Fresh gear comes fast and furious in the wide-open world of PC hardware—so quickly that even computing faithful like us can’t possibly cover it all. Nobody wants to miss out on an interesting launch though. So welcome to “This week’s new PC hardware,” our weekly roundup dedicated to keeping you informed of the most intriguing, important PCs, PC components, and peripherals announced over the past seven days.
This week was fairly quiet, a lull between summer’s barrage of events and the GeForce RTX 2080 launch later this month. Still, some interesting new gear made its debut this week, including the return of AMD’s Athlon CPUs, a cloud-connected Das Keyboard, and yes, more Nvidia hardware teases. Let’s go!
AMD’s Athlon CPUs are back for the first time in the Ryzen era, but they’re far from the barnburners of yesteryear. The $55 Athlon 200GE is a dual-core, four-thread CPU built with AMD’s Zen architecture, married to three integrated Radeon Vega compute units. The 35-watt chip’s locked at 3.2GHz and should be good for everyday computing, basic office tasks, HD video, and even esports gaming (with compromises) at 720p resolution.
It looks like a solid rival to Intel’s Celeron lineup, and more Athlon chips are due to arrive later this year.
Mas Das Keyboards
Keyboard nerds go nuts for Das Keyboard’s planks, and the latest blends the high-quality design the company’s known for with “the cloud.” The software for the Das Keyboard X50Q ($199 on Das Keyboard) and Das Keyboard 5Q ($250 on Das Keyboard) connects to the IFTTT and Zapier automation services to allow you to create customizable alerts when certain events happen, using the RGB backlighting as the notification. In Das Keyboard’s example, the Esc key flashes red when your garage door opens, or the T key flashes blue when you get a Twitter message. You can then use the circular “Q knob” on the keyboards to cycle through the notifications when you’re able.
It sounds…interesting? Hard to tell without trying it out. On the hardware side, the Q-series also marks the debut of Omron’s Gamma Zulu switches, a Das Keyboard exclusive. It’s a “soft tactile key switch that provides users with faster, effortless typing and gaming sessions,” providing 3.5mm of travel with a 1.5mm actuation point.
Guess what Be Quiet’s new Silent Base 601 case is optimized for? The metal chassis packs “specially designed air vents” that dampen noise while still providing airflow, and you’ll find a 10mm layer of sound-insulating foam on the case panels. (You can opt for a tempered glass side panel or another insulated metal sheet depending on your preference.) Be Quiet’s press release also talked up how flexible the design is, including a slide-out mounting frame at the top of the panel to easily install up to 360mm radiators.
The Silent Base 601 will be available in orange, black, and silver for $129 when it pops up in stores “over the next few weeks.” The tempered-glass model costs an extra $10.
RTX under water
A couple of companies teased us with more of what we’ll see when Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti roll out on September 20. On Twitter, EVGA product manager Jacob Freeman showed off a render of an upcoming EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Hybrid FTW3 graphics card with integrated liquid cooling and a nifty translucent shroud. You’ll be able to set the radiator and card fan speeds separately, too—a first for the series.
EVGA hasn’t released any Hybrid FTW3 details other than this teaser, but you can already preorder custom GeForce RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti graphics cards from all the usual suspects. That includes more conventional EVGA offerings.
RTX under water, part II
If you prefer a more DIY liquid-cooling approach, EK Waterblocks showed off its new Vector series waterblocks for the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti. You can preorder them now, with shipments heading out on September 20. The version with an RTX backplate and nickel plating comes slightly later, on October 5.
Speedy SanDisk SSD
The SanDisk’s USB 3.1 Gen 2 Extreme Portable SSD didn’t technically launch this week, but we finally got around to reviewing it, and the speedster dethroned the Samsung T5 as our favorite high-performance external drive thanks to its clever ergonomic design. Check out our review to see why it won a coveted Editors’ Choice award.
Several capacities are available, but we reviewed the 1TB model, which costs $270 on Amazon.
Patriot EVLVR Thunderbolt 3
Thunderbolt 3 got a lot of love this week. Patriot announced a high-speed portable SSD of its own, the horribly named EVLVR Thunderbolt 3, with read/write speeds up to 1600MB/s and 1000MB/s, respectively. That’s fast. A 512GB model costs $270, while the 1TB version costs $440.
Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock
Elgato, meanwhile, launched a tiny Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock that also offers DisplayPort 1.2 HDMI 2.0, USB 3.1 Gen. 1, and gigabit Ethernet ports. The small size makes it look like a swell option for folks who need extra ports on the road. It costs $150 on Amazon.
AOC G1 gaming monitors
This week, AOC released its first G1 display after teasing the new line of affordable gaming monitors over the summer. These curved monitors all pack FreeSync, 144Hz refresh rates, and a 1ms moving pixel response time—an attractive mix indeed for gaming purposes. AOC slapped thin bezels on these in case you want a killer, slightly curved multi-monitor setup.
The first G1 display, the AOC C27G1, is available now on Newegg for $280. It’s a 27-inch, 1080p monitor. Three others are forthcoming: The 24-inch, 1080p C24G1 for $230, the 32-inch, 1080p C32G1 for $300, and the 32-inch, 1440p CQ32G1 for $400.
Cherry MW 8 Advanced
Finally, Cherry (of “Cherry MX switch” fame) announced a new flagship wireless mouse this week, the MW 8 Advanced. The brushed aluminum mouse features rubber side grips emblazoned with the Voronoi cell structure, and Cherry claims it’ll last for up to 70 days on a single charge. Wireless connectivity occurs over either Bluetooth or 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. The mouse includes a PixArt sensor that can step between 600, 1000, 1600, and 3200 dpi. The Cherry MW 8 Advanced will cost $60 when it launches at the end of September.
Today's Best Tech Deals
Picked by PCWorld's Editors