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Asus launches new AI-friendly Vivobook S and Zenbook laptops

Why it matters: Since Intel and AMD released their next generation of chipsets designed to facilitate AI and machine-learning tasks, the race has been on among PC manufacturers to deliver an AI-ready laptop. Asus has released several products that sport these features, including its Asus Vivobook S series and the Zenbook 14.

The newly released Asus Vivobook S series and the Zenbook 14 sport OLED displays and the latest AMD and Intel processors. Other features include an enhanced extended-life battery, Intel Arc graphics, and super-linear speakers. However, the laptops’ biggest draw is that they are AI-friendly, down to the keyboards with dedicated Copilot keys to connect to Windows 11’s AI tools.

Asus is the latest manufacturer to market its laptops as designed for AI following last December’s launch of next-generation Intel Core Ultra chipsets, which include a neural processing unit to facilitate AI and machine-learning tasks. They were Intel’s first mobile CPUs based on its new Meteor Lake platform and the first built on the company’s Intel 4 process technology. Intel claims it represents its most significant architectural shift in four decades.

Around the same time, AMD released its Ryzen 8040 Series mobile processors featuring an integrated NPU and AMD Radeon graphics. The company claimed the chips were 60 percent more efficient when processing Ai tasks than prior models.

“We continue to deliver high performance and power-efficient NPUs with Ryzen AI technology to reimagine the PC,” said Jack Huynh, SVP and GM of AMD computing and graphics business. “The increased AI capabilities of the 8040 series will now handle larger models to enable the next phase of AI user experiences.”

From there, it became a race to deliver a laptop designed for AI. In a few short months, several other manufacturers launched their ideas for an AI laptop, including the Samsung Galaxy Book 4 Ultra, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12, and the Acer Swift Go 14.

Earlier this year, Asus published a buyer’s checklist of specs for an AI laptop, much of which the Asus Vivobook S series and the Zenbook 14 happen to have. The list includes:

  • A CPU with an NPU, which the company describes as a dedicated AI engine embedded in the processor that is specifically designed to handle AI tasks.
  • The latest-gen dedicated or discrete GPUs with AI-dedicated cores, such as Nvidia’s GeForce RTX.
  • 32 GB is recommended for memory and 1 TB for storage.
  • A full lineup of I/O ports, such as a Thunderbolt 4 port to connect external storage disks as well as a RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port.

The Vivobook S laptops are powered by an Intel Core Ultra 9, while a fourth option sports an AMD Ryzen 8040 Series chip. The Zenbook 14 OLED is equipped with an AMD Ryzen 7 8840HS processor. During CES 2024, ASUS announced the Vivobook Pro 15 OLED would feature an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop GPU with 4th generation Tensor Cores.

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