So I bought myself a new motherboard yesterday …

The local Microcenter was having a 10% off sale on all DFI Lanparty motherboards, which was good as the mainboard in my Windows XP machine had begun to act highly unstable, to the point of shutting down randomly.

The Lanparty series of motherboards are slightly more expensive than boards with similar chipsets, but they do come packed with features that will immediately catch the eye of overclockers and actual LAN party participants.

I ended up getting a Lanparty NF2 Ultra B.

Lanparty NF2 Ultra B

Visually, the boards are interesting in that all the plastic ports are covered with a UV reactive material which glows nicely with a simple in-case light, which makes a nice show for those of us who’ve gotten into the field of in-case windows and other computer cosmetic modifications. Additionally, the board comes with two rounded cables (one IDE and an FDD) covered in a similar material.

The board itself has an nForce2 Ultra 400 chipset, which I’d been looking for as a nice, powerful and far more stable alternative to the VIA chipset based alternatives. There’s an on-board 6.1 channel sound card, as well as two network cards, one of which even has gigabit ethernet capability. The 8x AGP port will be a nice upgrade from previous 4x slots, at least when it comes to my ATI Radeon 9800, and while I’m not currently finding a use for them, the Firewire and SATA Raid capabilities of this board are tempting me with future upgrades. The board’s BIOS has the ability to save up to four seperate configurations, which makes switching between diferent overclocking profiles a new and tempting possiblity.

The rather large box that the board came in even included such things as a “PC Transporter” case harness to help lug the case to your next lanparty, and a really nice bit of kit from FrontX which puts several ports in the front of the case in a drive bay slot to provide USB, Firewire and audio port access.

Basically, this is a really nice motherboard, and provides a really solid base for me to start upgrading the other bits and pieces, with a slightly newer revision of the AMD processor with twice the L2 cache and a third faster FSB being my next choice on the list.

Internet Explorer status bar fix

One of my biggest Internet Explorer pet peeves is the annoying tendency for the “status bar” at the bottom to dissappear, requiring me to click on View -> Status Bar to get it back. I prefer to have the status bar present so that I can see where web links point to when I hover over them with my mouse pointer.

I found this as a solution to the problem:

  1. With (only one) IE open, click View, select: Status Bar
  2. Right-click on IE’s Toolbar and select: “Lock the Toolbars”
  3. Hold down the Ctrl key and click the close button (upper right)
  4. Right click on the Start Button to open Windows Explorer, click View, select: Status Bar
  5. Right-click on Explorer’s Toolbar and select: “Lock the Toolbar”
  6. Click Tools | Folder Options | View tab
  7. Click the “Apply to all folders” button. (Click OK if this gives you another dialogue question)
  8. Hold down the Ctrl key and click the close button (upper right)
  9. Reopen IE to any page, right-click on a link and select: “Open in New Window” The Status Bar should remain visible.
  10. Click on the Start Button, select RUN, and type REGEDIT
  11. Verify that these Registry entries exist:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main