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AI PC vendors gotta have their TOPS – but is this just the GHz wars all over again?


Comment For chipmakers, the AI PC has become a race to the TOPS – with Intel, AMD and Qualcomm each trying to one up the others.

As we learned last week, AMD's next-gen Ryzen 300-series chips will boast 50 NPU TOPS, while Intel's Lunar Lake parts will deliver 48 NPU TOPS. Meanwhile, Qualcomm and Apple have previously announced their NPUs will do 45 and 38 TOPS, respectively.

This kind of marketing, historically, is quite effective – bigger numbers are easier for us customers to understand. But, as is the case with clock speeds and cores, it's never as simple as the marketers make it sound. This is certainly true when it comes to TOPS.

One of the biggest problems is that TOPS – how many trillions of byte-sized operations your chip can process per second – is that it's missing a critical piece of information: precision. What that means is ...


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