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Whenever people talk about the Austin-Rover Maestro, people seem to just write it off as a complete and useless failure, I have to stick up for it though and say it was actually a hell of a lot better than everyone seems to think. There was always going to be a certain publicity problem amongst the British press and British people because the Maestro was the car that replaced the Austin Allegro, and the Allegro was famed for wheels flying off whilst driving and windscreens popping out whilst the car was jacked up. Also the fact that Austin (as with the rest of the British motor industry), was owned by British Leyland, and anything associated with BL was looked on as a very bad joke. Anyway the Maestro was introduced in 1983 and was well accepted amongst the press. It was a very innovative car of it's time. This is because the early models had the talking trip computer digital dashboards. A voice would come on in the drivers speaker and give a voice warning if the engine was overheating etc... Also it had an electronic engine management system with an automatic choke. All this was very very groundbreaking in it's day. The Maestro was finished in 1995 by Rover. However a few thousand were built recently in 1999/2000 from kit cars that Rover were going to sell over to Bulgaria but the deal fell through. A garage took the Maestro kit cars on and converted them from left to right hand drive and the 1000 or so that were built became Britains cheapest new car at the time at only 4995-00 on the road. Anyway onto the Maestro now. Well to me (ignoring the stigma that the Maestro has mainly from people who've never touched one) the Maestro says several things and has many quality features. For starters theres the engine. All 1.3 litre Maestro's used the excellent Austin A series engine. These engines go on forever and have a proven track record for many years. They A series engines are also very easy to work on and faults can
be put right relatively easily. This isn't forgetting the excellent 2.0 injection MG Maestros that were made based on Austins O Series engine (the one used in the Montego) and never to forget the 505 ever made MG Maestro Turbos which look excellent and will do 0-60 in 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 131 mph as manufacturers standard!!! Another plus point with the Maestro is that it offers very good fuel economy. You can expect anything between 40-50 mpg with a reasonably looked after Maestro. This is very important nowadays as fuel prices continue to spiral. Maestro's are also incredibly roomy inside both in the front and back. Some models offer the normal luxeries such as electric windows and sunroofs. There are things to look out for if your after a Maestro though. The main downfall of the Maestro was the rust problem. This is curable though if the car you buy hasn't been too badly invaded. The main places where a Maesrto will rust are as follows so be sure to check these places if your after buying one: Wheel arches (particularly rear), sills, under the grille and the front and rear pillars. All in all ignore the things that people say about Maestros because if your looking for a second hand motor you could do a lot worse than go for one. Excellent fuel economy and a good Austin engine are major plus points for it.
I have recently purchased my first car in which I am going to learn to drive in. I have been intending on doing this for a while but only recently have I had the money to put into it. So myself and my dad set off one Saturday afternoon a week or so ago to have a look at some cars. The brief was quite simple. I wanted a car with a small engine (insurance & tax purposes), that had a decent body on it, and would be economical to run. I had a around a thousand pounds to spend. I was thinking along the lines of a Mini initially but was open to persuasion. We set off and had a look around and the best car by far that we found was the one that I ended up with. It was a Citroen AX 10E. I fitted all the criteria. It has a 1 litre engine (954 cc), is a very economical model, looks good and is only group 2 insurance. All Citroens are very reliable on the whole. My dad's used Citroen vans for the past 10 years with very few problems. The AX I got as I have stated was the 10E. This was the base model. Therefore you may think that it is only very basic inside but I would beg to differ. It came with a radio/cassette player (not sure if this is as standard though). The dashboard is a little basic. It has a speedometer, and fuel guage but this is it guage wise. The rest of the settings are done in the form of lights. For example there is no engine temperature guage but if your engine does overheat a light comes on warning you of the fact. All the other lights are there as per other cars with the handbrake, indicator, headlamps etc... As it is the base model there is no glovebox with a front door on, however theres plenty of storage space in the form of compartments, both on the passenger and driver side. Under the bonnet is a very nice 1 litre (954 cc) Citroen engine. You may think this sounds a little underpowered, but it is actually pretty nippy, mainly thanks to the fact that the car has a very light body. It accelerates quickly and has a claimed top
speed of 90 m.p.h although for an engine of this size I would have estimated a top of nearer 80 m.p.h. This is accompanied by a 4 speed gearbox. There is plenty of room in the back for passengers which is suprising for the external size of the car. Also it has a remarkably spacious boot on it, which again you wouldn't expect for a car of the external size of the AX. The body work is made up very interestingly on AX's. The bulk of it is made from aluminium and plastic, hence making for a very light car which helps compensate for the smallish engine in my case. However because of the presemce of the aluminium you could argue that the car wouldn't stand up too well in an accident although this is just speculation on my part. I would for sure feel a hell of a lot safer in an accident in an AX than in a Mini! The only strange layout is the pedal layout. It's gonna be difficult for anyone with big feet to drive the AX. The clutch pedal is set at one height, the brake pedal is set further back and the accelerator is set slightly further back at a slight angle pointing slightly towards the drivers door! This just adds to the character of the car and once you get used to it, it really isn't a problem, just makes driving the AX even more fun!! All in all if you can find an AX with sound bodywork like mine for under a thousand then it'll make an ideal first car or little town runaround.
For those of you who have read my opinion on Lidl, you will know that I am not really a fan of the budget cheap discount supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi. Aldi is, like Lidl, a German originated supermarket that has come over here and has started opening a large number of shops. Our local Aldi is around 20 minutes away in Coalville. I have never actually visited Aldi for myself but I have been in a few times with friends of mine who do goto Aldi regularly. My initial opinion is that this place is a little bit dingy and to be fair to them, it is very much orientated by price. It's the kind of principle that if you like top customer service, low queues and top branded products, then goto Somerfield or Sainsburys but if your willing to put up with lower quality products and customer service, in exchange for lower prices, then maybe Aldi could be for you. I have to say though it isn't for me. The problem I have with Aldi is that I like my supermarkets to have good customer service, in particular top branded products and be nicely laid out and appealing to the eye. The thing with Aldi though is that obviously apart from selling cheaper non-brand name products, they need to keep costs lower hence employ less staff so your likely to get longer queues as they don't have the staff to open up more tills. There is also no shelving at Aldi. They just bring the stock out and stack it on palletts wherever it will fit, still in the boxes and packaging that it was delivered in. I suppose that if you don't mind not having the option of brand names and better customer service then there is nothing wrong with Aldi. It isn't however for me because I like buying well known names like Heinz, Coca-Cola etc... because I know I like the stuff, I know it will get eat and I know that it is going to be of the highest possible standard, something that cannot be guaranteed of Aldi's goods unfortunately.
I can see from the general opinions posted on Dooyoo that I am leaving myself open to attack from my opinion on Lidl because it differs so much from everyone elses, however the whole point of this site is that people give their own personal opinions however they differ. I hadn't heard of Lidl until they started popping up a few years ago. There are 2 stores in the vicinity of me. For those who don't know Lidl is a very discount supermarket that originated in Germany. They are very much a cheap price orientated store, the kind of place where you pick up cans if beans and things for 6p etc etc... A similar example would be Aldi. A lot of people will label me a food snob for my opinion on Lidl and that is fair enough I suppose, however I think that there is a difference between liking brand names and top quality and being a food snob. As I have just stated I like my brand names. I like things by Heinz, McVities, Coca-Cola etc.. and I also like my supermarkets own brand (Somerfield). I don't believe people who say that the name on the outside of the can makes no difference to the things inside the can. I have friends who have shopped at Lidl, Aldi, Netto etc.. in the past and im afraid that there is a distinct difference in quality. You get what you pay for and thats why i'd rather pay a bit more at Somerfield for my brand names than save a bit of money but get cheap and in my opinion lower quality goods from Lidl. Lidl is very much budget orientated. You cannot pay by credit card there, you pay for the carrier bags and also they have far fewer staff than the bigger supermarkets so you get lower customer service. For example you are likely to only see 1 checkout open in Lidl with a massive queue of people when in other supermarkets they would open more checkouts to get the queues down, mainly because they have the staff. If you have a choice and you like your brand names then I suggest that you steer
clear of Lidl. They don't have any brand names whatsoever there and the food is of in my opinion lower quality. It does have it's uses im sure for people who can't afford bigger brand names but im sorry it's just not for me.
When you live in an area like I do with hundreds of supermarkets (Somerfield, Sainsburys, Lidl, Tesco, Megasave, Morrisons etc etc), the place you choose to shop at has to have something special about it. I find this at our local Somerfield store. As far as im concerned Somefield has everything that you can ever want in a supermarket. Our local one in Swadlincote has so many great features, often missing elsewhere, that make it the natural choice for our weekly shopping. Things start off well immediately. As you walk in there is always a friendly face to greet you with a hello whilst handing you a shopping basket when required. The first aisle is stocked up with top quality fresh fruit and veg and some cracking selection of meats. Hanging from the roof is several banners outlining all the many Megadeal offers for the week. The trolleys require 1-00 to be put into them to relase them and this 1-00 is refunded on completion of shopping. The good thing about this is that it stops shopping trolleys being strewn all over the town because people take their trolley back to receive their 1-00 back. There is an excellent Delicatessen in our local store. It has hundreds of varieties of pies, cheeses, hams and cooked meats and also not forgetting the famous Somerfield Rotisserie, where you can buy a half chicken for 1-30 or a full chicken for 1-99 all with a variety of seasonings or just plain, ready cooked on the rotisserie and piping hot. The smell of these as you smell it in your trolley is a wonderful thing. I mentioned the Megadeals earlier well i'll go into more depth here. Somerfield for a while now have invested a lot of money in Megadeals. These are products which for the week are on a real great deal. The standard is either less than half price, half price or buy one get one free. Examples of some of the recent Megadeals are Choco Cornflakes on buy one get one free, chicken breasts half price, Double Velvet Toilet tis
sue 9 rolls reduced from 4-99 to 2-59. There really is some excellent deals and also starting from this week when Somerfield have ended the premier points promotion, the very best Megadeals are being seen because Somerfield are investing the money saved from ending the premier points promotion to cut prices and make even better Megadeals. It gives customers a chance to really see the money in their pocket. As for their non offer products, there is a full and excellent range, mostly slightly cheaper than Sainsburys/Tesco etc. You really cannot beat them. They also offer an excellent own brand range and a brilliant value Somerfield Basics range where most canned foods can be brought for just 15p. This stuff is all good quality also. I myself love the Somerfield Basics Yorkshire Puddings, giant size for just 35p!! Remarkable value!! Also they have an excellent home delivery service. If you spend 25-00 or more, your shopping can be delivered to you either same day or next day within a 2 hour period for free! You have to normally shop before dinner if you want it same day delivery though because it fills up very quickly and is very popular, understandebly. However even if the same day delivery is full you can still leave your food in good hands with chilled goods chilled and frozen stuff frozen to be delivered the following day. If youve never tried Somerfield then I strongly urge you to give them a crack you certainly wont be sorry, I wasnt.
If you haven't yet read part 1 of my series on building your computer then you should read that before this as this is a follow on from that one. It is situated in the same area as this but in the choosing the correct components section. Anyway onto part 2 of my series. This part will be all about putting the components together that I have talked about in part 1. You should have a large number of components in front of you now. The whole process begins with the outer part of your system, the case. The case can be either a desktop or a tower and it can be either AT or ATX, the principals are all the same. Firstly you should place your motherboard (the largest circuit board) into the case to see where the screw/clip holes on the motherboard line up with the screw holes on the bottom of the case. Then take the little gold coloured screw holders that should come with the case and screw them into the case where the holes line up with the motherboard. Then simply screw the motherboard into the corresponding holes and there you have it, your first piece inserted. Next I would advise screwing in all of the storage devices to the case as this makes life easier in the long run. By storage devices I mean Hard disk drive, floppy drive, CD-Rom drive, DVD Drive, CDRW etc.... These simply screw into the front of the case, remembering to unclip the plastic front bits as and when required. Next thing to do is to attach the individual components to the motherboard. I would normally begin with the power supply. This is quite simple, just take the largest connector comping from the power supply and plug into the power socket on the motherboard. (Should be located just under the power supply). Next job is to plug the processor in. If you have a socket based processor (Cyrix MII, AMD K6-2, Cyrix III, Intel Celeron, AMD Duron, Intel PIII Coppermine or AMD Athlon TBird) then this simply pops into the biggish square white socket. Remembering to line
up pin one (the corner on the processor with the corner chopped off) with the corresponding corner on the socket. If you have a slot based processor (original AMD Athlon or original Intel PIII) then it is a bit like plugging an expansion card in, in that you push it straight in and clip the clips on. If you have a motherboard that detects it's own jumper settings then it's easy and you don't have to worry about it. However you may have either jumpers or dip switches on your motherboard to adjust to select what processor you have. If so follow the motherboard directions as different motherboards require different switch and jumper settings. You are now started to resemble a machine. Next job is to plug in your IDE cables. These are usually grey in colour and have a few black adapters on them. You should plug one of the cables into the hard disk and then the other end should go into the slot on the motherboard labelled IDE 1. The other devices (CD-Rom, CDRW, DVD etc) should be linked together with the other IDE cable and plugged into the slot on the motherboard labelled IDE 2. Finally the thinnest of your IDE cables should be plugged into the floppy drive and then into the floppy drive slot on the motherboard. You are now over half way there. It now comes to plugging your expansion cards in. It will vary as to how many you have and what slots they go in. The good news is that all the slots are different sizes so its impossible to plug them into the wrong slot. Depending on your motherboard you will have some ISA slots (black slots located on the back left of the motherboard), PCI slots (white slots, shorter than ISA slots located along the back middle of the motherboard), AGP slot (brown in colour and there is only ever one of these if any at all located on the right hand side of the back middle of the motherboard). Also some motherboards have something called an AMR slot. These are very very short and some modem cards plug into them. Don
't be alarmed if your motherboard doesn't have all of these slots. Not all do for several reasons. For starters alot of the newest motherboards don't have ISA slots as they're old, some motherboards don't have AMR (sometimes known as CNR slots) because this technology is new and some don't have AGP slots because they are either too old to have one or because the motherboard has an onboard video card which means the motherboard has a video card built onto it and you don't need to put your own in. Right, as for plugging the cards in (you will be plugging in things like a video card, sound card, possibly a modem, possibly a network card etc etc). These cards simply plug in by you inserting them straight and applying equal pressure along the card. Some cards require a lot of pressure particularly in a new motherboard due to the slots being stiff but don't worry about this. As I said before the size of the cards will show you what slot they belong in as they are all a different size. If you've got this far then you are doing brilliantly and you are nearly there. All that remains to be done is to connect all of your drives to the power connectors from the power supply (note that the little power connector goes to the floppy drive) and to connect your fan to the top of the processor (this just clips on to the socket or slot and connects to either a 3 pin connector on the motherboard or a normal sized power connector from the power supply). The last internal fiddly but is required to be done now. Here you simply have to connect the LED's on the front of the case to the motherboard so that they work. You will see lots of colourd little wires coming out at the bottom of the case and these will be labelled as to what they are (HDD LED, power button, power LED etc...) All you need to do is to consult the motherboard manual as to where each one plugs into the motherboard. As for building the machine, all
that remains to be done now is to attach the back of the case on and to plug all of the wires into the back of the machine. This includes the power cable, monitor cable etc.. All you do now is fire the machine up and there you have it. Providing nothing has gone wrong you should have your very own built machine. Congratulations if you've managed to do it all, honestly it's something that once you've got the hang of, you can do it with your eyes shut.
I am going to start writing a few part series on advising people on how to build their own computer. I have my own computer business so i'm building and upgrading machines all day long and feel that I am qualified to help the good members of Dooyoo to have the confidence to build their own machines and upgrade their own. The reason that this series will be split into parts is because each part is going to be in such great depth that it would be crazy to put them all in together. I apologise in advance if these guides are long but I feel I wouldn't do the exercise justice was I to cut corners. So here goes with part 1 of the guide - Components. As I am sure your all aware as computer owners, there is such a massive wide choice of component options out there that you can easily become swamped under with technical information and specifications that to the average Joe, means nothing. A large number of companies like to keep it like this to try and fox the customer and sell them the most expensive PC that they can. However I am aiming to help you all out here. My old A' Level IT teacher used to have a saying - "let the software determine the hardware and not the hardware determine the software". If you think about this statement it makes a lot of sense because it is saying that you should work out what software you need to complete all of your tasks and then build the machine around it instead of limiting the options of what you can do with the machine because the hardware is not upto scratch. This brings me nicely onto my first part. Before buying a new machine or deciding on upgrading yours, you should look at what you want your machine to do and then mould the rest of the computer around this. Once you know the limitations of what you want to do you can budget far more easily and save yourself significant sums of money. It's a waste of money if all your going to do on your machine is wordprocess and you buy the lat
est Athlon or Pentium 4 processor. Here is a guide to what kind of things you should be looking for in the way of specifications you need as to what your doing on your machine: Machine 1 - General everyday tasks like wordprocessing: If you want a machine for general word processing and the odd spreadsheet or office document then there is no need to go crazy at all. You can be well and truly in the budget sector here and get an absolute bargain and good performance. Processor - You can happily perform the above tasks on either a Cyrix MII or AMD K6-2 processor. These processors are the cheapest on the market and you will get a machine of anywhere between 300 and 550 MHz using these processors. Memory - You will get away with 32Mb of memory here although I would always recommend 64Mb to give you a little comfort zone. This will allow several programs to be open at once and will serve you fine. Other Components - There is no need for any flashy video card, soundcard or anything else with this machine providing all your doing is the above tasks. To allow for decent refresh rates though I would advise at least a 4Mb video card though. Also depending on your budget you can get away with a 14" monitor although I find a 15" a lot more comfortable to work with. As an optional extra you could add a modem for the internet although you would normally have to specify these as an extra in this type of machine. Approximate price to pay in this sector depending on exact specification - £300-00 to £450-00 Machine 2 - Internet browser with the occasional game If you want a machine to use to browse the internet on along with knocking around on the odd game now and again then you are looking at the middle ground. If you're not a crazy mad gamer but enjoy the odd thrash around Half Life/Quake etc... then you can buy one of these without spending over the odds on a high end gamer. Pro
cessor - You are looking at getting a machine based on either the Cyrix III processor or the Intel Celeron processor. Either of these will do for this sector although the gaming performance on the Celeron will be slightly better than on the Cyrix III but the Cyrix III will still handle the games fine. Memory - You are looking for a minimum of 64Mb here really else you'll find yourself lacking when it comes to the games. More is nice but it's a waste of time going above 128Mb on a machine with these processors. Video Card - You need a solid performing video card here, and luckily enough there are some around which fit nicely into this bracket without braking the bank or leaving the processor behind. An S3 Savage 4 based card or an Nvidia TNT2/Ultra will fit the bill very nicely here for a well balanced machine. There is little price difference between the 16 and 32Mb versions of these cards so always look to the 32Mb version if possible. Also a Diamond Viper II based on S3's Savage 2000 chipset will do you the best if your willing to stretch to around the £100 mark, not discounting a Voodoo 3/4. Other components - Obviously with a machine with the above criteria, you need a modem. You should be looking at 56k and either an internal or external although make sure that the modem isn't a software modem or a Winmodem as these will eat up your resources and are renowned for reliability problems. Good examples of modems for this type of machine are Diamonds SupraExpress 56i Pro or any external Diamond modem as these are the best available. Other good examples come from manufacturers like 3Com/USRobotics and Creative. 15" monitor should come as standard. Approximate price to pay in this sector dependant on exact specification - £450 to £650 Machine 3 - Budget gaming machine This is the kind of machine that a person who plays lots of high end games but has a budget to work to, would use. We can't
all, after all, afford 1GHz Athlon machines, I know I certainly can't anyway!!! Processor - The perfect contender out on it's own in this sector is the popular Duron processor from AMD. This will offer very good performance (slightly quicker than the original Mk1 Athlon - due to it's cache structure) and yet is very very competitively priced. Memory - Only accept as a very bare mimimum of 64Mb although thats really cutting a major corner and any machine of this specification should demand at least 128Mb of memory to compliment the processor and other components. Remember the more the merrier. Video Card - Here you need a card that doesn't cost the earth and yet offers good gaming performance. The best example in this sector has to be the GeForce 2 MX. This is a cut down version of the GeForce 2, but costs only £100. Available in a 32Mb version this will suit your purposes perfectly. Other components - Again you would expect a modem in this kind of machine. As I stated previously anyone of Diamonds Hardware range will fit the bill along with a Creative or USRobitcs option. 15" monitor will be the baseline here although you should really be looking out for 17" ones at this price bracket. A DVD or CD-Writer can be found at the right price. Approximate price to pay in this sector depending on exact specification - £650 to £800 Machine 4 - High end gaming machine This is the most advanced machine of the lot, ready and willing to take anything that you can throw at it and come up trumps everytime. Processor - Accept nothing short of an AMD Athlon Thunderbird or Intel Pentium III processor in this machine. These babies go upto 1.13 GHz at present and despite costing top dollar, you will be suprised at how quick everything works. It's almost a case of the computer has done what you ask of it before you've even thought what you want to do! Memory - You shouldn
39;t be palmed off with anything short of 256Mb of memory in a machine of this stature. 128Mb is an unneccasary shortfall when the price of the extra memory is nothing in the context of the machine. Video Card - You've got to be looking at the best available in a machine like this. Any of the following examples will do fine: ATI Radeon 64Mb DDR, GeForce 2 GTS 64Mb DDR, GeForce 2 Ultra 64Mb DDR. Personally I like the ATI Radeon card as it offers slightly better performance than the GeForce 2 GTS although the Ultra is another matter. Other components - An external modem should come with a machine like this. A Diamond SupraExpress 56e being favourable to me. Accept nothing less than a 17" monitor in this sector with a 19" being preferable. You should also be looking at the extras of a Soundblaster Live soundcard with surround sound speakers and also DVD and CD-Writers. Also a printer and or scanner is a nice little extra. Approximate price to pay in this sector depending on exact specification - £950 to £1600 This is the end of part one of my guide to building and upgrading your PC. After this part you should have assessed your needs and decided on what you want your computer to do and also what your budget can stretch to. Look out for part 2 which should be posted within the next day or two when we start talking about putting the components together.
The Philips C12 has been around for a long time now and is a proven solid, reliable and strong workhorse. It is a phone that although not blessed with the up to date looks of say a Nokia 3210, still looks quite nice for a phone and is certainly one that won't put you off with it's looks. These phones are very cheap now and can still be found if you look carefully enough although it is being phased out eventually to be replaced by it's older brothers the Philips C13 and Savvy. The functionality is of a good standard in this phone. It has the standard 12 number/character keys and also a few more. These include a menu key to give fast and instant access to the menu options of the phone including text messaging, phone book and so on. There is also 2 similar keys to the menu key although one is to turn the phone on and answer calls, and the other is to turn the phone off. The final button is the big round one which is used to navigate through the different and many options the phone offers. This button has the left and right scroll, the ok and the up key to take you to your previous menu. Here we have a phone that is very functional and also very cheap. I know people who have had them well over 12 months and have had no problems at all. They are very sturdy and offer great reliability without being flashy. This is probably the most ideal first mobile for people.
I have just reviewed what in my opinion is the best available Socket A Duron/Athlon board in the ABIT KT7, so I thought it was only right for me to look at what in my opinion is one of the best S370 boards, for those wanting to go through the Intel route. This is a very impressive board both in specification and in performance. It is based around Intels slightly maligned but recently renewed 815e Solano 2 chipset. As you would expect for a new motherboard, this is in normal ATX format and supports all of the latest processors upto a certain extent which I will talk about in just a moment. It has a socket 370 format for your processor allowing you to choose any of Intel's PII/PIII/Celeron based on Coppermine technology although you should note that although this board is S370, I cannot comment whether it will be able to take the new Cyrix III chip as I have never tested it in this board, however it should work so long as you flash the bios. It in some ways is a shame about the processor support on this motherboard and in other ways a very nice choice. It will support all FC-PGA Coppermine PII/PIII/Celeron processors. It will take Celeron processors from 333 upto 566 MHz +. The reason that this is disappointing is because what that little + sign means is that the board will probably take a higher chip but it hasn't yet been tested with it and so you are taking a slight gamble. It is the same thing with the PII/PIII support in that it supports them from 450 MHz upto 933 MHz + so it's difficult to say whether it would handle a 1 GHz PIII or not. However they still offer great upgradability in that it will goto 933 and will more than likely go a lot higher. As for specifications, it looks rather impressive, supporting PC100/133 with a FSB potential upto 133 MHz for the latest PIII processors. Also is the support for AGP 4x which is a major coup for Intel because VIA remain the only Athlon supporting chipset company who can provide 4
x AGP for Socket A based machines. Also included is the lightning fast UDMA 100 for the latest hard drives from the companies that produce UDMA 100 drives yet. The only problem with UDMA 100 drives is that you pay top price for them. There is good overclocking potential with this board because it has jumper free technology allowing you to crank up the bus speed if your nerves can take it!!! There is plenty of scope for upgrade also with this board containing 1 AGP slot and 6 PCI slots with 2 CNR slots. This board comes with onboard graphics which are disappointing on the whole and dont compare with VIA's onboard Savage 4 graphics, but at least you have the AGP slot if you want to upgrade your graphics to something a lot heftier. Overall here we have one of the best S370 motherboard on the market at the moment with a hefty price tag but you pay for quality and ASUS are a quality brand and the spec of this board says top quality apart from the onboard graphics. Go and buy one if your going the S370 route although I would get my own seperate graphics card if I was to go this route and was planning on playing some 3D inensive games.
This motherboard in my opinion, is the best possible choice that anyone can make when they are looking for a solution for Socket A Athlon and Duron processors. The great thing about AMD's latest offerings is that people can upgrade from old PII/K6-2/MII systems and get a big speed increase upto Duron machines and then can upgrade safely using the same motherboard and components upto an Athlon. That is what is so good about AMD converting Duron and Athlons to the same Socket A architecture. It means that AMD can rely on a large percentage of their customers business for a long time to come. While AMD can rely on companies offering brilliant boards like ABIT do for their architecture, they are always going to be up there at the top of the processor market. This board continues ABIT's reputation as one of the best motherboard makers around. It offers so many excellent specs and details that apart from the price possibly putting some people off, this board has to be on the wish list of people going to Durons and TBird Athlons. The chipset is at the heart of a motherboard controlling all the main aspects and that is why it is important to get the best chipset possible. ABIT have done this in using VIA's latest KT133 chipset. This supporting AGP 4x for the latest graphic cards means that your system is sure to fly along when taking advantage of the many advanced features this motherboard has. There is a good possibility for expansion when using this board. There is the standard 1 AGP slot, a very spacious 6 PCI slots and the nice inclusion of an ISA slot for any legacy cards that people may have in their present systems. Obviously there is 2 USB ports, the standard serial offerings and the inclusion of UDMA 66 support for some of the latest Hard Drives although it is a little disappointing to see no inclusion of UDMA 100 support on this board although i'm sure ABIT will remedy this in future updates of the board. The boa
rd has 3 DIMM memory slots supporting PC100 and PC133 MHz SDRAM upto 1.5Gb of memory in slots of between 8Mb and 512Mb. Also for setting CPU options, this board uses Softmenu III, allowing the changing of FSB speeds to alter your CPU's speed. The board comes in ATX form factor with hardware monitoring including voltage, fan speed and system temperature allowing the option of automatic shutdown on sense of excess temperature that could be damaging to components. Overall here we have a board which continues ABIT's reign at the top of the motherboard manufacturers. If I was to upgrade to a Duron or an Athlon I would most certainly do it using the ABIT KT7 motherboard.
In my opinion this is the best looking phone that Nokia have out at the moment. It has a good number of features with it and is also priced very competitively. Features include the excellent battery that comes with this phone. When fully charged you can get upto 5 hours of battery talktime and 270 hours battery standby time. I can't think of a phone with a better battery than this one and this should be taken into consideration. The phone is actually quite heavy as far as phones go today. It weighs in at 170g which is heavier than most pay as you talk phones. There are 40 ring tones on this phone which is a very impressive amount along with the fact that you can buy new ring tones to put on it. The is 3 games as standard with this phone including the very addictive "Snake" game. This phone is slim and as i've said before good looking. There is good network support for this one too. It is available on 4 of the 5 networks although in slightly different variations. BTCellnet and Vodafone offer the 5110, Orange offer the nk402 and One 2 One offer the 5146. All are variations of the 5110 so theres a wide range available. Virgin currently don't offer this phone. Overall you can pick up a very good sleek and slim phone here and having used it I can wholeheartedly recommend it. It is easy to navigate and also all of the things that I have mentioned above. It currently retails at approximately 60-00 - 70-00 dependant on variation and network.
Here we have a sturdy, reasonable looking addition to the Siemens line up of mobile phones. It is the big brother to the successful Siemens C25 (read my opinion on this to find out if I liked it), and unfortunately this is where the similarities end, with the name. Don't get me wrong I am not saying that this phone is ugly or anything like that but it loses the slim and sleek good looks of the C25. However I think I am being a little critical here when you have to remember that the C35 is a WAP (wireless application protocol) phone, and WAP capabilities could never be fitted into the tiny C25. The first thing I noticed when I saw this phone was the interesting "dumpy" aerial on the C35. It is a very short aerial and very fat. However I think that the general layout of the phone would look out of place if it had a more standard thin and longer aerial. The C35 comes with a very good viewable screen for using the WAP service that is accessible through this phone. It is very well laid out with the standard 11 number and miscellaneous digit buttons, along with a power button, a call button, a message button and scroll buttons. This phone is incredibly light. It weighs just 110g which suprised me for a phone that looked a little bulkier than this. To have made this phone 25g lighter than the very small C25 is a remarkable acheivement by the engineers at Siemens. As for other features it comes with the standard 99 name and number memory and a fast battery charger. If you have the phone on Virgin you also get a free hands free kit as is standard with all Virgin Mobile phones. As for networks this phone isn't overly supported with it just being offered on Vodafone and Virgin networks. As i've stated many times before I would go for Virgin but choice is optional. We can't forget to mention the fact that this phone is a WAP phone and hence can connect to the internet or should I say connect to the mobile ph
ones version of the internet. This is very good technology and is being expanded all the time. Overall we have a very competant phone here and at just 100-00 is very competitively priced in comparison to other WAP capable phones. I would certainly consider it seriously if you are looking for a phone that is WAP capable and available on the Virgin network for cheap calls.
When I first saw this phone I was suprised at it's size. It is a remarkably small phone and weighs quite a little at just 135g. I think that this phone is a quite cute and good looking. It is also available in 2 colours depending on the network that you go with and the exact model number that you are able to get. You can get it in black or a rather funky, stylish and good looking bright blue thats really very attractive and if I was to purchase the phone myself I would go for this blue colour. This phone is one of the best in the business when it comes to the battery capabilities for talktime and yet one of the worst when it comes to battery standby time. It offers a very impressive 5 hours of talktime which equals all other competitors like Nokias 5110 and it's big brother the Siemens C35. However when it comes to standby time it offers a pitiful 100 hours which is the lowest that I have ever seen from a phone apart from Motorola's M3788e which offers 100 hours also, but we must remember that the M3788e is just 30-00 and the Siemens C25 is 80-00. As I mentioned earlier the Siemens C25 is light at just 135g. As is standard with all phones it will store 99 names and numbers in it's memory. A very good feature of this phone is that a number of it's ringtones are actually specially composed by a host of top DJ's, which is a major coup for this phone. You can also compose your own. As for network compatability, this phone is available on Vodafone and Orange. It's not available on Virgin and i've not seen it anywhere on BTCellnet or One 2 One so your slightly limited as to your choices on this phone. Overall you have a very stylish and funky phone here and I wouldn't worry too much about it's poor standby time. It looks good and has a number of good features and should be looked at if it's in your price bracket.
My initial thoughts when I first saw this phone were "wow a phone with no aerial". Of course this was a ridiculous suggestion by me because no phones can work without an aerial to pick up a signal, but how the Nokia 3210 differs from other phones is that the aerial is built inside the handset and hence looks like there is no aerial attached. This phone is a very good looking one in my opinion. This is probably helped by the fact that there is no aerial attached externally. It has a large viewing screen which is quite handy really for viewing things well. It comes with the standard 10 number keys with the 2 extra keys with the extra digits on. There is also a scroll button, a cancel button and an ok button. The technical specs of the phone are decent also. The rechargable battery allows upto 4 1/2 hours of talktime and 260 hours of standby time. The phone weighs in at an average weight of 151g and will store 99 of your friends, family and associates names and numbers. There are 40+ different ring tones offering a wide variety of choice here and it has predictive typing when it comes to typing text messages. There is also 3 games that come with this phone that will have you tinkering away for many a while if your bored especially when travelling on trains etc.... As another little treat with Nokia phones you can buy new ringtones from the shops for them. They cost around 5-00 and you simply put them on your phone. The 3210 is no different in that you can store 1 newly bought ringtone on your phone. Overall here we have a very sleek and good looking mobile phone. It is available on Virgin, BTCellnet, Vodafone, One 2 One and Orange. Personally I would recommend paring it with the Virgin network for cheap calls, no line rental and a free hands free kit to help cut radiation, but it is upto personal choice. Presently it can be bought for around 80-00 and you can also change the cover of this phone to personalise it to your own
This is one of ABIT's older offerings, being a motherboard for the original Athlons (i.e. in slot format and not the socket Thunderbirds). This has all the specs on it's side and in my experiance is a very solid, stable and good performing motherboard. This board is based on the hugely successful VIA KX133 chipset, which has largely dominated the Athlon boards. As expected it has all the advanced chipset options, supporting both PC100 and PC133. There is plenty of scope for upgrade with this board. As i've already said there is support for PC100 and 133 SDRAM upto a maximum of 2 Gb of memory. There is an AGP slot supporting AGP 2x and also the latest 4x technology. There is 3 DIMM memory slots, 6 PCI slots and an ISA slot to support any legacy hardware that you may have. For your hard disks the board will support upto UDMA 100 which is fabulous and there is 2 USB connectors along with the normal selection of serial connectors. The board comes with in my opinion the best bios company, Award BIOS and this includes the standard anti-virus write protect feature. For alterations to the bus speed etc..., Softmenu III is included which makes life a lot easier. Overall here we have a lovely board that is very stable and overclockable. I would however only recommend it for people buying it second hand as the Socket A processors are hard to come by now and this is old technology against the newer TBird Socket A processors.