Wednesday, February 8th 2012

Windows-on-Windows ARM Confirmed?

Back in the 1990's, when the software industry knew the 32-bit x86 address-space limitation was closing in, they geared up for transition to another machine architecture, then came AMD64 and EM64T, which allowed an x86 processor to perform in both 64-bit and 32-bit modes. Microsoft didn't want users of its 64-bit Windows to be deprived of using software coded for 32-bit Windows, which was infinitely more in number than 64-bit software. Hence it developed what is known as Windows-on-Windows 64 (WOW64), a translation layer that interfaces 32-bit software and drivers to the 64-bit OS and drivers. With its next major Windows version, Windows 8, Microsoft wants to give the ARM architecture a big push, with a Windows 8 version for ARM computing devices (such as tablets and netbooks). Guess what?

A latest bulletin at MSDN hints at the possibility of Microsoft working on a x86-to-ARM translation layer, which allows you to run desktop windows (Win32) software on Windows 8 ARM, effectively "Windows-on-Windows ARM". Without specifically pointing out the ability to run Win32 software on ARM, the bulletin mentions the ability to run non-metro applications (native Windows) on SoC (system-on-a-chip) architectures. It could also just be a reference to Intel's single-chip SoCs such as Medfield, which are x86-based. If Microsoft pulls off a "WOWARM", it could spell terrible news to Intel, because something such as the hypothetical WOWARM is all that stands between ARM and high-performance desktop PCs. In a market that only has two other competitors (AMD and VIA), dozens more could join in overnight, including NVIDIA's karmic entry after being shunned off an x86 license.Sources: ZDNet, Engadget
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13 Comments on Windows-on-Windows ARM Confirmed?

#1
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
They have to. ARM can't succeed in the desktop marketplace without x86 application support.
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#2
deleted
by: btarunr
If Microsoft pulls off a "WOWARM", it could spell terrible news to Intel, because something such as the hypothetical WOWARM is all that stands between ARM and high-performance desktop PCs.
Well, that and the part where the fastest quad core ARM processor to date is about the same speed as a crippled ULV Atom.
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#3
Assimilator
by: deleted
Well, that and the part where the fastest quad core ARM processor to date is about the same speed as a crippled ULV Atom.
Exactly. Seeing this in the article made me cringe because it's something I'd expect to see on Fudzilla or DailyTech, not TPU:
If Microsoft pulls off a "WOWARM", it could spell terrible news to Intel, because something such as the hypothetical WOWARM is all that stands between ARM and high-performance desktop PCs.
No, what stands between ARM and high-performance desktops is the fact that "ARM" and "high performance" don't belong in the same sentence. Hell, they don't even belong on the same continent.
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#4
laszlo
by: Assimilator

No, what stands between ARM and high-performance desktops is the fact that "ARM" and "high performance" don't belong in the same sentence. Hell, they don't even belong on the same continent.
just wait a little....ARM will have the same perf. as a classic CPU;the used now ARM's had to fit in certain TDP values but for desktop use those limitation don't apply so is possible to create a little monster which can be used in a modern pc.

nvidia Denver ARM CPU may be one of the 1st which can be used on a pc ;) AMD also work on a similar project ;)
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#5
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
by: laszlo
just wait a little....ARM will have the same perf. as a classic CPU;the used now ARM's had to fit in certain TDP values but for desktop use those limitation don't apply so is possible to create a little monster which can be used in a modern pc.
This. ARM processors out now are built to require very little power and produce virtually no heat. On the other hand, your average desktop processor is between 65-140 watts. Cortex-A9 Osprey (40nm dual-core) consumes 0.5 watts at 800 MHz and 1.9 watts at 2 GHz.


Windows Phone 7 runs on ARM and Windows 8 is said to be a convergence of Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7--hence the ARM support across the board. If the press is reading Microsoft right, the same OS will be found on desktops, laptops, ultrabooks, tablets, and phones most likely with ARM and x86-64 versions (x86 likely to end at Windows 7).
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#6
jpierce55
Just wait for what? As ARM develops so will AMD's APU, and eventually Intel will have an answer for the ARM, they are big enough to buy out part of the competition and with several companies competing they probably would get by purchasing 1 of them. The APU is already down to a reasonable power consumption. Nvidia could possible come out with a little competition, but it will take a company with massive financial backing to edge in on AMD and Intel.

AMD is far from Intels power, but they are still a powerful company.
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#7
jsfitz54
Is this so Microsoft can run apps like Apple does?
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#8
Xajel
I think the best way for such is the way AMD has done with x86-64...

in IA 64 the problem was that the arch. was ( and still ) a pure 64bit only technology...
IA64 was built over x86 with some major instruction sets changes compared to x86, this makes it impossible for the CPU to run x86 32bit codes. as the CPU won't understand a thing !!

in AMD64, amd has something in the hardware level, no need to simulate a 32bit environment at all...
the CPU it self is first capable of handling both x86 and x86-64 codes from the beginning ( The CPU will run as either 32 or 64 bit depending on the OS ).. if the OS is 64bit then it will be a 64bit, if the OS is 32bit then it will be 32bit...

The magic works if the CPU works as 64bit, as the instruction set are the same, there's only some addressing and registers, the CPU can run x86 32bit codes but in a special compatibility mode, the OS should handle the call to this compatibility mode and hides the 32bit application in that so every thing will work normally without problems...

for x86 on ARM ( like photoshop on ARM ) or ARM on x86 ( like Android Angry Bird ) the story is different...

both has different instruction set, so no way to have such as AMD's x86-64 technology.
in x86 platform while the x86 will be powerful enough to handle translation of ARM, but not for some native codes, that's why you can't run Angry Bird on Android SDK... you need to simulate ARM environment or add some advanced and complicated technique to run native ARM codes like how third party tools available on windows can run Android apps normally even Angry Bird...
but in ARM devices, it will be hard as ARM devices are much less performer here and it will not be waste of energy... the best way I see is to have a small low power x86 core on the same die, and with some support from the OS, then it will be able to run x86 code on that core with the best performance. I guess even an Atom core will be much better than translation or simulation... but ofcourse Brazo will be much more powerful...

AMD said they want to integrate other IP on their SOC so they can be different, I guess they will integrate an ARM core along side the x86 Core, and the SOC can be treated as both ARM or x86 as requested by the OS... and if the OS was ARM ( like Android or Windows for ARM ) and wanted to run x86 app then it can access the x86 core without a problem and vise versa...
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#9
Octavean
There are a lot of barely computer literate people out there that choose form over function. People who consider the color of a laptop or color of a computer case a major feature choice. With a general buying public like that anything is possible IMO. If it runs Windows (and not just the Metro interface) a lot of people will be all over it,….especially if it comes in pink, blue, green, purple and so on,….

They don’t know about or care how its done (WOWARM or not),….

You can’t fix stupid, so yeah I think Intel has reason to be concerned,…

For what its worth I have heard rumors that Apple was likely going to have a version of OS X running on ARM as well. The most likely device for this platform would be an ARM based Mac Book Air,….
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#10
Steevo
by: jsfitz54
Is this so Microsoft can run apps like Apple does?
Are you kidding?


Apps.....short for applications, meaning every *.exe file is a "app" on a windows system. Apple just pushed a trendy name so idiots with no idea of what is going on in any computer or smartphone could sound techie and feel good about the $500 they just wasted on slave labor products that track their use and movements so they can be better advertised to.


Don't worry, I have a app for that, and if you don't have apple then you don't have a inferior locked down product.
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#11
Syborfical
Doesn't Intel have an arm license?

It would be nice to see something modern compared to the x86 for the desktop PC.
Posted on Reply
#12
theoneandonlymrk
yes intel have an Arm license as do many other companies , the two horse race will get truely smashed open soon, nvidia Amd and intel will all have an SOC on the cards to fit this bill but other players such as IBM or Samsung even could ,if they wanted to get in on the arm APU action ,this might well be epic
Posted on Reply
#13
Moose
by: Steevo
Are you kidding?


Apps.....short for applications, meaning every *.exe file is a "app" on a windows system. Apple just pushed a trendy name so idiots with no idea of what is going on in any computer or smartphone could sound techie and feel good about the $500 they just wasted on slave labor products that track their use and movements so they can be better advertised to.


Don't worry, I have a app for that, and if you don't have apple then you don't have a inferior locked down product.
Well said
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