Qualcomm rolls out dedicated chips for Windows PCs

Qualcomm rolls out dedicated chips for Windows PCs
2 Dec, 2021

Qualcomm Technologies is taking another shot at the PC business with a new line-up of ARM chipsets designed for Windows 11-based laptops.   

At the annual Snapdragon Tech Summit, the US-based company unveiled two new chipsets-- Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 for high-end PCs and the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 for affordable laptops.   

Qualcomm said the first crop of Windows 11 notebooks powered by these chipsets will launch in the first half of 2022.  

The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is the successor to last year's 7-nanometer-based Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 and is one of the first chipsets for Windows that is built on a 5-nanometer process.  

Also read: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1: How the new chipset can make the next-gen flagships better

AMD's next line-up of Zen-4 Ryzen chipsets, expected to be launched in 2022, are also built on a 5-nanometer process.  

Aimed at high-end PCs, Qualcomm claims Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 can muster 85% better CPU performance and up to 60% faster GPU performance as compared to its predecessor.  

Qualcomm, however, didn't share any details on the number of cores.  

Like its predecessor, the new chipsets also leverage some of the capabilities of their smartphone counterparts. For instance, it supports 5G connectivity enabling access to high-speed internet on the laptops even when the user is travelling and doesn't have access to WiFi connectivity.  

Besides, it uses the X65 modem that can eke out download speeds of up to 10 Gbps. 

It also supports the new WiFi 6E standard, which adds a 6GHz band that can support high bandwidth applications better.  

For a better experience during video calls and webinars, the new chipset offers AI-accelerated echo cancellation and noise suppression capabilities. 

To enhance security, the new chipset has a dedicated Computer Vision processor that works continuously and automatically locks the device if the user is not in front of it. 

The second chipset Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3, which is targeted at affordable Windows laptops, is based on a 6-nanometer architecture. It's the successor to last year's Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 that was built on an 8-nanometer process.   

Qualcomm claims it offers 60% faster CPU performance and 70% faster GPU performance over its predecessor. The Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 also supports 5G and WiFi 6E.  

ARM-based chipsets are not as powerful as compared to Intel and AMD chipsets that are based on x86 architecture. However, the confidence in the capabilities of ARM-based chipsets for PCs and laptops has improved considerably with the launch of Apple's  M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets that power the new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro notebooks.