If there is a word that is becoming fashionable, that is without a doubt Artificial Intelligence. Which is permeating the entire world of computing and not only in software solutions, but also in hardware. The big news in 2023 in the field of processors? The integration of neural processors in the new chips from Intel and AMD. What do these changes imply and how will they affect the use of our computers on a day-to-day basis?
If you know the world of mobile chips, then the NPU concept will sound familiar to you, which are also called AI cores or AI Cores in English. These are support processors that are specialized in artificial intelligence. However, this is nothing more than a commercial term to talk about the ability of these chips to work with what we mathematically call matrices. In the same way that the ability to work with vectors was given the name of multimedia. That is, the name is used for what they are for so that the most common of mortals know what they are for.
Neural Processors on Intel and AMD
One of the elements that Lisa Su spoke about in her CES presentation was what they have dubbed XDNA, indicating the adoption of neural processors inside a PC CPU, a technology that has been used in mobile phone chips for years. On PC, and we are sorry to say, the only way to access a processor of this type was using the NVIDIA RTX. The immobility for years, both of Intel and AMD, has led them to have to develop solutions to be able to achieve market share in a world where artificial intelligence is increasingly important.
However, and as in the case of graphics cards, not everyone requires a processing capacity that requires a specialized external chip and just as there are integrated GPUs, we can also talk about integrated NPUs, which is what They are technologies like AMD’s XDNA for its Ryzen 7040 for laptops. As for Intel, to have an equivalent solution we will have to wait for the Intel Core 14 based on Meteor Lake.
What do the NPU contribute on a day-to-day basis?
Well, there are several applications for this, but we are going to talk about the most famous, which derive from the world of mobile phones, some of them are simple nonsense, others are very useful.
- The so-called visual style changes, that is, the fact of taking a real image and redrawing it in anime format, giving it a vintage style. A derivative of this is the use of intelligent filters to improve photos or perform image processing effects in applications such as Photoshop.
- Noise and background noise suppression when we record through a microphone, whether in real time or not.
- Eye identification and retina tracking, this has certain applications that can make us change the way we interact with the graphical environment of our PC.
- Elimination of the background in the streaming, whether they are public on Twitch or business video conferencing applications such as Zoom. All this for greater user privacy.
- Ability to learn grammar and spelling, current proofreaders do not know how to understand certain contexts.
- Advanced parental control systems, identifying that they have a minor in front of them, the system can block access to certain content automatically.
As you can see, neural processors have many applications, which will be used by different PC applications. Although for the moment, as they are new units in Intel and AMD processors, there are no applications that use it. Although, as happened with the multimedia extensions in its day, its use will spread very quickly in the coming years.