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Qualcomm promises most Windows games will 'just work' on Snapdragon X Elite

A picture of the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite SoC embargo until 1024 12PM PT

Windows 11 PCs with the Snapdragon X Elite processor are coming later this year. Besides solid battery life and snappy performance, these computers should offer a decent gaming experience. At GDC 2024, one of Qualcomm's engineers said that x86/x64 emulation should work very efficiently and most games should "just work" without extra optimizations.

Game developers who want to make their games available on next-generation ARM PCs can choose from several options. The best way is to optimize the game to run natively for the most efficient performance and energy consumption. The second option is to create a hybrid app with native Windows libraries and Qualcomm drivers while the rest of the game gets emulated. Finally, developers can leave everything as is and let the Snapdragon X Elite run their projects using x64 emulation.

Qualcomm promises "extremely efficient" emulation thanks to caching. "After the initial hit to translate a new block of code, the caching system is extremely efficient," said one of Qualcomm's slides at the GDC conference. The Adreno GPU should handle most games thanks to DirectX 11, 12, Vulkan, and OpenGL drivers. Mapping layers should also make it possible to run older DirectX 9 games.

Of course, there are some limitations. Anti-cheat systems that operate on the kernel level will not work unless ported natively, just like games that utilize AVX instructions. Qualcomm claims its engineers are testing all the top games on Steam, and most of them should work.

The Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 (don't confuse them with the Surface Pro 10 for Business and the Surface Laptop 6 for Business) should be among the first Windows PCs with the Snapdragon Elite X chips. Although Microsoft is not going to position them as gaming devices, it will be interesting to see how the latest PC-focused chip from Qualcomm handles modern gaming both natively and using emulation.

Source: The Verge

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