Qualcomm has been expanding their Snapdragon range of system on chips to fit more applications that mobile. One of the most ambitious plans is to bring the Arm-based chips to Windows PCs. With the help of Microsoft it has been semi successful, I reviewed one of the first laptop with the SD835 earlier in the year and it showed a lot of promise, while it had some glitches initially, software updates have mostly fixed everything. However performance has always been an issue.
It has been rumoured that Qualcomm have been working on a custom SoC made specifically for the PC which has been previously referred to as the Snapdragon 1000. It now appears this cheap is ready to be implemented into laptops due to arrive next year. The name has changed with it now officially being called the Snapdragon 8cx.
This is the first 7nm platform built for PCs and offers many appealing advantages over its AMD and Intel counterparts.
The Qualcomm chips are a system on chip which means that you not only get a CPU, but a Adreno 680 GPU, Hexagon 690 DSP, advanced image processing, I/O, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and the Snapdragon X24 modem, a flagship Qualcomm component that is the first to support Category 20 2 Gbps LTE.
Arm chips are also exceptionally low powered with the new chip pulling around 7W power.
The above factors allows the Qualcomm powered PCs to be always on always connected, giving them a similar feel to mobiles. There is not booting up from cold or waiting for apps to load or the internet to connect. You unlock the device and away you go.
The 8cx is the largest processor the company has ever made, with eight custom processing cores that make up the Kryo 495 CPU: four high performance Cortex-A76 cores and four low-power Cortex-A55 cores that are higher clocked than the previously announced Snapdragon 850. The Snapdragon 8cx is equipped with 10 MB of combined cache with support for up to 16GB RAM, NVMe and UFS3.0 storage.
Qualcomm claims the Snapdragon 8cx is four times as fast as Intel's low-power fanless Y-series processors, and twice as fast as Intel U-series CPUs, again, at sustained non-peak performance.
The Snapdragon 8cx remains an SoC, so it integrates other components like the Adreno 680 GPU, Hexagon 690 DSP, advanced image processing, I/O, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and the Snapdragon X24 modem, a flagship Qualcomm component that is the first to support Category 20 2 Gbps LTE.
On the graphics side, the integrated Adreno 680 GPU is said to be 3.5 times faster than the Snapdragon 835 and twice as fast as the GPU in their newest mobile Snapdragon 855 SoC thanks to twice the transistors and twice the memory bandwidth. It also brings support for up to two 4K displays at 60 Hz.
The first Snapdragon 8cx machines are expected to hit the market on Q3/2019.