Windows 10 on ARM holds numerous advantages over the traditional Intel and Ryzen chips, but performance hasn’t been one of them. Though the low power draw mobile processors offer unparalleled efficiency, the heavy workload of emulating some apps has always left them lagging behind.
At Computex 2019, Qualcomm demonstrated a PCMark10 benchmark where its Snapdragon 8cx beat out an Intel Core i5-8250U in many scenarios. The ARM chip edged ahead in PowerPoint, Word, and Edge browser usage, as well as in the Night Raid graphics test.
Qualcomm’s best laptop processor beating one of Intel’s most common ultrabook models isn’t impressive alone, but it’s when you consider the battery life it really shines. Futuremark battery tests revealed up to 17 hours on the Snapdragon and 10 hours 21 on the Intel chip.
Graphics and Considerations
That’s not an insignificant amount. It means travelling without worrying about charging ports, or not having to top your device up every night. As always, though, there are some considerations when it comes to this test. According to XDA, the Core i5 was running on a PC with a 2K screen, which would have increased battery usage slightly.
Meanwhile, to the disadvantage of the 8cx, its laptop was a fanless system, which makes maintaining strong performance more difficult. The Office apps were also built for x86, rather than native ARM, which makes the chips scores in that regard particularly impressive.
Even so, Qualcomm is also yet to announce the price of its chip. It can beat Intel all it wants, but consumers will look at cost-to-performance rather than just raw power. Intel is expected to move to a 10nm process this year, which is likely to push it ahead again, so ARM could still be a hard sell.
However, with Electron apps like Discord and Spotify getting native support, as well as the Unity game engine, things appear to be kicking off for Qualcomm. Windows 10 on ARm doesn’t seem to have performed admirably in sales so far, but it’s a market the company now seems determined to compete in.