PC Industry Enters New Upgrade Cycle with AI-Driven ARM-Based Chipsets

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24 Jun 2024

The PC industry could be on the brink of one of its biggest upgrade cycles in years. The confluence of new Windows machines based on ARM architecture and the generative AI wave is poised to drive enterprise customers – and a portion of the consumer market – to upgrade their laptops to the latest hardware.

This is according to South African industry experts who spoke to TechCentral.

“There is an element of delight regarding AI tools that is driving adoption, but the major driver for upgrades to newer, AI-capable chipsets lies in their security benefits,” Dimitri Tserpes, chief technology officer at Mustek, told TechCentral in an interview.

A study by the Stanford University’s Human Centred Artificial Intelligence department compared the speed to completion of tasks by employees who used Microsoft’s Copilot against those that did not. It found that Copilot users were 73% faster at tasks centred on information retrieval, 47% faster at search, 44% faster at coding and 71% faster at other common tasks. “AI enables workers to complete tasks more quickly and to improve the quality of their output,” the study concluded.

Tserpes said making the distinction between artificial general intelligence and the current wave of generative AI is important for understanding the strengths and weakness of the latter, which is largely based on machine learning algorithms.

Industries, organisations and departments whose problem sets closely match the strengths of generative AI will be among the first to upgrade to AI PCs, he predicted. “There are verticals that are made for, like customer service,” said Tserpes.

ARM-Based Chipsets Revolutionizing Windows PCs

The second factor driving the upgrade cycle is the end of the exclusive license that Qualcomm has with Microsoft for the production of ARM-based chipsets for Windows PCs. ARM chips are known for their improved efficiency and low energy consumption, translating to all-day battery life for Windows PCs.

Microsoft introduced an ARM version of its Windows operating system in 2017, signaling a breakaway from chip maker Intel. A range of chip makers plan to produce ARM-based CPUs for Windows systems, with Mediatek and Nvidia partnering to bring Windows on ARM PCs to the market in 2024.

“Consumers are going to have more choice with ARM chips being available in mid- and low-range PCs as opposed to being exclusive to the higher end of the market,” said Tserpes.

Compatible Apps

“The ARM version of Windows has come a long way since its initial release, with a growing list of compatible apps,” said Tserpes.

Windows 10 users should note that end of support for Windows 10 is scheduled for October 2025. Users must ensure they are on a supported version for security reasons.

Future of Windows and PC Upgrades

Tserpes highlighted that while enterprise customers have big incentives to upgrade, the consumer market may not see the same level of adoption. He mentioned that leaks and rumors speculate about the development of Windows 12, potentially to be released in the next year.

Although Microsoft has not officially confirmed Windows 12, history suggests an announcement could be forthcoming by October this year.

– © 2024 NewsCentral Media

Read next: And now for the AI PC

Update: 24 Jun 2024
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