Sometimes hardware companies dare to push the boundaries of “normal” technology in the hopes that they will create a unique, desirable product. Sometimes this goes off smoothly and consumers rush out to buy the next big thing. Other times however the boundaries are pushed a little too far, and you end up with the following.
Asus XG Station
The Asus XG Station was a really cool concept that lasted a few months before resigning itself to the garbage bin outside Asus HQ. The concept was simple; the XG Station would act as external graphics card for your laptop, connecting via the ExpressCard slot. This was perfectly suited to laptops with powerful components (CPU, RAM, chipset) which were typically much cheaper than the equivalent laptop featuring a discrete graphics card.
There were a few problems with this approach. The first is that because the device used the ExpressCard slot, bandwidth was limited to around PCIe 1.1 x1, which hamstrung most high-end graphics cards. Secondly the device shipped with an Nvidia 8600GT, hardly a representative of ground-breaking performance at the time. The device was only available in Australia for just over a year before it was withdrawn from sale.
A device that caused the gaming world to collectively nerdgasm when it was announced, the Neural Impulse Actuator promised to revolutionise the way we play games. It didn’t.
Consisting of an
alice band headband that picks up micro expressions while you play and a control box, the device learnt your facial tweaks and allowed you to control in game motions.
Extreme desirability was offset by a high price tag that put off all but the most affluent of gamers, and the N.I.A was discontinued in may 2011.
Dell XPS M2010
Sometimes a gap in the market exists between two technologies, and the result is an extremely useful device that ends up popular beyond belief. One successful example would be the tablet PC that bridges the gap between smartphones and laptops. One poor example would be the Dell XPS M2010, which tried to bridge the gap between a conventional laptop and a full desktop PC.
The M2010 made some sense, but there were a few issues. It was expensive, costing around 2,000 British pounds back in 2007 (the pound to rand exchange rate at the time was around 1 pound = R14, so R28,000 for the device). It was heavy, weighing in at 8.3kg. It was wide, measuring 470mm across. So it was pretty useless as a laptop, and not nearly powerful enough to replace a desktop costing less than half of the M2010 price tag.
There is only one problem with the Scythe Susanoo – it’s too big. Insert obligatory “that’s what she said” joke here.
Aside from being too big to fit into most gaming cases, the Susanoo also weighs in at more than 1.5kgs, far more hefty than most of the competition which is almost as good if not better at cooling.
Yes you read right. Smaller, lighter, quieter, easier to install coolers outperform the Susanoo. That’s not to say the Susanoo is a bad cooler, but aside from e-penor appeal it’s mostly pointless.
What are the most ridiculous and unnecessary hardware items and gadgets you have come across? Let us know in the comments below and on the MyGaming forum.Forum discussion