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News Windows on ARM, getting 64 bit emulation

zir_blazer

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Jun 6, 2013
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I'm not surprised because similar things were done before, but the point is how good/bad it will be perform. We're talking about smartphone and tablet level CPUs, emulation would be pretty much a last resort if you REALLY want to run something that isn't available in as a native ARM binary since you don't have as much performance to throw away as in a desktop form factor.
Unless ARM (nVidia?) intends to step up, of course...
 

NTMBK

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Nov 14, 2011
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Good to see this. Makes ARM a much more credible replacement for x86- a future high performance ARM CPU could convincingly emulate the entire Windows back catalogue.
 

Gideon

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Nov 27, 2007
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I wonder do they support vector extentions? SSE would obviously be the minimum but imo at least some level of support for AVX/AVX2 is required for broad x64 support
 

Tup3x

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Dec 31, 2016
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I'm not surprised because similar things were done before, but the point is how good/bad it will be perform. We're talking about smartphone and tablet level CPUs, emulation would be pretty much a last resort if you REALLY want to run something that isn't available in as a native ARM binary since you don't have as much performance to throw away as in a desktop form factor.
Unless ARM (nVidia?) intends to step up, of course...
I sure hope so that someone has balls to create high performance & socketable desktop ARM chip.
 
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guidryp

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Apr 3, 2006
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I wonder do they support vector extentions? SSE would obviously be the minimum but imo at least some level of support for AVX/AVX2 is required for broad x64 support
It doesn't seem that critical given that (IIRC) Intels is still selling Pentium/Celrons in 2020 without AVX.
 

Gideon

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Nov 27, 2007
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It doesn't seem that critical given that (IIRC) Intels is still selling Pentium/Celrons in 2020 without AVX.
Right you are! Pretty insane that even upper end Comet Lake Pentiums like G6600 lack basic AVX support.

However people would still compare high-end ARM chips in cinebench and whatnot, where they would be a lot more competitive with at least some level of support.
 

soresu

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Dec 19, 2014
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Coupled with the new OGL and OCL -> DX12 translation layers this should be a huge boon to legacy software compatibility on that platform.

A shame that it wasn't already there on the initial release mind, pretty unforgivable for such a titan sized company IMHO.

Perhaps ARMac shoved a cattle prod up their posterior with siazable voltage.
 

zir_blazer

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Jun 6, 2013
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I wonder do they support vector extentions? SSE would obviously be the minimum but imo at least some level of support for AVX/AVX2 is required for broad x64 support
x64 requires SSE2 as base. Rest is optional, but makes sense that they have AVX/AVX2.
 

guidryp

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Apr 3, 2006
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I sure hope so that someone has balls to create high performance & socketable desktop ARM chip.
We will see high performance laptop parts before desktop parts. Laptops is where they can show an advantage.

It will be up to the ARM laptops to create the market that might spawn ARM desktops. Though there could be Windows ARM NUC type machines built with the laptop parts.
 

Thala

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Nov 12, 2014
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On related news, we will soon have full .Net Core 5 support for ARM64. The only piece missing at the moment is WPF support, which is expected in 1Q21. Windows Forms and ASP.Net support for ARM64 is already working in the betas of .Net Core 5.
 

Thala

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Nov 12, 2014
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Right you are! Pretty insane that even upper end Comet Lake Pentiums like G6600 lack basic AVX support.

However people would still compare high-end ARM chips in cinebench and whatnot, where they would be a lot more competitive with at least some level of support.
Emulation will never be a thing, where you can showcase the performance of the CPU against the competition in benchmarks.
However there are many apps, in particular games, which are not CPU limited - so practically having the ability to run 64 bit apps will be a big win in particular for games.
 

Shivansps

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Sep 11, 2013
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The biggest block of Windows on ARM is drivers, and Microsoft itself not selling licenses. Check Windows 10 ARM on Raspberry PI 4, you can get it installed, right now, but... no drivers.

But this was definatelly needed for the ARM devices with Windows, as i said, almost no one gets a Windows device that cant use the Windows software catalog.
 

soresu

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Dec 19, 2014
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I just hope this will be followed up with Win/ARM hardware using a more recent core soon.
The latest cores announced in May are not in any products yet and won't be till Q1-Q2 2021.

They may just be doing a Huawei and waiting 2 gens to get a more sizable perf upgrade over A76.

That or waiting for Microsoft to lean further into proper WARM investment - ie more native ARM64 ports of tools, x64 emulation, OGL support etc etc.

I can understand them being hesitant to throw good money after bad when MS didn't really seem to be trying very hard until ARMac bit them on the bum.
 

SarahKerrigan

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Oct 12, 2014
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The latest cores announced in May are not in any products yet and won't be till Q1-Q2 2021.

They may just be doing a Huawei and waiting 2 gens to get a more sizable perf upgrade over A76.

That or waiting for Microsoft to lean further into proper WARM investment - ie more native ARM64 ports of tools, x64 emulation, OGL support etc etc.

I can understand them being hesitant to throw good money after bad when MS didn't really seem to be trying very hard until ARMac bit them on the bum.
I'm fully aware that A78 and X1 aren't in products yet. If they're going to be in whatever 8cx's eventual successor is, I'd expect us to hear about it around Dec-Jan, presumably in the same timeframe as the Snap875 announcement.

That being said, I'm a little surprised we haven't seen some A77 solution - whether that means a new dedicated laptop chip (which, as you noted, is a considerable investment when Microsoft and arguably the OEMs have been lukeWARM) or repurposing the 865 or 865+, which would provide a meaningful ST win and possibly an MT win over the 8cx.
 
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Thala

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Nov 12, 2014
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I'm fully aware that A78 and X1 aren't in products yet. If they're going to be in whatever 8cx's eventual successor is, I'd expect us to hear about it around Dec-Jan, presumably in the same timeframe as the Snap875 announcement.

That being said, I'm a little surprised we haven't seen some A77 solution - whether that means a new dedicated laptop chip (which, as you noted, is a considerable investment when Microsoft and arguably the OEMs have been lukeWARM) or repurposing the 865 or 865+, which would provide a meaningful win and possibly an MT win over the 8cx.
I assume we will see X1 on 5n as next laptop solution from Qualcomm, hopefully with 8 big cores...should be doable with slightly higher TDP like 10W.
 

soresu

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Dec 19, 2014
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I assume we will see X1 on 5n as next laptop solution from Qualcomm, hopefully with 8 big cores...should be doable with slightly higher TDP like 10W.
More likely 4x X1 at most + 4x A78 given the higher power draw of X1 relative to A76.

Possibly once we see desktops using the 8cx successors we might get a full 8x Xn core SoC - though I'm happy to eat crow on that score if there is any possibility of a high end SD based SBC in that future.
 
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moinmoin

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Jun 1, 2017
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x64 requires SSE2 as base. Rest is optional, but makes sense that they have AVX/AVX2.
Didn't we speculate earlier that x64 emulation was held back by patents?

...yes, that was a discussion nearly a year ago.

SSE2 was introduced 20 years ago. Patents expire after 20 years. Since x64 is newer AMD appears to be open to share the relevant parts. As SSE2 is Intel's IP and they apparently waited for related patents to lapse, Intel seems not be open to share the relevant parts which would make emulation for SSE3/4, AVX and so on unlikely before expiration of the respective patents.
 

zir_blazer

Senior member
Jun 6, 2013
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Didn't we speculate earlier that x64 emulation was held back by patents?

...yes, that was a discussion nearly a year ago.

SSE2 was introduced 20 years ago. Patents expire after 20 years. Since x64 is newer AMD appears to be open to share the relevant parts. As SSE2 is Intel's IP and they apparently waited for related patents to lapse, Intel seems not be open to share the relevant parts which would make emulation for SSE3/4, AVX and so on unlikely before expiration of the respective patents.
Patents shouldn't even be involved here. We have predecent where emulation was completely legal. For example, Sony sued the developers from the Bleem PSX emulator and lost hard. And Transmeta sold x86 compatible Processors that had a VLIW core with some sort of emulator-style front end to decode x86 instructions. So, who is going to raise an eyebrown for a built-in x86-64 emulator?


BTW, QEMU TCG (Tiny Code Generator), which is its CPU emulator, does NOT support AVX. BOSCH supports even certain AVX512 sets, though.


OH WAIT. Read THIS from 2017, which is directly reelevant since it involves Microsoft and Qualcomm CPUs. So basically, Intel is now a sideshow.
 
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Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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I can understand them being hesitant to throw good money after bad when MS didn't really seem to be trying very hard until ARMac bit them on the bum.
Do you really think Apple switching from x86 to ARM for macOS is something Microsoft cares about? Other than the increased userbase for Windows/ARM that Apple's transition will bring, I don't see why they care. In what way does an ARM Mac "bite them on the bum"?
 

Thala

Golden Member
Nov 12, 2014
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Didn't we speculate earlier that x64 emulation was held back by patents?

...yes, that was a discussion nearly a year ago.

SSE2 was introduced 20 years ago. Patents expire after 20 years. Since x64 is newer AMD appears to be open to share the relevant parts. As SSE2 is Intel's IP and they apparently waited for related patents to lapse, Intel seems not be open to share the relevant parts which would make emulation for SSE3/4, AVX and so on unlikely before expiration of the respective patents.
You do not need the IP (e.g. the Microarchitecture) in order to write an emulator. The ISA is just enough - which is pretty much an open description.
 

guidryp

Senior member
Apr 3, 2006
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You can now order a Microsoft Surface Pro X with SQ2 processor, but no details on how it differs from SQ1:
 

Thala

Golden Member
Nov 12, 2014
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You can now order a Microsoft Surface Pro X with SQ2 processor, but no details on how it differs from SQ1:
From what i read, higher clock speed and another GPU upgrade along with longer battery duration.
 

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