ARM

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
ARM
ARM cover
Developers
Arm Ltd.
Release dates
Linux February 24, 2012
Windows October 26, 2012
macOS (OS X) November 10, 2020
ARM at Wikipedia

Key points[edit]

Energy-efficient, which makes it suited for laptops and tablets.
Very limited range of hardware as of May 2021, with virtually no mid-range desktop PCs.
Drivers for graphics cards and gaming may not be easily accessible, if at all.
Very few third-party storefronts support native ARM games.

Hardware[edit]

Hardware type OS support Other notes
Raspberry Pi Linux, fan-modified versions of Windows 10[1]
Large userbase and modding community.
Video drivers are OpenGL ES only, and audio drivers are considered poor.
Raspberry Pi 4 and 400 models come with no cooling, making throttling a major issue, sometimes making third-party cooler sets necessary.
Other microcomputers Linux
More than 100 non-RaspPi microcomputers exist, many of them with better cooling and less throttling than Raspberry Pi 4. Armbian maintains a list of many of them.
Very few of them use better and more expensive parts than Raspberry Pi; one of few exceptions being Nvidia Jetson Xavier.[2]
Apple Silicon M1 Mac OS X, Windows 10
Only hardware known to support ARM64 builds of macOS.
Lack of documentation has resulted in long delays for getting Linux to run on it.[3]
Windows tablets Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows RT
Only hardware designed with Windows 10 ARM64 builds in mind.
More often than not have touchscreens built in.
No desktop models are known to exist; a Snapdragon mini-PC was scheduled for release in the summer of 2021,[4] but was never heard from again after that.
Phones and tablets designed for Android Linux, Windows 10[5]
Could plausibly offer better hardware than most single-board computers.
A clean Linux install is outstandingly difficult to do.[6] Various compatibility layers to run Linux on top of Android are much easier to set up.[7] Some small phone producers aim to ship natively with Linux to skip the setup process for clean installs.[8]
Playing non-touchscreen games could prove tricky, especially without USB Type-C docking stations.
ARM Chromebooks Linux apps
Supports ARM Linux games and apps through an official compatibility layer known as Crostini.[9]
Does not support hardware acceleration in Linux apps.
No known way to do a clean Linux install.

Operating systems[edit]

Operating system Official support Installation methods Software support
Windows 10 ARM builds are in beta as of May 2021. Actively developed.

Not to be mistaken for Windows 10 IoT, which is a far inferior version that can't run any known games.
Official version (Requires Microsoft account and having joined the Windows Insider program.)
Raspberry Pi-specific fanmade custom versions
All builds are ARM64, and have full native support for ARM32 and ARM64 software. Emulation of x86 is considered good; emulation of x86-64 is relatively new (Added in November 2020) and not much tested.[10]
Windows RT No new models have been released since 2013. Support ends on January 10, 2023. No known ways to install it on systems that weren't shipped with it.
ARM32 only.
macOS Stable from 11.0 Big Sur onwards. Poised by Apple to completely replace x86-64 in the long term. No known ways to install it on systems that weren't shipped with it. All builds are ARM64, and have full native support for ARM64 software. Emulation of x86-64 is mostly good, but not always.
No support whatsoever for x86 32-bit software.
Linux (Debian-based) High degree of support, with a majority of native repository packages supporting it, and increasingly more distros adding ARM64 builds. Downloaded from the distros' homepages, and can run from USBs and memory cards. Imager tools exist to simplify the process.[11] ARM32 (armhf) and ARM64 (aarch64) builds exist. ARM64 builds can run ARM32 software with multiarch.
No support whatsoever for x86 or x86-64 software, incl. Steam and GOG.
Linux (Red Hat-based) Most distros have high ARM64 package support, sometimes having packages that Debian-based ARM distros lack. Downloaded from the distros' homepages, and can run from USBs and memory cards. Imager tools exist to simplify the process.[12] ARM32 (armv7; armhfp) and ARM64 (aarch64) builds exist, with priority given to ARM64.
No support whatsoever for x86 or x86-64 software, incl. Steam and GOG.
Some distros, notably Fedora, lack multiarch support for ARM32 software on ARM64 distros.[13]

Storefronts[edit]

Storefront OS ARM game support ARM game searching
Microsoft Store Windows 10, Windows RT Most non-'Game Pass' games released between 2012 and early 2016 have native ARM support. Native support in other games is spotty. No known way to filter searches to native ARM only. PCGW's list of Windows ARM games is a de facto substitute.
Mac App Store OS X A few games, both ones intended for Mac and iPad, slowly began adding Mac ARM versions/support in game updates from early 2021 onwards. No known way to filter searches to native ARM only.
itch.io OS X, Linux A few games offer OS X and/or Linux ARM versions, and they are technically able to add Windows ARM versions as well. Search filters for ARM are very limited. Searching for raspberry pi in the top bar is one of few half-functional options.
Snap Store Linux Around half the games offer ARM versions, mostly due to the large overlap between Snap Store and distro repositories. No known way to filter searches to native ARM only.
Chrome Web Store Windows, OS X, Linux All extensions and games are believed to offer ARM versions by default. Searching for games as a standalone category, requires following this guide to make Chrome think you're using Chrome OS.
GOG.com OS X Has begun to offer a very small amount of macOS Universal Binary games as of July 2021. No known way to filter searches to macOS Universal Binaries only.

Gaming-related resources[edit]

  • Nvidia's official driver page offer Linux aarch64 (ARM64) drivers for Nvidia GeForce 630 GPUs and higher, and ARM32 legacy drivers for GeForce 410 and higher. For older GPUs than GeForce 1010, one must go to "Operating System:" → "Show all operating systems" to make these drivers show up.

PCGamingWiki resources[edit]

  • AppleGamingWiki aims to cover M1 Macs in general, including emulators and non-Mac operating systems.
  • ARM API fields were added to PCGamingWiki in May 2021, ready for use on pages about individual games.
  • PCGamingWiki's native ARM support lists: Windows, OS X, Linux

References