Enlarge / Microsoft’s Windows Dev Kit 223 is designed to make it easier for developers to use the software. Arm Windows 8.1 to more developers

Andrew Cunningham

Microsoft has launched two new systems that are based on Qualcomm’s technology. Arm Recent processors. Reviewers have mostly criticized the Surface Pro 9 5G version. Software compatibility is a major problem even after two generations. ArmSurface Pro X with a Surface Pro X processor. The second is: $600 Windows Dev Kit 2023Previously known as the cooler name “” “Project Volterra,” It’s supposed help with solving problems that Software problem

Microsoft has done it. Arm Windows developer boxes before—namely, the $219 ECS LIVA QC710 it began selling about a year ago (it’s no longer for sale, at least not through Microsoft’s store). However, it had 4GB of memory, 64GB storage space, and a Snapdragon 7c processor that was underpowered. It felt like reliving the days of the old netbook. It could be used for basic browsing. What about actual work? Even for someone like myself who works mostly with text and medium resolution photos every day? Nope.

The Dev Kit 2023 may be three times more expensive, but it has enough power. that It Most of the time In day-to-day usage, it feels just like a standard midrange mini-desktop. It is much easier to evaluate Windows-on–Windows without the limitations of cruddy hardware.ArmThe remaining Software limitations. It is not intended to be used as a development box. However, it gives us an opportunity to see where Windows-on-Devices can be improved.Arm project is right now, both in hardware and software—especially relative to the Mac, the other hardware and software ecosystem that It is making a smoother and wider-ranging transition from x86 programming to x86. Arm.

Surfaces in all but name

Microsoft isn’t selling the Dev Kit to Surface users as a Surface device. It’s not intended to be an everyday machine. PC users. Surface has a lot of DNA.

The design of the device is key. It is a solid-feeling, black plastic hunk over a metal frame with the Microsoft logo imprinted at the top. It’s smaller than the Mac mini (which, if not familiar, had the same physical dimensions). 12 yearsNonetheless, if Microsoft were to make a Surface-branded Mac Mini clone, it would probably look very different.

The device is also smaller because of this. that It uses a 90W external power brick while the Mac mini’s power source is within the enclosure. That flows from the way Microsoft seems to have put together the Dev Kit—the Mac mini’s internals were designed specifically for their enclosure, while the Dev Kit appears to be quite literally a Surface Pro 9 with 5G motherboard with a case built around it. In that This makes it less like the Mac mini, and more like Apple Silicon. “Developer Transition Kit,” Which adapted iPad Pro’ish innards into a Mac mini-shaped bag.

Unused connectors are the best indicator. that are visible at the top-right of the board when you remove the bottom of the Dev Kit—these would be used to drive a display and other internal peripherals in a Surface device but go unused in the Dev Kit. These two USB-C ports are a Surface legacy, with identical spacing and positioning. However, the Ethernet port and USB-A ports are separate boards. This Surface Pro clone is also an indication of its functionality. that The Dev Kit does not have a headphone jack. Surface-branded firmware and driver updates are also available from Windows Update.

The Dev Kit is capable of connecting to up three monitors at once via its mini DisplayPort, USB-C, and two can be 60Hz 4K displays. (Refresh rates faster that 60 Hz are possible at lower resolutions but 60 Hz appears to be the hard limit at 4K). Microsoft states that The DisplayPort should be used for your primary display. It’s the only one. that will display a signal when you’re adjusting the box’s UEFI firmware settings, likely also a holdover from its Surface roots—the internal display in a Surface would likely be connected with an internal embedded DisplayPort connector (eDP) that The same thing happened.

Only the 512GB SSD is an upgradeable component of the Dev Kit. It is a small M.2 2230 SSD just like those used in Microsoft Surfaces. You could fit a typical M.22280 SSD, but you would have to find a way to keep it in place since there is no standoff. The rationale for using a short little SSD in the first place is probably the same as for reusing a Surface motherboard—cheaper to reuse a thing than to design and pay for a whole different thing, especially in what is likely to be a low-volume product.