|Intro, Intel, AMD & ATI|
This years 2005 CES show, was certainly a whirlwind adventure for us as we literally ran from meeting to meeting in the two short days we were able to attend the event. For us this year, the show was about meeting up with all the good people at all of the various OEMs we work with and hearing about their roadmap product efforts, as much as it was about seeing all the great displays of leading edge technology. Regardless, we do have a bunch of product display shots to share with you in the pages ahead.
The Intel booth was the usual massive display of technology both from Intel and various partners. Intel was showing off a bunch of mobile technology of course, and their latest Pentium 4 high end engineering status products as well.
Left is Intel's Home Theater PC based on a Dual Core Pentium 4 processor with each core running at 3GHz. While we were not able to run any benchmark tests on this machine, Intel was displaying Windows Media Center with a live video feed running on the system while navigating through several control features of Media Center, in a targeted display of mutli-tasked, mult-threaded smoothness.
Center is an Intel Pentium 4 6XX series processor based machine with 2MB of L2 cache running 64-bit Windows and a 1066MHz FSB. Yes EM64T extensions are alive and well in the P4. Finally, Aerosmith Front-Man and Boston Bad Boy, Steven Tyler breaks out with a little "Dude Looks Like A Techie" with Intel CEO Craig Barrett. Too funny, we think they're almost the same age but ST grows his hair a bit longer and most likely adds a touch of color too...
Finally Intel told us in conference that Dual Core CPUs will be introduced sometime in 2H05 and most likely continuing the branding of both standard and "Extreme Edition" CPUs for these dual core products. We also discussed the next generation "915PM" based "Alviso" mobile platform and its expected killer performance. This platform is right around the corner and Intel didn't shy away from the fact that some desktop motherboard designs could well surface based on this platform. In fact we're hearing rumors that sometime in Q1 that could specifically be a reality for at least one mobo manufacturer we spoke with. Regardless, Intel was quick to point out the benefits of Hyperthreading in the P4 in real world multi-tasked end user usage scenarios. They also confirmed for us some late breaking news that in fact Dual Core Pentium 4s will support Hyperthreading for quad logical CPU core system representation and this came direct from Intel CEO Craig Barrett supposedly. Without question, Intel seemed to have the strongest showing of next generation product versus any other showcase we saw at CES.
Frankly in our opinion AMD's booth was a bit light in both the glitz and the goods. Above is a featured nForce 4 SLI rig from Voodoo running an NVIDIA Tech Demo. No doubt about it, this rig is dialed up, slick and wicked fast.
ATi, on the other hand had both Intel and AMD supported motherboards on display, based on their Radeon Xpress chipset. Left is a Radeon Xpress Pentium 4 LGA775 socket reference motherboard from ATi and right is full-up AMD based Radeon XPress system that is water cooled and heavily overclocked on a 310MHz FSB!
|Abit's Booth And Painkiller With Fatal1ty|
Abit's booth was definitely a highlight with its gaming stage drawing huge attention from passers-by. We also met the young man known as "Fatal1ty", Jonathan Wendel, and lived to tell the story.
Abit's booth was heavily draped in a marketing campaign for their "Fatal1ty" line of products endorsed by the professional gamer himself. We saw Abit's i925XE Fatal1ty board as well as their nForce 4 single PCIe slot AN8 Fatal1ty board. Additionally, Abit was showcasing a wealth of graphics card products based on ATi Radeon VPUs, including the recently introduced X850 XT and X800 XL. Finally Zalman had a quiet case on display that was to die for, with heat pipe technology all around allowing for minimal air flow noise and new Fatal1ty labeled coolers for the CPU and Graphics.
Then there was the absolutely SCHOOLING I took from Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel. It's ugly enough when a Pro Gamer meets up with a Non-Pro for a death match but match up an over-worked Editor that barely gets enough time to play on the toys he tests all day long and it's kind of like a lamb strolling into the slaughter. One word, "owned"... I kept hiding behind the excuse that the scroll wheel wasn't cycling my weapons for me but maybe that was because I didn't have time to pick any of the BFGs in Painkiller because by the time I got in an area that had one, Fatal1ty was breathing down my neck dealing out the death. Yep, that $5000 prize bounty was good and safe with me at the keyboard! Besides I was too busy rubber-necking around at the booth babe...
Of all the booths we visited at CES, Asus had the most dizzying array of products by far. From motherboards, to video cards, drives, heat sinks, mini PCs, laptops, PDAs, and cell phones, they had it all and then some.
Killer Coolers, X850s, X800 XLs and of course Windows Media Center shown again prominently but Marco and I both agree, we're "jonesing" for that Asus P505 Smart Phone with Blue Tooth and WinCE.
|Asus' Ballroom (Continued)|
Can you pick out the new BTX form factor motherboard here?
Bingo, second shot in on the left, next to the Dual Xeon board. The Asus P5G6M is an Intel 915 micro BTX motherboard that Asus has yet to go to the channel with. We saw very few BTX form factor products at the show actually, save for a very swank looking BTX XPC at Shuttle's booth.
Voodoo PC's Water Cooled nForce 4 SLI rig was damn impressive up close and personal. All major chips in this system are water cooled, including the main CPU, both GeForce 6800 Ultra GPUs and the nForce 4 chip itself.... sweetness.
There's that crazy heat-pipe built jet engine cooler again, this time in a clear acrylic case. And laptops anyone? Dothan Pentium M based no less but one of them is "special".
You guessed it, Intel's "Alviso" chipset incarnate folks. Just think a Pentium M "Dothan" core with DDR2 and PCI Express graphics... They're right around the corner.
|EVGA & OCZ|
EVGA's suite at the Venetian was very interesting as well since the company has begun to branch out into other product offerings beyond just graphics cards.
At first glance we were pretty surprised to see P4 LGA775 motherboards with dual PCIe graphics slots in amongst EVGA's nForce 3 mobos. In fact the unpopulated board on the end right side of the display (center shot second row) had the words "Pentium 4 Micro ATX SLI Motherboard" printed on it's display card, so we weren't seeing things. One of the boards we initially mistook for a next gen nForce for the P4 board with dual PCIe slots (top row, center shot).
However, upon closer inspection (yes, I'm tugging on that Northbridge sink pretty hard although we didn't get it off), it turned out to most likely be a fully Intel based solution with all 20 PCIe lanes dedicated to graphics. Pretty innovative on the part of EVGA actually and we're eager to get our hands on one.
OCZ had a suite at the Bellagio and gave us an end of the day briefing on some of their latest products in PSUs and Memory.
The blue lit high end Power Supply pictured above is from their Modstream line of products and it is absolutely whisper quiet with it's one large low speed fan keeping it cool at 520 watts. The other is from their high end Powerstream line with its detachable cable assemblies, dual fans and 600 watts of power. Finally of course is OCZ's line of low latency and high speed Memory Modules, which the company was founded on. We plan to take a look at both of these lines of products, both power and memory, in the months ahead here at HH.
|NVIDIA @ CES|
NVIDIA had a well appointed booth at CES, that was chock full of hardware. Most of the stuff you've probably seen before if you're a regular HotHardware reader, but a couple of items might not be so familiar to you...
Along with a full compliment of video cards, including their entire line up of GeForce 6 Series of products, NVIDIA was showcasing hardware that uses their technology. Full systems from Voodoo computers, iBuyPower, and Alienware were on display, a couple of which were outfitted with dual-GeForce 6800's and nForce 4 motherboards in an SLI configuration. NVIDIA also had a handful of other systems configured with GeForce 6200's and 6600's to spotlight their PureVideo technology, including a brand new laptop from Sony that's equipped with a GeForce 6200 with TurboCache.
On top of the expected focus on discreet video cards, some new gadgets that sport NVIDIA technology were on display. The infamous Infinium Labs folks were there talking about their Phantom console and game delivery service in a very "snake-oil" sales kind of way. The And Gizmondo's handheld media player / game system, that's powered by the GoForce 3D 4500, was also being shown. This little gadget could very well give Gameboy a run for its money.
MSI was showcasing quite a few different products at their booth at CES. Everything from motherboards to handheld media players were on display. MSI also had a few wild dancers cuttin' a little rug in their booth, to attract show visitors.
The first product that caught our eye was MSI's K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI. As the same implies, this is MSI's NVIDIA nForce 4 SLI powered motherboard with dual PCI Express X16 graphics slots. The K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI has a couple of other distinguishing features as well, namely an integrated 7.1 channel Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live audio controller and a PCI Express SATA II controller with NCQ support.
Also on display was MSI's micro-ATX Radeon XPRESS 200 motherboard, which is visible in the picture at the upper right. They also had a slew of small form factor systems up and running, their whole line of ATi and NVIDIA powered video cards, a wide variety of laptops, and their new line of portable media players. Wireless networking and Bluetooth products were also on display.
|VIA, Hush And The Big Chill With DFI|
"Lunch At Piero's" was not only a tasty oasis of Italian style sustenance, it was also heavily supported by VIA and various OEMs like Hush Technologies.
Below is VIA's K8T890 running dual Radeon PCIe cards in a multi-monitor (three total but it can do 4) setup. The system wasn't SLI ready just yet but we were told it was coming soon.
Here we see Hush's HTPCs based on Centrino, Athlon 64 and even a Pentium 4 3.6GHz. These are very sleek designs with absolutely stealth-like acoustics. The P4 box wasn't fanless but we believe the Centrino was fur sure.
Finally, we had a chance to kick back with the folks from DFI and Corsair. We were disappointed that we missed their Thursday night bash at the Bellagio due to flight delays coming out of Boston's lovely Logan Airport. In fact, we were so straight out running around at the show that we didn't even get a chance to get to their hotel suite before mid day on Saturday. By then they had already broken down their product display.
So, of course, we just headed for the bar. ;-) The above shots were captured by our bud Eric Ackerson, Product Marketing Manager at Corsair. On the other end of the camera are HH's own Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta (profile shot), Vivian Lien of DFI and me.
We hope you enjoyed our little showcase here, even half as much as we enjoyed this year's Consumer Electronics Show. Marco and I had a great time and returned invigorated with all the new technology coming to us in 2005. It's shaping up to be a banner year in high tech for sure.