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Wed 22 Oct 2008 08:05 AM

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Plenty in the pipeline

IT exhibitions are the best place to get a glimpse of the future and this year’s GITEX Technology Week has shown Windows Middle East’s Jason Saundalkar that there’s plenty to look forward to.

Massive IT exhibitions such as GITEX Technology Week, CeBIT and Computex are bittersweet experiences for me. On one hand these shows are draining because apart from all the walking and dull food you consume, your senses are pushed to the very limits with the over the top demonstrations, flashing lights and ear-drum popping audio. On the other hand, the fact that these shows expose you to so much cool new kit and technology is what keeps me going back again and again.

This year’s GITEX Technology Week gave me plenty of ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’ moments and perhaps the most interesting piece of kit I came across was Thermaltake’s Xpressor. The Xpressor is an ultra-high-end cooling solution designed for enthusiasts and overclocking lunatics. When it becomes available (fingers crossed by next month) you’ll get a chassis with a built-in phase-change cooler (a.k.a a refrigerator).

This is essentially the compressor from a full-sized fridge that has been shrunk and fitted to a computer case and it’s this that will chill your CPU down to ice-forming levels. Thermaltake claims the Xpressor will offer temperatures that are between 20-30-degrees Celsius lower than water cooling kits and the company also says its phase-change cooler doesn’t suffer from condensation problems. Seeing as how I get the overclocking itch fairly often, you can bet this little jewel will be on my radar around Christmas time.

After pulling myself away from Thermaltake’s stand, Zotac was the next company that sunk its teeth into me. The company was demonstrating its new ‘Nitro’ external overclocking device and I have to say, it’s quite ingenious. The Nitro is a USB-based controller – with a LCD screen – that allows users to overclock their Zotac graphics cards on-the-fly; no annoying reboots, no more trying to Alt + Tab out of a game to mess around with settings, just dial and execute.

The Nitro’s most useful feature is that it operates independently of a graphics card’s drivers so, whenever you update your drivers, you don’t have to worry about losing your overclocking settings. (If you use third party software to overclock your graphics card, newer drivers generally render the overclocking applications useless until the company pushes out an updated version which offers compatibility.) Even more impressive is the fact that the Nitro can actually recover from a failed overclocking attempt whereas in other cases, the PC would hard-lock forcing you to reboot. (If only this was compatible with non-Zotac cards as well.)

Apple also showed its new Macbook, Macbook Air and Macbook Pro lines and, I have to say I was very impressed. The Macbook Air and Pro were both impressive but the standard Macbook was perhaps the star of the show because it seemed to have been the most improved. The new, standard Macbook models are thinner than before and the new LED-backlit display is a huge improvement over its predecessor. Infact, this new Macbook is now as good as the Macbook Pro in terms of its display - just what I was waiting for.

Talking to memory manufacturers such as Corsair and Patriot, I’m also excited about the forthcoming triple-channel DDR3 memory kits. These have been designed for Intel’s forthcoming Nehalem processor and I’m very curious to see just how much more performance triple-channel memory offers over existing dual-channel technology.

IT exhibitions are a bittersweet experience for me but as long as manufacturers keep things interesting, you can expect to find me at the front of queue year-after-year.

Jason Saundalkar is the is the senior technical editor of Windows Middle East English.

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