Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it would release new hardware to allow more developers to start using and supporting the Arm version of Windows. Called “Project Volterra,” all we knew at the time was that it would use a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and NVMe-based storage, support at least two monitors, and have quite a few ports.
Today, Microsoft is bringing Volterra out into the world with a brand new name: Windows Dev Kit 2023. The Dev Kit 2023 will use a Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, essentially the same chip as the Microsoft SQ3 in the new 5G version. Surface Pro 9 – plus a whopping 512GB of storage and 32GB of RAM for the surprisingly low price of $599.
We don’t know exactly how fast the 8cx Gen 3 will be (Qualcomm claims “85 percent faster” CPU performance than the 8cx Gen 2, which would put it somewhere below but within striking distance of a modern Core i5 laptop CPU. But it’s probably not Apple as fast as M1 of ). But 512GB of storage and 32GB of memory should make the Dev Kit 2023 useful as a development and testing environment.
Microsoft says that the box can be connected to up to three monitors simultaneously using its two USB-C ports and mini DisplayPort and that up to two of those displays can be 60Hz 4K displays. Three USB-A ports, gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 round out the connectivity options.
Dev Kit 2023 continues Microsoft’s efforts to natively run the entire Windows development toolchain and run it on Arm hardware without the performance penalty imposed by x86-to-Arm code translation that Windows uses to maintain compatibility with the wider universe of Windows applications. . Visual Studio, old and new versions of the .NET Framework, the Visual C++ Runtime, and other Windows development software are already available as native versions of Arm or generally as native previews of Arm that will be released at the end of the release. in the year
The last officially sanctioned Arm PC for Windows developers is last year’s $219 ECS LIVA QC170 (another name that rolls off the tongue). The Dev Kit was much cheaper than the 2023, but much more powerful, with a weak Snapdragon 7c processor, just 4GB of RAM, and a sluggish 64GB of eMMC storage. I’ve used the QC170, and it works, but it’s not nice. In everyday use, the Dev Kit 2023 should at least feel like a modern mid-range PC.
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