In the past few months we have covered quite a few of Alienwares product catalogue from the M17x
down to the exceptional M11x
and these were the systems receiving a lot of focus on the Dell/Alienware display. Also on show were the original and updated Adamo models... lovely pieces of technology.
At first glance there didn’t appear to be much going on at Gigabyte but on closer inspection there were a few interesting products. On show were a few upcoming AMD based boards which use the 890FX and 880GX, the latter being an m-ATX model.
Nvidia’s ultra-secure location provided us with probably the most interesting meeting of the day. In one room they had a GTX 480 SLI system up and running, connected to 3 1080p screens powering Need For Speed Shift (in 3D). Next door, a similar system was running Bad Company 2 on the same display configuration. In a third room were numerous boxes running single GTX 480 cards. We are glad to report that the room was not burning down and that it didn’t sound like a wind tunnel which is great... as for the various tech demos on show, each was impressive in its own way. Hair effects on the GTX 480 are significantly ahead of anything we have seen before. The level of detail in PhysX explosions such as the collapsing bridge was also highly impressive.
As for the cards themselves, we are not allowed to show any images today but we will say that reports of massive or loud cooling solutions are well off the mark.
Nvidia were also keen to show off their new Ion2 platform as well as Optimus compatible notebooks which use the technology. Ion 2 will come in 2 versions initially... one with 16 shader cores for 12inch notebooks and another with 8 cores for 10” models. Shown above is the Ion 2 (right) beside the original Ion (left)... quite a space saving for a chip which will give around 1.5x the performance, at worst over the previous generation. Interestingly, Nvidia also mentioned that the Ion will also be offered as a discrete GPU (See Zotac, below).
CoolIT didn’t have anything new to announce this year however we were able to get a look at their Maestro software for the first time. This is the interface users can access to control their Vantage liquid cooler wirelessly and it offers plenty of useful functionality as well as compatibility with any 3pin case fan as standard. Also on show was the Omni GPU cooling solution which looks to be one of the best, most future proof coolers ever made. Watch out for a review of these components in the future.
Behind closed doors Zotac were keen to talk about the upcoming GTX 480 as well as show off their version. Due to NDAs we can’t discuss this but what we can show are two of their Ion 2 related products. The first is the PCIe 1x add-in card, essentially a low end display adapter for those who don’t require a full GeForce product. The second was their new Zbox, an Atom/Ion based system which leaves the choice of components such as SSD and memory with the consumer. The quality of a pre-built system with the flexibility of a DIY system.
Our final stop of the day took us to ASRock who were showing off two systems of note. The first was running on their high end X58 board and was a demo of Intel’s upcoming 6 core CPU. The second, AMD’s 890 based motherboard, one of only two we have seen which allows us to unlock cores on X2 and X3 CPUs, turning them into X4 models... a feature which adds huge value (or savings) for the end user. Oh... and both boards fully support USB3/SATA3.
That’s it for Day One at CeBIT; join us tomorrow for more coverage from the show floor.