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2010 CES: Computer Technology Highlights E-mail
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Written by David Ramsey   
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
2010 CES: Computer Technology Highlights
2010 CES: ASUS
2010 CES: EVGA
2010 CES: MSI
2010 CES: Thermaltake
Television: 3D, OLED, and 4K
iPhone cases, therapeutic robots, etc
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

2010 CES Final Thoughts

We are, we're told, recovering from a serious economic depression, and we're not out of the woods yet, with unemployment continuing to rise and retail sales down. This was in no way apparent at CES. I think this Intel booth (if a 4+ acre spread with hundreds of displays can be described as a "booth") sums up the CES perspective:


In other words, charging right along, economy be damned. Of course, Intel's net income was up over 800 percent in 2009, with record profit margins to boot, and they've just introduced so many processors that I've frankly given up trying to keep track. But the sense of optimism was pervasive, and the huge crowds (I am told that this was not the busiest CES ever. It's my first, so I have nothing to compare to except the fact that it was frequently difficult to make my way through the crush of attendees) would seem to indicate that a lot of vendors felt this way.

It looks as if 2010 will be an exciting year for computer enthusiasts. NVIDIA's Fermi GPU is the most anticipated enthusiast product, and after seeing them get kicked around the price/performance curve by ATI for the past two years, it looks as if Fermi will be all the payback an NVIDIA fanboy could ever want.

New enthusiast level motherboards and other components from the likes of ASUS, MSI, EVGA, Cooler Master, and others are raising the bar even more. While SATA 6Gb/s was disappointing (at least until new SSDs that can take advantage of the technology become available), the benefits of USB 3.0 are both real and immediate, and we at Benchmark Reviews look forward to testing the coming generation of USB 3.0 peripherals. This technology is so important that there was a separate, rather large area of the show flow devoted not to any one company, but to the technology in general:


Technology Highlights Conclusion

As I mentioned in the introduction, this was my first time attending the Consumer Electronics Show. Despite its name, it's not for consumers per se, and so the focus and feel of the show are quite different from a show like, say, MacWorld. What struck me about CES is that it's an indicator of trends: you can tell what "the industry" thinks will be important in the coming year by walking the aisles, attending the press briefings, and schmoozing at the parties and company hospitality suites. As far as the personal computer industry goes, here are the trends that made an impression on me:

Everybody's introducing H55/H57-based boards, but the price/performance ratio doesn't seem to be much better than existing integrated-video products. Some of the Clarksdale/Arrandale processors do seem to have a lot of overclocking headroom, but systems at this level are rarely overclocked.

The P55 chipset is the mainstream enthusiast user's platform of choice. There seems very little reason for most people to spend the extra money on an X58-based platform.

SATA 6Gb/s may be important some day, but it's not yet. USB 3.0, on the other hand, is important and useful right now.

Despite flash memory prices that are actually creeping upwards, SSDs - in the form of 2.5" disk replacements, PCI-E add-in cards, and even USB 3.0 keys - were everywhere. Many manufacturers are introducing smaller, less-expensive "boot drives" to give consumers a less expensive way to experience the performance benefits of SSDs.

And, of course, the slew of new and expensive consumer items like 3D televisions indicates "the industry" thinks that consumer spending's going to trend upwards this year. We'll see.

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