Cool tech to expect at Computex 2013

Computex expo floor header

Computex Taipei (4 June)  is the biggest computer expo of the year, where everyone shows off what they’ve been working on for the past few months. Its hosted in Taipei, Taiwan and will see launches by companies such as Intel, AMD, Sony, ARM, and Samsung, as well as other brands dabbling in tech, such as Ford and General Motors.

A huge amount of attention is going to be focused on the expo this year because Intel is launching their new Haswell line of processors. In addition, its expected that a lot of new form factors for computers will be displayed. So with all these brands attending, what can we expect to be announced by them?

Intel Corporation

Bill Baker, Intel Manufacturing head

Intel will be launching Haswell, their new family of processors that improve even further on the Core architecture. Haswell requires a new socket design, LGA1150, and that means we’ll see a slew of new motherboards from popular brands like Gigabyte, ASUS, ASRock, MSI and others. We’ll also see details about the lineup of mobile processors, as well as updates and final performance indications of Haswell’s premier graphics processor, GT3e.

We may also see a roadmap by Intel detailing their push deeper into low-power computing and the mobile sector. They’ve been making Intel Atom chips for smartphones for over a year, but haven’t quite received the same attention as Qualcomm and other ARM-based processors.

Advanced Micro Devices

AMD Wistron Temash reference design

AMD Wistron Temash reference design playing DiRT 3 at CES 2013

AMD has a giant stand this year, almost as big as Intel’s. While the company has been silent about what they’ll be talking about, we can guess that part of their keynote will be about Jaguar, the new CPU design that powers the Xbox One and Sony PS4, as well as the Temash and Kabini APU family and their new low-cost lineup of Opteron server processors. Various partners are sure to launch and talk about their new lineup of tablets and notebooks based on the low-cost APU families.

What I’m personally expecting is an announcement and a new roadmap for their Radeon graphics family. If MyGaming readers have been looking around lately, many online stores don’t have stock of the Radeon HD7970 and HD7950 graphics cards. I’m expecting an announcement and possible launch of the new HD8000 series, tweaked for better performance and priced to compete with the Geforce 700 series.

Ford Motor Company

Android social network sharing with Ford Sync

Android social network sharing with Ford Sync

Ford will be at the expo this year to go into more detail about how they’re using Android to control their cars. The company has made computer systems for their premium ranges that use an Android handset to control the in-car entertainment and even do things like offer hands-free voice dictation and control some of the car’s environmental factors.

Ford’s motto this year is “The Smart way to get there” and this implies that they’ll be showing how they’ll be further integrating support for Android handsets into their cars. Its possible that we’ll see demos of pairing your smartphone to the car and displaying navigation info on the dash screen, among other things that may enhance the driving experience (lap times on Google maps, anyone?).

Tablets coming out of your ears

Its a given that we’ll see some new tablets, but I don’t think anyone actually has an sense of scale in terms of how many there will be. Windows 8.1 is launching this year and many more manufacturers are hopping aboard that gravy train this year – expect to see some sexy hybrid devices from ASUS, Samsung, Sony and Acer.

Acer in particular is going to be interesting to watch because the company famously shunned Windows 8 RT in public, saying that it was too large a change for their customers and too restrictive,adding that they would not be supporting it. While they do offer laptops and Ultrabooks with the regular Windows 8 OS, there are no ARM tablets from the company running Windows.

A big hoo-ha from Sony

Sony Entertainment Network

Sony Entertainment Network

Sony will likely reveal a slew of new tablets with a nod to the “Playstation Experience” as well as announce more 4K devices and some details about how the Sony Entertainment Network will deliver 4K media to consumers. Efficiently delivering 4K media is crucial to the success of the new high-definition standard because the videos for that are massive – literally four times larger than Blu-Ray copies of the same movies.

Support for new compression algorithms and some details from Sony about what they’re going charge for all this eye candy will be appreciated, but I think they will only reveal that once the PS4 is outed at E3 – the console is going to be their driving force for home entertainment for the next decade, so it plays a big role in how they’re going to get all this to work.

SSDs from Transcend, ADATA and others

SSD controller technology is maturing fast, to the point where the fastest devices from OCZ and Corsair are almost butting heads with the limits imposed by SATA3 standards. Intel will be helping this along with improved support for PCI-Express-based SSDs but I expect some new controllers to be announced as well as some information on forthcoming NAND memory improvements.

In addition to that, I think we’ll see some major price drops following the conference. One of the most popular manufacturers in the US, Crucial, has launched an affordable and relatively fast 960GB SSD in a 2.5″ form factor at the same price as many 512GB solid state drives. I think we’ll see more brands update their lineup to include more sizes and even more choice for the mSATA form factor.

Updated DDR4 memory roadmap from Samsung and Micron

Samsung DDR4 memory module

Samsung DDR4 memory module

If you’re a large corporation dealing directly with companies like Dell, HP and IBM, you’re already working with the big three on their DDR4 memory. DDR4 modules are available in server markets to select partners and the standard is gaining some weight because of the significant improvements to memory speed and power consumption.

The companies making these chips, Micron and Samsung, will have something to say about their general availability as its anticipated that Intel, with their Broadwell processor family, will introduce DDR4 memory to the consumer market next year.

Higher display resolutions from LG, Samsung and others

We have been stuck in the consumer space with 1366 x 768 and 1920 x 1080 resolutions for years. If you have more money you can afford the better resolutions on the much more expensive monitors available, or if you have nerves of steel you can order a Korean brand 27″ IPS LED-backlit 2560 x 1440 monitor on the cheap.

But that will soon change, as its expected that monitor manufacturers will finally launch more and better screen resolutions and sizes for various form factors. I hope, personally, to see a greater support for 15.6″ 1080p panels using IPS technologies, because those are terribly gorgeous.

More Hardware news:

Intel vs AMD: price and features comparison

Nvidia Geforce GTX770: performance vs price roundup

AMD Richland APU performance looking good

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Cool tech to expect at Computex 2013

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