Available today: Windows Dev Kit 2023 aka Project Volterra

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Pavan Davuluri

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Windows Dev Kit 2023 is an Arm-powered device built by Windows developers for Windows developers. Everything you need to develop Windows apps for Arm, on Arm. Powerful AI. All on one device.​

We are excited to announce the launch of Windows Dev Kit 2023, which is built to help developers create Windows apps easily and efficiently for Arm. We unveiled this device as “Project Volterra” at Build in May 2022. Learn more. The Windows Dev Kit 2023 is now available to developers in 8 countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. You can purchase the dev kit here.

Starting now developers can build, run, and test Windows apps for Arm on a single compact device​

With Windows Dev Kit 2023, developers will be able to bring their entire app development process onto one compact device, giving them everything they need to build Windows apps for Arm, on Arm. The Windows Dev Kit 2023, powered by the Snapdragon® 8cx Gen 3 Compute Platform and utilizing the Qualcomm® Neural Processing SDK, makes it easy for developers to leverage the platform’s advanced AI capabilities to deliver best-in-class Windows user experiences. This device sports 32 GB RAM and 512 GB fast storage, along with multiple ports: built-in Wi-Fi 6, physical ethernet, 3x USB-A and 2x USB-C, and a Mini Display port for easy and flexible connectivity to your devices, displays and networks. You can also drive up to 3 external monitors simultaneously, including 2 at 4K 60Hz which provides all the screen real estate that most developers need.  Learn more on how to set up your device. Picture1.png

Delivering NPU powered AI capabilities in your apps without compromising performance​

In addition to enjoying a simplified development process for Arm, developers can now bring AI enhanced experiences into their apps powered by the NPU. Windows Dev Kit 2023 enables developers to build apps that unlock the power of the NPU hardware to accelerate AI/ML workloads delivering AI-enhanced features & experiences without compromising app performance. You can get started now and access the power of the NPU through the open source and cross-platform ONNX Runtime inference engine, making it easy to run AI/ML models from popular machine learning frameworks like PyTorch and TensorFlow. To learn more, see our page with instructions and samples. One of the Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) moved their AI models to run on the Windows Dev Kit 2023 NPU and witnessed incredible performance – On certain models, the NPU is about 80-90 times faster than CPU and about 20 times faster than GPU – leaving the CPU to perform the logical tasks it is intended to do.

We are beyond excited that some of the ISVs had an opportunity to run and test their apps on Windows Dev Kit 2023.​

You can learn about some of their experiences below:
  1. “Compiling natively to Arm worked very well. The Windows Dev Kit 2023 is an absolutely great machine for end users due to low power and low heat. We leave it running 24/7 and it runs cool.” - Mike Rozhdestvenskii, Director of Software Engineering at Developer Express
  2. "Performance with Volterra has been refreshingly fast. We have run Actipro’s x86-based product installers, and they all worked. Our WPF and WinForms controls all work well with no changes, even the ‘API-heavy’ ones, as does all test collateral." - Boyd Patterson, Senior Software Engineer, Actipro Software
  3. “The Volterra devices are neat and powerful, ideal for us to test our market-leading anti-piracy and anti-cheat game security technologies. They’re also very quiet, and they just work out of the box.” - Reinhard Blaukovitsch, Managing Director of Denuvo by Irdeto
  4. “I’m using the Volterra device at my home office at the moment. So far it’s been a nice experience; it is impressively fast, doesn’t slow down while testing our product with Windows on Arm collateral.” - Adam Barton, Member of Technical Staff
  5. “So far things have been really great. Volterra is running incredibly faster than the previous Arm based Windows machine we've been using with our LLVM and MySQL workload. It is a very light, efficient and powerful device.” - Niyas Sait, Technical Lead for Windows on Arm Project at Linaro
  6. “The Volterra device was easy to set up. We are using them as a pseudo dev & debug environment and have found them to be really solid dev machines.” - Ryan Butterworth, Manager, Security Engineering at Riot Games
  7. “We’ve been running emulation on Volterra, and in native Arm64, everything runs much faster.” - Konstantin Bulenkov, Project Manager at JetBrains
  8. “I use Volterra primarily for remote desktop connecting, and remote debugging on it works well. I’m enjoying the 32GB of RAM and storage on a compact device. It is substantially faster than the previous Arm based Windows machine I was using earlier.” - Koby Kahane, Software Engineer

Arm-native toolchain provides a fast, familiar, and highly productive developer experience​

To enhance developer productivity, we have made great progress delivering on the commitments we made at Build in May 2022 to launch a comprehensive native toolchain for Arm native apps. We have released previews of the following and many of these will be generally available by the end of the year.
  • Previews of IDEs (Visual Studio 2022 17.4),
  • Tools & Runtimes (Windows App SDK with native Arm support),
  • Libraries (VC++ Runtime), Toolchain (.NET7)

Available Now:​

  • .NET Framework 4.8.1 with the Windows 11 2022 Update so the large ecosystem of .NET Framework apps can also run natively on Arm64.
  • Cloud services (Azure VMs)
  • Arm64EC

Visual Studio 2022 17.4 now runs natively on Arm dramatically improving performance​

We are committed to delivering continuous innovation to our developer community and have heard developers say, “Not being able to run Visual Studio natively on Arm is a big roadblock.” Over the last three months, we have delivered monthly preview releases of the Arm native Visual Studio 2022 17.4. This version includes support for the following:
  • Desktop workloads (C++ and C#)
  • Windows SDK and Windows App SDK components (Win UI).
  • Web, UWP, Node.js and Game Development workloads.
We wanted to go beyond improving production runtime scenarios and improve the experience for developers. So, we added support for developer productivity features like Edit and Continue/Hot Reload and profiling tools so developers can be as productive using the Arm64 version of Visual Studio as they are on x64 today. Visual Studio 2022 17.4 and .NET 7 will be generally available in the next couple of weeks with support for additional workloads coming later.

.NET 7 closes the gap between x64 and Arm64 delivering functional parity and improved performance for Arm​

With .NET 7 we have made several improvements for Arm in the areas of functional parity and performance. .NET 6 had some features that worked on x64 but not Arm64, with .NET 7, and we are excited that we closed this gap for our developers by adding support for ASP.NET Core Module (ANCM) so ASP.NET Core apps can use IIS on Arm64 in addition to Kestrel server. To boost performance, we have added vendor-specific optimizations so your apps run well on a variety of Arm hardware. We have several runtime improvements to targeting server throughput (RPS) and latency. For more information about this see our blog post on Arm64 Performance Improvements in .NET 7. Developers will need to install the toolchain as needed for their workloads on Windows Dev Kit 2023. Some tools and services may require additional licenses, fees, or both. More apps, tools, frameworks, and packages are being ported to natively target Windows on Arm and will be arriving over the coming months. In the meantime, thanks to Windows 11’s powerful emulation technology, developers will be able to run many unmodified x64 and x86 apps and tools on their Windows Dev Kit. Picture1-1.png

New Azure VMs featuring Ampere Altra Arm-based processors deliver a cost-effective and power-efficient option​

Many developers today run workloads and execute builds and tests in the cloud. Developers can now take advantage of the recently introduced Azure Virtual Machines featuring the Ampere Altra Arm-based processor. The new Azure VMs are now generally available and support various Linux OS distributions in addition to the Insider Preview releases of Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise Windows. Learn more about Azure’s Arm-based VMs. More details on hosting and running Azure DevOps and GitHub CI/CD workloads will be shared in the coming months. Stay tuned!

A growing Arm ecosystem...​

We have ported several 1p Apps over to Arm including a few below to provide better native performance.
  1. Microsoft Teams
  2. Microsoft 365
  3. Microsoft Edge
  4. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (MDE)
  5. OneDrive
In addition, we also have a growing ecosystem of 3P ISVs across Creativity & Collaboration, Security, VPN and more that have ported their apps over to Arm to provide native support for Windows on Arm.
  1. Creativity & Collaboration apps - Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Zoom
  2. Printing – HP Smart Universal Print Driver
  3. Security solutions – Crowdstrike Falcon, Panda Security, ESET Endpoint Antivirus, Sophos Intercept X, NetWitness XDR
  4. VPN products – Palo Alto Networks Global Protect, Cisco Anyconnect, F5 Big-IP Edge Client, Ivanti Pulse Secure, NetMotion VPN, OpenVPN
  5. Benchmarking solutions – PassMark PerformanceTest, Nexthink Collector, 3Dmark Night Raid & Wild Life

Need assistance in porting your applications to Arm64? Leverage our App Assure service​

The App Assure service was launched to fulfill Microsoft’s promise of application compatibility: your Windows apps will work on Arm. If you encounter an application compatibility issue or technical blocker while porting your apps using Windows Dev Kit 2023, App Assure engineers are here to help! The program has succeeded in helping many key ISVs in porting their applications and drivers to Arm64. Learn more about App Assure compatibility assistance here. To connect with App Assure, visit aka.ms/AppAssureRequest or send an email to achelp@microsoft.com to submit your request for app compatibility support for Windows Dev Kit 2023.

Looking to the future…​

At Build 2022, we unveiled the vision to enable seamless AI inferencing across cloud and client through our emerging model of hybrid compute and AI with NPU enabled devices. We are working on this vision, and we will share more details in the coming months. The Windows Dev Kit 2023 represents another step in creating a new developer platform that will enable you to build high-ambition cloud-native AI applications. With the native Arm64 Visual Studio, .NET support, and Windows Dev Kit 2023 we want to empower you to take the first step on this journey. You can get started today by building on our cloud and taking advantage of our tooling and services. We will also continue to invest in the Arm-native toolchain, building partnerships and collaborations that will grow this ecosystem. We are excited about Unity’s commitment to bring the Unity Player to Windows on Arm natively! Developers using the leading game engine will be able to easily target Windows on Arm devices for their current and future titles to get native performance. More details on timing will be shared at a later date. This is just the beginning of what will be possible. We can’t wait to see what you build. For more information on the Windows Dev Kit 2023, tune into the Arm Dev Summit, which will take place virtually on October 26.

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