LAS VEGAS, NV -- Cramming gaming-class components into a laptop form factor has evolved from possible-but-clunky affairs to feats of engineering. Companies have become adept at solving the space issues (with big thank-yous to Nvidia, AMD, and Intel) inherent in these increasingly thin designs--even figuring out the nagging cooling problems that come with them.
Of course, with all that innovation has come a certain amount of parity--or, more aptly, similitude. The various offerings from companies such as MSI, Acer, Gigabyte, and Asus have quite a bit in common, although these OEMs are always looking for a little something to set their gear apart from the competition. Unfortunately, there weren't many new gaming laptops on display in Las Vegas, largely due to the lack of these types of innovations for the mobile gaming performance class, but here's a running list of what we saw at CES 2018:
Acer brought its 15.6" Nitro 5 gaming laptop to CES 2018, showcasing a new AMD configuration featuring the latest Ryzen mobile processors and Radeon RX560 graphics. The components are adept for mainstream gaming on a 1920 x 1080 display, and Acer's sleek red-on-black design is well-suited for the AMD component-equipped PC, and more Red Team options in the mobile gaming market has been long overdue. The Acer Nitro 5 arrives this April, starting at $799.
Asus revealed a new gaming laptop called the ROG Strix SKT T1 Hero Edition. The company was vague on the finer details of what's under the hood (we know there's a Core i7, GTX 1060, and 120Hz display), but we're pretty sure that's not the focus of the new limited-edition portable. SK Telecom T1 is a championship pro South Korean eSports team that made their mark playing the popular MOBA League of Legends, and the SKT T1 Hero Edition is the equivalent of Kobe Bryant-edition Nike shoes. Asus appears to be among the first to offer a PC device tailored after a specific eSports team, and it could be ahead of a possible trend if eSports continues to evolve as it has over the past few years.
Gigabyte showcased two gaming laptops--the Aero 15X and Aorus X9. The new Aero 15X is Gigabyte's response to the high demand of the previously available Aero lineup, with an incredibly thin and light notebook that sports a 15.6" FHD display with thin bezels and X-Rite Pantone Color Calibration certification. It also has serious gaming chops with a Core i7-7700HQ and GTX 1070 with Max-Q Design under the hood.
The Aorus X9 is the polar opposite of the slim-and-light Aero 15X with its 17.3" display, dual MXM graphics cards, and aircraft-grade aluminum chassis, making it definitively large and heavy by most standards. However, Gigabyte still claimed it's the world's thinnest laptop with dual GTX 1070 graphics and low-profile mechanical brown keyboard switches. The company also claimed the Aorus X9 is the first gaming laptop to sport quad fans.
MSI updated its massive GT75VR Titan Pro gaming laptop with a new Killer Wireless-AC 1550 wireless networking adapter, which features a 160MHz channel support the company claimed has twice the throughput of standard 2x2 802.11ac products with a transfer speeds up to 1.73 Gbps. The innards remain much the same as the previously available models, with MSI's primary update being the addition of the new speedy WiFi adapter.
MSI's GE Raider laptops (the GE63VR and GE73VR) were also on display (although not necessarily new), bearing a Steelseries RGB LED keyboard (with individually addressable keys) and RGB LED accents on its lid. The components under the hood remain the same as previously available models, but the flashy chassis gives the GE series a significant aesthetic boost.