CES 2022 got me more excited about budget PC gaming than ever

With the end of CES 2022, we’ve seen a lot of exciting products, from new TVs and smart toothbrushes to new computer hardware.

The latter, in particular, caught my eye because many of the best products – or at least the most important, in my opinion – weren’t necessarily the flashiest or the most luxurious. From the new Nvidia RTX 3050 to the new gaming laptops with 12th Gen Intel Alder Lake chips, PC gamers have much to be excited about, especially if you’re on a tighter budget this year.

While the new RTX 3090 Ti gets a lot of attention, few of us will see this graphics card. High-end graphics cards are already nearly impossible to find, and if you can find them, you’re probably getting ripped off on the price.

And the new Razer Blade and Alienware Concept Nyx laptops have definitely received their fair share of publicity.

Nvidia’s RTX 3050 is a bigger deal than the RTX 3090 Ti

A slide showing the performance of the Nvidia RTX 3050 graphics card

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Yes, the RTX 3090 Ti is awesome, but who cares? You’ll never get your hands on this card. Plus, for the price of this graphics card, you can buy a brand new gaming PC with decent specs.

But after nearly two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, money is going to be tight for a lot of people, and even the RTX 3060 is probably out of reach for many PC gamers who want to upgrade their platforms.

The RTX 3050, on the other hand, could be as close to a sweet spot as budget gamers can really hope for from this generation. Starting at $ 249 (around £ 190 / AU $ 350), it won’t be a cheap graphics card (assuming you can find it), but it could still be something builders can splurge on and not to cut a hole in a limited budget.

Better yet, budget gaming PCs pre-built with an RTX 3050 will be a bit cheaper than those with an RTX 3060 or RTX 3060 Ti, giving more gamers access to the Ampere architecture and all that comes with it.

Now it probably won’t be glorious ray-traced graphics like you would on an RTX 3090 Ti – at least not at an acceptable frame rate – but with a few aggressive parameter tweaks it’s not out of the question. question, especially with the real reason the RTX 3050 will literally be a game-changer: DLSS.

DLSS, or Deep Learning Super Sampling, is an Nvidia technology that is only available on RTX cards, so latest generation Turing cards and current Ampere cards. This technology is important because it can dramatically increase frame rates by rendering an image at a much lower resolution and then using machine learning technology to scale that image to a higher resolution.

While ray tracing on an RTX 3050 isn’t particularly powerful, nor even worth the performance blow you’re going to take, DLSS will easily get the latest AAA titles running at 1080p on high settings up to 60 fps.

For gamers, this will be a huge improvement over the older Nvidia GTX or AMD Radeon RX 500 cards that most budget-conscious people have been using until now.

Say hello to DDR5

Another huge plus for budget PC gamers is Intel Alder Lake and its DDR5 support. While DDR5 is still quite expensive on the market right now, manufacturers will get much better prices on DDR5 for their prebuilt PCs than the ones manufacturers are going to find.

This means that pre-made Intel-based gaming PCs from budget mainstays like HP will come with DDR5 memory, which will make them a lot more powerful than last year’s versions, and there probably won’t be a lot of price difference.

Again, a low budget HP Omen is unlikely to start producing 60fps of 4K gaming, but that faster DDR5 RAM will absolutely help things run smoothly across the board. So even if you are using a PC with a GTX 1650, we are going to see a significant performance improvement just from switching to DDR5.

This is also important because most budget gaming PCs usually come with 8 GB of RAM, which is not as much as it used to be. Modern AAA titles can chew up 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and while 8GB of DDR5 RAM is still somewhat restrictive, if you have a discrete graphics card in the box with a good one (i.e. 4GB) of VRAM, then 8 GB of DDR5 RAM will certainly be a lot more.

All in all, the increase in performance that pre-built gaming PCs, which are perfect for gamers on a budget, will achieve in 2022 is an exciting step in the right direction.

Budget gaming laptops keep getting better


(Image credit: Canva)

Another big reason low budget PC gaming is going to have a great year ahead is the major advancements we’ve seen in the quality of its hardware.

To get the most out of a gaming laptop, you need a discrete GPU, and with the new RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti mobile GPUs in many mid- and high-end laptops, those with a GPU RTX 3070 and below should see something of a price drop.

While we wouldn’t expect last year’s Lenovo Legion 5 Pro and Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 to suddenly become “budget” gaming laptops, we might still see them go on sale at affordable prices. while new models will be released later this year.

Additionally, the RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti gaming laptops are already doing well in the high-end market, and with updates coming this year that include new Intel Alder Lake mobile chips and LPDDR5 and DDR5 memory. , budget laptops are simply going to look a lot better.

And since building your own low budget gaming PC at this point is going to be tough given the stock shortages of major components like graphics cards, prebuilt PCs and laptops that deliver great performance will always be the way to go. year for games.

If you are planning to buy a new computer to play at this point, you really get the best of both worlds with a laptop. While on vacation, I got to show my brother a cheap gaming laptop in action. He’s as much of a gamer as I am, but he’s been sticking to consoles for several years now as PC games are typically over budget.

Seeing how Resident Evil 8 performed at 1080p on my cheap gaming laptop was enough to impress my brother, but bringing it into the whole survival genre – something that’s almost exclusively PC-based – through gorgeous titles like Raft and Valheim finally convinced him to stop trying to buy a PS5 and try PC games again.

With all of the new budget options coming this year, it will be easier for him and others to get into the best PC games without having to take out a loan, something gamers around the world should be celebrating.


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