Qualcomm is working on a new processor designed specifically for Windows tablets and laptops. It’s called the Snapdragon 850 and it’s basically a sibling to the Snapdragon 845 chip that powers the latest high-end Android smartphones, but it’s optimized for larger devices that have more space to help dissipate heat, which could allow the chip to run at higher speeds.

Now WinFuture has spotted some of the first benchmarks for an upcoming Lenovo Windows on ARM device with a Snapdragon 850 chip, and it does seem to offer a nearly 25 percent performance boost over Windows 10 on computers with Snapdragon 835 chips including the Asus Novago and Lenovo Miix 630.

But is that good enough? In my tests, the Asus NovaGo feels really, really slow for a laptop with a starting price of $599. While a 25 percent performance boost would certainly be welcome, I think consumers are going to either want even bigger performance gains… or a lower price tag (or both). That said, I haven’t personally tested any Windows computers with Snapdragon 850 chips, so maybe Microsoft and Qualcomm have found a way to offer a smoother experience than the benchmarks alone would suggest.

It’s also worth noting that Qualcomm actually promised a 30 percent performance boost… so maybe the companies will tweak a few more things before Snapdragon 850-powered devices hit the streets.

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8 replies on “Lilbits 327: Will Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 850 be fast enough?”

  1. Yep, $599 is to much to pay for a slow laptop. I can get one of those at Walmart for half the price.

  2. I predict that if they clock it so it uses about 6W, it’s going to perform similar to a quad core Celeron or Pentium, except when it has to use x86 emulation, then it will lag behind the Intel little core chips. I also predict battery life will be decent but not Earth shattering, because at 6W, it’s going to hit the battery just as hard as a Pentium would. The only difference being Snapdragon 850 is a flagship product with a flagship price and little core Celerons and Pentiums are bottom of the barrel, the cheapest chips Intel makes. When you encumber a modest processor with Windows and with x86 emulation, the results are very predictable.

    I could really see Snapdragon 850 making a very decent Chromebook, But Celerons already fill that role beautifully at a third of the cost. They talk about long battery life, I don’t even really turn my Celeron based Chromebook off anymore. I use it almost every day and I only charge it twice a week. How much longer do you need? And it never feels slow. They also talk about “always connected”. It’s not really hard to set a cell phone to tether when you want wifi. It’s 1 swipe and 1 button. Seems like buzz words to get people to buy another dose of cell service.

    Really, I still don’t get what they’re trying to accomplish. It’s like they’re trying to prove ARM can compete with Intel, but they forgot that half of the competition is price. If they don’t cut the price on these product in half, nobody is going to want them.

    1. “I use it almost every day and I only charge it twice a week. How much longer do you need? And it never feels slow.”
      Which Chromebook model do you have?

      1. Acer R11 with Celeron N3160 and 4GB. To clarify my usage and not set unreasonable expectations, I generally use it for an hour and a half or two hours a day when I’m not working at my desk, then close the lid. On a full battery, I can do that Monday to Friday and not worry about charging it. Saturday and Sunday I use it more than that. So two charge cycles, one covers Monday to Friday, One covers the weekend.

    2. I don’t think anyone is expecting them to hit it out of the park with this generation or even the next one, it certainly doesn’t make sense but they have to start somewhere. They’re steps toward ARM becoming relevant in the desktop/laptop space which is certainly welcome, competition breeds innovation after all even if the challenger isn’t quite there yet.

  3. The SD850 will probably be the entry level version and the SD1000 the one “to have”.
    I am confident that M$ will get there this time around.

  4. I am looking forward to the ARM powered macbook… it will be interesting to see if Office 360 support is available at launch. I expect it to be much better than Windows on ARM.

    1. Also looking forward to it, Apple has always placed a heavy emphasis on the user experience (with some exceptions/oversights obviously). They’ve always done well making even their entry-level devices feel snappy whether it’s iOS or macOS. I’d wager we’ll see a custom chip designed with that sort of experience in mind. As far as the operating system that has me very curious and I wonder if it’ll be some sort of iOS desktop wrapper or if they’ll create an ARM branch for their desktop apps and a separate Appstore.

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