Apple’s latest M1 powered MacBooks are hogging the limelight. The ARM-based laptop is blazingly fast, and benchmarks have confirmed the same. A few years back, Windows debuted its ARM lineup, on Surface and other devices. PCWorld has put both ARM-based and emulated Intel software on Surface Pro X. Unsurprisingly, the Surface Pro X comes nowhere close to Apple’s M1 powered Macs.
Microsoft recently started bundling 64-bit emulator and this gave a chance to test MacBook Air M1 with Surface Pro X. PC World used Microsoft Surface Pro X with Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx is the testing rig. To run 64-bit X86 apps, they downloaded and installed Windows Insider Build 21277. Also included is an HP Pavillion x360 Convertible 14. On the other side stood Apple MacBook Air with an M1 chip.
The biggest drawback of Windows on an ARM is that it doesn’t support a 64-bit app meant for Intel and AMD. After Apple unveiled the M1 chip, Microsoft had no option but to hurry. Thus they release the first x64 emulation preview. This allows machines like Surface Pro X to run 64-bit Intel apps. It is similar to Rosetta for macOS Big Sur that allowed Intel apps to run on M1 Macs.
The test should help us realize which one is faster; the ARM-powered Windows or Apple’s M1 Mac. When subjected to a Geekbench 5 test, it is very clear, the M1 MacBook Air crushes its competition. Meanwhile, the Surface Pro X struggled to keep up with MacBook Air, and benchmarks revealed the same.
As PCWorld pointed out, the test is not exactly of equals. Firstly, Rosetta 2 is a shipping product, while the Windows x64 emulator is in beta. Furthermore, the Surface Pro X test rig is powered by an SQ1 processor instead of the more powerful SQ2 variant.
Maxon’s Cinebench paints a rendered two-dimensional image. Macworld jumped to the most recent R23 benchmark, which uses a more complex image than the R15 version PCW has used. The new R23 release supports Apple’s silicon, with no specific optimizations for the SQ1 or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips. Nevertheless, Windows on ARM running on the Surface Pro X isn’t even in the same league as the Apple Macbook M1.
HandBrake is a popular video transcoding tool. The newest version supports Apple’s M1. The Surface X Pro progressed at a relatively sluggish pace and took two hours to transcode 12 minutes 4K video. Meanwhile, the MacBook M1 did it in less than half the time.
Apple owns both the hardware and software stacks. It works closely with the chip manufacturer, and thus, all of its chipsets, including the A-Series, are considered industry benchmarks. Companies will likely stop using Intel chips to compete with Apple. However, this involves huge costs, and companies need to collaborate very closely with chipmakers like Qualcomm.[via PCWorld]