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The next ARM-powered Surface might finally be powerful enough

A series of Geekbench listings for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 are hinting at the performance potential of the next ARM-powered Surface device.

Though Digital Trends can’t verify the authenticity, a total of five Geekbench results seem to indicate that Microsoft is testing a product with Qualcomm’s latest ARM-based chip. The listings have the “OEMVL OEMVL Product Name EV2” product name, which could be the code-name for a prototype Surface — yet Surface branding doesn’t appear anywhere at all on the results page.

The back of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Judging from the past, this means the product could be the next Surface Pro X or a new Surface Laptop, suggested by the German blog Winfuture. And “EV2” could refer to Microsoft’s Equipment Verification Testing devices, which are used to iron our hardware bugs before consumer release.

However, what matters most are the Geekbench results. Qualcomm previously indicated that the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 could deliver an up to 85% generational performance uplift and up to 60% greater performance per watt in Geekbench 5 multi-thread testing over an x86 processor. Other rumors from 2021 also showed that Microsoft’s SQ3 Chip (based on this Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3) could have delivered 60% performance improvement against the current SQ2, and performance equal to an Intel Core i7-1160G7 CPU.

Though we don’t know the true specs of the device Microsoft could have been testing here, the benchmarks actually show its results to be on par with Intel’s Tiger Lake U series chips. That’s been a constant hurdle with ARM-powered PCs, specifically the Surface Pro X. Combined with Windows 11 optimization for ARM chips on the Microsoft side of things, we might finally start to see wider adoption.

Again, we can’t verify the authenticity of the listing, as Geekbench listings can be altered, but the results show that in the multi-core score, the 8cx Gen 3 actually can come close to Intel’s 25-watt Core i7-1165G7 processor. The Qualcomm in question nets 5574, and the Intel, a 5571. Single-core scores, meanwhile, aren’t that comparable at 867 on the Qualcomm and 1541 on the Intel.

Microsoft usually opts for using ARM-based chips in the Surface Pro X, so it’s more than likely this could be a Pro X device, rather than a Surface Laptop. However, considering Microsoft’s partners are launching medium-end laptops with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor (See the Samsung Galaxy Book Go,) it’s not out of the realm that a Surface Laptop could also sport the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3.

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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…
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