The Consumer Electronics Show has gone virtual this year, but it’s still the same broad trade gathering as always. You’re more likely to find a refrigerator with feelings than a lot of gaming-specific news buried in the headlines of the event. But that doesn’t mean CES is devoid of products gamers should care about. On day one of CES, the biggest announcements involved extra-large TVs from TCL and Intel CPUs.
I’ll get to the roundup of those bigger stories after some of the smaller news items.
LG is working with Google to bring the cloud-gaming service Stadia into 2021 LG TVs. This means you won’t need an external Chromecast — although you will still need a gamepad. One of the promises of cloud gaming is that you don’t need hardware beyond what you already own, but so far TV apps for Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now, Xbox Game Pass, and Amazon Luna are still rare. Maybe Google and LG will start to change that.
And then before I get to Intel’s desktop CPUs, it’s worth pointing out its new mobile chips. Intel Alder Lake CPUs will power a new generation of laptops with a design that echoes what Apple is doing. Like the ARM-based M1 in the various Macs, Alder Lake uses a combination of high-efficiency and high-power cores. This enables the CPU to shift intelligently to “sip power” whenever possible. This isn’t too important for gaming, but it does signify that we may get more laptops that can work both as gaming machines and as sleek, lightweight productivity tools.
Oh, Sony said that PlayStation 5 is selling well and Arcade1Up has a new lineup of home machines.
TCL is making really big TVs
TCL has turned into the go-to brand for anyone looking for a gaming TV on a budget. And in 2021, it’s looking to expand its position in the market. To do that, it’s also expanding the size of its televisions.
TCL plans to offer 85-inch displays across multiple quality tiers. Importantly, its new top-end 6-Series will also include support for 120Hz, variable refresh rate (VRR), and an 8K resolution. That likely means it will also support HDMI 2.1, but TCL didn’t specify that precisely. If you own an Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, or a new AMD or Nvidia GPU, a massive 85-inch TCL could potentially take full advantage of that hardware. Now, let’s see if it’ll do all of that at an affordable price — TCL hasn’t announced those details yet.
Intel Rocket Lake-S processors may keep Core in the game
In addition to a number of other processor families, Intel also has new CPUs for desktop. The Rocket Lake-S chips are still using Intel’s aging 14nm manufacturing process, but Intel decided to “backport” the 10nm architecture it’s using on Alder Lake to 14nm. This means that Intel could only fit eight cores into the same space it crammed 10 cores into last generation. But while that’s a step back, Intel is also claiming a 19% gain in instructions per clock.
To put all of that simply, the Rocket Lake-S chips could end up edging out AMD’s Ryzen 5000-series in terms of gaming performance. That would help keep Intel in the fight while it continues to struggle to fully transition to its 10nm process.
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