The world of laptops, tablets and mobile computing is moving ever-forward. With huge innovations coming to the world of technology at large this year, we’re taking a look at CES and other shifts in the market to tell you what laptop technology you have to look forward to in 2017.
Full-Fledged Desktop Hardware in Laptops
A major advancement being touted in laptop hardware is … desktop hardware. The highest-end laptops, especially gaming-oriented laptops, are now shipping with full-blown desktop CPUs, GPUs and even mechanical keyboards. In fact, some are offering full-blown 22-inch displays, while Razer’s Project Valerie is a triple display laptop.
In previous years, laptops were often well behind the power curve of the latest in desktop parts and simply couldn’t offer things like fully-mechanical keys or desktop-class hardware. From 2017 and onward, though, this has clearly changed. While I’d still recommend building a PC for the best value proposition, laptops have made some huge leaps forward in both pricing and hardware.
Intel’s Kaby Lake and AMD’S Ryzen Architectures
Intel Kaby Lake is another iterative upgrade of the latest Intel CPUs. The last major advancement in Intel CPUs was seen in 2013 with their Haswell architecture. The upgrades since then have been iterative, focusing on shrinking down power consumption and thermal performance while also marginally boosting processing power. While this may not sound huge, Intel’s been leading the CPU market in terms of performance for some time now, and the more powerful and heat-efficient their chipsets get, the cooler your laptops will be and the longer they’ll run on battery.
Meanwhile, AMD’s Ryzen architecture is their first new CPU architecture since 2011 with the Bulldozer series. Alongside Ryzen comes massive performance, power and cooling improvements, as well as new AM4 motherboards and sockets to support the processors. AMD plans on shipping Ryzen-equipped laptops in the latter half of 2017 which should encourage better pricing for the end user through real competition between AMD and Intel for the first time in years.
Hybrid Laptop Advancements
Hybrid laptops have technically been around for a little while, but they’re seeing huge improvements this year. While the high end of gaming laptops is focused on stuffing as much desktop-class hardware into a tiny chassis as possible, most consumer-grade ultrabooks are aiming for the hybrid laptop standard innovated by the Lenovo Yoga laptop of yesteryear.
Hybrid laptops offer touchscreens for tablet functionality as well as screens that can completely pivot or even lay down atop the keyboard to turn the laptop into a de-facto tablet. The possibilities of the hybrid form factor for laptop computers are numerous and allow laptops to compete with straight-up tablets in a unique way by allowing all the same accessibility and convenience with the raw power of a proper laptop.
USB Type-C and USB 3.1 Are Now Standard
Last but certainly not least, USB-C is finally the standard. USB-C combines the speeds of the USB 3.0 with a new, smaller form factor that allows devices to be inserted without ever needing to be flipped over. (And so, the eternal crisis of dealing with USB sticks has ended, at least if you’re using this format!)
Meanwhile, USB 3.1, while expensive, is blowing away our old expectations for data transfer standards with a whopping 10 gigabit/second data transfer rate.
USB-C, however, is definitely more important. This is because it allows for rapid charging of mobile devices, from smartphones to laptops. If your device supports USB-C charging, and many do, you can expect longer battery life and shorter charge times than ever before.
While 3.1 is cool and all, the most it offers besides faster transfer rates is the ability to utilize more external displays or other peripherals for the laptop. Ultimately, though, newer Thunderbolt standards still have 3.1 beat when it comes to those applications.
There’s a lot to look forward to in 2017. Say what you like about 2016, but the world of tech and the world at large are making huge strides forward.
This may be a little late, but good luck this year. Many people had a rough 2016, but I believe that’s only made us stronger and empowered us to make 2017 a better year.
Enjoy the new tech, keep your head up and comment below if you need help.
Image credit: What is USB type C
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