back to article Microsoft takes another shot at the Windows-on-Arm thing with a revamped Surface Pro X powered by new SQ2 silicon

A year after the release of its fan-serving Surface Pro X, Microsoft and new pal Qualcomm have given the Arm-powered fondleslab's chippery a good buffing. At launch the Pro X was an undeniably attractive bit of kit. Slimmer than a normal Surface Pro, the pricey hardware finally made Windows on Arm make a bit more sense, so …

  1. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo
    Paris Hilton

    One of the medium-whigs of our company wanted a detachable (a laptop that can be made into a tablet by removing the keyboard), since she saw someone at a meeting with such a device, and she found that they are cool, and now she wanted a new toy for herself.

    We did some research, and found that there is no native Office for Arm-powered Surfaces. Thus, the medium-whig got an Intel-powered Surface.

    No native Office in a work environment? We are not going to ask for additional trouble.

    1. oiseau Silver badge

      One of the medium-whigs of our company wanted ...

      Ahhh ...

      Memories of a time long gone.

      In another life many years go, I was in charge of first tier IT support at a government office, task which also involved taking care of everything from basic IT supplies to keeping the local file server in shape and backed up to putting together the yearly budget for which I was responsible.

      The director in charge, who most of the time called me to his office to clear his porn filled IE cache or find a lost file, once called me to ask about getting him a brand new and very expensive laptop to take to meetings.

      He thought he looked bad because "he was the only asshole there without a laptop".

      I skipped mentioning his frank self-awareness but timidly made a reference to his sub-optimal computer skills, at the same time comparing the cost of the new toy he wanted to the three office PC I could buy for the same amount.

      But he insisted.

      So I told him that he would have to ask for it in writing and with proper justification because there was no way I could possibly justify such a purchase to the powers higher up.

      Needless to say, I never got the note asking for the kit but suffered for it for a good while.


      1. elkster88

        Re: "frank self-awareness"

        > I skipped mentioning his frank self-awareness

        You're a better man than I. I'm afraid I would have no such degree of control should the opportunity ever arise to respond to such a low and slow pitch.

        A virtual pint for priming the pump, so to speak ->

  2. dharmOS

    x86-64 emulation on ARM

    With the newly available x86-64bit instruction set to emulate, has it come off patent now. Will emulation on Apple and Win ARM also include additional instruction sets like SSE2, AES-NI, AVX etc?

    1. DS999

      Re: x86-64 emulation on ARM

      Apple is mostly relying on static translation, not emulation. They said it will not support SIMD at all. Since that's all handled by apps/libraries looking at x86 feature flags to see what extra stuff is supported, it will run as if it had none of that. It might have to support some minimum level of SSE or MMX if that's required by the x86 64 bit spec introduced by AMD, but AFAIK it is not required at all since AMD got the new agreement with Intel to use MMX/SSE as their price for allowing Intel to use their 64 bit spec.

      Any application which depends heavily on SIMD instructions is something you'll want to port to get the best performance, so it probably doesn't make sense to bother with handling them for what is going to be a stopgap solution for most (since there isn't a lot of dusty deck x64 macOS code)

      Someone ran Geekbench 5 on Apple's development platform, which uses the same A12Z in the latest iPad Pro. Running the x64 macOS binary of Geekbench, it got a score about 70% as high as the iPad gets. So their static translation apparently works very well, despite Linus Torvalds having stated he didn't believe it was a feasible strategy.

  3. martynhare

    If ARM succeeds over x86

    ...then Microsoft’s days of platform dominance are numbered. They’re so far behind now it’s going to be impossible to catch up, unless people poo poo ARM in favour of x86 long-term. COVID might just be the game changer in that respect, as people won’t need mobile devices if they’re all working and socialising from home for the next few years.

    Right now, a Raspberry Pi is functionally more useful than a Windows-on-ARM laptop, with tens of thousands of native software packages available. Likewise, macOS will be the dominant desktop ARM platform overnight due to the fact it already claims to have native Microsoft Office and Creative Cloud ported. Microsoft have basically shipped their apps as Apple-first again, just like they did to themselves with their last ARM venture (Windows Phone) and look how that turned out.

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