Great games need great hardware
At E3 2017, PC games were everywhere, and because great software needs hardware to run, PCs lurked in every nook and cranny of the show, too. Hell, even the mock diner set up in Bethesda’s booth bristled with gaming rigs.
From that atmospheric setting to the 16-core Threadripper rigs at Alienware’s exhibit to some really wild modded rigs, these are the glorious PCs that powered E3 2017.
Bethesda's PC gaming bunker
And you thought that diner looked dreary. Both the diner and this WW2 resistance-style bunker were set up to demo Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, which wound up being one of our 10 favorite PC games of E3 2017.
Not all of E3’s PCs were shoved into dingy diners and dark rooms. Several swanky rigs were held up on a pedestal—literally, in the case of this amazing mod by Marciel Baretto in Microsoft’s booth.
Microsoft's masterpieces, part two
Another modded masterpiece, this one from Modder Crow, stood nearby at Microsoft’s booth.
Quake meets Ryzen
This drop-dead gorgeous “AMD Ryzen 7 Nyx Edition” also graced Bethesda’s booth, decked out to celebrate Quake Champions. It rocks a Ryzen 7 1800X processor, an 8GB Radeon RX 580, a 240GB Sandisk SSD, and a 1TB Western Digital Blue hard drive. What, no WD Black drive? That’s would’ve tied right in to the theme.
At the Thrustmasters booth, a racing game was hooked up to a full-blown simulation station complete with a racing wheel, a racing seat, and VIRTUAL REALITY powered by the Oculus Rift. Eat your heart out, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Intel's wireless VR tech
One of the biggest problems with PC virtual reality—neatly side-stepped by the configuration of the aforementioned Thrustmaster sim rig—is the wires that tether headsets to PCs. Intel’s WiGig-powered wireless VR technology eliminates cables while adding next to no latency. Seriously! We tried it. And even though it was demoed on the HTC Vive, which is embracing WiGig sometime in 2018, Intel says the technology is VR-neutral and compatible with any headset that wants to integrate it.
More sim racing
The Project Cars booth also sported sim stations, albeit without VR. If you peer closely at the boxes sitting behind the rigs you’ll see these setups were powered by Origin PC.
A full sensory experience
Origin PC’s beastly rigs were much more prominent at Creative Labs' booth, where they were equipped with the beefy new 32-bit Sound BlasterX AE-5 sound cards that launched earlier this week. Great visuals need great audio to match.
Cougar brought its wild new kind-of-sort-of open air Conquer case to E3 2017, decked out with high-end PC gear to show what it can do.
Alienware’s booth featured all kinds of potent PCs, from the Aurora desktop...
...to the Alienware 15 gaming laptop. But one rig in particular stole the show.
Alienware Area-51 Threadripper
This iconic Area-51 PC standing tall in Alienware’s booth held a powerful secret: AMD’s monstrous 16-core Threadripper CPU, which will be exclusive to Dell’s Alienware systems among major PC vendors. Alienware showed off the system’s chops by simultaneously playing a 4K game, running a 4K video, rendering a 3D image, and broadcasting the game using OBS.
Speaking of the GTX 1080 Ti, you could find them in spades at Nvidia’s booth. Demos of Destiny 2 at 4K/60 all ran on GeForce’s champion, and it was one of the prettiest PC games we’ve ever seen.
GeForce-rocking rigs weren’t limited to Nvidia’s booth. You could find GeForce PCs powering demos of Crackdown 3 (pictured), Lawbreakers, and Rainbow Six: Siege, among many others.
Tiny, powerful laptops
This Absolver demo at Nvidia’s booth ran on a laptop built around the company’s new Max-Q technology, which crams potent GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics into thin-and-light notebooks.
Nvidia brought a surprise to E3 2017, too: real-life “GeForce G-Assist” flash drives based on the company’s April Fools' Joke this year. It won’t eliminate AFKs or give you a BossBoost™ like the joke version, but the GTX USB drive holds up to 64GB of data. Nvidia passed G-Assist drives out to some E3 2017 booth visitors and held giveaways for others, but you won’t be able to buy it in stores.
Razer Thresher Ultimate
Nvidia’s not the only green-loving hardware vendor with fresh gear at E3. Razer introduced the $250 Thresher Ultimate, a new wireless gaming headset built with Dolby 7.1 surround sound. It comes with a charging station broadcasting a 2.4GHz signal to provide a connection range of up to 40 feet. Razer’s mostly pushing this for consoles, but it’ll work with Windows PCs, too.
I heard that!
Did somebody say gaming headphones? This MSI Aegis X3 gaming desktop has antennas that look like perked-up puppy ears.
Alienware gaming monitors
Alienware’s moving beyond PCs alone, and into the fiercely competitive world of peripherals. First up: Gaming monitors. This 24.5-inch TN display packs a 1080p resolution, a blazing-fast 240Hz refresh rate, and a scant 1ms response time. This beast is perfect for Counter-Strike, in other words. You can snag it with AMD’s stutter- and tear-killing FreeSync technology for $500, or Nvidia’s rival G-Sync tech for $700.
Alienware also rolled out new gaming keyboards and mice—some more enticing than others. This AW568 Advanced Gaming keyboard looks pretty slick.
Dell hearts AMD
Alienware parent company Dell also had AMD Ryzen-based Inspiron rigs running games. Put away those controllers and break out the keyboard and mouse!
DXRacer’s booth was all about the one of the most crucial bits of PC hardware—gear for your butt. Don’t overlook the importance of a comfortable desk chair. Bonus points for the streamer broadcasting to Twitch straight from the show floor.
Games, games, games
That wraps up our look at the show’s powerful PC hardware, but E3’s really all about the software. Don’t forget to check out PCWorld’s roundup of 40 must-see gaming gems from E3 2017. We’ve rounded up the trailers from all the hottest new PC games into one handy-dandy article so you don’t need to scour the web for info.