TORONTO – The marketing director, or hair-and-makeup guy as he called himself, looked across the showroom floor and shared his conclusion about Comdex Canada: it ain’t what it used to be.

He spoke of days past when companies would flog all kinds of PC toys and the convention was packed with more

than “”tire kickers.”” Not that there’s anything wrong with the current business-to-business focus, he added. While toys were in short supply (locks for laptops don’t qualify), there was no shortage of hardware vendors eager to convert tire kickers into buyers.

With the soaring temperature inadvertently serving as its marketing tool, Vernon Hills, Ill.-headquartered manufacturer’s representative TAB Products Co. tried to turn attendees onto the advantages of its client’s APW-Wright Line’s Tower of Cool.

“”Companies are going towards smaller hardware, 1U-type servers and blade servers, and they’re getting a lot more hardware installed inside an enclosure,”” said Henry Van Pypen, director of sales and marketing for TAB. “”The problem is the hardware itself is generating a significant amount of heat.””

Van Pypen said the enclosure can house up to 42Us and cool up to 8kWs worth of equipment. He said the patented cabinet allows cool air from the floor to flow up through the door, and is then pushed horizontally across the equipment. On the backside of the enclosure is a chimney where the hot air escapes.

Brampton, Ont.-based Open Storage Solutions was doing its part to keep companies like APW-Wright in business. Senior product manager of hardware Karim Kanji extolled the virtues of one of its storage devices – the Omega F4000 RAID. He said the 2 Gbps fibre channel device is scalable to 1.1TB and everything is hot-swappable and redundant. While the product doesn’t fit into any particular vertical, he said it has found its way into a number of video editing shops.

Those video editors might well be doing their work in front of an AG Neovo monitor. MCCS Ltd. president Brian Yong-Kee, AG Neovo’s Canadian manufacturer’s rep, said all the high-end LCD displays are digital and analog compatible and offers an edge over other flat screen displays.

“”On 99 per cent of panels you see in the market you have the bare back light – when you touch it (the screen) you get the ripple effect. After a year, year-and-a-half you have to change the backlight. That’s an extra $300, 4400 charge,”” Yong-Kee said and added his customers are spared this expense thanks to the construction which covers the backlight.

Xerox and Epson were both on hand and close enough to hold hands thanks to adjacent booths. The big push from Xerox was for the Phaser 8200 ($2,699) and 6200 ($3,599) launched in May. Both use single pass technology and print in colour at 16 pages-per-minute. The 8200 uses solid ink sticks while the 6200 is a laser printer. A Xerox rep said businesses are migrating towards colour printers to replace the black and white network printer because the prices are tumbling and the printing speed is increasing.

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