Project Volterra is a new dedicated workstation for developers introduced by Microsoft. It is a newer workplace version that uses all four ARM processors and is aimed at developers who work with ARM-based PCs. It has four processors and is built on ARM instead of x86, and it’s paired with a massive effort to provide ARM native code that will allow the platform to fulfill its full potential with Qualcomm’s support once the code is available around the end of 2022.
However, ARM is just one of four CPUs available. The GPU is still present, but Microsoft has added an NPU and an ACU (Azure compute unit), the latter of which isn’t even present on the PC.
Let’s take a look at how Microsoft is redefining the PC in the cloud and how significant this transition is going to be.
What’s inside the computer with four processors?
PCs feature two processors: a CPU for numerically linked data and a GPU for unstructured data and visual data. They define how a PC works, with the current trend of transferring loads from the CPU to the GPU, as they become less organized and more aesthetically focused, particularly in terms of how PCs present information.
However, with the expansion of artificial intelligence and the fact that AI works in a very different way than applications designed for CPUs or GPUs, by formulating decision chains relying on neural network capabilities based on how humans believe their brains work. These tasks are inefficient on CPUs, and while they are more efficient on GPUs, they require a fundamentally different hardware architecture tailored for such workloads.
The NPU, or neural processing unit, comes into effect. On paper, it can beat both the CPU and GPU, with AI loads achieving significantly more with far less power, allowing developers to develop apps that can make use of a more targeted and efficient Artificial intelligence-based processing platform.
Azure processing unit (APU) is a constant link to Azure in the cloud for increased processing power. This is a brand-new hybrid paradigm in which workloads are transferred between the cloud and the workstation as required. It’s the unique hardware implementation at the endpoint that takes into account the hybrid world we now live in.
Microsoft has always been a company that pushes the boundaries of personal technology and, on occasion, revolutionizes it. One of the most significant hardware developments since computers were introduced is the move to a four-processor desktop, with one processor dedicated to cloud computing and another to AI workloads. Microsoft provides us a vision of our computer future that implies and necessitates a pervasive cloud connection, demonstrating its deep understanding of what the market wants.
Microsoft Project this year envisions a significantly different workplace, a massively different employee tool set, and evolved hardware that may appear and perform very differently than the computers we have today. Promising enhanced collaboration capacities with not only our colleagues but with even more intelligent PCs that can venture in and carry our projects forward.