ai pc

Why your next computer might be an AI PC

Personal computers, which started as oversized desktop blocks have evolved into sleek laptops, powerful workstations, and versatile 2-in-1 devices. As technology surges forward, personal computers’ functionality and capabilities have expanded exponentially. Enter the latest marvel in this ongoing evolution—the AI PC. The integration of dedicated AI acceleration capabilities sets the AI PC apart from traditional computers and enables AI PCs to handle various AI tasks on the device, eliminating the need for the cloud data centres that power most of today’s Gen AI applications, like OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

In this article, we will delve into the significant advantages of AI-powered PCs over traditional computing devices and why they are set to become a cornerstone of the modern digital experience. Get your wallet ready.

What is an AI PC? 

Like everything, it depends who you ask. Mutually agreed upon: an AI PC contains a central processing unit (CPU), a graphics processing unit (GPU), and a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) within the chip. The NPU is specially designed to efficiently run AI applications and machine learning tasks directly on the PC rather than relying on cloud-based processing. While GPUs can manage specific AI operations, such as generating and editing images efficiently, NPUs are further optimized to process AI algorithms even more swiftly. 

The AI tasks that can be executed on an AI PC span a wide spectrum, including generative AI programs like Stable Diffusion, intelligent chatbots driven by local language models, comprehensive data analysis, training of AI models, and running complex simulations and sophisticated AI-powered applications. Upgrading to AI-powered PCs offers faster processing and data analysis, personalized user experiences, improved security measures, and seamless integration with emerging technologies. 

Who is leading the AI PC race? 

Research firm Canalys estimates AI PC shipments will surpass 100 million in 2025, constituting 40 per cent of all PCs shipped. Major chip and PC manufacturing companies, such as Intel, Nvidia, and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), are actively competing to capitalize on the rapidly expanding demand for AI PCs by developing processors and other hardware required to meet the growing needs of AI applications.

  • In 2023, Intel announced plans to enable AI functionality in over 100 million PCs by 2025 through a new series of their Core Ultra processors. These processors feature an integrated AI accelerator (NPU) designed to handle continuous AI tasks efficiently while minimising power usage. This advancement not only improves power efficiency but also significantly prolongs battery life in laptops.  
  • AMD has also invested heavily in adding AI acceleration capabilities to its popular Ryzen processor series. The company has launched a new line of CPUs and GPUs incorporating advanced AI acceleration features, enabling improved performance and efficiency for AI-based applications. 
  • Nvidia, the AI chip company behind GeForce GPUs, recently announced GeForce RTX AI laptops from ASUS and MSI. These laptops will feature advanced AI hardware and Copilot features, supporting AI-enabled apps and games. 

The Copilot Key: Microsoft’s gateway to the future of AI PCs 

In addition to the AI integration initiatives of Intel, Nvidia and AMD, Microsoft has also made significant strides in the race to bring AI PC experience to the mainstream market. In May 2024, the company introduced its first wave of “CoPilot+ PCs,” representing its vision of AI PCs. These CoPilot+ PCs are currently available exclusively in laptops equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X series processors. It’s worth noting that the CoPilot+ PCs are different from Microsoft’s CoPilot AI assistant, which is accessible to anyone with an internet connection. The term CoPilot+ refers to a range of advanced AI features from Microsoft, specifically designed for AI-powered PCs running on Windows. 

The Copilot+ PCs are engineered with stringent hardware requirements, including a minimum of 16GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and, crucially, an on-board neural processing unit (NPU) capable of delivering at least 40 trillion operations per second (TOPS) of AI-specific performance. This advanced AI acceleration hardware is currently unmatched by any widely available consumer processor, making the Copilot+ PCs stand out in AI-powered personal computing.  

Another key feature of these CoPilot+ PCs is adding a dedicated CoPilot key on the keyboard, allowing users to easily access the system’s integrated AI capabilities. Companies selling Copilot+ PCs include Dell, HP, Samsung Electronics, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer. Microsoft’s refreshed Surface Laptop and Surface Pro tablet are some of the most affordable Copilot+ devices, starting at US$999 (£786.66). 


The computer industry urgently needs revitalization with cloud-based services and streaming, diminishing the need for frequent hardware upgrades. As users shift to storing data and applications online, the appeal of purchasing powerful laptops or desktops has faded. This has led to a stagnant market desperately seeking a spark to reignite demand for personal computing devices. 

However, introducing AI-powered PCs could be the jolt the industry needs to reignite demand for personal computing devices and spur innovation across the entire ecosystem. This concept’s success could reshape the future of the PC market and have far-reaching implications for the technology landscape. 

Nidhi Singh