Is Microsoft now designing ARM processors?


As per the title…

Having watched the event today, it certainly looks like it, or at least some kind of collaboration.


Comments (6)

6 responses to “Is Microsoft now designing ARM processors?”

  1. wunderbar

    the SQ1 looks to be a higher power version of the 8CX, so it's not exactly a new SoC. They likely just got Qualcomm to make a couple tweaks to the 8CX.

  2. evox81

    It's kind of like how Ferrari did "design" on laptops and cell phones back in the day. "Design" is used pretty loosely.

    The extent of their design efforts probably involved checking boxes on a list of options.

  3. SWCetacean

    Definitely more of a collaboration sort of thing. I'm going to guess that Microsoft went to Qualcomm and said "here are a list of requirements that we want you to implement, that none of your existing chips meet" and then Qualcomm modifies their existing designs to meet their requirements. The resulting chip is thus a custom part, because it's not the same SKU that Qualcomm offers to other customers, but Qualcomm did most of the actual development of the chip.

    Microsoft has some experience in custom chip collaborations (custom AMD parts for Xbox One S/X and the holographic processor in the HoloLens), so here I'm guessing something similar happened: Microsoft's hardware team wanted AI processing acceleration built into the CPU, and then Qualcomm changed their 8cx to add that in.

  4. jimchamplin

    Well... Designing custom ARM CPUs works really well for Apple.

    If Microsoft wants to champion Windows on ARM, designing their own silicon seems like a pretty natural move.

  5. madthinus

    I think it is fair to say that Microsoft did not design the Xbox Chip, AMD did. Did they collaborate to get the best possible design from AMD tech for their usage? Sure, absolutely. I think that is the same here. Qualcomm did the work based on a partnership, enhanced their technology to suit Windows better based on the requirements of Microsoft.

  6. Paul Thurrott

    Suspect this was more Microsoft telling Qualcomm the types of changes they needed and Qualcomm making it happen.