Computex 2007: OCZ

A brain reading controller and bouncy memory. OCZ shows its latest products.

Following its recent acquisition of PC Power & Cooling, the guys at OCZ were always likely to have plenty to look at and talk about here at Computex and thankfully they didn’t disappoint.

For those of you who don’t know, PC Power & Cooling is a US based company that designs and manufacturers power supplies. For a long time it has been considered the best of the best, but because of its focus on professional grade products, limited availiability, and high prices, the company is relatively unknown outside the US. With OCZ entering the fray PC Power is looking to expand its market presence throughout the world.

Rather than incorporate PC Power’s expertise into OCZs existing power supply team, the two companies are, at least initially, going to be kept independent. PC power will stay as an exclusive brand at the top of the computing tree while OCZ will focus on the more mainstream market.

Out of all the power supplies that were on show the 1200Watt Turbo Cool, from PC Power & Cooling, was the only new product to be announced. Incredibly it uses a single 12V rail providing up to 90Amps to deliver all that power. This is in contrast to common solutions that rely on multiple 12V rails to spread the power load. It has a decent efficiency rating of 83 per cent and comes with a five year warranty. Price was not mentioned but no doubt it will be expensive – that’s what you’d expect for the best.

While the takeover of PC Power was the key talking point of our meeting, it was the products from OCZ that really caught my eye. First up was its new ATV flash drives which are housed in a shock-proof rubber coating, are fully water proof and come in funky hi-vis colours to make them look well hard! They’re available in Turbo (yellow and black) and non-turbo (black and blue) versions.

Next was another seemingly innocuous flash memory drive that wasn’t what it first seemed. Instead of using a USB 2.0 interface, it used FireWire 2 which is considerably faster than USB. Indeed, because it is so fast, it is aimed at being the perfect drive to use for Vista ReadyBoost. It will have both four-pin and six-pin FireWire connectors – one at each end – so it can be used in nearly all notebooks and, because FireWire has lower CPU utilisation than USB, battery life will be slightly improved. The product they showed us was actually housed in this ginormous black box but the final design will be the same size as any other flash memory stick. It will be available in about eight weeks.

Finally, we come to the most intriguing product that I saw today – indeed this may be a contender for the most innovative product of the show. Called the Neural Impulse Actuator, it uses your facial movements to control your computer. A lightweight headband measures the electrical signals sent to you facial muscles – including those for eye movement – then a little grey box interprets these signals and converts them into onscreen actions like left click, left cursor, right cursor, etc. So, after a brief setup, to learn your neural signals, you are able to use your face to control a computer. In our example we played Unreal Tournament 2004. Lightly clenching your jaw moved you forward, looking left strafed left, looking right strafed right, and a slightly more clenched jaw fired your weapon. The mouse was just used for aiming. The results were not perfect but then the product wasn’t finished and we only had a very brief time with it. Certainly it is an interesting sign of things to come.

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links. Tell us what you think – email the Editor