CES 2022 Highlights: The Best PC Game Hardware

CES is a gloriously wrong jumble of different tech fields; the kind where smartphone chip makers share floor space with car makers and sex toys. It’s also one of the biggest showcases of PC gaming hardware on the calendar, and CES 2022 has been no exception, with key component revelations from AMD, Intel and Nvidia along with plenty of announcements about laptops, peripherals and monitors.

This year’s show is technically still going on another day, but like a Foo Fighters album, CES tends to frontload the good stuff. As such, it is basically safe to start rounding off all PC gaming set highlights. Some of these have been a long time coming – like the GeForce RTX 3050, Nvidia’s first XX50 desktop GPU with full ray tracking and DLSS support – while others can be pleasant surprises or eye-catching if it’s likely to be expensive new concepts.

Without specific order, so here is the best PC game hardware from CES 2022 …

A collage of RTX 3050 partner cards, next to the GPU's main specifications.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050

For £ 239 / $ 249 (and we all know what’s going on with GPU prices these days), you probably could not call the GeForce RTX 3050 a “budget” graphics card the same way the GTX 1050 and GTX 1650 were. But this model, not to be confused with the RTX 3050 laptop that has been around for a while, is something that Nvidia’s stable has been lacking since the launch of the RTX 20 series: a focused 1080p warrior that offers an affordable input for DLSS and basic beam tracking. With 8 GB of VRAM, it is also equipped with twice as much memory as AMD’s closest equivalent: the Radeon RX 6500 XT.

A stylized CGI rendering of an Intel 12th generation laptop.

Intel Core i9-12900HP

Alternative subtitle: “A lot of new Intel CPUs, including Core i9-12900HP”. Intel actually detailed dozens of 12th generation chips to accompany its existing six Alder Lake models, with the desktop contingent focusing on lower specs and lower prices. Along with the launch of mid-range and entry-level chipsets like the B660 and H610, budget builders will have many more 12th generation options for their rig.

Nevertheless, I will admit that I have had my head turned off by the Core i9-12900HP, Intel’s latest top-of-the-line mobile CPU. With six powerful P-cores and eight power-saving E-cores, plus a maximum turbo speed of 5 GHz, you can expect this to be the brains behind the most powerful gaming laptops of 2022.

AMD CEO dr.  Lisa Su holds an AMD Ryzen 6000 series mobile CPU.

AMD Ryzen 6000 APUs

While the Ryzen 7000 series of desktop CPUs also received a formal announcement at CES 2022 and is definitely among the PC gaming hardware to be seen this year, the lack of specifications or performance details means that the new Ryzen 6000 APUs had a more memorable display during AMD’s event itself. The great thing here is their RDNA 2 integrated graphics, which support FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) upscaling and promise gaming power far beyond Nvidia’s discrete GeForce MX450. Especially for games that support FSR, this can finally open the door for sleek and lightweight laptops that achieve solid 60fps / 1080p playback at medium and even high graphics settings. We will see!

New Razer Blade Laptops

You can usually count on the Razer Blade notebook series to keep up to date with the latest hardware, and the new Blade 14, Blade 15 and Blade 17 have not wasted time filling up with recently announced AMD / Intel / Nvidia gubbins.

Specifically, the Blade 15 and Blade 17 can both come equipped with Intel’s new Core i9-12900H (not the overclockable Core i9-12900HP, unfortunately) and GeForce RTX 3070 Ti or RTX 3080 Ti GPUs; Nvidia also unveiled the mobile versions of both of these graphics chips at CES 2022. Blade 14 also has these GPUs capabilities, but instead of Intel, the new models include an AMD Ryzen 6900HX APU from the new line. Hi, just because they have upgraded integrated graphics does not mean that they can not be paired with a dedicated GPU – although in this case you can switch between the two, which should be useful to save power when you are not playing.

Razer Enki Pro HyperSense gaming chair against a green and black CG background.

Razer Enki Pro HyperSense

When Razer first unveiled their HyperSense haptic feedback system at CES 2019, the plan was for everything from your headset to your chair to your peripherals to rumble synchronously with in-game action. Three years later, only HyperSense headsets have hit the market, though that could change with Razer’s Enki Pro HyperSense gaming chair.

Using a massive haptic motor mounted in the base of the chair, the Enki Pro HyperSense is designed to buzz and jerk in time with your games. This will probably involve more cables than I personally would be comfortable connecting to a spinny chair, but it’s a fun idea and I can see that it works particularly well with a HyperSense headset that delivers the same synchronized vibration to your face. Right now, this is technically a concept design, with no price or release date, though it looks pretty complete. And is not as direct shit as Razer’s second CES 2022 concept product, the imaginative Project Sophia modular desk / 65in OLED screen hybrid thingamajig.

HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless gaming headset against a white background.

HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless

HyperX’s CES 2022 focused on updates to or spinoffs from existing kits. Some of these will be worth keeping an eye on, such as the new wireless version of PulseFire Haste (one of the best gaming mice) and the Alloy Origins 65 keyboard, a bigger brother to Alloy Origins 60 (one of the best gaming keyboards)).

However, the Cloud Alpha Wireless headset stole the show with its almost incredible 300 hours of battery life. It could only handle half of it and still be an absurdly long-lasting headphone / microphone combination, and by knowing from experience HyperX’s talent for making comfortable headsets with great sound, this could potentially be their best to date. We know for sure when it comes out in February.

Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate gaming keyboard against a black background.

Asus ROG Strix Flare II animated

The original ROG Strix Flare keyboard is an old favorite of mine, and the newly unveiled ROG Strix Flare II looks like a welcome update. It’s a sleeker, less moody-looking mek-board that alternates with higher-quality PBT key caps and a choice of either Cherry MX switches or Asus’ own ROG NX switches, while retaining features like media controls and a detachable wrist rest .

Most drastically, the small acrylic insert that you could customize on the original has been replaced by a dot matrix display, much like the one on the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop. I can see the flashiness in this that deters some people, but when it comes to personalization, it’s certainly easier to set up a screen than to stencil an acrylic sheet. Or wait for a custom sticker to come from Etsy.

The Samsung Odyssey Ark screen appears on stage at a Samsung CES 2022 event.

Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 and Odyssey Ark

Even the best gaming screens so far have not been able to rattle the dream combination of a 4K resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate up. Enter the Odyssey Neo G8, a display that is at once a more sensible 32-inch alternative to Samsung’s extensive Odyssey Neo G9 and an ambitious attempt to reconcile these two advanced specifications.

It’s definitely an enticing view, but even this as a small drip next to Samsung’s second screen announcement, the Odyssey Ark. This is a 55-inch curved 4K screen that, unlike virtually all curved screens, can rotate 90 degrees to a portrait mode – a portrait mode that towers over your sitting position. In fact, I like this thing because of its ruthless madness more than any realistic practical application, though the screen is just such a goliath that it still seems to have room to comfortably play games in a standard 16: 9 window , even when tilted to the side. It’s also worth noting that both of these monitors use Samsung’s mini LED technology, a potential generational upgrade to LCD monitors that allows for brighter, more finely controlled backlighting.

The Acer Predator Orion 5000 is sitting on a desk next to a woman playing games on it.

Acer Predator Orion 3000 and 5000

The refreshed Predator Orion 3000 and 5000 are immediately more desirable than the old versions ever have been, mainly because they look like PCs and not a Bionicle figure’s leg pad. In the midst of the misery of the latest graphics card prices, pre-built PCs have emerged as an often viable way to dull the impact of rip-offs, even if they can not directly avoid it – and if the do-it-yourself approach is really out of the question, so the decent appearance and toolless design of these Orion rigs may well prove to be enough to make some purchasing decisions affect their path.

Like Razer’s new Blades, the Predator Orion 3000 and 5000 keep up with the times by equipping 12th generation Intel CPUs; The Predator Orion 3000’s RTX 3070 and Predator Orion 5000’s RTX 3080 will also ensure that they are ready to handle games up to 4K, right out of the box.

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