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Announcing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26257 (Canary Channel)

Hello Windows Insiders, today we are releasing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26257 to the Canary Channel. Developers, please note that for a short...
HomeTechnologyCopilot+ PC vs. AI PC vs. regular PC: Windows computers categories explained.

Copilot+ PC vs. AI PC vs. regular PC: Windows computers categories explained.


  • “Copilot+ PC,” “AI PC,” and “PC” are terms that define a computer category.
  • Copilot+ PC is a marketing label for devices that can handle virtually any AI task.
  • AI PC is a computer that’s usually referred to as a machine that can handle some AI tasks.
  • A Regular PC does not include any AI instructions or integrated NPU.

The future of computing is here, and it’s intelligent. However, with terms like “Copilot+ PC” and “AI PC” floating around, it’s easy to get confused. Are they just marketing hype, or is there a real difference? Let’s dive into these terms and what they mean to you.

“AI PC,” “Copilot+ PC,” or “PC” are terms that define a computer category. While the term “PC” or “computer” typically defines a machine running Windows, the term “AI PC” describes a computer that can provide AI capabilities, and the “Copilot+ PC” is more a marketing hype to define a computer that can run all the AI features that Windows 11 has to offer.

Here’s a breakdown of Copilot+ PC vs. AI PC vs. regular PC:

Regular PC

  • Standard desktop or laptop computer.
  • It consists of a Central Processing Unit (CPU) and a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) that handles various tasks.
  • There are no specific AI features built-in, but some newer models may have CPUs or GPUs with some AI acceleration capabilities.

Although PCs with AI capabilities are increasing in popularity in 2024, there have been computers with some AI capabilities for some time. As a result, any computer from 2020 and before is more than likely to be a regular computer. Computers from 2021, 2022, and 2023, unless they have a specific processor from Intel or AMD, will likely be regular PCs.

If you purchased a computer in 2024 with components from 2024, you likely have an AI or Copilot+ PC.

AI PC

  • This term is a bit looser. Technically, any computer with an AI focus could be referred to as an AI PC.
  • Microsoft uses the term for PCs with a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for AI tasks.
  • Other manufacturers might consider any PC with a modern CPU and GPU capable of some AI workloads as an AI PC.
  • There’s no single standard for what makes an AI PC.
  • They will only support some of the AI features available on Windows 11 and higher releases.

Some AI PCs that include Intel’s Core Ultra and AMD Ryzen AI processors that integrate AI capabilities:

  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen12) (Intel).
  • Samsung Galaxy Book 4 (Intel).
  • Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (Intel).
  • Lenovo IdeaPad Pro 5i Gen 9 (Intel).
  • MSI Prestige 13 AI (Intel).
  • ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 (AMD).
  • ASUS Zenbook S 16 (AMD).
  • HP Envy 16 (AMD).
  • Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 16 (AMD).

AMD offers desktop and laptop processors with AI capabilities as part of their Ryzen 3000, 5000, 7000, and 8000 series identified with the designation “Ryzen AI” or ending with a “G.” The “G” suffix designates that the processor has integrated graphics. Here are some examples:

  • Ryzen 3 3200G.
  • Ryzen 5 5600G.
  • Ryzen 7 7800G.
  • Ryzen 5 8600G.
  • Ryzen 7 8700G.

Intel offers AI capabilities in its 11th Gen (released in 2021) and 12th Gen (released in 2022) Core i3, i5, and i7 processors. These processors have built-in AI instructions called Intel AVX-512 with VNNI (Vector Neural Network Instruction). This helps accelerate AI tasks like photo and video editing, content creation, and some light machine learning workloads. Here are some examples:

  • Intel Core i3-12100F.
  • Intel Core i5-11400F.
  • Intel Core i7-12700F.

In December 2023, Intel also released its Core Ultra processors, which integrate a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) specifically designed for AI workloads. These are not yet widely available for purchase but represent a more significant focus on AI for future consumer processors until the release of the Lunar Laker chips.

One thing that these computers have in common is that their NPU has less than 40 TOPS, which is the minimum requirement to be considered a Copilot+ PC.

TOPS stands for Tera Operations Per Second, and it’s a metric used to measure the performance of Neural Processing Units (NPUs). It essentially tells you how many trillion mathematical operations an NPU can perform in a single second.

Copilot+ PC

  • This is Microsoft’s specific marketing branding for their next generation of AI-enabled computers.
  • Copilot+ PCs are built on Windows 11 and require an NPU with at least 40 TOPS of processing power.
  • This allows them to run advanced AI features locally on the device without relying on the cloud.
  • Copilot+ PCs typically include Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite processors. However, Intel and AMD plan to release processors to meet the marketing branding requirements.
  • Some examples of Copilot+ PC features include Windows Recall, Windows Studio Effects, Live Captions, Auto Super Resolution, Voice Clarity, Cocreator for the Paint app, and Restyle Image for the Photos app.

The first wave of the Copilot+ PCs has been available since June 18, 2024, some of which include:

  • Surface Pro (11th Edition).
  • Surface Laptop (7th Edition).
  • Samsung Galaxy Book4 Edge.
  • DELL Inspiron 14 Plus.
  • DELL XPS 13.
  • Acer Swift 14 AI.
  • Lenovo Yoga Slim 7x.
  • ASUS Vivobook S 15.
  • HP OmniBook X 14.

One component these new Copilot+ PCs have in common is the new Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite processor, the only processor in the market today that meets the requirements to enable all the AI features coming to Windows 11 (version 24H2).

AMD is expected to introduce its Ryzen AI processor, which integrates an NPU with 50+ TOPS to meet the Copilot+ PC requirements. However, devices featuring this processor will take some time to arrive on the market.

Also, Intel plans to release its Lunar Lake processors that will be compatible with the Copilot+ PC experience as it will integrate an NPU with more than 40 TOPS.

What type of PC do I have?

If you haven’t purchased a computer with components from 2020 and before, you likely don’t have a device that qualifies as an AI PC. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have a computer that can’t handle AI tasks. Your computer can have one or more NPUs. These instructions will help you check whether your system has an NPU.

On the other hand, if you a device with components from 2021 or later, you may have an AI PC if the device has one of the specific processors from Intel or AMD. 

Also, if the system features an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 or 4080 or an AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX, then you have a computer with AI capabilities. This is because these graphics cards provide Tensor Cores (NVIDIA) or Stream Processors (AMD), which are cores specifically designed for AI workloads within the GPU.

If you purchased a computer in 2024, it’s possible that you have an AI or Copilot+ PC. 

Do I need an AI or a Copilot+ PC?

The short answer is “No.” You don’t need a computer with AI capabilities at this moment. However, as Windows evolves and more features require the presence of an NPU, you may need new hardware to access certain features or use specific features more efficiently.

For example, on Windows 11, you will need special hardware to access the “Windows Studio Effects,” such as portrait background blur, eye contact, automatic framing, and other features like Windows Recall and Auto Super Resolution.

On the other hand, you don’t need special hardware to access some AI features, such as Copilot for Windows 11. Other examples I can mention include the AI features on Paint that allows you to remove backgrounds and create images with AI. In the Photos app, you can use AI to remove, blur, or change the background.

A regular PC is fine if you don’t need specific AI features and are looking for the most budget-friendly option.

If you’re interested in some AI capabilities but the specifics aren’t crucial, look for an AI PC with the most valuable features (for example, good battery life, powerful graphics, etc.).

If you want the latest Microsoft AI features, such as real-time language translation and  Windows Recall, then a Copilot+ PC is your best choice.

Do you need an AI or Copilot+ PC to run Windows 11 24H2?

No, you can install Windows 11 24H2 and higher releases on any standard computer as long as they meet the minimum hardware requirements, including 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and UEFI firmware.



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