Qualcomm announces 7nm Snapdragon 8cx for 'extreme' Always-Connected PC performance

The new chip is designed to bring improved performance, connectivity, and battery life to Always-Connected PCs.

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Sanjay Mehta, senior VP of the Compute Products group at Qualcomm

ZDNet

MAUI, HAWAII: At the Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit in Maui, Hawaii, the tech giant revealed the Snapdragon 8cx compute platform, the first 7nm design for PCs in Qualcomm's lineup.

Sanjay Mehta, senior VP of the Compute Products group at Qualcomm told attendees at the conference on Thursday that the latest addition is an "extreme" addition to the Always-on Connected hardware product range.

Miguel Nunes, senior director of product management for Qualcomm, added that the chip offers "extreme performance, extreme battery life, and extreme connectivity" for consumers.

The hardware will coexist with the Snapdragon 850 as a new, premium chip rather than replace existing products.

The 8cx compute platform is the first 7nm platform offered for PCs by the US chip giant, one of which Nunes calls a "new tier in premium computing."

The new chip contains an Adreno 680 GPU, a Hexagon 690 DSP, a Kryo 495 CPU, the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem, Wi-Fi support, the Spectra 390 ISP, and will also support both Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ and the firm's Aqstic audio technologies, alongside 4K HDR video playback at 120 fps.

The Adreno 680 GPU is 3.5 times faster than the Snapdragon 835, but the executive says a 60 percent performance boost -- in comparison to the Snapdragon 850 -- has been managed to prevent the increase in power impacting battery life.

The eight-core Kryo 495 CPU implements 7nm process technology, four performance cores, and four efficiency cores. Up to 10MB of cache is available.

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Nunes says that the 8cx offers "twice the sustained performance of competitors, at a fraction of the power." In addition, the execute says the new design is capable of supporting devices for multi-day battery life in thin, fanless form factors.

The Snapdragon platform will cater to both Microsoft's Cortana and Amazon Alexa voice assistants. In a first for Qualcomm, the new compute platform will also support dual 4K HDR external monitors.

When it comes to mobile apps, Qualcomm is working with Mozilla to create an ARM64 native version of the Firefox browser.

"You will see a very high-performance version of the Firefox browser available soon," the executive says.

The platform will also support Windows 10 Enterprise and the Microsoft 365 office suite. Erin Chapple, corporate VP of Microsoft told attendees of the conference that the 8cx will allow users to take advantage of the "security, privacy, and ease of management" Windows 10 Enterprise offers.

The company has also partnered with cybersecurity firm Symantec to introduce "Endpoint Cloud Connect Defense," a protective solution for enterprise endpoint devices using the 8cx.

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In related news, on Wednesday Qualcomm revealed the specifications of the latest addition to the Snapdragon system-on-chip (SoC) family, the Snapdragon 855 Mobile platform.

The Snapdragon 855 is a multi-gigabit SoC able to support our future sub-6 GHz and mmWave 5G networks. The chip includes a Snapdragon X24 LTE modem and X50 5G modem, Wi-Fi 6, WPA3 compatibility, a fourth-generation AI engine, and redesigned Adreno 640, Spectre 380, Kryo 485, and Hexagon 690 chips.

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Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 855 offers a 2x performance boost in comparison to competing products and a 3x performance enhancement in comparison to its predecessors.

Disclaimer: Attendance at the conference was sponsored by Qualcomm.

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