Computex Taipei:The shifting power of technology from west to east

Known as the “world’s number two computer fair” this year’s Computex Taipei fair, which is held from June 1 – 5 in the Taiwan capital, with its much-hyped forecast to exhibit many innovating and exciting products, is proof that alongside the shift in the balance of power in the global economy from West to East, trends in the power of technology are moving in an analogous motion.

Computex

Starting relatively humbly in 1981 as a place where small businesses in Taiwan’s burgeoning computer industry could display their products, the Computex fair gradually escalated with each passing year, eventually emerging as one of the worlds most important IT exhibitions. And this year is no exception with a record breaking total of 1,715 exhibitors showing off the very best of their assets in Taipei this week, arguably a tantamount representation of Asia’s growing power in the world economy.

Among the companies vying for the attention of an eagerly awaiting Asian market by showcasing their sensationalistic technological wares such as tablet designs, electronic reading devices and laptops, which enable users wearing special shutter glasses to play 3D games, are Micro-Star International (MSI), one of Taiwan’s biggest mainboard and graphics card manufacturers, Acer Inc, the Taiwan-based multinational company, Asustek Computer, a multinational company also centered in Taiwan, and China’s Hanwang Technology Company. Many of the fresh and innovative products these companies are showcasing in Taiwan offer long battery life and bright LCD touchscreens encased in sleek and sophisticated skins. Asus have already unveiled the intriguing eee pad and eee tablet.

Although it is not just technology born, bred and strewn on homegrown territory that is going to grace Computex with its presence this year , as many of the powerful technology giants from overseas such as Intel, Microsoft and Nvidia are all attending, boosting the international presence in Taiwan to gain more influence in the Asian market. These international heavyweights are expected to be promoting new power laptops and processors using ultra high-speed WiMax technology. This increased presence of foreign corporations at Computex and the fact that the Taiwan technology has become the “world’s second largest” is yet more evidence of Asia and the East’s increasing power on the worldwide technological stage.

And buyers in Asia are lapping up the technological innovation Asian companies are drilling out, as well as welcoming the excellence and quality of products exported from the West. For example, buyers in Japan and Australian were amongst the first outside the US to snap up an iPad, as the sensational tablet PC was made available in shops on May 28, and in Apple’s flagship store in Tokyo, more than 1,200 people queued outside to purchase the highly sought-after product.

Computex Taipei’s logo incorporates the words “shaping the future” – words which bear significance in the slow shifting of power from the West to the East in both a technological and an economic doctrine.

Samsung and MSI release all-in-wonderful PCs

Up until the launch of Windows 7, all-in-one (AIO) PCs have been the equivalent of a bargain ready-meal for one – they look a bit pathetic in your home, and no-one really enjoys them, but at least it is better than starving to death.

However, Samsung and MSI are preparing some gourmet offerings, combining the power and functionality of high-end computers with the aesthetics and ease-of-installation of AIOs. And both companies have thrown in touchscreens.

Samsung-All-In-One

Samsung, entering the desktop market for the very first time, are launching two new AIO systems – the U250 and the U200, both styled like a giant iPads. And the similarities don’t end there – the devices also offer multitouch touchscreen using Windows 7’s powerful backend, meaning that the computer could quite happily replace a TV as an entertainment device, without a keyboard or mouse in sight.

While the screen may be a bit small to use as a primary viewing set, at 20-inch (U200) and 23-inch (U250), the picture quality is definitely there, with each model offering a degree of HD compatibility. The U200’s 1600 x 900 resolution means that 720p can be displayed, while the U250’s massive 1920 x 1080 allows for Full HD support.

Behind the screen, the internals are equally impressive for an AIO. The U200 boasts an Intel T440 dual core, while its bigger brother has a Core 2 Duo T6600, alongside a dedicated Geforce graphics card (G310M 512mb), 500gb hard drive and two or more gigabytes of RAM.

Disappointingly, there is no mention of an included Blu-ray player, which would really make the most of the gorgeous screen.

MSI’s offering, the “Wind Top AE2400”, is a premium model, and looks set to outperform (and out-cost) both of Samsung’s offerings. Offering a 23.6-inch 1920 x 1080 screen, an Intel Quad processor, a Mobility Radeon HD 5730 graphics card, a 1 TB hard drive and multitouch, the system looks set to be the biggest and strongest AIO on the market.

Time will tell if either of these companies can match Apple’s success in the AIO World, whose iMac line has been the trademark of designs for the last decade, and a benchmark of quality all-in-one builds.

MSI launch GX640 & GX740 gaming notebooks

The MSI GX700 and GX640 have been designed by MSI for that most hard-to-please class of techhead; the gamer. The tagline- obscene performance for serious gamers- says tells you all you need to know about the products intended audience- social Pro Ev’ers need not bother.  Stick to your PS3 because these two brand new models, only launched in Europe on the 18th February, are for the guys that mean business  and think fourteen hours in front of Bioshock 2 as a standard use of their weekend.


They are all geared up to run as normal laptops, with Windows 7 as standard on both models.  However, it’s clear you wouldn’t pay the £999 asking price unless you really liked games.  Therefore, obviously, the most vital thing with the GX640 and GX700 is whether they deliver increased performance.  The spec for both is impressive; powered by the Intel Core i5 Processor they have an ATI Radeon HD5870 AND HD5850 graphics card.  Both these have 1G GDRR5 of memory which should enable the two machines to deliver better clearer visuals while losing less power and, in the gaming world, MSI enabling the GDRR5 on machines of this price is a very big deal indeed.  Although there are notable machines with this capability of these, they are in the upper end of the market.  MSI are hoping to be the standard bearer, and with its use of Turbo Boost technology- which regulates machine temperature and current and estimated power consumption- they are giving buyers the chance to get the absolute maximum value from their machines.

Both also come with a reasonable range of in-built features-DVD Super Multi and Blu-Ray player,  a 2.0M webcam and optional Bluetooth, though there is only a fairly stingy 3 USB ports.

It’s with weight that these models are really coming into their own.  The GX700 (17” display) comes in at only 3.2 kg, while the 640 (15.4” display) is a titchy 2.7 kg.  This makes carting it around easy, and easy to unravel on the bus/tube/train with the minimum of fuss and disruption to those around you.

All these features add up to the GX640 and GX700 being a true gamers delight, and early reports back on its performance have been generally positive.  Of course it takes a while for real value to be extracted, and to discover whether the drive and graphics card can run at the speed and resolution that the spec suggests it can.  But overall, it seems, if you are looking for an affordable laptop that will allow you to fulfil your desires for a top gaming performance, one of these will do the trick.