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IDF 07 SF: Walking The Show Floor

Date: September 24, 2007
Author(s): Greg King

Intel’s Developer Forum ended last week, and we are now finishing up our coverage of the event with this article. To wrap things up, we are taking a look at a few things we saw on the floor including lots of DDR3, anti-cheating technology, Asetek’s efficient OEM cooling and more.



Introduction

With another IDF behind us, we slowly creep back into our daily routines whether we are ready to do so or not. As we decompress from the last weeks worth of walking and talking, we would like to take one last look at a few notable companies that might have gone unnoticed behind the announcements made by Intel about their upcoming architecture.

It’s easy to over look the fact that IDF is not only a celebration of all things Intel, but also a conference filled with many different partners, all showing off their goods and letting us know just why we need what they are selling. While much smaller that larger conferences, such as CES and CeBIT, the IDF does allow companies who have been working with Intel to show off what they have to offer.

Many of these companies were geared towards the enterprise side of business. Fortunately for us, there were a handful of familiar faces eager to tell us about their latest enthusiast oriented products. Fighting through the crowd, we first made our way to the Embraco booth.

Embraco

Not really a household name, Embraco has developed a small notebook cooler unlike anything that we have ever seen. Taking basic refrigeration technology found in any home refrigerator, Embraco has manufactured a simple cooler that is intended to sit under your gaming notebook and feed its fan with sub ambient air. The cooler is designed to help prevent CPU throttling in notebooks and other common performance decreases by keeping the temperature around the unit low.

Using what we are told is the smallest micro compressor on the planet; the little piece cools the air that will eventually be pushed into and across the bottom of the notebook.

To demonstrate just how effective the Embraco was working, a small thermal probe was setup inside the plastic housing and was showing that the air leaving the chiller was a brisk 13.1°C (55.58°F).

After a little digging, it turns out that Embraco is actually a compressor manufacturer so it might not be too far out of line to assume that Intel is actually working with Embraco on this project. Regardless of what initiated the production of this unit, Embraco is claiming that the “External Chilled Air Docking Station” enables the use of the coolest gaming notebook… pun most certainly intended.

Look for the Embraco notebook cooler this holiday season for under ~$100. That price mind you, simply came up in conversation and is not at all implied as MSRP.

Intel Hates Cheaters

After the unique showing at the Embraco booth, we made our way to an inconspicuous booth with a pair of gaming desktops setup playing Quake III. Overhearing a previous conversation around those PCs, we stuck around to speak with the Intel guys running the booth. From what we were told, they are working on a new way to eradicate cheating on any servers that chooses to not allow it.

Using Quake III as an example, Intel was showing off their approach to catching cheaters… think Punk Buster with a completely different underlining technology. This tech will be able to recognize whether or not the cursor movement is coming from an I/O device such as a mouse or keyboard or if it’s coming from a program, such as an aimbot. If a suspected cheater is found, the server admins will be alerted, at which point, the appropriate action can be taken. This could include simply being booted or being banned from the server.

While many details are still not known, this is a technology that would be helpful and useful to those who spend a lot of time playing online games. It’s not fun getting owned by another player in an online FPS when you know very well they are using an AimBot. For those wondering about legal macros, the SDK will include support to recognize such actions from peripherals, such as Logitech’s G15.

It was admitted to us that this technology may never see the light of day, but I, and I am sure many others, are hoping that it will. Although there will always be work-arounds, they might prove more difficult for this technology, which could lead to a huge drop in cheaters. Is spending days on end trying to get a hack to function really worth it?

We are working to bring you more on this technology so stay tuned for a complete description of how this technology will work.



DDR3, Asetek, Final Thoughts

DDR3. Lots of DDR3.

It doesn’t seem all that long ago that the original DDR was reigning supreme in performance. With that time long gone and DDR2 now the norm, DDR3 is now starting to make its way into enthusiast PCs everywhere. If you remember, Intel was the largest pusher of DDR2 into the mainstream and it shouldn’t come to any surprise that Intel again is leading the charge of DDR3.

Forget what you have read about DDR3 being incredibly expensive and at the same time, not offering any real performance increases over DDR2. Actually, don’t forget that, because it’s still 100% true. But regardless of what anyone thinks, DDR3 is here to stay and eventually, it will be in everyone’s PCs.

To show off their latest lines of DDR3 memory, all the big players were at IDF, touting the advantages of their memory over the competitions. Look for more on DDR3 advancements in the coming months from our resident memory guru, Rob.

While everyone had a good showing on the DDR3 front, there were 2 companies that really stood out. The first being Super Talent with their new Project X line of enthusiast RAM, cooled with an aggressive new heat spreader. Looking quite similar to Corsair’s Dominator line or memory, Super Talent’s Project X sticks look good while offering solid cooling properties.

The second company to catch our eye was Qimonda. With their performance geared Aeneon DDR3, the Qimonda X-Tune memory is apparently a strong overclocker but until we get a set in house to test, we will just say that they are a good looking kit of RAM.

Asetek and the ‘Bird

Everyone and their brother by now have seen the HP Blackbird 002. With it’s exceptionally slick chassis, and gamer worthy specs, the Blackbird is one of those PCs that most anyone wants. It’s kind of like the Alienware PCs when they were first available. Sporting the latest in available hardware, the Blackbird 002 keeps its components cool with the help of a custom Asetek cooler.

Long known for their Vapochill line of phase change coolers, Asetek has also been manufacturing incredible water kits as well. With their experience in designing water kits, it is Asetek that has provided HP with the goods to keep the Bird’s temps in check. Unlike their other products, Asetek is focusing on OEMs with this kind of setup and with HP, they have found a very popular home.

We stole a few minutes from the Asetek representatives to get their take on the coolers and what else they have to offer, either in retail channels or in OEM builds. From the looks of the HP’s system, they are certainly on the right track.

Along with their water blocks, Asetek has manufactured memory cooling as well. Designed to look like a stock cooler, the Asetek device sits around the attached water block, using a fan to cool the video memory.

There you have it. Not only did we bring you coverage on Penryn, Skulltrail and X38, but also information on what is happening just outside the world of Intel.

From the looks of things, DDR3 is here to stay and it’s only a matter of time before we are all using it in our personal PCs. On the cooling front, Asetek is doing wonderful things in the OEM market and with a little luck; we will be evaluating one of their personal kits shortly. With all that said, we begin our countdown to IDF ’08.

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