New Windows 10 Laptops 'Could Run For Weeks'

John Lister's picture

Microsoft says new Windows laptops could last more than 20 hours of continued use without needing a recharge. Other changes mean its plausible the machines could be permanently connected to the Internet.

The difference is all about the processors: the part of the computer that actually does the calculations which are at the heart of every computing activity. Usually Windows PCs run x86 processors (or compatible), most commonly produced by Intel and AMD. Now Microsoft is making a fresh attempt at Windows laptops that run the rival ARM processors, which are already used in the vast majority of smartphones.

ARM Chips The Key to Power Savings

The advantage is that ARM processors usually require less power than X86 processors, meaning batteries in mobile devices last longer. The disadvantage is that operating systems have to be specially designed to work with a particular processor type.

Microsoft developed a version of Windows 10 suitable for ARM processors - a major project - and is now partnering with hardware manufacturers to produce laptops. Both ASUS and HP are releasing Windows 10 devices using ARM. Unlike with previous attempts to modify Windows for ARM devices, all software and hardware peripherals such as monitors and mice should work fine with the system.

The two manufacturers both claim not only 20 hours of use on a single battery charge, but also up to 30 days in standby mode. Unlike with some standby modes, the devices should still be able to maintain an Internet connection. This means that if you leave the machine on standby overnight, all new email will be ready to read as soon as you start using it in the morning. (Source: laptopmag.com)

'Bendable' Laptops A Possibility

The computers will also benefit from ARM processors now supporting 64-bit rather than just 32-bit setups. That refers to the amount of data that the computer can process simultaneously, allowing for faster operation and more sophisticated software.

Another possible benefit is that the machines may not need a cooling fan for the processor. That opens up more options for the physical design, including making it more viable to produce Windows machines with screens that fold over to switch between laptop and tablet mode. (Source: techcrunch.com)

What's Your Opinion?

How important is battery life to you when choosing a laptop? Would the claimed changes be enough for you to consider a Windows laptop if you don't already have one? How much extra would you be willing to pay for a machine that could reliably run for days without a recharge?

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Comments

Dennis Faas's picture

ARM processors are based on RISC (reduced instruction set computer) architecture. This allows the processors to run more instructions per second than a standard CISC (complex instruction set computer) - namely x86 or x64. Essentially, less computation (as a result of reduced instructions) equals savings in power without degrading performance, all things being equal. The question is - will these new processors be able to perform at the same level as their x86 / x64 competitors? Most likely not, which is why Intel and AMD are the forerunners of performance. The flip side of the coin is that both Intel and AMD eventually catch up with lower voltage chips on smaller dies, which then beats the performance of an ARM processor, all things being equal.

swreynolds's picture

When I was young, RISC stood for reduced instruction set complexity. A single instruction didn't do much by itself, but it did it quickly, unlike a CISC computer which could take many cycles to do a single task. I suspect that RISC didn't catch on because the CISCs were easier to program.