Qualcomm: Snapdragon 8cx for laptops equals Intel U processor

Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 8cx, an ARM processor that it has developed from the ground up especially for laptops. According to Qualcomm, the performance is equivalent to that of an Intel U CPU, with much lower consumption.

According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 8cx represents its biggest jump to date in terms of performance. The manufacturer based its current soc for PCs, the Snapdragon 850, on the mobile variants, but that is no longer the case with the 8cx and it has been specially developed for PCs.

The chip is built around the new Kryo 495 cores, where the just announced Snapdragon 855 for smartphones has the Kryo 485 core. The Snapdragon 8cx consists of a configuration of four powerful and four economical cores, and a total of 10MB cache is present.

The Snapdragon 8cx supports up to 16GB lpddr4x ram and can handle NVME SSDs and UFS 3.0 storage. The GPU is the Adreno 680 and this is also a different GPU than the manufacturer has developed for the Snapdragon 855, which is the Adreno 640.

According to Qualcomm, the GPU is twice as powerful as the Adreno 630 of the Snapdragon 850 for computers and 60 percent more efficient. It therefore has twice as many transistors and twice as much memory bandwidth. There is also support for DirectX 12 and there is hardware acceleration of vp9 and h265 video codecs. The GPU could thus power two 4k monitors with HDR. Incidentally, Qualcomm will continue to supply the Snapdragon 850, even if the 8cx is on the market.

Qualcomm strongly emphasizes that the Snapdragon soc is produced at 7nm, where Intel is still on its 14nm process. The TDP is 7W and the manufacturer puts the peak performance on the same level as a 15W processor from ‘an undisclosed competitor’, which clearly meant Intel’s Core U processor. For the cooling of the new Snapdragon, laptops do not have to have a fan.

Compared to a 7W CPU from that competitor, a Core Y model, the peak performance would even be twice as high. It is not clear how Qualcomm arrived at these claims. The company does not cite any benchmarks that have been used and the claims are therefore marketing that should be taken with a grain of salt. It is indicative that the company has Intel in its sights and is determined to steal market share from Intel.

The processor is intended for Always Connected PCs that run Windows and have a continuous Internet connection. The X24 modem is available for this, an lte modem that has a maximum throughput of 2 Gbit/s. Furthermore, there is support for Quick Charge 4+, to be able to charge the laptop quickly.