If you're unfamiliar with the i-Series, it's the UK's largest LAN party and is currently held three times per year at Newbury's racecourse. The events are organised and hosted by Multiplay, and other events, like the World Cyber Games are usually thrown into the mix as well, because most of the gamers involved in WCG attend the i-Series events too.
i31 took place last weekend at the same time as this year's World Cyber Games UK qualifiers, and it happened to be Multiplay's largest ever i-Series event, with over 1,300 gamers present. It's fair to say that the gaming market is considered quite a lucrative on by many hardware manufacturers, as it's essentially games that drive most of us to upgrade our PCs.
So, it was no surprise that, along with four days of manic gaming and tournaments, there were quite a few companies, both large and small, exhibiting at the event. But that's not all though, as game publishers were also at the event, offering hands-on previews for upcoming games like Crysis and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. (I can't believe you forgot World in Conflict! -- Ed)
We've covered most of the i-Series events in the last couple of years, including i25, i26, i27 and i29, so you can see how the LAN event has evolved for yourselves. In our opinion, the one thing that really stands out to us is that the event has grown exponentially and I am sure you will agree after browsing through our brief coverage of the event.
Join us for a quick tour of proceedings and, of course, if you were at the event, please share your pictures and experiences with us in the forums!
Mods and Ends
LAN parties are great places to find some young (and old) modding talent - there were a few mods that caught our eyes this time around.
First off, there was a fantastic Antec P180/2 that had been polished on both front and side panels - which is something that takes a huge amount of time and effort. Sadly there were many fingerprints that marred an otherwise great looking but simple case mod. I guess this is somewhat expected at a LAN event though - we certainly hope the modder gives it another buff when he gets home! Inside, there was a nicely planned watercooling loop lit up with blue case lights... the combination of blue lights and buffed steel was pretty cool in our opinion (pardon the pun).
One of the Aqua Computer guys was there too with a massive aluminium case on casters that was fully watercooled - this time the dye of choice was a catchy lime green. Considering its size, we can only assume that there's a steering wheel and driver's seat hidden inside it so that he could drive it back to Germany.
Someone else had a proper old school mod with a pretty funky lizard/dragon design on a painted blue case. The insides were watercooled and he'd matched it up with a blue rad on the rear as well. The glossy metallic paintwork finish was also exceptionally high quality and the eye on the creature was a good old blue/purple LED.
Unlike everyone else's ghetto efforts to keep cool in this year's two-week British Summer, the same guy had built a really well constructed fan array for the top of his monitor. In all honesty, you wouldn't have wanted to spent too long in there: imagine several hundred sweaty men in a really hot room, not having showered for two days and filling themselves up on greasy food like pizza and chips; it's like diving into a kit bag after a rugby match!
More ghetto action now: how about a four port USB hub and four fans strategically placed for some all angled airflow action - awesome!