Computex 2010: AMD, ARM, Intel and the Taiwanese Sony

June 14, 2010 // 12:11 p.m.

Tags: #3d #computex-2010 #events #fusion #optimus #sandy-bridge #usb-3

Companies: #amd #asus

As Alex did with his Winners and Losers of Computex 2010, it's time to look back and think about some highlights from the show.

For a show perhaps lacking in killer products, there was certainly plenty to think about - I've completely filled my notebook (don't cry, on the upside it's been replaced with a Shrek 4 branded one from Apogee) - so here's what caught my eye at Computex this year.
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Albatron Touchscreens:

Albatron barely ever made anything worth thinking about before, but the company has some awesome touchscreen monitors and even cooler, overlays that sit over a TFT and turn it into a touchscreen. They seemed incredibly responsive and fine-tuned, use a simple USB interface and are also multi-touch capable - twist, pinch, enlarge - it's all there! 100 per cent fantastic, and I want one.

Computex 2010: AMD, ARM, Intel and the Taiwanese Sony Roundup of Comments from Computex 2010

ADATA on SSDs:

Keep an eye on these guys. Despite the generally confusing branding and naming strategy, they have a whole wealth of consumer SSDs coming - some of which are (as far as we know) currently unique to ADATA. The company has also recently signed on with Scan in the UK for sales and distribution.

EVGA on Motherboards and PR:

What a complete PR catastrophe Computex 2010 was for EVGA. It's a blue moon when we read press releases from the CEO solely addressing rumours. We reported what EVGA explained would happen to its EU team one day and then within 48 hours the situation changed again.

We don't know what state the motherboard team has been left in, but it's clear a number defected to Sapphire - EVGA officially claims only two people, but others state more. Whether it's just the design team or the BIOS guys too we don't know. The overclockers, Shamino and Kingp1n, are currently still working for EVGA though.

AMD on Fusion:

We had several people hint to us that 2011 will be a good year for CPU competition (Ageia-founder Manju Hegde move from Nvidia to AMD and AMD's Fusion program are being significant indicators apparently) - but that didn't stop AMD's press conference being distinctly hit-and-miss.

From cringe-worthy adverts about how AMD has changed real lives to extremely poor photo opportunities, not to mention a complete lack of real detail about Fusion, the only real upside was the impressive fact that AvP runs on the upcoming mainstream APU in DirectX 11 mode.

AMD on Optimus:

AMD claims Optimus is both the right way and wrong way to go about autonomous graphics switching - right because it works, but wrong because it's a hack, when all is said and done. AMD claims it will have competing technology soon, but is it already too late? In my opinion, it should have been there when its mobile DirectX 11 GPUs dropped because many, many companies have preferred to use ancient G92 Nvidia parts just to have Optimus.

AMD on 3D:

"You can play [Stereoscopic] 3D for one hour but Eyefinity all day... just ask what gamers prefer" I was told, and I was struck by how little emphasis there was on 3D throughout the show, especially compared to CES.

AMD on USB 3

AMD is aiming for USB 3 Southbridges soon, stating that they're "not extremely far off.[i/]" Given Intel's apparent disinterest in the standard (despite being a member of the USB 3 specification committee), AMD actually will be delivering [i]better chipsets than Intel for the first time ever. Kudos to AMD.

Intel on Sandy Bridge:

Intel has left itself big boots to fill after claiming Sandy Bridge is "revolutionary... [and] will knock your socks off." I wouldn't bet against them though. Having already produced a 1.17 billion transistor 32nm part (six-core Core i7s), the 1.12 billion quad-core Sandy Bridge chips won't be too much of a stretch then.

On the graphics side, it's clear Intel's IGP has taken a huge leap forward, too. Its demonstration comparing two laptops running Mass Effect 2 at 1,280 x 720, one with SandyBridge's IGP, one with "mainstream mobile graphics" of today was eye opening.

Intel on Atom:

Atom Everywhere? Oh God. Who else visualises a future of waiting for things to happen? Considering the world is fast moving towards ever more visual interactive interfaces we don't think Atom and Atom- graphics will cut it somehow.

Companies want to avoid Intel's one-size-fits all approach and design their own chips, as seen by the fact ARM is already in everything - 1.3 billion ARM cores ship per quarter.

MSI on Tablets:

MSI hasn't completely committed itself to the tablet bandwagon yet, despite showing off the very promising WindPad 110. Overall, I can only echo Alex's thoughts on MSI - it's all looking very positive, although not quite there yet: there are significant improvements in the quality of products and designs for all-in-one PCs and some laptops that are extremely attractive.

Asus on Design:

Asus has become the Taiwanese Sony. Its product designs are getting better and better, and although some products are saved for mostly marketing and brand status with a niche appeal and a higher price tag (the NX90 laptop), its growth and brand desirability continue to increase. Asus is successfully hitting the "this will improve your life because the product is awesome" feeling with its new products - and it works. I really want an EeePad and VX7 or G53 laptop.

Gigabyte on Motherboards, and little else:

Gigabyte's motherboard division is very, very focussed right now. With the launch of the UD9, we heard comments like "you throw a CPU in and it just works out of the box on LN2" from pro-overclockers. That said, Gigabyte is focusing on the numbers and on the records so much we feel it's in danger of telling the same story day in, day out.

There's no catching the iPad, yet:

Tablets based on Windows 7 might arrive in July-August but the ones worth buying won't hit the shelves until next year. Intel's MeeGo, Google's Android and Windows Embedded Compact 7 Series/Phone 7 Series are all OSes with promising futures from what we've seen but without exception the tablets at Computex are all currently still in the very early stages of development. We wonder whether the tablet craze might even over by then?
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