Friday, January 20, 2012

Looking back @CES 2012 - The interesting bits

CES (Consumer Electronic Show) 2012 has reached its conclusion yet there are lots of things left over to speculate on. There have been many exciting technologies and gadgets shown in this years event and some of them were truly amazing, others not so much! AnandTech made a full list of things and events that took place over in CES. You can find it here. Check it out, we have some very interesting techs and products ahead of us in 2012. Here is some of my personal favorites among those -

  • AMD Trinity APU - An APU built on Pile-driver cores and 2nd generation DX11 graphics which could very well be the next big thing in integrated graphics. Trinity would be made available by 2nd half of 2012 and should have enough graphics horsepower to make IGP gaming a reality. But a lot depends on how much improvement Piledriver cores/modules bring over Bulldozer cores. Trinty will be an update of the existing Llano line up.
  • Intel IvyBridge CPU and Ultrabooks built on it - IvyBridge will be a die-shrink of the existing SandyBridge CPU architecture from Intel and the first one to utilize a 22nm processing node. This is a very promising chip because the smaller process will allow for better power and thermal efficiency, more headroom for higher frequencies and better graphics. Intel has confirmed now that IB will have DX11 functionality, so no worries there. One thing to note here, while Intel will reuse its existing graphics architecture found in SandyBridge i3/i5/i7 CPUs, the die shrink would make it possible for IB to fit in more graphics execution units than its predecessors thus providing more 3D-gaming power. For a completely new architecture we've to wait for Haswell. Meanwhile Intel has been very active with their big Ultrabook push recently and IB CPUs are a big part of the plan. Intel and its OEM partners has shown off quite a few attractive Ultrabook models based on this new chop in this years CES. The target is to have longer battery life and better graphics.
  • Nokia's new breed of Windows Smartphones - This is a very interesting development that many of us have a keen eye on. It came as a surprise to many when Nokia announced it'll ditch Meego for WP(Windows Phone) and make Smartphones based on Microsoft's Operating System. MS has been hard on work to enter the smartphone business for long but without much success so this collaboration was a very important one for them. Intel seemed to be the biggest loser, Microsoft the prime gainer and Nokia...well only time will tell! Nokia Lumia 800 was the first to show up with WP7 this year and is the best Windows based Smartphone to have. It goes to show Nokia still has what it takes to make great Phones. In CES this year, Nokia has announced Lumia 900 which will be a very interesting upgrade to their Lumia line-up with features like a 4.3" Super AMOLED screen! 
  • Sapphire Edge-HD3 - We all know Sapphire to be a top tier Graphics card manufacturer but did you know that it also makes some of the smallest PCs around? Yes, that's true. Sapphire's Edge-HD series of mini PC/Nettops have been great products. I have one Edge HD2 in my possession for sometime now and love this little PC (yes I call it a PC because it does all the basic tasks a Personal Computer is supposed to do and more) for its style, portability and functionality. It works as fall back device for me aside from being a great HTPC replacement. My only gripe about this little beauty is that it runs on an Intel Atom D525, which is quite underpowered and sluggish in today's standard. Nvidia's ION is what makes my HD2 unique. I was looking for an upgrade and it seems I'll get it soon in form of Sapphire Edge-HD3! This iteration of Edge-HD is built on a very capable AMD E-450 dual-core Bobcat APU with integrated Radeon HD6320 graphics- which should be the perfect upgrade for anyone using an ION based device like myself. E-450 is clocked at 1.65GHz compared to E-350's 1.6GHz , has better graphics to offer and definitely will make a great little PC considering E-350 is already a very good option for building Media Servers, HTPCs, Nettops and Bare-bone PCs.
CES 2012 promised us a great number of enticing technologies and products that will arrive very soon. Actually there are many fantastic tech and gadgets (like Android Icecream Sandwich or those huge Amoled displays!) I would've liked to focus on but being limited of both time and scope, can't right now. But rest assured we, who like to keep a tab of new and exciting technologies, will have our hands full in upcoming months!

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