At Cooler Masters stand it was very obvious that they have vastly expanded their product catalogue over the past 12-18 months. Outside the core business of coolers, PSUs and cases they were showing item such as mice, laptop trays and even environmentally friendly mouse mats which were made from old car tyres.
The highlight of the PSU section was their new 80+ gold certified 1200w unit which features a design unique to Cooler Master. Their in-house PSU expert designed components such as a hybrid transformer which allows the unit to run far more efficiently than older models. Also on show was their new 800w model which also offers enhanced efficiency. As a demonstration Cooler Master had set up two identical systems, one running the new 800w model and the other on a competitor 800w product. Even at idle the CM PSU was constantly using 20w less than the other brand which is very impressive (174w vs. 154w).
Cooler Master are also expanding their CPU cooling range with the introduction of the V6 GT, a dual fan cooler which features LED lighting that can be turned off or changed to a different colour at the touch of a button. On the case front the 690 chassis receives a redesign, including external drive bay for hot swap use but the star of the show was their new HAF X case which also includes external hot swap bays. Other features are a larger than normal chamber at the back of the motherboard for easier wiring storage, PSU wiring shroud and enough width to accommodate even the tallest heatsinks.
The main focus of our SteelSeries meeting was their upcoming 7h headset. Packed with quality components this noise cancelling model looks like it will be the headset to beat this year. Removable/interchangeable wiring, pads and cans... this headset has it all.
Enermax main focus is still PSUs and to a certain extent high quality case fans so it was no surprise to see their high end power supplies on show here. Outside the cooling/power market Enermax have been making cases for some time and in the next few months they are launching several new series of chassis. Shown above is the as yet un-named high end model. We were also shown the latest and greatest items in their Aurora keyboard range (the original Aurora is still one of the best typists keyboards we have ever used) and the highlight of the current range is the wireless mini model (aluminium body) with mouse functionality built in.
Corsair were showing off their Obsidian 700 series Chassis which shares many of the same features as the 800D we recently reviewed. The 700D lacks the external hot swap bays but improves the internal layout by adding easy access to drives and a more traditional cooling arrangement for them. Also on show was their new air-cooling range which features direct contact technology for enhanced performance. Their SSD range also gets a refresh with the Nova series that contains an Indilinx controller and Intel storage. Trim is fully supported on these drives out of the box. Finally we were shown their new USB drives, quad channel technology is now present and 128 GB models are available.
Over at Razer their focus was solely on one product, the new Xbox 360 controller they have in development. This will be a Microsoft certified device and as well as having higher quality buttons and a rubber, non-slip finish the unit has two map-able extra shoulder buttons. Probably the most useful feature will be the ability to change the resistance of the joysticks. For FPS games most people prefer looseness, for driving stiffer is better. Razer will allow the best of both worlds.
Our final stand of the day was OCZ who are continuing to develop their PSU range. The latest Fatality models feature all of the quality we have come to expect from the brand as well as modular cables, a 5 year warranty and 85% efficiency. OCZ have the best SSD support in the industry thanks to the very active support personnel on their forum and regular firmware updates. Add to this the fact that they now have in-house firmware development and they exceed their competitor’s efforts significantly. This can only be good news for consumers who buy their new range of Sandforce based SSDs, the Vertex LE and Vertex 2.