Skip to main content

Intel had one surprising card up its sleeve at Computex 2024

The motherboard of an Intel Lunar Lake laptop.
Kunal Khullar / Digital Trends

We’re in an unprecedented moment right now in the world of laptops, and Intel is trying its best to not get lost in the shuffle.

At its keynote at Computex 2024, Intel announced a preview of its upcoming Lunar Lake chips. They’re coming early in the cycle — at least a few months ahead of when they normally would have. But Intel doesn’t have a choice. Its hand has been forced by Microsoft, Qualcomm, and AMD — and it wasn’t about to be left in the dust.

But among the sparse details around Lunar Lake, Intel had at least one very solid laptop to show off that’s waiting for the new chips.

A stunning Zenbook

The Asus Zenbook S 14 open on a white table.
Kunal Khullar / Digital Trends

Among the laptops revealed that are being held for the launch of Intel Lunar Lake, only one really stood out. The addition of the MSI Claw 8 was a nice surprise, even if the original was a bit of a bomb. But at least as of now, the only Lunar Lake laptop that stood out was the Asus Zenbook S 14.

This is a replacement of the Zenbook S 13, that comes with a slightly larger OLED screen and some new visual flair. I have to say — this is the best-looking Zenbook ever made. The lid has the lines of the monogram Asus logo, now with a “ceraluminum” finish that looks great.

Inside, it’s got thin bezels around the screen, a massive haptic feedback trackpad, and a unique “geometric grille design” across the top. Both the dark and light color options look killer too. In a lot of ways, it feels like it’s learned a bit from the success of the recent ROG Zephyrus G14 redesign.

Now, the Zenbook S 13 was already one of the very thinnest laptops you could buy at 0.43 inches. That’s marginally thinner than the MacBook Air, making it the laptop to beat in terms of portability. This is a really important thing for Intel to hold on to due to how much the efficiency of the Snapdragon X chips has been talked about. The Zenbook S 13 seems like it would have been the perfect model for Qualcomm’s platform, but the fact that Asus saved it for Intel’s launch says a lot.

That’s not to say we’ll never see a Qualcomm or AMD version of this device. Interestingly, Asus’ launches around support of the Qualcomm-based Copilot+ PCs was rather quiet. It only had the Vivobook S15 to show, and that’s a particularly old-school and budget-friendly device that was at odds with the more premium devices its competitors were showing off. The addition of the new ProArt PZ13 2-in-1 announced at Computex firms up the company’s commitment to Qualcomm, but the fact that it’s saving a gorgeous redesign of its flagship laptop for Intel Lunar Lake feels significant.

And yet, the fact that impressions of Intel’s positioning right now rely on just a single laptop aren’t necessarily a good sign.

A race to the finish

Performance claims for Intel's Lunar Lake CPU.
Intel

Dell, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, and Samsung all just announced their sharpest new laptops at Microsoft’s Copilot+ PC event and they all support Qualcomm. HP even took the opportunity to rebrand its entire lineup of laptops. Importantly, it came in the middle of the year at an unusual time for laptop releases.

There’s no way to say it nicely — Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X chips have commanded a lot of regard in the past month. With the push for neural processing units (NPUs), Arm, and Copilot+, the tables have flipped on x86 laptops. AMD and Intel are being forced to vie for the attention of the big laptop brands. Just look at Microsoft itself, which launched the latest Surface Laptop and Surface Pro exclusively for Qualcomm. That hurts. And since Intel’s next-gen chips are last in line, it’s hard not to feel like it’s at the back of the pack right now.

AMD at least had the benefit of being the first to respond at Computex. But even there, as great as the new Zen 5 chips look, there weren’t a ton of new laptops to support. There were some new gaming laptops of interest, while the Asus ProArt P16 was perhaps the most impressive achievement. It’s packing the 50  tera operations per second (TOPS) of the NPU with the improved performance of the Ryzen AI 300 chip, and up to an RTX 4070 graphics. That’s something no Qualcomm laptop available right now can do. When it comes to raw performance in AI workloads, it certainly looks to be as good as it gets.

But in general, Ryzen AI 300 could hardly be considered a huge release. AMD depends a lot on gaming laptops, and those are likely waiting for a new generation of Nvidia graphics before it releases a refresh. Without them, it was fairly slim pickings.

I’m sure Intel’s situation will look a lot more promising by the end of the year. There’s no way companies like Dell, HP, and Lenovo, which depend so much on Intel’s name recognition to sell laptops, can ignore it. That’ll remain true throughout 2024 and beyond. In fact, it’s the reason it’s always been so hard for AMD to gain any ground against Intel over the years, especially in mainstream laptops.

But the tide is turning. At least from the vantage point of Computex, the pressure is on Intel to deliver big with Lunar Lake to stay in good favor with its laptop partners. Without them, Intel’s in trouble.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Larsen
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
Everything we know about Lunar Lake, Intel’s big next-generation chips
Lunar Lake CPU die.

You and I might be hotly anticipating what Intel's next-generation Arrow Lake processors will do later this year, but Intel's mobile-first Lunar Lake may be the more exciting design. It's certainly the one Intel seems more keen to talk about. It released a heap of new information on Lunar Lake at Computex 2024, detailing what could be one of Intel's most exciting product launches in years.

It's bringing real efficiency back to its mobile product, and that could give AMD a lot to think about. Here's everything we know about Lunar Lake so far.
Lunar Lake specs
Intel revealed some details about Lunar Lake's architecture and design in May 2024, stating that this mobile-first architectural design would be fast, but also incredibly efficient, beating the competition by up to 30% on power draw while offering competitive performance.

Read more
Intel goes to war with Nvidia and Qualcomm
An AI recreation of Intel's co-founder, Gordon Moore.

"Whatever has been done can be outdone, and in ways we haven't imagined yet." Those were the words that Intel chose to open its Computex 2024 keynote with, and those words were spoken by the AI version of its co-founder, Gordon Moore.

Intel stands by the words of its co-founder, though, while some big names in the tech space disagree -- such as Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. Huang has been pretty vocal about his belief that Moore's Law is no longer practical, going as far as to say that "Moore's Law is dead" in 2022. Now, not for the first time, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger fired back with another take on the matter.

Read more
NZXT completely redesigned one of its most popular PC cases
Press showcase of the NZXT H7 Flow 2024 case in white.

NZXT has introduced a reimagined version of its popular H7 Flow case at Computex 2024. Maintaining the mid-tower size and clean aesthetics of the original, the new version of one of the best PC cases you can buy now aligns with the larger H9 Flow and has a dual-chamber layout. Essentially, the power supply unit (PSU) shroud has been removed, and the case now comes with a dedicated vertical mounting space at the back.

The case offers space to install up to 10 fans for improved cooling while radiator options includea top mount as well as front mount for up to 420mm. There are also high-performance mesh panels to maximize airflow and filter dust​, and all of them can be removed without the need for any tools. NZXT says that it has also employed an intuitive cable management system to make the building and upgrading process easier.

Read more