This year we introduced the readers to our new Tom’s Hardware Innovation Award.
Typically, when attending trade shows and events (and especially one as big as Computex), you can expect to be overwhelmed with announcements from companies, touting their latest products and announcing new initiatives that they all insist are the latest and greatest. However, while that may be true, products that really break away from what everyone else is doing are getting harder and harder to find. We think that when we do find a product we feel is exciting and new, it’s important we recognise it, hence the Innovation Awards.
This year’s first, second and third place go to the Coolermaster UCP 900W 80plus Silver PSU, the Ikonik Ra X10 Case and WiMAX respectively. So what made us choose these three above everything else we saw at Computex?
Coolermaster UCP 900W 80plus Silver PSU
The list of 80plus manufacturers boasts as many as 80 power supply manufacturers and vendors, but this UCP 900W from Coolermaster is the first mainstream unit to comply with the 80plus Silver standard. The 80Plus Silver standard requires an efficiency between 85% and 88% at various loads, making it a great choice for users who need lots of power but don’t want to sacrifice on energy efficiency.
The Ikonic Ra X10 Case
Ikonik is one of the newer players in the case market so naturally, Computex 2008 was a big chance for the company to show us what it’s got. The most innovative (we feel) was the Ikonic Ra X10 Case, which incorporates SIM (System Intelligent Management). The SIM software lets users monitor the temperature and fan speed of the case and additional SIM means users can control up to six different components. Innovative, right? They also thanked us with a nice big banner on their front page, which didn’t go unnoticed. Click here for more on the Ra X10 (Pdf warning!).
Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (aka WiMAX) might seem like an odd choice for an Innovation Award because it’s been around since circa 2004, however given that WiMAX is going to provide an alternative internet access technology for ISPs and can also be used in places where traditional wireless networking hits the limits due to insufficient signal range, we figured it was time to give WiMAX the recognition it deserves. A lack of hardware – especially on the client side and for small applications, means that even though people have been toying with WiMAX for a good few years now, there have been no breakthroughs. However this year at Computex, we saw a whole range of WiMAX products. There was access points, routers and USB WiMAX interface cards galore from the Asus stand at the WiMAX Expo in Hall 2. Then you have the fact that Intel is about to launch its Echo Peak wireless modules for Montevina. Available in three flavors: The 3x3 mini cards support WiMAX and 802.11a/b/g/n and the 1x2 mini card is ready for 802.11a/b/g with the 1x2 half mini card supporting only WiMAX. While the WiMAX deployment has yet to be made official, expect one of these to be included in every Centrino 2 notebook system.