REPORT: Copilot+ PCs and a New Category of AI PC

May 20, 2024 / Ben Bajarin and Max Weinbach

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CoPilot+ PCs and a New Category of AI PC

Personal computing is at a unique inflection point with generative AI.  Perhaps one we have not seen since the introduction of the graphical user interface. With a tremendous amount of excitement for AI enhanced software running on our computers, the NPU provides such an increase in local AI performance that a new era of Windows is enabling a new category of computers powered by AI. 

This new era of Windows is taking advantage of chips like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite and Snapdragon X Plus. These systems have a significant performance increase in performance per-watt but most importantly they have the Hexagon NPU that is capable of 40 TOPS directly on the NPU. While Qualcomm’s X Elite is the first SoC to power Copilot + PCs, both Intel and AMD will have products by end of year that meet the 40 NPU TOPS required to power all the next generation features coming to Windows..  

While Microsoft is building numerous AI features into are completely rearchitected Windows 11 that take advantage of these next generation SoC architectures, there is exciting upside to see how developers start building new classes of applications that uniquely harness these new NPUs. 

This new class of PCs that come with a minimum of 40 NPU TOPS will open the door to developers to start to take advantage of this new chip on the block and its roadmap of increased performance. In many ways, we are potentially entering a new chapter of the GHz wars, where each new step function in computer processing led to observable innovation in computer software. Similarly, observing historical step functions in GPUs lead to significant improvement in gaming/visual software experiences.  We believe the NPU, and its increases in capability, will lead to similar software innovation in AI apps and software on client devices.

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