Qualcomm today announced its 2nd Gen Snapdragon 8cx SoC with an aim to compete with the contemporary x86 CPUs in the low-power (15W) PC market. Till now, ARM based devices have failed to establish a foothold in the PC space, largely due to dismal performance which itself is the result of using an emulator to run x86 apps.
The primary advantage as you can guess is the vastly better battery life, allowing OEMs to design “always-on” notebooks with 4G and very soon, 5G support. Furthermore, Windows 10 and its apps run natively on ARM cores while the rest of the third-party applications run through a custom emulator provided by MS.
The 8cx Gen 2 processor succeeds the 1st Gen 8cx SoC which was quite impressive in terms of efficiency, but failed to leave a mark due to limited performance in popular x86 workloads. The newer 2nd Gen 8cx chip aims to further extend the efficiency (perf-per-watt) lead, while improving the overall system performance as well.
The new 8cx SoC is powered by eight Cryo-495 cores which are fabbed on TSMC’s 7nm process, paired with high-speed LPDDR4x memory (up to 2,133MHz). The processor supports NVMe SSDs which is the standard for low-power notebooks these days. On the graphics side, you’ve got an Adreno GPU that comes with DirectX12 support and can output a single 4K display internally and up to two 4K displays externally using a DP-MST.
As far as raw performance is concerned, Qualcomm promises a performance gain of as much as 18% over the 15W Intel 10th Gen Core i5 (Comet or Ice) while a whopping 51% advantage over the Lakefield based 7W Core i5. On the perf-per-watt side, you can expect the 8cx Gen 2 to be 39% and 58% more efficient than the 15W and 7W Core i5s, respectively.
Considering the performance of its predecessor, I reckon these benchmarks are from an application that natively supports the 8cx SoC, as most other x86 show rather poor performance with ARM based chips.
The 2nd Gen 8cx SoC offers two models, namely the X55 5G and X24 4G LTE. The former can achieve up to 7.5Gbps on a 5G network, while the X24 tops out at 2 Gbps on an LTE network. The FastConnect 6800 adapter allows for WiFi connectivity. It has two bands: 2.4 or 5 GHz band, with a transfer speed of up to 1,775Gbps.
Qualcomm is also looking to integrate a high-quality camera via the Spectra-390-ISP. This will allow 4K videos with HDR support and a camera with 32 MP resolution.