AMD’s new Ryzen AI laptop chips aren’t officially supported on Windows 10, thanks to its NPU and Copilot+

We reported on AMD’s decision to stop supporting Windows 10 for its new laptop chips last month, but now that the Ryzen AI range has been announced, the official specs page for them confirms this change. Where the Ryzen 9000-series is fully supported on Microsoft’s older operating system, the Ryzen AI 300 series is for Windows 11 and Linux only.

Our chums over at Tom’s Hardware spotted the updates to the specs pages and having gone through all of the entries myself, I can confirm that Windows 10 is absent in the list of supported operating systems for the Ryzen AI 9 HX 370 and AI 9 365. All of the Ryzen 8000-series laptop chips and the new Ryzen 9000-series desktop processors still have it, though.

Windows 10 isn’t a very old piece of software, as it first appeared just eight years ago, in July 2015. Even so, Microsoft will end official support for it in October 2025, but that’s not the reason for AMD’s decision to move away from the much-favoured OS. It’s all down to AI, of course.

Or to be more specific, it’s all down to Copilot+ that Microsoft is adding to Windows 11. That suite of AI tools will initially only be available for Snapdragon X-powered laptops (in the Copilot+ AI PC ecosystem) but eventually, all the main laptop vendors will be switching to CPUs sporting NPUs, neural processing units, like AMD’s Ryzen AI models and Intel’s forthcoming Lunar Lake chips.

Locally run AI algorithms involve doing lots of specific math operations and while these can be done on a CPU or GPU, chip engineers have developed a separate cluster of units to do them, all while using as little power as possible. The peak throughput figure for NPUs is given as TOPs (trillions of operations per second) and this number has become the latest battleground for AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm to fight in.

Nvidia is currently standing on the outskirts of all of this, essentially thumbing its nose at the low TOPs figures on the current NPUs on offering, pointing out that its GPUs are far more capable. While that’s certainly true, GPUs aren’t really designed, or even capable right now, of running in a very low power state and still churn out 50 or so TOPs.

That’s the situation in which NPUs shine and even if you’re not interested in Copilot+, there are signs that neural processing units could be used to help graphics cards use less power in games, something that could be of interest to lots of PC gamers.

Anyway, Copilot+ won’t ever be released for Windows 10 and since AI is the biggest thing in consumer PCs at the moment (you might not have noticed…), AMD clearly reckons it’s not worth suggesting Ryzen AI chips for Windows 10 users.

They should still work, of course, as it’s not like the entire processor won’t recognise instructions from that operating system. But you won’t be able to use its NPU properly within Windows 11 and Copilot+.

Then again, since Recall has already been made to work on a fairly basic Arm-powered processor, with nary an NPU in sight, there’s a good chance that the coding community will figure out a way of using the neural circuits in a Ryzen AI chip in Windows 10.

PCGamer.com

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