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September 1, 2022
VMware’s vSphere 8 Brings DPUs from AMD, Intel, and Nvidia to Life

August 17, 2022
Cloudera CDP One Brings Advanced Data Management to the Mainstream

August 10, 2022
IBM Research Tech Makes Edge AI Applications Scalable

July 20, 2022
Amazon Extends Alexa’s Reach with New Tools

July 19, 2022
Qualcomm Accelerates Wearables with W5 Platforms

July 12, 2022
New Research Highlights Opportunities and Challenges for Private 5G

June 29, 2022
Arm Aims to Make Mobile Graphics “Immortal-is”

June 14, 2022
Cisco Brings Simplicity and Observability to Networks, Collaboration and Cloud Apps

May 24, 2022
Microsoft Unveils Foundation for AI-Powered Client/Cloud Hybrid Loop

May 18, 2022
Citrix to Integrate with Microsoft Windows 365

May 3, 2022
Dell Expands APEX, Adds Analytics and Data Recovery

April 27, 2022
Arm Simplifies and Modernizes IoT Development with Virtual Hardware

April 21, 2022
Amazon’s Launch of Buy with Prime Highlights Growth of Logistics Business

March 30, 2022
Intel Spices Up PC Market with Arc GPU Launch

March 22, 2022
Nvidia GTC Announcements Confirm it’s a Connected, Multi-Chip World

March 15, 2022
Lenovo and AMD Announcements Highlight Spring PC Refresh

March 8, 2022
The Future of Semiconductors is UCIe

March 2, 2022
Qualcomm Demos Future of Connectivity with WiFi 7 and X70 5G Chips

February 24, 2022
5G Edge Computing Challenges Remain

February 9, 2022
Samsung Raises the Bar with Ultra Versions of S22 and Tab S8

January 20, 2022
US 5G Market Just Got Much More Interesting

January 4, 2022
Qualcomm Extends Automotive Offerings with Snapdragon Ride Vision, Digital Chassis

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TECHnalysis Research Blog

September 14, 2022
Intel Highlights Key PC Platform Innovations for 13th Gen Core CPUs

By Bob O'Donnell

When most people think about the future of PC technology, they likely think about new CPUs designed in the US. The truth, however, can be much different.

As part of an international press and analyst event dubbed Intel Tech Tour that the company hosted at its facilities in Israel, Intel unveiled news about several intriguing innovations on the platform technology surrounding the CPU for their upcoming 13th Gen Core, code-named “Raptor Lake.”

To be clear, Intel also offered a few tidbits about the CPU itself. First, like many recent generation CPUs, Raptor Lake was designed at the company’s Israel Development Center (IDC). The new chip is also being manufactured in Israel at the company’s Fab 28, as well as at other locations around the world. Final details on 13th Gen Core are widely expected to be detailed at the company’s Intel Innovation event in San Francisco at the end of September, but they did publicly share that it will support speeds of up to 6 GHz (and the ability to be overclocked up to 8 GHz). Many of the more interesting announcements from the Israel Tech Tour, however, centered on other elements of a PC.

Part of this is just a continuation of the trend towards emphasizing system performance and overall experience (vs. raw numbers) that we’ve seen both PC component and system makers rightly focus on over the last few years. To that end, Intel discussed some important new innovations on wireless technology, AI acceleration, and on-board camera functionality.

On the wireless front, Intel announced that version 2.0 of the Intel Connectivity Suite will come with 13th Gen Core-based PCs. Building on the first version, which included the ability to aggregate both wired Ethernet and wireless Wi-Fi connections into a single, fatter data pipe, version 2.0 now adds support for cellular connections as well. As a result, you’ll be able to combine the throughput of up to two different Wi-Fi connections (among the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz frequency options) as well as a 5G cellular connection for PCs equipped with the appropriate 5G modems. The result is the fastest wireless connection possible on a single PC (dependent on the speed of the individual connections, of course), which is incredibly important for improving the overall PC experience. You can’t use the aggregated connection for a single application, but you can put different apps on different connections to optimize the overall connectivity experience.

In addition, the software will let you automatically select and optimize different workloads—like Teams, Zoom, Webex video conference calls, streaming, and others—and have them directed to the best possible connection. Plus, in the event of one technology dropping—such as a Wi-Fi connection in a busy environment—the application will automatically jump to the other one to avoid having your video stream drop on a Teams call, for example.

Unfortunately, the application will be limited to new PCs with both 13th Gen Core PCs and Intel Wi-Fi components. It would be tremendously useful to have it work with different combinations of components from other suppliers as well. Nevertheless, it’s a great proof-of-concept for the ability to leverage the combination of multiple different wireless connection technologies on a single device.

On the AI front, Intel publicly discussed a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) codenamed “Keem Bay” that will be coming to 13th Gen Core mobile CPUs—which are expected to launch after the desktop parts. Based on the Movidius VPU technology that Intel purchased several years ago, Keem Bay marks the first time that Intel has incorporated an AI accelerator directly into its PC-focused silicon. This is a big step forward in overall PC SOC (System on Chip) design and, along with conceptually similar advancements that AMD is expected to bring to its Ryzen CPUs, should lead to a whole new range of AI-accelerated PC software.

As many people know, smartphones have benefitted from AI accelerator components for many years now, but PCs were still lacking them. With the integration of dedicated neural processing, AI acceleration engines into next generation CPUs, we should start to see interesting new applications coming to PCs as well. Initially, most of the work will likely be on things such as audio and video enhancements and features like background blurring or replacement for video conferencing calls. At present, these tasks are handled primarily by the CPU or, in a few cases, by GPUs, but NPUs will be able to do execute them more efficiently and with higher quality. Bottom line is, PCs with NPUs should see significantly improved battery life for heavy videoconferencing app users.

Down the road we’re likely to see other innovative applications—many of which, I’m convinced, haven’t even been thought of yet. In the meantime, computational photography, video editing/content creation and gaming are also likely to benefit from the presence of NPUs. One bit of particularly good news I learned from Intel is that algorithms written in popular AI frameworks such as PyTorch and TensorFlow, can be relatively easily ported among different NPUs (such as Intel and AMDs). This is extremely important because it could have been a serious roadblock for software developers interested in working on AI-enhanced applications for PCs. In addition, apparently the overhead of running these algorithms in a software abstraction layer that sits on top of the NPU hardware are extremely modest (measured in tenths of a percent vs. writing directly to the hardware, which is a significantly harder and more time-consuming task).

In addition to this news, Intel also discussed enhancements to onboard webcams by integrating image signal processing (ISP) technology into Raptor Lake. Not only can this be used to generate better image quality, it can also be used for new features like camera tracking, where the onboard camera follows you as you walk around the room, or presence detection, where the PC automatically wakes or goes to sleep depending on whether it senses a person is in front of the screen. Enhancements to the Bluetooth capabilities on PCs, including adding support for Bluetooth LE Audio-based audio broadcasting, are also on tap for 13th Gen Core PCs.

Performance improvements that come from CPU advances are what most people tend to focus on when they think about future PCs. And, to be clear, Intel (and AMD’s) next generation CPUs will likely offer nice raw performance boosts. But these kinds of system-level upgrades are increasingly looking to be the key kind of enhancements that consumer and business PC users will primarily benefit from in the years to come.

Here’s a link to the original column:

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.