Microsoft launched the Surface Go earlier this August, billing it as the perfect combination between a laptop and a tablet.
Inside is an Intel Pentium Gold processor, but things could have been different had Intel not intervened during development. The Surface Go's performance has been one of the most talked-about aspects when discussing the device as a whole, with many wondering why Microsoft did not go for Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips and opted for ARM.
According to Paul Thurrott, Microsoft originally planned to use ARM until Intel convinced it to change its mind. Allegedly, Intel "petitioned Microsoft heavily" to use its Pentium Gold chips instead.
Snapdragon ARM Chips
There is not much debate surrounding Snapdragon and Intel chips, simply for the fact that the former hasn't been around that long. However, according to The Verge, Snapdragon's chips simply do not have the performance and compatibility to match Intel in the context of laptops — not yet, at least.
On its part, Microsoft has been doing everything it can to improve ARM, regardless of Intel aggressively threatening competitors should they attempt to copy Intel's x86 architecture.
Intel will not be able to act fast enough, however, as ARM is fast approaching. Just this coming holiday, there will be new devices with Snapdragon processors. Newer models with faster, better performance will inevitably come out next year as well.
For Microsoft, however, it is still early to switch to ARM completely. Until it irons out kinks such as app compatibility, emulation, and performance, it has to stick with Intel for the time being.
Snapdragon chips promise high performance, longer battery life, and constant internet connection. The company even collaborated with Microsoft to come out with "always connected" devices last year including the Asus NovaGo, the HP Envy x2, and the Lenovo Miix 630. All three boast battery lives not lower than 20 hours, which is crazy for their category.
Intel has every reason to worry, that's for sure. For one, Microsoft is pushing ahead with ARM-based server designs, which would be a bane to its data center business.
For those unfamiliar with the Surface Go, it is a 10-inch Surface hybrid device with a display resolution of 1,800 x 1,200. It runs Windows 10 S out of the box, which is a more handicapped version of Microsoft's operating system.
The device boasts up to 8 GB of RAM, which can be paired with either 64 or 128 GB of storage, depending on the customer's budget.