CES is a gloriously mad hodgepodge of different tech fields; the kind where smartphone chip makers share floor space with car manufacturers and sex toys. It’s also one of the biggest showcases of PC gaming hardware in the calendar, and CES 2022 has been no exception, with major component reveals from AMD, Intel, and Nvidia along with loads of gaming laptop, peripheral, and monitor announcements.
This year’s show is technically still going for another day, but like a Foo Fighters album, CES tends to front-load the good stuff. As such, it’s basically safe to start rounding up any PC gaming kit highlights. Some of these have been a long time coming – like the GeForce RTX 3050, Nvidia’s first XX50 desktop GPU with full ray tracing and DLSS support – while others might be pleasant surprises or eye-catching, if likely to be witheringly expensive, new concepts.
In no particular order, then, here’s the best PC gaming hardware of CES 2022…
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
At £239 / $249 (and we all know what happens to GPU prices these days), you probably couldn’t call the GeForce RTX 3050 a “budget” graphics card in the same way that the GTX 1050 and GTX 1650 were. But this model, not to be confused with the laptop-grade RTX 3050 that's been around a while, is something that Nvidia’s stable has lacked since the launch of the RTX 20 series: a focused 1080p warrior that offers an affordable entry point into DLSS and basic ray tracing. With 8GB of VRAM, it’s also equipped with double the memory of AMD’s closest equivalent: the Radeon RX 6500 XT.
Intel Core i9-12900HK
Alternative subheading: “A bunch of new Intel CPUs, including the Core i9-12900HK”. Intel did in fact detail dozens of 12th Gen chips to accompany its existing six Alder Lake models, with the desktop contingent focusing on lower specs and lower prices. Together with the launch of mid-range and entry chipsets like B660 and H610, budget builders will have a lot more 12th Gen options for their rig.
Nonetheless, I’ll confess to having my head turned by the Core i9-12900HK, Intel’s newest top-of-the-line mobile CPU. With six burly P-cores and eight power-saving E-cores, plus a maximum Turbo speed of 5GHz, you can expect this to be the brains behind the most powerful gaming laptops in 2022.
AMD Ryzen 6000 APUs
While the Ryzen 7000 series of desktop CPUs also got a formal announcement at CES 2022, and is absolutely among the PC gaming hardware to watch this year, the lack of specs or performance details means the new Ryzen 6000 APUs had a more memorable showing during AMD’s event itself. The big deal here is their RDNA 2 integrated graphics, which support FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) upscaling and promise gaming power well above the likes of Nvidia’s discrete GeForce MX450. Especially for games that support FSR, this could finally open up the door to slim and light laptops achieving solid 60fps/1080p play on medium and even high graphical settings. We'll see!
New Razer Blade laptops
You can usually count on the Razer Blade laptop series to stay up-to-late on the latest hardware, and the new Blade 14, Blade 15 and Blade 17 have wasted no time in stuffing themselves with freshly-announced AMD/Intel/Nvidia gubbins.
Specifically, the Blade 15 and Blade 17 can both come fitted with Intel’s new Core i9-12900H (not the overclockable Core i9-12900HK, sadly) and GeForce RTX 3070 Ti or RTX 3080 Ti GPUs; Nvidia revealed the mobile versions of both these graphics chips at CES 2022 as well. The Blade 14 also has these GPUs options, though rather than Intel, the new models include an AMD Ryzen 6900HX APU from the new line. Hey, just because they’ve got upgraded integrated graphics doesn’t mean they can’t be paired with a dedicated GPU – though in this case you can switch between the two, which should be useful for saving power when you’re not playing.
Razer Enki Pro HyperSense
Back 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 in sync with in-game action. Three years later, only HyperSense headsets have come to market, though that could change with Razer’s Enki Pro HyperSense gaming chair.
With the help of a massive haptic engine mounted in the chair’s base, the Enki Pro HyperSense is designed to buzz and twitch to the beat of your games. This will probably involve more cables than I’d personally be comfortable attaching to a spinny chair, but it’s a fun idea, and I can see it working especially well with a HyperSense headset delivering the same synced vibrations to your face. Right now this is technically a concept design, without a price or release date, though it does look pretty complete. And isn’t as outright batshit as Razer’s other CES 2022 concept product, the fanciful Project Sophia modular desk/65in OLED screen hybrid thingamajig.
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
HyperX’s CES 2022 focused on updates to or spinoffs from existing kit. Some of these will be worth keeping an eye on, like the new wireless version of the PulseFire Haste (one of the best gaming mice) and the Alloy Origins 65 keyboard, a bigger brother to the Alloy Origins 60 (one of the best gaming keyboards).
The Cloud Alpha Wireless headset stole the show, however, with its nigh-unbelievable 300 hours of battery life. It could manage only half of that and still be an absurdly long-lasting headphone/mic combo, and knowing from experience HyperX’s talent for crafting comfortable, great-sounding headsets, this could potentially be their best one yet. We’ll know for sure when it releases in February.
Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate
The original ROG Strix Flare keyboard is an old favourite of mine, and the freshly revealed ROG Strix Flare II looks like a welcome update. It’s a sleeker, less moody-looking mech board that swaps in higher-quality PBT keycaps and a choice of either Cherry MX switches or Asus’s own ROG NX switches, while keeping features like media controls and a detachable wrist rest.
Most drastically, the little acrylic insert that you could customise on the original has been replaced by a dot matrix display, very much like the one on the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop. I can see the flashiness of this putting some people off, but as far as personalisation goes, it’s definitely easier to set a display than to stencil a slab of acrylic. Or wait for a custom sticker to arrive from Etsy.
Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 and Odyssey Ark
Even the best gaming monitors so far haven’t been able to rustle up the dream combination of a 4K resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate. Enter the Odyssey Neo G8, a monitor that is at once a more sensible 32in alternative to Samsung’s sprawling Odyssey Neo G9 and an ambitious attempt to marry these two high-end specs.
It’s an enticing prospect for sure, yet even this like a little drip next to Samsung’s other monitor announce, the Odyssey Ark. This is 55in of curved 4K display that, unlike pretty much all bendy monitors, can rotate 90 degrees into a portrait mode – a portrait mode that towers over your seating position. In truth I like this thing for its wanton lunacy more than any realistic practical applications, though in fairness the screen is such a goliath it still looks there’s room to comfortably play games in a standard 16:9 window even when tipped on its side. It’s also worth noting that both these monitors use Samsung’s mini LED tech, a potentially generational upgrade to LCD displays that allows for brighter, more finely-controlled backlighting.
Acer Predator Orion 3000 and 5000
The refreshed Predator Orion 3000 and 5000 are immediately more desirable than the old versions ever were, mainly because they look like PCs and not a Bionicle figure’s shinpad. Amid the misery of recent graphics card prices, pre-built PCs have emerged as a often viable way to blunt the impact of rip-offery, even if they can’t avoid it outright - and if the DIY approach is truly out the question then the decent looks and toolless designs of these Orion rigs might well prove enough to sway some buying decisions their way.
Like Razer’s new Blades, the Predator Orion 3000 and 5000 get with the times by equipping 12th Gen Intel CPUs; the Predator Orion 3000’s RTX 3070 and the Predator Orion 5000’s RTX 3080 will also ensure they’re ready to handle games up to 4K, straight out of the box.