June 25, 2024

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Microsoft has rebuilt Windows 11 with AI and Arm chips

Microsoft has rebuilt Windows 11 with AI and Arm chips

Microsoft’s Windows on Arm problems may finally be over. As part of the company’s new Copilot + AI PC initiative, which includes new Surfaces and partner systems running Qualcomm’s Snapdragon This includes a new kernel, a new compiler, and most importantly, an emulator called “Prism” to run older x86 and x64 applications.

However, you’d be forgiven for doubting. Since launching the Windows RT-powered Surface in 2012, Microsoft has proven that it can’t be trusted to deliver a decent operating system experience on Arm. This device could not run legacy x86 applications (who wants to do that in Windows, right?) And it was much slower than computers with Intel and AMD CPUs. Windows on Arm has slowly improved over the years, to the point where it now has serviceable emulation on the Surface Pro 9 5G. But this list still couldn’t keep up with its Intel-equipped counterpart, especially when it struggled to emulate popular apps like Chrome.

Microsoft says it has reworked Windows 11 schedulers to take advantage of the capabilities of Arm and AI workloads. There’s also a new driver computation model that recognizes neural engines similar to how Windows sees CPUs and GPUs, as well as AI APIs built directly into the operating system. Essentially, Arm devices shouldn’t feel like an afterthought and developers should be able to take advantage of AI capabilities more easily.

As Microsoft works to bring more native Arm apps to Windows 11, it’s hard to deny the importance of supporting older software. This is where the Prism emulator comes into play. Microsoft claims it’s about 20 percent faster than its previous emulator, and it’s also improved the number of apps it supports.

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