Intel reportedly petitioned Microsoft to avoid using ARM chips in the Surface Go

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

As reported by Paul Thurrott, Intel “petitioned Microsoft heavily” to use its Pentium Gold CPU in the Surface Go instead of an ARM chip. Despite a new Snapdragon CPU likely offering longer battery life, Microsoft was probably aware of the performance hit this would have meant for the Surface Go—just how much convincing the company would have needed to choose Intel is unclear.

Microsoft-supported Snapdragon 835-powered PCs may have an all-day battery life, but they struggle when it comes to emulated x86 performance. Back in June, Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 850, a chip designed specifically for the second-generation of Windows on ARM PCs that brings, among other things, a roughly 25 percent boost in performance, but that's still unable to match Intel’s laptop offerings.

Also in June were rumors of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 1000 platform, which is expected to use the new ARM Cortex-A76 architecture. The platform is said to be able to match an Intel i5-7300U (3.5GHz, Turbo) while drawing much less power, but we’ll have to wait until next year to find out if this is accurate.

As for the Surface Go, the device has received many mixed reviews. Some love its iPad-rivalling portability and low price, while others complain that it's simply too slow and too small for many scenarios—though it probably would have been even slower and come with more problems if Microsoft had gone with an ARM chip.

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While Intel's efforts on the low power front are likely not ideal, I harbor serious doubts that ARM/Qualcomm will be able to deliver a chip+device design which will give the same performance as Intel at significant power savings. Intel is all about high IPC and can dial down the CPU speed to hit 4.5 to 8W power thresholds, however I have serious doubts that ARM/Qualcomm can raise performance within their power limits to match Intel's IPC.

I will not be surprised at all if they eventually meet somewhere in the middle with similar performance and similar power draw, each having approached from a different angle.
 

thews86

TS Booster
Intel would do the same thing to AMD years ago, basically threatening their relationship with companies if they used AMD products at all. We need more CPU competition, hopefully Microsoft won't cave in.
 
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patwwh

TS Rookie
About WIntel partnership in recent years, actually Microsoft has given too enough respect and time for Intel to improve its CPU, but Intel has not caught the chance, and respect her partner, Microsoft.

Now, if Microsoft can announce to drop 32bits and fully move to 64bits architecture, just like what Apple & Google have announced in last 2 years, Microsoft will immediately get out from Intel's control, and Intel may beg Microsoft oppositely, since it is listened that x86 license is held by Intel while x64 license is actually held by AMD, and they exchange the right of usage. If x86 is no longer needed, it may bring certain pressure to Intel, or at least to its existing old x86 production lines.

The only question is: Can Microsoft, Windows, Office, VBA completely left 32bits?
 

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