Release roundup: Wi-Fi, USB 3.0, and LGA1366 gear


— 1:46 PM on March 4, 2011

This week's release roundup is a doozy, with noteworthy announcements from Bigfoot Networks, Corsair, Gigabyte, Kingston, and Transcend. We've got an upgrade to Corsair's Obsidian cases, new external SSDs, and a new premium Wi-Fi controller for notebooks, among other fresh goodies. Let's start alphabetically:

  • Bigfoot Networks Killer Wireless-N adapters deliver breakthrough Wi-Fi performance for notebooks. The Killer NIC is going mobile! Positioned both as gaming gear and as Wi-Fi performance upgrades for laptops, the Killer Wireless-N controllers purportedly enable speeds "up to five times faster" than the competition. The Killer Wireless-N 1103 maxes out at up to 450Mbps, while the Wireless-N 1102 sticks to the 802.11n standard's regular ceiling of 300Mbps. Both have half-size Mini PCIe form factors. Bigfot expects them to show up later this month in notebooks from a number of vendors, including Cyberpower, iBuypower, Maingear, Origin PC, Sager, and Velocity Micro.

  • Corsair announces USB 3.0 upgrade kit for Obsidian Series cases. Here's a neat solution for folks who've already shelled out big bucks for a premium enthusiast case and want to upgrade to USB 3.0. Corsair's upgrade kit for Obsidian Series 800D and 700D enclosures will set you back only $14.99 at the company's online store, and it'll let you swap out the I/O panel on either enclosure with one that features two USB 3.0 ports. Just hook those up to the corresponding ports on your motherboard or USB 3.0 card, and you should be good to go.

  • Gigabyte launches X58A-OC: world's first overclocking motherboard. Don't mind the announcement's slightly misleading title—Gigabyte's X58A-OC is actually supposed to be the world's first motherboard "designed from the ground up for extreme overclockers." This LGA1366 offering boasts features like a "PWM frequency switcher, a full range of onboard hardware OC buttons, onboard SATA power connectors for stable multiple graphics configurations, and DualBIOS switcher," which Gigabyte claims have "just been ideas discussed in private OC forums and messages" up until now. Also on the menu: dual 8-pin CPU power connectors that can pipe in a combined 1500W of power. Just make sure to keep a tank of liquid nitrogen handy.

  • Kingston adds new HyperX T1 Black triple-channel memory kits. Here's another product geared for LGA1366 systems, specifically ones featuring Intel's Core i7-990X Extreme CPU—or so Kingston says. The new triple-channel kits feature 6GB, 12GB, and 24GB of DDR3-1600 RAM with 9-9-9-27 timings. Prices are $104, $190, and $379 depending on the capacity. In case you're wondering, yes: the 12GB and 24GB kits are made up of high-density 4GB modules.

  • Transcend's new portable SSD boasts SuperSpeed USB 3.0. Speedy solid-state drives don't have to be confined to the insides of a fast gaming rig or laptop. Transcend's new SSD18C3 Portable Solid State Drive delivers up to 128GB of storage capacity with data rates of up to 260MB/s inside a "vibration-absorbing and slip-resistant silicone outer shell," which should be able to withstand some punishment. There's also a "One Touch" backup scheme that works with bundled software to allow backup synchronization via a single button press on the enclosure. Asking price: $224 for the 64GB drive or $448 for the 128GB model.

I've got to give Corsair credit for that USB 3.0 upgrade—$14.99 on your credit card beats tossing out a perfectly good enclosure and buying a new one just to get front-panel USB 3.0 ports. Other case manufacturers should join in.

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