Yesterday was a very long day for me with the Last Gadget Standing competition where I was a judge. The LGS came off without a hitch and hopefully I didn’t look as nervous as I felt while introducing MSI and its new wind U115 notebook to the packed LGS conference room. Alas the wind U115 didn’t win the contest either online or at the show, but it is still a fantastic product that promises up to 15 hours of battery life thanks to its hybrid storage system featuring a SSD and a traditional HDD that can be turned off for ultimate runtime.
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Speaking of MSI I poked around their booth and found some very interesting stuff, in fact MSI had some gear on display that I found to be the most exciting items of the show. The first thing that I found really interesting was the thin and small MSI Wind NetBox DU100. These thin little boxes are about half an inch thick and inside are complete netbooks including Ram, Intel Atom CPU, and a 160GB HDD.
The thin design is intended to be mounted behind your TV and then you can output the content on the device to your big screen. If you have been looking for a HTPC machine that takes up no more space on your entertainment center, this is the way to go. I only hope that MSI will make the gadget a bit thicker and offer up a version with discrete graphics that can push higher resolutions for HD images. Pricing wasn’t final, but MSI estimates the NetBox will retail for around $199 when it hits the street.
MSI also had a very thin notebook that has a 12-inch screen and a profile every bit as thin as the Macbook Air. The machine uses an Atom CPU making it more of a netbook than a notebook, but the device was very slick and attractive. Pricing wasn’t firm but I hear we can expect to see it at around $599.
I was at the NVIDIA booth at the show to check out the new 3D system that NVIDIA is getting ready to unleash. The system requires glasses and any video card running back to the 8800 series to operate. The glasses are powered active shutter units and the 3D effects that they provide are fantastic. I tried the system out on the Left for Dead video game and the zombie arms reaching out to grab you were way creepy. The system will also require a new monitor for gamers looking to get into 3D that offers 120Hz refresh rates. 120Hz is required to provide 60Hz to each eye to prevent flickering, a common problem with past active shutter 3D glasses. The glasses will retail direct from NVIDIA for about $299. All glasses sold will be NVIDIA branded, you will see no XFX 3D glasses but bundles with glasses and video cards are expected.
Those two items are the best gear I have seen in the closing days of the show. CES 2009 wraps up today and I plan to spend the final show day walking the Sands center where most of the PC hardware firms are housed. Check back later for the final photo galleries from CES 2009.