back to article Intel slaps forehead, says I got it: AI PCs. Sell them AI PCs

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger used his keynote at the chip giant's Innovation conference in San Jose on Tuesday to repeatedly hammer home the idea of running large language models and other machine-learning workloads, like Llama 2 or Stable Diffusion, locally, privately, and securely on users' own PCs. "AI is fundamentally …

  1. DS999 Silver badge

    Intel's problem

    Is that PC replacement cycles are so slow it will be years before it is worth bothering with modifying popular applications so they can use the on-chip AI. Instead they sat on their hands when they saw Apple and soon Huawei and Qualcomm include NPUs in their SoC. I guess they only did it now so they can talk about "AI" and benefit from the hype machine, though it seems to have backfired as their stock price took a hard fall after their Meteor Lake announcement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Intel's problem

      Yeah, but you have to consider that you only need massive amounts of grunt to *train* models, you need far less resources to *use* a model. For example, I have my own on-prem LLM in my rack at home. It is running quite happily on an old Quad Core Xeon E3-1260L with 32GB RAM in an HP Z240 SFF from 2015...with a GPU from about 5 years ago (WX3100)...it is not a "baller" by any stretch of the imagination...but it handles llama2 models and similar variants (programming specific ones for example) just fine and I'm able to link it up to my various IDEs, voice assistants etc with no issues...yeah, there is a small delay before I get a response compared to GPT3.5 or GPT4, it's tiny though...it really isn't that big of a deal because losing half a second still saves me hours sometimes while I'm developing having a bit of breathing room to think and sip my tea while my AI is busy tidying up my formatting and commenting the code for me (saving me time) is quite nice. I know that I can bang out the rattiest looking code ever to get the job done and I'll have a nice little tea break while the AI "sweeps the warehouse" for me.

      I'm not sure having a dedicated AI accelerator in my desktop machines would make all that much of a difference to this...yeah I could probably do some fancy computer vision stuff without loading up my CPU etc and test it locally...but that doesn't really require much resource anyway, hell you can do it on a Pi Zero and it works in near real time.

      You could argue that that an AI accelerator could help with things like image diffusion etc...but I'd argue that compared to Apple / Qualcomm hardware, you could get better performance for that sort of thing out of a mid range Optiplex from 5 years ago with a mid range GPU from the RTX 20x0 series which you can now pick up relatively cheap...the diffusion capabilities of Apple Silicon specifically are crap for the money, and I'd go as far to say that the AI acceleration in Apple Silicon is basically worthless at this point...which probably means that Intel can likely get the jump on them, because Apple Silicon integrated AI acceleration before anyone really knew what people would want to use AI for.

      What we need to remember with AI, to keep things grounded, is that the huge power requirement onus is on the people training the models, not on the people utilising the models because all the heavy lifting has been done ahead of time...that is just how AI works right now...it's not unlike the concept behind Rainbow Tables for password cracking...it takes huge amounts of time and resource to generate Rainbow Tables...but a skid can use a pre-computed rainbow table to crack a password in minutes because the time/resource trade off has already been made.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sorry Dave ...

    ... I can't let you do that.

  3. ChoHag Silver badge

    > We believe that the next decade or two of development isn't cloud native, its edge native.

    But we're still not finished moving it all off the edges back on to the central mainframe!

    1. LionelB Silver badge

      You want to push stuff off the edges, you got to hire cats. Lots of cats.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I feel like I need to fix that for Intel...

      "We *hope* that the next decade or two of development isn't cloud native, its edge native. So we can sell 5 times as many servers, push the load away from datacentres to allow them to call themselves 'green' and push the problem of eWaste back on to small businesses".

      If most stuff ends up being edge related, what would someone be paying a subscription for in terms of "cloud" services.

      Is Office365 going to send an on-prem edge server for me at all of my branches?

      1. LionelB Silver badge

        Re: I feel like I need to fix that for Intel...

        > Is Office365 going to send an on-prem edge server for me at all of my branches?

        You mean like back in the day when the PC on your desk ran Office XXX? Now there's an idea...

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    WTF?

    "they will have devices like sensors with that level of compute"

    Sensors with 64GB of DDR5 and two A100s in SLI mode ?

    Sensors ?

    What exactly are they smoking ?

    1. EricB123 Bronze badge

      Re: "they will have devices like sensors with that level of compute"

      "What exactly are they smoking ?"

      And when will they make THAT available?"

      Finally, a product that we actually need.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: "they will have devices like sensors with that level of compute"

      On the other hand, when I was growing up, 16KB was luxury and a microprocessor faster than 4Mhz unheard of... We might be coming close to a stalling point, but never say never.

      1. CommonBloke
        IT Angle

        Re: "they will have devices like sensors with that level of compute"

        Regarding raw, single core CPU speed, we already hit it some 20 years ago in the consumer space. Because of that, the evolution sidestepped it with multiple cores instead. You'll be hard pressed to find anything running over 2GHz without being overclocked, and anything running over 3GHz without -serious- cooling.

        1. Spacedinvader
          WTF?

          Re: "they will have devices like sensors with that level of compute"

          5600x base is 3.7 with boost to 4.6, included wraith cooler works fine.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: "they will have devices like sensors with that level of compute"

          Consumer space is all about build to a consumer friendly price point, so naturally cheap cooling, insufficient and slow memory, crippled CPU’s, slow SSD/HDD…

          Suggest taking a look at the AMD Ryzen 5 and 7 processor families, but then these are mainly used on business machines.

          However, would agree for sustained operation at 4.7 GHz across all 8 physical cores of a Ryzen 7, cooling needs to be taken seriously.

  5. staringatclouds
    Thumb Down

    AI PC's

    Oh hell no

    1. Ken G Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: AI PC's

      AI PCs can quantum blockchain your IoT faster!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AI PC killer app

    AI_Me -- Uses AI to automate boring PC tasks which in turn saves you time.

    Open virus emails.

    Invite all of your contacts to your auto-engagements with email brides.

    Transfer bank payments to scammers.

    Send birthday messages to your girlfriend. Noting which porn stars[recently viewed] have the same birthday as hers.

    Auto download porn videos, based on your past viewing habits.

    Buy more SSD drives, since your drives are now full.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I understand why they want to sell it

    But how many people will buy it?

    While there is and will be a lucrative market for high end workstation class machines build from mostly server grade parts, it's always been a small market.

    Considering Intel's history of announcing competing products that when based on anything other than CPUs, deliver low end mediocrity, then the platform gets canceled due to poor sales. I wouldn't bet the farm on this one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I understand why they want to sell it

      "While there is and will be a lucrative market for high end workstation class machines build from mostly server grade parts, it's always been a small market"

      The market is probably small because of how it is priced. There are two ways to get a workstation that is built out of server components.

      1) Buy a workstation made out of server components...expensive.

      2) Buy a cheaper server with the same components as above and transplant them into a workstation chassis / motherboard...then yeet the server chassis, motherboard and PSUs onto eBay as "brand new spares"...nowhere near as expensive.

      Weirdly, a workstation crafted out of server parts is usually significantly more expensive than just a server with similar components. You can save thousands buy semi-building your own. It's something I've done for donkies years to get a high performance machine for next to peanuts. I'll buy a last gen server, take out the CPU and RAM, get a decent workstation motherboard second hand, whack them in with a recent GPU and you're away...costs less than a high performance consumer machine, outperforms a high performance current gen consumer machine in a lot of tasks, the exception being gaming...but losing 10% on gaming for a 25-50% saving is worth it in my opinion...because you're still outperforming the mid range and only slightly losing out to the cutting edge.

      Back in 2015-ish...I had to re-kit a department of devs and they wanted relatively high end workstations...when I costed it out, I discovered that if I got them the spec they wanted as workstations, it would cost around £11k a machine (yeah they were quite high end)...but if I bought a bunch of PowerEdge dual socket T series servers with the same CPUs in, and enough RAM to split, I could essentially build them workstations, that were arguably better than the pre-made ones for about half the price...yeah Dell wouldn't honour their warranty...but the manufacturer warranty for the CPUs and RAM etc still applied and of course the warranty applied to other hardware we bought, coming up.

      So that is what we ended up doing. Bought a bunch of T series poweredge boxes, shucked the CPUs, RAM, network cards etc...bunged the shells on eBay (which fetched just under half of their full price)..and bought workstation motherboards (can't remember which ones, but they were very nice and relatively inexpensive), a bunch of coolers, a stack of NVME drives, high quality cases, some decent GPUs and power supplies and just built a load of workstations.

      Weirdly, it worked out cheaper than buying the CPUs and RAM separately as well. Each workstation came in at about £5k each...even stranger still, we had one of the £11k workstations as a "borrow" to test it out..and we benched our frankenboxes against it...turns out, what we built actually outperformed it as well...it wasn't an earth shattering difference, but it was enough for us to raise eyebrows...it was about 8% faster...we think it's probably because server CPUs are binned differently, and the stuff that doesn't quite make the cut for servers goes in workstations...which only raised more eyebrows over the cost of a pre-built workstation.

      So yeah, I suspect the workstation market is where it is because of the weird pricing. I'm sure in a business with relatively few people, the higher cost isn't that much of a problem...but when you're pushing mid-size and you need a bunch of them, it's a much trickier proposition.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: I understand why they want to sell it

      Most people don't buy hardware features, that is true, but they do buy hardware capable of running specific software.

      So it is down to what software makes use of it.

      As a starting point, I would look at what people are runing the requires for example Apple Neural Engine or Google Tensor Cores, and then ask if it moves sense to move that from the phone to the desktop.

      For me, being able to recognise text in photos and copy/paste it, is useful. Works on my iPad with an A14, but not on my iPhone with an A11.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: I understand why they want to sell it

      > But how many people will buy it?

      Given MS are keen to put “AI” in Windows, perhaps Intel are hoping the next release of Windows will require an on cpu die AI coprocessor…

  8. Morten Bjoernsvik

    orthography

    7nm, Apple A17pro is 3nm, Intel still has a wafer problem.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: orthography

      Those are just marketing terms these days, sadly.

  9. CowHorseFrog

    Here we go again, god sorry the ceo has spoken.

    Who gives a rats arse what this arsewipes say or think ?

    THey are no different from all the other fake speeches or displays given by other leaders, like those stupid stadium full coordinated crap from NK.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Practical uses in manufacturing

    I used to work writing software for machine to perform automated inspection of IC packaging products in factories, 99.9% in the far east.

    None of our clients would ever allow their purchased machines, and the many off-the-shelf Intel inside PC's they contained, to be connected to the internet - now that's smart!

    You never (or at least rarely) hear about the likes of TSMC having their manufacturing network compromised, have you? That's why.

    Strictly speaking, isn't it off-the-edge computing if it isn't connected to the internet at all?

    Integrated "AI" (statistical token modeling) applications that can be tuned for specific vision related tedious work such as inspection and object recognition is a huge and lucrative market that will pay off wherever manufacturing is taking place. And most manufacturers would like to keep their data private.

    Meanwhile rising above decaying Gotham City, atop the gleaming towers in some of the most overpriced real estate in the world, entertainment and news magnate "The Reg" adorns articles with theme related nifty eye candy AI images generated via a subscription web app, while laying off their long time cartoonists just to please the shareholders - that's the niche usage which will never pay off in the log run.

  11. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Anything even 10% generated by one of these so called AI

    Systems MUST come with BOTH a health and a wealth warning.

    The AI generated deep fakes will soon be dominant in Online, phone and TV adverts.

    Think of those poor actors who will be starving just so that the Ad company scumbags can buy another Ferrari (other expensive boys toys are available).

    Seriously, it is already hard to see the difference. If these AD giants have their way, they will soon be able to generate a whole campaign in seconds including polished ads.

    It will trickle down into things that we do or use on a daily basis.

    Do I wish that I had an AI servant that could do the washing up or iron my shirts? Of course I do. Would I fork out loadsamoney for an Elon Musk clone Robot that could do it? On yer bike.... Well, ok when I'm 85+ maybe but not at the moment.

    Personally, this should happen to ALL AD agencies when their staff are at work --->> see icon

    1. CowHorseFrog

      Re: Anything even 10% generated by one of these so called AI

      Being an actor is probably the least skilled job in all of entertainment production. Basically anybody can be an actor, on the other hand a carpenter or any other set worker requires many years of skill and technique. Paying actors on some tv show a million dollars an episode is a joke, everybody else on set has actual skills, the actors themselves dont write their lines, build the set or do anything.

      Thats because actors are performers who bullshit and want lots of money for the hard work of others just like corporate leadership.

  12. Allan George Dyer
    Terminator

    Killer apps for AI

    Are you sure that's a good idea?

  13. steelpillow Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Meet the new Dross...

    ...Same as the old dross.

    >Krang!< >Krang!< >Krang!< >Krang!< >Kerrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggg!<

  14. Omnipresent Bronze badge

    It's about tha childrens

    It's all about getting the kids hooked, and the kids want what their parents are against. Guess what their experienced parents are telling them? AI is the devil. It is, but it only makes the kids want it more. These people are in the "tech business", they are not in the "doing the right thing" business. That doesn't make money. That doesn't make the monkey top of the mole hill.

    AI is happening people, no matter how much you don't want it. Too many richies have invested in it. Buy up windows 10 and older computers, and turn off your interwebz if you don't want it.

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