Microsoft is seemingly lining up a number of new minimum specification levels for AI PCs that it hasn’t yet broadcast via official channels. We have heard from our own sources that AI PCs will move up the bar concerning minimum RAM configuration, and TrendForce appears to have heard the same thing and says that 16GB will be the minimum RAM configuration for Windows AI PCs. Meanwhile, both our own sources and TrendForce agree that new Windows PCs will require at least 40 TOPS of compute power to make the grade for labeling as an AI PC.
“Microsoft has set the baseline for DRAM in AI PCs at 16GB,” stated TrendForce in a press release about Microsoft Copilot on Wednesday. Thus, Windows will again be instrumental in driving growth for the minimum memory capacity acceptable in new PCs. Desktop users with easily accessible upgrade options might shrug, but those buying laptops and discovering they aren’t upgradeable due to soldered RAM should no longer have to filter out memory-starved systems - simply look for AI PCs.
Memory makers should be happy with a boost in the number of PCs sold with more memory as standard. Last year we reported on some of the biggest players in the industry slowing production to constrain supplies and achieve better prices. That seems to have hurt the revenue generation of Samsung and SK hynix during 2023, but the damage was partially self-inflicted.
As mentioned in the intro, this won’t be a one-dimensional change of PC system requirements. The expectation that a new PC will run Microsoft Copilot AI assistance in a slick and responsive manner also relies on adequate local acceleration. A minimum of 40 TOPS of computational power has been decided upon by Microsoft HQ. That might be provided by a discrete GPU, but PC processors are almost all now up to speed in building-in efficient NPUs that can meet or exceed that compute performance target.
We said 'almost' above, and that is an important caveat, as the combined CPU, GPU, and NPU power within Intel’s current Meteor Lake chips are said to reach 34 TOPS at best. TrendForce speculates that Intel Lunar Lake will address this baseline underperformance for AI PCs. Intel itself has said that Lunar will have three times the AI performance of its predecessor, Meteor Lake.
Other Windows PC processor makers like AMD and Qualcomm aren’t quite as far behind. The AMD Ryzen 8000 series (Strix Point) is expected to be capable of 45 TOPS. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite platform is also thought to deliver around 45 TOPS. It will be interesting to see if the Arm architecture processors from Qualcomm are as competitive using other performance metrics.
There has been quite a lot of speculation about the upcoming wave of AI PCs, as the industry seems to be quite excited by the hardware refresh cycle they think it will inspire. When the Windows Copilot key was unveiled, we wondered about any minimum spec a device might need. However, it turned out that even entry-level modern PCs without onboard NPUs were given the green light to equip this key. Perhaps, more stringent AI PC labeling and minimum specs will come in the summer with Windows 12, we mused. Now, perhaps, we have at least a partial answer to AI PC and Windows 12 minimum specs: a system must have at least 16GB of RAM and a processor that can achieve at least 40 TOPS of AI compute.
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What constitutes an "AI" PC? Running Copilot? Well I know how save RAM and $20 a monthReply
What independent benchmark measures these TOPS? And what precision, INT8?Reply
Saying TOPS without a benchmark and a "setting" (INT8, FP16, etc.) is like saying "200 FPS" without a game and without the settings.
Each CPU, GPU, and NPU has some TOPS at some precision. This needs to move away from marketing numbers.
Just like Microsoft, set 16GB RAM a minimum at a time when 32GB needs to be minimum for anything that's not a POS or very low task office machine.Reply
wonder what committee came up with the logo for the key, it certainly doesn't evoke "AI" or anything meaningful just by looking at it.Reply
No one needs more than 640kb of memory...Reply
The Microsoft/Windows trolls are coming out in force...Reply
This is wildly off the mark. I get that people like to justify having excessive amounts of RAM, but 16 GB is more than sufficient for all but the most memory-intensive users. 8 GB is plenty for average users still, and 4 GB is workable for basic-needs users.Alvar Miles Udell said:Just like Microsoft, set 16GB RAM a minimum at a time when 32GB needs to be minimum for anything that's not a POS or very low task office machine.
Bruh, my computer can do 1,000 FPS. One thousand!ikjadoon said:Saying TOPS without a benchmark and a "setting" (INT8, FP16, etc.) is like saying "200 FPS" without a game and without the settings.
If you have Superfetch enabled, which every office computer will probably have, 8Gb is the MINIMUM, with many computers running excel, smashing straight over that 8Gb. 16Gb IS the minimum. No point in going lower. Same for ssds. 128Gb is too small, so 256Gb is the standard.Reply
32gb for people that love cad, video/audio/photo editing or for the LOLz. Heck, slap 64Gb in. WOOOO go crazy.
P.s Right now, I'm using 10.0Gb, with 8 Opera tabs and playing a video. 8Gb? Playa', please!
That doesn't seem right at all. I've got Edge open with 12 tabs and a Facebook video playing. Task Manager pegs my memory usage at 4 GB.excalibur1814 said:P.s Right now, I'm using 10.0Gb, with 8 Opera tabs and playing a video. 8Gb? Playa', please!
Earlier, I tried opening up nearly every single app I have installed on my PC at once, including Visual Studio, Edge, Steam, Ryzen Master, a bunch of built-in store apps, and a bunch of system tools. I managed to get memory usage up to 9 GB.
Prior to upgrading to 16 GB, I was on 8 GB and was totally fine. I'm not a super light PC user, as I play games and I program using Visual Studio. I really have to try to push my memory usage above 8 GB now that I have 16. A few years back I played through the entirety of Jedi Fallen Order on 8 GB RAM and using my old Ryzen 3200G's built in graphics.
I'm glad they didn't have these requirements for Windows mixed reality. Even though I never use it, it seems more useful than this AI stuff.Reply