Microsoft's Copilot AI will run locally on AI PCs that have at least 40 TOPS of NPU performance

AI PCs will be targeting at least 40 TOPS of NPU performance as this is the minimum requirement for running Microsoft's Copilot locally.

2 minutes & 11 seconds read time

We already know that in the age of the Windows AI PC, devices are set to arrive with dedicated Copilot keys. Microsoft's AI is on track to be integrated with all parts of the operating system. Today, Intel executives at Intel's AI Summit in Taipei confirmed that Copilot AI services will soon run locally on PCs - as long as they meet a certain performance threshold.

Microsoft's Copilot AI will run locally on AI PCs that have at least 40 TOPS of NPU performance 01

That threshold is 40 TOPS of performance on the Neural Processing Unit (NPU) found in an AI PC. Based on this information, which Tom's Hardware confirmed, the definition of an AI PC has been given a specific hardware or performance baseline. Anything below 40 TOPS will still be able to run Copilot AI tasks and processes in the cloud, but it will serve as a way to differentiate hardware-based 'AI PCs' versus could-only devices.

Though it might take a generation or two to get there, Intel says it has next-gen products lined up that will fall into this 40 TOPS of performance category. Currently, The Meteor Lake NPU in Core Ultra chips offers only 10 TOPS performance, with AMD's Ryzen Hawk Point offering 16 TOPS.

Due later this year, Intel's Lunar Lake processors will reportedly ship with at least three times the AI performance on the GPU and NPU compared to Meteor Lake.

Running AI workloads locally has the benefits of reduced latency, improved performance, and no requirement to send potentially sensitive data over a network. If you're wondering where the GPU fits into the AI PC picture in relation to Copilot, Microsoft insists that Copilot run on the NPU for portable devices to minimize the hit to battery life.

With a performance baseline set for local Copilot AI, it's probably only a matter of time before TOPS performance becomes a big part of the spec sheets and marketing for upcoming AI PCs.

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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