Microsoft fulfilled its May 2022 promise to provide developers with an affordable piece of Arm-based hardware on which to run AI-accelerated workloads for Windows, by revealing the Windows Dev Kit 2023 and selling it for $ 599.
The box contains 32GB of RAM and 512GB 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 top things off. .
More importantly, there is also a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processing platform inside, which includes the chip designer’s Neural Processing (NPU) SDK.
That SDK is important, because Microsoft reckons the CPU and the NPUs that go with it can beat the combination of CPU and GPU when it comes to running AI workloads.
Microsoft then stated that “Windows Dev Kit 2023 allows developers to build apps that unlock the power of NPU hardware to accelerate AI / ML workloads by delivering rich features and experiences without compromising app performance.”
But the box isn’t all about AI. As Microsoft’s announcement post states, it means “developers will be able to bring the entire app development process to a compact device, giving them everything they need to build Windows apps for Arm, on Arm. “.
One of the default quotes that Microsoft included in the announcement came from Niyas Sait, technical manager of the Windows on Arm Project at Linaro. He stated that the box “works incredibly faster than the previous Arm-based Windows machine we used with our LLVM and MySQL workload.”
Does this sound like an admission that Arm-based PCs on the market today offer disappointing performance that has resulted in developers at faster x86 rates, even if that means more work to ship apps? You decide, dear reader.
Microsoft’s announcement underlines that the software giant has taken substantial steps to mature its development environments on Arm-powered hardware as it does on Tin x86, with initiatives such as native Arm64 support in the .NET Framework starting in version 4.8. 1
More tools are also on the way to simplify Arm wrestling: Visual Studio 2022 17.4, Windows App SDK with native Arm support, and VC ++ Runtime are all in the works.
.NET 7 for Arm is also forthcoming.
“With .NET 7 we have made numerous improvements for Arm in the areas of functional parity and performance,” wrote Microsoft Pavan Davuluri and Kevin Gallo. “.NET 6 had some features that worked on x64 but not Arm64, with .NET 7, and we are thrilled to have filled this gap for our developers by adding support for ASP.NET Core Module (ANCM), hence ASP apps .NET Core can use IIS on Arm64 in addition to the Kestrel server. “
If all of this excites you enough to buy the box, you can do so here, as long as you can pick it up in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom or the United States. ®