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Reviewed by: Ed Lau [11.28.03]

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Day 4

So I finally took some time to actually peruse the COMDEX floor, only to be totally disappointed. Few big names were in attendance and even fewer had an actual booth. Seriously, I doubt I would even have set foot on the floor of the LVCC if ATi didn't hold their meetings on the top floor.


My fellow Canadians had something to say so I just had to show up and listen. While there were very few announcements on the desktop graphics side in terms of actual hardware, they did have one interesting tidbit for those of us planning to add a PC to our home theaters. The next version of ATi's multimedia software will include new utilities that will upgrade several of our current abilities, most importantly...the ability to watch, pause and control live television feeds from several PCs using only one All-in-Wonder or TV tuner card over a network. Not only is this a nice feature to have for those of us who don't want to miss a minute of a game and yet want to go to the kitchen to get a snack or go to the washroom (okay...that might be a little overboard) but it's great for offices who would like to broadcast live news feeds to everyone's desktop or stock tickers in every room.

On the mobile side of ATi, they were once again showing off their dominant M10 mobile graphics chipset which they report should hold its own against nVidia. A new mobile GPU is also on the horizon.

Shuttle let me in on this earlier but ATi's 9100 IGP should pack a little punch into onboard graphics, a field which is usually a laughing stock for many of us on the power user side. While the 9100 is by no means enough to run Doom 3 or Half-Life 2, it should beat the tar out of the best-selling GeForce 2 MX400 and cost less since it is an onboard solution.  I'm told that the 9100 IGP will have 3x the performance of a MX400 and, in most cases, better performance than a FX 5200, which are it's main opponents.


After meeting with ATi, I had a few spare moments to walk around the show floor, finding a nice surprise at the Zalman booth. Here are hardCOREware, we believe that silence is golden but even then, none of our PC's are truly fanless. Zalman has made this a possibility with their new case though, which is basically a giant heatsink. All the components are connected to the heatsink-case via heatpipes and if my touching it was any indication, its performance is incredible. As Andre 3000 would say...what's cooler than being cool? ICE COLD. That's what the case felt like. The aluminum fins were larger than usual but the heatsink was also larger than usual.

Don't hold your breath, though. The cheapest of the heatsink-cases rang in at $1000USD.


Everyone's favorite power supply maker was proving that they should be known for more. With an extensive lineup of new cases, they're hoping to break some new ground in that market. Anyone else remember that aluminum number they had with the slanted front? Yeah...too bad it was around $400. I'm told that the new line will be much more cost friendly.

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