Last week, the trends and future of technology and electronics was showcased at this year’s annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES, for short) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show featured a glimpse into the future and what we can expect from the current tech scene. Usually a haven for tech that improves our daily lives such as autonomous driving, one thing I didn’t expect was such a strong focus on PC gaming.
PC gaming and the hardware associated with it are usually left for shows like Computex in Taipei – where enthusiasts within the sector gather feverishly. Surprisingly, this year’s CES showcased a plethora of changes to the scene. While Virtual Reality and its launch is a major milestone in 2016, other tech revealed during CES could also have a substantial impact on the PC gaming scene.
Razer Core – Turning your ultrabook into a beast
Razer has always been at the forefront of gaming, especially within the PC market, so it’s no surprise to see them exhibiting something new and unique – that being the Razer Core. The Razer Core is an external graphics card solution for ultrabooks and laptops.
With consumers opting for thinner and lighter solutions for easy commuting, the Razer Core is an ideal product that allows users to easily add in a beefy graphics card without the need of a second PC. All you need to do is throw a graphics card into the Razer Core and boom – your ultrabook has the graphical power to play the latest games without the need of another PC.
This solution is great, and it’s actually been done before courtesy of Alienware and MSI. Why hasn’t it take off? Well, the problem was that the other companies didn’t offer a connection that could work with any brand outside their own. They used a proprietary connection that only their range of products could utilize, whereas the Razer Core uses Thunderbolt 3.0 (USB-C) – a connection that current and future laptops/ultrabooks have.
Razer didn’t think just for themselves, and now we can potentially see this solution grow better than the others did because more people can make use of it without extensive knowledge of the nicks and knacks of upgrading a PC.
The Return of All-In-Ones
Remember All-In-Ones? They were somewhat practical but the issue was the same as above. The technology didn’t lift off because it was limited, and there was no way to upgrade and tinker because manufacturers locked down the hardware you could change inside. The best part about a PC is the ability to swap out parts that are outdated without the hassle of buying a new computer.
A whole range of companies showed off at least one all-in-one product during this year’s CES. I was originally skeptical, but I was proven wrong – the scene has changed and manufacturers have looked at the past and fundamentally improved on the practicality of these products. Most of the brands shown off at CES featured a graphics card solution that was easily swappable, and one of the biggest white box manufacturers in the USA, Maingear, had a product which showcased the ease of expansion. There was also one by MSI that had the enclosure sat on the computer which looked pretty handy for swapping out graphics cards as well.
The current trend here is that PC gaming is trying to streamline its market. With the Razer Core, it will help make it easier for consumers who may not know anything about upgrading PCs, nor building one, to easily swap out their graphics card. It’s also a much easier solution, too. Looking at myself as a PC gamer – I have two systems, the gaming laptop by Metabox and a custom gaming PC I’ve built. The laptop, while small, can be a burden at times because of the weight. I couldn’t find any laptops thinner than its small form factor that still packs enough punch to run the latest games adequately. Having two systems can also suck at times. I could be reviewing a game on my desktop and the next day transfer it to my laptop so I can continue with it on the fly. I live a very mobile lifestyle especially with what I do, so having a unified solution like the Razer Core would be really quite ideal.
This is the way the go for the future of PC gaming. With so much happening within the scene, such as the entry of VR and the competition with consoles, having a solution that’s easily accessible and upgradeable for everyone is the ideal road for the market to grow.