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Jon Peddie’s Cebit Awards

Posted: 04.17.03

awards00.pngGoing to Cebit wouldn't be half the fun if it weren't for the astonishing and strange things one gets to see there. Space simply does not permit showing all the wacky, wonderful, and weird things that people display at this mega conference. Here then, with that apology, are a few of my favorites.

Best Nvidia FX 5800 heat-sink design: Leadtek

Air is drawn by the rear, slightly cantered fan, passed over the copper fins, and then drawn out and blown into the system (the back side of the case is ribbed aluminum and thermally bonded to the back-side memory chips).

Exposed, the assembly has the copper thin-finned heat exchanger thermally mounted on the GPU and front-side memory chips.

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Interior view of GPU and front board memory heat-sink. Assembled, it only occupies one card slot.
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LeadTek's GeForce FX 5800 AIB with cooling system.

Biggest Nvidia FX heat-sink design: Power Cooler Enterprise Ltd.

This unit also gets the most fans award: four of them, and possibly the noisiest cooler with a pump and the fans.

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The copper heat-sink is bonded to the GPU. Water or glycerin is pumped through the heat-sink, carrying heat away with it, and then run through a heat exchanger (in the box), where the two large fans draw air in and across a ribbed heat-sink under them, and then that warm air is drawn out the front by two smaller fans (located next to the blue fluid reservoir). The unit (box) is designed to fit in a drive bay, and the reservoir is filled from the front. Cost is about $150 and so far Gainward has indicated they will use it.

Best dinner at Cebit: Basil

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This beautifully restored old German building with vaulted brick ceilings reminiscent of Italian monasteries, and decorated in modern fashion with beautiful lighting, offers four fixed menus and a wine list good enough to satisfy your favorite consultant. www.basil.de

Best Tchotchke: USB keyboard light: Nvidia

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Simple to use: plug it into any USB port, and tesit it into shape—great for airplanes, or shared hotel rooms.

Most press releases: VIA

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VIA had more news than any company at Cebit—real news, not just regurgitated stuff for a Cebit release. In fact, they even held back some of their news. The company had so much, in fact, they had to hold two press conferences, feeding the press a dinner and a fine lunch, which is more than we can say for most of the other press conferences.

Best UI: Phyllis Co. Ltd.

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Designed for Internet delivery, the MPEG4 receiver gives the user TV, DVR, and music selection plus all the Web stuff one expects to find. The UI with a RTOS is sold with a mini PC and targeted at users with big desires and small budgets.

Runner-up for best UI: Computer Graphics Lab, Saarland University, Saarbruecken, Germany

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Best fish tank in a PC: Lian LI

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The PC aquarium Perspex container is built into the side of a PC chassis and can be used to hold, well, fish, or colored sand, or flowers. Much nicer to look at then a grey or beige sheet metal panel.

Best motherboard with a vacuum tube: Aopen

There are a group of audio aficionados who believe a vacuum tube amplifier gives a certain warmth (no pun) in the sound it produces—a color that no semiconductor or digital device can replicate. Several big-name rock stars also carry this feeling and insist on vacuum tube amplifiers. Not wanting to deny PC users the same warm feeling, Aopen offers a motherboard with a vacuum tube amp on it.

Best Smart car and trailer: TerraTecawards11.pict

TerraTec, the company that believes in saving the environment, runs its factory on a windmill (and sells excess power to the grid), raises chickens, and, except for loud Cebit parties, is a good citizen. They also provide some of their employees with Smart cars to cut down on emissions. But, the amplifiers in the car need extra power and one has to have their tent and a good supply of wine, so the company has also designed a matching Smart car trailer.

Note the Get Mystified theme for the car.

TerraTec is the latest in European contenders with an Nvidia-based board. As the Smart car so eloquently demonstrates, the company got behind their Mystify line of graphics boards at Cebit.

Best mini PC cooling system: IBSmm

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Running fanless is a must for most embedded applications, and running at a GHz (or near to it), is a challenge. IBC puts a heat-sink with a liquid filled pipe on the CPU and north bridge, runs the hot liquid up to external heat-sinks (on the sides) and dissipates the calories.

Most colorful tin boxes: Super Flower Co.

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Why should a PC look like every other PC? It shouldn't, if it doesn't have to. Why not make it look like an old Atwater-Kent radio, or a big 1960's lunch box, or put a lighted picture on it, what the heck.

Best Entertainment PC keyboard: Mitac Synnex

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This thin PC, with all the electronics behind the screen, comes with a brushed aluminum keyboard with buttons on the left for a home entertainment system, labeled: TV-VCR, CD/MP3, DVD/VCD, FM (option), PC, and standby.

Best pyramid of projectors: Sony

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Sony displayed projectors it has made from the late eighties to the present. Exceeding Moore's Law, the smaller, brighter, higher resolution unit on top costs about 1/20th what the monster on the bottom costs.

Most colorful fan display: Chinese development agency

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These spinning beauties have colored neon rings in them, and can, we're told, even be made to pulsate.

Most elaborately cooled PC: TerraTec

awards17.pngTaking two prizes at this years JPR Cebit awards ceremony, TerraTec won its second CeMMY for the most pipes with most cooled devices and most unobstructed view of the plumbing. The pump (small black box on bottom) circulates cooling fluid through the disk drive case when the cebitimageserature sensor (which also has a LCD numeric indicator on the front panel: see second photograph) exceeds 42 degrees. The coolant also circulates through the GeForce FX 5800 AIB.

The system, which in a completely clear acrylic case, is sitting in the trailer (see, Best Smart Car and Trailer award), which is lined with aluminum-backed insulation, which creates the reflected image seen.

awards18.pngThe digital display in the case at the top of the system, the blue curved plastic item, is the system's front door, opened to reveal the front (illuminated) fans and system interior.

Servers as objets d'art: IBM, Design Centre

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Sadly this photo does not do the servers justice. IBM's sleek black server line was given a place of honor in the Design Centre at Cebit, sharing the floor with famous designs of cars, pens, clocks, and other objects of art and design. We may have to make a special award category for these types of things for next year.

Best Phoenix-like award: Neue Elsa

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News of their death may be highly exaggerated, for the time being at least. Elsa, Neue Elsa that is, was in prominent display in Hall 16 amongst its communications peers, and showed off its line of ATI-based graphics AIBs, although not with much enthusiasm. However, like vultures, rumors of Elsa's heath circulate and we're holding our breath waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Best JAVA processor of the show award—aJile

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This highly coveted and often sought after award goes this year to aJile Systems for their aJ-100WRP wireless reference platform (which of course is based on their aJ-100 processor, which does direct execution of JVM bytecodes, real fast and at low power). Shown is a PDA with rim-like keyboard design win, which must remain nameless for the time being.

Best MPEG4 HW Codec: Vweb

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The seldom shy, and always interesting, Dr. Sho Long Chen, CEO and Chairlady of Vweb, was moving too fast for me to catch a photo of her, but their nifty little M4 codec with Streaming Machine enhancements was on display, just off to the right of Jetway, and it's creating quite a lot of excitement as the world (finally) catches on to the benefits of M4.

Don't do this at home (or anywhere else) honorable mention

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Laptops are delicate things and can explode if not treated with care, as this unfortunate picture illustrates. Actually, it shows how modular notebooks are and how we'll be able to change processors, memory, and (Yes, thank you, deity) graphics chips too.

And in the end...

There are thousands of things to see and people to meet at Cebit and it's a ridiculous task to pick the single best of the show (although that BMW Speedster in the Design Center was cebitimagesting). Please forgive us if we missed you and your astounding new product, but with a limited number of legs, eyes, and stamina, this was the best we could do. See you next year.