CES 2019 – Exciting new tech for 2019
January rolls around again and that means yet another Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. While there are plenty of reports of what has been going on, like every year we try to distill down the news and bring you what’s relevant to the world of PCs. This year, just like last year, the PC was well represented, putting to bed any notion of us being in a so-called “post PC world”.
New processors from both Intel and AMD – Both Intel and their long time rivals AMD had new CPU technology to show off. Intel’s new “Ice Lake” architecture promised to produce small, power efficient CPUs, improving battery life and performance in portable PCs and laptops. Intel also talked about more 9th gen CPU products for both desktops and laptops. 9th gen Intel chips are already on the market at the high end, but now those of us with less demanding workloads (or not so deep pockets) will be able to get in on the action too.
Meanwhile, AMD announced improvements to its Ryzen line of CPUs, including a second generation Ryzen Mobile chip and an even faster “threadripper” top of the line CPU.
AMD also announced that they would be launching the first 7nm CPUs and GPUs (graphics chips) in 2019. These chips promise to be the most power efficient CPUs on the market and will be great for laptops and tablets.
Both AMD and Intel were in fine fettle this year, it all means that, while CPU technology may not be moving as quickly as it once did, there’s still plenty of development going on in this field.
PCs of all shapes and sizes – There was no shortage of Windows PCs on the show floor, from the mundane to the mad. For folks looking for a laptop or a tablet, the choice was as rich as ever. Particularly noteworthy machines included the super thin, bezel-less screened Asus ZenBook S13. This laptop not only looked stunning but packs a long battery life and decent performance. Techradar has the full lowdown.
For those looking for something more affordable, the Samsung Notebook Flash clocks in at an affordable $349 and boasts an Intel Celeron N4000 processor, Full HD screen, 64gb of storage and 4gb of RAM. Tech radar has the scoop on this one too.
Lenovo, a brand associated with sensible PCs, was branching out into gaming laptops this year with its new “Legion” line-up. These exciting little beasties sport an 8th gen intel CPU, GeForce RTX graphics chip, 32gb of memory and a “100% anti-ghosting CORSAIR iCue RGB back-lit keyboard with system lighting”. Great for getting some work done, in-between bouts of gaming of course. Ars Technica has more.
While gadgets keep getting smaller, high end ‘tower’ PCs simply refuse to die. The extra space afforded by a full tower case means more room to cram in the latest, top performing components. One of the most decadent gaming PCs at the show was the colossal Acer Predator Orion 9000. With space for up to 4 graphics cards, the latest and greatest Intel CPUs, liquid cooling, masses of USB ports and the latest M.2 hard drive interface, this is one beastly PC that will put a dent in your desk as well as your bank balance. PC World has more on this behemoth.
Corsair, a manufacturer most famous for their high performance memory modules, were also at the show with their Corsair One high end compact gaming PC. Also liquid cooled, the machine boasts a Intel Core i9-9920X 12-core processor with a top clock speed of 4.5GHz and a Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics chip. The whole package is wrapped in a “2mm-thick aircraft-grade bead-blasted aluminium gunmetal” case. With a custom cooling solution, the Corsair One packs in the power without needing all of your desk space. Gadgets 360 has more information.
It wouldn’t be CES without some crazy concept PCs and this year was no exception. Straight out of a sci-fi movie is the Cemtrex SmartDesk, a desk with triple monitors and a PC built in. The desk has a gesture recognition system, so you can manipulate windows or web pages by simply waving your hands around like a madman. It’s the future, we tell you! The Verge/Circuit Breaker has the low down on this terrific toy.
Monitoring monitors – Even if you normally use a laptop, you might want to plug it into a monitor from time to time to get a bigger, more comfortable work space, or of course to play your favourite games. There were no shortage of monitors this year, and three in particular caught our eye. The first is the crazy curvy 49 inch Samsung CRG9 super ultra-wide. This massive monitor has a 32:9 aspect ratio and, according to Digital Foundry, is the equivalent of having 2 27 inch monitors side by side. Ideal for those of us who like to have a LOT of windows open at once! News Shooter has more details on this particular panel.
Secondly, the long awaited Big Format Gaming Displays from Nvidia are finally due to arrive on the market this year. HP’s Omen X 65 Emperium is a colossal 65 inch monitor that boasts 144hz refresh rate, GSync and a built in Nvidia Shield. For around $5000, we would also have expected at least HDMI 2.1 and probably OLED, rather than LCD display technology, but if you’re willing to live without those features and you have a spare $5k then the HP Omen X 65 Emperium will give dazzling results with your PC games.
For more sober PC gamers wanting a bigger size monitor that’s not quite so crazy, the ASUS ROG Strix XG438Q clocks in at a decent 43 inches and boasts a 120hz refresh rate. It also supports HDR, Freesync 2 and has accurate colour reproduction. Currently there’s no price or release date information.
Digital Foundry has more information on these and several other great monitors from the show .
Elsewhere at the show – Digital assistants and AI were huge at this years show, with Alexa and Google vying to be the top digital assistant. Smartphones and smart watches were also everywhere. The most interesting gadget of the show for us was Hyundai’s ‘walking car’. A prototype vehicle that, when faced with particularly difficult terrain, could transform itself into a walking machine and simply walk over whatever was in the way.
There were some new products in the Virtual Reality sector too. Despite uptake of VR headsets not being as great as many people hoped, there’s still a market there. HTC announced two new headsets, their Vive Cosmos headset, which aims to be comfortable, convenient and affordable and their Vive Pro Eye, for the high end market. The Pro Eye has built-in eye tracking, so that a users’ eye direction and movement can be measured for the sake of better VR performance. Prices for both headsets are to be confirmed.
While it’s still some way away, there was some talk about the new 5G mobile internet standard. While this predictably brings more speed to mobile broadband, it also aims to make the connection more robust and with less latency, allowing for more reliable and fault tolerant communications with less drop-outs. Roll out of 5G is expected to start toward the end of the year/start of 2020.