New Qualcomm silicon for new Surface May 2024


Microsoft has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the excitement around AI.

In any event, the 4/2/24 Vergecast has some more details about what MS might be doing with AI. First, apparently they tried Bing branding and most people assumed Bing was just a rebranded ChatGPT. But in fact MS has hired some people from lesser-known AI companies, including Inflection, for their in-house AI unit. Probably hedging their bets.

But they're going to have a big Surface event in May and they expect to unveil devices with OLED. However, it will also be the unveiling of the Qualcomm silicon developed probably from their acquisition of former Apple engineers.

Apparently MS has expressed confidence to The Verge's reporters that not only would this new Qualcomm chip get them near Apple Silicon, they expect this first chip to have greater performance than the M3.

It will also have some kind of AI chip which isn't new but they will tout it for Windows AI PCs, which have to have top Intel chips and this other AI processor -- which would do things like noise cancellation.

The new Surface and AI PCs will have a Copilot button and the "killer" feature will be something to let you control the timeline of your usage. So for instance, you were searching for a trip to Europe a week or two ago. You'd tell the AI to take you to where you were and it would open all the tabs you had opened when you were doing this trip research.

Makes sense to strike while the AI iron is hot. MS among the tech giants is the one probably benefitting the most from AI -- well now that Nvidia is worth over $2 trillion, because its stock has risen so fast, maybe it's benefitted the second most.

If MS could announce by the end of the year that they have x million users regularly using Copilot and that they've shipped x million AI PCs, it would stoke MSFT even further upwards.

At least until the AI bubble bursts.;)
I get so confused about if they're using "AI" as a pr term or an actual descriptor. Looked up the whole NPU thing and started asking myself why everyone needs one so badly and how will I survive without one?!?!

The futar is scary.
DirectML still does not support NPUs.

Windows Studio Effects are available on Surface Pro 9 5G (SQ3), laptops with Ryzen AI APUs and Core Ultra, but not on my Surface Pro X (eye contact is available, but not background blur).

If they bring affordable fanless device, it would replace my Surface Pro X.

AMD and Intel's 9W 4nm chips could probably do fanless equally well with less compatibility headaches.

PS. NPU's are silly on Windows, only Apple has any real interest in local models. All that effort for slightly more efficient background removal in teams is kinda silly, the GPU can handle it well enough.
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DirectML still does not support NPUs.
There has been dev preview of DirectML for couple months now with Intel NPU support. Pretty sure they'll try to release the proper version with support for AMD, Intel and Qualcomm NPUs as close to SD X Elite computers launch as possible.