Will the day come when Arm architecture chips will be common in Windows computers? It’s hard to say, but efforts in favor of this scenario are not lacking. The latest initiative comes from Qualcomm: this Wednesday (1st), the company made the official announcement of the chip for notebooks Snapdragon 8cx gen 3. There is also an option for simpler computers: the chip Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3.
As the name implies, this is the third generation of the line. The first two, launched in 2018 and 2020, registered almost zero market share. Manufacturers such as Samsung, Acer and HP even launched notebooks with the Snapdragon 8cx and Snapdragon 8cx gen 2 processors, but none of these models achieved significant sales figures.
Despite this, it makes sense for Qualcomm to insist on this market. The company has a wide presence in cell phones and tablets, segments that no longer give much scope for growth. Laptops, on the other hand, represent enormous potential, after all, who doesn’t want a notebook with a long battery life?
More than 25 hours of battery life
Battery life is just one of the strengths of laptops equipped with Arm architecture chips. That’s why, when announcing the Snapdragon 8cx gen 3, Qualcomm highlighted this as one of its qualities.
According to the company, the new processor can allow more than 25 hours of notebook use on a single charge — and without the need for a fan. As no one spends all that time using the equipment directly (at least it shouldn’t), this same recharge should guarantee energy for several days of use.
How many days? It’s tricky to give a number because this factor depends on the amount of hours of use and the workload. But Qualcomm’s message is this: the Snapdragon 8cx gen 3 allows the notebook to have up to twice as much autonomy as an equivalent computer with an x86 processor.
Snapdragon 8cx gen 3 has 85% more performance
Performance limitations on Windows are among the factors that have made earlier generations of the chip viewed with suspicion. But the Snapdragon 8cx gen 3 promises to tackle this problem bravely: according to Qualcomm, the chip has up to 85% more performance than its predecessor in multithreaded tasks; in single thread, this gain is 40%.
For this purpose, the chip has eight cores, including high-performance and energy-efficient units.
Have more. The model is based on 5 nanometer technology, which led Qualcomm to point out that this is the first processor within this level to work with Windows.
There are also gains in terms of graphics: the Snapdragon 8cx gen 3 has an Adreno GPU which, compared to the previous generation, is up to 60% faster. Thanks to that, computers based on the new chip can run certain games in full HD and up to 120 fps, says Qualcomm.
The artificial intelligence (AI) attributes of the chip reinforce the performance aspect. With them, the Snapdragon 8cx gen 3 can reach 29 trillion operations per second (TOPS). In theory, this power makes the chip faster in detecting threats or in facial recognition, for example.
5G modem, WiFi 6 and more
As it should be, the new chip also has connectivity features. The highlight goes to the 5G modem, or better, to the 5G modems: the chip can be combined with the Snapdragon X55, the Snapdragon X65 or the Snapdragon X65. The latter is the most advanced modem of the trio and can reach download rates of up to 10 Gb/s (gigabits per second).
The Snapdragon 8cx gen 3 also supports Wi-Fi 6/6E in 2×2 MIMO mode and Bluetooth 5.1.
Perhaps from experience, you should know that video conferencing is and will continue to be on the rise, which is why Qualcomm has equipped the new product with an image signal processor (ISP) that supports video captures in up to 4K and 30 fps.
It is also worth noting that the novelty is compatible with LPDDR4x type RAM memories up to 4,266 MHz and supports the UFS 3.1 storage standard.
Whether all these features will be enough for the Snapdragon 8cx gen 3 to succeed in the market, we still don’t know. In any case, the expectation is that the first notebooks equipped with the new chip will be announced by the first half of 2022.
Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3
The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is not enough. Qualcomm also unveiled the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3, a simpler octa-core chip targeted at entry-level notebooks, including Chromebooks.
It is a model with 6 nanometer technology that offers up to 60% more performance compared to the previous generation. In graphics, the performance gain is 70% in this comparison.
We also find features for artificial intelligence here: the novelty’s AI engine achieves 6.5 trillion operations per second, in Qualcomm’s words.
Compatibility with 5G is guaranteed by the Snapdragon X53 modem, which supports up to 3.3 Gb/s on download.
Again, the expectation is that the first products based on the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 will be announced by the second half of 2022.