CES 2021 is almost officially closed for this year, but in the last few days we got a first glimpse into the future of the coming year. From the big names in PC games to real cyberpunk RGB face masks, we weren’t disappointed with the show’s product announcements and prototypes, although this year was the show’s first digital foray.
CES also happens in the blink of an eye. On Monday, Intel took the stage with its new announcements, including the upcoming Intel Rocket Lake CPUs. Following this, AMD and Nvidia hit the live stream on Tuesday with a series of revelations, including AMD’s Ryzen 5000 mobile chips and Nvidia’s RTX 30-series mobile GPUs.
It was easier than ever to miss the key announcements with so many live streams and press releases whizzing by. But don’t worry, if you feel like the tech show has passed you by, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s your ticket – the best technology from CES 2021.
(Image credit: AMD)
AMD Ryzen 5000 mobile processors
AMD is bringing its hugely successful Zen 3 architecture to the streets with the upcoming Ryzen 5000 mobile processors. AMDs, which range from four-core to eight-core chips and include the low-power U-series and the high-performance H-series, also offer something special for gamers in the HX-series.
There are two HX series chips to watch out for: the Ryzen 9 5980HX and the Ryzen 9 5900HX. Equipped with eight cores and 16 threads, these chips can achieve clock rates of 4.8 GHz and 4.6 GHz. With that, you get a chip that AMD says will make any high-end GPU fly in the latest games.
Intel looks to have tough competition in the mobile space in 2021, especially ahead of its Tiger Lake H-series chips later this year. The first laptops with the latest AMD processors will be available from February.
(Image credit: Intel)
Intel Rocket Lake
With an IPC boost of 19 percent thanks to the new Cypress Cove core, the Rocket Lake chips from Intel are the biggest shock to Intel’s desktop CPU DNA in half a decade. They are made with the CPU Smarts of the 10th generation mobile processors from Ice Lake and the Xe graphics silicon of the 11th generation Tiger Lake chips and together form a 14 nm amalgam of the two 10 nm parts.
Rocket Lake will deliver improved single-threaded core performance compared to its predecessors, and maybe even enough to push AMD’s Zen 3 architecture a hair forward. However, it will be forced to reduce its multithreaded performance as even the top chip, the Core i9 11900K, arrives with two cores fewer than its predecessor with eight cores and 16 threads. That’s half the AMD 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X.
Intel Rocket Lake is slated to arrive by March, and many compatible Z590 motherboards have already arrived in the meantime.
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Razer Project Hazel
Razer is constantly looking to outdo itself when it comes to prototypes and strange new partnerships. This year, a sign of the times we live in, Razer turned its attention to the wearable of the moment: the face mask.
Project Hazel is a Class N95 respirator that Razer calls “the world’s smartest mask”.
With a see-through design, the mask is great for those who rely on lip reading in their daily life. It also comes with a built-in voice amplifier to help alleviate muffled speech, and comes with RGB LEDs just because. The filters are interchangeable and the ventilators are rechargeable – Razer apparently covered every possible feature you could imagine from a mask in 2077 – sorry, 2021.
There is no release date for Project Hazel yet, but Razer assures us it will.
Nvidia RTX 30 series gaming laptops
It’s not a good thing to just have the fastest mobile CPU in your gaming laptop. You have to pair them with serious graphics silicon. So the timing is perfect, as Nvidia has just announced its range of RTX 30 series mobile GPUs.
There are three new GPUs to look out for: RTX 3080, RTX 3070, and RTX 3060. Nvidia also calls this the biggest gaming laptop introduction ever. Over 70 new gaming laptops with the latest chips will be launched in the coming months. Some as early as January 26th.
The top chip, the RTX 3080, will be available with up to 16 GB of GDDR6 memory on board.
With powerful new CPUs and GPUs, there is also scope for even higher refresh rates and resolutions. Several laptop manufacturers are shipping 240 Hz and 1440p panels with the upcoming wave of notebooks, including some shiny new Razer blades.
Nvidia RTX 3060 12 GB graphics card
The latest desktop creation from Nvidia is the RTX 3060. This graphics card reduces the cost of entering the amp generation to $ 329. It’s significantly cheaper than the $ 399 RTX 3060 Ti and surprisingly offers more storage. Actually 12 GB GDDR6.
We’re excited for cheaper options in the entry-level market, and in that regard, the RTX 3060 certainly seems like a good choice. However, the team is a little concerned about how big the leap this card will be over the RTX 2060 and most importantly the RTX 2060 Super. While other cards in the RTX 30 series give their predecessors a good kick, the confirmed base specs for the RTX 3060 suggest a possibly smaller jump between amps and turing in the RTX 3060’s salary grade.
We’ll have to see how this develops closer to the start. However, the wait doesn’t take long. The RTX 3060 12 GB arrives at the end of February.
(Image credit: Asus)
Asus ROG Flow X13 gaming laptop
Described by our own Alan Dexter as “simply the most exciting thing I’ve seen from CES 2021”, the Asus ROG Flow X13 is very exciting for the future of laptops as a whole.
For one thing, the ROG machine is tiny. This tiny laptop is only a 13-inch design and is also one of those 2-in-1 devices that go all the way to tablet mode. As the owner of a 2-in-1, I can report that at least I never use tablet mode. Or in fact the laptop in something other than vanilla laptop mode.
My enthusiasm for the Flow X13, as I’m sure to be shared by most, is not the AMD Ryzen 5980XS chip (low-power variant of the HX) or the Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics, but that the ROG Flow X13 has its own external one GPU supported. It is said that it shouldn’t have any external bandwidth issues either, thanks to the use of a proprietary and terribly wide interface with a bandwidth of 63 Gbps. That’s even bigger than Thunderbolt 4, but it probably takes up significantly more space than a Type-C port.
As someone who would love to clean up the clutter and have a device for every occasion, I have to say that having a compact laptop that can be plugged into an eGPU and an external monitor is something of a dream scenario. We hope that this lives up to the CES buzz.
(Image credit: LG)
LG 42 inch OLED panel
CES is nothing more than a place for monitor announcements. This year we’ve seen a generous helping of really exciting monitors and faster, bigger panels, including 144 Hz 4K and gorgeous 240 Hz QHD tariffs. All of this sounds very tempting to us PC gamers.
But if you’ve ever experienced a stunning OLED, you’ll know why we long to get one on our desktops. So far, it has been gigantic TVs or nothing in the OLED game, but LG just announced a line of OLED panels that can be shrunk down to 42 inches.
That would still make for a remarkably large gaming monitor even at 4K resolution, but it is at least a promising sign that soon you will be able to plug your PC into a well-equipped TV and play with little lag. With growing support for VRR, faster response times, and HDMI 2.1 on TVs, the thought of PC gaming on TVs may not be as hideous as we thought it would be in the near future.
Not the slightest chance of playing on a stunning OLED at 4K.