There’s been a lot of conversation over the last few years about the fall of PC gaming. While incredible efforts have been made to take it from a niece into a mainstream activity, hardcore gamers, those that spend thousands on the latest GPUs still remains a tiny percent of computer users.
Most recently the biggest problem hasn’t been price, but competition. The main competition comes from mobile gaming. Easy, convenient, cheaper and more social mobile gaming has lit the world on fire.
As we sit on the doorstep of the next console / entertainment box generation, the sealed boxes of the Xbox One and PS4 are ready to take an even bigger slice of the market away from PC gamers.
Last week at Computex in Taipei, new hardware for PC gaming had a massive presence. Booth after booth was full of extravagant cases, GPU’s, cooling solutions and new monitor form factors. Here’s a run through of some of the stand outs.
Mech-inspired case design
Republic of Gamers
The case-less setups in this booth were housed in perspex boxes, probably to keep the kid fingers out of the fans. This particular setup had no less than 12 video outputs from 2x Asus Matrix GPUs.
There was even a team of overclockers on stage that pushed the limits of the new Intel Haswell chip (Core i7-4770K CPU) to 6.5 GHz. The liquid nitrogen cooling was impressive to say the least, these guys are clearly pros with no gloves in sight.
Easily the most impressively finished case design is this Throne case. A close second was a mirror finished case with a big ‘do not touch’ sign to avoid those greasy fingerprints getting in the way of the reflectivity.
Thin bezels were definitely in. This 5-panel, portrait oriented setup was running Tomb Raider and provided quite an immersive experience. While we lust after those big curved displays, they’re unlikely to be at a reasonable price point this century, so small bezels are here for the foreseeable future.
Asrock had many impressive setups on display, but the one that stood out to me was this 22 disk SSD array in Raid 0 configuration. The first 6 are powered by the Intel Z87 chipset and the other 16 from the LSI SAS3 chip, if you want fast disk access, it doesn’t get much better / expensive than this.
Ruggedized case designs
There was a lot of case designers going after the ruggedized market, but none were as impressive as these. Completely ready for your LAN party, this case includes not only the PC, but also the monitor all inside a single case. These were so hardware, you could nearly take this as checked baggage on a flight.