Microsoft Doubles Down on Intel’s Beefy NPU-Powered Chips With Surface Pro 10, Laptop 6

For its newly refreshed Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 lineup, Microsoft is betting big on Intel’s burgeoning AI silicon – specifically, the chipmaker’s flagship Core Ultra mobile processors with dedicated neural processing units (NPUs).

Aimed squarely at enterprise users, these latest Surface devices lean heavily on Core Ultra’s unique hardware AI acceleration capabilities. During the announcement, Microsoft continuously touted performance and efficiency gains borne from offloading intensive workloads to the chips’ dedicated NPU silicon.

“The clear emphasis for the NPU is about extending battery life and removing burden on the CPU and GPU for sustained NPU workloads,” notes industry analyst Ryan Shrout of the curiously aggressive NPU messaging.

Far From Just Another Portable Refresh

But optimizations around AI inference seem to be just the start for the novel Core Ultra silicon inside the Pro 10 and Laptop 6. In both devices, Microsoft is tapping Intel’s NPUs to power various intelligent camera and audio experiences, too.

For the Surface Pro 10 specifically, Microsoft has integrated new wide 114-degree field-of-view cameras – not just for capturing more of a scene, but to enable intelligent AI cropping and background blurring during video calls. The integrated NPUs handle all that real-time image processing heavy-lifting.

According to Microsoft, the laptop variant packs this same Core Ultra NPU camera magic, including Windows Studio Effects artificial intelligence enhancements like on-the-fly background defocusing. Handy capabilities for today’s scattered remote workforce.

Shrout admits some of Microsoft’s NPU-centric rhetoric borders on confusing, however. He calls out quips like the Surface team referring to the mobile-oriented Core Ultra chips as “desktop grade, desktop performance” as perhaps overly “bold” even by Intel’s sky-high standards.

An Unprecedented Surface Spec Bonanza

Performance claims aside, these truly are the most stacked Surface devices Microsoft has ever produced from a raw specs perspective. The Pro 10 and Laptop 6 rock up to 64GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage, optional 5G connectivity, and a dedicated Microsoft Copilot key.

More importantly, top configs feature Intel’s range-topping Core Ultra 7 1365U and 1365H processors – harnessing up to 14 hybrid cores clocked at a blistering 5GHz along with those beefy integrated NPUs. In essence, packing legitimate desktop-grade performance into highly portable packages.

Of course, such beefy bleeding-edge silicon commands a premium. Exact pricing remains under wraps, but expect these business-first Surface devices to carry suitably enterprise-imposing price tags when they start shipping later this year.

For demanding corporate users tired of making sacrifices on performance, Microsoft has finally answered the call with its Core Ultra Surface dynamos. Just be ready to lean on those AI acceleration chops – you’re getting a boatload of them whether you like it or not.

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ScottCharles
ScottCharles
Scott Charles is a professional writer and contributor for Gizmoweek. An avid collector of all things Apple watch, cool gadgets, phones.

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