During the second day of CES, Nvidia hosted a press conference in a nightclub, CoolIt showed off its latest sealed liquid coolers, Seagate let us know it's going USB 3.0, Asus was pushing P55 motherboards harder than the competition, and Intel officially launched its Clarkdale and Arrandale processors. Just another day at CES.
Given all that was seen and heard during my Thursday foray into the depths of CES, let’s just dive right in.
Nvidia Launches Tegra 2; Teases GF100
Nvidia hosted a press conference at the Shimmer Cabaret at the Las Vegas Hilton. Jen-Hsen Huang launched the new Tegra 2 mobile processor. As with the previous Tegra, the processor is a system-on-chip for handheld devices. The Tegra 2 is a heterogenous design, incorporating a Cortex-A9 CPU plus a low-power GPU. The whole affair consumes 500mW under load. But it’s usable for apps like eBook reading using as little as 0.2 watts.
Nvidia apparently is jumping onto the tablet computing bandwagon; Huang noted that Tegra 2 has already garnered a number of design wins, most of which seem to be mobile Internet tablets. Nvidia is also taking the unusual step of offering the full Tegra development kit, which includes reference board, a small display, and Chromium OS, to all comers at "an affordable price."
More importantly, the company has also taken steps to garner support for key software middleware, including Adobe AIR. Huang also brought Epic’s Tim Sweeney onto the stage, who announced that the Unreal Engine 3 would be ported to Tegra.
While Tegra was the centerpiece of the conference, Nvidia also showed extensive 3D stereoscopic images, as well as demos running on its next-generation GF100 DirectX 11-capable graphics hardware, which we saw running the previous evening.
Asus Pushes The P55
Intel’s Lynnfield-based CPUs and P55 chipset are proving incredibly popular among performance enthusiasts building high-performance PCs without breaking the bank. From the perspective of cutting-edge gaming, the P55 is limited because there aren’t enough lanes for two x16 PCI Express 2.0 slots. So, Asus has added a PLX ExpressLane PEX 8613 bridge chip. This is a PCIe 2.0 bridge and switch, which adds twelve additional PCIe lanes, purportedly enabling better performance in dual-card systems, while allowing discrete USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s controllers to work at full speed without diverting PCIe lanes from graphics.
Asus is still building new boards based on the top-of-the-line Intel X58 core logic, too. The upcoming Rampage III Extreme will have an nForce 200 chip and PCI bridge in order to support four-card SLI and CrossFire. The board also uses lower-profile cooling solutions on the chipset itself, which allows for bulkier, high-end CPU coolers.
And While We Were Wandering
We came across this intriguing little device at the Super Talent booth.
Alas, I was rushing from one appointment to the next, so didn’t really have time to take a closer look. But it’s the first USB 3.0 flash memory key I’ve seen and the product label implies there’s some RAID capability built in. If so, performance should be excellent.