Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx finally bridges the gap between mobile and laptops

Along with its logo new Snapdragon 855 smartphone platform, Qualcomm unveiled its newest product for the laptop computer marketplace: the Snapdragon 8cx. During the announcement in Maui, Qualcomm dubbed the 8cx its “maximum excessive” package deal but, promising a significant spice up to Windows efficiency, one thing Arm laptops have sorely wanted.

Key speaking issues for the new platform come with enhanced AI and system studying features, beefed up graphics efficiency, and even sooner built-in LTE strengthen, with the solution to strengthen 5G too. The identify may well be just a little daft, however it is a critical chip with regards to efficiency.

A laptop-first chip design

At lengthy final, the Snapdragon 8cx is a devoted design for the PC marketplace, slightly than a tweaked smartphone chip. Its design is far better suited for the upper efficiency necessities of laptop computer customers and would possibly finally be capable of give competing chips a run for his or her cash. You want handiest have a look at the primary CPU and GPU variations to the new Snapdragon 855, focused for smartphones, to grasp the forms of issues Qualcomm made for the 8cx.

  Snapdragon 8cx Snapdragon 850 Snapdragon 835
CPU Core Semi-custom ARM Cortex – Kryo 495 Semi-custom ARM Cortex – Kryo 385 Semi-custom ARM Cortex – Kryo 280
CPU Config 4x (Cortex-A76)
4x (Cortex-A55)
4x 2.96GHz (Cortex-A75)
4x 1.7GHz (Cortex-A55)
4x 2.45GHz (Cortex-A73)
4x 1.9GHz (Cortex-A53)
GPU Adreno 680 Extreme Adreno 630 Adreno 540
DSP Hexagon 690 Hexagon 685 with HVX Hexagon 682 with HVX
Storage UFS 3.0, NVME SSD UFS 2.1 UFS 2.1
Process 7nm FinFET 10nm LPP FinFET 10nm LPE FinFET
Display as much as 4K 60fps twin reveal as much as 4K 60fps as much as 4K 60fps
Camera strengthen 32MP unmarried / 16MP twin
Hybrid AF, HDR video. multi-frame noise relief
32MP unmarried / 16MP twin
Hybrid AF, HDR video. multi-frame noise relief
32MP unmarried / 16MP twin
Hybrid AF, HDR video
Video seize 4K UHD, HDR @ 30fps 4K UHD @ 30fps 4K UHD @ 30fps
Video playback 360 level, 4K as much as 120fps, 10-bit, H.265 and VP9 video decode 4K UHD @ 60fps, 10-bit H.264 (AVC) and H.265 (HEVC) 4K UHD @ 60fps, 10-bit H.264 (AVC) and H.265 (HEVC)
Charging Quick Charge 4+ Quick Charge 4+ Quick Charge 4.0
Wireless Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/advert
2.4, 5, and 60GHz
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/advert
2.4, 5, and 60GHz
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/advert
2.4, 5, and 60GHz
Bluetooth 5.0
Modem x24 LTE
2000Mbps down
316Mbps up
x20 LTE
1200Mbps down
150Mbps up
1000Mbps down
150Mbps up

The Snapdragon 8cx packs in a brand new Adreno 680 Extreme, a notable step up over the Adreno 640 within the new Snapdragon 855 and Adreno 630 within the Snapdragon 850. The new GPU boasts two times as many transistors and two times the to be had bandwidth as earlier generations, which will have to supply a notable spice up to gaming efficiency.

The Adreno 680 Extreme boasts two times as many transistors as Qualcomm’s last-gen GPU.

Qualcomm says the Adreno 680 Extreme is two times as speedy as the Adreno 630 and 3.5x extra robust than the Adreno 540. It’s additionally 60 % extra environment friendly than the Snapdragon 850, that means longer gaming time and video playback than earlier technology merchandise.

The 8cx’s CPU configuration could also be significantly other to the Snapdragon 855. It’s nonetheless an octa-core design however boasts four giant and four little cores for awesome height multi-threaded efficiency as opposed to the giant, mid, little tier design of Qualcomm’s newest smartphone chip. The Snapdragon 8cx additionally boasts extra cache reminiscence. There’s 10MB in overall, in comparison to 5MB within the Snapdragon 855. The total result’s extra CPU horsepower than even the newest smartphone processors.


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Bigger, extra cache wealthy Cortex-A76 cores way upper height efficiency. Part of Arm’s design philosophy with this technology was once to permit for scalable efficiency between smartphones and laptops, partially by way of configuring cache dimension. In reality, Qualcomm reckons it may possibly rival an Intel U collection chip for efficiency with considerably decrease energy intake. The Snapdragon 8cx will get away with a larger, extra robust CPU because of the fewer thermal, power, and silicon dimension constraints of the laptop computer shape issue.

Performance breaks loose from smartphone restraints, finally rivaling mainstream laptop computer parts

The Snapdragon 8cx additionally helps as much as 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM over eight channels, up from 8GB with earlier technology merchandise. Perhaps simply as necessary for the Snapdragon 8cx is strengthen for no longer handiest sooner UFS 3.0 flash reminiscence, up from UFS 2.1, but additionally NVME garage — in different phrases, the SSD drives which can be a mainstay of the PC marketplace. This way speedy, huge garage drives will also be packaged into Windows on Arm laptops, which can please heavy media customers and the undertaking marketplace. There’s strengthen for USB 3.1 information speeds and equipment, at the side of 4 PCI-Express lands that may be uncovered for connecting up audio and different peripherals.

Adding worth to the laptop computer marketplace

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Even the new Snapdragon 8cx received’t hassle the absolute best appearing x86 primarily based processors in the laptop computer area. This chip is focused at the mainstream shopper phase of the marketplace, the place the 8cx will have to now rival its competition’ efficiency. However, efficiency isn’t the whole lot, and Qualcomm is packing in a number of additional options to sway producers over to its chipset.

Integrated LTE connectivity stays one of Qualcomm’s key promoting issues. The Snapdragon 8cx contains Qualcomm’s newest X24 LTE modem, which boasts 2Gbps obtain speeds and 316Mbps add. While max speeds aren’t truly the major level of this modem, the higher collection of mixture carriers will have to be certain higher connection high quality at the cellular edge and in densely populated spaces.

Multi-day battery lifestyles and LTE connectivity stay key promoting issues for Qualcomm’s laptop computer SoC

The 8cx additionally brings over a number of different options that mobile customers shall be very acquainted with. Qualcomm’s Aqstic audio codec, whole with aptX HD Bluetooth strengthen, noise cancellation, speaker amplifier, and low energy microphone applied sciences supporting Amazon Alexa and Cortana voice assistants. On most sensible of assistants, the Hexagon 690 way strengthen for AI and system studying packages like facial popularity is in position too.

There’s additionally a VP9 and H.265 hardware decoder on board, this means that longer battery lifestyles when taking part in again fine quality films. And in fact, the additional graphics energy of the Adreno 680 Extreme way fundamental gaming is catered for too, or you’ll be able to run as much as twin 4K displays for an enormous desktop setting. Multimedia customers are smartly lined. There’s additionally Quick Charge 4+ era, which performs effectively with USB Power Delivery, so laptops powered by way of the Snapdragon 8cx can fee up temporarily over a USB Type-C port.

Will the Snapdragon 8cx be within your subsequent laptop computer?

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx is the corporate’s first ground-up PC platform, and it’s indubitably were given some primary enhancements over the 850. The larger GPU will lend a hand pressure upper answer shows and be offering a greater gaming enjoy. The adapted CPU design way a cleaner destroy with the barriers of mobile efficiency. And in all probability perfect of all, the chipset continues to carry voice assistant, multimedia, LTE wi-fi networking, and extra to the PC marketplace.

There are nonetheless some app compatibility efficiency problems with Windows on Arm, however that is an ever-improving state of affairs. For instance, customers can now select between Edge and Firefox for his or her local internet browser, and Chromium strengthen is being labored on. The platform’s stepped forward efficiency way cases the place emulation is needed will have to carry out significantly better than prior to, too. Oh, and a 7nm, closely built-in chip provides considerably higher battery lifestyles than the pageant.

Despite the enhancements, Qualcomm states the Snapdragon 8cx isn’t changing the 850. Instead, the two will exist side-by-side as top rate and common tier choices respectively. However, I feel you’ll choose the Snapdragon 8cx within your subsequent LTE-equipped laptop computer.

Next: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 vs Samsung Exynos 9810 vs Huawei Kirin 980

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