2011 Innovations Awards Honorees: Computer Hardware

Take a peek at the future of computing. These unique desktops, laptops, components, and cases were honored as part of the 2011 CES Innovations Awards.

2011 Innovations Awards Honorees: Computer Hardware

The Consumer Electronics Association has been rewarding forward-thinking technology with its Innovations Design and Engineering Awards for 35 years, honoring hardware and software products that do things differently.

Here's a closer look at some of the 2011 honorees in the category of Computer Hardware, including computer hardware that was honored in the Eco-Design and Sustainable Technology category. There's even more where these winners came from. Visit the official 2011 CES Innovations Awards page for a complete list of winners in each of the 35 categories. Plus, see which products had the highest scores across the board in our CES 2011 Best of Innovations slideshow.

Maingear Shift

Category: Computer Hardware

Performance desktops like Maingear’s Shift come in a range of shapes, sizes, and price points, but their powerful, overclocked components generally share one feature: heat, and lots of it. Liquid-cooled CPUs and graphics cards are common, but bulky reservoirs and radiators can make tinkering inside the chassis tricky. Maingear’s solution: Rotate the Shift’s innards 90 degrees. Heat rises, and this clever layout vents all of that hot air up through the roof of the case, keeping the chassis cool without relying on loud fans. --Nate Ralph

HP TouchSmart 310

Category: Computer Hardware

The HP TouchSmart 310 is a multitouch-capable jack-of-all trades designed to do a little bit of everything. The TouchSmart 310 also retains the simple aesthetics that define the TouchSmart line, starting with a streamlined 20-inch display encased in black and chrome. Its touchscreen is this all-in-one PC's primary selling point, and in our tests, the TouchSmart 310's functional display responded quickly to touch input. --Alex Wawro

Gateway FX Series

Category: Computer Hardware

The Gateway FX series consistently delivers a strong price-to-performance ratio for shoppers seeking a powerful machine that won’t clean out their bank account. Gateway’s FX6803 might not lead the performance desktop pack, but its competitive pricing and excellent results make for a great value. --Nate Ralph

Dell Latitude 2110 System

Category: Computer Hardware

Dell's Latitude 2110 netbook isn't just for business. These rubberized, ruggedized, 10.1-inch laptops are also designed for kindergarten-through-12 educational markets. Dell sells the systems to schools with a special Mobile Computing Station cart (shown) that handles both charging and connectivity, making it easy to wheel a couple dozen notebooks into the classroom, ready to go. The cart also handles remote IT management, such as pushing updates, and provides Wi-Fi connectivity. And the network activity light on the lid lets teachers tell at a glance which students are checking out LOLcats when they should be working on their grammar lessons. --Jason Cross

Samsung EcoGreen F4EG hard drive

Category: Eco-Design and Sustainable Technology

This low-power, 3.5-inch desktop hard drive packs 2TB onto three 667GB disks. Samsung says the EcoGreen F4 spins quietly and uses 23 percent less power on standby than its older F3EG model. The drive is built without toxic ingredients tied to health problems, such as halogen compounds and brominated flame retardants. The drive is available in 1.5TB and 2TB capacities starting at $120. --Elsa Wenzel

Dell Inspiron Duo

Category: Computer Hardware

Dell's hybrid netbook/tablet doesn't force you to choose between an all-touchscreen device and a keyboard-operated portable PC, thanks to a shape-shifting design that offers a little bit of both. It runs Windows 7 Home Premium and packs a dual-core 1.5GHz Intel Atom processor with 2GB of RAM, but its marquee feature is a swiveling 10.1-inch screen that instantly converts the device from a clamshell-style netbook to a touchscreen tablet. --Tim Moynihan

MSI N460GTX Hawk

Category: Computer Hardware

Overclocking is a great way to eke more power out of your PC's components, but physical limitations can turn your blisteringly fast gear into a heap of molten metal. MSI's take on the Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 graphics card incorporates a number of hardware upgrades to manage power consumption and heat, including four heat pipes and a pair of relatively large fans slapped onto the GPU. MSI's card is overclocked right out of the box, and the heat- and power-throttling hardware is coupled with MSI's Afterburner software suite to help fine-tune performance, monitor power, and gauge temperature levels. --Nate Ralph

Moneual Sonamu PC

Category: Computer Hardware

Moneual's Sonamu G100 takes power efficiency seriously: An integrated power strip links your peripherals to the machine and shuts off any gear that's connected when the PC goes into standby mode. The effect is a bit like unplugging your monitor, speakers, and other accessories whenever you step away from your machine, but minus all the hassle. --Nate Ralph

SilverStone Fortress FT03

Category: Computer Hardware

PC components generate quite a bit of heat, which can damage hardware and limit the lifespan of your machine. Powerful computers equipped with large, noisy fans can combat high temperatures, but the deafening roar of a desk-bound jet engine will wreak havoc on your sanity. And that's where a vertically minded chassis like SilverStone Technology's Fortress FT03 steps in. The FT03 takes advantage of heat's inclination to reach skyward by rotating the mounts for the motherboard and internal components 90 degrees, alleviating much of the work internal fans must do. The Fortress FT02 chassis that housed Digital Storm's Black Ops Assassin worked similarly, but the FT03 is a much smaller shell, so home theater aficionados (or users with limited room) can beat the heat in tighter spaces. --Nate Ralph

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