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Best of Computex 2024: the PC Guide awards

Last Updated on June 12, 2024
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Another year, another chance for our team to fly over to Taiwan to see the hottest new products in tech, and we could not wait! Computex is always a blast and this year was no different, with a particular focus in 2024 on gaming handhelds and, of course, the latest in Artificial Intelligence tech.

Of all the myriad products on display we’ve summarised what we consider to be the most worthy of the prestigious PC Guide ‘Best of Computex Award’. These are all definitely products you should keep an eye on, whether they be particularly innovative, or just offer a great end product done well. Read below for our favourites.

Best all-in one PC

The MSI Modern AM273Q AI kind of resembles the Apple iMac in that it’s an all-in-one PC, that is it resembles a monitor with the actual CPU and memory built into it. The AM273Q AI comes with Intel Core Ultra processor options (up to the Intel Core Ultra 7 155U CPU) and DDR5 RAM. The device is also equipped with Thunderbolt 4 and HDMI ports, allowing it to function as a monitor when connected to a traditional PC. Additionally, it offers an upgradable 2.5″ HDD/SSD and a card reader, making it an excellent choice for general productivity tasks.

If this device ends up worth purchasing ultimately depends on its price on release and real-world performance, both of which are currently unknown, but we think the market could do with another all-in-one device. On top of this, we’ve also awarded the AM273Q AI with the much coveted PC Guide sustainability award, given this computer is not only made from post-consumer recycled plastic, but is also packaged in environmentally friendly materials, and includes multiple power-saving functions to enhance energy efficiency.

Best AI software

We all know AI-generated images have been a big thing over the last year, with questions about the ramifications the technology might have on the livelihood of artists but also the potential efficiencies it could bring. ASUS MuseTree is the best implementation of this tech we’ve seen so far: combining the technology in a user-friendly interface that’s aimed at helping creators in their workflows.

The first part of the creative interface focuses on an Idea Map, where written prompts generate AI-created images in a sort of mind-map, which can be dragged and merged to form new images blending the two concepts. The other side of the application features an Idea Canvas, allowing users to sketch ideas with a pen tool and apply various AI-generated art styles or images to the sketch. All newly created images can be stored in the Ideas Library for future use.

Best desktop CPU

Lisa Su and crew, to no one’s great surprise, unveiled the new AMD Ryzen 9000 series of (desktop) processors, which will include four SKUs to begin with: the Ryzen 5 9600X, Ryzen 7 9700X, Ryzen 9 9900X, and the most powerful Ryzen 9 9950X. While this release doesn’t introduce any groundbreaking changes, its imminent launch in July 2024 is significant given that Intel’s 15th generation processors are not expected until later in the year.

The Zen 5 technology these chips are based on features incremental improvements over Zen 4 architecture rather than a complete overhaul. It utilizes the same I/O die but introduces new chiplets and an updated capacitor layout. Nevertheless these changes result in notable performance improvements, offering “up to twice the data bandwidth and up to twice the AI performance of the last gen,” according to AMD’s Donny Woligroski. While any performance benchmarks should be viewed cautiously before third-party testing can take place, AMD claims the Ryzen 9 9950X will deliver gaming performance that is 4% to 23% faster and productivity enhancements ranging from 7% to 56%.

Finally, the 9000 series uses the same AM5 socket as the previous generation, and AMD have now stated they are committed to supporting it until 2027, which is nice. This is one advantage over Intel users, who have been required to buy new motherboards for the past few generations of releases. 

Best gaming & creator laptop

The ROG Zephyrus G16 gaming laptop, a longstanding product line from ASUS, has been continuously refined and redesigned with each iteration, though the early 2024 version of both this device and its smaller counterpart, the G14, was a particularly extensive redesign, which positioned it somewhere between a gaming laptop and sleek productivity device. The early 2024 models came with a slimline chassis, improved keyboard, and top-quality speakers and were equipped with Intel Core Ultra processors.

These latest models shown off at Computex 2024 retain all the features introduced in the early 2024 models but now include the more powerful AMD Ryzen AI 300 Series processors, enhancing both conventional processing and AI workloads. They also offer WiFi 7 support and the new SD Express 7.0 standard for exceptionally fast SD card speeds. These upgrades position the ROG Zephyrus G16 as a formidable challenger in the Windows MacBook alternative market, particularly given that it also excels at gaming.

Best mobile & AI processor

The competition in the mobile processor space has reached a fever pitch, with ARM’s Qualcomm series having disrupted the industry with its new architecture. Still, Intel and AMD are not backing down and continue to fiercely compete.

Both Intel and AMD unveiled new AI-focused mobile processors at Computex but it was the AMD Ryzen AI 300 chips that seemed to outperform Intel’s Lunar Lake offerings. This was due to the chipset’s higher maximum Tera Operations per Second (TOPS) capability, maxing out at 50 compared to the 48 on Lunar Lake’s NPU. Of course, TOPS only serves as a general guideline for AI processing performance, the real-world scenarios may demonstrate that the different designs of each chip offer advantages in various scenarios. Still, based on the information available, AMD’s offering emerges as the winner among the Computex launches.

Best graphics card

At Computex 2024, there wasn’t a plethora of brand new founder’s edition GPUs unveiled, as expected (or any in fact). However, one standout was a new AIB from ASUS, and it certainly packs a punch in terms of power.

The ROG Matrix GeForce RTX 4090 introduces the pioneering use of a liquid metal compound on the GPU die. Coupled with a specially engineered cold plate and a 360mm radiator, this setup allows for an astonishing boost clock of 2700 MHz. Additionally, users can leverage the ASUS GPU Tweak III app to detect potential power anomalies and keep track of thermals.

While the exact price of this card remains unknown, it’s safe to assume that it will likely be beyond the budget of the vast majority of gamers and creatives. Nevertheless, it represents a remarkable advancement in pushing the boundaries of graphics technology and we hope to see some of its innovations filter down to the more mass market products.

Best motherboard

MSI Project Zero motherboards have been around for a couple of years now, featuring a back-connect motherboard design that tucks the wiring ports on the underside of the board, leading to a tidier case. Besides aesthetic appeal this also improves the airflow efficiency of PC builds, through the removal of obstructing wires. 

The Z790 Project Zero Plus takes this approach even further with the incorporation of the latest low-profile RAM: CAMM2. These memory chips lie flat against the motherboard, giving further space in your case for additional components or different arrangements (of coolers for example). On top of this, CAMM2 memory offers superior connectivity to the processor and increased bandwidth capacity, resulting in faster speeds, lower latencies, and enhanced stability.

Best Monitor

Among the impressive displays showcased at Computex 2024, the Acer Predator X32 X3 stands out as a standout offering. While Acer hasn’t been a major name in the top-end OLED gaming monitor market, this model appears to be a strong contender. Featuring a 31.5-inch 4K display with a maximum refresh rate of 240Hz, it also boasts the capability to switch to a 1080p resolution with an astonishing 480Hz refresh rate. This versatility caters to consumers who seek to enjoy immersive 4K gaming experiences while maintaining an edge in competitive online shooters.

While MSI also introduced a dual-mode monitor with the MPG 321CUPF, which offers 4K at 160Hz and 1080p at 320Hz, Acer’s Predator X32 X3 takes the lead with its impressive specifications. Indeed, Acer’s offering stands out as the fastest display of its kind.

Best SSD

The XPG Adata Project NeonStorm boasts one of the most extravagant designs we’ve seen in an SSD, with its shiny golden-looking alloy tube encased in water-cooled housing, complemented by two radiator fans. That’s right – this is a self-contained, water cooled Solid State Drive: not the first on the market, but definitely the flashiest.

This would be an excellent choice for those high-performance users concerned about SSD throttling. With storage capacities expected to reach up to 8TB, this product is poised to hit the shelves next year.

Best new handheld

News about new handheld gaming platforms abounded at Computex 2024, and though there were some updates of some existing classics (more on these below) what really caught our eye was a brand new contender to the market. Up until now, Zotac is a name that most people associate with graphics card AIBs, but the new Zotac Zone looks to change that.

This new device boasts a 120Hz AMOLED display, which looks good against the 90Hz OLED in the Steam Deck. It also features 16GB of DDR5 RAM, again similar to the Steam Deck, though lower than the maximum 24GB in the ROG Ally X. Starting with 512GB of storage, it offers expansion options post-purchase. Powered by the Ryzen 7 8840U APU chip, it surpasses the AMD Custom APU 0405 in the Steam Deck and likely matches the Z1 Extreme of the ROG Ally X in terms of performance (though we’ll have to wait for independent testing to know this for sure of course). Priced at $799, it costs the same as the ROG Ally X but is notably higher than the $649 Steam Deck.

Despite concerns regarding the absence of Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) support, the Zotac Zone has the potential to be a significant contender in the handheld gaming space.

Best updated handheld

At Computex 2024, we’ve witnessed the unveiling of several updated handheld devices, such as the MSI Claw 8 AI Plus featuring an upgraded Lunar Lake CPU and a bigger screen. However, the ASUS ROG Ally X stole the spotlight for us with its doubled battery capacity, doubled storage, and various other enhancements aimed at enhancing the overall gameplay experience.

The new model costs an extra $100 more than the original $699 ROG Ally, and we believe the Ally X’s improvements justify the investment.

Unique case design

Fractal are a well respected company in the PC case market, who invariably produce very high quality, nice looking products, and one of their latest offerings caught our eye. The Fractal Mood mini is (as the name would suggest) a small-size case that comes with a new vertical and slimline design. This lightweight case is surrounded by fabric and features a single 180mm exhaust fan on the top that draws air up through the case. It accommodates graphics cards up to 325mm in length, which can expel heat through the side mesh of the case. The surrounding cover can be effortlessly removed, providing access to the case’s internals from all sides.

The Fractal Mood mini is due to hit the shelves in June, and we’re looking forward to seeing it in action.

Best budget case

Montech showcased several cases at the event, including more inventive models like the King 65 PRO and the Sky 3 with its front ramp design. However, the 64-Montech XR caught our attention not due to anything new exactly, just that it does a classic design well, and is available at an incredibly affordable price of just $64. 

The mesh model comes equipped with three front-mounted 120mm fans and one on the back. The non-mesh model features a glass front panel with two 120mm fans positioned towards the front of the reverse side (i.e., on the right), along with one 120mm fan on the back. The non-mesh option is also available in a fetching rose-gold color, which we like the look of in particular.

Best productivity gadget

One of the most interesting devices of the Taipei conference was the ASUS AirVision M1 ‘wearable display’. Essentially this is a lighter version of a VR headset, resembling a heavy duty pair of spectacles, which can be used to view multiple virtual screens that can be rearranged and manipulated. You can have these screens either follow your view, or pin them into place as you move around. Feature-wise then it’s sort of a stripped down version of the Apple Vision Pro.

Both eye lenses of the device feature a 1920 x 1080 Micro OLED display, boasting up to 1100 nits brightness and a 95% DCI-P3 color gamut. It offers a vertical viewing angle of 57° and 60% transmittance. The left side of the frame includes a multi-function touchpad, enabling users to start/stop video, arrange various windows, and toggle other settings with ease. 

In addition to its impressive features, the AirVision M1 boasts a remarkably low energy consumption of just 2 watts, furthermore, it ships in plastic-free packaging, all of which grants it one of our PC Guide sustainability awards.

Best aesthetics

While aesthetics typically take a back seat to performance and functionality in our evaluations, we can’t help but appreciate the stunning design potential offered by the new Corsair Custom Lab.

Essentially this is an online resource where you can customize the color and patterns of a whole host of Corsair products, to create your own matching set of peripherals and a unique gaming space. We’re talking down to the level of the color of the side buttons on your mice.

As of now, the selection of peripherals available for customization in the Corsair Custom Lab includes the Corsair M75 Wireless mouse, K65 Plus Wireless keyboard, and an MM300 mouse pad. However, we can expect to see a lot more products added in the future.

Best custom case design

The crazy custom case builds of Computex are one of the most fun treats of the event. Traditionally we see some sort of unique cooling liquid used (this year it was bubble tea!) as well as various thematic tie-ins to new game releases. Well in honour of RoboCop: Rogue City, custom case maker RandomDesign was commissioned to produce a replica of everyone’s favourite malfunctioning robot, ED-209, but as a functioning PC case!

The design was constructed through a mixture of 3D printing, casting, and sculpting. You can see more of Mr Random Design’s (aka Stefan Ulrish’s) creations here.

Sustainability Awards

It’s encouraging to note that sustainability was a prominent focus for numerous products at Computex 2024. Much of the new AI tech on display by Nvidia and the like will put very heavy demands on energy production, so being as efficient as possible is vital.

We’ve discussed two winners of the PC Guide Sustainability award already (the MSI Modern AM273Q AI and the ASUS AirVision M1 in case you weren’t paying attention), however the product line which caught our attention the most in its sustainability credentials was the T-Force Delta RGB Eco RAM.

This DDR5 memory chip is produced by Teamgroup, and is constructed from 80% recycled aluminium and 100% PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled ) plastics. Additionally, the company produces a storage solution, the Teamgroup PD20 Eco Mini External SSD, which features a construction made from 75% PCR plastics and offers storage capacities of up to 4TB with speeds reaching up to 1,000 MB/s.

Aaron's laptop knowledge makes him the go-to guy on PC Guide. But he still finds time for features, deals and much more.