TechDebuting at CES: MemryX and Kinara Launch First PC AI Accelerator Cards

Debuting at CES: MemryX and Kinara Launch First PC AI Accelerator Cards

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MemryX MX3 AI accelerator

Image: Mark Hachman / IDG

Intel has no plans for a desktop ​CPU with AI ⁣capabilities until later this year, so PC ‍manufacturers are turning to chip startups instead – the future ⁣may involve the Lenovo ThinkCentre Neo Ultra, which could possibly include AI cards ⁢from MemryX and Kinara.

Lenovo will release the ThinkCentre Neo Ultra in June for about $1,000, product manager Bryan Lin said at Lenovo’s⁢ booth at CES 2024. Although Lenovo’s documentation does not officially include either AI processor, it is likely. The ‍small content-creation desktop was at CES showcasing both AI cards.

Although AMD, Intel and Qualcomm have demonstrated mobile processors with integrated AI NPUs, only ‌AMD has announced a desktop Ryzen processor with an APU inside. Intel ⁤will have to wait until the‌ Arrow Lake launch to make an NPU available for desktop PC manufacturers, but they still hold the majority share in the PC processor industry.

More PC manufacturers are recognizing that an “AI PC” can actually‌ be ‍constructed with just ‍a CPU and a GPU, while NPUs provide more ⁤power-efficient AI. This may be sufficient for desktop PC manufacturers, who traditionally have fewer concerns about power consumption. However, businesses, which aim to apply AI to make money, want ​AI now⁢ — and are concerned‌ about ⁤minimizing power consumption at scale. This is an ‍area where the‌ business market may push ahead of consumer PCs.

At CES 2024, Lenovo is‌ showing off its ThinkCentre Neo Ultra ⁣with‍ AI accelerators ⁢from both Memryx‌ (left) and Kinara running AI⁢ applications.

Mark Hachman / IDG

“What ‍we’re seeing now is that the discrete graphics card is too hungry in terms of form⁣ factor ⁢and power, thermal ⁣design, etc.,” Lin said. “So an NPU card‌ drawing⁣ about 5 to 10 watts can ⁤give us a certain level of AI⁤ capabilities.”

But what about when Arrow Lake debuts?

“With Arrow Lake what I’m getting is that it’s still very limited [in terms of] power,” Lin⁢ said. “So, at‍ least eighteen to twenty-four months from now, I think discrete [AI accelerators] will still be ‍part ⁢of it. And especially for desktop, where we don’t have the limitation of battery.”

Intel Lunar⁤ Lake CES 2024Intel’s next move⁤ will be⁢ to bring Arrow Lake ⁤an its AI NPU to the desktop.

Mark Hachman / IDG

The ThinkCentre Neo Ultra will ⁢include ‍up to an Intel Core i9 vPro processor of an undisclosed architecture, with up‍ to​ 64GB of DDR5-5200 memory. It will also ⁢include a creator-class Nvidia GeForce⁤ RTX 4060 GPU, up to 4TB of SSD storage, with a ⁢350W internal⁣ power supply. It’s a 3.6-liter chassis, measuring 7.67 x 7.67 x 4.21in.

Lenovo has⁢ what it is calling an⁤ AI engine, routing workloads to where it fits ⁣the most, Lin said.

Lenovo ThinkCentre NeoLenovo’s ThinkCentre Neo Ultra, shown⁤ off at CES 2024.‌ » …
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