abit has been a name synonymous to PC gamers since the very beginning of performance PC hardware. abit was the first to introduce and overclockable BIOS, the first to have jumperless technology, and the first to include overclocking strips on their motherboards. They also built the first legacy-free motherboard back in 2002, the original MAX series. And since 2003, they have had a close partnership with the worlds most famous gamer, Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel, who they kindly agreed to bring to our event this year! Fatal1ty is a great guy and played against any and all comers in a shootout; nobody beat him but someone did walk away with a F-190 HD Fatal1ty series motherboard from abit. Jason from TechwareLabs managed to get the most frags against him and was rewarded by being kicked over while still sitting in his chair, to Jonathan shouting “Fatal1ty!!”-a classic (yet totally staged) moment for the cameras. Once again we have to thank David Jarlstedt at abit for arranging this year’s sponsorship.
FiringSquad readers in North America may remember Elsa from a few years ago-it turns out they are back in the market. Long a manufacturer of high-end VGAs, their focus for the past few years has been parts of Asia and Europe. Elsa was once a very popular graphics card manufacturer and one of NVIDIA’s Tier One board partners. Elsa has fallen out of the limelight in the North American region in more recent years to focus on other markets -- it has been nearly six years since our last Elsa Gladiac review, back then it was their GeForce 3 card.
The company offers a range of GeForce cards, from the GeForce 7300 all the way up to the latest GeForce 8800 GPUs. It is good to hear that a company like Elsa is fighting to get back into the market-more competition is a good thing for gamers and the industry in general. Gloria Wu was instrumental making Elsa’s sponsorship happen this year.
FiringSquad readers are no doubt familiar with Gigabyte-they are a titan in the motherboard industry. Gigabyte’s motherboards are known for being highly reliable as well as feature-packed: Gigabyte was the first motherboard manufacturer to offer dual BIOS chips on their motherboards as well as all-solid capacitors and their many of their high-end boards ship with 12-phase power circuitry and a host of other goodies including external eSATA ports that can be mounted on the backplate of the system. Their latest “6 Quad” series of motherboards feature quality touches such as all solid capacitors and 12-phase power, making their products unbelievably stable. Check out this recent review on FiringSquad for more info.
But motherboards aren’t the only area where Gigabyte excels. They also manufacture graphics cards, networking devices, notebook computers, cooling, and cases. In fact at last year’s invitational event a panel of judges awarded their case with the Best Visual Design Award.
Although quite busy with plenty of other events during Computex, they managed to pull off sponsorship and participation for which we are very grateful. We have to thank Tomas Lee in the US office and Jonathan Chen at the thermal division in Taiwan for their continued support.
Founded in 1999, Thermaltake has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of the cooling and PC case markets. Thermaltake’s cases are practically legendary for their durability, their cases are also spacious enough that working inside them is quite easy. The product that really put Thermaltake on the map though is probably their Golden Orb CPU cooler.
The Golden Orb was the first heatsink/fan unit to forego the traditional square design in favor of its orb shape. At the very center of the orb was a powerful fan that did a remarkable job of keeping everything cool. The really sweet part about the Golden Orb though was its price – not only was the cooler quite effective at keeping CPUs cool, it was one of the most affordable aftermarket coolers on the market. This, combined with its size made it one of the most popular coolers of the Pentium III era: all of the FiringSquad editors had Golden Orb coolers in their personal systems back in those days.
Thermaltake has made huge strides in recent years, coming up with some unbelievably high-end products for PC enthusiasts. Some of their cases are amazingly complex designs, with features such as built in LCD screens and room for 2 motherboards. Their coolers are also impressive, featuring elaborate designs that are copied by many manufacturers in China for the Chinese market. Joseph Lin at Thermaltake Taiwan has long been a supporter of this event and we have to thank him for his participation once again, as well as Ramsom Koey in their US office.