Things I Liked in CES 2016, in lack of a better title

Greetings everybody! I know I’m reeeeaaaalllly late to the party now since it’s been over a month since CES 2016, but I was not having too much free time. It’s been a rough time filled with days of slacking around, staying up till 5 and waking up at 6, grieving about how I don’t have enough money for a headphone amp yet, doing tons of homework and failing an important exam (*sniff*…). Anyway, now that I’ve gotten those things in control and have accepted that I should just get scolded by the teacher instead of letting my blog be inactive for too long, here I am blabbering about stuff I find particularly interesting in CES 2016. It’s not like those maths exercises were anything interesting anyway, full of the exact same thing repeated over and over.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s get started.

HEADPHONES!


CES 2016 saw the rise of the two most expensive headphones ever: The Sennheiser Orpheus CE (MSRP $55,000. No, seriously) and the HiFiMAN Shangri-La (suggested price around $45,000. No, I’m not joking here, either). However, as enthusiastic as I am about headphones, I just couldn’t find myself getting very interested in these pairs, aside from a short initial stroke of awe. They are just, well WILD, and way above my range for “useful expensiveness”.

Sennheiser Orpheus CE
Behold, platinum diaphragms that project wasted money straight into your ears!

Don’t get me wrong. These things honestly should be at the zenith in terms of sound quality, and I’d personally be more than graceful to audition these, and if someone has good enough living conditions to get one of these, then I’d be glad for them. But sometimes, things just seem overdone…

On a side note, Kingston’s new HyperX headset, the HyperX Cloud Revolver, was also showcased in CES 2016. I’m even less interested in these, though.

Also, for any Love Live! fans out there, when I heard about HiFiMAN’s new uber-expensive headphones, I couldn’t help but think of the Shangri-La Shower song, and imagine the headphones and amp being stuck some stickers on and sold as the “Love Live Headphones Heavenly Edition”, seeing how Pioneer has also collaborated with Love Live! to produce their own needlessly overpriced pair of fashion headphones. Who knows? Perhaps it may even take Sennheiser’s world record away from them

Eh… Ehem… anyway, let’s move on…

RGB!


I’ll make a whole other article about this trend later, I promise! Meanwhile, here’s a RGB PSU:

Thermaltake DPS RGB
Actually, thinking about it, RGB headsets make even less sense, but since they’ve gotten quite abundant recently so… ugh, whatever…

Cases!


Of all the things related to PC building showcased in CES 2016, I feel that cases were among the most aplenty. There are new cases from Corsair, Silverstone, In-Win, etc. some with boring designs, others with questionable designs. However, there were a couple of cases I found quite interesting, which are:

In-Win 805 Infinity Mirror
In-Win, making money off flashy show-offs since 1985! (Image courtesy thinkcomputers.org)

First, the In-Win 805 Infinity Mirror! Why the 805 and not some other ridiculous show-offs In-Win is known for like the H-Frame 2.0 or the Transformer though?

…Well, simply because it’s about the only thing in In-Win’s hi-end section that still makes some sense at this point, and the Infinity Mirror effect, while gimmicky, at least legitimately looks good and still sorta has long-term value. I mean…

H-Tower
This is about as cool and practical…
Optimus Prime
…as this. Pretty cool at first sight, until you realize you probably have no real uses, nor the room for a gigantic robotic dude on an even larger mech dinosaur thingy, and he’ll probably destroy your whole house and everything you’ve built up your whole life while just attempting to walk. Reality, my dear friends.

Sidetracking on the topic, some time ago my country also hosted a PC modding competition, and the 2nd winner literally got her prize just by using a H-Tower case. Ugh, freaking hacks… This is why no one watches any TV game shows in my country anymore.

Anyway, enough ranting. Another notable thing about cases is that Silverstone has started making cases (as well as NAS enclosures) without a 3.5″ drive bay, leaving only room for 2.5″ SSDs (and laptop HDDs, but hey, why would you buy them if you are using a custom PC?!). The ML08 is one of these.

Silverstone ML08
For most people, being small and slim is cool… but sometimes, it does come with inconveniences… Like that “slimmer” iPhone 7 concept! I’m STILL upset on how they even thought discarding the 3.5mm headphone jack was a good idea!!!

What else? Well, some other cases look cool (like EVGA’s new mysterious case or Phanteks’ dual-system case), but are incomplete, so I can’t comment much on them. Still, there’s one particular case I’d like to rant I-I mean comment on…

Corsair Spec-Alpha
Look at it! LOOK AS IT STARES THROUGH THE EMPTINESS OF YOUR SOUL!!!

The Corsair Spec-Alpha!

Why, Corsair?! Just why?!!

To this day, I still can’t believe this was actually made by the same company that made my top favorite case of all-time. Others have also note its similarities to the NZXT Phantom 410, but noooo!

I mean, in my personal opinion (*underline twice more in different colors*), the Phantom 410 is a hallmark of beauty! If the Corsair 760T is the princess case, then the Phantom 410 can very well be a duchess case! But this! This is an abomination! If it’s a clone of the Phantom 410, then it’s a horribly mutated clone, a zombie assaulted by a whole row of melon-pults, then fallen through a pool of high-density nitric acid then molten and fused with Photoshop Flowey as an Amalgamate!

Why, Corsair?! Just why?!! You made Esmeralda, why make Quasimodo now?! But at least Quasimodo is good on the inside… this case is also mostly plastic and doesn’t seem to have anywhere near as enough space to build for its price. The 200R and even the SPEC-01 (which I also don’t like much because it’s Cooler Master-y, but still works) is a better bet than this any day price-wise, design-wise, AND stats-wise! Even Lian-Li cases look better than this!

Well, for something to conclude before we go the next section… speaking of NZXT…

NZXT Mysterious Case
Please NZXT… Please tell me this case looks a LOT better with those packaging tapes off! Or else I’m gonna cry! I…I mean it! (image courtesy thinkcomputers.org)

UPDATE: The case above was revealed to be the NZXT Manta, which… is indeed ugly. QnQ

External Graphics Card Enclosures!


With the development of USB 3.1 (Type C) and Thunderbolt, this year also sees the rise of external VGA enclosures from the likes of Razer and Asus! Apparently, these made using an external graphics card with your laptop easier than ever before, since you just have to install the card in the box, then connect it to your laptop via USB Type-C or Thunderbolt. They can also charge your laptop and apparently have a much lower performance loss ratio than classic models. However, since I currently don’t use laptops much myself, and I’m much less a fan of such “portable desktops”, I can’t say much about it. What are your thoughts on this?

Razer Core
While I normally am not a fan of Razer, at all, I must admit out of all the products so far in this category, theirs seems to be the best. (image courtesy pcworld.com)

Crazy AIOs


 

Origin PC Omni
Image courtesy pcworld.com

 

Whew!
While I’ve openly stated before that AIOs are my least favorite type of PCs, many brands are looking to change that, Origin being the most prominent. Who knows? Perhaps the day we can finally build and customize AIOs is imminent… I’d love to see that day to be honest, even if AIO can never be as good as traditional desktops to me. ^^

But of course, I’ve saved the best for last! And no, it’s not VR. I’ll be blunt and say that I’m not overly impressed by that tech, though I am indeed intrigued by the way it’s developed. Anyway, the thing I like most about this CES, at least in the PC-building department (won’t go into other fields here for the purpose of this blog, and because I’m lazy), is…

 New Watercooling Systems


 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Anticlimactic, I know. (image courtesy proclockers.com)

…This new watercooling kit from Swiftech!

Anyway, well, Swiftech has always been one of my favorite cooling brands, especially with their expendable closed loop coolers. At CES 2016, they’ve unveiled their new Drive X2 expendable CLC series, which has a slew of improvements (such as a new fan model and better fittings for the “Prestige” series, acrylic waterblock with chrome plate base plate, improved mounting system, re-designed everything, etc. etc.), most notable among which is the RGB lighting system inside the reservoir. Along with the free dye tubes that come with it (you get one tube for each primary color), it can make a sorta “RGB water” effect, which is really cool.

But that’s not all! They have also previewed their new flagship standalone waterblock, the Apogee SKF, which has an EXTREME amount of fins with minimal distance from each other. You have to see this pic (taken from LinusTechTips’ video) to believe:

Apogee SKF
Saigon’s “dust storms” coming and ruining everything in 3… 2… 1…

That being said, while coolers may seem like pretty low-tech stuff for many of you, it’s improvements in little details like this that ultimately allows us to have more streamlined and better-optimized products, which is of paramount importance in the PC building world. That’s why out of all the PC-related products showcased in this CES, these simple, humble coolers are my favorite.

 

Well… that’s it, my friends. There are many other cool stuff in non-PC-related fields too, like fridges and drones and such, but like I said, I’d rather not dig into them here. Well, as usual, thank you very much for reading and supporting me, and if you have any favorite products in CES or, perhaps just the latest tech previews in general, please let me know, I’d be very glad to learn. ^^ I’d also be really happy to be able to actually attend one of these conferences some time, though, and uhm… see you another time, everyone!

 

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