Last weekend, over 300 gamers descended upon the Boston suburb of Wilmington, MA with little else but 32 hours of non-stop fragging on their minds. Well, that and possibly coming home with some new gear for their PC. Just over a year ago LPANE, the LAN Party Association of New England, was formed with the hopes of pulling together the various smaller organizations in the area and using their combined strengths to come up with an event that everyone would remember. The end result was Nor'Easter 2005, the largest professional LAN Party to hit the region. Contrary to the event's name though, the event started off on a bright, sunny Saturday morning.
A line of avid gamers soon formed with the contents of their living rooms and apparently kitchens in tow. While some people came equipped with their PCs and assorted controllers, others, apparently more accustomed to the rigors of non-stop action, brought lounge chairs, cases of Jolt soda or Mountain Dew, and enough snacks to feed a football team.
HotHardware.com's Booth Infused By...
Intel, Corsair, ATi, Abit, and DFI
Every event needs some sponsorship to provide a bit more drawing power. Of course, HotHardware had no problem lending a hand by not only setting up their own booth, but representing some major companies such as ATi, Abit, Corsair, DFI, and Intel. Each of these manufacturers supplied hardware to be used as prizes for raffles and other sponsored events, in addition to assorted swag to give away. We're not talking about some low-end stuff here; there were top-tier items like the Abit Fatality AA8XE and ATi X800XL to be had.
Not to be undone, HotHardware had their own prize to be awarded - a custom rig built by none other than the BigWop himself, Marco Chiappetta. Talk about a prize, a black Silverstone case housed a DFI Lan Party 925X-T2 with an overclocked Pentium 4 (running at 3.6GHz) and 1 GB of Kingston DDR2 RAM. As you can see in the picture above, the internal cabling was immaculately tucked away, with the kind of skill that very few can accomplish, and which Marco prides himself on. We also had another PC for show; a Vapochilled Athlon 64 that was featured in CPU Magazine as well as our own gaming rig, a Shuttle SB95P with a 3.4GHz P4. Even though much of our time is spent writing reviews, we still find the time now and then to get in some fragging, and we weren't about to let this chance slip by.
Two other booths at the show were sponsored by ModdersHQ and XG. ModdersHQ had a collection of modded computers designed/modded by Bret "SoulsEnd" Daly and Bill "MNPCTECH" Owen, some of which were definite eye-catchers, and at least a few could be purchased. To our left, XG debuted their latest gaming case called the Dragon. They also provided many of the awards being handed out daily, including power supply units, custom fan grills, and the like.