Intel says dozens of PC makers are using its new AI-enabled chip

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – Intel on Thursday said that dozens of personal computer makers are using its newest chip, as the company and its customers try to entice consumers to upgrade their machines for a new era of chatbots.

At a press event in New York, Intel said the new offering will be available in laptops from Dell Technologies, Microsoft, Lenovo Group and others that will go on sale on Thursday at Best Buy in the U.S. and other global retailers including China’s and Australia’s Harvey Norman.

Intel’s central processor units (CPUs) have long served as the brains of most personal computers. But the new chip that went by the code name “Meteor Lake” is Intel’s first that will also contain what is called an neural processing unit (NPU), a section of the chip dedicated to handling artificial intelligence tasks.

Apple, Qualcomm and other smartphone chip makers have included NPUs in their mobile phone offerings for at least five years.

Intel’s pitch to consumers and businesses comes as it is fighting its way out of a post-pandemic PC slump where buyers who upgraded to work from home in 2020 have seen little reason to buy new equipment.

The Silicon Valley company is hoping that a new wave of AI applications provides some incentive to buy what Intel has dubbed the “AI PC,” a category it expects will comprise 80% of PCs sold within the next four years.

During a demonstration of the new chip in September, the company showed some examples of AI work that it hoped would spur interest, such as transcribing voice notes without having to send data to a third-party cloud provider or generating a song in the style of pop star Taylor Swift.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Jamie Freed)