CeBIT 2008 Coverage: Part 4

In this part of our CeBIT coverage we take a look at deluxe memory modules from Corsair that have unprecedented capacity and speed, check out fresh luxurious devices from Asustek Computer, share some information about EVGA’s mainboard strategy, have a loot at portable desktops with Blu-ray disc drives inside and also reveal some information about the future of SSDs and Western Digital’s opinion on the matter.

by Anton Shilov
03/13/2008 | 07:01 PM

Nearly Affordable Luxury: Asustek Unveils New Lamborghini Notebook

The Lamborghini-branded notebooks are quite a success, says Asustek Computer, and in order to extend this success, the company has announced its new Lamborghini VX3 laptop model in addition to Lamborghini ZX1 smarthphone at CeBIT 2008.

 

It is now more than two years after Asustek Computer unveiled its first Asus Lamborghini notebook and at CeBIT 2008 this leading manufacturer of laptops showcased its third-generation Lamborghini VX3 notebooks. Like all previous premium notebooks from Asus, the new VX3 is of exceptional quality and features impressive performance.


Asus Lamborghini VX3 notebook

The sensational design of the new VX3 starts with the signature colors of Lamborghini yellow and black. A built-in high-resolution webcam on top of the screen implements a sapphire crystal panel is further complemented with the titanium alloy hinge backbone. The two precious materials on both ends of the LCD cover together with the premium leather-bound palm rest, the VX3 exudes luxury with an interplay of warmth and cool high-tech aesthetic that mirrors the principle of perfection attained from visual and tactile balance.

The new Asus Lamborghini VX3 sports 12.1” widescreen display and is powered by Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 processor (2.50GHz, 6MB L2 cache), Intel PM965 chipset and Intel 4965ABGN 802.11n network controller. The notebook uses discrete graphics based on Nvidia GeForce 9300 chip with 256MB of GDDR3 memory, 4GB of PC2-5300 (DDR2 667MHz) memory and will also have a 320GB hard disk drive.


Asus Lamborghini VX3 notebook

There is no word of actual pricing of Asus Lamborghini VX3, but it is unlikely to fit into the mainstream understanding of notebook pricing. The good news, however, is that the price of the laptop has nothing to do with the actual pricing of a Lamborghini car.

Ferrari on Palm: Asus Lamborghini ZX1 Smartphone Revealed

In addition to the Asus Lamborghini VX3 notebook, Asustek also demonstrated Asus Lamborghini ZX1 smartphone, the first attempt of the Taiwan-based company to enter the market of high-end and stylish cell phones.

Taking on all the classic designer traits of its namesake sports car, it showcases a masculine cut that provides the ZX1 with an exquisite yet bold exterior that is encapsulated in a ‘drop-dead´ gorgeous finish of carbon fiber and high grade stainless steel. Touch screen activated, this device has a graphic user-interface that can be modified to suit the particular demands towards the design.

 
Asus Lamborghini ZX1 smartphone

Asus Lamborghini ZX1 is based on Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 operating system and has 2.8” screen as well as 119 grams weight. The device is powered by Texas Instruments TI2431 450MHz (520MHz, some sources claim) microprocessor and is equipped with 128MB SDRAM as well as 256MB of NOR flash. The ZX1 device features GPS, 3MP cam, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Micro-SD and all the other necessary technologies. The mobile phone can work in any networks, including GSM, CDMA and so on.

It is unknown how much will the ZX1 cost, when it becomes available towards the middle of 2008, but some sources indicate that the device will be available for €650/$1000.

Serious Intentions: EVGA Shows Liquid-Cooled nForce 790i Ultra SLI Mainboard and New Own-Design Platforms

EVGA did it again: right after all the rest makers of mainboards unveil their mainboards powered by Nvidia’s forthcoming nForce 790i Ultra SLI core-logic, the company plans to launch a version of the platform with liquid cooling system. But this is not all: later on the company plans to develop own-design Nvidia nForce 790i Ultra SLI motherboard!


EVGA nForce 790i Ultra SLI mainboard with liquid cooling system by Innovatek

The initial next-gen Nvidia nForce motherboard from EVGA will be made according to reference design under Nvidia’s close supervision, but will come with water-blocks by Innovatek on CPU, nForce 790i memory controller hub, I/O controller and microprocessor voltage regulation module. This should ensure that enthusiasts seeking for increased performance who plans to overclock their central processing unit and other components will remain satisfied with the solution.

EVGA nForce 790i Ultra SLI mainboard supports Intel Core 2 processors with up to 1600MHz processor system bus, DDR3 memory with speeds over 2000MHz, three PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots for graphics cards, six Serial ATA-300 ports for hard disk drives and so on.

Also at CeBIT 2008 the graphics card and mainboard supplier EVGA said that it had hired development team from the now gone Epox mainboard maker and plans to start develop its own motherboards to reduce manufacturing costs as well as improve their performance and overclocking potential.

Slowly, But Surely: Solid-State Drives Embraced by Memory Module Suppliers

Despite of the fact that solid-state drives are still extremely expensive, all the leading makers of memory modules and flash based storage devices showcased their new SSDs at CeBIT 2008, probably in anticipation of increasing demand.


OCZ ultra high speed SSD with 32GB or 64GB flash onboard

Last year we reported that only a handful of flash memory companies displayed their SSDs at CeBIT 2007 and said that many suppliers were waiting till the prices on flash-based storage comes down. This year virtually all well-known makers of memory modules showcased their SSDs at the show, even despite of the fact that solid-state drives have not become mainstream to say at least.


Patriot SSD with 128GB of flash onboard

Almost every large memory company from the USA – OCZ Technology, Patriot Memory, Super Talent – displayed their own SSDs at CeBIT 2008, an indicator that end-users truly do demand flash-based drives.


Super Talent SSD with up to 256GB of flash memory onboard

Ironically, no one of those, who demonstrate SSDs. expect any breakthroughs in terms of demand in the short-term due to the price, which is still too high. Nevertheless, it is logical to expect more users to adopt large capacity solid-state drives in the coming years: Windows Vista successor is definitely around the corner and demands towards capacities are unlikely to increase significantly in the coming years. Therefore, once 64GB or 128GB SSDs become affordable, a lot of mobile computers will start installing them into their systems due to higher performance and reliability.

Fast and Furious: Corsair Demos 8GB Memory Module Kit at 1600MHz

It is definitely an achievement to overclock memory modules to over 2.0GHz, but in that case the system will only get 2GB of memory, not a lot by today’s standards. Corsair Memory happens to have a solution for those who demand both speed and capacity: its latest 2GB DDR3 memory modules can work at 1600MHz and four of such modules will provide 8GB of rather extreme speed memory.

Nowadays many 64-bit operating systems, including Microsoft Windows XP x64 and Microsoft Windows Vista 64-bit, can take advantage of more than 4GB of memory, which may be useful in certain professional applications and in case of usage models that includes many applications running at once. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of high-capacity memory modules capable of operating at speeds higher than 800MHz or 1066MHz.


Test system powered by four Corsair's 2GB memory modules

Corsair Memory demonstrated at CeBIT 2008 its 2GB memory modules operating at 1600MHz with CL7 timing in 8GB configuration on Asus P5E3 Premium mainboard based on Intel X48 chipset.

Currently it is unclear when the company is able to start selling its PC3-12800 (DDR3 1600MHz) memory modules commercially, nonetheless, the fact that Corsair is capable of showing them off right now means that the devices do work stably enough already.

Storage of the Gods: Western Digital Reaffirms Plans for 1.22TB Hard Drives in 2008

Western Digital, a leading maker of hard disk drives, has reaffirmed plans to release 1.22TB hard drives already this year and also said that the market of external hard disk drives (HDDs) is on the rise.

Recently announced 334GB platters for 3.5” hard drives not only open the door for the company’s ~1TB HDD, but enable Western Digital to create 1.3TB hard disk drives using four platters. Officials from WD once again said at CeBIT 2008 that the four-platter 1.22TB hard disk drive will be available in 2008, but remained tight-lipped about the exact timeframes.

What is more important for WD is that its present market share on the market of external HDDs is about 20%, or more than any other company out there. This achievement is quite impressive, considering the fact that Western Digital has never been a company who wanted to have a market share just for the sake of the market share.


Western

At this time WD does not think that hybrid hard drives (HHDs) or solid-state drives (SSDs) pose a lot of interest for it. Even though Western Digital is a close partner of SanDisk, a leading flash memory-based devices maker, it does not feel like jumping on the bandwagon of HHDs and SSDs, like some other producers of hard disk drives. Still, considering its partnership with SanDisk, WD is always ready to roll-out products featuring flash memory.

The SFF March: Mainboard Makers Go Small Form-Factor PCs

Although small form-factor PC barebones are no longer popular among end-users, many makers of mainboards now address the market of small systems with their own-brand PCs. Such machines never compete against products by local system builders or computers from large PC makers, but often pack serious power inside.

Asustek Computer showcased its AMD-based Essentio CP1420 and Intel-based Essentio CS5510 small desktop computers at the world’s largest IT fair. Asus Essentio desktops are rather stylish and have rich connectivity, which makes them ideal for both home and office use.

  
Asus Essentio CP1420 and CS5110

Both machines can be equipped with Blu-ray disc drives as well as feature-rich graphics cards (in fact, CS5110 only supports MXM form-factor graphics adapters) in order to be used as media centers, not only as office computers.


ECS SFX10 small form-factor system

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) also demonstrated its Intel-based SFX10 desktop that looks really trendy and even comes with built-in TV-tuner in addition to HDMI output. Moreover, thanks to Intel G45 core-logic with its advanced graphics core that sports H.264 and VC1 high-definition video decoding, the system can also be used as HD media center provided that a Blu-ray disc drive is installed inside.

  
Small form-factor systems by MSI

Gigabyte Technology and Microstar International also demonstrated their small form-factor systems at the show, but their systems were based on somewhat outdated core-logic sets. Those systems still can do the job, but not all end-users will find them truly attractive due to lack of features like high-definition video playback and so on.