Editorial

CES, My View

ASRock Z270M-STX MXM chipset

This is one of a series of mini-rants by your faithful correspondent, John Morrison. These are part of a series focusing on issues in the SFF niche. All content is entirely opinion of John, not of SmallFormFactor.net, and should not be taken as fact.

So, CES has passed, and as usual, there was a myriad of new products, new products, new ideas. We have seen the usual; the ATX plague, the RGB disease, and the random stuff that, maybe, just maybe, should have stayed on the drawing board. While everyone has their own opinions, these are mine!

The Good

M-STX with dGPU

Acronym central! As CES opened, ASRock announced their DeskMini RX/GTX series of M-STX PCs. This is exciting on two fronts. Firstly, that ASRock is embracing the SFF world, and secondly, and more importantly, it introduces discrete GPUs to the ultra small form factor (uSFF) world. The capabilities of a system is only slightly bigger than a normal M-STX, but includes the likes of a GTX1060 or GTX1070 is insane in my eyes. This might have the ability to really change the ‘console killer’ market segment. Article here.

ASRock Z270M-STX MXM

 TFX

Without warning, Silverstone brought a new TFX power supply to CES, the SST-TX300. Nobody saw this one coming, but I love that they did it, showing that SFX isn’t the only SFF PSU that is getting any attention from manufacturers. This little wonder has the ability to supply 276W of 12v, and scores an 80+ Bronze efficiency rating. The real question we have around here now is – is it quiet? We’ll hopefully find out soon. CES article here.

SilverStone TX300 TFX

The Bad

Before we continue, a gentle reminder that this editorial is entirely my opinion, and not necessarily that of SFF Network or our other writers.

Project Valerie

Razer’s triple screen monstrosity (wherever it is now) just looks like a bad idea for portability. Who is going to roll up to their favourite Starbucks with the Valerie, fold out the screens and start gaming? With amazingly powerful SFF and uSFF systems available soon (see above), and even now (NFC S4 Mini, !nverse, Dr Zaber’s Sentry), limiting yourself to laptop grade hardware and cooling seems rather silly. While I have no issues with creativity and unique ideas, some should stay on the drawing board.

Intel’s Compute Card

So, a little over 4 months ago, I bought an Intel Compute Stick. This (oversized) flash drive sized PC was touted to be the next form of compact computing when it launched. The form factor has now fizzled out, with no other manufactures seriously taking a stab at the market segment. With the Stick out of the picture for the most part, Intel has previewed the next generation – the Compute Card. I’m not sure if Intel is trying to take on the (dying, thankfully) thin client market, the RPi market (yeah, probably not) or some new market that we haven’t seen yet, I don’t see this ending well. I’m of the opinion that Microsoft is heading in a better direction for portable computing with their HD-500 phone dock, enabling you to use your device in transit!

The Ugly

No GTX1080TI, Vega or Ryzen Launch Dates

I’m impatient, deal with it! It would have been nice to have all of these announced, to soften the pain after Intel’s Kaby Lake release. But nope, all we got was previews and teases. As disappointed as I am, this year is shaping up to be truly revolutionary in the world of home computing. What we have seen from AMD, nVidia, and yes, even Intel, will bring some interesting products to market, and many, many editorials!

What are your good, bad and ugly products of CES? Let me know here.