Qualcomm processors power many of the world’s fastest smartphones. But the company has a relative newcomer to the PC space. The first Windows PCs featuring Qualcomm chips began shipping just a few years ago, and the first Qualcomm-powered Chromebooks just started to hit the streets earlier this year.
And most of the PCs with Qualcomm chips released to date have been significantly slower than similarly-priced models with Intel or AMD chips. But Qualcomm says that could change with its next-gen chips, which the company says are expected to arrive in consumer devices in 2023.
Rival chip maker Apple has already shown that it’s possible to offer industry-leading performance using ARM-based processors. Macs with Apple’s M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max chips offer better single-core performance and better performance-per-watt than just about anything on the market right now.
So in an effort to catch up, Qualcomm acquired chip designer Nuvia earlier this year. The company, which was founded by chip designers from Apple, Google, ARM, AMD, and Broadcom. One of the co-founders was former chief architect for Apple’s CPU designs up until a few years ago.
Now Qualcomm says its first chips produced using technology from Nuvia will begin sampling to customers in around 9 months or so and they could hit the streets sometime in 2023.
While the company isn’t sharing many specific details about the upcoming chips, the company did outline some goals during its Qualcomm Investor Day 2021 presentation:
- The goal is to have the highest performance low-power CPU in the industry.
- In addition to increased CPU performance, Qualcomm says its Adreno graphics can scale up to desktop-class performance (so the same architecture can deliver 0.3 TFLOPs for low-power wearables or over 15 TFLOPs for high-end gaming hardware).
- Other technologies developed for mobile devices can also help Qualcomm’s PC chips stand out from x86 processors, including integrated 5G modems and hardware-accelerated AI and camera capabilities.
More details should be available closer to launch.