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By 2027, up to 60% of PCs will have AI hardware capabilities

The analytical agency IDC published a report predicting that by 2027, up to 60% of PCs sold will contain special hardware for working with generative artificial intelligence.

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According to the report, 167 million PCs equipped with AI hardware modules will be sold in 2027, accounting for 60% of the market. Considering that by that time almost all new CPUs and APUs from Intel and AMD will contain built-in NPU (neural processing unit) units, the forecast does not look too bold. This is rather a conservative estimate.

You can argue that any modern PC with a discrete graphics card already has hardware for AI. Indeed, for local AI image generation, a powerful GPU is much more important than an NPU. At least for now. In the future, dedicated NPUs in PCs may be better suited for such tasks. But not now.

IDC limits the concept of “PC for AI” to just the presence of NPUs, which makes it easier to track trends. After all, GPU capabilities are only indirectly useful for AI; that’s not what they were designed for in the first place.

Analysts distinguish three categories of AI-oriented PCs: basic level with an NPU of less than 40 teraoperations per second, next with 40-60 TOPS and advanced with more than 60 TOPS.

For comparison, in the latest Hawk Point APUs from AMD, the NPU provides no more than 16 TOPS. In the new Intel Meteor Lake chips, when combining the computing power of the CPU, GPU and NPU, a figure of 34 TOPS is achieved. Hawk Point has 39 TOPS using the same calculation principle.

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For reference, Apple M3 chips have 18 TOPS from the NPU. Intel says that the upcoming Lunar Lake will triple NPU capabilities compared to Meteor Lake, although it is unclear whether this means the total figure or just the NPU. AMD has explicitly said that Strix Point will “more than” triple its NPU processing power in the future. According to rumors, it will exceed 45-50 TOPS.

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