Asus' ZenBook Pro Duo. (AFP)
Asus' ZenBook Pro Duo. (AFP)

What Computex 2019 told us about the future of PCs

  • We can expect more gaming laptops with desktop hardware including Intel's over-clockable Core i9 processor and Nvidia's RTX 200 GPU
  • HP Omen X 2S and Asus ZenBook Pro Duo demonstrated how dual laptop screens allow easier multi-tasking by furnishing additional data and functions

Computex 2019, held in Taiwan last week, was a watershed moment for the PC industry in many ways. Many tech giants showcased their newest products and design innovations, giving us a hint of what the future of PCs will be. Here are some of the key announcements that will change the PC experience in the coming days.

Laptops with multiple screens

Just when we thought 2-in-1s were taking flexibility to new heights, HP and Asus pulled a rabbit out of their hat by announcing notebooks with two screens. Unlike dual-screen phones, where two screens combine to form one large screen, dual-screen laptops like the HP Omen X 2S and Asus ZenBook Pro Duo are designed with a different purpose in mind.

Laptops already have big screens and the 15.6-inch form factor is very common these days. The second screen (measuring 6-inch in case of HP Omen 2X) in these new laptops are smaller than the main screen and are placed between the keyboard and display.

The primary objective is to allow easier multi-tasking by furnishing additional data or functions that users might need while working or gaming. For instance, while playing a game, users can open the map etc on the second screen, while giving the game’s visuals the full primary screen. Similarly, one can use it watch YouTube streams or chat with a friend while gaming, working or watching a movie on the main screen.

More gaming laptops with more desktop hardware coming

After Asus’ Mothership and the Alienware Area 51m set the ball rolling for gaming laptops with the power of desktops at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year, there was a lull of sorts. MSI’s GT76 Titan though confirms that we are going to see more of these PCs in the coming days.

It’s powered by Intel’s over-clockable 9th-Gen Core i9 processor and Nvidia’s new RTX 200 GPU that offers real time Ray Tracing (a technique that enhances graphics) in games.

Future PCs will be faster

PCs driven by SSDs will see a major improvement in terms of bandwidth in the coming months as desktops will be using the fourth generation of PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) motherboard interface. This is a lot faster than the previous generation PCI Express 3.0 drives that offered read speeds of up to 3,500MBps.

The Corsair Force Series MP600, which is going to be the first PCIe 4.0 SSD, offers maximum read speeds of up to 4950MB/s. While SSDs will be the first PCIe 4.0 devices to come to market, the interface also works for graphics cards and hard drives.

Interestingly, while PCIe 4.0 is making its debut, PCI-SIG, the industry body that develops the PCIe standard, announced the PCIe 5.0 interface, which are even faster than PCIe 4.0, but its adoption is unlikely to happen before 2020.

Laptops can muster more bandwidth with WiFi 6

Improved access to WiFi networks has made it the default connectivity option for most laptop users. The announcement of the WiFi 6 standard by the WiFi Alliance last year, was big, because it allows 40% faster speeds than earlier versions. It can also split network capacity among a bunch of devices.

This is going to be important as adoption of Internet of Things devices at homes and workplaces increase in future. Most of the new laptops announced at Computex support WiFi 6, making them future proof.

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