CES 2017

Deepcool at CES 2017

Deepcool is one of the companies that very people here in North America have heard of - unit last year when the brought the Tristellar case to the market and blew all of our minds. They have quite a selection of cases and cooling products though and it is worth taking a look to see if you can find some of their products around before you start your next build. They make AiO liquid cooling products and have updated them for 2017 with RGB lighting as well as white versions. The white version feature white fan housing, white radiators and a white pump housing. White version come in both 240mm and 120mm versions.

If you want a great gaming case with fantastic cooling, their Dukase Liquid is a great choice. It comes with a Captain 240EX installed and has a visible flow indicator. While this is not necessary, I've had a pump fail on a different system in the past. The system ran fine, but suffered thermal slowdowns under load. Being able to see if the liquid was flowing would have greatly helped troubleshoot quicker.

Deepcool

Note: The GPU Riser-cable is included

 

They have a new ASUS ROG-edition case with RGB lighting that can be controlled by the ASUS motherboard software that is used to control RGB on memory and other components. This is a nifty idea as it requires less software to be installed and you can synchronise your case lighting with your pump lighting, RAM lighting and fan lighting. While that may not be important for everyone, it's a great idea that deserves a look if you're building with ASUS motherboards.

Deepcool also has dived into the tempered glass case market with their ARK 90 - and it is gorgeous. It won't be available until May however. Also on the tempered glass side of things is their new Earlkase Liquid. It also features RGB lighting and is possibly one of my favorites. On the opposite side as the glass panel is a bunch of "Dragon Scale" vents that look pretty sweet. 

Deepcool
Dragon Scale Vents

 

Deepcool has also released the Quadstellar case - which is an update to their famous and much-sought-after Tristellar case. The Quadstellar has a lot more room in it for "normal" builds, but it lacks the appeal that the Tristellar did. Either way, it's a solid case that will hold more hardware, looks fantastic and comes in at less money than last years Tristellar.

Quadstellar
Quadstellar

 

There are a ton of case and cooling options on the market, but Deepcool should be on your short list of considered options as they make very good products and they are priced at bargain prices. I'm looking forward to taking a look at some of their tempered glass products later this year.

We have a bunch more images from our Deepcool visit in the gallery here. Of course you can check our entire CES 2017 coverage right here. Check out Deepcool for all of their products - and upcoming hardware.

Lian Li at CES 2017

Lian Li came back to CES 2017 with a few updates for their exciting products including USB 3.1 support via a module designed to be mounted to the rear of many of their tower cases. They also showed off some USB-C cables that work with current motherboards and bring this to your favorite last-generation Lian Li box.

One of their big debuts was the update to the  DK-04 adjustable table that also is able to house a pair of systems. The DK-04 could hold one system, but this standing desk is large enough to hold two systems and two employees could easily work at the same time. It's a monstrous beauty that I think everyone that stopped by asked if they were sending out review samples. The price to entry is a little steep at around $1800, but you have to keep in mind that in addition to being a unique and gorgeous Lian Li case, it's also an electric height-adjustable standing desk.

Lian Li

 

They've done a bit of work redesigning some of their cases to look a bit more modern and have added metal mesh accents to cases such as the upcoming PC-V3000, but one of the nicest cases overall that they have is the PC-09WX.  It's almost a cube case and has tempered glass, all aluminum build and tons of room, along with incredible looks. It's one of my favorites, but the image below doesn't do it justice.

PC-09WX

 

For the DIY and hardware tester, they are working on a new test-bench that looks incredible. It answers pretty much all the questions, needs and desires of a hardware reviewer including a cover so temperature testing is now relevant. Previous test platforms have been open-air and while that makes it easy to swap hardware, temperature testing and load performance weren't comparable when put in a closed case. This new platform fills that need - and does it with a magnetic Plexiglas cover. It's super simple to use and configure however you need.

Test Bench

 

Lian Li has some great products already and there are some absolute gems in the works right now. Many of these products will be available here in the next month or two and we are excited to work with them more as they have absolute top-notch products.

For more images from our Lian Li visit, please check the gallery here. Also, you can view all of our CES coverage over here.

ASRock at CES 2017

ASRock was at CES this year in a suite so they could meet with press, buyers and marketing people without yelling over top of the crowds. They also did this as there were trying to show off a couple of new products they have been working on that are still working on Intel certification. ASRock is most known for their motherboards and they certainly had quite a lineup of new Kaby Lake Intel boards as well as some new boards for AMDs Ryzen CPU. Some of their high-end Intel boards now come with 5GbE networking. Of course 10GbE is already available in the commercial space for servers and large companies, but for the general consumer, 5GbE is the gap-filler that ASRock is hoping will take off.

ASRock

 

It's purely cosmetic, but ASRock has taken to putting themes on their motherboards and the PCB, slots, cooling solutions and more reflex different designs. As more PCs have windows and RGB lighting, ASRock wants to make sure you keep your theme going - and take it a step above the competition. It's pretty nifty.

ASRock is jumping back into network as well, but the piece they are excited about is the new Micro-STX platform. If you've heard about it before CES, you're a lot more connected than me (and probably are), but this was the first time that I'd seen this form factor. The boards are rectangular like a standard motherboard, but they are much, much smaller. The amazing thing is that ASRock is working with the 7th-Gen Intel Kaby Lake platform here as well and the board uses DDR4 SODIMMs. 

Micro-STX

Micro-STX Front

Micro-STX

Micro-STX Back

 

You'll notice that there aren't a lot of traditional SATA connectors or graphics card slots. ASRock is moving to M.2 for storage and has included four slots on the back. For graphics card upgrades, they are working with NVIDIA primarily to produce MXM form factor cards to be used on this system. As you can see, there are a few bottlenecks remaining, but ASRock is betting big on this new platform. Why not? You could easily populate the M.2 with 3TB of ultra-fast storage, an 802.11ac module, Kaby Lake CPU at crazy speeds and a new MXM GTX 1080 graphics card.

Micro-STX

 

The system they had running was very quiet and performed like a champ. It's a brave new world and ASRock is hoping they get to help pave the road to the future with the Micro-STX system they had on display.

For more images from our ASRock visit, please check the gallery here. Also, you can view our entire CES coverage over here.

 

Samsung at CES 2017

I was able to attend both the Samsung Press Conference as well as take a tour through the Samsung booth this year and in the light of the dismal last quarter, the overall feeling was a little muted. That's not to say Samsung doesn't have some great products - they do indeed. It just seems that the shadow of the Note 7 put a bit of a melancholy on the company at this CES. What they were excited about though was their "new" QLED TVs. This is an evolution of the quantum-dot technology that we saw from a few top-tier companies last year and Samsung has upgraded the technology with a metallic alloy that gives truer colors (over a billion colors) as well as deeper blacks, better energy efficiency and the ability to perform right along with OLED in terms of stunning vibrance - with a longer lifespan than they claim OLED will achieve. Only time will tell if this is marketing speak, or if there is truth to it. Either way, their TVs now use a micro-thin cable, some of the best curved panels in the business and a super-simple remote that simply works with every device you have in your home - whether it be Xbox, Hitachi DVD player, set-top boxes or even a Roku. One real remote + an App that works better than ever.

Samsung

 

Samsung is also pushing into the high-end style of TVs that use their near-invisible cable and the TV itself is designed to blend into you artistic home. It's a rather simple idea, but not one that we've seen before. The TV looks like a piece of art hanging on your wall - complete with a matted framed picture. The is part of their Q-Style series and it offers the same features you'd expect from a high-end Samsung TV, but with very sophisticated style. At first, it was hard to tell which image was the TV on the wall, until you start thinking aspect ratios. Either way, it looks great is and has a fit for customers that want something to blend into their room, rather than stand out.

Q Style

 

For a quick glimpse of the QLED TV, watch this video below as it's clearly meant (and did) impress.

 

For more images from our CES coverage at Samsung's booth, please check here. Also, take a look at all of our CES 2017 coverage here.

 

PIQ at CES 2017

BCCHardware primarily focuses on computer hardware first and consumer electronics second, but every now and then there is a product that stretches our interest and diverts our attention. Most wearables (in my opinion) are little more than hi-tech jewelry, but PIQ has come along with a "Sports Intelligence" unit that has grabbed our attention as it is a unique product that offers a lot of possibilities. The heart of the PIQ technology is their PIQ ROBOT. This looks like some sort of rubberized sensor, but is in fact an entire computer as it stores data and more inside this 1.5-inch square unit. Depending on the sport, it may fit in the back of a glove, fit on your ankle or some other non-obtrusive place. It logs force, speed and other data as it tracks your movement and performance during skiing, kiteboarding, golf, tennis and boxing. PIQ is adding more sports as well, but they want to work with partners as they go to ensure the best experience for the end user.

PIQ ROBOT

The PIQ ROBOT is thin. It comes in at less than 1/4-inch and houses a fair bit of hardware as you can see from the company page linked below. Right now, PIQ is just involved in the five aforementioned sports, but they have plans to keep on expanding. I'd like to see the PIQ become involved in shooting sports as the sensor could easily be configured for shot detection as well as movement or jerking prior to the shot.

While there are different kits for each sport, you can use the PIQ ROBOT for all of them. It can be setup for whatever your're doing and that helps minimize cost. Also, it helps keep you from having a bunch of different units around when you're only participating in one at a time.

PIQ SKI

 

The golf kit comes with additional tags for each of your clubs (18 included) and this makes the golf kit a bit more expensive than the other kits. Still, for $280, full swing analysis of each shot as you golf - all day, can show how your digress as you get fatigued on the 18th hole. It's a very interesting concept, a simple design and a brilliant idea. We hope to be getting one of these for our resident ski pro, Jay Morrison. BCCHardware is located up in the frozen north, so I'm glad they have something that is more useful to us that kiteboarding.

For more information about PIQ, please check their site. You can check out more images from our visit with them here, and check out all of our CES coverage over here.

 

LG at CES 2017 - More Than Beautiful TVs

Last year was the first year we took time to set up a booth tour with LG, and we were very impressed with all the products they have to offer. While LG is mostly known for their mobile devices here in Canada, they do make some amazing TVs as well as a host of other products. After being impressed with everything from their clothing "refresher" to their OLED TVs last year, it was obviously one of our must-see booths at CES again this year.

At the entrance to their huge booth was a massive crowd of people waiting their turn to step into the tunnel of OLED. They had well over 100 4K OLED TVs all arranged in a tunnel and with 10 different sound systems overwhelming your senses in both visual and audio glory. The amazing thing about OLED is the total black it can achieve as the pixels are self-lit and therefore, when off - are truly black. The end result is magnificent and images don't really do it justice. 

LG OLED
HLG = One Step up from HDR

 

LG introduced their new W-Series TVs this year that earned them a bunch of CES awards. The "W" is for wallpaper, because that's about as thick as the TV is - like wallpaper. LG strips away pretty much everything unnecessary with this TV and the panel itself is a mere 2.57mm thin. It is mounted to the wall with magnets so that there is no gap. Hisense, Samsung and LG introduced a super slim cable that goes from their panels to a connector box so you don't mess up the amazing look of the TV with a bunch of unsightly cables. Included with the W-Series is the new Soundbar from LG that incorporates Dolby Atmos and we were able to take in a demo. It is truly unbelievable. Dolby Atmos can project sounds to virtually any where in the room making it feel like you have well over a dozen speakers around, above and below you. 

W-Series with Dolby Atmos Sound
W-Series with Dolby Atmos Sound

 

LG is much more than just high-end items though. We were able to view and listen to their Bluetooth standard and levitating speakers as well as pick up their new "Gram" Ultrabooks that weigh in at less that a kilogram and pack in unbelievable battery life and Core i5 processors. They have curved displays for your PC, amazing 5K displays as well, and a everything you need in your Smart-home including fridges, laundry care, physical and virtual assistants and more. LG may at one point been a name that you'd consider if you couldn't find what you want, but they have stepped up their game in a monumental way in the past few years and are really industry leaders.

LG Gram
LG "Gram" Ultrabook #want

 

There are a lot more images from the LG visit in our gallery over here. Of course you can keep up with all of our CES coverage right here.

 

Edge at CES 2017

Edge is a new company to us here at BCCHardware, but they've been around for quite a few years actually. They are a subsidiary of Avant Technology (as is Mushkin), but Edge products are geared more toward business users and high-reliability operations. While the DRAM chips, basic design and controllers are often identical between Mushkin products and Edge products, Edge focuses their firmware and power regulation toward higher reliability rather than raw performance. Don't get me wrong, their performance is still excellent, but with power-fail capacitors on board as well as better provisioning and wear leveling algorithms, Edge certainly is geared toward the business user.


Edge PFX3

 

At CES, Edge showed off their new PFX3 drive that includes power failure protection and still offers capacities up to 1TB. Not only do these drives offer 256-bit AES encryption, they also come backed with a 5-year warranty - not many SSDs offer that long of a guaranteed service life. On the 3D-NAND side of the 2.5-inch form-factor coin are the eMerge 3D SSDs. They have two different versions of this drive with the eMerge 3D-V using 3D TLC NAND flash while the non-V version using 3D MLC NAND. The non-V drive also has a slightly slower speed, but a longer warranty.

eMerge

 

Their "NextGen" M.2 PCIe SSD is a beast. It uses 3D MLC NAND flash and an external DRAM module for buffering. It's a full double-sided 2280 module that uses 4x PCIe 3.0 lanes to make things happen rather quickly. While other companies have a very similar drive for their enthusiast systems, Edge caters once again to their business customers and offers a few of their features to keep the product more reliable. Still, the drive is rated at a mere 2.5GB/sec read speed with a 1.1GB/sec write speed. Keep in mind that this drive supports ECC functions, StaticDataRefresh and is also backed with Edge's 5-year warranty. 

NextGen

 

If you want to check out more images from our Day 3 coverage at CES 2017, please be sure to check out the gallery here, as well as our entire coverage of CES 2017 right here.

Also, you can check out Edge Memory's site here.

Sony at CES 2017

Sony brought a few new TVs to CES this year - along with a bunch of products that are already on sale - and are quite impressive. They also brought along a prototype project that should make it to market in the coming years. Sony’s XBR-A1E Bravia is their first consumer ready OLED TV that will come in 55-in, 65-in. and 77-inch sizes. This TV also sports a unique sound system in that there is no speaker but instead use a bar to vibrate the screen to produce sound all the while having a subwoofer to help with the bass. Oddly enough some of the Sony reps won’t call the OLED their flagship TV and instead point to some LED TVs as the prime examples of what can be done with them.

Sony

 

These 4K HDR LED TVs will eventually have more shutters in them than currently on the market, to turn off the LEDs to achieve the same blacks in the OLEDs all the while pushing the power to the other parts of the TV to help improve the brightness of the picture to give it a brighter picture than OLEDs.

Sony

 

Sony also introduced some amazing projectors with short throw lenses in them so that they only need to be about six inches away from the surface that it will be projecting on. These projects can either rest on the floor or shelving unit, or be mounted to the wall and can produce a 4K HDR picture up to about 120 inches. When powered off the projector will hide itself inside of its unit making it look like normal decor in the room. Because these projectors use lasers instead of what’s currently on the market these projectors can still display clear and crisp images even when the lights are on full blast. One of the cooler things that you may not hear about when it comes to sony is their small scale projector that is currently in prototype mode. When connected to your home or google home network you can use the image that is being projected onto your tabletop the same way as if you were looking at your phone or your computer screen.

Sony

 

For more images from our Sony visit, please check the gallery here. Also, you can find all of our CES 2017 coverage right here.

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