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Intel at Computex 2018.


Claire Reilly/CNET

Intel kicked off the annual Computex tech trade show in Taiwan with a wide-ranging keynote from Gregory Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group, covering everything from faster processors to prototype PCs to a new design for low-power laptop displays that promises to extend battery life.

One important theme of Intel’s announcements is that PCs, especially laptops, are still by far the most-used platform for creation and productivity. Bryant says, “When people really need to get things done, over 80 percent turn to their PC.”

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Highlights of Intel’s keynote include:

New Core series processor updates

Intel is adding to its 8th-gen processor family, with two new products, the Whiskey Lake U series and Amber Lake Y series. The U series is for slim, portable mainstream-to-high-end laptops, while the Y series, formerly known as the Core M, is for the thinnest laptops and tablets, especially those designed to run fanless.

Also briefly discussed, the higher-end, higher power X-series and S-series desktop processors will get 8th-gen updates by the end of 2018.

Intel also wants to drive performance through fast storage, specifically its Optane solid-state hard drives. There’s a new Optane 905P series in a smaller, more efficient M.2 design in sizes up to 1.5TB.

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Intel Corporation

5G is (finally) coming… next year

Intel announced it was partnering with Sprint to drive Intel-powered devices that run on coming-soon fast 5G data networks. These systems, from Acer, Asus. Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft, are expected sometime in 2019.

Better battery life through smarter displays

After years of promoting gains in CPU efficiency for increased laptop battery life, Intel is switching gears, hoping to give your PC a boost through a redesigned display. It’s called Intel Low Power Display Technology, and can hypothetically improve a laptop’s battery life by 4 to 8 hours. 

These 1-watt panels, made by Sharp and Innolux, use a combination of hardware changes and Intel GPU software to draw less power. Intel claims you won’t be able to see a difference in brightness or resolution. Onstage at Computex, Intel showed a time-lapse video of one such display lasting for 25 hours of continuous video playback.

Creators first

Everyone loves talking about creators right now. If you edit photos or video, create animation, design buildings or make music, almost every hardware, OS and app company wants you to think it’s made its products expressly for you.

Intel calls a line of new laptops and desktops from partners — including Asus, Dell and MSI — its Creator PCs. These include systems with new Core i7 and Core i9 CPUs, Thunderbolt 3 and Optane SSDs, all designed, an Intel exec told us, to “solve pain points in the creation process.”

AI in a box

It seems like every current tech keynote or press conference needs to at least mention AI. Intel is embracing the concept through tools that should make it easier for app developers to use powerful Intel CPUs to drive AI.

This takes on two forms: First, a new “AI for PC” developer program, with tools and training for developers, and second, an actual AI dev kit coming in late 2018, with reference code and other software.

To demonstrate the importance of AI, Intel presented a demo of a new concept PC from Asus, called Project Precog (yes, like in Minority Report), which has a dual-screen design and “intelligent” features. That includes face and object recognition and an intelligent display that adapts to suit your task (turning from a virtual keyboard to a drawing pad depending on what your hands are doing). That followed a series of other prototypes discussed during the keynote, including the dual-screen Yoga Book 2 laptop, which features a similar dual screen design and intelligent display to the Precog.  

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A 1978 advertisement announces the arrival of the Intel 8086. 


Intel Corporation

But Intel was also looking to the past, not just the future.

This year marks both Intel’s 50th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of the x86 architecture

In honor of these key anniversaries, Intel announced a limited edition 8th-gen Core i7-8086K processor, which the company says is “the first-ever CPU with a 5.0GHz turbo frequency.” The CPU will be part of an ongoing sweepstakes, giving away 8,086 chips. 

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