[News] PC Industry Shifts with Intel’s Propel on AI PC, Benefiting Upstream Companies like TSMC

In mid-December, Intel is set to unveil its latest Core Ultra processor, Meteor Lake. Global PC brands like Lenovo, Microsoft, DELL, HP, Acer, Asus, MSI, and Samsung are rolling out new products to capture the market. The end-users is enthusiastic, and channel feedback suggests increasing orders, marking a turning point in the PC industry,  according to CTEE.

As per the designs by PC brands, AI PCs are poised to offer AI and machine learning, capable of executing intelligent applications and tasks at the edge. This translates to a boost in user productivity and entertainment experiences, enhanced communication efficiency, and improved work quality. Furthermore, these PCs prioritize data and privacy protection.

Taiwanese partners have corresponding models entering the market, with analysts anticipating AI PCs to become the primary driver for replacement demand in the latter half of the next year. Shipment volumes are estimated to surpass 100 million units in the next two years, benefiting Taiwan’s supply chain, including PC brands Acer, Asus, MSI, and ODMs Quanta, Compal, and Inventec.

On the other hand, TSMC stands up as a major upstream player, with rising utilization rate of the 5nm and 6nm advanced processes contributed to the big orders from the Meteor Lake. TSMC is in charge of the NPU, specifically designed for AI tasks.

Intel highlights 3D Foveros as the key to advanced packaging in mixing and matching compute tiles. This aspect is managed by its advanced packaging fab in Malaysia, ensuring the most efficient energy distribution.

Please note that this article cites information from CTEE

(Image: Intel)


[News] AMD Unveils Ryzen 8040 Series AI Processor Utilizing TSMC’s Advanced 4nm Process

AMD announced the Ryzen 8040 series processor at the AMD Advance AI event. With TSMC’s advanced 4nm process, this new processor boasts up to a 1.6x improvement in AI processing performance compared to its predecessor.

From AMD’s press release, the Ryzen 8040 series introduces the Ryzen AI Network Processing Unit (NPU), featuring up to 8 Zen 4 CPU cores and an integrated GPU based on RDNA 3. Utilizing TSMC’s 4nm process, AMD claims that the Ryzen 8040 series NPU is approximately 1.4x faster than the NPU in the previous 7040 series and 1.8x faster than Intel’s high-end i9-13900H Processor.

AMD CEO, Lisa Su, stated that AMD is the first global entity to integrate an NPU into an x86 processor. The Ryzen 8040 series is already in supply and is set to be featured in new models from major players such as Dell, HP, Acer, Asus, and Lenovo starting early 2024.

In fact, the integration of NPUs into Windows PCs is not a new thing. Both AMD and Intel lag behind Qualcomm. Back in October 2022, Qualcomm had already revealed its collaboration with on the development of the Microsoft SQ3 processor, set to be used in the Surface Pro 9 5G tablet, reported by ANUE.

While AMD and Intel compete, Apple is also a formidable player in the AI field. Since the introduction of the A11 Bionic in 2017, Apple has been integrating the neural engine into its hardware to accelerate AI tasks, similar to the NPUs developed by AMD and Intel, aiding in facial recognition and photo processing.

Please note that this article cites information from  AMD’s press release and ANUE

(Image: AMD)


In Smart Homes and Personalized AI Demands, Edge AI Chips Play a Key Role

  • The continuous AI integration of smart homes accelerates with the Matter protocol.

In the context of the modern era, smart homes are the AI applications that come second only to smartphones and smartwatches. As the penetration rate of smart home devices increases, more and more AI-enabled devices are permeating into human life, ushering in a large-scale era of personalization. The realization of smart homes not only requires smart appliances but also sensors and energy management systems. The deployment of AI will enhance recognition and control.

The diverse application scenarios of smart homes result in a wide variety of products. Despite the vast market size, there is an issue of product ecosystem fragmentation, leading to slow deployment. This can be addressed through the integration of the smart home market via the Matter protocol. As Matter facilitates communication between different devices through software protocols, the importance of software in devices will increase with the product’s AI capabilities, catering to the demands of edge AI applications.

  • The RISC-V architecture is on the rise, and the form of MCUs with NPUs will continue to proliferate.

Although CPUs in MCUs are currently dominated by the Arm architecture, open-source RISC-V is gradually rising. In addition to its features such as customization, modularity, and cost-effectiveness, RISC-V is expected to become one of the advantages in smart home applications. It continues to gain support and application from many major manufacturers, expanding the ecosystem of the RISC-V architecture.

Because TinyML models are much smaller than general-purpose AI, they do not require a large amount of computational resources for deployment. This makes them suitable for IoT devices or smart homes that require large-scale deployment, with significant advantages in both technology and cost. Furthermore, with the diverse range of products in smart homes and the increasing demand for product functionality, the form of MCUs equipped with NPUs will become increasingly common as they adapt to the product’s uniqueness and evolve with AI integration.

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