Microsoft announces its 'IA PCs', with requirements so high that they leave Intel and AMD out

Microsoft has been talking for months about the arrival of the 'PC AI' and has finally presented them at an event about the brand surface. By Microsoftthere will be two models, the Surface Pro convertible tablet and the Surface Laptop, both start at €1,199, which will be joined by those from other manufacturers such as Dell, Asus, Lenovo, etc. Everyone will use the brand Copilot+ PC and very specific hardware characteristics to support artificial intelligence functions that will be executed locally on the computer. But they will not do it, for the moment, with Intel or AMD processors, but from Qualcomm and under the ARM architecture instead of the traditional x86, since they are the only ones that offer enough power

They will be the two members of the family Snapdragon X Series, Plus and Elite, the models that will enhance AI PCs, at least in this first wave of launches that can now be reserved and will be available from next June 19.

The reason there are no models with Intel and AMD processors is that they do not reach performance in artificial intelligence that these teams need. Microsoft requires an NPU, a specialized AI coprocessor, with a performance of 40 TOPS, acronym for Teraflops Operations per Second. The NPU of the latest generation of Intel laptop processors, Meteor Lake, achieves a performance of 10 TOPS, very far from the 40 required for a Copilot+ PC. In the case of AMD, some of its Ryzen 7000 and Ryzen 8000 series processors go up to 16 TOPS. It will not be until next fall that there will be new releases from the two main manufacturers of computer processors that achieve the required performance in AI.

Qualcomm is much further ahead in this area and its Snapdragon X Series SoC, which debuts with these devices, reaches 45 TOPS. We are talking about minimum requirements, so it is not excessive, but it has sufficient capacity to carry out the AI ​​functions of these devices.

The new artificial intelligence functions of the Copilot+ PC

These teams integrate AI features in Windows 11 that are not available on computers that do not meet its hardware requirements. It's what Microsoft calls Copilot+ to differentiate it from the Copilot which already works with Windows 11 and a series of Microsoft software tools.

Among the new features is the function Rememberwhich keeps a record of everything that is done with the computer so that the user can ask Copilot+, in natural language, about something they did three months before and have the AI ​​show it to them. Co-creator runs language models locally for creating text and images, without having to rely on the cloud or an Internet connection. The Copilot+ PCs also incorporate real-time translation with Live subtitlesin more than 40 languages, and effects Windows Studio to improve different aspects of video calls.

Is ARM the future of Windows?

The architecture x86 It is the one that has dominated the PC market for decades. It's not that this is the first Windows with an ARM version, Windows 10 and Windows 8 also had itbut the current context is very different from that of a decade ago.

The architecture ARM It is the one that has triumphed on mobile devices, especially due to its low energy consumption. But although its performance has traditionally been lower, it has improved over the years and has allowed, for example, Apple successfully transitions from Intel to M processors, which use ARM, in its laptops.

The new equipment promises to be up to 58% more powerful, in certain tasks, than the M3 of the MacBook Air. They also offer a range of up to 22 hours playing video and 14 carrying out activity on the web, which, together with sufficient power, marks a qualitative leap in Windows laptops.

As for software, they will have native versions of Microsoft applications and others such as Adobe Photoshop. The need for an emulation layer to be able to use Windows applications designed for x86 is another of the traditional limitations of these computers, but with this generation begins to be less essential. We will have to see how AMD and Intel respond and if they regain ground to know if ARM is finally going to be a major player in desktop computers in the coming years or not.