Microsoft debuts Arm-based personal computer for developers

Microsoft debuts Arm-based personal computer for developers

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Microsoft Corp. today introduced a new personal computer for developers, the Windows Dev Kit 2023, that features a processor based on Arm Ltd. chip designs.

The machine is designed to provide a platform on which developers can write software for Arm-based systems. In recent years, several hardware manufacturers have introduced Windows computers with Arm-based processors. Moreover, the chip design firm’s semiconductor blueprints power a growing lineup of cloud instances and data center systems.

The new Windows Dev Kit 2023 includes Qualcomm Inc.’s Arm-based Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 system-on-chip. A system-on-chip is a processor that combines multiple computing modules in a single package.

The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 includes a central processing unit that, according to Qualcomm Inc., provides up to 85% higher performance than its previous-generation silicon. The CPU is integrated with a graphics processing unit described as 60% faster than its predecessor. For enterprises, Qualcomm has added a cybersecurity module that helps protect data such as encryption keys from hacking attempts.

The Windows Dev Kit 2023 combines the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 chip with 32 gigabytes of memory and 512 gigabytes of high-speed NVME flash storage. According to Microsoft, the machine also includes a neural processing unit optimized for running artificial intelligence software. According to the company, the chip can run some neural networks up to 90 times faster than a CPU.

“Windows Dev Kit 2023 enables developers to build apps that unlock the power of the NPU hardware to accelerate AI/ML workloads delivering AI-enhanced features & experiences without compromising app performance,” Microsoft executives Pavan Davuluri and Kevin Gallo wrote in a blog post

The chassis of the Windows Dev Kit 2023 features a Mini DisplayPort that can be used to connect it to a display, as an Ethernet port and five USB ports. The machine also supports Wi-Fi 6, the latest version of the Wi-Fi wireless networking standard. The standard facilitates network connections up to three times faster than previous-generation technology.

Users of the Windows Dev Kit 2023 will have access to Arm-compatible versions of Microsoft’s core productivity applications, as well as more than a dozen third-party programs. Additionally, the machine is capable of running several popular software development tools.

The Windows Dev Kit 2023 supports Visual Studio 2022 17.4, a new Arm-optimized version of Microsoft’s popular integrated development environment. Developers use the software to write code and perform a number of related tasks. 

According to Microsoft, Visual Studio 2022 17.4 supports the widely used C++ and C# programming  languages. The software makes it possible to create Windows and web applications, as well as cloud services powered by the Node.js application development platform.

Microsoft is also making a version of its .NET framework available on the Windows Dev Kit 2023. The framework, which is popular in the enterprise, can be used to build software for multiple types of devices including desktop computers and servers. According to Microsoft, the version of .NET that will become available on the Windows Dev Kit 2023 features several new features including a set of performance improvements.

The Windows Dev Kit 2023 is available today for $599. 

Image: Microsoft

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