During the in-house Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm presented two new chips for always-connected PCs. The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is the new flagship and the Snapdragon 7c + Gen 3 is aimed at entry-level notebooks with Chrome OS and Windows.
After Qualcomm unveiled its new top processor for smartphones with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, two new chips for notebooks were presented on the second day of the Snapdragon Tech Summit. The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 replaces its predecessor from September 2020, which, like the first generation, was still based on the Snapdragon 855.
Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 as a spearhead
With the latest generation, the manufacturer seems to have chosen the Snapdragon 888 as the technical basis. As the first notebook processor for Windows PCs, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is like its smartphone model in the Five nanometer process manufactured at Samsung. Apple’s competition, the M1 (Pro / Max), also has this structure size, while the x86 chips from AMD and Intel use seven and ten nanometer technology, respectively.
Qualcomm has not yet revealed specific clock rates and details about the CPU and GPU, but it should CPU performance by up to 85 percent and the GPU performance up to 60 percent higher fail compared to the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2. The AI acceleration is also three times as fast as before and achieves it over 29 TOPS. This puts the AI performance between the Snapdragon 888 (26 TOPS) and Snapdragon 888+ (32 TOPS).
The notebook manufacturers are available three 5G cellular modems for the ARM chip to choose from: Snapdragon X65, Snapdragon X62 and Snapdragon X55. The respective modem is included in the platform, but probably not integrated on the SoC, since the three modems are manufactured with different structural sizes. In theory, only the X62 could be integrated directly, as it is also based on five-nanometer technology. The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 also masters the new WLAN standard Wi-Fi 6E with 2 × 2 configuration and Bluetooth 5.1.
The Spectra image signal processor enables the use of up to four cameras and supports 24 megapixel photos as well as 4K HDR videos. The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 can be paired with NVMe SSDs and UFS 3.1 storage.
Snapdragon 7c + Gen 3 brings 5G into the entry-level class
The new entry-level model called Snapdragon 7c + Gen 3 replaces the second generation from May 2021, which, like the first Snapdragon 7c, was technically similar to a Snapdragon 730. The new chip is manufactured in Six nanometer process at TSMC. The specs suggest that the third generation is fundamentally based on one Snapdragon 778G based. At over 6.5 TOPS, however, the AI performance is well below the level of the smartphone chip.
The CPU performance is up to 60 percent higher compared to the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 and there is also up to 70 percent faster GPU performance. For the first time, the entry-level chip also offers support for 5G cellular thanks to an integrated Snapdragon X53 modem. The Snapdragon 7c + Gen 3 also masters new standards such as Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. With regard to memory compatibility, the data sheet lists LPDDR4X-4266, LPDDR5-6400 as well as NVMe SSDs, eMMC 5.1, SD 3.0 and UFS 2.1.