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Windows 10 on ARM may get a 40% speed boost with the Snapdragon 845, but is it enough?

By Douglas Black , last updated on May 30, 2018

A few weeks ago I co-wrote an editorial on Notebookcheck about the disappointing debut of Windows 10 on ARM (WoA). In short, my chief complaints about Windows 10 on ARM were as follows:

  1. Performance is nowhere near as was advertised.
  2. OpenGL and 64-bit x86 apps are incompatible.
  3. The devices are noncompetitive at their price points.
  4. Battery life is decent, but not good enough to make up for the above shortfalls.

Microsoft recently released an SDK for compiling 64-bit apps for WoA to help address issue #2, but the biggest issue with WoA devices remains: sluggish performance for non-ARM-compiled apps. However, entries of a yet-unnamed Lenovo WoA device based on the Snapdragon 845 have just surfaced on Geekbench, a popular (if basic) benchmark, and the preliminary results look promising. The unknown device shows significant performance gains over the Snapdragon 835-powered Asus NovaGo TP370QL.

The HP Envy X2 was one of the first Snapdragon 835-powered WoA devices released.

The HP Envy X2 was one of the first Snapdragon 835-powered WoA devices to be released and has a US$1000 MSRP.

Lenovo’s 845-based device is hitting a single-core and multi-core score of 1353 and 4288, respectively, as compared to the NovaGo’s scores of 819 and 3278. The performance increase shows the Snapdragon 845 being as much as 40% faster than the 835, but it’s important to note that the Lenovo device is being overclocked to 2.96 GHz as well. Additionally, while 40% is a big increase, the final performance of the device is still far, far behind all but the lowest-end x86 chips  Liliputing notes that the Snapdragon 845 running WoA is closest in performance to an Intel Pentium N4200.

WoA devices still have a long way to go before the downsides are effectively remedied for the average consumer, and I don’t think the Snapdragon 845 will make WoA devices viable yet. However, it is heartening to see the step-by-step improvements the platform needs starting to be made by manufacturers. It’s just a hunch, but it’s possible we may start to see more market-competitive WoA devices by Q4 of this year.

What do you think about Windows 10 on ARM? Will you consider purchasing a Snapdragon 845-powered device? If not, what improvements need to be made before you are willing to try one as your main device? Let us know in the comments.

Based in Hong Kong, Douglas Black is a veteran editor of Notebookcheck, university lecturer, researcher, and writer.

1 Comment

  1. A.

    May 28, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    I would gladly buy such a device under the following cumulative conditions:

    1) the device should be unlocked, so that I be able to install Linux on it; remember that there are whole Linux distributions natively compiled for ARM, which means more than enough speed for everyday tasks;

    2) the price should not be more that 300USD; above it, what's the point of these devices?

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