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【Market View】2024 Commercialization of Copilot to Boost AI Server and AI PC Development, Says TrendForce

Published Jan.17 2024,15:11 PM (GMT+8)

2024 Commercialization of Copilot to Boost AI Server and AI PC Development, Says TrendForce

TrendForce anticipates 2024 to mark a significant expansion in edge AI applications, leveraging the groundwork laid by AI servers and branching into AI PCs and other terminal devices. The global AI server market—encompassing AI Training and AI Inference—is projected to exceed 1.6 million units, growing at an impressive rate of 40%. Additionally, CSPs are expected to ramp up their involvement in this sector.

Edge AI applications, known for their stringent requirements, are shifting toward AI PCs. This shift aims to decentralize AI server workloads and broaden the AI usage spectrum. TrendForce posits AI PCs are expected to meet Microsoft’s benchmark of 40 TOPS in computational power. With new products meeting this threshold expected to ship in late 2024, significant growth is anticipated in 2025, especially following Intel’s release of its Lunar Lake CPU by the end of 2024.

The AI PC market is currently propelled by two key drivers: Firstly, demand for terminal applications, mainly dominated by Microsoft through its Windows OS and Office suite, is a significant factor. Microsoft is poised to integrate Copilot into the next generation of Windows, making Copilot a fundamental requirement for AI PCs. Secondly, Intel, as a leading CPU manufacturer, is advocating for AI PCs that combine CPU, GPU, and NPU architectures to enable a variety of terminal AI applications.

Introduced around the end of 2023, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite platform is set to be the first to meet Copilot standards, with shipments expected in the second half of 2024. This platform is anticipated to deliver around 45 TOPS. Following closely behind, AMD’s Ryzen 8000 series (Strix Point) is also expected to meet these requirements. Intel’s Meteor Lake, launched in December 2023 with a combined CPU+GPU+NPU power of 34 TOPS, falls short of Microsoft’s standards. However, Intel’s upcoming Lunar Lake might surpass the 40 TOPS threshold by the end of the year.

The race among Qualcomm, Intel, and AMD in the AI PC market is set to intensify the competition between the x86 and Arm CPU architectures in the Edge AI market. Qualcomm’s early compliance with Microsoft’s requirements positions it to capture the initial wave of AI PC opportunities, as major PC OEMs like Dell, HPE, Lenovo, ASUS, and Acer develop Qualcomm CPU-equipped models in 2024, presenting a challenge to the x86 camp.

AI PCs are expected to drive growth in average PC memory capacity and boost the proportion of LPDDR in PC DRAM 

Microsoft has set the baseline for DRAM in AI PCs at 16 GB. In the long term, TrendForce projects that AI PCs will catalyze an increase in annual demand for PC DRAM bits, with consumer upgrade trends further boosting this demand.

Lastly, the CPUs meeting Microsoft’s 40 TOPS requirement for NPUs include Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite, AMD’s Strix Point, and Intel’s Lunar Lake. A notable feature of these CPUs is their adoption of LPDDR5x over the current mainstream DDR SO-DIMM modules. This choice is driven by the need for faster data transmission; DDR5 speeds range from 4800–5600 Mbps, whereas LPDDR5x reaches 7500–8533 Mbps, aiding AI PCs that require quicker language processing and responsiveness. Consequently, TrendForce forecasts that LPDDR will represent approximately 30–35% of PC DRAM demand this year, with future increases driven by the specifications set forth by AI PC CPU manufacturers, leading to a further rise in LPDDR adoption.