Computex 2010 Coverage
Reviewed by: ClayMeow
Reviewed on: July 5, 2010
It may surprise you to learn that many of your favorite technology companies are headquartered in Taiwan. Though these companies may not come close to big name companies based out of the United States or Japan in terms of revenue, the impact these companies have on the global IT market is tremendous. If you're a frequent visitor to OverclockersClub, you've probably heard of several of them - companies like A-DATA, Acer, AOpen, ASUS, BenQ, Biostar, D-Link, ECS, Foxconn, G.Skill, Gigabyte, IOGear, JMicron, Kingmax, Leadtek, Lian Li, MSI, QNAP, Realtek, Shuttle, SiS, SilverStone, Thermaltake, TITAN Technology, Transcend, VIA Technologies, and many, many more. Odds are there is at least one part in your current PC that was manufactured by one of these companies.
It's no wonder then, that Taiwan is the perfect spot for a computer expo. COMPUTEX TAIPEI, also known as the Taipei International Information Technology Show, is the second biggest computer expo in the world, trailing only CeBIT, and had nearly 120,000 visitors in 2009. Further stats from the 2009 show can be found here.
The last time OverclockersClub got to attend Computex was 2008. I, Andrew "ClayMeow" Resnick, am honored to be representing OCC at Computex this year and will do my best to provide you with a wealth of information. I have attended CES the past two years, so I do have experience with trade shows, but this is going to be an entirely different experience. I'm here on my own - no large group like we have at CES each year. It will certainly be a challenge, but one that I am very ready to conquer.
For anyone residing in North or South America, the worst part about any trip to Asia is getting there. My trip started at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York, with a scheduled departure of 7:00 PM ET on Saturday, May 29th, heading to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). It was the one leg of my trip that I did not have a pre-assigned seat, and thus, of course, I was stuck with a middle seat - one of only two remaining at the time. Though I did the self check-in, there was an attendant standing by helping me, and he asked me if I'd rather have the other seat, as it was an exit row and thus had more leg room - I declined. Why am I mentioning this? Because one should never underestimate even the most minute decisions we make in our life. By some stroke of good fortune, it so happened that there was a couple split up, the guy having the window seat by me, while the girl had an aisle seat a few rows back. The girl asked if I would be willing to switch. Sure, it was further back in the plane, but giving up a middle seat for an aisle? No brainer!
So the trip started out rather good, but quickly turned frustrating. The flight was completely booked, and while a flight attendant was playing musical chairs, we were informed that a connecting flight from Kiev was first arriving, and thus we had to wait for roughly ten people. Thankfully, as you're probably aware, the airlines seem to account for delays, so we still arrived at LAX on time, at 10:50 PM PT.
At that point, I now had to exit the terminal I arrived in to head to Tom Bradley International Terminal. This involved me actually having to exit completely, and walk up a sidewalk to an entirely new building, which of course meant going through security all over again. My next flight wasn't scheduled to leave until 1:15 AM PT, however, so I had plenty of time. After getting through security, I made my way to Gate 123A, which was literally the very last gate on the right.
After standing around for a little while, someone from China Airlines made an announcement that our gate was changed to 101. Yes, you guessed it - the farthest possible gate from where we were. So I, along with a hundred other people, made our way past gate after gate to the other side of the terminal. Me being a New Yorker, I quickly emerged as the leader of the pack, and by the time we were just halfway there, was well ahead of everyone else.
While walking the long trek from the northern end of the terminal to the southern end, I hear an announcement - our gate was now changed to 104. I arrive at Gate 104, well ahead of anyone else, and ask woman at the desk if this is the flight to Taipei - she says yes, asks for my boarding pass, and issues me a new one. Unfortunately, because of the gate change, our departure time was pushed back to 2:15 AM PT. Remember, I'm from New York, so to me, it felt like 5:15 AM, and I had to fight really hard not to fall asleep in the gate - really, really hard.
By the time I was in my seat (again, an aisle seat), I was ready to pass out - indeed, that's what I did. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that we would be served dinner - I thought it was just a breakfast flight. So an hour into the flight, I'm woken up for dinner, which essentially means I had a power nap. The whole plan, going into the flight, was that I'd sleep through it so that I would be wide awake for my arrival in Taipei, early Monday morning. However, after the power nap, it was rather difficult to sleep. I took a combination of pills that are supposed to cause drowsiness, but it didn't entirely help. Still, I fought the urge to just watch a movie and instead kept my eyes closed throughout most of the flight - until breakfast.
Again, despite the hour delay on leaving LAX, my flight arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) at the scheduled time of 6:15 AM local time on Monday, May 31st, which is a full twelve hours ahead of New York. After clearing customs and acquiring my one checked suitcase, I made my way to the exit where there was a driver waiting to take me to my hotel. Not only is English taught in schools, but it's mandatory, so I was rather surprised when my driver didn't speak English. Thankfully, he was already aware of my destination, so the language barrier wasn't much of an issue.
After a roughly 20-minute drive, I arrived at my hotel, the Golden Palace Hotel. Despite it being just after 7 AM, I had no problem checking in and receiving my room key. Because it was early, I was also able to attend the continental breakfast, which in my opinion is a hell of a lot nicer than the ones in the U.S. Typically speaking, continental breakfasts in the U.S. are cheap, consisting of some breads, cereals and drinks (coffee and juice). Here, we had all that, along with salad, eggs, fish, soup, and a variety of other local delicacies. As for the room itself, I must say it's quite nice. Not only is it very spacious and eloquently designed, but being a business hotel, it offers free wireless and wired broadband connections - perfect for doing Computex coverage over the next several days!
What better way to start off Computex than by visiting one of Taiwan's own, TITAN Technology, better known as TITAN Cooler. The main product TITAN is showing off at the show is an update to its critically-acclaimed Fenrir heat pipe CPU coolers, the Fenrir EVO. The Fenrir EVO, or TTC-NK85TZ/CS2(RB), is similar to earlier versions, featuring four 8mm direct-contact heat pipes, but contains a new 12cm fan that sports nine kukri-shaped blades, operating at a mere 15dBA at 800RPM. The black and gold fins along with the gold-colored fan blades look nice as well.
As much as I like the look of the Fenrir EVO, I must say that I like the look of the special edition Fenrir, TTC-NK85TZ/CS(RB), even better - red and black with a splash of white.
Another heat pipe CPU cooler they were showing off was the fairly new, frameless Skalli, or TTC-NC05TZ/NPW(RB). This heat sink features dual 8mm U-shaped heat pipes and a 10cm noiseless fan.
TITAN also displayed a low-profile heat pipe cooler for Intel processors, the TTC-NC25TZ/PW, which has a rather useful feature - the ability to change the bracket alignment to one of three spots, making it easier for you to maneuver around nearby memory modules or other obstacles.
Here are several other heat sinks on display:
TITAN also displayed several of its notebook coolers, including the 3-in-1 G9T cooling pad (the three pieces are shown in the middle row of the second picture) and a rather unique egg-shaped docking station.
Although OCZ Technology is best known for its enthusiast-friendly memory, lately the company has been focusing its growth on the solid state drive (SSD) market. I met with OCZ's Global Marketing Manager, Jessica Luken, to discuss some of the new products in the works at OCZ, many of which will reach the market very shortly. Please note that specs are preliminary and subject to change.
The newest edition to OCZ's 2.5" SSD line will be the Vertex 2 EX, which is similar in spec to the Vertex 2 Pro, except for one key difference - it will use SLC NAND instead of MLC. SLC is typically faster than MLC and error correction is less taxing, but curiously, OCZ lists the same speeds for both. As with the Pro, the Vertex 2 EX uses the SandForce SF-1500 controller, so couple that with SLC NAND, and you're likely looking at a pretty hefty price tag.
Also on the horizon are a couple of 1.8" SSDs. Expected to arrive at the end of Q2, beginning of Q3, OCZ will cater to both ends of the spectrum - value and performance. The 1.8" Onyx is its value offering, coming in 32GB and 64GB flavors and sporting a max read of 145 MB/s and max write of 120 MB/s. It's performance offering is the 1.8" Vertex 2, sold in 60GB, 120GB and 240GB offerings and featuring a max read of 285 MB/s and max write of 275 MB/s.
As nice as the aforementioned SSDs are, the most interesting SSD in the works doesn't look like an SSD at all. Dubbed the OCZ RevoDrive, OCZ is getting around the SATA2 bottleneck by designing a drive that features a PCIe interface. By doing so, OCZ is able to achieve a max read of 540 MB/s, max write of 490 MB/s, sustained write of 470 MB/s, and 65k IOPS for the 120GB model, and a max read of 540 MB/s, max write of 530 MB/s, sustained write of 500 MB/s, and 75k IOPS for the 240GB model. Both versions use MLC NAND, consume a mere 3 watts while idle and 8 watts at load, and utilize a PCIe x4 slot.
Expected in Q3, OCZ will also be releasing a USB 3.0 portable SSD called Enyo. Enyo is expected to have a max read of 260 MB/s and max write of 200 MB/s. There will be a 64GB version, 128GB version and 256GB version, all housed in an anodized aluminum casing.
The last SSD-related product OCZ showed off was the HSDL (High Speed Data Link) Drive. Using a proprietary connection OCZ is able to attain a max read of 930 MB/s, max write of 790 MB/s, sustained write of 750 MB/s, and 75k IOPS. The first two images show a HSDL interface board for one and four drives, respectively, while the second two images are the SSD drives themselves. The drive will hold a standard 2.5" SSD and come with the cable needed to connect the drive to the interface board, yet still use the standard SATA power adapter for its power needs.
Though the main focus of my meeting was the SSD products, I can't talk about OCZ without at least showing its memory, even if there's nothing new to report on.
NZXT has a few cool new things in the works. The first new product I was shown by designer Johnny Hou was a case called Phantom. As you can see from the images below, the case has a very sleek design, which personally I think looks really nice. The case is aimed at enthusiasts and thus provides ample room for large video cards and heat sinks, support for dual radiators, seven hard drives, five 5.25" drives, seven PCI slots, seven fans, and eATX motherboards. The case will be available in three colors - white, black and red - and the interior color will match the exterior color.
Below is an image of the unique fan control system located on the top of the case, each supporting up to 20 watts. The icons below each control indicate which fans will be affected. From right to left: front, side-front, side-back, top, rear. Being an enthusiast case, NZXT definitely has cooling high on its priority list, providing support for a 14cm fan in the front, two 12cm fans on the side by the hard drive bays, a 20cm or 23cm fan on the side covering the motherboard, two 20cm fans on the top, and another 20cm fan on the back. The case will ship with the two 12cm fans on the side, one on the top, and the fan on the back.
The front door of the case is very sturdy and has a great feel to it. NZXT went the extra mile by thickening the door with a smooth rubberized material inside that really feels nice to the touch. The door is also slightly magnetized to keep it shut, and inside you'll find quick-release 5.25" mesh bay covers. On the top of the case, opposite the fan control, are an eSATA port, two USB ports, and headphone and microphone jacks, along with the power and reset buttons.
On the back of the case, toward the top, is a switch to turn on or off the LEDs on the case and fans, which is nice if you have it running in your bedroom while you're trying to sleep. In addition, there are four watercooling tube openings for those that want to have two separate circuits, and as is becoming the norm lately, the PSU is located on the bottom. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take any pictures of the inside of the case, but as mentioned above, the interior color matches the exterior color. The case also features a unique tool-less 5.25" mechanism that is very easy to use, and the hard drive cages feature trays that support 2.5" drives, providing support for SSDs. The case is expected to ship in July and retail for around $150.
NZXT also showed off an external, touch-screen fan control system. This is great for those that want a large LCD fan control system without the room in their 5.25" bays.
Another cool accessory is a LED rope. Many enthusiasts like to have the inside of their cases glow, especially those with windows. Cold cathode tubes used to be the main way to accomplish that, but because of the rigid nature of the tube, arranging them inside your case can be very tricky, often resulting in less than optimal lighting. NZXT has gotten around this by creating a braided rope with small LED bulbs interspersed throughout. This LED rope can easily be bent around any obstacles, which will make it ideal for modders.
Lastly, we have NZXT's new power supplies. Dubbed HALE90, all the PSUs in this line will be 80Plus Gold certified, and because NZXT doesn't like to conform to the norm, they are pearl white in color.
Headquartered in Taipei just a short drive from Computex, ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) is best known for its motherboards and video cards. It may surprise you then, that those two parts account for roughly half its business - but more on that later. At CES earlier this year, we saw the unveiling of 15u Gold Contact motherboards, which provide more durability and reliability than standard motherboards using 5u Gold. So what did ECS have in store for us here at Computex? James Lleverino gave Kevin (Neoseeker) and I a personal tour of their fairly large booth, and both of us came away amazed.
One of the main things ECS wanted to show off was a change to its Black Series line of motherboards - a change in color scheme. The PCB remains black while the rest of the components - sockets, slots, etc. - are black, grey and white, instead of the red, orange and yellow of the current boards. Looks are obviously objective, but personally I found the new look far superior to the old look. The new look fits well with the "black" theme and has a clean, professional look. Performance and price are always key factors when purchasing a motherboard, but looks are also extremely important to a lot of people, especially those with windowed or open-air cases, so you'll definitely want to check out the new Black Series boards if you're one of those people. The particular board they had on display with the new color scheme was the P55H-AK, which will sport SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0.
The other aesthetic change ECS is making is to its boxes. As you can see in the photos below, the common theme is an angled emblem, resembling a case badge. I think the new design looks pretty sleek. I especially like the dragon on the Black Series.
ECS was also showing off new boards that will support Intel's future 6 Series chipset. As with the P55H-AK, the board will support SATA 6GB/s and USB 3.0, along with 7.1 hi-def audio. If you're an overclocker, you'll want to pay particular interest to the P67H2-A2, which features an easy to use OC dial (middle-left photo) that increases your CPU by set percentages. In the middle-right photo, you can see the I/O panel for that particular board, which shows the 7.1 channel audio jacks, eight USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA 6GB/s ports, two Gigabit LAN ports, and one PS/2 port. You may have also noticed the small black button to the far right of the image - that's the Clear CMOS button. Although it may seem like a minor change, ECS has surrounded it by a casing making it actually take effort to push, unlike on previous boards that invited accidental presses.
ECS also showed off a couple of mini-ITX boards - H55H-I and TIGT-CI. The TIGT-CI even includes legacy LPT1 and COM ports.
The real game-changer in the motherboard market is probably going to come from ECS's eco-friendly goal, dubbed ECS Deep Green Technology. You may not be aware of this, but the European Union (EU) issued an Energy Using Products (EuP) Directive several years ago that dictates the amount of power a system can consume while in sleep or standby mode. ECS claims that the EuP's standard is 0.25W by 2013, although my research indicates it's actually 0.50W. It doesn't really matter what the exact standard is, however, because ECS is going to smash it. With ECS Deep Green Technology, a mere 0.001W of power will be consumed in sleep mode. Yes, you read that correctly - 250 times less power consumption than the 0.25W EuP standard. Despite this being an EU standard, even the non-European markets will benefit from Deep Green, as ECS will be implementing this in all its boards, worldwide.
On the video card front, ECS manufactures NVIDIA cards, but there's nothing really new to report on - as NVIDIA releases new chipsets, ECS will make new cards. However, as you can see below, the heat sink decals for the GTX 400 Series are pretty nice. In addition, if you look closely at the heat sinks on the GT 240 and GT 220, you may notice that they're just plain black. Decals are included in the box, allowing you to customize the look.
So now that I've covered ECS motherboards and video cards, do you remember way back in the beginning when I stated that those two components encompassed merely a half of the company's business? It may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but ECS manufactures a whole slew of other products, but us retail consumers would never know it, because they're not branded with the ECS name. Instead, they're sold to other companies, typically smaller, localize companies, who slap their name on it and sell it as one of their own. So, even though you may see the ECS logo on some of the products on this page, that's not how they'll come to market. The first products we were shown were a Core i5 notebook, an Atom-powered netbook, and an Atom-powered, multi-touch tablet PC.
Although those first three products were manufactured by the same division that manufactures the motherboards and video cards, ECS already had a laptop division when it purchased laptop manufacturer Uniwill a few years ago. As such, it's a bit unclear how the two divisions will co-exist. Here are a few photos of the laptops already created and offered by ECS.
ECS also manufactures a Classmate. Classmates are Intel's low-cost netbooks for children in developing nations, similar to the One Laptop Per Child initiative. The Classmate has a sturdy design and handle for easy carrying.
ECS also makes desktops...
And "Net Boxes", which are extremely small, as can be seen next to the mouse and speaker in the last photo. The motherboards behind glass are simply showing off what's actually inside the chassis.
And just when you thought ECS couldn't possibly manufacture more, yes, they make displays as well. At Computex, ECS was showing off an all-in-one multi-touch panel (photos 1-4 below) and an all-in-one 3D panel (photos 5-8 below).
ECS even showed off some new e-readers - some with touch, some with manual controls. Basically, ECS designed and manufactured the hardware and now they'll sell it to another company that will put their software (and logo) on it.
Lastly, I'd like to thank James for showing us around the booth. I don't know about you guys, but Kevin and I certainly didn't realize everything ECS does. They may be a motherboard manufacturer first and foremost, but they're clearly much more, and have a much larger impact on the computer industry than we realized.
I've been sporting an Antec P160 for years now, simply because I never found another case worth moving into. I think I've now discovered my next case - Corsair's Graphite Series 600T. Sleek, sexy and functional - those would be the three words I'd use to describe Corsair's latest prototype that was previewed at Computex this year. Corsair's tagline for the 600T is "mid-tower outside, full-tower inside." Corsair accomplishes this in two ways; first, by making the case slightly wider than your typical mid-tower, and second, with reconfigurable hard drive bays.
The case is wider and the side panels are curved slightly to allow for better cable management. Cases often boast cable routing behind the motherboard tray, yet rarely provide ample room to house your wires, making you fight for every space. Not so with the 600T - simply route your wires thru the plentiful openings and stuff it behind the motherboard without worrying whether the side panel will close. The pictures don't really do it justice - there's plenty of room there. As for the reconfigurable hard drive bays, the 600T supports up to six 3.5" drives in two hard drive cages (three in each). What makes them reconfigurable is that you can remove one or both of the cages to accommodate multiple, extra long GPUs (up to 15"). But unlike other cases, you won't necessarily have to remove the cages entirely - you can instead mount the cage at the bottom of the case next to the PSU!
The 600T also includes two 200mm fans with white LEDs (front and top), a rear 120mm exhaust fan, and a built-in fan speed controller on the top-front of the case (alongside four USB, one eSATA, one Firewire, and headphone/microphone jacks). In addition, the top fan can be removed to accommodate a 2x120mm radiator and fans. As of right now, the case does not have a window, but Corsair will most likely create a windowed side panel as an option, though it'll probably be of a mesh design to match the rest of the case, rather than clear plastic.
Corsair was also showing off its AirFlow Pro, which mounts about Corsair's AirFlow fan and connects to any Dominator memory that includes DHX Pro. The AirFlow Pro contains a series of LEDs that display memory activity, while the center LEDs change according to the temperature. In the photo below, the middle LEDs are red because they turned off the fan to raise the temperatures. Visual cues are always welcome additions for enthusiasts.
Next were Corsair's fully modular power supplies. Yes, even the ATX 20+4-pin cable is modular! The three power supplies - AX750, AX850, AX1200 - are all 80 Plus Gold. The AX750 and AX850 contain an ultra-quiet 120mm fan, while the AX1200 contains an ultra-quiet 140mm fan.
I also got to see Corsair's recently released CPU coolers, the A50 and A70.
Lastly, Corsair had a bunch of USB flash drives on display, and while that's usually not something to bother discussing, I must say I was rather impressed by the speeds boasted by the Flash Voyager GTR, a USB 2.0 drive, thanks to its quad-channel design.
I met with the CEO and President of Bigfoot Networks, Michael Howse, to find out what the company behind the Killer NIC cards had in store for us in 2010 and beyond. The first thing I was shown was the recently released Killer 2100. The Killer 2100 features a 400 MHz dedicated network processor (NPU) and 128 MB DDR2 RAM.
The real star of the show, however, may be the new software. First up is the Gaming Network Efficiency Benchmark. Ever since the Killer NIC line was introduced, users would often state that they noticed an improvement, yet never understood exactly how much they were gaining. Bigfoot Networks heard those pleas and the new benchmark aims to provide the answer. The benchmark allows you to chose two adapters to compare and then tracks the UDP Ping time on a graph. After the test is complete, you can see the mean ping time for each adapter, the standard deviation, and the average of the worst ten percent. It really allows you to see how much faster the Killer card compared to your other choices, like onboard.
The second bit of software is actually what controls how your Killer card performs. Bigfoot Networks Killer Network Manager software allows you to do everything from monitoring performance, examining the network usage of individual processes, setting how much each is allowed to use (or blocking them completely), and testing your Internet Provider speed.
Lastly, Bigfoot Networks announced that it is working with video card manufacturers to combine its Killer 2100 with video cards. The first such company it worked with was the TUL Corporation, manufacturer of the PowerColor brand of ATI graphics cards. The PowerColor Sniper combines a Radeon HD 5770 with a Killer 2100 on one card. As the standalone Killer 2100 utilizes the PCIe x1 interface, Howse often heard that gamers only had one such slot available and didn't want to sacrifice a dedicated sound card, or other device, for a Killer NIC. By putting the Killer 2100 onto a graphics card, gamers will be able to receive the benefits of the NPU without sacrificing an additional PCIe slot. The card will contain a separate GPU and NPU, but obviously share the same bus, so Bigfoot is working closely with TUL to ensure maximum performance is achieved. Howse assured me that he is shooting for equal or greater performance on both the graphical level and network level. If this is accomplished, this should be a huge boost for Bigfoot Networks, possibly pushing the company into more mainstream use.
Zalman is best known for its cooling products, so it was no surprise that they were the first things I was shown when visiting the Zalman suite. First up was the new line of VGA coolers, the VF3000, which comes in three flavors. The VF3000A supports ATI 5870/5850/HD5830 and is red, the VF3000N supports NVIDIA's GTX 285/280/275/260 and is black, and the VF3000F supports the latest NVIDIA Fermi cards and is green. All versions feature five heatpipes, two ultra-quiet, variable-speed, nine-blade fans, and a sleek aluminum cover in the aforementioned colors. The coolers also come with matching RAM heat sinks. Zalman provided me with a plethora of images of these beauties.
Zalman was also showing off the VF770, which features a single fan and a "flower" heat sink design. Once again, RAM heat sinks are included.
On the CPU Cooler side of things, Zalman showed off the CNPS9900 Max and CNPS5X. The CNPS9900 Max features an "Omega design" with an ultra quiet 135mm FDB LED Fan, while the CNPS5X features a 92mm EBR fan.
Next up were a couple of notebook coolers, the NC2500 Plus and NC3000. The NC2500 Plus supports notebooks up to 17" widescreen and features dual fans, three USB ports, and adjustable height. The coolest feature is the built-in 2.5" SATA HDD/SSD bay that allows for hot-swappable expanded storage for your notebook. The NC3000 supports notebooks up to 19" and features a single 220mm fan, along with three USB ports. Unlike the NC2500 Plus, it does not contain a hard drive bay.
Lastly, Zalman was showing off a 2D/3D convertible monitor. Available in 21.5" (ZM-M215W) and 24" (ZM-M240W), both versions feature a Full HD 16:9 panel and support 3D and S3D media and applications. Unlike NVIDIA's 3D Vision, which uses shutter glasses, Zalman uses circular polarization for its 3D monitors and provides two glasses in the box, with additional ones available for purchase. Circular polarization is what Real3D uses, so if you've seen a 3D movie in the theater recently, like Avatar, you have an idea of what to expect. In addition, the monitors include the iZ3D driver, which supports both ATI and NVIDIA cards.
As with most 3D technology, it's fairly impossible for me to show you what it looks like. Nevertheless, I can tell you I was pretty damn impressed. Of course, as with any demo, the company's showing off its technology to the best of its ability, but even still, I haven't experienced 3D as three-dimensional as this - in one scene, a snake slithered so far "off the screen" it was literally inches from my face. The downside is that the viewing angle when viewing in 3D is extremely tight, especially vertically. This may make gaming a bit difficult where you may be accustomed to moving you head, but as with most new things, it may just take some getting used to. The other downside is that because of the polarization, the screen is very glossy, so be sure to turn down the lights. And of course, there's the price, which will probably be about double what you'd pay for your typical 2D LCD of the same size, though it should still prove to be cheaper the NVIDIA 3D Vision, which requires the 3D Vision Kit as well as a 120Hz LCD. Like I said, I was very impressed by the extent of the 3D experience, but is it worth the price for gaming? Probably not.
To me, for years, Enermax has always represented one of the top power supply manufacturers. Its PSUs are high quality and the craftsmanship is top notch. The Liberty series, in particular, was one of my favorite, back in the day. So when I visited the Enermax booth, I was very eager to see what the company had to offer in a very crowded industry.
Enermax was showcasing its new 80 Plus Gold and 80 Plus Silver lines of power supplies. The PRO87+ line contains the non-modular 80 Plus Gold power supplies, available in 500W, 600W and 700W. The MODU87+ line contains the modular 80 Plus Gold power supplies, available in 500W, 600W, 700W, 800W and 900W. The power supplies in both lines have 87-93% efficiency at 20-100% load and feature a 13.9cm Twister-bearing, low-noise, gold-colored fan. The PSUs also feature Dynamic Hybrid Transformer (DHT) Topology, which uses a staged dynamic transformer array to provide durability, stability and high efficiency. They also use Japanese capacitors, as is norm with high quality PSUs, and have HeatGuard, which keeps the fan running for 30-60 seconds after shutdown to dissipate the remaining system heat and thus prolong system life. The 500W - 700W models are tri-rail (25A each), while the 800W and 900W models are quad-rail (30A each).
Enermax also had three high-end prototype PSUs on display dubbed 87++, in 1100W, 1300W and 1500W. They're being called 87++ because of the extremely high efficiency that goes well beyond the 80 Plus Gold standard. As such, Enermax isn't exactly sure how to classify them and aren't even certain they'll see the market.
Enermax's 80 Plus Silver line is called the REVOLUTION85+. The 920W and 1020W versions have four rails at 35A each, while the 850W, 950W, 1050W and 1250W versions have six rails at 30A each. The PSUs have 85-92.9% efficiency at 20-100% load, and like the aforementioned series, features HeatGuard.
All the aforementioned power supplies are C6 and Hybrid mode ready thanks to its ZERO LOAD Design, which essentially means there is no minimum load. This is key because C6 mode (for CPUs) and Hybrid mode (for GPUs) could consume as little as 1W, which would cause most PSUs to have unstable voltage or even shutdown. In addition, the modular PSUs are "future ready" in that its connectors are a 12P socket design, compared to the standard 8P. This means that if new CPUs and/or GPUs require 10P and/or 12P connectors, Enermax's modular power supplies will be able to accommodate them. These two features could prove to be major selling points for those that are frequent upgrades or simply like to future-proof their builds.
Lastly, Enermax had a "Reality Lab" set up, hosted by Dr. Power, comparing different PSUs to highlight the efficiency and cooling of its PSUs. The setup included a generic non-80+ 500W PSU, an Enermax MODU82+ 525W 80 Plus Bronze PSU, and an Enermax MODU87+ 500W 80 Plus Gold PSU. Each PSU was set at 285W load, and the second photo below shows you how many watts were actually being used by each PSU; 359W for the generic model, 335W for the 82+, and only 308W for the 87+. There was also a temperature display comparing the generic model to the 82+, with the latter being nearly 5°C cooler. If you ran your system 24/7 for a full year, Enermax estimates that you'd save 450KW/h with the 87+.
Although Biostar produces graphics cards as well, the company is best known for its motherboards, and thus, that was the focus of my visit to the Biostar Booth. First up were the Intel boards. The TH55 XE is a mATX board that supports Core i7, i5 and i3 processors, has integrated graphics based on the CPU model, and features 100% Japanese solid capacitors with Biostar's Dura-Max technology. Most importantly to OCC, it supports unlocked processors.
Next was the slightly less impressive H55A+. Though an ATX board, like the TH55 XE, the H55A+ supports Core i7, i5 and i3 processors, has integrated graphics based on the CPU model, but doesn't have Dura-Max and only has a 5 Phase Power design compared to 7 Phase on the TH55 XE.
When it comes to enthusiasts though, we don't want integrated graphics, we want a high-powered beast. For that, Biostar has the TPower I55. Using the P55 chipset, the TPower I55 supports Core i7, i5 and i3 processors, SLI or CrossfireX, and up to DDR3-2600(OC). It features Dura-Max technology, 100% Japanese solid capacitors, 8+4 Phase Power design, as well as a 2 Phase Memory Power design, and Biostar's Space-Pipe cooling.
Biostar also showed off two prototype Intel 6 Series boards, the TP67XE and TH67XE, using the P67 chipset and H67 chipset, respectively. Both boards feature USB3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s support, 100% Japanese solid capacitors, and 8+2 channel HD Blu-ray audio. The TP67XE is an ATX board with an 8 Phase Power design, while the TH67XE is an mATX with a 7 Phase Power design.
Next up were the AMD boards, starting with two mATX 880G and SB710 chipset boards, featuring integrated Radeon HD4250 graphics, the TA880GB+ and A880G+. The TA880GB+ supports 4x DDR3 up to 16GB, while the A880G+ supports 2x DDR3 up to 8GB.
The TA880G HD is an mATX board with the 880G and SB850 chipsets, and like the previous two AMD boards, features the Radeon HD4250. The TA880G HD has 100% Japanese solid capacitors, a 5 Phase Power design, 8+2 channel Blu-ray audio, 128MB sideport memory, and supports SATA 6Gb/s.
The TA890GXE and TA890GXB HD are two mATX boards using the 890GX and SB850 chipsets. Both boards feature the Radeon HD4290 and SATA 6Gb/s support, but the TA890GXE has 8+2 channel Blu-ray audio and 128MB sideport memory, while the TA890GXB HD only has 5.1 audio and no sideport memory.
The only 870 chipset board Biostar had was the TA870+, coupled with the SB850 chipset. An ATX board, the TA870+ has 100% Japanese solid capacitors, 8+2 channel Blu-ray audio, 5 Phase Power design plus 2 Phase Memory Power design, and support for SATA 6Gb/s and CrossfireX.
Lastly, we have the TA890FXE, an ATX board containing the 890FX and SB850 chipsets. The TA890FXE features 100% Japanese solid capacitors, 8+2 channel Blu-ray audio, 6 Phase Power design plus 2 Phase Memory Power design, supports SATA 6Gb/s and CrossfireX, and has silent-pipe cooling. Biostar also used this board to show off ATI Eyefinity, using a Radeon HD5850.
In a show as big as Computex, it's sometimes hard to get your booth noticed. Not the case with GeIL - it's pretty tough to overlook a gigantic Thor statue. What does Thor have to do with GeIL, a company known for its memory? GeIL was promoting its new power supply brand, Thortech.
After seeing the giant Thor statue, it didn't surprise me when I was brought to the power supplies first. Thortech consists of two lines, the Thunderbolt Series and the Thunderbolt PLUS Series. Both series are 80 Plus Gold certified, modular, features low ESR 105°C solid state capacitors, has a 135mm ball bearing fan with smart fan control circuit, and comes with a five year warranty. The Thunderbolt Series features a quad-rail design providing up to 52A on the 650W model, 70A on the 850W model, 80A on the 1000W model, and 100A on the 1200W model. The Thunderbolt PLUS Series features a single rail design providing up to 65A on the 800W model, 80A on the 1000W model, and 100A on the 1200W model. The Thunderbolt PLUS series also comes with an iPower Meter PC chassis front control panel, which displays voltage, efficiency rating, fan speed, and temperature.
As far as memory goes, there's the EVO TWO, DDR3 gaming memory with MTCD (Maximized Thermal Conduction & Dissipation) Technology. EVO TWOs are available in dual, triple, quad and hexa-channel kits, and come in nine speeds ranging from PC3-8500 all the way up to PC3-20000. All EVO TWOs come with a lifetime warranty.
When I spotted the PNY booth, I expected to find some video cards on display, maybe some memory. Instead, I was greeted with all sorts of USB Flash drives, ranging from odd to odder. In the Asian markets, apparently USB flash drives are PNY's biggest sellers. The coolest series is the Attaché Green, which is made from vegetables, allowing it to compost 93.82% of the housing in 180 days under landfill simulated test conditions. Depending on the temperature and surrounding environment, they can compost between 47 days and 4 years, the latter at a temperature of 4°C under water. They also happen to be the slimmest and lightest USB Flash drives, measuring in at 30mm x 12mm x 2.1mm and weighing a mere two grams.
Micro-Star International, better known as MSi, is one of Taiwan's biggest motherboard and graphics card manufacturers. My tour of MSi's booth started with the N480GTX HydroGen, a custom liquid cooled NVIDIA GTX 480 in an ultra-slim 1-slot design. Aside from 1.5GB GDDR5, two DVI-I ports and a Mini-HDMI port, MSi had no further details on the card, but I'd be surprised if it doesn't come pre-overclocked.
Continuing with NVIDIA-based cards, next up were two Twin Frozr II cards, the N480GTX Twin Frozr II and N470GTX Twin Frozr II. In addition, MSi was showing off a special N465GTX Twin Frozr II Golden Edition, which features a full copper Twin Frozr II thermal design. All three contain what MSi refers to as Military Class Components, which feature SSC (Solid State Chokes), Hi-C CAPs, and All Solid CAPs, providing higher stability and longer lifespan.
Moving over to the ATi side of things, MSi was showing off the R5870 Lightning and R5770 Hawk. Both feature the Twin Frozr II and Military Class Components. The R5870 boasts a whopping 15 Phase PWM design, while the R5770 has a still-impressive 7+1 Phase PWM design.
Moving on to the motherboards, MSi's setup was rather interesting - it was not organized by CPU (Intel vs. AMD), but rather performance. When it comes to "Xtreme Performance for Power Users", MSi was showing off the X58A-GD65, which features USB3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, 7.1 channel HD Audio, and Military Class Components. When it comes to "Value Seekers for Enthusiast Computing", MSi was showing off the 890FXA-GD70, which uses the AMD 890FX and SB850 chipsets, providing USB3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, 7.1 channel HD Audio, and of course, Military Class Components. Lastly, when it comes to the "Premium Choice for Mainstream Users", MSi was showing off the P55A-GD65, which still happens to feature USB3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, 7.1 channel HD Audio, and Military Class Components.
Next up were two Fuzion boards, the 870A Fuzion and the P55A Fuzion. What's cool about Fuzion boards is that they allow for cross-vendor, multi-GPU solutions using Hydra technology. N-Mode is using all NVIDIA cards, A-Mode is using all ATi cards, and X-Mode is using a mix. To show off this technology, MSi had a demo system running with one of its Fuzion boards using GeForce 9800GT and Radeon HD 5770, illustrating that the technology allows users to buy a new graphics card without having to ditch their old card.
MSi was also showing off two boards from its Big Bang series, the Big Bang-XPower and Big Bang-Fuzion. The XPower uses Intel's X58 Express chipset, while the Fuzion uses Intel's P55 Express chipset. Both feature a 7.1 channel Quantum Wave Audio Card, but only the XPower has USB3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s support.
Lastly, as many motherboard manufacturers are doing at Computex this year, MSi unveiled its prototype Intel 6 Series motherboard, featuring USB3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, 7.1 channel Quantum Wave Audio, and Military Class Components. Now all that's left is for Intel to release the chipset and its Sandy Bridge processors.
Patriot Memory continues the trend of well-known memory manufacturers pushing non-memory components. But I'm not one to complain about that - not when the first thing I was shown by Director of Marketing Eric Ackerson was the Artemis II. Put simply, Patriot's Artemis II is a beast. Featuring a Super Micro X8DTH-i dual-Xeon motherboard, twelve sticks of Patriot 4GB DDR3-1333MHz ECC-Registered RAM, and seven LSI 9260-8i SATA RAID controllers, Patriot connected 14 Patriot Convoy 425S drive bays, each containing four Patriot INFERNO 200GB SSDs. That equates to 56 INFERNO 200GB SSDs in RAID-0, achieving over 160,000 Total I/Os per Second according to the Iometer benchmark on display!
Obviously, the Patriot Artemis II wasn't built for resale, but rather to showcase its products, the Convoy 425S and INFERNO SSD. The Convoy 425S and its aluminum-casing brother, the Convoy 425XL, are pretty sweet, holding up to four 2.5" HDDs or SSDs in a single 5.25" drive bay. They also support RAID 0, 1, 3, 5, 10, Clone, Large, and JBOD configurations, and each drive tray is individually hot swappable. They support speeds up to 3 Gb/s and have LED status/activity lights for each drive.
The Patriot INFERNO Series of solid state drives feature the SandForce SF-1200 and MLC NAND Flash, delivering speeds of 285MB/s read and 275MB/s write. They come in 100GB and 200GB capacities and include a 3.5" bracket for mounting in desktops.
Next up was the Patriot Box Office. This tiny media player features an internal 2.5" SATA drive slot for use with any SSD/HDD, but also features three USB2.0 ports to connect to external drives, and also a 10/100 Ethernet connection and optional WiFi USB adapter. The Box Office supports full HD video playback up to 1080p and supports many of today's popular file formats for video, images and audio. The Box Office ships with HDMI, Composite and USB cables, as well as remote.
Ackerson also showed me a few SuperSpeed USB 3.0 peripherals. First up was the Gauntlet, an all aluminum 2.5" HDD or SSD enclosure that offers transfer rates up to 5Gb/s. Next were the SuperSpeed USB PCI-e Adapter Card and SuperSpeed USB 2-Port ExpressCard. Both cards allow you to add two USB3.0 ports to your existing devices, providing transfer rates up to 5Gb/s.
Speaking of USB3.0, Patriot is updating its Xporter Magnum line of USB Flash drives with the Xporter Magnum Plus. But seeing how expensive the USB2.0 Magnum drives are, I'm scared to see how much the USB3.0 Magnum Plus drives will sell for.
Another update is to Patriot's LX Series of SDHC memory cards, adding a 64GB version.
I couldn't visit the Patriot booth without a look at some system memory. Patriot was showing off its Viper Sector 5 modules featuring speeds up to DDR3-2500.
When it comes to high performance memory solutions, KINGMAX is probably not the first company that comes to mind. Maybe it's because I couldn't find its memory on sale in the U.S. or maybe it's because OCC has never reviewed a set. Whatever the reason may be, that may be about to change - Kingmax had the most impressive unveiling of all companies at Computex, in my opinion. KINGMAX was showing off its patented Nano Thermal Dissipation Technology. Put simply, RAM modules using Nano Thermal Dissipation Technology are not only able to run without a heat sink, but at a cooler temperature as well.
KINGMAX had a live demo running comparing 2x2GB DDR3-2200 with Nano Thermal Dissipation Technology to 2x2GB DDR3-2200 with a Hercules heat sink and 2x2GB DDR3-2200 with a normal heat sink. The Memtest86 photo below shows that the Nano Tech modules are entirely stable. The modules with the normal heat sink, although not pictured below, were throwing up error after error due to overheating. The real marvel is how the temperatures of the Nano Tech modules compare to the modules with the Hercules heat sink, which is KINGMAX's current high-end memory solution (see product image at bottom of page). The temperature for the Hercules modules was hovering around 41.5°C, while the Nano Tech modules averaged about two degrees cooler!
One of the coolest parts of my visit to the KINGMAX booth was getting to sit down with the president of the company for a Q&A session. I asked him about the possibility of licensing this technology to video card manufacturers, as the RAM chips on video cards get extremely hot and are often the toughest things to cool. After stating that I'm very smart for suggesting such a thing, he went on to say that it was certainly something he'd like to look into, as he agrees there is a lot of room for improvement in that aspect of cooling.
I'm definitely very impressed with this new technology and am eager to see it hit the market. As for KINGMAX's current offerings, here are photos of its dual and triple channel DDR3-2000 modules, as well as its DDR3-2200 modules featuring the aforementioned Hercules heat sink.
COUGAR is one of those companies you're probably not familiar with. Based in Germany, COUGAR products are only sold in Eastern Europe, so it's no surprise if you haven't heard the name before. COUGAR produces power supplies. At Computex, COUGAR was showing off its 80 Plus Gold, 80 Plus Silver and 80 Plus Bronze lines.
Its 80 Plus Gold series is called COUGAR GX and consists of 600W, 700W, 800W, 900W, and 1050W models. The 600W model is quad-rail with two rails at 20A and two rails at 24A. The 700W and 800W models are also quad-rail, but with two rails at 22A and two rails at 24A. The 900W and 1050W models are hexa-rail at 25A apiece. All COUGAR GX models feature 105°C Japanese capacitors, solid caps, Rapid Switch Technology (RST), and a 14cm Hydro-Dynamic Bearing (HDB) fan. They are also modular.
COUGAR has two 80 Plus Silver series, COUGAR SX and COUGAR SE. Both feature 105°C Japanese capacitors, RST, and a 14cm HDB fan. The main difference is that the SX line is modular and quad-rail, while the SE line is non-modular and dual-rail. The SX line comes in 550W, 700W and 850W versions. The SE line comes in 400W, 460W and 560W versions.
Lastly, we have 80 Plus Bronze, which like Silver, comes in two flavors, COUGAR CMX and COUGAR POWERX. COUGAR CMX features 105°C Japanese capacitors and a 14cm HDB fan, and comes in dual-rail 550W and 700W versions and hexa-rail 1000W and 1200W versions. In addition, they're modular. The COUGAR POWERX line features 105°C Japanese capacitors and a 12cm HDB fan, and comes in dual-rail 400, 550W and 700W versions. The POWERX line is not modular.
Ozone Gaming Gear
Ozone is still a fairly new company, and with only one online reseller in the U.S. and Canada (and presumably only because the site has global portals), it wouldn't be a surprise if you've never heard of them before. In fact, I was a bit surprised to even see them at Computex since, from what I can see, they don't sell their products in Asia. Still, if you're a gamer in Europe, you may want to take notice.
I started with Ozone's extensive line of gaming headsets. Their current arsenal consists of two 3.5mm headsets and two USB headsets, and they've just announced a third USB headset to bring the total to five. The first one I took a look at was the Ozone Attack, labeled as a "stereo gaming headset." The Attack features fully braided, 2.5m cable containing two 3.5mm jacks for headphone and microphone. It includes a fairly basic inline controller for volume and microphone on/off controls. At Computex, Ozone unveiled a white version.
The Ozone Spark is the other "stereo gaming headset", once again containing two 3.5mm jacks for headphone and microphone on a fully braided, 2.5m cable. The Spark features a foldable design for easy storage and/or carrying, and like the Attack, includes an inline controller for volume and microphone on/off controls.
The first USB headset I took at look at was the Ozone Oxid. This "advanced gaming headset" features a retractable microphone with red LED, and the 3m USB cable contains one snazzy inline controller. The inline controller contains a volume wheel, a mute switch, a subwoofer switch, a multimedia control, and a microphone on/off switch.
Next up was the Ozone Strato, a "5.1 surround sound professional gaming headset." The Strato features a 3m USB cable, foldable design for portability, and contains four speakers in each earcup. The inline controller has separate controls for each sound channel, along with the microphone.
Lastly, there was the newly-revealed Ozone FX. This "5.1 subwoofer pro gaming headset" features six speakers, a subwoofer, and independent volume control on its inline controller. The FX also features a dedicated switch to change between gaming or movie mode and promises an "enhanced gaming experience" thanks to vibration units.
Next up were two new professional gaming mice, the Ozone Radon 3k and 5k. Both feature a 1.5m braided cord with adjustable cable position, custom weight control using five 4.5g weights, built-in memory to store up to three profiles for its seven programmable buttons, all of which support macros and scripting, and two separate LED indicators, one for dpi levels and one to indicate the profile selected. The Radon 3k features a Philips PLN 2030 Ultimate Laser Sensor that provides reporting up to 2.25m/s, a USB report rate with four selectable levels up to 500Hz, and on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment from 100 to 3200 dpi. The Radon 5k features a Philips PLN 2032 Ultimate Laser Sensor that provides reporting up to 1m/s, a USB report rate with four selectable levels up to 1000Hz, and on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment from 100 to 5600 dpi. The Radon 5k also includes a mouse bag and weight bag.
Lastly, Ozone unveiled a new waterproof version of its Ozone Trace gaming mouse pad, as well as a gaming laptop backpack.
If the looks and craftsmanship are any indication of the quality and performance of Ozone's products, I sure hope we see more of them in North America.
SilverStone is best known for its cases and power supplies, but before being shown the three new cases unveiled at Computex, I was shown the recently-released Air Penetrator fans. Available in two flavors, the 180mm AP181 and 120mm AP121, the Air Penetrator fans feature overlapping fan blades and a unique grill that provide increased and focused airflow. The AP181 is black and spins from 700 to 1200 rpm, spitting out 80 to 130 CFM at 18 to 34 dBA. The AP121 features transparent blue UV fan blades in a black frame and spins at 1500 rpm, producing 35.36 CFM at 22.4 dBA.
As stated above, SilverStone unveiled three new cases at Computex. The first case was the Raven RV03, the third update to the Raven series. One of the complaints of the RV02 was that it was too deep, so SilverStone reduced the depth in the RV03 to something more the norm for a mid-tower case. However, due to a revised layout, the RV03 can accommodate extended-ATX motherboards like the RV01 and unlike the RV02. SilverStone also moved the PSU to the front of the case and put the hard drives facing the back side, which forces cable management. The RV03 supports four 3.5" drives plus two 2.5" drives and comes with two AP181 fans. In the photos below, you can also see the new 90° power cable being used with a SilverStone ST1000-P power supply.
The Fortress FT03 is a pretty sleek case, unlike anything I've seen before. It features an aluminum outer shell with steel body and fits mATX boards. The shell is very smooth and plain all around, except for a vent on one side, and has no wires coming out of any side (they come out of the top openings, making it great for HTPCs, as you can stick it just about anywhere. Measuring in at 235mm (W) x 438mm (H) x 284mm (D), it's fairly tall for an mATX case - but that's a good thing, as it is not only able to fit a full-size CPU cooler, it can also fit large high-end video cards, like the Radeon HD 5970 that was stuffed in the display model. The case also has room for three 3.5" drives, two of which are hot-swappable, and one 2.5" drive.
The last case SilverStone unveiled at Computex was the Temjin TJ11, a pure beast of a case. The TJ11 is an all-aluminum case that measures 225mm (W) x 650mm (H) x 650mm (D). In fact, it's so big that SilverStone included two power buttons - one on the top for those that put their case on the floor, and one on the bottom-front for those that put their case on their desk. The TJ11 has nine 5.25" external bays, six 3.5" internal drive trays, and three 2.5" mounting brackets on the side of the 5.25" bays, so no space is left unused. On the top of the case, toward the front, there are four USB ports - two USB 3.0 ports on the left side and two USB 2.0 ports on the right side. The TJ11 comes with two AP181 fans and three 120mm fans. If you're using watercooling, there's also the optional 4x120mm radiator attachment - the biggest radiator you'll find. Lastly, SilverStone gives a nod to modders by making the case completely free of rivets - screws are used for everything.
The Digital Plaza, also referred to as Electronic Market, is like nothing I've ever seen before. A whole street filled with store after store selling computers and components.
Then, across the street, a four-floor mall dedicated to even more shops selling computers and components. I guess this is what happens when there aren't retailers like Newegg, Microcenter, Fry's, etc. It was amazing to see how many people were at these stores in the afternoon on a work day. As you can see in the last photo, they're even selling recently-released, high-end products.
Shilin Night Market
There are several night markets in Taipei, but the biggest is Shilin Market. The main part of the market contains food stands. From what I could see, only one stand had a line - "Hot Star Large Fried Chicken". Basically, it's a large piece of fried chicken that they sprinkle some pepper and hot spice on top. It was surprisingly good, and all for just 50NT, which translates to just about $1.60! I washed it down with some strawberry bubble tea, minus the bubbles (tapioca balls), for just 30NT, or $1!
After eating at the main part of Shilin Market, we walked nearby to a street lined with vendors, almost like an outdoor flea market. We walked down two of several very lengthy streets, and it was quite the sight.
I started off Day 2 by visiting one of the top manufacturers of cases and power supplies, Antec. Unfortunately, there wasn't much new since our CES visit earlier in the year. The first thing I was shown were two cases from the new Dark Fleet series, the DF-85 and DF-35. Both cases feature two Antec-patented technologies, Fleet-Release and Fleet-Swap. "Fleet-Release front drive bays allow swift customization of front fan and drive configurations and easy access to tool-less, washable fan filters." Fleet-Swap is a set of hot-swappable SATA drive bays that can be relocated within the drive case, which combined with Fleet-Release, provide a lot of convenience.
The DF-85 has three Fleet-Release doors, each of which open separately. In the third photo, you can see the Fleet-Release doors open, providing you easy access to the 120mm LED fans, as well as the washable filter. What may be a bit difficult to see is that there are small knobs on the outside of the door, in the bottom-right corner. These knobs are fan speed controls for the individual fans. The doors are also lockable to ensure security if you happen to bring this to a LAN party, or simply don't trust your roommate. The DF-85 is a full tower, measuring in at 596mm (H) x 213mm (W) x 505mm (D). It contains fourteen drive bays, which includes four external 3.5" Fleet-Swap drives. In addition, there is a top-loaded 2.5" Fleet-Swap drive. The DF-85 also has seven expansion slots, room for graphics cards up to 12.5" long, and a windowed side panel. Front ports consist of one USB3.0, three USB2.0 and audio in/out. Aside from the three front 120mm LED fans with speed control knobs, the DF-85 also comes with two 140mm TwoCool fans at the top, two 120mm TwoCool fans at the rear, and an optional 120mm fan on the side for graphic card cooling. Of course, there is also support for water cooling, and the inside of the case is painted black.
The DF-35 is mid-tower case featuring two Fleet-Release doors, housing two 120mm white LED fans, along with the speed control knobs. Aside from those front fans, the DF-35 comes with one top 140mm TwoCool fan, one rear 120mm TwoCool white LED fan, and optional 120mm fan on the side. There are eleven drive bays, including two Fleet-Swap SATA drive bays, along with a top-mounted 2.5" Fleet-Swap bay. The DF-35 measures in at 485mm (H) x 198mm (W) x 486mm (D) and can fit graphics cards up to 11.5" in length. The case comes with a windowed side panel, seven expansion slots, and a front panel consisting of two USB2.0 ports and audio in/out.
Next up was one of the more unique cases out there, the LanBoy Air. The LanBoy Air brings flexibility and modularity to new levels, featuring seven removable mesh panels on a modular aluminum frame. It can support up to 15 fans, three external 5.25" drives, six internal 3.5" drives, and two internal 2.5" drives. The hard drive mounting mechanism is very unique, suspending the hard drives in the air using flexible cords, which should reduce vibrations and thus noise levels. The LanBoy Air also features a front panel with one USB3.0 port, two USB2.0 ports, and audio in/out, has handles for easy carrying, and comes in either blue or yellow. Because of the modularity, Antec claims that the LanBoy Air has up to 34,800 different possible configurations. There is even an option radiator attachment for watercooling, as can be seen in the yellow version below. Pictures really don't do this bad boy justice. And don't be fooled by the mesh design - this thing is sturdy.
Continuing with the "unique cases" theme, we've all seen the Antec Skeleton - now, we have the Antec Mini Skeleton-90. Like the Skeleton, the Mini Skeleton features a unique open-air design, but in a tiny mini-ITX frame. The Mini Skeleton has five drive bays (1 x 5.25", 2 x 2.5" and 2 x hard disk drive mount), one half-height expansion slot, two USB2.0 front ports and audio in/out, a rear 70mm fan, and a top 150mm TriCool LED fan. The Mini Skeleton is constructed with 0.8mm cold rolled steel frame. In the photo below, you can see just how small it is compared to the original Skeleton case.
Antec also had a lot of other cases on display. In the first photo below, from left to right, is the Nine Hundred Two, Six Hundred and Twelve Hundred. In the second photo below, from left to right, is the P193 and P183. Lastly, there's the ultra-small, mini-ITX case, ISK-100. Despite being a mere 70mm wide, the ISK-100 still fits two 2.5" drives and features a perforated mesh construction with a side-mounted 100mm TwoCool Fan.
Now that we've looked at the cases, next up are the power supplies. Antec introduced a new line of power supplies called the High Current Pro Series, coming in two flavors, the HCP-1000 and HCP-1200. Both PSUs are 80 Plus Gold certified with high-current output, continuous power, all Japanese capacitors, and a hybrid cable management system featuring a 10-pin connector. The HCP-1000 features a 135mm Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) fan and four rails at 30A apiece. The HCP-1200 has a whopping eight rails at 30A apiece, but because Antec had to cram so much into the HCP-1200, they could only include an 80mm PWM fan.
Next up was a new addition to the TruePower Quattro Series that is sure to please overclockers with beefy rigs. The TPQ-1200 OC is 80 Plus Silver certified with six rails at 38A apiece, and features an 80mm PWM fan, hybrid cable management, and PowerCache, "a high-performance capacitor that delivers an extra power reserve where and when users need it most." The star of the show, however, is located on the back of the PSU. Not only does the TPQ-1200 OC contain an adjustable PSU cooling fan speed control knob, but also a +12V output voltage knob that allows you to adjust the voltage from 11.8V to 12.6V. Thankfully, the TPQ-1200 OC also has short circuit protection (SCP), over voltage protection (OVP), under voltage protection (UVP), and over current protection (OCP).
Lastly, there's an entry in the new High Current Gamer Series, the HCG-900. The HCG-900 is 80 Plus Bronze certified, providing 900 watts of continuous power over four rails at 40A apiece. It features a 135mm double ball bearing cooling fan and Japanese capacitors.
When it comes to selecting a case, Thermaltake cases are always among the considerations. With good reason too, as Thermaltake's offerings are of great quality, generally rate very highly, and often receive OCC Gold awards. The Armor Series, in particular, has been extremely popular with enthusiasts. Just three weeks ago, airman reviewed the Armor A90, giving it an OCC Gold award for its good looks, great performance, and durability. At Computex, Thermaltake showed off the A90's younger brothers, the Armor A60 and Armor A30.
The Armor A60 is basically a smaller version of the Armor A90, but with one key new feature - a SideClick EasySwap 3.5" drive bay. Essentially, the A60 provides you with a hot-swappable SATA drive bay on the side. In addition to that, there are five other internal drive bays for 3.5" or 2.5" drives, as well as three 5.25" and one 3.5" external drive bays. When it comes to fans, Thermaltake includes one 120mm blue LED fan in the front for intake with the option of adding a 120mm or 200mm fan, one 120mm TurboFan in the rear for exhaust, and one 200mm blue LED fan on the top for exhaust with the option of removing that and installing two 120mm fans instead. You can also add optional 120mm fans on the bottom and the side (one each) for additional intake. The front panel includes one USB3.0 port, one USB2.0 port, one eSATA port, and headphone and microphone jacks. The A60 supports Micro ATX and Standard ATX and has a small window on the side panel showing off the CPU cooler.
The Armor A30 is one of Thermaltake's more unique Armor offerings, measuring in at 265mm (H) x 280mm (W) x 460mm (D). The A30 supports Micro ATX and Mini ITX, but due to its depth, large graphics cards like the HD 5970 can be installed. There are two 5.25" drive bays, three 3.5" drive bays, and two 2.5" drive bays. It comes with one 90mm blue LED fan in the front for intake, two 60mm fans in the back for exhaust, with room for a third, and one 230mm silent fan on the top for additional exhaust. The chassis is also fully modular, allowing each component to be removed from the body for easier installation. Lastly, there is a uniquely-shaped window on the side panel that provides a nice view of your CPU cooler, adjacent to a hexagonal mesh area, and on the bottom-left of the front panel, there is one USB3.0 port, one USB2.0 port, one eSATA port, and headphone and microphone jacks.
Thermaltake also showed off special edition cases at Computex. The Armor A90 and Armor A60 get AMD Editions - red trim on the front, red LED fans, and an AMD LEO logo on the side panel. Ever the equal opportunity manufacturer, there's also the Element V NVIDIA Edition, featuring a green trim, NVIDIA logo, and a fan duct system for Tri SLI or Quad SLI. Lastly, there's the Level 10 Spray Paint Edition, featuring "custom ferocious fire coating."
Thermaltake's other unveiling was a preview of its concept CPU cooler called Jing, which is Chinese for calm or quiet. The heat sink has an aluminum and copper base with five 6mm heatpipes and aluminum fins, measuring in at 131mm (L) x 123mm (W) x 162mm (H). Jing features two silent 120mm VR fans that spin between 800 and 1300 RPM. One fan pushes air into the heat sink, while the other draws the air out. Jing comes with an all-in-one back-plate with universal socket support.
The other CPU cooler Thermaltake was showing off was the recently released Frio. Ccokeman reviewed this CPU cooler last month, so you can find all the information in that review.
Tt eSPORTS by Thermaltake
Although there have been small previews in the past, Computex was the coming out party for Thermaltake's new brand, Tt eSPORTS. Thermaltake has been supporting the e-Sports scene for years, but this is its first foray into gaming gear - headsets, keyboards, mice and mouse pads. At Computex, most of these products were not only on display, but fully set up for users to try out firsthand.
The first Tt eSPORTS products I looked at were the gaming keyboards, many of which feature the world's first fan cooling design. I started things off with the Challenger, which features the cooling fan attachment. The fan can be positioned on the left or right, and there's even a compartment for storage. This tiny 30mm fan spins at 6,000 RPM and only pushes 2.7CFM, but should be enough to keep your hands dry during intense gaming sessions. More importantly, the Challenger provides up to six macro keys and up to three game profiles stored on 32KB onboard memory, bringing it to 18 total macro keys. It also features anti-ghosting for up to 20 keys, an additional built-in USB2.0 port, and a gold-plated USB connector. The Challenger measures 480mm (L) x 205.5mm (W) x 25mm (H) and its cable is 2m in length.
The Challenger Pro takes it to the next level. The Challenger Pro still features the same exact fan and anti-ghosting for up to 20 keys, but ups the number of macro keys. The Challenger Pro provides up to 10 macro keys (five on each side of the keyboard), with up to four gaming profiles stored on 64KB onboard memory, bringing the total to 40 macro keys. In addition, Thermaltake increased the USB2.0 ports to two, and it still has the gold-plated USB connector. The Challenger Pro also has four levels of red illumination and comes with eight additional removable red keycaps for the WASD and arrow keys that provide a little more durability (you can see these further down the page in the Challenger Ultimate photo). The Challenger Pro measures 505mm (L) x 195mm (W) x 27mm (H) and has a 2m braided cable.
The last keyboard in the Challenger series is aptly named the Challenger Ultimate. Like its younger siblings, it features the same exact fan and anti-ghosting technology, but everything else is supercharged. The Challenger Ultimate provides up to 14 macro keys, with up to five game profiles stored on 64KB onboard memory, bringing the total to 70 macro keys. Not only does it have two USB2.0 ports like the Challenger Pro, but also adds in headphone and microphone jacks. When it comes to back lighting, like the Challenger Pro, it provides four levels of illumination to choose from, but unlike the Pro, you're not restricted to just red - you can choose between 256 different colors. The Challenger Ultimate has the same dimensions as the Pro and all three versions have a switch lifecycle of 10 million.
If 10 million keystrokes seems like too little for you and you're looking for something a bit more hardcore with a little less flash, no need to fret - Tt eSPORTS has you covered there too, with its mechanical gaming keyboards. MEKA G1 is a heavy duty mechanical keyboard with a switch lifecycle of 50 million keystrokes and a 1000Hz polling rate. Along with anti-ghosting, the MEKA G1 includes two USB2.0 ports, as well as headphone and microphone jacks. There are no macro keys on this bad boy - this is for your hardcore FPS gamer, not your RPG or RTS gamer. The MEKA G1 measures 430mm (L) x 160mm (W) x 40mm (H), comes with a detachable palm rest, and has a 1.5m military grade cable with gold-plated USB connector.
For those FPS gamers that want the durability and fast response of the MEKA G1, but doesn't have the real estate to accommodate it, there is the vanilla MEKA, measuring in at just 370mm (L) x 150mm (W) x 35mm (H), thanks to the arrow keys being moved over and condensed with the rest of the keyboard. It also removes the Caps Lock, Scroll Lock and Num Lock indicators, instead placing them on the keys themselves, which I actually think is even better. Like its sibling, the MEKA is a heavy duty mechanical keyboard with a switch lifecycle of 50 million keystrokes, a 1000Hz polling rate, anti-ghosting, and two USB2.0 ports, but lacks the audio jacks. It is connected by a 1.8mm braided cable with gold-plated USB connector.
Tt eSPORTS by Thermaltake
Next up were Tt eSPORTS Shock Series of gaming headsets, starting with the Shock One. The Shock One is a 5.1 USB headset with 40mm speakers and enhanced bass performance, a foldable design, and a high quality noise cancelling microphone. It also features replaceable ear pads, providing you with Protein leather ear pads with "excellent ventilation and noise isolation" and Warming velvet for "long hour gaming comfort." The software provides a unique GUI to customize the audio to different game genres and there is an inline control box for instant gaming control, lighting, and microphone. The Shock One features ten levels of headset adjustment and a 3m cable with gold-plated USB connector.
If you require slightly greater sound, you may want to choose the Shock Spin, a 7.1 channel 3.5mm headset, which ups the ante with 50mm Neodymium Magnet speakers. The Shock Spin features velvet cushion ear pads, an auto-adjustment headband, an inline volume control box, and a clip-on noise cancelling microphone. The Shock Spin comes in three colors - Shining white, Diamond Black and Royal Red.
What would a gaming products brand be without mice? First up was the Tt eSPORTS Black. Black is a six-button gaming mouse containing a Philips 4000 DPI precision laser engine with on-the-fly adjustable resolution of 400, 800, 2000, and 4000 DPI and a DPI indicator. It features red illumination of the scroll wheel and Tt logo with "breather lighting" and includes five 4.5g weights. The Black gaming mouse features rubber coating on top and Teflon feet on the bottom. It's connected by a 1.8mm braided cable with gold-plated USB connector and measures 120mm (L) x 70mm (W) x 40mm (H).
While the Black gaming mouse may be great for FPS gamers, for MMORPG and RTS gamers, there's the Black Element. The Black Element is a nine-button gaming mouse, but with up to five game profiles stored on its 64KB onboard memory, you can store up to 45 macro keys. The Black Element features a Philips twin-eye 6500 DPI laser engine with multi-level resolution adjustment between 100 DPI and 6500 DPI. Like its sibling, it comes with five 4.5g weights and features breather lighting, but you can now choose from five colors, instead of just red. the Black Element connects by a 1.8mm braided cable with gold-plated USB connector and measures 123.8mm (L) x 66.7mm (W) x 41.6mm (H).
Rounding out the Tt eSPORTS portfolio are two mouse pads (Dasher and Dominator) and a gaming glove.
Tt eSPORTS by Thermaltake
I got to use some of the products on a test setup, which featured the Challenger Ultimate gaming keyboard, Black gaming mouse on the Dasher mousepad, and a Shock headset. The Shock is only 2.1 channels compared to the 5.1 of the Shock One, but still sounded amazing. My gaming session was in Bad Company 2.
Throughout Computex, Thermaltake held gaming matchups between two professional e-Sports teams, the Tao Yuan Jets and Tt Apollos. The two teams faced off in Special Forces Online (a Counter-Strike clone). The last photo is me with Tt Apollos member Athena, and I've also included a video of her kicking butt in SFO, although eventually meeting her demise (I only provide a spoiler because it may not be apparent since death brings you to the score screen immediately).
Although the Asian market only accounts for 18% of Thermaltake's revenue (compared to 44% for the USA and 21% for Europe), coupled with its strong support for the professional gaming scene, the new Tt eSPORTS brand may soon change that. Tt eSPORTS held a global pre-sale event in Taipei, Taiwan on June 16, 2010, which saw fans waiting in line before the doors even opened.
When it comes to NAS (Network-Attached Storage), QNAP has always been a leader. When sales manager Ted Tang invited me to the QNAP booth, I thought he'd show me the company's new NAS products. Instead, he wanted to show off the new Turbo NAS Firmware V3.3, and by the end our meeting, I could see why.
QNAP states that the Turbo NAS Firmware V3.3 will allow you to "get more out of your NAS" and that's no joke. V3.3 brings a ton of new features that are perfect for anyone looking for a great home theater system. The Multimedia Station 2 and QMobile are two of the biggest and coolest new features.
Multimedia Station 2 is a web-based application that allows you to access all your photos, music and videos on your NAS, built on the Adobe Flex/Flash technology. When it comes to photos, you can browse your photos from anywhere, customize your photo display with background music, email photos to friends, or even publish photos directly to social networking sites like Facebook, Blogger, MySpace, Twitter, Plurk, and Windows Live Blog. When it comes to music, you can play all your stored music, view music information, create playlists, or even share songs and playlists with your friends. Lastly, you can watch all your videos online and most video formats can be transcoded on Multimedia Station 2 directly. And with Secure Access Right Management, you can easily manage each user's authority, allowing friends to upload and share their collections with you.
QMobile is like Multimedia Station 2, but for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Available as a free app in the iTunes App Store, QMobile allows you to access your media directly from those mobile devices from anywhere, as long as Internet access is available, regardless of the actual storage size of your device. Furthermore, you can use the built-in My Jukebox to create playlists or even play your songs based on various categorizations the app supports, such as album, artist, recently played, and more. When it comes to photos, not only can you access the ones stored on your NAS, but you can also upload photos stored on your device directly to the NAS unit. Lastly, if you're worried about your WiFi cutting out, you can save your favorite files from the NAS directly to your mobile device to enjoy your media contents offline.
The other new features of V3.3 may not be as cool, but they may prove to be just as useful.
ISO Mount allows you to access and distribute all your archived software and data CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays stored on your NAS without the need to burn discs. Each ISO image file is mounted as a share folder and you can restrict access in a variety of ways.
Network UPS allows multiple QNAP NAS units on the same physical network to share one single UPS. You can configure the NAS unit to use USB/SNMP standalone UPS mode, or as a network UPS master or slave. The UPS master will inform all UPS slaves on the same physical network of any critical power status messages.
Web Server Virtual Hosting allows you to host up to 32 websites on a single NAS unit simultaneously, with support for HTTPS and SSL. Just make sure you have a good Internet connection to host all that!
HFS+ Support for External Drive means you can connect HFS+ storage devices to improve the compatibility and data transfer capability between Mac OS X and your QNAP NAS unit.
SFTP Server Support allows you to host a SFTP server via SSH FTP for secure data transfer, access, and management, but it's only available to the administrator.
Seamless System Migration makes it so you can simply install the hard disk drives from your old QNAP NAS unit directly into your new one, in its original HDD tray order, and all the data is kept without the need for disk initialization or configuration. This is great for anyone looking to upgrade their QNAP NAS unit without the hassle or worry of losing your data.
Firmware Live Update is fairly self-explanatory - this application automatically checks and downloads the latest firmware releases for you.
Additional QPKG Plugins will be released with V3.3. QPKG stands for Quality Network Appliance Provider and refers to an open platform for software development and installation. Such plugins will include Mono, Vtiger FRM, OpenLDAP, iStat, PostgreSQL, PS3 Media Server, eyeOS, and Magento.
ARCTIC, the company formerly known as Arctic Cooling, is no longer just about cooling. Last year, the company started a rebranding effort, creating an umbrella brand ARCTIC in order to accommodate the new product lines, each of which received sub-brands - ARCTIC COOLING, ARCTIC POWER, ARCTIC SOUND, and ARCTIC HOBBY. As such, visiting the (huge) ARCTIC booth was one of my biggest surprises of Computex - Remote-controlled vehicles and a Wii-clone? Seriously? Stay tuned to learn more. Marketing Executive Anna Burschik walked me through the old and new at ARCTIC.
The first thing to note is that because ARCTIC changed its logo shortly before Computex, many of the products shown have the old AC logo. However, all future products will feature the new logo. I'll start with the sub-brand we're all most familiar with, ARCTIC COOLING. First up are some standard case fans from the ARCTIC F Series and ARCTIC F PWM Series. Both series are available in 80mm, 92mm and 120mm, feature fluid dynamic bearings, and come with a six year warranty. The F PWN Series not only features pulse-width modulation, as the name indicates, but also ARCTIC's patented PWM sharing technology (PST), which regulates the fan speed of up to five fans via the BIOS, sharing one single PWM signal. Both series come in Pro versions, which include patented vibration absorption and a patented fan holder that eliminates buzzing sounds.
The last of the case fans are from the ARCTIC F TC Series. Like the previous two series, it comes in 80mm, 92mm and 120mm, features fluid dynamic bearings, comes with a six year warranty, and is available in a Pro version, which is the one pictured below. The difference between the F TC Series and previous two series is that it includes a 40cm long temperature sensor, which can be positioned wherever you like.
When it comes to VGA cooling, ARCTIC has you covered there as well, no matter what you have. First up, for your passive needs, there's the Accelero S1 Rev.2. Featuring four thick copper heatpipes, 32 fins, and pre-applied ARCTIC MX-2 thermal compound, the Accelero S1 Rev.2 is compatible with a plethora of cards, from the lowly NVIDIA 6600 series and ATI Radeon X1300 series all the way up to the NVIDIA GTS250 and ATI Radeon HD 5870. For the latter cards, however, it's highly recommended that you combine it with Turbo Module, which consists of two add-on 80mm fans.
Rounding out the VGA cooling were three coolers from the Accelero XTREME line, all of which feature three 92mm PWM fans. The Accelero XTREME Plus features five heatpipes and 84 fins, with a maximum cooling capacity of 250 Watts. It's compatible with a variety of high-end cards from both NVIDIA and ATI. The Accelero XTREME 5870 features five heatpipes and 83 fins, with a maximum cooling capacity of 250 Watts, and is obviously specifically designed for the ATI Radeon HD 5870, with support for the HD 5850 as well. The Accelero XTREME 5970 features eight heatpipes and 110 fins, with a maximum cooling capacity of 300 Watts, and is obviously for the ATI Radeon HD 5970.
ARCTIC has you covered for your hard drive cooling as well with the ARCTIC HC01-TC. The HC01-TC supports a 3.5" SATA drive and the TC function measures hard drive temperature and adjusts the fan speed accordingly. It also has EVA foam to absorb vibration and thus lower noise level.
For your notebook cooling needs, there's the ARCTIC NC. Available in silver or black, it features two 60mm PWM fans and includes a fan speed controller to go from 800 RPM to 1,700 RPM. The ARCTIC NC is fully USB-powered, no battery or adaptor is required, and features a four-port USB hub.
Lastly, ARCTIC has a few USB coolers for your own personal cooling needs. ARCTIC Breeze Mobile features a 1,700 RPM fan in a lightweight, slim design that is perfect for travelers. ARCTIC Breeze features a dual fan speed option (1,200 RPM and 2,000 RPM), an on/off switch, and 1.5m roll-up cable. ARCTIC Breeze Pro features an adjustable fan speed from 800 RPM to 1,800 RPM, and also doubles as a four-port USB Hub. All three USB coolers feature a 92mm fan, flexible neck, and support the use of the ARCTIC C1 Mobile, as seen pictured with the ARCTIC Breeze Mobile below. The ARCTIC C1 Mobile is a mobile USB charger with a solar panel that features a built-in 4,400 mWh lithium-ion rechargeable battery, which is chargeable by USB or the solar panel. Best of all, coupling it with an ARCTIC Breeze is just one option - you can also use it to charge your mobile devices, such as your iPhone, MP3 player, or portable game console. For those mobile phones that don't USB charging, ARCTIC has you covered with included adapters for Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, and Motorola.
ARCTIC also creates peripherals. The ARCTIC K381 is a low-profile keyboard with low resistance switches, available in black or white. It features keys for volume control and standby, as well as twelve office function keys. It's available in six language versions.
ARCTIC creates three wireless mice, ARCTIC M361, ARCTIC M362, and ARCTIC M371. All three feature 2.4GHz wireless with a USB nano receiver that can connect from up to 10 meters. They also feature back and forward thumb buttons and adjustable sensitivity from 600 dpi, 1,000 dpi, and 1,600 dpi. The scroll wheel on the M362 tilts left and right for side scrolling.
If wired mice are more your style, ARCTIC has two optical mice, the ARCTIC M111 and ARCTIC M121. Both have a right hand design and feature anti-slip rubber coating buttons and a 1.8m cable. The M111 is 800 dpi, while the M121 is 800 dpi or 1000 dpi. Despite what is seen in the photo below, I actually think the M111 is the one on the right, while the M121 is the one on the left - at least, that's what it is according to the product catalog.
Wireless mice and optical mice aren't good enough for gamers, so ARCTIC has you covered there with its gaming mice, ARCTIC M551 and ARCTIC M571. Both feature a laser engine with adjustable sensitivity from 800 dpi, 1,600 dpi, and 2,400 dpi, and back and forward thumb buttons. The ARCTIC M571 also features customizable weights (up to 26 grams) and a "double-bullet and continuous shooting button."
ARCTIC also creates a power supply and case. The Fusion 550 Series is available in both a 200-240V version (for the EU) and a 100-240V version (for the US). They are 80 Plus certified, providing 82-86% efficiency, and obviously supply 550 Watts. They feature an 80mm ARCTIC F8 Pro fan with speeds ranging from 700 to 2,000 RPM, and has over-power, over-current, over-voltage, and short circuit protection. For a case, there's the Silentium T11, available in black or white. There are two 120mm TC fans included, four external 5.25" drive bays, one internal 3.5" drive bay, and enough room to fit a video card up to 14" in length. ARCTIC also includes a 3.5" to 5.25" adapter to allow you to add a second hard drive.
ARCTIC had many of the aforementioned products together in a demo system. The system featured an Intel Core i7-920 processor overclocked to 3.66GHz (from 2.66GHz), a Sapphire HD 5970 2GB GDDR5 PCIE graphics card, and G.SKILL DDR3-1600 overclocked to 1800MHz with the FSB at 900MHz. All of this was put into a Silentium T11 and powered by a Fusion 550RF. For cooling, ARCTIC used a Freezer XTREME Pro CPU cooler, Accelero XTREME 5970 VGA cooler, ARCTIC HC01-TC hard disk cooler, and ARCTIC RC RAM cooler with the RC Turbo Module. I've included a larger-than-usual photo of the demo results so you can see all the temperatures clearly.
The ARCTIC SOUND sub-brand is all about, you guessed it, sound - earbuds, headphones and speakers. ARCTIC employs an easy to follow naming scheme - E is for Earbuds, P is for headPhones, and S is for Speakers. All of ARCTIC's earbuds (except the most basic ones, E101) feature a gold-plated stereo plug, come with three sets of silicone caps (S, M, L), are available in either black or white, and are available with or without a microphone. In the photos below, you'll see that the letter after the hyphen indicates the color, and if there's an "M" after that, then that means its the microphone version. The E351 and E361 are almost identical - milled aluminum chassis, large driver coil, and a carrying case included - but the caps on the E361s are rotatable. If you get the microphone version of either one, the plug is a 3.5mm TRRS that can transfer both microphone and earphone signals for use with mobile phones. For devices such as PCs, which don't support that, an adapter is included to provide you with dual 3.5mm plugs.
There are eight headphones in the ARCTIC SOUND catalog. Going from low-end to high-end, we start with the P131. Featuring a gold-plated 3.5mm connector and in-line audio controls for volume and microphone, it's pretty much your standard headset. The P201 has the same features, but with moderate bass and clear highs. The P261 is a USB headset with in-line controls for volume and microphone, and features a built-in sound processor to ensure distortion-free digital audio.
If you're in the market for a professional DJ headphone, then ARTCIC has you covered with the P281. It features a gold-plated 6.3mm adapter, 50mm driver, and a headband with 90° swivel ear cups. The P301 is a professional headset with closed circumaural design. It features a gold-plated 3.5mm connector, in-line audio controls for volume and microphone, a retractable microphone, and extra-wide frequency response. If you look at the photos below, I think ARCTIC once again mixed up its displays, with the P281 and P301 swapped.
The P311 is a Bluetooth stereo headset, featuring a neckband and supra-aural ear pads. It features Advanced Clear Voice Capture (CVC) Technology and Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP). It's perfect for MP3 players, mobile phones, notebooks and more, with up to 20 hours of music play time. It also comes with a carrying case. The P321 is a USB headset with closed circumaural design. It features a retractable microphone, built-in sound processor, and an advanced in-line remote for track selection, volume and enhanced bass control. Lastly, there's the P531, a 5.1 channel gaming USB headset, with four individual drivers in each ear cup and deep bass thanks to a built-in subwoofer. It too features a microphone and built-in sound processor, and it has 90° swivel ear cups.
ARCTIC had five different speakers on display at Computex, but not much information on them. The only one with a bit of information was the most basic one, the S111. The S111 is a pair of dice-shaped lightweight speakers that's USB-powered and has a 3.5mm jack to use for computers or portable media players. For the other four speakers, you'll just have to make do with the pretty pictures.
All the audio components and peripherals may have seemed a bit strange for a company known for its cooling products, but they're nothing compared to the products found in the sub-brand ARCTIC HOBBY. The ARCTIC HOBBY product line consists of numerous remote-controlled vehicles that fall into one of three categories, Land Riders, Aqua Riders, and Sky Riders.
As you could guess, Land Riders consist of all remote-controlled vehicles that run on land, such as cars, monster trucks, and even a fire engine and a tank. The tank (Land Rider 403) can actually shoot pellets!
Aqua Riders are obviously remote-controlled seacraft.
Sky Riders include remote-controlled helicopters and even a bird, the latter of which was flying around the booth.
Lastly, ARCTIC has a few game consoles. ARCTIC Gym features an interactive fitness and gaming mat with over 80 exercises and games, such as a dancing challenge (with support for up to two players), athletic workout, yoga, aerobics, and arcade games. ARCTIC GC PRO is essentially a Wii-clone, with 48 built-in games and a mere $60 price tag. The GC PRO comes with two cordless motion controllers, as well as seven add-ons - 2 tennis rackets, 2 table tennis paddles, a golf club, a baseball bat, and a soccer "band" you can tie around your foot. If portable gaming is more your style, ARCTIC GCM is for you. Featuring a 2.5" TFT display, the ARCTIC GCM has 80 built-in games and runs on three AAA batteries - in fact, three 1050mAh AAA ARCTIC POWER RECHARGEABLE batteries are included.
So that rounded up my visit of the ARCTIC booth. With the economy the way it is, it may be smart that ARCTIC is branching out into other venues. However, only time will tell if these other non-cooling products are successful.
Lian Li has always been known for extremely high quality cases, but many people, myself included, feel its cases are too dull. Of course, this is the very reason Lian Li cases are a favorite by modders. In any case, Lian Li has attempted to rectify this with its newest entry to the Lancool series, the K63 - though whether it succeeded or not is a matter of opinion. The grill for the top fan does look pretty slick, but seems kind of random. As for lighting, the K63 has it in strides - not only do all the fans have blue LEDs, but there's blue lighting all along the inside of the case as well. The one nice feature that isn't debatable is the inclusion of not one, but two USB3.0 ports on the top of the case. Most manufacturers seem to be including one USB3.0 port and one USB2.0 port, so it's nice to see Lian Li stepping it up a tad.
The next case I was shown is a bit more useful - an ATX/Micro-ATX test bench. The new T60 is available in black (T60B), silver (T60A), and red (T60R), and includes two 5.25" bays, three 3.5" bays, two 2.5" bays, eight PCI slots, and room for a standard ATX power supply. There's also the optional 120mm/140mm fan cooler, as well as the optional multi-media I/O ports upgrade kit, which includes USB3.0. In the first photo, you can see the openings for the ports, but without the upgrade kit attached. There's also a Mini-ITX test bench available, the T7, not pictured.
Sticking with test benches, there's also the T1, or as it's more commonly called, the Spider. The T1 Spider is a truly unique test bench, supporting Mini-ITX motherboards, one slim optical drive, one 3.5" hard drive, and a standard ATX power supply. As with the T60, it's available in black (T1B), silver (T1A), and red (T1R).
Lian Li makes one last test bench, which comes out of the Mini-Q Series. The Q06 doesn't look like your typical test bench. As you can see below, the Q06 is practically a cube, measuring 205mm (W) x 196mm (H) x 239mm (D). In its normal state, as seen below, it supports Mini-ITX motherboards. The test bench part comes from the optional kits - an ATX motherboard mounting tray (Q6ATX) and a Micro-ATX motherboard mounting tray (Q6MATX). These trays mount on top of the Q06, which is where the test bench designation comes from. Aside from that, the Q06 includes one 5.25" bay, one 3.5" bay, two PCI slots, and front I/O ports that include two USB3.0 ports along with HD audio. It's available in black (Q06B), silver (Q06A), and red (Q06R).
Two other new entries in the Mini-Q Series are the Q09 and Q11 - perfect for HTPCs. Both support Mini-ITX motherboards (with the Q11 also accepting Mini-DTX), and like the previous cases, both feature two USB3.0 ports and are available in black, silver, and red. The Q09 features one 5.25" optical drive bay and one 2.5" bay with anti-vibration rubber ring mounting kit, as well as two PCI slots and one 80mm fan. You can also purchase a mounting kit to mount the Q09 to the back of an LCD panel, as seen in the third photo below. The Q11 features one 5.25" bay, two 3.5" bays, and two 2.5" bays, as well as two PCI slots and one 140mm fan.
Although test benches and HTPCs certainly appeal to many people, I'm sure many of you want to see the more hardcore cases, so let's start with one of the most hardcore new offerings from Lian Li, the X2000F. Upon examining the X2000F and its specifications, you quickly realize why Lian Li is lauded as the top case manufacturer when it comes to quality. The X2000F is a full tower gaming case that, thanks to its sleek looks, can be used as a hardcore HTPC case as well. It also features a completely tool-less design. Measuring 240mm (W) x 695mm (H) x 442mm (D), the X2000F can fit graphics cards up to 340mm in length, and supports four 5.25" drives, one external 3.5" drive using a 5.25" to 3.5" converter, and seven internal 3.5" drives with SAS Hot Swap. It has eight PCI slots and comes with three 140mm fans in the front and two 140mm fans in the back. The top I/O panel features a whopping four USB3.0 ports, along with an eSATA port and HD audio ports. It also features sound-insulated side panels, a fan speed controller, an air filter at the base of the case, easy clean air filter design, and support for liquid cooling.
As I mentioned before, the X2000F features a completely tool-less design - even featuring thumb screws for motherboard installation. The first photo below shows the patented tool-less PCI card holder. The second photo shows the patented tool-less power supply holder.
Lian Li was also showing off a few new mid tower cases featuring the tool-less design. First up was the 8FI, which comes in black (8FIB), silver (8FIA), and a special red Spider Edition (8FIR). The latter features a spider transparent side panel. The 8FI supports three 5.25" drives, one external 3.5" drive using a converter, and six internal 3.5" drives, and includes eight PCI slots. All three versions feature two 120mm fans in the front, with the black version containing blue LED fans and the red version containing red LED fans. All three versions also include one 120mm fan in the back, with the red version being a red LED fan. The 8FI can fit video cards up to 285mm in length and features a top I/O panel that includes two USB3.0 ports, one eSATA port, and HD audio.
The next two tool-less entries are from the Blue Ring series. The B25F and B25S are essentially the same case, but the latter is the "silent" version. Both versions support three 5.25" drives, one external 3.5" drive using a converter, six internal 3.5" drives, and 8 PCI slots. The B25F features two 120mm fans in the front, one 120mm fan in the rear, and two 140mm fans up top. The B25S contains the same front and rear fans, but has only one 140mm fan up top, as well as top cover noise reduction foam. The front panel and side panels feature noise reduction foam as well. The other major difference is that the B25S contains two USB3.0 ports, while the B25F has two USB2.0 ports. The B25F also comes in a windowed version (B25FWB).
Lastly, we have the P50 ARMORSUIT. The P50 cases support nine 5.25" drives and three 3.5" drives using 5.25" bays, as well as eight PCI slots. There are three versions, each with slightly different fan configurations. The regular P50 contains one 120mm front fan, two 140mm top fans, and one 120mm rear fan. The P50WB contains a windowed side panel, and features blue LED fans in the same layout. The P50R contains a special AMD-branded dragon window side panel, red trim on the front panel, and red LED fans in the same layout.
If you've never heard of TACENS, don't worry, you're not alone. I too never heard the name before Computex. Normally I'd just walk on by a company I never heard of, but I was drawn in by what I saw. It turns out that TACENS is a European brand and only deals in Europe and Asia - no wonder I never heard of them. After being shown around the booth by Miguel Diaz, General Manager Spain branch office, I sure hope they get an American distributor soon! That dream may not be so far fetched - TACENS is actually the sister-brand of Aerocool. Whereas Aerocool is geared toward gamers, offering cases, PSUs and fans, TACENS is more mainstream with a wider product range, offering not only cases, PSUs and fans, but also cooler and accessories. TACENS is a Latin word that means silent.
TACENS was showing off two new power supply series, Valeo III and Radix IV. Valeo III is the third generation of TACENS PSUs featuring the patented TACENS 0dB Technology. This technology makes it so the ultra-silent 139mm fan only spins at high temperatures or high system load, and features external heatpipe cooling. The Valeo III series comes in 500W, 600W and 700W versions. All three are 80 Plus Bronze, dual-rail, modular, and employ TACENS' exclusive full anti-vibration system.
Radix IV is the fourth generation of one of the top selling PSUs in Europe. The Radix IV series comes in 450W, 500W, 600W, and 700W. The 450W version features an ultra-silent 120mm fan, while all other versions have an ultra-silent 139mm fan. All versions feature anti-vibration pads for the fans, as well as fan speed control. The higher-end models feature high quality non-modular black-sleeved cables and TACENS' exclusive full anti-vibration system.
If you're looking to power your notebook or netbook, then TACENS has you covered there as well with the Oris Dual 100. The Oris Dual 100 is a universal notebook AC adapter that's compatible with major notebook brands (several adapters included) and can be used for LCD monitors as well. It supplies up to 100W power with dual input - AC and Car 12V line. There's also a USB power supply port for all USB devices.
The coolest products TACENS makes (no pun intended), may be its fans. TACENS was showing off two fans at Computex, Spiro and the not-yet-released Ventus II. The Spiro is a 120mm fan that features seven airplane-wing designed blades that reduce air resistance and thus provide unprecedented silent operation. It features the exclusive Fluxus PRO II bearings, professional anti-vibration screws, and Noise-RPM reduction cable. Spinning between 1000-1500 RPM, it pushes 43 - 70 CFM at a mere 8 dBA - 14 dbA. There's also an ICE model, which contains four white LEDs.
The Ventus II is a thing of beauty. It contains fifteen overlapping fan blades that each contains three grooves to improve aerodynamics and reduce air resistance. Product specs should be available some time next week, but I was told that the Ventus II features a proprietary bearing that has an outstanding lifetime (over 200,000 hours), and ultra low friction and noise. The bearing is a minor update to the Flexus PRO II, having the same structural design, but with better oil, which is what contributes to the longer lifetime and stability.
TACENS also has a few accessories in its repertoire. The Vectrix 2.5 Lux is a USB2.0 2.5" external hard drive enclosure. It supports a 2.5" hard drive up to 2TB, is made of black aluminum for improved heat dissipation, and is wrapped in a black rubber frame for shock and vibration absorption. It also features One Touch Backup (OTB) functionality, and comes in a stylish PVC/leather cover with the USB cable acting as the clip, which means you'll never have to worry about losing a USB cable like you have to with other enclosures.
The Portum Liber is a dual-SATA docking station that allows you to directly connect any two SATA devices to your PC through its USB2.0 interface. Connect two SATA 3.5" or 2.5" hard drives at the same time for multiple backups, data transfers between your computer and both hard drives, or hard drive cloning. It also supports optical SATA devices, so you can easily connect external DVD/Blu-ray readers and writers. The Portum Liber features activity LEDs for each individual drive, an on/off button, and OTB.
The last product from TACENS I was shown was the Sagitta II Lux case, which features the Sagitta II Panel. The case itself features nine external tool-less 5.25" drive bays (although two are taken up by the Sagitta II Panel), and three internal 3.5" drives with the included anti-vibration adapters. The case features seven PCI slots, top I/O ports containing two USB2.0, one eSATA, and headphones and microphone jacks, and comes with one 120mm TACENS Aura Pro Ice fan in the rear, with the option of adding one 120mm fan in the front and two 120mm fans on the side transparent window. The case also features a full black chassis, both external and internal. There's also the non-Lux version, which swaps out the side-panel window for a side panel containing a giant 40cm fan that pushes 250CFM
The real star of the show, however, is the Sagitta II Panel, an innovative multi-function touch-panel. The high-definition round touch LCD can be operated using your finger or the included stylus, which is stored within the panel (that little nub in the bottom-right corner). There's touch switch on/off and reset functions, four sets of fan monitoring and speed control, and four sets of temperature monitoring and alarm system. The fan monitoring/speed control and temperature monitoring/alarm system can be maintained automatically or controlled manually. The alarm protection for computer fans and temperatures is fully programmable.
As I stated previously, TACENS and Aerocool are two brands under one company, so naturally, they shared a booth.
The first thing I was shown was a wall of LED fans. Upon closer examination, I thought I was still looking at TACENS products, as the fans looked like LED versions of the Ventus II. The fans feature the same blades as the Ventus II, but these are actually Aerocool Shark fans. The main difference, aside from the brand and name, is that these do not contain the proprietary bearings found in the Ventus II. As can be seen by the LED colors, the Shark is targeted more at gamers.
In the second photo above, you may have noticed the fan on the right called Lightwave. The Lightwave features a unique "wave" blue LED lighting effect with three modes. You can watch a video of the Lightwave in action below.
Aerocool's big unveil at Computex was that of the X Strike series of products. Aerocool showed off a power supply, LED panels, and a case. Little is known about this line of products - except that, so far, everything in the X Strike series looks completely badass.
The next two cases I was shown were from the PGS Q Series, also known as the Compact - Blue Label series. Both cases are Micro-ATX cases, but the second case (Qx-2000) is a rather unique "cube" case. For one, it features a 120mm Quad Blue & Red LED fan in the front that is controlled by a unique fan controller, letting the user choose between low, medium and high speeds, as well as choosing between blue, red, or no LED lighting. The other unique feature is its "double decker" chassis, which isolates excessive heat producing components from the rest of the system. This design has the added bonus of creating more space for high end components, such as accepting video cards up to 300mm in length. The Qx-2000 also features a unique hinged design, as seen in the last photo below.
Lastly, we have an entry from Aerocool's PGS R Series, also known as the Professional - Red Label series. This case features orange LED fans and an orange-painted motherboard, so it certainly stands out from other cases out there. In addition, it features fan speed controls on the top, in three modes - stop mode stops all fans, cruise mode spins all the fans at 60%, and turbo mode spins all fans at max speed.
PowerColor's slogan is "Unleash the Gaming Power." One look at the company's products at Computex and you understand why - PowerColor unveiled many firsts that are sure to whet the appetite of gamers everywhere. Marketing Manager Gene Chi provided a personal tour of the new offerings.
I'll start off with a product I mentioned way back on page nine - The PowerColor HD 5770 Sniper. The HD 5770 Sniper is the world's first single card solution to combine a GPU and NPU, coupling the HD 5770 with Bigfoot Network's Killer 2100 NPU. With Bigfoot Networks, we got a peek at a prototype, but now we get to see what the retail version looks like.
PowerColor didn't think being the first manufacturer to combine a GPU and NPU together on a single card was good enough, so the company also unveiled the world's first graphics card containing the onboard Hydra Engine. The HD 5770 Evolution features Lucid's Hydra Engine, allowing the combination of any GPU alongside it, even those from the NVIDIA camp. In addition, no extra connector is necessary.
PowerColor was also showing off two other HD 5770 solutions - HD 5770 Single Slot Edition and HD 5770 Low Profile Edition. The naming is pretty self-explanatory. The Single Slot Edition is great for gamers tight on space, whereas the Low Profile Edition is great for anyone looking to build a powerful HTPC. An HD 5750 Low Profile Edition is also available.
The last HD 5770 I was shown was the Eyefinity 5 HD 5770. As the name suggests, this card features five Mini DisplayPorts so you can hook up five monitors to a single card.
If all these HD 5770 are a little too weak for you, maybe the FC5870 V2 is more up your alley. The FC5870 is a water-cooled HD 5870 featuring an all new water block (thus the V2 designation).
The problem with a card like the FC5870 V2 is that it's heavy. If any of you have bought a new mid to high end card over the past few years, you've probably noticed the cards getting bigger and heavier, and you may have worried about the strain that puts on your motherboard. PowerColor has a rather strange solution - the Power Jack. PowerColor calls it the "professional graphics interface card supporter." This tiny accessory starts at 61.25mm and can extend up to 150mm, allowing you to provide some support to your graphics card and relieve some of the stress on the motherboard.
Lastly, we have the beast of all beasts, the Eyefinity 12 HD 5970. Yes, you read that correctly - Eyefinity 12. As you can see in the second photo below, this card features a whopping twelve Mini DisplayPorts. PowerColor actually accomplished this by attaching a six-port daughter card to the HD 5970. As such, this card actually takes up three expansion slots. Good luck affording this card though, let alone the twelve LCDs to go along with it.
ADATA is the world's leading memory brand with the second largest share in DRAM modules and third largest share in USB Flash drives, as of May 2010. So naturally, I started by taking a look at its newest memory modules - v2.0 of its Xtreme series, Plus series and Gaming series. All three series are part of ADATA's XPG (Xtreme Performance Gear) memory line, featuring 2oz of copper in the PCB and Thermal Conductive Technology (TCT), which provides greater cooling and stability.
As we've seen earlier, memory companies are increasingly pushing into the solid state drive (SSD) market. ADATA is no exception, showing off three solutions from its 500 Series. The S596 is available in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB, and features a dual interface with SATA II and mini-USB2.0. The S599 is available in 128GB and 256GB and features the SandForce SF-1200 controller for ultra-fast speeds. Lastly, ADATA unveiled the S501, a SATA 6Gb/s SSD that will be released soon in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. In addition to the SSDs, ADATA makes a 2.5" to 3.5" bracket, as can be seen supporting the drive in the third photo below.
ADATA has also decided to enter the power supply market with its new Horus Series, featuring its Eye of Horus technology. ADATA is clearly trying to invoke a sense of greatness - Horus is one of the most significant gods in Egyptian mythology and the Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and royal power. When it comes to ADATA Horus PSUs, Eye of Horus refers to its intelligent LED fan with three colors that change depending on the amount of power being used - 0%-50% output is green, 50%-100% output is blue, over 100% output is red. The Horus PSUs are 80 Plus Bronze, modular, and contain 100% Japanese capacitors. The 1200W version is dual-rail, while the 550W, 650W, 750W, and 850W versions have a single rail.
Lastly, we have some fairly unique USB Flash drives from ADATA's Theme Series. Theme T001 are soccer jerseys in various countries (4GB). Theme T806 are kissing octopuses with a built-in magnet, available in blue and pink (4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB). Theme T809 are mascot designs, available in Smiley Panda, White Angel, and Black Devil (4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB). Theme T006 is Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story movies (4GB, 8GB). Theme T907 - my favorite - is Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington, from The Nightmare Before Christmas (4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB).
Taiwan Tour - Day One
I didn't get to attend days three and four of the convention. Instead, ECS invited me on a two-day tour via Lion Travel, where I got to hang out with some cool people and see some amazing things. I've increased the size of the photos to 1000x750, from our typical 800x600, though photos can't capture the beauty of some things even at the highest resolution.
Taipei Main Station
We started our journey meeting at Taipei Main Station, which is so huge and has entrances on all sides, that finding the rest of the tour group was no easy task.
The train traveled along the Eastern coast. There was a core six of us guys that hung out with each other during the tour - in the first photo you have the arm of Kevin on the left, Nathan next to him, Alex waving behind them, Jacson across the aisle, and Oscar behind him, not paying attention to my camera. Our tour guide, Tony, was the guy standing in the middle of the aisle in the yellow jacket. In the second photo, you have your favorite OCC member, me. You may notice how the first set of seats behind me is turned around. All sets of seats can be rotated around, which is pretty cool. The main reason for this is so the crew can turn all the seats facing forward when the train gets to the end of the line and prepares for its return trip. The guys behind me turned it around to play a game of cards. The rest of the photos are just some photos I took out of the window during the ride, thus why you may notice some minor reflections in some photos, and eventually raindrops - but thank god for image stabilization! lol
The red spot on the map in the second photo is Hualien. We traveled from way up north, where the map doesn't even go. Total trip was a little over two hours.
Taiwan Tour - Day One
After transferring from the train to a tour bus, we headed to lunch. Lunch was at this place where everything was made out of Cypress, a very long-living tree similar to California Redwoods. The place itself was very cool. The food, not so much - it was organic, and even the locals on the tour and tour guide thought it was horrible!
Taiwan Tour - Day One
No, we did not visit a military compound. After lunch, we hopped back on the bus and headed to a beach. We passed a military compound of some sort along the way, so of course I had to snap a few photos.
Tony stated that during tsunami season, jade gets washed up on shore. So a few of us spent our time searching for jade - except we had no idea what raw jade looked like.
Back on the bus, we passed a pretty sweet cemetery. Unfortunately, the rain really picked up, so sorry about all the raindrops.
Taiwan Tour - Day One
Shakadang Trail stretches along a mountain overlooking Iyax Valley. You'll notice photos of silver and gold rocks. The photos do not do it justice - those rocks were unbelievable in color and shininess.
Taiwan Tour - Day One
Cihmu Bridge was a pit stop on our way to our hotel for the night.
Silks Place Hotel
We stayed at Silks Place Hotel for the night, a hotel surrounded by mountains. Since we arrived in the evening and it was overcast, I waited until the next day to take photos, which you can find on the next page. That night we relaxed in the hot tub, went to a dinner buffet, and then chilled on the roof where we got hooked up with free drinks all night by the guy second from the right in the photo below. From left to right, Kevin, Oscar, Nathan, Jacson, Me, the bartender, Alex.
Taiwan Tour - Day Two
Silks Place Hotel
We awoke the next day to bright, sunny morning - perfect for picture taking!
That evening was the grand re-opening of Silks Place (it was recently renovated), so they were setting up a party). The last photo is me with Ariel (left) and Kimi (right), both of whom work for ECS in Taipei.
The Tour Bus
Then it was back on the bus, for another day of sightseeing.
Taiwan Tour - Day Two
Tunnel of Nine Turns
Our first stop on day two was the Tunnel of Nine Turns. The distance between the marble cliffs of the Taroko Gorge is only around 10 meters wide along this trail, with the narrow Kelan River flowing in between. The photos really don't do it justice - we were all engrossed in the size and beauty of the cliffs. It reminded me of the Grand Canyon, except with vegetation.
Taiwan Tour - Day Two
Eternal Spring Shrine
The next stop was the Eternal Spring Shrine, which was built to commemorate the 226 men who lost their lives building the Central Cross-Island Highway over a span of three years and nine months (July 7, 1956 to May 9, 1960). The shrine was originally built at the end of 1957, but was badly damaged twice from landslides, and thus had to be rebuilt. The latest iteration was rebuilt in 1989.
Lunch was a lot more normal on day two.
Taiwan Tour - Day Two
Our last stop of the tour was the Hualien Harbor, to take a two hour whale watching trip. I did happen to see some false killer whales, but unfortunately, no photos.
Lastly, I leave you with a photo of a combat-ready F-16.
That was it for the tour. It was then back on the train to Taipei Station.
Approaching its 25th year in business, GIGABYTE is one of the leading manufacturers of motherboards and graphics cards. In fact, worldwide, at least 1 of 10 PCs use a GIGABYTE motherboard. Its Ultra Durable 3 line of motherboards, in particular, are extremely popular among enthusiasts.
The first thing I noticed was an Eyefinity 6 demo, featuring GIGABYTE's GA-890FXA-UD7 motherboard with four GV-R5876P-2GD-B ATI Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition graphics cards. To say this setup is a beast would be an understatement. As you can see in the video below, playing a game like DiRT on a six-panel setup works fairy well, though I'd have to imagine it wouldn't be as good for an FPS where your crosshair would be right where the top and bottom bezels meet.
As stated above, the motherboard behind that setup is the GA-890FXA-UD7, which can be seen in more detail below. This is the top AMD motherboard offered by GIGABYTE, supporting the new AMD Phenom II X6 processors, 4-way ATI Crossfire X, and featuring USB3.0 and SATA 6GB/s. The board also features Ultra Durable 3 technology (2 oz copper PCB, 50,000 hour Japanese Solid Capacitors, Lower RDS(on) MOSFETs, and Ferrite Core Chokes), as well as its Hybrid Silent-Pipe 2 thermal solution, which combines air cooling and liquid cooling.
On the graphics side of things, GIGABYTE was showing off its new Super Overclock Series, which features two cards from each side. The newest addition being shown off was the ATI Radeon HD 5870 SOC Edition (GV-R587SO-1GD). The card features Ultra Durable VGA+ components, which includes all the great high quality components of Ultra Durable VGA (2 oz copper PCB, Tier 1 Samsung and Hynix Memory, Japanese Solid Capacitors, Ferrite Core/Metal Chokes, and Low RDS(on) MOSFETs), as well as Proadlizer Quintuple. Proadlizer Quintuple means that the card features five units of NEC Proadlizer, also known as film capacitors, providing capacity up to 5000uF and extremely low ESL/ESR. This allows electric currents to be charged and discharged rapidly to support super overclocking activity. In addition, all SOC cards undergo GIGABYTE's GPU Gauntlet Sorting - GIGABYTE evaluates the GPU core engine and shader engine, selecting only the GPUs with the best power efficiency and lowest power consumption, ensuring you get a top performer.
Lastly, GIGABYTE was showing off its peripherals, including two products from the new Aivia line, the K8100 gaming keyboard and the M8600 wireless macro gaming mouse. The K8100 has an ergonomic design and comes is several sleek colors. It features 20 anti-ghosting keys, as well as the GHOST Engine, which is onboard software used to store macros so that they can be used even when the keyboard is connected to a different computer. There are five macro keys per mode with a total of five modes, switchable via the button in the upper-left corner. It also has LED backlighting with an on/off switch, two USB2.0 ports, and a touch and slide volume control that does not interrupt your games.
The M8600 features a 6000 DPI laser gaming sensor, and like the Razer Mamba, has dual-mode wired/wireless functionality, so if the 1000Hz wireless polling rate isn't sufficient enough for your gaming, you can always switch to USB. The M8600 has an ambidextrous design with forward and back buttons on both sides of the mouse. In addition, it features a horizontal-tilting scroll wheel and two buttons just below the scroll wheel. Like the K8100, it features the GHOST Engine to handle all your macro assignments.
Founded in Taiwan in 1989, ASUS isn't merely best known for its motherboards, it is the worldwide leader - number one in market share, with one in three PCs built using an ASUS motherboard. In 2006, ASUS introduced the Republic of Gamers (ROG) line of gaming products, further establishing itself as a leader with enthusiasts.
The first thing you notice when approaching the ASUS booth is a demo setup featuring a limited edition ROG graphics card called ARES. Obviously named after the Greek god of war, ARES is a dual ATI Radeon HD 5870 with 4GB GDDR5, 850MHz engine clock, 4800MHz memory clock, and 2x256-bit memory interface. It contains twin oxygen-free-copper heatsinks with eight 8mm oxidization-free copper heatpipes and a 100mm dust proof fan that pushes a whopping 119.21 CFM at just 37dB. That relates to about 600% more air flow with only 83% of the noise when compared to a generic Radeon HD 5970, not to mention 32% better performance.
In the last four photos above, you may have noticed that is a different setup than the photos before it. The latter setup was actually showing off the ROG motherboard Rampage III Extreme, featuring the ARES along with an Intel Core i7 980X CPU, 3x2GB OCZ 2000MHz DDR3, Corsair H50 CPU cooler, and a Cooler Master 1200W PSU. The Rampage III Extreme support 3-Way SLI, but if you'd like 4-Way SLI, ASUS has created the ROG Xpander. The ROG Xpander features four PCIe x16 slots and two NVIDIA NF200 bridges, and is powered by a single 6-pin PCIe connector and three 4-pin power connectors, thus not drawing power from the motherboard. The main reason why ASUS has added 4-Way SLI support with a daughter card rather than straight off the bat is most likely due to the high licensing costs. In this way, ASUS is able to provide a high-end motherboard for less money, yet still provide 4-Way SLI for those users that want insane performance.
The next product I took a look at was a concept motherboard in its ROG series called Immensity. Immensity is a high-end LGA 1366 motherboard based on Intel's X58 Express chipset featuring an onboard ATI Radeon HD 5770 with Lucid's Hyrda chip. As such, users will be able to add any discrete graphics card and immediately have a multi-GPU system.
The other ROG setup ASUS was showing off featured its Crosshair IV Formula motherboard with two ROG Matrix 5870 Platinum graphics cards, an AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition CPU, 2x2GB Kingston 2000MHz DDR3, Corsair H50 CPU cooler, and a Silverstone 1000W PSU. The Matrix 5870 Platinum has the GPU engine overclocked to 900MHz and features a five-level LED indicator on Matrix logo for real-time hardware load monitoring (from light loading to extreme loading - green, cyan, blue, purple, red). The last two photos below show off the Matrix 5870 Platinum in a different setup.
ASUS had a whole wall with several other motherboards on display, but instead of me going through all the specs for each one, I'll just provide you photos of the spec sheet alongside them.
ECS invited me to ECS Night, which was held on June 2nd, which unbeknownst to them, happened to be my birthday. There was good food, dancing, and singing - and yes, I participated in all three.
Of course, I had to shoot some videos. I apologize for the shoddy camerawork during some of the routines, but there was this rather rude guy that kept on walking in front of me despite seeing me and my camera.
I warn you now - the video below is of me singing New York, New York, so if you value your hearing, you won't listen.
Since booth babe photos are always highly popular, I was given permission to upload higher-resolution images. Enjoy!
Welcome to Computex 2010
Tt eSPORTS by Thermaltake
I had the pleasure of watching the Tt eSPORTS dance routine three times, so of course, I had to record all three of them, from three different angles.
Tt eSPORTS by Thermaltake
First, some booth babe group photos:
Tt eSPORTS by Thermaltake
Global Mobile Corp.
Ozone Gaming Gear
And even booth babes have to sleep...
Computex Final Thoughts
First off, I'd like to thank Dave (bosco) for choosing me to represent OCC at Computex this year. It was an honor to do so and despite the huge amount of work, even after the event ended, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I'd also like to thank ECS and James Lleverino for allowing me to experience the beauty of Taiwan - it was certainly nice to get away from the show for a couple of days. I'd also like to thank Canon for making such an awesome camera - all photos and videos were taken with my Canon PowerShot SX100 IS. For a non-SLR, I think it takes some sweet photos.
After attending CES for the past two years, I thought I would have a good feeling for what to expect at Computex - I was somewhat mistaken. For one, at CES, I was one of many OCC staff members (10 this past year) - for Computex, I was alone. This wasn't much of a problem when it came to visiting companies, but as you've seen, it meant actually getting the coverage written was rather difficult. I had to choose between visiting as many companies as possible, or writing up what I've visited immediately and wasting some time. I chose the former in order to provide as much coverage as possible and think I chose right, but that's up to you guys to decide.
The second big difference between CES and Computex, aside from the latter being in a foreign country, is that Computex is more of a "show." You may have noticed the sheer number of booth babes at Computex. At CES, most computer/component manufacturers do not have booth babes - rather, we have to go into the car/audio section just to see them. At Computex, practically every company has booth babes. In addition, many of the booths have actual elevated stages, where booth babes show off products and even put on dance routines. This is simply something you don't see at CES.
The event itself was great. As with CES, aside from the booth babes, the recognition OCC received was the best part. Even halfway around the world, several companies knew our site, and even before I got there, I was flooded with emails requesting private meetings. I don't think the members of our site fully realize the respect OCC has in the industry.
I'd like to once again thank Dave for the opportunity, and I want to give a special thanks to all of you who have read through this article, even if you just checked out the photos, or even if you simply checked out the booth babes. In any case, we wouldn't be covering these shows if it wasn't for you. I definitely hope I get to attend Computex 2011, but I also hope more OCCers get to attend with me, not just to make things easier, but because more people deserve to experience the event, not to mention Taiwan.
Lastly, I'd like to thank all the great people I met in Taiwan - you all made the trip that much more enjoyable.
Thank you again for sticking with me through this past month. I hope you've enjoyed the coverage, and please feel free to share your comments and thoughts with us in the forum thread.