Skip to main content

Microsoft has new tools to encourage the transition to ARM PCs

The transition to ARM chips on Windows has been agonizingly slow, but Microsoft is attempting to put some better tools in the hands of developers to help things along. Just announced at Build 2022, Project Volterra is a new device that shows off the possibilities of ARM chips on Windows.

To be clear — this isn’t a consumer PC. Project Volterra is a developer kit designed to “leverage the power of the Snapdragon Compute Platform,” supporting the wide range of scenarios developers can explore.

Project Volterra on Windows 11 PCs.

Microsoft says it will share more details at a later date, but Project Volterra enables developers to take advantage of the powerful integrated neural processing unit (NPU) in ARM chips to build apps that execute local A.I.-accelerated workloads.

More importantly, Microsoft hopes that Volterra Windows developers will build, test, and debug ARM-native apps alongside all their favorite productivity tools, including Visual Studio, Windows Terminal, WSL, VSCode, Microsoft Office, and Teams. This should help solve the app compatibility problem and emulation issues that have held back ARM-based Windows PCs when compared to M1-powered Macs.

Along with Project Volterra, Microsoft is also announcing a comprehensive end-to-end ARM-native toolchain for ARM native apps. This includes popular apps used by developers. Examples include the Full Visual Studio 2022 & VSCode apps, Visual C++, Modern .Net 6, and Java, Classic.NET Framework, Windows Terminal, and ESDL and WSA for running Linux and Android apps. Many of these tools are coming in the next few weeks, and Microsoft says it is hard at work helping many open-source projects natively target ARM, including Python, node, git, LLVM, and more.

“We want you to build cloud-native A.I. applications. With native Arm64 Visual Studio, .NET support, and Project Volterra coming later this year, we are releasing new tools to help you take the first step on this journey,” said Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer of Windows and Devices. “You can get started today by building on our cloud and taking advantage of our tooling and services. And it’s just the beginning of what will be possible. We can’t wait to see what you build.”

Project Volterra would be just the latest step by Microsoft to support developers who want to build native ARM apps for Windows and tap into the power of the Snapdragon Compute PCs. Last year, they announced the Snapdragon Developer Kit, an affordable developer kit that reduces the cost of buying hardware to code ARM apps for Windows.

Editors' Recommendations

Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
Why Windows on ARM still couldn’t catch up this year
Surface Pro 9 5G front angled view showing display and Type Cover.

2022 was supposed to be the big year for Windows on ARM. It's been a long road to get here, and for those of us who have followed the transition from the beginning, it's not been without its ups and down.

But there was a lot of hype around Windows on ARM this year. Windows 11 was making some big improvements to compatibility, Qualcomm was bumping up performance, and the Surface Pro 9 shoved it all into the limelight. And yet, looking back at the end of 2022, Windows on ARM has hardly made a dent.
It all starts with performance

Read more
Lagging in games? This Windows 11 update might fix the problem
Woman shouting with joy while playing games on a PC.

Microsoft has apparently resolved the gaming issues in the Windows 11 22H2 update, making it safe for anyone that hasn't updated yet to do so now.

The gaming problems were confirmed by Microsoft two weeks into November, following ongoing complaints from Windows gamers that had noticed popular games lagging. A safeguard hold was placed, stopping automatic update alerts but not preventing manual updates.

Read more
In just three years, 30% of PCs may be built on ARM architecture
An Apple MacBook Pro 14 sits open on a table.

A new report suggests that ARM-based systems might become more and more common in the future, ramping up at an unprecedented pace.

ARM's system-on-a-chip (SoC) can be found in Apple M-series chips, as well as in Chromebooks, among other devices. Can the adoption of these devices rise as high as the report predicts?

Read more