CES 2009 Coverage
Reviewed by: Bosco
Reviewed on: January 7, 2009
Overclockers Club.com would like you to be a part of the 2009 CES experience without leaving your home.
With CES fast approaching for 2009 OCC is making an ever more presence with more staff and many more venues to visit. This year we have a lot more coverage to bring you without missing a beat or any of the top end manufacturers and their new products coming your way. Look for a lot of new changes in the way CES is covered as well as some nice new additions. Check back with us as we explore CES 2009 for you as if you were here.
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.
Being a huge fan of MMA and knowing some members on here like MMA aswell I decided to stop by Xtreme Couture before CES started. I know that alot of good fighters train out of there so I took my camera and off I went to see who I could find.
I was asked to come back again on monday since some of the other fighters I wanted to meet had already gone home for the day. So keep checking back for more updates on this page. Actual coverage of CES begins tommorrow.
CES 2009 Keynote Synopsis:
Steve Ballmer announced earlier that a beta version of Windows 7 would be made available to the public on Friday, January 9th. There are a few new features that are exclusive to Windows 7, as well as several other features that are more finely tuned from previous versions of Windows. There is a new function that is going to allow you to also tap into the “Windows 7 DNA” and allow the programmers to modify the code and create better applications for touch sensitive monitors. There is also going to be a Windows Live Suite Wave pack made available for download on Thursday, January 8th. This pack will feature all of the final versions of the Wave 3 applications excluding Movie Maker. Considerable mention was also made of Xbox 360 sales, that hit 28 million worldwide, with 8 million of those sales being in Europe. Microsoft also commented that the 360 was the fastest growing console in Europe during 2008. Microsoft is also pushing to make Internet Explorer 8 an automatic update for the next update.
If you did miss the keynote, do not be sad as you are one of the lucky ones that missed the strangest bands that I have ever heard in my life.
Another beautiful day here in Las Vegas bringing you the best of CES, with the OCC team arriving at the convention center in limo driven style. Today we took a look at the manufacturers showcasing at the Sands Convention Center, the Venetian Hotel, and the Las Vegas Convention Center. There were some really big names here for us including the likes of CoolIT, Zotac, Super Talent, Crucial and more. As always we will be bringing to you today the best products available for you, so sit back and enjoy the day one coverage of the 2009 International Consumer Electronics show.
One of the booths that we noticed right away was Super Talent. Super Talent is a major manufacturer of memory based components including flash drives, memory cards and of course computer memory. One thing biggest things that caught my eye was a banner stating their memory is made for overclocking and one set even claimed to be the most advanced DDR3 memory. There were several sets of DDR3 memory they were showcasing including the Project X memory which is offered in 2GB and 4GB sets up to 2000MHz speeds; the Gold Series, which also is offered in 2GB and 4GB sets up to 1600MHz, and a 3GB set for motherboards that support Triple Channel at speeds of up to 1600MHz. Being a tech geek I was really impressed with the 2GB Pico Drive gift we received. This drive is about the same width of a quarter which makes it nice for portability.
Another well known company, and one we have reviewed products for is Zotac. Zotac has been showing strong in their graphics cards and not surprisingly they are again aiming for the top with the latest offering from NVIDIA including the GTX 295 and the GTX 285. You can see the sheer size of the GTX 295 card which makes calling it a beast an under statement. Another very nice product they had on display is a Mini-ITX motherboard based on the GeForce 9300 series chipset. This is a Socket 775 board that offers HD video playback, integrated wireless LAN, and more. This board is targeted for those wanting a nice HTPC with minimal hardware involved.
CoolIT should be a familiar name to most by now, specializing in advanced liquid cooling systems. We recently reviewed the Domino A.L.C. cooling solution for CPUs, which was among the items on display at the CoolIT booth. Other products being shown off included the Freezone Elite CPU cooler and Boreas MTEC Chassis, featuring an impressive looking assembly and utilizing 12 TECs in the company’s top chiller unit. A custom cooling solution made for Dell was also on display. Seeing the hardware in the flesh definitely gives you a feel for the kind of engineering involved in producing such equipment.
One new and upcoming company that was more than interesting to show us their goods is called PureSi. PureSi is a new company that deals in SSD's based on flash memory technology. Two of their products that were available are the Nitro and the Renegade SSD. These drives are built in a 2.5 inch form and offer sizes up to 1TB. Yes you read that right a 2.5 inch SSD with a 1TB capacity. The Renegade series is built with a rugged design in mind and offers hardware based full drive encryption. The Nitro having such large capacities is geared towards servers and enthusiasts wanting fast and huge storage.
One of the most well known memory companies, Crucial, also made an appearance at CES this year. Today they were showcasing their new memory, the Ballistix DDR3 kit and their newer solid state disks. The Ballistix memory, which comes in three different colors, has a new twist on an idea that has been around for a while. What Crucial has done is take a row of LEDs across the top of the heat spreader and made it so when you access the memory, the lights travel down the stick. This means that when all you are doing is writing a paper in Word, the lights move very slowly, but when you are throwing down with your friends in Left 4 Dead, the lights move really quickly. Adding this to memory that is already a great performer is awesome. On the SSD side of things, they had both the stick format (like the type you would find in an EeePC) and the 2.5" format. The stick versions came in 32Gb and 16Gb sizes while the 2.5" versions came in at 64Gb and 32Gb. It's really exciting to see these as they become more and more impressive.
Thermaltake is one of the larger companies that comes to mind when you are thinking about cooling your processor. This is probably due to the fact that they have been around for quite some time along with always producing quality products that generally work well.
The first cooling products that we looked at were the air cooling solutions, the first is one of their newest, the BigTyp 14Pro. The BigTyp 14Pro features a large 14cm fan installed on the top that has three blue LEDs installed for cosmetic looks. There is also six copper heatpipes that stretch all the way from the base to the fins under the fan. The next cooler that we looked at was the TMG IA1, this cooler is designed for the LGA775 and the popular AM/AM2/939/754 sockets, that has four copper heatpipes installed on it. The SpinQ is the last air cooler that I looked at, this one is designed not only for the other chips, but the i7 sockets as well. The SpinQ is a very interesting looking cooler as it has 360° cooling.
The next few things that we took a look at were the more extreme cooling solutions that Thermaltake is involved in, the first being water cooling products. They had the P600 pump on display, this pump is the upgraded pump that is included in the PW850i water cooling loop. The next few things are the reservoir, the SR100 and the SR200, the two reservoir are exactly the same except for the fact that the SR200 has the P600 pre-installed on it to make your upgrade easier to purchase and configure. The final thing that we were able to take a look at was Thermaltakes Phase Change cooler, this cooler was able to keep the Quad core processor overclocked and running on full load around 26°C, which is quite impressive.
Of course in addition to everything else there are the Thermaltake cases. This year they showcased cases from old to new. Keep an eye out for the next few months on what is in store including cases that have 2.5 inch hard drive mounts for the new fast SSD's and more. We can't forget their power supplies for the new cases including a new series that wants you before failures with different colored LED's projecting into the case.
Today the first stop on the OCC world tour was a visit to Sapphire Technology. You all know who Sapphire is but in a nutshell let me tell you who they are. “ Sapphire is ATI’s largest and best performing partner world wide .” According to David Orten CEO ATI. During our visit we were able to see some of the latest things that the company has to offer on the video card front. There will be a video card coming that will be designed for the HTPC crowd. What Sapphire has to offer on the high performance front are the Toxic and Atomic edition cards that come with vastly improved cooling solutions that can offer an increase in product life and and or reliability. Of course they pump up the performance by increasing gpu and memory clocks on the Toxic and Atomic revision GPUs.The current line up includes the HD4870x2 Atomic, HD4870 1GB Toxic the HD 4850x2..
TigerDirect Build you own PC and AMD Overclocking Competition:
OCC was invited to the 12th Annual TigerDirect Build you own PC even which times contestant on putting together their computers which have to be completely correct for them to be finished without any penalties. For Team OCC Frank ``CCokeman`` Dimmick was chosen as the master builder. The top three winners had money donated to the charity of their choice. With the results of the contest OCC placed 6th with a time of 7:18 just three seconds shy of 5th place. OCC has chosen the Dennis Leary Firefighters Foundation as their charity which will be receiving the computer the CCokeman raced with.
Another contest OCC participated in was the AMD Overclocking Competition. Alan ``ajmatson`` Matson teamed up with Nathan Kirsch from Legit Reviews to battle it out overclocking a Phenom II 940 processor. After some troubles with the first computer we ended up switching from a Liquid Cooled PC that the contest was run with the an Air cooled PC and ended up with an overclock of 3.99GHz (216x18.5) at 1.55 volts. We did however come in second place to the other team because of running out of time. They won with an overclock of 3.866GHz. To complete the overclock two loops of the Crysis CPU benchmark had to complete which we did not finish the loos when the time ended. A very nice overclock overall from both teams.
As we get into Day 2 here at CES 2009 we will be taking a look at some of the big names in the industry to get a peek at new products coming your way, which are designed to allow you to push your system performance envelope. Some of the venues we will be highlighting for Day 2 will be the well known manufacturers such as Razer, Corsair, ASUS, Creative and more. So sit back and enjoy while the drooling begins.
Razer has been developing a new gaming mouse sure to get your attention. The new mouse, named the Razer Mamba offers gaming grade wireless technology that can be switched to a wired mouse instantly with no interruptions for seamless play. The Mamba also features the Razer Synapse onboard memory for profiles and macros, as well as the leading polling rate of 1ms. No longer are you bound by the wires of your system. The Mamba is also designed to take on the challenges of latency, battery life, weight and more, giving you the best peripheral to take to the table. The battery life is estimated to last 14 hours and will jump between frequency channels while in operation to ensure the best connection possible. The Razer Mamba will retail for $129 at its launch in April 2009.
OCC staff were invited to a Corsair party designed to show off some of the new technology they are developing, and all of you overclocking enthusiasts will love this stuff. Corsair showed off some additions to its Dominator line, including a new cooling fan for their DDR3 line designed to reduce the temperatures of your memory while pushing high overclocks. Another interesting cooling method they are using is designed for the new Dominator GT DDR3 memory. This new cooling solution is a hybrid water and TEC cooled system (the water aspect used to tame the heat that the TEC pumps out on its hot side). Corsair demonstrated this new cooling system on the Dominator GT memory running at 2000MHz with impressive timings of 7-8-7-20. All this while operating at a mere 1.65v. The modules demonstrated during the party were running at around 11°C, which is what makes this kind of performance possible. The TEC cooler also has a Humidistat that is designed to keep condensation from forming on the modules. This calculates the dew point and will back off the TEC cooling to avoid problems. For extreme overclocking the Humidistat can be turned off by the flick of a switch. With this kind of development work, it's no wonder Corsair holds world memory records.
Creative, which is well known for their sound components, had some interesting products on display at this year's CES show. They had several headsets on display, including the world's only noise-canceling headphones with Xtreme Fidelity built in. This should ensure the best sound for your gaming or multimedia. There was also a gaming headset that employs "Silencer" technology to cancel out more ambient noise during your all night frag fest. Of course, in addition to their headsets, Creative had an impressive display of computer speakers with Xtreme Fidelity sound that are sure to break a window or two. One product that really caught the eye was the Foxconn "Blood Rage" motherboard that was on display. Why a motherboard at a sound card manufacturer booth? Well the new board will feature the Sonar X-Fi audio card built on Creative's technology, so no aftermarket card should be needed here.
Over at the ASUS booth, they have some impressive displays of motherboards and video cards. Some of the highlights were of course the NVIDIA GTX 295 and GTX 285 cards, as well as some cards designed with overclocking and monitoring features from the ASUS Republic of Gamers series. When it comes to motherboards, there are some real nice products coming out. For all of you who just picked up the new AMD Phenom II processor, or are thinking of getting one, ASUS has designed the new M4A79 Deluxe 790FX chipset board that incorporates an 8+2 Phase design, which allows for more stability and better overclocking. For you Intel lovers there is a nice selection for you as well with the P6T Deluxe/OC Palm Edition. This board is based on the X58 chipset and has a real-time overclocking controller for on-the-go overclocking without having to shut down and reboot. Another nice X58 board ASUS has on display is the Rampage II Extreme. This board supports Triple-SLI and also has an overclocking controller, but with a lot more control over your board than usually found, and the ability to constantly monitor it for stability. Lastly, ASUS has some portable computers on display, including the Eee PC T91 and the Bamboo Series PC, the latter of which has a case made from, you guessed it, bamboo.
Creative and Fatal1ty:
Today we had a private meeting with Creative, including an interview with Jonathan “FATAL1TY” Wendel. We started with Creative’s newly announced Sound Blaster for iTunes. Don’t let the name fool you, however; this is not merely a device for iTunes alone. Not only does this USB device contain 24-bit crystallizer technology to enhance the sound quality of your older MP3s, but it also allows you to wirelessly stream your music up to 100 feet to a potentially unlimited of devices. These devices could include Creative’s new wireless speakers, or Creative’s new Wireless Receiver. Currently the device only streams two channels, though a five-channel version is also being planned. It will, however, work with a 5.1 sound system, though the rear channels will merely be replicating the two channels. The Wireless Receiver has two RCA outputs (left and right) and one 3.5mm output, and comes with a remote control that provides basic audio controls. Most importantly to Mac users, this is the first Creative device with full Mac support (hence the iTunes reference). The Sound Blaster for iTunes is expected to hit the shelves Summer 2009 and is expected to retail for $100, while the receiver should go for $70. Or you can get them both bundled for $150. Lastly, also on display were the X-Fi Titanium products, however because they’ve been on the market for awhile, the Sound Blaster for iTunes was our main focus.
After discussing Sound Blaster for iTunes, we conducted our interview with Jonathan “FATAL1TY” Wendel. We asked him several questions about his career and how he has reached the point where he is today. The first question we asked FATAL1TY was how it feels to have his name all over products and publications. He responded that he was very excited to see his name receiving as much coverage as it has been. He said that when he was younger he always wondered why products never had a name associated with them, and that he thought products would have more of an identity if there was a name people recognized tied to them. Obviously his assumption was correct, as the Fatal1ty series of gaming devices have sold wonderfully. We then asked him how he originally got started putting his name on things. He said that he got started by selling mouse pads out of his house. He made around $50,000 in the first six months of doing this. After that, we asked how he became involved with Creative. He said that originally Creative offered him a sponsorship but that after having experience with many sponsorship contracts he wanted to be more closely involved with a company. He explained this to Creative and they agreed to bring him onboard. As everyone now knows, this turned out to be a great deal for both Creative and Jonathan. One of the major questions we asked Jonathan was if he had any involvement with the development of future products. He said that he does indeed give input on products. In fact, one tangible example he shared with us is the removable microphone on his headphones. He also mentioned that he has acted as a liaison between the gamers he has met and Creative; that way ideas from people like you and me can reach ears that have the ability to make changes. Finally, we asked what other games he likes to play when he’s not competing or training. One of his favorite games to play is Mario Kart for the Wii, and he mentioned that he uses the Nunchuck because he finds it more responsive. He concluded the review by asking if any of us would like to play him during a session in front of an audience in a quick game of Quake 4. Among other challengers, Kevin (propane) and Andrew (ClayMeow) teamed up against Fatal1ty, and needless to say, were thoroughly owned. If you want to see the carnage, you can see a video recording on down below.
Today we met with CyberPowerPC.com. They are the folks that helped sponsor our Christmas contest with the grand prize giveaway, a complete Intel Core I7 based computer that was pre-built and overclocked. CyberPowerPC feature custom built computers for an incredible price using the latest name brand PC components like Coolermaster, Kingston, Thermaltake, CoolIT, Asetek, Silverstone, and more.
A couple of the previews we saw were some new cases from both Coolermaster (Sniper) and Silverstone (Raven). The Sniper was originally designed for the Coolemaster gaming team and is now being produced for the consumer. The Coolermaster V10 CPU cooler includes both cooling for the memory as well as the Hybrid TEC cooling on the V10. The Coolermaster Cosmos Black Edition is a limited edition case from Coolermaster.
Here we have Dave (Bosco) talking with Eddie Vong about the attributes of the system housed in the Silverstone Raven case that included a Tri-SLI GTX 285 graphics setup.
CyberPowerPC does not only build higher end computers for the enthusiast, but are now branching into the workstaion market.
Going into day 3 here are the International Consumer Electronics Show 2009 OCC is bringing you more interesting technology coming to your door. Today we start off taking a look at a big name in the memory industry, pushing the limits of speed to allow you to smoke your competition. We also have Lian Li, with their unique case designs and finally the new USB 3.0 standard with increased speeds, claiming up to ten times the bandwidth of USB 2.0.
Today OCC was fortunate to meet with Mushkin to take a look at some of their upcoming products. On display they had two of their new Accent series DDR3 memory kits. One of their kits, the XP3-16000 Triple Channel DDR3 kit was running in a system displaying an impressive overclock. The kit, which is comprised of 3 x 1GB modules, is rated for 2000MHz with 9-9-9-24 timings at a voltage of 1.65v. That is quite an impressive speed and with tighter timings than the JEDEC specification of 9-10-10-25. In addition the the XP3-16000 Triple Channel set, Mushkin also has a power supply and two other DDR3 Triple Channel sets, the XP3-15000 at 9-9-9-24 and an HP Series DDR3 Triple Channel kit.
One of the best known case manufacturers is Lian Li, who had a nice array of cases on display at their booth. They showcased everything from small HTPC sized cases, to one of the tallest cases on the market. There were some quite impressive cases, including the PC-X2000, which measures 680mm tall and has three "zones" to control temperatures and keep hotter components away from the critical parts of the system. Another unique case was the Lian Li PC-888 Sail. This sleekly designed case offers an integrated card reader, optimum cooling and a hard drive cage that contains four hot swappable bays that will support RAID with a compatible motherboard. Lian Li also included some of their power supplies and the infamous "CrossFire" limited edition case, that was designed around the PC-P80 Armorsuit.
We have seen details of the USB 3.0 specifications appear towards the end of last year, and at the SuperSpeed USB booth they had some prototype hardware set up to show the advancements you can expect over the current USB 2.0 standard. That means a theoretical 5Gbps bandwidth in both directions (USB 2.0 is limited to one at a time), with a transfer rate of up to around 250MB/s seen using the benchmark demonstrated. Claims of moving 27GB of data in 60-70 seconds would be a boon to those using large external hard drives. Have you ever transferred large amounts of data to a 250GB+ hard drive?! Sometimes it takes forever and you have to go get something to eat! Right now, the amount of data being transferred is immense compared to a few years ago. So transferring HD video to/from computers with USB storage, or backing up a media jukebox to an external USB hard drive, around 1TB or more, would normally take a long time, but with USB 3.0, the transfer time is massively reduced. The way the capacity of external storage is growing, you can easily see how fast transfers for large amounts of external data would be an indisputable advantage. Aside from data performance improvements the USB 3.0 specification dictates a lower idle, and a higher maximum power capacity. In real world terms this means that, say if you were using an external USB hard drive that takes the power from the USB cable(s), you would get better battery life. Conversely, if you have USB chargeable devices such as mobile phones or MP3 players that can charge through a USB cable, you have almost twice the current, 950mA for USB 3.0 compared to 500mA for USB 2.0, so you could charge device faster, and also power more devices through USB hubs etc.
Unless you’re in the FBI or CIA, when you hear the word “Intel” you immediately think of processors. But here at CES, you quickly learn that Intel is about way more than just processors, though of course that is still its main focus. In fact, the first product we saw was the “innovative ergonomic workstation” named iClubby. The iClubby is essentially an all-inclusive workstation, consisting of a complete PC, three large portrait LCDs, an ergonomic chair equipped with speakers, and of course a keyboard and mouse. As seen below, it looks like something you’d find in a NASA training facility.
Next we saw some Mobile Internet Devices using the Intel Atom processor. Two such examples were the Compal JAX10 and OQO Model 2+, both supporting WiFi and featuring touchscreens. The Compal runs Linux on a 4GB or 8GB solid-state drive (SSD), while the OQO can run either Windows Vista or XP on a standard hard drive or SSD.
Continuing the “Intel is more than just processors” trend, we saw Intel’s award winning SSDs.
Next we saw some PCs that were roughly two-foot long models of the Dodge Challenger, complete with an optical drive and all the outputs you’d expect from a typical PC.
Lastly, we saw Intel’s gaming chair. Hydraulic rams jolt and tilt the chair around as an extreme force feedback output device to give the kind of gaming experience you get at a video game arcade.
Next we headed over to Toshiba and saw some very interesting and unique products. The first we saw was a laptop featuring 4th Generation EasyGuard Technology. The model on display had a constant stream of water running over the keyboard, but in reality, EasyGuard automatically saves your work and shuts down the system if you spill a drink on your laptop keyboard. This automated shutdown sequence preserves your data. Spillage accidents occurring on laptops without EasyGuard would almost certainly result in data corruption. The model on display had a video on infinite loop, but unfortunately the exhibitor would not let us touch the laptop to prove full functionality. In addition, though Toshiba claims EasyGuard automatically shuts the system down without causing damage to your hard drive, the laptop warranty does not cover damage to the rest of the system.
Continuing with the water-resistant theme, Toshiba had a “water-resistant internet viewer” on display, completely submerged in water and playing a movie… you know, in case you’re scuba diving and wanting something to keep you busy while you wait for a cool fish to swim by.
Next we saw some automotive “industrial strength” hard drives. What makes these hard drives special is their high resistance to extreme temperatures and vibrations, making them perfect for use in automobile in-dash computer systems; thus the “Automotive” moniker.
The last thing we saw at the Toshiba booth was also the coolest; a “Minority Report”-like gesture control system featuring a “Spatial Motion Interface”. Still in development, Toshiba describes the device as a “new interactive experience of hand motion operation for next generation digital TV’s.” Essentially what that means is that you use your hands in free air to operate and navigate your television. Though the demonstrator made it look extremely simple to use, Andrew (ClayMeow) tried it out, and it was anything but; it’ll definitely take some time to get accustomed to, but it certainly has potential.
There are a wide variety of hubs, KVM switches, networking and home cinema products manufactured by IOGEAR. What really caught our attention though was the wireless VGA and audio transmitter. Having already seen the wireless VGA transmitter using DisplayLink technology last year, it was interesting to see this concept be extended to include audio as well. So, whereas before you were kind of limited to presentations, photo viewing, office apps, or would have to connect the audio directly to the PC, now you can send audio along with the video to watch movies or play games.
The transmitter is a USB device that requires a PC running XP or Vista, and there are separate receivers for the video and audio. The video receiver has a VGA port that supports resolutions up to 1600x1200 (or 1680x1050 for widescreen), and the audio receiver has a 3.5mm stereo jack socket that can connect to your speaker system even if it has RCA inputs by using the bundled cables.
You probably are already aware of iRiver because of its high quality MP3 players. As with other manufacturers, iRiver has been expanding the number of formats to include videos and now has a range of portable media players with larger screens than before.
The D50-N was a bit of an odd-ball as it has a keyboard and a dictionary. It also has WiFi support so you can use instant messenger chat. Going back to the media support, you can play music and video, view photos and office documents, tune into FM radio and even record stuff. Another odd-ball was the Mplayer Eyes, an MP3 player in the shape of a Mickey Mouse head, with glowing eyes available in pink or blue.
LG had a wide range of products on display, which shouldn't come as a surprise since LG creates all sorts of consumer electronics. The first thing that caught our eye was something straight out of a James Bond movie; a phone watch.
A lot of people are asking, "What is the next step in flat screen technology?" One answer to this: even flatter screens. This screen has an ultra-low profile, ideal for those that favor minimalism in aesthetic design.
A sign of the times: NAS devices with Blu-ray rewriters. As hard drive capacities have passed the 1TB mark, it makes sense to have an optical disc burner that supports removable media with more than a 9GB capacity.
Last year we saw wireless video transmitters that supported 1080p, but the ones we saw from Belkin compressed the data being transmitted, so you ultimately lost some quality. LG has wireless transmitters that support 1080p without the need to compress the signal, giving you the same high quality signal that is coming from the source.
The last two products we looked at were the plasma and LCD panels that can show 3D content. Polarised non-powered glasses separate the composite left/right image on the screen out to the corresponding images for each eye. This made the video and 3D animation demos being displayed pop out of the screen and provides a lot of depth.
We came across the FSP booth while walking the floor at the Sands Convention Center. FSP offer a range of power supplies, and had a number of models on display. Those that were of the most interest to us were the Everest series PSUs, and specifically the new Everest Pro 1200W. The 135mm cooling fan should hopefully ensure quieter operation under heavy loads. This will come packaged in its on hard airline-style case and features six 12V rails @ 20A each, with a combined maximum of 90A. Also on display at the FSP booth was a PC setup in an acrylic case being powered by a passively cooled Zen 400 PSU. A noiseless 400W PSU would certainly be appealing to those looking for a silent setup with enough power to run a decent single graphics card.
Today we stopped by the Silverstone booth, where they had some cool looking equipment on show, with everything ranging from cases to coolers and flow fans. The first thing that we took a look at was their new Temjin Series case, that is loaded with some cool looking features, such as being able to hold seven expansion slots, 2 standard PS2 power supplies or one redundant PS2 PSU. It can also hold a total of four 120mm fans and two 92mm fans. The Temjin comes in either silver or black and the dimensions of 220mm x 560mm x 565mm means it is able to hold anything from a Micro ATX to an Extended ATX motherboard.
They were also showing a 2.5” to 3.25” hard drive converter, which can come in handy when you are attempting to use one of the new solid state drives in an older case that only has support for larger drives. They also had the NT01E cooler on display, which measured out at 141mm x 108mm x 105mm and is composed of copper heat pipes, copper fins, as well as a copper base; they used the copper to help with the kind of heat load that the newer processors are dishing out. There are a total of five heat pipes that run all the way from the base and drive directly into the fin array for quick and effortless transfer of heat. The final thing that we took a look at is the SFF Cross Flow Fan, a fan that you can purchase for your SST-SG01, SG02, SG03, and SG04 cases. The Cross Flow Fan is going to allow you to suck the warm air that builds around your CPU, MOSFET, and Chipsets and push it out of the way to be removed from the interior of the case, bringing the overall case temperature down.
We also went to the Diamond booth and had a nice talk with them about their new USB Display Adapter. The adapter allows you to convert any of your empty USB ports into an extra DVI port for an additional display. Unfortunately the adapter isn't going to offer the kind of performance required for serious gaming, however if you are just looking for an easy way to use a secondary display on your machine, be it a desktop or a laptop, you are all set to go with it.
Transcend also had a booth at CES, showing off many different types of memory, including their value RAM modules, overclocking RAM modules, flash cards, and SSDs. A unique thing we saw here was the express card SSD. Most people don't ever use their express card slot, but now they can add storage capacity to their laptops very easily by purchasing a small add on card. Also, they were selling IDE SSDs so if you haven't yet upgraded to SATA, you can still take advantage of SSD technology.
The RAM modules Transcend were showing off were rated up to speeds as fast as 2000MHz with timings of 9-9-9-27. They said that they overclock very well at a 1.9V bus. Their aXe series RAM shows promise and it will be interesting to see if enthusiasts come to the same conclusion.
This year at CES, SanDisk was showing off some new SDXC (Secure Digital Extreme Capacity) technology. SDXC is the successor to SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) and should be coming on the market sometime this year. While SDHC cards will allow for capacities between four and 32GB, SDXC will allow for 64GB all the way up to a massive 2TB in an SD card format. SanDisk said that SDXC cards would not be compatible with devices that only support SD or SDHC, but that normal SD or SDHC cards would work in SDXC devices. SanDisk also had their SSDs on display, showing off their 240GB model in a 2.5" form factor and a 120GB model in a 1.8" form factor.
Another company that we saw at CES this year was EverCool. EverCool is a company that makes cooling devices and other hardware peripherals. This year they were mainly showing off their Transformer 6 and Transformer 8. These two coolers are for Intel LGA775 and AMD K8 CPUs and make use of a four heatpipe design. A 120mm blue LED fan is used to push air over the aluminum fins to provide cooling to the CPU and surrounding devices. It looks like this cooler has promise and it will be interesting to see how it performs in testing.
Easily some of the coolest stuff of the show was at the Nvidia booth. The 3D Vision goggles that were just introduced offered a 3D solution that actually works. No Flickering and game profiles for over 350 games. You can see the the full evaluation on Overclockersclub Get it here.
We were able to get a look at pair of see thru Geforce 3D vision goggles that enabled us to look at how the electronics were configured.
The next thing that we got to look at was the Nvidia Ion Platform. This platform combines the Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor and Nvidia Geforce 9400 graphics processor. The base main board and 2.5 inch hard drive will fit into a space of ¼ liter. Add the daughter board underneath for increased functionality and the space requirement bumps up to ½ liter. Considering the abilities of the ION platform in the miniature platform it provides an increase in netbook graphics performance over the current Intel 945 graphics chipset currently used in netbooks. Just a quick note we were able to pull of a run of Call of Duty 4. It was playable on the ION platform. The actual numbers are under embargo until tomorrow so check back for those numbers.
So after our first visit we were invited back to run some benchmarks on the ION platform. Of course we could not turn down that kind of offer so we returned back to the Nvidia booth to see just what kind of performance this little box could deliver. The first thing we did was load up Call of Duty 4 and run through the first SAS mission. You know the one, fly in on the chopper and drop to the deck of the ship below to take command of the ship from some less than reputable people. The settings that we used differed slightly from those that Nvidia was using. The setting Nvidia recommended were basically all the eye candy off so that you could run through at a steady 30 FPS with the run made at 1024x768. We bumped up the settings just a tad and made a run through the first few minutes of the map. What we were greeted with was a run that averaged 36.2 frames per second. Not too shabby for the 9400GPU and Atom dual core processor. Now we tried the same run with a popular netbook and well let's just say the Intel 945 chipset could not make the cut.
Rather than relying on canned benchmark scores that were input into a nice presentation we wanted to witness the performance ourselves. Next up was 3DMark06. We ran the same run on both the ION platform and the netbook used as a comparison and while the scores are not phenomenal by any means the difference in the graphics capabilities from the Intel 945 chipset to the 9400mGPU is a significant jump in terms of graphics performance. The ION pulls a repeatable 1510 while the 945 equipped netbook dropped a staggering 123 yes a 123. I think I pulled off the lowest score I have seen in 3D06.
So just what else does the ION do well at. Well you can offload the video transcoding off of the CPU and onto the GPU to allow the 16 processing cores on the GPU handle the load freeing up the CPU for multitasking. Badaboom is an application from Elemental technologies that allows the conversion of video to any number of formats for use on portable devices. It took just over 2 minutes to convert the test 186Mb file for use on an IPhone
The last thing we looked at was how well the platform was able to handle playing high definition content using Power DVD 8 and displaying the content at 1920x1200. You can see how low the CPU usage is in this series of pictures as the GPU is handling the load and delivering almost 40FPS.
Look for a full review on this little gem in the near future!
Samsung is one of the leading names in TVs and LCD monitors, and it certainly showed that at CES. One of the first things you notice at the Samsung booth is all the new 3D TVs and monitors. In fact, 3D has been a huge focus for several companies this year, and Samsung is definitely towards the head of the pack with its assortment of 3D products. The first such product we saw was the “TV with Built-In 3D Formatter”. While many of the 3D TVs we saw at CES required content designed for 3D, this Samsung TV converts high definition 2D content to 3D in real-time. When we asked how this was possible, we were told that the TVs use motion detection algorithms to calculate where objects on the screen are in terms of depth into the screen. This wasn't perfect for all scenes, but seemed to work very well overall.
Even more impressive was the 3D LCD TV that required no 3D glasses. The 52” Full HD TV uses a lenticular type 3D display with 9 view points lens to deliver a 3D image. It’s hard to explain or show in pictures, but if you’ve ever seen a ridged hologram card, it has a similar visual effect, where if you move quickly from side to side, you can see different images. But if you stay still, it’s actually pretty amazing.
Lastly in the 3D realm are the 3D gaming monitors, with Samsung seeming to be the only company to have 3D monitors on display at CES.
Sticking with monitors, Samsung unveiled IP Network-Based monitors, which essentially allows you to send a display over the network using standard IP addresses.
Samsung also had its DisplayLink monitors on display. These monitors have USB inputs and outputs and allow you to daisy-chain multiple screens together. Samsung had six monitors hooked up to a laptop, including four mounted on a special stand.
Next up were the wide-viewing angle monitors, which provided a near 180° viewing angle.
Lastly, Samsung had wireless photo frames on display.
Last year at CES, there seemed to be a big focus from many manufacturers on large displays, so when we saw Sony's new OLED screens, it really struck us as innovative and different from everyone else. This year, a few other manufacturers have OLED screens, but again, Sony has something to set themselves apart from the rest with a flexible OLED screen. This was a brand new development, so the screen was only tiny, but it was playing live video whilst flexing back and forth inside the display case.
We already saw Sony's OLED displays last year, and this time they were still just as impressive. The quality improvement over current display technology is instantly recognizable, with much more lifelike colors, and a pretty much perfect blackpoint due to there not being a backlight.
Next we saw some TV displays that require polarised glasses in order to view the 3D image. This seems quite popular this year, and the most impressive example was the game demos running on the PS3.
There are so many manufacturers with netbooks at CES this year, so it was nice to see Sony with something different. The ultra-wide aspect VAIO Lifestyle PC was obviously marketed towards women, as they came in a range of sparkly colours and matching cases that looked like a purse/pocketbook. These mini netbooks have an impressive resolution, for the size of the screen, of 1600x768.
Sony also had some netbooks with displays that are slightly larger than the norm. The largest one, the VGN-Z600 series, has a 13.1" screen with a resolution of 1600x900 for a movie-friendly 16:9 aspect ratio and uses the T series of Core 2 mobile processors.
The VGN-TT200 series has an 11.1" screen with a 1366x768 display and uses the P series of energy efficient Core 2 mobile processors.
Sony had an online competition for people to submit their creative efforts as entries for the personalised "My Graphic Splash" laptop skins. The final 4 winners' designs were on display at the booth, which were a huge hit, as they're practically impossible to obtain anymore. We were told that another competition is planned for the future for additional designs.
With our visit to Coolermaster we were introduced to not only their products, but products from a Company called ChoiiX that provides plenty of unique solutions for the laptop crowd. These include a universal power adapter that is compatible with just about any notebook, as well as designer Laptop stands.
Coolermaster has updated its power supply lineup to include the Ultimate models.
Many of you have seen the HAF 932 and the cooling performance that it delivered. You can check out the OCC review here. Cooler Master has built on this and come up with a mid tower with similar design features called the HAF Mini.
Cooler Master has several new designs that will be brought to market, that include the Gladiator and Elite 360.
Additionally Cooler Master has built a case for their gaming team that is part of the CM Storm lineup, called the Sniper.
The CoolerMaster V8 is a large CPU cooler that has proved to be an effective solution. So where do you go from there? The V10 of course. This cooler cools both the memory and CPU using 10 heatpipes and a small thermo electric cooler (TEC) as an additional back up to make sure it can handle high heat loads. There are also some new designs that are not as extreme, with the Hyper 620 and 520, as well as a low profile model.
Today OCC met with AMD, who talked about a few new technologies and products coming our way. We all just recently saw the release of the AMD Phenom II processors and the Dragon platform comprised of the Phenom II CPUs, AMD 790GX based motherboards and HD 4000 series graphics cards. Along with those releases AMD has lined up new mobile graphics solutions, the ATI Mobility Radeon 4000 series. There will be several flavors available including HD 4300, HD 4500, HD 4600, and HD 4800 series cards. The HD 4300 is designed for graphics with surperb power saving capabilities, the HD 4500 and HD 4600 series are more price per watt efficient when it comes to power, and the HD 4800 series is targeted at the mobile gaming community. All products will feature the ATI Unified Video Decoder and are the first mobile graphics cards to feature HDMI output with 7.1 surround sound. The new HD 4870 Mobility will also feature super fast GDDR5 graphics memory. This graphic card info was provided on a media release we did not meet with anyone on the graphics side of AMD.
In addition to the new Mobility graphics, AMD is releasing a new mobile processor for ultra light notebooks named the AMD Athlon Neo. The new ultra thin notebooks based on the AMD Neo will offer balanced performance and optional advanced graphics packages using the ATI Radeon X1250 or ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3410 graphics solutions. The first notebook to feature the new Athlon Neo Processor will be the HP DV2, which is slated for release this year, with prices starting at $699.
So now we come to a long awaited part of CES. Everyone loves the infamous Booth Babes that are touring around the convention floors sporting off all the new products. This year there were not a lot of booth babes as there have been in previous years, however the quality makes up for the quantity. Sit back and enjoy, courtesy of your OCC 2009 CES Team.
Booth Babes 2:
Booth Babes 3:
Booth Babes with the OCC Staff:
So how would I sum my trip up this year? I would have to say this was the best time I have had at CES in 3 years. The staff that came this year were just awesome. The amount of work and drive they showed was refreshing. Nothing but pure class, professionalism, and 100% dedication was shown. We had zero problems or issues and there was zero stress. It was so nice to feel relaxed for the first time ever at this event. Finally meeting some staff members who have been with me for years now was great. Behind the scenes, these are the guys that help keep OCC running and growing.
The experience of meeting with companies that have supported OCC for the last year was very enjoyable. I had a lot of late nights and very little sleep, but in the end it was all worth it. I think that 2009 will be an interesting year due to the economy, but also for the growth of OCC. Manufacturers appear to be surging ahead despite the economic climate, which is a great sign, and we here at OCC are excited to see what comes out of it.
As this was my third time at CES nothing really suprises me here in Vegas, so I don't really have anything to mention that shocked me this time around. The one thing I did learn this year is to never ever leave my laptop running in my room when I am not in there. The guys decided to have some fun with it, but that's alright as payback is coming, lol.
At this time I would like to thank the following companies that went above and beyond for us at CES. This included dinners and drinks after the day was over, as well as extra testing times and just spending more time with us than normal. A huge thanks to Sapphire, Mushkin, Nvidia and CyberpowerPC.
I hope the coverage we provided was great for everyone and gave you a good insight into what we saw this year. I am sorry that the boothbabe selection was so weak; there were not as many this year. Thank you for all your support for OCC in 2008 and I look forward to your support in 2009. See you in the forums.
So what did I think of the trip to CES this year? I was looking to see what was coming next from the manufacturers. NVIDIA took the time to show off the capabilities of the up-coming ION platform, as well as CUDA based applications from Motion DSP and Elemental Technologies. How many of you have watched CSI and seen the guy down in the lab take a grainy image and magically bring forth a clear image of a license plate? Well motion DSP does that and more in a simple to use interface that can clean up some really bad home video. Badaboom from Elemental Technologies is a media encoder that uses CUDA Technology to encode video in real time. Having looked at the pre-release I was glad to see that this has come to fruition with version 1.1. AMD showed off a couple of applications that included the Fusion gaming tool that interfaces with AMD Overdrive to maximize the performance of an AMD system. From the ATI side of the fence there really is not a whole lot that we were shown, other than some talk of models with improved cooling. One thing that was brought out was mention of a card designed for HTPCs. Cooler Master has new power supplies and what I was especially interested in was the CM Storm lineup that included the Sniper, a case designed for their gaming team.
What I saw was a lot of the same stuff I had already seen before. The traffic was just as bad and we really had some interesting cab rides. Experiences ranged from one guy that kept propositioning the whole cab trying to get us into a strip club with the offer of free drinks as well as a cab ride, to Mario Andretti doing 80 MPH down the strip, to the guy that simply blared hard-core Rap as loud as his system could go. Meeting and greeting our contacts in the industry is always an enjoyable experience. Big thanks go out to Mushkin, Sapphire and CyberPower PC , who we spent hours with away from the event itself. Further big thanks go to NVIDIA for all of the extra time they gave us, for extra testing and showing us their new products. Thank you also to the rest of the manufacturers that took time out of their schedules to meet with us. The biggest thing I noticed this year was the more relaxed atmosphere in the group. Meeting and greeting, and getting to know the staff members that attended were by far the best parts of the trip. Putting a face to the names I see on a daily basis really makes that relationship a little stronger. Getting to compete in the 12th annual Tiger Direct sponsored Build a PC Race was another of the highlights. Even though I did not finish in the top 3 I did pull out a respectable 6th place with a time of 7 minutes and 18 seconds. Even though I did not pull out a win the PC I built goes to The Firefighters Foundation. That alone was a big enough win for the team. All things considered this trip was far superior to the time I had last year and I look forward to next year. This year was a big win for the Whole OCC team.
This years CES was one of fun and work. I was impressed with the amount of new technology that is coming our way and some of the impressive changes the manufacturers are taking. Products are getting faster, smaller, and more effienent. With the amount of staff this year from OCC we had a lot more coverage than in previous years and our team worked great together and we had lots of laughs. This will definitely be a year to beat for OCC and CES. I think my favorite part of CES this year, even though they were scarce, were the boothbabes. I mean who doesn't like a little sweetie next to your 1 Terabyte hard drive.
Not only was this my first CES, but it was also the first time meeting everyone in person, so my expectations were mixed. I heard a lot about personality clashes last year, so I wasn't sure how it would be this year. I'm happy to say that this year was nothing like that. You never know what to expect based on online personas, but not only did everyone get along, but I think I can safely say that I can now call all of them my friends instead of merely colleagues. From the convention standpoint, I personally thought there was a lot of awesome stuff. There wasn't as much free shwag as I thought there would be (I was really looking forward to some shot glasses the guys got last year, as I collect them), but we still got some pretty cool stuff. It was also very cool to have personal interviews with a lot of companies, and it was really cool to see just how well respected OCC is in the industry. Though Kevin (propane) and I had our asses handed to us, playing against FATAL1TY in front of everyone was pretty damn cool, and certainly not something I ever thought I'd get to do. Nevertheless, the best part of CES were of course the booth babes, which is why you probably noticed well over fifty images of them alone. There weren't as many booth babes as we expected, but the quality of the ones that we did see were certainly top notch.
There were a lot of firsts for my time spent at CES. This was my first time at the show, my first time in Vegas (and in America) and the first time meeting the people who I work with day in day out on OCC. All of those turned out to be great experiences. Arriving at the convention center on the first day of the show, it really hits you how important CES is for the industry, with the number of people and the sheer size of the venues really driving it home for me. If you are used to reading press releases and coverage on the latest hardware, then having the opportunity to talk to the people behind the products is exciting, with a number of interesting characters showing how much hard work and dedication it takes to keep releasing cutting edge hardware. Meeting others who are covering the event is also enlightening, and bumping into people who are usually just a name attached to an article can be a little surreal. Being able to put a face to a name is certainly helpful.
By the third day, the crowds, mixed with the lack of sleep does start to take its toll, but just being there keeps you going even when your legs feel like jelly. The prospect of hitting the bar or a party once the day's work is done certainly helps as well, especially if someone else is paying for the beer.
Picking a highlight of the show itself is a tough task, as it's pretty hard to get around and see everything for yourself. Others may mention booth babes (with good reason), but I think the best part for me was getting to hang out with the rest of the OCC staff. It also seems to be generally true what they say about having an English accent while in America. It certainly helps in certain regards.
So while CES may be primarily about technology, it really is the people who make the show what it is. I'll definitely be coming back in the future should I get the opportunity.
The last time I attended CES was in 2007. This year was quite different from my previous experience in several positive ways. First, we had a larger crew that allowed us to cover the entire show more efficiently. Second, there where far fewer personality conflicts this year. The worst thing I witnessed was some middle of the night punching and kicking due to excessive snoring. But that turned out alright because we got to laugh about the sounds the snoring person made later. Third, we came in to CES this year with the expectation to beat the competition. OCC has done that.
I got to look around alot and take in my surroundings more. Basically relax, look around and enjoy the show.
There was an emphasis on gadgets and gadget accessories. I think I saw at least a half dozen booths showcasing holders and pouches for every tech toy imaginable. A notable example of the odd products we witnessed is an iPod case from the company that makes Crocs shoes. The thing is shaped like a sandle. There were also booths containing cables and adapters for everything you could possibly think of.
There was still some pretty cool gear though.
Two things in the automotive world caught my eye as well. First and most impressive was a Hyundai concept car that replaces the side mirrors with cameras whose screens are mounted in the dash. The representative claimed that the vehicle has no blind spots. Sounds very cool. Second was a small (no larger than a compass) dashboard-mounted GPS that gave your current position and direction of travel. I didn't have much time to examine the package, but it looks cool and I want one.
Also worthy of note is a hydrogen fuel cell generator. The 500 watt model could fit under a desk. I remember wishing I had someting like this the last time I lost power at home.
Overall this has been an adventure and a good trip.
This year was my first trip to CES, and it was a very exciting one. Not only due to the fact that it was out in Las Vegas, but because I was able to view a whole bunch of new upcoming products and have a nice talk with the manufactures and the PR people that we deal with on just about a daily basis. I was somewhat disappointed as to how many booths there were for computer products. I would have thought that there would have been more here, especially more of the big card names such as BFG and EVGA, as well as some of the smaller names. I was also finally able to meet the people that I work with every day and have a face to put to a name/username. The other great thing about CES was the booth babes, even though there were not quite as many as I thought there were going to be. However, the quality of them was outstanding. While there were a whole bunch of tasks that needed to be done to make sure that all you guys back at home were able to get to see everything we were able to, it was very rewarding and I enjoyed having the opportunity to cover it.
This was my first time coming to CES and to Las Vegas. While the convention itself was a lot of fun and very informative, it was also fun to get to meet several of the people I have worked with many times online in person. I was very impressed with the hardware that we saw while we were here and the people we met from the various companies and websites that we are all familiar with. I can honestly say that I am glad that I have been part of the 2009 OCC CES experience, and hope that you have enjoyed the amazing coverage we have worked hard to bring you over the past few days.
This is the second time that I've been to CES, so in a lot of ways I had a good idea of what to expect to see. When OCC staff were initially talking about who was interested in going to CES, I was pretty excited when so many of us wanted to go. Being a UK member, it's nice to have the opportunity to meet more of the guys from over the other side of the water. This year was a lot more organised than last year, people knew where they were going and when all the meetings were, so there was pretty much zero confusion and stress. So we had fun working together and a lot of laughs the whole time. It's been ace.
There didn't seem to be as much new stuff this year, but this may well be because I saw a lot of identical or similar products last year. So, when I did see any new technology, it stood out. The 3D TVs and monitors are the first thing that comes to mind and they have come a long way since the NVidia 3D LCD-shutter glasses that came with my Asus V7700 Deluxe (Geforce 2 GTS). If the manufacturers could make the glasses more comfortable, or continue improving the 3D displays that don't require glasses at all, I think this technology would be fantastic for enhancing the visual element of PC and console gaming. Having an Eee PC 1000H, not being able to play HD h.264 video perfectly, and being limited by the 1024x600 display size, the other area that got my attention was the developments for netbooks. These included NVidia's ION platform, addressing the shortcomings of Intel's GMA onboard graphics for games and HD video, and Sony's higher resolution netbook displays.
Well folks that's it for this year's coverage. Hope you enjoyed it! We sure did!