AI Explorer could revolutionize Windows 11, but can your PC run it? Here’s how to check

Microsoft is going full speed ahead with its upcoming Windows 11 update 24H2, also known as Hudson Valley. It's bringing more artificial intelligence (AI) features to the operating system, including AI Explorer, and as such Microsoft will be adding a feature that can tell users whether their PC will support it. Or you can look that information up for yourself.

Update 24H2, most likely launching in September or October 2024, will not only require PopCnt but a mandatory SSE4.2 requirement added to the undelaying code. This update will feature some truly great AI tools and enhancements to many Windows apps and programs like Windows Copilot and Cocreator AI-powered assistants for apps like Notepad and Paint. 

Of course, the biggest feature is the aforementioned AI Explorer, which will make records of a user's previous actions and transform them into ‘searchable moments,’ thereby allowing users to search as well as retract them.

Over on X, Albacore found out (and Neowin reported on) that “a cautionary message will be displayed on such systems not meeting the requirements.” It’s a handy system for those who aren’t sure whether their PCs can handle these new AI features. However, instead of waiting until the update drops later in 2024 users can check if their PCs are AI-enabled right now.

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Is your PC AI-enabled? Check now

Dell published a support page that instructs users how to accomplish this themselves. A key aspect here is your computer needs to have a built-in neural processing unit (NPU); that's a specialized processor designed for handling AI-based tasks, doing so more efficiently and using less power in the process that a CPU. 

Dedicated NPUs are often found in PCs featuring Intel's 14th-Gen processors, AMD's Ryzen 7000 and 8000 series, and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 or Snapdragon X Elite and newer.

You can see the steps for checking for NPUs in general, as well as how to check for the required drivers for Intel and AMD processors. As for Qualcomm processors, all AI hardware drivers are pre-installed and are updated via Windows Update.

Check for NPUs on your computer

(Image: © Dell)

Open the Task Manager.

Click Performance.

Confirm that NPU is listed.

Check for correct drivers installed in Intel processors:

(Image: © Dell)

Open the Device Manager.

Expand Neural processors and then select Intel(R) AI Boost.

On the View menu, click Devices by connection.

Now Windows Studio Effects Driver should be seen under Intel(R) AI Boost.

Check for correct drivers installed in AMD processors:

(Image: © Dell)

Open the Device Manager.

Expand System devices > AMD IPU Device.

On the View menu, click Devices by connection.

Now Windows Studio Effects Driver should be seen under AMD IPU Device.

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Nvidia’s latest AI model could revolutionize games development

AI could be about to make 3D modeling in a whole lot quicker and easier, if Nvidia has its way. 

Fresh from the company’s research lab, Neuralangelo is an AI model that transforms 2D video clips into “extremely high fidelity” 3D structures. 

“Creative professionals can then import these 3D objects into design applications, editing them further for use in art, video game development, robotics, and industrial digital twins,” the company explained in its latest paper.

Real-world high-fidelity 

Using videos as reference points is hardly anything new – even when you do throw relatively new and experimental AI into the mix. But, as Nvidia notes in its latest paper, “current methods struggle to recover detailed structures of real-world scenes.” In other words, they can replicate objects and scenes, but it won't feel lifelike. 

And it’s that high fidelity Neuralangelo is promising to deliver. According to Nvidia Research, the minds behind the model, it's able to vividly recreate the textures of different materials, like glass, marble, and even roof shingling. The model has also proved capable of reconstructing building interiors and exteriors.

“The 3D reconstruction capabilities Neuralangelo offers will be a huge benefit to creators, helping them recreate the real world in the digital world,” said Ming-Yu Liu, senior director of research and one of the paper's co-authors.

Neuralangelo’s applications in art and games development are already clear: think of the vast cityscapes of Grand Theft Auto, the real-world historical setting of Assassin’s Creed. Whole virtual towns could soon be realized based on videos recorded on a smartphone. But it’s only a matter of time before AI models like these also form a core part of all the best architecture software and best landscape design software, if it really can streamline real-life reconstructions.

In a demo released by the company, results were admittedly impressive: highly detailed AI renderings of Michelangelo's David based on video footage that lived up to boasts of “detailed large-scale scene reconstruction from RGB video.” But we're still a way off from dropping AI 3D models straight into projects without requiring some finishing touches.

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