Visiting the NAG LAN is generally the most fun I have at rAge when I go there, but it’s always so massive and sprawls across the TicketPro Dome like a Zerg rush, taking over all the food and drink and the internet bandwidth. rAge Cape Town had a much smaller affair, but I liked to cosyness of it. I liked the carpeted floors, the coffee on demand,the air conditioning and lack of loud noises from the expo. The LAN also gave me an opportunity to get an idea of trends that Capetonian gamers are into now, and there were some rather… interesting setups.
Trends at the LAN
Some interesting things could be seen while moving around the LAN. While some people were clearly on Windows 7 or 8.1, a lot of people had made the move to Windows 10. Asking around while I took pictures, it turned out that people perceived Windows 10 in a good light, and most were satisfied with it. Most PCs were also Intel and NVIDIA-based, as expected from how the market’s been going in the last few years, though I did see a fair amount of AMD Radeon cards as well. AMD processors? Not even one. That’s pretty sad.
There were some weird things too. The number of console gamers in the LAN was pretty high – easily 30 to 40 people on mostly Playstation 4 consoles, with their 22-inch or 32-inch TV sets. The amount of games that still support local LAN parties isn’t huge, but I saw that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare or Black Ops 3 was the order of the day. I only spotted about one or two Xbox One consoles. Perhaps that olive branch Microsoft is extending to Sony to use its superior network and enable cross-platform play would help these peeps feel less lonely?
A number of people were also playing on laptops, but bizzarely a significant portion of those gamers were attaching them to external displays and keyboards. I see the appeal in some cases, but the whole point to using a notebook for a LAN like this is to reduce the clutter you have to bring with you. If you’re just bringing all the other stuff anyway, what’s the point of the laptop? It basically becomes a smaller, slower, portable desktop replacement with backup battery.
And rubber ducks! There were scores of them! That’s a tale I’ll have to tell tomorrow. Onwards with the pictures!
MSI had a little booth set up with Rocket League pre-installed. I can’t recall which model this was on display, but it boasted Intel Skylake hardware inside, as well as the latest in NVIDIA graphics and solid-state storage. Very nice!
The highlight on the floor was this beauty, a white Corsair 900D complete with a stunning black-and-white theme inside. The setup is fully water-cooled and features an EVGA GTX 980 Ti Kingpin (brain fart from lack of caffeine. The media room’s coffee isn’t as strong as the stuff I normally drink!) Galaxy HOF GTX 780 Ti VO2 edition graphics card, one of the few cards in recent years to feature a white circuit board. There’s a 360mm radiator at the top of the case and another 480mm radiator at the bottom. A fully custom loop and reservoir included made this case so heavy that it required two people to carry it into the LAN area.
A personal highlight was this ASUS Vento chassis, in glossy red and in perfect, scratch-free condition. Whoever owns this beat, be proud that you have a chassis that looks like a spaceship. ASUS sadly never made more Vento designs following this one, and that left many case owners in the lurch following the company’s decision to stop making chassis with such fantastic curves.
I also got to tick off a personal desire off my “LAN List” to see someone bring an all-in-one computer to one of these gatherings. As it happens, such a person exists! Thank you, you courageous young man. You’ve braved a weekend of Fisher-Price PC jokes and you seem to be enjoying yourself all the same. Perhaps you’d be interested in one of MSI’s All-In-One Gaming PCs a little down the road, maybe?
I also saw an Intel X79 Skulltrail motherboard in the wild! These were Intel’s attempts at making a name for themselves in the overclocking world, and they were fairly good. It brings to mind what could have been had Intel continued to make motherboards as good as these, and they’re still valuable to some collectors.
The aforementioned laptop gamers. Several more were spotted on the floor, but these were the ones I shot. I’m still perplexed as to why this is more ideal. Lenovo’s Y5070 was also quite a popular choice with four examples on the floor, but I didn’t see anything from Acer’s Predator or Nitro lineups. Some ASUS ROG laptops were also in the LAN, but these are fairly run-of-the-mill by now.
Somehow this guy aced it and brought two monitors and a desktop system with him. DonutDario747, you’re a baller.
Don’t let anyone, even if it’s Chris Kemp, tell you you’re not winning at life (in fact, try hire him as your personal shrink if you can. Chris’ voice can gently lull anyone into sleep and looking into his eyes is… therapeutic [har har] #YesILaughAtMyOwnJokes).