Developer ports his game to ARM64 just to benchmark the Surface Pro X

The Surface Pro X is a cool tablet/laptop, but for some users, it is all about the numbers, and one user, developer Yong-Cheon You, could simply not find the right Surface Pro X benchmark to tell him what he wanted to know about the tablet – how good it was at running pure ARM64 apps.

He writes;

Still, I was curious. What is the performance of the ARM Device, Surface Pro X, which was released under the name of Surface on MS, the performance of hardware? I was curious about the performance of ARM native code, not x86 emulation performance. Clearly, over the years, the performance of ARM-series processors has improved remarkably.
Microsoft has shown great confidence in the performance of the SQ1 processor that equpped in Surface Pro X. Of course I don’t believe it. The ‘Surface Book 1”s dGPU they were proud of also had poor performance.

I have been looked hard at the reviews of Surface Pro X posted on YouTube and on the review site since the actual launch of Surface Pro X took place. And I was very disappointed. I couldn’t get any information I want.

The article that criticizes the product,
They say “There are no apps that run slowly and quickly.”
The x86 emulation is of course slow. Of course, they consume a lot of batteries.

an article praising the product,
They say, “The thickness is thin, the shape is beauty and the weight is light.” Stupid? Electornic devices aren’t jewelry. I am more angry at these stupid reviews than at one-sidedly criticized ones.

As a programmer, I am curious about the real performance of the SQ1 processor, the stability of Windows 10 on ARM, and the environment for developing the ARM64 native app.

Unable to find the answer on the internet Yong-Cheon decided to answer the question himself by buying a Surface Pro X, porting his in-development game to it, and doing side by side benchmarks. He writes:

I’m a programmer who writes software that goes into the game, so … the most important thing was how well the game can run on this device. However, no game has been released as an ARM64 native app on win32 base. Even if it is, I can’t modify it off my own way, so it doesn’t mean anything anyway. So I decided to port my game and the one I’m developing to ARM64.

After exhaustive benchmarks which can be seen in detail on his blog here he reports;

  1. In general CPU operations – arithmetic, reading from and writing to memory, the ARM64 performance of the SQ1 processor is satisfactory.
  2. When using spin lock, performance is significantly lower than intel x86. Also when it in a bad situation with multithreading, such as using Critical Sections, performance is significantly lower than x86.
  3. It’s still slower than intel x86. In addition to the clock frequency, instruction efficiency is still lower than Intel x86.
  4. But that’s enough to use as a laptop (assuming it running apps for ARM64). CPU performance is not severely degraded compared to Intel x86. Sometimes it’s better than x86. GPU performance in particular is impressive.
  5. At the moment, there are problems with Qualcomm’s GPU drivers. Both performance and stability are a problem with DirectX.
  6. If popular productivity applications are released for ARM64, I think it can provide a working environment that is not lacking compared to x86 devices.
  7. If the GPU driver improves, I think the game that runs on the x86 Surface Pro can run smoothly.
  8. x86 emulation performance is significantly lower than that of native ARM64. If the Windows on ARM ecosystem has to rely on x86 emulation, there is no future.

Regarding his last point, he found emulated x86 code was 3 to 8 times slower than native code.

The news that gaming is possible on the Surface Pro X, if developers would bother porting their code, would be welcomed by Surface Pro X buyers, and the arrival of ARM64 native browser like the new Edge should go a very long way to making it a viable platform for many information workers.

What do our readers think of You’s Surface Pro X benchmark conclusions? Let us know below.

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