The PC gaming hardware we’re most looking forward to in 2021

The PC gaming {hardware} we’re most wanting ahead to in 2021

Regardless of a flurry of recent CPU and graphics card launches on the finish of final yr, 2021 is already shaping as much as be fairly a busy yr for PC gaming {hardware}. Not solely have we received Intel’s new eleventh Gen Rocket Lake processors due earlier than the tip of March, however 2021 may even be the yr Intel lastly enter the graphics card enviornment with their new desktop Xe GPUs. That’s not all both, as we’re additionally more likely to see Nvidia’s RTX 30 collection GPUs make their manner over to gaming laptops, plus considerably sooner sport loading occasions because of Microsoft’s DirectStorage tech. So, that will help you carry on high of every little thing that’s developing, I’ve put collectively this useful information on all of the thrilling new {hardware} we’re most enthusiastic about in 2021.

The majority of this yr’s new PC gaming {hardware} bulletins will doubtless come subsequent week when CES 2021 (aka: tech Christmas) begins on January eleventh. It will likely be right here that {hardware} makers unveil the exact line-up of recent gaming screens, laptops, SSDs and the like, and I’ll be overlaying all these bulletins intimately subsequent week. For now, although, listed here are the broad strokes of what’s developing in {hardware} land for 2021, and man alive it seems fairly darn thrilling. Should you’ve been enthusiastic about upgrading your PC lately, that is virtually definitely going to be the yr to do it.

A photo showing Nvidia's RTX 3070, 3080 and 3090 graphics cards, based on Nvidia's Ampere GPU architecture.

Truly with the ability to purchase final yr’s greatest {hardware}

Between the launches of AMD’s Ryzen 5000 CPUs, their ray tracing-capable Radeon RX 6000 graphics playing cards and Nvidia’s next-gen RTX 30 collection GPUs, the tip of final yr ought to have been a good time to improve your PC… if solely we’d really been capable of purchase the rattling issues earlier than all of them received snapped up by bots.

AMD’s Ryzen 5 5600X, for instance, obliterated its Intel competitors in my CPU gaming assessments when it first got here out at first of November, and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 GPUs all confirmed big efficiency beneficial properties over their RTX 20-series predecessors. The one downside was all of them offered out in seconds and costs have remained eye-wateringly excessive ever since.

Nonetheless, as with the nice GPU drought of 2017 / 2018, the inventory shortages that plagued the again half of 2020 will (hopefully) ultimately calm down in 2021, though fairly after we nonetheless don’t know. Whereas 2017 / 2018’s worth hikes have been pushed by a surge in cryptocurrency mining, a lot of immediately’s inventory issues stem from Covid-related delays at first of final yr. AMD and Nvidia have each mentioned they’re working as onerous as they’ll to satisfy demand, however it might effectively take one other few months for every little thing to calm down once more. As soon as it does, although, would-be upgraders are going to have a grand outdated time kitting out their new PC.

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In fact, I’ll be holding my eyes peeled each week for brand spanking new inventory arrivals in our commonly up to date graphics card offers and CPU offers posts, so be sure to look out for these in case you’re trying to get your arms on one.

An image showing the 11th Gen logos for Intel's Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs.

Intel’s eleventh Gen Rocket Lake CPUs

In fact, in case you’re enthusiastic about upgrading your CPU and motherboard this yr, then it’s most likely greatest to attend till Intel launch their new eleventh Gen Rocket Lake CPUs anyway, that are at the moment due out someday earlier than the tip of March 2021.

Whereas Intel’s present crop of tenth Gen Comet Lake CPUs supply some nice efficiency boosts over their eighth and ninth Gen Espresso Lake chips, Rocket Lake introduces some essential new bits of tech that can make it a a lot better basis for a ‘next-gen’ PC than what’s come earlier than. Chief amongst them is PCIe 4.0 assist, which doubles the quantity of bandwidth out there in your PC for churning by all that information. It’s been a staple over on AMD’s facet of the fence for just a few years now, however 2021 will lastly convey Intel in control on it, too, letting you are taking full benefit of recent PCIe 4.0 SSDs akin to Samsung’s 980 Professional and WD’s Black SN850, in addition to PCIe 4.0-capable graphics playing cards.

PCIe 4.0 assist may even be key to unlocking the potential of Microsoft’s upcoming DirectStorage tech (extra on that beneath), which is ready to, amongst different issues, dramatically cut back sport loading occasions to convey them extra according to their super-fast console counterparts. You’ll doubtless want a PCIe 4.0 SSD to reap the benefits of it, however no less than it gained’t be restricted to only AMD methods anymore.

To assist guarantee everybody will get the complete whack of what PCIe 4.0 has to supply, Intel have confirmed their Rocket Lake CPUs might be accompanied by a brand new 500-series motherboard chipset as effectively. It’s potential that their present Z490 motherboards would possibly get a BIOS replace so as to add PCIe 4.0 assist in at a later date (assuming Intel don’t additionally change to a different new socket kind for Rocket Lake, in fact), however until you obtain into Comet Lake final yr and are determined to improve once more already, I’d advise ready for a correct 500-series board to make sure full compatibility.

I’m additionally simply eager to see how Rocket Lake’s gaming efficiency compares to AMD’s lately launched Ryzen 5000 CPUs. Whereas AMD’s new processors have been miles forward of Intel’s tenth Gen Comet Lake chips after I examined them on the finish of final yr, I’ll be useless impressed if Intel handle to reclaim their crown with their Rocket Lake line-up, because it’ll not solely imply substantial gen-on-gen pace enhancements, however a fair sturdier gaming basis that can set you up for years to come back.

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A photo of Intel's DG1 software development vehicle (SDV) from CES 2020.

Intel’s Xe graphics playing cards

2021 can also be the yr that Intel’s much-anticipated Xe GPUs will arrive, too, bringing some a lot wanted competitors to Nvidia and AMD within the outdated graphics card enviornment. There’s nonetheless lots we don’t learn about Intel’s Xe GPUs, akin to what number of they’re going to provide and the way a lot they’re going to value, however we do know they’ll include GDDR6 reminiscence and have accelerated ray tracing assist.

This could put them on a reasonably degree enjoying subject with Nvidia’s RTX 30 GPUs and AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 playing cards, and I can’t wait to see how they stack up towards one another. Fingers crossed we’ll hear extra about what Intel have in retailer for his or her Xe GPUs of their CES 2021 press convention subsequent week on Monday January eleventh at 1pm PST (9pm GMT).

A photo of the Lenovo Legion 7i from a face on perspective.

Nvidia’s RTX 30 GPUs coming to gaming laptops

It’s not 100% confirmed but, however I’ll eat my RTX 3080 if Nvidia’s new GPUs don’t additionally find yourself coming to gaming laptops this yr. It’s a type of inevitable {hardware} enhancements you recognize is sure to occur in some unspecified time in the future, and I’m excited to see what they’re going to do for all these more and more excessive 300Hz refresh fee shows knocking about nowadays, in addition to on-the-go ray tracing.

I imply, with the world nonetheless being what it’s in the intervening time, it’s not like many people will want high-powered laptops for taking part in video games away from dwelling, but when 2020 taught me something, it’s that with the ability to play video games in a distinct room in my home is an absolute god-send if you’re working from dwelling on a regular basis. It’s good to have that separation typically, and a gaming laptop computer is an effective way of reaching it in case you don’t need one other PC clogging up your front room.

Once more, we’ll doubtless hear extra about which of Nvidia’s RTX 30 collection might be getting the laptop computer remedy throughout their CES press convention subsequent week on Tuesday January twelfth at 9am PST (5pm GMT), so keep tuned for more information then.

A picture of AMD's CEO holding the Radeon RX 6900 XT.

Cheaper Nvidia RTX 30 and AMD RX 6000 desktop GPUs

Talking of Nvidia’s CES 2021 press convention, right here’s hoping we additionally get a glimpse of what they’ve received lined up for his or her mainstream desktop RTX 30 household as effectively. The RTX 3060 Ti is a stonking graphics card for £369 / $399, but it surely’s nonetheless fairly costly as these items go, and it will be nice to see Nvidia’s RTX line-up lengthen even additional down into potential RTX 3050 territory. In fact, the RTX 3060 Ti’s title alone suggests there’ll no less than be a daily RTX 3060 in some unspecified time in the future, however the dream is to have these RT cores operating by Nvidia’s whole next-gen line-up.

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The identical goes for the remainder of AMD’s RX 6000 household. We’ve already seen what the RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT can do for the 1440p and 4K finish of the market, and I’m excited to see what their finances line-up of (presumably) RX 6700 and perhaps even RX 6600 and RX 6500 playing cards can do for the 1080p finish of the spectrum. Once more, it will be nice if we received ray tracing assist throughout the board right here, however we’ll have to attend and see if this does certainly come to fruition.

AMD’s CEO Dr Lisa Su is because of give a CES 2021 keynote speech on Tuesday January twelfth at 11am PST (4pm GMT) subsequent week, so fingers crossed we’ll get some extra juicy bulletins then.

Microsoft’s DirectStorage tech

That is significantly much less attractive than a bunch of recent graphics playing cards, I’ll admit, however the implications of Microsoft’s new storage API will doubtless have a huge effect on video games going ahead. That is thrilling as a result of it means we must always be capable of begin reaping all the advantages of these tremendous quick loading occasions that console people maintain banging on about, in addition to typically higher, extra environment friendly efficiency throughout the board.

Primarily based on the tremendous quick Xbox Velocity Structure inside Microsoft’s Xbox Collection X and Collection S consoles, DirectStorage is ready to streamline your PC’s whole IO (or input-output) system when it will definitely arrives, permitting your PC to load stuff into your RAM and GPU banks a lot sooner than earlier than and dramatically reduce down loading occasions in consequence.

Microsoft additionally hope that DirectStorage will, in idea, give builders the chance to create greater, extra detailed worlds than ever earlier than, because the outdated bottlenecks stopping them from realising their big, open-world visions gained’t be there anymore. I’ll consider this after I see it, in fact, however cor, it’s good to dream about what may be, eh?

Alas, you’ll doubtless want a PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD to take full benefit of it, provided that’s what’s inside each of the brand new Xboxes, however right here’s hoping that older PCIe 3.0 SSDs will nonetheless be capable of get some use out of it, too. We should always discover out extra as soon as Microsoft launch their developer preview of DirectStorage later this yr.

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