Introducing The Best Of Computex 2014 Awards
While there were a lot of new products at Computex 2014, the show seemed to focus on breaking ground, introducing new technologies, and ushering in big industry changes. These changes range from updates to storage interfaces to innovation in the case and cooling world. For that reason, the Best of Computex awards are a little different this year. Though all the awards are still given to specific vendors, they're granted to the companies we feel are driving innovation and development.
It's also important to note that most of the information regarding 9-series Intel-based motherboards was revealed in the weeks preceding Computex. While a lot of the platforms we saw at the show were very impressive, we're trying to focus on hardware seen for the first time at this year's show. The same goes for graphics cards, and thus it shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise that none of our awards fall into either of these categories. We'll let our reviews speak to the merit of those products.
Corsair Vengeance K70 & K95 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboards
Corsair had a number of new products on display, but the one that stood out to use was the Vengeance K70 RGB mechanical gaming keyboard. Of course, we heard about the peripheral a while back, but it wasn’t until Computex that Corsair revealed final specifications and the full-scale production announcement.
The company takes product development to another level with this keyboard, resulting in an input device that is nothing short of an engineering marvel. The Vengeance K70 employs a Panasonic display controller along with 16.7-million-color RGB LEDs, and can be programmed to display any effect imaginable. If none of the pre-programmed effects suit your fancy, you can program something of your own using the open scripting window.
Though you might call us shallow for being so enamored with arguably superficial features, the K70 RGB's $170 price tag (and $190 for the K95) appear to follow market trends. They're not even that much more expensive compared to older offerings, especially when you consider the added features.
Best Compact Gaming Case: Id-Cooling SFX-T60
We all know that Chris Angelini loves his Tiki and that news writer Niels Broekhuijsen is particularly fond of his NCase M1, but those parts are pretty exclusive. Id-Cooling introduced an option for us mortals, and even Niels agrees that this one has compact gaming cred. Roughly the size of the M1 but tapered at the face, it's probably the most ingenious design to accommodate long graphics cards and mid-sized cooling.
The competition was tough, and runner up Raijintek's quality nearly won us over in spite of its larger size. Then again, we spotted its Metis before visiting the Id-Cooling booth. Size matters when you're looking for portability or just trying to clean up desk space, and for those reasons we picked the SFX-T60.
Best Compact Gaming Notebook: Aorus X3 Plus
Aorus is a sub-brand of Gigabyte, which focuses on the high-end mobile gaming market. Its new Aorus X3 Plus, first presented at Computex 2014 suitable conveys that premium feel.
Under the hood, you'll find a Core i7 processor, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 870M, two 512 GB M.2 SSDs in RAID 0, and plenty of system memory. The chassis is comfortable, and the touchpad is surprisingly well-built. The pièce de résistance is a 13.9-inch display with a resolution of 3200x1800.
All of those specs are available from other laptops, though not in a package less than an inch thick and 4.12 pounds in weight. For that reason, we give this notebook one of the Best of Computex 2014 awards. Pricing is a bit steep, starting at $2229, though you do get something truly special for your money.
Best Design: In Win S-Frame Chassis
The S-Frame chassis is yet another example of the beautiful manufacturing and design that In Win is capable of. It wasn't the only stunning product the company revealed at Computex, but it was the case that stood to us.
Design-wise, the S-Frame strays far from ordinary. It is an open-air chassis. The entire thing is made out of a single piece of aluminum, bent in 15 places by hand (machines cannot do it), anodized, and closed off on both sides with tempered glass panes. The end result is something that might not be very practical, but is certainly jaw-dropping. This Computex 2014 award is not only an award for the S-Frame chassis, but also for In Win's impressive manufacturing skills.
First 1600 W 80 PLUS Titanium PSU: Super Flower Leadex
This award was a fairly easy one for us. Yes, other vendors might be releasing 1600 W 80 PLUS Titanium-certified PSUs, but at least one of them that we spotted at Computex was a unit made by Super Flower, the ODM for a number of other brands.
While we haven't tested this unit yet, we have a lot of faith in it given Super Flower's history. The company makes a lot of good stuff, and because of that we're awarding it a Best of Computex 2014 award.
Best 60 Hz 4K Monitor: Asus ProArt PA328Q
One of the many displays we saw at Computex 2014 was a new monitor from Asus, the ProArt PA328Q. It's a 32" 4K screen with, of course, a 3840x2160 resolution that comes pre-calibrated from the factory. Asus uses a 10-bit panel that get its colors from a 14-bit LUT, so it is more than suited for high-end professional use.
What really set this monitor apart was its support for HDMI 2.0, which means you can support 60 Hz using the right display output. Beautiful isn't it? We thought so.
Only SATA Express Hard Drive: WD
WD's newest SATA Express-device supports transfers over PCI Express using Intel's 9-series core logic. This should facilitate higher transfer rates than the SATA 6Gb/s ports most enthusiasts use today.
This new WD drive teams a 128 GB SSD with a 4 TB hard drive to achieve blazing speed and spacious capacity. Western Digital didn't have a booth at Computex, but its new drive was spotted several times and earns our Best of Computex 2014 award, if only for the cutting-edge innovation.
Best Startup Company: Cryorig
Cryorig is a grassroots effort that was founded about one year ago. The folks that run it used to work with Thermalright, but wanted to start their own company. The high-end R1 CPU cooler, along with the low-profile C1 were both well received in the media, and Cryorig revealed a number of new products at Computex 2014 geared towards the mid-range segment. Keep an eye on Cryorig; if it continues on this path, the company could become a top player in the cooling space.
Best Surprise: G-Alantic Cases
We're always a little disappointed when top-shelf products don't reach the U.S. market, but we were even more surprised by the breadth of top-shelf products that Taiwanese manufacturer G-Alantic was able to fit into its tiny back-isle booth. Because these parts were made to such high standards and of such elegant design, we decided a little "push" might be necessary. It may be time to put some "demand" behind the laws of supply and demand. G-Alantic wins our award for Best Surprise, and we hope they might surprise us with a U.S. launch soon.