This week in our roundup of miscellaneous product launches and announcements, we've got news from Asus, iBuypower, OCZ, and Origin PC.
- Back in full black… The Rampage III Black Edition. Say hello to the latest X58 offering in Asus' Republic of Gamers series. This bad boy comes with "ThunderBolt LAN," a bundled headphone amp, Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11n Wi-Fi, USB 3.0, SATA 6Gbps, and a "powerful combination of analog and digital design elements for Ultimate VRM Performance." The board has already made its way to Newegg, where it's priced at a hefty $589.99.
- iBuypower partners with Wal-Mart. This isn't a typical release announcement, but it's interesting nonetheless. iBuypower and Walmart have teamed up to offer "the retailer's first custom configurator" for gaming PCs. The configurator, which can be accessed here, lets you set up a gaming PC by choosing between five enclosures, five processors (from both Intel and AMD), graphics cards ranging up to the Radeon HD 6870 and GeForce GTX 480, and a variety of other options. The base config, which has no monitor, will set you back $578.
- OCZ announces Vertex 3 Max IOPS SSDs. We've already told you all about the Vertex 3. Well, there's now a new version of OCZ's latest SandForce-based solid-state drive. Dubbed the Vertex 3 Max IOPS edition, this variant purportedly features "exceptional 4KB random write performance with up to 75,000 IOPS," making it a prime candidate for "applications that require high aggregate workloads and increased IO throughput." OCZ intends to offer the drive in 120GB and 240GB capacities, both of which will have three-year warranty coverage.
- Origin EON17-S laptops overclocked up to 4.5GHz with Turbo Boost available now. Extreme overclocking isn't seen often in laptops, but Origin PC has bucked that trend with the EON17-S. The system can be configured with an overclocked, Sandy Bridge-based Core i7 Extreme processor that can purportedly hit up to 4.5GHz with Turbo Boost enabled. Graphics options include the GeForce GTX 485M and Radeon HD 6970M. The EON17-S also features a 17.3" display, four memory slots (for a total memory capacity of 32GB), USB 3.0 connectivity, and support for a TV tuner, Blu-ray, and built-in RAID. This is no ultraportable, though; Origin says the machine weighs in at 8.6 lbs and is about 1.7-1.8" thick.
The Walmart-iBuypower partnership might not excite die-hard enthusiasts, but I think it's good news for PC gaming as a whole. If Walmart is promoting gaming PCs, more newcomers to the market are bound to consider jumping ship from consoles—or at least gaming on both.