Apple’s M1 chip runs Windows 10 2x faster virtually than Surface Pro X runs it natively

As per new Geekbench benchmarks, Apple’s M1 chip can run Windows 10 faster in a virtual machine, than Microsoft’s Surface Pro X which features a second-generation SQ2 ARM processor. This has to be embarrassing for Microsoft since it shows that their own software is not optimized well enough for their own silicon.

Windows 10 runs faster in a virtual machine on M1 chip than natively on Surface Pro X’s SQ2 chip

Microsoft’s SQ2 chip is custom made for the company by Qualcomm for the Surface Pro X. This is the second-generation chip that has been made for Surface Pro X, with the first one being SQ1. Although the SQ2 is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 platform, it does not feature 5G support on Surface Pro X. Microsoft has only shared that it is faster, and provides 15 hours of battery life, compared to 13 hours that its predecessor provided.

As we had covered recently, developer Alexander Graf was able to get Windows 10 up and running in a VM on an M1 Mac, by using QEMU with some patches. Although it is still a work in progress, he described the Windows 10 experience as snappy. This was the ARM version of Windows 10 running using macOS Hypervisor framework, and not the x86 version, which would require emulation to work on Apple Silicon.

Window 10 on ARM virtualized on Apple Silicon scored the following numbers on an ARM version of Geekbench 5:

  • Single-core: 1288
  • Multi-core: 5449

In comparison, when you run Geekbench 5 in Windows 10 on the second-generation Surface Pro X, you get the following scores:

  • Single-core: 795
  • Multi-core: 3085

Note that SQ2 also has 8 cores, just like the M1 chip. However, during virtualization, performance always takes a hit. This shows that if Windows 10 is supported on Apple Silicon Macs as a native Bootcamp install, it will completely destroy Microsoft’s Surface line of computers.

Here is a YouTube video from Martin Nobel showing Windows 10 ARM actually in action on an M1 Mac, along with benchmarks and some apps:

We can imagine that the folks at Microsoft would not be happy with these results and would be working on improvements for the next iteration of Surface Pro X. However, you can rest assured that by the time they come out with something better, Apple would have already released the M1X, or M2, which should be even faster than M1.

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