Following on from last week's CES specialty and coverage, you'll find more products here that we watched and played with, as well as photos that were taken during our trip to the event. As you have probably noticed, Mobile Tech took advantage of the event with seemingly every large company that showed off smartphones, tablets or ultrabooks. Still, we managed to pick up a lot of great PC hardware from Samsung, Silverstone, MSI, Razer, Roccat, Toshiba, Gigabyte and more …
Razer announced its new Blade gaming laptop back in August to eliminate the need for desktop replacements. In addition to the trim profile and the powerful innards, the system offers a unique user interface reminiscent of Art Lebedev's Optimus keyboard. Instead of a standard numeric keypad, the Blade has 10 customizable buttons and a glass LCD touchpad. The latter is also available on the Star Wars Old Republic Edition keyboard.
In addition to viewing in-game statistics, you can surf the Internet or watch YouTube on the touchpad while a game occupies your main screen. In addition, the 10 buttons are fully programmable and change functions between contexts. Unfortunately, the palm rest on the touchpad was very (very) hot and the mouse buttons were small, which detracted from the overall experience. The blade is thinner than most desktop replacements, but it's still quite powerful.
Developed by Sixense, Razer's new Hydra gaming controller uses magnetic tracking to locate two batons. The device has high-precision controls with six degrees of freedom and a resolution of 1 mm along the X, Y and Z axes and one degree in roll, pitch and yaw. This is combined with a refresh rate of 120 Hz with low latency.
Valve helped Sixense create DLC for several games, including Portal 2, which we tried out. It usually takes time for your body to learn the details of using a new user interface. Not so with the Hydra. Within seconds, of course, I was moving with the left baton and looking around with the right. And with such a high-precision device, I didn't make any unintentional gestures or had problems with inconsistencies. The controller has been around for about six months and retails for $ 110.
MSI is jumping on the Intel Thunderbolt train with a new product called GUS II. GUS II is an external graphics card housing for a single card with a power consumption of no more than 150 watts, which is ideal for notebook gamers. The device works at one end via the Thunderbolt interface with a PCIe X16 slot for cards in the housing. In terms of hardware, the GUS II is ready to go, but MSI admitted that there were still some issues to be solved on the software / driver side. MSI expects CIS II to sell between $ 100 and $ 150.
We also looked at some interesting motherboards from MSI. The Big Bang XPower II, MSI's new flagship Extended ATX Board, will be available in a few weeks with 4-way AMD Crossfire and Nvidia SLI support, an Intel X79 chipset and up to 128 GB of system memory. The board features a 22-phase PWM design with digital hybrid power and currently holds the record for the fastest base clock at 168 MHz. Enthusiasts can expect to pay close to $ 500 for MSI's newest board in the near future.
There were also some Z77-based offers, the GD65 and the GD80. Both cards support PCIe Gen 3, ClickBIOS II, OC Genie II and THX TruStudio Pro. We found it good that these boards don't have older PCI slots. Additionally, MSI had to remove the OC Genie button due to layout issues. We have been told that the Z77 series will have fewer phases of power, resulting in 22 watts less than previous offerings.
According to the company, NZXT has seen 50% growth over the past year and has big plans for 2012 in the hope of bringing 25 new products to market. Revised cases, new case fans, seasonal power supplies, laptop coolers and peripherals are in preparation.
NZXT's full tower switch chassis was exhibited with MadCatz peripherals. The futuristic case features one-touch pop-out fan filters, LED lighting on the rear I / O cover, and plastic-coated LED decorations. Without major changes, the beefy tower can accommodate a 360 mm long, 65 mm deep cooler with a push-pull fan design. That's six fans on top of the case that offer space for six more.
Updated Phantom cases have also been issued with new color schemes suggested by fans on Reddit. You will soon find the Phantom in white / blue, black / white, and black / orange.
The NZXT booth was filled with fan controls and I / O panels. Two Sentry MIX fan controls, already available for $ 29.99, kept the switch cool. The Mnpctech Switch Mod also had the Aperture G and Aperture Mesh I / O panels that read everything under the sun – except SDXC, that's what they're working on. The Apertures will hit shelves in about a month for $ 19.99 and $ 24.99, respectively.
Samsung came out with a host of new products, including a hybrid tablet phone, sleek ultrabooks, and a sexy all-in-one. Our first impression of the Galaxy Note hybrid phone / tablet: It is suffering from an identity crisis. Its massive 5.3-inch screen lies awkwardly in the hand, is uncomfortable on the ear, and yet doesn't offer enough real estate boost over cell phones like the Galaxy Nexus to justify these drawbacks.
We also had the opportunity to test the redesigned 13 "and 15" Series 9 ultraportables. In a word, they are beautiful. Samsung puts a lot of emphasis on its 400-nit (1600 x 900) displays, which look fantastic, especially because of the sleek case design. The Series 9 was much tougher than some of the other thin and light machines we handled on the show floor and had virtually no flex in the chassis.
We also took a minute to admire Samsung's first company in the world of all-in-one devices. The Series 9 AIO desktop has a quad-core Core i7, 8GB of RAM, Radeon HD 6730M graphics with 1GB of video memory, a TV tuner, Blu-ray drive, and HDMI input in case you have Want to connect your game console. The system also has a vivid, 400-nit, 27-inch 1080p display that supports 3D graphics and offers 2D to 3D conversion.
Emperor was on site with its scorpion-shaped chairs, including the MWElab Emperor 1510 chair, which has Bose surround sound and three 24-inch display mounts for $ 6,200 – a fee that should include a waiter making drinks for that chair integrated cup supplies holder.
8GB modules are the trend at Crucial, which has updated its Sports, Tactical, and Elite memory lines. The first is $ 90 per 8GB module with standard timings and nifty new heat spreaders for the superficial mainstream audience. The tactical sticks cost $ 110 per 8 GB, with CAS8 timings and an XMP profile. Finally, the Elite series costs $ 130 per 8GB, runs at 1866 MHz / CAS9, and has a built-in temperature monitor.
Crucial is also developing some new SSD offerings, such as the 2.5-inch Adrenaline Hybrid Cache Drive, which will add affordable SSD-like speeds to your existing hard drive using methods similar to Intel Smart Response Technology. The company is also considering an ExpressCard version for laptop users. Finally, next year, Crucial systems will introduce a 7mm Z depth standard for their M4 drives for Ultrabooks.
We came across perhaps the most interesting chassis that we saw at the SilverStone booth at the show. Your new Mini-ITX FT03-Mini is almost identical to the original FT03 on the outside, except that it supports a smaller form factor and the optical drive is mounted vertically, which looks a bit strange on the silver version. The SilverStone rep described it as a vertically rotated SG05 that we can totally relate to.
Similar to the original, the system can be disassembled in seconds by first removing the top cover, then removing the front and back covers, and finally removing the remaining side (one side is not removable). Users can install a graphics card up to 9.5 inches in length. At the bottom of the case is a single 140mm penetrator suction fan that is responsible for cooling the entire system.
Due to the small form factor, an SFX power supply (not included) is required. SilverStone is working on a new 80 Plus Gold 450 watt power supply, which is not expected until the second half of 2012. The power supply has shorter cables and a smaller (by today's standards) 80mm fan. If you can't wait until summer, the current SFX solution from SilverStone is available now, but only with an 80 Plus Bronze certification. Look for the FT03 mini, which launches for $ 130 in March.
The PS07 is SilverStone's answer to the Antec P180. The case contains two 120mm suction fans behind a swing-out bezel that admittedly felt a bit cheap due to its plastic construction. Other than that, however, we liked everything about the PS07. In the bottom of the case there is an adjustable bracket for the CPU cooler that allows you to remove the stress that a heavy cooler can put on your motherboard. Other quality features include a hidden section for routing unused cables from a non-modular power supply and accommodation for up to five 3.5-inch hard drives. The PS07 is available now for $ 79.
The 1350 watt flagship Zeus power supply from SilverStone contains an 80 Plus Silver certification that was specially developed for servers. The unit contains a switch that allows the user to select either a single rail configuration or a split six rail design. In both cases, 105 A are available on the + 12V line, and the power supply is completely modular. Users can fine-tune the voltages by inserting a small screwdriver into one of the three holes on the back of the device and turning it accordingly. SilverStone plans to launch the Zeus 1350 in a few months for around $ 400.
Sony didn't have much to tinker with. The prototype of the ultrabook and the hybrid tablets were enclosed in a glass display and neither of them was functional. However, we looked at the Intelligent Peak LED TV technology that is already available for XBR TVs. With full array backlighting, these televisions can adjust the lighting of individual pixels, dim black pixels, and shine through the bright pixels for a stunning picture.
Toshiba had another waterproof tablet on display, similar to the Fujitsu arrows we saw at CES Unveiled. Like the arrows, the H2O-safe tablet from Toshiba is safe up to one meter underwater for half an hour. Toshiba is unique in Fujitsu's slate and demonstrated a proof-of-concept technology for wireless power supply. Using an antenna about the size of the tablet itself, Toshiba supplied the device with about two inches of glass and water.
We also got the chance to see the Toshiba Portégé Z835 as well as the company's 14-inch ultrabook design. Both were extremely light and had an attractive exterior made of brushed aluminum. Unfortunately, their appearance is deceptive. This slim form factor offers tremendous flexibility on the screen and keyboard, which makes the entire case feel very cheap. We hope this issue will be resolved as manufacturers refine their designs.
Roccat, one of several companies included in our 2010 12 mouse roundup, first showed us their Kone +. The follow-up to the original Kone includes a 6000 DPI sensor and adjustable weights of up to 20 grams. There is an interrogation rate of 1000 Hz, Teflon-coated pads and support for up to 500 macro actions.
One of the unique features of the Kone + is the EasyShift + button, which allows you to assign two functions to each button, e.g. B. the Shift key on a keyboard. This results in a total of 22 programmable mouse functions. Hardcore gamers will appreciate the voice prompts that can be set as timers for things like health and ammo respawns.
Roccat showed us the Isku gaming keyboard to complement the Kone +. The Isku checks in for $ 89.99 and has a large palm rest and cable management channels on the bottom of the board, though I've personally never found a use for these. The individual keys feel tactically good when pressed, although they are not mechanical. The Isku's unique features include three customizable buttons just below the keyboard to be used with your thumb. Macros can be recorded on the fly during a game, with a speaker prompting the player when a macro is recorded.
The Kave 5.1 headset costs $ 190 and comes with four 40mm drivers built into the headset. The Kave has vibration feedback functions, a muted LED indicator, and a 10-step bracelet adjustment band. The headset felt comfortable to wear and felt strong in the hand. We noticed that the earmuffs were not lying flat on your chest when the headset was removed from your head and worn around your neck. An inline control box allows setting of each sound channel as well as a mute button and a volume control.
Roccat said products should soon appear on Amazon, Newegg, TigerDirect and Best Buy with the full online range starting February. Sites like ncix.com that are already selling products in North America are unauthorized and source their supplies through Asian channels on the gray market. Regardless, Roccat continues to assist these consumers in case they need technical assistance.
Gigabyte displayed a variety of graphics cards and motherboards, including some examples of motherboard development for the Intel next-generation platform, due to be released in a few months. The samples included all budgets, including the GA-B75M-D3H, GA-Z77X-UD3H, GA-Z77X-UD5H, G1.Sniper 3, and G1.Sniper M3. Some of the previously released X79-based "Ultra Durable" boards were also shown: GA-X79-UD3 and GA-X79-UD5.
Gigabyte also presented a new Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, which is factory overclocked with 1 GHz and connected via PCIe 3.0. It is cooled using Gigabyte's Windforce cooling system, which reportedly triples the airflow and lowers the card's temperature by up to 33% from the standard configuration. This is achieved by optimizing the cooling arrangement to reduce turbulence between the fans. The card is currently available for around $ 600.
The highlight of our time with OCZ was the next generation Everest 2 NAND flash controller platform. The SATA 6Gb / s interface is slated to be released this coming June and offers tentative figures of 550 MB / s read and 500 MB / s write speeds with up to 90,000 4K random write IOPS.
OCZ demonstrated Everest 2 for us with IOmeter, CrystalDiskMark and AS SSD. In either case, the drive outperformed the products it competed against, such as: B. Patriot & # 39; s Pyro and Corsair & # 39; s Force 3. Products based on this controller support capacities of up to 2TB in a 2.5-inch form factor, although we will have to wait until June 2012 to get your hands on one.
OCZ had several other products on hand, such as the Z-Drive R5 and the "Lightfoot" portable SSD with Thunderbolt technology, which is similar to the Enyo USB 3.0 portable SSD released a few years ago. Most of the other offerings, however, have been enterprise solutions outside of the scope of what we normally cover.
As for power supplies, the 1000 watt Fatal1ty was the only new model on display. After OCZ abandoned its DRAM line a year ago and apparently slowed down power supply production, it is clear that OCZ will focus solely on solid state drive manufacturing in 2012.