2021 wasn't a particularly enjoyable year for the PC community. The shortage of chips continues to hamper any attempts to purchase a GPU. Thankfully, things are improving elsewhere, but it's still a painful experience for PC gamers looking to up their game. I'm looking ahead at 2022 and have compiled a list of predictions of what I believe will take place in the coming year.
Mesh on all the cases
Front panels with either solid metal/plastic or tempered glass became a popular option for PC cases, but with more powerful internals PC case makers are looking at ways to increase airflow and improve thermal performance. Mesh is one way to achieve both by replacing those solid front panels with one that allows fans to actually draw in cool air.
Just looking at what NZXT did with the H510 with the NZXT H510 Flow, you can bet we expect to see many more mesh cases hit the market in 2022.
Supply issues continue
We're already seeing some improvements for some components, including motherboards and processors. Amazon, Newegg, and other retailers have stock available at MSRP or less, which makes it possible to build a new PC or upgrade an older one without spending more than you should.
It's expected for GPUs and the rest of the industry to recover through 2022, but I feel as though we'll continue to see chip shortages and supply issues into 2023.
Yet more NVIDIA GPUs
NVIDIA has been launching numerous products throughout 2021, ignoring supply chain issues. There have been some of the best graphics cards released by NVIDIA like the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and the mighty GeForce RTX 3090. The cards (especially lower-end options) offer excellent value if you can locate one at MSRP.
And some GPUs from Intel
Arc is the codename for Intel's upcoming range of dedicated GPUs. Going up against AMD and NVIDIA, Intel is no longer content with being limited to onboard graphics on its processors and wants to launch new dedicated GPUs for gaming and productivity. Details are still light now, but you can expect to see a few launches in 2022.
I expect MSRP to reflect the new competition from Intel, especially in the low to mid-range of cards. I'm unsure how Intel plans to go about launching its GPU. We could see most of its cards included in prebuilt PCs to help combat scalpers and cryptocurrency miners. We've already seen a bump in prebuilt desktops for 2022, with even ourselves recommending them for obtaining a GPU.
AMD Threadripper meets Zen 3
I believe AMD will match Threadripper with Zen 3. The current line-up of Threadripper CPUs is still on Zen 2 with the flagship 3990X. Whether these processors will be part of a 5000 or 6000 series will be seen, but they're definitely on the way. With how far Intel came with the 12th Gen launch, it's going to be exciting to see what both companies can come up with for consumers, enthusiasts, and enterprises.
Still no Star Citizen ... yet
This prediction isn't strictly related to PC hardware, but I've been following Star Citizen since it first came to light in 2011 and still eagerly await the release. I covered the massively multiplayer space simulation game in my PC gaming predictions for 2018 and it not only missed that year but also a few roadmap deadlines.
Chris Roberts's multi-million (or is it billion at this point?) dollar Star Citizen project is still underway. It's playable but we're still a long way off before the game is actually released. And by game, I mean both Star Citizen and Squadron 42. I still have hope we'll eventually see the game finished as originally promised ... just not in 2022.
What do you predict?
You've read what I believe will happen in 2022, but what do you think will take place? Agree with some of my predictions? Have some whacky ones of your own? Sound off in the comments!
Rich Edmonds is 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 over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.
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