May 22, 2024

The Hottest Desktops and PC Components We Saw at CES 2023

Computing hardware has been the heart of CES since its inception a whopping 56 years ago with the debut of integrated circuits in televisions, and that tradition remains strong, based on what we’ve seen at CES 2023. Innovation in desktop computers, and the CPUs and GPUs that drive them, shows no signs of slowing down, and CES still remains a robust launch platform for the year’s slate. AMD, Intel, and Nvidia all used the show spotlight as a venue to set the PC plate for the year, from a platform perspective.

We’ve highlighted the absolute best unveils in our broader Best of CES 2023 roundup. But we saw plenty else worth calling out during our week in Vegas, and we’d be doing you a disservice not to break down the most interesting PC and component developments at the show, and the ones that show the most potential for the year to come.

Lenovo Yoga AIO 9i

The Lenovo Yoga AIO 9i was the best all-in-one desktop we saw all week, neither because of the 13th Gen Intel Core CPUs and Nvidia GeForce RTX 40-series laptop GPU, nor thanks to the big, beautiful 32-inch 4K display. It’s just one of the best-looking desktops we’ve seen in years, with a design that looks like a cross between minimalist architecture and modern art. 

The Lenovo Yoga AIO 9i

(Credit: John Burek)

The big display seems to hang weightless in the air, thanks to an elegant metal loop stand that enables effortless angle adjustment, and a base that holds all of the PC components, from processor to ports. And it’s got a surprise or two, like Qi wireless charging built into the circular base, and a four-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with Dolby Atmos support.—Brian Westover

Acer Aspire S32 AIO

Acer Aspire S32 AIO

(Credit: John Burek)

The Acer Aspire S32 all-in-one desktop offers customization and flexibility with a handful of modular magnetic features that you can swap into the position where the webcam typically goes. The included full HD webcam can be swapped out for a higher-resolution 1440p camera with a built-in ring light, for example. It’s a bit like the Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 4 laptop we saw the day before at CES, but in a desktop.

Built into the base of the desktop is another magnetic accessory: an extra-large desktop touchpad. It can pull free of the desktop stand to be used alongside your keyboard or handheld. In addition to gesture controls that the average mouse doesn’t have, the touchpad allows pen input. It’s not a full replacement for something like a Wacom drawing tablet, but it’s enough to capture handwriting and doodles, and it enables interaction that’s rarely seen on any desktop PC.

Acer Aspire S32 AIO

(Credit: John Burek)

The Acer Aspire S32 will be offered with the latest Intel 13th Gen processors (up to Core i7), and has a nearly borderless 32-inch display with 2,560-by-1,440 resolution. Plus, the magnetic touchpad is covered with recycled ocean plastic. But it’s the swappable cameras and touchpad-turned-drawing-pad features that set it apart, making it one of the most versatile AIO systems we’ve seen in quite some time.—BW

Cyberpower Kinetix 360V Intelligent Airflow Series

The Kinetic enclosure is not new (Cyberpower teased it a year ago), but it’s out-there enough for to us to wonder whether it would ever come to market. It will, at least, in a few Cyberpower models, specifically the Cyberpower Kinetix 360V Intelligent Airflow Series. At CES 2023, we got to see it in action.

Cyberpower Kinetix 360V

(Credit: John Burek)

The standout feature of the Kinetix is its mechanical front panel, which is inlaid with hinged, triangular doors in three geometric clusters. The doors open and close in sequence, with a super-satisfying mechanical whizzing sound, in different combinations according to the internal system temperature. The open or closed states allow for more or less airflow to enter the chassis, in the case’s upper, lower, or middle zones.

Cyberpower Kinetix 360V

(Credit: John Burek)

Is it necessary? Probably not. But that won’t stop us from lusting after this quirky mechanical beaut. Look for it in preconfigured Cyberpower configurations in the second quarter of the year, with the case potentially being sold standalone later on. Pricing was not yet set.

AMD Ryzen 7000 V-Cache for Processors

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D

(Credit: John Burek)

Cache is an essential part of any processor. Without it, CPUs would slow to a crawl, and adding more cache almost always helps to boost performance. That addition, though, drives up costs, as chips become larger, but AMD overcomes this challenge with its innovative 3D V-Cache technology. This essentially places a second chip full of cache on top of its processors, like in the over-100MB of cache in the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, announced at CES 2023. (That chip will ship with 128MB of L3; the company also announced two lesser 3D V-Cache-equipped chips in its Ryzen 7000 series.)

A graph of Ryzen 9 7950X3D performance

(Credit: AMD)

The performance gained from this extra cache will likely vary greatly among different applications, but most should benefit at least some from its inclusion. Unlike AMD’s last attempt at using 3D V-Cache, the company achieved this without reducing the clock speed of the chip or by disabling overclocking. When it launches, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D could very well be AMD’s fastest consumer desktop processor ever released.—Michael Justin Allen Sexton

AMD Ryzen 7040 Series ‘Phoenix’ Chips

AMD Ryzen 7040 series chips

(Credit: AMD)

AMD is taking its new “Zen 4”-based Ryzen 7000-series processors into the mobile market, bringing sizable improvements in both performance and efficiency. Rather than just straight-up porting Zen 4 to mobile, however, AMD is going a step further with its Ryzen 7040-series processors, which have been dubbed its “Phoenix” chips.

These Phoenix chips incorporate an AI engine to accelerate AI workloads and help further boost performance and energy efficiency. The chips are based on technologies acquired when AMD acquired Xilinx last year, and the AI engine can reportedly process up to 12 trillion AI operations per second to help with a range of tasks including content creation. Higher-end “Dragon Range” CPUs in the Ryzen 7045 series will lack the dedicated AI hardware but will be the company’s top-end raw-performance mobile processors, comprising the company’s HX series of chips. (This is also the debut of AMD’s new mobile-processor numbering scheme; read up for more info on that.)—MJAS

Intel N-Series Efficient Core i3 Chips

A graphic of a stylized intel processor

(Credit: Intel)

Like AMD’s Phoenix, this new-at-CES component line is also all around laptops. Intel introduced its whole 13th Gen mobile processor line at the show, but its most interesting move in the consumer-processor space isn’t about cramming more muscle into (or squeezing more speed out of) a few millimeters of silicon. After its seismic shift toward hybrid architecture last year, which paired powerful speed-focused Performance cores (P-cores) with power-optimized Efficient cores (E-cores), one of its 13th Gen chip introductions is a step back from chasing more power, and instead chasing power efficiency. In a move that sounds like the processor equivalent of Cap’n Crunch “Oops, All Berries,” Intel has launched the Core i3 N-Series, which uses only E-cores to deliver maximum energy efficiency.

A table of Intel N-series processor specs

(Credit: Intel)

That’s a major shift away from the usual arms race of climbing clock speeds and benchmark scores, opting instead to stretch battery life as far as it can go. By exclusively using E-cores in this new processor line, Intel plans to make the N-series hyper efficient, giving you good performance for low-lift tasks such as web browsing and media streaming, but without the added power draw that comes with more demanding uses, like gaming. This could be huge news for value-priced systems, where an inexpensive home or work machine will be able to last much longer on a single charge.—BW

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Ti

Zotac GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Amp Extreme Airo

(Credit: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)

The newest entry in Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 40-series of graphics cards is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Ti, which launched just before the opening ceremonies of CES 2023. We reviewed one of these cards and found it offers strong performance in a wide range of games, particularly in titles that utilize ray-tracing.

A table of specs for the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Ti, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080

(Credit: Nvidia)

Like with every kind of PC component, however, pricing is key. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4070 Ti was introduced with an MSRP of $799.99, but it can be found at a wide range of prices from Nvidia’s board partners. At $799.99, this is the most affordable next-gen graphics card we’ve seen from either AMD or Nvidia so far, and it offers pretty good value at that price. The trick, though, is going to be finding one of those $799.99 models. We don’t recommend buying one of the RTX 4070 Ti models that’s much pricier than that. (Nvidia’s partners are offering 4070 Ti cards that cost as much as $1,000.) Those pricier versions quickly lose ground in the value-for-money wars to AMD’s Radeon RX 7900 XT.—MJAS

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