SXSW ScreenBurn Arcade 2012
Vendors - Intel, AMD, Alienware, Klipsch
Intel had a modest booth to go along with their LANFest computer gaming event. The booth included Ultrabooks from several OEMs including ASUS, Toshiba, Samsung, and Lenovo. The ASUS Zenbook pictured above featured an Intel i5-2557M processor running at 1.7GHz, 4GBs of memory, and a 64GB SATA3 solid state drive. Intel was using Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja to show the speed and graphics performance of all of their OEM's Ultrabooks.
The next performance Ultrabook I previewed was the Toshiba Portege Z830-S8302 that included the upgraded i7-2677M CPU running at 1.8GHz, 4GBs of memory, and a 128GB SATA3 SSD. The 13.3" LED display runs at 1366x768 using Intel integrated graphics and Toshiba added a backlit keyboard, three-year warranty, and a plethora of third-party applications to justify the $1,429 price tag.
The Samsung NP900-X1B was also on hand to represent the lower end of the Ultrabook spectrum. The snappy Intel i3-2357M CPU hums along at 1.3GHz and Samsung added 2GBs of DDR3 memory, and a 128GB SSD. This Ultrabook includes an 11.6" display that runs at 1366x768 like its Toshiba and ASUS counterparts courtesy of Intel's HD 3000 graphics. Samsung also threw in a 1.3 megapixel camera for video conferencing and wireless N and bluetooth capabilities.
AMD sponsored the IGL pro gaming tournaments, but also had five OEM notebooks that used their Fusion "Llano" A-Series APUs including an E-350 1.6GHz dual-core and A8-3500M 1.5GHz with Radeon 6620G graphics. All of their A-series APUs include DirectX 11 support that works well with games like Dirt 3 and other game titles that require multi-threading and tessellation support.
The AMD Arena also had a couple Eyefinity computer systems for gamers to play game titles like Street Fighter 4 using "tournament edition" joysticks. It really gave people a nostaglic feeling of old arcade games we used to play in our local shopping malls and roller rinks.
Alienware's booth had multiple places for gamers to test their gaming desktop and notebook solutions, but they also had a sweet Eyefinity gaming chair where people could play Battlefield 3 on three Dell 30" displays. The gaming chair also allowed expo visitors to adjust the height and distance of the displays to optimize their Battlefield 3 gaming experience. The booth babes were also very knowledgable in helping new gamers learn how to play first person shooter games.
One of the fan favorites during the Screenburn Arcade event was the daily mini deathmatch tournaments in a new game called Quantum Conundrum. Square Enix is the game developer spearheading the Quantum Conundrum effort, and they are known for other popular titles like the Assassin's Creed and Just Cause series. Gamers were also able to test drive Alienware's X51 gaming desktop systems that feature an i7-2600K running at 3.4GHz, 8GBs of DDR3-1333 memory, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 555 video card. Consumers can configure the X51 desktop systems for only $699 (starting price).
One my personal favorite audio brands were on hand with their G-17 Air wireless speaker system that is Airplay enabled and connects to a user's home network. It also has a custom app that users can download to set up the G-17 Air to work with an iPhone or iPad. The cost is pretty expensive at $549.99, but the audio quality of Klipsch products are second to none.