Microsoft Copilot is pushing up base configurations so Windows AI PCs will need at least 16GB of RAM

Microsoft and Copilot logos

2024 looks set to be another year dominated by artificial intelligence, and we are now entering the era of the AI PC. This is something that Microsoft is at the forefront of, and the company's Copilot assistant is playing a major role in shaping the future.

A new report from TrendForce reveals something that many people had suspected for some time -- minimum system specifications will be increasing to herald the new computing age. The research company shares the news that "Microsoft has set the baseline for DRAM in AI PCs at 16 GB". But there is more.

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TrendForce also reports that new systems will have to offer at least 40 TOPS of computing power (40 trillion operation per second). Both of these hardware requirements are something of a double-edged sword. On one hand it means that anyone buying a new computer will not need to compromise, cut corners or be forced to endure the dire performance that would be offered by an 8GB system.

On the other hand, it means that many users will find that their current systems simply do not meet baseline requirements. Moreover, a proportion of these -- laptops in particular -- will not be upgradable.

In its report, TrendForce says:

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.

The company adds: "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".

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