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Tom's Hardware's CES 2017 Best In Show

Best Moonshot

Razer Project Valerie

Razer loves to make a big splash at CES every year with a whizz-bang product. Sometimes what it shows becomes a real product, whereas other times it becomes so much vaporware. Razer’s centerpiece this year was Project Valerie, a beastly triple-display gaming laptop.

Going into our meeting with Razer this year, our vaporware radar was on high alert, but we were shocked to find that the company actually had a working prototype to show us. Even so, we’re only 50/50 that Project Valerie will come to fruition; the thing has a host of problems that Razer still has to solve.

However, the Razer people we spoke with were optimistic--adamant, even - that the company will be selling Project Valerie at some point. To us, the whole thing seems to be a moonshot. But If Razer can actually figure out solutions to the obvious heat, battery life, and ergonomic design issues, Project Valerie will become legendary - not just as a standalone product, but as an engineering template others may use to create more compelling gaming systems.


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Best VR Controller

Vive Tracker

The possibilities for VR peripherals are limitless with Vive’s new tracker. By attaching the Tracker, aka “The Puck,” to any object (in addition to some developer magic), a developer can make their own peripheral to match their game.

At Vive’s press conference, we saw a bat, a camera, and a gun, all of which had a virtual counterpart. In the past, hand tracking devices utilized the Vive controllers in order to visualize a person’s hands in VR. The new tracker will do the same thing, but with less weight.

Throughout the next year, and probably into next year’s CES, we’ll most likely see a rise in the production of Vive peripherals, and it’s largely because of HTC’s little tracking device. The company provided the Tracker, and now it’s up to manufacturers to create numerous peripherals, be it a gun, ball, sword, or (use your imagination) to meet the demands of VR developers.


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Best Use Of a Case Side Panel

iBuyPower’s Snowblind Gaming PC

We weren’t sure if iBuypower’s Project Snowblind was a real thing until we saw it in person, and our disbelief was replaced with awe. This is by far the most creative aesthetic add-ons we’ve seen in recent memory (especially in a market flooded with RGB lighting), and the LCD side panel display on the PC is indeed coming to retail outlets this February. We can see this technology being the next “big thing” in case aesthetics (sorry, tempered glass panels!), but for now iBuypower is the only game in town with the technology--at least, on a mainstream retail level.


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Most Logical Conclusion Of RGB Fever

Razer Cupholder

We have reached the point where there is now an RGB cupholder.

This is the logical conclusion of RGB fever, which is everywhere at CES. RGB lighting is over motherboards suddenly, so now your case, liquid cooler, fans, SLI bridge, headset, keyboard, mouse, mousepad--and cupholder--may all have RGB lighting.

Razer’s Synapse crew made these USB cupholders as a lark, but they do actually connect to Synapse. The lighting will sync with any other connected Synapse-enabled devices, and you can use the software to, for example, set yourself a flashing-light reminder to...to drink, we guess.

Unfortunately, the cupholder neither cools or warms your drink; all the USB port’s power is occupied with the lighting.

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  • jtd871
    Thanks for giving a public "thumbs down" to SATA Express.
    Reply
  • os2wiz
    Ypour failure to award Ryzen a place of distinction is a total copout. Yjhe product is already going into production. It will be out there for sale in mid Fegruary. There have been several benchmarks that are impressive. They have allowed people to open the competing machines for inspection. This item is NOT smoke and mirrors. It is totally unworthy of this website to deny AMD the accolades it well deserves . There is now real competition unfiolding in the cpu arena and all of us will benefit from it. Also Vega is near release in the next couple of months and it shined. Tou have failed the users on this website. Failed them miserasbly. Fence sitters!
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    Although I don't feel that strongly about it, I am a little surprised Ryzen didn't get a mention. I mean, Razer's triple-screen device might not even make it to market. Ryzen is almost here, and represents AMD's best bet to catch up with Intel in a long time. Vega we haven't seen enough substance on yet, so I can understand why that wouldn't get a mention. But functional Ryzen chips and AM4 boards were on hand.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    RYZEN didn't arrive. Read the article. They had a discussion but they can't talk about "best of CES" for a product that wasn't physically even there.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    @OS2Wiz
    Maybe you didn't notice, but this was an article about CES. AMD was not at CES. AMD may be coming to market with a product soon, but we do not have a release date or price yet. There were no announcements about the product made at CES... so.... ya, that is why it was not talked about.
    Reply
  • DirtPoorGamer
    I understand that this would never happen with SATA Express, but there was a time when all new motherboards came with USB ports and there were no USB devices available. I remember telling people "Just wait, they are coming."
    Reply
  • sillynilly
    8K makes it garbage in my book. So what? It's useless for the VAST majority of folks. Come on - let's stop the Ksanity here. 4K is plenty and anything beyond at the standard monitor size becomes ridiculous (as mentioned the start menu is impossible to see and why scale down a monitor?) Silly silly silly Dell monitor. Your opinion may vary.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    U.2 supports NVMe drives ET AL. You don't need to rely on one drive, you need to demand more adapters. The reason you should demand U.2 to M.2 bay adapters is that some of these motherboards have run out of space for M.2 cards.

    OK now, there have been many SATA-Express devices, but all were front-panel USB 3.1 breakout panels with onboard controllers that used the SATA output. I believe ASRock and Gigabyte both did those, so there's some reluctance to ditch them completely, but there shouldn't be THREE of that danged things on a modern board.
    Reply
  • nutjob2
    19124694 said:
    8K makes it garbage in my book. So what? It's useless for the VAST majority of folks. Come on - let's stop the Ksanity here. 4K is plenty and anything beyond at the standard monitor size becomes ridiculous (as mentioned the start menu is impossible to see and why scale down a monitor?) Silly silly silly Dell monitor. Your opinion may vary.

    "640K should be enough for anyone."
    Reply
  • Crashman
    19126749 said:
    19124694 said:
    8K makes it garbage in my book. So what? It's useless for the VAST majority of folks. Come on - let's stop the Ksanity here. 4K is plenty and anything beyond at the standard monitor size becomes ridiculous (as mentioned the start menu is impossible to see and why scale down a monitor?) Silly silly silly Dell monitor. Your opinion may vary.

    "640K should be enough for anyone."
    Does that response indicate that you believe human eyes will progress to reading smaller and smaller text from greater and greater distances?

    Reply