Samsung released its first Windows laptop with an ARM processor last year, but like every other Windows on ARM device released to date it was powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.
The company’s next Windows on ARM PC could be something very different though – according to a report from ZDNet Korea, Samsung is planning to launch a Windows 10 PC with a Samsung Exynos processor featuring AMD graphics.
Samsung hasn’t made any official announcements yet, but ZDNet says it’s reporting is based on information from “major component suppliers and partners.”
Samsung announced in 2019 that it was licensing graphics technology from AMD for use in future products, possibly including smartphones. And that fueled speculation that Exynos chips with AMD Radeon graphics were on the way. But aside from the occasional rumor, we haven’t heard much about those chips yet.
Now ZDNet says the processor, which might be known as the Exynos 2200, should be ready in third quarter of 2021, which is when Samsung plans to debut the processor in its new Windows on ARM computer, which will most likely be a thin and light laptop similar to last year’s Samsung Galaxy Book S.
It’s unclear how Samsung’s new chip will stack up against Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 processor, which is currently the most powerful chip used in Windows 10 on ARM computers. But hopefully a bit of competition in this space will drive Qualcomm and other chip makers to step up their game in terms of performance.
While Windows on ARM PCs tend to offer long battery life and support for cellular networks, they also tend to be rather sluggish compared to models with Intel or AMD chips when running some applications that aren’t designed to run natively on ARM architecture. That’s because there’s a fair amount of extra work that the chips need to do in order to translate x86 apps to ARM on the fly.
Apple gets around this with its new ARM-based chips for Macs by effectively translating legacy apps before they’re run, allowing many older programs to run faster on Macs with Apple Silicon than they do on Intel-powered Macs. But unless Microsoft finds a way to improve performance for running x86 Windows apps on ARM-based PCs, the next best move is probably for chip makers to offer ARM-based processors with better performance.