I think by now we all know that the "AI PC" and AI in general is the future of technology, but we haven't been able to run generative AI tasks locally -- as the likes of ChatGPT is run in the cloud -- but that is slowly changing. The entire PC industry is being dragged into AI whether they like it, or not.
AMD and Intel both have processors on the market with NPUs (Neural Processing Units) that are dedicated parts of the chip that are built for AI workloads, but you can also use your CPU or GPU to run generative AI tasks, or a combination of them. CPUs and GPUs aren't exactly optimized for AI workloads, which is where the NPU comes in... the faster it gets, the better AI experiences we'll have on future-gen hardware.
Analyst firm IDC is making some predictions to the AI PC market, now that AI processors are here with NPUs inside of them from AMD and Intel.
- Read more: AMD powers 90% of AI PC market, says AI chips are in volume production
- Read more: AMD on the AI PC market: we expect 'tremendous momentum' for AI PCs in 2025
The IDC made three classes of NPU-enabled AI PCs, breaking them down into:
- Hardware-enabled AI PCs feature an NPU that offers under 40 tera operations per second (TOPS) performance, and typically enable AI features within apps. Apple, AMD, Qualcomm, and Intel are actively shipping these kinds of chips.
- Next-generation AI PCs include NPUs with 40 - 60 TOPS performance and utilize an AI-first operating system to enable AI capabilities system-wide. AMD, Qualcomm, and Intel have all announced chips in this category that should start arriving later this year.
- Advanced AI PCs are described as those that offer over 60 TOPS of performance. No vendors have announced products that'd fall into this category yet, but they are expected in the coming years. Notably, IDC's latest forecast does not account for advanced AI PCs but they will be included in future updates.
The IDC expects that hardware-enabled AI PCs will continue to ramp up over the next couple of years, before next-gen AI PCs take over in 2027. By then, the IDC expects to see next-gen AI PC shipments to DOUBLE that of hardware-enabled AI PCs.
- Read more: Laptop makers bet farm on AI PC as 'next big thing' in 2024: 11% growth expected
- Read more: AMD, Intel, Qualcomm want AI PCs to change industry, 'killer apps' for AI coming
- Read more: Microsoft preparing 'AI PC' branding for 2024 systems
IDC adds that many of these new systems will be sold to commercial customers, but consumers will have a slew of new laptops, desktops, and other AI-powered products to enjoy (purchase).