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Zalman: Sticking To Its Roots

CES 2010, Day 1: AMD CPUs, DX11 Goes Mobile, Fermi Spotted
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Let’s switch gears and talk about Zalman, the well-known purveyor of high-end cooling products, ultra-quiet cases, and efficient power supplies. The company is now ten years old. Founded by an attorney annoyed at the noise generated by his PC, Zalman has certainly made its mark on the PC enthusiast space.

I met with Vincent Kim, sales manager, and Chinny Chuang, marketing manager, both headquartered in Zalman’s US office. Dr. Minwhan Seo, the company’s chief technology officer from the company's Korean R&D center was also present. What began as overviews of new products from Zalman evolved into a freewheeling discussion covering a variety of topics.

But first, the new stuff.

Zalman is famous for its lineup of quiet PC cases, but no one would characterize its previous PC enclosures as inexpensive. Now, Zalman is entering the value case segment with its Z7, a mid-tower design that will be priced under $100 while still offering sound dampening material in the side panels and robust airflow. There will also be a slightly higher-cost Z7 Plus, which will sport a transparent side panel as well.

Also on tap will be a value CPU cooler, based on the current CNPS10X product line, dubbed the CNPS10X Performa. Kim was reluctant to discuss price, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see a sub-$60 or even sub-$50 price point.

Zalman will also be shipping a new, dual-fan graphics card cooler, the VF3000. Versions will be available to support both Nvidia and AMD hardware. The AMD version is, not surprisingly, bright red, and will work with the Radeon HD 5870.

Dr. Seo, as it turns out, also has a keen interest in 3D stereoscopic technology. Interestingly, Zalman is one of the major suppliers of 3D polarizers for LCD panels, including its own line of panels. Currently, the company offers 19- and 22-inch displays, but is working on a 24-inch, 1080p unit for later in the year. Seo sees a strong opportunity in 3D displays, and is working to position Zalman as a leading supplier of enabling technology for stereoscopic 3D, both on desktop and living room displays. Given the push by major panel vendors, Zalman is likely to face pretty stiff competition, however.

Patriot Throws A Party

I would have liked to hang out with all the performance geeks who showed up at the party hosted by Patriot and Gigabyte, but I had overlapping commitments. I managed to arrive at the kickoff of the event, where Patriot unveiled its highest-performance SSD to date, which it's calling Inferno. Available in 128GB and 256GB capacities, Inferno looks to take on Intel’s second-generation SSDs with the SandForce MLC controller, and will support TRIM out of the box.

Patriot also had fast memory on display (though nothing new of note), as well as a tiny media server and a two-bay NAS device. More intriguing was a tiny NAS dongle roughly half the size of a pack of playing cards with two USB ports. Just hang USB drives off the available ports and plug the RJ-45 jack into your network and you have instant NAS (for a mere fifty bucks, no less). The only downside: it’s only fast Ethernet, not gigabit Ethernet. But hey, it’s fifty dollars, and allows you to make efficient use of all those old USB drives you have lying around.

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  • -9 Hide
    alterecho , January 7, 2010 8:07 AM
    i just lost some respect for ati. I really appreciated their 4000 series
    mobility parts since they were truthful unlike nvidia.

    It looks like AMD cpu division - so so engineering, good marketing.
    AMD graphics divisions - superb engineering, really bad marketing at least
    on the mobility front. Hope they don't turn into a nvidia any further.
  • -1 Hide
    WINTERLORD , January 7, 2010 8:07 AM
    alswome hope its out soon
  • -1 Hide
    jenesuispasbavard , January 7, 2010 8:41 AM
    I agree with alterecho, even the Mobility Radeon 4850 has 800 stream processors, and now the Mobility Radeon 5870 has the same? At least it's GDDR5...
  • 0 Hide
    soark , January 7, 2010 9:39 AM
    What is the motherboard used in the Fermi preview? The motherboard orientation is up, is that any good?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 7, 2010 10:31 AM
    The case looks awesome, 6 internal hd's good layout.. whats the model!?
  • 1 Hide
    cobular , January 7, 2010 11:28 AM
    paradoksThe case looks awesome, 6 internal hd's good layout.. whats the model!?

    Pretty sure its the new silverstone raven (think thats the name) case the rotated 90 degrees motherboard is pretty unique.
  • 1 Hide
    Ryun , January 7, 2010 11:49 AM
    zipzoomflyhighIt's good that a company proven to lie, cheat, steal and bribe is going to make the money back it payed as punishment? Really?I know TH are total Intel fanboys, but man, Loyd Case, you take the cake.


    He meant it's good for AMD; you really just took what he said out of context. Regardless of whether he's a fanboy or not the fact is AMD doesn't really have anything new for us on the CPU front. While the X4 Athlon IIs are pretty competitive with the i3s they're certainly in for a rough year. It'll help thing they've got a good thing going with the 5-series radeons, though.
  • -6 Hide
    linaaslt , January 7, 2010 11:51 AM
    As i'v read you'll need to get a new case for Fermi, the case that you can see in picture, and that's sad news for some of us... :/ 
  • 0 Hide
    leon2006 , January 7, 2010 11:59 AM
    I'm waiting for detailed HDTV 3D specs/standards definition. I'm in a market for another HDTV and I'm reconsidering it pending the definition of the new standard. Its pretty clear that we need to purchase new TV set to avail of 3D movies/shows at home.
  • 1 Hide
    brisingamen , January 7, 2010 12:01 PM
    um i gotta say the nvidia fermi display looked nice and weak, judging by the lack of fanfare it makes me think that it could be a 5850 re-cased for all we know running that benchmark haha,
  • 3 Hide
    ewood , January 7, 2010 12:24 PM
    linaasltAs i'v read you'll need to get a new case for Fermi, the case that you can see in picture, and that's sad news for some of us...

    really? I would love to know where you read that.
  • 7 Hide
    frederico , January 7, 2010 12:51 PM

    Fermi - with every major graphics card release.. the 8800 series, the 5800 from ATI, etc, etc.. there have been solid facts that have slipped out, leaked out, etc.. nothing has come out about Fermi, just dodgy pictures it seems, which is an essential marketing tool to keep potential customers 'holding on' obviously, but its just disappointing. The longer it is left, the stronger Fermi has to be.
  • -5 Hide
    KidHorn , January 7, 2010 12:51 PM
    What was the fermi setup running? Was it a movie? a still picture? a game? or?

    AMD has always had issues with their CPU business. They're CPUs deliver more bang for the buck than Intel, but they don't make money for AMD. So what's the point in making them? I never thought AMD would depend on ATI to be profitable. Not that they're actually profitable. I suppose with the money from Intel, they'll show a 4Q2009 profit, but I'm not convinced they'll show any profit in any quarter in 2010.
  • -1 Hide
    zachatfield , January 7, 2010 1:31 PM
    They're so depressed about Fermi (sounds an awful lot like Fergi) they have to drink to forget!
  • 0 Hide
    zachatfield , January 7, 2010 1:32 PM
    zachatfieldThey're so depressed about Fermi (sounds an awful lot like Fergi) they have to drink to forget!

    Looks like lord of the rings to me LOL
  • 7 Hide
    razorblaze42 , January 7, 2010 1:37 PM
    Weak display. The launch of ATI 5000 series on the U.S. Hornet was much more impressive. PR guy says it’s "already better than AMD’s fastest GPU." Really, then where’s the specs already dude? Since the chip is rumored to be 40% larger than ATI 5000, it should be 40% faster right? lol...and use 40% more power, and cost 40% more, hell I heard the damn think can cook bacon. In fact it’s now dubbed the "baconator." True story, I can't credit for coming up with "baconator" though.
  • 5 Hide
    mindless728 , January 7, 2010 1:38 PM
    he insisted that the results are better than the ati cards, if he had the benchmark running, why didn't he show you
  • 0 Hide
    jedluna , January 7, 2010 1:39 PM
    cobularPretty sure its the new silverstone raven (think thats the name) case the rotated 90 degrees motherboard is pretty unique.


    that motherboard is an ASUS RAMPAGE II EXTREME
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , January 7, 2010 1:48 PM
    the pc is from maingear - a silk
  • -2 Hide
    memeroot , January 7, 2010 1:52 PM
    the case is a maingear silk
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