Computex 2010 chip roundup: The fast, small and cool

In the market for a fast new laptop, smartphone or desktop? Check out some of the chips revealed at Computex in Taipei

Wondering when you can get a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon smartphone processor to game on the go? Or Optimus-enabled Nvidia chips in your laptop to save battery while traveling? At this year's Computex expo in Taipei, chips are getting smaller, faster, and smarter than ever.

Laptop/Tablet Chips

The iPad gave quite a jolt to the tablet market, and now several chip manufacturers are rushing to improve their mobile CPU and GPU offerings. Who's jumping on the bandwagon of fast, energy-sipping chips? Intel has a new thermal "technology concept" in the works called "Canoe Lake," which will purportedly allow for thinner laptops in the near future. Canoe Lake will work with Atom chips--which usually require fans to dissipate excess chip heat--to cool future laptops and allow for use of the Atom dual-core technology in netbooks.

Intel is also expected to announce another chip for the laptop market, the Moorestown version of Atom. The Moorestown flavor of Atom, called "Oak Trail", is a miniaturized version of the Atom platform. It should support 1080p video playback and HDMI, use approximately 50% less power than previous generations of the chip, and support full versions of Windows, not just Windows CE (scaled-down versions of processors often can't run heavier-weight operating systems).

We don't quite know what's with the camping theme for Intel names, but we're hopeful that this family of chips means thinner, lighter, and more-energy-efficient laptops not so far down the line. For more on Intel's Atom chips, check out "Intel Talks Technology Concepts, Plans Atom Update."

How about GPUs? Nvidia's been talking about its Optimus technology for switchable graphics cards for some time, but at Computex it announced 16 models of laptops from several manufacturers that sport Optimus technology. Optimus allows laptop GPUs to only switch on when dealing with intensive 3D graphics and video (otherwise it uses an integrated GPU), which should cut down on battery usage and heat in laptops that feature this technology. Want more on the latest Nvidia Optimus-enabled laptops? Check out "Nvidia Primes Market for Optimus at Computex."

Smartphone Chips

Qualcomm announced two new Snapdragon processors geared for smartphones, each with dual cores and running at up to 1.2GHz. The MSM8260 and MSM8660 should up the processing power of smartphones that use these chips, allowing for playback of 1080p video and screen resolutions at up to 1280 by 800 pixels. For more on the Snapdragon family, read on: Qualcomm Readies 1.2GHz Dual-core Snapdragon Processors for Smartphones.

Intel, while tweaking Moorestown chips for laptops, expects the first smartphones running Moorestown to ship at the beginning of next year. Combining an Atom processor and a GPU into a single package, the Moorestown chips should draw less power and provide higher performance than rival processors. What does that mean for you? Playing "World of Warcraft" and watching "Avatar" in HD on your smartphone. Awesome? Yes. Excessive? Probably. Will you want it? Most definitely. Read on for more Moorestown: Intel Expects First Moorestown Phones in Early 2011.

Desktop Chips

Running at speeds of 1.6GHz, a new dual-core x86 processor from Via promises high performance and similar low power consumption to Intel's Core 2 Duo processors. While the release date of this chip is uncertain (probably in the next six months), the Via Nano DC should be on par with tiny low-power dual-core chips from AMD and Intel. Via Shows Dual-core Nano Processor.

Has corporate spying tainted the Computex expo? AMD, when announcing its upcoming Fusion processors, was reluctant to provide many details on these low-power chips, much less a photo, due to worries that a high-resolution photo would fall into the hands of Intel. Such a photograph would reveal how many Fusion chips can be produced on a single wafer as well as the manufacturing cost, according to Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager of AMD's product group.

For more on AMD's Fusion chips, check out: AMD Shields Fusion Demo From Intel's Spies. The take-home message from Computex is that chips for mobile and desktop systems are becoming more powerful while using less energy. By early next year, you'll be able to frag and cast spells to your heart's content from the comfort of anywhere you and your smartphone may go.

Follow Alessondra Springmann and GeekTech on Twitter.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags pc componentsComputex 2010CPUs

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Alessondra Springmann

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?