For those who didn’t know, Computex 2019 was held last week in Taipei, Taiwan. The hardware show isn’t really about games (that show starts in just a few days), but that doesn’t mean gamers should ignore it. Tech geeks will absorb every ounce of hardware geekdom coming out of Taipei, and while not all of it affects the average gamer, there were still plenty of announcements that play a part in molding the gaming scene. So, while we wait for the start of E3, here are the top stories coming out of Computex that impact gaming.
Ryzen 3000 series CPUs
AMD turned 50 this year and instead of being met by a bevy of over the hill jokes they are starting their 50s strong by officially announcing the 3rd generation of Ryzen CPUs will be available on July 7th. Priced from $199 for the Ryzen 5 3600 up to $499 for the flagship Ryzen 9 3900X, these processors are based on AMD’s new 7nm Zen 2 architecture, proving that in the computing world bigger isn’t actually better.
What does this mean for gamers? Simply put, AMD claims the 3900X will be able to go toe to toe with Intel’s beast i9-9920X at less than half the cost, with the other Ryzen chips pairing up against some of Intel’s popular gaming chips like the i9-9900K and i7-9700K, again at a lower price. You can bet the benchmarks shown during the presentation were hand-picked to show off the strengths of the new processors so it will be exciting to see if the 3rd gen Ryzens will hold up to the claims in real-world testing.
If you are like me and are already dreaming of upgrading your current PC with unbelievable performance at a price that won’t break the bank you can check out the specs for all the chips here.
Intel Core i9-9900KS CPU
The big news isn’t that Intel is offering a boosted version of the 9900K. Well, being guaranteed a sustained 5.0GHz clock speed across all of its 8 cores is pretty cool, even if we aren’t sure what the price premium is going to be when the processor launches in Q4 of this year. The reason the i9-9900KS announcement made this list is that it is all that Intel had to counter the Ryzen 3rd Gen announcement. It was more of a whimper coming from the corner of, “Hey guys, don’t forget we are here too.”
There isn’t anything new about the 9900KS; it is the exact same design as the 9900K. All Intel has really done is remove the silicon lottery from the equation by cherry picking the best processors as they come off the production line. On the flip side, this means anyone picking up a regular 9900K probably won’t get a chip capable of hitting the 5.0 GHz mark.
Corsair Hydro X Cooling
An all in one water cooler has been the no-fuss way for enthusiasts to cool their systems, but it’s hard to deny the sexiness of an open loop cooler. Just browsing a cooling manufacturer’s site for a few minutes to scare the uninitiated away though. To make your entry into the open loop market, Corsair has announced their new Hydro X Series cooling.
Corsair has announced a full line of parts to help out the novice. They have already done the testing to ensure all the components are compatible, but they took it a step further. Their configurator will even spit out a list of every part you need to build a system tailored to fit within your specific case. You will still have to take the leap of putting it all together, but this looks to be a great way to get more gamers to use open loop cooling.
Radeon RX5000 Family Graphics Cards
During the AMD keynote speech, CEO Dr. Lisa Su teased us with the first solid information about the new Radeon Navi graphics cards, again based on the new 7nm manufacturing process. They had benchmarks running for an RX5700, and their tests show it to be slightly better than an RTX2070. The demo they had running was Strange Brigade, a game well known to be well tuned for Radeon cards.
There wasn’t much else shown about the card, but more info should come out during E3. One question I have is how much the bump in Radeon performance is from the new chip and how much is the increased bandwidth PCIe 4.0 is helping out.
We have known about PCIe 4.0 for a while now, but Computex was our first chance to see tech that will actually use it. AMD obviously has the jump on Intel and NVidia when it comes to PCIe 4.0, but that will be short lived. Gamers will be able to take advantage of the increased bandwidth sooner or later regardless of what chip manufacturer they use.
Even more important is graphics cards aren’t the only thing that will take advantage of PCIe 4.0. Many of the new X570 motherboards (the only boards that will take advantage of PCIe 4.0) are sporting multiple NVMe slots. Anyone who has already installed an NVMe drive knows how much quicker games load, and now we will be able to add more SSD drives than ever before.
ARM Cortex A77 And G77 Processors For Mobile
I know it’s hard for some gamers to accept, but gaming on mobile devices is here to stay. Mobile gaming has moved way past Candy Crush and mobile processors have to keep up with more demanding games. With this in mind, UK based Arm announced the Cortex A77 processor design. Arriving for Android phones in 2020, the new chip design is expected to give a 20% boost in performance over the current A76. Arm’s new GPU, the G77, is also touting a 40% speed increase over the current GPU design. Together, the new chips should give mobile gamers stutterless HD gaming while on the go for some time to come.
Intel Ice Lake CPUs
While Intel didn’t have much to counter the new Ryzen chips, they did have something to show off with their announcement of the 10th gen Ice Lake CPUs for laptops. While many gamers still stick with their desktop PC for gaming, some are turning to laptops so they can take their gaming on the road.
The exciting piece for gamers is the improved performance of Ice Lake’s integrated graphics. Intel has released benchmark results which show the gen 11 graphics of Ice Lake providing a 1.4x to 2x increase over their current integrated processors. They have also made the bold claim that Ice Lake can match the current AMD integrated graphics, at least at low settings. If size and battery life are major considerations when picking a gaming laptop, it looks like Ice Lake, expected to arrive in laptops before the end of the year, will be worth a strong look.
As I already mentioned, more gamers are picking the portability of laptops over the pure power of a desktop computer. Intel’s Ice Lake CPU was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to gaming laptop news at Computex. Many of the big buzzwords for the week were centered around mobile computing: Wi-Fi 6, 5G, and Project Athena to name just a few. But let’s talk about what Computex had for gamers looking for a new laptop.
All of the major brands like Asus, Alienware, and Gigabyte had new or upgraded machines on display, proudly puffing their chests out as they spewed out all the cool specs a gamer would want: 17 in screens, 240 Hz refresh rates, and GeForce RTX graphics cards, all in as small a laptop as they could manage. While other manufacturers are going slimmer, MSI proudly displayed the GT76 Titan, an 8.8-pound behemoth. Packing the punch of a desktop i9-9900K processor and a GeForce RTX 2080, the Titan is for the gamer that doesn’t want to compromise on power by going mobile. A fully decked out GT76 will set you back a whopping $4899 so you may have to make plenty of compromises in the rest of your life. You know, like eating every day.
Lower Prices For The Masses
Not technically an announcement made at Computex, this is the end result for anyone who isn’t ready to pony up the cash for top end components. Many things like the end of the cryptocurrency craze and ongoing memory price drops are driving the cost of new computers and upgrades down, and new tech always helps people looking for good deals on mid or low-end gear.
The most obvious example of this effect is the pricing on current Ryzen CPUs. With the 3rd gen chips just around the corner, you can find a second gen Ryzen 5 2600 in the sub $150 range. For those with really old systems looking for a budget upgrade, you can grab a Ryzen 1600 and slap it on a cheap B350 or B450 motherboard for less than $150. Not too shabby for a CPU that can still hold up to modern games.