The Hottest Products of CES 2011

QuickSync + Discrete, OCZ Z-Drive R3, MSI Big Bang Marshal

OCZ Z-Drive R3 PCI Express SSD:
Another hot product at this year's CES was the OCZ Z-Drive R3. This next-gen Z-Drive sports RAIDed SandForce controllers and a significantly revamped design with a smaller footprint, newly designed heatsink, and an integrate Super-Cap, which can supply power to the card in short bursts to give it enough time to complete a write operation in the event of a power failure.

Other noteworthy features of the OCZ Z-Drive R3 include a PCI Express Gen2 x8 interface and MLC or SLC NAND flash memory options, depending on the intended application. Capacities will be avaialble ranging from 150GB to a whopping (for solid state storage) 1.2TB.

WIth up to four SandForce SF-1565 controllers and thier associated NAND running in a RAID 0 configurations, the OCZ Z-Drive R3 is expected to offer read speeds up to 1GB/s with 950MB/s writes and 135K IOPS (4K Random Writes). A full size form factor is also planned that will reportedly offer up to 250K IOPS. But don’t take our word for it—listen to what OCZ had to say about the Z-Drive R3 during our demo…

Intel Sandy Bridge Graphics and QuicSync Working With Discrete GPU:
Within a conference room behind Intel's booth, we got a first hand look at Intel's latest refinements with their recently launched Sandy Bridge processor with integrated graphics. One question that some of you have been concerned about is if Sandy Bridge will allow users to access the chip's Quick Sync video encoding engine if there is a discrete GPU in the system and only a single monitor is used. This is a common configuration in both the desktop and notebook space obviously, with solutions from various OEMs that include the likes of NVIDIA Optimus, etc.

Surprsingly, Intel has been spending resources with third party developers like Lucid Logix who has been developing middleware that will allow access to both discrete GPU resources as well as Intel's Quick Sync video conversion engine simultaneously, when a single monitor is attached to the system (Quick Sync can currently be used with a discrete GPU when the Intel HD Graphics are the primary display and both have monitors attached). Dave from Intel took us through a demo of a system with Lucid's middleware setup with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 and Sandy Bridge chewing on their own workloads simultaneously. Have a look above.

MSI P67 Big Bang Marshal Motherboard:
If you’re looking for something big, then we’ve found something that just might pique your interest. With an XL-ATX form factor, the MSI announced the Big Bang Marshal at CES 2011. It joins only two other motherboards to hit this particular weight class: the EVGA Classified 4-Way SLI and Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD9. And with all this extra real estate, manufacturers are able to load up the PCB with even more options for extreme enthusiasts who utilize multiple graphics cards.  

While the previous XL-ATX boards feature Intel’s X58 chipset, the Big Bang Marshal is MSI's flagship P67 model. With 8 PCI-E slots, 12 USB 3.0 ports, 4 SATA 6Gbps connectors, and 3 BIOS chips, this is easily one of  the most feature rich P67 motherboards we’ve laid our eyes on. Look for this monster to be out in the middle of Q1, accompanied by an XL price tag. 

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