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Nvidia CES 2021: Killer laptop graphics and GeForce RTX 3060 will supercharge PC gaming

Nvidia RTX laptop
(Image credit: Nvidia)

CES 2021 was a big deal for Nvidia, as not only did it reveal a new graphics card, it also took the covers off the laptop versions of the powerful GeForce RTX 30-series

While the virtual nature of CES this year meant we haven’t gotten a proper look at laptops with Nvidia’s latest GPU tech, the graphics giant still had a lot to show off. And it means 2021 is looking very promising for PC gamers. 

With all that in mind, here are five things we learned from Nvidia’s CES 2021 showcase.  

Powerful GeForce RTX laptops are coming  

We knew Nvidia was going to rework its Ampere architecture-based GeForce RTX graphics cards into mobile form, we just didn’t realize how many new and upgraded gaming laptops were are coming this year. Nvidia claimed that pretty much every gaming laptop maker will have laptops with new GeForce RTX graphics; some 70-plus laptops are expected. 

With prices starting from $999, these laptops will make use of the GeForce RTX 3080, RTX 3070 or RTX 3060, offering mainstream to high-end portable gaming power. 

Expect to see the new RTX 30-series cards in the likes of the new Razer Blade 15 and Acer Triton 300 SE.  

Nvidia’s Geforce RTX 3060 is a $329 GPU that beats the PS5  

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060

(Image credit: Nvidia)

We knew Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 was coming, but we didn’t expect it to undercut its predecessor, the RTX 2060. But at $329, it’s the cheapest Ampere graphics card Nvidia has and should appeal to people who want to build a strong gaming PC aimed at 1440p gaming or 1080p action at super-high frame rates, yet don’t want to empty their bank account. 

Nvidia touted it as 1.3x as powerful as a PS5. And compared to the GTX 1060, the RTX 3060 has twice the raster performance and 10x the ray-tracing performance. We only hope it's easier to buy than other cards in the GeForce RTX 30-series lineup. 

It should be available in late February. So if you’ve been eagerly awaiting a mainstream RTX card, then the GeForce RTX 3060 could be for you

Gaming laptops will get more 1440p and high refresh rate displays  

msi stealth 15m

(Image credit: MSI)

Increasing amounts of gaming laptops have been adopting high refresh rate displays, thanks to more powerful graphics allowing for high frame rates at 1080p resolutions. And with GeForce RTX GPUs for laptops, 1080p gaming can be pushed even further. So a lot more gaming laptops are coming with displays that have a 240Hz refresh rates or higher; the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE hits 300Hz. 

But the power of GPUs like the GeForce RTX 3070 and RTX 3080, means it hardly breaks into a silicon sweat at 1080p. As such, we can expect more gaming laptops to come with 1440p displays. 

Given that 4K is very demanding and arguably overkill for a compact laptop display, 1440p is the sweet spot, allowing for crisper visuals but enough headroom for a GPU to also push high frame rates. As such, 2021 is going to be the year of the 1440p high refresh rate gaming laptop, and we’re very much looking forward to trying as many as possible. 

More games will support ray tracing and DLSS  

Given the PS5 and Xbox Series X both support ray tracing, it’s not a huge surprise that more games will come with support for the high-end light rendering technique. And Nvidia revealed that games like mall-based horror Five Nights at Freddy's will get ray tracing support, as will oddball action game FIST: Forged In Shadow Torch. 

But Nvidia’s “RTX” terminology also covers its deep learning supersampling technology that uses AI tech to cleverly render a game so that it looks crisp at high resolutions but does not overly tax a GPU. It’s as clever as it is complex, but yields impressive results. 

And Nvidia revealed that Call of Duty: Warzone and Square Enix's Outriders will be able to tap into DLSS, hopefully paving the way for even more games to benefit from RTX tech. 

More displays will get Nvidia’s GeForce Reflex Analyzer  

Last year, Nvidia revealed GeForce Reflex, which in a nutshell helps measure and reduce system latency in competitive games - basically the time it takes to click and for your action to be displayed on-screen.

Both Rainbow Six Siege and Overwatch, two vastly popular competitive multiplayer games, are getting GeForce Reflex support. But Nvidia also revealed that five new monitors are coming with G-Sync support, as well as the GeForce Reflex Analyzer, which, combined with RTX tech, can measure input latency and work out how to reduce it. 

So if you have a new GeForce RTX 30-series graphics card or plan on getting a new laptop with the latest RTX tech, you might want to match it with a new display stuffed with smart Nvidia tech. 

With all the above considered, it looks like 2021 is going to be a great year to be a PC gamer or get into PC gaming. With all this tech and impressive next-generation games set to debut over the next 12 months, Nvidia’s CES 2021 event wasn’t just a big GeForce showcase, but a vehicle for driving excitement for gaming this year.