International CES 2013 Coverage Las Vegas Part 2 – Our Best in Show

ISYS Xi3 Rackmount Servers 2 CES
ISYS Xi3 Rackmount Servers 2 CES

After yesterday’s coverage of the International CES13, I had an abbreviated day due to flights. In the late morning I passed the torch off to Jeff as we toured the Venetian. He may or may not attest to the fact that we walked into a huge brightly lit hall and I got dizzy at the sight of more rows of iPhone and iPad cases and “available at quantity inexpensively” headphones. Yikes! Let’s do a recap of today and our CES best-in-show product in the PC and Server categories.

ISYS Xi3 – Best Desktop PC at CES 2013

ISYS is a Salt Lake City based company that saw a lot of buzz after Valve called out their platform as a possible solution for Valve’s evolving big screen services. By a lot of buzz, let’s just say that the company’s website is experiencing a huge outage. More on that later but here is the Xi3.

ISYS Xi3 Assembled CES
ISYS Xi3 Assembled CES

For those that missed the company’s Kickstartr campaign last year, ISYS Xi3 makes full PCs in a very small form factor. The company uses proprietary interchangeable boards in a catchy case design to deliver a very small form factor, but powerful PC.

ISYS Xi3 Apart CES
ISYS Xi3 Apart CES

For those wondering about storage, the company also has a proprietary SSD format that can handle up to 1TB of storage. The company also had 10GbE and multi gigabit NIC versions mocked up. The company can customize platforms by changing the PCB components. This is much like a standard PC, except a proprietary format is used to keep everything small and low power.


The above shots are similar to what many sites are focusing on. The company also showed off a datacenter concept which was very interesting.

ISYS Xi3 Rackmount Servers 2 CES
ISYS Xi3 Rackmount Servers 2 CES

A company representative was wiring up the chassis while we visited, but the comment was that this is a way to provide high-density compute nodes in a data center as they all had AMD based GPUs onboard.

ISYS Xi3 Rackmount Servers 1 CES
ISYS Xi3 Rackmount Servers 1 CES

That is 20 total full machines in the drawer. There are likely opportunities for improving the design, especially in terms of wiring, but they may make an interesting cloud hosting platform if this ever gets out of data.

Supermicro’s Core i7 ECC mITX Server – Most Intriguing Server Product at CES 2013

Supermicro SYS-7047a-T

One booth visited today was Supermicro. In the booth they had some new and existing products showcased. The first was a SuperWorkstation. I missed snagging the model number, but I believe it was 7047A-T. Redundant 1200w platinum power supplies lots of PCIe ports, dual Xeon E5 slots and it was very quiet, at least against the background of CES.

I will admit, I now officially lust after one of these 4U workstations. I am sure that they can become loud with many GPUs and all loaded up, but the eight 3.5″ hot swap bays, large redundant PSUs, and ability to convert into a 4U rackmount chassis make the SuperQuiet (~27dB) SuperWorkstation something that am looking into purchasing for myself.

The second standout was the Supermicro X9SPV-M4 motherboard shown without a heatsink.

Supermicro X9SPV-M4 CES
Supermicro X9SPV-M4

The motherboard uses an ECC supporting mobile Core i7-3555LE processor and adds three Intel 82574L NICs to the PCH’s 82579LM. The nice thing there is that one does get to use Intel AMT 8.0 and vPro with this platform and ECC memory. Since there are only two unbuffered SODIMM slots max platform memory is 16GB. Still, a very interesting mITX motherboard that also has DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort video out and USB 3.0.

Best iPhone and iPad Accessory of CES 2013

As a closing thought, the best iPhone accessory at the show was surely the Aston Martin Vanquish. Like many other cases it was comprised mostly of leather, metal, plastic and rubber. Unlike other iPhone accessories, this one will make one do a double-take. Then again, it is “practical” compared to a gold/ diamond studded iPhone case.

Aston Martin Vanquish CES
Aston Martin Vanquish CES


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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.


  1. I wanna see more on the Xi3 stacks and the SMC boards. Ya’ll usin’ any of these in your colo project?

  2. The X9SPV-M4 looks nice but I suspect Supermicro will just price themselves right out of the market like they did with the other X9SPV motherboards.

    There is also more pressure on now that Intel has released the i3 NUC with an i5 due later this year which are cheap and only lack the server bells and whistles like IPMI, multiple nics and ECC ram. I would not be surprised if peaple start stripping these down for high density entry level server applications, especially as some virtualization software works on them.

    The Xi3 units also look very nice. More shots / details possible ?.

  3. I don’t think it will be that much. It comes with the Core i7. It is a 2C/ 4T CPU with 4MB cache. Clocks are 2.5GHz base to 3.1/ 3.2GHz with 2 / 1 core Turbo. You get the Core i7 feature set with HD4000 graphics + ECC and a 25w TDP!

    The X9SPV-F based 5017P-TF 1U is in the $750 range with a somewhat similar Core i5 (3MB cache and 35w TDP)


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