Windows 10 on Arm: Tests say Snapdragon 845 could bring big speed boost

This year's Windows on Arm PCs could be a more compelling purchase thanks to the Snapdragon 845.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

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Benchmarks for a Snapdragon 845 running on a Windows 10 PC suggest the next batch of Windows 10 on Arm devices could address the slow performance of the first releases.

The first "always connected" Windows 10 on Arm PCs included HP's $1,000 Envy x2, Asus' NovaGo and Lenovo's Miix 630. These all run on a version of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835, 2017's top-of-the-line smartphone chip.

But while it's a powerful chip for smartphones, some reviews of these Windows 10 on Arm devices have found the performance to be on par with Intel's low-end Celeron Apollo Lake processors.

So, despite longer battery life offered by Arm chips, consumers must pay at least $599 for a Windows 10 on Arm device that offers the same performance as much cheaper low-end laptops with Intel chips.

See: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)

The eight-core Snapdragon 845, which runs some Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus models, could help even out this price-to-performance gap of the current Windows 10 on Arm PCs.

As noted by Liliputing, a mystery Lenovo device with a Snapdragon 845 was spotted by WinFuture.de in listings on CPU benchmarking site Geekbench.

Some entries point to laptops with the newer chip scoring 25 percent higher in multi-core tests and 40 percent higher in single-core tests.

Those figures are promising for Windows 10 on Arm and roughly in line with performance improvements found by CNET, when its reviewers compared the Snapdragon 845 on a reference smartphone with several 2017 flagships running on the Snapdragon 835.

Also, the new Snapdragon 845 listings suggest computer makers will be running the chip at 2.9GHz, which is faster than the chip runs on current smartphones.

Despite the improvements, the closest match Liliputing found to the new Snapdragon 845 scores on Geekbench was an Intel Pentium N4200. Again, this is another low-end Intel processor based on Apollo Lake found in laptops available for half the price of the cheapest Windows 10 on Arm PCs.

Microsoft is trying to make it easier for developers to get their apps running natively on Arm machines, earlier this month announcing an Arm64 SDK preview.

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