Computex 2018 is over and its time we unveiled our choicest picks for the ‘Best of Computex 2018’ awards as well as the most innovative and disruptive tech we saw at the trade show. With over a thousand tech companies exhibiting at Computex, it is hard to be completely impartial and fair but we tried our best to visit all PC hardware and tangentially related companies and find out the hidden gems – along with the obvious ones.
We gave a way a total of 10 awards to 10 different products, and this is the complete list of our Best of Computex ’18 roster.
Most Disruptive Tech (CPU): AMD’s 2nd Generation Threadripper (Zen+)
The first item on the agenda is the second generation of AMD’s Threadripper platform, based on the 12nm Zen+ uArch and with support for up to 32 cores. The presense of a core count this high in the mainstream consumer segment would have been an absolute pipedream just a couple of years ago. The company has managed to completely and utterly disrupt the HEDT space and competitors like Intel have been forced into action. There was a time when HEDT was limited to 8 cores – now it’s 32.
Most Disruptive Tech (Mobile): ASUS Rog Phone
There has been a flurry of gaming smartphones on the market but none have come close to offering true innovation and disrupting the gaming space than the ROG Phone. There are a couple of reasons for this. A higher clock speed binned chip would run hot and up till now, most phones have relied on a passive cooling approach. The ROG Phone, on the other hand, went for an awe-inspiring active cooling approach.
This is something that could potentially keep the chip cool enough to run extended gaming sessions without stutter, lag or throttling – something that could make all the difference for a smartphone that purports to be for gamers. This coupled with its console-like features and top of the line specs makes for an easy selection for our most disruptive award.
Most Disruptive Tech (Keyboard): The Wooting One – The future of gaming keyboards?
Have you ever heard of a keyboard that has an adjustable actuation distance? Or one in which you could change from a digital to analog response and back again? What about swappable keys that can be replaced on the go or keys that will almost never wear out? Well, if you hadn’t before, now you do. The Wooting One offers a revolutionary leap over the usually stagnant field of keyboards and utilizes Flaretech’s Optical Prism Switch with an absolutely killer software side. It offers a vastly superior experience to traditional digital mechanical keyboards in nearly all regards.
Not only are the Flaretech Prism switches rated at over a 100 million keystrokes but every single switch on the keyboard is replaceable and the company is kind enough to provide spares in the box in case you ever need them. The keyboard has an analog response function as well as the traditional digital one depending on your preference and you can, of course, set actuation distances with the click of a button (prefer a featherlite fast typing response? no problemo). After seeing the flexibility this $142 keyboard gives to gamers, it’s hard to justify dropping $199+ on ‘premium’ traditional gaming boards.
The company was kind enough to give us a sample and we will be following this up with a much more detailed review soon.
Most Innovative Technology (CPU): Intel’s Monolithic 28 Core HEDT Processor
Intel’s 14nm++ 28 core is clearly the Xeon part known as Platinum (8180) but it is the first time this has trickled down to the consumer space and therefore became eligible for our award. The impressive part isn’t the fact the CPU contains 28 cores, it’s that all cores are housed on a monolithic die. For those who understand yield theory, this is a phenomenal achievement.
Intel’s 14nm++ part is the very pinnacle of silicon tech. Its the most mature process Intel has right now and features an evolutionary leap over the last generation of HEDT, ushering in a new era of polished processing. Gone are the days when HEDT was limited to 8 cores only (and ironically, you have AMD to thank for acting as the catalyst for this innovation).
Best of Computex (Laptop): Gigabyte AERO Max-Q Series Laptop Lineup (2018)
Gigabyte updated its AERO lineup with brand new Max-Q designs and these contained some pretty powerful offerings packed into a lightweight pack. There was a time when gaming laptops were synonymous with luggables – bulky, heavy affairs that broke your back. The AERO series is the antithesis to that ideology and packs an insane amount of gaming power in a travel-friendly package with a Max-Q GTX 1070 and the i7-8750H. Another aspect where gaming laptops sometimes lack is the display and the AERO series will blow away the user in that department as well, with vibrant, gamut-rich colors.
Best of Computex (PSU): EVGA SuperNova 2000 G+
PSUs are the backbone of any build and it is here that builders shouldn’t spare any expense. EVGA introduced a new 2 Kilowatt Super Nova 2000G+ at Computex this year and it is clear what the PSU is targetted towards miners. The professional video industry space and mining are one of the two major areas where you are going to need this level of wattage (unless you are attempting to overclock an i9-7980XE or above, ahem) and its great to see that there are good PSUs around that can cater to just that. The PSU uses the tried and tested, all Japanese-caps approach scaled up to 2000 Watts.
Best of Computex (Systems): Zotac MEK Mini
Zotac toy robot for scale.
We have always been on the lookout for smartly built mini PCs that could actually the game and ZOTAC’s MEK Mini is one of the best. It packs a GTX 1080, 8th generation processor and 16GB of DDR4 memory in a very tiny mini-ITX chassis (toy robot for scale) and from what ZOTAC tells me is going have a very reasonable price tag (somewhere around $1499 for the complete build). A gaming mouse and keyboard will be included in the package. This is easily one of the best options for non-DIY PC gamers out there in the high end spectrum.
Best of Computex (Display): BenQ HT 2550 / TK 800 4K HDR Projector
Projectors are something that have always been a sleeper hit with tech enthusiasts and the new 4K UHD HDR lineup of PJs are no different. Usually, you will find that the 4K HDR variety starts well into the $2000 price mark but BenQ has two offerings which are a (relatively) cheap $1500. The BenQ HT2550 and TK800 are both UHD HDR certified projectors with crisp clean 4k images.
The primary difference between the two variants is that the former features an RGBRGB color wheel for increased color accuracy (but requires a dark room) while the latter features an RGBW color wheel for slightly less accuracy but more brightness. So depending on whether you want a home theater application or lounge/gaming application you can take your pick.
Best of Computex (Motherboard): MSI X399 MEG Creation
You are going to need an X399 motherboard to power the new wave of Threadripper processors and the AIBs have been hard at work providing a refresh to the X399 lineup (although old boards should work just fine too after a BIOS update). The X399 MEG Creation board from MSI is one of the better looking ones we saw and will happily power up even the highest end CPU of the Threadripper paltform with not one but two auxiliary CPU power connectors and overengineered specifications all round. If you are dropping over a grand on a 32 core, be sure to get a solid motherboard to go along with it!
Best of Computex (Other): Lian Li’s RGB Power Cables
Lian Li’s RGB cables received our Best of Computex Special Mention for the sole reason of proving that anything can be RGB-ed if you set your heart to it and for the sheer determination to RGB what can be RGB-ed. It’s also one of the more niche innovations in aesthetics we have seen and something that has never been done before. You can read our detailed coverage over here.