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Itching for a High-End Gaming Rig? Try a Tesla Model S

By Anders Bylund - Jun 3, 2021 at 6:23AM

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It's not the cheapest choice out there, but when you can't find a PS5 or Xbox Series X...

Electric-car company Tesla (TSLA -2.62%) might have a solution if you're looking for a specked-out gaming rig. New versions of the Tesla Model S and Model X cars come equipped with the same hardware that Sony puts into the latest and greatest PlayStation 5 gaming console.

And it's not meant to power the vehicle's dashboard or infotainment systems, either. No, the high-end hardware only kicks in when a passenger fires up an actual game on the built-in screens.

The revamped interior of the Tesla Model S 2021, featuring a backseat gaming screen.

Image source: Tesla.

What's new?

The inclusion of an in-car gaming system is not exactly news since Tesla announced that bit in January. The revamped interior of the next Model X and Model S comes with a third screen for backseat passengers. The system comes with 10 teraflops of processing power and is compatible with wireless gaming controllers. All of that was already known.

After a keynote presentation at the Computex 2021 conference, we know where all of that digital horsepower is coming from. Tesla is relying on the PS5 combination of mobile Radeon RX 6800M graphics and Ryzen 5000 core processors. That's the bleeding edge of mobile chips from Advanced Micro Devices, designed to deliver top-shelf processing speeds with minimal power consumption.

What's the big idea?

Putting this high-caliber hardware in an electric car may sound silly, but the market is actually ripe for this idea. A global shortage of semiconductors has pushed up the prices of gaming chips everywhere. At the same time, modern graphics chips happen to be great at mining Ethereum tokens, and that digital currency has seen prices skyrocket from $240 to $2,750 over the last year.

Therefore, cryptocurrency enthusiasts are snapping up lots of cards aimed at the gaming market, leaving store shelves bare and gamer wallets empty. An old-school Radeon RX 580 card that cost less than $250 in November now carries a price tag north of $700. That's still a bargain compared to high-end hardware like the Radeon 6800 series.

Due to the low number of available graphics chips and high demand for the recently launched PS5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X systems, it's almost impossible to get your hands on one of these popular rigs. If and when you find one, you could be paying a hefty premium as scalpers take their cuts.

In the context of a luxury-level electric car where the prices start just below $70,000, a few hundred dollars extra shouldn't make much of a difference to the average prospective buyer. The presence of a brand-name gaming experience may be the final straw that settles the vehicle choice for a well-heeled family of gaming enthusiasts.

A young man leans forward, wearing a headset and holding a video game controller.

Image source: Getty Images.

Classic Elon Musk

The PS5-level gaming rig inside Tesla Model S and Model X cars may not be a groundbreaking idea. However, it's another great example of how CEO Elon Musk pulls every available lever to align Tesla's brand with its target demographic.

It wouldn't even surprise me if he lets your car mine Ethereum or Dogecoin tokens when you're not playing games. Just another on-brand Elon Musk move.

Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Anders Bylund owns shares of Ethereum and Tesla. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Microsoft and Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Tesla, Inc. Stock Quote
Tesla, Inc.
$859.89 (-2.62%) $-23.18
Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
$287.02 (-0.74%) $-2.14
Sony Corporation Stock Quote
Sony Corporation
$85.82 (0.57%) $0.49
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Stock Quote
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
$98.12 (-0.94%) $0.93
Ethereum Stock Quote
$1,899.59 (1.08%) $20.24
Dogecoin Stock Quote
$0.07 (0.93%) $0.00

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