Our third of Computx day began with abject panic, having left a bag with our camera, passport and notebook in a bar after one too many ciders the night before (yes, they serve Cider in Taipei, the rather splendid Stowford Press in fact). Having mercifully recovered our misplaced gear bit-tech hit the massive Nangang exhibition centre in Taipei, boasting over 50,000m² of exhibition space. Almost every major PC hardware vendor had a stand, showing off their latest gear and prototypes perhaps heading into our PCs over the next few months
At Computex, the biggest fights are between professional overclockers over a pot of LN2. We reckon Fred Yama should have won this, by virtue of looking the most bad-ass.
Our first stop was the splendid chaps at MSI, where we caught a glimpse of its upcoming Lightning versions of both the GTX 680 2GB and HD 7970 3GB. Both were equipped with the latest version of MSI’s Twin Frozr IV cooler and looked pretty nifty in the black and yellow colours MSI was showing here. Intriguingly, MSI also told us its GTX 680 2GB Lightning would feature ‘unlocked digital power’ – could this mean user adjustable core voltage? This is a feature that requires hard volt modding on stock cards, and could unlock some significantly higher overclocks.
MSI's GTX 680 2GB Lightening and its new Z77 Big Bang motherboard caught our eye
MSI we also showing off a new brand extention, with its Big Bang series of motherboards extending down from the super-high end. The Z77 MPower still had plenty of go-faster features though, including voltage read-outs and an additional 6-pin PCI-E port for board power. How it’ll intrude into MSI’s existing line-up remains to be seen though; we imagine the Mpower seen here will probably hit around the £180-£200 mark.
The Ivy Bridge powered MSI Slider tablet combines tablet and notebook by doing away with a closable lid
MSI also had a prototype hybrid laptop/tablet in the form of the Slider S20 to play with. With an Ivy Bridge CPU it’s a capable Windows 8 notebook, but rather than a traditional lid, has a sliding display that locks into angled-place for use as a notebook, or slides flat for use as a tablet. As with every Windows 8 tablet on display at the show, availability is ‘when Windows 8 is out’.
Alongside its range of super-efficient power supplies (including a new 1700W model for those still trying to run quad-SLI GTX 480s), Enermax surprised us by showing of it’s up-coming liquid cooling range. Rather than use a re-badged Asetek solution (as used by Antec, Intel, Zalman, Others) or Canadian Manufactuerer Cool IT (Corsair’s H80 and H100), Enermax looks to be developing its own liquid cooler (or to have found a different manufacturer). The result is the ELC range, available in both 120mm and 2 x 120mm versions.
Enermax is readying to enter into the liquid cooler market with its own design
When your primary business is fans and heatsinks, it’s rare that you’re able to develop something truly exciting, but that’s what Noctua looked to have managed with its NF-F12. Currently very much in the development stage (we were told release was at least 18 months away), this fan able is equipped with active noise cancellation to significantly reduce the sound signature of the fan.
It’s done using an integrated microphone and magnets in the fan housing to alter the angle of the fan assembly, and the result, as you’ll hear from the above video is an audible reduction in noise despite a much higher RPM. While the cost per unit will undoubtedly be high, it’s a great bit of R&D from Noctua.