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Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx takes portable computing to the “extreme”

By Jules Wang December 6, 2018, 2:36 pm

Qualcomm ribbed at PC makers yesterday during the second keynote of its Snapdragon Tech Summit — while the likes of Intel have been struggling to move down from 14nm dies, this chipmaker is taking fabrication down to 7nm. And it’s not just for the mobile-focused Snapdragon 855.

The Snapdragon 8cx — that’s “compute extreme” — expands on the work that Qualcomm has done with its silicon for Always Connected PC, including a modified version of the Snapdragon 835 and the specially-made Snapdragon 850.

Qualcomm has put out its largest design for a systems-on-a-chip using its latest Kryo 495 core design on its eight-part CPU — they’re clustered in a big.LITTLE format and, together, are 75 percent more efficient than an x86 product — plus the largest ever Adreno 680 GPU with performance marked at 250 percent speedier than a Snapdragon 835 and a 60 percent drop in power use from the Snapdragon 850.


The charging management chip runs on the Quick Charge 4+ protocol. However, it’s estimated that as with other Always Connected PC chipsets the 8cx will last days off the outlet in practical use. It also utilizes the Hexagon 690 DSP and Spectra 390 ISP, meaning that it’s just as capable as the Snapdragon 855 in delivering on artificial intelligence processing. And it also comes with Bluetooth 5 and Qualcomm’s proprietary suite of aptX audio codecs.

The thermal design power envelope for the 8cx is 7W — just above an Intel Y-series processor and short of a U-series chip — and  is claimed to go lap over a Core i5 U-series (15 watts) in certain tasks. And that’s all without a fan. It can accept eight channels of LPDDR4x memory for 16GB total. Other I/O manufacturers can plug in includes USB 3.0 and PCIe expansion shots.

The Snapdragon X24 modem allows for up to seven-channel carrier aggregation with 4×4 MIMO reception and 20 streams of uplink or downlink. Maximum marketed downlink has been benchmarked at 2Gbps.

Compatibility with programs that have more strenuous requirements will be achieved through the 8cx. Windows 10 Enterprise will be able to run on an 8cx machine and so will a new ARM64 version of Mozilla Firefox for multi-tab web browsing.

The Snapdragon 8cx will be a premium offering that will be available along with the Snapdragon 850 — we expect pricing to shift up by a fair amount from current 850-powered computers. Qualcomm told press that first commercial integration will happen in the third quarter of 2019.


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