Gaming Laptops
The world of the PCs, which has been living for quite a few years on earnings from its golden age of the past decade, is suffering a notable transformation in a very short period of time. When we talk about PCs, we are now not only talking about desktop computers, when all is said and done. Also included are laptop units, All in One units and desktop or gaming units.

The difference now between PCs and non PCs is the operating system which the unit uses, whether it is Windows, Chrome, OS, Linux or Mac on one side, or Android or iOS on the other. The division based on the type of processor used, whether one with x86 architecture or ARM architecture, will not be used any more, as we will see farther on.

It isn't the plan here to get too technical, but it is enough to say that the architecture of a processor defines what type of code it can interpret and execute. Programs, including operating systems, consist of instructions which are executed in the unit's processor. Traditionally, PC units have used x86 operating systems and applications which can be executed by processors with x86 architecture. Mobile phones and tablets have used operating systems with ARM instructions for processors with ARM architecture. The x86 operating systems are Windows, the x86 versions of Linux, Chrome OS and Mac OS X, among others. The most popular ARM operating systems are iOS and Android.

It's important to make this technical clarification, because one of the tendencies that we will see this year is that of laptop units with Windows operating systems which will use ARM processors instead of x86. The most popular x86 processors are Intel Core or Pentium or Atom. The ARM processors are Qualcomm's Snapdragon, Samsung's Exynos, Huawei's Kirin, or those manufactured by MediaTek, among others. Consequently, in a short time we will have laptops with Windows 10 that use Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and 845.

The return of AMD
Another tendency that we will see in 2018 is the expansion of AMD. AMD has traditionally been Intel's competition, though with a very limited presence up until now, because of Intel's technological dominance with its Core or Pentium processors for laptops and for desktop or gaming units. Last year, AMD responded presenting a completely new processor named Ryzen. It is a processor with a very notable performance and energy efficiency.

Therefore, if you are looking for a new computer, don't rule out Ryzen. Intel has reacted with new processors, but in 2018 AMD will present the second generation of Ryzen with a very powerful graphic performance. Remember that AMD, in addition to making processors, is known for its graphics cards, and Ryzen integrates highly-optimized versions of these.

Laptops with mobile processors
As earlier mentioned, another novelty which will arrive in the coming months is that of Windows laptops with ARM processors. Specifically, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and 845. This step is of great importance in the history of the PC. And speculating a little, it might obligate Apple to do the same with its laptops, offering Mac OS X models which use an iPhone processor as their CPU.

It might seem trivial, but there is a very important nuance that must be kept in mind. ARM processors for mobile phones have been able to offer performance comparable to x86 processors for desktops but with much lower energy consumption. That is to say, they are more efficient processors.

What Microsoft has done, is to adapt Windows 10 so that it can use ARM instructions. It's possible that there will be a limitation in laptops with this type of processor: we may only be able to install applications that are available in the Windows app store. These apps would also be optimized to be executed by an ARM processor, while, for example, if we were to download an execution like the GIMP editor, it wouldn't be possible to install it on our unit.

With all of that, there are many advantages, especially on the side of the battery and the connectivityGaming, gaming, gaming
Another of the tendencies in 2018 will be (or will continue to be) gaming. Last year already saw a boom in this segment, and in 2018, with the arrival of new processors by Intel and AMD, and of new monitors and accessories, it promises to improve over the present.

Additionally, a factor that sometimes we forget about when we think of PC units, both desktops and laptops, is that they are machines with extreme performance, or at least above average. A gaming computer uses SSD discs, and has 8 GB, 16 GB and even 32 GB or 64 GB of memory, with 128 GB models in stock for the coming months. The processors are 4, 6, 10, 16 or even 18 core.

Laptops for gaming, are getting more powerful and thinner, with thin and light designs, but with equipment that can make many desktop computers pale by comparison.

Mind you, what we commented at the beginning applies here: keep an eye on both Intel and AMD and their Ryzen processors for both desktops and laptops.

The key, as well, is to think of a gaming unit, not just as a computer for playing games, but also as a computer for every type of assignment. There is nothing to prevent you from using a gaming unit as a computer to use Word or Excel, or to edit photos or videos. What's more, these applications and many others will function perfectly on this type of computer.

This year the accessories tend to use LED illumination systems, which can be configured with every possible color because in many cases they use RGB systems. They may seem to be a "non-serious" factor, but they can be configured to adapt to our preferences, or deactivated when we are not using the unit to play games.

It is true that the prices of these computers are higher than the average, but they offer excellent technology, technical finishing touches, highly-durable components, flawless sound and very complete connectivity. If you need an affordable gaming laptop, you can read this article, which recommends a lot of great gaming laptops under $500.

eSports, another type of gaming
If what you are looking for is a computer for eSports, another phenomenon in recent years, keep in mind that you don't necessarily need a "monster" computer. For online games what is needed is a unit with a dedicated graphics card or even a Ryzen by AMD with integrated graphics. Although, in that case we would have to adjust the quality parameters. But in eSports there are other aspects as important as the quality of the graphics: the frequency with which the monitor refreshes and its response time, as well as the quality of the Internet connection, especially in the area of latency.

It is also important that the mouse and keyboard be precise and responsive, but you don't necessarily have to look for 10-core unit with 64 GB of RAM, nor the most powerful graphics card. These components are useful to play games on our computers in 4K resolution with the maximum quality of effects and with the highest possible frame rate.

League of Legends, CS:GO, HearthStone and even Overwatch don't need premium graphics cards, when all is said and done. Be clear on what type of games you will use in order to pick your equipment. Gaming laptops with more modest configurations, for example, can be a good option for eSports, as long as the screen allows for play with a refresh rate of at least 120Hz.

All In One computers, a compromise between a laptop and a desktop
Now that laptops offer performance equal to desktop units, All in One units have lost their prominence in favor of laptops or small format desktop unit (SFF or Small Form Factor). If we want a computer that uses little space, laptops are unbeatable. Not only 2 in 1 units or Ultrabooks, but also 15" or 17" units, if we are not thinking of using the laptop outside of the house regularly.

There continue to be different designs within this category, of course, but think whether a laptop will perform the same function, or a compact unit with mouse, keyboard and screen. Or it may be that it will be more convenient for you to go to a desktop PC in order to maximize the performance with more reliable processors than those used in AIO computers or laptops.

Apple, when all is told, continues to be well-positioned, and with the iMac Pro has achieved an authentic "monster" computer.

Apple follows its own path
Continuing talking about Apple, like normal Apple is "going its own way," as is often said. They aren't betting on touch screens, and are maintaining their ranges of laptops and All in One units in the hope of offering new models. In laptops, the 15" MacBook Pro continues to be one of the best examples of design and performance thanks to its quad core Intel processor and its moderate weight and thickness, in spite of having a 15" screen.

If they follow the trail of Microsoft, we might see a laptop unit with an iPhone processor (A11 Bionic to be specific, while waiting for the A12), to maximize battery life and communication.

Virtual reality that's easier to use
Another tendency that looks to be strengthening is that of virtual reality as an accessory for Windows laptops and desktops. Glasses like Lenovo Explorer are easier to install and configure, and are the advance of an accessory that points to both recreational and educational uses.

The problem with VR glasses has traditionally been the high price and the demanding installation requirements. But Lenovo Explorer glasses are an example of access to a more affordable and easier-to-use VR.

A paradigm shift
2018 will be an exciting year in the area of PC's. You will have to "put on your radar" new processors like Ryzen, for both desktop and laptop units. And get used to seeing Windows units with processors for mobile units.

The manufacturers of CPU's, on the other hand, are consolidating the names of their ranges of processors. Be attentive, for example, of the possibility of buying a unit with the name Intel Celeron or Intel Pentium on its processor, but in reality one year ago that processor had the name Atom. Atom processors have an inferior performance to other Intel chips, but now Atoms will also be called Pentium and Celeron. If there is any doubt, it is better to be informed or ask the salesperson.

Gaming, eSports, multi-core processors, illumination systems and virtual reality are areas that are worth paying attention to in 2018. At this point, we don't dare point out Chromebooks as a tendency. These laptops, with Google's Chrome OS operating system, only work with cloud applications. They are economical, secure, and have a very long battery life. In other countries they are popular, but in Spain they have not been able to capture users' attention.