Windows on ARM

Discussion in 'Alternatives to Mac Hardware' started by skaertus, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. skaertus macrumors 68040

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #1
    It's been a few days now, but I guess MacRumors did not report it.

    https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/5/16737288/microsoft-windows-10-qualcomm-arm-laptops-launch

    This seems to be a game changer. These devices got all-day battery life, and run Windows 10. And although performance may not be stellar, it may be OK for day-to-day use.

    It's big news even for Apple enthusiasts for at least two reasons. The first and more obvious one is that this challenges the iPad and the MacBook. Microsoft may be able to deliver devices that can compete with both. A real workable, no-compromise, 2-in-1 may be in the works. The second reason is that this gives fuel to Qualcomm to keep fighting Apple, as it may reduce dependancy.
     
  2. sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #2
    I continue to disagree that it is a game-changer. At least until we see some actual consumer units out in the field. The greatest impediment to a no-compromise 2-in-1 windows system isn't rooted in the processor architecture, but isn't the architecture of Windows itself. The architecture of Windows on ARM isn't changing, so those limitations still exist.

    And then there's the issue of how legacy x86 apps will be handled.
     
  3. Altis macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2013
    #3
    It's nice to see them trying new things. You could already get the Windows 10 IoT on ARM-based products like the Raspberry Pi, though that wasn't a desktop experience from what I understand.
     
  4. SteveJUAE macrumors 68030

    SteveJUAE

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    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #4
    I'm in if it runs at least as good if not better than an Atom based CPU with stellar battery life

    I don't want a gimped Mobile OS consumption toy, plenty of them around :rolleyes:
     
  5. thefriendshipmachine macrumors regular

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    Apr 14, 2017
  6. Falhófnir macrumors 68040

    Falhófnir

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    Aug 19, 2017
    #6
    If the claims do translate into reality, then this is definitely a big coup for Microsoft...
     
  7. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #7
    It challenges the current MacBook, yes.
    If x86/64 emulation can be done with a small enough real-life performance hit, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if we saw an ARM based MacBook within a reasonable amount of time. Apple could most likely port a substantial portion of their in-house software to the ARM platform (if they haven't already), and they already have a pretty successful track record of running non-native software on their platforms as they've switched architectures over the years (M68k to PPC, PPC to Intel).
    If one was made available and it turned out to be practical, I would seriously consider an ARM based MacBook as a travel companion rather than my iPad Pro, for my specific use case.
     
  8. Falhófnir macrumors 68040

    Falhófnir

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    Aug 19, 2017
    #8
    Almost guarantee they've had an A series powered mac prototype to tinker with in the deepest darkest corner of their labs for years by now. They are probably just hedging their bets and refining and tweaking it.
     
  9. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #9
    According to the article, it runs legacy x86 apps.

    If they can translate the instruction set as well as Rosetta did for Apple, then this could be a really big deal. I imagine Intel is not feeling great about it.
     
  10. sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

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    Apr 9, 2010
    #10
    Yes it runs legacy x86 apps... using emulation.
     
  11. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #11
    So? As long as it is transparent and works well, emulation is fine. For example Rosetta worked quite well for running PPC apps on Intel.

    Besides, modern Intel CPUs from the last several years aren't "x86 CISC" any more, they have RISC cores with an x86 translation layer plopped on top. So if your computer has an Intel CPU, you are in a sense already emulating x86 on RISC hardware.

    Don't get me wrong, there is also emulation that's dog slow and problematic, which is why I said emulation is fine "as long as it is transparent and works well".
     
  12. sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

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    Apr 9, 2010
    #12
    Understood, but without seeing this emulation layer in action, I find your defense of it (x86 emulation in Windows on ARM) premature. Microsoft has a long history of over-promising and under-delivering when it comes to emulation and backward compatibility.
     
  13. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #13
    Excellent and fair point.
     
  14. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #14
    Windows on ARM wasn't a game changer last time they tried it in 2012. Most people who bought one got burned.
     
  15. Michael Scrip macrumors 603

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    Mar 4, 2011
    Location:
    NC
    #15
    Now imagine if they took these power-sipping ARM components... and put them into a "normal-sized" laptop with a huge battery.

    The problem is... they always try to make things thinner and smaller... thus requiring smaller batteries.

    NO!

    Put the guts of an ARM laptop into a normal 15" Dell chassis with a 99Wh battery.

    The laptop you only have to charge once a week!
     
  16. Falhófnir macrumors 68040

    Falhófnir

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    Aug 19, 2017
    #16
    Last time it didn’t have any x86 compatibility so people were limited to specific RT apps...
     
  17. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #17
    Apps from the Windows store, rather than specific RT apps. Now what does that remind me of ... oh yeah ... Windows 10 S.
     
  18. sevvere Suspended

    sevvere

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2017
    #18
    I’m holding out on buying a laptop until more of these laptops come out and also seeing what manufacturers do with quad core chips in 13 inch laptops.
     
  19. Falhófnir macrumors 68040

    Falhófnir

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    Aug 19, 2017
    #19
    I’m intrigued to see if/ what Microsoft comes up with as an ARM surface device...
     
  20. sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

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    Apr 9, 2010
    #20
    I have great confidence that it's going to be underwhelming. At the risk of inviting a pedantic response from people, Windows on ARM is essentially Windows RT + x86emu. I had this combination running on my Surface RT and it was quite pleasant. Sadly, Microsoft closed the loophole that allowed it so that it was not possible on the more powerful Surface 2.

    Seeing how quickly Microsoft ditched Windows RT the first time, (as well as the recent Windows S), it would be quite unwise for consumers to buy a Windows on ARM device.

    (I was and still am a big fan of the Surface 2 use mine pretty regularly... for me it is the Zune tablet that never was)
     

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19 December 10, 2017