CES 2011 Coverage

Bosco - 2011-01-04 13:12:52 in Trade Shows/Conventions
Category: Trade Shows/Conventions
Reviewed by: Bosco   
Reviewed on: January 7, 2011

The first day of CES for OverclockersClub actually occurred before the first day of the convention. This year, the crew includes:

 

 

 

One of the first stops made by OCC was the Corsair Press Event where the team from Corsair showed off a few new products that will be seeing the light of day here shortly. The first thing we were shown was an expansion of the Obsidian case lineup that now will include the 650. Features include a SATA 6GB/s hot swap dock, room for a 2x120mm radiator, if you choose to go the water cooling route and a brushed aluminum finish. Externally, it looks like a mid tower, but internally it has the space to fit even the largest video cards. Not to let that case steal the show, a white special edition 600T case was on display loaded with the latest parts from Corsair. This is built on the popular 600T case and comes with a removable side window that can be replaced with a furnished mesh panel. I'm guessing after seeing so many white case mods in forums, Corsair went with this look, which most certainly will be dubbed the "Storm Trooper Edition" by some.

 

 

Everyone has seen or heard of the HS1 headset that Corsair released last year that used a USB connection. Now it has released the HS1A that uses analog connectivity and features an in-line volume and microphone mute control. This set is expected to retail at a slightly lower $79 and should be available sometime in January.

The Corsair Dominator memory lineup is well known in the enthusiast market as modules that not only look good, but perform well. The Vengeance series of modules that were being shown come in most of the popular configurations including a set designed for Intel's 6 Series platforms. The modules feature an all new heat spreader design that is functional and uses an interesting look. You can find kits from 4GB to 16GB to suit your needs.

 

On the cooling front, Corsair has partnered with renowned, self-contained water cooling experts CoolIT to design the new H60 self-contained water cooling thermal solution. This piece fits in-between the H70 and H50 in terms of performance and uses an all new pump and cold plate design. This design uses micro-channels cut into the solid copper cold plate. The fin density is up to 85 fins per inch. The flow path was re-engineered from a flow-through design into a design that drives the liquid through the center or hottest part of the CPU first. This design necessitated a new higher pressure, low profile pump to push the cooling medium through these fins. The radiator is the same unit used on the popular H50, but with a newer fan. This design is said to perform between the H50 and H70. When asked if we could see this design on a higher-end cooling solution above the H70, we were greeted with a smile and no direct confirmation, so that’s up in the air, but the H60 looks promising. This should be available around March of this year with a suggested retail of $79.

 

 

The last thing of note is the two gaming 2.1 speaker systems that Corsair has designed for the PC enthusiast. The first is the Gaming Audio Series SP2200. This system is for the $99 retail market and should be available this month. The SP2200 puts out 46 watts of RMS power and uses 2" drivers in the satellites with a 6" ported sub. The right-hand satellite features volume and sub controls with aux in and headphone output jacks. The SP2500 is the big system and will shake the floor with the 8" sub in a fourth-order bandpass enclosure. This system puts out 232 watts RMS total power. This design uses dual 60W Class D amplifiers, which means each of the drivers are amplified, so you can enjoy both the high-end crescendos and gunshots, as well as the deep bass while gaming without starving any of the drivers for power. This comes in handy when watching movies as well to eliminate the annoying rise in volume after a quiet scene. The engineers at Corsair use a digital signal processor to “shape and balance” the audio signal. A small wired controller is included with a 1.8" TFT screen that can control volume, EQ settings, has a 3.5mm input and headphone jack and has a USB input to allow for future firmware upgrades, if needed. When cranked up, this system sounded great. Pricing on the SP2500 is between $249 to $259.

 

 

That's it for Corsair, so let's move on to what Sapphire had to offer.

Sapphire:

As with every year, Sapphire has always had a nice preview of what is to come at CES and beyond. Today we were able to take a peek at a few of these technologies. Some of them are still under embargo, so be patient and trust me, it will be worth it. Nevertheless, some of the items we can talk about will have you salivating. Sapphire is well known for its graphics cards, but there is way more to the company than just that. What Sapphire had on display for us definitely peaked our interests, as I am sure it will yours as well. After being greeted by the ever welcoming Ruby, we finally got to see the goods that Sapphire had in store.

 

As I am sure a lot of you have heard, AMD is launching its Fusion APU (Advanced Processing Unit) here at CES 2011. These new APUs are AMD's shift into fully competing with the Atom/ION combination and are designed to give you the best performance for price/size possible. The Sapphire board that was on display for us was the Pure Fusion Mini E350, which used the new AMD E350 APU processor paired with an AMD Radeon HD6130 graphics core for a small but powerful combination. This board is not currently available, but keep an eye out for variations in the near future.

 

 

 

A few other goodies that were on display for us were custom made cases from NFC Systems. These cases were hand-made specifically for Sapphire for the CES 2011 event. The first case is a smaller design for home theater use. Inside is an ITX motherboard with a 2.5" laptop hard drive and even a Blu-ray drive designed for space-saving, yet awesome power. The second was a custom case designed for an upcoming unnamed motherboard paired with a CrossFire set of graphic cards. What I was most amazed with was that the case used bullet-proof glass for the light logo. For more information on these and other custom cases, visit NFC Systems.

 

 

The last few things that Sapphire had on display for us were an upcoming Radeon HD 5570 card with an integrated TV tuner and a new mini PC. While this is not news for a video card, this specific edition uses software to project the programming through the web in real time, allowing you to watch the TV from home using a browser from anywhere in the world. The technology called "Xtend TV" pairs with a client designed for each individual card, allowing the user to view the programming live as the system receives it on the client. The other new product in the works is a Sapphire mini PC built around an Atom chipset giving the user a small yet powerful media player and computer designed to handle media and other day-to-day tasks. Final pricing was not available, but keep your eyes peeled for these two products soon.

 

Gigabyte Press Event:

 

Gigabyte invited OCC to its CES 2011 Kickoff Event to unveil its new 6-Series and Gaming Motherboards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Henry Kao, Vice President of Gigabyte, came on stage to present the company's new line-up of gaming motherboards, the G1-Killer Series. Below you can see photos of the top-of-the-line G1-Killer known as the G1.Assassin.

 

 

 

The G1-Killer motherboards have four main ways to "weaponize yourself" with Super Sight, Super Hearing, Super Speed, and Super Shield.

The three motherboards in the G1-Killer series, in order from top to bottom, are the G1.Assassin, G1.Sniper, and G1.Guerrilla.

Model
G1.Assassin
G1.Sniper
G1.Guerilla
CPU Support
Intel Core i7 Processors
Intel Core i7 Processors
Intel Core i7 Processors
CPU Socket
LGA1366
LGA1366
LGA1366
QPI/FSB
4.8GT/s, 6.4GT/s
4.8GT/s, 6.4GT/s
4.8GT/s, 6.4GT/s
Chipset
X58+ICH10R
X58+ICH10R
X58+ICH10R
Graphics Interface
5xPCI-E x16 (2x16, 3x8)
3xPCI-E x16 (2x16, 1x8)
3xPCI-E x16 (2x16, 1x8)
Memory Type
DDR3 2200/1600/1333
DDR3 2200/1600/1333
DDR3 2200/1600/1333
Memory DIMM
6xDDR3 (Max 24GB)
6xDDR3 (Max 24GB)
6xDDR3 (Max 24GB)
Expansion Slots
2xPCI-E x1 + 1xPCI
2xPCI-E x1 + 1xPCI
2xPCI-E x1 + 1xPCI
ATA Connector
2xSATA 6GB/s + 6xSATA 3GB/s + 1xPower eSATA (front)
2xSATA 6GB/s + 6xSATA 3GB/s
2xSATA 6GB/s + 6xSATA 3GB/s
SATA RAID
Raid 0,1,5,10
Raid 0,1,5,10
Raid 0,1,5,10
USB 3.0
8 (4 front, 4 rear)
4 (2 front, 2 rear)
4 (2 front, 2 rear)
USB 2.0
8 (4 front, 4 rear)
12 (6 front, 6 rear)
8 (6 front, 6 rear)
Audio
Creative HW Audio 20K2
Front audio headphone amplifier
Nichicon MUSE capacitors
Creative HW Audio 20K2
Front audio headphone amplifier
Nichicon MUSE capacitors
Realtek ALC 889
Front audio headphone amplifier
Nichicon MUSE capacitors
LAN
Bigfoot Killer 2100
Bigfoot Killer 2100
Bigfoot Killer 2100
HW OC Button
Yes (front bezel)
Yes (rear panel)
Yes (rear panel)
Features & Software
16 power phase, Dual Power, 3 way SLI, 4 way CrossFire X, Driver MOSFET, X-Fi, EAX, Dolby, DTS, 3TB+ HDD, On/Off charge, USB 3.0, USB 3x power, Smart6, UD3, DES2
8 power phase, Dual Power, 3 way SLI, 3 way CrossFire X, Driver MOSFET, X-Fi, EAX, Dolby, DTS, 3TB+ HDD, On/Off charge, USB 3.0, USB 3x power, Smart6, UD3, DES2
8 power phase, Dual Power, 3 way SLI, 3 way CrossFire X, Driver MOSFET, X-Fi, 3TB+ HDD, On/Off charge, USB 3.0, USB 3x power, Smart6, UD3, DES2
Form Factor (mm)
XL-ATX (345x262)
ATX (305x246)
ATX (305x246)

 

 

 

Along with its gaming motherboards, Gigabyte also unveiled its new line of motherboards for Second Generation Intel Core Processors on the Socket LGA1155 platform, codenamed Sandybridge. Its initial launch arsenal consists of seven boards, five of which are on the P67 chipset (GA-P67A-UD7, GA-P67A-UD5, GA-P67A-UD4, GA-P67A-UD3P, GA-P67A-UD3R), and two on the H67 chipset (GA-H67A-UD3H, GA-H67A-UD2H). Some of the features you can expect to find in this line-up include Dual CPU Power, On/Off Charge USB Port, DualBIOS, Turbo USB 3.0, Turbo XHD, Hotkey OC, Cloud OC, Dolby Home Theater, and ErP Ready.

 

Sennheiser

This year at CES 2011, Sennheiser impressed us with a lot of new product lines for us audiophiles. These lineups include gaming headsets, lifestyle headphones and a group of highly comfortable, noise-canceling units. Each lineup offers the exceptional sound and build quality inherent in Sennheiser's name, though each are geared toward different markets. Gaming headsets, obviously, are geared for portability, optional surround sound, and built-in microphones for in-game communication. The lifestyle headphones offer the best sound quality out of all the other units, ideal for audiophiles. Lastly, the travel headphones utilize an over-the-ear, noise-canceling design that are lightweight and extremely comfortable.

The gaming headsets, also known as Sennheiser's "PC" series, include the PC360, PC333D, and the PC163D. The D in the last two model names indicate that they are equipped with Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound virtualization. The PC360 is the top of the line model in this line, and features a noise-canceling microphone that is auto-muting when the boom is flipped back upwards. The open air design is very comfortable for long gaming sessions and offers loads of airflow to keep the user cool.

The next model down, the PC333D, is a great choice for FPS enthusiasts. The Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound virtualization offers a huge advantage to the experienced gamer as the ears can register crucial sounds such as footsteps and the direction that they are moving. The PC333D also offers a hinge on each earcup that allows one side to swivel upwards so that the user can talk to people around them. These headphones also have the microphone muting feature when the boom is raised. The final displayed model in the "PC" series is the PC163D, which offers the same features as the PC333D, with the exception of the swiveling earcups and the auto-muting microphone. Each model has an MSRP of $299, $239 and $209 respectively.

 

 

The next line of headphones we explored were Sennheiser's ultra high-end audiophile headphones. These units are for the user who places an extreme importance on sound quality for music and theater experiences. Two models we checked out today were the HD650 and HD598, which both use an over-the-ear, circumaural design. The HD650s offer sound pressure levels (SPL) of up to 115dB with a total harmonic distortion (THD) of less than 0.05% and an impedance of 300 ohms. The HD598 offers similar performance, with SPL of up to 112dB, a THD of less than 0.1%, and an impedance of only 50 ohms. These models retail for $649 and $329, respectively.

A short step down from the previous two models are the HD558 and HD518. These units are available at a much lower cost and offer similar, stunning performance. The frequency response of these lower end units are comparable to the higher end HD650 and HD598, but have an increased THD at less than 0.2%, an SPL of 112dB for the HD558 and only 108dB for the HD518. These units retail at $249 and $179 for the HD558 and HD518, respectively.

 

 

The last group of headphones we checked out were Sennheiser's travel line, which are the MM550 and the PXC360BT. These headphones offer extreme comfortability for long flights and other extended periods of usage, complete with a high end, active noise-canceling system. They can either be used wirelessly or wired to any device with a standard audio port or through Bluetooth. The noise-canceling system is able to reduce ambient noise by up to 23dB and can be switched off on the fly. The MM550 headphones feature a set of external microphones that can be switched on, known as the TalkThrough system, which allows the user to clearly hear a neighbor or cabin crew without having to remove the headphones. The MM550 retails for $649 and the PXC360BT for $589.

 

Antec

There wasn't much new stuff from Antec since our last visit at Computex, but Marketing Manager Christoph Katzer was nice enough to show us around once again. The company was showing off its new water cooling system, a few new versions and revisions to some popular cases, and a new sound system from its sub-brand, Soundscience.

Antec's new Kuhler H2O 920 and H20 620 are closed-system watercooling units for your CPU. What makes these units unique is that the pump is actually inside the water block itself. You can see a picture of the 920 below, along with the radiator in the second photo. In the first photo, you may also notice the rather unique fan above it. That's Antec's Spot Cool, a three-speed blue-LED fan that can be mounted on any motherboard mounting hole, and angled in any direction you desire. It's perfect for cooling your RAM, or even providing some extra cooling for your video card(s) or hard drives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up were the cases, starting with the Sonata IV. The Sonata IV features a newly designed interior, which includes a 620 watt power supply featuring a 120mm fan, three external 5.25" drive bays, four internal 3.5" drive bays, and one internal 2.5" drive bay. It also features seven expansion slots and one rear 120mm TriCool 3-speed exhaust fan. The main changes are the addition of a front USB 3.0 port (accompanying two USB 2.0 ports and audio in and out) and side grilles for air flow instead of the usual front ones.

 

 

Next up was the Antec One Hundred gaming case featuring a sleek painted black interior, perforated front bezel and a large CPU cut-out for easy installation of CPU coolers. The One Hundred has three external 5.25" drive bays, six internal 3.5" drive bays, and one internal bottom-mounted 2.5" drive bay, as well as eight expansion slots. It includes one 140mm TwoCool fan up top, a 120mm TwoCool fan at the back and room for two optional 120mm fans in the front and a third on the side. The front I/O panel includes four USB 2.0 ports and audio in and out.

 

 

Antec is also updating its Six Hundred and Nine Hundred Two gaming cases. The latter features a black interior like the One Hundred, but contains a USB 3.0 port in the front. Aside from the addition of a USB 3.0 port on the 902, both cases now feature a large CPU cutout to make installation of a heat sink even easier, as well as cable routing holes and more space behind the motherboard for cable management.

 

 

 

 

Lastly, we had a look at the Soundscience Rockus 3D 2.1 speaker system. The satellite speakers are 25 watts apiece with a 100 watt subwoofer and maximum sound pressure level (SPL) of 95 dB. For inputs you have 3.5mm, RCA and optical. Unfortunately, the remote control is tethered (see last photo), as its original intention was more for PC use, rather than a home theater system. The ~$250 price tag, however, is more in line with home theater systems than PC speaker systems.

 

 

IN WIN

This year at CES, IN WIN has a massive display of probably close to twenty exciting computer cases. These cases range from compact small form factor cases, to massive full tower cases with gracious amounts of real estate volume. All of IN WIN's cases are designed with the user in mind, offering great features and superb cooling capabilities.

 

 

 

One of the main displays is of the IN WIN Buc case. The recently unveiled Buc is a very stout mid tower case with three hot swappable bays that are removable through the side panel without the need to remove the panel itself. Inside, there is room for two extra 3.5" hard drives and it also offers room for four 5.25" devices (three external). To the left of the Buc display is one of IN WIN's small form factor (SFF) cases with a built-in monitor stand. To the right of this display is a group of IN WIN's Commander II power supplies, ranging from 750W to a tremendous 1200W. These power supplies are also 80 PLUS certified, which means it has an efficiency greater than 80%.

 

 

 

Another well-promoted icon at the IN WIN booth is the IN WIN Dragon Rider. It is a full tower case, much like the earlier Maelstrom, full of features such as a massive 220mm fan on the side panel, sound dampening foam, USB 3.0, and top mounted I/O ports and power/reset buttons. The Dragon Rider can hold up to eleven 120mm fans, making it one of the most customizable cooling cases offered by IN WIN. The right side panel has a concave shape pressed into it, allowing for a huge amount of extra room for wire management not typically offered by other cases on the market. It also features a fan on this panel behind the CPU, aimed at the motherboard tray, which can help remove heat buildup from behind the motherboard tray to improve CPU temperatures.

 

 

The last case that IN WIN showed us is the BR665. This case is built around the microATX platform with the ability to house two 12.5" graphics cards, allowing the user to run a compact yet extremely powerful setup. On a completely different subject, IN WIN offers portable data enclosures as well. A neat, but quirky product from IN WIN is the O-Ring. The O-Ring is a silicon enclosure that wraps around a 2.5" hard drive that uses a 5-pin mini USB connector. It was interesting, but didn't seem very practical. Nevertheless, the IN WIN O-Ring is like nothing else on the market.

 

LG Electronics

One of the first things you notice when entering the LG Electronics booth, aside from them handing out 3D glasses that work with all its televisions and monitors, is the 60" Expandable Multivision display mounted up on one of the walls. You may be thinking 60" doesn't sound like a lot, but that's where the "expandable" part comes in. The mounted display consisted of a 3x3 array of 60" plasma displays, providing an 180" overall display. LG's Plasma TV features an ultra thin seam of just 0.06" (1.5mm) on all sides, as well as the world's fastest Subfield Driving Technology of 600Hz, providing a response time of 0.001ms. Though showcased as 3x3, it can be used in a variety of configurations, as well provide simultaneous displays of various inputs, as seen below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you don't have thousands of dollars to spare or a twenty-foot wall in your house, then LG's monitors may be more your style. LG was showing off a bunch of Super LED monitors. The "LED" portion of the name is obvious, but why the "Super"? Super Slim, Super Angle, Super Picture Quality, and Super Energy Saving. First up were the E2370V and E2770V. Both monitors are 1080p (1920x1080) with a Digital Fine Contrast (DFC) ratio of 5M:1, 5ms response time, and 250cd/m2 brightness. The E2370V is 23" and classified as an entertainment monitor, with D-sub, DVI-D, HDMI, and headphone out ports. But most importantly, it's an IPS panel. The E2770V is 27" and classified as a gaming monitor, with the same ports as the E2370V, but a second HDMI. Unfortunately, no IPS display this time around, but rather your standard TN panel.

 

 

Two more Super LED IPS displays were the IPS236V and IPS226V. The IPS236V is a 23" monitor while the IPS226V is a 21.5" monitor. All other specs are the same — 1920x1080 resolution, 5M:1 DFC, 5ms GTG response time, 250cd/m2, and D-sub, DVI-D, HDMI, and headphone ports. What sets these monitors apart is the "Super Viewing Angle" of 178/178, thanks to the IPS panel. You can see a comparison below, with the IPS monitor on the left and the TN monitor on the right. The difference was very noticeable — it definitely makes me want to switch to an IPS monitor, if only they came in 1920x1200 at a reasonable price.

 

 

To explain the Super Picture Quality and Super Energy Saving aspects of LG's Super LED line, we'll just let LG explain it.

 

 

 

In this day and age, we'd be remiss if we didn't at least touch upon 3D displays. LG was showing off its Super 3D technology with a tri-monitor setup using its D342P Super 3D monitors. At 23", the D342P has the same specs as all the previous Super LED monitors mentioned, except it obviously includes 3D support.

 

 

Although LG had a lot of other displays being shown, the last one worth mentioning, at least from a technological standpoint, is the LG Touch TV. The LG Touch TV is a plasma television that allows interaction via a digital pen, and up to a maximum of two can be used simultaneously for multi-touch support. LG says it's great for edutainment, painting, or a family board to share your calendar, diary, memos and more. Unfortunately, the screen does not respond to your finger, you must use the supplied pen.

LG Electronics

LG is more than just displays. First up was its network storage solution, the S1T1. What's unique about the S1T1 is that it can auto or pre-convert video files for streaming to your smart device — or "steaming" if you go by what LG wrote. Oops!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up were its 2.5" external hard drives, available in three models, the HXD3, HXD5 and HXD7. The HXD3 features USB 3.0, while the other two are USB 2.0.

 

 

We hope you stuck with us so far because we saved the best for last — yes, we're evil like that. LG unveiled the LSM-100, which at first glance may look like your standard mouse. But flip it over and you see it's quite different. That's because it's actually a scanning mouse. The speed at which it scans was fairly remarkable, but what was most remarkable was that it even recognized text, which when pasted into Word, could then be edited like you typed it yourself.

 

 

Samsung

Since tablets have been a lively topic on the forums of late, we couldn't stop by the Samsung booth without checking out the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Is this the iPad killer we've been waiting for? Depends on who you ask. The 7" display was very nice and the dual cameras definitely help — the iPad doesn't even have one. It's also smaller and a lot easier to carry, and most importantly, provides full web browsing capabilities with Flash 10.1 support. That being said, I found the interface a little clunkier, though over time I'm sure one would get used to it. The only other noticeable drawback compared to the iPad was that rotating didn't occur as quickly and fluidly. However, that's a fairly minor gripe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samsung was also showing off its line of 2View digital cameras, which include the ST700, PL170 and PL120. All three feature 5x optical zoom and a touch-screen interface on the back. The ST700 is the top-of-the-line model at 16.1 megapixels and featuring a 1.8" front LCD. It will retail for $279.99. The PL170 is also 16.1 megapixels, but with a 1.5" front LCD, retailing for $199.99. The PL120 is 14.2 megapixels with a 1.5" front LCD, and will retail for $149.99. One of the neat things about them is a feature that Samsung calls the Jump Shot. The front LCD counts down and then displays an arrow letting the subject of the photo know when to jump. The camera then takes three continuous shots for added reliability that you'll capture the right moment.

 

 

On the display front, Samsung showed off its HyperReal 3D displays and its Central Station wireless hub monitors. The latter were pretty interesting. When a laptop comes within 3.3 feet of one of the hub monitors (CA750 is pictured below), the monitor automatically activates.

 

 

Corsair

Corsair has a lot on display this year from a complete lineup of power supplies, solid state drives and desktop memory, to some of its recently unveiled audio equipment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corsair has had several new items added to its arsenal from last year. One of the first things we were introduced to was Corsair's power supply lineup, which tailors to many different consumer price points and performance ratings. Corsair's top "Professional Gold" series features fully modular cables and offer outputs from 750W to 1200W. Next down is the standard Professional series, which has semi-modular cables and is available in 650W to 1000W units. Further down are the Gamer, Enthusiast, and Builder series, which have decreasing wattage ratings, respectively. Corsair's power supplies currently retail from as little as $50 for the entry level Builder series to over $300 for the most powerful unit currently offered.

 

 

Displayed at Corsair's press event earlier this week was one of the latest creations by Corsair, a new line of 2.1 speaker setups. The model on display at the CES booth is the SP2500, which has a massive 8" subwoofer in a fourth order bandpass enclosure. For those who do not know what a bandpass enclosure is, it uses a very precisely designed system of internal baffles to maximize frequency responses in desired ranges. This provides an incredibly clear output, though it lacks a little bit of "punch". The SP2500 pulls an RMS 252W, which is significant on a 2.1 setup. A neat thing about the SP2500 is the wired controller, which has a 1.8" LCD display for the user to interact with, select modes, equalization and other customizable factors. The SP2500 has an MSRP of $249.

Another new bit of audio equipment that Corsair was showing off was the new HS1A headset, which is the analog version of the incredibly popular HS1. The HS1 uses a USB connection, which makes it only compatible with computers. However, the huge amount of positive feedback for the HS1 drove Corsair to offer an analog version, which can be used for anything with an audio output. This includes MP3 players, TVs, consoles, and more. Widening the range of compatibility will certainly make the HS1 series even more popular than it already is. The HS1A retails at $79.

 

 

Other showcased products at the Corsair booth included the 2.5" SSD line, ranging from 60GB to 256GB. Underneath these were the Vengeance and Dominator line of desktop memory, as mentioned earlier in the Corsair press event. Further down, Corsair had its line of flash drives out for display, including the Corsair Flash Voyager, which is said to be nearly unbreakable. One of the Flash Voyagers was even in a glass of water!

 

 

To rest his tired feet, Mike (Airman) volunteered to try out the powerful gaming system that Corsair had set up in its booth — three massive 3D LCD monitors powered by an Intel i7 Extreme, 24GB of Corsair Dominator memory, a 160GB Corsair SSD, the 1200W Professional Gold power supply, all inside an 800D case with no mention of the video cards used. The game of choice is the latest installment of the prolific Need for Speed series.

 

The CA Technologies Race

Every year CA Technologies partners with Tigerdirect.com to put on a charity race to donate computers as well as money to be donated to the National Center for Missing & Exploited children in the winner's name. This year, there were a ton of companies that helped sponsor the race, such as D-Link, AMD, Microsoft, OCZ, Cooler Master, Gigabyte, XFX, Creative, and many more! Frank (ccokeman) was stationed at computer build station 28 and Chris (jlqrb), from our sister site Neoseeker, was stationed at number 22. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At each station, you are given screws and a toolkit that includes all necessary tools to install computer components, as well as all the components — an XFX HD5830, OCZ memory kit, Creative sound card, a Wireless NIC card, a hard drive (already mounted in the HDD cage), and an optical drive. The motherboard, PSU, CPU, CPU cooler and all required cables are installed and in place to speed up the actual time it takes to complete the build. There were a total of thirty builders all racing against the clock with identical setups to see who is the quickest to get all components installed, get booted into Windows, and logged into the network. Frank (left) and Chris (right) are shown in their building aprons ready to compete for the number one spot! 

 

 

 

Frank and Chris went to their stations to check over and make sure everything was there and know exactly where each component was placed on the table. They then listened to the speakers talking about the race, one of which was actor Kevin Pollak with a little comedy act — you might remember him from Casino or The Usual Suspects. 

 

 

 

Everyone walked across the stage as they were introduced by the station number where they were going to be building their computer — Chris from Neoseeker at station 22 and Frank from OverclockersClub at station 28. Once everyone was introduced, they went back to their station and, as they gave the count down to start building, everyone had to hold their hands up to ensure a fair race with no early starters. 

 

 

The CA Technologies Race

As soon as they were told to start building, Frank started by pulling the chassis down and installing all the components that he could as quickly as he could. Once he had everything in and the side panel on, he began hooking up all the rear IO cables and then powered on. Once he pressed the power button, he sat there eagerly waiting for the computer to go through the POST screen and boot into Windows to be able to connect to the network.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris had a very similar idea. He set the case down on its side to get the best angle possible to get the components installed to ensure he could work as quickly as possible. Once everything was installed in the case and the power button was pressed, he looked right over with a very satisified look on his face as he finished pretty quickly.

 

 

 

The results are in! Frank ended with an impressive time of 5:05, which was quick enough to finish in 4th place. Chris was a few seconds slower with a time of 5:29, to finish in 6th. The first place time was 4:09, which was by Stephen Fung.

 

 

 

First place, Stephen Fung (4:09) was given a check for $10,000. Second place, Josh Martin (4:44), was given a check for $2,500. Finally, third place, Al Hernandez (5:03), was given a check for $1,000. All checks that were handed out are going to be donated to the National Center for Missing & Exploited children. Frank's time was just two seconds away from being in third place!  

 

 

Once everyone was done with the race and the checks were given out, they were all inivted back up on the stage to get a group shot with all the builders.  

 

MSI MOA (Master Overclocking Arena) 2011 Americas Finals

What would CES be without a huge overclocking event and, of course, some liquid nitrogen (LN2)? This year, MSI brought its MOA (Master Overclocking Arena) 2011 to the CES masses with the Americas Finals. The top ten teams from North and South America came together to compete for the chance at the World Finals to be held in Taiwan along with a nice cash prize for the top three spots. There were a total of twenty contestants in the tournament grouped in to the ten respective teams. The event was also broadcast live over the Internet to thousands that were not able to attend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The participating overclockers were Patch and Dentlord for Team Over the Edge from the US, Splave and Romdominace for Team OCAlliance from the US, Rbuass and Fugger for Team 1213 Xtreme from Brazil, Grindaol and Joe90br for Team 1213 Overclocking Team from Brazil, chew* and ZenEffect for Team XS from the US, GHZ and Gautam for Team PURE from the US, steponz and Kal-EL for Team Overclockaholics from the US, Brian y. and Chris for Team Overclockers Anonymous from the US, Robert and ocgmj for Team Vaseline from the US, and finally E-Killer and Nestorky for Team Hardcol from Columbia. To keep the soldiers in line, there were staff commanders on site to monitor everything.

 

 

Each team had a set type and number of components that were provided to the contestants at the event and even some prior, such as a motherboard and video card. The contestants could tweak what they needed, within limits - they were not allowed to make any modifications to the BIOS code of the motherboards or the VGA cards. They were also not allowed to use any hardware or software not provided by MSI for the event, including Flash Drives, hard drives, or DVD/CD drives. There were two rounds of testing. The first was for the CPU, which consisted of the fastest 32M SuperPi score. The second focused more on graphics, with the highest 3DMark 11 score. The hardware that was provided, as well as tweaking tools, included:

 

Mainboard
MSI Big Bang-Xpower
Graphics Card
MSI N580GTX
CPU
Intel Core i7 980X Extreme Edition
Memory
Patriot Sector 7 PC3-16000 3x2GB
HDD
WD VelociRaptor WE3000HLFS
PSU
Antec CP-1000
Keyboard
Tt eSPORTS Challenger Pro
Mouse
Tt eSPORTS Black Gaming Mouse
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
BIOS
A7666IMS.148
VGA Driver
NVIDIA GeForce/ION 263.09WHQL
Tweak Tools
CPU-Z V1.56
GPU-Z Vo.48
CPU Tweaker V1.5
Maxon Cinebench V11.529
wPrime V1.55/V2.04
MSI Afterburner Setup210MOA (v2.1.0 MOA)

 

 

 

 

With the contestants on site, they were hard at work trying to get the best scores they could out of the weapons provided to them. There was some extreme overclocking going on with some really cold temps. At one point, we overheard one of the teams, Team Over the Edge, had the voltage on their processor up to 1.95v, which helped pay off since they had a hard score to beat in SuperPi 32M. The teams were stressing the hardware to the brink and it was a joy to watch. Once they were set up and running, there was no holding back. Along with the temperatures and voltages we were seeing, this contest was no holds barred.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MSI MOA (Master Overclocking Arena) 2011 Americas Finals

With all the excitement winding down and all the scores submitted, we sat back and waited for the results. The benchmarking was fast and everyone knew it was a close race. The scores were combined into a percentage. SuperPi counted for 40% of the total score and 3DMark 11 was a larger 60% of the combined score. The two scores are combined into a total percentage over the standard score for the hardware. The team with the highest combined score was the winner. After a brief but tense time, the judges finally had the totals for us with Team OCAlliance having a total combined score of 158.696%, Team Over the Edge coming in a close second place with a score of 156.465%, and Team PURE rounding off the top three with a score of 154.512%. For the fastest SuperPi score, Team Over the Edge had a hard-to-beat 6 minutes 26.257 seconds. For the 3DMark 11 run, which set a new world record for a single graphics card result, Team OCAlliance scored an amazing 9213 points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the event, MSI took the opportunity to show off some current and upcoming hardware. The king of the group was its new P67 monster, the Big Bang-Marshal, which has a killer eight PCI Express x16 slots, bringing a new weapon to the video-hungry masses. Other hardware that was on display were other P67 and H67 boards, and variations of some of the new video card lines, including its N580GTX Lightning Edition and its massive RD6970, which are all built on MSI’s new Military Class II technology for stability and durability. On site was also Bigfoot Networks showing off its new Killer 2100 NIC, which is designed to give you better network speeds and latency to applications you want to have the best bandwidth for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MSI

We were first greeted at the MSI booth by a laptop capable of 3D display, showing off with a neat demo. 3D laptops are still a young breed, though are growing in popularity with the explosion of the 3D market this year. Around the corner were several shelves with a massive amount of laptops manufactured by MSI. These laptops range from super mobile netbooks to high performance mobile gaming laptops with 1080p displays. A big feature that MSI is strongly promoting is the high end audio available in these laptops. Many are stamped with the THX logo, giving more significance behind MSI's capabilities. With laptops as prolific as they are nowadays, manufacturers are rapidly increasing the list of features by improving audio and visual quality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another big display at CES this year was the MSI all-in-one PCs. These all-in-one solutions have a very small footprint, though they have large screens (>21") that are touch sensitive. They are perfect for high traffic areas, customer interfaces and even just as as a desktop that can double as a media center. MSI has many of these all-in-one models to choose from in very different styles. There is even a model that is made from acryllic.

 

 

 

Over the many years of operation, MSI has achieved hundreds of awards from many different technology information sources and is one of the most highly decorated manufacturers in the business. We even had our name on there!

 

MSI

MSI brought many of its new motherboards to be displayed at the convention center this year. As computer hardware such as processors, video cards and memory improve, the limitations become the physical components of the motherboards — mainly, the capacitors. Using low quality capacitors can deliver poor power quality to the important circuitry around the CPU, which can hinder overclocking significantly. What we've began to see in the high-end motherboard world is top-of-the-line, military-class capacitors and other components supporting the major backbone of the motherboard. This can deliver a huge increase in very clean power, allowing for maximum stable overclocks. MSI had some neat setups on display in acrylic cases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Military Class II line of motherboards from MSI offer high stability components that can push 30% more power through the important parts of the motherboard, with solid capacitors that boast a ten year lifetime, appearing on the front and rear of the motherboards. The highest-performance offering from MSI this year in the motherboard category is the Big Bang-Marshal for the SandyBridge platform, which has an astounding eight x16 PCI-E slots and is characterized by the "Military Class" theme and high end electronic components. The Marshal has a unique feature in that a user has the ability to control which PCI slots are to be used. For example, if a user is running SLI or CrossFireX and wishes to find maximum overclocks for each card, he or she can turn off the other slots without having to remove the cards. These switches are at the top right of the motherboard.

 

 

 

A very neat feature of these motherboards is the OC Genie function. It instantly alters CPU ratios, base clocks and voltages, along with memory voltages and clock speeds. This is very handy for individuals new to the world of overclocking, as this built-in function does all the work on its own. On some of the boards, the OC Genie button is located next to the integrated power and reset buttons. For others, it is found at the bottom of the board by itself, such as the Marvel, as seen in the first picture below.

 

 

Continuing into the home theater PC and other small form factor computing market, MSI was showing off its new line of mini-ITX boards. The high end board shown below is the E350IA-E45, which is packaged with the AMD E-350 dual-core processor. It is a solid choice for gaming, as the onboard chipset has support for DirectX 11 and offers HDMI output. Stability and top quality components can also be expected with these boards as MSI is utilizing solid capacitors and other high quality components in its boards. MSI also has a SandyBridge mini-ITX board, which is one of the first in the industry.

 

MSI extended its CES material by presenting the new technologies available in its graphic card series. MSI is able to advertise that the GTX400 and HD 5000 generations are #1 in performance for 3DMark Vantage, thanks to the high class electronic components found on the MSI-manufactured cards. The "Power4" architecture offers significant improvement over the standard reference PCBs due to the improved components and phase design that can deliver more power and cleaner power to the crucial areas of the video card. This allows for higher maximum stable overclocks and increased life of the video card.

The latest cooling solutions for many of the high end video cards from MSI were highly promoted at the CES booth this year. These coolers are the Twin Frozr II and the Cyclone models, which are available on many AMD and NVIDIA video card models. An addition to the fans used on these units is a new propeller design, said to increase airflow by a large margin. With the Twin Frozr II and Cyclone heatsinks, users can expect up to a 20° drop in temperatures from the reference cards, at a noise level that's over 15% lower at full speed. On the GTX580 video card, and possibly others in the future, there is a set of six pins (the small white housing in the last picture) that repeat the voltages for the PLL, core and memory. A pigtail can be attached to these pins that allows users to read voltages without having to find the right solder joint. For voltmodders, this is a very impressive feature!

 

 

Sony

As usual, Sony's booth was huge, showcasing everything from televisions to digital cameras to notebooks and more. Because OCC is predominantly a computer site, it was the latter that we decided to focus on. The first things to catch our eye were a pair of Sony VAIO concept designs. Scheduled to release some time this year, both VAIO design concepts will feature the upcoming second generation Intel Core mobile processors, which are expected on the market around March. The first concept has a unique texture and copper color. It features a 13" display and a sheet battery for double battery life. The second concept has a 14" display and was being shown in neon orange and neon green.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up was a VAIO F Series Laptop 3D Multimedia PC, which has some pretty sweet specs — 1920x1080 3D capable 16" LED backlit display, second generation Intel Core i7-2630QM processor, NVIDIA GeForce GT540M with 1GB VRAM, Blu-ray drive, and 3D active technology glasses included.

 

 

If you're looking for something a little more portable, the VAIO Y Series Laptop Ultra Mobile PC may be more your style. It features an 11.6" LED backlit display with a resolution of 1366x768 and an AMD dual-core E-350 CPU (1.6GHz). Sony advertises it as having up to six hours of standard battery life and being optimized for Microsoft DirectX 11.

 

The coolest VAIO wasn't a laptop, but rather an all-in-one monitor and PC. The VAIO Signature L Series VPCL21SFX/W is a Full HD (1920x1080) 24" multi-touch display with a whole PC built right in. We've seen products like this before, but none as beefy. The VPCL21SFX/W features the second generation Intel Core i7-2630QM processor with a whopping 8GB of RAM and 2TB of storage, along with a Blu-ray drive. On the left-hand side, you'll find a built-in HG DUO/SD memory card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, an S400 i.Link port and headphone and microphone ports. On the back, you have three USB 2.0 ports, RCA video inputs, and both HDMI output and HDMI input. The HDMI and RCA inputs will allow you to connect a cable box, console or various other devices. What's even better is that you do not need to turn the PC on to be able to use the inputs. Another rather unique feature is a touch-enabled bezel, which is demonstrated in the fifth image below. Lastly, the VPCL21SFX/W is VESA mountable, making it a great choice for a space-saving HTPC. Sony stated that the expected MSRP is $1299, which seems pretty remarkable, but note that things may still change, as the i7-2630QM isn't even available yet.

 

 

 

 

The last thing we took a look at was one of the coolest concepts at the show, showcasing Sony's "Future 3D Technology" — The 3D Head Mounted Display. Inside the Cyclops-like glasses are two Sony-made OLEDs displaying a panel resolution of 1280x720 with 24-bit RGB color depth. The two separate OLEDs, one for each eye, help create a "Virtual 3D Cinematic Experience" and it's rounded out with simulated 5.1 surround sound. Andrew (ClayMeow) tried them out, and they were pretty damn sweet. Looking through the glasses, you really feel like you're looking at a large movie theater screen, and the sound was great too. The only problem was, because it was still a concept, it actually had to be held on your head. We asked if there would be a headband or something to keep it on your head, but simply got a response that it was a concept and they don't have the final details yet. In fact, we got that response with practically every question we asked. Still, it is definitely something to keep your eye out for!

 

Zotac

When we first walked up to the Zotac booth, we noticed a large display with a few motherboards set up on the table, as well as some more motherboards posted up on the wall alongside some video cards. The motherboard that was on display on the table was its H67-ITX WiFi. This motherboard has the Intel H67 express chipset installed on it and has support for the LGA1155 socket, all on a mini-ITX form factor board. You are also going to get support for two DDR3-1066/1333 memory sticks with support for up to 16GB (2x8GB) capacity. There is one PCI-Express x16 slot on the board, as well as a mini PCI-Express slot that is used by the WiFi module. For outputs, it has HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort which are powered by the Intel HD Graphics 2000/3000 with DX 10 support. On the wall behind the H67-ITX WiFi were a whole bunch of different motherboards showcased, including (from top left to right) the H67-ITX built-in GT430, H67ITX-A-E, M880G-ITX, IONITX-S-E, IONITX-P-E, and IONITX-U-E. The video cards that were displayed on the wall were the GTX580 AMP! Edition, GTX570 AMP! Edition, GTX470 AMP! Edition, GTS450 AMP! Edition, GTX460 AMP! Edition and the GTX460 2GB. The AMP! Edition cards are all factory-overclocked to give you even better performance than you would find in a stock card.  

 

 

 

 

 

Zotac was displaying its Quadruple-Display Gaming System as well. This system has the Zotac GeForce GTX460 3DP 1GB card installed, which has three DisplayPort and one DVI connection on the back of the card and is capable of powering four Alienware 3D Monitors. The GPU is clocked in at 710MHz, has 336 CUDA cores, and has 1GB GDR5 memory clocked in at 3600MHz. 

 

 

Zotac was also displaying two of its ZBOX systems, the ZBOX with Fermion, which we did not get much information about and the ZBOX DVD ID31 PLUS. The ZBOX DVD ID31 PLUS has an NVIDIA ION GPU with 512MB DDR3, the Intel Atom D525 (1.80 GHz dual-core) processor installed, an integrated 8x DVD+R/RW drive, 2GB DDR2-800, 250GB 2.5" SATA 3.0 HDD/SSD, one USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA port. It also has a 6-in-1 Memory Card Reader, 802.11n WiFi, and a Gigabit LAN connector.

 

Mushkin

Today, our path took us to Mushkin to take a look at what the company has to offer in the upcoming year. We got a quick look at some of the upcoming Ridgeback line modules that we at OverclockersClub have had the privilege of using. There were two sets on display, as well as a little something new coming out shortly in its new Hammerhead line made for the water cooling enthusiast. The Redline Ridgeback set part number 996973 is a 4GB kit with latencies of 9-11-9-27 at 2133MHz, while the Black set part number 996981 is rated for operation at 1600MHz with latencies of 9-9-9-24. Both run at the Intel specified 1.65v.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joule lineup of power supplies gets a refresh with the models gaining 80+ Bronze certification, adding another notch in their belt. This means that not only can you get good stable power, but high power efficiency as well.

 

 

The most interesting thing we saw was an EXCLUSIVE LOOK at a product that is targeted squarely at the enthusiast community — the Hammerhead memory modules and water cooling system. The Hammerhead modules come with the same cooling fins as the Ridgeback line as the standard cooling option. For those who would like to get a little more extreme with their cooling, you can purchase the modules with the liquid cooling solution. What looks like just a flat copper plate is a little bit more. Unfortunately, we were not able to remove the Delrin cover on the block, but were told there are Micro channels in the copper plate for excellent heat transfer. Screwed into the Delrin cover are what look like Bitspower compression fittings. These should be available in both 1/2" and 3/8" sizes. When asked why not a barbed fitting, the reply was that the compression fitting was a better solution to prevent leaks in the long term.

 

 

 

We were told that the Hammerhead would support all memory configurations up to a triple channel 6-DIMM setup with adequate spacing between the modules for added airflow over the modules. To connect the modules to the copper water block, you will need to remove the Ridgeback heat sinks (fins), install them in the DIMM slots, and then attach the block to the modules. There are three pre-drilled holes on each side of the block for a standard three-module spacing used on Intel X58 motherboards. But on top of that, there are slots that the screws ride in when using different memory combinations.

 

 

There are several liquid cooling solutions on the market, but this looks like a really solid combination with excellent cooling potential, which should bring another level of performance to this series. Look for a review coming up on OverclockersClub.com. When speaking with Mushkin, it looks like things are looking up, with increased support for and from the community.

Patriot Memory

Patriot has always been a big presence at CES and this year is no different. The company had a lot to show off and with the amount of time that went into these products, I am not surprised it showed them off proudly. This year, Patriot had some new additions to its product line, as well as some tried and true favorites that deserved a second go around in the public’s eye.

The first part of its display was its storage systems and media players. This year, Patriot displayed several favorites, including the updated PBO (Patriot Box Office) Core media player, the Gearbox mini NAS, and the Valkyrie NAS system. New to our eyes were the two new NAS systems, the S2 and S4. Both have support for RAID, ITunes Server and Windows Media Player. The S2 contains two drive bays, while the S4 contains four. In addition to the NAS units, Patriot had some USB 3.0 enclosures — perfect for its new drives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up for our viewing pleasure were a few of its high end memory lines — the Viper Extreme rated for 2000MHz with timings of 9-11-9-27, a G2 set rated at 1600MHz with timings of 9-9-9-24, and a set of Sector 5 RAM at a high 2250MHz with timings of 9-9-9-27.

 

 

What would a CES show be without the SSD and Flash memory? Again, Patriot had on display some tried and true models, as well as some new and exciting ones. For the SSDs, Patriot had its Inferno and Torqx TRD, which are the high and value line, respectively, as well as its new Wildfire solid state drive that uses an unknown controller. However, with Marvell and Sandforce making SATA 6Gbps controllers, it will be interesting to see which one is included in it. In addition to the SSDs, there were several mainstream and high performance thumb drives and flash cards. One drive of note is the Supersonic USB 3.0 flash drive with read speeds of up to 100MB/s and write speeds of up to 70MB/s.

 

 

 

To give us a sweet taste of the power that Patriot offers, it had two systems set up running demos. The first system had 8GB of memory and one 240GB Inferno SSD and showed an impressive ATTO score of about 240MB/s read and 235MB/s write. The other system was running 16GB of memory with four 240GB Inferno drives in RAID-0 and again showed an impressive 880MB/s read and about 745MB/s write scores.

 

 

 

OCZ Technology

OCZ had some really interesting products to show off at this year’s CES. In OCZ style, the company had some speed crushing products on display. Some of the most notable drives are the OCZ RevoDrive and the ZDrive Series, which run in PCI-Express slots designed to give you the most bandwidth available. Another unique set that OCZ had on display was the IBIS, which uses a proprietary HSDL (High Speed Data Link) interface to deliver 2-4Gbps of total bandwidth. Along with these drives, there are also the current and upcoming 2.5" and 3.5" drives in both SATA II and SATA 3/SAS speeds.

 

 

 

 

What would an OCZ showdown be without its memory lines? There were several new additions to the lineup that are sure to get your mouth watering. There is something for everyone with the Blade 2, Platinum XTE and Gold XTE kits. These kits are available in both dual and triple channel and optimized for both AMD and Intel platforms. The fourth set, which is plugged into an ASRock P67 Fatal1ty series board, is a DDR3 set of OCZ Fatal1ty memory optimized for running on that specific board.

 

Finishing up the OCZ showcase was its PC Power and Cooling line of power supplies. The lines included the Silencer 760W and 910W, the ZS 600W and 700W and the higher end ZX 1000W and 1250W power supplies.

 

To show off the true power of a few of its drives, OCZ had live displays that showed off the sheer awesome power. The ZDrive R3 boasts read speeds of up to 1000MB/s and write speeds of up to 970MB/s and, sure enough, they proved it with well over 1GB/s on both the read and write ATTO tests. The ZDrive R3 uses four SandForce 1565 controllers, which is why it performs so well. Another test drive on show was the OCZ Vertex 3 Pro, which uses a SATA III interface and the SandForce SF-2582 controller for over 500MB/s read and write speeds on a single drive.

Advanced Micro Devices

AMD had a good showing this year with the amount of products that it brought to the table. One of the most anticipated products on display were the APU boards; a compact powerful platform for everyday use and light gaming. AMD claims the Fusion APU is a more efficient design over the current Intel Atom designs. Next to the APU boards, AMD had on display several of its 6000 series video cards. AMD also had some partner models of small form factor PCs and all-in-one PCs that use the APU platform on display for the viewers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the hardware, AMD was showing off a few visual components, such as its Xpand Universal 3D glasses and, of course, its Eyefinity display setup. One display that really caught our eye was the touch display table that allows a user to control media hardware via the interface.

 

 

 

One really nice display was showing how AMD had used the efficiency of the Fusion platform to build three compact systems. The first is a Smorkin Labbrit, which has a Fusion computer inside with a projection screen playing a movie on the wall (you can see where the image is projected from!). The second is an HTCP with a Silverstone case for multimedia. Finally, there was a car dashboard showing the space and power that Fusion has.

 

Palit

This past year, Palit Systems had vacated the US market, but are now pushing back into the US to increase its market presence and deliver an excellent product for the enthusiast community. Why the enthusiast community, you ask? The company is able to manufacture its own board solutions to be able to monitor and manage the build process from start to finish. Additionally, by creating custom builds, the cooling solutions are able to be enhanced significantly, offering increased overclocking abilities and cooler running video cards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first thing I looked at was a new Mercury Design GTX 570 Sonic Platinum Edition card with a base clock frequency of 800MHz, a 68MHz bump over the stock frequency of 732MHz. on top of that, you have an enhanced heatpipe-based dual-fan cooling solution and sweet looks. Also floating around was a standard sonic design with the enhanced cooling solution and a clock speed of 750MHz. There was a GTX 580 that included an improved cooling solution and we heard a little talk of possibly a Sonic Model with 3GB of memory on board. Hmmmmmm.

 

 

Palit is not only looking at the high-end market, but has the mid and lower-end covered as well with the GTX 460, GTS 450 and GT 430. A really interesting solution was a low profile GTS 450 for use in low profile HTPC cases. Instead of a slim, single slot cooling solution, the fan and heat sink are beefed up to keep the card cool.

 

 

 

It looks like Palit is back with a vengeance. If the Sonic GTX 460 and GTS 450 cards we looked at are any indication of what’s to come at the high-end, then Palit’s return to the US with its Sonic lineup should prove interesting.

Creative Labs

Creative had a very impressive booth this year at CES. Many recent products were on display and the company offered thorough demos of most of them. We were first greeted with a wall of products in their retail boxes, mainly Creative's sound card and speaker lineups, as well as a few USB cameras.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of Creative's gaming headsets were demoed on several high performance gaming PCs, powered by the recently-released G1-Killer motherboards manufactured by Gigabyte. Most, if not all of these gaming headsets feature a very comfortable around-the-ear circumaural design, relieving just about any fatigue-related pain that can be caused by lower-end headsets that are less comfortable after extended periods of use. Many of these offer USB connectivity, while some still use the standard 3.5mm audio jacks for input and output so that they may be used on other devices that may not have USB ports, such as certain consoles and music devices.

 

 

 

Creative now has several more additions to its set of wireless speakers that allow for more end-user flexibility and a very clean look to one's workstation. This series is named ZiiSound, and there are currently three different products in this category. Each ZiiSound device streams audio wirelessly using Bluetooth and are compatible with just about every Bluetooth device, swiftly eliminating the need for wires. The T6 will be shipped with an included USB transmitter that can be used to broadcast audio from computers. There is also an optional dongle for Apple devices that use the standard dock connector, as seen in the picture below. Currently, there is no way to wirelessly stream from analog sources, such as your TV or any other non-Bluetooth devices, though that's sure to show up in the future with the way that Creative is moving! The rear of the T6 looks like any other 2.1 set of speakers — so no fully wireless speakers here yet.

 

 

The last cool gadget we checked out at the Creative booth was the Sound Blaster Recon3D. It is an external USB sound card that is great for portability. It is hardware accelerated, so the additional activity on the CPU from running an integrated sound card is offloaded to this device. It has virtual surround sound, which turns any regular stereo headset into an immersive 3D sound experience. It is also compatible with Xbox 360, PS3 and obviously with Windows and Mac operating systems.

 

Shuttle

Shuttle had an impressive display of its products at CES this year. Many of its small cases and computers were found in abundance, along with several other new additions. Since Shuttle PCs are well-known as the backbone for many home theater systems, Shuttle had one of its systems set up in a home theater layout with an LCD TV mounted on the wall behind it. Also, since dual monitors are becoming more popular and more common, Shuttle was also showing off the capability to use dual displays with its PCs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A brand new market for Shuttle is tablet PCs. Shuttle's new tablets are powered by the NVIDIA Tegra chips, so great battery life and awesome power out of such a tiny device can be expected. They are currently available running Android 2.2 FroYo, so Flash capability is on the list of features as well! Bluetooth, WiFi and 3G is also available.

 

 

Shuttle also had a few of its barebone cases on display at the booth. The H3 (right) and H7 (left) are based around the SandyBridge and LGA1366 i7 chips, respectively and are capable of housing a full-size graphics card. Between the two barebones is a CoolIT Eco self-contained water cooling system, which would be a great addition to quietly keep the CPU cool.

 

 

Another market Shuttle has placed itself in is the security and surveillance market. The D1416 has an integrated 7" touchscreen display for an all-in-one surveillance solution, with up to 16 channels of real-time recording. The software is also capable of motion detection and remote access, providing utmost flexibility.

 

NVIDIA 

With NVIDIA just getting done launching the GTX580 and GTX570 a short while ago, the company decided to showcase some of the other products that it has been working on recently. It had a wall of twenty monitors playing demos of different games that support its 3D Vision, just to give you an idea of how many different game titles and genres are supported. NVIDIA was also showing off what it calls 3D TV Play, which is going to allow you to connect your TV to your computer and stream your 3D video feed to your 3D-capable TV, whether it be playing a game, watching a movie, or whatever else you may be doing on you computer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DarthBeavis from OutoftheBoxMods has been working closely with NVIDIA to create the NVIDIA Kegputer, which uses an old keg for the housing, has two GeForce GTX580s in SLI, an Asus P8 P67-M Pro motherboard and watercooling supplied by Danger Den. This case not only houses a very impressive system with a nice watercooling loop, but it also has the top section of the keg still intact to be able to hold beer for those long nights of benchmarking, making it so you wont have to get up and go get another beer from the fridge. 

 

 

The final thing that NVIDIA was really showing off was its push to get into the mobile market with the Tegra 2 chip. The Tegra 2 chips are the world's first mobile super chip. First, you have a dual-core CPU with 1GHz on each core and a 1MB L2 Cache and 32KB L1 Cache per core. The Tegra 2's GPU is an ultra-low power (ULP) GeForce with eight cores and support for OpenGL ES Version 2. AT&T is going to be getting the Motorola ATRIX 4G, which is on the Android 2.2 operating system and features a 4" QHD display with 24-bit color graphics and the NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip.  

PowerColor

PowerColor is another one of AMD’s board partners that designs and builds its own video cards and falls under the TUL company umbrella. Much like Palit on the NVIDIA side of the graphics AIB partners, PowerColor's focus is on the consumer who wants something more than the reference offerings in terms of cooling and gaming performance. The first thing we were greeted with was a perfect example of this; a passively-cooled HD 6850. While the cooling solution design and size is not fully nailed down, the card is well on its way to mass production. This card is essentially the company's standard HD 6970, but uses heat pipe cooling to alleviate the noise generated by the reference cooling solution. Just across the walkway was a pair of power supplies that represent its Gaming and Extreme lineups. On display was a 600 watt PG series and a 1000 watt PE series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The high end AMD graphics solutions were represented with PCS, PCS++, and LCS lineups this year. We got a look at the upcoming PCS++ that is equipped to make the popular HD 6950-to-HD 6970 flash with the Dual BIOS switch used on the HD 6950 and HD 6970 a reality for everyone — it even comes with a warranty. One of the concerns when making this flash (that seems to work on just about every reference HD 6950), is the fact that you are still running with an HD 6950 power circuit. The PCB used is beefed up with an improved VRM circuit to make sure you get the power you need and don't burn up the board components. Along this line, PowerColor has increased the power input to a pair of 8-pin peg power connections and increased the cooling via a large dual-fan heat pipe based cooling solution. Once released, this one should be a screamer. Next to these were a pair of HD 6800 series cards — the PCS+ HD 6870 and the HD 6850 PCS+, both reviewed by us earlier in the year.

 

 

 

Last year, the big card in the LCS product line was the LCS+ HD 5970 that saw a nice clock speed increase when an EK water block was added as the cooling solution. This year, the LCS lineup includes the just-released HD 6970. Anyone one who has tested a reference-cooled card can tell you about the howl emitted by the included blower fan. However, this card is not for everyone, as it requires that you connect it up to an existing water cooling system. For those that can take advantage of this requirement, you'll receive a card that is capable of increasing the performance and cooling of the card significantly. The Powerjack system shown below is used to support the latest heavyweight video cards so you do not damage the card or the PCIe slot on your motherboard due to the stress imposed on it.

 

 

This year there have been a proliferation of mini-ITX solutions that use AMD’s Fuzion APU. On display were both a fully-featured and a more bare bones example of the Brazos Platform. To make use of this platform, the TUL company is building two barebones Mini PCs — one with an ODD and the other without, for an even smaller space requirement.

 

 

It looks as though PowerColor is going to be shooting out a few really high-end cards to compete with the larger board partners, along with a few entries into the mini PC market.

Razer

A trip to CES would not be complete without our usual meeting with Razer's president, Robert Krakoff. It's always a pleasure meeting with him and discussing the company's future, and this year was certainly no exception.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The product getting all the buzz at CES this year is the Razer Switchblade. This mobile PC gaming concept even won the CNET "Best of CES" award in the People's Voice category, and deservedly so. Though merely a concept, with the specs yet to be finalized, the Razer Switchblade looks to be a breakthrough device in mobile gaming. It features a multi-touch 7" LCD on the top with an "innovative tactile dynamic keyboard" on the bottom. What makes the keyboard unique is that underneath the unlabled, see-through keys is an LCD screen that changes depending on what application is running. Launch a document editor and a QWERTY keyboard appears. Switch to a movie and playback controls appear. But that's nothing — the coolest part comes when playing games. Launch World of Warcarft, for example, and none of your hotkey icons apear on your top screen, but rather in individual keys on the dynamic keyboard, providing quick and easy access to your favorite skills. Best of all, not only will templates for various games be available for free download, but Razer will also provide the tools for users to create their own keyboard layout. What templates will be available at launch is unknown, but aside from World of Warcraft, Robert said that we can expect popular Steam games to have templates as well since Razer works very closely with Valve. As far as the hardware goes, the Switchblade contains two batteries for extended battery life and features a USB port so you can hook up your favorite mouse for games that rely heavily on mouse control, like first-person shooters.

Below, you can see a QWERTY keyboard, World of Warcraft, and World of Goo, along with what the Switchblade looks like when closed. In addition, we've included a short video showing the keyboard layout changing when the application changes.

 

 

 

Razer

Next up at the Razer booth were a few its more recently-released products, starting with the BlackWidow Ultimate Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. The BlackWidow series feature full mechanical keys with 50g actuation force. They use Cherry MX Blue switches for the keys, which provide great "clicky" feedback, and have a two-year deal for them. Every single key is customizable, plus there are five additional macro keys to suit your gaming needs. Unlike other mechanical keyboards on the market, these were clearly created with gamers in mind. You can have up to ten customizable software profiles and switch to them on the fly. Robert stated that they considered including onboard memory to store the profiles, but that would have added significant cost. Depending on the success of the BlackWidow series and the demand, he said it's a definite possibility for the future.

As far as the difference between the vanilla BlackWidow and the BlackWidow Ultimate that we were shown, the latter features a USB port and audio in and out jacks on the right-hand side, as well as individually backlit keys with five levels of lighting (off, three levels of brightness, and pulsating). The current model is only available with Blue LED lighting because, as with onboard memory, providing multi-color lighting would have added to the cost. But again, Robert stated that it will probably be something included in a subsequent model. The current MSRP for the BlackWidow Ultimate is $129.99, with the vanilla BlackWidow coming in at $79.99.

 

 

 

 

Another neat keyboard on display was the TRON Gaming Keyboard, which was designed by Razer for Disney. Not only does the TRON Gaming Keyboard feature a full backlit keyboard, but it also has light and sound effects straight out of the TRON movie. It also comes with a detachable number pad that can be mounted on either side of the main keyboard. It carries a slightly heftier price tag of $149.99, but it looks absolutely stunning. If you want to complete the collection, you can also grab the TRON Gaming Mouse and Mat. Like the keyboard, the mouse features light and sound effects from the movie. It has an ambidextrous design with seven Hyperesponse buttons, a 5600dpi Razer Precision 3.5g Laser Sensor, 1000Hz Ultrapolling with a 1ms response time, zero-acoustic Ultraslick mouse feet, and a braided seven-foot USB cable. The TRON Gaming Mouse Mat is a hard mouse mat featuring a Bioluminescent Tracking Glow Trail — a blue glow trails behind as you move the mouse. Unfortunately, it wasn't dark enough at Razer's booth to see the trail very well. The mouse and mat set retails for $129.99, or you can pick up just the mouse for $99.99.

 

 

Next up was the Razer Naga Epic, which is just like the original Naga, but like the Orochi and Mamba, now features dual mode wired/wireless functionality. According to Robert, the original Razer Naga has been hugely popular with MMO gamers, so this seemed like the next logical step forward. If you don't care for wireless functionality, then maybe you'd rather grab the Razer Naga Molten Special Edition instead, which features a pretty awesome molten design with pulsating crimson glow. The Naga Epic retails for $129.99, while the Naga Molten Special Edition retails for $79.99.

 

 

Lastly, Razer was demoing Portal 2 using the Razer Sixense motion controller that we learned about at CES 2010. It looks like Valve may have another winner on its hands!

Super Talent

At the Super Talent booth, there was a bunch of its products being displayed. The first section that we looked at was a wall of SSDs. The TeraDrive SAS, TeraDrive, UltraDrive, MasterDrive, VSSD and Netbook SSDs were all being displayed with capacities ranging all the way up to 480GB, which is found in the TeraDrive CT and CT3. The next wall contained the USB drives, which had its Luxio, Pico, Pico Mini, CKB Series and Swivel Series, along with its Rubber USB and Custom USB drives. The flagship USB drive that was displayed was the USB 3.0 RAIDDrive, which comes in capacities ranging from 32GB to 128GB, has a 128MB internal cache, and is built around the MLC NAND Flash controller. Super Talent also was showing off its memory sticks, which fall into four different categories; Overclocking Memory, Server Memory, Desktop Memory and Laptop Memory. Its Overclocking Memory included the Speed Series DDR3 (DDR3-2400 in 4GB kits), Performance Series DDR3 (up to DDR3-2000 in 8GB kits), Chrome Series DDR3 (DDR3-2000 up to 24GB kits) and its Project X DDR3 (DDR3-2000 that only come in 2GB sticks or 6GB kits). 

 

 

 

Super Talent also had its RAIDDrive GS on display, which comes in capacities from 256GB to a whopping 2TB, while providing you with maximum read speeds around 1400MB/s and maximum write speeds around 1200MB/s. It features a 0.1ms access time and a total of 512MB RAID Cache.  

 

Lastly, Super Talent had the Storage POD-500H on display. This external hard drive uses USB 3.0 to connect to your computer and comes in a capacity of 500GB. There was a computer set up in the booth with a CrystalMark Benchmark running on the drive and you were able to see that it was getting around 214MB/s read and 130MB/s write scores. 

 

SD Association

SD was down here at CES this year and had quite a few different things that it was showing off. SD cards are the most commonly used flash memory cards, with 77% of the market back in 2008 and 83% of the market projected in 2012. SD was showing off quite a few of its different cards at its booth — SDXC series cards that ranged anywhere from 32GB to 2TB, SDHC series cards that range in size from 4GB to 32GB and regular SD series cards that come in capacities up to 2GB. Currently, we are limited to the UHS-I Bus, which has 104 MB/s read speeds and 50MB/s write speeds. However, with the new advancements in the SD bus-interface, we are able to see up to 312MB/s read and 156MB/s write. These extraordinary transfer speeds give manufacturers the flexibility to develop new features. In addition, other markets may open up for devices that require the use of a memory card and wish to use the SD memory card standard.

 

 

 

Supermicro

Supermicro's booth was rather small because the company was essentially only showing off one product, the new C7P67 premium desktop motherboard. Based on the new Intel P67 chipset, the C7P67 supports second generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processors and up to 32GB of 1333MHz DDR3. It contains four SATA 3.0 ports, four SATA 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports and twelve USB 2.0 ports (eight rear and four via two internal headers). It also has two Gigabit LAN ports, two IEEE 1394a (Firewire) headers, and onboard Realtek ALC889 7.1 HD audio.

 

 

 

Mad Catz

Mad Catz was showing off some new products from its sister companies, such as Cyborg, Saitek, Tritron, GameShark and Eclipse. From Cyborg, it had the RAT 7 and 9 gaming mice on display. Both models offer a unique design to help your hand be comfortable during long gaming sessions. Both mice come in at 5600 dpi, with the only difference being that the RAT 9 works on 2.4GHz wireless, while the RAT 7 is still wired. Cyborg also had the AmBx keyboard and AmBx Lights on display. AmBx is short for "ambient experiences", which is the technology that is going to deliver sensory surround entertainment, enabling gamers to enjoy a more immersive experience by incorporating dynamic light and color effects into their gameplay. Lastly, Saitek was showing off a full cockpit setup with the Pro Flight lineup.  

 

 

 

 

NEC

NEC was showcasing the new LT-S Android Cloud Communicator. This device uses the Android 2.1 platform and comes in weighing approximately 370g and measures up to 220 x 120 x 14mm. It has a 7" wide TFT non-glare, resistive touch panel with a resolution of 800x480. It features Bluetooth wireless technology, a 3MP auto focus camera and a single USB 2.0 port, as well as a SDHC card slot. According to NEC, you should get about a full eight hours of battery life. 

 

Thermaltake

This year, Thermaltake was in a private suite to show off its new products that the company is getting ready to introduce to the market. When you first walked into the suite, you got to see a table with its full lineup of power supplies displayed, as well as its power supply testers. You have the Toughpower Grand, which comes in wattages from 650W to 1200W, the Toughpower 1350W, Toughpower XT, which comes in wattages from 574W to 875W, and the budget-end of its power supplies, the TR2 PSU, which ranges from 380W to 800W. The Dr. Power II is a Universal ATX Power Supply Tester that has an oversized LCD panel to show the value of each specific power rail within on-tenth of a volt. Thermaltake also had its external hard drive enclosures on display, two of which are brand new, the Max 5G Active Cooling External Enclosure and the Max 5 Active Cooling External Enclosure. Both versions have two 80mm fans to actively cool the hard drive that is installed inside, with the 5G version supporting USB 3.0 and a maximum transfer rate up to 5.0Gbp/s. The new BlacX 5G HDD docking station was also out on display, which accepts 3.5" and 2.5" SATA HDDs with USB 3.0 support. 

 

 

 

 

 

Thermaltake also had one of its new CPU coolers on display, the Frio OCK, which will cool up to 240W of power with its dual 130mm VR fan setup and a total of six heat pipes. The Frio OCK is going to come with mounting kits for Intel Socket LGA1366/1156/775 and AMD Socket AM3/AM2+/AM2.  

 

 

The Shock Spin gaming headset was being shown off in the suite as well. This headset is a very bright orange color with a spinning bezel over the earpieces and the Thermaltake logo printed in the center. They have 50mm Neodymium transducers for clear, uncolored sound. They feature impressive, powerful bass and crystal-clear treble, an individual mic box for gaming communication and a self-adjustable headband for outstanding comfort. The Thermaltake ARMOR A30 was also out on display — a mini case with USB 3.0 ports located on the front. It can fit high-end graphics cards up to 13" (or 33cm) with a large 23cm blue LED fan to keep the components inside cool while keeping the computer silent.  

 

 

Thermaltake

The newest chassis that Thermaltake had this year is the Thermaltake Level 10 GT. This chassis is an upgraded version of the Level 10 the company had on display last year but with more features. There is a clear window on the front of the chassis to allow you to look through and see the components installed inside. Next to that, there is a headset holder for you to easily grab your headphones and get going when you want to jump into a game and start fragging some of your friends. The rear I/O panel features three holes with rubber gromets around them for you to easily run watercooling tubing through and you receive a total of eight expansion slots. On the front of the chassis, you'll see that there is a removable dust filter over the large 200mm fan installed on the side. The side panel swings open, which reveals the entire inside of the chassis, and it gives you the chance to hide your wires quite well. All five of the HDD bays have Thermaltake's EasySwap PitStop 5 technology. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the top of the Level 10 GT, you are going to find a few buttons. The Fan LED button controls the LED lights on all the stock fans installed in the system, by either turning the lights on or off. There are two buttons above this one that let you control the fan speeds between High and Low. When you open up the side panel, the power cable that goes to the 200mm fan on the side is disconnected from its power source. There are shutters that can be angled to whichever position you may want them to be, to help direct the air coming into the chassis from the side fan. So, if you wanted to point the airflow toward the top of the case where your CPU is located, you most certainly can without having to put a fan directly above it. Thermaltake also put a headset holder on the side of the case, so you'll be less likely to misplace your headset.

 

 

CyberPower PC

CyberPower PC is a company that specializes in custom PC builds for the masses. It's a company that takes pride in the work that it does. One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the effort put into the builds and its unique customization work — something that sets the companyapart from the rest of the build crowd. Another thing is that when it completes a build, you can be assured that the components used are all "Name Brand" stuff from the likes of Thermaltake, Kingston, XSPC, ASUS, and more. This year, CyberPower PC was showing off systems equipped with the second generation Core i7 processors in both desktop and mobile form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For instance, the IN WIN Dragon Rider case got a custom white paint job that highlights many of the case's details. The paint work is superb and the insides are filled with the latest goodies from Intel.

 

 

This Thermaltake Element series case is loaded up with a ton of hot swap bays — 17 to be exact — increasing the functionality of the case. Inside this mid tower are a trio of HD6XXX series cards in CrossFireX. Another new addition is the Thermaltake FRIO OCK CPU cooler, introduced here at CES.

 

Another of the custom builds included a complete water cooling system built inside of an AZZA "Hurrican" 2000. Inside, you have a Tri-SLI GTX 580, Intel Core i7 setup. What's really interesting is the fact that the side panel has been modded to hold dual 360 radiators with a radiator on the top. The pump and reservoir combo used in this system is by XSPC, with parts by Koolance and Aerocool.

 

 

 

On display was a notebook equipped with Intel's latest Sandybridge mobile processor. This unit was playing Starcraft II with the integrated Intel graphics and will retail for somewhere in the $699 range.

 

By far the coolest piece on display was a massive full tower case. This is a one-off build and is a prototype for a possible venture into having the case built. This case was built by a company called CFI and features several unique features. The top enclosure has flip-down side panels for access on either side of the chassis to access your hard drives or radiators, should you choose to water cool your build. The front offers hot swap bays and removable fan filters, while the side panel has a large air intake with a removable filter. Details across the top include a vent that can be opened and closed, USB 3.0 ports, and a cover for all the connectivity. The case has a rugged design that is quite popular right now and will hold pretty much any system out there, including EATX boards.

 

 

As usual CyberPower PC did not fail to impress us with its builds, so if you are looking for a custom build, take a look at what the company has to offer.

Cooler Master

Our trip through Cooler Master's exhibit started off with a look at its Elite series cases, the 342, 371 and 310. The bezel on the display 310 is blue, but it does come in other colors, such as red, silver and orange. Up next, we got a look at a small form factor case with a ton of airflow thanks to a couple of strategically placed fans. Next in line was a series of cases wearing Thermal Master badges. These cases look functional and are built for use in developing countries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooler Master is well known for its chassis and the cooling solutions it brings to market. Most notably in the past year was the V6 that we looked at. This year, the company was showing off a new tower heat sink labeled the H-B6. When you look at the size of this cooler, you expect a behemoth in the weight department, but this cooler is surprisingly light for its size. The heat pipes and mounting system are designed to flow across the heat zones of the CPU instead of having several of the heat pipes running parallel to the heat zones, thus making the heat sink more effective. The fin spacing is increased so that low noise fans can be employed effectively.

 

 

Next, we looked at two other heat sinks. The first looked like a smaller version of the Gemini-line 'C' shaped coolers. This unit, the G-B5, can make use of a 140mm fan or the installed 120mm Cooler Master fan. The V-A2 is a heat pipe based cooler for use in HTPC type chassis and uses both 'U' and 'C' shaped heat pipes for an efficient transfer of the thermal load to the fin array.

 

 

Cooler Master

The Aquagate line up had been removed from the Cooler Master catalog for a while, but it's now making a comeback due to the success of pre-filled and sealed liquid cooling systems from CoolIt, Corsair and Asetek. The unit we looked at is a prototype build with an all new coldplate. The looks and materials will change once this one comes to market, but expect it to perform in the same envelope as the H50 or H70 due to its one inch radiator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up, we got a look at the notebook cooling solutions that are being offered. New solutions were offered in the Choiix line as well. Most of this centered around portability, sound, and power management. There were several different speaker combinations that had added functionality and can be used as a backup battery to charge your portable device, whether it's a phone or iPod. Some of these devices could be used as a USB hub or just a battery backup. One of the cooler items was a case for the iPhone 4 that charges a backup battery via solar cells on the back side. That's innovative thinking. Also on display were the universal charging systems for portable computers.

 

 

 

The CM Storm room had some new toys on display. The first thing was the SIRUS gaming headset that uses four drivers so you can hear those footsteps behind you. A new mouse was on display for the player who uses a claw-style mouse. Features include a 3500 dpi sensor, anti-drift control, and a built-in microprocessor. Last up was a new member of the CM Storm case line up called the Enforcer. This chassis is a mid tower design that can fit full-sized video cards while allowing you to minimize the footprint of your chassis.

 

 

 

 

We were also given a tour of the NDA room where Cooler Master showed off the upcoming products that should see the light of day later this year. Needless to say, there were some pretty interesting solutions in that room. I look forward to seeing these products make it to market.

Cooler Master Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bellagio Fountains from the Cooler Master Suite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing Kinect with the Cooler Master Models

 

 

Justin (Gotdamojo06) Spinning the Prize Wheel

 

 

Making New Friends

 

CES Extras

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rock & Rita's Bartenders at Circus Circus

 

 

The Sharp i3 Wall

 

 

Magician Justin Rivera

CES Extras

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Las Vegas Convention Center

 

 

 

 

Andrew (ClayMeow) Getting His Butt Kicked in Counter-Strike 1.6 by EG.n0thing

 

 

Booth Babes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Gaga Impersonator at the Tiffen Booth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Booth Babes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Booth Babes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Booth Babes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Booth Babes with Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CES Final Thoughts

 

Alan

There was a lot of new and exciting products shown off at this year's CES and I have a big feeling that 2011 is going to be a tremendous year for the industry. Having a big inner geek I get excited when it comes to cutting edge technology and there was a lot of that being showcased at the convention. A few companies that I would recommend keeping an eye on this year are MSI, Mushkin, Bigfoot Networks, and Patriot. Personally I had a preview into their current and future products that are on the line and I still can't stop the urge to get my hands on them. With the release of Sandybridge and AMD's APU, the hardware is going to take a leap over past performance and should blow our socks off.

On a personal side, CES is a time for the industry to come together and every year I get to see old friends and make new ones. The tech industry has some of the best people I have ever met and I look forward to the relationships as much as the hardware. I would like to thank the representatives of the companies that gave us their time as well as Dave and the rest of the OCC Staff which makes our trip a memorable one.

 

Andrew

There's a simple saying that goes, "expect the unexpected." One could certainly apply that to CES. This is my third straight CES and every year seems to be a little different. But thankfully, there are some things you can always count on — lots of cool technology, lots of hot booth babes, and lots of great fun.

The OCC staff is truly like a family, and this year, the reunion started a little earlier than usual. My flight to Vegas had a layover in Detroit. I sit down at the gate and a second later, I hear "Andrew?" I look up and find Justin sitting directly across from me. Not only did we coincidentally have the same flight from Detroit to Vegas, but we were sitting just one row apart in aisle seats. By the following night, we had all arrived at Circus Circus — old friends reunited and one CES-noob, Mike, joining the bunch, but earning his keep by the end.

It's hard to pick a highlight of the trip. I always enjoy meeting with Razer's Robert Krakoff and seeing the Switchblade was pretty neat, though I was hoping for a working prototype I could actually test out. As always, it's also very cool when OCC gets recognized, whether by manufacturers or other media outlets. However, aside from hanging out with my fellow OCC staff members, partying with Cooler Master was probably the highlight.

It's sad that CES is over, but it's nice to be back in my own bed and back on super fast Internet again — I spent more time in McDonald's this trip just to use their free WiFi than I probably will the rest of the year combined. I hope I get to attend CES 2012 and I hope even more OCC staff members can come, not just to ease the burden on the rest of us, but because it's simply fun to hang out. Thanks to Dave for inviting me, thanks to my fellow staff members for always making the trip enjoyable, and thank you to the companies that met with us. Hope you all enjoyed the coverage!

 

Frank

As usual CES is welcomed for several reasons; To meet our friends and renew relationships that had become just a series of emails over the past year without the face to put behind the words and to take a look behind closed doors to see what is coming up in the following year. Even though we had fewer members in attendance we managed to visit just about all of the manufacturers relevant to our audience. This year OCC was invited to the MSI Master Overclocking Arena USA Qualifying round to award the winners the spots for the US in the final competition and Alan did a great job covering the event from start to finish. Thanks to MSI for putting on a great show! Go USA

One of my highlights each of the past three years has been representing OCC in the TigerDirect Build a PC Charity race. While I didn't win (again) I have continued the trek up the ladder this year finishing in fourth (by a measly .03 seconds). Again the motivation was there to finish above a few folks and it was great to see both Chris (Neoseeker) and myself finish in the top 10. At this pace I have three years left to win it! I'm baby stepping don't you know!

I want to thank all of the OCC team for the hard five days of work they put in this year and to thank all of the manufacturers we met for their time and the look at what's to come. I can't wait for next year!

 

Justin

This year was my third year coming out to Las Vegas for CES, and as always it was a lot of fun. We did not have quite as much staff here this year as we did last year, however it was still alot of fun going out to the convention center to go and visit all of the booths. There were a bunch of parties that we were able to go to where we were able to meet up with the different companies where I was able to meet the people that send me the product to review all the time. My favorite part about this visit this year was going to the PC Charity Race that was put on by CA and TigerDirect and watch Frank (OCC) and Chris (Neoseeker) compete. The time that we were down here this year went way too fast, and I can hardly believe that it is already time to take off and go back home, but it will be here next year as well and I will hopefully be able to attend next year. It was great to meet up with all of the staff members that were here last year and meeting Mike for the first time. I hope you all enjoyed the content that we got up this year!

 

Mike

This was the first CES I have attended, and only the second time I have been to Las Vegas. Having the opportunity to go to CES and meet with fellow staff members from OCC is an absolute privilege, and are all awesome people. Getting to see all of these new products up close, and getting to meet all of the representatives from each manufacturer is a neat experience that I won't forget. One of the coolest things that I was able to feel is the recognition from other manufacturers, and even other press-related sites when it comes to who OCC is. I introduced myself to a writer for MaximumPC, and he knew exactly who we are.

A lot of the technology shown at CES this year was, for lack of a better word, pretty incredible. There were a lot of new things that I laid my eyes on that highly impressed me, and I'm really crossing my fingers to see those products make it bigtime — one of those being the Razer Switchblade. Knowing that it won the CNET "Best of CES" award in the People's Voice category gives me hope that I get to see it in a store some day. Being able to meet Robert Krakoff, President of Razer, was also an awesome experience that I'll never forget and get to brag about to my computer friends all year. Another great experience was getting to meet and hang out with a lot of folks from CoolerMaster specifically, along with many other well-represented companies.

Even though CES was one of the most exhausting period of five days I've participated in throughout the entire year, it was a blast and absolutely worth it. I really hope to get the opportunity to go back and spend another exhausting week with fellow staff from OCC!

 

Dave

CES 2011 was definitely different than any other year that I have attended. Leading up to CES I had a nasty ear infection that I was fighting off and at one point I was unsure if I would be able to fly. But after changing my antibiotics four times my ear got better a few days before I left, with me getting clearance to fly the day before I left.

This year was one of the most enjoyable I have had, it just seems to get better every year. Even though I didn't have as many guys at the event we were still able to pull it together and get everything accomplished that we had set out to do.

This year I met a few people from other sites that I had not met before which was nice and I met a few new reps that I had not met before as well, so that was enjoyable.

From a tech side of things we got to see a lot of new stuff that will be coming out in 2011, and talking with all the companies everyone seemed to have a good year in 2010. My hope for 2011 is that this industry continues in an upward path and with some of the stuff under NDA we saw I expect nothing less.

Next CES I expect more staff and maybe even an OCC party who knows we will just have to wait and see what develops over 2011.

The staff that I had this year worked very hard, and I am very proud to have them part of my team. I couldn't have asked for a better hard working crew — they gave it their all.

Thanks for all of your support in 2010 and I look forward to working hard in 2011 and to continue to help OCC grow.

Dave "Bosco" Rattray