FACTS! FAX! 053 (22/04/97)
have a 486 computer with a 33MHz processor. Could I upgrade this with an Intel
Pentium P133 processor? What speed would it run at? Can you give me Intel’s
address, and could you suggest a book on PC upgrades?
McDonald, Hayes. Middlesex.
can’t simply plug a Pentium processor into a 486 motherboard, it doesn’t work
like that. There are several DIY upgrade options, that can dramatically
increase the speed of your PC, assuming the motherboard is a standard design.
Intel produce a range of Pentium OverDrive chips, that either replace your
existing CPU, or plug into the spare OverDrive socket, (if fitted). There’s
also selection of replacement Pentium-class processors from various other
manufacturers, that claim operating speeds of up to 133MHz. Prices start at
around £100 for products like the Evergreen 586/133; Intel OverDrive upgrades
cost between £110 to £140. Whilst these chips will enable Windows 95 to run at
a respectable pace, and speed up some applications, they cannot replicate the
full performance of a Pentium processor; at best they’re only a stop-gap
solution. It may be cheaper in the long run to upgrade to a Pentium motherboard
and processor, it doesn’t cost much more. Mail order specialists, like Memax sell
Intel P133 and motherboard combinations for just £175; boards fitted with AMP
K5-P133 processors cost only £135. ‘Idiots’ and ‘Dummies’ guide books will help
you through the basics, for a more detailed insight into the workings of a PC
try ‘Upgrading and Maintaining Your PC, from Abacus Books.
Computers, telephone 01246) 455277
Corporation UK Ltd., Opus Way, Swindon Wilts SN3 1RJ. Telephone (01793) 403000
FOR A CHANGE?
read with interest the article ‘VCR Manufacturers Must Try Harder’ in Connected
(27/3/97). I am aware many computers will face problems with the year 2000 date
change. Will VCRs suffer a similar fate?
no. The majority of VCR made prior to 1995 had relatively simple 31-day timers,
which means the clocks on many older machines do not need or use date
information. A few models were fitted with 365-day timers, but as far as we’re
aware they all had a built-in calendars, programmed for the year 2000 and
beyond. Most new video recorders now have Video Plus+ timers, linked with
programme delivery control (PDC) systems. PDC constantly checks time and date
information, derived from teletext signals. (PDC is used, in conjunction with
control signals sent by broadcasters, to automatically correct for late
programme changes, for time-shifted recordings). PDC data is also used by VCRs
with auto installation systems, to set the VCRs clock and date display, when it
is used for the first time. This is subsequently re-checked, usually once a day.
You can easily tell if you have one of these machines as it will automatically
correct for summer and winter time changes. If you’re in any doubt you can try
a Year 2000 changeover test, by setting the VCRs clock to a few minutes before
midnight on December 31st, 1999, and see what happens.
Mac Performa 6300 is now refusing to read discs that it has formatted, it has
only happened recently, is there a simple cure?
Hindley, Sawbridgeworth, Herts
would have been helpful to know if it was reading discs formatted on other
machines, but assuming it doesn’t, and otherwise the drive appears to be
functioning normally, then the most likely causes are contamination on the
drive’s read/write heads, or head misalignment. The former you may be able to
cure yourself, by using a good quality disc drive cleaning kit. Follow the
instructions carefully, over-use or mis-use can be harmful. Head misalignment,
caused by damaged discs, poking foreign objects into the drive slot, or
physical shock, is a job for an engineer.
anyone think of a use for my growing collection of freebie CD ROMs given away on
computer magazines? I must have at least dozen ‘free trial’ discs for various
internet services. I can recycle 3.5 inch cover diskettes, but apart from
drinks coasters -- and not very good ones at that -- I haven’t found an alternative use for CD ROMs, and I’m reluctant
to throw them away.
Livingstone, Sutton, Surrey
them for posterity; rare ones might be worth a small fortune one day. They make
good indoor Frisbees. You could make a shiny mobile. Under three’s find them endlessly
fascinating, and they can’t be swallowed. Maybe they have some value to
charities, if so will they let us know and we’ll pass it on.