6 biggest PC announcements from CES 2021
CES was a little different for 2021, but there were still some notable PC announcements.
CES 2021 wasn't too bad, all thing's considering. It was a virtual event since we're all socially distancing responsibly, but that didn't stop PC vendors from announcing new products. We've rounded up all the most important PC-related announcements, just in case you managed to miss the news.
Entry-level NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
NVIDIA announced the new GeForce RTX 3060 for PC gamers. The company already has the RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070, RTX 3080, and RTX 3090 out and available (should you be able to locate stock), but now we have a new entry-level in the form of the RTX 3060. Priced at just $329, this is a perfect upgrade for NVIDIA GTX owners.
What makes the RTX 3060 notable is the performance. It's twice as powerful as the older GTX 1060 GPU. The company boasts frame rates of 60 in Cyberpunk 2077 and Fortnite with the new RTX 3060. We don't yet know everything about the GPU, but it does come with 12GB of GDDR6 RAM over a 192-bit memory interface.
This all allows the GPU to hit 13 TFLOPs and 25 ray tracing TFLOPs, which doesn't mean much for the average gamer but can provide an idea as to what can be expected. The new RTX 3060 will go up for sale in late February, and you can expect to see aftermarket cards from ASUS, EVGA, MSI, ZOTAC, and other vendors.
New NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 laptop GPU range
As well as the new RTX 3060 for desktop PCs, NVIDIA also unveiled the RTX 30 series of laptop GPUs set to be installed in more than 70 new notebooks. Replacing the older RTX 20 series of GPUs, the latest family of mobile graphics from NVIDIA come offering up to twice the efficiency of the last generation, as well as better performance to boot.
To achieve this, NVIDIA worked on 3rd Gen Max-Q technology, AI, and general system optimizations. New laptops rocking the RTX 30 series will start from $999. The RTX 3080 will be the range-topping option for serious gaming notebooks, though there will be more affordable laptops rocking RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 GPUs.
Even though the RTX 3060 is the entry-level mobile GPU from NVIDIA, it's still faster than the outgoing flagship mobile GPU, NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER. As well as the advancements made to hardware, gamers, and creators will be able to take advantage of NVIDIA Broadcast, NVIDIA Reflex, and NVIDIA Studio.
NVIDIA also promises that more than half of new laptops expected to launch with GeForce 30 series graphics will come with 240Hz displays or higher. Availability for laptops from partners will commence on January 26. You can expect to see GeForce 30 laptops from leading vendors like ASUS, Alienware, Dell, GP, Razer, and MSI.
AMD launches new Ryzen 5000 series mobile CPUs
AMD is continuing its roll from unveiling the Ryzen 5000 series of desktop processors in October 2020. The company used CES 2021 to launch its new Ryzen 5000 series of laptop processors. The new family of CPUs will be available in H and U series, depending on the laptop, based on Zen 2 and Zen 3 architectures.
Expected to be hitting markets inside laptops come February, AMD expects the new Ryzen 5000 series of processors to be available in around 150 notebooks. The H-series is focused on delivering impressive performance for creators and gamers. At the same time, the U-series is better suited to thin and light laptops where longer battery life is desired.
The new processor range starts with the Zen 2-based Ryzen 3 5300U with 4 cores and 8 threads. The absolute best option right now is the Zen3-based Ryzen 9 5980HX with an impressive 8 cores and 16 threads. AMD didn't hold back on-stage either, showcasing how the Ryzen 9 5980HS beat out the Intel Core i9-10980HK in Cinebench R20 single- and multi-thread scores.
As well as the new mobile CPUs, AMD also announced two reduced-TDP versions of the desktop-class Ryzen 9 5900X and Ryzen 7 5800X CPUs. These chips will be found only in pre-built systems and will have a more power-efficient 65W TDP.
Intel teases Rocket Lake-S CPUs
Not to be completely overblown by AMD, Intel showed off a preview of sorts for its 11th Gen Rocket Late-S desktop-class processors. While we know little other than the specifications, things are looking pretty good for the upcoming Core i9 processor, which is expected to arrive in Q1 2021.
The Core i9-11900K was stated to introduce a 19% increase in instructions per cycle (IPS) and up to 50% better-integrated graphics performance compared to the previous generation. Not only that, but we have better AI performance to boot. We really didn't get to see much more than that other than it is an 8-core, 16-thread CPU with a boost clock speed of 5.3GHz.
Z590 will be the chipset to use the 11th Gen processors with, unlocking PCIe 4.0 compatibility (some Z490 boards will offer support) and support for up to DDR4-3200. Unfortunately, the new Rocket Lake-S processors will be using the 14nm process. Intel continues to struggle with shrinking it down to 10nm or more.
HyperX's first 60% mechanical keyboard
HyperX announced its first 60% mechanical keyboard at CES 2021, which is essentially an Alloy Origins but shrunk down with the removal of the number pad and packing keys closer together.
It was only a matter of time before HyperX followed other peripheral vendors to launch a 60 percent mechanical keyboard. The idea behind these more compact keyboards is freeing up additional desk space for a larger mouse pad. This, in turn, should allow you to utilize more of the space for mouse movement.
As well as the Red switches, HyperX uses PBT double-shot keycaps that should last longer than what's found on traditional or more affordable keyboards. HyperX's NGENUITY software can be used to personalize lighting, configure GameMode and macro settings, and even set up to three profiles that can be stored on the keyboard itself.
The new HyperX Alloy Origins 60 will be available on February 22 for $100.
Razer's Project Brooklyn gaming chair concept
Of all the announcements at CES 2021, Razer certainly had the most interesting ones with the RGB smart mask concept and crazy Project Brooklyn gaming chair concept. In our review of Razer's first gaming chair – the Iskur – Executive Editor Daniel Rubino remarked that although it lacked Chroma RGB, "something tells me the company may have plans for that someday."
That plan is for 'Project Brooklyn,' but it is also way more than just adding lights. Think full immersion with audio, cabling, and a 60-inch 180-degree curved (and deployable) OLED display. It's an evolution of Razer's Eracing Simulator revealed last year at CES. It's all about building a "normal" gaming chair with the added functionality of a giant OLED display that can be deployed.
But that's not all; Razer wants to include force-feedback (think Razer HyperSense), 4D armrests, and smart cable management to create the perfect gaming chair. Unfortunately, there's no ETA on when such a chair from Razer would ship.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.