During the hustle and bustle of Computex, we made sure to stop by Corsair’s suite in the Grand Hyatt Taipei to see what the company has cooking. Corsair decided to put its concept designs at the fore instead of focusing on soon-to-be-released or just-released products. Nonetheless, the company assured me that products based on these concepts will eventually make their way to the market.
First, let’s address the elephant in the room. I mean that only somewhat metaphorically—the Concept Slate is a massive, 120-liter colossus that immediately drew my attention. Corsair estimates the monster’s weight at 40 lbs (or 18 kg) without any components inside. The demo system was loaded up with a ridiculous amount of hardware—apparently $700 worth of fans alone.
On the exterior, the Slate is all tempered glass and aluminum. Each of the interchangeable radiator trays at the top and front can accommodate two 480-mm radiators, with spare room for an additional 240-mm radiator to the rear. Pulling off the right side panel yields access access to “french door” mounts for up to eight 2.5″ drives.
Beyond those doors is the back of one of the motherboards. Did I mention the Slate houses two whole systems, one ATX configuration and a Mini-ITX setup? The ATX motherboard is mounted in the usual fashion and hangs over a Mini-ITX board sitting flat on top of the PSU shroud. A single elaborate liquid-cooling loop comprising Corsair’s new lineup of water blocks, fittings, and radiators keeps both systems’ CPUs and GPUs running frosty.
That’s the second motherboard
Corsair was loath to give a solid price or launch date for a retail version of the Concept Slate. We expect to see something Slate-y hitting the market in the next six months.
Next up, the Concept Curve. Despite being an ATX full tower, the Curve seems positively petite next to the Slate. If the Curve looks familiar, it’s because the case is based on Corsair’s 780T tower. Corsair tells me the Curve takes cues from high-end automotive design—the bits that aren’t made of glass are covered in hand-laid carbon fiber. The top, front, and both side panels are all made of curved tempered glass.
While the Curve can “only” house a single system, its glass panels and roomy interior make it well-suited for showing off fancy water cooling loops, a characteristic that Corsair certainly took advantage of. Some form of the Curve will likely go up for sale by the end of the year around the $250 mark, but nothing’s final yet.
Peripherals and cooling
The next concept that Corsair showed us is a combined mouse-and-pad package called Concept Zeus. The mouse transitions seamlessly between wired and wireless operation. The no-wires connection comes by way of Bluetooth or a 2.4 GHz adapter. In wireless mode, the Zeus mouse can only claim a 36 hour battery life. This a is paltry amount compared to other options on the market—some of Logitech’s rechargeable mice are rated for hundreds of hours—but there’s a trick up the Zeus’ sleeve that will make its shorter life tolerable.
Qi wireless charging! The circle graphic at the top right of the mousepad indicates the portion that contains the induction coil. Simply leave the mouse on the hotspot between gaming sessions to keep the rodent topped off. The size and placement of the charging area may change before the product releases, but the overall idea will remain the same.
Less-innovative features include seven buttons on the mouse, two USB 3.0 ports on the mat, and RGB LED lighting on both. Corsair expects to release a Zeus-derived product in the second half of this year, but there’s no word on how much it might cost.
While we’re on the subject of peripherals, we also got to check out Corsair’s spill-resistant K68 keyboard. The water-torture tank they had it in refused to be photographed well, but suffice to say that the keyboard can withstand constant streams of water all day without ceasing to function.
On the cooling front, Corsair had a refreshed lineup of Hydro AIOs on display. These weren’t mere concepts, but market-ready updates to the existing Hydro series of CLCs. In terms of performance, pump efficiency gains and thicker radiators enable the coolers’ fans to spin at lower and quieter speeds compared to the previous models.
The company was also enthusiastic about the aesthetic improvements to the line. The LED lighting extends to the fans instead of just the block, and the pump gets a handsome aluminum ring to accentuate the RGB light ring below it. The series is also getting a new, 360-mm model at the top end. All the models are compatible with Corsair Link for software control and monitoring.
SYNC it, hot-clocked RAM
Next, Corsair gave us a glimpse of its beta “SYNC it” software. With the inexorable proliferation of RGB LEDs across components both internal and external, the company realized that users need a way to coordinate all that lighting. There is no fate worse than one’s keyboard blinking red and yellow while the motherboard and case shine solid blue.
SYNC it seeks to unite all of a system’s lighting under a single cohesive software platform. While buy-in from other component makers isn’t guaranteed, Corsair assures us that the platform will work across all Corsair products (including light strips, fans, peripherals, coolers, cases, and headsets) and MSI motherboards at the very least. Corsair ultimately intends for SYNC it to provide fine-grained control over every single addressable RGB LED in a system, using merely USB headers on the motherboard rather than relying on RGB LED headers.
To demo SYNC it’s capabilities, Corsair built a fully RGB LED-bedecked system into one of its 570X cases with a custom mirror finish. With all the LEDs turned off, all I could see in the side panel was my own reflection. With a single button press, the entire system lit up with a scrolling Nyan-Cat dazzle. Thankfully, another button press soon replaced the dizzying rainbow effect with a nice and steadfast green. Regardless of one’s color preferences, watching an entire system’s innards and accessories all shift colors in lockstep made for an impressive show. Unfortunately, RGB enthusiasts won’t be able to get their hands on SYNC it till early next year.
Last, we took a look at a couple of overclocking proof-of-concepts riding the X299 hype train. Corsair assembled systems with Asus boards and unnamed Core X CPUs to show off what its Vengeance RGB DDR4 DIMMs can do. One system had eight 16GB sticks taken to 3800 MT/s, while the other had only two 8GB sticks but drove them all the way to a lofty 4600 MT/s. Naturally, both systems used Corsair’s’ Hydro coolers, HX Series PSUs, and TR-recommended Force Series MP500 SSDs.
That’s it for our trip through Corsair’s Computex demo. If you liked any of the stuff on display, stay tuned to TR for info on when it’ll be in stores.