The gaming industry which was invented in 1947 has come a long way and now is the best time of all for gamers around the world to test their skills. Modern games offer an immersive experience with state of the art graphics and we can honestly say that games have revolutionized the world of technology and have sculpted society.
We’ve seen the gaming industry evolve and move from a pastime activity for geeks to full blown competitive activity where millions of around the world interact. This year at CES all the major companies in the gaming industry have come to show off the gaming of tomorrow, and we were in awe to see some of the most powerful devices that were ever created.
ASUS Ups the Ante at CES with Awesome Gaming Products
The ROG (Republic of Gamers) division of ASUS has given gamers some of the best equipment that they’ve ever seen, starting from motherboards and all the way to audio cards and other components. This year at CES, ASUS ROG has unveiled the most powerful video card on the market, ARES II, which houses in its “full metal jacket” two Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 Memory and Hybrid Water-Air cooling. ARES II is a limited series enthusiast card (1000 will be made) that it’s said it outperforms the top of the line nVidia GTX 690 reference card by 13% and it’s an outstanding 31 degrees Celsius cooler.
ASUS has also taken a leap into computer storage, and has produced the ASUS ROG RAIDR PCIe SSD, which is a PCI Express SSD drive that offers much better performance than SATA SSDs thanks to the wider bandwidth of the PCIe interface. The card will allow enthusiast gamers to launch their games much faster than before, as well as have a smoother experience while playing.
Also for enthusiasts, ASUS has unveiled the new external XONAR audio card which has awesome audio amplification for headphones and will produce crisp sound at the utmost clarity. The device can connect to computers via USB and it also has S/PDIF-in, Optic and Coaxial inputs and standard headphone jack.
Last but not least, ASUS have taken a look at home entertainment solutions and have come up with a all included motherboard (E2KM1-I Deluxe Mini-ITX) designed for home servers. The device is a mATX motherboard for small cases and it packs a dual core AMD E2-2000 CPU, single channel DDR3 memory (up to 16GB), Radeon HD 7340 graphics with DX11 and capable of playing full HD 1920×1080 video. Integrated WiFi, 5 SATA ports, 4 USB 3.0 ports, 8 USB 2.0 ports, eSATA and HDMI/DVI ports complete the connectivity part of the motherboard.
Corsair Goes Big with Awesome Tech
Not long ago, Corsair produced only computer components like power supplies and RAM memory. Nowadays, the company has gotten much more involved in gaming peripherals, coolers and cases and this year at CES we certainly had a lot of these. Starting with the absolutely huge Corsair Obsidian 900D which is one of the biggest cases we’ve ever seen, having room for the biggest motherboards on the market (10 expansion slots), there is room for a three-120mm-fan radiator in the front and at the top, users can mount a four-120mm-radiator with push-pull configuration and still have some space left over.
The case supports up to 14 hard drives, 4 optical drives, two PSUs and any video card you throw at it. This beast also weighs around 20 kg when it’s empty, it’s made out of pretty thick aluminium and it’s style is similar to the Corsair 800D, but bigger, way bigger. One other product that was launched by Corsair and it looks awesome in this case is the illuminated DDR heatsinks.
Also at CES 2013, Corsair had a number of devices, starting from a new line of budget peripherals, called the Raptor series and new models of the already known Vengeance series. For both lines, there were new models of mice and keyboards. Other gadgets that were presented by Corsair were the 1TB Voyager Air, which comes as a home networking storage solution that can connect to your wireless or wired network and a new line of USB 3.0 flash drives.
The First Gaming Tablet: Razer Edge
I can’t even put into words what Razer has accomplished with the Edge Tablet. It is by far the best portable gaming machine that we’ve seen. This beast comes in two flavours, the Edge, which has a 3rd Generation Intel i5 dual-core processor clocked at 1.7 GHz, 4GB of DDR3 @ 1600MHz memory, nVidia GT640M LE graphics processor and a 64GB SATA III SSD for storage, and the other model, Razer Edge Pro comes powered by the Intel i7 dual core processor clocked at 1.9 GHz, 8 GB of DDR3 @ 1600MHz memory, nVidia GT640M LE graphics and 128 or 256 GB SSD.
Both devices feature a 10.1” IPS display with a native resolution of 1366×768 pixels with 10-point capacitive touch and they both run Windows 8 operating system, allowing users to install any PC game or application. As far as connectivity goes, both tablets have WiFi connectivity, USB 2.0 ports and HDMI output. Also, there are 4 modes the tablet can be used: Normal Tablet, Edge Controller (sold separately), Home Console Mode (via specialized dock also sold separately) and Keyboard and Mouse (via the keyboard dock). Pricing starts at $999 for the Edge Tablet and $1299 for the Edge Pro.
Oculus Rift Makes Virtual Reality a Reality
One of the most amazing gadgets we’ve seen at CES 2013 is the Oculus Rift. This gadget is a VR (Virtual Reality) headset that allows players to immerse in games as never before. If other VR goggles until today were not that realistic, and players were seeing a screen before their eyes, the Oculus Rift totally immerses the player in the game, and they only see the world.
One problem before for VR goggles was latency, a problem that Oculus Rift has overcome thanks to its refresh rate of 1000Hz. This makes the image much more realistic and players will see no latency. We can hardly wait for the device to hit the markets and when this happens, content will start appearing and players will be able to enjoy a new perspective of gaming.
Valve Moves to the Real World with the Steam Box
Valve’s Steam Box has made quite a stir at CES 2013. Although the device is still at the drawing boards, the directors of Valve have been talking to hardware manufacturers to create the small size Steam Box that will allow users to play all their Steam games from one tiny console. More than one prototypes have been featured at CES, but for now, there is no concrete information on how the final product will be and its pricing. If the device will be based around the Piston Xi3 concept, then it might be priced around $999, but at this point, this is pure speculation.
Roccat Shows off a new Mechanical Keyboard
Although peripheral manufacturer Roccat has unveiled a new line of gaming mice, such as the Kone KTD and Kone Pure, the Roccat Royos has filled the stage, becoming the first truly smart keyboard. The device houses LED backlit keys that are fully programmable (both light and function can be programmed) and users can create up to 500 macros as they please. Also, the lighting of the keys can be customized and integrated in the gaming experience (you can change the keys to light up as your in-game life or anything else).
Users can program each key individually and store the profiles on the keyboard’s 2MB flash memory, but what truly makes this keyboard stand out are the two 32 bit ARM Cortex processors (that’s right, 2 processors) that make this all possible. The customization of the keyboard goes beyond this, as users can sync it to a mobile app and control it from their smartphones. The keyboard will be available in four versions, each having a different set of CHERRY MX key switches (that’s right, it’s mechanical): red, black, blue or brown.
NZXT Upgrades the Phantom Case for CES 2013
NZXT have accustomed us with awesome looking cases in the past, and this year at CES the centerpiece of their presentation was the new Phantom 630 case. As with the 900D from Corsair, this case comes as an upgraded version of the old Phantom case. It now features removable hard drive cages, two SSD slots behind the motherboard tray and ample room for wire management. Although the case is not too big, it can still pretty much accommodate anything at the moment and its design is very familiar to the Phantom we all know.
It can accommodate up to 8 hard drives in the front cages and two SSD drives in the back of the motherboard. Two 120mm fans push air in the front of the case and these can be controlled by the integrated 30W fan controller which is on the top of the case, on the other side of the two USB 3.0 ports. NZXT also showed us their Kraken Series Hybrid coolers which have great performance and awesome looks.
Thermaltake’s New line of Gaming Gear
Leave it Thermaltake to come at CES 2013 with a line of products that everything but the kitchen sink. They’ve unveiled two new computer chassis lines, dedicated for both enthusiasts (Chaser series) and low noise-low-performance users (Urban Series). The cases do not stray from what we’ve come to expect from Thermaltake, and they offer decent features.
Thermaltake have also released a new series of NiC wind coolers that look awesome, but in terms of performance, they are good, but not outstanding. Meanwhile, in the watercooling department, Thermaltake have been busy putting together a all-in-one solution, called Thermaltake Water Series 3.0 similar to the Hydros series from Corsair or Kraken from NZXT. These coolers are pretty good and they don’t have that over the top flash that other products have. Nice work Thermaltake, good, yet stylish!
Other products showcased by Thermaltake this year at CES were computer peripherals such as the Tt Sports line of keyboards MEKA with illuminated mechanical keys, the Level 10 gaming mouse with its unique design and decent performance, new series of headsets where the Cronos and the Chao Dracco are over the year gaming headsets and the Isurus Dub, a cross-platform in-ear design for gaming and music.
SteelSeries Lights Up with Apex Series Keyboards
When it comes to peripherals, and especially gaming peripherals, few names come before SteelSeries. This company has been producing some of the best gaming gear that we have ever seen, and this year, nothing has changed. The new line of gaming keyboards has shown us that the humble keyboard is far from being forgotten.
The Apex and Apex [RAW] as they are called are full of state of the art technology and they were designed to offer gamers the best possible comfort and speed. SteelSeries have created wonderful keyboards that have uniques lighting which is fully customizable but also smart, showing gamers what keys to use in order to be faster.
Muskin Goes for All Out Speed at CES 2013
Muskin is a well known name in the computer industry. They provide top notch quality memory and PSUs, as well as other solutions for storage. This year at CES, Muskin have delighted us with some awesome new SSD models that feature SandForce SF-2582 controllers, SATA III connectivity 128-bit encryption and over 550 MB/s transfer rates. These SSDs come in versions ranging from 100GB and all the way to 480GB. Also, in terms of SSDs, Muskin have unveiled the new Scorpion line of PCIe SSDs for even faster speeds.
Ultra fast flash drives were also part of Muskin’s presentation and these almost SSD-like speeds of 300 MB/s are available in their Ventura Ultra series. These speeds are possible thanks to the integration of the SandForce SF-2281 controller within the flash drive.
The world of gaming is rapidly getting better and better, and this year at CES we’ve seen some awesome technology take shape. This stands witness to the work and dedication that these companies put in their products and gamers from all over the world will be thrilled to put these products through their paces.
Also, check out Nvidia’s Project Shield console, which we have written about previously.