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Computer Shopper (May 2010)

Computer Shopper (May 2010)

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Published by Ismail Adha Kesuma

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Published by: Ismail Adha Kesuma on Apr 02, 2010
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The future of internet threats Camera price crasl :-""-.

Learn about tomorrow's cybercrime today 9 compacts from £95 to £167
Processors, motherboards, cases, memory an
From £490 to £671 ,,,,,,
oCore;3 and is processors
' 15.6 to 17.3;0 displays
• ~ 8 + hard disks
• O"ecrx 11 graphics

d PSUS ii3=ii#!IJ
12 tested from £35
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Windows', Life wit hout Wall s'",
Dell recommends Windows 7.
If you' re into film, music, networking and
great design, the Studio not only looks
good, but deli vers great Hi-Def multi-
medi a performance too,
G) • •
Avai lable in a range of colou" ilnd designs
Choose your filvonte ilt delLco_uk
There's a Dell for everyone.
studio 15
• Intel' is· 430M Processo,
• Genuine Window, ' 7 Hame P",mium 1>4b;!
• 4GB Memory
• 3WGB Hard Dr;ve
• 15,6" HO WLEO Screen wit h
• 512MB ATI P3deon' HO 4570 G' aph<e Card
• 0<> 11 1>97 W;rc " s' Card
• 2Mf>webcam
",.;0. ""'I. To<ol ..... ...,.·, v,o.T & ""''-Y,
.... COoSo: "_0 ......... ....,.
£224 TOTAL
Shown in UPlirad" for £2'9,
studio 17
• Int"I ' i3·330M Processor
' <><:n uine Window. - 7 Home Premium 64b11
• 3GB Memory
, 320GB Fr .... Foi l Sen,or Hard drive
· 17.3' High Oef i,,;lion Wl EO with
• 0<>11 1397 WI,,,less Ca,d
• 1GB ATI HO 5370
Prico IncL T_ VAT £ Do • ....",
£.V_ C","", N_OJ.NOO14002
Shown in Blue. \Jp9rade tor £29.
"nee Ird VAT e. Delivery
Click: dell,co.uk/studlo
Home Premium
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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Precision-built and housed in glistening, high-
gloss obsidian black with leather trim and
aluminium accents, it's hard to resist the Studio
XPS-. It's even harder when you experience its
sheer power and exhilarating performance.
Go on, Treat Yourself.
0844 444 3122
Help and advice
studio XPS" 16
• is·S20M Processor
• Genuiroc Windows" 7 Home Premium 64bit
• 4GB Memory
• 500GB Free Fall Sensor Hard Orive
• 16" Wi<l c«;rccn Ful l HD l oeop RGB LED wi t h

• 1GB ATI Pad..",," HO 4670 Graphic Card
• Dell 1397 Wirde« Card and 0., 11 Blucloot h C8rd
• 2MP Webcam
Prico Ind. r"... _', VAT & Del....,.,
E-v_ CodI<
£140 TOTAL
in Blad (default), Red or 1Nhile,
Sroown if1 BIae • .
Call: 0844 444 3206
studio XPS" 8100
• Int er 13·530 Processor
• Genuine Witldows- 7 Home Premium 640it
• 4GB Memory
• ITS Hard Dr iye
- 1GB NVlDlA GT220 Graphi« Card
• Moni!or no! included
• Gig.bi! Networ k C.rd
- Int egrated HDA 7.1 Dolby D,gital
• 19-in-l Media Card
"'ico"". 'o<.,s......,.'. VA' & DoC.,....,.,
E-V_.:o.: NPI.OI<01·000x.,02
£579 £152 TOTAL
8am-8pm Weekdays, 9am-6pm Saturdays,
lOam-7pm Sundays
Count on the combination of Dell and Windows' 7 to give
you fast, intuitive computing for your day-to-day tasks.
Less is more wit h Windows' 7 - fewer interruptions, fewer
steps to complete tasks, fewer delays.
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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
ilQQ] >f----
News B
E'lirythinil YOII need til IInDW . bout whit'. lIDing
Dn In the world of tlchnology liver the past month:
Apple announus the ,Pad , Nv1dia Optimus primed to transform
laptops . Microsoft urweib next-generationWtndll'oo'lS 7 Phooe
operating system · Coogle dropslntemet
Explorer 6 5Upport • Microsoft reveals QHia
2010 pricing . First OlIO!
532G laptop . First Loot: Pallllsonic's 3D
plasma TVs · First Looi:::Call(l(1's EOS 5500
What's New 14
The ultimate resource lor product reviews and rating5. our
huge tWlat's Newsection brings you 1m- best new PC kit
PCs & Laptops 14
We test two new Dells and
Packard Bell's latest netbook
Handheld! 3D
We our haods on AcH'S
lirst android-powered
smartphone, the A 1 Liquid
Printers &
Scanners 32
Howe a look at the latest MFPs
from Canon and Brother
Displays 34
The BenQ G2222HO is our
new favourite LCD monitor.
find out why
Photography 3&
ActlieVl! profmiol'lill -quatity
flash photography on a budget
in our flash gun roundup
Video 38
Philips' curvaceous new
B(u-ray playet is the
best-looking to date
If you'rt a budding guitarist.
che<:k out lindy's oolliantly
simple USB gui tar lead with
built-in §(lUnd Cilrd
Storage 44
We test the world's forst
Blu-ray-capilble NAS device
E...erything you need to put
together a kas5le-free home

Components 48
We put three new An graphics
cards through tl\@irpaces
We give our on the
Bioshod and Mass Effect
Can the latest version of
PaintShop Pro
Photoshop's editing crown?
,131. 140,1
Build a better PC liB
Processors Ei8
Every OJrretlt and AMO chip tested, from £36 to £780
MotherbDards 78
find the ptflect mothert>oard to match your processor,We tett
LGAnS, LGA 1156 and 4M3 model<;
Ml mDry 8Ei
With 4GB DDR2 and OOR3 kits. plus two 8GB OOR3 kiB. you' U
find the ptffe(:1 $l!t of RAM for your PC
PCea.l. 9D
Whethet yOl.J want uttra-cheap, ultra-silent or a media centre
cast, we've got the for yOl.J
PSUs 9Ei
Make sure your PC has enough pOWf:r and is running effiCiently
with one of these powet supplies
WindDws 71aptDps 100
Intel's Core i3 budget processor provides incrtdible performance
at low pOces, so thert's nellet been a better time to buy a new
laptop, We len nine budget models
CDmpact digital cameras 110
If you want a camera that you tan take anywhere, one of these
compact models will be perfect , Some even have HD video
modes. so there's no need to r:MTY a camcordet as well
RIlcyl:11I your PC
Tim Danton shows you how to of
your old tomputet and peripherals !ega.y,
and how to wipe your data securely if
you'rt giving it away
Gilt HD on your TV
With the World cup coming up, the time
is right to get rtady for high definition.
Julian Prokaza shows you how to re<:eive
HO channels on your TV
Hack to thll futurll
Simon Edwards how hackers will
be targeting us and our internet-connected
devices in the future, and some tips
on how to stay safe online
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Make Windows behave like a Mac
COrMIrt videos 'Dr free
Create a coat of arms
Transfer your old files to Windows 7
Develop RAW images
Use Device Manager
Spring-clean your hard disk
How It Works
Simon Handby how YOU' PC gets CD trad names
Web Expert 138
Matt Prest on helps you boost your website's traftie with some
essential sean;h engine optimisation (SEO) tips
Multimedia Expert 140
Jim Martin shows you how to make stunning HOR image:-; using
multiple shots Of a single RAW image
Linux Expert 142
We show '100 how to edit vid@Oand(OIWlKtacamcorderto
your linUK c.omputtr
Security Expert 144
Simon Edwards explains how 10 your computer wmpletely
frfl! 01 spam
Advanced Projects 146
David ludlow 5hows you how to confogure advanced BIOS
Your Cover Discs 1&2
Norton Internet Security 2010
Protect your computer from intemel threats
with this powerful security suite. Comes with
180 days of ffl!e updates
Helpfile 148
PC won't power on 148
Processor running at slower speed 149
Media Center keeps waking up 150
Windows keeps scanning hard disk 151
Remove duplicate Vista 152
Laptop taking too long to boot 153
Printer only prints cyan 153
Office Help 154
Our resident exp-trt answers your software queries
Competition 157
Win a Monitor AudloAirStream 10 intemet radio and more!
Mailbox 158
Your monthly miS$ives of wit and wisdom
Under Development 167
O.vid Robinson OeSj)<lirs as his custard's backup!> bum
Rants & Raves 168
O;w!d Ludlow discovers the absurdity anti-piracy laws
Zygote 170
Zygote is excited by a phone powefl!d by sugary drinks
I Classmeds 165
a bargain in the smaller ads
BDnus Products
PC Tools Disk Suite
Clean, optimist, defragment and bad up your
hard disk with this easy-to-use and powerful
suite of tools
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com



NetGear ReadyNas Duo
Directly streams music, photos and video to exist ing
network media players without a computer.
Unlike a use hard drive. the ReadyNAS connects to the network and is Simultaneously
accessible via all conne<:ted Windows or Macintosh computers. If there·s a broadband
Internet connectIOn and a home router, the ReadyNAS can be set up to provide secure
access to all the stored Illes remotely vIa the Inlerne!. For added protection of stored data,
an optional second hard dnve lsold separatelyl can be installed. The spare hard drive
will keep an extra copy of all the data and Instantly take over If the first hard drive should fa,1.
Key Features

(2) &Nf.in 8irromontOiont
(2) FuJI borkp copoblil!J
(2) X-RArD 1o<.hn%9!l
o S/MD.m mtMtJs, music. 4-
photos to ""!J _.
***** ..
fuM quoJlty 15 e>«e/lerJ
and It:e; nee to flrd
aJrnelhing thatdoe.s.'j()
I"Tl'ACh for aJ littfe cash. "
ReviewbyN/iJU on 28.04 09
Free Delivery Available·
Hurry! Offer ends'
To buy at this price or better visit
Prices valid until31 .03.10
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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
While it may tie true that
building your own PC is no
longer the cost -saving
exercise it once was, doing
so has one main advantage:
you can choo5t' high-quality
components that match
your needs. This month
we're helping you lind that kit with our huge
Build a Better PC lilbs, starting on page 68.
We've reviewed every single proa>ssor
currently avallable from AMO and Intel - a
total of 6S chips in 311- 12 motherboards, 12
cases, 12 memory kits (4GB and 8GB sets) and
12 power supply units. Whether you' re
looking to build your own computer from
scratch or upgrade your existing PC, this labs
will help you find the right kit.
If you'd rather just buy a powerful
computer, our laptop labs (page 100) will be
of interest. This month the majority of the
computers use Intel's new Core i3 and is
","ocessors. So. despit e prices starting at under
£500, you'll find that these models are
significantly laster than laptops that cost
£700 a couple of months ago. Simply put, you
get iocredible power on a tight budget.
Whe n you buy a ne w computer it can be
hard to kllOw what to do with your old one.
Fortunate ly, o ur guide to recycling (page 116)
is here to help. We'lI show you how to dispose
01 your old computer legally arld securely
0<>"" PowerSl>ot A495
AOff .>.spire S740-332G2SMn 102
C"'''' Edim EX-Z280
link.yo WRT310H
AOff Asp ... 7740-334GSOMn 104
Fujifdnl FineF>i . F200EXR
, ..
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A<jvent C""tvrion C8[1401 19
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Fujifilm Fi nepi. S200EXR H Synology VS60
Broadband Comput ... Co AI.. 27
Inspiron 1564 103
MeU 36C-2 H
Nik"" C<><>4>i. SS10
, ..
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AI.ca .. Zen
De!l lnspiron One 23
Pan.sonic DMC-FB8
AMD Athl"'" II
Doll Zina HD 20
Pan .. ""ic lomi. DMC-FP8
An!e< Ni ... Hundred Two
L, nov<> Ide,Pad U4SOp 16
P." .. ""ic lomi. DMC·TZ6
An!e< Th,.., Hundr<:<J
wipe your hard disk so that you're not
accidentally giving away private data.
Security is something we should all be
interested in, as hacker!; target our computers
to st eal financial and private infOfmation_ Our
guide to the future of cybercrime (page 124)
will show you how threats are evolving arld
how hacker!; could soon be atlacldng
internet-connected TVs and
smartphones as we ll as pcs.
David LudlDw
Eneon .. RevoIulion8S+ 1.0SOW
Corsair CM)(4GX3M2A 16OOC7 " M
Mesh 1 S WfIIf'f CS 20
P",ta. op!", MSS
Arct i, Cooling Sil.ntium T1 Eco-80
,. Corsair CM)(8GX3M4A 16OOC9 M
M51 CR610.o13 102
Podc.,d Sell do! .2 14
Pockard e...n T)75 104
PC ZOOS!OJm 72·4301 Core
i3 Adv, n<ed HO PC 24
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$om .... ng R780 106
Sony V, io VPC_E81SOEIWI 105
Yoyoloch W'!tlird i6SOc' 24
A 1 Liquid 30
Ama,,,,, Kindle 2 30
Appie iPhone 3G S 32GB aIoci 31
HTC 31
LGGW620 31
N, vman S30 3D 30
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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Jobs on the attack at
Pple CEO Steili': Jobs anoounad the
the firm's long-rumoured tablet device, in
February.Jobs said there is room lor a third
device the smartp.hone and the
laptop, but it has to be better than either of them at
tasks such as web browsing.. email, photos, eOOoks
and videos. Apple is one of the few companies
capable of (",ating a new mar1<.et for the tablet .
"Some thought that netbooks were the answer,
but they a",n't better at anything." proclaimed Jobs
during t he announcement.
The iPad will be pOWi':r"@dbya 1GHzAppie A4
processor, whkh is based on ARM t echnology,
but Jobs didn't elaborate on the chip's capabilities.
In terms of wire<j conrlectivity. there's a 3O-pin dod
connector, as well as headphone and microphone
sockets, The iPad indudes support for 802.11n WiFi
and Bluelooth 2.1. Some ma.dels will also have
built-in 3G capabilities.
Data tariffs have yet to be announced for the UK.
In the US, there will be two options: a SlS (around
(10) per month package wit h lSOMB of data or
$30 (around £19) for unlimited data. Neither deal
has a contractual obligation.
The device weighs just 680g and is half an inch
thick, making it an incredibly slim machine;we
expected nothing less from Apple, however. Despite
its very sleek design, battery life hasn't
compromised. You'll typically get 10 hOlJrs in ust'
and over a month in standby mode.
It has a 9.7in capacitive touchscreen with
a high-quality IPS LCD panel, as well as a
built-in accelerometer. Apple considers the
iPad as much of a gaming device as the
iPhone and iPodTouch: you tilt the iPad to
control games in the same way.
J The interface is very similar to the
1 iPhone's arld the iPad runs an updated
vefsion of iPhone as, but Apple didn't say
• whether some of the updates would be rolled
ii out to the iPhone as well.
One controversial omission from the iPad's
armoury is support for Adobe Flash. It 's been
dismissed by Apple for the iPhone and Steve jobs
doesn't look as if he's about to cave in.
Instead, jobs branded Adobe a "lazy" company
before going on to say that f lash was "buggy" and
that it was the primary source of all Macs crashing.
He also said the technology is doomed. HOWi':ver,
when jobs demonstrated the iPad's browsing prowess
during his speech, large areas of the websites shown
displayed the familiar'plug-in missing' icon that
iPhone ust'rs have become accustomed to.
On a more positive 'lOte, the fact that it 's running
iPhone OS means it has access to the App Store's
140,000 applications right from the off. What's more,
you' ll be able to ust' apps that you've already
purchased for your iPhone or iPod Touch without
having to buy them again.
be tilted when you' re g.ames
Nvidia poised to transform games
vidia has announce<! its new Optimus poWi':r-saving
te\:hnology. which enables laptops using it to
switch between the integrated and discrete graphics
chips without the user's knowledge. From the
preliminary testing we've done so far, it 's going to be a
must-have te\:hnology it you want to play games or
watch HD movies while you're 011 the move.
Although switchable graphics aren' t new.Opt imus
is undoubtedly an exciting development. Previous
implementations have forced users to jump throogh
more hoops than there are in a multi -pack of Hula
Hoops and. as a result. most have either given up or
been forced into helpline hell.
The earliest systems require<:! users to reboot their
laptop every time tlley wanted to plilJ' a game or watch
an HD movie in order to fire up the more powerful
graphil3 chip. Later versions allowed users 10 switch
without rebooting, but any application using tile
graphil3 card had to be dosed down, and the screen
flickered while the change was happening. Users don't
want to jump through hoops, which is why Optimus is
prime<! for success: it 's designed not to get in the way of
users. inst ead allovving them 10 focus on enjoyi ng their
compoting experience, but also saving precious battery
life in Ihe process.
The premise is simple: the more powerful discrete
gra phil3 chip will be completely shut off unless it's
require<! by a particular application, and the laptop will
resort to using the more power-efficient integrated
graphil3 chip. As soon as Nvidia's software detects that
an applicat ion needs the power of its graphil3 processor.
it automatically springs into action.
The change is completely st'amless. and you won't
notice anything untoward when you're using the laptop.
Nvidia has achieve<:! this by rooting the display throogh
the integrate<! graphil3 chip even when the discrete
CPU is in use. Whafs more, Nvi dia says that it will be
continually updating ilslisl of applications that require
the GPU "a bi t like an anti-virus update" - in other
words, Ihey'll be automatic.
Ifs a classic case of "why hasn't someooe else done
this before?" but ii 's laken a lot of work behind the
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
iPad launch
Apple said that apps will bt> specifically optimiSf'd for the
thanks to a newly updated version of the iPhorle OS SDK, existing
apps wi ll run either in a window pixel-lor-pixel or b<! loomed to 200 per
cent in full -screen mode.
Apple al50 announced the iBook StOfe, specifically for ,",Uing ebooks
for the iPad.Apple 's UK website fails to mention it, but an Apple
5"akesperson told us that "iBooks wTll be available in the UK, but the
timing of that will not be anoouoced until the iPad gOf'S on sale",
The iPad wil l come in 16, 32 and 64GB capacities with 01" without a
3G modem bui lt in. UK pricing is)'i':t to be announced, but in the US the
WiFi -only model starts at $499 (aroun.d £320) fOf the 16GB model,
going up to $599 (around (387) and $699 (around £452) lor the 32GB
and 64GB modell;. With built-in 3G, prices increa5e to $629, $729 and
$829 (around £4D7, £471 and £536). The WiFi-only model should be
available in the UK in late March, with 3G models following in ApriL
• Apple's dispute with Fujitsu over the iPad name, which has been
ongoing since September 2009, shows no sign of abating. Fujitsu has
been selling its own iPad, a ll,5OOWindows CE point-of-sale device
used in retail stores, since 2002,50 it would seem to be within its rights
to claim ownership of the name.
However, fuj itsu didn't apply for the iPad trademark until 2003. Its
application was bogged down and eventually listed as "abandoned" in
April 2009 be<:ause a company called Mag-Tek had already claimed the
trademark rights to the name for its line of PIN-entry keypads.
Following the abandonment, Fujitsu asked the US Pat ent and
Trademark Office (USPTO) to re-open the application because
Mag-Tek's IPAD had nothing to do with Fujitsu's iPad.The Trademark
Office agreed and re-opened the application. In September, the
USPTO puhlished Fujitsu's application as part of the process that
allows other trademark holders to oppose its registration within a
set period of time. At that point, Apple said it wasn't happy about
Fujitsu's application and filed its own application using a shell
company called IP Application Development.
While Fujitsu's claim seems valid,Apple can't just storm in and
take Fujitsu's pending trademark because it wants the name.
Instead, it's going to have to argue that iPad is too similar to iPod
while filing its own iPad trademark registration. At the same time,
it will have to convince the USPTO that it won't confuse peQ9le
looking for Mag-Tek's PIN-entry machines, never mind Si emens'
iPad motor trademark orCocorlUt Grove's iPad bras.
!s and HD on the move
scenes. Currently, the technology is available only in systems using Intel
proceSSOf5 and integrated g"'phics chipsets; this includes the latest
Core i3, i5 and i7 Arrandale chips, as well as the 4Snm Core 2 Duo and
Atom N400-series prOCe5S0f5.
We have an Asus Ul 50vf laptop in for review at the moment, which
elCl ernally loolo;s very similar to other Asus ULSO-series models. Of COUf5e.
the major changes are inside and we
saw over nine hoors of batterylile in
our initial testing, wIlich is similar to
what we'd expect from a laptQ9 with
only integrated graphics. We are
waiting for Asus to confirm that the
laptop Wf!: hOM' has the correct
specification. and plan to have a full
review of the ULSOvt in next
month's Shopper .
.. Asus's \JlSOvl - .... "'iiiiii;._l
laptop u .... J-Ivklia's
revautionary new
When it comes to providing excellent
audio equipment:
» Compact st ereo for PC/ Multimedia
» Two slim speakers plus a 120 watt integrated amplifier
» Integrated USB soundcard
» Two inputs plus a USB hub
» Extremely natural playback quality
OOTrustedRt vltwuom, '012009:
- These are wort h """I")' .;"!!Ie peony-, Overall: 10/10
» Absolute top class 5-l
multimedia speakerl
» SI.lbwooferwith sao WItts
maximum performanct
» 300 mm bass speaer
in bass reflex casing
» Five identical satellitts
with two-way technology
» Recommended fo rrooms
up to 30 m
Tt chnlt]D.com, OS/2009:
- Un;n h;bftN purcl1ase l«ommenDation-.
Overall: 92.85%, Gold A ... rd


Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Microsoft unveils new mobile
Windows operating system
icrosolt has unveiled i15 next-generation
mobile phone operating system, the
Windows Phooe 7 marking a dean break
from the firm's ageing Windows Mobile platform.
The Windows Phone 7 Series operating system is
an evolution of the company's Zune HD
software. It's a massive step forward for
Microsoft and one that could be a huge hit with
consumers. but we're not so convinced about its
appeal to businesses at the moment.
For the time, Microsoft has integrated
Xbox Live and the Zune's music and video
capabilities together 00 a mobile phooe, but the
innovations go deeper than that. Microsoft CEO
Steve BaUmer said he ' chaUenged" the team "to
delivt'r a different kind 01 mobile The
Windows Phone 7 SeriesOS ' maJ1.:s a turning
point toward phones that truly reflect the speed
of people's lives and their need to connect to
other people and all kinds of seamless
experiences," Ballmer claime<!.
The interface is a complete departure from
Windows Mobile and even early versions of
Windows Phone, and uses a very simple tiled
home screen. These ti les are updated in real time,
lee<!ing inrormation from various soull:es to
deliver a more interactive experience. It's the first
major interface overhaul we've seen since Apple
introduce<! tile iPhooe operating system more
than three years ago.
You can create customised tiles - for a
particular friend, for example - and the Windows
Phone 7 as will deliver an up-to-date and
readable view of that person's latest pictures and
status updates from popular social networks; it's
a handy tool for stalkers, that's lor sure.
Microsoft's Bing search engine will be directly
integrated into every Windows Phone 7 Series
handset thanks to a dedicate<! hardware button
lor one-dick access to search, no matter where
you are in the phone's interface.The search
engine has been optimise<! to provide intent-
specific results depending on the type of query.
Windows Phone 7 achieves its simplicity
through a series of Windows Phone hubs, which
essentially mash up related content from the
web, applications and 5elVices into a single view.
There are six hubs built into Windows Phone 7:
People, Pictures, Games, Music andVideo,
Marketplace and OHice. These are fairly
self-e.-planalory, but the implementation
looks very slick,
.. Too Musk and V>deo hub pulls together liles
Irom your PC as well as o",lne content
On opening the hub, you're greeled
with a tile view 01 the contacts you interact with
the most. Scrolling sidewa)'$ brings up your full
contacts list, while scroWng sideways once again
opens a central place from which to post updates
to Facebook and Windows live, whi le also
checking on your friends' latest posts.
The Pictures hub has similar
where you C3n view the latest photos uploaded
by your friends. Currently, Windows Phone 7
Series appears to be limited to sharing
information only over Facebook and Windows
live, but we're hoping that it will expand to cover
other social networks and photo-sharing 5elVices.
Microsoft has said that every Windows Phone 7
Series handset must have at least a five-
megapixel C3mera built in.
UnderGames,you can connect with
your Xbox Live friends, play games, coUect
achievements and view your gamer profile.
If Microsoft can deliver sufficient content
at decent prices, this could be a decent
competitor to the iPhone and iPod
Touch, which currently rule the roost when
it comes to gaming on the move.
The Music and Video hub is similar to the
ZunI' HD's interface, with a collection of content
from your PC and a selection of online music
5elVices. Every Windows Phone 7 Series handset
will also indude a built-in FM radio transmitter.
Mobile Outlook has had a massive overhaul
and it's now much simpler to wol1< through high
volumes of email There are tabs lor all messages,
unread messages. flagged messages and more.
TeKl is very crisp and dear and, 01 course,
there's Exchange support right out of the box.
It's Pfob<lbly the best mobile email applicati on
we've seen to date,
Sadly, Windows Phone 7 Series uses Internet
Explorer as its web browser, but all is not
completely lost. Microsoft has built auto-zoom
capabilities into the browser, meaning that even
in its default viewing mode the main body of
text is completely re<KIable, You can also loom in
using the built-in multitouch gestures (which
every handset will have) and pin web pages to
your home screen.
Finally, the OHice hub brings a familiar
Microsoft Office experience to your mobile
phone. There's built-in support ror OHice,
OneNOle and Sharepoinl WCHtspace, and it's aU
... AI! Windows Phone 7 Series hMId<elS will shafe
a cOl"np¥allwly high minimum <!)eellication
in one place, syncing over the air with the cloud.
This means you can read, e<!it and share
documents very easily: it looke<! pretty
compelling during the demo we saw.
Our only reselVations are that Windows
Phone 7 Series may not appeal to businesses
because of aU the 'extras'. Full Microsoft Office
support and one of (if not) the best mobile email
applications we've seen are all well and good,
but will bUSinesses be able to disable portions
of the as that they don't want employees to
use? Microsoft wouldn't comment. 50 we'll
have to wait to find out.
that have been developed for
Windows Mobile aren't supported in Windows
Phone 7 Series but , a clean break was
probably the only way Microsoft could remove
all the pitfalls of ils old mobile phone as.
Hopefully, with a decent SDK and developer-
friendly tools, there should be a decent number
of applications available by the time the lirst
handsets come to mar'<: ellaler this year.
On that note, Microsoft said devices are
already being buill by a variety of manufacturers
and will start to appear in time forChristmaS.The
list of partners indudes Quakomm, LG, Sam sung.
GarminAsus. HTC , Dell, Sony Ericsson and
TOShiba. Microsoft won't be building or selling its
own phones, but it will more responsibility
for the phones that are released.
For starters, there'll be a strict minimum
hardware specification, which includes a
capacitive multitouch screen wilh at least four
points of touch, an accelerometer, a live-
megapi xel camera and an FM radio, and there'll
be no custom skins lor the as. This is to make
sure that anyone who buys a Windows Phone 7
Series handset gets a similar experience.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Google Apps drops Internet
Explorer 6 support
oogle announced that ihApps luite. which
includes Coogle Docs, will no 1000ge. support
Internet hplorer 6 other out-of-date browsers.
"In order to continue to improve our products and
deliver more sophisticated features and performance,
we are harnessing some of the latest improvements in
web browser technology. This includes faster JavaScript
processing imd new standards such as HTMLS. A5 a
result, over the course of 2010, we wiU be phasing
oul support for Internet Explorer 6.0 3S well as other
older browser<; that are not supported by their own
manufacturers," !><lid the search giant in a statement.
From 1 March 2010. support for older browsers will
be phased out from Google Docs and Google Sites.
Users of old browsers will lind Ihat these applications
may have a higher kllency in use or may not wol1<
property.Google Apps will continue to work correctly in
IE 7, Firelox 3.0, Google Chrome 4.0 and Salari 3.0, as
well as newer versions of these browsers,
The move comes Microsoft admitted that a
flaw in IE6 was used by Chinese hackers to attack
Google (News, Shopper 266), Since then, the backlash
against Microsoft's browser has been harsh and even led
to both the French and German governments telling
users that Internet Explorer is insecure and that they
should ditch it completely.
Many users caned for a similar announcement from
the UK government, and a petition on the Prime
Minister's Number 10 website caned for the
govemment to drop Sllpport for Internet Explorer6.0.
The petition, which had more than 6,000 signatures at
the time 01 press, argues Ihat IE6 "has some security
flaws that leave users vulnerable" and that the UK
should follow the examples set by France and Germany.
The attacks on Google seemed to raise awareness
about Intemet Explorer 6.0's shoncomings, as the latest
web browser market-share ligures showed that Internet
Explorer 8 managed to overtake IE6 in Januaf)'.
Your Starter for 2010: new
Office prices revealed
icrosoft has announced its pricing plan forOftice
2010, saying that it hopes to "make it easier
than ever before" for consumers to get hold 01 the
right version of Office lor their needs. MicrosoltWorks
has been replaced with Ollice Starter 201O,I'o'hich is
completely and will be bundled with new PCs.
Ollice Starter includes lightweight versions of
Word and Excel and will provide users with "basic
productivity features". Microsoft hasn't detailed
exactly what will be included in Oftice Starter 2010,
but we expect them to be slightly more functional
than the cloud-based Oftice services the company
launched last year. OHice Starter users will be able to
upgrade to the full version of Ollice 2010 at any time.
The company has introduced a system called
Product Key Cards for Ollice 2010. This gives users a
key to unlock the version of Office
2010 pre-installed on a new PC , and is
likely to result in more PC makers
installing OHice as standard on their
machines, because they know they'll
have the opportunity to up-sell their
customers to a full version.
The wsic version ofOHice 2010,
Home and Student, will cost £ 110
indudingVAT for the boxed copy and
£90 indudingVAT for a Product Key
Card. Office Home and Student 2010
indudesWord 2010, Excel 2010,
PowerPoint 2010, OneNote 2010 and
access to the OHice Web Apps.
eKtra, as the boxed version has a recommended retail
price of £240. The Product Key Card is a slightly easier
pill to swallow at £190, but it 's still a £100 upgrade that
adds only Outlook 2010.01 course, if you're using
Exchange or need Outlook's functionality, there isn't
really a viable altemative.
Finally, Oftice Professional 2010 will retail at a
breathtaking £430 for the boxed copy and £300 lor a
Product Key Card. This is undoubtedly a lot of money
considering the cont inually improving free altematives
such as Google Docs and OpenOffice.
However, Ollice Professional 2010 is Microsoft's
complete productivity suite and indudes Word 2010,
Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, OneNote 2010, Outlook
2010, Publisher 2010 and Access 2010, as well as access
to 'premium technicalsupporl' and the Office Web
Apps. Ultimately, that's a lot of software for
the money, but most consumers that
need this kind of power will be part 01 a
larger organisation that relies on
Microsoft'sVolume Licensing.
On that note, Microsoft hasn't
announced its Volume Licensing price
plans lor Office 2010 yet. but there's
still plenty of time ahead of the suite's
scheduled June release.
OHice Home and Business 2010 ... Box dever: the basic "erslon
If you're unsure whether it's wonh
the upgrade, Microsoft is running a free
beta program so you can give it a tf)'
ahead of its launch. Head over to
Microsoft 's Office 2010 home page at
for more information, adds Outlook 2010, which costs £130 of Office will retail for £110

Nokia has announced
Symblan"3, which looks to a
massive improvement on
previous versions of the OS.
Major new futures include
multlt ouch guture support, a
new user with multiple
home screens and widgets,
yisual multituic.inZ manazement
and a new media int erface that
looks slmlbr to Apple's Cover
flow view on the iPhone.
HP has announced the AlrUfe
100, a netbook running Android
that will b. sold excluslyely
throuzh 0 •. device uses
Quakomm's Snapdragon
processor Instnd ofthe more
widely used Intel Atom chip.
From what we've seen so
far, the AirUfe 100 appears to
USe I modIfied "trsl on of t he
chassis HP employs for its
u lstlng range of Atom , nd
Windows· b>osed netbooks.
TomTom hiS , nnounced that
aU newTomTom XL Live and Go
_50 satnl YS will come with I
year's free Live subscrIption
unt il Easter. TomTom Live's
services Include HD t raffk,
safety alerts, the latest fuel
prices and aCcess to Google's
local search service. The offer
will save buyers from having to
pay the ES-per-month
subscription for the first year.
Noki a and Intel have announced
that their Mn mo and Mob1l1n
operating systems have been
mu ged t o create MeeGo,1
Linu.-based OS supportinZ
multlp" hardware archltecturu
and device types, including
mobile phones, net books,
t.blets, connected TVs and
In_vehicle Infotainment systems.
The first devices are upected
lat er thi s year.
Click: dell.co.uk Call: 0844 444 3242
Sam·9pm Weekdays, 9am-6pm Saturdays, 10am'Spm Sundays
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com

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Acer Aspire One 532G
has shown 011 the lirst netbook to use
Nvidia's next-genefiltion Ion graphia; chip.
The original Ion chipset tfilnslormed a netbook
from a device that was 5Uitable for little more than
browsing the web and writing emails and Word
documents into something powerful enough lor
gaming and HD video.
Acer's Aspire One 532G is, in many ways, similar
to the earlier S32h, which WilS the company's first
Intel PineView (Atom N450) netbook. The keyboard
and tfilekpad have a lairly positive action. and the
l,024x600 display's viewing angles are good.
The ports down the right- and left-hand edges
of the machine have changed slightly. The 532G has
just two USB ports. compared to the three on the
532h (one on each side). The third USB port has
been replaced with an HOMI port. enabling you to
connect the 532G to yourTV to watch HO videos.
Inside the case. the 532G is very similar to the
532h. There's an Atom N450 processor, 1GB of RAM
and a 250GB hard drive. The headline inclusion for
&Comlr.g out 01 $Creen near vou: Panasonlc's
3D TV. may be but they ..... a lot ....
power than conventional plasma sets
Canon EOS 5500
he newest addition to Canon's popular line 01
consumer OSLRs is the EOS SSOO.1t has an
lS-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, 10S0p HD
video recording with lull manual control and
Canon's new 63-point iCFL metering system, first
seen on the semi-professional (OS 70.
The 550D's sensor has an ISO range from 100
to 6400, expandable to 12S00. The highlight.
though, is the improvement to the auto-ISO
system, which lets you select a maximum ISO to
ensure images have a minimum 01 noise.
As well as capturing still images. the EOS 5S00
records video in 1080p full HD at 30, 25 and
241ps, and also offers nop at 60 and 50lps.You
can take control of exposure settings, depth of
field and degree 01 motion blur, as well as
independent highlight tone priority control
MAY 2010
the 532G, however, is Nvidia's Ion 2 gfilphics chip.
which hasn't been officially announced. Sefore
Acer's reps realised what we were doing. we
managed to run a quick benchmari; using
30Mark03. It scored 3.049 points, which is about
the same as the original Ion chip. so performance
doesn't look to have improved much.
With that said, we weren't expecting to
major performance increilses.lnsteild we were
hoping to a continued focus on improving
power consumption and efficiency using Nvidia's
Optimus technology page 8). Ion
was ultimately released to raise the 'good
enough' bar and it doesn't need to be filised
again at the moment. We'U leam more
about Ion 2 later this month and bring you
more information soon.
Understandably, Acer hasn't announced
pricing or availability lor the Aspire One 532G.
but we' ll bring you those details as soon as we
get our hands on a review modeL
... Ace .. , Aspl,e One 5320 u .... Nvidia',Ion
2 9'lIPhics, but we noticed little performance
In a quick te$t
Panasonic's 30 plasma lVs
t's been two in the making. but we
finally got our hands on Panasonic's 3D TVs at
its p,ess conference in Germany in february.
The 65in model (Viefil TX-P6SVT20) wit!
cost around £4.000 when it launches later thiS
year, while the 50in model (TX-PSOVT20) is
expected to cost £2.000. Panasonic says this is
roughly £400 more than a non-3D TV.
The newTVs have improved image quality
and power consumption. one of the problems
with plasma technology. They use around 40 per
cent less power than o'dinary plasma TVs. while
' 30 high-speed drive technology' means that
the common problem of slightly blurry 3D
images has been much reduced.
(which doesn't change the still image capture
settings) while recording video.
The 550D'5 body has gone through a number
of changes. the biggest of which is the new 3in
SCfE'i'n.Canon has changed the ratio from 4:3 to
3:2. but left the resolution at 1.024.000 pixels.
which allows the user to view 100 per cent
captured images without the letterbox effect. It
atso means thaI the interface has had to undergo
a number 01 changes in the LiveViewfMovie and
playbad modes. with the information now
overtaid on top. Following user feedback, the
buttons have also been tweaked and are now
much bigger and more intuitive.
Canon's EOS SSOO is compiltible with
all Canon EF and U-S lenses, as well as the
EX-series Speedlite flash units. It should be
Two pairs 01 shutter glasses are included
with each TV (additional pairs cost £100). These
have been better synchronised with the frames
to reduce eye strain. Instead of switching
between each eye immediately. a slight pause
eliminates any light leakage from the screen.
Both TVs have Viera Cast - Panasonic"s web
portal - which now includes video content from
DailyMotion and allows you to make video calls
to Skype users when you connect the optional
USS webcilm.They also have built -in Freesa! HD
and Freeview tuners. although not Freeview HO.
One other improvement is the audio return
channel. which a!lows sound to pass back to an
AV receiver via a standard HOMI ubiI' .
... Canon's EOS 550D Is a consumer D5U! with a
very capable HD video mode
ilvailable by the time you read this with an RRP
01 £799 lor the SSOD IS-55 IS kit . However,
Canon's pricing is a good deal higher than the
high street, $0 we"!1 wait to hear from retailers
and evaluate image quality before milking any
judgements on this camefil. We're especiaUy
excited about its video Cilpabilities. though.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
For the best computing experience, a good
monitor is just as important as a powerful
processor. LCD screens may all look very
similar at first glance, but the best are far
superior. Our new favourite, the low-cost
BenQ G2222HD (on page 34), is an ideal
upgrade for anyone with an aging display.
If you want to upgrade your PC's
components, our labs on page 68 covers
most of your needs. To play games,
though, you'll need a graphics card. We
test three new ATI models on page 48.
You may prefer to buy a new PC, rather
than building one. If so, you have two
new options from Dell. The Dell Zinc HD
(page 20) is compact and stylish, with a
great specification; while the Dell
Inspiron One is an aU-in-one model with
a touchscreen display (page 24) .
Finally, we test a selection of budget
flash guns on page 37. A good flash gun,
combined with an off-camera adaptor
such as the iShoot PT-04C (on page 20),
can help you achieve professional-
looking portraits.
Seth Barton
Reviews Editor
This month What 's New Cont ents
dot s2
***** £300 inc VAT
From www.pcworld.co.uk
Packard Bell's dot s2 is a sleek, stylish netbook
that uses the new Intel Atom N4S0 proceswr.
This has an integrated graphics chip. which
should help reduce power consumption.The
battery life of eight hours in our light usage
test is great, but not quite the best we've seen.
It currently comes in red or black. although
our review sample is the forthcoming white
vef5ion, Despite its svelte profile, the dot s2 felt
well-built, with little flex in the lid and a firm
keyboard panel, It's built from a number of
materials, with a glossy, patterned lid, a silver
keyboard panel and a metallic front edge,
We were especially impressed by the hinge
assembly. which did a good job of hiding the
bulky 4400mAH battery but also let us tilt the
lid back by around 160°, making it great lor use
in cramped spaces, such as an economy airline
seal. The power button and a wireless indicator
are built into either end of the assembly,
We were pleasantly surprised by the
keyboard, which provides good feedback and
travel but has quite a stiff action. The ke)'$
have llat tops and very little space between
them, but they're large enough to prevent
too many errOf5. and we found the dot s2
comfortable to type on. While Dell has made
some compromises in the layout. we were
happy to find a double-height Enter key and a
large right Shift key, and the Control key is in
the proper position at the bottom-left comer.
The touchpad has a vertical scrolling area
and supports multitouch gestures (although
you'd be hard pressed to use them in such a
small space), but its see-saw button is stiH and
has traveL It's set right on the edge of the
so your thumb rests easily on it. but as it's
so narrow, your thumb can brush the pad and
Ciluse the cursor to jump.
PCSystems&laptops page14 page3i? PhlJtlJgraphy page 36

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The screen is blight, with an backlight, but has
a blue cast that can images feel cold. Vertical
angles are w;,ry tight, and Ihe glossy screen
reflects ovemead lighting. $0 it's not
Also included is.n Xsync dongle for easy file
transfers bEtween the dot s2 and other PCs.The
software is already installed on the dot s2, so you
simply plug the dongle into the
plug the other end into
your PC, and you can instantly
start transferring files or Outlook
data bEtween them. As the dot s2
is to bE a 5eCond computer,
bundling this simple tool is a
stroke of
ideal lor an office environment.The
integrated graphics chip isn't quite
powerful enough to pl<!y HD content
- evenYooTube's nop content is
jerky - atthough that's hardly a big
problem given the netbook's
l ,024x600-resolution display. 3D
games are out 01 the question.
The dot 52 comes with some
useful extras. A full copy of
Photoshop Elements 7 is installed lor
touching up your snaps. Although the
dot 52's Atom processor isn't up to
serious photo-editing. ii's a handy
for organising photos and
milking quid edits - such as getting
rid 01 red-eye, boosting colour
saturation or cropping.
Aud,o pageQ
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Storage page 44
_ n-buHt "", book witt> on .... coll..,t
dec..,t battery and
u .. fuI .-xtr ..
NETIIOOK l.66GH. ln,el"" om N4SO. 1GB
RAM,l5OGB diole. Inte( GMA 31 SO gr.phia,
10.lin wi<l<->c, _ l CO, Wlnd""" 1 St." .. ,
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Networks page 46
CompDnents page4.il
It's these little extras that set the
dot s2 apart from other netbooks,
and combined with the comfortable
keyboard, bright screen and
excellent build quality, make it a
compelling choice. Its eight-hour
battery life is respectable and at just
BOO, it's a little cheaper than the
Windows 7 vef5ion of Sam sung's
excellent Nl40.
Bar/)' de la Rosa
Software 6- Games page 50
I need a computer for a
technically challenged
relative. What should I buy?
We're often asked this
question, as Shopper
readers seem to end up acting
as unofficial t ech support for
friends and family. If you're
really sick of being phoned on a
Sunday evening to be asked
wlty someone else's email isn't
wondng, you should ched out
the Alex laptop on page 27. It's
quite expensive, though, with a
£9.99 monthly
Cheaper opt ions indude
buying a standard and
sett ing up Windows to boot
dir&tly into a web browser.
From here, the user can have
access, through bookmarks, to
web-based applications such as
onli ne storage, webmail and
photo hosting. This will make it
hard for them t o mess anything
up,as they won't see the
Windows desktop and won't be
installing any applications,
We're intrigued by the idea
of a foolproof PC and will tackle
it in detail in a future issue.
Barry de la Rasa
Laptops and
handhelds expert
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
4 Port USB
2.0 In Desk
£20 inc VAT
From www.lindy.co.uk
lindy's cleverly designed In
Desk USB Hub slots into the
hole found in most offke Oem
for routing cables. The central
core (onLlining the lour USB
ports and the captive USB plug
is so you «In still
thread chunky cables such as
your PC's kettle power lead
through the hole.A gentle
touch is required, as it's easy to
snap the plastic dips holding
tile core in place.
Unfortunately, the Hub lias
only a si ngle USB plug instead
of two plugs or the option for a
power adaptor, so it may have
trouble wi th power hungry
peripherals. It's also expensive,
but if you have a duttered
desk, the In Desk Hub is a

DlT.o.ILSwwwJi nd)o.<Q.uI<
4 Port USB
Alan Lu
2.0 Cable Hub
£11 inc VAT
From .Ii
Lindy's compact Cable Hub is
designed for laptops. It
provides three USB ports am! a
mini USB cable lor connecting
devices such as smartphooes
and digital cameras, It feels
very sturdy and well made.
A port on the side lets you
conned: a power supply for
power hungry peripherals,
although this isn't supplied. We
prefer the design of Sandberg's
almost identical USB Hub for
laptop (seeWhan
Shopper 26S). which has the
same number of ports, but can
conned: to your laptop using
two USB plugs instead of just
one to provide extra power, It
doesn' t feel as wet! made and
is a bit shorter. but it costs just
£1 more from www.sandberg.
it. It's the better portable hub.
'''RT CODE 42836
O[UJLS www.lir><iy,<o.ui<
Alan lu
Idea Pad U450p
*** £576 inc VAT
From www.ilgs.co.uk
lenovo's new ldeaPad U4SOp is a slimline laptop with
a funky textured pattern on the lid 3nd
paneLThe styling may be a little busy for
some people but it 's certainly eye-catching.
and its build quality feels excellent.At 2kg, it's
at the limit of our definition of an ultra-portable. The
battery lile of lour-and-a-half hour5 i5 di:;<lppointing for
a laptop with an ultra-low Voltage processor, but it's
under5tandable when you consider th .. t the U4SOp has
a dedicated graphics card. which draws more power
than the integrated chips found in all the CULV laptops
seen to date.
The 14;n 1.366x768 display's fluorescent backlight
is also less power efficient than the lEO variety. Colour5
are rich and natural but contrast is below par. and the
screen's glossy fini sh creates reflections from overhead
lights. Tight viewing angles exacerbate this. as
you can't always place the screen at the best angle.
The dedicated graphics chip
4GB of RAM is 5Cored only 43 overall in our
benchmarl:$. This makes it twice as powerful as a
netbook. and its two cores mean it copes better with
multiple applications.The generous SOOGB hard disk
was good to see.
The keyboard has a light action, with a crisp cut-oH
point at the top 01 the keystroke that gives superb
feedback. The touchpad is good too, and although it's
not as large as some. we found it responsive and
smooth. III two large, separate buttons have a light
is an unusual inclusion in an
ultra-portable. The AT! HD 4330
card isn't very fast though. 5Coring
lS.2fps in Call of Duty 4. Turning
the resolution down to 1.024x768
and turning oH anti-aliasing helped
it to a barely playable 24.7fps.lt
won't run the latest action games
at playable lrame rates, but the
U4SOp is capable 01 running older
games and more sedate genres.
such as role-playing games.
VEROICTWtth. wriou. mi. of
action and a decent amount 01
travel. Small , metallic buttons on
the right side 01 the keyboard
control the volume, and a small
button above the power button lell
you boot into Lenovo's OneKey
backup and recovery software.
compae! duign, OVD drive and
dedic.oted the U450p i,. i,.d
of aIllrade. but • maSler of none
Cor. 2 Duo sunoo. 4GB AAM. 500GB dili<.
ATI Mob<Uty R.o.on HO
ovo. /·RW . 01., 14in lCO.
Wor>dow1 7 Hom. Zl<g.
).4<34Dx2l8mm. "",, ·yur RTS w..,..nty
13W i<le. oct ".
PAAT Coo( M21l 5UK
The dedicated graphics card can
also be used to speed up video
encoding and some image-editing
software, but the 13GHz Core 2
Duo SU7300(ULV processor isn't
built for speed. Combined with the
£278 includi ng VAT
From www.simply .. sus.oom
Asus's new Eee Sox looks almost identical to
previous models, but it has been thoroughly
ove.-hauled inside. It ha5 a dual-core Atom
processor and Nvidia's Ion chipset. which can
play HO video and provides plenty of ports.

Six USB ports are provided for adding
peripherals and storage devices, and it includes
802.11n for f .. st wireless networking. As. well as a
VGA output, there's an HOMI port lor connecting
the EB 1012 to an HDTV.
The dual-core Atom 330 and 2GB of RAM
really a difference in everyday use, with
I z

-. --
The U4SOp is a cute little laptop
that's light enough lor travening but
lacks the long battery life of a
decent netbook or many other
ultra-portables. However, with its
dedicated graphics chip and built-in
OVO it's more like a compact
general-purpose laptop than a
typical ultra-portable. If you're
looking for a small but capable
laptop. this could fit the bill.
Barry de la Rosa
NETTOI' 1.6GH. In .. l """" 3)0.
Wor>dow1 7 Hom< 2GB
RAM, 2SOGS hord df!l<. Nvidi.
222. 171lx27mm.
two·y .. , coUtct· on<!· re!OOl '''''''''n!y
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much snappier Windows performance; it scored 50 per
cent higher in our benchmarks than most nettops.
Windows XI' still ships on many nettops, but the
EB1012 uses the far more sophisticated Windows 7.
About the size 01 a hardback novel. the EB 1012
comes wi th aVESA mount and so can be mounted on
the b .. d 01 a monitor, creating a compact all·in-one
Pc. Small, and powerful enough for HD
movies andWindow:s 7. it's the combinat ion 01
smart hardware design and a dual-core processor
that edges it ahead 01 the compet itiorl.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
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Centurion CBE1401
** £699 includiog VAT
From www.pcworld.co.uk
Advent's Centurion CBEI401 is a gaming PC with an
overdoded. water-cooled Phenom II X2 processor imd
an ATI Radeon HD 5750 graphics card. The water-
cooling has allowed Advent to increase the processor's
speed from 3.1GHz to 3.4GHz, but it could easily be
pushed further with a little in the BIOS. It
also reduces the amount 01 noise. and even sitting next
to the Centurion, you're only aware of a low whisper.
The dual-core Phenom is actually a rather cheap
processor, and disappointing at this price. It scored well
in our image-editing test, where Advent's overdocking
significantly boosted the PC's single-core performance,
but fell down on the video-encoding test, which
favour.; triple- and quad-core CPUs.lls overall score 01
92 doesn' t compare very well with the scores from last
month's £700 PCs (see Labs, Shop{>f'r 266).
The HD 5750 is one of our current favoorite
graphics cards, and produced respeclable scores in our
gaming benchmal1<S.The ability to
play Crysis at over 3011'5 means this SUMMARY
further. Advent covered this vent with a dear
sheet on the inside. We wonder why Advent decided to
have a window in the lirst pl<!ce. While most of the
large cables in the case have been tidily bundled, many
unsightly smaller wires criss-cross the case.
Except for the water-cooling system, there's little of
interest inside the case. The motherboard is a dated
model with two PS/2 ports and a parallel port instead
of the more modem eSATA, FireWire and digital audio
OUlp!JIS. The lack of spare PCI sloll is incre<:iible, and
Advent's decision to fill one of
the available slots with a wireless
PC will t.:lke on any modem PC game
at high resolutions and detail settings,
and should last a couple of year.;
belore you need to upgrade.
VERDICT A ca •• and
quiet w.t .... cooling can'l make yp for
u... poor chol e. of mou...rboard, and
it's mucf, 100 oxpens'"
card beggars belief. Serious online
garners wouldn't be 5een dead
using a WiFi connection, and the
slot would have been better filled
with a decent sound card. The Centurion has a bold design,
and although we could do without the
large illuminated AMD and Advent
logos, we appreciated the protruding
top panel wilh its large, backlil power
button and memory card slots. The
rubber tray behind this is an ideal
place to leave any e>ctemaillard
drives, while another panel houses
four USB ports. an eSATA port and
audio jacks.
The left side of the case has a
window with a vent buitt in, To reduce
E460 inc VAT
From www.dabs.com
We reviewed the R520 in Shopper 262.
but this newer model comes with
Windows 7. With its glossy bli>ck lid
silver internal design, the RS20 certainly
looks a class apart, and you wouldn't
guess that it's a budget model.
The IS.6in screen is bright and
vibrant thanks to the lEO
back1ight. The
integrated Intel
graphics chipset can't
handle the latest 3D
games, but playing HD vide(l is no
DESKTOfI PC .t.MD _ II XZ S50 Block
Wlodows 1 Hom. Pt.", .. ", M-bll.
4GSAAM, 15OGShorddi>l<.
I'D S750.DVD+I-1\W .I- ot DVD-AAM.
SISI<2<lS.S4-Imm.OM-Y'" RTS
100101' i<le. 131101' KIm

DETAILS ........... ,pcworId.co.uk
In the end, the Centurion
CBEI401 is simply far too
expensive, It doesn't (Orne with a
monitor or speaker.;, and yet it
costs the same as oor Best Buy
Yoyotech Warbird i650cs (see
page 23}.That PC achieved a far
higher score in our benchmarks,
lias a better selection of ports
and comes with 7.15UITOund
sound and a 22in monitor.
Barry de la Rosa
Cor. < O\IoT6soo. 3Ga
di>i<. lnttlGM" . SOOM HDarophk",
DVO. / -RW +I-ot, IS.6inwidfl<f ....
LCD, 2.$:&- 31x376x2S6mm,
OM-y • ., coUect-Or>d-... tu," """""I)'
PART COOf: NP. R52O-)Ml-4U(
DET"U www ... m.u..l!.co . .*
FUllREVIEW M., 2010
problem. The keyboard actioo is light. with just
enough resistance to provide excellent feedback for
the RS20 is st ill more than adequate for office
ilnd internet applications. Its lasted iln
excellent 4hrs 17mins in our light usage test.
A!; an old model stock is running low. but it's a
bargain at this price, and a great budget altemat ive to a
new Core i3 model (see page l00).
The R520 is among the last of the Core 2
Duo-based laptops, new Core i3 models are filster, but
£17 inc VAT
From www_solartechnology.
The PieD is a battery pack that
you can charge using
Its panel takes 10 hours to
charge the BOOmAh battery,
wMe the mains takes only
three f'oOurs. You can also
charge it from a laptop.
II you need to lop up your
phoroe or other portable
gadgel's charge when you're
away from a power socket,
the Pieo is a flexible wily to
make sure that you never run
out of power. It's also one of
the best-value battery packs
we've seen ilnd a
potential life-saver.
Barry de la Rosa
DETAILS ............

E46 inc VAT
From www.oll'erdockers.
This compact gaming keyboard
fits a full keyboard into a liny
frame by merging the arrow
and page navigalion keys with
the number pad.You switch
between the two by hitting the
Mode key.
The lunction keys are
built into the top edge 01 the
Cil5e, ilnd there are three
programmaMe buttons.
Reinforted by a metal sheet,
the ANO can withstand game
rage. With comfortilble keys
that have excellent feedback,
this is a de<ent gaming
keybo.ard. Logitech's Desktop
Wave is a better all-round
choice, though.
Barry de Iii RO$il
'''RTCOOE RQC- 12-5O(I
orr.o.u ............ ro<oot.O<i
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Inspiron Zino HD
£540 including VAT
From Dell 0844 444 5818
An increasing 01 Dell 's pes have
colourful designs. and Ihe Zino HD is no
exception. There's a range 01 attractive coloors
and patterns. while the fest of the lino's design
is both and curvaceous. Although it's not
quite as small as Apple's Mac mini. it 's still tiny,
and also whisper-quiet. A built-in receiver
It's generously equippe<llor a mini PC at this
price, The optical drive can play but nol write
Btu-ray discs. HD video playback was smooth
thanks to the Radeon HD 4330 graphics chip.
althoogh this isn't powerful enoogh lor playing
modem 30 games. There are no surround-soond
outputs other than the HDMI port. while the
integrated sound chip supports only DVD-
quality surround soond. This
would have been most welcome.
The Zino is the first PC we've seen that
comes equippe<l with AMD'sAthlon 64 X2
3250e processor. It's a low-voltage model with a
TOP 01 just 22W. Paired with 4GB of RAM, it
managed an overaU score of 3S in our
benchmarks, it roughly equrvalent to an
Intel (ULV processor designed for ultra-portable
laptops. It 's faster than an
Atom-powered nettop. so it's
more than quick enough for
everyday office and internet
tasks, but it's not ideal for
means you won't get the
best possible audio quality
from Blu-ray movies. and no
support for standards such
as DoIbyTrue HD.
One of the four USB
pot'ts 011 the rear is occupied
by the re<:eiver for the
included wireless keyboard
and mouse. Both of these
are comfonable to use.
Annoyingly. for a PC that
looks ideal for Irving room
use, there's no media centre
remote included. You could
add one later. but the
receiver will use up another
USB pot't and look a tad
£19 inc VAT
Professional photographers use
PocketWiI<lrd transceivers to
wirelessly trigger off-camera
flashes. but with prices from
f2{)(). they're too expensive for
most amateurs. The iSlloot
PT-OK fits in a standard
!lotshoe and worked perfectly
in our tens.lt·s RF-based, and
worked through walls over
dinances of up to 10 metres.
Build quality could be
belter. especially when
accessing the transmitter's
battery compartment. but at
this price)'<lu could just buy
two and keep one as a backup.
Ben Pitt
V£kOICTWe see . PC that's
bol h good value ...,d greal.looklng, bUI
this 8Iu-'''Y-equipped mini ' C scores
In both ""Iegone.
MINI PC AMD Allton 64 Xl 3<50.. Wlr><lowo
7 Hom. !'remi"",, 4GB RfoM. HS disk,
512MBAn MobRily R.adeon liD .)30,
DVD+' _RW +/-0, SO-ROM.
8S.198.200mm ...... -y ... ' RlB .... ".nly
Odlo, sew Klift
more demanding woO;: such as
vKleo enooding or
image editing.
The huge HS hard disk
should be large enough lor aU
but the biggest media libraries,
while a pair of eSATA ports
allows you to add last
external hard disk<; for more
storage. No TV tuners are
included, but these are cheap
and can easily be added later.
There's no room inside for a
PO tuner, so yoo'U have to
EdgelS Gamer CS
**** ';
£699 inc VAT ' 't
Mesh's £dgel5 is aimed at t!lose who want a
laptop with bags 01 power. It's very fast for a
laptop at this price. with an Intel Core 2 OI.lo
P8700 processor and 4GB of RAM. It managed a
decent 77 overall in our 20 benchmari:s.
The ATI Radeon HD 4650 graphics card
helped it to achieve a frame rate of 39.4fps
in oor CaU of Duty 4 test. so you'll be
able to play modem games at
reasonable detail settings. The
Edgel5's 15.6in display is bright
and colourful. with a slight blue
cast to whites.
It's not as stylish as laptops from
big-name vendors. but the black
plastic case doesn't look bad. The
keyboard flexes a little under
pressure, t!lough. and there's little
feed bad, for touch-typists. The
touchpad is large and responsive.
with large buttons.
use a USB model. Wireless networking and a
memory card reader are already built in.
The lino is reasonably easy to upgrade for a
mini PC.Adding memory is a simple maner of
unscrewing the bottom panel to access the two
RAM slots. atlhough you'd have to discard the
two existing modules. The top panel pops off
quite easily. but undemeath is a series 01 screws
and a plastic panel that should be
careluUy as it feels rather fragile. Beneath all this
is the lTB hard disk, which is a standard 3'hin
SATA II desktop model Desklop disks are
cheaper than the 2'hin laptop disks usually
lound in mini PCs. so replacing it with even
bigger disk in future shooldn't be expensrve.
Dell's Zino HD doesn't have the fastest
processor but the rest of the specification is
generous, with lois of memory. a big hard disk
and a Blu-ray drive, There are cheaper HD-capable
PCs, but none as compact. good-looking and
quiet as the Zino.Only a few niggles. such as the
lack of HD audio output or a built-in remote
control receiver. keep it from winning an award.
Alan Lv
While we were happy to find four
USB ports. three of them are
inconvenient ly situated on the front
edge of the case, where cables may get
in the way. Confusingly, there's a
switch that should toggle wireless but
instead controls Bluetooth. Despi te
some quirks. the EdgelS is a good
choice for t!lose who want to play the
odd game on their laptop.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com

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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Zoostorm 72-430l Core
i3 Advanced HD PC
** £700 including VAT
From www.pcnextday.co.uk
Intel"s Core i3 processOl"5 provide plenty of
computing power lor a low price. so
they're a great choice for a mid-priced system.
PC NeKtday"s f700 Z005torm 72-4301 uses just
such a processor. and should been a
balance<! PC that coold handle m05t computing
needs. Unfortunately. it quidly became obvious
that PC Nextday had made some odd choices
with the system·s specification.
Instead 01 a dedicate<! graphics card. the
72-4301 uses the (ore i3's graphics processor.
which is integrated on the chip. It may be a
clever technical arrangement
direct dis<:-to-dis<: copies. However. this
PC isn·t ideally 5uite<!lor Blu-ray playback.
Althoogh the integrated graphics can handle
Blu-ray-quality HD video. the 19in wides<:reen
The motherboard already hasVGA. OVI and
HDMI outputs. so you (an connect it to an HD
TV or add a second monitor.
For audio output it has only the standard
three rear l5mm audio porl5. which support 5.1
surroond sound using the motherboard's Intel
HD audio processor. No 5/PDIF digital ootputs
are provided. which is disappointing on a
modern Pc. There are si x USB ports on the back
and two more al the front.
that helps keep power
consumption down. but it's
not particularly powerful. Its
fine lor everyday office tasks
and even a bit of photo or
video editing. but it simply
C<ln't handle 3D games. It
manage<! a meagre 8Alps in
Call 01 Duty 4 and cravvled
through Crysis at 3.1fps.
Gaming isn·t important
to thougfl. and this
PC has some great
multimedia features. The
most conspicuous features
are its two disc - a
DVD-RW and a Blu-ray drive
- so yoo could watch a
movie while buming a CO. or
vtRDICT o.<;>le a
i3 proc ... .,... Ihi. sySl .... i. poor
value thank..< 10 ",me d..ckledly
muddl.d compon.nt choic ..
otSKTOP I'C Imo! w e i3· S40. Wir>dows 7
Hom. lffmi...., . .eGB RAM. 750GB
..... d disl<. ao-RQM. OVO./· IIW ./· Ol.
OVO./· RW +/· Dl 19"w>descrNn LCD.
37bl98x4Z6mm. one y .. r <OIloct ond
",turn w ... "'nty
i"e. 16(lW ' Clive
Warbird i650cs
£700 inc VAT
From Yoyotech 0871 855 3380
Yoyotech·sWarbird i6SO is insanely powerful. For
£7OO. you get a dual-core Core is proceS50r.
overclocked from 3.2GHz to 4GHz. with an
appropriately massive he<ll5ink to keep it (001.
I! did incredibly well in our applfcat ion
monitor has a maximum
resolution of just 1,440x900.
50 it can't display aU the
detail in l080p video. The
monitor is bright and
backlit but it doesn't have
wide viewing angles.
The microATX-sized case
looks drab but is compact and
sturdy. There's some room tor
exparnion but not a great
deal . with just one Iree 3Y,in
bay. The large 7SOGB hard
disk is welcome but not
hugely impressive. The Intel
DHS5T( motherboard has
just one PCl and one PCI-E
x16 slot . plus two PCI-E xl
51015. one of which is blocked
il you instaR a graphics card.
The Core i3-54O is the laster of the two
available chips. and runs at 3.06GHz.lt did well
in 01.1' usual benchmark tests. scoring 106
ovefilli. There·s 4GB of RAM filted. which is
plenty for most purposes.
This system suffers from a la<:k of purpose -
it"s too expensive for an office workstation. but
its monitor and graphics chipset aren't good
enoogh for multimedia or gaming purposes. last
month. Yoyotech·s outstanding Waroird i650
(see Editor·s Choice. below) showed that you
can get a far better PC for £7OO. The Zoostorm
72-4301 looks overpriced in comparison.
Kilt Orph.:mides
£52 Inc VAT
From www.ilgs.co.uk
$(llar-powered Bluetooth
handsfree kit is the size of a
cigarette packet. It comes with
a suction mount for a car
windscreen. and a clip lor
hooking it on to a sun visor. benchmarks. and it's graphics performance is similarly
quick thanks to a powerful ATI Racleon HD 5750 card.
The 2lin lG Flatron W21S4TQ monitor has a
native resolution of 1.680xl .0SO.We
favourite P55 boards. I! has fewer PCI-{ x16 slots
and only supports dual graphics cards usingATi"s
CrossfireX standard. but it 's still an
The solCHAT charges in 18
hours on a sunny day. or three
over USB.A cigarette lighter
adaptor is also included. would have preferred a fuR HD
1.920xl.080 model. but tltis
monitor's image was bright with
accurate colours and generally
pleasing to the eye. Although the
ViewSonk wireless keyboard and
mouse set is nothing its
perfectly functional.
We were impressed to find an
Aws P7PSSO LE motherboard inside.
This is a cut-down version 01 the
Asus P7PSSO Deluxe. one of our
Wir>dows 7_ Pfemium&4· bit .
.eGB RAM. SOOGB disk. 1GB
Ilcadoon HO 5150.0VO+/·1IW >/-QL
U .. lCO. one·y .... US
"'rdoy.81W ""e. IS3W iKlr..
P","" CODE 1'C68098
I 'e"' 2010
impressive board with an excellent
reputation for stable overdocking .
The Warbird i650 has all the card
slots you'lI need to make
and plenty 01 room for adding drives
to supplement the OVO writer and
500GB hard disk. There are foor free
5ATA ports. three spare SV.in bays and
six Iree 3Y.in bays-In sflort. there·s
nothing to fault on this system - it's
simply the best perlorming £7OO PC
we've ever reviewed.
Pairing the solCHAT with
yoor phone is easy. It supports
voke dialling if your pflone
does. and works with call
waiting. A caller 10 lunction
says the name 01 the caller. At
this price. though. it's too
expensive to re<:ommend.
Jim Martin
OETALli 1OWW.5<""'Oo.<om
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Orbit USB
£39 inc VAT
From www.amazoo.co.uk
The Oroit USB is
portable speaker
for laptops. The
captive USB cable
provides power and
a umnection for the
built-in sound card. Sadly,
there's no 3.Smm input for
MP3 players. It feels sturdy and
well made and the USB cable
handily winds around the rear.
In use. a flip out stand props
the Orbit up at an angle.
It sounds louder than most
laptop speakers. but ii 's ooly a
mollO speaker, and not stereo.
which makes everything sound
fla t. vocals and instruments
sound muddy ilnd bass is weak.
Veho's Mimi wire leu stereQ
speakers (see page 43) are a
similar price and size, and their
superior audio quality makes
them a better buy.
Alan Lu
DETAJ.5 ......,.,. .• lted.o"""lI_co.uk
£22 inc VAT
From http://froogle.
The PowerlinkB is
a small external
battery pack for
iPhones and iPods.l t
conne<ts to the dock
conne<tor on all iPhones and
aU modem iPods apart from
the Shuffle. The
mini USB port is used for
charging and also acts as a
pass- through port . connerting
your Apple gadget to your
comptlter - so you don't have
to carry both thiS and the
cable with you.
When we tested it with a
fifth gel"ll'ration iPod, the
PoweriinkS added an
imprenivt' 11 hours of battery
life wilen playing music. Sadly.
it obscures the headphone pon
on models wIlere it"s next to
the dod (OOl"ll'ctor. namely
iPod Naoos andTolKhes, so it"s
not suitable lor aU models.
Alan Lu
DETAIlS WWW.mo«lly· .Ufop<!.com
Inspiron One 19 Touch
£549 including VAT
From Dell 0844 444 5818
We can see the attraction of all-in-one PCs, as they"re
neilter than the tower. monitor ilnd cable me5S 01 iI
typical desktop. The downside is that they cost a lot
more than equivalently specified desktop PCs. a fact
often not helped by the inclusion 01 a pricier
touchscreen display.
Dell's Inspiron One has such a touchscreen. It uses
infra-red te<hnology. with sensors around the edge of
the display that detert the positioo 01 your fingers. It's
fairly accurate, but not as pin-point or as responsive as
the capacitativt' screens used 00 many smilrtphones.
We're still not convinced that a touchscreen is much
use on a desktop PC. as there's very little software
available to make the most 01 it.
A touchscreen may be handy if you want to
wall-mount the Inspiron.lt hasVESA mounting points
for this on the rear. and feels sturdy. It's compact too.
and with a built-in power supply.

Although compact . it's a fully leiltured PC with six
USB ports, FireWire. a memory card reader, integrated
webcam and a OVO writer. Gigilbit Ethernet is present,
but the built-in wireless suppons only S02.11b/g.
Inside is a respectable 2.6GHz Intel Dual Core
£5300 and 4GB of RAM. I! scored 68 overall in our
benchmarks. so it"s easily powerful enough lor
day-to-day tasks. A 500GB hard disk provides plenty 01
storage. Bear in mind. though. that you'll get a far
better spe<ified desktop PC lor the same money.
The 01"11' resembles the crop
of touchscreen nettops we saw
last year, a fad led by
Asus's Eel' Top ETl60Z (see
What"s New, Shopper 252). We
found its all-black plastic casing a
bit dull, and the chunky bezel
around the displily doeso't help.
The Intel X4500 chipset isn't up to playing games.
although playing HO quality video is
only limited by the low resolution 01
the display. The integrated 2W
speakers aren't up to much, lacking
volume and bass.
\fDIDlCTThi. compact !o«cllKl"Hn PC
i5nl fat.lly lI.wed, t.Jt II'. horo to fi nd
a good aU·in-on. at I hl. ptlce. YOu'U
gel bett.r .... Iu. from . desktop PC
The Inspiron One isn't a bad PC,
but it's not desirable. which we think
is part of the point of a good
all-in-ooe. To get something decent.
you'll have to spend more.We·d
recommend the Asus Eee Top
ET2203T (see labs, Shopper 266). It
costs £214 more. but you get a lot for
Most modem desktop PCs,
and the pricier aU-in-one models,
have 22in displays - usually with
Full HO resolutions. The One's
lB'lIin display feels cramped in
comparison. with a relatively
small l,366x768 resolution.
We've no quality complaints.
though, thanks to vibrant colours.
reasonable brightness and
consistent backlighting.
£249 inc VAT
From www.morecomputers.com
ALL-IN-ONE PI: Im.1 Duol Cor.
ESlOO. W.ndow. T Hom< P,-<m;u m )l· bl!.
4GB RAM. SOOGB lin d dtsk.lnt.t GMA
X4S00. DVO>/·RW +/.01.. lSI'>",
widescre"" l CO louchK,"" . .l86,4]hl()4.
""""),Hf c<>l!.-ct·. nd ... <Ium w;",...., ty
32W idl •. 61W oct""
P4IIT COOE 0001004
The N140 is one 01 latest
netbooks.lts specifications are
practically identical to those of the
company"s excellent N120 (see Labs.
Shopper 260). with the addition 01
S02.11n wireless I"II'IWornng for faster
WiFi connertions.
The N140 has the same
supert. battery life 01
eight-and-a-half hours
your money: a quicker processor. a
21.6in full HD display. a HOMI inptlt
lor connerting external devices. basic
gaming capability and a Blu-ray drive
lor HD movies, plus it looks like a
supermodel in comparison.
Seth Barton
Int.t AI"." N210. 1GB
RAM. 160GB disk. Inl.t GMA 950
&1OfIhic<, 10.l in 1.024, 600 l CO.
1.2I<g. 38,273,188 ........ one·y .. ,.
coll.-ct·.nd·"tum ",.""nty
DlTAILli www",",m<IJnK.<O.uI:
The price listed here is for a
whi te Nl40withWindowsXP
installed. and at this price it's a
bargain. A model with Windows 7
as the N120. a bright
screen and a large.
comfortable keyboard.
The casing leels sturdy. and has a
fancy new chrome trim and glossy
the N120. the N140's screen has a matte
finish. which helps to reduce glare and reile<tions
under bright light ing.
Home Premium and a 250GB hard
disk is also available lor £311 including
VAT (from www.oyyy.co.uk).lfyoucan
afford the la tter. we recommend buying it.
but either will make a line travelling companion
lor tight wmputing ta5h.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
, "" I -
': ,- ':' ,.', I " I \- r
! ': " •
... 1- , I I I •
r- 1 - 1_ 1"_\ ,
Litepad N890 & N890 Premium
Super-lightweight Netbook
Mia brings you Social Networking on the move. Weighing in at a Super-lite 900 grams · and wi th a profi le of less than 26mm
• the Utepad N890 sli ps effortlessly Into any backpack or handbag.
... , __
-.. ____ ... _ .. _d ____ ___ o.

explore more
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Lapt op: £400 inc VAT; Service: £9.99 per mont h inc VAT
From Broadband Comput er Co 0845 149 7000
You know how it goes: you help a relative buy a
PC for their simple computing needs and then
you spend the rest of your IiiI' providing free
technical support. If that's a familiar story.
Broadband Computer Co's Alex may be of
interesl . lt's a laptop with an operating system
that's designed to be incredibly 'MS}' 10 use, and
comes with lelephooe support lor £9.99 per
month, Alternatively, you can pay f2S per
month to add broadband. It's
subject to a 3GB monthly fair-use
policy, which is line for normal use.
The operating system is a Linux
distribution that's been heavily modified to
it easier to use. Just as importantly, it's
locked down so that ii's harder to break. To
reduce the chances 01 problems further,
Alex is updated and managed centrally, so the
user doesn' t have to worry about applying
patche!; or important security updates.
AcceS$ing the Alex is a strange, as
you must lirst plug a USB Latchkey into the
computer. The interlace will be a bit 01 a shock
to regular Windows users, as Alex hils been
designed to keep things as simple as possible.
There's no Start menu or task bar. Windows
can't be resized or move<i and you can only use
the applications that come preinstalled.While
most operating systems have bright, large
unlabelled icons, Alex takes the PC back to
basics and uses buttons with dear text labels. It
might not look as pretty as, say, Windows 7, but
it's instantly easier to understand.
The main wekome ween displays RSS
feeds (My News), a calendar with a list 01 the
day's and notes. On the right-hand side
01 the desktop there are quick-launch icons to
the only applications that can be used on Alex.
As there's no taskbar and you can't Alt-Tab
between applications, these icons are also used
to switch between Windows. When an
application is open, it fills the entire screen and
there's no way to move a window or resize it.
The available applications consist 01 a web
browser, email client (each Alex is sold with an
account automatically) , office
(Word and EKCel clones
only). photo editor,
either application, so you can't work on two
spreadsheets at once, for example.
Photo editing is similarly simplistic, offering
basic colour, brightness and contrast cOlTection,
as well as cropping. red-eye removal and image
straightening. Images can be organised into
albums, and you can add captions.
The web browser olfers all the leatures you'd
expect to lind on a modem browser, induding
multiple tabs. It comes with a range 01 plug-ins
for viewing most content, but we found that the
Flash plug-i n didn't work with Adobe's Flash
checker website. There are also no online video
plug-ins. and you can't install any. We've been
told that Alex will be updated with a beller Flash
plug-in and support lor online video.
One clever thing about Alex is its error
messages. For example. if you don't an
internet connection and you open the brovvser.
you get a message that says, "Alex is not
connected to the intemet and is therefore
unable to browse the web. Please check your
broadband connection:
While the applications are really easy to use,
the operating system has some strange quirks.
For starters, you can't double-dick some it ems to
perform an action. For example, double-dicking a
time slot in the calendar doesn't automatically
contact<; manager (called
and a video and
music player. No other
VERDICT It< , impli<tic aw<oach will
suit tho .. wfth very light """ds. but .
Window, PC i •• .... and fa,
open a window to add a new
appointment: instead, you
have to click the Add event
button. Oddly. keyboard short
cut<; for copy and paste work
in all applications except lor
the web browser. Here, it's
impossible to copy text from a
web page, although you can
copy text from the browser's
address bar.
applications can be
installed, although the
provided programs
most bases and should
suffice lor simple use.
The Word and E)((el
programs provide a similar
range of leatures to Google
Docs.They have fewer
leatures and options than
Microsoft Ollice, but
enough lor simple home
use. Annoyingly, you can't
open more than one
document at a time in
mon: ft. xlblo: option
IMot c, lo<on T16QO, lGa!\AM, 16008 disk.
Intot eMA 4SOOMHD Klilphics. OVO.I· RW
.1·OL.15 ......
- ' )IUI" RTa
3ZW i<l •. 41W oct".
Your files and documents
are stored locally on the
computer's 250GB hard disk,
which is rather small by
today's standards. Alex also
comes with MyVault , which
provides 10GB of online
storage. This can be used to
back up important files 50 that
they're s;!fe if the
computer crashes. We'd
preferred this proceS$
to be automatiC, especially
the Alex's target user.
The system suffers from
some fairly hefty limitations
at the moment. There's very
little hardware support and
you won't get any hardware
to work that needs proprietary
such as an iPod.
Broadband Computer Co currently
lists a single printer on its website,
although been told that any printer that
supports Linux should work.
The laptop bundled with the \elYice costs
£400 and is a Clevo M760T.This plain-looking
lS.4in model is lamiliar to us. as many other
manulacturers use this chassis lor their
own-brand models. It'S a little underpowered
by today's standards, with a 1.66GHz Celeron
T1600 dual-core proceS$or and only 1GB 01
RAM. After we'd installed Windows on the laptop
to run our benchmarks, it achieve<i an
5Core of 41, which shovvs that this is a pretty
slow machine. However, it's more than enough
to run Alex and it<; basic set 01 applications. The
battery life 01 two hours 59 minutes is a little
disappointing. and means that this PC is only
good enough lor use around the home.
The large screen means there's room for a
decent keyboard, and each key is tull -size,
making it comfortable to type on. We found that
feedback was excellent. so typing long
documents was no problem. The large,
touchpad makes mouse movement<; easy too.
The widescreen display has a resolution of
1,280x800, which is plenty for the applications
that Alex provides, particularly as application
windows can't be resized or around the
5Creen.lmage quality is pretty good, and we
found that the screen was lit and
produced bright, vibrant colours. Viewing angles
were good, too, so you won't to position
the laptop carelully to get the best picture.
Alex is the first computer we've seen that
really makes things simple, but it's almost too
simplistic in many ways, and the supplied laptop
is expensive lor its specification. Worst of all is
the monthly subscription cost, as we doubt
anyone will get their money's worth of technical
support from it, and the entire operating system
shuts down if you don't pay.
II you're buying a computer for a novice
and don't mind helping them out. you can
get a better-specified Windows PC for less and
set it up to boot into a web browser to use
free applications (such as Googledocs,
Gmai! and Picasa). This way you'll avoid having
to pay any monthly charges. il you
don't want to spend your life handing out
technical support and you know someone who
has very modest computing needs, Alex could
s;!ve you a lot 01 hassle.
David Ludlow
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
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Can I use my phone as
a modem for my PC?
First, check you're on a
data plan t hat
tet hering (see W1Iat's New,
Shopper 266). Android phorte
owners have a numt.er of
options, but t he safest way is
t o use t he popular
applicat ion - also available for
BiadBerry. Windows Mobile,
iPhone and PalmOS. In its 'ree
form t his blods secure web
traffic, so you won't be able to
check Gmail or use secure
shopping sites. Yoo can pay
$29 (£18) for a full version.
If you own an iPhone 3G or
3G 5, it couldn't be easier. In
Sett ings, go t o General,
Network arld set Int ernet
Tet hering on, then connect your
PC via USB or Bluet ooth.
Windows Mobile users should
b<! able to use the native
Int ernet Sharing. but jf t his has
b<!en disabled you can get
WMWi fiRoul er for {ZO (£1 7),
which t urns your phon.e into a
Wifi hotspot. The latest version
of Palm's Wet.oS, powering the
Palm Pre Plus, also offers t his
capabilit y. Symbian users
should consider using
Joi kuSpot, current ly €9 (£8).
Barry de la Rasa
lllptops and
handhelds expert
Liqui d
£314 inc VAT
From www.handtec.co.uk
Acer first got into the smartphone market
last year, alter it acquired handset maker
E-ten, with a dun range of Windows
Mobile devices that failed to excite us.
The Liquid is a complete reboot it loob
entirely the po-evious models. and il
runs Google's Android mobile
system. Inside is a 768MHz Snapdragon processor
- not the lGHz model as seen in Google's own
Nexus One - that is easily fast enough to make
the liquid a pleasure to use.
On paper, the liquid is about the same size and
as the iPhone. HTes Hero and the Nexus One.
although in it feels a lillie chunkier. 115 looks
may not appeal to everyone - our review model
divided opinions with its 5ta11< two-tone design. Black
and red models are also available. and the build quality
feels confidently sturdy. The screen is bright and dear,
but doesn·t have the sleek oleophobic fingerprint-
resistant coating found on the Hero or iPhone.
There·s a dedicated camera button, a volume
and a 3.Smm headphone as
in our tests we lound coloors to natural
and contrast excellent as long as the
lighting was strong. A battery life 01 over
21 hours is impressive lor a smartphone.
but once you factor in WiFi and 3G usage.
you·n stin need to charge it every night.
Acer has gone for a light touch when
customising Android. However, it has installed two
widgets on the edges 01 the left and right panes 01 the
home screen. These let yoollick through a caroosel 01
content: the left widget can mow videos. photos and
music, while the right widget is dedicated to
bookmarks. Unfortunately. there·s no way to
import the lalter from your desktop browser. Social
aggregation - the ability to import contacts from
multiple services and merge them - is also absent.
Acer has bundled the DocumentsToGo document
viewer, which can be upgraded for S 15 (about f9) to
edit most Office documents.There·s a media seJWr so
yoo can stream multimedia from your phone over your
home network, plus copies 01 RoadSync·s Calendar and
wen as a mini -USB port lor charging
and data trimsfer. The power button
is located conveniently on the left
edge of the phone. which handily
doobles as a screen-lock button. The
other standard Android controls are
made up of touch-sensitive buttons
beneath the screen. which we found
to be very responsive.
VERDICT A _ 1I·b<J 111 I f.'1
proce .. or aM 100d b<JI
Androkll .6 aM mo lod of sodol
Mail apps. Acer will offer a free
upgrade to Android 2.1 and there·s
an app to ched lor updates.
With great battery life and
snappy performance. the Liquid
shows promise, but ils basic
implementation of the Android
interface holds it back. When Acer
releases its update to Android 2.1.
which includes features such as
social aggregation. the liquid wiU
be a great all-roond package. Also it
Our only qualm with the
hardware is the lack of a lens cover
for the S-megapi><l!1 camera. which
means that if you aren't careful your
photos win end up looking smeared
and fuzzy. There's no flash either, but
£66 inc VAT
From www.handtec.co.uk
3G 9001190011100. Edg<. HSOfiO.. HSUPiO..
loSin 0l8O><80O rosolull"" l CD.
""me,... 2'i6MB ""'''lIf. Bw.t ooth. WiFi.
USB <"""",,,Mty. S "",-,ro· 1.lhl .....
16.1 d'Y'· "orwJby. 1 ISx(;4xHmm. ns&
isn·t currently available on a
monthly UK contract, so you'H have
to buy the phone up front.
Barry de la R05a
Kindle 2
£159 inc VAT
From www.amazon.com
The 530 3D 5at nav has a simple interface and
provides t rustworthy route information. It comes
with maps that cover the UK and Ireklnd. but you get
The iPhone of t he eBook reader
the Kindle 2 operates on
Amazon's proprietary wireless network, which lets
you browse and buy books directly from the device. only one year of Iree speed
camera alerts. Despite its
low price, this satnav cuts
no important corners.
making the 530 3D a
goo<! choice for the
occasional travt'ller
who doesn' t want to
shel l out for fea tures
they"1I never use.
5AfflAV }'hin. }2Ox240 di!.ploy. int<g"'t «i
S<RFstortll ",Ith In'lantFb ....1 Novr'o .... SmonsT ZOO8
softw ..... UK .rw:l I'......,. mop.
PART COOE S30 D DETAILS ....-ww......."on.,om
It"s a weU...cJes igned eReader. whkh remembers
your place in a book ami has t he ability to add
annotations and look up words from an integrated
dict ionary. With lAG8 of storage space you're
unlikely to run out of room for your digital library.
although we'd have preferred to have a memory
card reader. too.
The Kindle 2 is great
value. but note that
Amazon loeb you into
its po-oprietary servke.
making it hard to
change your eReader
at a later date.
EREADER 61n mono
1.,",B imemol memo<)'.

TXT . BooIc
nSx9x2{)}mm. 2a9s
fUU REVIEW F<b 2010
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
InTouch Max GW620
Free on £22-per-month, IS-month contract
From www.ylrginmoblle.com
£270 inc VAT SIM·free
from www.play.com
The InTouch Max GW620 is LC's first Android
phone, and has a large slide-oot QWERTY
keyboard and a customised user interface,
although you have a choke of switching
between LG's interface and the standard
Android home screen. LC's diHers only
slightly at lirst glance, adding" 5fTlaliloolb<lr
acroS$ the bottom of the home screen that
matches the toolbar found on other lG phones.
Instead 01 Android's application screen,
acce55e<J by dragging a handle from the bottom
of the home SCfl'en, you press a button to take
you to LC's application ween, which is split into
categooes. When you hold an application
icon. you can easily drag it to a different
category or to the home screen by hovering
over an area at the bottom 01 the screen.
LG has also changed the bi-haviour 01 the
home screen. Android splits this into three panes.
and you can swipe side-to-si de
those in the other services. However. this
process isn't automatic - you have to merge
your contacts manua!!y - and it supports only
these three services. It's no match for either
HTC 's Sense or Motorola's Motoblur software,
In fact, we were disappointed to find that the
GW620 uses Android 1.5 rather than the more
recent 2.0 or 2.1 (though the la tter is only on
Google's own Nexus One at present). Not only
it miss oot on the built-in social
aggregation fea tures 01 Android 2.0, such as
support lor multiple online accounts, but it also
lacks multi-touch, and misses out on updates to
the web browser and camera application. LG
won't say whether it will offer a Iree update to a
newer version of Android in the luture.
Android 1.5 supports screen ,esolutions only
up to 320x480. which might explain why the
GW620 have a larger toochscreen.
Despite this. its screen is
bright and vibf<lnl, with a to choose a pane. The home
screen Wf<lpS around, 50 that
you can keep swiping to cycle
through all the panes. LG has
also included non-standard
applications. such as the
QuickOftice document viewer.
and its own social aggregation
features (ca\led linkbook) that
are integrated into the address
book, Once you've imponed
your Google contacts and
added Facebook, 6ebo or
Twitter accounts, you can then
link each Google contact wi th
VERDICT A good lim bIIt lhe
GW620 i, 001 of dol. thanks to
An<!roid 1 ,S, and comly key!>o-an:l
very responsive resistive
LG specily a
processor, but it's said to
be the same S28MHz
Qualcomm chip foond in
HTes Hero. However, the
GW620 can be sluggish.
c .. '1 mo •• up for poor performance
SHARTl'HON! GSM 8501900/1800/1900.
3G 90011100. HSDPA, lin 320,400
... soIution lCD, 5-m.g>t>lxeI urn .... , 150MB
«_ge. Wifi, B1uot""th, uSB Con .. ctMty.
1,1 ..,.,,,' 20,8 daY" 'Undby,
1000SSxlfimm. H%
The slide-out keybwrd
has five rows of keys. with
the top row reserved lor
numbi-r keys so you
Free on £20-per-month,
IS-month contract; £247 inc VAT
From www.three.co.uk
The Jet is slim and light. with a
OLEO screen and last
processor t hat makes using the
touchscreen or opening apps a
breeze.The QWERTY
keyboard works welL There's a
good web b.owse.
and email app, and
$MARTl'HONE 3.lin 800>:480
S-amsung's widget
catalogue is
reason<lbly well
stocked. It's a greal
handset for anyone
wtlo require
a wide range of
,"<>Iulion lCD. 5-m<gapixel
C¥t1 ..... <GS ,tonge, SIue!ootI\
Wifi, USB conn.ctivlty, l..,.,,-s·
tolI<1 __ .10o.ys·,Ur>dby,
OfTAIlS www.wmwngmobile,
FUll REI/lEW j¥l2010
additional soltware ....., .. '
on their phone.
don't have to use key
combinations. The keys are
Free on UO-per-month.
IS-month contract; £325 inc VAT
From www.t-mobile.co.uk
HTes recent optimisation 01 the
Hero means it now feels as fast as
the iPhon.e. The Sense software helps
you by merging your contacts across numerous
online services. There are also plenty of apps
available lor its
Android OS.
The oleophobH:
screen coat ing keeps
t he screen dear 01
fingerprints. and the
buttons are well
positioned. The only
bugbear is battery
lile, especially il you
cIon't use 3G, WiFi
and GPS sparingly.
,"<>Iulion lCD. 5-m<gapix<l
< ........ storoge.
Blu«oo!h, USB. Wifi
COtlMCt Mty, 7,8""",,'
tol'time. 3U dO)'<' mndby.
11b:S5.1-4m-n, BSg
DETAIlS wwwhtcc<>m
FUll REI/lEW jon Z010
-. .. ' _ 1=':. ._
large and far enough apan to make hitting them
easy. but they're rather stiff, The screen only
switches to landscape mode when you slide OUI
the keybwrd. overriding Android's settings. LG
has replaced the Android vinual keyboard with
its own alpha-numeric version, which isn't as
good. so you're bi-Iter off using the physical one.
LG has also opted for a non-standard button
layout on its face. There are touch-sensitive
buttons lor Home and Bad commands. and the
large central button is the Menu key, which we
lound unintuitive, but it also acts as the screen
unlock button. There's no dedicated Search key
such as you'd find on olher Android handsets.
Pictures taken with the S-megapixel camera
are crisp and have good contrast, but colours are
a bit muted, LG I><!s included a really clever
auto-lace-tagging feature that scans for laces in
photographs and highlights them. II you then
cli ck on a face, you can choose to
link it with a contact from your address book.
On the face of it. the GW620 is much
cheaper than the HTC Hero, which on paper is
very similar in terms of hardware, In use,
however. we lound the GW620 wasn't anywhere
near as user-mendly. and fel t noticeably slower.
The keyboard is a huge advantage. but the
company has some way to go before it catches
up with its nearest Android rivals.
iPhone 3G S
32GB Black
£279 on £30-per-month,
Barry de la Rosa
IS-month contract; £549 inc VAT pre-pay
From www,02,co.uk
The 3G S is the best iPl>one yet. It's faster tl><!n
ever, and the larger 3-megapixel camera now
shoots video. The
oleophobic screen Otad-bond
is a delight to use, GSM, 3G,EDGE.
the as supports UMTS. HSOPA, 31>in 3;.0.400
, .. .,IuIIOtlLCD.3-mogoplxel
copy and paste, and um ..... ,tonge,
the battery life is Sluetoo!h. WiFi,US6
good. However, it's <onntClMty, 5..,.,,,'
expensive. you have 121> doys' norwl>y.
to use Apple's """' Y'iIr RTB -..mTonty
iTunes 50ftware 'ART CODE MC133BIA
and there's not OETAIlS www,opple.c<>m/uI<
fUU REVIEW 0<1 2009
much to tempt owners 01 older ....., ..
iPhones to upgrade. - ............ -
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
What kind of features do
I need to print photos
without using my PC?
Any printer or MFP with a
me mory card reader or
USB PictBridge port can print
photos without being conrlected
to a PC.This is known as direct
printing. PictBridge lets you
conned your digital camera and
select t he pictures you want to
print using its screen. How well
t his worts defJends on t he
design of the PictBridge
interface on yoor camera.
SOme MFPs also let yO\.l
choose wtl ich you wilnt
either by printing a contact
st.eel and entering t he number
of the photo you want to print,
or by choosi ng its fil ename from
a menu on a small LCD. Neither
is ideal, as they te rld to be slow
and confusing.
Using an MFP with a
de.::ent-sil e.l colour LCD screen
and a bui lt-in memory card
reader is our favourite metho.l
of direct printing. larger so-eens
make it >Hlssi bte 10 carry out
minor editing and cropping
before you print.
Kat Drphanides
Printers and
£68 it'IC VAT
From www.kikatek.com
At jusl £62, Brother's DCP-365CN MFP is an
inexpensive MFP, Still, it can do everything you're
likely to from a home MFP, from high-resolution
photo printing to running off a quick photocopy. We
were pleased to a 10/100 wired Ethernet pon, so it
can be connected 10 a network. We've several
MFPs with wireless networking, but a wired connection
is often more stable and easier to configure.
The printer uses four individual ink cartridges
inserted behind a panel at the Iront. from where in k is
pumped to the print head. During setup we had to wait
for around four minutes while the ink reservoir was
charged, but it took that long to instaU the software.
The DCP-365CN comes with Nuance's ScanSoft
PaperPort 11SE, a cut-down version 01 the PaperPort
document management application. which helps you
organise PDF scans. Brother has also included a
Windows 7 driver disc
borderless 6x4in prints from some programs, such as
Adobe Reader, were printed with a lmm border.
Although the DCP-365CN has a memory card
reader, printing photos from it isn't very practical if you
have a large number of files to choose from. as you
have to print a contact sheet before you can enter the
number of the photo you wish to print. If yoo plan on
doing a lot 01 direct printing, then we strongly
recommend buying a device with a futl -colour screen,
capable of previewing your snaps, such as Epson's
similarly priced Stylus SX215 (see Labs. Shopper 263).
The scanner interface is easy to use. it not exactly
Unfortunately. this MFP didn't
perform well in our evaluation of
print speeds and costs. Its draft
prints are a quick 11 ,3ppm. but text
is a very pale grey - good enoogh il
you want to check the spelling on
your work, but we wooldn't send it
to anyone else. Standard mono text
printed at a glaciaI3.1ppm.
Surprisingly, the DCP-365CN's
mixed-colour print speed of 2.1ppm
is faster than many budget devices,
making it one ot the bener MFP
choices under £100 if you do a fair
bit of colour printing.
VERDICT Allhougill' " chup 10 buy,
lhe On-36SCN costs a 10110 run and
overburdened with fea tures. Scan speeds were on the
quick side - we had to wait just 33
seconds for 6x4in scan at 6OOdpi,
although it took almost three
times as long at 1,200dpi. We liked
the level of detail visible on even
low-resolution text scans, and
photo scans were vivid and richly
coloured. However, they also
suffered from har5h and very
conspicuoos dithering on areas 01
subtle 5hading.
hu some prlnl qUilllty';:"=,:,,'" ----I
6.O!lCI><t2OOdpi print .. wlut"'"
33ppm monolll""", colouo- ", .. I...."
IQfI InOIut"",
usa, 101100 Ett..m.l inl..-foe ...
15O><390><36Smm. """-)lNr w. ""nty
POWER CONSUMnlON lW <"'ndby,
4W idte. 16W
Photo prints also emerged with
painful slowness. Although they
looked smooth and sharp, jAlle areas
suffered from a marked red tint. and
Ult imately, Brother's
DCP-36SCN is an unremarkable
MFP. except for its price. It has
slow print speeds and relatively
high running com. while Canon's
Pixma MX340 (right) has more
features and bener print quality
for not much more money.
Pixma MP640
£129 inc VAT
The Pixma MP640 is an
excellent inkjet MFP
with 10t5 of features.
includi ng wired and
wi reless networking.
two paper
t rays. an automatic
duplexer. a 7'hcm
SCff{!n and CD
print ing t ray.
With reasonable
print costs and
on everything from
pholOS 10 business
documents. this reliable
all-rounder is up t o
almost any task.
pm! ,e<oiul"""
9wm mono/8ppm colour m.o.
speod. 4,800':9,6OOdpl "' ....
",wlUI""" USB, 101100
Elt..m.I, 801, l1b/&
1rO'" inlwod inlerfKH,
116.4s0.368mm. _-)lNr
RTB_' .... I)'
",. ndby, lW idle, 14W .cti ...
OET"ILS _ .<. """.<o.uk
FUU RlVIW.t-> 2010
Officejet 6000
£60 inc VAT
From ..
This inexpensive
business inkjet is
a si ngle-fu nct ion
pri nler wi lh a
10/100 Ethemet
>Hlrt, a 2SO-sheet
paper tray and a
maximum duty cycle
of 7.000 pages per
monl h. lt's not cut
out for photo print ing,
but its mono and
colour document
quality is outstanding.
pri nl speeds are fast
and cost s are low.
AI £60. it wins our
Business Buy award.
ml>.imum rewlul"", USB . nd
101100 EI .... r>etlnt..-foe.' ,
164x4S8x389mm. """-)'N<
RI B .... "."'"
",. rdly, 3W idle. lOW octi ..
onAJ.S wwwhp.co.uk
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Pixma MX340
**** £81 inc VAT
From www.office999.co.uk
At just £80, the Pixma MX320 is a funy
featured four-ill- one MFP with print. 5<:ao. copy
and fax capabii;ties, as well as easy-to-configure
a02.11b/g wireless networking. It has a modest
l00-page paper tray and a 3D-page Automatic
Document Feeder (ADF) 10 make multi -page
faxes and copies easy.
To include aU these features at this price.
Canon has made a few compromises: there's no
memory card reader lor starters. Unlike most of
the Pixma range, the MX340 doesn't use individual
ink there's a pigment-based
black cartridge, which is used to produce sharp,
quick-drying mono text , and a tri -colour cartridge,
which contains dye-base<! cyan, magenta and
yellow ink. Both cartridges hOM' integrated print
heads. There's no dye-based black. so black areas in
photo prints are made by
combining the three coloured
Mono text was as sharp as we've come to
expect Irom Canon. although coloor documents on
plain 80gsm photocopier paper printed with
slightly too much ink. producing damp waves in
areas that were lilled with solid colour. Fortunately,
they didn't smudge and dried 5fT\oothly when laid
llat. Photo quality was surprisingly good lor a
printer that uses composite blacl3, although dar\:
areas were a little pale in comparison to those
from printers that use dye-based black for photos.
Thanks to Canon 's use 01 the ISOIIEC 24734
standard, print speeds are almost exactly as stated.
Standard-quality text emerged at a reasonable
6.9ppm, but colour documents printed at 1.7ppm.
The 1.200x2,400dpi Contact Image Sensor
inl3. The use of a combined
coloor cartridge also means
that yoo'lI have to replace the
(CiS) scanner makes an unpleasant whining noise,
but produces accurately
coloured scans and dear
photocopies. Canon's
SeanCear interlace provides
lots of ad""nced options for
tweaking scans and can be
configured to dose or remain
open alter each scan.
VERDICT The do", """!)'thing,
""t II< print co,I< It for
high·volume printing
entire cartridge il one colour
runs oot before the others.
4.8OO><1.ZOOdpl p<!1'11 8ppm
The MX340's print costs.
although expensive. aren't
prohibitively high if you use
Canon's high yield PC-S 12 and
CL-S 13 cartridges. Printing costs
come to 8.7p per page for
mixed colour and mono
printing. but a mono page is an
alarming 3.6p. These costs are
too high to make the MX340 a
good choke if you print
day. but they're acceptable lor
occasKmal use,
monol$ppm <OIom moxifOOm ",0«1,
l.2OOxl.4OOdpi >con .. , .. ",I ..... usa,
If you print regularly,you'U
save money and get better
print speeds and quality by
investing in a more expensive
device. such as Canon's
non-fax MP640 (opposite).
However, the MX340's
combination of quality and
features are great if you
EIOl.l1blg wi,eIes. interl.< ... .
19/!x4S8>41Omm, ..... "Y' ... IITB ,...mlnty
4W """ 13W
***** l\E,;<jijjJ
£103 inc VAT • ,. ' Ii ,, -
From www.digital-fusion.co.uk
(omp...:t mono
laser MFP is a great deal
if you expect to print
less than 580 pages a
month, and there
are no hidden
consumable costs
such as imaging
drums. Print
quality among
the best we've
seen from a
personal mono
laser. with sharp
text and smoothly
Scan quality is
up to scratch.
6()Ox6()t)djl i j>"int re>oIuti .....
12wm mOl< ifOOm
1,lOO>o:l ,<OOdpi .an
.. ,oWtion, usa ;nterloc.,
276<416<409mm, ..... Y'"
RTB ",omonty
>W>dby. 7W kII<, 686W octi ...
'","RT COOE SCX·4600
DU","1L5 www ..........

... _ ....
need a printl'f than can do
everything. but not very often.
£122 inc VAT
From www.dixons.co.\lk
Kat Orp/lanide5
The CLP-315 is tile world's
smaHest (olour laser printer,
barely liIrger than most inkjets.
and it's also one of the cheapest. Its mono print
speed of 14.7ppm is sufficient lor a personal printer.
although 3.7ppm for
colour prints requires
some patience. Print
quality was excellent,
with sharp black text
and bright, glossy
colour prints. Mono
costs of 2.2p aren't bad,
but 11.2p for a
mixed-colour page
makes the CLP-315
best lor occasional
colour print runs only.
lASER l(i.ppm mono,
4ppm <oIoor, USB
243.388><313mm ....... yo ...

.to<>dby. 'dW idle, . ct;'"
COO( Cl p·llSIXW
0ET1dlS .......... , ...... "'''&,<0.''''
FULl. REVIlW DK 2008

Follow the steps to find your idea) specs
PRINT RUOI.lJTlot,j: 4.8OO><1,lOOdpi
EJITIt.O.S: Pictllnd,. po<t
Rt<ommtndtd min ..... ", ",.y
A multi/unction printer combines
a printer and scanner in a compact
unit. and also provides copying aM
even fax facilities. This saves desk
s,:oace and also money compared with
buying two or more separate devices.
Basic models cost as little
as £40 including VAT, and have
specifications similar to those
shown in grey above. TheSf' are OK
if funds and space are tight, but
quality and speed will be basic. print
costs expensive. and you won't get
any lax capabi lities.
a Spending more invariably gives
a you improved speed and image
quality. TheSf' improvements are n't
directly proportional to price. though,
so read our reviews for details.
Remember that running costs can
outweigh the price of the unit.
n Sheet-fed scanners handle
a multiple pages but flatbeds
tend to give better image quality.
Cheaper models usually have a
flatbed. while pricier units combine
both features .
... If you'll be printing hundreds of
Ii.I pages per month. consider a
laser rather than an inkjet model.
TheSf' benelit from improve-<! print
speeds and highr duty cycles. and
cost from around £120 including
VAT. Vou' ll need to spend around
£250 lor a budget colour laser-
based machi ne.
1":1 To make the most of the
1:.1 standalone functions, you'll
want decent front-panel controls.
These can vary from a single copy
button to something reSf'mbling a
dedkated copier. If fax is important.
you need to check that the
has a built-in modem.
-=- Other useful extras to consider
1:.1 are memory card §lots.
duplexing units for the printer andl
or scanner. additional paper tray§
and an Ethemet port to connect the
device to a networlc
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Wh/lt do I need to get 3D
on my PC?
There are two things you
need for t llis. The first is
a display that's capable of at
least a 100Hz refresh rate, This
enables the monitor to deliver
SO ' rames per second to each
eye. Few monitors currently
support this refresh rale, tout iI 's
a headlirle featu re in those that
do, so they' re easy to find.
The second part of the
equatkln is a graphics card and
a pair of shutter glasses. Nvidia
is t he only com"","y that offers
this combination with its 3D
Vision kit. There's II fulltist of
compatible cards at www.
rwidia.comlobjectl3D_ Vision_
Requirements.html. This l ists
some 3D monitors too.
You'll also nud a dual-core
processor and Windows Vista or
7. II 's also worth t.earlng in
min.d that you may not be able
t o see the 3D effect if yoo have
any eye problems such as
amblyopia or strabismus.
whycant.html for more details.
Jim Martin
Deputy Editor
***** £119 inc VAT
From www.lambda-tek.com/
components hop
The 22in 1,920><1 ,080 G2222HDL is the succe:;5Of to
the G2220HD (see Labs, Shopper 261) , which won a
Best Buy award for its great image quality and low
price. We were keen to find out if the new model could
take the crown from its now-obsolete $ibling.
The new monitor looks identical to the old one,
with the same textured inlay on the st and, and a useful
ridge along the top that ilctS ilS a convenient handle /(night, virtually unwiltchable. Switching off the
dynamic mode for movies is preferable. for carrying it. The G2222HDl as the same Full HD
resolution as the older displiIY but uses LEOs rilther
than fluorescent tubes for bacldights.
Response times in our gaming tests _re greil!.
with fluid motion during moments 01 fast action. You
can change image presets on the Ily using the menu
system's arrow buttons, so you can opt for lM'rbiown
colours and dynamic contrast in a game, and switch
back to more natural colours for working with photos.
With the two placed side by side, the new display
looks brighter with richer colours. We tweaked the
Standard mode's settings to get the most natural
colouf"i, bul other presets use dynamic contrast and
boost colouf"i to incredible degrees. which some people
might when playing games or watching movies.
The screen's matt finish reduces reflection from
overhead lights. This can add graininess to the image
on some monitors, but we noticed this only when we
weren't square on to the scret'n.
As usual, BenQ's menu system was dear and easy
to follow, although the slight delay between menu
screens can be annoying. The menus indude brightnes.s,
cont rast and colour controls, as we!! as a sharpoes.s
control that we found added too
You won't get many eKtra features at this price. The
screen doesn't swivel to portf<li t mode and tile stilnd
doesn't allow for height adjustment.
There ilre no internal
although this isn't a great loss, as they
generally sound terrible. With no
HDMI input, you might need an
adilptor to connect certain devices,
but the DVI pon supports HDCP copy
protection, so you can watch Blu-ray
movies, for example.
many artefacts to the imilge, Dynamic
contrast is available in certain presets,
but is disabled in Standard mode.
At its maximum value, dynamic
contrast made colouf"i look overblown
but retained a remarkable amount of
detail Impressively, there were none
of the sudden changes in brightness
that can plague dynamic contrast
modes. Howevt'r, il tended to
ovt'r-emphasise dar\; areas. making
some scenes in our test film, The Dart
Brilli ance
***** i -i r;r2!J!a
E1SS inc VAT • fl! , ••
From www.ebuyer.com
It may have iI
tilt-only stand,
but Philips'
230(1HSB is
a fantastic
monitor. Image
quality is top-notch and it has
HDMI, DVI andVGA inputs- If
you're after a slightly targer Futt
HD monitor than BenQ's
G2220HO (see right), this is an
excellent choke.
nlnW(lESCltEEN lCtl l,9ZOXI ,08O
not ... '""""tion, VCA. Olfl, HOMI. input>,
1.Smm tiM in ...,dio input. _-pan usa
DETAIlS www.pftiiif'$,co,uk
CUZ2HDL h'$ . n
LEO backligjlt for • brigjlt er
and <lill ha,
contrast ..,d vibrant colau ...
221nWIDESCREEN LCD 1,920,1,080
""t'" ... .oortion. 1,000:1 (S,OOO,()(')fr1
dynamkl cO<I'Cml rallo, 2SOcdlm'
boight ... " , VGA, DIfI, input'
DtTAI15 """",.o...q,C(I,uk
£479 inc VAT
From www.digitaldirect.co.uk
Wi lhan
receiver and
gre<lt picture
quali ty, this
37in HOTV is
superb value at under £500. We're
big fans of LGs large-icon menu
system, and tile speakers produce
dear, detailed sound. The only
hitch is a messy EPG, bUI this is an
easy s3(rifice to make.
17in lCOTV 1.920>:1.080 n.oti .... , ...,.tution.
cont'UI ratio nol diKlostd (SO.()(')fr 1
dynamic), SOOcdlm' l x HDMI,
bVC .... 1x compontot, 2x SCART ...".,1>
OETAU www.lg • . com
FUll REVIEW Api" <!O10
At this price, BenQ's G2222HDl
is great value and wins our Best
Buy award.
Barry de la Rosa

From www.laksys.com
Toshibil 's 42in Regzil is surprisi ngly
cheap for an LCD TV 01 this size. It
has one of the best EPGs we've
seen and better image quality
t han y<Ju'd expect at this price.
With excellent
and an onsite
warranty, it's
a superb buy,
42/n ICD TV 1,910>.1,080 ... t Ole ,.solution.
1,)Oi):I(SO,()(')fr' dyn.omk) <<>nm>' ",'10,
4SOcdlm' boi'''' ..... 4. HDMI, hVGA,
Ix Wf"P<" .e,", 2>< SCART i,....ln
( O,U"
FUll REVIEW Api" 2010
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
** £132 inc VAT
From www,morecomputers.co.uk
When it comes to 22in widescreen monitors,
you're spoilt for choice, There are literally scores
of models on the market, especially at this price.
The HP222DjO is one of three new 22in models
from HannsG, and it diftNentiates itselt from
others by offering height adjustment.
It 1001<; almost ret ro, and more like the boxy
LCD monitors of 10 years ago than the latest
curvy s<:reens, The stand lets you f<lise or lower
the screen by 6Omm, bot the mechanism is stiff.
Beyond height adjustment. there's little to
make the HP222DJO stand out. Surprisingly for a
new monitor, it has a 16:10 f<l ther than a 16:9
aspect ratio. This is explained by the 1,680xl ,050
resolution, which suggests that HannsG is using
oldN lCO panels. All other 22in monitors we've
seen recently have a l,920xl ,080 resolut ion.
However, if your eyesight isn't perfect, a lower
native resolution may be a benefit.
camera, bot oddly they're la belled as wanTl , nat ure
and coot There's no sRGB mode, although you can
control the red, green and blue levels individually.
Presets are another odd omission. You'll have
Still , the lack of an HOMI input is slightly
disappointing. It has VGA and OVI inputs at the
bad, and the latter is HDCP compliant, so you
can use a DVI -to-HOMI adaptor
to adjust brightness and contrast manually when
switching between office work and photo edit ing,
for example. Unfortunately, no amount of tweaking
could OIIercome the screen's appalling contf<lst.
Instead of subtly graded shades of white, we simply
S<fW a completely white screen in our tests. This
meant highlight details in photos completely
disappeared - clouds vanished in bright skies, and
white clothes lost all texture.
We were also una ble to achieve a good colour
balance, and greys looked blue in
our colour tf<lcking tests. With
narrow viewing angles too, the
HP222DjO's poor image quality
makes its other failings pale
if you want to connect a games
console or a Blu-f<ly player.
The HP222DjO has a typical
four-button menu system. It isn't
the easiest to use, but at least
the controls are located on the
bottom edge of the display
rather than the sides. The menu
has few options beyond contrast
brightness and colour settings.
The latter uses white balance
symbols like those on a digital

£1,156 inc VAT
From www.lambda-tek.com/
. -
Thi $ is Of\e of _ -
the cheapest '!II -
l 080p LCD
home cif\ema projectors
available. It produces nat ural
colours, and while its contrast is
good rather than excellent. you
won't be disappointed with the
sharpness in Blu-ray movies.
With reasonable running
costs of 7p per hour in
economy mo6e, this is an
ex(ellent ( hok e.
1.920><1.080 n.oti .... ,«<>Iu, ;"", HI,OOO:I
Conlr.5! m io. 1.600 ANSl i...,..",

OETAILS .......... p>On,co.uk
VD.DICT A rm l l""ly low
",ooIUlion poo<
thl$ a monitor to avoid
lCD 1,68O>ctOSO
n.tlv< (..oI<I!I"", 1,000;1 (15,000;1
dyn.omk) coot,,,,, mil>. 2SOcdlm'
!>rightr..-. .. VGA . nd DVl
tI .... ·yur womr>\)'
DETAIlS ......... ,,,",,",,"co.uk

£2,049 inc VAT
From www,rgbdirect,co,uk
The successor to the Ultimate
award-wi nning PT- ABOOOE,
Panasonic's latest Full HO
projeclor is stunning. ltl
Intelligent fra me Creation
ensures thaI Hollywood movies
play smoothly and are
ir>c:redibly crisp. It 's not the
cheapest project or on the
ma';;et , but if you can aftord ii ,
you won't
buying it ,
n.tlv< .-."""!I"",
100,000:1 """,,,,,,,.,io, 1,600

DETAlS www,pono""';c,co.uk
into insignificance. When excellent
22io monitors such as BenQ's
G2222HD (opposite) are available
for less money, the HP2220JO's
only is height
adjustment, and that's not enough
of a reason to buy it instead.
8" Digital
Picture Frame
£49 inc VAT

From www.jessops.com
For under fSO, 11I1I1!1nI
this Sin fra me
offers superb
image quality
and a
design, It may
oot have Wifi, Bluet ooth or
battery power but it's the
best -value fra me we've seen.
800_600 ""'Iv< 'esolution, 2GS int"'.-..I
memor)', SO(He), MMc' M<m<>ry S' Ock
Pfo, Pro DIIo. _D, cr, Micn>dri\I< ond US8
"""" """'ge ,upport, jPEG orwITIFf
<lJppor!, 21 h<252 • .omm. """.yur
, tandby. on

DETAIlS ...-...w,j<>5op<,C<>m
LCD Monitor
Follow the steps to find your ideal specs
""""'BIU; I""
NAT1V£ RESOUIlJON, 1.-«0:>:900
min.".." In M
A basic 19in lCO monitor with
the specifications listed above
witt cost around f80. It will be fine for
typical Windows wort., but is likely to
have >KX'r viewing angles, so you'll
nH:d to sit stf<light on to see the best
quality picture. Colour accuracy may
not be very good. so it isn't ideal for
colour-sensitive work.
.:. A VGA input enables you to use
D the monitor with any PC, but
the quality may not be quite as good
as with a OVI Of HOMI input. Both are
digital connections and require a
compatible graphics card b<Jt avoid
the nee<l for digital-Io-analogue or
analogue -to-digital conversions,
which can reduce image quality. A
digital connection automatically gets
the best picture; you won't have to
adjust clock or settings as you
do with an analogue connection.
Many OVI and all HOM I connections
support HOCP. which letl you watch
protected video cOI1 tent such as
Blu-ray movies on your monitor.
DisplayPort is becoming more popular,
but you'll e ither nH:d a graphics card
with a matching output or a
n A larger monTtor will be easTer
1::1 on the eye and wit1 have a larger
resolution. Twenty· inch monitors
typicat1y have resolutions of at least
1,680xl,050, Models as small as 22in
can have resolutions of 1,920x1,080
(1080p), which provides lots of room
for working with multiple windows
at the same time. For even higher
resolutions. you'll f\eed a larger
display. A 3Din screen or higher wi ll
have a manive resolution of
2,560xl,600. You' ll need a graphics
card with a duaHink DVI ootpul.
... If you want better picture
Ii.I quality. look for a monitor with
a high contrast ratio. The higher the
f<ltio, the whiter the whites and the
blader the blacks. You'll also be able
to see more fine detail in images with
high contrast levels, Viewingangtes
are important, as wider angles mean
you don't have to sit directly in fronl
of the monTtor to get the best picture.
Wider angles also allow more people
to watd! the screen at the same time.
Fast response times cut down on
ghosting. b<Jt don't allow
to be dazzled by the numbers. A
response time of 2Sms or quicker
is fine for all applications.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
How TTl n .. sh
metering work?
TTL stands for 'tnroogh
the lens', so TTL metering
is when a camera evaluates
the brightness of a SCI'n.e by
measuring the tight entering t he
lens and hitting the sensor. All
digital cameras do this.
TTL flash melering (TTLFM) is
an exterlSion of the
principle.A pre-flash is used to
take a measurement of the
flash's effect, and this is used to
adjust the powt'r of the main
flash to produce a pleasing
Nearly all digital
cameras' built·;n flashes use this
te<:hnique. External flashguns
must tie compatible with the
camera lorTTLfM to work.
Various advanced fonns of
TTLFM have been developed,
which use the lens' focus point
to ensure that the exposure
is optimised fOf the subject.
Canon calls this E-TTL II, Nikon's
is called 3D matrix metering.
and SOI'1y's is ADI f lash.
Ben Pitt
Music and
photography expert
Alpha DSLR-A550L
*** E607 ;ncVAT
From www.pixmania.co.uk
Sony is taking no chances with its consumer SLR
fimge. with seven models from BSO to £800
ensuring therE'S something for everyone. The
ASSO is one of three new models that use (MOS
rather than CCO sensors. Sony is the last SLR
manufacturer to switch to CMOS technology, and
we were keen to see if the ASSO could turn around
the Alpha range·s poor track record for noise levels.
The impressive features include in-body
stabilisation. superb baneIY lile and a high-resolutkm
3in screen that tilts up and dowo by 90 degrees. It "Iso
supports Uve view via a secondary seosor to deliver
uousually last autolocus. 10 previous SOrly SLRs. the
dowmide has been that this low-resolution live view
seosor's image cao·t be magoilied to fine-tune the
focus manually. This time, a button switches from the
live view seosor to the main sensor. disabling autofocus
but allowing up to 14x magnification. Combined with
the superb screen. this is the best live view mode we've
seen so far on an SLR.
Cootiouous mode ran at 7lps - far quicker Ihan
anything else at this price. It's also fast er than any
SOHC card; performaoce dropped
There's a smattering of single-use buttons for quick
access to ISO speed, drive mode aod dynamic range
settings. White bal"nce and autofocus optiOrls are less
accessible, Ihough, aod some features. such as
depth-ol-field preview. are noticeably absent. For ooise
reduction, there's a choice of Normal or High. whkh is
bener described as 'high· or 'really high·. The Auto ISO
range can'l be customised, and Ihere's nOlhing like the
operatiooaillexibility oHered by competing models.
We really like the HOR mode, which combines two
exposures to produce a high dynamic range shot.
However, the lack of video capture is disappoinling.
Our image qual ity lests revealed little sign 01 noise
at ISO 1600 and accept"ble results at 3200. Still, noise
to 3.7fps "fter 17 shots, or to 1.1fps
afler 13 shots in RAW mode.
Alternative continuous modes rao
at 4.sfps and 31ps. and coolinued 10
VERDICT fan .... d packed
with but the lock
01 vide<> i$ di"'ppointing .... d
reduclion could only be reduced by
shooting in RAW mode and the
jl'EG engioe slruggled to cope wilh
dense textures such as fol"'ge. The
automalk white balance was
vari"ble. even in overcast sunlight.
.... tom.tic be bo,n.r
adjust the locus aod exposure for
each frame.The camera was quick
in geoeral use. thaoks io part to a
proximity sensor that triggers lhe
autolocus as SOOrl as the camera is
held up to lhe eye.
DlGIT"L Slit U,MEAA 14
3, OfIlial 'oom (21.
82.Smml. 3in (911.600 pi,eI'l. SOHC
and Memory Std Pro ouo slots (none
""wti«JI. U·k>n bottory. llJo4,131xl4Omm.
809&- """.yu< RTB warranty
The A550 has many strenglhs,
but its JPEC output iso·t Orle 01
them. Pt>ntax's cheaper K-x (see
u/}s. Shopper 264 or WNW.
expertreview5.co. ukldigital-
At 809g with its 18-SSmm leos.
it"s more substantial than SOrly'S
entry-level SlRs. ThaoHully. it"s lar
more comfortable to use too.
DfT"I15 _.sony.<o.lil camerasI2739ZSlpentax-k-x) iso·t
as sery, but shoots 720p video and
has a dear edge in image quality.
Finepix S200EXR
£306 inc VAT
From www.amazon.co.uk
The S200EXR .... s a 14.3x zoom
leos. which would be expensive
to match on an SLR.With a big
handgrip, dual leos rings lor lOom and focus plus a
commalld dial lor adjusting exposure alld other
settings, the S200EXR feels like an SLR in operation.
This camera delivers
extremely high image
quality wheo shootiog
at high sensitivities.
video and its hefty bulk
WOO·I please some
people. However. the
big zoom and sublime
ergooomics make it an
exceller"l! choice lor
outdoor photograplly.
( •. 000x3.0001. l H' opt i<oI
,oom (30.S·.:l6mmI.Vin lCO
(130.000 pix"'). SOHC !lot
.. n..-y.

""".)'N' RTB wa, .. nty
D£TAI15 ........... fuiiiitm.<<>.1il
Full ...... 2010
III i.
Ben Pitt
Lumix DMC-TZ6
***** IX,
£190 Inc VAT Ii iz i
From www.buyacamera.oo.uk
If you want a big zoom in a fairly
compact camera. lhe TZ6 is ideal
fitting a 12x zoom lens into such
a small camera is a remal1:able achievemeol. but
more impressive still is how sharp the photos are.
Automatic exposures were oearly always perfectly
judged. and standard-
definition videos were
excelleot. wi th smooth.
sharp images and a
clear soundtrack.
The TZ6 .... s a
laotaslic leos, responsive
performance and a smart
design aod produces
reliably excellent photos.
It·s a great camera al a
veIY reasonable price.
(3.6-48,1.736 pi" I.1. 1l,
""titol>Oon1 (lS·3OQmm).
<t<o.rgeoble li·ion bott..-y.
"""·yn, RTS .... ".nty
fUll Au, ZOO9
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Mecabli tz 36 C-2
£60 i nc VAT
From www.bri sto l
cameras.co. uk
This low-cost flashgun
support TTL flash
metering (set FAQ.left). but
uses an altemative technique
for automated metering. An
integfil ted sensor m'Mlures the light
reflecting oft the subject and stops the flash
when enough light has been gathered. The
process is far from automatic the user must
inform the flashgun of the selected local
length, ISO speed and aperture via a series of
interconnected switches, and also extend the
!Iash head to focus the beam to match the
focal length. Still , we fO\.lnd that exposures were
reasonably balanced, adjusting automalicaity
to various distances from camera to subject.
Nearby subjects such as faces were otten
overexposed against a dark background. but
tilling the flash to bounce off the ceiling lillhe
room more Performance was fast, al 3.9
secoods between flashes at lull power.
Manual mode is fixed al lull power and
automatic mode is a little unwieldy, but this
makes sense for cameras lackingTTlFM, such
as Fujililm's S200EXR (see What's New. Shopper
266). Its compatibility with virtually an other
shoe-equipped cameras is a bonus.
Ben Pill
VEliOICT An unu ... cumbersome -
sy<tom for Judgi ng aIJl om3l1( "'PO"'''''. bUI ll ',
"<eM whon om..r .... Ihod' ...,n·1 available
CAMEllA. flASliGUN Guido """,be, 36m (ISO 100].
4. M bl tt« i ... 11Sxl h:9Smm,2O'ig.
""'-y_ W ..... l nty
PART COOl ..00391SO)l;02J
OETA1.5 www ...... tzflo>h.'o ...
FinePix F70EXR
***** Vf2j%l
£169 Inc VAT • \Ii 1,-
From www.brislolcameras.co.uk
With its sleek, compact
body and lOx l oom, the
F70EXR (Opes equally
wen wit h wide-angle
vistas and t elephoto
portraits. PholOS look sharper and d eaner
t han compet it ors ', low-light images get a
boost from Fuji film's
ingenious EXR
sensor, wtlich can
reduce llOise by
switching from 10 10
5 megapi xels. That it
costs well under
£ 200 is the icing on
l he cake. It's our
favourite compact
camera al any price.
9.8 megopi' els (l.616'VU),
lOx optical mom (27.21Omm).
SDHC<!ot (.1MBlnt ....... I).
Li·ion bottOI)'. S9x99>:21mm,
l00g. ""'-yu, RTB WOIT.my
PART cOO{ Pl0NCOt 100.0.
FVU R£VIlW Jon 20tO
£71 inc VAT
Fro m www.microglobe.co.uk
Sunpak's Pf30X is
available in three
versions for different
camera brands. We
tesled the Nikon model.
but it's also available for
Canon (part code PF30XC)
and Sony (PF30XS) cameras.
Each model supports tile brand'sTTL
flash metering (see FAQ, left) for automatic
exposures controlled by the attached camera.
Most TTL flashguns COS! considerably more
than the PF30X, so not surprising that its
features are limited. There's no manual mode.
and there are just two buttons for adjusting
exposure compensation in half-stops lrom -1.5
to + 1.SEV.TIle flash head t ilts upwards by up to
90 degrees to bounce light 011 the ceiling.
giving far more natural-looking results than the
direct /lash. Its 30m guide number is more than
twice as powerlul as most built-in flashes. and
saves users resorting to high ISO speed film.
Powered by twoAA batteries, its a-second
recycle time ilt full power is slow. Otherwise,
the PF30X is a solid choice. with reliable
exposures and a bounce function lor better
results than any built-in flash can muster.
Ben Pitt
VERDICT II', I littl. <law 10 ...,(har", betw • .., ,hOI<
1<o(k< any monual (onlrol. but l ho PF30X inn
affordable opl lon for fL><h·Ut . ulomat k . ><t><><u""
witl>o4Jllho hl<eff«!
u.MERA flI\stic.UN Guide "".""... 30m (ISO 100),
2x M bott. ,; ... l00x68x92mm. 220g.
ono-yN' w..,..nty
PART (00{ PF30XN
DETA1.5 www .•• mplk.jp
EOS 1000D &
18-55mm IS lens
From www.buyacamera.co..uk
The l 0000 's 2'1.!in l CD screen
is a li ttle small, but in every
other respea it betters its rivals. Tllere are
dedicated buttol1$ lor all t he key controls and
performance is good. with only 05 seconds
between shots.TIle 10-megapixel sensor easi ly
competes wi th
pricier 12- and
15-megapi xel
examples, with lar
less noise than
other sub- £400
DSlJI.s. We'd also
Canon's EF SOmm
1/ 1.8 11 (about £75).
10.1 m. &iIfIlxob (1.888xl.S92
pi •• l.). 3, opl;u! IOOm. SOfiC
(none), 7 .• V. 1.000m.o.h
U· ionbonOl)'
PART (ODE 21t;6l101JM
DETAILS www.GIt\Otl.co.uk
FUU. IUVlEW Jon 2009
£37 Inc VAT
Fro m www.amazon.co.uk
Flashguns don't come
much cheaper than this
model. which isn't widely
available in the UK. but is
sold by BV-electronics via
Amazon Marketplace.With no
TTL or interl1<ll metering. the
flash's power must be set
ma .... ally. The power cootrol
moves in whole stops from
luU to 1/64 power. and
recharging take$ 4.8 seconds at full
power. Light distribution is suitable for use
with a SOmm local length. but an integrated
diffusing panel drops over the head to sutter
lighl over a wider area.
Manual control isn't mUCh use lor casual
snapping. but it's ideal for controlled exposures.
particularly when using the flashgun off-
camera. TheYN460 has a built-in slave mode to
fire in sync with another flash, making it easy
to trigger multiple uni ts wirelessly.lt
with a mini stand with a thread for tripod
mounting. plus a soft
TheYB460 is simple, and incre<libly
good value. Pilir a couple 01 them with tile
iShoot PT-04C (see page 20) for a upable
off-camera flash rig lor less than £ 100.
Ben Pitt
vtliOICT With m.nual-only conlrol. it·, of limil e<!
O.Ham. ra, bul ll ', _ n " qulppe<! for
off-cam«a wort. ond , u It> value lor man
CAMERA FlASHGUN Guide ""mbt< 33m (ISO 100),
40 • .0. bl tt..-;' .. IlSx12. SSmm. 2SOg.
,....-yN' w ...... nty
DETA1.5 www.N<yongnuo.com
Lumix DMC-LS85
£80 inc VAT
From www.buyacamera.co.uk
The OMC-LS8S is the
camera in Panasonic's range. The
opt ical image and 1/2.8 aperture
make it far better t han most budget cameras
wtlen used in low-light condit ions, Its fully
automatic mode delivered well-judged
exposures. Details
were sharp. colours
natural and noise
levels t.etter than
from many pricier
The l S8S
cuts back on
but delivers on
performance and
image qual ity.
8 mogop;'.l!. (3.i!6-I. 2.«a
pOx"'). 4. opl ",01 mom
(33-132mm). SDHC slot
(SOMB into".,I). 2x M
bon''''''62x91xlOmm, 128g,
,..... )It ... U S w,m."ty
DETAILS www.,. .... onic .<o ...
fUll REVIEW Sep 2009
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
What channels are
available on Freeview
HD, and can I receive them?
HD is finally
with us, or some of us at
least . If you visit www.freeview.
co. uk I/ref!view/Services/
Freeview-HD, you'll find a
,.astcode cheder that tells
you if you can the new
serVice. II 's currently limile.d to
london and Man.chester, but
other areas wTll be rolled out
between now and 2012.
BBe HD and lTV 1 HD are
available to view now. The BBe
service is the same one that's
been available Ihroogh Freesat
for some time, with a selection
of the best BSe content. The lTV
service is a dedicated channel,
however, ralher than the
confusing red-button system
that ap.,ears on Freesat. It
directly matches lTV 1's output,
and upscales non-HD content .
Channel Four HD will join the
lin.e-up later this year.
II you want to watch these
free-to-air HD broadcasts,
you' ll need to buy new kit,
such as the Humax HD-fOXT2,
which we hope to review n.ext
month. This is because they
use the new DVS-T2: standard.
So far we haven't been able to
source a DVS-T2: tuner for
testing, but they should be
available soon.
Seth aartan
Reviews Editor
£195 inc VAT
From www.expansys.com
stu-ray hasn't revolutionised home movie viewing in
the way OVDs did, but it's certainly here to stay. The
other options for watching films in high definition are
to subscribe to Sky's HO movie channels or download
huge files from online movie services. Blu-ray releases
aren't cheap, admiuedly, but movie rental services such
aswww.lovefilm.comnowstock illlnewreleaseson
the formal and don't charge eXIra for them.
This latest modellrom Philips is ilrnong the
best-looking players we've seen. Its dimensions match
those 01 other AV and hi -Ii components, but its curved
edges set it apart from their usual boxy designs.The
disc tray is in the centre, with an LED display on the
left and touch-sensitive controls on the right . A <;oft
blue light shines downwards from beneath the disc
tray. The edge of the front lascia appears to have an
unbroken silver rim, although two small joints mar the
eHect somewhat if you look closely. You won't notice
them from your sofa, though.
We well' immediately impressed with Ihe
SDP7SOO's performance. It look just 24 se.:onds to
load our Spider-Man 3 disc, practically halving the time
taken by its predecessor, the BOP7300. and making it
the fastest Blu-ray pl<tyer we've seen.
The rear of the unit houses all the connections
you'd expect. As with all modern players, the HDMI
port suppons the 1.3 standard. This means it can
output the full bitstream of Dolby TrueHD and DTS
Master Audio soundtr<lcks to a compatible HDMI -
equipped amplifier. This player also has its own built-in
decoder, so you can output these <;oundtracks through
the multichannel analogue outputs. This gives you the
full benefit olSlu-ray <lu dio with older surround-sound
amplifiers, as long as your amp has a multichannel
input. Other ports indude optical and coaxial S/POIF
outputs, component and composite video connectors
A flap on the front fascia slides back to reveal a
USB port for playing media files from storage devices.
This supports only MPEG2, DivX andWMV video files,
MP3 andWMA audio, and JPEG images.The support
may be limited, but the menu system is a pleasure to
use and could be very handy for the odd photo
sli deshow. The enl ire interface is stylish and minimal,
and the induded Il'mote control is brilliant. with
responsrve controls that are both dearly labelled and
comfortably arrilnged.
Image quali ty from Blu-ray movies
was excellent. producing illi the detail
we'd expect. Testing it side by side
with a couple 01 ot her recent players,
we found it very hard to find
differences between them - any
significilnt difference in picture quality
is likely to be due to your TV. OVO
upscaling is another matter, howewr,
and li ke its predecessor the BOP7S00
shines, with sharp strilight lines,
reduced compression artefacts and
vibrant. gr<lduated colour.
VERDICT ... good buy if you _ nl
analogu., "'rround """Id, but
moS! fI"OpIt! a ... booll ... off with
cl>O"l"'r model or " Pi.lyStal ion 1
If you're alter a great-looking
Blu-ray player with a mut1: ichannel
output, this is a good buy. However, if
you don't need a built-in audio
de.:oder, you could pay £20 more and
buy a PlayStation 3 Slim instead (see
Labs, ShOPPl'f 264}.lt's also a great
Slu-ray player, and has loads of other
useful functions, plus it plays games.
Those who want a cheaper opt ion
should buy LG's 80370 for £ 130 from
BbJ · ray Ploy ... ProMo 2.0, HOI-tl,
<-" .tereo pl>ono,
<".. .. 1 and O(Itlcal SlPOIF ""!pot,,
W!h285. S6mm, - 'Y"" AT8
18W .ctivo
P""'T Coot: BOP1500BIJ12
OETAIU WWW.philipHO.uk
Seth Barton
***** i1?2%1
£140 inc VAT _ fl' '. M
From www.play.com
The UltraHD is the first Flip with
an HOM I out put, so you can
watch your HO movies back on
your HOTV. lt comes with a
red1argeable battery pack that
charges via t he flip-oot USB connedor.You can also
fit two standard AA batteries if you prefer.
The 8GS of fla sh
memory will st ore around
two hours of video. This
has a resolution of
l ,2BOx72:0 pixels. It looks
detailed, and exposures
were well balanced. It has
idiot-proof controls and
comes with simple
software for uploading
your d ips toYouTube.
HOC ... MCOII[)(II 8GB n. ....
m<m<><y , t ocog<,
2.2· mtgopl,ol ' h .... CMOS
OM""', 2 .. teo "'Hr>. usB.
HOM!, 106.S2.2lmm, HOg.
_ ' Y"" RTB "'.mlnt)'
P ... RT COOE U2120BlJK
OIT ... I[5 .....-w.l .... lIip.com
FUU RlVlEW 0<, 2009
""""" I
WD TV Live
£94 inc VAT
This t iny device plugs
into your HDTV and
plays media liles, either
fro m USS storage devices or
st reamed over a network. The list of
supported formaLS is impressive, and it even handled
Slu-ray-qual ity video without dropping a frame. The
attract ive interlace is simple t o mtvigat e, and this is a
great little device t hat lets you enjoy media fil es on
your livi ng-room TV with the minimum of fuss.
(ompo<ilt. mini·j.odo: ,,"reo. O(Iticol SIPDlF, £tl.-",." 101100,2.
USB,SlJppom WM ... , ...... C,OU'W ... ond MP3 • ..010, WMV·HO,
MPEG I, MI'£G2 (YOB), MI'£G4, XviD, o;.,x .rw:! H.2t>4 Ifideo, BMP.
Ttr """ JPEG "'''g ... 4Ox12S,100mm, -'YN' RTB_ty
OETAILS FUll REVIlW J .... <010
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
*** £15 or £199 it'IC VAT
From www.btvision.bt.com
BTVision is an on-demand TV se.vice
over broadband. and is available ooly to 6T
Total Broadband customers. The Vision+ is an
update to the original silverVisioo set-top box
and a lot in black. It's also
undergone a lew to addreS$, among
other things. complaints about the lirst box's
power consumption.
Instead 01 leaving the hard disk spinning
permanently, the new version has a standby
mode that involves more than merely changing
the colour 01 the status LED from blue to
purple. However, even with the hard disk
powered down, the box drew almost 12W in
sleep mode. This is poor compared with many
PVRs, including Humax's PVR-9300T (see page
40). which uses just lW in standby. There's a
'low power/off mode', which consumes 1W,
but this is largely pointless as it doesn't allow
the box to wake up to make recordings and
won't respond to the remote control.
At the front is a viewing card slot for adding
additional subscription channels, whkh are
cUJTently limited to the ESPN sports Channel ,
There's also a record button and di rect ional
controls that replicate tile remote's.
Disappointingly. the USB ports on the front
and rear are not used. so you can't play musk.
or photos Irom USB storage
Watch list Viewing packs
When it comes to on-demand content, you
can pay as you go or buy viewing packs. The
cheapest viewing pack is Bronze, which
cosh £7.50 fOl" the first three months and
flS afterwards. Silvercosts fl0.S0 for
three months and then flB, while Gold
costs f12.50 and f20 thereafter. These
allow you to choose two, three and four
'packs' respectively from PictureBox Film,
Sport, Music and Kids programmes. All
packs also indude Replay, which is a
selection of content from BBC, ITV,Channel
4 and Five from the past seven days.
If you don't fancy a 12-month contract
0f1 one of these packs, you can pay 99p per
At the back,
tneVisiont has two
SCART sockets, and HDMI
outputs. Annoyingly. no HDMI cable is bundle<i ,
even though this is the best way to connect the
Vlsion+ to an HDTV.lt can upscale Freeview and
standard-definition on-demand programmes to
nop or 10BOi HDMI.
Setting up the box is easy:you just connect
the power, network., aerial and AV cables. Two
powerline networking adaptors are bundle<i in
case your BT Home Hub isn·t near yourVlsion+
box. These route your network traffic through
your home's power wiring. whiCh is lar neater
than using Etllernet cables and more reliable
than wireless, During the welcome screens, you'll
be asked to scan for channels. Once this is
complete, you can start watching TV.
HD programmes and films are to
download and watch later- they can't be
streame<i in real-time due to bandwidth
limitations. These include 5.1 surround sound.
but this only outputs through tile SfPDIF output
and not over HDMI - so those with HDMI -
capable AV amps will be lorced to use SfPDIF.
The Vision interface tmn't changed and is still
great.lt"s base<l on Mkrosolt Media Center, so
text and icons are large and easy to read, and the
EPG covers the neKt 14 days, which is much
Replay programme or around half this for a
single show from Sport, Music or Kids. There
are 2B Picture Box films available per month
(MIne of t hem new releases), but there are
around 600 movies in the pay per view
section. These cost from £2 for old titles,
B.SO for new releases and a hefty £5 for
new HD releases. However, these prices are
in line with rentals from the )(box 360'5 Zune
service or the PlayStation 3's Video Store.
Bear in mind that rentals last just 24
hours. You can watch your programme as
many times as you like in that period, but it
mearlS you can't watch anything over two
evenings without some very careful planning.
<I( BT Vi.iO<l·.
PiclureBox Fi lm
pack offers 28 films
B month but no new
longer than most PVRs offer. Pressing the up or
down arrows while waH:hing a programme tells
you what 's on other channels. while pressing
right shows what 's on next ,
Bear in mind that you can only get the
Visioo+ box for £1 5 if you sign up to a
pack - otherwise it costs £199. What"S more, this
cut-price deal applies only to new customers.
This isn't the end 01 the bad news, either. Like
the old box. theVision+ has to be connecte<i to
broadband to operate. This means you can't
watch programmes i/ your broadband
connection is down.
Another niggle is that tile box have
DVB-T2 tuners, so it won't let you watch or
record the new Freeview HD channels.lt"s harsh
to blame BT for this omission. as the tuners have
only just become available, but it means this box
is rather outdate<i already. The dual
tuners let you watch one channel and record
another. but the 160GB hard disk is rather small
lor storing recorde<i programmes.
The box worke<i flawlessly during our tests.
and standard-definition content streamed
smoothly without p.lusing or juddering. Picture
and audio quality was reasooably good, and we
appreciated the extra image quality and surround
sound in HD films. However, film buffs are likely
to prefer postal rental services such
(especially with its wide Blu-ray range) thank<; to
Vision's high prices and the lack of
choice in the PictureBox pad.
Overall, the new blackVision+ box feels like a
stopgap rather than a new product. It"s a shame
BT hasn't taken advantage of the USB ports, and
doesn·t allow media streaming from your home
network over Ethernet. Vision's only real
competition is from Virgin·sTV bundles. The TV
M+ p.lckage is comparable in price to Vision's
Bronze deal when you factor in phone line rental
and broadband costs, but it also provides Sky 1.
Sky 2, BBC HD and Channel 4 HD.
II you're eligible to buy the Vision+ box for
£lS, it"s a good deal, but il your area is served by
Virgin. you'll get more from packages.
VEkDICTThe newlli .... n+ box i.
bett.,.. looking Ih"" tt>e old one,
bIIt bl'ingolinl •• 1<. to the t able
b,r low.,.. pow .. con,umption
Jim Martin
f ...... itw t ......... S·-Meo, .Ix SeARl,
HOMI ""'tpUts. OIltia SlPOIF ond
.,.,"" J*>ono ""!puts. 160GB M,d
disk, one·y ....
coUKt·ond· .. !urn - 'ant)/
.un.Jby. t6W on
DETAIlS WWWNvi.ion.bt,com
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
ACR-PV73100 PlayON!
HD Media Player
**** £133 inc VAT
From www.scan.co.uk
There's a huge range 01 me<lia streaming devices
on the market. Our current favourite is the
Western Digital's WOTV Live (see page 38). We're
not sore who A.C. Ryan is, but he (or she) can
certainly put together a very capable media player.
The PlayON! HD is much larger than the WD
TV live. but lor a good reason. A panel on the tme
provides access to a 3'hin drive bay with support
for dish up to 1.5T6. A hard di 5k ist)'1 a necessity.
however, as the PlayON! HD can play media files
over a network or from local storage devices.
Two USB ports on the side allow you to attach
these storage devices, while a USB tyPE B port
provides direct access to an installed hard disk.
There's also a memory card reader that supports
SDHC and Memory Stick Pro formats.
On the rear is the usual HDMI output, plus
component and composite jacks,
weH labelled and make navigating the menus easy.
Volume controls let you tweak the levels without
reaching for the TV remote, Howellef, the playback
controls are bizarrely arranged, and the pause
button is inconveniently tucked away near the
bottom of the handsel.
You can browse files on USB devices, memo!),
cards, an internal hard disk or from network
devices such as NAS drives and shared folders. It
wiU also find UPnP media servers. File format
support is good, and it' ll play eve!)' format you're
likely to need, indudingVOB with DVD menus and
H,Z64 video in an MKV container. A handy video
thumbnail appears when you scroll through such
files, but photos are limited to a single
thumbnail, when a page of multiple
would be much easier to navigate.
There are some useful extras.
Optical and coaxial SfPOIF's are
provided, along with a stereo
phono output . The 101100
Ethemet port is fine for streaming
HD movie files but makes
network file transfers to and from
an intemal disk r>ainfuHy slow.
There's no built-in wireless
networking, but you can add this
with an 8OZ.11n adaptor for as
available from Scan, part
code ACR-WN1000l).
VD.DlCTThl. media player doe<
...... !)'Ihingyou n.ed, and you can
;odd an ;"t. "",1 hard di,k, but it'.
Internet radio is well implemented
and easy to browse butYouTube
access has been removed from
the latest firmware. Picasa
browsing is still present, though,
so you can browse online photos.
The power button is the only
control on the other\Nise plain
fascia; eve!)'thing is handled
with the chunky remote control.
The buttons on the remote are
***** £170 inc VAT "----
From www.play.com
Humax's PVR-93ODT
is easy to use.The
remote ((lntrol has
pricior Ihan I"" compOIi:liOll :::' __ i
cornp<>nent, """"""it<, " .. .., phono
outpUI , <0 .. 101 an<! opll".1 SJPOIf
output>. Supporu WMA, AM. , OGG,
WAV, MP3 audio. WMV- HD, MPEG 1.
MP£G2 (vOB), MP£G4, Divxtx",D on<!
H,]6.4 file<. 221,16S,60mm. _-year
RTa worranty
( ... llf>ouIl....-d di .... I""olled), WJ

otTAILS www.atJ)'¥',com
The PlayONI HD is a good
media player with plenty of ports
lor attaching devices and the
option 01 an internal hard diSk. If
you want to store files locally, it's
a great option, but other\N1se it's
upensive next to theWD TV Live,
and its remote control and r>arts
01 its interlace aren't as polished
as those of the WDTV live.
Seth Barton
From www.scan.co.uk
This PCI «Ird is
compatible with most
motherboards, and is
well-labelled buttons, and the easy-to-navigate
interface indudes a dear EPG, Its two digi tal
tuners are capable of showing a third progrillTlme
while you record two others. The 320GB hard
disk provides up to 200 hours of fe<ording space,
Series !ink recording means you don't have to
remember to record every episode, It's a great
way of enhancing your enjoyment of freeviewTV.
supplied wi th a half-height
so you can fit it into a low-profile case. A mini
aerial is included, but as usual you'll be llKky to
get de<ent re<:ept ion using this. The dual
tuners let you re.:ord one chanr.el while watching
another, or record two channels at once.
II you're looking for a basic dual tuner
for your Vista or Windows 7 media centre then
this is a good choice. If yoo're still using XP, then
we recommend upgrading your operating system.
I-VJtO DISK RECOItOElt 320GB llatd disk. 2, t!lllm.
HOMI, 2, SCART, ".reo pI>ono orw:I Sl
POIf o.-.e-y .. , RTtI w. nonty
roWER CONSUMPTlON lW "..-.db», 00
DET t.IlS www.hJm. >o:<!igit.t"".uk
FUll. REVIlW N"" 2008
INTlRNAl TVTUNER 2, digit. tu""" pel i"tmoe., RF. IR
one-y ... na "' ..... nt)'
fUll. REVIEW M. r 2010
TV Card
Follow the steps to find your Ideal specs
TUNEli; D'.-liII or h)tIrid
1Nfotrrs: !\ad", (Rr)

TV cards connect to pC!;
through a variety of interfar::es.
Internal cards fit into PCI or x1
slol$. External devices with USB
lnterfar::es are easier to install but use
up a USB port. USB stick and PC Card
versions are also available and are
ideal for laptOfls.
Ell Most devices receive only
a digital TV broadcasts, but hybrid
tuners can also receive allalogue
broadcasts. Terrestrial digital TV, or
Freeview as it 's commonly known,
provides extra fre e channels, but you
can't access subscription charvlels
with a TV tuner carel.
Analogue can produce
a superior picture to digital
broadcasts, but digital tuners don't
suffer from noise and ghosting when
reception is poor. You can check
the digital re.::eption in your area
at www.freeview,co. uk,Remember
that analogue broadcasts are being
phased out, so analogue-only tuners
are a pool" t:hoice.
n Bask devices provide an RF
1::1 input for connecting an aerial.
To connect an analogue video device,
sut:h as a t:amcoroer orVCR for video
capture, look for a composite or,
preferably, S-video input. Digital
tuners tend not to include this
feature. Buy a hybfid devke if
yO\.l want to re.::eive digital TV and
capture analogue video.
... If yO\.l want to your PC for
Ii.I video editing or as a digital
video recorder, you'll need to capture
video in an appropriate compression
format. The most practical format is
MPEG2, which gives excellent quality
and reasonable file sizes.
Digital TV is broadcast in MPEG2
format, which makes it easy to record
to diSK. Expect an hour of MPEG2
video to take up roughly 1.5GB of
hard diSK space.
n Most TV tuners come with their
1:.1 own software for watchingTV
and scheduling recordings. Many
tuners are also compatible with the
excellent Windows Me-dia Center,
whkh is included with the Home
Premium and Ultimate versions of
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
.. B U L LG U A R 0 At 8uliGuard we want everyone to enjOy the online world with ease and confidence Our
"., products provide comprehenSive protection from online risks and secure your valuable
WITH YOU ONLINE'" data effectively
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
What are audio stream
input/output (ASIO)
drivers? Do I need one for my
USB sound u rd?
low-latency ASIO
are essential for
recording on a Wirldows PC,
and are usually by the
manufacturer of your audio
device. However, many generic
USB audio devices (such as
Lindy's USB Guitar Cable,
opposite) come without ASIO
drivers. Thankfully, generic
alternatiws are available.
Our favourite is ASSI04ALL,
available from WoNW.asio4all.
com. This 'ree generic driver
shoold work with almost any
sound device. Once installed,
you simply select it as the input
or output device for any audio
program you want to use it
with. If you have multiple audio
devices (for example, a
motherboard audio
and a USB one), you'll be able to
select which ASI04AlL uses
in its configuration screens.
Alan Lu
Audio and
£30 inc VAT
From www.advancedmp3
Cowon's lillest MP3 the E2. beilrs
mOte than a passing resemblance to
genre 01 music we tried sounded muddy.
and lacked detail and warmth. Bass was
weak. which made bass-heavy music sound
flat and unsatisfying. Clarity and detil;1
increased significantly with a good
third-p<!rty set of earphones. Some tr<lCks,
especially jazz and classical pieces, still di dn·t
Apple·s iPo<I Shuffle (see !..Jbs.
263). as its roughly the size 01 a pack
of chewing gum and lad:5 a screen.
There ilre many differences between
the two, though.
The E2 plilyback controls and a
power button on its right edge, while the volume
controls and menu button are on the left. This is
preferable to the iPo<I Shuffle·s mOte minimalist
controls. It makes the E2 mOte flexible too. as you can
use any pair 01 earphones without losing playback
control- a problem lor the Shuffle. as its controls are
located on an inline remote on the supplied earphones.
The E2 has its own problems. though. The buttons are
rather small so people with large lingers will lind them
fiddly. and there isn·t a hold switch to prevent
accidentill button presses.
sound dear as we'd like. and the bass stiR
wasn·t thumping enough for our tastes. The battery
lasted for 10 hours and 36 minutes, which doesn't
sound like much but is in line with what we·d expect
from a player 01 this size.
The E21acks the Shuffle's clip, which Iilstens it to
your clothing. An integrated metal ring lets you hang it
from a keychain. but we don't think it's as useful as a
clip. As with the Shuffle. the E2's 3.5mm headphone
jack doubles as a USB sodet for charging and datil
transler. A USB adaptor cable is induded. bot sadly. the
widely available Shuffle cable isn't compatible.
The equaliser is an unexpected bonus on such a
cheap player. Pressing the menu
Cowon·s E2 is less liddly to use than Apple·s iPod
botton cydes through the presets.
while a synthesised voice tells you
the name 01 each. Holding down
the botton randomises the plily
order of your tracks, but there·s no
5Upport for pl<!y1ists and the E2's
synthesised voice can't tell you the
name of your tracks. as the
Shuffle's can.
We weren't particularly
impressed by the sound quality
of the bondled earphones. Every
U I inc VAT
From http://accessories.euro.
produce a
sound that's de<lrer. richer and
more balanced than that 01 <lny
other speaker set under £50.
The volume and bass controil
<Ire on the right satellite and
subwooler respectively, and
<Ill the cables except power
protrude from the right sateltite.
II you want <I set lor music or
games. you won·t find better
speakers for this price.
3tw pcM'or. 3.Smm "'reo inptJ"
OETALli www.logitoch.<;om
Apr 2OtO

VERDlCT CQWoII'$ E1 1<a ch.ap MP3
ptay..r, bYl ft', .nli .. ly O4Jld .... d by
lh. coml"' l ili""
flASl-ll'IEHOllY 2GB capod\y.
SlJppot\. WI'IA. OGG. WAV. MPl . udio liln,
USB 27xS<63mm. 16g._·yN'
.... ...., .. .,."

£50 inc VAT
From www.superfi.co.uk
The SE102 headphones are among
the most effective noise-isolation
earphones we've heard. The 41cm
cable is a little short. but an
extension leild is included. When
listening to musk wMe travelling
on t he London Underground. we
were able to hear line details that
are barely audible using many
other noise-cancelling sets.
We were surprised by the
de<lr sound. alt hough
the bass wasn't <IS
thumping as
we would

EAIlI'lUGS 3.Smm st.reo jodo: plug.
41crncot>l •• 1-4g
PAllTCOOE 5E102·(·E
DETAILS www.>hJ .... co.uk
fUll. REVIEW Feb 2009
Shulfle and is dleilper too. The
audio quality is disappointing.
though. especially compared with
that of previous Cowon players,
which generally sound very good. If
you·re looking for a small, cheap
MP3 player. we·d recommend
SanDisk's Sansa Clip+ (see below).
It has superior sound quality. <I
slightly longer battery lile and, best
of aiL it has double the storage
capacity lor only £6 more.
Alan Lv
Sansa Clip+ 4GB
***** =.'i'iI
£36 Inc VAT
From www.advan-cedmp3
This MP3 plilyer isn't much bigger
than a matchbox, but it h<ls an
FM rildio. 4GB 01 storage and <I
microSO slot.ltl battery lasted lor
over 17 and-a-hall hours. whkh is
impressive lor such a small player.
The buttons <lnd screen
are a touch mlall. but
the Clip + is still
great v<llue.
lin lCD. MicroSD slot. ,uppot\.WMA.
WMA·DRM. OGG.Audibl< . nd I'IPl .... io
Iii.., USB ll<14.SSmmm. 29g.
""'·Y'" RT B .... .,.."ty
DETAIlS www.<.ondi<l:.co.uI:
fUll. REVIEW feb 2010
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
USB Gui t ar Cable
£20 inc VAT
From www.lindy.co. uk
If felt that your electric guitar
was trapped in the 20th century "'lith its
amp and 'Aiin TRS C<)(Inector, lindy's USB
Guitar Cable could be e><actly what you
need. It brilliantly simple: a thkk 5m
cable with a 'Aiin jack on one end and a USB connector on the other.
The USB connector is <lctually a tiny USB wund GIrd, which was
instantly as a USB audio device 011 eVl!ry version 01 Windows.
Linux and Mac OS X we tried. It's a welcome change from fi ddling around
with fragile 14in-to-3.5mm conversion leads and line inputs_
The audio quality was excellent. capturing the warm tones 01 our
guitar beautifully. It 's a breeze to use with most PC guitar effects and
audio software - we simply had to select the device, which appears
as a C-Me<!ia USB microphone, as our line input. Your usual audio device
handles the speaker ootput as normal.
We experienced a very slight delay between hining the guitar siring
and hearing the tone through oor speakers. thanks to latency issues with
Windows' default driver, but this isn't a major problem. If it bothers you,
both commercial and free low-latency AudiO Stream Input/Output (ASIO)
drivers are available for generic USB audio devices. However, we had
difficulty using these on a test system that also had other USB audio
devices installe<!, as they caused conflicts with our output device.
which has it5 own ASIO driver.
Issues such as this mean the USB Guitilr Cable is more suitilble
for practising or recording rough
tracks than for final production.
but this isn't a major complaint,
and the cable is priced
accordingly. Whether yoo're
practising in your bedroom or
laying down a demo track. this
is a must-have item for
tech-sawy guitarists.
Kat Orphanides
Z-5500 Digital
***** VI"iM £254 Inc VAT · 1£1.
From www.amazon.co.uk
This surround-sound speaker
ki t has builHn decoding for Dolby
Digital and DTS soundtrack<;.You
can connect a DVD player via the
optical aM coaxial SfPDIF inputs,
or connect your PC's sound
card to its three mini-jack inputs
lor surround sound. Quality is
great. with an emphasis on t he
and treble.This
set is
power. 3. 3.5 stO<eo (5.1. 3, stereol.
<00 . .. 1 SJPOIF. OI't",al SJPOIF ir>p<rts

PARTC0DE 9701Hl1Z0
fUll REVIEW Jul 2009
VERDICT An u<y and .ffordabl. way
10 brin& your <lecuk &uiU' inlo Ihe
Sm uble. " in connector. one·y .. ' RT8
w ...... nty
£250 inc VAT "
From http://shop.philips.co.uk
TheNP2900 "-
streaming audio _
receiwr is small.
but its built-in
speakers sound rich aM powerful
It supports a wide range of audio
formats, and the included
TwonkyMe<!ia Man.ager software
is easy to use. A of internet
radio stiltions are available. and
you can add more. It's a little
expensive. but it's excellent.
mini·jad; i>oadf>h<>n' output. h <00 .....
SJPDlf """' yeo< RTB ........ nty.
""I'POI"'sWMA. AAC. Ogg.Wav and MP3
.lIdio PART COOE NP2900Kl5
6Won foo REVIEW Jun 2009
£35 inc VAT
From www.amazon.co.uk
Veho's Mimi wireless speaker is no bigger
than a glass tumble'. 50 we were surprise<!
to find that it contains stereo speakers
rather than just one. Its built-in battery
charges over USB and lasts up to eight hours.
This, combined with it5 Sill' and sturdy build,
makes it attractive for mobile use with a laptop.
What sets the Mimi apart from most portable speakers is its wireless
connection. A USB dongle is included. and it connecte<!to the speakers
instantly when plugge<! into our Vista laptop. It uses a 2.4GHl wireleS$
connection. which interfered with our laptop's WiFi reception until we
switched the dongle to a different wireleS$ channel using its buttons.
The speaker also has a wired 3.Smm stereo input.
We were surprised by how loud the Mimi sounds. The bass is weak. as
you'd e><pect. but at least it doesn't sound boomy and unfocused as with
other 2.0 stereo speakers. The audio qualily varies a lot depending on the
type 01 music played. CLaS$ical and pop music sounde<:l reasonably dear
and detailed, although there was distortion at the highest volumes. This
distortion was much more notiCl!able in electronic. R&B and rock mUSiC.
especially at high volumes. Music can al50 sound muddy, 50 subtle vocal
details can be lost. This was more noticeable in electronic and rock music.
The audio output is far from perfect. but we don't expect spot-on
sound quality from portable speakers. Compared with other portable
sets. the Mimi sounds reasonably good and is a definite improvement
over most laptop speakers.
The wireless connection is
especially convenient for mobile
use and is an unexpecte<! bonus
at this price. At 382g it isn't
the lightest portable speaker
on the mar1<et . but in every
other respect it's a highly
convenient design.
Extra Bass
Alan Lu
***** 'tdfb! £6 inc VAT
From http://shop.p/lil ipS.co.uk
These earphones may be cheap,
but they're superior to sets that
come with most MP3 players.
They're comfortilble, and t heir
open speakers create a full, natural
sound that's well suited to rod.
pop and dance music. The
earphones produce
solid b,m tones,
but not at the
expense of clarity
and precision.
EARPHONES 3.Smm stereo jad;
1.1m GlI>I • • 87&. 106<18 ....
__ 12·Z2.000Hz.
1& <>hms
0flA&5 ..... ukl<o ......... r
fUll. REVIEW 1'1.. 2008
VERDlCTV.ho'$ Mimi ""ned.bu,
i,', a good ,hoke if you need compact
01" port.bI. <I • ....., <pe.k ....
STEREO SPEAKERS Z.O configuration. 3W
power RMS, 3.Smm stereo. Z.-4GH. ..
i'"4'"ts.. W g. ... RTS ..... rr.nty
OUAILS www.l'ffio· uk.<om
Muse 16GB
£133 inc
From www.amazon.co.uk
Philips' GoG ear Muse has built-in
noise cancellation. so you can hear
your music dearty in noisy
environments. It has good audio
and video quality. as well as good
battery life. It's not
cheap, but it's a
great player.
lin 0400><240 resolution l CO.
WM .... WMA· DRM.MC. OGG. w ... MP3
l1l<I .. fil ... WMV. MPEG4 AVI. MPEG4
MP4Yi<i<o fil.., BMP. j PEG imag< filo •.
USB 110.8>c55mm. 8%
"""' ye¥ RT8 ........ nty
DfTAI15 .........
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Can I share my DVD
writer wit h other
(omputers on my network?
LC's N2B1D (right)
allows multiple
computers on a netwo .... to
share an optical This is
useful for installing
onto, or backing up fil es from,
computers without an
drive - such as netbooks.
If you don't want to invest in
such an expensive piece of kit,
it's sITU possible to share a OVO
writer across your netwo .... .
Ahead's Nero burning
suite used to include NeroNet
which did just this, but it's r>O
longer avai lable. You can buy
120% Alcohol, which allows
data to tM> written to or read
from discs, but it costs US$57
(approx £36) and dOi':sn't allow
OVO or Blu-ray movies to be
watched over a network.
For most uses, though, it's far
simpler to buy and share an
external USB OVO writer.
Easily-transportable portable
models, such as Samsung's
SE-SOS4 (see What'sNew,
Shopper 263), are avai lable
online lor around £50.
Alan Lu
PC systems and
*** £348 inc VAT
From www.scan.co.uk
LG's N2S1D is the fil"5t netwOl"k attached storage
(NAS) _'ve seen to come filted with a Blu-ray
drrve. Of any optical drive lor that matter. Althoogh it
NAS with a built-in optical drive sounds gimmicky. it
could be quite useful. Users of computers without
optical drives. such as netbooks, can use the N2B1D to
install from disc. Files can also be written to
disc althoogh. unsurprisingly. only one user can access
the Blu-ray drive at any one time.
Unloltunately, the web interface for burning discs is
only auessible from the S<!me password-protected
interface used to manage other, more sensitive
settings. It"s unlikely you'U want to give all usel"5 on
your netwOl"k such unll'stricted access. The basic
burning interface is quite clunky too. It wouW have
been mOfe cOrM'nient ilthere had been a separate disc
burning application that could queue disc burning jobs
from multiple users and prompt for a new disc as each
job is finished. We'd also like to have seen the ability to
automatically backup either all or a
po<1.ion 01 shared files to disc.
- -

makes it diHiwlt to troubleshoot. However, we had no
problems using the N2B 10 to share a USB printer or
the contents of a USS di sk over our local gigabit
Ethernet network.Thell'·s also a memory card reader.
so their contents, as well as those of USS disks. can be
automatically backed up onto the N2Bl0's hard disks.
but they'll' copied into a confusing folder structure.
This 2T6 vel"5ion comes with a pair of HB hard
disks filted in easily accessible drive bays. In RAID 0
mode. 2T6 01 storage is available. but if a single disk
fails then yoo'Ulose all your data. Under RAID I, the
available storage is halved. but your data is safe if a
Sadly. the N2Bl0 can't be used
to play OVD or Stu-ray movies.
There are plenty of other media
sharing leatull'S, though. We had no
trouble using the N2Bl0 as an
music or UPnP media server
and files can be downloaded over
BitTorrent withoot a Pc. Unlike the
disc-burning interface. this can be
accessed separately from the Il'st of
the web management interlace.
V£ROICT A NAS wiU, built·in optkal
drive i..,'t • bad idOl if you •
n.!book, bYt LG',
N2B1D didn't ny. "1"0
disk fails. The N2B 10's
performance, whether under RAID
o or 1. was ...mat we'd expected -
roughly the same as it
removable USB hard di sk.
With it price gigabyte 01
17p. the N2B1D isn't very
expensive, but you're still paying
for a Blu-ray drive ...mich has been
poorly integrated and can't be used
to its full potential. If you still want
an optical drive-equipped NAS,
vel"5ions with a OVD drive
instead of a BR one and smaller
hard disks. are available. Check
dl"'. E_.3. USB2
port>. m«lo.. print. USB di'"
one! FTP..",.rs."",-y .. ,RlBWiI".Oflty.
POWUt CONSUMPTlON 20W "' ndby.
Stored files can also be
from any internet-connected PC
through a web browser. Annoyingly,
this often failed to work in our tests
and the lack of documentation
My Book World
Edition lTB
EIl 7 inc VAT _ «4,_
From http://www.misco.co.uk
This ITB NAS device looks sleek in
its glossy ...mite case.lt·s easy to
configull' and is olle 01 the fastest
single-disk NAS devices we've
seen. It 's quiet. too. so
it's unobtrusive and can
be used in a quiet room.
HB dl .... 10110011.000
The MyBook Work!
isn't perfect - it has
no print sewer and
its remote access
server isn't very_U
designed - but its
and low
cost gigabyte
make it great ""lue.
Mbitl. ".tW<;KI:. <"""",,,ion. Ix
USB port. UPnP modi •.
USB dtsl: . ,..J fTP"""o,,-
thr,,-)'N' RTB _rr""'Y

fUll REVIEW Jun 2009
out our Labs of the latest NAS
devices in next month's Shopper.
eGo Portable 500GB
£70 inc VAT
Some portable USB hard dish
can cheap and flimsy,
but lomega's eGo certainly
doesn·t. Although we
wouldn't want to drop any hard
disk, the eGo's metallic shell fee ls as though it
couW handle a few knocb.
It's one of the
Alall Lu
fastest portable USB
disks we've seen,
whether it was
(Qpying large or smaU
files, and EM('s useful
RetroSj:le<:t Express HD
backup soltware is
irlCluded. Best of all,
the eGo costs just 15p
Dtst: 500GB <opKity. 5.-4OOrprn
. pi .... sp<ed.US8inlOrf", •.
13S. 89.2Omm. ""0-)'"1'
RTB """onty
DET.o.Il.S www.Iom<g.a-""opt.

Wll REVIEW De< 2009
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
SSDNow V+ 128GB
£254 inc VAT
From www.kikatek.com
Kingston's latest 128GB 2. 5'n solid state disk (550)
for l<lptops comes with a comprehensive kit 01
accessones. A USB 2.5in disk enclosure and disk
imaging software are indude<llor copying aU your
mes from your existing hard disk to the SSD, before
fitting the 550 in your laptop. The enclosure then lets
you fe -use your old internal Iwd disk as a portable
USB disk. There are also drive rails and screws for
mounting the 550 in a 3,Sin drive bay.
We were also greatly impressed with the
SSDNow's file copying performance. It's laster than
any traditional2.5in or 35in hard disk, or arry other
SSD we've seen. Our test laptop's battery even lasted
30 minutes longer with the SSDNow fitted, although
there were only negligible in boot and
hibernation times. SSDs are far more accident-proof
than standard disks. and it's this added data security
that's the reason to invest in one.
Kingston'S 128GB SSDNow is last with a weU
thought-out selection of accessories. However, like aU
current SSDs ifs cramped compared to traditional
hard disks. and costs an exorbitant f2 per gigabyte.
Still, if you need very fast lile copying, a longer
battery life and added piece 01 mind regarding data
security, then this is the best SSD to buy.
Alan Lv
VERDICT Kingston', !<olest $SO is
and come. wllh ev.rythlng you n.-ed.
bul ill comparatively low c.pacity
and high l"1er mate II • poor choice
114(;& lormott«i copKity (NTH), SATA
)00 Inl""o<.
DETAILS www.k .. ptoo.com
SATA QuickPort USB3.0
£47 inc VAT
From www.scan.co.uk
SharkOOl1'S SATA QuickPort cradle is designed lor
people wtlo Irequently need to copy data to and Irom
internal hard disks. It has a top-moonted slot fOf easy
connection of a 2.Sin Of 3.Sin SATA disks. No fiddling
about with cables is required and the QuickPort then
connects to your computer using either USB2 or
USB3. a disk is as simple as pressing the
eject button and puUing the disk out.
around 30MB/s slower than Buffalo's
DriveStation eKlernal USB3 disk (5ee While'S
New, Shopper 264), but is stiU around foor times
laster than a regular USB2 connection.
On the downside, the QuickPort is
expensive compared to both standard hard disk
enclosures and U5B2 di sk cradles, although it's still
under ESO - so woo't break the bank. It"s also not as
fast as other comparable USB3 products.
00' 2.5i" or 3.Sln SATA Iw<J di!.k ,
USBZ 0<><1 USB) .. 1. 01"0<.
PARTCOOi 40«951009916
Using a 750GB Samsung SATA 300 disk, the
QuickPort"s performance USB2 was in line with
what we'd expect. When connected to our USB3-
equipped Asus motherboard. it averaged around
l00MBI5 copying both large and small files, This is
Barracuda 7200.11
E88 inc VAT
From www.amazoo.co.uk
Despite the huge 1.5TB
capacity 01 this 3'hin
internal SATA hard disk. it
costs just 6p per gigabyte.We were impressed
by its performance in most of our file-transfer
tests: it lagged
behind onty wilen
writing small
files. Cheaper
1.51B hard disks
are available, but
the Barf<>Cuda is
our pkk if you
need plenty 01
last storage lor
your desktop Pc.
SATA 1.5TB hord
disk, 1.l91G8 f""""tted
col'lcity (NTfS),
;",..-f. ce. 1 spindle
com.. 8.5m, <HI<
tim •• <>0<... ....nen i<le
OiTAILS www ..... gote.<om
FUU R1V1EW Nov 2009
DETAILS www"I>i"toon.com
Nevertheless. the QuickPOf\'s convenierx:e is still
worth paying fOf if you have already upgraded to
USB3 and need to regularly work with int ernal disks.
Story Station lTB
£73 inc VAT 'i'i i
From www.sc.an.co.uk
Silmsung's first
cleshop external
disk lias a brushed
metal and grey plastic
finish, As well as looking sleek. it I\lnS quietly.
We were impres5e<l wi t h its perfOfmance in
our file-transfer
it's one of the
fastest desktop
USB disks we've
seen, despite its
low cost per
gigabyte 01 7p.
Backup software
is included, so it's
icleal if you need
lots 01 storage.
ITS copocity. 1
usa " I"",ce,
.. ,
id le. "IW
DETAILS ..........., .
fUll REVIEW 1'10)1 ZOO9
Alan Lu
Scorpio Blue 500GB
***** '" '.: .
Western Digital's
500GB Scorpio Blue
lias an unbeatable
combination of high capacity
and fast performance. It's one of the quickest
2'lti n SATA disks we've ever set'n. yet it costs
just over IIp per gigabyte. Unlike some earl ier
500GB drives,
thi s one's slim
9.5mm case will
fit in almost any
laptop. II you
need t o upgrade
the storage
capacity of your
laptop. then this
is t he 2'hin SATA
liard dis.\; to buy.
o4lISGB form. n od copocity
(NTFSJ. SATA )00 in'..-f", •.
cac ..... 12m .. ' i"",.24<18IA)
<>0<... wt..;, l<to
fUll REVIEW 1'10)1 1009
_ '"" __ oi -
- ... -.-
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
I do to
my Wifi signal?
Your wi reless broadband
network can suffer
interference from many sources,
ind uding neighbouring
networu atld other devices
that use the same 2.4GHz
frequency as most rout ers,
such as cordless phones.
The fi rst thing to do is change
the channel your router uses:
channels 1,6 and 11 don't
overlap and are the safest
choices. If this makes roo
differe nce, disable channel
txmding. This setting makes
your route r use two wireless
channels instead of one to
tK>ost performance, but also
irocreasl's the chances of
interference and often causes
lots of problems, induding a
serious loss of range.
II changingyOlJr rout er's
settings doesn't help, remember
that many routers allow you to
replace their antenn.as and
switch them for something
more You could also
buy a wireless re peat er to
extend your networl< to other
areas 01 your home.
Kat Drphanides
3G Portable
Router 3G-6210n
**** 1·
£80 inc VAT , ... ! ..
From www.pcworld.co.uk
Edimax' s tiny battery-powered 3G rou ter
is about the of a pad of cards and
designed to let you share an internet
connection wherever you are over WiFi.
A.s well as sharing a connection wi th laptops. you
can also use it to give internet access to other
WiFi -enabled devices. such as ,m iPod Touch.
To share a 3G connection you fil"$t need to plug
your wireless dongle into the router's USS port There's
also a 10/100 Ethernet port, which can either be used
as a LAN port to give internet access to a wired device
or, using the dedicated button on the side. switched to
a WA.N port This lets you tum the 3G-62100 into a
standard portable router and share a regular internet
connect ion. such as those found in hotel rooms.
Configuration is easy. There are quid setup tools
on the accompanying CD and built into the routers
web interface. These take you through configuring
your internet connection (3G or wired) and setting up
a secure wirele55 connectioo.
The router has plenty 01 leatures, lrom
remote management to keyword· and
address-based URL blocking. Basic QoS
aUows you to assign bandwidth limits and
prioritise different lP ,md port ranges.
Dynamic: DNS settings, which enable you
to point a lixed URL to your router even il
its lP address changes, support a number
of popu13r free and commercial services. If
you have both wired and 3G connections
available. you can set one up as a backup
connection, so that if your wired
connection goes down, for example, the
router can seamlessly switch to 3G.
The router is 802.11n compatible and has a
maximum throughput of lSOMbitls when using
channel bonding. This is turned on by default, but we
disabled it. as using two wi reless channels creates
problems with extra intelierence. Using our (entrino 2
laptop we got throughputs of 24.44Mbitls at 1m and
23.34Mbit/s at 10m. Sadly, we couldn't get a
connection at 20m: thiS lad of range is common to
most single-antenna. lSOMbitls, S02.11n-compatible
routers. That said. lor its intended purpose. the
throughputs and range are more than adequate for
sharing a 3G connection. Switching to Edimax's own
EW771SUn 802.11n wireless adaptor (£25). we saw
significantly lower speeds than with our laptop and
Setting up a 3G internet
connection is easy. and a simple
matter of entering the correct
connection information for your
internet provider. If you don't
your provider's details. Edimax's
website (hlfp:lltinyurl.coml
edimax3g) will help: just dick on the
Compatible tab lor a complete li st.
This also tells you which dongles the
router is compatible with. Most
dongles are supported. but Zoom's
Model 4501 (see What's NfW,
Shopper 266) has better support.
although no battery.
VERDICT With its .i",. low
prke aM nable 10m rango, lhi. i. 04J '
f;lYOurite port. We 3G rout.,.. to d. te
range wasn't improved. Edimax
claims the router wiU last for
around one-and-a-half hours using
the integrated li-ion battery. Our
tests confirmed this: the 3G-6210n
lasted for four hours using a WAN
connection and two hours '-"lith 3G.
h IOJ100lAN ports..Z, WAN
pM. (Cobl.,3G ",,'0..,,). uPnP. Oos,
16><102.69mm. _y,", __ nl)'
This is an excellent portable
router. and it's around a third of
the price of Nov.tel's similar MiFi
2352.11 you don't need the battery
life or portability. Zoom's Model
4501 (see Shopper 266) is much
cheaper and supports a wider range
of USS modems. but isn't as fast
--5 ' I
"-,- .........
0-....... ' -"
£15 per month (£10 for 0 , mobile customers)
From http://broadband.02.co.uk
available everywhere. but if you're a
lucky you'll be able to receive its
O/s broadband services aren' t
20Mbitfs-rate.:l connection for £1S fIE!!" 2
month. Our survey showed average
download speeds of 11.1Mbit/s and l1 igl1
sat isfact ion scores. You don't get a stat ic IP address.
but extras include 200 free SMS messages t hat you
can send from 02'S website. Packages are subject to
a fair-use policy
rather than a stated
download li mit.
If iI's available
where you live. it's a
great package. You
even get a fS
discount if Y<l u're an
0 2 mobile cust omer.
2QMb<tl •. wi,eless roun<. tmlIiL
Ire< mt.lllotion. lZ· mon,h
conUOd DET..t.l5www.
£109 Inc VAT
From www.solwise.co.uk
Solwise's SEC-Cl 062W is a
professional -gracle wireless
lP camera wit h motori sed
pan and t ilt, suitable for
ceiling-mounting. It easily
just ifies its price. VKleo
quality is brilliant. witil
accurate colours and minimal graininess.
To make the most of it. you"!l need an
FTPserverwhere it can
upload JPEG snapsilots
when mot ion is
cletected. You can even
connect extemal sensors
so snapsilots are
automatically t riggered
by events such as a
window being opened.
...oIution. lSfp •. 101100w;,ed
SOZ. l lbl, 1Mo".1..... mOllon
Otloctioo. RIa
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
*** £235 inc VAT
From www.cclonline.com
Synology's VS60 is an unusual
product. looh like one of the
company'S single-bay Disk
Station NAS devices, but its
purpose is much more specific.
The VS stands for Visoal Station
imd it worn with a Disk Statioo's
Surveillance Station and allows
you to display live feeds from your
IP camera on a monitor or TV.
It's aimed at businesses using IP cameras for
security ra ther than traditklnal (CTV cameras,
which limits its potential audience somewhat. For
wanting this capability for home security, the
VS60 is rather expensive considering it doesn't
replace the Disk Station's surveillance capabilities
but merely allows you to view the live feeds.
In order to use the VS60, you'll need a Disk
Station NAS that supports firmware version
2.2-0914 or later. This the necessa!)'
Enable Visual Station tickbox to configure which
camera feeds are to the VS6O. You'll also
need to connect the V560 to your nelWorI<: its
10/100 Ethemet port.
Everything is set up through the Disk Station's
web interface. You simply drag
and drop cameras that have
connect to just about any PC
monitor or flat-panel TV. There
are two USB ports - one althe
front and one at the rear - SO
you can connect a USB flash
drive and moose. If you connect a
USB flash drive, you can save snapshots
of leeds as )pEGs. The mouse lets you toggle a
C3mer,,'s feed between full -5ueen and thumbnail
views. Cameras that sopport pan, tilt and zoom
can alw be controlled using the mouse. Quality is
mainly down to your IP cameras, rather than the
V56O's processing. We didn't notice any drop in
quality compared with our cameras' feeds
on a PC monitor in Internet Explorer.
For a list of supported IP cameras, go to http://
tinyurl.com/synologycameras. Frustratingly,
despite Surveillance Statkln supporting HD
webcams, the VS60 doesn't. Its maximum
supported resolution is 720xS76 (standard PAL TV)
at 6Ofp<;. Audio is output a mini-j ack.
JThe VS6O's power consumption is low at just
5W. However, the constantly flashing LEOs can
become annoying and there's no way to turn them
oil. This could be addressed in a future firmware
update, which would be applied
from a USB flash drive.
been configured in Surveillance
Station to the V56O's list to
make them appear on your
remote monitor. You can also
VERDICT A. . a r.rst·genemion product,
which is .150 very nkhe, t he VS60 will
app<'al only 10 Ihose who 'f'Kifi caRy
n..,d it. t hen, it's not value
As it' s a
product, there's dearly room
for improvement with the
V56O. Hopefully some of this
can be done via firmware
updates. In the meantime,
unless you a specific need
choose whether to show four
or six feeds, with si x being
the maximum.
.1, IP ca."... •• , VGA. , 00 3.Smm , ud",
out",",, 2>< USB porn, 1. 10/100 Eth<-m ..
pM, 160><63,218mm. two-Y" ... RTB
The V560 has a VGA output
only - a slight surprise at this
price - but this means it should
DETAILS www.synology.com
for this type of product, it's not
particularly good value.
Jim Martin
£63 inc VAT
From www.amazon.co.uk
At £64, this is the
cheapest dual-band
Draft-N fouter we've
ever seen. Even t hough it can
transmit on only one band at a time, it's still
incredibly fast in both 2AGHz and SGHz mode,
both with a
Centrino laptop
and using its
own adapt or.
t inksys's
WRT320N is
also easy to
use, making
it the ideal
choice if you
don' t need an
ADSL modem.
Dr. 1t 8OZ.11blgln dtJ .. -bo t><l
(300Mb it I.), 4, 10/1001
I,OOOMbi, l. LAN porn, pM.
DETAIlS wwwll"sysbyciKO.com
FULL. REV1t:W Oct 2009
"""_ .... '"
-- ..... -

From www.sc.an.oo.uk
Li nksys's WAGI60N ADSL footer is easy t o
confi gure, wi th a st andard set of features
including QoS and 10Cil1 wireless traffic shaping,
tloth of which help t o prioritise high-bandwidth
services such as video streami ng, More
importantly, it produced some of the fa stest
2AGHz transfer
ipfeds we've ever
seen, both with our
Centrino Z laptop and
with Linksys's
wireless adaptor. The
WAG I60N-UI( can't
transmit on the SGHz
band, but it's easy to
use, inexpensive and
very fast.
80Z.11b/g/n ()OQMb"/.). 4.
101100 LI,N po<I',
pM (.>.OSlO!. uP<>P.
QoS. 34x20Z.16Omm. ""'"}'Nr
RTtlw ..... ..-.ty
DETAJ.S .... ,.·,.i.linksymyci"""<;Dm
fULL. REvtlW Oct 2009
,) I II
MU" "01, •••
Follow the steps to find your ideal specs
STMlDARD: B02. lin (3OOM!,;tl.)
ElHEIlN£T I'OIITS: four 1&100 M!,;II<
8llOADBANO CONNEClJON: !themol port

A basic wireless router with the
specifiutions above will cost
around £40. Ewn b-udget routers offer
a02.11n t e<hnology now, although
they don't have as many featul1!$ as
their more counterparts, ,t
doesn't have a built-in modem, so
you'll to use it with a broadband
modem that has an Ethernet fIOrt.
Also available at this price are
1 50Mbit/s 'N-technology' routers.
These have fewer antennas, but are
often as fast as 802.1 1n devices. You
un expect a transfer speed of around
30Mbit/s at 10m from any modern
80Z.11n router.
E'l if you have ADSL,you should get
U a wireless router with a built-in
ADSL modem. It will cost more than
the equivalent cable router, but it lets
you connect your router directly to
your broadband connection without a
separate modem.ADSLZ+ modems
support b.-oadband connections up to
24Mbit/s with an appropriate ISP.
n Most 802.11n wil1!less routers
1::1 use the ZAGHz frequency. This
has good range but un be >H'one to
interference if it's near a lot of other
2.4GHz devices, such as other routers
and baby monitors. If you have trouble
getting a consistent wireless signal or
you want faster transfer for
wireless video streaming, it's worth
buying a dual-band router, which can
use both the 2.4GHz and SGHz bands,
Alternatively, a hi-gain antenna un
tloost signals and improve ranges and
throughputs to the whole house. You
un also add a hi-gain antenna to a
PC's network adaptor. If wire-d
network are a priority, look for
a rout er with Gigabit Ethernet.
... Many routers have built-in USB
Ii.I ports that allow you to connect
a USB drive and use the router as a
basic network storage device. If you
want to share a usa printer on your
network, look for a wireless router
with a built-in USB print server.
Altematively,you can add a dediuted
wireless print server later. Finally, if
you're interested in making yoke calls
over the intemet, look for a router
with built-in Vo,P suwert (and phone
sockets) as this can save you money.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com

Why .... e the re 50 many
5000-series graphics

The number of mCKlels in
All's 5000 generation can
confusing, but there's good
reason for the variety. With
prices fOf new graphics cards
ranging from £40 for II HD 5450
to over £500 for II HD 5970,
there's plenty of ground to
cover in t.elween. The eight
models currently available are
the HO 5450, 5570, 5670, 5750,
5770,5850,5870 and 5970.
All produces II reference
design for each model. For
I')(ample, the HD 5970 has
3,200 strl'am processors,
compared to just 80 on the HD
5450. In the middle 01 the
range, dilfereoces can be slight.
Card manufacturers such as
Sapphire arld HIS produce their
own cards based on Ihe
reference designs. The core
specifications remain the same,
but variations can irldude the
amount and type of memory.
the design of the heat sink and
the type of video outputs.
Seth aartan
Reviews Editor
Radeon HD 5670
IceQ 512MB
£75 inc VAT
From www.yoyotech.co.uk
Whatever your budget, ATI makes a graphics card to
suit you.The HO 5800 and 5700 enthusiast cards are
now foltowed by more mainstream offerings, of which
this HO 5670 is the fil"$t we've seen.
We tested the HI S HD 5670 !ceQ 512MB. which
uses HIS's heats ink design. This kept everything nice
and cool quietly, too. this one exception,
the rest of the card is identical toATrs relerence design.
There three outputs, with HOMI , DVI andVGA
an provided. This means you can connect most
monitors without needing an adaptor. The card
supports ATrs triple-monitor Eyefinity technology,
although this mid-range card will struggle to render
any modern game across all those displays, with
typical resolutions being 5}60xl.080.
The HD 5670 is one step down from the HD 5750
(see lIIhat'S New. Shopper 263). Its core dock speed is
actually faster at 775MHz, a rise of 75MHz. However, it
has only 400 stream processors,
compilred to the 720 on the HD
the anti -aliasing to 2x to get a playable 31fps from
the card. These are a long way behind the HD
5750, which managed just under 30fps in C'fiis.
More worryingly. the older HO 4770 is noticeably
quicker with 22fps in Crysis, yet costs the same.
The 4770 doesn't the fancy gr3phical elfects
in the latest DirectX 11 games, but then the HD
5670 doesn't have enough power to render these at
smooth frame rates anyway.
One of the HD 5670'5 key advantages over more
powerful cards is that it doesn't R'quire its own power
supply. instead drawing all it nee<:ls via the PCI Express
slot.This it ideal for upgrading with no
6-pin power supply connector, such as many compact
designs. The card draws around 61W wilen gdming,
which shouldn't ov.ertoad most
power supplies.
5750, and so can undertake lar fewer
VD.DICT The HO 5670 is onothe r
If you're looking to upgrade an
older PC to play the odd game
and you aren't too demanding
about detail settings, the HD 5670
provides decent performance at a
reasonable price, Older cards such
as the HD 4770 provide more
bang lor your buck. though. and il
simuttaneously - a fact
that became clear in our benchmarks.
There's 512MB 01 onboord memory.
half that of the HD 5750, though this
is typical lor a mid-r.mge card.
In our tesllthe HD 5670 scored a
respectable 41.81ps in Call 01 Duty 4.
but struggled in the more demanding
Crysis test with only 16.9fps.
because 01 ill limited
memory-. We had to reduce the
resolution to 1 ,2S0x 720 and lower
cOj>able graphics card from A 11, but
the olde<" HO 4770 is bette<"volue
HO 5670<hip>et. n5MH. cO«
memory "",,,;,,g ol 1(;1-1 ••
PO Exp-... <16 2.1
PAATCOOe 1-1567Q512
DflAILS www,hisdigitolcom
you wdnt to enjoy the latest
OirectX 11 games then you need
to spend a little more and buy the
HO 57SO for around £100.
Seth Barton
Radeon HD 5850 1GB
Radeon HD 5770
£215 inc VAT
From . i
The Radeon HD 5850
isn't cheap. but lor
keen garners it's
worth every penny. It
may not be quite as powerful
as the HD 5870, but it's still mind-blowingly quick. II
has 1.440 stream processing units. which is only 160
units fewer than the £300 HO 5870.
Wi th 88.4lps in our II
of Duty 4 benchmark, it
wi ll tear through
less-demanding ti tles. It
managed a smooth
42.4fps in our tough Crysis
test at a resolution 01
1.920x1.2oo. proving th.lt
it's capable 01 pleasing
resutts in any
HD 5850 also has lull
support for DirectX 11.
***** "
The HO 5770 is
the more powerful
01 AT1"s two new
mid-range cards. It h.ls SOO
stream processing units, plus last
memory and clock speeds. but is held back by its
US-bit memory- interface.
It did well in our r::::=:::-::-:::::::c=--,
benchmarks, with a PCI EXPRESS GAAf'HICS CAllO
score 01 33.6fps in our An HO I
850MH, <0« >PHd,
demanding Crysis test. momooy running .. 1.2(;Hz.
It's cooler. quieter and PCI ExprH< .16Z.1 •
less power-hungry th.ln RTB war,""ty
previous cards, plus PARlCODE Z116HlO· l(NI
Of.lAILS www ... pphi.-.l« h.<O<n
there's support lor 2010
DirectX 11. It can also
output HD
audio and run triple-
monitor setups.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
HD 5450 512MB
**** £37 inc VAT
From www.lambda-tek.com/
component shop
Although graphics cards are synonymous with
gaming, they a lot of other uses too - not
least letting you connect a monitor to your PC.
Other uses include video playback acceleration,
multiple monitor support, speeding up parallel
processing tasks such as video encoding and
ootputting HD audio via HDMI.
The HD S450 is by lar the cheapest card in
the latest Radeon range to date. Such a card is
ideal if you're looking to
build a media centre PC for SUMMARY
provides support for multiple monitors.
It has HDMI and DVI outputs mounted on
the card, plus aVGA out put on the
backplate that's connected to the card
via a cable. Sapphire also sells this card
"'li th DisplayPort output (part code
11166-QO-20R) , but it's less useful for a
medi a centre Pc. The t hree outputs allow
you to drive a triple-monitor setup, which
ATI calls Eyefinity, making this the cheapest
card capable of this.
Sapphire's of the HD 5450 is
excellently designed, and should be compatible
with practically arry PC with a PO-Express x16
slot. For starters it's a hall-height design, so it
win fi t in slimline PC cases.To do this you'(( need
to fi t the smaller, supplied, backplate. Such a
backplate is big enough only for the DVI and
HDMI connectors, but S<lpphire has thought fu lly
induded a se<:ond backplate so you can use an
your living room. Like more VERDICT Although tile HD 545{)
adjoining slot to host the
VGA output. As expected,
thiS card doesn't require a
separ<lte power supply, and
according to ATI it typically
uses just 19.1W.
cards, the HD 5450
supports HD audio lormats
such as DolbyTrueHD,
letting you ootput the lull
audio glory- of Blu-ray
movies to a surround-
sound amplifier HDML
It's also a good choice
if you want to upgrade an
older PC, <IS tile single
integrated graphics ootput
HD 5570 1GB
*** £73 inc VAT
From www.awd-it.co,uk
its u.e., old .... c.rd. con do most of
these jobs and cost 1m
HO 5<150 d1ipw, 6SOMH, <_ «>ffiI.
S12M8 DD1\3 "''''''''Y running at 8OOMHr.
PO hpreu . 16 2.1 im..-too.
If you're building a media
centre PC, noise is a big issue.
This card's heatsink
mear-.s there's no whiny little
Ian to annoy you: it's also
PAlI:TCOD£ 11166-<11D-ZOfl
more compact than the one
on ATl's reference card, so it
won't block an adjacent slot
on yoor motherboard.
in games. So, while the 5450 struggled through
oor games tests, the 5570 did much better.
Its Irame rate 01 29.71ps in CaU 01 Duty 4
provides smooth motion for gaming, while
dropping the resolution to 1,440x900
bumped the frame rate up to 37.1fps.lt
struggled with our more demanding
Crysis test at 1,6BOxl,050, managing
21.5fps: dropping the resolution
With the Radeon HD 54SO low-profile graphics
card only just out (see above) , it's hard to get
excited by the low-prolile HD 5570, particularly
as it costs almost twice as much. However, this
is a significantly different card.
to 1,440x900 improved frame rates to a playable
27.2fps.This means you can a PC that takes
low-protile cards and enjoy some light gaming.
Even so, the main use of this card is likely to
be for home theatre USE'". Here, tile extra stream
processors can be useful if you're running
software that uses the graphics card (GPGPU) to
upscale DVD, such as An:solt 's SimHD plug-in for
TotalMedia Tlleat re 3. With the S45O, SimHD is
only capable 01 DVDs to a 720p
resolution: with the 5570, it can upscale to
l080p.ln tum, it should mean that other
The HD S450 is basically a slow graphics
card lor decoding video and transmitting HD
audio, but tile 5570 is considerably more
powerful. You can tell this immediately, as tile
5570 requires a Ian to keep it cool, while the
5450 is passrvely cooled. Fortunately, the fan
isn't noisy and, unless you
have particularly quiet CPU
and system lans, you're
unlikely to Ilear it above
the noise of your case.
The main diHerence
between the two cards is
the number 01 stream
processors. The 5450 has
just 50, while the SS70 1m
400. The 5570 also has
twice the amount 01 RAM,
with 1GB of GDDR3. These
improvements Mve a few
advantages, most notably
VERDICT A law-profil. card that',
c. poOI. of pIoying garno., but tile",
.... bett.r_v,lue card< av, ll.able
HOSSro d1ip.et, 6SOMH,<_ «>ffiI. 1GB
OOtU momoty running at 900MH', 1'C1
E><p<O" .16 imertoce
PARTCOD£ 11161-OO-20R
applications that use GPGPU,
such as Roxio Creator 2010's
vi deo encoder, will run laster
on this graphics card than they
win on the 5450.
As with all of ATl's
5000-series graphics cards, the
5570 is fully PAP-compliant
and can transport full Blu-ray
HD audio (DolbyTrueHD and
DTS HD MA) to a suitable
ampli fier. It will also speed up
the decoding of Blu-ray video,
keeping processor utilisation
to a minimum.
As with all 5000-series cards, the HD 5450
supports Direct)( 11. However, it's simply not
powerful enoogh to run modern 3D games
smoothly at the kind of det<lils levels required
to benefit from the new graphics standard. It
struggled in our tests. and we managed to get
Call of Duty 4 running smoothly only by turning
off anti-aliasing and reducing the resolution to
1,280x720. We can't recommend this card for
running modem 3D games, and you should
invest more to enjoy the latest titles at their best.
CPU usage of oor test PC was kept to a
minimum when playing Blu-ray-quality HD
video. It will also reduce video encoding times
if used with an encoder that supports ATl's
Stream technology such as Roxio's Creator
2010 (OWlar 's New, Shopper 262).
The HD 5450 is a smart little card, but its
uses are rather limited. Unless you want to
output HD audio or run three monitors
simultaneously, you're better oH buying the older
HD 4350.This will do the same job, but you can
pick it up for as little 3S f2S inc VAT.
Seth Barton
The Sapphire card we reviewed came with
DVI , HDMI andVGA outputs on a full -size
bracket: two brackets are also provided.
The lirst holds the DVI and HDMI ports: the
se<:ond holds theVGA ootput, but is optional as
this output can be unplugged Irom the card.
Sapphire also makes a version 01 this card with a
DisplayPort ra ther than HDMI output. but we
don't currently recommend this for home use.
We can't help butleel that these dilferences
aren't worth the increase in price. If you're
building a media centre PC for Blu-ray and aren't
worried about DVD upscaling (or at least, don't
mind upscaling to 72Op), the HD 5450 is much
better value. Just make sure you buy the version
with a built-in HOMI port for convenience.
That said, if you do use your media centre for
the occasional bout of gaming, the S570 is the
only slim-line graphics card that will give you
decent 3D performance. If you don't need a
low-prolile card, though, and want to play games,
we recommend stretching your budget that bit
further and buying Sapphire's Radeon HD S770.
David Ludlow
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com

Metro 2033
Metro 2033 is a first-per50n
shooter, 0f1 a Russian
novel, and st't
in the remains of the Moscow
underground. The game is made
by new developer 4A Games,
though some of its staff
previously worked on
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of
Chemobyl (see What's New,
ShopperZ32). Thankfully, this
shooter seems to have
drawn from that game"s
technical excelleroce.
In 2013 the world was
devastated by an apocalyptic
event, annihilating almost 01\1 of
mankind and turning Ihe earth's
surface into a poisonous
wasteland. A handful of
SUrviVOf5 took refuge in the
depths of the Moscow
underground, and human
civilization entered a new Dark
Age. Now in 2033. An entire
generation has t.om and
raised underground, and the
Metro Station-Cities
struggle fOf survival with each
other, and the mutant horrors
that await outside.
Early previ ews have
impressive, with inaedible
in-game lighting. The detailed
and atmospheric environments,
tx>th underground and above
the surface, also wowed us. For
more details, visit http://
Seth aartan
Reviews Editor
BioShock 2
£20 ineVAT
From www.t hegame
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
and PC versions available
The original BioShock (see What's
New, Shopper 238) may have
successfully blended tirst -per500
shooting with RPG-style character
but it was the plot
and setting which reatly blew us
... At ,andom Intel"llals a Big Slste, wil l come to make a cl3im on Its young'"
b,et h,en. Watch out - $he's tough, and a highly agile OI)!)Onent
The undersea city of Rapture
is among the most imaginative and evocative locations
ever to feature in a videogame. Its faded grandeur and
art deco styling perfectly matched the game's storyline
of big philosophical ideas in a utopia gone to helL
That puts BioShock Z in a very difficult situation,
and the developers have chosen bravely to revisit
Rapture in this sequel. We're happy to be back. but it's
not quite as exciting the second time around. ten
years on, the plot revolves around the relationship
between Little Sisters and Big Daddies. The former
are geneticatly altered children tasked with harvest ing
the valuable ADAM serum that provides Rapture's
inhabitants. the Splicers. wi th their fantastical
powers; while the latter are single-minded armoured
leviat ha ns tasked wi th protecting them.
As a prototype Big Daddy, you set out to rescue
your own Litt le Sister. who also happens to be the
daughter of the game's new protagonist Sofia Lamb.
in the tradition of BioShock baddies. takes a strong
view on the nature 01 human existence. She espouses
collectivist ideals in opposition to the self-sufficiency
promoted by Rapture's creator Andrew Ryan. Such
ideologies are debated in audio logs and brought to life
in locations like Ryan's 'Joumey to the Surface' theme
pal1<. but fail to chime as with the plot and
gameplay as they did in the first game.
Intellectual posturing aside, there's plenty of action
to get your teo:th into. The basic format hasn't altered
from the first game. In fact, except for a slightly
tweaked armoury. not much has changed regarding
gameplay from the perspective of a Big Daddy. You
can venture outside occasionally. but the undelWater
sections are combat-free and merely act as plot
devices. There are st iU hordes of insane inhabitants to
incinerat e. electrocute or freeze using your ADAM-
derived special abilit ies (called plasm ids). You can st ill
pick and choose from a wide range of such powers and
pel1<s, and upgrade the ones you prefer for even greater
efficiency. Gaining ADAM for this purpose forms the
backbone of the more ambush-based gameplay.
The plot guides you through a series of imaginat ive
locations. each with its own objectives, but these are
also home to a handful of Little Sisters. Their Big
Daddy protectors won't attack you
unprovoked. thankfully. which
FOl1unately, your arsenal includes a number of
appropriate gizmos. Your rivet gun can lire trap rivets
which attach to any surface and act as mini land
mines. The Cyclone Trap plasmi d can be set to fling
enemies into the air and can be further enhanced to
cause even more damage by unleashing lire. ice or
electricity into its swirling death tomado.
Another opt ion is to enlist Rapture's own security
systems. As in the first game, you can hack the gun
turrets and security drones you encounter. What's new
this time around is the Hack Tool. which lets you
perform this sabot age at a distance using Hack Dal1S
- plus it can launch short-lived mini gun turrets to
assist you. The hacking ponle game has been replaced
by a fast-moving needle that must be stopped in a
variety of shaded sections to succeed. You have to be
careful as the game no longer pauses while hading.
making you vulnerable to attack.
The various guns all have a purpose. plus they are
upgradable and have ammo options. In
addition. you get a massive driU that makes quick work
of anything that comes too close. You'll need to
scavenge every box. body and trash bin for ammo and
money to keep yourself supplied, which we found a
litt le tedious after a while. StilL it's a minor criticism.
Happily. the combat is improved. wit h the weapons
having a lot more poncho Despite some additions to
the roster. like the huge Brutes. the Splicers remain
unint eresting enemies with little intelligence.
A big new addition to BioShock 2 is the multiplayer
mode. A refreshing change from the usual run-and-gun
shooters. it has a variety of intriguing team-based
modes including Little Sisters and a player-controlled
Big Daddy. You unlock extra plasmid abilities as you
play. and can set up different loadouts as and when
you need them for offensive and defensive tactics.
BioShock 2100h and sounds sublime (both on
console and PC) with gorgeous lighting effects, artistic
p<tnache and haunting music. In this respect though.
like.$O many others. its impact is lessened by its
similarity to the original - and anyone who hasn't
experienced Rapture yet will be bett er served by
submerging themselves in the first game. Fans of the
provides plenty of time to set up
.. ...., solid
original's will lind plenty to
enjoy here. with its ambush-centric
combat lending it a different
however. the new plot isn't an
essential addition to the canon -
which is a real pity.
cunningly thought-out traps.
Once liberated you can take
charge of the newly rescued Sister.
guide her to an ADAM-rich corpse and
set her to work for your benefit.
Unfortunately. this witi soon bring
hordes of angry Splicers raining down
upon you. so again you'll need to be
well prepared in order to survive.
medlaniu, , .. at l<><;at;"n, •
new multiplayt' r mode, but it
lacks 1M origi ""l,ame', imp.ct
W<n<Jowo XPM".11. 2.4Q!, or
d .... l .. .,..., p,o< . .. or. 2GB RAM.
256MB Nvid;, 7900GT or bert ....

PART COOE 8001755052
A retum to Rapture was never
going match the ecstatic feel ings
engendered by your first undelWater
visit, but this is still a highly capable
and beautifully executed game.
Seth B.1rton
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Mass Effect 2
£20 inc VAT
From www.thegamecoilection. net
Xbox 360 and PC versions avai lable
If you the exceUenl Effect
New, Shopper 248) then this sequel will come
as both a treat and a shod. The treat is that
you can import your existing eIl.riKle, into
MaS$ Effect 2, gaining combat bonuses and
al:;o aHecting events - to a limited degree -
based on your previous actions. The shock
in-game characters, which
maintain the same high quality of
scripting. acting and depth.
The dialogue interface presents
moral dilemmas.so that over the
course of the game you build up a
reputation as either a Paragon or
Renegade, which then unlocks
further dialogue options.
.. The cov .... system forms the basis of the combat system, and is
much Improved from the first game
is that unlike the original title. Ma55 Effect 2 is
11'55 of a role-playing game and more 01 a
tactiC<lllhird-person sl>ooter.
Gone is the familiar RPG mechanic of
collecting items droppedlrom fallen enemies
and searching nook and cranny for
hidden stashes 011001. Your character has no
invt'ntory, instead relying on research and the
occasional found item to improve his arsenaL
It 's a brave move, but one that should draw
more fans than it alienates.
Those retuming to the Mass Effect
will find many of the criticisms of the first
game been addressed. Combat is far more
fluid, with an improved system and a
streamlined interface for issuing commands to
team-mate>. Moreover, new powers and
abilities make it a more tactical experience:
some abilities work in combination with others,
and wme are designed to
worl:: best against specilic
It's impossible to discuss the main plot
without reVEaUng a massiVE spoiler: suffice to
say that it involves you building up an elite
squad to face a final threat. Your team consists
of a mix of new characters and old faces.
Each character you recruit offers a secondary
mission to help you gain their loyalty. While
traVElling the galaxy you can also stumble across
side mis5ions on unexplored wortds, or mine
resources to feed your research, which gain you
upgrades. If YOU'VE played the first game, you'll
be glad to hear there's no more bounCing around
in that awful moon buggy. You now scan planets
from orbit and only land if there's a mission,
We would have preferred there to be fewer
possible teammates to recruit. and more depth
to each character, and we felt less with
enemies, which your
choice 01 team-mates critical.
Enemies themselVES are much
VERDICT A chang-< 01 diced;""
bring, men ,",citir>g comb.tto
tI>e M . .. Effect unMorse while
the rest 01 the game world as a
result. Some side missions
seemed to promise further plot
developments, but turned out
to be dead ends.
trickier, and you'll lind them
flanking you and taking
The last-paced combat
may be central to Mass Effect
2, but it's not a one-paced
aHair. You'll also plenty
of time in conversations with
.. taining Biow.,.', typical charm
... RPG ... wrtl<l"""XPI
V;".I1, 2.4GI-I. Int<l or 2GI-I. AMD
pnx<>,o<, 1GB RAM (\f",. I1: 2GB),
1<G8 di'" ,.,..,.,GtFo<ce 6800 GTI
Rod""" l)(1())(l 256MB 01
mtpJlm.,,.Ift<tb ............ ( Offl
However, there are stilt
some brilliant touches,
especially developer Bioware' s
trademark cultural and gaming
references. not least the vendor
in the Citadel who complains:
"Nowadays games are aU about
Ghost Pirates of
Vooju Island
You control three separate characters; Papa
Doc, a Vooju priest; Jane Staning. a dashing and
improbably proportioned pirate, and Blue Belly, a
rotund cook with the mislortune of 5<liling
straight into the middle of the things. As the
adventure begins, all three have been separated
from their bodies. Later in the game, they can
function in either ghost or corporeal form,
£18 inc VAT
From www,amazon.co. uk
Set in an exotic world of Vooju
Voodoo, only fictional) queens, bold pirates
and green-skinne<! Iombies, Ghost Pirates is a
comic romp in the tradition of the LucasArts'
classic point -and-cli ck
Ultimately, your quest is to prevent an evil
Vooju queen and a foul pirate from raising forces
of unspeakable evil, aU while clearing the name
of the swashbuckling pirate king.
The use 01 three characters means you can
tackle multiple pUldes at once. We occasionally
had to resort to the traditional
trial and error method, but most
of the puzzles ripple with a
satisfying internal logic, The
solutions are often as funny as
they are logicaL producing
results like a coconut-based
light between a pair 01
belligerent zombies. like A
adventures. Create<! by
Autumn Moon, the team who
brought us A Vampyre Story
(see What'5 New. Shopper
2S4) last year, it uses the
same simple. but elegant
control system, and mix of
lovely painted backgrounds
with 3D character models.
VERDICT Lovely gropni",
ch ...... ct .... and
_Il-clo"ign<"d ""DIu m.ke up
IQr tI>e obv>ou' """"' ''''0"''-,::1
RAM. 256 MB 9,00 compatibl.
gr.pOk> (ard, GB di<l:,.,..,.
DETAILS -"-,&'>o<t·
big choices and visceral combat. I miss the old
games, where your character had to eat, and it
took fiVE hours real time to fly somewhere.-
Overhearing not only adds depth.
but also leads to bonus side missions.
The new characters will delight you with their
various personalities and foibles, and it's a game
that will draw you in emotionally. so much so
that yOU'll lind it hard to let go once you've
finished it. You can then replay it usingyour
existing character to gain bonuses, or start a new
game to try out a different class, as well as being
able to import your character into Mass EHect 3,
The graphics on PC are superb, even on
hardware that barely matches the minimum
specification. We were especially impressed by
the loading times between areas. The controls
are intuitive: you can use the Space bar to pause
the game. bringing up a HUD that lets you
orders to your teammates, or you can assign
abilities - yours or your teammates' - to number
keys, for quick activation, The Xbox 360 version
is equaUy accomplished, with loading times
hugely reduced from the previous
This streamlined 5e<.juel may not please
everyone, but it certainly matches up to the
series' premise of an RPG-tinged tactical shooter.
II you're interested in either gaming genre, then
this is a game that deserves your a!lention.
Barry de la Rosa

.... .. rr,
I. '" &.: ",,, - Ii '
. " "".I.
,i • . ' • . "

... \
.a. Th .. ls wl\atl\appen< when a kindly mermaid
offers to <how YOU her giant sea monster
Vampyre Story. your inventory can contain the
idea 01 an item, which then be combined with
other items and ideas as you find them.
Ghost Pirates isn't without its flaws, The plot
is OVErcomplicated for such a short game, but
experienced adventurers can expect around eight
to ten hours of play. we were
impressed by the thoughtful. weU-paced puzzle
design, rich environments. great characterisation
and humour which kept us smiling throughout,
Kat Orphanide$
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com

What the advantages of
running virtualisation
software on my PC?
Virtualisation software,
such asVMWare's
Workstation 7 on page 55,
allows you to simulate PC
systems. Each of these can run
its own copy ofWirldows, or
any other o.,erating system
you choose. Practically
speaking, you can swit(:h to a
virtual PC as easTly as opening
an application or clicking a tab.
There are numerolJs uses for
virtualisation. A common Orle
is to eKpenmenl with other
operating systems, such as
UnulC. This is far more
convenient than setting up a
hard disk partition and a
dual-boot startup.
Other uses include t esting
softwarl', so you can try out
trial or beta software without
irlStall ing it on your own
of Windows, where it
may impact upon other
applications. You can even use
a virtual machine to check out
malicious websites
without undue risk. For more
on virtualisation, see How It
Work! in Shopper ZS6.
Seth aartan
Reviews Editor
PaintShop Photo Pro X3
**** £66 inc VAT
From www.amazon.co.uk
The veteran image editor PaintShop Pro has just
had a makeover and. unusually for creative
.software. it"s a pretty significant update -
though the overhaul st ill needs some woO:. with
numerous bugs and a f!'!W glaring omissions.
PaintShop Pro finally gets its own RAW-
processing engine (turn to page 132 for more
information on this process). Camera support is
reasonably comprehensive. although cemin
recently launched cameras such as Sony's A550
and Pentax's I( -series aren't compatible.

Sadly, PaintShop Pro's long-awaited
handling of RAW files is atrocious. The controls
are hopelessly basic, with no picker tool for
custom white Nlance. no highl ight or shadow
restoration and not even a contrast control.
Worst of aR. looming the preview to 100 per
cent magnification reveals glaring
artefacts (we suspect the demosaicing and
anti-aliasing algorithms are at fault).
• COfel Painter Photo E ..... nti ... 4 i. a useful tool
to help turn your favourite photos inlo artistic creations
ThankfuUy, this problem disappears once the
image is sent to the main application for further
editing. but it makes a nonsense of the noise
reduction and sharpness controls.
In the main application, you can use the
new Smart Carver tool to st retch or compress
photos into different aspect ratios, white
defining areas to protect or discard. It's ideal for
making photos tit a picture frame without
having to crop the edges. and also for removing
a stranger, or an ex, from a photo. It works
better than Photoshop Elements' simil<ir
Recompose tool, being both easier to use and
producing better results. A n!'!W Vibrancy tool
boosts colours without spoiling skin tones. and
it's great fO<" livening up dull photos.
Object Extractor provides a n!'!W way to cut
out objects, but this isn't very successful, with
• The PrOJecl Creator looi<s Invillng and i""ludes some really
u.eful features, but there are bug. that .till n-eed to be Iro.-.ed out
little built-in intelligence and an insistence on pasting
the result into a new document, which isn't always
helpfuL Images can be batch-processed. but only using
the NSic controls in the Express Lab, and it still
manages to be unwieldy. It 's now possible to type text
directly on an image rather than via a dialog box.
Most of the other n!'!W features appear in a pair of
bundled applications. The brand new Project Creator
offers various destinations for your edited photos:
Facebook and flich. prints (either 10000lly or via online
services), coliages, calendars, HD video slideshoW$ and
PDF albums. A bug meant that we had to copy pictures
to the desktop before the software could import them,
but otherwise the interlace is friendly and inviting.
The slides how function includes the ability to
incorporate existing video dps. although there's no
option to trim them. It includes
animated transitions and music, SUMMARY
addition to the package. it would made
more sense to incorporate these features into the
Organi,er. There's not even an option in the Organi2er
to send photos directly to Project Creator.
Also included is Painter Photo Essentials 4. a
simplified version of Corel Painter (see What's New,
Shopper 2S6 or www.expertreviews.co.uk/
II). which specialises
in simulating brush strokes and other art isti( media.
This version can only work from an imported photo
ra ther than creating artwork from s(fatch, but it's a lot
more sophisticated that the Bru5h and Smear tools
found in the main editor. It"s great fun to play around
with. and has various practical uses lor graphic design.
We still have reservations about PaintShop Photo
Pro's core editing tools. which aren't as elegant as
and you can even add narration.
although in our tests this played
back a few seconds out of sync.
VERDICT Wltll plenty of n_
"'alu," - .ome o.cell..,l, oth ....
terrible - t ..... ·• of usdul
Photoshop Elements'. Brush strokes
lag behind mouse and
many take two or three clicks
when one would do. However. support
for advanced functions, such as layer
masks. make it an affO<"dable
altemative to the full version of
Photoshop. The new features are hit
and miss. but the indusion 01 the
excellent Painter Photo Essentials
makes up for a lot of its problems.
Slideshow export options indude
Facebool<. flich and YouTube. but
here we experienced a gl itch that
skevved our photos' a5pect ratios.
Project Creator shows promise,
though. and ooce these bugs are
ironed out it will be a valuable
<luff for an i"""" .... low price
WirldQW> XP (SP3)M<to (SP2)11. Core
0..0 l8lGfl> proc"I<K. 1GB RAM
(2GB '<-COmmended). '.8MB
Sfoph"'. )GB di>l: ,.-,
DETAILli www."","'""."
8M Pill
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Digital Scrapbook Artist 2
£25 inc VAT
From www.play.com
better known lor its powerful but
design software sudl as desktop
publishing suite PagePlu$ X4 (see Whal'$ New,
Shopper 262). However, it's not a huge leap
forward from laying out magazine pages to the
more casoal pastime of digital scrapbooking.
from a larger, but not huge. selection
at www.daisytrail .com. Ahandfulare
free, but most cost 0.49 - crazy for
what's little more than a laney
art pack. There's a £10 voucher in
the box to get you started.
Scrapbooking is the collecting of photos.
knick-knacks and memorabilia in books. Digital
Scrapbook Artist 211'15 you scrapbook on your
PC, combining digital images and clip art
together to make attractive IX'ge designs. One
key advantage of digital scrapbooks is that
they can be shared online with others.
01 COUf5e. you could design your
own bits and bobs to adorn your
pages, There's a good basic set 01
tools to help with this. These are
• A pholo book lor a ne wborn Is classi c sc.apbooklng lodder
We _r1' disappointed to lind there's no
automated wizard to help users drop a few
photos into a pre-designed page. Thankfully,
we soon found a menu with links to handy
YouTube tutorials for all the main features -
these are hidden under the Online tab in the
right-hand toolbar. The best choice for a
beginner is to pick a pre-made
easy enough to use, and we particularly liked the
roughen tool. to give things an aged appearance,
and the scissors. so you can easily chop out bits
of any object you import or draw frel'hand.
There are also handy tools for craft-specific
tasks such as adding faux stitching.
Text options are good: you can run te><t
along a CUM'd path, for example. There are
also advanced leatures such as blending. layers
and masks. It won't trouble serious DTP or
theme, or Digikit, from those
include<l on the disc.
.. '. n-ot .",1 of dip
photo-e<liting software, but
the tooll here are derived from
those in Serif's heavyweight
products and so work far
better than you'd expect.
The Digikits provided are
beautiluHy put together,
feeling both homely and
craft-li ke without being nail
or cheap, The only problem is
that only six are provided.
More kits can be downloaded
"" included, t.Jt the 1000 provided
"'" of e>:ceHent quaUry, It', • great
for :::::;-j
We quickly made a basic
photobook. and adding
pictures is a brel'ze - it even
keeps track of which pictures
you've already added. so you
R. qui ..... Wir><low1 XP/\ohtol7, S 12MB
.•• • U.com
Windows 7 Home
£65 inc VAT (upgrade from XP or Vista)
£95 inc VAT (full version)
From www.amazon.co,uk
Windows 7 is the system that Vista
should have been. The slick new desktop not
only looks but iKtuaUy increases your
productivity. II you've bel'n persevering with
Windows XP, it's t ime t o upgl<lde, and serious
PC users should also switch from Vista.
OKRATING SYSTEM lGI-1, 1""'><" "",", 1GB RAM
(&Hit), Oi'OCIX 9 g<oopI»cs cord
126MB """""Y (lor A<ro d"",,,,,). 16GB disk..,..,.
(3.2·M ),2OGB disl..,..,. (M·bil), DVO d<I ....
PR()()UCTCODE 4FC-OOOOI DETAIlS www.m>Cro .... lt.com
fUU REVIEW N<w 2009
PagePlus X4
£80 Inc VAT _ +,.::._
From www.serif.com
Desktop publi shing is a complex task, but
Page Plus X4 makes it re marhbly accessible, am!
at a fraction of the cost of market lea6ers such
as Adobe InDesign. You can lay out al most any
type of dorument and out put your wolt. t o PDF,
a printer or a file ready lor a commercial press.
Themed sets matching brochure,
business card, fl yer, newsletter and poster
designs, and t he software includes photo-editing
t ools for t idying up your own images, making
PagePlus X4 one of the most leature-packe<l
creative packages you can buy,
DTJI SOnwAAE R. ", i'e> Window< XPNl5Iol1, 512MB RAM,
«OMS fr .. t.o.rd PROOUCTC0DE 4fC-OOOOl
DETA.l5 www,"";f.com fUll. REVIEW Dec 2009
don't use the same one twice. There's built-in
photo-editing. so you can quickly add arty
effects to photographs, or simply fi x red-eye
is5ues. Pictures, picture IrameS,letters,
backgrounds and other bits and bobs are store<!
in a bar on the left 01 the screen, making it easy
to find exactly what you want. The digikit
browser lets you quickly sort through all the
available scrap items and pick the ones you need.
You can output your work to a printer, email
them to friends or upload the entire page to
DaisyTrail to share with others. File formal
output includes JPEG and PDF options.
Serif's Digital Scrapbook Artist 2 isn't as easy
to get into as we'd hoped, and the selection of
provide<l clip art, though high quality, is limited.
ThanHully, it's a well -designed piece 01 software
with brilliant lools and makes a great choice for
those who want to spend time making scrapbook
pages, invites, posters or greeting cards.
Seth Barton
Photoshop Element s 8
£57 inc VAT
From www.amazon.co.uk
Phot oshop Elements 8 offers a subli me mix 01
powerful edit ing tools and photo-management
features. This version allows users to change the
shape of phot os by squeezing or stret( hing the
background without affect ing key areas. It also
supports High DYIlamk Range photography for
combining images taken at different exposures.
We wouldn't upgrade from the previous
wrsion, but Photoshop Elements 8 is the
software to buy if you're new t o photo edit ing.
I'HOTQ-EDmNG SOFTWARE Requir .. Windows XPNi .... /l,
2GHz P"""'''''', 1GB RAM. 2GB disk ..,..,.
Pltooucr CODE 650-15041 ............. _ .coon/uk
fUU REVIEW "'" 2010
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
There's safe, And then there's really safe.
With best-i n-class security technology and free local support,· no one keeps
you safer than Webroot. Find out why Webroot products are recommended
by experts and trusted by over 20 million users worldwide. Run a free scan for
vi ruses and spyware at www.webrool.co.uk/freescan orlookfor us at your
favourite retailer. See why there's safe, and then there's Webroot safe.
·"""_ ............ c"""_""_,Ioc.N1 __ ._ .. _""' ......... ·r .. I!o.s.c..,. ...
__ .. __ ,'''' ..... ____ ,ltf«_
... ___ ....... .-_.w"""',. __ ...... ..... _ ,"' ___ ,,_ ... __
The Best Security in an Unsecured
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Workstation 7
£144 inc VAT
From www.vmwate.com/Vmwarestore
VMWare WO<1<:station is 0111' 01 the oldest
con5Umer virtualisation programs, but
dafi it has some stilf competition. Microsoft,
Sun and VMWare itself all offer free software
that allows you to run guest operating systems
on your pc, each in its own virtual machine.
For reasons why you may wimt to do this, 5ee
our FAQ on page 52.
FOOunalely. Wor1o;statioo 7 has lots 01 stulf
that its free competitOr<; lacl For a start, you
run several virtual machines al once in the
program's tabbe<! interlace, so you can flick
operating systems as easily as you
would between tabs in a web browser. If you
find that you're running too many machines,
you can simply pause a running machine,
instantly releasing its resources lor use by yoor
host PC or by other machines.
goes wrong after instaUed
some software, for instance, you
can revert to an older snapshot.
You're not limited to a single
snapshot for each system (as is
the case, for example, in
Microsoft Virtual PC); you can
take as many as you like. The
program's snapshot manager
makes it easy and quick to see
all the 5f1apshots of any Pc.
... Wilh Vinual Workslation you can r .... loIS 01 vinual machines In a
labbed Inlerlace IlIdclng belween WI"<!OW$ and easily
Another useful feature is the
Another boon for anyone who does a lot of
testing is the clone function. Using this you can
quickly create a new viltual
abWty to group virtual machines in teams. Ooing
this you can start them all with a single
click, which will be useful if you're testing both
server and client applications. You can also do
things such as specify a staggered startup for the
machines in a team, so the server starts before
the client, for instance. Using the netwol1<
functions, you can also isolate a team on their
own netwol1<, giving
them limited access to your
host PC and your real network
- or none at aH.
machine by cloning an
existing one. This way you
can keep one pristine
template for each OS you run
and just make clones of it
each time you need a new
vtl\OtCT Lowly softw.re, but iI'S
stIR quit. e' pen.lve. Professional<
should buy il; hobbyists should
a f,..,. all...,at"'.
Wlodows >WNo".lllS-, ZOOSIl .....
test machine. You can also
create snapshots of a PC's
[mo" <OO"<fIt distribution'), HGH<
PfOCes<o<, ZGB
As you'd expect , this version
01 Workstation supports
Windows 7. It's also the fir$t
program to
support the transparent Aero
theme on both Windows Vista current state. If something
Internet Securit y 2010
***** £27 inc VAT per year "
for three PCs
From www.scan.co.uk
Kaspersty's Internet S&urity suite has always
been a reliable choice. The interface has been
polished, but tile basic set of featu res remains
largely t he :;ame.A simple tabbed interface
allows you to run suns, view the trusted
status 01 your applications and run programs
in a :;and box environment.
Kaspersky performed brilliantly in our
tesl!;, elimi..,.,ting all traces of 19 threats and
rendering one harmless. This makes it our first
choice for complete internet security.
SECURITY sum: R"I"ir'" Windows 3OOMH,
processor. 256MB Il'.M. 3151'18 di" spKe
DETAllSwww.i<o'P"sI<y,cQ,"" fUU. REVIEW Fob 2010
- " c,.
.- - .-
-- ",-. -

==-____ H

Creator 2010 Pro
£50 inc VAT
From www.amazon.co. uk
Roxio (reator 2010 Pro has a wealt h of tools to
help you make the most of your photos, videos
and audio. Oata CD, OVD and Blu-ray buming is
a near-effortless dl<lg-and-drop pl"ocess.
All the usual music r ipping, editi ng, burning
and convert ing tools are present and correct.
This Pro version also comes with numerous
handy e)(\ra apps, induding an automatic
soundtrack generator and a serious photo
editor. Roxio Creator ZOlO Pro is an excellent
all-rounder and our favourite media suite.
MEDIA sum: RequirHWiodowsnNi".ll, l.5GH<
PfOC""". 5121'18 RAM (1GB f orVi,!;I '" W""""", 7),
fUll. R£V1EW o.c 2009
.I : .
.. ,
-- -

' -
and Windows 7.11 you have a machine
that needs a bit more oomph, you can now
mign it up to four processor cores and 32GB of
memory. Our favourite fealure is the ability to
capture a movie of your interaction with a
machine to record and replay its
down to instructions sent to the processor.
We love this program. It's easily the best
virtualisation software we've seen. Professional
software testers, developer$ and tech support
operatives wiU definitely benefit from its
<>dvanced features 5Uch as snapshot
management and the ability to group virtual
machines into Everyone else, who wants
to try out the latest of Ubuntu without
reconliguring their PC to dual-boot, should
simply download the free VMWare Player.
£34 inc VAT __ ,_
From www.accountz.com
Seth Barton
A<:countl Personal is straight forward and easy
to use. Entering tran:;aclions is simple - type in
the date and the amount, teU the program
which nominal accounts should be debited and
credited arid it t he rest, updating your
Chart of Accounts as it goes.
The program doesn't do online banking, but
it un import common b<lnk statement file
fonnats to check against your accounts with
great a<curacy. There's only a b<lsic set of
but it's this simplicity that makeSAccounn
Personal such a great choice for most user$.
S12MB RAM, lGH, OETAJ.S www...:countu;om
. '--.'
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
... Audk> C"aning Lab makes audio ' <!COfdj"9s
sound as shiny and Ioud .. s possible
Audio Cleaning
Lab 16 Deluxe
£25 inc VAT
From www.amazon.co.uk
Software lor turning vinyl collections into shiny
MP3 files has been around tor years, as the
number 16 in this package's title aptly
demonstrates. In fact, there's very little that's
new about this la test version - in terms of
features, we struggled to tell the difference
between Ihis and version 10 What's
Shopper219). That' s no bad thing. Audio
Cleaning lab continues 10 cope admirably with
its "lIotted lash of recording audio files,
sprucing them up and expolting them to audio
CD, MP3 and a range 01 other formau.
The interface is more inviting than before,
with unfussy graphics and an ovelView
waveform to help navigate around large
projects. It's still reliant on multiple pop-up
windows, though, which can be untidy. When
it come5 to deaning recordings, the<e are five
approaches from which to choose: a tully
automatic mode, a step-by-step wizard, a
preset library, 51iders for each process and
in-depth editing. This may leaVi' users feeling
105t. but at lea5t the 5impler techniques afe the
easiest to locate. A video tutorial appears on
first launch to explain the ba5ics.
Once cleaning is complete, a Mastering
section improVi'S the quality of recordings. This
can easily ruin perfectly good recordings, but
it's mo<e u5elull0< mU5ic that hasn't
prolessionally produced - in othe< words, users'
own music - adding punch and sparkle to help
reco<dings compete wi th commercial releases.
The CD-authoring lacilities go beyond the
needs 01 casual users, but are perfect 10< those
who want to create CDs with mo<e precision
over track 10 points, fades and overlaps than
CD-burning soltware usually allows.
Audio Cleaning Lab risks making a simple
task nee<llessly complex, but it's idealfo<
musicians who want an aHo<dable way to
prepare linished mixes lor public consumption.
Ben Pitt
VERDICT Almon tGO """",rful I.". tM . imple ta'"
01 tn n.ler""8 .... nyI to MP3, but t his audio edit.".
11;0. 01 other, """" (INti"" um
W.-.d""". lGfl z 512MB RAM.
... Photomat;x llght is a k>W-<:05t introduct ion to
high dynamic range photography
Photomat ix Li ght
***** I, £28 inc VAT
From www.hdrsoft.com
Photomati. Light creates high dynamic range
(HDR) images from sets of bracketed photos.
Fo< more on this, our tutorial on page 140.
In most scenes, ii 's impossible for the camera
to capture the lull dynamic range in a 5ingle
photo, but by importing three or more into
Photomati. Light, you can create a photo that
represents what your eye. sees more fai thluUy.
The application is a cut-down Vi'rsion of its
big brother, Photomati x Pro (see 'MIat'5 New,
Shopper 252). Light is even easier to use.
It has a simple interfa ce onto which you
can drag up to live bradE'ted images, which
are woverted in seconds into <In HDR image
through a process known as Exposure Fusion.
There are various sliders you can use to tweak
the final image, including one to adjust the
weighting given to under- or oVi'rexposed
images. This aHects how bright the photo is.
While it's best to use a tripod to ensure
your images are all the same, Light will
attempt to align hand- held photos. What it
won't do is reduce ghost ing caused by objects
swaying in the breele, unl ike the Pro version.
II you don't have bracketed photos, you can
use the Tone Mapping mode to create a
pseudo-HDR image Irom a single JPEC 0< RAW
file. Light the advanced Details Enhancer
sett ings of Pro, but there afe still enough
controls to achieVi' the desired effect - eilher
artistic or natural - by using 5moothing.
micro-contrast, strength <lnd saturation sliders.
Images can be saved as 16-bit TIFF ()( JPEG
files, but there's no integration with Adobe'5
lightroom as there is with the Pro version.
HoweVi'r, at this low price _ can't see many
people complaining. OthE'r appUcations. such as
Adobe's Photoshop Elemenl5 and Core.I'5 Paint
Shop Pro, now include H DR suppolt, but they
tend to lack tone mapping. which is one of
HORSoft 's biggest strengths.
II you want to create both altist ic and more
natural-looking effects with HDR teChniques,
Photomati. Light is a great -value way to do it.
jim Martin
VERDICT An Ir ... p ..... i"" .nd u 'Y.lo· U$O
introduct;on 10 photogn phywhkh include.
MOUgh contr(>l. '" mak. It g ... at value
VI'tall, 1GHz p<""" SO<, 156MB RAM, 5OM8 disk spo<e
DtTAILS www.OdHofz.c"",
• Mapzen has ils own iPhone a pp and also
makes it easy to edit OpenStreetMap

From http://cloudmade.com
OpenStreE'tMap (www.openstteetmap.org) is
to mapping what Wikipedia is to factual
knowledge. It's a public map that anyone can
add detail 10, and anyone can use the
inlormat ion 5to<ed within it fo< their own
purposes. Maplen is an online tool that makes
editing this interactive map a little bit easier.
The advantages 01 OpenStreetMap over
commercial alternat ives such as Google Maps
are huge. Contributors can create detailed maps
of areas that commercial providers haven't
bothered with, and 5pe.Cialist 5pin-oHs - such
as www.opern:yclemap.org - canrepurposethe
data. As anyone can edit the maps, they can be
updated quickly when re<[uired.
OpenStreE'tMap has its own edito< called
Potlatch. There's not a lot to choose between
these, but we like Maplen 10< allowing you to
see all the nodes without selecting an individual
route, and the simple pop-up controls for
splitting routes or att aching them logether.
Mapzen has an uselul toolbar of routes, areas
and locat ions at the top, 50 it's to label a
route as a track, an area as a meadow, or a
point 01 interest (POI) as a bus stop.
Maplen also incorporates a social-
netwO<1<ing aspect. You can see the location 01
other users in your area, make friends with
them and see the changes they've made. If this
takes oil, then il should help organise those
living nearby to co-ordinate their efforts.
Mapzen also produces a h<lndy iPhone app.
The Maplen POI Collector is free lrom the App
Store, <lnd lets you add businesses and loca!
amenities to OpenStreetMap while you're out
and <lbout. Such an application should quickly
enrich the map, as you can add detail instantly.
we'd rather see an app for Android
handsets, which seem a much better lit for the
OpenStreE'tMap community.
Maplen isn't a huge leap fO!Ward for
OpenStreE'tMap editing. but it does have some
improvements over current tools and is wolth
a look if you're interested in creating a publicly
owned map of your local area.
Seth 8;lrton
VlRDICT Slick"GOking OI1 line mapping softwa ...
for OponStt«tMap, but it', ""t r..,.,luI ;"n"')'
Jump wer whal'. cumonliy
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' 1GB nVldl .., GeForc . ... 230M GT
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• Intel® Core 1Mi7 860 (2.80GHz)
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· 24" Widescreen TFT Monitor
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' AMDI! Phenom"' II X4 165 (3.40GHr) ' 1TB SATA II HOD
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' 1GB nVldi d GeForca"" GTZ.O
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• 24" Wldescree" TFT Monitor (1920 x 1oaO)
• Logiteeh«! Keyboard, Mouse & Speakers
Genesis Laptop
· Intel® DualCore E5400 (2.7OGHz)
• Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium
• 2GB Cor .. l rCI XMS2 eooMHl: RAM
• Integrated Graphics Accelerator
• 2211 DVO-RW + CD·RW
Widescreen Monitor (1440 x 900)
• LogitG(;h® Keybcnrd, Mo"". &
Wl6escreen Dllplay (1366 It 168)
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• 2GB COR2 667Mhz RAM
• Ww.Ie • • G Networtl Clrd
. .. DVD-RlRWIDu. 1 L.)'et'
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Like most things in life you get what you
pay for. we believe that a computer is no
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of the most advanced, reliable and qUiet
systems on the market.
... ,"'" I Neill Day ,
Detlvory! i :......,
-;f -
Best Svstom In UK Ulller £SIlO?
£475 £649
ino:;VAT AAP
• Microsoft Windows ' H ...... Premium
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You may have noticed that we boast about
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on quality. This is a cheap underhanded
way to reduce prices at the consumer"s
Brand _ Core i3 Power
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ThiS per formance not onLy transLates
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£749 £1989
• Mic rosoft Windows 1 Home Premium
• Inttl Core l5150 Process or
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• 22*Wld ... cr .. n full HO TFT
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. .

• •
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Whether you're uperadinc"n
old PC or build,",,, one"
"two processor un provide
amounts of
(omputing power It low
prices, so there's no need to
put up with poor
All modem processors have
lit least two processi ng (ores,
.. Uowtng them to perform
multipte uslls with ule. while
some hoWe four cores for
handling espediJUy ohm, neling
work. Some of Intel's latest
proceS5ors even have built-in
,raphks chips capable of
playing HD video smoothly, so
you may not eYen h .... '" to buy
.. Hpilr.te ,..,phiu unl.
This month we've t elted
Inc:! •• ted " st."ering touL of
65 processors - 37 from Intet,
induding the l.1test LGA '156
and AM3-compdible rnodoeb,
.nd 28 from "'MD. Mlny (ost
less than £100, 10 there's no
need to $klmp on power even
jf you're on I budget .
Alan Lu
Senior staff
Kat D,.hanide.
Senior stalf writer
Choosing a.
he processor is the brain and is
key to how last your comptJter i5. You can
.:hoose between AMO and Intel proceS5OlS, but
you"!l need a matching motherboard Avoid single-c:ore
processors, arld opt lor at least a dual-core chip .
These in effea have two proceS5OlS, which makes
multitnking (ruming more than one application at a
time) more effi6en1. Quad-c:ore processors are faSler
stU depending on the software you use. as only
applications are written to take advantage 01 them.
Whichever processor you.:hoose. you must use it
with memory of the appropriate speM. This is
determined by the memory controller. IntelLGA77S
procesSOf"S depend on a motherboard's memory
controller. so RAM compat ibility depends on the
motherboard you choose. ProcesSOf"S wit h onboard
memory controllers - namely AM3 and Intel LGA 1156
chips - have a delinit ive compatibility list. See our
tables on page 74 and 7S for the details of the RAM
each processor support5.
The pOces of processors can fluctuate widely. If you
can't find the processor you want for the price we've
listed. check the immediately above arld below
il. If tMre's little difference in you could
W1!U find a
Intel's (tleron l>ui.l Core. Pentium Dual Cort, Cort 2
Duo and Core 2 Quad processors all fit in motherboards
with LGAns sochts. but you must consider the
01 an LGA77S processor t o find a compatible
motherboard. All Intel processor's speed (quoted in
gigahertz) is calculated by multiplying its extemal bus
by a 'multiplier'. For example, the lGHz Core 2
Duo E8400 ll:as a 333MHz elrtema[ bus and a x9
multipijer. Your motherboard must support t he
prOCe»OfS bus SpeM.
HOW1!VI"f, the eKlemal bus speed is often quoted as
the fronts ide bus (FS8) speed, which is the elrtemal bus
speed mUltiplied by tom (quad-pumped). So the E8400
can also be said to have a l,333MHz FSB. Des igned lor
those on a budget, Pentium Dual Core processors are
essent ially t he same as Core 2 Duo chips but with an
800MHz FS8 - the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com

-, ' ,r.

processors reviewed here have l,066MHz and
l,333HHz FSSs. AU the LGA77Slntel processors
and motherboards in this month's labs test are
compatible with each other.
Intel's new dual-core Core,3 and is
processors, as Wl'i! as the quad-core Core is and
i7 processors, are different. They have integrated
memory controllers like AHO's procesWfS, imd a
fixe<! external bus of 133HHz. To use one,
you need a motherboard with an LGA 1156
socket and DDR3 memory. By contrast,LGA77S
processors work with both DDR2 and DOR3
memory, which may be preferable if you're
upgrading your PC on a budget and don't want
to replace your existing DDR2 RAM.
Uniquely, the dual-core i3 and is processors
have integrated graphic.o; chips instead of relying
on one built into your motherboard. If you want
to watch HD video and don't care about playing
the latest 30 games, they're a perfectly good
alternative to a graphics card. The Core i7
processors and most of the Core is range support
Turbo Boost which means they can increase
their dock speed when running demanding tasks.
The Core i7 900-5eries processors lit into the
previous LGA 1366 sodet, which isn't compatible
with the LGA 11S6 wckel. Although they're not
significantly faster than newer LGA 1156 Core is
and i7 quad-core processors, they cost a lot
more. Models with the Extreme Edition suffix
have an unlocked multiplier, so they can be
easily overdocked to increase perfonnance but
are very expensive. Intel is unlikely to release
many more LGA 1366 processors. 50 buy one at
your peril: you may lind it hard to upgrade later.
The speed of AMO's ptocessors is worked out
in the s.ame way as that of an Intel LGA77S
processor (external bus t imes multiplier), but
they all have a 200MHz external bus. They come
in two sodet designs: AM2+ and AM3. You can't
use an AM2+ processor in an AM3 motherboard,
but you can use an AM3 processor in an AM2+
board. This is handy if you're replacing the
processor in an older AM2+ system that uses
OOR2 memory, as AM3 motherboards require
OOR3 memory and you may not want the
expense of replacing your RAM.
We've only looked at AM3 processors here,
as the AM2+ socket is being phased O\.It and the
latest Phenom II processors are available only lor
socket AM3 motherboards. AM3 processors
don't cost much more t han their AMl +
counterparts anyway, so there's lillie reason to
opt for an older AMl+ chip.
Both AMO's Athlon II and Phenom II
processors are available in dual-core, triple-core
This month
Celeron Dual Core and
Pentium Dual Core
Core 2 Duo
Core 2 Quad
Page 71
INTEL @{f]
Core i3, i5 and i7 r;;1
Page 71 L.::J t..;;;,j
Athlon II
Phenom II
Page 72
and quad-core variants (X2, x3 and X4
respectively). Processors with the Black Edition
branding are multiplier unlocked and can be
overdocked, OOo<;ting perfonnance further.
Compared with their dosest Intel equivalents,
AMO processors have high TOP ligures, which
means they're comparatively power hungry.
More power-efficient versions are available, but
they're slower and more expensive. The
triple-core Athlon lis and Phenom lis are a good
compromise, balancing reasonably quick
performance and low power consumption.
Although AMO's processors aren't quite as
fast as Intel's latest chips, they're great value
thanks to the low prices of both the processoo
themselves and AM3 motherboards. The Athlon
II Xl processors are particularly good budget
buys. While Phenom II X4 processors deliver the
best performance, they're not quite as good
value as some of the Phenom II x2 and X3 chips,
which aren't far behind in performance terms.
Next month
We test coolers, lans an.d Ian cont rollers,
plus front panel memory card readers
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Despite the names. Intel 's Celeron Dual Core and
Pentium Dual Core proce5SOfS have more in
common with (ore 2 Duo chips than with the
diswolinued Pentium 4 and Pentium D. They're
variants of the (ore 2 Duo with less L2 cache.
Pentium Dual Core E2000-5eries and Celeron
Dual Core El000-series chip-; use the Allendale
core and are made using a 6Snm so
they're not as power-efficient or cool as newer
Intel chips. They have a 200MHz external bus
speed, quad-pumped to an eHective SOOMHz
!ronlside bos (FSB). The ElOoos have just 512KB
01 L2 cache, while Ihe EZOOO-series. represented
here by the E22oo, has just 1MB olll cache_
The Ceteron Dual Core E3000- and Pentium
E6000-series, represented here by Ihe B200
and E63oo, are made with a 45nm process so
they 5hould run cooler and power than
the older Allendale Celerons and Pentiums.
The B200 has a 1MB L2 cache and a 200MHz
FSB,just like the Wolfdale
Pentiums. It's slightly slow.:r than those
processors due to its 2x 32:KB L 1 cache, which
is half the size of the E5000s' The E6300's
quad-pumped 266MHz FSB and 2MB of L2
cache means it's faster than the E3200 as well
the ESOOO-series Pentiums. The quicker overall
speed is largely due to the FSB providing faster
access to system 5Uch as memory
and the graphics card.
Dual E 1400
Dual E 1 SOO
Dual EI600
Dual Core 0200
PMtium DualCore EllOO l.lGHz
Pentium DualCore E5200 25GH!
Pentium DualCore E5300 2.6GH!
Pentium DualCore E5400 2.7GHl
Pentium Dual Core E6300

Most of the submitted to our Labs in the
past few have had Core 2 Duo processors,
but Intel is due to phase them out in favour of its
Core i3 and is processors. They're still good value
if you 're upgrading from an older LGAns
processor or building a new PC on a budget. as
LGAns motherboards are still cheaper than
LGA 1156 versions for the Core i3 and is chips.
We tested Core 2 Duos, from the
2.66GHz E7300 to the 3.33GHz E86OO. Each
series of Core 2 Duo processors has a different
amount 01 L2 cache, but it's sh"red between
both cores. This is more efficient when running
multithreaded applications, as data and
needn't be duplicated acro5S two
caches. A larger L2 cache boosts the processor's
performance by reducing the number of times it
has to access RAM for new dat a. However, newer
processors have shared L3 cache for better
performance, leaving each core its own L2 cache.
E7000-series Core 2 Duo processors have a
266MHz external speed, quad-pumped to a
1,066MHz FSB. They are made with the 4Snm
process, so they should be cool and efficient.
E8000-series have a 333MHz
external speed, which is quad-pumped for a
Core 2 Duo E7300 2.66GH.
'" "
Core 2 Duo E 7400 2.SCH!
'" "
Core 2 Duo E7500 2.93GHI 1\"1\"1\"1\"*
'" '"
Core l Duo ESlOO 2:.66GHz
"'" "
Core l Duo E9400 3GHl
Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16GH. £143 99
Core 2 Duo E6600 333GH.
If you want to build a budget PC that's also
quick enough for demanding wor\:. a Pentium
Dual Core processor is a great choice. Every
LGAn5 motherboard in this month's Labs
can accept Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad
processors as well as Pentium Dual Core chips,
so you can easily upgrade to a Faster processor
in future if necessary.
The E6300 offers the best value in the
Celeron and Pentium range. Although the
Celerons are a Uttle cheaper, the small savings
aren't worth the noticeable drop in performance
unle5S yoo're on the tightest of budgets. If you
want a Celeron regardless, the B200 is
and cheaper than any of the El000 Celerons. The
ESOOO aren't bad proce5SOfS, but
they're not significantly cheaper than the E6300
so little reason to buy one.
1,333MHz FSB. They're also made using a 4Snm
process. They have 32KB Ll caches (like the
E7000 proce5S0rs) but the L2 caches
of any Core 2 Duo at 6,144KB.
The E7000-series Core 2: are better value
than their more expensive
All three processors
perfonned well in all oor benchmarks, with little
price difference between the three. You should
therefore go for the fastest. the E7S00.
It's difficult to justify buying any of the
E8000 models. The E8200 and E8400 aren't
significantly faster than the €7SOO. The E8S00
and E8600 are faster, but their higher prices
make them poor value compared with Similarly
priced but faster Core is
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Intel's Core 2 Quad processors have four cores,
so they're ideal for funning multiple programs
simultaneously. Multithreaded programs, such as
most video-editing p<!ckages. can also put all
four cores to wort. 011 a single task, which can
produce impressive results in programs.
A Core 2 Quad processor is essentially two
Core 2 Duos on one chip. Each ha!f has its own
L2 cache, which the two cores share. Unlike the
Core is and i7 (and AMD's Phenom
II), these chips haw no L3 cache to
share between aU four cores. This
means they' re likely to make
more requests to the system
memory. We've tested five here.
The QaOOO-, Q9000- and Q90S0-series of chips
use a Yorkfield core. which is made using a 4Snm
process. This makes them reasonably cool and
power efficient. They have a l,333MHl
quad-pumped fSB, too, The
Co ... 2 Quad Q8200 2.33GHz
** m"
Co ... 2 Quad Q8300 2.5GHz
Co ... 2 Quad Q9400 2,66GHz
Core 2 Quad Q95SO 2.83GHz
Core 2 Quad Q%SO 3GHz
"" ""
CORE 13, 15 AND 17
Intel's newest LGA 11 S6-b</sed have a
confusing naming system. The family name isn't
very descriptive or helplul as some
share a family name, such as Core is, despite
having different architectures and capabilities.
All Core i3 and is except for the is
750, use the Clarkdale architecture, while every
chip, including the 750, has an integrated
Northbridge. They also have direct control over
the PCI Express connections. The processors
communicate with the Southbridge chip, which
manages slower connections such as audio and
SATA, using the Direct Media Interlace (DMI) ,
which runs at 2GB/s.
The Core i3 and is 600-series are dual-core
processors with 4MB of L3 cache. The 32nm
means they're cool and power efficient,
but what really sets them apart is their
integrated graphics chip. They're not powerful
enough for the latest 3D games, but they can
play high-definition video. To do so, you'll need a
motherboard with an Intel HS7 or HSS chipset ,
such as those reviewed on page 81. The Core is
eo ... i3 530 2.93GH.
7S0 stamls apart as it four
cores and the same Lynnfield
architecture as the Core i7
BOO-series processors.
Despite its name, the
Pentium G6950 is a
cut-down of the
i3 chips. It has just 32KB
01 L 1 cache and 3MB 01 L3 cache.
All Core i7 processors are quad-core, but
they're more power-hungry than the Clarkdale i3
and is chips due to their 45nm process. Their
large 8MB L3 cache is shared between all four
cores, which them more efficient than the
Core 2 Quads, which have no L3 cache. The
BOO-series i7 chips are compat ible with
LGA 1156, while the older 9OO-series uses the
older LGA 1366 socket.
The Lynnfield-based Core i7 8oo-series, as
well as the is 750, has the same integrated
Northbridge and DMI bus as the Clarkdale-based
i3 and is processoo. Older 9OO-series Core i7
chips don't have direct control over PCI Express
connections but use a high-speed QuickPath
Interconnect (QPI) interlace to communicate
with the other system components.
Hyper-Threading has also made it<; return in
all of Intel's LGA1156 and 1366 processoo, apart
from the is 750. This gives an extra virtual core
'''' ''''
i3 S40

Core is 6S0 3.2GHz
Core is 660 3.33GHz
CoreiS661 333GHz
eo ... is 670 3.46GHI
eo ... is 7S0 Iiii-;;;;J 2.66GHz
" ....
Core i7 860 2.8GHz
Core i7 870 2.93GHz
"" ""
Core ;7920 2.66GHz
Co ... i7940 2.93GHz
' 52
Co ... i7 9S0 3.06GHz
Core i7%O 3.2GHz
Core i7 %5 Extreme Edit ion 3.2GHz
** ".,
Core i7 975 Extreme Edition 333GHz
processors have two 2,048KB L2
caches, while the Q9OOO-series
chips have dua13,072KB L2 caches.
Q90S0-series have a pair
of 6,144KB L2 caches - the largest of
any LGA77S processor here.
The Q9SS0 and Q9650 are the fastest Core 2
Quad here, but they're not as fast as
the similarty priced Core is 7S0. The 08200 isn't
worth considering as it costs more than the
faster QB3oo, which is the Core 2
Quad here. It costs just over £100 but performed
well in all our benchmark5. It 's a good choice il
you want to upgrade an existing dual-core
LGA77S-based PC, but bear in mind that Intel
will phase out the Core 2 Quads in favour of the
quicker lGA 1156-b</sed Core is and i7 chips.
These newer processoo are a better choice if
you're building a new PC and want the ability to
upgrade to an even faster quad-core chip later.
for every physical core, as it did with old Pentium
4 processors. Hyper-Threading can help 5peed up
multithreaded programs, such as video encoders.
One feature shared by all the Core is and i7
SOO-series but not the i3s, is Turbo
Boost. This is in effect a form of automatic
overdocking that adjusts a clock
speed above its stated frequency when dealing
with particularly demanding task5.lt depends
on a capable power supply, well-designed
motherboard and adequate cooling. though.
The Core i3 530 and 540 are both very capable
and reasonably priced, but with little price
difference them, there's no reason to
buy the S30. Although LGA 1156 motherboards
cost more than their LGA775 counterparts, i3
chips afe better in the longer term than Core 2
chips as they're great lor building a PC that's fast
now and can be upgraded to an even faster
LGA 1156 processor in the luture. If you want
this flexibility but can't afford the i3 530, the
5l0wer, cheaper Pentium G69S0 is an excellent
budget alternative, It 's 5l0wer than the i3s but
just as quick as the Core 2 Duos here.
Core is GOO-series processoo are fast but,
unless you want a with a built-in
graphics chip, there's no point in buying one over
the is 750. This is just as quick or quicker than
any is 600 chip, yet costs less than any of them.
It's ideal for building a PC that isn't
exorbitantly expensive. If you're tempted by an
is GOO-series processor, bear in mind that the
661 is almost identical to the 660 except that it
has a slightly faster integrated graphics chip at
the cost of higher consumption and a laCk
of hardware support for
If you want to build an even laster PC, the
best choice is the Core i7 860, which costs just
£73 more than the is 750. El
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AMO's new Athloo II Xl processors are an
dual-core AM3 modell;, unl ike the I'henom II X2
processors, which are quad-core chips with two
non-fum:tional cores. They're made using the
same 4Snm pr<xE!Ss as Phenom II$, and fit in the
same AM2t and AM3 motherboards.
Each AthlOllIl X2 COfe has 128KB of L1 and
SIlKS 01 L2 cache. The only exceptions are the
235e and 250. which have 1MB of
L2 cache pl'f core. There's no l3
cache, which means the
processon will access the
relatively slow system memory
more ohen but. as our graphs
on page 76 show, this had little impact 011
their perfom'lance in our tests.
Although the quad-core Athlonlls have the
5ame amount of L2 cache (2MB) 3S their
dual-core counterpa,,->. in ptactice there's less to
go around. They have the usuallZBKB of II
Alhlon II x2 235e UGHz
Alhlon II X2 240

Alhlon II X2 245 2.9GHz
Alhlon II Xl 250 3GHI
Alhlon II X2 2S5 3.1GHz
Alhlon II x3 400e 2.2GHz
Alhlon II X3 405e 2.3GHI
Alhlon II X3 425 2.7GHz
Alhlon II X3 435 2.9GHI
Alhlon II X3 440 3GHz
Alhlon II X4 600e 2.2GHz
Alhlon II X4 605t 2.3GHI
Alhlon II X4 620 2.6GHz
Alhlon II X4 630 2.8GHz
Alhlon II X4 635 2.9GHz
AMO'S Phenom II processors have been
down a peg by Intel's new Core i3 and Core is
chips. but there still plenty of powerful and
great-value models in the range.
Phenom II chips use a 4Snm manufacturing
process. which makes them cooler, faster and
less power-hungry than older Phenoms running
the same speed. The four cores a 6MB
l3 cache (except the 810, which has 4M8) along
with S12KB of l2 and 128KB of II cache per
core. The current range of AM3 Phenom II
processors uses HyperTransport 3.1 to talk
directly to memory and other components. This
for a maximum bus speed of 3.2ooMHz.
although no chips use this speed at the moment
The AM2+ socket is being phased out , so aU
current Phenom 115 are socket AM3. AM3 chips
fit in both AMl+ and AM3 motherboards. but
they're designed to work best with motherboards
"'''''''''' '"


"'''''''''' '"
that have AMO's 790 Q( 785
chipset. Most AMl+ bOilrds will
happily accept an AM3
processor. but you'll probilbly
have to update the BIOS.
Phenom II processors are avai!;lble in dual-.
triple- and quad-core versions. Black Edition
versions have an unlocked multiplier. which
makes them easy to overdock without affecting
the HyperTransport or memory speeds.
The best Phenom II X4 chips are similar in
price and periQ(mance to Inters Core i3. The
fastest is the Phenom II X4 96S Black Edition. but
at current prices the 955 8l<tck Editi on, which is
only slightly slower. is better villue.
The cheapest Phenom II in our group is the
3GHz X2 S4S. This uses the Callisto core which.
Phenom II X2 545 3GHI
Phenom II X2 SSO BLiI, k Edition
" Phenom II Xl 555 Black Edition 3.2GHl
* ..
Phenom II X3 70Se 2.5GHz
'" "
Phenom II X3 710 2.6GHz
" Phenom II X3 720 S!;lck Edition

£92 9S
Phenom II X4 810 2.6GHz
Phenom II X4 9-05e 2.5GHz
" Phtnom II X4 9100! 2.6GHl .. £131
Phenom II X4 925 2.8GHz
"'" '"
Phenom II X4 94S 3GHz
Phenom II X4 955 Black Edihon

£122 m
Phenom II X4 965 8!;l,k Edition 3.4GHz
' HO no
cache. but only S121(B of II cache
per core. This is the same as a
Phenom II . but without the 6MB of
shared L3 cache to distribute data
efficiently. This means that in effect
they're not as fast at multitasking. and
can also lead to reduced perfQ(mance in
30 games. However, these chips performed
very well when combined with a decent graphics
card. The triple-core Athlon II X3 processors are
actually Alhlon II X4s with one non-functional
core. so they're similarly specified.
An Mhlon 115 <Ire great villue. but we were
particul<trly impo-essed with the 2.8GHz Athlon II
Xl 240. At £41 it's the cheapest AMO chip here.
but it punched above il5 weight in our tests. It 's
an obvious Budget Buy. You can combine it with
an inexpensive AMJ motherboard or use it to
upgrade a slower processor in an AM2+ system.
If you want better perlormance for just a little
more money. the £55 3GHz x2 250 is ideaL
Athlon II processors are inexpensive and offer
surprisingly good The epitome of
this is the Athlon II X4 6l0. At £73, it's the
cheapest quad-core chip around. With a dock
speed of 2.6GHz. it's no slouch and it did well in
our video·encoding tesl5. lt"s a good choice if
you're on a tight budget. although it's not the
best choice for Of multitasking. For those
tasks. you're better off with a Phenom II.
at £61, is priced for a
fast dual-core processor. However.
we prefer the Phenom II X2 550 8lack
Edition. It costs just £3 mQ(e. runs at
3.1GHz and has an unlocked multiplier,
whiCh makes overdocking easy. The X2
5SS Black Editi on performs only a little
but costs significantly more.
If you want more power for multithreaded
applications, the Hekil triple-core processors are
a good choice. The Phenom II X3 720 Black
Edition is easily the best processor you can buy
fQ( under £100. It has an unlocked multiplier. but
perlorms Y<!:ry well without any overdoc:king.
The Heka and Deneb cores also appear in
AMO's energy-efficient Phenom II range. which
indudes the X3 70Se, X4 90Se and X4 910e. All
three have a Thermal Design Power (TOP) of just
65W, compared with standard Phenom II TOPs
of between BOW and 125W. This milkes them
suitable for use in compact desktop systems,
which don't haY<!: the same level of cooling as
!;lrger cases. HoweY<!:r, unless you specifically
need a compact PC. this energy-efficient series is
poor value for money.
One of the main advantages of AM3 Phenom
II po-ocessors is that they enilble you to upgrade
your PC gradually. first buying the processor to
use with an older AM2+ motherboard before
upgrading to an AM3 bwrd and OOR3 RAM
when you can ilfford it. This is in sharp
to the expense of buying a new Intel Core is, i3
or i7 processor, motherboard and OOR3 RAM.
Even if YOU're building a PC from $Cratch, the
combination of an AM3 processor and a
motherboard soch as Mus's M4A7850-M Pro is
a lot cheaper than the !;l test Intel hardware .
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
2D Performance PCMark Vantage
Imag e
• • • • .... I • •• •
To test processors we use our application suite.
which we share with our sister publication
Custom PC We test AMO processors in an M51
DKA790GX Plat inum motherboard with 4GB of
DDR2 RAM. We test IntellGA775 chips in an
Asus PSQ Pro motherboard with 4GB of DDR2
Labs verdict Processors
If YOI.I· re upgradingyo ... r PC on a budget. yo ...
am 'lalely opt lor Intel's Penti ... m Dual Core
E6300 or AMD's Athlon II X2: 2:40.
on yo ... r motherboard. 80th are grt'at value at
around £50. 11 yo ... ·re b ... ilding a new PC. the
AtMon II X2: 2:40 has the edge. thanKs to a
slightly lower The Phenom II X2: 550
81ack Edition is faster and costs j ... st f2:0
more. All three win 8 ... dget Buy awards.
We were also imprt'ssed with Intel's
Pentium G6950. This cut-down version of the
pricier Core ;3 isn't as fast as the
i3 chips. b ... t it"s j ... st as last as most of the
similariy priced Core 2: Duos. lt·s an excellent
processor il yo ... want to tJuild an affordable
but fast LGA 1156-based PC that can
upgraded to an even laster processor later.
. . . . . . .. .. .
RAM, and lGA 11 S6 chips in Asus's P7HS7Q-V
EVa board with 4GB of DDR3 RAM. Each PC has
a 512MB ATI Radeon HD48S0 graphics card.
OUf reference PC has an AMO PIlenom II X4
920 processor and 4GB 01 OOR2 RAM. Its results
are normalised to 100 for ease of comparison.
If you can stretch yo ... r budget to around
£100. yo ... can buy a m ... ch faster processor. II
yo ... want to stick with AM3 processors. the
triple-cort' Phenom II X3 72:0 81ack fd ition is a
great choice. It costs just under £100 but
impressed us with its speed in all o ... r tests. The
Phenom II X4 955 is even q ... icker. b ... t is also
more power h ... ngry and costs £122. lf yo ... ·d
rather go with an Intel LGA 1156 processor. the
£105 Core i3 540 is j ... st as q ... ick as the AMD
processors but ... ses less power. All are great
choices for b ... ilding a powerf ... l new PC at a
reasonable so they win Best 8 ... y awards.
For even you have to
spend well over £100. Intel's £144 Core is 750
q ... ad-core processor is the clear winner.lt·s
incredibly quick for the price and leaves little
_ Intel
We use the 5<lme tests in aU O\.Ir reviews. You
can download the tests from www.custompc.
co.uk/beflcllmarl:s/how-to-efl ter.html.
SHTlNGS We run our application tests at
I,024x768 resolution..d in 32:-bit colo ... r
WE8 www.expertreviews.co .... k
INTEL _ ..... 1lu.1 eo,. E&.300

INTEL _ ...., E"50
** ..... *
AMD "" ....... n H 955 BIoc:k E_
reason to 09t for any of the other Core is
chips, which cost more. or Core i7 processors.
which cost a lot more for only modest
increases. It wins OI.Ir 8est 8 ... y award.G:l
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It's easy to overlook the
motherboard when building a
new PC while concentrating
on more exciting components.
But this important piece of kit
det oe.mines which components
are compatible and the future
upgradu you (lin make.
Modem motherboards are
packed with features such as
integrated graphics that can
cope with Windows TsAero
inte riiICe and high· definition
video, so non-garners don't
have to pay ext", for II
dedicated graphics card.
This mQnth we've t est ed 12
motherboards, eight for Intel
processors lind four fOf' AMD.
ranging in price from £41 to
£146. No mllUer whU your
budget is, we'U help you pick
the right one so you can build
your perfect PC with ease.
Alan Lu
PC systems and
storage expert
Choosing a ...
very component in your PC connects to the
motherboard, so ii 's essential that you choose
one with the appropriate sockets, slots and ports
to build a PC with the features you need. II you're
planning to re-use some 01 your memory and expansion
cards, you need to consider these too. This guide will
help you choose the best motherboard fQl" your
Dilferent proceSSOf5 use dil/erent sockets, so you must
choose a motherboard with a socket matching your
processor. Intel motherboards come in two mutually
incompatible socket designs: LGA77S and LGA 1156. An
LGAns can't be plugged into aLGA 1156 motherbO<1rd,
and vice versa. A different socket, LGA 1366, is used only
by some very expensive processors, so we haven't
covered any motherboards using this.
AMD motherboards also come in two socket
designs: AMl t and AM3, You can't use an AMl t
processor in an AM3 motherbO<1rd, but AM3 processors
will work in an AMZ+ board. An the AMD motherbO<1rds
here have an AM3 socket , as AMl+ is being phased out.
All the AMD motherbO<1rds here support the AMD
processors reviewed on page 72. 50 you don't to
worry about compatibility if you have a modem
processor. Refer to our table on page 84 for a list 01
which processors can be used with each motherboard,
Motherboards use one of two types of memory:
DDRZ or DDR3. All LGA 1156 motherboards use DDR3.
Most LGA77S and AM3 motherboards now use DDR3,
but some use older DDRl , You may prefer a DDRZ
motherboard if you already have DDRl RAM you wish
to re-use, This isn't a bad idea il you're on a budget as
DDR3 RAM doesn't provide a huge boost.
The maximum supported speed varies from board to
board. All the DDR3 motherboards here support
memory with a speo:d of PC3-10600, although some
support higher, overclocked speeds. All the DDRZ
motherboards here will take PCZ-6400 memory, while
some also support faster spet'ds and overdocking.
There's no point in buying more than 4GB 01
memory if you're planning to use a standard 3Z-bit
version of Windows. This is because its 3Z-bit memory
address system can utilise around 35GB at most , II you
install a 64-bit version of Windows. you can take
advantage 01 more memory. so check your board's
maximum capacity. To edit high-definition video, you'll
as much memory as you can alford.
Most 01 the boards here can be overclocked, and
we've listed the maximum external bus speeds you can
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set in the BIOS in the tables on page 84. In most
cases you won't be able to get your processor to
run at anywhere near these ligures, however.
Motherboards come in two common formats:
ATX and microATX. Both fit in any standard PC
case. although some compact cases - often for
media centre PCs- accept only microATX
boards. There's nothing to stop yoo install ing a
microA TX motherboard in a full -size tower PC
case. although the components on the board will
be doser together, which can hinder airflow and
make them harder to work on. MicroATX boards
also have fewer options, so aren't the
wisest choice for a full -size case.
Some of the latest motherboards do away with
the older IDE connectors, which means you can't
use older optical drives when building a new Pc.
MOlt boards still have one IDE port, though.
SAT A III is the latest version of SAT A and is
starting to appear on some motherboards. On
paper, it's twice a5 fast as the existing SATA II,
but in our tests SATA lfI hard dish were no faster
than their SATA II counterparts, so don't opt for
a motherboard purely because of its SATA III
support. Many motherboards also have RAID
controUers for creating arrays using multiple hard
disks. These can improve disk access speeds,
protect your data against a di5k failure or both,
depending on the mode selected. However, they
use the CPU, so are no better than software
RAID in Windows. The big downside is that il
your motherboard fails, you'll need to replace it
with an identical model to read your RAID hard
di5ks. Currently, there are three types of
expansion card slot. PCI Express (PCI-E) x16 slots
are primarily for adding graphics cards. AU
motherboards have at least one such slot, and
some have two, with support for dual cards using
ATl's CrossFire or Nvidia's SLI technology. PCI -E
x4 and PCI -E xl slots are used for adding
expansion cards, such as TV We've never
seen a card that re<Juires an slot, which aren't
e5peciaUy common anyway, but PCI -E xl cards
win fit in the variety. Older PCI slots have
been around for years, but many of today's
expansion cards still use this format. They are
most often used for wireless networking or
adding extra ports, such as USB or FireWire.
Every motherboard here has integrated audio,
with analogue mini-jack: connectors. These
support surround sound, and also provide line-in
and microphone jacks. However, watch out for
boards that have only three connectors. These
can't provide 5.1 surround sound plus line-in and
microphone inputs simultaneously - they
operate by switching inputs for outputs
depending on whether you set the speaker
configuration to stereo or 5.1. Those with six
This month
PSG41T-M l X2



P1H570-V Eyo

n O-G45
M4A7B50-M Pro
" ..
outputs are preferable if you plan to connect
surround-sound speakers to your Pc.
In addition, many motherboards have digital
coaxial or optical S/PDIF outputs for connect ing
to surround-sound speakers or amplifiers. Each of
the boards with HDMI ports can output audio
through this socket.
Some motherboards have integrated graphics
chipsets. None is currently powerful enough to
play modem games at high resolutions and
detail settings, but most of them can ealily
handle 1080p video playback - an ideal situation
if you want to watch Blu-ray movies.
You'll find a minimum of four USB2 ports on any
motherboard, but you're likely to need more
than this. The latest boards have USB3 ports,
which are worth having if you need fast external
storage - USB3 hard disks can be significantly
faster than USB? hard diSks. USB headers on the
board connect to the front ports on your PC's
case and can also provide more rear ports using a
backplate. Sometimes these backplates are
included free in the box.
Some motherboards also provide FireWire
ports, which can be useful if you have a MiniDV
camcorder or external FireWire hard dish. PS/2
ports are handy for plugging in keyboards and
mice without using up USB ports, but serial and
parallel ports are only for very old peripherals
such as dial-up modems and old printers. @
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P5G41T-M LX2
£41 inc VAT
From www.ginger6.co..uk
At just £41 , /\sufs PSG41T-M lX2 is cheap for a microATX motherboard
that uses ODR3 memory. We were surpri5ed to find no overdocking
controls. This isn't a huge flaw as, for most people, the performance gains
from aren't worth the configuration hassle.
The integrated Intel GMA 4500 graphiC'> chip isn', quick enough for
playing the latest 3D games, but it is powerful enough to play HD video.
Unfortunately. it doesn't have an HOMI output. milking this motherboilrd
less than ideal if you want to build a high-definition media centre PC
Without HDMI to video and audio over" single cable 10 a TV, you'll
need to connect separate video and audio cables. There's only one YGA
po<1. so you'll need a graptliu card i' you want to connect two monitors.
As expected for a compact microATX motherboard, there aren't a huge
number of expansion options, but there are enough for most people. There
are two PCI slots for accommodating add-ons such as a wireless
networking adaptor. There are foor SATA portS for connecting hard disks,
but there's no RAID controller. Finally, there's a sensibly located PCI
Express x16 slot For a
de<:licated grapllic.s card.
Asus's PSG41T-M LX2 is
simply outclassed by the
competition. Whether you
want to build a me<:lia centre
PC or a general-purpose one,
there are more generou51y
equipped microATX
motherboards available,
such as MSl"s similarly
prked G41TM-E43 (right).
£SS inc VAT
VERDICT A,,,,'$ PSG41T_M LX2 I, cheap for 3
DDR3 microArx molhe<bo .... d, bul ill. cks.
HOMI oot;>JI and Ih...., ar<: b<tt..-·vitlue,
more highly . It.mali'l ... avalLabl.
INTEL MOTHERBOARD lGA175, ""'01 Vlll1nt.<I
ICHl chil""' . 2>c OOIO;hlots. h PC! ExJ>r<'"
.16 $101,2. PCI slol .. h 101: pori , 4x
on AILS .,su,.com
From www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop
Foxconn's G43MX microATX motherboard can accepl up to 4GB of DDR2
RAM in its two memory slots. Although this should be enough lor most
tash. especially if you're using the board to build a media centre PC, other
microATX motherboards we've seen can take as much as 8G8 or 16GB.
The integrate<:llntel graphics chip can play HD video. but there's no HDMI
output. This makes it more inconvenient to connect a TV, since you need
to run two cables, one for video (via VGA or OVI) and one lor audio.
The BIOS lets you overclock the frontside bus and there are controls
for adjUlting the voltage of the processor, RAM and chipset. There's only
one fan header for connecting a processor fan. This is inconvenient, but
you can always add that connect to lhe power supply directly.
There are six SATA portS lor connecting storage devices. which is
generoos lor a microATX motherboard. There's no IDE port, so you can't
re-use an existing IDE DVD writer. As expected for a motherboard this
compact. there are only two PC! slots and a single PC! Express xl slot. This
shoold be enoogh for most
uses. If not. you can always
buy USB adaptors instead. In
addition to the lour ports.
each of the three headers
supports two ports each - so
you could connect a total of
10 USB devices.
Foxconn's G43MX
is a good microATX
motherboard. but it's
relatively expensive.
vtRDlCTThe G43MX • bod or poorly
de.igne<J motl>erboard. oot Its '1GB
m. morylimil.lad of IDE porn and
singl. I.n "'-..doer all count "i.i .... 1 il
!CH10chi""". 2x DOR2 slots, 1, P<I .. xI6
slot, hPCI E""' ... . 1 $101,0< PCI $Iots,6, SATA
" "'"
£43 inc VAT
From www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop
MSl"s G41TM-E43 is a micrQATX motherboard suitable for building either
a compact media centre PC or a general-purpose computer. The
integrated Intel GMA X4500 graphics chip can play high-definition video
and there's an HDMI port lor connecting a TV. in addition to DVI and VGA
monitor ports. YO\.I can use any two of these to drive two monitors.
There aren't any SIPDIF ports for connecting a surround-sound
amplilier. but one can be added using a connected to the
SfPDIF header. These are available for around £5 online. The six mini -jack
connectors allow you to output analogue surround sound as well as uling
line-in and micropllone inputs.
There are lour SATA ports lor connecting optical drives and hard dilks.
Instead of facing upwardl. they are placed parallel to the rest of the
motherboard. This can make connecting a SATA cable trickier. but can also
help make cable rum tidier. There's no RAID controller for using multiple
hard disks together to boost speed or increase data redundancy.
If you need the power of a dedicated graphics card. there'l a PCI
Express x16 slot to take one. II yO\.l're more interested in adding an
expansion card such as a
sound card or TV tuner, there
are two PCI slots as well as a
PCI hpress xl slot. The large,
paslive cooler lor the
Northbridge chip means this
board is complelely fanless.
MSl's G41TM-E43 is a
good-value motherboard
with enough slots and ports
for most people.
VIRDICT MSI'. G41TM·E43 I. a good.-valur
and hufl"iy microATX
moI",-rboard wi tt. no senou. !taw.
INTll MOTHER80ARD 175, Int<l Vlll1nt.<I
I(H7 chip .... 2. DDR2 "Qts. 1.KI Exp'"" .16
slot. Ix K I EXpres. xl 2x PCI $lots. Ix 101
porI.4. SATA II poru
£106 inc VAT
From www.amazon.co.uk
Gigabyte's GA-EP45T-UD3lR is a lull-size ATX
motherboard, so has plenty 01 ports. It can accommodate
up to 16GB of DOR3 memory thanks to its foor RAM slots.
There's no shortage 01 ports lor connecting storage devices - six SATA
ports and the built-in RAID controller allows you to create a RAID 0,1, 5 or
10 array. There are eight USB ports and foor USB headers that can be
tumed into po<ts using ba<:kplates. so you could connect up to 12 USB
peripherals in total without resorting to hubs.
PCI Express xl peripherall aren't particularly common compared to
their PC! counterparts. so most motherboards have more PC! slots than
PCI Express xl slots. The GA-EP4ST-UD3lR reversel this trend and has
four PC! Express xl slots and just two PCI 5l0ts. The graphics card slot is
I-queezed in between the RAM slots and the Soothbridge chip. so litting a
particularly chunky graphics card could be troublesome.
The GA-EP4ST-UD3lR supportS processors with a Irontside bus speed
of 400MHz quad-pumped to 1,600MHz, althoogh most lGA77S
processors have just
1,333MHz FSB speeds.
Gigabyte's GA-EP45T-
UD3lR has plenty 01 slots
and portS, but at £106, it's
a little expensive. You're
better ofl building a new
PC using an LGA 1156
board, which will cost yOU
leIS and have more luture
upgrade potential.
, well'"'l" ipped oot r<:Latively
lGAnS mom.,rboard
ICH10R , .. DOR) slots, 1, P<I E>q>tM.
.1&slo'.4. PO E"", ... . 1 slou. 2x PC! slot<.
h IDE port, 6. SAlA II pori'
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
E6B inc VAT
From www.cclonline.com
At just under £70. Biostar's TH55B HD means you can boild an LGA 1156
PC tor little more than an old LGA77S-ba5e'd one. You might appreciate its
eye-catching black and red colour scheme if you're fitting it into a
with a transparent side paneL More practical are the power and reset
buttons, which are useful for testing the board during installation without
having to connect your case's Iront panel buttons.
It's a (omlX'c! rnicroATX model thill's well suited for U5e in a media
centre Pc. It supports the integrated graphic<; chips built into Intel 's latest
Core i3 and is proce55OfS and has an HOMI port so you need only one
cable to output audio and video. II you want to connect an older
surround-sound amplifier, there's an SfPDIF header, but no actual output
Adding an internal TV tuner or SO!lnd cud is easy as there are two PO
slots as well as a PO Express xl slot. A dedicate<! graphics card can be
plugged into the PCI Express x16 graphics card slot, but it's located dose
to the passively cooled Northbridge. making litting a chunky card tricky.
There are six SATA ports for connecting storage devices. bot no RAID
controller to join multiple hard disks together.
In addition to the four
USB ports. there are three
headers that can also bi'
turned into portS using
backplates. There are also
headers lor adding paraUel
and serial ports for using
legacy peripherals_
OveralL the TH55B HD is
a great choice for building an
LGA 1156 PC on a budget
£93 inc VAT
From www.scan.co.uk
mothOfbo ... d that', good for both low-co<l
1'<, and cwu-. syst em,
IJlllEl LGA 11S6, l"toIliSS
chip ...... OOIU>Iots. Ix 1'(1 E"I"'«5 .16 >lot.
Ix PCI E","",,, ,1 sIol , 2x PCI 1101<. h 101: port.
DET"ILS wwwb>os(¥.com.tw
microATX motherboards are all well and good, but Ihey're no
substitute lor a full-size ATX motherboard il you nee<! the flexibility of lots
of expansion slots. Gigabyte's H55-UD3H has four PCI slots and one PCI
Express xl slot. which is more than many other bwrds. With eight USB
ports and four headers as well. you're sorte<! for e)(lemal expansion.
There are six SATA ports for connecting internal storage devices. but
no RAID support. This isn't a major problem, as you can use software RAID
in certain versions 01 Windows 7.
There's litlle point in overdoding RAM. but if you feel the nee<! to do
so. the H55-UD3H supports boosting DDR3 memory to PO-17600.
Another largely unne\:essary but supported upgrade option is CroS5FireX.
Two AT! graphics cards can be plugge<! in, theoretically giving better 3D
performance over a single urd. Otherwise, the ports and slots are widely
space<! out, so there's little chance of one component obstructing another.
If you need its plentiful expansion slots, then the HSS-UD3H is worth
the £20 premium over less
flexible mieroA TX
motherboards. However, if
you care about the number
of expansion slots, then you'll
also probably want the latest
type of connectors 5Uch as
USB3 and SATA III. For these,
look to A5US'S P7H57D-V
Evo. It may cost just over
£50 more. bot it makes an
even more flexible choice.
VERDICT If )'011 n..,d LGA 1156
mot hOfbo..-d wit h lots 01 eXpa<>5ion .lot , . t
• ",.,enable price, t hen Gigabyte"
H55-UD3H i, a good choice
INTEl. MOTIiER&OIJtD LGA 1156. 1"' .tIiSS
4, 0010 slot<.Z, PCI Exp''''
.16 >101<. Ix PCI Exp<<<5 .1 010' , 4x PCI >101<.
Ix IDE 6, H poru
DETAlts www.gigabyte.alm.\w
E82 inc VAT
From www.scan.co.uk
Intel 's DH55TC is a mieroATX LGA 1156 motherbwrd. Its compact size
and H55 Express chipset. which 5Upports the HD--capable integrated
graphics of the latest Core i3 and is processors, make it an appealing
choice for boilding a home theatre Pc. There's an HDMI port for
connecting a TV or home-cinema amp. II you have an older amp. there's
an SIPDlF header, but yoo'll need to buy a backplate to use it.
Unsurprisingly for an Inlel motherboard. there aren't any overdoding
controls in the BIOS lor squeezing more perlormance out 01 your
processor. Intel would much rather you boy a faster processor instead.
This isn't a major flaw lor most people, however.
1/ for some reason you feel the nee<! to lit a massive 16GB of RAM,
then this motherboard will recognise it all, but you'll need to install a
54-bit system to use it. There are six SATA ports bot no RAID
support. which isn't surprising for a minoATX motherboard. There are
parallel and serial headers for connecting older peripherals. plus three USB
headers allowing a total of nine ports if you use them all. Its slots and
ports are well laid out. with no tightly spaced slots or protruding parts
to make fitting bolky Or
oversized components t, icky.
Intel's DH55TC is a good
mieroATX LGA 1156
motherboard. but it's quite
expensive for its features.
Unless you must have an
Intel board, Biostar's similar
TH55B HD motherboard is a
more sensible choice and it
costs £ 14 less.
E146 inc VAT
From www.ebuyer.com
VERDICT Intel's DH55T< I. a very c"!>",ble
lGA 11 S6 microATX motherboard, but
th"", chupe'
Expreu chip<et 4x DDR3 >Iou. Ix P(I hpreu
x16 2x PCI Exp<.".1 slot<. h PCI 0101 ,6><
SATA II port,
DfTAILS www.i"teLcom
Asus's P7H57D-V Evo is an expensive motherboard, but you get a lot for
your money. It supports all the latest standards, with two USB3 ports and
two SATA III connectors. USB3 eKlemal hard disks are expensive. but are al
least three times as fast as their USB? counterparts. making these ports
worth having. SATA III is less impressive. In our lests, a SATA III internal
hard disk was no faster than the quidest SATA II disk.
If you're not yet ready to invest in the latest storage devices, there are
six SATA II ports lor accommodating existing internal hard disks and
optiul drives too. Unlike the SATA III controller, the SATA II chip 5UpportS
RAID. For e)(lernal storage and peripherals. there are four USB ports and
four headers. an eSATA port and a FireWire 400 port and header.
There are also three PCI Express xl slots and two PO slots - ideal for
litting internal peripherals such as sound cards and TV tuners. There's
also a pair 01 PO-E x16 slots with support for both Sll and CrossFireX,
which links either two All or two Nvidia graphics cardS together to
inerease 3D performance over a single card. It's more cost -effective to
buy a single. more powerful
graphics card. though.
AsuS'S P7HS7D-V Evo is
expenswe. but it's
overflowing with features.
Some are more useful th<!n
others, bot if you want to
build an LGA 1156 PC with
plenty of slots and USB3 and
money is no object, this is
the motherboard to boy_
VERDICT A ... ,·s P7H57D-V Eva is .... pens;;e,
but it', poacked full of te.tu"" i, • •
i, currently po"ible
Expr",.lInt<lIiS7 Exp<." <hlpse! , •• DORl oIou,
2xPCI E"I"'''' x16 >loU.3.PCI Exp'", xl oIou.
1x PCI oIot<. Ix IDE port, 6x SAT" II port.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
£59 inc VAT
From www.scan.co.uk
. ',;,-
.. .' ,"
' •• I ' • .... .


MSl's 77Q-G45 uses a comparatively old AMD 770 chipset , but it supports
aU the latest AMO Athlon II and Phenom II processors. f or
looking to squeeze out a little eKlra there are controls for
boosting the bus speed, the equivalent of the frontsi de
bus on an IntellGA775 motherboard, by as much as 690MHL There's also
plenty of space for adding internal expansion cards thanks to the three PO
slots and one PCI Express xl slot.
There isn't an integrated graphics chip, but there are two PCI Express
x16 graphics card slots. 1/ two ATI graphics cards are litted. they can be
use<! together in CrossFire mode to increase 3D compared to
a single card. Usually it's best to buy a single more powerful card. as this is
cheaper than two cards and gives the same
Four of the six SATA ports. as well as the IDE port. are oriented paraUel
to the rest of the board, with the remaining two ports pointing upwards.
This can make cabling tidier. but also makes inserting cables more fiddly.
Annoyingly, the two upwards-oriented SATA ports can be obstructed if a
graphics card is plugged into
the second graphics card slot.
MSl's 770-G45 is a good
motherboard, but Asus's
similarty priced M4A785D-M
Pro is even better value. It
doesn't have any of the
770-G4S's niggling issues
and also has an integrated
graphics chip, which may
save yoo the of a
dedicated graphics card.
A7DA-S 3.0
£88 inc VAT
VERDICT M51 ', 770.G4S I • • good all" (HJI>d
boll A,...,,', ,imil...ty prked
M4A 78SD·M Pro i, better ..-.d would
be. wi .... choke for most P"Oplc" ""od.
SB710 , .. .,..t, •• DOR) Z. PC! h pm •• 16
<lot" 1. PCI E"", ... " slot , 3. PCI <lots, 1x IDE
!'Oft. f;>c SATA II port>
PAAT CODE g 11-1599-<l12
O£T .... LS www.moi.com.tw
From www.morecomputers.com
Foxconn's A70A-S 3.0 has a distinctive yellow and black colour scheme,
which may be if you want to fit it inSide a case with a side
window. There's support for up to 8GB of 00R3 memory. This is hall as
much as other DDR3 AM3 motherboards we've seen, but should be more
than enough for any task, even editing AVCHO video.
The integrated Radeon HD 3300 graphics chip is capable of playing HD
video. It can also be paired wit h a compatible ATI graphiCi card to increase
3D graphics although the boost is marginal More
useful is the ability to drive extra monitor.; using this pairing.
There are plenty of expansion ports and slots, with a pair of PCI slots
and another pair 01 PCI Express XI slots lor adding devices such as sound
cards and wireless networking adaptors. There are six SATA ports for
connecting internal storage devices. All six are oriented parallel to the
motherboard, which makes inserting cables tricky, but also makes
neater. For external there are six USB ports and six more can
be added using the three USB headers. There's also an eSATA port , plus a
FireWire port and header.
Foxconn's A70A-S 3.0
has plenty of ports and slots.
bot if you care about
expansion and flexibility then
you 'll probably want to
spend £ 13 more on
Gigabyte's GA-790XT A-UD4
(right). It has even more
expansion card slots. as well
as USB3 and SATA III pons.
VERDICT Fo>cconn', 11.701\·5 HI i • •
well-equipped It doesn't
t he """ va.["" al t his prtce
SB7SO <hi"",!, . , OCR] Z. PCI hpm ••
>10". Z. PC! hpr<" xl ",ot<, 2. ,"ou. 1> IDE
port.6. SATA II port<
£60 inc VAT
From www.scan.co.uk
Asus's M4A785D-M pro is a compact microATX motherboard with an
integrated ATI dlip capable of playing high-definition
video, which could be useful if yoo want to boild a home theatre PC
I! you later add a dedicated graphics card, the Hybrid CrossFireX
support can use both graphics chips together to theoreticalty boost 30
although the gains are nothing to write home about.
Unusually, there's support for only 00R2 memory. However, this board
wasn't significantly slower than 00R3 AM3 boards in oor tests.
The M4A78S0-M Pro has six USB ports, as well as three headers that
can be tume<! into another six pons using backplates, which shoold be
enough for aU bot the biggest of collections. There's also an
eSATA pon for connecting fast external storage and five SATA ports.
As for a microATX motherboard, the M4A78S0-M Pro has
fewer expansion card slots for adding internal than a full- size
ATX motherboard, with two PO slots and one PO Express xl slot.
I! you want to connect a surround-sound system, there's no
need to add a sound card as an optical S/POIF port is present as well as
the usual analogue
SUJToond-sound ootputs.
At just f6O, Asus's
M4A7850-M Pro is a great
choice for building a budget
home theatre or general-
purpose PC. It's a better-
value and better-designed
choice than MSl's similarty
priced 770-G45 and so wins
our Budget Buy award.
""at·val ... mott...rt».rd and iH'P"CiaUy
for media « nln: PC
o'JotD AM3,
S8710 <;hi!",'. 4. 00/0;2 >lot,. 1x PO hI"'" x16
slot, Ix "'t EXp' ... xl pel <lots. Ix IDE
port. Sx II pons
DETAILS .. ... >.Com
We'd a motherboard with the latest storage connection
interfaces, USe3 and SATA III. to be fairty expensive. but Gigabyte's
GA-790XTA-U04 is reasonably priced at just over fl00. There's a pair of
USB3 ports, in addition to six USB2 ports, which are well worth having
- USB3 hard are at least three times as fast as their USB2
coonterparts.1! yoo already have eSATA or FireWire disks, these can be
used too thanks to the pair of eSATA ports and two FireWire
The two SATA III ports are less as SATA III internal hard
disks are currently no laster than their SATA II equivalents. An eight SATA
ports are oriented horizontally to the motherboard, which aids tidy cable
runs, but also inserting cables trickier.
There's also a generous selection of expansion slots for adding internal
There are three PCI slots and a pair 01 PCI Express xl slots,
which should be more than enough. Up to 16GB of DDR3 memory can be
fitted. and it can be overclocked to PC3-1S000 speeds.
Despite the large number
of ports and slol5, they are all
sensibly spaced out.
We were impresse<J with
Gigabyte's GA-790XT A-UD4.
It has plenty of slots and the
latest ports. yet costs £45
less than a similarly e-quippe<!
IntellGA 1156 motherboard.
It's a great buy if you need a
flexible AM3 board with
plenty of expansion options.
pI..,ty of slots a<>d supports the "'te,t
standard. at a tawer plice than comparable
Intel LGA 1156 mot!>ert».rd
SB1SO chit>W<. 4, 00/0;3 <l oto, 2x "'I E'I'<'fl' ,16
slot .. 2>< PO Exp,..,. xl >l ou. 3x PO slou. 1x IDE
port. 8, " pons
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
'f,"I,hlWing for . limited t ime. "n.1I ",de .. delive'ed .i. R " ~ . I M. il P"ck, 1 P",I flrn Clu. within 1M U ~ . Ch.nnell,l"nd •.• nd 1,Ie "f M.n.
02009. Leu, Medl • . 1111 ' igl>tI ,.",,,,ed. Informat ion i. ,ubieel 10 <h.noo without r.otlCt. Cruel,,!, tht C,uc'" logo . • nd The Memory Expe rt, .'e
tf,dem.,k! .nd <e,vlc. m",k, 01 Micron T.chnology. Inc. 1111 other t rad,ml ,kI.nd "'Mee milk, lie property ollc..I, , ... peell., own, ... Le •• , M,dl .
I< I divi,ion of Micron Europe limited. Phone ,44 (0)1355 586100. f IX ,44 (0)1355 S86101. E ..... II c,uci.lt"'uwortOmicron.<O<n. le",,' Medi. I< not
'flPQn,lble for oml<";on. or e"or, in 1y?Og,.p/Iy or pholO\lIlPny. Ad upi, ... lO d . ~ . fll ' public"lion.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
_ Intel LGA775
_ Intel LGA1156
Bintar 11 56
lsY, 1156
Gigabyte 11 56
flKllnn AM3
Gigabyte AM3
Fucenn 775 iiiiiiii
Image edi ting
Inltl1156 ,4<
Gigabrte'M3 , .
m • • ,. •
Our benchmark suite lor pes and laptops is
designed to test a computer to the full. It
consists of tests: image editing. video
encoding and multitasking.
Our reference PC is fitted with an AMD
Phenom II X4 920 processor and 4GB of ODR2
memory. We normalised "II its re5ults to 100,
which makes it easy to draw compari$()(ls
Labs verdict Motherboards
You'd be forgiwn for thinking that all
motherboardS are the same, but this labs shows
that they' re rIOt. Some are distinctly better than
others, leading to some dear winners for each of
the three processor socket types covered here.
As.., 1156
FOlconn miiiiiilll
Hi.llt 11 56
AslIS 11 56
Gllabyte 11 56
Fuelnn 1M3
Asus 1M3
Gigabrte rn
FOlconn rn I
Asus rn
» • • • • m •
Video edi t ing

" 85
" • " " m •
belween test systems and our reference PC.
As we use the same tests in our standalone
and Labs reviews, you can compare the
performance of computers across both.
5mlNGS We ron our application tests at
1,680x1,OSO .... soIution and in 32-bit colour
WEB www.expertreviews.co.uk
Call of Duty 4 (fps)
FOlcoOfl 715
--------------- -
Gigabyte rn
Gigabyil 1M3 ............... ..
AsIS 1M3
Inl. I1156
As" 11 56
57. 3
lsus rn iiiiiiiii
II ,. " ., " " II
Call of Duty 4 (fps) Integrated
bus rn !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I
FOlcoOfl 715
Gigabyte rn
Gigabyte 1M3
AsIS 11 56
Blestar 11 56
Inlel 1156
With its range of stunning effects and ma5.lJve
explo5ioos. plus some 01 the most realistic
character animation, CaK of Duly 4 pushes a
PC to its limits and lets us know if a
motherl>oard is capable of playing game'!.
SETTINGS 1,680x1,OSO .... soIution, 4xAA,
rIOrmill settings WEB www.caUofduty.com
If you're bui lding an AM3-based PC on a budget,
our recommendation is AsUS'S M4A7850-M Pro_
Despite its low price, it's equipped with a
HO-capable integrated graphics chip and plenty of
ports. It's a Budget Buy award winner.
Building a PC based around one of Intel's latest
lGA 1156 processors doesn't have to be expensive
if you use Biostar's great-value TH55B HO.It"s not
without its flaws but, at a p!"ice comparable to
mothel1>oards using t he older LGA775 socket,
these can be The TH55B HO wins our
Best Buy award. If you want to use the latest
connection technologies with an LGA 1156
prOCeS501", AsUS'S GA-790XTA-U04 is the one to
buy. It's relatively expensive, though, 50 think
carefully before parting with your cash.
ASUS P7H570-V Eve
ASUS M4A785D-M Pro
.* •••
For a little more cash, Gigabyte's GA-790XTA-
U04 is an excellent choice - packed with the latest
t echnology at a fraction of the cost of a si milar
Intel LGA1 156 motherboard. It's a Best Buy winner.
f inally, if you're building a PC using an LGA775
processOl", go for MSI's G41TM-E43. It's cheap and
versatile, making it a Budget Buy winner.

Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
If)too want your PC to perform
at its best, you need to make
sure it has plenty of memory.
When Windows runs out of
RAM, it uses the hard disk as
virtual memory. which will
slow your PC to a crawl. You'll
rleed at least 2GB for most
modern applications, tJut we
recommend 4GB for gaming or
video editing. If you want to
edit HD vkleo or perform other
memory-intensive tasks, you'll
rleed eve n more RAM.
We've tested 104GB kits of
DDRZ and ODR3 memory and a
couple of 8GB DDR3 kits. We
t ested the RAM at a variety of
speeds to see which of the fast
kits live up to their ratings and
which of the morl' modestly
rated kits would exceed our
e.flKlations. Whether you're
building a new PC or upgrading
your CUlTent one,you'll find the
memory to suit your needs arld
budget here.
Alan lu
Senior 51aff writer
Kat Dr.hanides
Senior stalf
he type of memory you should buy depends on
your processor and motherboard. Picking the
right type of memory may seem oonfusing. but
it's actually quite simple. Here we explain how to do it.
First. find out which type of memory your
motherboard uses. Modern motherboards use DDR2 or
DDR3 RAM, but most new models use DDR3, which is
supported by IntelLGA 1366, LGA 1156 and AMD AM3
motherboards. LGAns motherboards might use either
DDR2 or DDR3, so check their specification carefully,
It's essential that you buy the correct type of
module, as DDR2 and DDR3 RAM are not compatible,
Your motherboard's manual will tell you which type of
slots you have. If you don't have a manual, you can use
a tool called CPU-Z from www.cpu.d.com/cpul .pllp.
This will tell you the name of your motherboord, as well
as the type of memory installed, il5 Sile, and which
modules are in which slots.
An the memory we've tested comes in matched pairs of
modules, called kits, so you'll need two spare slots or, in
the case of the 8G8 OOR3 kits, four spare sloll; , Most
motherboards have a dual-channel memory bus, so
using pairs of memory gives a performance advantage
over using single sticks of the same capacity. We've
included both 4GB kits (two 2GB) and 8GB (four
2GB modules) in the group. We haven't include<! any
triple-channel memory kits, as only rare and expensive
LGA 1366 motherboards use them. We tried to get hold
of P<lirs of 4GB modules for this test. but these are hard
to find, so you'll have to go to some effort if you want
to upgrade to more than 8GB of RAM, even though
most motherboards can handle up to 16GB.
While 2GB is enough for basic desktop tasks, we
recommend at least 4GB if you want to play games or
e<!it video, If you're using a 32·bit operating system,
can only use around 35GB of memory, To use more,
you'll need a 64-bit operating system.
CPU-Z's memory tab reports the speed at which your
current memory runs. However, this figure is half that
of the RAM's effective clod speed, as both OOR and
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
DDRZ memory tin transfer data twice per clock
cycle and, in effect, double their bandwidth. This
is why they're called double data rate (DDR)
modules. To confuse matters further. there are
two ways of describing memory speed.
The simple5t is to list the speed in megahertz.
accounting for t he double dau rate. which is
usuaUy 800MHz for DDR2 and l,333MHz for
DDR3. ManufacturNS aoo list the maximum
traMfN rate in megabytes per second, which is
eight times higher than megahertz figure, KI
you'U names sud! as PC2.&400 or PO-106(X).
Both DDRZ and DDR3 memory is available in
a wide of sPHds. Thtst are the modules'
maximum rated speeds. the memory win run
fin!! at Mrt speed up to t he maximum. if
your motherboard doesn' t support memory
module's maximum speoed. the module stiU
wort. at motherboard's lov.r« speed.
Intel Core 2 systems ill mNl10ry
controilN Ofl motherboard, and this Umits
the mel"l'lOfY speed. The speed shouldn't exceed
the processor's frOfltside bus (fSB) speed. As a
general rule. with ill l,066MHz FSB or
faster can run PC-B5OO memory, while
processors with an SOOMHz FSB can run
PC -6400. Phenom and Phe-nom II processors
have integrated memory controllers. A Phenom II
system can Iypitilly handle DDRZ memory up to
PCZ-8SOO and DDR3 RAM up to PC3-1Z800.
M .... y 2010 ' SHOPPER
Intel's latest Core i7, Core is and Core 13
processors have integrated memory controllers,
and have dispensed with the old-fashioned FSB.
While the older lGA 1366 Core 17 processors
support memory speeds up to l ,6OQMHz
(PO-12800), the newer LGA 11 S6 processors
support memory up to 1.333MHz (PO- 106OO).
Memory is backwards comtntible - you can
run fastN memo<y at sIowN speeds. so loot for
the best deal Some memory manufacturers
have toro Ofl tlleif websites that tell you which
type of module is compatible with your PC.
Different RAM kill; with the same speed
rating can also !law different latency timings.
Latency is the delay betwetrlthe processor
requesting information from the memory and
the memory providing iL Lower latencies
ge-nerally make fOf bener as it
meaM the PC takes take less time to feld! data.
This only reaUy makes a fOf lime-
critical software such as games. though. and
tver1 then the advantage is negligible for most
users. Most memory modules use the JEDEC
standard for later.6es. and these are the timings
that most motherboards will detect and use.
If you wimt to overdock your computer, be
aware that memory is also available at
higher -ra ted speeds. including 1,600MHz
This month

KHX1S00CB03nK2/ 4GX

PC2-BSOO and 1,6OQMHz PC3-1ZSOO. These
RAM kits woo't automatically run at their
maximum rated speeds when you insert them
(see How We Test on page B9). but you can
change the BIOS sellings 00 your motherboard
to increase their speed.
Overctocking your memory is rarely worth
the effort, as you un from the relatively
insignificant results displayed by our graphs on
page 89. To boost your PC's performance, you'fl!
beller off overdocking your processor. However.
some budget RAM is stable enough to overdod,
which meaM you can ac:hieve the performance
of 800MHl memory from a 667MHl kit, such as
Crucial's CTZKITZS664AA667.
In general though. the speed of your memory
proNbly plays the Srt\ililtst part in your PC' s
lor mOSI applications, soyou're as
wei oil buying a good PC2-85OO or PC3-10600
kit as aIlything more tlCper1sive.lf you haw a
buming need for speed then. as our tests !lave
shown, some low-fated RAM modules {an be
overdocked 15 _II. if not better. than their
higher-rated countefl)arts.
OvNdocking your PC can inCfl!aSf' its
perfonnance, but you'll need a motherboard
that provides the relevant cOfltrois in its BIOS
and supports fast memory speeds to do this.
An overdocked PC may produce more heat, so
make sure it has adequate cooling. e
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com

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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
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How we test Memory
all our RAM on two similar
for DDRZ, MSI 's
DKA790GX Platinum with anAMD Phenom
11920, while we t est DDR3 RAM on MSI's
79OGX-G65 with a Phenom 119Z5. At
their default settings, boards can
run memory at maximum s,.eeds of
l,066MHz and l,600MHz res,.ectively.
Most of the memory here is factory
overdocked and rated to work at high
s,.eeds. However, the Serial Presence Deted
(SPD) data stored on the DIMMs dot>sn't
indicate these s,.eeds, so if you si mply
insert them, your motherboard's memory
s,.eed will clock them at a
lower speed by default - usually 800M Hz
for DDR2 and 1,333MHz for DDR3.
As most of the modules are design.ed
to run at high our t ests simply
involve trying them at the auto-detected
default s,.eed and then using our
motherboards' memory ratio settings to
test them at increasingly fast up to
our motherboards' maximums.
were surprised to find that slow
budget RAM could easily be overcloded
beyond its rated s,.eed, some of
the kits made our systems
unstable at their rated our
tables and graphs (left) to find out which
kits were quickest.
Labs verdict Memory
This group test has made it obvious that all
memory is not equal, but we found a Best
Buy in each category. The best 4GB DDR2
RAM is Kingston's KHX6400D2KZI4G.
Although it's only rated at 800MHz, this
budget kit proved both stable and quick
when overclocked to l,600MHz.Of the 4GB
DDR3 kits, Crucial's B12KITZS664BN1337
couldn't be clocked beyond its rated
l,333MHz, but it has a low price and
outperformed several overclocked kits
in our t ests, Finally, if you're building
a high-end system,OCZ's 8GB
OCZ3G16OOi.VSCQ DDR3 kit is good
value and runs stably at its blistering
rat ed s,.eed of 1,600MHz. 1iJ
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
You un'! start building _ PC
until you hive II use and
power supply unit (PSU).You
can spend I lot of money on II
clSe with glow Ins
lEDs.nd I Perspu lide panel..
but It's build quality that's
fUUy import.nt. A poorly
constructe-d clSe u n make
your PC noisy or hot, l nd can
.Iso wt your hi nds to shreds
you' re UHmbUng lt .
The humble power supply
is often overlooke-d, butlt'J
important t o buy one tnlt Uln
pnwi,u, your PC with I reli.ble
source of POWIH". '" good-
quaUty mode-! should 11150 be
quiet and efficient, lI nd
enough power plugs fOf I II the
components In your PC.
Alan Lu
Senior staff
Kat D,.hanide.
Senior stall writer
Choosing a.
your PC's case should be well
easy to open and quiel fans. Most cases place
greater emphaSiS on 0fN! 0<" two of these features,
bul 5eV1!fal of our favourites strike an balance
and look good lhey' l'@at it.
Many of the components in a PC produce a
considerable amO\lnt of heaL If this isn't dealt with
properly, your PC will ww down and become UIlSt/lble.
Most PC cases have two lano; to provide airflow. An
itlt/lke Ian at the Iront of the case socks air itl and 0YI!f
the hard disks, while an eKhaust Ian mO\lnted high on
the 01 the case e.peis the hot air that rises from
your motherboard and components, Two fans plilCed
like this should provide sufficient cooling fOt aU but the
most powerful PCs. The large!' tile fan, the dowl!f it has
to spin to the same amO\lnt of air. This means
larger lans tend to be quieter than smaller lans, while
still providing the same lev@lolcooling,
Some of the cases on test this month have been
designed entirely with airflow in mind. These have lots
of Ian mountings and grilles, which are great for letting
hot air O\lt but can also let noise escape, Other cases
insulating materials inside to absorb noise,
although this limits tlleir a!:Hllty to dissipate heat.
The best uses have sound damping t hilt can be
with extra fans if necessary.
Hard disks also make noise when in use, Many uses
use rubber grommets to stop the drive's vibfations
being transmitted to the case, We mention itl the
individual reviews when a case has this
A typical midi-tower case wiU have at least four
3'hin drive bays and two S1),in bays. Make the case
you buy has enough room lOt iIIl the drives you'a need.
80th of the home-theatre PCs (HTPCs) we revlfow
here can accommodate standard A 1)( components.
so yO\l don't hilVe to WOtf'j about buying 'ifTlall-torm-
lilCtOl' motherboards Ot half-height elCflansion u rds,
Thi s is but it also makes them fairly la rge,
Although they're t he same width as hi-Ii components,
they're arO\lnd 70mm deepef, so che<:k that they
lit in yO\lr rack or TV stand before buying. Moneual's
McnCaso 972 case includes a fuU 7in LCD touchscreen
display that you can conne<:t to your graphic; card
and use to control the PC.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Choosing a ...
Power supply
OSI cases come without a power supply
unit (PSU), so choosing one is the next
logical step. Whether you're buying a
power supply for a new PC or upgrading your
current one, are several factors to consider.
energy is dissipate-d as heat. which the cooling
system must expel to stop the PSU overheating.
Inefficient power supplies require more powerful
and noisy cooling systems. An efficient PSU will
run cooler and draw less power from the main ..
For most mid-range PCs wilh a couple of hard
disks and optical drives, a single graphics card
and a mid-range processor, a SOOW power
supply will suffice. If you're building a high-end
This month
ANTEC Hundred POIJO 92
COOLER MASTER Gladiator SOD .....
ANTEC Solo Pogo 93
THERMALTAKE El ement S Pogo93
ANTEC Two Pogo93
ARcnC CCOUNG Silentium n Eco-BO .....
SILVERSTONE Grandia GOOl .....
MCNEUAL MonCaso 972 .... .
OC2 ModXStream Pro 500W P"'1" 9S
AKASA Eco-Friendly Power 600W P"'1" 9S
ANTEC TruePower New TP-G50 ....
ENERMAX Liberty ECO 620W ....
SEASONIC 104120 B50W ....
FSP Everest Pro 1200W ....
ENERMAX RevolutionB5+ l,050W ....
PC with two graphics cards or a quad-core
processor, consider buying a more PSU.
Check the table on page 98 carefully to make
sure you buy a PSU with the right connectof'l.
for e><ample, older motherboardS use 20-pin ATX
connectof'l, while new ones have 20-pin
connectors. Also, many high-end motherboardS
use eight-pin EPS 12V connectors instead of the
more common four-pin A TX 12V connectors.
No power supply can simultaneously produce
its maximum wattage from each rail. so check
c.JrefuUy to see how many walls a PSU c.Jn
produce in parallel on each rail More
importantly, check the current rating on the 12V
rails, as these power the processor and graphics
c.Jrd, two of the most power-hungry
components. Power supply calru[ators such as
Antec's at www.antec,Qucervision.comcangive
you a good idea of how much power you nee<!.
A typical PSU for a desktop PC has to output
five different voltages, known as rails. These are
BV, SV, 12V. - 12V and SV standby (SVS6).
Sadly, scrutinising the label won', ten you about
its reliability or efficiency. Voltage stability is the
most important as some components
may not start up if the voltage is too low, and
they could burn out if the voltage is too high.
The ATX specification for power
states that there can be a maximum five per
cent variance (above or below) the voltage on
the 3.3V, SVand 5V standby rails, and up to 10
per cent on the -12v raiL For the 12V rails, the
voltage c.Jn ViJry by up to five per cent at typical
load levels and up to 10 per cent at full load.
I How we test Power
The 5peCific.Jtion also states that at fuR load
a PSU must be at least 70 per cent efficient A
power supply's efficiency indicates how much
power it draws from the mains to produce the
requested load, This is important. as any wasted
Testing power supplies requires highly
specialised equipment.We used the latest
generation of PSU testing equipment at fSP's
UK office. By usi ng a combinat ion of a
Chroma 6314 load tester and Chroma 61604
power supply, we're able to measure the
voltage stabi lity, overall efficiency and
FactorCorrection (PFCj effici ency of eiKh
To test each power supply, we program
the load testers to drain the amount of power
each mar1\.lfacturer claims its PSU can deliver.
We measure the voltage of eiKh rail at SO
and 100 per cent load to determine whether
it's within the ATX specification. We then
leave each running at 100 per cent load
for 30 minutes to find out if it can produce
stable voltages over an extendo!d period.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
WingRS 301
£35 inc VAT
From www.ginger6.cO-uk
Thermaltake's WingRS 301 is one 01 the
cheapest cases around, Instead of a fult
top, it has a plastic carrying handle that
it easier lor gamers to take their PC to events,
If you plan to use the handle, you' ll welcome the case's light weight.
For evel)'OIle else, the build quality is a little too flimsy. Not all the
intemal edges are as smooth as we'd like, but we were pleased to lind
tool-Iree clips to secure our 3V,in and 5'Ain drives. These also feel rather
lightweight, so you might want to add an extra screw on the other side of
the bays lor peace of mind, but they work well enough. There are four
external S'Ain bays and six 3'1.1in bays. Four of the six 3'hin bays come
with mounting dips for standard hard disks. The other two, only one 01
which corresponds with an extemal blanking plate on the fascia, have a
different mounting dip that wouldn't fit our standard drives.
Long graphics cards obstructed the hard disks in some positions, but
you can work around this if you fit disks in the lower bays. The case
comes with one 120mm rear lan, with space at the Iront to mount
another of the same size. A heat duct in the side panel is likely to block
larger processor coolers, but it can be removed and replaced with a fan.
As we'd expect from a cheap
case, it has no sound
damping or dust protection.
Aside Irom its price,
there's no compelling reason
to buy this case unless you
really need the handle.
Al:asa's Zen is better made
and more sp3cious.
VERDlCTThI<ca« <10« l hejob,lHJ l It<<>Oily
rul bmelit i< t!>ot it', portable. II you dof,'t
n""d thl s, ... k ... '< Zen 1< a b.tt ... choice
I4OITOWEIt 6>< 31'110 do .... boys, 4x Sill"
b;lys, 42Oxl9Ox478mm, S.lkg
DflAll.'i www.th«moltoi: • . com
Three Hundred
£39 inc VAT
From www.digital-fusion.co.uk
The Three Hundred is Antec's
entry-level gaming case. like the
company's other cases, ii's well built.
with intemal edges and corners that have been finished
neatly, so you're unlikely to cut yourself while you're working on it. The
Three Hundred comes with a 140mm fan at the top of the case and a
120mm fan at the rear, which provide enough airflow to cool even the
most powerful graphics cards and processors. Each Ian has a three-speed
switch, so you can achieve the ideal balance between noise and cooling.
It has si x 3V, in drive bays, so there's plenty of room for hard disks.
None of these is exterNL so to fit a memory card reader or similar device,
you 'll need to use an adaptor in one 01 the three S'Ain external bays.
The front panel. which has two USB ports and microphone and
headphone sockets at the top, comes off easily. Hinged grilles provide
access to the drive bays and you can instaU addi tional fans. The side
panel also indudes a mounting point for a 120mm fan.
The front-panel cables reach everywhere except the vel)' furthest
comer of the case, so most motherboards 'i!tO\.lld be easy to install.
Unl ike ... ntee's Solo, this
case comes wilhout any
5O\.Ind-dampening mount ing
kits for drives, but there's
little else to complain about.
If you want an inexpensive
case with plenty 01 room
for expansion, the Three
Hundred is an ideal choice.
VERDICT '" g",ol'''oluo gaming co", with
of .paco ond g"'o' airflow, t h. n..-.e
Hun-dred', popularity i, wen o.""""d
I4OITOWElt 6, 3y,in d,; .... boys, 3, S14in do • •
b;lyo, .S8XZOS,46Smm,
PAIlT COOl 01613-4S- 1 S)OO· )
DflAll.'i www.onl«.com
£36 inc VAT
From www.dabs.com
Akasa's no-frills Zen is one of the
d'eapest cases here, but it's well
built, with intemal edges that have
been rOiled so you won't cut yourself.
A sliding panel in the front of the case conceals ports for two USB
connections, headphones and a microphone. There's enough room inside
for a standard ATX motherboard and, with seven blanking plates at the
back. you'll easily be able to use all your motherboard's slolS.
The Zen has two extemally accessible 3'hin bays, which you can
use to instal! memOlY card readers, floppy disk drives and other devices
that you'll need to access from the front of the case. Below these are
four internal3'hin drive bays lor hard disks. You'll have to screw all your
3'hin drives into place the old-fashioned way, thO\.lgh, and there's no
cleverly designed cage to minimise vibrations or aid cooling. The Zen's
four S'Ain bays use convenient plastic rails to hold your optical drives
securely in place.
We were particularly pleased to find two 120mm, l,200rpm system
fans, one at the front of the case and the other at the back. to provide
good airflow. These large fans also keep noise to a minimum. There are
no additional fan mounting
points, but the si de of the
ca5e is vented.
The Zen won't soit
the most powerful PCs
with special cooling and
sound-proofing requirements,
but it's a great choice for a
budget Pc.
VEROICTWtlh fanl.1l<tlcbultd and.
""".",.bIy k.w price. t he Z ... r.uin, iu
position M our f""""rlt. budget <Me
MIDI TOWER 6x 3',;ln drM boys,.' S'Ailn drM
boy>. .SO>:200xS00mm. Skg
P ... RT cOO( "'K-ZEN01-BK

Gladiator 600
£49 inc VAT
From www.scan.co.uk
The Gladiator 600 is popular with
professional system builders, thanks to
its sturdy, praclical design. Its two
built-in fans - a 120mm fan at the front and a 180mm
fan at the lOp - provide good airflow. There are plenty of ventilation holes,
which help with cooling. but they lack dust Ii!ters or 5O\.Ind damping.
Building a PC in the Gladiator 600 is fairly easy, and we had no trouble
routing cables to any point in the case. At the rear, seven expansion slot
plates are held in pl3ce with plastic dips. It's not immediately
obvious how to remove these, and pulling on them in the wrong way can
damage them. There's plenty of room for hard disks, drives and memory
card readers, wi th five intemal3V,in and five 5'Ain bays, all of which use
drive rails for easy mounting. Only the S'.4in bays can be used for extemal
drives, and an extra plastic cage is provided in case you want to add an
accessible 3'hin device. The fascia has headers for 3.5mm headphone and
mic connections, two USB ports and an eSATA port.
Our case had a few unfinished edges, particularly around the rear
blanking plates and inside the hard disk cage. These weren't sharp enough
to cut us, but we received a
couple of scrapes. While the
Gladiator 600 does nothing
special. it's good value at jU5t
under £SO. However, it
doesn't have enough extra
features to make it a
significant improvement over
Akasa's cheaper Zen.
VERDICT 1),i, 't\Jrdy, ell", is •
good budget choice, but the", .... <he"!,",
opl ions of ,imil..- qual.ity
MIOITOwtR lOx lViin drM boys, 5, 5'Aiin 00..
boys, .-IQXZOZ,486mm, 11<&
PAIlT COOl R(· 600· U N1· GP
OETAll.'i www.rooI.rm ...... com
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
£67 inc VAT
From www.scan.co.uk
The Solo is one 01 the best- designed
and sturdiest cases around, it now
costs less than it did when we last
reviewed it (Labs, Shopper 254), It's heavier than most
mid-priced cases, and the tough build and thick sides do an excellent job
01 insulating noise. You can mount your hard disks using either rubber
grommets and long 5CreWS or cleverly designed elastic stop
the disks making contact with the metal case and eliminate noise Irom
vibratioo.lt's not a good idea to move the C3se with the drives in place if
you're using this mounting method, though.
The Iront panel is to remove. Behind it. you C3n the lour
3'hin internal bays via a hinged grille, which has a removable dust lilter
and can also be used as a mounting point lor additional case fans. There
are no external 3'hin drivt' bays, but one of the four S'Ain bays comes with
a 3\1oin adaptor litted, so you can instaH a memory card reader or Iloppy
drive easily. There are two USB ports, microphone and headphone
connections and a FireWire port, but no eSATA connECtion.
A 120mm fan is mounted at the rear of the case. This has three speed
settings, the slowest 01 which is inaudible but stiU shifts a decent amount
01 air. It's worth fitting
additiooallaos if you plan to
use hot components such as
powerlul processors and
graphics cards, though.
The Solo is a quiet and
beautifuHy constructed case
that's easy to build. It wins
our Best Buy award.
Nine Hundred
£83 inc VAT
VERDlCTQul.t, $'Iurdy and . .. y to build,
,he Solo is one of our .II-tim. f • ....,.,..; .. PC
1'1101 l'hln dtM 5'';;;n dtM
PAAT COOE 0761345-08500-7
From www.digital-fusion.co.uk
We liked Ant!"C's original Nine Hundred case
when we reviewed it in 2007. It's still on sale, but Antec
has also released a sequel: the Nine Hundred Two. Like its predecessor, it
10Hows all the design standards lor gaming cases, with a clear Perspex side
panel and an industrial-looking front d!"Corated with hexagonal mesh.
Antec has made a lew notable improvements. The case is heavier and
more sturdy, it has more dust lilters, and external controls aHow you to
adjust the speed 01 the built-in lans and turn their lights oil.
The build quality inside is outst.Jnding, with no unfinished edges on its
enamel interior. As well as a 200mm Ian at the top, it has three 120mm
fans and two more mounting points. There's less room to work in the case
than we'd like, particularly when tidying cables, installing the motherboard
and litting larger CPU coolers. Loog graphics cards can also be a tight fit -
it's worth connecting their power cables before slotting them into place.
Despite its slightly cramped interior, we were impressed by the Nine
Hundred Two's high-quality coostruction. With loads of fans and no
vibration or sound damping
to speak of, it 's a little noisy
but provides great airflow to
cool a powerlul system.
However, its brutish looks
and minimal sound damping
make Fractal Design's
outstanding Define R2 our
preferred choice.
VERDlCTThe Nin. Hundre<JTwo i,_11
built and provklu .. c<llen, cooling, but
noi.., c,," be • problem
MIDl TOWER 6. l 'hin drift i>ays.l. 51,O;n driY<
49lxl18 •• 12mm,
PART (OOE 076134S-<laOlO· 1
El ement S
£77 inc VAT
From www.mi comonline.co.uk
The Element $ looks snazzy, with a
matt metal and plastic shell, and a
bright -red edge roond the door on the front
Behind the door are nine drive bay blanking plates, which
include sound insulation and dust filters. The power and reset buttons and
the usoal US8, e$ATA and audio ports are on a panel on top of the case.
The rear and si des of the case were prone to flexing. The matt-black
inside edges weren't as well finished as those of Aot!"C's similarly priced
Nine Hundred Two, but none was enough to do us any damage.
The power supply is mounted in a separate bay under the
motherboard. The top of the bay, "'Ihich also bears mounting points for
two 2'hin laptop drives, must be removed before you can insert your PSU.
Unfortunately, the PSU enclosure requires some careful cable routing, so
not all your cables will n!"Cessarily reach across the length of your case.
The main bay is generously proportioned, with plenty of room lor even
large components. The rear blanking plates can't be reattached once
removed, so there's nothing to protect your system from dust if you
removt' components later. There are plenty of fans and mounting points,
including 230mm lans in the top and side panels, but we'd have liked to
see more dust filters.
The Element S is a bit
noisy, but it looks good and
has decent airllow. However,
we weren't impressed by its
cable-shortening PSU mount
and flimsy
especially as Fractal Design's
Define R2 costs just £B more.
vtRDlCTThe EI ....... nt I, spadau. and loot.
good, bul rrs flimsy build unusual c.>bl.
rout ing requlrem.nt$ failed to Impre .. u,
I'IIOITOWEIt 1, l'lilndtM b.lys. )' 5\1.lndriY<
\>;I)'>. S411x231lxSOSmm. S.1'kg
P ... RTCOOf VK60001WlZ
D£T.oJl5 http://olornonts-th<nmltokuom
Define R2
£85 inc VAT
From www.quiet pc.com
The Define R2 is a low-noise case
that looks great. both inside and out.
Its understated styling is miles away
from the garish design 01 many similarly priced premium
cases. A door on the froot panel opens to reveal two external drivt' bays
- a S'Ain bay and an interchangeable 5\<\in IX 3'hin bay. The door is
covered in sound-insulating foam, and two more doors below the bays
open to reveal two dust filters in front of the internal3'hin bays. There's a
120mm fan behind one, and space for another Ian behind the other.
Inside, the white drive bafi and lans cootrast with the smooth black
interior. There's a 120mm fan at the back and lots of fan-mounting points.
Most 01 the unused mounts are blocked by removable bitumen sound-
damping p<!oels, but the bottom mount has only a dust filter.
Another sound-damping panel covers one side of the case. There are a
whopping eight interoal3'hin bafi, each of which has vibratioo-
damping mountings. Evt'n the PSU bay has anti -vibration pads.
Building a system in the spacious case was a pleasure. Even our longest
graphics card had plenty of room. Rubber grommets on the baCkplane let
us thread cables through so
as to maintain airflow, while
a hole at the back provides
room for large heatsinks with
bolt-on backplate fittings.
VERDlCTTho: Defi ne R2 1, spadous,
'O<Jnd'prool and nunning - ii', 'Imply one
of Ihe fi nest ""es we've .,.." ..,en
MlDl TOWER S. lVi in driY< l>oys. 2x 51,Oin
boy<. +4O><207>5.21mm,
PAIIT (00{ FD·c ... · DEF· R2· Bt
The Define R2 is simply
one of the best cases we've
ever It wins our

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CM 690 II
£90 inc VAT
From www.overclockers.co.uk
The CM 690 II Advance<! midi-tower case
is reasonably price<! and very weU made. From the front it
looks other Cooler Master cases, but it's the details that impressed us.
Its rubber feet look like caterpillar tracks and help it stable and reduce
vibration. On top of the C<lse, ilS well as power and reset buttons, t wo USB
portS. an eSATA port, 3.5mm headphone and mic poltS, there's a shallow
recess that lets you wnnect a SATA drive without having to open the case.
The case comes with fans and has mounting points for more. All
the intake fan mounts have dust filters, but the exhaust mounting points
just have a wide hexagonal mesh, which won't provide much protection
against fluff if you don't mount a fan there.
This isn't the quietest case around, but thanks to hard disk mountings
that reduce vibrations and pads around the PSU, it's not as lood as yoo'd
expect. It has room tor four extemal S'Ain drives and six intemal 3'hin
drives. The 5'Ain bays have built-in locking drive rails, while each 3Yzin
drive sits in a tray that slides into its cage suppolted by rubber-coated
screws. An adaptor lets yoo mount ZYzin and l.8in drives. There's masses
of space for the motherboard
and components, and even a
cut -out in the motherboard
tray for large bolt -on coolers.
The CM 690 II
is a great case, but Fractal
Design's Define R2 is
cheaper, better looking and
has more sound damping.
VERDlCTThI. I. _n made and ... y 10
build, wim plenty of lUlU""', bul ft'. >KIt
qull e the be<lin II. pri« calei<")l
ICllTOWEIt 6>< 3Y>1I1 do .... boyo, 4x Sill"
b;lys. 214xSl1xS28mm, 9.f>k&

D£T .... lJi www.oooIo""'<I".""'"
Grandia GD03
£144 inc VAT
From www.scan.cO-uk
Silverstone's Grandia GD03 is a home·theatre PC (HTPC) that doesn't
compromise on space. Its build quality is ootstanding. We loved its
brushed· metal finish, and it has enough room for a full ATX motherboard.
There's plenty of space for additional components, with seven blanking
plates at the back - enough for a graphics card, TV tuner, sound card and
anything else yoo might need. We had no trouble fitting a long dooble-
height graphics card, whic:h is handy if you want to use your HTPC for
gaming. and there's enough room for all but the largest processor coolers.
The case isn't designed for optimill cooling. however, as it comes with just
two BOmm fans, and mounting points for three more. This means it can
get rather warm and is best suited to lower-energy components. Dust
filters protect most of the unused fan -moonting points. and the
thick-sided case helps to prevent sound leilkilge.
The GD03 doesn't scrimp on storage potential with two external 5'Ain
bays, five internal3'hin bays and an extemal one. Removable drive caddies
let you hotplug two more 3'hin SATA drives. These are hidden behind a
metal flap at the front. along with the reset button, two USB poltS, a pair
of 3.5mm stereo poltS and a FireWire port.
The GD03 is beautifully
made and reasonably priced.
There's plenty of room, and
building a system in it is easy.
It gets a little warm inside
and isn't perfectly quiet, but
this is nonetheless a good
choice if you're building a
home enteltainment PC
VERDlCTTho Gr...-.di. GD03 HTPC "' ..
l.cks the andwhi"I •• of .om. riv.l<
HTPC 8x lY>in _ b;lys. 2x SWoin boy>.
182, . 25x06mm. 1.9102
Silentium T1
£101 inc VAT
Fro m www.quiet pc.com

The Silentium T1 Eco 80 is designed
to be both quiet and eco-friendly. To this end, it's
the only case here that comes with a built·in power supply - Arctic
Cooling's Fusion 550 Silentium Edition.
The case is compact and reilsonilbly attractive. A cover on the front
panel swings open to provide access to four extemal drive bays - two
3'hin and two S'Ain bays. The front panel houses reset and power buttons,
while two USB POlts and a pair of3.5mm stereo portS are place<! along the
bottom left-hand side. At this price, we'd h3ve liked to see an eSATA polt.
Inside, you'll find an array of sound-dampening components, heat
dissipaters and cooling hoods, as weU as a set of drive rails. The main
sound-dampening feature is a hard bay made of dense foam. This
eliminates vibration, but it intrudes far enough into the case to
fitting a large graphics C<lrd awt;ward. There's no damping on the other
bays, and the case is crampe<:l too shaUow for the largest CPU coolers.
Our Silentium system wasn't as quiet as we'd expected, but it didn't
make that much noise, largely because it has only two 80mm system fans.
It's also cramped, awkward to
build and feels roughly built
and poorly finished inside. If
yoo really want a quiet case,
Antec's Solo and Fractal
Design's Define R2 have
plenty of anti -vibration
mountings without the
cramped design.
MonCaso 972
£329 inc VAT
Fro m www.quietpc.com
VERDICT Arctic CooUng'. allompllo ... due.
both noi ... i.n'l
gr.at ,uce." on . ll h ... fronl
I'IIOITOWER S. l'hlr> dI1 .... boy<. 2x 511 111 do1....
b ...... SSOW!'SU, 43S>:2)Ox4Sti<rrn, 112.&
You'd be justified in expecting a lot from a case that costs f329.
Moneaul"s MonCaso 972 HTP{ chassis is as polished and feature packed
as it is expensive. It has a built -in 7in 1,024x768 lCD touchscreen, which
yoo can connect to a spare VGA output on your graphics card and use to
browse your me<!ia without turning on your TV or projector. It's perfect
for listening to music. The built-in memory card reader can handle most
formats except and the case comes with a Media Center remote.
We were less impressed by the internal layout. Although the
illuminium case has plenty of room for a full ATX motherboard ilnd any
components except the very tallest CPU coolers, the case was duttered
with cables, not only from our PSU but also from extra buttons and the
screen at the front.
The case comes with two 80mm filns at the back and space for two
more just behind its twin 3'hin drive cages. Despite the lack of substantial
cooling. it doesn't get too warm. It was a tad noisy, as there's no sound
insulation, although there are plenty of dust filters. It also has enough
room for four internal3Yzin drives and one external S'Ain.
Moneaul's MonCaso 972 is a large, well-made and feature-packed
HTPC case, but it's very
expensive and its key feature
- the 7in screen - won't be
of much use to most. no
matter how impressive it
looks. We prefer SilverStone's
Grandia GD03, whic:h is
much cheaper and felt less
cluttered during assembly.
VD.OICT The MonC. ,o 972 .... . very ext,.
imaginable, bulan the ... extra • .-.due.
. nd c .... t. int.mal dutt..-
HTPC4< lY> in _ boo)". 1< SWoin_ boyI.

Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com

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Labs verdict Cases
Most of the cases we looked at are standard
midi-towers with lots of room for hard disks
and expansion cards. Among the best was
Antec's Three Hundred, a budget case aimed
at gamers who want plenty of space for
upgrades. Our Budget Buy,Akasa's Zen, also
has two fans and is slightly cheaper, but both
make it easy to build your PC.They lack
extras such as drive rails, but this is a minor
as most people are unlikely
to swap drives regularly.
Both cast's are well made, but neither can
rival the beautifully constructed Ant e< Solo,
which has extra features, including
vibration-sapping hard disk mounts and
thick side panels that minimist' noist'. It's
one of the highest-quaLity cases we've ever
seen, an-d one of the easiest in which to build
a system. It's reasonably priced and a great
choice if you want a quiet system. It wins
our Buy award.
Finally, our Ultimate award to
Fractal Design's Define R2.1I looks stunning
and is incredibly easy to build. We were
impressed by its vibration-damping mounts
and its bitumen sound damping, sections of
which can be re moved if you want to create
more airflow for a high-power system. It's
si mply outstan-ding.
If you're building an HTPC, we prefer the
si mple style of Grandia GD03
to Moneual's expensive MonCaso 972:.GJ
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
£39 in<: VAT
From www.scan.co.uk
Corsair's eX400W 400W
power supply unit (PSU) is
an entry-level PC that will only b.e used for
basic t,ds.lt 's lant<lstic value at just £39
including V AT.
The cables are built into the unit (captive)
rather than detachable (modular), so you'll
need to tuck any spares out of the way. It has
plenty of connectors lor "II the devices you'U
want to power, including the new eight- pin
PCI -Express graphics connector.
By today's standards, 400W isn't much
power. but the CX400W handles it with style.
It managed to deliver the full400W and was
just under 84 per cent efticien! at fuU load. This
is slightly lesl efficient Ihan the higher-power
P$Us but better than a generic unbranded
power supply. The 13Smm I.n keeps it cool
but is a little noisy. This no-Irills PSU is a great
choice for low-power pes, but OCZ's slightly
pricier ModXStream Pro SOOW is better.
400WPOWHI SUPPlY h HS<nm bottom ton, h 12V .. il
CONNECTORS 20124-pin mothtfboard. Ix 4i>in CPU. 1x
8 op"' CPU, 1, PCI· [. 6, floppy, 6, SATA
DETAIlS _,c"",,;',<om
VlRDlCTT"" fan', nOi,)" but if y"" wanta
powe' wpply Ia.- .n entry·te",,1 pc, the
CX400W in good choice
Eco-Friendly Power
£63 inc VAT
From www.advancetec.
Akasa's Eco-friendly Power 600W
is relatively cheap. but it has captive rather
than modular cables.
It has two 12V rails. each rate<:! at 30A. but
they can supply only 41.6A in total, which is a
little low. One 12v rail supplies the
motherboard and half of the ATX12V
connector, while the second rail powers the
other half and the PCI -E connectors. Tl>ere are
six Molex and six SATA power connectors.
We saw no major problems in our tests.
except for a wobbly moment when the second
l2V rail dropped to 11.48V, This is still a pass,
though, and the Power 600W was 88 per cent
eHicient at 50 per cent load.
The fan was quiet, but there was an
unpleasant smell during oor tests. SilverPower's
SP-SS650 provides SOW more for less money,
it the better choice.
600WPOWHI SUPPlY h l<Omm t>otlom t. ,\ 2, IN
,.il, CONNECTORS 2OJZ4-pin mott..rt>oord. h 4-pin
CPU, h a · pin CPU. Z, 6.Z· pil\ Z, 6·p", I'(I· E. 6, Mol ...
blloppy. 6> SArA
DETAIlli _ .• k.,..co.""
VUlDICT A stable pow<:' but If . let do- by
1'--< c.pll"" cable< _ and an unple><"nt
From www.tekheads.co.uk
Despite its low price,
OC2's ModXStream Pro
SOOW power supply has
modular cables and
provides plenty of connectors
for your components.
It perfooned brilliantly in our tests.
outputting stable voltages on both of its 12V
rails (see 'How we test' on page 91), These can
output 18A each for a total of 36A, so the unit
can distribute a total of 432W over these rails,
This PSU's efficiency averaged oot at 85 per
cent. which isn't bad, althoogh higher-rated
supplies are even more efficient. A large, quiet
fan keeps the PSU cool. making it ideal for a
media centre or desktop pc. With its low price,
three-year warranty and modular cables. it
wins our Budget Buy award.
",ii>, modulo, ClIb/e, CONNECTORS
mott..rt>oord. 1x 4-pinCPU, h B-1' in CPU, 1x 6+Zi>in. 1x
6 ·pin •• , Mole • • Z, floppy, 6, SArA
DETAIlS _,oatodvloiO(j',com
VERDICT Thi' qui.l. scow pow<:r .upply i,
e"eUent .. lue .nd &",.1 d>oice Ia.- .nyone wll h
"""'IO!' PC tNt n .. dn n ....... pow ... wpply
A-135 APS-650C
£74 inc VAT
From www.ebuyer.com
Chieftec's APS--6SOC is
rated at 6SOW and has
modular cables, which is a
definite plus point in our books.
There are two 12V rails. each rate<:! to supply
2SA. with a total combined ootput of 46A
On closer inspection we found that each
rail one of two rows of modular cables
at the rear of the power supply. We
recommend spreading the load by connecting
a PCI-E modular cable to one row and the disk
drive modular cables to the other row.
Stability was fine, but its efficiency of84
per cent at full load was average. and a far cry
from the Seasonic X-650's 90 per cent. What's
more. it was only 80 per cent efficient at SO
per cent load. This means it draws around 30W
more than a PSU that's 90 per cent efficient.
If you can live with captive cables,
Silve,Power's 6S0W SP-S5650 costs £13 less
and is more efficient. If you can't, Antec's
TP-650 costs only a few pounds more.
65OWPOWEJISIJPPlY h bottomlon. Z,
,.il>, moo.lar cob!., CONNECTORS Z4-p"' mott..rt>oord.
h • . pinCPll. h8-1' inCPU, 1, Ix 6· pin 1'(1· [.4,
MoI« , h flO!'PY. 6, SATA
PART CQOl; .o.1'S-65OC
DETAIlS www.c .... fte<: .com
VERDICT A , I.ble. modul...-powe' wpply, but it', leI
down by poor efficiency
£61 inc VAT
From www.advancetec.
SilverPower is PSU manufacturer
Tagan's budget brand, and its power supplies
usually have captive rather than modular
cables. The SP-SS650 is no
Curiously. it claims to have four 12V rails.
each rated at l8A, with a combined output
of 52A We were only able to locate two rails
on tl>e circuit board, These are configured so
that one powers the processor and disk drives
while the other supplies the motherboard and
PCI-E power cables.
All the rails output a stable voltage at SO
per cent load, with a commendable 86 per cent
efficiency. The SP-S565 almost managed to
maintain this at 100 per cent load.
While it's not outstanding. the SP-S56S0
was stable in our tests and has a fairly quiet
120mm Ian. It doesn't waste much electricity
and, best of it costs just £61, which is great
if you need a 650W PSU on a budget.
650W POWER SUPPlY 1, l<!Omm bottom lon, .X 1ZV
r. il> CONNECTOIIS 201l4i>'" mothtrtrDard. Ix 4i>'"
CPli. hBopinCPU, 1, 1. 6· pin 1'(1· [. 1. Mol .. ,
1x floppy. 6> SAlA
OIT ..... S www''''rIOP'' im.co.u k
VERDICT It. doesn't h....., modub, C-IIbles.o...t til .. i,
groat·val"" 650W pow<:rwpj>ly
Evo Blue W0307
£76 inc VAT
From www.ginger6,co.uk
The Evo 81ue looks
striking. thanks to its
side air and
140mm blue LED fan. It
has modular cables as yoo'd
expect at this price, but they're a bit
short for a large tower case. Even in a
smaller case, the short cables will make it
tricky to roote them neatly.
The single 12V rail is rated at 48A. which
makes it one of the more potent we've seen.
There are two 6+2-pin and one 6-pin PCl -E
connectors. so this PSU will power a high-end
graphics card. Four SAT A and six Molex power
connectors should be enoogh for most PCs.
The Evo passed al! our stability tests and
was 84 per cent efficient at both half and
ful! load. Unfortunately, it became quite
lood at 50 per cent load. At ful! load, it was
downright nOiSy.
While it's a stable PSU, the short cables and
noise mean it 's unpleasant to live with.
650W POWERS\JPPlY Ix l40mm bottom ton, Ix .. i1.
modular GOble, CONNECTORS 2OJ24-pin mot"rto.rd,
I, • • pirr CPU. h a op", 6. 1, 6· p", PCI· E, 6,
Mol ... 1x floppy, 4. SATA
OETAI.li www.t"rmoltak • . oom
VERDICT Short C-IIble, and. noi.y I.n let down Ihi.
ot"""",I ... good pow .... upj>ly
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
TruePower New

E77 inc VAT 'lL'
From www.scan.co.uk
Anle<:'s modular 650W
New TI'-650
power supply provides
the lull range of connectors.
i ncluding two 6+2-pin and
two G-pin PCI -E connectors for two
powerful graphics It has lour 12V ,ij;ls,
with a combine<! ootpot of 54A. One rail
powers the motherboard and disk drives,
another Sllpplies the processor. and the other
two power the four PCI -E power conne<:tors.
Performance was excellent, with stable
voltages across all rails. Efficiency was also
impressive at 87 per cent at 50 per cent load
and 86 per cent at full load.
Thanks to an incredibly quiet 120mm fan
(at SO per cent load) and modular cables. the
TP-650 is a quality power supply that's ideal
for a powertul Pc.
6SOW PQWERSUPI'lY 1, bottom 1"',4, 12V
rd >, mod.u' Gl Ol.. CONNECTORS Z0124-pio
1, . _pin CPU, 1, • .i!>: 6+2-pin. l'
6-pin P(l.E. 9>: Mol .. , 1, Hopp)'. 9>:
DlTAlLS www-'lnt«.<om
VERDlCTThe TP-650 .. st.oble. effident , moduLor.
quiet I nd grel l valu. - .... rything I PSU "'ould be
M12D 850W
£128 inc VAT
From www.cclonl ine.com
is one of the largest
power supply manufacturers in the world
and makes PSUs fO<" other companies. such as
Corsair and Antec, as well as selling them under
its own brand name.
The 850W M1ZD has modular ubles,
which is sensible as it comes with a lot 01
connectO<"s.lt has four 6+Z-pin PCI -E
connectors. eight SATA and eight Molex plugs.
The lZV supply is split over two 40A rails.
with a combine<! maximum of 70A.ln our test5
the M1ZD was rod solid and blissfully quiet_
Efliciency was also a highl ight - it was 87
cent effiCient at half load and 86 cent
efficient at lull load.
II you need power supply that provKJes
more than SOOW, you're spoilt fO<" choice. but
the Seasonic M12D is leagues ahead of its
competitors. It may be a tad expensive, but it's
still great value lor those with top-end PCs
stuffed full 01 high-end components.
850W POWER Sumy 1x 120mm bot!om 1 ..... 2:< 12"
r.oits, modulorabl .. CONNECTORS
motl>ftbo. rd, 1x . -pOn CPU. Ix 6-pinCPU •• , 6,21'in
PCI-E,8x Mot ... 2, floppy, 8x
PART COOE 101 120·eSOW
DETAILS WWW ... I . Ot\k.Com
VERDICT It'. « pen.iw, bullhi. p<I'I'I'<r ouppiy
has all the connector> you'U nee<J, and il". dfid ent
and q<Jlel . l oo
Li berty ECO 620W
£106 inc VAT
From www.pixmania.
The Liberty ECO 6Z0W is a
capable PSU with modular
cables, has lots of connectors for
a huge range of devices, including lour 6+Z-pin
PCI -E connectors for multiple graphics ca,ds.
It has two lZV rails ra ted at up to 30A.
although combined they provide only 48A. or
S76W. As we've come to expect from Enermax
supplies, performance was very stable. The
liberty manilged86 per cent effiCiency at SO
cent load and SS per cent at full load.
Unlike other Enermax power supplies, the
Liberty ECO 6Z0W doesn't have post-
shutdown cooling to keep the Ian spinning
after your PC has been tumed off to cool the
electronics mO<"e quidly. What's more. the
lZ0mm is a lillie louder than we like.
The liberty ECO 620W is reliable and well
specified, but its loud fan means that we prefer
Antec"s cheaper TP-6SO.
6Zf1W POWER SUPPlY Ix lZOmm bottomfon. l ' UV
modulo.- u bi .. CONNECTORS 2012.-pin
mothett>oord, h._pin CPlI. Ix 8· pin CPll. 4,
f>(1-E. S, 101'*,- b floppy. 8, SATA PART COl){
ELT6 2O.1.WT-EOO DETAILS _ ...... ,"'"-'-«I,u.
VERDICT A good all-ro«nd , upply, but .imbrly prico<l
a<>d rato<l modelu", quiet er "'"
marginaUy bo,lIor chok ••
Everest Pro 1200W
£173 inc VAT
FSP's monstrous Everest
Pro can deliver more
power than you' re
likely to need. Most 01 its 1.2kW
01 power is produced by Six 12V rails.
each rated at up to ZOA. These have a
combined maximum ol90A.
The Everest Pro is kept very cool by a quiet
1Z0mm fan that doesn't even spin up until the
power supply reaches SO per cent load, which
is 6OOW. Other highlight5 indude three
6+2-pin PCl -E and three 6-pin PCI-E
connectors and a full set 01 modular cables.
It proved more than a match fO<" the
Chroma load tester (see 'How we test" on page
91). Its rails remained within the ATX limits
and it was very eflicient It was 90 cent
efficient at hall load and 88 per cent at lull
load. Enerma>:'s Revolution 85+ may have
more cables and post-shutdown but
it isn't worth the extra f:40.
1.200W POWERSUmy BSmmbot!om 12\1
modulo< eobleo CONNECTORS 2Oa.· pin
rnoth<rt>oord. 1x ._pin CPlI. 2, 8-pin (f>U. 3, 6, 2. pi ... 3,
6i>in Pel-E. ], Mol .. , 1x floppy. 10, SATA PAIO"COl){
tv. .. " I'ro I200W OUAILS Yoww.!>pgroop.<Q.tW
VERDICTThe e ... ..,.t Pro i. an ow.",,,,,, power
oupply l hat hYge amounu of p<I'I'I'<f, ,,.,t i.
incredibly qu .. t. 11". elf"i .nt. t oo, and not
exorbitantly ...,.,nolve
£117 inc VAT
From www.scan.co.uk
As well as its own-brand power
supplies, Seasonic makes PSUs lor other
manufacturers, such as Antec. The X-650 is
quite expensive to<" a 6S0W power supply at
almost £120.
Its single 1ZV rail is rate-d at S4A and should
be enough for an overclocked PC full of drives
and even a pair of powerful graphiC$ cards,
thanl:s to lour 6+2-pin PCl -E connectors. It has
eight SATA and eight Molexconnectors.
There were no stability problems in our
voltage test5. The X50 achieved S9 cent
efficiency at SO per cent load and 90 per cent
at full load. It was so cool when running that
the 120mm Ian only started spinning aft er a
few minutes at 100 per cent load.
If you use your PC all day. every day. the
X-650's excellent elticiency could make it
worth the extra cost over other 650W supplies.
but Seasonic' s M12D costs only f 11 more and
delivers SOOW.
6SOWPOWEllSUPPlY 1<120""" bottom f . ... 1<UV <lIiL
modu lo, u bi .. CONNECTORS 20124--pin ma_boord.
1< "'pin CPU, 1, 8' pOn CPu, . , 6+' · pin PO· E. a, Mot .. , 1><
floppy, Il>< PART CODl 6S(lKM
OET .... LS www .... <Onic.com
VERDICT It mighl h .... . xcoU.." . ff icioncy, bul
high prke mU n. it wiu toke • long t i"", to
..coup the co"
Revoluti on85+
£213 Inc VAT
From www.advancetec.
Despite the eye-watering price, the 85+
1,OsQW is a mid-range model in Enermax"s
Revolution line. Most of the power is
by six 12V rails. each rated at a huge 30A. with
a combined maximum of 87A.
The modular cables provide an almost
ludicrous number of power connectors: eight
6+Z-pin PCl -E, two S-pin EPS12V motherboard
connectof5. 16 SATA plugs and six Molex. A
13smm fan keeps the Revolution ice cool and
continues to work after shut down.
The 85+ passed every one of our tests with
ease is highly efficient. too. at 89 per cent
at both half and full load.
II you want the very best power supply
around, this is it. However, it's overkill for most
as most PCs won't require this much
power 0<" half the connectors.
I.OSOW POWERsumv IX 13Smm bot!om I ..... 6, 12V
,.ils. modular ubt •• CONNECTORS l.-pin mothett>oord.
1x 41'in CPU, 2, 8-pOn CPU. S. S, l -pOn PeI-t S. Mol ... 1x
fl opp)', 16, SATA
OETAILS www ......... I • .co."k
VERDICT An outstanding pow.f .upply Ihal '.
elfie"nt and ha. more connector> than you'", (ikely
10 .... 0<1. but II', 100 e 'pen.lve fOf moot people
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
_I CX,"OOW ModX5trtlam 51'-SS650

.0.·135 Evo BIuo
_ . WOlO?'
Truel'owe, Liberty X-6SO E .... 'e., Pro Re""MI",,8S*
_ TF>-6SO ECO 620W
1200W 1.0SOW
.. (WxDoH) 150>:''''''' 150><160>:
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pfc _ """"
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I Perfonnance
Labs verdict Power supplies
Se"ooie m w
E .. ,IUX \,I5IW
StHDllli e' 5IW
, .. ...
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c.n ••
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--- - - - - -----
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Efficiency at lOa per cent
-- - - ------- ..
- - -- --- - - 85

When buying a po_r supply,
it seems you have to .,ay more
for greater reliability and
efficiency, Ho_ver, paying
more also means you get a
higher power output and more
power connectors. Whether
you nee<l these wi ll depend
on the demands of the hard
disu, drives and components
in your computer, and any
future upgrades you may be
planning to make.
For a typical modem PC, a
SOOW power supply should
suffice. This will allow you to
install a fairly power·hungry
graphics card and a couple of
hard disks in addition to the
standard PC comfJOnents. For
£52, OCZ's ModX5tream Pro
SOOW is a great choice, thanu
to its modular cabling. It wins a
Budget Buy award.
If you want more power and
slightly bett er efficiency, Antec's
TP-650 is a good choice; it costs
an e)(\ra £25 and provides 6SOW.
It comes with plenty of power
connectors, ioduding enough
for two high-powered graphics
cards, and it's also very quiet . It
wins a Best Buy award.
Those with even higher
aspiratioOlS and plenty of cash
will appreciate the sheer power
of F5P's Everest Pro 1200W, It 's
incredibly quiet and efficient,
with a huge array of connectors.
but will set you back £173. It
wins an Ultimat e award,GJ
Pro 50 OW
New TP·-S50
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Go Anywhere Stylishly with FSP Netbook Adapter
• Uniy .... 1 DC ""'lit l00·240V
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Intel's introduction of I new
line of mobile proceSIOf'S Is.
big event, $0 w,,'ve lathered II
selection of budget laptops
band on the new entry-level
Core 13 chip to see how they
perform. For comparison,
.lso tested I more
expensive Core is model lind
one thlt has anAMD chip.
By setting I budget of
between £500 ami £700,
we wllnted to set how
manufacturers would fit Intel's
new budget chip into an
entry-leveillplOp. Would they
be abte to hit the HOG ma",
without cuttinc too m .. y
comen? Or would uk"
adYanugt! of the c.hip's
PflXeuinl pow« to ueate the
desktop .eIMcement t
We were surprised by the
high quality of t his month's
entries, but there Wfl"1! some
clear winners. Rn d on to find
out which Is the best budget
laptop for your
Barry de la Rasa
Laptops and
handhelds expert
Choosing a ...
Budget laptop
housing a laptop in the £5OO-to- £7oo price
range usuaUy involves making SOlT1e signilicant
compromises. As such. it's more important than
ever to woO; out which taslG you want it to perform.
and look for a computer that meets your HHe
we'U explain what to look lor and how to find your
perfect specir.ution
The laptops in this month' s lab5 come with either
15.6in fJl The silO! you choose wil
depend on what you want to Go with yoor computer.
laptops with 17.3in soeem are considerably larger than
the lS.6in models and can weigh more than 3kg. so
they're not ideal if you want a laptop that you can
carry around easdy. They're a great if you're
looking for a laptop to use around the house inst ead 01
a de5k;top PC. though. The large screen size typically
ml!aM there's more room inside lor a better keyboard
too. These laptops will usually have higher screen
resolutions 01 l ,600x900, which give you plenty 01
des ktop space IfJl working on documents.
A 15.6in laptop is generally a good compromi se
between size and portability. At around 2.Skg. they're
still not computers thitt you'd want to carry
but they're enough to put in a bag to
carry aroond occasionaUy Of simply transport to a
friend's house. These computers have lower screen
resollJtions of 1,366x768, although this is st iU enough
desktop space to work on documents comfortably.
Battery lile is important, but just how important
depends on how yw want to use ywr computer. II
yw're after a large 173in laptop, yw should eJq>ed:
two-and-a-hall hours or more of battery life. Thi!; will.
give you the flexibility to use your computer around
ywr house or even in the gard8l11 you're after a
15.6in laptop and want to carry it around occasionally.
look lor longer battery tife so that you won't kaye to
find wmewhere to recharge it so often.
Our bendv"nillrk results on page 107 show how long
laptop lasted in our light-use t est. which simulates
reading a web page. However, bear in mind that il you
perform more int ensive tasks. such as editing video, the
battery life wiU rapidly de<:rea!Oe.
Pay particular attention to the quality 01 a laptop's
display, as you can't replace or upgrade it later. Our
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
tell you whether
to behold or a complete eyesore. larger laptop
displays tend to higher resolutions. which
make it easier to WOf1,; with larger documents
and use multiple windows at the same time.
Most of the displays on our test laptops have
a glossy finish that enhances brightness and
contrast, making them ideal for watching video.
The gloS5y coating reflects a lot more light than
a matt finish, though, from
lights in offices, which can make the screen
harder to see property. with a matt
don't soffer from glare, but they make colours
look vibrant. Matt are increasingly
difficult to find - none of the laptops in this
month's one.
laptop on the marlo; et can handle basic
desktop tasks, but the introduction of Intel's
Core i3 and i5 mobile processors means that
budget laptops can now compete with desktop
computers for performance. If you're looking for
decent Windows pertormance, there's no reason
to buy a laptop with anything other than one of
these new processors. The box on page 106 tells
you all about these new and how they
work. Of course, Windows performance isn't
everything. If you want to play on your
new laptop, you'll need to choose a model that
has a dedicated chip,
As well as the graphic; chip and proceS5Of,
the amount of memory in each laptop has a
huge impact on pertormance. More memory
enables you to run more applications at once
and manipulate complicated data faster. Today
we'd expect a minimum of 4GB of RAM in a
laptop, although to use this amount or more,
you'U need a 64-bit version of Windows; the
32-bit can access only around 3.5GB.
Our benchmari: resolts on page 107 show
how each laptop performs in both Windows
and games, so you can find the model that
most dosely matches your requirements.
A powerful "'ptop is of little use if its keyboard
and touchpad are below standard or badly
designed. Keyboards should feel responsive and
provide plenty of feedback so that typing is
accurate and comfortable.
Some laptop keyboards have a few half -size
keys and "'youts that differ from those of
desktop models. Others provide numeric keyp<tds
for quick data entry in applications such as
spreadsheets, although these can also have
half-size keys and layouts that deviate from
the de5ktop standard, Our reviews describe
each keyboard and tell you how easy it is to
adapt to any "'yout
Touchpads should be large and accurate, with
buttom that provide plenty of feedwck
This month
Aspire 5740-332G25Mn
Aspire 774D-334G5DMn
Inspiron 1764
when pressed. Some a150 recognise
multitouch gestures, soch as pinching your
fingers to lOom in to images, but these can be
tricky to perform on a small pad, and not aU
applications sopport them.
The bigger a laptop's hard di sk, the more files
and programs you can carry around without
having to use extemal disks , In general, the more
expensive the laptop, the more storage we'd
expect, although we'd hope to see a 500GB hard
disk in a laptop within the budget we've set this
month, We recommend at least two USB ports
for adding storage, but an eSATA port is useful
for connecting an even faster external disk.
Most laptops support the newest 802.11n
wireleS5 standard as well as Gigabit Ethernet
wired networking. Some have slower networlo;ing
<tdaptors, but the slower are unlikely to
make a difference for internet access and light
network use. Integrated 3G wireless broadband
modems are rare at this price, although you can
easily add a USB device later.
Apart from some budget
model5, most laptops have ExpreS5Card slots, so
you can add peripherals as a TV tuner
without using up a USB port. Some laptops have
Expre5SCard/34 imtead of the "'rger
Expre5SCard/S4 slots. so make sure you buy the
correct type of expansion card. @
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Aspire 5740-332G25Mn
**** £490 inc VAT
From www.lapt opsdi rect.co.uk
It may have a budget price, but Acer's Aspire
5740 oontaios brand new technology: an Intel
Core i3-330M processor. While Acer has made
some compromises to pay for this processor,
you won't get a quicker laptop at this pOee.
The 2.13GHz processor and 2GB of RAM
managed an overall score of 74 in our
benchmarks. This is the kind of score we'd
expect from a laptop that cost over £700 a
few months ago. The laptop uses the Core i3's
integrated Intel GMA HD graphic;. They're no
good for games. though, and the 5740 failed
our Call 01 Duty 4 test.
HO video content plays without a stutter
on the Intel graphics chip, but if yoo want to
immerse yourself in your films, you'll nffd to
connect external speakers, as the built-in pair
are weak and lack bass.
with of rivals, which offer twice the
storage. The laptop lacks a fevv other
features too, such as Bluetooth,
Fi,eWi,e and an ExpressCard slot. but
it supports 802.11n wireless.
The S740 uses Acer"S Gemstone design, with
its distinctive textured case and glossy lid. We
were a little worrie<l by the flimsy plastic bezel
round the screen, and it's worth noting that Ace'
offers only a one-year retum-to-base warranty
as standard. A large cut -away section in the wrist
rest forms the toochpad, which is smooth and
responsive. but the large see-saw button is flush
with the case and has little travel.
The numeric keypad next to the keyboard has
foor columns of keys and includes page
navigation keys. The keyboard uses flat-topped
keys with a bit of distance
between them. The layout Thankfully there's an
S/PDIF port, as well as an
HDMI port that outputs
both video and audio to
an AV amplifier.
VlRDICT A de<;ent Core i3 "'plop for.....der
£500. witll brigllt scre<on and good
come .. h....., been cut. Spend bit
"""" and you can got much b<tterlaptop
is standard and the keys
are large enough, but the
action is a little spongy and
provides little fee<lback.
As well as cutting
down on memory, Acer
has induded a 250GB
hard disk, which is
disappointing compared
Intol Core 1]·]3OM.
There are a levv short
cut buttons dotte<l around
the chassis. One disables
the touchpad in case you
want to attach an external
<!G5 MM. 250GB d;,lo:.lntel GMA HD groph>a,
OVO. f·RW .f·OL. 15.6in wide5CJ"n LCD. Z.8k&
PARTCODl' l X.PM9O<.089
**** £500 inc VAT
From www.argos.co.uk
D£TAIU www,oc..-.<o.uk
MSl's CR610 is one of the f!'!W recent laptops
to forgo Inters new Core processors for an
AMD chip, a 2GHz Athlonll X2 M300.
Predictably. thiS laptop didn't do as well as
Core i3-based laptops in oor tests, scoring just
51 overall. The Core i3laptops we·ve have
5Cored around 70,
Even so. the CR610-0l3 can handle
everyday jobs such as image editing.
Performance isn·t everything. and this laptop
makes up for being a bit slow by including a
Btu-ray drive. which is incredible at this price.
The dedicated Ra deon HD 4200 graphics
chip can·t handle games, scoring just 4fps in
our Call of Duty 4 test. but it will decode HO
content from the Blu-ray drive. The 16in
widescreen display has a
powered, so they're not ideal for use when
watching movies. Thankfully. the CR610 has
an HDMI output, so you can connect it
to a larger screen or an AV amplifier.
There's also a 34mm ExpressCard slot
for adding peripherals such as a TV tuner to
turn the CR610 into a capable media centre.
As well as a Blu-ray drive. the CR610
includes some features you might not expect
on a £500 laptop. The 500GB hard disk is
generoos. and the shared eSATAlUSB port is
useful for attaching external storage. It also has
Bluetooth and 802, lin wireless networking.
Ifs quite portable at 2.5kg. but a battery life of
two hours and 40 minutes means you won·t be
able to stray far from a mains socket.
Ifs not the most
a11ractive laptop either, nOp HD resolution of
1.366x768.1t produces a
bright picture, althoogh
we found that it looked
5lightly cold. with slightly
dull reds and flesh tones.
Reflections make the
glossy screen hard to see.
VlRDlCT Whlle theCR610', Blu_ray drn."
moke< it look like .n uciting laopt09, wo·d
prefer • pr""""'" .nd better Klffn
and although the glossy lid
and thin screen bezel
might tum some heads,
the plastic: strip roond the
keyboard panel looks really
cheap, and on our review
sample it was starting to
come away from the case. We found the speakers
a bit tinny and under-
MlOO, 4GB MM. o;ooGe di"", ATI Hobitily
DVD.f·RW .f· Ol
BD-ROM. 16<nwld=JftI\ ll:D, 1,510:&
DETAIU www.m<i.com
Tharlkfully, MSI provides a
Two above the number pad control
volume, while three more on the left toggle
wireless and Bluetooth and launch a backup
program. which is odd. as there's no Bluetooth
support. An additional button can be customised
to run a specific program or internet short cut.
We were impressed by the 15.6in, 1366x768
screen. which is bright and has vibrant colours
and good contrast. We noticed a slight red cast
to whites that adds warmth to images and
enhances flesh tones. It's hard to achieve a
decent vertical viewing angle. however. and the
glossy screen is a nightmare under bright lights.
A Core i31aptop for under £500 may seem to
be a bargain. but Acer has cut some comers. and
ifs worth checking that it has the features you
need. MSl's CR610 may not have the new Core
i3 chip, but for the same price it offers a Btu-ray
drive and a much better warranty. Alternatively,
Dell ·s 1564 has more graphics power and a larger
hard disk but lacks 802.11n support.
two-year collect-and-retum warranty, so any
major faults are covered.
The keyboard has moolded keys. but MSI has
packed in a number pad, and the result looks
cramped. However, the keys have a light action
with a definite bite for feedback. The layoot
isn't standard. with the function key on the
bottom-left corner where the Control key should
be. and although the keys on the left side are
nice and big. there's a hall-height Enter key and
a half-width right Shift key. The large touchpad
is responsive and has two large buttons.
There's no doubt MSI has made
to lit a Blu-ray drive into a £SOO laptop, but if
yoo·re not into intensive image or video editing
and don't need a lot of processing power, the
CR6l0 is a decent entertainment laptop. If you
don't want the Blu-ray drive, Den's 1564 is more
powerful and has much better build quality.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Inspiron 1564
**** £508 inc VAT
From www.dell.co.uk
The rest of the keyboard is fairly standard. [)eU·s new Inspiron line has the same
custom-coloured lids and sleek design as its
forebears, but under the hood yoo·U find one
of Intel's new Core i3 chips with a built-in
graphics processor.
The keys have Ilat tops but enough
spacing between them, and their
action is light with fairly crisp ..............
feedback. The touch pad is large and Vf!:ry
responsrve, with two large buttons that have an
eKt remely light action - so light that there's
hardly any feedback when you press them.
With 4GB of RAM and a 2.13GHz Core
i3-330M processor. the Inspiron 1564 made
light wort. of oor benchmarks. producing an
overall5Core 0174. Until recently. we wouldn't
expect to see a score this high from a laptop
costing 11'55 than £700.
A fast processor is aU very well but what
about the rest of the laptop? The Inspiron
design remains basically the same, with a fairly
minimalist case and sturdy lid hinges that let
you push the lid back almost to a horizootal
position. There are no flashy LED controls or
indicators, which is no bad
Intel's integrated GMA HD graphics chip can
handle HD movies well but it struggles with
games and failed our Ca ll 01 Duty 4 benchman:.
Even with anti -aliasing turned off and the
resolution turned down to 1.024x768. it
managed just 11.5Ips. You may lind that
some older games work.. but new games are
unlikely to run smoothly.
A glossy screen coating on the 15.6in.
1,366x768 wide5Creen
display and tight Vf!:rtical thing. Once again. DeU has
swapped the default
behavioor of the Function
keys - so, lor example, the
F 2 key now toggles
wirele55. and you have to
press the Fn key to get F2.
II you find this coolusing.
you can reverse the
behaviour in the BIOS.
VUlDICT The 1564 is ;mriOcti .... l.ptop
with fa" Core 13 .. or, bul il hau
viewing angles make it
hard to get a good picture.
and we lound the backlight
a little dull Whiles have a
blue cast that makes
images feel cold, and
although colours are
***** £571 inc VAT
r.liIti .... ly omaU hard dislt ond could do with
a l>ell ...
4GB RAM. 34'0GB disk.lnlo! GMA HO g<ooph"" .
DVO. I-RW ·DllS.6in wide"" ........ LCD. 2.$' i
From www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop
reasonably accurate, Ihey
aren't as vibrant as we·Vf!:
We've long admired Samsung·s ability to make The R580 has a lairly comprehensive list 01
attractive laptops. and the RS80 is no ports. including an esATA port (shared with
exception. The glossy black lid has a subtle red USB) and an HDMI output . as well as a
glow. and the edges are softened by gentle 34mm €xpressCard slot lor peripherals
curves. The keyboard panel uses the same red such as a TV tuner. Both Bluetoolh
glow mot if. but with a wavy pinstripe pattem. and 802.11n fast wireless networking are
There's no flex in the keyboard, and little in included. There's no S/POIF audio output or
the lid. The keys are well separaled, wilh flat FireWire port. and the memory card reader only
seen on some rival laptops. The internal speakers
are loud but lack bass. allhoogh sRs technology
helps to wi den the sound stage. Luckily there·s
an HOMI port for digital output . so you can
connect to an AV amplifier or sound system.
The 1564 has most 01 the features you might
expect at thiS price. although we·d expect more
than Ihree USB ports 00 a lSin laptop and a
larger hard disk than the 320GB model. There's
no ExpressCard port. Bluetooth or 802.lln
wireless. so you won·t get the fastest network
speeds. You can specify an optional Bluetooth
card for £30 including VAT when yoo buy Ihe
la ptop. but the wireless card isn·t upgradable.
A smart design and a powerful processor
make this an aUractiVf!: choice at this price. but
the Core i3 performance comes at the expense
of some other components. II you·re on a budget
but need a fast machine for image ()( video
editing. the 1564 is a decent choice.
tops and rounded comers. (Americans refer to supports SO cards and t he older MMC lormat. graphics processor. but Samsung has added a
these as ·chiclet· keys. after a brand of chewing As with most laptop5, if you wanl to watch dedicated Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics card.
gum they resemble.) The action is light. with movies or listen t o music. you're well advised to which scored 16.61ps in our Call of Duty 4
adequate feedback. The number pad squashed att ach the RS80 to an AV amplifier or hi-fi over benchmark. At I,024x768 with anti -aliasing
in to the right of the keyboard has smaller keys the HOMI port. The internal speakef5 are dear tumed off. it marlaged a more playable 25.8fps.
bul includes page navigation keys. and bright but lack bass, and are too quiet to fill This level of performance is fine for older or
The large. responsiVf!: touch pad is formed even a small room. The screen is bright and has more sedate games. but the latest action titles
from a translucent layer vibrant colours. although won't run at their best.
on top 01 the case. It ·s the glossy finish attracts The dedicated graphics also boosted the
almost invisible, so rellectioos.11 also has a main bench man: scores, pushing the R580's
VUlDICT "!"hl< laplop
Sam sung has placed a combi.,.. raw p.rform.lncewflh I h. slight red cast that makes higher than those 01 similar Core i3-based
blue LED at each comer, 10 ploy gamo<. and II<o.«nl keyboard. blues seem dull but laptops. An overall score of 79 is incredible at
although it's easy to find 1000chpad . nd di .pI")' m.lk. it ojoy!o use contrast is good overall. thiS price. and beats those of £700 laptops from
by running your linger Inlo! eoroll.l3OM. At the heart of the a couple of months ago. With a battery life of
over the case. The see-saw 4GB RAM. 500GB 310M RSBO is Inters newest three hoors and 18 minutes, you can easily use
button is flush with the vaphla. DVD. , ·RW +/. 01.. lS.6lnwkl...,....... mobile processor. the the RS80 anyvvhere around your house.
case and hard 10 locate by lCD. 2. 13GHz Core i3-330M, With so much power. a great keyboard and
touch. but it has a very PARTCODE JIIP·R5ro-)SOZUK and 4GB RAM. The screen and a low price. Samsung' s R580 is an
DETAIlS WNW . ...,,"''''.''''''''''''
'Ii'g"" •• '"'"iOO=- . __________ -'============='r:============='-'P'"",,"''',,'' .. '; .. ""O"rnbo"."'d '-____ •• m':."i""g'"' •• .. ____ __
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Easynot e TJ75
*** £600 inc VAT
From www.pcworld.co.uk
Since Acer took over Packard Bell, it has
transformed the brand 's reputation from cheap
and nasty to affordable and stylish. The
Easynote TJ75 stands out with its two-tone
colour scheme - the silVl'r band around the
case and malchingsilver hinge assembly break
up what would otherwi5e be swathes of cheap
black plastic. The glossy lid has an attractive
pattern and dassy silver badge.
Some of the TJ7S's design flourishes are
less successfuL such as the 5eeS3W touchpad
botton. Not only is it thin, with sharp edges,
but it stretches about a centimetre past each
side of the recessed louchpad area, so that the
ends are flush with the case and difficult to
press. The touchp<!d ilsett is responsiVl', but the
buttons let it down badly_
is cramped and has only three columns of keys.
A series of tOUCh-sensitive LED controls above
the keyboard let you toggle wireless,
touchpad and sound, control volume
and launCh custom programs.
We found the 15.6in screen bright and
colourful with an even backlight and a slightly
warm cast. Contrast was good, but tight vertical
viewing angles and a glossy screen make it
difficult to use under overhead lighting. The
720p resolution of l,366x768 is great for films,
but the internal speakers are weak and tinny,
with poor bass. You' ll want to conned to an
eKternal sound system via the HDMI port to get
the full home cinema experience.
Intel's new Core i3-330M processor includes
onboard graphic. but
Packard Bell has added a The keyboard's Ilat
keys are set too close
together, so it's easy to hit
neighbouring keys. Each
key has a light action and
a wen-defined resistance
point for feedback, 50
touch-typists should find
them comlortable. The
layout is standard,
although the number pad
vtROICT A plu • ..,t doe. ign bright
add SOme da .. to thl. powerful Co ....
i3 laptop, but we didn't U'e the keyboard 0<
t<>u(hpad and ft lad. wme useful feaw .....
dedicated ATI HO 5470
graphics chip, A5 with all
new ATI SOOO-seriescards,
this supports the la test
DirectX 11 technology and
HD sound from Blu-ray
movies. It's no slouch,
scoring 19.7/ps in our Call
of Duty benchmarks. While
you won't be able to enjoy
GENERIJ..f'lJRPOSE Int" Core il- HOM,
-ICe IlAM, &lOGe d ..... ATI Mobility!\adton HO
S41()gr'phie>. Dvo. / , RW ./_01., lS.f;in
wlo .. , ..... , LCD, 2,7l:g
PARTCO[)l; l)7S-)N-07OUK
Aspire 7740-334G50Mn
*** £600 inc VAT
From www,laptopsdirect,co,uk
Mer's 7740 has a 17.3in screen and a Core i3
processor, but costs less than some 1 Sin
notebooks. It's ideal for those who woO:: with
large spreadsheets, as the wide screen can
display more data al a time, and the processor
will crunch through complex calculations.
Although this appears to be an amazing
it's worth noting the comers Acer has cut
to achieve this price, The most obvious thing it
lacks is a dedicated graphics card: the 7740
uses the Core i3's integrated graphics chip,
which can handle HD vide<) content, but not
much else. As it doesn' t support full -screen
anti -aliasing. it failed our Call of Duty 4
benchmark, and even with anti-aliasing turned
oH and the resolution set to 1.024x768, it only
scored II.7fps. It might be
overall score of 7S shows. This laptop will (ope
with any task you throw at it.
The power and size 01 the laptop
come at the expense of battery life,
and the 7740 lasted for two hours 47
minutes in our tests. This is fine if you're using
the laptop around the home, and as it's 3.2kg.
you're unlikely to want to travel with it anyway.
Its large, l,600x900 screen and HD-cap<lble
graphics chip should be ideal for movies but, as
usual it's the sound that lets the 7740 down,
The intemal speakers are dear and have a good
sense 01 space thanks to Dolby Home Theater,
but they're simply too quiet and lack bass.
Thankfully, you can attach the 7740 to a home
cinema system via the HDMI port, or use the
S/PDIF digital audiO port to
attach speakers. able to play older games,
but you'll have to tum oft
advanced settings and
lower the resolution.
vtROICT o..<plle Ih. fM! "",wCo ... 13
proc ... or . nd I.rg. me 7740 i. l.l
00wn by , poor keytmrd and touchpad
The 7740 uses Acer's
Gemstone design, with a
glossy lid and a teKtured,
dark grey keyboard paneL
It lacks the gaudy LED-lit
control panels you'll find
on ot her Acer models. The
Fortunately, its
Windows performance is
impressive, The 2,13GHz
processor and 4GB of
RAM are a powerful
combination, as the
i3-33OM, 4GB R,t,M, 500GB di<!<, In'" HD
groop!>ic., DVO./-RW ./· OL DVD,IlAM, 17.3in
wI<lH=.., lCD. 3.2kg
DETA.ILS www.o<;or.co.uk
screen is bright. but the
backlight is uneven and a
the very latest action games at their highest
settings, most games should run at a reasonable
speed at lower resolutions with reduced settings,
The T]75 is very quid: thanks to the 2.13GHz
Core i3-330M processor and 4GB of RAM. It
scored 73 overall in our benchmarks, so it can
cope with any task.
In our light-usage battery test, the TJ7S
lasted just under three hours. Weighing 2.7kg. it
isn't built lor evi'ryday travel, and its battery life
is more than enough for occasional forays away
from a power socket. The TJ7S lacks some
common expansion ports, such as eSA T A,
FireWire or an hpressCard slot. and there's no
Bluetooth, but it has an SfPDIF digital audio
output and a very generous 640GB hard disk.
Despite decent performance and a huge
640GB hard disk the TJ7S's awkward keyboard
and frustrating touchpad detract heavily from it.
Samsung's cheaper R580 is the better choice,
blue cast makes the image feel cold and duHs
reds. It's hard to adjust the screen vertically to
get a good viewing angle, especially as the glossy
finish reflects overhead lights.
The flat -topped keys have enough Sp<!CE'
between them to stop you accidentally hitting
neighbouring keys. The action is stift, however,
with limited travel and not enough feedback, At
least the layout is standard, with large Enter and
Shift keys on the right side. A numbi'r pad is also
included, with four columns of large keys. The
touchpad is quite wide but ill large see-saw
button is flush with the case and has little travel.
While Acer has done well to bring out a 17in
Core i3 laptop for only £600, we found too many
compromises for us to recommend it, Dell's
1764 is more powerful and better built, while
Samsung's R780 has superb build quality plus a
powerful graphics card.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
£614 inc VAT
From www.lambdatek.co.uk/componentshopj
The Vaio EB1SOE is another laptop with an
Intel2.13GHz Core i3- 330M processor.
Combined with 4GB 01 RAM, this laptop
managed an overaU score of 77 in our
benchmarb, making it asiasl as some £700
laptops from a couple of months ago.
Sony has opted lor a dedicated graphic;
chip - the ATI Radeon HD 5470 - as
the processor's integrated Intel GMA HD chip
can't with modern 3D games. The ATI
graphic; card helped the EB lS0E reach almost
20fps in our (aU 01 Duty" benchmark. This is
not fast enough for hardcore gaming. but less
action-oriented games, such as Dragon Age:
Origins or Mass Effect 2 will run smoothly at
lower resolutions and with advanced graphics
settings turned off.
The battery score 01 three hours IS
minutes was slightly dis.appointing. as
this 2,6I<:g laptop is light enough lor the
occasional journey. StilL the battery lile is
long enough for use around the house.
The .screen is also less impressive than we'd
hoped, Its glossy finish reflects overhead lighting.
and its venical viewing angles are tight. Colours
are natural and vibrant but its contrast isn't as
good as on some screens we've seen recently.
The backlight isn't the brightest, but is mostly
even, with only a couple 01 darker patches along
the bottom edge.
The keys are flat-topped and have gaps
between them. Their action is light, with distinct
feedback that makes them a joy to type on. The
layout is standard too, with
a double-height Enter key, HO video won't be a
problem, and there's an
HDMI pon for outputting
to a home entenainment
system, The internal
speakers are lairly loud,
but tinny at high
frequencies and lack bass,
50 to get the most out of
films you'd be to
connect a sound system,
VERDICT A made "'plop, wi th
fan <IK.nt ar.d .nough
3D pefform....::e for .. , but Somsu"&"
RS80 1$ just "good, , nd (h • • p ...
and there's even room for a
four-column numeric
keypad and dedicated page
navigation keys,
-IG8 RAM. 500Ga disk,An Rodoon HO
S470 gnphOn. OVO. /-RW . / -OL DVO-RAM,
15.6 ..... LCD, 2.6l.g
The is a
recessed area of the wrist
rest with a roughened
finish, It 's quite responsive,
although we can see it
Inspiron 1764
£653 Inc VAT
From www.dell.co.uk
17.3in 1764 is the first laptop we've seen
with Intel's new mobile Core is processor. The
2.26GHz Core-S-430M may seem only slightly
quicker than a 2.13GHz Core i3-330M, but it
has a trkk up it!; sleeve: Turbo Boost.
This allows the processor to raise it!; clock
5peed to 2.53GHz to power through tough
jobs_ With 4GB of RAM, the processor scored
an impre5Sive 83 overall in our benchmarh:
we've seen a faster laptop, and cenainly
not at price, The 1764 enough power
to Mndle any job - even video encoding.
With Turbo Boost the processor also needs
less power in standard mode, which can help
battery life. That said, the1764 lasted only tvvo
hours 41 minutes in our
getting grubby. The tvvo
our call of Duty 4 benchmal'h outright. With
anti-aliasing off, it stili managed only 12fps.
It may cope with older games with
minimal settings at low resolutions.
Apan from the lid, which you can
order in a variety of colours (or save £30 and
get it in black), the 1764 is rather plain. The
keyboard panel uses an attractive plastic that
looh like glossy metal , but i5 thilnkfuliy
devoid 01 garish indkators and controls_
The keyboard flat keys with cut-away
edges, so they're not to<) close together. They
a bit while you type, but the keyboard is
firm and comfonable to type on, with a light
action and crisp feedback. The layout is standard,
with a large Enter key and
a four-column number pad. tests. It's enough for use
around the home, but
we've seen similarly sized
laptops last for longer.
While it can handle
HD video content. the
Core is's built-in GMA HD
graphic; processor isn't
powerful enough for
games. It can't cope with
anti -aliasing. so it failed
VERDICT A pow ... ful C,..., 15 proc . ... or and
a "''E", bright scoun mak. tt.i.
attra.ctl"" "'plop, bul you c.n gel a
g.me.-cap;tbl. l.ptop lor •• imil ... prke
Our only gripe is that
Dell has reversed the
behaviour of the function
keys (F2 turns off wireless,
and Alt-F2 operates the
normal key), although you
can change in the
BIOS. Below the keyboard,
-1GB RAM, 500GB di!ok. IntolGMA HD
vapl>lcs, DVO. /-RW +/-01., 11.3io wI<Iosc ......
PART CODE No! di.do..d
a recess in the case lorms
the touchpad.lt's a bit too
large, separate mouse buttons have a light action
and enough travel to provide feedback. They're
set close enough to the edge 01 the case to be
easily accessible by your thumb,
The USB pon on the lelt edge of the case
doubles as an eSATA port for high-speed external
storage should you fill the generous 500GB hard
disk. The other three USB pons are clustered on
the right side. An hpressCard/34 slot allows you
to add a TV tuner, for example, and there are
dedicated memory card slots for both Sony's
proprietary Memory Stick HG-Duo and the more
popular SDHC card format.
Design-wise, the EB lSOE stands out Irom the
crowd with its quality milterials and build. Intel's
latest processor provides impressive performance
for the money, and the addition of a decent
graphics card means you have access to a
respectable range of gilmes. While this laptop is
quick, Sam sung's RS80 has a similar range 01
features lor less money. It's a better buy.
but very and the two separate
buttons have a light action and plenty of travel.
The screen's finish and narrow vertical
viewing angles make it hard to see in areas with
bright overhead light!;, but colours are accurate
and contrast good_ A blue cast dampens
reds and flesh tones, but the backlight is even
and bright. Its resolution of 1,600x900 means
there's lots of desktop space, and HD movies look
great. The internal speakers are loud and dear,
with SRS technology that widens the soundstage.
If you want a powerful desktop-replacement
laptop, Dell's Inspiron 1764 is a great choice.
The compilny a5Sures us thilt this exact model
will be available by the time you read this, but
ilt the time of going to press a cheaper model
(NOO76408) with dedicated All graphics was a
better buy. However, R780 costs only
a little more and can handle games.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
***** £649 inc VAT
From www.lapt opsdi rect.co.uk
This 17.3in wi descreen laptop is designed to
a desktop PC, providing power in both
Windows and We're happy
to report that it pulls it olf.
Performance from the 2.1 3GHz Core
i3-330M processor and 4GB 01 RAM was
with an overall S<:Ofe 0177 in our
benchmarks. This laptop can handle pretty
much any job you'd want to throw a\ it.
The Pfocessor has integrated graphics, but
Sam sung has opted for dedicated graphic;
instead. It's a good choice, as the Nvidia
GeForce GT 330M powered this laptop to a
smooth 29.2fps in our Call of Duty 4 test. This
score wouldn't impress a des ktop gamer, but
ii's pretty good tor a laptop. and it means
you 'll be able to run the latest games, albeit at
lower settings than you
Despite an this power. not to mention the
size 01 the screen. we were pleasantly
surprised by the battery of just
over three hours. That's plenty for
using this laptop around the home.
The screen's glossy finish rellects
overhead lighting. and its vert ical viewing angles
are narrow. We also noticed a red cast. which
reduces the accuracy 01 colours but makes
movies and pictures feel warmer. The backlight is
bright and even. <lnd the la rge size and
1 ,600x900 resolution make it perfect for working
on multiple documents at once.
The keyboard sits in a small cut-away area
so that the keys look more exposed. and the
'chiclet' design -Ilat tops with rounded edges
and a nice gap between each key - enhances this
eHea. The action is light.
with just enough resistance
VlROICT An attract l"" dMlgn, ..,Hd c."',
I'!g. b<ightscrun grut
of u...
k78O' s piice
i3·3)OM, 4GB R.>.M. SOOGB disl<. Nvidi. G. F".'CO
GT 330M g<. pI>ks, DVD+I-RW +I-DL. 11.3i"
.... <!<we." l(D, 2.6kg
would on a desktop Pc.
Action games such as
Crysis will have problems,
and you'll have to tum oH
most of the eye candy to
get a good frame rate. but
adventure. strategy and
role-playing games.
especially those optimised
for internet play. will run
lITloothly and look great.
DETAIU www ... m ••
at the top 01 the stroke to
provide feedback for touch
typis ts, The layout is
standard, although the
arrow keys aren' t well
differentiated and posh
other keys out 01 t heir
normal positions. A
four-column number pad
sits on the right side.
Gone are the days when you could simply
compare processors by dock speed. Instead,
modern chips have been designed to be more
efficient, running applicatiollS quickly at
lower dock
Intel's new Core i3 and Core is processors,
which feature in most of the laptops here,
are great examples 01 this principle, as
been designed for efficiency. FOf
starters, they' re made using a 32nm
fabrication process. This meallS they're cooler
at the same clock speeds as the previous
generation of chips, they can be made in a
smaller package and they cost less to make.
The main benefit these processors
bring is integration, as a single chip now
contaillS the processor, memory controller
and graphics chip. Not only this help
keep costs down, but it also offers
performance benefits, including quicker
access to memory than with the old design
and its enerna1 memory controller.
The onboard GMA HD graphics chip can
high-definition video, although it's
not powerful enough for games. Its main
benefit is that it significantly reduces the
laptop's power as a whole.
The Core i3 aOO is ranges been
designed to offer the maximum processing
capability at the lowest power cost . Both
chips are dual--<:ore, but they also use
Hyper-Threading. This te<:hnology creates
two yirtual processing cores (one for each
real core) by doutJIing up on certain parts
01 the processor, such as the instruction
pipeline, so that the operating system
recognise these processors as having
four cores. When one real core is waiting
to perform a task, it can switch to the
second virtual COfe and process its data.
The result is faster performance with no
enra power
Core is processors have a second trick in
the form of Turbo Boost.This allows the
processor to boost its clock speed when it's
dealing with heavy processing tasks. It works
by monitoring the processOf's temperature and
adjusting the dock speed as necessary. For
example, if a program is using only one core,
and no other programs are running, the idle
cores wi ll be uOOerclocked and the aaive core
overdocked as high as it can go without
exceeding the chip's rated temperature limits.
The new processors also introduce l3
cache, which is shared across all the
processor's cores and helps boost access to
shared memory. Each core also has its own L2
cache, which it can use for data that's relevant
only to that core. In the old Core 2 design,
processors had to share the L2 cache.
Finally, Intel has introduced a single input
output (10) hub, which the processor uses to
communicate with other syst em components.
This is faster than the old shared bus, which
The touchp<td consists of a translucent
teJCtured area below the keyboard, and Samsung
has <l dded <I small blue LED in e<lch comer to
help delineate it. It's large and responsive, but
the see-saw button below it is flush with the
case and has little travel. Thankfully, it has a light
action and is quite comfortable to use,
Sound from the intemal speakers was
dear and loud but lacked bass, and you'll
want to connect to a home cinema or hi-fi
system if you're serious about using the R780
for movies or music. There's an HDMI port for
audio and video output, but sadly no SIPDIF
digit<ll audio output. There's also a shared
eSA T A port for connecting e>CI ernal storage
when you've lilled the large SOOGB h<!rd disl<.
and a 34mm ExpressCard slot.
The R780 is a fantastic desktop replacement
laptop. It's quick in both desktop applications
and games, and is a pleasure to use. It wins a
Best Buy award.
... Intel's new COI' e 13 and IS prOCHSOI'S are mOl'e
eff icient t han tneir predece. SOI" integrat e
several components on to a si ngle chip
the processor also used to communicate
with system memory.
The net result of all 01 these changes is
that Core i3 and is processors are smaller
and more efficient that the ir Core 2
predeo>ssors. This efficieocy means the new
chips are much faster too, 50 laptops
can offer similar performance to that of
desktop PCS and can keep up with laptops
that cost £700 a couple of months ago.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Dell 1764
Samsung R580.
Samsunu R780 ,
Snny .
Aeer 5740
Aeer 7740
Dell 1564
Packard hll
III 40 60

This is our main suite for PC5 and
laptops, which we share with our sister
publication (vstom PC. It's designed to test
Windows PCs to their wry limit. The suite
consists of three separate tests: image-e<liting.
and multitasking.
Our reference PC is fitted with an AMD
Phenom II X4 920 processor and 4GB 01 DDR2
memory. We normalised all its results to 100,
which makes it easy to draw comparisons
between test systems and our reference PC
Dell 1764
Samsung R580
Packard Bell
Aeer 5740
Aeer 7740
Samsung R780
Dell 1564
" '" "

' 00
As we use the 5ame t ests in our standalone
and Labs you can compare the
performance of computers across both.
II you're keen to see how your PC compares
with those tested. you can download the
benchmark suite from ww.v.cu5/ompc.co.uld
SmlNGS We run our application tests at
1,024x768 resolution and in 32-bit colour
WEB www.expertreview5.to.uk
Call of Duty 4 (fps)
Samsung R780
De11 1764 Fail
Acel mo Fail
Oell1564 Fail
Acet 5740 Fail
With its range of stunning effects and massive
explosions, plus some of the most fl'.listic
character animation. CaU of Duty 4 pushes a
PC to its limits.
SETTINGS 1.28OxSOO resoiution,4xAA.
normal settings WEB www.callofduty.com
I Battery life Run time
Light-usage test (hours)
Dell 1564
Samsung R580
3h 22m
3h 15m

Our b<rttery test involves light browser use with
the .>creen at its medium bMghtness 5elling.
Labs verdict Budget laptops
While the overall level of quality was
phenomenal this month. the two
Samsung laptops stood out for their
design. build quality and superb
performal'lCe. MSI deserves a mention for
bravely ignOfing the new processor. and
opting instead to use the money saved to
include a Blu-ray drive, the new
COfe i3 brings a level of performance we
haven't seen before at this price, and even
t he lure of Blu-ray couldn't stop us
marvelling at the power of the R580.
Coupled with a dedicated graphics chip.
superb keyboard and touchpad and a
tlfight, colourful screen, the R580 is the
perfect everyday laptop. and wins our
Budget 8uy award.
Samsung's 17.3in R780 is hardly any
from its smaller cousin, with the
same processor but a larger screen and a
faster graphics chip that can handle all
but the most graphically intense games.
Uke the RS80. it has a sensible allocation
of ports, support for 802.11n wireless and
an slot. as we ll as surprisingly
good battery life for il$ size and power. It's
t he perfect desktop and
wins our 8est 8uy award.
! " \1
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Memo<)' "wlaUed
MemOJ)/ slon (f ...... )
Max memory

Pointing dev;ce
Power consumption standby
Power consumption idk>
Power consumption active
Intel Core i3-33OM
2( 1)

Realtek HOAudio
' W
Screen sire 1 S.6in w>desc.reen LCD
Craphks adaptor Intel GMA HD
Grap!licsoulputs VGA. HOMI
Graphics memory , 28MB 5harl!d
Nati"" J1!'wlution 1,366>:768
Hard di .... (available) ZS(X;B (220GB)
Optical model Optiarc AD-7S8SH
Optic.ll driw twe DVD+! -RW +/-Dl


Networl;ing 10/ 10011,000, 8Ol.11b/g/n
PC Card 0;/0\:0;


Memory GIrd read...- SO, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Mini-jack audio output/SJPDIF
(sharM), mini-jack audio input,
mini-jack microphooe inpul
Oper.Iting system Win<.lows 7 Home Prflnium
Oper.Iting !O)'5tem B3d<up and re<wery
restore option
Softwilre included Microsoft Works 9. NT! Media
Other rtandard a=ri"" O,3·megapbcel webcam
Optiol"lal el<tras (incVAT) £>:"Ira battery, t 100; Treod
Messenger Laptop Sag. £30
Parts and labour warranty One ye.>r RTB
PnceexVAT £417
Detaols www.ac...-.co.uk
Suppli...- www.laptopsdirect.co,uk
Part number LX.PM90Z.Q89
AMDAthlon II Xl 101300
Reallek HD Audio
16in wid€'scrEt!n LCD
An Mobility Ril(Ieoo HD 4200
SOO::;B (455GB)

Ix 10/1oo/1.ooo,80l.1 1b/g/n
Ix Ex,..essCard/34

SD. MMC, M...-no.y Stick Pm, xO
Mini·jack aud", outpIJ1. mini-jack
miaop!lone input
Wir><k:lws 7 Home Premium
Int...-video WinDVO 8, Microsoft
Two yei!r"S colle<t ar><! retum

Inspiron 1564
2 (o)
RealI"" HD Jwdio
' W
1 S,6in widescreen LCD
Intel COIl' i3· 330M
Realtek HD Audio
1 Shin widescreen LCD
Nvidia GeFon;e 310M
320GB (28SGB,;;' ;;-___ 0;----- -
Opl iarc AD-nooH Slimtype A DSSMS

Ix 1011OO/1 ,000.80l, l 1b/g


SD, MMc'MerTIOI)' Stick Pm
Mini·jack audio OUlput. mini·jack
microphone input
Win<.lows 7 Home P",mium

6ildup r...-.t:M:<"j wttware
Microsoft Works 9

10/10011.000, 8Ol.11b/g/n


ESATA (share<:l with USB socket),
mini-jack audio output, mini-jack
microphooe input
Win<lovvs 7 Home Premium
M;clQS()ft Works 9. C)'berlink
P<;merOVD 8
Dell Wireless 365 BluetOOl h Extra battery, £96
Module, £30
One yei!r collect ar><! retum One ye.>r col!e<t return
V'II"ffl.dell. co.uk wwwsarmung.com/uk
V'II"ffl.dell. co.uk www.lambd.l-tek.com/

Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Easynote TJ75 Aspire Vaio VPC-EB1SOEjWI Inspiron 1764 R780
*** ***
***** ***** *****
Intel Core i3· 330M IntelCIl<" i3-33OM Imel i3- 330M lole/Core i5·43OM Intel Core i3-33OM
l.nGHz 2.13GHz 2.13GHz ;>.26GHz 2.13GHz
<OS <VS <VS -<GS <VS
2(0) 2 (0) 2(O} 2(0) 2{O)
6GS ,es BGS 6GS 6GS
38x37h25Omm 45x41 1><274mm
33x42Ox276mm 4Ox411x273mm
l.7kg 3.2kg
'''' ''''
Reattek HO Audio Reallek HD Audio Realtek HDAudio Reatlek HO Audio Realtek HD Audio

Touchpad Toochpad Touchp.ld Tournt':"d
' W 'W 'W ' W 'W
' OW
15.6;n widescreen LCD 17.lin widescreen LCD 1 S.6in widescreoeo LCD 17.3'n widescreen LCD 17.3io widescret!01 LCD
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Mkrowft Works 9. Cyt>eri.ink Maker
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Extra battery. £ 132 Unknown Extra battery. £96
One RTB One year RTS One ye;lf RTB One wI!e<:1 retum One ye3f collect.md retum
£614 £653
£511 £Sll £S2l
www.padardbellco.uk www.a.cer.co.uk www.sony.co,uk www.delLco.uk www . ....."sung.comluk
www.pcwortd.co.uk www.l<Iplopsdirea,co.uk www,l;!mbdatek.co.uk/ www.dell.co.uk www.l<Iptopsd;fI!<lco.uk
Tj7S-jN-07OUK LX.PLY02.Q4S vPCeB1SOEIWI.CEK Not disdosed NP·R78()..jS02Uk
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Digital SLRs may be getting
chuper lind Micro FourThirds
cameras may be reducing
the size of models with
interchangeable lenses, but
neither is as small or as cheap
as II (om pact. If you want
something you can carry
around with you all the time -
or simply don't want the bulk
of II camera with II replaceable
lens - now's the ideal time to
buy II compact.
As you'Usee from this Labs,
the cost of compacU "',
fallen, but their quality has
risen. The ru ult is that you can
buy II camera cheaply that's
capable of great quality shou,
stunning HD video and more.
Ben Pitt
Music and
photography expert
Choosing a ...
Compact digital camera
OU may think that digital compact cameras have
reached II stage where any model will produce
high-quality shots, but you'd be wrong. While
the number of features in cheap camerils has been
variation in quality is
astounding. we'll expl<lin what to !oct out lor and
how to boy the right compact for your needs_
We've long been campaigners against sensors with
pointlessly megapixel ratings in compact cameras
for several reasons. Primarily. the of a compact
means that the sensors used are very small.
Compared to a digital SlR this typically means
that eaoch pixel receives less light on a compact, leading
to poor-quality photos and image noise. A smaller
sensor wiU struggle in low light.
As a result. the size of the sensor used is important.
as is the camera's image processing. Unfortunately, it's
hard to tell by specifications if a camera will
produce high-quality images or not.
Our reviews are here to help, though, and will tell
you how good each really is. look out for
cameras with spedal trick<;, too, such as Fuji/ilm's
Finepix F200EXR. This uses a larger than average
sensor, so its performance at 12 megapi xels is stunning.
However, the dever way that this sensor has been built
means that it can switch to a true 6-megapixel mode
(not just resize images) lor tile ultimate in low-light
performance. This gives F200EXR a lIexibility not
normally seen in compact digit<ll cameras.
The whole point of a compact camera is to get
something that's small enough to carry around
that you'd also want to carry
around a separate so a compact camera's
video mode is very important if you want to be able to
impromptu to upload to YouTube. To help
you chose the best camera for your needs, our table on
page 115 tells you the maximum resolution and frame
rate at which each 01 the cameras can record video.
Compacts with 640x480 video resolutions are line
lor basic video, but with YouTube now supporting HD
content, a ?lOp (1 ,280x710) option is much more
exciting. Still, the specifications can't tell you
so you'lI need to read our to lind
out how good each camera's video mode is. Our
reviews will also tell you about the sound
quality. an important aspect that is often glossed over.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
The vast majority of digital cameras come with a
smaU amount of onboard memory, but this is
only ever enough for a couple of shots. To use
your camera seriO\.lsly, you'U need to buy a
memory card. Pretty much every camera here
supportS SDHC memory cards, which are cheaply
available in sizes up to 32GB. Canon's PowerShot
A495 is different as it uses SDXC - a new
standard that 5UpportS memory cards larger than
32GB. SDXC is backwards-compatible with 5DHC
and SD cards, so you can still use tl>ese cards in
your camera. However, SDXC cards can't be used
with existing SD and SDHC devices, so yO\.l'U
need to buy a new memory card reader if you
want to use this standard direcdy with yO\.lr PC.
Finally, Olympus has announced that its new
range of cameras wiU use SD memory cards, but
its existing model<; stit! use the old xD standard.
These are relatively expensive and pertorm
poorly, slowing the camera down, as you can
see from O\.Ir review of the Olympus.
With compact cameras yO\.l 're stud with the
lens they ship with, so it's importanl to get a
camera with the right modes. The zoom range
listed in our table on page 115 tell<; you Ihe
zoom multiplier, but the 3Smm equivalent value
in brackets is arguably more importanl. The
smaller the first number, the wider the shot you
can take: the larger the second number, the
doser you can zoom in on an object.
These ligures are just guidelines, and having a
larger zoom range doesn't necessarily mean
better qua!ity. In fact, it 's often the opposite, as
it's diHicult to craft a lens's optics to produce
decent results throughoot a high loom range.
Finally, the aperture range tell<; you how
much light the lens can let into the camera. The
lower the number, tl>e more light comes in,
therefore the faster yO\.l can take a shot and help
to eliminate motion blur. With a wider aperture
you can take shol5 in lower light conditions
"'Iithout having to resort to adjusting the sensor's
sensitivity. A wider aperture win give yO\.l a
narrower depth of focus, While a n<!rrow aperture
win increase the exposure time and give yO\.l a
greater depth of focus. Compacts can't compete
with the aperture range 01 DSLRs, but you should
look for a camera with a wide aperture of around
112.8 lor decent performance indoors and out.
A camera's ISO range tell<; you how sensitive
the sensor can be made to lighl. The lower the
number, the lower tl>e sensitivity and, hence, the
higher the exposure time needs to be. ISO
seuings help you take pictures in low light, as
you can boost the sensor's light sensitivity and
shool at fast spee<ls. The trade-off is that higher
ISO settings introduce more noise into a shot
Finally, look for optical image stabilisation to
help steady low-light and high-zoom shots. This
This month
Optio MaS
PowerShot A495
Lumix DMC-FPo
Page 112
Dptio POD
Exilim EX-Z2oD
Page 113
Coolpix S570
option on a camera helps compenS<lte for
hand-shake and can make all the difference
between taking a perfect shot and a badly
blurred, O\.It-of-focus one.
Our reviews explain how effective a camera's
stabilisation software is, aU about its ISO
performance and how good its shots reaUy are.
With a compact, the only way to compose a
shot is to look al the screen on the bad., as no
modern models have a viewfinder. The !<lrger the
screen and the higher the pixel count, the easier
it is to compose shots, as they'U more dosely
resemble what yO\.l can see in real life. YO\.I 'n also
find that a larger screen makes it easier to view
shots once YO\.l've taken them and discard any
that aren't of sufficiently high qua!ity.
With compact cameras sma!! enough to carry
everywhere, it's important that their batteries
don't run out. Our table tell<; you the type of
battery that each camera t a ~ e s , and how many
shots it wi!! last for. Most compact cameras use
U-ion batteries, which last longer than their AA
counterparts. Li-ion spares tend to be more
expensive, IhO\.lgh, and have to be recharged -
sometimes inside the camera body. Models that
t.:lke AA batteries are less common, bUI these are
far simpler to replace wl>en out and about. @
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Optio M85
£95 inc VAT
From www.bri stolcameras.co.uk
With ils M8S, appears to be going aU
out to provide the most impressive for
the lowest possible price. Inside the slim,
aluminium she/fillere's a massive 3in screen
and li ->on battery, and it can even record 720p
HO video - nOI bad for a mere £95.
The screen's viewing angles aren't great.
though, becoming washed out when viewed
from above and turning into a surreal negative
image at other angles. VieWl'd head on, the
screen produces a bright. vivid image, and
brings a of luxury to the camera. $<Idly,
the S<lme can', be said for its controls. The
plastic mode dialloob cheap and the zoom
rocker that encircles the shutter release button
feels fairly loose and indistinct.
UnlOitunalely, the 720p video mode is
crippled by a 1 Sfps frame rate, produdng very
jerky results. To achieve a smooth 30fps, the
resolution must be dropped to VGA. This is
particularly disappointing because picture
quality is actually pretty good. despite the
fixed-focus loom and poor sound quality.
The MaS ditches Pentax's long-standing
menu system in f<lllour of one where options
woU across the bottom of the screen. We
found this disorientating to navigate compared
to the old system of discrete menu pages.
There are some surprisingly advanced leatures.
including exposure bracketing. but no manual
white balance option. Performance is excellent.
with just 1.9 seconds between shots. but tile
flash slows it down to around nine seconds
when firing at full power. However, the 0.9fps
continuous mode is excellent at this price.
Image quali ty in our tests was poor. even
lor a camera as cheap as this. Contrast was
overcocied, resulting in lost highlights. murky
shadows and unnatural-looking colours. Focus
tended to be a little soft and low-light shots
were blurred as noise-reduction
processing obliterated noise and details in
equal measure. AI least the automatic
exposure settings were well judged. making the
most of the camera's limited potential.
The MaS is almost a bargain. but image
quality flaws mean its strengths are immaterial
VERDlCTTrie, 10 provide 100 much I", 100 liltle-
,"dly. lmag .. qUluty Is "".rlook<'"d. R.placlng
m.nus witll. scrolling opr>on. sysl"'" i. confusing
COMP...cT OIGIT"L u.MEAA 12 mogap<xols. 3. "I'lic. 1
"""" (32-_). 3in Li ·ion botlety.
""'.YU' RTlI
PART COO£ 15&-101
DET.u.5 www.j>Mwc.co.uI:
PowerShot A495
£111 inc VAT
From www.lambda-tek.com/
With most cameras at this price using
12-megapi><e1 sensors, Canon dese.ws high
praise for bucking the OIIe rall trend with a
10-megapixel model. That"s more than
enough detail for a compact camera, and
should result in less noise in low
This model was announced in January 2010
and is only just appearing in the shops.
Howe\ler, other than its support for SOXC cards
(for capacities over SOH('s 32GB limit), the
design seems quite dated. "'s small but chunky,
thanks in part to the use of AA balleries. These
are cumbersome compared to ali-ion
rechargeable ballery, and they"re slow to
recharge the flash - we measured around six
seconds between shots when illuminating
subjects at dose distance. and over 12 seconds
when using the flash at full power.
The ZVzin screen is the smallest seen
for many months. The lens lacks optical
stabilisation or the wide-angle shooting that"s
increasingly common among compact
cameras. Its lcm macro mode is impressive.
capturing details that are smaller than tile eye
can see. We're also pleased to see that there·s
an orientation sensor for detecting when
photos h<llle been shot in portrait orientation
- a rarity at this price. As well as tagging
photos for correct orientation on a pc, it 's used
to rotate shots during playback on the camera.
When a photo appears, tuming
tile camera on its side it fiU the screen.
Image quality in most of our tests was
exceUent. with well-judged automatic
exposures and sharp focus into the comers at
all zoom positions. Details fell away sharply in
low light at high ISO sensit ivities. but noise
wasn·t excessive, and nor were the surreal
splodges of noise-reduction artefacts suffered
by most 12-megapixel compact cameras.
There's nothing wrong with the A49S. and
if the price falls well below f 100 we·d have no
reservations recommending it. However. by the
time you've budgeted for AA batteries and a
charger. for the same money you could buy
Panasonic's vastly more capable FP8.
VlRDICT A """'pet",,1 b<Jt tho
prlc. a< low IS tho ba<lc d",lgn
Spending a Uttle .... lra wiU get yo<l • lot mo",
COMP...cT DIGIT ... L U,MEAA 10 m.&iIfIIx .... 3,3, "I'tical
zoom (3T. 1Umm), l'hin tCo. 2lc M bonery.
6.2<94x31mm. lTSg. """.YU' RllI YmTon'Y
DETAIlS www.<.>oon.cQ.uk
£120 inc VAT
From www.play.com
The FPS's aluminium body is slim, stylish and
reassuringly tough. We love the red finish, but
it's also available in black ex silver.
It's remarkably well equipped for such a
cheap camera. 8attery life is great at 380 shots.
and the optical stabilisation system is
exceptionally effective, keeping around 80 per
cent of shots sharp when loomed right in and
using a ' / ... second shutter speed. The 720p HO
video mode is anotller highlight, with sharp
details, low noise, smooth automatic exposure,
continuous autofocus and access to the optical
zoom. Sound quality isn·t fantastic but it
doesn't spoil the show,
Performance is excellent, too. We measured
just 1.5 seconds between switching on and
capturing a shot, and subsequent frames
arrived every 1.7 seconds. The l.Sfps
continuous mode lasted for just three shots,
but after a couple of seconds it was ready to
capture three more. The Pf8 is also highly
efficient when it comes to adjusting settings.
with a Quick Menu button providing direct
access to key photographic Options. The
buttons are backlit for visibility in low light but
their labels aren·t. so thiS is helpful only once
you've leamed what they all do. Tile screen
could be better, with poor colour reproduction
when viewed at anything other than head on.
The lens and digital image processing
performed superbly in our tests. producing
sharp details and natural colours in a wide
range of shooting conditions. The sensor was
the weak point, though, exhibiting a little noise
even in bright light and lots of it when low
high ISO speeds. Pan<lsonic's noise
reduction did an excellent job of disguising it,
however. and overall image quality was better
than average for a camera with a 12-megapixel
' I,,,in sensex. The superior stabilisation helped.
too, as it meant that high ISO sensitivities were
necessary less often,
We can·t bring ourselves to recommend
this camera unreservedly because of its noise
problems. However, if your budget is
particularly tight and HO video is an absolute
must , then the FP8 is an excellent choice.
VEROICTWfth • sled< o.",n, I""t performanc.
Ind g"'" fellu .... lndudlng 720p .,;0.0. _ coold
Ii .... with the fPS's u"",mri;tble image qu;t/ity
COMP ... CT DIGIT ..... C ... MEAA 12 mogop ixols. 4.6x"l'I><.1
'oom (28· 128mm). V in tCo. Li ·ion bonery,
6Ox96.<2<Im-n, 131&, .. , RT B .... "..,,'Y
DlT ....
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
*** £130 inc VAT
From www.c:amerabox.co.uk
The isn't as alluring as its
aluminium-dad rivals, but there are a lew
strips of metal to reinforce it and the overall
effect is reasonably smart. The 2.7;n SCfel'O has
excellent viewing angles and the backlit
buttons add a tooch of class to proceedings.
We were delighted to find a lx loom lens and
optical stabilisation in such a compact,
low-price camera. The 170-shot battery life
isn't so impressive, though.
Olympus has finally a<lmitled defeat and
will be switching from the slow, expensive xD
card formal to SDHC in its neKt batch of
camer3S. However, the 7010 st ill xD. At
least there's an adaptor indude<l for using a
microSD card. Performance was terrible when
using xD, with up to eight seconds between
shots, but it mar\(edly with microSD,
increasing to 2,8 seconds. That's still nothing to
write home about. though. Continuous
shoot ing lasted for just two shots, but a
High-Speed mode managed 22 shots at l1fps
by dropping to three megapixels. The slow
performance also accounts for the lack of HD
capture, The 701O' s are aU shot at
basic 'IGA resolution with fixed loom and
focus and wnsistentiy poor sound, but the
picture quality was otherwise OK.
Our for compact cameras with
pointlessly high resolutions is well documented,
but even compared to similarly specified
cameras the 7010's test shots failed to impress.
Focus was poor towards the comers of frames
at wide-angle loom settings, and a little soft
acroS5 the frame in telephoto shots. The
camera also struggled to cope with dense
teKtures 50ch as foliage. Shots taken under
artificial light h<>d an unpleasant yellow cast.
and outdoor images lacked the of
other cameras' shot5. As usual for this type of
camera, noise was a big problem at high ISO
speeds. Although noise reduction did a decent
job of hiding it, it also obliterated a lot of fine
detail in the process. Shots at the top ISO 1600
setting were particularly ugly.
At this price, it's best to settle for a smaller
loom range in a better all -round camera.
VERDICTThe 7. toom i, worth n,lIing. but ot h..-
cameras offer bett.r Imag. q<Jality and
perform.nce for me .. m. price
IOOm (,a-l_), Vin leD,U-ion brnt<y,
S6x9a. 2t;mm, 12Sg, _ _ y .. r RTB .... ... MIt)'
DETAIL5 www.olymp"s.co.uk
Optio P80
*** £132 inc VAT
From www.amazon_co_uk
The P80 is incredibly small and light. and its
curved metal body has a sophisticated
elegance that few camera manufacturers
manage to pull off. It's well specified, too, with
nop video recording and a wide-angle lens
with an 112.6 maximum aperture that's a little
wider than most of the other cameras on test.
We like HO modes on digital cameras,
but the P80's isn't the best. Focus was fi xed for
the duration of dips, as was the optical loom,
relying instead on a digit al 100m that produced
blocky results, Noise was a big problem in low
light, and the 8kHz audio sample ra te meant
that sound quality was extremely basic.
There's no optical image stabilisation for
counteracting camera shake, either. Instead,
Pentax offers a feature called Pixel Track SR.
The name suggests that it's more sophisticated
than most electronic stabilisation techniques,
which usually just involve hiking up the ISO
speed. the results aren't really very
different at all, with heavy digital processing
ironing out many of the details in shots.
Pixel Track SR takes a heavy toll on
performance, but even without it, the PSO is
slow. It took around lour seconds on
between shots, but this delay was lar from
regular, sometimes taking up to six seconds.
Continuous shooting lasted for just two frames
at the highest quality setting. although
dropping the resolution increased this to five.
The lens displayed sharp focus acroll its
entire worn range and, while the preview
image exhibited heary pincushion distortion at
wide-angle settings, the picture was
corrected digitally. Colours were a little
over<;aturated lor our t astes, but it was possible
to rein this in. we also found that we
had to adjust the white balance under artificial
light to avoid an unpleasant yellow cast to
pictures. High-ISO shot<; suffered badly Irom
noise, but no more than is usual for a
12-megapixel compact camera.
OveralL the PSO's image quality sits in the
middle of tMe p<tek at t his price, but with poor
perlormance and highly disappointing video,
there are far better options
VERDlCTWe love the dinky d.,ign, but t here',
Un!. els. to make thl' camera <land out from I
glul of very ,imilMly specifH!d rival,
IOOm (<1.S-11Omm), Vin LCo.li-ion bottt<y,
S4x97x22mm, 10Sg, _ _ • ..-RTB ",.mlnty
P"'1tT CODE 178S2
DETAIL5 www.pom ... <o.uk
Exi lim EX-Z280
** £134 inc VAT
From www.amazon_co.uk
The Z2S0 is a good reminder of how much the
camera market has changed in recent months.
With it<; 12-megapixel sensor, svelte, brushed
aluminium body, wide-angle lens, optical
image stabilisation and HD video mode, it<;
sub-£ l50 price is remarkable.
For one thing. it<; video capabilities are
particularly impressive, capturing 720p HO
video at a film-li ke Nfps, and with high-quality
sound recorded at the same sample
rate used by audio CDs. With a dedicated
button, there's no need to switch modes when
f(jpping from stills to video capture. Video clips
were sharp and well exposed, but darker areas
were noisy, even when shooting outdoors.
Sadly, the Z2S0 is less successful when it
comes to taking photos. It's painfully lethargic.
taking an average of 4,4 seconds between
shoH in normal use, and this rises to 6.1
seconds when using the flash. The continuous
mode ran at 0. 3fps - that's more than three
seconds between each photo, and hardly
constitutes a continuous mode at aiL
mode, labelled High Speed CS,
offers some compensation by capturing eight
two-megapixel shots at 3.8fps.
Our image quality tests revealed lurther
problems. Outdoor shOH in bright light were
generally impreS5ive, but the lens produced
chromatic aberrations in the corners of frames,
re50lting in indistinct details and halos of
discolouration around high-contrast lines.
at the lowest ISO speed of 64, quite a lot of
noise was particularly around sharp
details where the digital noise reduction
appeared to be struggling to distinguish details
and noise from each other. Worst of all were
the photos taken indoors, with flailing noise
reduction leading to grubby-looking results
with barely any fine details, Colour
reproduction was exceUent when shooting
under artiliciallight. but it was too late to
salvage a good report lor image quality.
The Z280's specifications and price are
tantalising. but by struggling in two of the
most important areas - image quality and
performance - it does it<;elf no favours.
VERDICT This i, ClImer. that look> Ilnt .51ic
on pape', bui lt', considerably Ie .. SO In practlcr:
image quality being the m. in ", ... I:-no ..
COHP"'CTDlGIT"'lCAHERA 12 ""'&,pi •• I5,4, optkol.
IOOm (26-10""""), l .T'" lCO, U-ion bottOf)',
SSx9&c2Omm, 112£ on0-yNf ItTB wom.nty
__ - __ _________ e
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Coolpix S570
£135 inc VAT
From www.amazon.co.uk
The body (ooh but it's not
a particularly striking design. It's far more
eye-catching in black, blue. red or pink linishes.
The price quoted ablM' is for the re<l model
the silver finish we were sent 10<" testing sells
for £ 150 as we go to press.
Most of the 5570'5 features are typical for a
low-cost compact camera, with a
12-megapixel sensor, VGA video capture, 2.7in
screen and Li-ion battery that manages just
220 shots per charge. The lens is more
impress;ve, with a Sx zoom range st"rting al a
wide-angle 28mm focal length. Its 112.7
maximum aperture lor wide-angle shots is
bigger than most, capturing more light for
better images in gloomy conditions. However.
1/6.6 at the telephoto end is ,maUer than usoal.
The are 5parse, with no metering
modes, dynamic-range or other
advanwl features to worry about. but this
keeps the menu simple and quick to navigate.
The ISO speed control is more sophisticated
than mOil, though. A Fixed Range Auto option
lets you specify the maximum ISO speed that's
aRowed - 400 or 800 - without having to set
the speed manually for each shot The Auto
ISO mode up to 1600. so between
these three options there's a healthy amount
of flexibility. Sadly, the camera's choice of ISO
speeds within the selected range was onen
ill-advised. It even ignored our wishes at times.
jumping to ISO 800 when we had selected 150
400 as the limit
Otherwise, the 5570 put in a solid
perlormance in our image-quality tests, but it
failed to similarly
priced competitors. Not surprisingly, low-light
shots were an woefully lacking in fine det<!il.
but at least image noise had been largely
eradicated at the same time.
The 5570 does little wrong. but even at this
price entirely to expect quite a
lot more for your money. The 5x zoom
wide-angle lens is the S570's best feature, but
many other cameras at this price ofter the
same lens specification, while providing
superior image quality, better features or both.
VERDICT The 5x zoom w;de-.nglelen$ i, •
w.lcome but lhere'$ nothing else h ....

COMP...cr DIGIT"L CAMERA 12 meg-pix .... 5,
worn (28-14Omm). 2.lin lCO, U-ion bottOf)'.
Sl!<9Z,22mm. 120g. ono-y'" RTB YmT.nty
0ET.u.5 wwwnlon.co ....
£157 inc VAT
From www.dabs..com
The PL70 is a tad chunkier than average, but its
brushed aluminium front looks elegant. It 's just
as impressive around the back. with a 3in LCD
screen and a twist dial fc>r quick access to its
various shooting modes. A Function button
provides quick access to key photographic
controls. with other settings stowed away
behind the Menu button_
Optical image stabilisation is included. but
we found it to be less effective than rival
systems. managing only a 60 per cent success
at the full zoom extension and a
'!,,-second shutter speed (over 90 per cent is
common). Combining it with electronic
stabilisation improved the success rate to 80
per cent but crippled performance and made
various other settings inaccessible. OthelWise,
perlormarxe generally decent, but the
flash took up to eight seconds to recharge and
fire again. Continuous shooting was fast at
lfps, but the screen was blank while shooting.
It's great to see lZOp HO video at this price,
and even better when it 's recorded in the
memory-saving AVC format with stereo AAC
sound. However, it was let down slightly by
fixed focus throughout the length of clips and
noise problems when shooting in low light.
The '{"in sensor posed
serious problems in terms of image noise in
photos, too. However, 5amsung's digital
processing handled it better than usual. Fine
details had a syrupy texture, but othelWise
photos looked impressively dean. particularly
in high-contrast lines. The lens perlormed weU,
too. producing sharp focus across the frame
with no bad photos among our test shots.
The Pl70 has a lot in common with
Panasonic's FP8: 12-megapixel photos. 720p
videos, optical stabilisation and a wide-angle
lens. The FP8 costs nearly £40 less. a longer
battery life, superior video quality and more
effective optical stabilisation. The PL70 has a
bigger, better screen and superior still image
Either is equally deseJVing of your
money, but bear in mind that Fujifilm's
fantastic FZOOEXR (right) costs just a lew
pounds extra and does a whole lot more.
VERDICT A not with.,.,t jt, ft.w., bul high
Image qual.ily atld nOp HO vide" atI
imp",,,;"e COmbinalion Ihi. p<ice
COMP"CT DIGIT"L U,MERA 12 m<goIp<_<b, 5 • .",li<oI
worn (2S-14Omm). 3in lCO, U-ion blIttery. 6O<96. Z"""'.
U9g. ""'-YO'" RIB WiOffonty
0ETAA.li www ......
FinePix F200EXR
£163 inc VAT
From www_pixmania.co_uk
Fujifilm's FinePix F200EXR has been available
for over a year, but it still has the best image
quality of any compact camera at any price.
bar SLR-compact hybrids costing over £SOO.
The key to its success is its innovative
sensor design, which can switch between 12
and six megapixels (and not simply by resiling
the 12-megapixel image). The 12-megapixel
mode is best fO<" capturing sharp details in
bright light, while the six-megapixel mode
helps minimise noise in low light. A third
option produces six-megapixel with a
high dynamic range, capturing more highlight
detail than other can muster.
These groundbreaking innovations are
Ncked up by some great features. There's a Sx
wide-angle zoom len$, optical stabilisation to
avoid blurry shots, a 3in screen and a manual
exposure mode. Our only disappointment is
that video is recorded at the standard VGA
resolution rather than lZOp HD.
Perlormance wasn't astounding. taking 3.4
seconds to switch on and capture a photo.
Successive shots started 1.6 seconds apart but.
aner three shots, slowed to 2.8 seconds apart.
Continuous shooting ran at Z.5fps for three
frames. or O.Sfps ongoing. disappointing
considering the camera's other strengths, but
it's not unusual at this price.
Image quality is what this camera is all
about. Innovations aside. its sensor has over
twice the surface area of those in nearly all
other compact cameras. and paired with an
excellent lens, it produced incredibly sharp
12-megapixel photos. Low-light shots showed
the biggest difference, though. Even at 12
megapi xels it was way ahead of the
competition. with a little noise. but excellent
retention of details. At six megapixels it was
even better. Flash photography was less
impressive as the camera switched to
unnecessarily high ISO speeds. but adjusting
this manually quickly fixed the problem.
We loved the F200EXR when it cost £270.
At just £ 163, it's incredible value and miles
ahead of its competitors. If you're looking to
buy a compact camera, this is the one to go for.
VEROICTWjth tnat". way of
the fle,INe controls .nd a great Sel of
lutu",., mi. i, atI b<Jy
COMP"CT DIGrf ..... C"MERA 12 m<g." ix<b, 5_.",1 ... 1
'oom (Z8-14Omm), U-ion bottery, 59x98><./3mm. 175g.
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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Your shiny new PC has
arrived and it's time to
give your old one the
boot, but what do you do
with something even the
bin man turns his nose up
at? Tim Danton talks you
through your options
t wasn't suppose<! to be this_ Under the
much-heralded European Union directive, the
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment
(WEEE) Regulations. our old computers,
printers and technological gizmos were meant
to b<lsk in a green glow as they ascended, at the
end of their life, to a better place_ A glorious
place where they could be dismantled, recycled
and put to new purpose.
While most of us benefit from a doorstop
recycling scheme, confusion still reigns when it
comes to our computing paraphernalia: what do
Wf!: do with these once-cherished items when
they reach the end of their useful Many
people don't realise that simply throwing them
in the bin is illegal
The IT industry is responsible lor a huge
amount of waste, much of it dangerous: tOKins
leach into the earth, heavy metal!; lind their way
into normal waste dumps and flame retardants
generate hanmful gases as they're incinerated.
If you have an old PC or laptop - or any other
piece 01 equipment lor that matter
- then y()(J have a .social and legal responsibility
to dispose 01 it appropriately. In this feature, we
look at your three main choices: sen it, give it
away or recycle it.
The environmental pressure group
is dear as to which is the
option. "It's almost always better to upgrade old
equipment where possible than to recycle:
explained Tom Dowdall , greener electronics
campaign coordinator for the organisation. "but
how long this is possible depends on the use of
the Pc. Some studies reveal that reusing a
computer is 20 times more effective at saving
life-cycle energy use than recycling.-
We're going to eKplore aU the options to
discover what you can do with your PC: from
selling it. to the numerous ways Y()(J can give
y()(Jr PC away, until finally we reach the part
we're trying to avoid: how to recycle your Pc.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Whether you seU or away your PC. there are
some ground J\Iles to While you own the
and GIn do with it what you wish. the
software is a different matter.
When you buy or build Windows PC. you're
using Microsoft ·s software on the basis of a
You won't get into any trouble with
Microsoft if you sen or give away your system.
Indeed. when we the company it
positively encouraged the reuse of old PCs.
"I do that keeping PCs in Circulation is
a great thing for people and the environment
alike: said laurence Painell, Windows OEM and
WGA product But he went on to
say' "Individuals to ensure that they are
using genuine Windovvs operating systems as
it offers users the quality they expect and
benefits such as full to
downloads. updates and enhanced fea tures:
Microsoft·s offiCial guidance follows similar
lines. stating that the entire PC "may be
transferred to another end user. along with the
software licence rights. When transferring the PC
to the new end user. the following must be
included: original software media; manuals (if
Certificate of Authenticity (COA). ·
If you bought your PC from a manufacturer.
such as Dell or Mesh. the COA will almost
certainly take the form of a stider on the side of
the main chassis. If you built it yourself, it's
probably sitting in a ceUophime wrapper along
with the warranty information.
With any Iud. you mould also find the
receipt or purchase invoke hi ding away there,
too, Microsoft recommends that such proof of
purchase is also passed on to the next owner.
and goes 00 to wam that the "original end user
cannot keep any copies of the software".
So with the paperworl< in order. it's time to
ready the machine itself. and that means
all your personal files. You'll want to
keep copies of these files for yourseU - check out
the tutorial on page 131 to find out how to
transfer them from Windows XP or Vista PC
to a shiny new Windows 7 system.
When it's time to start erasing. don't just
head to My Documents. select aU the contents
and dick A computer collects all sorts of
hidden information. whether it's your browsing
history - complete with passwords - or files you
thought you'd deleted. The safest way to protect
your data is to follow our advice in the 'Destroy
your data!' box on page 119. Even if you trust
the persoo you're passing your computer to. they
might accidentally the PC vulnerable to
hackers who could recover your personal details.
If you a Windows restore disc suppl ied
by your computer's manufacturer, the process
should be easy: 51ip the dis<: into your drive and
choose the option to boot straight from the
optical drive. To stop the computer from
automatically booting into Windows as usual.
you may need to interrupt the bootup process by
pressing or one of the function keys.
If no dis<: was supplied with yoor computer,
you may find a hidden option - again accessed
by hitting the key or a function key during
bootup - of restoring the PC to its filCtory
settings via a hidden partition on the hard disk.
Some manufacturers supply a plain Windows
installation disc instead. The disadvantage of this
is that it won't necessarily include all the drivers
your computer needs. 50ch as for the graphics
card and network adaptor. In the worst-case
scenario you have to locate those drivers
Irom the internet another. working Pc.
However. instaUation is otherwise
straightfo<ward. Boot from the disc and. when
prompted, choose a fresh install of Windows.
What if you choose to wipe your hard disk
but don't a Windows disc and Gln't find
any hidden partitions? Then, unfortunately, you
either have to choose a free operating system.
such as Ubuntu Linu)(, or leave the next user with
the task of buying and installing Windows.
So now, with your PC ready to its new
owner. it 's time to work out who ludy
person witl be.
1: SEU. IT
There's one obvious lirst stop when it
comes to selling your computer. eBay (IIMW.
ebay.co.uk). At any 001' time. yoo'U find around
20.000 laptops and 15.000 desktop PCs being
offered for sale. so it's dearly a vibrant place-
but equally. there's lot of competition. So how
do you get the best possible price?
First of aU, you should follow the u50ai good
practice for selling on eBay. We created a whole
book on this subject (The UK Guide
to eBaylOIO.ISBN 1906372861. f7.99). but the
main points can be boiled down to photography.
the words you use. and being specific.
The key to a high-quality photo is the
lighting; make sure you choose as bright a room
as '100 can. Photo-editing software can help to
make photos more vibrant. but they can't add
detail that was lost due to dark conditions.
You can also add eKlra photos. and we
recommend you do so. eBay charges eXIra for
hosting additional photos. but the more you Ciln
make someone feel they know exactly what
they're getting. the more likely they are to bid,
You can even add photos to your eBay listing for
free by hosting them yourself - say. on your blog
- and then following eBay's instructions for
linking them to the auction page. Visit http://
tinyurl,comlebayphoto for more information.
Then we come to the words. You're there to
5eIL so bring out the best points at the start to
lure buyers in. Don't be tempted to gloss over
any or possible drawbacks. however. as
this will create negative feedback.
The linal point coocerns being specific. For a
PC or laptop. people will want to know not just
that it's a 2.6GHl they'll want to know the
exact model and the key specifications. You
should also make it clear which version 01
Windows is (or isn't) included. and that they
will receive aU the necessary p.1perwork.
You may not need to enter all the
specifications yourself. If it's a PC or laptop
that's already in eBay's product database, then
you can link your listing to the product - this will
then prefill details and photos.
To check if your kit is in eBay's database, click
on t he Find your product link under the PrefiUed
item information se<:tion of the Sell Your Item
form. You can then enter the part number (or
fa iling that. the brand or product name) and your
listing will be attached to eBay's existing product
information page for that product.
This also works well for products such as
digital cameras. which are ideal for selling on
eBay as they oft en retain their value. but don't
expect great success from old printers, for
example. After all. why woold anyone pay
even £10 for an old printer when they can buy
a new one for as little as BO?
There are a coople of extra things to coosider
that might help you make more money. first.
search eBay for computers similar to yoors: it
may be worth more than you think. Also,
consider offering a Cilsh-ooly option if people Ciln
pi d up your computer. With courier costs of e
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... You may make mOl''' monev from your old computer by selling IndiYl dual
components on eBav rath .... tllan t<Y!ng to sell the whole
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
around £20 for a typical pc, that could make
your listing look a whole lot more atlractive.
DEspite following the best practice for your
PC described above. you may still find that
no-one bids for your item. This is especially true
for home-built systems, where you don't have
the helping hand of a brand to lall back on.
In this case, you may find it's more pro/itable
to sen the individual components. MemO<)' and
hard di5ks remain popular items on 1'8ay, and
you may even find that your motherboard and
case have some value.
There are numerous other online auction
sill'S catering lor the UK. CQout (www.cqout
com) can't match e8ay lor sheer numbers, but it
has the advantage 01 free listings. The name Loot
who's been flat-hunting in London, and again
oHers free listin&5.
(]pmnl 2: GIVE IT I'Wity
Perhaps no-one wanted to buy your computer.
Perhaps YOO're feeling that the spirit of
generosity still runs throogh your veins.
Perhaps yoo can't be bothered to grapple with
eBay for the sake of a lew quid. Whatever
your motivation. the most appealing option
for many people is to give the PC away to a
friend 0( relative.
One dra'-"ibad of this forced. benevolent or
lazy act is that you risk becoming the only
soorce of techniC<lI support for the next owner.
We recommend that you prepare the computer
in 3S strong a position it can possibly be. Load
it up with free malware protection. such as
Microsoft Se-=urity bsentials. You should also
ensure that Windows Updates are set to install
automatically. We wouldn't recommend passing
on a system that's running Windows 98 or
earlier; this is now too vulnerable to internet-
bome threats, and the recipient won't be too
impressed when they discover they can't run
modem software on it anyway.
With these measures in place. make it dear
to your friend or relative that this PC doesn't
come with a lifetime support package. It's hard
enough keeping your own PC in good health
withoot wOrl)'ing about its predecessors, too.
The good news is that it 's actually easier to give
a PC away to charity than it is to give it away to
friends. especiaUy if you choose an organisation
----_ .. ".-
-4 II your old PC Is
of a Mgh enough
spec, Computer Aid
wil l tak,,'t and give
a new olille
in another par! of
.. .. ---.--
.. --.--
--- .. __ .... _-_ ..
such as Computer Aid (www.computeraid.org).
This UK-registered charity reuses IT equipment in
educational. healthC<lre and community projects
in over 100 developing countries.
"There's no need to do anything to prepare
the computers before sending them to us."
explains Sion Jones. the charity' s PC Donations
and Logistic.s Officer. ·Computer Aid data-wipes
all equipment received to US MWtary standards
using Communications Electronic Security
Group (CE5G)-approved software. We provide
an easy and sustainable solution to disposing
of IT equipment; donors of equipment don't
need to do anything."
One problem you may have, however, is
meeting the specification required by Computer
Aid: it can only reuse PCs that have a 1.4GHz or
higher processor speed. It' s not only interested in
PCs, thoogh: ·We can reuse monitors that were
manufactured in 2002 or later. and we also need
mice, cables and keyboards,· says Jones.
So how do you get yoor computers to
Computer Aid? Businesses are _II catered fO(,
with a UK-wide collection .\eIYice (you'll be
asked for a donation to help cover the cost of
the van and driver). but ind .... iduals can also
.send their kit. · We ask that they check their
equipment against the minimum specifications
for reuse. then they can either drop the
equipment oft at our warehouse in north London
or send the equipment to us using a courier. ·
says Jones. If you have any questions about the
scheme. email sion@computeraid.org.
Many other charities are available. For
example. Remploy (www.remp/oy.co.uk)is
dedicated to finding work opportunities for
people with disabilities and other barriers to
employment. and has an e-cycle arm that
recycles computers. Individuals can donate their
old Pes to the charity by dropping them off at
one of its recycle site locations, but note that
there's a £ 10 lee and the locations are currently
limited to Preston, Heywood (near Manchester),
Barking in East London and Porth near Cardiff.
Be careful if you opt to give yoor old PC to
an organisation whose histoty you don't know.
It's relat .... ely easy to become a registered
charity, but not ali of them are transparent
with what happens to the money they make.
50 how do yoo choose?
As a minimum. _ recommend that you
find them on the list of Community Microsoft
Authorised Refurbishers. found at hccp;//tillyurl.
com/re/uroishefI. This not only means they've
passed Microsoft's accreditation process. it also
means they qual ify fO( free copies of Windows
and Office. It's still important to provide proof
of an existing Windows licence, thoogh. as that
means Windows XP will be supplied rather than
Windows 2000.
The final consideration is to check what
happens to your computer once its n ........ users
have finished with it. It it's going abroad. fO(
instance. will it end up being dumped in a
landfill in five years' time?
If you use Computer Aid. there's a good
chance the PC will be .sent to a recycling centre
in the future. ·Computer Aid has been lobbying
fO( e-waste solutions in the UK and and
has been involved in establishing East Africa's
WilY IIIIT liSE ynllil nUl P[: :nll snMETlllll[; ELSE'?
n the we've written
how to turn you r old. unloved computer
into something more useful inlte<l(j .
we just don't it 's pract ical any mole
Consider the space consumed by whiff ing
beige boxes, not to ment ion the power they
coniumI' . In most cas es. it now makes more
sense to buy dedi(3!ed devices.
You could 1030 Windows or L,nux on
an old PC and then turn that computer
into your internet system. perhaps keeping
it in 11 different room to your main PC
However, we're not convinced that the
hassle of keeping an old PC updated and
patched is worth it, eSr>ecially when much of
the internet. weh a\ the Bees iPlayer and
YouTube. requ ires decent hardware to fUn
fiLE STORAGE Why not slap a couple
l1....lei of hard disks into your old PC. connect
;tto your "etwork and then use it to
stor e music and photo,> For one. becaus" it's a
w31te of energy, part icularly if your PC ulel an
older. energy· chomping processOf. Ded ic3ted
devices such as the Raidsonic IcyBox (see Labs,
Shopper 247]. on the othe, hand. cost I"ss
than £ 100, they're faste r and they support
vital standards like UPnP
us ing S6K modem to connect to
the internet . it made SenSe to have a
fi rewall in between the modem
and your Pc. But now almost everyone uSeS
wireless or wi red router indudes a
hardware fi rewall as standard. What's more.
Windows XP SP3. Vist3 and 7 alt include a
decent software firewall. too.
- PRINT SERVER The idea behind this
et was simple enough: if you hod a few
PCs on one network, you could hook
up a pri nter to on old PC. shore it through
software ,md then let everyone print viii
computer. However. Windows now mahs it
eilsy to sh3fe pr inters over network.
many pr inters (an connect di rectly to a
network, so there's no need to leave one
PC on all t he time just for pr int dut ies. I...IIIIIlIIIii
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
first recycling plant in Nairobi, Kenya:
'WIys Jones. "The plant provides sustairlable
solutions forWEEE once true end-of"lile is
reiKhed: Computer Aid is also WOfting with a
partner to set up a similar ctI'ltn! in Zambia.
1/ you think your compuW is somethng a
little bit out 01 tile ordinary. then the Museum
of Computing (www.museumofcompttting.org.
uk). in Swindon. Wiltshire. might be
in taking it.
VJhen we if it a list of dtsifable kit,
Simon Webb. wrator of the museum, replied:
· We don't have a list, but if somebody contacts
us by email or telephone, we can let tllem mow
if it's of intereSlto us. As well as computers,
we're also interested in games consoles,
calculators and anything else computer-related."
Unless you happen to live nur Swindon,
though, there's tile minor problem of gett ing
your computer - or other device - to the
museum. "Most people who donate bring tile
machine to us, and we're happy to oUtf a
complimentary tour of the museum in return, '
explained Webb. "If tlley can' t get to us we may
be able to pitt it up, depending on location.
Small items can be and we're I'\i.ppy to
refund postage and pading."
To find out if the dusty PC in your attic is of
inttfes!. infoOmuseumofcomputing.org.uk
or call 0783-4 3756Z8.
So you'OIt tritd to seU your pc, none of your
friends Wilflts it, and it's not quite up to the
spec::ilication lor a charity. There's one
more route to before you recycle your
PC, and that's Freecycle (www.freecycle.org).
This is similar to the ads you used
to find in the back of local newspaPtfS. with one
dilferel'lCe: everything is free. Your first step is to
find your nurest Freecyde groop arld tllen join
it. These art run through Yahoo! Croups, so
you'll need a Yahoo! accourl! to sign up. First
visit www.{reecycle.orglgroupluktohone in on
your local group, and follow the links to become
a member. You may lirld there's a delay while
your membership is ratified.
OrlCe you're irl, you carl post yoor memge,
indudirlg photos, to your area's message board.
Therl sit back and wait to be yoo may
f'rld that lar more people gel in touch than yO<.l
think. last year we a tired, 1999 Compaq


, "J

.. =---
.. :=---

..... -
::;.-- --=---=.--
-- =
desltop pc with linux and a dozen
people volunteered 10 take it off our hands.
Because Freecyde is orgarlised a<ound locations,
standard procedure is IhattM: rl!'(ipient will
come to collect.
It 's illegal to throw away electrica! equipment
in the same way you might arl old piece 01
lumiture. "Most computers cOrltairl some
potentially harmful !'Iemenll, though
marlulacturers have dramatically
the51' in newer model<l: explains Malcolm
Watson of Remploy. ' Older PCs COI'ltain a
variety of damaging acids and capacitOfS,
rIOt to mention chemic<tls that can reiease
toric fumes when heated."
y .... I.,aI recyding bonks
' CW12 HZ

W3tso11 agrees with
Greenpeac:e's Tom Dow<faU
that recyclirlg should be the
Iast -U5e option. "This 5hould
Ilappen only when reuse and
rerT1ari1:eting are no longer
options. Most IT equipment
contains metals and
matl!fials, wilidl can be
stripped out and sold. Gold,
for eKampie, is commonly
fO<.lrld irl some processors."
, '''1(1 10 llUO.L
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• • •
.... Enter YOU' POllcode Into to lee all your local
recycle cent.e" the n click on t he Icon to _ wl>at t hey clll"lhandle
But let's il'lsume you've
extlausted an other options
and no-one wants yoo. old
Pc. It's vital that you wipe
your hard disk u'iing Active(ll
KiliDisk (www.kil/disk.com)O<"
a similar program. With your
data destroyed, you now
have to find a recycli ng
centn! that accepts electrical goods. YO<N first
port 01 caU should be www.recycll.now.com.
wtlich indudes a comprehensiOlt directory of
re<yding centres in the Uk. It then ovefia)"l this
information on to Coogle Maps, arld allows you
to lilttf down to centres that accept electrical
items: moS! don't.
8elore you resort to your local recydng
(!'rltre, however, you have two further options il
you've rt(ently bought a rlew Pc. Urlder WEEE
regulations. your manufacturer has an obligation
to recycle your machirle. so check on its website.
Toshiba is everl more gentfous: it's currently
offering up to £ 150 ca5h lor your old laptop,
although note that "the final value of the laplOf'
is dependent on its condition and specification".
Visit www.toshjba.co.ul:JtraaeinfordeYils.
If you bought your new computtf from a
retailer, it is also to offer recycling
facilities, but only al the time of purrnase. lf you
know you're going into PC WDfld t o buy a new
prirlter, for instance, th«o take in your old prirl{tf
at the same time. And if you're having goods
contact the nore belore you place
your order and yO<.lr old pc, for example, carl be
when the new one is dropped off.
Recycling opt ions tlave improved in the past
years. but luke Upchurch of Consumers
a charity that describes itself as the
only indeptrldent global campaigning voice for
(onsumers, believes we ha'It a long way to go.
"Consumers rleed to ask questions 01 retailers
before buying goods arld find OUI how
they carl dispose, brirlg back or recycle products
aft er they purchase: he says. "Consumer
demarlds for responsible post-sate service is the
best way to get these (omparlies to take this
matter seriously." GJ
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
tune into
Got an HD TV but still watching normal TV on it? With more options for receiving HD
broadcasts than ever before, Julian Prokaza goes in search of the perfect package
he HO well under way
in the UK, with the price of
high- definition TVs and Blu- ray
players now within reach of just
about Blu-ray is only one part of the
home entertainment sea change, though, and TV
broadcasters are also embracing high-definition.
There are currently four ways to watch HO
TV programmes in the UK. with a fifth becoming
available this year. Two win eventually olfer
free-to-air dlannels that anyone with the
appropriate equipment can tune into lor nothing.
while two provide a veritable 01 HO
programming for a monthly subscription. It 's also
possible to Wijtw HD programmes online.
We're talking aboot Freeview HD, Freesat
HD, Sky+HD. Virgin TV and BBC iPlayer. While
not will be able to receive eve!)'
seJVice, eve!)'one should be able to
get Olle, The question, then, is
which HO TV seJVice is the best?
British Sky Broadcast ing (BSkyB, or just Sky,
as it's better known) announced its HD plans in
2004, and the service launched In May 2006.
The Sky tHO is broadcast via the same sateHites
as its standard definition (SO) digital seJVice and
:s the same minidish. So, if you're
;t already a Sky TV subscriber, you won't need
anything new bolting to an external wall For
new customers, the setup cost includes the
\(Jpply and of a minidish, UK
is quoted as being 98 per cent.
The dish be the same, but the set·top
box required is different. The Sky+HD box is also
a personal video recorder (PVR), with a hard disk
for recording programmes and pausing live TV,
It's al:;o compatible with Sky's 3D seJVice, due for
launch later this year (we'll be 30
technologies in another feature soon),
There's a setup cost of £60 lor existing
customers, £30 for new customers and no charge
lor IleW customers who sign up ooline. The
Sky t HO box is free when you subscribe to the
HD Pack, which costs £10 per month and is
... The latest Sky+HD H6
box C3I'I record OVer a week
01 hlgh·del .... II!on b.OItdciIOs l s
required for HD reception, Subscription costs
vary according to the Sky channel package, There
are six Entertainment Packs to choose from; the
first costs £18 per mooth and additiooal ones are
£ 1 a month each, Movie Packs are £8 each, and
Sports Packs cost from £9 to £12 each.
Sky offers the wide!;t selection of HO
channels in the UK - 37 in all - but you ooly
receive them all if you subscribe to all 11 channel
packages, which costs £57.50 a month.
Otherwise, you just get the HD channels that
correspond to those in the channel packages you
subscribe to: the Variety Pack includes four HD
channels, including Skyl HD, for example (the
table on page 122 lists the various packs). A.U HD
subscribers receive three free· to· air channels
irrespective of their channel BBC HD,
Channel 4 HD and Luxe TV HD.lTV HD may also
be added manually, depending 011 which
Sky t HO box you have (find out at hllp://
Sky d0e5n't offer an on·demand
seJVice yet. but an IPTV leJVice to
deliver TV over broadband is planned.
In the meantime, its
Box Office movies seJVice provides
some flexibility, with half· hourly
start times on multiple channels.
Only two channels are dedicated to
HD movies, though, and these don't
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
come with
a Dolby Digibl 5,1
soondtrack, the HD movies
available through the Movies package.
The Sky+HD PVR has a 250GB hard drive
that can store 60 hours 01 HD content. A lTB
version has just been announced with room for
240 hours of HD footage, bot this costs an e)(lra
£249, l"'lin tuners mean you can rewrd two
programmes while watching a third pre-recorded
one, The HD-optimised user int erface (the EPG)
is a little duttere<l, but most leatures are
accesse<l with a button press or two and the
whole thing is quick and responsive to use.
Recordings can be set remotely via the Sky web
site, text message or one of many free iPhone
apps, but these are one-way processes that
provide no feedback about recording claShes.
Sky hasn't made any announcements for
making BBC iPlayer content available on its
set-top boxes, bot it doe<; have it<; own
equivalent web-base<l service in the lorm 01 Sky
Player (hup:!lsl<yplayer.sky-com). Sky SlJbscribers
can pay an additional £ 10 a month for a
multiroom subscription and watch live
programmes Irom their subscribed channels on
their PCs. None of t his content is in HD, thoogh.
HD broadcast<; over the digital cable TV network
started in 2006 with a trial 01 high-definition
on-demand programmes by ntl:lelewest. lhat
same year, the company acquired Virgin Mobile,
along with the rights to use the Virgin brand
name across aU its services, Virgin Me<lia's cable
TV, broadband and telephone services are
available in 12,6 million homes in the UK,
Since cab(e TV relies on signal!; transmitte<l
via underground fibre-optic cables. you must live
in an areo that's served by Virgin TV's networl::
if you want to sign up. Most urban areas are
covered, but coverage maps aren't the best way
to check. The network works on a street-by-
street basis and sometimes isn't available in
blocks 01 flal5. It's better to use the
• Virgin's V+HD c,," record
two HD channels while you
watch, pause and , .. wind a ltIi,d
postcode checker at http://
allyouf5. virginmedla.com to see if
yoor property can be connecte<l.
To get HD from Vi rgin TV you'll need it<;
V+ HD box.lnstaUation costs £75. Virgin TV
olfers two channels (BBC HD and Channel 4 HD)
on its cheapest M+ package, which cost<; £1150
a month, plus f 5.50 a month lor the V + HD box.
Five more HD channels are available with the
Xl package, with two more, Eurosport HD and
Discovery HD, joining the ranks in the spring.
This package costs £29 a month and includes the
V+HD box as standard, Combining a TV package
with Virgin broadband and telephone works oot
cheaper per service, Visit http://tlnyurl,coml
virginbundles lor details.
With Sky offering 37 HD channels, Virgin TV
currently lags far behind with just seven, soon to
be nine. Virgin Media's head 01 media relations,
Asam Ahmad, told us that there wiU be "lots
more new HD channels this year", but as we
went to press the details remained secret.
However, live broadcasts aren't the only part 01
Virgin TV: the V+ HD box also provides access to
its on-demand service. This is like having the BBC
iPlayer built into your TV, and provides access to
programmes shown on BBC, lTV, Channel 4 and
Virgin llrom the last seven days, This includes
some HD content, although currently only from
BBC HD. When we checked, there were 45 HD
programmes listed_ The Xl package also
indudes TV Choice on Demand, which
offers complete series, Here, 21 series
were listed in the HD section.
Virgin TV also provides an
on- demand movie service,
but with only 30 HD films available and
prices from £3 to £6 lor a 24-hour
Blu-ray rental services such as
lovelilm's are better value. Meanwhile,
a PictureBox subscription costs £ 5 per
month, and although it lacks the latest
releases, it includes around 20 HO
movies month, Visit WWN,
virginmedia.comlondemand to check
the current on- demand listings.
The V+ HO box can record two
mere 20 hoors of HD recording may limit it<;
appeal, The EPC requires too many button
presses to get anything done, and the box is
prone to freezing lor anything Irom a couple
of seconds to a minute while it accesses
information from its servers,
Virgin looks set to address these complaints
alter its recent decision to team up with liVo to
develop it<; neKt-generation PVR_ liVo pioneere<l
the PVR, and although the service flopped in the
UK, the software it developed 10 years ago is still
weU ahead of anything that Virgin TV or Sky
currently offers, The first liVo-powered Virgin
PVR is due later this year.
II you don't fancy paying a monthly SlJbscription
to watch HO TV programmes, Freeview HD is a
low-cost attemative, It's an extension of the
existing Freeview digital TV service, which means
that the HO content is received via a TV aerial.
Freeview is a joint venture operated by the
BBC, BSkyB, lTV, Channel 4 and Arqiva, and rose
from the ashes of lTV Digital in 2002. lrials of
Freeview HD began in 2006 and broadcasts can
now be received from the london Crystal Palace
and Manchester Winter Hill transmitters.
According to the rollout sche<lule, 48,S per cent
of the country should be able to receive Freeview
HD in time for the World Cup in June, with 98.5
per cent coverage arriving by 2012 (which is
when the digital TV s"'lit chover shoold be
complete). For more about the Freeview HD
rollout pl<lns, see hITp:lltlnyurl,comlhdroll,
programmes as you watch, pause and ... Virgin TV can stream movies and programmes on demand,
rewind a third live channeL However, a but HO content is cu,rently on the spa,se skle
• •
Simulcasting content
lthough it's a goal for aU broadcaster§
to transmit all-HD content, not alt
programmes are shot in HD, and therl"s a
vast archive 01 material that WM shot in SO.
As a result, none of the live terrestrial
broadcasters simulcasts an entirely HD
version 01 it<; normal SO chanroels,
Channel 4 and Chanroe l 4 HD are simulcast
for the entire programme schedule, but gaps
in the HD line-up are fil led with upscaled
(and unidentified) SD content. That may
seem like cheating, but it means you can
tune into Channel 4 HD every time and get
the best qual1ty available, Sky uses t he same
approach lor its own simulcast Skyl HD
channel, and identifies true HD material wit h
an appropriate onSCrl'en logo.
Ted1nkaUy, ITV1 HO is also simulcast, but
the HD stream is available only when therl"s
an HD version of the current programme,
Otherwise, you get nothing. ITVI HD isn't yet
available on Virgin TV, although we'll be
interested to see if that changes in time for
the World Cup in June,
BBC HD simulcasts HD versions of
where they exist and fills in the
rest of the schedule with repeats of HD shows
and selections from its archive, Even so, BBC
HD isn't a 24-hour chan nel; it's off-air between
lam until6am, while the flou rs ol6am to 4pm
comprise programme
Most programmes made in the past lew
years are in HD, but not aiL BBC HD shows a
mix of drama (ooth home-grown and
im.,orted), light entertainment and children's
programmes in high-delinition, but it's the
nature documentaries that reaUy show off
the lormat, David Attenoorough's Life was
the most recent HD extravaganza, but you
can see more regular spectacles on Discovery
HD and National Geographic HD. Sport really
benefits from HD too, and the football World
Cup should look great on BBC and lTV HD.
Films are the other mainstay of HD
schedules, While these pop up on ITVI HD
and Channel4 HD from time to t ime, serious
movie-watchers are better served by the
dedicated HD channels of Sky Movies HD
and Virgin lV'§ on-<1emand service, where
they're also accompanied by Dolby Digital
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
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Freeview HD uses the new DVB-T2 standard
IOlr broadcasts, and you'll need a fre<:view
HO-compatible set-top box or TV to view them;
existing Freeview equipment cannot used.
At the lime of wriling. Freeview HO receivers
aren't yet available, but Humax has already
demonstrated it5 £170 HO-Fox T2 receiver (see
http://tinyuri.comlhumaxT2) , whichshouldbe
on sale by the time you read this. Other
Freeview HD recervers, including PVRs, are
expected this year.
Allhis slage ii 's difficu!t 10 know exactly
what to expect from Freeview HO. but 50 far
ii's broadcasling BBC HD and ITVl HO, with
Channel 4 HO and the new Fwe HO channel
expected later in the year. However. Nndwidth
limitations mean that there's little chance 01
dozens 01 Freeview HO channels ever appearing
using the current technology.
Even with just the planned quota 01 lour HO
channels alongside around SO SO channels, many
viewers are unhappy wi th the BBC'5 plans to
squeeze what they see as too many HO channels
on to the service. With only so much bandwidth
to go round, the complaint is that too much
compression is used for what could
considered a satislactory high-definition picture
On Domano:L od.y

Poy-f'O"" __ Ono..m.nd.

(see the box 'HO or not HOt opposile).lf you're
interested in following the ins and outs, the best
place 10 slart is with the post on the BBC
Internet Blog at http://tinyuri. com/BBC -HOb/og.
The BBC is also under heavy lire for its
proposal to introduce Digital Rights Management
(DRM) to the Freeview HD platlorm. The
problem boils down to Ihe BBC wanling 10
encrypt the EPG data lor HD broadcasts on
Freeview HO (but not the broadcasts
themselves) and placing restrictions on the way
in which recordings of HD programmes can be
used. As ever, the complaint is that any kind 01
encryption simply makes it more difficult lor
to enjoy the programmes that they've
paid lor (via the licence fee, in this case) in the
ways they want. while doing next to nothing to
prevent serious copyright inlringement. Read
about the latest developments at the BBC
Internet Blog at http://tinyuri ,com//W-drm,
Although Freeview HD plans 98.5 per cent
coverage by ZOlZ, that's still two years away-
and the lack of suitable receivers means the
service isn't available to anyone at the moment.
II you don't want to wail lor subscription-free
HO TV, you'll need to choose Freesat HD.
Freesat is essent ially the
satellite equivalent to
Freeview. The service is
a joint non-prolit
venture between the
BBC and lTV. Freesat
• HUmIIX will be lhe ' irsl companies 10
gel Freevlew HO receiver InlO Ihe sh<>ps

UC 1«:1, JJV HO (Chom,14 HO Non<
l<)8(1i, l(l8(1p

offers over 100 SO channels, and its HO
broadcasts when the service launched
in May 2008.
Freesat HO is subscription-Iree. but you'U
need a satellile dish and a Freesat HD-
compatible receiver in order to watch it.
Receivers start at around £60, and Freesat HD
PVRs are available Irom around £220. Dish
instaUation is usually an opt ion at the point 01
sale, and costs around £100.
Another option lor F,eesat HD is an HD TV
with a built-in receiver. The Panasonic Viera
TX-P4ZV10S plasma HO TV (see Labs, Shopper
266) is so equipped, and you just connect the
leed from an existing Sky minidish directly
to the back of the set. It takes a few 5eConds
to;.can lor channels lirst time round, but then
tuning into the Freesat HD service simply
involves switching to the appropriate TV input.
A5 with Freeview HD, freesat HD isn't the
most compeRing choice lor HD aficionados.
There are only t wo channels - SSC HD and lTVl
HD - and the programme schedule is rather
limited as a result. The line-up may expand in
the luture, but Freesat HD has made no
announcements on new HO channels lor now.
BBC iPlayer support, which is currently in bela
testing. provides one potential avenue lor
expanded HO viewing. with content streamed
from the iPlayer site via an Ethernet port and
your normal broadNnd connection. However,
there are no plans to deUver anything other than
SD programmes for now.
II you don't laney splashing out on a new TV or
set-top box, then you can still see what the luS5
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
lor up to seven days aft er they
were first broadcast , and the
BSC often makes complete
series available in you
missed the first few episodes_
... Many of Pana<Onlc', HO TV, """" a built-In Freesat HD tuner
HO programmes can be
streamed for instant playback
and pl<lyed fult -screen, but the
high bandwidth re<Juirements
can make smooth streilrning
problematic. Programmes can
allemati",,[y be downloaded lor
offline viewing using the BSC
iPlayer Desktop application. This
oHers a longer 3O-day viewing
window for save<! programmes,
and 5even days to finish wa tching
once you'Vf! starte<!.
is about using just your computer. The BBC
launched its web-based iPlayer service in 2007
as a way for to watch programmes
they missed when first broadcast. It carries
programmes from aU BBC TV and radio dlannels
(though some programmes are excluded 10<"
licensing reasons), and HO content is part of
the platform. lTV, Channel 4 and Sky all have
similar web-based services, but none of these is
currently available in HD.
SSC iPlayer is free to use, but you must live
in the UK and possess a TV licence if you want to
watch live-streamed broadcasts (though not for
catch-up programmes). You'lI also need a
reasonably powerful Windows. Mac OS or Linul(
computer with a broadband connection, and a
monitor with a vertical resolution of at least 720
pil(els. Bear in mind that nearly aU HO TVs can be
used as computer monitors. A low-cost PC such
as /\sus's excellent Eee SOl( EB 1012 (see Editor's
Choice. page 16) attached to the TV is ideal for
accessing these services.
Only a small selection of iPlayer content
HD programmes on iPlayer
are encoded at 720p, which isn't as sharp as the
1080; and 10BOp HO broadcasts available by
other means. The relatively low 3.2Mbitls bit
rate means that fast-moving scenes can suffer
from compression artefacts. Nonetheless, iPlayer
HO programmes are significantly higher qual ity
than its SO programmes, making it an easy way
to get a clear view of your favourite programmes.
There's one further thing to note about BBC
iPlayer, though. HD programmes weigh
in at around 1.5GB per hour, so if your
broadband package has a monthly
bandwidth cap. it probably won't
take long to exceed it.
There's a clear division the
HO TV platforms currently available in
the UK. with the widest choice of
high- defini tion content available from
the subscription services. Of these. Sky
has by far the best offering. with a
but the ability to tailor a package to your taste
helps to bring the cost down.
Virgin TV has far fewer HO TV channels. but
its subscriptions are dleaper and it a small
selection of free and pay-per-view HD content
on demand. Its UK coverage is more limited than
Sky's but , if you're on the Virgin network, it"s a
cost-effective way to watch HO.
As for free-to-view HD TV, it's Freesat HD
or nothing at the moment. The equivalent
Freeview HD is available in a few areas, but yOAJ
can't buy the necessary equipment to receive
it at the time of writing. Both Freeview and
Freesat offer a limited HD channel selection,
and this looks unlikely to change any time soon.
However, BBC HD and lTV HD will be all you
need to watch the World Cup in high definition,
50 football fans shOAJld seriously consider these
services, especi ally bearing in mind that Virgin
currently lacks lTV HD.
Finally, there's the BBC iPlayer.1f you have
the necessary computer setup, it reatly is a nifty
way to experience HD. even if the quality isn't
quite as good as other HO broadcasts. Plug a PC
into your HO TV and you can even get the
big-screen experience, which is currently our
favourite option fO<" anyone looking for
high-definition entertainment on the cheap. E!
is available in HO, but yOAJ can browse high-
definition programmes directly via www.bbc.co.
ukliplayerlrdbbcJid. Programmes are available
total of 37 HO channels. including
recently released movies and major
sporting events. You'lI have to pay over
SO quid a month to watch them all. .. For 1'0 TV on the eM"". BBC, iPlayer is ideal

Resolution. frame rates and compression
lthough high-definition video can mean
anything higher than the current
standanj definition (SO) resolution of
720xS76 pixels, broadcasters settled on
two formats for HO TV. These are 1,280x720,
which pro\lides over twice the resolution of
SO and l,920J<1 ,080, which has
five times the resolution.
Resolution is orlly one aspect of an HO TV
image, though. Television is about moving
pictures, which are achieve<l by displaying
still images, or frames, in rapid succession.
in Europe, HD programmes are broadcasts at
the same 50Hz frame rate as SO TV.
The catch is that transmitting l,920l(l,080
video at SO frames per second (fps) requires
too much data barlCwidth, Broadcasters get
around the problem by using the same trid:
TV broadcasts have employed for almost
100 years: interlacing. Rather than transmit
full image frames, they trartSmit half-
resolution frames, known as fi elds. Of the
1,080 honzontallines that make up each
frame, each fi eld altemates
showing only the odd-numbered and the
even-numbered lines. When combined, these
produce interlace<l video, known as 1080i.
1080i pro\lides a good compromise
resolution and motion smoothness, but fast-
moving images can make it hard to recombine
the interlaced fields, leading to messy picture
artefacts. Therefore, broadcasters have the
option to switch to l ,280x720 video for such
programmes. l ,280x7Z0 video can be
transmitted full-frame at SOfps using the same
amount of data as 1080i. These complete
frames are known as progressive scan, which
gives us the name 720p. However, no
broadcaster currently chooses to do this.
Another solution is to broadcast 1080p at
2Sfps, which means entire frames at the full
l,920J<1,080 resolution but only 2Sfps. This
means motion isn't as smooth, but it gives
excellent detail. BBC HD on Freeview is
currently broadcast in t his format. Web-based
video is often streamed at 720p at 2Sfps to
keep the barlCwidth as low as possible.
The other part of the punle is compression.
All digital are compressed-
otherwise, it WOlJld be impossible to transmit
1080i video at its native bit rate of lSSGBit/s
- but the amount of compression varies
according to the programme content.
Compression works by grouping similar
pil(els toget her and updating Oflly those that
have changed since the previous frame.
Programmes with slow. moving images such
as the news can be highly compressed
because there's little change from frame to
framf'. However, programmf's with fast
action, such as sports, need a high bit rate to
avoid blocky pictures and smeared motion.
Sky uses highly efficient AVe compression
to squeeze dozens of channels Ofl to its
satellite service, with channel bit rat es
ranging from around S.S to 16.2Mbits/s.
Freesat HD and Freeview HD use the same
format, with a bit rate of around 9.SMbit/s,
although this is drawing criticism in some
quarters (see http://tinYlJrl.comlhdqua/ity
for more information). Virgin TV's digital
cable has much greater bandwidth,
so it can get away with using the If'ss-
effident MPEG2 code<:. It uses bit rates of
around 15Mbit/s for each of its HD channels.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Hackers, computer viruses and other threats have dogged computer users for
years, but what will tomorrow bring? Simon Edwards gazes deep into his
technological crystal ball and squints at the worrying future of online crime
hen a fortune-teller stares into
her oystal bat! she dalms to see
through to the misty future and
oHers guidance to those wilhng
10 hand over the required fee. However, she
might be stumped when laced with questions
about the state of tomorrow's computer viruses,
or whether or not tllere will be a global outbreak
of cybelWorfare. She ought not to be because,
althoogh the internet threat landscape is
continually evolving. there are some basic
principles that help us predict what's coming
ne)((. Perllop<l surprisingly, these hold the human
condition at their core. A 21st century Mystic
Meg should haVl' no problems foretelling the
:I: digital future and we'll explain how you too can
~ look into the future at internet threats.
We visite<l Trend Micro's Munich ollice and
spoke exclusively to the threat research team,
~ These researchers investigate current threats

~ . and new technologies with a view to discovering
= what the next big security problems are going
to be, and they don't use crystal balls,
The original computer viruses were born of pride
or misplace<! curiosity. Anonymous individuals
wrote computer code to show how clever they
were, viewing .security software as a challenge. II
they could beat anti -virus programs produced by
big names such as Symantec, McAlee and Trend
Micro then they would have outsmarted the
experts. In some cases their motivation was
increased as anti-virus (AV) programs improved
over time. According to one virus writer, quote<!
in Sarah Gordon's 1994 report The Generic Virus
Wrirerll (htrp://rinyurl.com/GenWl2): ·People
may write to be famous, but in my opinion, the
better the AV programs get, the more motivated
some people will be. I get my motivation from
challenging AV programs. As they get more
advanced (with better behaviour blocking and
heuristics) the more of a challenge and
motivation there is. People in it just for lame will
tail. There has to be some technical motivation."
Today things have moved up a lew gears and
every reputable security company acknowledges
that money is the motivation behind the vast
majority of online threats. Viruses, compromised
websites hosting malicious exploits,lraudulent
emails and phishing websites have all been
designed to steal or generate money. As we
ponder the future ot malware and other threats,
we need to look at the matter in the conte)(\ 01
criminal endeavour, rather than seeing online
threats as a resolt 01 vandalism and other types
of low-level dysfunctional behaviour.
In 2008 it became dear that a new
underground economy had evolved in which our
personal details were traded for cash on the
internet We covere<l this in Shopper 24S in an
article called The Dark Economy' (hltp:lltinyurl.
com/darkeconomy). This situation not only
continues today, but the illegal infonmation
gathering and trading systems have grown even
more sophisticated. Criminal organiS<ltions
provide services to others much like legitimate
business. They sell hacking tools in a web-b3sed
arms market and operate escrow systems to
ensure that the thieves don't rip each other oH.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Much of the criminal activity is based around
ma!ware, which forms the front line in the
criminals' activity. Some people create malware,
others sell it. while underground servkes oHer to
check the latest viruses to ensure that they
aren't detected by the software produced by
anti-virus companies. II 's a sophislkated
arrangement. both in terms of business and
lechnology. One of Trend Micro's advanced
threats researchers. Maxim Goncharov, spends a
lot of time moniloring and interacting with
criminals as they go about their online business.
"They have something like an underground
version of Virus Total. to check that their
ma!ware can avoid detection, as well as services
10 monitor betnets and a complex malware
management system called Lone Wolf. This is
based on a conventional software version-
control program known as Subversion."
Botnels are polentially vasl networks of
compromised computers - Pes owned by regular
internet users, They are part of the
... Hackersl1eat each other as online businesses
and even have their own IT SuPpOrt InfTa$t rUCIure
cybercriminal 's IT infrast ructure and are the
equivalent of a traditional gangster's 'muscle'.
Botnets provide masses of compoting power as
well as the ability to bring down the websites
and internet conneclions of large companies.
They can be used to send out billions of spam
emails, infect websites en masse and even host
transient infected websites that come and go,
making them very hard 10 lake down.
Maxim also says that the criminals operate
traHic direction systems (lOS), These wor!: by
selling types of internet traffic to other criminals.
For example, a criminal might want to expose
American users to a particular fake anti-virus
program that automatically infects their
systems, while sending a diHerent type of exploit
to Germans, The same technique can ensure that
phishing pages in English are sent only 10
English-speaking countries, while Spanish
versions appear in Spani5h-speaking territories.
At the core of this method is a combination of
language filtering and GeolP, which is a system
that can calculate a computer's global location
based on its internet address.
How do the criminals control internet traffic
like this? One common method is to create an
infected page, or infect an innocent one, that
ranks highly on the Google search engine (and by
the end of this paragraph you'll discover how to
improve a page's Google ranking. although you
won't read about this dirty technique in any
search engine optimisation books), This means
that lots of people wit! encounter the page.
Sending links in spam email messages is another
way to draw people to a web page, The infected
page calculates where in the world each visitor is
situated and the TOS uses this information to
decide what happens neJCt.lt might direct the
user to a currently legitimate page to raise its
Google rankings, or it might open a Google
Adwords link and so generate revenue in a
semi -legitimate way. Or both. In the worst cases
(for the individual visitor) , it might try to load
malware on to their computer.
Once ma!ware is loaded on a system, the
compoter can be used as a tool to spy on ils
user. This means that usemames, passwords,
bank account details and other sensitive data
can be siphoned off and sent to the attacker.
Although you might think that this is the end of
the story, the criminals who instaR the malware
may not have a direct use for your data. We've
seen a preview of Symantec's la test intemet
threat report, which is due to be published in the
spring this year, In it the company discloses that
criminals compile lists of credit card numbers
and bank details, which they sell oH in huge lim,
However, the availability of cards has
dropped since last year, while demand remains
high. This has increased the cost of buying the
information, The report also notes a disturbing
new development whereby criminals are trading
'dump tracks' - the whole information found in
the magnetic stripe on a credit card. This data
can not only be sold for a higher price than basic
information, but it's also more usable as it can be
used to create a physical replica of the card.
Criminals are now advertising personal
services and, in a perverse version of online
business networking. researchers have found
recommendations for people involved in money
laundering and even for 'mules' . According to
Symantec: "Mules are unsuspecting members of
the public who have been duped into accepting
funds into their accounts. or accepting stolen
goods. like any other commodity, these people
are traded on net forums by cybercriminals."
At some stage a criminal will end up using
these details to commit a frau dulent act, but it's
likely that the data will pass through a number of
hands first. Gerry Egan is Symantec's director of
product management in the security threat and
response (STAR) team. "n and when your
personal data is stolen online: he El
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
sell it lor financial gain. These regular
people wililikel)' haw accounts
and credit cards that can be stolen.
Garners often h.we online .(Counts
that carry a high value - there has
been a thriving market in hijacking or
emptying game$ accounts for years.
• Once your bank details Or ldently have been slolen, l!>ey may
J>IISS between several criminals belore they are ti""Uy used
Criminal!; might abo try a targeted
approach, where a specific (very rich)
individual. comp<lny or group of
people are faced with a highly
convincing. customised attack. In the
past, criminals have sent infected CDs
and USB keys to workers at banks and
other large organisations. Hardware
keyloggers can then be used to record
usernames and There have
been fears that last year's attack on
"it wiH often be passe<:! from criminal to criminal
before being used. Once in possession 01 a card,
criminals may try to use it to buy goods.
"Alternatively, a criminal may leVf':rage the
se.vices of a 'cash-out' criminaL These people
may charge nothing for their se.vices - that is
the se.vice of emptying your bank account - but
take a commission on the transaction instead."
The online criminals haVf': a large number of
potential targets to consider. Although their
primary objective is to money, there are a
number 01 ways to do 50, some of which are
more subtle than others. We'Vf': seen that
criminals put a value on personal details for the
purposes of ID theft, selling the data to ID
thieVf':s and eVf':n pilfering online games login
details for financial gain. This means their
approach to attacks is both inventive "nd varie<:!.
Tomorrow's victims will be the same as today's.
The only difference is that the criminals nee<:! to
stay ahead of the game in order to compete with
each other and remain profitable. Criminals will
always go for the easiest targets first, looking for
low-risk, high-retum opportunities. This means
creating a widespread threat that has the
potential to affect millions of people. The
haders aren't going to single out an individual.
but instead hope to catch as many random
people as possible. coUect their data and use or
the recruitment website Momter furnished
criminals with lots of personal information that
allowed them to target people with powerful
employment roles, such as CEOs of global
companies. Targete<:! attacks can also use
information gleaned from social-networking
sites - a technology that has only become
Vf':ry popular in the last few yt'ars.
Businesses themselves are another big target.
although the scale of the problem is hard to
asoess. "We only the tip of the iceberg."
explains R"iner Link. senior thre"t researcher at
Trend Micro. "There are probably documents
cont<lining zero-day e><ploits being sent around
and 50 on, but companies won't go public when
they're attacked. We have clients who have this
problem, but we can't discusothem in detail"
Social engineering has repeatedly proven to
be a useful technique for fooling people into
taking unwise actOons. The criminals trick victims
into visiting fake or infected websites,
downloading and installing harmful software and
even responding to near-blatant attempts at
fraud. such as Nigerian 419-style scams. This last
con trick involves sending emails requesting your
help in some matter, with the promise 01
delivering millions of dollars for no wor\( at all.
For more details, ww.vAI9t>atl'f.com.
Security companies daim that infected
websites constitute the largest single threat at
the moment. The general assumption is that
these are legitimate websites that have been
infected without their owners' knowle<lge. The
sites are hacked and a smaU piece of infected
oode, or a special type 01 (iframe) link to another
infected site, is inserted. When a computer loads
the web p"ge, it becomes infected.
There is also a view that sites being operated
by less moral individuals may host malware on
purpose. "Porn websites are hoste<:! by those
with a flexible ethicalframewor\(: R"iner 5ays.
"They are more likely than some to host
malicious iframes in order to gain a few
dollars per installation of malware."
Viruses and infected websites that attack
consumer electronil3 as well as computers are
likely to be a feature 01 future cyberattacks.
Currently computers are the main target for
online criminals. The PC and, to a much lesser
degree. the Mac are both attacked because lots
of people use them for online banking and other
tasks that involve handling valuable information.
Tomorrow's targets will be the devices that
people use lor similar activities. This means that
the PC is going to stay at the top of the hacker's
hit list for a long time to come. If a certain type
of mobile phone became a popular way to access
online banking. then you can guarantee that
criminals would start to produce malware
designed to target and compromise them.
From a criminal's point of view, hardware is a
much less important consideration than software
when building an attack mechanism. For
example, a modern Mac is exactly the same as a
PC under the hood. The very 5ame processors.
RAM, graphil3 chips and hard disks are used in
both computers these days. The difference is the
operating system. Mal3 run OS X while PCs run
completely incompatible variations 01 Windows
or Linux. k. most computers in the world run
Windows. criminals concentrate on breaking into
Windows PCs. The more popular Mal3 become,
the more attractive they are as targets.
Mobile phones don't mare the same
relationship as Mal3 and PCs. Even different
models from the same company use different
combinations of hardware and sohware. This
means that there's such a wide selection in use
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
at anyone time that a hader would have to
write many different viruses, worms or other
threats to catch a significant of victims.
In thiS situation, variety is a delence. Once
people settle on a specific mobile phone,
however, it worth hacking. See the
cautionary tale of the iPhone on page 125.
Many 01 the anti-virus
companies produce an anti-virus product for
one or more types 01 mobile phone, yet they
generally admit that the threat in this area is
either very low or even non-existent. "Mobile
phone malware is in its infancy: explains
McAfee's principle security analyst Greg Day.
"There are over 3S million viruses and Trojans
that target PCs. That's not count ing variations -
the true is far higher. Mobile phone
viruses number in the few hundreds or maybe
early thousands. There is st ill such a disparity of
environments: iPhones, Windows Mobile,
Symbian, BlackBerry, Android and others. There
is too much variety lor malware to lunction."
We've already noted that software is much more
important than hardware. Today's hackers
concentrate on the unde<lying operating system
{such as Windows XP} and common applications
that they can access. At the moment, attractive
applications include _b browsers as _II as
software that web browsers use, such as
Flash and Reader programs. In recent months
security holes have found in versions of
these programs, as well as Microsoft's Internet
Explorer web browser. When we try to predict
the luture 01 internet threats, _ can be sure
that these types of programs will targeted.
The only variations will be the hardware used to
run the web browsers and necessary plug-ins.
00 you believe that your TV could
hacked? Or your games console? The latest
versions of these domestic home entertainment
systems often include the ability to access the
internet , so that they can use BBC iPlayer,
and other popular services.
If your TV has a web browser, then it would
be foolish to assume that it was in\IUlnerable to
an attack. Before you ban TV from your
household, what we said about
attractive targets. Once you and half the popular
start banking online with your TV or PlayStation,
only then will the hackers move in. And they will
Maxim Goncharov predicts that we'll see
anti-virus software installed on TV sets
within the neld five years.
The tradi tional view of a hacker attack
involves a computer system manipulated
by an unauthorised and eldemal force. So how
could your TV hacked if it lacks a hard disk or
any internal storage at all? Where would the
viruses stored, for example? Similarly a games
console doesn't to provide a very rich
environment for a criminal to exploit. Trend
Micro's threat research team sees opportunities
for criminals in the so-caUed 'cloud'. This means
that while your PC, TV or console may not
hacked, the data that flows between it and the
computers on the intemet that power the
services you use could stolen or corrupted.
Senior threat researcher Alice Dt'cker notes that
the usual way to make money with TV
broadcasts is with advertising. The advertising
system itself could subverted and used either
to make money directly or as part 01 a blackmail
scam. "The intemet-enabled TV initiaUy has no
financial value," she says. 'What money can
criminals make? They could show you a
commercial that may be dick able. This way,
people's identity data can stolen. If you don't
click the ad you may threatened with the
prospect that pornography will pop up on screen
when your children are watching."
The term 'cloud-computing' and 'the doud' is
quite vague. These days it tends to mean ronning
applications directly on a server. This isn't a new
concept for businesses used to dealing with
email and web servers.
However, the idea of running an application
such as a word processor in the cloud is novel for
most people as we're used to such programs
software that runs on the computer sitting
in front 01 us. When you use Coogle Docs to
create and edit word-processing or spreadsheet
documents, you're experiencing what most
people consider to cloud computing.
You should already be able to see some of
the security issues surrounding cloud computing.
First of all. your data is stored on a remote
computer under someone else's control Every
time you access that data you have to
authenticate with a remote system, which
means that your username and password
probably traverses the internet. After you log in,
parts 013ny file that you also moves
through the internet. This potentially exposes
your account and its contents to wrong-doers far
more than if you stored your photos, documents
and email on your hard diSk. However, it's
convenient to work this way as you access
your data from any computer that you
(which is also another potential security flaw)
and, in some cases, you can use low-powered
computers to run demanding applications
because they use the processing powt'r and
memory of the service provider's systems rather
than the resources 01 your own IT setup.
The big challenge to companies that provide
internet services is to ensure that customers'
data remains safe. Alice explains what this
means in practice. "Services need to identify
where data comes from and where it should go.
They need to protect against man-in-the-middle
attacks, where attackers intercept data as it
passes by. Cloud service.s are not currently
developed in this way and can fooled."
Tomorrow's intemet attackers will be
sophisticated and realistic. They won't spend
hours trying to hack your mobile or TV while
there are easier options available. As long as we
continue to use PCs to online banks,
buy from sites and play complex
subscription-based games, so the bad guys will
continue to attack via the home
Recent history shows that social engineering.
where victims are fooled into making poor
decisions, is a very successful route to separating
us from our cash and personal details. Technical
.a. Games con<oIes where you pay lor online
content provide .. rich source 01 data for Node ..
'solutions' such as internet worms and Trojans
embedded in pirated software still exist, but it's
those fake emails, infected websites and even
infected email attachments that will continue to
pose a real threat for the foreseeable future.
We also that security software is not a
panacea. Computer ShOpper'5 own anti -virus
produced by Dt'nnis Technology labs {www.
support this view,
and few security companies would brave
enough to daim that they were wi nning the war
against malware. Nevertheless, an anti-virus
program wiH help protect your system.
If you don't want to spend any money Wf!:
recommend Microsoft's latest free anti -viros
program, Security Essentials (www.mkromft.
comISecu"ty_f55ent'als). For better protection
you need to splash out, and currently any 01 the
following are good choices: Kaspersky Intemet
Security 2010, Norton Internet Security 2010,
PC Tools Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus and
Trend Micro Internet Security 2010.
It is also important to keep your system up to
date with the latest security patches. This means
updating Windows, your web browser and
plugins such as Adobe Hash and Acrobat Reader.
Fail to do this and you can't really blame your
anti -viros software if your PC infected.
While the days of sale computing are
probably a nostalgic fantasy (bugs have
existed lor as long as computers have) , it's
not scaremongering to say that today things
are far worse than they ever have been, and
the problem isn't going to disappear.
There is some good news. While the online
criminals engage in a virtual arms war against
security companies, sell our data for pennies and
cost companies billions in lost or stolen revenue,
the main security hole is our own gullibility. If
you become more suspicious of email requests
to or confirm account details, pop-up
warning messages on websites and too-good-to-
be true offers, then you're way ahead of the herd.
And hackers are only interested in the herd. III
Click: dell.co.uk Call: 0844 444 3242
Sam·9pm Weekdays, 9am-6pm Saturdays, lOam'Spm Sundays
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HDWlD ...
Make Windows
behave like a Mac
If you have lots of programs running. it can be hard to keep
track of them. Adam Banks explains howto get some clarity
ultitasking is an impomnt feature 01 modern
computing. and one 01 the most confusing.
With umpteen windows stacked on top of one
another, it's easy to lose track 01 what you're doing.
Windows 7 has some new Features to help, and
since Vista had flip 3D, which fans out all
your open windows so you can riffle through them.
Apple users, reckon they'Vi" got the best
so/utkm with hpose, a feature of Mac OS X that
5hovvs everything arranged flat. milking it easy to
spot what you want at a glance_
To get similar functionality in Windows, you'll
need a third-party add-on such as DhposE2. This is
free to download, and although designed for Visl,}
it woOs in Windows 7, too. It doesn't cope with
dual-monitor sel-ups, though, so <lnyone using two
screens should steer clear.
Visit hrrp:iitinyuri.comide)(posf in your web
browser. clid Download Now and save the file
to your desktop. Double-click the download to install
the program. When it"s done. it will launch
automaticaUy and a new icon will awear in the system
tray at the bottom right 01 the screen. You don·t
actually need to use the icon, though. because by
delault OExposE2 is activated using func.tion keys. Open
a selection of applications and hit the F9 on your
keyboard. Doing so tums a dunered desktop ..
. ..
. - -.- .. ---.-
. .-,
Et .. .into this. Each open window is scaled down
IIti::I so they all lit side by side. To select the one
you·re interested in. simply click it Altematively, click
elsewhere or press F9 again or Esc to return to normal.
n If this is too busy for your liking. press F 10 to
IE:.I show only the windows belonging to the current
application. For example, we have two Internet Explorer
windoW$ open, so when one 01 these is selected, hitting
Fl O gives this result. Moving the mouse over a window
pops up a caption listing the application and window
title. You Cim't interact with the window previews. but
they stay live, with videos continuing to play.
... Click Start, All Programs, OExposE2, to
Ii.I view its preferences. or simply double-clkk the
icon in the System Tray. In the Behaviour pane you can
specify your own hotkeys if you use F9 and FlO in other
programs. Some of the other options are best left alone
- there are a few bugs in this freeware - but in the Feel
tab you can adjust the appearance of the Expose eHect.
For example. Expose speed controls the speed of the
animated tramition effect, and Previews di splacements
sets how much space is between each window. Another
useful option is available under the Global heading -
tick Auto-start at system Booting to load DExposE each
time you restart Windows. Otherwise you·U need to
launch it manuaHy from the desktop short cut. GJ
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Convert videos for free
There are often times when you need to convert videos from one format to another.
Jim Martin shows you how to do it the easy way - and it won't cost you a penny
he of video C31l be
completely baffling. which is why we
wrote a whole feature on understanding
video codecs back in issue 245. We'Vf/'! include<!
the PDF of this in-depth guide on the cover disc
for your reference.
The reason there are so many different
formats is down to the sheer number of video
playback devices, from pes and mobile phones to
portable media players and media streamers. No
single format can cater for all of them. Quite
apart from screen size and resolution, there's the
iS5ue of compression. To stream video OVf'!r the
inleme\, you'll need to use as much compression
as possible to reduce the bandwidth needed. AI
the opposite end of Ihe 5Cale. you'll wantlhe
least compressiOll and highest quality for
on a HO TV.
means there win often be a need to
convert a 10 a fomnallhal's better suiled
to the device on which you want to watch it.
Perhaps you a home movie Ihal you wanl
to watch both on an HD TV and your portable
media player. You'll nee<:! two separale
and easy to convert from one to the other
using free software such as Any Video Converter,
which you can download lrom
Before you start, it's important to remember
that, just as with photos, you can't increase the
detail in a by increasing its resolution. If
you start with a 64Ox480 shot on a digital
camera, you can't it to 1,920xl ,080 and
expect it to lantastic. Oownscaling video, on
the other hand - from high-resolution footage to
low resolution - will yield much better results.


--" -
-----'. -_. --
You may also need 10 find out which video
format your device supports, including the
codee. resolution, frame rate and bit ra te, plus
the audio codec, bit rate and sample rate.
Download, instal! and launch Any Video
There are a couple of ways to
add videos to be The easiest is to use
Windows Explorer to navigate to the files you
want to convert, then select them and simply
drag and drop them on to Any Video Converter.
Alternatively, dick the Add Video button in the
program's tasl:bar and navigate to the files.
EI Your videos should appear in the list.
a Check that Ihe duration, Irame size and
frame rate (Frs) have been detected correctly.
You can the by dicking the
left-hand button below the preview window.
n There are two icons to the right of the
a slider. The first - a pair 01 scissoo
- allows you to trim your dip before converting
it. This can be useful if you require only a portion
of the video. When you dick on the scissors, a
video dipping window will open. Play the
or drag the orange arrow to the desired start
position, and press pause. To set this as the start
point, did the (icon. To set the end point,
repeat this process, but dick on the J icon. If you
want to adjust these points, dick and drag the
small blue triangles below the blue bar.
You can add other portions, or segments, by
dicking on the New Segment icon, which looks
like a piece of paper with the corner lolde<:!
When finished, click Apply.
... Another option is 10 oop the il il
Ii.I doesn't match the aspect ratio of your
target Clid the icon thaI resembles a
magic wand and a new window will open. The
easiest way to adjust the crop is to grab an
or corner of the video (your CUf'lor will tum into
a double-ended arrow) and drag it to the
appropriate place. You may need to untick Keep
Aspect Ratio if you want to change the aspect
ratio. You can dick within the selected area and
drag it to the area you want to keep.
r:I Click the filmstrip icon below the scissoo
1:.1 to see the brightness, contrast and
saturation controls. There's also a drop- down
menu called Other Effects, which will allow you
to rotate any video that may have been
",cidentally shol in the wrong orientation - an
easy mistake with cameraphones. When you've
finished making adjustmenls, dck Apply.
I'!I Next, choose a profile Irom the menu in
1.:1 the top-right of the main interface. We
want to watch the video on an iPod Touch or
irhone but. as there's no preset for these devices,
we've chosen Customize<:! MP4 (o.mp4).
manually entered the Frame Size of
480x320, a Video Bitrate of 768Kbitsls and a
Framerate 012Sfps (to match our original
Finally, we chose the aac Audio Codec and set
the BiUate to 128Kbitsls. Click the icon
in the taskbar and the conversion process will
begin. When it's done, you can dick the Output
Folder button in the bottom-left comer to see
the converted files, which can then be
mnsferred to your device. GJ
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
HDWlD ...
Create a coat of arms
Now you can experience the days of chivalry without all that jousting and duelling.
Mike Bedford shows you how to create your very own herlaldic emblem
designing you=11 a coat 01 arms?
Perhaps yoo're researching your family
history and are interested in your
ancestors' arms. Altematively, you might want a
coat of anms as a company logo or for a
character in a role-playing game. You could use a
drawing package such as CorelDraw, but this wiu
be time-consuming and the linal result may not
come up to your expectations. Fortunately,
there's an altern.liVi' that's both cheap and easy
to use: dediCilted heraldry software.
The software we',e using is Coat of Anms
Design Studio, which you'U lind at www.
inkwellideiu,com!coaLof-arms. There's a free
online version, and a Pro version that runs on
your PC and costs $9 (around £6) per year.
Here we're using the Pro version, which gives
you larger ons.:reen view, allows you to save
at a higher resolution and 11'15 you import your
own images. Othe<Wise. the online version
wolts in the same way. Click the
Software tilb to access it.
Both versions require Java, so if you don't
have it , go to www.java.com/eflldowfl/oad.
Whefl you start the program, you'll see
a blank coat of arms in the traditional
shape. If you'd prefer your coast of arms to be
red<lngular or a diamond shape, dick the Tools
menu. Set Shield Shape and choose your shape.
You can also choose to add a scroll with a name
or mono undemeath the anms. Click the Tools
menu. Set Name/Motto and type in your text.
select a font and pick a colour scheme.
E'I Coats of amns are usually split into
a divisions. If you don't want divisions,
select a colour for the whole shield by clicking on
the white box labelled Bad:ground Color or Fur
and go straight to Step 3. If you do want
divisions. dick in the gret'n box and select Add a
Division from the drop-down menu.
The controls for defining the divisions appear
in the Edit area at the right of the screen. Select
the required panem from t he Divisions menu.
The names of the divisions will be unfamiliar
unless you're au fait with heraldic tenms, but
you'H get the hang of them as you experiment_
Initially, the divisions will aU be the same colour.
so you might like to move on to the next step
and then come bad to this one.
The next job is to assign what we would
a caU colours. but are known in heraldry as
tinctures, to each of the divisions (or to the
whole anms if it doe5n't have divisions). In the
Edit Object area there's a coloured box for each
of the divisions and the borders betwet'n them.
Click in a coloured box and a Color Chooser
window will appear. The palette on the leh offers
1015 of options. but for a formal coat of arms.
choose from the lists on the right. These indude
metals (Or and Argent. which are gold and
silver), colours and several patterns. known as
furs. Simply dick on any tincture and then Save.
.... Hany arms also contain ordinaries. which
Iii are bold patterns across either the whole
of the coat of anms or some of the divisions.
Common examples are the fess, which is a broad
horizontal band, and a chevron. To add an
ordinary, did in either the large gret'n box for
the whole shield or one the smaller green boxes
for the divisions and select Add an Ordinary from
the drop-down menu. The controls for defining
the ordinaries appear in the Edit area at the right
of the s.:ret'n, and are the same as those for
designing divisions.
..:I The final element of your coat of arms is
1:,1 the charges. These include animals such
as dragons and plants such as roses or
fleurs-de-lis, objects and geometric figures.
Charges can be placed anywhere on the arms or
limited to one of the divis ions.
To add a charge, click in the appropriate
gret'n box and select Add a Creature or Add a
Symbol (or Add an Image with the Pro version)
from the menu. The rest of the procedure is
much like adding divisions and ordinaries, but
you can select multiple charges in various
patterns. Note that charges can be resized and
dragged around for accurate positioning. To
select a particular charge, or any other element
of your design, dick in the green box that you
used to create it and select it from the list.
When your design is complete, select
1:1 Save Image from the File menu. If you're
using the Pro version, select the width of the
image in pixels before clicking Save. In the next
window. provide a filename for the PNG file
and dick Save. GJ
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Transfer your old files
Upgrading to Windows 7 brings lots of benefits, but transferring your personal files
can be a pain. Jon Thompson explains how a free Microsoft utility can make it easy
'crosoft's Windows 7 operating system
is a big improvement on
versioos. and it's well worth upgrading.
When you do so, it's a good idea to refom13t
your hard disk and install Windows 7 from
scratch rather than upgrading your current
Windows instaUatioo. as this gets rid 01 any
accumulated junl for those upgrading from
Windows XP, a fresh install is the only optioo_
The only drawback is that a fresh installation
will wipe all your personal liles_ These must be
saved so that you can recover them.
Windows Easy Transfer, which is available as a
free dOW'nload, makes this process simp/e. It worb
for both Window XI' and Vista, and will you
up and running on Windows 7 very quickly.
Windows Easy Transfer can use a special
transfer cable to copy files directly from an old
Pc. For upgrades, you'U to use one 01 the
other two options: netwoJ1<-at\ached storage or
an external storage device. An external USB hard
disk is ideal if you have one, but if yoor personal
liles aren't too big. you can use a large USB flash
drive, which are very cheap.
Before you begin, we recommend performing
a full backup so that if anything goes wrong. you
can roll the system back to a working state.
It's likely that you have a large number of
tiles on your computer that you've either
downloaded or generated yourself. The chances
are that yoo've also not accessed many of these
files in years.
Take the time to make an assessment of
which files yoo actively use. In many cases, you'U
find that yoo can free up large amoonts of disk
space by simply archiving old liles. Do this now
to clear space and you'll save time later on.
E'I Download Microsoft's Windows Easy
IIti::I Transler from http://tinyurl,com/
WindowsfT. Select the corre<:t version depending
on whether your old Windows installation is XP
or Vista, and 32-bit or 64-bit. 1f you're not sure,
in Vista, click St.Jrt. type system and click System
in the programs list. In XP, click Start and then
Run. Type sysdrn,cpl and press Enter. In each
case, the resulting information will teU you if
your current version of Windows is 32- or 64-bit.
Once downloaded, double-click on the Easy
Transfer file and follow t he installation wizard.
n Run Windows Easy Transfer from the Start
K:I menu. The initial tells yoo what it
can do. Click Next to continue. The next screen
asks which transler met hod you want to use, If
you're transferring files using an external device.
click the bottom option. Click Next ilgain, and
you'll be asked which computer yoo're using.
Since there's only one option, it. Windows
Easy Transler now builds a list of your files and
settings. This process may take several minutes.
... Easy File Transfer will identify the data it
Ii.I plans to transler for each user account,
and also from shared locations. Review these
.. _ 0 _____ •
. -
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files using the Customise buttons. This displays a
sub-window, aUowingyooto select what you
want transferred. If yoo need to remove files or
lolders from the list, dick on Advanced. Yoo can
then deselect files by unticking the check boxes.
Click Next, enter a password il then
dick Next again to select a transfer destination.
The program creates an archive and tells you
where it's stored. Yoo can now exit the wizard.
1':1 Install Windows 7 using the disc supplied.
1:.1 When it's complete, insert your USB drive
and open it to display its files. These are stored
as a self-extrilcting archive, so there's no to
install Easy File Transfer on Windows 7.
Double-click the file called Windows Easy
Transfer - Files lrom old computer. After a few
minutes yoo'U be presented with a similar
window to the one you saw earlier when yoo
created the archive. but thiS time you're choosing
liles to load on to the new computer. You can
dick Customise to omit files, as before.
t;I Click Transfer to start loading the files on
1:.1 to the new computer, To prevent hie
corruptions or access conflicts, Windows 7
deliberately hides the menu bar to prevent you
from using the PC until the transler is complete.
FinaUy, dick on the option to see the files
that were transferred. Clicking the Program
report tab also lists any third-party applications.
such as Adobe Reader, that Windows 7 thinks
you'll need to install to access your files. G:]
.... -
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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
HDWlD ...
Develop RAW images
Ever wondered what your camera's RAW mode is for? Ben Pitt explains how this
powerful feature can help you squeeze the last drops of quality from your camera
igila! SLR usually save photos as
JPEGs. but they can also .save in RAW
format. This option is avaHable on an
inc:reasing number of compact cameras, 100.
RAW files are bigger than )pEGs. and they're
compatible with far fewer software applications.
Don't let these drawbacks put you off, though.
There's an enormous amount you can do with
RAW files that simply isn't possible with JPEGs.
Digital cameras must do an awful lot of woO::
before they COlO save an image as a JPEG: J'l!move
colour casts, optimise contrast, remoVi' noise,
sharpen details and more besides. The camera
alilhese decisions in a split second before
it can save a JPEG. ready for the neXl shot. These
)pEGs are often extremely but there's
always room lor improvement.
Capturing in RAW mode unlocks that
potential A RAW image lile is essentially the
unprocessed data taken dire\:tly Irom the
camera's sensor, Rather than processing the
image in the camera, it's done using PC software.
This method of working lets you take your time
to lind the best settings. By bringing your own
creative judgement to the process, the results
are invariably superior to in-camera processing.
One benefit of shooting in RAW mode is
that you'll have a bigger range 01 brightness -
known as dynamic "lOge - to play with. We're
used to sei'ing photos with vivid, punChy colours,
so cameras boost a )pEG's contrast to give the
photo more impact. The downside is that it can
make darlo; areas solid black, and bright areas
appear .solid white, losing any details in these
parts of the photos. This problem is known as
highlight and shadow dipping. By shooting in
RAW mode, you know that il the sensor can
measure it. it will be in your RAW file, You can
then boost the contrast lor punchy colours. ease
off to avoid clipping or use complex colour
curves to achieve the best 01 both worlds.
All RAW-capable cameras come with
RAW-development software. These packages
vary by manufacturer, but they all include a
similar COI'e set of tools. In this tutorial we're
using Silkypix Developer Studio SE, '-"Ihich is
bundled with Panasonic and Pentax cameras.
II you're using a camera Irom another
manufacturer you can still follow this tutorial, as
the basic te\:hniques are common to pretty
much all RAW-development software.
Open a RAW image tile in your chosen
software. One 01 the most uselul tools is
the Histogram display, as it shows the range of
brightness in the image. Enable it in Silkypix by
clicking the button at the bottom-left 01 the
screen. It's often interesting to see the camera
settings used to take the picture, so click the EXIF
button located next to the Histogram button.
11:1 Different light sources, such as sunlight,
U fluorescent tubes and the camera's lIash,
have different colour tints. II left unchecked, they
can give photos an unpleasant colour cast.
Cameras' automatic white balance modes olten
successfully estimate the correct setting. but
shooting in RAW mode lets you try out manual
settings to line-tune the results. The camera's
setting is embedded into the RAW lile, but you
can try out other presets by clicking on Camera
setting on the left and selecting a preset from
the list. In our case, the automatic setting (in
screi'nshot 1) wasn't bad but the Fine (S200K)
preset gives warmer. more llattering colours.
n If none of the white balance presets is
a ideal. RAW-development software olfers
various ways to fine -tune it. Silkypix has three.
One option is to click the White Balance button
(with an icon resembling the sun) and adjust the
threi' sliders below, Another option is to select
the Gray Balance Tool and click on an area 01 the
photo that should be grey. The third is to use the
White balance adjustment tool. which appears in
a pop-up window when the button next to the
EXIF button is clicked. This adds a colour tint of
its own, which can be used either to counteract a
tinted light source or as a creative measure to
give a pleasing colour palette to the photo.
.... the words Standard colOI' and step
Iii through the various presets listed here.
These are equivalent to the picture style presets
found on some digital cameras, which in turn are
designed to emulate different types of film.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Monochrome is an obvioos example, but other
manipulate in ways.
section also indudes a Saturation slider, which
the of colour5.
Click on Average contrast and
K:i Standard trom the list. As with most
RAW-development Silkypix the
contrast 01 photos by default, but selecting
Standard reduces the contrast to neutral. This
usuaUy gives more natural-looking colours, albt-it
less punchy and vibrant. Note that the histogram
curve is more bunched the middle now
- redudng the contrast re<!uces the range
between the brightest and parts of the
photo, and can recover shadow or highlight
clipping. Yoo'U know this is happening il the
histogram curve hits the left (dalt) or right
(bright) e<!ge 01 the display before it reaches
zero. Otherwise, choosing a contrast sett ing is a
matter of taste. so experiment with the Contrast
control in the Tone section. It's also worth using
the Contrast center and Gamma controls. both
of which adjust the brightness of the mid-tones.
.:I If the image seems too darl: or too bright.
1:.1 the Exposure control is the one to tum to.
This designe<! to replicate the
compensation control on cameras. It's not as
effective adjusting the camera. as it can't
adjust the exposure settings use<! to take the
picture. However. because RAW files have a
wider dynamic range than jPEGs, you can often
the exposure without introdUCing clipping.
In our example, boosting the exposure by +O.6EV
lifts the skin tones. but also results in highlight
clipping. This is shown by the histogram curve, as
the line hits the right edge before it reaches zero.
E"I Most RAW-development software
U includes a dedicated highlight -recovery
control This subtly reduces the brightness 01 the
brightest parts of the image, and is ideal lor
eliminating highlight without upsetting
the fest of the image. In Silkypix. yoo'U find this
tool by clicking Highlight controller at the
bottom 01 the screen. Don't worry about the lirst
three controls and concentrate on the Dynamic
range control at the bouom. Higher values will
reduce the of the highlights, adjust
it so that the histogram curve dips to zero just as
it reaches the right edge of the graph. A5 always.
make sure that the results look good in the
photo as well as the
1":'1 Arguably the most powerful tool for
&:I adjusting the brightness and contrast is
the Tone curve tool. It plots a graph 01 input
output to the image's
brightness. Raising an area of the curve makes
those brighter, but will also allect the
contrast of the areas either si de - a steep part of
the curve has higher and a shaUow part
has lower contrast. It's best to approach this tool
with caution, as anything more than very subtle
treatments can make coloorllook artificially
skewed. StilL it's uselul for subtle. precise edits.
Here, we've used it to make the dark areas a
little darker without allecting the brighter areas.
I":t Noise is one of the biggest challenges for
digital cameras. Noise-reduction
processing is nearly always required to reduce
the 5peckled that blights photos,
particularly when a high ISO spee<! has been
used. However, to
distinguish between unwanted noise and subtle
in the image. and usually removes both in
e<fual measure. Once noise reduction is applied it
can't be undone, so there's a huge bene/it to
adjusting it in software rather than having it
applied using default settings in the camera.
Silkypix bundles its noise reduction and
sharpness controls toget her. which makes sense
as they're two sides of the same coin - you can't
increase one without increasing the other. Click
on the word Natural and try out some of the
other Sharpness/Noise presets. You'U need to
zoom in to 100 per cent magnification to see the
results accurately, so hold down Shift and hit the
right cursor key. You can lOom out again with
Shift and the left cursor key.
If you want to go bt-yond the presets.
Silkypix indudes some advanced for
fine-tuning the noise re<!uction and sharpness. In
our experience it's to set the noise reduction
as required, and then increase the sharpness.
Firlt of all, set the to zero by selecting
the No sharpneS$ preset. The button to the left
of the presets actually two so click the
right hall to access the noise-re<!uction controls.
Noise tends to manifest itself in two ways:
colour and brightness, sometimes referred to as
chroma and luma. Chroma noise is speckled
diswloration. which most in that
should be a single, consistent hue. luma noise
speckles that are brighter or darker
than they shoold be.
Silkypix has a control to reduce each of these
separately, so experiment with the 'False color
ctrl' slider to re<!uce chroma noise. and the Noise
reduction control for luma noise. Find the sett ing
that largely removes the noise. but doesn't
remove too many of the fine details. Skin and
hair textures are particularty vulnerable to this.
so keep an eye on them as you adjust. Also keep
an eye oot for darker areas of the image. as these
tend to show the noise more.
Once you've found your preferred noise-
reduction settings. click the Sharpness
button and with these settings.
Outline emphasis increases the sharpneS$ of
lines. while Detail boosts
the definition of subtler details. although this win
also exaggerate noise. The False outline control
reduces the halo effect that can occur around
sharp lines at high settings. although most of the
time you can leave it at zero.
rr:. AU that remains is 10 export the final
W image as a file that's compatible with
other software. Type (trl-S to open the Save A5
dialog box, choose a filename and a location.
The default vvill5<lve a high-quality
JPEG at the same resolution as the original
image, which is perfect for most purposes. so
dick Save to Iinish. 13:l

Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
HDWlD ...
Use Device Manager
Whether you want to update drivers or troubleshoot hardware problems, the
Device Manager is the place to go. Jim Martin explains how to use it
he Device you to view all
the hardware inside your computer. It's
"Iso the pl<tce to go when you're haVing
problems with hardware, as it can help diagnose
faults and update device drivers. To open the
Device Manager in Vista, go to the Control Panel,
System and Maintenance, Device Manager. In
Windows XP, ii's the same procedure, but the
Control Panel icon is simply called System. It 's
quicker to right-dick on My (omputer, then
Properties, then Device Manager.
You may never have visited the Device Manager
before, as there's usually no reason to. When yoo
install a piece 01 new hardwilre. you'll al:;o install
any drivers from CD. This proceS!i automatically
copies files to the appropriate places and adds
the hardware to the Manager list.
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Although you can and disable
hardware from the Manager, it's often
more convenient to do so from other places in
Windows. The same is true for updating drivers.
While you can manually initiate a driver update
from an it em's properties page in the Device
Manager, there's usuaRy no need to do so, since
most drivers downloaded from manufacturers'
websites automatically remove old versions and
install the new ones,
_ .. _-------
However, when your hardware stop<; wOfting
properly or you can't automatically update
drivers, the Device Manager comes into its own.
The default view of devices by type shows a
coliapsed tree structure that shows just the
headings, but it will automatically expand any
category that contains a problem. You may see a
yellow exclamation mark next to a component's
name, or a red cross (in XP) or an aJTOW pointing
downwards (in Vista). The exclamation mark may
mean that the hardware drivers aren't installed,
or that the hardware can't start. A red cros.s or
arrow denotes thilt the hardware is disabled.
Here we'll assume that your Windows
desktop is showing enonmous icons and you
can't adjust the resolution in the Display
Settings dialog.
The of your computer
Is at the tOf> of t he tree
Oick the + symbol next to
each category to show the
devices within
This PC has t hree disk drlyes
connected: a US8 flash drive,
a memory card reader and an
Intemal hard disk. The first
two are also li.ted under the
Devices headlng_
Scan down the Milnilger list until
you come to the Display adapters entry_
Click the + symbol and you should see an
exclamation mark, which means the drivers
aren't installed, 1/ there's no Display adapters
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entry, look for Other devices. which should
include Unknown device in ill lis\.
Et Right-dick on this, or on the name of the
U graphics card, and choose Properties. Click
on the Driver tab and you 'll see details of the
currently installed driver, if there is one. You may
see Microsoft listed as tl>e Driver PrO\lider, but
you should install the latest driver from your
graphics card
Visit the manufacturer's website to obt3in
1::1 the latest driver and download it. If
necessary, unzip it into a folder on your hard
disk-If the file is a self·executable - ending in
.exe - you can run it at this point. If not. retum
to the Properties page from Step 2 and click the
Update Oriver .. _ button. Click the button labeRed
Browse my computer for driver software.
... Click the Browse", button on the next
W window that appears. Navigate to the
folder where you unzipped the drivers and dick
NeKt. Windows should install the and
you may see the screen flicker during the
process_ You may also have to reboot your
PC to complete the instaliation. G:I
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Spring-clean your hard disk
PC Tools Disk Suite 2009, included on this month's cover disc, can cure a range of
hard disk ailments. Julian Prokaza shows you how it's done
t's of life that a Windows PC wilislow
down over time, but this isn't just a case of
old age kicking In. The problem IS a Side
effect of the way we use computers. where
everything from web browsing to instaWng new
software leaves behind redundant files.
This digital detritus builds up over time,
leading to wasted disk space, di sk fragmentation
and a general Windows bloat that can degrade a
PC's performance. Routine maintenance to purge
these files is simple, but unless you know where
to look and what's sale to delete, simply deleting
files that look as if they're no longer needed can
create even bigger problems.
A much safer solution is to use a dedicated
Iwd disk maintenance utility such PC Tools
Disk Suite. We've provided a free copy of the full
2009 edition on this issue's cover disc. you'n
need to register to access to the full set of
but won't cost you a penny.
Instal! PC Too15 Disk Suite from the cover
disc. The program runs as a trial edition
until you register for a free licence key (see bo><-
above), but you can access its main features in
thiS mode. These are listed as buttons on the left
of the application window. To access the key
maintenance tools, click the Status button.
11:1 Click the Start button just below Cleanup
U and Optimize. This is the tool you'n
probably use most often, since it allows you to
delete the unwanted files that accumulate with
Windows' use. There are si x locations, or areas,
that contain files you can safely purge. However,
think twice about selecting Downloaded Program
... ----

8,) ===--__ . __
.... =---
It's free to register for a peTools Disk Suite
2009 licence key at WoVW.pctools.coml
disi-sllite/freelpromolSHOPPER051O, Follow
the instructions and you'll receive the key by
email; jllst copy and paste it into the
program's Register pane and cllck 'Register'.
Files and Recyde Bin; they may contain files you
want to keep. The final option is Custom, which
lets you select other folders. Tick the boxes for
the you want to dear dick Start.
E":I Another window will then open to
a confirm which folders will be emptied;just
click the OK button when you're happy with the
selection. PC Too15 Disk Suite will then show the
status of the file deletions, along with the
amount of hard disk space that's being recovered
in the process. You can opt to see a brief report
on the clean-up when it's finished. Otherwise,
just dick the OK button on the Operation
Complete dialog box to return to the program.
... Cleanup and Optimize should keep your
Ii.I PC in tip-top shape, but you need to
remember to use it regularly, If you're the
forgetful type, click the Schedule ... bullon at the
bottom of the screen to set thiS task to run
automatically on a regular basis. Click OK to
confirm the list of folders to purge (as in step 3),
give the task a name and select a frequency.
Monthly should be sufficient for most PCs, but
When Windows start [sic) works just as wen.
, ... _ ...
. '--
.. _--
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Registration activates a new module for
working with hard disk partitions, but you'll
need to en.able this before you can use it,
by choosing Settings, Partition, Enable
Partition Module,The new module will then
appear under the Status pane.
Choose a time and day to run the task then,
when you click the Finish button, it will be listed
under the program's Schedule pane. PC Tools
Disk Suite doesn't need to be running for this
schedule to take effect; all scheduled tasks run
automatically in the background.
n Another option worth using regularly is
1:.1 Defrag, also found on the Status page.
Defragmenting a disk rearranges files that
are scattered far and wide to make them faster
to access. Select the drive you want to
defragment (usually C:), select the Consolidate
Free Space action and dick the Start button.
Defragmentation can take some time, so it's
worth creating a monthly schedule for this, too.
n PC T 0015 Disk Suite can a150 be used to fix
1:.1 problems with Windovvs fol ders and
repair a hard disk that contains errors. The
Scandisk operations listed under Status, Repair
let you check the hard disk for physical damage
and attempt to rescue data in the damaged
sectors. However, the Repair boot record options
are best left untouched unless you're familiar
with such aspects of Windows' operation. 1i]
· •

-- .. -
· --
..... -....
- ,

Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Music recDgnitiDn
If you've ever wondered how your computer or mobile phone can identify songs
from just a brief snatch of music, Simon Handby has tracked down the answer
ack when musi<: only C<lme on Yinyl.
working out what you were listening to
was a case 01 reading the sleeve notes or
waiting for the OJ to enlighten you. However,
over the p3st lew year.; Ihe way we slore, share
and listen to musk has g()(le digital, providing
new challenges fOf Odentifying and classifying
tracks, along with new opponunities. Our music
libraries now consist 01 a mass of digital files,
while services well as Spotify and Napster let
us stream even more. Social networks such as
last.FM keep track of what we and OOf friends
are to. and use this infO<Tl1ation to make
new recommendations for music and gigs.
For all this 10 wod, though, computers nee<!
to underst<lnd wme basic; "bout each digitised
track - not least what it is, who's performing it
and which album or single release it comes from.
In practice, MP3, WMA, OGG and other audio
files may contain additional information that you
might expect, and some - such as album cover
artwork - that you might not. This month we
look at where it come$from, how it 's stored and
what happens if it's not available.
It seems surprising now, but when CDs fim went
on sale in the early 19805 t here was nothing in
the audio discs' so-called Red 800k specificat ion
that allowed for identification or description of
the music they actually contained. However, as
CD players grew in sophistication, and as audio
CDs began to be played on computer CD-ROM
drives, an attempt was made to address the lack
of simple metadata describing the t racks. In
1996, CD-Text was introduced as an extension
to Red Book that would store basic album and
track information, including title. performer and
Songs can be considered as a set of component frequencies that change over time. This graph
(1) of MUSic isMarh by Boards of Canada plots frequency against t ime, with bright er colours
showing louder components over t he song's five -minute length. Zooming in on a section (Z)
reveals its peaks, the relative Il"e<1uency arld position 01 which can be used to generate a unique
fingerprint (3). By comparing a fingelpfint calculat ed from a short section to a database
containing entire songs, a match can be lound arld t he song named.
songwrit er. This da ta, defined and added by the
publisher, can be stored in the CD's lead-in area
where there is about five kilobytes of free space
- enough lor about two page$ 01 text - or in the
CD's unused subchannels, which allow for about
31MB of storage. Despite being supported by
Sony. CD-Text uptake was patchy and even now
it isn't found on all audio discs.
In 1995. the year before CD-Text arrived. the
lirst MP3 encoders had become available. As
with early CDs. at first there was no way to
identify the cont ents 01 an HP3 lile: early
adopters had to resort to naming files with a
two-digit track number, followed by the artist
and track name, but t rying to store any more
information in this way quidly became
unwieldy. The problem was solved with the
creation of 103 - a specification that allowed a
small chunk of text data to be stored within the
file itself. Although this information was limited
to just 128 byt es, this was enough lor the basics,
and 103 quickly became the de facto st<l ndard.
It was quickly superseded by ID3v2, which
stores information in up to 84 frames. each of
which relates to a category such as artist or
composer. The newer standard allows up to
16MB of dat a per frame and anything up to
256MB of metadata per file. although in practice
tags rarely contain more than a lew kilobytes.
Another important change in ID3v2 was to
move the tag from the end of the file to the
Iront, so that it could be read at the very start 01
playback by streaming allowing the
track to be identified straight away. Among its
other improvements. ID3v2 uses UTF-16
encoding. enabling it to store a full range of
international symbols - something fans of Faure
or Bjolt may appreciate. While 103, and the
similar systems supported by other compressed
audio files. provide a way to embed descriptive
data about an audio file within the file itself, this
data typically isn't present on a CD. so another
way needs to be found to gather it.
In 1993. an American programmer, Ti Kan, began
distributing CDDB, a da tabase of audio CD
information that matched individual CDs with
user-submitted track data. As CDDB grew, Kan
gave users the ability to read and update the
database directly Oller the intemet. Now
as Gracenote, the service is still used by
applications such as iTunes, but it faces
competition from free rivals such as freedb.org.
For such services to work. they need a way to
identify a specific audio CD when it's inserted in
a computer's CD drive. but discs aren't pressed
with a unique identifier. Kan's approach was to
create a fingerprint based on the CD's trad
information, which is usually unique to pressings
of the S<lme disc (see di agram, left), When a new
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
.. Shllzam identilies whole tracks from just a few
seconds 01 music using a h""" database
albom is released, the first user to query the
will present it with a dill: fingerprint
that it hasn't seen before. If the user submit<;
track information for that dilC, it's stored in tile
database alongside the disc's identifier. When
other userl subsequently insert the same CD, the
identifier is calculated and sent to the database,
which can supply trad details for the dill:.
All the cases explore<! so far
information that's already in a digital fO<Tl1at ,
which can be read and identified with certainty,
but there may be times when a computer nee<lS
to identify a song as it's played out loud, or
humme<! or whistled. The chaUenges in doing so
are considerable: variable filCtors such as the
quality of tile sound systems and microphones
involved or the and of background
noise make it tricky to match a
recording such as a specific pop single. A
"performance" from somebody or
singing a tune themselves presents additional
problems, such as missing notes or poor pitching.
In fact. services such as Shalam (which identifies
music via a mobile phone) and
Midomi (which names a hummed, sung or
whistle<! tune) use quite different approaches.
Interviewed by Scientific American in 2003,
Shalam co-founder Wang explained how
he was initially told by experts that recognising
music was "ne><t to impossible".
Music is the sum of many instrument<;, each
playing a of notes, eilCh of which get<; its
character from it<; own complex combination of
frequencies and harmonics. It's possible to plot
the strength of a song's component Irf<:luencies
against time (see diagram, left), but doing so in
detail creates a huge amount of information to
analyse. However, Wang realised that at any
point in time a song would a 'loudest'
frequency component. and that the pattern of
these over the song's length would be unique. Sy
producing a fingerprint based on this pattern
- which Shalam calls a 'constellation' - aU the
other frequency information could be ignored.
In practice, Shalam uses a database fO<Tl1ed
by the analysis of a claimed eight million
recordings, which is held in the memory of
several tens of servers in order to speed up
queries. New releases are analysed as a series 01
10-miUisecond chunks, in ea<:h of which the
strongest Irequency components are identified,
and their positions calculate<! in relation to an
anchor point. These position are combined
through a technique known as 'hashing' to
produce a combined for each chunk 01 the
song. Taken in sf<:luence over the full length of
the song. these form a unique lingerprint that is
stored in the database.
When a user submits a section of music, it's
analysed in exactly the same way as a new
release to produce a fingerprint. This partial
fingerprint is compared to the full fingerprints in
the database until a match is found, and the
track details can be returned to the user's mobile
phone. Explaining the system to Scjentific
American, Wang used the analogy of miliions of
seconds of songs "translated into consteUations
of dots and printed out in a long line' .
"Imagine that the constellat ion of 1S seconds
that you want to match is printed on a piece of
transparent plastic." he said. "You slide the
plastic along the whole li ne of dots until you
find the same pattem."
Focusing only on the loudest component<; helps
reduce the impact of background noise, while
tolerances built into Shalam mean it can cope
vvi th a certain amount of speeding up or slowing
down compared to the original track, such as
when a club OJ alters a song's tempo to mix it
with another. However, the system can only spot
the specific recordings of a song that it has
"heard". Natural variations between
performances mean that a new for
example, would be unrecognisable, if it WdS
by the original artist and musicians.
Other services, such as Midomi, instead
aim to identify a tune rather than a specific
recording. allowing user5 to hum, sing or whistle
a track and it named. For such services to
work, they must also boild a reference database
of fingerprints - in this case one that represents
songs' melodies. One way to do this might be to
conduct a frequency analysis broadly similar to
Shazam's on a set of reference songs, looking for
a recognisable melody. In theory it might be
possible to look for mUSical notes, each of which
has a frequency - middle C, lor example,
is just under 262Hl. However, songs contain a
multitude of instruments playing complementary
notes, and automated systems can't reliably tell
which notes belong in the main melody of a
piece. A quick and easy alternative is simply to
use MIDlliles already created by humans, which
represent songs as a set of notes and durations
- an ideal reference lor quick comp<lrisons.
With such a database, finding a match for a
sung query - which doesn't contain multiple
instruments - should simply be a case 01
identifying its sequence of
Tune in CD DB Identif iers

The CDDS identifier is an eight-digit
hexade.::imal number in which the fir5t two
digits are a checksum derived from the
start points of each individual track on the
disc, The middle four digits re present the
total length in seconds of t he audio
recO«iing, and the last two digits are the
number 01 tracks. Taken together, these
almost always identify a unique recording
- in this case, Radlohead's OK Computer.
Surprisingly, perhaps, the fundamentals of
music make it reasonably simple to the
lim two problems. Whatever spee<I a song is
performe<! at. the relationship between the
lengths 01 successive notes (its rhythmic ratio)
remains the same. For example, if a note is twice
as long as the note before it, this is still true even
when the same melody is performed at a
different tempo. Similarly, although performing a
song in a different key changes the actual
frequenCies of its notes, the ratios between the
frequencies of subsequent notes (the pitch
contour) remains the same, Jt 's perhaps easiest
to understand this by imagining the musical
notation representing a tune: changing it into a
higher key moves all the notes up, but the
melody still has the same pattern.
A query engine can take advantage of this by
only considering the rhythmic ratio and the pitch
contour between notes in a melody,
rather than their absolute values. Taking the
example of TuneBot, at Chicago's
Northwestem notes sung by a user
are lim matched (quantised) to the nearest true
note. Starting with the second note in the
sequence, the pitch gap in semitones between it
and the note before is reeDrde<!, a minus sign
indicating if the later note is lower. At the same
time, the duration of each note is one of
five 'rhythm ratios' based on the length of the
previous note: much shorter, shorter, roughly
f<:luaL longer or much longer. Doing thiS along
the length of a sample produces a set of data
representing its melody, which should look
similar independent of the exact key and tempo.
Although the system can now search in it<;
database lor a match, other imperfections in
users' performances mean it won't always find
an eMct one. However, with a reasonably
accurate performance to work from, a good
system can identify the closest matches, which
are li kely to include the correct tune.
It's worth noting that. while humans are far
better than computers at recognising handwriting
musical notes and it up,
but this assumes that a query is
accurate, In reality most people
have imperfect pitch, and few
vvill interpret a song in exactly
the same way it's recorded,
instead changing its tempo,
transposing it into another
P"r. findiol SWctu .... in
Mldlo,lI<yan Pardo:
or faces, both humans and machines can
struggle to recognise a sung.
whistled or hummed song.
Research suggests that
people only recognise a song
they know about two-thirds
of the time when it's sung
vvithout instrumental
accompaniment by another
human - as anyone who's seen
the intro round in NeverMirnj
{he BUlZcoch will know. GJ
key, cutting musical rests
short or simply getting the
odd note wrong.
:.,ud,o search alJorithm,
hrtp://tirryurl, comlS58eba
More On "ow Sha,am wo<h:
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
w optimisation
c.. Improving your search engine ranking to ensure that your
website appears high in Google's search results is simple.
Matt Preston explains how to bring more visitors to your site
A search engine allows you t o
find website' from all over the
int ernet in an instant. It's easy
t o add your own website t o
t hese search engines so people
u n access your (ontent.
In thi s mont h's Web bpert,
well explore how these search
engines work and how t o add
your website t o their indexes.
We l l also explain how you
can make your website more
search-engine frie ndly, from
the way in which pages are
lurched t o how resulU pages
are generated.
You will need II publidy
visible website SIKh as www.
redcotbarn.co.uk t o be able
t o add it to II search engine,
so dedicat ed web hosting
is essenti al.
Matt Prestan
Web developer
eardl engines use II huge index of all the words
and phrases found on all the web pages they
about. This index worh in the 5ame way
as the index in a boollmagine that each page in a book
were a web page: the index at the back would record
the web pages on which each word could be found. The
index is sorted alphabetically. so you can quickly find
words in the index and, hence. the web pages on which
the words appear.
The technologies may vary slightly from site to site.
but there are threo: main steps used by all search
engines: crawling. indexing and searching. Crawling is
the way search engines find out about new and
updated web pages that need to be added to the index.
This process involves downloading billions of pages
from all over the internet and is usually achieved by an
automated program that runs on a large number of
computef5. These programs are called spidef5. or bots.
The Google crawling program. for eKample. is known as
Googlebot. The crawling process begins with a list of
URls generated from previous crawl processes and new
websites submitted by webmastef5. As the spider visits
each of the web pages in the list, it records the links
found and adds them to the list of pages to be visited.
The web pages that are downloaded by the crawling
process are analysed and broken down into words aod
phrases, which are stored in the index. The index also
notes content in the web page. such as the title.
which is used to improve the search and present excerpts
in the results. The indexing process is clever and can
e>ctract information from a number of sources other
than HTML web pages. such as images and Flash liles.
Searching involves matching keywords against words
and phrases from the index to lind relevant pages. Each
search engine has a differeot method for calculating
which are the most relevant resulu. The factof5 for
what makes one resull more relevanl than another can
be quite complicated and are often a wen-kept secret.
Addingyour own website to a search engine to
be crawled is simply a matter of going to its
individual submission pages, such as www.google.com/
ar:kfurl for Google. http://search.yahoo.com/info/suOmir.
html for Yahoo! and www.bing.com/webmaster/
Suomir5itePage.aspx for Microsoft's Bing. It's free. but
you must wait a few days for your website to appear in
the search results. bi-cause you have to wait for a crawl
process to visit your site and update the indexes.
Each search engine uses a different set of rules for
deciding which web pages are most relevaot to a search
query. so it can be difficult to work out how to make a
website rank well in results. However, there is a strategy
for designing or modifying web pages so they achieve
good ranking in search results - it 's called search engine
optimisation (SEC) . As many companies rely on their
website appearing prominently in search results, SEC
has become a lucrative business.
Search engine providef5 disapprove of people trying
to improve their search ranking artificially, but by
following some simple guidelines it's easy to ensure
thaI your website is successfuny crawled and indexed.
You should use a descriptive <title> tag in each of
your web pages. Search engines use this tag as a source
of important information about your page. and often
use it as the basis for the link in their results pages.
E'I Next. add a meta description to your web pages.
U This should describe the page in greater detail.
and may be used by the search engine to generate the
excerpt in the results page. This, in turn, win help
potential visitors to your site work out if your site is
relevant to them. The meta description tag shoold be
added to the <head> tag in your HTMl page. You
shoold add a meta tag to all HTMl pages; for example:
<title>Welcome to Redcot Barn
<{ t itle>
<meta ndme- RDescrip ti on" conten t -
Redeot Bar n is one of the best self-
cater ing holiday co tt ages in Stratford
Upon It can accommOdate parties of
10 and has spectacu l ar
cou nt ryside ")
Ne . t
vi ews across the
n Use <hl > and <h2> tags as well as bold fonts to
1::.1 pick out headings and emphasise text. Search
engines will ideotify these tags as a source of significant
keywords and will increase the relevancy score when
searches are made using them.
... Don't Iry to be too dever and repeat keywords
Ii.I in hidden parts of the page that the user cannot
see in an attempt to fool the indexer. Search engines
are quite good at detecting thiS misuse. as their
reputation is based on the quality of their results.
In the WOf5t -case scenario. the search engine will
discover what you are up to and remove your
website from the index completely.
Alternatively. sometimes you'lI need to prevent
search engines crawling and indexing content from
certain parts of your website. You might want to do this
if certain web pages contain information that you don't
want to make searchable. or if 1'00 have web pages that
to many gigabytes of data. Search engine crawlers
tend to use a lot of bandwidth as they download all the
reachable content on your website, so it's easy to
exceed the maximum bandvvidth limit of a hosted
website by having lots of content available. Exceeding
your bandwidth limit can your website become
temporarily unavailable or lead to hosting
bills, so it's best to avoid it. Instead. add a special file to
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Coogle __ Ula.. __
Coogle __
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-....... ---_ ...... - --_ ... _-.... _-... -..

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the root of your website, called robots.txt; this
tells search·engine crawlers which parts of your
website should not be processed.
A simple robotHxt file that prevents crawlers
processing files and directories looks like this:

Di sa ll ow : lol d/ l ndex . hlmi
The first line aUoW5 you to give instructions to a
particular crawler. Using' indicates that the
rules should be applicable to aU crawlers. The
foRowing lines are rules that prevent crawling of
specific directories and files, As you can see. it's
pOS$ible to alter the cootent that is indeKed by a
search engine drasticaUy by altering this lile -
sometimes by more than you originally intende<l.
Google has a free set of tools called
Webmaster Tools (w.vv.-.google.coml
webmastersltools) that can help you create a
robots.txt lile, get more inlormation about which
parts of your are being indeKed and
diagnose other problems, such as broken links,
that prevent pages being searchable.
n Google·s Webmaster Tools anow you to
a find out more about how Google (and
hence other search engines) your
and provides tools to help diagnose problems
and improve your overall search visibility. like
almost all the Google projects. the Webmaster
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Tools are free to use. You just need an active
Google account. which is e3sy to create. Once
you have an account, you can log on to the
Webmaster Tools home page by going to the
URL above. After you've logge<l in, you can add
URLs for the websites on which you want to use
the tools. such as
You can type in any URL at this point, even
those you don't own or control which is a
security problem. Before you can use the tools
on a partiC\.llar website. you have to
prove that you're in dwge of it. This is done by
either uploading an empty file to your website or
by pasting a meta tag into the <head> section
of your website·s home page.
n Once your website has been verified, you
1:.1 can access the fu ll set of tools. These are
divided into five main sections: Dashboard, Site
configuration. Your site on the web. DiagnostiCS
and Labs. The Diagnostic.s section is where you
can find out about any errors that Google
encountere<l when crawling your website, such
as broken links or pages with miS$ing titles.
You can also see an overview of pages that were
excluded by the robots.txt file to ensure that
you have it set up correctly. Ideally. you will
want as few errors as possible, so you should
ched this report often.
The Your site on the web section provides
various report5. including what kinds 01 searches
people are using to find your website and an
overview 01 keywords found in your indeKed web
pages. You can also see a list of the top phrases
used in external links to your site. such as in
anchor tags. Google is very intereste<l in how
other people link to your site and includes this
informatioo in its relevancy cakulations. The
Links to your site section also provides more
information about extemal links to your website.
Sitemaps are metadata files you can add to
your to describe its layout. ensuring that
crawlers can find pages they might otherwise
miss. This is particularly useful if you have
pages with dynamic content, using JavaScript to
create page links, or web pages that simply don·t
have any links to them. The 5itemaps section in
Webmaster Tools allows you to upload and
manage sitemaps, For more information about
sitemaps. see w.vv.-.xml ·sitemaps.com; here you
will also find a wiZilrd lor getting started.
Site configuratioo has a (rawler access
section. which indudes a number of useful
utilities lor checking your robots.txt file and
generating it if you doo·t have one. One of the
tabs is Remove URl., which you can use to
resolve issues with pages that no longer exist or
create problems by being in the Google indeK. 1Il
Next month
We show you how to embed video in your
site without usingYouTube
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Mastering HDR
filw photography
I:L High dynamic range images can overcome the limits of your
>< sensor. Jim Martin explains how to create stunning
Images the easy way

Modem digital cameras are
incredible devices. With little
or no technical knowledge,
you can take perfectly
exposed, sharp photos in just
/Ibout every situation. Simply
press the shutter button and
your carner .. instantly
assesses the scene and selects
the appropriate shutter speed,
IIJ>erture and ISO 5lensitivoty.
However, there are few
situations a single
photo can capture the true
dynamic (/Inge of a scene. For
example, you'll have SHfl
COlmtlen photos whee-e blue
skies become white, or
foregrounds become black
when skies are blue. This is
down to the sensor's li mited
dynamic range. It means they
can' t capture the full range of
light intensity from true black
to true white. Instead, they
Ulplure" smaller r/lnge in
between these extremes.
To overcome thi s. you (lin
tIIk!! multiple exposures and
blend them together t o (reate
images with a higher dynamic
range. Here we' lI show you
how to master this art.
Jim Martin
Deputy Editor
ou may have seen high range (HDR)
photos on websites such as Flickr , or even in
advertising campaigns. The5e striking images
have a greater range of luminance between the
lightest and dar1<est areas than standard photographic
techniques allow. They can more accurat ely repre5ent
the range of light intensity in a scene than a single
photograph, but the elfect can also be exaggerated to
create unreal-looking images.
The most common type of scene Ihat can benefit
from HOR is where there's extremely high contrast.
Perhaps you want to compose a shot Ihat encompasses
a bright sky and a dark subject, such as a person walking
along a beach at sunset. The best you (imd your
camera) can do is to expose on a mid-tone 10 attempt
to cater for both the dark and light areas. However. this
will inevitably mean that detail is lost in the brightest
and darkest portions of the image.
You could expo5e for the sky, but that would leave
your subject as a silhouette. This may be the desired
result, but Ihere are often times when you don't want a
silhouette, and harsh sunlight or backlighting would
simply result in a white background when you expose
the image to ensure your subject is easily visible.
Another good example is when photographing the
interior of a cathedraL Either you end up with white
areas that used to be intricate stained-glass windows,
or blackness surrounding the coloured panes of glass.
This is where you need to use HDR, which is
essentially Ihe same as the old technique of exposure
blending. The good news is that virtually any camera
can be used for this; you don't need a DSlR to take
advantage of this amaling technique. As long as you
can control exposure, you can create HDR images.
First. look in your camera's menus or on its buttons for
exposure controls. Most digit,,1 cameras Mve
EV compensation, which is a slider that runs between
-2 and +2.lt may be - t l.S or -+3, but the important
thing is to be able to control this manually. Some
compilcts and most DSlRs have exposure
bracketing. usually shortened to AEB. This means the
• L03d your bfad<eted photos Into Photomatlx and It
will /IutomaticaHy blend them In second$
camera '-"Iill take several different exposures when you
posh the shutt er button repeate<!ly.
It's also best to enable continuous or burst mode.
as this means you can hold your finger on the shutter
button and the camera will take all the exposures in
one go. If possible, set your camera to aperture priooty
mode and set the lowest possible ISO figure. This will
ensure that Ihe depth of field remains constant for each
of your shots (only the shutter speed wiH change) and
that Ihere's a minimum of noise. Finally, disable the
flash and enable the self-timer. as this will eliminate
any camera shake, even if you're using a tripod.
A tripod is essential, since an your exposures nee<!
to line up perfectly. otherwise your final photo will be
blurre<!. This also raises the problem of moving subjects.
If you want to moot a s<:ene where objects are moving.
you'll need an AEB mode, plus a very fast shutter spee<!.
You need a minimum of three shots - or exposures - to
make an HDR image. One needs to be overexposed to
capture the maximum amount of shadow detail. one
correctly exposed for the mid-lone details and one
underexposed to capture the highlight details. You can
also take shots in between these three if you like; this
can provide extra detail in the final image. However. for
most landscape photos, Ihree exposures will be
sufficient: one at -2EV. one at the proper exposure and
one at +2EV.lf you want to take an indoor photo that
includes a view out of a window, you'll need at least
five exposures in the same range. If your camera
you to +1- 1EV, you'll need nine exposures.
The final ingredient is HDR software. While it's
possible to combine exposures manually in any
image-editing application that supports layers. this can
take hours. Our recommendation is to use software
that can automatically blend exposures. such as
HDRSoft Photomatix Pro. Corel Paint Shop Pro or
Adobe Photoshop Elements 8. These applications can
merge exposures in 5ecoods, while Photomatix Pro can
also align photos taken without a tripod and re<!uce
ghosting caused by swaying trees. Jt can also apply tone
mapping. which es>entiany reduces the dynamic range
• You ca n adj ust lhe oIlhe linal image by changing
!he settings In !he panel on !he Ie!!
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
of the processed image so that it can be properly
displayed on a computer monitor.
Here, we·U be using Photomatix light, which
costs $39 (around f28) from w.vw.hdno{t.com.
It doesn·t have some 01 the advanced tone-
milpping options 01 Photomiltix Pro, but it will
stiR attempt to align yoor photos and is the
cheilpest wily to create HDR images.
Fiflt, you need to copy your bracketed
images to your PC's hard disk. These can be RAW
files or )pEGs. Select the exposures you want to
use and drag them on to Photomatix·s interlace.
Yoo'U see them ilppear in the main window '-"li th
tickboxes next to them. You can untick any yoo
don't want to use. but this is usually ifTelevanl:.
When the images have loaded. you·n see a
Next button. Click on it and the exposures will
be merged. A new window win open with the
image. Make sure that Exposure Fusion is
selected in the Methods & Presets pane.
Now il ·S time to adjust the settings to create
the desired effect for your photo. There are live
sliders: Accentuation. Saturation. Blending Point.
Shadows and Midtones Contract.
The best way to undefltand what these do is
to adjust each in tum to its extreme positions
and then back to the centre, watching the
preview after each adjustment. A«entuation
adjusts the strength of local contrast, while
Blending Point changes the weighting given to
the underexposed and overexposed photos. To
ilchieve a lighter imilge. slide this to the right.
The ShadoW$ slider lets you brighten shadow
details without affecting highlights. Midtones
Contrast adjusts brightness and contrast
together. increasing brightness while decreasing
contrast, and vice vefla. Saturation should be
II you shoot in RAW mode, your hard disk
will be lull of photos that can be tumed into
pseudo-HDR images. While it's preferable to
use three bracketed photos, it's possible to
extract extra shadow and highlight detail
Irom a RAW image to create an image that
looks similar 10 a real HDR photo.
Photomatix Light allows you to do this
simply and effectively. Just locate Ihe RAW
file in Windows Explorer and drag it on to
Photomat;'c. Tkk Ihe box next to the
thumbn.ail 01 the image arid click Next.
The Exposure Fusion option wi11 be disabled,
• Here you can see how HDR can be u...d 10 creale a ""1 ....... ·Jooking pholo u.ing Expo.ure
Fu,ion blend mode. Thi' shot was created from the three exposures shown above
adjusted last, since the other adjustments can
chilnge the of the image.
Once yoo·re happy with your settings, click
the Process & Save button. You can save the
image as a JPEG or TIF.lf you plan on editing
the image further - to sharpen or blur it. lor
example - then s<llle as a lossless TIF file. [D
but you'll be able to uSe Details Enhancer to
adjust the settings.
If none of the preset modes creates the look
you want, you can manually adjust the sliders.
Smoolhing is the most important setting as it
has the biggest impact on the final image. It
smoothes variatiorls in contrast across the
picture. More smoothing creates a more
natural look, while less smoothirlg gives an
artistic (some might say cartoon- like) effect.
You'l1 get the best from photos with
medium contrast; shots with extreme contrast
almost always require multiple exposures to
Next month
Learn thor: techniques the pros use to
convert colour photos to black and white
produce a 'proper' HDR image. In the example
hor:re, we've taken a photo where the building
was in shadow and man.aged to extract Ihe
detai llrom the RAW file to brighten the dark
areas. However, as you can see, Ihe sky
doesn't look particularly natural in the
processed version. This can be corrected
easily by loading both the original arid
processed photos inlo your photo-editing
software, placing them on layers in the same
image arid using masking to keep the sky
from the original arid the foreground Irom
the processed shol.
<1 0 .... original RAW
lile cont" ined a
building In shadow,
so much oflhe
detail was losl.
With the processed
version, the det"il
is restored. It 1001<5
like an HDR shot,
but we·d have
achieved a beller
re$ult If we'd talcen
multiole expo.ure$
to stM with
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
I- Imp
9 and
Ell editing vl[teo

If 'Iou are
plannmg to
to Unult , don't mISS
our in-depth step-,
by-step guide to thIS
exciting as, °
now for t .
in WHsmith
Your Linux PC can be just as
good at editing videos as it is
at editing photos. This
ste p-by-step guide will show
you how to .::anneet a digital
video Ume'!! to your Linu)( PC.
copy movies from it and edit
them on your computer.
Like everything else in
Linux, aU the software we've
used is completely free.
David Ludlow
Linux is perfectly capable of dealing with your video files, Here
we'll show you how to transfer files to your PC and edit them
onnectingyour digi'''' vKleo camera to it
Ubuntu linux PC should be pretty easy, as the
operatIng system has built -in support for
camcorders. However, there are some areas that could
give you problems. Before we start. we'Ulalk you
through the difficulties you might fa<e.
There are two types of video <:amera that you're
likely to want to connect to your computer:
MiniDV or modem flash storage models. In short,
MiniDV models will be tricky to instalL Many need
to conned to a FireWire port and require a specific
not impossible to work around the problem,
but you' re likely to J\In in to a number 01 difficulties
when doing so. Our is to keep a PC running
Windows handy for connecting this kind of camera.
II you a flash-ba5ed or
camcorder, things are a lot easier. In this section we'll
5how you how to connect this type 01 camera and copy
files from it to your Ubuntu computer.
Depending on your camera, you'll have a choice 01
connection methods. If your camera removable
storage, such as an SO card, you <:an use a USB card
reader. Ubuntu recognises these devices in the same
way as Windows does. All you have to do with a <:ard
reader is take the memO!)' <ard out 01 your <amcorder
and plug it in to your card reader. The card will become
in Computer from the Places menu. All you
have to do is copy the files you want lrom it.
II your camcorder uses internal memory or a hard
disk, or you don't have a memory card reader, your only
option is to plug in your camcorder using USB. In our
experience, camcorders can use a weird and wonderful
collection 01 USB cables, so remember to use the one
that came in the box with your camera.
Digital cameras may offer multiple connection
modes, such as the Picture Transfer Protocol (HP), but
video cameras have only one: mass storage. AU you
have to do is plug your camera in via USB and it will be
recognised as a Ila5h storage device. II you have photos
stored on your camera from using its stills mode, as
weU as videos, you'U see a dialog box telling you that
·You have just inserted a medium with digitill photos.
Choose what application to launch: The default option
will be F-Spot Photo Manager. Ooo't select this option:
instead select Open Folder and dick OK.
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• Select Open Fold"r 10 view your C¥1'Icorder'$ fll".
• Modern flash-memory or Mrd-disk-based camcorden
ar<) easy 10 con"",1 10 UbunlU
Alternatively, you can view the files by cliding on
Computer from the Places menu. You can then browse
your camcorder as though it were any other folder or
storage device. Any videos can simply be copied from
the device to your hard disk by dragging and dropping.
Before you start editing your videos (see opposite), you
may want to check the files first and delete any that
you don't want to use. Ubuntu can play back most file
types, and we had no problems with lOS0p HD video
files Irom our Samsung camcorder. However, some HD
cameras have been known to use strange fomnats, so
you may need to search the Ubuntu forums lor help.
To view a lile, simply double-click 00 it and the
Totem Movie Player will start. By default this player
doesn't have a lot 01 video codecs (the software that is
used to display a video file) installed, but it can detect
automatically what it needs to install. When you first
try to playa file you'll see an option to install <tdditional
plug-ins, such as the gstreamerO.10-ffmpeg H.264
codec. Select the default option and click Install.
Once the codec has been installe<!, you'll be able to
preview your video. The software doesn't always get it
right , so if the picture looks squa5he<! , select 16:9 from
the View, Aspect Ratio menu. This should fix the video
and make it look right. Once you've previewed your
dips, you can simply delete those you don't want and
.save the others to be edited.
Installing the codec also means that supported
videos will automatically have a thumbnail image
generated in the file browser. This is similar to the way
in which Windows handles video liles. lt makes it easy
to see quickly what you've got and always select the
right clip without having to it first.
Once you're happy with the files that copied
from your camcorder, you can edit them in the package
of your choice. We provide more details on how to do
this in our guide to using Kdenlive opposite.
Next month
We show yoo how to protect your impOl"tant
fi les from disaster
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
HOW TO •••
Edit video
Ubunlu doesn't come with an to edit
video, and it's only re<:ently that developers have
st arted to work 00 programs for this purpo:;e.
Currently. the best is Kdenlive, but as it's
stiR unfinished, you may experience a few bugs.
However, as long as you regularly save your
work, you can just reload it and carry on.
As Kdenlive's interface is relatively complex.
it's w()(th spending a few moments acquainting
yourself with the various controls (5ee below).
To jnstaH Kdenlive, use the Synaptic Package
Manager, under Administration in the System
menu. Search for in the Quick search
box, and marl< it for install<ltion. Accept the extra
packages when asked. You'll find Kdenlive under
Sound & Video in the Applications menu.
Copy any video dips from your camcorder
to your hard disk. Clips stored on the
camera or OIl a memory card will be too slow.
Start up Kdenlive and dick the Add Clip button.
Browse to where stored your clips, select
the ones you want apnd hit the Open button.
E'I Clips may take a few minutes to be
g indexed, and until they are they'll be
greyed out. this is done. drag dips one by
one on to the timeline into track 1.

.!::.!! - _.!. ......

-:; i:"
Trim the dips by your mouse
1::.1 over the lelt or righl edge of it and. when
the cursor drag the d ip to the desired
point. If you wanl to add transitions, you'll need
to overlap dips in adjacent video tracks.
Right-dick on one of the dips, hover over Add
Transition and then choose from the
menu thai
... You can add a title to the start of your
Ii.I movie by clicking the down arrow next to
the Add Clip button and choosing Add Title Clip.
Using the text tool (the icon with the letter T on
it). type in the title you want. changing the font.
size and colour as appropriate. You can move it
around using the)( and Y controls at the top.
Click OK and then drag Ihe title from your dip
list to the beginning of track O.
You can now click the Render button to
your movie in whatever format is most
appropriate. You'l( find lots of presets in the
Destination drop-down menu. To save to a DVD,
choose DVD. then PAL 16:9 VOB (assuming your
video camera is widescreen). Tick ·Open DVD
wizard alter rendering' and you'll be ilble to bum
a DVD with the resulting MPEG file. CD
The Kdenlive interface explained
The Render bUllon. Click Ihls when >---------""\
yo<J're ready to export your Ilnlshed
movie in a lomlalthat your player
Is compatible wllh.
Click the Add Clip button to
import video dips from your hard
disk, memory card directly
from your video camera.
These are the video clips in your
project. They can be added to the
Ilmeline as many times as yo<J like.
These two wavelorms represent
lhe leI! and righl audio chan""ls
In each video clip.
The playback marker shows the
currenl pos ition In lhe movie.
There a'e two clips on lhe time line. The track5
work like layers in pholo-ediling software. Video
on lop will ob$Cu.e Clll» below unlen Ihe lop
video is transparenl Or occupies part of lhe I,ame.
Click: dell.co.uk
Orag an etlec1lrom lhe list on 10
a clip 10 add Ihat etlect. You can
add multiple etlects to each clip
and adjust Ihel' properties with
Ihe Effect Stack lab on the left.
The J)!"o/ect monitor shows Ihe
whole movie, bUI you can switch
it lor a view of t he currenl clip
by clicking on the Clip Monllor
lab below.
II you maka a mistake, you can
use the Undo History to jump
back to the point I,om which
you want to reslart.
The zoom control lets you
sea more detai l when you
need to adi ust ar.d edil dips
mOre p'eclseIV.
The Razo, tool lets you split
video clips into mulliple chun"
while On tlmellne.
';;;;;;;;::-----' The selection tool i, used lor dragging
and trimming Cllp$ on Ihe tlmellne.
Call: 0844 444 3242
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
1:1::: shows you how to block these unwelcome messages
f your email pmgram has an anti -spam filter, you (an up to use a challorum, you can creale a new Coogle
-.... it to move sparn you've downlwded to a spedal Mail email address for free at/lttp:/lmail.goog/e.com
..... >< email folder. If it work.s as it should, all the email you and use that for your forum iKeount.
and other rubbish will be stored in a folder called sparn. their you'll prob<lbly be asked if the company
want will stay in the inbox, while the adverts, viruses When you sign up wilh some to use
junk or similar. In this m()(lth's we'll can provide your details to other companies. If you
5how you how to avoid spam messages and configure want to cut spam you should untick any boxes that
Windows Mail, Windows l ive Mail and Thunderbird to give this penmission.
Anyone that uses email knows
that is a big problem.
The amount of junk e mail
many of us receive is
overwhelming. The best way
to avoid it is to stop it arriving
in the first pla(e, We'lI show
you how to avoid exposing
your email account to
spammers here.
If you're already receiving
some spam. there are three
main wllys to hllndle these
unwanted messages: using
your emllil progrllm's built-in
anti-spam filter; instaUing
softwllre; lind using
an anti-spam se ...... i(e . We'll
Uke you through 1111 these
options on these pages.
Siman Edwards
Expert on
block wam messages automatically.
II there's a golden rule when dealing wit h unwanted
email.it.s never reply to a Sp<lm email. There are a
number 01 reasons why you might be tempted to reply.
but no good will ever come of it. Here's why:
• Spammers collect email addresses. They do thiS so
that (ater advertising camp<ligns reach even more
people. When you reply to an email. you are confirming
that your email address is valid and that a human is
reading email sent to it.
• Spammers usually don't use their own compoters.
Online criminals often use hijacked computers in order
to send spam, which means that replying to messages
will often just send a message to an innocent victim 01
a compoter virus.
• Sp<lm adverts may not be all they seem. II you didn't
ask lor the communication, that business is behaving
unethically and quite possibly illegally. II your only
contact with a comp<lny is through spam, there are lots
of reasons to distrust it.
You might be wondering how a spammer got hold
of your address. Email addresses appear allover the
intemet on websites and <:hat lorums, in databases
maintained by online stores and services. and in friends '
address books. Sp<lmmers COln scan websites and forums
for email addresses. hack databases and use viruses to
read private address books.
You can control how your email address appears on
websites and forums. Consider using disposable email
addresses lor certain activities. For example, il you sign
.. _t __
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---.... _-_. __ .... -
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.-.... -.. _ ... _--..... _ ..
_-.... _1 __ -
5,-."'''"'' .... ___ .. _ .. ___ ...
...... _ ...... -
---.... _--_ ...... -
... Use your email bui lt";n .. protect ion
to help redUC& unwanted mail
II you use Windows Mail (Vista).liveMail (Windows 7),
Thunderbird or Outloo4<. you already have some
anti-spam protection at your fingertips. Here we'U
show you how to configure them.
Although we recommend Thunderbird, you may want
to use Windows Mail or Windows Live Mail.
Click the Tools menu option and choose Junk
E-mail Options (Safety Options from the cursor
icon at the top-right of Live Mail) Irom the list. By
default this will be set to No Automatic Filtering. To
st<lrt, <:hoose the Low option, which oHers to move the
most obvious spam to the Junk E-mail folder.
There's also an option underneath that wi![ delete
the suspect email This isn't a good idea, unless you 're
absolute!y sure that you only ever want to receive
emaillrom people you list in the next step.
Et Click the Safe Senders tab and make sure that
a the option at the bottom, COl l!ed Also trust e-mail
from my Windows ContaCll , is ticked. This means that
emaillrom known Iriends and family won't be claSSified
as spam.lf you receive email from people....mo aren't in
your contacts list, you COln add their addresses by
dicking the Add button.
n Open your email inbox and select aU the Sp<lm
1::.1 messages you COln lind. Drag them to the Junk
E-mail lolder on the left. from this point on, any new
email that you download will be checked and messages
that the system dassilies as spam wiU be moved to this
folder automaticaUy.
anti-§pam allows
int o your inbox. Spam t hat
through your is described a§ a false
negative. When your inbox is stuffed with spam.
even though you have anti-spam protection.
you're suffering from false negatives. worst
kind 01 protection §uffers Irom both fa lse
positives arld other words. your real
email ends up in the bin and your spam erlds up
in your inbox.
When you first start using an ant i-spam
application, you should keep an eye on your
spam folder. It's quite likely t hat some real email
will erld up being marked as a false po§itwe.
Similarly. don't t rust every message in your
inbox, as §pam is likely to get through .
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
-... ---....


.......... -... -.--...
--. ...-
... Don't trust the anti-spam fiher to work
Ii.I accurately all the time. Look at the
mes:xlges in your Junk E-mail folder occasionally
and. if you find any useful mail that has been
moved here. right-dick on the message. choose
the Junk E-mail option and then dick on Mark as
Not Junk. The message will be restored to your
inbox. Consider adding the email address of the
sender to your Safe Senders list
First ensure that your address book
contains the email addresses 01 people
you always want to receive email from.Clid on
the Tools menu option and choose Address Book.
Select Personal Address Book from the short list
in the leh-hand bar and check the names and

-_. __ ..... _ ... ---
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....... -- .-
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_ .. -... ---
. ,-
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ft'I :=::.::::.=:---,...----
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___ "_" __
addresses that appear. Click the New Card
button to add more addresses. and delete any
that you don't want by highlighting them with
the mouse and pressing the Delete key. Close the
window when you've finished.
E'I Right -dd your acwunt's name on the
a left-hand bar and choose Properties. The
Account Settings window will appear. Click on
the Junk Settings option and ensure that the ' 00
not mark mail as junk if the sender is in: Personal
Address Book' option is tid ed. Tick the option
called Move new junk messages to and choose
the Junk fol der on: option. Select your acwunt's
name from the drop-down list. Click OK.
n Click the Tools menu option and choose
1::.1 Options lrom the list Click the Privacy
button and then choose the Junk tab. Tick the
box labelled When I mark messages as junk, imd
select the option below this, called Move them
to the account's "Junk' folder. Click OK .
... View your inbox containing a mixture of
Ii.I spam and genuine email. Find the small
junk icon, which looks like flames. probably just
to the right of the Sender heading. E<lCh mes:xlge
has a dot next to it that 's al igned with this junk
icon. Look through your emails and, when you
. '" /
__ .... I_"'!!.!:!!"!!!
.. ,...-... --_ ... --_ .. -
-- -_._ ........ -

.. .. -_-.-
.• -
--- _ .... _-
. ._-
- "-_.'"
Find a spam message. d ck once on its junk dot.
This wiU change to look the flaming icon.
Click it again to tum it off. Once all Sp<lm
messages are labelled with the junk icon, click on
the Tools menu option and choose Run Junk Mail
Controls on Folder. The should be sent to
the Junk fol der. Check this fol der from time to
time and rescue any real email that has been
moved there by unticking its Junk icon.1il
Next month
Find out how to your home
networl< with a secure wireless connection
..... -.. --...
.......... -!-

__ '-"'I
.- .....
_ ... L
- -.
_ ...... .
-_ .. ...
-_ ... .


- ,-
- .. -_ ........
... - --
Stop viruses and spyware
Block hackers and
protect privacy
• Opti mize speed and
• Automatic file backup
• Free onli ne support and
local-rate phone assistance
Order online at
"'onun ___ '
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
, .
ccn Advanced BI[]S

In last month'sAdvancl!d
Projects we looIIed at how to
configure your computer's
st(Wage and boot options. This
month we're going a bit more
in depth, liS we took into how
to configure your PC's
pro<eS$or and memory. It's
important to check that the
settings are correct .. , your
computer may otherwise run
stower that it's supposed to,
or be faster but less stable.
David Ludlow
Your BIOS is responsible for making sure that your processor
and memory are configured correctly. David Ludlow shows
you how to set it up
emaps the important job that your 610S
does is to tell your PC how fast the processor
and memory should run. II these settings ,lfe
incorrect, you may find that your computer either runs
more slowly than it shoold, 0<" it will run faster but
could crash intermittently. It's therefore important to
SUfe that your BIOS is configured correctly.
To check your processor's speed, you first need to find
the correct setting. This may be in a dedicated menu,
such as Cell Menu, or listed under BIOS
Features. Whether you're running an Intel or AMD
processor, its speed is based on two settings: an
external bus speed and a multiplier (often called the
processor ratio in the 6105),
The external bus speed multiplied by the multiplier
gives you your proceS5ofS speed, For example, a Core 2
Duo E8500 has a clock speed 013.16GH7. This is made
up 01 an external bus speed 01 333MHz multiplied by a
i<9 multiplier (9 x 333M Hz . 3.16GHz).
II either 01 these settings is incorrect. your PC won't
run at its designated speed. In addition, if the extemal
bus speed is incorrect, it will have a elfect on
your memOl)"s speed. It's important to make sure that
this setting is COJTe<t First. you'U need to how
fast your processor should run. The easiest way to do
this is to start Windows. Right-did Cornputer Irom the
Start menu and select Properties. You should see a
screen that liSlS your processor model name followed
by'@ )()()(GHf. This is your proceS5Or's rated speed in
gigahertz. We'll show you how to check processor
speeds lor aU processors below.
For AMD processors, working out the processor
speed is simple, as the extemal bus speed (probably
called HyperTransport speed in the BIOS) should be set
to 200MHl. You can then set the multiplier. This can be
done il you know your processor's rated speed in
_._-_ .. _-
- 1::1-.-
- -----··--··1
..... --.- ...
-- ----
--_ .. _-
-- -
---- _.
... YOIJ can check your proce .. or·s ra led speed In
Wlrodows' Cont'ol Panel
... Select the correct CPI.J Base Frequency to goet the ,ight
processor speed
megahertz (multiply its gigahertz ra t ing by 1,000).11
you don' t know your processors rated speed, you can
find a list of AMD processors at hup:llrinyurl.coml
amdprocesJon, Typing the model name into Google
will also bring up help. Simply divide your processors
rating in megahertz by 200 to get its multiplier.
For Intel Core i3, Core is and Core i7 processors,
the external bus (probably called base dock or base
frequency) should be set to 133MHL As with At"1D's
processors above, all you have to do to lind out the
multiplier is divide your processor's rated speed in
megahertz by 133. You can lind a list 01 Intel processor
speeds at http://tlnyurl,com/lnteiproce55orJ.
To make things even more confusing. older Intel
processors often have their Irontside bus (FSB) speed
quoted. This is quad-pumped, so is four times faster
than the external bus speed. To lind out your
processor's external bus speed, first find out its FSB
speed at hup:lltinyuri.comlinteiprocessorJ. Divide the
listed FS6 speed by four to get the external bus speed,
and divide your processor's speed in megahertz by the
external bus speed to get the multiplier.
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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
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de$ignated weed
In your BIOS, find the options for CPU Ratio
(or mu!tiplier) and, depending on your processor,
base frequency, FSB or HyperTransport speed.
Use the plus and minus keys on your keyboard
to adjust these settings.
Your 610S may display your processor's speed
based on the settings that you've change<l. This
help you make sure that you've configured it
property. II not. don't panic as it can be checked
in Windows. To do this, your settings and
reboot your compoter.
Install CPU-Z (www,cpuid,comji'youdon't
already have it, and run the application. Click on
the CPU tab and at the bottom you'll see your
processor's current bus speed and multiplier. The
multiplier may be lower than expected as
modern processors reduce it when your PC isn't
busy in order to save power and reduce heat.
To boost the processor to its maximum
speed. download Hot CPU Tester (www.7byte.
com}. Install the software and run it. ignoring any
messages about buying the full version. Click
Burn-in and Run CPU Bum-in. CPU- Z and
the multiplier will be at its maximum {it may be
sluggish to switch to CPU-Z. but don·t worry}.
NeKt, check that the Core Speed is set to
your processor·s correct rating. If ifs not and
the bus speed is set correctly, you'll need to go
back to your BIOS and adjust the processor's
multiplier. If the bus speed is incorrect. you'll
i II_

10_ 1 .... '1






--. •
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• •
'" '"
You can use CPIJ-Z 10 make a n.ote of Y"'" memory's
SUPpOrted speed$
need to 3djust thiS. You can now dick Stop CPU
Bum-in on Hot CPU Tester.
Before we go back to the BIOS. ifs best to
check your memory's correct speed and settings
by going back to CPU-Z and cUd<:ing on SPD.
This reads the configuration from your memory
to get the optimal settings. look at the Max
Bandwidth section and note down the megahertz
rating (this may be half the speed you·re
expecting as memory runs at twice its stated bus
speed, so DDR2 800MHz actually has a 400MHz
clock speed). look at the timings table and find
the Frequency entry that matches your
memory·s Max Bandwidth speed. Note down all
the information in the table, including CAS#
latency, RAS# to CAS# and so 00.
Once you have this information, restart your
computer and go into the BIOS and the menu
you used to configure your processor. Your
memory·s speed is defined by the processor's
external bus speed multiplied by a multiplier
called the memory ratio. Change the memory
ratio until your memory is set to the correct
speed. For example, on a Core 2 Duo E8500
(333MHz). DDR2 800MHI memory should be set
to a memory ratio of 1.2 (1.2x333 .. 400MHz).
Your BIOS should then display the correct full
memory speed; in other words, it will show
800MHI for DDR2 800MHI RAM, not the 'true'
speed ol400MHz.
Some BIOSes don·t have a memory
ratio setting. but rather have a menu
option that lets you select your memory·s
full speed, such as BOOMHz. Simply sele<:t
the correct speed from the drop-down list.
Next you'll need to adjust the DRAM
Timing Mode. This should be set
automatically. but some memory defaults
to a slower speed to ensure your PC boots
up. The memory timings will be the
second set 01 figures you noted down
when you were using CPU-l.
The headings in the BIOS may not
match those taken from CPU-Z, and
there may even be more headings
displayed. What"s important is that the
timings in the BIOS are in the same order
as in CPU-Z. CAS latency (Cl) will be
clearly marked. Starting here. set each
row to the value in the COl1"esponding
row that you noted down. When your
memory is correctly configured. yoo can save the
settings and continue.
The final job in the BIOS is to make sure that
your PC is correctly configured to save power. To
do this. find the Power Management Setup (or
5imilar) menu, Here you can change the Advanced
Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) mode.
Look for an ACPI option and set it to S3. rather
than 51. This configures your computer so thaI
in Sleep mode it will only supply power to the
memory. This means Ihat your computer will
only use a few watts of power; in SI mode pretty
much the entire computer remains on in Sleep
mode. which wastes power.
Under this option you'll be able to set the
Restore On AC Power loss feature. This tells your
computer what to do alter it's lost power - alter
a power cut. for e><ample. Off will leave your PC
ofl, On will make it tum on when power is
restored, and Last State will leave your PC off if it
was tumed 011. but otherwise tum it bad on.
You can also set your BIOS to define which
devices can bring your PC out of Sleep mode. All
BIOSes have slightly different options. New
computers will have an option to remove control
from the BIOS and put it entirely on Windows.
This requires managing your devices through
Device Manager in Windovvs, using the Power
Management tab to select whether that device
can be used to wake the computer,
Most device$ don't have these options, and
you can only select which devices can and can't
wake the computer. These will typically include
USB PS/2 Keyboard and PS/2 Mouse,
plus PCI or PCI Express devices.
We recommend leaving all these settings
enabled. You can still manually control which
devices can the computer by viewing a
device's properties in Windows' Device Manager
and selecting the Power Management tab. E:!
Next month
Find out how t o make Windows T§ file
and printer sharing with Window§
XP and Vi§ta
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
PC won't power on
I have an MUS A8N32:-SU motherboard,
an AMD 64 fX-60 dual-cort' proa>5sor and
two Nvldia GeForce 7900 GTX Cilrds.
When I switch on the machine, nothing appears on
the mooitor and I don't hear the usu,,1 POST beep
soonds. The PC comes on and the Ian starts, but
that's all. To switch it off, I need to keep my linger
pressed on the onloff bunon. I've tried diffe",n!
display cables and monitors but that hasn't helped.
I've t ried taking out aUlhe RAM, disconnecting
the hard disk.s and removing the graphics cards,
but stil l no POST beeps. I'm guessing it's the CPU or
motherboard but I don't know which. Can you help?
Atj' jung, atifjung@gmail.com
Your PC is qui te powerful. so the finger of
suspicion points at the power supply unit
(PSU) . Bef ore you change any h<trdware, rule
out a problem with this. If you already cheded
its specifications against t he requirements for your
setup, do so. If it meets them, check that any modular
cables are wonected properly and double-check the
connections to the motherboard.
If your two graphics cards have auxiliary power
sockets, make sure they're connected - if not, you
need to connect a foor-pin supply to the
motherboard's EZ Plug. which is near t he main ATX
power connector. II all seems well, see il you can
borrow a similarly powerful PSU from a friend to rule
,. .... ____________ oot a pallial PSU failure.
II none of these st eps the
problem, dearing the motherboard's
realt ime dock information may help.
... 11 your PC won' switch on. ched that the power cables are
connected properly
This is covered in section 2-20 of MUS'S
manual (ht1p:lltinyurl.comlasusmanuaf)
but, in brief, you unplug the PC, remove the
battery and move the CLRTC jumper from
pins 1-2 to pins 2-3. Leave it there for a
few seconds before moving it bilck and
refitting the battery.
If thiS fails and you're feel ing pallicularly
brave, you can try unplugging the computer
and, aft er taking anti-static precautions,
carefully removing the CPU cooler. Then
remove and refit the CPU, making sure the
socket lever clicks properly back into place
before refitting the cooler.
• • Restore pOln::s are delet ed
I've been running Windows 7 on my laptop and
desktop for a few weeks, having upgraded
from Windows to Windows 7 Home Premium.
Everything seems fine except that my restore points
are deleted every time I restart, This happens on
both systems.
I traded this down to a VOLSNM ERROR 25,
which occurs every time the system restarts.
According to the timestamp, this error occurs at the
point of restart and oot at shutdown.
The error message is: "The shadow copies of
volume C: were deleted because the s hadow copy
storage coold oot grow in time. Consider reducing
the K) load on the system or choose a shadow copy
storage volume that is oot being shadow cOflied."
The only solution I've seen on the intI' met (quite
a few people seem to be suffering from this
problem) suggests doing a repair install of Windows
7. This seems drastic, and I don't understand why
the same issue would occur on two different
machi rles if it were just an installation problem.
Although I haven't found a proper solution
yet, I've found something that might be of use to
other readers: ERUNT. lt stands for Emergency
Recovery Utility NT, and it backs up the Registry
and certain critical files.
The program is freeware and can be set up to
create a daily backup automatically if one doesn't
exist already for the day. It can also be run on
demand to create a backup, in which case it
deletes any previous manual backup for that day.
To restore a backup, simply follow t he utility's
instructions. Whi le this isn't a perfect solution, it's
better than nothing. Although this is quite an old
utility, as far as I've been able to tell, it's still valid
for Vista and Win.dows 7. You can download
ERUNT from www.snapfiles.comlger/erunr.hrml.
Ron Lock, ron@ronzilla.co.uk
-_. __ .. _-
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0.-0 __
r ___ _
... If you fir<:! tkat Windows 7 is deleting your re.tore
point$, you can u.e a. a workaround
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Processor running at slower speed
t downloaded and ran the (www.
cpuid.com) correctly
detects my proa>ssor, displaying its
name followed by its rated speed. However, in
the Core Speed box on the CPU tab, the spud
list ed is much slower than t he processor's rated
speed. Why is my computer running so slowly?
Steven Jameson
Your processor is supposed to run slower
than its maximum rated 5peed when
possible. Both Intel and AMD have
technology 00 their processors that reduces their
speeds when they're not used heavily. This
keeps your PC cooler and, thank5 to the slower Ian
speeds required, quieter. Processors running al lower
clod:: speeds also use less power. In CPU-Z. the
sllt'ed that appears after your processor's name tells
you its rated speed, while the Core Speed box tells
you how last the processor is currendy running.
There's a simple way to check what 's going on.
Download the HotCPU tester (http://www.7byte.
and install it on your
computer. Run the application. click on the Bum-in
icon and dkk Run CPU Burn-in. This will push one core
on your processor to 100 per cent load. While the test
is running. switch bad<: to CPU-Z and look at the Core
Speed box again. This should have increased to match
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runni ng. A slow weed 1$"1 n.e<:euarlly a bad thing
your processors ra te<:! speed. If it hasn·t. there's
probably a configurat ion error on the BIOS. Our
complete guide to the BIOS {see Advanced Projects on
page 146} will help you oonfigure it. Be careful making
any changes. as you can damage your computer if you
accidentally overclock it too far.
Display driver stops working
and recovers
I have a Dell Studio XPS 8000 running
54-bit Windows 7. with SGB of RAM and
an Nvidia Geforce GT220 graphics card.
It's all running really well except for a seemingly
random error that t ells me: "Displ ay driver has
stOflped responding and has reoovered. Display
driver Nvidia Windows kemel driver version 186.27
stOflped responding and has now successfu lly
recovered." I've trie<:! downloading and installing
from the Nvidia website what I assumed was the
latest driver for 64-bit Windows 7. but the annoying
problem persists. Any suggestions?
David Clowes, ddowes@btinternet.com
This problem affects only a small minority
of PCs and. unfol1unately. there's no easy
solution. Windows is trying to prevent a
total crash - or hang - which would require a reboot.
Vista and Windows 7 have a Timeout
and Recovery (TDR) leature. which tries to detect
problematic situations where the graphiC$ procesoing
unit (GPU) is busy but nothing is being updated on the
screi'n. leading the user to think the PC has crashed.
Windows resets the GPU in this situation. and you'lI
often Sei' the screi'n flicker and return to the Windows
desktop with the error message you mention.
However. TOR can be a little sensitive and reset the
GPU for no app<!rent reason. even if you' re just running
a 2D application 5Uch as Word. Having
this problem first hand. we can appreciate how
frustrating it is.
There's no magic fix for this. as the problem could
be any number of things. l1"s easy to jump to the
condusion that the graphiC$ driver is faulty. but this is
a red herring in most cases. In our PC. the fault was a
bad stick of RAM; once replaced. the problem vanished.
It may be tempting to head to the Registry and
attempt to disable TDR or change the timeout period
to try to stop the GPU being reset. but you should
resist this and try to locate the cause of the problem
rather than applying a sticking-plaster .solution.
In extreme cases. it's necessary to reinstall
Windows from scratch. but this won't help if faulty
hardware is causing the problem. Our advice is to
remove all but one stid<: of RAM from your PC and
see if the problem goes away. If not. work your way
through all the sticks to check that none of them is
causing the problem.
Display driver stopped responding and has reeov
Displ.y driver NVIDIA Windows Kernel Mode Driwr. Vfflion l Sl .7
reponding and hIS .ecovved.
Other hardware issues that can
cause a TOR event indude bad sectors
in RAM on the graphics card. bad
sectors on the hard disk that result in
a corrupt Windows installation. GPU
failure due to ovemeating or
insufficient power. and processor
overheating. Software issues can
include problems with running
... Num .. rou. I ....... can . ... ult in Timeout Detection and Recovery .. " o.
me .... ges •• 0 the e_act cau.e Can be hard to det ermine
multiple monitors. high resolutions
and Aero transparency efl ects.
Your experts
David Ludlow
Davi d has been writing about
technology for 11 years and
specialises in solving
netwO<1<ing and PC
hardware problems.
having previously
worke<:! in IT support.
Jim Martin
Having reviewe<:! PCs for over 11
years and with a keen interest in
digital video and
photography. Jim can
solve your hardware
and productivity
problems. _____ ..J_ ...
Si mon Edwards
With more than 16 years of PC
e_perience. focused on protect ing
computer users from
hackers and other
threats. Simon'stlle
best man to help
solve security woes.
Kay Ewbank
Please contact the relevant
department at the email
address list ed above. You
(an also writ e t o us at:
Comput .. r Shopper
30 Cleveland St reet
Please try to give fuU details 01
your problem. We need an email
address or daytime and evening
telephone numbers in case we
nee<:! more information.
Although the policy of
Computer Shopper is not to
publish readers' email addresses.
we indude them in Help so that
other readers with experience of
similar problems can share their
solution (please also cc any
comments to the relevant Help
department above). If you would
prefer not to have your email
address published. please say so. E!l
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Media Center keeps waking up
My Windows 7 Media Center PC
keeps waking itself up. Every lime
I go downstairs in the morning. it's
on. Why is it doing this and how do I stop it?
The culprit is likely to be either a
piece of hardware or a sche<:luled
service that's set to wake your Pc.
The ()(II'll way 10 lind out for sore is to wait
until your PC has been woken and then use a
command line tool 10 find ()(Jt what woke it
,---....... _._-'<-
....... __ .. _-
--_ .. _ .....
......... _--_ . ...-.
... A scheduled 1M!< can be set 10 wake yo",
computer up al a given lime
To do this, dick on the Stan
button. type CMO and press
Enter. Type 'powercfg -lastwake'
and hil Ent er. The line that st,nts
'Type:' will tell you which device
or SCheduled service CilUSed your
computer 10 up.
If it's a scheduled service. we
bet that ma-update_schedule<l is
causing the problems_ To change
this schedule's settings, dick on
the Start button, type 'task
scheduler' and preS5 Enter. Using
the tree menu on the left-hand
... You can use a command line 10 lind oul which servke Of piece cA
hardware Is waking yo,,", computer
side, navigate to the Task
Scheduler libral), Windows, Media Center folder.
ScroH through the list of scheduled applications
in the middle window and double-dick the
mceupdate_scheduled entry.
Clid on the Conditions tab and remove
the tick from the 'Wake this computer to run
this task' box and click OK. This will stop the
scheduled seJVice waking your computer.
You can perform similar st eps if your initial
investigation led yoo to another scheduled task..
It a device is waking your computer, yoo need
to find out which one it is_ To do this, go back to
the command line and type 'powercfg
-devicequel) wake_armed'.
This will give you a list of devices that can
wake your computer from sleep. A mouse is
often to blame, as the slightest movement
can send a signal to your Pc. To stop a device
waking your computer, run [){,vice Manager
(type device manager into the Start menu).
Find the device in the list and dooble-dick it.
Select the Power Management tab and remove
the tid from the option to 'Allow this device
to wake the computer'.
Wireless laptop won't connect
I have a Netgur DG834N router
to which I wirelessly connect a
couple of computers and an
XboK 360. Recently, my ageing laptop has
started fai ling to connect to the network,
particularly when waking from hit.ernation.
On occasion, I've also had messages on my
second PC that there was an IP address
conflict. I've the drivers for my Intel
nOOBG wireless card, but I still often have
to 'repair' my network connection to rejoin
the network. What's going on?
Michael CoalS
Windows wams of an IP address
conflict when one PC tries to use an
address that has already been leased
to another. This shouldn't generally happen, as
' _ I
your router should maintain a list of its past IP
assignments, but things can become confused.
Like most routers, the OC834N supports address
reseJVations, and you can solve the problem by
setting some up.
Switch on all your computers and make sure
they're connected to the network. Log into the
router admin IX'ge and select ' LAN IP Setup'
from under the Advanced heading. Clicking the
Add button will show a table of your connected
devices. Selecting the radio botton next to an
entl) copies its details into the fields below, and
then clicking Add creates a reseJVation for it. If
you do this for each device, they should use the
same IP addresses every time you start them,
eliminating conmcts.
Your connection issues are likely to be a
separate problem_ The fact that they're recent
suggests that something has changed: perhaps
yoo have a new Bluetooth device, or more of
your neighbours now have competing wireless
networks. Download and run NetStumbler
(www.llf:tstumb/er.comldownloads}and make a
note of the channel used by your network and by
competing ones with strong signals. If you notice
dashes,log into your rooter and, on the Wireless
Settings page, change the channel from Auto to
either 1,6 or II, tl)ing to avoid channels used
by other networks. The problem may be that
your router is set to use channel bonding. which
uses two channels to get throughput of up to
270Mbit/s. Change the menu option Mode to Up
to 130Mbit/s under Wireless Settings. Finally, if
none of your wireless devices uses the router's
802.11n mode, change it to 'g & b', which c.Jn
improve stability with older wireless cards.

· :

... Change yOUr rooter' s wireless mode and '/\a ..... elil yOu're having
... J-oIetwork Stumble. displays al l the netwOfko that you. computer can detect.
Ustthem by Sig ..... 1 (small numbers .... e stronger) to rind strong competitors,
t hen see II they're ll$Ing the same channel 0$ You
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Do I need anti-virus software?
I'm writing in the that you
can clarify the effectiveness of
hardware firewalls that come
with routers and the effectiveness of free
anti-virus 5Oltware, especially Microsoft
Security Essentials. I regularly visit a
computer forum called Te.::h-FOfums
(www. fech-forums.net).Onthe forum
I was lold by all the administrators and
moderators that Security Essentials is
just as good as, if not t.etter than, any
paid-for anti-virus soltwarl'.
Heeding the advice of these very
technical and computer-minded
individuals,l immediately
unill5talled my copy of
McAfee, downloaded
Security Essentials and
connected my router to
my computer, safe in the
kroowledge that my PC
would now tie even better
protected than it was
before. I was also happy
that I wouldn't have to pay
for any subscriptions
that my computer would
that little bit fast er
without McAfee slowing it
down. All was well until!
obtaine.:l a copy of the
Complete Gujde to Windows
7. There! notice.:l a
.. A. wl rele ... route< 11... a
built-In IlrewaH that oilers
some orotKtlon against
Inter""t Ikreals. bul you
SIIiI need SKUrily on yoU!" PC
comment you made aboot Security Essentials
that says, "Although Microsoft doesn't build
anti-virus into Windows, it does offer free
malware protection in the form of Microsoft
Security Essentials. It's fIOt intended to be as
comprehensive as many third-party security
suites, so a subscription t o another package is
probably a better option."
This flies in the face of what I was
previously advised. Can you please clarify
the differences t.etween Security Essentials,
or any free anti-virus application
for t hat matter, and the pros
and cons of just using the
fi rewall on my router?
Anthony Fakir
It's important to
distinguish a
firewall and anti-virus
software. as they're designed
to offer different types of
protection lor yO\.lr PC. A lirewall
acts a little like a border guard,
deciding which traffic is allowed
into and out of your computer.
In the case 01 a wireleS$ router,
the firewall is set up by default to
allow all outbound connKtions (you
can connect to anything). but
deny all incoming connections
(nobody yn conne<:t to you) .
This means that hackers can't
scan your computer looking for
security flaws to exploit, but it
doesn't mean you' re safe. The way
firewalls work means that if you initiate a
connection. malicious programs can still
come in. If you visit an infected website, for
example, yO\.lr lirewaH aHow<; you to download
everything. as it yn't tell the difference between
a web and a virus.
An anti -virus appliC<ltion is designed to spot
maliciO\.lS programs and neutralise them, but
anti -virus software can't dete<:t incoming and
outgoing connections and deal with them. So.
without a rooter and its firewaH. a hacker could
discover your computer, scan it, detect a security
flaw and run an exploit to over your
computer or steal files.
The real difference between free anti -virus
programs and the producu you have to pay
for is the tools they provide. If you pay for
security. you should really pay for the entire
security suite. With security suites, you also
get a software lirewall. This acts a little like
the firewall on your router, but it can offer
application control. This way. if your PC were
to be infected by a tile that your anti-virus
application missed. the software lirewaH could
stop this file contact with the hackers
who programmed it. This can protect your
data and stop your PC being turned into a bot
that sends out spam or, worse yet, is used to
attack other systems.
Security suites also come with other tools
such as web scanners. which can monitor the
websites you visit and stop you accessing
infected sites. All these applications worl<ing
together increase your protection.
Not all se<:urity suites are the same. so read
our reviews on security suites (Labs, Shopper
264) lor more information. As a basic minimum
Microsoft Security Essentials is a decent
anti -virus product that. in combination with
your rooter' s firewall, will protect yO\.lr PC from
a wide range of threau. However. Kaspersky
Internet Security 2010 is even beller.
Windows keeps scanning hard disk
A while ago - and not for the first
time - I inadvertently switched off
the comput er at the mains. The
next time I started it up. a page appeared
stat ing that Windows was "Checking the fi le
system on E" and that "one of your drives
needs for consist ency".
When I saw this message in the past, the
disk check complet ed, fi nding no p!"oblems,
and that was the end 01 it. This time,
whenever I start up the PC, Windows goes
through the same proce.:lure, with identical
res ults (in other words, it finds no problems).
I have t.een unable to discover any way of
getting rid of it . Can you help please?
I have an 80GB hard disk divided into
partitions C through H and an extemal40GB
USB drive. I'm running Windows XP.
Keith Hellawell
Window<; runs this procedure il it
suspects a file system problem on a
A disk partition, olten caused when a
disk write isn't finished due to an unplanned
shutdown. Sometimes Windows can get
·stuck' . repeatedly checking an apparently
healthy disk, but you must rule out the
poSSibility that there really is a problem. We
assume from yO\.lr description that drive E is
one of the partitions on your BOGB disk. rather
than your USB disk.
From the Start menu, click Run, type CMD
and click OK. Type 'fsutil dirty query E:' . which
should confirm that the volume is seen as ·dirty".
Now open up My Computer. right -click on drive
E: and select Properties. From the Tools tab, click
Che<:k Now. Che<:k both the file system errors
and bad sectOI"$ options, then click the Start
button. This shooid start an in-depth error check.
which will take a while.
When the check is finished. repeat the fsutil
query as before. If the result is still dirty, you still
have a problem. You could try several things at
this point. A third-party disk utility may contain
more powerful diagnostic and repair routines
than Windows' own: we currently recommend
TuneUp Utilities (www.rune-up.com).lfthe
partition is smaiL you might consider backing up
its contents and reformatting it. II all else fails,
open a command prompt as you did for the
fsutil query, but this time type 'chkntfs IX E:'
which will prevent start- up disk checks for E:
=.-.. _ ... _ ...
_."' .. , .... _(['.1

P_ ... .",_-... ...... -
... Ticking both options causes Check Dislc to
perform a more thorough scan. II "an take a wtIHe,
though, and II you're chKklng a sYstem disk,
you'l need 10 reboot
only. Bear in mind that an undiagnosed problem
may remain; if you want to restore checking on
all disks later, the command is 'chknt fs 10'.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Which laptop bags will keep my laptop dry?
I walk to and from my wort. daily
and as a result suffer from regular
soakings in the rain, snow or wet
air. I read your reviews on laptop bags as I'm
looking for a de.::ent rucksack to carry my
work laptop in but realise.d that a key
element was missing from all the reviews:
how dry do these bags keep my laptop?
Can you recommetld a suitable fu;:ksack
that will keep my laptop arld my lunch dry in
anything from a light shower to being
practically submerged?
Dave Webster; weblterd@gmail.com
We discu55ed at length about testing
how waterproof the bags bot
decided that we couldn't do this in a
meaningful way, especially as none of them
dlimed to be waterproof anyway.
Your best bet is to buy a waterproof
b<>ekpack along with a sleeve for your
laptop 10 protect it from knocks.
(www.overboard.co.uk) 20- and 25-litre
backpacks with a 15.4 or 17in
51eeve for £45 and E50 respectively. You could
also opt for a such as Pakuma's
in from 7 to 1 S.4in).
No operating system
I was inspired by an article in
Shopper to build my
own pc. It fired up fi ne, but I
can't get any further with setting it up. I
chose an Asus H3N78 SE motherboard,
as I that it had Linux 'tJurnt on',
but when I fire up with the Asus disc loaded,
it just prompts me to choose between two
Nvidia driver pages or a Free DOS prompt.
What do I do next ?
Norm')n Brown, cMu@easy.com
built PC successfuUy. but
you don't have an operating system
- the disc you are booting from is a
utility disc Asus supplies 50 you can driver
diSC$for use when instamng Windows.
You can choose which OS you want to run.
Some, such as Ubuntu, are free to download; ask
a friend to download disc image from www.
ubuntu.comlgetubunruldownloM and bum yO!J
a CD. the Ubuntu CD in your drive. reboot
and follow installation instructions.
That said. we'd Windows 7
Home OEM versions, for which
Microsoft provides no support. cost around £75.
We've written lots about Windows 7, part icularly
in 261 . which coin<;ided with its launch.
Subscribers should also have O!Jr
Windows 7 supplement with Shopper 265.
Alkaline-powered MP3 player?
I need some help with purchasing
an HP3 would have sent
this query to the old BuyingC/ink
but I hadn't n-oticed it had gone from the
magazine! did it go?
My girlfrien-d and I are off to South
America for six months in March.
want a couple of cheap HP3 players
that won't mind being stolen but
that run off ordinary, easily available
(M or AM), as most of
time we' ll be in re mote areas away
from computers and flOwer supplies.
We're pre pared to sacrifice quality
for low cost.
Simon Grimshaw.
Buying Help (as Buying
(linic was later known)
finished in the July 2008
so surprised it"s taken
you this long to notice! However,
still happy to answer readers'
buying questions where products
concerned aren't covered in our WIlat's New or
Llbs sections.
We haven't reviewed any MP3 players that
run 011 alkaline or NiMH N tl eries for ages, but
there are still a cO!Jple available. Alba's 4GB
costs f28from Argos and is and
comes with pink, white and black covers.
can'l vO!Jch for its audio qualily or its
usability, but it fits your
Another opt ion is Philips' GoGear
SA2640, which is supposed to last 30
hours on a single AAA battery. This 4GB
isn't widely available, but you can
pick up refurbished models from sites such
as uk.
... Few MP3 players u "," AoAo
or MAo batteries these days.
but they are stil i around II YOU
look Mo.d enough
...... OYerboafd bags are waterproof, but you' ll
need a sepa.ate laptop sleeve
I now have a PC with two
operating syst ems on it by
mistake: Windows XP SP3 and
Win-dows Vista (upgrade) Setup. The latter
is the option an-d won't boot.
How do I restore my compute r to normal
an-d make it boot into Windows XP, untill
upgrade to Windows n Can j re move the
Vista safely?
Henry Chandler
here is the boot
manager. which is listing that
your computer has two operating
systems installed and tries to boot into
Windows Vista as the default option. The
only way to solve this problem is to remove
the Vista boot manager and go back to the
default XP versiOfl.
To do this, you'll need an original Windows
XP installation disc. Boot from this, and when
the · Wekome to Setup· appears. press
R to stan the Recovery Console.
When the Recovery Console st arts (it loob
a Command Prompt) type fixboot and
Enter. This should fix the problem, but if
it doesn't, stan the Console again
and this time type fi xmbr and press Enter.
commands your hard disk to a
default Windows XP state.
YO!J can remove any Windows Vista files
from your computer now. but be careful. as
it's not always easy to see where one operating
system starts and another one ends. To be
completely safe, we recommend leaving aU
Vista files alone for now. you upgrade
to Windows 7. perform a dean installation.
making sure yO!J back up all your documents
and other files, such as photos and booIo;marb.
first. A clean install always wOl"ks out best in
the long run.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Laptop taking too long to boot
t have a Fujitsu Siemens Amilo
D-1845 laptop that 's four or five
years old now. It suits me well tJut
it takes an age to go through the full boot
process arid connect to my broadband
connection. I already have t he maximum
1GB of PC2700 ODR memory irlStalled.
What can I do to up the boot
process? I have about 12:GB of still
avai lable on the 80GB hard disk and use
external drives when requi red to stop filling
up the internal hard disk. I think I could do
with deleting some programs and spring-
cleaning the Registry but I don't know how
to go about it in a logiCilI and safe manner.
I'm happy with my laptop'S
but not the very long time it now takes to
boot up fully at'ld t.ecome operat ional. I
should also add that it has anti-virus and
Zone Alarm software installed. Any helpful
suggestions would be gratefully received,
Andrew Slade,
andrew.slade l @btintemet,com
One 01 the main reasons why
Windows is slow to boot imd
becomes unusable is the number 01
appliC<ltions that include themselves in the
Startup section 01 System Conliguration. This
means aU these programs have to be looded
each t ime you boot your computer. While the
Windows de5ktop may appear in a reasonable
amount of time, it takes a while before you can
reaUy do anything. which is due to the lact that
aU these applications are loading.
You may even have noticed the programs'
icons appearing in the notification area at the
bottom-right comer 01 the desktop. If there are

a lot 01 these, it's a sure sign that
this is your m"in problem.

It's not strictly necessary to have
most 01 these programs running.
Many are simply there to speed
'-- ,--
" .

'<-_ ......

'<--_ .....
up the appliC<l tion's launch time
when you dick on its icon, while
others are waiting lor you to
connect peripheral!; , such as a
TomTom satnav or iPod. Still others
are t"king up your precious RAM
and proce)Sor time by constantly
Checking lor updates to applkations
you have installed just so that they
can inlorm you when one is
available to download.
"'-_ ...
"oc ___


't._ .....

't. __ .....

't. __ ..

, ........ ==,_ = .F '", e, =-- _=.=
• f'rogr","' thai run in l he backg round a re often unnecessary
and can be disabled 10 speed up Wlndovn' bool lime
Disabling these 'helpers' is easy,
and you'll free up system resources and speed
up boot times, although you' ll sacrifice a little
convenience at the same time. However, if you
disable something that you later realise you
need, it 's just as easy to enable it again.
In Windows XP. dick Start. Run and then
type mscontig in the box that appears. In Vista
or Windows 7, type msconfig into the search bar
and hit Enter, When the System Configurat ion
window appears, click the Startup tab and you'U
see the applkations that load when Windows
starts. It's not always obvious what a program
does, so check the name 01 the executable in the
Command column and search for it if
you're not sure, To disable any Start up Item, just
untid the box next to it. Obviously, you'U need
to leave your anti -virus and firewall entries
ticke<! it you want them to woO::. There are
buttons to Disable all and Enable aU if you simply
want to run a quid test to see how fast your
laptop will boot with all programs disabled.
Another tab you can explore is Services. Tick
the option to 'Hide all Microsoft services' to Se<:
what other services are running. If you know you
don't need one, untid it. When you've finished,
did Apply and then OK. You'll see a message
as king whether you want to reboot now or later.
Changes will only be applied when you reboot.
You can also delragment your hard disk.
Open My Computer. right-dick on local Disk
(usually q and click Properties. On the Tools
tab. dick Defragment Now. Select the disk you
want to delragment and dick Analyze. II it
recommends that you delragment the volume,
dick Defragment. This will rearrange the files on
your disk to bring together any fragments of liles
that aren't stored contiguously on the disk.
Other ways to speed up the boot process
include disabling unnee<led devices in the Device
Manager (see page 134) and disabling any
hardware such as RAID controllers, serial and
parallel ports and floppy disk drives in the BIOS.
Printer only prints cyan
I have a Canon Pixma iP300Q
pri nter, which is about lour
old, I recently litted a new
cartridge as it had run out, but since then aU I
get is the cyan colour. The cartridges are aU
in the correct compartment alld sitting in the
locked position, and although I've dearM':d
and aligned the heads several times, it makes
no dillereoce. I've exhausted one full cyan
cartridge and wast ed half a re am of paper
t rying all the ideas in the various help
programs. Can you help belore I throw the
thing through the wirldow?
Ceorge Hemingway,
The problem may be that the print
heads have lailed or are dirty beyond
the printer's ability to dean them,
but the cyan problem does sound unusuaL II
you've double-checked all the cartridges and
tried every deaning rout ine available through the
driver interface, you have little left to lose from
trying to dean the print heads manually. Be
warned that this can permanently damage them,
so it really is a last resort belore giving up.
II you decide to dean the heads, remove all
four cartridges and then the print head, which is
secured by a lever, Use sticky tape to cover the
place where ink comes out 01 each
cartridge so they don't make a mess,
nothing else. This should become staine<! with
old ink, and you'll need to repeat this many
times belore the old ink is mostly gone.
Leave the heads to dry on some kitchen
paper ovemight. and reassemble the printer.
You'U need to run several head-cleaning cycles,
but you should soon begin to see ink emerging.
and eventually it may work property."
not, you could try repeating the
exercise. leaving the head to so"k
lor a few hours in a shallow saucer Opinions diller as to the best way to
clean the head, but try
gently swabbing with
a cotton bud soaked
in warm water -
.... ... Of water. or even isopropyl
alcohol, bel()(e swabbing.
If your ptinter'.
nO! working
prOPerly, II ,oold
be due 10 blocked
or dirty prlnl heads
II after a couple of tries it
still doesn't work, the
problem is likely to be a
hardware failure , You can buy
new heads lor the iP3000
(part code QY6-0064-000),
but at around £40 you're better
oil buying a new printer. GJ
Click: dell.co.uk Call: 0844 444 3242
Sam·gpm Weekdays, 9am-6pm Saturdays, lOam'Spm Sundays
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com

Have you got a spreadsheet
thllt ... dd up. II Word
document that needs a text-
formatting mllcro or II
database that's waiting for II
report to be written? Don't
fret : we're here to help. Just
send us your query to the
e mail address below and our
reside nt office applications
expert will find your solution.
Please provide as much
infonnation as you can,
induding the ve rsion of the
IIpptication you're using."
sample of any data and details
of IIny st eps you've already
taken t o solve the issue.
Kay Ewbank
Database developer and
productivity expert Kay
Ewbank I
How do I stop emails?
I sent an email t o someone and asked
for a Read so I'd know when
t hey'd read t ile ema il. I was quit e
pleased when I rea>ived the confi rmation, but I
keep gett ing them. I e<>n get up to 100 emails II
day confirming that my email has been read.
contacted the re<:ipient an-d asked him to
stop sending me all these messages, but he
says he isn't. How can I stop this happi':ning?
I' m usi ng Outlook 2007.
. .r-;C -_._.-._ ....
, -.. -...
j Goodwin
The person yoo sent the email to isn't
being completely aCWf"ilte, beC<luse in a
way he is sending you the messages.
What's prONbly happened is that his email
program is automatically configured to
... ---
.. -... -
... - ..... -
" )<_.-
,.. .... _ ... _ .. -
.. . -
., .. --.-.. -... - _ .... -
... --.... ---- .. .... _-, .. _--
. _a_ .... ___ ' .. __ _
.. _--... -

... " ...... __ .. _-
..., ...... -... _-
, ._, ... '
_ ..... _-
'----.. _ ..... __ .-

acknowledge such requests by sending Nck the
email - the read receipt. Unfortunately, it looks
as if something has gone wrong and t hat email is
somehow stuck in his Outbox. Every time he
... Add a rul" to d"let" duplicate meuage-sl n Outlook
sends emails - which might be automatically every
few minutes - the email is resent to you, but it's not
removed from the folder.
Try contacting the recipient again and asking if he
could check his Outbox and remove the stuck email.
If he won't do that and the problem continues, yoo
have two choices. You could add an Outlook rule that
checks for the incoming message from that sender
containing the Message Received te>Ct, and have the
rule ilutomatiC<lily delete the incoming emaiL That
way, at least yoo won't have to delete the emails.
To add the rule, choose Tools, Rules and Alerts, then
choose Add a new rule.The rule shoold start with Move
messages from a specific person to a specified folder.
The person is the email address of the person sending
you the emails, the folder is the Deleted Items folder.
In the ne>Ct page of the assistant, you C<ln add a second
part to the rule to look for specific words in the subject
I)( message body. Enter the text as it appears in the
incoming messages, and that should get rid of yoor
problem. Of coorse, you'll have to empty your Deleted
items folder a little more frequently as it will fill up
with all these message>.
A second option is to add the sender to yoor
blocked senders list. You can add addresses to this list
by choosing Tools, Options, Junk emaiL Select the
Blocked Senders tab, and add the email address to this
list. It doesn't stop the emails arriving. just puts them
straight into your Junk email foider.Ofcourse. this wiU
then fiU up with hundreds of emails from this person,
and if by some chance they send you an email you
want to receive, it will be treated as junk.
Displaying names in an
Access Combo box
j have a combo box in my Access database
that lets teachers select a st udent . It is
ordered by the StudentlD, and shows the
students ordered by tutor group fo llowed by student
name. Given the number of students that teachers
work with, t his is t he way t hey t end to remember
them, so they can st>lect the correct student
relat ively easi ly. Ho_ver, once t hey've
Altematively, yoo could use a te>Ct box next to the
combo box to show the student's name using:
tracked down the student, I'd really like the
combo box to display t he st udent's name,
whereas at the moment it shows the Tutor
Group, Is there a way to do this?
Louise Anderson
There are a couple of options. First,
you coold change the query used fl)(
the RowSoorce of the combo box to
concatenate the two columns so both are
displayed. This would be our favoured option ilS
it identifies Smith as being the John Smith in
Abbey4 rather than the John Smith in
WalWick3. To do this, you'd use cooe such as:
SELECT Student l D, TutorGroup &. .. -
& St udent Name Students
- combol . Col umn(2)
As numbering starts at 0 in combo box columns,
this assumes the third column holds the student name.
_ ... _-
... --'''-
"7""i"""i --

I =..'"':.
. --

- .
j I
• • >
. ... I
I I ,
-l. I •
... Use t"" box to pick UP Information from a combo box
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
How do I stop Word hyphenating?
In our company documents we have
a number of Ie<hnical words that,
for clarity, _ want to avoid havi ng
hyphenated. Word 2007 has a nasty habit of
splitting these quite long words. 15 there a
way to stop Word hyphenating them?
Phil Chapman
There'l a two-part solution. You
to start by creating a special style that
you can ilPply to words when they
occur in documents. When you tell Word not to
dleck the 5pelling or grammar 01 a word, it also
doesn't hyphenate words.
In the Styles area of the Word ribbon. dick
the diagonal right- arrow at the bottom right
of the section to the Styles list appear.
Click the New Style button at the bottom
left of the dialog and give your style a name
such as 'No hyphenation'. Choose to deline
a character style.
Leave the paragraph style as Default
Paragraph font.Click the Format buttoo at the
bottom, and choose Language from the options
that apfH!ar. Set the language to English, UK,
then put a tick mark in the box labelled 'Do not
check sfH!lIing or grammar'. This will stop Word
hyphenating words marked with this
style (and trying to do sfH!lling
corrections or grammar checks on it).
Once you've saved this style, you can
apply it to any words you want .
Once you have the style available,
there is a further optiOll.1f you have
words that occur often, you can
set them so that they're never
hyphenated. To do this,you add them
to the AutoCorrect list as formatted
entries. First, select the word in a
document and set its character foot
to be No hyphenation. With the word
to be added to the list still selected,
dick the Office button (the large
7 ____ .. __ ..

-:::- ---=---
---- ----
___ 1-
--- --_.

- -..... -
f :.=

_ ...
I -;-=i[F.3
round button at the top lelt of the
suet-n). Choose Word Options,
Proofing. AutoCorrect Options. You'll
• Add t ..... lo.matted wo.d to the AutoCorrect entrIes to
prevent it being hyphenated
set- the word in the right-hand side of the
AutoCorrect make sure it's set as a forma tted
entry, and copy and past e the same spelling to
the lelt-hand column. That way, when the word is
entell'd, it will be 'corrected' to the same sfH!lling
but set to the No Hyphenatioofont.
A final option - as these are long words and
presumably easy to misspell - is to set them as
AutoText entries, again set 10 be formatted
without hyphenation,To add a word as
formatted AutoText, enter it, format it, then in
the Quick Access Toolbar, dOck Auto Text, and
then dick Save Selection 10AutoText Gallery.
You'll need to give it a name, select a gallery
and so oIl, but that should make the formatted
word available in the gallery.
Can I use a formula in each Excel tab?
I store data on the students in my
dass in heeL Each page has the
student's name in the tab, and it
worts welL However,l want to share the
sheet with other teachers, so that they can
paste their dass list over mine, The dasslist
is stored in a sheet called Tutor groups, and
wt. en you did on a student 's name on this
sheet, the correct student page sheet opens,
What I want to happen is that when the
teacher pastes the names into this sheet, the
pages for their students are created with the
correct names in the tab,
Is it possible to put a formula in the tab of
each heel worksheet?
Richard Stevenson
What you want to do is poS$ible, and
involves a macro something like this:
Sub renameSheet s()
Dim ws As WorkShee t
Dim i Row As I nteger
Dim I Sheet s As In t e ger
Dim i thisSheet As Integer
Set ws - Worksheets(NTutor Gps " )
Wi th ws
I Sheets - .Cel l s( ,Rows,Count ,
NO"). End( xl Up ). Row
Ith i sShee t - 0
iRow - 1
Wh i l e l thisSheet ( I Sheets
I th lsSheet - I t hls Sheet +
k - Sheets(l th isSheet ),Name
If k <> " Tutor Gps " Then
Shee t s(lthi sShee t l Name -
.Ce ll s(IRow, NO" ) Value
iRa", - How + I
!----lr :::_
-- ---
• YOI.I c,," use code to chllllge the names of labs.
Dullt might be simple. to cOl>Y arid paste
End If
End With
End Sub
This assumes the names of your pupils are
pasted 00 to the sheet caUedTutorGps in
column D. This macro win replace the current
names of the pupils on the worksheet tabs with
the names entell'd in column D. However, you'll
also need to add extra sheets for any occasioos
when you have more names in the new group
than in the old group, and you'll also have to deal
with the opposite situatioo by deleting sheets.To
do this, you'll need extra code aloog the lines of:
Wi th ws
ISheets ,Ce ll s( , Rows , Count , NON),
End (x IUp) , RQW
Inumsheets - Sheets,Count
If I Sheets +1 ( I numsheets Then
'need t o add extra sheets
Sheet s.Add after,-Sheets(I),
Count : - lnumsheets ISheets
End I f
[f Inumsheets > I Sheets +1 Then
'more than are needed , need to
delete some
For I - 1 To I numsheets - (ISheets
. "
Sheets ( I ) , 01'1 ete
Ne xt I
End If
However, we dOll't advise you to automate
the process, or at least dOll't expect other people
to use the automated copying operation, If you
read thiS column regularly, you' ll that we
are great fans of automating OHice processes,
but thiS one could give you a headache. You're
obviously an Excel enthusiast and good wi th
code and the more advanced uses of spreadsheet
functiOlls , UnleS$ your coUeagues are similarly
enthusiastic, however, you will do a lot of work
developing the code, hand over a lovely
spreadsheet and it won't work for them. They will
then come to you to put it right, They'll paste the
names in the wrong column, leave spaces at the
top, or something unforeseen, Your spreadsheet
also uses VLookup and cross-sheet cell references
to the name of the student and the tutor
from the Tutor Groups sheet: all that would need
to be checked even if the shet-ts were correctly
renamed, and you'd net-d to replicate all the code
on any new blank met-ts.
Presumably your studeot groups change OIlly
once a year, so our advice would be to get the
names of the students from the tut0f5, then use
the sheet-renaming macro yourself to do the
updating, If it were us we'd copy and paste by
hand. It may sound luddite, but simplicity has
a lot going for it, G:l
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
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800 GuiUat Avenue, Kent Science Park. Sittingboume ME9 SGU
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Z WIN Monitor Audio
C AirStream 1()

onitor Audio's AirStream 10 is an entirely new way
to enjoy r3(jio. By combining the po_r of thoe
internet with an easy user interface and
luxury design, AirStrt'am 10 lets)too listen to owr
15,000 internet radio stations, music services
and every music fi le on your home network. It even
reaches into analogue to give you FM with RDS,as well
as providing full digital DAB and a way to plug in your
MP3 player a'ld hi -Ij system.
We have two to give away, worth £245 each.
I WIN loom ADSL Xliv
wireless modem/
router with VolP
The Zoom X6v integrates a lull-rate ADSL 2/2+
modem, router, 802.11 wirele>!; acee)!; point, VolP
telephone adaptor. firewall imd lour-port 10/100
Ethernet switch into a single device.
The combination of networking devices. along with
Zoom's Fastlane Quality 01 Service and instaUation
wizard. simptify setup. increase dependability and provide
superior voice communications and video deliW'ry over
the intemet. The FXO port also irn:ludes the TelePort. an
inteUigenl relay thaI allows a single phone to ptace and
receive both VolP calls and caUs oW'r the PSTN.
We have liW' to give away, worth £80 each.
WIN Idapti3
Recharge aU your gizmos at once and cut cilble
clutter with Ida pt. The i3 syslem can charge over
3.500 dillerent products, including phones, h<tndheld
consoles and batteries, using a series 01
interchilngeable tips. Eilch Idapt comes with six tips
covering iPodliPhone, microUS8 and most common
Nokia, Samsung and Sony Eria;son phones.
The i3 charges up 10 three items simultaneously,
and is power-eflicient. too. with an easily accessible
of/switch. fl can charge devices in their cases and
doesn' t need special charging cases.
We have 10 to giW' aWilY, worth £30 eilch.
What is the Monitor Audio AirStream lO?
a) A monitor b) A radi o c) A headset
To answer the question and be in with a chance of winning one of these
fantastic prizes. go to http://competitions.expertreviews,co.uk
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r.elpfi ldkomputershop-pt<


computersh<.>pperiPcis.ub •. CQ.uk
oreaR 0844 844 0031
or vi, ;t
Compuler Shopper.
30 Clevelar>d Street.
lor>don W1T 4)0
This month, readers take umbrage at presumptuous shopping
sites and the demise of the Shopper cover CD, but before we
tackle those issues, please allow us to bask in a little praise
* Test case f10,1, ':ohooocrs reviEWS help our reaoers
1 have subscribed to Computer Shopper
and your sister tit lePCPro lor many
years arld have always enjoye<l the mi.
of editorial, reviews and news. However, when
purchasing new kit (arld being the eternal Kept;e)
I haye always spent hours conducting my own
research before buying.
I now finally admit that my time was wasted,
as I always arrived at the same conclusions as your
excellent reviews. Today. I needed a new printer
so I just che.::ked out your best buys and orderl'd
accordingly - the order was dispatched within
two hours. This has saved me masSf'S of time, arld I
have every confidence that I shall be very pleased.
I have quoted your reviews many times to
others looking for advice, arld earned lots of
brownie points in the process: it's high time I passed
these on to their rightful owner. Thanks for a great
read and source of information.
Robin Roberts-Gram
We're always amazed when family and friends tel! us
they've bought expensive products without so much
as reading a single review, whether in Computer
Shopper or elsewhere. We pride ourselves on t he
quality of our and edit orial. and
we're glad you find it useful.
People otten why our don't agree with
those of other magazines. and there's
a one product is not
always perfect for evetyone. We
Pixma MP640
.... *. i=.!m
Officejet 6000
review based on the factors
Wf!: think are important to our readers.
PC Pro's readers tend to have slightly
different priorities to readers.
Our reviews focus heavily on value.
while PC Pro' s focus more on a
product 's performance. although we
also hand out our Ultimat e award to
exceptional products that may not
offer quit e the same value as our
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always be people who read both.
bot hopefully you can quickly tel!
if a product is right for you.
We're always open to suggestions,
so if we're not reviewing products you
want to buy. let us know.
... 01.1, review. are the,e to ""ve you time In clIoosir>g the right p,oduct fo<
your needs and budget
I'm fa5Cinated by prediction, being a
regular lottety loser (well, that much is
predictable anyway). However, I'm always
worried when prediction turns into assumption.
Just because I bought one VGA cable from
Amazon, the website assumes I wish to buy anything
or everything remotely electronic every three days.
This makes me wonder. let's say I bought a Barbie for
my niece, some lingerie for my wife, Guitar Hero for
my son, Call of Duty: Modem Warfare 2 for my
nl!jlhew and perhaps even 'Call of Nature' for an
ageing relative. These would all be one-off purchases,
but the people at online stores, travel companies and
supermarkets would have an odd profile of me. They
would convert my one-oil behaviour into a
'preferen«' for those types of items, which is far
from the case.
The problem is that these companies often
predict behaviour on the basis of a frequency 01 as
little as 0'11': event. They then use this statistically
invalid inlormation to assume people's habits and
routines. In fact, we would like to think we are
unpred>ctable and living much more flexible and less
routine lives these days. I am now going to tum into
a hermit, although someo'1l': out there has already
foreseen this,l assume.
Profiling is almost unavoidable these days and, while it
can occasionaUy be useful. it's more otten an
annoyance. Why companies as large and exper;enced as
recommend products based on a single
purchase is a mystery. It's also rather strange that the
products they recommend based on items you bought
otten make no Just because you bought a p:ilir of
men's shoe ... that doesn't mean you might also want a
of women's sandals of the same brand.
01 course, you can usuaRy opt ()(Jt of marketing
emails at any point If Y()(J can't quick or
way to do this, you can always set up fi ltering rules in
your email program to send unwanted
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
.- t... 0::.:--
... Amazon' s r<);:ommendal ions can be hit and miss
straight to your spam or trash folder. We explained how
to do this in our 'How to .. ' section in Shopper 251,
1 very much enjoyed your latest issue, as
always. In your article on dual-booting
Windows and Llnux (LillllxExpert, Shopper
265), you mention the alternative of using separate
hard disks, This could be much simpler than you made
it appear. On many comput ers, simply holding down
tho! appropriate key whi le booting will let you choose
t ho! boot device, For instance, on my desktop PC
(which has an MSI motherboard), it's F11, while on
my Asus netbook, it's the Esc key, No to SWilP
disks or fiddle with BIOS settings.
PederChristen5en, Sweden
You're absolut ely right. Many motherboards now le t
you choose the boot device without entering the 610S.
This also means there's no need to open your case and
swap dish just to avoid entering the BIOS, and it adds
only a couple of seconds to the boot time. If your
motherboard is from a company other than Asus or
MSI, simply look for a message on the POST screen
that 5aYs ' Press X key for boot options' Of similar, You
should then see a li st of poss ible boot devices, which
can include opt ical drives and USB-connected drives.
Select the one you want (you'll need to know the make
and model of the disks containing operat ing systems)
and your PC wiU boot from it,
Bear in mind that this woO:.s only with
Linux and Windows, and not with diHerent
versions of Windows. If you want to
dual-boot different versions of Windows,
make sure you instaH the oldest version
fi rst and leave the disk connected when
you install the newest version. This way,
Windows itself will let you choose which
operating system to boot from.
1 must protest about your
decision to stop providing
cover CDs and move to
downloading ISO imilges only, This is
discriminatory. It may be all right for tho!
miljority, basking as they do in something
possibly approilching the mythical BMbitfs
speed, However, it certainly isn't all right for those
unfortunates who may not hilve access
or who, like me, 'just about' have broadband,
I live in iI small villilge about as filr away as it's
possible to be from my 8T exchange while still
getting broadband access. I have to get up in the
middle of the night to have any hope of achieving
something bener thiln dial-up speeds, and that's
only on a very good night,
The likelihood of getting a continuous broadband
connection for t he several hours it would take to
download 650M B is roughly ilkin to success in the
search for rocking-horse excretil, As I find the discs
useful for occasionill softwilre, but don't in5tall most
of it (as I fee l sure most subscribers do), why not
illiow your feilde rs to download just the softwilre
they wilnt rather thiln the whole ISO disc?
As you maintain that one of the driving forces
behind this deciskln is that it's better for the
environment, such a facility would follow the same
logic by saving on the electrical power required to
download softwilfe you will never use,
Glyn roster
We were hoping that we'd be able to oHer individual
downloads for exactly the reasons you mention, but
we weren't able to organise thiS in time fO<" the fi rst
download. For this issue, we've spli t the virtual disc into
two halves, so readers can download just Eu roTalk or
the other half, which contains a couple of other full e
If you want to gel t he most out of your home movies ilnd photogrilphs, then
Adobe's f iernent5 8 and Premiere Elements B ilre the best and
easiest way t o do so, If you fancy getting your hands on these products,
there's no need to put your hilnd in your podet all you have to do is write a
great leIter. Get it printed as our Star Letter, and a copy of both ilpplications
will be winging its way to you in the post_
Photoshop flements 6 is the best home photo-edit ing
powerful features are taken from the full Photoshop applicat ion, so you carl
ilchieve the 5ame results, but Elements is a lot easier to use, Premiere
flements 8 does a similar job for movie making, pulling it5 features from the
high-end softwilre, but making it easier to use so you'll be ilble to
produce Hollywood-style movi es from the comfort of your home_
...... ,

Every published letter-writer who provides their address
also receives a Computer Shopper mug
Share your 3G
connection wherever
you go wi th family
and friend s
The ideal surveillance
solution for dummy
Drelof DIY securi ty
Now lPhone uun con
otnjav 1M privilege
with EcfllT'lCllO. new
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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
._._ .. _ .... _---
_ .......
it gave up the ghost, even though the drive had
been only lightly used solely for security
backup purposes at home.
AS hard are mechanical devices, there's
always the possibility that they might fail
prematurely. You could argue that this means
they're not ideal as a backup medium. but the
fact is that you've simply been unlucky. We
know of My Books (and other extemal disks) that
have lasted much longer than two years.
• We· . .. aiming 10 malee download sizes small .... ,
but don'tlorgel IN I ii's cllea per 10 subscribe
Expecting the unit still to be covered by
WO's two-year warranty,l emailed the
company but never received the courtesy of a
reply. With a view to replacing the drive,l went
into various forums, only to find t hat WO
external drives are not alone in having an
unacceptable failure rate, For example, a
disproportionate number of people posting
their star ratings on Amazon were complaining
about si milar experiences with Seagate,
MaxtOf and Buffalo devices. I appreciate that
it's mainly the dissatisfied buyers 'Ntlo will
post comments, but still ...
II's import3nt to have a ba<:kup strategy that
involves more than just backing up your data to
one drive. especiaUy if the data is criticaL If your
house wt're to llood. burn down or be burgled.
it's entirely possible that you could lose both
your PC and My Book in one go. Online backup is
a sensible alternative as the data is bad ed up
muttiple times and stored elsewhere.
Altematively. burn DVDs or buy another hard
disk and store it at a friend's house, remembering
to burn eKlra DV[)s Of synchronise the hard disk
as regularly as you need to.
programs and the Toolkit. We're working
on into even smaller chunb.
It's also w()(th pointing out that sometimes
we won't be able to offer applications for
download, as some companies' distribution
agreements prevent uS from putting the
software online. While .. II this may seem
discriminatory to some people, don't forget
that you can still boy or subscribe to the OVD
version of Subscr ibing for a year costs
just 1:45, which means you pay only B.75 per
issue - that's cheaper than buying the CD-less
issue from the nemagen\.
The principal reason t hey suggest for
early deaths is that these drives don't have a
cooling mechanism (other than ventilation
holes). I' m surprised that the figures for Mean
Time Between Fail ure aren't published for
such units, and I'd be interested to
Knowing where to turn when a product fa i[o;
read your vi ew,
The good news is that
although WD still remains silent,
after only a little prodding
Amazon came up trumps.
Colin Hague,
is tricky. as some manufacturers prefer to
deal with buyers directly. while
others require you to return the
product to the retailer from
which you purchased it.
Amazon has an excellent
reput ation for sorting out
problems, so it's good that you
bought the disk from there.
Like many other PC users, I
installed a USB e)(ternai disk
(a Western Digital My Book) for
backing up my desktop Pc. But after a while it
started making dicking noises, when
starting up. Silly me! I should have realised
that this was a death rattle. Within two
The problem with MTBF figures is
tlley the mean figure.
It doesn't guarantee that your disk
wiU 13st that long. only that the
model wiU last that long.
Most manufacturers quote MTBF
fOl" enterprise-dass only.
We agree that many reviewers
write only of their bad
experiences, 3S those with
.. Hard disks can lail prematurely,
which means your backup
strategy needs to cover the
poss;bi lity 01 this happening
Editor David Ludlow
Dej>vty Editor Jim Martin
Reviews Editor Seth Sarton
Futures Ed itor Simon Edwa rds
Online Tim Smalley

Pro6uction Jar>ey Goolding
Art Editor Coon Mad:lewort "
Dell<!ty Art Editor Anand Parmar
GroupArt Editor 8iU SagnaU
Senior StaflWriter Ala n Lu
s..nior Stafl Writer Ka! Ofphanides
Sany Ia Rosa
Email ;tds.,hopperOdenni<.co.uk
Group A<lYeftising DirKlor
Richard Bennett 020 7907 6640
Dej>uty Advertising Manager
Andrea Mason 020 7907 6662
Senior Salu E>:Kutive
Adam Will boum 020 79(J7 6621
New Media AccOIlnt Manager
Gary Rayneau 020 79016612
List Rental
Anthony White 020 7907 6471
Fa. 020 1907 6066
Production Director RotHn Rya n
020 7"i07 6052
Product"n Controller
Ke rem Kolea ' 020 1907 6059
Gra r.am Smith 020 7907 6335
Cecil 020 79(J7 6333
Tel 0844 844 0031
Fax0844 856 0650

Adam Banko, Gareth Beach. Mike
Bedford, Mel Croucher, Tim Danton,
[ ", ba ni<. Steve Haines. Simon Handby,
Ben Pitt, Matt Prestor>, Proi<a>.a,
David ROOi n<on. Je>n Thompsor>
Danny Bi rd, Jan Ohal:, n mo HeMi!<:",
Andrew Ridge, Hugh TlveifaU
Ha.rl<eting Manage< and (mp!oyu 01
the Year Claire Sera ..
Ha<i<eting. Editorial arx:l Competitions
Assistant Emily Hooges
Mi<l<eting PrD<luction Manager
Ge mma Hills
Tel 020 79(J7 6000
Publisning Direct", John Garewal
Groop A<lYertising DirKlor
jul;'" L"yd·[vans
Circulation Director Marti n BellOn
Finance Director Brett Reynold,
Group Finance Direct", Ian Leggett
Chie f Executive james l ye
Chairmilll FeUx
Printed by SCP, Bicester, OxOfl
Distributo" Seymour 02(1 7396 8000

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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
good experiences don't generally feel the n<*d
(or can spare the time) to tell everyone that their
hard disk hasn't failed. Others write reviews
immediately aher purchasing an item, when
reliability isn't a fa<:t or.
It's tempting to assume that the failure
rate of external disks is due to the higher
temperatures, but this is slightly unfair to
manufa<lurers. They have to ensure that the
disks they use are able to operate without any
active cooling. We spoke to Western Digital to
clarify this. Here's the we received:
' Western Oigit.ll specifically created the
Caviar Green family of hard drives for
applications that require reduced power,
heat and noise. In doing so, WD has reduced
power consumption by up to 40 per cent
compared to standard desktop drives with the
combination of WO's IntelliSeek, NoTouch and
InteiliPower technologies.
' Caviar Green drives are used in the
manufacture of WO's My Book family of external
products resulting in a fan -less, low heat
dissipation and quiet design. The design of the
My Book enclosure is made thermally efficient
by allowing natural air circulation through
ventilation slots at the top and bottom, thus
keeping the drive inside property cooled.
"All My Book external storage products are
tested at the factO!)' prior to being shipped to
conSllmers, and WD currently provides up to
three-year warranties across the family:
1 enjoy Compute, Shopper and find
it helpful and reliable. However, I
thought there were a couple of
quite serious in
the feature on data privacy (Who
owns your data?',Shopper 2:66).
The article said that all
organisations must register
. .
. .
wittl the ICO if they handle
personal data, tJ.ut there are
organisations that are exempt so
don't need to register. This may
organisations run by some
of your readers, such as clubs-
even those registered as limited
companies - provided they're not
for profit. it's worth
clarifying that they still need to
comply with the Data Protection
Act in their dilta hilnodling.
- _._--
' :' J -
• Readers who want to enter Slloppet' s competitions sl>oold vl$lt
Yoor artide quotes Mick Gorritt, who
says that "notifying is an important obligation
for all organisations that process personal
information". It would be a pity to make
exempt organisations register (due to the
yearly anod more bureaucracy) when they
don't to.
Mike Watts
Jon Thompson replies: I' m indebted to Mr Watts
for his detective worl<. Mr CorTili was speaking in
the context of a successful prosecution brought
against a company that should have registered,
but repeatedly neglected to do so.
There are indeed exemptions for companies
that perform limite;:l internal data processing and
for dubs and societies. Readers who are not sure
whether they need to register to stay within the
law can call the Information Commissioner's
Office on 01625 545740 for information.
In Mailbox, Shopper 266, you
reply to a letter at.out
competitions by stating that
"we can't accept entries for competitions
by email as it's not legal". Please t ell us where
you found this out. There may be readers
who organise their own competitions wIlo
need to know the truth.
Tim Hill
What we meant by this is that we can't enter
readers' information (from their email entries)
into the official competition web page because
this would mean they don't get to choose
whether to opt in or opt out of the data
protection portions. It 's al50 possible that we
might make a mistake while entering the
information, whether that's their email address
or even the answer to the competition itself. GJ
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
G£I1lIG Ullm:D
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Graham Smith
Senior Disc Editor
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The Defrag feature provides you with a powerful
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the highest bidder on the online black market.
Symantec"s latest product, Norton Internet
Security 2010, uses a new reputation-based model of
security to attain unmatched detection of new
malware and advance far beyond traditional
signature- and behaviour-based detect ion.
This vef5ion of Norton Internet Security 2010
indudes free updates
for 180 days and,like
other Norton products,
makes no impact on
system performance, in
spite of adding a whole
new raft of updated
protection technology.
file systems. Different levels of defragmentation are
provided in case you just need a quick defrag or you
want to schedule a complete optimisation of your disk.
Elsewhere, the Backup feature allows you to make
copies of your data that can be restored in the event
that files become lost , damaged or corrupted. Creating
regular backups is one of the most important steps you
can take to ensure yOAJ don't lose irreplaceable data
and files 5Uch as photos and documents.
The Backup feature in Disk Suite allows yOAJ to
tailor the backup to meet your needs by selectively
choosing the files to protect. It also allows you to
restore files as needed, and verily your backup to
ensure valuable data can be recovered when nl'i'ded.
Physical disk and file corruption is one of the main
causes of data loss. The Repair feature allows yOAJ to
monitor the health of your disk and file systems and
repair corruption and errors. It also allows you to
s<:hedule or run different types of disk integrity checks
so potential flaws can be discovered and resolved.
Carbonite Onl ine
Backup 3.7
Making regular backups of your music files, digital
photographs and anything else you might haVl'
stashed on your hard disk is essential. However, many
PC users never seem to get around to copying files to
CDs or eKlernal hard disks and run the risk that their
important data could be destroyed or stolen.
Carbonite Online Backup takes the hassle OAJt of
backing up by doing the job for you. The software runs
in the background, automatically encrypting files
before sending them to secure remote data centres.
The best news is that the amount of data a user
can store is unlimited, soCarbonite will back up as
much information as your intemal hard disk will hold,
Once installed, Carbonite scans your hard disk and
begins to back up all your files. Users can choose
Carbonite's default backup settings, which
automaticai!y back up photos, documents, emaill
and other important
file types, or you can
select a range of
individual files and
folders to back up,
protecting important
data that sit elsewhere
on your hard disk.
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Where On Earth? East-Tee Eraser 2009
This program is lor that wants to
improve their geography, bot doesn't
have Ihe patien,,, to stare at a map.
Where On Earth? is an entertaining
of memorising where places a'e and
what they're called. II geography ;511',
your strongest area, i t soon will be. The
interactive make the subject
compeUing and help you to remember
the geograpl1icallocations of countries,
rivers. mountilins. cities and l<!ndma,b
acroS$ the globe. You'll also lind
statistic;. such as the populations 01
countries. heights of mountains and
when volcanoes ["sl erupted.
Prote-=t your data and
privacy and remove all
evidence of your computer
and online activity with
Eraser 2009. The
aptly named Eraser
the US
Department of Defense
For fun, a continent and then
explore il.Try to memoo5e the locations
01 the countries, cities and landmarks,
try a practice game, and then test
yourself against the clock. You' ll be
standards for the
permanent erao;ure of digital
points for correct
answers, and you can review
your progress on any of the
continents and topic
Need a pr<)(l<)<mciati<)(l
guide?You hear the place
names in British or American
English (names such as
'Xi xabangma Feng" can be
tricky to pr<)(lounce by just
reading the word). Finally, print
out some maps then fill in the
countries or cities of t he world
to see how many you get right.
information and removes
every trace of
data from your computer,
including internet history. web pages. pictures, unwanted
cookies, chatroom corwersations and aU traces of files,
documents, emails deleted in the past. as weI! as entire drives.
East-Tee Eraser 2009 deans <fWay evidence from the latest
of the most popular internet including
Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. and hundreds of popular
programs such ao; Windows Live! Outlook Express
and Thunderbird, m your private data remains safe
This easy-to-use program aim lets you view the of files
before erasing them and allows you to change the wipe
method directly from the program's interlace.
HDWlD ...
GetYDurvirtual disc
_ _ ___ H
_____ __ M __
_M ____ .
___ M_M_._ ••
his month·s cover disc is available as a
downloadable disc image. Producing fewer
discs means there's less cardb-o<lrd and plastic
used, fewer emissions from the production
process and less poUuti<)(l when distributing the
magazine due to lower weight . We've aim had
lots of requests from many of you for a disc-less
version of Shopper. so this means there·s greater
choke on the newsstand.
AU you need to use the Shopper disc is a
blank CD and software that can write ISO
images. If you·d ra ther not burn a disc. you can
use an applicati<)(l such as Virtual CI<)(IeDrive to
' mount ' the ISO image in a virtual drive. which
you then use as a normal CD.
To downlwd your Virtual Cover Discs. visi t
Before you can download anything. you'U need
to register a user account . This is free and takes
just a couple of minutes. Once that's done,
simply log in with your username and password.
Then manuaUy change the /reg redirection on
the URL to !coverdises. Click the DownloadThis
File butt<)(l for the disc you want and you·ll be
prompted save the file to a location of your
choke on your hard disk. The files are roughly
300MB, m you'U need a broadband internet
connecti<)(l to downlwd it.
11:1 Once you·ve downlwdedthe Zip file of
U your disc. you will need to extract the
content$. You can use Windows· built-in tool or
any other utility such as WinZip. When
prompted, enter the password kM4f6Zch to
extract the ISO disc image. note that the
password is case extracted file has
an .iso extension and must be burned to CD or
mounted with a virtual applicati<)(l before
you can use it.
To burn the ISO disc image to CD. use the
1::.1 Bum Disc Image (or similar) option in your
disc-burning application. If your software doesn·t
support the ISO format, you can download the
free ISO Recorder from Ilttp://isorecorrier.
aiexfeinman.com/isOff'Corder.htm or the
excellent CDBurnerXP from http://cdbumerxp.se.
Browse to the unzipped ISO file in your
burning application and pop a blank CD in your
CD or DVD writer. Once the CD is bumI'd, eje-=t
it and reinsert it . If it doesn·t start automaticaHy,
run the Shopper.exe file from the root of the
disc. From the menu that appears. you can
access instructions on how to install the
individual appUcations.
note that the Cover Disc
indudes only a select nllmber of applicati<)(lS
from ComputerShopper's cover DVD. including
Full and Bonus Full Products, the Expert Toolkit
and Open Source sections.
... If you d<)(l·t a blank CD and would
Ii.I rather use the ISO image as a virtual disc,
you can download and use Slysoffs free Virtual
CloneDrive. which is a""ilable from http:lhly5oft.
com/enJvjrtual-c/onedrive.html. Once you·ve
installed the utility. run it and browse to the ISO
file you downloaded in step 1. Select it, and it
'-"lilt appear in Windows Explorer as a CD
drive. If it doesn·t run automatically, browse the
contents of the disc and run Sl>opper.exe.
--------- ____ _

_._---_ ....
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com

Reader Dffers
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This upgrade olfers includes:
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RRP £29.9S Ofh>r price £23.96
Gua!<lntees your privacy by ensuring all t!<lees
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RRP £39.90 Offer price £33.91
Allows you to Il'cover critically important
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. ,
salvage at least part, if not all, of that recovered
file to continue using wheo Il'quired .
Carbonite Online Backup 3.7
This month's cover disc contains a free Carbonite
Online Backup offer, which will provide
you with automatic online
backup for six months. At the end of that
period, you'll be offered the opportunity to
renew the subscription service for another
12 months for just £32.
A full subscriptioo will er1sure you stilt
get access to your existing backed-up files,
with no interruption in service. The full
version remains unlimited, .so you can
continue to add fi les to your online
backup without having to worry about the
amount of data that you're storing.
Computer readers can now get 20
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UTFCast Professional
UTFCast Professional is a tool that lets you batch-convert all text files to
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This month's cover disc includes a free version of UTFCast Professional
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Please note this offer expill's on
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• Free access to the Client Cent er.
• New features and tJ.ug fixes
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Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
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Flaming useless
Your computer is at more risk of fire than you may think, says David Robinson, as he
watches his best attempts to get his customers to be proactive go up in smoke
n his book The Seven Habits of
Highly E/fective People, author
Stephen Covey puts "being
proactive" at number one on the
list. We try to be ,lI1d, 3S
part 01 that ethos, we have a
program running on Barney, our
admin server, that lets us know
when things go awry on some
systems. We started doing this after
one 01 our US customers had a
series of email problems. We set it
up 10 years ago. when we installed
their 'mission-critical' software. In
those days email was little more
than an afterthought: now, 01
course, it's miS$ion oiti<al too.
The problem was the
computer running the network-
wide spam filter, preventing spam
getting into their local mail server,
kept Idlling over. Messages were
getling lost and we were getting
the blame, even though we hadn't
supplied the offending computer.
I lor an of
automatically monitoring remote
problems and notifying people
when stull needed attention, The
only (supposedly) free tool I could
find went by the evocative moniker
of Splunk, Unlortunately, Splunk
was dunky to work with, the
manual was incomprehensible and
to get the real goodies you had to
splash out on the commercial
version, After spending a lot of time
evaluating it. I gave up, Instead I
made Ian responsible lor conducting
some experiments into what we
could achieve using Delphi, our
favoured programming language,
I'd decided on a simple
architecture with a program running
on one or m()(e computers at
customers' premises periodicaUy
reporting ood to our office. The
customer programs could, in turn,
trigger little mini-programs that
performed a single check, such as:
• Is a specific computer actuaUy
5 running ilnd responding to network
;I' requests (ping)?
§ • Is iI partkular service on the host
Z PC act ually running?
• Has the Iree s""ce on a
" ,-
nominated disk drive lallen below
a certain level?
• Is iI network printer avai li!bie
for use?
If there's a way of performing a
ched, adding a new mini-program
is lairly simple. The checlts generate
a binary result (OK ()( faulty), These
results are transmitted using simple
protocols - which easily pass
through lirewalts - to our server,
where another program keeps tabs
on incoming messages, The current
status can be viewed on a
display showing
green icons for OK and red for
faulty, Email alerts can also be sent
to an engineer when a fault occurs,
It's not yet in a polished state
where it could be sold as a product.
but it does a good job and allows us
to be proactive, dealing with most
customers' system problems before
they even know they exist,
At Christmas I received a flood of
a system at a factory
in the Midlands, Over a period of a
few minutes every ched failed,
resulting in a pile of messages in my
inbox, Using a VPN I logged into
Barney and checked the customer's
dashboard: there were more red
'Iault' indicators than s"'rlet shirts
at a Man Utd v Liverpool match.
Sho<1ly afterwards there was a
",II on the mobile phone we keep
for out -ol-hours suppo<1, It was Tall
Paul the general manager, so called
be",use he's six loot seven,
"Er .. ." he said, "The lactory's
on lire."
Well there are fires and there
are/irf!5, and this was one 01 the
latter. It was especially nasty
because the factory workshops had
a stock of bottled gas, Ouch,
The site is split in two sections,
with the main oHice on one side
and the f"'tory and workshops on
the other, separated by a car park,
Most 01 the servers are in the oHice,
except the one that hosts the
service, warranty
records, which is in the factory
office. The two halves are linked by
a fibre-optic cable, It was here,
years ago, that an electrician
acCidentally cut through the
fibre-optic link but told Tall Paul
he'd managed to rejoin the cable,
The sparky then legged it. The stalf
couldn't log into the main system,
5() we sent engineer Mick to
investigate, He found the join all
right - made with a reel knotl
Our logging system showed that
oockups had been done each night
for the previous week: a good start.
II TP's staH had been following the
guidelines in our handbook, each
morning those tapes would have
been removed from the server tape
drive and from the premises lor safe
keeping. A four-year-old could do it.
However, our advice is
sometimes as welcome as a kebab
delivery at a vegan convention,
You'd be amazed how often we visit
a server and lind the same tape has
been sitting in the drive lor a week
(in other words, with no backup
media rotation) and, obviously,
subject to the same physical rislts
that might obliterate that machine,
SO how big is the risk? Well in
2007, there were 31 ,000 Fires in
workplaces and 53,000 in
private dwellings, There are 2.15
million businesses registered lor
VAT, and roughly 25 million
households in the UK, The chance
of you experiencing a business fire
is therelore around 1,4 per cent
- about the same as winning a
tenner for three numbers on the
lottery. For a home fire, it's rather
lower at 0,2 per cent, but you stit!
have more chance of seeing your
computer bumt to a crisp than you
have of scooping the Lotto jackpot,
01 course, not every fire would
wipe out your computer, all your
music or your collection of digital
holiday photos, but you get an idea
01 the scale 01 probability, And
that 's higher than you might thinl
Anyway, oock to the fire,lt was
a big one. The whole building had
gone up in flames, taking the service
department se.wrs and all the
desktop PCs with it, "If you give us
the b"'kups. " we said, "we can
install the software on a temporary
PC,load the data Irom the backup
tapes and you'll have warranty
records available tom()(row."
Where were the backup t<lpes?
In a fireprool safe - not t<lken ofl
the premises, And where's the safe?
In the service department, which is
now a pile 01 rubble,
They're still looking lor it. We can't
be sure, but it 's the blob of
melted stulf crushed under a large
RSJ that lell out 01 the roof,
I think the neKl is to be
proactive and put up a job
poster in Selly Oak
infants'school. GJ
David Robinson
Software and
systems develope!'
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
Mel Croucher, haunted by visions of a post-apocalyptic dystopia in his local
supermarket, issues a rallying cry to ci vilisation: save Tesco's computers
These days. my wife and I can usually manage it
about twice a week. As we get older, we prefer to
do it in the afternoon. And it may seem a bit
odd, but we have a little ritual after the curtains
get pulled and the lights go dim. We a quick
suck. She prefers aniseed but I like the feel
of a Polo mint 00 the tip of my tongue. We
fancied it this afternoon, which is when I heard
my wile utter the immortal words, "Two seniors,
please, lor Sex & Drugs [, Rock [, Roll!"
She pante<l these amusing words to the lad
running our cinema box office, who shuffled his
brain cells then mumbled, "Nail ", I j ust had time
to tell him that 5n& Drugs [, Rock [, Roll is very
good indee<!, before he continued, "Nail , the
film's already started," Bummer.
Which is how we came to watch TIle Road
A depressing experience. TheRoild is a
two-hour epic about an unnamed catastrophe, a
devastated landsC<lpe. and hopeless survivof5
who live off garbage while avoiding cannibals.
Very much like my last visit to Northampton.
Since leaving the cinema, I have
wondering what the unnamed catastrophe in
the movie could poS$ibly have been. There was
no evidence 01 nuclear war. or a mutant virus.
or a giant asteroid. or even a UKIP
political broadcast. It was as il aU normallile
simply stopped suddenly.
And then I remembered Northampton.
which is where I witnessed instant social
meltdown because 01 a basic programming error.
Civilisation came to temporary halt when the
Tesco computer went down and the checkouts
ground to a halt. I was lud"y to get out of town
intact as the panicking masses were denied
their lood supplies and turned away. Within 10
minutes, hungty shoppers had started eyeing
one another and drooling.
AS I see it. here's how the doomsday scenario
happens in The Rwd. A disgruntled programmer
hacks into the Tesco computer and mal ks
everything up as two-lor-one. All other stores
follow suit, beC<luse that"S what marketing
managers always do, thereby crashing the
banking. wholesale and retail systems, and
denying the distribution ol lood. luel and basic
services. Storage depots are locked down and put
under guard by anmed patrols. who are attacked
by infant hoodies just for lun as their elders loot
Primark for last -minute bargains. Everyone has
forgotten how to bake bread, pick cotton and
milk chickens. and starvation haunts the land.
The fif5t instances of cannibalism near Kingsgate
Plaza shopping centre. Northampton. go
unreported. because the media no longer exists
without electricity or pubs. By the time everyone
realises that they and lunch are one and the
same thing. it is Far Too late.
Forget about Afghanistan. the election and
the World Cup. We must an pull together and
concentrate every resource on protecting Tesco
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
The wobbly-wheeled of
civWsation must be filled. The barcodes of hope
must be scanned. The checkouts of humanity
must go "beep". I seen the future if
ever they should stop. And in thai Te5Co-bereft
we are all doomed.
L<lws in the real world generally make sense.
knoW$ il 's iKegal to steal from a shop
and the consequences of doing so. The law, in
Ihis case, is simple 10 undersland and 10 enforce.
Take things though. and the law
becomes an incredibly stupid place where
nobody's sure what's going on and it's near
impossible to work oul whether your actions are
illegal or not. and if they are. why.
Take, for example, OVOS and Blu-ray discs.
There's software out there that strips out the
copy protection from these movies. The upside
of doing thiS is that region encoding isn't
enforced and you can play high-definition
con lent over an unprOlecte<l digital connection,
such as to a DVI monitor.
The benefits of this are huge: you can walCh
a disc that you've bought anywhere in the world
on any display. Now, surely this is all fine if you
don't actually copy the movie and hence aren't
breaking copyright laws? Well. that's what we
tried 10 find OUI by phoning the federalion
Against Copyright Theft (FACT).
FACT is the organisation that works on behalf
of film and broadcast companies to re<luce
piracy. You probably know it better as the
producer of the irritaling adverts lellingyou thai
pirate DVDs are illegal and that downloading
movies makes you as bad as Pol Pot. Now, we
assumed that as FACT's job is to care about
copyright, it would know if it was illegal or not to
break the copy protection on a disc with the sole
purpose of walching mull i-region films. We were
wrong; nobody at FACT seemed to know.
In the end we found out on our own: the UK
has implemented the EU 's copyright directive as
the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations
2003. These laws make criminal offences of
"manufacturing for sille or hire. importiltion. sale
or distribution of devices or products which are
primarily designed or adapte<lfor the purposes of
technological measures" and "providing.
promoting. advertising or marketing a service the
purpose of which iSlo enable or facililate Ihe
circumvention of technical measures' . In short.
you can'l buy software t hat breaks copyrighl
protection - and we can't tell you about it.
So if you buy a Blu-ray disc legally from the
US and want to watch it in HO on your PC in this
country, the wftware that would let you do this
is iHegal Is this necessary? After all, copying a
disc is illegal as it breah copyright law: in the
same way, scanning a book and putting it online
is illegal yet there are 00 laws banning scanners.
The crazy thing is thiat, according to FACTs
website, "it is not an offence to buy pirated
DVOs". Only Ihe "production, di stri bulion and
sale of pirated OVOs is a criminal offence".
In summary, then: if you use software Ihat
gives you the freedom to watch any disc that
you've legally paid for, you're breaking the law:
if you buy a pirated ovO and watch it, you're
nOI.ls it jusl me or should the government be
more focused in getting pirate OVO salesmen
off our streets and 5pend less time writing
all -encompassing laws thai prevenllaw-abiding
PC users from watching films flexibly?
While my home computer is often engaged in
editing high-definition video or Photoshopping
batches of images, my friends and family are
more likely to be using their computers for less
strenuous tasks, such as giggling at YouTube
videos or uploading photos to Facebook.
NormaUy, 1 would snort at such a
lackadaisical poverty of ambition with the
disdain and contempt thai it deserves. However,
my nearest and dearest may be reduced to using
their compulers as nolhing more than glorified
typewriters through no fault of their own.
While computers hilve grown exponentially
more powerful and capable in the past 20 years,
they still have the same desktop grilphical user
interfaces (GUls) they di d 20 years ago. User
inter/ilce improvements such as the taskbar or
Expose have been made, but GUls are still
fundamentally the silme.
Although increased capability often
inevitably leads to increased complexity,
today's GUls may nonetheless be too bloated
and complicated to be fit for purpose if they
discourage po!ople from taking advantage of
the technology availilble to them.
Apple's iPad and Google's Chrome OS could
chilnge all this. Both do away wi th the desktop
metaphor, drop-down menus and overlapping
windows we're familiar with in current computer
GUls. The iPad uses multitouch gestures, while
Chrome OS will use a single tabbed browser
window as an inlerface for web applications.
They both have the potential to make PCs
dramatically more ilccessible and could open up
people's computers to m()(e complex tasks. If my
non-nerd friends and family are any indication,
most people are far more comfortable using an
iPhone or a web browser than they are with any
other piece of computer hardware or software.
Of course, I haven't used either an iPad or a
Chrome OS computer, so my hope could be
entirely misplaced. The iPad could tum out to be
an overgrown iPod Touch, while Chrome OS may
be a jumped-up web browser with ideas above
its station. Either way, I can't wait to find out.
The video games industry isn't as well known for
its charilable work as, for inslance, the music
industry. However, we've seen some fantastic
combinalions of gaming and charitable
promotions that have led to successful events.
OneBigGame (ww.v.onebiggame.org) · seeks to
raise money to problems afflicting children
everywhere, by creating video games through a
collaborative industry-wide effort". This is an
ambitious creilting any game consumes
significant time and resources and developers
usually expect to get paid.
OneBigGame donales all profits to Save The
Children and the Starlight Children's Foundation,
"only deducting the costs of running the
organisation and hosting the games portal ".
Founde<l in 2006, OneBigGame's charitable
philosophy is about to come to fruition with the
release of Zoe Mode's musical ilction-puzzler
Chime, which is available on XboK Live Arcade
and costs 400 Microsoft points (around £3.40).
distributes funds to a range of charities,
predominately "to support children's charities in
the UK. with limited ilpplication for overseas
causes; for e<lucation, health, housing and social
welfare. Funds may also be deployed for career
guidance and sport. Where possible, there will
be some form of technology/interactive play
element. bul that is nol a funding stipul ation:
GamesAid gets money from direct donations
from games publishers and studios, charity
auctions, sponsored sporting events and
contributioos from the general public.
The web has made it easy to donate money
to good causes, from simplifying payments to
allowing charities to publicise their campaigns
through viral mar\(eting and social media. A5
shown above, sometimes contributing to charity
can be ilS simple as buying or plilying a game. GJ
Fi nd mor e magazi nes at www. magazi nesdownl oad. com
He may not have the best job in the world - he doesn't spend
enough time sitting on his bum for that - but Zygote knows a
good thing when he sees it: a fizzy pop-powered mobile phone
Long ago, on the first Monday atter
Twelfth Night, humble farm
labourers would trudge olf to
church toting the tools of their
When they amved. the
clergy would bless their tackle in
a ritual known as the Plough
Monday service.
That was then and this is now,
and when the Reverend Canon
David Parrott took charge 01 51
lawrence Jewry, which is just up
the road from the Sank of England
in the City of London, he faile<t to
find a single ploughman in his
congregation. So as Plough Monday
came aroond this he decided
to .ebrand his service "nd use the
altar to display the tools of the
mde 01 his new
These tool<; indude<! an iPhone,
a BiackBeny, a Windows-based
PC and, just to ecumenical,
a Mac600k.
Asking his flock to hold their
mobiles up to Jesus, Canon Parrot
prayed, "May our tongues be
gentle, our emails be simple
and our websites accessible."
Zygote cries Hallelujah and
Amen to all that.
The future of sport is
absolutely free! The mighty Coogle
has just done a deal with the
mighty Indian Premier League,
which fUns the mighty Twenty20
cricket matches. In a global first, all
60 games in the series will be
streamed on YouTube, with a
dedicated online channel oHering
instant replays and a wealth 01
eKlras, including interview5,
highlights and pitch reports_
Zygote reckons the likes of
BSkyB should start pankking now,
because the quality and quantity of
YouTube sports can only
get better. 5<l tell ite audiences are
going to be decimated as soon as
the masses figure out they don't
need to pay Murdoch's monthly
ransom, because they can satiate
their sporting appetites for nowt.
In lact, it's only a matter 01
time before the mighty Coogle
launches its own premier league
championship for sport under
the sun and awards each one its
own free YouTube channel. This
will kill on the satellite
broadcasters for good.
And having done that, Coogle
can repeat history and start
charging us to watchlhem all
The job-search portal CareerCast
has published a new league table
to help people identify the best
jobs inlhe world. The jobs include
from dental hygienists
to oil-well drillers, but ii's the
careers where you sit on your bum
a lot thai win out. In which case,
jobs in the computing world should
rank _II indeed, and Ihe Top
T_nty Jobs league table does
not disappoint. Website
dock in at number 15, while
wltware engineers rank number
five, and a computer systems
analyst makes it all the way up
to number three_
According to the survey,
which ra tes income, the worl<:
and the physical and
mental demands made on the
worker, the second best job in the
world is 10 the life of a
wFtware engineer, which offers
"the best hiring outlook of any
available job in 2010". Only one
occupation beats wftware
engineering to the top slot, and
that is the job of an insurance
actual). That job also
silting on your bum a lot While you
work oul the risk of robbery,
pestilence. war. mayhem and
death. The survey states that
dealing in5uch disaster
less worry and stress than being a
wftware engineer. In which case
Zygote would like to know what
pills these insurance folk are on.
Chinese-born Daizi Zheng came to
the UK when she was 16. and has
spent the past few years studying
product design at Central Saint
Martins College in london.
Among her startling innovations
are vegetable-based cigarettes
that "can seriously benefit you
from cancer·, and an inflatable
pregnancy simulalor to deter
muggers. Some people whisper
that Miss Zheng is taking the piss.
The name Wikipedia comes
from wiki - Hawaiian for
fart - and pedia - the Latin
for smell s like feet,
As an open-e nded resource.
anyone Is all owed to be a
but Zygote diSilgreeS, because she
has also invented a liltle gizmo
that may just change the future
of telecommunications.
The gizmo in question is a
mobile phone that runs on sugar.
It has a sleek, ultra-modern design
and features a 5fT1all glass flask
with a screw cap at one end and a
keyp<td etched on to the surface.
To power up the all you do
is pour in a small amount of your
favourite fizzy drink, shake it about
a bit and allow enzymes to
generate electricity from the
resultant carbohydrates_
Claimed to last up to four times
longer than a traditional lithium-
ion charge, once the bio-battery
dies you can get rid of the waste by
drinking i