Since Intel doesn’t plan a desktop CPU with AI capabilities until later this year, PC makers are turning to chip startups instead –and the future may be in the Lenovo ThinkCentre Neo Ultra, potentially with AI cards from MemryX and Kinara inside.

Lenovo will launch the ThinkCentre Neo Ultra in June for about $1,000, product manager Bryan Lin said from Lenovo’s booth at CES 2024. While Lenovo’s documentation does not officially include either AI processor, it’s likely. And the small content-creation desktop was at CES showcasing both AI cards.

While AMD, Intel and Qualcomm have all shown mobile processors with integrated AI NPUs, only AMD has announced a desktop Ryzen processor with an APU inside. Intel, which holds the dominant share in the PC processor industry, will have to wait until the launch of Arrow Lake to make an NPU available for desktop PC makers.

Meanwhile, more PC makers are realizing that an “AI PC” can actually be constructed with just a CPU and a GPU, while NPUs provide more power-efficient AI. If you’re a desktop PC maker, with traditionally fewer concerns about power consumption, that may be sufficient. But businesses, which want to apply AI to making money, want AI now — and they do care about minimizing power consumption at scale. In this, at least, the business market may push ahead of consumer PCs.

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