CES 2011: Visiting with Vendorsby Dustin Sklavos on January 7, 2011 12:50 AM EST
If you've been following along you've noticed Corsair has been branching out more and more over the past couple of years, mostly with a measure of success. In 2011 they intend to expand the new product lines introduced in 2009 and 2010.
One of the biggest announcements was the new Performance 3 series SSD. If you read the RealSSD C400 preview some of this should sound familiar: SATA 6Gbps interface, Marvell controller, and very high transfer rates. With the Performance 3, Corsair quotes a peak 480MB/sec read speed and a peak 320MB/sec write speed, both substantial improvements upon incumbent SandForce-based drives (although SandForce has some surprises still in store). The drives use a Marvell 9174 controller blended with some of Corsair's secret firmware sauce and feature TRIM support and aggressive background garbage collection.
Corsair also briefly went over their Vengeance series memory modules for enthusiasts; while RAM may not be as exciting as SSDs and some of the other things we've seen, these kits are nonetheless impressive. Sandy Bridge-optimized DIMMs sport XMP profiles along with a reasonably low 1.5V operating voltage.
On the audio front, Corsair's expanding their lineup ever so slightly. If you remember the Corsair HS1 gaming audio headset, the HS1A is going to seem awfully familiar: same kit, but with analog connectivity instead of USB. They're also introducing two new 2.1 desktop speaker sets: the SP2500 and SP2200.
The SP2500 is the big daddy of the two, and at an MSRP of $259 it's not going to come cheap. Corsair listed a rated 232 watts total RMS: the satellites are rated for 56 watts apiece, and then the subwoofer has dual 60 watt amplifiers. Each satellite comes with a three-inch driver and ferro-cooled silk dome tweeter, while the driver in the subwoofer is eight inches with a rubber surround. Control is handled through a 1.8" TFT display-equipped controller that features 3.5mm input and headphone jacks along with a USB port that can actually be used to flash the system's firmware. The controller also has a built-in equalizer and can be used to switch between environmental programs as well as enable or disable modes like "Late Night Mode" (levels out sudden volume changes) and "Dynamic Pop" (combines equalization to boost highs and lows.)
For those of us not willing to drop that kind of bread on a 2.1 system, there's the more affordable (albeit less exciting) SP2200. At $99 it's still a little pricey, and features a combined rated 46 watts total RMS. The satellites have two-inch full range drivers while the subwoofer is ported with a six-inch driver. No dedicated controller either; all the controls are on the right satellite.
It was disappointing to see only two cases announced by Corsair, though: the Obsidian and Graphite series enclosures are expensive but excellent and well-received, and we were hoping for more than just a special edition Graphite 600T featuring a white finish with black accents and optional mesh or windowed side panels. The Obsidian 650D is more compelling: essentially a mid-tower version of the 800D, it features the same brushed aluminum and steel construction but adds an external SATA 6Gbps hot swap dock to go along with the eight PCI expansion slots and toolless drive bays. MSRP is expected to be $199.
Last but not least, Corsair also introduced their "Corsair Link" technology. This is essentially software that interfaces through USB and can be used to control fan speeds, lighting, and cooling.
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flurazepam - Friday, January 7, 2011 - linkWould be nice to see a windowed panel option (i.e. post purchase) for the existing Corsair 600T cases.
Corsair Tech Marketing - Friday, January 14, 2011 - linkThose will be available soon...
Meaker10 - Friday, January 7, 2011 - linkI think that SSDs should have a new style of interface based of pci express lanes.
They should be able to plug straight into the motherboard with a single powered connector (possibly like mini-PCIe where it lies flat I suppose but have cable support for larger drives).
Maybe have 8-16 lanes fed to a controller chip with configurable lanes between each port say up to a maxmimum of 4 (for now).
Hrel - Friday, January 7, 2011 - linkSo... Why isn't anyone using fiber optics in computers yet? Intel has talked about it, ISP's are using it. Everyone knows its faster than anything out now and in a computer the length of cables doesn't need to be very long.
Get on it industry.
DanNeely - Friday, January 7, 2011 - linkOptical networking is still too expensive for the consumer market. Eg the cheapest gigabit PCIe fiber card on newegg is $200. Intel's described research that should lead to making optical connections on silicon significantly cheaper. Hopefully that will play out in the next few years; but it's not here yet.
Penti - Friday, January 7, 2011 - linkWhy do you need it though? We have 100GbE now over copper that is in the making. And 10GbE over copper is standard. Converting that to fiber in the switch or media converter is no problem. You can of course terminate directly into a computer if you like, but if your not running it as a router it's pointless. You use fiber optics for high-speed links or uplink/trunks in your networks and for long distances. Besides it's already used in data centers with fibre channel. Do the end user need to terminate to anything more then 1Gb ethernet over copper or multiple 1GbE? Or 10GbE over copper (or multiple bonded/trunked). Nope not even the servers need that. Well maybe if you need more then 4x10GbE in one server. But for access to the SAN there's a separate fibre channel card connected to a fibre channel switch with fiber optics. No reason to replace the Ethernet copper connection in the computer/server. Unless you need a length kilometers of cable and then fiber optics have always been the choice. Since long distances is rarely needed it don't make any sense to have fiber optics everywhere. OP actually nails it, the cables don't need to be long. If you can do 100GbE over 10 m of cable that's enough. 10 GbE handles the same distance as 1 GbE, 100 meters. Do you really need fiber optics the last meters? No. And for home use I think you prefer that you can use a cheap ethernet switch or router even if you have FTTH. It's not like it would go any faster.
softdrinkviking - Saturday, January 8, 2011 - linkintel is surely making progress on lightpeak, and it will eventually be cheap enough to make it into PCs.
this is way, way future, and by the time they figure it out, or at least at some point in the future, it may be necessary for something, hey.
also, i think it's really interesting to see what comes out of running fiber in PCs beacuse it's something new and you never know what advantages may come of it.
like how toslink cables have the pleasant side-effect of relieving horrible ground hiss in audio signals out of some PCs.
not saying that we NEED fiber in our computers, but most gadget or tech hobbyists are not really concerned with what we need. It's more of a "wow look at that, that's cool" kind of thing.
Penti - Monday, January 10, 2011 - linkWell this kind of things are driven by the professional side, and audio has gone back to copper with HDMI and DisplayPort any way. And S/PDIF over RCA isn't bad. You still have timing errors over toslink too.
We don't really use fiber because it's faster we use it because it's more practical. For connecting cities and countries that is. Intel has demonstrated you could even use it inside computers, but they also no they don't need it.
Lightpeak might be practical, but that's just one use of fiber optics. That don't mean we will rip out are CAT6 cables and use it for ethernet. Just means it will be used for some high-performance and consumer devices. How it advances in the data centers is something fully other thing though. It will be other standards there.
semo - Friday, January 7, 2011 - linkAny word on current memory fabrication? I remember Samsung was talking about 2xnm node RAM that was supposed to work at 1.35V.
BathroomFeeling - Friday, January 7, 2011 - linkAny word as to what that super secret Coolermaster thing "worth waiting for" is?