What's new in PC components

We bring you the latest, the greatest, and most awesome components from CES 2011

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) isn't just all tablet, cameras, and laptops; there's plenty of news for the PC component geek, too, ranging from tiny flash drives that pack a lot of heat to the hand-held gaming console. If you're a speed fiend, CES has something for you too, like the World's first DDR4 RAM. There are a ton of other components at CES 2011 that could make your life and home seem more like the future, so sit back and try to resist the urge to get out that credit card.

Gaming

The Razer Switchblade is a 7-inch capacitative multitouch computer of sorts that is a littler smaller than a netbook but a lot more powerful. It features a programmable keyboard. It also features an as-yet unreleased Intel Atom processor, and runs Windows 7 with a custom Razer user interface overlay. It also comes with a 128GB SSD, Wi-Fi, 3G, and more. The Switchblade is still a prototype but they hinted that it may be priced in the netbook range.

Processors

Microsoft announced that it plans to support System-on-a-Chip architectures in its next version of Windows, hinting a the tablet market. Although this doesn't mean a lot right now, it could mean some changes to future versions of Windows. SoC architecture can allow a small system--like a tablet--run faster and more efficiently than other architectures because there is typically less lag time between components. Microsoft is working with NVIDIA, Texas Instruments, and Qualcomm on this project.

Another popular item at CES this year are the Intel's new Sandy Bridge CPUs. Our exclusive testing shows that, well, they're fast. Asus has revealed that it has updated motherboards and laptops that fully support the new Intel chips. Asus says that their P8P67 and P8H67 series motherboards, and the laptops in the G, K, N, and VX7 series will be able to support the Sandy Bridge CPUs. According to Asus, the new processors will allow laptops to handle eight-way multitasking.

Also new at CES are AMD's Fusion processors, which are finally shipping after years of demonstrations. These processors include an on-board graphics chipsets, and are geared toward low-end laptops and netbooks, and small desktops.

Memory

CES is booming this year with new sorts of speedy memory and storage devices to fill your needs. This year Samsung introduced the World's first DDR4 RAM. Many people are still stuck using DDR2, so this is quite the achievement. Samsung's DDR4 memory modules feature 30-nanometer chips that run at more than twice the speed of current DDR3 modules, and also use less power. The DDR4 module can achieve a data throughput of 2.133Gbps, and the company says that it could eventually reach speeds of 4Gbps.

Storage

If you're looking for a lot of punch for a little bowl, then Lexar has the package for you: The Echo MX, about the size of a standard flash drive, and the ZX, so tiny that you might lose it, both feature up to 128GB memory. The MC offers read speeds between 28MB/s and 32MB/s and write speeds ranging from 10MB/s to 17MB/s. The ZX features 28MB/s read and between 10MB/s and 15MB/s write.

If 128GB flash isn't enough for you, then you can pick up a Victorinox Secure SSD 256GB USB flash drive. It comes in the form of a Swiss Army knife and features what the company calls the World's smallest solid-state drive. It supports double the read speed and triple the write speed of other fast USB drives, and secure data encryption.

And if 256GB storage still isn't enough for you, you might need Rocstor's 750GB HDD 3.0 hard drive. Rocstor's new USB 3.0 hard drives feature either a 64GB SSD or up to 750GB of storage using a traditional hard drive.

Networking

Meanwhile, Bigfoot Networks announced its new Killer E2100 networking card. Designed with gamers in mind, Bigfoot Networks says its new card will let you control bandwidth on a per-applications basis, among other features. Expect more information on the Killer E2100 later this year.

Cases

We also saw some PC cases at CES. One of the most notable was massive Zalmann GS 1200, which looks like something straight out of a science fiction movie--only with cooler LEDs. This bad boy features four fans, seven (!) hard drive bays, four easy-to-access USB ports at the top, eSATA support, and support for liquid cooling. Look for it in the first half of this year.

CES 2011 offered a lot of new materials for you to finger through. GeekTech hopes that you've found a new device or component to compliment your computer or entertainment needs.

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James Mulroy

PC World (US online)
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