2017 promises to be an exciting year in PC technology if this year’s Consumer Electronics Show is any indication. Many manufacturers we visited were touting new motherboards, systems, and high-end laptops based on Intel’s new Kaby Lake chips and the Z270 chipset. Best of all, it looks like AMD is back in the enthusiast game with Ryzen processors and the AM4 chipset on the horizon. Power users can also look forward to the continued growth of VR, including new VR systems, better hardware support, and more innovative applications. Big trends from last year, such as RGB LEDs, 4K displays, and gaming peripherals, are also on an upward trajectory.
GIGABYTE announced a lot of products at CES, including some interesting cases and a gaming chair, but the company’s biggest focus was the expansion of its AORUS brand. Previously known primarily for notebooks, you’ll now see other premium gaming hardware under the AORUS brand, including motherboards and GPUs. The motherboards all feature RGB LEDs and a number of other gamer-centric features. We also saw a number of excellent mods in the suite; one of our favorites was Project Triptych, which took first place in GIGABYTE’S 30th Anniversary Mod2Win Challenge.
MSI is revamping much of its gaming laptop line with 7th Generation Intel Core processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and 1050 GPUs. New models include the GE72MVR, GE62MVR, GE72VR, and GE62VR. On the high end, many MSI GT and GS series laptops now support Hi-Res Audio to deliver the finest audio quality. The GT83VR, for example, features a SABRE HiFi DAC and supports 32-bit/384KHz sampling rates, while several of the GT73-, GS73-, and GS63-series models support 24-bit/192KHz sampling rates. MSI also showcased a host of Z270 motherboards and gaming systems outfitted with 7th Generation Intel Core processors.
AMD’s CES suite featured a wide array of prototype motherboards and systems with AMD Ryzen processors. We don’t have full processor details yet, but the new AM4 chipset is expected to support dual-channel DDR4 memory, PCle, NVMe SSDs, USB 3.1 storage, and PCle 3.0 graphics. The cutting-edge features will help move AMD back into the contention for enthusiast builds.
There will be several new Patriot Viper peripherals coming out this year, including gaming mice, headsets, and keyboards. The Viper V570 is a laser gaming mouse designed with both FPS and MMO gamers in mind. It features an Avago 9800 laser sensor that can track at up to 12,000dpi, as well as 13 programmable macro buttons—five of which are side buttons that you can quickly access with your thumb. Of the new keyboards, we like the Viper V770 with linear mechanical switches (Kailh Red) that actuate at 2mm for lightning-quick response.
In March, ENERMAX will release the NEOChanger, which is a DIY liquid-cooling pump and reservoir combo kit with RGB LEDs. Reservoirs are available in three heights (3.94 inch, 5.9 inch, and 7.87 inch), and ENERMAX includes a remote to adjust the LED color, lighting effect, and pump speed. The company was also showing off some attractive new cases and powerful PSUs.
CES can be an exhausting experience, and DXRacer’s booth was a great place to kick back and relax. The chair experts had a variety of their super comfortable thrones for everyone to try out, including the newly released Elite series and Tank series.
Sometime this summer, OCZ will introduce PCIe SSDs made with Toshiba’s BiCS 3D NAND. The prototype seen here (a 128GB drive) impressively shows off just how small and compact 3D NAND can be. OCZ tells us that the speedy SSDs will be available in typical M.2 form factors.
Deepcool’s Quadstellar builds upon the success of the Tristellar with four compartments and more space for the motherboard and GPUs. The Tristellar, for example, limited you to a Mini-ITX motherboard and one GPU. The prototype we saw supports a full-sized ATX motherboard and up to three graphics cards.
To create smoother LED lighting inside your case, Alphacool plans on releasing LED light strips. The Eislicht will be available in a few different sizes, lengths, and colors to match your build. Alphacool also has plans for new waterblocks, paintable radiators (with a white exterior that makes them easy to paint), and an external AIO radiator.
Shui-Shen Project. We could go on and on about all the excellent detail work in Mike Petereyn’s Shui-Shen Project, but what will really blow you away is the custom distribution panel with milled-out water channels. That’s right, the front panel window also serves as part of the liquid-cooling loop. Check out the detail on the 3D-printed GPU shroud, too.
PC Of Souls. If you think this rig looks good here, you should see how the UV-reactive elements of the case glow in the dark. Marc Molella’s PC Of Souls is an Avatar-themed PC featuring the movies iconic spirts and tree of souls that glow in dark. RGB illumination throughout the mod allows the PC Of Souls to have a constantly changing glow.