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Most Windows games should "just work" on future laptops with Snapdragon processors ─ Qualcomm

Most Windows games should "just work" on future laptops with Snapdragon processors ─ Qualcomm
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During the Game Developers Conference, Qualcomm informed game developers that their games should already work on future Windows laptops based on Snapdragon chips. To run the games, there will be no need to port them to the Qualcomm platform.

Qualcomm engineer Issam Khalil stated that the unannounced laptops will use emulation to run x86/64 games at almost full speed. These laptops may soon hit the market. Qualcomm confirmed that it will release Snapdragon X Elite systems this summer, and unannounced consumer versions of Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 with these chips are expected in May.

"Your game should already work," claims Qualcomm.

With Snapdragon-based Windows laptops, developers have three options, Khalil explained: 1. Move their projects to the ARM64 architecture for better processor performance and energy consumption, as the Qualcomm scheduler can dynamically lower the processor frequency. 2. Create a hybrid ARM64EC program, where Windows and its libraries, as well as Qualcomm drivers, work natively, but the rest of the program is emulated for "almost native" performance. 3. Do almost nothing, and their game should still work — using x64 emulation.

He says developers don't need to change the code or resources of their games to achieve full speed. Most games are graphically limited by the graphics processor, not the central processor, and Qualcomm says GPU performance will not be affected. While Qualcomm sees some impact on processor performance when transitioning between x64 and ARM64, this only happens with the first code block translation — "subsequent passes are direct cache access," Khalil says.

Qualcomm says it has Adreno graphics driver for DX11, DX12, Vulkan, and OpenCL, and will also support DX9 and up to OpenGL 4.6 through display layers.

However, not everything is as rosy as one would like. Games that rely on kernel-level anti-cheat drivers (whose popularity is growing) will not work in emulation mode. Games using AVX instruction sets will also not work yet, where Khalil suggests developers use SIMDe.

The company did not name specific games that work through emulation, or how many games it has tested. However, Qualcomm checks all the top games on Steam, making it confident that most games should work.

Source: The Verge

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