On the third day of Qualcomm’s third annual Snapdragon Tech Summit, the focus shifted to ARM-powered Windows PCs. Qualcomm announced the second-generation Snapdragon chip for Always-Connected PCs, called the Snapdragon 8CX. The platform is based on a 7nm process node, a first for a processor designed for Windows PC. It won’t replace the Snapdragon 850 that Qualcomm launched at Computex earlier this year.
The Snapdragon 8CX touts a heterogeneous architecture, much like Qualcomm’s mobile platform. The CPU, GPU, DSP and the ISP along with the LTE modem are all integrated in the chip and will work without needing fans in thin-and-light designs. The entire presentation though was filled with snarky comparisons with Intel’s processors, especially in the thin and light space. Qualcomm claimed the Snapdragon 8CX is twice as powerful as a 7W Intel Y-series CPU and offers the same performance as a 15W Intel chip, but with higher power efficiency. The performance metric is probably measured through synthetic benchmark, most likely in single-threaded performance. The number is interesting because the new MacBook Air is powered by the 7W Intel chip, and going by the tall claims by Qualcomm, it’s apparently twice as fast. The performance boost is most likely for the 7nm process node as Qualcomm is able to pack more transistors even though the company had the choice to increase power efficiency here.
The Snapdragon 8CX will use Kryo 495 CPU cores in a big.LITTLE arrangement. Four performance cores based on the Cortex-A76 and four efficiency cores based on the Cortex-A55, that will divide the load up depending on the intensity. Each core will get a private L2 cache and a shared L3 and system cache. While Qualcomm didn’t specify the individual size of the cache, save for the fact that there’s a total 10MB of cache memory. Qualcomm did not officially disclose the clock speeds and the RAM limit of the Snapdragon 8CX, but the reference design laptop that the company had in the demo rooms was running at 2.75GHz with 8GB of RAM and 250GB SSD.
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