MediaTek Said to Be Designing Arm-Based Chip for Microsoft’s AI Laptops

microsoft surface pro11 1716279928677.jpg

microsoft surface pro11 1716279928677.jpg

Taiwanese chip design giant MediaTek is working on an Arm-based personal computer chip that will be compatible with Microsoft’s Windows operating system, as reported by individuals familiar with the matter.

Microsoft recently introduced a new line of laptops featuring Arm-based chips designed with Arm Holdings technology, capable of running artificial intelligence applications that are considered the future of consumer computing. The upcoming MediaTek chip is intended to support this initiative.

This move by Microsoft is in direct competition with Apple, which has been using its own Arm-based chips in Mac computers for the past four years. By optimizing Windows for Arm, Microsoft could potentially challenge Intel’s domination in the PC market.

Both MediaTek and Microsoft have declined to comment on this development.

MediaTek’s shares on the Taiwan stock exchange saw a 2.4 percent increase on Wednesday, outperforming the overall market.

The expected launch date for the MediaTek PC chip is late next year, following the expiration of Qualcomm’s exclusive deal to supply chips for laptops. This chip is based on Arm’s existing designs, which accelerates development by reducing the need for extensive design work.

It is not yet confirmed whether Microsoft has approved MediaTek’s PC chip for the Copilot+ Windows program.

Implementing Arm’s already established components allows for a faster development process; however, creating sophisticated chips typically requires more than a year of design and testing.

In 2016, Microsoft enlisted Qualcomm to lead the transition of Windows to the Arm processor architecture. Qualcomm held an exclusivity agreement with Microsoft until 2024, prompting other designers to step in to support Microsoft’s move to Arm designs for Windows machines.

Nvidia and AMD are also working on Arm designs for Windows. Nvidia is collaborating with MediaTek on its PC chip effort, separate from MediaTek’s individual pursuit of a PC chip.

© Thomson Reuters 2024

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MediaTek, a Taiwanese chip design giant, is working on developing an Arm-based personal computer chip that will run Microsoft’s Windows operating system. This move comes as Microsoft aims to compete with Apple, which has been using Arm-based chips for Mac computers for several years. The new chip from MediaTek is expected to launch late next year, after Qualcomm’s exclusive deal to supply chips for laptops expires. The chip is based on Arm’s ready-made designs, which can speed up development due to less design work being needed. Microsoft’s decision to optimize Windows for Arm could threaten Intel’s dominance in the PC market.

In 2016, Microsoft partnered with Qualcomm to transition the Windows operating system to Arm’s processor architecture. Qualcomm was granted exclusivity to develop Arm-based Windows-compatible chips until 2024. With this exclusivity arrangement expiring, other designers like MediaTek are now working on chips to support Microsoft’s push for Arm designs. Nvidia and AMD are also working on Arm designs for Windows machines. The collaboration between Nvidia and MediaTek for a PC chip is separate from their joint effort with Nvidia. This development signals a shift in the PC industry as companies explore new chip designs and architectures for consumer computing.

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