CES 2022 was a prime example of upcoming changes to PC gaming

CES 2022 is about to release, and it was another odd year for the show as we all covered it from the comfort of our chairs, rather than endlessly running between different hotels in Las Vegas. What seemed unusually odd, however, was how much of the PC gaming presence at the show revolved around the best gaming laptops.

While the gaming PC isn’t going anywhere – we’ve got our fair share of exciting components like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 and some juicy gaming monitors like the Alienware AW3423DW – when you turn to the three giant computer hardware companies, AMD, Intel, and Nvidia presentations mostly revolved around laptops, although there were bits of news on desktops.

It’s entirely possible that this is due to the fact that CES is a trade fair for the tech world as a whole, and laptops in general are more user-friendly than a massive gaming PC. But it goes further than that.

In the face of a global silicon shortage that has lasted for two years now, gaming laptops are starting to become one of the easiest ways to get into PC gaming, where traditionally it has always been the other way around.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti

(Image credit: Avenir)

Building a PC is expensive now

When I built my first PC with my own money, I was able to create something that was more than powerful enough to play the latest games for just under $ 1,000. Of course, the hard-to-run monster of a game at the time was The Witcher 2, but I was able to run it at 1080p and at high settings – although of course without Ubersampling which is still difficult to run. run today.

However, with the current price of graphics cards and their scaling to 1440p, this is simply not possible anymore. The 1440p graphics cards are currently the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 and the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT. The former is currently listed on Newegg for around $ 1,000 – the price of my first PC alone – and the AMD card is about the same price on Amazon. And that’s before I even mention a high-end card like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, which will set you back $ 2,000 before you even think about buying other parts.

While AMD and Nvidia both announced reasonably priced graphics cards at CES 2022, it’s pretty hard to get them excited because they’ll likely run out almost immediately.

During a panel discussion at CES 2022, Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, was even interviewed by Gordon Ung and PCWorld why gamers should be excited about a $ 200 GPU right now when it will likely see its price inflate after a day. Su assured us that “we [AMD] shipped significantly more desktop GPUs in the second half of 21 than we did in the first half. So not everyone got them, but more people definitely got them in the second half of ’21. And you’re going to see a lot more in 2022. And AMD plans to have more availability when the GPU comes out. AMD CVP Laura Smith developed this by saying that the relatively low specifications of the 6500 XT should mean that the crypto market will not have as much of an impact on availability.

But these are all things we’ve heard before, and while I think the silicon shortage is going to end eventually – it probably won’t happen for some time, at least until more foundries do. connect to help meet the huge demand for semiconductors in 2022.

In the meantime, as manufacturing catches up with demand, my recommendations to friends and family have completely changed over the past couple of years.

Razer Blade 15 on a table next to a coffee and croissant

(Image credit: Avenir)

Gaming laptops are cool now

Like anyone else is a little too much in computers, everyone in my life constantly comes to me asking for advice about PCs – if something’s broken or if they just want to know what to buy. Plus, recommending technology is literally what I do for a living so that helps too.

But if we were to go back to 2019, my default recommendation for someone looking to get into PC gaming probably would have been to build a PC. It’s a fun project, and back then you could create a pretty decent build, thanks to affordable GPUs like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super.

And generally speaking, gaming laptops were just never a good deal from a value standpoint at the time. They cost significantly more than a desktop PC for a similar level of performance, and were generally too large to be portable enough to make up for the difference in cost and frame rate. Everything has changed in recent years.

Now, if you’re looking for a gaming laptop, you can get a pretty good one for around $ 1,000 / £ 1,000 / AU $ 1,500, especially if you’re looking for 1080p gaming performance. For the first time in years, however, you can’t really build a gaming PC at this price point that can deliver comparable gaming performance. So while a prebuilt gaming PC is always a little better than a gaming laptop, portable devices are becoming more and more affordable.

At the same time, gaming laptops are also becoming more attractive. Thin and light gaming laptops are increasingly the norm, and during the AMD CES 2022 keynote, we heard how this segment has grown threefold. Gaming laptops like the Alienware X14, Razer Blade 14, and Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 are changing the look of gaming laptops. Now it’s something you can carry in your backpack without having to. schedule back surgery a few months later.

AI upscaling Nvidia DLSS

(Image credit: Nvidia)

The software helps a lot

When Nvidia announced the GeForce RTX 2080 in August 2018, it spent a lot of time talking about both ray tracing and DLSS, especially the former. While many of us (myself included) initially paid more attention to ray tracing, believing that it would be the technology that would be a game-changer for both of us, the importance of ray-tracing cannot be understated. scaling as DLSS. If CES 2022 was any indication, it’s about to get even bigger.

AMD and Nvidia now have special scaling technology, and Team Red has announced a second called Radeon Super Resolution. It is a less efficient version of FSR based on pilots. It doesn’t seem exciting at first glance, but it will allow scaling in just about any game you want to activate it in.

Then there is Intel; its Arc Alchemist GPUs haven’t even hit the market yet. Before even entering the discrete GPU market for the first time, a fairly decent part of Team Blue’s CES 2022 opening keynote focused on XeSS, Intel’s response to DLSS and FSR. With the complexity and beauty of the best PC games – just look at the visuals of Battlefield 2042 and the high demands of Dying Light 2 – scaling is going to become the future. After all, you can never get enough performance in the world of PC gaming.

While these software solutions are a boon for gamers who use desktop PCs, they are a boon for the best gaming laptops. As we see more and more flagship devices coming with 4K displays, this type of technology is absolutely essential for generating high resolutions, and it will become even more important over the next few years.

That’s why I applaud Radeon Super Resolution. To be clear, it won’t be as efficient as DLSS. Nvidia’s scaling tech is the best around right now, and the latest titles that include it look so good that it’s silly not to use it, even if you don’t. no extra performance needed to reach 60 fps. But with DLSS, game developers still have to schedule support on an individual game basis. RSR, on the other hand, should make more games more accessible, which is exactly what we need right now.

Hopefully Nvidia has a similar iteration of DLSS in the works very soon. I’m not sure how it would work, but I’ve been asking Team Green for a pilot scale DLSS implementation since I first saw it four years ago. With the speed at which gaming laptops are growing and the beauty of gaming, this would be a great time to start working on something like this.

Hopefully by CES 2023 the changes we’ve seen turn into something beautiful that will once again make PC gaming accessible to everyone. Even if it is software solutions rather than raw hardware as in the past.

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