CES 2008 Coverage
Reviewed by: Bosco
Reviewed on: January 6, 2008
OverclockersClub.com would like you to be a part of the 2008 CES experience without leaving your home.
Well it's of time of year again, the OverclockersClub staff have taken over Las Vegas and CES! This year promises to be even better than last year, with more conferences, more debut's, more manufacturers, and of course, more booth babes! These updates will be posted periodically throughout the day, to keep our members and readers up to date on any new or extraordinary products being introduced. So the staff @ OCC invite you to check back frequently!
The attending OCC staff members are:
You can discuss any news we post from CES in the Official OCC @ CES thread in the OverclockersClub Forums.
Here are the current highlights from the days leading up to CES:
A lot of Logitech products this year will deal with HTPC's, and after looking at these figures, it's clear why they're going after this market.
We attended the Logitech conference yesterday and saw a few extremely promising products:
The Di Novo Mini
This palm-sized keyboard with media remote and click pad allows you to take total control of your PC entertainment from the comfort of your sofa.
The Squeezebox Duet
The Logitech Squeezebox has many features:
And if you think the Squeezebox Duet won't work with your media of choice, take a look at the partners for the device:
Also new at the Logitech booth was the new MX Revolution keyboard and mouse combo:
Last but not least, is the zCinema 2.1 Speaker system, featuring full media controls:
Well of course, this year at the Sony press conference the buzz was all about HD content and mobility. With all the big announcements being made, the conference was pretty crowded. (the other half of the room was just as crowded & you can't even see the people behind us)
Without further ado, here are some of the upcoming products you can expect from Sony:
XEL-1 11" OLED Digital TV
In my opinion, this was probably the most impressive product on display at the Sony booth (besides the 27" version of course)
- Incredibly Slim 3mm panel (@ the thinnest part)
- Over 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio (no that's not a typo)
- Amazingly fast response time
- Exceptional color reproduction (as you can see from the pictures)
- ATSC/NTSC tuner
- 2x HDMI input / Memory Stick Photo Viewer
- 10 bit panel / 960x540 panel resolution
However, unlike some of the products at CES this year, this one is now on sale for a measly $2,499!
Along with the 11" OLED display, Sony also had a prototype 27" version on hand as well:
Yes, that picture is a little blurry, however, the next picture that really captures the image quality of this OLED masterpiece isn't blurry at all:
- Full HD panel (1920x1080)
- Incredibly slim 10mm panel (at thinnest part)
- Over 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio
- High brightness
- Amazingly fast response time
- Exceptional color reproduction
- Super Top Emission
And just in case you were doubting the listed thickness, well here you go:
Here's another impressive product from Sony, the HES-V1000 Home Entertainment Server
- 200 BD/DVD/CD changer with BD burner
- 500GB HDD (137 hours of video, 40,000 songs or 20,000 digital photos)
- Full HD 1080p video output
- Xross Media Bar with AMG Metadeta
- x-Pict Story HD and x-ScrapBook for Digital Photo
- Music network server function (DLNA)
They also had their VAIO Home Theater PC (Model VGX-TP25E/B) on display:
- PC intelligence for your HDTV
- Blu-Ray Disc ROM drive
- Dual CableCARD TV tuners for viewing and recording HDTV (record 50 hours of HDTV)
- Full HD 1080p HDMI output to HDTV
- Bravia Sync (HDMI CEC)
- Next-gen Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 CPU
Sony BDU-X10S Blu-Ray Disc BD-ROM Drive:
Sony was also displaying their Near Field Wireless Technology
- Point to point wireless protocal
- Range up to 1.25 inches
- High throughput - 375 Mbps effective (PHY rate 560 Mbps)
- "Touch" user action
Maybe the most impressive thing at the Sony booth was this mammoth 80" LCD TV. While an 80" LCD isn't the biggest panel around, the fact that this display can simultaneously display four Full HD 1080p images at the same time. There is no scheduled release for this technology, it's just a prototype at this time.
LG had LOT of interesting products at CES this year and it would be pretty much impossible to go over every thing they had on display. In light of this, here are a few "stand out" products that were on display:
They had a pretty great selection of narrow bezel and wide screen monitors on display.
Probably the coolest thing I saw at the LG booth was their MultiLink Technology. This unique software and driver setup allows for up to six seperate monitors to be connected to your PC via USB. All the monitors respond just as if you had a regular dual monitor setup. You could drag windows from one screen to the next, span multiple monitors, etc etc. Overall, I was very impressed with how smoothly it worked but sadly, I was told that right now it's only available for commercial applications... Meaning, we can't buy it yet :(
We later found out that LG uses DisplayLink technology... go read about it on page23
If TV's are your thing, then you definitely should've been at CES this year. Practically everyone had some sort of HUGE plasma or LCD display. Below are some highlights:
In case you were wondering what the largest TV in the world is, then look no further. Panasonic debuted their 150" plasma television today. Besides the shear physical size, an even more shocking statistic is the resolution... a whopping 4096×2160! if you do the math, thats roughly 8,000,000 pixels total! And you thought you were cool playing crysis on your 32" 1080p LCD ;)
More details to come.
Belkin had some interesting products on display this year. Here are some of the products that stood out.
The product that struck me most was the Flywire. This device lets you wirelessly connect your TV to all the devices you would hook up to a TV, such as a DVD player, cable box, video game console, and more. Belkin had this device set up with a TV playing Mission Impossible III, and the quality was absolutely amazing. I wasn't able to tell that this was being streamed wirelessly and not hardwired.
Belkin's N1 Vision is an 802.11n router has a feature unique amongst its competitors, a display that lets you view your Internet and network speeds, bandwidth usage, and the status of the devices on your network.
Belkin also showcased its Network USB Hub. It connects to your router and makes available USB devices to the computers on your network. This can be really great for those with laptops as it allows you to wirelessly connect to external hard drives, printers, and pretty much anything that connects via USB.
Next up at the Belkin booth was the TuneStudio. This device lets you create high quality digital recordings not only on your computer, but also directly to an iPod! This 4-channel mixer allows input from up to four sources.
Belkin also offers a handheld version of the TuneStudio, called the Podcast Studio. This comes with two directional mics and the ability to add in your own microphone, resulting in a versatile and powerful device.
The last thing I saw at the Belkin booth was the RockStar. This little device lets five people listen to a single iPod. You can also connect a second iPod and mix the music.
We were invited to the Asus keynote in which its WiMAX endeavor with partners Intel and Sprint was unveiled.
To say that CoolIT systems had some cool stuff on display would definitely be an understatement. Just check out some of the cool (no pun intended) stuff they had on display:
The Freezone Elite is the newest version of their Freezone CPU cooler.
- MTEC Chilling Technology
- Extreme CPU Overclocking
- Reduces Noise
- Simple install and Maintenance free
- Fits inside case
- Universal compatibility
- MTEC Control Center included
Another "new" product at the CoolIT booth was the CoolIT Pure:
This is simply a watercooling solution that contains no T.E.C
- Improves CPU performance
- Silent Operation
- Simple install and maintenance free
- Fits inside case
- Universal compatiblity
CoolIT was also displaying two more new products, a dual drive bay VGA cooler for both nVidia and ATI/AMD solutions:
- Available for nVidia 8800 series cards
- Available for ATI/AMD 2900 & 3800 series cards
- Microchannel Design developed with AMD
- Extreme GPU performance
- Reduces noise
- Fits inside case
- Simple install & maintenance free
- nVidia solution features MTEC Technology
The last of their cooling solutions was the Boreas MTEC Chassis:
As you probably noticed, the Boreas MTEC Chassis uses the familiar Silverstone TJ-07 chassis. What you can't notice from the picture is this cooler features a whopping TWELVE T.E.C's !!!!
- MTEC Technology
- 12 TEC's enable extreme overclocking
- Reduces noise
- Simple install and maintenance free
- Available with AMD or nVidia GPu hardware
- MTEC Control Center included
- Custom Silverstone TJ-07 chassis
- Complete spec list can be found here
Looks harmless right? Well take a look at the installed hardware:
What you're drooling over is SIX nVidia's upcoming Tesla C870 which is based on an 8800GTS. These strictly performance-orientated cards don't come with any video outputs and the one's installed here feature 1Gb of memory each, but once released officially, they'll come with 1.5Gb of memory. What also may be hard to see is the dual Quad-Core Xeon 5335 CPU's that give this rig a ridiculous EIGHT cores! Now before you think about asking for screenshots, here they are:
And below you can see all 8 cores in all their glory
And finally, the spec sheet:
In it's current configuration, the Titan's maximum performance in terms of Gigaflops is ~2070. But once in production, that number is expected to reach 3108 Gigaflops! With performance of this level, one Titan allows you to replace over 50 dual-Quad Core workstations.
We were invited to the AMD reception at the end of our second day at CES.
The One Laptop per Child was on display at the reception, and it looked like quite an impressive little device.
There were several games available for our use, and the one that got most of our attention was Rock Band.
NVIDIA PIONEERS HYBRID TECHNOLOGY FOR THE PC
Innovative Multi-GPU Technology Raises Performance, Reduces Power Consumption for
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW—LAS VEGAS, NV—JANUARY 7, 2008—NVIDIA
(Nasdaq: NVDA), the world leader in visual computing technologies, today announced the industry’s first
hybrid technology for PC platforms—Hybrid SLI™—that addresses two critical issues: increasing
graphics performance and reducing power consumption. NVIDIA Hybrid SLI technology will be
incorporated into a wide variety of graphics and motherboard desktop and notebook products that the
Company is rolling out for both AMD and Intel desktop and notebook computing platforms throughout
“From the introduction of programmable GPUs to the rapid adoption of our multi-GPU SLI technology,
NVIDIA has repeatedly pioneered and innovated to solve difficult problems for the industry. We believe
Hybrid SLI technology is one of the most important innovations we’ve come up with to date,” said Jen-
Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA. “Hybrid SLI delivers new multi-GPU technology to a large segment of
the PC market, delivering consumers a level of PC graphics performance and power efficiency never
First disclosed in June 2007, NVIDIA Hybrid SLI technology is based on the Company’s market-leading
GeForce® graphics processor units (GPUs) and SLI multi-GPU technology. Hybrid SLI enables NVIDIA
motherboard GPUs (mGPUs) to work cooperatively with discrete NVIDIA GPUs (dGPUs) when paired
in the same PC platform. Hybrid SLI provides two new technologies— GeForce Boost and
HybridPower™—that allow the PC to deliver graphics performance for today’s applications and games
when 3D graphics horsepower is required, or transition to a lower-powered operating state when not.
For lower energy consumption and quieter PC operation, HybridPower allows the PC to switch
processing from a single GPU or multiple GPUs in SLI configuration to the onboard motherboard GPU.
HybridPower is most useful in situations where graphics horsepower is not required, such as high
definition movie playback on a notebook platform or simple e-mail or Internet browsing on a desktop. It
is also beneficial for those users who want a quiet operating state with reduced thermals and noise. For
notebooks, HybridPower can also dramatically extend battery life by up to 3 hours. When a game or
application is started that requires the additional 3D horsepower, the PC can automatically transition back
to the discrete graphics cards and power up the 3D capabilities all transparent to the end user.i
For applications where 3D performance is required, GeForce Boost turbo-charges 3D operation by
combining the processing power of the traditional NVIDIA GeForce-based graphics card with that of the
second GPU integrated into the motherboard core logic. In media-rich applications, both GPUs work in
tandem to render the combined images with the end user benefiting from the increase in performance and
frame rate. For typical games and 3D applications, GeForce Boost can kick in automatically, resulting in
a greatly enhanced consumer experience.
NVIDIA is the recognized market leader for GPU desktop and notebook solutions for both Intel and
AMD platforms and has a full lineup of Hybrid SLI-capable graphics and motherboard products planned
for 2008. New Hybrid SLI-capable products include the upcoming NVIDIA nForce 780a SLI, nForce
750a SLI, and nForce 730a media and communication processors (MCPs) for AMD CPUs, which will be
released next month, as well as the new GeForce 8200—the industry’s first micro-ATX motherboard
solution with an onboard Microsoft® DirectX® 10-compliant motherboard GPU. NVIDIA Hybrid SLI
notebooks as well as desktop products designed for Intel CPUs will be available next quarter.
For more information on Hybrid SLI technologies, including GeForce Boost and HybridPower, please
*Transparent transition will be available in a future software driver.
SuperTalent had their Pico USB Drives on display:
However, SuperTalent's booth was mainly revolved around their line of SSD's (Solid State Drives)
These drives, while great for performance, are not so great for the wallet... The 256Gb drive goes for a whopping $8800! (Which is one reason they don't make any consumer models yet.)
When myself (sdy284) and hardnrg attended the SuperTalent afterparty at the fabulous Bellagio hotel, SuperTalent had a slideshow on their SSD's:
So as you can see, the performance abilities of SSD's really is there, it's just to bad they're a bit pricey at the moment. However, once the prices come down, they're obviously going to become the smart way to go.
SuperTalent also had some pretty fast DDR3 on display:
And they also have a PSU out as well:
Tagan had a lot of cool products on display, we'll start with their cases:
The Diablo features a ridiculous 360mm side panel fan!
The Black Pearl
And finally, the Monolith-BM
Now onto the Tagan PSU's...
Tagan had their PSU's on display as well:
It should be noted that the 1100W PSU model also comes in a 1300W version, they both come with the above kit and they both feature ESA technology:
Finally, we'll cover the Tagan HD enclosures, keyboards and NAS's
First, we'll go over their Enclosures:
(The enclosure on the far left is actually a wireless media enclosure)
Second, we'll go over their keyboards:
And finally, their NAS's:
Team Group had some of their flash drives on display:
As well as some that would easily qualify for our "WTF were they thinking" award:
Team Group also had their Xtreem RAM on display, which has set several world records:
And of course they had their Elite RAM on display as well:
Probably the coolest thing at the Enermax booth was one of their Modu82+ 625W PSU's running a LOT of hardware:
And here's the specs of the Modu82+ followed by a closeup of their "future ready 12pin"
Enermax also had put a new take on the term "cooling tower"
The shape of the blades on their fans is pretty unique:
They also had a custom-painted Uber Chakra case on display:
And lastly, Enermax was displaying a laptop cooler and their keyboards:
Suprise suprise, Lian Li had cases on display! They had a customized Armorsuit case on display which really caught your eye:
And here's what the case looks like in good old black:
Also on display in the Lian Li booth were some of their PSU's:
Wolfking had several different gaming keyboards on display:
And the TimberWolf
Along with their keyboards, they also had their mouse, the Trooper on display:
Artic Cooling had a number of new products in their booth this year, we'll start with the Accelero Xtreme VGA cooler:
Next up was their Alpine 7 Pro and Alpine 7 GT. The difference being the Pro is a 92mm fan, while the GT uses an 80mm
Artic Cooling is also coming out with Low-Profile solutions:
Here's a closeup of the AMD and Intel versions respectively:
They also are coming out with their own RAM heatsink, the Arctic RC:
And of course, every cooling manufacturer needs a "top dog" cooling solution, and for Arctic Cooling the Freezer Xtreme is it. With it's 8 heat pipes, 226 fins, 120mm fan & 6 year warranty, it'll be a force to be reckoned with:
Like every other manufacturer these days, Arctic Cooling is jumping into the PSU market with their Fusion 550. Which they market as High Efficiency and Eco-friendly:
Here's some specs on the unit:
And the last thing they had on display that we're going to cover was their Silentium T case:
LaCie had pretty much all their products on display this year. It may suprise some people that LaCie makes more than just storage solutions:
The LaCie 324, 24" monitor and below that... LaCie's portable FireWire Speakers
And of course, they had their storage solutions on display as well:
Here you can see the Little Disk and the LaCinema Premeir, which is a high-capacity, multimedia hard disk:
They also had their Rugged HD on display... a device that would be perfect for the mobile photographer. (or anyone else who needs a lot of storage in a rugged case)
And finally, they had their "Golden Disk" on display:
Download the LaCie Product Catalog.pdf
Download the LaCie 08 Pricelist.pdf
We all know that Art.Lebedev Studio makes the Optimus Maximus keyboard... however at their booth at CES, we learned they make a few other things:
But here's the Optimus Maximus first:
Here's the Optimus Mini 3, for people who don't want to spend absurd money on a keyboard:
And finally, Art.Lebedev's Sonicum Speaker system:
And now that you understand DisplayLink's technology, it's time for the pictures:
This is their current dongle & yes it still works if you use a DVI to VGA adapter. (I'm actually using one right now and it works great) -sdy284
And what's REALLY cool is that if you purchase monitors that have a USB input, then you can use a USB hub or daisy chain them for something like this:
And for all you Vista users, DisplayLink has full Vista support:
And anyone going to MacWorld is going to see this:
You can expect a version that supports HD resolutions soon:
And of course they have some wireless USB stuff coming out as well:
And the last thing we saw was a wireless USB docking station:
We went to visit Altec Lansing and Plantronics to try out the latest in audio hardware.
The visit to IOGEAR was quite interesting. We saw several cool and very useful items.
The first thing we saw was a little device that records what you write on normal paper. You can then save as it an image file, an email, or scan it with OCR software and have the text editable.
The next device we saw was an iPod dock allows you to stream audio throughout your home through the power lines.
Sitting next to the iPod dock was a portable HTPC. The model we saw included a 250GB drive and lets you view all sorts of media formats such as DivX, Xvid, jpeg, etc.
Next up on the list was a neat little device that lets you power your portable devices on the go. We were told that you can fully charge your cell phone at least three times on a single charge. The device comes with eleven adapters and over forty more are available through the website.
Connected to the laptop next to the power adapter was this miniscule little USB Bluetooth adapter. You can see how small it is in comparison to the quarter.
During CES, IOGEAR won an award for its wireless USB device.
The final thing we saw were the various KVM switches IOGEAR produces.
The following KVM was the most notable. It offers dual-link DVI for connecting very large monitors (a 30" was set up at the booth), along with the ability to share USB devices between the two machines. It also offers 7.1 audio.
The next booth we visited was D-Link.
"One of those few network devices built especially for gamers by gamers, this router harnesses the power of D-Link’s Xtreme N Duo™ wireless technology for blazing fast Wi-Fi data transfers and Gigabit LAN and WAN Ports for even faster wired gaming performance. The device includes an updated version of D-Link’s award-winning GameFuel™ technology to guarantee smoother, lag-free gaming along with a high-performance CPU, Network Activity Display, and a large selection of customizable options for optimizing a gaming network. "
I personally tried out the two systems and the difference was very noticeable. I could literally see the lag on the machine without GameFuel while the one with it enabled was silky smooth.
"The perfect gift, this digital photo frame is designed to enhance the home entertainment experience by allowing users to view their favorite photos easily and conveniently virtually anywhere in the home – providing a high-resolution 10” LCD display connected over a Wi-Fi home network. With a built-in wireless adapter, the DSM-210 makes it simple for the user to drag and drop images into a “widget” on the computer desktop and watch the photos automatically appear in the photo frame as a slide show. The widget will also allow a user to remotely manage a frame over the Internet using the same drag and drop method. The frame will also display weather, RSS feeds, and images from a USB drive or flash card, and supports popular calendar programs."
The Memeo backup software was rather interesting. It gives you a wide range of backup options, the most notable one being the ability to backup to multiple locations. The machine on display had the My Pictures folder backed up to three locations, a NAS and two online backup locations. This looked like a great way to automate backups, which we all know is very important.
The SecureSpot is essentially a wireless router with increased security features. It includes spyware/adware blocking, spam filters, and comprehensive parental controls. It's a great way to add a hardware level of security to your home network.
MediaLounge is a product line that is part of D-Life series of products that D-Link is unveiling. It provides for a user-friendly interface for things such as streaming video to your TV and Media Center Extenders.
"The D-Link MediaLounge PConTV player (DPG-1200) is a technological breakthrough that allows users to stream popular Web-based content available on their PC to a TV – including You Tube videos, Google Video, Veoh Networks’ content and much more – using a wired or wireless connection. D-Link PConTV streams Internet content directly from the PC without the use of a proprietary player. It supports MPEG-4 plus AVI videos or DVD movies, and is compatible with any PC media player, including iTunes, Nero, Windows Media Player, and RealPlayer. With an easy to use included trackball remote, D-Link PConTV also offers up to1280x720 screen resolution, up to 30 frames per second frame rate, a duplicator mode that mirrors the PC screen, and an extender mode that doubles the PC screen by using the TV as an extension of the computer desktop."
"D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected™ HD Media Player lets you play your DivX® videos from the PC and the Internet, including DivX HD videos with menus and subtitles, access Stage6™ and other online video services with your remote control and add a personal touch with DivX Connected™ plug-ins, all without leaving your couch. The device can also access videos, music and photos stored on PCs across a home network, a shared network storage device, as well as files stored on a USB flash drive, or external hard drive via a USB 2.0 port."
What is Jook?
Jook, launching in 2008, is a universal standard for creating music player accessories that lets everyone, regardless of the music player being used, broadcast their songs to the people around them. The girl with an iPod™ becomes the DJ for the guy sitting across from her on the bus listening to his Zune™. Four friends jogging together in Central Park can all do so in tune to one person’s music player, regardless of if any of them are using an iPod, a Zune, or even a mobile phone.
What is the purpose of Jook?
Jook devices will allow users to store a small profile of information about themselves that is transmitted to connecting transceivers along with their music in Us mode. The profiles allows people to share a little more about themselves along with their music, maybe to promote their band’s webpage as they walk around town broadcasting their songs. The broadcaster can then also see whoever connected and listened in to their Jook device.
Jook’s interface will identify each song the user hears and allow the listener to store the song’s title, artist, and so forth on to the listener’s device by allowing the listener to “tag” songs that they like. The listener can later review and identify the songs they heard and then choose to purchase the song from their preferred online song vendor.
When a song is rated this way, the rating and profile of the listener will also be beamed back to the broadcaster. A broadcaster showing off his own musical creations - be it a band or a DJ’s newest mix - can see what people think about his music. The same is true of temporary, amateur DJs just broadcasting the songs they happen to have on their personal music device. Alternatively, the broadcaster can see what others think of their taste in songs or lineup of music.
We were shown a prototype of the Jook device and its software.
We were told that there are several OEMs that Jook has partnered with, but which ones weren't divulged. It seems like a really neat concept if it becomes widespread enough (the fact that it aims to be non-device specific should really help).
This year at SilverStone's booth, the coolest thing we saw was easily their prototype Sabertooth mouse:
Now, that goofy scroll wheel on the side has two main functions. In "normal mode" in Vista, you use it to switch between desktops. In gaming mode, it allows you to adjust your DPI on the fly. Now what's especially unique about the Sabertooth is that you can adjust the DPI for the X and Y axis independently!
So let's say that you're playing a FPS and you'd like to be able to spin around quickly to shoot the opponent you hear behind you, crank up the X-Axis DPI and leave the Y-Axis wherever you want it. This enables you to have lightning quick side to side turning ability and your vertical movement is totally normal. You can probably see the benefits from this ;)
On our third day at CES, we had an interview with the founder of Razer, Robert Krakoff.
I want to ask about what you have coming out. What’s the new thing for you guys?
A lot of the products we release are timed around the holidays, so some of the products we’re showing here have been around for a while, like the Lachesis mouse and the Pirhanha headphones and the Lycosa keyboard. Those were introduced in the last couple of months around the holiday times. Also, the Mako speakers, although we showed them a year ago here as a concept, our 2.1 high fidelity, almost audiophile quality, desktop speaker system is now actually in production, so we’re actually showing a production quality product here. So it’s kind of a first look too on that product. That product has already been released in Europe and is now making it to the US.
So the only real product that hasn’t been seen by anybody is probably the product we’ve been working on the longest, and that is the Destructor mousing surface. The Destructor is a surface that we agonized over for a long period of time. It’s really meant to create a solution for the tracking challenges that all laser sensors create. Laser is kind of a strange and funny phenomenon. The first laser mice were built as having the advantage of tracking on any surface. What they should’ve said was except for gaming. Gamers require different stress and needs than somebody who is doing home and office applications. So laser was fine for home office use, but anytime you stress the mouse or the sensor by asking it to track and move quickly, it failed. And the reason was not because of the sensor, but because nobody had developed a surface that was optimized for laser. So this surface is two years in the making. It took us two years to test different composites and different materials, till we actually found something that improved the ability on the laser. Then we found out that it also improves, to a lesser degree, the tracking on optical as well. So it became a pretty interesting product for us, but we spent an awful lot of time validating it. We did a lot of robotic arm testing as our methodology. We took the top five mousing surfaces, including our own, and we found out that actually against the best of that five, it still improves tracking by 37%, which is pretty significant. And then we found out that it improved tracking on optical mice, which are much more stable than laser, by 25%. So anyway, we introduced it here. It also comes in a really, really cool carrying case so it’s really well protected. It’s a really solid, zippered case with a felt top so it won’t slip around, bend, or break and you have something to transport it in. We know that gamers like to take their mice and mouse pads, often keyboards, and certainly headphones and don’t want to use somebody else’s they’re not used to. It also puts competitors at a disadvantage if all of a sudden you have to use a new mouse pad. Obviously a new mouse is even worse, but if somebody throws you into a tournament, and you’ve been practicing for months with one mousing surface and all of a sudden you got a different one, it puts you at a disadvantage. It really tracks differently and gamers are into really, really tight constraints and they don’t have a lot of margin for error. I’ve had guys tell me that they’ve trained with an overclocked USB polling at 500Hz let’s say, and then they go to a tournament and they’re not allowed to bring their drivers and are forced to play at 125Hz and that actually affects their gaming. Little things like that will affect the way you play. There’s a way you practice, it’s one way. So those are the kind of products we’re showing here at CES.
I was wondering as far as wireless, are you looking forward to doing anything with wireless or is all going to be wired?
I think that we don’t shut the door on any technology. Wireless has some inherent problems and challenges. The biggest challenge is not latency nor the battery life, which is always a challenge - I think we can fix that. I think the biggest challenge is when you have a whole bunch of people playing with the same wireless products in a LAN or tournament setting and you only have so many channels and you might have a frequency on that particular product that interferes with a cell phone or a microwave oven or something goes off and it completely mixes with your signal. So it’s really two things. It’s signal bandwidth and the number of channels you are really alloted. I think all of those things can be worked through, but you know, nobody has really taken the time to do the proper evaluation and research that you need to create the ultimate, competitive wireless mouse. So you would want to look at a wireless mouse first. There is already a certain amount of latency, maybe too much so, in a keyboard - wireless keyboards are really tough. You know, with audio, the same kind of situation regarding latency in audio, so it’s really asking for more and more. My guess would be that the mouse would be the first device that would really be successfully optimized for gaming. There are certainly a lot of casual gamers out there that play and are very happy with a wireless mouse, but I’m talking the avid gamers, they’re not really that into wireless mice.
Speaking of avid gamers, what are the most common requests you get for products? What are gamers looking for now?
We get a ton of requests for specific features on different products. We get a lot of requests to develop a trackball mouse, we get requests to develop steering wheels, joysticks, and console products. We think about anything as long as we have the technology for it. If we don’t have the technology for it, we won’t mess with it. There’s no advantage for us to go out and be a “me too” copycat company. It’s not our way of doing things. If we have the technology, we would consider it. The thing right now for us is that we have so many holes in our assortment and things that we still want to make, the real key products like mice, keyboards, and audio products. We have a whole wrap of audio product ideas we want to see hit the market. There’s a lot of things we want to do that are just filling in and adding to the basics. So once we get that done, then we gotta say, "OK, what’s next?" You know, we could do a really great trackball, but how many people are actually going to use it, how many people are actually going to buy it? That’s not our only reason for being. We always have to think of that in terms of well, would I be better off doing another keyboard that people have a particular need for, a keyboard that we haven’t really solved yet, or do I go on and do some products that I’ve never done before because I ain’t got the technology for it. So that’s always our real challenge in doing new products.
Could you give us a preview on some of the latest things coming out? Maybe insider tips?
Haha, that’s really tough. We used to be a lot more open about what we’re working on, but unfortunately, we’ve leaked too much information to our competitors and it gives them an advantage knowing what we’re working on, so we’ve actually kind of embargoed not to reveal much of anything anymore. It’s really the right thing to do. Razer at one point in time was the company that was small enough to fly under the radar, and now we’re on everybody’s radar like most people above us, like Logitech, and people below us. And there’s a lot of Razer wannabes out there now, and more power to them. I mean, I really think competition is a good thing, but I don’t want to leak too much information to them. We are working on some really great technologies that you’re really gonna like and when you see the results of it, probably around June or July, maybe at E3, your jaw’s gonna drop. We’ve got some things that are THAT good. We’re actually working on a mouse that I actually think, if we do it right, it’ll be the best product we have ever come out with. Better than anything else we’ve ever done. It’s that good. But I really can’t say any more.
How is the company doing?
The company has really grown. We’ve tripled our size and volume and profits last year and we’ll do it again this year like the year before. The company keeps tripling in size. We’ve got offices all over the world now. We basically have our design team totally the way we want it now. We don’t need to go out of house for anything anymore, except manufacturing, but nobody manufacturers their own stuff, that would be insane. Now we’re fully staffed; we used to have to go outside for drivers, but now it’s all in house. So that’s a big jump for us. We want to be in complete control of all of our products and all of our destiny and we think it’s the best way to build a product. I think that part of our uniqueness is that we’re different than other companies whereas we do everything in house. We don’t use OEM, we don’t find contractors or consultants to do work for us, and we tend to want to control our destiny completely and have everything in our own control. Companies used to do this years and years ago, and while it’s not an efficient way of doing business, for us it is kind of our secret sauce, what makes us a little different than our competitors.
Thank you Robert for giving us the opportunity to hear from a leader in the field of gaming peripherals.
On day 3 we paid a visit to Foxconn. Here what you expect from them in 2008.
The First thing we saw was the Foxconn X48 Black Ops Edition. It was displayed water cooled in a Coolermaster 830. We were treated to a system running a QX9650 at a blistering 4150 Mhz.
The Black Ops X48 board has a unique cooling solution for the motherboards heat generating components. The northbridge can be air cooled, water cooled and for the really extreme benchmarking crowd, Foxconn includes a tube to mount to the northbridge heatsink so you can bench with dry ice. Sweet!!
Next up, we have an upcoming product that is an Ultra ATX platform board built around an unnamed chipset. It has the ability to run Crossfire X at 4 x 16x! The chipset is cooled by both water cooling and a low watt tec to help on the overclocking front. All of the serious heat generating components on the board are cooled via the water loop. The back side of the board features heatsinks as well. These provide two functions 1) additional cooling and 2) support for the motherboard pcb to eliminate any warpage that could compromise the efficiency of the water/tec cooling solution.
We were also able to see the whole AMD lineup of boards, as well as some of the Intel ones.
Foxconn had their video card lineup on display as well!
Looking into the future, Foxconn looks to take the lead in the motherboard market with such unique features on their motherboards.
On the fourth day we went to visit Thermaltake.
Thermaltake is primarily known for its cooling products, and there were plenty on display at the Thermaltake booth.
This next group of coolers looked really interesting. They display fan speed and the temperature. I can see those with windowed cases enjoying these coolers.
Next up on display was a RAM cooler.
Thermaltake had its BigWater 780 water-cooling kit on display.
Thermaltake is also well known for its cases, which were also on display at CES.
On day 4, we visted PowerColor
On day 4, we visited Patriot Memory:
On day 4 of CES we visited Antec:
Here's where I'm hoping we'll get sent too next year: