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Computex 2024 Keynote Preview: The Great PC Powers Convene

The annual Computex computer expo kicks off in Taepei this weekend. And this year’s show is shaping up to be the most packed in years.

Computex rivals CES for the most important PC trade show of the year, and in most years is attended by not only the numerous local Taiwanese firms (Asus, MSI, ASRock, and others), but the major chip developers have been increasing their own presence as well. These days, while CES itself tends to land more high-profile announcements, in recent years it’s been Computex that has delivered on more substantial announcements. This is largely because tech firms have aligned their product schedules to roll out near gear in the second half of the year, when retail sales are stronger due to the back-to-school and holiday shopping periods.

This year’s show, in turn, is looking to be an especially big year for the PC ecosystem. All the major PC chip firms – AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, and the 4th Musketeer, Qualcomm – are holding keynote addresses at this year’s show, where they’re expected to announce new slates of PC products to ship later this year. In a normal year there is typically only major announcements from one or two of the major chip firms, so having all four of them at the show delivering lengthy keynotes is setting things up for what should be an exceptional show.

And while the show doesn’t officially open until Monday, media briefings are already well underway on the ground. Our own Gavin Bonshor has been in Taiwan since Tuesday for Intel’s 2024 Tech Tour, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. As a result, we’re expecting a deluge of announcements from the major chip makers over the next few days.

As has become customary these days, the keynotes from all four chip vendors will be broadcast live. And while the local time zone for Taiwan (UTC +8) does mean that these announcements are at relatively odd hours, most are still taking place in what are reasonable hours to watch them back in North America. And for those of you who can’t catch them live, AnandTech will be live blogging most of these keynotes.

So without further ado, here’s a look at the Computex 2024 keynote schedule, and what we’re expecting to see from those presentations.

NVIDIA: What’s Next for the AI Ecosystem

When: June 2nd, 7:00am ET (4:00am PT)

What: NVIDIA’s leather jacket-wielding CEO Jensen Huang will be presenting a talk “outlining what’s next for the AI ecosystem.”

Description: NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang will deliver a live keynote on June 2 at 7 p.m. Taiwan Time at the NTU Sports Center and will share how the era of AI is driving a new industrial revolution across the globe.

Where To Watch: https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/events/computex/

What To Expect: Of the 4 Comuptex-aligned keynotes, NVIDIA’s is both the first and the most mysterious. The company has not telegraphed its intentions for its keynote – or even how long it will run. And with virtually all of NVIDIA’s products intersecting the AI market in some fashion, the “AI ecosystem” could conceivably cover anything from servers to smartphones.

With that said, NVIDIA is coming into this show as the vendor farthest from the start of their next product cycle. The company already presented a detailed roadmap for it’s all-important server products at their own GTC conference two months ago, leaving them with relatively little to announce at this spring’s expo. And NVIDIA’s consumer GPUs have traditionally followed a 2+ year cadence, meaning they’re not due for refresh until later this year at the earliest. Still, NVIDIA is solidly in the driver’s seat of its own destiny right now thanks to the wild success of its Grace Hopper-based accelerators, so the company can (and will) do whatever it pleases.

Notably, even NVIDIA’s keynote itself is a big rogue. While the AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm keynotes are all official Computex keynotes taking place at the TaiNEX 2 expo hall, NVIDIA’s keynote is off-site, taking place the night before the show officially starts at the National Taiwan University Sports Center.

AMD: The Future of High-performance Computing in the AI Era

When: June 2nd, 9:30pm ET (6:30pm PT)

What: AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su will be presenting a keynote entitled “The future of high-performance computing in the AI era.”

Description: AI is driving a revolution that is rapidly reshaping every aspect of computing and the technology industry. Dr. Lisa Su will explore how AMD, together with its partners, is pushing the limits in AI and high-performance computing from the data center, to the edge and end user devices.

Where To Watch: https://www.amd.com/en/corporate/events/computex.html

What To Expect: The first off the official Computex keynotes, AMD’s keynote is the closest thing the show has to a “prime” keynote that kicks off the whole show. Like NVIDIA, AMD’s AI-focused description intersects virtually their entire product stack. But as AMD has been consistently executing on a well-published architecture roadmap over the last few years, we have a good idea of what to expect here.

The big expectation here is fresh news around AMD’s Zen 5 CPU core architecture, and the chips built around it. AMD’s most recent Zen 5 roadmap has it slated to deliver all three flavors of Zen 5 by the end of this year, and we’re coming up on the two-year anniversary of the Zen 4 architecture launch.

Along with client chips, AMD has been pushing their server CPUs hard, and they’ve previously told investors that the next-gen EPYC Turin CPU is “looking great”. So we’ll likely hear about both client and server Zen 5 product plans during this keynote.

On the GPU/accelerator side of matters, AMD is mid-cycle (at best) with their Instinct MI300 series accelerators. With the company’s sales repeatedly beating their own expectations, AMD doesn’t seem to need much help moving this premium silicon right now. But with AI being the operative buzzword of this year’s Computex (and indeed, the computing industry as a whole), it would be weird for AMD to not have something to say about their rapidly growing AI accelerator product line.

AMD’s keynote is scheduled to run for 90 minutes – half an hour longer than either Intel’s or Qualcomm’s – so expect this to be a fairly packed presentation.

Qualcomm: The PC Reborn

When: June 3rd, 1:30am ET (10:30pm PT)

What: Qualcomm’s CEO, Cristiano Amon, will be presenting a keynote entitled “The PC Reborn”

Description: The PC industry is experiencing an inflection point, driven by era-defining innovation that promises to change how we interact with our PCs going forward. Amon will break down the trends and technology that have brought us here, and more importantly, where they will take us across productivity, creativity, and entertainment. Amon will showcase the AI-accelerated experiences users can expect from their next-generation PCs and what technology is needed to bring them to life.

Where To Watch: https://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2024/05/qualcomm-president-and-ceo-cristiano-amon-will-deliver-a-keynote

What To Expect: The new kid on the block in the PC space, Qualcomm’s keynote will be more immediate and focused than the rest of the chipmakers. The company announced its Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus SoCs over half a year ago, and has been touting them since. Now, the first consumer devices based on these chips are just a couple of weeks away from shipping, so Qualcomm is in their final promotional push for their new Windows-on-Arm platform. As a result, Qualcomm should have a lot more hardware to show off, with final silicon and shipping SKUs already defined.

While Snapdragon X is not Qualcomm’s first effort to ship an Arm-based SoC for Windows devices – there are 3 generations of 8cx Gen 3 platforms that everyone is happy never to mention again – the Snapdragon X is Qualcomm’s most serious effort yet. At its core is the new, high-performance/high-efficiency Oryon CPU core, which combined with the rest of Qualcomm’s tried-and-true mobile hardware experience, the company is hoping to mold into a revolutionary Arm-based SoC for Windows laptops. The company is also counting on a decade of software development on Microsoft’s part to make the Windows-on-Arm ecosystem whole, not to mention as frictionless as possible.

Besides energy efficiency, Qualcomm’s other big push is on the burgeoning field of NPUs. The Snapdragon X NPU is rated to deliver 45 TOPS of INT8 performance, which makes it the first PC NPU to meet Microsoft’s hardware requirement for Windows 11 Copilot+ AI functionality. So Qualcomm is looking to leverage this time-limited opportunity to be the first to offer new functionality in the Windows space – a privilege normally reserved for Intel or AMD.

Intel: Bringing AI Everywhere

When: June 3rd, 11:00pm ET (8:00pm PT)

What: Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger will present a keynote entitled “Bringing AI Everywhere.”

Description: Detail how AI unlocks new possibilities in the data center and cloud, PC, and across the world’s network and edge applications. Gelsinger will also showcase Intel’s next-generation data center and client computing products bringing AI Everywhere by making the technology accessible through open ecosystems support.

Where To Watch: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/events/computex.html

What To Expect: The final of the major Computex keynotes, Intel has been the most up-front about what to expect from their hour-long presentation. The company’s Computex 2024 page already outlines their four major topics: AI PCs, Xeon 6 Processors, Gaudi AI accelerators, and Intel’s OpenVINO software ecosystem.

On the consumer hardware front, the company set the table with a significant teaser earlier this month about their forthcoming mobile PC SoC, Lunar Lake. The next generation of Core Ultra processors, Intel is touting significant energy efficiency gains for the mobile-focused chip, with new architectures driving their Performance and Efficiency CPU cores, Xe2 GPU, and a much faster 45+ TOPS (INT8) NPU. While the Lunar Lake announcement is coming relatively soon after the Meteor Lake launch, Intel has made it clear that it’s not going to hold back on shipping future products; they are looking to make up for lost time. Still, Lunar Lake devices are not expected to hit retail shelves until Q4 of this year, so this announcement is coming months in advance of the hardware itself.

On the server front, Intel has been publicly prepping for the launch of a new generation of Xeons with the Xeon 6 platform. The most notable part of this being the release of the company’s first Efficiency-core Xeon, Sierra Forest. Sierra Forest is set to be the first Xeon 6 chip out the door this year, and will offer up to 288 E cores on a single chip, allowing Intel to tap into the many (many) core CPU markets that AMD and Arm-based rivals have been unopposed at thus far.

Finally, the company has fully pivoted its server AI accelerator strategy to its Gaudi accelerators. Gaudi 3 was introduced back in April, and while it isn’t expected to go toe-to-toe with NVIDIA’s top accelerators in every workload, Intel is betting that they can beat NVIDIA on critical workloads, all while undercutting them significantly in pricing. The first Gaudi 3 parts are set to be released in the second half of this year, so hopefully we’ll be hearing a bit more about Intel’s plans as part of their keynote.

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