Every tech you don’t want to miss in Computex 2017

Computex 2017
(Photo from Computex Taipei official website)

COMPUTEX Taipei is one of the largest computer hardware expo in the world. Tons of new technology and gadgets are released. It also provides us a glimpse of how technology will evolve in the future. There are quite a lot to talk about in Computex 2017.

Intel: Release of the long-waited Skylake-X, Kaby Lake-X and its X299 platform

Intel Core i9 processors
Core i9 series (Photo from Intel Official website)

In order to combat the rising competitiveness of the AMD Ryzen CPUs in both performance and price, Intel has released a brand new lineup of CPUs, which is called Core i9, in their existing extreme series processors (Core X-series).

The latest high performance series consists of the Kaby Lake-X quad-core Core i5 & Core i7, and Skylake-X Core i7 & Core i9 processors. The whole series can have multiple physical processing cores from 4 up to 18. Most of the CPUs support quad-channel DDR4 memory, except for the quad-core variants which only support dual-channel. They provides a number of PCI Express lanes from 16 up to 44. Their power consumption also increase greatly from 112W to 140W or higher. 

All of the latest Core X-series processors uses the newly introduced LGA 2066 socket and X299 chipset, instead of the old LGA 2011 v3 and X99 chipset.

Intel Core i9 processors
Core i9
Intel Core i7 and Core i5 processors
Core i7 and Core i5

It is expected that Intel will do something to respond to what AMD Ryzen has offered to the CPU market. The top level Core i9 series is a very reasonable move to compete with AMD by increasing the CPU core counts even further from last generation (Broadwell-E) 10-core i7-6950X to now 18-core i9-7980XE. This will help maintain the advantages for Intel in the professional workstation market

However, what Intel do with the two Skylake-X quad-core i7-7740X and i5-7640X are really confusing. Not only do they have just 4 cores/8 threads, but they only have 16 PCIe lanes and dual-channel memory support. Apart from the slightly higher base and turbo boost clock speed (0.1 Ghz for the i7 and 0.2 Ghz for the i5), they are no difference between the consumer level Core i7-7700K and Core i5-7600K, even without internal Intel HD Graphics to benefit from technology like Intel Quick Sync (to speed up video transcoding using internal GPU). More importantly, they need to pair with a much more expensive X299 motherboard, but still cannot use any extra features due to the lack of PCIe lanes. Why would Intel do this to hinder their own sales of lower end CPUs?

Intel Core X-series prices
Core X-series prices (MSRP)

In this generation, you can buy the processors with less money when comparing with the last generation. The prices of the 10-core to 6-core variants are about 50% to 60% cheaper than those in Broadwell-E.

You can now order most of the Intel Core-X processors in June 26.

AMD: Attack on the high-end enthusiast market with Threadripper

Although the AMD Ryzen 7 series packs quite a punch in performance, it is only a direct competitor to the Intel Core i7 series. AMD still lacks any meaningful shares in the high-end enthusiast or workstation market. Therefore, here it comes – Threadripper.

According to current information from AMD, Threadripper processors can have up to 16 cores and 32 threads. It can also support up to 2 TB of RAM with quad-channel capability. There will be a 16-core and 12-core versions. They will support up to 64 PCI Express lanes.

The CPUs will use a brand new socket called TR4, which is a LGA (land grid array) socket with 4094 pins (the first time since 2010 with the Socket G34). Along with Socket TR4, Threadripper will need to pair with the new X399 chipset.

No pricing for Ryzen Threadripper is officially announced by AMD at this time. However, it is expected to be released in summer 2017.

Phanteks: Bringing tempered glass to the mainstream

Phanteks P300 case
Phanteks Eclipse P300 case (Photo from Phanteks Official Facebook Page)

It is even more exciting to see companies pay more attention in developing new products that bring some of the high-end features to the mainstream, but at the same time do not break everybody’s bank. This is what Phanteks has done to their new budget case – Eclipse P300 with a tempered glass side panel.

The P300’s styling is very similar to the existing P400 case, with a simple industrial design. There are two intake vents at the front panel, one at the top and bottom respectively. There are two USB 3.0 ports and audio jacks on the top. The interior is very open and simple with suitable cutouts for tidy cable management. Fan filters are included for both the front intakes and the top 140 mm fan mount. The overall interior design is similar to the Eclipse P400 and NZXT S340 cases.

The tempered glass is tinted along the perimeters to prevent seeing the case edges when installed. It only covers the upper part of the case up to the power supply cover to reduce material costs.

The Eclipse P300 only costs $59 USD (MSRP), which is cheaper than the NZXT S340 without a tempered glass side panel.

Cooler Master: Higher quality peripherals in budget-friendly price tags

Cooler Master MasterSet 120
CM MS120 (Screen Capture of a video from Cooler Master Official Facebook Page)

The Cooler Master MasterSet 120 brings a more appealing design than the already very decent MasterKey Lite L Combo RGB.

The MS120 continues with the minimal industrial design language. With a more comfortable, slightly tilted shape of the keyboard frame, the MS120 should theoretically help reduce wrist stress while typing even without the need of a wrist rest. Also, it now comes with individual RGB backlight for every single keycap, replacing the five-zone RGB lighting. The keyboard still uses the Cooler Master Mem-chanical hybrid switches to provide actuation similar to Cherry MX Blue.

This combo also includes a new mouse with a more ergonomic design and three-zone RGB lighting. It has an Avago optical sensor which has a maximum of 3500 DPI. The mouse can also be bought separately as the MM520.

The MasterSet 120 will be priced at $89.99 USD (available in July 2017) , which is a price bump to the MasterKey Lite L Combo. However, the MS120 has an improved design and some added features, that still maintain a high price-to-performance ratio.

EVE: A crowd-developed Surface Pro “Killer”

EVE V (Photo from EVE V Indiegogo website)

The EVE V is the first-developed computer, according to EVE. They collect results and feedback from the community to create a computer that the consumer would like to use.

The V is a hybrid tablet with a detachable keyboard, running on Windows 10 Home or Pro. It has a 12.3 inches IGZO LCD screen with a resolution of 2736×1824. In terms of performance, the V meets what the current premium computers do. It can have a Intel 7th gen Core m3, i5, or i7 CPU, paired with 8 to 16 GB RAM and up to 512 GB SSD.

What the EVE V shines is the I/O. It has two full-size USB 3.0 ports, one 3.5 mm audio jack. It also gets two USB-C ports, one is USB 3.0 Gen 1 and the other one supports thunderbolt 3. The lack of USB-C even on the new Surface Pro 5 makes the V more “future-proof” in the I/O department.

The EVE V will be pretty powerful and feature-packed. Not only does it has high resolution screen and high performance CPUs, but also has implemented a fingerprint scanner on the power button and a quad-speaker array with dedicated headphone jack amplifier.

InWin: New material to make a case – Wood

InWin 806 case
InWin 806 case (Photo from InWin USA Official Facebook Page)

It is not rare to see DIY guide in the Internet of people making their own computer cases out of wood. Yet, there is seldom a big case manufacturer that uses wood to mass produce their cases. InWin shows its approach in making their own wood PC cases in Computex 2017.

The InWin 806 uses the wood as the top and front panels of the case. The polished wood is bent seamlessly in one piece to give the case a rather modern look. Pairing with a tempered glass panel to show the internal components, the 806 does not look that much different when comparing with other cases.

InWin also has other design with different implementation of the material. It is interesting to see manufacturers to try new materials and technologies, which can definitely help evolve the cases’ designs over time.

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