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AMD praises Microsoft as the two tag team to add Ryzen NPU support on Windows Task Manager

Windows 11 and AMD logo side by side with bloom background

Today, we published our review of the GEEKOM A7 Mini PC and one of the reasons we were excited about it was the fact that it was our first review of a unit featuring an NPU. In case you may not be aware, NPU or Neural Processing Unit is a dedicated hardware that is meant to accelerate AI and ML workloads.

While AMD was the first company to release NPU hardware, both on notebooks as well as on desktops, unfortunately, the company's chips currently are not supported by Microsoft's DirectML API, which meant AI acceleration inside Windows is out of the equation for the moment. So, we were not able to gauge how capable AMD's NPU really is.

Intel is in a slightly better position as Microsoft recently unveiled that DirectML NPU support for Team Blue is now in preview. However, things are looking up for AMD. In a recent community blog post, the company announced that it is working with Redmond to enable the Microsoft Compute Driver Model (MCDM) on AMD's NPUs which means Task Manager will be able to monitor NPU usage on AMD's Ryzen PCs as well. At the moment, it only works on Intel chips.

AMD also feels that monitoring NPU use can be useful especially in laptop and notebook scenarios to ensure an efficient PC. It writes:

AMD has been working with Microsoft to enable MCDM (Microsoft Compute Driver Model) infrastructure on the AMD NPU (Neural Processing Unit)-enabled Ryzen 8040 Series of mobile processors.

[..] Being able to track how resources are allocated in real-time and which system components are under load is useful for monitoring application behavior. This kind of tracking is particularly important in notebooks where end users may choose to maximize battery life by controlling where certain workloads run or adjusting global power settings either via the Windows Settings menu or in an OEM-provided application.

AMD says the situation is similar to when Microsoft had introduced GPU usage monitoring on Task Manager with the Windows 10 Falls Creator update. The former has praised the Redmond tech giant's commitment to "keep pace with the added complexity of PCs".

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