Definition: An AI Accelerator for artificial intelligence accelerator (or NPU) Neural Procession Unit) is a category of microprocessor or calculation systems designed to accelerate an artificial neural network, accelerate industrial vision and learning algorithms automatic for robotics, the Internet of Things and other intensive computing or sensor control tasks. These are often multi-core designs and typically focus on low-precision arithmetic, new data flow architectures, or in-memory computing capacity. There are several vendor-specific terms for certain devices on this page.

With artificial intelligence quickly becoming a common feature of the tech industry, PC makers like Dell are clarifying what constitutes an AI-enabled machine and explaining how to know if your Windows 11 computer meets the criteria

Dell describes the key hardware and software components that make a PC truly AI-ready. According to the company, the determining factor is the inclusion of dedicated neural processing units (NPUs). As Dell explains, NPUs are optimized to handle the complex calculations required by deep learning algorithms. This optimization makes NPUs incredibly efficient in processing AI tasks, such as natural language processing, image analysis, etc.

Silicon-level NPU accelerators are distinct from traditional CPUs and GPUs. While these general-purpose processors can certainly handle AI and machine learning workloads, they are not tailor-made for the task. NPUs, on the other hand, focus on running intense AI calculations quickly while maximizing power efficiency.

How to check if your PC is compatible with artificial intelligence?

So how do you know if your Dell computer or other Windows 11 device is AI-enabled? According to the support guide, it's pretty simple. First, launch the Task Manager app and go to the Performance tab. Look for an entry titled "NPU 0 next to CPU, RAM, Storage, Networking, and GPU components. If this NPU line is present, your system is equipped with a dedicated AI accelerator.

You can also open the Device Manager utility and search for specific driver entries from component manufacturers such as Intel (Intel AI boost) and AMD (AMD IPU). Dell specifies that some systems may require downloading the latest drivers directly from the manufacturer to enable NPU support,

The company also cites a handful of modern chips that feature NPUs by default, including Intel's newest Core Ultra processors, AMD's Ryzen 7000 and 8000 series, and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx gen2/x Elite chips. For Mac owners, features linked to artificial intelligence will mainly be reserved for computers powered by Apple's latest M chips.