DirectML is getting NPU support on the Intel platform

In December 2023, Intel launched the Core Ultra chips based on Meteor Lake, marking a significant advancement in processor technology. These chips incorporate embedded NPU chips, specialized neural processors that greatly enhance the performance of AI apps. Building on this development, Microsoft has announced the release of a developer preview for the DirectML API. It adds support specifically designed for Intel Core Ultra processors.

DirectML Intel

The new DirectML 1.13.1 and ONNX Runtime 1.17 preview versions empower PCs equipped with Intel Core Ultra processors to leverage NPU acceleration. To optimize AI application performance even further, Microsoft collaborated not only with Intel but also with Samsung. This collaboration aims to harness the power of DirectML technology, enhancing the capabilities of AI applications.

Intel reports that Samsung has already capitalized on this collaboration in their recently launched Samsung Galaxy Book 4 laptop, which features Intel Core Ultra chips. By incorporating Microsoft DirectML API and utilizing the NPU on the Intel Core Ultra processor, Samsung successfully integrated advanced face and object classification capabilities into their Gallery Windows app. Intel claims that this collaboration has significantly expedited project development, showcasing the potential of these technologies when leveraged effectively.

However, Microsoft has outlined a few limitations for PCs with Intel Core Ultra processors as this is a preview release. DirectML's NPU support is currently only compatible with a subset of machine learning models, and some models may not function optimally, resulting in potential latency issues or reduced accuracy. Nevertheless, Microsoft is committed to continually improving compatibility and performance to accommodate a broader range of models.

Developers are encouraged to provide feedback and report any issues they encounter on the DirectML GitHub page, ensuring continuous improvement and refinement of the technology.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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