CES 2020 has been quite the experience this year, and we’re only just half way through. There’s been a whole load of interesting and exciting technology announcements, reveals and proof of concepts. From monitors, to hardware, cars and AI – you name it and there’s probably been something mind-shattering showcased at CES.
We’re taking a look at some of the highlights so far, focusing specifically on the awesome tech arriving on the scene for PC, laptop and mobile users alike.
There’s a great deal of ogling and eyeballing at CES, so what better way to kick off the highlights than with the numerous visual treats the event’s had on offer.
First up is the latest and greatest in curved gaming monitors. Samsung have announced the Odyssey series’ newest member to the family, the G9 1000r gaming monitor. Designed for ‘intense’ gaming experiences, this 1000r (radius) curved monitor sees the deepest curve yet, and certainly the first ever seen on a super ultra-wide 32:9 monitor. That makes it the first of its kind on the market. It also makes the hardcore racing-sim guys, well, pretty hard.
Although there’s no release date yet, we do know what this monitor looks like – and it is sexy. With a sleek white chassis and a shiny finish, plus a glowing rear core, this monitor is gorgeous to look at and is sure to make any desk space seem a thousand years further into the future.
This year, Nvidia have teamed up with ASUS to create the first ever 360Hz monitor, the ASUS ROG Swift 360. This 24.5-inch 4K HDR monitor makes use of Nvidia’s G-sync processor and has been designed specially for the eSports Pro Gamers out there, those who really count on every last frame to help bring their A-game. And with frames being displayed once every 2.8ms, it’s almost certain to be of benefit – CS:GO Pro, n0thing, was lucky enough to work with the two industry giants in testing the difference between this new powerhouse vs older monitors in the world of eSports gaming. He certainly seemed impressed to say the least.
We’re not yet sure when this bad-boy will be released (the monitor, not n0thing) but we can imagine it’ll definitely be pricey.
ASUS have apparently been busy recently, with a number of ‘firsts’ appearing at CES. This would include what ASUS are claiming to be ‘the world’s most powerful 14-inch… Pro gaming laptop,’ the Zephyrus G14.
Aside from a fancy customisable ‘AniME Matrix’ LED display (as seen above), this swift little laptop boasts some impressive specs – punchy for something of its size. It’s only 17.9mm thick and weighs-in at a feather-like 1.6kg. The G14 flaunts a brand-spanking-new AMD mobile chip, all the way up to the Ryzen 7 4800HS with 8-cores and 16-threads, as well as an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card with 6GB of VRAM. The G14 also benefits from up to 16GB of 3200Mhz DDR4 RAM with options available for up to 1TB of storage from an NVME SSD. Better yet, this sprightly little fella will be available sometime in Q1 2020.
Set to launch as soon as January 21st, AMD have announced their newest addition to their series of graphics cards, the Radeon RX 5600 XT, which AMD are suggesting is now the choice when it comes to 1080p gaming. In their presentation, Laura Smith (Senior Director for the Radeon Technologies Group) excitedly showed us how the card had plenty enough power to handle even the most demanding of recent AAA titles – all at the highest settings and simultaneously delivering in excess of 60fps across the board. Using the same RDNA architecture as the RX 5500 and RX 5700 cards, it offers up to 39 compute units and runs at up to a 1560MHz boost clock with a comfortable 1375MHz game clock.
The RX 5600 also boasts 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM and framerates of up to 92fps in popular titles such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, The Division 2 and Gears of War 5, as well as up to an impressive 147fps in big-name online titles like Apex, Fortnite and WoW: Battle for Azeroth. What’s more, this all comes at the exact same price as the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti.
We can see why Nvidia kept to the monitors this year – AMD are obviously giving them more reasons to sweat.
AMD have been really pushing the technological boat out it would seem. Not only making some decent headway into the smaller form factors, with the world’s first ever 7nm laptop processors (check out this interview with Dr. Lisa Su on the Ryzen 4000 series), but also in the desktop form factor as well.
To really hammer home AMD’s ever-increasing success in the industry, Dr. Lisa Su, CEO and President at AMD, enthusiastically revealed the new consumer-available, Ryzen Threadripper 3990X CPU – with 64 cores, 128 threads and 4.3GHz boost. Now, quite honestly, numbers do not do this thing justice. When it comes to comprehending just how well this beast can multithread, simply saying it’s 30% faster than two of Intel’s leading equivalent (the Intel Xeon Platinum 8280) is not enough – you have to see it. So check out the presentation in the video below to see the mind-boggling charts AMD has put together, making the statistics for this thing tangible to our collectively puny human minds…
Insane, right? And even more face-melting than that, this immensely powerful piece of tech is available at under a quarter of the price for the Dual Intel Xeons, a measly $4000 (£3000 approx.) compared to the $10000 (£7600 approx.) that a single Xeon would set you back. If you could even get your hands on one in the first place, that is.
And as if that wasn’t already a big enough kick in the front teeth for Intel, AMD announced that it would also be available for consumers to purchase from February 7th.
I think it’s safe to say that this year they really put the AMD in amazed… Mind = blown.
Next up, and moving on from components to complete systems, we have Origin’s newest version of their Big-O Hybrid gaming PC. It’s smaller, more affordable than previous builds (starting at £1900) and, therefore, is more accessible to the general public.
For the sake of both convenience and application, the systems both feature separate power connections and HDMI outputs, allowing for both synchronous and asynchronous use respectively. Both sides of this hybrid can be configured to have up to 2TB of storage, and the PC side of things is highly customisable too (which you’d expect – alongside a steep price tag). Its specs start with an Intel core i9-9900K or AMD Ryzen 9 3950X processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX Titan graphics card, and 64GB of RAM. So it’s definitely one beefy little boy.
Lenovo have finally ironed out the creases in the troublesome world of foldable tech. After 3 years of ‘strong partnerships… with LG display… and… deep engagement with Intel,’ Lenovo have made the unthinkable and the un-foldable into the Thinkpad X1 Fold – a foldable device/laptop which allegedly is designed to last the 3-5 year lifecycle and usage of your standard PC.
The Thinkpad features multiple ‘modes’ to allow for Windows 10 compatibility (until Windows 10X is released) and can be set-up in all manner of positions, from a traditional laptop look with virtual keyboard, to a fully flat 13.3-inch display complete with separate stand and Bluetooth Mini Fold Keyboard. It has 5G connectivity, weighs less than what we all gained over Christmas, 2.2Lbs to be precise, and has connections available for a full-sized keyboard, mouse and secondary display, all of which can be connected via USB Type-C. It even comes with a leather case, which, when folded, allows for the Bluetooth keyboard to be stored perfectly between the screen, secured by magnets, where it is wirelessly charged. Pretty impressive for one of the first portable, foldable devices.
There have been concerns amongst those interested, regarding durability of the folding joint, but Lenovo have re-assured us that they really put in the time and effort on this product, so durability shouldn’t be an issue. Still, it could be something that puts off potential consumers, who would be looking to spend a whopping $2499 (£1900 roughly) on this folding wonder. Exact pricing and release dates are yet to be confirmed, but we can expect to see the Thinkpad X1 Fold for sale in Q2 2020.
…with their maddening new gaming phone, the Black Shark Pro 2. Originally announced in July 2019, the Black Shark will be coming to shores in the US some time in the near future. Though no exact dates yet, this king of the mobile gaming ocean will be sure to surprise those who don’t know about him.
Starting at around $599 (£539) the new Pro version uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus processor which boasts 15% faster graphics than its standard variant, with a CPU clock speed up to 2.96GHz (a 0.12GHz increase). That puts the Black Shark Pro 2 at the top of the Android market when it comes to performance, as well as more sustained and consistent performance over long periods of time spent gaming – and that gets even better when coupled with a 4000MAH battery which’ll offer a fair few hours of gaming before it runs out of steam.
You would think that all of that power would cause quite a bit of heat – and you’d be right. But Xiaomi included a direct touch multilayer liquid-cooling system which they claim can reduce the temperature of the CPU by up to 14 degrees. That’s pretty cool, if you catch my drift.
The Black Shark also has a very pretty 6.93-inch AMOLED Samsung display at 60Hz. Although lower than other gaming phones on the market (which usually feature 90Hz), Xiaomi decided it was the right move to make to keep the price down, since the extra refresh rate is something that mobile games rarely (if ever) take advantage of. It also offers a 240Hz touch report rate, giving it a response speed of 34.7 milliseconds, putting it leagues ahead of any other gaming phone on the market. That’s one fast shark – imagine if Jaws had been that quick… forget about a bigger boat…
Lastly, this tech-packed device uses a unique touchscreen feature called Master Touch 2.0, which allows you to resize the left and right touch zones as well as pressure sensitivity for a fully customised controller experience. Plus, as with the original model, there’s also a slider button to activate its gaming mode which optimises performance, cleans memory and reduces potential interruptions from applications external to the game you’re playing. All things to improve your mobile gaming experience beyond what you ever thought possible.
And of course, it’s also a phone too.
For the final reel of our highlights, we thought we’d share some intriguing news regarding Dell, who decided to get a little more extra-terrestrial at CES this year. If the Black Shark wasn’t quite cool enough for you, then Dell may have you covered with the Alienware Concept UFO.
Aside from looking downright awesome, it seems to be an attempt to meet a new niche in the market – a kind of middle ground between PC and the Nintendo Switch. Possibly looking to target PC gamers who are looking for something for those long journeys and extended periods of time away from their desks, this fairly solid looking piece of hardware supports Windows 10 and all of the games that come with it (definitely via the Microsoft store and possibly, in theory, from Steam – though the latter is just conjecture (hoping) on my part). And judging by the fact that this would essentially be a decent PC in a fairly tiny space, we feel quite sure it would have an appropriately big price tag. But that said, we are talking about something like a Nintendo switch on every kind of steroids imaginable.
As of yet there’s no exact specifications, nor any guarantee it will ever even make it past the concept stage, but thanks to Techradar’s coverage in their hands-on review, we do have some good indications of what this UFO’s got going on.
The device is fairly large, quite heavy too, which we’d expect from something that’s ultimately ‘a big PC in a tiny factor form,’ and will also mean there’ll be some kind of tanky cooling wizardry inside. The side controllers are also removable, similarly to the Switch, reconnecting with the grip into a single independent controller. The rest of the device can then be propped up on its stand as an accompanying display, which all in all, makes it comfortable to play in a variety of situations. It features RGB lighting and appears to be running on some sort of Intel integrated graphics. The integrated display seems to be 720p resolution, which is reasonable for something of its size and capabilities, with most of the games that it demoed sitting comfortably on medium settings (a fair step up from the Switch in terms of graphical fidelity) and running ‘surprisingly well.’ And of course, many of those games were big PC titles that just aren’t available to the Switch user, another bonus if you ask me.
In the end it’s difficult to know where it will go (if anywhere at all) – it’s currently all just a mysterious object that seemingly came out of nowhere (from space perhaps?) – but it certainly is very intriguing and totally tangible in its current state, so only time will tell.
Well, for now at least anyway. If any of the PC related tech here intrigues you, then keep an eye out for when we get a hold of some for ourselves – we’re certainly looking forward to it.
What were your highlights from CES 2020? Let us know in the comments.
24 Sep 2020
It was 3:30am, cold and windy. I was lying four floors up on the scaffolding deck under the Royal Tweed Bridge in Berwick-Upon-Tweed. I had my bag for a pillow and two layers of clothes on. Unable to sleep and looking out to the night sky I decided that I was going to change...