Apple has seen great success with its M Series chipsets. These SoCs now power nearly the company’s entire line of Mac computers, from the original and capable M1 to the powerful M1 Ultra. But Apple isn’t the only company eyeing hardware based on Arm’s architecture. Microsoft also wants to, and it wants to push the development of Arm on Windows. That’s why the company released its first arm-based desktop computer: Windows Dev Kit 2023.
The dev suite, codenamed Project Volterra, is an arm-based machine powered by the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor, with a corresponding Adreno GPU. It comes with 32GB of LPDDR4x RAM, 512GB of NVMe flash storage, and a host of ports, including two USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports, three USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, a Mini DisplayPort, and an Ethernet port. . There is also a NPU (Neural Processing Unit) built into the device, which helps power the device-Learning programs and artificial intelligence.
All of these specs cost just $599, making the Windows Dev Kit 2023 $100 cheaper than Apple’s M1 Mac mini. This device, of course, comes with an M1 chip, with an eight-core CPU and a GPU, as well as a 16-core CPU. However, it only comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, half of Volterra’s storage and a fourth memory. Ports are fine, though: Ethernet, two Thunderbolt USB-C 4 ports, two USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 ports, HDMI, and a headphone jack.
Of course, specs on paper aren’t everything. Apple has demonstrated the capabilities of the M1 since its introduction, even with basic specs like 8GB of RAM. In the test, M1 greatly outperforms Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. It even compares when running Windows in a virtual machine: The M1 wins the single-core test, and it nearly ties up to 8cx Gen 3 in the multi-core.
However, for an Arm-based Windows mini device, the development kit is an interesting option, even if it is not targeted You are. Microsoft markets this product only to software developers, although anyone can purchase it. There is no need to prove that you are creating software, which means you do not need to pay an amount $19 fee to create a developer account.
However, this product is intended for developers to test and create software using the Arm architecture. Arm is growing fast, but there are still plenty of apps and games that are not optimized or compatible with the platform. By creating an attractive developer pool, Microsoft is trying to increase the percentage of native Arm apps
There is not much in the market that competes with this type of arm machine. You can look at something like Beelink GTR 5 (which retails for $900 but can be found for a much lower price), but it runs an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX. As for lever-based action, in this form factor and power capabilities, the only other device in its class is really the M1 Mac mini.
Even if that wasn’t Microsoft’s intention, we should soon see tech reviewers run benchmarks on the development kit to see how it stacks up as a mainframe PC. If the feedback is positive, then perhaps Microsoft will push the product to consumers in the future. I would like to see a real competitor to the Mac mini on the market.
The Windows Dev Kit is available in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.s.
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