HomeWinBuzzer NewsMicrosoft's Windows 11 AI Explorer Exclusively for ARM64 PCs: A Strategic Shift?

Microsoft’s Windows 11 AI Explorer Exclusively for ARM64 PCs: A Strategic Shift?

Microsoft's new AI Explorer for Windows 11 runs only on ARM PCs for now, requiring powerful ARM CPUs and the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite NPU.

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As reported this week, Microsoft has unveiled the AI Explorer, a groundbreaking feature in Windows 11 build 26100, poised to redefine user interaction with artificial intelligence on the operating system. However, in a move that has surprised many, the software giant has decided to make this feature exclusive to ARM-based PCs. According to details shared by software enthusiast Albacore, the AI Explorer will necessitate an CPU, highlighting a significant pivot in 's strategy towards embracing ARM architecture for its advanced AI capabilities.

Technical Requirements and Implications

For users to take advantage of the AI Explorer, their systems must meet specific requirements: an ARM64 CPU, at least 16GB of RAM, a system drive with a total capacity of 225GB, and the Snapdragon X Elite NPU (HWID QCOM0D0A). This decision underscores the computational power ARM-based systems can bring to . The X, for instance, is capable of delivering up to 45 TOPS (trillion operations per second), a stark contrast to the maximum outputs of 10 TOPS and 16 TOPS offered by Intel and AMD's NPUs, respectively.

The choice to limit AI Explorer to ARM64 devices might reflect Microsoft's confidence in ARM's superior AI processing capabilities or a strategic push to increase the adoption of ARM-based PCs. This is further evidenced by Microsoft's showcasing of ARM-based devices like the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 at an upcoming event on May 20, 2024.

Future Prospects and Industry Response

Despite the initial disappointment this may cause among Intel and AMD NPU users, there is a silver lining. Microsoft's decision to initially limit AI Explorer to ARM64 CPUs does not rule out the possibility of future support for Intel and AMD platforms. Given Intel's advancements in AI technology, such as the release of the Gaudi 3 accelerator and AI-oriented chips, there is potential for an expanded compatibility list in the future.

Furthermore, Microsoft has plans to collaborate with OEMs to enhance the AI feature set on future devices, indicating a broader strategy to integrate AI capabilities across a wider range of hardware. This collaborative approach has reportedly received positive feedback from OEM partners, suggesting that the tech industry is gearing up for a more AI-integrated future.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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