Snapdragon 8cx, the first 7nm processor for PCs is Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx, the first 7nm processor for PCs is Qualcomm
But what is perhaps most relevant to this announcement, is that Snapdragon 8cx is also the first 7-nanometer processor for PCs , so Qualcomm... Snapdragon 8cx, the first 7nm processor for PCs is Qualcomm 4

But what is perhaps most relevant to this announcement, is that Snapdragon 8cx is also the first 7-nanometer processor for PCs , so Qualcomm is beating both Intel and AMD in this race, where it seems to be ready to take the leap and compete outside the mobiles.

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A year ago we learned about Qualcomm’s first bet in the field of “always connected” laptops with the Snapdragon 835 . In the middle of this year, and after remaining on duty in terms of performance , Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon 850 , with which they continued betting on uninterrupted connectivity under a brutal autonomy.

Now, six months later, Qualcomm has a new ace up its sleeve with the Snapdragon 8cx, which clarifies that it does not come to replace the 850, so they present a new nomenclature with which they seek to emphasize that it is a processor centered in the power , even a jump over what they offer in their processors for smartphones, such as the recently introduced Snapdragon 855 .

The reality is that the new ‘Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform’ on paper looks impressive and promises to bring a power and autonomy never seen before to laptops, in addition to a complete connectivity. Of course, this is in theory, we’ll see if in practice confirms all this.

In itself the Snapdragon 8cx has a larger size compared to 855, so we have room for a larger number of transistors which include a faster CPU and GPU, in addition to, as mentioned, has been manufactured on a process of 7 nanometers .

The CPU is a Kryo 49 5, which Qualcomm claims is the fastest and most powerful they have manufactured, and even exceeds 855. Inside we find four cores for performance and four cores for energy consumption, plus 10MB of L3 cache , double that in 850.

On the other hand we have the Adreno 680 Extreme GPU , which they claim is twice as fast and 60% more efficient with respect to the Snapdragon 850. This GPU would also have double the transistors and double the bandwidth, which would allow a better performance when displaying graphics without triggering energy consumption.

In fact, Qualcomm mentioned that its Snapdragon 8cx has a TDP of 7W with which it would be able to maintain an energy efficiency of 50% higher compared to 15W platforms , such as the Intel U Series , which is still at 14nm.

Regarding autonomy, the company says that the 8cx will be able to offer up to 25 hours of battery life , that is, 60% more efficient compared to the previous generation. In addition, fast charging finally comes through Quick Charge 4+, something that was missing in the range of processors for PCs from Qualcomm.

On the connectivity side, the Snapdragon 8cx also releases the X24 Snapdragon 855 modem, which in theory will allow us to have connections of up to 2 Gbps Gigabit LTE. We also have support for 7xCA, WiFi 4×4 MIMO, LAA and support for up to 20 channels. Of course, not a single mention of compatibility with 5G through the X50 modem .

“It is not about brute power, but experience of use”
The Snapdragon 8cx is also compatible with the DirectX 12 API and has a highly efficient video encoder, which would allow connections with up to two external 4K HDR monitors . Also, Qualcomm is working hand in hand with Mozilla to bring native Firefox to laptops with the new 8cx.

Continuing with the specifications, and as part of the learning left by the two previous processors, the 8cx extends support for up to 16 GB of LPDDR4x 2133MHz RAM , as well as professional level NVMS SSD under UFS 3.0. We will also support second-generation USB 3.1 and up to four PCI-E Gen 3 lines.

The audio is not far behind, as we will also have home technology such as Qualcomm Aqstiq and aptX HD for higher quality Bluetooth audio. There will be support for two microphones for noise cancellation tasks and thus improve the experience using virtual assistants such as Cortana or Alexa.

Finally, the 8cx has its own artificial intelligence engine with the Hexagon 685 , which will serve for tasks that require more complexity, such as editing audio, video or simply watch a movie at full resolution.

Qualcomm is betting big with this release, so it tries to set aside that it is an ARM processor for Windows, and that is according to them this is the future. In fact, for this version will be adding support to Windows 10 Enterprise , seeking to attack the most professional niche.

Miguel Nunes, senior director of product management at Qualcomm, said: “The goal is to offer laptops that focus more on usability in the real world, it’s not about brute power, it’s about what people do and use in real life, and although at the moment we are focusing on devices with Windows 10, in the future there is no reason why we can not add support to other operating systems. “

Qualcomm mentioned that manufacturers have already had access to the Snapdragon 8cx since the third quarter of this year, so it is expected that the first devices with this new processor will arrive at the beginning of 2019 .

John Hartshorne

Senior IT engineer by the UPM of training and technical editor by profession, I have been writing in print and online media since the late 90s.