Windows 12: The forthcoming generation of computers, known as ‘AI PCs’, are anticipated to be high-performance machines.
Numerous manufacturers are gearing up to launch products that align with these industry expectations.
Recent reports suggest that Microsoft is set to raise the minimum specifications for its forthcoming Windows 12 operating system, slated for release in 2024.
As per an analysis by Trendforce, Microsoft is likely to increase the base memory requirement for Windows 12 to 16GB, in line with the standard needed to operate its AI assistant Copilot with minimum efficiency.
Microsoft’s revised hardware specifications will serve as a benchmark to determine which computers qualify as an AI PC.
This update in specifications is noteworthy. Historically, computers had relatively low minimum requirements to operate new system versions. For instance, Windows 11 requires 4GB of memory for operation and updates, while Windows 10 requires 1GB of memory for a 32-bit machine and 2GB for a 64-bit machine.
It’s worth noting that Windows 10 continues to be the most popular version of Microsoft systems, with Windows 11 gradually gaining traction, primarily when users purchase new computers. This trend persists despite the fact that most devices in the market are compatible with a Windows 11 upgrade.
Given the current trends, it appears that the industry is banking on consumers buying new Windows 12 devices instead of upgrading their existing systems. It seems that older models may not be compatible beyond memory requirements.
Trendforce suggests that this standard might compel computer manufacturers to make 16GB memory the new norm for entry-level products to align with the new operating system and the AI PC branding.
Several manufacturers, including Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm, have recently announced new Systems on a Chip (SoCs) to power the upcoming AI PCs. These components use the unit of measure ‘TOPS’, denoting chips capable of performing trillions of operations per second. Trendforce reports that Microsoft has set the standard for Windows 12 at 40 TOPS.
For context, the current Intel Meteor Lake CPUs operate at 34 TOPS, rendering them unsuitable for AI PCs. However, the forthcoming Lunar Lake CPUs are expected to meet the AI PC criteria.
The new AMD Zen 4 APUs, rated at 39 TOPS, fall slightly short, but the upcoming Strix Point Zen 5 APUs are anticipated to be compatible. On the other hand, the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chip surpasses the threshold at 45 TOPS.
Numerous brands have been establishing their presence in the AI space for a while now. Given the pivotal role of Windows software in connecting computers, its influence is crucial for the operation of the industry and is expected to significantly shape the AI PC landscape in the future.