Cebit 2008 – Day Three
In our final Cebit roundup for 2008 we will be taking a look at the Asus, Corsair, and Razer stands as well as some other products we missed on previous days. Let’s get started.
Corsair’s booth as expected was all about portable storage, memory and power supplies and each section had plenty of interesting items to look at. First up was the latest Flash Voyager GT which now has a 16Gb model. Interestingly alongside this was a new retail brand of Corsair Gaming memory which will be available in stores throughout the US and is effectively an off the shelf product for average gamers and is not aimed at enthusiasts.
Elsewhere in the booth there were various system configurations where Corsair were demonstrating how their memory can play to the strengths of various chipsets. ATI systems had 8Gb of DDR2-800, Intel P35 chipset systems had two gigabytes of DDR2-1100 and X48 boards 4Gb of DDR3-1600 and as we mentioned a few days ago the Nvidia system was running DDR3-2100+ speeds, the fastest memory on show here at Cebit.
Also on show was a new model in the HX power supply range. The new 1000w model is the first power supply below 1100w to be 3-way SLI certified and from listening to Corsair talk about the unit it is easy to understand why. Basically they have applied huge attention to detail in the design and testing phases and ensured that every component within the PSU was running exactly to specification, even if it meant sourcing replacement components which were not included in the original prototypes. Corsair have also ensured that the unit operates efficiently in temperatures 10 degrees over the level other manufacturers test at. We have high hopes for this unit; watch out for a review soon.
Many of us know Asus for their motherboards and graphics cards but a walk round their display at the show reveals how truly varied and impressive their entire product catalogue is. They were also happy to show some very interesting prototypes when we asked.
One of the more impressive items on show was a unreleased cooling solution which evolves the watercoolng idea Asus have used recently and moves the intake and output to the outside of the case ensuring that there is no possibility of leaks within the system.
Asus are also looking at how well they can enhance memory cooling and the image below shows memory heatsinks which connect to a large heatpipe aiding the movement of heat away from the modules.
Finally in the motherboard department we were able to catch a glimpse of the M3N-HT, an Nvidia based board which supports Phenom CPU’s, multiple graphics cards and onboard video. Quite an impressive mix.
Moving on to graphics cards it was clear that Asus are paying particular attention to designing their own heatsinks and the result is cards which are very different in appearance to the reference models. The 9600XT for example has a passive cooler. The enhanced cooling has other advantages and this was best demonstrated by the Radeon 3850 which was on show. On the card bracket, beside the DVI ports is a red button. When pressed the card is overvolted by a small amount which increases GPU and Memory overclocking potential, of course this is all covered by the warranty.
On the Audio stand was a new Xonar product which adds to the excellent quality and features previously seen on the D2 model. The new version includes a HDMI input and output which makes the card ideal for media centre enthusiasts.
Over at the TV tuner area there were various products on show but one which was only available to a select few. The card pictured below features dual digital tuners which allow various functions such as DVB-T picture in picture and the ability to watch one digital channel whilst watching another. The fact that it uses a PCI-Express connector is an added bonus as we all have them free nowadays.
In shops as of next week, but in limited quantities will be the Triton 79 cooler. This unit is nickel plated and has extreme attention to detail. Numbers will be limited for two reasons; the first is the success rate Asus has with the nickel plating process. Essentially very few coolers end up with a finish Asus are happy with and so the rest are discarded and this raises the cost of the cooler which is the second reason for limited numbers. When the initial run of coolers is sold out Asus will release a more standard copper version as a mass market product.
The Latest model in the Asus display range is the MK241H, this 1920x1200 screen has awesome picture quality and features HDMI, DVI and D-Sub. Response rate is an excellent 2ms. Asus have also attached a 1.3megapixel webcam to the top of the unit which has built in microphone with noise reduction technology which only captures noise from the front of the screen rather than anything going on to the side of the unit.
The wireless range is being expanded also and as well as wireless N routers and Wi-MAX models there was a rather interesting USB stick on show. Unlike traditional wireless adapters the USB-N13 does not require a driver and in addition to this when it is combined with the appropriate router it has inbuilt security which establishes a secure connection without the need for a WEP key. Essentially, plug in the stick to any PC in your home, hit the connect button and you are ready to surf (WPS technology).
Wireless goodies did not stop there and nearby we were shown wireless cameras and speakers. Both do exactly what we expected and should help push wire free items into the mindset of the average consumer. Whilst these products were reasonably impressive it was the items directly below which were most impressive. The pictures below show Asus’s take on a wireless HDMI switch box. Basically you can have HDMI enabled items in one area and beam the signal to a TV set within 10m or so via wireless N technology. As this is a real time process there are no delays involved which is excellent for this type of device.
Finally we moved on to portable systems and yet again we found unique and impressive items. First up is a more refined bamboo coated laptop which shows that Asus are continuing to refine the design before releasing mass production models. Also on show was a new item, the VX3 which like many Asus laptops on show featured a leather handrest. Other models on the stand incorporated new touchpad functionality which allows full control of media software and finally over at the Lamborghini section we found their new ZX1 which is a mobile phone.