Hardware Trends for 2016: RGB LEDs, Overblown VR Obsession | Computex

By Published June 04, 2016 at 8:01 am
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It's gotten a little ridiculous, really. Everyone has some sort of “VR Premium” or “VR Ready” or “VR Certified” badge. Even case manufacturers are finding ways to drop “VR” onto their products. The industry has entered into a frenzy in desperate attempt to capitalize on a new trend, leveraging two letters with mouth-foaming pyrexia to front an appearance of innovation, failing actual innovation.

But it's “VR Ready.”

And so begins the first of the major trends set for 2016 by Computex, tallied in total as: RGB LEDs on everything, VR badges on everything (and unnecessary VR accessories), armor-equipped motherboards, and video cards with needlessly complex power designs.

RGB Everything

It's finally happening, for better or worse. Almost every peripheral, case, and video card at the show had LEDs equipped. Even memory heatspreaders and modular sockets on PSUs have added RGB LEDs, fans tagging along behind with more growth in ring lighting and hub lighting. Thermaltake, Corsair, In-Win, Enermax, Lian-Li, Corsair, NZXT, EVGA, MSI, Corsair, and Gigabyte have all added RGB LEDs to at least one product, if not an entire product line.

And that's not inherently a bad thing – it's just a trend that we're noting. This is the year of RGB LEDs flooding the market.

VR Proliferation

Computex made it a “thing” to strap people into VR rigs that aimed to more physically realize their in-game experiences. One of our first encounters on the show floor was almost comical: An attendee was strapped into a climber's harness – or something similar to what a base jumper might wear, maybe – and suspended from an overhead crossbeam. The system showed some sort of skydiving scenario; what we saw, of course, was a guy hanging 3 feet off the ground with several minutes' worth of harness application, outfitted with a VR headset.

And that wasn't the only extracurricular VR application.

Rowing machines – as found in a gym – have been rigged-up to VR HMDs, presumably so that people with no training can injure themselves in VR by being unable to observe or learn posture.

Elevated “wing” contraptions made an appearance, too, so that users can fly through cities in VR while lying flat on a surface (similar to the base-jumping/skydiving suit, but without the bungee).

Motherboards – RGB LEDs and Armor

msi-x99a-titanium-3

All the Broadwell-E refresh boards were present, including options from MSI, Gigabyte, and ASUS. RGB LEDs, as mentioned above, line all the boards and seem mostly to highlight the chipset, VRM heatsink, memory slots (actually kind of cool), and underside. There's a resurgence in motherboard armor, too, with audio and IO regions of most these new X99 boards being covered by “shields.”

Except in special cases, most of these armaments are for aesthetics only and do not benefit thermals noticeably or reduce impedance / cross-talk. It seems as if this year is making a bigger move toward less plain motherboard presentation.

Editorial: Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke
Video: Keegan “HornetSting” Gallick

Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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