CES 2011 Wrap-Up: Stuff We Almost Missed

Toshiba Does Sandy Bridge Gaming

Sandy Bridge notebooks were a big hit at CES. Of course we only took interest in those that could play real 3D games. Perhaps the biggest surprise was a giant 18.4” display, Core i7-2630QM-based model from Toshiba with a GeForce GTX 460M. The new processor features a 2.9 GHz max frequency, and sources at Nvidia informed us that the GeForce GTX 400M-series graphics processors will continue to be its top parts.

Toshiba also showed us a “glasses-free” 3D display system, but this early-stage technology won’t be ready for the public until at least late Q4 of this year.

MSI's GE620 Mainstream Gamer

Our news team covered the MSI booth, but missed the company's newest notebooks. Chief among its new models are the GE620, GT680, and GT780 shown above. The GE620 leads the lineup with its 15.6" display, middle-market GT 500M-series graphics processor, and Sandy Bridge-based Core i7 mobile CPU.

MSI's Mobile Enthusiast GT680

Stepping away from the mainstream, MSI's GT680 gets some real gaming cred with its GeForce GTX 460M. New speakers with better bass response add to the GT680’s advanced design, while dual 2.5” drive bays and quad DIMM slots allow RAID 0 and up to 16 GB of memory.

GT780 Takes Notebook Gaming Full-Force

The GT780 steps up the gaming experience from its midsized counterpart with a 17.3" screen. Spec’d with a mythical GeForce GTX 500M-series card, we hope the actual model installed will end up being the flagship GeForce GTX 485M. Improved speakers and RAID capability are carried up from the 15.6" GT680.

Nvidia is dedicating the near-term 500Ms as GT models, which means these will all be mainstream parts with less 3D prowess than the previous GTX 460M. In other words, don't let the naming confuse you; 400M-series parts are still fastest.

Seventeam Seeks #1 In Silent Power

Time-honored manufacturer Seventeam was pushing its STP-0500EZB fanless power supply. Flanked on the left and right by its 80 PLUS Gold and redundant models, this 500 W part features a sturdy 35 A +12V rail to support a single high-end graphics card and CPU. So new is this model that it's not even listed on the manufacturer's Web site, but we can soon count on its retail release.

Zalman Makes Big Power With Little Noise

Performance enthusiasts will want to check out Zalman’s new model, the ZM1000-HP Plus. This 80 PLUS Silver-rated model features 35 A on just one of its four +12 V rails, with a total of 984 W available to high-amperage 12 V devices. Dual heat pipes allow extra cooling at lower fan speeds, while a total of six PCIe connectors support three-way SLI in this semi-modular design.

Ditching DVD With Zalman

Portable drive enclosures might not see many headlines, but Zalman tried to steal the show with an incredible new feature. The ZM-VE 200 offers optical-drive emulation for ISO files, allowing builders to load software from disk images at 480 Mb/s. That’s over twice the maximum read speed of current DVD drives, and without optical media’s lengthy spin up and seek times.

Patroit Accelerates 2.5" Performance

Patriot helps its buyers get around optical-drive’s backup duties with two solutions, its RAID-capable Convoy 425XL drive rack and its PCGT25S Gauntlet single-drive pocket enclosure. The RAID enclosure mounts up to four 2.5” drives into a single 5.25” (half-height) drive bay.

Fujitsu Combines USB 3.0 With SATA RAID

Drive housing manufacturers who want to combine the portability of USB 3.0 with the performance of RAID need look no further than Fujitsu’s MBB6E50 SATA RAID Bridge. Combining functions that formerly required two ICs, this device was pushing over 390 MB/s to a pair of 2.5” drives from a single USB 3.0 port.

Bytecc's Bite-Sized Pocket Cases

Bytecc was on hand to show off its latest additions to the USB 3.0 model we tested last spring. A true manufacturer of drive enclosures, the company might just be interested in the Fujitsu controller demoed in our previous photo.

All-In-Wonder Returns

While competitor Sapphire was showing off its Mirics-enhanced all-in-one graphics-tuner card, Diamond was busy reinventing the All-In-Wonder brand with a two-for-one deal. The All In Wonder HD Premium 5000 packages Diamond’s HD 5570 graphics card with its TV Wonder 750 PCIe x1 tuner.

Diamond reasons that buyers will want a GPU upgrade long before they replace the TV tuner, and for those buyers, a packaged deal makes sense. That is, so long as those buyers have the extra slot. Both ATSC and DVB-T digital signals are supported, along with NTSC, PAL, and SECAM analog and ClearQAM for cable systems that have not yet eliminated it.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.