By Jerry Yu ‘19, Technology Reporter 1-8-19
What do the new trends with Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 have to do with gaming? Let’s take a swim in the ocean of possibilities for the PC, mobile, and VR.
1) Real-time ray tracing
This year at CES, Nvidia (or NVIDIA) officially announced the RTX 2060, a graphics processing unit (GPU) that is designed for a more affordable, yet more powerful gaming PC. The NVIDIA DLSS technology, the main focus of the presentation, takes advantage of machine learning to solve the problem of real-time ray tracing. Instead of tracing every ray of light, it learns from a variety of settings and their real-life looks to help predict what the light rays will do, without really tracing every ray. Developers like Electronic Arts (EA) and Netease are jumping onto the DLSS train to make their games look better for players, and this vast superiority in visuals can make PC games attractive again after concerns of growth plateauing due to rising costs.
Intel and NVIDIA both are trying to make devices more portable. Intel launched their new Foveros design that allows them to stack what would have taken an entire laptop and end up with an entire motherboard less than 3 in2. This will make computers much smaller with more room for other functions, potentially enabling significantly more powerful mobile gaming devices running desktop-grade games. Meanwhile, NVIDIA announced their Max-Q design for the RTX series. Max-Q is a compact design of NVIDIA GPUs announced along their GTX 10 series, allowing laptops with NVIDIA graphics to be thinner, or in the case of ASUS, over 50% thinner. There is no longer the need to carry around a bulky laptop larger than a calculus textbook. In fact, the new Razer Blade laptop has the thickness of a composition book. This means that, along with the introduction of 5G connectivity, PC gaming will be available at more locations, and potentially challenge the mobile platform in accessibility.
If you have looked at the back of a old-school gaming laptop, you find a messy wall of ports - HDMI, USB, audio jacks, a large power port, as well as many fans. However, LG released a new display that can be connected through USB-C thunderbolt and carried around freely. In 2019, we expect further growth of USB-C Thunderbolt applications, from high-speed external storage to 5K display connectivity. Another application rising through the years is external graphics. A portable low-power laptop can take advantage of the extremely fast data transfer and fast charging provided by the Thunderbolt ports to turn themselves into a gaming PC. We might see a future where one simple laptop can be transformed into different computer setups by connecting it to various accessories.
With all of these exciting developments in the world of gaming, it makes you want to pick out a console and play your heart out. Go ahead, game away!