Computex 2011 Expectations - More of the Same?

By Vijay Anand - on 30 May 2011, 10:47am

For any company dealing with tech or tech procurement, Computex is the definitive tech show of the year. As the largest information, communications and technology (ICT) show in Asia for 31 years straight, and probably the largest in the world after CES and CeBit shows, it's little wonder why HardwareZone and HWM have been covering this event rigorously since the year 2000.

The first group of us arrived in Taipei, Taiwan yesterday and more from the HQ team and regional teams across South East Asia will be arriving today to fan out and cover what you readers need to know from the show. Computex officially starts tomorrow, 31st May, but we're likely going to start reporting officially from later today as we head to a few press conferences.

The cool season outside of the Nangang Exhibition halls in Taipei, Taiwan where a bulk of the Computex 2011 show will take place along with the Taiwan World Trade Center area.

So what can we expect from Computex this year? At first glances as we review of the expectations set by the many brands we communicate with, it would seem that this year's show could be more of the same from our previous year's expectations. And unlike several high profile press conferences that were lined up during the start of the show in 2010, this year seems a lot more muted in comparison. Big names like MSI, Gigabyte, NVIDIA and more have scaled back in media engagement this year and it's definitely a sign that they've not had a major change in direction and that the next interesting wave of products aren't quite due yet.

One example is the speculations of AMD's forthcoming eight-core high performance processor, Bulldozer, which was originally planned to be unveiled in Computex 2011. It's likely that it could still be unveiled in a couple of days and who knows, we might get a sneak peek of it in action too. However, a few of our close sources cite that the actual availability of Bulldzoer has indeed been postponed to Q4 of this year. Examples like these only mean that vendors don't really have a strong push to promote their new line-up with a lot of fanfare until the entire ecosystem is ready. Likewise we think this is the same happening in other product groups like graphics cards, another stronghold for many of these component manufacturers, but we are unlikely to see new GPUs coming out sooner than late in Q3 this year.

Just because some of the new products won't be seen in retail soon doesn't mean we won't get to see them at the show. That said, here's what we expect to see this week at Computex 2011:-

  • New Intel Atom CPUs and platforms that target the MID (mobile internet device) segment (which are now really shaping up as tablets), and even smartphone like devices. As such, we expect to see Oak Trail devices that was first talked about here. Similar to the Moorestown platform, it consists of the Lincroft integrated processor (CPU, GPU, MMU), and a Langwell I/O hub and is geared to run Windows. These are more power efficient platforms than the Pine Trail platform used in netbooks/nettops currently.
  • Possible preview of the Intel Medfield platform (first mentioned here), which is an even more power efficient platform than Moorestown but targeted squarely at smartphones and uses a 32nm processing platform codenamed Cedar Trail.
  • Tablets galore! We've seen plenty over the past year, but believe us, there's a lot more to come. Examples of these include the ECS ElitePad that uses the Intel Oak Trail platform and the just leaked ASUS Padfone.
  • AMD's new 9-series chipsets and motherboards supporting the yet to launch Bulldozer codenamed CPU. We've even done a detailed preview of the ASUS, ECS and MSI AMD 990FX motherboards, but expect to see even more variety during our show floor coverage.
  • AMD's Llano platform. We first mentioned its proposition and some basic basics here. While it would be officially announced here in Computex, the NDA for its full details doesn't expire until 14th June when it would likely be retail ready. With a mainstream CPU core, featuring up to four cores and a mid-range class integrated GPU, this is going to be an interesting solution for mainstream systems and notebooks. Our Group Editor, Dr.Jimmy attended a detailed exclusive press event of the AMD Llano that very few tech media around the world had the privilege and you can be sure we'll share our findings in due time after the NDA expires.
  • More high-end devices that embraced Intel Thunderbolt I/O technology. It's currently only featured on the latest Apple MacBook Pro notebooks.
  • Possibly more devices embracing the 3D ecosystem.
  • Updated notebooks and systems featuring Intel's Sandy Bridge processing platform. We've seen a number of first-tier brands recently refreshing their notebooks and systems so we expect the rest of the other brands to follow closely as well. If AMD managed to get their updated platforms to these vendors, we might see AMD equivalent solutions too from these vendors previewed at the show.
  • Intel Ivy Bridge sneak peek either with a CPU demo or with preview motherboards.
  • And if we're lucky, some glimpses of graphics cards bearing the new AMD GPUs based on the 7000-series naming scheme. It's a long shot but we can still hope for it.

As you can see, a lot our expectations are revolving around new platforms and technology by the champions in ecosystems and technology - namely AMD and Intel. A lot it were briefly shared in previous shows, but we expect them to finally come around in full implementation and previews in this show. With that, I would like to end this blog with a few interesting products that will likely be seen in the show:-

 The ASUS Padfone reveals a smartphone / tablet hybrid unlike anything we've seen as it features a special compartment to mate with a smartphone. Possibilities include extending the smartphone's battery life and a larger screen experience.

An ASUS ROG-class graphics card! This is the Matrix class GTX 580 graphics card and from the looks of it, it's likely a single-card solution to drive beyond just dual displays for a proper surround gaming experience. More details to come.

The new GIGABYTE Z68XP-UD3-iSSD motherboard features the Intel Z68 enthusiast chipset and ups the ante by featuring Intel's Smart Response Technology working out of the box. It does this by integrating an mSATA based Intel 311 series SLC-based SSD of 20GB in capacity for caching purposes.

Taking the Intel Z68 chipset to a more compact form factor is this new MSI Z68-MA micro-ATX motherboard. Comes with Virtu support, SLI and CrossFire out of the box.

Vijay Anand

Vijay Anand / Editor-in-Chief

A pioneering contributor of since its inception in 1998, his keen interest in DIY computing has helped establish content standards in testing and reporting online, while his drive to share knowledge has laid the foundation of Social Media 1.0 in Singapore via the HWZ Forums. As site editor since 2005, he oversees all content production with the local team, supervises the regional teams and provides forum management insights to the large pool of contributors.

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