Computex wouldn’t be Computex if there wasn’t a fair share of PC hardware on show. I headed to Gigabyte’s VIP Suite in the magnificent Taipei 101 to check out some of the company’s new and recently announced products, which they had displayed against an amazing view of the Taipei skyline.
Most of what was on show was Gigabyte’s full range of Z97 motherboards, with Haswell Refresh having officially launched just recently, and Broadwell right around the corner. Most of the motherboard features you’re already used to in past Z87 boards, however a Gigabyte executive did point out several things of note, including their switchable LAN solutions and dedicated zone for audio components, away from interference.
Nearly all of the motherboards Gigabyte showed packed one SATA Express port, which is the new SATA standard supported in Intel’s Z97 and H97 chipsets. Currently there aren’t any SATA Express products on the market, although I did spot a prototype Western Digital hard drive that used the specification. SATA Express is more suited to ultra-fast solid state drives though, and that’s where we’ll see the ports get used.
In total the company had 12 gaming motherboards from the G1 series displayed, plus over ten in their Ultra Durable series – including several Black Edition boards which have been lab stress tested for over a week and come with extended warranties – and two overclocking specific boards. Unfortunately no X99 boards were on show, although apparently a prototype was floating around.
In the same room as their range of motherboards, Gigabyte had placed this crazy steampunk Hellboy case mod. It was quite impressive, if ridiculous and impractical.
There was also a team of overclockers at work.
Hidden away in a separate room was Gigabyte’s massive Waterforce closed-loop liquid GPU cooler. Waterforce was launched at the start of May, and the huge radiator module sits atop your PC case, while cooling tubes wrap into the system through a drive bay before winding down to cool up to three GPUs.
Everything is enclosed within the unit, and the front panel features a display with information such as temperature and pump/fan speeds. Waterforce seems like a niche product for hardcore enthusiasts, and most people will be perfectly fine with their Windforce coolers found on most of their high-end graphics cards.