Microsoft explains why NPU is important in Copilot+ PCs

Fuels features like Recall to operate locally

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Microsoft explains why NPU is important in Copilot+ PCs

At the Build Conference 2024, Microsoft discussed many new things, including Surface, Windows 11 24H2, Copilot, and more.

The event focused on the future of computing, Copilot + PC, the Recall feature in the new Windows version, and AI integration in Microsoft products.

However, the main focus was on the Copilot + PC and how it runs. The Copilot + PCs come with an NPU, an essential part that is cost-effective and more powerful than the usual CPU-GPU combo.

Here is what Microsoft said in an official blog post:

Copilot+ PCs are the fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built. With powerful new silicon capable of an incredible 40+ NPU TOPS (trillion operations per second), they offer efficient AI workload processing at the edge. Today, we featured designs powered with Snapdragon X Elite and Snapdragon X Plus processors. We’re thrilled to begin this journey with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. on their latest processors for the Windows platform — and we’re excited for the innovation coming from our partners at AMD and Intel over the coming months. 

Neural Processing Units, or NPUs, are designed for neural networks, are very efficient, and allow Copilot PCs to run large language models locally on the device.

Microsoft’s researcher Steven Bathiche explains in a video:

The cool things that happened with our devices, especially Copilot+ PCs, is that we’ve kind of crossed that threshold. So now, our devices can run these types of (AI) models locally on the device to do amazing things.

An NPU chip in a Copilot+ PC can run 45T operations per second with 4 watts less power, enabling it to support up to 40 AI models.

One of the most talked about upcoming features, the Recall feature, is based on it. Recall uses AI models to monitor your activity in the background and can help you retrace the steps to learn about a past activity.

However, many users expressed privacy concerns as they don’t want Microsoft to snoop around in their computers. Still, the Redmond tech giant clarified that the Recall feature only works locally in the background, addressing all the concerns.

Soon, we will see Copilot+ PCs by Microsoft device partners, including laptops from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung.

What do you expect from NPU-powered Copilot+ PCs? Share your views with our readers in the comments section below.

More about the topics: Copilot+PCs, microsoft