Despite the failure a few years ago of Windows RT, the limited version of Windows that ran on ARM systems when the first Surface devices were around, Microsoft has had another crack at putting their OS on the ARM architecture. But benchmark results suggest poor performance and limited compatibility.
Techspot has conducted extensive benchmarking and found a number of major challenges facing this platform.
For starters, the ARM architecture which will allow many Windows apps to run through X86 emulation, only supports 32-bit apps. So, any software you use that only comes in 64-bit versions won’t run on ARM-based systems, like the HP Envy x2 they used for testing.
Also, games using OpenGL 1.1 or later won’t work and Hyper-V is not supported,
Across the full suite of benchmarks run by Techspot, the Envy was either the worst or second worst running system, with the only system that offered poorer performance a Celeron-based device. And a number of benchmarks didn’t work because of compatibility issues – likely to be the result of ARM systems not supporting any x86 drivers. Only devices that work with generic Windows drivers are likely to work unless hardware makers make drivers that support ARM.
The only win for the ARM systems is battery life.
So, what’s the point of an ARM-based system? They will probably pass the “good enough” test for those that have modest computing needs. As all x86 apps are run in emulation the benchmark results are not surprising but for general web browsing, grabbing some email and knocking out the odd document, those issues aren’t likely to a be a bog deal.
But the limitations probably mean ARM-based systems are not going to make any inroads in the business or education sectors.