Qualcomm has been making chips for Windows laptops and PCs for a few years, but up until now they’ve only been used in a handful of devices and they’ve been relatively uncompetitive with the latest Intel and AMD processors in terms of price and performance.
That could be set to change next year, because Qualcomm says its Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processors offer up to 85% percent better performance over the previous-generation. The company’s 3rd-gen Snapdragon 7c+ chip delivers similar gains over last year’s entry-level chip.
The performance uplift in the Snapdragon 8cx is significant not only because Qualcomm is competing with Intel and AMD in the Windows PC space, but also because Apple has shown that it’s possible to make ARM-based chips that aren’t just competitive, but which can also run circles around Intel chips in terms of performance-per-watt.
Qualcomm’s 2nd-gen Snapdragon 8cx chips were also a pretty modest update over the 1st-gen, which means that the platform is overdue for a serious performance boost.
According to Qualcomm the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 also brings a 60% boost in graphics performance and a Qualcomm Spectra image signal processor with support for up to a 4K HDR camera, up to 4 cameras, and 15% faster launching of the camera for Zoom or other video conferencing tasks.
The new chip features Kryo 695 CPU cores, which are based on ARM Cortex-X1 and Cortex-A78 architecture. The setup includes:
- 4 x Cortex-X1 CPU cores @ 3 GHz
- 4 x Cortex-A78 cores @ 2.4 GHz
- Adreno 69x series graphics
- Spectra 395 ISP
- Adreno 665 video processing unit
- Adreno 1199 display processing unit
It also has an AI engine that the company says provides over 29 TOPS of performance, Qualcomm’s FastConnect 6900 wireless system with support for WiFi 6E and support for up to a Qualcomm Snapdragon X65 5G modem with support for mobile data download speeds as high as 10 Gbps.
Security features include support for Secure Boot, runtime memory encryption, and support for Windows Hello face recognition.
The first devices featuring Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 chips are expected to hit the streets in the first half of 2022.
That said, Qualcomm is already talking about what comes after the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. After acquiring chip designer Nuvia earlier this year, the company plans to use its technology to produce chips in 2023 that rival Apple Silicon, which makes the company’s 2022 lineup seem a little less exciting.
While the Snapdragon 8cx is designed for higher-performance Windows systems, the Snapdragon 7c series is designed for Chromebooks and entry-level Windows PCs.
The company says its latest update is a 6nm chip that brings:
- 60% faster CPU performance
- 70% faster GPU performance
- 6.5 TOPS AI performance
The system-on-a-chip features a FastConnect 6700 wireless system with support for WiFi 6E speeds up to 2.9 Gbps, and an integrated Snpadragon X53 5G modem with support for mmWave and sub-6 GHz networks.
Qualcomm expects Snapdragon 7c Gen 3-powered devices to ship in the first half of 2022.