Computex 2017: what's going down at the greatest (PC tech) show on earth

Computex 2017 - what to expect

Update, June 2 2017: We're still digging through the mountains of techy revelations Computex has brought us - the fun doesn't stop, so neither will we! Organised below for your viewing pleasure is a round-up of all the goodies we've found out about.

Read more: the best gaming headsets money can buy.

We've been covering the show from the ground and from the less humid environs of the PCGamesN office, and this is what's happened so far:

Original story, May 24 2017: Computex is essentially the E3 of PC hardware. January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) may have all the glitz and glamour the aging, faded madame of Las Vegas can infuse it with, but Computex comes from the Asian heartland of PC technology and couldn’t give a crap about ever more expensive OLED TVs, annoyingly smart fridges or electric toothbrushes which chastise you for bad oral hygiene.

Because Computex is such a PC-centric trade show it’s one of the few which still gets the big companies excited, excited enough to actually launch or unveil brand new goodies during the event. That means there’s a lot to look forward to over the next week or so with the show proper kicking off on Tuesday, May 30.

But who’s going to be releasing what? There will always be myriad cooling fans, untold numbers of RGB LED strips and more keyboard switches than stars in the night sky, but there’s also going to be a whole heap of genuinely exciting products too. We’ve gone through the announcements, leaks and rumours to give you an idea of what to expect, and from who.

Click on the quick links below to jump around. Jump around. Jump up, jump up and get down.

  • AMD - Vega, Ryzen Threadripper and Ryzen Mobile

  • Intel - Core i9 and X299 launching… kinda

  • Nvidia - More unattainable Volta and G-Sync HDR

  • MSI - Award-winning laptops and VR backpacks

  • Asus - Ryzen laptops and sexy screens 

  • Gigabyte - Boards, boards and… oh wait, there’s a cooler

  • Corsair - RGB everything, gaming chairs and striking chassis

AMD's Computex

AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPU

Vega, Ryzen Threadripper and Ryzen Mobile

The biggest noises coming out of Taipei next week will come from the AMD side of the hardware divide and mostly revolve around the upcoming RX Vega graphics cards. The company recently announced the first Vega GPU, the Frontier Edition will launch at the end of June, but the gaming-centric versions of the new architecture, the RX Vega cards, would appear later in the year.

Raja Koduri, AMD’s Mr. Graphics, has though said they will be showing off those GPUs at Computex next week and with their big press conference going down on Wednesday May 31 we’d expect to see a full announcement then. 

It’s going to be a packed presser too because AMD are also likely to have more details about their fat new processors making up the Ryzen Threadripper range. This is AMD’s first go at a separate consumer high-end desktop platform and is taking aim at Intel’s upcoming Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X Core i9 chips. The big news is that it’s going to come with a 16-core, 32-threaded monster processor as its flagship chip, which is probably going to be entirely irrelevant for most of us, but damn... teh corez. AMD have said they’re going to be launching the new platform this summer and Computex looks like a good place to get that ball (chip?) rolling.

And it ain’t stopping there for AMD either. The big red team tech revival is also happening on the mobile side too as we should get our first tastes of the Ryzen Mobile processors too. The exciting part of these new chips isn’t just the fact they’re utilising the Zen CPU architecture, it’s because they’ll be using the Raven Ridge APU which combines the Zen and Vega GPU silicon. That means it should have some serious graphical grunt coming out of a single processor without the need for a discrete graphics card jammed into the laptop too.

Of course there are likely to be Ryzen Mobile notebooks which also provide Polaris-based GPUs too, but the promise of genuine 1080p gaming performance from a thin ‘n’ light laptop with decent battery life has got me rather excited.

Intel's Computex

Intel Core X-series CPU

Core i9 and X299 launching… kinda

Computex is looking like it’s set to be a real CPU battleground between AMD and Intel, with both set to unveil their new high-end desktop ranges at the show. AMD will have their Ryzen Threadripper chips on display, and because of the red team’s resurgence Intel look like they’re bringing forward the release of their Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors.

The Skylake-X lineup will be filled by a new class of Intel chip, the Core i9, and will peak at twelve cores of 14nm Skylake-X magic. There will also be 10, 8 and 6-core versions coming out, but I doubt Intel will really be going into too much detail, even with the Intel Developer Forum now being cancelled indefinitely. 

The Kaby Lake-X chips will represent a sort of weird stepping stone between the standard Core i7 chips in the straight Kaby Lake lineup and the mega-core Skylake-X parts. There are reportedly only two SKUs coming, both with four cores, but only one with HyperThreading turned on. And neither of them get to use the quad-channel memory of the X299 platform.

Both the new CPUs will drop into that new X299 motherboards and, it’s safe to say, the show will be lousy with boards from the many manufacturers lining booths all over Taipei. There are likely to be more X299 than Threadripper boards, but the surge in new chipsets can only mean good things for the mobo gang. They’re going to be rubbing their hands with glee at such a glut of new boards.

But while there will undoubtedly be some big chip announcements it doesn’t look like either are going to actually be launched at Computex. The current rumour mill is grinding away on E3 at the moment with Intel now a big sponsor at the gaming show.

Nvidia's Computex

Nvidia Tesla Volta V100 GPU

More unattainable Volta and G-Sync HDR

Nvidia are actually kinda kicking off the Computex show this year with their effusive CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang holding the opening keynote of the week on the morning of Tuesday May 30. You can expect all the usual Nvidian topics to be covered, like autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality and,of course, gaming. 

Given it’s happening so soon after their own GPU Technology Conference, there’s unlikely to be anything startlingly new going down at Computex, so I’m expecting some hockey-playing robots, car porn from Nvidia’s Project Holodeck and maybe a guest appearance from the massive Volta-based V100 GPU. 

Will we see any consumer-focused Volta cards appearing at Computex? Well, I’m thinking probably not. Volta is still a while away from slipping into our gaming rigs, with a realistic launch (despite what some of saltier rumours might say) probably in early 2018.

What we might get to see though is more details and demos of G-Sync HDR. There were a couple of monitors on display at CES in January so I expect both Asus and Acer to have their retina-searing panels on show. 

MSI's Computex

MSI Computex

Award-winning laptops and VR backpacks

Award-winning? Yeah, Computex's Best Choice Awards have already been chosen and MSI have walked away with three awards for its PC gaming gear. They've picked up the Golden Award for the GT83VR Titan SLI for its attractive design (despite being an absolute monster) and the fact it's got insane performance as well as a full mechanical keyboard.

They also picked up a Best Design award for their VR ONE Gaming Backpack. Personally I'm not a fan of these VR backpacks; they seem to offer more problems than solutions as I found with Zotac's version.

MSI's Vortex G25VR also picked up the an award in the Computer & System category. It's a small form factor VR-capable PC, with impressive performance and a cooling solution that keeps the component chat to a minimum too.

As well as these li'l beauties MSI will have their fair share of X299 motherboards on display and I wouldn't bet on a few AMD X399 boards being hidden away behind closed doors too. Maybe even a Coffee Lake Z370 too...

Asus' Computex

Asus ROG GL702ZC Ryzen Mobile

Ryzen laptops and sexy screens 

Asus will be showing off some phone-y stuff and probably some slimline, non-gaming laptops, but you can bet they’ll also have a host of motherboards and assorted Republic of Gamers goodies to show off too.

As one of the biggest motherboard manufacturers in the world they’ll have a whole slew of X299 motherboards on display, and I wouldn’t discount them from having working Threadripper boards somewhere in downtown Taipei too.

But they’re also potentially going to be demoing AMD Ryzen Mobile laptops too. They recently teased an image of an ROG gaming laptop against a Ryzen logo backdrop with the strapline, “Something has awakened.” Republic of Gamers machines always represent the high-priced, high-performance end of Asus’ laptop lineups, so I doubt this is going to be some slimline shrinking violet of a notebook. 

It’s more likely the ROG Ryzen Mobile machine will be sporting both the Raven Ridge quad-core Zen CPU with a Vega GPU core and a discrete graphics processor of the mobile Polaris range. Though a sexy gaming ultrabook would definitely make me a very excited nerd.

The ROG range will also have some new HDR panels at their disposal. They've already won one of Computex's Best Choice awards for the 4K ROG Swift, picking up a Golden Award because of its mix of 4K and 144Hz refresh rate with the HDR goodness. There might also be other new G-Sync HDR screens on show too; potentially all sporting 1,000 nits of peak luminance they should be pretty obvious making one end of the exhibition hall glow brighter than the rest… But whether there’ll be any sign of FreeSync 2 I really don’t know.

Gigabyte's Computex

Gigabyte Aorus range

Boards, boards and… oh wait, there’s a cooler

The big news from the Gigabyte camp will largely revolve around new high-end motherboards for the latest AMD and Intel processor platforms. As usual they’re camping out in the upper floors of vertiginous Taipei 101 tower where there will be wall-to-wall boards and probably a concerted effort to get their Aorus brand aimed directly at Asus’ ROG.

It seems to be working though as they've also picked up a Computex Golden Award for their Aorus Z270X-Gaming 9 board. It's a board with all the LEDs.

That means as well as the motherboards, and possibly new laptops, there will also probably be a few new Aorus goodies on display too. One of those is going to be a new cooler, as reported by Guru3D. The Auros ATC 700 CPU cooler is a monstrous tower of an air-cooler, with a pair of fans arrayed in a push-pull configuration across the chunky heatpipes.

It also looks like Gigabyte are following the MSI line of offering cooling on their M.2 SSD sockets with their Aorus motherboards. They tweeted out an image of the Aorus M.2 Thermal Guard at the start of May, teasing #seeyouatcomputex.

Corsair's Computex

Corsair Dominator Platinum Special Edition Torque

RGB everything, gaming chairs and striking chassis

Ever the masters of re-invention Corsair have moved on from being a pure memory manufacturer to being one of the biggest names in PC gaming peripherals. They're keyboard, cases and mice are some of the best around... and now they've moved on to gaming chairs.

The T1 Race Gaming Chair is their first serious seat for gamers and comes backed with a full two-year warranty and a $350 price tag.

Corsair Computex

Other Corsair-y things sure to get your wallet sweating are the beautiful-looking new Dominator Platinum RAM sticks which are sure to have price of place in Corsair's Computex lineup. The new Special Edition Torque versions have a heat-treated top bar meant to ape high-performance engines. Bit over-the-top really, and probably difficult to get working with your Ryzen board... 

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