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.

nVidia nForce4
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  • MarkM - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    >For those still in the AGP camp, DFI also had the nForce3 250 socket 939 LanParty on display, but not in final PCB.

    Well, that is depressing, "not in final PCB?" I figure that means it's at least another moneht before I'll ever see it. I was really trying hard to wait for this board for my 939/AGP build, but everyone else may be talking about the "Athlon 128" before it finally materializes! :)
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, January 14, 2005 - link

    I don't want SLI either, but the second x16 slot will work as a x1 in "single graphics-card mode", so you don't lose anything by going for the SLI capable board. The Asus SLI board effectively gives you three PCIe x1 slots then.

    It's probably worth holding off just slightly longer anyway because AMD's E0 revision A64 cores should be out soon, which as well as the SSE3 instructions, are expected to be manufactured using the latest strained-silicon process which further reduces power-consumption and increases overclocking potential.
    Reply
  • sophus - Friday, January 14, 2005 - link

    #5 I'm TRYING to wait for nforce4 non-SLI also.but only the gigabyte GA-K8NF-9 is available for about $150.

    is it wrong to want AMD + PCIe? late january couldn't come sooner...

    I wanted a nice SLI rig but the initial prices are too steep for my liking.
    Reply
  • geogecko - Friday, January 14, 2005 - link

    #5. No, actually, there are two of us. Any word on when the A8N-E Premium will be available? This board looks perfect for the HTPC community, with the low profile chipset passive cooler.

    Where is it ASUS???
    Reply
  • smn198 - Friday, January 14, 2005 - link

    What do you think the chances are that once we have dual core, we will get 939 dual socket boards? I'd be interested! Reply
  • Swaid - Thursday, January 13, 2005 - link

    #15
    If it's what I am assuming they are talking about, is that there is no need for a bearing surface since the whole fan housing is suspended in a magnetic field... Sure all other case fans are turned by an alternating magnetic field, but they are also not suspended by that same (maybe?) field. This would greatly reduce friction and cut down noise. It would be nice to see a diagram of this to know what they are specifically talking about. Sounds exactly what #16 said... Using MagLev technology (just on a smaller scale).
    Reply
  • Decel - Thursday, January 13, 2005 - link

    Actually, I believe that they're using MagLev.. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, January 13, 2005 - link

    Hehe, I take my (virtual) hat off to DFI's marketing division for coming up with that magnetic-field nonsense. All fans regardless of their bearings effectively spin in a magnetic-field, that's what is making them spin.

    Its strange that when they say it "reduces friction, wear and tear, and heat generation", that they don't include the first thing someone might notice about a chipset fan-- noise. Instead they claim the fan operates more efficiently without any proof.

    Don't get me wrong, I may buy a DFI mobo when I build my nForce4 box, but marketing bull like this really turns me off.
    Reply
  • Momental - Thursday, January 13, 2005 - link

    "the Fatal1ty AN8, based on the same nF4 ultra chipset, but geared toward top gaming with a price of over $300"

    Did I read that correctly??? ABit will be coming out with a motherboard that retails for THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS?? Umm.........yeah. What does it do besides make the most fantastic cup of Columbian coffee and amazing brownies?? I'm no cheapskate, by any means, but ya gotta be kiddin' me. That's some serious coin for a board.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, January 13, 2005 - link

    #11 and #12 - We asked DFI your questions and they are answered in the Press release:

    "both nForce4 chipset based motherboards feature Japanese aluminum electrolytic capacitors, magnetic levitation north bridge cooling fan with fan speed control, and all aluminum heat sink on mosfets. The conductive polymer (electrolytic) aluminum solid capacitors provide high resistance to over-voltage and reverse voltage as compared with other capacitors, making them the ideal choice for overclocking and mission critical motherboards. To further provide maximum cooling on-board, both motherboards feature DFI’s first magnetic levitation chipset cooling fan that moves almost twice the air compared to standard chipset fans while producing extremely little noise. Thanks to magnetic levitation technology, the spinning fan blades “float” in a magnetic field and thereby dramatically reduces friction, wear and tear, and heat generation."

    We have also corrected the description to the more accurate "Magnetic Levitation".
    Reply

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