CES 2012 Coverage
Reviewed by: Bosco
Reviewed on: January 19, 2012
This year's OverclockersClub CES crew includes:
For many, it wasn't just their first time at CES, but also their first time in Las Vegas.
IN WIN was showing off a bunch of cases and power supplies this year, but the one that really caught our attention right away was the Dragon Rider chassis. The one on display was a sleek white, but it's also available in black. The case is completely decked out with everything you'd expect and a little more. It comes equipped with a 220mm LED side fan and another 120mm LED fan on the opposite side for the CPU, and you can add more 120mm fans in the front, rear, and top. The 220mm fan can be swapped for a 240mm radiator if you're going the liquid cooling route or six 120mm fans. The case is rather large, as you've probably guessed, measuring in at 21.9" x 9.4" x 22.8" (HxWxD) and supporting E-ATX, ATX, and Micro-ATX motherboards, with up to eight expansion slots. There are five external 5.25" drive bays, but IN WIN also includes one 5.25"-to-3.5" cage, to go along with the six internal 3.5" drive bays and one 2.5" bay. All the bays feature patented anti-vibration rails for tool-free installation. For the top I/O ports, you get two USB3.0, two USB2.0, 2 eSATA, a FireWire port, and HD/AC'97 Audio ports.
Another case on display was the recently announced XFrame. It's a limited edition, open-frame chassis that would certainly make bench testing easier. Unlike your standard open-frame chassis, the XFrame can stand vertically or horizontally.
The last couple of cases that caught our eye were 2012 full-tower concept models. One of the cool features is found on the top I/O panel — an orange-colored USB port. Why the special coloring? This port is always on, making it great for charging your mobile phones and MP3 players without having to turn on your computer.
Along with its cases, IN WIN had power supplies from its Commander II and Glacier lines. The Commander II PSUs come in 1200W, 850W, and 750W flavors, featuring 80 Plus Bronze certification. Other features include a modularized cable management system, four +12V rails, a DC to DC VRM design, dual primary Japanese solid state capacitors, gold-plated high current terminals, a silent 135mm double ball-bearing fan, and a five-year warranty. The Glacier series comes in at 900W, with 80 Plus Gold certification, featuring many of the same features, but a single +12V rail for maximum stability and a fairly hefty seven-year warranty.
Lastly, we met some StarCraft II celebrities — Marcus Graham (djWheat) and Bryce Bates (Machine from Team Evil Geniuses).
Other World Computing
Other World Computing (OWC) had made its name as one of the leading retailers of accessories for a variety of Apple products, including the iPod, iPhone, and MacBook line. OWC has also been making a name for itself in the SSD market, featuring drives compatible with all major operating systems. OWC took the opportunity at CES to show off a number of its drives, including the Mercury and Aura Pro drives.
The new Mercury Enterprise Pro 6G SSD is targeted towards mission critical servers, small businesses, and production studio use. The drive is powered by the SandForce 2500 controller, providing data rates in excess of 500MB/s. The drives are available in capacities of 50GB, 100GB, 200GB, and 400GB, with a price range of $629 to $2,199. Two of the features that were particularly interesting were the Paratus Power Technology and automatic encryption of data using the AES-256/128 hardware double-encrypted format. The Paratus technology ensures that data integrity can still be maintained in the event of unexpected power interruptions.
OWC also announced an addition to its Mercury Aura Pro Express line of SSD, providing the only non-factory hard drive upgrade option for the MacBook Air laptop. The now available 480GB model joins the 120GB and 240GB model to provide large amounts of storage at incredibly fast speeds. The new Aura Pro drive will feature a retail price of $1,149 and is now available for pre-order from OWC.
OWC also displayed several of its current offerings at CES, including the Mercury Electra and Mercury EXTREME Pro. All of the SSD models can be seen in the photo below.
OWC also announced its entry in the enterprise SAN storage market, with the Jupiter mini-SAS scalable storage solution. The Jupiter is comparable to current SAN solutions, boasting speeds of up to 24Gb/s, up to three times faster than current fibre channel implementations. In addition to the increased speed, it also costs up to five times less than a comparable fibre channel solution. A variety of RAID options are supported, allowing for a wide array of potential uses for the system. OWC provides both four and eight bay towers, with eight and 16 bay racks, allowing for up to 3.6PB of total storage.
Also on display at the OWC booth was the Power2U wall outlet from Newer Technology Inc. The patented, UL listed wall outlet features two traditional plugs as well as two USB ports to provide for ease-of-use when charging many of your favorite portable devices. The outlet features Smart Power design, providing only enough power to to charge the attached device. The spring loaded shutters turn off power to the USB outlets as soon as they are closed.
Although it wasn't on display, one of the OWC representatives told us that the company is currently working on a PCI Express based SSD. This drive should provide extremely fast read and write speeds as it won't be limited by the SATA interface.
Sennheiser was on hand to showcase several new pairs of headphones and headsets. First up are two pairs of headsets for the Xbox 360; the first pairs made by Sennheiser specifically for the Xbox 360. The X 320 features amplified stereo sound, a noise-canceling microphone, dual volume control, and bass boost. The X 320 is a supra aural headset, meaning that the cups rest on the ear instead of going completely around the ear like several other models. The X 2 is a single sided design, similar to the default Xbox Live headset, and also includes a noise-canceling microphone.
Next up was a new high end set, the HD 700. The HD 700 features a fully open design, and looks similar to the HD 800 headphones. However, the 700 series will feature a lower price point, allowing someone that wants high end sound to get it at a lower price. The lower price doesn't mean that quality will be sacrificied, as the HD 700 sounded fantastic to everyone that had listened to them. The HD 700 has a circumaural design, meaning the cups fit entirely around the ear. A 40mm Duofol transducer provides the power to reproduce audio from 10 to 42,000Hz.
The RS 220 is a wireless headset designed to provide high quality sound without restrictions imposed by having a wired connection. In order for the high quality sound to be able to transfer wirelessly, the connection between the audio source and the headphones is very important. The RS 220 provides several options to connect, including coaxial digital and optical digital connections. The sound is then transmitted using 2.4GHz wireless technology from the base to the headphones. A display model wasn't available to perform and sound tests at the show.
Sennheiser also had several of its current headphones on display in a listening booth for all to try out. Several of us took the opportunity to try out the HD 800 in particular, as it is the most expensive set offered by Sennheiser. The headphones were connected to an amplifier and CD player, that probably cost at least as much as the headphones. The result of all this was extremely high quality sound, providing a much better listening experience than any of our current headphones.
Diamond Multimedia displayed everything from its new Radeon HD 7970 to Powerline Internet AV Kits. This year it was all about the Radeon HD 7970, so let's see what all the hype is about.
Diamond's Radeon HD 7970 is the worlds first 28nm GPU. It has multi-display support (up to three displays) and uses AMD App Acceleration to allow your GPU and CPU to work together, thus drastically accelerating enabled applications. The HD 7970 also supports HD3D, giving the user the support to play 3D games and watch 3D content. It also has the ability to edit 3D photos on your 3D monitor, TV, or projector. The HD 7970 is loaded with 3GB of 384-bit GDDR5 memory clock at 1325MHz and a GPU clock at 925MHz. Using a single display, the 7970 has a max resolution of 2560x1600. Diamond recommends that you use a 500 watt PSU with this video card.
Diamond also had its Powerline Internet AV Kits and Mini Speakers on display. The Powerline Internet AV Kit allows you to connect your Internet-ready devices easily without the hassel of wiring. It connects by simply plugging an adapter into an AC wall outlet and then you can connect it to your router. You can then plug the other adapter into another AC outlet somewhere else in your home to extend the range of your LAN without the hassle of running wires everywhere. This retails for $79.99 and is a really nifty gadget. Diamond's Mini Speakers can easily provide you with better sound for a very low price. These speakers retail for around $19.99 and can plug into pretty much any device you can think of, including phones, laptops, and desktop PCs.
Arctic had a great booth, showing off its ability to do more than just cooling. Arctic even provided free entertainment with a representative attempting to fly around one of its remote control flying birds (literally, a bird). Needless to say, it was flying less than most birds.
Arctic had two new coolers that really caught the eye — the Freezer i30 and the Freezer A30, an Intel and AMD cooler, respectively, designed for the enthusiast. The Freezer i30 is compatible with the new 2011 socket, capable of cooling 320 watts with four double-sided, direct-touch heat pipes. The Freezer A30 is the exact same, but instead has a base bracket for AMD sockets. Both have the classic Arctic black and white fan mounted on one side that is near silent.
Arctic had a few gaming headsets that were well worth trying on. With an extendable mic that easily contracted for non-gaming use and a circumaural design, the P321 USB headset was a great find. A few headsets were out to play with, but without some actual gaming, it's hard to say how they perform in those instances, but they all played music quite well. All the headsets had inline volume controls, making it easy to set the volume just right, which is always a plus no matter their use.
The P311 Bluetooth stereo headset has made its way to being available in the US. Designed to keep any jogger cord-free or just allow one to roam free about the house, this headset is perfect. It is compatible with iProducts as well as notebooks, tablets, smartphones, and most Bluetooth-capable devices, allowing you to even catch phone calls while you're jamming or just out for a run. They fold up compact and come with a nice storage case as well. Coming in five colors, you can have a pair to match any ridiculous jogging suit you might own!
The Arctic M571 and M551 mice were both out for a quick test. Rather different from your typical Razer or any other gaming mice, these had a very different fit. The M571 has a dedicated rapid-fire button for that extra help in any shooting game and adjustable DPI settings ranging from 800 to 2400 with an LED indicator. The M551 shares the same DPI range, but lacks the rapid fire button. However, it does have a nice ergonomic design for gaming and browsing.
One of the last finds at the booth was the K481 wireless keyboard. Designed wonderfully for use with a home theater setup, it has the keyboard and touch pad all in one. It's compact in size, reducing the key size down to about your average netbook size. The wireless frequency at 2.4GHz has a 10-meter range; so you can keep typing even when you have to run to the can. It even has the media keys to change the song you’re listening to, whenever, wherever.
Samsung had a lot to offer up this year at CES.
Samsung announced that the Galaxy Note will indeed be available in the US on the AT&T network. Bringing a new category to the world of smart phones, the Galaxy Note offers a larger screen, as well as a new way for users to interact via the "S Pen". Samsung somehow claims it to be small enough to fit in a pocket, although its size is rather large compared to most smartphones on the market.
The Galaxy Note has a 5.3" display with HD Super AMOLED technology running at 1280 x 800, providing great color and incredible brightness. It is thinner than an iPod and does even more. Besides being able to use your finger to navigate, like any other smartphone, the Galaxy Note is equipped with the S Pen, a hideaway stylus that stows away on the back side of the phone. The S Pen really made it easy to write quick notes and draw silly stick figures; an artist was even on hand drawing cartoons of anyone that asked. It was pretty impressive how the phone responded so well with the stylus and how Samsung has even developed a few gestures to make navigation even easier.
Enabled for 4G LTE with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, the phone runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. 16GB of onboard memory should be plenty of room for all your needs, and if for some reason you need more space, it has room for expansion with an optional 32GB microSD card. It has dual cameras like most smartphones seem to have these days, with an 8MP rear-facing camera and a 2MP front-facing camera. It's mobile-hotspot capable and ready for your purchase in carbon blue or ceramic white.
For those of you who aren’t AT&T users, Samsung hasn’t forgotten about you. The new Galaxy Tab is the world's thinnest 4G LTE Tablet and first tablet in the US to feature Super AMOLED Plus display on the Verizon network. A "720p (1280 x 800) resolution" brings interaction between movies and photos to life. With a 1.4GHz dual-core processor and HTML 5 web access, you'll see blazing speeds on the 4G network. With running one of Android's newest operating systems, Android 3.2 Honeycomb, and having access to the Android Market, there's plenty to be done. Following suit with the Galaxy Note, it has 16GB of internal storage and supports up to an additional 32GB microSD card. Accessories are out as well to make your Galaxy Tab your very own.
While we were at the Samsung booth, we obviously had to check out the world's thinnest LED Video Wall.
Next we checked out some notebooks. Samsung's 7 Series Gaming notebook features an AMD Radeon HD6970M 2GB card and a quad-core i7 CPU (shown on the left). The limited edition 9 Series notebook (shown on the right) is a limited edition ultra-thin (0.64"), ultra-light (2.89 lbs) notebook featuring a Duralumin chassis and seven hours of battery life.
Another member of the 7 Series is the Slate PC, which runs Windows 7 Home Premium and can be used as either a tablet or with a wireless keyboard. Weighing in at only 1.9 lbs and measuring 0.5" thick, it comes in either Intel i3 or i5 flavors.
The 5 Series features Samsung's Chromebook. Running Chrome OS on a high speed 16GB SSD, the Chromebook features a 12.1" 300nit SuperBright screen in a stylish metallic design weighing in at just 3.02 lbs.
Samsung's Smart Station has dual functionality - you can either use it to let your keyboard and mouse control your smart phone or simply use it to control two PCs with a keyboard and mouse simultaneously.
Lastly, Samsung showed off its WiDi HDTV monitors. These monitors use Intel WiDi technology to display laptop content wirelessly.
Lian Li has always had some of the sleekest and smoothest looking cases on the market. The quality of appearance and structural build is what has really made their name. The first look at the booth made ones eye go back to what was the strangest looking case Lian Li has done. The crazy looking shell of a case that wasn’t horribly popular is back as the PC-U6 Cowry with a facelift. It has increased airflow with the both sides being completely mesh. It even has easy-to-remove side fans that give quick access to your hardware while still providing cooling. The same shell shape stands, and for those of you who liked it the first time, it’s back and better.
The strong focus for Lian Li’s release this year was the smaller, sleek home theater chassis.The PC-Q12 and PC-Q09FN being the smallest of the bunch, it's hard to believe there’s actually room for a computer on the inside. With the PSU mounted it really seems like there isn’t room, but getting an ITX in there is absolutely no problem. The design makes people wonder what’s inside that little black box but keeps people from noticing you’ve actually got a whole computer in your living room. The PC_Q09FN was actually another unique case from Lian Li. It actually has four of what appear to be wheels (and as they even say) that make it look like a little car. They don’t serve any functional purpose but they look neat nonetheless.
A new style of side panel attachment Lian Li has come up with cannot wait to be explained any longer. Especially with these smaller cases it’s always a pain to deal with large, ugly thumb screws, and no one wants to get a screw driver every time they need to open it up to clean it out (this is how old computers get abused). A new sort of method is now being used. There’s no screws, no need for tools, and it leaves a nice finish on the outside. The almost ball-socket sort of design is really neat.
Moving up in case size, the new PC-90 case supports M-ATX and even the odd HPTX-sized boards. Coming in silver or black and supporting ten slots, this case is a true beauty. It has room for six hard drives to be mounted vertically, leaving even more room for airflow throughout.
Another feature that is well worth a mention is the clips for the PCI-E slots. Rather than the plastic clips that easily break, these 100% tool-less clips are all made out of metal, which means that they won’t be breaking. Some sound dampening material is on a few of the cases on the front panels and side panels to keep it quiet. There’s just a lot of great cases on the floor.
The Hammer Series had some of the most interesting new cases yet. A favorite had to be the PC-100; in a quick description it is literally a backwards case. The PCI-E slots are actually in the front of the case which at first seems like a bad idea since all your cables would be hanging there in the front, but that’s actually not how it works. Lian Li actually did a fine job planning this chasis out. There is a full-routing system for the cables that routes them along the side of the case and out the back. This might put a slight damper on the actual length of some items, such as keyboards or mice, but it really is a neat feature — it’s going to be a good one to get our hands on and test out. The front does have a door for quick access to the I/O panel and makes it that much easier to gain access to those often wasted ports. On the inside, the hard drives mount vertically so there is plenty of room for great airflow.
This year at CES 2012, Plantronics had its line of GameCom Headsets on display. We got to take a look at the GameCom 780 and 380 headsets, but the X95 was not hooked up when we went through the convention. The Plantronics GameCom 780 and 380 gaming headsets sounded great. They included many of the same features, such as noise-canceling microphones to prevent background noise from being heard by others while you are gaming. Plantronics line of headsets are all very comfortable and included cushioned ear pads and headbands.
The GameCom 780 headset includes Dolby and Pro Logic llx technology which transforms your standard audio into 7.1 surround sound. The headset sports a pair of 40mm speakers for some very clean and crisp bass. The volume and mute buttons are on the ear cup of this headset and I found it very easy to find the buttons and use them without much hassel. The 780 is a USB powered headset; the cord was pretty thick and looked like it would be able to handle a ton of abuse. The 780 retails for $79.99 and was a nice sounding gaming headset.
The GameCom 380 headset, which we did not get a good picture of has the same look and feel of the GameCom 780 with a few minor differences. The 380 had a black ear cup with gray wires while the 780 had black cups with red wires. The 380, however, was not USB powered, but rather a standard 3.5mm audio plug. This headset also included a pair of 40mm speakers for your listening pleasure, and just like its bigger brother, it comes with the noise-canceling microphone. The 380 also comes with very comfortable ear cups and headband. The GameCom 380 retails for $49.99
Lastly we looked at Plantronics GameCom X95. GameCom X95 is a very sharp looking wireless headset. This headset seemed to be marketed more for console gamers. The information material says the adapter easily hooks up to your Xbox 360 and TV. We, however, did not get to wear or try out this headset, but looking at them you could tell they would be as comforable as the 780 and 380 headsets. The GameCom X95 includes a pair of 40mm speakers and an adjustable tuck-away microphone. This headset retails for $99.99.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
For all of you old school Counter-Strike players, the upcoming release of Global Offensive is much anticipated. The full release is scheduled for early this year and we can only hope that it doesn’t get pushed back past Q1. This year at CES, Plantronics was using an online multi-player demo of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to showcase its gaming headsets. Counter-Strike 1.6 is the reason that I (Speedway) got into computers in the first place, so you can imagine my excitement when I walked up to the Plantronics booth to find Global Offensive running on a computer. But, it got even better when I found out that it was in fact a playable demo. Dust 2 was the map loaded up and I was on the terrorist side with another player, facing off against two counter-terrorists on the other team, who were AFK, so some things never change.
In the picture below, you can see I am standing in the terrorist spawn holding a Desert Eagle. As you can see, the back of the spawn location is reflecting off the back of the gun, but what you can’t see is when the model would turn from side to side, the sun light would reflect off of the shiny .50 Cal D Eagle, which was pretty impressive. Past that, the maps have gotten a big overhaul and look great with many added props everywhere. Needless to say, anyone who is excited about the release of the latest CS installment, given the improvements to the game, will be a happy camper. Just don’t be a camper on the terrorist side, or you will probably still get an earful.
Canonical was on hand to showcase some features of the Ubuntu operating sytem. First up was its Ubuntu One cloud storage service. It had originally started out as a music only service, but now supports files and photos as well. The first 5GB of storage are free, and each additional 20GB will only set you back $2.99 per month.
The other and most interesting display was a proof of concept prototype for Ubuntu TV. As TV sets become more powerful with dedicated processors and advanced features, Canonical is trying to modify Ubuntu to run on your TV. The demo was a PC running the Unity desktop environment to showcase what the company feels like the future service will look like. Ubuntu TV will feature everything you might want from a TV, including a TV guide, integration with cable and satellite services, and access to online entertainment. For more information visit the Ubuntu TV website.
Supermicro is a company that has made quite a name for itself in the server market, with motherboards being its chief claim to fame. The motherboard featured at CES was the X8QBE-F, which accepts four Intel Xeon processors, each with either eight or ten cores. Support for up to 1TB of ECC DDR3 memory and up to four PCI-E slots, this motherboard will provide plenty of computing power. The board also features six SATA ports, dual gigabit Ethernet connections, and five USB ports. There were a number of other motherboards that were also present, but didn't look nearly as cool as the X8QBE-F.
The company also showed off a number of its workstation systems, with two systems set up to allow people to play the popular game League of Legends. SuperMicro is hoping to show that its systems can be used for personal as well as business purposes.
Ice Dragon Cooling
Ice Dragon Cooling is a company that most of us had not heard of, but has an interesting product for those people interested in liquid cooling. The company was started as a project by two doctoral students at the University of South Carolina Mechanical Engineering Department, but now has several distributors around the world. It makes a nanofluid for use with liquid cooling setups that provides significantly better performance than water. Ice Dragon brought a custom-made dragon case that was unfortunately damaged in shipping, but still looked great. The test setup featured a mock processor to demonstrate the cooling abilities of the nanofluid under load. The success of the nanofluid technology leads to the possibility of future uses in military, engine design, and HVAC applications.
We were drawn into the Zalman booth by the sight of several cases and a three monitor setup running the latest Call of Duty game. There were several cases on display, and a helpful representative showed us around. The first case that we saw was the Z11 Plus, which featured a side window and an area on top of the case for your cell phone or external hard drive. The ATX mid tower case also has a bottom-mounted PSU and seven hard drive bays.
There was a separate Z11 case that Zalman filled up with high-end components, including several of its own. The ZM1000-HP Plus PSU was powering a system that featured two video cards and several hard drives. The 80 PLUS SILVER certified PSU has 90% efficiency and four 12V rails. The CNPS20LQ liquid cooler is a self contained unit that will make it easy to get into water cooling without having to buy all the individual components.
Next up was the full tower GS1200, which features a roomy interior and several case fans. The front of the case has two fans that can be brought down to reveal three hot-swappable hard drives behind each fan. The Z9 Plus is another mid-tower case with a side window and mesh ventilation on the top and front of the case. The Plus series features a two-channel fan controller with a temperature display on the front of the case. Two channels likely won't be enough to control all the fans as there is room for seven of them in this case.
Zalman also brought a number of cooling products with it the the show. The ZM-NC3500 notebook cooler features a slim, mesh design compatible with notebooks up to 17". The 220mm fan features adjustable speed control to give the user freedom to adjust as necessary. There are four USB 2.0 ports as well as a USB power supply. The ZM-NC3500 Plus also features an internal two channel USB soundcard, amplifier, and 40mm built-in speaker. There was another new notebook cooler on display, the ZM-NC11. It also supports notebooks up to 17" with a 220mm fan. the rubber grip-strips prevent the notebook from sliding around.
There were also a number of CPU coolers available for display, both standalone and mounted on motherboards. The CNPS12X was one of the new coolers on display, and it is a very large cooler. The fan features blue LEDs, and a dual air intake structure. It is made of copper and aluminum and weights 1000 grams. The six high performance heatpipes use direct touch and interactive heat transfer technology to keep your CPU running nice and cold. The all-in-one clip design makes for an easy installation on several Intel and AMD sockets.
The CNPS10X Optima is another new cooler that was on display. It has a copper base with aluminum fins and weighs in at 630 grams. There are four direct touch heatpipes with a 120mm fan to blow air across the heatsink. The design allows for the possibility of another fan, and also supports a wide array of Intel and AMD sockets.
Zalman also brought a number of its current heatsink models, starting with the CNPS11X Performa. The V shaped dual heatsink is made of copper and aluminum, and has a number of heatpipes that run along the fins. The CNPS9900 Max is a copper heatsink that features black nickel plating. The 135mm fan is lit up with either blue or red LEDs. Three heatpipes bring the cooling power to the 755 gram heatsink.
Zalman also had a 3D dual monitor setup showing an aquarium scene. In order to get the 3D view, a pair of 3D glasses and sitting at a proper viewing height were required.
There were also two optical and one laser mouse on display. From left to right in the picture are the ZM-M200, ZM-M100, and ZM-GM1. The ZM-M200 goes up to 1000DPI and features five buttons. The ZM-M100 also has 1000DPI, but only three buttons. The ZM-GM1 features DPI that is adjustable from 800 to 6000, and seven programmable buttons. An adjustable weight system and teflon feet should allow you to move around with all the needed freedom when playing your favorite games.
There were also a pair of new external hard drive cases. The ZM-VE300 and ZM-HE130 both feature USB3.0 with maximum transfer rates of 5Gbps, with full backwards compatibility with USB2.0 and USB1.1. Both feature an aluminum body and one touch backup and safe removal. The ZM-VE300 also features a small screen with convenient and intuitive menus. The Zalman representative did tell us that these external cases aren't yet available in the United States.
Genius is a company that a lot of us haven't heard of, but it was on hand to show off the GX Gaming series of peripherals. There were a number of keyboards, mice, and sound devices. The Imperator and Imperator Pro keyboards both feature 18 programmable macro keys, a palm rest design, and on-board memory. The Imperator has seven media keys, while the Imperator Pro only has six. The Imperator Pro also features a backlight, allowing for better nighttime gaming.
The DeathTaker mouse features adjustable DPI from 100 to 5700 with a 1,000Hz polling rate. There are also a number of adjustable weights to customize it for every gamer. Also customizable are up to 55 macro keys that can be stored in five profiles. The Maurus mouse can be adjusted from 450 to 3500 DPI and also has up to 20 grams worth of weight adjustment.
There was also a pair of headphones — the Cavimanus and Lychas. The Cavimanus features virtual 7.1 channel sound with a 40mm unit driver. A vibration function is also included to really immerse you in the games you play. The unidirectional microphone allows for communication with your teammates, and a blue LED gives off a nice glow. The Lychas is a foldable headset with swivel ear cups. The 50mm unit driver will provide the sound, while a microphone again aids in communication with your team.
Genius also brought a portable two-speaker system. The SP-i250G is a pair of portable speakers that produce a 360 degree stereo sound field. A built-in lithium battery makes it perfect to provide sound for your MP3 player or laptop. The tiny system is only capable of 6 watts of output power.
To say that NVIDIA’s CES 2012 presence was unbelievable is an understatement. With everything that was on display, the sheer size of its booth space couldn’t go unnoticed. But, walking up to the NVIDIA booth, there was one thing that really stood out right away. When you see a triple-monitor NVIDIA 3D Surround setup running in 5760 x 1080 connected to an absolutely perfect racing simulator, you might need to pick your jaw up off the floor. It was definitely an amazing setup that would make any gamer jealous. In order to run NVIDIA 3D Surround, you must use dual GPUs and what better to showcase this technology than using a pair of 3GB GTX 580s in SLI. The game chosen to show off NVIDIA’s 3D Surround was iRacing and its setup really shined. The game looked absolutely amazing and even the gamer that doesn’t play racing titles would likely want to sit in this cockpit and take a spin. The 3D experience just made it that much better. There were also two stands on each side of the driver’s seat that had the NVIDIA 3D glasses attached to them, so you could see just how impressive it really was even if you weren’t playing. NVIDIA did have much to offer CES 2012, but without a doubt the 3D Surround setup instantly caught our attention!
NVIDIA has been an innovation leader in the computer industry for quite a while and the Tegra 3 follows that model to a T. With the explosion of the mobile market, the demand for faster tablets and phones is very evident. NVIDIA has answered the call with the Tegra 3 chip. It is the first quad-core mobile CPU, but that is not entirely accurate. The Tegra 3 actually has five cores, but I'm sure you won't complain about getting an extra core. The fifth core can be utilized in a few different ways. The most impressive though has to be the fact that, in tablets and phones, the fifth core can be dedicated to controlling the touch screen interface. The benefit to a dedicated core controlling the touch screen is the reduction of possible lag from the moment your finger hits the screen, to when the app loads.
Another application, and the one that NVIDIA used to showcase the new Tegra 3 chip, was for the automotive industry and onboard computers in vehicles. NVIDIA had placed four cameras on a car; on the front, back, and both sides. Then, using the Tegra 3 chip, the footage from each camera was digitally stitched together creating a 360-degree view around the car. So if you have a drastic inability to parallel park, or just park in general, then the Tegra 3 will be able to assist you. But, the most exciting news about the chip, after talking with one of the NVIDIA reps, had to be the fact that it is expected to hit the mobile phone market by year's end. So if you are looking at upgrading your phone sometime soon, you may want to try and hold off until phones start emerging with the Tegra 3 chip installed. It will be well worth the wait, unless of course you don't care about the speed and performance that a quad-core CPU would bring to a mobile phone.
NVIDIA Press Conference
This year at Gigabyte, we had a unique experience in which we were invited as one of a select few teams with the privilege to sit in on an exclusive press release where we would most likely learn about a new line of motherboards. Last year, we got the first glimpse of the X79 chipset G1-Killer gaming motherboards for Socket 2011, which offer an excellent high-end gaming and overclocking experience. While we were waiting for the event to start, Gigabyte of course had current motherboards on display for us to check out, but we were more interested in seeing Gigabyte's offerings for the new AMD HD7970 card.
We wandered over to a display system that was showcasing two HD 7970s in CrossFire, though we wondered why we didn't see any HD 7970 cards that had an aftermarket cooler from Gigabyte or anything with an up-close look at offerings specifically from Gigabyte. The motherboard in the display system was the GA-990FXA-UD7 and the processor was a Koolance-cooled FX8120. Moving from the Bulldozer system to another corner, we saw the Aivia line of input devices from Gigabyte, which included the Xenon touchpad, a couple of mouses, and a keyboard. While we were over at this demo station, the call to the press conference went out and we all took our seats.
At the press conference, we got to hear from four powerful position holders in the hierarchy of Gigabyte. The first words came from Henry Kao, who is the Vice President of Gigabyte's motherboard business unit. We got to see him last year at CES when Gigabyte unveiled its G1-Killer gaming motherboards. He briefly spoke about how Gigabyte was doing in terms of business and took the time to introduce three other faces from Gigabyte, some of which are also familiar from previous CES events — Raymond Tseng, VP of Motherboard R&D, Tony Liao, VP of North America Sales and Marketing, and Charles Huang, VP of Latin America Sales and Marketing.
Following a brief introduction from each of these four VPs, we entered a Q&A session where folks in the room had a chance to ask questions for them to be answered in a 1-on-1 fashion. This was a good opportunity for Gigabyte to hear from us and other folks in the tech market as to what our concerns are and perhaps for us to hear what Gigabyte may have in the works for us this year. Honestly, nothing very exciting came up other than Gigabyte bringing up more options for on-board fan control (more PWM headers), along with more integration and commonization between each of the different Gigabyte software packages (instead of having multiple programs). We should expect to see a more streamlined program (or group of programs) for fan control, overclocking, BIOS updates, etc.
Though the meeting was about to come to a close, we were surprised at the last minute by a knock on the door, where Gigabyte's marketing manager, Colin Brix, "crashed the party" with five new motherboards from Gigabyte on the Z77 platform. Of course, we have more from the G1 series — the G1.Sniper 3 and G1.Sniper M3 board — along with several other mainstream boards, including the GA B75M-D3H, the GA-Z77X-UD3H, and the GA-Z77X-UD5H. Here we have a full new lineup of Z77 boards from Gigabyte and no one seems to be let down!
Before we walked out, we caught a glimpse of another display that we didn't notice while walking into the area. We had found the new HD 7970 card with the Gigabyte name on it, along with a newly designed Windforce cooler that now uses direct contact heatpipes and is said to perform much better than the current AMD reference design.
With these new products from Gigabyte, we can definitely agree that we should be seeing some exciting stuff from them company this year, especially with Ivy Bridge in the near future. We can only hope that Gigabyte’s high-end durable motherboards will continue on throughout the launches this year.
Walking into MSI's suite, we were greeted by a group of Z77 motherboards from MSI for the next-generation Socket 1155 processors, along with its flagship Big Bang X-Power II model for extreme overclocking and extreme gaming on the Z79 chipset for Socket 2011. The two Panther Point Z77 Ivy Bridge models are more of a mainstream variety and are the Z77A-GD80 and the Z77A-GD65. These two motherboards are said to support DDR3-2667 memory (hinting at a great memory controller) and are expected to have Intel Thunderbolt support, though that will raise the overall cost of the board slightly.
On the other side of the table, we saw a demo for MSI's Voice Genie and the MultiConnect Panel hardware and software. Voice Genie is an add-on card that allows for an analog microphone to be used to control power functions, such as booting up and shutting down, restarting, and other things such as overclocking, opening and commanding the browser, and even customizable commands. Currently, all Z79 boards support the Voice Genie, but only a few Z68 and P67 boards have support. The MultiConnect panel is a small module that features built-in Bluetooth 3.0, an OC Genie button, Wi-Fi, and two USB 2.0 ports in a 5.25" device bay. The built-in Bluetooth connection allows easy pairing of a smartphone or tablet, which can allow total control of the system by using the right applications on the device. The USB 2.0 ports are also "Super Charger" compatible, which allows for super fast charging of smart phones and tablets.
As expected, we also got a glimpse at two video cards from MSI. The HD 7970 is still on the reference cooler, but we should expect to see something from MSI soon in the aftermarket cooling department, as we've already seen some from other manufacturers. The other card on display is MSI's N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition, which uses the Twin Frozr III cooler. Both cards use overvoltage from MSI's Afterburner software as a pretty good selling point; right now there aren't really any other programs available to overvolt either video card as easily as Afterburner allows.
Something really cool that's in the works for MSI is an external video card housing that will allow laptops or any other Lightning Bolt enabled device to use a higher end, aftermarket video card than what they may have in their laptop at the time. On display was the concept version of MSI's GUS II external video card housing. At this time, cards up to 150W are acceptable, though the other limitation of it is the physical size. Inside of the housing was said to be an HD 5770, which by standards of most laptop video cards isn't bad. The GUS II enclosure is said to have a release price between $100 and $150.
At Sapphire this year, we were able to take a look at a couple new products that we felt were very neat additions to Sapphire's product lineup. While there wasn't much out for us to see, we got a pretty good look at a neat way to run multiple monitors on a laptop from only one video output port. This device is called the Sapphire Vid-2X and is available in DisplayPort and DVI flavors. With two external monitors plugged into it, the Vid-2X reads the EDID of the two monitors to determine their resolutions and that is sent back to the computer. From there, the Vid-2X looks like a single monitor that's simply two-wide — and since it's simply passing through, the video is accelerated and requires no extra CPU power. We also saw the Sapphire Edge HD2, which is an Atom-based HTPC that requires little to no room and is powerful enough to display full 1080p to the TV of your choice.
To no surprise, Sapphire also had an HD 7970 system on display in a custom Dangerden case showing off Unigine's Heaven benchmark. In the system was a single Sapphire-branded HD 7970, though no listing was given on its motherboard and processor combination. However, it did list the following: Kingston memory and SSD, NZXT power supply, and a Corsair H80 water cooler for the processor.
After checking out these products in the main area, we were led into a side area where we got to have a look at Sapphire's New Z77 motherboard for LGA 1155 processors. While we did get a look at it, we didn't get a chance to snap any pictures of the board. However, it's not a secret or anything, so if you're curious enough, it's not too hard to find! The availability of these motherboards is slated to be some time in April.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Cooler Master had some neat products to show off at CES this year. If you are a fan of any of its HAF series cases, you'll be happy to know there is a new member, the HAF XM. It's the newest iteration in the line and is capable of handling an XL-ATX motherboard. Unfortunately a shot of this didn't turn out — but between Google and your search abilities, you should be able to find one.
Cooler Master did showcase some of its newest Silent Pro power supplies, all of which meet the 80 Plus Gold efficiency standard. The biggest addition in the line had to be the inclusion of a fan controller on the Silent Pro hybrid models (available in 850W, 1050W, and 1300W). At a 200W load, the PSU is capable of a fan-less mode where the fans don't spin up, thus making it super silent. At anything above the 200W threshold, the controller, which fits in any of your 5.25" bays, allows you to control the PSU fan, as well as some system fans that can be directly connected to the PSU itself. All the Silent Pro additions are 100% modular and have no cables attached when it shows up. As such, you get to decide which cables the PSU runs and get rid of the extra bulk of those unnecessary ones.
The new line of coolers are also released as the x6 Elite series. There is a variety to select from with 4-6 lines of heat pipes and a single fan. The TPC812 cooler uses vertical vapor chambers and cools as well as the H80 water kit. It was rather impressive to see such results on air. These should be pretty interesting to compare to others on the market.
Another member of the CM Storm series will be showing up sometime in March 2012. If you remember the Trooper case and hoped that it looked more like a storm trooper, you're going to be very happy. The CM Storm Stryker is going to be a white version of the Trooper case. The final decision as to whether it will be a glossy white finish or a matte finish is still being decided. That being said, the representatives had both on display, asking opinions from visitors, and most people preferred that matte finish (us included). In every other aspect, the case is exactly the same as the Trooper.
A new line of notebook and table stands designed to fit the Mac theme are being released this year. After having a few holders and sleeves developed with its sister companies, Cooler Master is releasing a full line under the CM name. A couple of notebook coolers are being released as well to help keep your laptop cooler while you work. One of the coolers even allows you to move the two mounted fans to better align cooling channels for different laptop models.
As if there hadn't been enough phone cases scattered about the entire CES convention floor, Cooler Master is even putting stock in those. If you love your HAF series case model, you can now get a phone cover to match. Odd production item, but if that's what's in demand, it will be made. CM also has some more Power Fort accessories that allow you to have a quick backup battery pack when your battery in your portable device dies. There are varied sizes for use in different applications, making life on the go with electronics that much easier to survive.
The Cosmos II, which OCC reviewed about a week or two ago, was on display with a custom paint job. Done completely by hand and airbrush, the case really stood out from the others. Created by Smooth Creations, it took several days of man power to complete. It really goes to show what can be done with a little modification and some pure talent — along with extreme patience.
Some miscellaneous hardware of non-computer related coolers were laid out for view. There were some heatpipe and vapor chamber demos that really showed off the individual components that go into cooling.
Overall, Cooler Master has a lot coming out this year for consumers. It's really impressive the amount of effort that goes into a lot of its cases as they are tested by real users like you to find flaws before they ever show up on your doorstep. It was a good day at the Cooler Master suite.
This year at CES 2012, Seagate had a pretty small cubicle, consisting of nothing more than two laptops hooked up to two big monitors. We did, however, get a chance to talk to one of the Seagate representatives and he told us about the second generation of Momentus XT Hybrid hard disk drives. The new 750GB Momentus XT Hybrid drive sounds pretty slick with improved access speeds and reduced boot times.
One of the downsides to having a solid state drive is that the drive's life will be diminished from reading and writing files. Thanks to the Momentus XT's new "adaptive memory", the drive learns what files and programs you use most and it caches these in to the flash memory. By doing this, it decreases the amount of reading and writing your hard drive has to do. Also, by storing these files in the cache, it will reduce load times and give you better performance.
Other features added to the Momentus XT are support for 6Gbps SATA and "Fast Boot". Fast Boot will cache data used only during the boot process, thus giving users a quicker boot-up time. Seagate has also upgraded the Momentus XT SSD section (SLC NAND flash) from 4GB to 8GB. In addition, the representative said the second generation 750GB hybrid drive outperformed the 500GB drive across the board.
VIBRAS by Track Scan
When it comes to gaming headsets, companies like Sennheiser and Turtle Beach have really set the bar high in terms of quality. But Track Scan, a company that specializes in headset equipment used by race fans to listen to pit crew communications, has now entered the gaming industry as well. The gaming headset division of Track Scan goes under the name VIBRAS.
At this year’s CES, VIBRAS was showcasing three gaming headsets, among other things. The VIBRAS 5.1 gaming headset comes in two different versions — one is USB, designed for the PC and PS3, while the other is optical and used with the Xbox 360. The company had a very nice Dell XPS with Modern Warfare 3 loaded up and ready to play with the VIBRAS USB 5.1 connected so that the CES gaming fans could get a feel for the quality. After putting them on, it was instantly evident that there would be a new player in the high-quality gaming headset market. The headset has four speakers on each side, which really puts you into the game with an amazing amount of sound detail. For the Xbox 360 version, there is a module that allows you to adjust the bass, midrange, and treble, as well as volume control. With the PC/PS3 device, the module is only used for adjusting volume and switching from Dolby Digital and Stereo mode, while the controls for the different ranges are handled by a software program. The headset is extremely comfortable and, even after long hours of gaming, they would be unlikely to produce any discomfort. Another great feature for the hardcore gamer who logs countless number of hours in game is the fact that the ear pads are replaceable. So even after you wear them out, have no fear, you can easily make them feel brand new again. The other headset on display at the VIBRAS booth was the Vulcan. The Vulcan will be useable on all three platforms, but is not available yet.
We visted Zotac this year at CES 2012 and the company had some pretty cool things to show us. Zotac is a manufacturer of graphics cards, mini-ITX motherboards, and mini-PCs. It is pretty innovative in the way the company modifies hardware components and this year at CES we got to see a nice display of that creativeness.
One of the coolest things on display at Zotac's booth was its Vapor Phaze system that was completely emerged in some sort of 3M-engineered liquid. The system had bubbles rolling off the GPU and CPU like crazy. The Vapor Phaze system consisted of an Intel Core i7 2600k @ 3.4GHZ, Zotac Z68ITX-A-E Wi-Fi motherboard, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 video card, Crucial Ballistix 16GB RAM, 2x Intel Extreme 40GB SSD, and a SeaSonic 1000 watt PSU. Off to the side was a giant monitor that was showing the emerged system running FurMark, and for a system with this type of passive cooling, we were impressed. The system itself was just crazy to see in person and I would go as far to say, I would rather have this submerged system in my living room over a fish tank.
We did manage to grab a few more snapshots of two other mini-motherboard solutions the company had on display. Up first was the Zotac H67ITX-D-E. It supports the Intel H67 Express (LGA 1155) Chipset and had a NVIDIA GeForce GT 520 strapped on to it. The second photo is the Zotac Fusion350-B-U and this setup was showing off Zotac's passive cooling setup on an AMD E-350 APU @ 1.4GHz (dual-core).
Another line of products from Zotac is a group of mini PCs and mini HTPCs. Some of the first ones we saw were wrapped in stylish vinyl patterns, though this isn't available as an option from Zotac and only really for show. The main thing from Zotac right now is the ZBOX. Available in different lines and form factors, the ZBOX is a perfect and inexpensive companion to an existing home theater setup lacking a PC. Soon to be available in either AMD, Intel, and VIA chipsets, they are already available beginning at under $200.
We at OCC were shown a "secret drawer" that contained a group of motherboards that are said to be for next generation Intel CPUs, but that's all we were privileged to know. It looks like we have three mini ITX boards and a micro ATX board from Zotac in this introductory line, but we should be able to expect more in a few months once these boards are launched.
Here are a couple of other miscellaneous shots we took while in Zotac's booth. Enjoy!
Razer products are probably some of the most popular peripheral products on the market — from the classic Death Adder to its newest release up for pre-order, the Razer Naga Hex. This year at CES, the OCC crew met with President Robert Krakoff and his co-worker Heathcliff Hatcher. The group posed for a group picture with the two after the personal meeting with President Krakoff and demonstration with Heathcliff.
During the interview, which was recorded and will be posted on the next page, Robert Krakoff shared his favorite of the newest products Razer has to offer this year. The Naga Hex, as mentioned earlier, was the first to be shown off. With six MOBA/Action-RPG mechanical thumb buttons, it's one of the first mice on the market to showcase mechanical buttons over rubber dome types. There are a total of 11 hyperesponse buttons for play in any game. The big feature is the addition of the Razer Synapse 2.0 software, which allows you to set up multiple profiles for your mouse so that you can have different setups for each game you play. A new idea that will be going live soon is the idea of having access to your different profiles on a sort of “cloud" that will allow you to use them at any computer as long as you have Internet. However, Synapse 2.0 will also be available in an offline mode, so if you are traveling you can still change up your settings on the fly.
The Razer Naga also supports up to 5600 DPI, as well as a 3.5G Laser Sensor with the new typical 1000Hz polling rate. The mouse comes in only green, as Razer attempts to go back to its true green color and move away from the blue tones the company had been pushing over the last year. The Razer Naga Hex is available for pre-order on Razer's website and will be available in stores for $79.99 in March.
President Krakoff was also very proud of the soon-to-be-released Razer Blade gaming laptop. His buddy, Heathcliff Hatcher, was on the floor with his personal Blade laptop to show us some key features. Beyond what's inside the laptop, the biggest feature is the actual user interface built-in on the keypad itself. On the right, where you might find a number pad on some laptops, is a full-color, vibrant LCD panel that can either display in-game information (for some games) or function as an ultra-sensitive, multi-touch track panel designed for gamers on-the-go. The biggest part of this little screen is the fact that you can actually use it to surf the Internet while in a game — it allows you to grab that quick walkthrough and figure out where to go next. It also has ten programmable buttons above the touch screen, which can be programmed to go to specific websites, launch applications, or for several other uses. The images of the button are custom, set with any image you want.
With an I7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce graphics, a 17.3" display, and a thickness of only 0.88", this is truly a gaming rig to go. For $2799.99, the Razer Blade is currently out of stock on Razer's site.
Robert Krakoff didn't have a lot to say about the long-awaited Project Fiona. Unfortunately, Razer did not have one out to play with, but rather it was sitting behind a glass case, teasing us. A video reel played showing it in action, but it would have been so much more fun to play with. It's basically going to be a gaming tablet designed with actual controllers on the sides so you can actually run around in games. Both the left and right controller feature analog sticks with 5-button controls. The concept sounds promising, but until it can be used, it's just for show.
These three products are really what Razer was there to show off. There were several rigs set up with various keyboards and the Naga Hex for people to test out playing FireFall, a free-to-play, massively multi-player online game. Members of the FireFall development team were even there to discuss the game, but the game is still in beta testing. We told them to add hats.
All in all, as expected, Razer's booth was impressive. There were rigs to play games with, a drawing to win a Blade, and products to play with along with representatives to actually ask questions and give feedback to. OCC gives thanks to both Krakoff and Hatcher for their time and information. And they would like us to pass on the word that, despite not being shown, "Switchblade is not dead."
Razer Naga Hex Demo
Razer Blade Demo
Razer Hydra Demo
The morning we visited Patriot memory, we got a chance to take a good look at Patriot’s inventory of SSDs, desktop memory, USB drives, and flash memory. Since the prices of flash memory have continued to plummet, you can find a well-built, rugged Patriot flash drive at about $20 for 16GB of storage. Memory is always affordable and SSD prices are coming down steadily. Patriot displayed hard drives ranging from 64GB all the way up to 480GB. Patriot now even has a Mac-compatible SSD line that uses the correct hardware and firmware to work seamlessly with Mac devices.
An exciting thing recently from Patriot is its line of home theater media streaming devices. These devices have the ability to stream media directly to a TV or other device, or even have it stored locally on a 2.5" SSD or 3.5" mechanical drive. Our favorite was the Gauntlet Wi-Fi device. It can be battery-operated and can provide five or more hours of totally cordless streaming audio, video, and pictures to your TV while being controlled by a smart phone, tablet, or PC. As far as portable cloud storage units goes, these are really one of the firsts.
The other line of streaming devices are larger, but have a little more horsepower. The PBO Alpine is an Android-based platform powerful enough to stream full 1080p at 30fps thanks to the ARM 926 processor. Out of the box, it will have iRadio, iTV, YouTube, Picasa, and a fully-functional web browser preloaded. It supports just about every video format, with DivX, MPEG, H.263 and H.264, MKV, and Real Video being some of them. The PBO Alpine does not support internal storage, but does have an SD slot and USB 2.0 port for external media input. The other PBO device is the Core XT, which is slightly larger, uses a Linux-based interface, and has a faster processor. It is capable of 3D HD playback and supports drives up to 4TB in capacity.
Ferrari by Logic3
When you hear the name Ferrari, you probably think Italian sports car — one that is super fast and probably out of your price range. The logo, a prancing horse typically seen on a yellow background, is instantly recognizable. So when we saw the bright red Ferrari on the show floor, we were immediately drawn in — admittedly, the booth babes helped too. We were surprised and intrigued to learn that the company was there not to promote its cars, but rather its recently announced collaboration with audio and gaming accessories manufacturer Logic3. Built from the ground up, the Ferrari by Logic3 range of audio equipment is comprised of two styles. In the Logic3's own words:
“The Ferrari Cavallino Collection is influenced by the emotive driving experience of Ferrari's iconic GT road cars. Premium textures and materials combine with superior finishes to create unparalleled luxury and beautiful aesthetics. A range that deservedly features the illustrious ‘Cavallino Rampante’ (Prancing Horse) marque.”
“The Scuderia Ferrari Collection is inspired by the competition, speed, and technological innovation of the Ferrari F1 team. Each product takes its design cues from the sleek racing lines and iconic chassis features that make Ferrari cars so instantly recognisable and globally adored. This collection carries the exclusive Scuderia Ferrari badge, recognising a shared vision of power, excellence and success.”
But who cares about all that, right? You came here for photos and specs, so let's get to it. First up are the speaker docks. The Cavallino GT1 and Cavallino GT1 Air are 2.2.1 stereo speakers with 6.5" subwoofer patented class HD technology with DSP, delivering 250W RMS power and high efficiency, a frequency response of 20-22,000Hz, and Bluetooth that supports Stereo A2DP & AVRCP. The Scuderia FS1 and Scuderia FS1 Air are 2.1 stereo speakers and subwoofer, enhanced by two passive radiators, patented class HD technology with DSP, and delivering 120W RMS power and high efficiency with a frequency response of 20-22,000Hz and Bluetooth that supports Stereo A2DP & AVRCP. All four are made for the iPad, iPhone and iPod, with Bluetooth connectivity supporting Android and Windows based devices. They have Composite Video Out, a USB charging port, and 3.5mm Aux In. They all come with a remote control and a Ferrari by Logic3 App. The "Air" versions mean there is support for Apple AirPlay. In order of the photos below, the Cavallino GT1 retails for $625, the Cavallino GT1 Air for $750, the Scuderia FS1 for $500, and the Scuderia FS1 Air for $625.
Next up were the headphones. The Cavallino line includes the T250 and T350, while the Scuderia line includes the R200, R300, and P200. The T250, T350, R200, and R300 all have the same specs — 40nm full range speaker driver, a frequency response of 20-22,000Hz, ultra-soft, breathable ear pads, an ergonomic two-way folding design for compact storage in an included Nylon-trimmed carrying case, and anti-tangle, detachable in-line remote cables. The latter is particularly interesting because you get two: a 3-button remote control cable with microphone for Apple devices and a 1-button remote control cable with microphone for Android, Windows, Blackberry, and most other mobile phones. A 6.3mm adaptor and airplane adaptor are included as well. Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology is featured in the T350 and R300 only. The P200, on the other hand, has all the same features as the T250 and R200, except it uses a 50mm speaker driver that incorporates patented High Audio-Scene (HAS) technology for 3D sound effects and ultra bass. In order of the photos below, the T250 retails for $320, the T350 for $375, the R200 for $250, the R300 for $320, and the P200 for $190.
Lastly, we have the earphones. The Cavallino line includes the G150 and T150, while the Scuderia line includes the R100 and S100. All four have the same specs — a 10mm speaker driver with Thin Film Acoustic Technology (TFAT), a frequency response of 20-22,000Hz, interchangeable ear buds for personalized comfort, an anti-tangle in-line remote control cable, and a Nylon-trimmed carrying case with accessory pouch. The choice between the four basically comes down to your style preference. Each one has two model numbers, the standard featuring a 1-button remote control with microphone for Android, Windows, Blackberry, and most other mobile phones, while the "i" model features a 3-button remote control with microphone for Apple devices. Unlike with the headphones, you'll have to make a decision prior to purchase. In order of the photos below, the T150 and G150 retail for $190, the R100 for $150, and the S100 for $125.
beyerdynamic was on hand to display a number of its high end headphones. As with Sennheiser, many of the headphones were available to listen to and hooked up to amplifiers for excellent sound quality. There were a number of headphones on display, including some from the gaming headset line. The highlight of the latter group was the MMX 300. The handmade German headset comes with a USB sound card with volume control and a microphone mute function. The circumaural headset offers a frequency range from 5 to 30,000Hz. It was also remarkably comfortable, with replaceable ear and headband pads, and will undoubtedly be able to provide hours of gaming time without discomfort.
Another interesting product on display was the Headzone Home 5.1 surround headphone system. A pair of headphones were hooked up to the system as Terminator 2 played on the TV. The sound quality of the headphones was amazing, producing surround sound in a set of stereo headphones. The soft pads of the headphones would allow for hours of listening, as they were nearly as comfortable as the couch in the viewing area. This is definitely something worth considering if you are looking for a surround sound setup that you can turn up without worrying about startling your neighbors.
Stream TV Networks
We were approached by a representative from Stream TV Networks asking if we wanted a 3D TV demonstration, and we, of course, said yes. The product on display was the Ultra-D line of 3D televisions without glasses, promising the only 3D technology that isn't affected by viewing angles. This technology is made possible using a custom-embedded algorithm that eliminates viewing angles and minimizes latency, a conversion module that does real-time conversion from a number of formats with user controlled "pop" and depth, and an optical lens that I can't spell and wasn't in the press kit. The controllable "pop" and depth were adjusted using a computer that was connected to the display TV, allowing for a customizable experience for whatever source you happen to be viewing. During the demo, we had to adjust a bit to get a viewing angle that we were comfortable with, but the 3D adjusted as we moved from side to side. Stream TV is currently looking for industry partners, and plans to release a TV sporting this technology sometime this year.
With arguably some of the best looking PCBs on the market, ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) took the chance to show us its Black Series of motherboards at CES this year. We got a chance to snap some pictures of the latest X79 boards from ECS, an AMD 990FX board, and two Ivy Bridge compatible boards. The full ATX board uses the Z77 chipset and the micro ATX model uses the H77 chipset. Of course, we don’t have much in the way of specifications when it comes to Ivy Bridge boards yet, but at this point we at least know that our trusted manufacturers have them ready for when Intel feels that Ivy Bridge itself is ready! We also got a chance to lay eyes on the latest NVIDIA GTX card lineup from ECS, which included the GTX 560, GTX 570, and GTX 580.
Some new innovation we had a chance to see is the newly-launched Wi-Bridge from ECS. The Wi-Bridge, in short, is a device that supports just about every bit of streaming and local media and puts it up to your TV in full 1080p. While connected to a network, the Wi-Bridge accepts connections from any iOS and Android device, and the user has the ability to stream media from the remote. Not only can you stream media files onto the TV, but you can extend your computer or notebook screen to the TV and use your smart tablet or phone device as the controller.
We didn’t get a lot of time looking at it, but ECS was also showing an OEM all-in-one PC case for use with slim ITX form factor motherboards. Since a large portion of the market is getting ready for Windows 8 and its touch-heavy interface, ECS is clearly getting prepared by having these guys ready in the coming year.
Everyone knows and remembers the case named Phantom by NZXT — mostly for its looks, functionality, and feature-rich design. Adding to that lineup is the much alike, but smaller and more affordable, Phantom 410. However, instead of a plain black, white, or even pink color scheme, NZXT chose to poll users from all over the world for what color schemes we wanted to see. What NZXT determined from these results is that we like dark blue on white, white on black, and orange on black. Another mainstream case we got to see was the Source 220. Next to the Source 220 is a set of NZXT's new colored fans, which are available in quite a lot of colors!
Inside of the 5.25" bays in the Source 220 case were a couple of new things from NZXT. We got to see the NZXT multi-memory card reader in both white and black mesh to match current schemes, but we also got to put our eyes directly on NZXT's Sentry Mesh fan controller, which supports over 150W of fans at 30W per channel! This controller can literally support more fans than your case can without breaking a sweat. We also got to see NZXT's "HALE82" line of power supplies. Though currently manufactured by Seasonic, the HALE82 line is a 80 Plus Bronze certified, modularly designed, SLI/CrossFire-capable power supplies available in 650W, 750W, and 850W.
When it comes to high end computers and gaming, most of the market is in the DIY sector where pre-builts just aren't an option. However, for those who want the luxury sports automobile of computers, CyberPower PC is the answer. Although there wasn't much on display from CyberPower PC this year at CES, we still got to see a couple of neat things from the company. First were two computers toward the front of the area. The white case with blue lighting is based around the AZZA Genesis 9000 case. It is capable of handling a 4x120mm radiator at the top and a 2x120mm additional radiator at the bottom. CyberPower PC's main focus this year is continuing to improve water cooling performance and eventually reaching a maximum temperature of 55 °C on the CPU, even after extreme overclocking. The other system with red lighting was demoing Battlefield 3 with two GTX580s in SLI. The chassis is the NZXT Switch 810, which launched shortly after CES was over. At the time, we weren't allowed to take pictures of the inside of the case, but you can expect a review from us shortly!
The biggest thing from CyberPower PC at CES this year is definitely the Black Mamba. The Black Mamba uses a modified Azza Fusion 4000 gaming chassis, which is a huge, mega tower that can fit two systems in one housing. The first, lower system is the main gaming/extreme system and has plenty of room for a complete, full-coverage water cooling loop, three or four video cards, and radiators in both the top and the bottom of the case. The upper system is where you'll keep a mini ITX system. Ideally, you'll be using some sort of server platform to account for backups, file sharing, anti-virus, permissions, etc. This is a very cool system from CyberPower PC, but don't expect to see these all over the place due to the hefty price tag. However, with the right needs, it's a perfect solution.
ASUS had a bunch of things to show off at CES, including a wide array of ROG (Republic of Gamers) gear that brings more value to the branding. The first thing we looked at was an external sound solution called ThunderFX. This USB-powered sound solution has specs that included 120dB sound, a 600 ohm headphone amp, and environmental noise cancellation, to allow for more immersion while gaming. Multi-platform support allows the ThunderFX to be used for not only the PC, but also with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. On the same display system, ASUS also showcased one of its 3D-ready 27" monitors and the Rampage IV Formula. We were given a demonstration of some of the upcoming ROG software that will be bundled into the software packages for the ROG motherboards. Sound quality solutions were a big part of the ROG display this year. ASUS introduced the ROG Xonar Phoebus PCIe based gaming audio solution. Features include SNR of 118db and an external controller/headphone amp to drive 110dB at 600 ohms. On the ROG Rampage IV Formula and Rampage IV Gene, ASUS has isolated the Supreme FX onboard sound solution completely on the PCB for a cleaner more crisp sound output, due in part to the 1500 uF Audio Power Capacitor to drive quality output SNR from 90db to 110db.
ASUS motherboards, especially for the X79 platform, were well represented with the standard models and a full boat of ROG models, including the new Rampage IV Formula, Rampage IV Extreme, and Rampage IV Gene, for the small form factor crowd.
To further drive performance, ASUS has improved networking performance with a new series of Gigabit wireless-N routers.
ASUS also showed off a new series of high resolution panels, with resolutions up to 2560 x 1400 in a 27" monitor. The picture quality was amazing on these panels and will be offered in both consumer and professional grade SKUs. Lastly, ASUS also showed of its ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS for the workstation crowd — a dual Socket 2011 board, supporting 'Sandy Bridge-EP' Xeon E5s, eight DDR3 DIMM slots, and seven PCIe slots.
While visiting with the Corsair folks this year at CES, we got a good look at Corsair's selection for memory, power supplies, and SSDs. Corsair's memory lines that were on display was mostly the Vengeance series, with a couple other lower-end modules for comparison. Look out for tall modules, with a lot of these due to their heatsinks, but there are still some in the Vengeance series that are much lower profile (modules on the rear of the display versus those on the front). The line of power supplies was rather expected, but it was neat to see them all lined up to make comparisons in sizes and features. The power supplies on display ranged in capacity from 650W or less, all the way up to the 1200W Professional Series Gold model — a fully modular design, including even the 24-pin ATX harness. As far as the SSD display goes, we got to see five different series — all ranging in size and performance starting at 60GB and going up to 256GB models.
Although not all of us got to see the Battlefield 3 mod in person this year at CES that we very closely followed through our very own forums, it was a relief to the few of us that got to get a personal look at MNPCTech's Carbide Series 400R mod that tributes to Serenity from the TV series Firefly. The attention to detail and the overall quality of work was immaculate and a certain privilege to see (but not touch!).
Corsair also had some other cases on display ranging from the Carbide Series cases, including the most recent of the group — the Carbide Series 400R along with the Graphite and Obsidian Series cases. We have been lucky enough to have our hands on most of these already, but we still enjoyed seeing them again. Corsair also had some of its peripherals on display, such as its gaming mice and keyboards, along with a few samples of headsets — also with the Vengeance name.
Probably the most exciting thing at Corsair this year is its recently-launched line of SSD caching drives named the Accelerator series. Accelerator drives don't have much capacity and are only available in 30gb, 45gb, and 60gb capacities and start at a price of only $69 and range up to $99 for the 60gb version. At first, you think that that's not much capacity but that's exactly the point. With an inexpensive addon caching SSD, you can still expect extremely fast boot sequences and loading of frequently-used games. The system on the left is displaying performance without the caching drive while the same system is on the right only with the caching drive in place. For those who don't want to spend hundreds on an SSD as their root hard drive, this is a great option!
For those of us who have fallen in love with the idea of having an SSD in your computer to achieve blistering speed, if you had the opportunity to make it to OCZ's pen then you would have been arguably speechless. Everywhere you looked, all you could see were SATA SSDs, external SSD devices, internal PCI-equipped drives, and even super high end SATA controllers. On the main display, we got to see just about every OCZ SATA SSD, the full line of monster Revo drives and Z-drives and some of the recently announced SATA controllers.
Though it doesn't launch until June 2012, OCZ had out its Everest 2 flash controller platform on display — capable of 550MB/s read speeds and 550MB/s write speeds. Though that doesn't sound like anything impressive, it's a completely separate add-on component that will not only allow for up to 2TB of capacity from 2.5" drives, it also is expected to remedy many of the shortcomings found in the original Everest platform. Hopefully, we'll get to see these new controllers in something like the next lineup in the OCZ Vertex series. Moving way up the ladder in flash controller platforms, we also got to see the Kilimanjaro flash controller platform. Capable of up to 3GB/s transfer speeds and up to 1.8 million IOPS, the Kilimanjaro platform is already present in many of OCZ's high-end PCIe drives — including the Z-Drive R5.
Those of us that were fortunate enough to visit OCZ during this CES had the jaw-dropping experience when we turned around and had a gander at a demo computer that was running some tests and reporting some numbers in realtime. Before we share those numbers, we'll point out that the machine was operating under two Z-Drive R4s in RAID0. Together, these cards have about 2 million IOPS of processing power, but the watercooled i7-3960X-based system could only keep up with about 1.4 million of those IOPS. So yes, the most powerful desktop processor currently on the market was bottlenecking these two drives at 100% usage across all 12 threads. Even at only 1.4 million IOPS, we witnessed a staggering WRITE figure of over 12GB/s. Yes, that's a G. Don't expect to go out and buy two of these any time soon, or even one for that matter — you'll need to take out a second mortgage.
Upon walking into the Thermaltake suite, we were instantly rewarded with an abundant sight of cases, power supplies, coolers, headphones, external hard drive cases, and hot swap bays. When it comes to computer parts, though it can be overwhelming, I think many of us can agree that you can never have too much in one room. The first thing we snapped a picture of is the Snow Edition Level 10 GT. A little further away from it was the Level 10 GTS Snow Edition — a much lower cost but similar version of the bigger version. Honestly, it doesn't look as good as the Level 10 GT of course, but it offers a much more affordable alternative. When it came to looking at the coolers, we saw more Snow Edition products, such as the regular Frio Snow Edition and the Frio OCK Snow Edition. Also on the piano was the Frio Advanced, and the new-to-us Contac 39 cooler. On the power supply table, we saw more white power supplies — yes, more Snow Edition products. It certainly is a proper name for "cool" computer hardware! The power supplies on display were shown in ranges from 700W or less all the way up to 1475W from the Toughpower XT Gold series.
Behind the coolers were the hard drive accessories/peripherals. I liked the idea of the add-in 5.25" hot swap bay for 2.5" and 3.5" drives. Also on the add-in 5.25" hot swap bay are two USB 3.0 ports. Something new to us that we saw from Thermaltake were its car chargers, USB AC chargers, and surge protectors. If you like Thermaltake products, why not have everyday peripherals that still have Thermaltake's styling looks to them as well? Something else cool (no pun intended) that we saw were some iPad cases, Bluetooth stereo headphones, phone cases, keyboard protectors, etc. Speaking of headphones, why not check out the new colorful line of headsets from Thermaltake? Not only do they look neat (minus a few of them, only due to the taste mismatch), but they sounded pretty good too.
We also got to see one of Thermaltake's backlit keyboards, with the unique feature that only lights up the most commonly-used keys, geared specifically for the gamer. Polling at a rate of 1000Hz, the Meka G Unit mechanical keyboard also supports up to 60 macro keys. An interesting thing that I don't think we had seen before are these Harmor cases — used for protecting 3.5" hard drives. I haven't seen bare 3.5" hard drives travel by themselves very often, but these are perfect for helping make sure that happens safely! Right next to the Meka G Unit keyboard were two different self-contained water cooling units, simply named the Water 2.0 Pro and the Water 2.0 Performer. Hopefully we'll get to see some numbers from those platforms soon. There was also a 2x120mm version pre-installed in a case off to the side.
Booth Babes with Staff
CES Final Thoughts
This was both my first trip to CES, and my first trip to Las Vegas; needless to say it was quite overwhelming. Everything was so big and flashy and alive from 12am one day to 12am the next day – Vegas truly doesn't sleep. It was really neat to meet all the fellow staff members from OCC in person. There's ones you expect and others that are completely different what you had expected. Especially that Dave guy – no, not really, but you do get stuck with a Canadian accent after a week with him.
As one of the first females to actually represent OCC staff there it was pretty interesting. I fit in more than I probably should have, but the guys really treated me as if I belonged. It was a lot of fun and I hope I get the chance to go again, or at least see these guys again.
As far as the actual show went, I have to say it was completely and utterly EPIC. Three sections, north, central, and south with multiple floors and miles of coverage each was just mind boggling. After one day there I knew I wanted to go back and find everything I missed the first day. Driving the NVIDIA 3D racing set up was not enough, I needed more! As a reviewer, meeting with the companies that I've dealt with behind the scenes was probably the best part of the entire trip. Communicating with some of the representatives to fix problems through email became "real" when I got to meet them face to face. The whole trip was just surreal, I can't wait to do it again, and give big props to the boss for making it all happen – thanks Dave.
This was my fourth straight CES. Seeing new technology and booth babes was certainly enjoyable, as was playing games I've eagerly been awaiting, like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Firefall, and the PS Vita. But honestly, that's not why I choose to go to CES each year, nor is it why I enjoy it so much. I love CES because I get to hang out with my fellow OCC staff members. It's always great seeing old friends, but this year also brought a lot of new faces. Any active OCC member knows that the sense of community is one of the best things about OCC, and that's no different among staff — we're like one big (dysfunctional) family! And surprisingly, aside from one instance of thrown silverware, we all get along exceptionally well, making it a lot of fun even when we're simply sitting in a room together writing about companies for you guys. Being from all over the world, for most of us, CES is the only time we get to actually hang out in person.
Aside from that, I also love meeting with companies and this year I'd like to extend special thanks to NVIDIA, Cooler Master, Razer, and ECS, as I got to speak one-on-one with several representatives from those companies on a more personal level rather than just a strictly business one. However, the highlight of the trip for me had nothing to do with companies or even computers — it was meeting Ron Duguay, a former New York Ranger (my favorite team). Being able to speak with him about the current and future state of the Rangers, as well as his play in the Winter Classic alumni game, was a pretty cool experience. That probably would have been a highlight regardless, but it's also indicative of the rather sorry state CES has become — it's simply not as cool as it used to be. There was very little in terms of new and exciting technology unveiled, and the show floor was riddled with mobile accessories companies — seriously, how many different iPhone case manufacturers does the world truly need?
Despite the apparent decline of CES, I still hope I get to go again next year. Like I said, it's not really about the technology for me, it's about the people. Thanks to Dave for once again letting me tag along!
This was my first time to CES and my first time to Vegas and I cannot say much more than I loved every minute we spent there. I was a tad disappointed with the lack of new gadgets and hardware on the CES Show Floor though. It seemed that all the company's I was hoping to see new technology from had a small booth and nothing more to show than a laptop with a game for us to play.
It was finally nice to meet Dave (Bosco) after knowing him online for 10 years and it was great to finally meet the other staff members and get to see the "fun" side of everyone. The OCC community has always been like another family to me and getting to meet these guys is always a great pleasure for me.
The highlight of my CES week was the party Patriot held in the Palms Hardwood Suite. I got to play basketball in a freaking hotel room. How sweet is that? By the end of the night I was pretty hot and could make a shot from pretty much any spot on the court.
I would like to thank Dave again for inviting me and also thank the other members who came for putting up with me all week. Oh thank you Andrew for not spooning me in the middle of the night. :)
CES is not only a time to see all the latest and greatest gadgets on the planet but to meet face to face with many of the people we work with. Not only the industry representation but the people we work with each day from behind the keyboard. Getting to see the latest technology however is the primary reason for making the journey. Getting that sneak peek on what’s coming up from some of the ROG innovations from ASUS, the upcoming Intel Ivy Bridge based products from the likes of MSI, Gigabyte, ASUS, Zotac, Sapphire, ECS and more. Drive technologies from OCZ, Patriot and Corsair. Content creation and streaming video seems to really be an ever expanding market with companies such as ECS showing off their Wi-Bridge device, Sapphire showing off their Vid-2X that takes a single display and spreads it across up to three display devices. Of course the stunning builds from Cyberpower PC are always a joy to look at and drool over. Now that the trip is over and we are all back home the real work starts as all the cool stuff we were privileged to see starts to show up for a closer look. Off to work!
This was my first time attending CES and my first time meeting anyone else from OverclockersClub. Initially I was a bit concerned about meeting all these guys in Las Vegas that I had only known on the forums. I didn't know how the rest of the guys (and girl) would act or if we'd get along. Would they be annoying? Would they be weird? Would any of my roommates snore worse than I do? But I took a chance and packed my ear plugs just in case. I met many of them in the hotel when I first arrived and was relieved to find that they were all normal, laid-back people. We all got along really well, even though Frank snored like an elephant.
The show itself was a lot of fun as well. The entire convention center was so enormous that I didn't think we'd manage to see everything in an entire week. There were a ton of 3D TVs, tablets, mobile accessories, headphones, and speakers. Unfortunately, there wasn't much computer hardware being shown off, but the stuff that we did see was pretty cool. It was fun talking to all of the companies' representatives about their current and upcoming products, and it was great to see their excitement to meet us as well.
Throughout the entire week that I spent in Las Vegas, I kept feeling that it was all just a dream. The convention center, the hotels, the casinos, the bars — it was all so incredible. I had so much fun hanging out with everybody from OCC and I have a lot of great memories to take away from it. I want to thank Dave for giving me the opportunity to attend and I can't wait to come back again.
CES was a cool event as always and getting to meet people was interesting. I worked the south hall and felt that there was less PC related gear than in the past. Portable devices and accessories for those items are all the rage. Getting to see the latest and greatest is a fun experience However, as a PC loyalist I am not encouraged by the tablet/netbook trend.
As always it was a ton of fun coming out here to to Las Vegas for CES. The show floor was a lot smaller for our niche as mobile computing has really started to take over the scene with not only tablets but with cell phones and accessories alike. My two favorite things about coming out here to see all of the new technology that is soon to be released or has recently been released; but being able to hang out with fellow staff members. This year we had quite a few more members come than previous years and a lot of them were fresh faces to me, but good old names. It is always a sad time to leave Las Vegas/CES at the end of the week, but it will come around again in a year and we will be able to give you guys some great coverage again. I did get to hang out with Hienrich Jager from Neoseeker and help show him the ropes as it was his first time coming out to the convention. We all did have a great time and had some memorable moments. Hopefully you all enjoyed keeping up with the article as we all enjoyed writing for you.
So I have been dreaming of going to both CES and Las Vegas for many years now. When I first took the job as a Review Editor for OCC, I wasn't even thinking about getting an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Then Bosco posted about CES and asked the staff who would be interested, needless to say I jumped at the opportunity and was very thankful when I got an invite! The show was awesome, just walking around on the floor and getting to see all of the vendors showing off their products was a great experience. It felt pretty cool to get to see things that weren't even out on the market yet, like playing the futuristic jet-ski game on the phone at the Fujitsu booth that had a quad-core CPU in it with an HDMI cord going to a large LCD TV. Even though it wasn't going to be released in the US, due to carrier restrictions :( But, the best part of the show for me was definitely getting to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a game that I am eagerly awaiting and isn't even out yet. I probably looked like a little kid in a candy store when I walked up to the Plantronics booth and realized it was the new CS, I'm sure Chuck can vouch for this! The show was amazing, but not the best part of the trip!
Getting to meet everyone and putting faces with screen names, then real names was the best part! Grabbing food, hanging out, and going to the parties with everyone from OCC was awesome! Especially the Patriot/MSI/Intel party in the Hardwood Suite at the Palms! That was by far the most fun of all the events I attended over the week. You walk in and there is half of a basketball court in the freaking suite! I have typically been an AMD fan on the GPU, but after meeting some of the guys from NVIDIA, one of them from my home state, I may have to go with the green team for my next upgrade.
All in all, it was a great trip and it was nice to meet everyone on the OCC CES 2012 team. I want to say a big thanks to Dave for giving me the opportunity to go. When I left to go to Vegas, I knew screen names and avatars. When I left Vegas to come home, I had made some new friends! Hope to go again and see some familiar faces.
CES was a lot different from 6 years ago when I went. The first time I went the computer side of tech we were there for was everywhere, this time car audio, 3D TVs, and cell phone accessories ruled the show. To put faces with the names I have worked with was great. It was great meeting people from NVIDIA, Fractal, MNPCTech, IN WIN, Cooler Master, and more. To get a thumbs up for the mods I had done to my Stacker 810 from the CM crew was the best approval I could ever ask for. This was the first time I have had to write things up, so I hope you will forgive a moderator trying to do a reviewers job.
Though this was my second time attending CES with the OverclockersClub crew, I can say without any doubt that I still had no idea what to expect. If I did, I would have been proven wrong! I got to meet an entire new round of people, and still got to chill with the folks that I met last year. Even though it has been an entire year since I met anyone for the first time, walking into the hotel room and seeing everyone again felt like CES 2011 was only a few weeks ago. I have to say that since we had exactly twice the amount of folks this year as we did last year, I was hoping for half of the work. Man, was I wrong — by no means did that make the work any easier! It simply meant that there was twice the amount of stuff we could do. The OCC staff is such a hardworking set of people and though many of us get to see that through the internet, it is a true privilege to see it in person.
I can honestly say that between CES this year and last year, they have been some of the most fun experiences of my life. Even while suffering from a complete and utter lack of sleep, horrifyingly achy feet, stress levels through the roof and a schedule a mile long, all of that goes away in the few tiny filaments of free time we occasionally get blessed with when we got to relax for a few moments with the OCC family. I look forward to meeting everyone again next time I make it out to CES and hope to again meet some new faces. I almost couldn't ask for a better way to spend a week; each time I've been comes close to topping most of the vacations I've been on. Over and out — this is airman and I approve this message.
I have wanted to go to CES since I started working for OCC a few years ago, and Las Vegas since I turned 21. It didn't disappoint. It was nice to finally meet some of the staff from OCC and prove to my mother that not all people you meet on the Internet are crazy. I was able to see a lot of cool stuff at all of the booths, and meet a lot of cool people throughout the week. I really enjoyed the offerings from Sennheiser, NVIDIA, and Razer, and can't wait to see more of all the products that were introduced at CES.
We did a lot of work while we were there, walking around the convention center, taking pictures at the booths, and writing articles. We also had a lot of fun when we weren't working. I hope to be able to go back next year and spend more time with all of the OCC staff, but that will have to wait until next year. As I write this, I feel I am finally getting over the jet lag and lack of sleep from the last week as I get ready to go back to work and the real world tomorrow.
This was my sixth time to CES and as usual we were just as busy as the year before.
This year we had 13 bodies to help cover the event, which made things a lot easier to deal with. The crew that we had this year worked very hard and very late hours to make sure things were taken care of.
As usual the Internet connection was crappy. It's funny with a city that has so much money coming in, you would think they could spend some on the Internet. But I guess doing that would mean less money in Casinos.
Again this year we saw even more companies moving into Hotels and off the show floor, it will be interesting to see what happens in the next year or two to see if CES will survive or not. IMO the show is dying. A full level at the show for just Cell Phone cases like really......
I want to thank all of the companies that spent time to meet with us and host after parties, I would also like to thank all of the staff that attended the show that made my life so much easier. Special thanks goes out to company reps Bryan, Sean and Ramsom for the extra stuff that you guys did :).
Until next year, see you in the forums