CES is that time of the year when consumers get to see something new, something different, something mindblowing – it is CONSUMER Electronic Show after all. But for the average gamer, it is more about cranking out higher frame rates and pixel counts, for the most part. Newer technology comes with newer (And usually higher) prices. It is hard to find something that the average gamer can be excited for at these events because, well, BUDGET; most gamers can’t dish out $4000 for a gaming PC/laptop. So here are a few mildly-interesting takeaways from the event:
- The RTX 2060 or more importantly GTX 1160:
Starting off with what was probably the most budget-friendly piece of tech on the show, the RTX 2060 basically brings down the cost of entry for Raytracing and DLSS to 349$. Sounds enticing? Well, considering the number of games that support both of them and the performance numbers that Battlefield V (the only game out right now with Raytracing implemented) is dishing out with an RTX 2080, it doesn’t really pave a smooth path for the RTX 2060. However, if you are looking a non-Raytracing card that gets you the *claimed* performance of a GTX 1070Ti, it kinda does become a tempting offer… that is unless you haven’t heard about the rumored GTX 1160 which will give the same performance without the Raytracing due to the lack of Tensor cores of the Turning architecture.
Not to forget, the exclusion of Tensor cores means that the GPU will also cost lower. If the GTX 1160 is available for 300$ from Day 1 and IF a price structure of similar ratios is implemented with the GTX 1170/1180, these cards will become very viable options for people looking for a decent upgrade that’s fairly affordable yet packs a punch.
- AMD Radeon VII:
Not sure if it’s really 7 or just a knock for ‘Vega 2’, but it is a rather surprising move by AMD. It is priced at 699$ for their own “Founder’s Edition” (I don’t know what their in-house cards are called) which is the same as a Zotac RTX 2080. That might not be the best version of the RTX card but both these cards offer similar performance and according to Techquila, it goes head to head with Nvidia in some games and significantly falls behind in others.
This could probably have been avoided if they had launched an 8GB version or maybe even a 12GB version of the card because most games won’t be utilizing all that extra memory even at 4K. In the same post from techquila above, it is stated that more GPUs will be coming from the red team throughout the year, so we could be seeing 8GB variants of the card that are priced relatively lower.
- Alienware Area-51M:
Probably the most interesting product in the “out of the average gamer’s budget” sector, it really is an interesting concept. The customizable section of the laptop market hasn’t been part of any company’s plans, most likely due to the hellish development costs. Dell is probably one of the first to adopt that philosophy and brings forth the Area-51M. Basically, it let’s you upgrade the CPU AND GPU (being the desktop versions of the chips, no less) of the laptop – which, let’s be honest, isn’t exactly a laptop due of its bulkiness – at a whopping 9 pounds. As is obvious, all the upgradeable parts are going to be proprietarily manufactured by Dell/Alienware so as to avoid any kind of compatibility issues. Anywho, the idea of being able to customize a portable gaming machine is only a dream for budget gamers as of now.
Intel and AMD have also made small ripples with their latest processor announcements which are not a big deal considering it happens as frequently as the release of a Call of Duty game. There were a bunch of laptops announced, but all of them were priced at least around $1500 and above, going way above my personal pocket money. Reportedly, HDMI 2.0 was a very common sight at CES which just goes on to show that the display port is becoming popular and will be available to the masses soon.