Microsoft unveils the Copilot+ AI PC ecosystem, with Snapdragon X laptops exclusively leading the way

A Microsoft Surface laptop with a Qualcomm X processor
(Image credit: Microsoft)

PC manufacturers like to throw around terms like revolutionary or transformative, but following Qualcomm's entry into the PC market and the announcement of Microsoft's Copilot+ AI laptops, the market is at an inflection point as significant as any we've seen in years.

Microsoft has unveiled Copilot+ PC's, including its own Surface family, which feature integrated NPUs that offer 40+ TOPS (trillion operations per second) of performance. This gives them the performance to utilize a new generation of AI functionality that is coming to Windows 11. 

Microsoft talked up a number of AI experiences that will only be possible on Copilot+ PCs. These include Recall, Cocreator and Live Captions.

Recall is a kind of super 'history' tool that runs in the background. It allows you to search for anything you’ve done on your PC. If the Internet remembers, apparently your PC will too. Cocreator is an art or image generation assistant, while Live Captions does pretty much what you'd expect, generating captions in real time. Hopefully they're better than some of the rubbish YouTube can serve up.

Screen queens

(Image credit: Future)

Best gaming monitor: Pixel-perfect panels for your PC.
Best high refresh rate monitor: Screaming quick.
Best 4K monitor for gaming: When only high-res will do.
Best 4K TV for gaming: Big-screen 4K gaming.

"Copilot+ PCs powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Series deliver performance per watt leadership to the Windows ecosystem while also powering groundbreaking AI experiences and exceptional battery life," says Pavan Davuluri, Corporate Vice President, Windows + Devices for Microsoft. "This is an inflection point for the Windows PC ecosystem, enabled by our deep partnership with Qualcomm. I am thrilled to be able to launch innovative Copilot+ PCs experiences and devices with Snapdragon, including Surface, that have leading performance and energy efficiency."

For now, only Snapdragon X processors offer enough performance to qualify as Copilot+ PCs.  Intel and AMD's currently available NPU equipped chips don't meet this threshold, though both companies will introduce faster models later in the year.

Microsoft unveiled its new Surface family today, equipped with Snapdragon X Elite and Snapdragon X Plus processors. They promise competitive performance and genuine all-day battery life, so if you're one of the many yet to be captivated by AI, they look like quality laptops in their own right. They'll have MacBooks directly in their crosshairs.

Copilot+ will be supported by Adobe, DaVinci Resolve, CapCut, and djay Pro among others. Microsoft says more announcements will follow.

The first Copilot+ PCs are available for pre-order from today, with availability from June 18. Other companies including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung will also offer Copilot+ PCs. We can expect to see most of these at Computex in less than two weeks from now.

May I just sign off by wondering if this ecosystem will benefit gamers? I've heard mentions of things like adaptive boss fights and smarter multiplayer bots and enemies, but that goes back as far as the launch of Nvidia's Tensor cores back in 2018. Google has developed a co-op AI Agent, but it's still in the research phase.

It'll be interesting to see if, or how game developers make use of NPUs, as such processors are on their way to becoming ubiquitous.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.