Windows on Apple M1 still outperforms Microsoft’s own hardware despite serious handicap

Windows on Apple M1
(Image credit: Microsoft/Apple)

More new benchmarks have revealed that Apple’s M1 Macs are apparently able to run Windows 10 almost twice as fast as Microsoft's own top-of-the-range hardware.

According to figures from Geekbench, the Microsoft Surface Pro X sports the SQ2 ARM processor, which is based on the Snapdragon 8cx. However, what makes the benchmarking scores interesting is the fact that you can’t yet natively run Windows 10 ARM on the M1. 

Developers have worked around this by getting the M1 to run a virtualized instance of Windows 10 ARM. The biggest disadvantage of virtualized instances is the performance penalty as compared to running the OS natively. But as the benchmark shows, the virtualized Windows 10 is actually considerably faster than it is running natively on the Surface Pro X.

Numbers game

Last week we reported that you could now run Windows (and Linux) on the Apple M1 Macs thanks to Qemu, the open source emulator and virtualizer. 

An Apple M1-powered machine benchmarked almost 3000 points higher than the Surface Pro X in multi-core tests on Geekbench.

Comparative scores of Windows running on M1 and on Surface Pro X

(Image credit: Geekbench)

Running Windows 10 inside a Qemu virtualized environment, the Apple got nearly 5807 points, while the Surface Pro X trailed behind at 2891 points. The figures are even more impressive when you consider the fact the virtualized environment hasn’t been optimized. Expect the figures to get even better when Parallels releases its Desktop for Mac virtualization software that’s tuned for the M1.

While you should take benchmarking scores with a pinch of salt, there’s no denying the performance advantages of Apple Silicon.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.