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Computex 2007: Thermaltake, ABIT, Corsair, Sapphire
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Date: Jun 21, 2007
Section:Misc
Author: Paul Jastrzebski
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Thermaltake

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Over the last few years, Thermaltake has had an increasingly greater presence at Computex. The company has used Computex as a launch pad for a number of new products, and this year’s show was no exception. New coolers, cases, power supplies, and even a few gadgets were on display at Thermaltake’s booth.

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One of the first coolers on display that caught our eye was the DuOrb, essentially two of Thermaltakes popular Orb coolers combined to form one giant heatsink fan. The DuOrb was designed as a quieter and more efficient replacement for the stock cooling units on high end graphics cards like the GeForce 8800GTX. Thermaltake explained that the DuOrb has two 80mm fans connected to the GPU sink by all copper heatpipes, with the quiet operation maintained by having both 80mm fans rotate at a slow speed. Thermaltake was also showing off its new Spirit RS memory heatsinks, which simply provide more heat dissipation to your memory modules.

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A new liquid cooling unit was also on display, named the Big Water 760i. The Big Water 760i is an all in one liquid cooling unit that is installed straight into two of your case’s 5.25” bays and provides cooling for your CPU.

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Another interesting product that Thermaltake was showing off was their new Mozart IP HTPC barebones system. According to Thermaltake, the Mozart IP is the first HTPC to include an iPod doc right on its front panel, giving you easy access to your entire music library.

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On the high end case front, a new version of Thermaltakes Xaser case was shown off. Like its predecessors, the new Xaser is an all aluminum mid tower that has some interesting design tweaks that will appeal to many enthusiasts.

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In my personal experience, one of the most tedious aspects of building a PC has always been cable management. Thermaltake realized that a lot of enthusiasts don’t ever tie up any of their cables, so with their new Xaser, they have built in SATA data and power connections inside the hard drive cage. You simply attach your hard drive to the mounting mechanism and slide the drive in.

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When looking at the top panel, you can see that Thermaltake has included a big opening that can accommodate an internal liquid cooling unit. And as with many new cases on the market today, the front panel I/O connections include two E-SATA ports.

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Thermaltake redesigned another case they first announced at Computex 2005, the SwordM. The new SwordM is a hand assembled limited edition case that is probably the first ever to use hydraulic rods to open its side and top panels. It is made of 100% pure aluminum and can hold multiple liquid cooling units; the one on display had two (one on the top panel and one on the side panel). The side and top panels open automatically by the press of a button, and the case itself acts like a heatsink for the water cooling units by helping to disperse their heat.

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The case also features a unique 7” drive bay on its front panel that can be used to install hardware too big to fit into a normal 5.25” drive bay, like Thermaltake’s new 7” touch screen LCD. Designed for gamers that want to show off their rigs at LAN parties, the new 7” LCD is fully retractable inside the base of the unit, connects to a VGA, S-Video, or RCA output, and will cost around $200 when it is released later this year.

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Coolermaster

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Coolermaster had a small presence at this year’s Computex but nevertheless showed off some very interesting new products. The first demo we saw was one that had a Coolermaster Real Power 1250W PSU power two Intel Core 2 Duo systems, each running two GeForce 8800GTX graphics cards in SLI. Coolermaster was also showing off their new line of Real Power units that feature the new 8 pin PCI Express power connector, the power connector that is used on the Radeon HD 2900 XT.

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Like Thermaltake, Coolermaster also had a high end enthusiast class case on display as well. The company was showing off the Cosmos case that was announced this past March at CEBIT. The Cosmos was designed from the ground up to maximize airflow while keeping noise very low and making your PC build very easy. 5.25” drives are secured with the press of a button, instead of the low quality plastic sliding mechanism we’ve grown accustomed to in many of the cases on the market today.

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The case features air ducts that run from the front panel, through the hard drive drawers, straight to the back panel, with a fan on the bottom panel to help increase air flow. The Cosmos’ side panel also features a foam padding to reduce noise and vibration from the case.

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Also on display at Coolermaster’s suite were two heatsinks that like the DuOrb from Thermaltake, that feature dual cooling fans. The first on display was the Coolermaster Gemini II, which as you can see, is probably one of the biggest heatsink / fan combos ever, featuring two 120mm exhaust fans and an all aluminum heatsink design. The Gemini II most likely will never hit the market simply because it would be very difficult to find a cases or motherboards that it would actually fit on. Next to the Gemini II is the Gemini II S, an 80mm version of the Gemini II that is significantly smaller and seems much more practical.

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Next to the Gemini II S was the Hyper 212, another heatsink fan with two 120mm fans, but one that uses them very differently. The Hyper 212 has both fans blowing in the same direction, one to blow cool air onto the heatsink and the other to expel the hot air from the heatsink. Because the Hyper 212 uses two huge, low-speed 120mm fans, it runs very quietly while cooling very well.

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Coolermaster also had a new heatsink fan for the growing HTPC crowd as well, named the Vortex 752. The Vortex 752 features a quiet 80mm fan and uses rubber screws to prevent excessive vibrations which lead to noise and decrease fan reliability.

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Thermalright, Sapphire, and ABIT

Thermalright:

Walking down Hall 1, I noticed what appeared to be a condominium development on a new Intel X38 motherboard. In reality, it was a heatsink design that makes even the most over the top cooling designs from Thermaltake and Coolermaster seem perfectly reasonable.

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Thermalright was showing off a compilation of their new heatsink products all gathered together on one motherboard. There were giant CPU, memory, graphics, northbridge, southbridge, and MOSFET heatsinks all over. Thermalright mentioned that this was an extreme example of all their products in one system, but even a system like this requires at least one fan to keep airflow moving inside the case.

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Another outrageous product was a case that itself acts like a giant heatsink, with the side panel featuring the heatpipes that make contact with the CPU. Thermalright said that they are actually bringing this to market, but it couldn’t give any pricing figures. Although it is an interesting idea, a few problems come to mind with this design: one being that not all CPU sockets are in the same place on all motherboards, and the second being the fact that you would have to re-apply thermal paste to your CPU each time you open your side panel.

Sapphire:

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An interesting display at Sapphire’s booth was a dual Radeon X1950 Pro graphics card, named the Sapphire X1950 Pro Dual. As you can see from the bare-board pictures, there are two Radeon X1950 GPUs on board, each with 512MB of GDDR3 memory, with a relatively small dual-slot heatsink / fan. You can read our review of this card here.

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Sapphire was also showing off their HD 2600XT graphics card, with 256MB GDDR3 memory built in on an 128-bit memory interface and still undecided core and memory clock speeds.

ABIT:

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The big attraction at ABIT’s Computex booth was the overclocking setup put on by overclocking guru Robert Kihlberg. Using liquid nitrogen and ABIT’s P35 based IP35 Pro motherboard, we saw Kihlberg achieve a clock speed of 4.8GHz with his Core 2 Extreme QX6700 CPU.

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Also on display inside the booth was ABIT’s X38 based IX38 QuadGT motherboard. ABIT was still keeping the board’s cooling system a secret, but if the other X38 based motherboards that were on display during the show are any indication, there will likely be a lot of heatpipes involved. The IX38 will be one of two X38 motherboards introduced by ABIT in Q3 of this year, the other being the IX38-MAX. The main difference between the two will be the fact that the IX38 QuadGT will use only DDR2 memory, while the IX38-MAX will support only DDR3.

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OCZ

OCZ:

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OCZ was showing off a new, fully enclosed water cooling unit called the HydroJet. The HydroJet is a fully enclosed water cooling heatsink, that has a small waterpump, radiator, and fan all built in. Essentially the idea is to give the enthusiast all the benefits of a water cooling setup (more efficient cooling and quieter operation) with the ease of use of a typical heatsink installation. OCZ was very excited about the HydroJet and it will be interesting to see what kind of temperatures the unit will be able to achieve when it goes into full production later this year.

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OCZ has another high end cooling unit coming out later this year named the Vanquisher, which uses copper heatpipes and large aluminum fins to cool your CPU. OCZ also showed off a new water-proff extension to their popular flash drives, named the OCZ ATU. The ATU is water proof on the chip level, with the company targeting this drive for users that are in wet environments. The ATU drives on display were actually running a flash memory benchmark under water without any problems or any performance problems. And finally there was a new flash drive on display that uses Firewire instead of USB 2.0, which will likely give up to 70% faster read and 50% faster write times over traditional USB 2.0 drives.

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As you may recall, OCZ announced their acquisition of PC Power and Cooling only a few weeks before the show, and therefore they were displaying a new 1200W PC Power and Cooling Power Supply. With the purchase of PC Power and Cooling, OCZ will still continue it’s OCZ line of power supplies, which will be focused on enthusiasts and gamers while the PC Power and Cooling line will focus on enterprise users.

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At this year’s Cebit, OCZ debuted a new product they will introduce this fall named the Actuator. The Actuator is meant to replace your keyboard and mouse while gaming and allow you to control your character’s movements and actions by just thinking about them. The Actuator is essentially a headband with three silver colored pads that track the movements of your face and translate them into movements and actions in game. The demo was running Unreal Tournament 2004, and after a few minutes with the Actuator on, I managed to kill a few bots in Deathmatch mode. The Actuator is a really interesting idea, but as a hardcore PC FPS player, I don’t ever see myself using anything but a keyboard and mouse to play my favorite shoot em’ ups.

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Corsair

Corsair:

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At Corsair’s Computex suite, the company was displaying their line of flash memory drives, including their new survivor flash drive. The company was showing off their two shipping 620W and 520W power supplies and mentioned that they were going to be releasing an 800W unit into the market later this year. Corsair was showing off one of their first Tier 1 OEM design wins as well, with Corsair’s memory now available in Dell’s Dimension XPS line of gaming systems.

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But the big draw in Corsair’s suite was their DDR3 modules. The company was showing off a still in development 4GB (2x2GB) kit of DDR3 running at 1600MHz, at CAS 9 timings. 2GB DDR3 modules are still very rare at this point, and if these modules were to come out today, they would cost upwards of $1,000 at retail. However, Corsair plans to introduce them later this year when supply becomes more plentiful and therefore the memory will be more affordable to end users.

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And for all the overclockers out there, Corsair was the first company showing off DDR3 running at 2000MHz, with CAS 10 timings. We were able to sneak a run of SiSoft Sandra’s Memory Bandwidth Benchmark and obtained very impressive 8533MB/s RAM Bandwidth score.

 

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