Just because the Consumer Electronics Show is aimed at consumer electronics doesn't mean there's nothing for the enthusiast: nestled among the tablets, laptops, fridges, washing machines and TVs are a few gems for those planning an upgrade in the near future.
Dual-Socket 2011 motherboards
Yes, you read that right: one of the highlights for performance enthusiasts this year was the presence of a handful of dual-socket motherboards for Intel's Socket 2011 from both Asus
. Offering the chance to double-up on top-end chips, the workstation-class boards are nothing short of remarkable.
A shot of the Asus Z9PE-D8 WS, taken by VR-Zone
Before you get too excited, however, a warning. Thus far, neither company has confirmed support for Intel's Sandy Bridge-E processors, which feature a single-QPI (QuickPath Interconnect) design that could leave them unable to operate in a dual-processor configuration. Instead, both boards are designed for the business-oriented Sandy Bridge-EP Xeon chips due to drop in the coming months.
CoolerMaster builds a PC-heatsink-PC
The oddest item at the show was a concept device from CoolerMaster which combines a V6 CPU heatsink - still fully operational and ready to be installed on a motherboard of your choice - with an embedded AMD E-350 APU-based PC platform
. The question that CoolerMaster has yet to answer: why?
EVGA targets overclockers
As well as its dual-socket motherboard, EVGA had a couple of treats
for enthusiasts at the show: fully-modular power supplies, ranging from 650W to 1,500W models; and an Android app which connects to Bluetooth-enabled EVGA motherboards and graphics cards for on-the-fly overclocking even while running full-screen apps. No news on a launch date, sadly.