After Nvidia, Qualcomm, and AMD, Intel’s AI chips appear next in line, revved up to try and capture the PC market and lead the future of AI computing. Intel announced a couple of different chip options set to enter the market in 2024, including the Gaudi3, Intel Core Ultra, and Xeon server chips. The chips were formally launched during the “AI Everywhere” event held in New York on 14 December 2023. The impact of the new Intel chip on PC makers is likely to be considerable, especially keeping in mind that “AI PCs are expected to comprise 80 percent of the PC market by 2028,” according to Michelle Johnston Holthaus, general manager of the Client Computing Group.

Reuters reported that Intel’s market shares have risen as much as 3.6 percent, echoing the market’s interest and belief in what Intel has to offer. The responses still appear muted in comparison to the performance of Intel competitors but as the chips go into use, there might be a more favorable shift in the market. 

Intel’s AI chip, the Intel Core Ultra, Promises to Boost the AI PC Market

Still from the “AI Everywhere” event where Patrick P. Gelsinger introduced Intel’s AI chip offerings.

Intel AI Chips: The Triad Set to Enhance the AI Race

The Intel AI chips that were just released are aimed at different markets and all three have the potential to make a big impact on the future of AI. The first chip released was the Gaudi3. Designed for generative AI software in data farms and data centers that have massive workloads, the Gaudi2 was already reported to be performing better than the Nvidia H100, according to sources like The Motley Fool, and the new chip should hopefully perform even better. The Gaudi3 could really be the number-pusher in this series if major chat and generative AI made the switch to this chip. CNBC reported that the company has been working on its release since 2019, following a buy-in of chip developer Hanaba Labs. 

The Intel Core Ultra designed to bring AI to PCs could also be a real game-changer, as Intel has had an unshakable presence in the PC market that needs to be reaffirmed in the post-AI world. According to the company, the Intel Core Ultra mobile process has a dedicated AI acceleration capability spread across its CPU, GPU, and NU architectures, making it the company’s “most AI-capable and power-efficient client processor.”

The Xeon server chips that were announced, codenamed the Emerald Rapids, didn’t receive as much attention this time around as many were hoping to see the Xeon CPU Max chip receive the Emerald Rapids CPU upgrade. For now, while Intel tries to gauge the public interest in the chip, the Xeon Max will be available with the previous 4th Gen Sapphire Rapids chip, according to HPCWire.

Intel Core Ultra—Exploring the Specs

Part of the Meteor Lake lineup, the Intel AI chip, Intel Core Ultra chip promises an 11 percent improvement in performance compared to its competition on the market right now. The integrated Neural Processing Unit is what highlights the full capacity to aid in AI activities on the model, with an energy efficiency that is 2.5 times better than its predecessors. The chip uses 40 percent less power for day-to-day activities and up to twice the gaming performance compared to the 13th Gen Intel Core i7 processor. The Intel Arc GPU promises a boosted gaming experience, up to 3x faster 1080p gaming with 3x power efficiency as well. 

“Intel Core Ultra offers a built-in Intel® Arc™ GPU that features up to eight Xe-cores, AI-based Xe Super Sampling (XeSS), DX12 Ultimate support, and up to double the graphics performance over the previous generation. The GPU includes support for modern graphics features including hardware-accelerated ray tracing, mesh shading, AV1 encode and decode, HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2.1 20G.”

The processor announced by Intel has an extensive list of specs that support the company’s aim to be the top choice for AI PC makers.

  • Showcases up to 16 cores—6 P-cores, 8 E-cores, 2 LP E-cores—and 22 threads
  • Maximum turbo frequency of up to 5.1 GHz
  • Maximum memory capacity of up to 64 GB using LP5/x and 96 GB using DDR5
  • Integrated Intel Wi-Fi 6E and support for discrete Intel Wi-Fi 77 (5 Gig) for reliable connectivity
  • Intel Killer Software that can enhance the network connection for gaming and content creation—both tasks that are especially demanding on the network
  • Intel Bluetooth LE Audio allows low power consumption while still providing high-fidelity sonic experiences or accurate, high-quality listening capabilities
  • Thunderbolt 4 provides 40 Gbps connection speeds and connectivity to multiple PC accessories
  • The OpenVINO toolkits promise to enhance AI performance by rerouting workloads and streamlining workflow on the device, using ONNX (Open Neural Network Exchange) and ONNX Runtime

Availability of Intel Core Ultra and Other Details

The current availability of the Intel Core Ultra chips has been announced with news that many PC makers have already adapted the chip to run their devices, more than 230 of the world’s first AI PCs according to the company, and we should start seeing these out on the market soon enough.

“Available globally on-shelf and online starting today, new Intel Core Ultra mobile processors will power more than 230 of the world’s first AI PCs from partners including Acer, ASUS, Dell, Dynabook, Gigabyte, Google Chromebook, HP, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft Surface, MSI and Samsung.”

Built on the Intel 4 process technology and designed using Foveros 3D advanced packaging technology, the Impact of the new Intel chip on PC makers appears instantaneous as many appear to trust the company with the future of their devices. Maybe with this launch, Intel will be able to rightly reassert its presence in the market and stand out as a noteworthy competitor in the AI race. The Intel AI chip can only get better from here on out, but can it keep up with the market? This remains undetermined.