Best of CES 2018: The top PC gizmos you’ll want to own this year

CES 2018

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is over for another year. It was a slightly weird show this year, marred by an embarrassing power outage, one too many pointless robots (Cloi, I’m looking at you) and the creeping feeling that the world’s biggest tech show might just be becoming a bit irrelevant.

Fortunately, PC gamers still have plenty to look forward to in 2018, from giganto gaming screens and teeny tiny powerhouse NUCs to mouse mats that can charge your phone, metal-clad motherboards, and probably yet another hike in GPU prices when EVGA unleashes its crypto mining dream machine power supply that can run something silly like 14 Nvidia GTX 1070s all at the same time (thanks, guys). But all that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read on for what I’m officially deeming the best of CES 2018, all without a single stroppy robot in sight.

Vive Pro

HTC’s fancy pants Vive Pro goggles

It will probably end up being far too expensive for us mere mortals, but HTC’s new Vive Pro headset looks to be a significant upgrade over its predecessor. With a new higher resolution OLED display, a re-jigged headband, proper headphones and the option to make it completely wireless with its new adaptor doodad, VR might finally get its second wind.

Bezel-Free Kit Scenario shot in use

Asus’ magic-powered bezel-free monitor kit

We’re filing this one in the ‘mad, definitely not likely to launch ever in the history of the universe’ folder of our CES highlights, but Asus’s bezel-free kit is just too bonkers to ignore. Using mounted vertical lenses and optical wizardry, this little piece of kit effectively makes the gap between multi-monitor setups disappear, creating the appearance of a seamless wraparound display. It doesn’t need any power or extra software to operate, either, as it’s all done by light refraction MAGIC.

Intel NUC Radeon Vega

Intel’s super-charged NUC with AMD Vega graphics

This tiddly barebones PC is the most powerful ultra compact system Intel’s ever built, and it’s all thanks to its brand-new Core chip with in-built AMD Vega M graphics. Capable of VR and pretty decent 1080p gaming, we’re all crossing our fingers that this might signal the second coming of the Steam machine.

NZXT motherboard

NZXT’s first ever motherboard

PC case maker NZXT surprised everyone this year by announcing that not only had they made their very first motherboard, but that it might also be the best motherboard ever created. Designed to support Intel’s Z370 chipset, this LGA 1151 board not only looks incredibly smart, but you can also choose from a variety of coloured heatsink covers or go all out with its white and black metal options.

AMD CES 2018

AMD’s new Ryzen+ CPUs

This April will see the launch of the second generation of AMD’s Ryzen+ CPUs. Those looking to upgrade can expect power-saving boosts and a slight increase in speed, and they’ll even slot straight into your existing motherboard. Even better, AMD’s dropping the price of all its current 1000-series CPUs in the run-up to the big day. Yes, everything’s still borked by the Spectre flaw, but a bargain’s a bargain, right?

BFGD Nvidia

Nvidia’s ginormous gaming screens

Just in case 34in ultrawide monitors weren’t enough for you, Nvidia’s going all-in on big screen gaming this year with its 65in 4K HDR G-Sync 120Hz ‘big format gaming displays’. With a built-in Nvidia Shield streamer as well, you can even play Android games and watch Netflix on them as well. Expect models from Acer, Asus and HP by the end of the year.

Corsair peripherals

Corsair cut the cables with new suite of wireless peripherals

Corsair went big on wireless at this year’s CES, unveiling a keyboard, mouse and mouse mat that are all due out at the end of January. The K63 keyboard has Cherry MX switches and all the RGB gubbins you could wish for, plus a rather tasty 75 hour battery life. The Dark Core RGB wireless mouse, on the other hand, can last 24 hours and has built-in Qi wireless charging – perfect for its new RGB wireless and Bluetooth-enabled MM1000 mouse pad, which also supports Qi charging. Even better, the MM1000 will also charge any Qi-enabled device, like your phone. Juicy…

Hyper X Cloud Flight

Kingston’s first wireless headset is a battery life beast

Not to be outdone on the peripherals front, Kingston announced their first wireless gaming headset, the HyperX Cloud Flight. With a battery life of up to 30 hours, it’s got more endurance than every other gaming headest available today. It’s also TeamSpeak and Discord certified and comes with a detachable noise-cancelling microphone and LED lights, and I’ll be testing one very shortly, as they’re available RIGHT NOW for £140.

EVGA power supply

EVGA becomes public enemy No.1 with insane 2220W power supply

Just when you thought you’d had enough of cryptocurrency-based GPU price hikes, EVGA go and announce this ridiculous 2200W power supply that can run seven Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti cards at the same time, according to PC Gamer. EVGA couldn’t actually demonstrate the Supernova 2200 P2 at the show as it requires a 240V outlet, but crypto-miners are likely to go bananas over this thing.

Steelseries Rival 600

Steelseries’ all-seeing Rival 600 mouse

Look at you sitting there all smug with your single sensor gaming mouse. You think you’ve got it all, don’t you? Well, Steelseries’ new Rival 600 is about to put you in your place, as this wired mouse has not one, but TWO sensors for ultimate precision – Steelseries’ proprietary TrueMove3 sensor and an optical sensor whose sole purpose in life is to track lift-off distance. Weighing just 96g, you can also customise its balance with its eight 4g weights in up to 256 different combos. How about that for your esports, eh?

Dell XPS 15

Dell’s XPS 15 goes convertible with Intel/AMD CPU combo

Intel said earlier this week that both Dell and HP were working on ultra slim devices that would utilise its new Core with Vega M graphics CPUs, and now we know what they are. In Dell’s case, it’s the rather lovely XPS 15 2-in-1, which is apparently both the most powerful 15in hybrid in the world right now, as well as the smallest and thinnest. Measuring a mere 16mm thick, the new XPS 15 also has a 4K screen and a shiny maglev keyboard that uses the same floating tech as high-speed trains. Needless to say, I’m very much on board with this.

Sennheiser GSP 600

Sennheiser’s flagship GSP 600 headset goes all-out on comfort

It’s not often I get excited about a new headset, but I’m intrigued by Sennheiser’s so-called ‘adjustable contact pressure’ feature on its fresh-off-the-showfloor GSP 600. As well as being able to adjust the overall size and fit of the headset on the side of the headband, it also looks like you’ll be able to use the slider on top of the headset to control how tight it feels. It’s also got a brand new ear cup design, new microphone, metal hinges – new everything, basically – and I can’t wait to get it in for testing.

30 Comments

  1. dangermouse76 says:

    I just want some cheap DDR4 RAM for my R5 1600 build PC!

  2. Mungrul says:

    Ooo, that Sennheiser GSP 600 headset looks very nice, and I’m a sucker for a good headset.

    • Cederic says:

      I hate to do this but be chary of the Sennheiser headsets.

      I’ve got two mobile phone headsets, two PC 373Ds and a number of older Sennheiser products. All four of the newer ones suffer from microphones that just can’t pick up the sound of my voice.

      Research online suggests that the issue here isn’t the person speaking, so unless Sennheiser sort out their drivers/software it may be worth waiting for some reviews or testing before buying.

  3. Avioto says:

    I would really like a smaller version of those Nvidia monitors, don’t want a 65 inch monitor in front of my face. Somewhere in the 32-40 inch range would be great!

    • Sakkura says:

      There are already tons of smaller options. This is one of the first really TV-sized monitors that can fill both roles without being compromised.

      • Avioto says:

        No, there’s not a single option with these specs actually. The only thing that comes close is the LG 32GK850G, which is 32 inch. But that still doesn’t have 4K or HDR.

  4. Faldrath says:

    Wow, that bezel-free triple screen setup would be so amazing for racing games…

    • DD says:

      and still worse then even the worst VR headset….

      • BlueTemplar says:

        You seem to lack imagination for how bad the worst of the VR headsets can be…

    • BlueTemplar says:

      Funnily enough, couldn’t you get a pretty great experience by picking an placing the screens mimicking the real car (which also has “bezels”) ?

      • Stromko says:

        I tried the multiple monitor -as- single display thing a few years ago (in the form of ATI’s Eyefinity), even went out and purchased matching 1080p monitors so the pixels and color balance would line up just right.

        The problem wasn’t the bezels, but software support. None of the games I really wanted to play with it actually supported such an extremely wide field of view. Every game I tried would render 3D environments and objects in a stretched and distorted manner on the side screens. As best I could tell this was either an idiotic attempt to simulate ‘peripheral vision’ (why my own, real-life eyes are incapable of simulating this for themselves, I do not know), or more likely, that these games just weren’t designed for that field of view or to pump out that many pixels and therefore Eyefinity would just stretch things out to fill all three displays.

        Notable exceptions were Planetary Annihilation, which was rather forward-thinking about multi-monitor setups, and games with a lot of 2D menus vying for space, like Banished and Cities in Motion 2. I don’t own any racing or flight simulators as they’re not my cup of tea, so while I would expect better support in those enthusiast spaces I really can’t say.

        Ultimately I went back to just using each monitor as a separate display, and after awhile pared back down to using only 2 monitors at a time as the 3rd was really overkill for my amount of multitasking.

        • Stromko says:

          One viable alternative that I wasn’t able to realize though, was mounting the monitors vertically. The monitors I had weren’t compliant with any mounting standard so I couldn’t try it, but I had seen shots of people with three monitors lined up vertically and therefore able to achieve a high amount of pixels without an very high (and widely unsupported) wide field of view.

          It all seems a bit silly now that we have access to huge 4K displays, and VR is becoming more of a thing which makes the immersion of wrap-around displays seem antiquated.

          • BlueTemplar says:

            My previous cheap 2011 LCD screen has 90° rotation… but weirdly enough, I get the impression that the angle of view (where the colors aren’t noticeably distorted) shrinks when I place it in the vertical configuration !
            (might be because my eyes end up off-center in the vertical configuration)

            But even then, you’re likely to get issues with non-standard resolutions… especially in games !
            (and especially in console ports where you’re lucky to get more options than 720p and 1080p…)

            It seems to me that you haven’t actually tried VR? Current generation VR is woefully inadequate for anything involving small elements and text, like cockpit controls in simulators :
            link to theregister.co.uk

  5. LewdPenguin says:

    Not sure there’s much there I’d actually want to own really.

    That Asus triple setup would be nice if I was in the market for a triple screen setup (which I’m not), but only with the proviso of if it looks vastly better than in that picture when viewed in person, because going off that one picture it’s a neat idea with a borderline unusable execution.

    Also how the hell did Corsair manage to produce such terrible battery life, and on top of that have someone then pour praise on it? I can sort of understand having a super micro battery in the mouse since it continues to be trendy for them to come light enough to fly off your desk at the merest hint of fart in the room (24h is still incredibly short though), but 75 hours from the keyboard (which is presumably a best-case scenario with all the landing lights turned off) is frankly utter garbage when I consider that I last changed the batteries in mine sometime probably 9-10 months ago. I guess they’re only marketing them at people willing to buy the entire set at once and felt they could use the teeniest cells possible on the assumption the things will never get used away from their home mat.

    • HiroTheProtagonist says:

      Oddly enough, the only thing announced that has me at all interested in Razer’s Project Linda. I generally don’t even like Razer products (their keyboards are overpriced, Romer-G switches are just overpriced membranes, their headsets suck and the logo is almost embarassing) but the phone they recently put out seems like a decent deal and the integration of laptop shell with the phone as a touchpad seems like a decent proposition. I’ve been looking into replacing my now 8-year old laptop and 4 year old smartphone, and this looks like it could pull double duty.

      • clonex10100 says:

        Romer g switches are logitech, not razer. Also, what do you use your laptop for? I really can’t think of a use case where an android laptop would be better than a linux or windows one.

    • Sucram says:

      Your right, the keyboard battery life is 75 hours without backlighting, with it’s 15 hours!

    • BlueTemplar says:

      I’ve heard that the bezel-expanding setup is potentially compatible with any screen… and might be cheap since it doesn’t involve any electronics !

      Yeah, the batteries in my keyboard last *years* !

  6. khamul says:

    It’d be nice to have a bit more detail on how ‘HDR’ the HDR monitors were this year, and where there are some good affordable ones yet: what kind of brightness levels they can reach, and how much of an impact it has. I would expect (hope!) that this year is when HDR starts to happen properly.

    I think the magical bezel removal thing is potentially quite significant. I’ve been watching Direct LED for a while – you know, the huge screens you get in shopping centers and suchlike, made from square tiles all hooked up together? It’s starting to look pretty good. My money says that’ll be consumer-scale and ready to go on the wall of your living room in 5 years, and being able to join the gaps is a big part of that.

  7. Fade2Gray says:

    Pft! GPU price hikes are so 2017. These days it all about total lack of inventory.

  8. LearningToSmile says:

    I’m probably going to buy the Vive Pro.

    I’m expecting it to land around the launch price of the original kit, maybe slightly more expensive(though that would be pretty stupid) while the predecessor gets cheaper. The only disappointment is that we’re only getting the HMD first, and the whole kit will come later.

    • BlueTemplar says:

      I’d wait to see first reviews of how well the wireless works if I were you…

  9. LuNatic says:

    I was hoping for release dates on Volta. Oh well.

  10. Rivalus says:

    MAGIC!!! I wonder how much does it cost when it’s released? I do fancy some bezel free monitor. I’m just hoping it still useful for someone who use it for coding and browsing too.

    • BlueTemplar says:

      Yeah, hopefully the bezel parts of the screen won’t get too stretched…

      But then won’t you get even less standard resolutions? I fear compatibility issues.
      You might have to live with black bars on the far left/right, or worse, the picture getting cut there…
      (How do triple screen setups deal with side screen UI features like scrollbars anyway?)

  11. Don Reba says:

    The Philips 436M6 display was mesmerizing. My personal impression after looking at the different types of HDR displays is that the VESA rating is quite helpful: HDR 400 is barely HDR, HDR 600 is good, and HDR 1000 is spectacular. All LG’s HDR displays were HDR 600.

  12. FogRender says:

    So my GTX 970 met it’s doom running Shadow of War at 2560×1440. Machine wouldn’t boot with it in (even tried the oven bake trick). I found myself unexpectedly immersed in the current marketplace for graphics cards. This is ridiculous. I mean, I’m a free-market loving capitalist and all, but….. Blimey! Had to feel lucky snagging a 3gb 1060 for $280, which is not sufficient for my needs, but there’s only so much reaming a lad can take…..
    I hope ranting here will cause the manufacturers and resellers to amend their practices… /s

  13. BlueTemplar says:

    A maglev keyboard in the XPS 15 convertible ?
    So, if this is the kind of maglev that uses superconducting magnets…
    those would have to be cooled down to -270°C/-450°F!
    Think of the overclocking possibilities !!!
    (no wonder it’s the most powerful convertible around…)
    (j/k)

    Though, yeah, you would *need* overclocking like that to be able to run those 4K*2K pixels ! (j/k 2)
    (On a 15 inch screen, this seems to be more for marketing than anything… has anyone tried to compare FullHD (and better) and 4K on such a screen (with similar screen technologies and color gamuts), even at laptop-use-case distances, if you can see the difference?
    Ah, well, at least this might mean better 4K compatibility for software on PC’s with larger screens…)

  14. Vayra says:

    Strange to see NZXT’s motherboard here, because it is literally the worst MB at the highest possible price point one can buy. Crappy VRM, crappy I/O, low quality ECS junk.