There were so many big developments in the computing world in 2020 that it was all but impossible to narrow the choice down to just one. Especially when it comes to real gamer-changers. Based on the products released, their impact, and the reaction of readers and buyers, two really stand out this year: Nvidia’s RTX 30 series of graphics cards, and the mainstream arrival of Wi-Fi 6.
Here’s why these two made it to the top of this year’s 12 Days of Christmas list.
Nvidia RTX 30 graphics cards
I don’t need to tell you that PC gaming has always been huge, but this year it got a big boost from pandemic lockdowns. And all those PC gamers — new and old — were lining up to get the latest generation of video cards that Nvidia announced in the fall.
The RTX 30 series graphics cards are loaded with “firsts” like being the first gaming-class graphics cards that can support up to 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM, and the first with HDMI 2.1 support for both 4K and single-cable 8K gaming. Demonstrations of the new RTX 30 cards which feature Nvidia’s DLSS deep learning neural network (with dedicated AI processors) showed incredible advances in real-time ray tracing.
The new Nvidia cards are also packed with technology to aid content creation and game streaming. The downside to all these advances? Demand has been through the roof and Nvidia has struggled to keep pace with demand. If there’s a PC gamer on your list and their desktop rig could use more graphics horsepower, keep an eye out for the Nvidia RTX 30 series video cards.
We started to see devices and routers equipped with Wi-Fi 6 (formerly known as 802.11ax Wi-Fi) hitting shelves last year. However, it’s safe to say that in 2020, Wi-Fi 6 has gone mainstream.
A wide selection of Wi-Fi 6 routers and mesh Wi-Fi systems now offer Wi-Fi 6 support. It’s getting tough to find a new smartphone, tablet or laptop that doesn’t offer Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.
Why the fuss over the latest Wi-Fi standard? This is the first time that a Wi-Fi standard has been designed specifically to address the connected, smart homes that we increasingly inhabit. You may not think of your home as “smart” or “connected,” but when you start adding up the devices that connect to your Wi-Fi network, you’ll probably be surprised. Smartphones, tablets, PCs, laptops, smartwatches, game consoles, smart speakers, video streamers, smart TVs—they all add up. And if you have started to add smart lighting, a smart thermostat, smart door lock, and connected streaming cameras?
All these devices fighting to stay connected and demanding bandwidth can quickly overload older Wi-Fi routers. Wi-Fi 6 is designed to support all those devices, with a big increase in simultaneous connections, and more effective bandwidth allocation. In addition, overall speed will get a boost. Want to learn more? You can read more details in my explainer.
A Wi-Fi 6 router or Wi-Fi-6 whole-home mesh system makes a great gift, delivering superior Wi-Fi that will only get better as additional Wi-Fi 6 devices are added to the network.
Still need gift ideas? Keep checking the blog for the full collection of 12 Days of Christmas posts.