This Windows Dev Kit is the Mac Mini of the PC world | Job Binary

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Apple has been very successful with its M series chips. These SoCs now power almost the entire lineup of the company’s Mac computers, from the original and powerful M1 to the powerful M1 Ultra. But Apple isn’t the only company eyeing hardware based on the Arm architecture. Microsoft also wants to step in and encourage Arm development on Windows. That’s why the company released the first Arm-based desktop computer: Windows Dev Kit 2023.

The dev kit, called Project Volterra, is an Arm-based machine with a Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor with a corresponding Adreno GPU. It ships with 32GB of LPDDR4x RAM, 512GB of NVMe flash storage, and a variety of ports, including two USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, three USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, a Mini DisplayPort, and an Ethernet port. The device also has an embedded NPU (neural processing unit) which helps power the machine.learning and AI programs.

All of these specs cost just $599, which makes the Windows Dev Kit 2023 $100 cheaper than Apple’s M1 Mac mini tier. That device, of course, comes with the M1 chip, an eight-core CPU and GPU, as well as a 16-core NPU. However, it only comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, half the storage of the Volterra the quarter memory. The ports are good, though: Ethernet, two Thunderbolt USB-C 4 ports, two USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 ports, HDMI, and a headphone jack.

Of course, specs on paper aren’t everything. Apple has proven the M1’s potential since its launch, even with basic specs like 8GB of RAM. In tests, M1 it exceeds a lot It also compares to the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 when running in a Windows virtual machine: the M1 wins in single-core tests, and nearly ties the 8cx Gen 3 in multi-core.

However, for an Arm-based Windows mini machine, the development kit is an interesting option, even if it isn’t. you Microsoft markets this product only to software developers, although anyone can purchase it. There is no need to prove that you create the software, which means you don’t have to pay $19 developer account creation fee.

That said, the purpose of this product is for developers to test and create software using the Arm architecture. Arm is growing fast, but there are still plenty of apps and games that aren’t optimized or compatible with the platform. By creating an attractive developer kit, Microsoft is trying to increase the percentage of native Arm applications

There isn’t much on the market that competes with this type of Arm machine. You can look something like this Beelink GTR 5 (It retails for $900 but can be found for much less), but it runs the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX. For Arm-based work, in this form factor and power potential, the only other device in its category is really the M1 Mac mini.

Although it’s not Microsoft’s intention, we should soon see tech reviewers using benchmarks in the developer kit to see how it stacks up as a mainstream PC. If the feedback is positive, perhaps Microsoft will push the product to consumers in the future. I’d like to see a real Mac mini competitor on the market.

The Windows Dev Kit is available in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, UK, and the US.S.

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