Intel unveils Core Ultra, its first chips with NPUs for AI work

Key Takeaways:

– Intel has launched its new Core Ultra notebook chips, which are its first processors to include a neural processing unit (NPU) for accelerating AI tasks.
– The Core Ultra chips are more power-efficient and faster than AMD’s last-gen Ryzen 7840U for both idling in Windows and multithreaded tasks.
– The chips are built on Intel’s new Intel 4 (7nm) process and feature FOVEROS 3D packaging, making them the most efficient x86 processor for ultrathin systems.
– The Core Ultra family includes the Ultra 7 165H and the upcoming Ultra 9 185H, with higher power draw and faster GPU.
– The addition of Intel Arc graphics makes the Core Ultra chips more viable for gaming, with improved performance in games like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Resident Evil Village.
– The NPU in the Core Ultra chips enables features like Windows 11’s Studio Effects and provides significant improvements in creative AI workloads.
– Both Intel and AMD are pushing developers to create more AI-enabled features in their apps, signaling the rise of the “AI PC” era.

engadget:

Intel today is entering the "AI PC" era with the launch of its new Core Ultra notebook chips. Originally codenamed "Meteor Lake," these are Intel's first processors to include an NPU, or neural processing unit, for accelerating AI tasks. The launch comes a week after AMD revealed its upcoming Ryzen 8040 hardware, its second batch of chips to include NPUs. While Intel is playing a bit of AI catch-up, the Core Ultra chips still sound like a solid step forward — at least according to the company's benchmarks.

Intel claims the Core Ultra chips use up to 79 percent less power than AMD's last-gen Ryzen 7840U while idling in Windows, and they're also up to 11 percent faster than AMD's hardware for multithreaded tasks. Intel didn't have the upcoming Ryzen 8040 chips to test, but it'll be interesting to see how they both compare next year.

Efficiency is a key component of the Core Ultra chips: They're built on the company's new Intel 4 (7nm) process, and they feature its FOVEROS 3D packaging. According to Intel, these are are also "the most efficient x86 processor for ultrathin systems." There are refined P (Performance) and E (Efficiency) cores, as well as Intel Arc graphics, which is up to twice as fast as the last generation (and also offer double the performance per watt).

Intel

The Core Ultra family launches with the Ultra 7 165H at the high end, offering 16 cores/22 threads (6P cores, 8 E cores and 2 low-power E cores and a 5GHz Max Turbo frequency. A beefier Ultra 9 185H will arrive in the first quarter of 2024 with a 5.1GHz Max Turbo speed, slightly faster GPU and higher power draw (45 watts, compared to the Ultra 7's 28 watts). As usual, there's also a lower-power "U" series of chips for the thinnest machines.

While you won't find the Core Ultra chips in the most powerful gaming laptops, the addition of Intel Arc graphics should make them slightly more viable for less demanding gaming (or at least more on par with AMD's 7000 series chips). Intel says the Ultra 7 165H can play Baldur's Gate 3 twice as fast as the Core i7 1370P in 1080p with medium graphics settings, and it can handle Resident Evil Village 95 percent faster than that older Intel chip. 

Across an average of 18 games, including Apex Legends, Overwatch 2 and Final Fantasy XIV, Intel says the Ultra 7 165H is 5 percent faster than AMD's Ryzen 7 7840U in the Thinkpad T16. Sure, that's just a nominal improvement over last-gen hardware, but at least Intel finally appears to be competitive with AMD's solid graphics. The company's XeSS AI upscaling can also improve performance around 39 percent on average in 1080p. In some titles, including Like A Dragon: Gaiden, Intel's upscaling can bump a game up from a middling 30fps range to a far smoother 69 fps.

Intel Core Ultra family

As for AI workloads, Intel says Core Ultra chips can reach up to 34 TeraOPS when combining performance across the NPU, GPU and CPU. But the big change this time is the NPU: It'll enable features like Windows 11's Studio Effects, which can blur backgrounds and improve video lighting without hurting your battery life much. For creative AI workloads, Intel says the Ultra 7 165H is 70 percent faster than the Ryzen 7 7840U in Adobe Premiere Pro and a whopping 5.4 times faster running GIMP Stable Diffusion.

What's truly exciting about the Core Ultra hardware, as well as AMD's upcoming Ryzen 8040 series, is the potential for NPUs to make our computing lives slightly easier. They could help eke out more battery life while editing audio in Audacity on the go, or give you a slightly sleeker background blur during Zoom calls. Both Intel and AMD also say they're also pushing developers to help create more AI-enabled features in their apps. Basically, get used to the term "AI PC" — you'll be hearing it quite a bit throughout the next year.  

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/intel-unveils-core-ultra-its-first-chips-with-npus-for-ai-work-150021289.html?src=rss
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AI Eclipse TLDR:

Intel has unveiled its new Core Ultra notebook chips, marking the company’s entry into the “AI PC” era. These chips are Intel’s first processors to include a neural processing unit (NPU) for accelerating AI tasks. The launch comes shortly after AMD announced its upcoming Ryzen 8040 hardware, which also includes NPUs. While Intel is playing catch-up in the AI space, the Core Ultra chips show promising performance according to the company’s benchmarks. Intel claims that the Core Ultra chips use up to 79% less power than AMD’s previous-generation Ryzen 7840U while idling in Windows, and they are also up to 11% faster for multithreaded tasks. The Core Ultra chips feature Intel’s new Intel 4 (7nm) process and FOVEROS 3D packaging, making them the most efficient x86 processor for ultrathin systems. They also include refined P (Performance) and E (Efficiency) cores and Intel Arc graphics, which are up to twice as fast as the previous generation. The Core Ultra family includes the Ultra 7 165H and the beefier Ultra 9 185H. The addition of Intel Arc graphics makes the chips more viable for less demanding gaming. The Core Ultra chips also feature an NPU that enables features like Windows 11’s Studio Effects for video editing. Intel claims that the Ultra 7 165H is 70% faster than the Ryzen 7 7840U in Adobe Premiere Pro and 5.4 times faster in GIMP Stable Diffusion. The launch of the Core Ultra chips, as well as AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 8040 series, highlights the potential for NPUs to enhance computing experiences and push developers to create more AI-enabled features in their apps.