MS to "merge" Intel and ARM devices in Pro 9 model line

This is really intriguing if true. Essentially the Pro 8 and Pro X are the same line physically with the Intel versions being a bit thicker, but compatible with the same accessories.

The other big new is there will be a SQ3 chip.

So, I wonder what the messaging will be on this. Is MS saying that the ARM devices are now just a performance tier and/or an alternate processor option like they do in a limited way with the Surface Laptop line which hsa a couple of models with an AMD chip?

I’m pretty sure that all this will be a focus of the upcoming Surface event.

Microsoft to merge Surface Pro X ARM and Surface Pro 9 Intel versions under one product line | Windows Central

6 Likes

There is something svelte about the Pro X chassis. It’s a tactile thing. Hope they don’t just stuff the ARM into the Intel form factor.

4 Likes

Completely agree, and I’m still not exactly sure why, as on paper anyway, the differences with the Pro 8 are quite small, primarily being a small bit thinner.

I’ve told people this, and been treated with skepticism, but when people actually do hold them side by side, I prove my point.

I also think, though it’s hard to measure, but the weight seems to be more evenly distributed whereas the Pro 8 feels slightly top heavy when held in portrait mode.

2 Likes

Would agree the SP8 is a bit beefier and top heavy compared to the SPX. Hard to imagine a few mm and ounces would make a qualitative difference, but i does. Now that IO am temporarily back on the SP8, I have to admit it is a better productivity device, but still very lacking in tablet chops…

1 Like

I cannot keep up with your switches. I thought you were back to the 2 device solution of the Macbook and IPP11?

3 Likes

DO NOT TRY TO KEEP UP - it is bad for your mental health. A family member desperately needed a replacement Mac on very short notice, so dad stepped up (or in it) and is temporarily back to the SP8, which kudos to MS fired up and started right where I left off.

PS - no luck selling the SP8 - on FleaBay for two weeks at $1399 without even a watcher…

4 Likes

Just keep ‘em both. That’s basically what I have done—full Apple ecosystem plus a Windows laptop for light gaming. Done. :smile_cat:

2 Likes

GENIUS!

Surprisingly, with the SP8 for heavy productivity lifting, I’m not missing the MBP14 (other than the gorgeous screen and integration with all my other Apple gear). In fact, when getting out six different discovery answers in two related cases the last two days, the MS muscle memory has been a real relief and things were completed FASTER in the old shoes.

I have found myself looking at Mac Mini refurb listings again… :scream:

5 Likes

We need a “trending” option for some users like @dstrauss

In other words… 65% Apple 35% Windows today. Windows up 15% over the last 14 days and forecasted to continue the upward trend until September 7th when a strong downturn in Windows is anticipated :laughing:

5 Likes

You funny you…

HEY, WAIT A MINUTE, what’s popping up on 9/7 that is NOT an iPhone (unless you’re referring to a very well hidden iPhone 14 Pro Max with 5-10x telephoto)?

So, I wonder what that means for the Go? Maybe 2 sized screens, Intel or Arm options? Sounds too rational for MS. So, it’ll be one or the other? Probably Intel. What I wouldn’t give for a fanless I5 in a Go body.

As for the SQ3 chip, it will hopefully be based on the 8cx gen 3 and have performance that exceeds the SQ1. The SQ2 performance was basically the same as the SQ1. That shouldn’t happen again.

3 Likes

I actually think this gives additional credence to the 11 inch Surface Pro rumored earlier in the year. You make the smaller 11 inch the WOA device(s) and keep the 13 on Intel

3 Likes

Or you can follow now. I noticed that I had neglected to add and enable the follow plug-in to the forum. So join me as I go down the @dstrauss rabbit hole by following him. :crazy_face:

2 Likes

Except baring few exceptions (3D software like Daz3d), having an Intel i5 or a Ryzen R5 doesn’t drastically effect how you use it. For most casual everyday users, you could remove the CPU labeling and give out Intel and AMD chips blindly, most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

WOA is a totally different story. And since my employment is in the commercial tech market, in that regard I feel this is a terrible idea. The Pro X is already the black sheep of the entire Surface Line, and the few commercial clients that do opt for it are usually greeted to a 2-page disclaimer to make sure they understand what it is they are buying, and 99% of the time they will opt for the Pro 8 instead.

While I feel this is going to definitely going foster more WOA sales, it kind of feel it will likely be by accident from clients and sales reps who missed that its not an intel model.

Instead of this, I rather see more meaningful changes to the WOA platform. Better Emulation, More apps translated over to ARM, and just being able to image the device would be nice.

How about just better and more efficient performance form Intel’s Core i5 processor?

More like…

can’t speak to the i5, but the i7 in my Pro 8 performs pretty ■■■■ well.

1 Like

I really wasn’t complaining by that comment - I still think WOA actually stands for a Waste Of Assets, and MS would be far better off focusing on optimizing Windows with Intel - but then again Intel was the reason for turning to ARM in the first place…

Interesting perspective, thank you.

Our experience with Windows 11 based models of the Pro X is that the differences aren’t as dramatic. Running the OS itself, Office or most of the mainstream productivity apps, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the SQ1 and the i5 in aggregate.

In other words, some things are slower, but some things are faster. Doing OS things, WOA is just a beat faster actually, and initial loading of native apps like Office is a bit faster too.

And Edge is actually faster across the board with WOA, though by a small amount.

Where the SQ1 falls down with our customers is most graphic apps and Photoshop especially where the vast majority of the code is still X86 based.

Games are also pretty poor, compared to even the I3 version of the Pro 8. But OTOH the ability to run games well is not what the vast majority of companies buy systems for.

As to imaging the device, that’s a valid point with a couple of large caveats. First of all, you can put the blame squarely on Qualcomm, that that’s not possible.

But OTOH for almost all our customers, that is a non-issue as they use active directory to manage their systems, Intel or WOA, so the process is the same and WOA machines can be “rebuilt” slightly faster actually.

IMHO the biggest issue with WOA is perception and execution and MS has done an absolutely terrible job on both fronts, especially in evangelizing the development community to update and make native their apps.

As an aside to that, even with a company as large as Adobe, finding an engineer that is truly knowledgeable on ARM/WOA is a significant challenge, though it is getting better as Apple with the M chip has “forced” them to get up to speed and there is a lot of crossovers between the two platforms.

Finally, any new Surface device is likely to have the Snapdragon 8CX gen 2 or possibly even the gen 3. I can’t share details due to various NDAs, but the gen 1 running some customized Linux builds is an impressive bump over the SQ1/2.

So TLDR, I still believe in the midterm there is still lots of runway for significant advances in performance as Apple has shown with the M chips. But Apple has an enormous advantage there which MS simply can’t counter, which is that the only source for a Mac is Apple, so Apple can and does dictate technical changes to the platform and forces developers to move with them or risk being left behind.

And here’s an anecdotal perceptual thing about each platform. When an app doesn’t perform well, or isn’t native on a Mac, users blame the developer. Conversely users blame Microsoft under the same circumstances.

And finally, there is an enormous perceptual problem for WOA to overcome, even among many here, (looking at you @dstrauss :slight_smile: ) due to the absolutely disastrous launch of WOA where they hinted at core I5 levels of performance but where in reality the only time that applied with was cherry picked, optimized and NATIVE benchmarks. Whereas the reality of more general users was that virtually nothing was native at (including MS own apps) for over a year after the launch.

And of course, now MS is stuck with the truism that perception is reality, though that perception is seriously outdated and, in many cases, misinformed in mid 2022.

So my tome of the week… :slight_smile:

2 Likes

PS: Related to the topic of my original post, if the article is true, it seems to me to be an attempt to correct what I think was a major strategic error IMHO which was to launch the Pro X as a unique and distinct device including with its own set of keyboard covers, pen etc.

In other words, perhaps they should have launched it inside the Pro 7 form factor first to amplify the message that at the end of the day, it’s another option as a Windows device.

Of course, especially here, my opinions are my own.

4 Likes