Microsoft has made it no secret that it will put Windows 10 on ARM devices, specifically on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset. It has, however, denied that will take the form of a smartphone as some have hoped for. Which is probably all for the best, if this sighting on Geekbench is any indicator. While it is, perhaps, impressive that we are able to see figures for Windows 10 running on a Snapdragon 835 board at all, the scores it yielded are way below what you’d expect from the processor, at least compared to Android running on the same chip.
Windows has always been, more or less, an x86 operating system. The few times it wandered off into other computer architectures, specifically for mobile and embedded devices, haven’t completely been as fruitful as its core desktop business. Especially of late, its excursion into ARM via Windows RT was such a terrible failure that Microsoft probably wishes it could be erased from history.
But ARM does have advantages beyond being the most widely used architecture for smartphones and tablets. Whether Intel likes it or not (and it doesn’t), ARM chips are smaller, less power hungry, more energy efficient and, these days, almost just as capable as low-end x86 chips. That is why Microsoft has never really given up on putting Windows on ARM, and its partnership with Qualcomm is just in a long line of attempts.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be bearing good fruit either. At least not this early. According to the Geekbench listing, Windows 10 running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, most likely a reference board, scores 1,202 on the single-core benchmark and 4,263 on multi-core. That wouldn’t be as bad until you consider that typical Android devices on that same chip get over 2,200 and 7,700 for single and multi core tests, respectively.
It would definitely be a disappointment if Microsoft will be unable to optimize Windows 10 for use on Snapdragon chips. Running at such low performance basically negates whatever advantages the ARM architecture has to offer. So while Windows 10 on ARM might fare better than Windows RT on the software side, it will still be a terrible flop if no hardware will run it well.