Computex 2016: Latest news from Intel, Nvidia AMD and more
Computing Editor Michael Passingham is at Computex in Taipei this week. Here’s all the latest news and announcements from the event. We’ll be updating this page throughout the week with the latest goings on.
UPDATED: Computex 2017 is just around the corner. Check our Computex 2017 guide for all the latest news.
Computex 2016 is well underway, and we’ve already been introduced to a tonne of new products. From Asus’ new Zenbook to some impressive claims from ARM about its forthcoming smartphone chips, the show in Taipei certainly hasn’t been short on news.
We’ve rounded up the latest developments and announcements from the event here, so you can keep up to date on the all the news coming out of Computex 2016. Make sure to check back throughout the week for the latest updates.
Thursday June 2nd
The best gaming PCs and case mods of Computex
With three days of Computex under my belt already, I felt it time to round up the silliest, most beautiful and most powerful-looking PC builds of the show. There was no shortage of candidates, and for every one of the five in this list, there were many more that didn’t make it. Computex is a great place for PC nerds.
Wednesday June 1st
Microsoft has announced it’s going to open up its Windows Holographic platform to third-party developers in a move that will allow for what Microsoft calls ‘Mixed Reality’. Worth considering is that the platform isn’t limited to its HoloLens device; Microsoft is making a very long-term play into a very nascent product area.
Hands on with the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe
With a top-end processor and a crazy 6GB of RAM, Asus has truly hit the high-end market with the Zenfone 3 Deluxe. The price looks incredibly compelling, too, so if it does come to the UK, the Deluxe could be a hit.
It wouldn’t be Computex without a shedload of graphics cards, and Nvidia’s partners delivered in spades with several interpretations of the company’s new GTX 1080 graphics cards. There’s liquid cooling, RGB LEDs and fans all over the place, although what we’re really short on is full specification details on most of them.
Still, if you’re in the market for a GTX 1080 but won’t be buying for a while, this is a great way to see what’s coming in the next few months.
AMD Reveals $200 VR-ready Radeon RX 480 GPU
AMD finally hit back at Nvidia, slotting its new GPU neatly into the bottom of the mid-range. Despite the low price, the new GPU will be ready for VR, and when paired with a second RX 480, it’s apparently faster than an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080.
The company still hasn’t managed to launch a new GPU that can tackle the top-end, but this aggressive new entry will surely have people weighing up the benefits of AMD over Nvidia.
AMD finally showed off its long-awaited Zen processor. It wasn’t much more than a wave on a stage, but it’s finally set in motion a process that could take the challenge to Intel’s all-dominant Core i processors.
Tuesday May 31st
Asus Transformer 3 Pro preview
Asus’ Surface Pro 4 rival looks almost identical to the Microsoft’s finest. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I managed to get a closer look at the hybrid and my initial impressions are actually very good.
Related: Laptop vs tablet – Which one is best for you?
The display looks great, and narrowly pips the Surface Pro 4 in terms of resolution. The keyboard cover is also very impressive, and might be the strongest part of the product. Travel was fantastic and the touchpad was smooth and sensitive.
The Transformer Pro will undercut the Surface Pro 4 when it comes to pricing, starting at £900 for an i5 model with 4GB RAM and 256GB storage.
We’ll be putting the device through its paces as soon as we can get our hands on a review model.
Intel’s new Broadwell-E desktop CPU has ten cores
Intel went big at Computex this year, unveiling a full refresh of its high-end Core i7 processors with new six-core, eight-core, and ten-core options. Yes, that’s right – ten cores.
The new Broadwell-E chips are designed for what Intel is calling ‘megatasking’, which, although undeniably a marketing term, does get to the heart of how computing tasks have evolved over the last few years.
The addition of a 10-core chip is new ground for an Intel desktop CPU, and as such, the new chip will come with a suitably high price tag. For $1,569 you can bask in the glory of ten cores with the i7-6950X. Read our technology explainer for more on Intel’s latest offering.
Hands-on with a backpack PC for VR
Zotac, MSI and HP are all releasing backpack PCs and MSI and Zotac both demonstrated their products at Computex. I managed to have a go with Zotac’s offering and found the experience to be a largely positive one.
Related: What is virtual reality?
Although backpack PCs are only ever going to be a niche proposition, it’s certainly a novel experience not to be tethered to a static PC while using your HTC Vive. Playing Zombie Shooter Arizona Sunshine was a great experience, made better by my ability to move freely within the virtual world.
To find out more about my backpack PC exploits, click the link above.
Monday May 30th
Nvidia CEO: VR immersion problems 20 years from being solved
Nvidia’s CEO has laid down some sobering reality concerning the future of VR. Jen-Hsun Huang listed a range of issues with virtual reality, from cumbersome displays to the need for wireless headsets and improved resolutions.
According to the CEO, these issues won’t be solved for another 20 years. And when it came to Nvidia’s efforts in the VR sphere, he was less than forthcoming about how the company could help solve VR’s issues.
ARM’s 2017 smartphone chips will be more powerful than a laptop graphics card
Chip architecture design company ARM has launched its new processor and graphics architecture at Computex, and made some impressive-sounding claims about its latest graphics offering.
Accoring to the company, the ARM Mali-G71 is faster than a Nvidia GeForce GTX 740M, a low-end graphics card for laptops from 2013. That’s a considerable achievement for a piece of kit smaller than the size of your fingernail.
Related: Best Graphics Card
ARM also introduced the Cortex-A73 processor design, which is based on a 10nm process and said to be 30% faster than the previous generation A72.
Asus reveals the ZenBo robot
One of the more surprising announcements from this year’s event comes from Asus. The company unveiled the ZenBo robot: a rolling, talking companion capable of performing Amazon Echo-style functions. The robot can perform recipe recital, light switch activation, TV control, and music playing amongst other things.
ZenBo is priced at $599, but there were no further details about how the device functions.
Asus announces several new laptops, tablets and Zenfones
Asus gifted us with a whole range of new products at its Computex event. Firstly we were introduced to the new Asus Zenbook 3, which comes with Intel Core i processors and a claimed battery life of 9 hours.
Next up was the Tranformer 3 Pro hybrid – Asus’ Surface Pro 4 rival that packs in a 3,880 x 1,920 resolution display and Intel Core i processors. Following the Pro 3 was the 12.6-inch Transformer 3 tablet, featuring ‘seventh-generation Intel Core’ processors.
Related: Best laptop
As well as this, Asus unveiled a series of laptops and three new Zenfone 3 devices. The handsets never make it to the UK, but they’re usually available through grey importers if you simply have to get your hands on them.
Hands on with the Asus ZenBook 3
Of course, we had to get up close and personal with Asus’ latest MacBook alternative. The impressive build quality of the ZenBook 3, coupled with the high-performance processors certainly make for a tempting proposition from Asus.
What’s more, the laptop weighs just 910g and is just 11.9m thick, making it thinner and lighter than any ZenBook that’s come before.
My first impressions of the device were very positive, and as long as battery life hasn’t suffered too much as a result of the slimming down, this could be one of the best laptops of 2016.
Computex is one of those mish-mash shows where you’ll see a little bit of everything from the world of computing. From big business hardware to internet of things products to insane overclocking, consumer laptops and gaming peripherals. Distilling what I reckon I’ll find while I’m there is hard, but here are a few of the things I’m looking forward to.
Announcements from Intel and AMD:
AMD is a slight mystery: in 2015 it chose to spread its big graphics cards announcements (Fiji-powered Fury cards) over both Computex and E3 in a rather bizarre move that saw two reveals: one for the GPU at Computex and one for the actual cards at E3. If AMD does show off its new Polaris graphics architecture, it’d be a real treat given the glut of Nvidia news we’ve had of late.
What we do know is that there is definitely something to announce. An accidental Twitter leak over the weekend shows a graphics card called the RX 480 running Doom at an AMD technology event in Macau. Given that tech briefings have begun in earnest, I’m optimistic that AMD’s press conference on June 1st will be worth attending (which is a good thing, given that I’ll be there).
Also expect more information on Bristol Ridge, which is AMD’s latest generation of processors.
Related: What we’d like to see at E3 2016
Intel, meanwhile, is expected to reveal a new line of enthusiast processors in the shape of Broadwell-E after a leak last week appeared to confirm the announcement. That, and Asus recently launched its new X99 chipset motherboards that will feature the LGA2011-v3 socket, which is, as yet, unlaunched by Intel.
Don’t expect to hear anything about the company’s more consumer-level kit, though: I’d imagine Kaby Lake will be announced later this year.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080M or 1080 in a laptop: Asus recently teased a performance graph for a new gaming laptop that’s launching at Computex, showing its 3D performance exceeds that of a Titan X. Some have speculated that it’s a mobile version of the GeForce GTX 1080. I personally think that it’ll be a big fat laptop with a desktop GPU; everyone’s making them for 900-series Nvidia GPUs, and if Asus can get theirs out of the gates first, they’ll steal the headlines and a few sales to boot. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, though.
I’ll also add here that I’d be amazed if I don’t see a selection of third-party versions of Nvidia’s new cards: I’m hoping for water cooling, massive fans and flashing lights.
Backpack PCs: This has already been spoiled, MSI, ZOTAC and HP have all revealed their own version of the backpack PC, and I’m frankly dreading wearing all three of them at Computex.
They’re fascinating from a VR standpoint; while there’s no way in heck they’ll last more than an hour while playing games, it could make a wireless VR experience possible, albeit for a very short time.
All the 3D printers: We saw at CES with the XYZ Da Vinci Mini that 3D printers can be both cheap and pretty good, so expect to see a whole boatload of the things at Computex. If I don’t come back with a 3D print of my head, I will be disappointed.
More Asus phones and Acer laptops: Taipei is home ground for Asus and Acer, so the companies are sure to launch a load of products simultaneously, sending journalists (including myself) scuttling to get their hands on them. Aside from the usual fare of laptops, peripherals and tablets, it looks like Asus will be presenting a new glut of ZenFones. This rather strange promo video appears to confirm it, although whether they come to the UK is very much unknown.
Internet of Things: Computex is making a big push for IoT this year; admitting on its website that it’s looking to re-brand itself with better coverage of a technology that’s fast becoming an everyday part of our lives. Keynote talks from ARM CEO Andrew Seggars and Qualcomm’s Rahul Patel will be highlights, as the world of tech grapples with how to make sure we don’t end up in a mess of technical standards.