AMD thanks Microsoft: the Task Manager also supports its NPUs

AMD thanks Microsoft: the Task Manager also supports its NPUs

Years ago, when in April 2017 Microsoft released the feature update noto come Windows 10 Creators Update, il Task Manager it was enriched with a “card” that allowed and still allows you to monitor the activity of the GPU, and therefore of the video card. Regardless of whether it is integrated or dedicated.

With the arrival of AI PCs, i.e. machines engineered with the specific objective of supporting processing related toartificial intelligence and allow the use of generative models without relying on the cloud, the NPU (Neural Processing Unit) will become an essential component.

NPUs are optimized to accelerate the intensive mathematical calculations typical of neural networks used in computer applications machine learning. They play a key role for AI applications, enabling greater speed and efficiency not only in inference tasks but also and above all in the training and execution of models.

DirectML API: Support for Intel and AMD NPUs arrives

DirectML is an API (Application Programming Interface) for machine learning developed by Microsoft. Thanks to a dedicated high-performance library, DirectML can run AI-related tasks on a wide range of supported hardware, including all DirectX 12-compatible graphics processors (GPUs) from vendors such as AMD, Intel, NVidia and Qualcomm . Available as part of the operating system, DirectML can also be used as part of other frameworks: Windows ML, ONNX Runtime, TensorFlow e PyTorch.

The news is that DirectML support is now extended to NPUs: at the beginning of February, Microsoft confirmed that it had embraced processors Intel Core Ultra (Meteor Lake released December 2023). These are, in fact, the first from the Santa Clara company to integrate an NPU.

Actually, AMD had beaten its counterpart to the punch by presenting itself as the first company to release NPU-based hardware, both on the notebook and desktop side. This GEEKOM A7 Mini PC is an example of a device with integrated NPU, already available for purchase.

AMD thanks Microsoft: the Task Manager will show the use of its NPUs

The company led by Lisa Su first pointed out that it had started a close collaboration with Microsoft engineers in order to add support for Windows NPU AMD. Compatibility with the Microsoft Compute Driver Model (MCDM), in particular, adds the “NPU” section within the tab to the Task Manager Performance also for AMD processors that support the new unit.

Be able to track how they come allocate resources in real time and which system components are under load is useful for monitoring the behavior of various running applications. These types of checks are important in the case of notebooks: end users can choose to maximize battery life by controlling where certain workloads run or prioritize performance.

AMD spokespeople explain that they have collaborated with Microsoft in order to enable the MCDM infrastructure on the processors Ryzen series 8040 with NPU (for the mobile market). It is a given, however, that support will be extended to other chips.

That Task Manager born way back in 1994, which can be quickly recalled in all versions of Windows by pressing CTRL+MAIUSC+ESCevolves further and becomes an even more complete tool, suited to the era of democratization of AI.

The opening image is taken from the page “The Future of AI PCs Gets Even Better with AMD“.

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