FD83 reviewed a couple of months ago.


250ZIPPAR  The "high-density" Zip drive has arrived.  Read about it in the Iomega 250 MByte Parallel Zip Drive Review.

250ZIPIDE "Floppy" drives just got bigger, again...  Iomega's new 250 MByte internal IDE Zip drive packs still more storage capacity and speed into a package which is physically the same size as it's 100 Mbyte predecessor.

WD273BA If you are looking for a high-capacity, high-performance hard disk drive, Western Digital's WD273BA 27.3 GByte drive is big, fast, quiet, and cool.

WD800JB If you really want to soup-up a computer, get a Western Digital Special Edition Caviar hard disk drive with an eight MByte buffer--reasonably priced and lightning fast!


ADSUSBBD If you are looking to add a USB capability to computer which is a no brainer to install, the Ads Technologies PCI USB Port is just that.


2001W.  Back in the "old" days (late 1980's) when we were building XT and AT clones we went through quite a few keyboards looking for the right one.  We found it and have been using the Focus Electronic 2001 keyboard ever sincemore.jpg (2015 bytes)


FM56-ITU/2.  AOpen just released a new version of FM56-ITU FAX/MODEM, my all-time favorite MODEM.  Like its predecessor, this new version, the FM56-ITU/2, is economical, works well, and is one I can control.

FM56-PM.  AOpen's new FM56-PM MODEM employs the Conexant (Rockwell) Mono Pack RH56D/SP-PCI  Single Chip Host to provide a complete set of V.90/K56Flex FAX/MODEM features.

FM56-P.  The AOpen FM56-P is currently my choice for a PCI Plug 'n Play K56Flex/V.90 FAX/MODEM.  I've had fewer problems with this MODEM than any other Plug 'n Play MODEM I've used during the last year.

FM56-H.  The AOpen FM56-H MODEM had problems. AOpen has posted new software for this MODEM.  It apparently fixes all of the problems.   more.jpg (2015 bytes)

FM56-ITU.   Give me a MODEM which is economical, works well and is one I can control.  By control I mean a MODEM with jumpers and a wide selection of IRQ and port address options.  The AOpen FM56-ITU FAX/MODEM meets these requirements.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)

SB2100D  Overall, the General Instrument's external Surfboard SB2100D Cable MODEM works quite well and has some advantages and some disadvantages when compared to an internal cable MODEM.


KX7-333bit The Abit KX7-333/KX7-333R DDR Athlon motherboard implements an incremental increase in motherboard technology with the VIA KT333 chipset and DDR2700 (333 MHz) memory.  Is it faster than its predecessor?  This review also includes benchmarks of the Western Digital WD800 Special Edition ATA/100 hard disk drive with 8 MBytes of disk cache' in normal and RAID configurations.  The box the drive comes in says, "LIGHTNING FAST."  Is it?  Click here to find out.

8KHA+  Review of the EpoX 8KHA+ DDR Athlon MotherboardHow much have AMD-based computers changed since the Socket 7 and what can one expect by upgrading to the 8KHA+?   Besides reviewing the 8KHA+, this article will attempt to answer that question.

MVP3C2/G2R The Epox MVPC2 and MVP3G2 Super7 motherboard reviews have been rewritten  to account for the noticeable increase in ATA/66 hard disk performance resulting from a recent BIOS revision.  Click the appropriate link to read more MVP3G2 ATX, MVP3C2 Baby AT.

EPOXATA66  In the Dux Computer Digest reviews of the EpoX MVP3G2 and MVP3C2 Super7 motherboards, I expressed disappointment with the ATA/66 hard disk performance of these otherwise superb motherboards.  Well, it looks like EpoX has finally fixed the problem.  Click here to read more.

MS-6167 The MSI MS-6167 Athlon motherboard has it where it counts: stability and performance.  Combine it with an AMD 650 Mhz Athlon processor, 128 MBytes of PC-100 memory, a 7,200 RPM ATA/66 hard disk, a high-end graphics board, and a large screen monitor and you will have the ultimate gamer's machine...

BH6.  The Abit BH6 Pentium II motherboard is easy to install and is absolutely stable with a 450 Mhz processor.   Everything about it--layout, capacitors, packaging, and the user manual--rings of quality.   more.jpg (2015 bytes)

P5A.  The Asus P5A-B Baby AT, Super7 motherboard has too many of one thing and too few of another.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)

EP-51MVP3-M.  The Epox EP-51MVP3E-M motherboard
is my choice for the best overall Super7 ATX motherboard on the market. more.jpg (2015 bytes)

EP-58MVP3C-M.  Let me tell you about a Super7 Baby AT motherboard with first rate quality: the Epox EP-58MVP3C-M.
The layout of this board is one of the best I've seen.   The engineers at Epox must have visited shops like mine to come-up with a product truly designed to make the life easier for people who work on computers.   Installation is a snap.  Add a 300 Mhz K6-2, compatible PC100 memory, Western Digital UDMA hard disk, the Epox/Highpoint bus-master UDMA driver, and AGP 3D  and you will have a screaming Super7.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)

EP-MVP3C.  The new EpoX EP-MVP3C Baby AT motherboard is a worthy successor to the EP-58MVP3C-M, which was previously reviewed,  and continues Epox's trend of manufacturing high quality motherboards.

MVP3C2  The Baby AT form-factor motherboard lives on...  The EpoX MVP3C2 Socket 7, Baby AT motherboard is well-suited for upgrading aging Baby AT computers at minimal cost.  Add a 450 or 500 Mhz AMD K6-2 processor and 64 MBytes of PC-100  memory and you will put enough zip in that old computer to put a smile on your secretary's face.  Click here to read the review.

MVP3G2  The Epox MVP3G2 ATX Super7 motherboard is one rock-solid motherboard, but the it's performance with ATA/66 hard disks and that of the disk drives themselves is rather disappointing.

4/5/99  Review...  Epox maintains its leadership position in Super7 motherboard market with the MVP3G-M ATX motherboard.  Click here to read the review.

BUSMASTER.  Free!  If you have an Epox motherboard, you can make your UltraDMA hard disk drive run much(!) faster.
Benchmarks affirm my initial reaction: simply incredible!  You may encounter a problem installing the driver.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)

USDM.  Another freebee from Epox. 
This one is certainly worth having if you have one of the Epox Super7 motherboards.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)

591P If you are looking for a low-end replacement motherboard or want to make a modest upgrade to an older computer, without replacing its 72-pin memory, then the Shuttle HOT-591P Baby AT Motherboard is in the running...


ATS What is the best and hopefully cheapest way I can use two computers on one RJ45 outlet? The ATS 10/100 Base T Splitter Adapters.

ALN315C  The Acer ALN-315C is a low cost, bus-mastering, full-duplex, auto-sensing, Fast Ethernet adapter.

ALN320.  Low cost, bus-mastering, full-duplex, and fast describe the Acer ALN-320 10BASE-T/100BASE-TX Fast Ethernet adapter.   more.jpg (2015 bytes)

DFE-530TX The D-Link DFE-530TX is a  high-quality Fast Ethernet Adapter with excellent silk-screening, good lay-out, and electrolytic capacitors rated at 105C.

DFE-530TX+ The D-link DFE-530TX+ a very different  Ethernet adapter than the D-Link DFE-530TX recently reviewed in the Digest.

DFE-910 If you are looking for a starter kit for a home or small office network, the D-Link DFE-910 Network in a Box has speed, expandability, and basic Internet sharing at a reasonable price.

DI-701 D-Link DI-701 Residential Gateway/Broadband Router.  Unfortunately, an operational review of this spiffy-looking, semi-transparent product was stopped cold by its inability to communicate with my cable MODEM.  Click here to read more...

PHN-910  If you are looking for an easy to install network for your a home or small office, the D-Link DHN-910 Phoneline Network in a Box may be just the solution.

ANYPOINT  Are you looking for fast and easy way to network those PCs you have at home to share an Internet connection, printers, and disk drives, and play multi-PC games?   How about one that doesn't require installing network cables or even opening your PC?  Read all about it in a Review of the Intel AnyPoint Home Network.

LNE100TX  Like other Ethernet adapters I have seen recently, the LINKSYS LNE100TX is physically smaller, measuring 2 3/16 by 5 7/8 inches, and has fewer capacitors...

SAMBA How to Network Red Hat Linux and Microsoft Windows will show you step-by-step how to setup a computer running Red Hat Linux version 7.3 in a network with computers running various versions of Microsoft Windows.

SMC7004BR The best way I have found to date to share an Internet connection, be it dial-up, cable MODEM, or DSL, is with the SMC Barricade Broadband Router.  Click here for a different kind of review of this product.

SYGATE Sybergen Networks' SyGate Internet Connection Management Software is the best means of sharing an Internet connection I've seen to date...


HP895  If you are looking for a  high-performance color ink jet printer for personal, small office, or workgroup use, the HP DeskJet 895Cse is a very good choice. MORE


HP3300C  A customer brought me her computer to fix a problem with a game and this HP 3300C USB scanner to install.  The game was a difficult problem; installing the scanner was a breeze.  Furthermore, I was  impressed with the quality and performance of this $130 scanner.  Click here to read the review.

HP5200C Hardware Review: I frequently use a scanner to scan images and documents for Web sites. The Hewlett-Packard ScanJet 5200C USB Color Scanner provides just about the right combination of cost, quality, features, and speed for this function.


RH90 Red Hat Linux 9.0 Clean Install - The Whole Enchilada. This article consists of a detailed, step-by-step, clean install and testing of Red HAT (RH) Linux 9.0.  The steps performed to install, configure, and test Samba, SWAT, host tables, telnet, FTP, Apache, a virtual intranet web server, MySQL, PHP, and Perl are described.  The text from the various configuration and test files is included for convenience and as examples.

MySQLGUI. Graphical Management Utilities for MySQL. Management of MySQL databases can be done at command line prompts much like other database programs; however, that can be a laborious method for occasional users.  Fortunately, for the rest of us, there are several third-party utilities that provide a graphical user interface (GUI) for performing these functions in a more civilized manner.

RH73 Red Hat Linux Clean Install - The Whole Enchilada. This is my detailed(!) step-by-step, clean install and testing of Red Linux 7.3, including telnet, wu-FTP, Samba, Apache, a virtual web server, Perl, PHP, MySQL, and the lines from the various configuration and test files. I hope these notes will save some people some grief.

WIN2KANALYZER Thinking of buying Windows 2000?  Microsoft has a tool to check your computer hardware and software to see if there will be  problems before deciding to buy it.  Click here for more info...

MBMON.   Alex van Kaam's Motherboard Monitor Lite for Windows 95/98 accesses various system monitoring chips and displays motherboard temperatures, fan speeds, and voltages. Fan and temperature alarms can be set.   more.jpg (2015 bytes)

NOTESPAD. In a nut shell, I don't like Note Pad or Word Pad. Why use multiple tools with multiple interfaces when one good one should be able to do it all?  Don Z'Borey has solved this problem with NotesPad.  It does it all and does it better.

WDDIAG.  If you work with Western Digital hard disk drives you should have a copy of WD Diagnostics.   more.jpg (2015 bytes)


FX3D  Not everyone needs a high-end sound card in their computer.  If you are looking for a simple ISA PnP sound card which is Sound Blaster Pro compatible, easy to install and has a good audio rack, the AOpen FX-3D Plus is a good choice and is very affordable.


25AC Among the ways to attach twisted-pair network cable to studs, etc. without ruining it is to use the Acme 25AC stapler.

DORCY An essential item in a technician's tool kit is a reliable flashlight. The Dorcy Solid State Flashlight is a good choice.

L1 The Pelican L1 LED Flashlight makes an ideal addition to a technician's field service tool kit and for use in a shop.


ATITV   Do you want to watch TV on your computer?  Then just add an ATI-TV board, install the software which comes with the board, and plug-in your cable TV, VCR, or camcorder. The ATI-TV is also a very good video-capture board.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)

ATITVW   Do you want to watch TV on your computer?  Then just add an ATI-TV Wonder, install the software which comes with the board, and plug-in your cable TV, VCR, or camcorder. The ATI-TV Wonder is also a very good video-capture board.


ZOOMCAM  If you are looking for a low-cost camera to  videoconference on the Internet, setup a videophone, or send video E-mail, the Zoom Telephonics ZoomCam-ISA does the job for a current street price of about $55.00.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)
ECAM 3/29/99 The NewCom E-Cam color digital camera is an attractive looking camera with a street price of about $90.00.  It is very easy to install and the picture quality is quite good for a low-cost camera.  Its printer port interface limits performance. more.jpg (2015 bytes)



BLDSOCKA How to Build a Computer with a Socket A Athlon or Duron Processor presents the steps used to build a Socket A  computer as a detailed check list with notes and pictures.

BLDATHLON  The fastest computer we have built to date features AMD's Athlon processor, MSI MS-6167 motherboard, and a Diamond Viper V770 Ultra graphics board.  Read more about it in How to Build Your Own Athlon Computer.

BLDPII  If you want to try your hand at building your own Pentium II computer, the following link will take you to a complete bill-of materials and a build-it-yourself checklist with comments:
How to Build Your Own Pentium II Computer.

BLDPIII  Build the latest a greatest:  How to Build Your Own Pentium III Computer.  There were enough differences between building a Pentium III computer and a Pentium II computer that I decided to publish a separate check-list.

BLDSUP7  So, you bought an Epox MVP3G-M motherboard, an AOpen HX45 case, etc., or something similar, and you want to build your own.  Here's...
How to Build Your Own Super7 Computer.


UTP How to make your own network cables.  Everything you need to know to fabricate straight-thru and crossover cables.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)

ALN-320 How to install the Acer ALN-320 Fast Ethernet adapter. These instructions are provided as an example of how to install a PCI network adapter.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)

NET2PC How to Network Two Windows 95/98 Computers.

WIN98SE  Windows 98 Second Edition with Microsoft's Internet Connection Sharing is one way to connect your Windows network to the Internet and share an Internet connection with other users of the network.  Here's How to Network and Share an Internet Connection with Windows 98 Second Edition.

WIN98SECAB Success!  I just installed Windows 98 Second Edition Internet Sharing Software (ICS) on our Mom 'n Pop Local Area Network and it works well with our ISP supplied external cable MODEM, on a one-way cable system.  At last, Claudia can share the Internet connection and (ah!) read my mail.  Read on to find-out How to Share a Cable MODEM with Windows 98 Second Edition.


NF7-S Abit NF7-S Motherboard Installation Notes

RAID RAIDing Windows XP. This article will shows you step-by-step how to set up simple RAID configurations of hard disk drives and how to install Windows XP on them.

KX7333 How to Install the Abit KX7-333/KX7-333R Motherboard. This article provides detailed instructions for installing the Abit KX7-333 and KX-333R motherboards in a typical computer.

CPYHD Ways to Copy the Contents of One Hard Disk to Another will show you how to configure your old and new hard disk drives and describe four methods used to copy the contents of the old one to the new one.

CDROM During the installation of a CD-ROM drive, configuration choices can noticeably affect drive performance.  Read about it in How to Install a CD-ROM Drive.

SOCKA Many AMD Socket A Athlon and Duron processors are damaged during installation.  The purpose of How to Install an AMD Athlon or Duron Socket A Processor is to help you avoid that misfortune.

8KHA How to Install the EpoX 8KHA+ Motherboard provides detailed instructions for installing the popular, high-performance EpoX 8KHA+ DDR Socket A AMD Athlon/Duron Motherboard in a typical computer.


DUALWIN How to Dual-Boot Windows 9X/Me and 2000 Pro provides step-by-step instructions for installing both Windows 9X/Me and Windows 2000 Pro on the same hard disk drive so that either operating system can be selected from a menu when the computer first boots-up.WINMEBACKUP  If you just installed Windows Me and are wondering what happened to the Microsoft Backup program, click here...WINMESTART  Back in the MS-DOS and Windows 3.x days most technicians packed a boot floppy with some basic software tools on it for trouble-shooting, installing hard disks, etc..  Today, this sort of floppy is called a Windows Startup disk or Emergency Boot Disk (EBD) and is largely ignored until an emergency, such as a hard disk failure, when, to the dismay of the user, it may not work.  Furthermore, with the advent of Windows Me, there is no way to even make a bootable floppy from the Windows Format Menu or by using the FORMAT /s command from the DOS prompt.  Find solutions to these problems in How to Make Windows Me Startup and Boot Floppy Disks.WINMEISNT  A few changes have been made in the procedures for installing Windows Me (Millennium Edition) as compared to previous versions.  To learn about them and a few other tidbits of information, read How to Install Windows Me.WINTP I have started a Windows How to page with tips and tricks.  I will build on this section as time goes by.  If you want to contribute that neat idea or tip that perhaps no one has thought of before, please post a message in our Discussion Forum.  I will setup a Windows Forum soon where problems, etc. can be posted and discussed as well.    Click here for the article.FP  I use Microsoft FrontPage to directly write, organize, and publish the Dux Computer Digest.  Today, I started a FrontPage How to for the Digest.  The article starts with a few items.  I will try to add to it over time.  If there is enough interest in the subject, I may, in the future, add a Discussion Forum on FrontPage to this web site.  Click here for the article.WINVER.  How determine what version of Windows is installed on your computer.   more.jpg (2015 bytes)

WIN98UPG How to install the Windows 98 Upgrade on a new hard disk without having to first install and then upgrade an older version of Windows.


How to Troubleshoot CD-ROM Drive Autoplay and Audio CD Problems


7/10/99 From the Shop.  Windows 98 Second Edtion, running on a motherboard with the VIA MVP3 chipset, detects and installs Iomega's IDE/ATAPI Zip drive and the parallel port version of SanDisk's ImageMate CompactFlash card reader as floppy drives.  The fix.

6/28/99 Ways to make a Windows 98 Startup disk which will work when you need it.6/24/99  Weird Power supply Problem.  A customer brought a Packard Bell, Multimedia R515 computer (model 890498-03) to my shop with a power supply problem I haven't seen before.6/5/99 From the shop...  Diary. EpoX BIOS updates, VIA all-in-one Service Pack for the MVP3 chipset, VIA FAQs.3/19/99 From the shop.  Diary.  Larry leaves the Internet Bronze Age.  Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5.0 has been released, but is playing hard to get.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)1/29/99 From the shop.  Diary: The Y2K problem.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)1/13/98 From the shop.  Diary: the shop, comments on the 300 and 333 Mhz AMD K6-2 processors, the K6-2 and the Epox Super7 motherboards, and the 400 Mhz AMD K6-2 processor.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)5P.  How to install an HP ScanJet 5p for use with a Compaq Presario 6704 Computer.   more.jpg (2015 bytes)
SPINUP.  A reader writes, "My PC cannot detect my hard disk (sometimes).   And I suspect the CMOS has been infected by virus.  What should I do?"    more.jpg (2015 bytes)K6-2/OSR2   I've been asked if the Epox EP51-MVP3C-M and EP-58MVP3-M Super7 motherboards support 350 Mhz AMD K6-2 processors.  The answer is yes... However, there is timing problem with the OSR2.X release of Windows 95.   more.jpg (2015 bytes)AMD 350 Mhz and higher K6-2 CPUs and older versions of Win 95 are incompatible.  more.jpg (2015 bytes)4100C Tips for solving HP ScanJet 4100C installation problems.  MORE


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