CES 2023 Blog: Latest PC Hardware News from the Show Floor

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RTX 4070 Ti Tested and Reviewed: Great for 4K Gaming

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Yesterday, Nvidia announced the RTX 4070 Ti and today we have a full, very-thorough RTX 4070 Ti review (opens in new tab) published. We’ve had a 4070 Ti-powered card under embargo for a few weeks and we’ve been testing it in a ton of scenarios and comparing the results to other GPUs.

To get the full story, you really need to read the review, but the long and short of it is that the RTX 4070 Ti is a great card for 4K gaming with ray tracing off and 2K gaming with it on. However, at $799, it’s still quite expensive and, if you already have top-of-the-line prior-gen cards such as the RTX 3080 Ti or RTX 3090, it’s slightly better but not worth the upgrade.

That being said, if you are building a new system or your current card is less powerful than an RTX 3080, the RTX 4070 Ti offers really strong performance. In our 4K gaming tests, the GPU played our test suite of games at an average of 69 fps. That number jumped to 75.5 fps when we overclocked the 4070 Ti, boosting its maximum clock speed by 175 MHz (the regular boost clock is 2,610 MHz).

RTX 4070 Ti 4K gaming

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

With Ray Tracing enabled, 4K games were playable (35.1 fps) with DLSS off and pretty smooth (58.8 fps) with DLSS2 on. But remember that not every game supports DLSS. 

RTX 4070 Ti 4K gaming with Ray Tracing On

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

At 1440p resolution, Ray tracing was much smoother, hitting  102.9 fps with DLSS2 and 62.7 fps without DLSS. 

RTX 4070 Ti 2K gaming with Ray Tracing On

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

We also found that the RTX 4070 Ti was pretty power efficient, using 265W while looping Metro Exodus. That’s a nice step up from the prior-gen RTX 3070 Ti and from the RTX 3080 and 3080 Ti cards which it beats.

RTX 4070 Ti Power Efficiency

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

In short, this is a powerful card, but it’s also a pricey one. 

This 55-inch, OLED TV is Totally Wireless Including The Power

Displace TV

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

At Tom’s Hardware we don’t normally talk much about TVs, unless we’re using them as monitors. However, at the CES Unveiled press event, we saw Displace TV, a truly unique display that gets its power from batteries, its video from a Wi-Fi 6E base station and its controls from hand gestures.

At its booth, the company had a representative holding the 20-pound TV in his hands. Tom’s Hardware Content Director Jeremy Kaplan had a chance to briefly watch the screen as it looped through a series of movie trailers and noted that playback was flawlessly smooth with sharp and colorful images.

The 20-pound,55-inch OLED display gets its power from four hot-swappable batteries. The company claims that the batteries will last about a month on a charge if you watch TV for around 6 hours per day. Because the batteries are hot-swappable, you can charge one while the system runs on the others. 

Displace says that the TV will “magically stick” to your walls using its “proprietary active-loop vacuum technology,” which only requires a light push and no brackets or screws at all. This sounds like a high-tech suction cup and we are skeptical, and we didn’t see it mounted during the demo.

You can also combine up to four of the TVs together into a single, 110-inch display by putting them next to each other. In lieu of a remote control, you can use gestures, voice or touch to control the menus. There’s a built-in camera to capture your gestures. We did not see any of these controls demoed at CES Unveiled, but the idea of them sounds neat.

The base station has some computer parts inside, including an AMD CPU, an Nvidia GPU and a Wi-Fi 6E radio. The company has not disclosed exactly which CPU and GPU models it’s using.

The idea of a wireless, portable TV that “magically” sticks to any wall is interesting. Imagine carrying your TV from one room to another in your home or lining your walls with TV screens, without worrying about how close they are to an outlet.  

Past wireless display technologies such as Intel WiDi and WiGig have failed to catch on and have largely been disappointing. So we’d really want to test this to see what the latency is like and if it’s good enough for gaming. 

So this is interesting, but we don’t know yet how well the Displace TV works or even what it costs. The company says that it will begin taking pre-orders on its website this month with units shipping by late 2023. We recommend caution.

Upcoming Nvidia Tech Uses A.I. to Upscale Video to 4K

Nvidia RTX Video Super Resolution Demo

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

One of Nvidia’s more interesting CES 2023 announcements involves a technology it calls RTX Video Super Resolution, which can take a video from YouTube, Netflix or another streaming service and convert it from 1080p to 4K or 720p to 2K. Due in February, the feature will require RTX 3000 or 4000 series GPUs, at least at first, and will be automatically triggered by Nvidia’s GeForce Experience software, though it will run on videos streamed through either Chrome or Edge browser.

At Nvidia’s CES demo suite, Deputy Managing Editor Paul Alcorn got a chance to see a live demo of RTX Video Super Resolution in action as it was turned on and off on a clip from the game Apex Legends. The Apex Legends clip was streamed from YouTube and was natively 1080p. However, with Super Resolution enabled, fine details like the blades of grass on the ground appeared noticeably sharper.  You can see Nvidia’s own demo video which uses the same Apex Legends clip we saw below.

An Nvidia representative told Paul that, depending on the performance of the graphics card you use, the upscaling process should use between 10 and 20 percent of your GPU. The rep also said that the process can only upscale video by 4x so, if it’s 1080p video, it can upscale to 4K, but if it’s a lower resolution, it can’t get that high. They also said that the feature may be coming to RTX 2000 series GPUs sometime. 

What we don’t know is how well this upscaling will work on live action video. Apex Legends doesn’t have the very best graphics around and what really matters for 4K upscaling are streaming movies and TV shows.

The implications of real-time, A.I. video upscaling are pretty significant. Some streaming services, including Netflix, make you pay extra for 4K video, but with Nvidia’s technology, you’d get the equivalent (though upscaling is never as good as native) for free and without all the bandwidth 4K video consumes. In many cases, people have 4K monitors but the video source isn’t even available in 4K.

The initial demo Paul saw was impressive, but we’ll withhold final judgment until we get to test RTX Video Super Resolution on our own computers with videos of our choosing. 

Nvidia’s Eye Contact Feature is Creepy, But it Works

Nvidia Broadcast Eye Contact

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

One constant problem with video conferencing: You want your call partners to think that you’re looking straight at them, but you’re actually gazing at a window on your desktop rather than straight into the webcam. Whether the problem is that you’re multitasking (and not paying full attention) during the call or just that the Zoom, Teams or Meet window is not perfectly aligned with the center of the webcam, looking askance is a subtle violation of the social contract.

In the next version of its Broadcast software, version 1.4 to be precise, Nvidia has a solution which it calls “Eye Contact.” Simply put, the software uses A.I. to modify the image of your eyeballs so that it always looks like you are starting straight ahead. Because Nvidia Broadcast serves as a virtual webcam driver, you will be able to use the feature in any video conferencing or recording software you want.

Deputy Managing Editor Paul Alcorn had a chance to test out the Eye Contact feature at Nvidia’s CES demo suite and we can say with authority that it works really well. As he looked up, left and right, the real-time camera output continued to show his eyes looking straight forward. Paul notes, however, that when he turned his head sharply enough, the feature turned off.

Below, is an Nvidia video showing how the Eye Contact feature works. 

Like other kinds of video enhancements such as virtual backgrounds or noise filtering, the Eye Contact feature raises question of authenticity. If the system is redrawing your eyeballs to make it look like you are staring straight ahead, is it enabling you to “lie?” In effect, you are creating a sortof deepfake, a deepfake of yourself.

On the other hand, given that video conferencing creates an inherently virtual situation, is using A.I. to enhance your image really a problem? If you were talking to someone in person, you’d be looking them in the eye, but the nature of webcams makes this scenario more difficult to achieve online so Nvidia’s software is correcting for it. Either that, or it’s making you look like you’re paying attention to someone when you’re actually checking your email in another window.

Whatever the case, Eye Contact seems to work really well. Nvidia says that its Broadcast 1.4 software, which is a free download and works with any Nvidia RTX GPU, will be available later this month. 

Asus Targets Keyboard Modders with Latest Clacker

Asus Azoth

(Image credit: Asus)

When it comes to keyboards, there are three kinds of people: those who will use any $10 pack-in keyboard without complaint, those who want one of the best gaming keyboards (opens in new tab) and those who want to build or modify their own keyboards. Asus’s ROG gaming brand has released some noteworthy gaming keyboards in recent years, including the ROG Strix Flare II Animate (opens in new tab)and ROG Strix Scope RX (opens in new tab). Now, the company is targeting keyboard modders with its ROG Azoth wireless keyboard.

Due later this month for a pricey $250, the ROG Azoth is a 75-percent wireless keyboard with a silicone gasket mount, pre-lubricated switches and a three layer dampening structure that includes a silicon foam-lined base, a Poron pad and a silicone pad. Designed to increase stability and limit ping noises, these are features that many enthusiasts build into their custom keyboards or expect from high-end mechanical keyboards.

Asus Azoth

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

If you don’t like Asus’s own NX Switches (available in red, brown and blue), you can hot swap them out. And, if they aren’t lubed to your liking, you can use the included switch lubing kit which has Krytox GPL-205-GDO lube and a switch opener.

The keyboard is compatbile with costar stabilizers if you want to switch out your stabs to change the feel. Its keycaps are PBT, double-shots with shortened stems that are designed to reduce key wobble. The legends are transparent so they can let the RGB lighting through.

Asus Azoth Lube Kit

(Image credit: Asus)

The Azoth also has a built-in LED screen in its upper right corner, which can show custom animations or give you status updates on the wireless connectivity or battery life. A dial to the right of the LED screen lets you change modes or you can do so via Asus’s Armoury Crate software.

The Azoth can connect to your PC in one of three ways: via wired USB-C, via 2.4-GHz wireless or via Bluetooth. There are three different Bluetooth profiles so you can switch among multiple computers.

We haven’t had a chance to test out the Azoth in person, though we hope to get some hands-on time with it or perhaps to do a review in the near future. With this keyboard, it’s clear that features such as switch lubing and case dampening are moving from the high-end, DIY kits to mainstream gaming keyboards. That’s a good thing for everyone.

 

The Quiet Before the Storm? Not Quite.

CES Badge Pickup

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

CES’s first day of exhibits is Thursday and the official press day is Wednesday so you might expect today (Tuesday) to be a dead time. In fact, when Tom’s Hardware Deputy Managing Editor Paul Alcorn went to pick up his badge, he snapped this picture of a basically empty line.

However, today is also a day when a number of major press announcements rolled out that are going to have a real impact on the market and your next PC build. Nvidia  made the RTX 4070 Ti official (opens in new tab), giving it an MSRP of $799 while also announcing a full series of RTX 4000 series cards for laptops (opens in new tab) that range from a 4090 to a 4050. 

Intel also launched its 13th Gen mobile CPUs (opens in new tab) , along with 16 new, locked desktop Raptor Lake chips (opens in new tab) that range from the Core i3-13100 on the low end to Core i9-13900 on the high end.

To take advantage of the new mobile CPUs and GPUs, we’ve seen laptop announcements from Asus (opens in new tab), Acer (opens in new tab) and Dell / Alienware (opens in new tab).  All of these launches were expected as we usually see Intel and Nvidia roll out chips at CES while PC vendors immediately incorporate the chips into new computers.

What’s on tap for the rest of today? At 5 pm PT, CES Unveiled — an expo where companies show their new wares to journalists — starts. We’ll be there to take a peek and see if we see anything new and noteworthy. Often, Unveiled isn’t very interesting for us, because it doesn’t have a lot of PC or enthusiast tech exhibitors. But we’ll see.

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