Microsoft: x86 Apps Will Run On ARM Chips At Near-Native Performance

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derekullo

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Why not just install on an actual x86 chip instead of emulating it?

I would assume anyone using photoshop can afford to buy an x86 pc.

https://www.adslzone.net/app/uploads/2017/01/snapdragon-835-vs-intel-i7-7700k-geekbench.jpg

Shows an i5-6600k is about twice as fast as a Snapdragon 835 on Geekbench.

Near native performance could mean anything from a 1-10% penalty.

It's nice that it is being offered but the majority of people already have an x86 computer capable of running Photoshop and other apps.

They would have to:
1. Choose to buy a computer with a Snapdragon 835.
2. Accept 1/2 of the performance of an i5 or 1/3 the performance of an i7 as acceptable.


It reminds me of a story I read a few weeks ago about prisoners assembling a makeshift computer from spare parts they found and hacking the prison's wifi/computers with kali.

I guess now if they could only get their hands on an arm processor they could install windows and play wow from prison.

Priorities lol.
 

mr0000000000

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@DEREKULLO - you have to acknowledge the price difference as well as the difference in cooling needed between a 6600K and a Snapdragon 835. This allows for a LOT of flexibility in form factor while also being offered at better prices.
 

bloodroses

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@derekullo
Well, Microsoft did try using an actual x86 chip with the Atom CPUs on the phone and tablet market. Outside the Surface Pro, they've failed miserably.

What I'm seeing here with what they're doing is less about getting ARM on desktop than it is Windows on smart gadgets such as phones and tablets. Microsoft knows they've been getting cannibalized in those markets, so they're doing what they can to adapt to change.

With that said, I did find the title quite misleading as no ARM chip can currently run against anything outside low end x86 chips; native speeds or not. Basically, don't expect games like Battlefield 1 on an ARM CPU anytime soon.
 

extremepenguin

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Fingers crossed for an iPad like device that can run my Moms card making software and Facebook games with support for her printer and scanner for under $500 because that is basically exactly what she wants and will get her off my case.
 

TechyInAZ

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Your comparing apples to oranges, a snapdragon is going to be for the lower end market, not high end desktop CPUs.

This is awesome either way. FINALLY we can get rid of x86 once and for all and move to ARM entirely, something we should be doing already in my opinion.
 

zodiacfml

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Thanks for the Geekbench link. I couldn't believe that Intel has lagged that much and allow ARM based SoC's to catch up. I knew it is their mistake to wait for AMD. Intel's lead should be far from what they are now if they continued with the tick-tock cadence
 

derekullo

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ARM could be cheap, ARM could even be free but for a single $200 difference in price your Photoshop and handbrake renders are rendered twice as fast. (Intel Core i5-7500)

Edit: Forgot about Ryzen 5 1600 even higher performance than the i5 at the same price point $200.

Why run a high powered application on basically a high end netbook cpu.

(Besides just to say you can.)

Had they mentioned running word, excel, checking email, Super Nintendo emulators ... I would not have taken issue.

More options are good but not every new option is a good option just because it is new.

You could raise the point of ARM is more efficient and it is.

But if I'm rendering something in Handbrake or Photoshop I don't really care about frames rendered per watt especially if it's for a job with a time constraint.

I'm not waiting 3 times as long to render it on ARM just to save a few watts when I could just use an i7 and move on to other work or play.

Of course you could use ARM in a laptop to render photoshop / handbrake on the go, but at that point i would still rather an i7 to render quicker and just plug into an outlet when needed.

ARM does have it's place in netbooks and extremely light gaming.

It would do well with a Geforce 1050 at 720p in most games.
 

HarisHashim

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@DEREKULLO

This is more for the case of, I didnt / forgot to bring my big machine but I have to execute some x86 binaries.

I hope in longterm we will have x86 binary execution in other OS such as Android too!
 

Marlin Schwanke

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Not to be too picky but when does eight did not run UWP apps. At one point they were known as Metro and later Modern and then Store apps. perhaps more technically minded might've called them Windows RT apps. UWP apps were a new development for Windows 10.
 

alextheblue

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Some people are missing the point. This isn't going to compete with Core architectures. Any heavy apps shown off was for demonstration purposes, to prove it is capable of running x86 on ARM fairly efficiently - it's just a demo, and for a low-power ARM chip, very impressive. Anyway, a modern ARM SoC like the Snapdragon 835 is perfect to replace the discontinued ULP Atoms, since Intel dropped ULP Atom variants in the ~2-3W range. Cherry Trail-T (Airmont) was the last ULP Atom from Intel and it's quite outdated.

Windows tablets in the sub-$500 range have stagnated for far too long. Now they can start getting a refresh in the form of decently fast ARM SoCs, at competitive pricing. Then there's the entry-level laptop and hybrid market. This will allow MS to compete more effectively on price with Chromebooks. Note that this doesn't prevent anyone from spending more money and getting x86 platforms. This mainly benefits areas of the market that Intel has abandoned and AMD does not (currently) cover. It's a win-win for everyone, there's no drawback.

Edit: The built-in LTE modem in the QC SoC is pretty handy too.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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Most ARM chips on the market have a TDP under 5W. If someone designed an ARM CPU specifically for a 20W TDP, you could reasonably expect 3-4X as much performance without the chip price necessarily being much higher. Also, practically all ARM chips are SoC, which means you aren't paying for an external chipset and a bunch of other external support components. If the average people could get an i5's performance for $100-150 less by picking an ARM-based PC, I suspect most people would do exactly that.

To top that off, if Microsoft is successful at making Windows on ARM popular, more software developers are likely to consider writing apps in universal format instead of having to maintain native binaries for x86, ARM and whatever other architectures Microsoft may fancy later.
 

ajac09

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Wow this is actually impressive. 1/10 the TDP of the newest processors yet half the performance capability. Granted lacking ALOT of high end features of Intel and AMD but still make a tiny work station for web browsing and basic 32 things and call it good. Now gaming and complex plex databases programming and what not.. no but could be a replacement for so many things like registers, displays at resturants and other low end uses.
 

falchard

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I little sad it won't initially come with support for the Snap Dragon 810, the CPU used in the Lumia 950XL. Just got to wait a bit more to make it a complete replacement package for a low-end PC.
It does mean the minimum requirements for a Surface Phone are now met. It can run x86 in continuum.
 

bit_user

Splendid
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The translation for an app will happen only once, which should save battery life and CPU usage because the x86 apps won’t have to be emulated every time you open them.
Actually, they should use profile-driven optimization, after an app has been run. This has the potential to deliver even faster-than-native performance. I'm not sure, but I think Windows NT on DEC Alpha might've done this, back in the late 90's. Or maybe they just did one-time translation, like what's described here.

To make things even more efficient, Microsoft will use as much native ARM code as possible in Windows 10 on ARM. That includes parts of the OS itself (such as native system DLLs), the Edge browser, the shell, and so on. The idea is to limit emulation to third-party apps, and run pretty much everything else natively.
Well, of course. This should've been the case, even back when Windows 10 launched on Raspberry Pi 3.

ARM chips have typically cost much less than even Intel’s lowest-end chips
Are ARM-based Chromebooks really that much cheaper than comparable Apollo Lake models?

Until now, there wasn’t any point in making ARM chips with a higher power envelope than what is typically considered acceptable in a smartphone or tablet.
*ahem* there have been ARM-based CPUs for severs & cloud for years, now. AMD even introduced a 8-core A57 server SoC, last year.
 

bit_user

Splendid
Herald

The article explicitly states that it works with ARM64:
Windows 10 on ARM will translate all x86 instructions to ARM64 at runtime, and then they’ll be cached both in memory and on disk for future use.
I think they mention x86 either as a short-hand for x86-64 or perhaps to be inclusive of 32-bit and 64-bit. I can't imagine this applies only to 32-bit x86.

Anyway, if you're dreading market bifurcation, I wonder whether there's any support for native ARM64 apps that can't be emulated on Windows x86-64.
 

bit_user

Splendid
Herald

There are several low-power Apollo Lake systems on the market. Most have TDP of 6W or less.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/11229/ecs-liva-z-duallan-apollo-lake-ucff-pc-review

I'd ask for a shoot-out between Snapdragon 835 and one of these, but Tom's has utterly ignored this segment and the corresponding mini-ITX Apollo Lake motherboards available from Gigabyte, ASRock and others.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/11264/gigabyte-lists-j3455nd3h-intel-apollo-lake-with-com-ps2-dsub-and-pci
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator

Is Intel still subsidizing SoC sales? In the Atom days, getting Intel subsidies was practically the only reason companies bothered producing devices using Atoms. The Celeron N appears to be dominating entry-level Chromebooks (sub-$200) at the moment. Making Chromebooks that periodically go on sale for ~$160 shouldn't be possible when the SoC alone already accounts for ~$100 of the manufacturing cost at Intel's list price. Competing SoCs from Rockchip, MediaTek and Spreadtrum are under $40, which makes their absence in the entry-level Chromebook space questionable.

Looks like the Chromebook business must still be heavily subsidized by Intel at the entry-level for Intel to have an effective monopoly there.
 

sewalk

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Snapdragon, like virtually all ARM variants, is a SoC. The CPU, RAM, GPU, DSP, LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS functions are all integrated together. Overclocking as it is done on desktop computers simply is not possible. Kernel-controlled overclocking, to the degree to which it is implemented by Qualcomm (i.e. 10-20% max), is the best you'll get.
 

bit_user

Splendid
Herald
I had heard they stopped subsidizing something, but perhaps that was only the phone SoCs (which they mostly killed off, except for acting as a foundry and perhaps maintaining their own modem IP).

Anyway, if they are subsidizing, they can't afford to keep doing it for long. I've read that at least some of their list prices are quite fictional. But given that the dual-core Kaby Lake Celeron G3930 was always somewhere in the ballpark of $42 - $53, I doubt quad-core Apollo Lake SoCs are anywhere close to $100. Apollo Lake is a much smaller, simpler core, lacking AVX and hyper threading. Each one is quite likely smaller than half of a Kaby Lake core.

https://pcpartpicker.com/product/WqVBD3/intel-celeron-g3930-29ghz-dual-core-processor-bx80677g3930
 
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