May 23 2024

Everything You Need to Know About Microsoft Surface’s AI-Powered PCs

Designed to integrate seamlessly with Copilot and Windows 11 Pro, these artificial intelligence-powered machines run on Intel Core Ultra processors and offer lightning-fast performance.

In March, Microsoft debuted the first Surface AI PCs built for business: The Surface Pro 10 and the Surface Laptop 6.

Powered by the Intel Core Ultra chipset and Intel’s AI Boost neural processing unit (NPU), these new devices help companies turn artificial intelligence (AI) potential into practical benefits. BizTech recently caught up with Microsoft Senior Go-to-Market Manager Donovan Walker and U.S. Commercial Master Trainer for Surface Kenneth Perry to explore the impact of this high-performance technology on businesses today.

DISCOVER: How CDW and Microsoft solutions and services can support your business.

An AI PC Built for Businesses

Much like the advent of smartphones or cloud computing, AI represents a generational shift. It’s changing the way companies work and accelerating operational tasks. But it’s also creating new opportunities concerning how humans interact with machines

Windows Studio Effects, a set of AI-powered video and audio enhancements designed to improve the quality of video calls and recordings, is one such example that’s changing how users collaborate in hybrid work environments, Walker says. Driven by onboard NPUs, it keeps users in the center of the screen with automatic framing, helps to cancel out background noise with voice focus, keeps the focus on the user with background blur and adjusts the users gaze to simulate eye contact.

“You can be speaking with a colleague and have all the sound behind you suppressed,” Walker says. “I can be in a coffee shop or working outside, but it doesn’t affect the quality of my calls.”

RELATED: Microsoft's Surface devices give users CoPilot AI at their fingertips.

AI Inside: The Cutting-Edge NPU Processor 

Much like CPUs or graphics processing units, NPUs are part of processor chipsets. These neural processing units are designed to manage and optimize AI-intensive tasks, such as automatically tracking user movements or creating captions for meetings in progress.

Both the Surface Pro 10 and the Surface Laptop 6 feature an NPU with 11 trillion operations per second along with 18 TOPS for the GPU and 5 TOPS for the CPU. The Intel AI Boost also doesn’t rely on the NPU alone; it uses CPU, GPU, and NPU resources simultaneously to optimize performance.

For example, applications that require more speed will leverage the 16 cores and 5-gigahertz turbo frequency of the Intel Core Ultra 165H (on the Surface Laptop 6), or the 12 cores and 4.9GHz turbo frequency of the 165U (on the Surface Pro 10).

DISCOVER: Why the Intel Core processor boosts everyday productivity.

Windows Studio Effects is a prime example of the NPU in action, Perry says. Its capabilities include 114-degree automatic framing, eye tracking and voice focus. With the NPU running, CPU activity hovered around 25 percent. Disable the NPU and you’ll experience a massive spike in CPU usage.

“With AI on the hardware itself, you have the ability to reduce friction in your workflow and be productive no matter where you are,” Perry says.

AI in the Cloud: Microsoft Copilot

The Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 also give users access to powerful AI in the cloud with Microsoft Copilot.

With a dedicated Copilot key, it’s simple for staff to streamline their workflows with personalized support and contextual assistance. Users can engage with Copilot through touch, by using their keyboards or with their voices — whatever is most convenient.

Kenneth Perry
With AI on the hardware itself, you have the ability to reduce friction in your workflow and be productive no matter where you are.”

Kenneth Perry U.S. Commercial Master Trainer for Surface, Microsoft

Copilot can also enhance productivity by automating key tasks, such as summarizing meetings or emails or personalizing new devices. In effect, the solution acts as an orchestrator capable of combining diverse data sources into a unified and intuitive experience.

IT leaders looking to tackle large scale data sets may also benefit from Copilot’s cloud-based neural processing. By leveraging cloud computing resources, organizations can scale data projects without overloading local systems.

UP NEXT: Intel’s Core Ultra processor advances artificial intelligence-driven computing.

What’s Next for AI PCs?

AI-powered PCs make it possible for companies to improve collaboration and optimize workflows.

But this is just the beginning. Tools such as Azure OpenAI  are enabling companies to create their own AI software and large language models. This results in devices with maximum AI capabilities, built to grow with the business.

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