Opinion PC

The best tech on show at rAge 2017

Another year has almost come and gone; with it, the 15th anniversary of rAge, the biggest event of gaming culture in the southern hemisphere. rAge doesn’t only cater explicitly for gaming however and I was there this weekend to focus on the tech of rAge 2017.

HP

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Making their first full booth appearance at rAge this year, was HP, to show off their Omen line of gaming products. Anyone that was at Rush Esports should recognise the stand albeit packed with plenty of new products.

First and foremost was a lack of most of the All-in-one PC’s that we saw from HP at Rush, for the obvious reasons that gamers are more likely to buy a full desktop or gaming laptop for the price.

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However, this meant that we got to see many more interesting products such as the OMEN X 35” curved gaming monitor that was attached to almost every OMEN desktop and laptop for people to play around with. I personally was quite surprised to even SEE the OMEN X as it was a product I’d heard very little about in general, this was nice to see regardless.

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Alongside their gaming machines, HP showed off their OMEN peripherals, namely: the OMEN mouse 600, the OMEN mouse X9000 and the OMEN keyboard 1100. It’s great to finally see these new peripherals making their way, albeit with a rather haphazard naming scheme.

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Lastly, each gaming station was armed with either an OMEN 15 or 17 laptops that seemed to be comfortable driving the 1440p Ultrawide X 35’s (in CS: GO at least).

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All in all, HP seemed to really pull out a full product stack which is always nice to see.

Cooler Master

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Also making their first full-stand appearance at rAge was Cooler Master; with an incredibly impressive display of everything you could imagine.

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First and foremost, the eagerly-awaited Cosmos C700P and HAF H500P Chassis’ had a large portion of the crowd’s attention and should be arriving locally mid-way through November for those of you in desperate need of a new case with classic CM design principles and modern finishings.

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Next was a whole bunch of new peripherals from mice to keyboards and even RGB mousepads (for those of you out there that didn’t have enough PC bling in your life). Included in this lineup were the MM520 and MM530 mice which look to offer incredible value for their budget prices of under a thousand bucks and even have nice extras such as 3-zone RGB controls.

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In need of a new keyboard? CM also had you covered on that front with the Masterkeys-series, a full PBT-keycap, MX Cherry switch and RGB customisable keyboard without the need of using any software.

Finally, we have the Masterset series, a mouse and mem-canical keyboard combo with a VERY attractive price of around R1000, which looks to be an extremely competitive product in the budget-mainstream segment.

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Phew, that should be, all right? Wrong.

For the system builders out there, CM is also launching multiple new sets of Power Supplies; from the MasterWatt to MasterWatt Entry series. The MWE has a focus on the budget-end of the spectrum, targeting 80+ Bronze and White efficiency ratings, poised to directly tackle the Corsair VS-series of PSU. The MasterWatt however, are the more mainstream PSU featuring 80+ Gold efficiency ratings.

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Lastly, we have an expansion of the MasterAir series of CPU coolers with a massive Tower cooler, the MasterAir M4610P. This cooler is targeting a market segment of below R1000 while still trying to offer to cool competitive of AIO liquid coolers. CM has also dropped a whole lot of new fans to complement these new cooling options.

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That finally brings us to the end of what CM had to offer this year. All of the above has an expected release date of mid-November with prices subject to change. 

MSI

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MSI came out in full-force (much like previous years) with an even greater focus on Virtual Reality. Where they had two VR headsets last year, that number has now doubled; allowing more people to experience the glory of VR. All of which was powered by MSI’s gaming laptops.

This also extended to Microsoft’s stand where they had a further two headsets in partnership with MSI and Evetech.

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MSI’s full repertoire was on-display and everything from laptops to internal components was available, including a rather interesting CPU Tower-cooler that I had never seen before; which I now know as the MSI Core Frozer XL.

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Antec also had a small presence at the MSI stand with a desktop PC fully-kitted in as many Antec parts as possible, including an AIO CPU cooler.

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I really liked the focus on VR and there were definitely more than just a few people that got to experience VR for the first time, some handled it better than others but it seemed like all those involved really got to enjoy their time with it.

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Marco also managed to do a review of the MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro just before rAge, check out his review here.

Microsoft/Xbox

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It was quite an interesting stand for Microsoft this year, not only did they have a demo Xbox One X running Forza but they also had quite a few PC’s around as well, running big titles like Shadow Of War and Assassin’s Creed Origins; which is fantastic to see. Microsoft has always just had a focus on their consoles at rAge and this no longer seems to the case.

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Now that we also have a release date for the One X locally, it’s nice to see that there was at least a couple playable consoles around.

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Sony

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Sony had a bit of a more extravagant stand than usual this year but brought with them all the usual suspects. PS4 Pros’ abound, many of which were attached to a PSVR, created much curiosity around the general crowd.

Logitech

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The first thing I had noticed upon approaching the Logitech stand this year, was inclusive of the Saitek branding and peripherals. This is most definitely a first and is a good sign for everybody who thought that Saitek might just disappear into the Aether with Logitech’s acquisition of them.

Not only did they have a couple Saitek HOTAS on display (the X56 Rhino specifically) but also the more complex equipment for use in games like Farming Simulator.

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Included in these demo stations was also Astro gaming headsets since Logitech now owns that company as well and we can expect to see more of these peripherals in future.

Plantronics

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Plantronics’ stand held their line of console headsets which seemed to garner quite a bit of attention from the general populace.

Cougar

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Cougar made a small appearance in the PINK IT stand with many of their chassis on show including the recently released Conquer.

Asus

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Asus didn’t have their own stand this year but rather, were a feature in some others. Titan-Ice had a few full-Asus PCs on show attached to equally impressive Asus monitors.

That brings us to the end of our spotlight on the tech at rAge 2017. If you’re a techie, this would’ve been a rather impressive showing. I personally have to say that Cooler Master was my brand of the show for the simple fact that they are making massive headways into the South African market with extremely competitive pricing on their incredibly solid products.

From what I saw over the weekend and from what I was told by Cooler Master themselves, it seems like they intend to stick around for the long run while continuing to expand into the more budget-oriented section of the market which is always a win in my books.

Also an RGB mousepad for 300 bucks? Yes, please!

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