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Intel, Seagate, And CoolIT

CES 2010, Day 2: Tegra 2, Asus, CoolIT, And Seagate's USB 3.0
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Intel Officially Launches Clarkdale and Arrandale

The problem with being in the loop on new Intel processors is that it’s almost anticlimactic when the actual launch of a new CPU occurs. We’ve had Clarkdale running in our labs for weeks now. It’s an impressive product in many ways, though as we noted in our review, the higher-end processors seem a little overpriced.

Arrandale is, in some ways, more interesting than Clarkdale, because of innovative implementations of the new mobile CPU. For example, several manufacturers, including Sony and Dell, will be shipping laptops with Wireless HDMI capabilities and will be bundled with a Netgear receiver, a small box that attaches to a receiver or HDTV via HDMI. The system uses 802.11n to transmit the video signal wirelessly.

The whole affair is somewhat limited, though. The signal isn’t encrypted, so you can’t stream your Blu-ray or protected content over the wireless connection. Also, the current version is limited to 720p. Still, it’s pretty neat to be able to fire up a YouTube or Hulu video on the laptop and watch it on the big screen without having to physically connect the PC to the HDTV.

We also noticed, casually laying on the table, a mini-ITX board built around the H57 chipset with HDMI output. Given Clarkdale’s robust video capabilities, this board could be the basis for a small (but potent) home theater PC. Given that Intel has substantially beefed up the features in its Windows video control panel with new additions for tweaking video, the company finally has a decent offering for HTPC users who don’t need the 3D horsepower (or power consumption) of a discrete GPU.

CoolIT Impresses with New CPU Coolers

CoolIT’s line of sealed liquid cooling solutions for CPU coolers was innovative when they first shipped, but new developments in PC enclosures and new CPUs sent the company back to the drawing board. CoolIT just announced its new cooling line for PC system builders, the Eco and the Vantage. The Eco is a dead simple cooler, with a highly compact pump and radiator that mounts in a 120mm rear fan mount. Gone is the big metal plate that made swapping CPUs and even opening cases difficult.

The Vantage is CoolIT’s new solution for performance enthusiasts, offering very granular controls over a variety of cooling factors. An optional part of the solution is a wireless interface, allowing monitoring of the entire system through CoolIT’s software and a wireless USB connection.

One product not quite ready yet is the Omni, a sealed liquid cooling system for graphics cards. However, full configurations and product specs aren’t set yet.

Finally, CoolIT showed off a concept system built around a chassis slightly taller than a pizza box, but with an X58-based motherboard and a high-end graphics card--all liquid cooled, of course. The graphics hardware is mounted sideways, to maximize space.

Seagate Does USB 3.0

I took a break from the convention center and caught a ride with Seagate to the company's suite at the Four Seasons. On tap was Seagate’s new USB 3.0 external hard drive, the PS110, built around a 7,200 RPM drive. Earlier external drives only used 5,400 RPM drives since USB 2.0 really didn’t pull data from the drive fast enough to saturate the USB 2.0 interface.

The company is also working to beef up the capabilities of its FreeAgent Theater+ media storage server. The latest version will incorporate an HDMI output and gigabit Ethernet connection. A software update in late winter will add additional streaming services, including the almost-ubiquitous Netflix streaming video service for Netflix customers.

And so that wrapped up my third day at CES. Tomorrow, I’ll be away from the convention center, spending most of the day at the Venetian hotel. I’ll be talking to OCZ, MSI, Thermaltake, and Gigabyte, as well as checking out what Shuttle’s next generation will look like. Stay tuned!

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