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HEXUS.net review of the year 2009

by Tarinder Sandhu on 28 December 2009, 07:00

Tags: Crucial Technology (NASDAQ:MU), Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Geil, Acer (TPE:2353), Gigabyte (TPE:2376), ASUSTeK (TPE:2357), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Samsung (005935.KS), AMD (NYSE:AMD), Kingston, MSI, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Sapphire, NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA), OCZ (NASDAQ:OCZ), Corsair, BFG Technologies, Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ)

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January - March

2009 has been an interesting year for most technology companies. As ever, some will look back on 2009 with glee, others will wish that the year could be expunged from history, and many, if not most, will be glad to see the back of 12 months of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

As commentators on technology, we've been in an enviable position to observe and editorialise the key announcements and products for leading players, and 2009 has been imbued with a rich tapestry of the good, bad, and ugly.

Let's take a journey down memory lane and highlight some of the more notable comings and goings in the world that is close to our hearts. This year-end review focuses on the more product-centric announcements of 2009.

January

The year began with industry Illuminati gathering at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. AMD used the pretext of the show to launch a bevy of new-and-improved Phenom II X4 CPUs, designed to keep Intel Core 2 Quad honest in the sub-£200 space. Based on a 45nm process and scaling to 3.6GHz with overclocking, they represented a genuine alternative to all but Intel's Core i7 chips.

The title bestowed upon the fastest consumer graphics card in the world changed hands during CES, too. NVIDIA came up trumps with the £400+ GeForce GTX 295, a twin-GPU card based on, at the time, 18-month-old technology. The GTX 295 supplanted AMD's Radeon HD 4870 X2 as top dog, and it would remain NVIDIA's fastest GPU for all of 2009.

CES had lots of cool, some Dubai-inspired bling, and downright enviable technology. Of course, if technology wasn't your thing, there was always the adult show next door.

February

The glitz and glamour of CES 2009 was but a distant memory in dark and cold February. AMD busied itself by launching yet more Phenom II chips, this time on the AM3 form factor, making a slight mockery of the January release.

Microsoft put paid to febrile speculation and laid out plans for Windows 7, and Intel decided it was time to showcase 32nm Westmere - the next-generation chip process - on video. You'll see it in retail form in a few days' time.

We took a look at what was reckoned to the be the world's fastest RAM, and AMD announced details for a six-core server chip, no doubt in response to Intel's octo-core Nehalem EX, reinforcing the long-held belief that you could never have too many cores in an enterprise environment.

March

We raised a curious eyebrow when ASUS flexed its creative muscles with the prototype Marine Cool motherboard, and the company trotted out the still-not-finalised Eee Keyboard at CeBIT. SSDs started to become prevalent as the year lumbered on, but OCZ, in typical fashion, went for the jugular with the 1TB Z-Drive that has now made it into limited-run production.

Thermaltake, though, stole CeBIT with the jaw-dropping Level 10 chassis, Gigabyte showed us a P55 chipset-based board for the first time, and ASUS' design department went into overdrive with a glimpse into the future.

Those with a thick wallet and an eye for style would have taken notice of Dell's Adamo laptop. Microsoft kept spilling details regarding Windows 7, whetting our appetite, and Intel decided to force through a 'new' ultra-mobile laptop segment with the announcement of yet more CULV chips.