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Comdex Coverage Fall 2002 Article

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Comdex was smaller this year than last year and it was kind of a disappointment. There was a lot of talk and rumors floating around that Comdex wouldn't be in Las Vegas next year. However KeyMedia cleared this up on Friday by stating, Comdex will be returning to Las Vegas next year. He also said if there wasn't a Comdex, there wouldn't be anyone else that could put on a show with such a broad range of products and company's. When I first walked in to the Comdex Hall, I saw a very nice Dodge Viper a company was giving away. This thing was fully loaded with an awesome sound system, and biometric fingerprint identification. Guess what? I won it!!!

Too bad I didn't win the full scale car..

Cobalt3 Pyramid V

Cobalt3, a somewhat new company specializes in a fan silencer called Pyramid V. This Pyramid shaped device connects to all of your case fans to regulate the speed of the fans. Inside of this device it has an onboard temperature probe which it will use to calculate how hot your computer case is and also how much voltage should be allowed for your case fans. As the temperature of your computer case rises, the Pyramid will automatically supply more voltage to your case fans so that they will cool more. If for some reason the Pyramid should ever stop working, all of the case fans that are connected to the device will automatically run at high speed. Another failsafe feature is the audible alarm. If your case temperature ever goes over 100°f, the Pyramid will automatically sound an alarm it has built-in.

The Pyramid is somewhat attractive because of the built-in LED light that emits from it. The Pyramid is also very small in size, it's about the size of a 1 inch ball so it can easily be placed anywhere in your case. The Pyramid can be bought from Directron, FrozenCPU, ZXMods, and several other online retailers. The retail price of the Pyramid is around $26 and you can choose from several different color LEDs. The Pyramid is slightly over priced for the features it has, but it would make a great stocking stuffer for Christmas.

Zalman Heatsink & Headphones

I had the opportunity to meet Sangcheol Lee, the Chief Technology Officer (Head Engineer) of Zalman. Mr. Lee is the man that has engineered all of the Zalman heatsinks and from talking to him, I cant tell that he is a very knowledgeable person. It would take such a knowledgeable person to engineer the products that Zalman has made and have won many awards for. Mr. Lee introduced me to one of their newest heatsinks, the CNPS7000-Cu. The CNPS7000-Cu is a very large cylinder shaped heatsink with a fan in the middle of it. The fan on the heatsink they had displayed was an all clear fan, but it had no LED light emitting from it. I did recommend to, Mr. Lee that they should add an LED to the fan to make all of the case modders happy. He liked the idea and will be taking it under consideration. This heatsink was installed on a motherboard that they had at their booth. The heatsink is very large in size, and it took up a fairly large amount of room on the motherboard. I'm not sure if this heatsink will clear the capacitors on all types of motherboards or not. That might be a known problem with this heatsink. It is compatible with the Hammer and P4 CPU's. In addition, it can handle up to 200W. This heatsink looks very promising, and I can't wait to get one in our lab to thoroughly test and review.

Heatsinks weren't the only new products Zalman had at their booth this year. They also had some very cool headphones. When I first saw these headphones, I just thought they were some plain-jane gaming headphones like all of the other hundreds of different headphones. However, once I read the brochure about them, I quickly realized they weren't your everyday standard pair of headphones. Traditional headphones have two speakers in them, one for each ear. However, the Zalman headphones have two speakers in each ear, for a total of four speakers. This gives these headphones out of this world surround sound! I listened to them, and they really did sound like no other headphones I have listened to before. If they only made these "wireless" headphones, they'd be perfect. These headphones are manufactured by MMGear, and distributed by Zalman. Expect these headphones to hit the market sometime next month. The price will be around $39.95.

Thermaltake Aquarius Water Cooler

Thermaltake had their Aquarius water cooler on display at their booth this year. You may have already seen the Aquarius water cooler on the Thermaltake website. I know that a lot of our members have discussed whether or not that this water cooler is worth buying. It appeared to of been built well and it does provide very quiet cooling like all other water coolers but, from looking at this water cooler I would have to put it in the same performance category as the Iceberg water cooler that I reviewed last month. However, since I have not reviewed or tested this water cooler I cannot say that. As matter a fact, the Aquarius comes with a solid copper water block, and the Iceberg only came with an aluminum one.

The Aquarius did have a nice failsafe feature, a backup reservoir. The backup reservoir insures that there will always be water in your main reservoir. Water tends to evaporate from water coolers over time, and you may not even notice it at first. If the water level goes down in your main reservoir, the backup reservoir helps to fill up the main one with water. I think this is a fairly good idea, but not a necessary feature.

The water tubing was very unique because it has a spring that runs inside of it. This is to avoid compression and they also said it would increase water flow. I'm not quiet sure if it will do any of the two, but I'll have to take their word on it for the time being. One thing I see from looking at it, is that it will prevent the tubing line from being pitched and water from being cutoff.

The Thermaltake Aquarius radiator puts the Iceberg 1 radiator to shame! The Thermaltake radiator is made up of copper tubing; copper fins, and weighs in at 410 grams. The radiator is small for my taste, being the size of an 80mm case fan. However being so small, makes it great for installing it in tight computer cases. The Aquarius should hit online stores sometime next month. The price of the kit is currently unknown, but I would guess around $140. I'll contact Thermaltake to get the official MSRP.

ActiveCool AC4G / Thermaltake SubZero4G

There has been a lot of talk in our forums about a new cooling product on ThermalTake's website, called SubZero4G. We know a lot of things about this cooling product already, but what everyone doesn't know is that Thermaltake isn't the creator of this product. Thermaltake is actually a distributor for a company called ActiveCool. ActiveCool designed this product and gave it the name AC4G. This new cooling product is basically a Peltier, or sometimes referred to as TEC (Thermo Electric Cooling), which is cooled by a heatsink. A Peltier has a hot side and it also has a cold side. Ofcourse the cold side faces towards your CPU (actually something called a cold plate) and the hot side faces the heatsink (or a waterblock in a water cooling setup). The hot side of the Peltier gets extremely hot, and the cold side gets ice cold. A typical thermoelectric cooler will consist of an array of p- and n- type semiconductor elements that act as the two dissimilar conductors. The array of elements is soldered between two ceramic plates, electrically in series and thermally in parallel. As a dc current passes through one or more pairs of elements from n- to p-, there is a decrease in temperature at the junction ("cold side") resulting in the absorption of heat from the environment. The heat is carried through the cooler by electron transport and released on the opposite ("hot") side as the electrons move from a high to low energy state. The heat pumping capacity of a cooler is proportional to the current and the number of pairs of n- and p- type elements (or couples).

The all black PCI card that also comes with this cooling kit, holds the power supply that supplies the power for the Peltier. Usually, you would need to buy an extra power supply for a Peltier setup, and you would also have to find some way to mount the extra power supply in your case. In the back of the computer, where the PCI card is, there is a power plug that goes from the PCI card and in to your power outlet. The PCI card also regulates the voltage of the Peltier so that it doesn't get your CPU too cold so that it condensates, but not so hot that your CPU runs too hot. ActiveCool had a demonstration setup at their booth where you could see the temperature of the CPU and also make the CPU under 100% load via a program called CPUBurn (the same software we use for testing). They ran the CPUBurn software for a total of "60 seconds". That makes the CPU load temperature test no where near accurate. However, after the test ran for 60secs I clicked the mouse and ran the test back to back a few times. During the tests the CPU temp never went above 29c but as I said before, this wasn't the most accurate test. The test was also conducted with a Pentium 4 based system, and we all know Intel CPU's run cooler than AMD CPU's. Expect this cooling device to be in online stores mid December. The price is still unknown, but I will do my best to find out what the MSRP is.


While at Comdex, I came across a new company that I had not heard of until now. CaseArts is based out of Houston, Texas and they create stylish computer cases for all types of computing environments. When I first saw some of the many cases they have created, I just had to go up and touch the surface of the case. Each case that they had done looked so realistic. The wooden cases looked just like wood, the marble cases looked very extravagant, and the water drop case looked like the case had been out in the rain. Unlike some company’s that use "wallpaper" type material to cover a case, CaseArts uses a different method to achieve this by baking the case. After they have done that, they spray on a clear coat material that seals it, and prevents it from being scratched.
I actually did a little scratch test while at their booth, and the case simply did not scratch. I really liked the professional work that they had put in to each case. Cases aren't the only products they put art on. Why just do computer cases? Because if you just have your computer case done; your keyboard, mouse, and monitor is still the ugly beige color. CaseArt does mice, keyboards, monitors (LCD or CRT), and ofcourse cases. The red wood finish on an LCD monitor would look very good in an office or executive environment.

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