Whenever its time to either pick up a new laptop or update your gaming PC, one question inevitably comes up: "should I wait for the new stuff?" Whether you want to save money on current hardware once the new hotness comes out, or whether you want to just have the latest and greatest and don't want to be outdated in a month's time, the question has always been valid.
For the first time in a long time, everything has converged, with new technology being available pretty much across the entire computing landscape.
Whether you're building a monster rig to tackle Cyberpunk 2077, getting a laptop to just get some work done, or you're a Mac loyalist looking to see what Macs on ARM can do, there are new shiny things out there to get your hands on.
PC is definitely the place to play games right now
The Xbox Series X finally got its final release date and price - yet another new tech toy - but it's been overshadowed in some circles by the absolutely monolithic launch of Nvidia Ampere GeForce cards. Led by the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090, we're talking about raw graphics card performance that will absolutely dwarf what either of the consoles will be capable - albeit for a much higher price.
However, Nvidia isn't even alone. AMD has just announced a keynote for its RDNA 2 graphics cards for October 28, and while we don't know what AMD has in store quite yet, we can almost guarantee that at least one of Team Red's cards will make Nvidia sweat at least a little bit.
Beyond just graphics, Intel launched its 10th-generation Comet Lake desktop chips back in May 2020. And while that feels like a decade ago at this point, it's only a few months. Couple that with the upcoming October 8 reveal of AMD's Zen 3 desktop lineup, and it's starting to look like the CPU landscape is going to be just as rich and competitive as the CPU market.
With all the major players having big new launches, it has never been a better time to start planning out your PC build - though we do urge you to wait for full reviews before you decide on what you plan to buy.
Even our biggest concern about PC gaming once the new consoles come out has been alleviated thanks to Nvidia RTX IO (opens in new tab), which should let folks with an RTX graphics card have access to the same kind of storage performance that the PS5 and Xbox Series X will have on offer. But, again, it will obviously be much more expensive than just buying a $499 box.
We're willing to put money on AMD having a similar solution for its Big Navi graphics cards too - Team Red did help architect both next-generation consoles, after all, so it isn't too much of a leap to assume that similar IO technology will be present in Radeon cards.
In short, PC gaming is definitely not being left behind.
Don't forget about laptops
While laptop processors aren't quite exciting as their desktop siblings, that doesn't mean they're not important. Especially now that we're all working from home and need as much help as we can get keeping up with everything, having strong mobile performance, along with a feature set that makes our lives easier is incredibly important.
And it looks like Intel is going to be providing that with Tiger Lake. While these 11th-generation U-series processors are still going to be limited to 4 cores and 8 threads, while AMD Ryzen 4000 U-series chips provide double that, we're seeing a massive boost in clock speed. The 11th-generation Intel Core i7-1185G7 boosts up to 4.8GHz on a single core and 4.3GHz across all cores. Compared to the Core i7-1065G7 that can only get up to 3.9GHz on a single core? That's a MASSIVE change.
That's not to mention Tiger Lake's other big benefit: Intel Xe graphics. Intel is claiming that these integrated GPUs are going to more than double what Gen11 Iris graphics on Ice Lake were capable of, even outshining dedicated GPUs. Now, this is definitely something you should take with a grain of salt, as we haven't had a chance to test this ourselves. However if it is true, and Intel can provide a compelling integrated GPU in a thin and light chassis, both creative professionals on the go and people that just want to get some gaming done on their lunch breaks will come out ahead.
Now it did take a while for laptops powered by Ryzen 4000 laptops to actually make it to store shelves, and we might see that repeat with Intel Tiger Lake chips - though that's just baseless speculation on our part.
Laptops are about to get so much better, though, thanks in large part to the new Intel Evo program (opens in new tab) (which is basically just a rebrand of Project Athena). Laptops certified by Intel will have longer battery life, consistent performance while on battery, and will wake up quicker when you open them. Raw performance is cool and all, but this is the kind of stuff that really boosts user experience in a laptop, and we can't wait to see what the upcoming crowd of laptops can do.
No matter what kind of computing experience you're looking for, there's never been a more exciting time to shop for your next laptop or desktop. And now we're just sitting and trying to imagine what may come next year.
- Here are the best Ultrabooks you can buy today