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2024 AI PC Showdown: Qualcomm and Apple’s ARM-Based Chips Pose Challenge to AMD and Intel

Qualcomm and Apple are poised to present compelling ARM-based solutions in the AI PC segment by 2024, challenging established players AMD and Intel. The industry is witnessing a notable shift towards ARM-based solutions, especially with emerging competitors considering its adoption. Apple‘s increased use of ARM architectures in laptops suggests a potential widespread adoption within the PC industry. ARM has successfully narrowed the performance gap with x86 architecture while maintaining greater power efficiency.

Qualcomm and Apple’s ARM Chips

While ARM has already secured a dominant position in the mobile industry, the PC market share for ARM is expected to surge in the coming years. Qualcomm has introduced its own PC System-on-Chip (SoC) named “Snapdragon X Elite,” featuring impressive performance and slated for release by mid-2024. Rumors of NVIDIA and AMD launching ARM-based CPUs by 2025 indicate heightened competition for the x86 architecture.

In the burgeoning next-gen AI PC market, chipmakers are incorporating dedicated Neural Processing Units (NPUs) within their chips to accelerate AI workloads and enhance capabilities through robust software stacks and ecosystems.

Qualcomm’s AI Engine promises up to 75 TOPS on the fastest X Elite SoCs, while AMD’s Ryzen 8040 “Hawk Point” APUs, with up to 39 TOPS (16 TOPS from NPU), will be succeeded by the Strix Point in 2H 2024, expected to offer nearly 50 TOPS from the XDNA 2 NPU alone. Apple’s M3 SoC provides around 18 TOPS, complemented by its optimized software ecosystem. Intel’s NPU in Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs, debuting on December 14, has also been touted for its capabilities.

ARM is making significant strides in aiding artificial intelligence through its CPU solutions, exemplified by the recent launch of the Cortex-M52 SoC with the “Helium” or M-Profile Vector Extension, providing notable performance improvements for machine learning and digital signal processing applications. As the PC industry embraces AI-based features, companies like ARM are crucial to delivering high-performance solutions in this domain.

The influx of ARM-focused chips is anticipated to reshape the dynamics of the PC industry, particularly in the AI PC segment, fostering increased diversity and intensifying market competition.

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