CES 2005: Chipsets, Motherboards, and Memoryby Wesley Fink on January 13, 2005 12:05 AM EST
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- Trade Shows
With the death of Comdex in 2004, the computer press had every expectation that CES would fill the void. That expectation turned out to be overly optimistic as many major players in the chipset, motherboard and memory markets did not even make an appearance at CES this year. Those who did sport a booth or suite at the Las Vegas extravaganza had little new to show - although we did finally see some products that had been expected for many months. At least this year, CES was nothing like Computex in Taipei, or even the defunct Comdex.
There were a few new items, but not the kind of "blow-your-mind" excess that we see at Computex. Since Las Vegas is the city that has turned sin into cash and gaudy excess into class, we really expected more in the computer arena. Yes, this is still the week that CES shares Las Vegas with the Adult Film industry convention, so you get a picture of this strange mixture of pornography and Consumer Electronics that makes this city a bizarre place to land just after New Year's each year. Somehow, the Porno Academy Awards seem a better fit to the texture of Vegas than Consumer Electronics, but both are fixtures in this neon oasis.
The taxi drivers are still some of the rudest that you will find anywhere with their constant complaining that computer people are cheap. Everyone in Vegas seems to believe that separating visitors from their dollars is their only reason to exist, and for too many in Vegas, good service is a foreign concept. We even overheard a Hotel store clerk complaining loudly that Bill Gates was cheap. He told the story that Gates came in the Hotel shop for a few items that came to $84 and "complained about the price - a man with the money he has!" What totally escaped the clerk was that that $84 probably bought goods truly worth about $5, based on the fact that I paid $5 for 5 bandaids in the same shop. Instead, the Vegas mindset seems to be "if you have the money, I deserve a big chunk of it."
While the overall depth in the computer arena was not impressive, it is not to say that there weren't some very interesting and exciting products at a few booths and suites. SLI was hot on the breath of every chipset and board maker, and there were even a few unique developments in the memory market.