Microsoft SQ1 is a custom chipset made for the Surface Pro X

SQ1 (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft's new Surface Pro X has a custom chipset.
  • The Microsoft SQ1 chipset combines Snapdragon mobile hardware with AI.
  • The chip has 7 watts of power.

Microsoft announced the Surface Pro X at the October Surface event. The device marks the next step in the Surface line and runs on an ARM processor rather than the Intel chips that we've seen so far on the Surface Pro line. The Surface Pro X runs on a custom chipset called the Microsoft SQ1 that combines Snapdragon hardware with AI. The end result is a chipset that has 7 watts of power that is three times more powerful than the Surface Pro 6's chipset.

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For everyday users, the important thing about this chipset is that the Surface Pro X is thin, light, and powerful while also getting excellent battery life. The Surface Pro X is the first device made by Microsoft to run Windows 10 on ARM, and the Surface team has combined custom hardware to try to deliver the best experience possible.

Sean Endicott
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at (opens in new tab).

  • That redesigned gpu is huge because it leaves less reason to go with ice lake. I don't think anyone predicted they'd go with a custom chip.
  • @Steven : Yes, I agree. I would have expected a Surface with maybe a Qualcomm 8cx, but the fact that Microsoft partnered with Qualcomm to design a specific ARM chip with 2Tflops GPU performance is impressive. To my recall, IceLake integrated GPU is only up to 1Tflops I think... I very, very looking forward to see some performance review of this device, as at the moment, it looks a more convenient device than an iPad Pro, for at least 2 reasons : 1. Much better keyboard with integrated pen holder and 2. Access to nearly all the traditional Windows Library...
  • Be nice to know more about the CPU. How close a relation is it to the 8cX Its like the Ryzen 7 in the laptop, is it the new gen 3 Ryzens or not? And with all of them, BATTERY LIFE please!!! I'm on an ARM PC right now, and its battery life is insane 15-16 hours - I love the battery life, I love the "instant on" - I love the keyboard (Lenovo)
    Microsoft just need to make more apps run on ARM. No VS Code, no Chrome/Edgium (yet)
    Many utility software missing, like 3rd party apps (8x8 for example) If they push ARM further on the software front, Intel will be in deep poop
  • This device shows that Microsoft is ready for the next-gen ARM-based devices to come out in masses!
  • Yes. It was only a matter of time before they got into silicon.
  • "custom chipset called the Microsoft SQL" What does that mean for our databases?
  • Sorry, SQ1 != SQL.
  • Battery life doesn't look good.