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CeBIT Australia 2003
Date 9th May 2003
Author James "Agg" Rolfe
Vendor CeBIT Australia


Once again the PC Show was in Sydney, with yesterday being the last day. This year it was called CeBIT 2003, but it seemed to be much the same thing that was called Networld+Interop last year and several names, collectively ITExpo, the year before. As with those previous two years, I wandered along with camera and notebook (the paper kind) to see what there was to interest a PC hardware enthusiast. Last year I reported with a hint of dissapointment compared to the previous year and sadly, this year the trend continues. I would actually say that it seemed slightly larger this year than last, but it still managed to have less to interest me. I know that "Things That Interest Agg" isn't an industry-standard metric for measuring the success of exhibitions but I did come away feeling, once again, that the focus seems to be moving away from enthusiasts and more towards managers, with less technical detail and less hands-on or even look-inside exhibits.

Having said that, there wasn't a total lack of things to look at. AMD had perhaps the most prominent display for a component manufacturer, stretching to the ceiling of one of the halls. Their stand was split into displays for their AthlonXP, AthlonMP, AthlonXP-M (mobile) and Operton products.

Click to Enlarge

However, one disappointing aspect was that none of the PC's on display were open so we could perve at their innards. Caroline from AMD explained that the dual Opteron box was a prototype and not very tidy inside, so the vendor had decided not to let them open it up for display. Disappointing, but fair enough. The laptop showing off AthlonXP-M is probably not something you can pull apart and still have running on display, so that's ok too. But, this doesn't explain why the AthlonXP and AthlonMP boxes were similarly sealed black machines, with no hint as to their configuration. Ok, we've all seen a zillion AthlonXP boxes (go to any LAN party or computer store) but it would have been interesting to see what they're running, the cooling configuration etc. Otherwise they're just 4 generic PC's with signs next to them. Anyway, there were some Opteron chips in the cabinet:

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So, were AMD running spectacular demos to show off their processing power? I didn't check the others, but the Opteron box was displaying a generic screensaver over a locked console. Caroline unlocked it, but there wasn't anything interesting to see - just this system info window which assured us it was in fact running dual Opterons.

Click to Enlarge

However, at least AMD were able to catch my attention. I managed to completely miss Intel's stand and only realised they were present after checking the programme later. On the map they seem tucked away in one corner and perhaps this explains how I missed them despite doing two laps of the halls. KyocEr@~* explains in this thread that they were flying the Centrino banner and focussing on that new mobile technology with a much smaller stand than last year.

Thermaltake were one of the very few component manufacturers with a stand of their own. They had a range of coolers and other gadgets on display, but the attention of passers-by was being drawn by their Xaser III cases. The black one below is the Xaser III 1000+ and has 7 fans mounted as stock!

Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge

The top-mounted USB2, Firewire and audio jacks are something I haven't seen before either - handy if you keep the tower under your desk as many do. I wonder how many are going to buy a showoff case like a Xaser and then tuck it away under the desk, though. Here's another version of the Xaser III, with a few other goodies inside:

Click to Enlarge

I haven't actually seen these cases in the flesh before and they are pretty impressive - I imagine there'll be a review on OCAU in a few weeks. The door is actually metal, as is most of the front cover. In fact, they come in a steel version which weighs an incredible 17KG, before you add any components! The alloy version is apparently a mere 8.5KG.

OCAU Major Sponsor Altech Computers were there also, showing off their new range of ABIT motherboards as well as Antec gear and some very nice Samsung and Sony LCD screens. One unusual item was this watercooling kit from Corsair, more famous for their memory products.

Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge

The Hydrocool 200 doesn't seem to bring anything new to the world of watercooling, but it looks like an attractive enough kit and simple enough to install. Hopefully I'll be looking at one of these in more detail in the coming weeks. The box it was installed in had an ABIT IC7 and ABIT's GeForce FX 5800 card. According to this forum thread it was keeping a 3.06GHz P4 happy at 3.7GHz.

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Sapphire were there, with a smaller stall, jam-packed with brightly coloured Radeon boxes. This card caught my eye, being their 9700 Ultimate product which sports some impressive-looking cooling:

Click to Enlarge


All original content copyright James Rolfe.
All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.
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