Computex Taipei is a whirlwind of a trade show—spanning four convention halls, as well as private demonstrations in nearby hotel business lounges. It truly is one of the largest computer expos in the world.
While a large amount of Computex is dedicated to the latest in gaming technology, there are a great deal of announcements that impact both consumer and business markets, and many of which are targeted exclusively for professionals.
Here are the four biggest trends spotted at Computex Taipei 2018 that business professionals need to know.
1. The rise of dual-screen notebooks? (Or, are these tablets?)
ASUS demonstrated " Project Precog," a laptop that completely replaces the keyboard with a secondary screen. It also features face and object recognition, as well as typing correction, allowing it to predict where you are typing and adjust if you're out of position. The prototype allows for 360-degree rotation, making it possible to use flat or in "tent mode."
Similarly, Intel's Tiger Rapids concept joins a standard LCD screen with an e-ink display. The displays also have touch and pen input, making it possible to write notes on the bottom e-ink display and transfer them to the top display. While Intel has branched out to making barebones kits like the NUC, and devices like the Compute Stick, the Tiger Rapids design won't be produced by Intel directly, though it will be available to OEMs as a reference design.
2. Microsoft announces 'Windows Collaboration Displays'
Microsoft has partnered with PC OEMs to make "Windows Collaboration Displays." While the name implies something along the lines of a Surface Hub workalike, a spokesperson told ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley that the displays are "non-compute peripherals extending the PC desktop experience to room scale as well as an IoT Edge device with sensors that support Azure IoT spatial intelligence scenario."
While Microsoft just announced a refresh of the Surface Hub, pricing information was not disclosed at that time. The first model of the Surface Hub topped out at $22,000—whereas the "Windows Collaboration Displays" are said to be available in "many screen size options and low price points."
3. Massively multicore processors for professionals
Intel and AMD are releasing new processors that are architecturally more similar to lower-end server CPUs than high-end workstation CPUs.
AMD's second generation Ryzen Threadripper CPUs will be available later this year. Both 24 and 32 core SKUs are planned, with two threads per core, for a total of 48 or 64 threads. The CPUs run at 3.0 GHz, with turbo frequencies tested at 3.4 GHz in production samples. While the TDP is quite high at 250W, these are usable with standard air coolers.
In contrast, Intel showed off a 28-core processor running at 5.0 GHz, which was claimed to be available in Q4 2018. The company has taken a beating in the press for significant omissions during their presentation—not the least of which is that the 5.0 GHz speed was the result of overclocking, which was never mentioned at any point during the presentation.
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While gamers are likely to continue to prefer CPUs like the Core i7-8086K, which can reach 5.0 GHz (as a single-core, turbo frequency) out of the box, these massively multicore CPUs are likely to be attractive for programmers and content creators, as they are well-suited for multiple VMs or database operations, as well as video editing.
4. 14TB disks in data centers now, consumers' hands soon
This is not new, strictly speaking—Western Digital, Toshiba, and Seagate announced 14TB hard drives late last year, though they are only moving from sampling to deployment in data centers now-ish. Seagate's Exos 14TB enterprise hard drive is an 8-platter helium drive at available in SATA or SAS configurations. Pricing information has not been disclosed, though the drives are become more widely available, with NAS-targeted and prosumer SKUs likely available late this year.
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James Sanders is a Tokyo-based programmer and technology journalist. Since 2013, he has been a regular contributor to TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research.