The Microsoft Surface Pro X is a thin, light, and fanless Windows 10 tablet powered by a Microsoft SQ1 processor (which is a custom 7W chip made by Qualcomm for the tablet). It went on sale almost a year ago for $1000 and up, and arrived to somewhat mixed reviews.
Now Microsoft is reportedly getting ready to launch a new model with a faster processor.
According to a report from Windows Central, the 2nd-gen Microsoft Surface Pro X tablet will feature a Microsoft SQ2 chip, which is expected be a custom processor based on Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 chip.
But the recently announced 8cx Gen 2 is a lot like the original Snapdragon 8cx when it comes to CPU, GPU, DSP, and other features. The main differences are that there are now support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
Since the Microsoft SQ1 processor was based on a 1st-gen Snapdragon 8cx processor, it seems likely that the SQ2 won’t really be much of an upgrade… although since it’s a custom chip, it is possible that Microsoft and Qualcomm plan to add some features that we don’t know about yet.
Windows Central notes that the new Surface Pro X will look nearly identical to the original, except there will be a new platinum color option. Up until now the Surface Pro X has been available only in black.
One other significant change is said to be coming to Windows on ARM generally, not just the Surface Pro X. According to the Windows Central report, Microsoft may be ready to add support for emulating 64-bit x86 apps on Windows computers with ARM processors starting sometime next year (with a preview that could be available before the end of 2020). Up until now users have only been able to run 32-bit x86 apps on the Surface Pro X and other Windows on ARM devices.
If true, this update could make Windows on ARM a little more useful, since it would allow you to use ARM-based tablets to run a larger number of existing Windows applications, including those that aren’t available in 32-bit versions.
What remains to be seen is what kind of performance hit Windows on ARM users will see when running those applications. Emulating x86 architecture to run 32-bit applications does take a toll on performance, which means that apps that aren’t natively compiled for ARM architecture run more slowly on ARM-based hardware.