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SoC joins the fold of ARM-based processors for Windows 8

Now that Microsoft's Windows 8 is officially out of the bag, we can also confirm that it will be running on ARM-based processors from Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Texas Instruments, and, of course, Intel. 

Qualcomm will be unleashing its next-generation, dual-core "Krait" MSM8960 processor on upcoming Windows 8 devices. The Krait boasts clock speeds of up to 2.5GHz and integrating both 3G and LTE onto a single piece of silicon, CNET reports. Windows 8 has also been demonstrated running on a single-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon.

Meanwhile, NVIDIA showed off a Windows 8 tablet running on the quad-core Kal-El processor. The Kal-El boasts four CPU cores and 12 GPU cores, with five times the performance of the Tegra 2 that's currently used in NVIDIA-powered Android tablets.

Not to be outdone, Texas Instruments unleashed its own ARM-based Windows 8 processor, the 1.8GHz OMAP4470. The SoC is powered by a pair of 1.0GHz ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore engines and two 266MHz ARM Cortex-M3 (multimedia duties). That's paired with a single-core PowerVR SGX544 GPU that supports DirectX, OpenGL ES 2.0, OpenVG 1.1, and OpenCL 1.1 (said to boost graphics performance by 2.5x). 

The OMAP4470 promises an 80 percent increase in web browsing performance and better power usage. The SoC was designed for tablets, netbooks and smartphones running Android, Linux, and Windows 8, and can support up to three HD displays at a resolution of QXGA (2048x1536). 

The 45nm OMAP4470 will begin sampling the second half of the year, with the first devices based on it to start hitting shelves in the first half of 2012.



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On a tangent
By Flunk on 6/2/2011 9:28:33 AM , Rating: 2
All this new ARM Windows news has me thinking. If they can keep the prices down this could mean some well-priced notebooks for all our non-techy friends and relatives. You know, the people who just use office, surf the web and check their email.

I could see buying a $300 arm-based laptop for my Mother, this whole thing could make a lot of sense.




RE: On a tangent
By theapparition on 6/2/2011 10:30:34 AM , Rating: 3
They have plenty of $300 Netbooks and laptops that already let non-techy people use office, surf the web and check thier email.

Welcome to years ago. How does Arm change this?

I'm not saying anything negative about Arm, just don't see why all of a sudden you think this is going to open up a new market, when there are already plenty of products in that market.


RE: On a tangent
By nxjwfgwe on 6/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: On a tangent
By nafhan on 6/2/2011 12:06:15 PM , Rating: 2
Eh... the problem is people don't generally run Windows for the sake of running Windows - they run Windows for the applications. The apps will need to run on ARM as well or this will only be slightly more useful than giving your non-techy friend or relative a Ubuntu netbook... I suspect that (at minimum) MS Office will be available and fully functional, though - that might be enough for some.


RE: On a tangent
By geddarkstorm on 6/2/2011 12:57:05 PM , Rating: 2
Word has been shown to be on the ARM cores already but the Windows 8 team.

You have to remember, the programs have to be re-written already so they can work well with a touch screen. Not a big leap to port them to ARM while doing that.


RE: On a tangent
By geddarkstorm on 6/2/2011 12:59:25 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, but if we're talking about NOTEBOOKS instead of tablets... Then there isn't really an advantage unless you want huge amounts of battery life? Depends on what Microsoft does and how much effort it goes to to let its programs work with ARM; if it'll be worth it or not to have above the tablet space in the mainstream.


RE: On a tangent
By repatch on 6/2/2011 1:19:50 PM , Rating: 2
Really? Have you seen what most people use their laptops for these days?

Most of what I see people use their laptops for is:
- browser
- office
- citrix (for those business users)

That's about it. Many play their games in the browser. Almost all use web mail. Most music is streamed (i.e. grooveshark), otherwise most use itunes. Videos are almost exclusively streamed, often in the browser.

The market is changing. People simply don't care as much about "software", it's "apps" that are king, and that is an area where "other" os's and processors are on equal or better footing.

The days of $100 software packages that the masses are interested in are slowly disappearing.

Just yesterday I wanted to crop and rotate a photo and then post it on facebook. I did it all on my phone. It used to be I'd have to open an application on my PC, now the phone did it all. Amazing.


RE: On a tangent
By medys on 6/2/2011 2:16:48 PM , Rating: 2
The answer here might be .NET
We have moved our development to .NET couple of years ago so we're ready for now Windows ARM :)


wait it can run direct x?
By superPC on 6/2/2011 9:29:28 AM , Rating: 2
does that mean we can still run old direct x game on new windows 8 even with new ARM processor? no wonder kal-el can run lost planet 2 ( http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/02/nvidia-kal-el-d... )




RE: wait it can run direct x?
By StevoLincolnite on 6/2/2011 10:48:35 AM , Rating: 2
No it doesn't mean every game and piece of software will run...

Some software explicitly requires MMX/SSE/3D Now! CPU instruction sets to even launch.
Not sure how attempts at emulating CPU instructions sets has gone, but I don't imagine it would come cheaply in terms of CPU cycles which is vital on the already relatively low performing ARM chips.

That's also without taking note of games and software written in machine code and optimized for x86 either, that would probably throw a fit on an ARM CPU.

Then you have performance... ARM is still several years behind Intel and AMD in regards to performance, even more significant is the IGP is still relatively weak in ARM CPU's.

I don't expect them to ever play anything more than casual games which are either designed to support the ARM architecture or use various API's/software layers so that the type of CPU is a non-issue or... Are older games ported to the platform.


RE: wait it can run direct x?
By Wiggy Mcshades on 6/2/2011 2:27:36 PM , Rating: 2
Modern games are usually ports from consoles, that ensures they won't have support for SSE or any other x86 extensions. The 360's cpu has a SIMD engine, but you can't even use it. Anything written for the 360 could be ported to work for arm without an extensive amount of work. Modern software is never written in machine code (assembly) or manually optimized at that low level. Modern x86 cpu's are so complex if you wanted to optimize code for one using assembly you'd probably be able to do a PHD thesis on your work and still not gain any performance. That's why intel writes their own compilers and assemblers, us mere mortals couldn't touch the optimizations done by intel's compilers and or assemblers. Games can and will be running on arm and you'll see those same games running on x86. Then there's XNA, which is 100% hardware agnostic and still very capable.


RE: wait it can run direct x?
By StevoLincolnite on 6/2/2011 3:10:49 PM , Rating: 2
Actually... Allot of modern PC titles use SSE2, ports or not.
I know this because I have an old Athlon XP as a file server which lacks SSE2 (Does have an AGP Radeon 4670 though.)

And for kicks I try to get modern games to run on it for tweak guides and diagnosing problems for a forum I frequent to that is targeted at such users.


By StevoLincolnite on 6/2/2011 3:16:32 PM , Rating: 2
I forgot to add that the games that require SSE2 are pretty much impossible to run, well I haven't found a way anyway.


By geddarkstorm on 6/2/2011 12:55:36 PM , Rating: 2
That demo was amazing. I am totally waiting for one of these type of tablets.


A bit late to the party?
By bug77 on 6/2/2011 8:59:49 AM , Rating: 2
I thought everybody has already moved to 45nm.




RE: A bit late to the party?
By amanojaku on 6/2/2011 9:17:25 AM , Rating: 2
TI had 45nm back in 2009, with the OMAP36x.

http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/News/TI-dieshri...

This SoC is the third of the OMAP4 series, all of which are already 45nm.

http://focus.ti.com/general/docs/wtbu/wtbuproductc...

The OMAP5 series being developed is targeting 28nm for next year.

http://newscenter.ti.com/Blogs/newsroom/archive/20...


RE: A bit late to the party?
By bug77 on 6/2/2011 9:39:13 AM , Rating: 2
So, everybody has already moved to 45nm. My bad.


RE: A bit late to the party?
By Exirtis on 6/2/2011 11:57:42 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it seems that the 45nm mention regarding the processor was just for completeness of information, not to indicate ground-breakingness.


Good job, MS?
By 3minence on 6/2/2011 9:49:51 AM , Rating: 2
It looks like MS is on the right path. A version of Windows that runs on ARM along with apps like Word. Remember MS, not just the OS but the Apps need to be modified to run on tablets.

I am a little worried Win 8 will still be too big to run well on an ARM CPU, MS does have a bed habit of writing bloated apps, but hopefully they will prove me wrong and Win8 will be agile.

I bet they have to drop backward compatibility almost completely. In order to run a thin OS you need to strip everything that isn't needed. I pretty sure that includes backward compatibility, at least for pre-Vista apps.




RE: Good job, MS?
By phantom505 on 6/2/2011 5:37:07 PM , Rating: 2
If MS holds to tradition, Win8 will be horrible. Every other release of their main OS has sucked ever since I can remember. Perhaps they had 2 winners in a row that I can't recall right now, but that has been the rule and not the exception. So I'm looking forward to Win IX or w/e they brand it.


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