The PC’s been enjoying a resurgence over the last few years, and judging by what we witnessed at CES, the pedal will remain planted firmly to the metal in 2019. AMD, Intel, and Nvidia all hosted blockbuster keynotes brimming with big announcements. Monitors evolved beyond being simple 27-inch rectangles. Gaming laptops embraced innovation in wildly different ways. And there’s a lot of gear coming that’s just plain badass.

These are the big CES hardware reveals and trends that PC enthusiasts need to know about. Buckle up, and be sure to hit those links if you want deeper details about any of these topics.


Nvidia kicked CES off with a bang in its Sunday night keynote.

dsc00472 Brad Chacos/IDG

Unsurprisingly, the company continued its real-time ray tracing push, bringing the technology to the masses by announcing mobile RTX GPUs that appeared in almost every new gaming laptop at the show.

Nvidia also pushed its cutting-edge tech towards the mainstream with the $350 GeForce RTX 2060, a powerful graphics card that excels at both 1440p and 1080p gaming and comes packed with the dedicated RT and tensor core hardware needed for real-time ray tracing and AI-enhanced Deep Learning Super Sampling. The RTX 2060 isn’t hitting the streets until January 15, but it’s already hit our test bench and we absolutely love it even though it costs $90 more than its predecessor.

Then came the shocker.

Nvidia’s GeForce graphics cards will receive a driver update this month that allows them to tap into the variable refresh rate capabilities of VESA Adaptive Sync monitors—a.k.a. AMD FreeSync. Until now, GeForce GPUs only worked with Nvidia’s rival G-Sync monitors, which require special hardware and thus cost much more money. But that hardware and Nvidia’s oversight also gives G-Sync monitors a higher level of quality control; of the 400-plus FreeSync monitors Nvidia tested, only 12 met the requirements to earn a “G-Sync compatible” certification and have variable refresh rates automatically enabled by the new driver.

On the plus side, you’ll be able to manually enable variable refresh rates on non-certified monitors via the Nvidia Control Panel. On the minus side, things can sometimes get ugly if you do, from unwanted blurring to full-on “blinking” effects.

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