Best PSU Product Line: Seasonic Prime
Seasonic has been working for quite some time on its new Prime units and while we were expecting a single PSU line, we got three instead, with different efficiency levels. The Prime Gold and Platinum lines include three mid/high capacity members each, while the flagship Titanium line has only mid capacity units, including a passive one. This is the first passive PSU with Titanium efficiency, and we are pretty sure that it will attract lots of interest, although most likely its price will be hard to swallow.
All Prime units feature a fully modular cabling design and can deliver their full power continuously at up to 50 °C, as the ATX spec recommends. It includes all the protection features necessary, except for OCP for the +12V rail, which is unnecessary in a single +12V rail PSU anyway, and this is the first time that Seasonic high-end models feature 135mm fans.
Until now, Seasonic has insisted on using lower diameter, 120mm fans, which can make lots of noise under stressful conditions. Only the Silent Snow units manage to offer low overall noise output despite the use of 120mm fans. With larger fans the fan profile can be more relaxed, since the same airflow can be attained at lower speeds.
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Best Emerging Keyboard Tech: Optical Switches
No, this is not a duplicate entry. It is true that the Wooting One uses optical switches, but the One is so compelling primarily because of it’s analog control capabilities. Optical switch technology in general is a larger trend brewing in the keyboard industry.
There are two main types of optical switches at present, and they function differently. The Flaretech switches have vertically-pointing light, which is necessary for Wooting’s variable pressure technology to work. By contrast, Bloody’s Light Strike IR laser fires horizontally so that actuation occurs when the switch is depressed and breaks the light beam, like how your garage door knows not to crush you if you’re standing underneath it. On the Light Strike switches, this is fundamentally a simple (but fast) on/off mechanism.
Ostensibly, the advantage of the optical switches is a cleaner stroke because of the lack of mechanical contact, and faster and more flexible actuation, and longevity because there are fewer mechanical parts to wear out.
Both switch types have received quite a bit of attention from keyboard makers, it seems, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see quite a few keyboards come to the market with shiny new optical switches on board. In a year, we may be arguing less about Cherry vs. Kailh and more about Flaretch vs. Light Strike.
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The Darkhorse Award: Powercolor’s “Devil Box” External GPU Dock
Sometimes a product stands out not necessarily because it’s the best, but because it’s a surprising challenger. In the race to bring external GPU docks to the masses, the competition is comprised of bigger companies—Alienware (Dell), Asus, Razer and (maybe) Gigabyte--and Powercolor.
To be honest, when we learned that Powercolor had an external GPU dock, we thought perhaps this was just a “me too” move by the company, and products born of that mentality are rarely worth much, in the end. But when we arrived at the Powercolor booth, we found the Devil Box connected to an Intel Skull Canyon NUC and powering an HTC Vive.
Further, the Devil Box uses Thunderbolt 3 over USB Type-C to connect to the PC, which means that you should be able to use it with any system equipped with the correct port and BIOS. Powercolor wouldn’t be pinned down on a price, but it stated that it would beat the Razer Core’s $399 price tag. In other words, Powercolor plans to be the cost leader on external GPU docks, but not by sacrificing features or performance, it would appear.
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