ASRock Optane 905P M.2 RAID Array
RAID 0. When you absolutely, positively have to get ridiculous transfers speeds, accept no substitutes. Now, what happens when you take a bunch of Intel's blindingly-fast 905P M.2 SSDs and put them into a RAID array? ASRock decided to find out by connecting four of the drives and connecting them together using a VROC card.
The results are truly impressive, with a sequential read rate of 10.7GB per second and 9.7GB per second of write speed. True, the 4K random reads were worse for the RAID array than for a configuration that has just one disk. Just don't put this array anywhere near your Thunderbolt port, because it's so fast that it may take you on a journey back to 1955. -- Avram Piltch
The Inception Project (RGB PC Wall)
You can think of it as everything that’s wrong with modern PC trends, or PC art on a massive scale. But it was impossible not to stop and stare at this mesmerizing wall of liquid-cooled, RGB-lit PCs on display at the Nangang Convention Center. I can say this with certainly because nearly every stick of RAM, AIO cooler, and chassis I saw at Computex sported its own similar rainbow light show.
Yet, at least twice during the long week of endless meetings and writing, I found myself standing mesmerized in front of Inception Project. Maybe it was the scale of the whole thing, or maybe my brain just needed a break from the madness of the show. -- Matt Safford
Ducky Year of the Dog Keyboard
There were plenty of interesting new keyboards at Computex. But Ducky’s limited-edition Year of the Dog mechanical clacker managed to catch my eye from a couple booths away without the use of bright RGB LED lights. (They’re there embedded in the Cherry MX keys, but they weren’t lit when I was ogling the keyboard).
Designed with the help of Hong Kong tattoo artist Michael Chan, and covered with art based on Chinese mythology, this may be the first keyboard that deserves to live in an art gallery. That said, if you’d like to take one home you’d better be ready to order come August or September. Ducky says that’s when the Year of the Dog Keyboard will go on sale, but only 2,018 will make their way off the assembly line. I’m sure fans of Asian gangster cinema--or just fans of tattoo art--will gobble them up quick. -- Matt Safford
Well Buying Industrial’s Briefcases Full of LED Switches
The corners, crevices, and back walls of trade shows are often the best places to find niche products that are intriguing--or just plain odd. Well Buying Industrial (Co., Ltd) had a small booth full of all kinds of LED switches. Now, there’s nothing all that strange about switches. But the presentation, with dozens of models all lit up inside a collection of briefcases, made it seem as if they were going to be sold door-to-door. -- Matt Safford
MSI’s Massive Duplo Lucky Dragon
No trade show is complete without spotting Lucky, MSI’s dragon mascot. The company has taken to bringing a huge stuffed Lucky to CES.
But this massive model at MSI’s headquarters, made from Duplo bricks and standing at least 10-feet tall, was a truly pleasant surprise. It’s tough not to smile when you bump into a room-sized plastic cartoon dragon. I’m just glad I didn’t have to help put Lucky together. -- Matt Safford
Noctua Desk Fan Prototype
Noctua makes some of the best fans in the PC business, thanks in large part to serious engineering and research into the finer points of airflow. With this prototype, the company is taking its expertise outside of the PC realm and onto the desk, in a serious endeavor to keep you cool during those hot summer days.
Using the company’s newly redesigned NF-A12x25 fan, plus a cone designed to maximize and adjust the airflow passing through the fan, the device delivered a surprisingly strong breeze from such a small device. It was just what I needed after stepping out of Taipei’s sticky humidity and onto the show floor. A Noctua rep told me this desk fan will very likely make it to market, though there will be some aesthetic and design changes, along with a USB power cable so you can run the fan from your PC or a power bank. -- Matt Safford
This year, Computex looked like it was half tech expo, half furniture store, because so many different vendors showed off their new gaming chairs. Noblechairs upcoming Hero model stood out from the crowd by focusing on comfort, ergonomics and a refined aesthetic.
Unlike most companies, which use cheaper components like wood or bonded leather in their models, all of Noble's chairs have a robot-generated metal frame and your choice of durable materials such as polyurethane or real leather.
Due out within the next few months for an estimated starting price around $450, the Hero is the executive chair I want for my office. Forget about play time, because this chair is just as good for working long hours editing a report as it is for all-night gaming sessions. It features built-in, adjustable lumbar support rather than a pillow and everything about the chair feels premium, from the tautness of the material to the tight hinges and dials you use to adjust it.
I had a chance to go butts-on with the Hero at Computex and, rather than leaning back, it made me want to roll up to a desk and start typing. This chair could actually make you more productive. -- Avram Piltch
MSI Gaming Premium Stack (GPS)
Headset stands are the next frontier for innovation. At Computex, I saw several different stands with USB hubs in them, RGB lights and even surround-sound speakers. However, MSI's Gaming Premium Stack, aka GPS, stands out from the crowd, because it has a holographic screen on it.
When it comes out later this year for an estimated starting price of $399, the Stack will feature a stand, an optional wireless charger and the Lucky Box, which is a holographic screen that shows animations or system information floating in a 3D glass tube. MSI showed us the control software which lets you choose between a couple of default animations of company mascot Lucky the Dragon or show stats such as your computer's system temperature. You can also upload your own animated GIFs. -- Avram Piltch
ASRock Superb Mining Rig with Seven Phantom RX 580 Cards
ASRock’s recently launched Polaris graphics cards are so new, I’d never actually seen one in person before the show. And yet, here sit seven Phantom RX 580s tightly packed into an “ASRock Superb Mining” rig. Perhaps the only thing more superb than the hash rate of a rig like this: the money it could have made mining, had ASRock found a way to produce these cards in 2017, before the current coin mining slump. -- Paul Alcorn
Noctua Chromax Heatsink Cover Mod
I’ve seen all sorts of case and component mods over the last couple of decades, first as an enthusiast, then as a journalist. But these painted heatsink covers for the Noctua Chromax NH-D15 cooler line really stood out on a show floor dominated by glass and RGB. Created by Portuguese graffiti artist Le Funky, these covers show off the possibilities of creating a truly unique heatsink setup if you decide to trick out the heatsink covers the company sells for a few of its coolers.
Now, I’m not saying a custom-painted cooling cover would be beneficial for your CPU temps. But if you’re after some standout aesthetics for your next build and you have an artistic streak, it’s probably worth trading a few extra degrees of load temperature for a cooling tower that’s truly unique. -- Matt Safford