High-end laptops with cellular connectivity are expected to see a significant increase next year when the first models equipped with Qualcomm’s newest PC processors become available. The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor, which was announced today (Dec. 1), is the first 5-nanometer CPU for Windows PCs.
Qualcomm’s previous Snapdragon 8cx processors were 7nm, so Qualcomm is incorporating more transistors on this generation, which could result in a significant increase in both speed and power efficiency. Qualcomm isn’t simply releasing new chips for high-end always-connected laptops.
The Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 was also introduced, bringing 5G connectivity to entry-level laptops and Chromebooks. According to Qualcomm, laptops using any new chipset will not be available until the first half of 2022. But here’s what you can anticipate from the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and Snapdragon 7cx+ Gen 3 as they make their way into various laptops.
What we know about Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx
The Snapdragon 8cx appears to be all about power and performance. Qualcomm claims that new prime cores included in the chipset’s Kryo CPU may enhance performance by up to 85 percent over a similar x86 processor; performance per watt is up to 60 percent higher, according to Qualcomm’s calculations.
The Adreno GPU also receives an upgrade on the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, with graphic performance increasing by 60% over the previous generation. Users should be able to enjoy 50 percent longer gaming sessions on a Snapdragon 8cx-powered laptop when compared to comparable platforms when playing games at full HD quality.
Overall, Qualcomm claims that the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 can run a laptop for more than 25 hours – twice as long as the average user’s current PC. This latest version, like previous Snapdragon 8cx CPUs, enables 5G connection, however, modems may vary.
The Snapdragon x65, the highest choice, can handle up to 10Gbps speeds via 5G, but there will also be chipsets with the X55 (7.5Gbps download speeds) and X62 (4.4Gbps download rates) modems. The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 also supports Wi-Fi 6E and its 3.6Gbps wireless capabilities.
Qualcomm’s AI engine and Hexagon processor are included in the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 chipset, which Qualcomm claims can do 29 trillion operations per second (TOPS). This is three times more than the competition, allowing Snapdragon 8cx-powered laptops to provide more complex AI-driven experiences like facial recognition and softened backgrounds on video conversations.
In terms of video, Qualcomm’s Spectra image signal processor (ISP) is included in the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 chipset, and it can support 4K HDR video and up to four cameras. Improved startup speeds should allow users to join video chats 15% faster than on Gen 2-powered devices, and noise and echo cancellation technology are supported.
What we know about Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3
The Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 platform is designed for less powerful laptops than the Snapdragon 8cx platform. However, you should expect a 60% increase in CPU performance and a 70% increase in GPU speed. AI performance may reach 6.5 TOPS, above the previous Snapdragon 7c chipset’s 5 TOPS.
The major news here is that the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 now has 5G connection through a Snapdragon X53 modem. The modem, which supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave-based 5G networks, can achieve download rates of up to 3.7Gbps. In terms of Wi-Fi, Qualcomm’s FastConnect 6700 technology supports Wi-Fi 6 and 6E, resulting in wireless download rates of up to 2.9Gbps.