On this episode of The Wrap, we’ll talk computers and the changes coming in 2021. From new chips to new laptops to new WiFi and more, it’s what your work from home and gaming could look like this year, all in five.
It’s January 2021 and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while we’re normally getting our step count up at CES in Las Vegas, this year we’re touring the show-floor of CES from our very own home, because CES is virtual this year. It’s still happening, but only in a fully digital way, as the coronavirus forces the hand of the world’s biggest tech show, and forces journalists to stay home and report from there.
That’s making for one of the more unusual consumer tech shows yet, but one that still offers plenty of technology previews for the year, much of which has to do with your computer. Yes, that thing you use from home for work or play is getting some changes this year, as computers come to CES in a big way.
Maybe it’s because we didn’t get a Computex last year — it got pushed to this year — or because the work from home movement is inspiring companies to release their gear with gusto, but many a laptop is being launched at CES, and even what’s on the inside.
And that’s actually a good place to start, because what’s on the inside is very important at CES this year, with launches by Intel, AMD, and Nvidia, which all have big news this year.
Intel is possibly the brand you know most, and it’s in a lot of computers. This year, Intel has a new breed of chips for ultraportable gaming computers in the 11th gen Intel Core H chips, basically shrinking the hardware and making it more powerful for what would normally be big computers.
Intel also has more chips coming later this year that aim to be fast and efficient, and that might be pushed on by what Apple released last year.
At the end of 2020, Apple’s own computer chips surfaced in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, and while the performance of each is quite similar, what it shows is that Apple’s M1 chip can actually be faster and more battery efficient than what Intel has produced for Macs.
AMD will also fight with updated chips this year, with new laptop chips suggesting up to 20 hours of battery life in some instances, and we’re seeing more notebooks with AMD inside this year, too.
Both Intel and AMD are working on desktop chips, and there’s also the graphics side of things, with new chips by AMD and Nvidia on the way. Basically, there’s a whole bunch of graphics changes coming, and some of it may share what’s inside the new game consoles launched last year, the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5.
Before those come out, you can expect new computers, and quite quick.
Acer has a few computers on the way across the Aspire, Nitro, and Predator line, with big graphics for the Nitro gaming laptops, while the Predator will see performance pushed into a small laptop using that Intel chip made for ultraportable gaming, complete with a fast Nvidia graphics chip, too.
Asus announced that its business-grade, consumer-grade, and gaming-grade laptops would be coming out in the next couple of months in Australia, and it’s doing some rather experimental things.
For starters, it has an ultraportable gaming computer in the ROG Flow X13, plus a dual-screen 15 inch laptop not just for gamers, but also for everyone else, too. Asus is really playing with that dual screen concept this year, with a 15 inch model including a 14 inch tilting screen that’s also a touchpad, plus a 14 inch version that includes a 12 inch screen pad.
Dell has computers for the commercial and workstation world, plus for gamers and everyone else, as Dell and Alienware both talked up releases across laptop and desktop.
And Lenovo has a ridiculous amount of laptops coming, some of which feel more experimental than you may expect, including an 8 inch laptop with a bunch of high-end specs and a Full HD screen, a 14 inch Yoga Slim with an OLED screen, a ThinkBook with a large electronic ink screen on the back not unlike a kindle that can run apps without opening the computer, plus a way to charge computers wirelessly using only an optional charging mat. No need to plug it in there, just leave it on the mat and it’ll do its thing.
There’s also stuff happening in computer accessories, with more monitors from everyone including LG and Dell, and technologies such as Mini LED and OLED, technology coming to TVs that’s also coming to desktop screens, too.
And there’s more in the WiFi space with the launch of WiFi 6E. That’s an update to the high-speed WiFi 6 which adds another spectrum, the 6GHz band. It’s not officially launched in Australia yet and ACMA has to approve to its use, but the products are coming, allowing home and business networks to leverage a more reliable WiFi when it does arrive.
And that’s on top of docks and keyboards and mice and headsets and more. There’s even a new style of chairs for sitting in and using computers, as you do. Overall, 2021 is shaping up to be a big year for computers and the home office, plus those in the PC gaming space.
For now, you’ve been listening listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology round-up. An episode of The Wrap goes at least once a week at PodcastOne, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.