The other day, Intel unveiled its 14th Gen Meteor Lake processors for high-end notebooks. One of the key highlights of the release was the inclusion of the NPU (Neural Processing Unit) to aid in accelerating AI workloads. What’s worth remembering is that at the time of reporting, there are very few (almost none) applications that support fixed function hardware acceleration of neural networks.
Regardless, on account of this one goodie, which is actually already available on AMD’s Ryzen Phoenix notebooks (technical capabilities likely differ), Meteor Lake notebooks will cost a pretty penny. The official launch date for Meteor Lake devices is December 2023, but most OEMs will release their offerings in the first half of 2024.
The prices of the first wave of 14th Gen Meteor Lake laptops are expected to be quite high. As per MoneyUDN, these notebooks will start at a whopping $1,550 (converted from Taiwanese $). In retrospect, that’s not really much higher than the current going price of higher-end convertibles.
The NPU in Meteor Lake processors can be used to accelerate neural net training, a couple of which Intel demonstrated on-stage the other day. The first was Riffusion, an AI-based music generation plugin for Audacity that can be trained to generate tunes similar to your favorite artist. Stable Diffusion was also used to demonstrate a text-to-image generation model.
Acer will be the first OEM to release Meteor Lake notebooks. It’ll integrate the functions of the NPU into its propriety AI apps and release a set of “AI-specific notebooks“. Generative AI is one of the “biggest” new things on the market, massively profiting profiting NVIDIA and its rivals. Now, Intel and its partners are looking to get a share of that very pie.