$ 219 mini PC is the best and cheapest way for developers to try Windows on ARM

Enlarge / The mini PC ECS LIVA QC710.


Developers interested in testing ARM versions of Windows haven’t had much flexibility in testing the hardware. At one end of the spectrum are $ 1,000 tablets like Surface Pro X, which, especially for independent developers, is a lot of money to waste just to get started in a new hardware ecosystem. And while you can Technically running Windows 10 and 11 on a Raspberry Pi 4, performance even on a 4GB or 8GB Pi leaves a lot to be desired (this is also not allowed by Windows licensing restrictions).

But now there is a solution to this problem in the form of the DHW LIVA QC710, an unpretentious Windows mini PC powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon that’s currently available in the Microsoft Store for a relatively reasonable price of $ 219. The box comes with the ARM version of Windows 10 Home, and its size of 1.38 × 4.69 × 4.59 inches is comparable to that of a set-top box like the Apple TV.

The low price is reflected in the specifications of the computer. It only includes 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage (presumably eMMC), expandable only via a microSD slot on the side. The Snapdragon 7c chip is also a step back from the Snapdragon 8c, 8cx, the SQ1 and SQ2 chips that power tablets like the Surface Pro X. The SoC includes a pair of “big” Kryo 468 Gold cores and six “small” Kryo 468 Silver cores, plus an Adreno 618 GPU, Wi-Fi 802.11ac , and support for Bluetooth 5. Connectivity is limited to a single 5 Gbps USB Type-A port, one USB 2.0 port, one HDMI port, and one 100 Mbps Ethernet port, plus one USB-C port used. For alimentation.

If those specs aren’t enough to dissuade you from considering the QC710 as your next small desktop PC, the Microsoft Store’s return policy will do it for you: Microsoft explicitly states that it will not refund the QC710 and that it is ” intended for developers, not consumers. ” As imperfect as it is, for developers wishing to release native ARM versions of their software or write Windows ARM compatible drivers for their hardware, the QC710 provides an affordable and officially supported way to give non-x86 versions a spin. Windows.

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