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CES 2009

This year I attended the CES show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now, unfortunately, with confusion and really not knowing what to do and how to go about it, it kept me from actually visiting the booths inside the Las Vegas Convention Center itself. This was my very first CES so, as always, there’s bound to be some problems. But I did get a chance to meet up with some companies that had displays throughout the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. These companies felt it was a better idea to set up their displays at their hotel rooms so they could get a better one on one with reviewers, editors, and other related sites/businesses in the computer industry. I met with five companies on a one on one interview.

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INTRODUCTION

This year I attended the CES show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now, unfortunately, with confusion and really not knowing what to do and how to go about it, it kept me from actually visiting the booths inside the Las Vegas Convention Center itself. This was my very first CES so, as always, there’s bound to be some problems. But I did get a chance to meet up with some companies that had displays throughout the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. These companies felt it was a better idea to set up their displays at their hotel rooms so they could get a better one on one with reviewers, editors, and other related sites/businesses in the computer industry. I met with five companies on a one on one interview.

I arrived in Las Vegas on the 7th of January 2009, around 9pm or so. I went straight to my hotel room I had reserved in Henderson, Nevada at the Sunset Hotel and Casino. Yes, its a bit of a distance from Las Vegas, but that’s what I was aiming for, to get far enough away from the madness of Las Vegas, but close enough I wouldn’t have a such a commute. I woke up the following morning around 8:30am Pacific Standard Time, and headed straight to the Las Vegas Convention Center. After a couple of hours on trying to get in the CES exhibition and having zero luck with that, I remembered I had to make a couple of phone calls anyway. So I walked back to my car and found my piece of paper with phone numbers on it and made a call to Tania who is the PR person for Razer. Long story short, Tania was able to get me into where Razer had an booth. Not only that, Tonia was able to get me to talk to the Razer Guy himself. So I had an interview with the “Razer Guy”.

After completing my interview with the “Razor Guy”, I wandered around the South building of the Convention center, only to be met by one of the security guys shortly after my meeting with Razer. He was just doing his job and since I did not have a CES badge, I had to go. He was very polite with me. Upon reaching my car I started making calls to Angela and to the Mushkin Man. I wanted to make sure that if they had a booth inside the Convention Center, that I would need to be vouched for so I could to go and see them. Angela told me they were setting up their booth in their hotel Room at the Venetian, and Brian told me the same that they were setting their booth up at the Venetian as well. Well, I left the Convention Center scene quickly and headed straight for my hotel room to get ready for Cooler Masters party/booth at their hotel room at the Palms, and to go straight from Cooler Master’s party over to the Bellagio where OCZ was hosting their get together. Cooler Master’s party was at 7pm, and OCZ was hosting their get together at 9pm on the same day of the 8th of January.

RAZER

After a few minutes of being a little confused and totally lost at the Las Vegas Convention center, Tania was a tremendous help in helping me finding their location and also getting me into the south building of the Convention center. She arranged a meeting with the “Razer Guy” on the morning of January 8th 2009. After finally meeting up with Tania, she guided me to the Razer booth and asked me what kinda of games I liked to play, FPS, MMO’s, Simulation games, etc. I told her I play just bout anything. I prefer FPS types of games and that I haven’t played an MMO since Earth and Beyond, but I do plan on trying out Star Trek’s MMO when it gets released. I also said I am not really into strategy games but I have been known to try a few from time to time.

Upon reaching Razer’s booth Tania, introduced me to the “Razer Guy”. We introduced ourselves and he began to talk about when he started Razer, and also what his first product was. He continued to tell me that Razer is dedicated to the gaming community with their products. Also, that there are several offices located through out the world that take in suggestions and ideas and tests their products from the gaming community. He also explained to me what Razer’s naming scheme was for their products. Mice were named after Snakes, Head Phones after Fish, Keyboards named after Spiders, and their Mice Pads after Insects. ( I hope I gotten this right). If anything else, I was very intrigued to their naming scheme, as this makes it a lot easier to identify the type of product it is just by hearing the name of it.

After the “Razer Guy” got through explaining the details of how Razer works very closely with the gaming community, he then brought to my attention to their new mouse, The Mamba. Just before I started to look at this mouse he told me that they did not have the software loaded for this mouse yet. So, all of the main abilities of this mouse would not be available at that time. He hands me over the mouse and asked if I noticed any lag time? After he mentioned this, I immediately start to click across the screen, trying to feel this lag time (if there was any present). I came to the conclusion there was not any lag time at all. The Mamba mouse responded exceptionally quick and smooth. I also noticed that this mouse fit my hand quite well, as I like to hold the mouse towards the back of the mouse while resting my heel of my hand on the pad itself. I was in wireless mode during this time.

The Mamba Mouse has some interesting new features that the other mice (wireless or wired) don’t have, including there own mice. Instead of using the standard 32KBs of memory as on their previous mice, Razer bumped this up to 64KB’s. This will allow us the users even more complex macro commands and give us more profiles to use. The Mamba mouse also uses a 5600 DPI vs. the 4000 DPI. The Mamba mouse still retains the 1000MHz Ultrapolling (1ms response time). What really separates this mouse from the others is this mouse can be wireless or wired. The Mamba mouse comes with its very own specific charger designed for that specific mouse (Don’t be afraid if the mouse’s charger gets damaged, you can just replace the charger with out having to buy a whole new mouse. I asked the Razer Guy). The Mamba mouse can easily go from wireless to wired with out needing to shut off the computer or turning off the game. You don’t need to dock the mouse if the battery goes dead and wait for it to charge up during your gaming session. Just simply plug in the USB cable into the mouse and continue your slaughtering. It will recharge the battery as you play. The weight of the Mamba Mouse was incredibly light. During my little time spent using this mouse wireless, wired with battery, and wired with out battery, my hand did not get tired from handling the mouse. I could easily pick up the mouse with just my little finger and thumb. Razer also redesigned the mouse to better fit the palm of your hand, thereby making getting used to the Mamba a lot easier. They also moved the DPI buttons from the center, right behind the mouse wheel, and placed these buttons to the left front side of the mouse.

After our meeting, I thanked Tania and the Razor Guy for their time. They said I was more than welcome to take snap shots of their products on display. So with out further ado, let’s get on with the products on display.

 

 

 

 

 These are pictures of the Mamba mouse. This mouse is just sooo SEXY.

 

 

 

 Pictures of the Lycosa keyboard and the Arctosa Keyboard.

 

 

 

 And as always by using Razer Products you will …

 

COOLER MASTER

Cooler Master did not have a display set up in the Las Vegas Convention Center. They instead held a party and had their products displayed in a room at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas, as they felt it would give them a better one on one with reviewers and editors. Their party did not officially start until 7pm on the 8th of January 2009. I showed up there at around 6:30pm. Well, needless to say, I was the first one there (I have a habit of showing up early). The representatives from Cooler Master were more than happy to accept me, even though I was early. I spent the next couple of hours talking to each one of their representatives about each one of their products that they had coming out or that was already released. Cooler Master is coming out with a new line of power supplies that are a single rail modular design. They also had on display the V10 CPU cooler (also they were using this CPU cooler in most of there chassis they were displaying). And they had a couple of new mid tower designed chassis. They also had on display some newer laptop coolers. I spent most of my time chit chatting with the technicians and or the marketing specialists on that specific product line. Unfortunately, I cant quiet remember one specific conversation I had with all of the representatives from Cooler Master, as it is still a jumbled up mess in my head. All I can remember is I had a wonderful time and I really enjoyed the time I spent there.

Lets start off with the Cooler Master Cosmos Black.

Their new line up of power supplies.

Cooler Masters laptop products, anywhere from EeePC Sleeves to actual Laptop coolers. Cooler Master is going all out for personalization of their products.

 

 

 

Cooler Master’s new chassis the Sniper. This chassis is geared for those who take there computers to LAN parties. In this last picture we see a strange looking PCI cover. This little miracle is a way to secure your Mouse and Keyboard from being removed from the chassis while at LAN parties.

 

 A better look of the Cooler Master V10 CPU cooler. That CPU cooler is huge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Other Products Cooler Master had on Display throughout their room.

 

 

Told ya, I came early.

OCZ TECHNOLOGIES

I left Cooler Master’s party so I could make the get together they had at OCZ. Once I arrived at the Bellagio Hotel around 9pm I was completely lost. I spent my time trying to find out exactly where OCZ had their room at. After a few minutes of wandering around the hotel’s main casino floor, I somehow stumbled upon the Tower, in which OCZ had their room. Well, actually I just ended up following someone who happened to be heading in that direction. I found the elevator attendant on the main floor and he directed me to the proper elevator and told me what floor in which OCZ had their little get together. While I was at the OCZ get together, I met quite a few members of other web sites, retail shops, and other review sites. I even got a glimpse of Fatality himself (I did not get a chance to meet him or talk to him). After an hour an a half, I was unable to stay for much longer as I was getting tired and I had to drive back to my hotel which was in Henderson, Nevada. Just before I left, I found one of the OCZ representatives to say thank you for inviting me and if they have a booth in CES (and, if so, if he could vouch for me, as I was having difficulty getting inside the Main building of CES). The gentleman, told me, that they were having their products on display in their main room, and that I could see them anytime Friday/Saturday, and that all I had to do was call them and let them know I was there and someone would be there to escort me to their room where their products were on display. He then reached in his pocket, got a business card and wrote down their room number on it.

I managed to get over to OCZ’s room in the evening on that following Friday. Once I had gotten over to the Bellagio Hotel I called them from one of the phones located on the main floor and informed them I was present. A couple of minutes later I was greeted by one of there Tech. guys (sorry I am really bad with names). He showed me to their room on one of the upper floors of the hotel. Upon entering the room he introduced me to there PR person Lisa. After a quick introductions, Lisa started to explain to me what OCZ had on display and what products they are planning on making in the future. OCZ is making laptop computers, both entry and high end models. They also are planning on expanding into gaming mice and keyboards. At this time Lisa stopped and explained that their gaming keyboards and mice are geared more for the mainstream user and for those who cannot afford the 90+ dollar mice/keyboards, but still want a really good mouse/keyboard. Now I looked over and spotted the memory modules, so it seemed only fitting we head over there next. OCZ is planning on releasing some very high end Tri Channel memory kits, 2000MHz with 7-8-7-20 timings @ 1.65 volts, named the Blade. She also explained that their normal mainstream memory (Platinum, Gold, and the Reaper HPC) are already Tri channel capable. When I asked her about the Reaper X HPC memory and if that was going to be Tri Channel, Lisa said because of room constraints between the memory ports, it was not at that time. Looking at the Reaper HPC memory themselves I noticed they been slightly redesigned too. After a few minutes at looking at the memory on the table I also noticed OCZ has a newer type of Flex memory, aptly named the Flex II.

We left the memory table and I noticed a table that was right behind me. That table had their CPU coolers, SSD drives, and a few other items. I asked Lisa at this point if OCZ was making a bracket mount for their coolers to fit the newer Intel Core i7 CPU’s. She responded by telling me yes, and that they have also included a retention plate for this CPU. Upon hearing this tidbit of information I asked her if OCZ was planning on making a retention plate design for the socket 775 CPU’s. She responded in telling me that yes, OCZ does have a retention plate for the CPU coolers for the socket 775 platform as their tech’s found that while using a retention plate, it improved overall performance of these coolers. Now, I thought that was a bit of good news for those still using the socket 775 CPU’s.

Lisa, then navigated me over to their PSU display they had set up. She began explaining to me the newer PSU’s, mostly about there wattage’s and there efficiency rating’s also informing me again that these PSU’s are geared towards the mainstream user. They also had on display Power and Cooling PSU’s. I asked her since now they own Power and Cooling were they planning on merging that company into OCZ? She told me that OCZ does plan on leaving them there own company, and also she explained that the engineers from Power and Cooling have helped in the design with OCZ’s PSU line up.

Now to the left of the PSU display table I noticed something completely new from OCZ. Over on that table was a UPS and a case. Well, the chassis is what caught my eye first, so I wondered over to it and started checking it out. I asked Lisa if OCZ was planning on building chassis. Lisa replied back to me that yes, OCZ is, but the one on display is a prototype and was pretty much thrown together at the last minute for CES. Needless to say this chassis is one good looking chassis. Sitting to the left of the chassis I noticed a little black box with an LCD screen on it and I asked what’s that? an UPS too? She again responded in telling me yes, it is. Also she explained to me that it flattens the incoming power signal from the house power to the computer PSU, as well as has a 30 min. back up of power. To me, it sounds more like a power conditioner and UPS in one unit. Nice. Unfortunately, I cannot post any pictures of the UPS and the chassis, as the chassis is in a prototype stage and the UPS is also in that picture as well.

 

 

 

 

 

The memory modules. OCZ’s top performing memory modules for Core i7 CPU’s and the X58 motherboard’s is the Blade series top picture. OCZ redesigned the Flex and the Reaper HPC. We are also going to see a newer memory module that deals with water cooling and or air being aptly named Flex II.

 

 

We see OCZ is really starting to Branch out into the wonderful world of laptops, chassis, keyboards, and mice.

 

 

 

This is where OCZ had the SSD drives, USB flash drives, CPU cooler brackets and SD cards. On the table in front of this display were their CPU coolers.

 

 

 

 

Just some random pictures of OCZ’s little get together. They had 2 machines set up in the room with Quake Wars on both. At the time of this picture, this party barely gotten started.

GIGABYTE

On Friday the 9th Of January 2009 I had an appointment with Gigabyte at 11:30 am. It was my first interview of this day. I, of course, left my hotel around 9:45 am because I had no idea where to find the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Thinking, in case I get lost in Vegas, I will have enough time to figure out where I was and where I needed to go and about how to get there (basically to get my self un-lost, hey Vegas has grown since I was here last time, 18 years ago). Well, I showed up at the Venetian at round 10:30 am. Boy, if anything, I am definitely doing good on showing up early for my appointments. I called Angela on my cell phone letting her know that I was at the Venetian Hotel in the main lobby. She told me to stay there as she would send someone to pick me up and take me to their suite where they had the booth set up at. It seems that a lot of companies have been setting up their displays in the hotel rooms rather then setting one up in the Convention Center where CES was at (I am not complaining as this gives me a more of a Person to Person talk). About 5 minutes later I was greeted by one of the representatives of Gigabyte (Again, I do apologize as I am terrible with names. Faces I remember. Names forget.). This gentleman escorted me to the display which was setup in their suite.

Upon entering the room, I was introduced to Angela, the main PR person with Gigabyte. After a quick formal introduction, she gave me a quick run down on the new product lines and their new Ultra Durable 3 design. I asked a couple of questions regarding this Ultra Durable 3 design and she politely handed me over to one of the techs and had him explain the more integral design of the Ultra Durable 3 and this 2oz copper bit. He began asking me is I knew what Ultra Durable 3 means? I politely told him no. He began explaining the benefits of the Ultra Durable 3. He reached over and got a ring and on this ring are 2 large copper plates (the size of a motherboard) and some paperwork that was attached. He then explained to me that motherboards have 2 copper plates sandwiched within the layers of the PCB of the motherboard. He continued to tell me that standard motherboard manufacturers use only 1oz of copper for these 2 layers of copper. He then showed me an illustration of this design, because I was just a little confused. Now, since I was tracking with my host, he began to explain that by using 2 ounces of copper on their new Ultra Durable 3 design motherboards, their motherboards can handle larger amounts of data and voltages across the motherboard easier, and that it also gives the motherboards better thermal conductivity thereby increasing stability and thermals on the motherboard itself. Instead of heating up just a small area of the motherboard, the heat is evenly distributed across a larger area, allowing the motherboard to run cooler.

After a few minutes of explaining the Ultra Durable 3 design he got up and started to show me the motherboards that contain this new design, their AMD 790 chipset motherboards, their P45 series motherboards, and their X58 series motherboards. On the table in the center of the room I could not help but noticing an X58 Extreme motherboard with 3 Nvidia 280 GTX Video cards on it. After noticing this motherboard, I asked him if they had any problems running Tri SLI on their motherboards. He returned that so far they have not experienced any problems running Tri SLI or Tri/Quad fire on this motherboard. I asked him if Gigabyte was planning on using the NV200 chip for the full x16 lanes for Tri SLI? He told me that at this time no, because of certain issues regarding the X58 chipset and the Nvidia NV200 chip not properly working together.

After spending about one and half hours with GigaByte, I politely thanked the representatives from Gigabyte for showing me their display and also answering all of my questions. Upon leaving I went over to go see Angela, to say thank you for allowing me to come over and for their hospitality, She then gave me a press kit, and thanked me for coming over to their room and escorted me to the elevator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 GigaByte Display they had set up in their room at the Venetian.

GigaBytes Ultra Durable 3 design.

MUSHKIN

Now Mushkin was staying at the same hotel as Gigabyte, so this made getting to them a whole lot easier. As soon as I left Gigabyte’s room, I navigated my way back to the main lobby of the Venetian Hotel and got out my cell phone, looked up Brian’s phone number, and called him. I Informed him that I was done with Gigabyte and I was located in the main lobby of the hotel (as this was agreed between him and I in our prior talks). A few minutes later, I was greeted by Brian and his associate. He and I both exchanged introductions, and he also introduced me to his associate as well (again I am sorry not being good with names). We then proceeded to the product display suite. Before we got to the room, he explained to me that they just gotten to Las Vegas and that the products haven’t shown up, and he apologized for this as we got to the room. If anything, I just have a bad habit of showing up when people least expect me. Upon entering their room, he and I go to the far end of the room to where a table and two chairs are. We both sat down and he began talking about Mushkin memory that he had with him at the time. Brian laid these out on the table in front of us and I took a couple of snapshots of the memory and picked up the package to get a better view of the memory itself. I began to notice that these memory sticks have a copper plate that sits in between the memory modules and the aluminum heat spreaders. Well, upon finding this out I asked Brian (aka The Mushkin Man). He began explaining this newer design that Mushkn is incorporating. By using this copper heat pipe (or similar to a heat pipe that’s been flattened), it allows the memory modules to better distribute the heat across the aluminum heat spreader. Well, that would explain the added extra weight of these particular memory modules. This is definitely thinking about better cooling for the memory modules. The memory modules I was looking at were the 3 gig Tri Channel set of 2000MHz 9-9-9-24 timings memory and a set of 6 gig Tri Channel 1600MHz memory.

After a few minutes of talking about memory, Brian reminded me that they are also making PSU’s. I told him I completely forgot that Mushkin makes PSU’s as I did not hear much about them. Well ,he tells me that Mushkin has a single rail 1k modular PSU that’s in a computer case that’s hasn’t quite made it to the room yet. Remember, they just gotten there that morning and I was a tad early. So, really, it’s my fault for showing up early. We chit chatted for a few minutes about PSU’s and also about computers in general and memory overclocking. Low and behold we are greeted with Mushkin’s display products. Boy, the timing was perfect. Brian grabbed a box containing a computer tower that the 1K watt PSU is in. Looking at this computer box I could not help noticing that it had IN-WIN Ferrari written on it. Brian quickly tells me that the case is what it says on the box and that the color of this case is gorgeous. Well, upon actually seeing this chassis I would have to agree with Brian on this one.

He placed the computer tower on the table and then started looking for the monitor, the keyboard, mouse,  and the cables for the monitor and tower. Brian and his associate located the monitor one monitor cable (or shall I say Monster monitor cable, I cannot describe the size of THAT monitor cable as it was HUGE) and one power cable, the keyboard, and mouse. Now keep in mind, I only said one power cable. We need two for both the monitor and the tower. A couple of quick jokes were switched back and forth (mostly about this Monster monitor cable I found myself holding) while Brian and his associate looked for this other power cable they needed. After a few minutes Brian and his associate had a brilliant idea of using the LCD TV’s cable that was in the room. Well, of course, I just had to join in on this bit of fun. Brian and his associate couldn’t completely remove the power cable but managed to get the power cable unplugged from the TV itself. So we all pitched in and moved the computer tower over to the far LCD TV so Brian could show me how the 2000MHz memory does. Well, The 2000MHz memory was put into the Asus P6T6 motherboard (how dare I get this motherboard confused with another?). Upon booting the computer, Brian starts hitting the DEL button to enter the BIOS. Well I said, you know I do the same thing. As soon as I hit the Power button I am hitting the Delete button. Brian sets the CPU speed to 3.2GHz 200 FSB x 16 Multi while using a divider of 10 on the memory. Just before he saved and left the BIOS, I had to ask him about a couple of settings that were present on the ASUS P6T6 motherboard that I have yet seen on a MSI x58 Platinum and the Intel Smackover x58 motherboard. These settings were the Uncore frequency, and the QPI voltage itself, and also another one I cant quite remember. Brian was more then helpful in explaining to me these newer settings and how they work with and for the CPU itself. Also, he explained that the Uncore frequency is always 2x the speed of the memory itself. Going any higher will result in a no post. I thanked him for this new bit of information. He also said that to keep the QPI voltage of 0.5 volts of the actual memory voltage as this helps stabilize the CPU itself and also keeps the CPU from burning up. I heard a little bit about this but I thought it be best to hear it from someone in person instead of finding about it on the internet. Well, the computer posted with a 3.2 GHz CPU core speed and the memory cruising at 2000MHz 9-9-9-24. After Brian ran memtest for a few minutes, he wanted to see if these sticks would post at 2100 MHz. Long story short, the memory would not post at 2100MHz. But keep in mind, he only had this up and running for a few minutes. If given a little more time, I would say it is possible. Well, I took a couple of pictures of the memory running at 2000MHz with 9-9-9-24 timings with my camera, and said my thank you to both Brian and his associate for allowing me to come up and talk with them about the products. Brian escorted me to the elevator and thanked me for coming and I thanked him for taking the time to speak with me.

The two Memory module packages that Mushkin had at the time of me showing up. Now keep in mind, I had a nasty habit of popping in a tad bit early.

This is the 3 gig 2000 MHz memory in the IN-WIN Ferrari chassis on an ASUS P6T6 mobo that had an Intel Core i7 965 CPU.

These are the results of Brian’s overclocking adventure with the 3 gig set of memory. As we can see, it did post and boot into Windows with very little problems.

These pictures are all about Mushkin’s new PSU a 1 killawatt modular single rail.

CLOSING STATEMENTS

If anything, during my interviews with these five companies, I learned one thing that each one of these companies have in common. What was that one thing? Their dedication, not just to their products or the company they represent, but to their customers who use their products. That to me says a lot about these companies products and their people. So, expect some great new products from each one of these companies. As I am looking forward to reviewing them myself.

I would like to thank OCZ, Cooler Master, Razer, GigaByte, and Mushkin for taking time away from your already hectic schedule and meeting with me to talk about your products and answer all of my questions with professionalism. And also, for putting up with me for showing up just a tad early.

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