Tech Innovation

Computex 2017: Meet the first consumer desktop CPU with 18 cores

Dean Evans Technology Writer Twitter

Held in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, this year’s Computex technology show was focused squarely on power and performance. We crave both. We want our PCs to boot faster, our software to run quicker, our batteries to last longer, and our games to be playable in the highest 4K resolutions with barely a judder.

Computex 2017 didn’t disappoint.

At last year’s show, Intel unveiled the Intel Core i7 processor Extreme Edition with 10 cores and 20 threads of computing power. The new Core X-Series processor family pushes performance even further, making it perfect for image rendering, video encoding, virtual reality, multi-screen gaming and streaming.

Intel’s first teraflop desktop CPU

“This family includes Intel’s first teraflop desktop CPUs, a prime example of just how much raw compute these processors can handle,” says Gregory Bryant, corporate vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group.

These high-end enthusiast chips start with the quad-core 4GHz Intel Core i5-7640X and peak with the 18-core Intel Core i9-7980XE — the first consumer desktop CPU with 18 cores and 36 threads. It’s a chip that represents the “highest performance for advanced gaming, VR and content creation,” adds Bryant.

Of course, improving power isn’t just about adding more cores. The new X-Series chips work with the Intel x299 chipset, which adds more I/O and overclocking capabilities. While updates to Intel’s Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 help optimise CPU performance.

And if this X-Series performance boost wasn’t enough, Gregory Bryant teased that future 8th Generation Intel Core processors could see a performance improvement “of more than 30 percent” over current 7th Gen Intel Core silicon.

Introducing the Compute Card

At the other end of the scale, Intel also launched the Compute Card at Computex 2017, which will be available to buy in August 2017. This credit card-sized device (95mm x 55mm x 5mm) crams in a powerful processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 128GB SSD (or 64GB eMMC storage), plus Intel Wireless-AC networking and Bluetooth 4.2.

According to Gregory Bryant, “the applications [for Compute Card] are endless – from smart screens, interactive appliances, smart factories and more.” It could also power VR/AR headsets and even PCs, allowing you to upgrade the spec by simply replacing the card. LG is already testing a Compute Card-powered All In One.

Expect to hear more about this tiny computing system. Partners working with Compute Card at Computex 2017 include Contec, ECS, Foxconn, LG Display, MoBits Electronics, NexDock, Sharp, Seneca, SMART Technologies, Suzhou Lehui Display and TabletKiosk. While Dell, HP and Lenovo also have products in the works.

Your computer, your way

From 18-core X-Series processors to the Compute Card, computing power and performance is now available in all sorts of devices, big and small. One size doesn’t fit all and there’s now no need to settle for something that’s not quite right.

Intel Compute Card
The Intel Compute Card is only slightly bigger than a credit card.

It is, at least according to Gregory Bryant, “one of the most exciting times we’ve seen in this industry. Innovation across the ecosystem is staggering. From gorgeously designed always connected 2 in 1s, to incredibly powerful high-end desktops.”

The best of Computex 2017

For example, ASUS unveiled what it called the “world’s thinnest 2-in-1 convertible laptop” in the shape of the 10.9mm-thick, blue/gold ZenBook Flip S. It’s certainly an eye-catching portable, equipped with Intel Core i7 processor, 1TB SSD, Windows 10 S and a 13-inch screen with a teeny 6.11mm bezel.

The updated ASUS ZenBook Pro UX550, meanwhile, goes up against the MacBook Pro with a glorious 15.6-inch 4K display and either a Core i7 or Core i5 CPU.

Measuring 16.9mm, the 15.6-inch ASUS ROG Zephyrus isn’t the thinnest laptop in the world. But it is, says ASUS, the world’s thinnest laptop to feature an NVIDIA GTX 1080 card. Paired with an Intel Core i7 7700HQ CPU, the spec makes for an effective mobile gaming PC.

As Microsoft showed off Windows VR/mixed reality headsets from ASUS and Dell, Samsung’s Notebook 9 Pro caught the eye. This stylish convertible laptop comes with either a 13.3- or 15-inch display, an Intel Core i7 processor and a pressure-sensitive S-Pen.

There will be more launches to come as Computex 2017 continues this week.

In the meantime, find out more about the Intel X-Series processors here.

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