IDC: AI-Enabled Pcs- A Lot of Them- Are Coming

Sales of PCs with artificial intelligence capabilities are set to explode, according to IDC. According to the researchers, these AI-enabled PCs – computers with specific systems-on-a-chip (SOC) capabilities that enable them to efficiently run generative AI tasks locally—will grow from less than 50 million units this year to more than 167 million in 2027. At that point, these PCs will represent almost 60% of all shipments worldwide.

IDC describes a transition that will take place beyond the numbers. Currently, locally performed AI tasks use the central processing unit, the graphics processing unit or a combination of the two to perform AI tasks. That hurts performance and battery life.

PC silicon vendors have developed AI-specific silicon called neural processing units (NPUs) and are adding them to their SOCs. This will help drive the steep growth.

AI-Enabled PCs

IDC says there are three types of NPU-enabled AI PCs:

· Hardware-enabled AI PCs include NPUs offering less than less than 40 tera operations per second (TOPS) performance. They typically enable specific AI features within apps to run locally. Qualcomm, Apple, AMD, and Intel are all shipping these chips.

· Next-generation AI PCs include an NPUs with 40 to 60 TOPS performance and an AI-first operating system (OS) that enables persistent and pervasive AI capabilities in the OS and apps. Qualcomm, AMD and Intel have all announced future chips for this category, with delivery expected to begin this year. Microsoft is expected to roll out major updates and updated system specifications to Windows 11 to take advantage of these NPUs.

· Advanced AI PCs are PCs that offer more than 60 TOPS of NPU performance. While no silicon vendors have announced such products, IDC expects them to appear. Advanced AI PCs were not included in IDC’s forecast, but they will be incorporated into future forecast updates.

“As we enter a new year, the hype around generative AI has reached a fever pitch, and the PC industry is running fast to capitalize on the expected benefits of bringing AI capabilities down from the cloud to the client,” Tom Mainelli, IDC’s group vice president, Devices and Consumer Research, said in a prepared statement.

“Promises around enhanced user productivity via faster performance, plus lower inferencing costs, and the benefit of on-device privacy and security, have driven strong IT decision-maker interest in AI PCs. In 2024, we’ll see AI PC shipments begin to ramp, and over the next few years, we expect the technology to move from niche to a majority.”


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