Microsoft has lagged behind in the race to adopt ARM chips in desktop and laptop computers, especially compared to Mac and the Linux ecosystem. However, the company is slowly changing course, and now Microsoft has new hardware to prove it.
Hot on the heels of the Surface Pro 9, which offers a custom Qualcomm chip in some models instead of an Intel CPU, Microsoft has released the “Windows Dev Kit 2023,” also known as Project Volterra. As the name might imply, the primary purpose of this computer is to develop software — Microsoft says it’s a “developer-class desktop device to build, debug, and test native Windows apps for Arm.”
The compact PC measures 8 x 6 x 1.1 inches (196 mm x 152 mm x 27.6 mm), roughly the same size as Apple’s Mac Mini, and you can stack them if you need multiple systems. It has multiple USB Type-A and Type-C ports, along with Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and RJ45 Ethernet. The Dev Kit might be the most powerful Windows ARM PC to date, with a whopping 32 GB of RAM, a 512 GB NVMe drive, and a Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 chipset. It also ships with Windows 11 Pro.
Microsoft is hoping the PC will provide software developers with a test machine for the increasing number of ARM devices running Windows 10 and 11, including the Surface Pro X, Lenovo ThinkPad X13s, the 5G version of the Surface Pro 9, and modern Mac computers running Windows in a virtual machine (like Parallels or VMware Fusion). Microsoft is also updating its developer tools to work better on ARM, such as Visual Studio, the Windows App SDK, and .NET 7.
The miniature desktop PC is available to purchase in eight countries, and in the United States, it’s priced at $599.99. Even though it’s primarily targeted at software developers, anyone can buy it to try out the ARM future of Windows.
Source: Windows Blog