Apple’s M1 MacBook Air has absolutely destroyed Windows on ARM (WOA) in new benchmarks. After Apple released their very impressive M1 MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Pro, and M1 Mac mini, and Microsoft followed with its long-awaited 64-bit X86 emulator, PCWorld had just one question: How does Windows on Arm compare to MacOS on Arm? The answer, to quote PCWorld: “Badly. Very, very badly.”
There are only two chips currently powering Windows on Arm machines: Qualcomm’s own processors, such as the Snapdragon 8cx and Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2, as well as the derivative SQ1 and SQ2 processors Microsoft co-designed with Qualcomm. The latter two processors both appear in Microsoft’s Surface Pro X tablet.
Our testbed was Microsoft’s Surface Pro X, running on a first-generation SQ1 chip, a more powerful version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx… We used Apple’s MacBook Air (M1) as a comparison.
Windows on Arm lags so far behind the MacBook on M1 that it’s hard to believe further improvements will bring it significantly closer.
MacDailyNews Take: Ouch. PCWorld’s test results:
• M1 MacBook Air: 7454 (multi core), 1730 (single core)
• Surface Pro X: 2734 (multi core), 731 (single core)
• M1 MacBook Air: 6838 (multi core), 1496 (single core)
• Surface Pro X: 1604 (multi core), 371 (single core)
The MacBook Air M1 is more than six times faster than the Surface Pro X in video transcoding…
Microsoft’s 64-bit X86 emulator is still in beta, so we can’t make definitive statements about its success. But it’s hard to believe that further development will bridge the vast gulf of performance between Windows on Arm and Apple’s M1-based Macs. In six months, Microsoft may be able to boast that its emulation performance has improved by a significant amount. But without the combined miracle of a much better CPU from Qualcomm or another Arm chipmaker and continued improvements from Microsoft, the future of Windows on Arm looks grim.
MacDailyNews Take: Even by Microsoft’s embarrassingly low standards, these benchmarks are awful. Apple’s “slowest” M1 Mac, the MacBook Air, wreak absolute destruction on Windows on ARM machines!
Microsoft’s Surface Pro X. There’s nothing “Pro” about it.