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Microsoft releases Windows Dev Kit 2023, its first mini-PC with ARM

Microsoft has announced the release of Windows Dev Kit 2023, a mini-PC under ARM architecture intended for developers, which has the objective of increasing the number of applications and in general boosting the Windows platform over ARM.

The success of the Apple silicon project, by which those from Cupertino will replace the x86 hardware architecture in favor of ARM in their personal computers within three years, is the envy of the industry. The idea of ​​bringing ARM to PCs is not new. Microsoft started trying nine years ago with the Surface RT tablet. It was a bust.

Microsoft has kept trying ever since with its own models from the well-established line of Surface own-brand hardware and also from third parties. “Windows on ARM” It has been the new attempt to bring this architecture to personal computers with their operating system. It hasn’t worked either. And the reasons remain the same as they were a decade ago: serious performance issues and the inability to properly run mainstream Win32 applications on Windows.

Windows Dev Kit 2023

Announced at the BUILD 2022 conference under the ‘Volterra Project’, the Windows Dev Kit 2023 is intended to fill that gap. Its about first mini-PC marketed by Microsoft, a team with reduced dimensions of 196 x 152 x 27.6 mm and a weight of 960 g. It is based on the SoC Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 combined with 32 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and a 512 GB SSD.

This is the same chip that mounts the 5G variant of the Surface Pro 9 announced last month. It is compatible with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, and has ports such as three USB-A, two USB-C and a Mini DisplayPort, which allows developers to connect up to three monitors, including two of them with 4K resolution at 60Hz.

The computer also has a neural processing unit (NPU) to allow developers to include AI-based experiences to their applications and projects. Microsoft says that this NPU is 90 times faster than traditional processors that don’t include a dedicated one or 20 times faster than GPUs when using specific AI models.

“More apps, tools, frameworks, and packages to natively target Windows on ARM are being ported and will be available in the coming months.” In the meantime, Thanks to the powerful emulation technology in Windows 11, developers will be able to run many unmodified x64 and x86 apps and tools on their Windows Dev Kit.”Microsoft explains.

The Windows Dev Kit 2023 is priced at $599 and is now available in the Microsoft Store in some regions. A new attempt to promote Windows on ARM and get closer to what Apple has achieved with silicon. Is it possible?

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