Your PC will never be the same, and now we are seeing the “renaissance of computing”. Tech giants say the way we use our computers will change, and all because of artificial intelligence (AI).

Since the explosion of ChatGPT, launched in November 2022, the market has moved quickly to not only keep up with advances in technology, but also to deliver resources that the public wants to have at their fingertips.

During the Computex Taiwan 2024, I heard about artificial intelligence practically everywhere. The term “AI” printed on hundreds, if not thousands of banners, makes the industry’s interest clear.

With the launch of new mobile processors and chipsets aimed at AI, it is natural for consumers to have questions. Including whether current computers are obsolete, whether it’s really worth buying a PC with NPU and what exactly the technology will provide us.

I highlight three computer giants that brought news to Computex:

  • Intel says it will win the race in CPU, GPU and AI;

  • AMD says it has the most powerful mobile chip in the world;

  • Qualcomm says that its chipset “is the leader, period”.

They are all right in some way. Respectively, the new Lunar Lake, Ryzen AI 300 and Snapdragon X Elite processors represent a significant advance in the market. But also, all these companies are emphatic in stating that the way you use your computer will change, whether for personal use or work, and there is no going back.

New chip war over NPU?

Computex 2024 tells us the following: Artificial intelligence will be increasingly incorporated into computers, whether notebooks or desktops. Before the start of the fair, Intel held its Intel Tech Tour event to present the line of x86 Lunar Lake processors with 120 TOPs (Trillion Operations per Second) in total: 67 GPU, 48 NPU and 5 CPU.

New Intel Lunar Lake line promises to make notebooks more powerful, intelligent and efficient. (Photo: Wellington Arruda/TecMundo)

The new generation represents a significant leap compared to the previous one, Meteor Lake. Lunar Lake has eight cores, four for efficiency and four for performance, up to 32 GB of integrated RAM and promises to consume 40% less energy. In GPU, the jump is 80%, according to Intel, making gaming a reality on thin notebooks without a dedicated GPU.

But, like its competitors, Intel focuses on specific points for Lunar Lake: high performance, energy efficiency and powerful NPU. According to Michelle Johnston, vice president and general manager at Intel, the company will win in performance, graphics and AI with the new generation.

With the Ryzen AI 300, also called Strix, AMD promises some similar things, such as high performance while consuming less energy in notebooks. But there is one detail: the chip’s NPU has 50 TOPS for AI activities, with Zen 5 CPU architecture of up to 12 cores and integrated graphics based on RDNA 3.5 technology.

Lisa Su, CEO of AMDLisa Su, CEO of AMD, highlighted that the collaboration with Microsoft should expand the use of PCs with AI. (Photo: Wellington Arruda/TecMundo)

Comparing with the Snapdragon X Elite, AMD claims that its new line of processors is 60% better in graphics, 30% better in multitasking, 10% better in productivity and 5% better in responsiveness, using benchmark tests as examples. In games, the company compares it with the Intel Core Ultra 185H and says that, overall, its Ryzen AI 9 HX 370 processor has 36% better performance.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite is not exactly new. It was presented in October 2023 with 12 cores and Adreno GPU, promising a high level of power and advanced graphics, just like its competitors, consuming little energy. But let’s pay attention to one detail: the X Elite has 45 TOPS, less than the competition in terms of quantity.

  • AMD Ryzen AI 300: 50 TOPS na NPU;
  • Intel Lunar Lake: 48 TOPS na NPU;
  • Snapdragon X Elite: 45 TOPS na NPU.

Cristiano Amon, CEO of Qualcomm, says that this is not a problem. According to him, the company’s platform has better performance per watt and that is the most important thing.

“So while X Elite is the new performance leader in the Windows ecosystem, that’s not really our job. Our job is to bring overall leadership to the Windows ecosystem on Copilot+ PC. So X Elite is the new performance leader period”, said Amon in his presentation at Computex.

Cristiano Amon, Qualcomm CEOQualcomm exhibited, at Computex, several partner companies in the launch of Snapdragon X chipsets. (Photo: Wellington Arruda/TecMundo)

The executive also states that Qualcomm is in “an incredible position”, as its main competitors have used the company’s chipsets as a parameter in benchmarking comparisons.

He compares the Snapdragon

What do they all have in common? Microsoft

Microsoft appeared in all major Computex 2024 presentations. Intel, AMD and Qualcomm are the company’s partners in the new Copilot+ PC segment, which are essentially computers with artificial intelligence and a dedicated NPU. Both the company and Windows itself directly benefit from the initiative.

Dozens of manufacturers are already working on products compatible with Copilot+, and not just notebooks. Hardware companies have already been demonstrating their motherboards, GPUs, memories and other components focused on AI, which are expected to debut in the coming months.

Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, says the company has been leading the transition to AI PCs since the launch of the first generation of Ryzen AI in January 2023. “Now, AI is truly revolutionizing the way we interact with PCs. It enables smarter, more personalized experiences that will make the PC an even more essential part of our lives,” he said.

Amon highlights that “the PC has truly been reborn” and that this “new era” is happening through the combination of Snapdragon X Elite with Copilot+. “Snapdragon , says the executive.

Copilot+ PCMicrosoft and Copilot+ PC were highlighted at Computex 2024. (Photo: Wellington Arruda/TecMundo)

Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, states that all companies “will be AI companies in the future”. He also quotes: “Moore’s law is not dead. She is alive, and very well“. Regarding Qualcomm’s entry into the market, he welcomes the company, but says that Intel is confident with its new line of products. Furthermore, the executive states that all companies need to be responsible for how they should explore the use of AI.

Microsoft and Copilot+ PC are key players in the transition from Windows computers to AI.

The first computers with Copilot+ PC should debut on the market in the coming months. A basic requirement for everyone, however, is to bring at least 40 TOPS NPU. I.e, Although we have AI technology driving this evolution in PCs (and other devices, of course), Microsoft is a central player in this entire new generation.

PC without AI is now an old PC?

All the big technology companies we saw at Computex 2024 said that AI will completely change the way we use our PCs. We even saw some utopian examples being presented, of science fiction-like virtual assistants. But this, of course, begs the question: What to do with PCs without NPU?

In conversation with executives, I heard that This transformation will not eliminate computers without a dedicated NPU, but the demand for them will be greater. But there is also a relevant and increasingly clear fact: this transformation is being seen with great eyes by technology companies.

For Carlos Cordeiro, CTO at Intel, the arrival of AI will be as revolutionary as the arrival of Wi-Fi on computers. He mentions that technology will make us much more productive. “It’s a similar transformation to Centrino [plataforma da Intel]”, he says. According to him, the leap towards AI will be the same “and over time even greater [à chegada do Wi-Fi]”, but everything also depends on the consumer.

“If you need a computer now, you won’t be able to wait. Now, if it’s a question of waiting six months, the consumer will wait. It’s a question of finance, of need. But, I’ll tell you, the computer with intelligence artificial will change everything”, says Cordeiro.

David McAfee, corporate vice president at AMD, says that there are different people who look for different PCs, and also for many reasons. He highlights that the value of computers is also another factor to be taken into consideration, but that, If you are eager to use technology, you should wait a little longer.

In a conversation before the fair, Luciano Beraldo, senior manager of the notebook area at Samsung Brazil, told me that the NPU brings advantages in processing parallel AI data, consuming less energy. But, “in this first wave, the NPU will only be present in top-of-the-line models”, that is, the most expensive. Beraldo also told me that not having an NPU does not mean that a notebook cannot run AI applications.

In other words, the main point here is that new PCs with AI should be increasingly present on the market and also in the hands of consumers. But this new wave of technology should not be worrying from this point of view.

If your computer doesn’t have AI, this is unlikely to become a big problem. Not even manufacturers, much less Microsoft, can make products that were launched in 2024, for example, obsolete in the same year. Neither do models from previous years, as computers are not as simple to change as cell phones.

But one thing is certain, everyone is betting their chips on PCs with AI and we’re still going to hear a lot about the technology.


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