Forget about ultraportables and low powered laptops, and you can toss that MacBook Air into through the Wind. OCZ apparently wants nothing to do with current fads, and instead looks to appeal to the power user with a penchant for customization. And not just cursory customizations, but a full hands-on, do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. That's the idea behind OCZ's DIY whitebook solutions, and with the release of Intel's Centrino 2 (Montevina) platform, the company has announced a new model taking aim at "the high end gamer."
DIY notebooks can still be considered an emerging market, and OCZ will have to fight against other OEMs offering high-end notebooks already assembled. But as Maximum PC readers are fully aware, building your own rig carries with it a certain intangible, and combined with a bevy of performance-minded options, OCZ hopes its gamble will pay off.
Builders going all out can choose Intel's Core 2 Extreme X9100 processor on a GM47 foundation, slap in up to 4GB of DDR3-1066, and even run two ATI M88XT videocards in Crossfire mode, or a single Nvidia 8800GTX. For those looking to live a little farther away from the performance edge (and save a few greenbacks in the process), OCZ's whitebook can be configured with integrated graphics and a processor with less punch, all the while remaining on Intel's Montevina platform.
If OCZ proves to be right in seeing a growing market for DIY notebooks, enthusiasts might soon find themselves asking that long debated question: Build or buy?
Pretty soon you might be able to build a complete PC with nothing but OCZ-branded components and peripherals. Adding to the list of power supplies, RAM, USB thumb drives, videocards, coolers, and mice is OCZ's new Elixir keyboard. The keyboard kicks off OCZ's Alchemy line of gaming products, whch the company says "is designed to offer gamers quality gaming solutions that deliver both exceptional performance and value." Products in the Alchemy line will evidently target budget-minded gamers, and could potentially give Razer a run its money.
Getting back to the Elixer, the new keyboard claims a combination of ergonomic and sturdy design. Features include 10 blue macro keys with 3 user-programmable profiles, mode selection (standard PC or customized gaming mode), a pop-up menu shortcut, and eight multimedia keys. Rounding out the feature-set are membrane tactile keys with all rubber-coating and a USB port. The Elixer will carry an MSRP of $29.99, putting it in a good position to compete other similarly spec'd gaming keyboards at much higher price points.
It all sounds good in theory, but can OCZ pull off releasing quality gaming peripherals at budget prices?
Intel's upcoming Centrino 2 mobile platform will finally push DDR3 memory into the notebook market, and OCZ already has a pair of kits ready to go. OCZ's DDR3-1066 modules will feature latencies of 8-8-8-27, while its higher frequency DDR3-1333 SO-DIMMs will come timed slightly higher at 9-9-9-24. Both kits sip 1.5V and are backed by OCZ's lifetime warranty. "The Centrino 2 platform is a logical extension of Intel's efforts spearheading DDR3 acceptance in the enthusiast segment in the desktop sector, " commented Dr. Michael Schuette, VP of Technology Development at OCZ.
Memory makers continue to lament weak memory pricing, and while they anticipate strengthening demand in the second half of 2008, vendors are hoping Centrino 2 will kick-start sales for DDR3 modules. DDR3 currently commands a higher markup than DDR2, and while that might be groovy for memory makers, are buyers ready to make the switch?
Set up a swank RAID 0 array and you'll still find situations in which your hard drives remain the bottleneck. Higher areal densities, fast spindle speeds, and beefy cache have kept hard drives from being pokey, but the future appears headed for Solid State Drives (SSDs). And with companies like OCZ pushing higher performing SSDs at increasingly lower price points, the future may be closer than you think.
Lest we get too excited, SSD technology still trails considerably behind traditional hard drives in the cost-per-gigabyte arena, but helping to shrink the gap, OCZ today announced its Core Series SATA II 2.5" Solid State Drives. OCZ dubs the new lineup as the "world's first truly affordable high-performance SSD for consumers," and while still out of mainstream reach, this is as close to that goal as high performing SSDs have come. The three new models include:
32GB - $169
64GB - $259
128GB - $479
OCZ's aggressive pricing trumps even Super Talent's recently announced MasterDrive MX series, but is the time right to jump on SSD technology? Find out after the jump.
Perhaps taking a cue from Goldilocks and the Three Bears, memory maker OCZ hopes its newly announced 3GB SO-DIMM kit will prove just the right amount for notebook users looking for a cost effective upgrade. The PC2-5400 part targets Vista 32-bit users and is meant to occupy the sweet spot between not having enough memory, and overpaying for too much RAM.
Click through the jump for detailed specs, and to find out if you're better offer investing in a 4GB kit.
OCZ has partnered with Fatal1ty (or more aptly, the corporate entity known as Fatal1ty), “to deliver a range of exciting new memory and power supply products that are engineered specifically to meet the unique needs of gamers worldwide”. In non-sales speak that means they are going to stick the “Fatal1ty” name on some RAM to sell to the masses. It’s a Jedi Salesman mind trick. Think you are going to play like Fatal1ty if you buy his RAM, Video Card, Motherboard, or whatever? Hardly.
*Ok, they may not be the biggest ever, but they're still pretty awe-inspiring. We got a little hands-on time with one of these huge, CPU-cooling hybrids and watched the little processor tremble with fear.