Qualcomm takes on Intel with fastest graphics processor, Snapdragon 8cx chips

qualcomm 7nm snapdragon 8cx debut snapdragon8cx

Qualcomm debuted its next-generation system on chip (SoC) called the Snapdragon 8cx. It has a new, more powerful CPU core alongside its fastest graphics processor ever. Designed with PCs in mind, the new chip is built on a 7nm process, much like AMD’s expected Zen 2 CPUs and Navi GPUs, which are also expected to release in 2019.

“With performance and battery life as our design tenets, we’re bringing 7nm innovations to the PC space, allowing for smartphone-like capabilities to transform the computing experience,” Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mobile for Qualcomm Technologies Alex Katouzian said during Qualcomm’s annual technology summit. The 8cx is the fastest Snapdragon design ever created, he stated, suggesting that it would deliver PC-grade performance while offering portable devices “multi-day battery life,” in thin, fanless designs.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx combines a new octa-core Kryo 495 CPU with an Adreno 680 GPU on the same die. They offer better multi-tasking performance, as well as greater graphics memory bandwidth. Qualcomm says it’s Adreno 680 graphics are twice as powerful as its previous generation and 60 percent more efficient than the GPU in the Snapdragon 850. The design has also been certified for Windows 10 Enterprise — a first for a Snapdragon SoC.

Alongside additional performance, Qualcomm’s 8cx introduces Quick Charge 4+, offering faster charging capabilities than ever before. It also has baked-in support for advanced LTE data connectivity up to 2 Gbps download and 316Mbps upload, and supports new wireless standards like 802.11ac and 802.11ad — although they have more simplified names these days — and Bluetooth 5.

These chips are shipping out to device manufacturers now and we can expect laptops and tablets utilizing the new Snapdragon 8cx to arrive in the third quarter of 2019. When they do, they could come sporting Windows Home, Pro, or Enterprise, have up to 16GB of LPDDR4X memory, have NVMe SSD storage, support monitors with HDR capabilities and up to 4K resolution, and run games with the DirectX 12 API.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx will likely find its way into similar devices as the Snapdragon 835 and 845 did like the Always-Connected Windows platforms, which eschew strong wireless connectivity and long battery life. But with a push with the Snapdragon 850 to go beyond those more typical devices, Qualcomm may be looking to power a new generation of 2019 laptops that are a little outside its usual wheelhouse.

Updated December 12, 2018: Corrected performance improvement numbers of Adreno 680.

Mobile

Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.
Computing

Intel answers Qualcomm's new PC processors by pairing Core and Atom in 'Foveros'

Intel has announced a new packaging technology called 'Foveros' that makes it easier for the company to place multiple chips together on one package. That includes chips based on different Intel architectures, like Core and Atom.
Computing

Hololens 2 could give the Always Connected PC a new, ‘aggressive’ form

Microsoft is said to be leaning on Qualcomm to power its Hololens 2 headset. Instead of Intel CPUs, the next Hololens could use a Snapdragon 850 processor, allowing it to benefit from the always-connected features.
Computing

An inside look at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx, a revolutionary laptop processor

Six years after Microsoft’s failed foray into ARM computing with Windows RT, its second effort with Always-Connected PC is now showing early signs of success. Microsoft partner Qualcomm told us how the Snapdragon 8cx might revolutionize…
Computing

Windows 10 user activity logs are sent to Microsoft despite users opting out

Windows 10 Privacy settings may not be enough to stop PCs from releasing user activity data to Microsoft. Users discovered that opting out of having their data sent to Microsoft does little to prevent it from being released.
Computing

Intel's discrete graphics will be called 'Xe,' IGP gets Adapative Sync next year

Intel has officially dubbed its discrete graphics product Intel Xe, and the company also provided details about its Gen11 IGP. The latter will include adaptive sync support and will arrive in 2019.
Computing

Firefox 64 helps keep your numerous tabs under control

Mozilla officially launched Firefox 64 by placing new features into the laps of its users including new tab management abilities, intelligent suggestions, and a task manager for keeping Firefox's power consumption under control.
Computing

Razer’s classic DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse drops to $40 on Amazon

If you're looking to pick up a new gaming mouse for the holidays, Amazon has you covered with this great deal on the classic Razer DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse with customizable buttons, RGB lighting, and a 16,000 DPI optical sensor.
Computing

Intel's dedicated GPU is not far off -- here's what we know

Did you hear? Intel is working on a dedicated graphics card. It's called Arctic Sound and though we don't know a lot about it, we know that Intel has some ex-AMD Radeon graphics engineers developing it.
Computing

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.
Computing

Apple MacBook Air vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The MacBook Air was updated with more contemporary components and a more modern design, but is that enough to compete with standouts like Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 detachable tablet?
Computing

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts.
Computing

Email take-backsies! Gmail's unsend feature is one of its best

Everyone has sent a message they wish they could take back. How great would it be if you could undo that impulsive email? If you're a Gmail user, you can. Here's how to recall an email in Gmail.
Computing

These laptop makers produce the most reliable, quality hardware today

If you want to buy your next laptop based around a specific brand, it helps to know which the best brands of laptops are. This list will give you a good grounding in the most reliable, quality laptop manufacturers today.