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Name of OS is also confirmed

Until now, we knew (officially) that an unnamed successor to Windows 8 would enter Release Preview testing next month at Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFTBUILD Conference.  Now that unnamed release has received an official title.  

At JP Morgan & Chase Comp.'s (JPM) Media and Telecom conference today Windows chief financial officer Tami Reller confirmed rumors that the upcoming OS, codenamed Windows Blue, would be christened "Windows 8.1".

More importantly, the update -- which reportedly will allow users to boot to desktop, return some semblance of the Start button (albeit one that dumps users into Metro), and include better mouse support in Metro -- will be offered for free to Windows 8 customers.  The update will be distributed via the Windows Store.

OEMs are hopeful the update will revive floundering PC sales.  Q1 2013 marked the worse percentage drop in PC unit sales in history.

Tami Reller
Tami Reller announced today that Windows 8.1 will be free. [Image Source: Microsoft News]

Tami Reller yet again addressed Microsoft's sentiments on another key topic -- Windows RT.  Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930), The Lenovo Group, Ltd. (HKG:0992), Dell Inc. (DELL), and Acer Inc. (TPE:2357) -- have attacked the OS [1][2][3][4] have all attacked complaining about its lack of legacy compatibility and Microsoft's poor marketing of the platform.  Many of these OEMs have refused to release Windows RT products, sinking sales to an anemic 200,000 tablets in Q1 2013.  But Microsoft, like its hardware partners Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM) and NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) [1][2][3], is standing clearly behind the platform.

In a statement at the conference Ms. Reller stated, "We need the flexibility of ARM"

Windows RT
Microsoft is standing behind its ARM product, looking to new form factors.
[Image Source: TalkVietnam]

There may be relief in sight for Windows on ARM (WOA), aka Windows RT.  One of the improvements Windows 8.1 is expected to bring is UI adjustments to accommodate 7- and 8-inch displays.  The explosion of this lower-priced segment helped propel another struggling tablet platform -- Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android -- from a bit player to a serious contender, with designs like the Samsung Galaxy Tab,, Inc. (AMZN) Kindle Fire, and ASUSTek Computer, Inc. (TPE:2357) Google-branded Nexus 7 tablet.

There's not much Microsoft can do about the legacy compatibility issue, other than to try to foster the growth of ARM-compatible apps in the Windows Store.  But hopefully Microsoft improves its educational efforts, both in general on how to use Windows 8 (for new users) and the differences between Windows 8/8.1 and RT (for potential ARM device buyers).

Source: Microsoft

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Excellent Move.
By maevinj on 5/14/2013 3:54:25 PM , Rating: 2
Glad Microsoft came to its senses and released this as free.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Arsynic on 5/14/2013 4:01:51 PM , Rating: 4
Everyone pretty much assumed that Windows Blue would be a service pack.

Unless you somehow knew that MS would do like Apple and charge for it and later changed their mind. Do you?

RE: Excellent Move.
By maevinj on 5/14/2013 4:04:50 PM , Rating: 2
For some reason, I've been under the impression that they were going to charge for it. I'm not sure why. Guess I'm just use to greedy corporations charging the end user for their screw ups.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Akrovah on 5/14/2013 4:23:41 PM , Rating: 2
I too had been under the assumtion that it would be a charged upgrade. I figured a small (for a Microsft OS) amount, like say $50.

My guess is this is because they are naming it something that sounds similar to Apple's upgreades with the x.x naming rather than calling it what it essentially is, Service Pack 1.

RE: Excellent Move.
By cfaalm on 5/14/2013 5:48:29 PM , Rating: 2
$ 50 would have been way too much imho. OSX upgrades have been below $ 50. With the flack that W8 caught I think MS wouldn't take the risk of even more negative publicity around W8 by charging even a low amount.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/14/2013 8:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
$50 was more than the OS at launch!!

RE: Excellent Move.
By BRB29 on 5/15/2013 8:11:12 AM , Rating: 2
$50? when they were giving it away for $15?
Even past the expiration date of that offer, it's still allowing you to buy Win8 Pro for $15. They are that desperate.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/15/2013 10:23:29 AM , Rating: 3
where is it for 15? because if that's the case,I will buy it.

RE: Excellent Move.
By seeker353 on 5/16/2013 12:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
They had an offer going that ended (IIRC) on 1 March. You could buy a full retail Windows 8 Pro license for $15 as long as you owned a registered, non-pirated license for Windows Vista or 7. I'm not sure what it's going for now.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Akrovah on 5/15/2013 10:45:49 AM , Rating: 2
Apparently $50 was too much for some people.

I was just throwing a number out there that seemed reasonable compared to thier usualy multi-hundred dollar prices for new OSes (not taking into account launch promo prices), which is what the name implied rather than a simple update.

RE: Excellent Move.
By hiscross on 5/19/2013 12:30:54 PM , Rating: 2
"greedy corporations" sure everything should be free. That has always worked. Just look at North Korea, free food, free housing, free speech, and in the end a perfect place to live. Oh, the Soviet Union was great until they shut it down for some reason. Hope and Change.

RE: Excellent Move.
By nikon133 on 5/14/2013 5:13:59 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure MS did talk about dropping model with new OS every 3 years with free SPs in-between, and doing cheap incremental OS updates every year instead. I cannot recall if that was mentioned as something they decided to do from now on, scheduled to do in future or just considered as an option.

RE: Excellent Move.
By CZroe on 5/14/2013 9:14:30 PM , Rating: 2
"Everyone pretty much assumed that Windows Blue would be a service pack."

You must not have been around for Windows 98 Second Edition less than 10 months after Windows 98.

RE: Excellent Move.
By jabber on 5/16/2013 6:02:44 AM , Rating: 3
And Win95 and Win95 OSR2 which brought new goodies to the OS.

Things change.

RE: Excellent Move.
By rs2 on 5/14/2013 10:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
It is a service pack, in all but name.

RE: Excellent Move.
By B3an on 5/14/2013 11:51:22 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a SP. Nothing about it is anything like a SP. No SP has ever added anything even close to half as many features as 8.1, let alone a new kernel. Even MS have said it's not an SP.

This is an update. Equivalent to an OSX update, but even in its unfinished state the leaked builds probably have more new stuff than a typical OSX update. MS are now doing yearly updates to Windows.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/15/2013 4:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
I said this in another article, and kept being told I didn't know what I was talking about. The price, I was wrong about, but it appears it will be free for existing 8 users, didn't see anything about non 8 users.

RE: Excellent Move.
By arthur449 on 5/17/2013 7:24:48 AM , Rating: 2
It's similar to Windows XP Service Pack 2, which Microsoft was also mulling over whether to charge for it and/or call it Second Edition.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Argon18 on 5/14/13, Rating: 0
RE: Excellent Move.
By LRonaldHubbs on 5/15/2013 2:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
You mean instead of charging, like they usually do? Pay for Win95, and pay again for the Win98 fix. Pay for WinME, and pay again for the Win2k fix. Pay for Vista, and pay again for the Seven fix.

Wow, everything about this statement is just fundamentally broken. It's actually kind of impressive that you managed to be so wrong. Win98 came 3 years after Win95 was not a fix by any reasonable definition. If anything you should call 98SE a fix for 98. WinME was a disaster and wasn't better than 98SE at anything, so rip on that edition all you want. Win2K had nothing to do with WinME though; different kernel and different market. Also, Win2K came out months before WinME, so how can you possibly call it a fix? Vista was fine, and anyone with a functioning brain and motivation to research the subject understands that the problems at launch were caused by a) third party developers writing lousy software b) hardware companies writing lousy drivers. Win7 was great, but as far as being a fix, it was a marketing fix more than anything else.

It's the Microsoft way after all. Pay and pay some more, never mind that most of their products are half-baked junk.

Pay and pay some more? Yeah, that sounds like the business model of every company ever. Half-baked junk? Say what you will, but realize that MS has been dominating the desktop/laptop OS market for a very long time, and there is something to be said for that.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Argon18 on 5/17/2013 12:21:38 PM , Rating: 2
Your word-smithing doesn't impress me. Win95 was a turd through and through. Heck, it even BSOD'd during Bill Gate's media presentation. Win98, when it was released, was called "what Win95 should have been" by journalists everywhere.

Win2k was indeed the fix for WinME. Initially they were targeted at different markets, ME for home, and 2k for business. But ME was such a colossal turd, the solution at the time was to install Win2k at home.

As for dominating the desktop market, that isn't hard to do when you've been fined $hundreds of millions for violating anti-competitive monopoly laws in a dozen different countries. Gaining market share by breaking the law and harming consumers isn't something to be proud of.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Motoman on 5/14/2013 4:46:45 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, but still...

which reportedly will allow users to boot to desktop

That's very positive.

return some semblance of the Start button (albeit one that dumps users into Metro)

That's very negative, and crucially doesn't fix anything. They've managed to break the Start button in the process of turning it back on.

Just stop f%cking around already and do what any sane person would do - put the normal Start menu and desktop back in, without any further molestation thereof.

RE: Excellent Move.
By 91TTZ on 5/14/2013 5:02:44 PM , Rating: 3
Just stop f%cking around already and do what any sane person would do - put the normal Start menu and desktop back in, without any further molestation thereof.

Microsoft is hesitant to do this because they're trying to promote their whole mobile initiative. They want Windows sales to directly lead to Windows Phone and Surface sales. I agree with you that this is horrible for the desktop, but Microsoft is trying to corral users into this new ecosystem that they heavily invested in. It's just not working.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Kefner on 5/14/2013 5:39:21 PM , Rating: 2
Thank goodness for Start8 and 8gadgetpack, installed both first day I got my PC, and it's been basically the same as Win 7. So, the new Start button will just be a dump to metro? I've already done that by pinning the metro icon onto my task bar, so nothing new there for me. Now I just hope it doesn't "break" Start8 or 8gadgetpack!!! :)

RE: Excellent Move.
By BRB29 on 5/15/2013 8:24:48 AM , Rating: 2
uninstall it and update. I'm sure there will be an update for Start8 for 8.1

RE: Excellent Move.
By seeker353 on 5/16/2013 12:28:51 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously, they can keep the Start Button if they're not bringing back the old Start Menu. If all it does it drop you into Metro, then what's the point? You can already move the mouse to where the Start Button used to be, click, and enter Metro.

RE: Excellent Move.
By talikarni on 5/16/2013 3:11:15 PM , Rating: 2
Glad Microsoft came to its senses and released this as free. is Windows 8 Service Pack 1. After public release, it will be released the same as Win7 SP1, Vista SP1, and so on, new users still need to pay for it, existing users get the Service Pack... only now they are not calling it a service pack even though thats what it really is.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/17/2013 7:24:19 AM , Rating: 2
it's not a sp....

RE: Excellent Move.
By Argon18 on 5/17/2013 12:26:42 PM , Rating: 2
Oh really? It's free. And its purpose is to address customer complaints about 8.0. I don't care what they name it, if it looks like a service pack and feels like a service pack...

RE: Excellent Move.
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/20/2013 1:32:51 PM , Rating: 1
It's free, what is your point exactly? It's not a SP. It's been stated already. Get your Apple loving head out of your ass and look around a little bit.

Fucking trolls...

RE: Excellent Move.
By fteoath64 on 5/20/2013 3:28:22 AM , Rating: 2
Huh ?.! If it were not free, then Win8 will be doomed. This is a service pack that is direly needed for Win8 to establish a firm foundation towards the future and assure it of that future. The key weakness of RT must be remedied in order for its future to be way more open than the PRO. A dual path will assure RT of freedom of choice in its competitive space. For RT to be constrained like PRO is to really torture it to death. Not a good thing.
An unrestrained RT can compete with the best of the Androids and IOS in following the PC model of openness and freedom to develop. Also developing a layer to allow Android apps compatibility will go a lot way to ensure apps get ported natively to RT. BlackBerry can do an Android compatibility layer and I do not see why MS cannot do it for RT. By going to 7inch or 8 inch format, a 4:3 aspect ratio especially a 1600X1200 screen would be ideal to compete with the best of Android and PPI wise match a retina display on visuals alone. This is enough to play with the best of the market prices are reasonable enough. MS has to know that people buy iPad becuase the price is worth it compared to what the competition offers. If MS can beat this price/worth ratio, it can have a new winner in the segment. Low end screen resolution should be 1366X 1024 and should NOT be 1024X768 because that is 3 year old tech!.

Start button is a minor problem
By oldabelincoln on 5/14/2013 4:22:25 PM , Rating: 2
Let's hope they address the real "screw the desktop" issue - control of the appearance of the various desktop elements, formerly easy to do, almost trivial, and now locked down and mostly impossible. For example, window titlebar and taskbar colors are now linked. If you want a green window title bar and a light gray takbar, you are out of luck as the colors of these elements are now linked. Worse, title bar text is unconditionally black and taskbar text is unconditionally white. Text sizes are now limited and icon text fonts cannot be changed.

All this might possibly make sense for a target demographic of novice tablet users, but is absurd for experienced desktop users who have been able to easily change most aspects of the UI elements color, text font and text size for the last 12 years. All this has no effect on tablet Metro users, making this lockdown even more pointless.

RE: Start button is a minor problem
By inighthawki on 5/14/2013 6:01:50 PM , Rating: 2
For example, window titlebar and taskbar colors are now linked. If you want a green window title bar and a light gray takbar, you are out of luck as the colors of these elements are now linked

You mean like back during windows 98?

RE: Start button is a minor problem
By oldabelincoln on 5/14/2013 6:56:12 PM , Rating: 2
...and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and Windows NT 3.1 and Windows 95 and Windows NT 3.51 and Windows NT 4.0 and - as you mentioned - Windows 98 and Windows 2000 and Windows XP and Windows Vista and Windows 7.

I never tried Windows before 3.11, or any of the 98 or ME versions, so I can't speak for those except to assume that you are correct about 98 having the same simple, convenient facilities as the others.

By inighthawki on 5/14/2013 7:36:14 PM , Rating: 3
The ability to adjust the window color separately from the taskbar has only been available via the classic theme. As of XP and above the taskbar has always been the same color when using the primary system theme. I for one say good riddance to that terrible old UI. I hate the new desktop theme in Win8 with the solid flat colors, but the classic theme was much worse.

RT has died already
By mike66 on 5/14/2013 5:26:02 PM , Rating: 1
Windows 8 is do do that's why it's Dodo. RT stands for Really Trying, give it up MS you not only missed the boat your adding lead weight with RT.

RE: RT has died already
By Bubbacub on 5/15/2013 5:36:38 AM , Rating: 2
IMO winRT has one purpose - kick intel's ass into providing low power acceptable performance x86 parts.

it seems to be working from that POV

RE: RT has died already
By Argon18 on 5/17/2013 12:29:16 PM , Rating: 2
No one gives a crap about low power intel parts. ARM has already won the low-power war. You won't see an intel chip in a smart phone. Ever. It's ARM all the way.

RE: RT has died already
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/17/2013 4:03:00 PM , Rating: 1
So the Droid Razr M with the Intel Atom is a fake? If you haven't a clue of what you are talking about, you really should stfu.

RE: RT has died already
By Xplorer4x4 on 5/19/2013 1:14:13 PM , Rating: 2
The Razr M has a Snapdragon SoC. The Razr i has an Atom SoC. If your going to just troll the site, at least get your facts straight.

By domboy on 5/14/2013 5:00:11 PM , Rating: 1
In a statement at the conference Ms. Reller stated, "We need the flexibility of ARM"

... by offering an inflexible and locked down OS for ARM. Oh the irony. I don't have much hope for the RT blue update... but I really hope that the executable signing unlock still works... or I won't be singing the blues anytime soon.

RE: Right...
By 91TTZ on 5/14/2013 5:05:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, we she really means is that they need the pricing flexibility of ARM. Without making Intel compete with anyone, they won't offer low enough prices.

RE: Right...
By drothgery on 5/14/2013 7:36:06 PM , Rating: 3
Non-x86/x64 versions of Windows (with the possible exceptions of Windows Phone and the Xbox 360 OS) have always been more about pushing Intel to build chips that work better for the markets Microsoft wants to move Windows into than about actually selling software on those platforms. That's the 'flexibility' she's talking about.

Am I the only one who thinks Tami Reller is
By ShaolinSoccer on 5/15/2013 4:11:06 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Am I the only one who thinks Tami Reller is
By rountad on 5/15/2013 3:40:34 PM , Rating: 2
No, you're not.

By Cheesew1z69 on 5/15/2013 4:37:58 PM , Rating: 2
She's not that hot, sorry. The chick who runs Yahoo is much better looking.

Microsoft's Business Strategy
By ninelite on 5/14/2013 4:12:22 PM , Rating: 3
I have been following tech news for some time now.
And seems like this is Microsoft's strategy:

I . Spread rumors on what they intended to do (example: never bring back start button, windows 8.1 gonna cost money to upgrade.)

II. See people's reaction to these rumors

III. Decide on what they'll do based on the reaction. (If there's not a lot of complains, keep what they intended. If people are very upset, just give them what they want.)

Maybe that's one of the reasons why they are still around as a tech company and doing what they originally started out to do, which is software.

RE: Microsoft's Business Strategy
By ET on 5/15/2013 1:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
I think that it can be more simply summed that Microsoft reacts to public opinion. Microsoft has often announced things or done things which people dislike and fixed it later.

My thought is that Microsoft OS's in general are about releasing an OS, seeing the reaction, and making the next OS better based on feedback.

(Like most companies, I think that Microsoft has no need to spread rumours, because there are so many people doing it for them.)

By augiem on 5/14/2013 5:34:27 PM , Rating: 5
Finally Windows 8 goes beta!

RT's legacy compatibility
By Visual on 5/15/2013 3:16:58 AM , Rating: 2
There's not much Microsoft can do about the legacy compatibility issue, other than to try to foster the growth of ARM-compatible apps in the Windows Store.

Oh, they could help XDA user mamaich with his very promising emulator, or even hire him. Or just loosen up their draconian development restrictions, like allow sideloading, allow development of desktop-mode apps, HTA apps, unlock more APIs such as Windows Forms to scripting platforms such as windows scripting host or powershell, implement a bigger portion of .NET for WinRT...

There is plenty that they could do.

RE: RT's legacy compatibility
By domboy on 5/15/2013 8:45:46 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly!! That's what I've been saying. The fine folks at XDA have really shown what Windows on ARM should have been. If they hadn't put so many restrictions on Windows RT the community probably would have quickly resolved the "can't run windows apps" pretty quickly by recompiling all sorts of things. Business too could have had the option to just recompile their software. That would have solved problem over the lack of VPN clients for Windows RT, or never been a problem to start with.

Need flexibility of ARM?
By w8gaming on 5/14/2013 7:30:28 PM , Rating: 2
Atom CPU already does whatever ARM can do, low power requirements and better performance, plus x86 compatibility. Tablet running on Atom has longer battery life than iPad. What does Microsoft really want ARM for except to piss off Intel?

By In2Boost on 5/16/2013 10:14:22 AM , Rating: 2
Gee, thanks for the table scraps, Microsoft. They' great.
I feel like I'm in the movie Sleepers and it's lunchtime.
How about allowing desktop users to remove "metro" altogether via the "Programs and Features / Add/Remove Windows components" control panel? Anything not needed is bloat. Period.
How about restoring the customization options for font, window color, etc., that you provided in every OS for the past 30 yrs?
How about letting us choose whether or not we want the "aero glass" feature, versus a mandatory Windows basic theme? Yah, maybe I am a little nitpicky, but after spending every day of the week remoted into servers at work, I want some eye candy on my home machine! I paid for this OS and don't live in a developing country (orig. MS target market for Starter).
How about not insulting the intelligence of your customers anymore?
This timeline must not be allowed to continue!

By ClockerXP on 5/16/2013 12:46:41 PM , Rating: 2
Can I SlipStream this into my Win8 Pro I Have yet to Install?

I bought Win8 Pro when it was cheap but never installed it. Would love to just turn my disk into an 8.1 install.

I'm more impressed about..
By arthur449 on 5/17/2013 7:37:08 AM , Rating: 2
I'm more impressed by the author's ability to collect and distribute links to twenty other news stories, twelve of which are his own.

This has the makings of some kind of Dailytech drinking game, except that I'd either be too wasted to read by the end of it, or (more likely) suffering from a serious case of dead.

Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By Arsynic on 5/14/13, Rating: -1
RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By DukeN on 5/14/2013 4:06:32 PM , Rating: 2
Haswell should help bridge this gap...

RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By Arsynic on 5/14/2013 4:12:05 PM , Rating: 2
I hope so, because RT confuses consumers (it looks too much like Windows 8 Pro) and the only decent devices go up against the iPad.

RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By dgingerich on 5/14/13, Rating: 0
RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By Argon18 on 5/14/2013 6:09:06 PM , Rating: 1
So everyone who doesn't have intimate knowledge of Microsoft's product portfolio, as well as the various tablet processor architectures, is an "idiot"? Seriously?

The fact is, Microsoft screwed up big time with this product. They gave it the same look and feel as their desktop Windows OS. They even named it "Windows". But it's completely incompatible with any previous Windows software, from Microsoft or anyone else.

Windows RT is its own closed proprietary ecosystem, not compatible with anything else. Marketing it as a " Microsoft Windows tablet " is most definitely confusing. Add to the incompatibility, the fact that the devices are all under-powered and overpriced. Which is why only an idiot would buy an Windows RT tablet.

By karimtemple on 5/15/2013 8:35:30 AM , Rating: 2
But this isn't strictly true, is it? 8 and RT can run the same software, it's just that it doesn't include legacy software.

It's true that they could have represented that by calling RT "RT" instead of "Windows RT," and simply said that Windows can run RT software too, but Microsoft has a goal here and that strategy does not serve that goal. Microsoft wants to be able to say that they have a platform that seamlessly applies to every form factor from the phone to the desktop.

By Visual on 5/15/2013 8:49:04 AM , Rating: 2
It didn't have to be incompatibe, and that's the main thing that pisses me off. They just chose to make it more so on purpose.

Obviously it couldn't ever run x86 code 100% smooth, even though and emulator that forwards API calls by a XDA developer is showing a great potential. I wish MS could have thought of that and made it themselves, and it's still not too late for them to help along, but regardless, that is not even the main point.

A lot of desktop programs can be (and already have been) implemented in potentially cross-platform scripting languages, like powershell or javascript using winforms or WPF APIs, but MS chose to block those APIs. Why?
Or even just javascript/html5, which is one of the options for the metro apps, why is it not allowed for desktop apps? Why remove .hta applications support?
Why not allow sideloading of apps, allow normal users to run unsigned or selfsigned apps, even if after some security confirmation prompt?
Why make the whole platform so hostile to casual developers and tinkerers...

By domboy on 5/15/2013 8:36:59 AM , Rating: 2
There are still a couple things I wish I could do with it, like a serial terminal for programming switches and raid arrays and a VNC client software, but you can't win them all.

If you're willing to run the script to modify the executable signing requirement, TightVNC has been recompiled to run on ARM.

Putty is on the list too, but unless you know of a Serial to USB adapter that works with Windows RT you're still stuck. I tried the one I had a work and RT didn't have a driver for it.

By Bateluer on 5/14/2013 4:34:46 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By Jammrock on 5/14/2013 4:40:20 PM , Rating: 2
Haswell is going to be awesome for tablets and ultrabooks. And for HTPC's. And I'm sure desktops will be happy too.

By StevoLincolnite on 5/14/2013 7:31:32 PM , Rating: 1
From a performance perspective, Haswell isn't anything special if the leaks are anything to go by.

At the moment I'm running Sandy Bridge-E, I'm finding it difficult to get excited about Ivy Bridge-E or Haswell, the performance gains just aren't there to entice me to upgrade.

Heck, all Intel had to do with Ivy Bridge-E was add a couple more cores and I would have spent $600 - $1000 for a CPU upgrade, but that's not even happening. :(

For portable devices? Haswell is an entirely different ball game.

By Shadowself on 5/14/2013 5:24:26 PM , Rating: 2
Haswell is a step in that direction. However, it will take until Broadwell (or maybe even Skylake) to really get there.

By ResStellarum on 5/15/2013 12:35:26 PM , Rating: 2
Haswell should help bridge this gap...

Where have I heard that before I wonder.. Oh yeah, I remember now. For the last two intel atom generations people have been saying the exact same thing, and guess what, the Atom is still no where near ARM's RISC in terms of efficiency or price.

Wake me up when an in production Intel arch beats ARM, not some next gen design that's not even out yet.

By Mint on 5/14/2013 4:46:20 PM , Rating: 2
They can compete just fine. Look at Anandtech's articles on the topic.

We just need to wait for competition to kick in for Atom tablets, like they did for Atom netbooks. They should be no more than $50 pricier than the equivalent ARM tablet, but right now it's more like $200.

RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By 91TTZ on 5/14/2013 5:00:06 PM , Rating: 5
ARM chips are not more efficient when it comes to performance per watt. Most of this misconception stems from the difference in performance between ARM chips and X86 chips. People see a fast x86 chip that uses more power, so they divide the power consumption by the speed multiple. In other words, if an Intel chip is 3x faster than an ARM chip but uses 4x more power, they think the ARM chip must be more power efficient. But that's not the case. Power usage does not scale linearly with performance. If you want to increase the speed of a chip 2x, its power usage is going to climb by much more than 2x.

RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By Etsp on 5/14/2013 5:38:25 PM , Rating: 2
People see a fast x86 chip that uses more power, so they divide the power consumption by the speed multiple
Speed multiple? If by speed multiple, you mean overall performance then the following is true: if an x86 chip gets 3x the performance for 4x the power, then the ARM chip IS more efficient in terms of performance per watt. The x86 chip is only 75% as efficient. It might take the ARM chip 3x as long to do the same task, but it will only take 3/4 of the power to do it.

Also, they don't divide the power consumption by the performance, they divide the performance by the power consumption. Performance "per" Watt. Per. As in, you divide "performance" by the wattage to get performance per watt.

RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By karimtemple on 5/15/2013 8:43:35 AM , Rating: 2

p = performance units
e = energy units
(t = time units)

ARM = 1p/t (@3e)
x86 = ARMx3 = 3p/t (@4e)

Scenario: Execute 45 performance units.

ARM = 45 t, 135 e.
x86 = 15 t, 60 e.

RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By Etsp on 5/15/2013 1:38:53 PM , Rating: 2
Correction to your correction:
ARM = 1p/t (@1e)

That was the comparison. The x86 chip uses 4 times the power, not 4/3 times the power.

RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By karimtemple on 5/15/2013 2:41:52 PM , Rating: 2
Good point. However: what x86 chip? Medfield doesn't even use 1.1x the power, let alone 4x.

RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By Etsp on 5/15/2013 5:38:30 PM , Rating: 2
I was responding to 91TTZ's comment, and that's where those numbers come from. Specifically:
In other words, if an Intel chip is 3x faster than an ARM chip but uses 4x more power, they think the ARM chip must be more power efficient.

I'm not sure why that comment is rated a 4... his own example proves him wrong... the ARM chip in that configuration IS more power efficient.

By karimtemple on 5/16/2013 8:41:43 AM , Rating: 2
Well I was doing a direct comparison, but 91TTZ wasn't. He was saying if you made Hypothetical ARM Chip as powerful as Hypothetical x86 Chip, the ARM chip would use more power. It's not strictly relevant when you start talking about direct device usage comparisons, but it's still a pretty salient point. And it's a point that could contribute toward his premise if properly followed up.

RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By Strunf on 5/15/2013 9:07:02 AM , Rating: 2
What he says is that if lets say you could increase the performance of the ARM by 3x to get the same performance as the x86 then you would expect your power would only increase by 3x too, however that's not the case, performance and power doesn't scale at the same rate, within the same architecture to double your performance you would have to multiply your power requirements by much more than 2x.

Performance/watt favors smaller/less complex CPUs, what you say is true however I would rather have a tablet that lasts for 8h and has the same performance of my PC than one that lasts for 24h with 1/3 the performance of my PC, mobility is important but after a certain number of hours it only becomes relevant for some.

By Etsp on 5/15/2013 1:57:26 PM , Rating: 2
It's certainly more complicated than simply increasing the power by 3x to get 3x the performance. I agree with that completely.

That said, if a slower ARM SoC can get the job done, why use x times the power for an x86?

There exists a sweet-spot for battery life for mobile devices, and more efficient chips help you get to that point. I suspect phones and smaller devices require a longer battery life than a tablet. 8 hours on a tablet sounds right to me, but on a phone would be unacceptable.

RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By tayb on 5/14/2013 5:05:44 PM , Rating: 2
x86 just can't compete with ARM SoCs when it comes to the sweet spot of portability and battery life.

Neither Intel/AMD nor Arm can deliver enough performance at a low enough power envelope. Arm is low power but also low performance. X86 is high high power but high performance. They are both heading the opposite direction it is just a matter of who gets their first.

In my opinion it doesn't really matter who gets there first as long as Intel gets there in the next 3-4 years. If the Surface Pro had 10 hours of battery life you wouldn't be able to find one. Microsoft wouldn't be able to keep up with demand.

By mcnabney on 5/14/2013 7:21:11 PM , Rating: 2
That would help, but 99.999% of the software that Win8 Pro tablets can run are NOT happy with the touch interface. They are made for the high precision of the mouse.

By althaz on 5/14/2013 10:31:12 PM , Rating: 2
If the Surface Pro had 10 hours of battery life you wouldn't be able to find one. Microsoft wouldn't be able to keep up with demand.

I still can't bloody find one!

By Ammohunt on 5/14/2013 5:17:38 PM , Rating: 2
You opened a can of worms with the intel fanbois..didja hear the next intel version of atom will slice, dice and julienne! ARM is in billions of devices intel faces a steep uphill battle.

By XZerg on 5/16/2013 9:19:01 AM , Rating: 1
your statement don't make sense
Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until... x86 tablets get better battery life. And even then, ARM will always be ahead of the curve.
at all

Windows RT is meant for ARM based chips and should in fact benefit from x86 tablets not having better battery life and inversely suffer a pathetic death if and when x86 tablets get better battery life.

As for
ARM will always be ahead of the curve
- correct Ms. Sylvia Browne. Look at how fast Intel is progressing towards cutting the power envelope and at the same time improving performance/power - try comparing the same against ARM chips. ARM chips are easily beat by the "poorly" designed Atom chips in performance and are NOT superbly better in terms of battery life. The same Atom chip you would not like to have on your computer to run the heavy weight Windows OS and applications. How do you think ARM chips would fare against the same usage?

Wait and watch how things play out and go for the products that best suite your needs at the time. For me I am in no hurry to pick up a tablet and would rather have a full-fledged Windows system capable of running the apps I have to use.

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