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Expect the First Windows 8 Snapdragon PC Late 2012

By - Source: CNET | B 31 comments

Expect to see Snapdragon-based desktops running Windows 8 on the market this time next year.

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, speaking during the San Diego semiconductor company's annual analyst day in New York, said Qualcomm is currently working with Microsoft to ensure that the upcoming Windows 8 operating system will run on its ARM-based Snapdragon SoCs. Currently he expects to see the majority of Windows 8-based products to launch after the end of fiscal 2012 which ends in September of next year. That said, Snapdragon-powered Windows 8 desktops and notebooks are expected hit the market around the same time.

During the event, Qualcomm COO Steve Mollenkopf added that Snapdragon PCs will have an edge over Windows 8 solutions provided by AMD and Intel because people mostly want the same features they love on their smartphones and tablets on their desktops and laptops. To some degree, he makes a good point, as major companies like Google, Intel, Toshiba and many others are working to bridge the portable and desktop together by integrating the "app experience" into the desktop and laptop.

"What developers are looking for will be dominated by what's happening on the phone," said Mollenkopf. "The phone itself will be the center of attention for developers. And then they'll say how can they adapt that for the car and home. It's much easier to go after the market if you have leadership in smartphones."

Naturally the big issue ARM-based PCs will face is the inability to run older Windows 7 or XP software. Windows Team boss Steven Sinofsky said earlier this year that "we've been very clear since the very first CES demos and forward that the ARM product won't run any x86 applications." But Mollenkopf said this won't really be an issue, as the key applications will be re-written for the ARM architecture. Many other popular programs are already running in the cloud and can be accessed through an Internet browser.

"For the apps that you really care about, I don't see it as a significant growth inhibitor in terms of ARM vs. Windows," he said. "I don't think the impact is as significant as what others believe."

On Wednesday the company also said that its upcoming 28-nm quad-core Snapdragon chips will initially appear in tablets in the second half of next year. These will be part of Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 product line that also includes single-core and dual-core solutions. The S4 chips are designed to run Windows 8, and includes an integrated 3G and 4G modem. Clock speeds run between 1.5 GHz and 2.5 GHz, and the chip's Adreno graphics core will support DirectX 9.3.

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  • 16 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 18, 2011 9:41 AM
    Quote:
    That said, Snapdragon-powered Windows 8 desktops and notebooks are expected hit the market around the same time.


    Whaaaaaat the... who the hell will be dumb enough to get a DESKTOP based on ARM?!

    Tell you what, we had this Atom craze in the town starting 3 years back or so and it only stopped now. After countless board failures, RMAs and miserable user experience, I think it's safe to mock anyone who gets a low-power desktop for home use. Get real and get some good quality fast CPU... Intel Sandy Bridge Pentiums will do, just got 3 of them recently and they're great for low-budget builds.
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  • 16 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 18, 2011 9:41 AM
    Quote:
    That said, Snapdragon-powered Windows 8 desktops and notebooks are expected hit the market around the same time.


    Whaaaaaat the... who the hell will be dumb enough to get a DESKTOP based on ARM?!

    Tell you what, we had this Atom craze in the town starting 3 years back or so and it only stopped now. After countless board failures, RMAs and miserable user experience, I think it's safe to mock anyone who gets a low-power desktop for home use. Get real and get some good quality fast CPU... Intel Sandy Bridge Pentiums will do, just got 3 of them recently and they're great for low-budget builds.
  • 3 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , November 18, 2011 10:23 AM
    I have to ask this...but seriously...WILL it be able to run Crysis? I honestly want to know what kind of power this thing will have.
  • 4 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 18, 2011 10:27 AM
    Quote:
    I have to ask this...but seriously...WILL it be able to run Crysis? I honestly want to know what kind of power this thing will have.


    Plain stupid, sorry to say. ARM is ARM; Crysis needs a good dual/quad core x86 to run acceptably.
  • 6 Hide
    MAGPC , November 18, 2011 11:24 AM
    ARM just stay out of Intel and AMD way, because an idiot would just think of buying ARM cpu for a desktop.
    I think I will just throw an egg at the one who said that smartphones control other markets, well you are blind.
  • 0 Hide
    robisinho , November 18, 2011 11:53 AM
    applied micro has a slide showing the relative computational power of armv8 (yeah, that's 2015ish hardware, except their dev boards that come march 2012 - dont ask) relative to sandy bridge. if you calculate what the lines would be like for ivy bridge and haswell as 1/3 better than the previous generation ( a 33% improvement overall seems reasonable if slightly accelerated), than a 128-core armv8 will com in around 95% of the computational power of a haswell part based on the high end i7 SNB today. It will also require up to 256watts to run, being about 3 times as power hungry.
    these qualcomm chips are going to ring in around the level of a15s. maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less, but certainly around that level (same instruction set, same die size). Assume the same 1/3 improvement again for arm from a15s to armv8, then the qualcomm needs 128 cores to compare to ivy bridge. No one is going to make 128 core desktops, the workload isnt threaded enough. So these are going to suck unless they are *dirt* cheap.
  • 2 Hide
    rantoc , November 18, 2011 12:20 PM
    In a way i'm happy to see a arm solution enter the desktop arena, that way some people will open their blinded eyes that ghz and the number of cores are far from only measure of cpu performance. Some peeps are in for a cold shower believing arm is "superior" to the SB for instance.

    Arm has its good uses in hardware like phones, pads and small electronics as those platforms is either power limited or run on a money strict budget and thats where the arm architecture shines. However when it comes to anything remotely demanding its no secret the manfacturers all of a sudden have to add dedicated hardware logic (either on die or external) due to the lack of performance rather than do it in software (decoding/endocing ect) like any normal desktop.

    In other words, both sides had their pro's and con's and both shine in their own ways - Don't try to blur that line today too much as it will end up badly. (Atom in phones with their power hunger (might change with 3dgate) or this - arm cpu in a desktop).

    My 2 cents!
  • 4 Hide
    Bolbi , November 18, 2011 12:45 PM
    Quote:
    [T]he chip's Adreno graphics core will support DirectX 9.3.

    I don't think there is such a thing as DirectX 9.3. Is that supposed to be DirectX 9.0c?
  • 5 Hide
    amdwilliam1985 , November 18, 2011 12:52 PM
    "Naturally the big issue ARM-based PCs will face is the inability to run older Windows 7 or XP software. "

    This means failed, we don't need a version of Windows 8 that's not backward compatible...
    I can already hear my friends asking me in the future, "why don't my windows open this ? I use to be able to run it in windows 7/xp!".
  • 3 Hide
    chickenhoagie , November 18, 2011 3:00 PM
    why would anyone want a desktop with a smartphones hardware? you might as well put a VGA port in my phone and hook up a shitty monitor to it. And now they're saying people want to use "Apps" on a desktop? are you kidding me? there's a reason I'm using my desktop and not my phone right now..and no, its not just for the bigger display. I pity the moron who would ever buy an ARM-based desktop..
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 18, 2011 4:29 PM
    +1 I resent any processor not being able to run / benchmark Crysis.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 18, 2011 5:23 PM
    The Qualcomm people are ignorant as all hell. No one wants just phone stuff for their PCs or they would ditch the PCs and just use their phones. Those systems may not be available until very late in 2012 or early 2013... just in time to compete with Intel's Haswell running a mature 22nm process and no doubt significant performance gains in graphics and compute power as well as gains in power management. Those systems could very well run in the same power envelope as a lower power Haswell type system buth with a 10th of the performance. You add in compatability issues and you would have to give them away to get any use out of them. I'm thinking both Intel and AMD will fry those things pretty good.

    Actually, the more interesting battle is how much headway Intel can make on the smartphone and tablet platform with its next generation ATOM, but that isn't expected to hit the shelves until 2013. I think that architecture has a chance to really make some noise moreso than current ARM chips running PC hardware.
  • 1 Hide
    hannibal , November 18, 2011 6:30 PM
    Hmmm... A HTPC with snapdragon would be nice, if there will be program support for it... but how can it manage against ivybridge? ... There is a long way to go suitable program and driver support for those ARM prosessors. Otherwice, there is very little that these can do in desktop market... Fileserver? HTPC? not much more...
  • 2 Hide
    millerm84 , November 18, 2011 6:55 PM
    I think many of you are underestimating the power of familiarity. I have users that know more about smart phones and apps then I do (i have a feature phone), but have to have a 10min tutorial on what the phrase "restart your pc" means (its sad how often that happens).

    Phones are disposable and by the time you're contract is up there is the latest and greatest advancement for the same contract price as your last phone. So as smart phones came down in price the number of people of all technical backgrounds started buying them because every new phone is better and better right? This process has made people comfortable with smart phones and how they work, extending what people are comfortable with to the PC makes all the more sense.

    Patrons of this site jumped into PC hardware at various stages we cut our teeth in DOS and Windows 3.1 we understand and build systems and software, and the phone OS is silly to us. However, we're going to be the dinosaurs who fail to realize the potential of a new platform because the old way is familiar or "the best way" to us. I liken it to Apple realizing the potential of the mouse when xerox thought it was just a toy, a gimmick. I'm sure all the guys who watched Jobs make it an integrable part of his system said: "I pity the person who buys a machine with that thing". And now only the hard core "X" hating lunix man shuns a mouse.

    Change will come no matter what has worked in the past. Refusing to accept the inevitable tide of technological overture is a ridiculous parade of both pride and fear that tramples those unable or unwilling to adapt.
  • 0 Hide
    hetneo , November 18, 2011 8:10 PM
    I highly doubt that ARM based desktops (mind you we are talking about formfactor here, ARM based PC can't exist) can be success because people want same experience on their desktop as on their phones. This concept can work for business users, especially as clerk's and business assistants' workstations where it's only needed for office applications and or sending emails. In cases where extremely low performing ARM does same thing as efficiently as much expensive AMD or Intel CPU with IGP, but costs much less and consumes much less power, thus cutting bills. Mind you, I'm not talking about companies that have 10s of computers, but that have 1000s, and 1000s of clerks that do quite dumb work of writing memos and doing spreadsheets all day long.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , November 18, 2011 8:12 PM
    Quote:
    "we've been very clear since the very first CES demos and forward that the ARM product won't run any x86 applications."

    So what is the point? If it is a laptop or ultrabook form-factor then get one that uses an X86 CPU and run all your software, and seeing as there is a program that will allow running Android Apps then ARM needs to do a bit more work, sign a few deals and get itself an X86 license.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 18, 2011 11:47 PM
    I think arm/windows 8 setups will be perfect for netbooks. The low power nature of arm chips should mean smaller battery packs and no need for the heatsink and fan built into current laptops. Think ultrabooks but for the price of a netbook.

    I think there is definitely a market for these guys for people that want ultra portable and just do productivity, web browsing, and email. Make it significantly cheaper than ultra books and they should sell like crazy. By the way people that use computers like I described use a very smaller number of programs so not being able to run x86 based programs is probably no big deal. I wonder if there are plans for a google chrome arm based netbook.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 18, 2011 11:54 PM
    A cloud based ultrabook is the market for this, arm should be working with Google to port Chrome OS.
  • -1 Hide
    alidan , November 19, 2011 12:14 AM
    amk-aka-PhantomWhaaaaaat the... who the hell will be dumb enough to get a DESKTOP based on ARM?!Tell you what, we had this Atom craze in the town starting 3 years back or so and it only stopped now. After countless board failures, RMAs and miserable user experience, I think it's safe to mock anyone who gets a low-power desktop for home use. Get real and get some good quality fast CPU... Intel Sandy Bridge Pentiums will do, just got 3 of them recently and they're great for low-budget builds.


    do they cost well under 50$ per cpu?
    i can see an arm being a great cpu for people who just wordprocess, email, and web browse, and want to do that for cheap.

    MAGPCARM just stay out of Intel and AMD way, because an idiot would just think of buying ARM cpu for a desktop.I think I will just throw an egg at the one who said that smartphones control other markets, well you are blind.


    arm can do some things really well, and those some things, is what most people only care about. that said, you could see a quad arm system, i mean arm barely need a heat sync, and if they are small enough you could get a 16 core computer, and per process, how much slower are arm to an intel, disregarding threads entirely.

    robisinhoapplied micro has a slide showing the relative computational power of armv8 (yeah, that's 2015ish hardware, except their dev boards that come march 2012 - dont ask) relative to sandy bridge. if you calculate what the lines would be like for ivy bridge and haswell as 1/3 better than the previous generation ( a 33% improvement overall seems reasonable if slightly accelerated), than a 128-core armv8 will com in around 95% of the computational power of a haswell part based on the high end i7 SNB today. It will also require up to 256watts to run, being about 3 times as power hungry.these qualcomm chips are going to ring in around the level of a15s. maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less, but certainly around that level (same instruction set, same die size). Assume the same 1/3 improvement again for arm from a15s to armv8, then the qualcomm needs 128 cores to compare to ivy bridge. No one is going to make 128 core desktops, the workload isnt threaded enough. So these are going to suck unless they are *dirt* cheap.


    isnt windows 8 suppose to be able to take a single thread applications and force it multithread? i heard that somewhere... at the very least, i can say this, i could use 128 cores, give each process its own core, and have at it, i currently have 87 shareing 4 cores.

    amdwilliam1985"Naturally the big issue ARM-based PCs will face is the inability to run older Windows 7 or XP software. "This means failed, we don't need a version of Windows 8 that's not backward compatible...I can already hear my friends asking me in the future, "why don't my windows open this ? I use to be able to run it in windows 7/xp!".


    it also means easily ported apps, and everything big will most likely be written for the two anyway.

    chickenhoagiewhy would anyone want a desktop with a smartphones hardware? you might as well put a VGA port in my phone and hook up a shitty monitor to it. And now they're saying people want to use "Apps" on a desktop? are you kidding me? there's a reason I'm using my desktop and not my phone right now..and no, its not just for the bigger display. I pity the moron who would ever buy an ARM-based desktop..


    with windows 8, apps are going to change, because they arent only for the phone or tablet anymore.

    IntelAndARmThe Qualcomm people are ignorant as all hell. No one wants just phone stuff for their PCs or they would ditch the PCs and just use their phones. Those systems may not be available until very late in 2012 or early 2013... just in time to compete with Intel's Haswell running a mature 22nm process and no doubt significant performance gains in graphics and compute power as well as gains in power management. Those systems could very well run in the same power envelope as a lower power Haswell type system buth with a 10th of the performance. You add in compatability issues and you would have to give them away to get any use out of them. I'm thinking both Intel and AMD will fry those things pretty good.Actually, the more interesting battle is how much headway Intel can make on the smartphone and tablet platform with its next generation ATOM, but that isn't expected to hit the shelves until 2013. I think that architecture has a chance to really make some noise moreso than current ARM chips running PC hardware.


    a complete arm desktop could probably play 1080p video for less than 200$
    can you say the same about a 200$ intel computer, or even build one for that little?

    most people couldnt care less about how fast their pc is because we hit the point were even the worst you can buy has enough power for most people. its on to a battle of cost, and arm could really change things on the low end, and possibly the high end, if they allow multi cpu systems.

    hetneoI highly doubt that ARM based desktops (mind you we are talking about formfactor here, ARM based PC can't exist) can be success because people want same experience on their desktop as on their phones. This concept can work for business users, especially as clerk's and business assistants' workstations where it's only needed for office applications and or sending emails. In cases where extremely low performing ARM does same thing as efficiently as much expensive AMD or Intel CPU with IGP, but costs much less and consumes much less power, thus cutting bills. Mind you, I'm not talking about companies that have 10s of computers, but that have 1000s, and 1000s of clerks that do quite dumb work of writing memos and doing spreadsheets all day long.


    for buisnesses... it will be the defacto standard soon, the low power, and mixed with the ecencials like word and crap going to arm, its possible that this will take of there before the desktop segment

  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , November 19, 2011 2:12 AM
    what a niche.
  • 1 Hide
    danwat1234 , November 19, 2011 5:01 AM
    A Power user would NEVER buy a ARM computer as their main computer. Too much software written in x86 that won't be written for ARM anytime soon. Besides, I suspect ARM is dog slow compared to an Ivy Bridge or Piledriver with a good GPU..
    Second what amdwilliam1985 said, why would I buy a computer that can't run all the software I already have??
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