Cheap Arm Box for Developers • The Register

Cheap Arm Box for Developers • The Register

Microsoft has delivered files May 2022 Promise To give developers a cheap piece of Arm-powered hardware with which to run AI-accelerated workloads for Windows, by reveal Windows Dev Kit 2023 and on sale for $599.

The box has 32 GB of RAM and 512 GB of fast storage, plus Wi-Fi 6, an RJ-45 slot, three USB-A sockets, a pair of USB-C ports, and a mini DisplayPort to round things off.

More importantly, there’s also a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 Compute platform inside, which includes the Neural Processing SDK (NPU) for the chip designer.

The SDK is important, because Microsoft believes that the CPU and its accompanying NPUs can beat the CPU and GPU combination when it comes to running AI workloads.

So Microsoft announced that “Windows Dev Kit 2023 enables developers to create applications that unleash the power of NPU hardware to accelerate AI/ML workloads that deliver AI-enhanced features and experiences without compromising application performance.”

But the fund is not just about artificial intelligence. As stated in Microsoft’s announcement, it means that “developers will be able to make their entire app development process available on one compact device, giving them everything they need to build Windows apps for Arm, on the arm.”

One of the canned quotes that Microsoft included in the ad came from Niyas Sait, CTO of the Windows on Arm Project at Linaro. He said the box “runs incredibly faster than the previous Arm-based Windows machine we’ve been using with LLVM and MySQL workloads.”

Does this read as an acknowledgment that the Arm computers on the market today deliver underwhelming performance that has led developers to fare faster at x86, even if it means more work to ship apps? You decide, dear reader.

Microsoft’s announcement indicates that the software giant has taken substantive steps toward making its development environments as mature on devices powered as they are already on x86 tin, with initiatives such as Native Arm64 support in the .NET Framework As of version 4.8.1

There are other tools on the way to make arm wrestling easier: Visual Studio 2022 17.4, the Windows App SDK with native Arm support, and the VC++ Runtime are all in the works.

NET 7 for Arm is also imminent.

Microsofties Pavan Davuluri and Kevin Gallo write: “With .NET 7, we’ve made several improvements to Arm in the areas of functional equivalence and performance.” NET 6 has some features that worked on x64 but not Arm64, with .NET 7, and we’re excited to have closed that gap for our developers by adding support for the ASP.NET Core Module (ANCM) so ASP.NET Core applications can use IIS on Arm64 In addition to the Kestrel server.”

If all this excites you enough to buy the box, you can do it over here – Provided that you can receive it in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom or the United States. ®


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