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Computex 2007: Cases

June 13, 2007 by Mike Chin

It's been impossible not to get wet during Computex.
June is the start of the rainy season in Taiwan, and in all three of my visits
to Taipei for Computex thus far, the rain has been infallible. This time around,
it was pouring when I arrived two nights before the official start of the show,
and it rained almost incessantly all through the week. Most of the time, it
wasn't anything like the drizzle of the Pacific Northwest; it was a pelting downpour.
With some 150,000 visitors (or thereabouts, I am told) adding to the already
congested streets, getting around was a nightmare. All for the mecca of the
second largest IT trade event in the world.



This view from the plane window moments before landing gave a hint of
what was to come for the rest of the week in Taipei

There's no attempt here to bring you a coherent story. But there are innmuerable
snippets and images, perhaps even a bit of video footage. In this report, we
focus mostly on cases. We start with the show floor at hall one...



From the top floor of the main hall of Taipei's convention center: It
shows perhaps 10% of the area in this hall. There were four other halls
of booths and several floors of company show suites at the adjacent
Grand Hyatt Hotel.





A view from near the top of Taipei
101
, technically, the tallest building in the world, where Intel likes
to do press conferences during Computex. All the views are spectacular
from this high up.

CASES & CASES



Thermaltake's
new massive cast aluminum cases, with and without integrated watercooling,
were close to the ultimate in extreme excess among cases at the show.



THERMALRIGHT



But serious competition of a more minimalist flavor came from celebrated
heatsink maker Thermalright,
who dreamed up some cases made almost entirely of heatpipes and
heatsinks. Heatsinks not of aluminum extrusion, but multiple thin fins
just like on their heatsinks. In the above tower case, the heatsink
fins are on both sides, and...





...one is actually clamped directly to the CPU for real cooling. The
final product, which they say will come in AMD and Intel versions to
accomodate the differing CPU placements on typical enthusiast mainboards,
will probably have mounting points for fans in various strategic places
for those who don't trust passive cooling.





Here's a HTPC version of Thermalright's new heatsink case, which gives
literal meaning to the term "cutting edge" design.

ANTEC



In their suite at the Grand Hyatt, Antec
showed off their latest HTPC case, a large ATX-motherboard capable variation
of the Fusion / NSK2400. This is
an ambitious design that allows for the latest high end graphics cards
with their attendent cooling requirements.




A new mini-P182 was also in evidence. This is very close to "standard"
mid-tower size (like the P150 or Sonata) but it is based largely on
the P180/182 design.




The interior of the mini-P182 shows excellent design thinking; it should
be an instant hit with systems builders from all walks. The photo above
explains much to those already familiar with the P182; SPCR should have
a review sample to examine in detail soon.




The P150 picked up a set of designer color
front bezels.




Then there was the massive tower based on the 900 Gamer Case. The centerpiece
of the system is an optional large 200mm square watercooling radiator
that takes advantage of the 200mm fan on the top panel.




Antec will also introduce some very high ouput PSUs to appease misguided
power-crazed gamers.




No, this is not a high end audio amplifier by Antec. It is a power line
conditioner with an original twist. It is meant to be used between two
hot components without letting the bottom one overheat...




...by drawing the heat from the bottom of its case via two squirrel-cage
blowers (similar to that used in the MX-1) and exhausting it out the back.

ZALMAN



Watercooling was also very much in evidence at the Zalman
booth. The LQ1000 aluminum case features an entire side panel that acts
as a radiator for its integrated WC system.




Zalman has a new external WC system called the Reserator XT, which features
a at least one fan for forced cooling, and front panel speed adjustments
for fan speed and monitoring of both the fan and temperatures. Also
shown are are range of waterblocks for CPUs and GPUs.




Then, there is a new 2-hinged-door Fatality branded aluminum case whose
primary nod to reduced noise appears to be thick panels and rubber damping
for the hard drives.




The VNF1000 is only one of Zalman's cooling attacks on GPUs.




The above photo shows the new VF1000 heatpipe cooler for nVidia 8800 series
cards, along with the ZM-RHS88, a RAM-sink for the same cards. The two
can be used together on the same card.

SILVERSTONE



Silverstone
showed off several new products, including this high end HTPC aluminum
rig, replete with all manner of features for the AV PC buff.




Also on display was a highly modular microATX case, the SG03, which
takes some elements from the successful TJ08. Equipped with two 120mm
intake fans, this could become the mATX case of choice for enthusiasts.




Silverstone's focus on HTPC continues with yet another high end case,
this time with a huge LCD display and completely vented sides.




Finally, here's a new massive CW01 case with one of their earlier models
on top. The new case was built specifically in response to requests
from Marantz, who sought a HTPC case that would mate well with their
high end AV receivers and other gear. It's not clear whether Marantz
has placed any direct orders for this model at this time.


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