CES isn't like the tech tradeshows of the past decade. Shows like Comdex, Computex and IDF generally start on the first day of the show. CES instead offers a couple of days of press events before the actual show itself.

Today we had the first press conference of CES - ASUS, followed by a pre-show called CES Unveiled. A bunch of companies cram into a ballroom with science-fair style tables and booths to show a preview of what's to come at CES.

Seagate was the first on my stop around CES Unveiled. USB 3.0 is a hot topic simply because we finally have storage, both mechanical and solid state, that is severely limited by USB 2.0.

It's called the BlackArmor PS110 USB 3.0 portable external hard drive performance kit. Yep, a mouthful. With it you get an external 500GB 2.5" hard drive. But since no existing notebooks have USB 3.0 support you also get a USB 3.0 ExpressCard.

You would get higher performance if you had native USB 3.0 on your machine, since you're bound by ExpressCard's 2.5Gbps bandwidth limit. Even so Seagate promises as much as 3x the performance you'd get over USB 2.0.

The kit costs $179.99.

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  • jmurbank - Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - link

    What I did not expect to read from your article was the introduction of Netbook or you called it a Smartbook that is very, very thin. Even that thin of a device, Intel Atom processors can not fit with out over heating. It is a sure thing that it uses an ARM processor and Marvell is showing their ARM Cortex processor that they introduced a few months ago.

    I expected a USB 3 device to be explained. USB is a pathetic connection compared to IEEE-1394 if you want high bandwidth and almost instant access. Also USB is even more pathetic against SATA or eSATA. USB to this day requires a black art in programming to make it work well in latency and bandwidth benchmarks. USB 3 will not fix any problems that anybody is hoping. It causes more problems such as people coming into Linux forums and whining about their USB can not provide a high bandwidth that they usually get in another operating system.
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - link

    There are so many of these new set top boxes on the market, most even claim full compatibility with mkv and vorbis and h264 at the highest levels.

    You should get a few of them and make a review.
  • jdietz - Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - link

    The FreeAgent Theater+ HD does not impress me. The only research I did was check Seagate's website for the specs. I watch mostly subtitled Japanese anime (sorry) so I need a box that supports a large variety of subtitles. The Seagate unit doesn't support ASS (sorry guys) which is a very common subtitle format. WD TV HD is a product line from Western Digital which does include this support. The docking station is nice and all, but doesn't really interest me as a feature. All products in this category will play nice with an FAT or NTFS formatted USB drive.
  • jdietz - Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - link

    What makes it a gaming case? Micro-ATX cases have been available for awhile. It's no problem to put high end components in there and call it a gaming box. I used the now pretty old Antec NSK2400 case for mine.

    What's really impossible is a mini-ITX gaming case. Now that I'd like to see. I think a different recent article was talking about a mini-ITX motherboard and how there are no chassis for it.

    Boxee Box is a strange name for a product. It seems...redundant.
  • HotFoot - Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - link

    It's a gaming case because it's designed to fit the video card, really. Actually, this is pretty much exactly the layout I'd be wanting to replace my hefty P182 when the time finally comes to upgrade. My remaining question would be how much room is there for a proper tower cooler like the TRUE120.
  • Taft12 - Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - link

    If the case is wide enough for an ultra high-end video card, it should be wide enough for a tower cooler. I also think this looks like a terrific product and am happy to see more migration to micro-ATX and ITX.
  • fyres - Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - link

    can view non-DRM content, that is nice!
    like the overall design.
    btw, there are live discussions at 7pm PST at www.livefyre.com throughout CES, join share your opinions on CES news.
  • blyndy - Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - link

    The second usb cable plugin into the card for power might have been the only way to make it work but it's cluttery and tangly. I would wait for native usb3, I don't like dealing with lots of cables and expresscards waiting to be snapped off.

    I'm waiting for SSDs powered only by the usb3 cable, like the OCZ one.
  • blyndy - Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - link

    I definitely like the increased support for micro-ATX. When I put my ATX mid-tower next to my mATX tower it's like looking at an old 486 motherboard next to a modern motherboard.

    I would like to see a few more windows in mATX cases though, there don't seem to be many (good ones). I think the inwin case layout would be especially good for a case window.
  • semo - Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - link

    I think USB 3 should be the big news at CES.
    I like the seagate kit but why only 500GB limit? for such high price i'd expect more

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