Computex 2019 Preview: Project Athena, OLED Laptops, 5G and More

Updated May 26 at 12:10 p.m. ET: We've added information from Intel's Computex kickoff about the company's upcoming Ice Lake processors for laptops.

Computex 2019 is quickly approaching and that means we’ll be flying out to Taipei, Taiwan. Computex often sees the debut of some of the most exciting new tech trends, and provides a peek at the next wave of laptops and peripherals set to debut over the summer and fall.

This year, Computex will take place from May 28 to June 1 and is sure to be jam packed with plenty of surprises –– all focused on making your laptops even more powerful. While many companies are being understandably tight-lipped before the show, here’s everything we expect to see at Computex 2019.

Project Athena

Intel has been making plenty of announcements surrounding Project Athena, a program dedicated to innovation in the development of mobile devices, specifically laptops. At Computex, we expect Intel and its partners to announce new hardware with advanced features such as Wi-Fi 6, 5G and AI.

We also expect thinner systems with better performance and more efficient energy consumption. That should translate to longer battery life -- not the all-day mark Intel is claiming, but better.

Other Intel News

Intel will be talking about more than just Project Athena at Computex. During a Sunday kickoff event (May 26), the chip maker showed off several benchmarks for its upcoming 10-nanometer Ice Lake processors.

The Ice Lake processors feature a new Gen11 graphics engine, which Intel says can improve rendering performance through variable rate shading, in which different areas of the screen receive different degrees of processing power. The result is nearly double the performance of Gen9 graphics, according to Intel.

More significantly, Intel says the graphics on Ice Lake should outperform what rival AMD has to offer. In gaming benchmarks provided by Intel a 25W preproduction Ice Lake topped a Vega-powered 25W Ryzen 7 3700U in most tests. We'll need to see independent tests to verify all that, but those results certainly pique our interest about Ice Lake.

Credit: Intel

(Image credit: Intel)

In addition to the Gen11 graphics architecture, Intel says its latest processors will feature a new "Sunny Cove" core architecture and integrated Thunderbolt 3 and Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+). Intel is also betting big on artificial intelligence with Deep Learning Boost on the CPU and AI instructions on the GPU. We're expecting more details to emerge on Ice Lake this week.

Besides its Ice Lake teaser, Intel used its Computex kickoff to preview the 9th Gen Core i9-9900KS, a special edition gaming processors for desktops that features eicht cores running at a turbo frequency of 5.0 GHz. Our Tom's Hardware colleagues have the details about that processor.

A New Challenger Appears

Typically, Computex is dominated by Asian laptop manufacturers such as Asus, Acer and MSI. However, this year, Dell will be making more of a presence with several announcements. While we’re unsure of what the company is announcing, it’s a safe bet there will be more than a few laptops.

And since Computex is only a couple of weeks before E3, we wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one gaming notebook. Either way, it’s shaping up to be an interesting show.

Screen Play

Starting with CES 2019, it seems that laptop makers are focusing more on screens, particularly OLED screens. The first of these vivid beauties made its appearance with the latest Alienware m15. However, we’re expecting to see more of the vivacious hues and deep contrasts on other systems during Computex.

And why stop at one screen? Asus brought the dual screen trend back at last year’s Computex with the stunning ZenBook Pro 15. But we wouldn’t be surprised if Asus had even more double-screen goodness coming our way this year.

Graphics Wars

While Intel is looking to make a splash on the processor front at Computex, AMD and Nvidia may be looking to make their own waves with GPUs. It seems that MSI already leaked one of AMD’s new mid-range desktop GPUs, the Navi RX 3080. AMD is also supposed to show the 2nd Gen Ryzen chips, which will be featured in the Acer Swift 3 and the Nitro 5. But with a keynote on the way, who knows what else AMD is hiding up its sleeve? Nvidia’s been a lot more secretive with its impending announcements, sending out a cryptic YouTube video dubbed “Something Super Is Coming.” So stay tuned for that.

Credit: Tom's Guide; Shutterstock