The PC industry never runs out of ideas. CES 2024 offered an exciting glimpse of the future. Although the AI hype is in full swing, there are also some promising developments for PC gamers and fresh propositions for portable computing that every PC user should know.
AI PCs (and puffed-up AI marketing) come onboard
Intel claims we are entering the “AI PC era.” With AI playing a key role in the latest laptops, it’s essential for consumers to differentiate between marketing buzz and genuine innovation. The 14th-gen Core Ultra’s Neural Processing Unit (NPU) from Intel is a crucial component for AI tasks, using less power than a dedicated GPU. However, some Windows AI features will require an NPU. Also, high-end GPUs are better for overall AI tasks. Some PC makers, like HP showcasing their Omen Transcend 14 gaming laptop, are utilizing the NPU to offload video streaming tasks, leaving the GPU free for gaming. Nevertheless, it’s crucial for consumers to comprehend the actual benefits of AI in PCs.
Badass monitors get even better
The year 2024 is all about enhancing the performance of more accessible 1440p OLED monitors while maintaining high refresh rates. LG and Asus unveiled 27-inch 1440p OLED monitors with a 480Hz refresh rate, while Samsung is boosting refresh rates on its QD-OLED panels. Acer is introducing its Z57 Mini-LED curved monitor, which places two 4K monitors side-by-side on a 57-inch display, to compete with other high-end gaming monitors, offering customers more options.
The War on Cables
ASUS unveiled a new concept at CES called BTF, removing cables and power connections from the front of motherboards. MSI also teamed up for its own Project Zero motherboard to keep data cables and power connections out of sight, setting the stage for cable-free desktop builds in 2024. Other companies like Cooler Master, Corsair, Inwin, Lian Li, Phanteks, Silverstone, and Thermaltake are joining ASUS in building compatible cases under the “BTF Alliance.” Maingear also plans to release cable-free designs this quarter.
Laptop makers get weird
PC makers are experimenting to stand out in the market. Lenovo’s ThinkBook Plus is a 14-inch touchscreen that boots into Android when detached, providing a unique 2-in-1 experience. Lenovo also introduced a “Magic Bay” concept for its ThinkBook 13X and ThinkBook 16P, enabling users to add a variety of accessories onto a magnetized port at the top of the screen. ASUS, on the other hand, announced a portable monitor with a folding screen and a dual-screen OLED laptop, introducing new ideas that may revolutionize the laptop market.