For me, the vendor area at QuakeCon 2008 was the main attraction. I don't really get into professional gaming and don't follow the stars of the sport, even though I have close ties to it all. Case mods came a close second, but after all of these years there isn't much more to see unless it has to do with technology and the vendors are where the cutting edge technology is really at.
Several PC companies came out to show their support of gaming. AMD, Intel, Dell, Kingston and Cyber Power were the big names of the show, but several others had smaller displays as well. Each company used their own methods to attract gamers; some gave away loads of products, and others had exotic booth babes. A few companies simply let their products speak for themselves. With so many gamers in attendance, all were successful.
AMD had the largest and by far the most successful booth at QuakeCon 2008. They brought out several partners including Maingear, Sapphire, Diamond Multimedia and a team member from Palit who has a reputation of keeping the good times rolling well past when the final frag has been made.
One thing that many gamers found interesting is that everyone at the AMD booth, minus the two Rubys, actually works for the company and has detailed knowledge of the products. Many companies simply hire some third party marketing company to attend events like QuakeCon and these guys are only briefed on the hardware. Brief is about all they can talk about a product, because they really don't know anything about it other than what is presented in a white paper to them an hour before the show. AMD on the other hand had marketing managers, sales managers and even an engineer or two.
John Honning, a Sr. Manager from AMD's Channel Marketing was in attendance, having a good time.
I wonder how much fun John had being molested by the Duct Tape Man.
Contestants were drawn randomly to come up on stage and see who could build a media center system the fastest. The winner of the entire competition won a new full system from one of AMD's big box builders. The system featured the new AMD 790 GX motherboard.
Gamers were able to get their fill of the latest in PC games at the AMD booth.
While gaming, they were reminded not to miss AMD's first ever webcast for gamers on August 7th, at 2:30 CST.
The Reverend David "Palit_guy" Makin was on hand preaching the benefits of AMD technology to gamers.
Only the truly repentant hardware sinners were worthy of Radeon love.
Or they just had to jump higher than the people around them when the graphics cards came flying through the air.
Several of the latest games like GRID were also sent flying. No broken bones this round, but that will follow soon enough.
The PMS girls took to the stage to promote "equality gaming between the sexes" and take some questions in their
The women drew a huge crowd and even mentioned ATI a few times.
I have to say that the last five years of my life have been powered by Bawls in the morning. And my time at QuakeCon was no different.
Yeah, multi-Bawls! You could purchase a case of 24 Bawls at the show for 20 Dollars; talk about a deal.
Since I know what it is like trying to get a Bawls on an airplane, I stuck with single Bawls for only a Dollar each. That is about a Dollar and a half cheaper than what I pay for my morning juice every morning.
Hopefully I can get a SnoBawls machine installed in my kitchen sometime soon. These are like the Coke Slushies you can get at convenience stores, only made with Bawls. The final product tastes very good but I am unable to find out what the ratio of ice to Bawls was.
Cooler Master had a small booth at QuakeCon 2008 and shared space with several other companies. One of their main attractions was the CSX cases. One lucky gamer actually won the VW Bus CSX case in a drawling. We will have a review of the Cooler Master CSX Medusa within the next few days so be sure to keep an eye out for it.
This CSX case was given away at the show. The gamer was spotted later carrying the case with a box of accessories on top of it, possibly scratching it up. It is too bad someone won the case who obviously can't appreciate the amount of time and hard work that went into making it.
The Lost Planet themed case was also on display. This is one beautiful case that couldn't be overlooked by passer bys.
Look up bad ass in the dictionary and this is the picture you will see.
Cooler Master also had a prototype of their soon to be released V8 cooler.
The V8 houses a single 120mm fan in the middle of an assortment of aluminum fins attached to the base with six heatpipes that wrap around to both sides, giving you twelve heatpipe cooling! - I can't wait to get on it for testing!
Dust Off Zone and FPS Group
Dust Off Zone
I have never heard of Dust Off Zone prior to attending QuakeCon 2008, but their products on hand looked very interesting.
The Dust Off Plus is a can of air with what they call a 360 Vector Valve.
As you can see just from the picture, this could come in very handy when cleaning your computer case and parts.
FPS Group was on hand giving away power supplies and showing off some new products.
The BoosterX 5 is a 3.5 inch (CD/DVD ROM size) power supply that is able to supplement power to accessory devices and will leave your main power supply enough juice to power the mainboard and processor.
The FPS booth also had a couple of Dell machines for gamers to play with.
My favorite newcomer at QuakeCon 2008 was GameRigs. I had never heard of GameRigs before attending the show and at first I thought they were just a case manufacturer. I couldn't have been more wrong! GameRigs is a system builder that just happens to make unique cases.
GameRigs Director of Business Development, Darren Healy will be hearing from me in a couple of months after things settle down. He is pictured here with one of the company's products.
For me, the story is in the case and its baked on finish that sounds a little like powder coating, but I was assured it wasn't. Though, it does have the same anti-scratch properties.
Here you can see that the finish is very detailed.
From the other side, I can't wait to get one of these in for TweakTown to have a closer look.
Don't think desktops are the only victims of GameRigs wrath; here an early notebook sample is being displayed.
The extent of GameRigs' paint booth isn't limited to Quake related themes. I was told that the company has several different designs ready to fill gamer's needs.
Intel / Dell and Kingston
Intel / Dell
Intel and Dell teamed up for a booth/RV together. This setup has been all over the country and I have seen it a couple of times now.
My aging ears really can't stand a lot of obnoxious music mixed in with know-it-not teenagers who didn't know anything about the products they were showing.
Clearly this display is meant for a different kind of crowd.
The PMS clan used this as home base for most of the show, though, and that drew a crowd.
I actually spent more time at the Kingston booth than anywhere else.
Kingston only had a couple of products on hand but they had three knowledgeable reps on hand who were able to talk in detail about Kingston products and market trends. Here we see Kingston's upcoming 2 GHz DDR3 parts that are currently in production and will be released soon.
Maingear and PNY / Cyber Power
Maingear pimped one of their systems out with CrossFireX and went crazy using all of them.
See what I mean? All of these monitors are running off of one system and the frame rates were more than playable.
To show that the game was actually running and that it was not just a video, gamers were encouraged to give it a shot and fly around themselves. For a couple of days the CEO and President of Maingear attended the booth and answered questions for gamers.
PNY / Cyber Power
PNY shared a booth with Cyber Power at QuakeCon 2008. PNY gave away several graphics cards and memory kits at the event.
Cyber Power held tournaments at the show and gave away several different items.
Scintle, SteelPad and Texas Instruments
Scintle is a very new company with a very cool product that deals with servers and the way they are rented. I will let Andrew explain it to you further.
SteelPad was on hand showing off their mouse pads and headphones. This booth was always jam packed and luckily I was able to snap this pic early one morning before the crowds arrived.
A picture is worth a thousand words. See the look on these gamers faces? If you need me to decode, they are saying "WOW!"
To the naked eye, this is what you see; a dual image that isn't very pleasant on the eyes. Once you put on the glasses, your view changes. This is called DualView Technology and it is in the prototype stage at Texas Instruments. If I had an award for the best soon to be released product of QuakeCon, this would be it.
I was able to actually get the effect to work on camera. Keep in mind that you are looking at highly compressed YouTube video and hopefully TI shows DualView off at CES next year and we will bring a HD camcorder to get the full effect.
QuakeCon was a perfect spot for these companies to showcase their products to users. While many attendees were only roaming the Vendor Halls looking for free swag, several were knowledgeable consumers looking to make their purchasing decision based on the companies that support their growing sport.
I can only hope that in the future some companies remember to train those who are wearing their logo and teach them a little about the products they represent.
At QuakeCon, thousands of gamers, enthusiasts and regular PC users roamed through the halls. Many with very good questions and many walking away with really good answers. If you have never attended QuakeCon before and want to see what a micro CES is like, I urge you to come out next year and see what all of the fuss is about.