Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Intel’s AI PC chips arrive as Core Ultra

There’s a new line of PC chips on the way for the new year, as Intel readies its AI-connected hardware to take on the world.

If you’ve been eyeing 2024 as “the year you buy a new computer”, you may well be in for a treat: Windows PCs are about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Fresh off the back of AMD’s release of AI-connected hardware, Intel is joining the fray with its own breed of the tech, as it improves its chips with more speed, more efficiency performance, and mentions 2023’s buzzword of the year with an actual purpose.

While the term “artificial intelligence” has hit a new renaissance as more people discover its uses, AI in computers may well be ready to hit full fever pitch with both AMD and Intel now poised to deliver on-device AI hardware, joining what’s inside Apple Silicon in Macs, as well.

The addition of AI hardware means software and applications made for Windows PCs will be able to take advantage of AI processes when the feature is there.

For instance, Windows 11 with Copilot may be able to use an on-device AI feature to understand and better balance the performance and battery life simply by asking it to, all without communicating that to the web. Meanwhile, it’s entirely possible you’ll be able to ask your computer to tweak the picture of the webcam in much the same way, preventing you from needlessly jumping into complex settings and allowing the hardware to do it for you.

Developers, engineers, and content creators may be able to go much further with their own on-device AI models, creating artificial intelligence applications and services that won’t need to connect to the cloud and transmit data to someone else’s AI system. Rather, it can be run locally, preventing security mishaps.

We don’t know much about what these experiences will look like, something we realised upon reviewing a recent AMD AI-solution in the Acer Swift Edge 16, but it does seem as though the tech will be in more laptops from next year.

Intel’s addition has launched as what will probably be the last major launch of 2023, especially with CES around the corner in just a few weeks.

The addition sees Intel launch a new line of consumer- and business-ready computer chips in the Intel Core Ultra, as well as server-ready chips in the Intel Xeon 5th-gen hardware.

Most attention will likely be on the consumer and business hardware, though, which you can expect in laptops and tablets aplenty, and boost performance in several areas not just with the inclusion of an on-device AI system.

Intel is talking up roughly 2.5 times the power efficiency in the new chips compared to the previous generation, improvements in power and efficiency, and faster graphical hardware using its Intel Arc built-in graphics technology, as well.

For folks looking for high performance laptops, there’s up to 16 cores, a maximum clock speed of 5.1GHz in a turbo frequency, and support of a maximum of 64GB RAM (if you can afford it), and Intel is bundling in modern connection types like WiFi 6E and WiFi 7 on the wireless side, while Thunderbolt 4 sits on the wired side. AI will be included in the hardware, too, thanks to the inclusion of Neural Processing Units, or an “NPU”.

And of particular note, the change in Intel’s naming scheme means working out which Intel laptop has AI versus which doesn’t is a case of looking for the word “ultra”: an Intel Core Ultra chip has AI, an Intel Core chip does not.

“Intel is on a mission to bring AI everywhere through exceptionally engineered platforms, secure solutions and support for open ecosystems,” said Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel.

“Our AI portfolio gets even stronger with today’s launch of Intel Core Ultra ushering in the age of the AI PC and AI-accelerated 5th Gen Xeon for the enterprise,” he said.

As for what hardware will feature the Intel Core Ultra tech, that should be along any moment now, and while it will likely affect the PC hardware market next year, there may even be a few laptops out for you to play with over the holidays before that happens.

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