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Sunday Special: LITS Event & Thoughts On The State Of PC Gaming

Discussion in 'News' started by qubit, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Yesterday, my friend and I went to the first ever London International Technology Show (LITS) www.litshow.co.uk held in one large hall at the modern and impressive ExCel centre in Docklands, London. I'll say now, that I didn't go intending to write a piece on it, so I didn't make any notes or take any pictures. Everything in this editorial is therefore from my memory and impressions of this event, so please forgive me that it's not a comprehensive review of everything that went on.

    This event was billed as a "technology show", but the good news is that it was really a PC enthusiast show, as it covered the exact ground that sites like TechPowerUp do. Everywhere you looked, you saw the big names in the UK PC tech industry, such as Scan Computers, Samsung, CCL Online, Micro Mart, Mac User and lots more. Surprisingly, even Top Gear were there with a large enclosed driving simulator that you could sit inside and be thrown around in! In fact, it felt like the computer shows of the 80s and 90s I used to go to, but updated for the modern era - and I loved it.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    We checked our travel options, since many London destinations are difficult to get to and park by car and decided the car would be practical in this case, because the ExCel centre has a very large car park underneath. The journey went well and it's so much nicer going by car than public transport. We got there at 10:30, where it was busy, but not especially so. However, by midday, it was packed out, which was very encouraging to see. We arrived at the entrance to the show and were greeted with an impressive and large stand by Scan Computers, co-sponsors of the event. Here, they had around 10 systems set up in transparent Perspex cases, which the general public could sit at and play with. These were used in an overclocking training tutorial, with someone walking around with a mic and explaining how to go about it. TechPowerUp's GPU-Z utility was very obviously being used on these PCs, too. Scan had several other events going on there, as well.

    Yoyotech were there in force, with a very impressive stand. As well as having lots of PCs set up for LAN gaming and having hourly special offers, they were also trying for some impressive overclocking feats. There were two guys there, looking after a system each and using the ultimate coolant, LN2. They had a cooling pot above the CPU and one each over the four GTX 580s they were using. It was readily apparent that keeping that pot full of LN2 was their top priority to prevent the systems from blowing up. They had a huge LN2 tank next to them as their main supply of the precious stuff, so it wasn't running out any time soon. The time that I was there, they were trying to get the systems stable (I forget the clock speeds now) but they were gearing up for a contest.

    CCL Online had a large stand too. Their main attraction was LAN gaming and they had four PCs connected together with members of the public duking it out with each other. They also had a very impressive modded PC, which must have been worth several thousand pounds. The case was huge, all in black, with several red illuminated fans on it. The system was obviously watercooled throughout, including the four GTX 580s installed. Several of the front 5.25" bays had status displays showing things like fan speeds, temperatures and clock speeds. And of course, the layout and presentation was spot on, with a serious "wow" factor. This PC is enough for any PC enthusiast to dream about, make no mistake.

    Now, while I'm hardly a Mac fan or have any of Apple's products, I have to hand it to the Mac User group for their impressive stands at the show. On one stand, you could talk to various members of the club and find out more about them. However, the real show stealer, was their "museum" piece of classic Apple hardware laid out side by side against one wall, along with historical information, just like you would see in a museum. They had things like a twenty year old Mac laptop there, a little Mac SE (I used one of these at work years ago and appreciated the cute shape, built-in monitor and solid construction. I wouldn't mind having one of these in my classic computer collection) various desktop Macs, classic iPods and more. I was hoping to see a PC user group, but there wasn't one.

    Zotac were there too and had their Z68 Mini-ITX WiFi motherboard on display, demonstrating what it can do - TechPowerUp review. For those that haven’t seen the mini-ITX form factor in real life before, I can tell you that it's really tiny and could easily fit in a laptop. This example had a GTX 580 plugged into it (which really dwarfed it!) and was running Counter-Strike, which the public could play with. If someone wants a small PC for gaming and doesn’t want a laptop, then this form factor is certainly viable and can have a top-end LGA1155 CPU fitted for some serious horsepower.

    Bit-tech were also there, meeting the public and giving expert advice to anyone that asked. Impressively, they had a Sandy Bridge-E system on display – instantly recognizable with the memory modules on either side of the processor. The case wasn’t your standard open affair either, allowing the components to be viewed, or a blinged out tower. No, this was the Armari XCP concept PC, which had the mobo horizontal in a clear Perspex case and actually had a small waterfall on one side, of all things. It housed a 6-core SB-E CPU (it didn’t say which model) and an X79 mobo. The system was running Rage, which I tried out.

    This system was so visually striking that I really wished I'd had my camera then. Regardless, here's a picture from the bit-tech website:

    [​IMG]

    Impressive, isn’t it?

    Bit-tech also had the beta of Serious Sam 3: BFE ready for play on their gaming systems. One could play the whole level, except for the end boss. They also had F1 2011 and Crysis set up on their triple monitor Eyefinity rigs. Bit-tech have got several more show pictures, here and they're well worth a look.

    Various PC magazines were there, including Micro Mart, Computer Shopper and Web User. They all had special show discount subscriptions on offer.

    There were also some non-PC technology related items on show. There were three tricked-out boy racer cars, in white, with two 12" bass bins in the back. The hatch was open on one of them and these things were playing – and boy did the bass kick! This was no crummy DIY job, either. Despite the intense vibration caused by those woofers, there was no hint of anything rattling or buzzing annoyingly. Awesome, absolutely awesome.

    On a couple of other stands, exhibitors were hawking small RC helicopters, one tiny 10cm model and one much larger at about 50cm long. Judging by the flying demos, they were considerably more controllable than earlier models of this type and looked a lot of fun – they wouldn’t let the public try them out though unfortunately, due to public liability. In the end, the salesmen at one of the stands did a very good selling job to the surrounding crowds and I ended up buying one of the tiny ones. I've tried it out briefly and while reasonably stable, I haven't quite mastered it yet and tend to crash it. These things are tough though, with flexible rotors and it's not damaged.

    One of the takeaway impressions I had from the show, was how big PC gaming is. Everywhere you looked, there were high-end PCs set up for gaming and every single one was being played with. While there are lots of pundits slating PC gaming for allegedly going downhill in popularity, I don’t think this is the case, if this snapshot is anything to go by. If anything, I think it's on the up. Think about it, this was the first show of its kind in years. This show wouldn't happen if PC gaming was "dying", now would it? On top of that, the hall was very full indeed, an excellent sign of the size of the PC enthusiast market. I believe that this show represents a milestone in the UK PC enthusiast world, with enthusiasts increasing in numbers to a more significant level.

    And finally, of course a show like this would be nothing without booth babes. They were very much present and correct and their collective, awesome beauty outshone the entire tech on show by miles... By this time, I'd really regretted not bringing the camera!

    I can guarantee that I'll be going there next year. And I'll bring the damned camera this time.

    Check out bit-tech, Hexus and other PC tech websites, who should have a full show report in the next day or two.

    LITS main stage schedule

    Brands at LITS
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2011
  2. MRCL

    MRCL

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    Sounds like a fun event. Wish I was there, but we don't get shows like that (or, at all) here. And I'm not keen on travelling for hours on end to CeBit or the like.
  3. AltecV1

    AltecV1 New Member

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    ..i always thought english people are weird,but having a show about sluts :roll:

    lits = slut in estonian
  4. MRCL

    MRCL

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    Wow, I learned my first word in Estonian today.
  5. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    big shout out to yoyotech - them guys are awesome.

    or at least they were until they stopped giving out discounts to regular/frequent customers.

    but i understand...times are tough and they need every penny they can get - so i do my shopping all online from ebuyer instead as yoyotech wont knock their prices down a little even when im buying a lot of stuff.


    I would have gotten my whole Z68 setup from them if they were willing, but no. they just didnt want to play ball. so they lose a customer
  6. MRCL

    MRCL

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    I left a decent amount of money on a local e-tailer, been a regular customer for almost a decade now. No price reductions or anything, but free upgrades to a better product if the one I want is no more on stock, I can pay my bills way after the 30 day period with no hassle, and many other convenient gestures make me stay even if i don't get stuff cheaper.
  7. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    they dont do any of those.

    I know the staff there quite well and i used to pop in there to chat to them when i can. the staff all know me. but they dont give me anything but rock solid support if i need to RMA something.

    I netted them a quite a bit of business too by introducing a lot of my friends to them. but like they said, If they give discounts to me - then they would have to do that for every regular/frequent customer that walks through the door and asks for it (and they have a lot of those im guessing)

    Its sad for me to part ways with them as their like the best pc hardware shop in the whole of london. but If they only offer me their 'internet prices' in store then what is there to stop me going to other online retailers to spend my money if the prices are more or less then same? theres no advantage of going to yoyotech as lots of online retailers offer good support when the customer needs it (bar OCuK - they are terrible. those monkeys shouldnt even be in business)

    I spent almost more then 10 years building up a rapport with yoyotech and the door was pretty much slammed in my face. They were polite about it though....Polite in the sense that youre giving someone enough money to get home after you just beat them senseless and mugged them at knifepoint. know what I mean?

    Of course i still pop in for a chat when im in the area - but those visits are become less and less frequent for obvious reasons
  8. NC37

    NC37

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    Reminds me of the old way Newegg was. On top of rock bottom prices they used to really give a lot of free gifts and such with orders. Simple stuff but always a nice thought. You could usually use it to tell friends and spread the word. Their shipping was horrid tho.

    Then their shipping finally burned me. Fedex refused to deal with me, Newegg refused to deal with me...took the money back and Egg slapped me with an 8+ year embargo on my address. So I shopped elsewhere or had family order for me.

    Finally was able to place an order with them again a few months back, shipping is better now and I can locally pick up since I live near their HQ, but no more freebies. Can understand why but it was a nice thought back then. Their pens were some of the best I ever used.

    Prices also just aren't as low as they could be either. So in the end, despite being a loyal customer, they lost 8yrs of my business over a $75 package that Fedex lost. Now I'm shopping elsewhere instead of keeping my business with them. Course there is a lot more competitors now.

    Its nice to be loyal and support a good company, but most of the time I find that the bigger they get, the less they care about that loyalty. You go from being a valued customer to just another number. When it gets like that, might as well just shop elsewhere.
  9. claylomax

    claylomax

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    I went on Friday and what a dissapoinment; it was smaller than I thought and didn't see many people (maybe because it was Friday); some big names were missing; it wasn't like those shows we see in Taiwan or in the USA, that's for sure. Thanks god I bought 2 for 1 online and I paid £10, they were charging £15 a ticket at the door. The Yoyotech girl
    saved the day though. :D
  10. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    pics or it didnt happen
  11. Kreij

    Kreij Senior Monkey Moderator Staff Member

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    @Qubit : No offense, but this is a show review not an editorial. :D
    (Sorry couldn't resist. Well done. :toast: )

    I wish there were some shows a little closer to me, but when you live in the sticks that's to be expected.
  12. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    I guess the boundaries between news, reviews and editorials can be somewhat blurred, lol. Yes, it certainly has a strong review element to it, but the whole reason for posting it was to make the point that PC gaming is alive and well, so I figured that made it an "editorial". I thought making this point was very important, given the significance of this new show.

    And there's another damned good reason why it's not flagged as a "review": there's no button for that! :laugh:
  13. Kreij

    Kreij Senior Monkey Moderator Staff Member

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    The closest "decent" shows for me would be Chicago (~3.5 to 4 hours one way driving).
    The shows in Las Vegas are a 3.5 hour flight one way (not counting the time you spend getting to the airport, waiting, flying, waiting, getting a car, waiting, etc.) It ends up taking all day no matter what.
    Hotel accomodations are not exactly cheap either.

    There's not really anything good in WI.
    qubit says thanks.
  14. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    While I don't have a pic either, I can second that. Those legs! :eek: Mind you, I really liked the cute one on the Harmon-Kardon stand. ;)

    I'm with you on your customer service story. It's a real shame when a company can't look past its own nose and see the wider picture.

    So yeah, they "lose" money by giving a discount, but there's two points to this:

    1 Normal economies of scale put a downward pricing pressure when bulk buying. Therefore, a price reduction is expected. Heck, every supermarket practices this principle widely
    2 Their "loss" is more than made up for in your continued business, but more importantly, your personal recommendation of that company. Now look what's happened: you've stopped giving them significant custom and have warned on the internet, countless others not to bother. So how is their stupid policy good business sense? :shadedshu

    They lost my business too. I bought one item from them, got crap service and blacklisted them. This is what happened.

    I had a reference HD2900XT at the time and that stock cooler made a horrible noise, even with the card idling on the desktop. There weren't many choices for third party coolers for that card, either. I settled on some Accelero triple slot model, bought it from Overclockers (yes, OcUK, you read that right) and waited for it to arrive.

    When I fitted it, I found that it kinked the motherboard on the card quite significantly. Over time, it would definitely cause card failure. I checked and double checked, but I had not done anything wrong. The cooler obviously had a manufacturing fault and was slightly out of tolerance by 1-2mm. I RMA'd it as faulty describing the fault. I asked for a full refund, thinking I'd been stiffed by Overclockers with a dodgy one and just wanted out of the deal. I asked for the shipping both ways too, which I eventually got after the usual back and forth reminding them. :rolleyes: (Happens every single time, so it's obvious they do this on purpose.)

    I then got the same Accelero cooler from Yoyotech, but it had the same bloody problem, so it's obviously a design fault. :banghead: I once again RMA'd it, describing the fault. Only this time, Yoyotech said there was no fault found and refused my shipping costs. I phoned them up and explained how it didn't fit. They insisted that it fitted their referece card, so point blank refused to refund my shipping costs which were around £10-12 overall. I then demanded to speak to the manager, but got the same broken record response regardless of what I told him or how much detail I went into. We ended up going round in circles and I was f* livid, telling them that I'd never buy anything from them again. And I didn't

    Since then, I've spent around a grand on PC upgrades, but not a penny with them. Hope you're happy with that lousy tenner you kept from me. :slap:

    Nowadays, I shop almost exclusively with www.novatech.co.uk, because I've had consistently excellent customer service from them. If I have a problem with a purchase, they never quibble about it and are always courteous and polite to me. They have had that grand off me.
  15. claylomax

    claylomax

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    Sorry I don't have any pics, but let's say that from waist down it was like ... porn :cool:
  16. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    not good enough man!! youre forgetting that most tech sites always get pics of boothbabes at big events like computex!

    you gotta give the nerds out there something to fap to - some of them have never left the safety of their basement and seen the light of day let alone what a girls sexilicious bare exposed legs looks like.

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