Sunday, June 23, 2024

I’m attending the world’s biggest PC show next week. Here’s why I’m so excited

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Digital Trends

Computex 2024 logo.

This story is part of our coverage of Computex, the world’s biggest computing conference.

Computex will be big this year. Coming off a seismic shift in the world of PCs just a week ago with the introduction of Copilot+, Computex is the perfect place for the rest of the industry to show off what it’s been up to. This year, I’ll be on the ground in Taipei City, Taiwan, and there are some key products I expect to see.

Contents

  • Intel’s answer
  • A new direction for AMD
  • Nvidia will remind everyone that it rules the world
  • Intel Battlemage
  • Asus ROG Ally X
  • No core components
  • A string of refreshesShow 2 more items

It won’t be long before we have all the juicy details on what AMD, Intel, and Nvidia have been working on, with the show going from June 4 to June 7. There are already plenty of breadcrumbs for what we could see get announced though, so let’s get into it.

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Intel’s answer

Intel

Intel spoiled the Computex party just a bit. We already know that Intel plans to talk about it’s upcoming Lunar Lake laptop CPUs at Computex, as well as provide a tease of its Arrow Lake desktop chips. Both generations are supposed to arrive in the second half of the year, but I suspect Intel will focus most of its attention on Lunar Lake at Computex.

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Microsoft recently revealed Copilot+ PCs, ushering in a new era of AI-powered laptops that exclusively use the Snapdragon X Elite and Plus chips. Intel and AMD will eventually make their way into Copilot+ PCs, and this year at Computex, Intel will likely set up why it thinks Lunar Lake will be worth the wait.

We already have some insight into that. Intel claims that Lunar Lake has a neural processing unit (NPU) that’s more than four times as fast as last-gen Meteor Lake CPUs, along with a next-gen graphics architecture that adds even more AI horsepower (more on that in a bit). We also know Lunar Lake will leverage an entirely new architecture made up of Lion Cove performance cores and Skymont efficient cores, which combine to create a “radical low-power architecture,” according to Intel.

Even if Intel makes a faster chip that’s set up for the next generation of AI workloads, the real battlefield for Lunar Lake is power. Qualcomm has already shown what kind of efficiency ARM can achieve with devices like the MacBook Air M3, and that’s coming to Windows laptops now. For Lunar Lake, Intel needs to prove that an x86 architecture deserves a spot in this new era of laptops.

The keynote will take place on June 4 at 11AM Taipei time, or 8PM PST on June 3.

A new direction for AMD

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

It’s all but confirmed that AMD will talk about its next-gen architecture, called Zen 5, at Computex this year. The keynote is a day before the doors open, scheduled for June 3 at 9:30AM Taipei time (which is Sunday night at 6:30PM PST).

The big question is what products will it talk about. As we’ve seen with previous generations, AMD will carry Zen 5 across both desktop and mobile, but Team Red is in a tricky spot this year.

AMD has already confirmed that it will launch Zen 5 chips in the second half of the year, so we’ll hear more about the architecture at Computex. There’s a good chance AMD will do something it’s never done before with a new architecture, though. For the first time, AMD might release Zen 5 in laptops before desktop.

There are a couple of things backing that up. For starters, AMD CEO Lisa Su has said that Strix Point — the code name for Zen 5 mobile chips — will launch this year. The stronger evidence, though, is Copilot+. Just like Intel, AMD doesn’t want to be left out of a new category of PC. If Intel is gearing up to take on Copilot+ at Computex, it only makes sense that AMD would as well.

Nvidia will remind everyone that it rules the world

Nvidia

I’m not expecting much from Nvidia, and you probably shouldn’t either. There’s a good chance that Nvidia will launch its next-gen Blackwell GPUs this year, but I don’t expect to see them until the fall at the earliest. Instead, I expect Nvidia to focus on the fact that it can’t really be stopped in the world of computing right now.

Nvidia isn’t technically going ton be at Computex, and will instead hold a virtual keynote a couple days before the show starts on June 2 at 7PM Taiwan time (4AM PST). I expect a long presentation in which Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang talks about the future of AI, how Nvidia is powering that future, and how the company is now worth more than most countries.

That isn’t to say Nvidia won’t announce anything new. We’ll probably see updates on Nvidia’s ACE platform for AI-powered characters in video games, and maybe even some smaller GeForce Now announcements. The key focus will be AI no matter what Nvidia talks about, from the data center to the GPU in your PC.

Intel Battlemage

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Intel is focusing on Lunar Lake at Computex, but the chips will provide some key insights into the company’s next-gen GPU architecture, codenamed Battlemage. Intel’s next generation of desktop graphics cards is on the way, as Intel itself confirmed earlier this year. Although I don’t expect to see the GPUs themselves at Computex, we’ll probably still see all the juicy details on what Battlemage can do.

We’ve already seen a tease that Battlemage is about 50% faster than the previous-generation Alchemist architecture. Given that Intel will talk about Lunar Lake at Computex, it will have to go into some detail about Battle as well. That’s the graphics architecture powering these new chips, after all.

Some of that focus will be on AI, as GPUs remain powerhouses for AI workloads, but I suspect Intel will talk gaming as well. One key thing we’ve seen with the Snapdragon X Elite is how it can handle light gaming on the go. Intel has a significant edge when it comes to integrated graphics, so a big talking point when it comes to Battlemage will likely be how it can overpower what Qualcomm is currently offering.

Asus ROG Ally X

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Asus isn’t releasing the ROG Ally 2, but it still has a new handheld for Computex. The company already confirmed that it’ll reveal all the details about its new handheld on June 2, just a couple of days before Computex officially begins. The device in question is called the ROG Ally X, and we have some clues about how powerful it might be.

Reports claim that the handheld comes with at least a 40% larger battery, as well as redesigned sticks, triggers, and buttons. There’s a good chance Asus is still using the Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip for the handheld, but the company has said that the ROG Ally X will come with upgrades to both memory and storage.

Leaked specs for the handheld are already making the rounds, claiming more memory, more storage, and 50% more battery capacity, all wrapped up in a new black color option. Rumors suggest it will come in at a higher price of $800, though, surpassing the original model by $100.

Although leaks already give us a pretty good idea of what’s in store for the ROG Ally X, we still don’t know the release date. Hopefully, Asus will provide details on that during its Computex festivities.

No core components

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Computex this year is all focused on mobile, so I don’t expect to see any core PC components on display. There might be some special-edition GPUs, or possibly new models from companies like MSI and Asus. But as far as new desktop graphics cards, processors, and memory, I’m not getting my hopes up.

That’s OK because I expect to see a lot of components that go around the core of your PC. We’ve see some momentum before with unique designs like the Hyte Thicc Q60 CPU cooler, as well as ecosystems of cooling and lighting from Corsair and Lian Li. There’s also been a rising tide of cable-free motherboards and cases from Asus, MSI, and others, which I expect to see on full display at Computex.

Outside of growing product lines, we could see a shift in memory support for motherboards. MSI has already teased the first consumer motherboard using a CAMM2 memory module. This new standard apparently provides better power efficiency and a smaller size. We already know MSI has one of these motherboards, but other brands could follow suit.

A string of refreshes

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

With Lunar Lake confirmed and Strix Point looking likely, that means it’s time for laptop brands to show off the devices they plan to pack these chips into. I expect to see most major laptop models get a small refresh with new CPUs, which would give them a bit more life until we see more significant refreshes next year.

I don’t expect massive changes outside of hardware. Earlier this year, we saw a string of large makeovers for popular laptops like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16, as well as completely new designs like the HP Omen Transcend 14. I suspect most laptop brands will just swap out the hardware under the hood at Computex.

Although I expect to see these refreshes at Computex, I don’t think they’ll arrive any time soon. Intel and AMD are undoubtedly eager to get their next-gen chips in laptops, but there’s a good chance the rollout of these chips will happen later in the year, likely toward the fall.

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