2018 is just around the corner, and with it, we can expect a number of new things to hit all tech gadget categories, one of them being laptops, of course.
The trend as of late, has been packing more and more power into thinner profiles, and we should see a lot more of that, but some laptops in 2018 will bring entirely new things to the table.
Updated Intel processors
Let’s begin with the obvious. Laptops with the latest 8th-generation Intel U-series processors have been rolling out in the last few months, and we can expect them to be standard fare in 2018. The 8th-generation Intel H-series, on the other hand, is still yet to appear, but we’re betting that it will launch next year.
Intel’s 8th-generation processors, codenamed Coffee Lake, is actually just a refresh of Kaby Lake (7th-gen), but are a significant improvement. Not only are clock speeds faster, but you’re also getting two extra cores compared to Kaby Lake. Performance on multi-threaded tasks will now be faster, and you should even see battery life increase a little due to Coffee Lake’s higher efficiency.
New CPU players
It’s not just about Intel though, as team red also has their own stake in the laptop industry. We’ve seen the ASUS ROG Strix GL702ZC, which is powered by the desktop version of AMD Ryzen, but we must not forget that Ryzen Mobile chips with integrated Radeon graphics were launched just a couple of months ago. The ultrabook market, in terms of processors, is currently dominated by Intel, and Ryzen Mobile is AMD’s opportunity to take some ground.
We’ve mentioned the two main processor giants, but Qualcomm definitely deserves a spot on this list. Just last week, the company held their annual Snapdragon Technology Summit, wherein HP and ASUS announced the ENVY x2 and NovaGo, respectively. Both of these upcoming laptops will be actually powered by the Snapdragon 835 mobile platform, which is typically a mobile processor.
Aside from the Snapdragon 835, the ENVY X2 and NovaGo will also feature a Gigabit Snapdragon X16 LTE modem. The low power, high-efficiency of a chip like the Snapdragon 835 will significantly bump up battery life, and the inclusion of a Gigabit LTE modem brings nano and eSIM support for an always-connected experience.
It doesn’t stop at HP and ASUS’ devices, as Qualcomm also announced that they are teaming up with AMD to bring thin and light notebooks powered by Ryzen Mobile and Snapdragon LTE modems to the market. Expect this trend to flourish.
Increased Thunderbolt 3 adoption
Especially with ultrabooks, Thunderbolt 3 ports that use the USB Type-C standard already exist, but expect even more laptops to include them. It’s a great port to have, as it is a very flexible port. It can serve as a charging port, like with the MacBook Pro or Razer Blade, as well as deliver data and a video signal, all at the same time. You can even hook up an external graphics card enclosure to turn your little ultrabook into a gaming machine.
How is all this done? 40Gbit/s transfer speed. That’s about eight times as much bandwidth as USB 3.0, and translates to about 5 Gigabytes per second, of raw transfer speed.
A number of laptops already have a Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port, but it is far from being an industry standard. It definitely won’t get to that level in 2018, but increased adoption is guaranteed. In fact, we’re already seeing it as LG’s freshly announced Gram laptops for 2018 will include the port.
Thinner, lighter gaming laptops
NVIDIA’s Max-Q design standard was announced at this year’s Computex, and brought us gaming laptops such as the ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501, MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro, and Acer Predator Triton 700, which manage to pack a GTX 1070/1080 whilst being less than 18-19mm thick.
How is this done? NVIDIA has worked with top manufacturers to come up with a design standard that maintains a power-to-performance ratio that allows the GPU to generate less heat. The less heat generated, the less need there is for a bulky cooling system that will take up a lot of space within the laptop’s chassis. Max-Q doesn’t perform as well as the desktop counterpart, but that’s the trade-off. You’re still getting a GTX 1080-powered laptop that won’t break your back when on-the-go.
We’re not that far off from getting our first look at possibly a few of these things. It’s not just Christmas that’s just around the corner, CES 2018 is very close as well. What are you expecting to see from laptops in 2018?