While the show was AMD's and most of the talk surrounded them, there was still plenty of time for AMD's partners to extol the virtues of their products. There was one term that seem to be hammered into our subconsicious...DDR. Everywhere you turned, vendors where hawking their new DDR motherboards. I don't intend to go over every model number presented at the show, but rather some of the more unique. Oh, and there were also mention of mice, video cards and monitors as well.
DFI discussed their new "talking" motherboard. This cool feature will tell you what is wrong if your system won't post. That's a feature system builders would love. It should speed up troubleshooting...I would have liked to see that in action.
MSI out-dueled DFI by offering four innovative features in their motherboards. Instead of the talking voice that DFI employs, MSI uses a series of 4 LED's, D-Bracket, that show you up to 16 errors if the system won't boot. It might not be as "cool" as the way DFI talks to you, but it is still a working solution. Their second feature was something called "Live BIOS". This technology would search the internet for BIOS updates and automatically install them for you. While a novel technology, even with all the BIOS updates I've done, they still make me nervous. I'm not sure letting this happen automatically is a good thing. Unfortunately, the representative didn't go into any details on how this is implemented. They also talked about their Fuzzy Logic 3 technology that is designed to optimize your system for overclockers. If you push your system too far, it will reset back to the last safe setup. Finally, they offered a new USB linking scheme for peer-to-peer networking, PC2PC. This seemed to be a very interesting development. They ship a special USB cable that lets two computers link together to form a little network. What is special about this technology is twofold: it's OS-independent and only one of the machines needs to have a MSI motherboard. You could theoretically connect a laptop running Windows 2000 to a desktop running the Mac OS with this feature.
ASUS didn't really talk about any new technologies of note. However, after one of the seminars, we returned to the vendor area only to see the ASUS display machine locked-up running 3DMark 2001...doh!
What I can I say about the GeForce3 that hasn't been said already. Seeing prerendered movies doesn't do it justice. Seeing it in person running at 1600x1200 with FSAA is a sight to behold. The chameleon and fortune teller demos were amazing. When the GeForce3 becomes affordable, run out and get one.
With all the recent talk surrounding the GeForce3 and its staggering 57 Million transistors, it's easy to forget that NVIDIA has an incredible number of solutions for all price and performance levels. Their current lineup includes the following 13 cards:
Vanta LT, Vanta, TNT2 M64, TNT2 Pro, GeForce2 MX 200, GeForce2 MX, GeForce2 MX 400, GeForce2 GTS, GeForce2 Pro, GeForce2 Ultra and GeForce3. In additional to those cards, NVIDIA also has workstation level cards, the Quadro2 MXR and the Quadro2 Pro.
The also mentioned (but didn't go into any details) the Xbox GPU, the NV2A.
NEC was displaying one of their LCD monitors running Disney's Fantasia. Wow, did it look great. The horizontal viewing angle was particularly impressive.
There were all varieties mice and keyboards present. Logitech was pushing their new cordless mouse, the Cordless MouseMan Optical.
They were also pimpin' their new force feedback mouse, the iFeel Mouseman.
From reviews I've seen, this mouse brings new life to gaming. Microsoft was also showing off their mice and keyboards.
Microsoft was the last presenter of the evening. To their credit, they were one of the few vendors that didn't exceed their alloted time. Their presentation was strictly for system builders and focused primarily on their OEM business, System Builder Opportunities and Anti-piracy. It was clear from the talk they had been bombarded with questions regarding the new Product Activation scheme. It was also apparent from the audience that it didn't go over very well (no surprise there). They also talked about support options and different value-added services.
It always seems like the next great thing is just around the corner, but this show made me realize that we have some great stuff available now. The Team AMD Tech Tour should be making the rounds again in the Fall. I can't wait to see what new toys they'll have for us then.