Gigabyte had a pretty large stand and was showing off a full complement of products. The first thing to catch my eye was the Digital Entertainment Center which is Gigabyteâ€™s take on the home theatre PC. It has to be said that the Digital Entertainment Center looks pretty good, better in fact than most other media PCs that Iâ€™ve seen.
The Digital Entertainment Center definitely looks the part and would sit comfortably in your living room.
At the rear of the Digital Entertainment Center youâ€™ll find a full complement of ports, including the rapidly disappearing serial and parallel breeds. Thereâ€™s video outputs for DVI, D-SUB and S-Video, but I canâ€™t help thinking that a SCART socket would have been a sensible inclusion for a unit like this. The remaining rear ports include two USB 2.0, one six-pin FireWre, line-in, line-out, mic, S/PDIF and Ethernet. At the front there are a couple more USB 2.0 ports, a four-pin FireWire port and a 6-in-1 memory card reader.
Partnered with a wireless keyboard and mouse, the Digital Entertainment Center is more than a glorified set-top box.
Strangely, thereâ€™s no TV tuner, and instead is an input for cable TV, meaning that this is probably aimed at the US market rather than the UK. There is however a built-in FM tuner, so you will at least be able to listen to the radio without booting up the PC. Processing power comes from a 2.6GHz Celeron which should be adequate for this type of machine. However, the integrated SiS graphics will disappoint anyone wanting to play 3D games on their large-screen TV.
Gigabyte is also throwing its hat into the small form factor PC ring, which is hardly surprising considering how quickly this market is growing. The G-MAX CA2 is a pretty neat looking box, although not the most stylish Iâ€™ve seen. What does make the G-MAX potentially more interesting than some of the other SFF boxes out there is the built-in card reader thatâ€™s positioned down the left hand side. This design leaves the 3.5in external bay free in case you want to mount a floppy drive or even a second hard disk.
The G-MAX is pretty versatile considering its size.
Also running vertically down the left side youâ€™ll find a four-pin FireWire port, a mic socket, a headphone socket, two USB 2.0 ports and an S/PDIF output. The G-MAX CA series only supports Intel processors, which could limit its appeal, but Iâ€™ll be trying to get hold of one soon to see what the internal design is like.
The 3D Cooler series of CPU coolers looked interesting. These devices definitely look good, and Gigabyte would have us believe that they do a great job of keeping your CPU temperature down too.
The 3D Cooler looks great and should perform well too.
The 3D cooler utilises heatpipe technology to draw heat away from the CPU and into the this veins that are stacked vertically. A centrally mounted fan then blows air down the centre of the veins causing the heat to be pushed away. There are â€œattractiveâ€ lights surrounding the unit for those of you with clear side panels on your case. While the manual fan controller will let you decide how fast you want the fan spinning at any given time.
Looking very cool was Gigabyteâ€™s latest USB 2.0 memory key. Ok, so memory keys arenâ€™t the most exciting things you can buy, but if you can get one that does look good and do its job, it canâ€™t be bad.
The sleek silver key has a thumb switch that can eject and retract the USB connector as necessary, and negates the need for a lid that could get lost. Gigabyte had the device attached to a leather neck strap, but I couldnâ€™t see myself wearing a USB medallion.