Intel says dozens of PC makers are using its new AI-enabled chip

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) -Intel on Thursday said that dozens of personal computer makers are using its newest chip, as the company and its customers try to entice consumers to upgrade their machines for a new era of chatbots.

At a press event in New York, Intel said the new offering will be available in laptops from Dell Technologies, Microsoft, Lenovo Group and others that will go on sale on Thursday at Best Buy in the U.S. and other global retailers including China’s and Australia’s Harvey Norman.

Intel shares rose as much as 3.6% after the news.

Intel’s central processor units (CPUs) have long served as the brains of most personal computers. But the new chip that went by the code name “Meteor Lake” is Intel’s first that will also contain what is called an neural processing unit (NPU), a section of the chip dedicated to handling artificial intelligence tasks.

Intel’s pitch to consumers and businesses comes as it is fighting its way out of a post-pandemic PC slump where buyers who upgraded to work from home in 2020 have seen little reason to buy new equipment.

Intel Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger said during the event that Intel believes using its chips will make AI services cheaper, faster and more private than using services based in cloud data centers.

“That will be the star of the show in this coming year,” Gelsinger said of AI on PCs. “You’re unleashing this power for every person, every use case, every location in the future.”

During a demonstration of the new chip in September, the company showed some examples of AI work that it hoped would spur interest, such as transcribing voice notes without having to send data to a third-party cloud provider or generating a song in the style of pop star Taylor Swift.

Intel on Thursday also showed what it said was the first working version of a chip called Gaudi 3, which it hopes will challenge Nvidia in the data center AI market.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Jamie Freed)