In just a couple of days, a few folks from our hardware team will head to the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas—one massive convention that showcases any and every current tech innovation and invention. From PC hardware, VR/AR, displays, wearables, home appliances, personal robots, and phones, CES is like one giant crystal ball into our technological futures, and the tech seems to get more impressive with each passing year.
If smartphones and gadgets are more your thing, our friends over at Tech Radar have got that covered during CES week, but we’ll be covering the PC hardware and gaming sphere, naturally. Here are a few things we have on our radar.
Virtual and Augmented Reality—we’re far from becoming disenchanted with either one of them. Now that it’s been a few years since both technologies were established, there’s a greater focus on making both more immersive and more widely accessible for both gamers and working professionals from a variety of industries. We fully expect to see something along the lines of camera-free VR/AR cross-platform controllers, like the FinchShift controller that has already been announced by Finch Technologies, along with other ways to creatively use VR/AR.
Headsets—When it comes to gaming, having a stellar headset is a no-brainer. Sound quality is the most important aspect next to comfort, which is why we’ll see continuing innovations in headset design. Creative Technology already announced its returning to CES this year with its SXFI AIR series headset, which basically emit sound to make it seem like what’s going on in-game or on screen is around you instead of playing directly next to your head. Creative Technology won’t be the only headset brand there, but we also expect to see other interesting changes to other beloved headset brands as well, and maybe some things we haven't seen before.
Gaming Desktop PCs—With the launch of Intel’s 9th generation processors and Nvidia’s RTX 20-series graphics cards last year, it was only a matter of time before prebuilts starting popping up with the latest hardware. We’ve already had the chance to review some of the first, but so far that’s been just a small taste of what other prebuilt manufacturers are cooking up. We’re definitely prepared to see some crazy hardware combinations, maze-like liquid cooling, and mesmerizing RGB at CES next week.
Graphics Cards—There’s been a lot of buzz about Intel’s new discrete graphics card and an RTX 2060 from Nvidia. While it remains to be seen if either one will be formally shown or announced at CES, the hype surrounding the two leading into CES is palpable. In the last several weeks we’ve seen leaked benchmarks for the RTX 2060, which we hope is the new midrange, reasonably priced Nvidia card we’ve been waiting for, and Intel already announced its plan to release its discrete GPU in 2020. We can hope we’ll get some answers at CES 2019 for either one of these cards. As for AMD, Vega 7nm exists as a professional (machine learning, aka Radeon Instinct) product, but likely won't be a consumer part. There's also a chance AMD will tease Navi for later in the year.
Processors—Intel's 9th Gen CPUs are still new enough that we don't expect any announcements at CES for 10th Gen parts, but we expect to see plenty of new non-K 9th Gen parts. For AMD, 3rd Gen Ryzen processors are expected to arrive this year, probably sooner than later. AMD may formally announce the new processors at CES, or at least talk about them, but it could be several months (or more) before the 7nm Ryzen parts begin shipping.
Laptops—If we’re going to see more desktops with Intel 9th-gen processors and RTX 20-series graphics cards, then it’s plausible we’ll see some laptops with the same specs on display as well. Like some of the graphics cards rumors, there have been rumors about some laptops with RTX 2080s and RTX 2070s making an appearance on the show floor, but nothing has been substantiated by Nvidia or any other company. We’ll just have to wait and see.