back to article Qualcomm still serious about Windows 10 on Arm: Engineers work on '12W' Snapdragon 1000

Qualcomm is seemingly working on another high-end 64-bit Arm-compatible system-on-chip for Windows 10 PCs – the Snapdragon 1000. Here's the US chip designer's line up so far for personal computers: the Snapdragon 835, which made its way into a few moderately overpriced and slightly lackluster touchscreen laptops; the 845 …

  1. Waseem Alkurdi

    ASUS Primus?

    So it doubles as a Primus[1] as well, with the 12W power draw and consequent overheating?

    [1] the British stove

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >> the British stove

      Swedish, actually. But "popular" with outdoorsman of a certain age the world over - childhood recollections of beach holidays prominently feature my father carefully stripping and cleaning the family Primus, only to be reduced to astonished cursing at the next ignition as yet another sooty yellow fireball emerged when the vaporising kero finally caught light.

    2. Scott 1

      Re: ASUS Primus?

      Surely there's a market for a device that's hot enough to cook your breakfast while you do your morning "surfing."

  2. bombastic bob Silver badge

    Targeting Win-10-nic is a mistake

    as has been proved for YEARS.

    Better to target Linux, then make Linux ARM laptops not only affordable but DESIRABLE, and leave Win-10-nic in the dust where it belongs.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Targeting Win-10-nic is a mistake

      This is business my friend. Linux gets you no money from Average Joe/Jane, maybe from corporations who NEED that support and training, but not Aunt and her computer-savvy-wannabe son. They need computers that run their programs like they're used to, not re-learn computers.

      People need useful shiny-shiny that doesn't make them re-learn previous knowledge. Even we El Reg readers are lured by shiny-shiny at times, admit it.

      Don't tell me to get Android because we've seen how Android tablets flew off shelves and were popular with the masses (/s)

      And with a Secure-Boot-based UEFI locked down beyond hope, we Linux folks are excluded from this for good (or until enough M$ partners complain)

      But, if Linux gets on these ARM tablets, I'm getting one in a heartbeat. Just imagine the battery life ...

      P.S. What does the -nic in Win-10-nic mean/stand for? You always use that (sort of your trademark xD) but I don't really understand it

      1. ganymede io device

        Re: Targeting Win-10-nic is a mistake

        I read it as "win-ten-nic" to sound like "ti-tan-ic".

        Fire breathing Snapdragon in boiler room number 6.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Targeting Win-10-nic is a mistake

        "if Linux gets on these ARM tablets, I'm getting one in a heartbeat. Just imagine the battery life ...'

        I would imagine a lot less battery life than Windows if current x86 tablets are anything to go by.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Targeting Win-10-nic is a mistake

        "And with a Secure-Boot-based UEFI locked down beyond hope"

        _*ONLY*_ because of Micro-shaft STRONG-ARMING vendors. THAT should be ruled anti-competition and monopolistic by a competent court.

        "What does the -nic in Win-10-nic mean/stand for"

        It's a reference to the Titanic, you know, icebergs ahead, but "all ahead full" anyway, "this ship is UNsinkable". That's Micro-shaft's attitude about customers *HATING* what they did to windows in Win-10-nic. And "Ape", too (that would be '8'). "All ahead full" towards those icebergs, who cares if we hit them, we're UNSINKABLE!!!

        1. defiler

          Re: Targeting Win-10-nic is a mistake

          It's a reference to the Titanic, you know, icebergs ahead, but "all ah[...]

          You know, if it takes that long to explain then it's not very good.

          Also, Bob, it's this dogmatic attachment to these silly names, and totally blinkered refusal to accept that there may be any redeeming features in there at all, that make me feel slightly tainted every time I actually agree with your opinion on something.

          Soften up, man. Have a nice cup of tea and a Jaffa cake to calm you down.

          1. Aladdin Sane

            Re: Targeting Win-10-nic is a mistake

            I thought it was a beatnik reference. I'm only 34. Fuck I feel old.

          2. RyokuMas

            Re: Targeting Win-10-nic is a mistake

            "... totally blinkered... "

            Yeah, it may have been a bricking a couple of PCs while trying to install Linux a few years back that put me off, it's knowing that there are people in the community with this sort of attitude that puts me off trying again.

            Here's hoping that history repeats itself...

        2. TheVogon

          Re: Targeting Win-10-nic is a mistake

          "*ONLY*_ because of Micro-shaft STRONG-ARMING vendors. THAT should be ruled anti-competition and monopolistic by a competent court."

          Any evidence of that? Microsoft actually require that signing can be disabled on OEM systems which doesn't seem to make sense if you were correct. Not to mention that Microsoft didn't write the UEFI spec. And Microsoft actually provide boot loader signing services to Linux vendors. So it seems to me its about security, not lock in.

          You can install Linux on 99% of hardware but only about 2% choose to do so, so it's not like Microsoft need to lockdown hardware to stop people using Linux.

          "It's a reference to the Titanic"

          ~ 700 million installs and counting so doesn't seem to be sinking anytime soon. And it's a not obvious and not at all witty comparison. If people have to ask you what it means then it's clearly a fail.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Targeting Win-10-nic is a mistake

      "then make Linux ARM laptops not only affordable but DESIRABLE"

      And how are you going achieve that miracle? Linux laptops are about as desirable as catching Ebola.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Targeting Win-10-nic is a mistake

      This is the year of the Linux desktop! I mean laptop!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If ARM is so good

    and this tells me that it is

    The benefits are longer battery life, and slimmer fan-less PCs.

    then why isn't Apple already releasing MacBooks running ARM CPU's?

    They don't have to wait for another company to get their software running on the device. They've even gone public and stated that it isn't going to happen. Yeah right Apple. I see your smokescreen.

    I'm in no doubt that it will come. Intel's many cockups and delay after delay is IMHO forcing makers to think of alternatives to X86 sooner rather than later.

    The only question in my mind is if QC will survive long enough to bring their chips to market?

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: If ARM is so good

      Longer battery life? I spent 2 days working offsite and didn't need to recharge my Lenovo L480. When I was finished with 2 working days, there was still around 20% battery life.

      Given that I could have charged the laptop in the office or in the hotel (it was new and I wanted to see how long the battery would last), I doubt many people really need 20+ hour battery life on a daily basis or go on trips that mean they are so long without access to a power socket - and if they are, then it will probably mean that they need power for a lot longer than an ARM laptop would provide.

      I'm guessing that most users are either no longer than 2 days without power or they are weeks or months without power. I would think that there are relatively few use cases that fall between the two scenarios.

      1. handleoclast

        Re: If ARM is so good

        When I was finished with 2 working days, there was still around 20% battery life.

        I would advise against going below around 30% on a laptop with Li-ion batteries unless you are sure they have additional circuitry to prevent individual cells being over-discharged.

        General (uninformed) advice is not to go below 30% even for single cells. That's not actually a problem. You can go down to 0% on a single cell without significant extra damage above a more normal charge/discharge cycle (although I wouldn't recommend letting it go that far and 10% is as low as I'd want to go).

        The problem comes when you have 2 or more cells in a battery. Unless they're very precisely matched, and stay that way then one of them is going to discharge before the others. Which will put a reverse voltage across it, reducing its capacity and making it even less well matched to the others. The more times you have a reverse voltage across a cell, and the higher the reverse voltage, the more likely that it forms copper dendrites that puncture the separator and cause an internal short. Best case is that the cell won't hold charge longer than a few minutes, worst case is that the flames stored inside it escape.

        Phones usually have a single cell. Laptops usually have a battery of cells. So don't run your laptop down to 20% charge unless you're very sure it has cell overdischarge protection.

        1. DryBones

          Re: If ARM is so good

          They don't tell you that sort of thing, and if either of those results happen from using the battery as allowed then it's not fit for purpose. End of.

    2. Zippy's Sausage Factory

      Re: If ARM is so good

      The reason Apple aren't going to release ARM based MacBooks is they don't want to interrupt their competitors while they're making a mistake...

      ARM on Windows failed a few years ago for the same reasons it'll fail now. Try running any moderately recent program on 1GB of RAM and an 800MHz chip and you'll be in hell. Yet this is the standard ARM configuration that gives you the low power consumption and long battery life. Microsoft are trying to fit a ten-pound bag of manure into a five-pound bag. Again. And it's not going to work.

      And I agree alternatives to Intel are needed. But the easy way is to simply licence from AMD and build it yourself, surely?

      1. Richard 22

        Re: If ARM is so good

        Where did you get the 1GB RAM and 800MHz from? Even if they ran an already existing Qualcomm smartphone core in a typical high-end smartphone setup then you're looking at 4-6GB RAM and 8 cores at up to ~2.5GHz.

        As the article clearly states they're looking at producing something which has a significantly higher power rating than those current (already pretty capable) SoCs. Remember also that these SoCs are not just the processor - they include most other functionality of the motherboard as well, including cellular connectivity (though Wifi/bluetooth is generally on a separate chip I think)

        Most people aren't going to care if it's got an ARM inside or not, as long the price is right and they can just install software and have it run with reasonable performance. Headline features, not internals sell computers.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: If ARM is so good

          Exactly Richard,

          the HP x2 that was released earlier this year came with 4GB RAM and 8GB RAM and a Snapdragon 835, hardly 800Mhz and 1GB RAM...

          That said, the problem is still going to be legacy applications. Store apps can be compiled in ARM 32-bit and ARM 64-bit, which means they should run reasonably well. But legacy code is restricted to x86 32-bit code - MS and Qualcomm have announced that they have no plans at the current time to run x64 code under emulation.

          The reports I've seen so far have said that Store apps are a mixed bag, but x86 legacy code emulation makes an Intel Atom look like a speed demon...

          That means it is technically possible to run x86 code, but you wouldn't want to use it for anything you have to interact with or need quick answers from. Which in end effect means that if you can survive on Store apps that have been cross-compiled to ARM, you will have a reasonable experience, but if you rely on non-Store apps or the Store apps you need aren't ARMed, you will be better off looking at an Intel machine for the foreseeable future.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: If ARM is so good

        "ARM on Windows failed a few years ago for the same reasons it'll fail now"

        ARM isn't restricted to the performance specs of the Raspberry Pi model 1...

        I think the 'fail' of the ARM stuff in the past (running windows I might add) was simply a combination of things, like a bad recipe. The hardware being under-powered for what people wanted to do was a big problem. There's also the complete INCOMPATIBILITY with "legacy applications" compiled for x86. And vendors weren't in a hurry to compile native ARM versions of their stuff.

        The bigger part of that was the overall UN-appeal of Windows "Ape" and Win-10-nic, when compared to the highly successful Windows 7 and XP. 'The Shaft' stopped selling a SUCCESSFUL product in favor of INFERIOR ones, and did it DELIBERATELY. This happened when ARM was seriously under-powered compared to x86 architecture, which effectively killed ARM+Windows.

        Now, when companies like Qualcomm are trying to produce ARM cores that are 64-bit and (apparently) equivalent performance to x86/amd64 architecture, they have a choice: do they hitch their success to an operating system like Win-10-nic, or do they do something _BOLD_ like target Linux?

        When most of the software that people use is ALSO available on Linux, the concept of 're-learn' or 're-train' is no longer relevant. The learning curve is extremely short. Mint makes that transition pretty easy.

        I mean, how much difficulty was there learning to use a SMART PHONE? There ya go.

        Qualcomm should do their own marketing for ARM+Linux, maybe get some popular software vendors to ensure that there are ARM64+Linux versions of their software available, for things that people complain "aren't available on that platform". And it would be MUCH better than the nauseating 'Surface' TV ads, I would imagine.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Top of the shop?

    I'd expect C-level and Veeps to go for these in a big-way, the battery will easily cope with an international flight plus a roaming SIP will means they're not faffing about looking for wi-fi hot-spots to join video conferences. And 99% of the software they use is already compiled for Arm.

    1. defiler

      Re: Top of the shop?

      I'd expect C-level and Veeps to go for these in a big-way

      And in my experience they don't care. If they walk into a meeting and don't have the flashest laptop in the room they're not happy. Long-haul flight? That's time to switch off the phone, switch off the laptop, and switch off to work.

      The CEO of one of our clients told me that flying is the greatest thing because he doesn't have to work and nobody can get hold of him.

    2. TheVogon

      Re: Top of the shop?

      "I'd expect C-level and Veeps to go for these in a big-way, the battery will easily cope with an international flight.

      I can't see them replacing their Surface Pros with these. They already last 12 hours.

  5. karlkarl Silver badge

    Microsoft! Please get modern!

    "While Arm builds of applications are emerging on the Windows Store, your typical x86 Windows app has to be run under emulation,"

    I am happy with the x86 emulation. What I am not happy with in that sentence is "Windows Store".

    It is also very easy to run software natively on ARM. You literally just set the /arch: flag in the C compiler ( Compiling to different architectures is not new and even legacy platforms like Windows can manage it. Visual C++ 4.x even used to support, POWER, MIPS, x86 until Microsoft regressed.

    What is slowing the uptake of ARM is developers having to frigg around with the ancient "store" metaphore.

    Microsoft!... Get modern!

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft! Please get modern!

      the way fans of "The Metro" throw around the term 'modern' like a pejorative, particularly with respect to the 2D FLATSO, 'borderless' windows, low-contrast display layouts, and fat-finger-friendly 'hamburger' button menus (aka anything NOT that isn't 'modern' and you're a LUDDITE for NOT loving it), I think it' GREAT that SOMEONE finally "pushed back" and THREW IT IN THEIR FACES!

      Well done! beer, sir!

    2. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft! Please get modern!

      "It is also very easy ... just set the /arch: flag in the C compiler"

      Says someone who's clearly never done multiple architecture development! (Sorry if you have, but it really isn't as simple as setting a compilation flag, not in C anyway).

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The problem with ARM based Windows PCs is that a lot of modern x86 software is very under-optimised because they expect people to have cycles to spare on their Intel/AMD cpus.

    Run some older x86 software written perhaps for XP based machines under the ARM emulation and I expect you would not notice much difference in performance.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      "a lot of modern x86 software is very under-optimised because they expect people to have cycles to spare on their Intel/AMD cpus."

      the influence of ".Not" and UWP no doubt. I remember seeing Windows 2k3 server running on the same (older, underpowered, test) platform as Windows 2000 server, and it was SO piggy I couldn't even use it. Long stutter times in the GUI. It was TRULY pathetic.

      Ultimately I blamed the presence of ".Not" and the kinds of LAZY thinking that is described in that quote, something like "we have cycles to spare, so don't bother making the code efficient".

      Yeah, lots of THAT in "modern" windows, too, or so it would seem, like all of that "the Metro" garbage. I tried playing games like Solitaire and Mahjong in the Win-10-nic pre-release, and it was LAUGHABLE, especially when you consider how SNAPPY and FAST solitaire was in, *cough*, WINDOWS 3.0 !!!

      PATHETIC performance with those "modern" 'The Metro' and/or UWP "The Store" versions. Thanks, Micro-shaft!!! And the ads, too. Oh, joy!!!

      icon, because, facepalm. [yeah I was a windows fan until ".Not" and then Vista and then "Ape" and then Win-10-nic]

  7. karlkarl Silver badge

    Why remove working ATMs?

    I can guarantee that by isolating a Windows 3.1 install behind a firewall that only allows outgoing connections, it will be more secure than Linux, Windows and even OpenBSD.

    Being based on POSIX / BSD sockets, the Winsock network stack isn't really that flawed so an outgoing connection should never really pose a security risk any more than a "modern" OS.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      That's the wrong thread, mate.

      1. defiler

        Not if we start discussing Win3.1 on ARM it's not. That would fly!

        1. Aladdin Sane

          Re: That would fly!

          Until it crashes.

          1. wayne 8

            Re: That would fly!

            The Original BSOD. All hail BSOD!

  8. Bob Ajob

    Linux/BSD only with an e-ink screen?

    It may too niche a product but what I really want is a laptop sized machine with a real keyboard and the best e-ink screen technology. This is 'mostly' for serious command line usage only, SSH connections to manage other remote machines. Basically a 'super Kindle' but with a much larger screen and capable of running a proper Linux or BSD distro with much better battery life and the best wireless connectivity. This should also be hot-dockable to a mains powered base station that allows use of proper HDMI full colour monitors, gigabit ethernet and larger disks, etc. A good Android tablet with a keyboard cover is a close second but serious admins will probably appreciate a few days maybe a whole week of extra battery life and not really need a touchscreen feature - so swapping for e-ink makes sense to me - anyone fancy testing the water with a crowd-funded suggestion?

  9. Scott 1

    Fire the Marketing Department?

    Surely they can come up with a better name than "Snapdragon 1000" for their laptop SoC. I think they would be best served by keeping the "Snapdragon" moniker for SoCs aimed at the mobile market and creating a new brand name for SoCs aimed at laptop and desktop computers.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Fire the Marketing Department?

      I once bought a Travan backup tape drive from HP that had the model "T-1000" - kinda like the liquid metal guy from 'The Terminator'.

      (now we just need something that has 'snapdragon' in it for them to capitalize on)

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