Now, before anyone starts assuming that QuakeCon is nothing more than a giant LAN party, let us clarify that there is an almost ridiculous amount of action going on at all times. In addition to the giant BYOC area inside the main hall, there is also a large exhibitor section where various vendors showcase their latest and greatest products. The main presence in this area is from the key sponsors of QuakeCon which are namely NVIDIA, Creative Labs, Intel, Alienware, and Kingston to name a few.
NVIDIA's booth was easily one of the largest in the hall, with a variety of products showcased ranging from notebooks with GeForce 6800 Go graphics to the recently announced GeForce 7800GT. One the of the largest attractions to the area, however, was the collection of Dell XPS desktops which were each equipped with dual GeForce 7800GTX gpu's running on the new nForce4 SLI x16 motherboards. As you might expect, there was always a handful of people waiting in line to see the latest hot titles running on a ridiculously fast system such as the new Dell XPS desktops.
Creative Labs was also on hand to promote their new XFi series of premium soundcards. Utilizing a totally new audio processor with a profound increase of processing power, Creative has seemingly raised the bar in terms of PC audio quality. Taking things one step further, some models will also feature up to 64MB of onboard memory to further offload the main system resources and increase overall efficiency. We're told this all amounts to a sizeable increase in performance and framerate over conventional audio solutions, though we'll reserve final judgment until we can get a sample in house and conduct our own testing.
One of the most bizarre yet amusing events would have to be NVIDIA's pseudo launch party for the new GeForce 7800GT. With former MTV Real World cast member Julie as the guest host, the theme of the event was a Fear-Factor type scenario where audience members would have to complete some dramatic task to win a prize. Right off the bat, we knew some odd events would be seen as the very first event required contestants to chug several bottles of water before they were forced to put their hands on a brand new Dell XPS SLI desktop. In order to win, you had to be the last person standing without taking your hand off the system. More than an hour into the event, the audience had already seen one person vomit and not a single person had been disqualified. The same tenacity seemed to apply to the rest of the events as well as contestants freely completed some disgusting and embarrassing tasks. Here we witnessed people devouring sticks of butter, saw more geek-flesh being bared than we ever wanted to, and even had two girls shave their heads bald for a measly(given the circumstances) $149 graphics card! Fortunately, NVIDIA did have several attractive helpers to make watching this all a bit easier to endure. Regardless, after almost two hours we had taken all the geeky table dancing we could handle and were forced to leave. Ironically enough, we had not even heard a single word regarding the new GeForce 7800GT during the "launch party".