Skip to main content

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.

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.

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…
Microsoft just teased its next big Windows 11 update
Windows 11 22H2 Tablet Taskbar YouTube screenshot

Microsoft has given us a glimpse of a feature that "Moment 2" may bring as early as January 2023.

Since Windows 11 version 22H2, the Redmond, WA company has dedicated to releasing smaller feature updates, known internally as "Moment." The first one gave us the much-requested tabs in File Explorer (along with its Context IQ tech). The next Windows 11 version 22H2 "Moment" is currently slated for early 2023, according to sources, after it undergoes testing throughout 2022.

Read more
Are Windows 11 security features killing your gaming performance? You might be surprised
A gaming laptop with the ReSpec brand over it.

Microsoft resurrected a controversial topic in the PC gaming community recently: Windows 11's security features. Days after Windows 11 launched, there was an outcry among PC gamers due to a security feature that is enabled by default in Windows 11. In particular, Virtualization Based Security or VBS.

PCGamer cried foul after it noticed a 28% drop in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but Windows 11, at the time, was experiencing gaming performance drops of 15% or more in some cases, so the results didn't sound out of order.

Read more
Did Microsoft accidentally leak the next version of Windows?
a view of the strange new windows from ignite 2022

A brief glimpse of a desktop. Just a moment to take in what you were looking at. But then it hits you. Did Microsoft accidentally leak its next version of Windows during the company's Ignite event? Many watching the event are asking the same question.
Zac Bowden at Windows Central has done a great job of breaking down what, exactly, you saw. For a moment, there was a Windows desktop with a floating taskbar along the bottom and a Mac-esque Dock along the top, and a floating search box in the center of the screen. 

This is not the first time we’ve seen this design. Microsoft is working on a three-year update cycle and the next version of Windows is known internally as "Next Valley." The user interface shown off briefly at Ignite matches up with what we know about Next Valley. Of course, the update is not due until 2024. 
For starters, the floating taskbar along the bottom of the screen takes direct inspiration from macOS, down to the rounded corners and the frosted glass background. The icons look bigger and brighter, a la macOS. 
Next, the toolbar along the top featured a battery icon, Wi-Fi icon, the date on the right, and weather on the left. All of this was on the same frosted glass background as the taskbar. If you didn’t know better, you might think this was actually a MacBook running Windows.
But the giant floating search bar in the upper-middle of the screen belies that notion. It was pure Microsoft from the icons to search and close to the font in the search box. What it was doing there on the screen is a big question.
Is Microsoft planning on adding a big floating search box to Windows? If so, it could work a lot like Apple’s new Dynamic Island on iPhone. In fact, we’ve seen a leak for Dynamic Island on Mac, and we were not fans. It would take up a lot of usable space, slow the system down with needless animations, and while not being terribly useful. It'll be interesting to see how Microsoft plans to handle it.
This brief glimpse of a strange Windows operating system may have been nothing more than a mock-up of somebody’s idea for Windows. It could have been an experimental concept that accidentally made it into the presentation. Or it could have been an intentional leak of what Microsoft has planned in Next Valley, giving us a glimpse of what's to come.

Read more