Introducing Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3: The First 5nm Chip for Windows-Based Arm Laptops

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Node Shrink Promises Vastly Improved Performance

The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 stands as Qualcomm’s flagship offering, designed specifically for always-on, always-connected devices. This new System-on-Chip (SoC) boasts an impressive 85 percent increase in multi-core performance compared to its Gen 2 predecessor, benefiting from the power efficiency gains achieved through fabrication node shrinks. Additionally, the GPU exhibits a noteworthy 60 percent improvement. By opting for this node shrink’s higher power efficiency, Qualcomm has chosen to prioritize increased performance while maintaining the same thermal and power limits as before, rather than solely focusing on extended battery life and simplified cooling.

Thanks to these enhancements, the chip now has the capability to target 120fps gaming at Full HD resolution, all while operating in fanless computing configurations. These performance projections promise to deliver an outstanding performance-per-watt ratio, cementing the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 as a powerful and efficient solution for the next generation of always-connected devices.

Faster 5G Connectivity and Wi-Fi 6E Support

The 8cx Gen 3 further enhances the capabilities of always-on, always-connected Windows devices by providing a wide range of 5G connectivity options. These options encompass both sub-6GHz narrow-band and millimeter-wave wide-band alternatives for 5G connectivity. Supporting speeds from 4.4Gbps to an impressive 10Gbps, the chip leverages the Snapdragon X65, X55, and X62 5G Modem-RF systems to ensure seamless and high-speed connectivity.

Additionally, the new chip integrates the Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 protocol, enabling Wi-Fi 6E support with speeds of up to 4.4Gbps. While the storage performance has been improved with UFS 3.1 speeds, it falls slightly short compared to the NVMe standard. Nonetheless, the overall package of 5G and Wi-Fi capabilities positions the 8cx Gen 3 as a powerful solution for the next generation of always-connected Windows devices.

Updated Neural Processor for Improved Telecommuting

The integrated NPU (Neural Processor) within the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 promises a remarkable 29 Tera Operations Per Second (TOPS) of AI acceleration, presenting a significant three-fold improvement over its predecessor. These advanced AI and machine learning capabilities are harnessed to address common drawbacks of traditional laptops, particularly concerning camera and microphone performance. With this technology, the Spectra ISP can deliver superior video conferencing experiences, offering enhanced autofocus, white balance, and exposure compensation even in sub-optimal home lighting conditions.

Furthermore, the NPU facilitates AI sound enhancement through Qualcomm Voice Suite’s noise and echo cancellation features, effectively filtering out background distractions during telecommuting. The camera and audio features are extended to 4K cameras with HDR support, and the SoC inherently supports up to four discrete cameras simultaneously, enabling new use cases like using front and rear cameras during presentations to focus on both the presenter and the presentation.

According to Qualcomm, the first Windows devices powered by the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 are expected to launch in the first half of 2022. These devices promise to deliver an enhanced user experience and significantly improved multimedia capabilities for the next generation of always-connected laptops.