Intel Core Ultra: The Personal AI Processor - Episode 323 - Show Notes

Intel Core Ultra: The Personal AI Processor - Episode 323

Monday Dec 18, 2023 (00:32:40)


One of the recent technological developments is the release of Intel's new Core Ultra CPUs for laptops, which are equipped with a neural processing unit (NPU). These CPUs, also known as Meteor Lake, are a significant advancement as they are the first mainstream Intel chips to have an NPU integrated into them.

The NPU's purpose is to handle AI processing more efficiently and quickly than the regular processor can. This opens up possibilities for local generative AI tasks, such as image generation, audio transcription, and music creation, which are typically performed in the cloud. By having the NPU in laptops, these tasks can be completed in a competent amount of time locally, without the need for an internet connection or relying on cloud services.

Avram demonstrates the performance difference between using the CPU and the NPU for tasks like image generation and audio transcription. The NPU significantly reduces processing time while also allowing for better multitasking since the CPU and GPU are not being heavily taxed. This power efficiency is particularly beneficial for laptop users, as they may not have access to a powerful graphics card.

Avram also mentions the potential drawbacks of relying on cloud services for AI tasks, such as privacy concerns and the need for a stable internet connection. Having the ability to perform these tasks locally with the NPU addresses these issues and provides a more convenient and secure solution.

Additionally, he discusses the compatibility of Intel's OpenVINO project with Intel GPUs. While the NPU is not available for all tasks, the use of Intel GPUs can still enhance processing speed compared to using the CPU alone. However, it is important to note that the compatibility and optimization of these tasks may vary depending on the hardware used, and requires an Intel GPU in order to transfer tasks to a GPU (AMD and Nvidia will not work).

New chips, benchmarking, performance difference

Avram highlights the discussion around new chips, benchmarking, and performance differences. He has been working on benchmarking and will soon release an article showcasing the performance differences between Intel and AMD chips, as well as the differences with the previous generation.

Benchmarking plays a crucial role in evaluating the performance of these new chips. It allows for a direct comparison between different chip models and brands, as well as a comparison with previous generations. By conducting benchmark tests, Avram aims to provide readers with a clear understanding of the performance differences between Intel and AMD chips, as well as how the new chips perform compared to their predecessors.

While the software is developed by Intel and focused on In tle hardware, the benchmarking has not always shown that to be the case. When accessing the NPU, which is currently specific to the Intel Core Ultra processors, Intel wins every time. However, when running the tests against the CPU, AMD often comes out ahead. This means that, while the NPU advantages are a clear winner, AMD processors are capable of just as much as Intel when it comes to direct CPU usage.


Overall, the introduction of Intel Core Ultra CPUs with an NPU represents a significant advancement in laptop technology. It offers users the ability to perform AI tasks locally, improving processing speed, power efficiency, and privacy. As technology continues to evolve, it is crucial to stay informed about these advancements and adapt to new developments that enhance our digital experiences.


Scott Ertz


Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.

Avram Piltch


Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.

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